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I'm a triathlete, I'm a grad student, and I forget I have a blog frequently!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Build Block Mission: Complete!

I'm at the end of my first build block, and although I've had a couple pretty busy weeks, I've executed nicely! I'm pumped to hit Freezeroo #6 next weekend. Then it looks like I have two weeks on, then hit Johnny's March 17th. This morning I feel like I really capped off this block. Thursdays for the past few weeks have been 1:30 on the bike, and 1:15 hill bounding. That's a lot of workout for a weekday, and it's been tough. The first week, I had the afternoon free for the run, but last week; since I teach from 1-9pm and have class from 9:30-11, it's tough to fit that 2.5 hours in there. Last week, I felt pretty burned out all week, and I wasn't able to get it done. That haunted me for a few days, and I was determined this week to nail it. I left early from dinner with some friends last night, went to be at 9, and set the alarm for 4:30. Then I proceeded to rock those two workouts. Period. I'm looking forward to next week's recovery, and rocking that 10k!

On a side note, I had the pleasure of running the last 15 minutes or so with a 5x ironman named Bruce who was getting in a run after masters swim. It was really nice to have someone to chat with after the countless hours of solitude I've put in this winter. Actually, I think the only workout I've done not completely alone was Mary's 38x100 birthday party.

Now I get to spend the rest of the day swaddled in the wondrous embrace of my compression recovery tights. Off to class!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In Full Swing,,,

So it's been a while again, when you barely have time to train and sleep (and see your wife only a few days a week) blogging tends to take a back seat to more primary functions... School's going strong, and I'm fully into research. Training is definitely into full swing. After struggling through December, I regrouped and rocked January. Now I'm finished with base phase, and coming off of a good showing at the Freezeroo #4 10k(ish) I'm headed into the build phase. I'm excited for some increased intensity coming my way, and building a good foundation for the speedwork to come after that. Outside of research, my mind is completely focused on June 24th. Syracuse. I have big plans for that race, and I'm putting in the work now to see them into fruition. In other news, I've officially joining the QT2 racing team, and 'm looking forward to doing them proud this summer. That's all I really have for now. Hopefully I find my way back here soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Retrun from the Dead: Year-end Wrap Up Edition

Alexa's post inspired me to return to my blog. It's been crazy for the past month or so in my world. The family stuff that comes with the holiday season, along with driving back and forth between Rochester and Buffalo what seems like a billion times, beginning research, and wrapping up my coursework for the semester all rolled into a big ball of stress. Now that I'm on break, I'm finally back on track with training after failing to execute a couple training weeks. It feels good. Now time to look back on the past year of my life...

Last November I began training with Mary, and Train-this. This was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The past year training with that group was amazing. I've met some of the nicest people I know, and I'm always looking forward to seeing them at races, or any group training opportunities that may arise. One of the biggest cons to living in Buffalo, is missing opportunities to see my train-this crew more often. I began the year with a 2ish minute 5k PR of 20:08 on January first. I built through the spring, gaining speed that I never expected that I would have.

I ended the spring training season with Flower City Challenge weekend. I raced the River Challenge Du that Saturday (my first race in my snazzy Train-this kit), and did surprisingly well. I spent the day sitting and recovering for the next day, when I was looking for a Half-marathon PR. I dropped about 15 minutes (1:30). I followed this up with a strong performance at Fly by Night a the end of May. June began with Keuka Lake Tri, where I met the awesome Travis as we exited the water together. I put in a stong bike and held on for a solid run for an AG podium spot, and probably my best executed race of the year (2:14).

I followed up Keuka with Tupper Lake Tinman 70.3. This was supposed to be a tune-up for Placid, and the race itself was challenging. I neglected nutrition a bit on the bike, which led to a torturous run. The weather sucked. I loved every second. It was my second 70.3, and solidified that I love that distance. At that point I was a month out from Placid, and I already knew that the ironman distance definitely wasn't my "thing." Leading to an early decision to focus on 70.3 this year.

