How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets
busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and
keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to
staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your
daily routine.

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6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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NYC Marathon: Goof Recap

NYC Marathon: Goof Recap

If you didn’t have an opportunity to read the epic writing in the previous post, I discussed the reason “why” I ran the NYC Marathon, then I highly recommend that you do.  Not just because the writing was fantastic, but it is my hope that the recap will be more emotionally moving.

Delta carried us to New York City and back with no issues.  I was upgraded to the business class on my departing flight, and returned to Tampa in economy class.  Even with my average size, I felt extremely cramped in economy.  Scott and his six-foot-one-inch frame looked extremely uncomfortable.  It is obvious, that Delta increased their upgraded business class at the expense of the comfort of the economy class passengers.  My suggestion to anyone flying Delta to the NYC Marathon, just include the cost of the upgrade if the flight it over 3 hours.

The plans were made well in advance for room and board.  After each of us declared our opinions for a hotel of choice, one of our teammates found a condo in Chelsea that would accommodate all of us comfortably and provide a full kitchen to save a little money on meals.

Per an email from VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) we were to pick up the keys at a local pizza restaurant located next door to the building housing the condo.

Team Tampa PKD arrived around 4 pm and the employees working that afternoon had absolutely no idea what we were talking about.  Of course, we called the management company and were basically told they did not receive the contract.  When we had the contract in hand we called the agency back but no one would answer our calls.

Here we were, in New York City, on marathon weekend, not to mention the third and fourth game of the World Series, homeless.

Teammate Kevin O’Brien to the rescue.  Kevin works for a landscape development company and happens to travel quite a bit, which was lucky for us.  With his Hilton Honors status we were able to procure two rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Tribeca.  Thank you Kevin.

The rooms were updated, immaculate and comfortable.  Another, nice little value add of the Hilton Honors was the choice of extra points or free breakfast.  Kevin being the generous person he is, opted for the free breakfast for us which again helped save a little bit of money.  Again, Thank you Kevin.

With all of us now settled, we headed to the Javits Center to pick up our NYC Marathon packets.  The bibs numbered up to 72,999.  It still amazes me how easy it is to retrieve a bib, swag and t-shirt at the expo.  It runs like a well oiled machine.

NYC Marathon The Javits Center

The Javits Center

There is a booth for every few thousand bib numbers.  The athlete walks up to the booth that includes their bib number, shows ID and their registration card.  Then they receive their NYC Marathon bib and other instructions, verify their info and then walk towards the t-shirt area where on the way, they pick up a plastic swag bag that also serves as the gear bag for the race.  The official NYC Marathon t-shirt area is well-marked with a line for the different sizes and within a few minutes of walking into the expo, the athlete has bib, swag and t-shirt.

NYC Marathon The Expo

That isn’t the most exciting part of the  NYC Marathon expo.  There are vendors from all over the country whom give runners have the opportunity to try and buy the latest gear and gadgets.

One aspect of the expo I really enjoy, is the aura and feeling of the environment.  There is an excitement in the air of the larger expos that increases my heart rate a little and excites me to race.  It is probably one of my most favorite parts of any race weekend.

NYC Marathon Team Tampa PKD minus Karen

The following day we made another visit to the expo simply to walk around and make some purchases.  I found a couple of vendors that I had met at other races  and made some new contacts for product reviews.  Stay tuned.

I have loved New York City since the first moment I stepped into Manhattan years ago.  I have a lot of friends here, and I just really enjoy the pace and excitement of the city.

NYC Marathon NYC Times Square

There is always one place, that is mandatory to visit, at least once, every time I am in town.  John’s Pizza.  I couldn’t believe my ears, when Rich and Kevin decided not to partake.  It was their loss, so Scott and I headed over to John’s for lunch.  Carb loading, baby, I just love it.

I could write a full post on John’s, so I wont go into the heavenly scrumptiousness of their pizza here, but trust this self-proclaimed, pizza connoisseur, when I say the explosion of flavors that emanate from each bite, redefines the word delicious.

NYC Marathon Brad & Scott at John'sNYC Marathon Brad digging inNYC Marathon The Pie

Saturday night, we were scheduled to have dinner with the PKD Foundation and the other runners from different areas at Carmine’s.  Scott, Kevin, Karen and I were all pretty familiar with the city and had even known of Carmine’s as it is pretty well-known.

That night we entered the subway and got off at 42nd street in order to head over to 44th where Carmine’s was located, as we started up the stairs from the station, Scott mentions the address which made Kevin and I do a double take.  2400 W Broadway, which was Broadway and 90th street.  At the moment we were on 44th st which means we were 46 blocks away.  That was a few miles from where we were at that point.

Of course like men we decided that maybe the address was wrong and went up anyway.  As it turns out, it was correct.  There was a newer Carmine’s uptown and we were in the wrong place and already fashionably late.

