Thursday, December 26, 2013

100 Mile Winter Break Challenge

16 days...100 miles.  I call it the Winter Break Challenge.  Why?  Why not?

Last year, training for Ironman Lake Placid, I threw in a couple big volume "bike weeks" with good success.  Could the same work for running?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I had time...and had been hitting 40 miles/week.  So 100 in 16 days didn't seem like too much of a stretch.  The catch?  All the miles need to be outside...preferable on the trails or country roads.

Day 1: 10 miles at Forest Preserve...the toughest run of the week so far...
Day 2: Easy 6 around town, followed by 4 on the trails with snowshoes...
Day 3: Easy 5 on freshly fallen snow...
Day 4: Hilly 7...really pushed the hills...it was -10F when I left...my eyelashes froze...but it was awesome
Day 5: Christmas...rest
Day 6: Hilly, but easy 9 miles...

I feel better today than I did after day 1...that's a good thing, right?

50km on May 10th...Ice Age Trail...can't wait.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Zombies Don't Like Fast Food (Run For Your Lives 5k Race Report)

(Full Disclaimer:  A few months ago, I was offered a free entry into the Run For Your Lives 5k Zombie Run in exchange for a race report.  Best part of this...a hometown race.  Score.  Before I go on...shout out to Nicole Kesten for being an awesome ambassador for the sport of triathlon and endurance events period.  Nicole runs/operates ChicagoTriBloggers...and her commitment to grow this sport is second to none.)


So, as I stated above...I get the email about two months ago.  The opportunity to run a 5k obstacle race was great...but to do it in my hometown?  I couldn't pass it up!  I was about a few weeks past Ironman Lake Placid...and looking for some small goal race to do for fun.  It was too good to pass up.  But wait a minute...zombies?  What's up with that?  So I checked out the website: Run For Your Live 5k...
Sold.  8:00am wave...I'm going out first to do some zombie damage.

Race morning.  Up at 6:00am...on my bike by 6:45.  Yep...I got to ride my bike to the race.  Race site was just outside town..about a 10 mile ride.

Arrived, and made my way through registration.  No problems...well run.  I headed towards what I thought was the start line...instructions were being barked out, so I figured I was in the right place.  I must have been in my own little world...because once I finally looked around, I knew I wasn't in the right spot.  I was among the dead.  200 zombies...looking at me.  Hey...don't mind me.  Shit.

The MC was making fun of being in the middle of nowhere, USA.  Thank god for GPS...but of course, we don't get a signal out in the sticks.  An announcement was made that the first two waves would start together since so many people couldn't find the place.  While I find that hard to believe...I had to chuckle.  So I waited.  A little frustrated...but once Ray Charles took off his pants...well, things got a little interesting.  Oh, I didn't tell you about Ray Charles?  Use your imagination.  Think Ray and a thong.  So that's how this was going to go.  I better be fast.  

I took a few strolls out onto the course to warm up.  Chatted with the race director.  Listened to the MC play "Walk This Way" and make fun of Byron.  Finally...go time.

A few up and down dirt hills and we were released into a pack of zombies.  My plan was to play it cool with the lead pack...safety in numbers.  Until I realized, I was 1/2 of the lead pack.  Navigating a group of 20 zombies isn't so bad when there are 30-40 runners along side of you.  When it's just you and one other guy...that's a lot of dead hands grabbing at you.  I had three flags.  In order to not be infested...I had to finish with at least one.  1/4 mile in...I lost my first one.  Damn.

Made my way under the barb wire obstacle...getting me muddy to stay muddy.  Around the 1/2 mile we hit our second obstacle.  The Smoke House.  Crawling under the tent entrance the "house" was filled with smoke.  I dropped to the ground quickly and my worst fears were realized.  Hanging wires.  There was no doubt that those wires had some voltage...lucky for me, there were only two of us, and we were able to crawl freely around most of the wires.  Except for one f-ing wire.  ZAP.  Mutha...not a fan.  

Out of the smoke house we encountered a field of no less than 30 zombies...another flag down.  I'm not liking my odds for survival.  We had a nice 1/2 mile stretch of trail to run back in the woods.  I cranked up the pace and took a considerable lead, still feeling good.  A few quick obstacle and zombies and I was back running in the woods.  Things got interesting around the two mile mark as I made a navigation blunder and got off course.  I actually ended up doing an obstacle backwards...what was supposed to be a wet water slid DOWN turned into a challenging trip UP the water soaked tube.  Once they got me back on track, I had probably lost three to four minutes and was back in 2nd place.  Grrrrr...

Last mile was more of the same, with a few obstacles and lots of zombies.  With about 1/4 mile to go, I lost my last flag.  Infested now, I didn't have to worry about zombie avoidance and made a serious push to overtake the leader.  Once I caught him, I realized that he too was out of flags...we chuckled about the situation and continued on through the last few obstacle.  I dropped him over the last 200m.  Coming in the home stretch, I challenged the zombies to take my flags...all of them.  I ended up with lots of zombie high fives as I approached the finish line.  All in all, one hell of a fun race for a Saturday morning.  Except for Ray Charles in a thong.  That shit just wasn't right.

Strategy?  My best strategy was the Zombie fake out.  Since I didn't have slow people to sacrifice around me...I had to go with the art of deception.  Coming upon a zombie (or multiple zombies) I would slow down and act out of breath.  Sometimes even offer up a "whoa...holy crap I'm tired"...and then proceed with a burst of speed.  Seemed to work well.  Well, as well as losing all three of your flags could be considered as "working well".  And then there is the sprinter zombies, of which I was NOT a fan of.  They would track you down for great distances...as if I wasn't already tired enough.  SCREW THE SPRINTER ZOMBIES.  You were the kids that got picked on in gym class. 

