A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Friday, July 5, 2019

TGIF Summer Coffee Musings

The dark roast coffee is good today. Maybe because I scored myself a free one this morning.


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The Milltown 5K race yesterday was decent. After a "not-so-easy" easy 5 mile run yesterday that still has my legs sore and achy from Ironman, I ran about 75-80% effort to play it safe. I scored a 22:37 which isn't bad. I also hit the podium for the first time in my new age group (50-59), getting 2nd place.
So recovery is finally happening.

My legs are fine today, so I think I'll be ready to resume some hard training starting tomorrow. The strategy now is for short hard workouts for the swim and bike for my 3 triathlons which are Olympic Distance or shorter starting late July, and long trail runs for UTMB at the end of August. And I have to keep my weight down since that will be critical for UTMB.

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I'll be running 12 miles in the Rutgers Eco-Preserve tomorrow, starting at around 7AM.

UTMB suddenly is looming!

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It was nice for Anne S. to acknowledge my birthday with a Guinness beer. I was surprised how large the bottle was. And I was surprised at how I finished it off pretty quickly too. I guess when it's 90 degrees and finished with a 5K run, I can become quite thirsty. 🍺😁
Thanks Anne!

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I hope everyone enjoyed their July 4 celebrations. It actually had been quite lovely last night with the fireworks on Staten Island but was grateful that everything fell silent by 10PM.

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Unlike previous autumn running seasons in which I just stopped racing altogether, I figure I'll be active in local races and stay quite active through the winter. I don't have to put exhaustive ultras or Ironman triathlons on my calendar, but sticking with shorter distance races for maintenance through the off season will help keep my edge and keep my weight down. It might help focus for the 2020 season a bit better too.

That means I'll be fully active with the 50s team in the fall. I might even consider doing that Grand Prix "long distance" 1 miler in August (Midland Mile).
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There was a 70 year old man that is accused of cheating in some marathons, and there seems to be a lot of evidence against him.

And now ABC is reporting that they found him dead in the LA river.

WTH?!

They're not sure what the cause of death is, but suicide isn't ruled out.
I wouldn't be surprised either if it was suicide.

Remember, running is a lifestyle for most of us. We runners do stake our athletic reputations on our past races.

When that reputation is tarnished, the whole world around us could collapse. The runners that we surround ourselves with will look askance at us, and online running forums can turn quite nasty.

TGIF Summer Coffee Musings
It's not a very good situation. As a matter of fact, the constant insults that can be thrown by fellow runners can push anyone over the edge.

A couple of points I make from this. Firstly, it's not worth cheating. It really isn't. If you're honest and wind up not qualifying for Boston, or getting a world record, or even a PR, it's not the end of the world. Plus, it's comforting that all the times you did in races came honestly.

Second, and this goes for all of us, if we do catch a person cheating, it's really best not to insult the runner, whether in person or online. There are efforts nowadays to stop bullying tactics from our children. I think it applies to adults as well.

Although most of us don't understand the reasoning behind cheating in races, it does happen. I am glad they are called out for it, but hopefully we can give these people a little room to atone for it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Start of Ironweek Coffee Musings

I'm jacked on coffee after waking up at 2AM.


I'm packing! 🛄🛄

Getting everything together can be an agonizing process. There are some small yet essential things that have to be packed in for triathlon.

That's how life with a bike is like. It's a high maintenance machine that needs to be pampered for it to work. It needs lots of attention and a lot of money needs to be thrown at it so that it doesn't give you headaches.

Kind of like a girlfriend. 😜

Hopefully it will help me through the Ironman bike segment with ease. And hopefully the headaches will be worth it.


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I'm wearing the New Milford 5K shirt today while I drink my coffee. It's quite nice! This was the race I ran on Saturday. I did get a tad under 7 minutes per mile pace in this race, and I was very pleased with that
.
I actually enjoyed a 5K race. Okay, you can shoot me now! That's not supposed to happen! 🤣

That doesn't mean I'm giving up the long stuff for 5K races!

