Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

As the New Year begins and resolutions are made, there is usually one about getting(or staying) healthy for the upcoming year. As physical therapists, people are always asking Amber and me what we do to stay healthy and fit. Do we spend all day in the gym working out(me definitely not, Amber maybe)? What does a healthy day look like? Remembering that I like to look at the broader scope, we will take it a step further and ask: what does a healthy week look like?

While the specifics vary from person to person, there are some aspects of health that should be considered on a daily basis:

• Prevention:

         o Probably the most important aspect of living a healthy life(and one often overlooked by many endurance athletes) is to thwart preventable diseases or injuries. Getting recommended screening, immunizations, wearing seat belts, recognizing injuries early before they require treatment, etc all play a huge role in staying healthy.

• Eat 3 well-balanced meals:

            o According to the Harvard school of Public Health half your plate should be colorful vegetables. A quarter of your plate: whole grains. A healthy source of protein, such as fish, poultry, beans, or nuts, can make up the rest. To quench your thirst drink a cup of water or a similar drink with little to no sugar added.

Aerobic Exercise: 15-20 minutes of vigorous or 25-30 minutes moderate aerobic exercise

            o The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150-180 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week and 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise to combat cardiovascular diseases and improve quality of life. We certainly get that a week but the key, as I've mentioned before, is moderation and balancing it with everything else in your life.

          o Remember: If starting a new program, always contact your doctor first for approval and find an aerobic exercise you like since you’ll be more apt to continue doing it.

• Brush and floss your teeth.

            o The American Dental Association recommends twice daily brushings and once daily flossing to prevent decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

• Sleep 7-9 hours.

          o Sufficient sleep has been recognized to help with chronic disease prevention and health promotion.

           o The Center for Disease Control recommends going to bed at the same time each night, and rising at the same time each morning. Additionally it recommends sleeping in a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.

Other activities don’t need to be performed daily but should be done a few times a week and include:

Strengthen your core and joint stabilizers 3-4 days per week.

• Challenge your balance

            o Whether it is tai chi, yoga, Pilate's or something else, improving your balance has been shown to help decrease falls and strengthen muscles.

Challenge your mind

          o Just as your muscles need exercise, so does your brain. The Franklin Institute states that with most age-related losses in memory or motor skills it is a result of inactivity and/or a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. As we say in therapy all the time: Either use it or lose it.

While this list of recommendations may not be comprehensive, it is a good starting spot for most individuals to start the New Year on the right foot. If you would like more information or are interested in receiving one-on-one guidance, please contact your health care provider.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the Results are In!

We just finished the first annual Cullen Ferreira White Christmas Invitational where I pulled off a miraculous win over Brandon White. Despite my last minute heroics, it wasn't enough to put the Ferreira's ahead in the couples category with Brandon and Genny taking that prize.

I have kindly reminded Amber it is time for her to step it up for next year's Invite.

 Check out the photos and results here.

Amber and I were however nominated by Andy Schachat as the co-winners of the Couple of the Year award for NH. Andy used to bestow these awards as part of his column in Foster's and has continued the tradition. What a great honor!

Amber has gently informed me that it is time for me to step it up so we're the sole winners next year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis the Season... For Competing

Happy Holidays to everyone! With Christmas and this impending storm approaching, most people may be thinking about taking it easy and relaxing. Not Amber's family. Instead, starting Christmas day evening, the Cullen Ferreira White Christmas Invitational  will commence. This 3 day competition, based on my family's Gold Jacket Tournament, will include activities like a handicapped 5k road race, Wii Sports, board games, Dance competition, drinking games, bowling and many more. Best thing of all?  You can follow it as we post results, and most likely photos and videos on the website. We don't quite yet have the technological savvy to post results live like but we'll get them to you as soon as possible.
So while you're singing Yuletides around the fire, look over to one of your siblings/children/parents and challenge them to some friendly competition in the spirit of the season.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Slow Time of Year for Blogging About Running

As the temperatures fall, the race choices dwindle, and before the snow falls there is a period of relative inactivity in the Ferreira household. Amber has no long runs or bike rides yet scheduled and Danny, well not much has changed for Danny, but reduced racing on the weekend. Due to this lack of training and racing there hasn't been much to report.

Amber and I both did the Frozen 5k(mislabeled on Coolrunning as the Frosty 5k- so did it really occur?) to support the WLNH Children's Auction as well as to support Myles Chase owner of MC Cycles in Laconia. This was the inaugural race and yet nearly 100 participants came out to run.

Amongst the participants, were triathletes, Andrew Clemence, Sean Snow and Erick Anderson, nordic skier, Sam Evans-Brown, so I knew that I would be in for some stiff competition for top 3. As was expected the race started off FAST with Erick leading Andrew and Sam and me tagging along. My goal was to stick with them for as long as possible. An interesting thing happened though. At about the mile mark, I hadn't fallen off the back and more surprisingly my breathing settled. This isn't so bad. That thought process continued until about 2.5 miles when Erick decided he had enough of us following him. I tried to match his pace but fell off. In the process though I put a nice separation on Sam and ended up with a PR finish of 16:21 for 3rd Place.

Amber strolled to a 1st place finish with a 18:20 smiling the whole way.

Will report more as we do more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Got Patellofemoral Pain?

A recent case study in the Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy(JOSPT) found that runners with patellofemoral pain("runner's knee") were more likely to heel strike. Heel striking has shown to increase stress and loading on the lower leg and knee. Vibram(and a slew of other minimal heel drop shoes) has made a lot of money by selling people on the need to avoid heel striking while running.

