Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did you know that the word triathlete is not recognized by Microsoft Word?

It's summer break and as many of you know, with being a teacher I get summers off. Woohoo! Well, not so much. I had all these grandeur ideas of getting out and riding 6 hours a day like Lance and putting in 20-30 hour training weeks and then I took a look at my race plan. The first week of summer break was the beginning of tapering. Bummer!

And so, with a race plan being so important to peaking for my A race (www.musselmantri.com). Here come some 7 hour training weeks. Boring! :)

So what am I doing with all this extra time? Learning Spanish (finally) so that I can order whole wheat bread and buy a spare tire when I'm cycling through Spain in August. Quiseria hablar espanol muy perfecto con queso limpio. Okay, so maybe I need to work on it a little more.

I've also spent hours researching different coaching methodology and tips for triathlon-specific training. Every search had thousands of hits, but one in particular really stuck out - nutrition.

I'm a bit nervous for the half iron this weekend, mainly because I haven't quite figured out what nutrition is best for me yet. Every race brought on a new learning experience. Most recently, I felt the runs coming on at mile 4 of the run in an Olympic triathlon in Buffalo. I managed to hold it all in (literally) to make 1st in my age group and 5th overall. Woohoo! For those who really want to know, the bathroom stall was my new best friend for the hour after the race. Woohoo!

If you don't know yet, my training is modeled off of Joe Friel's Triathletes Training Bible. I use his information and guidance being a self-coached athlete. Below I've pasted my pre race report I wrote up this morning. It's something that Friel feels strongly about to help work out nerves and have everything set on race day. It's a bit long and written in Guayspeak so be prepared. The pic is from the Oly race in Buffalo. 1st place felt awesome!

20-30 ounces of water/hour

1 bottle – 22 oz?

Safe bet – 5 bottles throughout half iron (goal time – around 5 hrs)

Nutrition Musselman:

2 Stonyfield yogurts, 2 oatmeal packets , protein shake (3 hrs before ) Maybe banana

Put sunscreen on at the hotel.

GU 15 mins before race


My goal for this race is to pace effectively so that I feel strong at the end. Being my first half iron distance race, I want to make sure that I am not exhausted for the run. This would be detrimental to my motivation in future races and help inspire negative thoughts. My goal is to learn from this race, not to win it. Pacing effectively will help me become a stronger triathlete.

I will start off in the middle front and fight initially (gently fighting) to get on someone’s feet. The swim can feel a little forced because this is my weakest link. Positive thoughts and proper meditation will help me get into a flow. My goal here is to stay on someone’s feet and not to swim diagonally. Less stray means less swimming.

Exiting the swim I will bring my wetsuit down half way and hold my goggles and swim cap.


My nutrition will already be in my pockets and on my bike so no need to grab anything extra here. Take off wetsuit, put on helmet, put on sunglasses and go. Hit Lap button on HR to signal bike for proper timing.


Hit lap button if forgot (make sure HRM is on lap mode) The first 30 mins will be steadily progressing speed, starting off slow (Think Friel’s 15% rule) to save myself on the run.

Take GU w/ water 5 mins into bike GU EVERY 45 MINS

Sip Accelerade every 10 mins (not big gulps)

Take bite of Powerbar after 30 mins w/ water to signal time to increase (slightly pace) Tap lap button

Try to maintain 160 bpM

Take GU every 45 mins and hit lap button

Finish water bottle ASAP

Continue to Sip Accelerade every 15

Try to finish 1 water bottle for every 2 GU

Goal on bike: 2-3 GU, bottle of Accelerade and bite of Powerbar

Powerbar could be eliminated?

My bike focus is on pacing and hydration: Goal is to finish 2 water bottles and Accelerade (already on bike):


No need to refuel on GU. There should be at least 3 left in pockets. Rack bike, take off helmet, Put on running shoes (socks available if feel blisters already) but BodyGlide should still be fine. As I exit T2 I will turn my race belt around and unwrap the number. Hit Lap button on HRM.


Make sure lap button is hit on HRM to help monitor nutrition. The run focus is on effective pacing. Come slow out of T2 and then steady increase (again think Friel’s 15% rule).

Feel the run and maintain 165-170 depending on feel. Slower is better until mile 8. Mile 8 is the only time I will allow myself to dig hard if I feel I can.

