Training Video Blog Dcember 31, 2014

From Providence Rhode Island - The last run of 2014! That's it for this year of training and it's been a great year. It's hard to imagine that actual running outside didn't start on a regular basis until spring of 2014. Numerous 5K's, two triathlons (one in my hometown), and one duathlon behind me for the year or so of training. No injuries.

Moving into 2015 my sights are set on successful half marathon training and another round of multisport challenges.

I'll do it...Because I Can.


Training Video Blog December 27, 2014

Training plan for today was a 1600 m swim and some easy spinning - basically a recovery day from the 13.1 mile run yesterday. The weather didn't cooperate. Not in the way you might was too nice (fantastic, actually) to NOT be outside. Our weather has been remarkable to sun and mild temps the last few days. Today was sunny and 54 degrees. How do you deny yourself an easy run in the December sun?

You don't.

There is, of course the risk of injury after running 13.1 miles yesterday. Its a calculated risk I'll take. Look at it this way - if the training plan had called for me to run today and weather was snowy, icy, and cold (as it is around here until May) I would have taken the calculated risk and run. I would dress appropriately, kept my mind on good footing, watched for ice, made sure I was visible to traffic - and just taken it easy.

Thats what I did today only in reverse! I dressed for the unusually warm temps, hydrated well and ran easy. I simply enjoyed a warm early winter day. I also factored in that I'll have a few days coming up that I won't be able to run due to work and travel for the holiday.

For the Tri Newbie who has nothing

Can't wait to get my swim on! Santa brought a new wetsuit - Xtera Vortex 4...and it fits. My first suit (a X-large) fit everywhere but the chest. It was too tight and made it difficult to breath when I got in the water. The new suit is a XXL and should be just fine. Now all I have to do is wait for May...or maybe get into some open water. Perhaps I should just go south or travel to Hawaii for a while...

Training Video Blog 12.26.14

Last 13.1 mile training run before the Winter Warrior!

Today was my fourth and final 13.1 mile training run of this cycle. It also marks a major accomplishment...being able to run 13.1 miles and feeling prepared for my first 1/2 Marathon.

The Winter Warrior 1/2 is scheduled for January 10, 2015. The WW1/2 is also the first segment of the Four Seasons Challenge - a series of four 1/2 marathons in the Rochester area, as the name implies, one for each season.

I started training for this on October, 6 - after the Autumn Classic Duathlon - until then 6 miles was my longest run...ever. Keeping in  mind the lessons learned from my first year of triathlon training, I've been able to extend myself, train hard and safe. Today, having completed four 1/2 marathon training runs, I feel accomplished and ready for the real test on January 10, 2015.


Training Video Blog December 23, 2014

A quick 5K workout today at just about race pace. Did a few intervals. Temperature unusually warm for a December day in Rochester, NY. About 44 degrees.

Feeling good and almost ready for the Winter Warrior coming up in January 2015!

My Year in Running

2014 is the first time in over 20 years I've done any running. I was inspired to start training in the summer of 2013 by the crazy desire to complete a triathlon and stay out of the casket a while longer.

Now, having lost 55 lbs, I'm enjoying running and multi sport events.

My kids have run several races with me, too.2014 is the first time in over 20 years I've done any running. I was inspired to start training in the summer of 2013. Now, having lost 55 lbs, I'm enjoying running and multi sport events.


Training Video Blog for December 22, 2014

A seven miler on an unbelievable winter day! The sun is actually shinning with temperatures in the upper 30's  - not the usual cold, dark afternoon. Inspired today. Spent a lot of time on this run enjoying the weather, feeling good about my 5K time from Saturday's Reindeer Run ( a PR of 28:25) and thinking about the Winter Warrior 1/2 coming up as part of the Four Seasons Challenge.

Also thinking about a half Ironman in June...but that's another story.


Rochester Reindeer Run 2014

Our family event - the Reindeer Run, 2014. This 5K marks the end of our first year running local 5K's . We've also done a couple of sprint distance triathlons and one duathlon. The Reindeer Run was also my oldest daughter's first time doing a 5K.

We all ran well today in the twenty degree temperatures. The course was a fantastic tour of Downtown Rochester as we ran through the Corn Hill section and across Ford Street to South Ave.

It's a great finish to the year when you can run a fun race with your kids and get a PR in the process.

A special thank you to the folks at Fleet Feet Rochester and Yellow Jacket Racing for their work and support of the running community in our area.


Training Video Blog for 12/17/14

Today was my last run before the Reindeer Run scheduled for December 20. Training plan continues to go well - integrating triathlon with 1/2 marathon cross training. Still holding on to four training days/week with two of those days as double session days.