So it WAS a great race and a lot of fun.  As a matter of fact, it was a lot more FUN than it was RACE. And that was cool with me...

Thanks to the Run for Lives 5k crew for the chance to run the race.    

Until next time...eat clean, train dirty.  And don't let zombies eat your brains.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

All Those Things That I Have Done...

Got to spend Sunday at Ironman Wisconsin.  Made me think of this video...
Eat clean...train dirty.
Don't waste a single day...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Beginnings...Old Traditions

(Note:  I figured I made it to Lake Placid...so my "Journey to Lake Placid" is complete.  With that in mind...I've shifted my blog focus to just a quest to be awesome.  Thanks for reading...)

Lake Placid is over.  Like five weeks over.  Might as well be five years.

With time to reflect back on the race.  It was an amazing experience.  For my first Ironman, I wouldn't have changed a thing.  Not one workout, not one Gu, not one mile split.  Nothing.  Not everything went right...looking back, it all happened for a reason and I'm glad it did.  The Lake Placid chapter...is over.

So what's next?

Mud.

These past five weeks have been a refreshing injection of "awesome" into my training.  The tri bike is hanging on its hooks.  The mountain bike has been muddied and washed more times than my underwear and my trail shoes have developed a stank of epic proportions.  Just like the old days.

Short term goals are to work on strength...and get back to my trail roots.  A few trail races this fall/winter...perhaps a 50k in the spring.  As long as I'm having fun.

Long term goals take me back to LP.  In like five years.  Nothing to worry about right now.  For now...I run.

Eat clean...train dirty.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Finale

"All's well that ends well"

Got to bed early on Saturday night.  Slept like a champ.  I had no nerves our pre-race jitters...which was unusual for me.  I remained very confident about what was about to go down.  Up at 3:30 to eat 3 hours prior to race start.

Breakfast:
1 PB & banana sandwich
Unsweetened applesauce w/whey protein
24 oz of Accelerade

I did not manage to get back to sleep after I ate...but I didn't really expect that to happen either.  We headed up to The Oval at 5:00am, got tires pumped, checked in special needs bag, and made our way to the swim start.  We got a chance to see our families before we got into the mass of racers, got our wet suits on, and jumped in Mirror Lake for a quick 5 mins.  After that, I seeded myself in the 1:10-1:20 swim corral.  Seemed appropriate, but I really had no idea.  The cannon went off...and just like that...it was on.

The Swim (2.4 miles):
The first 100 yds of the swim were rough...I was smiling too much.  Giddy.  I was finally doing my IM.  I made my way to the underwater cable, and got into "my box".  There was a little contact along the way...but it was really the easiest swim I had ever done.  Ever.  My swim goal was simple:  Swim in control, don't waste any energy.  Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.  Get out alive.  In the end, I swam :37 and :39 min splits.  Total swim time: 1:16...perfect.

Looking back, the swim was the most peaceful part of the entire race.  While it may appear to be total carnage from the surface, it is a very calm and quiet experience for the racer.  I focused on swimming buoy to buoy and counted my strokes to 20.  Sounds easy, right?  It was.

Light rain had started to fall during the swim.  Making my way to transition, I was already thinking about the decent to Keene.  Transition was smooth, but not as quick as I had hoped.  I opted not to go with the rain vest or arm warmers.  Turned out to be a wise choice.  I would not have needed them.  Before I knew it I was out of the tent, and getting my bike from a volunteer.  I should mention the volunteers were AMAZING!  I tried to tell them that every time I could...but they really were.

The Bike (112 miles):
My bike game plan was to ride stupid easy.  One month again, I had done a 125 mile training ride...avg just shy of 19.5 mph.  I thought riding LP around 6:10 (or around 18.0 mph) would be stupid easy.  I was wrong.  Those hills...oh, those hills.  But I'll get to that later.
I set my bike up to be crazy simple.  One bottle between the bars.  One bottle on the down tube.  I carried two tubes and 2 CO2 in a aero box behind the stem, and 4 Gu's in my tri suit.  I took in Perform & water on the course and one Bonk Breaker before the end of loop 1.  Did the same on loop 2.  I had one wheat, honey/PB Uncrustable in my special needs bag...it was perfect.  I hit the end of loop 1 around 3:05.  Which I thought was spot on at the time.  Got to see my entire family and they made me smile to no end.  I was having a BLAST!  And patiently waiting for mile 18 of the run (where I THOUGHT I would get the green light to GO).
Loop 2 was more of the same.  The crazy, 6 mile, screaming decent to Keene was drier, a little faster and more enjoyable this time.  I felt like I rode the flats between Keene and Upper Jay faster (I think I was between 20 and 21mph on that section).  However, the relentless climb back into Lake Placid was definitely tough.  Never to the point were I was hurting...but it wasn't Northern Illinois.  I stopped for about 3 mins to help someone put her chain back on her bike.  I figure it was good karma...plus we had chit-chatted for a bit on the first loop.  I don't think I did anything she couldn't have done on her own...and at the end of the day, I would have loved those three minutes back.  But oh well...no big deal.
Got off the bike feeling good.  Not over cooked.  Ready to run.  Through the course of training, I had done several big training days of 1 hr swim, 6 hr bike, and 1 hr run.  So far, I was not in uncharted territory and thought the game plan was going smooth.  I moved through transition quickly, again, keeping things simple, I headed out with only a couple Gu's...just in case.

