I Eat Baby Food (my love for Fuel For Fire)

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A staple of the my Pre-Race breakfast is applesauce. Having applesauce before a race or key workout always seems to throw a wrench at people who hear about it for the first time. However, it really makes a lot of sense. Applesauce is chock full of water (a big plus), easily digestible, very low in fiber (so as to avoid GI distress), has no fat and low in sugar content. Pair the applesauce with a banana and scoop of whey protein and you have the power trio that make up the my Pre-Race Breakfast.

I use this combination of Applesauce, Whey Protein and Banana for all pre-race breakfasts as well as before most long workout days. Its easy on my stomach, gives me plenty of the fuel I require before I set out for a long day and is quick to put together. My trick has always been to cut up the banana, throw it into the applesauce and mix in some chocolate whey protein to complete the bowl of goodness. What this creates is basically a sports nutrition morning soup. Sounds yummy right?

Where am I going with this? Well, that’s where Rob Gilfeather and Fuel For Fire come into the picture. Rob, who like myself has been eating the applesauce breakfast for many years, used his culinary background as a Professional Chef to put together an on-the-go solution to the pre-race/workout breakfast, as well as the “what do I eat between main meals”. The end product that has been created allows for a banana, scoop of whey and applesauce to all be carried in a persons back pocket as they head to the pool for a morning swim, rush between work assignments in the office or as they navigate traffic on the way to an after-work training session. Fuel For Fire is an easy to eat, on the go solution to pre and post workout fueling.

The beauty of FFF is in its simplicity. The ingredients are all natural, and their are only a few. to boot. As a bonus, it is GLUTEN FREE and PALEO friendly. Whether you are a triathlete, Crossfit connoisseur, Marathoner, or a 60 hour a week Accountant looking for a healthy snack at the desk; do yourself a favor and check these guys out. www.fuelforfire.com.

How I use:

-In-car snack while making the long drives all over the country

-A quick snack during work. No prep time required, just unscrew the cap and go.

-A go to grab as I get out of the pool and head to my car after the morning’s workout.

-An easy to digest snack between workouts, so as to not upset my stomach so I am primed to nail my next session without any GI distress.

Twenty Fourteen

Wow, it is 2014. I will have been out of high school for 10 years this June, out of college for 6 and out of the Corporate World for 3. It’s truly astounding how quickly life can change courses. 6 years ago I would have never placed myself where I am at right now. With that said, where I am at is fantastic! I am happy, satisfied and at the same time eager for what is ahead.

2014 is a chance for me to take it to the next level in triathlon. To race Professionally and gain the experience necessary to truly compete with the world’s best. To do so will require utmost attention to detail. The swimming, biking and running are the easy part. Getting enough sleep, enough recovery, eating right, reducing stressors, etc… is the hard part. With taking care of the details the hard work put in through training will not be able to show through. Thus, its up to me to take care of the little things.

So here’s what I’ve got planned so far for 2014:

In February I will be heading south to Clermont, FL where I will be spending the better part of a month in dedicated training mode. During this period, QT2 Systems Founder and Head Coach, Jesse Kropelnicki will be leading a focused and intense 17 day camp for all QT2 Team Professionals. This camp does not include making friendship bracelets and roasting marshmallows over the fire. It is a camp to push athletes to get the most out of themselves. A camp that will be used to lay the foundation for a massive 2014 season. It is not a camp for the weak minded. No matter how physically strong you are, if you are weak in the mind you will inevitably crumble. A theme that has been reinforced this offseason by my coach and mentor, Tim Snow. It is a theme that can be seen in all walks of life. A person can be the best professional in their chosen career, the smartest or the one who has the most credentials/best grades. Yet, if they aren’t there mentally. If they aren’t willing to give 100% at all times then they are no better than a shmuck off the street. Believe me, I’ve been on the other side, when you know you aren’t there mentally. It’s a tough thing to deal with, especially for someone like myself and COUNTLESS others like me who live by the mantra of “ALL OR NOTHING”. Mental Fitness is huge and as important as any physical gains I achieve, will be the mental ones as well. Sitting here writing this already is giving me the chills. It’s not that I am scared, it’s more of that fact that I know I will have to push myself into the uncomfortable places. The places that feel so great to be in and to have been in, but are hard to get there. Its that 6 hour ride where the first 2 feel like pure agony and the last hour is bliss. Without the pain and struggle the achievements wouldn’t feel as good.

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With camp under my belt I will look to springboard that fitness into my first race as a professional. I will be traveling to Los Cabos, Mexico to compete in Ironman Los Cabos on March 30th. Racing about 4 weeks after camp will be great as it will get me away from the cold in the Northeast and get the first professional experience under my belt. From there I will take a very short break and get back at it in preparation for Ironman Texas on May 17th. Building a solid foundation this winter will be imperative towards my success in these two races. I am really looking forward to taking on this challenge as it will truly test me.

