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!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

COX Providence Half Marathon Race Report

May 15, 2012 --

Okay so LAST weekend was my double race weekend.  I obviously needed a week and a half to unwind, or I have been incredibly busy with baseball games and watching the New York Rangers (who are playing awesome by the way) can choose whichever you'd like.

So as many of you have read, last Saturday was my first triathlon of the 2012 season which ended up turning into a duathlon.

Also, keep in mind that I chose not to reveal my race goals before the race because I was not sure how I would fare because of the race the previous day.  My previous PR before this race was 2:45:31...

Okay so where was I... Oh right, I had just finished TriRock NY at Harriman State Park.

I wrapped things up at Harriman, packed up my transition bag, threw my bike in the car (I really need a car rack for my bike) and headed out.  Amy and I drove back to her uncle's house in Larchmont to drop off my bike so I wouldn't have to keep it in my car for the weekend in Rhode Island.

After a short conversation with Amy's Aunt and Uncle, we hit the road and began our short journey to the Ocean State.  This was the second race I have run in Rhode Island and I have to tell you, I have really liked everything about the state.  Amy and I were staying in the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Providence for the night, so we checked in, dropped off our gear in the room and headed over to the race expo which was help at the Providence Convention Center.

As we were walking to the convention center, which was only three blocks away, we were passing a lot and I mean A LOT of young girls in cheer leading uniforms.  I was a little surprised to see so much "spirit" but this feeling was nothing compared to what I encountered as we entered the convention center. There were by my guess THOUSANDS of cheerleaders at the convention center for some national competition.  The building was so loud and full of energy.  We picked up our packets and got the hell out of there as fast as we could!! Haha

We ate at Dave and Buster's in the mall, and went back to the hotel for the night.  Amy's inner little old lady showed through when she went into the hallway at 10:15 to yell at some rambunctious little whipper snappers to quiet down!  In reality i think she was just really nervous about the race, but I like the other story better.

This was the first time we decided to spend a little more money on a hotel room at a place which was very close to the starting line.  The starting line was actually less than a block away from the front steps of the hotel.  We finally got to sleep in at a race which was a beautiful feeling.  At 7, we woke up and got dressed, strolled down to the lobby where we grabbed breakfast (plain bagel toasted with peanut butter for me) and then went back up to the room.  We finally made our way down to race at 7:45 for an 8:00 start.  Being able to use the bathroom in the comfort of our hotel room and not having to deal with the accommodations of a port-a-potty was incredible, I highly recommend trying to get a hotel near the race start!

We got out to the start line and stretched a little to keep the pre race jitters away.  I had done a full stretch up in the room, so just needed to keep moving until the gun went off.  Amy and I lined up together and awaited the starters pistol.  I had thought about trying to move up toward the beginning of the pack.  The race was using a single start time as opposed to a wave start, but there were some markers for different paces.  Every :30 between 8:00 and 12:00 were marked out, but it was just too hard to get through the pack up to the 8:30 marker.

Needless to say after the gun went off, I had to do a fair bit of dodging and weaving through some traffic, but after the first mile, I found myself with a group of people who were running at a pace similar to mine and stayed with them the remainder of the race.

The course map and elevation chart made it seem like I would be facing some hills, but it did not prepare me for the hills I encountered during the race.  I am in some ways surprised that I faced these hills so well, but with all of my run training over the winter paired with my weight loss and strength building, I am not as surprised now looking back on the race.

I really pushed myself hard this race, and maybe could have gone a bit harder, but I was definitely a little sore and tired from the duathlon the day before.  As the race wound through the streets of Providence and the surrounding towns, I definitely felt more fatigue than normal because of my duathlon, but I decided I was not going to let myself succumb to this fatigue and mentally pushed through it.

This was the first time I had run an entire half marathon on race day.  I had several training runs longer than 13.1 during my marathon training, but I never had been able to string 13.1 miles together for an actual race.  So that was one of my goals for this race.

My goal for this race was to run under 2:11.  Like I said earlier, my previous best was 2:45:31, and I knew that 2:11 was a 10 min/mi pace.  Going into the race, I knew I could easily hit this goal, so I also had more of a reach goal.  My reach goal was to run a sub 2 hour half and break 1:55:00.  In some of my training runs I was able to hold pace to go sub 2 for between 6 and 8 miles and thought it could be possible to break that two hour barrier.  I had heard a lot of stories of people who trained and trained but couldn't break two hours, and thought it would be a real challenge.  

