Sunday, August 1, 2010

IMLP Race Report - (Video) - The Finish

As I approached the finish line I had a smile as wide as could be. My eyes darted around the crowd in hopes to see my family. I waved my hands in the air so the spectators would make some noise and then there they were...waving and cheering for family.

As I came to the line I slowed to a walk pointed to the sky and blew my mother a kiss just like I promised. At that point a guy approached me to place my finisher's medal around my neck. I then realized it was my brother Vince who had finished over an hour and twenty minutes before me. We hugged and I cried tears of happiness. It was a perfect ending to an amazing journey.

Here is the video of my finish:

Up next: Closing the book

Saturday, July 31, 2010

IMLP Race Report - The Run

My longest "run" ever was a 20 miler which was brutal. At mile 10 I started having IT Band issues and I ended up walking/"running" the last 8 miles. It was tremendously painful and a bit demoralizing.

One saving grace was that I saw Sara Thatcher, my PT, on Friday for some last minute stretching. She told me not to worry, I wasn't going to have ITB problems and that the 20 miler was a fluke. I thought she was just trying to give me some motivational BS, which I appreciated, but this ITB thing was on my mind. I knew it was only a matter of time before it showed up. My plan was to go easy and see where that took me.

As I headed out for the marathon I knew a long day was about to get longer. The first descent right out of transition can be pretty harsh so I just took my time and settled into a pace once I got down the hill. My legs weren't turning over as quickly as I hoped and the pace was slower too. I told myself not to worry about any of that and to just keep running.

I made my way through each aid station at every mile and made sure I drank and ate in order to stay fueled. I was so hungry that nothing I ate filled what seemed like a massive void. I ate cookies, pretzels, oranges, grapes and more. At some aid stations I just took water or water and cola because I didn't want my stomach to get upset.

As far as I'm concerned the first loop went well. I saw a ton of people I know and each time it gave me a lift. I saw Vin and he looked strong. As I made my way back to into town it was like the crowd carried me up the climb. I knew in a few minutes I'd see my family and that was all the motivation I needed.

I approached the condo and they were cheering and yelling! On the way back I made sure I stopped and gave Keri-Ann and Noella a kiss and said I love you. I also said, "I'm going to be an Ironman!" and I headed back out for another 13.1 lonely miles.

The last 11.5 miles before the finish were tough. As I passed mile 16(?) I saw Vin heading back. He was at about mile 21/22 and all he said to me was "I just hit the wall". I looked at him and yelled "NO YOU DIDN'T!" and kept on going.

At that point I was still feeling decent and no ITB pain yet. As I passed mile 17 I hit a milestone. 17 miles was the longest I had actually run because I don't count the run/walk 20 miler. Mile 18 came and went as did mile 19 and then the turn around. I was heading home and then I hit THE wall.

Even though I was eating and drinking I didn't have any energy and I was starting to hurt. My left ankle was cramping, my right quad and hip flexor were getting tighter step by the step and I was literally in pain. Ironically, the only thing not hurting was my IT Band! I forced myself to keep running, but at times I had to walk to keep the pain down. I was almost there.

With about 4 miles to go I passed over what appeared to be a timing mat. There was music blasting and a billboard of sorts. The guy on the mic was trying to motivate
us and then made an announcement to make sure we looked at the board to see a message from our families.

I thought to myself what a nice idea, but didn't expect to see anything because I didn't even know about this thing. I looked up just to look up and then I see... 849 - Marty Miserandino - Get it Done! I had no idea how that got up there, but later found out that my wife Keri-Ann had done it. She's the best! The crazy thing is that I had already passed that board on the first loop and didn't even look at it. I probably wouldn't have looked at the billboard if the guy hadn't made that announcement...perfect timing and the fuel I needed to take it home.

I made my way back into town and started to smile as I climbed the two steepest hills. The street was lined with spectators on both sides and I started to pick up the pace. I was almost home. I was greeted by Greg Dombal and Sara Thatcher, I saw Steve and Brandi Dion and then rounded the corner for the out and back. I had a smile from ear to ear and then I saw my family waiting for me. I told them to get to the finish and I started moving.

I passed the final turn around and headed for the finish of my life. On my way to the oval I stopped to give my Aunt, Uncle and other family members a kiss and say thank you for being there. Having them there was truly one of the highlights of my whole experience.

The oval was right there. I was running next to another athlete and we were coming to the point where you either stayed to the left to go back out for another loop or you stayed to the right and became an Ironman. I asked if she was finishing and she said yes. At the point I said go ahead and have your moment. She looked at me like, "Really?" Absolutely... I could have cared less about my time at that moment. All I cared about was soaking it all in, seeing my family, looking to the sky and blowing my mother a kiss.

Up next: The Finish

Friday, July 30, 2010

IMLP Race Report - The Bike

I made it through transition and got on my bike for the 2 x 56 mile loops that included screaming fast descents and climbs that felt like they wouldn't go away. My hope was for a safe ride and to keep my power down to save my legs for the run. Overall the bike was uneventful except for the screaming fast descents... at one point I hit 46 miles an hour! At that point life was more important so I sat up and just made it down safely.

