28 December 2010

Pros and Cons Of Being A Monster

Okay, I know that Twilight is one of the most cliche teenage vampire movies of all time. Unquestionably the most cliche teenage vampire film of all time—The Lost Boys—is from my generation. It starred both of the now infamous 80's Corey's (Haim and Feldman), and the ever-popular Kip Winger look-alike, Kiefer Sutherland.  Anyway, Twilight is exactly the kind of mind-numbing mindless dribble I was looking for when logging hours on my trainer. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of playing a bit of it for wifey. After the first five minutes she looked at me and said "... this is SO silly." After 15 minutes, I asked her if she wanted me to turn it off. Wifey said... "nah... it's okay, go ahead, we can watch it." After a half hour, if I even cleared my throat, she was shushing me. It does not matter if it is blood-sucking vampires, women dig the chick flicks, even vampire chick flicks. Okay.. don't go calling me misogynistic... I mean by the end of the second Twilight film—New Moon—wifey was saying things like:

"... she can't be with Jacob. Edward is her first love," and "She so has to choose Edward. He is so mysterious."


This has prompted me to walk around the house most of the day with furrowed eyebrows and answering everything in riddle-like form. I'll show her mysterious.

Here is what I've learned from Twilight:

1) Women love romance. No matter how campy the movie is.
2) Vampires, although pale-faced and downright scary, can be wooed by women as long as they have bushy eyebrows, a thick head of hair, and drive a really shiny sports car.
3) Certain women gravitate towards the "bad boy" persona. What is more bad ass than saying... "Mom, meet my new boyfriend, Dracula."
4) If any of my daughter's self esteems were so low that they were willing to become an undead vampire to impress a boy, I have probably failed as a parent.
5) Werewolves, although terribly frightening are World class cliff divers. Who knew?

* = indicates a specific triathlon strength.


- Immortality
- Get to meet a lot of really cool historical figures over the next hundred years
- Can go to medical school and still have enough time to pay back your school loans
- Never have to worry about your Select Comfort sleep number bed number since..... you never sleep
- Have superhuman strength and speed*
- Staying out of the sun leaves them wrinkle-free for life.
- High protein, low fat diet *
- Werewolves get to eat muffins. Seriously—there is a scene in Twilight New Moon, where a bunch werewolves are just sitting around eating corn muffins. Nice.


- Terrible life if you were a foodie, chef, or food critic before becoming a vampire. Your diet consists of blood and...... well...blood.
- Immortality (yes, this is a pro and a con—how would you like seeing everyone you love die before you?)
- Pastey white complexion makes it difficult to "hit the beach" during the summer months ^
- Have to wait for capes to become fashionable again.
- Werewolves always have to carry around lint rollers with them because of wolf hair

Just some observations. What are yours?

It's 5:30 a.m. and I am off to the pool to go swimming for an hour followed by a 45 minute endurance run in zone 2. Roar.

More soon. Train Smart.

26 December 2010

The Confessions

Shortly after handing the no television punishment until the guilty water-in-the-soap culprit has been identified, my son Julian was the first one to confess his guilt. Julian confessed in his quiet, meek voice (not his usual voice immodulation disorder voice). For some reason, all of our children suffer from what my wife and I have determined to be temporary hearing loss. We have come to this conclusion because all of our children have at some point stood less than three feet away from us while speaking in a manner that resembles a PA system. Seriously, what is up with our children? Is their self-awareness so poor that they do not understand that they are shouting at us from across a table at dinner? But I digress.

The conversation went down like this:

Julian: "Mommy... I did it. I put the water in the soap."

Mommy: "You did? When did you do it?"

Julian: "Um..... sometime, like a couple of weeks ago."

Mommy: "No Julian, this was more recently. This must have happened in the last couple of days."

Julian: "Well, I don't know. I think... um.... maybe... it was like a couple of days ago."

Mommy: "Uh-huh."

Then it was Janina's turn to confess—followed by Luca—who literally said that he did it sometime "last year." It did not take us more than five seconds to realize what was going on. Our kids will confess to grand larceny if it means having their coveted television time back. We never found out who did it... but I have a sneaking suspicion it may have been Thing 1 or Thing 2.

