Sunday, December 17, 2006

What a Deal! I think?

I went for a drive during my lunch hour at work the other day and passed a small bike shop. I wasn't looking for anything, I was just passing the time. It was a small shop, they had several mountain bikes up front and a rack of road bikes in the back. They didn't even have the lights on in that part of the shop. I walked to the back and that's when I spotted it, aero bars sticking out of the rack. It was a Felt S25 and the price tag read "Was $1500 Now $1200. " The shop guy comes over, turned on the lights, and we started talking about the bike. He said that it was a 2004 and he could do a little better on the price if I was interested because there was not much of market for Tri bikes in that area. He offered to take it off the rack and inflate the tires if I wanted to take it for a ride. I was short on time so I told him if I were interested I would be back. I did a little research and the bike retailed for $1700 back then.

Under $1200 for a 2004 Felt S25... what do you think?
Christmas is almost here... and it’s my size!
Did I mention it’s new... the components are still covered in that blue protective plastic stuff.

Colors Silver
Sizes 700 x 56
Frame Felt 7005 custom-formed aerodynamic design. Area downtube and custom aero monostay rear. Felt Airfoil carbon fiber fork.
Fork Aero Tri staight Carbon blades w/carbon steer tube
Headset TH integrated 1"
Shifters Shimano Dura-Ace, 18-speed
F / Derailleur Shimano 105
R / Derailleur Shimano Ultegra
Crankset RPM carbon w/CNC chainrings
Freewheel Shimano 12-23 9s
Brake Levers Tektro bar end type
Brakes Alloy dual pull- cartridge brake shoes
Saddle Selle Italia Tri-matic
Seat Post Felt design Alloy micro-adjust, zero offset
Stem Felt alloy threadless
Handlebar Profile Design Aerolite bar, Felt bullhorn style bar
Grips Felt Cork ribbon tape w/gel
Rims Alex ALX-320 wheelset
Tires Hutchinson Carbon Comp 2000, 700x23C, kevlar

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

First race of 2007

I signed up for my first race of the 2007 season, the New Bedford Half Marathon. I've always wanted to run this race and I figured it would be a good way to start the season providing my knee is fine by then.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

MRI Final Report

A few weeks ago I went for an MRI on my right knee, here are the findings and my plans going forward.

Clinical History:
Knee pain. Rule out meniscal tear.

There are no joint effusions present. There is a small lobulated cyst in the medial aspect of the popliteal space. The signal generation from the bone marrow are normal, and I see no bone contusions of fractures. The menisci are well visualized and are intact, showing no meniscal tears. The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are normal, as are the medial and lateral collateral ligament complexes.

1. Small lobulated cyst in the medial aspect of the popliteal space. (No big deal!)
2. No evidence of internal derangement. (Good news)
3. The MRI examination of the right knee is otherwise normal. (Good news)

The plan: First thing I need to do is get properly fitted for new running shoes. I've heard good things about Days Sports in Fairhaven so I'll be paying them a visit very soon.

I'm going to start my running program slowly, starting with a good warm-up with stretching for 10 to 15 minutes and end with a cool down. I have to admit, I've neglected it in the past.

I plan on alternating between walking and jogging every other day. First week will begin with two-mile sessions. Walk .5 them jog .5 for 2 miles. Every week I will add .5 miles until I reach 4-mile sessions. If I’m able to remain pain free, I'll slowly begin continuous jogging until I reach my previous training levels.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Knee pain sucks… continued!

Well I had my appointment with the Orthopedic Doc the other day and after a long exam, they offered two possibilities. The first thing it could be is my ITB (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) and the second is a torn meniscus. They took me for X-Rays which showed nothing conclusive. I then went for an MRI (what a noisy contraption) to rule out a torn meniscus. I go back for a follow-up appointment on November 1st, hopefully they will have some answers then.

For now all I can do is bike, swim and some core workouts that don’t involve the knee. I hope everything works out...I really like this sport!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Knee pain sucks!

I had planned on going for an 8 mile run yesterday... I only go about a mile or so before my right knee started to hurt. It started out as a dull pain on the outside of my knee that progressively got worse. I would stop and stretch a little, but the pain only got stronger. I eventually had to stop and walk because the pain was so bad. This isn’t the first time my knee started to hurt during a run, but it was never bad enough to stop... its bad now!

I called my doctor and she made an appointment with an Orthopedic for me. I hope everything goes well, I finally find something I love to do and now this knee problem!

Friday, October 06, 2006

All work and no play...

