July 2016 – Month in review

July was a great month. I achieved things that a few years ago I never would have thought possible. Time for a quick recap.

July 2016 - Nike+ Summary

July 2016 – Nike+ Summary

My running mileage looks low this month compared to my usual months of training. Indeed it was probably my lowest training month of running in a long time. I did however more than make up for that in total distance with swimming and running. My Garmin data below shows total monthly mileage of just under 308 miles made up of 9.8 miles of swimming, 190.6 miles of biking and 106.8 miles of running.

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July 2016 – Garmin Connect Summary

The first couple of weeks of the month were tapering into the event, focusing mainly on swim and bike (I think I’ve got the running thing down). I had such an amazing experience competing in and completing my first half iron distance (70.3 miles) triathlon at the HITS Hudson Valley Triathlon. You can read the race recap here. I followed this up just two weeks later with the New Jersey State Triathlon to complete my first Olympic distance triathlon which you can read about here.

With all this talk about triathlons I was invited to be a guest to talk about my transition into the sport for an episode of the Team Shenanigans Podcast. A great bunch of folks who I got to know through the Mickey Milers running team. You can hear the episode here.

On 4th July my family all participated in the Washington Crossing Revolutionary Run in Washington Crossing Park, PA. My Wife and Father in law ran the 10K and my boys and I ran the 1 mile fun run. It was a hot morning but we had fun and after some refreshments (donuts) we had a nice fun family afternoon at the pool in our development following by a nice BBQ at home with the extended family. A good holiday weekend.

 

Happy 4th of July from The Running Crew

Happy 4th of July from The Running Crew

Mission Accomplished.

Mission Accomplished.

Later in the month I got to enjoy my Fathers Day present, Paul McCartney in concert at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Awesome!

Thank you Sir Paul

Thank you Sir Paul

So yes, July was a good month. I also have some new hardware on my office desk. Well earned. Makes me smile every time I look at it.

Some new desk hardware

Some new desk hardware

I know this recap is a little late (hey, it’s still not September) so thanks for hanging in there with me and thanks for reading.

 

2016 New Jersey State Triathlon – Race recap

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On July 24th I competed in the New Jersey State Triathlon at the Olympic distance. This was the scene of my first triathlon last year which was unfortunately cancelled mid-race.

Having completed my first half iron distance triathlon a couple of weeks earlier I was excited and determined to get back out there and do another triathlon (it’s an addictive sport). I also wanted to complete the course this year!!! My confidence was high having just gone almost twice the distance. I just wanted to put in a good time for myself and finish strong.

This was a hot weekend. Very hot. The temperatures were in the 90s which would be a challenge though. To make matters a little more complicated we had a family reunion down in Margate, NJ the day before the race which meant I had to drive home about 90 minutes after a day at the beach. Yeah, well planned…not to mention that I had to drive back after the race to pick up the family who were staying overnight.

I went to the race expo on the way home from work on Friday evening. It was held at the same location as last year, Mercer County Park in West Windsor, NJ. There was a full expo this year which was different from last year. It was a warm sunny evening and it was actually quite busy when I arrived. The Sprint race was on the Saturday while my event, the Olympic, was on Sunday morning.

Arriving at packet pickup

Arriving at packet pickup

I hoped to be able to get to the finishers chute this year

I hoped to be able to get to the finishers chute this year

The big difference from this year vs last year would be the distance. Last year the swim was 500m vs 1500m this year, three times as far. I had just completed a half iron distance of 1.2 miles (1900m) but that was wearing a wetsuit. This would be the longest swim without that aid of a wetsuit. Temperatures would be too high to wear them legally. Besides, I’d already returned my rented wetsuit so I had no choice. Also the bike and run courses were double the distance, although I wasn’t too worried about that as I’d completed that distance many times in training.

Packet pickup was fairly straightforward. We had to park in a field opposite the staging area and walk over. It was a very hot day and there was a lot of dust being kicked up in the parking lot but it was easy to access. I noticed from the pre-race details and confirmed at pickup that I would be in one of the last waves to start. That would mean 55 minutes from the start of the first wave (7:30am) until mine (8:25am). Coupled with the fact that transition closed at 7:15am meant that it would be a lot of waiting around on the day.

Well organized packet pickup

Well organized packet pickup

Volunteers were very helpful at pickup

Volunteers were very helpful at pickup

The swim wave schedule. I was due out at 8:25 in Wave 12.

The swim wave schedule. I was due out at 8:25 in Wave 12.

The expo was pretty small but more than they had in place last year. There was a merchandise section for the race which was new this year. The merchandise seemed good quality branded gear. I bought a visor (my usual race purchase) to add to my collection and I planned to wear it on the day.

Expo - vendor and merchandise area

Expo – vendor and merchandise area

Expo - vendor and merchandise area

Expo – vendor and merchandise area

They had race specific gear this year

They had race specific gear this year

They had race specific gear this year

They had race specific gear this year

I took the chance to walk around the staging areas. The set up was similar to last year with the only difference being instead of bike racks where the bike would rest and hand from the seat post, this year everyone was assigned a race box which held the bike from the rear wheel. Each box was equidistant so everyone would be evenly spaced.

Transition area looking empty

Transition area looking empty

This is the biggest triathlon held in New Jersey so there were lots of spaces to fill

This is the biggest triathlon held in New Jersey so there were lots of spaces to fill

Bikes were held in these racks rather than on a rail

Bikes were held in these racks rather than on a rail

The lake where we would be swimming on Sunday

The lake where we would be swimming on Sunday

I got back home from the day at the shore around 9:30pm the night before the race. I had packed up all my gear on the Friday night and pretty much had it ready by the door so I was able to grab a quick shower and get a few hours sleep before getting up at 4:15am the next day, packing my car and heading back to the race site.

On race day after packing the car, I grabbed a cup of coffee and a light breakfast (a Powerbar for breakfast with a Honey Stinger waffle to eat around 7am), and headed out to the race site. After unpacking my car I walked to transition and had my body marked with my race number and age and headed into transition to set up my gear. It was already quite warm.

Up early on race day

Up early on race day

I don't seem to travel light

I don’t seem to travel light

Setting up my gear

Setting up my gear. I use the painters bucket as a stool to sit on during transition

I think that's everything (and perhaps a little more)

I think that’s everything (and perhaps a little more)

Actually very excited at this point

Actually very excited at this point

I was earlier than I expected to be there so I set up my gear and made sure I went over my transition plan. As it was early and I knew I had time to wait I headed over to have a practice swim at the side of the lake where it was sectioned off. I didn’t go out too far, just a quick out and back. I noticed that the timing chip was chafing my ankle a little so it was a good opportunity to get all my gear right before I actually started the event. The water was warm (like bath water) and unlike my swim up in Kingston at the half iron, the water wasn’t clear so I could barely see my hand in front of my face. Based upon my exceptional ability to not swim in a straight line this would make the swim a lot of fun!!!