It ended up working out for us again.  We caught the subway up to 86th and when we arrived, food was just being served.  How long could this luck hold, right?

The dinner was fantastic and we met a bunch of really amazing people who were just as passionate about running for PKD as we were.

NYC Marathon PKD Runners NYC Marathon Carmines Table

Like good little runners we went back to the hotel and retired for the night in anticipation for the NYC Marathon the next morning.

NYC Marathon The Night Before clothes layout

As I mentioned both in the last post and in my NYC Marathon recap from last year; the logistics for this race are not the most convenient.  It involves a ferry to Staten Island then a bus to security, a decent walk to the assigned village and finally another walk to the specific corral.

An announcement came out from the NYC Marathon staff, about two months prior to sign up for transportation to the start and of course we all missed and ended up getting assigned the 5:45am ferry to Staten Island.  Since three of us had already experienced the ferry and knew that there was no accountability, we decided to just take the 7am ferry instead, not only giving us a little more time in the morning, but also keeping us out of the chilly temps for a couple of hours.

The lesson I learned here was there are two choices, either go by the scheduled time and arrive with a lot of time to spare, sit around have some coffee and bagels while waiting for the start, or go a little later and hope to make it to the corral at the time of your scheduled start.

We took the latter ferry and ended up having to wait for two ferries to get over to the island and then when finally getting on the bus, the traffic was so heavy we ended up having to rush to the corrals in order to make the 9:40 start.  It was probably perfect for the rest of the team that had later starts, but for Rich and I it was a little tight.  Personally, I do prefer the latter.

NYC Marathon Statue of Liberty from Ferry

I found my green village, dropped off my gear bag with my long sleeve shirt and pants, and headed to the corral just prior to the 9am cut-off to enter the corral.  Now I had about half-an-hour to stretch and use the portlet one last time.

I was talking to a woman from Basel, England when I heard my name being called.  Ryan Wallace, was a Facebook friend and runner I met at last year’s race.  A really fun guy to hang with, so after chatting for a bit we found we were looking at accomplishing the goal of 3:50 or better.  Score!  Someone to run with.

NYC Marathon Start Corral

In the Start Corral

They opened up the corral to head closer to the start line around 9:30am, and just after the final note to one of the most beautiful renditions of our national anthem I have ever heard, sung by opera singer (and runner) Susanna Phillips Huntington, and announcements by the executive director, the gun went off and we were running.

The NYC Marathon is the largest marathon in the world.  Largest meaning the most athletes run the course of any marathon in the world..  This year there were over 50,000 finishers.  It boasts spectacular views, fantastic support from the spectators, and a challenging course.  The route takes the runners through all five major boroughs of the city, starting in Staten Island, crossing the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn, heading north into Queens crossing the 59th St bridge, then into Manhattan crossing the Queensboro Bridge, north into the Bronx over the Willis Ave Bridge, turning south back into Manhattan over the Madison Avenue bridge and then finally the incline to the finish line in the heart of Central Park.

The experience this year was better than last, as the temperatures were much better as we started around 55 degrees Fahrenheit  and just a little breeze versus the 30 degree temps and 33 mph winds from 2014.

Ryan, his friend, and I started the NYC Marathon conservative for the first couple of miles, but as we rounded the first 5k I noticed we started to increase our pace.  I only was witness to it due to calculating my 5k under 27 minutes, which being under a 9 minute mile that soon, concerned me a little, but I was feeling really strong.

The spectators in the NYC Marathon are everywhere and they clap, yell and scream not only for their family and friends, but for any one they seem to be inspired by.  Statistics pretty much show, that even know there were over 50,000 athletes running this race, and hundreds of thousands of finishers in marathons all over the world, less than 1% of the population has finished a marathon.  In other words there were a lot of people to be inspired by during this race and the spectators expressed that.

NYC Marathon brad behind ryan

The Goof peeking out behind Ryan

Ryan and I ran together up to about mile nine, constantly telling each other to slow down, yet neither of us could hold a slower pace for very long.  About that point, a pressure emanating from my bladder was increasing to a point where I was just not comfortable any longer, so I speeded up to the mile 10 aid station to relieve myself.  My thinking was speed up, use the facilitates and then speed back up just enough to catch Ryan again.

Unfortunately, we didn’t cross paths again during the race.  I was out there on my own, all by myself.  It was just me and 50,000 of my closest friends.

There was plenty to see as I continued on my NYC Marathon journey.  Achilles International volunteers were out in droves this year with guides helping blind and other challenged runners through the race.  Guides would run in a formation with one tethered to the blind runner and then three-to-four others running on each side of them constantly helping to clear a path through the crowd.   It was so motivating, that I knew somewhere down the line in my own journey I would have to help like that in some way in the future.

