Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crossing Guard duty

Yesterday I was driving home from the grocery store, and was called upon to pull crossing guard duty. A family of wild turkeys was crossing the street in my neighborhood. they are the local turkey family Gabi Gobble and the kids ;) They are known around here and the neighborhood sort of looks out for them. Their road crossing skills require some work :)

A few weeks ago I had a very close encounter with them when I was putting in a new Mailbox. They just simply came walking by, over my driveway, stopping mid way to pick at ants and such. I just froze midway through a step I was taking. Not expecting to see a Turkey and 7 chicks just walk across my driveway just a yard away from me.

This is why I love Northern Westchester. Only an hour away from the Big City, but thousands of miles away in lifestyle.

Jellyfish Bonanza

This year it seems there is much concern over Jelly fish in the NY region. During the NYC triathlon this was big news. Many friends told me they were stung during the swim. Since I was not able to participate this year I was not there to see this myself. But having done this race twice before and having no such issue, I thought it was a fluke. But it seems this is a widespread problem through out the area.

Coach Adam was doing a fundraiser in the 4 mile swim for America, that was done in the Long Island Sound yesterday, and he also reported on being stung by Jelly fish. So naturally I was curious and looked this up and found the following. ( Also as pure side note notice the difference in quality and depth of coverage between NY Newsday, a local Long Island Paper and, The New York Times.)

From Newsday:

Possible increase of jellyfish in NY waters

July 22, 2008

NEW YORK - Marine biologists say there may be more jellyfish than usual in New York waters this year.

They say one breed in particular _ the lion's mane _ showed up about a month earlier than usual. The biologists blame everything from breeding conditions and climate change for the abundance of jellyfish so early in the season.

Cornell University biologist Mark Bain says there is "widespread evidence of increasing jellyfish around the world."

The lion's mane are blamed for stinging athletes who jumped into the Hudson River on Sunday during the swimming stage of the New York City Triathlon. The stings are not considered deadly.

One triathlete died after being pulled from the water. An autopsy failed to determine a cause of death.

From NY Times( Article too large to put here)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Surgery required

Well I received bad news from the doc today. My bones are not healing properly. In fact the bone is now sticking further out than it was originally. So the only solution is surgery. Its an outpatient type of thing where I go in at 6:30 AM and go home the same day. I will need to take a few days off from work but should be able to return within 3-4 days.

The surgery itself consists of putting a metal plate across the two bones and screwing it in.

The Bummer is that it will be 3 months before I can begin training seriously. During that 3 months I will have to do physical therapy to recovery the full range of motion in my shoulder.

However there are some things I can do during the 3 months, teh doc said almost immediately I will be able to do work on a stationary trainer or bike. About 6-8 weeks I should be able to run.
Finally after 3 months I should be able to hit the pool again. So although not a great piece if news, I am glad to be dealing with it so it could heal ASAP.

Last night while helping the super fly RwP marathon team out by watching their bags, my creds as a Triathlete/Blogger was put in question because I did not upload photos of my injuries. It seems "road rash" photos and anything displaying blood and self mutilation that has occurred during training adn racing accidents is a must to be a athletic Blogger.

So just in case here you go, unfortunately the road rash has healed to a degree. This bruising is not a great pic.

The DL list

I have discovered that being on the DL list really, really sucks. Pain and injury aside, one of the worse aspects is the drastic and sudden change from one of spending nearly 100% of my free time training, to suddenly having all of this time free.

At first this was nice since life was quite hectic up until that point. But now I find myself with this excess of energy that I have to now somehow re harness. The results of this are starting to show:

1) I have become a shoutbox bully in Race with purpose. I seem to be spending allot of time there. I don't know if they ( or civilization) is ready to see me when I am bored.
2) I am committing myself to allot more things in the future, due to time that I have NOW. See the problem?
3) Since I cannot run with my dog Simba, she also has an excess of time and energy on her hands. So I have been training her to harness her mental brilliance( she is a Border Collie / Collie Mix you know) to vacuum and clean the house. ( what? am I supposed to do this with my broken collar bone??)