As the weather was warmer than expected, the race organizers announced that they would be reducing the time between each swim wave to 4 minutes from 5. This doesn’t sound like a lot but it would mean my time would start around 10 minutes ahead of planned and would allow for people to finish a little earlier in the morning as it was getting hotter.

I watched the first few waves go off and stayed under a shaded area out the sun. I wish I had thought ahead to bring a bottle of water to sip as it was a warm day and I had plenty of time to be waiting around. Eventually my wave was called into the waiting area (they would call up a wave and have the next wave waiting directly behind them to keep things moving). It was time to pop in the ear plugs, put on the swim cap and fix the goggles in place. Go time.

As per my usual start, I went off to one side and stayed back. I waited for the announcement to go and then waited as I counted to 10 before setting off. No point in getting caught in the tangle of thrashing swimmers at the front of the pack. I’m not the ‘podium type’.

Although it wasn’t planned, I tucked in along the left hand side of the course which pretty much had me tight along the course markers. At least I wasn’t off swimming in a different direction. This actually helped as all the buoys were on my left side (I don’t see out of my right eye) and this helped keep me straight. I maintained a pretty even and comfortable pace and was pleased with how the swim went. It felt a lot longer than it probably was and I didn’t have the extra buoyancy that a wetsuit would have provided so it was a little harder to maintain swim form, but this is what I had trained for so I kept it together and kept swimming.

The only time I veered off course was the final turn. The first three turns were all left turns and I was tucked in along that side. The final turn for home was on the right. As I said earlier I don’t see out of that side and we were swimming straight into the sun. I didn’t turn early enough when I should and so went a bit further in one direction and had to make up some ground just to get into the finisher chute. Still, I felt like I held it together well and wasn’t too tired or out of breath getting out of the water and heading into transition. I was out of the water an into transition in a time of 43:20.

Made it, although my swim cap looks like I resemble Dr Evil or Kojak

Made it, although my swim cap looks like I resemble Dr Evil

A pretty clean line around the course

A pretty clean line around the course

I'm not going to podium but I think I swam a respectable time

I’m not going to podium but I think I swam a respectable time

As I didn’t have to change out of a wetsuit this race my transition time was much quicker although it still takes time to get into the Injinji socks. The transition area was large due to the number of entrants in the race (about 1,500 I think) and I was well at the back of the transition so there was a long walk/jog out of transition to the point where I was able to mount the bike.

Where I had struggled in the last triathlon with the bike, this was a lot easier. Well for a start it was pretty much flat. It was the hills that did me in last time. I managed to get up a good speed on the bike and maintain it. I was passing quite a number of people considering I was in one of the last few waves of swimmers. I was feeling pretty good on the bike. There were quite a number of turns on this course but everything was pretty clearly labelled or they had a volunteer showing the direction.

Bike course

Bike course

On the way back towards the transition area we had to take a detour into and around a school campus. You can see from the map above where the course turns right and has a small out and back. As I said the course was pretty flat and at this point as it was a parking lot I put the hammer down as we were not on the road and was able to pass quite a number of riders. I’m not a fast cyclist by any means but I was able to average 17.4mph over the 20 mile course to finish the ride in 1:07:55.

Powering through

Powering through

Finishing the bike and dismounting meant the long run back into and to the back of the transition area. I had neglected to put on sunscreen for the bike portion even though I had left a note in my bike shoes. I had been in the blazing sun for over an hour. I had a pretty interesting tan line later. I had left a second reminder to put on sunscreen in my running shoes and this time I didn’t forget. It was around 11am by this stage and it was hot.

The run course was a two out and backs. 3 miles out and back towards transition followed by another 3 miles out and back on the other side of transition. Because of the heat the organizers had set up sprinklers at a couple of locations on the course. The run was mainly on black top which made the heat a little more intense but there were some shaded areas. At two points on the course there were ice-cold towels available which were definitely appreciated.

On the first half of the course it was a little tight as we passed through a narrow pathway among the trees but at least it was shaded. At this point I was planning to stop at every water station and drink water, pour a cup over my head and have some Gatorade at every other station. The volunteers were great. It cannot have been easy for them to spend all this time standing around in the heat either.

The water was cold, ice-cold on occasions. I loved that. I’ve not been to many races where they have made sure that the water temperature was well-managed. It was so hot and running a 10K around the middle of the day after a 21 mile swim/bike warm up meant that most people were in danger of overheating. The volunteers made sure that we were taking on water. At some stations they had people offering to splash you with cold water in addition to giving you something to drink. Nice.

The second out and back started beyond the transition area and passed briefly by the finisher chute. Only a few miles to go. Again, a narrow pathway with two directions of runners but this time there was less shade. I saw many people at this point just walking because of the heat. I slowed down to keep my heart rate from being too elevated but was able to maintain a steady pace. The second sprinkler on the course was truly appreciated. Just around mile 4.5 and was perfect. Once I reached the final turnaround I had a huge smile on my face. Just 1.5 miles to go until the end. I was ready to head in.

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Feeling strong

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Given the heat conditions I was beginning to wonder why it seemed all triathlon clothing was black…

The photographers managed to capture a few action shots.

The photographers managed to capture a few action shots.

And then I heard it, the finish line was ahead. Music and cheering. I turned towards the finish chute and ran towards the finish with a huge smile. I had been pulled off the course less than half a mile from the bike transition due to weather last year and never had the chance to finish the race. There was no one or no conditions stopping me this time.

Heading for the finish line

Heading for the finish line

Made it!

Made it! You can see how happy I was.

Completed my first Olympic distance triathlon

Completed my first Olympic distance triathlon

I crossed the finish line with a 10K time of 59.20, well short of my sub 50 minute PR but less than an hour in these conditions, for an official total time (including transitions) of 3:02:02.  Now I have a baseline time to work with for my next Olympic distance.

At the finish line they had cooling tents where you could walk through cold showers. I was already wet enough so I grabbed my medal and water and headed to the food tent to grab the post race goodies. We were given water, fruit, a soft pretzel, chocolate milk. There was some type of sandwich which I couldn’t eat (as a vegetarian) but the food was plentiful. I briefly stopped by the Bucks County Tri Club tent to say congratulations to everyone before heading back to transition to pack up. I had to drive down to Ocean City, NJ to pick up the family. No rest…

Olympic Distance Finisher

Olympic Distance Finisher

Looking back to the finish

Looking back to the finish

Some well earned bling

Some well earned bling

The potential 'Pinterest' image

The potential ‘Pinterest’ image

I have to say that this was a fun distance. It wasn’t as exhausting as the half iron distance (which makes sense) but it was still a challenge and just long enough to make me feel like I really had to push. The heat was a big factor in my slow run pace but overall I am very proud of being able to finish this one. This was definitely a place I had to return to complete my race from last year and I think I did a pretty good job. It was fun. This triathlon sport is getting very addictive. It is so rewarding. If you have thought about doing this but never pulled the trigger, I say give it a go. You never know if you don’t ‘Tri’!

