The Journey

The journey is more important than the destination.

Several years ago a friend of mine asked me if I would do the Fairlee Triathlon in Vermont. After training for three months, feeling like I was going to drown in the swim, feeling nauseus on the run, I crossed the finished line and was hooked.This led to my triathlon journey.

Please consider supporting my latest effort to raise money for Bretton Woods Adaptive through the Janus Charity Challenge at Ironman Lake Placid this July. Check out the Links I Like section of the blog or explore the BWA Fundraiser links.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good week

Even though I've been remiss in updating the blog, it doesn't mean that I haven't been training. I've had a good consistent week so far.

Sunday consisted of a great 1 hour run along the coast with Paul & Kate. There is always good conversation with them making the run that much better. It was at a good easy pace, the sky was incredibly clear and I could see the Isle of Shoals clearer than I ever have.

I took Monday off and followed that with a run on Tuesday morning. I had to get to the office early so I kept it to a short and quick 4 miles. This morning I hit the trainer (because it snowed again!) and finished a fine cinematic presentation of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry". I don't think it received any awards at the Oscars last weekend ;)

It looks like a little more snow again tonight. I probably could run but I get nervous that on the roads that I run I'll get clipped by a plow truck that doesn't see me even though I have lights and reflective layers on. That means I'll probably hit the trainer again and also try to get to Dover Masters tomorrow night.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Trainer time

I decided to take Friday off from a workout. I did two workouts on Thursday and then didn't feel tired once I got home and ended up going to be around 11. Sleeping in until 6 Friday morning felt nice.

I went a little overboard on the calorie intake yesterday, but it was worth it. My family rarely gets a time to eat at the same time at the dinner table. Last night we were able to do just that and for occasion I picked up pasta from one of our favorite local companies, Terracotta pasta. After a generous serving of pasta, a few slices of fresh bread with olive oil dip, topped off by a small bowl of ice cream, I'm sure I was over on my calories for the day. Particularly with no workout yesterday. Normally I'm keeping track of everything I eat on Training Peaks to make sure my calorie and macronutrient propotions are OK. I logged my intake yesterday, right up until Dinner, after which I figured I would not worry about it for the night.

We received several inches of snow yesterday and last night so rather than do a run I decided to do a good 90 minute session on the trainer. Netflix made the boredom of the trainer bearable from a good quality movie call "I Now Pronouce You Chuck & Larry" with Adam Sandler. Not the best storyline but it helped to pass the time.

The plan for tomorrow is to do a long run. I'm hoping to catch up with a friend from the GSTC. It's always more enjoyable doing a long Sunday run with a buddy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today ended up being very busy, for work and training.

I was up early this morning and got a 10k run in. There was a beautiful full moon out and even though I had a headlamp on, I really didn't need it because the moon was so bright it was like daylight out. It was also very cold, the temperature read 10 degrees on the thermometer but the windchill read just above zero. It felt it!

Work is very busy as well. I have a big week next week and an important meeting tomorrow so I was going out straight all day.

Tonight I went to about 45 minutes of the Masters workout in Dover. I saw Brett from GSTC who looks like he is swimming well. He'll need to he has two Ironmans this summer (yes that says 2). I could feel some leg cramping starting towards the end of the swim workout but if felt good to get two workouts in today. It's been a while since I got this much time in on one day. I know it is just the first of many for the season.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Separation of church and triathlon

The more I've gotten involved in triathlon I've often wondered how many triathletes are really involved with their church.

I grew up a minister's son and attended church regularly until I was about 12. I stopped going for a number of years until my son was born and my wife and I decided it would be important for our family to make church a regular thing again. A few years later I entered my first triathlon and the inner conflict began.

My first race was a middle distance race, just shorter than an international distance, followed by a few sprint and international distance races. My 2nd year I did my first half ironman and immediately gravitated to the longer races. By year four I did Ironman Lake Placid and the "going long" bug continues, I'm planning on signing up for IM Lake Placid again this summer.

As soon as the jump to long course races was made my weekends had a pretty regular routine and their initials were LSD (Long Slow Distance for those who have not had the pleasure of one of these weekends). Both Saturday and Sunday included some mix of a long run, a long bike, or a long brick. I'm like most people and have a full time job that limits my training time during the week and requires an emphasis on putting the long hours in on weekends. This made going to church with my family a tough thing to do on a regular basis.

We tried to start going to our late service at 11am but on my really long days of 4-5 hours on the bike, I couldn't even get out early enough to get back in time to go. Or, if I did make it back I just wanted to put my feet up on the couch, not go to church.

As you can tell, this has created a constant internal conflict between triathlon and church. However, while there is a conflict it has also been a great learning experience for me that has forced me to do some internal discussions about what I believed and what was important. I think that going through internal struggles like this is a good thing and helps us develop in a lot of ways.

