Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DETAILS magazine triathlon quote

A couple months back, I was interviewed by a writer for Details magazine for an upcoming piece on triathlon. I wasn't sure at the time what form this article would take, and to what degree my contribution would be included, but last Friday I got the answer when the March issue was released. I had a nice quote towards the end of the article that I don't think make me look like too much of a fool, although I'm probably biased. The piece is entitled How the Triathlon Became the New Status Symbol and was written by Simon Dumenco. Behold, some scanned magazine pages from the mag -

Here is what the article looks like in print.

If you want to check out the whole article, it can be found here. Or, support the magazine and go pick up a copy at your closest newsstand or bookstore!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

blog update, training, and peanut butter, 02.23.10

Well after a couple of failed attempts at posting a new entry, as Redman said, tonight's the night baby, so read up on these. Two weekends ago (2/6), the trainer party was at Jen and Chad's again, and that time we managed to fit 7 of us in their basement, up from the previous high of 5, and a good time was had by all for 3.5-4 hours of spinning bliss.
All of the usual suspects were there, plus Matty Mo, Kim, and the famous Heidi that I finally got a chance to meet and train with. This was long overdue, but great to finally make her acquaintance! After 3.5 hours, all of the non-injured runners went out for transition runs of varying lengths and one tough little cookie - - kept spinning right on up to 4 hours for what I think at the time was a trainer record, at least for this winter, among this group. Afterward, J & C had another wonderful snack/brunch ready and waiting, replete with numerous fruits, nuts, smoothies, and the guilty post-spin pleasure: the muffins. I think even a caveman would love a muffin after a 4 hour hunt!
We all chowed down as we told some fun yet controversial stories and then we all parted ways and Jocelyn and I headed to our home pool for a quick swim. Later that night Jocey and I joined my brother Chris and his bride-to-be Alyson for some shopping and dinner in the dreaded, and rarely navigated South Hills. Sunday it was on for another sub-freezing long run, and this time we were on Joe V's turf, mainly to run a downhill 5 kilos or so at his goal Boston Marathon pace. We got in about 14 miles and put a major hurt on our respective calf muscles in the process. Meanwhile Jocey was at the Y doing a 2-hr water run because of her foot, and as you can see was not a happy camper. She did however have some tunes, thanks to a Jen H inspired ipod setup.
The following week of training was standard fare, nothing too wild, just getting in the usual volume. On the real world front, Jocelyn was sick and was having foot issues, and both of us were having some vehicular issues and getting tired of the snowy driveway behind our house. Jocey was getting stuck, I was lamely pushing her in clogs and straining my neck (the 3rd way you can hurt your neck), my battery was dying and car overheating, basically, a reality bites kinda week. However the overwhelming highlight of the week and major bright spot was definitely the Team BallouSkies meeting at Sharp Edge Sewickley on Wednesday night. There the braintrust of BallouSkies was in attendance, represented by Ryan, Ty, Merrett, Melissa, Ward, and then tri team members Kevin, Steve, Kim, Jocelyn, and myself. We had a wonderful meeting, came up with a tentative plan of action for the team's efforts in 2010, revealed some new gear, products, and crescendo-ed with some incredible energy that we will bring to the charity and the fight against DMD! Below are the BallouSkies bracelets that you will soon see at a race, fundraiser, heck, everywhere near you!
Then Ty brought out a bottle of the new BallouSkies Peanut Butter that is now available online and soon in a large number of Western Pa's Giant Eagle supermarkets. 100% of the profits of this All Natural peanut butter are donated to BallouSkies and go towards research to help boys afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. On the cap is a likeness of Ryan and yours truly!
Get online and buy yourself some extremely tasty peanut butter to spread on those bagels, english muffins, celery stalks, put in your smoothies, etc!

