Monday, January 28, 2013

My race buddy

Since 2008, most of my races have been planned and completed with my friend Leo.  His story is one that has inspired me, along with a few others. 

Leo and I met in 2005 when I moved into the apartment next to him.  We didnt become friends until midway through 2006, and at that point I was already training for the 2006 NYC Marathon.  As time went on, Leo and I started hanging out more and going out drinking in NYC.  Back in 2006, the bars still allowed people to smoke in them.  I have never been a smoker, but Leo was.  He was smoking about a pack or so a day.  He would light up with me sitting next to him and used to get so angry.  Here I was, thinking I was trying to be healthy, and then my friend was just smoking right next to me.  There was a point where I finally had it and told him that if he wants to continue to hang out, he would have to stop smoking around me.  Eventually, he did.

As time went on, Leo would see me do a whole bunch of races and eventually asked me if I would help him start to train for a race.  We started small, but we made a goal for him to race the Baltimore Half Marathon in 2008.  In order to do that, he would have to completely give up smoking.  But time kept going and Leo would put the miles in and eventually we made it down to Baltimore for the half.  I was so proud of him.  He went from a smoker to now a runner.  He was so happy that he finished and of course we had the 4 hour drive back up to NY to discuss each and every mile. 

Leo then went big time in 2010 and did the NYC Marathon himself.  I didnt want to do it that year because I was getting married too close to the race and would be on my honeymoon 2-3 weeks before so I couldnt properly train for it.  So he trained for it by himself.  He did great and enjoyed it the whole time.  I was there on 1st Ave cheering him on and then after the marathon having post race dinner. 

Since 2008, Leo and I have done races together pretty much every year.  Every year we pick races we want to do and sign up together.  Most of the time, its me picking an A race and having Leo agree to it and then having to plan some B and C races around that A race.

A list of some of the races we have done together:
Nike Human Race 2008
Nike Human Race 2008
NYC Half Marathon, 2009, 2010, 2012
NYC Triathlon 2011, 2012
Philadelphia Marathon 2011
Long Branch Triathlon- 2011
HITS Triathlon Hunter Mountain 2012
Jersey Man Triathlon 2012
Amica Triathlon 2011
NYC Marathon 2012- were supposed to do together but it was cancelled

NYC Triathlon 2011

HITS Triathlon Hunter Mountain 2012

During the season, Leo and I often train together.  Even though we are different speeds, we start and end at the same spots and have also joined the same running team.  Leo has also embraced my hill workouts which have been known to be quite difficult.  Its on these workouts where we tend to get into plenty of arguments.  They either stem from me wanting Leo to push himself harder and him wanting me to shut up, or from either one of us pissing the other off for some reason.  While many of us have "work wives", I consider Leo my "training wife".  We fight, bicker, annoy each other just like a married couple does.  But we're allowed.  He was the best man at my wedding so I guess its what friends do. 

Philly Marathon 2011

We each have our own separate races we do, Boston for me, San Antonio or Long Beach for him, but we always do our big races together.  This year our main focus will be the Rev3 Maine 70.3  Come September of this year, I'm sure Ill be trying to convince Leo to step up and do a full Ironman in 2014.  That'll be one hill training fight that will be interesting to listen to.  I'm not sure who will win that argument, but it will definitely be interesting and fun to see who wins.

Having Leo do the same races as me is such a benefit.  This way I'm not traveling to races alone and I have someone to help push me.  He's come a far way from those days as a smoker, but I'm glad I have someone who has gone through the same pain as me over the past few years.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What to think about

There are so many things to think about during each and every workout. My mind is always going crazy during my workouts.  I tend to think about every little thing in my life during a long run.  From the workout, to hitting splits, to telling myself to slow down, to Riley, my wife, work, Thunder, my shoes, anything.  Everything is fair game in my mind.  And there is no rhyme or reason as to why I think about what and when I do it.  The weird part is, I do most of my thinking while Im running, and not swimming or biking.  When I'm biking, I tend to focus on the actual workout and what I need to be focused on.  When Im swimming, I always seem to focus on catching the person in front of me, thinking about the upcoming race, and how much longer in the workout (swimming is my least favorite discipline).