Work is just getting out of control... 60+ hours a week and no end in sight. Don't they know that I have a family life and I need to swim, bike and run in order to keep my sanity.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Well... back to work!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Christmas in September

The aero-bars have arrived!

After a very long journey across the country, the "Robo-Bars" have arrived safe and sound on the east coast.

I will have pictures soon...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thanks Robo-Stu

Last week while reading my daily list of Tri-bloggers I came across A Gift from Robo-Stu on the Tri-Geek Dreams web site. Robo-Stu was offering a free set of aero-bars to a newbie triathlete. Now I never win anything, but I figured it can't hurt to try and I really needed them.

I checked back a couple days later and guess what... I Won!

Shortly after I received an email from Robo-Stu... here is a little bit of it.


congrats on winning my aerobars on the trigeekdreams web site.

they were the bars i used in my first two seasons of racing and they're great. they helped me get hooked on the sport. i still remember the first time i used them and how much faster i was in the aero position. you'll seriously add at least 2 mph to your bike time by using them.

these bars hold a special place in my heart. please do them proud. and if you get so hooked on triathlon that you upgrade, see if you can find another newbie to pass them along to..."

I promised to do them proud!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Remembering our Fallen Heroes of September 11th

On Sunday September 17, I will be running in the 5th annual Captain Gerald F. DeConto, Scholarship Fund 5K run - walk in Sandwich MA. Captain DeConto's sister is a co-worker of mine, Captain DeConto’s family started this scholarship after he was killed on September 11th.

Here is a little bit of information from the web site.

"Captain Gerald F. DeConto, USN was killed at the age of 44 in the September 11th terrorist attack on the Pentagon. A scholarship fund has been set up in his memory to honor him and the legacy he left behind which is one of service to his country, leadership, friendship and love of life and family. A scholarship is awarded each year from the fund to a deserving Sandwich High School senior."

"At the time of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon Jerry was in charge of the Navy Command Center and was in direct communication with the Secretary of the Navy coordinating the Navy’s response to the attacks on the world Trade Center. Jerry was a high-spirited, caring person who truly loved life, his friends and his family. He enjoyed many activities, one of which was running, and he enjoyed them most when they were shared with family and friends. It is his family’s hope that through the scholarship fund, Jerry will continue to influence the lives of young people and that his memory and the ideals he believed in will live on."

If you wish to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, you can download the PDF form on the site or let me know so I can put in touch with the family.

Take care

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bayside YMCA Triathlon - Race Report

I completed my first sprint triathlon. It was awesome!

We arrived about an hour early so I could check in, get my number and setup my stuff. It was so cool when I got into line to have my number written on me, I was starting to feel like a Triathlete. I was a little nervous, this being my first time, that I wouldn’t know where to go or I would do something wrong like put my bike on the rack wrong. Everything went fine, I met a few guys in the transition area that were very helpful and willing to answer my questions.

After setting up my stuff I went over to spend a few minutes with my children before I went to warm up for the swim, they have a way of relaxing my nerves. I gave them both a kiss, called my wife on the phone so she could wish me luck and headed out to the start. I remember walking down the beach looking at the little orange buoys thinking .5 miles is not as long as I remember…piece of cake. We didn’t stop at the little buoys, we just kept walking and walking past the little buoys to the big orange buoy all the way down the beach... Oh S#!T

The .5 mile swim was great, a little windy, but not bad. I was happy that the water was warm, other people had wet suits and I was afraid all morning that I was going to freeze my butt off. We all stood on the beach while they made some announcements and then it was time. The gun went off (no gun just a guy with a load speaker) and off they went. The first group (40+) took off and it was then that I decided to take some advise I was given and move to the outside. I'm a fairly strong swimmer but my age group was big and the thought of someone swiming over me didn't sound like fun. Three minutes passed very quickly and it was my turn... here we go!

About half way through the swim I started to catch the wave that had gone before, that made me feel good. It was just about then that I started to get that feeling... you know the feeling that someone is sneaking up behind you. I looked back only long enough to see a wave of purple caps coming up behind me. It was the woman’s wave that had started three minutes behind me, they were hot on my trail! I braced for the worst, but I only felt a gentle hand on my side... excuse me she said. I held my own from then on and finished in good shape.

The 12-mile bike was fun! I made it into the transition area and started getting ready for the bike. I washed off the sand from the beach, put on my shirt and had a hammer gel with some water. I had a little trouble getting my gloves over my wet hands so that slowed me down for a minute. The course had a couple hills, but for the most part it was flat with lots of turns. At one point this little old lady decided she wanted to drive in my lane and almost hit me. If one of the volunteers didn’t yell and stop her she probable would have plowed me down.

