Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

This year’s event would have me participating as a volunteer. After Last years issue with my knee, I took it easy, and was actually mindful of the doctor’s advice. No trouble since, healed up with out issue. Another year in business and way too much time in front of three monitors, I would not have any significant training to prepare for the event this year. I suppose in the back of my mind i’m a bit disappointment in myself, but the event deserves the preparation and the respect for what it takes to finish it, and to finish well.

The swim is sweet, no huge waves to deal with, and the only real annoyance is the weeds you encounter on the course close to the beach. The bike course is challenging in the first third of the 56 mile distance. The views are worth it. The last third of the bike course with a net loss in elevation is great for getting your legs back for the run. You earn your finishers medal the most on the second loop of the 13.1 mile run. hitting the hill on the turnaround for the second time, and the short hill before entering back in the park to the finish just seems harder second time around. Like most half or full Ironman races, they don’t often give you easy, flat courses. Syracuse 70.3 being on par or similar for course difficultly with Ironman Lake Placid is a common opinion. Of course that would be fodder for argument depending on who you talk to. Again, it’s a course I like for so many positive reasons, and loath for how much you have to earn it to finish. Well worth the effort.

This years event I volunteered as a bike escort for the lead athletes on the run course. One way of staying close to the sport when not participating. Having volunteered for many years at various events since the early 90’s I have found it to be gratifying, a way to give back to something I love, and you get to work with a ton of “can do, lets make it happen” folks. Rubbing elbows with such great people is an uplifting as well as a learning experience. Highly recommended.

Benjamin Rabin was the volunteer captain for our group and he made it super easy to know when, what, where. Friendly, clear, and concise emails made for a no hassle experience.  My job was to get out in front and guide the 3rd place male on the run course once the runner entered on to Apulia Road. We would guide each of our assigned lead runners on the course until they came back to enter into the park. First loop was easy, as there was significant space between participants. By the time the lead runners came back out onto the road for the second loop, we had to be on our toes to identify the lead runners, and to safely guide and negotiate the crowed lanes of runners in both directions. I applaud the runners here as it was tight quarters. and when it came time to move ahead as the lead runners overtook participants out on their first loop, they graciously moved to the side to allow me to pass as I guided my assigned runner. Our group was comprised of experienced riders and familiar with the course, made for a no incident experience!

Once my task was competed, I hit the food tent. A sub and a slice of pizza hit the spot. I stayed for another hour to cheer on people I knew, and headed home. It was later after I left that a storm hit, and prompted the shutting down of the race for a number of participants still out on the run course. I understand they cleared the course and the park in short order, and got everyone out safely.  Hard decision to make, but knowing Kenny (race director) as I do, he is a quality guy, and the type of person you want in that position when things come up or circumstances change.

I attended the volunteer picnic the following day, and we were all treated to a nice picnic dinner. Again as mentioned before, it’s a great time hanging with positive people, and its all about “can do.” Honestly, it is very refreshing.

Should all go well next year, I may toe the start line once again at the 2016 running of this event.

Hats off to Kenny and his crew for putting it all on, to my fellow volunteers for doing what you do,and I hope that my fellow triathlete friends had a great time out there!

Probably the easiest review to ever do on a big race. If this is not one of the nicest weekends of the entire summer, then we are in for an unbelievably great summer. This is Syracuse, and for us to have typical sunny California weather for an entire weekend, well it is a big treat. Very little wind, abundant sunshine, starting off cool in the morning, reaching mid seventies in the afternoon. Kenny and his army of staff and volunteersput on a great race. To have over two thousand triathletes, their families in one place with participants from all over the world including royal princes, to make it all go well and actually look like it was easy to pull it off has my appreciation. Kudos to all that made it happen.

In my previous blog I predicted a few things, one of which is that I would be inspired. I was, I am.

My race was cut short. Normally I would say, yeah that sucks, not happy, what ever. I have one regret of not being able to enjoy the scenery that I knew awaited me on many points on the bike course. I made it as far a a few hundred yards up on Sweet Road. My right knee popped going up the first big hill out of Jamesville. I walked it up, got back on, spun as much as I could. When it came time to apply the needed power to the crank arms to climb , the same knee barked. Part of me said tough it out, deal with it later. A more sensible side of me, which seldom wins an internal argument like this decided  that pushing up Sweet Road would likely cause more damage, like a tear or something worse. I dislike not finishing pretty much anything I start out to do. I dislike surgery and or missing out on entire seasons much worse. I walked the bike back nearly all the way to race site.