For example, I had a 14 mile run planned for this past weekend.  It was absolutely freezing the past week in NY so I was forced inside the whole week.  But I decided to brave the elements and run in about 14 degrees of warm (yeah, I said warmth since the rest of the week it was so much colder).  Let me start and say my run was amazing.  I was cranking out the miles and felt great.  If it wasnt so cold, I probably would have added at least 3 more miles to my workout.  It was one of those runs where everything was working.  Hills were easy, pacing was great, breathing was comfortable, and the music in my ears was exactly what I wanted to hear and when.  We all love those types of workouts.  They dont come often, but when they do, you know it instantly and enjoy it the whole time. 

It was about mile 3 when I noticed that in the past 15 minutes or so, I thought about like 10 different topics.  I kept telling my self to slow down since I wanted it to be an easy run and it snowed the night before so I didnt want to have a misstep on a piece of ice and injure myself.  But my pace was just awesome.  I was going at faster than race pace so I just went with it. 

Here's a breakdown of things I thought about:
Riley- clearly.  right now he's my life.  I knew this was my time to get out and run, but I wondered what he was doing.  Was he sleeping, being fussy, eating, etc?  But other thoughts crept in my mind like what about his college and will I be prepared financially to pay for it.  I actually thought about when Im going to have the birds and the bees conversation with him.  I remember my fathers talk with me, and I knew there is no way I wanted to have the time type of talk with Riley.  I thought about my in-laws babysitting him that night and will he be ok.  Or what sport he'll want to play when he grows up.  Pretty much, everything that you can think of as a father, I thought about at some point yesterday during the run.

Thunder- Thunder has been my best friend for the past 7 and a half years.  He has been there for everything important in my life and him and I have such a special bond.  I thought about coming home to him and making sure he gets enough attention since I feel bad with Riley being born that is Thunder getting the love he needs.  Its also been an annual event for Thunder to dress up for Halloween.  And even though we are 10 months away, I still want to beat his costume from this past year.  Its going to be hard to do, he was a fighter pilot. 
Thunder's ready for takeoff

My wife-  Among the things I thought about are, is she going back to work after her maternity leave is over, will she want to work, how can I give her a break so she can do what she wants for a few hours.  I thought about ways I can make her feel special in the next few days.  Which one of us will do which feedings at night.  Those are just some of the things about the wife

Work- Im in sales, so hitting my numbers is something thats always on my mind.  I wanted to review my last week's appointments and see how I can build off of them, and what I can do to drive some business and help my sales team.  I thought about what surgeries I am going to see in the next few weeks and what can I do to make them go smoothly.  I'm always paranoid about my job so I'm always thinking about it. 

Dinner- My wife and I were going to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner, so I wanted to know what I was having for dinner.  I knew that if I pushed myself, I would be able to have that extra margarita.  Plus, this restaurant has the best appetizer you can think of.  Queso Fondido.  Picture a pot of melted cheese and you dip tortillas in it.  Its cheesy goodness and my wife and I love this. 

Next set of workouts- Even though I was fully focused on the current run I was on, I was still planning the next week's set of workouts.  I wanted to make sure how I felt after this run, and could I jump on the bike Sunday to go for a quick ride or spin.  I knew I had to ride easier, but I wanted to make sure I got the bike in.  Then I was thinking about which days I wanted to do tempo runs, hill workouts, etc.

how cool is this?  its a mouse

Our new computer- my mother in law bought us a brand new Apple Imac, so when I was out for the run, my wife was putting it together and installing everything.  She loves doing those type of things. But I wanted to get home and play with it, see how different it was from out current computer, and play with the new track pad mouse. 

Other random thoughts- Will Tiger win the tournament this weekend? What shoes are other runners wearing?  I know I wear cool shoes (Skora Base)- but there are a lot of people looking down at my feet.  How many people can I pass?  What are the Jets going to do with Darrelle Revis?

See, there are so many things that run through my mind during each and every run, that its crazy.  I feel like I cant stay focused on one thing, but I dont care.  Its all of these little things that get me through my workout and keep me plugging along.  I've never thought about how many different things I think about on a given run until yesterday, but what goes through your mind during your workouts? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wow, the hours have changed

I have always been an early riser.  I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to start my day.  I hated sleeping late because I felt I was wasting the day.  Over the past few years, I would start my workouts between 7-8am so I could get them done and have the rest of the day to do whatever I wanted.  It was great.  The only problem was that my wife wouldnt like me getting up so early.  She didnt sleep in, but she definitely slept later than me.  She didnt have to wake up to workout so she would sleep about an hour later than me.

