Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eleven Keys for Eleven

I've been contemplating a whole bunch of resolution ideas since it is the season for this type of mental exercise. In contrast to what I typically do with setting measurable milestones, I decided to give myself less tangible keys (aka more of guidelines or intentions). Some of these are obvious but the more I do these things, the more successful I will be this year culminating with racing Ironman Florida on November 5, 2011:

  1. Stay healthy. My last two "seasons" ended with a trip to an emergency room. A serious injury always sucks (I know from experience). A nagging injury would make a difficult quest even more difficult. Paying attention to how my body feels and being cautious are paramount. Addressing physical issues early will help keep me on track.

  2. Believe. This means not just assembling the "team" necessary for success (almost done) but actually entrusting them. They are providing me with guidance, knowledge and inspiration. This will only work if I know when to turn off my brain and having faith in the team and faith in the plan.

  3. Do the work. As much as I would want to "wish" myself ready, there is no magic here. There will be times when I don't want to do what I know I need to do. I don't need to want to do it but I do need to do it.

  4. Lose weight. If this list was based on priority, this item might be number one. My body composition is my biggest limiter I'm not going to set a goal but significant change is necessary.

  5. Expect difficulties and failures. I will be tested and not just on race day. Things like life and work will get in the way. I will not meet some of my expectations. I expect to learn something about myself.

  6. Avoid distractions. Focus on what is important not what I think is important (see #2).

  7. Choose to be a better husband, father, and friend. This is what is most important for my life, not just 2011.

  8. Put myself in a position to be lucky.

  9. Celebrate successes more than lamenting shortcomings. Avoid any downward mental spiral. The mental aspect of my quest cannot be underestimated.

  10. Be thankful. I get to do this, I don't have to do it. Remember that. Often.

  11. Make the journey special. Race day will be the victory lap.
Rock on.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quote of the week.

“New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.” - James Agate

Monday, December 27, 2010

The stats are in!

20.5 inches of snow in my town. Wind gusts still to about 50mph. Never made it to work. Haven't made it on the treadmill (yet) but the day is still young.

Be safe everyone.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Weather report.

So I got this to look forward to:

Issued by The National Weather Service
New York City, NY
5:01 am EST, Sun., Dec. 26, 2010




So, I got up early and:

  1. Did a 90 minute spin class with LITC.
  2. Filled up the cars with gas.
  3. Filled up the snow blower with gas. Got extra gas. Made sure the snow blower worked - YES!
  4. Got the snow shovels out of the shed.
  5. Got the sleds out.
  6. Went food shopping with thousands. Once supermarket had traffic backed up on the road for about 1/4 mile waiting to get into the parking lot. I went elsewhere.

My plan for the remainder of the day:

  1. Watch football on TV.
  2. Play with my christmas toys! Again, somehow, I wasn't on the naughty list. How did that happen?
  3. Watch more football.
  4. Take a nap?
  5. Maybe, just maybe swim a little. The probably matters if one of the games is a blow out.
  6. Shovel the snow every 6 inches or so.
  7. Repeat as necessary.

Be safe everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ahhh, recovery week!

This week, thankfully, was a recovery week in my training. Those who follow structured training plans understand the joy and relief I had when I took a look at my plan on Monday and saw BikeMike's Goal #1:

Week's goals:
1. Unload Residual Fatigue
2. Ride & Swim twice
3. Run Three Times

I don't want to turn this post into an opus on periodization but in summary training goes through phases and phases are comprised of one or more training blocks. Typically these blocks include two or three weeks of increasing load with a week of active recovery to unload fatigue. This doesn't mean complete rest but lower durations and/or intensities to get the body for the next block. This planning hopefully ends in peaking at an "A" race. My "A" races aren't for some time yet (June and November).

While most of the time I view recovery weeks with primarily a physical focus, I sometimes find it easy to forget the mental aspects of unloading. This time I needed this recovery week more mentally than physically. Work typically gets stressful this time of the year and the holidays don't necessarily cooperate with stress reduction. Weather being cold and dark doesn't help. Anyway, this recovery week was welcomed.

Back in the day I used to do all my Christmas gift shopping buying on Christmas Eve. Yes, for amateurs it can be stressful but I had this down to almost a science. My wife has been shopping for months already (I think her mother is already working on Christmas 2011) so she humours me when I still do some Christmas Eve shopping for old times sake.

I finished my shopping mini adventure without adding undue stress this morning. A little workout, mix in some Christmas church, and the Christmas celebration will be in full swing. Mental and physical fatigue will be unloaded. Recovery week will be officially over on Sunday with either a 90 minute spin class (better socially) or a hard bike trainer workout (more time efficient).

PS: Yes, I actually do training from time to time even though this blog may not have a lot of evidence of it recently. There will probably more training adventures chronicled next year.

PPS: Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote of the week.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. " - Linus van Pelt

Monday, December 20, 2010

I need Hermey

"Gather around children and I'll tell you a tale. A tale of an elf named Hermey who wanted to become a dentist......." At this point almost every child in the United States (and most adults as well) would interrupt and ask "isn't he from Rudolph?"

Sigh. I won't go into the marketing aspects of Christmas cartoon characters but I'm sure at least one MBA has written some opus on that as part of their degree or thesis (my MBA being from a somewhat lower end school didn't require some of that nonsense l and I think that the statute of limitations for school things has kicked in anyway since it has been so long since I got that piece of parchment but I digress).

But I do have a lesson for the next generation and they can learn from my misadventures. I decided to "clean out" my stash of old nutrition bars. I had a collection of Clif bars, Power bars, Mojo Bars, etc. Rather than throwing them out (which would have been wise), I decided to have them as snacks. All was good until I bit into a petrified Power Bar. This bar broke one of my back teeth (aka molar). It is the first broken tooth that I've had since I was a kid.

But it didn't hurt.

I went to my dentist (not Hermey) and she gasped in horror (just kidding) and said based on how it broke I had to go to the oral surgeon for some "gum work." After multiple trips with the oral surgeon, my tooth was ready for a temporary crown.

Luckily it still didn't hurt. The dentist decided to go with Plan B do a filling type of deal with it. That work was done and I went home hoping to forget this (I previously wised up and threw out the remaining bars).

Then it started to hurt. A lot. Back to the dentist and she then said Plan B didn't work so back to plan A with a crown but this time I need root canal. Hermey yanked out the teeth of the Abonimable, right? So I asked if she could just yank it out and she said that was a bad idea.

Today is my second session of root canal. It still hurts. Adventures in dentistry continues but they say it will stop hurting soon. I don't expect this to be finished for a while with the holidays in between. I hope I learned a lesson on eating petrified Power Bars. You never can tell with me.

