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.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The case for a coach and speed work

I've had a triathlon coach for the past few years. She's awesome. Great plans, really cares about the athletes she coaches, very responsive and accessible. I've only used her plans for triathlons and I'm wishing I hadn't waited so long.

Ever since my first marathon I've had a goal to break the 4 hour mark. My time that race was 4:17:49. My best time prior to the Green Mountain Marathon was 4:14:53 the first time I did the Disney Marathon - a 9:44/minute mile pace.

Before Green Mountain I always just followed a plan I picked up in one of the Tri magazines. Heavy cross training with the core long runs on the weekend. They got me to the finish line but never prepared me for a PR.

Determined to break four hours this year I asked Suzan to help me out - Thank goodness. The plan had a much heavier run focus with cross training still in the mix. Also more speed work and track work than I've ever done - what a difference. Her help led me to a new PR by about 25 minutes - a full 1 minute per mile faster than my best time!

So, while long slow distance may be at the core of your training plan, don't leave around the speed and track work. And go hire Suzan.

Vermont City Marathon - 4:17:49 - 9:50 min/mi
Disney Marathon - 4:14:53 - 9:44 min/mi
Disney Marathon - 4:19:51 - 9:55 min/mi
Manchester Marathon - 4:30:28 - 26.2 mi - 10:19 min/mi
Green Mountain Marathon - 3:49:31 - 8:46 min/mi (first marathon with Suzan's help)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hangin' at the playground

Topped off with a visit to The Bagelry

A mostly nice ride

Yesterday I went out for my first bit of exercise since the marathon. It felt great after taking some time off to get outside and enjoy my favorite season. I got on my bike with no watch, no heart rate monitor, no bike computer and no idea where I was going to go. I just went.

Even though it was a little overcast, it was warm enough to be comfortable in bike shorts and a long sleeve top. I brought along my winter riding gloves but didn't need them.

Because I didn't have any timekeeping tools, I couldn't tell you how long I was out but what I do know is it was just long enough. It was a nice route down along Great Bay and finishing up through downtown Durham just at the UNH football game was ending.

In the last half mile I was cruising along when I heard someone yell something from a passing car. I couldn't hear what they said. All I could tell is that it appeared to be a car full of college kids heading back from the game.

It got me thinking what people are thinking by doing something like that. I've spent enough time on a bike and had enough people yell at me from behind that it really didn't bother me that much, nor did it startle me anymore, like it has in the past.

It's as if some people in cars think of cyclists as 2nd class citizens. What other situation is there where something like that would occur. I've never been yelled at from a car while walking down the sidewalk? Even when I run, usually against traffic, I don't think I've ever had someone in a car say anything to me. Arguably people in cars have more of a case against saying something running towards them on the road, but they never have.

Cyclists get lumped into a category at all levels. I've read on many blogs and heard many first hand accounts of cyclists being almost run over, or actually run over. It could be Lance Armstrong, or the weekend warrior, or the bike commuter.

Sadly, the offenders will never read my post or probably anyone else's that describes this but if a miracle happens and one does - stop the foolishness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Green Mountain Marathon

It was a good day. I have been super busy since the race on Saturday but I wanted to give a quick update and post that I had a great race. The official time is 3:49:31 (though I got a strange e-mail from the race director asking me to confirm my bib number and time because there was some kind of confusion?). My watch showed 3:47:45.

In either case, I broke my goal time of four hours and set a new PR by at least 25 minutes! Suzan, if you are ready, you rock!

She gave me a training plan and told me it was designed for a time of 3 hours 45 minutes. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical with my previous best time of 4:15 and my longest run six weeks prior to the race was 13 miles. I know I did the work, but kudos to her for giving me the

On a bummer note, I got a horrible case of tendonitis in my left foot. It's feeling better today, but man did it hurt.

Thanks to Tom and Tish McGonegal for taking photos of the race. She caught one of me on the way out and one at the finish line with Connor running beside me.

With the sore foot, I haven't done anything except sleep in (which is relative, I'm out of bed by six) but I think I'm going to hit the pool tomorrow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Race week

It's been a while since posting last, which I'm not sure why. I've been tapering for a couple of weeks and should have more time to blog, not less. And, due to a couple of physical problems, I haven't done any kind of workout since Sunday. Somehow I've kept busy.

I was up in the lakes region last weekend and had a great bike ride on a crisp Saturday fall morning with plenty of color to look at. I felt good afterwards and enjoyed some time with family. Sunday I did a 12 mile run and within the first 1/2 mile developed this strange pain in the outside of my left foot. It wasn't enough to stop but it was consistent for the entire run.

Then, on Monday morning I wake up and have this slightly uncomfortable pain on my back side. Over the course of the day it gets worse and by Tuesday morning it is all too apparent that I have developed a saddle sore. It was bad enough that I had to go to the hospital and have it drained (nice visual, huh).

My taper schedule for the week called for some biking, swimming and a little running, none of which I could do with the discomfort the saddle sore gave me.

Thankfully, the draining and antibiotics have been helping and I'm shooting for a short run tomorrow morning before heading up to Vermont for the Saturday marathon.

I still think sub 4 hours is very possible given how I have felt on my training runs, I'm just hoping my foot holds out and saddle sore doesn't rear it's ugly head!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Family dinner

Tonight was a good night.  I've had a workout scheduled both morning and night all week.  Last night was what I would call a character building run.  It was 10 miles, and I couldn't get started until about 6:15, after a day of work and after a short morning run.

My afternoon runs are rarely great, I tend to feel bloated and just not smooth. Last night was no different.  Add this to the necessity of a headlamp about 30 minutes into at 90 minute run and it made me ask myself more than once why I was doing this. It's a whole different experience running at night with a headlamp and all you can see is the 10 feet in front of you. I was on back country roads for most of the run which made this all that much more true.  Being able to see where you are going and experience the environment around you is a much more enjoyable experience.

This morning was a 1 hour bike, which of course I had to do on the trainer because sunrise isn't until about 6:30 now.  But, after that I was done which gave me the time to have a nice sit down dinner with Amy & Connor.  On most nights when I'm home right after work with no workout to do, eating together is a rare occasion usually reserved for Sunday nights.  Connor usually eats before I get home leaving Amy and I to eat while we stand up in the kitchen making separate meals and sharing our days (which I have to say the I also enjoy very much, even after 15 years of marriage!).

So, Amy, Connor & I talked about everything and nothing, but we did it together all at the same time at the same table.  It was a good night.