We are trying to keep Riley on a schedule throughout the day so he sleeps at night a little more.  But as every parent knows, no new born sleeps throughout the whole night.  My wife and I are still trying to figure out who does better on which night shift for Riley's feedings.  We've tried both out.  Ive done the 1 AM shift while she has done the 5AM shift, and I have done the 5AM shift while the wife has done the 1AM shift.  We arent sure who does better on which shift yet. 

I have volunteered for the 5-6AM shift more times with the thinking that if I feed Riley at 5AM, then walk the dog around 6AM, I can go out for a run around 6:30-7ish in the morning.  Good thinking right?  This way, I can sleep a little more throughout the night, but also stay on my schedule a little more.  The problem is that its sooo dark and cold at 6AM here in NY.  So while my thought process is good, when I wake up now to do everything its too dark and cold for me to go out for a workout.  So now Im stuck in the time where I cant fall back asleep, but I also cant do any workouts because of external factors.  Its like Im wasting time not being able to go for my workouts.  Now, my wife is fast asleep and I dont want to wake her up so I have no idea what to do, and by the time it gets lighter out, shes up and has to watch the baby even more time that she should.  We're supposed to be in this together, but fitting workouts in at odd hours is messing with normalcy.

I cant wait for the summer months when its nice and warm all day, but also gets light out early. 

So, how do all of you fit in those early workouts in when its too dark and cold that you know you dont want to be out there?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How often are you training?

I know there are a lot of schools of thought discussing the amount of days per week that people should be training.  I know that not everyone is the same and that everyone is of different physical abilities, but I’m of the opinion that more is better.  Ive always wanted to train as much as I can no matter if Im tired, sore, don’t want to, or anything else that would limit me.  I hate days off.  Like really hate days off.  My family and friends know that if I have an off day scheduled, then its probably a good idea not to annoy me.  I have such a short fuse on my days off that the smallest things make me blow up.  Or if I cant do a morning workout, the rest of my day Im edgy and irritable.  I know its bad, but I just like to blow off some steam.
Ive read all the reports and articles showing how important rest days are, and that you shouldn’t go hard every day since your body needs to heal to get stronger, but in some ways, I just don’t care.  I want to push myself every time I work out.  I don’t see a point in going for a nice leisurely run just to log the miles and count them as an easy run.  Every workout should have a specific goal, and to me, its to get faster or build endurance.  Even on my long training runs for marathons, I cant bring myself to slow down and add between 45-60 seconds per mile like everyone says you should.  If I were to run 45 seconds slower than my goal pace that would be painful for me every step.  To me, I wont be running at the pace during my races so why train at that pace.  Its also why I do most of my training alone.  I am typically faster than most of my friends, so if I were to go out and run with them, I would have to go at their pace which in my mind, doesn’t benefit me at all.  I know its not the right way to think, but I just cant bring myself to think any other way.
I’m also of the belief that if you can train every day, or at least 6 days a week, then you should.  My typical training plan for a marathon is something like:
Monday: intervals
Tuesday:  Tempo run
Wednesday- hill training
Thursday- probably a bike ride or a short run at faster than tempo pace
Friday- off day, but Im still doing weights at the gym.
Saturday- Long Run
Sunday- bike ride or off day depending on how long the Saturday run was
During Triathlon season, the schedule looks the same but we add multiple workouts to each day to obviously incorporate swimming and biking.  I like to swim in the morning since it wakes me up for the day, and because the pools that I swim at typically have a children's program during the day, so I don’t want to swim in a pool where kids pee in it all day.  I feel like I would be drinking pee with every breath.  No thanks.  I’ll pass. 
I’m sure my schedule looks light to some people, and heavy to others.  That’s why its great that everyone is different.  I just feel Id rather push myself every day and be a little sore for a workout or so than have a day off and not be working on anything.  My training buddy Leo does about half my weekly mileage and volume but it works for him. 
Now with Riley being born, I’m finding it harder to squeeze in a workout every day.  There are just some days that I don’t have the time or cant break away and leave my wife to watch him for a bit.  I’m guessing Im going to have to change my thinking and how many days I can workout.  That’ll be the hardest thing to overcome.  I can overcome bad workouts, but having to realize that I probably cant train every day will be the one thing that I will need to work on the most. 
So how much are you training and whats your beliefs?