I wonder if Hermey would have done it differently. Maybe yes, maybe no, but then I remembered the most important lesson from the Rudolph cartoon: Bumbles bounce.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know... the birth of Santa." - Bart Simpson

Monday, December 13, 2010

The true meaning of a tax cut

While eating dinner alone with my 7th grade daughter (my wife and other daughter were out) last night we had a conversation that went something like this:

Courtney: Daddy (as she bats her eyes), can I ask you a question?
RockStar: Sure.
C: What do you know about the Bush tax cut?
RS (with look of skepticism): Why are you asking THAT?
C: Because I asked Mommy and she wouldn't answer me so I told her that you would definitely know about it. (employing the suck up gambit)
RS: Why did you ask Mommy about the Bush tax cut? (back on point)
C: Well, I sort of had a homework assignment on it. (a-ha)
RS: Sort of? What was the assignment? When is it due?
C: I had to read an article in the newspaper and do the 5Ws.
RS: The 5Ws?
C: You know, WhoWhatWhenWhereAndWhy. I got the who, President Bush but want to know the rest.
RS: What did the article say?
C: I sort of haven’t picked one yet. (sort of yet again)
RS: When are you going to pick one let alone read it?
C: After dinner but I thought I could ask you and get a jump on it.
RS: OK, the short story is that there was a tax cut that made most people pay less in taxes. It was done so people would have more money to spend and would buy more stuff. If more people buy stuff, then the grownups who can’t find jobs might find some new jobs easier. The tax cut is supposed to expire so unless the government does something most people will pay more in taxes next year. Then they would have less money. There is a bit of disagreement of which is the right way to go between the Republicans and Democrats. They have to decide soon.
C: Paying more in taxes isn’t good.
RS: No, I don't think so.
C: You didn’t have a job for a while but you got one.
RS: Yes, I was lucky. It is still a big problem for a lot of people. Some people think that the rich people don’t need to play less in taxes just because they are rich. They believe that the rich aren’t spending the money since they already have everything. They real question is what is rich.
C: Families without jobs aren’t rich. Are we rich?
RS: What do you think?
C: No, we just have a regular house, not a mansion.
RS: Yup.
C: But you do have a lot of bicycles.
C: Mommy says you do.
RS: (note to self, I guess the S-Works Roubaix or Pinarello won't be under the tree. Again. ) Why else do you think we are not rich?
C: Rich people drive Ferraris.
RS: We don’t have a Ferrari.
C: I want a yellow Ferrari. That would be cool.
RS: First of all, you are 12 years old. And second, when you grow up and if you can consider a Ferrari, it must be red.
C: Like in Ferris Bueller?
RS: Yes.
C: I still like the yellow ones.
RS: When is this homework due?
C: Tomorrow. I think I know everything about it now. I’ll tell Mommy I was right that you knew about the tax cut.
RS: Find an article.
C: I don’t think I need one anymore.
RS: Find an article.
C: Ok.

I wonder what the 5Ws wound up being. My daughter asked my wife to checked her homework instead of me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Thanks for everyone kind words about my lamenting the other day. The things I was complaining about are nits and my yellow brick road to iron is paved by hitting my work outs.

This weekend had some scheduling challenges mostly due to those things that keep calling me "Daddy." Saturday had Thing1 with track practice drop off at 10 and pick up at noon. Mrs Rockstar and I would swap kids and was taking Thing1 to a music rehearsal at 3:30 (the concert was Sunday). Thing 2 had to be dropped off at a friends Bat Mitzvah 9:45, pick up at 4:30 to go to church where she was doing church service. Out of church 6ish and then the schedule opened up again.

That meant I had to squeeze in my bike workout either in the early afternoon slot or the night slot. A little more complexity weighed in on my choice:
  • I could have ridden outside in the early afternoon slot. We had a mini heat wave with the temperatures approaching 40! Downright balmy for my neck of the woods. Or....
  • I could take advantage of the good weather and actually put the Christmas lights up on the house. This would mean that I would have to ride inside on the trainer at night.
I chose to put up the lights in the afternoon put an hour in on the trainer at night. I think I chose wisely. More importantly, I think my wife thought I chose wisely.

Sunday was a wash out with inches of rain and wind. The weather teased me from time to time when it stopped raining for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. It was just enough to make me think that I could run outside and then as soon as I decided to run, the skies opened up yet again. The taxi service continued with Thing 1 soccer practice in the morning, Thing2 basketball game in the afternoon, the aforementioned concert starting at 5. The schedule again dictated when I could do what I needed to. I wound up hopping on the Tmill for my 45 minute run starting at 800PM and got the workout done per plan.

So, what does this rambling mean? I had a bunch of choices to make this weekend. I made them so that I could balance life, family and training. It would have been easier to bail on a workout but I was successful maintaining balance. I have to keep making these choices as the iron training continues and I realize it might not be easy. These choices and the balance are two ingredients in my recipe for success at Ironman.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dealing with disappointment

You can't always get what you want....

Congrats to all the folks who were selected for TeamTrakkers. I applied but unfortunately didn't make the cut. I've pinged them to hopefully find out what I can do to improve my chances next time. I have my suspicions but I'll share them if I get confirmation. I'm still most likely racing Rev3 Quassy but will be sporting the kit of either Team Runner's Edge or Long Island Tri Coach.

You can't always get what you want....

Training is starting to ramp up and I'm physically tired. The other day I got up and as part of the standard morning ritual, took my shower. The bad sign was when I was getting out of the shower I couldn't remember if I washed my hair or not. I had to hop back in, throw some J&J Baby shampoo on the golden locks more grey every day hair, and continued on with my day. Today I slept in (got up at 8am!). I'm always amazed that the time I now get up on a standard day is before the time I used to go to sleep.

You can't always get what you want....

I did my first sort of bike power threshold test the other night. I say sort of because it was a variation on the standard 2x20 minute hard intervals. In addition to forgetting how to actually ride "hard" (I went out too hard and died), the power meter showed that hard for me now was no where near where I expected/hoped it to be. At least a baseline was set, the testing will redone and there is plenty of opportunity for improvement. There, I'm sure, will be a swim test in the near future too. I don't know if I should look forward to it or fear it.

But if you try sometimes you might find....

Most of my recent running has been on the treadmill. It is dark and cold outside before I go to work and it is cold and dark outside when I get home after work. My wife still isn't comfortable with me exercising alone outside since my accident and I need to balance her concerns with my dislike of the 'mill. I am supposed to run on Sunday outside while my daughter has indoor soccer practice (something is wrong with that statement) but the forecast calls for rain and cold. Might be back on the mill again since I need to get my work in. It could be worse with snow and cold but I still need to do the work.

You get what you need.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."
~ Oren Arnold

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The relationship between charities and endurance athletes

Trish from "My Path To Travel" emailed me the other day. She wrote a blog entry on a recent growth in the relationship between several triathletes and the Blazeman Foundation in support of ALS awareness and research. Check it out here

Trish's email got me thinking. My first efforts in endurance sports were with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. I joined the team primarily for selfish reasons. I wanted to complete a significant event (the century that I signed up for) and I felt that the support that they would give me would help me out in this quest. While I viewed raising money to help fight blood cancers was as noble of a cause as any, I did not have a passion for the mission of the society. I knew of people on the periphery of my life that had this disease but this cause wasn't front and center in my life.