Nutrition on Run:

Take water at aid stations unless feel swashy in stomach.

GU or Accelerade Gel w/in first 15 mins

GU or Accelerade w/ water aid station at 8-10 depending on aid station availability.

Could take extra GU before mile 10 or after depending on feel.

Run home to the 13.1. You’ve trained really hard for this ever since December (total 7 months of organized training). You have run, swam, and ridden 1.5 times the distances required in each discipline and even completed a half iron distance w/in 2 intense days of training (twice in fact). These last 2 weeks of rest/ taper have helped catapult me into the strong triathlete I want to be and now am. Remember that even if something goes wrong this race, there is always plan B. This is your first half iron distance and the goal is to learn, not to win. Not to hurt but to feel strong. The last half of the run will be the hardest 45 mins of the entire year. Push yourself hard and you will reap the benefits. Dig deep at this moment. Think of the Smartboard training rides, the cold winter rides/runs, the successful triathlons that have come beforehand at OLY and Sprint distance, and the many, many, many hours put into training. You are not overtrained and have done the best you can do. It’s time to play around with all the hard work you’ve put in. Enjoy it, keep smiling, and thank the volunteers (don’t speak, just look strong, proud, and smile). Hakuna Matata. No Worries. Positivity. Victory.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Beautiful Life

My morning ritual is a cup of coffee and my laptop opened up to nytimes.com. I will never say that I read the paper or that I keep up with the news. It's far too overwhelming to do, but I always read an article or two that piques my interest. Today:

A 3,000-Mile Triumph, Spurred On by Diabetes

There's no question that life is beautiful. We're all given are own DNA and it's up to us to decide what to do with it.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stumbling on Happiness

Very interesting video on why we have fatter heads. Apparently, it's not just because of the Big Mac.


Monday, May 18, 2009

EnduraSport Harryman Results

It was a dark and stormy morning and the fog grew thicker and thicker. Just when the wetsuits were all zipped up and the bare feet churned the sand, the whistle blew: the swim had been cancelled. Big bummer for the first triathlon of the season. My first triathlon with a training program.

But, in case you don't know me well, the glass is always half full. The wicked weather actually made out for an extremely unique experience. I has a transcendental experience, as if I were in the clouds of Kubla Khan. If Coleridge were only a triathlete:

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing.

And so, in this chasm of thick pants the triathlon set in motion.  The thick fog and the constant drizzle gave an athlete the feeling they were racing in a loud. 

The race was going really well. I decided to wear my HRM but not to use it as a pace setter but to go off of RPE and analyze the HRM later on. My HR was higher than I would have thought I could handle, with an average in the higher 170s and lower 180s. I also hit a new max HR of 195. 

I felt pretty strong on the bike and passed a lot of people which felt good after running pretty slow in the first 1.5 mile run which took place of the swim. After  45 mins on the bike, an official came up to me and asked for my number. She wrote me up for drafting! I was really confused, because for the past couple minutes I had been sitting up, eating a gel, and going uphill at about 15 mph. Last time I checked, that isn't fast enough to catch a substantial draft. Apparently, this lady failed to realize that I was far more concerned with my safety (wet roads, oncoming traffic and sharp corners) to even think about drafting at all. 

All in all, I forgave the official. It's nice enough to have people who care enough and want to help. And, of course, when I still one a trophy for 3rd place in my age group and my place in the age group wasn't altered, the 2:00 min penalty didn't bother.

17th overall - 3rd in Age Group 1-24. Would have been 12th w/o penalty. 

Below are my times. I'm very happy with my transition times. Aaaah, have I mentioned how I love this sport? 

17.Mark Guay            23 M      210  10:01  6:41   23 |  :35    3 |1:27:42 19.8   14 |  :37    7 |  44:39  7:12   22 |2:25:34 02:00

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Popsicles, Lollipops and Protein Shakes

So, things have been pretty crazy lately. I knew first-year teaching would be difficult but it was too hard to imagine just coming out of an intense grad program. But now, I realize how strenuous this last year has been. And I came to this conclusion: teaching increases the aging process. Figures estimate that within just five years, I'll look like Gandolf from the Lord of the Rings. That's pretty cool though, because then I'll be able to make dragon fireworks and scare all the hobbits.