So clearly I need to find other hobbies while I heal for the next 6 to 8 weeks. Maybe I'll head over to triscoop and see whats going on in their shout box ;)

Friday, July 18, 2008

IM Lake Placid 09!

Here I come! I spoke to Melody at NA Sports. She informed me I am able to transfer my community fund slot from IM Wisconsin to IM Lake Placid in 09. So thats what I am doing. This is awesome! I have some friends planning on doing IM LP in 09 so it will be great to train with a group.

It sucks to miss out on IM Wisconsin but all things considering, I am happy to get into LP.

Requirements of being Ill or injured

Well its a funny thing. It seems there is a requirement of how you are supposed to act when you are Ill, or injured. Just On Wednesday my two sisters in Law came up to see me, they came with food and drinks and soup. It seems they expected me to be in bed moaning and needing care. So despite the fact that I am driving around and doing stuff my wife told me to stay home so she would pick them up. Which is NOT how we do things, I am always the one to pick people up. Its just how it works out for us. So Ok they arrive and were a bit unsure of what to do for me since I was up and about throwing the ball to Simba and such ( left handed of course). They kind of expected me to be in bed. It seems they were coming up to do the required hospital type of visit, to show me support and such. But they did not know what to do because I was not in bed suffering. I told them I was in pain but I was still functional. I just couldn't use my right arm.

So the whole day, went by and we had a good time. They helped me when they could.

I actually do appreciate the attention and I realize I am lucky to have a family willing to do this. But the caring and catering makes me uncomfortable at times. In this case I do know its ME.

I suppose I act different than most. I chalk it up to endurance training. I know of others also that have a hard time sitting still when injured. Usually ruining the healing process while at it. But none the less we do it. I think it has to do with the fact we are endurance athletes. By the mere name we "endure" and move on.

All endurance athletes are accustomed to suffering through pain. We do it every time we train. Of course its not the same shooting pain I get when I move my right arm, but it is pain and suffering none the less. So perhaps this is why I simply do not become a helpless individual when injured. I am most likely a lousy patient in this regard.

To be sure there are things I need help with, like taking off my T-shirts because I cannot lift my right arm, or in putting antibiotic cremes and such because There are spots I cannot reach.
But all in all I am fairly active, and aching to go out for a run.

Yesterday I went into work and everyone was shocked to see me, they pulled out my chair for me, etc. They assumed I would be out for at least a week. This despite the fact that I can still walk fine and use my left hand and Arm. I mean after all folks its an office job.

But it seems that socially there is a role that we all are supposed to play when injured or when someone is injured. For the folks at work I made a point to ask my coworker if they could get me coffee since I cannot hold the mug and mix the creamer. They felt better being able to jump up and help me out.

I guess I just don't fit the standard Injured person. There are expectations I have to meet. I wanted to go this weekend to go volunteer at the NYC tri, since I cant run it I may as well help out. But I don't know how this will work out. In truth I probably am pushing it and could end up making things worse. So I probably will not do this.

I really do feel honored and lucky to be part of such a great family. I realize this is the function of a good family, and they are truly doing their best to show this support to me. So I truly do appreciate it. There are many people who are not so fortunate.

So on Saturday, I have to put on a night shirt or something and stay in bed until the family leaves, maybe I'll practice a limp :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Prognosis is final

Well its final, my Clavicle is Broken as can be seen above. The doctor said this could take up to 3 months to heal properly! At this point he said I probably do not need surgery becaus eteh bones are aligned, however I need to refrain from any activities for 3-4 weeks or in that time they could shift the now free floating bones out of line.

I know that he speaks the truth because I can feel the bones move as I move when I move my arm, which is freaky.

It appears this is a common cycling injury ( who knew!?)

So its rest time for me :(

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chris Horner my new Hero

Check out this story about a true class act

Down for the Count

Well last night was a very very bad night. I was out cycling and broke my collarbone.

