All in for 2016!….. 3 Full Ironmen!

Over the course of the last few weeks while dealing with some challenges in my personal life I have been focusing on my 2016 race schedule. While 2015 is not over yet I consider this year to be a bit of a disappointment in my racing. Sure I finished 2 Ironman races and a 70.3 in June but I didn’t race enough.That will all change next next year.

Lake Placid was something that has eaten at me since I finished at the end of July.  It’s a race that really caters to my strengths. The swim is easy with two loops. You just follow the rope. The bike course is two loops. There is a ton of flats then for the hills you ‘only’ have two sections of it on each loop. My strength on the bike isn’t a constant up and done it’s the course being consistent. The run is boring, mostly flat, and the few hills they have they are good for walking if you want. But Lake Placid has me feeling empty inside like I didn’t do well enough. That was a course I should have broken 13 hours without much struggle had I not failed my nutrition.

That’s why today on my 41st birthday I am announcing that I will be doing Ironman Lake Placid. 

I am already signed up for Ironman Texas in May. I am going to be signing up for Ironman Maryland in early October when it opens up.

Recently I reached out to a few friends including Katie Kinnear and Sue Stockwell for advice. Katie is already signed up again for next year.  She did LP this year and is doing Maryland in a few weeks. I’m still waiting on Sue to sign-up for LP  (no pressure).

While doing research on trying to train for 3 fulls in one year I noticed something. After Texas it’s 10 weeks to Lake Placid then it’s another 10 weeks to Maryland. Most of us who have done some back-to-backs know that 10 weeks in-between means about 5-6 weeks of hard training. The rest is recovery, etc.

Why do three in one year?

Here is my logic:

Currently I have completed 5 IM’s. If I do 2 every year then at the end of 2018 I will be at 11. I can’t get legacy until 12 (Meaning Kona eligible). So I would need to wait until 2020 to apply and I would be at 12 or 13. Plus I am hearing there is at least a year waiting list. If I do one year of 3 IM’s then I can apply in ’19 and then I would be able to do Kona in ’20.

My other logic is I am coming out of a relationship and this is probably the ideal time to do it. No matter who I meet or who I am dating next year it will slowly evolve.

Everyone asks what’s my goal in all of this? Is it to break a certain time or is it just to finish? It’s both. My body is capable of doing sub 13’s at any Ironman event that I have done. My nutrition has prevented me from doing so. :).

Isn’t the goal still to qualify for the Boston Marathon?

Absolutely. My focus is just that. Unfortunately at the moment I am nursing a pretty bad injury that is preventing me to do much running at the moment. I will be running a 1/2 marathon on Monday but I am not optimistic of how I will do.

My plan is/was to try and qualify at the Hartford Marathon on October. As of today I don’t see that happening. I need my leg to heal very soon so I can get in a bunch of runs to give me a chance. My thought process is to do Hartford as a training run. Maybe break 3:40ish then get in a few weeks of hard training and go to Philly in November to give it a try again.

2016 Tentative Race Schedule:

  • Deary run in early January (Adam Cohen is talking to me about it)
  • Rocky Raccoon -Possibly doing my first 100 mile adventure race in Texas in early February. Talks are progressing. 🙂
  • Hyannis 1/2 marathon (If I don’t BQ in ’15 I may be doing the full but I am not sure I will want to)
  • March- Stu’s 30K
  • April- 1/2 marathon
  • May- Ironman Texas
  • June- Patriot 1/2 and running a 1/2 marathon with my dad for his 70th birthday.
  • July- Ironman Lake Placid
  • August- Timberman. I was talked out of this race this year and I wished I did it.
  • September- RTB, TFCE (100 mile ride)
  • October- Ironman Maryland

I will post this with more details probably early next year.

Training camps:

I learned back in April how important training camps are. Next year I plan to do a training camp in Texas in March. I will take about 4 days to visit Evan and his family for a day or two while I train. Then I will head over to The Woodlands and train with some friends who are going to come to town.

This will be repeated at different points of my training. Most of my training camps will take place at Camp Calumet. End of April, 4th of July weekend, Mid-September. I will also head up to Lake Placid this time for at least one weekend and do at least a lap or two of the course.

Conclusion:

I know doing all of these races will be a challenge but this is a lifestyle that I embrace. I really believe I already have the base to complete three in a year and that I just need to work on a few things so that I can be successful. This is also the reason why I will look to hire a coach in the coming months. They may not agree with my schedule but they can help me get to where I need to be.

I really want to thank my family and friends for their support. They have stood by in times of need but yet had the courage to question me in all of this. I’m looking forward to new relationships and a healthy 2016 of racing.