With my relationship with TNT, I've met people that I now consider friends that have a much more personal reason to be associated with the team. I've also been to too many funerals of friends who lost their fight with these diseases. In the meantime I've completed 15 or so events with the cycling, running and triathlon TNT teams with the St Anthony's Triathlon in May 2011 as next on the schedule. I've coached several seasons and have mentored newbies to the finish line of their event. My family has been involved with my wife, sister, BIL, and niece completed events with the team. My kids are in the recruiting videos since they have been at so many events cheering me on (I personally never made the cut for the movie).

Oh, as a byproduct, I've raised about $100k for the society. Needless to say they are somewhat appreciative and they have wanted me to consider "running" for their Man of the Year award a couple of times. I've politely (for me) declined.

But ALS and Leukemia are not the only diseases that have sponsored athletes or events with training programs. While I'm sure I'm going to miss some, some of the big programs that come to mind on addition to TNT are the Multiple Sclerosis Society sponsoring their series of bike rides, Fred's Team to support research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the The Challenged Athletes Foundation. It seems like almost every local race sponsors a charity in some manner. With several Ironman races there is the Janus Challenge as well although I'm not considering doing this for my race. I won't comment on the "community slot" program.

It is still a bit of a mystery to me how these relationships between charities and athletic events came to happen. I'm sure I can spend some time researching but the big question is are these relationships bad? My gut feel is that I don't think so. I can't comment on how efficient or effective these programs are for the athletes or the charities themselves. Some I'm sure are better than others. I think it could make sense to look at them if you feel a passion via a personal relationship with what they stand for or if they align with your goals.

December is the time of the year when the charities seem to get the bulk of their donations. I've seen many stories where donations are down and here is a link for a story of a local charity, The John Theissen Children's Foundation that is having problems (full disclosure I've donated to John's Foundation in the past and plan to this month). The economy isn't great (donations are down) and more people are needing help these days (demand is up). This is a bad mix.

I'm sure you are asking what does this mean, why am I spending time writing this, and why are you spending time reading this. I don't normally ask a lot but it would be great if my, as Trish called you, big readership could take a moment out and think about a way to help out someone this holiday season. I'm not going to say where or how because that is a personal decision. It doesn't need to be money and it could mean a lot to someone. Maybe that someone will be you.

Rock on.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more."
~ Dr. Seuss from 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who to watch out for at a local race.

Saturday night my daughter Amanda asked me what the swag was for a local XC race that was scheduled for Sunday morning. This race is famous (or is it infamous?) for not handing out the standard issue tee shirt but for trying to go a little off the standard swag menu. I emailed one of my friends in the running club who knows about these things and she emailed back that they were handing out wool winter hats this year. Amanda thought about it a bit and then decided she wanted to do the race. I had a short run on the training calendar for Sunday so I decided to stretch it out a bit for the 5k distance.

I haven't raced in a long time (the turkey trot didn't count because I ran it with my younger daughter). I had to get my head out of a competitive mindset to prevent myself from going too hard and hurting myself (again). I decided I was going to use this race as a test of sorts to see if I could limit myself to set a pace somewhere between a jog and a run. That mean to me to try to dial in the pace to about 11:30 and force myself to take a walk break of 1 minute every 8 minutes or so. Sounded like a plan that could work given my current lack of fitness.

As we were walking up to the on site registration, Amanda started checking out the competition and I joined in out of habit. As people were heading the other way from us we would comment on if we should be concerned with them or not. We started making a list of who to watch out for and I thought I'd share. Realize this is a trail race with the temperature in the 20s so most casual runners stayed home. So we figured out all (meaning us) should beware of:
  • Anyone wearing a race shirt from a race held before 1990.

  • Anyone who looks over 200 years old.

  • Anyone who, while running, looks like they are going to tilt over to one side.

  • Anyone who makes strange noises while running.

  • Anyone who farts while running in the lead pack.

  • Anyone wearing "senior road racing" team apparel

  • Anyone who wears a singlet and shorts when the temperature is less than 30F.

  • Anyone who breaks out spikes for a trail race. We didn't see any but someone running barefoot would qualify for the list too.

  • People who appear out of shape but with a Mdot tattoo or wearing an Ironman finisher shirt.

  • Teenage soccer players running in Adidas Samba indoor soccer shoes.

  • Someone with an Olympic ring tattoo on their ankle

We ran out of time trying to codify this crowd and the horn went off. I ran my race close to plan (I was a little quicker than I should have been but not a lot). MY friend Lorie commented that I was running almost too easy and said that I committed a trail race faux pas by running with an ipod. Amanda said she started well, passing the 1m mark in good shape but twisted her ankle somehow on the single track section. It wasn't bad enough to make her stop but she slowed down to a jog and still finished about 10 minutes before me.

Maybe I should add annoying fast daughters to this list?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Not too "hot" to trot!

Yesterday on Thanksgiving morning, we decided to continue our family tradition of running in a turkey trot. In the past we ran one in Smithtown about 25 minutes east of us since this was a race where my sister's family could meet us. They went away for the weekend up to Maine and we decided to run in the first Massapequa Turkey Trot. This race was closer to our house but the big news was that this was going to be 12 year old Courtney's first ever 5k!

The weathermen predicted cold weather with rain coming in later in the day. When we woke up in the morning it was high 30s but dry. As usual, the first challenge was what to wear. We wound up like the three bears: I probably over dressed a bit, Courtney under dressed a bit and Amanda was probably just right but it all worked out.

This was going to be my first race on the road to recovery/road to IMFL. I'm planning on racing much less this year as compared to previous years and I really wanted to take it relatively easy. Luckily Courtney decided she wanted to run with me so we mixed up mostly running/jogging with a few walk breaks mixed in. We were coming down the chute side by side and an evil thought went through mind on how to make sure I beat her but she finished strong, out kicking me to the end to snag 5th place in the female under 12 AG. Amanda wasn't "racing" this race but took 3rd in the 13-19 AG anyway so we stuck around for her to pick up her hardware.

This was a great race for the family. We went home to take the big 24lb turkey out of the oven and get ready for the rest of the family coming over. We wore our Turkey Trot shirts with pride throughout the day and had a great holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Quote of the week.

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

Friday, November 19, 2010


201Ironman is a collection of athletes (and me) that are racing an Ironman in 2011. I just posted an entry there about one of my favorite topics, me. Check out the site here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Salvation Army meets technology

This week I saw my first Salvation Army bell ringer of the season. I won't even get into why they are out already a week before Thanksgiving but at least she wasn't one of those "dressed as a Santa" bell ringers. Nor was she accompanied by a euphonium player as so many of them are (I guess this is should be considered the busy season in the euphonium trade - where else do you see them play?). In fact she was wearing a standard Salvation Army uniform. She was standing next to the kettle with her bell in her left armpit as she had an iphone in her left hand and was tapping keys with the fingers on her right hand.