 

December 2015 – Month and Year in review

December is over and a new year has begun. Time to take a look back at the month, the year and look forward to what 2016 has in store.

Dcember 2015 – Nike+ Summary

December 2015 – Nike+ Summary

For the month of December I ran 128 miles, swam 1.3 miles and cycled 39 miles. This is nothing compared to the 1,150 each way journey I embarked on from my home to visit my parents in Florida. Interesting journey…just pleased (and relieved) that my 9 and 5 year old passengers were awesome the whole way down.

2015 – Nike+ Summary

2015 – Nike+ Summary

All in all for the year I ran less but still racked up mileage by introducing swimming and biking as I started my triathlon career. A total of 1,964 miles for the year. 1,576 running, 366 cycling and 22 swimming. No wonder I am so tired.

Our ride to Florida. The kids were in the back, not on top (as tempting as it may seem).

Our ride to Florida. The kids were in the back, not on top (as tempting as it may seem).

See...they're in the back. This is outside a Dunkin' Donuts at 5am. #roadtrip

See…they’re in the back. This is outside a Dunkin’ Donuts at 5am. #roadtrip

After two days of travel we were glad to reach our destination

After two days of travel we were glad to reach our destination

Before I revisit the year I’ll take a quick look back for the month of December.

With such a mild December I was able to still run outside for the most part, even when I visited Atlanta, GA for business (although it was cooler there than I had expected). It was just a matter of avoiding the rain. More often than not I was outside. When I got to Florida, the weather was glorious. Very hot and humid so that slowed my pace a little but I was fortunate to have my parents look after our boys so that my wife and I could get out almost everyday for mid to long runs. It worked out great.

Nice to have a chance to run together

Nice to have a chance to run together

While we were down in Florida we signed up for a the local Bradenton Running Club’s Annual Manatee River 5 Mile Run. We even signed the boys up for the kids races. It was a hot day and not much shade but it was a good day to be out there. I also met up with my fellow Mickey Miler team-mate Robert.

Ready to run

Ready to run

Running family

Running family

Discussing race strategy

Discussing race strategy

With a fellow Mickey Miler and a junior one

With a fellow Mickey Miler and a junior one

Reward for his 200 meter run

Reward for his 200 meter run

Making it look easy

Making it look easy in the 400 meters

Beautiful location at the Emerson Point Nature Reserve in Palmetto, Florida

Beautiful location at the Emerson Point Nature Preserve in Palmetto, Florida

Being out-sprinted by my wife

Being out-sprinted by my wife

Determination

Determination

A great end to a fun year. Lots of family time and a great chance to get out and run a lot. We did eat a lot of ice cream on vacation so the running was badly needed!!

2015 – Looking Back

It was a very busy year. My wife and I ran 3 marathons together and I ran 4 in total. This included us running for Autism Speaks while we ran the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World back in January. We ran the Pittsburgh Marathon together in May and the Marine Corps Marathon together in October. I ran the Philadelphia Marathon in November as well as a few half marathons during the year. Happy to be able to compete and even better for being able to run with my wife for most of these events.

In May I ran my first unofficial ‘ultra-marathon‘ (any run longer than 26.2 miles is considered an ‘ultra’) for the charity ‘Give Kids The World‘. I ran 39.3 miles in one day (the equivalent of the Goofy Challenge – a half marathon followed by a full marathon but all in one day). This charity is supported my my running team, the Mickey Milers and through this event I was able to raise $1,250 for this cause.

This was also the year I ventured into triathlons. I attempted (weather shortened) my first triathlon back at the New Jersey State Triathlon back in July. I was able to finally complete my goal of a sprint triathlon at Medford Lakes, NJ and then added a final sprint event before the end of my triathlon season in Hightstown, NJ so I could concentrate on my Fall marathon schedule.

It was a year of accomplishments for me and I’m grateful I was able to complete these events and remain relatively injury free.

2016 – Looking Forward

While my running schedule isn’t set for the full year, I am signed up for a couple of big events. First, my wife and I are signed up to run the New Jersey Marathon on May 1st. I’ve run this event twice before and this is still my marathon PR race. We also entered ourselves for the New York City Marathon in November. We will not find out about whether we get in until March so I’m looking at other races in the Fall just in case although I haven’t committed to any yet. Of course, I will be signing up for the Philadelphia Marathon as long as I am around that time of year.

The big event for me this year is that I will be participating in my very first Half Iron distance triathlon (70.3 miles) in Kingston NY in July. This is quite a step up from the sprint triathlons I did in 2015. I hope to be in good shape and ready when the time comes. Looking forward to it very much.

My other goal this year is to work on speed (and stay injury free). I’m looking for a fairly local goal race in the Fall (maybe before New York if we get in) to see if I can get to that 3:45 marathon time goal I seek. We shall see.

Thank you for sticking with me for the last few years as I have been writing this blog. I hope that I have lots of good stories to share in 2016 (and beyond).

Wishing you all success in all your endeavors this year. Happy New Year.

 

2015 Hightstown Triathlon race recap

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On September 13th I finished my second sprint triathlon. The Hightstown Triathlon in Hightstown, New Jersey.

With all the training I’ve done this year getting ready for my first triathlon (New Jersey State Triathlon) and then the fact that I didn’t get to complete it because of a weather event I was looking for other events as a chance to make up the race. Although I did complete my first triathlon (Medford Lakes Colony Sprint Triathlon) in August, this race was another that I had looked at for a number of reasons. It was (fairly) close to home as I drive past the area every day on my commute, a few colleagues were getting together to do this event and had asked me and finally it was very reasonably priced and had good reviews.

With that said, I was comfortable with my swim performance in the last two triathlons and the run was also fine but I got my butt handed to me on a plate during the bike section both times. It’s not my favorite part of the triathlon but still as hard as I was pushing on my hybrid Trek FX 7.2 bike I was getting passed by everyone on a dedicated road or tri bike. It really felt like I was the one on training wheels. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it is a barrier to entry for competing in a triathlon, it isn’t, but I wanted to see if I would be able to do better on a road bike just once. I took to social media and asked if anyone had a 58″ road bike with SPD pedals they would be willing to lend me for the race and was fortunate enough to have a friendly neighbor offer their bike for use.

I haven’t had the chance to ride a road bike since my teens and I remember how sensitive the steering feels at first so I decided to take it out for a practice run to get used to the feel and the gearing (different from using the old levers attached to the top bar I was used to). I took the bike up to the old naval base figuring that a flat road would be easiest to start on.