Tinman was followed by mini-Mussel. I was up against Matt Curbeau for the first time head-to-head. I didn't have any illusions that I was going to beat him. The goal was to try to stay as close as I could for as long as I could. I put down a 9:46 swim split, which should've bought me a minute or so over him, but didn't. HE also had a great swim, and flew by me as he destroyed that bike course, on his way to 2nd OA, and 4th OA the next day at the Musselman 70.3, for the double-Mussel win. I was happy with another AG podium spot!

Two weeks later I drove up to Placid on my birthday, and my first Ironman race-week adventure began! I stayed relaxed and had some fun the week leading up to the race. My parents drove up the night before the race, so I had my full support crew there. Amanda freaked out about the forecast of rain for our wedding that was a week later. Ironman was a looooong day. I wasn't too happy with my swim, as I got boxed in, but I executed my bike according to plan, then suffered through 26.2 miles of vomiting. I was happy to finish though, and even happier to find out that my Keuka buddy Travis punched his ticket to Kona!

The week after Placid, I married my amazing wife! Alexa, Matthias, and Ken came ti the wedding! It was a great time, and was a ton of fun when Alexa came bowling with us after the reception! We left for our almost two weeks in Amsterdam and Paris, just after we finished moving out of out apartment in Rochester where we had lived for the past four years. Amanda moved into her new apartment, and when we got back from Europe I moved into my new apartment in Buffalo. The next 3-4 months were pretty rough. It's hard living apart from your new wife! I started my PhD at Buffalo, and I like the program. I got into a great research group, and I'm genuinely excited to really get going. However, I hate living in Buffalo. I miss Rochester all the time. Where I live I can't really ride from, and my run routes are limited if I want to avoid pretty major roads. So I'm looking for a better area for next year.

In November I began training with QT2 after Mary switched to coach for them. The training is good. I do, however miss Train-this. I really don't think I'm going to ever be able to find a group that felt as much like home as Train-this. QT2 as a whole is a bit impersonal. I imagine it's probably different if you can afford their 1:1 coaching, but I can't. I can barely afford the mission plan I'm on. As a result, although I still am able to keep in contact with Mary a good amount, I really don't feel like part of the organization.

Earlier this month, I ran my first race of the new training season. The Jingle Bell Run 5k in Brighton, the result was a new 5k PR of 19:23. It feels like I'm heading into a good season. Let's hope so!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Big Things Coming!

Just got back from a nice early morning run. I think Preston was a little surprised when he was excited that I got up early, and thought he was getting taken out... and ended up on a five mile run! He was a trooper though! I think he found some good smells out there too, so win-win I guess.

I met with Mary yesterday morning, to just talk about some stuff, and do some preseason planning. As I said a little over a week ago, I have some ambitious goals for this season. Well yesterday morning they got kicked up a notch, and I couldn't be more excited! We're going for something big, and I couldn't be more excited. I feel like I have to say we, because Amanda, and Mary invest so much time and energy in my progress that they might as well be out there hitting the road with me.

That's about all I have for now. Time for a quick shower, then back to bed for a bit before I have to get up for class. So pumped about what's coming! A little bummed that I'm going to not be able to race some events that I wanted to, but it's all part of the plan, and I'm fully committed! I start with QT2 in one week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don't call it a comeback!

