Thursday, November 11, 2010

Give A Little Bit

Yesterday I attended a Compeer event and got the opportunity to meet Kareem Abdul-Jabber.  Did you know that he is REALLY tall.  I mean wow!  I knew he was tall but until you see the guy in person you just don't get it!  Check out the picture of him behind the podium speaking to the crowd.  When he first came up to the podium to talk his jacket was open and you could see his belt buckle about 5 inches above the top of the podium.  In comparison the podium was about rib to chest level for the other speakers.

He told his story about growing up in Harlem and having the opportunity to get a great education because of basketball.  Kareem talked a lot about today's young MBA players who have come into the MBA directly from high school with out going to college and the difficulties they have adjusting to the life style that comes with being a highly paid professional athlete and how most of them today have very little of the millions of dollars they made as professional athletes.  I think what he was trying to say is programs like Compeer allow young people to spend time with people who will help point them in the right direction.  That direction may be college or why is it a good idea to stay out of trouble.  I am glad I took the time out of my day to donate money to a good cause and listen to someone who has used his good fortune to help others get ahead in life.

Kareem yelled across the room to me when I first arrived at the convention center.  He said, Scott come over and let me get my picture taken with you...  Okay, that's a lie.  I showed up at 10:00 with the rest of my friends and stood in line to buy a picture of Kareem and then stood in line a little longer so he could autograph it for me.  None the less, it was a cool experience.

I can tell he has been reading my blog because he did talk about the power to weight ratio that I wrote about in my last post.  He mentioned how some of the larger players today get injured more than he did during his career.  These new guys are just as tall as Kareem but they out weigh him buy as much as 100 pounds.  The extra weight fatigues and beats up your body.  Kareem signed this picture just for me because the advise I gave was so spot on.  Again... that's not true.  I am sure has has never read my blog or even knows who I am.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Next Year Build Up

During the two minutes per day I have to myself I have been thinking about what I did this year that made me faster and where can I make improvements.

The most obvious thing to do is keep on training so that I don't lose to much over the winter, but being consistent is only a small piece of the puzzle.  I came up with a few additional goals for the off season that will hopefully improve my overall times next year.  Some of my goals may apply to other triathletes and then again, they may not.  You decide what works and get it done.

The first thing I want to do is lose about 15 pounds.  I lost about 20 ponds this year and I could really feel it on the bike and during my run.  I wasn't fat at the beginning of the season but I didn't look like I could finish a half iron man.  I am almost as lean as I would like to be now but extra lost lbs will make a big difference.  The hardest part of losing weight right now is finding the time to train with all the responsibilities that come with having a new business.  For example, I wanted to go run today in the afternoon but stuff came up and I felt guilty about trying to break away for a 45 minute run.  I need to work on taking time for myself once in awhile.  I don't really need to change my diet at this point I just need to make sure that I burn more calories that I take in.  Mark put it best when he said, "during the season I eat to train and during the off season I train to eat".

Second, I need to improve my power to weight ratio.  If I increase my strength and lose the 15 pounds I think I can lose, I will be much faster than this past year.  This is another challenge because I need to fit this into my routine.  Most of the articles I have looked at (yes I can read) say that you should do at least two days of strength training each week.  My plan is to cut my run back two days a week to leave time to put in about 45 minutes of intense weight training.  I am not power lifting here.  I am going to work on putting up 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.  This activity will also aid in my weight lose because strength training will burn fat for a longer period of time after the work out compared to running or other cardiovascular activities.  I am not suggesting that you stop your cardio, but to cut it back two days a week and add in 45 minutes of strength training at the gym.  I have been using a program I found online that is used by Craig Alexander that includes 12 exercises that takes me about 45 minutes to get through.

Last but not least, I will continue to work on my swim, bike and run technique.  I saw my biggest gain this year in the water.  I got a small tip during a pool workout one day and shaved a huge block of time off of my swim.  My plan this year is to learn more and practice the things that will make me more efficient.  I am not looking forward to putting my bike on the trainer but that is a great time to work on some drills to improve your peddling technique.  As far as the treadmill is concerned, I am not a big fan.  I plan on putting in some good temp runs with the occasional semi speed work out.  I will take advantage of every day the temperature gets above 35 and go outside and run.  I think most of my running injuries have come from the treadmill.