My plan had me doing lots of hills, so I had this 3-4 mile loop I found that has several good hills on it. My plan was to do 3 repeats of the loop. Now the ride leading up to the hilly loop itself has the longest and stretch of an incline that I had to ride up, I was finished with my hill loops and was headed back. Going down the long incline, I had picked up some speed and at a turn I had apparently hit a patch of dirt/gravel that was washed out from the heavy rain the night before.

As i made the turn my rear tire went out from under me. Its funny but it really does go in slow motion. I saw myself falling and tried to correct myself. I remember seeing the front tire wobbling left and right as I was trying to straighten up, and then Bammm. My shoulder took the hit and I skidded for a bit. My shoulder probably took the brunt of the fall because I was still trying to fight it and did not let go of the handlebar, so I did not put my hands down fast enough to cushion the blow.

The funny part was that as soon as I got up I knew I had broken my collarbone, there was a new corner under my skin that was not there before. So I sort of righted it by hand, and tried to get back on the bike, but I could not move my arm without a ton of pain. So I decided to walk the two miles home.

At this point I was just incredibly frustrated that this had happened. I was just feeling great about my training having done the century the day before and feeling strong, I was doing awesome on the hills. It was in fact just thinking not 10 minutes earlier that perhaps I stood a chance to do real well at IM Wisconsin.

SO As I was walking home I decided I would vent to someone who would understand my frustration, I called my friend Phil, who I figured would be out working out ( he is in training after all). By some freakish yet fortunate instance he was home and picked up. My first words were dammit Phil I broke my collarbone and now I think I may not be able to make my swim workout tomorrow!

Phil was like "Uhhh ... where are you?"

Me " on the road walking home"

Phil (laughing) "Dude I can't believe you! Stay there and I'll come and pick you up!"

Me " OK but its not necessary, I was not calling for help, I was calling because I am frustrated, I am going to have to miss my swim workout tomorrow!"

Phil "Dude I think I better picked you up"

Phil did come and pick me up and he took me to the hospital ( Great friend!). I believe he felt I was in shock or delirious or something. Anyways it was much appreciated that he came.

So now my plans are on hold. Personally I think my IM plans for this year are done for. Well that just sucks! I asked the ER Doc and he said I should not do anything with the arm for 4-6 weeks. The collar is not a bone they put a cast on because it heals well on its own, however I run the risk of causing damage if I do not let it heal.

So I have to make an appointment with a specialist to follow up. Will see then.

The required road rash pictures will follow in the near future.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

IM Training day #1 down

Well I had my first of many long Training days today. It was a 100 mile ride. Done at a moderate pace. Phil joined me after a 2 week rest period. It was supposed to be an easy pace, but in Westchester there is no such thing as a real easy ride. This one started off nicely headed north into Putnam and eventually Dutches Counties. The first 40 miles were dreamlike, with cow pastures and farms. Beautiful Views. We even passed through Pawling, who's town hall has a sign, "welcome toPawling, Home of positive Thinking" How can you argue with that?

ANyhow that was the first 40 miles. We stopped for a break and then the remainder starts with a warning on the cue sheet. "Serious hill coming up", and it was! Possibly 1-1.5 miles of climbing. But really the rest of the ride was almost non-stop rollers and long gradual climbs.

PERFECT for my IM training.

Finally, after what seemed endless time we arrived back at Westchester, Phil had dropped off about 6 miles before I arrived at my house, as we were passing his house.

Oddly enough, I felt pretty good and decided to throw in a short transition run. ran 10 minutes. Felt pretty good.

So I am pretty satisfied for today. Happy with today, and thats all I can ask for. Now back to work tommorow :(

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Doggie Du Championships - No more

NYC has put a Kabosh on the duathlon plans in the last minute. IT seems there is construction going on along the river and the City feels it is unsafe for teh dogs to swim in. So they have removed permission for the dogs to swim there. So now the organizer has turned it into a 10K run.

By the way The triathlon is still going on as planned, the city has no concerns over suffering due to construction issues.