Well I last posted here the day after Placid. That was about a week or so shy of three months ago... So it's been a while. I've pretty much been on offseason since then. I did a couple races, but really haven't had the mojo to train. As for the rest of my life, I did a couple things after placid. I got married, went to Amsterdam and Paris for the honeymoon, moved to Buffalo (unfortunately without my amazing wife, who's still going to school at UofR), and started my PhD at UB. So I've been a little busy. The downtime that I've had, though, I really haven't had the desire to train. I keep telling myself "you should go out for a run today" or "you should get in some time on the bike" but the operative word there has always been should. Anyways, this morning, I was awoken by people talking outside my apartment at about 3:30AM. This was followed by flashing lights. Apparently, someone in the building next to mine set their apartment on fire. So I laid in bed for a bit thinking about how it's probably going to be a while before I went back to sleep. Then a funny thing happened. Some part of my brain that has been dormant for the past few months flipped back on. I thought "I want to go for a run." Want! I actually was excited at the prospect! I rolled out of bed, and slipped on some shorts and a shirt, grabbed my garmin, and HR strap, and slipped on my shoes. I couldn't wait to hit the pavement! In minutes all the flashing lights were gone, it was just me and the cadence of my foot steps and breathing on some deserted suburban roads. I loved it. Every singe second. I felt that old familiar ache creep back into my legs (hey, it's been like three months), and it was surprisingly welcome. An hour later, I trotted back up to my building, all the trucks were gone, all the people were gone. I felt refreshed. I remembered why I love this stuff. I drank my recovery, took a shower, and slid back into bed for a bit longer before the alarm. It was a great morning!

I have some big goals for this upcoming year. The focus is on the 70.3 distance, I'm done with Ironman for a while. Right now, I don't have any motivation to do another. I know that will change, partly because of my poor performance there. But I'm going to stick with races I really love. I start with QT2 in a few weeks. I'm excited. I'm beginning to sketch the rough outline of my season next year. I'm looking at a few key races (all halfs) that I really want to nail. I ended this season with a goal for 70.3. Over the past two months, I've slowly developed that into an obsession. I'm going to need a few minutes from each leg, but they're there, and they're mine for the taking. I'm looking for big gains in my run. But, I also know that my bike is a big portion of what's limiting my run. I'm going to be building durability, and with it, speed. I'm talking holy crap speed (for me). It's the next level. The way I see it, I spent all of this season looking at it from the outside. I'm ready to bust my way in.

Monday, July 25, 2011

IMLP Race Report!

So, I’m an Ironamn now. It hasn’t really sunk in yet though. Yesterday was a long long day. Definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, both mentally and physically. I’ll go through a bit of a recap here, although there was  a lot of highs and lows the specifics are escaping me right now (ironbrain?). I definitely have two clinically recognized conditions today, they’re known as ironfeet and ironcrotch. Both of them are pretty well ton to pieces. But on to the report.

I lined up for the swim with Mike Hoffman, that kid can freakin swim. I took it out pretty well, but it definitely wasn’t hard enough. I got boxed in, and was trapped for pretty much both loops. This resulted in a slower than expected swim, and a lot of frustration. I feel like I did a good job staying calm, and focusing on executing my race regardless.

Swim: 59:25
T1: 4:49

On the bike, I took it easy out of town, waiting for my legs to get there, and my heart rate to come down after the swim/transition. It all came together somewhere around the climb before the big descent into Keene. I took it a little easy on my way down. I didn’t want to end my day because I wanted to see how fast I could bomb down sketchy roads to pick up a few extra seconds. After the descent I got into a good rhythm on the flats up to the out and back. I nailed my heart rate there, and my nutrition. The only hitch was I realized after the turnaround that my rear brake was rubbing some, so I stopped to adjust it. I ended up having to fix it twice more, because it didn’t want to stay put. I ended up taking in 1.5 bottles an hour; it felt hot so I upped it a little. I had trouble finding a good rhythm on the climb from Jay to Wilmington, but used the slight descent into empty my pretty full bladder. I then turned back south to head back to Lake Placid, and tackle the climb past Whiteface, and the rollers after there. I still had a bit of trouble getting into a rhythm here. I caught up to Ken though, he looked great. We chatted for a minute, then I continued on. Just a note, I expected to see some drafting on the bike, there’s 3000 people all riding at once, there’s going to be people near each other. But I didn’t expect packs of like 50 people all coming through together, it was pretty ridiculous. The climb up Papa Bear heading back into town was pretty cool though, there were crowds out there all day. I didn’t see Mary or Alexa when they were out there though. I headed back into town where there were even more crowds, waved to Amanda as I passed her, and headed out for my second loop. I managed the first loop in 3:00 which is pretty good for me. The second loop was a bit slower though. The winds picked up, and the flat portion between Keene and Jay was ridden into a headwind, which slowed people down a lot. That second loop really nailed home how ironman is just a war of attrition. The day just keeps chipping away at your legs, and your focus constantly. I executed the second loop better than the first I think. A lot of the initial excitement was gone, and I stayed in zone better on the climbs. My nutrition was solid. One shotblock every 15 minutes, and two salt tabs an hour. I peed again the second loop, so I was well hydrated, which is good. I rode back into town feeling pretty good. I had a low point heading past whiteface where my legs started to feel weak, but I focused on just keeping my cadence up, and pedaling an easier gear until they came around again. Headed back into town, was never so happy to get off my bike, and changed into my run gear and had a volunteer apply some sunscreen.