After getting off the bike my legs felt like rubber for the first ¼ mile, but once I got my legs back I was able to get into a comfortable rhythm. The 3-mile run course was flat and tree covered so sun was not an issue. I had a blast on the run, the road was lined with people cheering and giving works of encouragement. At one point I started talking with another runner about the course and what part was our favorite. I was having such a good time that I forgot this was a race... for me it was just fun!

As I approached the finish line I could see my children cheering me on. I crossed the finish line in 1:28:50

It was a great day! I can’t wait to do another one!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What an Awesome experience!

I just completed my first Triathlon this past weekend... what an awesome experience! I learned so much about the sport and about myself that I can't wait to do it again.

I have so much I want to say so as soon as I get my thoughts together I'll post my race report. There was also a company taking pictures, if there not to embarrassing, I'll post them.

My official time: 1:28:50
Bib: 105
Race Name: Bayside YMCA Triathlon 06
Category: Males 35-39
Cat: 40
Ov: 227

Friday, August 11, 2006

My First Triathlon August 19th

I finally did it! I signed up for the Bayside YMCA Triathlon held on August 19. This will be my first sprint Triathlon and I'm very excided, but nervous. I’ve been training consistently for about 4 months so I think I'm ready, I know I'm ready! I think?

The course consists of .50-mile ocean swim, 12-mile bike and 3 mile run. From what I've been told it’s a good course. The swim in previous years has been calm with little waves, but I guess the weather will have something to say about that. The bike route is new for this year, but should be fairly flat. The run is also flat with plenty of shade. My wife and children will be there to cheer me on! My goal is to just Have Fun and Finish!

Training this week has gone very well. I was able to complete a "Brick" (just think 4 months ago I didn’t know what that was) and still felt good when I was done.

Bike 12 miles: 30.26 min
Run 3 miles: 26.40 min

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Run is Getting Better

I ran 6 miles today on the treadmill during lunch. I guess all that hill training helped because I knocked 3 minutes off my 5K time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Maine 2006

July 1
We arrived at camp around 10:30 am. I was surprised at how little traffic there was. It took us about five hours with one stop for breakfast and bathrooms.

July 2
I ran 4 miles before lunch today. I wanted to do more, but I was not prepared for the hills. We don't have hills like this at home. The hills in Maine go on for miles. The first two miles were a steady incline and just when you thought the road would flatten out, another hill appeared around the corner.

(View from the top of the hill!)

(Round the corner and still going up!)

The down hills were not any better.

(Getting ready to head down)

July 3
Rest from training, more beach and fun with the kids.

July 4
Happy 4th of July! This was my first day swimming and I'm a little disappointed. Everything started out good in the beginning, but then I started to have trouble catching my breath. I physically felt fine, but for some reason I just couldn't catch my breath. I don't know if it was just my nerves or poor conditioning. A little of both I think!

(Looking out for boats and jet skis)

July 5
Went swimming again today before lunch. I was hoping todays swim would be better than the previous day and I was right. I wasn't as nervous to be in the open water and I was able to slow my breathing down. I made it to the light house and back. I'm not sure of the distance, but it felt good!

July 6
This is the fist day I've had time to sit down alone and write for my Blog. So I got my laptop and decided to sit in my favorite place and look out at the lake.

I wasn't long before my friend decided to come up and join me, the kids named him Donald. He always seams to come around during cocktail hour... smart duck! There are signs all around warning not to feed the ducks, something called "Duck-Itch". He didn't look itchy to me, but I resisted anyway.

We went to the New Balance factory outlet tent sale in Oxford Maine. I bought a pair on running sneakers and some running cloths.

July 7
I planned out a 6-mile route for today in the car. I know I can't avoid that 2-mile hill so I tried to find some roads that had flat stretches. I wasn't successful at finding them. It was either uphill or down hill I can't win! I laced up my new sneakers and headed out on my new route.

A funny thing happened on my way out to the main road. A fellow camper who I've seen here for many years stopped me on my way out. He looked down at my feet as said.

"Going running"

I replied, "Yes"

"They look new", he said

I replied proudly "They are new, I just got them at the New Balance outlet in Oxford".

He replied "My son always wears his sneakers for a couple of days to break them in before running in them"

I replied, "Well I just wanted to try them out, I'm only going for a short run"

"Good luck" he replies.

And off I go.

Now I do know better than to wear new sneakers without socks, but for some reason I was just so excided to head out and they felt so good on my feet that I didn't stop and listen to that little voice in my head that kept yelling... Hay idiot!. Wear the socks!

