Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Four days until the big race!!! The excitement is at a fever pitch but the last few days leading up to my first triathlon are going by pretty s...l…o…w! Things have been very busy at school and with life but the countdown to the race is just dragging by!!!

My training has been going pretty smooth. On Monday I squeezed in 10 miles on the bike and will probably do a short ride tomorrow. I also plan on swinging by the bike shop to make sure my bike is race-worthy.

Over the last week, I’ve been spending most of my training time in the pool because it’s my weakest area. This morning’s swim was my best yet and left me feeling pretty good for the race. My main goal in the tri is to make it out of the water on my own! After today’s workout in the pool, I think there is a good chance I will make it out of the North Atlantic! I might take a quick dip in the ocean the day before race day just to get acclimated to the frosty water.

After running a couple of races a week and a half ago, I haven’t run much. Tomorrow’s plan is for a really short run and to start packing.  Will probably put all my tri gear aside and look up some packing lists just to make sure I have everything.  
     Finishing the PJ Johnson Memorial 5k
My workouts have been toned down and I’m feeling pretty refreshed.  I’m ready to do this! The only thing that could shake me at this point is the forecast. Not sure how well I would cycle in the rain.  On Monday, they forecasted a 60% chance of rain for race day. Yesterday, the forecast called for a 40% chance and today there is a 20% chance of afternoon showers on race day. After a lot of stress, it is looking like the weather may hold up for us.

                                                       Grammy- the captain of my support team
My tri team is ready for the race too- my two little ones, my parents and grandma, Kirk’s fam, and a couple of friends are all expected to be at the race to cheer on my racing partner-in-crime, Kirk, and I. I’ve also been fortunate to receive plenty of support from a few co-workers who are avid runners. The support network has kept me fired up and with race day just around the corner, it is time to put everything together and crush it!

I've enlisted the help of the rebels just in case. Going into the race with the Force on my side should give me an edge over my competition!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Two weeks and counting until my first TRI and this weekend I’ve signed up to run in two separate 5k races this weekend. While racing today, so many thoughts were racing through my head so I thought it would be only fitting to dedicate a blog entry to it. So here you have it-all the thoughts going through my head pre-race, during the race, and post-race.

My pre-race goal was to keep busy so I wouldn’t get too excited or butterflies. I was roaming the house like a man on a mission!

Gotta do this, gotta do that! Can’t go to the race till I’ve finished this and this…Looking at watch-30 minutes till race time so I gotta get the heck out of here!

I jump in my car and start the 6 minute drive to the race…

Forgot my water bottle! Oh well, no big deal…Forget my racing belt! Again, no big deal, I’ll just make sure to use it tomorrow.  WAIT-forgot my iphone, no 80’s tunes during race? Should I turn around? Nah-I’m not using the headphones during my tri so I have to get used to racing without them anyway.

Arriving at race where a big fair/festival is taking place…

Can’t believe I can’t find a parking spot! Race starts in 20 minutes…I gotta make a power move, find a spot, and get to the starting line! OK- I’ll park at this lot where office is closed for weekend!

I register, get my bib, and actually have 10 minutes to get ready!

I have to make sure to stretch the legs well! Remember Jim…hammy was a little tight during last 5k you ran, loosen that puppy up! Bad news- my cheering sections (the fam) can’t make this race. Good news- I don’t have to entertain my little girls before race starts and have more time than normal to stretch! Loosen everything up…OK-time to line up…don’t be too far back, remember-you got boxed in last race and was slowed at beginning a bit!

O.K. got a pretty good spot at start line but it will be a little tricky- all runners have to run through narrow finish gate to start race…I’m all set- good spot!

Here the gun- go! Wait, old guy next to me is trying to squeeze in through gate. His elbows are up as he tries to get me to budge!!! Remember Jimmy- you are a city boy!! This gibroni is not going to push me aside! Put your elbow up! Did it- through the gate, now get a little distance between group with a quick sprint…Two guys in front of me cut me off 25 yds past start so they can chat…I push my way through them and won’t see them again this race, and I’m off……

Half a mile into the race…

Wow- got off to a quick start. Maybe pushed a little too much! Breathing heavy, gotta try to control my breathing!