My main concerns were safety, power and mechanical issues. You never want a mechanical and, as a bike shop owner, that is the LAST thing you want for a customer. Thankfully my bike was flawless. My mechanics Geoff and Mark kept the bike in great shape and Mark went through our bikes with a fine tooth the week of the race. If anything had happened to the bike then it was meant to be. The bike was beautiful!

I headed out of Lake Placid pretty quickly and started the first climb. I kept my power very steady as a stream of riders passed me. I didn't care... let them go. Stay in your bubble. That was the plan. Stay in your bubble.

There are a few points on the bike where you have to go out and back, so you can see where other athletes are and it's where I would hopefully see the other guys I trained with. I'd also see other customers, my coach and most importantly my brother. I needed the piece of mind knowing that he was ok and he was killing it! We'd ask each how we were feeling or shout words of encouragement.

As the ride progressed I started to think about when I'd see my family. I couldn't wait! As I headed into the the final climb of the first loop, a nice climb called Papa Beer, I was just minutes away from seeing them. I started getting a little emotional. I knew my entire family was waiting.

As I came down the flat stretch many athletes stayed in their aero position, but I didn't care. I wanted to make sure they saw me and I saw them. As I passed I raised my fist in the air, pumped away and yelled FORTE!!!! which means strong in Italian. It's a little family saying we have. I could see my family screaming, jumping up and down, and cheering me on. I'm certain they did the same thing for Vin just a few minutes before me.

As I rounded the corner to pass the Olympic Oval I heard over the loud speaker, here comes 849, Marty Miserandino. I thought that was sooo cool.

I made the turn and heard my name being yelled and I saw my friend Kelley, her mom and her kids cheering us on. I had no idea they were there! They drove up that morning to cheer us on and it provided such a needed push. Did I mention she drove up THAT morning and left after the race... 5.5 hours each way... thank you!

The second loop is where I thought I'd make a little move, and I did, but then brought myself back to Earth. I knew if I pushed it too hard I'd pay for it dearly on the run. I saw Vince again on the out back and he looked strong. I was hoping I'd see him again, but I didn't. He was having a heck of a race.

Although there were 2,700+ people racing, an Ironman is very lonely. The last 11-12 miles on the bike course, especially the second time around, is really unforgiving. It's basically a continuous climb back into Lake Placid with few breaks. At that point I wanted to see my family again and get on with the run.

As I passed the fam the second time around I was a little less enthusiastic as my energy was starting to fade, but I managed to blow kisses and smile. I knew I was just about done with the bike. As I pulled into T2 I was a little wobbly off the bike. Unexpectedly my cousin Elena and her boyfriend Kevin were there waiting at the transition and it was a needed boost. After the race she told me that she was really nervous for me because I was as white as a ghost when I got off the bike. I made my way back to my transition bag and headed into the changing tent. Even though I didn't feel that I went to hard on the bike, and my power data confirmed this, I was losing energy. I had that lethargic feeling and my legs didn't want to move. I was nervous.

I entered the changing tent and a volunteer came over to me immediately and asked what he could do to help. The volunteers really make this race. The guy emptied my bags, helped make sure I was ok, etc. I took a little time to pull myself together, took in a Gu Roctane, went to the bathroom, sipped some water and then I was off. I was about to enter the great unknown...I was attempting my first marathon ever and that after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride.

Up next: The Run...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

IMLP Race Report - The Swim

Vin and I woke up at 3:45 to start fueling and to get ready for the race. We dropped off of our special needs bags which were filled with things we might need during the day. For example, my bike special needs bag had spare tubes, co2 cartridges, etc. My run special needs bag had extra socks, a few different shirts in case I needed to change and so on.

We headed to the Olympic Oval to drop off our on-bike nutrition, pump up the tires and then headed back to our condo. We were fortunate to have a place across from the swim start and on the bike/run course. When we got back to the condo my wife's family had already arrived and I started to get very emotional. I was just so thankful they were there to support us and see the race.

My sister Ro arrived next with my brother-in-law Clint, and their kids... more and more emotions. My cousins called and they were facing road closures, so I wasn't sure if they were going to make it for the start. I understood, but was hoping they would be there.

Now we were getting close... the crowd was gathering and athletes were walking past the condo to drop off their special needs bags down the street. It was time to get the energy pumping. I brought one of my DJ speakers from home, hooked up the Ipod and started playing music. The first song was the Olympic Theme put a smile on people's face. As the music played we made final preparations... body glide, chamois lube, bathroom stops, and put our wetsuits on. Then it was time to make our way to the swim start.

I wanted a good song playing as we walked away and there was only one choice. My family knows that "Don't stop Believin" reminds me of my mother and it's a song we all love. A few years back for the spinathon I made a video of my mother's progress as she battled a 8-9 month hospital stay due to complications from Diabetes and the "theme" song was "Don't stop Believin".

Every time we hear that song it's like she's with us, so it was only fitting to have that playing as we headed to the shore. Hugs and kisses for the family, last minute pictures, and we walked down the grass slope to the street and over to the swim start.

As I looked back "Don't Stop Believin" was finishing up and we waved good-bye. We could hear music pumping on the main speakers at the swim start and the crowd was massive. All of sudden I heard the first few notes of "Don't Stop Believin"!!!
I turned to Vince and said, "you hear that?" and he said "yup..she's with us". Just awesome...