As I crossed the 13.1 mile marker of this NYC Marathon, and saw the clock I realized that I had been running for an hour and fifty minutes.  That for me was fast, but I was still feeling really strong.  The sights of the area’s architecture, parks, people and the smells of the local restaurants were consistently keeping my mind occupied as I just let my legs decide what they were going to do.

I was concerned though.  I know enough about myself, that keeping this pace would have it’s consequences toward the final miles.

My favorite bridge on NYC Marathon course is the Queensboro bridge.  It feels like it never ends, but the view of Manhattan and the Hudson is spectacular.  Not to mention, the completion of the bridge is a u-turn with a horde of spectators that it feels like a roar of excitement is exuded from them.  I felt a boost of energy when I crossed mile 16.

I was actually a little impressed with myself as I hadn’t really slowed as of yet.  It is usually around this mile marker that begins the stiffness of the previous miles.

The next checkpoint for me is usually mile 18, but that too came and went without any real pain.  My inner dialogue started having delusions of grandeur of possibly finishing the race around the 3:40 mark which be a huge PR for me.

As I crossed the Willis avenue bridge, I felt the start of a twinge in my left leg and a smile crept across my face and out loud I said to myself,”There it is.”

The NYC Marathon mile 20 clock showed I was two hours and fifty-two minutes into the race, which was already better than last year.  My thinking at that point was that I could pretty much slow to a ten minute mile at this point and still cross under four hours, but that didn’t happen.

Mile 21 came at just three hours which was a first in a while for me.  I am usually only at 20 by three hours and here I was a full mile closer to the finish.  My period of optimism was cut short by a stiffness in my right leg that quickly became painful.

NYC Marathon Starting to hurt

I walked though the next NYC Marathon aid station and grabbed a banana from the hand of a volunteer thinking just get some more glycogen to my legs so I finish this last five miles.

What little stride I had became periods of walking between miles 22 and 23 as the pain started to sear and engulf the rest of my leg.  It was getting harder and harder to bend my right knee as the stiffness was setting in.

Central Park came and the crowds were getting louder and more dense.  I did not want to walk through the park with all these people.  I wanted to run in strong, but the pain was getting more and more intense.  I actually yelled at myself, “C’mon legs.  WTF are you doing!!!”

NYC Marathon Almost There

My mind drifted to Erika at that moment.  As I was trying to run stiff-legged and just suffer through this intense pain, I thought that this frustration and uncomfortable feeling must be what Erika feels all the time.  The disappointment at feeling run down, the pain that comes with these huge cysts on her Kidneys and the eternal uncomfortable feeling that keeps her from sleep and just enjoying life, must be one hundred times worse that what I was feeling.

If Erika had to continually go through this pain, then I could at least endure it until I reach the finish line.

I didn’t stop running, no matter how much it hurt.  I thought about Erika and the last couple of years of misery she must have been going through, and how Jennifer would also have to also have a painful times ahead through her recovery from donating a kidney.  It kept me going as I really felt like I was going through it for them.

I am not a totally idiot, I know that running the NYC Marathon of which I enjoy doing, really would do nothing for either of them.  It was the fundraising and support where we as a team were doing the most good.  Maybe it was for me.  Maybe because I was not able to donate my kidney, that I the pain I was feeling now was so that I could empathize with both of them.

NYC Marathon The Finish

The NYC Marathon finish line was just as glorious as the other marathons I have completed.  I was extremely happy to cross in 3:56 and at least beat my time from last year by about 10 minutes.

My official NYC Marathon finisher was medal handed to me, I was congratulated by a volunteer and ushered through to take continue the long mile walk to retrieve my gear bag.  I was engulfed on all four sides with athletes as we all did the marathon shuffle through the park.  There was a sense of peace and a little giddiness that filled the air.

NYC Marathon Medal FInish

We all did something extraordinary today.  Whatever the reason “why”, we were bound at that moment by the accomplishment and conclusion of a journey that started with the decision to embark, the hours of training and the final step across the NYC Marathon Finish LIne.

NYC Marathon Stepping Across the finish

Once dressed in dry clothes, I found Rich and we headed out to The Keg Room which was where Team Tampa PKD would gather back together.  As Rich and I were in the first wave, where he PR’d at an incredible time of 3:27, we arrived first.  Kevin, whom was actually in the last wave to take off, showed up next followed closely by Karen and finally Scott.  Everyone finished and accomplished what they set out to do, but I was most proud of Scott.

NYC Marathon Keg Room

Scott had micro tears in his gastrocnemius muscle (Calf) and had been trying to rehab it for the last couple of weeks.  I really didn’t think he would finish the NYC Marathon and we all told him it would have been ok if he didn’t .  He did though and under 5 hours with walking.  He also said that he felt like he didn’t feel like he did anymore damage.

