Monday, November 30, 2009


S: 13,000 yds
B: 1h 53min
R: 3h 9min
Golf: 18 holes
Basketball: 3 full court games
Football watched: ~12h

Total: 8h 27min

Another nice, relaxing week off. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I really enjoyed mine down in Ocala, FL with around 40 relatives from my mom's side of the family. I ate a lot and was also roped into numerous sporting events with uncles and cousins.

I was especially proud of myself, though, on Friday. For the first time ever I went for a run after having a couple of beers. Up to that point I had made a point to get all workouts done before commencing alcohol consumption but with a 7:15 AM tee time, running before golf just wasnt happening. So after a couple of ice cold Budweisers on the back nine, I returned home from golf and went out for an easy 50min before the Iron Bowl kicked off at 2:30. While it ended up being not quite as bad as I had anticipated, I dont plan on making this a regular occurence.

Looking ahead, this week will be another down week before we get back to business and begin the prep for 2010. In the meantime, I'll be getting my race schedule together and enjoying some more stress-free workouts.

Monday, November 23, 2009


"Life is precious. Do something that is optimistic—that is good for society. Don't sit on the couch." -Meb Keflezighi


S: 7500 yds
B: 0
R: 2h 23min

Total: 4h 21min

Huge, I know. The highlight of the week was, without a doubt, waking up Sunday morning and NOT having to go out for a hard ride... especially because it was 50F and raining! Needless to say, drinking coffee and reading the paper was much more enjoyable.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Various Definitions of Success

After my race in Clearwater and subsequent race report, I’ve received a lot of comments congratulating me on my great time even if I was a bit disappointed with my race. I really appreciate the support and positive spin on the outcome. I’m a (generally) optimistic person so I too like to look at the bright side of situations. However, I also like to be realistic in performance evaluations and sometimes the result of the evaluation is independent of the absolute time.

More often than not, finishing time can be used as a metric of success in a triathlon. Whether it is time (running), length (long jump), or height (pole vault), many individual sports provide quantitative results at the end of competitions and I believe this is one of the reasons triathlons and running races are so popular. Because each individual is given a quantified measure of her performance independent of all other competitors, she can set a goal and achieve it. She would consider this a successful performance regardless of what anyone else does.

This is a direct dichotomy, however, to team sports in which success is binary, a team either wins or loses. “Keeping it close” might help make teammates feel better about themselves but ultimately, in the words of Herm Edwards, “We play to WIN the GAME!” A loss is a loss and a win is a win.

Similarly, my goal in Clearwater was not based on a time independent of other competitors but on a place and was therefore inherently relative to other competitors. In that respect, then, the race was not successful, as I didn’t meet my goal. Absolute time wasn’t really an issue. Rather relative time, the minute lost in the water, was the main culprit for the lack of success. In this race it was imperative for me to be out of the water and on to the bike with the group. Admittedly the margin for error was (relatively) small but that is part of the risk associated with racing competitively. As my graduate school adviser, Rob Kelly, used to say, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” I knew going into the race that I would have to have a good swim to give myself a chance for a good finish, so when I didn’t, I was disappointed and am still not pleased with the outcome of the race.

With all that having been said, this does not mean I never strive to achieve a time goal. For example, one day I plan on running a marathon and when I do so I’ll likely want to do a “big city” marathon and have a time goal in mind. If I meet that time, I’ll be pleased, regardless of how many people beat me. Additionally, it is great when someone determines a time goal for a triathlon, does a long training block, and meets or exceeds it.

While I’m focusing on racing triathlons professionally, however, the metric upon which success is determined is a bit different and by “falling back” on a fast time I would just be cheating myself.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly... 70.3 WC RR

The Good: The time... “PR” of 3:53:34.

The Bad: The place. 46th, even out of 80 pros at the World Championships, is just disappointing.

The Ugly: The swim, more specifically the first 1k. I’m not sure when it actually happened (and this is part of the problem) but whenever I lost touch of the group, my race was effectively over.

Saturday morning began with… a lot of waiting. The race officials had decided on Friday to move the swim from the Gulf of Mexico to the intercoastal waterway on the other side of the peninsula due to moderately choppy water conditions. This only moved the race start a few blocks but the result was that it was now only about ¼ of a mile from the condo in which Bruce G, Chris T, and I were staying. So after eating breakfast I had plenty of time to sit around and wait before strolling over to transition.

