Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fittest Real Athlete


I think that Amber is one of the fittest athletes that I know that holds down a full time job. If you agree with me nominate her for Outside Magazine's Fittest Real Athletes.

First Week of Ironman Training Almost Done


Ironman Training was supposed to start on Monday, where I had scheduled a 45 minute swim in the morning with a spin followed by a 1 mile run at race pace for the evening. Unfortunately, there was a blizzard Sunday into Monday, and I couldn't pass up skiing up at Cannon. Two of my cousins, Will and Kevin, and I made our way to Franconia Notch to get the best skiing I've ever had in the East. Kev and I went over to Mittersill and found ourselves some waist-deep untouched powder. I could get used to Ironman Training if everyday were like that.
However, Tuesday came around and I was able to adhere to my schedule(45 minute run at 7's and 90 minute spin in the evening). Wednesday was great, getting in a swim, a 90 minute run, 45 minutes on the trainer another 15 on the rollers and a 30 minute snowshoe run.
Here I am on Thursday, foregoing my scheduled spin to write in this blog(my readers have to stay informed!).
By far the most challenging part of training will be the swimming as the pool availability is limited to early morning, which is me at my worst(and least motivated).
Hopefully by logging all my failed attempts at adhere to my schedule, I can motivate myself to get my butt out of bed in the morning and fit in those(very needed) swims. May 7th will be here before I know it so I need to get things together.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Go-Lite or Go Home

I'm sure some of you are wondering what the Go-Lite next to some of our 2011 races means. Acidotic Racing has teamed up with Go-Lite, the awesome minimalist backpacking company, probably best known for their super-light weight sleeping bags and backpacks, to work on developing the same high quality worksmanship for trail running shoes. Those of you who read Trail Runner might have noticed the Go-Lite ad on the inside cover with none other than Acidotic's own Geoff Cunningham posing in the newest pairs of trail runners.
What is awesome about Go-Lite is not only that they are helping sponsor a lot of our snowshoe and trail races this year and supplying us with some pretty cool shoes, but that they are asking, actually demanding our feedback. This allows for us to find all those things that just aren't perfect with their current model so that the next one is even better. For instance, I have the Go-Lite Flash Lite which is super-light and breathable but didn't have the flexibility that was desired. So we made that suggestion at a meeting we had with the Go-Lite team and they, excitedly, made the corrections so that the next model will be even better.

I am excited to be a part of such an innovative footwear company breaking into the scene of trail running. You can follow how the team is doing through Acidotic's website or on Facebook, or better still, come out to one of the races and meet the guys at Go-Lite as well as Acidotic's whole team.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times and Percentages

I have compiled a list of times that Amber and I have qualified for Boston(and Amber for Kona). While Amber has qualified for Boston and Kona at 54% and 50%, respectively, I have only qualified for Boston 35% of the time. Therefore, keeping everything else the same, I have only a 32% chance of qualifying for Kona. As such, I think instead of entering one Ironman, I should enter three Ironman triathlons to increase my odds of getting a spot and having an excuse to head back to the Big Island.

Below are our results since starting running marathons.

Amber Cullen-Ferreira
11/7/10 Manchester City Marathon 3:33:29 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
10/31/10 Marine Corps Marathon 3:14:27 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
10/09/10 Ironman World Championships(Kona) 3:47:14
7/25/10 Ironman Lake Placid 3:29:36 ----> BOSTON and KONA QUALIFIER
2/28/10 New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon 3:03:51 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
11/1/09 Manchester City Marathon 3:33:14 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
10/18/09 Bay State Marathon 3:21:23 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
9/13/09 Ironman Wisconsin 3:53:32
12/13/08 Roxbury Marathon 4:06:14
11/2/08 Manchester City Marathon 3:48:30
5/25/08 Vermont City Marathon 3:20:29 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
4/21/08 Boston Marathon 3:47:55 (INJURED)
10/28/07 Cape Cod Marathon 3:58:42 (INJURED)
9/22/07 Odyssey Trail Marathon 6:08:11 (INJURED)
2/25/07 Hyannis Marathon 4:44:45 (INJURED)
10/15/06 Bay State Marathon 3:16:26 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER

8/16 or 50% of the marathons in which she has run qualified her for Boston. When you take out the three Ironman triathlons she has done it becomes 7/13 or 54%


Danny, Dan, Daniel Ferreira
10/31/10 Marine Corps Marathon 2:52:57 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
5/2/10 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon 3:02:21 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
4/17/10 Gansett Marathon(Exeter) 2:47:45 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
2/28/10 New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon 2:51:44 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
11/1/09 Manchester City Marathon 3:33:18
10/18/09 Bay State Marathon 3:21:23
3/29/09 Ocean Drive Marathon 3:01:41 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
12/13/08 Roxbury Marathon 4:33:23
11/2/08 Manchester City Marathon 3:08:41 ----> BOSTON QUALIFIER
10/18/08 Breakers Marathon 3:25:30
10/5/08 Maine Marathon 3:19:24
5/25/08 Vermont City Marathon 3:26:05
4/21/08 Boston Marathon 3:34:44
1/13/08 Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon 3:21:34
10/28/07 Cape Cod Marathon 3:20:48
9/22/07 Odyssey Trail Marathon 6:08:11
2/25/07 Hyannis Marathon 4:44:46

6/17 or 35% of the marathons that I have run allowed me to qualify for Boston.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ironman St George Training Begins in 13 Days!

Ironman St. George training starts on December 27th for Danny. Sixteen weeks to try to get his bike up to 20mph for 112 miles and his swim down to 1:40/100yards for 2.4 miles while running a Boston qualifying marathon time. To motivate him, he has looked up some race reports.

From Alex McDonald Team Timex: "[Ironman St. George] was by far the most difficult race I have ever done"

John Moore from iamtri.com "Towards the end of the ride, many people who (based on their equipment and muscle tone) were very good bikers were hours off their expected times and I met and heard from several people who had finished multiple Ironman races who did not make the bike cutoff. That is like Warren Buffet bouncing a check...it just doesn't happen. The bike cutoff is there for senior citizens and first-timers who are in over their heads...not experienced racers. The difficulty of this course, even in relatively benign conditions, was more than almost everyone bargained for."

A RACE2TRAIN RACE REPORT BY R2 "By the time I got to ‘the wall' (a nearly 17% climb just over a half-mile long and over 4,000' above sea level) ...I already knew I wasn't going to make the cut-off... turned the last corner to see the timing mat had been rolled up and the race officials were flagging me down - my race was done just over seven hours into the day."

From Wassdoc's Blog "There must have been 20+ mph crosswinds, and I was gripping the front of my bike for dear life. All I could think was that completing the bike without crashing would be a major accomplishment."

Bart Francois of Bart and Tri: " The bike course is really tough, much harder than Lake Placid, in some segments, we feel like in Le Tour, with laces when you look down. A few steep hill around 15% are quite challenging...This race is crazy, it´s only going up, up and up, and down, down and down, and then you go back and do it twice… Run technique is definitely a bonus here, specially down hill !"

Coach Brett: "At the start of the second loop we had some tough headwinds and this was a downer for me, I really wanted to quit but didn't."

Ryan Denner "My assessment of this run course is: one hilly, tough mofo."


Only 1,915 out of the 2,365 registered showed up for the start. Of those, 272 people did not make it to the end for one reason or another, almost a 15% DNF rate which is quite high.


BRING IT!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Let It Snow....

I have a National title to defend!!!!



Here is the link to the Granite State Snowshoe Series:
http://granitestatesnowshoeseries.org/

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tentative 2011 Race Schedule

As 2010 winds down, Amber and I have started to put together our 2011 race schedule. Most of them are races we both will do, but there are a few that only one of us plans to do and thus is marked as such. The only ones set in stone are the ones already paid for.