I immediately thought that she must have a Salvation Army iphone app. At least it might be an iphone app that gives instructions on how to ring the bell with the proper Salvation Army procedure (left/right vs. up/down, short rings vs. long, etc). I temporarily thought that maybe, just maybe, my New Yorker cynicism was getting a little over the top.

Then I visited the app store and found not one but two Salvation Army Apps! One was free and was the actual ringing of the bell as you shake the phone. They had 12 different bell sounds as part of it. The second cost $2.99 and played Salvation Army Christmas carols on the iphone. I wonder if it simulated the sound of the euphonium. Unfortunately, my budget for this quest for useless knowledge would be exceed if I bought the $2.99 app so I'll never know.

I do now have an increased respect for the Salvation Army for trying a little different fund raising approaches in this difficult economy. I'll probably toss a few extra bucks in the kettle but will probably wait until I see one with a real euphonium player with a real bell ringer or two. Of course if there was a whole bell chorus playing iphone bells that would warrant consideration too!

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Quote of the week

"First, have a definite, clear practical idea; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end." - Aristotle

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Remembering how to run.

The concept of running shouldn't all that difficult. Left, right, then repeat a little quicker. I haven't run in a while due to my injuries but I think I recently had a eureka moment with my leg pain. I've seen a bunch of doctors and almost all have found something wrong with me but those things may have been wrong with me for a long time and not the cause of my pain.

I've worn orthotics since I ran in high school (yes, they had orthotics back then in the dark ages and I ran). Over the years I've had them replaced when they break since they typically last 3-5 years. At the same time as my running injuries started about a year ago, my right orthotic cracked so I got remeasured and the podiatrist made me a new pair. While looking in the back of the closet recently (typically a frightening place), I found an old right orthotic. I thought I'd take a chance since it looked different from my current one and replaced it in my shoes. After two weeks with the old one, my leg pain was almost gone. (One of the reasons I took the plunge with IMFL was because of this improvement. It may be a coincidence with something else but I'm not arguing.)

Now training has started concentrating on building fitness. I needed to get back into some sort of running even though my expectation is that IMFL will involve a lot or perhaps up to all walking. My coach's plan started me at walking with mini runs of 10 minutes and increasing the run duration slightly from time to time. Most of these runs were on the dreadmill but I decided to go outside this weekend as the weather gods were smiling in my area. The last time I ran outside was on July 4.

I bought two pairs of new sneakers (to alternate) since I didn't want to chance what condition my "old" ones were in. My Garmin 310xt has forgotten how to synch with the heart rate monitor. My ipod shuffle wasn't charged and I couldn't find the charging adapter. Once I charged it up, I couldn't find my running headphones (the standard Apple ones always fall out of my ear so I buy crappy, cheap, over the ear headphones that I kill over time with sweat). The small phone I carry while running wasn't charged either. I started thinking that maybe there was more to running than the left, right, repeat.

But I'm getting my "runs" in. I'm still based on time and my pace is frightening slow. I'm not hurting more than one would expect but the remembering is starting. Perhaps soon I'll remember how to run fast or if not fast, faster than slow.

One's gotta hope.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote of the week.

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination, and hard work" - Colin Powell

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How about that for some definition to the 2011 season!

Dear Rock Star,

Congratulations! You are now registered for 2011 Ford Ironman Florida. Please check the event's official website for updates:

Thank you and good luck!
Ironman Athlete Services

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Likes and Wonders

I like that the unofficial sign language sign for rolling down the window of a car is the moving your left hand as if you were using the crank for an old fashioned manual window. I wonder if the current generation of kids will ever know how to use a manual crank to get that window down.

I recently caught my daughter listening to a version of the 1812 Overture that her camp orchestra recorded last summer on her ipod with speakers. I told her to wait in her room a moment. I like that I was able to return to her with the "album" that my school orchestra recorded of the same song in 1978 in hand. She wondered how I could find it so fast. I wondered how we would ever listen to it since I no longer own a turntable for a 33.

I like that I recently set a new PR of a sort with my blood results with my cholesterol being 167. I wonder if the diet and exercise I've been doing have anything to do with it or not. Then again, I don't really wonder about this one.

I like that I'm back in training yet wonder where this will lead me. I like that I've been able to recognize some of the symptoms of training again. The first I recognized was taking multiple showers a day. The second was that there were more clothes to be washed. I wonder what the next one will be?

I like that the weather has changed a bit with some frost on the pumpkins (no, not those pumpkins!), I wonder when it will be too cold to ride outside on the weekend and I'll turn into a permanent denizen of the pain cave.

I like that all the people are racing this weekend (IMFL, NYC26.2). I won't shout out each individually but you know who you are. I wonder how you all will celebrate?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quote of the week

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. " - Bill Cosby

Monday, November 1, 2010

It is time.

My mind is ready for the "not season" to be over but the jury is still out on my body. Today, though, two things of note happened:
  1. I registered for my first event of 2011 The St Anthony's Olympic Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL on May 1. I was able to register early since I deferred out of the 2010 edition of this race due to injuries. I'm in a new age group so there will be a new bunch of fat geezers to beat me.
  2. I officially started back up training with my coach, Bike Mike.

I still have a lot of aches and pains but I'm going to embrace what I can do, not what I can't. My weight loss focus was lost when I went to Asia but I'm back on that bandwagon. My physical limitations might mean cutting back a bit on the number of events but my plan is to pick a big event and go for it. I may fall short but the journey is the destination.

Game on.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Brands transending

The recent hubbub about the short lived Ironman Access program (see here for Jeff's writeup) got me thinking. No, not about if this was an example of greed gone wild or why WTC quickly killed this program but the idea of a commercial brand or corporate symbol meaning something to the public or members of the public beyond what it should mean. This is more than "liking" a brand or following a brand but I started thinking about passion for what a brand supposingly means (beyond profit for the corporate entity) and what would be an indication of true passion for a brand. Then I had an idea. Besides Ironman, which brands warrant enough passion for people to get the corporate logo or symbol tattooed somewhere on their body?

Full disclosure - I do not have any tattoos and I'm not really planning on getting one.

My first thought, after the M-dot was Harley Davidson. I think this example might be even more understood and accepted by society than WTC's M-Dot.

My second thought was the Olympics with the Olympic Rings. Are the Olympics a for profit enterprise? Ask Peter Uebberoth whose led and managed the first privately financed Olympic Games to a surplus of nearly $250 million in the 1984 games.

Other corporate brands that could fall into this category included Nike, Playboy, Disney and even Apple (see William H. Macy in Wild Hogs). I'm sure there are more and we all could add to this list.

But is it right? This is beyond loyalty. In some cases it is beyond believing the hype. As always, what may be OK to some may be over the top to others. Of course, it also made me wonder if they included a discount on a tattoo with the $1000 Ironman Access program would that have been enough to have to accepted by more "customers." I believe this story isn't over but I am interested in seeing where it goes.

