Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We Made It!!!

It has officially been 1 year.  1 year since the wife’s and my life changed.  It’s amazing how fast time goes by when you don’t realize things.  It seems like 2013 came and went in a flash.  Every other year when the New Year comes, I’ve been able to sit back and feel how long the previous year has been and dissect it.  Not this past year.  This past year came and went in a blur and I still can’t believe where the time went.

At 1am January 1st, 2013, the wife’s water broke and we went to the hospital a few hours later to welcome in Riley to our family.  One second we were out to dinner (with the same people we’re going out with this year), and the next second we are parents.  How crazy is that?

We’ve had the best year we can possibly imagine.  It’s been filled with more laughs than I have had in 32 years combined, more feats accomplished or at least recognized, and just more or everything.  Probably because we now celebrate all the little things that make life so great. 

I’ve learned a lot of things in the past 365 days. I’m sure a future post will be about that, but this past year has been incredible. 

So with that, the wife and I have made it one year without breaking, damaging, ruining Riley’s life.  I’m sure that time will come in the future. But while everyone is out celebrating New Year’s day, the wife and I will be celebrating Riley’s first birthday and the fact that we made it one year.  We’ll be popping champagne bottles and formula filled ones wishing our son the very best 1st birthday.

Happy New Year to everyone, and especially a very Happy Birthday Riley.
We made it 1 full year

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Season in Review

 Now that it’s the last week of the year, I can look back on my year and grade it in its entirety.  I probably could have done this in October when my season “officially” ended, but I figured I would save it until the official end of the year.  Plus, you never know when a random race would pop up and I would enter it.  One didn’t, but that would look weird if I graded my season and a few weeks later, I ended up doing another race.

I’m going to review all parts of my 2013 season, and not just the actual races, but everything that encompassed my year.


I didn’t know what to expect this year at all.  With Riley being born, I figured I would have less time to train, have to really focus on my workouts and I couldn’t deviate from any plan.  That’s the reason this blog started any way right?  To track me being a first time new dad and how it would relate to my training and racing.

I have to be honest and say that my training actually went up in performance over the last few years.  Maybe it was the early season marathon that I was training for which led to me having the best base fitness I have had for any season.  I think having the ability to do Boston so early really gave me such motivation and then allowed me to focus on speed and maintaining fitness and distance than having to balance building up my distances.

I learned a lot about what needs to be done during a training season this year.  For example, I started doing a lot of drills during my swim and bike workouts this year.  I could really tell the difference how my body responded to these workouts and it made me have the ability to push through plateaus and also the hard parts of certain races. 

I think the one thing I still need to work on is my swimming training.  I get so bored in the pool and want to stop my workouts early.  I also need to improve my form and types of swim training.  I think I learned how to structure my bike and run workouts, but still need to figure out how I can improve on my swimming.

Training Grade: B+.  I think once I figure out how to encorporate better swim workouts and start working with my power meter and tailor workouts, this grade could go up.  I honestly don’t know how much more I could have improved upon this year.  I learned how to balance training and raising Riley, so I am happy with this past year for the most part. 
This is the hardest part for me to look back on.  There are a lot of things that factor into a good racing season.  My goals coming into the season was to get at least 1 podium finish, requalify for Boston, qualify for the USAT Nationals, and do well enough in the Rev3 Maine Half Iron.
You can read all of my race reports on here if you wish, but as for my grading:
Running the Boston Marathon was an experience that I will never forget.  There are 2 parts of marathon day.  The race itself and the tragedy that ensued.  I choose to look back and have fond memories of the day.  I will remember forever racing Boston and will make it my goal to get back there and race again.  As for the race, I don't think I had my best race that day so once I knew I didn't have it that day, I started to enjoy the course more.  I really wanted to race well there, but some days you have it and some you don't. 
Small Triathlons- My small or prep Tri's this season couldn't have gone worse.  One was screwed up because of bad directions, another was marred by a bad crash the week before, the third had major goggles issues and just a bad time there. I don't have much to say about these anymore except they happened and I'm glad the miscues happened in these than the "important" ones
Rev3 Half Iron- I loved this race.  Everything about it was awesome.  From the week leading up to it, the course itself, the weather, the experience.  It was all great.  I learned how to pace myself during a long race like this, and I learned how my body would react to such stresses.  I'm very happy with this race and can't wait to use the experiences here for a better 2014.
Racing Grade: C+/B-.  This grade can be a little higher but I'm mine own worst critic so I think it should be low.  I did end up qualifying for the Rev3 Age Group championships with a overall ranking of 9th in the country, and did qualify for the 2014 USAT National Championships so I accomplished things I wanted to and even some things I didn't think I could, so overall I'm happy with the racing season, but my results don't necessarily show it
This year, I partnered with some great companies that I have raved about on here for the entire year.  I don't think that I could have done any of the things this year without any of these partners:
Skora: I found my favorite running shoe of all time.  Not just one style from a company, but a company that has a lot of quality shoes.  I found my dream shoe in the Skora Base and raced every single race his year in them.  I can't wait to continue to have success with them.
HoneyMaxx: Over the past few years, I have had issues with cramping, electrolyte consumption, and never truly learned how to fuel my body.  Partnering with HoneyMaxx solved these issues.  I've never felt as strong as when I've been using HoneyMaxx.  It's such a great tasting product and gives everything one needs to have a strong race season.
X-1 Audio: Let's be honest, swimming countless laps in the pool is just boring as crap.  Its tedious, monotonous, boring, and just not a fun experience.  Once I was able to get waterproofing solutions for my ipod and earphones, I actually started to enjoy swimming more.  I'm still by no means a lover of the pool, but at least this way I can zone out, listen to music, and get a good workout in
Misc grade: A.  Finding the right training tools is essential to race day performance and I think I found companies and I products that have the same beliefs that I do, and brands that I can use and be proud of. There are a few other partnerships that I would like to have, which would be the only way to increase this grade, but other than that, I don't think there is anything that could improve here.
Overall Season Grade: a solid B.  There are definitely things that I can improve upon, but there was a lot of good this season.  I learned how to train and plan to train during Riley's first year, I crossed the finish line with him in my arms, I qualified for a bunch of championship races.  I'm satisfied with my 2013 race year, but I know there are a lot higher expectations for me going into 2014. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I've got the Power, and some other toys

Over Thanksgivingukkah, I received exactly what I wanted for gifts this year.  That’s a first in itself because I’m so hard to shop for and I usually buy things I want myself which makes it difficult for others to buy me presents. Since I didn’t received any birthday presents from my family this year, they told me they would double up and get me exactly what I wanted.  My in-laws also helped and gave me some money towards the gifts of my choice as well.