That is my basic plan for the colder months that can help keep all of us inside and out of the snow.  Please comment with any of  your thoughts.  Keep up the hard work and train smart.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Next

The off season is a hard time for me.  At this point all of my aches and pains are finally gone and I really miss training and racing with my team.  If you are a triathlete you know what I mean when I say I love what I do for a living but the thing I look forward to the most is getting together with my friends to put in a long tough workout on Saturday or Sunday.  Now that the temperatures outside have dropped and the rain falls all the time we don't get out together as much.  I got together with Mark this week for a few minutes and realized that we hadn't seen each other since late July!!!  I couldn't believe it.  It had been about two and a half months since I had seen Mark.  Mark is one of my favorite training partners because he is a competitive freak just like me.  Sometimes when we are taking off on a long ride Mark will remind me that we are going for a long ride and that we are not going to race but it always turns into a race no matter how hard we try not to race. 

As I watched this video I thought of all of the things I achieved this year and the things I want to achieve next year.  I can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Good But Not The Best

Musselman 2010 is complete and in the record books for team Crank Skins. Mark, Adam, Manuel, Mike and I all set person best times and finished with out any hick ups. I have to admit that the entire race seemed to fly right by this year. I have been training my butt of since January to make sure I was better prepared for this year than I was last year. Last year I felt like I was out on the course all day long. I am sure the THREE flat tires I had last year contributed to my agony post ride during the run but this year just felt so much better. Also, being more familiar with each part of the race helped me mentally get through the race a little faster. I finished about 40 minutes faster than last year, so I am happy about that but I still think I could have done better.

If I had to make any changes I would start with getting up earlier. I got up at 5:00 and got dressed, ate a bagel with peanut butter and left the hotel to ride my bike two miles up the road to the race site. I had plenty of time to get my transition area set up but I didn’t have a chance to get in the water and warm up. I wasn’t worried about the swim but I really wanted to get my body physically ready to go hard from the start. I swam faster than last year but finished about four minutes later than I had wanted to. In regards to the run, next year I will ask the spectators with hoses in their front lawns to spray my upper body only because by mile 6 my sneakers were soaked. This didn’t really slow me down but I would have preferred to run in a dry pair of shoes. I did pick up a tip from my friend and training partner Mike regarding running down hill when your legs get super tired. He said try running back words. Mike said this will stretch your calves out and take some of the pounding off of your legs. I don’t think I need to tell you what my biggest concern is about running down a hill back words during a HIM (half ironman). Maybe I’ll give it a try on a training run in a populated area so someone can call 911 after I fall down and get knocked unconscious.

I was really happy with the bike portion of the race this year. Last year I got three flat tires during the ride at about miles 24, 30 and 44. This year my overall bike time was better due to the fact that I didn’t get any flats and my average speed went up over a full mph. I also maintained a more consistent pace this year. Believe it or not I have a bit of a competitive streak in me and last year I was trying to race every rider that I went by or that went by me. I am pretty sure that contributed to my burn out last year. Also, anyone who has done the Musselman HIM in the past knows about Sampson State Park. If not, I’ll tell you about it. Sampson State Park is an old Naval base that is now a state park. The road going through Sampson State Park has seen better days. The race director said the road hasn’t been resurfaced in about 20 years so you can only imagine how rough the ride was. This was the portion of the course that gave me my third flat tire last year. This portion of the course also caused some problems this year that I didn’t see until I got home. I had a broken spoke on my back wheel that fortunately didn’t negatively affect my ride. Just so you know this is the second spoke I had broken on my new SRAM S40 wheel that I had just purchased about two months ago. The good news is that SRAM is sending me a brand new wheel.

I got off my bike and ran into transition feeling pretty good. I took my time putting my shoes on and guzzling the rest of my sports drink and started to run out and notice my fellow Crank Skins teammate Mark raking his bike. Part of me said AWESOME we can run together and the other part of me said get moving he might out run you. Did I mention I have a competitive streak. The run started off better than I expected it to. I settled into a very comfortable pace within a few minutes and kept looking over my shoulder for Mark because I know he runs at about the same pace I do. As I closed in on mile number 3 I was running up hill that allowed me to look back about a half mile and I didn't see Mark so I was feeling pretty good about coming in before him. At around mile 11.5 I heard some say come on Scott! I turned around to see who it was and saw Adam another member of team Crank Skins running up from behind me. I didn't expect to see him. I am not saying Adam is slow. I think he we are pretty even when it comes to the run and very close on the bike and the run. I ran with him for a couple of minutes and then let him go. My quads were spent and screaming at me to slow down. At the end of the day Adam finished four minutes ahead of me Mark finished one minute behind me. Manuel and Mike both had a good day but finished about a half hour or so behind Mark, Adam and me.

I am looking forward to next year and the next race this year. Musselman was only two days ago and I am already to jump back into training at full speed but fortunately my wife keeps talking sense into me.