Here are my mile splits (Gotta say I LOVE having a Garmin Watch so I can track my paces and my progress):

Mile 1: 8:31
Mile 2: 8:17
Mile 3: 8:36

Mile 4: 8:35
Mile 5: 8:33
Mile 6: 8:28
Mile 7: 8:15
Mile 8: 8:35
Mile 9: 8:45
Mile 10: 8:24
Mile 11: 8:59
Mile 12: 8:53
Mile 13: 9:19
Last .1: 8:39 pace

Official finish time: 1:54:16  avg pace 8:43 min/mi

A new PR by over 50 minutes!

So there it is! I apologize for the wordiness of this post, and the lack of pictures.  Amy was also running with me in this race, so she was not able to be my personal race photographer.  Next post will hopefully have more photographs!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TriRock NY Race Recap

May 5, 2012 --

Hello all!!! I am sorry for keeping everyone waiting for this post, but I have had a busy few days.  Saturday I spent driving to Rhode Island, Sunday I ran a half marathon and drove back home to Long Island.  Monday I had baseball practice and was watching the Ranger Game! Tuesday I had a baseball game, and here I am today.  Practice cancelled due to rain, workouts taken care of before and right after work so I have a few minutes before the Ranger game starts tonight! So here goes...

And so triathlon season is upon us; well, kinda.  This past Saturday was TriRock New York a sprint triathlon in Harriman State Park in Stony Point, NY.  The park is about an hour away from my house, so with an 8 am scheduled start time, Amy and I decided to wake up at 5 and hit the road no later than 5:30.

We stopped quickly at Dunkin Donuts, because no one should be up before 6 without a coffee.  Sad story here, the coffee was absolutely disgusting.  Disgusting to the point that we couldn't even force it down just for the sake of caffeine.  The bagel I got however, was awesome!

Awesome Bagel!
As we neared the park, we began to encounter some fog, but I really thought nothing of this.  If I remember correctly, there was fog as we arrived to last year's triathlon at Harriman.  Anyway, we pull into the parking lot and unload the car.  There was a little bit of fog, but it didn't really seem too bad in the lot.  I walked my bike over to transition and began to set up.  I set up my regular transition and can remember thinking "Hmm I wonder which way the beach is from here"  After I finished setting up transition, I threw on my wetsuit and went to find Amy.

Amy and I were hanging around a few minutes before I went to take care of some pre race restroom appointments.  I think that races are one of the very few places you will ever find a line for the men's room.  I take care of business and am ready to get into the water to start my first tri of 2012.

Remember that thought of where the beach was, as I walked out of the bathroom, I finally got my answer.  I walked down a path and finally began to see sand.

This was my view of the water from about 200 yards away. Terrible fog cover.  So bad so that the race coordinators are making an announcement that they are going to push the start of the race back a half hour in hopes that the fog lifts, and they do not have to cancel the swim.  I turn to Amy and ask if I heard right...that they might CANCEL THE SWIM!  I was less than happy with the notion that the swim portion of this triathlon could potentially be cancelled.  Well long story short, after almost an hour of waiting in which hope was given and taken away as the fog rolled in and out, the swim leg of this race was cancelled, and I was now racing "DuRock New York."

At this point I am pretty upset.  I did not want to take of my brand new TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit
and put on my run gear.  I tell Amy, "Well there goes any shot I may have had at the podium today."  The swim is one of my strongest disciplines of the triathlon, and I usually have one of the better/best swim times in my age group...and one of the worst run times.  I just knew that adding an extra run leg would allow my competition to open up an even bigger gap on me when normally I would be ahead or neck and neck after the swim leg.

Now that I have expressed my sadness over the lack of swim...lets get to the recap!

Run 1- 1.2 Miles

Okay, so the race started in the same waves we would have been in had we done the swim and I was in wave 4.  The waves were sent off in three minute intervals, so some of the runners from wave 1 returned and were out of T1 before my wave even started.