Christmas morning was great fun. The bambini were up at the butt crack of dawn. This is not unusual. Wifey always makes fun of the fact that I do not know how—or do not care to take the time—to wrap Christmas presents. So, I always like to exaggerate the fact that I can not wrap a present to save my life. I get a bit campy with the high school-esque adoration. Can any men really wrap presents? I have not met one yet. Rumor has it that one lives in a forest with elves among the unicorns and dragons.

My Russian children. 

Julian deciding to have some of my vino on his birthday. (Christmas Eve)


SWIMMING: I can not believe I am saying this, but I am still very much enjoying the swimming.  Maybe when I am about a month and a half out from my first HIM in June, I will reconsider my feelings toward swimming, but right now, it has been my favorite workout. In fact, Coach Mary gave me a long swim workout that I was not suppose to get done in an hour, but I managed to just make it in 59:58!  I can not wait to see what she throws my way this week.

RUNNING: I had a great endurance run yesterday. It was the first time I ran outside in weeks. Coach Mary had me run 45 minutes (Merry Christmas) in zone 2. The weather yesterday was a balmy 21 degrees. When I got out initially, I was a bit cold. I wore tights, my Rev3 Cedar Point Finisher shirt as my base layer and a cold weather shirt. In about five minutes, I was nice and comfortable. The cold weather helped keep my heart rate down as well.
I get to go out New Years Day and run a 7.5 miler—as fast as I can. So, New Years Race Report to follow soon. I am a bit nervous about doing a race since I have been doing nothing more than zone 2 training the last couple of weeks. Heck, who am I kidding? It will be great fun to motor.

BIKING: The thing with biking during the winter, is that I have to get on my bike in the basement and be bored to tears. Honestly, I would rather look at the black line on the bottom of a pool then sit on a trainer for an hour. So, I have been downloading movies to keep me from clock-watching. So far, I have watched the first two Harry Potter movies while on the trainer with the boys. I have another week of base work until the real joy starts. Coach Mary said not to worry about these little zone 2 rides, because she will have me "puking over my front tire in no time." Ah, it is that kind of sadistic personality that I find especially heart warming in my coach this time of year!

More soon. Train Smart!

21 December 2010

The Inquisition

Recently, an inquisition ensued at my house that made the whole Spanish one look like a tiny religious squabble.

When you have five children all under the age of eight, and someone or something is:

a) broken
b) missing
c) hurt by "mysterious" circumstances

our house conducts a special United States Senate Subcommittee Investigation into what may have initiated said incident. This is how it went down:

I was in my basement doing a one hour trainer ride, when all of a sudden from upstairs I hear wifey in a VERY loud voice ask "Who put water in the soap?"


Seconds later... "Who put water in the soap?"


Now, I should preface that putting water in the soap dispenser is a very small problem. It is a very small problem if it happens once. After four or five times without the apprehension of a suspect, the Chief of Police at my house (wifey) has had just about enough. You see, as wifey likes to explain to me—because I often need explaining—soap is expensive. And because we like to live life green, wifey buys soap that is good for the environment. This soap happens to be a little pricer than  most  normal,"continue to kill our planet" varieties. As an aside, I should tell you that for some reason little girls particularly enjoy dispensing soap and rubbing it all over the sink in the bathroom, on the vanity, countertops, (you get the idea). Even at the local YMCA, my girls can not help themselves with the bubbly hand sanitizer. Perhaps the little ladies have some sort of unhealthy tactile fascination with the slippery stuff, but they just can not seem to leave the stuff alone.  I am suddenly imagining stumbling upon an incriminating picture of my girls years from now on  Facebook on spring break somewhere—unbeknownst to wifey and I—at one of those cheesy, touristy bars with a soap machine, getting lathered up while drinking cheap swill that the natives likes to pass as beer. Wonderful! Moving on....

My wife calls all of them into the living room at which time she starts her diatribe about the cost of soap, how hard mommy and daddy work to buy things, and even the obligatory "... and shut the lights out when you leave your room. Don't you know we don't own the electric company?" As a child, I always found this a bit odd. Even if you did own the electric company, wouldn't you still have to pay for the service provided? But I digress.

