Friday, August 31, 2007

Changing Gears

Well, it was a great summer.

Time to change gears and get ready to go back to my second job: Teaching. I met with a couple of co-workers this past Wednesday and am pretty excited about the upcoming school year, which will be my last, for at least the next 3 - 5 years anyway.

This year, I'll be in the classroom teaching middle school health and wellness in addition to teaching my senior high and middle school P.E. courses. Although I'm a bit nervous about classroom teaching and all that it entails, the curriculum that I'll be responsible for implementing is definitely interesting. I'm looking forward to teaching the kids the ins and outs of basic anatomy, physiology, and general wellness concepts.

However, it is going to be a very busy year. My next 2 races are right around the corner and I'd like to maintain the momentum that I've built up on the racing front. Once I recover from the Nutmeg State Half Tri on 9/23, I'll have my final big push of the year: A 6 week descending cycle that's designed to peak me out for 70.3 Worlds on 11/10 and hopefully the sub 3:55 performance that I'd like to lay down if conditions allow.

After a hiatus from hard core training for the 3 remaining weeks in November, I'll start laying my Pre-Season "base" in preparation for the 2008 season and my debut on the Pro long course circuit.

Looking forward to 2008, the plan is to attain an early season peak and lay down a big performance at Eagleman 70.3 on June 8th, which happens to be the 2008 US Elite Long Course National Championship. After that, I'm really not sure. A debut at the IronMan distance perhaps, more 70.3 events for sure, we'll see...

So anyway... lots to do. The next 12 months of my life are going to be pretty busy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

USAT Rankings

I was just informed that I'm currently ranked as the # 1 overall AG Triathlete in New England. Pretty cool! Check out the rankings HERE. Make sure to ONLY enter "New England" in the region scroll down box and "Male" in the gender scroll down box.

I'm not going to worry about maintaining my position, but I wouldn't mind if I stayed on top of the charts through season's end! A couple more top performances at the Nutmeg State Half on 9/23 and 70.3 Worlds on 11/10 wouldn't hurt, that's for sure!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Timberman 70.3 Race Report

Well, it was another great outing! I’m happy to report that I was able to place 6th overall while taking the overall amateur victory by nearly 10 minutes on Sunday. After a somewhat risky cycle of training that saw me teetering on the edge of overtraining for nearly a month, I’m very pleased with the way that things turned out yesterday.

As most of you know, I was forced to take some down time after Eagleman 70.3 thanks to a very stressful health issue. In the 2 months leading up to the beginning of my competitive season, I began passing blood, especially after hard training efforts. I did my best to put the issue out of my mind so that I could fully concentrate on gearing myself up both physically and mentally for a fast day at Eagleman on June 10th. I was, in fact, able to hold things together and pulled off a new PR for the 70.3 distance (3:57:53) while placing 8th overall, and taking the overall age group champion title in the process. It was a huge performance break though, but by event’s end, I was pretty spent emotionally thanks to the stress that I had been dealing with for so long. I suspended training, pulled out of my next scheduled race and proceeded to seek medical attention.

A colonoscopy discovered 2 inflammatory polyps that were the source of the bleeding. Luckily, both turned out to be completely benign, but the combination of 3 weeks of very little training and the stress involved with the entire situation really took its toll. I began training seriously again in mid July, but was worried that I might have lost too much of my hard fought fitness to make an impact at Timberman 1 month later.

Thankfully, things went very, very well yesterday.

I was unusually relaxed once Michelle and I arrived in Gilford, NH on Saturday afternoon. We pulled up to the lake house owned by the family of our friends, Eric and Jessi Burgess, and made ourselves at home. The Burgesses were away for the weekend and were kind enough to allow us to stay in their lakeside get-away. The home is located roughly 2 miles from the Timberman finish line, and right on the run course, so logistically speaking, getting to and from the race site couldn’t be easier!

After unpacking and eating a quick lunch, it was off to packet pick-up and bike racking. The legs were feeling pretty good as I spun out on the bike and worked my way through the gears. The day before a long course race, I usually feel completely underpowered and tight. After racking the bike and heading out for a quick 10 min. run, I actually started feeling a little worried by just how loose I was feeling. My legs floated along effortlessly as I ran along the road that runs parallel to Lake Winnipesauke. This was quite a contrast to the way I typically feel the day before an event!