The Run (26.2 miles) :
The run is really where I pride myself, and I was looking forward to this.  In my mind...this is were I could make up big ground on the guys ahead of me.  Months ago, I thought I might be able to rattle off a 3:30 marathon.  As the day approached, I figure it would be much closer to a 3:50 and I was OK with that.  My game plan was to run the first 6 miles at goal pace +:30 seconds (so 9:00min/miles).  I would walk the aid stations for 30 steps, using them for water and Perform every mile, and water and Gu every 3rd mile.  Through 6 miles, everything was fine.  At mile six, I dropped down to 8:30 running pace, still walking the aid stations, and really...still feeling good.  I continued this for the next twelve miles...but around mile 15 and 16, I started to feel the quads.  It wasn't my running pace...rather, it was a manifestation of the 112 miles on the bike.  It was around mile 17 when I knew I had overcooked the bike a little.  So at mile 18, "the line" as we like to call it...instead of picking up the pace and racing my way back to the oval...I was in survival mode to keep moving.  I took my first walk break on a small incline just past mile 18.  I made a decision that I would walk the hills and run the flats.  When I was running, I was still managing 9:30ish pace.  If I could keep that up (walking the hills, and running the flats), I'd be OK.  And for the most part I did.  The brutal climb in mile 21 took some time out of me...but I managed to keep the engine moving at the top.  Just get me back into Lake Placid.  The crowds were picking up as I got back into town, and they did a good job to keep me going.  The final out and back along Mirror Lake was the worst...but once I hit the Oval and could hear Mike Riley...well, none of that mattered.

12:02 for my first Ironman.  It was a crazy day.  I was soooo glad to be done.  I found Angie shortly after and I could say was: "That was awful".  And it had been.  I'd never felt that bad in a race before...but really, what did I expect?

After a few disoriented minutes at the finish, I managed to make my way up to see the girls and Angie's parents.  I was freezing, tired, and hungry.  I got wrapped up, sat down...ate some pizza and drank a 7up.

Reflecting back on the day, there is very little I would have done different except for try and pace the bike slightly better.  I think an extra 15-20 minute on the bike may have saved me close to 25-30 on the run...and I wouldn't have been in such a sufferfest on the run.  Too bad my power meter crapped out on me...first time ever.  I'm not sure it would have made too much difference...but I think it would have kept me in check on the final climbs back into Lake Placid both times.  Never-the-less, 12:02 is where I ended up.  My original goal from MONTHS ago was somewhere between 11 and 12 hours.  If you give me those three minutes I stopped to help out a fellow racer on loop 2...well that's an 11:59. :)
The burning soreness in my quads have since relinquished...and I'm finally kicking around that idea that I might actually do another one.  But that is YEARS away.  I already packed up my all tri gear and don't plan to get it out until next summer.  No post IM blues here.  I've got some plans for the months and years ahead, all of which will help me be an even stronger IM if I choose to do another.  But for now...I'm focusing on having FUN in my training and spending A LOT more time with my amazing family!

I've always maintained that this was only a race and not a life changing event.  However, my life certainly did change over the past year.  I'm the healthiest, strongest, and fittest as I've ever been...and it feels good.  Hell...I'm not going to lie...it feels great.

Thanks for reading!  It was an amazing journey, one that I was blessed to have such a family and life to allow me to do it, and do it right.  Cheers!




Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Actual Journey to Lake Placid


So at some point, my "journey" to Lake Placid was actually going to become a literal journey to Lake Placid.  Enter race week.  900 miles from Byron,IL to LP.  Gave a guy plenty of time to think about where he's been, what he's done...and what he's about to do. 
Where have I been? On my bike...since Jan. 1st, I've almost rode to Lake Placid and back...twice. 
For the record, my 2013 totals:
Swim: 55 hrs, 153,000 yds
Bike: 186 hrs, 3505 miles
Run: 90 hrs, 650 miles
Strength: 33hrs
 
It all ends tomorrow.

The trip out was great...we stopped in Milan, OH to see Thomas Edison's house...
Next up was Niagra Falls...
A final stop in Syracuse (I didn't see one single orange man...what the hell?). And then the final push through the Adirondacks into Lake Placid.  This place is magical...
The IronKids race...

Herb Brooks Arena...Olympic Center...
I'll give details of pre-race and race report on Monday...until then...







Thursday, July 18, 2013

Confidence

"When everything around you goes to hell...how will you respond?  You can't control others, you can't control the referees, you can't control the crowd.  All you can control...is YOU.  And when the game gets out of control...you will be faced with a choice:  Will I be confident?  Or not?  Confidence...is a choice.  What will you decide?" -Bob Liggett

I was lucky enough to coach basketball under Bob for one year...but I learned a lot about coaching in that year.  I learned even more about people.  (I learned a lot about basketball too...in fact, I learned so much that I realized I really didn't know anything)  And while my days of coaching basketball where numbered (thankfully)...I've carried out many of Bob's lessons into my cross country coaching career with great success.  And now tonight, nine days out from Ironman eve...I'm reminded of the quote above...and will force myself to be confident heading into Mirror Lake next Sunday morning.

My three (almost four year old) daughter Elinor stands toe to toe with big sister Shannon most days.  Even in their fiercest of fights...she never backs down...and often wins.  Why?  Attitude.  Confidence

We all face our "big sister" in different ways every day.  How we choose to deal with them determines the quality of our lives.  The attitudes we adopt are always superior to facts and situations.  Like little Elinor, we can decide to be bigger than our circumstances and stronger than our fears.

Ironman Lake Placid will be an all day event in problem solving.  I know how I want the race to go in my head.  But I teach AP Statistics...and I know that the likely hood of that that day happening is very low.  There will be problems to solve and constant questions to answer.  Elbows to the temple on the swim.  What gear to ride this hill?  Dropped nutrition on the bike.  A flat.  What pace for this hill?  Etc, etc...but the way I see it, every problem has two handles: a handle of fear and a handle of confidence.  I know which one I'm grabbing for.  When my attitude is right, when my confidence is high, there is no challenge too great for me.





Tuesday, July 16, 2013

So Much To Say

It's been a busy few weeks...sitting down to write one of my last few posts, I feel as though I have SO MUCH TO SAY.

