24 September 2010

A Little Post Between Posts: Post Ironman Run#1 (As told by Paul Harvey)

That's a lot of "posts." I might need a "post-" hole digger... cha cha cha!  Thank you... I'll be here all night!

When I was a kid, I remember driving in the car with my father listening to the news and sports on AM radio with him. In between segments, this character would come on and tell stories in dramatic fashion. He would tell part of a story—often of an important politician, inventor, scientist, or popular cultural icon. The stories were always biographical in nature, and always had a surprising ending that would give away the character at the very end and their significant historical contribution. This man's name was Paul Harvey. If you are unfamiliar with him, do yourself a favor and check him out on Youtube.

Anyway, I called up my esteemed colleague, Chris, who teaches in the theater program, to see if he would like to go out for a run this afternoon. He was down. Right after lunch, we decided we would get together at three o'clock, and do between three and nine miles.

My plan for today was to take it nice and easy and to try to reintroduce my legs to the wonderful world of running. I was thinking a 10k might be nice.

And now... as Paul Harvey would say, here is "the rest of the story:" (most effective if read with Paul Harvey's voice in your head)


So Mark met Chris on that incredibly hot fall day back in September—outside of the Provost's office—in front of the quad—for his first post-ironman run, a run that he had been looking forward to for two weeks following his triumphant first attempt at his first iron distance event. An event whose participants run a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles, and bicycling 112 miles.

That's right.

You heard me right.

 A combined 114.4 miles by sea and bike before actually running a marathon—a distance of 26.2 miles

Some people call these folks... crazy. (Pause) Excessive.  (Pause) Insane. 


For others, it's a lifestyle. Mark was part of that lifestyle now. A newbie Ironman, excited to get back to some sort of training regiment, he looked forward to his run later that afternoon.

Little did either of them know, that in one day, the temperature had soared more than twenty degrees warmer that it had been the previous day—the day that Mark initially wanted to get out and do his first post-Ironman run. That's right... twenty degrees.

It had gone from a mild, and comfortable 65 degrees, to an incredibly humid 87 degrees. And, little did they know, with their excitement about getting out and running together the first time (and self-induced testosterone driven male ego,) that the would go out too fast, and the humidity would beat them down like a gazelle in the midday sun of the Serengeti, chased by a ferocious, hungry lion. Some 32 minutes into the run, Mark looked at Chris, plainly grabbing his sides now, and suffering from dehydration for not having anticipated the sweltering heat, and apologized for having to stop. It seemed as if Mark was tired. Real Tired. As they walked the rest of the way back, talking, Mark ensured Chris that he was in much better shape than he had showcased today. Chris looked back at Mark and said, "I thought we went out a little fast..." 


Mark got back into his office and, feeling completely dejected,  put the route into his computer as he always did, to figure out the mileage and pace. At first, Mark thought there must be some mistake, as the numbers did not quite make sense. He then cleared the entire page and put the route back in to figure out mileage and pace once more. 


As it turned out, this route, which saw nearly 650 feet of elevation gain over the course of a half a mile, ended up being much faster than Mark and Chris could have anticipated. 


You see... Mark is an average runner at best, and although their 7:40 splits on that day were only over the course of three miles, they ended being some of the most encouraging, and difficult three miles of Mark's life. 

 That's all I got....

Glad I am still alive. It took me a bit to get my heart rate back down. How long will this post-Ironman fatigue last?  Please don't answer that.

HELMET REVIEW UPDATE: Working on it.... it's gonna be super-cool. Well, that's a lot of pressure now, isn't it?  Okay.... maybe just cool. Okay... it will be a decent review on a really AWESOME helmet!

22 September 2010

PIMNWS: Post Ironman Now What Syndrome

Many of you suffer from this dreadful affliction known in the endurance multi-sport world as PIMNWS, or Post Ironman Now What Syndrome. This is a serious illness that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of ironman triathletes each year, but is especially prevalent—although not invariably—among first-timers. Those of us who are fresh off the throws of our first Iron distance event understand the insaneness that ensues immediately following an ironman event. Thoughts like:

"I bet I could have run that marathon an hour faster... maybe I will do another marathon in a couple of weeks... I should be fine by then."