Later that evening, my brother Corey and his girlfriend Cameran arrived and we all headed over to the town of Merideth for some very expensive Pizza. The meal turned out to be a memorable one. The restaurant that we attended, I believe that it was called “Giuseppe’s,” did in fact serve up good Pizza, but their lounge singer performed the most awful renditions of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and Elvis Presley’s “Fools Rush In” that I have ever heard. None of us could figure out if this guy was for real or not, because his performances seemed more like a comedy skit than anything else. The girls grabbed some Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream after dinner and then it was back to Gilford and time to hit the sack.

Race day featured cool temperatures and dry skies. The wind continued to pick up speed as the 7 o’clock start time neared, and I was expecting a fairly windy day. The Pro wave would leave 2 minutes before my wave. I watched as Simon Lessing, Bjorn Andersson, Spencer Smith and co. departed shore. I was feeling completely calm as I waited for our wave, the “Elite Amateur” division, to depart on our journey.

The swim was rather uneventful. I was able to stay out of trouble and remain comfortable throughout. I linked up with the main pack at about the halfway point and enjoyed a nice, leisurely ride to shore. The swim turned out to be a little long, about 2k vs. 1.9k, but it was all-good as everyone was in the same boat.

As I left T1, I reminded myself to stick to the plan: Stay relaxed through the first 12 miles of the course where the hills hit hard and then open the engine up once I hit the gently rolling section of highway. What surprised me most was the fact that shortly after leaving T1 I began catching, and passing, both Pro female and male athletes. I did not allow myself to get overly aggressive however, and stuck to my pacing plan, avoiding the big anaerobic efforts during the early sections of this challenging bike course.

Once out on the high way, I opened the engine up, and quickly finished off the last of the remaining Pro women. I must note however that I was pretty impressed with the velocity that Desiree Ficker was maintaining as I rolled by. I could immediately tell that she was on her way to a big performance (she ended up winning in 4:24 or 4:25). If she continues to maintain the form that she displayed yesterday, people better look out at Hawaii…

The trip out towards the turnaround featured an annoying headwind that made the going tough. As I continued to pass men from the Pro division and approached the bike turn around, I was really looking forward to the tail wind that I’d be able to ride all the way to T2. Once we made the turn however, I was immediately greeted by more headwind! Judging by the flags that lined the course, I figured that we were actually dealing with a cross wind that would make things all the more fun as we traversed the next 28 miles of open road.

After passing a few more Pros, I received a placing/time check by a friendly bystander at about mile 45: I was in 11th or 12th place overall and 14 minutes back from super-cyclist Andersson. Subtracting the 2 minute differential, and factoring in Andersson’s inability to run (I knew that I could put close to 10 min. on him in the half marathon) I knew that I was "on." The fact that I could see 3 more riders directly in front of me underscored this fact.

I quickly caught, and passed, the next 3 athletes and rolled into T2 in 8th or 9th place. The only guys left in front of me were all Pros and it was time to see how much of the gap I could close down. My legs were moving quickly, but I was concerned with 2 issues:

1. Both of my vastus medialis muscles were seizing up (racing an Olympic distance event the weekend before opened the system back up but had left me a bit stiff and sore on race day)


2. My feet were on fire!

I knew that I was in for a tough day out on the run course, so I played it safe during the early miles and allowed my quads to un-seize. Doing so cost me time, but I knew that I was on my way to nailing yet another solid outing and didn’t want to take any chances.

The rest of the run was simply routine; I kept the Gatorade flowing and just focused upon maintaining my rhythm. My feet continued to fall apart with each passing mile, and as the picture above will attest, every step became excruciatingly painful. Pain or no pain however, I was going to cap this damn race, and cap it I did. I’m going to make sure that I have the shoe issue straightened out before the Nutmeg State Half on 9/23 however because it cost me a good 2+ minutes on the run yesterday. Aerobically the effort was a cakewalk, but I had to run in pain, once again, for well over an hour. Very annoying.

So there you have it. I’ve decided to stay amateur for the rest of the ‘07 season. I figure that I’ll go down to Clearwater for the 70.3 World Championship and see if I can go sub 3:55 and take the overall amateur title. In addition, I still have some work to do on my swim, so John Ogden, if you’re reading this; I need your help this fall and winter! Hopefully, by the beginning of ‘08, I’ll have my swim where it needs to be so that I can be right up there with the action from the gun. My objective for next year is to win these events outright, or at least land myself on the podium as often as possible.