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IMLP: Recap

See my IMLP Pre Race for what my plan was.

Kate and I arrived in the Lake Placid region on Thursday late afternoon for the Sunday Ironman. We were staying in Willmington about 13 miles out of town that was located along the bike course. This was the first time my girlfriend was joining me for this event and I was excited to show her what It’s like. She came with me for the Syracuse 70.3 in June. While that event was great (except the parking nightmare) the 70.3’s don’t have the same vibe at all.

On Friday morning we headed up to Lake Placid to have some breakfast. The parking on Friday morning was a bit hectic and I was honestly nervous on how this was going to work since Syracuse only had one way into town. By Saturday I had a better understanding on how/where to park and race day turned out to be a non-event with parking.

While the food in and around Lake Placid was good overall the service tended to be pretty slow at all of the places we went to. I won’t call out any restaurants but the places we went to weren’t that busy. I spent 10 years in the restaurant business and I have a very good handle on how it still works to this day. So when it takes say 45 minutes to get your dinner I know the two or three reasons why.

We went and got me registered at Ironman Village on Friday about mid-day in Lake Placid. We didn’t hit any lines at all. The last day to check-in is two days before the event. This was my first time waiting until Friday for a Sunday event. When I was in Texas in May I checked in on Wednesday for the Saturday event but when I went back to the village on Thursday the lines were super long. I get the feeling that Lake Placid participants and families show up a few extra days ahead of time. Most of the hotels in Lake Placid require a 4-5 night minimum stay. So I believe that most got into town on Wednesday.

This was my first Ironman event where I was actually weighed at check-in. My weight came in at 172 pounds. This was with cloths on and having just had breakfast. I had weighed about 167 pounds for Texas in May and because we had so much climbing at Lake Placid I was hoping to coming in at about 165 pounds. I was feeling kind of heavy and had a bit of a ‘food baby’ in my belly. I believe I showed up at race day at about 170 pounds.

After check-in Kate and I went to the athlete briefing. If you have been to one or two before you don’t really need to go again. But I wanted her to experience it. Sometimes you get tips on a certain part of the course. I also had a question or two about parking. Word of advice, if you have questions on parking go to the Information booth that is located when you first walk into any Ironman Village. They have maps and can answer your questions.

In the afternoon Kate went for a run while I got my bags and bike ready. The good news about driving to an Ironman event is you can bring as much as you want. The bad news is you feel completely unorganized. In the evening we headed back up to Lake Placid to have dinner with our friends Adam and Monica.

On Saturday Kate and I headed up to the pancake breakfast in the Olympic oval where the village/ finish line is. It was free and the pancakes were delicious. I highly recommend this. After breakfast I went and did a practice swim. This is my first Ironman where there isn’t an official time on when you actually go and swim the day before. Normally at say Texas or Chattanooga you have this two hour window to do a short swim but in Lake Placid you can swim in Mirror Lake anytime. I did my normal short 500 meter swim. I came out of the water a bit dizzy. I had this issue in Syracuse as well so I decided to buy a pair of ear plugs.

They say don’t do anything ‘new’ on race day but putting in ear plugs isn’t going to make my swim any worse. It really made a difference. I will wear ear plugs going forward.

After the practice swim Kate and I decided to drive the bike course. This is the first time I have ever driven a bike course before an Ironman event and I’m glad we did. Most people come up here to ride the course a few times. It’s a two loop course. We would drive the first 40-43 miles of the course because we had driven the last 13 miles or so 2-3 times already going into Lake Placid. Those last 13 miles are where you climb and your average pace becomes a bit realistic.

The first few miles you had a few small climbs and some rollers. On race day I expected to be slow on here as I would be just getting my legs loosened up. The course elevation just drops at about mile 10. It’s known as the Keene decent. Driving it was a bit scary. This is the part of the course you can easily hit 50 mph. I had no interest in doing that on race day. The next 16-17 miles were almost completely flat. This is part of the course if you have a tri-bike where it pays off. I was on a Specialized Tarmac road bike. It’s very light weight and great for climbing. The last 13 miles or so you do a bit of climbing. This is where you get most of your elevation.

After we drove the course we met up with my parents to go and drop off my bike in transition along with my bike and run special needs. This is the first Ironman I went to that you actually hung your own bags and racked your own bike. At every other event someone was with you. Next Kate and I drove the marathon course. It’s a two loop and essentially a few turns and on major out and back section that is 4 miles each way.

After we drove the course Kate and I went for a short run. I always like to run about 3 miles the day before Ironman. It’s the first mile at about 10 minutes pace, the second mile I ran it about 7 minutes, and the third mile I walked it. Next we caught up with Rory and Hannah. We had dinner in Wilmington with my parents along with my aunt.