Bike: 6:11:34
T2: 4:31

I felt great heading out on the run. I passed Amanda and my parents just out of transition, and I passed Mary in the Score-This ten at the top of Rich Clark hill. They all gave me a great cheer, and I headed down the hill to the River Rd out and back section. I felt strong. My legs were there. My HR was under control. I hit the first aid station, and started power-walking as per my strategy. I grabbed a cup of perform drink, took one sip, and it was all over. I barely made it past the aid station before emptying the content of my stomach. I started running again, and made it to the next aid station where the same thing happened. At this point I started to feel nauseous just about as soon as I began running, so I switched to run walk, where I was running maybe half a mile, then walking for 30 seconds to try to clam my stomach down. I ended up throwing up everything I tried to get down. I tried sipping water, I tried eating some ice, I tried a pretzel (I only got one down, then it came back). I tried to keep getting salt in me, but it was hard when I was throwing everything up. Ken passed and asked if I was okay, I let him know I was pretty sick, but I was going to keep going. Then Kim passed and I ran with her for a little while. She really saved me out there. She got my legs moving again, and helped me get my heart rate back up. I ran with her as far as I could, then let her go as I threw up again. I slowly worked my way back into town, and met up with Josh G, who I ran with for a while. I held on with him, and we chatted. I helped lift my spirits a lot, and I let him go as I had to throw up again. He ended up running into trouble with his leg hurting later, so I got to return the favor as I walked and ran with him for a couple miles of the second loop. As I came back into town on my first loop, I saw Aexa in the score-this tent, who let me know that Amanda was really worried about me, and that Mary was over with the QT2 guys further up the road. I looked for Amanda, but didn’t see her (turns out she was looking for me in the medical tent). I came across Mary, and Jesse from QT2. Jesse took over the situation, he told me I need to get my core temp down, and sip coke, and just keep moving forward. That’s all ironman is about, keeping your body moving forward no matter what. I knew that my time goals were out the window pretty early into the run. It just became a battle to survive. I picked up the pace on the second loop as my stomach started to settle a bit. I could run a bit more before feeling sick again, so I stuck to my walk-run system. Even feeling like hell, I picked my way through a surprising number of people that second lap. As I came back through town, I got a huge cheer from Rich and Jeremy in the Score-This tent. Then Jesse and Pat of QT2 asked how I was doing. They seemed genuinely concerned with my race. It meant a lot to me, they had their own athletes out there to worry about, and they took the time to take care of me. I headed down the short out and back along mirror lake, and came up to Stefany just before I headed to the finish, and she headed back out for her second loop. She looked awesome. She always has the best attitude, and she really helped pick my spirits up too. I headed into the oval, and the energy of the place just carried me around the track. I high-fived as many kid’s along the fence as I could. I found Amanda and gave her a big kiss, then headed across the line to become an ironman.

