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Running Fashion

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Saturday, December 07, 2013
in Uncategorized

I know nothing about fashion and never in my life has anyone mentioned I was "fashionable" or even that I wear particularly nice clothes. I usually dress in jeans and a nice polo shirt or sweater. I have been running and racing for over 25 years and there is something that has always bothered me. Why do runners feel a race t-shirt is appropriate attire for any situation? I go out to bars and restaurants all the time and I rarely see someone dressed in this manner.

Go to any running club function, house party, or dinner and you will see many people with the classic race t-shirt tucked into dress pants with a belt. Why is this? Do they feel that because they are at an event that is related to running that running clothes or a race-t are a must wear? Is it self-promotion?...Look at me I did a marathon so now I feel comfortable going out to a nice dinner with a t-shirt and dress pants. Is the race t-shirt considered some type of uniform? Is it possible they own no other clothing and rely on races to provide their wardrobe?

Not sure if it is better or worse but the other group you will see at these events is the people dressed like they are about to go out for a run. It could be 7:00 at night at a restaurant and they will show up in full running gear. Why?  You may even see the super classy compression socks or sleeves. Or how about the blue compression tape? You mean to tell me you cannot even get through a nice dinner without compression socks or tape?   Really??

I don’t think because I am a runner that I must wear running clothes when I go out to dinner or a party. A nice polo shirt and jeans/shorts is the way to go. I don’t believe because you are a runner that you have to wear running clothes 24/7. As the Christmas Party season arrives let’s make a point to class it up. Put away the race-t’s and compression socks. Show the world that you can be a runner and dress nice as well.

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The Joys of Summer

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Monday, August 05, 2013
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Last week I heard someone say, "Where has the summer gone? The summer will be over before you know it." The complete tone of the conversation was depressing and made me feel like I should start unpacking my winter gear and running to the store for ice melt. You know the people I am talking about. The kind of people that thrive off the doom and gloom of life. Now I know the calendar says we are steadily marching through the summer months but I refuse to throw in the towel on this summer.


If you live in an area of the country that has cold, snowy winters this time of the year is to be especially savored. As we start progressing through the month of August thoughts about how little time is left this summer are hard to ignore. Before you know it the mornings will be a little cooler and the leaves will start to change. Labor Day and the start of school are right around the corner. Before you start packing your shorts away consider the other side of the coin. There are still almost 4 weeks before Labor Day weekend. What are you going to do with the next four weeks?

Have you gone for a run at the beach or around the lake?

Have you taken a long bike ride up the coast?

Have you hiked up that mountain yet?

How about that camping trip with the kids?

Have you had corn on the cob and hot dogs?

If you have not taken advantage of getting outside this summer due to the heat or a busy schedule make sure you get out there in the next few weeks. Go for a run/walk at the beach, plan a long bike ride, or just play a few rounds of golf. Get outside and enjoy the late summer/early fall weather and make sure you do not let this time slip by before it is too late.

Runners and triathletes know what I am talking about. Since everything we do is better done outside we tend to take advantage of every opportunity for outdoor activities. Thoughts of the bike trainer and the treadmill should be motivation enough to not waste a single day. Being active is so easy in the summer and many of us live a completely different lifestyle this time of the year.

If you haven't had time to make a memory this summer there is still time left. The next few months are some of the best of the year for running, walking, golf, hiking, or really anything outdoors. Get out there and have some fun! You will be glad you did!

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Sharing the Running Lifestyle

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Thursday, November 08, 2012
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Thanksgiving is a time when many people pause and take time to reflect on the past year and what they are most thankful for in their lives. Some families share specific things they are thankful for together and others choose to be thankful in a more private way. I believe it is very important to be thankful and you should never take things for granted. I was taught regardless of what position you are in life there is always someone else who is hurting worse than you or has less than you.


As I reflect on the past year, one of the things I am most thankful for is the great times I have had running, racing and living a fitness lifestyle. My wife and daughter have been running and racing for years, and I am thankful we have been able to share these times together. As a runner it is wicked awesome (yes, I am from Massachusetts) for your entire family to enter the same road race. One of the proudest moments of my running career was a couple of years ago when all three of us entered the The Coaster Run 5k Road Race, and we each placed in our age groups and received medals. Sharing the running lifestyle with your family is really motivating and is a great way to share experiences.