With that, I am finally now in the age of Power.  As in a power meter for my bike.  Not just any power meter, but the brand spanking new Garmin Vectors.  It’s way too early to review them, but my initial impression is I love training with power.  I don’t have the exact knowledge about everything pertaining to how to train with power, but so far I’m liking what I see. 

I’m not a numbers guy like most other athletes where they do a workout and analyze it and then figure out shortcomings and work on them.  But I am a numbers guy in the sense that I need to train with numbers.  For example, I want to know my cadence, speed, and now power with every ride, just like I want to know my pace when I run. It's a goal.  I want to hit my goal numbers so I need to have all the data I can.  Even though I upload all of my workout data to Garmin Connect, I don’t sit there daily and look at it.  But during an actual workout, I definitely need to see some numbers and work through them at that particular time.  I think this will help me in both my training and my racing.   I look to hit a certain wattage for the workout and make sure I stay there for that specific interval.  I race by feel, but I train by numbers so I want to make sure that I know the numbers well enough when I'm training that when I'm on course for an actual race, I can feel the hard work that I've put in and know how my body will respond.
Another amazing gift I got was the Wahoo Kickr.  This is basically the best rated indoor cycling trainer on the market.  I was so excited to get this for many reasons.  First off, it controls my power for me on any individual ride.  All I have to do is plug in my course, and the Kickr does all the work for me, well except for the actual cycling part. Unfortunately, I still have to do that. But it controls the resistance for me and I don't even have to shift gears.  The other great part is I don't burn through tires because I take my back wheel off and use their own cassette.  This is great since I don't have to worry about tires wearing down, putting my bike back on the trainer, and anything else.  The only thing I have to do when I want to ride outside is take my bike off the Kickr and put my rear wheel on.  It's not the easiest thing in the world to do with my Flo wheels and dialing in the brakes, but it's a lot easier to do this once than having to put training wheels on, change them out, change the tires, etc. 
I've been working with the TrainerRoad program with the Kickr and it's awesome.  I took my FTP test and know my specific wattage that I need to be at and what my body can handle for an extended period of time pushing it to the limits.  I actually think my FTP is low since I wasn't sure how to test with the first time I used power so on my actual workouts, I've been bumping up my FTP threshold to work out harder. 
So far, I'm very impressed with all my new toys.  I think training with all of them will help me work on some of the weaknesses that I have and make me a stronger racer.  Since I've never worked with power, I know it's going to take a while to get used to it and know what certain numbers mean, how I can use them, and how to take advantage of all this new data.  But I'm excited, and whenever we get new toys, we tend to play with them a lot which is exactly what I've been doing over the past few weeks. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Studio 14 Clycling

Over the holiday weekend, the wife and I went and checked out Studio 14 Cycling and Yoga studio.  We decided to try it out for a few reasons:

1)      We went to high school with the owner of the studio and wanted to show him some support since he has recently opened the studio

2)      We needed to figure out a time/place where we could both work out in a certain window with Riley sleeping and us having plans for the entire weekend and doing this together seemed to fit in perfectly

3)      We wanted to include other family members

So on Black Friday morning, the wife, the wife’s brother, my sister, and I headed to the studio for a spin class.  After a heated car ride due to everyone trying to play navigator and getting us there, we finally arrived.  The wife is used to taking spin classes at high end studios like Soul Cycle and has bought into the craze that follows.  Her brother has also taken classes with her so he enjoys those types of spin classes as well.  I know my sister takes spin classes but I don’t know where she goes.  As for me, I typically don’t enjoy taking a spin class, especially one that my wife is in the same class.  She would agree with me completely.  The few times we have gone together, she ends up hating the class because she sits next to me and watches me the whole time.  I end up looking at her and I try to push her and she yells at me to stop.  We just like to do our own thing.  So I knew this would be an adventure, especially since we added more of our family members. 

I don’t enjoy going to a spin class partly because I believe you are paying only for motivation.  I believe I can get a better workout in by pushing myself and doing my own workout than during a class that has so many different type of people with different fitness levels.  I can push myself harder than any instructor can, so I don’t think going to a class is worth it for me.  However, there are plenty of other people who need that someone blasting their music, yelling out motivational quotes and pushing people.  So I completely get it and wont say anything bad about spin classes.  They just aren’t for me.

Part of the Studio, but it's spaced out so everyone isn't on top of each other
Once we got all settled, set our bikes up and hopped on, the class began.  Our instructor walked in and she was ummmm, well, very eye catching.  I wont go into detail since I don’t want to sound sexist and disgusting, but I know a lot of the men in the class enjoy the our bikes were facing hers and she was facing us.  So while she was working hard, we were enjoying the view. 

One of the things I loved about this studio is there were screens on either side of the room that showed each bike number, the power that each rider was producing and the energy output.  Basically it was one big competition to see who was working the hardest. Right there, I knew this class would be better than most.  Part of the reason I don’t enjoy most spin classes is it just seems like one big party.  Not here.  Not with screens up there showing who’s doing what.  Of course, I had to push myself to be on the top of the leaderboard.  Not many studios have bikes that have power meters on them.    This added a huge benefit for me. I guess I should have expected this because the owner is a triathlete, 2X Ironman finisher and knows what his clients want.  All good things when putting together a spin studio.
As the class went on, I kept staring at the leaderboard to see where I stacked up. Honestly, there wasn’t really a competition to see who had the highest wattage, calories burned, rpm’s when it called for a sprint.  So to keep myself really engaged, I kept trying to push myself to see how much more my numbers could get compared to the second highest person.  So when we were told to increase our gears to level 12-15, I was working within the range of 18-20.  I was trying to put out more wattage than everyone in the class. 
I just had to be on the top, didn't I?

I didn’t see it in this class, but there is another screen on the front wall.  It looked like a big projector screen and from what I gather, the studio could project a course on that screen. So for particular classes, riders can simulate going up and down hills, working on flats, sprints, etc.  This would have been really cool, but having this gives a different feel for a spin studio that most don’t have.  It would kind of like being in a CompuTrainer class.
During the class, I kept looking over to the wife and my brother in law.  The wife probably didn’t love the class since she is so used to a place like SoulCycle, but my BiL was working hard.  I was really impressed with how hard he was pushing himself.  I didn’t expect it, but he was working. It's great to see how far along he has come in about a year.  The only complaint I really had about the class was how vocal the instructor was.  Normally, a spin instructor pushes the class, plays really good music and that's it. I didn't need to hear about how much turkey and pie and whatever else our instructor was trying to burn off today.  It wasn't a big deal since I can block that out, but I can see how it might have bothered some people in the class. 

