Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Workout gear I cant live without

So apart from a post about the gear that I use, which will eventually follow this post at some point I figured I wanted to share about some items that I can't do a workout without them.  Obviously, we all have our bikes, goggles, helmets, etc for workouts, but I'm sure there are some things that everyone of us needs for their individual workouts.

Wrigley's Doublemint

I have been chewing this gum during my workouts since my first year of high school track in 1994.  Right before I start a training run or bike workout I pop a piece in my mouth.  It all started in 1994 for some strange reason when I was running track and I needed something in my mouth.  During track meets, I would change the piece of gum before each individual race, so as the season went on and the more qualifying rounds for an event increased, there would be meets where I would go through a full pack of gum on a particular night. 

As the years have gone on, I have continued to chew gum during all my workouts.  There have actually been days where I have cancelled workouts because I didnt have a piece of gum.  Strange, yes.  But it works for me.  Even during long runs/races, I keep the same piece of gum in my mouth for the entire race.  Everyone asks me how I can do that or why I chew gum, and I honestly have no idea.  I think it keeps the saliva forming in my mouth, but more importantly, I think it just keeps my mind off of it.  Either way, if you see me on the roads, I can guarantee Ill have a piece of Wrigley's in my mouth.


Oakley Half Jacket 2.0
Much like my gum, I cant workout without sunglasses.  Even during days when its raining outside or low light, I still need sunglasses.  Its not because of the sun or because I think its cool or anything like that, but I just need glasses on my face.  I think its because I dont want to make eye contact with anyone while I'm running or I dont want anyone to know if Im struggling on my run.  People cant see my eyes hurting if I pass them and so they wont know how I'm doing and I can hide behind my shades.  Its definitely a mental thing

Over the years, I have had so many different pairs of glasses.  I usually buy a new pair every year.  And dont get impressed or anything like that the majority of the time my sunglasses, they are the good old cheapies that I buy at a flea market or street fair.  Only recently did I make the splurge and buy 2 pairs of Oakleys, which I now wear on all of my workouts.  However, during triathlons, I still use the old cheapies because I dont want them getting scratched in transition or if they fall off somehow

Asics Thermoplois Arm Sleeves XP- these things are sweet

In the winter, these arm sleeves are life saviors.  I hate.  No, let me say that again, I HATE, sleeves.  I cant stand them.  I hate long sleeve shirts, jackets, anything.  Even in the cold weather, I always roll my sleeves on.  Its horrible since I get cold, but I just cant stand sleeves.  So these arm sleeves are life saviors.  I love them.  They have built in mittens in case I want to flip the hand pieces over if my hands get too cold.  I dont find them uncomfortable at all and I cant even notice they are on.  So I tend to throw on a short sleeve or sleeveless shirt and these arm sleeves.  They even have a pocket for gels or keys or anything.  They are made of the moisture wicking material so they are great for cold days, but can be worn up to about 50 degrees.  I ran my past 2 marathons with these sleeves.  They are amazing.


Skora Base
A few months ago, I wouldnt have included shoes on a must have gear list.  I've run in most type of shoes and have changed shoes 3 times over the past 24 months so I was never really married to one design.  But since I've been running in the Skora Bases for a few months, I realized running in anything else would be a miserably uncomfortable.  You can view my post on the Skora's from last month to get a better understanding of how great the shoes are.  These shoes are a definite must in my gear

I'm addicted to training with music.  Forget the scientific studies that have proven that working out to music boosts athletic performance.  I just need something to distract me.  I need sound to drown on the pounding of the road or the whistle of my wheels. 

Need my tunes-
Creative Zen

Most people throw their ipods on and train.  I love my mp3 player because it has an FM tuner in it.  I think thats so much better than listening to the same music over and over again.  I even dont mind listening to radio commercials since it is something different.  Granted, I cant listen to commercials for a while, but typical radio commercials only last for about 5 minutes or so, so I can run a little less than a mile in that time so I dont mind that.  I highly recommend the Creative Zen mp3 player.  Ive used Creative for years so I'm a fan and have some loyalty there.  I think the newer ipods have a FM tuner on it, so I might be forced to make a change soon


Regular earbuds dont fit my ears.  I have some weird shaped ears and have always used the over the ear headphones.  Every type of earbuds always fell out of my ears and it would be so annoying that I would always be fidgeting plugging buds back into my ears.