After a few wobbles I was up and running (or riding). I did quite a few straights up and down the airstrip to get used to the gear changes. It was a warm humid morning and every couple of miles I had to stop to clear my glasses as they were full of mist. I was particularly wet but it was fun to be out and riding at some decent speeds (although nothing advanced…still afraid to fall). I managed 14 miles during the ride, eventually moving around the perimeter of the park so getting used to maneuvering about. A good session to build confidence on the bike. It was then off to Atlanta for the week on a business trip. Glad to get the ride done.

Test ride at the air strip at the former naval base.

Test ride at the air strip at the former naval base.

I arrived back home late Friday so I had to plan on heading to the packet pickup on Saturday. I pass this town on my way to work everyday. It’s the exit I take off the New Jersey Turnpike to get me to my office. After a busy morning with the family I knew it would be a quick journey to and from the staging site.

Unlike road races, I think it helps me to go to the actual event site before the race so at least I can see the swim course. I have no problems reading up on bike and road courses but for me I need to see the water. That is the anxiety point still in my triathlon experience. As I arrived at the packet pick up at Peddie Lake there were folks out on practice swims so I got to see part of the course in advance. They were still setting up the transition area for the bikes but I got a good sense of the layout, after all running in and out of transitions is very much part of the sport and it helps to know where to set up and where the entrance and exit is (more on that later though).

Packet pick up was pretty simple. Two tables, one for packets and one for shirts. There was a vendor tent (TriEverything) who were also renting wetsuits for the next day. I looked at how people doing practice swims were dressed and also from hearing from a couple of the folks swimming and I decided to pass and save myself some money at this race.

Packet pickup

Packet pickup was pretty straight forward

TriEverything was there for any last minute supplies

TriEverything was there for any last-minute supplies

They were still setting up the transition area when I arrived

They were still setting up the transition area when I arrived

This was the lake we would be swimming in the next day

Peddie Lake – This was the lake we would be swimming in the next day. You can see the buoys they had out marking the course as well as people in boats and kayaks monitoring the safety of the swimmers.

Some folks taking part in the open swim that was available before the race the next day.

Some folks taking part in the open swim that was available before the race the next day.

The race shirt had the Swim Bike Run logo and ran big for the sizing. It actually was a pretty wide fit. It seemed to get wider the lower down the shirt in a reverse taper. At least mine did. Nevertheless it was a nice soft technical shirt and I did wear it after the race that day.

The race logo on the shirt

The race logo on the shirt

I went home and assembled my gear for the next day. I used the same method of packing the Home Depot bucket that I had in my previous triathlon although I packed a little less this time as it was a lot to drag around and I didn’t end up using all I had brought last time. I packed my car with as much stuff as I could the night before the race and then just tried to relax after leaving myself a whole bunch of reminders at the front door before I went to bed to not forget my water bottles, food, Garmin watch etc.

Other than getting in my exceedingly snug one piece tri suit (it wasn’t this snug at the start of the summer) it was easy getting up and ready to leave the house the next morning. A big change was putting the road bike on the back of the car this time around. Wow…a revelation. It was dark as it had been in my earlier races this year but the bike was so much lighter. I didn’t struggle in the dark to make sure I had the bike racked correctly. Nice!!!

I got there early and it was still dark. The parking lot which I had used for packet pickup was closed to participants as it was part of the transition and staging area, so I followed everyone else with their bike on a bike rack at 6:45am into one of the parking lots a block or two further. I had a little foresight in packing to bring my running headlamp with me so I could actually see what I was doing once I had arrived. I un-racked the bike and got all my gear from my car and started to follow everyone else to the transition area. It was pure coincidence that I bumped into my colleague Kathy and her husband Bill. Kathy was about a month from finishing her first full Ironman (Ironman Mont Tremblant). We walked to the transition area together where we were body marked with our race number and age by the volunteers.

I set up my transition area in an empty rack at the far side so I would only be next to someone on one side. I’m still fairly new at this and I know I’m not heading for a podium finish so I just want to be in a place where I can be in my own race and not in a really busy transition area with the competitive athletes. I set out my gear, made a quick bathroom stop (or as fast as you can make it in a one piece tri suit) and tried to keep myself calm.

My transition area

My transition area

Relaxed and ready to do this again.

Relaxed and ready to do this again.

Since I no longer wear contact lenses when swimming I am relying on my prescription goggles to help me see in the water before I swap into my prescription sunglasses for the bike and the run. That’s all well and good for the actual race but it makes waiting around a bit tough if you cannot see things clearly as to where to go and, as I was also barefoot, where to walk and stand without injuring myself 🙂 I ended up walking around holding one of the eye pieces up to the one eye I see out of. Pretty much like a sports monocle LOL.

I met up with my colleague Bryan and we waited together while they made the race announcements and sang the National Anthem. They were running about 5 minutes behind schedule but it wasn’t too big of a deal. The race wasn’t too crowded. Once given the word we made our way to the opposite side of the lake to wait for our swim wave to start.

The swim wave started in the actual water. We had to climb down a steep concrete drop (further than I thought while wearing my prescription goggles (they are not an exact strength…but I’m not exactly reading while I’m swimming so it’s good enough). On the race website they had some FAQs about the swim which included:

How deep is the water?

The water is shallow at the entry and exit points of the course, and is between 8 and 14 feet deep throughout the rest of the course. You will not be able to touch bottom throughout the swim course however, you may hang onto a buoy or rescue kayak as long as you do not get assistance with forward movement.

Should I worry about aquatic animals?

No. The fish and turtles etc. in Peddie Lake will dive for cover when they see so many people in the water. We have never had any issues with aquatic animals bothering people in the water.

Okay then. No sharks and I can tread water. I think I’ll be okay here.

As you can see from my face in this picture…it was a little colder than I expected upon entering the pond. Not cold but not as warm as I had thought it would be.

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There were quite a few lily pads at the edge of the lake and when were given the signal to go it felt like escaping a net, but once I got going I was okay. As planned, I waited until everyone had started and was out-of-the-way before I began swimming so as not to get too caught up in everyone’s moving limbs. Early on in the swim another competitor right next to me got into trouble and started yelling for assistance. I waited until he made it safely to a boat and then headed on. Just before the turnaround I started being passed by the lead swimmers of the wave behind me so I swam a little wider to get out of their way. in about the last third of the swim I was passed by a few of the competitive female swimmers. I looked up and could see I was near the end of the swim leg so I felt okay.

Getting out of the water was a bit more difficult than I expected too. I know I had struggled getting up and out of the lake at the New Jersey Triathlon which was quite rocky and seemed a little steadier on my feet at the Medford Lakes Colony Triathlon which was a gradual egress onto a beach. This was an exit up what seemed like a boat ramp. I didn’t quite gauge the angle of the exit. It was concrete and I stood up too early, lost my balance and fell down and off to the side of the ramp scraping up my knee. A little concrete rash but nothing to cry about. Just glad to get out of the water in one piece. Swim time 00:12:45.