Which I happen to think is kind of funny, because in my opinion the dogs are the ones who tend to follow orders as opposed to the other way around. One has only to look up the Darwin awards to agree.

Monday, July 7, 2008

ITB Band stretches

After my limping finish at Tupper Lake, I realized I had a problem on my hands by way of a extremely aggravated ITB band, on both legs. It seemed when looking up the issue on google, the solution is really rest and stretching. In particular I incorporated these stretches

Cross injured leg over the uninjured side and pull the leg as close to your chest as possible.

Cross injured leg behind and lean towards the uninjured side. This stretch is best performed with arms over the head, creating a "bow" from ankle to hand on the injured side (unlike how it is depicted).

Pull foot up to back of buttocks. Cross the uninjured leg over the injured leg and push down, hold for 30 seconds.

This helped. But I really did not start to feel a difference until I incorprated a Yoga pose called the Pigeon pose.

I have to say this really has made a huge difference so far. I believe for me at least, that the pose helps because it is incorporating the use of gravity, to help stretch the muscles. There is little balance involved or even effort. The only effort is in keeping myself from leaning too far into it.

I am starting to think that maybe at this stage I need to incorporate a regular stretching workout such as Yoga. Th ebenefits have been all around this past week, my ITB is a ton better to the point that I ran yesterday and felt little other than some tightness. I may just order one of those Yoga for athletes DVD to incorporate into my schedule ( because I do not have enough already :).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dog Personalities

OK So I was up this morning at 4AM. Why? Was it A mega workout I had planned? Or maybe I decided to kick the trend lately of going to bed early and was out with Retno dancing the night away? No

I am up because we are dog sitting for this evening a little terrier pup. I can tell you that she is a cute little thing, but at this very moment, she is not so cute.

She is not truly housebroken, not crate trained and has apparently been inadvertently trained to whine whenever she wants something, which is always.

Now, so you understand me. I love dogs. In fact I have 3 of them:

  • Simba who if you follow my Blog you all know, and is in fact on her way to becoming a Multi sport athlete herself in the upcoming Doggie Du.

  • Buddy, the Cocker Spaniel. And,

  • Cookie The Maltese.

We even have a 4th unofficial dog of the house, that we are taking care of for 2 months because her owner is on tour ( chef for a band) that is

  • Dali the Pit bull.

Because we have so many dogs the rules are pretty firm on a few things, in order to keep the house from being a, well a dog house.

This is what we require for us to take care of a dog. It pretty simple:

  1. they cannot damage any furniture by chewing, and
  2. they have to be mostly house broken, if not house broken then they must be crate trained.

This has worked out nicely for us and has kept things manageable for us. This dog however has turned out to be an exception. She is a neurotic little city dog that has not been properly house broken AND not crate trained. So We decided we cannot have her running all over the house peeing and pooping, especially since we were up till midnight cleaning, for a party we are having today. So I walked her at midnight and then put her in a crate. She slept maybe 1 hour before she wanted out. Then the whining began.

Normally, a dog will do this for a bit, but eventually fall asleep. Not THIS puppy. She is actually neurotic and gets worse. However I know once you give in you are training her to continue because she will get her way. So we did our best to ignore her. we put her in another room along with Simba( who likes to sleep alone) so she would not feel alone. Nothing, it just got worse. Until finally at 4AM neither of us were sleeping and I decided to just get up.

Now I tend to associate the dogs I take care of with People. Buddy is a middle aged guy who at times goes for a fun run around the block, but who mostly likes to stay home and watch TV. Cookie is a little princess who requires to be carried where ever she goes. Now I guess because spend the most time with the active dogs I actually have images for them. SInce they happen to be female I have associated them with Women. So here is my breakdown.