This was also the first year my brother-in-law and sister-in-law embraced the running lifestyle. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the Good Times 5k Spring Series completing all ten events. If you are a runner you will understand that racing a 5k and then drinking a few beers with family once a week is really a great time. It is cool to be able to run with family and share running goals and experiences. I am thankful for the quality time we were able to spend together before and after the race each week. Good times with family can be limited by geography or the business of life. The opportunity I had this past year to share my running lifestyle with my family is something I am truly thankful for, and I hope to have this opportunity again in 2013.






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Show me your wall of medals!

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Friday, October 19, 2012
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Running Medals Explained

Many people have come over my house and have seen my "wall of medals". For those that are not familiar with the award system of running/triathlon the first impression is that I am some kind of incredible athlete. I am not vain enough to count the amount of medals on my wall but let's say I have quite a few. Now I am proud of "my wall" but I am not an incredible athlete. I have listed the three ways you can "win" a medal in the sport of running below.

There are 3 ways to receive a medal in the sport of road running. The first way is to actually win the race. The first person to cross the finish line is the winner and typically second and third are also recognized. This is great if you are good enough to compete with the top names in the sport. Most of us are not in this category and will never have the opportunity to be the first across the line. In other words there is no chance to ever win a medal in this fashion.

The great part about running is that there is another layer of competition. The second way to win a medal is the age group competition. The age group competition allows for a secondary competition within the race for all runners within certain age groups. Most races recognize 10 year age groups and award medals for 1st-3rd in each age group. If you don't place in the overall race then you are automatically moved into the age group competition. This is great because if you are 55 years old and have no chance to win the race you can still enjoy competing with other runners in the same 50-59 age bracket. In most races you still have to be very good to place in your age group but with the tremendous amount of races out there today once in awhile a mediocre time can still place.

 There is also a third way to receive a medal. Most longer races such as a half marathon or marathon award a "finisher's medal" to all runners that can complete the event. This medal is not for placing overall or in your age group. This medal is simply for finishing the race within the time limit. Now is finishing a half marathon an incredible feat? How about a marathon? The answers to these questions really depend on who you are.  Many people have completing a marathon/half-marathon on their bucket list. When they finally cross the line the personal pride and sense of accomplishment can be incredible. Others have completed the event many times. Either way, what do you think of the finisher's medal? I think the finisher's medal symbolizes an accomplishment but it also is a nice way to remember a moment in time. I consider the finisher's medal to be like a "postcard" from the event. I can look at the medal and remember the day I did the race and everything that was involved in completing the event. I am a big fan of the finisher's medal as long as it doesn't start creeping into shorter events. Once in awhile a race will give out these medals for sprint triathlons or shorter running events. I think keeping it at the half marathon distance or greater maintains a certain effort level required to earn a medal.

I have earned my medals all three ways above.....and you can see my "wall of medals". If you have been in the sport of running for awhile I know you have medals. Where are they? If you have a "wall of medals" please send a picture. Be proud!!  Let's see your wall!!






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Do you listen to music while running?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Thursday, October 04, 2012
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Let me start off by saying I have been running for over 20 years and I have never worn a walkman (those under 30 see picture below) i-pod, or any other device while running outdoors. Call me "old school", but I truly believe a big part of the enjoyment of running is smelling the air, enjoying the sounds of nature, and the freedom to explore new areas. There is nothing like running on a cool October morning on a country road, enjoying the sights and sounds as you cruise along at a comfortable pace. Running is a great way to escape from the day to day grind and the time to exercise your body and relax your mind.

Now that you have the picture of serenity on a nice country road......Why in the world would you want to listen to music while running? This is supposed to be your time away from everything. You would prefer to listen to your i-pod and hear the same songs that you have heard 1000 times than enjoy the sights and sounds outdoors? I think anyone that listens to music while running outdoors is missing out on a huge opportunity. Running is the time to look around and enjoy your surroundings.....Not constantly fiddling with your i-pod or phone, changing songs every 30 seconds oblivious to the world. If you have never ran outside without music try it next time. Learn to relax your mind and the joys of running free.

