Monday, December 31, 2007

New Jersey Here I Come!

Today being New Year's Eve, it seems very fitting to commit to the New Jersey Marathon. I've just signed up and received confirmation.

I am doing it.

Today also marks Day 1 of my eighteen week training schedule. I am pleased to report that despite some extremely gluttonous holiday binging I am ahead of schedule...

10k on the treadmill.

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."
-Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Spring Marathon?

I am quite seriously contemplating a spring marathon for 2008.

On the one hand, signing up for a marathon is a great motivator. If I make the financial and emotional commitment I'll have no choice but to commit myself physically and put in the miles. It could also serve as a way to regain some of the fitness I've lost.

On the other hand training through the winter months isn't going to be any fun (case in point: today's raining, sleeting, snowstorm).

Decisions. Decisions.

"Indecision may or may not be my problem."
-Jimmy Buffett

Friday, November 30, 2007


"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection."
-Thomas Paine

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My First Thanksgiving

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
-Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

King of the World

There are some days when you wake up feeling like the king of the world. Well rested, loose and kink-free. Full of vim and vigor and destined to have an extraordinary day. Days when that nagging soreness in your heel seems to have vanished and your knees are in a cooperative mood. On these days you set off on your run with a positive outlook, certain that you can run forever.

Today was not one of those days.

Instead I woke feeling lethargic and heavy. Before my toes touched the floor my heel spur reminded me to tread lightly. When I stepped outside with the dog and a poop-bag at the ready I found it was dark and cold and raining. My disposition matched.

With the dog walked and dried off I headed out to run, grunting and puffing along. To avoid the temptation of cutting my workout short I did an out and back rather than my usual 1.25 mile loop. And when I came to the fork in the road where I often turn around and head back... I kept going, turning that 5 miler into a 10k.

And it felt good. Real good.

So did the 4 mile race I did on Sunday.

I’ve allowed myself time off these past few months to prepare for, and adjust to, my new roll as a father (which is awesome and will be the subject of many future posts). I’ve allowed myself to have second helpings at dinner and sometimes thirds (Salena’s eggplant lasagna is really, really good!). I’ve allowed myself to skip workouts (you don’t get much sleep as a new parent).

These excuses are no longer valid.

I will not allow myself to be sloth-like this holiday season. I will not allow myself to gain anymore weight. I will not allow any further deconditioning.

If I am to achieve my fitness and race goals for 2008 now is the time to lay the foundation.

It is go time and I love it.

"Absence lessens ordinary passions and augments great ones, as the wind blows out a candle and makes a fire blaze."
- La Rochefoucauld

Friday, November 02, 2007

Flying Trapeze!

I have been meaning to post this video for a couple of months as I said I would back in August... but I have a good excuse for failing to do so.

So this is me at the Trapeze School New York having an absolute blast! The experience was a tons of fun and the staff at TSNY are great - I highly recommend it!

Without further introduction, here goes (yes, I added the "old film" look in iMovie)!

“The essential is to excite the spectators. If that means playing Hamlet on a flying trapeze or in an aquarium,
you do it.”

-Orson Welles

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ok... Here's a photo!

"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: It's loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

It's a boy!

Jackson Conner Morphew
October 3, 2007
7lbs, 9 ounces
21.75 inches long

More to follow. Much more!

"Oh my God... He's perfect!"
-Josh Morphew, on witnessing the birth of his son

Thursday, September 27, 2007

T minus 10

We're just 10 days out and dilated 3 of the obligatory 10 centimeters. Whoa!

I've gotta say that you women-folk are truly the superior of the species - anatomically speaking, anyway. It is amazing what the female body is capable of. It's a cliché, but a miracle nonetheless.

The sleek, powerful and sophisticated internal motherboard makes the male equivalent seem like an external hard drive plugged in almost as an afterthought.

Note that the image of a ruler to the right is, in fact, to scale...

While on the subject of male/female relations I would like to comment on chivalry. I am pleased to report that chivalry is not dead. It has however entirely abandoned the male sex. In an unscientific study, 21 people have given up their seats on the subway for Salena, who is obviously very pregnant. Only 5 of those people were men.

Come on fellas.

"It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding."
-Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Where Have You Been?

If you have asked yourself this question, well then, I thank you for caring enough to inquire.

If you've not wondered into my whereabouts... well, whatever.

The answer is that I have been wicked freakin' busy!

Work has blown up as we scramble to meet Q3 and Q4 goals while planning for 2008.

I've also been to South Beach for a bachelor party... (all good fun but I'll spare you the sordid details!)

I've taken a swing at the flying trapeze! Holy smokes that was awesome! I'll post on that soon -- and I have video of my daring feat!

The baby is due in just two weeks but there have been some "developments" that suggest our new arrival could come at any moment. As such there has been a mad dash to acquire, wash, assemble and install all the necessary baby gear. I've been to Babies "R" Us to demo strollers more times than I ever thought possible!

My life as a runner and triathlete has really slowed. I've all but given up on swimming for now and "Billy" (my bike) sits idle in what is fast becoming the nursery. I've gotten out for a couple of runs but mostly just easy 5-milers - amounting to a modest 15-20 miles a week (if that!).

My Google Reader currently has 154 unread posts and I look forward to getting caught up with you when time allows. Though I do have a sneaky suspicion that life is only going to gain momentum rather than slow down.

"The quality of a life is determined by its activities."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Worthy of my icy ire

I hate you Mr. Stephen Colbert! Oh, do I hate, detest and loathe you, sir!

For many moons I have been a trusty and true viewing companion – faithfully watching as you shed your magnificent light on the worlds great challenges.

At first I was wooed by your classic handsomeness and fierce conservative politics but over time it was your demure charm and quiet self-confidence that drew me in night after night.

So naturally when I noticed “Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream” ice cream the container made its way into my shopping cart. Never mind that Ben & Jerry are granola socialists. After all, if you, Stephen Colbert, can let them print your name and likeness on their product I can certainly give it a little taste.

I have read the list of ingredients thoroughly but surely one vital component of this recipe has been omitted – heroin.

Since my first little spoonful I’ve not been able to shake the desire for more. In fact, my loving wife had to physically wrest the container away from me and forcibly remove the spoon from my frozen and drooling mouth.

Do you seek to destroy me with your icy-sweet caramel kryptonite? I am weakened and brought to my knees by your Americone Dream.

Alas, it is my nightmare.