It is unplanned events like this that you find out about other aspects of the race. My fellow racing participants (it was a lot of them, I couldn’t begin to tell you ho many) would ask if I was OK, if I need help, neighbors watching the race would inquire and offer to help, the bike support crews, law enforcement, etc. All very friendly and offered a helping hand. I was told That I could get a ride back if I needed it. Once they were done giving bike support on the corner of Sweet road, they would come get me or I could wait. Cool!  It felt good to walk it off, and the pain subsided as long as I didn’t try to push hard on a crank, or run. I would walk most for the way back, and got on the bike and coasted the downhills. This suited me fine as I didn’t want to bother anyone, or distract from those that needed help and be sent on their merry way to finish the course. If I needed a ride that would happen just for the asking.  Once I got back in, and sent our team runner off  (as a team we were now DNF, but at least Todd could get in a solid race run in unofficially), I headed up to the medical tent. Once there,I got prompt professional care, squared away with an assessment, ice pack,and eventually sent me off in a knee wrap. It was swollen some, but no trip to the hospital.  I was able to walk reasonably well, and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.  I don’t recommend that you ever need  to visit the medical tent, but if you ever did, they have my vote. We parted with thanks, but hope I don’t see you again today 🙂 The way I was treated by all those around me was inspiring, and says a lot about the community spirit of the race.

A visit with the good doctor will be on the schedule this week. It is my hope that being actually smart about it, may stave off  further problems.

Something that I thought was just great, was when the last athletes came in off the bike and headed out on the run course. They were cheered by, and very loudly I might add, by the pro’s, the elite athletes among us, as well as the crowd that had gathered waiting to get it in to retrieve their bikes.  I was glad to be there  to witness that, and to help cheer the remaining participants on.

Very happy for my teammate Mary Ryan for a good swim, and running teammate Todd Robertson who put in a solid run on a tough run course. Couldn’t ask for a nicer teammates to share the day with.  A big thank you to  my sister Kim,and my wife Lee  for volunteering, helping with wet suit stripping duties. Very glad for the family support and helping out with the race.

Again my hat is off to Kenny and his team for giving us a great race today, and for all of you that added to my experience of enjoying an absolutely beautiful day in upstate New York.

 

To those that have followed my wandering writings in the past, I do apologize. My blogging on the sport we are all fond of has been non existent for a while now. Not that I have had a change of heart, or no longer promote all the good tangible things that come from a multi-sport lifestyle. In fact, it hasn’t changed at all. My schedule is not much of one as I still am working on building a tech company, and to gain stability financially. The idea of keeping what Lee and I have worked so hard for is the first priority until we can no longer do so, and have to rethink our dreams for the future. With  all that my training time has been minimal,and will rely on experience and pure grit for the bike leg tomorrow. a few extra long bikes would had made me feel more ready, but that always seems to be the case. I am on a great team with super nice friends which make it an absolute pleasure to participate with.  Mary Ryan will start us out on the swim, and Todd Robertson will cleanup on the run. I’ll be handling the cycling chores. No doubt my bike , a 2011 Specialized Comp, is fast enough. It is a smooth ride, and never a complaint since I bought it. The engine (myself) of course is always suspect.  I know the course well, the hills are no taller, less or more steep than they have been in the past. It is a pretty course to ride. I will enjoy it, as it is slated to be a very nice day to race, surrounded by thousands of like minded people pursing a great sport. It is and will be  inspiring, and I will soak it up as much as I can. No major time goals or other nasty teams to beat 🙂 Seriously, no big rivalries, maybe a little trash talk here and there. The goal will be to finish and finish well, and look good doing it. This year for me is more of a social event with a significant work component. None of my comments are meant to be detracting from those with other race goals as it is certainly a big part of the triathlon lifestyle. Whether it will be for a podium spot, a personal best, other time/speed goal, or first time at that distance. Some of my triathlon friends will use tomorrow as a big training day for a full ironman later this summer. Bigger achievements await them, and you have my admiration. I wish all my fellow athletes a great race tomorrow, a safe one in fact, and that it be memorable one as well.