Even if you disagree with me there is another factor. Safety is also a huge concern when running outdoors. If your music is blaring then you are reducing your chances of hearing a car horn, fast approaching car, or any other noise that should warrant your attention. I may be in the minority but I believe listening to music while running outdoors is just a bad idea.

I do admit then when nature forces me to the dreadmill I do use an i-pod. This is totally different. There are no sights and sounds to enjoy. Safety issues do not exist. Therefore...blare your music and pray the time goes by quick. Hopefully this winter is a mild one with minimal snow so I won't have to run indoors.

 Let me know what you think...Agree or Disagree?


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Triathlon Swim Panic: Why are you afraid?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Friday, September 28, 2012
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Since View The Race launched earlier this year the most popular "google search"  I have seen is related to swim panic during a triathlon swim or overcoming swim anxiety. I wrote a post about this subject earlier this year and the use of a swim buoy in open water training. Now I knew that this would be a popular subject as everyone at one time or another is nervous about the swim portion of a triathlon. I even had a mini panic attack myself earlier this year. What I didn't know is how many people out there are really afraid or have a tremendous amount of anxiety about swimming in open water during a triathlon.


As I thought about this I asked myself..... What are people afraid of?    Sharks?  Jellyfish?  Is it fear of drowning? Fear of being bumped or hit in the water? Unfortunately, people have died during the swim portion of a triathlon. Usually the cause of death is related to a heart attack or some other underlying medical condition. As terrible as that is I don't think that is the reason people are afraid of the triathlon swim. I believe people are afraid of the triathlon swim for the same reason people are afraid of anything else. It's a mix of rational and irrational fear.  For example, why am I afraid of heights? Who knows....Below are the definitions of what is going on for someone that is experiencing swim panic.

What is fear?     

An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

What is panic? 

Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.

Taking these two definitions it's fair to say that what people with swim panic are experiencing in the water is uncontrollable fear of impending danger/pain/injury which can result in irrational behavior. For example, trying to take your wetsuit off during a race in the water. (yes, I have seen this)

My first reaction to this definition is..... Are you kidding me? People are that afraid of swimming in a triathlon? I would think if athletes train in open water and are confident in their swimming ability then they shouldn't be nervous or afraid of the swim portion of a race. Then I looked in the mirror....What about the things I am afraid of? Why can't I just get over them as I am suggesting is so easy to do? People have the same feelings of panic and fear felt during the triathlon swim about many different things. Here are the top ten things people are afraid of according to an about.com article:

1) Spiders

2) Snakes

3) Heights

4) Crowded spaces

5) Dogs

6) Thunder and lightening

7) Needles

8) Social situations

9) Flying

10) Germs

Most everyone is afraid of something. How many of the above are you afraid of? (I have 2 out of 10) So I guess my point is that being afraid or anxious about the swim portion of a triathlon is not that crazy. The swim portion of a triathlon can be chaotic. In addition this chaos is happening when you are in water over your head, possibly far from shore swimming in a crowd with no means of immediate escape. I guess that would hit the panic button for a lot of us. This actually seems a lot more legitimate than being afraid to look over the edge of a building (fear of heights) or seeing a snake at the zoo (behind 4 inches of glass).

All kidding aside, I truly believe repetitive training in open water will relieve some swim anxiety. Also, being comfortable with your swimming ability will make you more confident. In other words don't enter a race with a mile swim if you are not sure you can swim a mile. Hopefully with training you can overcome your fear. It is possible that regardless of the amount of training, you may not be able to overcome your fear. Triathlons are supposed to be fun, right? If you are afraid of snakes you wouldn't keep trying to be a snake charmer and enter snake charming competitions...Why is the triathlon any different? Remember if all else fails there is a fall back plan.....duathlons.