The class winded down and afterwards we gathered our stuff and I ran into my friend.  I haven't seen him in a few years so it was nice to catch up. 

Studio 14 was a really good class and I highly recommend it.  It also has Yoga classes, so it caters to a whole different clientele that other studios don't.  It is a really smart idea.  I am not a yoga person, but I know my brother in law is so he is definitely planning on taking a few classes there.  Having an owner who knows how to differentiate himself from his competition is a good thing.  He's looking for people like me who want to compete against others in the class by having the screens up there, but he also knows that not everyone likes this so you can choose to not have your info for public view. 
All in all, if you're in the Port Chester NY area and have a choice to take either a Spin Class or Yoga class at Studio 14.  In my opinion, its a better option than what's out there.
Check out their website:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Home for the holidays- UGH

Obviously last week was Thanksgiving.  Normally, its a time to give thanks for what we have and appreciate everything around us.  While the wife and I definitely did that, there were some things that probably didn't rank up high on the list as the highlights of our holiday weekend.

As I've stated before, the wife and I grew up in the same hometown so going home for the weekend is both good and bad.  It makes it very easy to see both sides of the family, but that isn't always the best thing.  Its a constant battle of who we have to see and how long we have to see them.  Let it be known that no one actually cared to see the wife and I.  Riley was the big attraction which he should be, with Thunder coming in as a close second. 

So Thursday morning, the wife, Riley, Thunder, and I along with about a carload full of presents, laundry, wardrobes, toys all packed the car and heading home.  But since, this is blog is about how I balance Riley and training, I had to figure out a way to get a workout in.  I've had some issues with my calf the past few weeks so I haven't been running for over 2 weeks.  That kills me.  I love to run.  But Thanksgiving has always been a huge running day for me.  I don't know why but I love to run on this particular day.  It's like in my mind, I'll be able to run off everything that I'm about to eat.  But trying to find the time in the morning to get a long run in was difficult.  We had to plan around Riley's nap, travel time, eating time, etc.  So after waking up a little earlier than normal, I headed out for a nice 10 mile run.  It was awesome.  I just went out and was so comfortable out on the road.  Definitely what I needed and the best part of my weekend. 

But after that run is where our weekend became too hectic.  After the wife and I got to my parents, we unloaded the car and played with Riley for a little.  But since my mother was making Thanksgiving, Riley couldn't take his nap at her house since it would be too loud.  Explaining that to my parents wasn't exactly the easiest.  All we heard was "why can't he sleep here"? So of course, we had to repack him up and bring him to the wife's parents.  Once we got there for a specific purpose, all hell broke loose.  The in-laws didn't understand it wasn't play time, but it was nap time.  They wanted to keep him up instead of letting him nap.  He was already cranky.  We didn't need him to be even more so.  So after fighting with them, they let him go to sleep.

The weekend was like this the whole time.  The wife and I have a schedule for Riley that we have learned to work around.  No one else seems to care or think that matters.  All they care about is themselves.  The worst is actually eating meals.  Everyone thinks its easier to go out and eat. They all say they are going to help, but when we sit down fir dinner, its the wife and I making sure Riley is ok while the family sits leisurely and eats at their own pace.  Only when they are done with their meal is when they offer to help.  Unbelievable.

Friday morning was much of the same.  However, the wife and I arranged so the 2 of us, my sister and her brother would actually take a spin class together.  More on that in the next post, but at least we were able to get a workout in.  It was a nice turkey burn.

As the weekend went by, the wife and I realized that coming home for an extended amount of time is just a lot to deal with.  There are "too many cooks in the kitchen", but not enough chefs if you understand what I'm saying.

Luckily we went home and had one day left to just sit and relax.  I know holidays are a time to be with family, but after this past weekend, the wife and I have decided that family time will have to be cut short in the future.  Its just too much for us to handle and we need a vacation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Triathlete's Thanksgiving

As we all enjoy Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be interesting to write about what a triathlete is thankful for.  Before anyone wants to jump down my throat and say how unappreciative this post is, let me first say that it is meant strictly as entertainment.  The obvious being thankful for family, friends, health, the freedoms we enjoy every day, etc are all implied.  I don't want to take away from that.  But as a triathlete, there are plenty of things that we are thankful for which to the "normal" individual thinks we're crazy. 

Here is a lighthearted post to all my swimming, biking, running friends for what I am thankful for this season:

  • Temperature around 55 degrees when we want to go for a run and then about 75 when we want to go biking-Those perfect days really make working out a pleasure, so when they coincide with our training plans, it makes a world of a difference.

  • Skin tight Tri Suits- Come on, we put all that hard work in, isn't it great that we get to wear something so tight that it shows off our curves.  And by curves, I mean body and muscles to all those who didn't get that.

  • Split-nosed saddle for our bikes-  The "boys" are thankful as well.  They appreciate the alleviated pressure in the nether regions during all those long training rides

  • Compression calf sleeves- Helping to reduce all the muscle vibrations and soreness during both long runs/races and then the day after to help recovery so we can go right back at it again.

  • Body Glide- chafing, blisters, bloody nipples are all not enjoyable.

  • A swim course that is well marked with bouys and the ability to site away from the sun-  It's hard enough doing open water swims. It's nice to be able to see where we want to go

  • Warm water, but still wetsuit legal- We love our wetsuits and love racing in them, but we don't enjoy the water so freezing that we have to internally heat our suits ourselves.

  • Lock Laces, Yankz, Boa Dials, Velcro straps, etc- It's so annoying to tie laces.  Thank you to the companies that take away this huge hassle

  • Caffeinated gels- That immediate "pick me up" is a nice welcome when our energy is fading

  • Rimless Sunglasses- We can't wear them for anything that isn't triathlon related, but on the course, they are awesome and we don't mind what they look like.

  • Aero wheels and helmets- Yes, we look stupid wearing them, but they sure make us go faster.

  •  A large and individual transition area- Specifically the ones Rev3 and HITS gives us.  Fighting for a piece of small real estate and having to step on other people's crap doesn't make it fun during a race. Having our own area is a welcome addition.

  • Cool race swag, nice finisher's medal, moisture wicking shirt- We train so hard for races and it's all over in a matter of a hours.  Having something cool that we can remember the race, even if it's just a medal that we put in our drawers, makes it all worth it. Yes, we do race for medals.

  • A significant other who let's us work out as much as we do- Notice I didn't say doesn't complain that we work out as much.  That's a whole other thing that I hope to put on this list next year.  But our better halves do allow us the ability to put the time in and log all those miles. Without them being as understanding as they are, we couldn't do what we do.

  •  Holidays such as Hannukah, Christmas, and our birthdays- All this gear is expensive.  I don't think I have received a normal present in at least 4 years.

