Day 3, Ce sont les problèmes de la bourgeoisie….staying at The W in Atlanta, Ga….

Our day started out well yesterday.  We rolled into Raleigh late in the morning, the ride was brutal, there were a lot of rollers.  As I mentioned previously I thought my last stretch was going to be easy going in, but man was it tough.  But we made it, after a day of relaxing by the pool and just resting up we had a brutal 220 miles ahead of us into Columbia, SC.  I hadn’t been in Columbia since basic training ‘at Fort Jaaaaaaackson, late at night when we’re sleeping there’s a drill sergeant creeping all arooooooouuuund–AT FORT JACKSON!’  It’s funny the things that I remember when a place is mentioned.  But I digress…

Our moving average is between 15-16mph we were looking at a 13-14 hours night/day in the saddle.  We’ve done just over 350 miles over last couple days and I felt that was an over ambitious goal for the day.  I hate making excuses but I have to be realistic.  Since we are a driver short, doing double duty driving and riding, we are ON constantly and it is taxing, not only physically but also mentally, so there truly is no down time while riding.  While I am on the road I am really on I don’t feel the fatigue, in fact I am feeling really good, climbing well, rolling well, making the absolute most out of the downhills.  BUT, when I get into the car and have to follow, I am TIRED.  I find myself putting my head back for a second and then ‘wake up’ 30 seconds later and someone may be blowing the horn for me to move, I didn’t even realize I fell asleep for the 30 seconds or so.  It’s my own fault, I haven’t been sleeping much (I’ve been getting 2-3 hours a night).

I DEFINITELY got some sleep last night!  After checking out Atlanta (Atlanta–I’m not impressed), when you’re from NYC it’s hard for anywhere to live up to it.  Had a burger and and a glass of hard cider I got back to our hotel The W!  I know Maddie was tired and zonked out, and Bill was meeting some people.  I slept from 10PM to 5AM, which I haven’t done in I don’t know how long.  I feel very refreshed today and ready to take on the world!

Tonight we roll for 109 miles from Atalanta to Robins, AFB.  Only a 109 miles–piece of cake after a day of rest…I have to say all in all the trip has gone pretty well, I can’t complain too much (actually I can but I will save that for my friends privately–LOL).  The route has been good, nothing unexpected, accommodations have been superb, company has been great.  I would have loved to have more riders but for being ‘thrown’ together in about two weeks, things are moving right along!

We’ll be in Tampa in just a few more days, and this adventure sadly this adventure will end, I will have a week to ‘mourn,’ then off to RAGBRAI (www.RAGBRAI.com), several triathlons and a bunch of rides in August!  Chicago Marathon in October, NYC Marathon in November, Austin Half Ironman in November, and Disney World Marathon in January 2016!

Day 2, things are looking up…

Last night/This morning we rode in from McKenney, Va to Raleigh, NC.  It was a nice ride, there were a lot of rollers–AGAIN!  Man Ray was right, I knew we would hit rolling hills, but so many–WTF!  Bill took the first shift from McKenney to the middle of somewhere in Virginia.  A lot of long steady climbs and a lot of rollers, all in pretty good.  His moving average was 16mph, which isn’t bad all things considered (meaning not bad for a rookie….), LOL.

We pulled over in the middle of I don’t know where and I took of for my 40 miles, man was is bleak.  Riding as night is as much fun as being punched in the face.  On the one hand it’s great because there is no traffic and quiet and peaceful (if you’re into that crap); if you’re like me, I need visual stimuli, so as peaceful as it was it was BORING!  I tried to take in as much as I could.  Evidently I just missed hitting a deer, I didn’t see it but Bill did–maybe he was hallucinating?  Again, for my portion of the ride a lot of climbing and a lot of rolling.  The climbs I can slow down to 13 0r 14mph, but the downhills, I was hitting 40 at times.

We got on to the outskirts of Raleigh and after Bill’s second shift, I took over.  I was excited because the road was relatively flat and looked like a lot of undulating without huge climbs.  I came up snake eyes on that…I would crest a hill and then there it was ANOTHER HILL–WTF!  It just that they kept coming and coming, but I knew we were close, there’s nothing like knowing that you’re close to the end of the ride to motivate you…But like I said they just kept coming and coming–when would it END!  So I just going and going no big deal.  We were about two miles away from the hotel and I got the hook to jump in the car as we had to jump on I-44o for a couple of miles and I couldn’t ride there.