Here's what we saw from the start line...a big group of runners heading into a foggy abyss, not knowing what was waiting on the other side.  The first run leg went by pretty quickly.  I stayed with the main pack of my wave, and finished the 1.2 miles just under 10 minutes with a pace of 7:41 min/mi.  One small hill up and one coming back down.  It was nice to have run this, because we would be repeating this same loop two more times for the second run leg.
Run 1 - 9:59 7:41 min/mi.
T1 - 1:22
Bike - 11 Miles
The bike leg was an 11 mile loop with some rolling hills.  Some of the hills were a little rougher than others, but nothing compared to the hills on last year's course.  My top speed was in the mid 30s on a down hill, and my minimum speed was around 12 MPH on one of the steeper uphills.  My bike performance has increased since last year.  I think a variety of factors has led to this increase.  Simple strength increase in my legs is certainly something that can be thanked.  Having to push less weight on the bike can also be thanked.  And I feel my conversion to bike shoes and clip less pedals has certainly helped.  
Bike - 37:09 18.8 MPH
T2 - 1:24
Run 2 - 3.1 Miles
Run 2 I knew was another two laps of the loop we had already run for the first run leg with a small addition about half way through the loop.  I got off the bike, and was ready to run.  Grabbed my hat and slipped my run shoes on and headed out on my way.  I felt pretty good running the whole time...which tells me I probably could have pushed myself a little harder.  (Things to keep in mind for my next Tri) I have to say in my past triathlons, I never walked, but I ran pretty slow and was passed by a lot of other people.  It was a great feeling to be on the other side of that situation on Saturday.  I was running hard and moving past several people on my run leg.  I have greatly improved my running abilities and speed over the winter which was exactly what I was hoping for!
Run 2 - 25:26 8:29 min/mi
Total - 1:15:22

Total - 1:15:22

Overall, very happy with my performance at DuRock NY.  I plan on being a force to be reckoned with this triathlon season!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Expectations

April 30, 2011 --

Good evening, I hope everyone had a happy and productive Monday.  This coming weekend is the first in which I will be running two races.  Saturday, I will be running in TriRock New York at Harriman State Park, and Sunday I will be competing in the first leg of the United Health Care Triple Crown Race Series.  

Friday afternoon I will be heading into the city to pick up my race packet for TriRock, and I must say I am so excited for this race this year.  This will be my first tri of the season, and I can't wait to show off the new speed in the run leg of the race.  This will also be my first opportunity to get in the water in my new TYR Hurricane CAT 5 wetsuit!  

I am not sure exactly what I expect my finishing time will be, but I do plan to have a competitive time and hope to finish top five in my age group.

After TriRock, I will head right up to Rhode Island to the race expo for the Providence Race.  I have a time I am shooting for, but do not want to let that information out of the bag just yet.  I do not know how I will feel after the triathlon Saturday, and do not want to be disappointed if I am unable to hit my time goal after I posted it here.  As far as I am concerned, the Triathlon on Saturday is my top priority of the weekend and the half marathon is secondary.

I am very excited to be getting back into the heart of race season! It truly is the best part of the year!

Also, I am a huge New York Ranger fan who are in the middle of their playoff run!  Let's Go Rangers!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Training Updates

Saturday, April 21, 2012 --

A few updates to mention today.  First off, Thursday night was a Team Bicycle Planet training session dedicated to working on T2, the bike to run transition.  We set up a bike rack in the corner of the parking lot...racked our bikes, set up our transition areas and got to work.  We talked a lot about how to get through transition as quickly as possible and some of the big dos and donts of triathlon transition.  One big hit of the night for some of my teammates were elastic laces for the running shoes.  About half of us, myself included, already had elastic laces on our shoes and in a matter of seconds had convinced the other half to make their way to the shop after practice to pick up elastic laces of their own.  It's no secret that having elastic laces shaves precious seconds off of a transition, but more than that I really like how they can never really be tied too tight or too loose.

After some chatting about how to speed up transition, we put our newly learned skills to the test; starting about fifty feet away from the transition area, running in as if we were entering T1, taking out the bike, riding a few hundred yards, and returning to test our times for T2.  It was a lot of fun, and there are really some great people to learn from and offer tips to on Team Bicycle Planet.  With my first triathlon of the season only two short weeks away, I really want to spend some time at home working on transition at home.  One big area I'd like to work on is mounting and dismounting the bike.

My last big tip for transition...keep it simple.  A good transition set up has only the essentials.  There's no reason to unpack every piece of triathlon gear you own just in case you need it.  This comes mostly with experience, but eventually you will be able to figure out exactly what you need for transition, and have a nice routine down to get in and out quickly.