Indeed...it's been a long journey, as Dave says, I've been "Treading trodden trails for a long long time, time, time, time, time, time, time"

Training-wise, I finished a killer 11 day training block last Tuesday to finish my peak training "week" .  The 11 days included:
Swim: 12800 yds
Bike: 340 miles
Run: 61 miles
If I'm not ready for this race...I don't know what else I could have done.  Training is a perfect mix of hard work, tunnel vision, a supportive family, and a little bit (ok...alot) of luck.  And luckily for me, all of the above fell into place.
Immediately following the 11 day training block, I got to spend four days in Southern California with my amazing wife!  Not only was it a great vacation, it really offered a perfect 4 days of recovery.  While I did manage some training...gone  was the temptation to hope on the bike for an easy 50 on the bike or a quick 8 mile trail run.  Instead...I had the ocean.  Lobster.  And wine.  


"I find sometimes it's easy to be myself 
Sometimes I find it's better to be somebody else" -DMB 


When I was in Lake Placid last year, I always imagined myself returning as some stud, bulging quads, tan Ironman-looking dude.  I had a vision that I would be somehow different upon return.  Well, I'm leaner.  Stronger.  Tanner than I've ever been.  No bulging quads.  And very much the same Mike as always.  It was fun to put the Ironman "dude" hat on while training.  To go to the dark places that one must go...countless winter mornings in the garage on my trainer, subzero winter morning long runs, crazy insane bike intervals, too many Monday mornings jumping in a cold ass pool, century rides, double metric century rides, etc, etc, etc.  But I am happy to leave that hat where it belongs.  I'm Mike.  I'm dad.  And I can't wait to finish this epic journey off with my family and friends next week in Lake Placid.

Hopefully, this week of taper will allow my to jot down a few more of my thoughts on the blog. If you've followed along any of my journey, I thank you.  Although the blog was more for me in a reflective way...I think it's cool that I've gotten to share it with some other like minded individuals.  Additionally, as I hit the taper in full force I'm excited to catch up on the Tour de France, read A LOT of Harry Potter with my daughter, snuggle with my "buddy" (as my 4 year old like to call me), and enjoy a few more evening sipping wine on the porch with my favorite person in the world-watching the Illinois sun slid into the corn fields.  

And I'll probably worry about the Lake Placid weather once or twice...
Lake Placid Weather

"Keep it locked up inside don't talk about it 
T-t-talk about the weather "-DMB


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Product Review-(Tri-Pep: Branch Chain Amino Acid)

Who doesn't like amino acids?  Carbon.  Hydrogen. Oxygen.  Nitrogen.  Yes, please.


So two weeks ago I was approached to do a product review on Tri-Pep: Branch Chain Amino Acid Powder for ChiTriBloggers (awesome website) and the awesome lady who runs it Nicole Kesten.  I was not paid in anyway shape or form and am not affiliated with the company (nor or any of my family members or friends).

With a name like Tri-Pep...it's got to be good for triathletes, right?  So let's break it down...the powder claims to:

  1. Improve Exercise Performance
  2. Accelerate Post Workout Recovery
  3. Preserve Lean Muscle Mass
Despite the name, I am pretty sure the intended market is more body builder athlete.  Something no one will ever confuse me with.  However, there seemed to be some benefits to be investigated.

Background:  I'm three and a half weeks out from Ironman Lake Placid.  As any good triathlete would know, I'm in the peak weeks just prior to taper.  My volume is high.  My intensity is high.  I can't eat enough.  I can't stay awake.  My life is pretty much a cluster at this point.  So it seemed like the perfect time to throw one more new thing at my body.  

Marketed as a dietary supplement, Tri-Pep is "ideal for any consumer who demands superior quality, uncompromising results, and is looking to increase lean muscle mass, strength, and maximize physical enhancement...guaranteed."  Bla, bla, bla...the real questions:  HOW DOES IT TASTE?!?!?!?  Short answer...not bad.  

Available in 4 Flavors:
Lemonade, Grape, Watermelon & Unflavored

The back of the packet has instructions for how much powder per oz of water.  I recommend making sure you hit this number correctly.  They suggest different amounts based on your ultimate goals from the product. 
 No suprise, I was focused on using the power as post workout recovery.  Coming off workouts ranging from tempo runs, long runs, hard bike intervals, long rides of 4-5 hours, and a mix of short swims and long swims.  So pretty much everything.  
I used the powder a few times as stand alone (just water) and a few time in my post workout smoothie.  No surprise that the powder went in the smoothie unnoticed.  As a stand alone drink, it was refreshingly smooth and had a decent taste.  Ironically, the "unflavored" had a very green tea flair to it...and was probably my favorite.  I actually put it in my green tea one day as a late afternoon drink.  Thumbs up.
So, next question:  DID IT WORK?  I've got no idea.
I've got to say I had no adverse reactions to the powder.  I will also say, that I have had excellent recovery throughout training for IMLP.  Last week was no different.  As an AP statistics teacher, a sample size of 1 is obviously meaningless.  However, I will gladly finish the samples provided to me and will consider purchasing some in the future. All in all...good product!



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Swedish Day 124 Mile Ride...4 Weeks To Go

"I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawpover the roofs of the world."