After dinner we drove up to Lake Placid to look for some Sunday morning parking and caught up with Bridget and Gary. We saw the fire as well that was burning and the smoke was going over Mirror Lake.

We got back to the hotel about 9 PM and went to bed. I woke up at 3:15 to start my day…We left the hotel about 4:40 AM. Before I left I had 2 Ensure pluses and some oatmeal along with 2 cups of coffee.

Pre-Race:

We got to transition a little bit after 5 AM. Parking was a non-issue on the side of the road. I filled up my tires, put my bottles on my bike and we dropped off our Special needs bags. This is the first time I had to walk to two different spots to drop off my special needs bags. This is also the first time I had very little walk between bike/run transition and the start of the swim. In Texas and Louisville you walk almost a mile. In Chattanooga you are bussed upriver.

By about 5:30/5:40 we were down by the lake just hanging out with my family and friends. For me this is the time that I’m fairly quiet and usually a bit relaxed. I’m just going over in my head on what I need to do that day. Mostly nutrition, etc.

Swim:

The swim started about 6:30. I headed down the swim area maybe about 6:20/6:25. Just after the national anthem. I lined up at the 1:21-1:30 swim time. I had a new wetsuit on and thought I would swim about a 1:25-1:30. It was very crowded in here and I’m glad I didn’t line up any sooner. At Texas it wasn’t near as crowded and you felt you had room to breath. I got into the water at about 6:44. The Lake Placid is a two loop swim and you basically follow an under water cable the whole time. They had buoys that were numbered 1-8 on each side. My first lap I settled in and felt I was swimming pretty good. For the first time ever I actually tried to draft in the swim. My first loop was about 41 minutes. I knew I wasn’t going to do a 1:22 but thought I had a chance at about 1:25. When I got to the second turn around buoy. I could feel my stomach bother me a bit. So I needed to slow down a bit. I ended up finishing the swim in 1:27. I was very pleased overall and took my time getting to transition. It’s about a 300 yard walk/jog on the streets that they carpeted. The ear plugs I used saved me. I was never dizzy at all.

Transition:

I changed fairly quick but had a bit of a stomach issue so I ended up in transition for a total of 15 minutes. Not a big deal but something I wasn’t surprised about considering how I felt in the last 800 meters of the swim.

Bike:

I took my time in the beginning. It always takes me about 15-20 minutes to loosen up. I knew by then I would be close to the Keene decent and not have to peddle much. I entered the 6 mileish of down hills with a lot of caution. On the very steep section I don’t think I was more than 30 mph while on other downhill sections where it wasn’t that bad I was able to get up to about 35 mph.

Once we took a left onto 9N your at about mile 15 and you can finally settle in an actually ride your bike. You’re loose and you aren’t going downhill. It was flat for the most part for the next 25 miles. There were a few climbs but an elite athlete probably did this stretch in about an hour or so. I was cruising. Miles 11-35 I averaged 21.7 mph on a road bike. I am sure a lot of people were averaging about 24-26 mph. On sections of Route 9N I was doing 25-30 on the flats a lone. My legs felt strong.

Once we took a left onto 86 at about mile 43ish we had a climb back into town. The bottom part of the hills I thought were the worse part overall. My goal was to limit my losses. This is the first Ironman that I decided to really push it where I could. On some stretches of 86 it leveled out and you could go 20+ mph.

The last three climbs are known as the three bears. The Mama bear, Baby bear, and Papa bear. The Mama bear was sneaky hard. I held my own. If you get enough momentum coming off of it, which I did, Baby bear is easy. I entered Papa bear with a chip on my shoulder. It reminded me of Buck Hill back home that I have ridden over 200 times but not as steep and I knew I could attack it. I was out of my saddle the whole time and just peddling my ass off. I know I was averaging well over 350 watts on that climb. So many fans are on that hills cheering you on. I passed everyone in site. I think mostly because they were sitting on their tri-bike but also saving themselves for the second loop.

The difference between say Lake Placid with 7K feet of bike climbing and Louisville with 5K feet of climbing is Lake Placid your climbs are only about 15+ miles per lap. It’s steep hills but you can settle in, grind it out, and limit your losses. With Louisville it’s constant up and down. You don’t get the rhythm that you get in Lake Placid. Even though my bike time is slower in Lake Placid than Louisville I would take Lake Placid’s climbing every day of the week.

On about the second loop of the course you get your bike special needs. My friend Catherine from IMCHOO took my bike and I inhaled some liquids. I had some Campbell Soup and most of an Ensure. I was disappointed that we had no bathrooms here. Every other bike special needs stop had them in the other four Ironmen that I have done. I had to stop another time about 2 miles up the road to use the bathroom. I was still feeling strong overall. I saw my family, girlfriend, and friends.