OR

"... I had fun at Placid. I am going to sign up for Cour d'Alene and Wisconsin for next year."

OR

"If I had a faster bike, I could probably make Kona."

OR

"I wonder if I could secretly train, so that my wife would not know I was contemplating another Ironman."

OR

"do you think everyone notices that I can always steer my conversation towards triathlon and Ironman?"


Whatever the cause of the madness, as your new self-proclaimed Triathlon Doctor (much in the way that Michael Jackson declared himself "The King of Pop,") I suggest a healthy dose of letting your friends talk to you about how mad you've gotten. And, this is no ordinary mad... this is full-blown George III mad! Post Ironman Now What Syndrome often includes moments of mystic exaltation where the subject thinks they can run a 50K just weeks following an Ironman, or they start looking into Adventure Racing, climbing the Himalayas, or my new obsessions, the Ragnar Relay . I TRIPLE-DOG dare you to tell me that this does not look like GREAT FUN!  Would you believe I know eleven other insane people?  I am hoping my friend, and fellow blogger Kelly over at trimommylife and her husband might take part. Feel free to check out her blog and give her a special—nudge-nudge, wink-wink—for me. 


In short, Ironman has not left me tired, and depleted of energy—rather—it has given me a renewed energy, a new focus, and has made me want to work even harder (and SMARTER) this off season to be even more successful next season. 


Okay—that's all I got. 


NEXT UP: My review of my new AWESOME Lazer aero helmet!!!



18 September 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point: Ironman Addendum and Race Day Video

I've been asked by many of my blogger friends to talk about how I thought the Rev3 experience was. Since I do not have an official Ironman sanctioned event to compare it to, I can only speak about my experience with this race. I have decided to post my observations in the form of bullets, as this would be easiest. If you have any specific questions for me, please do not hesitate to drop me a line, or leave a comment—I love comments!

• The site for the beginning and end of the race—inside an amusement park—was VERY cool!

• I thought the Rev3 site could have been a little more user-friendly. It was difficult for most of my friends to find, and track me online. I would suggest that they have a large link on their website that says "TRACK ATHLETES HERE." My wifey spent over an hour trying to find me online, and was only able to track me from a friend who posted the link on Facebook.

• There was plenty of course nutrition and aid stations on both the bike and the run.

• The sports drink on the bike and run course was CeraSport. I was not a big fan of this drink at all. I can stomach pretty much everything in terms of nutrition, but I thought CeraSport was not the yummiest thing they could have went with. I have yet to meet another athlete who actually liked the taste of CeraSport.

• The race meeting was a bit informal. I have been to race meetings that were mandatory—like Musselman—where athletes have to sign in, or give their bib number. Race meetings are to ensure the athletes are informed and safe. The RD was a nice guy, but he did not have a list that he was going through. It seemed like he was kind of flying by the seat of his pants, although he managed to store a lot of information in his RAM.

• There was plenty of parking for transition, but when I first entered the park, I spent twenty minutes trying to find transition. One simple suggestion: A sign that reads "Parking for Rev3 Transition here," complete with arrow would be nice.

• Rev 3 did a great  job of making everyone out on the course feel like they were a world class athlete  running the biggest race in the world.

• The finisher shirt? Extremely Awesome.




My Ride 


video


17 September 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point: Race Report

FRIDAY: Ah, Ironman. It lasts but a day, but my journey began back in January when I decided I was going to make it official and start training. Some might say that it was at this point that I had completely gone mad, as I embarked on a part-time job that I would never get paid for, spend countless hours away from family, sacrificing sleep, beers, good-humor, pork fat, ice cream and countless other 21st-century creature comforts. Not only that, but in my third season of triathlon, a lot of people suggested getting another year or two of HIM's in before I attempted the "Big Boy." Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

I was pretty fired up all week for my trip out to Ohio to race Ironman. One of the things I was most worried about all year was getting sick days before the event—or worse—the  morning of Ironman. Although, I did not come down with anything as life-threatening ebola virus, I did start getting a terrible case of the sniffles, and a sore throat. I was really concerned how my energy level was going to be for the event, and how this might affect my performance. Perhaps it was the nerves, the endorphins, or the incredible amount of adrenaline pumping though my body all weekend, but once I hit Sandusky, Ohio, I forgot all about feeling under the weather.

