January 31, 2009


I haven't written a post in a long time. Many reasons. First, life has been busy with work, family and training. And secondly, because I just haven't felt up to it. My Dad passed away on January 17 at the age of 86. Two weeks ago today. And I felt I could get back to writing this thing without first mentioning it.

His last 18 months of life hadn't been very good. In August of 2007, he entered a nursing home after falling and dislocating his artificial hip. Unfortunately, they were not able to operate to replace it because of his age and the weakness of his heart. So, he was confined to a wheelchair. And that was just not good a good scenario for him. He was a life long athlete, a very independent person and strong as an ox. To see him in a position of weakness was not right. His mind was starting to go as well so he had the beginnings of dementia, which, in a strange way was almost better for his physical condition. He simply thought everyday in the nursing home was his first and his last. He had lost track of time.
The last few days were tough on everyone as they were spent by his bed in a local hospice. Hospice is end of life care so there are no needles, no IV's, no nutrition to keep him alive. Only oxygen and morphine. The staff of the hospice was wonderful. And what I learned during his ordeal is that you have to be a very special person to work in a hospice. Everyone was very comforting and very positive.

At around 6:45 PM on Saturday night, I left the room with my brother Al and my nephew Glenn saying goodbye to my Father for the last time. My father's breathing had become very labored. In fact, the nurse said that his mind was elsewhere now and it was a matter of time before his body would give out. At 12:10 AM Sunday morning, Al called to give me the news. Of course I knew right away. The ring of the phone has a diiferent tone when someone is calling with bad news.
Although, I know my Father is in a better place now and his pain has ended, it's tough to comprehend. I have had much younger family members die before but a parent is different no matter what age. I think it's the feeling of exposure. One of the people responsible for bringing you into the world is now no longer here. Even though I am grown and with a family of my own, I feel a little less protected now that he is gone.

All I am is a middle of the pack, 47 year old amateur triathlete. But, what the heck, I will dedicate my races to my Dad this year. No one will notice. No one will really care. And that's fine with me. And maybe as I cross the finish line at Lake Placid in July, I'll point to the sky like major league baseball players do after they cross homeplate.

January 12, 2009

Triathlon is Life

Triathlon training makes me feel alive. As much as I complain about getting up early, doing the actual workouts makes me feel on top of the world. I thrive on the endorphins that come from a strong swim, a great bike ride or a long run. It could be running, swimming, biking or triathlon, if it makes you feel strong and alive, then it's life. To me, triathlon is life.

Today begins Week 8 of the road to Ironman Lake Placid. Last week was supposed to be a big week in terms of training time. But due to the weather, work obligations and a host of other excuses, I did a little over half of what I was supposed to do. My training partners were in the same boat. However, when a workout is missed, whatever the opposite of life is, that is what I feel like. And it doesn't feel good. An enormous amount of guilt comes over me. I then have to plan on doing it after work and during the Winter, that is always tough. I get home at night tired, it's dark out, la la la, you know the rest.

But today, Day 1 of Week 8 and it calls for a day off. A much needed mental and physical rest. For the last few weeks I have been dealing with cold weather, snow, ice, rain and little sleep. It takes its toll. A day off is good. No, a day off is great!

I plan to hit every workout this week including getting to bed on time. And it's time for that.

January 01, 2009

Training Goals for 2009

Happy New Year!

Man, 2008 was a tough year and I am glad to see it go. But don't we find ourselves saying that every year? I guess it's the promise that a new year brings. A fresh start. New beginnings. A list of goals to achieve.

Over the next week, I will start to compile my list of personal goals and achievements I want to attain for 2009. Some I will share but some, which are more personal in nature, I will not. I am sure nobody really wants to read about them anyway. They might bore you.

I have become better at listing goals, achievements or dare I say that word, resolutions over the years. I try not to make them too hard to conquer. For example, Designing a new software program and selling it to Microsoft for $5 Million Dollars is a goal I would like to achieve but it's not realistic! It ain't gonna happen. I'm looking for the low hanging fruit that I can pick off quickly and make more meaningful to my life. They will be centered around Family, Work, Personal and of course, Training.

I have been starting to think of goals in all these areas but have not put them down on paper yet. However, I will attempt to do that right here and now with the Training aspect of my life. I don't think it will be that hard since I am constantly thinking about training. (I hear my wife sigh in the background). But that's what triathlon training does to you. Doesn't it? Everytime you try to leave it, it keeps pulling you back in.

Ok, here it goes, my off the cuff, not well thought out, Training Goals for 2009.

1. Getting Up. When the alarm clock goes off at 6 AM for a Run, get out of bed at 6. Don't hit the snooze 4 times and get out at 6:36. By then I have to cut the workout short.

2. Don't cut the workouts short. (See above)

3. Stay Healthy. This might be a little harder to achieve since it's not totally in my control but I'll see what I can do. Over the last 5 years I have battled Knee issues (Runner's Knee), foot problems, a broken hand, etc. I require alot of stretching, being strict in how much time I add to my runs each week and being warmed up for my workouts.

4. Don't Do It. Don't pretend that you are a pro at ice skating. This actually happened two days ago when I got a little fancy on the ice with my daughters. The left hand still hurts.

5. Avoid activities that could result in an injury like Ice Skating, Snow Tubing, Car Skitching, Jumping off the roof, etc. I didn't really jump off the roof but let me put it down here now so there is never the urge to, er, jump off the roof.

6. Incorporate Weights into my training. I actually have already done this. I think this could help prevent some of my injuires. Although, I'm not sure about jumping off the roof. It might not help with that! The experts have always stated that strength training can help prevent over use injuries so we'll see.

7. Hit Every Workout. Incorporate all the above goals plus being focused and disciplined to hit the training program as it is. Now, I know realistically, I will miss a few due to family and work obligations but they cal always be made up. In the end, you just never know what will trip you up on the way to Ironman. But all this is necessary for 1 thing to meet the following goal:

8. Finish Ironman Lake Placid 2009 in 13:31. I have a lot to prove to myself after getting sick at mile 10 of IM LP 2007. I went in the opposite direction of my first finish in 2006. I think I can do this but it will take a great race in terms if nutrition, weather conditions and have enough in the tank for the last 13.1 miles.

Now, it's time to test it out. I'm heading out for a Run today in 25 degree weather followed by 40 minutes on the trainer immediately after. A great start to a great new year.