Sunday, June 29, 2014

Things they should tell you before you start doing triathlons

1. You will always be hungry
2. You will always be tired
3. You will always be doing laundry
4. You will be broke (equipment and races aren't cheap)
5. You won't see your friends anymore (unless they also do tris)
6. The friends you don't see anymore won't care about your training
7. You will obsess over every accessory (a pedal, a watch, you name it)
8. You will find yourself peeing everywhere (in your wetsuit, on your bike)
9. You will convince yourself that absolutely HORRID energy foods/bars/drinks are actually delicious

What else?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Syncing your Garmin using an Android Phone

Many runners (myself included) are data obsessed - and I often find myself wanting to look at data from a run right away, even before I can bet back to my home computer (I can't install software on my work laptop) to sync with my Garmin and upload the data to Garmin Connect or the website of my choice.

I learned that there is a way to use an Android phone to pull data from a Garmin and sync it to the web, and several runner friends have asked about it - so here's the tutorial.  Your mileage may vary:

Step 1 - Get a micro USB male to USB female adapter.  These can be found for less than $10 at your local computer store (I got mine from MicroCenter), but they are also available on Amazon.

Step 2 - Download the ANT+ USB Service and ANT+ Plugins (free) for your Android phone from the Play Store

Step 3 - Download Uploader for Gamrin Connect (free trial, but full version costs $, but not much) for your Android phone from the Play store

Once you have downloaded and installed everything that you need, you should be able to plug the adapter into your phone, attach the ANT+ stick to the adapter, launch Uploader for Garmin Connect on your phone, and pair your Garmin to your phone.

Once you pull data from your Garmin, you can post it to Garmin Connect, Facebook, Endomondo and a bunch of other sites.

Optional:  Download Garmin Connect Mobile (free) if you'd like to view your Garmin Connect data via your cellphone.

I'll add screenshots and more detail if there is interest - just wanted to get something quick and dirty out there so that people can try this if they are so inclined.  Post feedback to let me know how you make out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Open letter to the running community - a.k.a working my way back

Hey guys...

Hoping I can tap in to some positive energy from the awesome folks of the virtual running community.  I'm recently back to running after an extended layoff due to heart issues.  I had heart surgery back in April, and am finally recovered to the point where I have been running short distances several times a week.

My heart is still bearing some residual effects of the procedure, like a new resting heart rate of 80, where it used to be 56.  My mid section is also bearing some residual effects (due to bad food choices and a prolonged period of inactivity), but I'm sure that will self-correct as I start piling on the miles.

I'm just finding that running isn't nearly as much fun as it was when I was in shape.  Huffing and puffing my way through 3 - 4 miles is nothing like the workouts I used to do while training for the half ironman.  The idea of knocking out a solid 8 mile tempo the day after a hard hilly ride or a spin class is squarely in the rear view mirror...

I'm signed up for NYCM - it's my 6th marathon, my 4th NYC - and right now, my only goal is to finish - but the way my runs have been going lately, it just feels like the next 20 weeks are going to be GRUELING.

If any of you have experienced a similar time away from running, I'd love to hear how your brought yourself back...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thoughts on the latest email from NYRR

NYRR recently sent an email to the registrants of the cancelled 2012 New York Marathon asking for some time before responding to the questions that many of us are left with.  My thoughts on their latest communication (and the situation in general):

"Please know that our priority is to address your concerns," the e-mail read. "We ask that you give us a little time to work out the details and make thoughtful decisions. We are very grateful for your continued patience."

  1. Your priority is not, has not, and will never be "to answer our concerns".  NYRR's priority in recent years has been how to capitalize on the imbalance between supply and demand for race spots to most directly benefit NYRR's stated agenda (to become a social service / activism organization dedicated to getting more people active and into running).
  2. "We ask that you give us a little time to work out the details and make thoughtful decisions" - So, we are now making thoughtful decisions?  That would be quite the paradigm shift - considering that your track record of decisions hasn't been all that thoughtful year-to-date, including: a) Cancelling bag check AFTER registration for the marathon had been completed b) Deciding to hold the 2012 marathon, having everyone come to NYC, then cancelling it THE DAY BEFORE the race.  If NYRR decides to start making thoughtful decisions now, that would be a welcome change.
I am just overwhelmed and flabbergasted by how poorly the entire situation was handled.  The marathon should have been cancelled on Tuesday, preventing people from spending time and money to travel for a race that should have never been in consideration.

I'm going to put it in perspective here:  I have my health, my home and my family.  I escaped the wrath of the weather unscathed.  There are many people with far more to worry about than a marathon.  That said, I have given NYRR my last dollar - this is just the last straw for me.  I don't wish NYRR any ill will.  There are plenty of people that want to run the New York City Marathon, and it's obvious that they won't miss my patronage.  That said, I'm going to look for a different avenue to support (like NYCRuns), and happily relinquish my place in line to someone that wants it more than I do.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reminders for the road back

Realizing that I haven't posted in a while, I'll bring you up to speed on what's been happening these last few months.  While training for my first Half Ironman, I developed an arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) which prevented me from training for the race (or anything else) the way I wanted to.  I got through the race, had a blast (even if I didn't race the way I wanted to) and had heart surgery to take care of the arrhythmia.  After the procedure, I was placed on heart drugs - one of the effects of these drugs is that my heart rate never goes above 130, making anything more taxing than brisk walking, or climbing a flight or two of stairs a bit challenging.