I guess I'll listen next time... Ouch!

(You can't see the band-aid on my Achilles tendon, that one hurt! Check out the tan line)

July 8
Went swimming today and played at the beach with the kids. My feet still hurt like crazy!

July 9
I wanted to go running today but my feet still hurt. Maybe later tonight I'll give it a try.

We packed some snacks and water and took the canoe out this morning around the lake. It was great, the thin clouds kept the sun off our backs and the lake was very calm. It was great way to spend the morning with the kids and good exercise for the shoulders and back.

Its time to get serious about training. I bought this book several years ago when I first thought about training for a triathlon "The Triathlete's Training Bible" by Joe Friel but for one reason or another I never cracked it open... until now!

More to come.....

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back To Reality

I'm back from my two-week vacation to Maine. We had a great time and I was able to get in some good running and swimming. I did document most of my training and I also took lots of pictures. I hope to put them together and post them this week. Well, I guess I need to get back to work. It really sucks being back!

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Much Needed Vacation!

Its time once again for our yearly vacation to Maine. We will be spending the next two-week camping on a beautiful water front site. My wife and I have been camping there for the past 12+ years. We have always enjoyed our time on the lake, boating, fishing and playing on the beach with our children.

This year the lake will take on a new purpose form me... Open water swimming. In the early morning the surface of the lake is like glass and on chilly mornings you can see the steam rising off it. This will be a perfect time to slap on the goggles and go for a nice long swim before breakfast. I need the training!

Running should also prove to be a challenge while in Maine. The paved roads around camp for the most part are long rolling hills, but I welcome the change of scenery.

I can't wait to go! I'll try to keep a log and take pictures so I can post it when I return.

Pray for good weather...Take care!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

13th Annual Swin Buzzards Bay!

July 15th is the Annual Swin Buzzards Bay event. I've always wanted to participate in this event, but once again it falls on my annual two week vacation to Maine. Here is some information from the Save Buzzards Bay web site. I hope you can check it out and maybe even enter, the proceeds go to a great organization.

"Jump in and join us Saturday, July 15th for the 13th Annual Swim Buzzards Bay. By participating in the Swim, you are making the statement that clean water and a healthy environment are important to you and your family.

You are also helping to raise much needed funds to help us protect Buzzards Bay. The money you raise will go directly toward our education, conservation, research and advocacy programs.

The 1.2 mile open-water swim is ideal for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Participants start at New Bedford's south end, swim across outer New Bedford Harbor, and cross the finish line at Fort Phoenix State Beach in Fairhaven to the sounds of cheering crowds, plenty of food and drink, and even massage therapists to help ease aching muscles!

Registration is Now Open!"

On the site you can get more information and a registration form. If anyone does decide to enter, please let me know how you make out!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Triathlon Community

One of the things I like about this sport is the sense of community. It's nice to know that there are people out there who are willing to share their experiences and give advise.

I posted a blog a few weeks ago, Triathlon -vs- Road Bike, here is a good example of the responses I received.

Thanks Bill!

Hi John,

I enjoy your blog. I can sympathize. I recently finished my first triathlon in 15 years. I did a bunch of them a long time ago when I was running, etc. a lot, before my kids were born.

I can't post to your blog from my email at work (Information Security Department Warning!).

I haven't any experience with a tri bike. My advice would be simply on the practical side. You know yourself better than anyone, so decide for yourself. Do you think you will stick with triathlon for a while? Or how about this check: do you have a closet full of dusty golf clubs, snow skis, tennis raquets, windsurfers, mountain bikes, kayaks, rock climbing ropes, camping gear, etc. ? If so, then get a road bike. It's more likely to be used for training, triathlon races, and later general riding.

Ask enough questions at a couple of bike shops on what size frame they'd recommend. Then go to ebay. Find a "normal" 3 to 5 year old bike, that is the right size frame, and is being sold by someone local enough to you so you can drive over and look at it before the last day of the auction. This takes a bit of looking, and is potentially disappointing, but you'll learn a lot and save 30 to 60%. Do enough homework to not overpay. Find several similar bikes (regardless of location) and put them on your watch list so you'll see their final sale price.

Once you get the bike, go to your local bike shop and tell them you want to pay for them to check it out, lube it, true the wheels and fit you (adjust the seat and bar height, maybe change the handlebar stem length) ($100 - $200). Get new tires if there's any sign of dry rot (not unusual on a bike someone's selling because they haven't ridden it in two years). This is inexpensive insurance against the hassle of dealing with a flat -- no guarantee, but it improves your odds.