At about mile 60-65 I could tell something wasn’t right. I was a bit nauseous. My stomach was okay but it felt full. I didn’t want to eat any longer. Even my liquid intake was slowing down a bit but I still thought I was drinking enough. I was just getting sick of everything I had been eating. My pre-race plan was to give myself plenty of options out there which I did.

By mile about 90 or so I was just feeling like crap. My legs were fine. I just had no energy. It was getting hotter but near as hot as Texas. I did my best to work through it. I am not exactly sure what went wrong but I think I need to switch up my liquids at the 1/2 point. I love Hammer Perpetuem but I think I may have watered it down a bit to much. This is because I mix it in a bottle and transfer it into a plastic water bottle. For my next IM I plan to just buy some cheap bottles and put in a bit more concentrate. That would help. I also want to use some of my own Gatorade. I prefer grape or fruit punch. So I will have some of that at the 1/2 way point.

Run:

I saw my girlfriend, family, and friends at the end of the bike ride. I told them how I sucked out there and I needed to fix it. They were so encouraging and rooting me on. I really got so much more energy from it. I was doubting myself but they brought me back to life. I went into transition and changed fairly quickly. I came out of transition walking bit. I saw my crew again and once I got around the corner I started to jog again.

The run course is two loops. It’s an overall down hill for the first 6 miles and the last 6 miles coming back it’s a net uphill. Most Ironman marathons are boring with multiple loops and for first timers this becomes so mental. At mile 2.2ish you make a left onto Riverside Road and stay on this road until 6 and change then turn around and run back.

I have done enough of these where I could do a combination of running and walking. I wasn’t going to averaging 9-10 minute miles but I was strong enough to fight through it and keep moving. I refuse to walk the marathon course. I am smart enough to walk the water stops and to walk the steep hills.

At mile 8 I got sick for the first time. I think I realized at this point I was dehydrated. I was able to start running again. I felt great after being sick.

At about mile 12 I saw Adam while I was climbing a hill and we chatted for a few minutes. I then ran into my girlfriend, friends and my family. I was still in rough shape from the run. At the Special needs bag I picked up some food and Gatorade. After the out and back and I was on mile 13 I saw my family, girlfriend, and friends again. Once I went by them I started to feel a bit better. I decided to run about 9/9:30 minute miles. My legs as I mentioned were feeling good. I think the chips and Gatorade perked me up a bit. From miles 14-22 I ran almost the whole way averaging sub 10. I even ran through about two water stops.

I got sick again at mile 23. From there I jogged it out until the finish. I was still very excited crossing the finish line. I know I didn’t have the best day but I was still able to fight my way through.

I saw my family, girlfriend, and friends at the finish. I couldn’t thank them enough for all of their support.

Overall Lake Placid Course:

This being my 5th Ironman (4th different course) and my parents have been to everyone this has to be the best one for spectators. The swim is the only full I have done you can see the whole course, The bike is two loops where you actually come back into town, and the run you do two laps. Most marathons you can see someone probably once or twice.

This was my favorite swim and bike course that I have ever done. The marathon is my second favorite. I prefer the Texas marathon because it’s three loops.

I think Ironman (WTC really) should consider making the Lake Placid run course three loops. Why? Because the last two miles of each loop are full of so many people. In Texas you are running along the canal for a while and I love this but the last mile of each loop in Texas (except the .2 for the finish) isn’t that busy with people. It’s a boring out and back.

If Lake Placid does three loops you cut down on the distance of Riverside Rd. Yes you have to climb a few more hills but you get that true thrill of all of your family and friends for each loop. You also can have a few less aid stations.

Things I would do different:

  1. Use real biking water bottles and put in a little bit more of the Hammer Perpetuem.
  2. At the bike special needs station I want to try to have my stuff as cold as possible. Maybe try ice or an ice block.
  3. I want to have some Gatorade at the bike and run special needs. I want to use my flavors (grape and fruit punch).
  4. I plan to run with a bottle as well. Mostly because I’m getting sick of on-course nutrition.
  5. I want to have PB&J on the bike at the special needs area. My family, girlfriend, and friends said this was something most people were doing and it’s something I want to try.
  6. I plan to bring a few Snickers bars as well to mix it up.
  7. I had the urge to have some watermelon. I think this is something I would like to bring on the run.

What’s next?

I still need to learn from my nutrition. I thought I had it in better shape for this time around but I failed overall. My legs weren’t that sore. I had enough training to do a sub 6:30 on the bike. I did a 3:10 on the first loop and I had the legs to do a 3:20 on the second loop.