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Crazy Conditions at Montreal Olympic Triathlon Swim

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Friday, September 21, 2012
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 The Montreal Esprit Triathlon starts at 7 AM and is the first race to start on the big day of races in Montreal. During the day I completed my Ironman distance event, there was also a half Ironman (demi-esprit), Olympic, Sprint, and a Duathlon. All of these events are run on the same course. The only difference is the amount of loops each race completes. My brother-in-law and training partner Mike competed in the Olympic Triathlon. His race did not start until 1:00 PM.

During the 6 hours I was killing myself on the Ironman course the winds had increased dramatically. While I was struggling to keep upright on my bike in the heavy winds about a half mile from where he was standing, Mike was faced with the toughest swim of his life. The usually calm, no current Montreal swim course had turned into an angry sea with white caps and waves. The water was so rough every time I went by the basin and saw the water in the distance I thought for sure they would cancel the swim. Take a look at what Mike had to face at the "easy" Montreal Olympic swim course.

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Enjoying my Ironman Taper

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Tuesday, September 04, 2012
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My second attempt at completing my life long dream of finishing an Ironman triathlon will be this Saturday September 8th in Montreal. The race is the Montreal Esprit Triathlon. In case you missed it, I failed in my first attempt on July 28th at the Full Vineman in Windsor, California. I won't re-hash the details...if you need to get caught up, read my story of disappointment here. Many of you may be wondering why I would make a second attempt only 6 weeks after my first attempt. Did my first attempt take a lot out of me both physically and mentally? Of course. Am I sick of the training grind? Yes. The problem is I am not the type of person that can live with failure. This is especially true when I have the opportunity to make things right. I knew the day after my first attempt that I was trying again ASAP.

Chilling in Southern California

Now before my first attempt I actually made a point of not talking about the race and my feelings before the event. I didn't write a blog or post anything on Facebook prior to the event. This time around I told myself I was going to do a lot of things differently. Here are a few things I have done to prepare for my second attempt.

  1. Nutrition and HydrationI have a totally different plan for this race. I will be using Electrolytes , Ensure, and Salt Tablets instead of Gatorade and Balance Bars. I will not go into the details of the science involved but basically during my first event I became extremely dehydrated which resulted in my DNF. I also plan on eating peanut butter sandwiches and several other items to keep me fueled during the event.

  2. Training: Obviously I have continued to train for the last 6 weeks. One difference is that I really have been training less. I had to recover for a few weeks after my first attempt and since then I have reduced my training volumes. I also entered a 10 mile trail race a few weeks ago just to mix things up. I have been less structured and more focused on a few key workouts during this time period.

  3. Relaxation: In addition to training less I have allowed myself freedom to have a good time and do a few things I enjoy doing other than training for Ironman. I have been to several parties (not good for hydration) and I also played 72 holes of golf last weekend. I have given up many good times this summer due to my long runs/rides and it has felt good to relax a bit and have some fun.

  4. Mental Prep: The first time around I had a plan but since I had never completed an Ironman I really had no idea what to expect. Analyzing my failure and visualizing the differences I want to make for my second attempt is definitely an added benefit. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my upcoming event and how I plan to attack the course. I think a more relaxed but focused approach on the bike will help me complete the race.

  5. Stress: Before my first attempt everything was magical. I had planned to complete the Ironman, turn 40, and enjoy a long vacation in southern California. Unfortunately I didn't complete the Ironman and I did turn 40. (couldn't stop the clock) On the bright side I did enjoy a long vacation in southern California. For my second attempt there is a lot less build-up and a more workman like feeling towards the event. I do feel some underlying stress but it is different from the 1st time.The first time it was stress over the unknown and the enormous pressure of the event. This time I know what is going to happen, I just need to fight my way through to the finish.

The Ironman journey is a long one. It started for me last summer when I began training for the Great Floridian Aquabike. I have been training for the Ironman for almost 1.5 years now, and I am ready to close this chapter of my triathlon career. As I once again enter the final few days before my Ironman, I remain focused and know I have the ability to complete the event. I know I have the full support of my friends and family. My biggest supporter is my wife..In her own words..."You will finish this race. I don't care if I have to carry you the last 10 miles". Apparently she may be a little tired of hearing about Ironman.