The Reindeer Run is the last run of 2014. Three of my kids will be running with me along with about 1500 of our closest friends. I'm gunning for my best time of the year in this 5K - best time so far was in the Pumpkins in the Park race - 29:44.


I hate having a day off when...

A day off usually implies the ability to get something done. To do something, even if that something is nothing. A day off should give you the ability to be doing what you want to be. That wasn't the case today and I have no idea how (or why). 

I've been on a good roll with my training having run 13.1 just last Friday and a nice 5.5 run yesterday. My legs are feeling great, too. I'd been looking forward to another good run and maybe a yoga class today. It didn't happen. 

Looking back on the day it's impossible to see where anything could have been cut out or done differently in order to make room for my training. I took care of MB, helped around the house, and even got my blood work drawn - after fasting for the last 12 hours. Yes, that fasting thing is why I didn't run this morning, but that isn't an answer for the rest of the day. 

I hate having a day off and not knowing where it has gone...I only know its over. Isn't that life? I should've been out there running today...

Close Your Pie Hole

This billboard rests atop of the building that is home to the Bug Jar. I think its at the corner of Monroe and Pearl Street in the City of Rochester. I've never heard of PIEHOLE whiskey and not sure I'd ever drink it...or want to try. 


Training video/blog for 12/15/14

Training video/blog - getting ready for the Winter Warrior 1/2 Marathon.
I get such great ideas while running only to forget them about two minutes after I get done. Maybe a post-training video will help capture those great ideas...

Todays run (12/15/14) was a 5.5 mile route along West Ridge Road in Greece, NY. Temperature in the mid-thirties, foggy, overcast. The first mile sucked - ususally does - but the remaining miles were fine. I was able to keep the pace as planned and was feeling good enough to keep going at the end of the run. I'd run my third 13.1 mile training run two days ago and had a good recovery swim workout yesterday. One more 13.1 training sessin is planned in another week or so in final preparation for the Winter Warrior 1/2 Marathon on January 10, 2015.

This weekend is the Reindeer Run in Rochester, NY. My oldest daughter, Samantha, is turning 24 this week and will be running with me in her first 5K along with Ricky and Jyl.


My Run for November 28

Trailside Selfie
Running outside has become a habit this summer but it hasn't always been that way. Until this Spring I'd been running only indoors on a treadmill. My weight, I felt, was always too heavy to risk injury by putting the miles on the road. That's what I'd tell people anyway. That's the official reason. The real reason I lingered on the treadmill so long is a much deeper subject. Lets just say that sometime around April, 2014 (after 8 months of training and a forty lb weight loss) I decided it was time to run outside. If I were to be successful with my goal of running two sprint-distance triathlons in the summer of 2014 I would need to get right with the road. And I did. I ran, and ran well, all summer. 
Now I have a new problem - cold. Not so much cold but cold and wind. The combination is beating me up. Despite the lack of winter running gear, I'm fighting to stay outside. Not so much because of my mental toughness, but out of a strenuous desire not to return to the treadmill. 
Today was a great six mile run in the Canal Ponds Park. The temperature is 28 degrees F with winds of 10 mph. Not bad overall, but brutal when running in the open areas. I'm wearing all recycled gear (except for my new Saucony Ride 7's) that includes a long sleeve 1/4 zip polypro shirt, a tech shirt over that, then an old full zip up fleece (complete with burn holes from years of camping). On the bottom we have a pair of lycra pants (20+ years old) and wind pants. A pair of army surplus wool gloves, an old hat, and sunglasses. 

Cold but good for the mind and body


My Run Today

Today was one of those runs that makes all the training and goal setting worth every minute. That's important because the last few weeks haven't gone too well and I needed a good session.
Todays run almost didn't happen...a cold, misty rain started to fall as I walked out the garage door. My wife was leaving for the store at the same time and gave me a supportive "do it anyway" grin. 

There I was, sporting my new Sauconys, shorts, hat and gloves, and an old zip up fleece over a tech shirt - looking more like I just crawled out of a clothing donation bin than a runner. I'm used to it. 

I clicked "start workout" on my iPhone app starting the thirty-second countdown...pulled on my gloves and walked to the street...5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - and synced my watch to the app and started running. By now the rain had mixed with ice pellets that stung my cheeks and made me blink as they hit my eyelashes. I kept on going. The wind started up and blew the freezing rain in my face. Within a few minutes I couldn't feel my legs...keep going.  

How far am I going to run today? No clue, just decided to run until I decide to stop. I need a good workout to get out of a bit of a slump. I've been paying the price for increasing milage too fast and not replacing shoes when I should have. 