This past Sunday, we loaded up and headed to Burlington, IL for the 44th annual Swedish Day Ride, put on by the Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club.(Swedish Day Home Page)
The plan was to do the double metric (124 miles), testing out nutrition, aero helmet (yeah...I was THAT guy out there), and other "little" things.  The course took us up to Hampshire for a couple of loops and then down to Kanland (and beyond) for a couple of loops.  The rest stops were well stocked-I would have LOVED to eat the cookies, sandwiches, etc...but I was sticking to my nutrition plan.  We used the rest stops for the bathroom and water to refill our bottles if Ironman Perform.  STICK TO THE PLAN!  The course itself was flat and on good roads...all in all it was a great ride.  Ryan Dannhorn and myself finished the 124miles in a little less then 6 1/2 hours...averaging 19.5 mph riding time (not including 5 relatively quick rest stops for bathroom).  That's a win in my book...
And so, we've hit the point in IM training that you always hear about.  In short...I'm ready to be done.  I love training.  I love the challenge.  But I'm beat.  I'm ready to have my life back.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

9 Days In June & Race Goals (a work in progress)

The Big Tri Week...and the 9 days that might make my Ironman.

Sunday, June 2nd: 70 mile ride, 2 mile run
Monday, June 3rd: 1 hr swim, 6 mile run, easy 1 hour on bike
Tuesday, June 4th: 78 mile ride
Wednesday, June 5th: 45 min swim, 10 mile run
Thursday, June 6th: REST
Friday, June 7th: 88 mile ride,
Saturday, June 8th: 50 min swim, 8 mile run
Sunday, June 9th: 1 hour swim
Monday, June 10th: 107 mile ride, 6 mile run

Totals:
Swim-12,000 yds
Bike-360 miles
Run-32 miles
Time-27.5 hours

My wife is a saint.

With under 7 weeks to go, shits about to get real and my focus is starting to shift from all the little minutia of training to all the minutia of racing.  The race execution plan is evolving, but it's time to go on record with some goals.

Swim:  I think I can swim 1:15.  That's roughly 2:00/100yd pace, which is what I've been swimming most of workouts.  My last 4200yd swim was a little longer than 1:15, but wet suit and draft should help me out.  Great swim = 1:10, Bad Swim = 1:25...I'm pretty confident I'll land somewhere in between.

Bike:  I think I CAN go 5:45-5:50 on the bike.  I think I SHOULD go 6:00-6:05.  Doesn't seem like much difference, but it just might make all the difference.  A 6 hr ride is 18.5 mph average.  Most of my long rides have been in the 18.5-19.5mph range. Yesterday 107 was came in right at 18.8 mph and felt good.  Really good.  Most important thing for me on race day will be patience.

Run:  Just get me to the run baby.  I'm pretty sure I can run 8:00 min/mile pace.  But my game plan is to take the first 6 miles around 8:30.  After that, I'm hoping to set into the 8:00 min/pace until around mile 18...at which time I can begin to race.  I might not have anything left.  I might have some fast miles.  I just pray to the triathlon gods that I don't slow down.  Is 3:30 run possible?  Why not?

Above is my perfect race.  The plan is slowly evolving and might look a little different 46 days from now.  So many things can go wrong in a day like Ironman.  Race day will be all about my self management and reassessment of my goals as the day throws different things at me.  When it's all said and done...I just want to finish.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Thin Line

Wednesday: 2500 yd swim, 10 mile run

It's about that time.  Just over 50 days until the Oval.  While some will say that the next three or four weeks will make our break your Ironman...I disagree.  Rather, I think the next three of four weeks will either:
a) take your race to another level
b) get you hurt

It's time to walk that thin line between "pushing yourself to the limit" and "pushing yourself past the limit."  I read recently that nearly 50% of Ironman participants show up race day with some sort of injury.  Granted, the number might have been a rough estimate...and "injuries" were not really defined. But I made a vow not to be one of those.  As the old adage goes: I'd rather be 80% undertrained, than 1% overtrained.

With all that said, this week is all about volume...as in LOTS of it.  It's called the "Big Tri Week"...and is the sequel to the "Big Bike Week" I pulled of in March.  Basically, put in as much volume as the body can handle (with a large focus on the bike still).  So far so good.  Next week will be a huge recovery week, and then I'm back on schedule for the last five weeks of training.  Happy training...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

All Business...I Gotta' Race Like Spock

Yesterday's EPIC Day:
3,100 yds swim
107 mile bike
6 mile run

Today:  REST

Yesterday was a big day for me on my journey to July 28th.  It wasn't necessarily about fitness.  It was about figuring out stuff like: How does my nutrition plan hold up?  How does my neck feel after an hour of swimming and 100 miles on the bike?  Can I start my run on a pace SLOW enough to make sure I can start racing at mile 18?

Some of my questions got answered.  Some are still question marks.  But overall, confidence is HIGH. I hit my marks and was spot on my paces.  I really just needed to add another 20 miles to the run and I'm an Ironman.  Sounds easy, right?  Ha ha.

My wife and I got to go see the new Star Trek movie tonight with our good friends.  Besides just being a hell of a good movie...I took something away from it (as I so often do) that relates to my current endeavor.

Triathletes can learn a lot from everyone's favorite Vulcan: Spock

Spock is logical.  Spock keeps his emotions in check.  Actually, Spock checked his emotions at the door.  He doesn't "feel".  Revealing that once he did "feel" while watching his home planet destroyed, and he never wished to feel that sadness again.  So he simply doesn't feel.

"What you do not yet understand is that Vulcans do not lack emotion. This is an all too common misconception. It is merely that our emotions are controlled, kept in check. This adherence to principles of logic offers a serenity that humans rarely experience in full. We have emotions. But we deal firmly with them and do not let them control us." -Spock

Thinking back to late in yesterday's ride...I found myself in a very "Spock-like" place.  All business.  Keep eating.  Keep drinking.  Keep the pace and power steady.  Get the job done.  Get me to the place I need to be.  Get me to mile 18.

You know what happens at mile 18?  I'm gonna' turn into James Mutha-Vulcan Kirk.


Happy training folks...


Friday, May 17, 2013

I ride, I run, I swim, I sleep...I eat.

