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Coming Out Of The Fog

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Been a little while since I have checked in so here it goes….If you have been following my race results you can most likely see that I am not the same athlete I was just 6 months ago…I have been struggling quite a bit since early March but sometimes you don’t realize how deep a hole you have dug until you start to climb out of it. Some recent blood work revealed that my testosterone levels are low and not just a little low but really low! After my last race at Wildlower, where I was a complete embarrassment, I made the decision to shut it down and try to bring my levels up naturally through rest, diet, and light exercise. I am now 2.5 weeks into my rest and can feel myself coming back to life. Each day that I get out of bed I have more and more energy and the weights that I felt like I have been lugging around my ankles continue to get lighter.

If I truly look back I think I have resembled more of a zombie over the past few months then a human being and it feels great to finally have some feeling inside of me again! I would have thought that the one person that might have noticed how run down I had become would have been Carrie but funny enough I think her parents were the ones that noticed the most just how exhausted I was….They were always telling me how tired I looked….

It’s a difficult decision to back off training because the paranoid athlete inside of you just wants to keep training for fear of losing all the fitness you have built…but the logical athlete recognizes that the training is only making things worse! Its especially hard to fill your day when you are used to being outdoors doing what you love to do!

At the moment we are back in the “Beach House” where Carrie is training away getting ready for some races. The small beach community of Normandy Beach is still very much a disaster area with homes toppled over from last fall’s Hurricane Sandy..But everyday we see progress and more faces return to the community. One plus is the night time is now very very quiet with not much traffic so we can hear the sound of the waves crashing along the beach, which are usually drown out by passing cars…I look forward to getting back to training on the now being repaired roads that have helped shape my love for running and riding!

Just 2 Blocks away what used to be Camp Osbourne

Homes untouched 6 months since the storm

Since I am resting I thought it would be a good time to get my overall health sorted out as when you spend 9 + months of the year on the road you tend to neglect some things! First up was a visit to see Dr. Gerado Goldberger of Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. We decided it was the perfect time to get the plate removed from my collar bone that I broke nearly 2 years ago. So Monday morning I once again went under the knife. I was in and out in less then 4 hours and by noon standing on the pool deck playing coach for Carrie as she whacked out one of Doc’s favorite swim sets. I am happy to have this plate out and can now ride freely without worrying about further damage from a crash on the shoulder again.

The Removed Hard Wear

I have also gotten my heart checked out, my skin looked at, and final piece of the puzzle is to get my teeth fixed as the constant consumption of sports drink + coffee + wine has damaged them….Good thing we have a new sponsor in Ignite Naturals who make an electrolyte drink without the sugar that eats away your teeth!

The good news is, I don’t have skin cancer, just need a mole removed, my ticker seems to be in good shape, and my motivation to train and race is returning. I hope to be back in the water in a week and can even start to ride and run in the next day or so…I will have another round of blood work done to make sure my T levels have come up before I can resume a normal training load…but if all goes well I hope to be back to my “animal” self by mid July!!!!

As always thanks for reading and following my journey!!!

Ironman New Zealand: When a race becomes a training day…

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Ugh!!! Just when you think you have it figured out, you go and muck it up! Coming into last weeks Ironman NZ my confidence was at an all time high, my past several races have all gone well, I had spent the month of January in the mountains training my ring off, and finally I felt I was armed with a swim leg that would put me within a reasonable distance of the leaders.

I’ll save much of the details other then saying I did in fact come out of the water in a personal best time, all be it the swim leg was a good 2 mins quicker then normal but the level of swimmers in my pack would have put 3 minutes into me 12 months ago… While I was happy to see this I also new there were a few lads up the road who’s feet I did not get on which included the legendary Cam Brown. But I was happy to be with former team TBB athlete Keegan Williams and fellow Kiwi Simon Cochrine. We managed to work well through much of the first lap and I felt very comfortable through 110kms when the old feeling of, what happened to the power I had 10mins ago began to hit me.