Interesting things I have noticed, my legs have SWOLL up–YES!  It’s only been two days, but I tried on my jeans and they are much tighter on my quads than they were a few days ago–this I am happy about.  I also noticed that I am sweating profusely around my stomach, I believe it’s all water weight, I won’t know for sure until I get back and get on the scale to see what’s going on.  This only goes to my dream of having a six pack and NEVER having to wear a shirt while limboing everywhere.  STOP LAUGHING, IT CAN HAPPEN…

Two more weeks until RAGBRAI (www.RAGBRAI.com)

It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I have posted to my blog!  A LOT has been going on, as I sit here at 6AM on July 4, I am slightly bummed out and excited at the same time.  July 4 is actually my anniversary–yes I was married on July 4, 1999.  It’s bittersweet because the marriage didn’t last, and no one can forget an anniversary on July 4th right?

The last several months have been a whirlwind, a lot of racing, a lot of working, even met a very nice lady in that time (more on that later).  I ran several races over the last several months, did the NYC 1/2 which I last wrote about, Brooklyn Half, Queens 10k, and sundry other smaller 5 milers.  I am almost at the point where I have completed my 9+1.  For the uninformed, NYRR has a program in which if one runs 9 races and volunteers at 1 you’ll get a GUARANTEED entry into the following years race.  I am at 6 races and have about a half-dozen more scheduled.  Evidently I WILL be running the NYC Marathon next year!  I was supposed to run the Paris marathon this year, but quite frankly I just didn’t train enough; I was using the NY Half as my gauge to see how I would do, as it was two weeks before Paris.  Unfortunately running a 2:20 half meant at least 5:30 marathon which I just wasn’t mentally prepared for.  5+ hours on the road?  There’s always next year…

I took this Shape Up NYC course thru the NYC Parks Department.  The main instructor in my class was Amanda Young one of the instructors at Equinox, she suggested I try the course which I did. The long and short of the course is that we are trained to be fitness instructors, we will then teach for the NYC Parks Department for the next 6 months as an internship and then we’ll graduate 6 months from now.  The course was a lot of fun, met a lot of great people and maybe have a great alternate career path if I so choose.  I start teaching sometime after the holiday, so look out NYC–I’m coming to get you.

As all this was going on, I met a wonderful lady in February; everything seemed to be going really well, but then June came, which is always a bit sad for me.  My mother’s birthday is on June 6 and I always am a little withdrawn this time of the year, so I withdrew.  I shut everyone out of my life and just withdrew.  Obviously when one is in a relationship this isn’t good, but what can I say, guys in general are like the CIA, we just don’t talk, LOL!  This didn’t go over to well, one thing led to another and everything fell apart.  I am so heartbroken, but there is no one to blame but myself.  I had a really great lady, and let her slip thru my hands.  I know this will past as everything else does, but it does leave me with an empty feeling when there was so much seemingly put into a relationship which in the end went nowhere.  I am sorry that I hurt her, but that’s too little too late.

SO, today I’ll be hitting the gym shortly, will be taking a Boot Camp class at SOHO Equinox and then see what happens.  I think I’ll jump on the Vespa and take a ride north and see what trouble I can get myself into.  It’s weird to have a Friday off, I shouldn’t complain, work has been HECTIC to say the lease. It’s been so crazy.  I can’t complain, because soon it will be fall and winter and we’ll see the seasonal slow down.

I’ll be off to RAGBRAI in a few weeks.  For the uninformed, RAGBRAI is a huge bike party in Iowa, we ride from western Iowa to eastern Iowa during the last full week of July when the prevailing winds blow from west to east.  It’s going to be a lot of fun, it always is.  I’ll be riding with Team RWB, evidently we want to get the word out about our organization.  We’ll fly the Eagle all week.  This year RAGBRAI is relatively short, only 416 miles.  It’s a northern route, only about 11,000′ of climbing, with a third of those on the last day!

Getting ready for a big trip in January, Hawaii to Sydney, Australia for an Australia/New Zealand cruise, back to Sydney then off to Japan to ski.  Gotta WERK hard!  While I am down, I’m not out, life will go on as it does.  See you on the road!

New York City Half Marathon Race Report

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So I ran the NYRR Half Marathon on Sunday!  Hurray for me, this was my first really long ORGANIZED/TIMED run(other than a Spartan), everything else was just practice.  The days leading up tot he race I had such anxiety, up at 2AM, 3AM, and just nervous in general.  But I committed to it, so I have to do it right?  NO turning back, etc.