Friday, January 18, 2013

How my workouts have changed

Its only been just over 2 weeks since Riley has been born, and I can already see there is a difference in my workouts.  Previously, during all of my workouts I was singularly focused.  I went out for a run and all I could think about was hitting my splits.  On my bike rides, I focused on cadence, speed, etc (no power though- havent started using power on my bike yet- I know, I know. Im missing a lot).  I was so focused on all my workouts.  Even during my bad workouts, I knew I had to push through it and finish my workout and do the best I could. 

Now, what I'm finding is that during my workouts is that my mind is usually somewhere else.  I know its normal to have your mind wander, but this is all new to me.  I was out on a 12 mile run on Monday, and halfway through all I could think about is my wife.  I felt bad that she was home with the baby. What happened if she needed to do something?  What happened if she took a nap?  What happened if she needed a break?  Same thing during my 60 minutes of spinning on Thursday.  And since most of my runs take place in Central Park in NYC, its a 6 mile loop, when I finished my first loop, I packed it in and headed home.

When we were pregnant, my wife and I agreed that for all the time that I go for my workouts then my wife can have the equal amount of time doing what she wants.  So if I went for a 2 hour run on a Saturday morning, then she would have 2 hours to go and do whatever she wanted no questions asked.  If she wanted to get her nails done, go for a walk, take a nap, it didnt matter.  We agreed that we can each do our own things so our lives wouldnt have to sacrifice that much with Riley being born.  I was happy to make that deal.  It was fair.  I want my wife to be able to do what she wants and not feel like she is hampered by my workouts and training, the baby, and everything else. 

But now, I just feel guilty about leaving her home.  She lets me work out whenever I want and doesnt say a word.  She's been a real trooper and supporter just like she always has.  She knows I need these workouts for my sanity and training.  But the problem here is me.  I just continuously think about Riley and my wife during each and every workout.  I have a long run scheduled for Saturday morning and then a long ride Sunday morning.  I hope I can get through it with no problems.  To be honest, my workouts are still pretty good.  I'm still hitting my splits and still managing to log quality miles so at least they arent suffering completely.  But its my mind that is giving me the biggest challenge.

I guess I still have to learn the balance of being a father and training for a race.  I knew it would be hard with Boston happening in April and Riley being born in January, but its not like I planned it that way.  Plus, its only been a little over 2 weeks so I have A LOT to learn, but its just been interesting to see how things have changed so quickly over such a short amount of time.  I know there will be a time when I cant wait to get out the door and know that my workouts will give me that break I need, but right now, I just feel like I should be home with my wife and Riley.  Looks like its welcome to fatherhood for me.  I still wouldnt trade it for anything, well except maybe a PR in Boston.  just kidding...  sort of

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why do I race?

That's the biggest question I get from everyone I know.  My parents, my friends, even my wife asks me why I do this to myself.  I'm sure its a question that we all get from time to time.  Why is it that we push ourselves day in and day out for one day of racing?

The answer for me is...I have no idea. 

I honestly have no clue why I do this to myself.  Because at some point during every race I always say to myself, "I dont want to do this any more".  I always say I dont want to race, dont want to train, dont want to put the hours in.  I've even told my parents that if I ever tell them I want to do another race they should remind me that I said it and I'll know I dont want to race again.  But once the race is over and about an hour passes, there I am, a few days later, starting the process again.  Back on the road running and biking, in the pool swimming, in the gym lifting weights.  So for me, there is no good reason as to why I do this.

But as I sit down to write this, here are some possible reasons that I can come up with.

1) I love the competition:  I think we all love this to some degree.  Now, there are a lot of people out there who just race to see if they can do it, want to say they did a race, choose a goal, or whatever the reason.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But these are called races, and I love to go out and see who is better than me, and who I can beat.  I always want to measure myself against other people.  Depending on the size of the race, I want to see if I can place in my age group.  I know I'm not the fastest person out there, but I'm usually in the top 10% of my age group, sometimes even higher, so I want to see who's out there that can beat me.  It also motivates me for future races.  If I know I have a chance to do well, then I'm going to push myself even more.  I always want to try to be the best.  I know I wont get there, but it keeps driving me to continue to put the hours in and do these races.