These are the only buds that stay in my ears
About 3 years ago, I was introduced to Yurbuds.  These things are great.  They stay in my ears regardless of how sweaty I get.  Since I started using Yurbuds, they have come out with some newer versions which definitely help.  The cords are now made of Kevlar so they dont get messed up in the rain or sweat, and dont break as easily as other earbuds.  So far, these are definitely the earbuds that work best for made.  They say they were developed by a triathlete designed to keep from falling out, and I have about 4-5 unopened boxes just in case I lose a pair. 

Thats probably the gear that I use the most and cant live without.  Most of it is pretty self explanatory, but I definitely see how weird the gum thing is.

What do you need to workout?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Goals for the Year

This post is probably long overdue since we're already 7 weeks into the new year, but since I'm in sales, goals are always on my mind.  I'm always trying to hit my sales goals and when I was in Syracuse this week I realized that I really havent outlined my year's goals.  Its hard to achieve something if you havent outlined it, so this would be a great time to put on paper my goals.

Personal Goals:
First and foremost, dont mess Riley up.  He's a brand new, unscrewed up baby.  He's so precious now, so my job and goal is to keep him that way as long as possible.  Chris Rock said it best, my job is to "keep my daughter off the pole".  Granted, Riley is a boy and he shouldnt be on the pole regardless but you get the point.  And if Riley ends up on the pole somehow, well then I clearly did something wrong and need an intervention.

Another personal goal is to keep my wife entertained.  The ones who know me will say I'm a goofball and weird, and a character.  I'm also hard to deal with at times.  When my wife and I started dating we would always have "moments" where we would just look at each other at the most random of times and know we love the other person.  It could have been any time. In the grocery store, at dinner, sitting on the couch, it didnt matter.  They didnt have to be at big events or anything special, but they would just happen randomly.  I remember the first time I had one was at her birthday dinner the first year we were dating.  It was the first time meeting her family and I went out to dinner with her, her parents, her brother and brothers wife.  Some time during that dinner, I just looked at her and thought, "this is who I want to be with".  So my goal is to continue having those moments with her this year. And since I'm a goofball, my wife somehow gets her moments when I do something stupid and make her laugh.  Usually when I'm just being a jokester and messing around, she laughs hysterically and she gets her moments.  With Riley being born, its easy to have moments for him where the unconditional love is there, but I want to keep having them with my wife.

Finally, like any sales person, I want to hit and blow my sales quota out.  My company's plans are very achievable and I want to hit my numbers and exceed expectations (wow, how corporate did that just sound).  Hitting numbers = making money, so thats a good thing.  But I look at it a different way.  I'm in medical device sales, and my team sells spine implants, so I know that the more spinal implants my region sells, the more patients are having surgery and are eventually getting better.  I tell my team all the time, that as much as we're in sales, we have to look at every patient and every surgery as if one of our family members is on that operating room table.  So I want all my patients to get better.

As for Racing Goals, these are a little bit different and in some ways, more thought out.  Since each race has a different plan, training program and reason I'm running it, my goals for each race have to be different.  So lets start with my first race:

Boston Marathon:  My initial goal is to just requalify for Boston again.  What that means is running a sub 3:05 marathon.  I have a feeling this is extremely achievable.  And knowing that I dont want to do race Boston next year, all I want to do is qualify again. 
But since my training has gone better than I expected, I want to put a few push goals.  Going under 3 hours is definitely a possibility for me.  I wouldnt say its a far stretch, but depending on how I feel I may want to push myself for that sub 3 hour mark.  With my training and running in my Skora Base's, I'm faster and injury free so far (fingers crossed it stays that way), so for me to push to hit this goal is something I'll try to do and make that decision on the course, but I would love another sub 3 marathon on my resume.
I'd say a PR of below 2:53 is probably out.  I just think its too early in the season for me to be pushing myself that much on this course taht I dont know well.  For me to run that, I would have to be doing 6:38 miles for the entire marathon, and I havent been training that way, so I dont think its something I want to put as a true goal. 