NYC Marathon

Scott Bragan

I am proud of the whole team.  Team Tampa PKD was able to raise over 20,000 for PKD, finish the NYC Marathon and, most importantly, find a kidney donor for Erika.

NYC Marathon

Team Tampa PKD – (L to R) Scott Bragan, Rich O’Dea, Karen Dempsey, Brad Minus, & Kevin O’Brien

 

What kind of challenge are you partaking in or plan to journey towards?

Carpe Vitam!

Tribute Tuesday #3 – Lisa Jamison

There are people that come into our lives that defy all expectation.  Have you ever met someone whom you previously had heard about, or may even have spoken to, only to find out they not only lived up to their values and skill but by far exceeded them?  It doesn’t happen often right?  I can truthfully state this about my massage therapist, confidant, and friend; Lisa Jamison.

I was given a brief introduction to Lisa by my good friend Scott Bragan.  He mentioned that he made massage a big part of his training, and in his opinion how much of an expert Lisa was, and how she worked with him on some injuries and ailments.  I finally decided to talk to her and see if she could help me.  (I will give you my story about my injury in another posting, but I currently have a L5/S1 herniated disc in my back)  I had been going to a chiropractor for my injury and they were keeping me running, but I felt like I had to make frequent visits, but that all changed when I met Lisa.  The first thing she did was look at my posture and how I hold myself, and immediately gave me analogies to think about, and exercises to do during the day to help.  She assessed my injuries and then……and then, she went to work on me.

All I can say is O-M-G!  That first massage was an experience.  She loosened up muscles I didn’t even know I had, all the while telling me what she was doing and why she was doing it.  Lisa and I are both talkers so we also were getting to know each other.  It turns out, she is not only an LMT, but a USAT Level 1 coach, a Yogi, a Certified Personal Trainer and an IRONMAN.  At this time I was still seeing my orthopedist and my neuro-surgeon.  Lisa educated me more on bio-mechanics than either of my doctors, and when I questioned them about the aspects of my anatomy Lisa educated me on, they both looked like a deer in headlights.  Lisa’s knowledge and experience was far superior.   First impression; this woman knows her stuff.

Lisa at Fight for Air Climb 2012

As we continued our professional relationship we started to become friends, and I learned that she was not only passionate about helping athletes, but also para-athletes.  She was close personal friends with Scott Rigsby, the first double amputee to finish the Kona Ironman!  She was also contracted by tri-clubs all over the nation, to meet them at races and work on their athletes and their para-athletes.  Whenever I had a question about about form, posture, or training Lisa always either knew or found a way to help me out.  Second Impression; she cares about her clients and will go to great extents for them. Amazing!

Then she told me the story about her brother-in-law that passed a day before she was to compete in Ironman Florida.  This immediately brought tears to my eyes, and continues to whenever I recall her words about him.  She did end up competing in the race, but returned home immediately afterward.  She said that her brother-in-law, Mike Dalton, wouldn’t have it any other way.  Currently, she has dedicated herself to American Lung Association and the Fight for Air stair climbs across the country dedicating herself for another friend taken from her, John Foley.  Lisa started Team Foley and she recruits athletes every year to do the Tampa Stair Climb at the Bank of America building.  Last year I participated, wouldn’t you know it, WE WON!  Yep, I stepped up the 42 flight climb with Team Foley and I would do it again in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact I am already signed up for 2013.  Lisa also completes stair climbs all over to include the Sears (not Willis) Tower in Chicago.  Can you imagine 103 flights?  She does it and often.
Third impression I am in love with this woman.  I defy anyone to meet her and not feel the same way.


Lisa Jamison
DOB:  March 27,  Aries 
POB:  Massachusetts 
Grew Up:  Vernon, CT 
High School: Rockville HS 
High School Sports:  Drill team/Dance squad, figure skated(outside of school) 
College: University of Connecticut
Sports:  Inline Speed Skate (as an adult), Triathlon, Running

I describe you as the best LMT in the Tampa Bay area. How and why did you start with massage and sports training? 
I studied Sports Med/Athletic Training in college.  Through college I worked in the fitness industry (I was one of the early ones…”aerobic instructor”).  After college I spent time working as an athletic trainer and teacher while still doing some fitness work on the side.  At some point I could see that I wanted to spend more time working in the fitness industry, but liked the sports training model.  It seemed to me that if people could take their workouts and view them as something as they “got to do” vs what they “had to do”, our health and fitness might be more enjoyable.  I started personal training in the late 1980’s.  I moved here in 1991 and have just kept plugging along.  I read a lot, take a lot of classes, and just keep trying to throw something new into my “bag of tricks”.  I went to massage school about 8 years ago.


If you could give me one adjective to describe the feeling  you get when you are working what would it be?

