Monday, September 3, 2012

I'm Moving...

Hello everyone, I have a new home as of today.  It is still not 100% complete, but I will be working to get it fully up and running over the next few days!  Please make the jump with me over to

Thanks for your continued support!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Yeah...Still Here

Okay, I know what you're all thinking, "LI Rookie Racer? Yeah, I think he fell off the face of the planet.  I haven't seen a new post on his blog in a long long time."  Well to respond, I am still here, and no I have not written a post in quite some time, but have been exceedingly busy (lazy?) I'm going to stick with busy but in all reality it was probably a combination of the two.  A lot has been going on in my life in the last few weeks.  I started teaching math and science at a local summer school, I ran two half marathons in two states in the last two weekends, and I have been continuing training for the REV3 Maine Half Iron distance Triathlon at the end of August.  Yeah, tons of stuff going on!  I have also been searching for a job as a math teacher either on Long Island or in Westchester to start in September.  Needless to say this has not been an easy process in the least.  I have been on only two interviews for the twenty plus jobs I applied for, and feel only because I had connections at the two schools and was given courtesy interviews.  On my most recent interview I was told "Paul, you're going to be an awesome teacher, but without more experience we just won't be able to hire you."  A statement that is both nice and disheartening to hear.  It appears that without at least a few years of experience, finding a job as a teacher is like finding a needle in a haystack.  A combination of soul searching and frustration in the search for a job as a teacher, I have come to decide that I will begin looking for jobs in business and finance.  I am signed up to take a prep class for the first actuary exam in November.  At this point, I will continue to look for teaching jobs and a finance/business job simultaneously taking whichever comes up first.  

So yes, it has been a busy and frustrating few weeks.  I am starting to relax and destress knowing that I am doing what I can to find a job either as a teacher or somewhere in business.  I know it is a long road to travel, but will ultimately prevail and be happy with whatever job comes my way.

I hope that sometime in the next few days/weeks I will have the time to write out race reports for both the Jamestown and Chicago Half Marathons.  

I will be posting again soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Getting Back on Track

June 28, 2012 --

In the past four weeks, I have run three races.  Two sprint triathlons, and a half marathon.  Although these races were built into my training plan, I feel that they have managed to throw me off of my training schedule.  I did not feel physically fatigued after the triathlons, but am certainly feeling a little mental fatigue.  I attribute this mental block to a number of things.  The school year was winding down and I was continuing to apply for teaching jobs for both summer school and for september.  There is still no update on september, but I did end up getting an offer to teach summer school at Lawrence High School.  The stress of finding a job piled on top of stress in looking for an affordable apartment to live in with Amy has surely been a lot to handle.

I have definitely fallen off of my training plan, but I will be getting back into it this weekend with a 40-45 mile bike ride saturday morning.  I will check in again to let everyone know how it went!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hell Has Hills...Fairfield Half Marathon Race Report

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 --

This past Sunday was the Fairfield Half Marathon presented by Stratton Faxon.  This race was basically a last minute add on to the schedule after I learned about the Half Fanatics, and wanted to qualify by running 6 half marathons in 6 calendar months.  I noticed that on my race schedule, I was already signed up for half marathons in May, July, August, September and October, and if I added a half in June I would hit that second level criteria.  I searched and searched for half marathons in June and came up with just a few I was able to complete due to my other triathlons scheduled.

I finally stumbled upon the half marathon in Fairfield, CT on June 24th, and knew I had found my half for June.  I saw on the race website that the course had quite a bit of elevation change, but looking at an elevation chart with a wavy line, often does not do justice to the true elevations in my mind.  It has always been difficult for me to translate that elevation chart into the difficulty of the course.  Anyway, Amy decided she was going to do this race with me, and Sunday morning, we headed off to Fairfield, CT together.