Aside from my triathlon two weeks from today, I am also running a half marathon two weeks and one day from today.  Training for that has also been going great!  Today I went out for my long run and was very happy with my 10 mile run in 1:26:50.  I ran with a pace of 8:41 min/mi. which for me is very fast.  It appears that all of my winter work on my running is really paying off, and I could not be happier!!!

I am super excited to get out on the road in race conditions to test out these new legs!

On another note, I am seriously disappointed with how the New York Rangers have played the last two games, and really hope they can turn it around first in game 6 to force a game 7 and then really give it everything there.  Lets Go Rangers...I still BELIEVE!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fast Approaching...

April 13, 2012 --

Happy Friday the 13th to everyone out there.  This is the second of three such dates penciled into the 2012 calendar this year.  The first was in January, and the third will come in July.  We are just about half way through April and for many, they will be competing in their first triathlons in three short weeks.

For me, I open my triathlon season in Harriman State Park at TriRock NY.  It's hard to believe that less than a year ago, TriRock was the first triathlon I ran.  It will be nice to return to a familiar race, but due to September's Hurricane Irene, the race will be taking place on a completely different course.  Last year the swim took place at Lake Sebago beach, but unfortunately the hurricane washed away the beach, and this year's race will take place at Lake Welch.

This is the first of many races I have planned this year.  I am not sure exactly what I was thinking when I was planning out the season, bur I am really looking forward to the excitement and the challenge of my season.  My main race this season is the half ironman in Maine at the end of August so that is what my training will be focusing on, but I hope to be competitive in my other Tri's.  I worked really hard on my run speed in the 'off season' and am looking forward to better times this season.  I am coming into the season down fifty pounds from from the Mighty Hamptons race.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

UHC Triple Crown

April 7, 2012 --

Good morning, and welcome to the weekend!  It has been awhile since I have posted on here, and to be honest it has been a combination of a busy schedule and sheer laziness which has kept me away.  I did make a few small updates to the homepage, adding a new page for the UHC Triple Crown.

Many of you may be asking, what exactly this triple crown is, so let me tell you.  Last year, I ran the United Health Care half marathon in Newport, RI.  I absolutely loved this race, and immediately signed up to run it again in 2012.  Long story short, I soon learned two different things.  First, that Amica Marathon (@Amicamarathon) was offering an opportunity to bloggers to enter either the Amica Marathon or UHC half marathon in Newport, RI and blog about their training and experiences at the race.  Secondly, I learned of the triple crown series United Health Care was sponsoring.

The series, consisting of half marathons in Providence in May, Jamestown in July, and Newport in October is looking to "crown a half marathon champion of Rhode Island in 2012."  This series absolutely appealed to me for several reasons.  First, after the 2011 half in Newport, I have the utmost confidence that UHC will put on three fantastic races.  Secondly, Rhode Island is not too far of a drive from where I live on Long Island and is a beautiful state.

I am really looking forward to these three races, the first of which is just four short weeks from today.  I ran 8 miles yesterday in 1:06:41, and am looking forward to a big PR in Providence!

In the next few days I will post my 'insane race schedule' for 2012...Last I counted I think a total of 14 or 15 races.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rock'n'Roll USA Marathon Report

March 18, 2012 --

Yesterday was the Inagural Rock'n'Roll USA Marathon and Half Marathon, and before I even begin sharing my experiences, I have to say a few thank-yous.  Thank you to Competitor Group and the Rock and Roll Marathon Series for putting on an Amazing Event!  From the Race Expo to the finish line the race was well organized, well put together, and very well run.  Thank you to all of the race volunteers! You were all amazing and your enthusiasm and hard work was very appreciated.  Thank you to all the performance groups along the course! You all make the race very entertaining and a lot of fun.  And finally, Thank you to the city of Washington DC! I felt very welcomed, and it seemed as if the entire city was out and in full support of the runners yesterday.  Absolutely amazing!!!

Also before I get started, let me share my 9.5 toenail story.  During my 18 mile training run, I somehow developed a blister under half of my toenail on my left big toe.  After a few days, the blister broke , leaving the nail detached from the toe.  I went to a foot doctor to have him check it out, and he simply removed the part of the nail which was unattached to the toe.  He said it will take some time, but should grow back normally.  Without the nail, I actually felt better, and had less pain and discomfort than I did with the blister and detached nail.

Now for what you've all been waiting for: my race report...

