Monday, July 28, 2008

Salomon XT Wings

A few weeks back I was contacted by a marketing firm asking if I'd like to be a featured blogger in the XT Wings Challenge.

The basic premise is simple: they send me a pair of Salomon XT Wings shoes and a Nokia camera phone. In exchange I wear the shoes, complete a "challenge" and document the process with the camera phone.

We're working out some kinks with the phone and the "challenge" still but I did want to comment on the shoes (pictured above).

The XT Wings are solid running shoes for softer surfaces such as trails or a track. They are light, durable, responsive and the speed laces are a pretty cool feature. These shoes are not really ideal for running on the street of Manhattan though... Unfortunate because this is where I do most of my training. At 180 pounds, I like a little more cushion around the heel.

Salomon also sent me a fantastic technical shirt. This jersey is extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear. The stitching is almost non-existent so you can say goodbye to chaffing. It wics well and has a front zipper for added ventilation. It has quickly become my favorite running shirt.

Thanks to Salomon and Nokia for sending me the schwag!

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."
-John Wanamaker

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Nautica New York City Triathlon

I ended my past post by borrowing a campaign slogan from Nike; well, I did it.

Yesterday I swam 1500 meters in the Hudson River, biked 40 kilometers along the West Side Highway and then ran 10 kilometers through Central Park in the Nautica New York City Triathlon. My total time was 2 hours, 49 minutes and 59 seconds.

The day started at 4:00am where I made some final bleary-eyed preparations and headed out into the already hot pre-dawn morning. After setting up my transition area I set off to the swim start where waves of athletes had already begun their journey.

Queued up on the starting barge, I dropped into the water and awaited the starting horn. The horn sounded and in an instant the water roiled as we jockeyed for position in the strong river current.

Look! Do you see me?

It wasn't long before I was stung by my first jelly fish. By the time I finished I'd been stung on my hands, feet and a rather strong sting on the back of the neck that's developed into a nice welt.

Needless to say I was delighted to finish the swim and rather glad for the protection offered by my wetsuit!

My official swim time was 28:50.

Thank God that's over!

The transition area was about 400 meters from the swim finish which explains the kinda long T1 time of 7:57 but once out on the bike course I opened up a devastating can of speed, cruising through the course in a time of 1:17 -- an average speed of about 19 MPH.

I'm also happy to report that I topped 40 MPH on a few of the downhills.

Yeah, love that!

Does this thing go any faster?

T2 came and went in a blur, in and out in 2:29. Unfortunately things were about to slow down.

At this point in the day, the heat (91 degrees and humid) and my lack of proper training caught up to me. My time for the 10k was 53:13 or about 8:33/mile.

Not looking so hot... Despite the heat.

YES! I see the finish line!

All in all I am really pleased with my performance and feel I did well given the lack of proper training. I'm toying with the idea of doing another Olympic distance in the late summer; and actually training this time!

I also want to pass along my most sincere thanks to Jared, Tony and Suzanne for coming to cheer me on (and for the great photos! Thanks guys!). And also to Salena and Jack who are the best support crew a guy could ask for!

On a tragic note, I wish to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Esteban Neiva, whose race and life were cut too short.

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it"
-Helen Keller

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hudson Valley Triathlon

I remember reading somewhere (I think it was the Iron Kahuna on the "Get Your Geek On" podcast) that you cannot call yourself a triathlete unless you do at least one tri a year. Thankfully I got that minimum requirement out of the way last Sunday by completing the Hudson Valley Triathlon hosted by the New York Triathlon Club.

My race performance was acceptable despite a really pathetic training schedule - I'm running, at most, 20 miles a week, I've been in the water 4 times this year and have spent even less time on the bike. Despite this I somehow managed to run a decent race.

I'm actually rather pleased with my swim. I was as comfortable as I've ever been in open water and I swam within my untrained ability; though my heart rate was well higher that it should have been.

I finished the 0.3 mile swim in 8:04.

Heart ready to explode, I jumped onto the bike and immediately faced the most difficult climb of the course - a quarter mile climb at a 45 degree angle. Augh!

The rest of the course was great... Rolling hills and speedy descents! I finished the 18 mile course in 59:02, averaging a little over 18 miles per hour.

Unfortunately the run starts up the same murderous hill as the bike and I was feeling some fatigue. I turned in a disappointing time for the 3.5 mile run - 29:10 a pace of 9:43.

I finished in 30th place overall and just a few places out of an age group award. Race results are here.

The real up side of this race is twofold. First I am all fired up about triathlons again. Second, is that I am now confident enough to tackle the Nautica New York City Triathlon this weekend.

"Just do it."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Crystal Ball

My new job is intense and I am enjoying the challenge - meeting new people, facing new opportunities & new obstacles.

There have been a few 12 hour days already which isn't that cool but the team I am working with seems great; they're bright, energetic, positive, hard working and fun loving.

The stress of starting a new gig, long hours and a head cold that just won't quit have sucked the athlete right out of me. I've run maybe twice a week these past few weeks.

No big deal, right?

Wrong! I'm doing a sprint triathlon tomorrow and in an inexplicable twist of fate I'll be doing the NYC Triathlon next week after all (see prior post).

ZOIKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've not trained seriously since the NJ Marathon in May.

I'm looking into my crystal ball and I can see that I am doomed.

"The future - you shall know when it has come; before then, forget it."