The response: Five little round faces with cherub-like gazes looked back at my wife with nothing but innocence and astonishment. First—how does this witch know I put water in the soap. Secondly, what will the punishment be if I should come forward and admit to this heinous, vile, insolent act?!
So, we sat around for five minutes waiting for someone to confess. Nothing. So, wifey decided to play hardball. "Okay—no t.v. or movies until the person who did admits to it." Still nothing.  We got some shifty eyes from the twins. Very shifty. So, we can not p unish everyone indefinitely, but they will have to go without their coveted Scooby Doo and Dora the Explorer until Christmas morning—which might as well be an eternity for them. We've been doing a tad more reading around the ole' house this week.

Speaking of reading, Luca and I are now on book 3 of the Harry Potter series. We are reading them together. They are a fantastic read for both him and me. I realized something about reading books to my children. My philosophy with toys has always been:

If I am going to sit down and play with toys for hours with my children, it better be something that I actually want to play as well. That is why Luca and Julian are into building lego models. I love building Legos with the boys. I actually think Legos are one of the coolest toys in the galaxy. Julian will literally spend hours building Lego models following, what he refers to as "the map." So, Harry Potter is fun to read because it is well written. If I have to read one more Berstein Bear, or Arthur book I think I may just go crazy.

We took my wifey's parents out for dinner on Friday. They sure do a lot for us. With five kids, they were our primary source of childcare this past semester, year, lifetime... as wifey and I were busy with some professional obligations. We would never be able to swing it if it were not for them and the help of family and friends. Here are a few of the delicious eats we had with explanations. Try not to drool:

Oysters on the half shell
Rock shrimp and calamari in deliciousness with daikon radish and field greens
Wifey's tina roll
The Vino

I am not that evil, so I will not post the main courses, but they were might yummy!

Oh yeah... TRAINING:

I could not be happier with my progress thus far. I feel fit, and ready to go. The bikes are a little behind where I would like them right now. I am just starting to get into the swing of biking again and my legs are asking the rest of my body what the hell is going on. Nothing like being in your basement on a trainer for the remainder of the winter. And, luckily for me, winter in western New York is only a mere 9 months long!  Coach Mary has me training to keep my HR in zone 2 on my runs and bike. I am finding it extremely difficult on my runs because of my ego, and because I am not incredibly patient. I mean, what the heck do I do on my runs? Walk?? So, this week has me doing endurance runs no longer than an hour.

I am currently in love with swimming. What the heck?!!! I have been doing these great swim workouts that I am really excited about. Essentially, Coach Mary is giving me swims that are far beyond what I can do in an hour. There is something really liberating about knowing that I can not get it done. For some reason, when the pressure is off to motor, it happens anyway.

I think I am going to do a 7.5 mile race on New Year's morning (pending Coach Mary's approval). I am alaso looking forward to doing a "location run" when I head out to Seattle the beginning of January to hear the premiere of my new piece "Chromium Music" by The Tangletown Trio. Word on the street is that there are some awesome places for seafood in the Pacific Northwest. You don't say?

More soon. Train Smart!

15 December 2010

I Wish I Had Gills

I wish I had gills. Although, I am not sure that it would really help much.

This week marked the beginning of my Ironman base training with Coach Mary. Coach Mary coaches a lot of athletes, but somehow she gives the personal attention that makes you think she has a camera set up in my house and is aware of each time I delve into"slacker mode." She is already on me like white on rice. I rather like this. I mean, this is why I wanted a coach this season. I have quickly learned that when you have a coach, there is no such thing as not logging your workouts.

I took my swim test yesterday. This included a moderate length warm up, followed by the yardage to find my 100 pace. My warmup felt great, maybe too great. By the time I got to my pace set, I was a little tired already. I think part of this is that I am still going to bed too late. I have to work on this. Needless to say, my 100 pace is NOT terribly fast. The good news is that Coach Mary is a swimmer, and if anyone can help me with an analysis of my swim, she can. She makes Aquaman look like a chump (or so I've been told).  What is the deal with Aquaman exactly. I mean... honestly, there is no Aquawoman. Doesn't he get a tad lonely down there in the eerie green deep with all of those prehistoric looking sea creatures?

Training thus far is going relatively well. I dig training when I have specific goals. It was weird just jumping into the pool and going out for a run without any real specific plan. I have been noticing a familiar sensation that usually accompanies my workouts: hunger. Yeah, I am pretty much extremely hungry all day. I joke, but one of the reasons I love training this hard is that I can consume as much food as  some of those on the competitive eating tours. Honestly, I am not proud of this fact, but I can pack away a pound or pasta in one sitting.

