Archive for August, 2012

Hey tri-peeps! Registration is now open for the 2013 Ironamans Syracuse!

Ironman 70.3 Syracuse –

Obviously I love this event, I recommend this race for a pile of reasons:

  • Well organized, and well ran.
  • Great volunteers!
  • Great venue
  • A great swim in the Jamesville reservoir, three leg course
  • Challenging bike leg, but most of the hard work is early, making it easier to set up a good run
  • Challenging run course

Not sure on my plans yet, as I am signed up for Lake Placid (5 weeks after Syracuse.) That would put a big a hole in my training to recover from the race, and not a great idea with a full ironman close at hand. If I was at an elite level, different story. No worries on that.  I may do a team relay or volunteer for the event.  Anyone interested in putting a team together?


This was a race I was really looking forward to. I was looking to do this one last year but had to bail out due to a sprained ankle. I approached this event a little different in that I would be using it in the series of long runs leading to NYC marathon on November 4th. I would be in training mode, not racing mode. The goal was to run an even race, at a constant effort.

What I liked/loved about the race:

  • Easy logistics, everything was easy to find. Packet pickup was well done
  • Great swag. Energy bar samples, coupons you would use, a great tech shirt, and a very nice finishers medal
  • Finishers treated to a pancake breakfast- thumbs up
  • Course- loved it, not super hilly or ridiculous steep climbs. You do have to work some sections, but you are rewarded with some nice long declines. Very nice terrain to switch up your legs. I found this elevation profile for your reference:
  • Absolutely superior summer weather. Gorgeous sunny blue sky morning.
  • Professional law enforcement at all major intersections.
  • Great volunteers
  • Plenty of water, GU and Powerade on the course. Powerade is not something I normally used, but it tasted good that day, Especially during the later miles. No GI issues with it.
  • Event was well ran, and organized

I have only one item as a suggestion for improvement: Water stops every mile for the back end of the course. Let’s say from mile 7 on.

The race started in mid 60’s and it got warm at the end. On a hotter day, it would have been a problem having a water stop every two miles. Since I was not pushing too hard, no problems.

Nutrition worked well, I preloaded my bottle of roctane with lava salts (100mg),and took one more (250mg) right before the start. No cramping the entire distance. All good. I did a 1 mile warm up just to get loose, and a feel for the pace I wanted to start at. I made it to the start line with 5 minutes to go.

I totally enjoyed the experience, and ran it much the way I wanted to. In retrospect, I could have held back a little more in miles 2 &3. I maintained average heart rate of 158 to mile 7, and then bumped it up 163 until the last mile. Between it becoming warmer, and running the latter miles, my heart rate came up a little, but my perceived effort stayed the same, and my pace slowed only a little. I pushed the last mile, and still left some on the course. It was a good test to see how I could control perceived verses real effort. Most importantly, I enjoyed it from start to finish.

Kudos to the race director, team, and volunteers, a great race! One I would recommend!

To those in the endurance sports community, triathletes, cyclists, and runners, the tragic loss of  Heather Frazer Boyum is all too painfully known. The circumstances are equally upsetting as the loss of her life. Personally, I did not know her or have the privilege to meet her. Yet, as I read about what happened, and some of her life story, the obvious conclusion is that a positive contributor to the community and all those around her had been loss.  A wife, a mother , a teacher, and a triathlete.  Affirmation of the phrase “Only the good die young.”

By all accounts Heather was following rules of the road, and was a victim of gross negligence of two alleged intoxicated and irresponsible young adults. My gut response to that is very uncivil, and I’ll refrain from taking you down that path.  The comments made on facebook in defense of the two individuals driving is enough to stir even the mildest of personalities.  The lack of compassion and sheer ignorance is appalling.  Our legal system is currently engaged in the matter, and it is desired that justice be served.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, there may be some good done in Heather’s honor that may make it safer for those of us cyclists who share the road with motor vehicles.

