Friday, August 27, 2010

Nothin doin'

Well, it's been quiet here lately. After last Saturday's cross workout it was evident that my body was telling me to rest. I made the decision to take 4 days completely off and see how I feel. Looking back, I've been going full speed since January 1 when Boston training started, carried that into HIM training for Quassy then summer tri training. I've racked up over 3000 road miles of riding and 1400 miles of running. It was the right decision and the weather cooperated by raining for 3 of the 4 off days!

Wednesday night I hit the final Grin and Bear It tri training series event on Wednesday night and decided to make it a duathlon and use my cross bike. It was fun and great to get together with everyone. Bear Creek Resort said we're good to go for next year so it looks like mid June will see us starting up the series again.

Last night was my first official practice as a coach. We have 9 girls on our U8 team, all but 2 with some experience. It will be challenging but fun, I really hope I can help them learn and enjoy the game of soccer because having fun is really what it's about. The real test is my daughter, you know just how painfully truthful kids can be, and she said that practice was fun yesterday (without me "prodding" her)...good news for me!

We're moving forward with the details for Town Hall Cross. We have someone working on our logo and we ordered up our numbers which I think look cool! We're going to take the team advantage and start practicing on the course.

We've been practicing at Lehigh U and a local park. The conditions have been perfect, damp grass and cool temperatures. Here's a shot from this morning of Greg headed for the second set of barriers.

Greg carving up a turn...

Bench racing...

We're headed to the beach Sun, Mon and Tues. Should be fun. Kids love the sand, the water and the rides. I'm looking forward to a few runs along the beach.


Monday, August 16, 2010

My new lucky number

When I showed up on a cool morning at Bear Creek Ski Area for the Bald Bear Triathlon, I was excited to see how I could do in a sprint triathlon with a short .25mi swim. Now that being said, the rest of the race was to be no walk in the park. The bike course was 14.7 hilly miles (hilly enough that I brough my road bike) and the run course was 2.2 miles of guess what, more hills! I guess that's what you get when you enter a race that starts at a ski area. I was prepared though, I had pre ridden the course and our triathlon club Endurance Multisport has bi-weekly training triathlons at the same venue (different run and bike courses...but with the same hills).

So when I walked up to registration and was handed #61 I was feeling some good vibes coming my way, like the rays of sun peaking through the early AM clouds were coming from God above, smiling down on me and filling my mind with excitement. See, #61 was the same number I had worn last week at the Steelman triathlon which I feel was one of my better tri performances...and the odds of sporting #61 two weeks in a row? Just coincidence, certainly, but I'll take whatever I can from it!!
So this was my third sprint tri, ever. My first tri was a sprint, I did a sprint last year in Killington. While I was counting...this was my 7th tri....3rd sprint plus three olympics plus two half's. Anyway, swimming was never my strong part, but thanks to coach Erica from Endurance Multisport it's getting slightly better. The water at Bald Bear wasn't the most pristine that I've ever swam in and it was 80 degrees so no wetsuits (the swim was short enough that I probably wouldn't have worn one anyway).
I lined myself up about half way through the pack (official results aren't posted, I was told +/-120 participants, 60-70 men). It was divided into two waves, a men's and a women's. I felt like I had a good swim, did some drafting, sighted very well and pushed myself like I don't typically do in the swim leg of a tri.
Well, to my surprise I came out of the water in 7th! I managed to pass a few people on the long run to T1. I had a great transition and came out in charging. I wasn't sure how many people were in front of me, but I managed to pass one guy on the steep climb out of the resort. At the first turn before the first big climb I asked the fire police gentleman that was there how many people were in front of me? "You're the first" he said. Holy cow!
I was really glad to have the road bike. I don't feel that I was at a serious disadvantage on the few flatter areas but I could get out of the saddle easily and climb. When we got to the first flatter area about 4 miles in, I heard someone behind me...a guy on a TT bike passed me. I put a strong charge on and passed him back on the next downhill. As we hit another flatter area he passed me back, but we stayed pretty close for the first 11-12 miles. He put a little bit of time on me as we headed back to the resort on a flat section, but I was hopeful that I'd be able to catch him on the run.