"I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it."
-Mae West

Sunday, August 26, 2007

SBR Sprint Tri

4:45AM and the alarm clock began to beckon. It was time to wake up, pack up, and head out for the 4th race of the SBR Triathlon Series (you may recall I ran race #1).

The frequency and intensity of my workouts has not been... uhh, er, well, let's just say that my training has been less frequent and less intense.

The swim went about as well as I could have hoped for. I set off in the middle of the pack and quickly moved over so that I was swimming a direct line out - just along the line of buoys. It got crowded a few times and I was kicked lightly but what else is new.

Heading back to beach I lost my line and veered off slightly. I corrected and ended up swimming shoulder to shoulder with another guy all the way to the beach.

My official time for the half mile swim was 15:16, a pace of 1:44/100 meters.

My T1 transition time was a bit slow at 3 and a half minutes. No real reason... I moved efficiently through the change - I just wasn't fast.

About 3 miles into the race I was just spinning along on a flat section of the course. I looked down and was only going 15 MPH.

"WTF, Josh! This is a race! Quit with the lolly gagging ya' effin' Nancy!"

Finally I engaged with the race and began working the bike. I dropped a couple of riders as the course made it's way into a long, twisting section of rolling hills. After 2+ miles of hairpin turns around blind corners the race makes a tight 180 degree turn on this time the turn goes up a hill. A 1.5 mile hill. And it is ALL UP HILL! Augh!

I passed a couple of guys going up the hill but my lack of proper training was catching up. I didn't have much juice left for the few miles back to transition. With about 3 miles to go the guys I passed on the uphill retook their positions ahead of me.

I cursed to myself and debated the merits of pushing too hard up a hill. I was awaken from my inner dialogue by the lead woman positively blasting by me! Geez, nothing left but a vapor trail, my deflated ego and my dropped jaw.

I rolled into T2 in 52:57 averaging 18MPH over the 16 mile course.

I ran out of T2 in under a minute and was on the 4 mile trail run when I was hit with stomach cramping again! I had to stop to stretch out my abs while holding back the urge to show my guts to the rest of the field... literally.

I finished the 4 mile trail run in 32:22 a pace of 8:06 per mile. I'm a little disappointed with this showing because I've run the same course at a 7:01 pace. Alas, my innards were out of it.

All in all I finished the triathlon in 1:44:53 which was good enough for 35th place and 4th in my age group. Full results are here.

I raced pretty well, finished with a strong kick and most important, I enjoyed every minute of it (even the near barf was good fun). So I can't be too unhappy with what is likely my last multi-sport race of the season.

Now I'll be focused on my next "A" race. Does anyone know a good 6-week training plan for fatherhood?

"Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back From Idaho

Idaho - or at least the Sun Valley area - is a remarkably picturesque corner of the world. The landscape is rugged, raw and varied. Plateaus give way to prairies. Mountains rise up from the flats and fall into quaint valley towns.

Idaho is also on fire at present. Huge tendrils of smoke from numerous wildfires can be seen for miles. In fact, one morning my run was made rather difficult due to the omnipresent haze of smoke. The 5,300 feet of elevation did not help this sea level dweller much either.

Special thanks to 13akbal for finding the Wood River Trail for me. As it turns out it went right behind our hotel!

"Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up."
-Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I find myself on the verge of a trip to Sun Valley, Idaho. Packing my bag I realized...

"Where am I going to run?!?!?!?"

Egads, man! I don't know any good trails or routes in Idaho.

I looked for local running clubs online figuring they'd have some suggestions and found none.

Zip. Nada. Ziltch.

So, know any good running routes or trails?

"A traveller without knowledge is like a bird without wings."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

She's Awesome

My wife has a remarkable knack for giving the most incredible birthday presents a crazy fool like me could ever want.

And she’s done it again!

Many of you will recall my jumping out of an airplane last year. If you’ve not seen the video of me plummeting to the earth, I must say, it is absolutely worth a viewing.

If you have seen it… well, have another look! Can you spot the moment where my bravado disappears and my face turns a ghostly pale? (hint: it’s about 2:10 into the video).

This year I’ll be flying through the air once again! Only this time a little nearer the ground and with a safety net too... I know what you're thinking but I’ve got a baby on the way to think about.

For my 30th birthday Salena gave me Flying Trapeze lessons! How freaking cool is that!?!?!?!

Also, I’ll need an appropriate Flying Trapeze moniker and am open to all suggestions…

"He'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze."
-George Leybourne

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Turning 30

Accomplishments Of My 20’s
  • Graduated from a prestigious school.
  • Fell in love, proposed and got married.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Appeared on “Guiding Light,” “As The World Turns” and I was turned down for the roll of Sam Seaborn on “West Wing” (curse you, Rob Lowe!).
  • Ran first marathon then did it three more times.
  • Went skydiving.
  • Progressed from job to career.
  • Conceived our first child.
  • Ran first Half Ironman Triathlon.
  • Had 10 apartments in 10 years… (I habit I hope to break).

Goals For My 30’s

  • Celebrate our 5 and 10-year wedding anniversaries.
  • Have another baby.
  • Witness our children do amazing things.
  • Complete a full Ironman Triathlon.
  • Run the Boston Marathon (and several others!).
  • Visit Rome and Paris as well as Napa, Big Sur and Monteray, California.
  • Drive a wildly exotic sports car.
  • Enjoy a vintage bottle of Dom Perignon.
  • Buy our first home.
  • Climb a mountain.
  • Learn to speak functional Italian and French.

"‘Tis but a base, ignoble mind that mounts no higher than a bird can soar."

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Family, friends and strangers react the same way when they discover we're having a baby:

1) Congratulations!
2) When is the baby due?
3) What are you having?

That Salena and I have decided to wait until the baby is born to learn its gender surprises some, impresses others, but also seems to annoy some people.

Admittedly, we're curious and have been, at times, tempted to tear open the envelope containing this secret. We have, however, resisted the urge and are committed to the wonderful surprise that awaits us.

In the interim I invite you to tell us what you think by using the poll in the sidebar.

So, what do you think, is it a boy or a girl?

"All babies look like Winston Churchill"
-Edward R. Murrow

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tinman Pics...

Here's some more photos from the Tuper Lake Tinman Triathlon for your viewing pleasure...

Grit your teeth and ride boy!

Rolling Hills.... Um, yeah... Glad that's over!