Friday:
AM: 50 min run
PM: 4,000 yd swim

Things are starting to get fun.  The long, cold, winter is an after thought.  I love training.  I love training.  I love training...and I LOVE racing.  

The big news of the past week is the IMLP swim start has been changed to a "rolling wave start".  In the IM world...this is big stuff.  99.99% of the rest of the world could care less...99.99% of the rest of the world doesn't even know what a "mass start" is.  In fact, they probably think it involves priests and holy water.  So who cares?  I was looking forward to the "whirlpool", as they call it.  But in the end, do you really think it matters?  Nope.  In the end, most people I talk to won't know the difference between a 11 hr finish and a 17 hr finish.  And they sure as hell aren't going to know, or care, if we all start together or 5 mins apart.  Keep focus.  Do the job at hand.  Don't get caught up in the drama.

Training has been going very well for me.  I've continued my lucky streak to not miss any workouts.  I had mild flair up of achilles tendinitis, which I was lucky enough to shuffle a few workouts and do a few new stretching exercises to take care.  I keep knocking on wood, thanking the triathlon gods, and eating.  Life is good.  Progress is being made.

It's graduation day on Sunday...I've got a great crew of seniors to say good bye to.  I've learned a lot from them during their four years...and it will be sad to see them go.  Along the way, I challenged many of them to "make their mark"...it's safe to say that they have left an indelible mark on little old Byron High School.  It's also safe to say that they have many, many more marks to make in the years ahead.  It is perhaps the greatest part of my job to watch them grow and go out into the world.  To the class of 2013...I salute you.

For your enjoyment...my favorite graduation speech:


Happy training...






Sunday, April 28, 2013

90 Days: Get Busy Living..Or Get Busy Dying

Three months to go.  90 days.

Life has been busy lately.  No complaints from me.  Not bad busy.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Good busy.  Life busy.  I've made a point to remind myself to relax and enjoy this journey along the way.  So far...so good.

When I was in college, I read Les Miserables...probably to impress some girl.  I should note that I DEFINITELY read the abridge version.  I remember Hugo wrote something about living life which I vaguely remember writing down...all these years later, I had to look it up:
“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” 

Every morning, I challenge my daughters to "do something that scares them" during the day.  I believe the quote is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt...who my youngest daughter shares her namesake with.

I often receive texts messages from my coworkers: "Warning: I just got 'shanked".  The verb "'shanked",  refers to the act of turning on the TV to find the Shawshank Redemption.  Of course, once Shawshank is on...you can't turn it off.  Is there anything better than Morgan Freeman's great quote?


So how do we make sure we live...not merely exist?  I really like to the list I read here: 15 Ways To Live.  It's a GREAT blog that I suggest you read...I've included the 15 ways below.

As Jack London once said, “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.”  Far too often we travel through life on autopilot, going through the motions, accepting what is, and having every day pass like the one before it.  Everything seems relatively normal and comfortable, except that constant twitch in the back of your mind that’s saying, “It’s time to make some changes.”
Here are 15 simple suggestions for those who want to break free from the mold and truly live more of their life – to experience it and enjoy it to the fullest, instead of settling for a mere existence.
  1. Appreciate the great people and things in your life. – Sometimes we don’t notice the things others do for us until they stop doing them.  Don’t be like that.  Be grateful for what you have, who loves you, and who cares for you.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they’re no longer beside you.  Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it to live.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  2. Ignore other people’s negativity. – If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative before you know it.  Ignore unconstructive, hurtful commentary.  No one has the right to judge you.  They may have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through.  You do not have control over what others say; but you do have control over whether or not you allow them to say these things to you.  You alone can deny their poisonous words from invading your heart and mind.
  3. Forgive those who have hurt you. – I forgive people, but that doesn’t mean I trust them.  I just don’t have time to hate people who hurt me, because I’m too busy loving people who love me.  The first to apologize is the bravest.  The first to forgive is the strongest.  The first to move forward is the happiest.  Be brave.  Be strong.  Be happy.  Be free.
  4. Be who you really are. – If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t change.  Uniqueness ispriceless.  In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.  It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it.  Being YOU is worth it!
  5. Choose to listen to your inner voice. – Life is a courageous journey or nothing at all.  We cannot become who we want to be by continuing to do exactly what we’ve been doing.  Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else.  Do what you know in your heart is right for YOU.  It’s your road, and yours alone.  Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.  And be sure to appreciate every day of your life.  Good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience, and the worst days give you the best lessons.  Read Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No.
  6. Embrace change and enjoy your life as it unfolds. – The hardest part about growing is letting go of what you were used to, and moving on with something you’re not.  Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting, and have faith that things will work out.  Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds.  You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but eventually you will arrive precisely where you need to be.
  7. Choose your relationships wisely. – The best relationships are not just about the good times you share, they’re also about the obstacles you go through together, and the fact that you still say “I love you” in the end.  And loving someone isn’t just about saying it every day, it’s showing it every day in every way.  Relationships must be chosen wisely.  Don’t rush love.  Wait until you truly find it.  Don’t let loneliness drive you back into the arms of someone you know you don’t belong with.  Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.  A great relationship is worth waiting for.
  8. Recognize those who love you. – The most memorable people in your life will be the ones who loved you when you weren’t very loveable.  Pay attention to who these people are in your life, and love them back, even when they aren’t acting loveable.
  9. Love yourself too. – If you can love children, in spite of the messes they make; your mother, in spite of her tendency to nag; your father, even though he’s too opinionated; your sibling, even though she’s always late; your friend, even though he often forgets to return what he borrows, then you know how to love imperfect people, and can surely love yourself.
  10. Do things your future self will thank you for. – What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.  What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.  Make sure it’s worthwhile.
  11. Be thankful for all the troubles you don’t have. – There are two ways of being rich: One is to have all you want, the other is to be satisfied with what you have.  Accept and appreciate things now, and you’ll find more happiness in every moment you live.  Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and offer thanks for all the troubles we don’t have.  And remember, you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.  Read The How of Happiness.
  12. Leave enough time for fun. – Sometimes you need to take a few steps back to see things clearly.  Never let your life become so filled with work, your mind become so crammed with worry, or your heart become so jammed with old hurts or anger, that there’s no room left in them for fun, for awe, or for joy.
  13. Enjoy the little things in life. – The best things in life are free.  There is absolute joy and wonder to be had in the simplest of moments.  Watching the sunset over the horizon or spending time with a family member. Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.
  14. Accept the fact that the past is not today. – Don’t let the past steal your present and future from you.  You might not be proud of all the things you’ve done in the past, but that’s okay.  The past is not today.  The past cannot be changed, forgotten, or erased.  It can only be accepted.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.
  15. Let go when you must. – It’s not always about trying to fix something that’s broken.  Some relationships and situations just can’t be fixed.  If you try to force them back together, things will only get worse.  Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something better.  Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over again with a smile on your face and passion in your heart.