I am grateful for the support of my parents who are my number 1 fans, QT2 Systems for their coaching and guidance, Quintana Roo for their machines (bikes) that will help me ride at Turbeau-Velocity (which means “wicked fast” with a Boston accent of course), as well as their tremendous support for myself as well as all QT2 Athletes (ps, check out their twitter handle @quintanarootri for the latest piece of triathlon coolness. Hint: It has two wheels and requires pedaling to move and the picture is at the bottom of my post), Brian Hughes at Fast:Splits as he not only employs me but spends countless hours helping me make sure my equipment is ready to roll, Normatec for keeping me up to speed with the latest in Recovery Technology, Powerbar for helping to provide me with the optimal nutrition to allow me to perform at my utmost and of course my girlfriend Kaitlin who keeps me balanced and gets me through the tough patches that come along with training and racing, makes me dinner, puts up with my love of brussels sprouts and the list goes on. You should actually follow her even more carefully than me…she’s way faster!

For more information on the QT2 Systems Elite Team Sponsors click HERE. Tell them Turbeau sent you!

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QR SNEAK PEEK:

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Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Days

It is amazing what can take place in the course of 365 days. Just last year my friend Eric Lagerstrom visited me in New York after he raced is last ITU race of his first professional season.  Eric stayed with me for a few days as I was preparing to race in Kona for the first time.  During this time Eric was contacted by United States Triathlon to be a part of Team USA at the World Championships in New Zealand in the U23 Championship.  Almost 365 days later, many thousands of miles run, biked and yards swam he had one of his best performances to date in becoming the United States Elite Sprint National Champion.  Yep, a National Champion.  Ask him 365 days ago if this was going to happen he probably wouldn’t have been able to give you a good answer.  However, his determination and drive would tell a different story.  He took the steps necessary to achieve what he did at the Super Sprint Triathlon held in Las Vegas, NV.  Simply put he followed his passion and did whatever it took to achieve his goal.  All this in just 1 year…365 days.  What’s more inspiring and refreshing than achieving a HUGE goal in 12 months? Anything is possible when you allow yourself to be completely and utterly devoted towards making something work.

Eric’s a good friend of mine and I’m glad I can share a brief glimpse of his story with you all. I am sure he will have his own thoughts up for you all to see very soon as well.  The reason that I write of Eric’s story is to illustrate how things can take a 180 in 365 days. In my case the past 365 have brought me to the exact same place, at least geographically speaking.  As I put these thoughts to paper (or wordpress paper) I am flying across the country on the first leg of my trip back to Kona for my second crack at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI.  Last year’s race was an amazing experience for me.  To experience the race and all that surrounds it was a unique and special experience.  One that I was able to spend with my Mom, Dad, Brother and his family.  I’d be lying if I said I was satisfied with my performance as I felt I had more in me.  However, the fact is that I did what I did.  That’s the beauty of the sport.  No excuses, no corners cut, no adjustment of reality.  All the training and work done in preparation comes down to a time XX:XX, that’s what your left with.  It’s pretty great actually.

So here I am making the pilgrimage back to Kona once again.  The goals are different, yet the same.  With another year of training behind me, my fitness is at a higher level than last year and thus a better performance is to be expected.  However, that expectation is purely based on training and the data from that training.  What that expectation lacks is execution and execution is exactly what dictates whether my race day goes “Good or Bad”.  Simple as that, the hay is “almost” in the barn as they say.  I’ve got a few big training sessions left in my preparation for the race to get through along with the numerous other workouts that will be on my schedule.  None are to be taken lightly as within a 3-4 week window everything I do can and does have a direct impact on race day performance.  But enough talking about something that isn’t going to happen for another 3+ weeks.

What I really wanted to get across is that over the past year my own life has had a lot of change in it.  Change that I feel I has been laying the ground works for quite some time, just as my friend Eric had with his.  Change typically does not come from nothing.  Instead it is the conclusion to a long process of foundation laying, brick by brick construction of a long term plan.  In my case I feel that ever since 2010 and more so in 2011 when I left the world of public accounting that I was building towards a life that I wanted, a life that was extremely rewarding and equally challenging.  For some that comes in the corporate world of business and trade…for me it comes with trying to be the best triathlete I can be.  Ability aside, what it comes down to is that I love trying to push myself to the next level and achieve goals that I didn’t even realize were on my horizon when this all began.  I don’t expect things to just happen or just happen quickly, but what I do expect is that I will stay the course, pursue the right steps and fight hard to realize my goals. I am EXTREMELY luck to have opportunities I have and to waste them would be a disservice to myself and those that believe in and support me.