Hey! This isn't so bad...

Oh, yes it is...


"I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything."
-John Steinbeck

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I’ve been thinking about numbers quite a bit lately. I grant you that working with numbers is a big part of my job but this is something altogether different.

I’ve been reflecting on the number “Thirty” mainly because my thirtieth birthday occurs later this month. I’ve also spent time contemplating the number “Eighty-One" which is the number of days until Baby M's due date.

I regret to report that my ponderings have yielded no significant mathematical findings.

“Thirty” and “Eighty-One" do however represent major turning points in my life. Turning “Thirty” seems more of a societal turning point, or in other words, an age at which one should act like an adult. This arbitrary line is becoming more blurred and less relevant, particularly in major urban areas like New York City but it does, nonetheless, exist.

“Eighty-One" on the other hand is a point in which I probably should begin acting like an adult. There is after all a brand new life on the way. A life that will be utterly dependent on me and his/her mother... for everything. Yikes! That is a sobering thought! Not that I’m a slacker but being entirely responsible for another human is a pretty major task.

Will we be good parents? Yes, of course.

Will we screw up? Yes, of course.

Will we figure it out? Yes, of course.

Will we love this little person who needs to eat every two hours (just like Papa!)? Undoubtedly!

Here’s a few additional numbers: Yesterday I ran about 9.5 miles in 1 hour 12 minutes – a pace of about 7:35/mile.

I also hammered out some 1600 meter repeats over the weekend and squeezed in a 30 mile ride, a 1 mile swim and a core + upper body strength training session.

"Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them."
-Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Attention Geeks!

My employer is seeking a web developer with strong PHP 5 skills as well as a solid grasp of JavaScript, HTML, CSS and AJAX to join our happy gang at our Midtown Manhattan office.

The ideal candidate would also posses the more obvious attributes such as strong communication skills, the ability to multi-task, deadline oriented and a real self starter... (sounds like every job listing on Monster, doesn't it?)

If you're interested, or if you know someone who may fit the bill, please reach out to me via the email on my Blogger Profile.

"The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office."
Robert Frost

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Imagine my surprise when I noticed this on the porch...

Zoiks! Now that's not something you see every day in New York City!

"Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price."
-Amelia Earhart

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Tinman

A few years ago I watched my sister-in-law compete in an Olympic distance triathlon and was quite impressed by the fitness of the competitors and the challenge of multi-sport racing. At the time I had one marathon under my belt and was in training for another go at 26.2.

I am not sure if it's confidence, arrogance, genetic mutation or some weird psychosis in which I find joy in pushing the physical limits of my body (probably some combination of the four) but watching Susie rock the swim, bike and run I was hooked. It was just a matter of when.

"When" turned out to be the 25th Anniversary of the Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon - a half Ironman in Adirondack Park which took place this past Saturday.

Sure, I could have - and probably should have - eased my way into multi-sport with a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon but for a variety of reasons (see above) that just wasn't to be. Fortunately I had the guidance and training companionship of several of my Hellgate teammates.

The day before the race Salena and I packed up the car, hooked up with teammates Eamonn and Jessica and began the hours long northward caravan to Tupper Lake. On the way I decided that my bike needed a name... After several pathetic and ill fitting attempts I settled on "Billy," as in Billy Goat - old and stubborn but still kicks pretty damn hard.

Upon arrival we immediately went to the beach to check out the swim course and transition area. It was at this precise moment that the excitement and mild anxiety I'd been feeling about the race turned to full blown fear and intimidation. The buoys just kept going and going and going... We couldn't even see the last one marking the half way point! What in God's green earth was I thinking?!?!?!?

Early on race morning we connected with the rest of the team - in all five Hellgaters were racing (Janine, Joel, Eamonn, Raul and me) and three-and-a-half were cheering (Jessica, Nazly and Salena + baby) - and headed to the start.

I cannot tell you how reassuring it was to be surrounded by friends when toeing the line of what felt like an insurmountable challenge. In particular, having Salena's support and unwavering faith in my ability helped to steel my reserve.


I suppose at this point I should tell you that I tend to act like a ham when nervous as illustrated by these first two photographs. Oh yeah...! I brought my game face!

What a dork!

Eamonn and me. What... us worry?

These next two shots will hopefully provide some additional perspective on scale. The first is the 100 or so people who started the race in the "green wave." There were six or seven other waves all consisting of about 100 people. The second photo gives a sense for just how far 1.2 miles is.

And we're off!

Can you see that last buoy?

The horn sounded, I wished Eamonn good luck and it was on. I'd like to reiterate that this is the very first time I have actually swam more than a few meters in open water with a wetsuit, let alone compete with other swimmers. I knew that there would be a rush and a fight for water but I was genuinely unprepared for this.

To grasp this situation, imagine a large school of docile fish in a small aquarium. Then drop in a hungry piranha. Arms and legs flailing, kicking and zig zagging... Mayhem!

Within minutes my heart felt as though it was about to explode and I was entirely out of breath. I looked up and realized I wasn't even close to the first buoy. I swam out of the main fray and began to breaststroke to catch my breath and let my heart rate fall. Neither occurred but it did give me a moment to regroup mentally.

I began to freestyle again but was unable to find my stroke or rhythm and ended up choking on a mouthful of lake water with my heart rate somewhere north of max.

I swam well off to the side again and began to breaststroke while competitors slipped by. Angry and frustrated, I seriously considered dropping out. The thought "I am in way over my head" actually came to mind. The irony of it was not lost on me.

Rather than going for one of the boats along the course, I focused on my training and all the early morning hours I spent in the pool. I focused on all the time I'd spent teaching myself to breath bilaterally, on how to reach and pull the water.

I freestyle swam a few meters and breast stroked a few. At one point I was swimming side stroke... Hell, I even thought about the back stroke. Anything to keep me moving forward!

After what felt like an eternity I made it to the half way mark. I was tempted to look at my watch but knew I'd just be discouraged. Instead I began to chant "just keep swimming" as Dory did in the Pixar movie "Finding Nemo."

The repetition of the chant (in my head of course) helped me to find a rhythm and the rhythm helped me to find my breath and stroke. I actually swam the second half reasonably well and was out of the water in 41:32.

I was pretty ecstatic when I finally saw the shallows and realized I could stand up! I raced to the shore pulling off my wetsuit with two thoughts in mind: 1) I am glad that is over; and 2) now I have to make up for it on the bike.