I like the aspect of the day that keeps me looking for a different way to get the job done.  Maybe that’s because I need to shake things up for my own sanity, and maybe that’s because healthy clients are in their for the long haul and may get bored doing the same thing over and over again.  I can’t think of an adjective…but I do get lost in my own head while I’m working in a the quiet of massage.  While training and watching people in their setting, it’s almost like I can get in their body and feel it.  

Lisa at IMFL

When and why did you start competing in triathlon?
It was the late 90’s.  I was working with a lot of triathletes, finishing up with a stint in speed skating and looking for the next sport.  I knew I’d get involved in triathlon, but was afraid of the swim.  I didn’t rush into it.  I participated without training for a couple of years, then changed my workouts to focus on triathlon a little bit.  After a few years I started legitimately training for it.  Now it’s been a couple of years since I’ve raced.  Not sure what will happen next. 

What is one thing you love most about triathlon?
The people, the training partners, the group of people.  I really like the balance of the group training for an individual sport.  I like having to get lost in your own head in the midst of a crowd.   

After being in the business as long as you have, what possesses you to still take the classes for continuing Ed that you do?
I have to for many reasons.  I am self employed and live alone; if I don’t work, there isn’t money coming in.  I learned very early on that people’s incomes can change, and you will be the first person they give up in difficult economic times.  If I weren’t “multi-talented”, I wouldn’t work.  I always have to be looking ahead to see what else I can do.  Personally, I like a day that’s filled with different things.  I enjoy being able to train a few fitness clients, work on re-patterning a skill with an athlete, do a relaxation massage, help with injury rehab, do some yoga, and meditate.  I like group work as well as private work.  I’m a teacher at heart, so as long as somebody is learning something, I go home feeling like I made a difference

Lisa & the Goof at the Fight for Air Climb


What was the turning point for you to decide make this a career?
All through high school I volunteered in hospitals and physical therapy clinics.  I always said I wanted to work with a “well” community, or one that was injured but was motivated to come back strong.  I started working in fitness in 1981 and it’s just all evolved from there.  I’ve just had to set the path for what I’ve wanted to do.

What would you say is your greatest obstacle  you ever overcame?
There wasn’t a career in “personal training” or “corrective exercise” or even massage during my early days.  I’ve always referred to myself as a bit of a hybrid.  Now the hybrid careers are becoming more popular.  I wish I knew that…I would have saved a lot of time looking for the career that was right for me spent more time “just doing it”.

What is your greatest victory?
When I can help someone get that “a-ha” moment and their day/life/sport makes more sense

Final Impression: I want to be just like Lisa when I grow up.

Carpe Viam!!
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Tribute Tuesday #2 – Pete Amedure

Pete Amedure, Coach, Mentor, Motivator and Friend

Inspirational, motivational, challenging, generous and caring are all the adjectives I would use to describe my personal friend Pete Amedure.

The first time I met Pete I knew I was going to be in trouble of sorts.  Scott Bragan and I decided to check out a brick workout he was hosting with a number of the Team in Training athletes he was coaching at the time, and a couple of other triathletes.  I walked over to introduce myself and at first I was taken back by this big, burly, broad guy talking with this raspy voice that sounded like he just walked off the Brooklyn Bridge.  We didn’t know each other at all, but we proceeded to start our workout on the bike and after allowing Scott and to think we were superior for the first 10 miles he decided to show us who was really in command by zipping past us like we were standing still.  I was at first disgusted at myself and then I was in awe of his  explosiveness on the bike.  I continued to train with Pete and we started to become fast friends.  He also started a informal triathlon club he called the A-Train.  (A for Amedure and the fact he was from Brooklyn off the A line subway.  Get it?)

Pete and the A-Train after a difficult Brick

In 2010, the A-Train club exploded.  Why?  In all honesty because of Pete.  Pete is a spin instructor at L.A Fitness, as well as Certified Personal Trainer, and as he met athletes who were interested in triathlon he added them to an email list.  We all worked out and kept adding friends and other athletes to a point where we were hosting workouts of 20-30 people and the email list grew to about 80 members.  While anyone can pull people together once, these members kept coming back for long, grueling bike rides, harsh swims, runs that felt like they just wouldn’t end, and of course some difficult brick workouts in the middle of the Florida summers with high heat and humidity.  Why did we all come back?  One person; Pete.  He has a way of motivating and pushing athletes of all levels to their edge without making them feel inferior if they couldn’t keep up.  On long rides he would always play shepherd and leader at the same time.  If an athlete was having a bad day and just didn’t have it, Pete would double back and have them draft until they were able to catch up with the group.  The group adopted the US Military’s motto, “No one left behind” during long rides and soon we were all taking turns as the shepherd in order to allow Pete to have a good workout as well.

