Retirement does have its benefits….

29 08 2013

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Every year after Ironman I go into “retirement”.  I try to do absolutely nothing for at least a month or longer.  When I say “nothing”, it truly means nothing.  No swimming, biking or running.  I trade it in for a chilled Land Shark Lager.

This is the “off season”, right?

2 years ago I began something new during my retirement time after Ironman – weight training.   I am one for change.  I admit though, I am skeptical.  I will question it through and through.  Is this right? Will it work? Does it really matter? On and on and on.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t do it, I’ll just question it.

This weight training was suggested by a very good friend of mine, Dr. Thomas Brown, DC.  He recommended a whole body workout that is very “sport specific”.  As a triathlete, time is of the essence.  Adding yet another piece to my already busy schedule can be very overwhelming, almost daunting and sometimes impossible to do.

Thus, I begin.

There are many benefits to using a “sport specific” weight training program…minimal time in the gym, quicker gains in strength because the focus of each workout is specific to the muscle groups I use in each leg of the triathlon, and the fact that I can use this program year round and incorporate it into any periodization program.   I find that I spend roughly 40-50 minutes in the gym, 3x per week, depending on the number of others using the equipment I use for my workouts.   The workouts I do work the legs (quads, hamstrings and glutes), abs, upper back, shoulders, chest, biceps and triceps.  All of which are the main muscles I use during a triathlon.  I do 5 sets of 10 reps with weights that at the end of each set, is tough to finish.


The past 2 Ironman events I have seen significant improvement in my finishing times, how I felt during the race and immediately afterward.   My 2012 Ironman was 29 minutes faster that my 2010 finish.  My 2013 Ironman was 35+ minutes faster that my 2012 finish.  This year I was 20 minutes faster on the bike and 15+ minutes faster on the run.  Can I say it’s all from weight training?  Probably not.  However, as with any athlete, when something works, you keep with it.

All this being said, I would recommend weight training to everyone.  There are significant benefits regardless of age or athletic ability or endeavor, even in retirement

Thanks for reading…




Nostalgia or just silly?

25 08 2013

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It’s August in Macungie and time for the hot rod car show – Wheels of Time.  Every year there is a main attraction.  This year it is Butch Patrick, aka Eddie Munster, from the 60’s TV show The Munsters.  I wasn’t even born yet when the show began, but grew up watching the reruns in syndication as did (I bet) most of you.

Whether you admit to watching the show or not, is just fine.

There is no real secret (maybe there is) to the fact that I enjoy old, black & white TV shows and movies, especially those on TCM, Retro TV, MeTV and TV Land.  Watching these channels puts you in a state of innocence where comedy was clean and harmless.

For Christmas one year I was given the first season of The Munsters as a gift.  Haley, my daughter, began watching the show and was intrigued and thought Herman Munster was cool.  Hearing that Butch Patrick, aka Eddie Munster was going to be in Macungie at the hot rod car show, she wanted to go.   Garrett, my son, was more interested in the cars from the TV show.Scott's iPhone 026 Scott's iPhone 027

They both had the opportunity to see a real life TV star and the cars they used in the TV show that made him famous.  For those of you who can relate to this, I hope you enjoy the photos.  Whether you wish to admit or not….time will tell.


Dogs of Summer

17 08 2013

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One of the joys of  having dogs, and there are many, is giving them baths in the summer.  At our house it usually turns into a family thing.  All hands helping out, even the dogs.

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For some dogs, they enjoy a bath.  As you can see with our 7 year old boxer, Cooper.  He’s always cool, calm and collective.

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For some, like our year old boxer, Bruiser, he would prefer anything but a bath.

Hope you enjoy my blog and have a great rest of your summer.

Lucky 13

1 08 2013

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The laces in my running shoes are all tied the same. I put my pants on right leg first.   I floss my teeth bottom to top every day – I consider myself not at all superstitious. However, every year of doing Ironman Lake Placid (LP) since 2003, I have finished ONLY on the EVEN years.  Everyone knew this.  Reminded me of this.  I just took it as “crap happens” and paid no attention to it.  Was it a “curse”?