My T1 transition time was 3:18 which isn't all that great but isn't all that bad either.


While training for this race I bumped into a woman who had run it the year before and she described the bike course as "rolling hills just like Central Park."

Central Park is in Manhattan, a more or less flat island at sea level. Tupper Lake is in the Adirondack Mountains....

I feel as though this merits repetition:

Adirondack M O U N T A I N S!!!!
Not "rolling hills" by any stretch of my now waterlogged imagination. I crawled up seemingly endless "hills" as slow as 7mph and hammered down them topping out at about 45mph only to find a bigger and steeper climb lay ahead.

Forgetting something for your first triathlon is probably inevitable and I was no exception. I forgot to pack water bottles for the bike. Instead I crammed a bottle of Gatorade into one of the bottle holders and a small bottle of "rest stop" brand bottled water from the road trip up into the other.

Getting water down was easy enough but the Gatorade proved a little more challenging because it was a regular screw top lid rather than a nozzle. At some point I got the idea to grab a bottle of water from the next aide station, dump it out and pour in the Gatorade.

So here I am with both bottle caps in my mouth and about to pour Gatorade from a wide mouth bottle into a narrow one directly over the computer on my bike while doing 23mph. It dawned on me that this could really only end one way: badly. Thankfully I jettisoned the bad idea and the empty water bottle before giving myself an asphalt makeover.

About 35 miles into the race I approached a group of slower riders inching up one of those "rolling hills" and I moved left to pass. As I made my move the group picked up a the pace a little and at the very same time a faster rider further to my left passed us all. As a result I was squeezed in and forced to drop back.

Riding behind and witnessing this was an official on a motorcycle and I was assesed a 4 minute penalty for drafting. First, how can you possibly be drafting while going uphill at less than 8mph? Second, I wasn't behind the other riders for more than a couple of seconds (rules state you have 15 seconds to pass or drop back). And third, as soon as the faster rider cleared I made another move and passed the slower riders.

Regardless, I am not the least bit annoyed or dissapointed. I know I rode a clean race and that is really all that matters.

Fatigue began to play a part at about mile 45 and I did all I could to stay positive and geek myself up for the run. Finally the finish line appeared and with that I was two-thirds of the way to the finish. My bike time was 2:53:36 for 56 miles - an average speed of 19.4mph.

My transition from bike to run went really well and I was out of T2 in 1:31.

Look out I'm coming through!

Bad hair day.


Things got ugly on the run. Real ugly. Real fast. At this point I've been awake for seven hours and racing for almost four. Substantial calorie deficit and cumulative fatigue were weighing in big time. To make matters worse I had stomach issues.

I ran, walked, jogged, shuffled and willed myself forward but the stomach cramping and bloating was physically challenging and mentally debilitating. I pulled off to the side of the road on several occasions to try to force myself to belch or vomit to no avail.

Mile after mile I ran when I could, jogged when I couldn't and walked when I had to. But I never stopped.

At about mile seven I saw Jessica cheering and got a little lift from her encouragement. The defining moment of the run however came somewhere around mile nine. I had again faded from run to jog to shuffle and was just demoted to walking when a woman passed me by with the words "stay strong." With this I mustered up some strength and began jogging again.

A few seconds later, while plodding up another of those rolling hills I came across a guy about my age and build who was really struggling. As I passed him I touched him on the shoulder and shared those very same words: "Stay strong."

Those last few miles clicked by slowly but I knew I'd see the finish line. Exhaustion, pride and pain mixed and at several points emotion welled up within me.

At mile twelve something changed. Fatigue subsided and all I could think about was finishing. My pace quickened and before I knew it I was running what felt like a 7 minute mile. I turned a corner and could hear the crowds at the finish. Instinctively I began to kick even harder. The crowd cheered and the announcer called out my name, urging me to the finish. I must have covered the last 800 meters at a 6:30 pace.

The home stretch!

I crossed the finish line in 2:05:44 which is a pace of 9:36/mile. Slower than I'd hoped for but not too far behind my expectations.

I finished the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run (a total of 70.3 miles) in 5 hours 45 minutes and 38 seconds.


In a twist of fate, I think I finished steps behind the woman who had encouraged me by telling me to stay strong. We exchanged congratulations and a high-five.

Salena ran up at this point and gave me a huge hug and kiss which was great for me but must have been a little sweaty and gross for her!

Having Salena's support and encouragement
through all the months of training was indispensable but seeing her there at the finish was awesome. There's really no one I'd rather share this accomplishment with. Thanks babe!

We stuck around to watch the rest of the team come into the finish. Eamonn finished his first Half Ironman exceptionally stong. Despite injury Joel ran a great race. Janine ran an absoluely huge PR by shaving 40 minutes off her previous best. Raul also ran a fantastic triathlon finishing strong and looking fresh no less!

Here's a couple of fellows who deserve an ice cold beer!

In the hours after the race I was asked several times if I'd do it again. The honest answer at the time was a resounding "No." After a shower, lunch and a beer the honest answer was "well, maybe." Before dinner I was already thinking about how I could have trained better and raced smarter.

I'm hooked.

"Come what may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day."
-William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Don't Panic!

I recently realized that using a competition environment to attempt swimming 1.2 miles of open water in a wetsuit for the first time is pretty asinine.

Since I don’t have a lake in my backyard and there’s not even a desperate, begging, pleading chance that I’ll take a dip in the East River it seems I'm not going to have the opportunity before the Tinman.

To eliminate at least one of these variables (open water + wetsuit) I took my wetsuit and jumped into the pool. The good news is that wearing a wetsuit makes me more buoyant, reduces drag and makes me a faster swimmer. The downside is that it is harder and requires significantly more effort from my triceps and latissimus muscles.

Great! So now I know what swimming in a wetsuit is like. Now all I have to do is not panic when I hit the open water on Saturday.

“A wave of panic passed over the vessel, and these rough and hardy men, who feared no mortal foe, shook with terror at the shadows of their own minds.”
-Arthur Conan Doyle

Friday, June 22, 2007


Sometime early this morning I had my 10,000th visitor...

Don't you people have work to do? Just kidding!

Thanks for stopping by, reading, commenting and giving me a warm, fuzzy feeling of virtual-popularity!

"Please all, and you will please none."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


The Tinman Half Ironman is less than two weeks away. Last week was my last hi-volume, hi-intensity week before tapering and I was on a tear!

