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Archive for November, 2011

Ironman Florida, Still Rising

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Ironman Florida has been run and won. I walked away with a smile on my face, a new personal best across the board, swim, bike, run and I hold onto a feeling that I am still rising. With 2 months till my 32nd birthday I am cautiously optimistic that I can win of these damn things as I am now entering the peak age for endurance racing. When I scan the results and look at the splits it is not out of the realm of possibility for me to take off 20-25minutes on that course in those conditions. I am more confident today than ever that I can split 4:25 and 2:38 in such conditions… The most important thing I will take away from this race was that I proved to myself that I could run well after riding 180kms, the confidence got a big boost by finally going under 2:50 for the marathon. To be 100% honest, assuming I could run without severe pain, if I hadn’t of had that bike/run I was going to have to take a long look in the mirror about the next couple of years and my racing plans as even with the obstacles I have overcome this year, I still should have run under 2:50 and I did just that!

As I wrote in my previous blogs I had been fighting a niggle in my knee and just 2 days before the race I nearly called my parents to tell them not to come because I honestly did not think I was going to be able to finish the marathon and my knee pain returned 3 days before the race. Consequently I arrived to the start line the most relaxed I have ever been. My plan was to swim hard, get onto the bike, and attack until I found the second pack, then relax and go as I felt.

It couldn’t have worked out better. I swam comfortably the first 1200ms and sat in the group I was with but as we turned towards the beach to finish our first lap the group slowed way way down so I moved out to the right and went to the front pulling us home and then had open water pretty much the rest of the swim. I felt absolutely fantastic coming out of the water and seeing that time on the clock. 56 and change. Boom!

The first 60km were pretty hard with lots of surging going on as the few riders I was with started catching people in front of us. As we turned into the wind just about half way our group slowed just like in the swim and I was afraid we were starting to lose time to the leaders so I went to the front pulling till the turn around where we got a glimpse of what was going on in the front. At the half way the guys started working well as we pushed on a bit. It was an honest pack with a marshal riding next to us the entire way, everyone was playing by the rules. I tried staying off the back to keep the effort steady but knowing that I am not super fit on the bike at the moment I really tried to ride with in myself and get my calories in.

As we made the turn back towards the beach we picked up the huge tail wind and this is where riding with the group cost us some time because I believe we didn’t take advantage of the wind, I think too many of us were thinking about the upcoming marathon. Would of should of could of, I was happy to come off the bike riding 6 mins faster than last year and was completely collected! I need to thank John Cobb for his amazing saddle and for fitting me just 2 weeks ago as I believe I had my break through run because of the way I am now sitting on the bike. Look for John’s soon to be released video’s on bike fits so you too can get set up like a triathlete should be!!

Coming out of T2 I attacked the run immediately as I didn’t’ know how my knee was going to hold up and over the past few weeks it didn’t hurt while running fast, it was the easy running that bothered it. I opted to wear a watch this time and I was glad as my first mile was 5:40, second 5:50, and then settled into 5:55-6:00 for the next 10km or so. I felt amazing and no doubt the perfect temperature helped with that!! At about 20kms it started to get harder and I could sense my pace was slowing a bit but coming through the half marathon splitting 1:19 a small smile came over my face and the monkey on my back was starting to slip off… I hung tough till mile 15 but had to stop to pee, I had been holding it in for about 2 hours. I was also starting to feel sick. So I stopped and walked the next 2 aid stations taking in drink and collecting myself. That 3rd 10kms was tough, real tough but I moved along. At this point I knew I was in 8th or 9th place but had no idea how far back 6th was (the last paying place)…I put my head down and went as hard as I could the last 8kms. The lack of running I had done over the past few weeks started to take a toll as I had the sledge hammer hitting my quads feeling that is all too familiar in a marathon. But I didn’t care because I knew I was flirting with a sub 8:30 time. Coming towards the finish I had sense of relief that came over me, I finally shook the monkey off and I could physically feel it! I was running on air that last mile. As I came down the finishing shoot I was so happy to see my parents smiling faces for the first time all day and was glad I didn’t make that phone call a few days earlier!

I was relieved to have escaped with no knee pain and it was the best I have felt post race. After changing my clothes we headed straight to the pub where my old man and I shared a beer and I ate a fantastic burger!