Okay, so packet pick up was Sunday morning before the race.  Not exactly what I want to be doing before a race, but you have to deal sometimes.  Coming off my 1:54:16 half in Providence, I was still feeling good.  I was hoping to again break 2 hours, but in the weeks leading up to this race was having some pain in my left hip. This was definitely slowing me down a little, but by the morning of the race it was feeling good.  I knew I didn't want to push it though and hurt myself again, so my plan was to run between 2 hours and 2:05.

Now onto the race!  The race had over four thousand participants and had a separate male and female start line (just to alleviate congestion at the start).  I started around the middle of the men, and really did not know what to expect.  I knew I had read several reports about this race where people said the hills were terrible and others where people said they were not as bad as everyone made them out to be.  I now know that those in the second group are either superhuman or full of it.  The race was pretty good for about the first mile, but an 8:30 am start meant the sun was blazing hot right from the beginning.  After about a mile or a mile and a half, the hills came, and they just kept coming. And coming. And coming.

The hills were way worse than I anticipated.  They were long and steep and as the hills came, the shade dissipated.  My plan to run the whole race quickly went out the window.  My new plan became run through the sun and walk/rest in the shade.  I ran up a few of the smaller hills, but walked up all of the big hills.  When I did run, I ran my pace.  Through the first 6.5 miles I was right around a 2:02 half pace, but slowed a little in the second half of the race to finish with a 2:13:41. A time almost 20 minutes slower than my last half, but a time that I am still very proud of.  My goal for the end of this race season was to break a 2:15 half marathon, so to have broken 2:15 on such a tough course in such a hot sun I am proud of myself and how far I have come since last year.

I do have to say that there were some great aspects of the race.  I felt there was a lot of support from race volunteers and the community.  There were a ton of people who came out on the course with their garden hoses to mist the runners and cool them off on such a hot day, the fire department rigged up a few misters to some hydrants, and there were some bands scattered around the course.  Once I realized I wasn't going to be breaking any records, I decided to have as much fun with this race as I could.  I went out of my way to high five anyone and everyone who was holding their hand out.  It really was a lot of fun!

After I finished, I waited for Amy to come across the line and cheered along some of the other runners, also a lot of fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Long Island Gold Coast Race Report

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 --

This past weekend was the 16th annual running of the Long Island Gold Coast Triathlon.  The race was your run of the mill sprint distance triathlon; half mile swim, 11.5 mile bike, and a 3 mile run.  The race started at a nice park in Port Washington.  I woke up and had my new race breakfast of a toasted bagel with peanut butter, picked up an iced coffee on the way, and headed over to the race.

The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 and to have 7 waves go off in four minute intervals.  For whatever reason, my age group was slotted to start in the last wave...something I didn't quite understand, but I thought, "Hey, if they have done this 15 times before, they have to know something I don't."

The swim saw supposed to be a half mile clockwise path parallel with the shore.  There must have been a problem with the buoys because most of them never left the shore.  Instead, lifeguards on kayaks marked out the course.  It was practically impossible to sight the course, but somehow, I was able to stay on course better in this race than any other I had swam ever before.  Having seven waves, really thinned out the amount of athletes going off in each wave, and opened up a lot of open space to swim.  

As I was waiting for my swim wave to start, I was able to watch the other waves start, but was unable to hear anything the race director was saying about the direction or markings of the course.  I instead decided to watch the other waves and try as best as I could to do whatever they did.  I must say without buoys in the water it was very difficult to sight this course, but with the extra space around me in the water, it made the whole experience very nice.

Swim - 9:38
T1 - 1:19

Once out of the water, I jogged the hundred or so meters up the beach to the transition area.  Quickly rolled on a pair of socks, clipped on my race number, threw my sunglasses on, and buckled up my helmet and was off to start the bike leg of the race.  Here's where the race got a little messy.  Remember my concern earlier with being in the last wave, yeah I had every right to be concerned.  The mount line was super crowded with a number of people, some of whom were in my wave, but others who appeared as if they had never ever ridden a bike before.  I ran past most of them looking for some open territory to mount my bike.  Even as I did this, I was almost run into by at least two or three people poorly mounting their rides.  