From there it was onto transition. I sat down on my upturned bucket and washed, dried and put talcum powder on my feet before slipping on my Injinji socks and my bike shoes and headed out of the transition with the road bike.

This was a much better experience than my two previous races. 1) there was no lightning, and 2) I was faster. In fact I felt comfortable on the course and was actually passing people not being passed which was the case at my last race.

Midway on the bike course I got passed by Kathy who yelled a passing word or two as she took off on her bike into the distance. The bike was actually fun. A few up and downs and a couple of hard left turns which had me wobble a bit but it was a good ride up until a car drove onto the course around mile 8 and stopped a number of us from passing. Hmmm….eventually it moved over and we were able to pass. Still I managed to maintain a reasonable speed about 3-4 mph faster than my last ride on my own bike.

The bike portion of the race

The bike portion of the race

Coming down the home stretch of the bike course I was really pleased and eased off a bit to save my legs for the 5K portion of the race.

When I entered the transition area I was a little disoriented…that’s my only explanation for running down the wrong section and recognizing that none of the gear was mine. I figured out where I should be, quickly racked my bike and changed my shoes and headed out for the run. Bike time 00:37:31.

I had put a small 8oz water bottle at the back of my race belt which actually turned out to be a good idea as there was only one water stop that I recall on the run which was at the turnaround.

The 5K started up with a gradual uphill across the street and then ran through the surrounding neighborhood streets. It was a bit twisty so you couldn’t exactly see where the turnaround was. Early on I passed by Kathy on the outward part of the run. I saw my colleague Bryan on the inward stretch as I was still headed out. Good to see everyone looking good out there on the course.

The 5K route. Quite a few turns during the out and back.

The 5K route. Quite a few turns during the out and back.

It was getting warmer at this stage and so I was pretty happy to have my own hydration with me and ran a comfortable pace. As I turned the last corner and saw the finish chute I picked up the pace a little and made it through with a run time of 00:25:06.

Coming down the finishers chute

Coming down the finishers chute

My overall finish time for the triathlon was 1:22:18 including both transitions.

Once crossing the finish line I received my medal from a volunteer and a bottle of water.

IMG_0781 IMG_0782

Bryan was there at the finish line and so we waited for Kathy and also our colleague Steve and Kathy’s husband Bill before we headed back across the street to the staging area for the food and other refreshments (soft pretzels, donuts, fruit, sports drinks and water) and to watch the award ceremony.

We took a couple of group shots to share with the office and then packed up our gear and all headed in our separate ways. Easier said than done. Remember I was wearing a headlamp when I left the car? Well, I couldn’t remember which parking lot I had parked in and then once I found the correct lot I had to walk around to find my car. I’m directionally challenged.

With Bryan, Kathy, Bill and Steve after the race

With Bryan, Kathy, Bill and Steve after the race

Overall I really enjoyed this race. The race director and his team did a great job communicating with everyone before, during and after the event and they did a great job staging everyone and providing all that we needed for a successful event.

I would recommend this race for someone local. It’s a nice course in a small town in New Jersey. Great fun as I continue this triathlon journey alongside my marathon madness.

Thank you for reading.

2015 New Jersey State Triathlon – Recap (not race recap…)

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I have to start off by saying that this is a tough post to write, not because of my performance on the day but because despite all my training and all my preparation for this event it was not the outcome I had planned.

I was coming to the end of the bike portion of the race when I was called off my bike by a volunteer about half a mile from the transition to tell me that due to a report of a lightning strike on the course, the race was cancelled for the safety of the competitors.

The race directors posted a statement later which read in part:

“As disappointing as that is, we would much rather explain to you why we took such action then having to explain to the family of an injured athlete why we didn’t.

You cannot argue with that.

I would still like to record on this blog my experience leading up to, during and after this event so I can share the good and the bad as well as the surprises and the lessons learned for the weekend. Here goes…

Back in October last year I signed up for the New Jersey State Triathlon. This was to be my first triathlon. I originally signed up for the Olympic distance (1,500 meter swim/23 mile bike/6.2 mile run) but having not worked as hard in the pool as I really needed to I decided to pull back to the Sprint distance (500 meter swim/11.5 mile bike/3.1 mile run) so I knew I would be able to finish. It was the swim leg that really had me worried. I was confident about the bike and run sections having done three duathlons in the last few years.

After having joined a swim club back in October but going pretty rarely due to business travel and the access to the pool over the winter being limited I joined up with a pool closer to my house and committed to going 2 to 3 times a week and swimming. I kept up that commitment and have logged a number of long (for me) swim sessions over the last 2 months to give me the confidence that a) I wouldn’t drown, and b) I had enough in me to complete the Sprint distance.

I had joined the Bucks Country Triathlon Club for information and tips back in October and ordered my club tri-suit back in February. I picked it up in early May and it was snug but I guess it was supposed to be so it wouldn’t drag in the water. Tri-suits do not require any form of modesty whatsoever. It did fit a little more snug following our recent trip to the UK and the enormous quantities of chocolate I consumed over there…but it was worth it 🙂

The day before the race arrived and I left work a little early to head over to Mercer County Park for packet pickup. The race was being put on by CGI Racing which have put on a couple of other races I have participated in over the last couple of years, namely the LOVE Run Half Marathon and the Rutgers UNITE Half Marathon, both of which were very well run.

The packet pick up area

The packet pick up area

Tomorrow's finish line

Tomorrow’s finish line

My goal when I got to the park was to pick up my race packet, ask a couple of questions that I had and then look at any expo they had (never having been to a triathlon expo). Packet pickup was in an open field by the transition area as was the expo. It didn’t take too long to pick up the packet and then the race shirt. I then went over to the information table to ask my couple of questions. A volunteer recommended I walk the transition area to get familiar with the swim entry/exit before the race. I hadn’t thought about that but it was a great idea. It also helped calm my nerves a little to see what I would be getting myself in for.

Packet pick up was smooth

Packet pick up was smooth

There was an information booth and an area to look up your bib number if you didn't have it with you

There was an information booth and an area to look up your bib number if you didn’t have it with you.

The expo was a few tents surrounding the packet pick up

The expo was a few tents surrounding the packet pick up. It was small with a few vendors.

Once I had my packet and shirt and the volunteer had walked me through all the items in my race packet (including the ankle bracelet for the chip) I walked around in the order of the next day’s events. The swim, the bike and then the run.

I walked down to the lake to see the entry point and the exit as well as to look out over the water along the course. The first thing that struck me was that I wasn’t too intimidated by the course. I wasn’t really sure in my mind how I would have pictured the swim as I’d only seen an Ironman competition on TV and not anything shorter and having only done lap swimming and no open water swimming before I didn’t really have a sense of the length.

Swim entry point

Swim entry point

Swim course outlined by buoys

Swim course outlined by buoys

Swim entry view

Swim entry view

A panorama of the whole course from start (on right) to finish (on left).