I have some exciting news about some of the sponsors for Team Trakkers this upcoming season.

Kestrel will be the official bike sponsor of Team Trakkers for the 2011 season.  Yes, this means I will be rocking a brand new bike this summer. Will it be this one pictured here? No. This bike is far too small for me. I mean, even on the largest computer screen, this bike would only measures four or five inches long.

Seriously, I am figuring out what bike and component group to go with. Any suggestions?  Just go to the Kestrel website and pick out a bike for me. Maybe I should put an online poll up. I could also have a donation page for anyone wanting to fuel my lifestyle. Nah—just kidding. I will be selling my ole' trusty steed to one deserving triathlete. I shall miss you Cookie Monster. We had some good times. Thanks for getting me through Rev3 Cedar Point. I shall miss you.

Avia is the official shoe sponsor of Trakkers. Although I have never worn Avia's, I have heard good things about them from a number of athletes. How cool is it that their racing flat comes in Trakkers green
and black

I am really excited to report that the official nutrition sponsor of the Trakkers team is First Endurance. I am really excited because most of my training partners from this past season got on board with First Endurance with me. So, I know it is going to be really easy to promote their awesome products.
I will be posting some lengthy reviews of my gear once I get underway with all of it.

Okay, I am off. I have an hour bike ride tonight. I will probably watch an episode of Iron Chef while I am on my trainer. Iron Chef is the greatest cooking show on the planet. Two chefs go head to head to create culinary masterpieces with a single featured ingredient as the main focus of a dish. So, they will have these chefs making four to six different courses with things like broccoli, herring, kobe beef, and mushrooms as their featured ingredient. I think I dig this show because I am a composer. Composition is just like cooking when you get down to it. It is all about different colors, texture, presentation.

Training: Coach Mary gave me a swim workout for tomorrow that reads: Do as much as you can in the time allotted. Huh? As much as I can in an hour? Clearly, she is trying to drown me. More soon. Train smart!

08 December 2010



I already knew I led an incredibly blessed life, but it is always amazing when life throws you a special bonus. This afternoon I learned that I would be joining an amazing team this summer, as I was selected for the 2011 Trakkers team. I will be joining some of my longtime blogger buddies Kelly, Anne, Jeff, and Mandy to name but a few, as well as meeting and introducing all of you to my many new awesoime team members. If any of you have done a Rev 3 event, you know how encouraging and accessible the Trakkers team is.

I have to admit, I NEVER thought when I set out to do my first triathlon four short seasons ago that it would become a lifestyle.

Training:  I have had to switch a few of my workouts around, but I am getting in all the volume. I will have to talk to coach Mary at some point.. like, soon... to find out if this is actually okay. I missed my swim/run yesterday, so I did it today as well as the 30 minute bike.  It is painful doing 30-minute bike rides, but coach Mary insists that six months from now when I am doing six hour rides I will not be complaining about increasing my bike volume. Hey, I did a triathlon today—wahoo!

Rainbows And Hogwarts Therapy

I'm alive—really! As the semester comes to a quick end, I am consumed by things such as grading, finishing a new composition, and fielding questions from students who feel like their various degrees of procrastination throughout the semester has suddenly constituted some type of emergency on my part. How does that work exactly? Okay, I must admit, I often resembled that student while I was an undergraduate. It took me a bit of time to figure out how to manage my life. Of course, my wife would insist that if it were not for her, I would be unable to pay bills, wash dishes, fold laundry, and make the bed. She knows the correct her way of doing things. Seriously, I know I am not going to get any sympathy here, especially from my female friends who probably understand the dynamics of my relationship with the wifey and understand that if it were not for her, I would not be able to tie my shoes before leaving the house in the morning.

In any event, my Thanksgiving tryptophan hibernation is slowly wearing off following my Thanksgiving Day feast, and as I promise yet again never to eat my weight in apple pie over the course of a weekend, I look forward to doing so every year around Thanksgiving time.

I had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Vanessa came home for the holiday and we had a chance to talk running, triathlon, beer, music, medieval stuff that I do not really understand, but I shook my head up and down and furrowed my eyebrows to pretend to know what she was talking about. Every once in a while, I would work in the occasional chin rub to add to the faux-illuminati experience.