Happy training and stay healthy!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Trainer Fever

Do you ever feel like you a hamster running in a wheel because you are working hard but you aren't going anywhere.  Today I have a 2 hour and 15 minute ride and I am not looking forward to it. It’s not the time I am dreading. It is the fact that I have to look at the same wall in my basement for over two hours. The only bonus to riding in the basement on my trainer is that I never ride into a head wind. The down side is that the view never changes and it just doesn’t stack up to getting out for a real ride.

I will run outside during the winter but you must be crazy if you think I am going to take my bike out on the salt covered roads. Maybe one day I will buy a winter bike but at the moment I don’t have one. I could go to the gym and spin with some friends but that is getting a little old as well. Not to mention the seats on the spin bikes look more comfortable than my seat but the comfort factor ends at how they look. After a long ride on the spin bikes at the gym I feel like the kid getting paddled in the movie Dazed and Confused.

I was going to ride this morning and talked myself out of it. I decided that if I have to ride and run today I will wait until this afternoon. The temperature outside will be about 40 so I can do my ride in the based and avoid the treadmill and head outside for my run.

I keep hearing people say that winter is almost over. I hope they are right because I am ready for spring.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 9 of 36

I am half way through week 9 of 36 of the Iron Man training program my group and I are following. I haven’t kept a very good week by week account of how the training has been going because life has been absolutely nuts. My training program started the same week my preparation to open my new business started. I have had to spend a few weeks out of town and that has affected my training some but not to the point it has set me back.

The first couple of weeks were very easy in comparison to what I had been doing and I had to keep reminding myself to slow down. The last thing I need to do is burn out before the season gets started. After we got through the first couple of weeks the training started to pick up and become more challenging. Working out inside is starting to get to me. How many hours can one spend on a trainer or treadmill without going mad! Three hours may be my limit.

I have a problem with the top of my foot at the moment. I am not sure what I did but I have not been able to run for the last week and a half. I woke up the day after having the flu and noticed that I couldn’t put much pressure on my foot. I haven’t run since my foot pain showed up in an effort to let my foot heal. It is early in the year so I am not worried about getting behind but I do miss putting in a good long run. I always feel good inside after a nice long run.

Yesterday my foot was feeling great so I decided I would try to do some of the 55 minute run that my training plan called for before I jumped in the pool for an hour. I got up at 4:30, had breakfast and headed for the gym. I wasn’t sure how much of the run my foot would let me finish but I hoped for at least 30 minutes. I started running at about a 60% effort for my warm up and new my run was done within a few steps. I tried to push through the pain for about a minute but decided to stop before I sent the healing process in reverse.

The swim went great though. This year I feel like I have made great strides with my swim. I am moving faster and maintaining that speed for the entire workout. While my foot is the dark cloud for the moment my swim is the ray of sun shine I need to keep my going. The foot will heal soon so I will add in some extra time on the bike and weights to work my legs so I am ready to jump back in to the run workouts. I am hoping I am ready by this weekend because the program does call for one long run and one medium length run and I would really like to do both of them.

Some other good news is that my wife has finally decided to get a bike this year. We are going shopping this weekend and hope to find what she is looking for. I got her running two years ago and now she is getting a bike. The next step is getting her in to the pool. That may be the biggest hurdle I face because even though my wife is in great shape she doesn’t like put on a bathing suit in front of other people. I will have to keep chipping away and eventually I get her in.

Keep training and stay healthy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

See Your Doctor

I was in the pool about a month ago with the crew, and Mark mentioned setting up a physical to make sure he is as healthy as he feels.  How often do you hear about someone dropping dead of a heart attack during a run.  Once is enough for me but I have heard it a number of times.  I will admit that I would have never given it thought until Mark brought it up.

I have been experiencing some chest pain for the last 6 months that I figured was just a little acid reflux so I have just ignored it with everything else I have going on.  You know, training for an Iron Man, starting a new business and spending time with my family.  I had an episode while my parents were at the house and they encouraged (demanded) that I go to the doctor.  It took another two weeks but I finally set up a time to go get a full physical and find out just how healthy I actually am. 

The doctor after some examination and questions determined that I do have acid reflux that is presenting itself as pressure in my chest.  I found out the acid reflux can also feel like hunger and cause you to eat to feel better but that just makes it worse.  She prescribed some meds and asked me to have an EKG done while I was there to make sure I was alright based on the fact I mentioned chest pain.  I of course had no problem with this.