And lastly,

  • The ability to eat as much as we want and not feel guilty, especially on days like Thanksgiving since we know we have a work out planned for that morning, that afternoon, and the next morning, and both Saturday and Sunday.  We're putting in the time, let's enjoy the food.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I'm off to eat turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin walnut bread, gravy, corn bread, and some pizza.  Yes pizza. I have it around 2pm to make sure my stomach is in full expansion so I can wolf down as much food later in the day as possible.  After that, it's a 11 mile run the next morning and a 1-2 hour bike ride.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Is my Off-Season really and Off-Season

We all have that time immediately after our last big race of the season where we shut it down and call it our off-season.  We take a few weeks off to rest, recover, indulge in some of the things we have been given up for months due to our commitments. I referenced it being called my "cupcake season" a few weeks ago.

There are so many studies and reports that show the benefits of adding weight back on during the off-season.  Not to bore you with all the science behind it, but basically by putting weight on forces your body to work harder during training.  So when you start to drop weight and get down to "race weight", the body is used to working a little bit harder due to being heavier.  As a result, the body recognizes the change and it's more efficient with the lighter weight. The science shows that you should add about 7-10% of your race weight back on.  For me, that's about 10-15 pounds.  Personally, I cant justify gaining that much weight, but I definitely want to put on about 7-10 pounds back on.  Anything more for me is a little too much and I'll start to feel sluggish.

Since my last race I have been trying really hard to put this weight on.  But it's sooooo hard. I know that sounds horrible, but it's not as easy to gain weight when I work out as much as I do.  During the off-season, we're supposed to rest more, take breaks, not work out as hard or as long so we can give our bodies the necessary recovery we need.  I haven't been working out as hard or as long, but I have been working out as often.  I'm still running, biking, and swimming at least 6 days a week plus I'm doing more weight work to put the pounds back on and to build the lean muscle mass that I lost this season.

The wife reminds me every day that I need to stop working out.  She even yells at me to stop working out.  The problem is that I hate NOT working out.  I feel horrible, cranky, tired and just like a big blob if I don't.  Trust me, you don't want to be around me if I'm not working out.  As much as the wife yells at me not to work out, after about a day or 2 of not doing it, she's yelling at me to go AND work out so I can be more enjoyable to be around.

I haven't weigh myself in a while but I can tell that when I look in the mirror I still have a ways to go to put the pounds on.  Having the science background that I do, I know that I need to take in 3500 more calories than I use to add just one pound.  I just don't think I can do this seeing that I'm still doing a lot of cardio for my workouts. 

 I'm really looking forward to the holiday season so I can make sure that I take advantage of all the food and drink offerings that are around this time of year.  I need to make sure that I take time, smell the roses, or whatever flowers bloom during the winter, and give myself a better off-season.  Because come the new year, I have a big race in May that I'm going to need to kick it in high gear for.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Skora Rotation

There are currently 4 models of Skora's, and I am lucky to own at least one pair of every style.  I used to only have just 3 out of the 4 styles, but I couldn't resist and had to buy a pair of the awesome Phase-X. The 4 styles of Skora's are The Base, the Core, and the Form, and the Phase.  I’m lucky that I can rotate all of these pairs however I like, but I have found that each shoe actually performs and suits individual parts of my training.  As a result, my rotation isn’t based on what shoes I want to wear, it’s based on what type of activity I do and where I do it.

note: I wrote this post a few months ago when I only had the Base, Core, and Form, but I have updated it somewhat to include the Phase 
Here is the breakdown of the rotation.
The Phase
To be fair, I have only been running in the Phase for a few weeks now.  I have about 100 miles on them, and a full review of them is coming soon.  In the few weeks that I have been in the Phase, I have decided that these shoes are just flat out amazing.  I originally got them because of the Phase-X and reflective technology and how cool they are.  But after my first run in them, I ran my fastest 10k in 4 years with taking it easy. 
The soles on the Phase make me bounce off the ground faster than any other shoe I have run in, and I'm finding out just how comfortable they are.  The Phase have become my go-to shoe for outside training during the past few weeks due to how comfortable they are and how fast I feel in them.
I'll let my full review on them give more detail, but I love these shoes.

Phase-X reflectability

The Core

Before I switched to the Phase, Skora's Core did most of my day to day training.  In an average week, I was probably in this shoe 4 days since the majority of my training is done on the road.  I’ve found that for everyday training, the Core gives the most feedback from the ground and is lighter than the other 2 styles.  The shoe responds extremely well and is extremely comfortable. 

The Core is the most flexible of the 4 shoes that I run in so being able to bend my foot is definitely an advantage.  The R02 system with the IBR (Injection Blown Rubber) gives off an extremely light feel to the shoes but also significant ground feel when running.  I feel that I can react quicker in these shoes.  So if I need to pick up the pace, make a turn, go up or down hills, this shoe allows me to feel the ground and react accordingly. 

My stride turnover is noticeably higher in the Core, just as it is in the Phase.  For this reason, I enjoy wearing them for my normal training.
I have been alternating the Core and Phase for the past few weeks, but since the Phase is a bit newer, I have been wearing them a little bit more.  Not a reflection on the Core, but I just wanted to try out the "newer toy"
Outside in my Core's.
And no, this isn't Corey Haim, but I do wear my sunglasses at night, even when running

The Base

The Base was the first shoe that I tried from Skora so it will always have a certain bias with me.  The Base is my race shoe and also my long run shoe.  I feel extremely comfortable in this shoe and can wear it for hours on end.  Before I got the Core, the Base was my every day trainer and I have already put on over 1000 miles on this shoe and continue to wear it. 

The synthetic material gives breathability to the shoe that I need during all of my races.  For running races, the shoe does not get hot and keeps my feet cool.  During my triathlons, the shoe allows me to run without socks comfortably and not have any rubbing problems which would cause blisters or be uncomfortable.

Because the Base was my every day trainer before I started wearing the Core, I tend to use the Base for my long runs as well.  I was training for the Boston Marathon before I got any other of the styles and as a result, I've stayed with the Base's since I am the most comfortable in the Base than any other shoe during my weekend long runs.  

I like to separate my race shoes and not wear them so much so I only get to wear them once a week and on races.  In some ways, it’s upsetting to me because I love them so much but I know I’m doing it for a purpose and look forward to the days I get to wear my Base’s.
A very typical Base action shot

The Form

I have a hard time finding shoes that feel good when I run on a treadmill.  Typically the shoes that I run outside with don’t feel as good when I bring them inside during a treadmill run so I am in a constant battle trying to find a comfortable shoe to run on the treadmill with.  This is where the Forms comes in.  When I’m forced to move inside and hit the treadmill I grab my Forms. 