The bike course was two loops on a 5.75 mile course.  Again having been in the last wave, as I entered my first loop there was such a crowd of people.  I felt like I was weaving in and out of cyclists trying to avoid both oncoming cyclists and cyclists going in my same direction.  It was a disaster, but I made it out alive with a fast bike split and ready to get off the bike into T2 and head onto the run.

Let me just say that I have nothing against beginner triathletes as I was in many of their shoes no more than a year ago.  I just think that the race was very poorly organized and having been run fifteen years previously, it could have and should have been better.

Bike - 32:42 (21.12 MPH)
T2 - :46

The run course was actually a pretty fun course to run.  It started with a one mile loop out and back along the bike course, ran past transition and then had a two mile loop out and back along the beach.  I was having some hip pain in the days before the race, so I told myself I was not going to push it on the run, and just give it whatever my body and my hip could comfortably handle.  I guess with all of my swimming and biking, my hip was given ample time to loosen up and stretch out.  I got onto the run course feeling great and was able to push pretty hard.  I purposely didn't bring my Garmin because I didn't want to be upset if my mile pace was slow.  I didn't know what my pace was, but I felt like I was moving at a pretty good clip.  Again having started last in the water, I was able to pass quite a few people on the run.  I crossed the line faster than I ever had in a sprint before, super pumped.  My run has significantly improved since last year.  I still feel there is   room for improvement in all aspects of my game, but I am definitely pleased with where I am right now.

Run - 23:50 (7:57 min/mi)

Finish -1:08:12 (7+ min sprint PR)

I was quite tired after the race, but as usual had a smile on my face.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Great South Bay Race Report

June 5, 2012 --

This past Sunday was event power's Great South Bay triathlon which was held at East Islip Marina.  As the season unfolded, this was expected to be my second triathlon of the season, but due to bad weather and dense fog at Harriman State Park for TriRock NY and a cancelled swim, Great South Bay turned out to be my first full triathlon of the 2012 season.

I had about a forty-five minute ride over to the start from my house, so the alarm was set for 4:50 am.  At about 4:10 I woke up excited and ready to race.  I miraculously fell back asleep for the next forty minutes and got out of bed to get ready at 4:55.  My transition bag was packed from the night before, and my bike was in the car so all I really needed to do on Race morning was make breakfast and take my pre packed transition bag into the car.

For breakfast, I had a toasted whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, a new pre race and pre workout meal which I have found seems to give me a lot of energy.  Amy and I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts on the way to the race and I had a few sips of an iced coffee.  We made it to the race site right around 6 am which gave me just over an hour to set up and get ready to race.  The transition area in my opinion was a little crowded with 450+ racers set up into just two rows of bike racks.

I set up my normal transition area with my bike shoes clipped into my pedals and rubber banded in place to the quick release of my rear wheel.  On my handle bars, I had my helmet with sunglasses and my number belt laid across the handle bars.  I usually put my number on before the bike so that I do not need to during T2, all I need to do is spin the number around to my front.  I set up my "Believe" (New York Rangers Playoff) towel with my run shoes, a pair of socks, and my new visor.

Sporting my new team bicycle planet tri kit, you can see me liberally applying body glide before getting into my new Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit.  Sunday was the first time I wore it to swim and I gotta say it was incredible!!


On a good day, the swim is one of my better sports in the triathlon.  Sunday's swim was rough to say the least.  It was a clockwise looped swim which was odd for me because all of the swims I had previously down were counter clockwise.  As we were in the water waiting for the gun to go off, one of the race directors said that the current was taking everything to the left, so to swim straight out and it will bring you around to the outside of the first buoy.  I and several other people in the first wave listened, and boy was he wrong.  We found ourselves in the middle of the loop way off course and had to  basically make a 90 degree left turn to get back on track.  After we cleared the first buoy, I really started to feel that current which we were now swimming directly into.  It seemed that no matter how hard I was pulling, I was hardly moving toward the other buoys.  I eventually made it around the remaining three buoys and headed back toward the beach.  On the return to the beach which was about a 200-300 yard swim from the last buoy there were no other buoys to use to sight.  Not cool.  It was very hard to figure out where exactly on the beach we should be heading so again I found myself off course and lost more time.  This was definitely not my best triathlon swim, but it seemed that a lot of other racers found trouble on the swim as well.