The weeks leading up to Ironman were some of the busiest weeks of my life. I was trying to work in my last little bits of training all while starting a new job with new students, and new colleagues. I did not underestimate how difficult the transition was going to be, only how much time it was going to take  me to prep new classes and correct papers while I am worried about going out for a half hour run.

I booked my hotel online. I have learned that this can be one of the greatest moves one can make—as evidence of the hotel Alaina and I stayed at in New York City—or, dreadfully misleading from the pictures, as was the case with the Howard Johnson Express that I stayed at in Sandusky. First, let me just clarify one thing: when I saw the words "Express" in the description of the hotel, I assumed it was a Holiday Inn Express, and had absolutely no qualms about breaking out my credit card and booking a three day stay only miles from America's Roller Coast—Cedarpoint. Yes, I ignored the little part about it only being a two-star hotel, and the fact that it could have been at the center of a crime-laden neighborhood for all I knew. It was relatively inexpensive, and they had beds. Well, when I arrived at my room, it made my college dormitory room seem quite large. It was small—real small. I had a ton of gear and I brought both my triathlon and road bike out, which had to be stored in the room. (I get really paranoid about leaving my bike on the rack even at my own home.) The bathroom was a little larger than a thimble. I actually had to step to the left side against the wall to actually close the door—hysterical! Keep in mind, I booked this room for me and my two grown nephews. Yikes!

I got settled in, and drove up to the park to pick up my race packet. It was fairly empty; only a few athletes walking around. Most of them were gone, or on their way out as I was parking. It also took me about twenty minutes to find the actual right place to park. Packet pickup had been closed for about five minutes, but I gave the woman some sighs, and she felt sorry for me and grabbed my packet anyway. Since I never have run an iron distance event, I had no idea what to expect. I received five bags in my packet:

Morning Clothes, Swim to Bike Clothes, Bike to Run Clothes, Bike Special Needs, and Run Special Needs.  I did not have to use the Morning Clothes bag since both of my nephews accompanied me in the morning and took my clothes for me. One less bag I had to get nearly thirteen hours later.

I went back to my cubicle, er, hotel room shortly after this and got into bed. I had picked up a sub at the greatest supermarket in the world—Wegmans. on the way out to Ohio.  Now I was sitting in my room eating half of it and pounding Gatorade as if my life depended on it.

SATURDAY: I checked the schedule Friday evening and saw that the Saturday practice swim was from 7-9:00 a.m. So, I got up around 6:30 and went to The Cracker Barrel Restaurant for some pancakes. The pancakes were "eh" at best. I would seriously have to think about where to have my pre-race meal now. I drove all the way to the beach at the tail end of the amusement park, only to turn back around and head back to my hotel room because I had forgotten my swim cap. Ugh! I finally did get out there. The waves were dreadfully ginormous out on the beach that morning. I would say that the swells were probably a good four feet once you got out about four hundred yards or so. The race director planned for two courses depending on which way the wind was coming from the morning of the race. I was hoping it would be calmer than this. I headed out into the surf. I must admit, when I got about 500 yards out, I started to panic a little bit. I took a stroke with my left arm and there was NO water underneath me. Then my body just fell down the crest of the wave. I took about thirty seconds, did some breaststroke. I regained my composure and started back out again. After that incident, I was completely fine the rest of the way—actually enjoying the waves, and getting tossed around like a little kid. In fact, I did something in the water that I don't think I do very often when swimming. I smiled. When I got out of the water, I saw the Trakkers team  down on the beach asking athletes if they wanted to try some type of wetsuit glide, anti-chaffing thingy. I saw my blogger buddy Anne and took a picture with her on the beach.