2011 Race Schedule

January 1- Run your Hangover Off(WRFB) –paid

January 2- Beaver Brook(GSSS)

January 8- Bear Paw Classic(GSSS)(Amber)

January 8- Saratoga First Century(danny)

January 9-Freeze Your Buns #1

January 15- Winter Wild #1

January 15- Feel Good Farm(GSSS)

January 22- Whittaker Woods(GSSS)

January 23- Boston Prep 16 Miler

January 29-Sidehiller(GSSS and USSSA qualifier)

January 30- Curley’s Record Run

February 5-Exeter Hullabullo(GSSS)

February 6- Freeze Your Buns #3

February 12-Horsehill(GSSS)

February 19- Snowball Express Century (danny)

February 19- Kingman Farm(GSSS)(amber)

February 20 - Half at the Hamptons(WRFB) –paid

February 26- New England Snowshoe Championships

February 27- Moody Spring

March 5- Winter Wild #4-Sunapee

March 6- Black Cat 10 and 20 Miler

March 11-13- Dion Snowshoe National Championship(hopefully both of us)

March 19- Four Miles For Habitat For Humanity

March 20- New Bedford Half Marathon(NEGP)

March 26- April Fools 4 Miler(WRFB) or Gilmanton 5K Road Race(CARS)

March 27- Saratoga 200 km brevet

April 2- SEA 5K Road Race(CARS)

April 3 Great Bay Half Marathon(WRFB) –paid

April 9- Merrimack River Trail Race(Go-Lite)

April 16- Gansett Marathon (danny only)

April 17- Muddy Moose(Go Lite)

April 22- NHTI/Delta Dental 5K Road Race(CARS)

April 24- Saratoga 300 km brevet

May 1- Seven Sisters(Go-Lite) or James Joyce Ramble 10K(NEGP)

May 7- Ironman St. George- paid

May 14- Shaker Village XC 5k(CARS)

May 29- Pineland Farms 25k(Go lite)

June 4 Will Run For Beer 5K(WRFB)

June 5- Mooseman 70.3

June 18- Mount Washington Road Race(pending lottery)

July 8- Hardrock 100(pending lottery)

July 16- Bill Luti 5-Miler(CARS)

July 17-Stowe 8 Miler(NEGP)

July 24- Ironman Lake Placid(Amber Only)

July 30- Canterbury Woodchuck(CARS)

September 16-18- ADK 540(Danny only)

October 30- Cape Cod Marathon

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving

Since running back to back marathons a few weeks after competing in Kona, Amber had rightly taken some time off. Thanksgiving was time to get back into racing apparently. She raced in two Turkey trots last Thursday morning, a 5k in Bow at 8am and four mile in Concord at 9am. I was in Sunapee, trying unsuccessfully, again, to break 18 minutes at that very hilly turkey trot so wasn't able to see the races unfold. However, from several reliable sources, it appeared as though Am was going to take the win at Bow with about 100 yards to go, but was passed by another female and didn't have the legs to pick up the pace thus finishing in 2nd with a solid time of 18:35.
Not bad for the first race of the day. She then booked it over to Bishop Brady High School where she proceeded to run 6:23's up and down and back up Little Pond Road to take the win there.

From Concord, she drove to New London, quickly ate some Turkey, proceeded to out-catch the Ferreira Boys in backyard football then went over to Bradford for desert with the Cullens. After desert Am proceeded to challenge cousins, siblings and husband to a little run up the sand pile.

Amber Getting a head start up the sand pile.

Suffice it to say, it was a race for second place.


After dumping (most of) the sand out of my shoes and pants, Amber's next challenge was to cross a freezing brook on a rotten log. Lucky me, I was chosen to go first.


All in all, a very fun and challenging way to spend a Thursday.

Second and First in two Thanksgiving Races-not bad.
However, she must have been feeling bad about leaving out third place, so she went down to Andover for the 31st running of their famed cross country race. The 3.5 mile run at the Country club seemed to either be going up or down the entire race but she was still able to run a speedy 22:14.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rhode Island 6 Hour Relay

The Acidotic Team of Charlie Therriault, Chris Dunn, Rich Lavers, Steve Wolfe, and me along with the borrowed Alan Bernier from CMS drove down last Sunday morning to race the RI 6 hr relay. Taking place in Warwick, RI along a 2.7 mile bike path, Robert Jackman and the Tuesday Night Turtles(TNT) had runners race as many loops as they could in 6 hours.

We had decided that each of the six of us would run one lap at a time and try to get as many laps in as possible-keeping the pace high and allowing time for recovery between legs. This race was serious- there was three cases of Red Hook IPA on the line for first place. It looked like the main competitors would be a team from Fuel Belt, TNT, and an interesting duo of Pat Moulton and his girlfriend running a two person 6 hour relay. Pat Moulton, half of the famous Moulton twins, can run a marathon averaging low 5 minute miles so theoretically he could run hard enough to beat us.

Charlie Racing Acidotic

Not taking ourselves too seriously, and yet for a good cause, the majority of us we rocking moustaches as part of Acidotic's Movember which was designed to raise awareness and money for Prostate Cancer which two of our teammates' fathers have had.

Danny rocking the 'stache


The race started out competitively with Charlie handing off to Alan with only a second lead over Fuel Belt with Pat Moulton and a TNT runner within 15 seconds of them. Alan hammered the second lap putting about 15-20 second separation between us and Fuel Belt and handed off to me.

Alan running the second leg

I was not going to be the one to give up the lead! I ran hard sighting slower runners ahead, racing to each and passing them-thinking this would be a good way to keep up the pace. I passed two runners pretty steadily and was cruising-only to come to a fork in the road that was not marked. What? I look back at the two runners I had just passed and they had turned around. Apparently I had chased down and passed two runners warming up for their laps and had gone off course. Frantically I raced as hard as I could back to regain my lost time only to cross the first mile in 11:35- a little less than six minutes slower than predicted.

Danny trying to regain time after getting lost

Finally getting back on course also had taken a lot out of me, far more than I had planned to expend on the first of four laps planned for the next six hours. After handing off to Steve Wolfe, I sat down dejected and upset that I had let the team down and potentially got us off the podium as there were now three teams ahead of us.

Wolfeman after the hand off from Danny

Steve would have none of it. He swiftly picked up and passed the 2nd and 3rd teams getting us in good position to close the gap on Fuel Belt which we did within the next few laps, in no small part due to Chris Dunn sandbagging his expected times to such a degree that every lap he ran was over a minute faster than predicted.
Chris J Dunn Sandbagging it

So in the three laps that he ran he gave back a bit more than the six minutes that I had lost. Charlie, Alan and Rich all contributed their share to reducing the deficit that I had created.
Rich Lavers running solidly after a strong fall season

We eventually passed Fuel Belt and started to put a sizeable lead on them and soon realized that our goal would be to lap them before the six hour limit. With 45 minutes or so to the finish, Alan put the hammer down and assertively passed Fuel Belt for the lap. Steve and I ran our last laps to finish up with a total of 22 laps(59.4 miles) in 5:54(they didn't count partial laps) which was good enough for the course record and the win. Fuel Belt came in second with Pat and his girlfriend a solid third.

A great late fall race to get us in the mood for Snowshoe season which starts in less than two months. We celebrated our win sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away sipping on our newly won IPA's.


The Team


Danny excited after getting the winnings


All photos courtesy of Scott Mason.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Last Month

I just received a text the other day from my friend Greg asking me when I cut him from my life. He was referring to the fact that there have not been any updates to the blog in a month. A month, which he states, "your wife did Kona finishing top 10 in her age group, you went on your honeymoon, you finished 93rd out of nearly 25,000 runners at Marine Corps, you won two road races in the same day in the same town and you and Amber finished Manchester Marathon together again for the second year in a row."

When he put it that way, I guess we did have a busy month.

Kona-
Amber and I used her qualifying for Kona as our honeymoon spending the week after the race to explore the big island. For those of you who have not been to the big island, the name suits it perfectly. It is BIG-both in size(~equal to CT) as well as diversity(Kona has lava fields and Hilo has rainforests). During our trip we hiking around a crater and through a rainforest, went cliff jumping at "the end of the world", rode scooters, paddled on stand-up surfboards and with kayaks in the ocean, swam with sea turtles, hiked the highest mountain in the world(if measured from its based at the ocean floor), watched hula dancers and manta rays dancing, ate great food and drank, arguably, the world's best coffee. As could be surmised, it was an amazing trip.

Oh, and Amber raced through 127 degree surface temperatures of lava fields to finish top 10 in her age-group at the Ironman World Championships.


Hopkinton Races-
Before we left for Kona, I did a race weekend double where I raced the NFTI 4.3 miler then biked over to the Hopkinton Senior Center and ran the Lions Cup 5k. I was thinking what a good workout I had planned for myself until I see Dave Audet show up after already running a race in Henniker that morning. While I was on my way to a double, Dave outdid me with a triple race day only to race the Rockfest Marathon in Hampton the next day. Crazy guy. Anyway, including Dave and I nine or so other racers toed the line at the 4.3 miler. I started in first and kept that position for the entire race. Quickly thanking the race organizers for a well-run race, we booked it over to the next(he in a car, me on my bike). Again, I started in the front of the pack and held on for the win despite a very strong kick by Mark Hecox who nearly pulled off the win. We both then watched as his daughter came in only minutes after us to take first female.