PS: There are more interesting articles on this all around the blogosphere. I referenced Jeff's as one of the first I saw on this along with BDDs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

One Crazy Penguin tagged me with the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks OCP! I've done some similar types of posts in the past but since it has been a while I decided to play along. So without further ado:

The rules are that I need to:

* Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award - Done!

* Share 7 things about yourself:

  1. I've lived within the confines of New York State for my whole life.
  2. My eyesight is poor and I wear glasses. I was never able to wear contacts comfortably since I have very dry eyes. I thought about LASIX but was afraid that I would wind up being the fail statistic and then found out dry eyes make most of the reputable doctors reject me as a candidate. I wear prescription goggles while swimming to see the clock and the wall (more important than the clock). As I age, though, my overall eyesight is improving. I now need bifocals to read the bike computer though. Sigh.
  3. I've never beaten my older daughter in a running race. She normally laughs at me at the start of the race and says "see ya." I've never raced against my younger daughter yet. She doesn't like to run but the opportunity to crush her old man might soon be too tempting for her to avoid a turkey trot show down. Bring it, girl!
  4. I know how to parallel park. This seems like a lost art these days. Perhaps this is related to number 1?
  5. I was always considered a poor writer while in school. Some people now think I write well. Don't know if I've improved as a writer or if standards have declined. Maybe a little of both.
  6. I typically have 2 BlackBerrys on me: one for work and one for nonwork. I tried an iPhone once and gave it back. I carry my non-work bberry in my right front pocket and my work one in my left front pocket. Some might say this is an issue. No need to judge.
  7. My wife always wanted me to learn to play tennis with her as that is her sport (she is good). I agreed to join a couples league with her that starts this weekend. It is possible that I might get banned from the tennis asylum as I might be the worst tennis player in history. I won't have my blackberrys with me while playing tennis.
  8. I know a lot of useless facts. One of my issues is the lack of useful facts.
  9. I don't follow directions well.

Now I'm supposed to pass this challenge/award forward. An interesting thing would be to tag the people who are new to following my blog so I can learn a little about you. Another would be for the long time followers to play along. I guess what this means is that this is a self select challenge: If you want to, go for it!

Thanks again OCP!

Quote of the week.

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." -
Walt Disney

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back from Hong Kong

I spent the last week either in a plane going to Hong Kong, in Hong Kong itself, or on a plane flying home. This business trip included two 16 hour flights with a 12 hour timezone change. I don't know which is hitting me harder: the timezone change or the weather changing from temperature and humidity being in the upper 80s (with rain at times) in Hong Kong or arriving in New York with the temperature in the middle 50s. I'm pretty sure my body will adapt to the weather before the timezone. We'll see tonight at about 2 in the morning if I am staring at the ceiling or tomorrow when I try a work out.

I'll figure out tomorrow which type of workout but there will be a bike, a swim, a run/walk, and of course, a nap done over the course of the weekend. Most will be an easy intensity but I'm expecting the nap to be a "power" nap. In fact, I may even try more than one nap.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quote of the week

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek" - Mario Andretti

Friday, October 8, 2010

Charm school

This week I attended "charm school."

What is charm school you ask? The mainstream doesn't really call what I attended charm school but refers to it as a much more socially acceptable name of "senior executive training" or "leadership training" or something pompous sounding like that. The non-mainstream probably calls it a boondoggle or perhaps "how to teach the boss how to not miss the papers when he has to go."

Charm school was, in reality, an in-depth psychological testing of yours truly to see how I would tend to react under stress along with training around methods to act as a better leader of a high performance team. These tests were reviewed one on one with a shrink wannabe and small group of other senior managers (aka peers) from around the globe. There will be follow up sessions at 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months to see if any of this training sticks.

The good part of this charm school was that my firm decided I was worthy of this investment. This training was held off site at a country estate so we wouldn't be interrupted with the crisis of the day. I was able to find out some things about myself but nothing was a huge surprise. The best part of this training was the establishment of relationships with some very smart people that I now have the opportunity to cultivate.

The bad part is that this "estate environment" was over the top. The food was plentiful and rich so nothing was on my diet. The icing on the proverbial cake was the scotch tasting seminar that I just had to go to as a team building exercise one night. I recommend this type of "tasting" to anyone who has the opportunity. Even if it doesn't build teams well and isn't on most exercise plans nor diets, it is worth a chance to see if it does. I think that I'll try to make the 1 month training follow up to concentrate on single malts rather than blends.

Don't worry, charm school didn't teach me how to solve "round peg/square hole" problem so I still have that going for me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quote of the week

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzkey

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 2011 Race Calendar

Next year, in contrast to previous years where I've pre-registered for a whole season of events, I've decided to "plan on not planning" my 2011 event calendar. Due to injuries, I spent a lot of money on race entry fees on events where I wasn't able to compete this year. This is troublesome on a variety of reasons so I've decided to scale back and just sign up in advance for only a few important events. Others might be added but only as advised by my coach, BikeMike.

I still hope to do in 2011 what I'm considering as my Highlander Ironman (there can be only one). Based on conversations with a variety of medical folks, there will come a time in the not too distant future when I won't be able to race longer distance triathlons. I'm not there yet but the general theme is that the more I train long, especially running, the sooner that inability will happen. If that doesn't happen, great (yes, doctors have been wrong before), but I'm planning on my iron career to be one and done at best. Which one is still open for debate but I'm feeling now the best event for my success is IMFL in November, not IMLP or some of the other options. This'll probably mean being online when registration opens hoping to get through or paying the freight of a community slot.

I have the ability to register early for St Anthony's Olympic triathlon on May 1 in St. Petersburg, Florida since I deferred in 2010. I've done this race a couple of times already and enjoy it a lot. I'm going to sign up but haven't decided if I'm going to do it on my own or with Team in Training. I might do a cycle event with TNT instead but this is one of those BikeMike decisions.

Many of my friends are shooting for Rev3 Quassy in June and I'd like to do this race too. I haven't done it before but have heard good things about it (I've also heard it is hard but that could be a good thing too). My wife is a big supporter of the concept of the Rev3 races and luckily I don't have to sign up way in advance. I'll decide on Half vs. Oly later based on how my training goes. My wife wouldn't mind if I did Rev3 Cedar Point as my late season half iron distance (it is near her sister's home) but we have even more time to decide on that one.

I'll still go to Placid to cheer on the faithful and make that a training weekend.Other races, like sprint triathlons, camps like FiremanIronman and/or bike events, will be sprinkled in later by BikeMike as part of official training.

Official training, by the way, resumes November 1.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Some things you need to learn cannot be taught

I recently was reading a book (yes, an old school book made of paper) and one of the themes of this book can be paraphrased as the title of this post: somethings you need to learn cannot be taught. This book had to do with music lessons and the balance (or imbalance) between technique, interpretation, and artistry. I "got it" as it relates to music and thought it would be interesting to see how this concept applied to the world of sports, the ones that I try to participate in particular.

Great idea, Joe, but then my mind went blank.