As I got up at 3AM on race morning, I set my alarm for 4AM, but I was up around 2AM, and just lay there thinking about what was ahead, I managed to lay there but I did want to get up.  I finally got out of bed around 3:45AM, ate, took a long hot shower and off I went.

October was the last race I did–The Men’s Health Urbanathlon!  Funny they both started out the same way–FRIGGIN COLD!  This morning it had to be below freezing, I decided to wear Skins under my Team RWB shirt.  I figured it would warm up a bit during the race so I didn’t want to have a ton of clothes on which I would want to get rid of during the race.  Well, I came up snake eyes on that because it never warmed up, I was never actually cold, the perpetual motion kept me warm most of the time.

OF course I would meet Diane and her friend Debra, Diane seems to know EVERYONE.  I can’t even count the number of people I have met thru Diane and still are friends with and yet I only see Diane maybe once or twice a year.  As soon as we met I suggested we just huddle–it was so damn cold, that was probably the best 2 minutes prior to the race, it would have gotten weird if we continued to stand there hugging much longer.

We were in wave three, so we started around 8:20AM, I believe.  Started around 66th St or so I wasn’t sure, but as we went out, had a great mix of songs and I found the first few songs really got me going, I actually had to temper my pace as I know this was a 1/2 marathon, I didn’t want to blow up early.  The crowds cheering were great, all the funny signs and all the great NYers, they’re the best.  Look no matter what they say about us New Yorkers, in the end we show up for the show and give it our all, spectator and competitor alike.

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Now I hadn’t run in about 2 weeks, as most of my friends know–I HATE RUNNING, but running is one of those symbolically ‘thumb my nose’ at the sport things for me, I have to do it even though I hate it!  I shouldn’t say I hate it, but since I’m not good at it–I hate it; on the flip side I have to practice to be good at it right?  OK, NOTE TO SELF PRACTICE MORE!

So I ran all the way up thru Harlem, when we made the turn at the circle, I kept going then we hit Harlem Hill, like the old days with the bike I slowed down to a crawl, so much so I decided to walk up the hill; it seemed like I was walking as fast as some people were running.  Karamjeet had told me about a technique of running a mile and walking a mile, I didn’t quite do that, but as with Spartan races, I did slow it down when the terrain went uphill…

There were more and more people on the course, mind you we hadn’t even left the park yet, we were now going down west drive toward the exit to run down 7th Avenue.  So many people, and so many spectators, it really gave me a little lift under ‘my wings.’  We were probably about an hour into the race and in the back of my mind I was thinking man the pros have already finished and are having a beer!

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When we finally exited the park, we were running dow 6th Ave?  The streets were filled with people, I wanted to walk a little but I couldn’t it was as if the people gave me energy to keep going.  It really was an awesome feelingASHOK 6TH

and I couldn’t stop.  We rounded the corner at Times Square towards the West Side Highway and there seemed to be more people all cheering us on!  I continued to run towards the West Side Highway, I was nervous because it was still cold and now we’d be running along the water with a headwind–WTF!  I kept going, I won’t lie, I did walk a little probably about 1/2 mile in total just to catch my breath I knew I wanted to be running to the finish line.  As I pass the Freedom Tower, I couldn’t help but get choked up as I couldn’t believe I’m almost at the end of this thing and I’M STILL ALIVE AND FEELING GOOD.  2 years ago I was watching it on TV and wishing I could do it and here I am DOING IT!

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I crossed the line at 2:35:13, I didn’t break any land speed records but I FINISH!  So now that my Half PR (Personal Record), next time I will break the two hour mark.  If I go by that pace then I should be doing a full marathon in just over 5-6 hours, hmmmmGL 6TH FINISH FINISH BLANKET DOWNTOWN D&D FIN D FIN3

See you at a marathon coming soon….

9lbs in one week? WTF? A LOT of WERK, and good clean eating…

OK, so I got back on the ball since last Friday and really hitting it and eating clean. I am always amazed what I can do when I buckle down; lost 9lbs this week–WTF! I credit it to eating clean and WERK at the gym!

I got my ass handed to me tonight when I took back to back classes with Caitlin, holy shit she is tough. I had forgotten how intense her classes are, and fun. I did so many burpees and push ups it was just ridiculous. I am running everyday day, put in 10 miles this week, not much but a good start. I want to start running on the Greenway on the west side, any takers out there?