A couple of big swims, hard rides, long runs and a serious brick workout that finished with a fast mile and a 400 meter kick.




MondaySwim - 1700 MetersRun - Hill Repeats
TuesdayBike - 30 MilesGym - Weight Training
ThursdayRun - 13 MilesOff
Swim - 2100 Meters

Brick - 54 Miles Bike + 9 Miles Run




But now I am sick and can hardly pick my head up off the couch.Grrrrr.....

This is not my idea of a taper!

"Exercise is bunk. If you are healthy, you don't need it; if you are sick, you shouldn't take it."
-Henry Ford

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Washington D.C.

To celebrate Salena's birthday we took a long weekend and paid a visit to our nation's capital, Washington D.C.

We splurged a bit and stayed at a swanky, upscale hotel in Penn Quarter, which is just steps from the National Mall and the Capital Building. The hotel has a pet-friendly policy so Harry (or "Mr. Harry" as the doormen referred to him) was welcome to join us. On check in "Mr. Harry" received his very own water bowl, Voss bottled water and copy of Urban Dog Magazine - all hand delivered on a cloth lined tray.

Through a connection at the State Department, we were able to arrange a guided tour of the Mall with a Park Ranger. Ranger Mike chauffeured us from monument to monument and shared his wealth of knowledge at each of the monuments in a charming and insightful manner.

We hit the Jefferson, Washington and Lincoln Memorials. Then moved on to the Korean War Memorial followed by the Vietnam Memorial and concluded at the World War II Memorial.

We also visited the National Archives to view the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I found it absolutely fascinating that our entire civiliztion and way of life is based on a four page hand written document.

Also on display were Ronald Reagan's Presidential Diaries. The diary was opened to his entries on June 4 - 6, 1984 and recall the 40th anniversary of D-Day were he spoke at Pointe du Hoc, France. The entry is profound and moving.

Of course I spent each morning running and found D.C. to be a great city for runners with ample green-ways and paths around the Mall and along the Potomac River.

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit..."
-Declaration of Independence

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


It has been suggested to me that I run at least one sprint triathlon prior to attempting the Tinman Half Ironman. It is sage advice from a fairly seasoned multi-sport athlete. So I took the advice and signed up for the first race of the SBR Triathlon Series.

This race would serve as my first opportunity to swim in a wetsuit and as a trial run for Tinman. I could work out the kinks of the swim-to-bike transition as well as the bike-to-run. Finally I was looking forward to this race as a test of fitness - competing against more experienced athletes on the bike and swim.

The race took place on Sunday in New York's Harriman State Park - which is a lovely and picturesque place. Unfortunately the directions I got were poor and I proceeded to get lost. I made it without a moment to spare. I was quite literally the last person to set up my transition area and I had to run to the start at the edge of the lake!

I arrived at the beach to hear the last of the final instructions when thunder could be heard rolling in the distance. Per USA Triathlon rules, thunder is an automatic 20 minute delay. Wetsuits provide great warmth in cold water but are probably weak at preventing electrocution by way of lightning.

The thunder did not cease and the swim portion of my first tri was canceled. I have been told that "something unexpected" happens at every triathlon...

Instead of the swim we did a short beach run and then proceeded into a 16 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. The beach run's only purpose was to allow for a waved start to spread out the field (and to get sand in every ones shoes).

The beach run was fine but the sand was soft making it a little challenging. My transition was slow but I did manage to get out reasonably quickly because my transition area was near the exit. Fortunately I had no flat tires this time around! I hammered on the bike up rolling and undulating hills.

Then down... Ohhhh, the down! I like the downs. I was doing 40+ miles per hour down twisty backwoods roads and I loved it. The element of danger, the competitors on my back the lead pack up ahead!

The beloved down hill ended abruptly and was replaced by a loooooong, hard climb. Finally at the top it was only a few miles to go to the transition... Happily for me it was mostly flat.

The transition from bike to run went much quicker! I was thinking no problem... just push and take that guy up ahead. We turned the corner and the run course became a trail run and went straight up a hill covered with loose rocks, boulders and tree roots. Hmmmm, well that's "interesting."

I ended up passing one male runner but was totally smoked by some other hyper-fit guy. Seriously, I was going pretty fast but this dude blew by like I was standing still.

At the finish stretch I was cheered on by a former colleague and gave it my final push for a total time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 47 seconds. Here are the full results.

Finish TimePace
Beach Run

16M Bike
19.4 MPH

3.1M Run21:47


I was able to finish in the top 15 over all and got an award for placing 2nd in my age group which I am pretty geeked about!

Unfortunately, I don't think there will be another opportunity for me to practice swimming with the wetsuit prior to the Half Ironman... Alas, I guess I'll have to improvise come race day.

Now, it's back to training and later a change of scenery. We're headed to Washington D.C. to celebrate Salena's birthday!

"Too much improvisation leaves the mind stupidly void."
-Victor Hugo

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Long Beach

This is not the face of a runner enjoying a casual stroll.

This is the face of a runner in pain.

This past weekend I participated in the Long Beach City Managers 10 Mile Trophy Run. This road race zig-zags through the streets and along the boardwalk of Long Beach, Long Island.

I probably should have enjoyed the scenic views running alongside the Atlantic Ocean more than I did. Instead, I was focused on not stopping, not slowing down and not letting that guy with no shirt and no hair gain a step on me.

My wife, unborn child and dog were also in attendance and I certainly couldn't let them down!

I had fully anticipated running this race at a casual pace just to get in the miles. Besides, I'd concluded a 54 mile bike ride less than 18 hours prior.

The starting gun went off and as per the norm my brain stopped. I ran the first mile in 6:15 which is more of a 5k pace for me. I pulled back but still clocked a 6:30 and a 6:45 for the subsequent 2 miles... Fool. Fool. Fool.

Finally I settled down into a sustainable pace (that shirtless bald guy still behind me!) but my legs were pretty shot. The remainder of the race would be about holding on.

That "shirtless guy" caught up to me at about mile 6 and as it turns out he's a fine fellow who's run just about every single half marathon on the Eastern Seaboard... Kudos to you, man! He ran a nice strong pace, pulling me along for the next two miles. Unfortunately he had some knee pain and faded at mile 8.

Sometimes some portions of some races just suck. Such was the case in the 9th mile. The heat, the bike ride and the 5am wake up call were all shouting in my head saying "slow down!" Regrettably I listened to them and lost two positions before snapping out of it for the final stretch.