As we worked our way through the crowd Vin saw my cousin Elena... They made it! The whole family was now here and I mean the whole family!!! (Dad, Keri-Ann, Noella, Ro, Clint, Julia, Gino, Auntie, Uncle, Marisa, Carla, Elena, Elise, Michael, Jim, Taylor, Morgan, Kevin, Nicole, Anna, Vincenzo, Ann, Kerry, Aly, Jimmy, Conner, Ashley, and Mike)

Over the last several months we both got advice about the swim start. It was going to be a battle to say the least. Obviously the 2.4 mile swim is a challenge, but so aren't the hundreds of athletes swimming over you, grabbing you, and kicking you in order to get to open water. Lake Placid has a really cool swim course, in that, there is a cable under the water about 4 feet deep. You don't have really look where you are going if you "get on the line". Well that's the problem. We were told that everyone wants to get on the line, so imagine 2,600+ swimmers converging on the cable. It would be absolute chaos.

One piece of advice we got was to stay back and let the better swimmers go. The other advice was to start to the right and head to the far buoy where everyone would have to converge as we turned left.

Our Coach, Jeff Capobianco, said he likes to start next to the dock and tries to stay left of the line. Vin and I said screw it. We were going with a hybrid approach. Coach had been spot on since day one with every aspect of training, so we went next the dock, but instead of staying back, we went as close to the front as possible...about 4-5 rows deep.

In the scheme of things we were up front and we knew it was going to be a battle. As we floated the cannon blasted and the pro field went off 10 minutes before us. For the next 10 minutes we floated and it seemed like an eternity.

Something interesting started to happen. When we got into the water we found our way pretty easily to where we wanted to be. It wasn't too crowded. As we got closer to the start more and more athletes were floating to us. At that point we could hardly move... we were surrounded! It was getting close... and then BOOM!!!! We were off!

Arm to the head, kick to the body, I was being climbed on and over... My concerns at this point were 1. Try not to get kicked so hard that the race was over before it really got going and 2. Don't lose or let your goggles fill with water. I wear contacts and having water in my goggles is extremely annoying and a contact could fall out. This was a huge concern. I brought extra contacts with me in case I lost one in the swim or on the bike. (Going 40 miles an hour downhill on a bike without glasses on can dry out contacts pretty quickly.)

At this point my goal was to get on that line and swim hard until it opened up, if it ever opened up. I couldn't believe so many people stayed away from the line! After the initial "shock" and "awe" I was really surprised that I had a pretty clear path. It reminds me of a Yogi Berra quote. When he was asked about a restaurant Yogi once said, "It's so busy nobody goes there anymore". I think that's what happened. Everyone is told how crowded it gets on the line so they stay away. I couldn't believe how nice of a swim I was having. Sure, there were some points that I was getting hit, but I knew that was going to happen especially rounding the buoys. I got hit a few times and my goggles filled with water. OH NO! I stayed calm, but the water was really bothering me. I decided to stop for a second and let the water out... a few minutes later I got walloped and it happened again. I stopped, emptied, pressed on.

I exited the water after the first lap, looked at my watch and couldn't believe I saw 32 minutes. I was expecting 35! I headed back into the water for lap 2 and more of the same. I finished the swim in 1:08:25.

As I made my way through the chute the crowd was insane. Just amazing! I was moving quickly while trying to find my family. It was really hard... then I heard "Marty", "Marty"... family, customers, friends... all there cheering us on. Thank you!

I ran through T1 and had no idea where Vince was. Did I beat him in the swim? My goal was 1:10 and I came out in 1:08...I had to have beaten him! As I passed the hook where his transition bags were his bag was missing! He had the swim of his life and I couldn't have been happier! I knew the next time I'd see him was somewhere on the bike.

Up Next: IMLP Race Report - The Bike

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Race Day

4:44 a.m. and we're getting ready to head out to the bike transition to drop off our nutrition, etc. The sun isn't up yet, but both Vin and I are already up and at em. Everyone else is sleeping. :-) As we head out to the course we just hope and pray for a smooth, safe day. You are with us and we know it!

I'm feeling a little anxious, but overall calm. I slept pretty well until I woke up at 2:00 a.m. to take a Boost drink...the next 2 hours were a mix of tosses and turns. Thankfully I slept well this past week, so I feel good right now.

The last few days were a mix of settling in, some race prep, family time and staying off my feet. I also had a chance to see my PT Sara Thatcher. She is up here watching the race and I was thankful to get some last minute work/stretching. Thank you Sara!

Well, this is probably my last post before we head out. Thanks again for all your support.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On my mind

You've been on my mind for over a year. I've had hours and miles to think about every aspect of the challenge. I've sacrificed, I've suffered, I've succeeded. I've woken up
in no mood to work out, without any drive, and got through it. I've woken up ready to attack and exceed the goal at hand. I am excited. I am motivated. I am athlete 849.

The last 2 weeks of Ironman prep involve a lot less volume and in a weird way it plays with your body and mind. Although I'm not working out as much my body is tired and
achy. I've been told this is a good sign and that my body is recovering. I will be ready.