Like many my fellow athletes, I was upset by this for many reasons, and on different levels. Lately I find myself thinking about the reasons I felt affected, and why I participate in the sport.  Yesterday, Mary Eggers published a speech she made  at the USAT Age Group National Companionship in Vermont  Her speech has been a catalyst for this post

During the nineties I was hit by a car on two different occasions. First time I was cycling to work. A car making a right hand turn, turned into me. I went up over the hood.  I was lucky. No broken bones, just a swollen leg. Second time, it occurred while I was a tour guide for a charity ride in Syracuse. On a quiet Sunday morning, a car turned left, striking me. I went down on the pavement. The driver fled, and when they found him less than ten minutes later, he had showered at his girlfriends apartment around the corner, changed into different clothes, and shaved off a full beard. I was mad as hell about that. He was arrested on the spot (outstanding warrant). No broken bones, just a swollen leg. Medical bills were paid, and I had some expensive bike parts replaced. Like Heather, I was obeying rules of the road, and wore bright clothing. I was very, very lucky.  Unlike Heather, I survived mostly unscathed. The very thought of what if, is a serious one. Very fine line when it comes to a two ton argument.

One of the avenues of thinking I have gone down is along the lines of the following idea: Each person has the potential to be a beacon of light.  For my purposes here in expressing it as something to be embraced, I  am speaking of a positive light. I do acknowledged the dark realities of the world. I think that the greater loss we have in losing Heather (and those like her), is in the opportunity to encourage, impact, mentor, and inspire others. Her recent accomplishment of crossing the 70.3 finish line is an example of goals made and completed.  I would bet it as a safe assumption, that her half ironman goal would have been followed by many more, race related and life related. Her vocation as a teacher would suggest many possibilities that could have been. We all have the ability to be a part of the ripple effect that comes from positively influencing others and the lives we touch. Unfortunately we lose bright and inspiring people all to soon from all walks of life and backgrounds.

Is it worse when we lose an inspiring triathlete?  For those of us in the sport- Yes, as we can relate on so many levels. In general we are driven, goal oriented, only as good as the most recent race. Always have an eye on the next race. We learn and grow through the process as we push ourselves to do bigger and better things, in the triathlon world, and in our daily lives. The experiences of training and racing translate into our jobs, family, friendships. We understand what a beacon a person can be and the positive influence for others. It is my opinion that the triathlon community shares many of these things. Loss of one of our own just feels worse because we appreciate the active and engaged living the sport promotes. “A life worth living” as the saying goes.

Why do I pursue the sport? -For me personally, it has been a path back to better health, and hopefully changing the outlook for the third quarter of my life.  Despite the potential risks, it is no different than many other pursuits. Whether in a race, on a training ride, or for a solo walk in the woods, I feel very much alive, and enjoy being a participant much more than being an observer. When we watch the Olympics, does it not inspire us to go out and do something greater than we did the day before. It sure did for me, and again, doing was much more exhilarating  than watching.  I train a little harder because of it.

There will  be much effort to change current laws that pertain to cyclists,and I would suspect there will also be events to honor Heather, and to raise awareness of car/cyclist collisions. Mary Eggers is putting forth a big effort in this and you can find out more at

Heading out for a training ride in a few moments. This blog will be in my thoughts as I crank out the miles today. Very thankful and fortunate to enjoy another day back at it as I work towards the next goal.

One of the fun things I enjoy while being in “come back” mode, is the nostalgic return to events I participated in many moons ago. This past Thursday evening I ran in the 35th annual Tromptown half marathon in Deruyter, NY.

Aside from training tri’s and fun runs that the local running/tri clubs put on, this rural gem is one of the very few midweek evening events in Central NY. A low key race held in a very scenic area that Is ideal for a half marathon. This is a no frills race that gives you a certified course, beautiful scenery, plenty of water stops, and great volunteer support. You can opt to purchase a shirt or race patch, which is great for those of us who have a ton of race shirts.

Over the years I have done the 5k and 10k offerings as well. The 5k gives you a hill mid way that requires your attention. Once you crest the hill, you are rewarded with a nice downhill and a flat run, straight to the finish. The 10k is no longer offered, and was discontinued many years ago. I did like the 10k course…….

The half marathon course is a favorite. A fly by loop around the town takes you past the first mile, then out to the countryside by mile 2. You get a small hill as you head up to West Lake Road. After that, you get flats and small rollers as you travel around the Deruyter Reservoir. No big hills or long steep downhills to pound your knees.

Great course profile that switches up your legs over the long haul. The last 5k is mostly flat with an uphill turn onto Route 13. The last mile is straight and fast to the last turn to the finish. The finish line is set up in front of the fireman’s field days which has been integral part of the race for many years.

I signed up for this event for several reasons:

Favorite event/course profile
Midweek evening run, not taking up another Saturday or Sunday
Fits into my schedule for a long training run.