2) Health reasons:  Let's be honest, how many of us actually love going to the gym, workout out, pushing themselves?  I know I dont.  But knowing that I have races coming up, I know I have to put the training in.  I have to exercise every day, push myself, do the work.  So this gives me something to do to continue to be healthy.  Its not a main reason I do these races, but I know that if I dont have a race coming up, my workouts slack and I feel worse about myself.  I need the external motivation to keep me going. And the fact is, after every race I do, I reward myself with some kind of food which is bad for me.  Usually after every marathon, I finish a full 1 lb bag of Peanut M&M's.  Thats my reward.  So training this much allows me to eat pretty much what I want without feeling guilty.

3) Braggin rights:  Not due to competitive reasons, but its nice to say "I did a marathon", or " I ran so and so race".  How many times have you been in a conversation and you said something like that and everyone is impressed or wants to ask you a question about your experience?  Its a great feeling of accomplishment and recognition.  I love being able to tell people my times and talk about it.  Its even better if you can have that conversation with another person who did the same race as you and you can talk about that specific race.

4) I want to see how far I can push myself:  As I said earlier, at some point during every race no matter how short or long, I say I want to stop and dont want to do these races anymore. Even in a short 5k when I'm pushing to go faster, I want to slow down and just cruise.  But yet every time I finish the race.  I have yet to have DNF in a race I ran.  There have been races where I stopped pushing myself and started to enjoy the race more, but I have still finished each and every race I started.  As we all know, it takes a lot of mental toughness to finish races such as marathons and triathlons, so I dont ever want to second guess myself afterwards and say that I could have done more.  I want to see what limits I can push my body and mind.  There is always another level, so I'm going to continue to see how far I can go.

5) Tshirts, Tshirts, and more Tshirts:  I love getting race tshirts. Some races really do it right and give a nice moisture wicking tshirt or long sleeve shirt.  Other races just give out cotton tshirts.  To me, this is the worst thing to give out.  I know cost often dictates what swag is given out, but we're all racing and training, so reward us with a good workout shirt.  I cant wear a cotton tshirt to the gym or for a run and be comfortable, so those shirts are the first I give away or donate to charity.  But a good race workout shirt I can wear for a treadmill workout or spin workout, or under a jacket when its cold outside is a great memento of that race.
  If the race has a creative tshirt or other give away, thats even better.  Ive seen races give out visors, shorts, and a variety of other things.  As long as I can use it during my training, Im all for it.

6) I get to buy new things:  Let's face it, we all need race equipment.  Because of this, I get to buy new things and not have to explain them as stupid purchases.  Of course that bike computer is important, it tells me how hard Im working on the bike.  That new underwater mp3 player, well that helps me during my swim training.  New earphones?  Yup, earphones get lost and ruined all the time so I keep needing to replace them.  And I cant wear the same outfit I have already raced in, so of course a new shirt or Trisuit is needed.  Plus, there are so many different light conditions so I need a few pairs of sunglasses or lenses so I can be prepared for whatever the conditions are.
  Without racing, I wouldnt be allowed to justify buying all these things.  My wife would look at me like I'm wasting money.  Of course Im wasting money, but at least this way I can defend my purchases to her.  So I love to be able to buy all the new stuff I want because of my races.

So those are a few reasons as to why I race.  I'm sure there are more, but let me know why you race.  I'd love to hear what makes you lace up your shoes and train.  What motivates you?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


SKORA BASE- the minimalist shoe you have to have.

I have to confess, I love shoes.  If I see a shoe I like, I order them.  It started when I was young. I would go into a sneaker store, and just want everything.  I'd try and get my parents to buy me a new shoe all the time.  Once I find a shoe that I think is comfortable, I keep buying the same shoe over and over again.  But I'm so picky when it comes to my running shoe.  I'm always willing to try a pair, but I seem to keep coming back to certain shoes that I know works.  I end up buying about 5 paris of the same shoe in case I dont like the next years version.  So my wife keeps yelling at me that I have so many shoe boxes with new shoes in one of our closets.  But that stops here.

A few months ago, I reached out to Skora Running about their shoes.  I saw a few of the pairs and they looked interesting so I wanted to get my hands (or feet) on a pair so I can see if they are for me.  What I can tell you is that, I will not be looking any further for another pair of running shoes. I put the Skora Base's on a few weeks ago went out for a run, and refuse to take them off.