Red Bank Triathlon: Bottom line, I want to place here.  No questions asked.  This race is only a sprint triathlon, and its one month after the marathon, so it should be a piece of cake for me in terms of endurance.  I shouldnt be winded during my training or the race itself.  Yes, there are different disciplines involved, but I'm going from a 3 hour race to a 1 hour race.  If my run splits are not in the top 5 of everyone then I wont be happy.  But I want an Age Group finish with the potential for a podium finish.  Its hard to say a definite podium finish because I dont know how many people have signed up, or what accomplishments they have, but I should be able to push myself in this race and not having to worry about being too gassed at the end of it since my fitness level will already be way higher than most other people in the field who are using this race as a start of the season race.  This race will be a start of the Triathlon season for me, but its not even close to the start of my racing season. 

KIC Triathlon:  First goal here is to register for this race.  At time of this post, I have not even signed up for the race.  Its in the works, and lets assume that gets taken care of within the next few weeks.
So goal here is to go sub 2:25, with possibly even going sub 2:20 for the race.  But more importantly, I want to enjoy this race the most.  It's close to my family's house so they can watch the race, its for a good cause, and its the middle of my races between Boston and the Rev3 Maine.  So my goal here is to iron out all the stuff I need to before Maine.  Perfect my transitions, rock the swim (since thats the one part I hate the most), and push myself but not too crazy to where it hinders my training for Maine.

Rev3 Maine Half Iron:  Is a sub 5 hour Half too much to ask for?  I honestly dont know, but thats what I'm pushing for.  Let's break it down per discipline.
Swim: 40 minutes
Bike: 2 hours and 48 minutes (thats a 3 minute mile on the bike which I think is easily do-able)
Run: 91 minutes.  Thats just about a 7 minute mile which to me is extremely conservative knowing how flat the run course is.
Lets add about 5-6 minutes collectively for both transitions, and thats about 5 hours and 5 minutes.  I think I can shave a few minutes off the swim (1-2), 5 minutes off the bike, and I would love to do a sub 1:30:00 half marathon if possible.
  So with that I'm gunning for a sub 5 hour race.  Might be too much to take on, but thats what goals are for.

My second goal is to cross the finish line with Riley.  I just think its cool to do that.  So if I stop to pick up Riley about 100 yards from the finish line and I finish in 5 hours and 15 seconds or so, I count that as a win for both goals since I would be faster if I didnt have him.  But I'm willing to take a few seconds to have that moment with him.

Third goal is to have a blast in Maine for a week.  The family is going to be together for a week sharing a beach house for our first vacation as a family in a long time and I want to enjoy it. Plus it will be my birthday while we are there and even though I wont drink anything race week, I'll be celebrating the night after the race with some good ol' Main lobsters and beer.

I think I have some pretty realistic goals.  Some are if things go right and if I can push myself, but other than that, I want to have a successful, fun, injury free year.

What are your goals?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Some Riley updates

Since I want to bridge the gap with my training and fatherhood, I figured I would give an update on how the past 6 weeks have been with Riley.  I cant believe he's 6 weeks old.  I honestly cant believe how fast those weeks have gone by.  It seems like yesterday that we were in the hospital for HOURS waiting for him to be born.  And once he was born, the time has flown by.

Riley's 1 month birthday
The wife and I have been lucky.  Riley has to be one of the easiest babies out there (except for today where as I write this, he is being a little terror).  He hardly cries, he isn't fussy for the most part, and he is just so darn cute.  I dont know how we did it, but he is sleeping for about 4-5 hours at a time during the nights so the wife and I dont have to constantly be up to feed or change him.  We put him down to sleep around 10:30 and he will typically wake up around 3-4ish for his nighttime bottle.  He even gave us a Valentine's Day present of sleeping until 7 am.  The wife and I actually woke up more during the night because we were shocked he hasnt woken us up that day and wanted to make sure he was ok.

Some day he'll be proud to wear this Jets jersey
Riley has taken trips to both grandparents house, a Super Bowl party dressed out in his little jersey, he came Valentine's Day shopping with me for some of his mommy's favorite things, and has even come grocery shopping with us.  He's definitely not scared to go outside.

Riley has been a stud in his first few weeks on this earth.  He's had skype dates with some of our other friends little babies, he's been on i-chat, and even had a playdate with a friend.  All in all, he's had an active social life. 