Marine Corp-
Marine Corps was a special race because it would be the first for Amber's sister, Genny, and her boyfriend, Brandon as well as for her mother. It was also her mother's 56th birthday. What a fitting way to spend your birthday running a marathon with 25,000 of your closest friends!
We had driven down on Friday and spent most of Saturday stuck in traffic because of the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally. After a early morning drive to the shuttles, we started a long day of waiting: waiting for the shuttles, waiting for the portapotties, waiting for the start(and some of us to cross the start), waiting for family at the finish, again waiting for the shuttles back, and waiting in traffic in Baltimore, all of Jersey, NYC and Connecticut. Despite all of the waiting, the weekend was fun-it was nice to spend some time with the family and the course itself was great.
You would imagine with 25,000 other runners I would have been able to find people to run with. However, after the first couple miles getting settled in my pace, I didn't run with a single runner for more than a 1/4 of a mile. I think a lot of people started out too fast so when I'd catch them, they'd be going to slowly to stick with. I, on the other hand, ran one of my more intelligent races, keeping pretty even and comfortable splits throughout the race, never extending myself too much. It certainly gave me the confidence to push the marathon pace a little more next time.

Manchester Marathon-
One week after Marine Corps, Amber and I were again toeing the line of a marathon. Amber was running it while I was pacing the 3:20 group. I had never done that before and was nervous as I wouldn't just be letting myself down but a whole group of aspiring Boston runners. I borrowed Amber's GPS so I'd be getting nearly instantaneous feedback on pace and invited my friend, Rich Lavers, to join me at the half. This wasn't entirely benevolent. While I did want him to get a nice long run in and I do enjoy his company, it was also insurance that if I wasn't feeling good, I'd have him there to keep the pace up. Good thing!
We started off with over 20 runners in the group(some of which were half marathoners) and I did my best slowing things down to keep everyone together but by the time we had gotten to Rich at mile 12, we were down to five runners. We quickly picked Amber up(who surprisingly was tired after a solid performance at MCM the week before and Kona a couple before that) and ran the next four miles together. At that point, having to go to the bathroom, I had Rich keep the pace thinking I'd catch right back up with them. However, as I finished and started back up, Amber and I noticed another small pack of runners that looked like they needed the support. Confident in Rich's capabilities as pacer, we decided to pace this new group to 3:30. While we can't say we got them in at 3:30, most finished somewhere in the 3:35 range and I had several people come up and thank me at the end. It was definitely an awesome experience and I would recommend it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Hardest Endurance Events on the Planet

The author of the blog Straight Dope came up with a list of the hardest recreational endurance events in the world. His definition of recreational was that anyone may enter so that anyone could think "I want to try that" and then, with enough motivation, have a chance to do it. Amber would make the argument that motivation needs to be accompanied by the equal amounts of training but you get the idea:)

Here's the list:
1) Badwater 135- From the desert from the lowest point in the United States to the highest (if you add the 11 extra miles to the top of Mt. Whitney). It's not the distance so much the heat that will do you in.
Cost: $895

2) Race Across America - 3,000 mile bike ride across the US.
Cost: $2,995

3) The Norseman - According to the website it says, "you will probably tell your friends afterwards that Norseman was more beautiful, demanding, personal, camaraderie, frightening, and to reach the finish line was a greater victory and joy than any other race you have ever done."
Cost: NOK 2,000($342)

4) Iditarod Trail Invitational - Apparently this is without dogs but it's still February in northern Alaska riding your bike 1100 miles across the ice.
Cost: $1,150

5) The Hardrock 100 - The uber-ultramarathon with almost 70,000' of elevation gain/loss at an average elevation of 11,000'.
Cost: ~$250

6) Climbing Mount Everest – As the author writes there are definitely peaks harder but none of them are available to the recreational athlete.
Cost: >$70,000 with permits and travel

7) Primal Quest - The adventure race to end all adventure races.
Cost: $12,500

8) Crocodile Trophy - A 10 stage, 1400 kilometer mountain bike race through the Australian Outback.
Cost: Euro 1,590($2,189)

9) Patrouille des Glaciers – Ski Mountaineering Race of 53k with an altitude change of 7,000 meters where every step is either "laborious or scary."
Cost: Unknown(Can't read German)

10) The Nose in a day – The Nose, a plumb line up El Capitan, in a day is a rite of passage for an “elite” recreational rock climbers.
Cost: FREE(no permits required)

11) Jungle Marathon – A 6-stage 200km race through the Amazon.
Cost:£2000 ($3,166)

12) Yukon Arctic Ultra – Supposedly this is the “the world’s coldest and toughest ultra”.
Cost: Euro 2,050($2,821)

13) Everest Challenge – The California-Nevada Climbing Championship- "This race climbs 30,000’ in its two stages but is even tougher than the elevation gain total would suggest. Hardly a meter of its 200 miles are flat and three of the six climbs are over 20 miles long, at grades up to 20%. "
Cost: $160

14) Arctic Circle Ski Race - “The ultimate challenge to cross-country skiers” is a 160km race in Greenland over three days in the dark.
Cost: 13.282 ddk($2,451)

14) Tour de Afrique – A 96-stage bike ride through 9 countries in Africa
Cost: £8,900 ($14,095)

15) La Ruta de los Conquistadores – This 3-day stage mountain bike race across Costa Rica. "In La Ruta, you often have to carry your bike and it features brutal mud, intense heat, tough cut off times….”
Cost: $1,650

16)The Barkley Marathons – It’s 100 miles with no real trails or check points with nearly 55,000 feet of elevation gain with 60-hour time limit
Cost: $1.60, a license plate from your home state, and an essay on "Why I should be allowed to run the Barkley".

So to do the 16 most challenging "recreational events in the world, you need obviously some perseverance, strong legs and lungs, and A LOT OF MONEY. For $112,476.60 you can ENTER each of these races/events. And besides Everest, that's not including getting there, staying there or taking the time off of work.

While I love the idea of doing each and every one of these challenges, I don't foresee myself being able to justify nearly $150,000 for my fun, little hobby.

Another option: Cut out Tour de Afrique, Everest, Yukon Arctic Ultra, Jungle Marathon, Crocodile Trophy, and Primal Quest which still leaves you with nine hard races that range from ultramarathons and rock climbing to mountain and road biking as well as a very challenging triathlon while spending less than $10,000. With a little help from some sponsors and it suddenly becomes even more reasonable. That way you can have the best of all worlds: race and enjoy the company of your like-minded peers, challenge yourself in all areas of fitness, and still have enough money left over to donate to a charity(or pay off your college loans).

So here's my list of personal challenges that I'd like to pursue:

1)Badwater 135
2)Race Across America
3)The Norseman
4)Iditarod Trail Invitational
5)The Hardrock 100
6)The Nose in a day
7)Everest Challenge
8)Arctic Circle Ski Race
9)The Barkley Marathons
10)The English Channel Swim(Not on the list but a serious feat nonetheless)
11)Climb Mt. Denali(Why go over overseas when we have a peak with a higher total elevation gain?)
12)Qualify and compete in Kona(so Amber already has a one up on me)

Any races that I'm missing that should be added to the bucket list?

Speaking of crazy endurance activities, you will probably be needing a coach to help you optimize your performance. Check out Amber's coaching page and  make sure to follow all of Amber's adventures at her blog, on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Little Red Lighthouse 10k

So after spontaneously entering myself into competition with the beast(aka Amber) for next year's Ironman St. George, I decided to throw myself right into training. Two weekends ago, I signed up the day before to race Syracuse where I realized just how poor my biking and swimming really were. Therefore, when my friend Greg, invited me down to NYC to swim in the Hudson river I figured that I better sign up.

1st Problem: It was six mile swim.
2nd Problem: I needed a qualifying swim to compete that weekend.
3rd Problem: It was in the Hudson.
4th Problem: I'd never swam more than 1.2 miles.

It was actually a 6.2 mile swim but it was with the tidal flood so being in the Hudson was an advantage. The qualifying swim was a bit more challenging but after getting the Racquet Club of Concord to certify my painfully slow 3 mile swim that I completed there, I was good. Not only had I never swam more than 1.2 miles before, but I had also had the advantage of using a wetsuit which were banned from this race. You only live once though.

After work Friday we drove down to NYC staying at one of Greg's friend's apartments. They had coached swimming together at Southern Illinois University and were talking about how they were going to fare place-wise while I'm sitting in the corner wondering how I'm going to fare living-wise.

A less than restful 6 hour sleep later brought use to the 79th street pier where the race was to start. Everyone there, except me, were either swimmers, triathletes or a bit of both. Judging by the choice of swimwear, I was assuming everyone was European until Greg informed me that the swim mandated "English Channel" rules which included no "jammers" for men. Apparently my swim shorts were considered jammers and he then hands me a pair of bun-huggers that would probably have looked good on pre-pregnancy Kara Goucher but would have given most of our readers nightmares when seen on me.

The race was seeded from slowest to fastest with me smack dab in the middle at wave four. How I managed to get in the fourth wave is beyond me. There must have been a typo in my entry form. Like the extra zero at the end of my swim qualifying time. Who knows... So there I am treading water with a group of about sixty of my fellow wave four swimmers. I'm looking around seeing who I could hang with. Apparently no one.