I am on the fence about getting a coach. But leaning towards yes. I have reasons for and against. I know getting a coach holds me accountable. I have a few in mind. I know I need to get a full nutrition analysis done and I know it’s not cheap. So I think I will work on finding a nutritionist.

I also plan to work on getting my tri-bike on the road again next year. Over the course of the last few days/weeks I have come to realize I know what the problem is. I need to raise the stem so the handle bars aren’t so low so I can climb out of the saddle if I want to. The stack is also so high that I want to lower that once a new stem is in place.

I have plans to run the Hartford Marathon in October. I am hoping to BQ this year and my training started last weekend with long runs.

Bike:

I need to get back to the rider I once was. As I mentioned in my pre-race I have really started to fall in love with the bike again. I know my QVV friends will be more than happy to help me out. Trust me I need it. I want to improve on my power numbers and my time on the bike for Ironman.

2016 IM Events:

Texas

Maryland

2017 IM Events:

IMLP

Maybe Florida or Cozumel. Arizona is tempting as well.

 

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IMLP- Pre Race

I wrote this the day before Ironman Lake Placid. Sorry for the delayed post on this…

I thought I would do a quick write up of my goal and plan for the race tomorrow. In the past I have done a few write-ups along with a dedication. This Ironman is just a blog of leading up to race day and what you can expect from me out there.

Since April of 2013 I have essentially been training for an Ironman with maybe a month off to not be so focused. I need a break. After this weekend I plan to take off about 4-5 months of Ironman training to focus on running and cross-training. I have a marathon in mid-October that I need to get ready for. I plan to try to qualify for Boston and that will be my focus starting next weekend. I also have some other fall running races. I still would like to break 1:30 for a 1/2 marathon but I plan to wait until late October/ early November to try that. Once January comes along I will start training again for Ironman Texas that is in Mid-May.

I have to be honest here. Over the last 2 1/2 years when I started training for my first Ironman I wasn’t in love with biking anymore. I started biking in August 2008 and joined QVV in August of 2009. When I joined the cycling club I fell in love with riding. I would ride 5-6 days most weeks. I improved very quickly and felt around 2010 or 2011 I was at my best. I was easily out there biking 100-175 miles a week. In 2010 and 2011 I logged about 5,000 miles each year. During this time so many riders from the club taught me so much. They brought me from a C rider to about a B+ to an A- rider in a short time. People like Chris G., Paul H., The Boves, Tracy, Wendy, Anson, Ben S., CR, James F., Gail, Jay A., Mark G., Pauline, Dumas, Rich, Sue and Pete, and I’m sure several others. They made it fun, hard, and rewarding.. In 2012 I cut back and biked about 3-4,000 miles. By the time 2013 came around and I was training for my first Ironman I wasn’t as enthusiastic about riding those longer rides. I would talk about doing them and even go out with the intention of riding say 70-80 miles but after about 40 I would head home. I noticed that my bike was weakening when I did the Flattest Century in 2013. Normally I could hang on to the front group for about the first 60 miles or so when it’s mostly downhill/ flat but I had a hard time after 20 miles.

After Ironman Texas in May of this year I fell back in love with biking again. I think mostly because I picked up a power meter and really want to improve. I have found training with a power meter is a great way to improve and see where your weaknesses are. I have a lot to learn on using it effectively but so happy I purchased one. For the last 4-6 weeks I have be wanting to go out and ride my bike. I was enthusiastic about putting in some longer miles. I even road the Quabbin century in early July with my friend Adam C. This ride is the equivalent of the Lake Placid ride tomorrow. They both measure at 7,000 feet of climbing. Something I am looking forward to.

Swim:

I am hoping/planning on swimming about a 1:30. I picked up a new wetsuit this week and this full length but sleeveless. I think this could save me a few minutes. The swim is easier than Texas. I swam a 1:35 in Texas without a wetsuit. Even though it is a two loop swim It’s very similar to Syracuse 70.3 and Timberman 70.3.

Bike:

Setup: I am riding a straight road bike. Nothing fancy. I have a 53×39 in the front and an 11×28 on the back. I have been using the 11×26 for the last 3 IM’s and 1/2’s but I want the extra gear fore the climbs if I need to bail out.

I am shooting to bike sub 7 hour’s. I plan to take my time and relax out there. It’s a two loop course. The first 1/2 of each loop is downhill and the last 10 miles are rollers that have a few challenging hills. They have 3 hills that they call the mama bear, baby bear, and papa bear. To my QVV friends papa bear is similar to the steep side of Buck hill but probably not quite as long.