In closing, I’d like to thank my girlfriend Michelle for her constant support and unbeatable race day management skills (I don’t know what I’d do without her!). Also, thanks to my brother Corey, his girlfriend Cameran, and our friends Andy and Pilar Prinz for showing up! To my family for supporting me – thank you!

To Michael Ferrante: Thank you SO much for lending me your Zipp 404s. Coming within 2 minutes of Simon Lessing’s bike split was something I’ll never forget and your wheels made all the difference.

Lastly, to my boys at Fit Werx 2 in Peabody, Ma. : You guys rock! If you haven’t checked out Fit Werx yet, you’re crazy:

First off, there is NO need to go anywhere else; When it comes to bike fit, equipment choice, aerodynamics and the latest cycling related technology, Dean Phillips and Marty Miserandino can’t be beat. Dean, a Pro Triathlete and INCREDIBLY fast cyclist (he recently broke Tyler Hamilton’s old mark on the ECV TT course!!!) shared with me his data on the rolling resistance of various tire and tube combinations. He pointed out the wattage, and resulting time, that I was losing by using a set of particular tubular tires. By Dean’s estimation, I lost close to 2 minutes on the Eagleman bike course by riding the wrong tires! 2 Minutes! So, although I was hesitant to run clinchers at first on Sunday, I fully believe that doing so gave me a noticeable advantage. Believe it or not, in the world of cycling things like, millimeters, rolling resistance, psi and bike fit, especially bike fit, make a HUGE difference. If you’re looking for “free time” during your next race, give Dean and Marty a call. I’m glad that I did.

Okay, that’s a wrap! Time for to crank out a few schedules.


Timberman Results:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Time to Roll

Saturday, 8/18, 8:40 a.m.: Time to split for Gilford, NH and the Timberman 70.3 Triathlon! Pretty exciting stuff. Yes, I've taken a bit of a gamble training wise these past 5 weeks, but it was a necessary one. I'd rather go for broke than play it say any day of the week. Afterall, what's the point of stepping into the arena unless you're there to see just how far you can go?

Another one of my favorite T.S. Eliot quotes:

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out just how far they can go."

Words to live by and remember no matter what happens this weekend. I feel good. I'm going for it. Full tilt.

The next 36 hours are going to be very exciting. Sub 4:10 and/or a top 8 overall finish on Sunday means I'm heading to IronMan Florida on 11/3 for my first real Pro race, or it'll be back to the drawing board and another cycle of trying to get it right.

Stay tuned...

Good luck to everyone who'll be racing this weekend!


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Giving Back

Note: Upon request of Richard Wilson, head of "The Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association," I submitted this letter to our local newspaper, "The Gloucester Daily Times," in hopes that it would help to generate additional donations for our local youth & public school athletic programs.

More Than Fun and Games: Why Gloucester Must Prioritize Funding For its Public School Athletic Programs

As a professional trainer, physical education teacher and competitive athlete, I am extremely appreciative of the tremendous positive impact that Gloucester public school athletic programs have made upon my life. This being said, I feel obligated to express a few of the various reasons why we as a community must pool our collective resources to ensure that funding for our middle school and high school athletic programs remains strong. It is no mystery that our city, like so many others across the nation, is struggling financially. However, skyrocketing user fees, dilapidated training facilities, and talk of cutting school based athletic programs altogether are issues that none of us should ignore.

There are countless studies that clearly document the direct positive impact that athletics and physical activity in general have upon a young person’s ability to learn. The latest research even goes so far as to state that school systems should incorporate physical movement into daily lesson plans as a means of provoking bio-chemical responses in the brain which have been proven to increase one’s ability to both learn and retain information. With schools across the country cutting way back on recess time, physical education classes and vocational programs, our students have never needed after school athletic programs more than they do now.

As a young adult, small business owner and triathlete, I credit the personal success that I have found in my life to the many lessons that I learned during my formative years as an athlete. Life, like sport, is never easy. In order to succeed, you must not only work hard and apply yourself consistently, but also learn how to persevere, especially in the face of hardship, loss and disappointment. I have always felt that a successful school system is one that provides a wide variety of opportunities for students to challenge themselves. Although science, mathematics, English and history are all essential components of a well rounded public education, many of life’s best lessons are learned on the field of play, especially those which force an individual to confront his or her own self-doubts and short-comings. True personal progress, be it athletic, academic, professional or social, is most often the end result of learning how to overcome adversity. The last time I checked, Corporate America wasn’t handing out six-figure salaries on a first come, first serve basis! Success in all facets of life requires determination, self-confidence and an ability to stay the course during challenging times, all traits that athletic participation helps to foster.