One mile in and running a steady pace…

Getting fatigued…O.K. Jimmy, remind yourself why are you running in this? Why did I sign up for this race? I am gassed! Can’t believe I’m doing this. I should start to walk…but remember your triathlon! You can’t walk a 5k workout with only 2 weeks! Could I? New plan- keep up with gray shirt guy in front of you! He has a steady pace that is right where I should be at!

Here comes water station- only been running 1+ mile? WTF! Water wasn’t bad, feel better for next 3 seconds. Where is gray shirt guy? OK- got him in sight, all set! Time to set my pace and run the way I’ve trained-steady pace!

Mile 2…

Wow, feeling much better! Small rolling hills/inclines… I can keep this pace, still right behind gray shirt guy. We are both running steady. Nobody passing my either. WAIT= two high school kids are a making a move on me? Can’t break my pace to speed up, I’ll never finish! Go ahead guys!

End of Mile 2…

Last water station, another boost of energy for 5 seconds! Pace is still the same. Gray shirt guy now 40 yards ahead. WAIT- another person passing me?...Female too? This gal can run…good shape, good form, she is legit! I’ feeling good, same pace-she’s quicker and I’m letting her go! Older guy also passes me…oh well…

Mile 3 marker…

Feeling decent at Mile 3! I can make a sprint!!! Small hill 100 yards before finish line-I’m going for it! All out spring up hill and I’m gaining on everyone! I pass the girl early into the sprint. Old guy too!!! Wow. Sprinting gets you tired at the end of a 5k!!! Wait- here is gray shirt guy in front of me. I got him in my sights…He is at his usual steady pace…Wow, I’m tired. Maybe I’ll just follow gray shirt in to finish. I run side-by-side, slow down with him. I’m just 1 stride behind him…he is not challenging me…I’m just gonna follow him, I’m gassed anyway…I can push a little more, but remember Jimmy-you are running another race tomorrow and your fam isn’t here anyway so now drama needed at the finish. Don’t use all your energy today and leave yourself with an empty tank tomorrow!… I am going to follow gray shirt guy…Old guy re-passes me 25 yards from line. That’s ok- I’m following in gray shirt guy…Just wish I brought that iphone…I could really use a boost from Vince Neil or Joe Elliot right now!!!

Almost at the line now, oh yeah, check the race clock. Holy Moly, I’m 1 minute ahead of my time 2 weeks ago! 22 minutes flat!!! A personal best 5k! Not too shabby! And I thought I’d be slower without my 80’s tunes!

Get your post-race drink and snack! Keep walking around but don’t take too long, the fam has quite a bit going on…Get to your car….Ouch! You should have used body glide today! What were you thinking!!! Chafing sucks!!! Don’t rush out of the house next time!

Despite forgetting your water, body glide, iphone, and racing belt you still had a PB. That is a trade-off I can live with. Guess there will be no headphones for tomorrow’s race either!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tri to workout and TRI to work it out NHL

Week 1 of the school year is officially in the books and now I am officially a working stiff again! This summer was an epic on but it is time to get back to the grind. It is going to be a challenging year at my school because renovations have us cramped and crazy, but I am fortunate to have great students this year. The one issue facing me is how devote enough time to my training while working full time.

Finding the time to train during the summer is now problem for a school teacher, but what about during the school year? I just completed one week on the job and i would like to share some observations:

·        To keep up my training regime, I am turning into a model of efficiency. Balancing the kids, work, grad school, and my training is keeping me busy. An occasional two days off from training is not ideal but it is becoming a fact of life.

·        Prime workout time-right after school. Mornings are too dark to do much outside.

I finally found some extra time yesterday to dedicate to training and pulled off a brick workout! Exciting…not because I did a brick…exciting that I found the time for one! I was all fired up for the rest of the evening. My increased mojo was evident to the fam too. When playing with my youngest before bed, I decided to squeeze in some crunches and it turned out to be a pretty awful idea. I felt a little tweek while doing my set and immediately felt my ribcage tighten. The discomfort did not go away for the rest of the evening. I had plans to do a 5:30am swim but when the alarm went off the discomfort hadn’t gone away so I had to call off the swim.

