Monday, November 19, 2012

Catching up...

WOW...That was a quick seven months! I can't tell you how many great ideas I have had over the past few months - all great blog post ideas. BUT, I simply have not found the time to reduce them to "paper". This past Triathlon season was a real character builder for me. It had me on the sidelines more than I am used to. When I did compete I still gave it my standard 110% but it was downright ugly at times. It really showed me how much I love my sport- that I'll get out there and compete even when there are guys (and girls) beating up on me that I have beaten in the past. I'll file it away and pull it out during some tough trainer rides this winter and use it for motivation. The Speed Lab is in full swing so I am rebuilding the beast! Speaking of The Speed Lab....We have moved our activities down to Orthopaedic Associates in Saco this year. This has been a great move. We have a bigger space, a bunch of CompuTrainers and plenty of energy for a long winter of offseason bike training. OA hired a top notch local remodeling contractor (ahem) to make some minor changes to the Performance Lab and BANG - New Speed Lab! We are equipped with a cranking music system and have a lot of laughs while we get some serious work done. Misery loves company! Check out our class schedule at www.orthoassociates/performance. The relationship with OA has been great. They have given me a wonderful platform from which to expand my coaching business. I have also joined E3 Training Solutions as an Associate Coach. I am working with Head Coach and Owner, Jorge Martinez to take my triathlon and coaching game to the next level. We are accepting new athletes for the 2013 season so let me know how we can help you with your upcoming season! So once again, I hope to be more active with this blog as I always enjoy writing. We'll see how it goes! Highlights for the summer, in no particular order: Watching three of my athletes cross the Ironman finish line in great shape. Standing atop Mount Katahdin with BOTH of my parents. Very proud moment! Signing up for IMLP 2013. Gulp. Crushing it at Turner Contracting. OK - More to come. Until then, keep your dreams alive and don't ever let somebody tell you that you can't do something! BT

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Active Recovery

So tomorrow is one month since the surgery. I have been doing what I am supposed to do and maybe just maybe, pushing the envelope a bit. I am pain free on the bike, other than the self induced pain of course. No running yet and I'm OK with that for now although I could use a few miles to shed some of the chub that has crept on during the recovery process. Yesterday I rode the "Raymond Hill Loop" with a great group of OA Tri Teamates. It was 75 miles of up and down with a stiff wind in our face most of the day. We had some "newbies" with us and it was great to see them step out there on the edge and take it the next level. The RHL is no joke. It can turn you inside out if you let it. I like the ride as it is loaded with tough climbs and is a great way to build early season fitness. It's also a great training ride for those that are competing in Lake Placid in July. Anyway, everyone did well and nobody got hurt - always a good thing.

Today I headed over to Scarborough for another crack at "The Crit". I wasn't sure how it would go as my legs were fairly well trashed from the 75 mile ride yesterday. I decided to get there early and get a good hearty warm-up in. My first few warm-up laps were awful. I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to hang on to the group. BUT, after a few trips around my legs started to come into it and I started thinking I might be OK. I decided to try to conserve as much anergy throughout the first half of the race as possible and see what happened at the end. So much for that plan. Jared was there and so were Callan, Kramer and Anthony. We had a good group of guys and we figured we could work together and try to break away from the group. The guy leading the points series showed up and that meant that if we were going to go, he was going to be with us. The first few laps were pretty friendly and then somebody took off. We responded and the group pulled back together. Then the fast guy went and Kramer told me to catch him so I did. He and I rode together for a bit before he backed off and the group reeled us in. Bummer. I just burned a lot of gas with no result. This happened a few more times before the big boy said bye bye and left us in the dust. It was now a race for second place with about four laps to go. I found myself leading the pack with no one looking too interested in going ahead. I dropped my effort to about 220 watts and waited. Nothing. OK. So we rode along like that for a bit until there was one lap to go. I got to the right which seemed to work pretty well the last time and I stayed there. I was still leading, still around's about to get real ugly real fast......half way around the backside four guys come rolling by and head into the second to last turn. I grabbed on for the ride and caught them as they came up the slight incline into the last turn. I was catching a quick breath trying to be patient when Callan shot by me. Cool, we had a couple guys in the mix. I wasn't sure where everyone else was. I held my ground until the "200m to go" sign and then it was a full out sprint to the finish. I got by Callan and almost caught the other two guys as we crossed the line. I was fourth overall. I am pretty pleased with that given the tough ride I had yesterday. I should mention that MOST of these guys ride pretty hard on Saturdays too so it was likely relative.
So the crits are a good time. Nasty pain but a great way to jack your bike fitness going into the season. I stuck around again and watched the "A" race. Those guys are flying. I think I could probably hang in there for that one but I'm pretty sure I'd get tuned up in good shape. A good goal though. I always say "there's always somebody faster". Well, this is where they hang out on Sunday mornings. I commented to the Grover's (who came to watch and cheer us on) that some people go to church on Sundays, I get all the religion I need right here in these races!
So next weekend is the Polar Bear Tri/Du and I won't be racing. I have done well at the Du for the past few years but I'll pass on it this year and hope that I am recovered soon. Best of luck to all my competitors! I'll be back next year to make you miserable again. ;).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Post Op Post" & and a "Crit"