I just came back from my post-surgery follow up visit, and got encouraging news from my doctor.  She was encouraged by the condition of my heart, and cleared me to move on to the next phase of recovery.  That means I'll be discontinuing the heart meds that I'm on over the next few days/weeks, and can start getting back to the things I love to do (swimming, biking and running).

Needless to say, this extended period of inactivity has been rough on me (I can count on one hand the number of times I have exercised since my triathlon on September 26th).  I gained weight, lost fitness, and have just generally become less happy with myself...just ask my wife about how pleasant of a person I have become to live with.

Now that I can start training again, I wanted to put a few thoughts in front of myself so that I can keep them top of mind as I start the road back to where I was:

  1. Recovery is going to be gradual.  I lost a lot of fitness in the time I spent recovering.  I can't measure my performance today or set goals today using the yardstick of my performance before I developed my arrhythmia.  I just have to focus on the present, and be happy with the improvements that I know will come in time.
  2. I'm not out of the woods yet.  There's still a good possibility that these issues will resurface once I'm off the meds.  While the prognosis is good, it's not uncommon to need this procedure multiple times (hell, when I had similar issues in 2010, I needed three procedures to fix what was wrong with my heart).  I can't bank on the fact that the doctors got it right the first time, or I'm setting myself up for a hell of a disappointment.
  3. I shouldn't rush myself into goal races.  I have a tendency to aim high, and make aggressive plans.  I really need to keep my expectations in check, and focus on base building for a while.  As of now, I only have two committed races for next year (NYC Tri on July 14th and Marine Corps Marathon on October 27).  I have my eyes on Rev3 Quassy (the Half Iron distance is calling me) and possibly the Gran Fondo NY (I've been bitten by the cycling bug this year), but I'm really apprehensive about having a setback, and having to defer on a lot of things (like I did this year).  If I find myself overcommitting, I'm hoping that my runner/tri friends will help me keep my enthusiasm in check.
Running/Tri friends:  I'm counting on you here.  Please help me stay in tune with these guiding principles, so that I can make this recovery as smooth and painless as possible.  I'm really grateful for the support I got from my runner friends while I was down, and look forward to rejoining you on the roads.  I can't wait to be back!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Because I never learn

I knew this wasn't going to last for long.  I had said to myself (and my blog) honestly that I was done racing for the year, and wasn't going to do a fall marathon.  Then, a few weeks later, NYRR reversed their original decision to end baggage service, and I found myself nostalgic for the marathon.

Yes, I ran NYC in 6 hours 2 years ago - shortly after heart surgery.  It was a sufferfest, but I got a medal, and would like to think that I'm a better person for having stood up to the challenge and getting it done.  I have another heart procedure scheduled for September 24th, and part of me is stubbornly refusing to let that define my reality.  Inspired by my friend Allen - who also took a run/walk marathon with a camera - I decided not to let my entry go to waste.

Partly motivated by the fact that I haven't worked out once in the last 2 weeks (since my Half Ironman), and by the fact that I'm already qualified for NYCM 2013 (if I choose to run it), I decided not to let my entry go to waste.

I'm not going to be fast, I may not even finish (I'm not going to die trying) - but maybe, just maybe, I'll put on my number on November 4th, make my way to the foot of the Verazanno Bridge, and enjoy a tour of the 5 boroughs with 45,000 other runners.

What do you think?

Monday, September 3, 2012

What now?

Coming off of the high of having completed my first half iron distance triathlon, I'm confronted with a huge feeling of post-race blues.  The finish was a bitersweet end to my training season.  Frought with challenges as it was, I'm really pleased with what I was able to accomplish out there.  Since then, I haven't worked out once in the 8 days since the event, and am feeling completely unmotivated.

I had originally planned to roll from the 70.3 straight into fall marathon training, but I had to abandon those plans for a number of reasons.  Between my heart, the impending move, the fall holidays and other factors, I just couldn't see myself committing to the fall races the way I needed to.

I know it's all for the best - but I'm having post-race blues harder than I think I ever have before.  It's really sad not to be training for a fall goal race for the first time since 2008.  I just need to find a way to get myself back to doing SOMETHING - so that I don't lose everything that I have gained.  It's also really tough to read about everyone hitting their long runs, tempo runs and speedwork, and easing into the intense period of training leading up to the marathon.

Really struggling with what my next goal(s) should be, thinking about a half in the spring of 2013, and an early season 70.3 in June or something.  I just need to refocus my sights on the next goal, which will make it easier for me to stay engaged in the interim.

Any suggestions?