Run:

I am planning on running a sub 5 hour marathon. Now those that know me closely may smirk at that goal. Yes I want to run much faster but based on my training overall I can’t expect to do much better than 5 hours. But I will try…..

I hope to finish in sub 14 hour range. This bike course will be the hardest course I have done so I need to be careful not to cook my legs.

Nutrition:

My nutrition plan I am mixing it up a bit from Texas. I learned in Texas and in training after about mile 75 of the bike I don’t like to eat the same food and sometimes it’s hard for me to eat solid food. So I have multiple choices out there.

Pre-Race:

3-4 Ensure Plus, Oatmeal, Protein Shake (same as Texas and Chattanooga)

 

Hammer Endurolytes: 2 every hour from start to finish (same as Texas and Chattanooga)

Swim:

I will take two Endurolytes before the start. It’s a long walk/run from the swim exit to the bike transition.

Bike:

Power Bar: 1 every hour on the bike

Hammer Perpetuem-2 bottles for each half of the bike

Gu:1-2 on the bike only

Bike Special Needs: Mile 55ish.

Campbell Soup: 1 at the Bike Special Needs.

Pick up more Power Bars and a bike tube if necessary.

Mile 75:

After mile 75 be prepared to take in more liquids and less solids.

Run:

Campbell Soup in T2 along with an Ensure

1 Campbell Soup at about mile 5

1 GU every 45-50 minutes

Salt every mile: Just a quick lick from Base

 

Run Special Needs: Lap 2 is my plan

1 Campbell Soup and 1 Ensure Plus

Carry one Soup with me for later in the race. Around mile 20.

Grab 3 more GU’s.

 

If you have any questions let me know.

 

Power- 150-160…

 

In Texas 159

Syracuse- 167

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Ironman Texas Dedication

I’m writing this at 37,000 feet on my way to Houston… It’s sounds like a line from the movie Almost Famous..

This race is dedicated to Sarah Dalzell.  When I first started thinking about my dedication back in December and January I knew she would be one of the names I mentioned. I normally have a few people I like to dedicate my race to like I have in the past. But this year it didn’t feel right.

I don’t pretend to have been as close to Sarah as people like Mindy, The Pressey’s, Voosen-Field’s, Schroeder, Mele’s, Hopkin’s, and her many other close friends and family. I’m not trying to come across as a phony here. I’m just a friend. She was a camp person.  Camp people stick close together. I don’t have a lot of close friends outside of camp. So when we lose a camp person especially at the age of 37 it stings. I know for the people I mentioned above it’s a much more trying time. I think and pray for these people.

When you see me out there on race day with my shoe and her name on my bike,  license plate, my sign, and her name on my calf. Please look at it as me representing her memory and I want to share it with the world. Look at is as me as a camp person. Look at me as a friend!

The last time I talked to Sarah was an email. I had been texting with Mindy and I wanted to reach out to Sarah. I wasn’t someone who was going to ask to see her. I know Dave was getting a ton of requests for this and I wasn’t family so I wasn’t even going to ask. Mindy told me to reach out to her via email. I mentioned how I was thinking about her and Dave.

I wanted her to know that as long as I do Ironman I will have a Converse shoe on the back of my bike. She replied and thanked me.

I want to help keep her memory alive. For the two previous Ironman events I had numerous people ask me about that shoe. I had people telling me stories about friends and family fighting cancer. It gave me a chance to meet someone new, even for say 30 seconds, but this was because of Sarah.

After Sarah’s funeral when I got home I was on Facebook like many of you. Many were sharing tons of old photo’s, memories, and stories. One stood out to me the most. I was laying in my bed and I read Heidi Greene Gallicchio’s post on Sarah’s page. It brought tears into my eyes.  I had no clue who Heidi is. I didn’t meet her. But I had to reach out to her! I friend requested her.  We chatted on Messenger for about 10 minutes. I asked her if I could share her post. Thanks for letting me share this.

 “Sarah your funeral today was beautiful…it was packed to capacity with standing room only, just like a Red Sox game. I know you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was full of joy and love and lots of laughter. I made a new friend and finally got to meet Catherine Rhodes, she is a delightful person and I can see why you two got along so well. The food was yummy too. There was a handsome man in line behind me who said he only wanted a cookie, I told him he should cut the line and that I was pretty sure you would have approved, life is short after all… go straight for the desert! Also, the sneakers….sneakers for Sarah were everywhere. It was such an awesome testament to the all star you are. I was happy to not have to wear dressy, uncomfortable high heels so thank you for that, but trying to find a matching outfit was a bit of a challenge. I’m guess you and your awesome sense of humor had counted on that. Finally, the music. It filled me up and made my heart soar..Oh I hope you got to hear it! Such beautiful voices all signing just for you! I did shed a tear or two, thinking of your courageous battle, your beautiful smile, and your kind heart. I’m sorry I never made it over with those gluten free treats from Glastonbury bakery we talked about, but I want to thank you for the beautiful soul were, for lunchtime conversations, and for being an awesome guidance counselor, even on the days when it was hard. My sneakers for Sarah will continue to walk on in your memory and you shall not be forgotten.