Anterior Decompression. That is code for "Grind that hunk of bone off my foot real quick so I can get back to training". Hey Doc, 'bout how long ya' think I'll be out? Oh.....'bout two weeks or so......Hmmmmm,,,,not too bad. I can deal with THAT. Go ahead...yeah, the left foot, uhuh...yeah do that one first.

So, I got the surgery on 4/2 after a tremendous trip to Tucson. The Tucson thing is another post altogether. In fact, I may not even share it as it was one of the BEST weeks I have ever enjoyed and I'm not sure a blog post could do it justice. Well, maybe....Hheehehe But first, the surgery. I won't bore you with the details other than to tell you that "fasting" after midnight is OK as long as you take care of business relatively early the following day. My 1:30pm surgery fell way beyond my ability to survive without food and by the time they came for me I was ready to gnaw my own arm off. The Doc came in and signed my leg and I was off. It was a successfull procedure and he was able to clean up a lot of scar tissue while he was "in there". I have two portals in my ankle that have healed up nicely and I start PT with Jared at OA on Tuesday.

I got a little jumpstart on my PT today by going over to the Scarborough Crit Series in the Industrial Park and racing my first crit. It was really cool. I have always wondered what the "crits" (short for Criterium) were about. I have stayed away in the past because I didn't want to tangled up in a crash and screw up my triathlon season. PLUS, I have a relatively low tolerance for road cyclists with attitude. Now I am looking at them as a way to build bike fitness (and race)while I wait to get cleared to run. I want to see where I stack up among the best "cyclists" in Southern Maine. At the Crits they have the "A" group and the "B" group. In cycling you are Categorized as a 1-5. When you first start you are a 5. The best guys are a 1. So I'm a 5 but I'm likely more like a 4. However, that's like saying you are a .300 hitter before you step up to the plate. You gotta work your way up. I'm fine with that. In fact, I LOVE that. More stuff should be that way. Keeps the riff raff out. I like it. So I rode the "B" race with a goal to not make anyone else crash and not piss anyone off by not "holding my line". See, in crits, everyone rides very closely and if you are a tool you can really hurt someone. So, eyes up, pay attention, don't be a tool. Everybody has to be to work on Monday ya' know?
I was lucky enough to run into a couple of tri friends that have been trying to get me to race the crits for a while now. They were quick to give me tips and let me know when I should push and when I should stay with the group. In crits it is good to have a few people to work with as you move through the group.

So we lined up at the start and I found myself in the back. Again, not trying to be a tool. The race organizer goes through the pre race announcement, he reviews the standings after two weeks of racing and then he makes another announcement. He says "I know we have several newbies here but it has been brought to my attention that we have a few people here that are very good at OTHER SPORTS. Please be careful and keep in mind this is a training race" Then he looked right at ME. I gave him a little wave and just kind of fluttered my know, "Haaaaaaayyyyyyyy" that kind of wave. I probably shouldn't flatter myself by assuming he was talking to me but I got the point and decided to ease into the race and try to learn something rather than try to blow everyone up. See: "Don't be a tool"