The rest of the week started going a little more smoothly after the high point of Wednesday's meeting and also getting my car's battery replaced, and then it was time to prep for another focused weekend of training. Last weekend's trainer dance was at Kim's house, and we four (Kim, Heidi, Jocey, me) triathletes kept it rolling. Kim and I before the ride, in our sweet BallouSkies gear.
We got in the now predictable pattern of 3.75-4 hours followed up by a ~30 minute transition run. Then Kim treated us to a post-workout meal of some excellent grub, dietitian style, which we all very much enjoyed in our depleted state. Many fruits and nuts, and even some chocolate milk! But maybe the centerpiece of this meal, the savory looking BallouSkies Peanut Butter shown below, and my equally impressive spokesmodeling abilities!

As we talked and rested afterward, we all had a good laugh about some strange locals and some very awkward situations we all have endured. Jocey and I then took off and did a quick swim, and then relaxed the rest of the night. Sunday morning I was supposed to do a swim meet at the Cranberry Y, but between the league officials who never got SEWY's entries and therefore never got us seeded, my so-so neck, and an oncoming cold, I pulled the plug on the meet and decided to do a solo 15 mile run and shovel snow off of our deck. Which pretty much brought on the cold instantaneously and, surprisingly, didn't much help my neck situation either. Now I just gotta get myself better so I can lay it on even more next weekend! As my friend and teammate Steve commented recently, No Rest for the Wicked!

Monday, February 8, 2010

training triumphs and tribulations

The last 10 days or so of training have been marked by some distinct highs and lows, but I guess that is all part of the process and what makes you stronger in the end. Almost two weeks ago now, I spoke of the beginnings of a potential sickness of some kind, and sure enough, this progressed a little bit further down the road than I had hoped. Coming up on the end of January and heading into another big weekend of training, my gut really started acting up and providing me and those around me with all sorts of discomfort and disruptions. I thought at one point it may have been due to the internet acquired almonds that I had been eating en masse and I feared tainted, but in retrospect it was probably the initially suspected bug. This did not keep me from my training however, and not this past weekend but the last, Jocelyn and I joined the IM crew again for another big session. Lisa, myself, and Jocey pictured below in Jen and Chad's basement.
We did a 3.5 hr trainer ride followed by a 30 minute transition run on the cold streets of Irwin, and then after a nice recovery brunch at Casa de Holderbaum, it was off to the Greensburg YMCA for perhaps the most ridiculous training leg of all, a 1650 time trial. As former pool swimmers, Jen and I lead off in the 1st heat and got things warmed up for Chad and Jocelyn. Strangely, this swim was the portion of the day that I feared the most for both stomach related troubles and performance shortcomings, but was pleasantly the most solid of all. I swam a 21:45 for the 1650, which works out to be about a 1:19 pace per 100y. I'll take it, after 4 hrs of earlier workouts and some tight hamstrings on those late flipturns.
Chad, Jen, Jocelyn, and myself.
The following (last) week went pretty well, I starting coming around health wise by Monday or Tuesday and didn't really miss any planned workouts due to The Bug. I did have a couple shorter bike sessions on T/TH than I would have liked, but I was also at work a little later than ideal and this made for late starts. Swimming continued to flow pretty well, running was average with no foot discomfort, however some of those aforementioned bike sessions left me feeling a little bit more flat than they should have. I read an article Thursday night about racing weight and coupled with a surprisingly low scale reading Friday morning, this got me paranoid about the pitfalls of my Paleo ways. I will reserve judgment and blame The Bug for now. And with Super Bowl Sunday coming up, my bottom line was sure to be padded just a little.

This past Saturday we had another trainer session planned at another friend's house and of course I was really keyed up for this again, when the infamous Blizzard of 2010/Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse hit overnight Friday. When Jocelyn and I woke up to no power and 20 inches of new, wet snow, we knew the group trainer streak was going to come to an end. While initially this was very upsetting in a tri-myopic sort of way, once we ventured outdoors, we soon found alternative activities to keep up entertained. We briefly considered doing our 3 hr trainer ride, just the two of us, by headlamps or candlelight, with a portable battery powered dvd player, but quickly called an audible for snow shoveling cross-training and then a cross country ski trek into Sewickley and to a warmer shelter. And now, as the skies previously dumped snow on the mid-Atlantic region, I shall dump my photos on the blogger-nets.
Jocey striding through an idyllic Ponterfract Park.

Me crossing over LSC.

As the crow flies or the train goes by to Sewick-town.


