Monday, February 27, 2006

Off and running...(not skipping)

Well, another week of training has gone by down here in Clermont and everything is coming together pretty well. Here are some highlights of the past week:

***On Wednesday I rode with Joanna Zeiger and had a blast. Hopefully we'll do it again this summer, when I get to Boulder.

***Earlier in the week Justin and I had our run workouts at the NTC. I just worked out that we were there at the same time as a few local cheer/dance teams who were doing their thing on the track to the tune of "YMCA." After my workout of an hour of aerobic running, I came back to the track and asked how Justin's skipping and sprinting drills had gone, he said that the sprinting went well and that he couldn't bring himself to skip in front of the little girls. I told him that they would have loved it...if those girls had seen an elite athlete skipping around the track, he would have been the coolest runner that any of them had ever seen. In fact, they may have even come out to join him! Oh well, I'll have to take up the skipping duty next time out, my kindergarten class gave me plenty of practice.

***On Thursday I was out running in the orange groves again, this time alone with some tunes playing in the iPod. It was fairly warm and about 4miles in, I looked ahead on the road and saw what I thought was a stick. As I got closer, I realized it was a snake. At probably 5ft long, it was the biggest snake that I had ever seen. Turns out it was a Pine Snake which can actually grow to almost 90 inchest in length.

At mile 8 of my run I looked ahead off to the side of the road and noticed some smaller white boxes. "Wonder what those are?" I thought. As I got closer I noticed more and more "bugs," only to realize they were bees and the white boxes were hives. My dad once had an apple orchard, so i knew they probably would bother me, as long as I didn't aggrivate them. After maxing my heartrate out to get over the next hill, I managed to get past with out any stings.

***On Sunday we raced the Tampa Bay Half Marathon. We drove over in the morning before the race in pouring rain and thunderstorms. The rain finally eased a bit and after a 30min delay, we were off in the sauna like conditions. I didn't rest much for the race, but was still happy will the result. I finished 5th overall in a time of 1:15:50. Results can be found here:


In other news, I want to say congrat's to my brother, Eric. He is one of the most disciplined people that I have ever met. I has a passion for academia and it is paying off. He found out that he got into Yale Graduate School today, he hasn't decided on what he will do next year, but WAY TO GO MAN!!! I owe you a few beers next time that I am in town! I miss you!

That is all for now...


Monday, February 20, 2006

Thankful for...

This afternoon was really the first "easy" ride that I have had down here since I arrived about 10 days ago. I really took notice to a lot of things.

First, Florida can be really beautiful when you are away from the sprawl that seems to be everywhere. It seems as though there are lakes in every direction and down every road. If you are away from traffic, it is actually quite peaceful. There are citrus groves ALL_OVER down here, it adds a color to the country side and an aroma to the air.

I have also notice other things that really make me thankful for what I have. Florida, is probably one of the hottest and most uncomfortable places in the country for much of the spring/summer/fall months. There are some houses here that aren't any larger than some people's living rooms. The houses are falling apart, the yards are not kepts up and I doubt whether many of them have even a window air conditioner. I remember growing up and feeling uncomfortable(sleeping with a washcloth on our forehead) though some of the warmer summer months in Wisconsin, and we had a window air conditioner downstairs. These people have heat and humidity that is far worse and they have to deal with it for months on end. It is really humbling.


On the training side of things, I kept it rolling today with a hard swim in the morning which was my fastest day to date in the water. It is really encouraging to see. Swimming with Joanna Zeiger a few lanes down and having a former Russian National Team swimmer on deck helps things alot! Maybe tomorrow we will be able to swim without feeling like we are in a cloud(due to fog).

I will have pic's posted in the next few weeks.

From the words of my stepdad, John, tonight:

"Eat well, sleep well, stay healthy, and don't sweat the small stuff."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

One Week Down...

Well, I just finished up my first week of training down here in Clermont with a little over 33 hours in the books. I have to say that I was bit tired through a lot of it, but have started to feel better as the week went on.

On Saturday, JD and I decided to race the Clermont 10k. We both ended up having good days for racing through a higher volume training week. I took first in 34:21 and Justin came across second, making it a solid 1-2 finish. We decided that going 1-2 as often as possible throughout the season, regardless of order, would be pretty sweet. After a post race bagel or two we found some nice trails that we will definitely be back for. Results for the race can be found at:

Coming up I have the Tampa Bay Half Marathon next Sunday and then Florida's Great Escape Triathlon on March 5.

Let The Games Begin...


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ohhh The Sun...

...finally I feel like I have arrived in Florida. Our hardest day of training so far, but the pain was eased a bit by sunny skies and temp's in the mid 70's. The morning went well even though my arms were no where to be found during our 3,000 yard time trial as our mainset. When you aren't swimming well, it is NOT a fun workout...but you don't think, you just swim.

After an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins to help the re-coop, we had a 14k run which ended with a few strides. Our ride this afternoon was flat and I actually felt quite good. About 90-100 minutes of steady (230-260 watts) riding inserted in the middle.

Tonight we took a trip to Outback Steakhouse to use some of Jeager's (Justin's) b-day goodies. It was a nice mental break in the middle of our week. Also nice not having to cook on a night when you a tired. Tomorrow the fun begins at St. Leo University with the swim team. It is nice swimming with faster swimmers and a coach on deck.

Not much else to write, but I hear everyone back in the Mad-city is bracing for a snowstorm...stay warm and speaking of, I miss everyone and hope you are doing well.

More to come soon.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Clermont, Wisconsin ?????

