Category Archives: Life

The Ironman Hangover

2013-07-27-16.31.42_thumb.jpgWow…seems like ages since I actually posted anything on here. The first few weeks after completing Ironman Lake Placid were a bit of a roller-coaster of thoughts and emotions. I had made several attempts to write about, but I was still in the midst of the ups-and-downs and could not really absorb what was going on. Now after almost 2 months, which included a half a month vacation in Europe(more on this soon), I think I finally got a handle on things.

The first thing I had to deal with after July 31st, 2013 was the realization that I had finally completed this Ironman event. I had pretty much dedicated my life to this goal for the past 4-5 years. Not a moment went by where it did not have it cross my mind. Now, in a mere 12:38 hours, it was done. My head could not handle having all this extra bandwidth available to think about other things. Now what? I signed up for next year, but that was a whole year away. I thought having an upcoming vacation would help, but that was not really sinking in either.

After finally coming to the realization that Ironman was completed, lead me to thinking  about my performance. Leading up to the event, my “secret” goal time was always 13 hours if all went well. After beating that by 22 minutes, I then started thinking how I could go even faster. I was also still at the peak of my fitness and why waste that? What else can I do now? Maybe I could do another Ironman or 70.3? Easy big fella! The “little man” on my shoulder kept reminding me about taking a few weeks off. You gotta listen to your “little man”, right? I was now all revved up with no place to go!

Fortunately, we had a 17 day vacation planned to hike the Haute Route in the Swiss Alps exactly a month after Ironman. This eventually turned my focus towards something else. We started doing some hiking training with full backpacks and hill repeats. Pennsylvania just doesn’t have Alp-worthy hills. While this provided some outlet it also gave me a bunch of time to think about next year. I had nothing planned other than IMLP 2014, so now my head was figuring out what other events I could do. I even found myself surfing to extreme event sites such as Norseman, Celtman, and even Ultraman (look out Rich Roll!).

Eventually, I went and signed up for the Runner’s World Half & Festival weekends’ “Hat Trick.” The hat trick consists of a 5k & 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday in mid-October. This seemed to fill the void of an upcoming event that I needed. Now I could focus on vacation and then have something to get me back to training upon my return.

So, what does all this mean? I don’t know! This is just the kind of stuff you have to deal with after dedicating so much of your time to a goal and then completing it. I never realized that it would be such a stressful post-race experience! You think the hard part is over but you still have to endure different types of related obstacles even after it is over. The one thing that has really sunk in after all this is that you have to enjoy that journey. While doing the Ironman was such a great event, I now think back on all the training swims, bikes, and runs that happened along the way. The people you meet and train with, the beautiful days and the not so beautiful ones. It is all part of the ride and each one of those experiences are part of that event. Now it is time to enjoy some new journeys.



Ironman Lake Placid Race Week Update-Monday-Wednesday

Monday(6 more days until race day)

Well, no training today and I really don’t feel all that great. I really feel so much better when I am training. I did get my dog out for a few walks, so I guess that is something. My biometrics are indicating that my body is starting to peak, but I am not really feeling it yet. I did do some initial packing just because I keep seeing stuff I need to take with me and it is stressing me out a bit. So I starting staging things when I see them.

I tried to chillax a bit on the sofa while watching Duck Dynasty and ended up horizontal before 9PM. I eventually rolled into bed and then I could not get back to sleep right away. I can feel the anxiety starting to build in my belly. It is more excitement than nervous anxiety I think. Just so many unknowns here.

Ironman Lake Placid‘s Facebook page reported Mirror Lake water temp of 75 deg F today. 2 deg drop from previous day. Forecast for the week would indicate it is going lower than that by race day. Dust off that wetsuit!



Mowing the Lawn
Mowing Lawn

Still feeling a little groggy most of the day. My HRV reading in the morning was 75, which is pretty good for me so things must be coming together. Work went by pretty fast and on the way home the reality of what is upcoming has started to sink in a little bit. By the time I got home(I only have a 4 mile drive to/from work 🙂 ), I started feeling a bit energetic. Almost like I drank about 5 cups of coffee of something.

My training this week has been reduced to walking the dog, mowing the grass, and packing gear. I mowed the lawn and managed to eat dinner in between doing that. The weather was so much more pleasant and less humid, so it was a much more enjoyable experience. I put Pandora on my iPhone and jammed some tunes while making laps around the yard. With the extra energy, I whipped around the yard with reckless abandon. The speed lever for the self-propelled mower was at full rabbit throttle. It felt like I cut it in record time. Wished I would have timed it with my Garmin? They should add that leg to the Ironman.