The day at school, I spoke with the athletic trainer who thinks a strained the muscle/tendon/whatever-he-called-it in between my ribs. He said to give it a little rest. I am a little bummed because the swim is my weakest sport and by early next week I need to get back in the water. Running and biking aren’t restricted so I don’t have to put all the training on hold.

The big triathlon is two weeks away as of this Sunday and I plan on a busy weekend. I am running a 5k both Saturday and Sunday. I also plan on squeezing in a bike ride on Saturday and a swim sometime on Sunday. During the two weeks leading up to the tri I plan on cutting back on training a bit but I am going to get into the water as much as possible-I need the work! The swim is my biggest concern so I plan on doing as many swims as I can. That doesn’t mean I’ll be in the pool everyday…I just hope to swim 3 times each week at the least.

Also need to remember to do my Sunday training EARLY… well before the NFL takes over my life! I am fired up for the football season here. Remember, I’m a New England guy so that means the PROS only…college ball is not a big deal here. Our big college sport is HOCKEY and if you are wondering, my fav squad are the UMASS-LOWELL River Hawks! One more month until they drop the puck for their season. This may be the only hockey that is on this season because the NHL’ers are sounding like they may not play at all. I refuse to believe that my Bruins won’t be playing! My boys are in the middle of a decent stretch where the team has plenty of talent and young players. Now is not the time for a year off!!!! Wake up guys(and owners)!
                                                  My fav Lucic brawl vs Komisarek!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Everybody's NOT working for the weekend! Thoughts and question...

This week’s return to school marks a new beginning and with that uncertainty comes many questions about the future. Today’s post focuses mainly on questions-about my training, triathlons, school, and life.

                                         Kirk and I in our new suits-bring on Wallis Sands!
First, a quick TRI training update. I was able to jump in the ocean once again yesterday with mixed results. The workout was decent but difficult. My TRI brother-in-arms, Kirk, and I decided on an ocean swim after a birthday party filled day with pre-teens. Our choice of beaches was probably not the wisest-Plum Island is known for its’ decent surf, strong currents, and powerful undertoe. Just to make sure we made things as challenging as possible, we jumped in at high tide. The workout was one of the hardest I’ve had(out of only a handful) because of the big waves but we both lived to tell about it.  Despite the tough seas, I was glad we ended up at Plum Island. The kids had a tremendous time and provided plenty of smiles. My youngest daughter, Riley, was running around chasing after seagulls and yelling ‘Ducky’! ‘Ducky’! Riley was a huge help during the swim workout. While finishing the last leg of the swim, it was impossible to sight anything with the sun in our eyes. Luckily, we could hear Riley yelling ‘Daddy!’ so we knew exactly how far to go! Could this be my secret advantage during the race next month???
                                                                  Riley patrolling the shore
My last weekend of summer vacation has been fast and furious. Cookouts, birthday parties, visits to the beach… just living the dream. It has been the greatest of summers. Two more days till classes start so there is still time to squeeze in a few things more. I’m thinking more ocean swims, back-to-school shopping, and 1 more BBQ!

After that…questions. What will school do to my training schedule? Will there be enough hours in the day for work/school/play? Only time will tell.

While thinking of these questions, quite a few triathlon questions have come to mind and I thought that if I posted them, maybe some of you could offer some insightsJ

·        What exactly is in an ‘essentials bag’? I get it- kicks, glasses, etc. But what accessories? Snacks? Type of fluids besides water? Things a newbie wouldn’t think of????

·        Does it make sense that I can train in the pool for 75 min, but 15 min in the ocean wipes me out?

·        Sneakers- are $100 running kicks really worth it?

·        Duran Duran or Pet Shop Boys?

·        Water bucket in T1 or water bottles for cleaning up?