If you would have told me that after I left Wisconsin I would still need my arm warmers on the bike, I would have laughed. It is a good thing that you didn't, becuase I have had to wear them the last 2 days. We rode 100k yesterday with the temp in the 40's and winds that were gusting well over 40mph. Our ride was a bit better today, but tonight the temps are suppose to dip down into the 20's. No worries though, 80*F may be possible by Thursday.

I am starting to get into the swing of things and feel like I will be able to get a routine down by the end of the week. The National Trianing Center's pool will hopefully open in the next day of two, I should know a few solid bike routes and the orange groves are becoming my favorite place to run.

In other news, I met Joanna Zeiger and Sheila Tormina lastnight at the neighbors. For those of you that don't know them, they are both olympians and training here in the area for the season. When you see athletes of that quality, you know you are in the right place. There aren't many top tier triathletes in Wisconsin, especially in February.

That's it for tonight. I'll write more soon....


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Orange, oranges and more oranges

Today we had a long run on a dirt road that ran through endless groves of oranges, really refreshing...literally. It was fairly windy and probably about 65* when we finished our run. I made the comment to JD that the back stretch seemed a bit warm. He gave me a strange look and said something to the extent of, "that isn't warm, just wait dude." 65* isn't warm, but it is 60* warmer than the running I had been doing in WI.

After our run we met a few other local athletes who are going to join us on our long ride tomorrow. It is going to be cool for FL, probably 50's, but anything is better than the 30* I had to deal with back in WI.


After a few days here I am starting to enjoy things more and more. The National Training Center is just up the road and it cool being able to train close to athletes that are currently at the top of our sport. As soon as the pool at the center re-opens I have a feeling I will meet many many as I can, this is a goal of mine that I have for 2006. There is also a coffee shop that may have a few hours available for PT work that I am going to check into. My job previously as Starbucks may turn out to help me in this situation. Every penny counts right now.

I am getting use to a pace in life that is a little slower than what I have been use to. The Olympic Games, reading and napping have been some my favorites during recovery hours.

I hope everyone is doing well and that is all from the Sunshine State which is cloudy at the moment!


Friday, February 10, 2006

Chocolate Milkshakes and Unicorns

Sorry to anyone that has tried to call...the first morning that I woke up down here my phone died. I have to send it back to Wisconsin and wait for a new one to be shipped down. Until then, it is email.

Yesterday was a JD's 25th and we went to Universal for a little roller coaster entertainment. We went with 2 friends of Justin, Stacy and Sara. It was quite entertaining with highlights that included cramming into a unicorn roller coaster car that was designed for 6 year old girls. The idea of going to Universal was to get to know J a little better, which was good...but next time we'll leave out the unicorns. The second highlight included returning to our car only to find a chocalate milkshake poured over the entire left side by a guy who decided that he didn't enjoy the fact the Stacy had pointed out he parked a bit too close in his tank. The best part was that he was there with his wife and two kids.


Today was the first day of training which included an 8k aerobic test at the track. Very monotonis, but I am finding that having a training partner makes the workouts that are mentally challenging a little bit easier.

The afternoon consisted of a swim TT of which I screwed up a bit by breathing bilaterally during the final 500, I didn't realize I should TT it and swim as fast as I could reguardless of my breathing pattern. The swim workout was 5x400 on 5:30 steady and then a 500 hard. I was pleased with how I didn't fatigue through the 400's. Followed the swim up with a strength session and then watched the local Y diving team rip off some impressive dives, some from the 10m platform. Tomorrow is a long run and long ride on Sunday with 2hrs of AET work.

That's all for now...

Monday, February 06, 2006

A New Beginning

Well, I have finally made it to "Land of the Palm Trees." I am living in Clermont, FL with elite triathlete and friend, Justin Daerr( We will be here until May 1, when we will leave for Boulder. After a short homestay there we will go up high, and I mean high as in the house is at 9,550ft, in Crested Butte, CO with Justin's parents. We are both in similar situations with similar goals and should be able to contribute to and push each other to the next level. He told me once, "This sport is hard enough, we are better off working together, than against each other." BTW, thanks to Justin for setting things up.

So that is the plan...and how do I feel about it? You know how you felt before something really big in your life? Your first Ironman, or your first day at school or on a new job? That's where I am at. Excited, anxious and nervious, but also confident, calm and relieved put together.

This is new for me. I have always done my thing solo. Never really talked at length or in depth with others about my passion, except online or through emails. I have never trained with a swim squad, never ridden with others regularly and never shared a place with someone who has a lifestyle that mirrors my own. Now I get to do all of it and I am really excited to see what it is all about.

I am also relieved to have gotten to this point. I graduated with my undergrad in December and through the last year I have jumped some through some hoops to get here. I experienced my first (hopefully last) injury, I got Lyme Disease from a hunting weekend last spring, I had a major crash on my bike and went through times when I doubted if this is what I wanted in life. By no means are these things hard or even "hoops" for some that are far worse off, but they were all things that I had to deal with (Just keeping perspective here).

I have high expectations for the year in some reguard, but I am also viewing this year as a learning process. It is a year to network, listen, learn and set things up for the future.

This is what I have dreamed about for so long, I have nothing else to worry about. I don't have too much on my plate and I have the support from those that mean the most to me. My mom and step-dad especially realize that I feel this is my calling in life and they are contributing and enabling me to pursue my dream. I owe them so much for this.

Thank you to everyone that is believing in me and I am dedicating this season to those that have infuenced me the most. John Bailiff, who has taught me so much of what I know....most importantly that little part called swimming! Tom Wencel, who got me bitten by the triathlon bug and basically gave me my first bike. Also, of course my mom and stepdad!

I am anxious to get rollin'. I have a few fitness tests and a longer ride and run before the first big week of 35 hrs or so. I looking forward to updating you on how things are progressing.

Off to bed...