I learned a LOT in the first few laps. There were some surges, some sprints and lots of jockeying for position. The "B's" is billed as a training ride - meant for first timers and folks like me that are ignorant about cycling etiquette(sp?), etc. HOWEVER, it's STILL a race and last I checked they charge you the same as the "A's" so I figure that I'll see how things go for a bit and then make a call. So, yeah, 13days off surgery to the ankle and here I am in a RACE. WTH? Bahahahhah!!!!! Say what you want but the foot is attached to my leg and only I know how it feels. Honestly, the last time I gave it a thought was when I clicked in. I simply had ZERO pain or discomfort during the race. It felt good to get the joint moving.
So we clicked off the laps, 1.3 miles at a time. I was in the mix and getting a feel for it. My friend Mike Kramer rolled up beside me and said to stay with him and Callan and Anthony. Cool. Looks like we got us a convoy! I did my best to keep the boys in sight, working in and out of the pack, picking a line, moving up, keeping the group together. Strategy, I like it. Kramer pulls up again with two to go and gives me a lesson about what happens at the finish. He says to get a good position, try to "jump a wheel" and then wait until there's 200m to go...then sprint for all you've got and hope for the best. Cool, I can do that...right up my alley, except for the "wait" part. One to go. Here it comes. I spent the first part of the lap getting good position on the right inside track. I had Kramer, Callan and Anthony right on my wheel. I figure I'll pull the boys and see what we can do when things get crazy. Second to last turn. Things got busted apart on a slight uphill. I got a good inside line at the top of the hill but got chopped off by a guy so I had to check up a bit. Then we were like 300m out after the last turn. Four guys in front of me. I couldn't wait any longer. I was afraid I'd get boxed in (inexperience) so I jumped on it. Up out of the saddle. Go, Go Go!!!! I was in third with 200m to go. Closing fast on 1 and 2. That's about the time things started to come apart. I just kept my head down and tried to hold on. I got clipped at the line by three smarter guys and I dropped to sixth overall. Kramer pulled alongside me on the cool down lap and I tried to talk. No dice. Perfect.
so that was my first "crit" race and I think it went OK. I didn't even have to play the "hey, I just had surgery 13 days ago" card. hehehhehe. Pretty pleased with the result. Ya' it's the "B" group but I gotta tell ya', these guys are quality cyclists for sure. It speaks to the level of talent here in Southern Maine that there is an "A" group that is a whole step above this group. I stuck around and watched the "A" race and decided that I will work my way up to that race. Got some work to do first.
So there you go. Crits. Fun stuff. I will go next week and have more fun, bring a few more friends. Hopefully the foot will continue to improve and I can splash some running in soon. Not going to rush it though. I'm fortunate I can ride without aggravating the ankle so I will focus on some biking for now. Looks like I'll ease into the tri season with an eye toward Rev3 in August. Good luck to all my friends doing The Boston Marathon tomorrow. Yes it will be hot. It will be hot for everyone. Run hard. Run smart.

-Giddy up.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Offseason of Surgery

Alright. Looks like we've got a plan. Anterior Decompression vs Gastroc Lengthening. Those of you that know what you are looking at can see the bone spur on the top of my foot. It appears to be creating an impingement when I attempt to fully dorsiflex my foot. Without trying to impress you with all of the new medical terminology I have learned over the past few months I can tell you that I am in the process of scheduling the surgery to remove this spur. I have the same situation on the other foot but no symptoms yet so I'll wait to get that one straightened out. I am told I will be out of commission for a couple of weeks. Two to three days on crutches (never been on those in my life) and then a slow and easy transition back into "normal" activity. I'm excited about this as it will hopefully put an end to the Plantar Fasciaiiistisisistsisiststssiiss(how the hell do you spell that?) and get me on track to some quality run training. So this will be my second surgical procedure in less than three months. In December I had a Venus Closure procedure to eliminate the Great Saphenous veins in my legs. Again, I now have the medical vocabulary equal to that of a pre med student but I won't "wow" you with my new knowledge of the superficial vein system. I'll just say that my legs feel better, I'm not getting that "heavy legs" feeling anymore, and I am pretty sure that when I get done with this full body-off restoration I will be stronger than Steve Austin after they put that boy back together. In the meantime, I continue to crush my bike workouts with a vengeance. Tuesday I felt like crap and we had a nasty Speed Lab/Endurance Nation session planned. I lasted about four minutes and throttled it down. Not happnin'. Fortunately I got another shot at this workout last night and I knocked it out of the park. You have to know when to back off. When the mind says "Go" and the body says "NO!" it's time to reel it in and live to fight another day. It worked and I had a great ride last night. Felt like I rode all the way to Kennebunk. Those of you that ride with a power meter know what I'm talking about. Sometimes it isn't there and you can let it kind of come to you and you get it done. Other times you gotta cut the cord and bag it. And then SOMETIMES you are riding at FTP and wondering why it feels do easy. So I'll keep hammering. We need to squeeze a surgery in here somewhere so I'll try to work hard until then and pick it up afterward and see where we're at. Either way this is going to be an interesting season, one that may just have to evolve vs be planned out. I'll take it as it comes and continue to be thankful that I only have a foot issue when I know that others actually have REAL issues to deal with.

I enjoyed the Cape 10-Miler on Sunday. It is tough for me to spectate without busting right out into a full blown sprint but I got through it and supported my friends and some of the folks that I help with their training. I would much rather RUN the ten miles than spectate but hey, a little time on the sidelines never hurt anybody right? Right? Hahaha...Screw that, I'll be back running that race next year and I'll be looking to go fast.