First impressions:
The shoes are yellow.  Like, ALL yellow.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love bright things. Yellow is my favorite color, and every time I can wear something in yellow for a race, I will.  Looking at these shoes, you notice that they are bright yellow.   How can anyone think they arent some of the coolest looking shoes on the market?  These will definitely get some heads turning.
These things are cool
Next up is the notice of no laces.  To me, this is a positive.  I always take the laces off of all my shoes and put Lock Laces on them.  I like the idea of being able to slip them on and off whenever I want.  Especially helpful during triathlons, but also easier in day to day life. So by not having to do this step makes my life easier. Once you dial in how tight you want the straps, you dont have to change this, ever.

And while there are no laces, there is a heel strap.  I really like this option.  I can dial in the shoes to make it roomy in the toe box, but have a little more snug fit in the heel if I want.  I havent seen this on many other shoes, so when I put them on, it impressed me.
Heel strap

When I slid my foot in the shoe the first time, it felt like I just put on a slipper.  I'm not kidding.  The Skora Base are incredibly light and airy.  A lot of minimalist shoes are light, but not as light as the Base's.  Ive run in the Saucony Kinvara's, Newton Distances among a few of the shoes, and the Base's are by far the lightest shoes I have run in.
 Something to notice is that the Base's have 2 possible insole options.  One insole adds some cushioning to the shoe.  The insole is thin, but packs a punch.  There are some dimples in the insole.  What this does for me is it actually makes it feel like the insoles with dimples are massaging my feet every step.  Ive heard people not liking the insole in since it feels like a golf ball turned inside out, but I prefer to leave the insole in.
Insole in

Dimpled Insoles
Insole taken out
If you decide to take the insole out, then there is a perforated synthetic material which provides enough comfort if you want to wear the shoes sockless.  Both are extremely comfortable, but I prefer to leave the insole in.

On the run:

Ok, now that I've described the shoe, you want to know how it feels on the road.  Very simply put, this is the most comfortable shoe I have ever run in.  I dont say that lightly.  I've tested shoes for multiple companies, tried out hundreds of different shoes from very cushioned, half cushioned, minimal shoes, track shoes, trail shoes.  Hands down, these are the best.

As I mentioned, with the insoles in, it feels like I am getting a massage with every step.  So of course that means I'm gong to keep running if it feels that good.

I read an article recently that stated that most new runners are heel strikers.  Something like 80% of new runners and over 75% of experienced runners are heel strikers.  Up until 2 years ago, I was a heel striker.  Because of that, I had so many injuries from IT Band syndrome (ugh, that hurts so much), hamstring injuries, and tight hip flexors.  2 years ago, I changed my stride and became a mid foot striker.  This had made my life so much easier.  I have been injury free since I made the change, but I am also faster.
Why the Base's are great is I can feel the ground so much more now when I land and I completely land on my midfoot. I can react immediately since my foot is so well connected with the ground that even if I revert back to my old self, I'll know it immediately and fix it on my next stride.  These shoes definitely force me to land on my midfoot
When I was asked about my impressions about the Base, my exact comments were, "I am so much faster with these shoes on".  I noticed that my turnover is a lot faster in the shoes.  I cant explain it, but I know my stride cadence is higher.  But the twist is, Im running easier and am not getting winded as early.  On my second run in the shoes, I went out on a long run of 10 miles, and since it was my off season I wanted to take it easy.  I told myself to slow and and enjoy the run.  I didnt look at my GPS watch once during the run since I didnt care about how fast I was going.  But when I finished my run, I felt I could go another 5 miles at that pace without even noticing anything.  When I finally looked at my watch, I had run my fastest 10 mile split in over a year.  I was shocked.  So I tried it again 2 days later on a tempo run of 6 miles, and I ran my second fastest 10k of 2012, but this one I was trying to go slow.  I spoke with Kyle at Skora running and he was impressed.  The shoes keep continuing to impress me.  I cannot imagine running in any other shoe at this point.

Other things I noticed on the run were how comfortable my feet were in the shoe.  The toe box of the Base's are extremely ventilated.  Which would make it great for the summer months, but might scare people during the winter.  Well, its pretty cold up here in NY in December/January, but my feet are able to breathe with the ventilation. They also help when I wear wool socks in the really cold weather that my feet dont get too hot or sweaty.