Last Monday was my first day of training with coach Mary. My first week has been pretty tame—nothing over a one hour workout. I am back into the swing of running. Unfortunately, the end of my semester has been frantic—to say the least—and I have already missed a couple of workouts. I have not had the energy (I can always make time) to get up early and get out the door. More, because the weather has been yucky, I have had to stay overnight a few days and it just messes up my training rhythm. Ugh!

Here are some things I definitely know now that I am older and wiser:

1) The mental fatigue that results of having far too much on the burner at any moment (and trying to perform it all exceptionally well, usually gives way to physical exhaustion. This manifests with less mental acuity needed for my workouts. My muggle friends (i.e. those who do not partake in triathlon) think that running, biking—or dare I say this—swimming for an HOUR is merely a physical act. On the contrary, you need to be mentally connected to your workouts. If you are mentally wiped, chances are your workouts will not be as effective as they could be with proper rest and peace of mind.

The best way to combat this for me is to do my workouts early in the morning. That way, it is out of the way and I am not getting stressed about when I am going to fit my workouts in.

2) I started reading the first Harry Potter book with my oldest son, Luca. Why I have not read these books yet is beyond me. They are well written. My son asks to read the books with him on the weekend rather than watch a movie with siblings—very cool! I also find getting lost in the fantasy world of Hogwarts for a half an hour a night with my boys very therapeutic.

3) Hydration is important. Duh. For some reason, as the winter months roll in—and those of you living south of the Monongahela line, do not even pretend to know what I am talking about—I forget to hydrate. Sure, you warm blooded creatures get the occasional cold day, even week, but you can not possibly understand what it is like for us poor, wretched souls, stuck up in western New York that are pounded all winter long by the unrelenting white stuff. Anyway, more hydration is in order for the remaining winter.

I am just starting to get in the flow of stuff. Although, with the end of the semester quickly approaching and final grades looming in my not-too-distant future, I am still up to my earlobes.

I will get in a workout here in just a few minutes. I am walking up to the pool to get some much needed therapy.

More soon. Train Smart!

25 November 2010

Getting Itchy And Spoiled Milk

Oh my gosh—I feel like a little kid waiting for Santa—WHO IS REAL by the way—as I eagerly await my first week of training from Coach Mary.  Seriously, I have not been this excited to train since..... well.... I have never been this excited to start training.

I have been feeling a bit under the weather this whole week, but I was committed to getting out there this morning with my longtime running buddy, Vanessa for the annual turkey day 10k. To say I did not feel one hundred percent would be an unbelievable understatement. My right hip is still acting goofy, but I think I have figured out the culprit. Ready for this? I think that it is a combination of my leather belt that I wear sitting all day and sitting with my right leg crossed over my left for large parts of my day. How do I know this? I tried crossing my right leg over my left and it hurt like heck. Of course, I was not satisfied that this could really be what has been causing my body great pain, so I had to try it over and over. I felt like the guy that opens up a milk carton and tells his roommate "Oh my gosh! This smells terrible! Smell it!" What is that about? I am pretty sure I can take someone's word for it when they say the milk is spoiled.

Anyway, I felt like I have not been training when I was out there on my run this morning. I started out too fast and got progressively slower. Oops. Basically, today was a training day. I have that ickiness that comes from congestion, and my body is still fatigued. I am sure that if I just laid in bed for a couple of days drinking orange juice and and taking over the counter medication, I would convalesce back to my former feeling of immortality. So why am I running, biking and swimming under less than ideal health conditions? For a succinct, but thorough explanation of this see my friend Kelly's post from this week.

Here is how my day went down (yuck):
Yeah, that last mile really did not go down the way I wanted it too. To tell you the truth, my race was over at  mile three. My legs felt great going up the gradual hills, but my wind was non-existent, and my hip started felling naughty. 

The good news? My buddy Vanessa PR'ed by over a minute with a 44:50(ish)!  Nice job little buddy!
Congratulations to all my running buddies out there today. Seriously, I saw no fewer than 40 athletes I know. It is so fun seeing people of all different ages out there getting in their pre-Thanksgiving Day guilt run. 

My boys are now very interested in tracking their running as they have watchd me upload my runs onto my computer. So:

Julian's run:                                                                           Luca's run:                                             

Stay tuned all spring and summer to see how much more prepared for Ironman my sons are than me. 

Happy Thanksgiving! Train Smart!