Anyway, a couple updates:

1. Most importantly, I got a new baby. Okay, a new bike. Check it out below:

Jamis Xenith T1

Jamis is an up and coming brand in the triathlon world. I suggest giving them a look. There's an insightful review in Bicycling Magazine .

I also joined Full Throttle Endurance, a competitive triathlon club on the Northeast. Haven't gotten to train with them much, but with the few times I have, they seemed like a great team to be on. I'm looking forward toward helping them keep their division title in the USAT club championships.

There's also been this sore throat that I've had for several months now. After watching many episodes of Heroes, I thought maybe I was growing an adaptation to breath fire, but my doctor stunted that hypothesis. Instead, it's popsicles, lollipops and protein shakes for me after the Musselman. I need to get my tonsils removes. Lame!
Make sure to send me Vanilla Ice Cream in August. That's the date of the surgery. For now, the doc suggested a waterpik. So, it seems shooting water at my tonsils will have to suffice for the next couple of months. Thank goodness my doctor is also a triathlete. After telling me the news, "Well, it seems that you're going to have to deal with the pain until after the Musselman. There's no way you're going to want to sit around for two weeks beforehand." By the way, with the waterpik, I've greatly increased me age once again. Pretty soon gray hair and a wizard stick.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An incredible story

Yesterday, I was sitting around while the beautiful sun was shining and it was 55 degrees out. Recovery week is so boring! Anyway, I needed motivation to get out of the house for a short, easy (boring) run. And so, check this out below:

Being an English teacher, I love hearing a good story. In fact, I've always loved a good story.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Races - 2009

So far, these are the races I've signed up for (If only triathlon weren't so costly):

Olympic - Harryman Triathlon - May 16
Olympic - Tri in Buffalo - July 5
Half Iron- Musselman - July 19
Olympic - Westchester tri - Sept 27

Mmmmm, now, I'll save up and sign up for some sprint tris. The Olympics fill up superdedooperty quickly.

May 30th or 31st? Harriman sprint?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Increase the swim!

I finally have found a pool to swim at. Thank goodness! Inconsistent swim practices were starting to become a real drag and so, I am more than happy to be a member at a local high school pool. I read the USAT magazine today which highlighted two main areas that harbor triathletes: Boulder, Colorado and San Diego, CA. I used to think of living in Colorado - heck, I'm used to the cold, but I've always yearned for the warmer weather. Wappingers may not be triathlon central, but we'll see if I can change that. Below is my tentative 2009 schedule:
  • Endurasports Harryman - Olympic - May 16th
  • SBR Tri #1 - Sprint - May 31
  • Need race in June - maybe NYC tri club # 1
  • Tri in the Buff - Olympic - July 5
  • Musselman - Half Iron - July 19
  • Niatic Bay Triathlon - Olympic - August 2nd
  • SBR Tri #2 - Sprint - August 15
  • Toughman - Half Iron - Sept 13
  • Westchester Triathlon - Olympic - Sept 27th
Okay, so the truth is, the funds won't support this race schedule, but I can dream right?

Check this video out below! Wow!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bright Eyes!

So, I've been reading some people's blogs for a while now, and I think it's a really good idea. So, I thought to myself, why don't I start doing it? This blog is meant to reflect mostly on my training, but why not my life as well?

I've just officially signed up for the Musselman Half-iron distance! I'm stoked and my training the last week shows it. I'm a little sore but craving more. For those who don't know, I'm pretty much completely recovered from laser eye surgery! I can see!!!!! It's incredible. I've been waiting to get this surgery for a couple years now. No more contacts or eye glasses for me! Not only will this improve my overall life experience, but just imagining racing without contacts is incredible!

Yesterday, some buddies and I watched the 2003 Tour De France while riding for a nice 2 hour session. Training rides are pretty lame, but watching Lance for 2 hours was way better than staring at a wall. It looks like Salem (my cat who thinks he's a dog) enjoys trainer rides.

I've definitely been having the winter time blues. It's a lot sunnier here than Buffalo (I live in Wappingers Falls, NY), yet it still gets pretty cold. Kaitlyn got me a SAD sun box, which really brightens my mornings (sun salutations before work without the actual sun just weren't the same!).Also,I've been able to capture some pretty nice photos of the ice.