5am Friday morning, Amy and I woke up on Long Island and began our journey to Washington DC.  Five hours later, we arrived in DC and headed right to the race expo.  This was one of the biggest race expos I have ever seen, and even being the biggest I feel it was definitely one of the most organized.  You walked in and were directed right into packet pick-up.  Amy and I picked up our packets, and were then directed into the merchandise and vendor booth area.  We were both 'suckered' into buying jackets, which we actually both love!  We visited every booth, learned a lot, and got a ton of free give aways!

After the expo we headed to our hotel and checked into our room, unpacked, and headed into DC to walk around and see some of the sights.  We met one of Amy's former roommates and had a pretty low key evening.  We struggled to find my lucky pre-race meal, penne ala vodka with grilled chicken, but were finally successful and chowed down on some delicious, extra spicy pasta!

Saturday morning we were both up at 6, got dressed and walked the 3 blocks to the metro in order to make it over to the start.  The first train passed us by and was so packed that we couldn't even get onto the train.  We waited for the second train to come by, hopped on and arrived at the Armory to check our bags in by 7:10...stopped in the rest room (so nice to have flushing toilets!) and headed toward the start to find our spots in our respective corrals.

The first wave went off at 8 AM, and I waited in wave 17 with the 4:25 pace team.  I had planned to run with them for as much of the race as I could.  Around 8:25, my wave had made their way to the start line and were on our way to 26.2 miles!  The first half of the marathon went by great!  The temperature was in the high 50s/low 60s and I was feeling great.  The first half was incredible with great sights and views of the city.  We ran by the capitol building, white house, Washington monument, and other major landmarks!  My half marathon split was 2:12:50.  The race went downhill from there.

After the half split, the course went into a more open area with much less shade from the sun, and the temperature had risen to about 80 degrees.  This temperature was what I was not prepared for.  All of my training runs in New York had been done in temperatures which never broke 45 or 50 degrees.  All of them had been done in leggings and long sleeve thermals.  I was taking in extra fluids because of the heat, which did not make my stomach very happy.  I was cramping up bad in both the gut and the legs with the heat and excess sweating.  I began to run/walk around mile 14 or 15, and I saw my goals of 4:25, 4:35 and even 4:50 slipping away; but I was determined to finish.  Amy had told me afterward that she saw numerous people wearing marathon bibs, who had half marathon medals meaning they stopped at the half way point.  

I just told myself to keep moving and never stopped.  After mile 15, they began handing out cups of ice to cool the runners down at all of the aid stations, and even at random stops along the course.  It was awesome that the race directors reacted to the heat as well as they did beginning to hand out ice and things of that nature.  

Around mile 25, I realized that I had only 1.2 miles to go, and began running, and told myself not to stop until I had crossed the finish line.  I saw Amy at the mile 26 marker wearing her half medal, and cheering me on.  At that point, I turned on the jets and whatever fuel I still had in me propelled me to the finish line.  My finish time was just shy of 5 hours and 19 minutes, i think 5:18:52.  This was considerably slower than I had hoped for, but that just gives me tons of room for improvement for next time.  I am extremely proud of myself for finishing the marathon and have no regrets about my time or my efforts during the race! 

I do have some pictures and some stories to share in a later post, so check back for that in the coming days.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rock'n'Roll USA Goals and Expectations

Good Afternoon! For those of you at work, it's FRIDAY!!!!

Here is what's been going on lately for me... Running running running.  Training has gone really well, and tapering went well as well.  I feel I am as well prepared for this race as I could be, and am very excited to have my chance at 26.2 tomorrow morning.  Sadly, I will only be running with nine and a half toe nails (more to come on this in the race report), but it will not stop me or slow me down!

Okay here are my expectations for the race:

1- I do not expect it to be easy, but I will be giving 110% percent on the course, and expect to be running the entire 26.2 miles with only walk breaks for eating/drinking if necessary.

2- I expect the course to be amazing! I drove past some of the monuments earlier today and was mesmerized, so I can't wait to run past them tomorrow!

And my goals:

My A goal is to finish sub 4:25.  I will be going out with a 4:25 pace group, and anticipate being able to hold a steady 10:00/mile pace.

My B goal is to finish sub 4:35.  This would give me an average pace of right around 10:30/mile

My C Goal is to finish sub 4:50.  Giving me an average pace of around 11:00/mile.

My D Goal is just to finish.