Very breathable


I cannot recommend this shoe enough.  I truly believe that everyone can wear the Skora Base.  It is comfortable for both short speed work, as well as those long slow training runs and anything in between. For those who havent entered the minimalist revolution, I would recommend mixing this shoe in with your normal running shoes for a few weeks so you can get used to them.  Once you do that, toss those heavy shoes away and throw on your Skora Base.  The cost is $110 for the shoe, but its well worth it.  They will last a lot longer than your normal shoes and be twice as comfortable.
On top of that, the customer service team and people who I have spoken to at Skora have been some of the best in the business.  If you have a question, they respond in no time.  One quick shout out is to Kyle Kranz at Skora Running.  Without him, I wouldnt have been able to get my hands on a pair of these bad boys. He's been amazing to work with, and every company would be lucky to have a guy like Kyle working for them. 

Feel free to check them out at  Skora Running.  If you arent a fan of the Base, they also have the Forms, and are coming out with a few more designs in the upcoming months. 

Since this blog is to bridge the bond between my newborn baby and me, I figured its never too early to get him running, and more importantly learning how to Run Real.

Riley's already singed up the 2035 NYC Marathon

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Race Schedule

Planning my race schedule for this calendar year was a lot more difficult than in years past.  Previously, I would pick races, train for them and just go and race.  For the past 3 years I have been planning races with my best friend Leo (more about him in later posts).  Most of the time, I would pick a bunch of races, run them by him and he would give me the ok for us to sign up.  Out of the 2 of us, Im the big planner. I do all the research for the races we do.  I'm obsessive about it.  I go over every little detail from race location, typical weather averages, course elevation profiles, drive time, hotels around the race, and sometimes even race swag.  Come on, we all love the free goods.  So often its me deciding what races I want to do and then I convince Leo to do them with me.

Where the challenge sometimes came up is from my wife.  As many of us in a couple know, sometimes your spouse doesnt really see eye to eye with your race schedule.  My wife would always ask me "why do you have to go away", "why do you have to go away with Leo", and more importantly, "where are the races that I can come to where I can enjoy the location".  I completely understand where she is coming from.  Not being a racer, she doesnt understand why I want to do sooooo many races every year.  And she never understands why I dont pick locations that she can come to and she can sit on a beach and ordering a strawberry daiquiri.  Her list of races she wants me to do include Kona, Miami, California, Costa Rica, Cozumel, and then some.  Can you see a trend?  They all include places where we can vacation there before or after the race.  As of now, I haven't indulged my wife in doing any of these races.  But, I promise, in the near future, we will.

When we found out that we were pregnant, I knew I couldnt pick so many races for 2013.  I was going to have to adjust to being a dad, my training might start to slack a little, and life was about to different.  I only had one definite race scheduled for 2013, and needed to plan for the rest of the year.  I qualified for the Boston Marathon in April, so we knew that was on the books, but here is what I'm planning to do in 2013.

Boston Marathon- April 15th, 2013- "A" race
Boston Marathon
Every runner wants one of these
  I believe Boston is bucket list races for all marathoners.  Its the holy grail of marathons and one of the hardest to get into.  I qualified in Philly 2011 with a time of 2:53:08 which allowed me to sign up on the day of qualifying time-10 minutes, which all but guaranteed my entry.  Even though I knew I was pretty much in, there is nothing like getting that postcard in the mail.  It's a feeling of "I made it!!" 
  I'm torn about how I want to run this race.  I know this is going to be my only Boston Marathon, so do I take the race as a fun run and enjoy it?  Or do I try to BQ again, because everyone knows that we all strive for PR's and BQ races.  I think the plan is to run for a BQ and then analyze and reevaluate halfway through the race and then again at mile 20, right after Heartbreak Hill.  
Either way, I cant wait for Boston and know that this is my A marathon for the year and Im going to enjoy it, BQ or not.

Red Bank Sprint Triathlon- May 19th, 2013, Red Bank, NJ
Red Bank Sprint
  I believe that for every A race triathlon, everyone should do at least 2 prep races for it.  Count them as a B or C race, or count them as a prep race.  Either way, they should be a lot shorter and build distances closer to your "A" race.  In this case, my "A" triathlon is in August, so I need to start building my base after Boston.  Since this race is only a month after Boston, it should serve as a nice eye opener for me on what I need to work on for August. 
  Distance- 1/3 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 5k run. 
The run part should be easy for me so I'll look to push it during the run, but I want to see where my swim, and bike is at this point.  And more importantly, work on my transitions with the Flying mount on my bike.
Let's hope I dont eat it!!
Another reason I chose this race is because the area was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and I know they can use all the support they can get.  I ran the Long Branch Triathlon a few years ago and the course was great.  I can only expect the same thing from this race.