Hence the story – a few days before leaving for Lake Placid I had the Durango checked out at the garage for a problem I have been procrastinating on getting fixed for a while.  After picking up the Durango, they mentioned to me that  it may be a bit rough putting the truck into gear from park due to  the “upgrade” in the computer system.  Mind you, there were no issues with this before I took it in to the garage.  Did I know that “rough” meant not at all on the Interstate in upstate  NY after getting gas.  After a few tries, it worked again and off we went.  Upon our arrival to LP, we unloaded our belongings at the condo and went for pizza at Mr. Mikes.  When we were finished and walking out to the Durango, I notice a puddle of fluid under the front of the truck.  Ok, I thought?  Maybe someone parked there first and leaked something.  After parking at the condo, the leak was from the Durango.  I’m thinking – no @#$#$@%$ way!!!  My father-in-law and I looked it over.  We know it’s leaking.  Leaking something, but what and from where?  We determine it to be antifreeze from the radiator.  We called AAA for a garage in LP.  Mind you, we are in the middle of a 6 million acre Adirondack park in upstate New York.  This is going to be expensive and take forever to get fixed.  That it did!

The next day I took my Cervelo to Placid Planet for a “peak performance” tune-up.  The are open 24 hrs from Wednesday through Saturday evening of Ironman week.  I get a phone call the following morning, as promised that it would be finished – nope!  It needs a new cassette and chain because of wear, new bearings in the front hub and a new brake cable.  Needless to say, my $89 peak performance tune-up was just a bit more expensive than I expected.

The next few days were relatively uneventful.  Spent a lot of time at the lake fishing, swimming and kayaking.

Race morning – all good!  Well? Nope!  I get down to the transition area at almost 5 am for body marking.  Find a line with only 2 triathletes in front of me.  I’m thinking, awesome!  Get this done, then in to check my bike and gear bags I had to drop off the day before.  I’m standing at my bike unloading all my stuff – water bottles, nutrition and such.  I decided to pump up my tires one last time before the race.  I connect the pump to the valve of my front tire and begin pumping and pumping and pumping.  No air going in.  I’m like – bad connection.   I released the pump and did it again.  Pumped and pumped and pumped – no air going in again.  My pump is broke.  Really?  Great!  I ask a fellow triathlete next to me to borrow his.  All good.  Over to the transition gear bag racks I go.  I begin with my bike to run bag so I don’t forget my orthotics for my running shoes.  I know it’s going to shower so I want to make sure I lightly knot the top of the bag before hanging it back up so the water stays out.  Upon drawing closed the bag, the twine draws tear from the bag leaving only one side intact.  Really?  Great!!  I spent the next 5 minutes trying to do this correctly to keep the water out and so I don’t spend time upon my return from the bike trying to open the bag.  Yes, I know I could just rip it apart, but then no bag and loss of personal items.

All good now.  I walk over to find Michele and Haley.   We walk over to place my nutrition bags on Mirror Lake Drive.  As we are walking, I am thinking, one last porta-potty stop before the race would be nice.  The lines from the Mirror Lake Drive look short.  Nope!  As I walk around, there must have been 100 triathletes in line.  Forget this I thinking, I’ll pee in the lake.

This year at Ironman Lake Placid they began a self-seeding staggered swim start.  You as the triathlete placed yourself according to your projected swim time finish.  I remained open and optimistic to the entire concept and placed myself in the 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minute section.  At 6:35 am or there about, we were motioned into the water.  I didn’t get to pee!  Damn!!! The swim actually was really smooth.  The last leg of the swim was a bit choppy and turbulent because I was catching the last self-seeded swimmers finishing their first lap.

Out of the water I go 1:04 and change – I am happy!

It had rained during the swim.  Roads were wet.  I knew this might happen and prepared accordingly.

The 112 mile bike was great.  The first 56 miles I was  conservative.  The second 56 miles I opened up a bit.  The sun came out and the winds picked up, but it was still all good.  However, on the second loop, I noticed my right foot was not secured in my pedal.  I pulled my shoe out of the pedal and checked the cleat.  Not loose.  I knew that I could really do nothing but keep riding.  I made it.  112 miles – 6:02 and change.  Fastest bike split ever!

I hand my Cervelo off to the volunteer and run to the transition gear bag racks and grab my bag.  You know the one?  The one I tore 8 hours earlier.  Into the changing tent I go.

I’m all dressed and only have to put on my Fuel belt which I attached my race number to earlier.  My thought was unvelcro the belt, slip it on and revelcro the belt and go.  Great idea, right?  Nope!  Tore one side of my race bib number.  Now what?   Anyone have a scissors? A knife?  A key? Something to put a hole into the race number bib.  I finally remove my Timex watch and use the little metal piece from the strap.  Off I go.

The marathon was uneventful.  IN the back of my mind though, was “will I bonk?  I finish the marathon in 4:35 and change.

In the end, I break 12 hours with a 11:54:56.  A PR (personal record) of 35 minutes from 2012.

A perfect ending to an eventful day!

Am I superstitious?  Was there a curse?  One will never know!