I think the biggest problem has been all of our friends and family.  While its been great that everyone has been so supportive and wants to help us out, the problem is everyone wants to come over, like all the time.  Its so hard saying no to people who want to come over and see Riley.  We know the intentions are good and that he is the center of attention and we love that.  But there are oh so many hours in a day and oh so many hours that the wife and I have time to do things just us.  One weekend, people came over Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday evening.  Its a lot.  There is just no down time for the wife and I.  And how do we say no?  They arent coming to see us. Now combine that with me going out for a 3 hour run, or the wife finally being able to go to a spin class, and us having to do regular errands, and we are just spent. 

A few weeks ago, I had to implement a rule that we are only allowing visitors one day a weekend and if that schedule doesnt work for people then its on them, not us.  We just couldnt keep having people come every day and us not being able to do what we wanted or needed to do.  The only complication this caused was multiple people came over at one time, so they were all fighting over Riley.  If I thought raising a baby wasnt difficult, then having to choose who gets to hold Riley and play with him or feed him is down right impossible. 

The wife and I will gladly accept those problems then what some parents have to go through.  Riley is our little angel.  He is happy to play little brother to Thunder, who has become his big brother protector over the past few weeks. 
Thunder being a good watchdog while Riley sleeps

At this point, we have been looking to book a vacation around the Rev3 Half in August with the family.  My mom wants to take the family away for a family vacation since we havent done that in a few years, and the plans got changed last year when we told them we were pregnant.  My mom had these great New Year's plans all set up, but couldnt book the trip because of our due date.  Thinking about taking Riley into the ocean, playing with him in the sand is exciting.  Then to cap it off with a race, is the ultimate.

This post wouldnt be complete without a handful of pictures, so enjoy the first few weeks of Riley's life.  I look forward to posting more about my little guy.

Yes, he's very photogenic
Right after bath time

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How fast am I going?

I have a huge problem.  I have absolutely ZERO idea how to pace myself.  No idea.  None what so ever.  I try so hard to pace myself on all of my workouts, but I always end up going so much faster than I should be.  I need help. Serious help.

As I started my tempo run today, I said to myself, "lets start to nail race pace for Boston".  I wanted to hit splits of anywhere between 6:57 to7:02 per mile.  This wouldnt exactly be a tempo run, but I knew it would be a good workout and help me in the long run.  I want to be able to control myself in Boston so I can finish strong and hit my goal time.  But my problem is, I have no clue how to slow down. 

My first mile I tossed out because its mostly downhill and its always too fast.  But I hit the mile mark at 6:27.  Thats waaaay too fast but I'm fine with that.  So I deliberately slowed down the next mile and kept looking at my watch to make sure I was on pace, and yet my mile 2 split was 6:44.  At this point in my run, I'm really getting pissed off at myself.  The next few miles had some rolling hills so I knew it would be a great way for me to learn how to control myself on the downhills and slow down on the uphills.  Problem was, I CANT CONTROL MYSELF.  I actually did a great job on the downhills and I didnt go too fast, but it was the uphills that killed me.  I kept going too fast on the uphills.  Not fast where it would drain me during the course of this particular run, but if this was a long run or race, I would be struggling to finish and catch my breath. 

So after 7 miles I looked at my watch and it says that I averaged a 6:44 pace over the 7 miles.  Thats about 2 minutes faster than I wanted to do it in.  Multiply that out over the course of a marathon and it would be too fast. 

Let me say that the run felt amazing.  I wasnt tired at all and I felt like I could keep that pace for a while, but I just didnt want to continue that fast.  Thats my problem.  I typically do my long training runs at or around race pace anyway, so my 18-20 mile runs I would to be at like 7:05-7:10 per mile.  However even during those runs, I'm still clicking miles off at 6:50-6:55 pace. 

I guess instinctually, I just want to go fast. Call me Ricky Bobby for all I care.  "I want to go Fast" and "if you aint first, you last".  So even when I say I want to slow down and use my runs as a training tool I cant.  I hate looking at my Garmin and seeing a slow mile.  It bothers me so much when I upload my workouts to my computer to analyze them and see a few slower miles.  Its all mental I know, but I hate it.  It bothers me so much.