Let me take a second and say thanks to every single one of you who has helped make this journey possible. There are too many of you to name individually and many of you I don't even know. My inspiration came from your stories, from my family, from my friends, and from my own insecurities. I've laughed, I've cried, and I've had doubts. As the VP said, "This is a big f*cking deal"... at least it is to me.

Dad, Ro/Clint, Vin/Nicole, Keri-Ann and Noella... I know everyone says "I couldn't do this without you". I wouldn't want to do this without you! Thank you for making your own sacrifices to be with me. You and the rest of the family will be my inspiration along the way. I'm already looking forward to seeing you and the kids, upstairs, and Keri's family along the way. It will be the lift I need when needed.

I can't wait to hug you at the finish line after I hear "Marty Miserandino, you are an Ironman!"

Mom, there isn't day that goes by that I don't think of you. I still lean on you and know that you'll be with us. Your words of encouragement, your life long lessons,
and your strength during dialysis, bypass surgeries and amputation showed me what it means to be strong and fight. You and Dad have prepared Vin and me for this without even knowing. Mom, I am going to be an Ironman and when I cross that line I'll look to the sky and blow you a kiss.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Transformation - Back in the Buff

With 1 week to go I have a lot on my mind. I'll share more in the coming week, but I wanted to follow up on my post, "In the Buff", from January.

It's funny how I didn't see the physical changes others have seen until looking at these photos side by side...

January 2010 - 158lbs July 2010 - 146lbs

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My first impression the second time around

My first trip to Lake Placid was last summer when Vin and I decided to volunteer and sign up for 2010. My first impression was that I wanted in... I wanted to push myself and see what I could accomplish. While we watched the run I was both excited and nervous. Could I do this? Should I do this? The Ironman seems both insane and impressive and I still wanted in. My first impression was that if I trained properly I could do this, but thinking about this I had this impression based solely on seeing the run. I never saw the swim start and I never road the bike course. Hmmmm...

Fast forward to this past weekend in Lake Placid. I spent the weekend training with Coach cap, his brother Marc, Tom D., Art D. and my brother. I had a second chance
at a first impression. What I mean by this is that for the first time I was going to see the entire course. Let me say this loud and clear...this course is NO JOKE!

Vin and I headed up to LP On Friday morning and arrived around 2:30. After unpacking we headed out for a 13.1 run (1 loop of the two loop run course). Basically I'm the slowest runner of the group so I watched the guys pull away and I was left to run alone. The run course in LP is beautiful, but will be tough after the 112 mile bike ride. It will be easy to go out "fast" if the legs are there, but it will be punishing if that happens. The climbs back into Lake Placid will slap you in the face and then smerk at you as if to say "what are you doing to do about it?" It will be a fight.

Saturday consisted of riding the entire bike course (a two loop, 112 mile route) and a 4 mile run. Coach Cap gave each of us our prescribed wattage and outlined the race plan. On the first loop I followed my plan except for a few stretches where I pushed it. Big mistake. The loop contains some significant climbs, some screaming fast descents, followed by more climbing. The last 11 miles back to Lake Placid were uphill. Great...I get to do this again on the second loop. I heard the stories about the course, but they didn't do it justice. Living it, riding it, losing your legs on it, really made things clear.

Now keep in mind that we had a full training week under our belts and a half marathon in us from the day before. The second loop was going to suck and it did. Although I had energy, I didn't have any power at all. It's as if the legs wouldn't turn over. Long story short, I made it back but I was feeling it. I was feeling it every where. My legs, my neck, my mind, and let's just say the undercarriage isn't very happy.

When I got back to the condo to change for my run, Coach Cap was already there... bike finished, run finished. That boy can move! Anyway, he asked how I felt and I told him I was feeling it. I changed and headed out for the run. Surprisingly my legs were turning over. I had legs! Again, I'm not a fast runner. I just need to run without IT Band pain and the rest will take care of itself. As I ran alone, being the last one, I saw my brother heading back as I was heading out. He said that Coach Cap said that if we were feeling strong to run 6 miles instead of 4. Knowing I had legs I couldn't lie to myself. I had to run the 6 and I'm happy I did. I got through it and I accomplished
something I never had before.

On Sunday we finished with a loop of the swim course. Uneventful...but I know what's ahead. Imagine a fish tank full of Piranhas. Then drop a bloody piece of steak into it and watch what happens. Welcome to the start of Ironman Lake Placid. I'll be kicked, punched, and crawled over. I'll work hard to find a spot and get on the line.

Over all I'm very happy with the weekend. I know when race day comes I'll be rested, hydrated, and ready to go. I have 2 more weeks of hard work to get ready and then the taper begins.

My first impression the second time around can be summed up in one word: Respect
I have the utmost respect for this course, the challenge ahead, the athletes that have completed the event, the athletes that sacrificed to get to the line, but didn't make it.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."


Sunday, June 20, 2010

5 Weeks to go

It's starting to ramp up. 17.5 hours of training this week. It would have been 18 hours, but the ocean was freezing and a couple of my rides were 5-10 minutes short. My wife Keri-Ann pointed out that this is like having a part-time job. Today it felt like a full time job. 94 miles in the saddle and a 30 minute run. I'm feeling it. :-)

This past week Coach Cap kept my running at bay because of the foot issue I developed at Mooseman. The week after Mooseman my left foot was really painful, so we upped the bike and swim to give my foot some rest. I've been on my bike the last 6 out of 7 days, swam 3 days, and ran 3 times (1 hour and then 2 x 30 minute runs off the bike). Thankfully my foot is feeling better this week and that is due to my visit with Sara Thatcher. She seriously is some kind of body miracle worker. I'm not just saying that either. When I saw her last Monday morning I could hardly walk..3 hours after our session my foot felt 1,000 times better and my runs this week were much more bearable with a lot less pain. I'll see her again tomorrow for more work to keep my body in "peak" condition.