23 November 2010

T Minus Seven Days

I believe it was Ben Franklin who once said "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." As the holidaze slowly approach, I like to head over to my favorite fifteen thousand square foot food, er beer market, and stock up on a couple of—what I like to refer to as—"family tolerators." Now, don't get me wrong, these divinely inspired beverages are as much for my extended family to put up with me, as they are for me to appreciate the unique personality quirks that make the holidaze so joyful.  Purchased this evening:

1) One case of Lion's Stout. If you like stout, this is the quintessential malty stout for you. Okay, listen all you beer aficionados out there ready to jump and declare my ignorance for what I call the loveliest stout known to mankind, save it!  This just happens to be my opinion on this matter. Of course, in the self-titled autobiography by Charles Barkely (edited by Michael Wilbon), "I May Be Wrong, but I Doubt It."

2) One six pack of Sierra Nevada Kellerweis. It is wifey's current favorite beer.

3) One four-pack of Sam Smith's Winter Welcome for my brother-in-law for Christmas. He is a big fan.

Well, amidst all of the chaos, I am managing to stay relatively sane. I have been consistent about getting in workouts, albeit none of them very intense, or extensive. The longest run I have been on since Ironman is an 8-miler. Of course, that is all going to change December 1st, as I set my course for Ironman once again. Along the way, I plan on racing a lot more this summer. I plan on doing a lot of  5 and 10k's to get use to racing. Here I am with my friend Ryan at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. It was cold and dark outside. How macho are we? Well, as macho as anyone can look with tights on I suppose who is NOT Superman. I still have not been able to shake the ickiness all the way. I have woken up the last week with a scratchy throat and some funkiness. Nothing is worse than not having the energy that you think should be there. Perhaps I am actually getting older and require more rest?!! I shudder to think that my body now requires more rest. I thought that I was fairly invincible. Clearly, the one thing that has dramatically changed for me this year is my new professorship position. My new position requires me driving an hour to work five days a week. So, I lose  ten hours a week in a car. Not good. From a physical perspective, driving leaves me tired, because I drive on the thruway, and I have to be alert all the time. But, for me, driving is more draining from a psychological perspective. After being in a car for an hour on the way home, I really have to talk myself into going out for a run. I think the only way to real combat this is two-fold:

a) move closer

b) workout in the morning

(A) is not an option right now. The children are in school and committed to summer activities already.
(B) is the only viable option. Ugh!  I HAVE to do this. I have to do this. I have to do this. I have to do this! I just need to get my butt in bed at a reasonable hour. Hopefully, I will have the winter break to readjust completely to "Ironman Clock." I also have not been stretching enough. I am back doing some serious weight training—especially legs—and need to keep my hamstrings and quads stretched, so I do not feel like the Tinman.

I am going to run a race Thanksgiving morning. It is an annual 10k. I just feel bad because I am not as prepared to really "compete" as I would like. However, when I brought my self deprecating talk to my friend Alexa, she quickly reminded me that Thanksgiving Day races are for the purpose of eating guilt-free the rest of the day, not to PR. Ah, how I love friends who have the ability to put everything into perspective for me.

One recent development for me that I am very excited about—other than having an amazing coach this season!!!—is that I can not fudge any workouts. I need to be able to account for all my training, so my coach can figure out why I am the slowest human being they have ever coached and why I seldom make any strides. Okay, there I go being self-deprecating again. Seriously, the best part about having a coach is that I will not have to do ANY of the thinking. The data to the left is from my Saturday morning run with Ryan. He was racing the next morning, so it was good that he went out with me to
pace him. I think I am now addicted to data. How cool is it to see all your splits? I have noticed that I always start feeling good right around mile seven of my run. What does this mean? Should I only race longer distances? Should I warm up for a couple of miles before I run a 10k? Enquiring minds want to know!

OTHER DEVELOPMENT: I am reading the first Harry Potter book with my son Luca. I don't what prompted me to pick up the book and want to start reading it with him, but I we are on chapter seven, and I find myself trying very hard not to pick it up and read it without him. All my friends who have read it told me how wonderful the series is, but I guess I just did not have the motivation to pick it up and start reading. Glad I did.

Good luck to everyone running Thursday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

More soon! Train Smart!

17 November 2010

Beautifully Chaotic

There are points in all of our lives when we are completely surrounded by chaos, when we feel like we like we are barely holding it all together.
I'm there.