Hope everyone has a great St. Patrick's Day, and I will be sure to let everyone know how these 26.2 miles go for me!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Leaping to another 100 mile month

February 27, 2012 --

Hello all! I really have not had much to write about on here lately, and hope I was not too sorely missed during my absence.

Here's an update about what has been happening over the last two weeks.

Marathon training has been going very very well!  I was sidelined for a few days after I got my tattoo (maybe I will remember this and not get inked at the peak of marathon training in the future).  I recovered quickly and was quickly back on track.  This past weekend I completed an 18 mile long run, and am looking forward to a 20 miler this coming Saturday!  I currently have 93 miles racked up for the month of February, and with 2012 being a leap year and 8 mile runs scheduled for tomorrow and wednesday, I will again surpass 100 miles in one month!

With the race being just under 3 weeks away, I am beginning to realize that the day of those 26.2 miles will soon be upon me.  Back in October when I first decided to run a full marathon, I felt as if March 17th would never come.  After the marathon, I will be focusing on triathlon season and have my first tri just 6 weeks after the marathon!

I have entered a Biggest Loser Competition at work, and was challenged to lose 8% of my body weight by April 4th.  For me, that 8% would bring me down to 189 lbs. I weighed in today at 195, which means I have only 6 pounds left to lose over the next five and a half weeks.

That's all the updates for now.  Check in for my marathon goals and expectations in the coming days!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

24th Birthday Recap

February 12, 2012 --

Yesterday was my 24th birthday!

First I would like to give the final update to 23 by twenty-four.  I weighed in this morning at 195 pounds; fifteen pounds less than my goal of 210 pounds!  I feel great and am very proud of myself!  

I received my first official birthday present last Friday from my wonderful girlfriend, Amy.  She and I had talked about what she wanted to get me for awhile, and I knew she had planned to get me a new wetsuit!  I really like TYR's Hurricane series, so she had told me she was going to get me the Category 1.  We discussed what size I might be, and I thought that was what I was getting.  Well, last week, the wetsuit arrived, and Amy couldn't wait to give it to me just to make sure that it fit properly.   To my complete shock and surprise, she got me the Category 5 Hurricane wetsuit!  I was so shocked and thankful!

To go along with my new wetsuit, my family got me a TYR transition bag! It hasn't come yet, but should be here sometime at the beginning of next week! I am very excited to be more organized for Triathlons this year!

On my actual birthday, I sat for a new tattoo I had wanted to get for quite awhile.  I had always promised myself when I got back to 215 pounds I would get the tattoo, and now that I have I finally got it.  I have always wanted a cross with the awareness ribbons for ovarian cancer and ALS (Lou Gherig's disease).

I brought the idea to Ronda Xanthos, the same artist who had done my first tattoo and she drew up a design for me.  I just want to say now that I highly highly recommend her, she does great work and always takes the time to make sure everything is perfect!

Anyway, I decided to get this tattoo on my left side on my ribs...

Step 1: Stencil on!

Step 2: All Line work done!

Step 3: Shading of the cross' edge and draping.

Step 4: Adding in cracks to make marble look begin to come to life

Step 5: Shading and coloring to give that true marble look.

Marble cross. Only have to put the color on now!

Step 6: Coloring the ribbons.  This was the most painful part of the tattoo.

Final product! In a week or two the swelling and redness
will go away!

I could not be happier with how the piece came out! I now will never forget my 24th birthday, just I like will never forget my 18th when I got my first tattoo. 

I will post pictures of the tattoo after it has healed! Enjoy the Grammys and the work week!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


The rules:

1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Tag as many as 11 people to answer your questions

1.  I was adopted at birth, and consider my adoptive parents to be my only parents.  I have never thought or wondered about my birth ‘parents’
2.  I grew up knowing more great grandparents than grandparents.  My only living grandparents were my mom’s parents, but I only met her dad once or twice (none that I remember).  So really I only had my one grandma.  But, I did have two great grand mothers who lived into their nineties, and were a big part of my life.
3. I HATED running in high school and thought it was torture.  I now get sad when I miss a scheduled run.
4.  I really want to have LASIK vision correction surgery.  Without glasses or contact lenses I consider myself blind.  I can’t make out anything that is more than a few inches from my face.
5.  I hate change, and love routine.  I rarely try new things at restaurants unless forced to.  I really would like to change this.
6.  I think of everything in terms of math, and can do pretty complex math when I run.  I am able to determine my average pace as I’m running based just on my lap splits.
7.  I really want to own my own home, and do not want to live in an apartment.  This is one of my biggest life goals.
8.  I have always wanted a Husky because they have blue eyes like I do.
9.  I used to wake up and dress myself to go to school an hour early every day.  I never had to be woken up by my mom or dad for school.
10.   I was in 8th grade Biology Class when I found out about the attacks on the World Trade Center.  From my school and home, I could see and smell the smoke.
11.  Because of #10, I got a Bald Eagle and American flag tattooed on my right shoulder blade on my eighteenth birthday.  My tattoo turns 6 this year.