A panorama of the whole course from start (on right) to finish (on left)

The exit of the swim

The exit of the swim

The transition area from the swim to the bike

The transition area from the swim to the bike

As I was walking along the lake I came across this sign…

Yes...that will calm my nerves!!!

Yes…that will calm my nerves!!!

So on entry to the transition area I went over to see where my bike would be set up the next day and to look for where I would be going both out and then in once I was transitioning.

Racks and racks all set up

Racks and racks all set up

My designated spot for the race

My designated spot for the race

Worth checking where to head in advance so you don't panic on the day.

Worth checking where to head in advance so you don’t panic on the day.

Walk up the chute out onto the road with the bike.

Walk up the chute out onto the road with the bike. This was both the out/in route for the bike portion.

The start to the last part of the triathlon

The start to the last part of the triathlon

The finishing chute

The finishing chute

Having walked through the area I took a look at the VIP area as the Bucks County Triathlon Club had a team tent set up for the weekend.

VIP area

VIP area

Tent placed ready for the weekend.

Tent placed ready for the weekend

Benefits of being part of a triathlon club

Benefits of being part of a triathlon club – private port-a-potty

So with the packet picked up and the walk through completed I headed off to join the family for the evening. We were getting together by the pool to chill out with the boys for the evening. I was beginning to get a little antsy so I left early to start to get my gear ready for the next day.

I needed to get my bike off the bike trainer and oil the chain and pump the tires. All was going well until….ssssssssss…what? What’s going on? sssssssss….

Yup, my rear wheel tube had split at the valve. I have to admit that at 9:30pm the night before my first triathlon and having never changed a tire on a bike in my entire life I was a little freaked!!!!

A few messages to biking friends and a post or two on Facebook groups guided me to YouTube. I must have watched the ‘How to change a tire’ video about a dozen times. Ultimately…and messily I changed my tire tube. Luckily I had a spare. When I bought my bike they threw one into my gear bag. Never thought I’d use it though!!!

Eek!!!

Eek!!!

What????

What????

Done!!!

Done!!!

Ugh...

Ugh…

Ultimately I got through this little last minute emergency and packed my bag ready for the next day.

Finally ready for the big day.

Finally ready for the big day. I bet no one else has a transition bag this cool!!!

I didn’t get much sleep that night. Between the adrenaline rush of the bike incident and the thought of the swim and how I would handle the transition my mind was racing. I got about 4.5 hours of sleep.

Race Day

I got up around 4:15am with the goal of leaving home around 5-5:15am as it was a 30 minute drive to get to the race. I was a little tired but excited. I had all my gear laid out the night before and I had my Powerbar and some water ready for when I was getting dressed. I had left random notes all over the house to remember my Garmin, to remember my water bottles in the refrigerator, etc.

Packing the car and racking my bicycle in the dark was an interesting experience. Nevertheless I was all packed up and ready to go. I headed out to the race area. By the time I got to Mercer County Park there were plenty of people there. I parked next to a lady who looked like she was an experienced triathlete. I nervously made small talk as we unpacked our cars and then made my way over to the transition area where volunteers were marking up everyone with their race numbers (number on each arm and age on one calf).

D-Day. Triathlon or bust.

D-Day. Triathlon or bust.

It was tight at the transition area as my neighbor seemed to have a lot of gear (well…a lot of space) and luckily I was at the end of the rack so I had a little extra space at the end to play with. I set up my gear and looked around at all the people there. I heard them announced the water temperature and they announced it was not wetsuit legal. I had looked this up in advance and this time of year was typically very warm so I had not rented a wetsuit for this race. Glad I hadn’t spent the money at that moment.

Setting up my gear

Setting up my gear

Pretty much ready to go

Pretty much ready to go

Craaaazy busy

Craaaazy busy

Craaaazy busy

Craaaazy busy

I made my way over to the port-a-potty’s and waited in line. The lines were not long but didn’t move fast. I figured it takes people so much extra time to get in and out of these tri-suits!!!

One last check of my transition area

One last check of my transition area

After the bathroom stop I made my way over to the transition area for one final run through of my gear, picked up my swim cap and goggles and made my way to the swim start area. I don’t have photos from here as my phone was in the transition area, my phone isn’t waterproof and my tri-suit doesn’t have any pockets. Ha. I guess I should get myself a GoPro 😉

I saw that people were being directed around the side of the boat house where they were allowed to do a practice swim. I hadn’t planned on it or given it any thought but I saw so many people going over there and it was almost an hour until my swim group went off that I decided to give it a try. After all this would be my first open water swim.

As I was walking down the ramp into the water I bumped into a colleague from work. We were both doing our first triathlon so it was nice to meet someone probably as anxious as me.

I took my first steps (it was rocky) into the water and although I didn’t follow the whole practice course I swam for about 5 minutes out and back. Wow. You cannot see anything in the water!!! At least I now how an idea of what to expect for the real deal within the next hour.

After exiting the water I bumped into a fellow Bucks County Tri-Club member and we chatted a little until I reconnected with my colleague. We hung out as the first few waves went off and he left about 10 minutes ahead of me and joined his wave.

The swim started in the water so there was none of that mad dash into the water. That was good for me as I was worried about that at the start. I only pictured what I had seen on TV and those usually are the beach starts when everyone runs in at the same time. By starting in the water I could make sure I had enough space around me when I started swimming.

Swim course

Swim course

I was given some advice before the swim which essentially was to wait for the gun (or the word to go), let the fast people go, count to ten then pick a spot and take my time going out. That would leave me a little behind everyone but out of the way of the main body of swimmers.

Eventually my wave was called to the start. As we watched the previous wave go off everyone took their place and we went into the water. The temperature was comfortable and I felt remarkably relaxed at this point. I wasn’t racing anyone but just wanted to complete the swim without any major issues. I had plenty of space around me although I did line up towards the rear. Eventually our wave was released and we were off.

Within the first 100 meters I was just focusing on staying calm and moving forward as I normally would with regular bilateral breathing every 3 strokes. At one point however I came awfully close with a fellow swimmer and almost took a mouthful of lake water. Yuk! As started to cough a little and one of the race supervisors on a nearby kayak asked if I was okay. I gave him a thumbs up and then continued on my way. Next thing I know I’m being yelled at to go left by another person in a kayak and as I looked up I was veering almost off the course. After a couple of course corrections I eventually figured out how best to keep sighting while swimming and I made it around the first turn.

I could hear another wave behind me be released as I was swimming. A little while after I made the second turn and headed in I was passed by the leader of the wave. I was swimming pretty steadily (mostly freestyle) and pretty much keeping a pace along with a bunch of other competitors and so I thought I was doing okay.