Follow my progress during the race at http://www.sportstats.ca/about.xhtml?tab=6. I also will have updates posted on Facebook during the race.


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Are You Afraid to Fail?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Thursday, August 09, 2012
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 Last weekend I had an interesting conversation with my brother. I was describing the details of my failed attempt to complete the Ironman and his first response was not what I expected. He said, "Big deal...you didn't make it this time but at least you're in the game." This comment got me thinking. I should be legitimately disappointed in my failed attempt but I AM in the game. Being in the game doesn't guarantee success every time, but I'd rather fail sometimes than live my life on the sidelines.

What kind of person are you? Are you afraid to fail? Does the fear of failure change the way you live your life? I am an avid fan of the Boston Celtics. One player on the Celtics who is not afraid to fail is Paul Pierce. When the game is on the line he not only wants to take the last shot, he demands it. Does that mean that he makes the shot to win the game every time? No...but he puts himself on the line every time. Hero or Goat? Either way, doesn't matter. Many people shy away from the "last shot" in life for fear of missing/failing. Why? Because if you step forward and take the last shot you are exposed. You leave the flock and put yourself out there. You open yourself to possible ridicule and negative exposure. It is much easier to stay in the safety of the flock and remain anonymous. But is this living?

Failing is part of living. If you never fail, either you are one of the few exceptionally talented people that have never failed or you live a completely vanilla life in the safety of the crowd. I am not promoting taking senseless risks such as cliff diving, swimming with sharks, or going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. What I am talking about is when you are at work and they ask for a volunteer for a new project....or when you know everyone in the room needs to say something to the boss and just one person has to step forward and say it. How about trying something new and getting out of your comfort zone? Why do you always find a reason to put it off or say no?  It is so easy to stay on the sidelines in life. But is this living? How many times have you held back from doing something due to a fear of failure, and then as you watch the person that did step forward you think...I could have done that...I could have done better, and then you kick yourself for not stepping up.

Do yourself a favor....Get in the game! Not only will you grow as a person but you will eliminate a life full of regrets and could have beens. Someone has to take the last shot in every game...why can't it be you?


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DNF (Did Not Finish) at Vineman Triathlon 2012

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Monday, August 06, 2012
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No one likes to talk about their failures, but blogging about them is a little easier. Last week I attempted my first Ironman distance triathlon at the Vineman in Windsor, California.  This was the culmination of a year of training and done with the support of my family and friends. Throughout the year of training, I never thought there was a chance I would not complete the race. Even though I knew how difficult the event could be and that in any long distance race there are a multitude of reasons why someone might have to drop out, I truly believed I would be able to overcome any issue and finish. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

As I reflect on my failure to complete the biggest race of my life last weekend, I have experienced the whole pendulum of emotions. I experienced the expected sadness and disappointment of not achieving my dream of completing the Ironman and the let down of having worked so hard without seeing the result. During my training I received a tremendous amount of support from many people. In the first few days after the race I felt like I had wasted everyone's time and energy, and I had let everyone down by failing. To see a DNF next to your name at the biggest race of your life is a tremendous blow to your personal psyche and self-esteem. I have a great network of family and friends, and I have received many messages and words of encouragement since the Ironman disaster. My uncle told me DNF stands for "Dave Never Fails" and I should keep my head high despite the disappointment. My mother said the truest test of my character is what I do right now. I let myself be sad for about 48 hours, and then I got back on my bike and went for a ride.

Below is my race report of my failed attempt to finish the Vineman.

Vineman Full Distance Triathlon Race Report

Pre-race:  I woke at 3 AM after a good night's sleep and had a big breakfast and felt prepared mentally for the event. We had driven the bike course and saw the swim area the day before. It was a cool 52 degrees with no humidity. Perfect for racing.