Gloucester has always taken great pride in her athletes and athletic programs. It goes without saying that a strong public school system is one that provides as many opportunities for personal growth and experience as possible. As an educator, it saddens me to think that many of the athletic resources that I was able to fully take advantage of while attending Gloucester public schools are either in jeopardy of being cut due to budgetary constraints, or becoming harder and harder for working class families to afford. My hope is that through a variety of fund raising efforts we can usher back in the days when playing an after school sport didn’t cost Gloucester families a dime.

First and foremost, I urge you to support the Gloucester public school system’s athletic programs by making a donation to the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association, a nonprofit organization founded and supported by community volunteers whose sole mission is to support and contribute to athletic programs/resources for the children of Gloucester. In addition, I look forward to playing an active role in the creation of a variety of fun and exciting fundraising events that will not only directly benefit our athletic programs, but showcase the best of what Gloucester and Cape Ann, in general, have to offer. I hope that you will consider joining me in this endeavor.

For membership information, or to make a donation, please visit the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association @

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

Well, the legs are already rolling again after Sunday's dismal showing. I was clipping along nicely during this morning's run. Soreness aside, I'm actually feeling pretty sharp. Good signs for sure heading into this coming weekend.

I'm starting to realize that my system was indeed pretty bogged down after my 2+ month hiatus from the racing scene. Though I didn't have much fun the other day, it looks like I really needed the race. Hopefully it'll be enough to wake my system back up before Sunday (Timberman).

My forced down time, and the accompanying lack of race sharpness, really underscored the importance of racing fairly frequently once you've established a high degree of event specific fitness. With fall fast approaching, I find myself scrambling to make up for lost time! I've spent so many months focusing upon getting into shape that I want to put all this hard fought fitness to good use.

Looking forward, I have tentatively decided that I will most likely NOT be returning to Clearwater 70.3 in mid November. If I do remain amateur for the rest of '07, I just don't see the point in spending well over $1,000 to enter/travel to what proved to be a draft-legal long course event last year. I was so disappointed with the mass drafting issue that I've simply lost the desire to attend this year's 70.3 worlds. I am in no way faulting the athletes in attendance at last year's event, I just feel that the course profile (flat, narrow roads), coupled with the athletes on hand (they're all pretty fast) lends itself to peleton style bike riding. That's not my idea of a true test.

However... there's still plenty of action to be had. I'm really looking forward to the inaugural Nutmeg State Half Iron Triathlon on 9/23, especially with the field that is being assembled! I'm hoping for a fast day and great competition.

In addition, after hearing the horror stories, I find myself becoming more and more intrigued with a small, yet insanely challenging duathlon in rural New York: American Zofingen. Check it out @

The venue: A 5 mile x-c trail run immediately followed by an 84 mile bike (road) through mountainous terrain, and a second, "slightly" more challenging 15 mile trail run.

Man. That sounds like one hell of a challenge to me. I might have to throw my hat into the ring. Call me nuts, but in addition to providing some long lasting memories, "AZ," as it's becoming known, might also serve as a perfect tune up for I.M. Florida should that race be in the cards for me this year...

For the time being though, I've got to stay loose; there'll be plenty of action coming my way in just 5 days time!


Sunday, August 12, 2007


Man, what a tough day.

Today I hit the Lowell YMCA triathlon. To say that I felt flat would be an understatement. I guess that 2+ months of no racing have really bogged my system down.

This was the smallest event that I've been to in quite some time, but there were a few talented athletes in the field, most notably swim stud Bill Reeves and ex-elite marathoner Paul Gompers (a great guy by the way). The race consisted of a 1 mile swim in the Merrimack River, a 2 loop, 22 mile bike course (flat/gently rolling), and an out and back 6 mile run (flat).

As expected, Reeves unleashed a monster swim, clocking 16 mid. and leading by nearly 90 sec. into T1. I was 10th out of the water, but a ways back (also as expected) in 20 low. I never felt particularly good out there on the swim, and to make matters worse, felt AWFUL as I began the cycling segment.

Today was one of those nightmare type rides where you just can't get up to speed. 2 months ago I averaged 25.5+ mph at Eagleman for the 56 mile bike leg, and today, I was struggling to keep my velocity up around 24 mph! I felt so weak during lap 1 that I was seriously contemplating pulling out of the race altogether.