I have a hunch about what went wrong but frankly it doesn’t really matter. Is it possible that my own expectations of the day were starting to wear heavy on mind? Maybe? Did I in possibly consume too much food? Maybe? But regardless I failed to do my job which was to come home with a paycheck. Over the past several years it has taken me a few races to get my season going and maybe that’s just me, I have to have a crack a few times to shake the cob webs…It was the same when I was a cross country and track and field runner but I was sure that I could come out flying this early in the year…I should have payed more attention to Doc when he said, “go to Taupo for training and if you come home with a check, even better!”

Oh well… I will have to chalk it up to a long training day as that was the choice I made when the wheels came off. Once I came off the bike I went for it for about 3kms but the energy wasn’t there and I was too sick to eat or drink so slowed just like I did on the bike. My experience has taught me that if I went the whole distance I would gain more strength from the run and hopefully be on fire in a few weeks time provided I went slow enough..so that is what I did, I shuffled the remaining 38kms…If the prize purse had of been a bit deeper I would have pushed my body a bit further but when it only pays top 6 and you are too far back even in 8th it is sometimes smarter to swallow the pride and back off.

It took about the first half of the run for my body to start processing everything I took in on the ride and I actually felt better the final 21kms then I did the first 21kms which is further proof that I am in form. The soreness in the legs only lasted a day as well so I was able to get back to training just 3 days after the race… I will have another start at Ironman Melbourne on the 24th of March.

Despite the sh#t race I can take a few positives away from the day and Carrie and I had a wonderful time with our host family who were incredibly nice, as are most New Zealanders! We loved sharing meals on their back deck while enjoying some drinks and sharing a few laughs, as well as listening to the banter of their 2 little boys Jonny and Tom. So thanks to the Weston’s for saving the weekend for us! I will for sure consider coming back next year! Taupo is a gorgeous place to race and the volunteers were some of the nicest I have ever come across so thanks to them for making our racing experience a pleasure from that aspect!

For now its a few weeks of hard work as we prep for the next go round where I will seek out another opportunity to do my job and earn a bit of cash……Till next time and thanks for reading!


Reaching The Summit: Ironman FL

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

November 3rd, 2012 I reached the summit of my expedition…For anyone that has been following my story the past 3 1/2 years you may recall that I have been comparing my journey up the ladder of the Professional Triathlon world as my own climb up Mt. Everest. The goal was always to get me on top of the podium at an Ironman and I am happy to say that after a long climb up the mountain, I finally got to see what the view from the top that I have been dreaming of the past 4 years of my life looked like…No, I did not win but it felt just as good as a victory and for me it was just that, a huge victory! I took a leap 4 years ago when I left the family business, left my home, and set sail. My family didn’t always believe but of course they were supportive and I know behind my back they were asking each other….what is he doing? Even the night before the race after the break out year I have had my sister said to me at dinner,,,”Eventually you are going to have to start your life” Still didn’t get it, start my life? I am living my life, haven’t you been paying attention to my progress? Sissy, when you give up on your dream, you might as well be dead because that is when you stop living….

I don’t like to write much about race details I don’t really think people find it that interesting however considering the blazing fast times and the emails I have received about how I road as fast I did, I feel race details are important for this blog…

But I first much address the week leading up to the race and the emotional roller coaster ride I was on while in between my final training sessions I was glued to the TV as I watched my hometown get destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. As the race got closer and closer so did the anxiety build, is our house ok? Are my family going to make it down here? Where will our neighbors go? How will we rebuild?

Come Friday night my parents, sister, and nephew arrived and it was great having them here with Carrie and I but I didn’t let onto anyone just how torn up I was because I didn’t want them to think they wasted a trip coming down and I was about to pull out of the race. I am an emotional person just like my mom and I could see it in her eyes just how bad she was hurting but I had to look away or I too was going to lose it.

By bed time Friday night I couldn’t lay still, what’s the point of what I do? Why race? I want to quit, move home, and dedicate the next 2 years to the clean up as that is how long it’s gonna take.. I tossed and turned all night convincing myself to just go with it, just go to the transition, get your bike ready, and if you put your wetsuit on and can’t go then don’t get in…They will understand…How can I hurt in the race? I am hurting so badly, my heart is broken, I just can’t muster the energy….That was what was going on in my head between the hours of 11 pm and 4:15 am.