The final kick brought me across the finish line in 1:11:10 (7:07 pace) which was good enough to finish 18th overall and 4th place in my age group - I even got a trophy!

At the finish I bumped into DebbieJRT who is even nicer and more genuine in person than she comes across on her blog... Good luck in Steamboat!

Since we were so close to the beach I brought my brand spankin' new wetsuit! I figured I'd give open water ocean swimming a go post-race. Swimming in the ocean is hard. I must have consumed a half-gallon or more of salty ocean water. What a debacle! It seems I have some hydro-work to do before Tinman.

I've signed myself up for a smallish sprint distance triathlon this coming Sunday. Please pray that I don't drown.

"The sea - this truth must be confessed - has no generosity. No display of manly qualities - courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness - has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power."
-Joseph Conrad

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Queens Biathlon

Sunday morning. 5:00AM. Three alarms ring out… It’s time!

The Queens Biathlon was held today in Alley Park, Queens. The race consisted of a 5 kilometer run followed by an 18 mile bike followed by another 5 kilometer run.

I arrived with a few of my teammates from the Hellgate Road Runners and had ample time to check-in, change, use the restroom, warm-up and rack the bike in the transition area.

The weather was right on the cusp of being cold and the forecast called for scattered showers. Having completely over packed I “enjoyed the luxury” of debating what to wear. I finally settled on my tri-shorts and a short sleeve cycling jersey, figuring it is better to be too cool than too hot.

I arranged, then rearranged my transition area and checked my bike one last time. I thought to myself:

“Self, you’re going to run into the transition and in this order: put on your helmet, take of your running shoes (leaving the laces undone for the 2nd transition), put on your bike shoes, trot bike out of transition and then hammer away.”

It seemed like a reasonable plan of action for the transition and with that I headed to the start.

Over 100 people toed the starting line and since this was my first attempt at multi-sport racing I wasn’t exactly sure where to line up in the queue. Eventually I made my way up toward the front and with very little adieu we were off.

As a newbie I really had no idea how hard to push. I didn’t even have a predicted finish time in mind. Despite this, I quickly fell into a fast pace and started picking off runners as the race made its way along the out-and-back course.

I ran much of the race trading position with a rather fast woman. I would pass her on the up hills and she’d catch me on the down hills. As we hit the turn around I realized that she was the lead woman…

The run course finishes on a long, steep up hill and again I passed her to finish the first run in 9th place overall. The execution of my transition plan was flawless: helmet, shoes (laces loose!), bike shoes, bike off rack, trot out of transition area.

I swung my leg over the saddle and WHAT THE F***!!!!!!!!!

Flat tire…

I cursed violently and went to work changing the inner tube while the competition streamed by. I lost over 8 minutes changing that tire. When I finally took off – literally among the last few people to start the bike – I was furious!

I dropped into the aerobars, put my head down and channeled that anger into the pedals. At one point I looked down and was doing 36 miles per hour - wicked fast for me.

That speed was short lived as a strong headwind slowed things down, but still, I hammered away trying to make up lost ground. With screaming legs and throbbing heart I passed by riders in one’s, two’s and three’s. Then it started to rain. Not hard and not for long but each drop that pelted my forehead fueled the furious fire in me.

18 miles later my legs were shot and I had made little time up. I finished the bike in 70th. I quickly got the bike back on the transition rack, took off my helmet and switched back into my eagerly waiting running shoes for the final 5k run. Whoa… were my legs unsteady for those first few minutes!

This time the hills seemed longer and steeper and the halfway point seemed further away. The fury was gone now. I just wanted to finish.

At the halfway turnaround I broke away from a small group of runners and found myself alone - pulling away from one group but too far back to ever catch those ahead.

I climbed the final hill to the finish line with a total time of 1 hour 45 minutes 18 seconds. I placed 6th in my age group and 45th overall. Had I not lost the 8 minutes to the flat tire I would have likely placed 4th in my age group and in the top 20 or 25 overall.

The splits look like this:

Finish TimePace
5K Run
18M Bike
(54:26 without flat)
5K Run

Despite the frustration of having a flat in my very first bike race I am not discouraged. I was presented an obstacle and I overcame it. I trained fairly well and raced intelligently (for a newbie).

And, I have a sneaky, sneaky feeling that there will be plenty of additional opportunities!

"Fortune turns everything to the advantage of those she favours."
-La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Be The Hammer

As previously posted, I was run down by a car last Thursday while training on the bike. Did this brush with death* slow me down…?

Not for long!

I had intended to do an AM/PM workout on Thursday, take Friday as a rest day and then brick on Saturday. I only lost one workout as a result of my flesh on bumper affair. I took Thursday evening off and instead toasted my blessed good fortune with copious amounts of adult beverage. I rested Friday as planned and then on Saturday dug in.

I did 42+ miles on the bike at about 19 mile per hour, followed by a 5 mile run at approximately a 7:30/mile pace**. On Sunday I went for a 12 mile run at an 8:35/mile pace.

Thus far triathlon training is an exercise in time management and also in fatigue management. I am working out on average 7-9 times a week and taking one rest day per week. Packing 2,000 meters in the pool or a 20-mile ride in the morning followed by an evening run is not at all uncommon.

Never once in my life have I been as fit as I am today.

This Sunday will be my very first foray into multi-sport competition. I will be participating in the Queens Biathlon. The race is a 5k run / 20 mile bike / 5k run course and I fully intend to drop the hammer.

You must either conquer and rule or serve and lose, suffer or triumph, be the anvil or the hammer.

*admitted hyperbole
**actual times. Not hyperbole

Thursday, May 10, 2007


It has been far too long since I have posted and I have also neglected reading my favorite blogs these past few weeks. It’s really no excuse but work, life and training have been intense. I had fully intended to post today telling you about my crazy adventures, nutters training schedule, and witty observations on impending fatherhood.

All of that will have to wait for another day. This morning I was hit by a car while training on the bike…

I know what you’re thinking and you don’t have to worry. The car is fine.

When I set out this morning I decided to take it easy on the bike to set myself up for a good evening run (two-a-days... I told you tri training is intense). The first lap of my 7 mile circuit was at an easy clip… I stayed out of the biggest gears and never got up above 20mph. Feeling good, I decided to pick it up in the second lap. I dropped down into the aero bars and began to work the pedals.