I am now mid drive home to New Jersey as I was able to bum a ride with some of the folks from my local club, The Sandyhookers. With a healthy body and a mind full of motivation I am now mapping out the next few months but I am faced with the reality that many Professional Triathletes face,… how far will my money take me?? It’s unfortunate that despite having the best race of my life, finishing 8th place, and going under 8:30 I walked away with $0 in prize money. Maybe I will write a blog about this topic as it is a complete embarrassment for our sport. But what do you do? Do you walk away and say poor me?? What if the 3rd place finisher Justin Daar had of walked a few years ago when he was making a steady rise up the ranks?? He never would have found out that he had an 8:18 Ironman in him…

Its been an expensive fall for me with too much traveling and not enough winning and I have some medical bills that must be paid from my operation, so I am going to pass on going to Ironman Cozumel as even though I had a great day on Saturday Brett and I don’t think I am fit enough to back this race up with another one in 3 weeks. Instead we think it would be better to use that money and go to camp with some of the others that are headed to the Gran Canaria Islands. I wonder if the lad that makes it to the quarter finals at Wimbledon has to worry about being able to afford the trip to his next training camp or tournament???

But, having said that I have to thank each athlete that I coach because without them I would not have been able to continue to train full time this year and I want you to know that you were all on my mind in those middle miles of the marathon. Thank you for your business and it’s an honor to coach each of you. And big congrats to you Eric Chet for just missing sub 10hours but running a 30minute P.B. for the marathon, yep there was no walking from him on Saturday. Eric is signed on for another year as we try and get him that coveted Kona slot. It was great sharing some beers with you as we cheered on the final finishers.

As always thank you reading!
SD

Races, Wedding, and Camp Marsh Part II

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

So if you read Part I and hoping to read about all things big in TX…carry on! After the disappointment of my last race at Rev 3 Anderson I was very anxious to get to Austin to begin a big push to Ironman FL! Brandon and I had planned a few easy days to recover from the race but that went out the window since I only made it to 20km of the bike…I had a great first week there and was starting to build a nice block of training.

Brandon took me to all the local joints, the famous Whole Foods, the road side trailer restaurants, Barton Springs, Austin Tri Cyclist (Big thanks to George for building my bike with new Campy Groupset), Mellow Johnie’s, a side note to that, we even got to swim with Mr. Juan Pelota himself. And let me tell you, dude can swim!!!

At the end of the first week we had planned to go see our saddle sponsor, Mr. John Cobb of Cobb Cycling. But first we ventured out to one of the more famous bars in Austin, The Broken Spoke. Now, even though I grew up in New Jersey, I have not lived a shelter life, I have been blessed with the opportunity to see much of the world, and before that I saw much of the country. I have stepped foot in every state of the southern U.S. and while in college at The University of Tennessee I had a few nights in some of the country bars. But the Broken Spoke is on a whole other level!!

At a country bar in TN you are guaranteed 3 things…There will be a mechanical bull, there will be line dancing, and you will see at least 2 fights…The best way to put it is that the country bars in TN are like a scene from the famous movie, “Road House” The Broken Spoke was a bit different, there was a live honky tonk country band, (which I might add is Brandon’s favorite kind of music), the crowd’s ages ranged from 5-85 , and there was line dancing, lots of line dancing! It really was a great time, here are some photos from the night…

Look at that happy couple


Best Dancer in the joint!


The Derailers + Owner of Broken Spoken

The next day Brandon and I were doing a long run along Lake Austin and if you have ever been there you will know about the section where dogs are allowed to run free with no leashes. GREAT IDEA! Just kidding…so here we are running along when a little mut comes running out of the water and straight into Brandon’s leg. It happened so fast I stopped suddenly, jamming my leg. At first I didn’t really notice anything but towards the end of my run my left knee started to hurt. I didn’t think much of it as it didn’t seem to hurt too much after the run.

That afternoon we made the journey to Tyler, TX to see John. I wasn’t planning on having John do much with my position but what I needed help with was the saddle sore that had developed and was growing by the day. After some discussion and John tinkering with my position I am happy to report that my sore is gone and he seems to have helped me open my hips, which we think is part of what has caused me to feel so terrible running off the bike. Time will tell, we’ll see how the legs and hips feel tomorrow when I step off the bike in Ironman FL. Big thanks to John, his staff, and wife for having us visit Tyler and the ranch!!