After a few minutes a nurse came in put all of the sticky tabs on my chest and then pulled them off and sent me on my way telling me it looks good.  Later that night around 8:00 P.M. I got a call from the doctor.  She tells me she saw something on my EKG that she wasn't sure about so she wants me to go get a stress test done to make sure I am okay.  According to her, whatever she saw is pretty common in very fit people (me) and I shouldn't worry but we need to cover our bases (cover our asses against law suits).  I can't blame her and don't mind taking the time to make sure I am going to make it back from my next run.

I am going for my stress test on March 4 and will found out the results then.  I am sure it is nothing or I would most likely be experiencing some type of problem but I will post my results and my experience after I am done.  I have never had a stress test and I am sure most of you are in the same boat.  At this point I am not too worried about but the point is, we all need to get checked out because you never know what could be going on.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Last Chance To Win

Follow the instructions below and you may win a Timex Ironman Race Trainer Kit from Mark at

Only 10 Days left until I raffle off a Timex Ironman Race Trainer Kit provided courtesy of Timex.

You have up to four chances to win the watch just by:

1) Be a follower of my blog, leave a separate comment letting me know
who you are. (1 entry)

2) Become a fan of Timex Sports on Facebook (nudge, nudge-wink, wink) Leave a separate comment letting me know. (1 entry)

3) Post this contest on your blog, leave a separate comment letting me
know you've done so. (1 entry)

4) Go to the Timex website and then come back and leave a commenttelling me which products you like AND when you would wear it. (1 entry)

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Got Tagged

My training buddy Mark at tagged me to list my 10 favorite things.  I normally send this stuff to my recycle bin but I am going to do it just for Mark.

1) Cuddling up on the couch with my wife and daughter.  That is when my daughter will sit still for more than five seconds.

2) Playing with my daughter Isabelle on the floor after dinner.  I'll like it even more when she learns how to pick up her toys.

3) The smell of my wife's sauce cooking all through the house.

4) Going to bed with my wife at night.  I am not being dirty.  I like to cuddle.

5) Going on a long training ride through the country and seeing all of the stuff you don't see when you are driving.

6) Pasta on Sunday.  Like air, I can't live without it.

7) The satisfaction I get when I complete a project around the house.

8) The smell of Italian bread cooking in the over and eating a fresh piece with oil, pepper and cheese.

9) The feeling of perfection and being unstoppable when I am running, riding or swimming and I get in to my perfect rythem.

10) Spending all day with Roseann and Isabelle doing what ever.

Thats my list of my 10 favorite in no particular order.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Be The Rubber Man

Being flexible is so important. Flexibility can help you increase the length of your stride while running making you faster and more efficient. It can help strengthen your muscles and more importantly can help prevent injury. Being fast is great and is something most of us strive for. This year I plan on running by Craig Alexander so fast in Kona that he thinks I'm on wheels. Wait a minute. I won't be in Kona. Oh well, maybe next year, and the only place I will be running by Craig Alexander is when I am transitioning to start the bike leg of the race as he finishes bike and heads off to start his run.
I have been doing some reading and have found a number of different options on the topic of stretching. Some people say don't worry about it and others say you must take the time to stretch. I am going to take the advice of those who say stretch, because I have personally felt the effects of not stretching. Stretching for triathletes is extremely important and necessary because of the way we treat our bodies. When we swim, bike or run our muscles expand and contract over and over again in the same way. This creates tension and to add to that, most of the time you are not fully extending so you are pulling that tension in. When I think of how flexibility will make me fast I always think of a runner I saw coming towards me in an out and back 5 mile race. This guy was absolutely TRUCKING. Each one of his steps was so much longer than mine even though his legs were shorter.
This year the number one goal is to stay healthy. If you are healthy you can train and be better prepared for each race. Last year I didn't stretch enough and end up with some lower back problems and the year before that I had some hip problems. I always experienced these problems in the late winter or early spring when the training really started to ramp up. The reason most of us including me don't take the extra time to stretch is because we don't think we have the time. I know when it is time to put in a long work out I am thinking to myself that it is time to go because I have a number of other responsibilities on my plate. You know what I am talking about. You have to work, take care of our families, cut the grass, trim the shrubs or fix the pipe that just burst under the sink.
I almost injured myself last week. Manuel and I put in four long runs and I increased my weekly distance by much more than 10% and as a result my knee hurt for a few days. Fortunately I did a lot of stretching and I think I have avoided an injury that would keep me from training.
What I find works the best for me is taking 15-20 extra minutes to put on my iPod and use the time to relax and stretch out before I start my work out. I also put in some extra time while I am on the floor playing with my one year old daughter. Some times she does bring a challenging element to stretching by climbing on my face or pulling on the limb I am trying to stretch out but it is better than doing nothing at all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Did It Start?