Within one buoy from the start I had could no longer see any of the other swimmers in my wave due to the swells as well as the distance they had put between us. By the second buoy, wave five had passed me. By the three buoy, I had swam almost entirely across the river before one of the safety boats put me back in line.

Then I got into a rhythm. I started swimming hard and fast envisioning that I resembled a slightly shorter and stockier Michelle Phelps. Yes Michelle Phelps. I know I will never resemble the subway rep. So anyway, I am moving along thinking to myself that this is actually surprisingly fun and that I should enter some more of these.

That's when I hear the honking.

Boater: "Swimmer, do you want to get out?"

Danny: "Haha; no thanks."

A few minutes pass as I regain my stroke, then I hear the honking again.

Boater: " Swimmer, you may think you're moving but you're not going anywhere."

Danny: "Ha, thanks"

Boater: "No seriously, do you want a ride."

Danny: "No I'm good."

I start swimming again(treading is as fatiguing for me) trying to block out negative thoughts when it does occur to me that despite this guy's obvious inability to comprehend that I'm in the middle of a race, albeit a losing race, he probably is my safety boat. Therefore, I decide not to flip him off or throw anything into his motor and just keep plugging along.

Then I hear the honking again.

Boater: "You look like you need a ride."

Danny: " No thanks go look for other swimmers."

The boat took off leaving a nice trail of gasoline in its wake for me to suck up. After I had crossed under the George Washington Bridge, I had nearly forgotten about him until he honks again, once more offering me a ride. But this time, there were three other swimmers in there with him. Just seeing that was enough to keep me going.
I swam the rest of the way determined and as I come out of the water and look back at all the people I must have beaten, I see no one.

No one. Not one swimmer was behind me. DFL. Dead freaking last!

It turns out that there were a few people in the earlier waves that swam slower than me but I finished pretty close to the bottom of the barrel swimming a 1:59:12 for 192nd place out of 219.

Yikes! I've got some training to do.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A little spontaneity never hurt anyone

I tried really hard to ignore the fact that you could still register for Syracuse 70.3 but I just couldn't resist. Seriously! How often does that happen? The answer is never. Danny and I also had a friendly bet going. A bet that looked a little like this:

Danny: I signed up for the St. George Ironman. No big deal. (Danny is strutting around the kitchen)

Amber: WHAT!? Are you out of your mind? (Amber has one eyebrow up and is looking very skeptical at Danny)

Danny: No, I am not out of my mind. And I am going to beat you. (Danny flashes a big, toothy grin)

Amber: Actually, I am fairly confident that I can beat you by 2 hours in a full Ironman and 1 hour in a half ironman.

So onward to Syrcause, NY for the inagural Syracuse 70.3

As promised the race is still open so we sign up, 'plug up', exchange some fighting words and before we know it race morning is here!

Danny's swim wave started 15 minutes ahead of mine. I thought I had the bet in the bag when I spy him leaving transition after the swim looking a little like a wet cat. To get a really good visual just plug in 'wet cat' into google and the first picture that pops up is actually danny exiting water.

However he held his own on the bike. Must have been all those mints! And he tore up the run course with a 1:25 half marathon. HOLY SMOKES!

He lost to me by 33 minutes which is far less than the hour I taunted him with. His 5:12 time is actually quite impressive considering the amount of swim and bike training he has done. Which is zip, nil, nix, nada, null, aught, cipher, cypher, goose egg, zilch....you get the point.

Overall I had so much fun racing! My goal was to push the bike as hard as I could. I did. And still pulled off a decent half marathon.

Next stop: KONA!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Syracuse 70.3

This weekend Amber and I headed up to Syracuse, NY to compete in the inaugural half ironman event. This was a pretty spontaneous race as usually you have to register months in advance for triathlons, but for whatever reason it was still open so we decided to do it. The course as is with all half-ironman distance races was a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run.
NOTE: Amber did the Pumpkinman last weekend which was also a half-ironman, and biked over 60 miles on Saturday the day before the race. I, on the other hand, hadn't done a half-ironman in two years and hadn't been biking or swimming in about that time either. But after Amber challenged me, saying that she could beat me by more than an hour, the race was on!


Amber finished in 4:39:23 Good enough for 1st in Age Group and:
- 61st fastest swimmer with: 28:56:00;
- 1st in age group and 129th overall on the bike with: 2:35:09 which is 21.7 mph;
-1st in age group and 88th overall with a run of: 1:30:23 which is 6:54/mile pace.

Danny finished in 5:12:56- 55th in age group
- 103rd in age group swim and 981st overall! 42:08:00
-89th in age group, 702nd overall in bike: 2:57:29 --18.9mph
- 5th in age group and 33rd in run: 1:24:52 --6:29/mile pace

So despite losing to Amber in the bike and the swim and barely beating her in the run, it appears that Danny won the competition!

The true competition is next May, when we will be competing head to head in the Ironman St. George in Utah. I plan on spending these next eight weeks doing some more biking and swimming and as they say in the S2 world, it's game time!

To start my training out right, I have decided to enter a six mile swim this weekend in NYC, so if you don't see any new posts after today, you will know why.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amber's Adjunct Pumpkinman Race Report

Short version: PUMPKINMAN IS THE RACE TO DO!

Slightly longer version:The gun goes off for the elite wave and before I know it I have caught the super fast feet of Tim Snow. Except I don't know it. I just know that these feet are kicking hard and we are gliding through the water at a good clip. The swim was a 2-loop course in which you exit the water to start the second loop. As I exit the water in my usual less-than-graceful-more-like-drunken-sailor fashion I here cheers for Tim Snow. Holy Smokes! I wanted to ask for an autopgraph but decided against it and instead decided to try hang onto these VERY fast feet for as long as possible.

I exit the water, (first place female!) and start the crazy mad dash up the hill to transition. Did my wetsuit shrink? Note to self: It is extremely hard to sprint, uphill, in a wetsuit, while out of breath and dizzy because you just swam 1.2 miles. My drunken sailer swagger was in full form.

Luckily, I made it out of my wetsuit and out of transition without any big mishaps.

I mount the QR and begin the 56 mile suffer fest. I find myself all by myself until I here the familar voice of the crazy coach. Sean yells at me 'Good job Amber!' And 'where are the hills?' No one loves hills more than Sean and only he would be wishing for them. Crazy man. :) And I had the honor of biking with Mr. Crazy until he decided to drop me like a hot potato.

The run portion is always my favorite as I love chasing people down! My mind wanted to chase people down but apparently my stomach had other plans which involved taking a tour of the port-a-potties. (Which were VERY spacious!)

I crossed the line first in 4:32. WOOHOO!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pumpkinman Triathlon

Location: South Berwick, ME(right over the border from Portsmouth, NH)
Venue: Pumpkinman Half-Ironman Triathlon
Race Lead-Up: "Amber Ferreira, the 2009 New Hampshire female triathlete of year, is considered the favorite to win the women's half-iron race."- September 09, 2010 edition of Foster's Daily Democrat.
Results: 1st Female, 15th overall in a blazing time of 4:32:02.
The Background: Amber's sister Deidre did this race last year and praised it, not only for its great scenery and excellent post-race meal, but also for the organization that lead to a supremely well run race. Luckily, despite concerns that she may not be able to do it due to the proximity to Kona, Amber decided that it would actually be the perfect tune-up race. She would not be disappointed.

Amber and I stayed over in Portsmouth the night before the race, going out to the Portsmouth Brewery for dinner and checking out all the local shops. The next morning we arrived in South Berwick and we quickly met up with the rest of the S2 crew members doing the race: Sean Snow, John Rhymes and Lisa Ransom. All four were to compete as Elites so that they could compete for prize money.


Amber came out of water in 25:21, well ahead of the second female, which she only would further distance herself from. Based on Amber's goal of biking 21mph, I figured that I could get a 45 minute run in, get back stretch out and still catch her on the tail end of the bike. I went for the run on the bike course so I could cheer on the age-groupers while running. I came back to find Greg Whitman drying himself off after swimming in the lake. Due to the road closures, we decided to run to grab some breakfast as we both hadn't eaten yet. After taking 3 1/2 miles to get to the breakfast(found by Greg's cool Droid), hastily eating our eggs, homefries and toast we rushed back so that we could see Amber.

Just in time! Instead of Amber biking 21mph as predicted, she biked 22.3 mph so she got in nearly the same time as we did. We ran beside her for about a half mile, shouting our encouragements and getting her pace(thanks again to the Droid) which was at 6:30. She was looking great. We then ran to the next place where we could see her and about 25 minutes later we saw her again, again running with her long enough to get her pace which had slowed to 6:40's. We saw her twice more along the course, each time with a pretty steady running pace though slowing a bit. Due to the relatively hilly last few miles she ended up finishing with a half marathon time of 1:32 which she wasn't pleased with but I thought was pretty good since I was struggling to keep up with her for those short spurts.