After a relaxing rest of the day Saturday, Sunday dawned and it was time for the weekly long run. Chris, Joe, and Steve joined Jocelyn and I for a planned 10 miler through the snowy, 8 degree countryside. A shot of all of the runners synchronizing our before the run. We'll have to send this one into Garmin, and yes, we know we're dorks. Fast dorks.

Jocey, Chris, Joe, and Steve heading out away from town.

Steve, me, and Jocey about a mile further down the road.

Joe, Chris, Steve, and Jocey heading past the first of many downed trees on a usually moderately traveled country road.

Steve, Chris, Jocelyn (foreground, pushing the pace!), and Joe passing under a big one. This was amazing, we had this whole road to ourselves, and yes, this is a road! This looks a lot like the trails that are on top of the adjacent ridges!

Chris and I post-run, we got in an unexpected 13 miles, but the time just flew by and I felt like I could have run 30 that day. Maybe my most enjoyable run of all-time.

After the run, we then came home to our 41 degree house. Our power was still out (nearly 37 hours later) but even this could not bring me down after that epic snowscape run.
About an hour later the power was finally restored and the rest of Sunday was spent relaxing and preparing for the Super Bowl. Jocey and I went over to the Filauri's and met back up with Steve and Joe, along with Joyce and Fay among others, for some football fun and the promised padding of the bottom line. This was an excellent and more normal end to a strange, but very memorable weekend. I learned that things might not always go to plan with the training schedule, but you just have to make the most of what the conditions give you, have fun, and knuckle up!

Monday, February 1, 2010

2010 Race Schedule

Below is my ideal race schedule for 2010. Race names with an asterisk preceding them are ones still under consideration or pending qualification. Registration is complete for those without, or it is a near certainty that I will race them. Again I will be racing for BallouSkies, but I am excited to be starting the year with the burgeoning BallouSkies team and already established and fantastic charity.

Feb 27, 2010 *Spring Thaw
Mar 27, 2010 *Just A Short Run
Apr 10-11, 2010 AMYMSA League Championships
May 08, 2010 *Kinetic Half Iron
May 16, 2010 *Cleveland Half Marathon
May 29, 2010 New Brighton Triathlon
Jun 13, 2010 Eagleman 70.3
Jul 25, 2010 Ironman Lake Placid
Oct 09, 2010 *Ironman World Championship

In all honesty, the schedule definitely looks a little top-heavy for the first half of the season, but all the better to hone the racing skills and pursue the ultimate goal....

2009 in numbers

My year of swim, bike, and run, in numbers. This is for all of my training and racing, and no extracurricular (cross-training/lifting) activities are included in these totals.

Swimming - 412,717.16 yards (234.50 miles)
Biking - 4,888.26 miles
Running - 1,234.54 miles
Total Training and Racing hours - 597:01:40 hours
Total hours sleeping - 2,826:30:00 hours
Days without S/B/R (Zeroes) - 49.00

My weekly averages are-

Swimming - 7,787.12 yards (4.42 miles)
Biking - 92.23 miles
Running - 23.29 miles
Total Training and Racing hours - 11:15:53 hours
Total hours sleeping - 53:19:49 hours
Days without S/B/R (Zeroes) - 0.92

These weekly averages represent a 24.54% improvement over 2008 numbers for swimming, 6.17% for biking, 4.39% for running, 11.31% for weekly hours of work, -1.93% in hours slept per week, and 16.67% more days taken off. Looking more closely at the percentage changes, obviously the swimming improvement is a welcome jump up in yardage, and both the biking and running could stand to increase in 2010, as well as the amount of sleep I give myself. Initially, seeing the increase in number of days off in 2009 compared to 2008 was a little troubling, however looking at the weekly training logs I see that the majority of these days off occurred in either October or November, and after a two-Ironman year (my first), I probably needed this time for mental and physical recuperation. 2009 was really a tale of two seasons, the first being pre-Lake Placid, and then the second post-Placid:

It is always nice to see improvement though and I will be looking to train and race with even more consistency in 2010 and I will use the numbers as a motivator and for feedback. Miles make champions!