Running with music helps sometimes. I amazed at how my iPone knows what to play. Todays "random" selections came from U2, The Clash, Adam and the Ants, and Van Halen. I can imagine how I must have looked: running dressed as I was, in the snow, and singing. It was at that point that I realized how fast I was going and how well I was running...and how thankful I was for being able to do it. Mile one, then two a little faster. Feeling great at 3, strong at 4. Decided to push a little on mile 5 and 6. Nearly sprinted the last half mile. Finished 6.5 miles with a smile. 


A Morning Tempo Run

Took off for a scheduled 5.5 mile tempo run along the Eire Canal in Greece, NY. Stiff winds cut through my shirt and staight into my chest. The first mile was a hard one. Later, with the wind at my back, I eased into pace. MapMyFittness app hicuped at some point and lost some data - kind of a bad news, good news occurance. Not having miles and pace dictated provided a certain freedom. 

I turned the music off in favor of the rhythm of my stide and breathing. The miles sailed on by. I could "feel" my pace. 

Let your legs run and your mind run free...


Keeping the Miles Going

Keeeping the miles going this week has, but a little painful this week. Monday's run was a not-so-smart 13.1 mile event. I'm calling it not-so-smart because it was the second 13.1 training run in six days - something I'm not used to yet. Adding to the potential problem is the fact that my shoes are beat and need to be replaced. I did't start out to run that much, it just happened. The plan was to do a 5K on my normal loop, but I felt good approachiing the 3 mile mark so I kept going. Five miles whent by just fine, then six. I kept thinking "as long as I feel good and the split times stay in training range, keep going." Why not? Miles nine and ten I started to feel my legs and hip ache. My feet hurt and I felt every crack in the sidewalk and stone in the road. But at ten miles, why not go for the 13? Thats what I did...but at what cost?

I didn't train smart on this run. What was I thinking? My training plan dosen't call for anythiing more than 12 miles until December...over a month from now...why have I done two 13.1 mile runs? Why did I do them without any nutrition or hydration? I just needed to know I CAN do it. Not a good reason but THE reason.

The  combination of deteriorated shoes and quick jump in milage caused a little problem. I wasn't able to run the following day due to muscle soreness. The good news is that I made up for it the next day. After a day off to recoup, I was able to put in another quality session running a planned 5K - thant turning into a 10K. I was feeling good and ran the first mile near race pace, still felt good so continued the second and third mile abouut the same pace. At the 3.1 mark was near my PR time and still felt good so kept going (a bit slower) for miles 4 and 5. Finished with a fast mile to make a good 6 mile run. 

That leaves me with two training days to go this week. I should be able to hit the gym for some cross training (swim/bike) and get back on the road for a few more miles. Wouldn't it be nice to hit 25 miles this week?


NaNo Who? What?

NaNO Who? What? 2014

Thats NaNoWriMo, better known as National Novel Writing Month. This little project encourages writers around the world to put together a novel during the month of November. Thats a goal of 50,000 words in 30 days or 1,666 words each day. The result will  be a draft of a novel, albeit as short one by most standards. Over 300 thousand people took part in NaNoWriMo 2013. 

Writing has been on my mind for a long time. A renewed desire to write (on topics other than terrorism) turned me on to writing fiction and NaNoWriMo seems like the perfect outlet...better said, NaNoWriMo is the best excuse I can come up with to justify the many hours I'll spend pecking away at any one of several keyboards. 

I first leaned of NaMoWriMo by listening to I Should be Writing, a podcast for fiction writers. Several years ago, when I started listening to ISBW, my focus was to learn about the craft of writing to be a better blogger. Admittedly, I dodged many of the ISBW episodes based on titles or synopses that didn't seem to apply to "blogger". What I came to realize was that those podcasts that didn't apply to me actually did apply to me. I'd let those podcast episodes play while I was doing something else and the more I listened, the more I realized how writing spoke to me. That was somewhere around 2008. 

I've thought a lot about writing in many forms since then. Some days I think about writing an (almost) quit-your-day-job sort of way. Perhaps I'll make the jump to freelance writer and novelist someday...perhaps not. Either way I'm going after NaNoWriMo 2014 with gusto. I aim to win! 

We'll keep you posted.   


Duathlon Day

Duathlon Day
I entered the Rochester Autumn Classic Duathlon on a whim. I found myself enjoying the feeling of a completed challenge that came with completing the Shoreline Triathlon in July and Rochester Triathlon in August and wanted to see what else is out there. A duathlon sounded like a good thing to try. Why not? It's a multi-sport event, a challenging distance, and was scheduled far enough into the season change to keep me training. It's the stuff a good goal is made of. Having completed two triathlons certainly changed my perceptions of my capabilities as well.  