·        Short/quick rides on bike or longer/steady pace?

·        Need a new pre-race tradition before first race. Have seen dance poses by some. I’m leaning towards a history theme for my pre-race ritual…after all, I am a history geek!

·        Swimming- we do people run for cover from the pool and oceans when it rains?

·        Cycling shorts or no cycling shorts during race?

·        Other traditional snacks during race besides gels/powerbars?

·        Will Scott Brown win a U.S. Senate re-election bid just because he is a triathlete?

·        Let Obama and Romney run in the Lobsterman, ME, half-iron, winner gets the keys to Pennsylvania ave!
Feel free to offer your thoughts, opinions, or expertise!

Shop, bike, BBQ, pool with kids today! Hope all of you have a great holiday! Cheesy sounding, but I will be back teaching in front of kids soon so I need to start getting in character!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer’s End State of Sports and Leisure Review

With school starting on Tuesday I have a few thoughts about sports and life I’d like to share.

Just wondering where I will find the time to train and work now that my teaching gig is starting back up and taking grad courses to boot…

Baseball- the Sox are an afterthought in New England for the first time in over a decade. The bandwagon has crashed! Still plenty of loyal followers though-my 88 year old grandma still refuses to miss a game on TV. However, even grandma has conceded the season. So many of us here had disowned the team after none of the players attended the funeral of the beloved legend Johnny Pesky. Sox ownership quickly went into damage control and demonstrated some serious stones by trading most of the team core. I applaud them for having the gumption for such a bold move and getting rid of good players that were so disliked by the fans.

Football- fantasy football draft in complete and it’s time for ‘Are you ready for some football’ tune to be heard time and again. Making plans for at least one trip to Foxborough to see the Pats dismantle the Jets…

Hockey- the NHL will break my heart if there is a work stoppage. Can the owners be that stupid to undo all the gains the sports has made in the last decade? I find it hard to believe that there won’t be hockey this winter. We’ll have to wait and see. The fam and I got a partial hockey fix last week at Milan Lucic’s celebrity softball game that had Looch, Seidenberg, Tuuka, Mottau, and Johnny Boychuk playing. However, I should point out the Mickey Ward got the biggest ovation of the night-Lowell rocks!

Old-timer league hockey team gearing up for another season of mediocrity and fun!

Basketball- whatever.

Personal Tri training- moving along nicely, 3 weeks to my 1st race. Hope to dip into the ocean twice in the next 3 days and ride the course once. Still not finding the time to hit the gym and do some weight training. Must…find…the…motivation…to…do…more!

Summer Travel Recap- one of my favorite leisure activities: travelling. Did more travelling this summer than over any 3 month period in my life! I’ve been pretty fortunate this summer and I’m not too sure how I can top it after taking a handful of trips to Europe, Caribbean, Disney, and NYC. Although I’ve had an incredible journey this summer, I’ve figured out one important thing- I love New England. I don’t think I could ever move away from here. I love the coast and beaches, incredible seafood, Boston and its’ history, the mountains that aren’t too far away, the hockey culture here that you don’t find in too many other places, I actually enjoy ALL the seasons, and my hometown of Lowell(even though I moved next door to it recently). People give the city a bad rap- the mills give it a feeling of history that many cities do not have.  

I still love to travel but “I love that dirty water…Boston you’re my home.”

Signing off from the sport and leisure rant.
My nephew, dad, and I rocking the Skydome/Rogers Centre for a Sox game.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Yesterday’s inaugural open water swim(OSM) did not go as smoothly as planned. That’s too mild…it sucked. However, today is a new day and that means getting right back on that pony!  Drove right back up to the ocean today for a rematch with the mighty Atlantic!

My biggest mistake of the day was before the workout even began-I arrived before the lot attendant called it a day so I ended up forking over $8 for parking. C’est La Vie!