As I look back at my training and see the progress I've made I can't help think about the sacrifices. Not only mine, but my family's. I couldn't do this without the love and support of my wife Keri-Ann. She never gives me sh*t about a workout, she understands the physical demands, and she's there when I call her at 6:30 in the morning before my race and I'm crying for no particular reason. Ok, sometimes, especially when I'm tired, I get emotional. :-) Thank you hon!

And speaking of my family I'm excited to tell you that Keri-Ann and I will be expecting our second child on 1/1/11. :-) It certainly adds to the Journey and I couldn't be more exited.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My First Video Blog

I decided to give technology a try and see how this video blog thing might work. I hope you like it. :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Athlete 174 - Mooseman Half Ironman

Mooseman 70.3 - Race Report

Leading up to Mooseman I started to get very anxious, not because of my preparation, but because of the course. There is a big 3 mile climb which gets very steep, but I wasn't concerned about the climb. I was concerned about the descent and safety. It got to the point where that's all I was thinking about because the forecast was for rain. I pictured disaster after disaster which is not what you want to be picturing entering a race.

Unfortunately the mental toll got the best of me and I couldn't fall asleep the night before the race. Friday night I was on my feet most of the day and I only got 6 hours sleep. I though for sure I'd pass out Saturday night and sleep like a baby. Instead I couldn't fall asleep. I saw the clock tick 11 p.m. which meant if I feel asleep right at that moment I would get 5 hours. That didn't happen. I finally fell asleep only to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to drink a Boost Energy drink. When the alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. it was like a slap in the face, but we got right up and got ready. I new adrenaline would take over once the race started.

The rain started and stayed with us the entire race. I got off to a solid start in the swim and felt very smooth. I kept thinking about all the things Craig taught me and kept focused on the task at hand. I had a clear lane to the buoys and hugged them perfectly. As I rounded the final buoy to head back into shore my goggles were really fogged up. That caused my one mistake on the swim. I drifted right instead of hugging the buoys. It cost me some time, but I felt great! Just over 35 minutes and feeling fresh.

My transitions have become pretty solid. Minimize what you need to do and move forward. Off on the bike.

This was my main concern for the day because of the rain. My two thoughts the entire time were 1. Be safe.. just get down the hill safely and you'll be fine. 2. Hit your number (watts)...ok, I had one more thought. I wanted Vin to be safe too. Part of me was hoping that he'd catch me on the bike (he started a couple of waves behind) just so I knew he was ok. I didn't see him on the bike.

Overall I thought my effort on the bike was solid. Looking back at my file my watts could/should have been higher. I was working hard though and the conditions were challenging. I could feel my body getting cold, I could feel my leg muscles tighten. I hate making excuses, but I know there are a few reasons why legs could have felt better. With that said the watts don't lie. Coach Cap and I will review the file and go from there. Could have, should have, blah, blah, blah.

I came back into T2 soaking wet as did everyone else. My sneakers and socks were soaked and the body was cold. It was a bit of a challenge getting my socks on while keeping my balance so I didn't fall in the mud. I slipped into my shoes, grabbed my hat and water bottle and I was

I had 3 goals for the run. 1. No GI issues 2. Get through it without any IT band pain and 3. finish strong. I run with my Garmin 310xt which has GPS and cadence. I make sure my turn over is over 90 RPM and keep an eye on my pace. It seemed like my pace was all over the place and wondered if I lost the satellite signal. My goal pace was suppose to be about 8:30 per mile, but I didn't want to push that pace just yet.

When I did the Patriot Half last year my stomach was all over the place and I thought I was going to have a very big problem on the run. In addition, with a couple of miles left, my left IT band tightened and I was in tremendous pain. Those two issues where on my mind, so I went a bit easier than planned. I also wanted to have a faster finish. As a decent cyclist and slow runner I am accustomed to see athlete after athlete run past me on the run. I decided to let it be and focus on my race. As I came to mile 10 my Garmin said mile 9.5 or something like that so I started to think that perhaps I had been running faster than I thought and that's when I could start to feel some muscles tighten, but not my IT band.

At that point I knew I had one more climb and then two miles of a downhill and then a flat stretch to the finish. As I looked at my watch I realized I'd have a shot at breaking 5:30 if I moved it. I pushed and pushed, but I felt like I wasn't moving. :-) I was starting to hurt, but I figured the race was just about over... I pushed all the way to the finish.

Finish time: 5:29:49

Post Race Observations:
Besides some soreness I feel 100% better after this Half Ironman compared to last year's Patriot. It's a testament to my training and keeping my body healthy. Outside of the weather, I never felt so ready and prepared.