I like a little more cushioning on my shoes when I run on the treadmill and the Form has more cushioning than the Core and about the same as the Base but I can tie up the laces and keep the shoes a little tighter with the Form' so this is why it’s my go to indoor trainer.  I have found that with other shoes, they often make me land on my heels, which is exactly the opposite of what Skora is designed to do.  With other shoes, I heel strike too often on treadmills and this ruins my stride.  Even with other Skora shoes, when I’m on the treadmill I’m still heel striking.  However, with the Form's, the cupped heel forces me to land properly mid foot so this is a huge benefit for me when I am forced to go inside on my runs.

I also like the material of the Form for indoor work.  The shoe doesn’t get too hot and allows for good ventilation on the shoe which is perfect for indoor running.
Form's on the treadmill (and me trying not to laugh)

Day to Day use:

The 2 main shoes I wear for casual purposes are either the Core or the Phase.  I don’t like to wear my racing shoes so as much as I would like to, I don’t wear my Base’s for casual purposes.  Both the Core and the Phase are extremely comfortable to walk around, especially in New York City so I’m happy to put them on for day to day wear. 

So that’s how I rotate my Skora shoes.  I like how each shoe has its own purpose and function for me.  It allows for a natural rotation of the shoe so I don’t wear any of the shoes down too much.  It also makes it very easy for me to figure out which shoe I’m going to wear and why.

 I strongly suggest getting a pair of Skora's.  No matter what type of training you do, there is a pair that is perfect for you.  Click on the link on the right side of the page and grab an awesome pair that fits your running style

Run Real Everyone!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's a party...and another one..and another one...and

It's party time…let's shake 
The title of this post is a little misleading.  One would think that it would be a good thing to have all these parties.  But these aren't the parties that are exactly oh so fun to be at.  Now that Riley is getting older, he has all of his friends 1 year old birthday parties.  Let me repeat that.  He's got 1 year old birthday parties.  Like a lot of them.

These aren't the birthday parties I remember going to growing up.  These are who can show off the most, who can give out the cutest party favors, who can have the best kids musicians there.  Who's going to have it a better place.  Its crazy.  I remember growing up and going to a batting cage, arcade or some place like that, having pizza and ice cream.  Now I'm going to these parties at a restaurant with a full buffet, Sunday morning brunch with bagels, cream cheese, all the type of salads one can think of.  Mimosa's and Bloody Mary's (won't complain about that part).  I'm showing up at a temple where they rented out a ballroom.  It's like who can one up the next party.

It's not that I don't enjoy going to these events, but the problem is that they are every weekend day for like 6 straight weeks.  I counted and here is the breakdown, 4 out 4 straight Saturday and Sundays, 5 out of 6 and that day off was for the NYC Marathon so its not like anyone could get anywhere or go any place.  Plus, well, its the marathon, an important event and one that takes over NYC.  Then 11 out of 12 Saturdays and Sundays I have a party.  It just never ends.  This doesn't even include the 4, yes 4, Halloween parties that we had to go to.  It's like the moms don't understand that there is football on Sundays and they schedule a party from like 12-3 Sunday.  Really?  Or that sometimes, it's just to sit on the couch all day and do nothing.

At these parties, all the dads take care of the babies and all the moms get together and talk/gossip.  I kind of understand this, since without trying to sound sexist here (so don't yell at me), the fathers work all week and don't spend as much time as the mothers so this is the time for fathers and babies.  And its great.  I don't really fit into this mold since I spend some of my days working from home so I get to see Riley more than most fathers.  Something that I am definitely not complaining about.  Its awesome.  I'm not complaining about spending time with Riley, but it's like the moms ship off the husbands to Babies Island with puppets, musical instruments and bubbles while they get to sit and talk, relax and have some time off.  They expect us all to like each other when we've never met before and the only bond we have is that our babies play together during the week.  And its both days on the weekends, with the same people.  It's a lot to deal with.

So instead of being able to do long runs or bikes on the weekends, I have to be back by a certain time so we can get ready, get to these places, and then spend the day there.  Thankfully it is my off season and I can afford to cut a few runs short. 

When did parties become such a production?  When did it become My Super Sweet Sixteen, but for 1 year olds.  1 year olds who don't even know what's going on.  I mean come on, last week Riley entertained himself for like an hour with a Red Solo Cup and an empty bottle of water.  These kids don't need a face painter, balloon guy or anything that I have seen at some of these events.

I miss the good old times when parties were just parties and not a time to show off.  I'm really missing my race season, so I would have an excuse to either be late or not be able to come to some of these events.  Party season is getting tiresome.  I want to get back to being tired because I worked out hard.  Party time is not for me.

A halloween party with all the babies

Riley as a boxer with gloves, and a championship belt

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NYC Marathon race report from a spectators point of view

Today was the annual day of fun for spectators in NYC as the NYC Marathon was run.  The race was widely anticipated due to last year's cancellation so there was a whole lot of build up for it.  Of course, everyone got into the action.  This race report is not going to be about the actual racing part, but more about a spectator's (mine) view of how the race unfolds. 

As I've said before, I didn't run this year but was definitely excited, and upset for today's race. 

This year was the first time in a while that I didn't have anyone in particular to cheer on.  I knew people running, but it wasn't a close friend, someone I coached, the wife (I can't wait until she does one), or anyone like that.  That still didn't stop me from taking in the day of festivities.

Because I live on the wrong side of 1st Avenue in NYC and we got an extra hour of sleep last night from daylight savings time, I was up early and at the gym at 7am because I needed to get back to my apartment or I couldn't cross the street because the race would be going on.  So I got a quick bike workout in, grabbed some coffee, and was home by 8:45am to put the TV on and watch everything.  The race coverage started around 8 am with stories of Hurricane Sandy, specific runners, past races, the Boston race this year, so there was definitely plenty to watch.  After about 15 minutes of watching, I felt like there should be a drinking game created from all the times Hurricane Sandy was referenced.  Every other minute the reporters mentioned the cancellation of the 2012 race and things surrounding the events.  I know this race was closure for a lot of people, but at some point its time to stop looking back and start looking forward.

The first 2 hours of the race was me sitting on my couch watching the women's and men's field. My initial thoughts were that the 2 women who took off to start the race went out too fast and this is going to hurt them in the end.  Side note- I was right.  Deba faded down the stretch and was later caught around mile 23 in Central Park.  My initial thoughts for the men was that I can't believe Meb was leading the race for the first 6-8 miles.  I thought this was a bad strategy and he won't be able to keep up with the likes of Mutai and everyone else. 