KIC Triathlon- Olympic Distance- June 29th, 2013, Stamford, CT
 This one was fairly easy to choose.  The race itself is 20 minutes from where I grew up, pretty close to where I live now, so it wont require any overnight travel.  I can always stay at my parents house so I can keep cost down, which is really nice.  I wont feel bad leaving my wife and baby since they will be with me and can come to support me during the race.  If not, Riley can always visit Grandma and Grandpa for the day.
Distance- .9 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
  As you can see, my distances are starting to get longer and stretch me out. 
This race also serves a great cause.  It raises money for children struggling with abuse and neglect.  No child should ever have to go through that, so anything that I can do to support the cause, I will. 

Rev 3 Maine Half Iron Triathlon- August 25th, 2013, Old Orchard Beach, ME- "A" Triathlon
Rev3 Maine
  Here's the race I really wanted to do all year.  I wanted to build up to the Iron distance for 2014, so I figured let 2013 be the year for the Half Iron distance.  Rev3 has received a lot of great reviews over the past year due to their dedication to the sport.  While we all know the brand Ironman, other race organizations have come on the scene and done great things.  Rev3 brings it back to the basics.  They put on a great race, and allow the races and families to enjoy the events, and they actually care about the people.  This is a far cry from some race organizations that just put on a race to make money. 
How can you not want to save this medal?
  My entire family will also be able to come up and watch me race here.  My parents have long wanted to rent a summer house and bring my family away for a week.  With the summer months and vacations, this will be the year.  My sister will fly in from Toronto, and my wife and Riley will make the trip as well, and we'll come up a few days before the race and stay a few days after making it a nice relaxing vacation.  Plus, this is one race where they allow you to cross the finish line with your children.  So expect to see Riley in my arms while I come through the finishers chute.  Its something I have always wanted to do, and cant wait to make it happen
And not, to mention, this race has an awesome finishers medal and great swag.  great swag
Distance- 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

Still looking for any Fall or Winter races- suggestions definitely welcome.  Maybe a half marathon, another Olympic triathlon? 

So there it is.  A little long winded, but I had to think about this year's races more than years past, so I wanted to go through my thought process as to why I chose these races.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The first Post

Welcome to the TriRunningDad blog.  I've resisted creating a blog for years thinking that no one really cares what I have to say.  But on January 1st, 2013 my world changed, and with it, so did my views on writing a blog.

Growing up, I always heard stories about my father and his athletic abilities.  I never wanted to listen to his stories or even if I believed him.  I always joked around with him about him getting old and not being able to keep up with me.  I couldnt believe he had any athletic ability. 
Riley Jakob

So on January 1st, 2013, my wife and I had our baby boy, Riley Jakob.  Right after, I thought about my dad and me.  I wanted to document my life for him so when he grows up, he can see his father did accomplish a few things over his athletic career. 

I've always been good at sports, from high school to college.  In fact, I still hold my high school's stolen base record, which is documented on a plaque at the high school baseball field.  After college, I took up endurance sports.  I ran marathons, extreme challenges, urbanathlons, and have now transitioned fully to triathlons. I've done well in a few of them with a PR for my marathon 2:53:08 at the Philadelphia Marathon 2011, and ran at the USA Triathlon National Championships in 2012.

With the wife at Philly Marathon
Training has always been easy for me.  With my work schedule, I could schedule time whenever I wanted to go out for a run or bike or go to the gym.  But when Riley was born, training has gotten a lot harder.  I now to have plan what time and how long I can go with my wife's schedule and the baby's schedule.  I now have a lot more responsibilities which I wouldnt trade for anything in the world, but I've learned I have to be more focused in my workouts.

I've have also been extremely lucky to partner with and be sponsored by a few different companies and products, so I want to share my views on products that I cant live without. 
USA Triathlon National Championships 2012

I'm hoping that my blog interests a bunch of you out there, and at least a few of you can relate to what I'm going through also.