Last year I was living at home in Penn Yan, NY with my parents on beautiful Keuka Lake.  A really great place to be for most of the year, with the exception being the cold and bleak winter months.  Luckily, last year I was able to skip town and head South for a quality training camp during February and March with a great bunch of QT2 Pro athletes.  Since that camp my life has seemed to be on almost fast forward.  Going from race to race in Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut and finally making camp in Lake Placid for the majority of June and July.  It has really been an awesome experience.  Through it all I have landed in Boston, MA, a place that has always been on my radar ever since deciding on which college to attend.  I took a long round about path but I have finally made it to the home of the Boston Red Sox.  I’ve got some great friends who have allowed for this move to happen and who have given me the opportunity to be sustainable.  To them I can’t say thank you enough since without them this truly wouldn’t be possible.  Hopefully someday, somehow I can repay them. I really mean it, you guys know who you are and your kindness and generosity is tremendous.

The move to Boston has really been great.  Allowing me to be with the people I want to be with and progress in my goals. On top of spending time with those that matter to me, I have been able to find solid training here in Boston.  Between the weekly group rides, runs along the Charles and miles of suffering in Brockton things are pretty darn good.  The ability to train with those people who can kick my butt on a daily basis is priceless towards my own development.  I just hope that my training partners are getting as much out of our workouts as I am.

So that’s a little update on what has gone on in the past year. In summary I’ve bounced around a lot, raced a bunch, moved to Boston, got a job working at Fast Splits, a triathlon specific store in Newton, MA, spent way to much $$ at Whole Foods and have seemingly acquired two news bikes I did not know I was in the market for. (SHAMELESS PLUG: I have two bikes a Trek Madone and Speed Concept for sale.  Any takers?  At a steal of a price!!) All this has led me to be headed to the same exact place I was last year…right on Ali’I Drive.  Even though I will be at the same place, I know that I am definitely different in many good ways, and that difference will help dictate the course of events out on the Big Island.  I can’t wait to toe the line again in Kona against the worlds best.  My support system will be with me and that’s the icing on the cake.  Because win or lose I know that someone will go pig out on junk food with me after the race!

Ironman Lake Placid 2013

This year’s IMLP journey started while I was spectating the 2012 edition.  I was trying to decide on an Ironman for 2013 and after experiencing the energy that Lake Placid exudes on race week as well as race day I knew that I wanted to race this course again.  Come Monday morning after the race I jumped on my computer and secured my 2013 slot.

In 2010 Lake Placid was my first Ironman and since then triathlon has evolved from simply a fun outlet to a true passion and way of life.  Thus, racing the 2013 edition really meant a lot to me as it was a bit of a culmination of almost 4 years of hard work dating back to the summer of 2009.  I’ve made decisions in my life and chose certain routes to allow me to make triathlon a priority and having something validate those decisions means a lot to me personally.  So leading into this years race I really afforded myself the opportunity to train hard and train focused.  I was able to have a solid start to the year in Texas and continued improving through May and June.  After an early June race at the REV 3 Quassy half, the rest of the month was more or less spent in Lake Placid where swam, rode and ran a bunch.  Getting to know the course on a very personal level…and also spending some quality camping time with the one and only Tim Snow aka “The Pride of Brockton, MA”.  After the time in LP and a few solid weeks of busting my hump in Brockton, MA, I headed back to LP to prepare for race day.

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Race week went by quickly with a few decent workouts to get the body ready to really put out on Sunday.  Once Friday afternoon hit, it was time to eat and rest.  Oh yeah, as you can see in the above photo from Saturdays “Big Breakfast” my buddies (The Strater Brothers) and I got the clippers out on Wednesday night and did some creative work on each others heads.  Don’t worry though, my head is back to normal now.

After breakfast on Saturday I spent most of the day laying in bed along with the quick trip down to transition to drop my bike off.  Sometime that night I drifted off to sleep until 3am.  Race morning went by quickly and before I knew it I was laying on the beach listening to Mike Reilly give pre-race directions.  With 15 minutes to go until the AG start I popped my Powergel and swam over to the swim start line.  This year’s race incorporated a new rolling swim start whereby each competitor assembled into a line that was determined by their approximate swim pace.  I made my way to the 60 minute and under group and started asking around as to what people were going to swim.  I ended up being surrounded by 58-60 min swimmers.  In reality it didn’t matter that much as there were only about 20-25 of us at the front of the swim start line, so once the gun went off I was in the water within 3 seconds.  In fact I was taken by surprise since I thought I’d have a good 30 seconds cushion from when the gun went off and I’d get in the water.  None the less I hustled in the water, running around a few people who were gingerly getting into the water and began my day.  The first loop was nice.  With the new rolling swim start a decent pace line of sub 1 hour swimmers was formed and we moved through the first 1.2 miles pretty quickly.  Coming in around 29 minutes flat.  The second loop ended up being a but slower due to the fact that we had caught up to the slower swimmers, who had entered the water about 17 minutes after we did.  That loop ended up feeling like we were swimming through a minefield. Constant dodging and weaving to avoid the masses of people swimming.  In the end I exited the water right around 59 minutes.