The other day someone asked me how I got into triathlon. I guess I should answer that question for anyone who is interested. I always ask other triathletes how they got started and everyone has a different story. Some people want to get into better shape, just want to try or want to add something to their life that they can control while fighting cancer.

My triathlon seed was planted in March 2006. My father had been having some kidney problems and as a result his kidneys shut down. He had two options. Option one; spend the rest of his life on dialysis. Dialysis is like a part time job. My father spent about 12 - 16 hours a week sitting in a chair so a machine could do the work his kidneys could no long do. It doesn't sound so bad, but it was. The process knocked him out for at least a day. The dialysis took the bad stuff out along with the good stuff he needed. Option two, was to have a kidney transplant. He said he would not continue to do the dialysis so the transplant was the only option. My mother wanted to donate but the doctors would not allow her to because of her blood pressure. Mom's blood pressure wasn't high but it wasn't were the doctors wanted it to be. My father did not want to take a kidney from any of his children because he was worried about our health. The good news is you only need one kidney, so you can give one away. If one goes bad, they both go bad. Also, if you are a donor you go to the top of the transplant list if your organ fails in the future. Once my father got all of the facts he felt a little better but still wasn't 100% on board. My siblings, their spouses and I all got tested to see who was a match for Dad. Fortune tally we all matched Dad. Now we just needed to figure out who should donate. In my mind it had to be me. I am the youngest and my job allowed me to take the time off from work because most of my job is done out of the office. Everyone agreed and I went ahead with the rest of the compatibility testing.

I knew I would have to be in top physical condition for the doctors to agree to take a perfectly good kidney out of my body and give it to my dad so I started running. I hadn't run more than a couple of miles in years and I could tell by pain in my legs the day after my first run. I didn't think I would hurt so badly because I had spent a lot of time weight training over the years but I didn't do much cardio training.

Each week I ran a little further until I got up to about 3 miles. About the same time the Rochester Chase Corporate Challenge sign up link appeared in my e-mail at work. I signed up for the race along with a number of my coworkers. This was the first time I had shown up for a road race with the plan of running it as fast as I could. I finished 3rd place with in One Communications and the race bug bit me. I had a great time running with all the other people and pushing my self to run faster than I thought I could. I did a few more 5K's that summer and decided that I wanted to take it to the next level and do a triathlon.

I spent about two months looking for the bike I wanted and landed a great deal on a Serotta in September 2006. I had wanted a Serotta since I was about 15 years old but could never afford one. This is not a tri bike but I didn't know how I would feel about the sport once I competed in an event so I bought an aggressive road bike that I could ride just for the fun of it as well.

I had not ridden a bike in a competitive nature in 12 years and I quickly remembered how hard it was to keep moving at a good pace. I had taken spin classes with my wife a few times but spin class doesn't even come close to riding a real bike. Don't take it the wrong way when I say it is much harder than spinning. I leave the room after spinning soaked in sweet and tired but the muscle fatigue you feel on a real bike is much different.

That October I donated my kidney to my father on October 27. The transplant was an instant success for him. The doctors said that the new kidney started trying to fill the bladder before they could finish stitching it up. My father’s recovery went well as it most often does for the recipient of a kidney. The donor is usually the one that suffers the most.

I was not allowed to life anything over 20 pounds for about 6 weeks. I could not run for almost 3 months. I don't need to tell you that I was really out of shape. On top of that I got promoted to Branch Manager in Buffalo but I live in Rochester so I added 2.5 hours of commuting to my day, every day. I was in Buffalo for about 1.5 years and during that time I did some running and some cycling but not enough to keep my in the kind of shape I wanted to be in. I eventually requested to come back to Rochester when my wife became pregnant with our daughter. Once I lost my 2.5 commute I started running and cycling a lot more.

So I had the run and bike part down. Now I just needed to get into the pool. I had never been a swimmer and had no idea how tough it really was until I got into the pool for the first time. I swam one length of the pool (25 yards) and had to stop and catch my breath. That was a huge wake up call. The full Iron Man swim is 3,872 yards. I needed to spend some time in the pool. I started attending Masters Swim which is a program at the YMCA were you swim with good swimmers who will push you and us a work out put together by the staff at the YMCA. With in a few months I could easily swim 1,000 yards and was ready for my first triathlon.

During the summer of 2008 I finished my first two Sprint Tri's and tri bug had bitten me. Since then I have completed a Half Iron Man and hope to complete a Full Iron Man this summer.

My fathers need for a kidney and my desire to help forced me to improve my lifestyle. As a result my father is a healthy 75 year old man and I am a much healthier person than I was 3.5 years ago.  You could say we helped each other.