Not to say that training is all we do.  There have been numerous barbeques, Xmas parties, Greek Easter parties and nights out, but most of those are exceptions to the rule, because when most of us are asked to go out to the bars, or a party or clubbing on a Friday or Saturday night, we decline.  We know that 5am comes very quick and we want to be rested because we know Pete is going to bring us to our edge, and sometimes over it.  The difference between the other clubs and Pete’s A-Train?  We smile and laugh through it and enjoy every minute of it.  Pete turned us not only in to athletes, but a family as well.  We look out for each other and Pete looks out for us.

Pete loves the sauce…well the healthy sauce

DOB:  Sept 13, 1966 – Virgo

POB:   Brooklyn, NY

Grew up: Brooklyn, NY

High School: Brooklyn Tech, HS

High School sports: Swimming

College:  Brooklyn College (CUNY)

College Sports:  DRINKING

When and why did you start competing in triathlon?

2008 – It was a dare, Someone at the gym said HEY, we’re doing a triathlon out at Ft Desoto in two weeks, you should do it with us.  

What is one thing you love most about triathlon?

I love the feeling of pushing yourself to the bitter end no matter what. But most of all the camaraderie of triathletes.  During my first triathlon I remember during the run, I recall seeing an older couple.  They were each in their 60’s and still competing.  They crossed during the run, and stopped, gave each other a warm embrace and a kiss.  He then said, I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.  It was by far one of the most moving sights I have ever seen in any sport!

What made you start the A-Train?

The A-Train started as just a couple of friends, training together.  Luisa, was one of the first A-Trainers, and shortly there after Mike Walker came along.  Then in 2010, the A-Train exploded and continues to what/who we are today.

I know you teach spinning, how did you start?

I’ve been a cyclist for years and took spin classes to supplement my workouts..  Then realized how much I loved it.  It also drove me crazy when instructors  and just felt the need to get certified and teach people how to do it right!

What is the turning point in your life that made you such a leader and want to move people to their successes?

Not to sound cliche, but I read a book, it was called:  “Its Not About the Bike”  I don’t care about all the other stuff, but that book made me want to change and take charge of my life.

Pete during Ironman Haines City 70.3
What would you say is your greatest obstacle  you ever overcame?

About 10 years ago, I was 270lbs, with high blood pressure, and drank too much.  My biggest obstacle, was ME!

What is your greatest victory?

I have to say last May in Haines City FL.  Running on a stress fracture, and in in a state of total emotional disarray, there were more than a few times I almost abandoned the race.  Coming across the finish line to my waiting friends, A-Trainers and family was the greatest victory.

What are you favorite quotes?

“Victory belongs to those who believe…” 
-Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle

“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AROUND HERE” 
– Vince Lombardi

“Do or Do NOT, there is NO TRY”
-Yoda

So how in the world can you not love this guy?

CARPE VIAM!


Nick, Jamie & Pete after Haines City 70.3
The Goof and Pete

2 races in one day? – Continued

Previously I mentioned all that was; the Top Gun Triathlon for me.  Today I give you the run-down of my experience with the Twilight Triathlon I competed in that same evening.  Are you ready?  Are you in suspense?  If you said “yes” then I know you just are humoring me, but I’ll ramble on for a bit anyway.

After a little breakfast I went home and hoped to catch a nap but had no such luck.  I did chill out for a while and watched some of the Olympics, but before I knew it I had to head on over to Outspokin to pick up a ride to the tri.  I headed out with Nicky Z, both of us continually wondering what the heck we were doing.  I wasn’t really sore or anything, but I was a little exhausted.  After what seemed like forever, an hour, we showed up to what looked like a cluster fuss.  Cars lined up, making ‘U’ turns to find parking, a sheriff’s deputy telling drivers where to go and vendors still putting tents up less than hour before what was supposed to the start of the race.  We ended up really lucky and did find a parking space pretty close to transition.

Walking up to transition the announcer’s voice was hailing over the loud speaker something I never heard at a race before.  “Don’t buy anything from the food truck.  He has been trying to keep this triathlon from taking place!”  Excuse me what? Really?  A guy in a food truck doesn’t want an extra night of better than average income?  Seriously?  That ended the negativity and the following were the instructions for packet pick up, body marking, and warnings about lights on our bikes.   After picking up my packet and t-shirts, one for this race and one for the Sunrise/Sunset challenge.  Nick and I looked at each other a little surprised they were both cotton, but we were given the explanation that DRC Sports, the sponsors for the Twilight Tri, bought both shirts since Top Gun really didn’t need the extra advertising.  Oh well, no biggie.

After finishing up my setup in transition I went out to the beach to warm-up a bit and then I headed out to the water.  All I can say about that water was….YUCK!  It was very shallow, 86 degrees, murky brown and the gulf floor was mushy and full of oysters.  I was actually wishing I was back at Ft. Desoto.  Of course, I didn’t spend much time out there not that I had a lot of time anyway, since I was heat number 2.  The pre-race meeting gave us our instructions, there was a very nice rendition of the national anthem, we took a quick photo of all the athletes that had completed the Top Gun Tri and we were finally ready to race.