Once there, everything went more or less according to plan. Gels on bike, tires pumped, shoes on pedals, yada, yada, yada. After finishing my prep, I pulled on my full body condom (aka wetsuit) and jumped feet first into the shallow water. I had time for a few minutes of warm up so I tried get loosened up as much as possible before the start. Soon enough, though, it was time for the National Anthem and the start of the women's race. Thats right, another last minute change was made to send the women off 8 minutes ahead of the men.

In the words of Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part. As it turns out, though, 8 minutes turned into 7:30 of waiting, then 20 sec of dogpaddling, then 10 sec of aggressive dogpaddling, then the start. With no well-defined start line or even an official there to hold us back, people started getting antsy a little early and started creeping forward. Before you knew it, people were screaming at others to get back while still moving forward. Finally though the horn sounded and the madness ensued.

Initially I was hanging in, swimming as fast as I could, getting bumped around, and trying not to swallow too much water. A couple of times I had to slightly adjust course to head towards what I perceived to be a group but after 4 or 5 minutes, I felt like things were starting to string out and found some feet. A bit later, all of the sudden I’m feeling the bottom and am forced to jump up and do some dolphin dives as the water was only a couple of feet deep (thanks for moving the swim, WTC!). I caught back up to the person in front of me and made it out to the first turn thinking I was still part of a pretty large group.

After making the turn, however, I realized this was not the case. There were two people in front of me, but no one in front of them. I passed them, made the second turn to come back into shore, and then saw no one ahead of me (thus, The Ugly). A little over half way through the swim and there was already a significant gap between me and a number of the other competitors. The only thing that I wasn’t sure about was exactly how many people were “up the water.”

I swam hard alone for the rest of the swim and entered transition to see a plethora of guys grabbing their bikes and heading out. Unfortunately though by the time I got around to my bike all of them had left and the population of pro bikes remaining on the racks was severely depleted. While it was certainly disappointing, there was nothing I could do about it so I set out on my bike ready to ride hard.

The bike was uneventful. Outside of passing a few pro women, I rode by myself the whole way for a 2:10:35.

The run was similarly lonely as I made my way through the pro women and then AGers on the second lap. It was hard, I was hurting, but I wasn’t racing, I was time trialing. And this is supposed to be a race report. Time: 1:15:17.

In the end, that is really what it comes down to. In order to give myslef a chance to race on a regular basis I need step up the swimming another notch to be consistently right there with the top group of guys. Otherwise I might as well just stay at home and do time trials once an month and pat myself on the back after having a few good splits.

Monday, November 9, 2009


S: 29,000 yds
B: 7h 49min
R: 2h 50min

Total: 18h 17min

The schedule for this week is entitled, "Andrew_50" which means its been 50 straight weeks of schedules and that means one thing.... its time for Clearwater! I felt pretty good last week and with taper in full effect, everything is looking good for this weekend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Seared Salmon w/ Rapini

I havent done a food post in a while so it seemed about time for one. Upon pick-up of my CSA share yesterday I noticed two large bunches of greens overflowing from the box. My site coordinator instructed me they were Rapini, also known as Broccoli Rabe.

Not having made Rapini before, I set off to scour the World Wide Web a recipe. Seconds later, Rachel Ray came to the rescue with this gem. The recipe is classic RR... EVOO, garlic, and chicken stock, and was ready (prep included) in about 20 minutes.

As for the protein, I hadnt had salmon in a while so I swung by Publix and picked up a nice filet. Tired of my default preparation (baked with a generous layer of pesto on top) I went instead with a soy sauce, coriander, and garlic marinade and then seared it in coconut oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes per side. This made the kitchen a smoky, garlicy mess but resulted in a delicious piece of fish.

The result:

Monday, November 2, 2009


"We're in a high-performance league, and if you don't perform, things happen.'' -Miami Dolphins wide out and kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn was taken out of the starting lineup of yesterday's game after dropping two easy passes the previous week. This week, he decided to PERFORM, returning two kicks the length of the field to help the Dolphins beat the Jets. Althought the Dolphins were dominated on offense and defense, they managed to pull out the 'W' thanks to the herculean effort on special teams from Ginn. (Incidentally, I cant believe I just quoted a football player from Ohio St but the quote was just too good to pass up...)


S: 24,800 yds
B: 10h
R: 5h 34min

Total: 22h 6min

Whew... good to have that one out of the way! Despite the high volume and intensity of last week's workouts, I was holding everything together and feeling OK until yesterday afternoon when it all seemed to catch up to me in the middle of a 3h Zn2 ride. Zone 2 shouldnt have been that painful but sometimes it happens.

All in all though I'm really pleased with where the fitness levels are in all three sports and I'm more than ready to begin tapering for Clearwater. Should be a beatdown!