Eat the elephant one bite at a time 

I started my run on Sunday morning, and I wasn’t more than 20 steps in when I began to hear the voices. My legs are really sore. Why does this feel so hard if I’m running so slow? How am I going to do today’s workout feeling like this? Was that noise my joints popping?!  Ugh. It’s windy.  You know these voices, right? I bet you’ve heard them a time or a hundred. The day before, I had ridden four hours at a base ironman effort – but with a series of FTP intervals interspersed throughout. Fifty-five minutes worth of …

Philadelphia Freedom

As I ran the final 10k of the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon, the wind swirled, but thankfully at this point, mostly in a tailwind direction. A smile snaked its way around my face. I felt ah-maze-ing. My careful pacing paid off. I felt the strongest I had ever felt in the final 10k of a marathon. Truthfully: it was the best I had felt running in a year or so! I ran the first half of the marathon with a fair bit of discipline – which is challenging when you feel fresh, and the spectators that line the city streets entice you to push …

Burning Nomads

One of the things that I like about big goals and dreaming big is the way the thought of the goal itself sets a spark that lights a fire in my core. The fire focuses me. It excites me. It lets me know I’m alive. The last big fire went out the second the announcer at Ironman Louisville said my name to step right up and grab my golden ticket to the big show in Kona. The relief washed over me with the same intensity as the fire that burned to get me there. Since that day, however, I haven’t even …

Force of Nature, Power of Experience: Running Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. I gingerly peered over the side of the North Kaibab trail, which runs from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon down (about 5,600 feet down) to the Colorado River. As I looked down, I saw the Grand Canyon jig and jag from millions of years of evolutionary change. I looked up and saw the cliffs reach upward to the sky, as if praising the sun and the clouds. And, there I was somewhere in the middle of this expanse, nothing but a molecular speck, clinging …

The 9% Solution: Take the Tough Option

Last year, my coach Vince scheduled a treadmill-specific hill workout that had a series of different inclines, from 3% to 9%. As if the changing incline wasn’t enough, I did each interval at the same pace (approximately tempo effort) – without any recovery interval throughout the duration of the workout, which was typically 45 minutes. Despite the lack of a recovery interval, it’s amazing how a 3% incline at tempo effort can feel like a recovery after a 9% interval. The first time I did this workout, the 9% interval crushed me. And, when I say crushed, I mean smoke blowing …

Cadence – It’s Not Just for Cycling

The very first time I got on a road bike, I put it into one of the heaviest gears, and mashed those pedals around the Pine Barrens of South Jersey for two hours. I’m guessing my cadence couldn’t have been much more than 60-65 rpm. This story is a common one – especially for runners who start cycling. Runners just love to mash and grind, don’t we? If it doesn’t hurt, we can’t possibly be doing it correctly, right? Thankfully, those more experienced at the time than I taught me to stop being such a schmuck. So, I lightened up the …

A Pretty Big Run with a Pretty Important Meaning

There has to be more to life than going to work, spending money, and complaining about the weather. At least, I certainly hope there is. Life must mean something–or even a whole lot of somethings. The actions we take and the paths we make have to contribute to some greater good, whether that is through supporting others, improving social justice, or just simply being a positive influence. Endurance sport adds considerable meaning to my life. But, the significance of running and triathlon goes well beyond the physical acts of training and racing. Sure, the human body is pretty amazing, and I’ve learned …

Yes, running hurts, but it’s just pain

Ironman training is hard. But, more than anything, Ironman training involves loooonnngggg hours. Ultramarathon training doesn’t have as much volume – but oh boy, it packs a much more painful punch. It’s been a few years since I trained for an ultramarathon, and after the third or fourth looooonnnnggggg run, I remembered just how painful ultra running can be. But, let’s be honest, here. The pain is part of what I like about it. Yes. Running hurts. But, that’s living, as the nerves fire and the muscles strain. With each footfall, you get a very tactile sense of the kinetic …

The fog lifts to reveal the present moment

The last two months have been busy. In fact, I haven’t been this busy since I-don’t-remember-when (which explains the poorly updated blog as of late…). When I get this level of busy, and I have limited “me” time, I tend to get cranky, anxious, and fatigued. Needless to say, a busy work schedule is not optimal for training. And, I’ve felt a little off most days, as if my body was not 100%, and my mind has felt foggy. At first, I thought these feelings were simply a result of my I-can-do-two-ironmans-in-one-month stint. To be sure, that trick left a …

Road Noise Vest Passes the 100 Mile Test

[Note: Road Noise provided  John and I with road noise vests for our review. We agreed to review the vests and provide our honest assessment.] “So, how did you like the Road Noise vest during the race?” I asked John the morning he ran 100 miles at the NJ Ultra Festival. “It’s the sh!t.” He replied. If you’ve never heard of the Road Noise vest, then I am excited to be the one to introduce you to this invention which solves problems for endurance athletes of all type–runners and cyclists in particular. In sum: Road Noise is a headphone-free way to …