Congratulations on an awesome race Anne!

After the swim, I went back to my hotel room, cleaned up a bit, washed out my wetsuit from all the sand, and laid back down in bed a bit more until the mandatory bike check in opened at 11:00 a.m. I actually did not arrive at the park until noon. I walked around the expo for a bit. I saw that there was a place to get massages. I signed up for a A.R.T., or active release massage. I get talking to my therapist, and find out that this cat went to the same undergraduate school that I did. What are the odds of that?! So, clearly, I had to get a picture taken with him. Thanks for the massage Chris!



I got my bike into transition around 1:00, right before the pro meeting. Right after the pro meeting, I introduced myself to pro, Jacqui Gordon and asked for a picture with her (I have clearly overcome my shyness.) I have to say, Jacqui is as cool in person as you ever hope a professional triathlete to be. She is down to Earth, personable, and willing to answer any questions you have about the sport.






My nephews rolled into town around 4:00. After checking into my enormous suite at the HoJo Express, we realized that we were all starving. So, we rode down the street to Perkins—a regional restaurant chain known for their breakfasts'—for my official pre-race dinner:

Ironman pre-race dinner: Four pancakes, three eggs over medium. home fries,  bacon, and dry rye toast. Any questions? Don't worry, I ate plenty of fruit that night. 

My nephews and I went back to the hotel, watched a little t.v. and were sleeping by 7:30 p.m. Yes, 7:30! Most times, before a triathlon, I get too amped up to sleep. I don't know if it was because I was a bit under the weather, or just still exhausted from my busy week and ride out, but I did not have ANY trouble falling asleep. In fact, this might have been the best I have ever slept before a triathlon—ever!

SUNDAY: We woke up around 4:15 a.m. The thought of eating anything, absolutely made me want to gag. However, I kept on drinking Gatorade all morning. I got my bags into the transition area. Everything was handled really nicely by the Rev3 volunteers; no chaos. I got body marked and put my water bottles on the bike. While at my bike filling up my tires, I noticed that my bike computer was not registering my speed. Pfffttttt!  Who needs to know their speed?  Okay... okay... I walked my bike over to the mechanics and had them take a look. My sensor had just dropped down. The mechanic repositioned it and screwed it on tightly. The bike was ready. I walked onto the beach and down to the swim start. It seemed like I was the only person on the beach that morning. Oh, because I was. A lot of athletes were staying in the hotel in the park, so they went back there and warmed up, got more sleep.... who knows? 
Representing New York and keeping warm before the swim start. 

THE SWIM: For all my anxiety all through training about the swim, this was by FAR the easiest part of my day. When I first got in the corral,  I did what I always do, and made my way unconsciously
towards the front, before realizing that I am not that fast of a swimmer, and there is a pretty decent chance that I might drown from everyone swimming over me. I took my time the first half mile, just finding my pace. I felt great. I wanted to push the tempo a little, but being my first Iron distance race, I decided to keep swimming steadily and save my energy for the long day ahead of me. When I got to the final buoy, there was a guy in a kayak standing up and letting everyone know that we had a half mile to go. I smiled, thinking to myself.... "Wow... I am about to complete an Ironman swim. Three years ago I couldn't swim at all."

T1: Pretty uneventful. I found my bag, and took off my wetsuit. I now understand why age-grouper T1 times for Ironman are usually much longer than their half splits. Luckily, there were a ton of great volunteers helping athletes with everything. Some young volunteer even put suntan lotion on my body before I headed out onto the bike. Well, everywhere except the small of my back, which resembled a crimson crustacean, and was burnt to a crisp after getting of my bike. 