The post-race celebration lived up to its praise: A turkey dinner with all the fixin's served with silverware and on actual plates, with a beer tent. Additionally, the day was made more lucrative as Amber won the first place prize money as well as winning her choice of some pretty awesome jackets from this cool company out of Portsmouth(more information to come on this-we plan on going over and checking it out in person).

A great way to end the summer triathlon season. Now on to the fall season and KONA!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

amphibious operations and ZOOT shoes!

I came home the other day to find 2 pairs of ZOOT tri shoes at my doorstep:

Ultra-Kalani <--love them!

and:

Ultra TEMPO <---love them!

Thanks to Jake at ZOOT for hooking me up.

So let's talk ZOOT. Zoot uses unique Barefoot technology which incorporates a seam-free liner within the shoe - specifically designed for race day without socks. So you can go sockless and fear no blister.

My three favorits from the Zoot collection: The Zoot Ultra Tempo, Zoot ultra and Zoot kalani. The Zoot ultra tempo features an innovative sole system used in military boots for amphibious operations. What the heck is an amphibious oberation? Let me enlightened you: An amphibious operation is a military operation launched from the sea by naval and landing forces embarked in ships or craft involving a landing on a hostile or potentially hostile shore. An amphibious operation requires extensive air participation and is characterized by closely integrated efforts of forces trained, organized, and equipped for different combat functions. The complexity of amphibious operations and the vulnerability of forces engaged in these operations require an exceptional degree of unity of effort and operational coherence. Comprendo? ---> The Zoot Ultra Tempo features a series of drainage holes in the insole and sole of the shoe. These holes prevent a shoe from getting water logged when athlete pour cups over their head in a hot race while running through aid stations. Additionally, the Zoot ULTRA Tempo uses an integrated stretch lace closure system to facilitate quick donning of the shoes in transition. Stability is accomplished partially through the use of a carbon fiber insert in the mid sole. And, like Newton's the Ultra Tempo's are designed with what Zoot calls the "Tri-O-Mechanics" that are said to promote a more forward-than-heel foot interaction with the ground. "Tri-O-Mechanics"...gotta love the people at ZOOT.

The Zoot ultra's and the Zoot Ultra Kalani are fasssstttt! The shoes are fast because they are light. I think there is enough cushioning in the Kalani's even for Ironman distance runs. And did I mention the "grip button" to help pull the shoe on? What else do you need in a shoe?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ultra-iron-running Girl and Boy


Spider Dan and Gat Man
That's right. I think it's time for a name change to our blog. After my yog in the Colorado Rockies last week, and Amber's AMAZING year thus far, I think the above title is more than appropriate. Other options: IronAmberandonehundredandtenpoundweakling, Supergirlandwailingwhilerunningboy, and Irongirlandspiderdan.

Spider Dan?
In the spirit of the heroes honored at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth(CHad) Hero Half Marathon and trying to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the most superheroes gathered in one place, my friend Eric Gattie and I decided to help out a noble cause.

The Rules:
I had to dress up as superhero that has been published in a book, comic, television program or film(So no Wailingwhilerunning Boy). Guinness had indicated to us that 3 characteristics that make a character as a superhero:

1. They have a secret identity.

2. They fight crime.

3. They wear tights


So I as Spiderman and Eric as Batman(or Spider Dan and Gat Man) ran in the stiffling hot race on Sunday. Fully covered in the Spidey Suit and Mask, made things a bit hotter. To commemorate such a auspicious occasion, the Super Secret Project performed "Granite State of Mind" which certainly helped us get in the right state of mind.

While this was in fact a race, Eric and I did not neglect our duties to the community as well proceeded to run 13.1 miles while giving hi-fives, enjoying the day, dispensing useful advise and saving any kittens stranded in trees. We even let this lesser known superhero pass us at the finish just to make herself feel better.



I can't think of too many races that were quite as fun. While certainly not running any PR's, giving back to the CHaD and being amongst so many people who came to help was pretty inspiring. After all we do have to live up to our Super Hero names.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Leadville 100-Part II





Leadville 100- Talk about highs and lows. I arrived in Denver on Thursday before the race to find that my checked baggage was lost. In the bag, was all my nutrition, my trekking poles, cold-weather gear and headlamps. After five unsuccessful attempts of contacting United about my bag and going out to Walmart to purchase some backup gear, I finally get the call that they'll be delivering it within the hour. I get my luggage, prepare my drop bags and am ready to go. To the bathroom...

Leadville is located at 10,200 feet above sea level. Therefore, I was very nervous about getting altitude sickness before the race. So I did what most(or at least some) sane people would have done-drink copious amounts of water. Good news? Didn't get sick. Bad news? Had to pee every hour making sleep difficult. I actually had to stop on my way from my hotel in Frisco to Leadville-a thirty minute drive!

I went into Leadville with two goals: 1) Redeem myself from last year's VT 88.6 and finish and 2) Not die.

With low standards like that, I will always be successful.

To the race itself: The race starts off with a five mile downhill and paved and dirt roads, I knew better than to go out too fast so just ran at a comfortably slow pace. We soon turned onto the first trail of the day and "holy crap" there was this 1/4 mile ascent probably as steep or steeper than anything at Washington. I thought to myself that I didn't remember seeing that on the course map. And of course it wouldn't be there due to its brevity but nonetheless it was a wake up call for what was to come.

After coursing through trails alongside Turquoise Lake, we began our first ascent of Sugarloaf and 11,000+ feet. It was at the point that I knew I was in for a long day. Actually it was the first of many lows. As I jogged into the 24 mile aide station, I was seriously considering quitting when I saw Chad Denning from NH cheering me on. What on Earth was he doing here? Supposedly he was running the TransRockies race and had a couple days to relax and came to watch. Clearly, I couldn't quit now. Or at least until he was out of sight.

Luckily at that point the course become mild and a good portion of flats allowed me to get in a bit of a rhythm and was able to almost forget that I wanted to quit until Hope Pass shook me violently to my senses at mile 40. Picture Mt. Washington. No not Jewell Trail or even the Access Road. Picture the Great Gulf Trail and the precipice that you're skirting alongside. That precipice or cliff was Hope Pass; sure there was switch backs but it only made looking up and seeing runners 3,000 feet above you, that much more devastating. Additionally, it was about that time that it occurred to me that I must be attached to some wheezing little asthmatic school girl until I looked around and realized that little school girl was me. I subsequently got passed by nearly the entire field on the remainder of the way up.
The only consolation for those that didn't' pass me on the way up was that they then had the opportunity to pass me on the way down-which they did.

I finally reached the far side of Hope thinking I'd quickly hit the aid station and then head back, only to find that I had 3 more miles of gradual uphill prior to the fifty mile mark. DAMN IT! I whimpered as I dragged my downhill torn quads up the road.

Finally making it to the turn-around provided limited relief but looking at the bruised and battered fellow runners, I realized that I better not quit quite yet. I needed some bruises or at least some genuinely shot quads. So I took off, down three miles, back up 2,400 feet over Hope, down 3,000+ feet to the 60 mile mark. At this point something weird happened. I started feeling good. The miles 60-80 were probably my favorites where I alternated running with jogging and walking, laughing and joking with my somewhat less amiable runners. I was feeling really good as the sun set and I knew that I could now finish even if I walked the remainder of the race.

The moment that I realized that something was wrong was when I realized that I had just passed Leadville High's Cross Country coach. He and I had been running together for about 5 miles earlier but he had had to change shoes, use the rest room, and await a new pacer. As I didn't have a pacer, I had just taken off. So passing him at what I that was nearly the summit of Sugarloaf again throw me for a loop. It took a few desperate moments to realize what had happened. I had gone straight when everyone took a right causing me to loop back to nearly the start of this long arduous uphill. So instead of nearly at the summit, I had brought myself back to nearly the beginning. Tears welling up in my school girl eyes, I limply waiting for Kevin and we jog together. After a couple jokes and him offering me a beer( A beer at 11,000 feet 80+ miles into a race? Yes! Only in Leadville... ) I started to feel better again especially when he told me about Burro Racing.

Yes, Burro Racing. Apparently it is an old miner tradition to race with a mule(not on a mule but with it leashed to you) up a very steep and long mountain. And Kevin here was a two time winner. If that wasn't going to get me out of a bad mood, nothing was going to.

We ran, walked together until Mayfield the last aide station at 87 miles. I knew I could finish, I could also potentially finish under 26 hours, maybe even 25 hours! This is why I held back early so I had energy left now! Yes! No! That surge of energy lasted about three miles at which point my spent and wasted body proceeded to get passed by nearly every one's grandmothers(the grandchildren and children had already passed me).
One such grandmother.