Arriving at the beach during primo beach hours was quite the spectacle. Sunbathers galore during the hottest part of the day and here I come strolling onto the scene with my full wetsuit on. I didn’t want to scare the children so I didn’t put the cap and goggles on till splashdown in the ocean!  BTW- any New Englanders ever notice that people you meet at the beach are so much nicer than strangers you meet everywhere else? Maybe this is just a New England thing…

My swim workout was much better than yesterday’s in both distance and comfort. Don’t get me wrong-I wasn’t at a great pace but I was thrilled that I showed IMPROVEMENT! The self-doubts from the swim portion are not as strong now. There may be a tiny, tiny, tiny lingering doubt somewhere in my thick head but it is much smaller than the previous day(self-doubt, not my head)!

Another win today was remembering my Body Glide and using quite a bit. No friction burns today and the wetsuit came right off. WIN!

Next up was my first time cycling the course I will be racing. I drove the course yesterday and today I was pumped to be cycling it today. My plan- take it easy on the bike today so I can get a feel for the terrain. I’d do a decent pace but I wouldn’t attack any of the course.

The first few miles and the last few miles are incredible- on RT 1A that hugs the coastline for incredible ocean views. There were plenty of other cyclists along this route, every one of them giving a friendly wave that I returned. Deep down, I wonder if each person I see is signed up for this race and they are the competition. Hmmm… you never know.
Post-workout chillin'!

Running shape, Eddie Money, and the 5K

Running has to be my least favorite part of the 3 triathlon disciplines. It’s not that I necessarily struggle with running, I just get bored during workouts. I never run without my 80’s tunes now, and this has helped a little with enjoying my workouts. I haven’t been pushing my distances- staying mainly around 3-4 miles per run. I average 7.5-8 minute miles…


Earlier this year, I ran a 5k road race and came away from it knowing that I wasn’t in the greatest shape- my time was a 1:30 slower than the same race the year before. It wasn’t a bad day, my training was about the same…I was just slower. It was about this time where I committed myself to getting in better shape and doing a triathlon.


Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve had some decent run workouts. I’ve felt a bit better out on the road. My numbers only slightly improved, but I felt much stronger in the workouts. My next step in my run workouts is to meet up with some friends and do group runs or at least with one other person. I guess the same can be said for my cycling and swim workouts too. I have done some research on the internet for Triathlon Clubs/teams my area. I live in Mass right near the NH border so clubs from Boston to Southern NH are all on the table. I found a couple of possible leads. I just want to make sure the group I pick fits my needs- workouts with a reasonable area, a club that actually has regular workouts, and a group that is serious but also doesn’t take themselves too serious(a group that knows how to have fun!). My goal is to join one of these groups by the end of 2012.

My youngest daughter Riley and I, post-race, at my old lunch table from high school                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Last week, I ran my first 5k since picking up my training. The race was a cancer research fundraiser in memory of Marci Lemkin. My old high school hosted the festivities and was the starting point.  I loved the course, mostly flat and along the Merrimack River. I ran at a steady pace the entire race, never sprinting but never slowing down either.  I actually had a little bit of a burst left in me at the end but I misjudged where the finish line was- I never saw it until I was 40 yards away. Another rookie mistake! Also failed to spot the wifey and one of my daughters at the finish line.  I finished the 5k with a time of 22.59.  I was happy with the time and pace I sustained. Much of the credit should go to Vince Neil and Joe Elliot for firing me up with some quality tunes mid-race. Where does Eddie Money come into play from the post-title? “Wanna go back, and do it all over…” Stroll down memory lane while walking through the old school.


Post-race summary: I feel better on the course and improvements can be made in my time if I pick up my training. Also, I should know the start and finish better. I was trapped in a slow group at the start(it only held me up a little) and I should have known where the finish was. I also developed a blister from my tight running shoes. Shoes will have to be retired- they are too small. These were old and super cheap so no big loss. My back-up pair of kicks fit fine and they are now my primary ones. They are newer and fit perfect –should have made this switch sooner.


Signed up for two more 5k races that are both next weekend. Never ran races on consecutive days but these races are parts of bigger celebrations that I’m really looking forward to.  Then, 2 weeks of light training before the much anticipated first triathlon!


Off to the ocean for a brick workout on the tri race course!