Swim: 59:22 – 8th in AG, 92nd Overall

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Just about time!

Transition went by smoothly as I was able to locate my bags, change in a relatively clear tent and my bike was waiting for me as I ran through transition thanks to an astute volunteer.  Once I was on the bike some muscle near in the vicinity of my butt was really agitated.  Maybe it was a cramp or something…and it HURT!  With 112 miles ahead of me I wasn’t to happy to find it hard to pedal at mile 1.  I put down a couple salt tablets and drank a bottle as I soft peddled the first 4-5 miles.  By the time I was climbing my way towards Keene things began to feel a bit better and I was able to start putting down some power.  The muscle tightness never really went away all day but it got to a point where it was manageable to race, so it ended up being all good.

On the bike with the cramp more or less behind me I felt very comfortable.  I knew that the climbing and descents were where I could really make up time.  The first descent was a little dicey due to the wet roads and rain coming down.  Glasses were a must to protect the eyes against the rain drops that felt like little pebbles hitting me.  The glasses made it hard to see the road, so a little caution was used while going down the hill.  Even backing off a little bit I was able to pass a few racers and even went by a couple Pro racers who had an 8 minute head start on me.  After the descent it was onto the flat section towards Jay and Ausable Forks.  During both loops this section was pretty quick as we had a slight tailwind, which was nice.  Heading towards Ausable Forks on the out and back I was able to see where I was in relation to the pro field as well as where I was in the amateur race too.  Since I started so close to the swim start (within 5-10 seconds) I knew that I was truly racing those in front of me for the most part.  For reference on where I was in relation to the big guys, Andy Potts was coming up on the right hand turn to the climb up to Wilmington as I was stating the out and back section.

The first loop went by very well and I was feeling good and strong as I went through town.  I held myself in check as I went through town among the masses of cheering people and began the climb for the second time.  The descent on the second loop was much better as the roads had dried out and the rain had stopped.  I worked the downhill as best as possible and hit the flats again.  The last 28 miles coming back from Ausable Forks and along 86 which passes by Whiteface Mtn and finishes with the infamous “bear” hills definitely got a bit tougher and I had to dig a little deeper than the previous loop.  In any case I knew I was in a good position overall and I wanted to get back to T2 and start running.

Bike: 5:06 – 1st in AG, 14th Overall

T2 like the first went very smoothly.  Coming in when I did off the bike allowed me to have the whole changing tent to myself.  I had two volunteers catering to my every need.  After the change it was onto the run course to try and keep the good times rolling.  The first loop was absolutely lovely.  I felt great and for the first 8 miles I had the whole course to myself.  It was really an awesome experience to be in the race and running solo along River Rd to the turn around.  I was in the void between the PROs battling it out for the win and the Age Groupers chasing them.  I knew I had a few AG’ers out in front of me so I was very interested to get to the out and back at mile 6 and see where I was.  I ended up learning that I was in 4th place with 20 miles to go.  A LONG TIME!  Which was good and bad.  Heading back into town the first time I was still feeling good, seeing more and more people as you get closer to town is a great feeling and really makes those hills not feel as steep.  However, once I made the turn in town to head back out on my 2nd loop I knew something wasn’t exactly right.  The best way I can explain it is that I was losing energy and just didn’t have that same pep in my step as I had during the first loop.  It was right around mile 14 when Tim Snow, my training partner of late came by me.  I had passed him on the second loop and been ahead ever since.  It was definitely a motivating factor for me to try and stay ahead of him as long as possible since he’s a crusty veteran who can never be counted out when it comes to the run.  I tried my best to keep him in sight as we made our way out onto River Rd., but eventually he turned a corner and that was that.  I suffered a good deal on that second loop, the miles 14-22 were really rough.  It’s something I have to work on in order to be truly competitive.  Luckily, I will have another shot at 26.2 off the bike in a couple months.

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Excuse me guys

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Run: 3:14 – 2nd in AG, 16th Overall

I ended up finishing in 9:26 which put me in 16th place overall and 2nd in my Age Group.  I accepted my Kona Qualifying spot and thus will be focusing on getting ready to compete in Kona this October.  I can’t wait to get back to the big island and try for some redemption on the Queen K.

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Getting that banana down as I head out on the run.