3 months to go...get busy.





Saturday, April 13, 2013

Epic Training Day #2...(and the things I learned)

Today was my second "Epic Training Day" for IMLP...

Swim: 2500yds (1hr)
Bike: 73 miles (4 hrs 10 mins) (it was f-in WINDY)
Run: 7 miles (1 hour)

On my way to the pool this morning...it was snowing.

After the swim, it was 36 degrees with 15+mph winds.  #whatever

My hands went numb.   My power spiked.  My water bottles iced up.  But mile after mile, we made it.  I was lucky to have company for most of the workout, swimming and riding with my good friend, two-time Ironman, Ryan Dannhorn.  Training-wise, it was a great test, a 6 hour day to work on race specific stuff.  Nutrition.  Bike pacing.  Early mile run pacing.  Etc...but I learned so much more from my day.  Here goes:

The Swim:  Sometimes it's important to slow down, and do things the right way
My swim was simple today, warm up, swim a solid 1,000 yd time trial, then easy swimming to get to 1 hr.  Really, it was just setting up the rest of the day.  I really wanted to swim a good 1,000yds...so I "hammered" it.  Now, the notion of me "hammering" a swim is funny...but I was really trying to push the pace.  I was working hard...and it felt like it.  I had about :20 minutes left to swim easy, so I decided to work on technique and really try to swim "smooth and easy".  Sure enough, I discovered that I was swimming just as fast...if not faster than my 1,000 yd TT.  
Life is a lot like that too.  Sometimes, you just need to take a step back, slow down, and do things the right way...you just might find yourself getting even further than you dreamed.


The Bike: Hard Work ALWAYS Pays Off
The wind was punishing...15-20mph from due west.  "Go west young man".  2 hours...into the wind.  Relentless.  Punishing.  We laughed a lot.  Both of us knew that had we tackled this ride solo...we'd probably have bagged it shortly after we started.  Yet there we were...plugging away.  Two hours and fifteen minutes in...we hit the turn around.  Now I know what Lance feels like when he rides.  Hell...it was better than EPO.  It was a tailwind of epic proportions.  61 mins...26 miles.  Yahtzee.
Life is a lot like that too.  You put in the work...you're going to have a sweet tailwind.


The Run: Finish What You Started
After five hours...the couch was looking fairly inviting.  Who would know?  Watch a Sportscenter...finish my daughters PB&J for them.  Sounded good.  But there I was, lacing up the shoes.  One hour to go.
As with life...you've got to finish what you started.


Tomorrow morning is breakfast with my girls.  I've promised my three year old we would be breakfast buddies and both eat pancakes, sausage and drink chocolate milk.  And then there will be a lot of couch.  And the Masters.  It's going to be a good day.  Just like today.

Happy training...cheers.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Going Places...it was a Good Friday.

Saturday:  3hr ride (at 80%FTP)...56 miles  (windy, overcast, and PERFECT)
Big Bike Week: 370 miles since last Saturday.

I read a great article on NPR this week (NPR Article) about "The Philosopher"...a 9 year old Socrates who was tackling dark matter, the possibilities of a multi-universe, and the greatest question of all: What is the meaning of life?  The young man's answers were brilliant, reflective, and wise beyond his years.  See for yourself:
So the question begged to be asked...is this 9 year old a genius?  Perhaps.  There is no doubt that he had discussed these topics before...but you could also tell that he spoke of ideas he truly believed in.  Not just what he had heard.  The thing that struck me most, was his free admission that he REALLY DIDN'T know...that he might be wrong.  When is the last time you heard a 9 year old say that?
So yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch with my 8 year old daughter.  I asked if she realized how perfect Earth was to allow for life to arise.  Which led to our discussion about the possibility of life elsewhere...and ultimately to the question I wanted to get at:  What did she think the meaning of everything was?

My giddy, never-stop-talking 8 year old did something she never does.  She stopped talking.

Gasp.

She thought about the question.  And then said...

"To go places?"  (ahh...we're getting somewhere)
"To try new things?" (a small smile from Dad)

And why not?  They were as good as any answers I had ever come up with.  We talked for another ten minutes or so...and then played Uno and ate chocolate covered pomegranates.  It was a good Friday.  Hell...it was a great Friday.

The weather broke this week.  And I emerged from my five month hibernation in my garage...stuck on my trainer. Going absolutely no where. But no more. This week...I donned the cold weather bike gear and got crazy on the bike. This week...I was going places.











Thursday, March 21, 2013

March? This...IS MADNESS

Dear God-I know I haven't been perfect, but please fix the weather. #TotalFratMove

Sincerely,
Mike

First day of spring has come and gone. I saw a robin in the front yard today. Poor guy was frozen solid.