We go to a Unitarian Universalist church, which I really like because it is a very liberal religion, is welcoming of all people and at the same time is accepting of all different kinds of worship. This church is an appropriate choice for how I have reconciled this internal conflict.

Church for me, besides a place that I felt my son could learn some important lessons about how he fits into the world, is a place for me to ponder the same thing and to remember how grateful for what I have in my life. The great and strange thing is that I can say the same thing about my training. In fact, and maybe it is all the oxygen and endorphins floating through my system, but there are occasions where I have experienced more emotion while out for a run or a bike ride than I ever have while sitting and listening to a sermon in church.

I find that sometimes I get overwhelmed by gratitude and thankful for what I have that I actually get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye while running! I also think that as deep as you have to dig to finish a long distance race sometimes draws out a pretty raw look at what you believe about yourself and your place in the world. Otherwise, you wouldn't be out there!

I'd be curious to find out how other church going triathletes handle their Sunday morning conflict. Maybe we can form our own church!

Tour of Cali

I have a hard time watching most sports on TV. Team sports I get into some, baseball, football (I am a New Englander!). Almost any individual sport is a no way. Things like car racing (left, left, left) and golf (need I say more) I just can't do. These events only last a few hours.

However, once bike racing comes on I'm hooked, to the point where my family thinks I have some issues. My Tivo in July during the Tour de France is just about filled with race footage and I watch as much as I'm able.

The Tour of California just started and I'm getting a little taste of what July will be like. Versus only has an hour of coverage a night but I'm hooked none the less. I haven't been following during the day online like I do during the tour but it is good to get some motivation from watching these guys just as my training is beginning to ramp up.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekend skiing

No swimming, biking or running this weekend but got out skiing for the first time this season on both Saturday and Sunday. My Dad is involved with the Adaptive Sports program at Bretton Woods and for every day he volunteers he receives a free ski pass. He volunteers enough that we haven't paid to ski there for several trips, a nice perk.

The program is a pretty incredible one, which is also in the process of raising money through the BA Blast, a major fundraising event for the organization that I'll be taking part in with my family.

The weekend was great. It was brutally cold on Saturday (which kept the crowds away) but sunny and the snow conditions were excellent. Sunday was warmer (which brought the clouds back) and the conditions were still excellent. We got a good four hours of skiing in on both days and it was really cool to see how my son picked up right where he left off last year. He looked at my wife and I at one point while we were stopped mid-trail and said "this is awesome". There was a genuiness and expression in his voice that was awesome to hear.

We'll be back up in two weeks for the BA Blast Fundraiser. Hopefully we'll still have great conditions and a little spring skiing weather!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's almost spring!?

Yes, part of that post title is wishful thinking. And yes the air temp at 9 degrees on this morning's run (pre-windchill) feels nothing like spring. However, what brings me some hope is normally when I get back from a morning run at 6 - 6:15, it is pitch black and I still need my headlamp to see where I'm going. This morning, I got back a few minutes after 6 and I could actually see the beginnings of a sunrise starting to take shape.

Sidenote product idea - one of the negative thoughts I get that sometimes is enough to keep me in bed in the morning is the thought of putting on my cold plastic heart rate monitor after getting out of my nice warm bed. What would be great is a device that kept the plastic on the monitor warm. Or, maybe I'll start sleeping with my heart rate monitor on ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Snowy run

Today I got outside for a 70 minute run. It started to snow just before I left. I've always enjoyed running in the snow and rain. There is something that motivates me by getting out when most other people would hang up their shoes and call the training off for the day.

I didn't get out until the afternoon. I wasn't able to eat beforehand so I shot a shot of hammer gel before I headed out. One mistake I made was not to have water afterwards. My stomach didn't feel all that great for the first 30 minutes or so and I had to run through some cramps. But after a while they subsides and I was able to finish strong.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Who do you love?

I had to share this article from Bicycling Magazine titled Who Do You Love? An uncomfortable quiz for all of us who have ever heard : "I sweart you love that bike more than me!"

I'm not sure if the graphic will show up OK so I've re-typed it below:

To find out something troubling about yourself, answer these 20 questions as honestly as you can. For each question, simply fill in the oval next to Bike or Spouse. If both apply, mark both. If neither applies, move on to the next question. If you're not married, for Spouse substitute Girlfriend or Boyfriend or Etc. At the end, calculate which entity receives more of your affection, then hide these pages from everyone in your life - except your biking buddies.

