068 Ironman Arizona – 11:13:56

My hunger for endurance sports started in 2008 when I ran my first race, the NYC Marathon. Since then it has literally changed my life, inspiring me to chase goals that at one point may have seemed impossible. One of these goals was to race an Ironman. Earlier this year I began my training for Ironman Arizona, which always takes place in late November. After a few runs and a bike here and there I started to think that maybe my lofty ‘train when I feel like it’ plan might not cut it on race day. That’s when I recruited the help of Sonja, a 6-time Ironwoman, to coach me. her and I have similar outlooks on racing and life in general so I thought she would be perfect. I was correct. She whooped me into Ironman shape and although it was far from easy, it made all the difference on race day. — I arrived in Arizona on Thursday night before the race. It was late and I needed to rent a car and get to our hotel. Did I mention that the last time I drove an automobile was over a year ago? One of the pros and cons to living in mighty Manhattan, you don’t need a car! Exhausted, and quite excited to see some desert terrain the next morning, I went to bed. Waking up to a dessert sunrise is amazing. I had some coffee and watched the news before setting out for the athlete check-in. SIDENOTE: Ironman isn’t as important to the people of Arizona as one might think. The news cast went something like this… “Tomorrow looks to be an exciting day here in Tempe as ASU gears up to play! Sunday is the Ironman race so watch out for traffic delays.” Check-in was relatively painless and within 15 minutes I was all set. The Expo was bumpin’ and very full of energy. It’s very different from a Marathon Expo, I don’t know why. Actually, I’m lying—I do know why. I have a breakdown for endurance sports, but it might offend some people, but that’s life. Remember, I do all 3 of the sports I am about to bust on. Level of laid back, most sportsman like in order: Bikers = Total assholes Runners = for the most part, very cool, with 50% being anti-social jerks Swimmers = laid back hippies, always friendly and willing to chat before a race Triathletes = 99%... read more

Music to Live by

Music plays a huge part in my life, and I am always surprised to meet people who are ‘indifferent’ about it. Anyone close to me knows I am very picky and critical of music. If someone doesn’t like, or know of Led Zeppelin for instance, I might make a sour face and perhaps never take them seriously again, possibly even un-friending them. Just kidding… or am I? Although my tastes run the gamut, when it comes to running I only have one genre I stick with. Drum n Bass (or Jungle as it was called years ago) happens to be my favorite for running. I used to go to D n B shows when I was in college and even threw a few ‘Rave-like’ warehouse parties showcasing DJ friends of mine. Being the old geezer I am now, I can’t stay up late. Wait, maybe it’s because I run now? Basically, now I get my Drum n Bass fix in the daytime, out on the streets. It has a high-paced aggressive nature that seems to fit right into my run pace. People have often asked ‘Who’ I listen to? From DJ Hype to A-Sides, (and many more) really depending on their latest mixes. Lately though, I have been listening to a guy named Komatic. He is one of the Bassdrive DJ’s and has a 2 hour show that is download-able. These mixes have gotten me through probably the last 3 or 4 of my marathons. I was inspired to write about this today because he just released his November 2011 Studio Mix and it is amazing! Below is the link. What do you listen to when you... read more

067 NYC Marathon – 3:00:48

The New york City Marathon is the single greatest marathon on Earth. I tell you this having only run 6 marathons total, 3 of them in New York. 2 million people come out to spectate along the course and the only time there aren’t any crazed fans screaming or banging away on cowbells is while going over the Queensboro Bridge. — Since April I have been training for Ironman Arizona, which happens to take place 2 weeks after the NYCM. As the race approached, Coach Sonja decided that the NYCM would be raced, instead of used as a training run! This both excited and terrified me as I would be held accountable for my performance rather than just take it easy. Saturday night Abbe made an amazing dinner of Shrimp Fra Diavlo, one of my pre-race staples. Her friends Bradley and Chrisitin were in town for the weekend so they joined us as well as my brother Jeff and my soon-to-be sister-in-law Ali. I think I was in bed by 10, which was really 9 due to the time change that would take place in the middle of the night. Thank god I slept well Friday night because I certainly did not Saturday. I woke up every hour on the hour. This was due more to shear excitement rather than nervousness. I love NYCM more than Christmas, so the faster it arrives the better. Instead of presents, you get pain! Super. I met my neighbor Kelly at 5:45AM out front and we popped a cab to pick up Meggie. It was the most desolate I have ever seen 2nd Avenue. We boarded the Ferry at 6:15 and soon found out Susan, Betsy and Megan also were on board. We linked up and formed an Army, a Runner Army. Once we were at Fort Wadsworth I said goodbye to my friends as I was in the Orange Camp while they were in the Green. I sat down in a sunny spot and proceeded to eat my steel cut oats, basking in the warm morning air. Previous NYCM’s were a bit cold and windy, or maybe, just maybe I’m getting tougher! Naw. You crazy Baker. Having 45 minutes until Corrals opened I just kinda walked around aimlessly, saying hi to a handful of runners I knew, and using the port-o-potties when I passed them. At 8:20 they announced the opening of Corrals and since I was pretty much full of oatmeal... read more

‘Professional Athlete Simulator’ day

Training for your first Ironman is anything but easy, especially when your Coach is dedicated to making you the best athlete they can. The last few months have been 10-15 hour training weeks, which have hopefully resulted in improving my endurance. — Seeing as how NYC Marathon and Ironman Arizona were coming up fast, Coach asked that I take a day off work to get in a solid all-day training session. “No prob! Sounds fun!” I have always dreamed (or at least the last 3 years) of being a professional triathlete or runner, my 9-to-5 job being to exercise. What fun to wake up and swim, bike and run all day! You can wear tri shorts and a sweaty tee, eat healthy, and get faster all day! The grass is always greener isn’t it. My Wednesday morning started off with a coffee and a bagel. I then got my trainer ready, jumped into some gear and started workout 1 of 4. ONE (2 Hours) (I’m going to keep the details kind of vague since it is Coach’s secret formula) A trainer ride starting with a series of ‘spin-ups’ getting my heart rate elevated. I had my iPod on and was rockin’ out having fun, for now. Next was 1 hour of increasing heart rate drills, the max being 155 and very intense. Next I did a series of single leg drills, which at the end my legs were jello. I think that was the goal. I was a sweaty mess. TWO (1.5 Hours) Walked over to Asphalt Green while eating a banana and drinking Gatorade, trying not to look like a wierdo since I was already sweaty and red. In the pool I executed 3500 Yards in a series of different drills. I made friends with a lot of old ladies (remember it is 11AM on Wednesday). This was quite refreshing as there is normally a lot of jerk faces floating around the pool at night training for the 40+ Age Group Olympics. Back at my apartment I wolfed down a huge plate of shrimp scampi I had made. Seriously, I was starving. I also had just enough time to run out and get my Halloween costume. THREE (2.4 Hours) It’s now 3PM and I am half way done my ‘training day.’ Back on the bike trainer, thinking I was unstoppable, I soon found out that my legs were not in a good mood. I was warned that this... read more