I want to take thank all those who have helped make this day possible.  First off my parents for helping me along on this adventure.  They support me fully and completely, always come and cheer for me and I absolutely could not do any of this without them.  Next is QT2 Systems for all their coaching and support.  In particular I have to give a big thank you to QT2 Coach, Tim Snow who ended up training me into shape during June and July.  Also, all the QT2 Team Sponsors that allow me to train, race and recover with the best products possible.  Normatec and their boots keep my legs and body feeling as fresh as possible, and I have to say that getting right in the boots immediately post race in Lake Placid has made a tremendous difference on my recovery.  No cankels for this guy! Rudy Project for the sunglasses and helmets that keep me looking good (and safe) while training and racing. Pearl Izumi for our race day kits and all the other apparel for daily training. Dr. Sears Omega Rx Fish Oil for keeping all the inflammation in my body down.  And of course Towpath Bikes for equipping me with some really fast gear.

Before I left Lake Placid I had to stop in to one of the nicest coffee shops in the world.  This little place in the Alpine Mall (the one connected to the Golden Arrow) has one of the nicest views you can get while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.  Here, check it out!

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REV3 Quassy 2013 Race Recap

I had the pleasure, and yes it was truly a pleasure to race my first REV3 event last weekend.  REV3 is truly a class act and put on an amazing race, which was set among the hilly terrain of central Connecticut.  The race, held at a local amusement park made for the perfect backdrop for a fun day in the sun.  Luckily it was not the same heat as was present on Saturday in which the temperatures hit the mid 90’s.  This made for an unpleasant bike check-in, but otherwise was relatively unnoticed as most of the day before race is spend inside with the feet off the ground and in my Normatec Boots and filling myself with CHO of course.

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Race morning started around 4:15ish, at transition by 5:30 and awaiting race start by 6:30.  The PRO’s went off around 6:50 which left me with a little under an hour until my wave started (@7:40).  We started in ankle deep water which allowed for a few steps to be taken before a couple dolphin dives.  I went out as hard as I could and found myself at the front of a large mass of under 30 year old men.  It was at this point that I either needed to sit in or man-up and bridge to one of the solo swimmers in my wave that was ahead of me.  I estimated that there were around 5 people ahead of me after 400 yards and with this solo swimmer about 15 meters ahead I went full gas and bridged up to him.  It was one of my proudest moments as a swimmer when I made the gap and was able to sit in his draft until the first buoy.  It was at this point when his pace slowed and I went by.  The rest of the swim for me was a series of solo swimming and subsequently passing through large masses of swimmers as I caught up to the waves that started before me.  In the end I posted a 28:58, which I was extremely pleased with and had me 4th in my wave and around 35th amateur.  Not spectacular by any means but it was a swim that kept me in contention.

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Transition once again proved to be a let down for me as I had a hard time locating my bike which was in the middle of 1,000 other bikes.  I had a game plan for this and even had landmarks to help me but I still managed to mess it up.  A bit of panic ensued and I even thought that some greedy triathlete must have taken off with my bike, laughing the whole way.  In the end I realized there was a second row that I was not aware of and after moving to that “other” side I found my bike and was on my way.  Riding through the waves ahead of me I found myself coming up to a yellow REV3 car loaded with cameras.  I was moving along pretty well at that point and ended up with that car on my butt for about 20 minutes.  It was hard for them to pass me as the course is very up and down and twisty so no real good places to get by me as I was also avoiding the other bikers on the road.  So if you were watching the coverage at all you may have seen my backside for about 20 minutes, my apologizes if you were subjected to this.  Around 15-20 miles into the bike ride the other two top amateurs in my age group were around me.  The one that had led out of the water confirmed that we were the top three.  At this point I just thought to myself, “well dude we’ve got 40 miles to see who has come to play”.  The initial leader out of the water ended up falling back a bit, and the biker who rode up to me ended up sticking around me for the remainder of the bike.  Every once in a while I would peak back and see him in the distance, me being glad that I was the one dictating the pace as I was where I wanted to be and did not feel any outside pressure.  It’s hard to truly guage effort against your competition in the amateur race as your main opponents in the overall competition could be in different age groups that took off at a different start time.  Thus, you really have no idea how hard you truly need to push…you end up basically time trialing the whole race at your goal paces and hope for the best. (which was exactly the case here).

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The rider that was behind me in my age group came off the bike around me but shortly into the run he had faded back.  At this point it truly was me against the clock.  I wish I could say I ran really well, but for my standards I felt that I underperformed. Whether it was the hilly, technical bike course that took some extra energy out of me or just a lack of pop on the day I just didn’t feel truly explosive and had a hard time stimulating my HR to the point where I wanted it.  Not to say I had a horrible run…because that’s not the case.  I simply rolled the miles at a solid pace.  I worried that it wasn’t going to be good enough for a top amateur spot but didn’t have much say in the matter as I was stuck in 4th gear unable to throw it into one higher.  Luckily over the last mile or so I convinced myself (or should I say a really steep hill helped me) to move my legs a bit faster.  I sprinted in to the finish line and gave a big shout as I crossed the finish line knowing that for me I executed the race around where I thought I should be…and that was good enough for me, independent of where I finished.