It was great to hear all of the people cheering as we dropped back down into the resort. I had a good T2 and was on the run in no time. As I exited the run, the volunteers directed me the wrong way...I shouted to them that it was the wrong way, ran for about 10 seconds and turned around. The old "it's your responsibility to know the course" saying was ringing in my head. I was confident I knew the course, I had ridden the first mile or so before the race. I was out on the run course all by myself...and luckily the arrows were all pointing in the direction I was going! I did nearly miss one turn, but got back on track. I had no idea where the guy that was in front of me was, but I could tell that I was now in the lead. Once I got my legs back and my Saucony Tangent 4's turning over, I had a great last mile or so and came across the line in about 1:06:10.
I was happy for my race, but bummed for the guy that went the wrong way. I'm very anal about knowing the course before the race and I guess it paid off for me for the second time this year. I talked to Daryl after the race, he admitted that he went the wrong way, he said there were no volunteers at all directing him out of T2 and he ran until he saw the arrows going the opposite way. So I was "lucky" enough to score another overall win and bring #61 some glory! I was going to leave the body marking on until the next race, but Lauren didn't think it was a good idea, said I would look silly when we go to the beach in two weeks?? Imagine that, I thought I looked silly all the time....a big #61 on my arm wouldn't change that would it?
So as the tri season winds down, Lauren is in full swing training for the Hershey Half Marathon that she's running with her sister and the Nike Women's Marathon which she's pacing. I'm starting to shift my focus toward Cyclocross which starts in less than a month. Got my first good cross workout in yesterday at Lehigh University on their cross country course, two 20 minute intervals which cooked my legs. I forget how much cross hurts, it is an awesome workout and a ton of fun though. It was also cool riding at Lehigh yesterday because it was Philadelphia Eagles training camp! Green jerseys were everywhere.
Other than that, we had a good weekend. Our niece spent the night on Saturday and yesterday my brother and his family came over along with my step father. It was great to have everyone together and talk about old times! Next up is Autumn's soccer practice...first one is next week and first game is 9/12!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Steelman Olypic Tri Race Report







Last Sunday was the largest local triathlon witin an hour of my house. In fact, it's only about 20 minutes from my house! They had about 1100 registrants, over 600 for the sprint and over 400 for the olympic. This was my third time doing the olympic and the site of my first triathlon four years ago when I did the sprint. It's a great event, very well organized at a beautiful park and they close down what's basically a 4 lane highway for the race! The weather was awesome, overcast and high 60's for the 7am start. The water was an toasty 80 degrees, so no wetsuits. A bunch of my running partners were doing the tri and a bunch of friends were coming over to watch the race. They had to make a slight change to the bike course from last year and my bike computer showed 23.5 miles for the bike including the transition areas.

I had been practicing swimming and it seemed like it was going well, so as the gun went off I positioned myself further up in the field than I normally would have. For some reason I got nervous and couldn't hit my breathing right. The bouys were all over the place as well. I got offline along the back straight and actually was caught by one of the kayakers and they guided me back in line. That being said, I had a decent swim, 28:13 for 1.5k. Last year was 34 min and about 160th overall, this year much better in the top 1/4. Lauren counted me at about 4oth out of the water (I was in the 1st wave which included everyone under 39 and relays).

I had a great transition. I'm a sock guy so I had to put my socks on. Tried a new trick today...used ankle socks...much easier and quicker to put on...why I hadn't thought of this before I don't know! Got out onto the two lap bike course after the killer climb out of the marina to a fairly open road. Nearing the turn around I could see I had my work cut out for me. I wasn't "feeling it" yet so I tried to be patient. My friend Johan was out there on his bike moving around cheering me on which was cool. I could see a great cyclist who had the 2nd fastest bike split last year...he wasn't far behind me at the turn arounds so I had some motivation to kick it up a notch. My second lap felt great, passing a lot of people and seeing friends out there. Came in from the bike in 8th overall, 1:00:22. According to my bike computer I was just shy of 24 mph and my bike split was the 5th fastest! It started to heat up on the bike and I drank a whole bottle of Mild Grape EFS from my aero drink. This was perfect. I also carried a flask of EFS Liquid Shot for the run.

I had a great T2, one of the fastest of the day. I got my shoes on and stumbled for a second before I realized I was done transition and ready to run!! I know I had some work to do on the run as the field in front of me was spread out. The run is a two lap course that usually gets a little crowded by the second lap because at that point the sprint tri racers are on the course as well. It was starting to get real hot now. I was afraid to take any water due to stomach issues, so I just dumped it over my head and sipped some Liquid Shot. It was awesome out there seeing so many friends who were racing and volunteering (thanks to the Endurance Multisport club members for the water stop and the cheering!).

