27 October 2010

A Pinch Of Swimming Here, A Sprig Of Running There

I am experiencing something that us western New Yorkers refer to (most certainly in a politically incorrect way,) as an "Indian Summer." For those of you in other parts of the western hemisphere, this means that we are experiencing above average temperatures during the Fall. Why it is referred to as a "Indian Summer" is beyond me, although, I am sure if I really wanted, I could find the answers to all of life riddles on the absolute authority on truth—Wikipedia. Western New York is a pretty amazing place in terms of weather. Whenever people move here from other parts of the country, or from another country entirely, one of the first questions I get asked is "So, what's the deal with the wacky weather?" Of course, to me, going from the mid-60's one day, to near 90 a couple of days later seems more like the norm than some bizarre anomalous occurrence. Case in point: three years ago, as I was finishing up my Ph.D., I was leaving Buffalo, when all of a sudden we had a freak snow storm the first week of October. October! I am not talking a lite dusting—but a full-fledged, full-scale, here-comes-Santa Claus, white-out, foot-of-snow on my porch snowfall. The next day it was sixty degrees.

In any case, I am soaking up what remaining sunshine I have left before the winter months hit here in western New York. Have I mentioned that winter in this part of the world is just about one month too long. No one should be skiing in April. Except for skiers, and even they should not be skiing. Why does "skiing" have two "i's" and skiers only have one? Bizarre.

Anyway, I am at one of those places again where I am burning the candle at both ends. I am getting in some off-season training, but it is pretty casual right now. I do not want to go full-force and be burned out by January when I really have to start training again for the season. I have been trying to get in the pool almost everyday. I believe in that ten thousand hour rule. Granted, I am a mere nine thousand hours short right now, but it ten years, I should be a wicked good swimmer. I have been fairly consistent about getting in the gym, or going outside to do something every day, whether it's pumping some iron, or swimming, or some runs. Plus, wifey and I are working together in a concert this weekend that I wrote some music for. She dances with a company called BIODANCE that is based out of Rochester, N.Y.
Pictures of my incredibly talented wife to come.

Good News: My legs hurt less now. I have been stretching a lot more. Guess what? Stretching, although unbelievably painful for guys like me who have the flexibility of the tin man, is actually worthwhile. Instead of going out for a long run this weekend, I have done a series of shorter runs (mostly 5k's and four milers) during the week. The result is no calve, or hamstring tightness. So, I think I can start to gradually increase the mileage. I am getting ready to run my annual Race With Grace 10k. This is an awesome race. It is on Thanksgiving morning, so it is incredibly popular. Everyone goes out to run this race, so they have an excuse to eat as much as humanly possible for the remainder of the day. I know what this is like. For those of you who have been following my blog since its inception, you know that one of the most impressive weight gains in my life happened in between Thanksgiving and New Years a number of years ago. I put on 14 pounds. Nice, eh?  For those of you looking to put on a little extra winter weight to stay warm, here is how you go about it:

1) Warm up a second plate for around 11:00 p.m. I am not talking a little snack, but a plate with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy. The whole nine yards.

2) Drink Guinness and Bailey's Irish Cream indiscriminately at all hours of the day.

3) Marry a Polish woman whose father thinks that Arbor Day, a deer sighting, or any of a laundry list of happenstance occurrences are great excuses to do a shot of vodka.

4) Let your exercise consist of going to the gym to fraternize with all of your friends without lifting a weight, running, swimming, or any other physical activity. (Note: be seen with weights in your hand occasionally, so that people think you are working out.)

5) Watch as many college bowl games as possible while snacking on corn chips and Oreo's.

I got in the pool again today. I am trying to get in the pool every day, even if for a little bit, just to feel the water. My approach this off-season is to get into the mindset of looking forward to my long swims instead of dreading them.

More soon—Train Smart!

20 October 2010

11 Miles of Ouchness

My last run was on Saturday. I had no idea how far, or what tempo I was going to run. I just know that I had not exercised—at ALL—since Tuesday, and I was feeling lethargic.

I know people in my life who say that they can not work out because they "have not got the energy." I do not understand this at all. I work out so I DO have the energy. If I do not swim, bike, run, or pump some iron, I am not a delightful person to be around. I have been known to throw temper tantrums that would make my six year old blush.

The first couple miles of any run I go on are always the same: I go out a tad too fast and it takes me a while to find my rhythm. When I got back home, I checked out my run. I did solid 8:17's—not wicked fast.

The  post-Ironman recovery must be ongoing, because my body does not seem right still—especially the legs. I feel like I could run at a nice clip if my legs were not in so much pain still. Who knows. I have been swimming a lot more lately, and loving it. What the heck?!  Swimming. I like it. Who knew?!