PS. I loved reading the sneaker books and looking at all the photo’s of you. The picture of your 80’s gigantic hair is hilarious!!!! Someone really should have sent that to the Ellen show…but you’re already famous!”

 

Sarah I met two friends that day. One is Heidi. The other is just a friend whom I have known a while but because of you we’re better friends.

So on Saturday when I’m out there you will be in my thoughts a lot.

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Why Texas will be Different!!!

When I wrote in September about why Ironman Chattanooga would be different I was trying to sell myself on this. I needed to convince myself I was able to get over those hurdles that caused me issues in Louisville and Texas.

I’m coming into Texas with a bit of a different attitude. I have this sense of now I belong here. In Chattanooga I became the Ironman I thought I should have been all along. I don’t pretend to think I have it all figured out. Anything can happen on race day but I understand  the basics and the mental challenges that most first timers don’t.

After Texas last year I had a lot of time to reflect on that event. I didn’t write about it because I was so deflated. Yes I was nursing a back issue but I was dealing with burnout.

I had a conversation in June with Todd. We talked about a lot of things that day. But he said a line to me that sticks with me to this day. “Sometimes we become content!”  You as someone who weren’t part of this conversation can take this several different ways.

For me it meant it’s okay that you didn’t reach your goal. You finished! You should be proud! But in life we sometimes become settled and don’t strive for improvement. If you want to be better you have to seek out ways to improve.

I reached out to other Ironman finishers and got tips. My training over the summer wasn’t any different. In fact I biked less. But I was learning. I needed to fix my nutrition. Because I did this IM Chattanooga was a success.

I wrote last month I was nursing a back issue. My training was a bit stuck in neutral. I wasn’t burned out at all. I had this fire in me to train more but I needed time to heal. It’s never good when you’re on the bike trainer with a heating bad on your back.

Shortly after that post I was able to get back to basics. I knew because of the weather I wouldn’t have much time on the bike outside anyway. I focused what I was good at. I ran a ton. I ran more this Ironman than I have for any other one that I have done before.

I have that fire!

For the last few weeks I have been itching to get down here. I have noticed I have a lot of pent up energy and I have been trying to contain it. Ray got a feel of what I had in the tank a few weeks back. :). I had the legs to go sub 6:30 (maybe 🙂 ) those last few miles but I was there for Ray not for my own accomplishments. A few other of my friends have seen glimpses of the energy as well.

I’m not content! I want to improve at Ironman. I am not pretending I can pull a sub 12:17 like I did in Chattanooga but you better believe I am going to try.

I will be conservative out there in the Swim and on the Bike. However, when I get to the run IT’S ON!!!!!!

Later today I will be posting my dedication. It won’t be a shock to anyone…

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Race Day Strategy

With about 38 hours before the race I thought I would do a quick post on my race day strategy.

My ultimate goal is to just finish. I do have a few other goals that I need to keep to myself.

Swim:

I am hoping/planning on swimming about a 1:30. This year I have completely changed my swim stroke. Denny Dean spent time with me in the pool and was a huge help. I appreciate it. I really just plan to take my time.

Bike:

I am shooting to bike sub 7 hour’s. I plan to take my time and relax out there. For the first 40 miles it’s a tailwind and fairly flat. So don’t be fooled if my average is about 18-19 mph. Miles 60-80 are rolling hills with a headwind. I am working hard to save myself for the run.

Run:

I am planning on running a sub 5 hour marathon. Now those that know me closely may smirk at that goal. Yes I want to run much faster but based on my training overall I can’t expect to do much better than 5 hours. But I will try…..

I hope to finish in sub 13:30 hours.

Nutrition:

My nutrition plan is fairly basic. I will post some pictures later.

Pre-Race:

3-4 Ensure Plus’, Oatmeal, Protein Shake

Hammer Endurolytes: 2 every hour from start to finish

Bike:

Power Bar: 1 every hour on the bike

Hammer Perpetuem-2 bottles for each half of the bike

GU:1-2 on the bike only

I do plan to drink water and other liquids at water stops.

 

Bike Special Needs: Mile 55ish.