Simba is athletic and beautiful. long flowing fur, feathered it seems always just right. Never afraid to get herself dirty and somehow still looks good at it. If she were a woman I see her as perhaps Liz Hatch the pro cyclist:

Dali, is a beautiful Pit Bull. With striking colors. She is young, energetic and often gets herself into trouble because of it, but you feel she will grow out of it. I see her as Lindsey Lohan:

Puppy.......... Right now, well I can'thelp it, I see her as:

Friday, July 4, 2008

Good bye world

I just received my "Final" phase of the IM Moo training plan from my hotshot coach, John Hirsch ( To say that it is tough, well that is an understatement. So I would just like to say sayonara to all the good people in my life. for the next 6-8 weeks I will not be in your lives, I will be on a Bike somewhere in the hills of Westchester.

OK Just kidding ( sort of), I believe John put together a realistic plan and did take my job into account and such. But the fact remains its a plan designed to make sure that I am ready to finish IM MOO. Well this is what it takes.

Which is why I do believe that the most impressive part of finishing an Ironman is not the actual race but the fact that you were able to survive the training! I see folks like my fellow Crew ( thats the John Hirsch team, in case you are not "in the know") PJ who puts in 6 hours on an indoor trainer!! An indoor Trainer folks!!! Riding a trainer for more than an hour is in my mind the single most mind numbing experience there can be. It is not only a physical challenge but a mental one.

Or Pam ( another crew type) that has just put in 419 miles in one week! You read that right.

The truth is by the time you get to the race, you are about to do the easiest part. You are already an Ironman if you trained properly for it.

Now that I just write that, I realize I am going into the IM with some serious IM Crew folk doing the same race. I have some good company, aside from my pal Coach Adam, from Race with Purpose ( who is also headed to IM Moo. I better get training just to keep up! I have my job cutout for me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tupper Lake Race report

Tupper Lake 2008

Chem lab for the race actually started a day early. Everyone in the house wanted to get a jump on preparing the race day nutrition, so out came the Carbo pro, accelerade enduralytes, everything-you-can-imagine-lytes etc. The cooking has begun! This time everyone pretty much kept their tested formulas, so there was no mixing of powders.

Went to bed relatively early and actually slept, instead of my normal tossing and turning on pre-race night.

Race Day

Got up and had my traditional peanut butter on toast breakfast with some coffee. Since we had checked in the day before we were in no rush to be there first, so when we arrived the place was already pretty crowded. Got online and picked up my timing chip and headed into transition.

The day started out looking like it was going to be raining so like everyone else I had setup everything under a plastic bag. Went for a bathroom break, came back and put on the wetsuit ( waist high), and went to my coral I had a purple cap, which I believe was the 5 or 6th wave. While waiting I was looking for some of the RwPers. I spotted Ram in one of the waved behind me and Adam who was in the same wave, but the others were nowhere to be seen. Adam as usual was on the ground doing one of his stretches and speaking to a number of people about Lake Placid. It seems every time I see Adam at a race he is thrown on the ground performing a Hip flexor stretch. I think I have even seen him drink in that position.

Anyhow the weather seemed great for a race, a bit overcast not cold and not hot, perfect.

My wave went in and the swim was fairly uneventful ( except that I did get a foot in my face early on in the swim) but other than that it went smooth. In fact I have never had such a relaxing swim in any race. Ever. My sighting was spot on, I did not push myself at all and I finished at a nice time of about 40 Minutes. I felt so relaxed in fact that I started to play around with stuff I did not ever do like Drafting off other swimmers. Twice I did it for about 5 minutes each. It works! It was just a beautiful swim for me.

That was my objective to have a good swim that did not stress me so that I could preserve my energy for the Bike. This was rewarding because I did spend time working on this and had done some Open water practice to work on sighting.

Total swim time 40:32

I headed over to transition and stripped out of my wetsuit. Ate a gel and some water.

Transition 2:33

My bike I felt strong, admittedly I had a secret mission in this race that ultimately would undo my overall race time. I wanted to crush last years bike average. I don’t know why that was so important but I just did. The real problem was that I did not train this year the same way I trained last year. Last year I had much more by way of long rides and quality training leading up to the race. This year I have been plagued by unexpected business travel and longer days at work. Which pretty much kept me from training the way I did last year. Yet despite this I had a good base from earlier in the year and I thought I could parlay that into a good solid ride. The first half of the ride was fairly strong. I was pushing the whole way, even on the downhills, I just upped the gears and cranked away. There were some good headwinds to deal with as well as the hills.