Then, the alarm clock went off, I opened my eyes, and I could hear one of best friends voice, who called me the day before and said, “Scottie we need hope, we need something to make us smile, go win that race!” I didn’t even hesitate, I popped out of bed quicker than I have in the last 2 months. Game on….the thought of pulling out never entered my mind again…that is until 40mins into the bike when my legs were screaming to stop:) But more on this later….

So we got under way, I hugged the Mrs Animal, which actually made the next days paper, our photo embracing each other before the start….And off we went. This is the 4th time I have done this race, some years it is choppy than others and this year was one of those days. Some pretty good swells out there which made for fun coming in actually. I wasn’t quite sure how the swim was going but I did have a ton of guys around me on the first lap but our group split up greatly on the second lap as started to overtake the age groupers that went off behind us…

Into T1 I raced, didn’t hesitate like I used to because I knew the guys that came out near me would be on the rivet immediately…Sure enough first 40mins we were flying, a pack was already forming, from my perspective it was clean racing as we had big tail wind once we made the turn away from the beach and guys were keeping the legal distance. A few guys from behind who had slower swims made the jump to our group and 1 or 2 were able to go straight to the front and take over driving. I was playing the game I was racing, and keep more than legal distance as I knew a penalty would mean game over with this train that was forming, and we already had 2 draft marshals with us….

Now like I said I have raced here 4 times now, spent time training here, been here the past 4 weeks, and I have watched the race twice before. I was here the year Tom Evans nearly broke the world record and we had similar winds on Saturday that Tom had that year. I have made it around this course in 5 hours on easy training rides when the winds blow like they did on Sat. You see, the way the course is set up when the wind blows from the West/North West, like it did on Sat, you pretty much have a tail wind for the first 90kms, then when you turn around you have a head wind but just for 8km give or take and when you turn onto Hwy 20 at 110km or so you are protected by the dense forest so the wind isn’t quite as bad. We did slow but not tremendously and psychologically knowing the course, knowing that it was only 40km of a head wind till we turned towards the tail wind again, I had mental advantage to keep pace with the boys up front.

By 120km we had caught everyone but Andrew who was off the front. At this point the huge pack that formed started to lose guys off the back, and several times I was dropped, and dropped I mean several hundred meters off the back of the pack, but each time I was making deals with myself to keep hammering, on my limit, in my biggest gear trying to get closer to the pack. With each gap I closed, my confidence began to grow more and more. I was doing, I was riding like I have done so many times in training, but most importantly I was racing…

With about 20kms to go once again 2 lads in front of me blew up and I found myself gaped again but this time I couldn’t respond, I feel asleep at the wheel, I started thinking about the run, and let off the throttle. I was close enough to the front and confident enough to know I could run most down. I literally sat up and waved good bye. I let my heart drop, took a few minutes to eat, and drink then pulled the boys back home…Honestly I did not realize how far up Andrew was, because I didn’t see him on the out and back I thought he dropped out. Not until 8km of the run did I know he was the leader.

Just before transition there was the family standing outside our building yelling and my sis did her job, “Scottie Boy, you are 3mins behind the pack” she yelled. Good girl, just want i needed to hear. I lost 3mins in the last 20kms…

Out of T2 I took off, holding back but first mile 5:50, 2nd mile 5:50, “shit slow down, its hot,” I thought…By 10km I was already in 3rd and ran scared as the boys responded to my pass, they did not lay down! I had a pretty bad patch by around 15kms and even said to my mountain bike rider, “Shit, I am cracking” but over the past 12 months I have learned how to handle these sensations so I applied what I have learned and it started to work. By half way through the run there were folks, my sissy yelling, “Scottie you are the real deal now, you can win!” Tears even started coming out of my eyes but I knew it hadn’t even started yet, 30kms is when the race starts…I was through 21kms in 1:20ish and turned with the wind and the heat was really coming on now…At 30kms I was slowing but I knew my podium as secure, I didn’t think I could muster the win, the last 3kms I was happy with 3rd, I wasn’t pulling Jahn back fast enough, maybe if the run was 50km I could get him but I started to enjoy, by the last mile I was smiling, and embracing the view as I was on top of the mountain, and boy did it look good!!!

