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