Swim:  The 2.4 mile swim is in the Russian River in Guerneville, California. The water was comfortable (low 70's), and I was wearing a full wetsuit. The swim was a double out and back with the the "out" being against the current and the "back" being with the current. The start went off without a hitch but about 10 minutes into the swim the river narrowed and it started getting real crowded in the water. I have been competing in triathlons for over 20 years and in this race I was hit the most I have ever been hit in the water. Many people were swimming off line slamming into my ribs, banging my head, chopping my legs, etc. I had to continuously site and try to steer away from the chaos. None of this really effected my time but it made for an uncomfortable and irritating swim. As the swim waves converged I was constantly being passed by faster swimmers catching my wave or running into a "wall" of very slow swimmers from the waves ahead of me. Due to the narrowness of the river sometimes it was difficult to find some clear water. Another factor on this course is that in a couple of areas on each lap the river is extremely shallow. It was so shallow my hand hit the rocky bottom forcing me to stand up and walk for 2-3 minutes before it was deep enough to swim. Despite all of these issues my time was not really affected. I finally exited the water in 1:21.  I wanted to be at 1:20 give or take 5 minutes so I was right on track. First event done..I felt great and now onto the bike.


Bike:  The bike was a rolling course that traveled through many vineyards and small towns. In my experience when passing through large areas of farmland usually the crop is corn. This area was very similar only the crop was grapes instead of corn. The bike course is two loops with the only difference being about 8 miles on each loop.  The first part of the course was rolling with no major hills. The main challenge during the first part of the race was negotiating all of the rough road. I saw a lot of lost water bottles and an unusual number of flats during the first 20-30 miles. I was feeling pretty good and kept to my plan of just riding easy on the bike. I made it to the only big hill on the course, Chalk Hill, and made it up with about 90% effort. Surprisingly I was starting to feel better as the race went on. Miles 50-80 went by at a steady pace, and I was feeling good. It was about mile 80 that it started to fall apart. For some reason I started to feel hot for the first time and I started feeling bad. During the next hour I went from feeling decent to feeling terrible. I began to have major leg cramps and my speed dropped. I took a longer break at the next two aid stations, but I couldn't bring myself back. Finally, I stopped at an aid station about 3 miles from the start of Chalk Hill. (2nd time around) I knew it was going to be an extreme challenge to make it up that hill again with terrible legs cramps and almost no strength. I probably stopped for 10 minutes and then decided to go. Climbing this hill took everything I had to make it to the top. Once I crested the top I was relieved but I am sure my heart rate was over 200 BPM. I immediately pulled over and rested until I was able to get my breath back. The last 10 miles of the bike were absolutely miserable but I was finally done.  2nd event done....but barely hanging on...




Run:  The run course at Vineman is 3 out and back hilly loops. At this point in the day it was pushing 85 degrees, and I had just barely survived the bike. I was greeted in transition by my family who had made signs and were very excited to see me and cheer me on. They had no idea what kind of condition I was in or what a fight it was just to finish the bike. I tried to rally; I changed and headed out on the run...sorry, I meant walk. I could not run. My heart rate was still through the roof and I was struggling. Over the next few miles I tried to run the downhills but as soon as I returned to a walk my heart rate was so high I had to slow down to a slower walk or stop altogether to catch my breath. I knew I was in serious trouble. After the first 4 miles I stopped attempting to run at all. By mile 6 I had trouble walking. I was seeing black spots and walking any pace was a struggle. I finally completed the first lap (8.6 miles) and knew I was done. After speaking with a race official I was assisted to the medical tent and my race was over.

Post race and reflection: In the days after the race I relaxed and let my body recover from the event. I had the usual soreness, chafing, swelling (I was stung by a bee during the bike), sunburn, etc. Unfortunately, you still have to deal with those issues even if you didn't finish the race. At this point I will be re-analyzing my nutrition/hydration plan and try to figure out where I went wrong. My training was right on target, and I was in the best shape of my life. Completing the Ironman in my first attempt and having the story book ending would have been a dream. But life is not always easy. The reality is, sometimes we do fail....and guess what...we try again..and again..and again..until the goal is complete.  I will make my second attempt at Ironman glory on September 8th, 2012 in Montreal. I do not want to waste my current high level of fitness and I will not give up on my goal. I will finish the Ironman.