In the meantime, my daughter was having a hard time with her athletic expectations. Her first cross country race of the year, although it was a PR for her, didn't go the way she had planned and hoped. She went out too fast, suffered near the end and was devastated. She did the same thing, but even worse, on her second race but the difference was that she had one of her slowest times ever at that distance. When I spoke to her after the race she realized that she was more concerned with everyone else and she said "I need to run my own race." The awareness of this concept, although she has been told this again and again, became a eureka moment for her.

The other thing she needed to "learn" was proper pacing. Again, no matter how often she was told that she was going out too fast, it didn't stick. Fortunately, she tried going out a little slower and ran a very strong race in her third meet, setting a huge PR (second fastest 9th grade girl in her school ever), being really strong at the end, and passing people to gain points for her team.

Two things that she needed to learn, pacing and running your own race, I believe are really hard to learn except by paying your dues. They aren't something that can be taught effectively but they are some of the keys required for success.

Then I started thinking of more. Finding the exact balance between too hard and too easy is a continuous challenge for most athletes and another thing for the list. Knowing the difference between hurting and being injured can make the cut. Self awareness while racing to be able to adapt can be added too. I sure there are many more and I wish I had a list of these things so that I could teach them or be taught but, then again, that probably wouldn't matter so much since they can't be taught.

But they need to be learned. Got any to add?

Rock on.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quote of the week.

"The starting point of all achievement is desire." - Napoleon Hill

Friday, September 24, 2010

For Runners with Balls

I spent the last week in London. I travel from time to time for work and it has been a while since I visited my UK team. While this didn't help the workout schedule nor the diet (sampling proper English Ale isn't on most diets), I had some spare time to stop by a magazine stand and wanted to see if there was anything different that the standard athletic fare of "Runner's World" and the like. I noticed on the rack a running magazine "Men's Running." I thought this a standard magazine and then noticed the subtitle "For Runner's with Balls."

I didn't buy the magazine but chuckled about this magazine cover most of the day. I wondered if this was my Yankee prudishness coming through or perhaps I missed something. I decided to research this magazine a little.

The website states that "Men's Running is the UK's first running magazine just for men. Every issue focuses on running, fitness, sports, lifestyle, health, nutrition and hot girls in shorts."" I found that this is a new magazine that was started in response to the highly successful "Women's Running." I then had to see what the subtitle for the women's flavor of this magazine and, of course, tried to imagine options that could be equally ironic. Why, what could women run with?

I'll let you think about that for a moment.

You probably thought of slogans similar to what I thought of. Unfortunately, though, the official subtitle for the women's magazine is "It's your time."

Disappointing to say the least.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quote of the week

Luke: I don't believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Two years ago I started this blog with this less than epic post. When I started this blog I had just started training with a coach after signing up for what would be my first half Ironman. A few days earlier, my firm (aka the Brothers Lehman) declared bankruptcy and my job was melting down. I started this blog to chronicle my athletic failures (no successes were really anticipated) without any expectations and it seemed likely that this blog could just quickly disappear.

I'm happy that this blog became a little more than nothing. What it is, I don't really know but I feel that I've gotten to e-know some people through it and some people may have gotten to e-know me a little. Some good, funny bloggers make me crack up from time to time. I shared in mine and others successes and failures too. Some blogerati have disappeared and others have magically appeared over time. I feel that my journey, while it may veer off in unexpected directions from time to time and is still slow, isn't over yet.

Thanks for reading.

Hunting for Bear

Last week was a bad week for me with the diet. I went out for dinner a couple of days, didn't follow the diet, and ultimately didn't post my weight as I knew it would be bad. I hoped to get back on track by losing the weight I gained to continue my quest to lose 30 pounds.

Nutrisystem didn't get the memo and send me the bear pictured to the left. It is for celebrating losing 10 pounds. It is a beanie baby like stuffed bear and his name is "Pound." The missing, yet crucial, detail was that I hadn't lost 10 pounds yet on this diet.

I put his picture as the background on my blackberry so I could be reminded of my failure often. I'm one of those blackberry addicts you keep hearing about since I check it dozens (hundredsd?) of times each day. It also kept me thinking about what I am doing and why. I think it helped.

I did ok on the diet this week. The scale reported that I lost most of the weight I gained and even passed the 10 pound barrier. I earned that bear. That hunt is over. I'm back with the right mindset and my quest continues. I wonder if I'll get a bear for 20 lbs lost and wonder what his name would be. Rock Star, perhaps?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy." - Rudy Giuliani

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A penny on the floor.

I was getting lunch today and while on line for my salad, I saw a penny on the floor. My first thought was to not pick it up. After all, it was just a penny. I then thought I wasn't doing anything except waiting, so I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

I then started thinking about what I would bend down to pick up and figured that if it was a dollar, I was definitely going for it. A nickel or dime really depended on my mood. A quarter, most likely, but a penny, not so much.

Then I tried to figure out how much the effort would be worth to actually pick up the penny. I timed that the deep knee bend would take about 3 seconds with the benefit being the penny itself. If I was able to do that pace of penny picking, I would get 20 cents a minute that equates to $12 dollars an hour. If I do some penny picking up intervals or speed work I could probably get to one every 2 seconds. That'll turn into $18/hour. I wondered what world class would be in picking up pennies.

I know that my model is flawed. Fatigue could come into play. Most penny picking up could be considered sprinting. I wondered if anyone could be a naturally born penny picker upper (I'm not). This math said that I should be picking more coins than I currently do.

I finally got my salad. As I ate my salad I wondered if other people spend brain cycles on nonsense like this. I realized I need to spend more brain cycles on training instead. I've done some training recently and after my 30 mile bike ride this weekend, my body was sending hints to my brain about how I haven't asked it to do much recently.

But I am a penny richer! What am I going to spend it on?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Explaining 9/11 to children

Over dinner tonight I had a conversation with my daughter Courtney about the events of 9/11/2001. Courtney was three years old on that day and doesn't have much of a recollection beyond television. We ate out tonight at Chili's and I was wearing my Pat Tillman ASU jersey. People in the restaurant were commenting on my jersey and one even shook my hand. Courtney wondered why.

Almost everyone of my generation has their own story about that day and I'm no exception. I won't go into my details at this time but for context my office window had a line of sight to the WTC. I watched the events in NY transpire not on television, but out my window.

Courtney and I had a long conversation that covered a wide range of topics related to 9/11. I realized that some young children may never be able to grasp the significance of the events of that day. At some point, it could turn into just being yet another question on some history test. Thinking that makes me a little sad.  Having conversations with our children and explaining 9/11 isn't easy but something I feel needs to happen.

Never Forget.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quote of the week


Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The mall

Earl wound up being mostly a bust here. Saturday was breezy but they said that the ocean beaches had 6-9 foot waves with a lot of standing water. Sunday might have been the best day of the year weather-wise. I was looking for an adventure with the family since this was the last weekend before school starts on Wednesday.