As I saw the exit approaching I focused on my form and made a beeline for the exit of the swim. As I made it to the shallow water I tried to stand up only to feel a little dizzy as I got upright. Luckily there was a volunteer in the water to catch me and hold my arm for a few moments until I could get my footing. As soon as I was steady I made my way up the exit ramp and headed out towards the transition area.

My one and only professional shot from the day - Exiting the swim

My one and only professional shot from the day – Exiting the swim. Proof I didn’t drown.

I got into the transition area and made it to my bike. I had read a few tips about bringing extra bottles of water to wash sand/grass/dirt off your feet and this was a really good tip. I dried my feet and put on some talc to help put on my Injini socks (not the easiest to put on in a rush), grabbed my bike shoes and helmet and made my way out of the transition area. Once we exited the grass area the volunteers told us to mount the bike after we crossed the red line which was the start of the bike course.

Bike course

Bike course

As I set off on my bike the sky was getting really dark. They had mentioned that there was a chance of rain towards the end of the race so I was hoping it would hold off while on the bike. I don’t mind running in the rain (although not when it was like the LOVE Run Half Marathon type of rain LOL).

I started off steadily and used the first mile to get down some water and a Gu gel packet. As I was progressing through mile 2 the rain started. Gently at first but by mile 3-4 it was steady and beginning to get harder. By mile 5 the rain was beating down hard and stinging my exposed skin. I started to see flashes of lightning and felt a little concerned about being out in a storm. I keep moving along (a decent pace for my hybrid bike) and despite the rain and the puddles was maintaining a consistent pace. I was however getting wet. Very wet. I could feel my socks squelching in my bike shoes and my bike helmet was not keeping my head dry from the elements.

Interestingly there were a number of cars on the course as we were riding and some were not very considerate to the cyclists. There police were doing a great job at the road junctions but it was still a little hairy given the conditions at the moment.

The rain was a downpour as I was approaching the last third of the bike route but I hadn’t seen any notification from the course volunteers and I hadn’t heard any siren or anything at this point.

As I approached mile 10 the rain seemed to lighten up and I made my way back into the park. I was hoping that my shoes that I had left in the transition weren’t soaked but luckily I had another pair of shoes and a dry pair of socks in my bag (which hopefully wasn’t soaked itself).

As I made my way to the transition area all of a sudden I started to see a whole bunch of folks walking on the side of the road ahead of me. I saw a few wearing medals so I just assumed these were the folks who had finished much faster than my wave. But then I heard a volunteer telling us to slow down and get off our bikes. At this point I was at mile 10.9 of the 11.5 mile route. They told us that the race had been cancelled due to lightning. I was stunned. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do at that point. I got off my bike and started walking back to the transition area in a daze.

As I walked my bike in I heard a member of the race organizing team shouting at everyone to get away from trees, metal and bikes as there was lightning in the area. They told us the transition area was closed and if we should go and sit in our cars until the storm had passed. As my keys were in the transition area I asked if I could get them and they said yes if I hurried.

I saw a bunch of folks standing under the Bucks Country Tri Club tent and so I quickly ran up and left my bike there and then ran to the transition to grab my gear. Yes it was soaked. I quickly dashed back to stand under the tent with everyone else. I was totally at a loss for words. I felt I was doing great and I was so happy to have completed the swim but I just felt that I had had the stuffing knocked out of me.

I was very disappointed. But not mad. What could I do?

We waited under the tent until the storm passed. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I noticed while I was standing under the tent that I had damaged my front brake…needless to say that was part of my tire changing experience from the night before so I decided to say goodbye to everyone and head over to my local bicycle store (Guy’s Bicycles) and have it checked out.

As I was driving home I called my wife and told her how upset I was. She said it had been very dark but it had never rained at home. In fact the sun was out. I asked her if it would be alright if I went for a short run when I got home so I could get my mind clear and plan my next move and she was okay with that. She was disappointed for me too.

I was still dressed in my wet tri suit as I dropped off my bike but the sun was now shining again and so I quickly went home, changed my shoes and grabbed a hand-held water bottle as it was very hot by now and just went out and ran my 5K. That was pretty much all I had left to do to finish the triathlon.

I must have looked a little silly running through the local park in a skin-tight suit all marked up with permanent marker on my arms and leg but I didn’t care. I was out and I was finishing my race my way.

Feeling determined after my 5K

Feeling determined after my 5K

I took a long hot shower and hung my gear out to dry, stuffed my wet shoes with newspaper and came back to reality. I uploaded all my data after I’d had a chance to eat and relax and few hours to remove myself from the events of earlier in the day.

Overall I cannot be that disappointed. I didn’t quit, I didn’t DNF the race, the elements were out of my control. I was really pleased and proud to have completed the swim and the swim to bike transition. I learned a few lessons during that and also take away confidence that I can do this.

Looking at my stats I did a triathlon on the day. I just did it my way and didn’t give up despite the situation. It would have been too easy to be down about the experience but by getting myself out for that 5K it turned a bad situation around and I know now that I can do this.

My triathlon - my way

My triathlon – my way

My goal for next year is to return to the New Jersey State Triathlon and do the Olympic distance as I had originally intended for this year. I am confident that I will do this now. I have committed to my swim training and will only get stronger and have more endurance in a years time.

My next move was to find a local triathlon in the next few weeks to achieve my goal of completing a triathlon this season. I don’t want to wait another year. I took  a look around and settled on the Medford Lakes Colony Sprint Triathlon on Sunday August 23rd. By the end of next month I will be a triathlete.

As a follow-up, the race organizers wrote to everyone and said “A decision will be made in the next few weeks on what will be offered to our Sprint athletes please be patient as we must first do our post race due diligence.” I will wait patiently.

They also offered to send finisher medals to Sprint participants. I was not sure what to do. I usually display my race medals but I didn’t get a chance to finish this one. My wife says that after all the training and in completing the distance on the day I should take it but I don’t feel like I would want to display it. So what I have decided to do is to accept the medal, not display it but put it on the side with the goal of replacing it with the real deal in 2016. That will be my motivator. Once I have my 2016 New Jersey State Triathlon finisher medal I will donate the 2015 medal to ‘Medals 4 Mettle‘.

That is my silver lining and my motivation for next years event.

Thank you for reading.

June 2015 – Month in review

June – Nike+ Summary

A little late but here goes my recap for my June 2015 activities. My Nike+ activity shows just under 70 miles run for the month. I may have to start moving away from sharing the monthly data from this platform going forward as it just shows running and none of the swimming and cycling I am currently doing in the run up to the New Jersey State Triathlon in July (my first triathlon). So here are my real stats (courtesy of Garmin/Map My Fitness).

June – Map My Fitness Summary

June – Map My Fitness Summary

As you can see from the calendar there was quite a bit of swimming and cycling in the first half of the month. for a total of 127 miles (I don’t swim THAT far yet).

The reason the numbers look a little lower (other than focusing on the swim more) is that my family and I took a trip to the UK mid month and with a general focus on visiting my family and sightseeing with the boys we only managed to sneak in a few short runs during the trip.