However... by lap 2, the system began opening up again and before long, those around me were soon far behind. I felt fair, although far from "on," but managed to take some time back from the 2 remaining leaders.

I rolled into T2 about 2:45 behind the 2 men still out in front of me. I was far from being in a good mood, and as I tore out of transition, was greeted by immediate abdominal cramping.


I spent the next 2 miles simultaneously squeezing my sides while trying to run down the guy in front of me. By the time I caught him around mile 2, my cramping had subsided a bit, and I made a bid to reel Reeves in. However... by mile 5, it was evident that I had run out of time. By the time the dust had settled, Reeves had beat me by 42 sec.

Frankly, I could care less about winning and losing. My only objective as an athlete is to perform up to my capabilities on race day. Today, however, I guess that it just wasn't in the cards for me.

I'll be honest in saying that I'm bit unnerved by today's race. Granted, I felt rusty as hell at Mooseman International 8 days before Eagleman, but I was really expecting a bit more out of today's performance.

I may have to deviate a bit this coming week and jump in the Nahant Tri on Thursday. The transition between swimming and cycling just killed me today and I need to make sure that my body is completely awake and razor sharp next Sunday.

On a positive note, I'd like to give a shout out to one of my athletes, April Bowling, for going out of her way to come up and watch me race today. I hope that I didn't disappoint you too much April with my lackluster performance! I was hoping to put on a good show. Perhaps next time. Thanks again for being there!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Less than 48 hours until my 3rd race of the 2007 season. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous. Am I worried about the competition? No... I hope that Sunday's race features some of the top athletes from New England as I welcome the opportunity to race against the fastest short course and Olympic distance athletes in the region.

My nervousness stems from the fact that it's been over 2 months since my last race! Where did the summer go?! I've laid down a ton of hard work this year, and am keeping my fingers crossed that it was all worth it.

So although this Sunday is a tune up for the following weekend (Timberman 70.3), it sure would be a nice confidence boost if all cylinders were firing, and firing fast. The fitness should be there, I just hope that the engine isn't too rusty.

Only 1 way to find out...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ready To Roll

Well, that's it; The hard work is over and I'm ready to roll. Nothing left to do now but taper down and sharpen up.

This weekend provided a much needed confidence boost. I must admit that I was a little concerned that I might not make it to Timberman in very good shape thanks to the down time that I was forced to take after Eagleman. Three weeks of very little training will do that to you, no matter what kind of shape you were in before being sidelined.

However... the 3 consecutive weeks of intensive training that I just completed seemed to have done the trick. Yesterday's pace ride went very smoothly, as I ripped off the workout's main segment, a 40k at 70.3 goal pace, in under 60 minutes, feeling very much in control throughout. It had been a while since the system had felt that sharp, thanks in large part to the huge training load that I've been dealing with for the past 21 days (read: fatigue!).

I was pleasantly surprised with that session, but was even more so with today's: An intensive long run of 16 miles. Going into the workout, I wasn't expecting much, but my legs had plans of their own as I gradually descended down from 6:40 - 6 min./mile pace over the course of the run. I clipped through the last 5 miles of the "Around the Cape Course," (executed, as usual, in reverse so that the worst of the hills hit me towards run's end when glycogen stores are getting low and fatigue is setting in) in under 31 minutes, feeling exceptionally in control and aerobic throughout. The track work that I've been laying down has clearly paid off as my respiratory rate was at an all time low and the lactate levels were as well. I can't recall the last time I floated that fast around the Cape. A very encouraging sign for sure.

Oh, and Julie/Beth: If you're reading this, sorry that I didn't stop for water. I was clipping along with 4 miles to go and didn't want to break my rhythm! Thanks for the effort though and I'll see you tomorrow at Niles for our distance swim!!!

So that's that. I'm looking forward to doing just enough work over the course of the next 2 weeks to keep the system "open" while allowing it to fully recover. I just hope that I'm not too rusty at the Lowell Olympic distance tri next Sunday, as it's been quite a while since I raced last. As long as all goes as planned at Timberman however, it's all good, especially since next weekend is nothing more than a tune up.

Okay, time to hit Lanesville and flat rocks for a little blackberry hunting and a dip in the Ipswich Bay. Summer already seems to be winding down, so I'm trying to make the most of it while it's still here.