Campbell Soup and 1 Ensure Plus

Pick up more Power Bars and a bike tube if necessary.

 

Run:

Campbell Soup in T2 along with an Ensure

1 Campbell Soup at about mile 5

1 GU every 45-50 minutes

Salt every mile: Just a quick lick from Base

Ice down my back every mile. I will also eat chips/ food at water stops.

 

Run Special Needs: Lap 2 is my plan

1 Campbell Soup and 1 Ensure Plus

Carry one Soup with me for later in the race. Around mile 20.

Grab 3 more GU’s.

On course nutrition.

 

If you have any questions let me know.

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2015: The Year I Will Be Fighting A Back Injury

One month from right now I will be in Texas. Before I get into my injury that I am fighting I wanted to share a lesson learned than I will remember for next year.

In the past few years I would enter the spring season with a few races under my belt. I normally race Hyannis (cancelled because of weather) and then try to get in a late March 1/2 marathon. Last year my season ended late. I ran a December marathon in Dallas and my legs were just dead after about mile 13. I was even texting a friend on the second half of the race.

My plan for this year was to race less so my body would be recovered for the long season ahead. But the problem with racing less is you don’t have that intensity you need to replicate during races. In races you teach yourself how to ‘suffer’. Meaning you peg your heart rate for a long period of time. You teach yourself to hold onto that limit. Races  improve your cardio. This is a lesson learned and I will plan my schedule accordingly.

I have one real race under my belt this season. I raced Stu’s 30K in March early. It’s considered one of the hardest races out there at this distance. Over 1,100 feet of climbing. I had trained a bit over the winter outside. Most of my training outside was at around 10:30-12 minute miles. I had plenty of treadmill miles at a 10 minute mile per pace. My normal training pace is 8/8:15 per mile. So when I started the race I was hoping to run about 7:30-8. I was able to hold this for 9 miles. After 9 miles I knew I was in trouble. I suffered the rest of the way. I was able to finish in 2:40 with an average of 8:33 per mile. I was hoping to break 2:40. But I never had the legs for it. I am going back next year to break 2:30.

Now as I enter the critical period of my training before Ironman I am missing these racing miles. I am now working extremely hard to find that intensity. Just last night while I was out doing a 5 mile run I saw a guy about 600 yards away jogging. I made myself chase him down. :). He was probably running about 9:30/10 minute miles but I put myself on the limit just to catch him in about a 1/2 mile or so. I have one race planned before Texas. I will be pacing my girlfriend two weeks before Texas at a 1/2 marathon in Providence.

A few days after Stu’s I injured my back shoveling a driveway. My legs were so sore from the race and I couldn’t use them to shovel so instead I used my back. As I was picking up a scoop of snow I heard my back crack. I went for a massage a few days later and it felt better for about 15 minutes. For the next two weeks I wasn’t really able to walk. I had a heating pad on me non-stop including sleeping with one. I even spent some time on my bike trainer with the heating pad. I saw a chiropractor three times. It was helpful but I still wasn’t 100%.

After about 2+ weeks I was able to get back to training. Getting back to training has been tough. It’s not because I don’t want to train it’s because I know my back isn’t 100%. While I am out there running my legs just aren’t turning over the way they should be. My average times per run are what they ‘should’ be in January or early February.

I went for a 90 minute massage last weekend and she could feel something isn’t right in my back. She is hearing something in my hip as well. My lower back is so tight I don’t realize it’s not healed. With a lot of the Texas run course on concrete I will be in a lot of pain. I always have ice on my back for the marathon to numb it so I am hoping this won’t be an issue until after the race is done.

Last year for the month of June I nursed a back injury because of Ironman. I spent the month doing very little training and healing. This year I won’t have the luxury because I have a 1/2 marathon the weekend after Ironman (pacing a camp friend), a 70.3 on June 21st, another 1/2 marathon on June 28th, and Ironman Lake Placid on July 26th. The June 28th 1/2 marathon is to give me preferred seeding at my fall marathon in Hartford where I hope to BQ.

I make no excuses for how I will race this year. Injuries are apart of the sport in which we all deal with. I know I need to improve my core and reduce my body fat % to help reduce my chances of further back injures.

The bottom line Ironman is about race execution. For me it’s about 3 things. It’s about nutrition, pacing myself, and being mentally tough and focused. I always thought I was mentally tough at racing. It wasn’t until Ironman Chattanooga last September 28th where I earned that toughness. I hit the wall at about mile 9 of the run and I fought through that. I know what to do when this happens again next month in Texas. I have no expectations  that I will do as well as I did last September because my fitness is missing but I believe in my heart I will perform to the best of my ability and complete Ironman Texas again.

 

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