Up early today, unfortunately not to race, rather have to go into work for most of the day. I am grateful to be swamped with work, servicing a contract/design project for my main customer, however I do cherish my play time, and time at home. Gorgeous day, and I would rather be on a relay team or volunteering. Syracuse 70.3  is an epic event.

As I finish writing this, everyone should be out on the bike course, the swim leg of the race in the done category. Participating last year, I can freshly recall the 4:30 AM arrival, body marking, checking the bike, and all the little nuances of race prep on event morning. The adrenaline, and excitement is something I remember most. The bike course is scenic, and one of my favorites. There is something very different climbing Sweet Road with a sea of triathletes on race day verses the training rides be it solo or the CNY tri club. Something about working it together in mass ( without drafting of course) just makes it perceptibly just a little bit easier. The run will be a hot one today, but again, It is a tough but pretty run.

So from the confines of my office in spirit and in heart I am with you. I wish you all an epic day,  awesome experiences, and that you reach your goals or take away something very positive and tangible! I’ll be watching the posts, and online comments and pics. Hope to see you at other events later this summer.

Mike

Solid focus in training for the big dance! Halfway through the 4th week of bike focus. I can tell things are progressing as I am notably becoming tired of sitting on the trainer, and bored to death after about 20 minutes spinning. To help with this, my wonderful wife Lee tolerates the bike being in our great room off center to the big screen TV. That does help the hours pass. At some point I hope to remember that these two hour Saturday rides will be short work outs come this spring when 4-6 hours in the saddle will become the new norm. Even though I have gained some weight, my head is back into it, and focusing on diet, using the calorie counter, and renewing my effort to a slimmer 160lb me come July or high water. Running is feeling good, no aches or pains, and it is nice to switch up from the long run focus of marathon training. Of course we’ll revisit that again long before July.

Hunting season was very productive and expedient this season. Being tagged out until muzzleloader season has given me more free time to train at my preferred times as opposed to “fitting it in.” Along with that,  we have a freezer full of quality lean protein (wild turkey & venison) which is a preferred staple in our home.

In a few short weeks , training will switch to Out Season plan, and will focus more on speed, and high quality workouts. I will diverge a little from the plan to get swim lessons, and up my swimming game before I switch to the ironman plan in April. I like the approach as 30 some weeks of ironman focus only has got to be hard on the mental game.  I also hope to make the switch to training with power on the bike. It won’t change how hard I’ll need to train, but it will help with not overdoing it, and more precisely measure my progress. Power meters don’t care how much coffee or red bull you had, or if you are having an off day etc. In the end, watts are watts.

Really liking the Endurance Nation training methods, and the knowledge base that I can draw from. So far much of it is like my experience in training for Ironman Syracuse. That will be different soon enough once April arrives. Having the resources and confidence in coaches Rich & Patrick , and my EN teammates having my back, makes the unknowns of tackling 140.6 miles less intimidating.

Looking forward to the constant progress,and the upcoming phases in route to Lake Placid. Hope that your off season training has begun on a high note. I’ll report back in again  as the weeks roll by!

 

 

Still not totally “reconciled” a week after the ill fated canceled NYC marathon.

Still no resolution or word on what will be done for the 45000 runners who got little or nothing for their $250, not to mention those of us with non-refundable hotel/travel arrangements. Worse of all and more importantly, many of the storm’s victims are still without heat or power. Gas is a priceless commodity as well. That would be the negative side of the equation. Indeed, people are still suffering a huge loss in those areas. No win-win for anybody.

On the positive side, many runners donated, some traveled directly to the areas hit by the storm, and did good deeds, making a difference. The impromptu runs came together quickly thanks to the ever so connected world of social media. “Run Anyways” was an inspirational event, and I am glad to have witnessed it, and participate. More funds and donations were raised and collected there as well.

As I chose to run a solid half marathon effort, my recovery was quick, and I spent the transition week running with our weimaraners, and a few light bike trainer workouts. Even though training leading up to do the marathon certainly benefits my fitness that I can carry over, it was more run focused and endurance based.

Now that I have done a hard reset per EN protocol, I am all in with one singular focus, one goal: Cross the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid on July 28th, 2013.

37 weeks to go before the big dance.