Playing tourists at the Tower of London

Playing tourists at the Tower of London

At the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens

At the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens

Took the boys to Parliament Hill in London to show them where we got engaged.

We took the boys to Parliament Hill in London to show them where we got engaged.

One of the highlights of the running on this trip was to take my wife on a tour of where I grew up and to visit (run by) old houses where I or my relatives lived as well as past the schools and friends houses around my old neighborhood. Good times.

The house I grew up in. They put up gates...to keep me out?

The house I grew up in. They put up gates…to keep me out?

Wonderful running in the countryside near my old home.

Wonderful running in the countryside near my old home.

My old school (new campus built since I left).

My old school (new campus built since I left).

I also had the chance to catch up with many old friends during the visit and on one occasion a friend of mine (Michael) who had just completed the London Marathon invited us to run with him. This was great as I never would have ventured out on the route he took us. I haven’t lived in the UK for almost 14 years and not lived near where I grew up for almost 20 years so the guided tour was just what we needed. We were very fortunate that the weather was great while we were there (although I did pack a few long sleeve running shirts…just in case).

Catching up with friends while running. Good times.

Catching up with friends while running

Not that we were limited to these occasional runs while over there, as a family we walked and walked and walked all over London. Both my 8 and 5-year-old boys kept up and didn’t complain once, even when my Fitbit told us we had walked 10 miles one of the days. A great visit back and I certainly ate more chocolate than I ever had in such a short time. Well, we had to do the Chocolate Tour of York when we were there.

Good times were had.

Good times were had by all in attendance

We got back from what was a great trip on July 1st. I hadn’t been near a pool in 2 weeks and it showed on my first day back (although that may have been a combination of British chocolate and jet lag). Only a few weeks from the big day so lots of work still to do.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

May 2015 – Month in review

May - Nike+ Sumary

May – Nike+ Summary

142 miles during May. As you look at my monthly stats you will notice that there were a lot of rest days but that’s not the whole story. It’s been a busy month.

At the beginning of May my wife and I ran the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon. We had been looking forward to this race weekend for a long time (we had signed up last September) and we included a family trip as part of our race weekend. It was a lot of fun. The race was great and we had a good time showing the boys around my wife’s alma mater (University of Pittsburgh).

2015 Pittsburgh Marathon

2015 Pittsburgh Marathon

After some recovery from the race and the trip I rested up a little more than normal as I undertook my first (unofficial) ultra-marathon where I ran ‘Goofy in a Day’ for the charity organization ‘Give Kids The World’. This was effectively the two days we ran at Disney rolled into one day and was the distance of the half marathon and the full marathon combined. It was a great experience and I was fortunate to have a couple of folks separately run about 12 miles with me. This definitely helped get over some of the tougher miles. My fellow Mickey Miler team-mate Tammy drove up and ran 9 miles with me which took me over the 20 mile mark and marathon distance and then a I co-opted a colleague who was running to join me and pace me for a few miles when I was into the 30s.

Goofy In A Day

Goofy In A Day

Goofy In A Day

Goofy In A Day

I was astonished at my actual time/pace for the day. I’m not sure I would rush to undertake such a challenge again too soon but ultimately I raised $1,500 for ‘Give Kids The World’ and brought my fundraising through running total to $13,000 over the last few years for both Autism Speaks and Give Kids The World. I’m quite proud of that fact.

I am a brand ambassador INKnBURN apparel and on May 4th this year they offered a secret product that you had to sign up for sight unseen. The hint was that it was May 4th (when people celebrate Star Wars day) so I threw caution to the wind and purchased this mystery item and waited for my package to arrive. When it did it was “O.M.G!!!!!! I’m hyper(space) ventilating”. It was a full sleeve Boba Fett t-shirt!!! Although my wife thinks I said I was bald and fat…and she calls me a Trekkie. I still love her though. I also love my INKnBURN. So proud to be an ambassador.

Boba Fett

My INKnBURN Boba Fett shirt

Now, getting back to that 142 mile image up at the top, since I started this blog I have always used the Nike+ image to start each monthly review. With the Pittsburgh Marathon over and the Goofy in a Day done I am now able to concentrate on my summer goal of completing my first triathlon (New Jersey State Triathlon). Some of my running days are now being replaced or supplemented with biking and swimming. Swimming is where I need to most work so I am trying to concentrate on that skill set the most for the time being. In regards to biking, I typically only get out during the summer months and then only at weekends. Well, we managed to rectify this situation this month by setting up a gym at home.

Both my wife and I have long commutes to and from our places of work and with the activities for the kids it is getting harder and harder to get to the gym before or after work. As both of us are training for the Marine Corps Marathon this October we are both needing to get our miles in at the same time. Typically I go out in the dark with a headlamp before dawn but I didn’t want my wife to be outside at those hours so we finally purchased a treadmill for the home (a NordicTrack Commercial 1750) so she can run inside when I run outside in the early morning hours. We also now have the flexibility to jump on the treadmill when the boys are in bed or when one of us is travelling for business and the other has to stay home with the boys.

A trip to the Home Depot was required

A trip to the Home Depot was required to set up the base for each machine

The end result - our private workout space

The end result – our private workout space

So as I cleared out my office to make way for the new machine (we figure after 17 marathons combined it is more than a fad) I decided to also set up a bike trainer so I could get some bicycle time in during the week. So far so good. Together this has allowed me to do a couple of brick workouts (bike to treadmill) in preparation for the triathlon in July. I’m also getting to the gym early enough to get around 30 minutes of swimming in a few times a week. I’m getting there…slowly, but still I can see some improvement. So now I cannot use the Nike app alone to recap the month. I use Garmin Connect to give me the ability to record all activities so its not just 142 miles this month but 171 miles. Again, pleased with this although I’m finding muscle groups I never thought I had. I am sure my body will get used to it. I hope so!!!

Garmin Connect - May 2015

Garmin Connect – May 2015

Garmin Connect - May 2015 detail

Garmin Connect – May 2015 detail

This Memorial Weekend we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. We had a great family weekend together with the boys at Sesame Place and we also took them to Philadelphia for a day at the Franklin Institute and tosee the Lion King before I had to jet off again to Arizona for business.

Celebrating at Sesame Place

Celebrating at Sesame Place

Enjoying the Lion King touring production in Philadelphia

Enjoying the Lion King touring production in Philadelphia

While in Arizona I took advantage of the unseasonably cool (for Arizona) temperatures and enjoyed some time exploring the area through running from my resort. It was a busy week with many hours sitting on planes and in airports but looking back it was a good trip that yielded some good work.

Taking in some of the sites

Taking in some of the sites

Exploring new areas to run

Exploring new areas to run

So May was a pretty busy month by both running, racing, home and business activities but was rewarding all around.

Thank you for reading.