In addition to watching the race on TV, the wife and I started plugging the names of the people we knew were running into the computer to track them.  We tried to calculate what time they would cross our apartment so we can go watch them.

As the lead women approached our apartment, we all went out to watch the race and cheer people on.  You can see here our view and the groups of runners together.

Lead women

Wheelchair athletes are just as strong during this race
The lead pack of the men's race

One thing I did notice was the increased security.  There were cops everywhere, including on the rooftops.  There was a sense of safety in the air, but definitely the tragedy in Boston was on the minds of everyone.  Even with Riley in my arms, I wanted to see the people we wanted and get back inside just in case something happened.

Cops on roof decks about every few buildings
For those who have watched this race on TV, let me say that the coverage of the 1st Avenue experience is about 1000 times better in person that what TV makes it out.  In my opinion, running on 1st Ave in this race is the best experience in road racing anywhere in the world.  The energy is flat out crazy and loud.

Regular runners coming down 1st Avenue
After coming back inside, the wife and I continued to track the runner's we knew on the computer since the pro's races were over at this point.   We found that a lot of runners times dropped off significantly.  1st Ave drains a lot of energy, and with the hills in the last 5 miles of the course, we noticed the times continue to get a lot slower.  As the day went on, everyone we knew crossed the finish line and the day was coming to an end.  Plus, all the football games were starting so you can only watch people run for so long.

But the day doesn't just end when your runners pass you and finish.  Nope.  1st Avenue remains a loudspeaker of noise and cheers, and fun.  The final runner wont pass my apartment until about 5pm so there is cheering until then.  With Riley trying to nap in the afternoon, I feel guilty wanted them to shut up, but now the father on me kicks in. 

The NYC Marathon is an experience for everyone involved.  Yes, there were 0ver 50,000 runners this year, but there were also over 2 million spectators along the course.  It's days like this, that I feel lucky to live in NYC.

Next year, my race report will be of me running and not spectating. 

Congrats to all the 2013 runners

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Runner's World NYC Marathon kickoff

As part of covering the NYC Marathon for Runners World, I was invited to a kickoff event hosted by the magazine. I didn't want to go alone so I invited Leo to come with me

The event was held at the Providence nightclub Friday night from 730-1130 pm. Kind of odd being so late since a lot of people there were running on Sunday. And since I wasn't running I didn't care how late it was.  At the event, there were a few celebrities from the running community.  Bart Yasso, Ernie Johnson, Dean K the ultra marathoner to name a few.  All were in attendance to show support. 

I didn't know what to expect when we got there since we weren't really told anything about it beforehand. So Leo and I walked in and it was packed. So many people there which was nice. We headed straight to the bar, ordered drinks and were then told it was an open bar. Nice surprise. Doesn't everyone love free drinks? After a few cocktails we took some pictures in front of the Runners World banner.

I'm not really as fat as this picture makes me look

There was a nice spread at the place which included pasta, sushi, spring rolls, dumplings, salad. Definitely a nice set up.

After getting some food in me and walking around, the editor of Runner's World grabbed the microphone and thanked everyone for coming and made a nice speech on the marathon, and how the running community has come together in the wake of last year's cancellation and this year's Boston tragedy.  It was a nice speech and reminded everyone how important being part of the running community is.

Next up was the highlight of my night.  Throughout the club, there were these monitors and a movie playing with people just working out.  I thought it was nothing and just a loop of people training.  When this next guy was introduced, it all came together.

Brogan getting the crowd excited
All of a sudden this guy grabs the mic and starts talking to all of us.  You could tell he was just a cool dude.  He gets us all to high five 5 different people, then give bear hugs to 5 other people while screaming out "Fuck Yeah".  I had no idea, but this was something cool.  He starts explaining to us what him and his partner started last November.  A workout that started with the 2 of them just to keep in shape during the winter months.  Instead of me explaining, check out this video

If you can't get hyped up and excited watching that then you shouldn't be reading my blog at all.  I kept leaning in to Leo and telling him that I want to do this.  The guys who started this are awesome and incredibly motivating.  One of them is running the marathon on Sunday. 

I plan on contacting them and see if I can be part of starting a NYC chapter.  That's how cool it is

After Brogan was done, the event went back to people hanging out and drinking.  All of a sudden, I feel this tap on my shoulder, and it's Amy, the person who introduced me to Runner's World in the first place. We spoke for about 10 minutes and I'm glad we got a chance to catch up.  I was looking for her all night but couldn't find her.  If you remember, we met back in April on a train up to Boston and started talking about running.  Her husband is running in the race, so I'll be cheering him on as well.  We spoke about how it's more difficult to watch and spectate for someone than it is to actually run the race itself.  I couldn't agree more.  So after catching up for a bit, it was time to head home.

Not before taking a pic of my Skora Phase-X in front of the Runner's World banner. 

Phase-X making a showing at the event
More on these shoes in the coming weeks since I have about 100 miles in them already and will be putting up a review on them soon, but they are just flat out cool.  They are super reflective and gather a lot of attention. 

Leo and I decided it was time to head out so we took off and headed home.  I stopped to get some cupcakes for the wife, grabbed a cab and went home.

All in all it was a fun night and I was happy to be invited.  Runner's World throws a good party.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New York City Marathon week: A little jealous

This Monday kicks off the start of the New York City Marathon week.  It feels really weird to me.  I know I said earlier this year that I am done running stand alone marathons for a while, but this one hurts. 

Let's obviously rewind to last year where I was supposed to run the race, as well as I had a seeded entry which put me in the start of the race along with the professionals (in a different corral, but in the front row) but Hurricane Sandy cancelled the race.  This is not the debate of whether it should have been or not cancelled since that ship has sailed, but more so what I'm going through right now.  So last year when it was cancelled the Friday night before the race, instead of doing a carbo-loading dinner the night before the race, Leo, the wife, and I did a tequila loading margarita infused dinner to get our minds off of not racing on Sunday.  It was definitely a downer for all of us.  We were excited to run but those plans got altered.

So flash forward to right now, it's definitely depressing for me.  I didn't even sign up for the race, the lottery, or take my deferral from last year so I have no right to feel this way.  But somehow I do.  It's weird.  I get like this when there is a big race that either I've done before or I am excited about.  For example, last year when the NY Ironman was taking place.  I was so bummed that entire day.  I had less than zero desire to do it, wasn't interested in it, but come race day, I was so depressed.  It's so weird.