Nick’s wave went out first with mine three minutes behind.  It was completely psychological, but the buoys sure looked a lot farther than this morning, and they felt that way too.  I did not feel nearly as good as I did that morning which was obvious as I was three minutes slower.  I did end up making part of it up in T1 due to transition being staged much closer than Top Gun.  I was quickly back on my bike and headed out on the road.

My goal was the same stay above 20 mph and keep a cadence of 90-95.  Heading away from transition to the turnaround point there was a decent tail wind which helped me keep my speed up. Unfortunately, a tail wind on the way out means…yep…a head wind on the way back.  I tucked in and kept my cadence up the best I could, but I found myself falling at times to 18-19 mph which was disconcerting.  I did catch a couple of miles over 22 on the way back but it still kept my average to 19.8 mph which was ugly compared to my mornings ride.  I could make excuses as it was the wind, or the fact I had to slow down almost to a stop at the turnaround or even the fact I ran over a squirrel.  (I hear you…WHAT?)  Yeah, a squirrel darts across the street and literally runs right in front of me to where I had no other option that to run over it.  Luckily, I looked behind me and it got right up and ran just as fast to the nearest tree and climbed right up looking none the worse for wear.  Still it was no excuse, I just didn’t get the job done.

With a mile-and-a-half to go I saw the leader making the turn to the finish of the run.  All I thought was what a loser I was.  The guy only had a a minimal 3 minute head start on me and I wasn’t even finished with the bike and here he was on his way back to the finish line.  What a beast that Zach guy is. Anyway, I sped into transition changed my shoes and headed out.

It was the complete mirror image of my run earlier that day except in slow motion.  I felt like I had nothing in my legs until the turnaround and then they finally stretched out and I was able to pick up my cadence on the way back in.   I will say the sunset on the way back the finish was gorgeous as was the good amount of extra protein I ingested on the way back due to the overwhelming amount of mosquitoes.  No wonder I wasn’t that hungry after the race. Anyway, I ended up averaging around an 8:30 which was a little over a minute slower than earlier.  Oh well, in all fairness it was my second race of the day and even though I was planning on bringing my effort level down, my ego got a hold of me and that just didn’t happen.  I said it before and I will say it again…more bricks, more bricks, more bricks.

It was pretty uneventful after that.  Nick got a massage from these two women and finally understood why Scott Bragan and I have been singing Lisa Jamison’s (http://www.liftperformanceenhancement.com) praises for over a year.  in my opinion, massage should be a part of anyone’s training plan that trains hard more than 3 days a week.  We packed up, grabbed some food, Gatorade and took the long ride home.

Overall; I don’t think I would’ve wanted to spend the day any differently.  Great workouts, good friends and the feeling of accomplishment.  What could possibly be better?

So here we go!!

It’s January 9th and I have been trying to provide a base now since November 6th.  I think I am doing pretty well.  I couldn’t swim 600 yards without changing up strokes from freestyle to sidestroke, to breaststroke.  Now I can go about 800 yards with strictly freestyle..at least in a pool.  Yesterday, January 8th 2011, I ran the Disney Half-Marathon without stopping in 1:59:32.  It is not great, but not that this is an excuse, but it was extremely crowded and I was in the very back of the pack.  Last week I cycled 40 miles, with a 5K run at the end.  I think as far as my endurance factor goes I am a little a head of the game.