This definitely is nice cotton shirt from that race. In a time where 90% of the races give away tech shirts (I have too many of them), a cotton shirt is something I can really appreciate.

Hint, hint...RDs? You listening? Cotton shirts are NICE. Hint, hint...

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I've notified most of the athletes I'm coaching and I'll post this here. Ireland has good WiFi, so it should not be a problem to contact me via FB Messenger and emails. I know T-Mobile can be reached worldwide, but I'm not sure of the costs with my particular plan. If it is expensive I will use another sim card to keep costs down. That means SMS text and calls will NOT reach me from this Wednesday to next Wednesday. So try not to text me during that period.

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One last thing...if you see a remark from me at 3AM tomorrow or Wednesday, that means I'm up.

Yep, I've placed myself on European time starting this morning. Yep, I'm already up around 6 hours today. I'll be going to sleep around 6PM each night until I leave on Wednesday.

If I'm going to start this race at what will be 1AM Eastern Time here, I gotta minimize the jet lag, right?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Dreary Rainy Tuesday Coffee Musings



This is the first morning in a long time that I didn't train in the morning. It's a strange feeling, this feeling of unproductivity.

I don't think I like it.

I had a bike slated for this morning. I'm currently trying to clean it up for the Ironman in 12 days and I don't want to ride it in the rain.

I do have my old bike but that's in the middle of being overhauled and repaired for the fall and winter months.

And it's supposed to clear up, so I figure I get my ride done in Johnson Park when the weather clears before going over to the Summer Series this evening.

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About the Summer Series, I thought long and hard and decided not to do it this year. Though I'll be there to volunteer full time for three of the four races.

It's both financial and timing issues that helped me make my decision. The races I'll be undertaking this year are quite expensive endeavors, with two overseas trips. So I need the bulk of the money to be placed in with those trips, including travel insurance. The insurance is pricey, but is much needed here.

The timing is bad also; I already have one 5K to do this weekend (New Milford) and I don't want to overextend myself with another 5K this week.

Plus, I won't be around for the second race, and the third and fourth races will be coming at a critical time when I have to concentrate on USA Triathlon National Championships and UTMB.

I'm glad to stick around to volunteer though, so I can do whatever the RD wants me to do. 🙂

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I'm glad to see that Tom O'Reilly has gotten a very good diagnosis on his brain cancer, that it has shrunk significantly.

While I think the radiation and the chemo have a play in this, I really think that it's the positive vibes that he continually gets from friends and family that is making the difference here. I wish him the best in his continued progress.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Fitness Sunday Coffee Musings



I love the community I'm a part of. 

Seems like everyone is doing different and fun things with their fitness this weekend.

One person got a big PR in his triathlon yesterday. Congrats Johnathan on the Mighty Montauk Triathlon feat!

 Johnathon on his bike

Some people I know participating in Ironman 70.3 Maryland right now. Sorry that they had to cancel the swim portion due to Small Craft Advisory but you definitely got the bike and run Kenny and Alison.

 Kenny finishing Ironman 70.3 Eagleman

I knew several people participating in the first race of the Staten Island Triple Crown. Good luck Lisa in the Ollis 5K today.

 Lisa at the Ollis 5K

Lisa also participated with Karen at the NYRR Women's Mini 10K race yesterday. Great job ladies!

And of course the real hearty runners are participating in the Midnight Squatch Festival 12 hour race, including Elaine. Just 4 hours left Elaine! Make every minute count.

 The RDs at Sassquad, finishing up their 12 hour race.

One person I know is riding his first century in South Jersey, raising money for cancer awareness. Good luck Alexandre!!!

 Alexandre just finished his 101 mile ride!

Last, but not least, a group led by Marc was running around the streets of Brooklyn yesterday taking pictures of newlywed couples with new recruits of his Wedding Hashers. 14 couples! Wow.

 The Wedding Hashers found 14 newlyweds to take a picture with!