As for the NY Marathon, I think part of it is I live directly on the marathon course. I mean, On the course.  Not a few blocks away, not close.  On the course.  Right at about the marker for Mile 17, is my apartment.  So I can either see the race from my window, or go outside and walk 17 steps to the curb and I'm on the course.  There are the course banners hanging from the street pole from my apartment.  It's impossible not to see any of these.  I also do most of my training in Central Park where the race takes place so I see the banners there when I run a few times each week also. It's hard not to get caught up in the hype of the race when it surrounds me.  There is always a constant reminder for me.  My weekend runs the past few weeks, I've seen the banners and finish area.  Driving my car near my apartment, I see the signs.  It's everywhere.  Since the race will be going on all day, I'll have a constant reminder of it, and of course, I'll be watching it the entire day.

It's weird.  I had no desire to run this race, but when I see all the attention to it, I want to jump in and go.  I know my body wouldn't allow me to race this year with a lot of the training I have done throughout the year, as well as not having an offseason last year.  But still, the New York City Marathon is an amazing experience and one that I want to do again.  I think that with all the racing I have done this year, I learned how to pace myself for a marathon of this magnitude and would be able to do well.  I don't think I could have said that last year, so I'm happy that I learned something.

The lone bright spot is that I'll actually be covering some of the marathon for Runner's World this year and I'm excited that I get the chance to do that.  It'll be a new type of experience for me, but it still doesn't hold a candle to running the race.

The wife and I are probably moving out of NYC in the next couple of years, so I may only have a few more chances to run the race living here, so I have already decided that I will be running next year's race. I don't know how I'll get in, whether it be from the lottery or charity but I'm be toeing the line at the 2014 NYC Marathon with 2 goals in mind.  To get a BQ, but more importantly to enjoy the race.  When I ran it in the past, I was to na├»ve to know what was going on, but next time, I'll be ready.   I'll be able to run a smart race as well as take in all the experiences.

Getting depressed for something that I wasn't excited for is just so weird for me.  But unfortunately, it's what I am going through.  Watch out for 2014.  This depressed feeling will easily get turned around.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Decision that was made

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how things have changed for me in terms of making decisions.  You can read the post  here

Obviously, the post was a little cryptic in nature due to what was going on in my life but I figured I would expand on it now.  For those of you who know, I work in the medical device field.  I manage my company’s sales force for the East Coast.  I love what I do.  It’s awesome to know that my products are put into people’s bodies and I can get to be in the surgeries helping out.  My products get to help people get better.  I also love building a sales force and having them succeed.

A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity to change companies.  I was hesitant at first.  How could I leave a job with a HUGE company and go to a smaller one.  And when I say huge, I’m talking huge.  It was one of the top 15 largest medical device companies in the world and revenues in the billions.  Yes, that’s a B and not an M.  Those type of companies have stability, family values, pension plans, etc.  Everything that someone would want.  The problem is, individuals are often stuck in the same position for years with no movement since the company has so many layers that it’s impossible to have professional success there.

The problem was that I would now be going to a smaller company where there isn’t a huge track record of success and performance.  It is a young company and one that is expanding.  That’s the reason these guys wanted me.  I may not be the best seller in the world, but I am good at putting together a sales team.  I am now being tasked with the challenge of starting a brand new region for a company that has had no previous sales.  They are relying on me to use my experiences and start going up against the big guys instead of being one of them.  Think of my affiliation with Skora Running.  Skora has, in my opinion, the best running shoes on the market.  However, they are such a small brand and they are going against the likes of Nike, Reebok, Asics, etc.  All companies that might make inferior product but have the brand name to go along with it.  That’s what I’m doing now.  I’m going to be taking higher quality products and see how much I can grow with them.

I’m excited about my new position, but with it comes a lot of fear.  Not fear of success or failure, but fear of what if something happens now?  I have Riley to think about.  I can’t go out there and risk anything that would affect him.  He’s my livelihood now. So I can’t mess that up.  So in making this decision, the wife and I had to sit down and talk about everything.  We had to discuss if I should take the new position, how would that affect her, my travel, my pay, taking care of Riley.  All of these now factored into the decision.  With this being such a new position, I am probably going to be on the road more.  This is going to affect her.  She is going to have to step up a little bit more now.  Is it fair to ask her to do that?  My guess is yes, but only time will tell.

So anyway, I wanted to share what the decision was and how the wife came to make it.  I have already made the move and can say that I am definitely happier where I’m at now, than at my previous position.  But it was not an easy decision to make.  I guess only time will tell if it was the right one. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Half Full Triathlon Race Report

Last weekend I raced in my final race of the season, the Half Full Triathlon in Columbia, MD. I wanted to close out my season with one last Tri and one more chance to do well this season. If I did well enough I would be able to qualify for the Rev3 Age Group Championships in Knoxville, TN next year. I really wanted to do this. I don't know why but I really love racing in championship races. I don't do as well as I should buy I always like racing against the best of the best. So with that, I drove down to Maryland by myself and was off to race.

Last weekend was unseasonably hot. Temperatures were in the high 80's and very humid so I didn't think I was going to have my best showing but either way I was going to go for it. 

The course was changed from last year to make it an official Olympic distance race instead of a slightly longer one. Last year the bike was about 31 miles and the run was 6.5 miles. Not a huge increase but still longer than a typical Olympic distance. With the changes, the elevation profile was supposed to also get a little flatter making the course easier. I was really excited for this since I wasn't down with pushing through serious hills. I wanted a nice, easy end of season race and I thought this would be it.

So after driving down the day before and checking in and racking my bike, it was time to get some dinner, head to the hotel and get some sleep.

Race morning was pretty standard. Wake up, have oatmeal, get dressed, drive to the venue and start. 

This race also served as the college championships so there were about 250 college triathletes there which was really cool. On a side note, where were the Tri teams when I was in college? I so would have been on a team. 

Getting into transition was normal. But it was so dark. Now that days are shorter, setting up my transition zone was a little harder than normal since I'm used to more daylight. There weren't so many lights in the transition area, but we all made due.  Since Rev3 was a sponsor, much like Maine, I had my own name plate, bike rack and staging area. It was a little small for me but not a big deal. 

Of course me and my loud mouth, I make friends with everyone around me. Some athletes were nicer than others. Some of us had fun and spoke to each others and other just stared everyone down and sized each other up. Really? We're all in this triathlon community. Lets have fun together.  I realized I forgot my earplugs and my transition neighbor offered to give me some. That was cool. 

After all the friend making and setting up, I left transition and headed to the race start. There were a few cool things. First, since this was a race benefiting children's cancer, the race announcer asked everyone who has been affected by cancer to raise their hands. I'd say that easily over half of the athletes raised their hands. The race also had a "survivor" wave which had anyone who had or beat cancer going off on their own wave. That was very moving

The race stared with all the college athletes going first. It got them on the course without anyone in front so they can race for their championship. It was cool to watch all these kids race. Wow, did I just call college students kids? Does that mean I'm getting older?