I bought a slow cooker a couple of weeks ago, thank to my friend Melissa she motivated me to start cooking instead of buying all the time. I mean I do buy good stuff which can get expensive, but it so nice to make a meal which will last for several days and keep me out of the Aspen Market. You should subscribe to her blog, (http://steakssquatsandsundresses.wordpress.com/), really good stuff and great workout advice. She’s really got her crap together!

Busy weekend ahead, I have the row-a-thon in Monroe, CT tomorrow. We are rowing 50,000m (31 miles for the uninformed). I was practicing a little, rowed 3000m in 27 minutes–WHICH SUCKS! It’s 10 person team so we’ll make it thru, or it’ll kill us! LOL

Civilian Military Combine Mission 4 (Floyd Bennett Field Brooklyn, NY)

Today I did another Civilian Military Combine race, we raced over in Brooklyn, a flat course.  Last year this was my redemption race, after finishing 3rd to last in the first CMC race I did, I anted to do so much better this time.  I had no delusions of grandeur, I wasn’t expecting to win it or anything ridiculous like that, I was expecting to finish in the middle of the pack and I did!

This race I was there to participate once again.  I spent all of August on a 22 day cruise in The Mediterranean, so training was definitely on my mind and it showed.  I had a mere 58 reps in the pit and I don’t know what my run time was, but I am sure it was better than last year.  I was psyched about the run.  I ran with Noam, who really and truly kept me going.  It’s different when you run with someone as yo don’t want to let them down or vice-versa.  Irregardless, running with him definitely kept me moving although definitely finished toward the end of our entire 58 person crew, still finished in a better time than I had expected.

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The pit was the usual bedlam.  I had a really great judge, she kept pushing me and motivating me, sometimes that 7 minutes can seem like an eternity.  The push press is what kills me, I’m good at the other exercises.  Ah well, I can only get better right?  Everyone did really well in the pit, good to see.  A lot of the people who went never did a CMC race before and I think they may be hooked, it was a good time and was very challenging.

The run course was good, different than last year and a lot of fun.  As I said Noam ran with me.  Evidently he was out until early this morning, I don’t know if I kept him going or he kept me going, but we were going nonetheless.  I have to check my time on the course, would definitely like to know how I did.

Next month there a race in Virginia, if I could find some crazy people to do it, I’ll go, but my assumption no one will be into it.  There are still a handful of races, Zombie Run, ROC Race, Urbanathlon and my first Tough Mudder.  Let’s see what those have in store for me!

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Spartan Race at Citifield

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So yesterday I participated in the Spartan Race at Citifield, for the un-informed Spartan Races are obstacle course races which are usually run in muddy location and a lot of fun. They are doing a baseball park tour, they are having races in Citifield, Philly’s Ballpark, Milwaukee’s Stadium and Fenway Park. It was interesting, no mud but a lot of obstacles. Things such as up and over bands (this would probably have been low crawls under barbed wire had it been in the mud), rope jumping with a rope that’s used to secure a ship, burpees galore, rowing machines, atlas carry, rope climb, javelin throw wall climbing, and a lot of up and down and thru the stadium. All told there were supposed to be about 12,000 competitors going thru yesterday. It started early in the morning and was going thru until until around 9 or 10 last night. QUITE THE TURNOUT.

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I raced with Scott Katzenstein’s Team Virtuosity, mostly a group of people who frequent his group fitness classes, mostly everyone was an Equinox ‘person.’ Some very interesting people and some hard core people. It’s great to be around that kind of energy! I run these for the fun, I would like to perform better but I happy just DOING IT for the time being, the beast in me will come out soon enough. We all finished at different times, got our t-shirts and everyone is seemingly happy. Several people signed up for the Super Spartan up in New Jersey in September so that should be fun. When we go as a group it’s a lot of fun in lieu of trudging there by yourself. Someone is always pushing you to go!

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The next race is next month at Civilian Military Combine, Mission 2 Mountain Assault in Pennsylvania! This is the one that got me started into all these damn races–they’re going to make me bankrupt–they’re expensive. (If anyone wants to join Team Shook Shook, please use code NJ100510–it’ll get you 10% off the race price). I’m gonna train for this one, this time. I guess going up and down the mountain will be easier without the extra 130lbs weighing me down!

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