Coming down the finish shoot was simply amazing and something I will never forget, and having my family there made it even more special! Good on Andrew for such an amazing race, he deserved the win, but I can’t help but think, what if, I covered that last move?? Could I have won? I think so but it doesn’t matter, this was a victory. 8:09:33, WOW!! Who knows, I might not ever go any faster, I think I can, especially if I can get that swim going, but it doesn’t matter, I lived my dream, I accomplished the goal!! We might not ever see a bike ride like that again, the wind doesn’t always blow like it did on Sat. But that doesn’t matter either as racing is racing and that’s what I did out there…

Was there something special caring me along out there? Maybe? Was it my friends and neighbors back home? Maybe? I’ll never know, but that race was for them! They gave me that extra boost I needed to get up that last step! I can’t really describe to someone who did not spend their childhood summers along the Jersey Shore just how special of a place it is…This place shaped me as a person, my friends are from there, the most amazing neighbors reside there, a bond and new memories are formed every year up and down the island from Memorial Day to Labor Day….I know it can’t fix the damage but I hope that just for the afternoon I did in fact make some people smile and quite possibly gave them a little bit of hope…The Jersey Shore will be back, no doubt, and I’ll go back there one day, run up and down the hwy that created my passion for running, and I’ll be smiling just as brightly as I did Saturday when I crossed that finish line!!!

Thank you for following the past few years, its been quite a journey, and one that would never have been possible without Alex Bok, Brett Sutton, and every single one of my teammates that have come and gone since Feb. 2009. And a huge thank you to all my athletes that I have coached the last 2 years, your business helped fund this journey, and without it I never would have made it! Stay tuned as the journey isn’t over just yet, one more step is possible, I believe victory is within reach now more than ever!!!

Ironman Swiss: Breaking Through

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

For the past 3 years I have been repeating the same run sessions over and over and over with the goal of running under 2:45 for the marathon in an Ironman….Out of all those sessions, there is one that sticks out like a sore thumb…On New Year’s Day of this year, I walked out to the local high school track along the Jersey Shore on a cold and windy morning…After 25km of running I walked away with a big smile on my face, there was know else out there, just me and old man winter…But I knew that run marked the start of what was going to be my break through year or else retirement would most likely be the decision at seasons end…

After a complete meltdown at Ironman TX just 7 weeks ago, I have been hunkered down here in Leysin, with sights set on nailing the marathon…I will be completely honest, my instructions were to swim easy, ride easy, and run like an ‘animal’…Well, I swam easy but this is because I missed the 2nd pack so cruised along with the group I was with…But onto the bike, I rode controlled at first but when some of the slower swimmers came by me, I pushed on to go with them as it is a race after all…. but I simply did not have the power I was hoping to have. When the rain and winds came after 50km things got even harder and by 120kms I was fully blown, cold, and wet, craving calories. At this point I was alone and had been for well over an hour. The thought of stopping was ever so present but I knew this decision would be the fall off the mountain that would end this journey I have been on…So I fought back, just like Doc has been telling me to do….”take your hits, get knocked down, and get up”
Finally with 30km to go and out of the hills, I came upon on an aid station where I filled up with drink and gels…With 10km I was feeling better but when a back of age groupers came by on the final little climb in town I struggled to hang on…None the less, I kept fighting, I had no other choice…

Coming into T2 I turned my brain off, I had no idea what place I was in, what my time was, nothing…earlier in the week I got a message from brother and which read, “Don’t think, just run”…I kept repeating this in my mind as I ran out of transition. Staggering yes but I was a desperate man, it was run or else…I was happy that I found my rhythm after a few kms…. And by 3km I spotted Brett and Alex, he was calm at first but quickly turned into the angry fat man we all know and love…He was screaming by the time I ran past him! I don’t quite recall what he was saying, it was encouraging but stern…By 8km I was flying and feeling strong by this point. I had started on the coke and was forcing gels down as I knew I was depleted and if I ignored the calories I would fizzle at 25km…