THE BIKE: Awesomeness. I love biking. Going out, it took me a bit of time to find my tempo. After that, it felt as though I was passing everyone. I think I remember only being passed by about a dozen athletes on the bike. I think at least three or four were pros who caught me on my first lap while they were on their second. That's not too demoralizing. I watched my speed, and felt pretty good the whole way. The last part of the course found us heading west towards the park into a brutal headwind. I noticed that I started to slow don considerably here. I did stop for about a minute at mile 50 to grab my special needs bag. I took some more gels that I did not end up needing. I followed through with the nutrition plan that I had practiced all along on my long rides—approximately 300 calories every half hour by  means of gels/shotblox, and Gatorade. The most difficult part of my day was on the bike between miles 80-95. I looked down at my odometer and went ... "wow... I have to pedal 30 more miles..."  *SIGH* I called on my father to help me at various times throughout the race, and this was one of those times. I know he was out there with me. 

T2: It was here that I believe I made my first crucial Ironman error. The night before, I had debated whether or not I was going to wear my fuel belt. "Race like you train.... race like you train," had been my mantra all along. However, going into the run, I realized that the fuel belt was unnecessary, uncomfortable, and felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. Plus, I had forgotten to take out all the excessive nutrition from my bib when I started out my run. Midway through the first lap of the marathon, I dropped a Clif Bar, and some gels at an aid station and continued on. 

THE RUN: This is where I made my second, and probably more fatal error. My first couple of miles were decent on the run—not fast—but very comfortable. I felt a little warm, and because it was so breezy, I decided to unzip my bib and pull it down to my waist. Not good. You see, although I prefer not to wear a shirt from say... mid-May until October, the sun has way too much surface area to beat down on your body and fatigue the heck out of you. I realized this around mile 12 of the run. When I went back out for my second loop, I zipped up my bib and started pouring water over my body to stay cool. I had another problem on the run that I am not sure was due to the scorchingly obscene distance that I had to run, or the fact that my new shoes were just not built for this distance. I decided to go with a lighter New Balance trainer a couple of weeks before Ironman. My feet hurt pretty much from the onset, which is really strange for me. Usually, I do not have any sort of foot pain at all running. I will have to figure that one out.

THE FINISH: My goal all along was to finish in under 13 hours. When I was 5k out, I looked at my watch and thought "...am I going to be able to do this?" It is amazing how fast your legs will start  moving when you are trying to meet a goal. With a mile and a half left to go, I put the proverbial hammer down‚ (which had now been reduced to a mere rubber mallet.) Running the last eight hundred yards, I suddenly found energy in my legs that I had no idea was there. I ran through the finishing chute high- fiving everyone on the left side. I crossed the finish line and got my official finisher shirt—a shirt I shall wear with pride. 

CONCLUSION: I am happy with my Ironman debut. Sure, I wish that I could have actually run more of the marathon, but I know I trained as much as I could have with the time that I had. If I had my way, I would do an Ironman every year. If the wifey said "decide between running a handful of sprints and olympic distance events, or one Ironman a year, I would run Ironman. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE running Sprints, Olympics, and HIM's, but I have never run a race that was more fun, and gratifying than this. ALSO—I have a score to settle with the marathon. Now that I have run one of these puppies, I have gained a lot of experience. I know I can train smarter, and more efficiently, and take a big chunk of my time off my race next time around. Of course, I will not make any decision to run another Ironman until everyone in the family is on board again. 

Thanks for all of you said prayers, thought of me, 

THE NUMBERS:

SWIM: 1:24:57

T1: 4:35

BIKE: 5:50:49

T2: 5:50

RUN: 5:31:41

TOTAL: 12:57:53

Apparently, this is what my nephews think about as I am running Ironman:

video



12 September 2010

Ironman

In the books!


My First Ironman


12:58:13


Race Report to follow.





09 September 2010

Two Days Out!

What goes through MY mind two days before Ironman?


Data, of course!

Here are some other things I am thinking about:

1. I have not been doing anything... running, swimming, biking. Okay, maybe a little. Can I still run an Ironman?

2. Upon finishing—I hope— how long will it be until I can walk again?

3. If I really, really, really love the experience, how many years will have to go by until I can convince my wife that it is time to run another one?

4. How many days do I get to wear the race t-shirt/hat/cape/every other piece of gear that I will purchase to prove that I ran this race before it is really lame?