Okay, just a short one tonight. More to talk about after the weekend. Wifey and I are working together again this weekend. I wrote some music for a dance company that she dances with!  What are the chances?

Good luck to my blogger buddy, KC who is racing her first Ironman this weekend, The Great Floridian.

Train Smart!

14 October 2010

Age Group Bloggers: What The Folks Are REALLY Saying

11 October 2010

The Lazer Tardiz Helmet Winner IS.........

Julie! Congratulations to new blog follower,  Julie, over  at hotlegsrunner!!!

She is the winner of one brand spanking new Lazer Tardiz aero helmet.

A big thank you to everyone who entered, and went over to the Lazer Facebook site and became fans. Excitement for this giveaway makes me want to try another one sometime soon.

Stay tuned!

Julie, send me an email and I will make plans to get you your helmet.

JOURNEYS OF A TRIATHLETE FATHER OF FIVE: Some Thoughts On Kona, Music, Training, And Family...

JOURNEYS OF A TRIATHLETE FATHER OF FIVE: Some Thoughts On Kona, Music, Training, And Family...: "First Up: Kona: I was as disappointed as any triathlon fan to find out that Chrissie Wellington was not racing on the big island this year...."

Some Thoughts On Kona, Music, Training, And Family

First Up:

Kona: I was as disappointed as any triathlon fan to find out that Chrissie Wellington was not racing on the big island this year. I know she is an amazing athlete, and was still the hands on favorite to win the Ironman World Championship again this year. However, I had a hunch this time around—had she raced, that she might suffer a bit of a letdown. I am probably the only human being on the planet that thinks this. After three straight wins at Kona, all of which faster than the previous (9:08:45, 9:06:23, and 8:54:02,) and a world record at the Quelle Challenge in Roth, Germany on 7 December (8:19:13,) I feel like it would have been very difficult to keep the type of mental acuity needed to race at that level again, especially when everyone is gunning for you. I guess we will have to wait another year to see how it goes down. Of course, next year, I think she may be even hungrier after being forced to take Kona off this year because of illness.

Still, it would have been really interesting to see how it would have gone down between Chrissie and Mirinda Carfrae during the marathon. Would Mirinda have had enough gas in the tank at the end to catch Chrissie off the bike? Maybe Chrissie would have had an off day. Only 363 more days to find out!

We do know, however, that Chris Leito could not run a sub three hour marathon, despite working hard with Ryan Hall and others on his run form throughout the year. I would have loved to have seen Chris win this year. Unfortunately, I think that this was probably his best, and last shot at Kona, and I think we may see him retire. I was excited to see Macca win, and have it be such a great race at the end with Raelart. By the way, Andreas Raelert has an awesome ride.

P.S. I wish I could swim like Andy Potts. Holy smokes—did you see that dude in the water. Honestly, I think my twins could have water skied off the back of him.

Training:  I was completely well intentioned last week. It is autumn here in western New York, and I was excited about getting out for a run, because, for the first time in days, it has not been raining in biblical-like proportions. Seriously, if we had any more rain last week, I would have needed an ark to get home.

I was really excited about getting out for a little 10k run on Thursday, but by the time I was finished working around 7:15, it was already dark out, and my body said "shut it down." Lame, right? To make matters worse, I just threw in the towel. I got all the kids in bed, because wifey had a rehearsal. Then I cracked open a Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout.

Then, I was going to go for a run Friday after teaching class around 11:30. Instead, I met some of my colleagues for the noontime lunch faculty speaker series. Have I mentioned that the faculty lunches are have dangerously delicious inexpensive food, and there is a full dessert table full of cake, pies, chocolates, brownies, and every other type of simple sugars you can think of?

So, I waited a few hours and thought I would get a run in later in the afternoon, but my family came down to hang out with me, see the campus, and grab some dinner a little earlier than I had expected. It was a beautiful day to go for a run, but it was an even better day to spend with la famiglia.

They are auditioning for FAME in this photo.
Children Running Down Hill
Children Rolling Down Hill
Everyone understood how to roll down the hill, except Stella. You can see her in the back left corner. She ended up doing one somersault, then figuring out that she had to be positioned like the rest of her siblings. 

We walked through campus for about an hour, then had dinner.

Grilled beat salad with endive, blue cheese and field greens. YUM!
Duck breast with bok choy over brown rice with a spicy green coconut-curry sauce. Double YUM!

I went out Saturday morning with Luca for a 10k, and did respectable 7:50's, but my body is still not right. My legs are still fatigued after Ironman. The only thing I have wanted to do is swim. So, I am listening to my body and getting in the pool as much as I can this week!

Music: I have a whole lot of music to write in a very short amount of time. Truth is, I work best when I am completely under the gun. Some people don't like pressure. I thrive off of it. I make my lists every day. I use index cards. I love crossing off tasks one at a time. With each one down, I exhale a little more. It makes me think life might be more manageable.