How is it that you pace yourself?  What tricks do you use?  I need serious help with this so any help you have is greatly appreciated.  It's not that I'm complaining about being fast since that would sound crazy.  I just want to learn how to effectively train at the paces I want instead of what feels good on that given day.  I know if I continue this way, I'll end up burning out so I want to protect from that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gear wish list

Now that I'm a father and have so many different expenses than I've had previously, I have to think about my purchases.  In the past, I just used to buy things I wanted, they would show up at my door and I would justify it to my wife.  She would always give me a look, but since I paid for it and not us, she ultimately always relented.  Now its a little different.  I dont think I have that luxury anymore.  I think every purchase I make now will have to have a valid reason.  So far, not liking this scenario.

Marathon season is so easy.  There is nothing to buy.  The biggest expense usually are gels and those are cheap.  I have so many clothes that I dont need more.  I cant wear 5 pairs of gloves at a time ( I have worn 2 at a time this winter though), I'm not wearing 4 sets of running tights, I have so many workout shirts I still have about 10 with tags still on them.  I have all my watches, gps, mp3 players, etc so I'm all set with buying things right now that I would need for my long runs.

There is one small thing I have my eye on though.  Now that I'm training for a marathon in the winter, Central Park in NY turns their water fountains off during the cold months.  In the summer, its great, I would stop at random water fountains and drink and just keep running.  Now I have to carry my water. I hate that.  I've used the Fuel Belts and the wrap around waste camelbak packs, but they never stay on right.  They always bounce up and down and end up around my nipples after like 15 steps.  Leo told me to use safety pins to keep them attached to my tights/shorts and thats works a little bit, but I'm still getting the bouncing.  After 15-20 miles of that, its just so annoying and uncomfortable.  Plus, the safety pins are so hard to put on and off and if I need to spin the pack around to get something, it takes so long.  So now, I'm looking at the Camelbak Classic pack or the Camelbak Hydropak.  I dont know if I'm a fan of the backpack style water packs, but its got to be better than what I'm using now.  Plus, its not super expensive so I think I can get this approved by the boss (aka the wife)

This doesnt work
So Let's try this

Once marathon season is over, then triathlon season begins and the wish list gets bigger and more expensive.  Everyone wants free speed so there are some options there: Aero Helmet, aero wheels, lighter gear.  I thought ahead last year and had people buy some of these things for me for my birthday and the holidays.  I figured I knew I couldnt buy them this year with Riley being born, so let's see if I can take advantage of those gift giving holidays.  So I was able to swing:

Giro Advantage 2

S Works Trivent- these are sweet

So now that I have those in hand, the next question is how do I get faster?  What can help me.  So my gear wish list includes the following Aero wheels:

Flo Aero Wheels

These wheels are sweet.  Flo Cycling has done an awesome job in its short infancy.  Normal race wheels are a couple thousand dollars.  While these wheels might not be Zipp's, Mavic's, HED's, they definitely are of extreme quality.  I can't find a bad review of these wheels.  Flo Cycling is producing high quality race wheels at a cheap price.  The wheel set is under $1000 combined for both the front and rear wheels.  What's also cool about the wheels is you can customize your color combo.  As you can see above, that wheel is black on black with a little orange sticker.  You can combine any colors you want.  The biggest seller is the black on black stealth look, which is pretty cool.  But since my bike has some orange in it, I think I want to add the hint of orange as well on the wheels.  Depending on what color your bike is, you can match the wheels to yuor bike, which is cool.  I mean, you gotta look good during those long rides.   Since these wheels are cheap, you can also use them as regular training wheels if you want.  I plan on switching between my regular stock wheels and these.  I'm looking at the Flo 60 for my front wheel and Flo 90 for my rear wheel.

These wheels are the biggest wish list item for me right now.

My other wish list includes:
Garmin Edge 500  

Most cyclist should have a bike computer.  I've always used my Garmin 310xt as mine but I think having a true bike computer will definitely help with my cycling.

And of course,  we all want to look good while racing.  I'm vain. I know it.  So its all about how I look during my races so we got to get some new Tri Suits.  Here are a few that I may pick up:

Pearl Izumi

Orca Core

De Soto Forza

I plan on racing the De Soto for the Rev3 Maine Half Iron, the Pearl Izumi for the KIC Triathlon, and not sure about the Orca yet, but I'm sure I'll find a race for it.   I have to match either my bike (Pearl Izumi) or my shoes (De Soto and the Orca) so each one of these suits fits that bill.