Plain and simple I thank my coach Jeff Capobianco for his support, knowledge and friendship. I also thank my swim coach Craig Lewin. As I was cruising along everything you have taught me clicked. I felt smooth, comfortable and stayed fresh. I could have easily continued on.

In addition, I want to thank my PT Sara Thatcher for keeping me fresh and loose. I saw Sara today to work out some post-race fatigue and I'm feeling better already. I truly credit Sara for keeping me healthy and pain free.

I really enjoyed my Mooseman experience. As I raced the course I heard customers cheer me on and I did my best to cheer you on too. I'm proud to toe the line and suffer with you. When I was tired you were there. I hope that when you were tired I was there.

Congratulations to all who raced... on to Lake Placid.

One more thing... Last year at the Patriot Half my brother beat me by 7 minutes. This year his dedication and commitment to training and his goal of completing Lake Placid under Coach Cap has been amazing to see. As I've bridged the gap a bit on the swim and bike, his run was just awesome. He beat me by 19 minutes! Vin, I am proud of you big brother. Great effort!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Legs...where are you?

Who would have thought that a "little" sprint Triathlon would crush my legs more than all the training I've done over the last 6 months? I still feel last Sunday's race and I want my legs back. This week was another solid effort while feeling the stresses of work, life and training.

Thursdays 2.4 mile pool swim in a time of 1:16:54... boring as could be, but I'm tremendously pleased. Certainly wasn't blazing fast, but with a wetsuit and draft I think I could take some time off in the actual race. I now know I can complete the swim. The one thing that made this easier was that my brother was doing the same thing in the lane next to me. I know that he (we) sometimes lose focus during long sets. When I saw him fading I would push a bit. I knew he would pick up the pace and vice versa. Having Craig pushing us from the deck was a huge help too. Thanks coach!

Yesterday was a great day... the 62 Mile Tour De Cure to benefit the American Diabetes Association and then a 1 hour run. I followed that up with DJ'ing my friend's wedding... Keith and Lindsay, congratulations! Standing for 5 straight hours may not sound like a lot, but after the week of training my legs are mush. The only way to do all of this is with support from my wife and the guys at the shop. Thank you for all your support!

The week ahead:
I really don't want to go for a 75 minute run right now, but I'm going to get it done. The week ahead looks very full with several 3 hour bricks and some intensity to boot. I just need to get through this week healthy and rested and then it's time for a one week taper for Mooseman. I hope my legs come back. :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And so the season begins...

Today was a good first race of the season. I headed over to Marblehead for the JCC sprint (250 yard pool swim, 10 mile bike, 3.5 mile run) and it was a perfect day for a race.

I was excited, not because I was training for this race, but because my training has been solid for Lake Placid. Would I finally see if my training was paying off or not? On the one hand I thought I could do better than last year because I am being coached by a guy who has helped me make more gains in 6 months than I've made in 6 years. On the other hand, I wasn't being trained for this race. The intensity level is much higher in a sprint than in an Ironman. In a sprint, as many of you know, you basically go all out because it's relatively short. In longer races the intensity is lower because you need to save yourself for the long day ahead.

Coach Cap (Jeff Capobianco of Breakthrough Performance Coaching) made it pretty clear and reminded me that my training has been Ironman focused, not sprint. If it had been sprint focused my training would have been very different. So I was excited to arce, but didn't set my expectations too high. Plain and simple I wanted to do better than last year where my time was 59:44 and my place was 9th.

In addition to Coach Cap, I have been helped along the way by my swim Coach Craig Lewin of Endurance Swimming. Craig has prepared me well and my hope was to ease into the swim and get out in a decent time.

I truly am blessed to be in the business I am. I have access to the top cyclist in New England (Dean Phillips), the best Mechanics(Geoff Hull and Mark Saffer) and the best equipment. What I lack in an engine I make up in hard work. The bike went really well although I thought I'd be able to push it harder.

I was most concerned about the run. As I progress through my Ironman training my runs are relatively slow and steady. When I say slow I don't mean to offend anyone, but my E (easy) runs are like 10 minute miles. That's really where I've been running for several months without any speed work. The last time I ran a sub 8 minute mile was November or December. Before that it was last summer. I had no idea how the run would go.

Thankfully I've been seeing Sara Thatcher at Body Tuning every couple of weeks and she has kept my body in-line and strong. I really credit Sara's advice and direction
as the key for staying healthy and injury free (knock on wood).

So how did it go? I finished in a time of 57:24... over 2 minutes faster than last year! I came in 7th place overall and I'll certainly take it. Needless to say I am very pleased.

Congratulations to my buddy Kevin Reen who won the race for the second year in a row. Just awesome... My good friend and business partner Dean Phillips came in second today. Dean continues to amaze me. After an off-season of surgery, pain and frustration, followed by a serious TT crash last week, Dean still decided to race. He could have easily passed this up, so it was great to see him out there.

And of course kudos to my big brother Vin who came in 3rd... solid, solid, solid. He's also being coached by Coach Cap and his gains are impressive. Everyone keeps saying "Vin better watch out"... I don't think he has anything to worry about... his run is so much faster than mine. :-)

I also want to congratulate my friend Kelley T. who competed, and completed, in her first triathlon... Awesome job Kel! We are very proud of you.