I'll be working on my "spectating" technique again tomorrow at The Polar Bear 5K where I'm hoping that one of the ladies I coach will be smashing her 5K best. She's been working really hard and tomorrow is the big test.

Football is over. Sorry fellow Pat's fans. Good game but lot's of missed opportunities. I guess that's why they play the game right?

Before the game Jared and I decided to do an hour or two on the CompuTrainers. We had planned on a nice steady ride. Those of you that know us can figure how that turned out. I think I'll tell that story in my next post.

Until then,


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Friday Night Fights, Super Bowl and The Mid Winter Classic

Looking forward to today. I'm up early and ready to race. That would be great if I were racing but I am not. Although I think we made some great progress with my heel/calf this week, I'm not ready to race. I wish I was though,the Cape Ten Miler is a great way to get out there and blow out carbon and see where you are at, so to speak. So I'll be an "athletic supporter" today and go root for my friends and athletes that coach. Jodi and Bailey are coming and Jodi has a new camera. A couple of years ago she got some great shots and I think people really enjoyed having some race photos they didn't have to pay for. Pretty cool. I might bring my road bike and cruise around the course, that way I'll get to see more people and I won't be standing still - HATE that. Not sure yet though. I guess I'll see what the temp is first. So get 'em guys!

Did you know today is Super Bowl Sunday? I wasn't sure you were aware given the limited press coverage this year. Hhehee.. The Super Bowl is a living breathing organism. It consumes the country and I think it's great. I never played football in school as I went to a high school that subscribed to the "we can outfit a whole soccer team for what it costs to outfit ONE football player" theory. I countered that by playing soccer like a football player. My coaches appreciated but I'm not sure the opposition was too impressed. As a result, I never got into football and I don't know the game very well. Sure, I know what's going on but I can't spot a blitz and I get frustrated with all the down time during the games in general. BUT the Suer Bowl is an event, heck the COMMERCIALS are an event! So. I'll watch and I'll root for the Pats and I'll try to avoid pounding 3000 calories into me that will make me hate myself tomorrow. My mother LOVES the game so I'll plan to give her a buzz tonight at about 6:29 just to "shoot the breeze".

AND....The Friday Night Fights. We had a t great time at Maine Running Friday night. I brought some Speed Lab regulars with me and they all did very well. As I mentioned in my last blog I was looking to redeem my effort of two weeks ago against a particular Maine Running employee that likes to get in my grill. It's all in good fun of course but that doesn't mean he isn't on my list of people that I'd like to beat. He "tweeted" earlier in the day that he was "coming after me". I returned fire a few hours later with "sorry it took me so long to reply, I was down at Fitzpatrick Stadium running the bleachers with a telephone pole on my shoulders". As I set the phone down after that one I laughed all the way into Portland. I had to stop at ME Running to drop off my CompuTrainer so I took the opportunity to mess with him a little more. I went in the back door with the trainer and dropped it off. Then I just strolled to the front of the store (he was at the register to my right)and gave him my best game face without saying a word and I walked right out the front door! Hahahah Classic. He didn't know I was headed down the street to grab lunch with a friend and I was in a hurry but it was fun to screw with him. Ah,, fun stuff. Anyway...So we made sure we lined up together to make sure we would make each other good and miserable and we were off. It was a 30 minute TT and it was PAINFUL. My HR was 178-180 the entire time. I pretty much hurl at 182-184 so I was on the edge for sure. I managed to open up a 500' gap on Ryan but he got it back on a climb. Then I got it again and was able to hold it. I don't think there's ever been such a fiercely contested race for 4th place! I was pretty sure Jared was going to tune me up, and he did, but what I was most impressed with was my two athletes David Grover Sr and his 14 year old son David Jr. They both smoked me and I couldn't have been more pleased for them. They have worked hard over the winter to get stronger.

So I beat The Kid. I don't think he had a great night but we'll meet again in a few weeks. We're having a lot of fun with this stuff and it's great winter time competition to keep the juices flowing - especially for an injured runner.
Alright, time to get geared up for SPECTATING. Ughh. I'm looking forward to seeing lots of friends, it's always a good time. I'd love to be out there competing but I'll be back. Promise.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gimme The Boot...


Over the past few months I have put together some fantastic blog posts. Unfortunately I was typically sitting in traffic, working on a job or punching out a workout. As a result, my awesome topic or funny story always seemed to fall by the wayside in favor of something else more important. And so it goes, right? Well, it has recently occurred to me that I miss writing, I enjoy it, therefore I have decided I should try to do it more often. I'll continue to keep it light, TRY to make it humorous and from time to time maybe even give you a small morsel you might be able to apply to your own life. Maybe I'll even motivate you in some way to do something you have been meaning or wanting to do.