I wound up went to the mall with my 12 year old daughter clothes shopping. Yes, clothes shopping. At the mall. Me. I decided to frame this as a workout.

You doubt this is a workout? Try it some day.

The mental and physical aspect of preteen shopping are almost unbelievable . The disorientation of going into dark stores with "music" blasting challenges the mental stress of intervals. The battling of finding a parking spot and that walking for what seems like miles to go from one store to the other rivals a long run. The acting as a Sherpa carrying the purchases can easily be considered weight training. Avoiding tripping over the unsupervised little kids running through the rack are as difficult as most agility drills.

The only thing I imagine could be worse would be shopping with more than one kid. My older daughter admired the clothes we picked out and said that I should take her shopping next. I think I need some recovery first.

PS: I swam on Monday morning in the Sound as part of this recovery. The air temp was in the low 50s (yeah, baby) and the water temp was about 70 without any serious chop. The sand was cold but once we got in the water it was perfect. Great swim.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Name is Earl

  • First, the weigh in results for this week are in. I cheated missed two meals this week but followed the program fairly close for the rest of the week. The most egregious "break" was the barbecue that I went to last weekend where it seemed that I couldn't stop eating grazing on chips, dip, and the like. Even so, the scale showed -1.8 lbs. A little disappointing on one hand but OK on the other hand.
  • As I write this, my back yard is the line between a tropical storm warning a the tropical storm watch. What's the difference? I don't know. We'll find out late Friday/early Saturday when Hurricane Earl is supposed to scoot by. I've been doing mini workouts this week getting my body used doing radical things like sweating and the like. The exercise ramp up continues.
  • I wanted to give an open water swim a try this weekend. Hopefully Earl doesn't make the Long Island Sound like swimming in a washing machine. If it does, splashing in the pool is the option.
  • Earl's leftover wind will make the planned bike rides interesting as well.
  • Keep safe everyone!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quote of the week

"Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes. " - Bill Cosby

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some things learned

  • Sami, Emily, and Amanda (otherwise known as Friendly Fire) did very well at the Runner's Edge Tobay Triathlon coming in 3rd place in their division.
  • All the parents were very proud. Realize these were teenagers that got up at 5am to race on the second to last weekend of the summer before school starts. Yes, 5AM. Yes, to race. Did I say we were proud of them? 3rd place was a bonus.
  • Unfortunately the parents (including yours truly) of these athletic young ladies didn't realize that this third place finish was for a division that awarded hardware (all female). We have to get their hardware during this week. Thing #1 learned this week.
  • Of course when I don't do the race, the swim seemed shorter than advertised. Next year, if I race this event, the 1km swim, I'm sure, will rival an Oly swim or perhaps a half iron. It has in the past.
  • I tried to cheer on the girls the best I could but that meant running a lot from point to point on the course. I counted this as a workout but realized that I would do more training following with a "plan." Thing #2 learned this week.
  • Today I crafted a training plan with the goal of potentially racing in a Columbus Day weekend sprint triathlon.
  • I'm not actually going to register for this race since I've already donated too much money this year for races I didn't race. If it doesn't sell out and I'm ready, I'll go for it. If not, I've saved some money. Either way I think I'll be better off following the plan. Thing #3 learned this week.
  • Kudo's to everyone who raced this weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Perhaps and perhaps not.

Week 2 (aka 10 weeks to go) resulted in an additional weight loss of 1.8 pounds. This is a total loss of 7.6 pounds over 2 weeks. The good news is that it is still a good start. The bad news is that I was hoping to maintain a two pound per week loss after the first week. Was this expectation realistic?

Perhaps and perhaps not.

On the "perhaps" side of this equation is that missing from my agenda are real workouts. I've been walking a lot but haven't done a focused workout since my accident. It is time to mix some sweat into the equation and make this back into more a triathlon blog rather than a pity party blog. I've jumpstarted the weight loss and now it is time to jump start the training by crafting a workout plan and following it. I'm going to keep the running off the calendar (the walking will cover that aspect for a while) but shoot to mix in 3 swims and 3 bikes per week. I've put my tri bike on the trainer, I've bought season 3 and season 4 of "Northern Exposure" on DVD to watch on the trainer. Losing 1.8 isn't bad without the work outs.

On the "perhaps not" side of the equation is that I've taken some liberties with following the diet. I need to reduce the liberties since I feel that if I go off the "program" for even a single meal, it takes my body about two days to make up for it. Sad, yes but something that I need to be aware of.

In related news, I was supposed to race this weekend, the Runner's Edge TOBAY sprint triathlon. Part of me was thinking I should just do the 1000m swim as a workout and hand in my chip. Another part of me thought about mixing in the bike and/or run but then I realized the only thing I would accomplish by this was hurting myself due to the lack of training so I've decided to not race at all. My daughter is racing as part of a relay so I'll be there to cheer her on and maybe help out with the race logistics a bit.

Will I be itching to race watching everyone else? Perhaps and perhaps not. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quote of the week.

"I'm tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok." - Shaquille O'Neal

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Nutrisystem Experiment

For those who don't know my history, I used to be very heavy. Some might (and did) say Orca heavy. Too big to go on some scales heavy (you get the picture). I was able to get down to just "heavy'" with a mix of diet, biking, Weight Watchers, biking, exercise, focus, biking, running, exercise, swimming, and more exercise with some diet thrown in. Many people still ask if I got the surgery. I didn't, but that doesn't mean I didn't consider it.

My weight has fluctuated in a small range until my recent accident and I saw it inching up. That, coupled with a self imposed challenge regarding my weight as one prerequisite to signing up for an Ironman by the first week in November, made me want to find something to jump start my body right sizing. I first considered Jenny Craig but I couldn't seem to get their attention the times I went to their store front. I then decided to give Nutrisystem a try instead since it was similar in approach and I've heard people had success there.

I ordered a standard men's plan but was frustrated when the stuff got delivered. Paperwork was missing. There was no packing slip to see what was included and what wasn't. There was no overview of the plan. I got on the phone and the "counselor" was OK to deal with but I had issues with the ordering/delivery people. I finally confirmed that I got most of what I needed to start and last Saturday, my Nutrisystem experiment began.

I didn't expect to food to be good since I viewed this as a couple of months of medicine. There is a lot of food you need to add to the mix mostly concentrating on veggies, salad, and dairy (none major components of my traditional diet). The highlight of this experiment so far has been the ipad/iphone app that helps tell you what you are supposed to eat daily. It also helps track your consumption.

Whenever I start a diet, I am not a nice person to be around. Luckily, my older daughter went away to cross country camp and my wife used this week as a special get away with my younger daughter to Hershey, PA. They even got a chocolate manicure at the Hershey Spa. Imagine that.

So the first week results (six days only since I started on Saturday but I like to weigh in on Friday morning) are in. I followed the plan fairly close I think but not perfectly. My weight even so has changed by 5.8 lbs this week. This is a little better than my expectations (I was expecting 5 lbs down for week one and for about 2 lbs thereafter). I'm still heavier than before my accident in July though.