These are the friends I surround myself with. I'm pretty blessed to be part of this community who embrace this fit lifestyle not just for competition, but for fun. 🙂

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As for my personal endeavors, it was time to put the new Continental 5000 tires on my wheels yesterday, then test them on my bike/run brick today. The ride went flawless, and the tires ride smoothly.

 Ah, the new Conti tires!

As for the brick itself, the 20 mile ride and the 5 mile run felt really, really short compared to the long rides and runs this past week. The brick was nice and relaxed, and I thoroughly enjoyed the shorter run off the bike.

I'm going to enjoy this taper! 😁

I just have to make sure I eat less to match the cut back in the training. I don't want to gain unneeded weight in the last 2 weeks.

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I opted for travel insurance for this trip. The trip covers the bike (if lost or damaged), medical, trip delays, etc. The insurance is from World Nomads, which specialize in insurance for endurance athletes.

It was over $100 for the coverage, but after having recurring nightmares of receiving a broken bike, or no bike, in Ireland, I decided to break for it.

I'll be using this insurance for UTMB as well. It'll be cheaper, around $60, as I won't need coverage for a bike in that race.

Still, I feel relieved after plunking down the cash for it. Piece of mind is everything, right?

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Have a great Sunday people. Make sure you get outside and do something on this beautiful day! 😀

Friday, June 7, 2019

☕☕ National Donut Day Coffee Musings☕☕



I know it's an unhealthy treat but after having a great week of training, it's safe to say that I earned it. 🍩😁🍩
Basically anyone can get a free donut with a coffee today at DD. I'll take it.



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The last training challenge has been cleared! Two 50 mile rides in as many days.
The first one was on Wednesday. I had no problem keeping the speed up over 20MPH. As a matter of fact, I was holding back a little knowing I had to do it again the very next day.

I'm glad I did hold back!

The second 50 miler was a different story. The legs were clearly more tired, so I managed to keep it close to 19.5MPH for 30 miles.

That was when I put the hammer down.

The last 20 miles were close to 21MPH to finish the ride at 20.1MPH average. It hurt like hell to maintain that speed, but I wanted to know the limits of my fitness on this ride. I have to make sure that my Ironman race strategy works with my present fitness.

Anyway, after a good swim this morning, all I have is a 14 mile run tomorrow and a bike/run brick on Sunday and I'll be into my taper!

I'm chomping at the bit to play in Ireland!!!

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Meanwhile my swim continues to improve. A short workout of 3x400 freestyle with paddles yielded 5:37 (good time), 5:34 (great time), and 5:26 (holy shit time!). If I don't come out towards the front after the swim, something must have gone wrong. 🙃



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I have the bib number 1900 for the race. That's a good number. And everyone I know agrees.
A quick look into the number shows the following tidbits:
One of the factors is 50 (50x38). Yep, I'll be 50 years old when I race.
It's the largest 3 letter palindrome in Roman numerals (MCM). I'm not sure if that is good or not, but it's fascinating. 😁
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That's really about it. Enjoy your donut today. Just make sure you swim or bike or run today so that you earn it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wednesday Post-Apocalyptic Coffee Musings

Wednesday Post-Apocalyptic Coffee Musings

Is it over?




Even when I'm enjoying my coffee I have to look up every now and then for falling hail.

Seriously, that was intense last night. The hail was making a thunderous rumble throughout the entire place.

I swore that if I saw locusts then I knew it would definitely be the end of days.
I would have broken out the good alcohol. 😁

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Severe t-storms are forecast for tonight too. I'm going to the supermarket to get some bread and milk! 😬🤣

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If you had a long running streak going and you had a tornado warning at 11:45PM, would you go out for a run?
Would you put your life in jeopardy to keep a streak alive?

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My Ironman Ireland training is drawing to a close! One long 35 mile run with the club this Saturday (RVRR Train Run) and two consecutive 50 mile rides next week and I'm into my taper!

It's been great. In some aspects I'm living my life as I did in my 20s again. I'm back in excellent shape and I have the mental confidence that I had back then.
I regained some of my old swagger that I did back then.

I still have to do the race itself, but in some aspects, the race is the culmination and the celebration of the work I put in. I always tell that to my athletes right before their races, but this year just drove home the whole point again.