What a day... surrounded by family, friends and customers on a beautiful sunny Sunday. Up next... the Mooseman 1/2 Ironman on June 6th.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Turn up the volume

Just under 12 weeks and Lake Placid awaits. This past week was some what of an eye opener. 17 hours of training... it's not just the 17 hours of training, it's owning a business, being a husband and father, and having a life. I'm very happy with how the week went.

Here is some of the work:
Monday: 2:30 bike
Tuesday: 1 hour swim, 45 minute run
Wednesday: 1:00 bike(80% of FTP), 20 minute run
Thursday: 1 hour swim, 40 minute run
Friday: 2 hour run
Saturday: 3:30 bike
Sunday: 3 hour bike (80% of FTP) and 30 minute run

The best part of my week? On Sunday we celebrated my daughter's second Birthday. Happy Birthday Noella!!!!

As we turn up the volume the challenges arise. For example, in order to get in my 3:30 ride on Saturday I had to start at 5:15 a.m. The sun wasn't even up yet. :-)
In addition, sleep and recovery is key. I have to get better at this.

Moving forward this week the volume stays about the same, but we sprinkle some more intensity. This is getting fun!

I know I've said it before, but I do want to thank my coach Jeff Capobianco. He has proven to be an incredible planner and a wealth of knowledge. Thanks Jeff!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's been a while

It's about 5:15 a.m. on Saturday morning and it's been a while since I've blogged about my IMLP journey. My training continues to be solid. Overall I haven't had any major set backs, just some bumps in the road. A few annoying aches have shown up, but I'm doing my best to manage them. Sara Thatcher, my PT specialist, has been awesome. We are using more of a preventative approach to my sessions which, I think, has kept more aches and pains at bay. So what's new on my end?

Still working with Craig Lewin of the North Shore Swim Club. He says that my stroke is finally coming together. I'm staying long and the catch is developing. One of things I really like about working with Craig is that our sessions aren't all yards and no instruction. Each and every class he constantly monitors us and reminds us of the proper way to do something. I feel the most comfortable I ever have in the water. Am I faster? I certainly will be, but if I'm not, I know it will have taken a lot less energy.

The bike is coming together really well. I'm finally back outside, except for today because I have a 2 hour ride and don't want to do it in the rain. I'm very happy with my increase in sustainable power. My 3 x 40 minutes at 80% of my FTP intervals has shown that I'm holding more power for a longer period of time than I ever have. I'm looking forward to my first race on May 16th so I can compare to last year.
In addition, I've experimented with a smaller crank length and I'm going with a 167.5 instead of a 172.5. This allows me to still put out power, but I'm not limited at the top of my pedal stroke. Back to power... if you aren't training and racing with a power meter, you are not training or racing to your potential. Get a power meter!

My 20 minute Eastern States race was tough. A nasty IT Band "injury" showed up and by mile 12 I knew the last 8 was going to be dreadful. It was run/walk the rest of the way. I got it down, but it was frustrating. I spent the following week with Sara working it out and it's fine now. Just frustrating because it hadn't shown up since last Summer. I've committed to doing a lot more strengthening and stretching of the hips so I know that will help. Overall the run is going well. I'm always working on the run.

Key Workouts:
Swim - Quality stroke work mixed with longer distance sets with some intensity mixed in. A pretty "fun" one was 300 pull set right into 2 x 100 on 1:45, right into 2 x 50 on 1 minute. Run this 3 times through.

Bike: 15 minute easy warm up and then 3 x 40 minutes at 80% of FTP with 5 minutes in down 20 minutes

Well, that's it for now. I have to go ride my bike for two hours. Happy Spring. -Marty

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Excitement, Self-doubt, & Progress

The Ironman process has been part excitement, self-doubt & progress. I started working with a coach, Jeff Capobianco of Breakthrough Performance Coaching, in November. I had been coached by one of the top coaches in the area over the previous year and made some impressive gains, so making the change was a bit concerning.

Jeff's personality and style of coaching was perfect for me and I was excited from the start. Jeff is a Tri stud who completed Lake Placid last year in 9:48:04... qualified for Kona, etc. etc. He obviously knows how to train and race, so I was really looking forward to working with him.

Over the next several months I experienced a sense of improvement in all three disciplines and that was a great feeling. Then I hit a wall. Times were slower, I wasn't hitting my prescribed power numbers on the bike, and I started to wonder if I was cut out for Ironman.

Then it started to click. You know what was going on? I was getting stronger, but I didn't know it!

On the swim front my times were slower, but Craig said I was swimming better and that it would click. Although I wasn't hitting my numbers on the bike I was pushing harder than I ever had, and I was running distances I had only thought of.

Self-doubt had turned the corner and I've begun to see progress. I've become even more excited! I'm swimming better/faster, I've increased my watts on the bike and I'm running better and longer. I'm pretty pumped!

Up next? A 20 mile run this will be the furthest I've ever run, but I said that last week as I prepared for a 16.

16 was interesting to say the least.... Last Sunday was torrential, so Vin and I decided to run together at the gym. We arrived just after 3:30 only to find out the gym closed at 6, which meant I wouldn't have enough time to finish the 16. At 6:00 p.m. I had run 14.3 and felt that I had to finish, at the very least, to prove I could do it. I decided to finish outside. Mentally I needed to know I could do it. So outside I went in the pouring rain with winds gusting over 40 miles an hour. I ran two miles to make sure I did the 16. The best part about it? My brother followed me in his car to make sure I was safe...only a brother! Thanks Vin.