I would run this for training, not race it (insert loose definition). I do like the opportunity to have a catered long run, and enjoy the company of other runners. I pushed out the scheduling of my usual long run on Sunday, which was ok. Being that this would be a minor hack to an already modified short course (tri) plan with a marathon hack. In short, I hacked a hack. All of this is in route to NYC marathon this fall, and a prelude to ironman training for Lake Placid next July.

The race would be under warm and humid conditions (mid 70’s). Which was a reprieve from mid 80’s mid-day. I did try a modified fueling to correct cramping issues I had at ironman Syracuse. I added lava salts to the bike bottle of Roctane to boost my sodium intake. Between powerbars and my liquid fuel, I loaded up 1200mg of sodium. For two hours plus in moderate temps, it worked out well. No muscle spasms, or cramps. I was a little crusty when I finished 🙂

I really enjoyed this as a training run! Nice to see some of my running pals, and make some new ones on the course. I ran the entire race with great company and conversation. The miles flew by, even at my slow training pace. Walked most of the water stops for 30-40 steps. That kept my calves from tightening up.

All in all I enjoyed it from start to finish. My only issue was with only having watermelon & water at the finish. My issue really is my own as I get terrible headaches from watermelon (even as a child). I do like watermelon, but it doesn’t like me. Even so, I could head into the field days to satisfy my food choices. Beer comes to mind 🙂

If you haven’t ran this before, I highly recommend it!


Dog days of summer are here for sure! Has been a hot one, and great weather to be out doing what you love to do.  Five weeks have past since my big ‘A’ race @ Ironman Syracuse.  Still feeling it a little, but not at all like I remember after doing Firmman Half Ironman back in 1994. Much better recovery this time around. Today at lunch I went out for a 4-5 mile run with a couple of mile repeats. I hacked my marathon hack  in my training plan to accommodate a catered half marathon training run @ Deryuter Tromptown races this Thursday. I signed up for the early start as I planned to run something between racing pace and my long run pace, which may go out past two hours. I was suppose to run yesterday, and had stomach issues that were cause to adapt and reschedule.

Very stoked with the mile repeats at lunch. Moderate weather in comparison to last few weeks. 68F at noon today, some overcast, and light wind.I decide to see what I crank out at a slightly lower gear with a 160bpm to 165bpm heart rate. First repeat came in at 8:47 with my heart rate hovering around 162bpm. Walked a 100 yards to drop heart back down, recovery pace for the remainder of the next mile. For the 2nd mile repeat, I decided to push it to another gear, but not all out like I would for a Vdot test. I stayed close to 172bpm until the last quarter mile,and then it jumped to 177bpm. Clocked a 7:55, and was very happy to inch closer to mile repeat pacing that I saw this spring. Starting to get some snap back in the legs.

This Thursday at Tromptown will be about smooth execution,and maybe a little push. The course is scenic as it travels clock wise around the reservoir and back in to town. It is an evening run, and will be subjected to the heat and humidity of the day. Predictions are for a high of 81F so far. I will ease into the first three miles at a 10ish per mile pace, and then drop it down if I feel it in the legs. If not, I will enjoy the ride at a long run pace, maybe with a few surges or mile repeats to break up the distance.

I am at a good head space relative to 51 weeks to go for Ironman Lake Placid. Loosely following a EN (Endurance Nation) get fast plan with a marathon hack for NYC marathon in November.  A short break, and then out season training, a little time of single sport focus (have to decide on bike or swim), and then the major decision of doing a period of get fast training with a 12 week build to Lake Placid or going straight to a 20 week build. I have plenty of time before I need to decide. Everything I do now can add or detract to Lake Placid. The pressure is off, and I can focus on just building fitness, some speed, and enjoy the long runs leading to NYC marathon. Looking very forward to checking off that bucket list item.

In a few weeks I will toe the line at the Turning Stone half marathon,and then the Little York Sprint Tri in September for the last triathlon of my season. As it turns out, I will also revisit Festival of Races 5K on 9/30. I volunteered as a technical Coordinator for Dave Oja for the inaugural race, and several years after. Hard to believe 30 years have past. Just happens to be the day before fall turkey season, so no conflict. Opening day of fall turkey season is akin to a national holiday at our house.

Other than Endurance Nation training camp at Lake Placid next Jun, no solid event plans for winter /spring 2013. Ironman Syracuse is most certainly being thought of, maybe as part of a relay team or as a volunteer. We’ll see on that. The importance of Ironman Lake Placid will dictate what events I may consider depending on whether they complement or conflict with the training goals/schedule, to-do’s at home, family events, and my budget.