I was able to pick two people off right away and just started charging. As the course got more crowded it was hard to see who I was racing against. I could tell noone was catching me from behind and I did recognize a guy from the Snapple Tri team in front of me and realized I was gaining ever so slightly on him. With about 100 yards to go I knew it was possible, put a big surge on and held it. Ended up running 36:48 for 10K. 3rd fastest run of the day and it put me up to 4th overall and first in the 35-39 AG with a total time of 2:07:24!

The race director had a nice awards ceremony. I even won a "Empowered Zone" t-shirt and a sweet beer glass for my efforts! My friends had a great time as well. It's such a great local race, I'm glad I can support it.

I was more sore than anticpated Monday, guess I really pushed. I got home Monday night to a package in the mail....
Some cool new Saucony compression socks. Just what the doctor ordered for some recovery! The kids thought it was funny that I wore them around the rest of the night with sandals on as I cooked dinner on the grill. Sure my neighbors were laughing too! So far they feel great. I plan to try them on a run as well. I'll keep you posted.
On a sad note, we burried my step mother's brother on Sunday afternoon. A sudden heart attack at the age of 46. He was survived by his wife, daughter and two young boys. Very sad but he's in a better place right now. I just lift his family up for prayer..for peace, comfort and healing.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The preparation has begun

We're less than two months from my first try at promoting a cyclocross race. We've got it up on BikeReg, we've got our website up and going and we even have some registrants already! Last year was my first year in cyclocross which is limited to a fall racing schedule. It's an interesting sport in which you have multisport athletes that use it to stay in shape, road racers that use it to extend their road season and 'crosser's who train for this short season all year. It's definitely not easy or clean, but it will put a smile on your face from ear to ear (after you catch your breath). It's very addicting and the sport is growing like wildfire. If you see one near you, definitely go and check it out.

So I'm excited about the race on October 2nd. I rode the approximate course layout this morning and it looks awesome. Some fast sections, some slow sections and one heck of a hill which will likely be a run up. I've got lots of help from our local cycling team and we're soliciting some sponsors now. We hope to make it enjoyable for the whole family with a kids race, vendors and entertainment. Of course I'm excited to race it myself as well. The first cross race of the year is actually a UCI race, the Nittany Cross about 15 minutes from my house. All of the top pro / elites will be there.

I'm also raising money for the Town Hall Cross event which will be donated directly to the HCM Foundation. Check out http://www.hcmfoundation.org/. A good friend and fellow multisport athlete who lost his dad to cancer at a very young age organized HCM less than a year ago to provide support and relief to anyone who has been touched by cancer. I'm proud to be a board member and proud to see what HCM has done in it's first year. Three $1,000 scholarships have been awarded to students who have either lost parents to cancer or who are dealing with a family member who is struggling with cancer. HCM has provided gift certificates to families dealing with the disease. From gift certificates that made Christmas a joyful day to a single parent family to gift certificates that pay for gas for a family to commute to the hospital, HCM has been there in times of need. Please take a look at my fundraising website and consider a donation. This is as low overhead, grassroots, "mom and pop" as you will get, every dollar will go toward HCM's service to families in need. The energy and drive that Mike has brought to his mission is incredible and awe inspring...he and HCM are making a difference. My website is www.active.com/donate/hcmfund/garges Please feel free to forward it on to anyone that would support this mission.

One of my favorite races this year, Rev3 Half in Connecticut has made an exciting announcement....

"Rev3 Quassy registration is now open! Did we mention that the Quassy Half will only be $200 and $100 for the Olympic? Starts Sunday and only lasts for a week! Dont miss out! People are without a doubt taking advantage of the great price! One week only....."

The race is scheduled for June 4th (Olympic Rev) and June 5th (Half Rev). I would imagine this course is a perfect tune up for Ironman Lake Placid...a beautiful lake swim, hilly bike and run course.

In other news, Autumn's soccer will be starting in a few weeks. Looks like a friend and I may be co-coaching......a new experience for me. She's excited so it should be fun regardless!

Other than that, training is going well. I've really missed the sunlight though...over the past few weeks the mornings have become noticably shorter. Makes it tough to get out of bed for sure. I have a big local race this weekend, Steelman Triathlon. I'm doing the Olympic and hoping for a great day and great finish overall. Lots of family, friends and club members will be there racing and cheering, so it'll be great.