Background
Just to give the story as to why.  People think I am nuts…why train for an event where you swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles and then run a marathon?  It started two years ago.  I had been working my ass off 12 -15 hour days including weekends.  I was feeling drained and I was due for a physical with a complete blood workup.  Dr. Gold basically said I was in horrible shape.  My cholesterol was high, my triglycerides were high, my good cholesterol was low, my sugar was high…I am sure the picture was obvious.  This was only 3 years after separating for the second time from the military.  I couldn’t believe I let myself get so out of shape.
Kim and I were walking around Hyde Park Village about three weeks later and we walked past Lifestyles Family Fitness.  There was a poster in the window for a Boot Camp Class. We went in and contracted to use the gym, I enrolled in Boot Camp and Kim hired a personal trainer to get her started again.  Well, from the first class I was hooked.  They had these teasers prior to the beginning of the real class and it was an intense 35 minutes of cardio, strength training, agility, stability and core exercises.  I loved it, coming from a military background where this is what we did everyday.  The difference was the emphasis on form and injury reduction. Well, the instructors, Nicole Sturtze, and Zach Thompson were a hell of lot nicer than my drill sergeants.  Two days a week for an hour I put 100% effort and sweat-ed profuciously and loved it.  One Monday morning, my eyes popped open at 5:30am and I was wide awake.  I thought, eh why not go for a run.  I ran for four miles and felt like a million dollars.  The next day after boot camp I saw a flyer for another class called Punch & Crunch, and thought, eh why not give it a try.  Melissa Trinidad was teaching, and I knew she was one of the top trainers at the gym, not to mention she was really cute.  Again, I was hooked after the first class.  Boxing paired with cardio and core was awesome.  Within a month of starting to work out twice a week, I had now more than doubled my workouts to 5 days a week.  Monday, I ran or worked out on my own, Tuesday & Thursday was Boot Camp, Wednesday and Saturday was Punch & Crunch, Friday and Sunday I took off.  Next, a friend in Boot Camp told me about this Hot Yoga down the street from the gym.  I never sweated so much in my life and felt so rejuvenated afterward.  Now I was at 6 days a week.  
Next came the game changer – Scott Bragan, another Boot Camp friend, started mentioning the Chicago Marathon and how he was doing it for charity.  The PKD foundation.  Perocystic Kidney Disease.  His mother-in-law had a transplant, his wife was diagnosed with it, and his daughter had a 50/50 chance of coming down with it because she carried the gene.  My need to help kicked in, so I decided to talk to him about it, and before I knew it we had 10 members of Team Tampa PKD and were starting a plan to fund raise to a goal of $25,000!!  With that we also trained together.  Two six week sessions of boot camp, combined with Punch & Crunch, and Yoga allowed my first training run, to be 9 miles.  I couldn’t believe I was starting to train for a marathon and I could already comfortably run 9 miles.  I was jazzed.  
Well, Scott also mentioned another activity he did…Triathlons.  I had partaken in a couple of triathlons in high school and I enjoyed them, so I thought, what a great way to break up the training for the marathon by swimming and biking and participating in a couple of sprint triathlons as well.  I ended up participating in two that summer, the Mease Plant Point and the Top Gun and loved them…well…except for the swim.  I just wanted to get that over with. 
We did end up raising the 25000 bucks and then some and everyone finished the marathon with decent times, except for me.  I ended up injuring myself two weeks before with a herniated disc at L5/S1 and was in recovery during the marathon.  I did go to Chicago that weekend and I did take some great pics, and cheer on my team, but I was really bummed.  That was October 2009.
Since then I have been in a few more small races, 5Ks and 10Ks, a couple of half-marathons, three more triathlons and have continued to train.  I have not missed a boot camp session since then and I feel I am pretty good shape.  Last November a friend from a running group I have been running  with, the Blue Sharks, told me she did a couple of Full Ironman Triathlons.  I was really impressed.  She then mentioned she was going to volunteer at the Florida Ironman and asked if I wanted to go.  I thought it would be really cool to see all these elite athletes do this incredible event.  I went and had an awesome time and got hooked.  I was in the transition tent from the Bike to the Run and the Pro-athletes came in and they were systematic and quick.  Then the age-groupers came in and some of them were the same as the pros and some of them just took there time, had a break and then continued on to the run.  I was enthralled at the amount of people, and all the types of people that were going through this event.  Of course the next part is what really hooked me.  About 9pm we all decided to hang out at the finish line.  Let me preface this by saying the race started at 7 am, so this was 14 hours after the start of the race…Four…teen…..hours! Teresa (the culprit who hooked me into this) said this was the best part of the race because this is the “regular” people finished.  The people who had regular jobs, kids, responsibilities that had to fit all this training in apart from that.  Coming over the finish line were women and men in excess of 280 pounds, a blind man, a disabled man, men and women in excess of 60 years old, and my favorite a 16 time age grouper that was 76.  Yes, that’s right SEVENTY-SIX years old and he came over the finish line before the cut-off of 17 hours.  There are those people like myself who do not look there age.  There are seventy-six year olds out there whom look fifty or even 60.  No…this guy looked the all of seventy-six he was.  This is what got me hooked…if they could do it…I definitely could do it.   
The plan
I have to mention that I really do not want to be racing for 17 hours.  If I finish it in 16 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds…I will be happy that I completed it, but I really do not want to be racing for that long.  I found a guy Ben Greenfield who is an awesome athlete and a very knowledgeable athlete whom has developed a plan to get average joes like me through the Ironman with an acceptable amount of training hours that might not completely infringe on my responsibilities.  I also have met with a swim coach, my doctor, my chiropractor and a license massage therapist whom is also a bio-mechanics expert and a USAT Level 1 certified trainer.  With all this support, I hope to conquer this quest.  
At the moment I am doing my own base training right now, with an emphasis on getting comfortable in the saddle of my bike, and becoming relaxed and efficient in the water.  Ben’s plan is a 36 week plan, so it does not actually start until the last week in February.  I have increased my weekday workouts from an hour to two in order to get my body used to working hard longer, and continue to do boot camp.
Here is to hoping my plan works out, and no injuries or re-injuries will stop me.
Live Strong, Finish Stronger!!!