Get the bike. Train, train, train. Change out the saddle, or computer, or pedals, or wheels. Train, train, train. Ride it in your first triathlon. Ride it for a year. If you're still enjoying triathlon, by then you'll be drooling over getting the latest Cervelo, or Trek, or Felt, or QR. You'll know more then what you want. You'll be able to sell your first bike on ebay, or to someone at the gym, for close to what you paid for it.

This is what I did. I still have my 20 year old Italian steel frame bike with shifters on the down tube. I still enjoy riding it sometimes. I'm also enjoying racing my lighter weight $2500 titanium Litespeed, which I got on ebay for $1000. We'll see if I upgrade next year. Those pure tri bikes are very sexy.

Good luck!
Bill Cox


Also, The training is going well. I still can't get myself up early enough to start running in the morning, maybe this week!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rain Rain Go Away!

Its been raining for about 5 days now and the outlook for the rest of the week is about the same. I can't wait to get off the treadmill and run outside. I know its only rain and normally I wouldn’t mind, but I can see the headlines now. "Runner hit by car. Poor visibility to blame for accident".

I've been running on the treadmill during my lunch hour. By the time I drive to the "Y" get dressed into my running gear, stretch, run, cool down, shower, dress and drive back to work I only get about 4 miles in. As soon as the weather clears up I would like to start running in the morning before work. I'm not much of a morning person, my wife will attest to that, so this will be a challenge. The fact that I'm usually up very late may have something to do with it. I need more sleep!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Training: Base Building

I found a good article on website in the Tips & Training section titled "Building Blocks (from March 2004)" by. Mark Allen.

Based on this article I calculated my maximum aerobic heart rate to be 144. This is the heart rate I should be at or below during my base training period. I determined this number by subtracting my age from 180. There were also some other factures to take into consideration when determining my aerobic heart rates so read the article before determining yours. (That ends my public service announcement for today!)

I guess I'm going to need a HR Monitor now!

I have also decided to cut back on my strength training. I've been going to the gym 2 to 3 days a week for the past two years primarily weight training. So now I'm going to cut back to 1 to 2 days a week and work lighter weights and increase repetitions to 12 to 15. I know its still real early in my training, but I find that "I feel much better" after running and biking than I did after weight training.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Triathlon -vs- Road Bike

I'm still trying to decide whether to buy a road bike for daily training or a Triathlon bike. I found some information on the web, “What is the difference between a road bike and a triathlon bike?", but I wanted some advice from people that are in the sport.

Thank you in advance! John

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sensory Overload!

I went to my local bike shop this past weekend to start educating myself on which bike to get. I started out looking for a Triathlon specific bike, not many shops carry them. The shop "guy" suggested I look into a road bike for everyday training and for my first few triathlons. If I plan on sticking with it, then invest in a Triathlon bike. Sounds like good advice I guess!

After a couple of hours comparing bikes, I was starting to suffer from sensory overload. I think I have it narrowed down to the following manufactures, Trek, Cannondale, Felt and Cervelo. At first glance (and in my price range) they all had about the same components, Shimano 105 and Ultegra was the norm and various carbon fiber bits. I guess the next step before I place down the cash will be a test ride.

More to come tonight........... I started running today!

When I was younger I ran 4 to 5 miles almost every day for fitness (not by choice, Army National Guard 8 yrs.) and averaged just under 7 minute miles. Today I ran 3.2 miles on the treadmill and it took me 30 minutes, I guess I'm a little out of shape! I must say, It felt great to run again.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You have to start somewhere.

So, I decided to be a Triathlete........Now what?

It's not like I just came up with this idea yesterday!(see May 1st entry) I've been thinking about this for some time now. I have always been fascinated by multisport athletes and their ability to push to the edge of human endurance. I know that I will never achieve the level of "Professional Triathlete" at my age, but it will be fun trying. I've watched many IRONMAN competitions and marvel at the look of accomplishment and pride on the athletes face from the first athlete to cross the line to the last. I want to experience that....... Even if only once!

I guess the first thing I should do is find some information on training and nutrition. I'm banking on the fact that the internet, with its vast amount of information will be able to help. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Today is my Birth Day!

Today I turned 36, not a big deal, but birthdays always make me stop and think of the past year. What have I done with my short time here on earth? What if anything have I done for myself, my family and others? I know most people will take "New Years Eve" to reflect on their past accomplishments and failures, but I prefer my birthday. Its the true measure of "My" year.

So, today on my 36th birthday I have decided to become a Triathlete!!!

I plan to use this Blog to document my progress and hopefully people will feel free to comment and give advice.