A season worth of swim workouts
A season worth of swim workouts

After cutting the lawn, I started to get some more packing done. While getting my swim stuff out of the bag I saw my little Ziploc baggie with all my swim workouts stacked together on Sticky Notes. The bottom workout was marked “1/28” which was the very first workout of my official training program. It was pretty cool to fan through them all looking at all those different swim workouts I did this season. Getting a bit nostalgic I guess. I also am pretty stoked about not having any shoulder issues this season too. Last season I aggravated my shoulder and had to stop swimming for a couple weeks right in the prime time of the training season.

Only one more day of work to go!!


Race day nutrition
Race day nutrition

I was up at 6am after a killer night sleep. My Jawbone Up showed that the majority of my sleep was deep for the night. Other than the one bathroom stop around 3am, it was solid. Work went fairly smoothly and after lunch my mind started to focus on the weekends task. Eventually the workday ended and I headed over to Cali Burrito to pick up some dinner. Then it was back home to continue the packing. My parents were coming later to pick up my dog, so I took him out in the yard to throw/retrieve the chipmunk. His “chippy” is just a stuffed toy that very closely resembles a chipmunk. I wore him out to the point that he could no longer bring it back to me and his tongue was dragging on the ground.

Eventually my wife arrived home and we had some dinner. More packing. Parents came to pick up the Yuki. My Mom decided that she wanted to come up to see the race. Not a great time to decide this with only 3 days away. Trying to find a reasonably placed hotel that allows pets will be quite the challenge.

With most of the packing completed, it was time to chill for a half hour on the sofa to watch part of one of the Tour de France stages I had saved on the DVR. Then it was off to bed. Long drive day tomorrow. Hoping to leave at 8am, but I know that won’t happen.

Wedding and 2013 Lehigh Valley Half-Marathon Expo

A Wedding…

Friday morning was my normal long, slow 45 minutes swim. I was feeling pretty good and happy that my ear was feeling better, so I threw in an extra 250 meters for good measure. One of my wife’s cousins was getting married that evening, so I rushed home after work to get dressed and head over to Lake Nockamixon where the wedding was at.

The wedding was at the Lake House Inn on the far side of the lake(from Quakertown). The place was really beautiful and the reception “bubble” hall had all glass windows on the lake side, which was pretty spectacular as the sun went down. It was a gorgeous day too. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it! It was a really nice affair and I think my favorite thing was my placecard. I guess I was the only “vegan” at the wedding. My wifes’ cousin said I threw them for a loop. I ended up getting a nice chuck of baked tofu and extra veggies and potatoes which was fine.


St. Luke’s Lehigh Valley Half Marathon Expo

On Saturday, we headed over to the LV Half Marathon Expo for our bib pickup. It was at the Holiday Inn in downtown Allentown which is always an adventure since we don’t get down there too often. My wife wanted to check out a seminar at 11am so we were trying to get there by then. The seminar we attended was the “Because I Can” seminar by Janet Oberholtzer. Janet had been in a serious accident several years ago and suffered serious injury to her legs and was told she could not walk again. Now she is running marathons. She ran in the D&L Marathon last November that I had run. I was actually wondering if she had a better time than I did…fortunately she didn’t. Whew! Pretty impressive and motivating story worth checking out.


After that we headed over to the expo and picked up our bibs and swag. Swag was pretty lame actually. Technical shirt was nice and in my favorite color green. Other than that we just got a re-usable shopping bag. One good thing was there was no advertisements either. I ended up find a 4-bottle FuelBelt for Ironman and some spare bottles for my run special needs bag. My wife spotted some running “skort” she had to have which is a combination of a skirt and shorts. It’s all about looking good I guess. To her credit she had bought some cheapo one at Target that was causing some chaffing issues. I bumped into some work friends that were running and Chris from the Emmaus Run Inn(formerly The Finish Line Running Store) and chatted a bit. We were going to hit the Allentown Brew Works for some lunch, but changed plans due to how late it was. Instead we opted for Wegman’s buffet. I still had a ~3 hour bike ride to do and it was past noon already.


Bike Ride – Category 3 on Sweetwood Drive

Next up was my long bike ride of the week. My coach put a 2:00 ride on my schedule but said if I felt up to it I could do 2:30-2:45. I felt the need to go one better and do a 3:00 ride instead. Running a half-marathon the next day is not going to keep me down. Not only did I do a long ride, but I finally hit the Category 3 climb on Sweetwood Drive out of Macungie that I had been eager to try for some time. The ride did not disappoint and it went on and on with varying degrees of gradient the whole 3.2 miles. Good warm-up for the legs. After that I pretty much kept it on the rollers the rest of the ride. There was a slight breeze that day but nothing that would make much of a difference really.

After my ride, I put on my compression socks, made some dinner and relaxed a bit for tomorrow’s half-marathon.