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


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