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How Having a Baby Changed My Body

Posted by Heather Pellegrino
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on Monday, July 23, 2012
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Let me start off by saying that for the first 29 years of my life, I was skinny. Skinny and lazy. Life was good – wake up and eat Lucky Charms for breakfast, have a burger for lunch, BLT (don’t you dare hold the mayo) for dinner and never even think about working out kept my 5 foot 3 inch frame at about 105 lbs.

Before you start hating me, I will tell you that living a life with absolutely no will power does not bode well for someone who eventually finds themselves in the position of having to lose weight.


In May 2009 I was thrilled to find out that I was pregnant with my daughter. Over the course of 9 months, I gained over 50 lbs. At 6 months pregnant, my doctor told me that I had gained all the weight she would recommend for an entire pregnancy (oops). At that point, I figured “who cares”? Once I have this baby, I’ll drop all the weight and be skinny again, like I have for my entire life...right?

Pregnant LifeIn January, 2010 I delivered a beautiful, healthy little girl. Considering she weighed over 8 lbs, I figured that losing weight would be easy – after all, I had just lost at least 8 lbs easily (OK, so 24 hours of labor and 2 epidurals isn’t so easy, but you know what I mean). Over the next 3 months before I returned to work I managed to drop about 25 lbs without doing very much. In addition to the calories burned while breast feeding, the fact that my child didn’t enjoy sleeping and constantly wanted to be held led to a diet of “shove whatever you can get in your mouth whenever you can” and it seemed to be working.

As life settled down over the first year and we settled into a nice routine, I started to follow my daughter’s cues in terms of eating. For anyone who has a young child, you know that they eat often. Our meal schedule became breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. While this was fine for my toddler, it was not okay for Mommy. My husband gets home later from work, so I’d feed my daughter dinner at 5 (and eat with her), then I’d eat when my husband got home (you know, so the poor guy didn’t feel lonely!) By the time my daughter was a little over one, I’d gained back about 20 of the 25 lbs I lost – I was back to my weight at 7 months pregnant!

My role models to whom I was comparing myself to during this time were Gisele and Heidi Klum....both
of whom were in runway-model shape within 4 weeks of having their child. 4 weeks after having my
daughter I was just happy if I remembered to shower and change out of my pajamas every couple of
days....forget modeling a bikini in front of millions! I didn’t think about the fact that if I had a personal
chef, personal trainer and full time Nanny, I could probably be back in shape quickly too (although not
THAT quickly...that’s just not right).

During my annual physical, I talked to my doctor about my weight gain. I tried to blame it on lots of
things (have you checked my thyroid levels, doc?) but he (gently) explained that as we get older, it is
more difficult to maintain a healthy weight by eating poorly and not exercising. He recommended an
app for my phone called Lose It! where I could track everything I was eating and when I was working out. Considering at this point I wasn’t working out at all, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to have to start.
Eating healthier wasn’t that hard. My husband (who looks amazing even when he does nothing) was
beginning the process of training for a 5k and a Tough Mudder race, so he was making better choices
and we made sure that we had mostly healthy foods in our house. Dinner went from chicken with
potato salad to grilled chicken on a salad of lettuce and other vegetables.

Working out is another story. I’m not the most coordinated person in the world. My early workouts
included attempting to ride a bike (I made it 2 feet down the driveway, fell off and broke my wrist and
elbow which resulted in a visit the ER and having to wear a brace and sling for 6 weeks), and jogging through the neighborhood (I ran into a granite mailbox post while admiring a neighbor’s new paint
colors and got bruises in places I didn’t know you could have bruises).

As the Mother of a toddler, it was almost impossible to find the time to exercise. I work 3 days a week,
and I don’t work close enough to a gym that I could make it on my lunch break so that wasn’t an option.
On the days I work, I’m out the door at 6:30 so waking up early to exercise was out of the question
(and to be honest, I am not good at working out in the morning). I was home at 5, but I had to feed my
daughter and do all the things around the house that needed to be done. By the time she was in bed
and asleep at 8pm (and my husband and I still hadn’t eaten dinner), I was completely exhausted and
when faced with the choice of going for a run on the treadmill or sitting on the couch watching TV only
one option seemed particularly appealing.