5. How long do I get to talk about Ironman after my event before I become "that guy" to my coworkers?

I went out on a half hour run last night at 9:00 p.m. I had just come home from work, got the kids in bed, and my body was just itching to get out there and run. I really had to dial it back, because I felt like a racehorse chomping at the bit to sprint.  That's good, right?


As my triathlon season comes to a close, want to use this post as an opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me this year. Let's start with the obvious:

1. My family: You have been incredibly supportive and PATIENT supporting me as I logged countless hours away from home. We have sacrificed a lot together—thank you!    p.s. Huge family activities planned for the months of October and November.

2. My sponsors: especially the fine folks at crankskins.com—whose coolest company slogan ever, "Wrap Your Crank" has been the subject of numerous emails, blog fodder, and safe sex education classes this entire season, Blue competition bicycles for making me much faster than I really am on the bike, Lazer Helmets, and H20 Audio. Thanks for ensuring that I could actually take part in a sport that I absolutely love without mortgaging my home, getting divorced, and not holding a baked good sale once a week.

3. My blog readers and follower: I have gotten amazing motivation, training tips, psychotherapy, the occasional chastisement, and encouragement from all of you. Thanks for reading, and following along with me. I've loved your comments and your words of wisdom.

Okay, updates from the site to come!

Train smart!

06 September 2010

T Minus ... Holy COW, It's Iron Week!

Yes, Rev 3 Cedarpoint Iron Distance is right around the corner. Am I ready? Ha!  Are you ever truly ready to go 140.6 miles? Really?

Have I told you how much I enjoy tapering?  It's a good thing.

Last week was a blast. Wifey and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary in NYC. I had to be in NYC for a concert of my music, so I surprised wifey by asking our families if they would chip in and watch the kids for the weekend. Everyone was down, so I bought a couple of plane tickets, booked a hotel, and we were off to celebrate 10 years, five kids, a mortgage, and more fun times to come. For a while there, we were averaging a kid every 1.6 years. Not bad, eh?

The wife and I are very different people in a lot of respects. She's a planner when it comes to the kids—you know, the juice boxes are ready, snacks, lunch if we're out too late, etc.

Me? If I am taking the kids out for the afternoon, I play it by ear. I am usually scrambling to find bathrooms, water fountains, and inexpensive places to feed five children. However, when it comes to an itinerary for our mini-cation, we had absolutely no prescribed agenda (other than making my concert Sunday afternoon on East 74th.)  We flew into JFK and took the Airtrain into the Jamaica Station.
Evidently, I am not from Queens.
Of course, the one thing I was concerned about was getting in some workouts. Despite how tempting it was with all the heat, I am not about to swim in the Hudson. Sorry Gotham dwellers, that is where I draw the line. I will not be running the New York City Triathlon anytime soon. I did, however, look for a hotel with a pool. Unfortunately, and fortunately, I got talked out of staying further south—we stayed on East 52nd so that we could be in the center of everything  midtown. So, I did not end up getting a swim in, but it was okay. The hotel had some treadmills. Wifey was a little concerned with me going out for a run, when really, I don't know where the heck I am going, and I would most likely get hit by a car my with my attention span. Secondly, I have the internal compass of a blind giraffe (I don't even know what this means, but the point I am trying to illustrate is that I have a lousy sense of direction in cities.) It had been a while since I've been in New York. It is almost impossible to get lost in NYC though. I mean, the city is pretty clear. It is laid out like a grid. Avenues run north-south, and streets run east-west. The only confusing thing is that 1st and 2nd avenue are on the east side, and the numbers get progressively higher from right to left—weird.

After dropping off our accoutrement at the hotel, wifey and I were famished. Despite our hope to get some good street food—you know: meat on a stick—we ended up going to a pretty good
"Mexican-y" type restaurant for burritos, beer, and margaritas. Actually, I had the beer. Wifey had the margarita. Of course, after just one, I had a nice enough buzz that I could quite possibly pass out. Shortly after that, we walked to a bike shop further uptown to see about renting a bike in the morning. I had to get out for a run in the morning, and Alaina said she would join me. Then, for some reason unbeknownst to me, Alaina talked me into getting my very first pedicure. That's right ladies and gentlemen, my nasty feet were pampered, exfoliated, rubbed down, and filed with the utmost care and precision. I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but it was pretty awesome. Can you imagine a bunch of dudes going out to a spa, drinking white zinfandel together, talking about triathlon and getting pedicures. Don't answer that. You can not see our feet in this picture, but trust me, they are in heaven.