When this happens, it is difficult to think straight, let alone write. I had a professor in graduate school at Ithaca who always use to preach "In order to write clearly, you need to think clearly." I believe that now more than ever. When I do any academic work, whether it is prepping a class, correcting papers, or writing music, I need to be somewhere where I have a lot of space and is free from distractions. Thus, home is NOT the ideal place. Yeah, someplace without five children running around asking me to wrestle every five minutes, or play a game, do a puzzle, play catch, build legos, or sing songs. The problem is, I would MUCH rather be doing that all that stuff with my kids than getting work done.

It has been my experience that chaos induced stress can leads to one of two outcomes:

1) Leaves stressed-induced individual utterly paralyzed, unable to perform a single task for  periods of time.

2) Further motivates stressed-induced individual to get their tail in gear and slowly chip away at the stress, all the while promising themselves never again to overcommit. Yeah, right!

Lately, I  resemble both of these outcomes.

Last Friday, I attended a play called The Laramie Project with my colleague Yisrael from the english department. My wife was a bit jealous that I had a date with someone other than her. Two of our colleagues from the Theater Department were involved in the project—one directed the play, and another played multiple roles in the performance. Needless to say, I am a fantastic date. We went out for dinner, saw a play, and I drove.

My pear salad

Yisrael enjoying some good food, a beer, and an annoying photographer.

Here is a picture of my meal. I call this "Swordfish Therapy."

This is as pretentious as I could possibly look drinking coffee.

Whenever things get stressful, I think about what an amazing life I have: an incredibly supportive wife, an amazing family, and good friends who lift my spirits when I am feeling overwhelmed. My children are also incredibly therapeutic. Sunday morning, Stella came into bed and started talking to me. 

She said "Daddy. Do you know what I like? I like skeletons, princesses, and R2D2."
Ah... I've raised her right!

Interactions like this with my children make me focus on what is truly important in life. 

Training: The training is currently at a minimal "get-it-done" level. This is my off-season, and I am relishing it. I have been trying to get in run and swim workouts, but I have still not been on a bike since Ironman!  Come December, that is ALL going to change. I will be back in the saddle again. I have some very exciting news to announce regarding my training this season. I will have the help of a coach. Look out age-groupers, I am getting serious!  What is the reason for seeking out a coach? Well, with my insanely busy lifestyle, I either will have to give up training for triathlons entirely, or find a way to do something that I love and makes me happy without sacrificing time with my family. When I met with my coach for the first time, I told her that minimizing time away from my family is my number one priority. I want to be done with the bulk of my training before 8:00 a.m. (with the exception of the insanely long weekend ride in preparation for Ironman). I know that she  understands and appreciates my concerns. She is a wife and mother, and serious triathlete. I will write a separate post about my new coach in a future blog. I am very excited to be working with her.

One other thing I hope to do this season is to keep track of all of my workouts. I did not do that last season. I had no idea how many miles I was biking, running, or swimming each week. I could look back at my training plan, but I never followed it to the letter of the law. Keeping track of all my data will prove to everyone what an incredible slacker I can be, and why I am not running a faster HIM.

Okay.... more good news to come. Train Smart!

... and to all my blogger buddies: I look forward to catching up with life and your blogs real soon!

09 November 2010

Running And Swimming Away The Ickiness

I have been feeling icky for the last week. Runny nose, sore throat, itchy eyes, headache. Not fun. I have a lot of stuff going on in my professional life that has been contributing to the fatigue. Four weekends of concerts and rehearsals. Oh, and Stella has been sick, and I love giving Stella hugs and kisses—although she is at that not-so-fun period in her life when she is not too excited about giving me hugs and kisses. Sigh. My performances with BIODANCE were absolutely fantastic. This picture is following our last performance. It got to work with an unbelievably talented group of performers.

Over the weekend, went and watch my friends race nearby in a place called Mendon Ponds. My friends Kelly, Ben and Mike ran the 50k, and my training partner Mike ran the 20k. I had totally anticipated doing the 20k trail run this week, until the tragic ickiness struck earlier in the week.

Here are Kelly and Ben coming into transition after their second 10k loop. Apparently Kelly thought the race was already over, or she is just doing her best Chariots of Fire victory lap.