So, 2011 was a great year. Business was great, I had a great race in Placid and I really can't think of how I would have made it any better. My folks lost a combined 100 pounds, my daughter became a teenager, I landed TWO new home construction contracts and I wrapped up the year by buying a new (to me)Super Duper Pick-up that is the most obnoxious YELLOW color you have ever seen. Not a day goes by that I don't get some crap about the color. I don't care though, she's a sweet ride. In November I harvested a fine 4 point buck in South Barre, VT. Oh yeah, almost forgot, after Ironman I accompanied my father, my brother and some great friends to the top of Mount Katahdin. This year, my mother is going with us and my Dad is going to brave the Knife Edge. Looking forward to the challenge!

My triathlon exploits have taken a step backward thanks to a lingering case of Plantar Fasciitis (sp?). I have tried EVERYTHING to rid myself of this nagging eight month old injury but nothing has worked. The good folks at OA have been a huge help and I am hopeful that we get it figured out soon or I am going to have to take 2012 (gulp) off. Oddly enough, I tried "The Boot" again last night and this time it seems to have had some positive impact. I found myself optimistic about my foot for the first time in awhile. While I was meeting with the surgeon yesterday I was sure to ask him "did I cause this by training for Ironman?" his response was "No, you simply have high arches and you are REALLY tight". I really wanted to know that because I run into a lot of people throughout the course of the year that think what I do is "extreme". I get questions like "hey are you still doing that crazy marathon stuff? or my favorite, "your so thin!" "What's wrong?" I simply explain that just because the last time they saw me I was grossly overweight and my head was the size of a basketball doesn't mean that was NORMAL. I am simply in better shape and overall health than I have ever been. Save for a case of PF I would argue I am in the best shape of my life. One of these times I'm going to turn the tables during one of these encounters and come back with "gee, you're looking fatter than ever, how is your cholesterol?" or "Boy, I don't know how much more your heart can take, you'd better step away from the Little Debbie's". Heheheh OK, I'm starting to crack myself up so I'll switch gears. You get my drift tough.

So I went down to Maine Running last Friday night to ride my bike against some of the local talent. I came away having confirmed my feeling that I have a lot of work to do. Man, there are some strong cyclists in Southern Maine. As usual though, I was able to identify a new friendly rival and I have been working hard to give him a better fight this coming week. He works at Maine Running and is a good athlete but I plan to have a little more up my sleeve for him this week. He might still get me but he's gonna feel it. It made me realize that I just love to compete - regardless of the season, where I'm at in training, I love to throw it out there and see where I'm at. Lots of guys won't do that becuase they don't want to have their name in print with a sub par result. I say what the heck, let's get after it. Some people forget that this is supposed to fun. I guess it's like anything else, you get people that take it too seriously. Not me, well, I'm serious about it but I also try to keep it in perspective. We all have to be at work tomorrow ya' know?

Two weeks ago I hiked / snowshoed into Daicey Pond in Baxter State Park. It was a great trip with great friends. The foot held up ok and I made it through without incident. Sixteen miles over two days. I came away sore and fulfilled, having made a couple of great new friends. Of course it never hurts your chances of being accepted at camp when you pull a bottle of Captain Morgan out of your backpack after dinner and put together a nice evening of story telling and swapping lies. Thanks boys!

We have been plugging along at The Speed Lab where we have a few peeps training for Lake Placid. I'll be going to LP but this year it will be in a support role and I am entertaining the thought of another Ironman in 2013. Maybe my foot will be better by then! I have signed up for Ironman 70.3 Mt Tremblant and we are looking forward to a trip to Montreal in June as long as I can compete. I also have Rev3 OOB Maine on the schedule. I'm hopeful can do both. Jodi and I are joining some great friends for a trip to Arizona in March where I will be biking Mt Lemmon for the first time and doing a weeks worth of biking and tri training. Looking forward to the change of scenery and hoping I have two good feet to work with.

Lastly, my triathlon coaching business has begun to get very busy. I now work with a dozen athletes, helping them avoid some of the mistakes I've made along the way. I really enjoy seeing people achieve something they never thought was possible. In December I successfully navigated the USAT Level One Triathlon Coach recertification process so I am happy to have that behind me. I continue to meet new and exciting people through coaching. Funny, it's often so much more about getting people to step out of their comfort zone than it is about the X's and O's of the sport.

Alright, so that's it. I'll be back sooner than later. In the meantime I'll continue to try to lead from the front without falling on my face.

Now, where's that damn boot?