I convinced Jyl to run the Youth Tri back in June and much to my surprise, was able to talk Ricky into doing this 2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run duathlon with me. Two of my kids testing their skills in multi-sport events...excellent. 

Ricky and I set out the morning of October 5 for Mendon Ponds Park. A cool Fall weather pattern had moved in over the last twenty-four hours bringing a cool dampness to race day. There weren't many cars in the parking lot when we arrived at 7am. I'd heard that the event wasn't well attended last year and participation might be down. No matter, I was there to run with my son and, like with the triathlons, simply to finish. Sure, I would like to NOT be last and place respectably in my age group. 

My son, who reluctantly got out of bed that morning, actually seemed a bit nervous when setting up the transition area. Here he'd experience going from run to bike and back to run. He hasn't done any training along these lines and I think going from bike to run was going to be an adventure for him. He's in good shape and runs well on his cross country team, but has done very little biking and no bike-run combo workouts.   

Ricky finished first in his age group and received a nice glass trophy. I'm so happy with him at this point. He is well rounded; good academically and athletically. We have the relationship I never had with  my father. 

As for my part, I'm in about the best shape I could be in. I've had a good year so far; three 5K's, two triathlons, and now, a duathlon. Next is a series of 5K's through the next few months. Pumpkins in the Park, Turkey Trot, Reindeer Run. those take us through December. January? How about the Winter Warier Half Marathon?


Let me tell you about my yesterday

Parked. Same spot within a space or two. Same time. Early. Over-achiever. Afraid of being under prepared? Same walk across the same parking lot. Early hint of the seasons changing. The air crisp but not cold enough to burn the lungs or nose. The sun not quite high enough to cast a shadow but just enough to project the morning twilight.

The same doors, steps. Institutional brick and colors, glossy floors reflecting fluorescence. The slick of the swipe, techno-beep of the card reader and click of the door acknowledge   my presence has been accepted.

People calling for this and that. Food and drink mostly. "I want" or "get me" start most of the so called needs. If I hear "I'm entitled to..." or "I have to be provided with..." one more time I may become unable to control my response. Amid the entitled walkers are those who aren't. The wiping, changeing, feeding. Those who exist just above the threshold. Finding the time and fortitude to manage the walking entitled and biologic hangers-on is the name of the game. Then, of course, are the superimposed demands. The self imposed deadlines in the workflow. If none of this got done would it make a difference? How much do we do because we can rather than we should or must? Evidence-based means my coffee will certainly grow old without me.

The voice that puffs from a once catatonic mouth calls to a mom who's not there and most likely no longer on this Earth.    That voice touches the scabs that covers the wounds of caring but nothing more.


Goal Race!

Notes from the Rochester Triathlon 

Goals are supposed to be meaningful. They're supposed to be realistic, attainable. How many times have you heard that? I've never believed in that SMART goal philosophy and you shouldn't either when it comes to personal goal setting. Hey, goals don't have to be realistic. If your goals are realistic (with all respect)  you're shooting too low. If you're looking for whats attainable you're not looking deep enough. 

On July 2, 2013 I woke up early and said in that most inner personal voice...enough. I"d gained too much weight, gotten too soft, and carried an excess of stress related to experiences I wanted to do and never did. That day, a little over a year ago, is when my goal became to complete the Rochester Triathlon in 2014.  At a weight of 255 pounds and forty-eight years at the time, some might say that completing a triathlon (even a sprint distance race) was not realistic or attainable.  Some might say that given my state of health and family history competing in such a demanding race could even be dangerous. 

After a steady increase from walking to running and gradual change in food consumption,  I'm fifty pounds lighter and down ten inches in waist size. I've completed three 5K races and two sprint triathlons by August, 2014. Whats more is the fact that I've not done any competitive running or swimming in nearly thirty years. 

Completing a triathlon may not have been a realistic or attainable goal last it is reality. 

Shameless fitting room selfie 
This shameless selfie was taken in the fitting room of Fleet Feet Rochester while scoping out a running top. The picture was sent to Joanne for approval of color and style.

What did they say?

At the start line, Durand-Eastman beach during the mandated safety briefing. I didn't hear a word of the briefing after they announced the water temperature.

Jyl and Marybeth are playing in the sand.

This shot was taken by a coworker who's husband was also running. I'm just getting out of the water after a lackluster swim. Just could not hit a pace or rhythm despite mild water conditions. Notice the young person darting past me? He she wasn't the last to do so...

The bike lifted spirits out of the water. The pace was good and I felt comfortable with pushing a little harder than at Shoreline. Having people zip past wearing aerodynamic helmets, riding bikes that cost more than my car was somewhat annoying.