So now it was my time to get in the water. Instead of having a running start or all age groupers start together, the race had 2 athletes enter the water at a time. This led to less chaos and an easier swim start. Big props for that.  There was no scratching, clawing, fighting, or any of that.  It was just head into the water at your own pace.  

The swim was not a typical rectangular swim. You can see the map here

I thought this would make it faster since its a straight shot. 

I entered the water and started flying. I was passing people all over the place. I caught up to most of the waves in front of me. For the first 7-10 minutes I was hitting the bouys and thought I was doing so well. Then my goggles crapped out. I kept getting water in them. I had to stop every 2 minutes or so to fix them and drain the water. It ruined any momentum I had. Every time I got in a groove I had to stop since I couldn't see any more. I veered so far off course and my time kept suffering

Even with that I thought I was still doing well. But by the time I got out of the water and looked at my watch, I was heartbroken. 31 minutes for an Olympic swim. Horrendous. I thought my race was over. 

Exiting the water and running about 1/3 of a mile I had time to get my head right. I grabbed my bike, hit the road and went. I knew I needed a great bike to do well now

Knowing I needed a good split, I just throttled down on my pedals and started picking people off left and right. Because of the heat and humidity, my glasses kept fogging up. I couldn't see out of them. I had to drop them down on my nose so I could see. Even with this, the fog was so thick I could hardly see that far in front of me. I didn't like this since I always try to catch up to the person ahead of me.  Not being able to see that far, I had no idea where people were and sometimes they just creeped up in front of me or as I was making a turn, someone was in front of me.  

As time passed so did the fog. But I think the fog left the air and entered my legs. First off, the elevation was a lot more than I thought it would be. The hills were definitely more challenging than I was prepared for. It seemed like every time I tried to push myself up a hill or tried to push faster, I ended up going slower. It was the weirdest feeling. The harder I worked the slower I got. 

Bottom line, I knew this wasn't going to be my day. It got to a point where it wasn't even enjoyable for me. This was supposed to be a fun, end of season race, but it was more stressful and frustrating than I wanted.  My legs were just not under me. 

Either way, I battled the bike the rest of the way and was so happy riding back into transition. 

My bike split was impressive with a time of 1:07:25.  I averaged about 22.5 mph's. About the 2nd or 3rd fastest of the day. I didn't know this at the time, but I thought I had a good split, but assumed there were so many more people in front of me.  

I knew coming off my bike that I was at least in pursuit of the top racers in my age group. I didn't feel that way, and mentally checked out in some ways, but I knew there were a few I could pick off on the run.  Right after exiting T2, I saw 2 racers I was destined to get.  One was a tall guy with a porn mustache that got into T2 about 15 seconds before me, and the other was someone I thought I was in my age group, but he was about .25 miles ahead of me.  After about the first .5 mile, I caught porn mustache guy and asked him if there were any racers from our age group, and he told me maybe 1, but not sure.  He had me laughing saying he was a horrible runner and wished he could get better.  This guy was about 6'3" and skinny.  He just had that look about him.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  Those tall runners who make everything look so easy.  I thought to myself "how can he not be a good runner".  I figured he was playing with me and that I should watch out in the last mile, but after passing him and not seeing him anywhere near me, I knew he wasn't going to catch up to me.
Next up was a runner who had a nice pace going and I knew I would be challenged in getting to him, but if I did, this was the age grouper that "porn guy" told me about.  So if I caught him, then I would be in great shape.  After about 2 miles, I ended up catching him and saw his calf.  His age was 27.  DAMN.  I worked so hard to get to him that I'm not sure how much more I had to catch anyone else.  But when I got up to this runner, we realized we weren't competing against each other and that I was beating him anyway ( I started after him in waves), so we ran together for the next few miles.  It was great. We paced each other and pushed each other.

The run was relatively flat with the exception of 2 hills at mile 3.5 and then again at mile 4.7 which was a pretty steep uphill.  But after getting past those hills, the last mile and change was downhill so it was time to let it fly.  During my run, I ended up passing so many college athletes.  I couldn't believe this since I started at least 25 minutes after them.  But I kept wishing them the best and giving words of encouragement to keep them going.  They are so young that you could just see themselves mentally fighting with their inner demons.  Any encouragement would definitely help these guys.  

After making the last turn, I ran up the finisher's shoot to the finish line and finished my season.  Thankfully. 

Run time of 44:19 for the 6.5 mile run.

Post Race:
 The medals they gave out were pretty cool.  The design was great, but the medals also doubled as a beer opener.  Very functional.  Very cool. 
Yes, it's been used already to open some post race refreshments

And instead of a finisher's shirt, they gave away finisher's jackets.  Really nice.  I can wear these on those cool mornings when I want to go for a run.  They even have the thumb holes.  Sometimes it's nice to get something other than a t-shirt.

Nice lightweight comfortable jacket

Once I got my medal and fluids, I went over to check the scoring tent.  It was weird since all athletes started at different times, so I wasn't going to know exactly where I stood for a while, but when I first checked, I placed 2nd in my age group.  Sweet.  This way, I had a chance to place.  After stretching, I rechecked the results, and now it said I placed 3rd in my Age group.  Ok, going in the wrong direction here.  So I went to check out my bike, pack up my bag and put it in my car.  I called the wife and explained that I would leave if I didn't place and I didn't need to stay around for the ceremony, but if I placed, then I was staying. Once the car was packed up, I threw on my Skora shirt and HoneyMaxx socks so I could get them some publicity if I placed.  I went back to the finishers area and rechecked the results.  This time I was in 4th.  DAMN.  Once again, always a bridesmaid, never a bride.  I did place 17th in the whole race though. Just imagine if I would have felt great today and my swim didn't get derailed from bad goggles.  So I walked back to my car, and headed home.  Contempt with my placing and happy my season was over.

Looking back on this race, I can say that I am just ready for my season to be done.  This is the first time in any race that I have done that every time I tried to push myself, I ended up going slower.  I've had races where I haven't performed, I have had problems during the race, I've been tired,  I stopped caring and wanted to enjoy the race, but I have never had a race where I just didn't have my legs underneath me.  I think my body was trying to tell me that I've had a long year with Riley being born and not really having an off season last year, so I need to shut it down now.

I'm not upset with my placing.  It's always nice to get a podium, but I was so past that in this race, that it just didn't matter.  I think I ended up qualifying for Knoxville, so at least one of my goals was completed.

Right now, it's time to shut it down, rest, relax, and enjoy some family time.  I've already looked into planning my 2014 race schedule, but for the rest of 2013, my legs are on a hiatus for racing.