Secret Pool in Tyler

Just before returning back to Austin, Brandon and I went to the track todo a long set of intervals. My knee hadn’t really been bothering so I gave the workout a go. About mid way through the knee pain became pretty bad, I just about completed the session but ever since I have been struggling to keep the pain at bay and have been forced to miss a few key sessions on the bike and run. So here I sit just about 12 hours from the start of my first Ironman since June and I don’t know how the body will handle the distance. I pretty much have the pain under control and have even been able to ride 4.5 hours and run 1.5 hours this past week but I won’t know for sure until I put race pressure on the leg for a few hours…After Saturday I plan to return home to NJ. I haven’t been home in 6 weeks and a few weeks ago my Grandfather suffered a stroke. I am very close with him and it was tough not being there for him so I have decided to make the journey home with some of the folks from local club back home, The Sandyhookers. I am registered for Ironman Cozumel as well so I am hoping my knee comes out of Saturday o.k. and I will be able to get in a few weeks of work before heading to Mexico for the last race of the Northern Hemisphere’s season…I am confident enough that with my go fast position and my new go fast wheels from our new sponsor, Campganolo, I should come off the bike in position to make some moves on the run…Fingers crossed! Thanks for reading!!

SD

Races, Wedding, and Camp Marsh part 1

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Wow its been a while since my last blog!!! And its been hectic to say the least, maybe too hectic?? In summary I returned home from Swiss camp, won my first race back (which was a 1st), then flatted out of my next 2 races…Yep pretty stupid!! Syracuse 70.3 was totally my fault as I was so cold out of the water I left my CO2 in T1, but flatting out of Rev 3 South Carolina I had all necessary tools but the front tire was too shredded for repair, thus forcing me out for the second race in a row. Up till this point I had not gotten a flat in any race and rarely do I flat in training, funny enough I got 2 flats while training in TX…I digress…

So, in between races I ventured out to CA for one of my best friends wedding, Scott Jones…Oh there is a funny little story here as well…Morning of the big day us lads are getting dressed in the grooms suite when Scott’s little brother Matt looks at one of the suits and says, “Oh cool your suit is a darker grey than mine??” Uhhhh, no it’s not…”Oh sh#t!!!!!!!!” Guess what? I got the wrong suit….Now before you go thinking what an idiot I am for ordering the wrong suit….I pressed click and pay on the link I was sent from our good man Scott Jones (the groom) so either somehow I did in fact screw that process up, Scott sent the wrong link or Macy’s sent the wrong color suit…It was a pretty stressful few moments but I was like, “listen man I don’t need to be in the wedding, its cool I’ll just bow out” But our other good friend Chase is like, “Dude I’ll just photo shop the pictures, it’ll be all good!” Scott insisted no matter I was in the wedding!!

So while I hopped in the shower, the boys got on the horn and tracked down a suit. After quickly drying off, Chase and I hopped in the car, he in his light grey suit, me in my dark grey suit, (which fit me perfectly by the way)…We raced to the Macy’s we were greeted by the nice sales woman we spoke to on the phone. She had the suit waiting for me, but the big question was whether or not it would fit. Well…the pants fit. The Taylor met with us and didn’t think there was enough time to make the necessary adjustments so I just went with it…The jacket was a bit big but not too bad…So now I got 2 new cool Tommy Hilfiger suits to wear:)

Off to the wedding we went…oh wait no first we had to take photos. Yeah so the bride and groom (Ria and Scott) decided they wanted to take photos before the ceremony. So Chase and I raced back to the hotel just in time to catch our Limo to the beach, which was fully stocked with Beer and Champagne, boy did I need a drink!!!

We all had a blast taking photos along the gorgeous Pacific Ocean while we sipped our drinks and shared in laughter what was to be one of the most memorable nights of our lives!!! Boy oh boy did the night not disappoint, just before the ceremony the six groomsmen stood behind the scenes where we did our what is becoming customary, shot of Jamison Whiskey, before sending our mate down the aisle. It truly was yet another special moment that will not be forgotten anytime soon by any of us…The only thing that would have made this moment completely over the top would have been if we could have convinced the good Irish Priest to join in the shot…I really thought we had him convinced there for a moment…

What A Good Looking Groom


Never have I been to a wedding where pretty much the entire guest list was on the dance floor from the moment they finished their last bite of dinner until the last drip of alcohol was drunk. It was for lack of a better term, “A sh#t show”!!

Sh#t Show!!!


I did manage to get in some good training while out in CA especially in the days after the wedding but was really looking forward to heading to Austin to get in some solid work with Brandon before finally heading back to Panama City Beach, FL where I once again am spending a Halloween relaxing, pondering the upcoming IM Florida.

Check back in a few days for my report on training in Austin with the Marsh’s and how I am feeling coming into my first Ironman since June. Here’s a little teaser photo for your viewing pleasure…

Yes Everything Really Is Bigger In Texas