I was tagged twice, so I guess I have to answer 2 sets of 11 questions...

1. What is your proudest accomplishment?
I would say that my proudest accomplishment is earning my Master’s Degree in Education.  I graduated a year early from my undergrad program, and went straight into my master’s program.

2. What is your biggest regret?
I think right now, my biggest regret was stopping wrestling after 10th grade.  I would not have wrestled in college or anything major like that, but I definitely enjoyed it and only stopped to prevent injury before baseball season which I wound up hurting myself anyway.

3. What was your biggest fear as a child?
I think as a child my biggest fear was getting lost.

4. What is your biggest fear as an adult?
Right now, my biggest fear is not being able to find a job.

5. Your most embarrassing triathlon story, using exactly 11 words.
I’ve done only three, no embarrassing story to share with thee.

6. What  is the one piece of advice you’d give the 10 year old version of yourself.
When you think you’re giving something 100%, give another ten percent.  And when you think you’re doing that…give 10% more.
Also, don’t be embarrassed swimming in a speedo. Wear it proud! (I quit the swim team because we raced in speedo man-kinis)

7. What is the best meal that you’ve ever made yourself?
I’m a big fan of Italian food, so I’d have to say penne ala vodka with grilled chicken.

8. In or out?
Insane and OUT of my mind crazy about triathlon and road racing.

9. What is your dream car?
I really wanted a Toyota Tundra Pick Up truck, but now I’m leaning toward a Nissan Maxima

10. What is the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?
I hit 51 MPH on a steep downhill during my first triathlon.  I later learned we had to turn around and climb back up this hill.

11. What is your least favorite part of triathlon training/racing?
My least favorite part is finding a good place to ride my bike.

1. What is your favorite race you've ever done?
My favorite race I’ve done was Rock’n’Roll NY 10K in prospect park.  It was a perfect day to run, and I wound up finishing almost 10 minutes faster than I thought I was going to!

2. What is your favorite thing to do in your downtime?
My favorite thing to do in my downtime is watch TV. I am always training or on my toes at school with the kids, so being able to relax and mindlessly watch TV is great for me. 

3. Who is your favorite running partner and why?
I usually run alone, but I would really run with anyone just for the company.

4. If you got a new dog what would you name him/her?
If I were to get a new dog, I think I’d like to name him/her Max

5. Where is one state you would live other than state you live in now?
This is a tough one. I can’t really see myself living outside of NY.  I guess I’d have to say Florida or the Carolinas would be the first thing that comes to mind.

6. Pool or Ocean?

7. What is your favorite race shirt or medal you received?My favorite shirt and medal both come from the same race, the Newport Amica Marathon shirts and medals.  (I did the Half Marathon)

8. What is your opinion on lululemon?
I think it is overpriced for clothes you are meant to work out in.  But I do have to say their pants are magical for a girl’s booty!

9. What is that one thing you do when you get nervous? (Bite nails etc.)
I sing to myself.  I don’t think anyone knows this but me haha.

10. How old were you the last time you pee'd in a pool...honestly.
Not very recently.  But maybe a few years ago during a long swim I didn’t want to stop in the middle of.

11. What is one tip you would give to a new runner?
Start slow, don’t be afraid to walk, but always keep moving forward!

1.  What do you like best about triathlon/road races?
2.  What was your favorite subject in school? Why?
3.  Do you have any tattoos?
4.  What is your greatest racing accomplishment?
5.  How did you get into racing triathlon/road racing?
6.  What brings you back to triathlon/road racing?
7.  What advice do you have for someone looking to start racing?
8.  Cats or Dogs?
9.  What do you feel is the weakest part of your triathlon?
10. Do you like to cook?
11. What is your favorite sports related movie?

People I'm tagging...

1. Amy