DRAWING UPDATE: Okay, BIG Lazer Tardiz aero helmet drawing TONIGHT!! I will probably have the lucky winner announced at 10:00 p.m. ET. STAY TUNED!

06 October 2010

Konabowl: Getting Ready For Saturday!

I know what you're thinking. "Who is that good looking dude next to Chrissie Wellngton, and why does he have his shirt off?"

It is the Superbowl of Endurance sports—The Kona Ironman Triathlon is the summit of Iron distance racing. I shall be glued to my computer for a lot of the afternoon. The boys and I will be rooting on all the competitors, but I am especially rooting for Chris Lieto. Who else can make a crop top look that macho? Okay, perhaps just  Faris al Sultan, but that's it!

In my mind, I qualified all year. You know, father of five, triathlete, gainfully employed, married. I just couldn't seem to put in the required time after this photo shoot to train for the big island. Ah, perhaps next year.

Got in the pool on my "lunch break" today. Wow, it is incredibly amazing to be able to walk to my pool from my office. I use to have to drive from my former university. Yay me!

Train Smart Humans!

05 October 2010

I'm On The Twitter

What do me and Betty White have in common?  I mean other than being extraordinarily funny human beings, our ownership of giant gold medallions, and looking great in pink?

We are now both on the Twitter. If you couldn't get enough of me through my blog, or just want to follow me in a non-threatening, unstalking sort of way, now you can:


Come follow Tridadoffive as I once again "tri" to navigate my way through another season of triathlon, while remaining gainfully employed, married, and father to five awesome bambini.

Small Update: The workouts are going pretty good. I have not done any serious weight training since January, and my body feels like it. Ouch!

I did a 10k run with my boys accompanying me on their bikes. My usual 10k route. I did not push it super hard (7:50's,)  but man, was I exhausted and in a lot of pain the next day. I must be still suffering from PIMNWS.

I went for a swim yesterday in my new "home" pool on the campus of my new school. Doesn't this picture make it look gigantic—like it's a 200 yard pool or something? Unfortunately, it is only 25 yards, but I got my own lane!
More soon. Don't forget to get your tail in gear and sign up for my Lazer Tardiz helmet giveaway.

04 October 2010

Lazer Addendum: Tardiz Aero Helmet Giveaway!

Holy Awesomeness Ironman!  The fine folks at Lazer have agreed to let me give away their awesome Tardiz aero helmet on my blog to one lucky—soon-to-be-faster—human being. 
Here is the skinny:

1. Go to the Lazer website and then come back and leave a comment
telling me which Lazer Tardiz helmet  you like AND when you would wear it. (1 entry)

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

3. Become a fan of Lazer Helmets on Facebook. Leave a seperate
comment letting me know. (1 entry)

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

Good luck!

I will announce the lucky winner one week from today!

02 October 2010

Lazer Tardiz TT Helmet Review

Back in June, I contacted the fine folks at Lazer Helmets to ask if they would be down with providing me with their TT Tardiz aero helmet for me to tryout, and review on my blog.

They were down. 

A few emails back and forth, and the next thing I knew, I was being asked for my head circumference in centimeters. After wifey and I broke out the measuring tape and wrapped it around my dome, I sent Lazer back an email with my head circumference.

You know that saying "beggars can't be choosers?" Yeah, well I never really subscribed to that point of view. So, I asked the folks at Lazer, if it were all the same to them, if they wouldn't mind sending me their Team Red White Blue helmet, because.... well.... it matches my bike, and it's super cool looking.

I waited patiently for my package to arrive. A couple of weeks went by, and I had not heard, or seen anything from Lazer. I sent an email to my new friend and asked if something had happened.

Did they accidentally find out that I am just an average age-grouper that is not very fast?

Had it been mailed, only to be confiscated by my mail carrier who wanted to get from house to house a little more quickly?

Then, one day, without any notice, I receive this package on my porch.

I was a bit eager to open it and find out what was inside.

It was like Christmas morning!

Mark had to try it out. Oh yeah, I'm aero

Adam also wanted to see how aero he would be on the floor of my living room. 

We both have rather strange form, I would say. I am completely upright, and Adam keeps his legs tucked behind his butt. That's how he rolls. 

After a few minutes of trying out the helmet, we realized that we were not that fast. Apparently, we forgot to turn it on. 

Oh, yeah... that's much better. I feel much faster now. 