This will be a very different season coming up. I love to do events/races. As a social athlete, I am in for the fun and excitement of the events. Over the next eight months, I will forgo many races that I might normally do. I have set my mind to follow the training plan, and not look to make exceptions to accommodate races that cause me to shift things around in the training plans, or require me to recover and not just train through them. This does not mean that I won’t do other events, but they will have to fit my training schedule, and not interfere with each week’s specific purpose. Each week from here on out, has a specific purpose, and necessary to achieve my goal.

As an Endurance Nation athlete, I have a season plan that takes me to the big day. Unlike what you may be thinking, it is not 37 weeks of ironman training. I chose to do Lake Placid, as it was designated as a EN team event, and part of the Master Season planned races. This means I will be working with the same goals as many of my fellow team mates, and draw upon the collective knowledge of the coaches and team members.

My 2013 season is broken down as follows:

  • 6 weeks of Bike Focused Plan- this includes running skills, heavy bike training no swimming. I picked this as I can make big bike fitness and time gains. Heading into winter, means cycle training indoors. Have to up my mental game.
  • 1 week reset, unstructured workouts as I feel
  • 14 weeks of Out Season Training. lot of work on getting faster, train to be faster. No swimming called for, but I will be looking for swim training/coaching on easy or rest days to improve my water skills. Weakest link, and I can drop a 2 hour ironman swim down to 1:40-1:45 maybe better than that. It will be a matter of when and where classes will be offered.
  • Mid April I will switch to 16 weeks of ironman training and begin adding endurance on top of the expected speed gains. I may attend EN training camp early June, as training on the actual course is priceless and critical to knowing where/when to execute race strategies.
  • Along with all this, I am focused on reaching reaching that 160lb weight goal, as I don’t want to haul around anymore of my fat butt than I have too.

Much of the focus will be similar to training for Ironman Syracuse 70.3. Of course it’s twice as long, and requires attention to all details. As before, Coach Rich & Patrick, my fellow EN teammates will have my back, and will guide me through the highs and lows, illnesses and or injuries should they occur. As much as I am in awe and intimidated at completing a 140.6 mile journey, I am excited for what I expect will be an epic day, and a experience that will be life changing.

I took the advice of my coaches and a bunch of smart triathlon peeps, doing light stretching, and pro-like resting. I found that I can do that very well. By the end of the week, I was itching to get back at it. Most of the weekend was spent getting back on to tackling to-do lists around the homestead.

Sunday evening I switched into my running gear and gathered up our two weimeraners Jake & Abby. It would be a short easy run, that happens to be Jake’s & Abby’s favorite route. A two+ miler that goes down hill the 2nd mile, and finish’s at Poole’s Diner which also sells soft ice cream during summer hours. They just happen to serve a doggie dish treat, which our dogs practically inhale. Pretty good stuff for us humans as well.

Our dogs just about turn themselves inside out when I gear up for a run. They absolutely love to go. Of course my running pace is little more than a trot for weimeraners. They can run flat out at impressive speeds if properly motivated. Lots of fun to watch them hunt in the turkey woods.

The run went very well, and my legs needed to get out, stretch, and do a little work. The evening had cooled down some, and was much better than running in the hot midday sun. The first 1/2 mile is an uphill grade and I went out an easy 9:30-9:45 pace. The trip back dropped to 8:30 and I held it there the next mile as Abby did not want to go any faster. Jake would go as fast as I could muster if I let him. At the bottom of the hill, I crossed East River Road, and then Abby picked it up. They both knew that once I cross that road, we stop at the special place. 8:10-8:15 the last 1/4 mile. Lee would drive the truck down, and would drive back up after enjoying our treat for the evening. Great run, spoiled the dogs, and a nice way to finish out the weekend. Legs felt really good,and looking forward to running the Boilermaker next Sunday.

This morning, I rode into work on the mountain bike. Seemed a little weird after the long hours of racing and training on the tri bike. Very nice ride in today. Short route, roughly 9 miles. I tackled the hill on Lighthouse road (1/2 mile, 150ft climb) and went up it with ease as compared to much earlier in the season. Average 19mph going to work, and it was an enjoyable workout. I’ll ride home after work, and likely work the hill up to our driveway (3/4 mile, 375ft climb) .

Glad to be getting back to training!