When I finally got back to the road, I almost that I was there only to find that I still had five uphill miles ahead of me. I am really glad there was no place to quit because I certainly would have utilized it. As it was I was debating about throwing myself on the porcupine that I saw running beside(and yes, faster) me just so I would have a viable(and unique) excuse for my DNF.

Luckily? there were no such places and the porcupine quickly sauntered out of sight. I proceeded to walk all the rest of the way to the finish which I unceremoniously walked across.

I finished up in 27:43:23 which I was very content with until I realized that it was being printed on my sweatshirt. NO! I want 24:59:59! Damn it! Next Year! Or not...
Danny walking across the finish line.

Monday, August 23, 2010

DANNY CONQUERS LEADVILLE!

Danny:

Congratulations on this amazing accomplishment (164th out of 647 starters) and on changing your finish status for 100-mile events (I know this was one of your goals)! REST IN PEACE 88.6!



Here are some of Danny's quickie statistics for one of the more dangerous events in the world (heart/lung/brain-wise). At the lowest point on the race, it’s still almost 2 miles above sea level (talk about oxygen deprivation).



Dan Ferreira (age division M2)

164th out of 647 starters and out of 363 finishers

17th in his age division

149th in his gender

There were 284 who were DNF

There were 150 who were DNS

Race report coming soon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Amber In Foster's

Andy Schachat: Shining the spotlight on triathletes

"Amber Cullen-Ferreira, Concord — Cullen-Ferreira is by far the best female triathlete in New Hampshire and no other female is close. She has won a number of local races and has competed well against pro's at races outside of the region. Among her accomplishments: age group awards at the Mooseman and Black Fly Triathlons in New Hampshire, and a top finish at Ironman Lake Placid in New York."


The article also mentions Sean Snow for his consistency in winning as well as Connor Jennings and Matt Gloekler from Concord who are showing some promise as up and coming athletes.

Check it out at fosters.com

Friday, August 13, 2010

Leadville 100-Part 1

To follow Amber's trend of starting a story and then leaving our readers hanging, I have decided to do my Leadville story in two parts, but don't hold your breath for part two.

I have now started to taper for Leadville as I'm only eight days away. This is a very odd feeling. If you remember from last year's Vermont 88.6, I spent the few weeks prior to the race making up for all the training that I hadn't been doing in the months leading up to the race. I actually did a 3 day triathlon competition the weekend before. Additionally, I put my flexing my stomach muscles and holding my breath in overdrive. Apparently those strategies didn't work all that well.

This year, after several fall 2009 marathon disappointments, I decided to put in the mileage and effort and see where that would take me. To date it has taken me to PR's in the 5k(17:29-and that's with running an extra indoor lap), 10k(37:03-and that's with a stop for a beer), half marathon(1:18:33), and marathon(2:47). It also has taken me to a stress fracture from running a 25 mile birthday run for Amber on a Wednesday and a marathon on Sunday. After taking nearly two full months off to recover from the stress fracture, I started back running the end of June to find that my cardio as well as leg strength really took a hit. I steadily ramped up my mileage to that point that last week I ran the most I had ever during a week(around 70 miles)*. While I still don't have my speed back, I am definitely getting my legs under me.


Danny with Jimmie Cochran III after a disappointing first race back from the stress fracture.

So now begins my taper, I feel so underprepared and yet looking back at last year's 88.6, and the twenty mile weeks I was doing, I see that I am in far better shape than previously. And as a co-worker of mine pointed out, I can always rename the Leadville 100 as well.

Flying out Thursday, race on the 21st, post to be continued that following week...





*I don't measure my mileage but rather time myself and use 8 min/miles as an average for my runs- last week I did 9 hours for the week.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lake Placid Race Report- Part I

Now this race is big enough to blog about! Long story short: race Ironman Lake Placid. Long story long: READ ON!


Everything happens for a reason...right? Just missing a spot to compete in the world championships in Kona at Ironman Wisconsin last year was the best thing that could have happened to me. I didn't think so at the time but that near miss gave me the drive and determination to train and race myself into the best shape possible. I wanted to make sure I toed the starting line at Lake Placid 100% confident in my training and my fitness. I wanted a spot to compete with the world's best in Kona!

Let's fast forward from September 2009 to July 2010. The past year pretty much went like this: My alarm goes off way before the sun even thinks about rising and I catapult myself out of bed to face the first workout of the day. From there I will sprint off to an 8 hour work day (and attempt to function like a normal human being) only to sprint home for the second workout of the day. I took many Fridays off from training so I could recharge for 140 mile bike rides followed by 20 mile tempo runs on the weekends. The past year has been a blur of intensity in the pool, hot and sticky marathon training runs after 120 mile bike rides, snowshoe marathon races, hill repeats on foot and on bikes and with snowshoes on, Mount Kearsarge repeats, black toenails because you have been running too much (and biking too much and swimming too much...repeat!), rainy century rides, bonking, spin class intervals, 5am power lifting (including tire flipping) track workouts followed by bike intervals, followed by track workouts followed by fast and furious ingestion of powerbars and gels and...oh man I have a hard time even typing 'powerbar' and 'gel' without gagging...phew!

Times flies. Before I know it, I am treading water on the starting line of the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman. Gulp! I positioned myself at the very front of the swim start, surrounded by ferocious looking male triathletes. I was more than ready to jockey for position as I was still a bit upset after one guy looks at me at tells me to "get off the front line unless I wanted to get swum over." What!? Apparently he disregarded my gills and dorsal fin. ;)

I let out a little growl...grrrr...and before I know it Mike Reilly, (the voice of Ironman), announces over the loud speaker: Get ready athletes you have 10 seconds...9, 8,7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....the cannon sounds and I bolt from the starting line. I move my little arms like a pinwheel, trying to free myself from rest of the 2800 athletes. The ironman swim start is one part slug-fest and one part violent washing machine minus the soap suds. Luckily, someone was looking over me because I was able to break free of the chaos and the first time I lifting my head, sighting for position, there was nothing in front of me but open water...wonderful. Ironically, just as I am thinking, 'this is great', someone swims over me. Doh! Adrenaline flows through my body and I kick hard for 30 seconds and once again find open water. I accelerate to the next pack of swimmers like a hungry shark and manage to find some fast feet to hang on to. I cling to this fast swimmer like a barnacle. These feet keep me occupied for quite some time and I begin to zone out. Suddenly I feel the water temperature drop and when I turn my head to breath I notice I can't see as well. It's raining. Perfect! I love the rain! I breath to my right and notice a pink cap. Is that a female pro? Yes it is! I am passing some of the professional field. I get another surge of energy and again accelerate through the remainder of the swim.

Fifty five minutes later I am out of the water and attempting to rip off my wetsuit. Now this proves to be quite the project. I'm stuck! I feel claustrophobic! Did my wetsuit shrink? Fortunatly a kind volunteer notices the panic on my face and commands me to sit on my butt while she gives my wetsuit one giant tug. Her efforts work like magic and I'm freeeeeee from the confines of my wetsuit. I spring up and sprint off eager to begin the 112 mile bike ride.

To ride 112 miles on a bike is hard. To race 112 miles in the aero position on a triathlon bike after swimming 2.4 miles is....CRAZY! I won't drag you through the entire bike course with me but instead reflect on some highlights...and low points. All in all the Lake Placid bike course is phenomenal and a true test of endurance. Like a good final exam Lake Placid tests all facets of triathlon training - brutal hills, fun flats, and 9 mile descents! I felt so lucky to be racing the Ironman that I did take some time to enjoy the scenery, take some deep breaths and smile! The latter was a bit difficult when I realized both of my water bottles needed to be discarded because they tasted like soap. GAG! Live and learn and make sure to only use a dime-sized amount of dishwasher soap. Oops. Overall I felt great on the bike, I pushed hard uphill, down hill and smiled when I passed some more pro girls :) Before I move to the run portion let me remind you that if Ironman were easy everyone would be doing it. Ironman also wouldn't be ironman without a good old BONK at mile 90. Ahhh...abnormally low levels of blood glucose gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Just kidding. Actually, this BONK left me feeling extremely weak and lethargic, I started sweating profusely and got very light headed. I was ravenously hungry and sick to my stomach at the same time. How can this be? I raided my bike jersey for snacks only to find empty wrappers - bugger! I began to develop tunnel vision and was only aware of the spot on the road directly ahead of me. Oh boy. And then there was light. Am I dying? Did I crash my bike? Wait, what is that just ahead of me? Is that an aid station? It is!!! SNACKS! A wonderful volunteer hands me a banana and 2 GU's. I inhale those babies, lick my lips and before I know it I am back in full force!! 10 miles of biking to go and the marathon begins! An offical yells to me from the side of the rode: "You are the 7th female overall!" Grrrrrrr!!!

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

LAKE PLACID RACE REPORT

Is in the works! I will have it done by Saturday at the latest.