Here’s me charging hard toward the finishing line while going through a solid group of QT2 Systems supporters, and those Wattie Ink guys who know how to have a good time.  Loved the cheering, really made for a great finish.

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And here’s me crossing the finish line.  Thanks to Rev3 for allowing these pictures to be freely downloaded from your website.img_5338

After 10-15 minutes of cooling down and chit chatting, my buddy Steve Rosinski (the 2012 Quassy Amateur Champ and now PRO) helped me use the REV3’s awesome big screen computers to check the live tracking feeds.  It was then I learned I had won the amateur race, which for me was the goal coming into the race so that was nice.  This was bolstered by the fact that the second amateur overall was my QT2 teammate, Jason Franks who finished just behind me with a 4:28 and the fourth overall female amateur was Kaitlin Anelauskas in her third 70.3 ever who is also a QT2 Elite.  A huge day for the QT2 Systems Team as a whole!  There was a lot of baby blue on the podium.  Follow the link below for a full recap of the weekend on QT2’s website.  http://www.qt2systems.com/qt2systems-rev3-quassy-70-3-2013/

The race as a whole put on by REV3 was amazing.  I loved the challenging course as it really made each athlete work for a finishing time.  It was not a fast course but it was a fair course as it exposed any weaknesses an athlete may have.  REV3’s attention to detail from custom winner medals that attached to the finishers medals to create a GIANT medal to the free finishers photos was awesome…simply put, they just GET IT.  I can’t wait to do another REVOLUTION 3 race.

Many thanks to QT2 Systems for all that you do for your athletes, myself included.  Normatec for keeping my legs as fresh as possible, Rudy Project for protecting my dome and my eyes, Powerbar for keeping me fueled for maximum output and Pearl Izumi for keeping me looking good while both racing and training!  Also, many thanks to Towpath bike for always keeping my bikes in great working order!

 

Checking in from QT2 Camp in Florida

I am currently training very hard down in Clermont, FL at the QT2 Systems PRO Camp.  There have been about 20 of us total down here at any one time with a few staying for 10 days and the rest for the entire 17 days.  It has been a very intense and focused training camp led by the master mind, Jesse Kropelnicki.  When we are not swimming, biking and running we are recovering at the house.  Recovering not only includes getting 8+ hours of sleep but also getting enough calories into the system, sitting in the normatec boots, juicing, consuming Dr. Sears FISH OIL, logging workouts, showering, cleaning clothes…and the list goes on.  Some days there just aren’t enough hours to do it all.  In fact one evening we did a 40 x 1 mile two person relay that finished at midnight, I suppose that is a triathletes version of partying until the brink of dawn.  We’ve also done some circuit style bike racing, track running and of course 7 hours rides.  Not to mention swimming at the NTC pool every morning.

All in all the camp has been a great experience for me as well as everyone who made the trip and the commitment to be here.   I have been pushed to limits that I have never been pushed to before and have had my butt handed to me by chicks on a daily basis. (Bradshaw Rd. will forever be remembered as the “GRITTIEST” place on earth)

Here are the stats from camp volume as of today (3/27/13):  3/15 – 3/27

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Swim Bike Run

That’s is for now.  I’ll be headed back north to New York on Monday where I will spend a few weeks preparing for my first race of the season which will be down in Galveston, TX on April 7th.

Pat & Matt’s Homemade CookingIMG_1673 The Snowman & IIMG_1671 Natural BreakIMG_1660

Coming Full Circle on The Big Island

Aloha from Kailua, Kona! As you all have probably noticed I have been pretty quite on the social media front and blog posting lately (Excluding the last couple of days since I’ve been in Kona, lots of pics on facebook so check them out!).  I raced the Vegas 70.3 world at the beginning of September and coming off that race I went right into the biggest weeks of training for the World Ironman Championships here in Hawaii.  So since then I have been focusing all my time and energy on trying to prepare myself both physically and mentally as best as I can.  Overall I have to say the training block went very well.  A couple nasty weather days made the mental part of the training a bit hard but that’s to be expected at this time of the year.  I mean a 7 hour bike ride is just not hard enough already.

I’ve struggled with letting myself get excited about being here in Kona for a while.  It just seemed weird to me as the date got closer and closer.  Most likely because it has been on the horizon for so long.  If you don’t already know, I qualified to race here in Kona last November at Ironman Florida by winning my age group.  My result was not a world beating effort but it was enough to get me here on that day and that is what matters.  I executed my race and my plan on that day and that is what you need to do at this sport.  This qualification was supposed to be a conclusion to a big goal of mine. Honestly, it was an amazing feeling to check that box but maybe it came to quick in my triathlon career.  It was my 2nd full season of training/racing and when I started the sport it seemed like getting to Kona was the most important thing in the world.  However, life changes and you start seeing things differently.  I began to want to see how far I could take it in this sport and as selfish as it may sound I felt like yeah I qualified for Kona…well I should have because if I am serious about the sport this is where I need to be.  So I don’t know, I don’t want to say I was unthankful but I just felt like if I was serious about making something of myself in this sport I needed to start having some results.