No glacier in NY faster...

And then...the run. Normal pace is pedestrian. Race pace is glacial. Slow but got it done.

Paced by my son, Ricky 

Ricky jogging along the run route. He's pacing me, encouraging me as he's done at the 5K's. At 6'3" and 190 pounds, Ricky is a gifted sprinter/middle distance runner. His dad (obviously) is not.

Triathlon is an individual competition but a family event.

At the end of the race. Goodies and snacks but no hugs. I sweat too much. My friend Greg had the quote of the day when he pointed at my jersey asking: "is that all sweat?"


Race Review: My First Triathlon - Shoreline Multisports Festival

Today I finished my first triathlon. The Shoreline Multi-Sports Festival included a 5K, a duathlon, and the sprint distance tri. Its a cool coincidence that this, my first tri, would be held in my hometown  of Hamlin, NY.  This sprint distance triathlon consisted of a 0.5 mi swim, 15.7 mi bike and 5K run.  I finished 96 of 104 with a time of 2:17:24. The important thing is that I did finish and loved it!

This is the view from the transition area looking at the swim start. Lake Ontario, notorious for difficult water, was calm and smooth.

Getting out of the water after a brief warm-up. This would be my first time swimming in open water. If only I could've remembered what I learned in training! Getting mixed up in the pack of swimmers got me kicked a few times and made the swim a lot harder than it needed to be.

Coming up the ramp towards transition area. Grateful to be on land and able to breathe!

In transition area (T1) from swim to run...was having a hard time tying my shoes at this point. I'd decided to leave my spare running shoes (normally used to bike) in the car to save time. Bad decision. What became my only pair of shoes were soaked by the end of the 15.7 mile bike.

Back in the transition area for T2. Being familiar with all the roads was a blessing and curse. Although I know exactly where I was and how far I had to go, the familiar surroundings lulled me into thinking this was a training ride. I simply biked too slow. 

Exiting T2 and starting the four-mile some very wet shoes.

A good run. I never felt stressed on the run. My legs gave their typical rebellion of pain and tightness going from bike to run, but after the first mile had softened. 

I used to volunteer with Hamlin Ambulance...

At the finish line
Joanne and kids at the finish line

With my sister, Kris


January 2014: Six Months of Training

The morning of July 2, 2013 was different from other mornings. It was the first morning of a ten-day off stretch that would set me on what I hoped would change things.

On that morning I weighed in at a personal record of 255 pounds that were surrounded by a size 44 waist.  The waistline stretched my scrubs and made getting out of bed a slow process. I hadn't felt comfortable with my weight or appearance for quite some time. My lack of comfort few into concern with the BMI numbers added up to obesity. My BMI was 33.6, classified as Obesity 1 with a "high" disease risk. It was all so obvious and now it was coming into I approached my forty-eighth birthday.

What did I do?
My Hybrid 
I decided to use my ten days off as a challenge. For the next ten days I walked every day, some days twice, starting with a 1.5 mile loop then progressing to 4 miles. I also dusted off my bike and started riding again. In the first 7 days I worked up to walking that 4 mile loop and riding 7-10 miles. I also changed my diet a little - nothing drastic, I just eat more of what I liked and cut out a few things. Since I really like fish and rice and salad  - the transition wasn't a problem. Listening to podcasts about fitness was helpful, too. By the end of the ten days I was a few pounds and was firmly planted on a path to improve my health. 

Setting Goals.
I'm not big on long term goals when it comes to fitness but to stay motivated I knew I'd need one. Of course, the biggest and most important goal is to stay out of the casket. After a little research I decided that completing a triathlon would be the age 50 (2015). Thats two years from my start date. I started reading everything about triathlon on the web and bought a couple of books and was on the way to training for a sprint distance triathlon...with on change. We'll compete in the 2014 Rochester Triathlon rather than waiting. 

After six months...
I can swim a 1.5 mile workout, bike 12.5 miles and feel good, and run a 5K with reasonable time.  I'm now wearing a size 36 and weigh 219 pounds. My BMI is now 28.9 and while still considered overweight, the doctor has assured me (along with lab valises) that my disease risk is significantly lowered. 

The old size 42 pants 
What's Next?
The training schedules are now specific for triathlon and I'm focused on improving all three disciplines. I still have a lot of work to do before the Rochester Triathlon in August, 2014. Ideally my weight should be under 190 pounds - another thirty pounds to go!

For the short term I'll continue training and plan to run a few 5K's prior to the triathlon. After that...maybe a half marathon!

Of course, I'd like to stay out of the casket as well.