This particular ride takes me past the entrance to the infamous Rikers Island prison. Traffic here is generally light but was a little congested as I approached due to a red light. As I neared the intersection a car making a left hand turn onto a minor side street pulled out in front of me (see below diagram). I jammed on the brakes but it was too late.

There is an interesting phenomenon in situations like this. The world slows down and seems to move in slow motion... Tunnel vision sets in. For a brief moment I could also see the future and there was nothing to be done…

The car made contact with my left leg and all of my forward momentum redirected sharply and abruptly to the right. Somehow I unclipped from the pedals, jumped from the bike and landed on my feet, more or less walking away, before the bike ever hit the ground.

Ego wanted me to be angry with the driver. Legally, there is likely mutual culpability. The fault however is my own. I had slowed as I approached the intersection, I was obeying the rules of the road and I was exercising heads-up caution but I was still being too aggressive approaching a semi-congested intersection.

The man who hit me was kind, considerate and didn’t once give thought to his now scuffed bumper and hood. There was only sincere concern for life and limb. “Bicycles and bumpers can be replaced. You my friend cannot be…” very nice words from a man whose name I don’t even know. We parted with a handshake and bid each other a good day.

As I sit and write this the swelling in my leg is going down and I am developing a pretty gnarly bruise. My leg is sore but nothing seems broken or out of whack. The discomfort is easily manageable with some Tylenol.

Absolute luck, divine intervention or serious good karma… It doesn't really matter much. I am just thankful to be walking. In fact, the bike was not damaged and I was able to ride the last few miles home... I even contemplated riding another 7 mile circuit.

In the end I decided a long shower and second cup of coffee would be the more more prudent course of action.

I think I'll skip the run tonight too. Perhaps I'll do a good deed to build up some of that spent karma and then toast Jesus, Buddha, and my guardian angel.

“Any landing you walk away from is a good landing”
- Launchpad McQuack

Monday, April 30, 2007


I am intoxicated!

No, it's not booze and it's not the 30 mile bike / 10k run brick workout on Saturday morning. Nor is it the 6:41 pace/mile at the Thomas G. Labrecque Classic 4-miler on Sunday.

It's the smell of new Asics shoes. Go ahead and stick your nose in... I know you want to and I know you've done it too.

Take a deep breath and inhale the possibility, inhale the speed, inhale victory!

"Nothing awakens a reminiscence like an odour."
-Victor Hugo

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

About The Baby

Thank you for your kind words on my previous post announcing the pregnancy. Salena and I are very excited and are trying to enjoy this chapter of our lives to the utmost.

We had our suspicions about the pregnancy early in the year and they were confirmed on Superbowl Sunday.

It was one of those moments when the world slows down and your focus narrows to tunnel vision...

I was working at the computer when Salena came in the room behind me. Before I turned around I knew the expression on her face and the words she was about to speak. It was an intense and surreal moment. And not one I will soon forget!

At this point, we're about 16 weeks into the pregnancy and our first child - who is now about the size of an avocado - will be born sometime in early October.

I find it interesting that the first reaction folks seem to have after learning we're expecting is to inquire into the sex of the baby. I suppose this is a completely normal reaction and one I have more than likely committed repeatedly. Now, however, the health of mother and baby entirely trump the pink or blue nursery quandary.

I am happy to tell you that mother and baby are doing perfectly well and are under the care of a very gifted doctor at one of the best hospitals in New York City.

Now to answer your question: No, we do not know the sex of the baby. Salena is keen to know if we're having a boy or a girl. I am leaning more towards waiting until the baby is born to know the sex. I totally understand the physical, emotional and logistic reasons behind learning the sex of the baby ahead of time.

Conversely, how many genuine surprises do you get in life? Maybe someone throws you a surprise birthday party. Maybe someone gives you a fantastic gift for no reason whatsoever. Maybe someone proposes marriage and catches a lover completely off guard.

All wonderful surprises but not of the same magnitude as waiting until the day the baby is born to find out if its a girl or boy. Perhaps best of all, the surprise is a magnificent win-win either way!

"Wherever life takes us, ther are always moments of wonder."
-Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A New Life

"So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be"
-Lord Tennyson

Sunday, April 15, 2007

DNF: Brooklyn Half Marathon

For me, the Brooklyn Half Marathon did not go well but I did manage to drag my tattered self across the finish line... It wasn't at all pretty but I DID NOT FAIL.

I've been running and racing now for five years and generally run 4 or 5 half marathons a year. I have a healthy respect for the distance yet I somehow seem to take the half for granted. I just show up and run.

In the past this strategy has more or less worked for me but the trek from Coney Island to Prospect Park Saturday exposed the flaws of this haphazard training "schedule."

I should also note that I was laid up with flu earlier in the week (missing key workouts) and then overcompensated with a long, hard tempo run on Thursday night. An additional factor is the loss of specificity due to triathlon training. With the addition of swimming and biking to my regiment I am working out more often but am actually running less mileage.

Despite this, my poor performance in Brooklyn is most attributable to a lack of running long. Simply put, I was not physically prepared and I knew it very early in the race. This caused my mental toughness to breakdown and I honestly wanted to drop out at mile five.

The only thing that kept me going was my looming triathlon. Knowing the physical and mental demands of the tri will be tremendous I kept putting one foot in front of the other and tried to hold onto my diminishing pace and eroding willpower...

Amazing how an attempt to PR and break 1:30:00 can turn into a struggle just to cover the distance.

Here are my splits:
  • Mile 1 - 6:42
  • Mile 2 - 6:42
  • Mile 3 - 7:01
  • Mile 4 - 6:50
  • Mile 5 - 7:03
  • Mile 6 - 7:18
  • Mile 7 - 7:22
  • Mile 8 - 7:25
  • Mile 9 - 7:29
  • Mile 10 - 8:09
  • Mile 11 - 8:13
  • Mile 12 - 8:34
  • Mile 13 - 8:28
  • Mile .1 - 0:52
"Proper prior planning prevents poor performance."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Feeding The Hand That Scratches Your Back

You may have noticed that I have put a Google AdSense button on my sidebar and I feel it worth an explanation.

Last time I checked, Google had a market capitalization of over $145 billion and was trading at about $464 a share. Clearly Google is doing fine financially. However, Google is in the business of making money. And Google owns Blogger - a free service.