The kms were ticking by through 15km. I reached 21km in 1 hour 18mins give or take and ran past Carrie thinking, “I am starting to crack!”, it was getting hard but she didn’t offer a cuddle on the side of the road, no sir, it was, “MOVE YOUR GOD DAMN ASS, THEY ARE CRUMBLING IN FRONT OF YOU!!!” At 25km there was brett once again, “If you keep this up you will run into the top 5, DO NOT GIVE UP, DO NOT LET YOURSELF DOWN, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME???”…this was the first time all day I had any idea what place I was in…I was making deals with myself, “just make it to 30km, just make to 30km…Well, 30km arrived, and I was in 5th place, this time around the message was, “keep it together!” I was slowing but still charging as I thought maybe just maybe I would catch Sergio Marquis in 4th, but at 38km I knew 5th was the best I could do…

Crossing the finish line was a moment I will never ever forget, I didn’t finish first out there but it was victory non the less, as I took a giant leap up the mountain 5th place and a 2:43:50 marathon…With just 2 steps to go I have new found motivation and confidence that I will indeed reach the summit…

I have little doubt it is possible to one day run under 2:40 for the marathon but first I must turn my attention to getting stronger on the bike as well as executing the swim portion of the race properly as maybe if I would have been a bit smarter out there, I might have nabbed a few places in front me…

A big congrats to Mattihias on his 3rd place showing, we know that wasn’t what you were hoping for but keeping fighting my man!! I look forward to training alongside you for a long time to come!! And a big big thank you to all those that were out there supporting us in what was not the most pleasant weather…Even though I am American, Zurich felt like home with so many people coming out to see us race…Brett, Alex, Fiona and the girls, Celine, Rachael (up the) and her family, Reto, Nicole, the guys from On Running, and of course Carrie…A magical day for me yet much harder than maybe it appeared…

As always, thank you for reading! But one last thank you to the man that trains us, Brett gave me a shot 3 years ago, he believed in me maybe more than I believed in myself..Thanks Doc! The journey continues….2:40 or bust….

Race Season

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Last weekend marked the start of my 2012 race season even though I raced Challenge Wanaka back in January I felt as if that was the end of my 2011 as from NZ I went straight to camp where I spent 3 hard months of training in Australia!

So Saturday’s race at Wildflower was a good opportunity to shake the cob webs as well as get in 1 last big effort before my upcoming Ironman TX on the 19th of May… I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was terribly disappointed to finish 11th and just 1 spot out of the money but as usual Doc was right as he told me before hand that I wasn’t going to make any cash that this was about getting in a hard effort but as I crept my way through the field all day, receiving reports that I was as high as 7th, to finish and find out I came 11th, left me gutted for a few hours!

But all in all it was a fantastic weekend, as the organizers did an incredible job with this event! The way they looked out for all the athletes, not just the pros was such a great sight to see! I sometimes rang on racing in the states because at some events the atmosphere can pail in comparison to over seas but this was not the case here, far from it! I highly recommend the Wildflower experience!

I won’t bore you with the details of how my race went, I will simply state I had my best swim over this distance, rode strong on the flats and uphills, and fought like hell on the run! A bit of a tough course for the “little man” but perfect preparation for Ironman TX! I will admit that I did underestimate the course as well but would embrace the opportunity to go back next year as these types of course make you hard!!

I’m now back on the Jersey Shore with James in tow…My original plan was to stay out in CA until the Ironman TX but James loves the Jersey Shore soooo much that he insisted we base here for the next few weeks while I do some final prep work for TX and he continues to race himself back into shape!

Check back in a few weeks to see if I can take another chunk of time off my marathon time!!!
Thanks for reading!


Training Camp: Gran Canaria

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Ahhh… another training camp has come to an end and I happy to say another level, maybe even 2 levels of fitness have been jumped! After coming off a new personal best at Ironman Florida , “The Doc” and I decided I would best be served going to camp in Gran Canaria for a month where he would be with the Swiss delegation he oversees. After bumming a ride home from Florida with some of the members of my local club, The Sandyhookers, it was a quick turn around but time was of an essence as the quicker I could get into camp, the quicker we could start building me up for my next race which looks to be Challenge Wanaka on January 22nd. So I sprung for the plane ticket as I knew it would be a wise investment towards my future not only as a professional athlete but also as a coach…

This camp was a bit more intimate than any of the other camps I have been to because it was just Brett, The Swiss Athletes, Stephen, Bella, and their new baby boy Charlie…Oh and Dan for 2 weeks. I must say that going to this camp was the best decision I have made all year as it gave me a chance to get some quality time with Brett from athletic standpoint as well some great mentoring as he continues to guide me towards my future as a performance triathlon coach. It was also good fun training with the Swiss Athletes as it gave me a chance to mix up the training with some shorter fun stuff. I will let me races in 2012 do the talking but I believe I am finding a new level of fitness on the swim/bike and just as Doc promised me 2 ½ years ago, my old run form is finally returning!