On the days I was home, the only time I had to myself was nap time – and I had always considered this
to be sacred “me” time – I didn’t want to ruin it with exercise. It was the time in the day when I got to
take a breath, maybe read a book, sit outside or do something that I found relaxing for an hour before
my daughter woke up and I was on “mom-duty” again. Some friends suggested that I join a gym and
put my daughter in daycare for an hour on the days I was home. My Mom-Guilt kicked in big-time.
The whole reason I had two days home was to spend time with my daughter, not drop her off at another

I found a Zumba class locally that I enjoyed, but it started at 6pm, and to ask my husband to be home by
5:30 wasn’t fair to him – he works really hard and he already goes in late 3 days a week so he can do the
daycare drop-off.

My problem seemed to be that I was an “all or nothing” kind of gal. If I wasn’t going to be able to work
out 7 days a week – why bother working out at all? I had another appointment with my doctor and we
talked for a long time about the difficulties of finding time to work out when you have so many other
obligations (children, work, home, friends, family). He encouraged me to do whatever I could whenever
I could. He explained that if I had a week where I only worked out twice, not to beat myself up over it
and to just move on and try again the next week.

Things started to change when I found a local yoga studio that offered a class that didn’t start until 7
(and it was close to home so my husband didn’t need to be home until 6:45). I made a commitment
to make it to class and it started making a big difference. Every Monday, I went to yoga and it was an
amazing way to start my week. In addition to the strength and flexibility benefits, it offered me a way
to release the stress and tension that goes along with being a parent (and to work through the guilt that
every Mom feels when she takes time to herself). Starting the week off on a healthy note tended to
make me want to continue for the rest of the week. I also started to get exercise in my routine in any
way possible. When I was outside playing with my daughter and she wanted to run up and down the hill
in the back yard – I joined her rather than watching. I never realized how much of a workout 5 minutes
pumping your legs on a swing could be. Granted, my neighbors probably think I’ve lost it when they see
me climbing the ladder to the tree house but so far they’ve managed not to call the cops on me (I do
refrain from doing pullups on the monkey bars without my daughter there!)

So this brings us to today. I have lost 30lbs of the 50 I gained (and because I was underweight when I
started, this is actually a more healthy weight for me). I am not perfect (or even close to it). My yoga
studio is in the process of moving so I’ve been a little off-track lately but they open again in August and I can’t wait. I don’t have a formal workout routine because I’ve discovered that it doesn’t work for my life
(or my personality). I try to fit exercise in whenever I can – go for a walk with my daughter, sit ups while
watching TV, playing tag, and even the occasional jog (although I try to avoid the mailboxes).

AfterI’ve also come to accept that my body is different since having my daughter. No matter how much I work out, I will never look like I did when I was 21...and I’m starting to be okay with that (and let’s face
it – convincing my husband that plastic surgery is a good investment in the future is sort of difficult when he’s a financial analyst). Now, when I look in the mirror and see that my belly button looks a little
sadder than it did pre-child, I try to remind myself that this body cooked a human being! I took 2 cells and transformed them into an 8lb 3oz gorgeous, strong, smart little girl – and that is an amazing thing!

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Video Message from Mike

Posted by Mike Tang
Mike Tang
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on Sunday, July 15, 2012
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New MikeOver the next few weeks I will be writing about several different exercise activities I have done along with my plant based diet plan. During the last 7 months I have used road cycling, spinning, swimming, and yoga to create my new body. Be sure to click the "Like" box on the right to be the first to receive my new posts. Check out my video message below and for those that haven't seen me in awhile....Check out my new body!



Mike's weight-loss blog series:

Read Part 1: "My Journey from the Atkins Diet to Plant Based Living"
Read Part 2: "The Juice Fast, Into the Belly of the Beast..."
Read Part 3: "The Single Ingredient, Controlled Calorie Diet"
Read Part 4: "Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner?"

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