Well, over the last 11 months I did get serious.  I left my comfy sustaining job as a CPA, moved west to work at a bike shop and train and essentially put all my efforts towards bettering myself as a triathlete AND giving myself a much needed break from the corporate business world to figure out what I really wanted out of this sport, and more importantly LIFE.  I must say that one of the BEST things about finding this sport of triathlon is that it has given me such an amazing perspective on life.  I was in a pretty big hole while working in the Public sector.  I made myself sick…I had lost my “ID”, that thing that makes you, YOU!  That is a sad thing when what makes you unique is lost because of something beating you down.  Well this sport has refocused me and given me a reason to wake up every morning before dawn ready to take on the world.  For that single reason I am soo happy that I found this sport.  I am happy that Kona was my singular goal in the beginning and I am equally happy that I’ve sort of moved beyond that searching for the next challenge…because if there is nothing else on the horizon to challenge you than what is going to keep motivating you?

With all that said I want to express how amazing it is to be here in Kona, HI.  Yes, I said above that once I qualified it was like, “What’s Next?” But that’s just my nature, always looking for the next thing to dive into head first.  100% all the time, every time.  Being here in Kona is an absolute REWARD and HONOR.  Something that is the product of by my estimate over 1,200 days of focus.  My big tip of the day for all those who would like to race in Kona and compete at a high level in the AG race is to structure your life around triathlon.  Train or do something to better yourself in the sport (ie rest when you need to, eat right, do at least some sort of workout every day) and do that for 3 years strait…about 1,200 days in a row.  This is essentially what I did and how I got here.  No special tricks or gimmicks and not a whole lot of natural ability.  When I started swimming I was in the lane with a 70 year woman who kicked my butt.  But perseverance pays off.

And so now I am here in Hawaii and experiencing this amazing spectacle.  Scratch that, its not just amazing.  It’s magical.  This is my first time here and I am going to cherish it forever.  Hopefully I will be back again to race and spectate, but that is in the future and all I can focus on now is the present.

I guess my final thoughts for the day focus on the title of this post and how its come full circle.  It has done so in a couple ways.  I competed in my first Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, TX back in April of 2010.  It was here I had my first immersion into the Ironman world and was absolutely taken fully and completely.  I won a trophy for my race and was even able to meet my idol in the sport, Chris Lieto.

Chris and I at the 2010 Texas 70.3. My first experience with Ironman.

Meeting Chris was absolutely amazing.  He chatted with me about the race, gave me tips and added to the growing desire to be somebody in this sport.  To be somebody good that is.

Now here in Kona it truly has come full circle as I met Chris once again and had another great conversation.  Chris is not racing this year but still is a huge presence as he is promoting his extremely worthy cause “Do More Than Sport” which focuses on doing good for those in need.  Specifically in Kona this year it is raising enough money to sponsor 141 kids in a mentoring program.  In order to reach this goal Do More Than Sport is looking to get enough people to donate at least $250 which fully sponsors a child through the mentoring program.  I am proud to say that I have sponsored a child this year and am very excited to possibly meet them or at least learn about their story at the post race brunch that will be held on Sunday.  Chris has done amazing things on the course but also off the playing field and this is a great example.  I am very glad that I could be a part of his cause. He has inspired me in many ways, so call it my way of saying Thank You!  And here’s the full circle part…another awesome picture!

Almost three years later and here is Chris and I in Kona, HI for the 2012 Ironman World Championships.

I’d also be leaving a large part of my triathlon experience out if I did not mention the lady who started me on this journey.  Mary Eggers was my first coach and the woman who took me through my first two Ironman and led me to the QT2 group from whom I have been coached by for the past year, although I have been extracting knowledge from them since the beginning!  (QT2 Systems is world class and if you are serious about triathlon you should look into what they offer!) Mary was the person who I first told on a very cold morning way back in November of 2009 (my second month of training for triathlon) that I wanted to race in Kona.  A lot of people would have told me I was crazy, because I meant that I wanted to be racing in Kona the very next year.  Why wait right?  Well it took me a year longer than originally thought but I am here now and it is truly amazing to reflect back on all the experiences I have had and all the amazing relationships I have formed because of this sport.  Mary had a lot to do with those relationships and she deserves a huge Thank You from me.  Again everything has seemed to come full circle here as Mary is on the Big Island this weekend too.  So once again the triathlon Gods have worked their magic.

The QT2 group at Lava Java. Mary, Charlie, myself and a complete random stranger who just wanted to be in our picture! You gotta love it Kona!!