So, overall a decent start but continued focus needed to follow the right path. Eleven weeks to go.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path" - Morpheus (from the Matrix)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The return of concierge service

My goal this weekend was to get back on the bike for a no pressure, easy outdoor ride to test out the progress of my left hand. I wanted to do a short, mellow ride outside to see if I could handle the bike. My first thought was to join the LITC group that was riding 90 minutes, running 30, riding 90, and running 30 with the goal of just doing the first 90 minute ride but then I thought better of it.

My second thought was to just ride around the neighborhood but that seemed really boring. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to do something outside. The choice I settled on was asking my wife and younger daughter Courtney if they wanted to go for a "family" ride along the bike trail from Cedar Creek Park to Jones beach. This 4.5 mile paved path is a gathering spot for casual bikers, runners, rollerbladers, and walkers. Amanda is away so it wasn't a true family ride but it looked like it could be a good compromise. You can't hammer on this route, there are no cars, it is short enough so I should be able to tough it out if things went bad or even turn around if necessary. In short, good for all.

When I posed this offer to my wife she asked, "Do we get concierge service? Will you load the bikes on the car and pump up the tires?" I dutifully said, "Yes, Ma'am," and started loading up the minivan for a biking adventure. Bike rack on, bikes on, pump in the car, helmets in the car, and I looked up and saw my wife and daughter ready to go with water bottles for all.

We had fun. Courtney set the pace so we kept it under control. :) I found unexpected bumps hurt. I also found that even though I put the cycling gloves in the car, they never made it on my hands. The eureka moment when I realized that I forgot them was at the far end of the trail. Oh well, next time.

I came home and showered. When I came out of the shower my wife said that she took the bikes off the rack, put them in the garage, took the helmets and stuff out of the car but she needed my help to remove the rack from the hitch. I wasn't expecting concierge service for myself but wasn't complaining.

Concierge service is good. What else in life should have concierge service?

Friday, August 13, 2010

The road to recovery.

  • I've been walking a ton. It is 2.5 miles from my office in Tribeca to Penn Station (where I need to go to get the LIRR home). I've done that walk at least one way most days, some days both ways.

  • I went swimming for the first time since my accident the other night. My hand hurt but it was tolerable. Since it is my "off season" now it is drill after drill for a while. Drill of the week: Catch up.

  • I asked the Syracuse 70.3 folks via email what they could do for me since I wouldn't be able to race due to injury. I figured since I was telling them so far in advance they could either fill my entry with someone else who wanted to race or cut down on some of the swag they needed. I wasn't looking for money back but it would be nice if the offered me early entry for next year. They said per policy they could do nothing. I'll have someone pick up my swag for me.

  • I cancelled my reservation at the hotel for Syracuse.

  • I gained about 10 pounds in my month of relative inactivity.

  • I hope to get on the bike outside again tomorrow. I've only done stationary biking since the face plant.

  • I ordered a month of Nutrisystems food to jump start the weight loss. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Do one thing every day that scares you" - Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, August 6, 2010

Everyone has a limit to their incompetence if they try long enough.

My family has been vacationing at the same resort in the Catskills since I was 12 years old. The tradition has continued as we've grown up and we now have multiple generations of our family along with multiple generations of people that have become friends with us from spending the same week, year after year, together. This resort isn't fancy. If the menu would change there would be a revolt. Each meal is served family style and there is one choice per meal. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best. There is little wrong with that.

One of the things that sometimes excites the crowd are the various contests that are held during the week. These contests are variations on some sport from years ago like shuffleboard, bocce, tennis, basketball, and most of all, the fishing contest. I've never won these one of these highly competitive battles but we prepared for the fishing contest by purchasing special worms that are "not for human consumption." (see picture above of the certified worm contained). The rules are simple: longest fish out the big lake (roughly 200 yard by 50 yards) between 930 and 11am on Friday. I got this guy and was leading the way for a while but would it stand up?

This large mouth bass was measured at 18" without standing on him to smush him a little longer. After 37 years of trying to bring home the hardware, I finally got one of these puppies to be the centerpiece of my place of honor:

PS: I wasn't able to find worms that were fit for human consumption but then again I didn't try too long.

PPS: Note no brace on my wrist nor bandages on my hand. Progress is good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quote of the week.

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." - Yogi Berra

Friday, July 30, 2010

Determining if I'm ready for Ironman

How important is doing an Ironman race to you?

This question was the theme of many questions last weekend. My wife and I discussed this for literally hours prior to watching 2010 IMLP, during IMLP and on the drive home.

In order to for me to toe the starting line of an Ironman race, I need to be physically able to do the training necessary for success. My latest injury finally made me see reality - I'm not ready and I've been avoiding the obvious for some time now. My left hand doesn't work right, my knee still hurts more often than not, my hip hurts from time to time, and while I've lost a lot of weight from the beginning of this journey, I've haven't been successful on optimizing my body composition. I'm nowhere near where I need to be in order to be successful to start train for this distance.

But can I be ready to train? That's the second question that I need to answer.

The first question is how to define what is "ready to train." I believe that my size is my greatest limiter. I feel that if I was significantly lighter I would have fewer or less severe injuries. I realize that face planting off a bike or getting hit by a car doesn't have any correlation to my weight but I believe that my hip and knee issues are at least magnified due to my weight. Sad, but true. My size is a big contributor to my effectiveness (or lack there of) on the bike and run. If I was lighter, I should be faster. The biggest component of being ready, though, is that I need to be injury free. I've been dinged up in some manner for almost a year now. Something hurts, and it isn't always the same something, almost all the time. I need to heal.

I may never get to the point where I am "ready to train" for an Ironman and that's OK. But let's take a leap of faith and hope that I can get to the point when I could be ready to train. Once I get to that point, I need actually to do the work to prepare. Many people think that doing an Ironman is a very personal quest and on one level it is. Another level, though, makes me not necessarily agree with this statement since the impact on my family is hard to predict. I'd be wrong to say it would have no impact, it will. That bothers me some.

Watching IMLP was inspiring and I'd love to be able to race the 2011 version of that race. My family will support me as best they can in this quest but I need to be physically and mentally ready to keep up my end of the bargain. So I've decided on a checkpoint approach. If my body has healed and my body composition is looking good (aka weight under 230) by November 1, I'm going to sign up via a community slot if available. If there are no community slots left, another race. Perhaps IMFL or IMAZ.

If my body composition isn't where it needs to be, I guess Ironman wasn't that important to me.

Since I'm going to focus on healing , I won't race anymore this season unless it is a fun, low pressure event. Syracuse70.3 was in jeopardy since I can't train for it. Ditto for NYC26.2 in November. Taking them off the agenda will help me focus on what is important. Healing and body composition.

Let the off season begin.

Let the body get right sized.

Let the healing begin.

Only then I'll be able to determine if I am ready or not or if it is important to me or not.

PS: I made a hotel room reservation for Placid next year just in case. One's gotta hope.