Swim: 16:24
T1: 1:10


I have been getting faster and faster on the bike, and Sunday was the first time I really felt fast on the bike.  The bike course was an eleven mile loop tour through East Islip.  The course was relatively flat with a few rolling hills.  One of the things I have been very proud of lately is my new found ability to climb hills.  I have lately been able to get out of the saddle and work hard up hills without completely tiring myself out.  Only one bike passed me throughout the ride, and I passed a few bikers.  I have been hydrating with Nuun lately, and have found that I absolutely love it.  I have always been a sucker for grape flavored things, and Nuun's grape tablets are incredible!

Bike: 32:55
T2: :40

RUN --

Okay, so my run is getting better, but still not where I want it to be.  I still feel I am losing time and places within my age group on the run.  The run course overlapped with the bike course, which I felt was a little unsafe especially considering there was a small lake (puddle) taking up about half of the road getting into and out of the parking lot at the marina leaving very little room for runners and bikers going both in and out (Kinda Scary).  I got out on the run and felt pretty strong.  I passed a few, but was also passed by some competitors including at least two in my age group which always sucks to deal with, but eventually I will be the one passing the people in my age group. Overall not a bad run, and better than most of the run legs of my other triathlons.

Run: 24:56
Total: 1:16:02

So, not my best time but also not my worst.  I know I can shave minutes off the swim with better sighting and less time spent trying to get back on course.  My next triathlon is June 17th and I only expect to be better.

*All Photos Courtesy of Amy!*

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend and Race Preview

May 29, 2012 -- here's a quick recap of the holiday weekend.

Friday night after work I headed up to Larchmont to spend the weekend at Amy's.  Friday night we to La Herradura with our friends Steve and Marisela and then went back to Amy's to watch the Ranger Game (They lost, I cried, still not completely over it...that's all on that subject).

Saturday we went to Steve's for an early Memorial Day BBQ.  A few friends from college and a few of Steve's cousins were there and a great time was had by all.  The BBQ reminded me of a sixth grade dance with all the boys sitting at one table and all the girls at another.  We ate, drank, and reminisced about our college days...simply amazing!

Sunday, we headed back to my house early in the morning and I had an 8 mile run planned.  By the time we got back to my house, it was almost noon and the temperature was a scorching 80+.  The sun was bright, and my 8 miles quickly turned into 6.  It was a hard 6 miles after a weekend of not worrying about what I was putting into my body, but fought through it and got those tough 6 under my belt.  Sunday night I engorged myself on some of the most delicious Chinese dumplings  have ever eaten.  I haven't eaten like I did on Sunday in a very long time.

Monday was a long ride day.  I got up early and hit the road.  I rode the six miles up to the Long Island Expressway and got onto the service road.  I rode another 9-10 miles out east to Rt 107 where I turned around and headed back.  The whole ride was just over 30 miles and took 1:37:40.  I was pretty happy with my pace and my time considering I had never surpassed 28 miles on the bike, and the longest I had rode this year was only 20 miles.  Monday afternoon/evening was spent at a graduation party for my friend Joe's younger sister Jessica.  A lot of fun there as well.

Okay so now let me talk about the race I have coming up.  Very excited, and I have to say this now I will be so disappointed if we don't get to swim Sunday.  I think I am very well prepared and equally excited to be racing again this season.  This will be my fourth race of many this season, and like many of the others, the goal is to podium.  I have never been one of those people who is satisfied with 'just finishing.'  Last year being my first year in the sport, I was not as concerned with not finishing on the podium, but now that I have that year of experience under my belt, I want to be up there in the top.  I will post again after I pick up my packed on Thursday.

That's all for now!