As I head into another build week, including my first 20 mile run, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes... "Preparation breeds confidence"... My confidence is building as the preparation continues.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Key Workouts

Over the last several weeks we've entered a pretty deep build phase. I've accomplished many "firsts" and I'm pretty psyched about that. I remember a few years ago that running 4 miles was a task. In the last 5 weeks my long runs have been 12, 12, and 14...this week I have 16 miles. My longest run ever!

In addition to the increase in running I've increased my 20 minute power and engaged in some solid workouts... 10 x 2 minutes at 125% of your FTP is definitely a workout! Try it sometime. If you aren't training and racing with power you're missing out. It's the quickest way to get better, faster, and race smarter.

I continue to make progress on the swim front as well. My 100 time is coming down a bit and my technique is coming along.

The home front is still solid. Most of my training is done early a.m. (5:00 a.m. forward) so the "damage" is minimal. I know that the weekends will start to get longer, but I'm fortunate to have a wife that gets "it". She is super supportive and I can't thank her enough.

Thankfully the annoying injuries have been kept at bay, but it's a constant battle. I recently switched to a smaller crankset to see if I can take the "kink" out of my hip, so we'll see how that goes. So far so good...

Equipment... Parlee TT, Zipp Disc with PowerTap, 808 front, Aerodrink, X-Lab rear mounted hydration system, Blue Seventy Helix (for now), & Fit Werx kit.

More to come

Friday, February 19, 2010

What do you want to know?

Ok, I'm not good at blogging. Every time I think about writing I feel like I need to have some motivating, inspiring post with substance. I don't just want to blog for the sake of blogging. I'm not a writer, I'm a lover. I'm sure my wife would disagree... ha ha ha. I guess I'm decent at making fun of myself. Anyway, what do you want to know? Do you want to hear what I'm struggling with? Do you want to hear that I'm kicking *ss during certain workouts? I don't know.... well I do know. I have writers block!!!!!! So that's it... here's my new post. Live life to the fullest...have fun... and work your ass off. It's really that simple. Love baby.. .Love!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Monkey, Guitar, Flamingo & more

Tomorrow I'll be capping off a pretty solid week of training. Not a huge amount of hours, but some great intensity. I’ve been asked about my training, so I want to give you an idea of what my key workouts were this week.

On Thursday Coach Lewin of the North Shore Swim Club switched things up a bit. We started with our usual warm-up and then he tossed a toy Monkey, Guitar and Flamingo into the pool and formed a triangle of sorts. The goal was to practice sighting and rounding the “buoys”. It was fun and it was a nice change of pace. We still put in plenty of swim time too.

Coach Cap of Breakthrough Performance Coaching had us working hard this week. Some solid VO2 Max Intervals. They HURT! Keep in mind, these aren’t every week. If you are concerned or don’t have an understanding of when or how to do these workouts email Jeff.

Bike 5' VO2 Max Intervals
Type: Bike
Planned duration: 1:30
Warm Up: 15' @ 65% FTP including 3 x 1' @ FTP and then 1' all out. Soft pedal for 5' and then get into the main set.
Main Set: 5 x 5' @ 115% of FTP (5' rest @ 65% of FTP)
Cool Down: Remainder of ride @ 65% FTP

Coach Cap gave us a tough run workout too. If done right you hate life and then love it because you know you worked your butt off!

Run Fartlek Pyramid 1'-4'
Type: Run
Planned distance: 6.0 miles
WU: 2 mile @ E pace, 4 x 20" strides (20")
MS: 1' (30"),2' (1'),3' (1:30),4' (2'),3' (1:30),2' (1') ,1' Run hard! Try to keep effort consistent. Learn to pace yourself and run with good form.
CD: 2 miles @ E pace

Additional Workouts:
Right now I’m also doing weights to build some strength and prevent injury.

Overall… so far so good.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Swim Update - when will it click?

It's not just mental. I know that I'm getting better at swimming, but it is so frustrating!!! I'm the last one on most sets and I don't understand why I'm not getting "it". Craig says my stroke is getting better, but there are some things I need to work on. I'll get there, but boy is this frustrating. Here is his analysis and the video:

Craig Lewin, North Shore Swim Club:
"Over the water is okay. Not to much to worry about. You need better body roll with the hips and to work on the timing of your rotation. Everything rolls together. Use six kicks and roll, 1 stroke six kicks, and 3 strokes 12 kicks to work on the roll.

Also on your pull notice how you cross over as you extend out and your turn your palm out before you pull. You need to keep the palm down toward the floor not thumb down to the side. This is causing you to sweep out slightly as you pull. The press and release drills and kicking on your side with your arm out front will help you correct this. Once you fix this you will have a better press and a deeper catch and pull. Also you are entering a little too deep so you can bring the hand up a little bit on entry. Your stroke is getting better we really just have to fix the roll and get a little more muscular endurance and power in the lats so you can really start gaining some speed.

Keep up the good work. If you have any questions please let me know."

Video Link:

I have to say, Craig is awesome to work with. Super-supportive and he's making me better. It will happen!



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