 So after our pampering, we walked about fifteen city blocks back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. On the way there, we ran into the most amazing candy store on Planet Earth called Dylan's Candy Bar. This place was the REAL deal my friends. Three stories of candy and chocolate from around the world. A joint that would make any dentist smile from end to end. The top floor was an ice cream and candy bar. Very dangerous. We could not resist this opportunity to get a picture with the Dylan bunny. Ah, yes... that's all the wifey and I need around us, more symbols of fertility. 
We were pretty excited about dinner. We planned on going to Enio and Michaels, a restaurant in the Village, just south of Washington Square Park and NYU that is so Old School that it existed in SOHO before there was a SOHO and adamantly refuses to create a restaurant webpage, Facebook page, or any other of that frivolous stuff that has nothing to do with food. Despite a zero advertising budget, they manage to stick around while neighborhoods come and go around them, relying merely on their exceptional food, and word of mouth as their sole source economic sustenance. Imagine that. 
After dinner, we decided to take a cab back from the Village to midtown—a good three and a half miles. Well, we started walking, and never quite decided on hailing a cab. So, we walked all the way back to our hotel, Alaina's feet were killing her (good thing she had gotten that pedicure earlier in the day.) I ended my day with a 10k interval training workout in a stifling hot workout room in our hotel. It was tiny, but it did the job. 

The next morning wifey said she was going to come and run with me in Central Park. My wife never runs—unless chocolate is involved—but this morning, she threw on her shoes and went out there with me. Little did we know that the NYC Road Runners Club was going to be in the park that morning. We jumped in and just started running the course. People were amazed at how unbelievably fresh we look for mile fourteen. On the way back to the hotel, we ran into a crime fighter who is obviously really down on his luck. Apparently, crime fighting just doesn't pay what it use to. 

Later that evening, we did the Broadway thing and checked out Tony and Maria.
After the show, Alaina posed with the Statue of Liberty.

The following day was my concert at Jan Hus. What a great performance by everyone involved. The musicians were exceptional, the dancers well rehearsed and added sophisticated, intelligent choreographic essays to the music, and the space was beautiful. Here is the whole gang after the gig:

After the concert, most of us stopped and got some good eats at 
this unbelievable Italian restaurant that Alaina and I passed on the way up to the concert and thought "hey... that looks like a good place to eat."
And, boy was it ever!


Here we all are at Bella Blu 
One of the greatest parts of the whole trip—despite the obvious 10 years of marital bliss—was that I shared a concert with one of my former students who is now starting his PhD at the University of Kanas City Missouri, and another—Aaron Copland Hyzen—who studied piano and composition with me, now teaches guitar in the city, came to the concert hang and get some good eats. 
Nick Aaron and me at Jan Hus Church



On the way back from the restaurant, I told Alaina to break out the camera and take a picture of this dude. I don't know who he is, or what the heck he is doing, but it was about 100 degrees in the city that day, and this guy is just hanging out with a trench coat. I can not prove this, but somewhere inside that coat, I am sure he has a copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye stashed away.




Eventually, all good things must come to an end. It was time to pack up my stuff in my car and motor out of the city.


Oh, and am I stressed about Ironman? Nah, not really. I don't have any expectations, except for trying not to drown during the swim and finishing come hell on high water. 
I have been feeling a bit under the weather this week—I was totally stressing about this all summer, and sure enough, not feeling 100%. I am just trying to take things easy and hydrate as much as possible this week and relax. Pshaw... it's only an Ironman anyway. (I am kidding Ironman gods—please have mercy on my soul!!!)

Next Up: Ironman post AND a really cool review of my totally awesome new super-duper fast helmet. Thanks Lazer!