For any athlete, just to be able to toe the start line means he or she already has the confidence to finish the race.

That's a victory right there.

Finishing the race is just the cherry on top.

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I want to congratulate everyone who participated in the Tuesday track training program this spring. The program drew to a close last night.

A lot of people have told me that they have already seen great results of the program. That makes me extremely happy.

Just a mention to paid #RVRR members that next Tuesday (June 4) at Donaldson Park is the Pre-Summer Series Prediction Run at Donaldson Park at 7PM. Tim Morgan will be there to direct the run.

Basically each runner guesses the time he or she will finish, then run the 5k XC course. No watches would be allowed.

Whoever comes close to his or her predicted time will be the winner and will receive a gift certificate.

The following Tuesday, June 11, is the first Summer Series race. Everyone is encouraged to register! Here is the link: https://www.rvrr.org/races/summer-series

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Lastly, there will be a fall marathon track program, starting in August. With all the travel I'm doing, I'll be busy trying to arrange a schedule that will work. All those who have participated in the past will be updated by email.

If you are new to the program and have a marathon or a half marathon in the fall and want to excel at it, you can PM me so that I can put you on the list.

Friday, May 24, 2019

TGIF Memorial Weekend Musings



I'll start off by giving a shout out to all those who died fighting for our country. Those are the people who made sure I have a pretty good life focusing on fitness and competition instead of going hungry and wondering if I'll ever eat again. It doesn't go unnoticed by me that I'm one of the lucky ones that live in a strong country that knows how to defend itself. It takes sacrifice by our strongest people, and I appreciate everything they did.


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Wow, the sun will be shining here in the Northeast!

It was a different story last year.

For the Navesink Swim we had thunderstorms that morning, forcing the delay of the race.

Yep... thunderstorms and swimming do not mesh well.

So we waited in our cars, hoping the race doesn't get cancelled. It took a little longer than an hour but even though it was still raining heavily, the dangerous lightning left the area.

Since a lot of people decided to can the swim, the RD just condensed the rest of us into one wave, and off we went!

The race had a 1.2 mile (1 loop) and a 2.4 mile distance (2 loops). The water was quite choppy, especially in the back end of the loop. Despite that, I was getting into a rhythm into the first loop that carried over into the second. Despite the unbelievable chop in the back end of the second loop, I came in around 9th place if I remember correctly, around 61-62 minutes.

I had fun. Jennifer Montemurro, I'm sure you had fun on that crazy day too. 😁
This year looks a whole lot different. It's going to be sunny and 86 degrees.
That also means a larger crowd will be out there; more competition for the awards.

But I'm also much stronger than last year. I'm hoping to finish this race in 55 minutes. It will be a first good indicator of my triathlon prowess this year.
I feel I also have the swagger of a national caliber triathlete. I'm pretty much brimming with confidence.

I'm going to be on that podium, and you're going to have to force me off to get an award.

Jenn will be back this year also; after finishing her first triathlon last year, an Olympic Distance race no less, I'm sure she will be brimming with confidence also. 😁

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There's an article floating around about how trail runners don't help maintain the trails they run on. It was written by a person who does mountain bike on the trails.

I am a member of both groups, although I can count with my fingers how many times I used my mountain bike last year.

I do understand that this article is a call to have trail runners hold their end to maintain the trails that they run on. And he does make some valid points.
But calling trail runners "lazy parasites" is not constructive at all.

Leave the name calling to our "representatives" of both political parties in the cesspool of Washington. I think we can try to be a bit more civilized than those people.

Plus, it just shuts down any constructive debate that the article is trying to start.
Listen, I understand that the title gives a "shock value" to the article. Generally, it seems like that's the strategy nowadays. And it does make people talk about it, like I'm doing right now.

But it already puts people on the defensive and angry, and they will overlook the message that the article is trying to convey.

There is such a thing called tact, and if the author is really trying to send a message to the trail runners, skip the name calling.

He might find the trail runners might be more receptive to that.