I'm sure there are more things that I want, but right now I have to try and convince the wife that I need all of these things above.  I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for these, and comments like "why do you need a new suit" or "why do you need another thing for your bike" to name a few, but I'm a guy, and guys like gadgets.  Triathletes like gadgets.  So in essence, I need these things "just because".  A few months ago, that was the only justification I need.  But now, I have to balance my gear wish list with diapers, wipes, formula, and other baby needs.  Things have definitely changed in such a short amount of time and now I have to decide which is more important.   Let's hope grandma and grandpa can spoil Riley so I can have some spare cash for my wishlist. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013


So you may have noticed the cute little pug in a tux on the right hand side of the blog.  Let me introduce Thunder.  Up until recently, he was my life.  He still is, but he now has to share the spotlight with Riley.

Our first day together.  
Thunder came into my life in 2005 when he was only 8 weeks old.  I have always loved pugs and always wanted one.  I was dating someone for 5 years and then we broke up.  So I moved out, went through the normal cycle that most people do, and 2 months later went to look at pugs to see if I wanted one.  I went to a breeder and she brought out 4 pug puppies.  3 girls and 1 boy.  The first girl ran right up to me, sniffed and ran away.  I knew she wasnt for me.  About a minute later, the male came up to me, jumped on my lap and wouldnt leave.  I knew for sure it was love at first sight for both of us.  I made a deal with the breeder that I would go home and come back the next morning and pick up the puppy.  Ever since then, we havent left each others side.

Thunder has been with me every step of the way since August 2005.  He has lived in 5 different apartments with me, seen a lot of things that I wont mention on this blog, and also met my wife with me.  She wasnt a fan of him at first since she didnt understand how I can love him as much as I did.  She kept complaining why I had all these pictures of me and Thunder up in my apartment.  Eventually, while babysitting for me one day while I was traveling, she came around. She fell in love with him.  I think it was when she was doing laundry and Thunder decided to get under the sheets while my wife (girlfriend at the time) was playing music and dancing. Thunder was dancing under the sheets, and my wife had a moment and suddenly fell in love with him.

How can you not love this face?
I have a very difficult time doing something big in my life without Thunder being around for it.  As you can see in the picture on the right, he was even dressed up in a tux at my wedding.  It was a moment I will never forget.  I'll be able to look at pictures and remember he was with me.  I have always wanted to cross a finish line of a race with Thunder, but never found a race that will allow it.  I guess this is where Riley wins.  He'll be crossing the finish line with me in Maine at the Rev3 Half.  I wish I could have them both, but unfortunately, Thunder wont be there.

Everyone in my family has fallen in love with Thunder.  Whenever he comes home with the wife and I,  I'm not sure who gets excited more, him or his grandpa.  My father is obsessed with Thunder and visa versa.  I know that whenever I bring him home, he'll be worn out for a few days after since he is always playing with grandpa.  In fact, Im not sure who grandpa loves more, Thunder or Riley?

We have our rituals.  Every year, we take Thunder to the Halloween Pug Walk in Bronxville, NY.  Basically imagine about 50 pugs all dressed up in costumes and get together for a play date.  The list of Thunder's costumes include a cowboy, a Men in Black pug, an elephant, mickey mouse, a fighter plane to name a few.
Mickey Mouse Thunder
Thunder-phant and the Devil
(not a good idea to call your wife the devil-just an fyi)

Thunder's birthday is celebrating probably more so than anyone else int he family.  He seems to make out with better gifts than everyone else every year.  Its not hard to shop for a dog, but we try to out do it every year.
Looks like its his birthday and he wants some cake.

Heeeere's the cake

Our holiday cards always include Thunder on them and everyone knows how important he is in my life.  Whenever I get home from work, he jumps off the couch and runs right up to me to wants to play.

And he's still the big brother
When we told our families that we were pregnant, it was actually Thunder who delivered the news.  Its not exciting if we say it, so why not let Thunder be the delivery man.