This place is special…even magical and I am honored to have the chance to race on this course.  This first time here is A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE and I wouldn’t be here  if it weren’t for people like Mary, my good friend Mike Corona who has been a training partner since the very beginning, Travis who I aspired to be like from the moment I met him, Wheeler who has been a measuring stick since I first saw his name as the AG Champ at IMLP IN 2009, Don for letting me into your home and treating me as family, RAMS swimming for teaching me how to swim, Scott Likly and Towpath Bike for dealing with me all these years and seriously 100 other people.  It would take me 2 hours to even attempt to list them all out.  So don’t think I forgot you, I remember each and every person who has crossed my path.  So to all you guys and of course my amazing parents.  THANK YOU FOR GETTING ME HERE AND LETTING ME HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THIS!  I WILL NEVER EVERY FORGET IT AND I HOPE TO MAKE YOU ALL PROUD ON SATURDAY.  WIN LOSE OR DRAW I WILL LEAVE IT ALL OUT THERE LAVA FIELDS!

Checking in from the Lake

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I put something together on here.  The past couple of months since getting back to the East coast have flown by.  During this time a lot has happened for me.  A lot of really good things, opportunities and people.  I expected my home town to be much the same as I knew it when I was in high school and college…but things have changed, people have changed, yet the beauty hasn’t.  I can’t explain why because I was really only gone from the area for about 8 months during the winter and spring months but that time away has really shown me how great the Finger Lakes area and in specific the Keuka Lake area is.

Paddle Boarding on the Lake

It’s a place that I took for granted for a long time and now i’ve come to realize that I am happy here.  My family is nearby and fresh faces can be found in town, along with many familiar ones of course.  When living in a small town there can be stagnant periods of time where it feels as if nothing is changing.  The people are all the same ones you grew up with and it feels stale.  However, I am not getting that feeling here anymore.  Maybe it is the fact that my perspective on things has changed…as recently as the last few months.  Either way, I’ve come to the realization that I need to keep moving forward in my life.  I have poured myself into my interests like triathlon over the last few years as a way to block out the negatives in life and avoid the reality, which is that things change and there are different paths to be taken and different ways to achieve happiness.

My niece Ellie, my co-pilot

The next couple of months will see the culmination of almost 3 years hard work.  Triathlon has been central to my life since the fall of 2009.  Since that fall I can’t remember a single day when I haven’t trained (or not trained because it was a “recovery day”).  All those days were accounted for and if you went to my garmin connect site or training peaks you would see that something was accomplished each and every day.  I am lucky in the sense that good things came quick for me.  Some people spend many many years trying to attain what they want.  Well what I wanted out of this sport at the very beginning was to race in Hawaii at the World Championships because that meant “you did it” and provided some validation to all the hours I spent training and separating myself from a social life (I am not the type of person who is good at or wants to expend the energy juggling the two, for me in everything I have ever done it is all or nothing and all my energy is directed at a sole purpose.  100% all the time, every time; that mentality is changing as I come to realize what I really want in life)…the ironman in Hawaii was this thing that only the really good people got to do and that along with the fact that I only knew 2-3 people who had ever done it meant that I must achieve this.  This is the mind set you have when with a one track mind.  Well from day one before I had any business thinking this way…my mind was set on going to Kona.  It was as simple as that.  I eagerly thought it would happen in the first year at IMFL.  However, I was simply not ready.  I needed more time.  So after that race I committed myself to triathlon and the lifestyle it took to be a racer that qualified for Kona.  So 365 days later I went back to IMFL and won my AG, taking my slot to Kona.  Since this was last November and the race is this coming October I have had a lot of time to train…and think about the race.  During this time I left my job as a CPA, moved to Portland, OR and subsequently moved back East again.  It can be summed up that simply A LOT HAS CHANGED in a year.  If nothing else when I left for Portland it put into motion change. That change is continuing to evolve and I feel like I am getting closer to finding the next endeavor.

So the next two months will be my reward.  I will enjoy the opportunity because it is all I can do.  Without the help and support of my family this wouldn’t be possible.  My parents are simply the two best people in my world.  I don’t know why they love to see me play sports (they always have) but they do…enough so that they without hesitation gave the full speed ahead on Hawaii after I qualified.  I can’t foot that bill and most likely won’t be able to for a little while.  So this is my year…this is my one shot to enjoy the sport at a place where the world comes to celebrate it.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and won’t take it for granted.  With that said, I am not going to Kona to “just enjoy the experience”.  While I hope I enjoy my time on the island, I am still going into the race with a goal of performing at my peak.  Having known I was going to race in Hawaii since last November, it has given me the chance to build my whole season around it and put in the required training to race at my full capability.  With that said things happen…things change, but what really matters is that I will be physically and mentally ready for whatever is thrown at me.  Now the trick is to translate that into the rest of my life.

Next Up: Timberman 70.3 (8/19), Vegas 70.3 (9/9) and IM Hawaii (10/13)

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