Amber Ferreira :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lake Placid a Success, Now Comes Leadville 100




This summer has flew by. It seems that it was just the other day when I wrote up my prediction for Amber at Lake Placid and I looked and it was over a month ago. Sorry to keep everyone in suspense.
For those who didn't see the results: Amber finished 8th overall female, 90th overall and 2nd amateur finishing with the fourth fastest amateur time of all time at Placid. Her 10:11 was good enough to qualify her for KONA the World Championships for the Ironman on October 9th of this year.
The race itself was a disappointment. But only for me. See, I was coming from a Bachelor party in Rochester that morning and had to content myself with text updates from my friends on how she was doing. 3rd female out of the water. Biking over 23 mph for the first 30 miles, first two miles on the run were 6:30's. I finally got to the race when she was a mile 11, where she stopped and gave me a hug before scurrying on to pass a pro(the pro's also had a ten minute head-start).

So on to Kona for Amber. But up next on the docket is that pesky 100 miler I had signed up for to motivate myself to get in shape and really prepare for. Leadville had gotten me in probably the closest to fit that I have been in in a long time but unfortunately, getting the stress fracture really set me back. I am just now getting back into running with any sort of speed and I still can't go very long yet. No worries. I still have three weeks and as Amber loves to point out; my training regime of holding my breath and contracting my abs can only be improved with some actual running.

I've been hiking Falling Waters Trail at Mt Lafayette in the Whites to simulate the climb up Hope Pass and the last few times I have been within my race pace plan, the difference being most notably that this will be occurring at mile 45 not after sitting in the car for an hour and at 12,600 feet not 5,000 feet. But it's always easy to focus on the negative, in this case my ill-preparedness, rather than all the positives. Positives include: I get time off work, I am going to Colorado, and even with all that went wrong this year I still have put in significantly more mileage than last year where I was still able to make it 88.6 miles at Vermont.

At this point, I will try to get in a solid remaining week of running then just rest as much as I can and be as prepared as I can logistics-wise and hope for the best.

Will keep everyone posted on the outcome and hopefully Am will be getting a Placid Race report posted soon...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Only One Hill


A Hill

Why is it that hills get such a bad rap? "Everything is downhill from here", "he's over-the-hill", "It's an uphill battle". Even smaller ski areas get the distinction of being "ski hills or anthills" rather than mountains. Besides Faith, I can think of very few times hills have been painted in a positive light. You start to wonder what's so wrong with hills? What did they ever do to me? They're not so bad. And then just like that you hear "there's just one hill!" and you realize why:

Because it's 7.6 miles of it at 11% grade.

Because you get passed by people that you usually see come in minutes after you in regular races.

Because you realize that you have to somehow get down this 'hill'.

Because you resorted to walking within the first mile.

Because breathing suddenly became a luxury that you apparently can't afford.

Because you got passed by a 68 year old.

Because you got passed by a 68 year old woman.

Because you got passed by a 68 year old woman that heckled you as she passed.

Because you walked across the finish line.

So next time I start feeling bad for hills, I will just remember Mt. Washington and think better of it.

Mt. Washington- Not a Hill

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lake Placid Here She Comes!


With less than a month before Lake Placid Ironman things are getting intense. Amber went up to Lake Placid for a long weekend training camp where she among other things bike around 500 miles, swam the 2.4 mile course multiple times and ran a sub-3 hour marathon on the Ironman course. That's right! A sub-three hour course as PART of her weekend training hell, er camp.
In the spirit of everyone making predictions of race outcomes, here is my humble one on Ironman Lake Placid on 7/25/2010:

Swim(2.4 miles): 0:57
Bike(112 miles): 5:28
Run(26.2 miles): 3:22
Total(140.2 with transitions): 9:50

Obviously, there are a lot of things that can impact this prediction, such as flats, weather and nutrition but I feel that Amber has practiced and prepared for all elements and despite whatever comes her way race day, she will not only be one of the fittest out there but also definitely one of the most mentally prepared.

For those who can't wait to see Amber at Placid, she has recently added the Black Fly Triathlon weekend, at Waterville Valley to her race plans. Let's see if she can retain the Lord of the Flies title! Good Luck to Amber and all the other participants.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Amber's 2009-2010 Achievements to Date


(Amber Pushing the Pace at Mt Washington Road Race with a 1:19 good enough for 7th female overall)

I quickly put together a list of Amber's 2009-2010 racing achievements. Am I missing anything?


Local:
2010
-Will Run for Beer Series- Overall Winner

-Granite State Snowshoe Series- Overall Winner

-Mooseman 70.3-1st Amateur Overall

-Mt Washington Road Race- 7th Overall, 1st NH finisher

-Rock N’ Race- 1st Overall

2009
-Bull Moose Champion

-Lord of the Flies Champion

-NH Triathlete of the Year

National:
2010
-70.3 World Championship Qualifier

-Short Course Duathlon Worlds Team Qualifier

-National Snowshoe Champion

-World Snowshoe Championship Qualifier

-New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon- 9th Overall

2009
-Ironman Wisconsin- 3rd Place 25-29

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mooseman 70.3 from Danny's Perspective

Amber competed in this Sunday's Mooseman 70.3 which had a significant change in the bike course so it was expected to be quite a bit slower due to all the added hills. Amber had ridden the course a few times and had told me that she had never seen so many hills on a race course. I was unable to watch the race because my brothers and I were celebrating my sister's 21st birthday at the Second Annual Gold Jacket Tournament but I had Amber's sister, Deidre, and my friend, Greg, keep me posted on how she did.

Danny: How's she doing?
Deidre: She's second in her age group out of the water, 7th female overall!
Greg: Amber's ahead of Sean Snow by a full minute!

Danny: Where is she now?
Deidre: Half way through the bike, two pros just dropped off. Currently in 10th place overall, 1st in age group!
Greg: She's biking well over 20mph!

Danny: Any word?
Deidre: Just started the run with two bloody knees!
Greg: Amber just finished the bike only five minutes slower than Sean! She might catch him!

Danny: What pace is she running?
Deidre: I don't know but she just passed several guys.
Greg: She's running 6:40's, Sean's running 6:50's. It's going to be close!

Danny: I hope she's having a margarita at the finish line?
Deidre: Crossed the line, first non-professional female, 33rd racer(male and female) overall!
Greg: Well, she qualified for Clearwater and I think she was close enough to the first female pro to qualify for the Pro License herself. 4:42:04 only 20 seconds off of Sean.

It was an exciting way to watch the race unravel, but it was too bad that she couldn't have competed in the Bull Moose Challenge to defend her title(it was canceled after Mooseman Half turned into 70.3).

Amber's race summary to follow...(hopefully)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pineland Farms

It has now been 24 days since my stress fracture at Flying Pig Marathon. During that time Amber has logged well over 1,000 miles biking, 200+ miles running and recently won the Rock N Race in 18:05.
I on the other hand have been biking 30 minutes 4-5 days a week, using a bone stimulator and taking calcium pills and that's about it. Wait! I did go for a canoe ride the other day. And I am sure that will be all I need for this weekends' Pineland Farms 50 Miler.
50 Miles? Danny didn't you say you were going to be smart and let this thing heal?
Yes I did and I am. I am just planning on walking it, or as much of it as I can in the 13 hour time limit. I figure this way I can still get the post-race food and support the Acidotic and GCS runners, but more importantly so that I get some serious miles under my belt so I don't lose all of my fitness for Leadville.
My goal is to make it two full laps so 35 miles or so. We'll see...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eleven Days Down, 19-33 To Go

Hello, my name is Danny and it has been eleven days since my last run....


11 days after my stress fracture from Flying Pig and still can't put much weight through my left foot. I've been stretching(a bit)more, using a bone stimulator and therapeutic laser, and pretty much just taking it easy. I've had enough of that. I want to be running. Every time I see someone running,jogging, yogging or even walking without a limp, I get envious.