Okay, for you hardcore data junkies—here are the technical specs:

Fit System:
Rollsys® Retention System
In-Mold (2 pieces)
6 vents + Aquavent
395g (XSS-M)

Now, I lifted the following descriptions of the helmet right from their website. They call this their Lazer Advantage:

Lazer Advantage
Turn me on! Simply control the size and the comfort by turning the wheel on the top of the helmet.
Minimum weight.
Colored Straps
The color of the straps has been aligned to the helmet color.
Channeled Ventilation
Internal ventilation channels for optimum airflow.
Ventilation port on the top of the helmet to disperse water over the head.
Wind tunnel tested for maximum airflow.
X-static Paddings
Antimicrobal and temperature regulating padding system.
Air channels built into the front of the Rollsys belt and pad for optimal airflow.
Perforated helmet padding to distribute water over the head via Aquavent.
Dual Layer Aerodynamics.
Head-Down Aerodynamics
Optimal aerodynamics while riding with head down.
Now, my official review of the Lazer Tardis helmet:

Comfortability:  zeer comfortabel! (Dutch for "very comfortable:" Lazer's headquarters are in Belguim)

I have tried a number of aero helmets that did not feel quite as comfortable as this helmet, or do not breath in the same way without sacrificing friction. The Lazer helmet allows for what I consider to be an decent amount of airflow through the vents onto your dome. The top of the helmet allows you to pour water right down into the vent if you want to cool your head. One of the innovative features of the helmet is its perfopad—a perforated helmet padding–which distributes water across your head evenly. 

The helmet is not an "aero furnace" like other ones I have worn. I have had some friends tell me that they wished they hadn't worn their aero helmet at their Iron distance events this summer because they felt like they heads were baking on the course. Unlike some other aero helmet models I have worn, the straps are not ridiculously obtrusive. I don't know if any of you have that problem, but it drives me insane when the strap feels funky on my face. I know it has something to do with the lengths not being equal on both sides—or something. Whatever the case, I don't want to spend time before every ride adjusting my helmet. 

Design: Lazer offers six different design on their website. I really dig the Tardiz design, which is part of the reason that I contacted Lazer, instead of some of the other leading manufacturers. 

The other reason I was interested in contacting Lazer is because I see far less of these helmets at triathlons in the U.S. than I do other models, and I think it is important to bring an awareness of great gear at a reasonable price. I was surprised to find out that Lazer has actually been making helmets for the past 95 years, and they recently won the prestigious 2010 Eurobike Award for one of their innovative helmet designs. 

The Rollsys® is actually a pretty cool feature. It saves time in transition, because you can get on your bike and start pedaling out of T1 while adjusting your fit with a free hand as you go. 
Price: At an average MSRP around $175, the Lazer Tardis comes in under many of the leading comparable models. 
The Spiuk Kronos: MSRP $229.99
Louis Garneau Rocket: MSRP $179.99
Rudy Project Syton Supercomp: $180
The First Ride: My very first ride in my new Lazer helmet was on one of those incredibly, brutally windy days where you look down at your speedometer, only to realize that you are going two or three miles per hours slower than you would normally average—I do not have legs like Chris Lieto—I go slower in that kind of wind. 

One of the first things I noticed was how QUIET it was. What does that mean? 

You know those incredibly windy days, when you are put your head down, and just try to trudge through to the turnaround, so you can fire like a missile out of a silo. I hear SO much noise and the wind is going past my ears. 

I hear considerably less wind with the Lazer Tardis—even with my head down. I am not quite sure how the dimples on the back of my helmet work for aerodynamic airflow, as I am not a physicist (like my nephew Michael, who is a part-time physicist.) All I know is, even the sound of the wind rushing past your ears can have an amazing involuntary psychological effect on your performance. Clearly, it is NOT all psychosomatic. I mean, less noise means less friction. Duh. 

You will not only look wicked fast, you will be wicked fast. 
Just look at this fast dude on Cookie Monster.

In his article titled Aero Helmets: Cheap Speed, Jordan Rapp talks about the advantage of racing with an aero helmet:

Racing with an aerohelmet can make a big difference in how much drag you generate on your bike. Aerohelmets work because of two things, their smooth covering (none of those massive vents of your regular road helmet) and their long profiles. How much an aerohelmet benefits you will be determined, to some extent, by your position on the bike.
If you are sitting up into the wind on regular road bars, then a piar of aerobars probably should be your first investment. But if you can ride comfortably on the aerobars, an aerohelmet is the cheapest way to gain some free speed. When you consider that you need to race in a CPSC-certified helmet in the US, meaning that your aerohelmet must be as good at protecting your brain as your regular helmet, you can actually gain speed totally almost for free, since you could get away with only owning one helmet.

I will leave you with the words of Jordan Rapp once again, who said  "One thing I hear from people say often about aero helmets is that “they look stupid.” I don’t really know what to say to this one, except to say that nothing looks cooler than going fast. 

Look stupid—go fast!  That's my new motto.

If any of you are looking at going stupid fast next season, I highly recommend picking up the Lazer Tardiz helmet. It's cool looking, cool on your head, and reasonably priced for an lightweight aero helmet.