Here is my buddy Mike feeling great during transition. You know he's feeling great because he is giving me the thumbs up.
Look who came out to support her fellow Train This team member Kelly
It's my buddy Alexa. We coordinated my sweater and her run running jacket.
I call this photo: Boys on Hill. Luca and Julian wanted a better vantage point to watch the runners coming in. Shortly after taking this photo, Julian ran down the hill, lost his shoe, and started laughing hysterically. I will never understand what makes that boy tick. Wait... he is just like his dad. Never mind.

So, with ickiness about me, I set everything aside for a bit and headed over to the pool Monday afternoon to try my hand at a thousand yards or so. In my experience, running, swimming, and biking when you are slightly ill can go one of two ways:

1) make you  more sick and miserable
2) just the thing your body needs to break out of its funk and continue on its journey towards immortality—like Cher.

Luckily, it was number two. This morning, I woke up at 5:45, and met my friends Mike and Ryan for a 6.9 mile run. Wow, two workouts in two days. I am on a roll. If I can just keep it going long enough to run a 10k on Thanksgiving morning. I would really like to parlay my training the next two weeks into a 45 minute 10k. It's a long-shot right now considering I am just starting to run again—sans pain—for the first time since Ironman.

When I posted my shout-outs the other day, there was one glaringly obvious omission that I only realized after posting. Congratulations goes out to my blogger buddy Bob from ONEHOURIRONMAN, who finished IMFL in an impressive 12:47. Way to go Bob!  The ironic part is that I was tracking him all day—along with my cousin and two other friends—on Ironman Live.

More Soon. Train Smart!

06 November 2010

Catching Up And Shoutouts

Update: I have been up to my earlobes with work the last two weeks, thus, the infrequent posts.  I had four concerts in two weekends, and I wrote three new works in the span of two weeks. I love writing music, but I love writing music when I have time to live with my musical materials. I like being immersed in a piece to understand where it is going. The best part about having time to work on creative projects is that they almost invariably have a sense of organicism that dictate where the music is going. When you have to write music fast, you sometimes force it to take a direction that it might not otherwise want to go naturally. However, what I've learned through the years, is to allow yourself to submit, and—like triathlon—know that all the training you have put it, will a result in a decent product in the end. Ah, the zen of composition. Whenever I struggled to meet at deadline early in my career, I use to call up my very first composition teacher for advice. He always gave me this pragmatic matter-of-fact response, "Hey, just put a double-bar line on it for goodness sakes and call it done. Do you think you're going to win the Pulitzer with this one or something?" I have no delusions of winning the Pulitzer anytime soon, but Dr. Bevelander did have a great point. Like Obi-Wan's advice to Luke, I had to trust my feelings and let go.

Good News: There is end in sight! Everything that I am doing is exciting. I always remember that whenever it seems like it might start to get overwhelming, that the chaos is only temporary. Well, okay, maybe it is a bit more than temporary in our case. With wifey dancing professionally again, the tag-team parenting is in full effect.

I have been taking the running easy, well if you consider a six and a half mile trail run traversing up and down several hundred feet last Sunday taking it easy. Seriously, this was some run. Mike T. and I went out early Sunday morning and had a great workout (once we could finally find the park). I am not good with directions. I was more sore after my 6.5 mile trail run than after Ironman. I think it is time to start doing a little training again. I have been pretty consistent about getting to the pool and swimming,  but the end of the week found me SICK! I came down with a nasty post-nasal drip and I have not been able to run, or swim for the last four days. Yuck!  Hopefully, I can get some rest over the weekend and get back out there.

SHOUT-OUTS: I need to give some huge shout-outs to some friends and family running some pretty hardcore races this weekend. Good luck to my cousin Danny, who ran the Musselman HIM with me this summer. He will be racing IMFL this weekend along with fellow bloggers Mary Eggers, and Trakkers team member Jacquie Gordon. Good luck to all of you. Go fast!  And of course, I would be remiss if I did not give a giant shout out to my dear friend, fellow musician, and blogger buddy Kelly C. over at trimommylife who will be running a trail 50k tomorrow! Holy smokes! I also get the rather unique distinction of feeding Kelly her pre-race meal this evening at my house. She and her friend are spending the night at our place because we are much closer to the race sight than she would be had she driven from home. The Menu?  Penne Vodka and brocolli rappi, what else? Go fast guys!

More soon. Hopefully, I will have some photos of Kelly getting absolutely muddy out there during her 50k.

Train Smart!

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!

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.