Just before the turnaround at 28 miles I saw my buddy Phil zipp by on his return wearing his rocket man helmet. Another sighting I saw on my way back was my friend and RwPer Bill on the side of the road, he was doing the “What the F!!” hand waves and I believe he was screaming at his bike. It turns out that was his 3rd flat on THAT DAY.

By the end of the ride my legs started to cramp up. This was highly unusual for me. My legs do not cramp up when riding. But they did now, this was probably due to the fact that I never ride the way I was riding at Tupper. I usually allow my self a break on the downhills, something I did not do. Then the real pain began, my ITB started to flare up. Until this point I did not know I had one ;) Earlier in the week I did have a nagging ache during a ride but it went away over the week. But now it came back, on both legs.

By the time I got off the bike my legs were aching and I had already been suffering leg cramps. This despite the fact I had actually taken all of my bike nutrition. In the end I managed to basically match last years bike time. But I was zapped. My legs were stiff and in pain.

Bike time 3:05 Ave speed 18.3 MPH

T2 was uneventful Time 2:32

The run started off bad from the start, I knew that I was going to have problems so I was attempting to stave off any cramps by keeping a slow steady pace, that worked for about a mile, then the leg cramps began, I attempted to offset them by taking in gatoraid, gels and as many electrolytes as was possible at each and every aid station. These aid stations were super well stocked!

This strategy worked briefly, but my ITB was flaring up so I could not pickup a good pace. At about Mile 4 or 5 I saw RwP teamates Josh, Christine running along with Tom. Christine jumped off and joined me. Josh went on with Tom. Christine had done teh Sprint earlier and was not on Medic duty I guess.

It was good to see Christine and have the company, although all she heard out of my mouth was a bunch of whining about my leg cramps and ITB interspersed with casual chit chat.

Our conversation went something like this:

Javier- “ So hey How did your race go?”

Guru- “ It was good not my best but overall…..”

Javier “ Argh!! My calf is strangling me!!! mommy!”

Guru- “Ok lets walk it off”

Javier –“ Ok so you were saying?”

Guru- “Yeah it was a good race but I was not really trying to win anything”

Javier – that’s good because you should….( stop in my tracks due to a charlie horse that almost whipped my foot back so far that I nearly kicked my own Ass)

So that’s basically how it went.

After about 4 miles we saw Adam at an Aide station and Guru went to give him some company because I was nearly done with my run. There was still about 2 miles to go when I saw Josh. It was like Magic, I know I left him behind somewhere, but there he was, he came out and started to run with me, asked me How I was doing, and I told him “All the legs in my muscles are cramping up”, yes I was delirious at this point.

He accompanied me for about a mile and took off to another RwPer.

Finally I stumbled on in to the finish.

All in all, it took me 2:30 to finish a freaken 13 mile run. An 11 min/mile pace. A full 30 minutes slower than last year.

Final time: 6:14:21

Despite not having the best tme by far, I actually do not feel too bad about it for a number of reasons. First I did good on the swim which is big for me because that has always been my weakness. Second I can ride as fast as last year if I wanted too but also I KNOW that doing so without the right training will be painfull.

There is nothing good to say about the run. I was a whiny cretin that had enough fortitude to push through and finish. Interestingly enough because of that , I am not concerned about being able to finish the IM. Although I may be a bit whiny while doing it ;)

I have learned what I need to do for it through this race which is after all why this race ultimately was supposed to be, training grounds for the BIG race.

First I will have to take in more electrolytes, I need to figure out my sweat rate and compensate to help put off the cramps.

Second, I need to look at the race as a whole and not 3 different races. What I do in one will setup the next event and ultimately the whole race. For IM I will ride at a very comfortable 14-15 MPH. Thus preserve my legs for the Marathon portion. In short I need to develop a race strategy and use it.