This injury has been eye-opening for me. Three years ago I had never run more than 4 miles and that was begrudgingly. Since then, I haven't had more than three consecutive days off from running. It was as if I would loose all this new-found endurance if I did. That was probably at least part of the reason for my injury. The other part is most likely doing too much, too soon, with inadequate training. It must feel like Christmas in May because here's my resolution: I will not rush my healing(bone is rushed by no man), I will not expect to return to the fitness level I was at prior to injury, and I will not let myself compare my seemingly low mileage with others-it works for me when I listen to my body...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Duathlon Championships, Amber's 28th Birthday, Recognition from the Senate, and a Stress Fracture

A lot has happened since last time we've written. Amber qualified for the US Duathlon National Age Group team, over 3,000 miles were logged on my car, Amber's 28th birthday came and went, and I received my first overuse injury of the season.
Amber and I drove down to Richmond, VA two weekends ago to compete in the National short-course duathlon championship. This event was comprised of a 5k run, 23 mile bike and 5k run. Neither of us had done a duathlon before so we had no idea what to expect. The race started off as if there was only a 5k road race, Amber getting into T1 with a 19:10 5k. The pace continued on a steady stream with a 20 mph + bike ride followed by another sub-seven min/mile pace 5k. Finishing third in her age-group was good enough to get a spot on the National team to compete in Edinburgh, Scotland in September. I had a good vantage point of the majority of the race as I flatted out only 5 miles into the bike...
Amber turned 28 on the 28th and we had planned a 28 mile run to celebrate. However, we had not planned, nor dressed appropriately for the day's weather. About five miles into the run, mother nature decided it wasn't quite ready for winter to end. It started snowing! We ran the next 15 miles in steady snow fall getting colder and more tired. At that point we decided to call it quits and make a beeline home. However, our bee must have been imbiding too much honey because it certainly wasn't the most direct way home. We came home with a total of 25.6 miles of running-2.4 miles short of our goal but several miles more than we had wanted to run. We then quickly showered and heading over to the State House where Amber was recognize by the NH Senate for her National Championship in Snowshoing.
My cousin Joey, friends Eric and Brooklyn all went out to compete in Cincinnati at the Flying Pig Marathon four days later on May 2nd. It would be Brooklyn and Joey's first marathons and Eric's second half. We woke up Sunday morning to thunder and lightning with a downpour. The rain didn't subside as we drove to the race, huddled outside the portaporties or during the national anthem. It was miserable. Then the race started and the downpour lessened to a nice mist and made for nearly perfect running weather. I planned to take advantage of this and try to best my Exeter Marathon time, but my body had other plans. Since the day I did a ten mile run in the Vibram's my feet had been hurting, but I hadn't thought much about it. However, at mile 17, with a sharp intense pain to my (L) foot, I realized that I should have. I hobbled the rest of the way in, lowering my goal time with each slower mile. This may be a blessing in disguise because now I've got a forced, month-long taper before Pineland Farms...

We'll see.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Double Weekend

Last weekend, I fairly successfully pulled off 1)the Merrimack River 10 Miler, 2) Dan Ford 5 Miler and 3) the Great Bay Half Marathon for a total of 28 racing miles in two days. This past weekend I decided to up the ante a little and do the Exeter Marathon on Saturday and the Muddy Moose 14 Miler on Sunday for a total of 40 racing miles over the weekend. All said and done it appears that I did about 30 miles of racing and the last 10 miles slogging along wishing I had chosen the 4 miler.


Looking back at the marathon splits that I ran on Saturday I should have known not to push my luck. While I did PR by four minutes in Exeter, it wasn't a pretty race. It was a battle of attrition with nearly each mile getting progressively slower.
Mile 1: 6:03
Mile 2: 6:18
Mile 3: 6:12
Mile 4: 6:16
Mile 5: 6:22
Mile 6: 6:11
Mile 7: 6:12
Mile 8: 6:25
Mile 9: 6:18
Mile 10: 6:12
Mile 11: 6:11
Mile 12: 6:22
Mile 13: 6:13
Mile 14: 6:18
Mile 15: 6:14
Mile 16: 6:27
Mile 17: 6:41
Mile 18: 6:33
Mile 19: 6:18
Mile 20: 6:31
Mile 21: 6:37
Mile 22: 6:40
Mile 23: 6:34
Mile 24: 6:45
Mile 25: 6:43
Mile 26: 6:39
Mile 26.2: 1:17
Total: 2:47:45

The race was an out and back course and despite the small field of ~50 runners, there was good fan support and plenty of aide. It was a great and well run race and I will definitely be back for it next year.

I then spent the evening in Balcony seats at the Colonial Theater in Boston watching CATS which definitely tightened up my legs.



The next morning came early and I called Rich Lavers telling him I wouldn't be going to the race(smart) only to moments later reconsider and call back, begging a ride(not so smart). I still hadn't made up my mind whether I was going to do the 14 or 4 miler which happen simultaneously and run the first 2 miles together. Even at the start of the race I wasn't sure which I was going to do. At the turn, left for the 14, right for the 4, I turned left(stupid). I then proceeded to be passed by nearly the entire field of runners, barely making it home in daylight(or so it felt).

Despite my fatigue, the coolness of the race did not go unnoticed and I think I'll try it again next year on fresher legs.

Thanks to Scott Mason for the photos.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grubby Acidotic Racers!






Just a quick update for those of you who saw me on Sunday's Great Bay Half. Yes I was still wearing my Acidotic singlet. And yes it was washed in between races. However, neither I nor Rich Lavers was able to wash our outfits between the Merrimack River 10 miler and the 5-miler we did a couple hours later in Methuen. Yikes!



Pictures courtesy of Steve Wolfe.

Check out Great Bay Pictures at http://www.capstonephotostore.com/searchresult.php

Exeter Marathon

So no Boston this year for Amber and I. Like thousands of others holding off to register until after the holidays, we missed out. By waiting too long, the 26,000+ other runners filled Boston to its capacity. We some friends running it this year so we'll be watching our computer screens as their times are updated.

I decided not to take the weekend off though. After reading about similar runners having been unable to get in, I decided to join them in the inaugural Exeter Marathon to be held tomorrow at 8am in Exeter RI. As of today, there were only 39 males running it. But as the website says, it is the only marathon in the US, besides the Olympic Trials, that the only means of entry is by qualification. It is also one of the only US marathons that I am guaranteed a top 50 spot(as of today). The qualifying time for everyone registered is posted on the website and it looks like the top 5 will be competitive.

My goal for this race is to pass more people than pass me. I plan to run it easy until mile 16(the last steep hill) then see what I can put together for the last 10 miles.

The thing about the marathon is that it is long enough that so many things can go wrong that I hope to just pace myself and keep things together so that I come out with a nice long run under my belt(money in the bank for Leadville) without tearing myself up too much.

Running the Numbers(as brought to you by Runner's World)

EXETER
Entry Fee: $40
Field Size Cap: 1,000
Starting Time: 8:00 a.m.
Charity Runners: 0
Volunteers: 40

BOSTON
Entry Fee: $130
Field Size Cap: 26,400
Starting Time: 10:00 a.m.
Charity Runners: 4,000
Volunteers: 8,500

I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Oh yeah, Muddy Moose on Sunday!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oh My Aching Feet!

So for those of you that sang along with "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" never read a really good book. Okay, so it's a stretch but I'm blaming Chris McDougall's book, Born to Run, on my current achy feet. Not only did his book motivate me to sign up for Leadville 100 in the first place but it also encouraged me to buy a pair of Vibram Five Fingers(see below).

These shoes are designed to bridge the gap between bare-foot(and often bloody) running and heavy, proprioceptive reducing running shoe running. I went for a 45 minute run last night for my third run in them and here's my input:

1)Great for ultra-running pace running because they force you to go slow.
2)Good for intrinsic muscle use as the foot has to flex and stabilize itself more because the shoe is not doing it for you
3)Fair for running economy because while it does force you to avoid a heel striking(and stress fracture causing) gait pattern, it also puts you more on your toes(rather than midfoot) which can lead to things like Achilles Tendonitis and other overuse injuries. Also descending becoming far more difficult because you have to eccentrically control your foot fall.
4)No so good for proprioceptive training. Whether it's a Nike, Brooks or Vibram rubber, the truth is that any amount of material between your foot's sensory nerves and the ground diminishes your body proprioception.
5)Good for Sore Feet- My fault. Should have gone for a shorter run.

All in all, I think that I'll continue to race in flats but Vibram's may become a part of a once or twice weekly training program. We'll see.

Now where's the Ice?

Monday, April 5, 2010

April Fool's 4 Miler




What an April Fool's Surprise. We went to Salisbury this past weekend to race in the third Will Run for Beer Series' race April Fool's 4 miler, thinking low-key race, fun atmosphere. We step out of the car and Amber says, "wow that looks a lot like Sarah Bei". Moments later I spot this guy that looks very much like Ryan Hall and I said as much. That would be ridiculous though, here in Salisbury MA, racing in a low-key 4 mile race? No way! Well, apparently, as some of my pediatric patients say "yes way". It was in fact Sarah and Ryan Hall coming out so that Sarah could run a "tempo" run.



Some Tempo run she had. I tried to keep up with her for the first mile and nearly passed out. I had to slow down to 6 min mile for the third mile just to stop seeing stars. Needless to say, I figured out why she's an Olympian-caliber runner and I am not.


The race was super competitive for the females; not only due to the fact that Sarah Hall ran but also the triathlete, Crystal Anthony, who showed up finishing third behind Brett Ely. Amber finished a solid sixth with a 25:03 good enough for 2nd in her age-group, despite the deep field and unseasonably hot temperature.

It was a fun day going from meeting the Halls to surprising my dad for his 60th birthday. Can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.