My toe warmers are almost gone. I've worn and washed my winter running gear more times than I am willing to count. I've been riding in my garage for FIVE months. They say if it doesn't kill you, it just makes you stronger. Well, I'm almost dead.

What have I learned on this long...long...winter:

1. Buy one set of stellar cold weather gear (not four sets of mediocre)...and wear it all the time. Seriously.  Keep it dry.  Keep it clean.  And wear the hell out of it.
2. Make your time count. Swap four hour rides for ball-busting 90 minute rides.  Watch your power soar.
3. It's never too cold out.  See #1
4. There is nothing like a run through the woods after a fresh snowfall.


Read a great article today on the things that happy people do differently.  Thought I would include it below.  I consider myself to be a fairly happy guy...and I see a lot of myself and in the list.  Plenty that I can work on...especially #19.  I don't think triathletes can sneak by on #19.

Successify

This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
The question is: how do they do that?
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …


1. Don’t hold grudges-Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.


2. Treat everyone with kindness-Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.


3. See problems as challenges-The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.


4. Express gratitude for what they already have-There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.


5. Dream big-People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.


6. Don’t sweat the small stuff-Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.


7. Speak well of others-Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.


8. Never make excuses-Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.


9. Get absorbed into the present-Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.


10. Wake up at the same time every morning-Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.


11. Avoid social comparison-Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.


12. Choose friends wisely-Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.


13. Never seek approval from othersHappy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.


14. Take the time to listen-Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.


15. Nurture social relationships-A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.


16. Meditate-Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.


17. Eat well-Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.


18. Exercise-Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.


19. Live minimally-Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.


20. Tell the truth-Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.


21. Establish personal control-Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.


22. Accept what cannot be changed-Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Paleozoic 25km Trail Race: Chaos In The Mud

Yesterday,  IMLP training took a slight diversion, as I competed in the inaugural Paleozoic 25km Trail Race...the goal, as they put it:  Do Not Fossilize

I've had the race on the calender since New Year's Day...so I had planned my Lake Placid training accordingly.  I basically spread my week 7 training plan over two weeks (last week and this week), with the race scheduled for Saturday.  That would give me some time to take it easy a few days before and after the race...

I thought it ironic that we would head into the city for a trail race...but that's what we did.  Up at 5:00am, on the road by 5:40, my good friend Adam and I headed into Joliet, IL.  The race was capped at 200 people and had both a 50km and 25km race.  25km seemed enough of a challenge this year...especially since I needed to get back to IMLP training ASAP.

The weather was cold and windy.  I opted to go with my Salomon Gore-Tex trail shoes w/gaiters, shorts, two short sleeve shirts, arm sleeves, stocking cap, and gloves.  I was cold before the race, but knew I would be fine once we got rolling.  I carried 20oz of Ironman Perform to drink and two Gu packets.  

The beginning of the race was a bit chaotic, as they sent the 50km racers off a little after 8:00am and we followed about 15mins later.  Why they choose to send the 50km racers off before the 25km racers is a mystery to me.  It would seem that the 25km racers would ultimately have to work through the packs of slower 50km racers.  This indeed turned out the be true.

The first 5 miles we great.  Adam and I held a fairly conservative pace and steadily moved through the field.  The trails were in fine shape considered the weather N. Illinois has experienced.  Lots of mud and snow...but most parts of the trail had decent footing SOMEWHERE.  Hit the first aid station at mile 5, took in a Gu and drank some water.  All is well.  

Immediately after the aid station, we latched onto the lead female runner.  The original plan had been to pick up the pace during the middle 5 miles...so we did, and managed to run with her during this stretch.  Things were about to get interesting...around mile 7, we passed two guys on bikes (walking their bike).  They were supposed to be out in front marking the course...but said they couldn't and we should follow the marks on the ground (in the mud and snow).  Hummm....

A mile later, we ran into the leaders...two guys that were absolutely killing it.  They were back tracking, so we assumed they had made a wrong turn.  We spent about 5 mins jogging around a few trails, looking for the right trail when all of a sudden the leaders headed back down the trail they had just come from.  Our conclusion?  It WAS the right way.  Follow them.  At this point, we know we are running in 3rd and 4th place.  Lucky break for us....

We finally hit the 2nd aid station, mile 10.  Grabbing some calories and some water, we continue on for the last 5 miles.  The trail got BAD.  At this point, we began to put a little distance on the lead female and began to feel that we had 3rd and 4th place locked up.  This is about the time we passed the race director.  He said that there were no more marking from this point on...and then told us which way we needed to go.  Great.

With about one mile to go...I managed to find a smooth, and rather large patch of ice. I slid for a moment, and then hit the deck hard.  And I mean HARD.  Adam laughed...and I was up quickly with a little shot of adrenaline.  Approaching the finish (which is also the 10 mile check point) two guys showed up out of literally NO WHERE. My theory is they were hitting mile 10 of their race (which was also the finish line)...they were not listed as complete finishers. About 1 min later...the top female finish crossed the line.  Now for the weird part...about 10 mins later, the two studs killing it out front finished.  So, either they took another wrong turn and made their run longer...or we took a wrong turn and cut the run short.  If we cut it short, I'm fine with a DQ.  Otherwise, there was no one between the "studs" and us...putting me in roughly 3rd or 4th place.  The official results list the top female finish 2nd overall...and I'm not even listed.  It is what it is...bummer to have such confusion at the end of a race.

Although the course could have been marked better (or just plain MARKED at some points)...any day is a good day for a run in the woods with a friend.  Especially when they give you shiny medals at the end.  Back to the Lake Placid grind...lots of biking to do this week.  Thanks for reading.

(PS:  Got a great email from race director explaining all of he problems they encountered.  Seemed like a great guy.  I'll run it again...really was a nice race/course.)