As you may have read in Doc’s latest “Looking For Clues” article, Gran Canaria is an ideal location for triathletes to train with perfect weather, great swimming pools, fantastic run routes, and some incredibly challenging mountains to ride in! I always go on about how much I love training in Leysin and I do really love it however, Gran Canaria is right up there. Plus there is lots to do in the hours in between training sessions which makes for a nice mental break from time to time…

Most days began at 7:30 with either a run or ride to the pool. As you can imagine much of the rest of the days were filled with us completing the days training with the occasional nap or rest by the pool under the warm Spanish sun. Every once in awhile we had the afternoon off which allowed us to go to the beach or go do touristy stuff like most Europeans that means, sitting in the sun at a café drinking coffee and sharing a cake, which is followed up with a nice walk and maybe some shopping.

In the evenings we would eat at the restaurant inside our resort, sometimes go for Chinese, or cook a steak in our bungalows, then share the meal on the patio which was always complimented with a nice bottle of Spanish wine. After burning my steak the first time, Manu took over the grilling duties as he loves to make the steak! I do the marinade, he does the grilling to perfection! A few nights we had the pleasure of having Brett sit and chat with us telling us some great old stories and opening our minds to what the human body is capable of! These are the nights I will never forget as they are now stored in the memory bank! Sometimes you sit and listen to Brett talk and you can’t help but think how lucky each of us are to have this man helping us along as we pursue our dreams! Quite frankly it is an honor to be coached by him not only on the playing field but also in the game of life!

So lets see some of our followers and online coached athletes make the trip to train with us in 2012 as you strive to achieve the goals you have set forth for yourselves!!!

As for me I am home at The Jersey Shore for a few short weeks during the Christmas Break. I will do my best to maintain the fitness I have gained before heading off to New Zealand where I will be meeting up with former Team TBB Athlete Keegan Williams. I am really looking forward to banging out some miles with Keegan as well as visiting with his wife Tracy and new baby girl! It will also be a trip of a lifetime for me as I have heard so many wonderful things about NZ, in fact when I told one of my best friends, Mike, that I was going to NZ, he emphatically replied, “Dude….you might not come back”

A huge thanks to Brett for inviting me to this camp! And to the Swiss, thank you for your friendship as it was good fun training and hanging with you all!! And to Stephen I really enjoyed THE LONG RUNS and rides with you this camp, I think we got in some great work together!!!

Below are some photos from the trip..

Out for sunset cruise

Stephen with our new assistant coach (His son Charlie)

Duna Golf's Pool

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!

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!!


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

Overcoming Adversity

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

It’s pretty ironic that before I left for training camp this summer my sister gave me the book, “The Adversity Advantage”, She said it’s all about suffering and embracing life’s obstacles, you will love it she said. So, as I departed for Leysin back in May I began reading it. Little did I know that a few weeks later I would be faced with an unexpected adversity that would send my season into a tailspin and force me to completely reshape how I would have to approach the months ahead.

Just over 2 weeks ago I suffered the worst crash of my career while out on a training ride. Going some 40mph down our mountain road in Leysin my wheel failed on me, slicing my tire and tube, sending me flying over the handle bars. With no time to react my left shoulder and head took the brunt of the fall. If not for the amazing helmet provided by our helmet sponsor, Louis Garneau, I might be sitting here with a broken neck or possibly something even worse! Not only did the helmet protect my head but it stabilized my spine as my body crashed and slid down the road.

I remember every detail about the fall. I quickly sprung to my feet and after trying to raise my left arm I could feel the crunch that was my broken collar bone. I can remember being pretty calm but also in a rush to it x-rayed. Huge thanks to George, Christian, and James for sitting me down and calling coach Brett to come and take me to the hospital.