Recently he has been Riley's watchdog.  For those of you who know about pugs, they sleep.  A LOT.  They dont wake up for anything, except food.  Well now, when I wake up to do the 3am feedings for Riley, I find that Thunder is right there next to me jumping out of the bed and sitting right next to me in the middle of the night to make sure Riley is getting his nighttime bottle.  He sits in his room right next to his crib and stares to make sure everything is fine.  Thunder has taken a liking to his little brother

I'm sure everyone knows how great a pet is, and I dont want to overload this page with pictures of Thunder, but he has been such a huge part in my life that I cant leave him out.  I've tried to get him to go running with me but the longest distance he has ever done is about 3/4 of a mile so that doesnt really lead to a great workout partner.  Maybe I'll have to just throw a basket on my aero bars and he can strap right in so we can go biking together.  Either way, Thunder is a huge part of my life and I wanted to at least introduce him to everyone.  In fact, while I sit here at my desk, he is sitting right behind me in my desk chair, so I guess we coauthored this post together.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Should I be scared?

OK, I'm a little scared to write this post.  I dont want to jinx anything, but I need to get this off my chest and maybe get someone else's take. 

So here's my question to all:
  Should I be scared for what I'm about to write?

Obviously, I'm training for my first Boston Marathon in April.  I don't expect to PR and break 2:53:00 for the race which would be my PR, but I would definitely like to break 3 hours again.  My last marathon was the Harrisburg Marathon in November 2011 after NYC was cancelled.  So I ran Harrisburg the week later but actually didnt care about the race.  Halfway through the race, I ended up saying to myself, I am not enjoying the race.  Having trained for NYC and having that race be cancelled definitely threw off my schedule and desire to run a full marathon last fall.  Plus I knew that Boston was the main target so I just went out and ran the race.

I thought that having Riley would put a huge hindrance on my training.  I expected that and was fine with it.  But in actuality, it has been the opposite.  My training has been amazing.  It seems like every run I go on is a great run, feels great, I hit my splits (actually, Im faster than I want), and that everything is just clicking. 

I started noticing this a few weeks back when I was out for a tempo run and my splits were 10 seconds faster than I wanted them to be but I kept feeling great so I just went with it.  It really hit me this past weekend when I was on my 16 mile run.  I was trying to hit splits of 7:15-7:20 miles, but every mile I did was between 6:51-6:59.  And I wasnt tired one bit.  I easily could have pushed the distance another 3-4 miles at that pace, or even another 5-7 miles at a slower pace to get the distance up.  For those of you who know Central Park in NYC, Harlem Hill is a beast.  Its just something people dread on every run, and since there was no easy way to get 16 miles in, I did the park 3 times (its a 6 loop course).  So because of this, I had to do Harlem hill 3 different times.  I ended up doing it in different directions each time to change my run up a bit, but either way there isnt a fun way to hit that hill.  On my run, the hills felt great.  I even had to slow myself down since I noticed that I was going up the hills around a 6:30 pace.  And every time I do the hills now on any type of run, I'm charging up that hill and it feels great.  I've never been like this.  I usually feel it on that hill and need a little to recover afterwards.  But not now. Not over the past 2 months.  I'm flying through those hills, and flying through my runs.  In fact, the worst thing that has happened to me recently on a run was my hands got cold in the winter weather and my gloves werent heavy enough. 

But THATS IT.  I havent had a bad run in 2 months.  I havent had to push through a run because I was sluggish, or didnt feel it. In fact, even when Im forced inside, my treadmill runs have been great.  I havent had to slow down because I didnt have it.

So, should I be scared?  The optimist in me says dont be scared and realize that maybe Im in better shape than I have been recently.  That come Boston, Ill be great.  However, the pessimist in me says something this good cant last forever.  That at some point, my runs will be bad, my legs will get tired, Im pushing too much and that instead of peaking around Boston, maybe I'm peaking too early. 

I know its a good problem to have, but right now my main focus is Boston, and then I can start focusing on Triathlon season.  I want Boston to go well, and I want to cruise through the first 19 miles, hit Heartbreak Hill, then push it the last 6 miles to get under 3 hours. 

Whats the best way to look at this?  Is it good and that I'm just on a natural progression so enjoy the ride, or should I be worried and fear that something this good cant last.

 Has anyone had this problem before?  If so, how did you handle it