Run: 5:00:05
Total: 12:20:24

I didn’t have the day I wanted. Not by a long shot on the run. I feel like it’s well within my ability to go at least an hour faster. I’m happy with my race though. I worked through some really tough challenges, and I stayed positive though the sickness and pain. Although I won’t be racing ironman next year, in a couple years I’ll show it who’s really boss. Now it’s time to get recovered, and finish up all the wedding stuff. Then it’s off to Europe for ten days of relaxing! I have a couple more races to round out my season. I’m excited to hit the 70.3 Poconos race. I have a date with another PR there I think. We’ll see. I just want to finish this up with a list of thank-yous for the people thar got me through yesterdays race.

Amanda-you’ve been there every step of the way, as outlined by my previous post!
Mom & Dad- you’ve come to almost every race I’ve ever done, it means so much to me that you were there
Mary- You’re an amazing coach, and an even better friend! I can’t wait for our next step this fall!!!
Alexa- you’ve been an awesome friend, and a great guide through this, you’re going to tear it up at IMOO!
Solveig- it’s been amazing getting to know you this spring, thanks for coming and cheering!
Travis- you picked up my spirits with your cheers of “HORROCKS!” every time you went screaming by the other direction, you had a killer race, and congrats on your podium and kona slot, no one deserves it more!
Kim- you had an incredible race! You saved me at my lowest point out there.
Ken- you had a great race too, thanks for checking on me whenever we crossed paths.
Josh- you’re amazing. Way to gut out a finish through the pain. I’m so happy we found each other out there to help one another through.
QT2 Jesse- You had much better things to do than to help out some random kid, but you saved my day. Thank you.
Kirsten- Thank you for cheering so loudly for me! Amanda and I will definitely be making it out to wherever you do your first iron!
Jeremy & Glenn- You guys are awesome! Thanks for coming up and supporting all of us, your energy helped keep me going.
Score-This Rich- I was great meeting you, your screaming at me up the hill was a kick in the pants I definitely needed!
Corey- Thanks for giving me a place to stay, your family is awesome, and you had a great race
John- way to race with a separated shoulder and still rock it, I wish I had seen you out there.
To all the rest of my family, soon to be family, and friends that couldn't make it up- thanks for all the well wishes heading into the race, and for checking up on me all day.
Seth- Thank you for convincing me to start cycling two years ago, and for breaking your face playing water polo a week before what became my first tri when you convinced them to turn us into a relay that I then ran alone.
I’m sure there’s people I’ve forgotten, so if you’re one of them THANK YOU!

I think the list above shows that NO ONE does an ironman alone. It takes a lot more than fitness to get there, it takes support. I love all of you, and can't come close to expressing the thanks I feel.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thank You!

You’ve put up with trainer rides at 5am, 6 hour rides on weekends, my not being able to walk. Coming to bail me out when I flatted, again, in the rain. You woke up time and time again at 4am for races. You’ve stood out in the cold, in the rain, in the heat and the sun. You’ve waited patiently at races where you see me three times for a total of 30 seconds over the course of five hours. You’ve dealt with me going from feeling nauseous to voraciously hungry in about 5 minutes. You’ve dealt with eating breakfast at 5am, then lunch at 2pm. You’ve put up with me riding my bike all day, then heading directly to an ice bath, then a shower, then sitting on the couch for the next two hours. You’ve put up with restless legs in bed, with falling asleep at 7pm, with training consuming entire weekends. You came up to lake placid, and watched me sit around all week with my feet up. You’ve dealt with pre-race nerves that came days before the race. You’ve dealt with Ironman freakouts, and puking at finish lines. You’ve dealt with triathlon steadily becoming most of my life over the past two years, and you’ve let it happen. You’ve encouraged it. You’ve graciously shared me with the sport that I’ve grown to love, become addicted to; and you haven’t complained. You’ve been the biggest part of making everything that I’ve done possible. You’ve helped me push my limits further than I ever could’ve imagined, encouraging me every step of the way. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve helped me do. Tomorrow’s race is for you. I hope I can make you proud. I love you more than anything, and I can’t wait to marry you seven days from now. I promise you our honeymoon will be (mostly) triathlon free. Thank you so much!

 18 hours until IMLP!