The next 5 hours was an exercise in how incredibly efficient our world is today. I had an X-Ray taken, which was emailed to my Dr. at home, Dr. Geraldo Goldberger, which was followed up with several emails, and 2 skype calls. Once Brett, Gerry, and I decided surgery was the way to go, I quickly got on another skype call to my airline trying to change my return ticket to the states to the following morning. I crashed just past 11 a.m. and by 4p.m. I had a flight booked and was scheduled for surgery 48 hours later.

The flight home was as you can imagine not the most comfortable trip I have ever taken! With road rash, a bruised left hip, and elbow, throw in a broken collar bone and the time could not go by fast enough! More than anything I was full of anger as the most important 6 weeks of my year lie ahead of me and they were now pretty much wiped off the calendar.

What a two weeks it has been! Operated on a Wednesday, I was back on the trainer riding by Monday with my sights set on swimming and riding outside by 4 weeks after the operation. The next question that had to be answered was do I go back to Leysin and when?? Well, part of why this has been such a bummer is because for my brother’s 40th birthday, which is on the 27th of July, my family was to fly Rob and his wife Christy over to Switzerland to visit with me, see a few stages of the Tour de France, and come see us race at The Alpe d’ Huez Triathlon. So after my first post op visit with Gerry he said I could go back to Switzerland after 1 more X-ray in 6 days time.

I am happy to report I am in route back to Leysin. My second X-Ray showed that the healing has begun, and I am on schedule to resume normal training in just 13 more days. I am quite amazed with how quickly the body can recover from such an event. I notice progress on a daily basis, the pain is nearly gone, my range of motion is improving, and I can go 100% on the trainer, really flog myself!

I am happy that I will get to go see a stage or two of the tour with Rob and Christy but disappointed that I won’t be able to ride my bike with him as I was really looking forward to taking him around some of our regular training routes as he has never seen mountains like this in his life. I am also terribly disappointed to have to miss Team TBB’s annual tour de france that we go on each year as this is my favorite week of the entire year! It is what it is and I am happy that I will still be able to get in a solid 3 weeks of training here before I return to the States to resume racing.

I think some of my family and friends were worried how this would affect me mentally. Would I be scared to get back on the bike? Would the spirit that drives me to train be gone? Not even! In fact this whole ordeal has rejuvenated me sending my motivation through the roof. You see, 4 years ago, same time of the year as now, I was faced with an adversity of overcoming the separation with my wife. At 27 years old I was in a downward spiral, fighting for my life mentally, and completely lost! But I pulled myself out of the pub and started training for Ironman. I was an angry man who had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. The only thing I knew was that I was going to take my pain and anger out on my training.

Well…as I sat on my back porch riding the trainer for the first time after the operation the anger I had inside of me four years ago had returned. The difference this time is I know where I am going because I can now taste the top of the mountain, I am so very close! I will have to repeat a few steps but the path will be familiar! Four years ago I was fighting for life, now I am fighting for my career! Two similar feelings of anger but one had no clear path and was lonely. This new anger has a clear path and has the support of family, friends, and teammates!!!

I need to thank Dr. Gerry Goldeberger of
Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

Dr. Gerry has been a personal sponsor of mine the past two seasons and luck was on my side after suffering this crash, my personal sponsor is one of the leading orthopedic shoulder specialists in the world!! If you ever are in need of an Orthopedic Dr. call him!! You won’t be disappointed! I also need to say a huge huge thank you to Louis Garneau our helmet and shoe sponsor! Thank you for saving my career and possibly my life! Of course thank you to our leader Brett for scooping me up off the side of the road and taking me to the Dr. The road back has begun!

And lastly big thanks of course, to my two families. My family at home for your continued support, I am blessed to have such an incredible support staff back home. And my second family or at least it felt like family the night of my crash, my Team TBB teammates! I am not sure if it was Brett and Alex’s intention to create such an environment when they started the team or maybe it’s just that good people attract each other? Well, the night of my crash…nearly every athlete that was in the village came to see me and those that couldn’t make it sent heart felt notes to me! The Germans brought fruit, Timmy Don brought a cake, and the Swiss boys brought me beer…Although Reto would only allow me to half a beer, hehehe Thanks guys! We have incredible group of people here! Each one of us is very lucky to be here! Thanks for reading!