1. I'll never forget the first time I saw you.
2. I wanted you instantly
3. I often find myself daydreaming about you

4. There's more than one photo of us together on my desk
5. I love showing you off to my friends
6. My friends often remark how attractive you are
7. In a typical week, we spend five or more hours of quality time together
8. When you're around, I often look at you with admiration and longing
9. In the last three month, I've spent more than $250 on you
10. I desperately want to take you to Italy
11. Our last ride lasted more than an hour
12. It's thrilling how you respond beneath me
13. I would never let anyone else ride you
14. You make my heart beat faster
15. You make me feel young
16. You have taken me places and shown me things I never thought I would see
17. When I'm along with you, I'm at peace with the world
18 You were made for me
19. I can't live without you
20. I will never upgrade to a newer model

Back on track

My trip to NYC got the best of me on Thursday. After being up at three on Monday morning, going into the city on Tuesday night and a flight back on Wednesday, I opted to sleep in Thursday morning rather than get a workout in.

I got back on track Friday morning with a 45 minute session on the trainer. Netflix has been a savior for my motivation to hit the trainer. Even though I probably could do it, having something to watch makes it a whole lot easier!

The roads are pretty slick from the snow and sleet yesterday so I'll probably be on the trainer again today and tomorrow. I really need to join a gym again so I can do some treadmill and weight sessions.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I'm sitting on a plane at JFK airport waiting to fly back to Boston after a business trip on Long Island. I wanted to update the blog while I was away but the schedule didn't allow it.

The trip started at 3am on Monday when I had to wake up to get to the airport. This was after watching my previously undefeated Patriots blow a lead in the final 2 minutes of the superbowl the night before.

I haven't done any traveling for a while and hadn't been to the NYC area since about a year after 9/11. I was looking forward to the trip except for leaving the family for a few days.

Overall the trip was a good one. From the plane, I was able to see the sunrise on the way out and sunset on the way back. It was a little thing but I felt thankful to see it nonetheless.

The work part of the trip went well and I was able to interact with some new people at the company. They are a good group of people, even if they were all Giants fans and I had to listen to their Superbowl gloating for three days.

I was also able to take the Long Island RR into the city one night. What does someone who only has a few hours do in NYC? I decided to do the traditional tourist thing and go to Times Square. I had never been there at night and was curious to see the spectacle. It was 9 at night and it was as bright as if the sun was in the sky with no clouds. As cool as it was to see the massive video screens and scrolling billboards, I found myself thinking how much frick'in electricity was being used. It must have been the environmentalist in me.

I'm not in a city the size of New York very often so every time I'm able to visit I feel pretty humbled by how many people there are in the world. Seeing so many people in one small section of one large city, it's incredible to think of how many people there are in the rest of this city and the rest of the world.

I saw plenty of strange (someone dressed in superman costume outside the Toys 'R Us store which had a full size ferris wheel inside) and cool things(a street performer who was playing plastic pails, the top of a gas grill and several other items).

I had a great dinner at a scottish bar called St. Andrews. I had a scottish waiter with a scottish accent (in a kilt!) and a great scottish beer. It was a fun experience.

On my first morning I was able to get one of my two planned workouts in, a one hour run around and through Eisenhower Park in Westbury, NY. I had brought my cold weather gear and shorts to run in because I wasn't sure what to expect for weather. I was able to wear the shorts, and, I didn't need the headlamp I brought. Apparently every street in Westbury has street lights, even going through the park! This is definitely something I was not used to. After getting back from NYC late and having to pack, I couldn't get my 2nd planned run in. Such is the way it goes with traveling I suppose.

The long range forecast calls for a snowy several days at home. Looks like I'll be getting some quality time on the trainer...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Shock to the system

I wrote last week that I felt like I had turned a corner with regard to my training regimen. And for the most part I still feel that way. However, at our GSTC training today our coach had a workout that made me realize that it's time to train seriously again!

We started out with a one hour swim which was tough in and of itself. I think I made it harder than it was. After getting my swim form critique from the club coach, Suzan, I was hyperfocused on correcting the things she pointed out. Even though I had better form, I was using some new muscles with my revised stroke which made it more difficult to have that smooth flowing stroke you should have.

Then, we went to run. Our trainings on the seacoast are at UNH and the run we do is either through college woods or on the track. Well, college woods was wet and icy from our recent weather and the track was still snow covered. However, the stadium steps were dry so she had us doing some stair repititions. While I wasn't all that excited at the prospect of this workout when she told us about it, I found that I had this sense of fulfillment as Iwas in the middle of the repititions. It was reminiscent of the feeling I had when in the middle of the breakthrough workouts I was doing during Ironman training.

I don't know if it is the oxygen deprivation or the endorphins flowing through the body, but as odd as it sounds, I had an incredible feeling of fulfillment when I was at the hardest part of a tough workout. I think some of it was a feeling of gratitude just to be out there. Though whatever it was, it's shocked my system into really looking forward to the spring training cycle and racing season.