While there is room for improvement in the Blogger platform I will say that it is fairly full featured, flexible and easy to use. And it's worth mentioning this again... it is free.

For this reason I've decided not to bite the proverbial hand that feeds my publishing whimsy. It’s just my way of saying thanks to Blogger and Google for providing this service. I hope that the addition of ads on my blog does not offend.

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."
-Mark Twain

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

4 Days

On Saturday morning I woke up feeling kind of icky. By mid morning the icky had turned to full on sick. Unfortunate because I was hoping to get in a back-to-back long run and long bike in anticipation of the Brooklyn Half Marathon and Tupper Lake Triathlon. Given my nauseated state I decided to postpone the workout to Sunday.

I woke on Sunday feeling just as sick and in no shape to run 10+ miles and bike 30+ miles. And what little energy I could muster needed to be expended on cleaning house for Easter Dinner*.

Sunday night into Monday morning I tossed, turned and suffered from flu like symptoms the likes of which... I'll spare you the details, but I will say I didn't get much sleep! I called in sick to work and spent the day by alternating between sleeping on the couch with the TV on and sleeping in bed with a book.

Today (Tuesday) I woke up feeling a little better but still not 100% and in frequent need of a lavatory.

All of this is to say... It has been four days without a run, bike, swim or workout of some sort! I cannot recall the last time so much time lapsed between workouts. Even after the NYC Marathon I was back on the road in less time.

"The abdomen is the reason why man does not easily take himself for a god."

*Easter Dinner was spectacular! Kudos to the chef!

Friday, March 30, 2007

I've Just Gotta Tri This

A few of you have already guessed it... I've gone and signed myself up for a triathlon. The Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon is a Half Ironman distance and consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run.

I've looked over the results from last year but I honestly have no idea how I'll do or what my times will be like.

The swim will likely be my weakest event and is also the biggest variable for me. I fully anticipate crushing the bike leg.

Running a half marathon is never easy, particularly after swimming more than a mile in open water and biking 56 miles in the Adirondack Mountains. Despite these challenges I think I'll be able to muscle/heart out the run.

I'm not following nor have I found a formal training plan as of yet but I am working on all three sports. Any recommendations on training plans is welcome. I am also open to any recommended reading on biking and swimming technique.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Xtrain Weekend or About the Bike

On Saturday I ran a 10 mile tempo run with some of the Hellgate crew. On Sunday I took my "new" road bike out for the my very first ride (more on this below). On Monday morning I hit the pool for about an hour.

I am pooped.

So, about the bike. It is a late 80's road bike made by Cannondale. It was probably a fairly high-end bike when new but by today's stadards it's... well let's just say it's pushing up on 20 years old.

It was purchased used on Craig's List Seattle by my de facto brother-in-law about a decade ago. A few years later it was retrofitted for my sister-in-law who lives in Boston. Last week it made its way to New York and to me.

This "free" bike ending up costing almost $500 to tune it up and refit it with a new seat, stem, handlebars, aerobars, water cages, computer, helmet, flat kit, etc... I do have to give mad props to the folks at Tony's Bike Shop here in Astoria. They are friendly, knowledgeable and they spent a significant amount of time working with me and the bike.

As I noted prior, I took it out on Sunday for the first ride. I put in 25 miles in about an hour and a half. This is roughly 16.5 miles per hour, probably a little faster when you factor in stopping for red lights and such. Per my Polar Heart Rate Monitor my average HR for the workout was 134 - which seems on the low side.

The real story here is the saddle. There is one additional piece of equipment that will be essential before I go out for another ride of this duration or intensity... BIKE SHORTS!!!

Good Lord! How do professional cyclists do it?!?!?!?

"On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dumb... But Funny

The good people at the Washington Post recently put this collection of humorous photos together...

People are dumb (but funny).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Colon Cancer Challenge - 15K

I had no intention of running the New York Road Runner's Colon Cancer Challenge this past Sunday - but as turned out, it was a good thing I did.

Just two days before the race I was still hemming and hawing about what to do. It had recently been suggested that I pick a race of a shorter distance and go all out - 115% effort. If I have the race of my life... Excellent. If I red line and blow up... Excellent. Either way I learn a good lesson about my ability.

I eventually decided to follow this suggestion and drop the hammer on this 4-miler. Given the fair weather it seemed reasonable that I would best my recent PR for this distance.

At the very last minute I changed my mind and decided to run the 15K instead. However, I did not change my race strategy. This 15k was to be a knock down, drag out, bare-knuckled slugfest.

I queued up right at the front of the starting chute with a couple of the fastest of my teammates. Speaches were made and the starting horn sounded.

I ran my best time for the 15k last year. I finished in 1:06:35 which is a pace of 7:09 per mile. On Sunday my first mile clocked in at 6:15... Mile 2 came and went in 6:02. Clearly I was on a mission!

As I past the 3 mile marker it dawned on me that I had just run my fastest 5k ever. I also realized that my heart was about to explode. As much as I'd like it to be true, I am not yet capable of running this pace for 9.3 miles.

Somewhere between mile 4 and 5 I realized that keeping a positive mental outlook was going to be key to getting myself across the finish line. As thoughts of slowing down or giving up crossed my mind I actually spoke these words allowed:

"no. No. NO!"

Those running near me must have thought me crazy... but that was just the begining! An old Johnny Mercer song then popped into my head and I had a new mantra!

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

With my new found positive outlook came a little boost in energy and I muscled up Cat Hill for the second time and pushed as hard as I could along the reletively flat East Drive.

The race then cut across Central Park and doubled-back down the rolling hills of West Drive. At the top of one of these hills I bonked...

I ran out of gas...

I walked...

I was messing with Mister In-Between.

With a few choice words I got myself running again by accentuating the positive fact that the finish line was only two miles away.

This 15-kilometer rumble was giving me a whoopin' but like Rocky Balboa I still had a little fight left in me for the last round.

With about a half mile to go I heard someone call my name... And then again... And then a few hundred meters from the finish line my teammate Eddie passed me.

Oh no you don't!

I kicked like I've never kicked before and I got him by 2 seconds.

Photo by Jared Mestre

My finish time was 1:02:30 a pace of 6:43 per mile and a personal record by over four minutes. Needless to say, I am very pleased.

Of course there are the inevitable "what if's" and the "could have," "should have" and "would have's" but I ran a great race and can honestly say I gave it my best.

"You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!"
-Mickey Goldmill in Rocky (1976)