The key to this study was, not that they needed to change their footwear, but rather they needed to change their mechanics. Within eight sessions of practicing to run on either mid or forefoot, the runners were able to then continue to perform this style at a 3 month follow-up. More importantly though, the runners reported decreased pain as well as one runner reporting a 5 minute improvement in her 10K time!

Things to take into consideration however was that this was a case study so there were only three participants. Additionally, these were people who already had had knee pain. People prone to Achilles Tendonitis may not find modifying their gait to benefit them at all since it could in fact put more stress on that tendon. Additionally, studies have shown a worse effeciency with running at any style other than your "own" so working on your mechanics immediately prior to an "A" race may not be of benefit.

If you have been diagnosed with "runner's knee" and already are doing hip and quadriceps strength to address any physical misalignments, working on modifying your foot strike may be something to consider. Or at least take a look at the article: Cheung RTH, Davis IS. Landing Pattern Modification to Improve Patellofemoral Pain in Runners: A Case Series. JOSPT 2011. 21(12).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Full Circle- Vermont 100 Revisited

I finally did it. After several years of threatening to, I have signed up for the Vermont 100 again. I hope to finally get the Vermont 88.6 moniker(and monkey) off my back. Our very first blog post was a few weeks before the Vermont 100, and I had set up some rather lofty goals for myself. They were to:

1) Finish

2) Finish smiling
3) Finish under 24 hours
4) Finish under 24 hours smiling

Not all that unreasonable, right? Well, errr, actually on less than 25 miles/week of running, they were pretty unreasonable. It was an amazing feat of ignorance and stubborness that allowed me to make it those 88.6 miles.

Albeit my weekly mileage hasn't improved significantly in these last few years, I am a more "seasoned" runner and think the outcome will be a little different this time around. With this new registration in place, I have solidified my "A" races for the season. They are:

1) 1/22/2012- Greater Boston Track Club Invitational- 1 mile(shooting for sub 4:30)
2) 4/14/2012-Gansett Marathon(shooting for sub 2:40)
3) 7/21/2012- Vermont 100(shooting for sub 24 hours)
4) 8/18/2012- Ironman Mont Tremblant(shooting for sub 10:30)
What I've discovered through my racing, is how much I love cheering on other racers though too. So while I'm pretty excited about each of these races, I am also excited about all the triathlons that Amber will be competing in this year, as well as the road races that my sister, Marilyn(one of my pacers for the original ill-fated VT88.6) and cousin, Ryan will be doing this year. 2012 is looking to turn out pretty fun!
Up Next: Frozen 5k for Amber and Danny this Saturday in Laconia. Put on by Endurofun Sports and MC Cycles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

This weekend in Review

This weekend was the Northeastern Invitational for me on Saturday and the Mill Cities Relay for Amber and her parents and sister on Sunday. I had originally been signed up for the Las Vegas Marathon so didn't commit to the Relay, taking instead the role of alternate.
The Northeastern Invitational would be my first test to see where my baseline speed was at and to use as a guide of where I can hopefully get by the Greater Boston Track Meet on January 22nd. I'm hoping to run a sub- 4:30 mile there so I was looking to run in the 4:45-4:50 range this weekend. Barely pulled it off with a 4:49.81. Not a lot of breathing room but I figure with some speed work, I can hopefully end my mile down in the 4:40 range by the end of December and then, as Pre said, it's gonna be a guts race on the 22nd. I also ran the 800m in 2:14, out like a lion in 61 and in like a lamb in 73. Yikes!
Amber ran the first leg(5.6 miles) of the Mill Cities Relay for the Women's Open Gate City Striders team. I parked at the transition area and ran back towards her, thinking I'd catch her about the 3 mile mark. Well, apparently no one told Amber about that as it only took me a mile and a half to meet up with her. She had gone through the first four miles in less than 24 minutes. Here I was thinking I'd be kind and pace her in, and instead, I'm hanging on for dear life just not to be dropped by her. She ended up being the first women to hand off but barely beating out a strong SRR racer.
Amber outkicking Danny
We then hopped in the car to cheer on Amber's sister, Deidre, who would then pass off the baton to her mother who would then pass it on to her father who had the 9.5 mile leg. We would drive ahead, stop and run back to cheer him on. Every time we saw him we were amazed just how fast he was running. Here's a fifty year old guy that has only been running about six years running sub-seven's for over 9 miles. Pretty impressive. Guess I know where Amber got her speed. BUT her love for running may have come from her mother. After finishing her leg, Gloria, comes up saying: "I got ripped offfff! I only got the 2.5 mile leg. I want to run further!" Well Gloria, let's work on the speed and maybe they'll give you a longer leg:)  

Up Next:  Amber AND Danny: 12/10/2011 Frozen 5k

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just a Quick Note

In 2008, without having bike 112 miles or swam 2.4 miles, I raced in the Rock N Roll Marathon in Arizona on what sounds like a similar course to this past weekend's Ironman. Amber just ran a 3:21:54 after doing all that!
Sometimes, because she does so well so often, I think people(or at least I do) occasionally lose sight of just how many amazing crazy things she does. My parents always feel badly not knowing which racing are the important ones because she places so well at most of them. She is always so consistent and produces such great results that sometimes I come to expect them without really thinking just how amazing it is. Just in the last year or so Amber has become the US snowshoe champion(2010), qualified for Kona(2010), qualified for Clearwater(2010), qualified for US duathlon nationals(2010), became a pro triathlete(2011), ran a 3:03 marathon a week after Kona(2010) and just finished well under 10 hours at Ironman Arizona (2011). What makes this more amazing is that just a few years ago, she didn't own a road bike and was scared to go downhills without riding her brakes. Two years ago, she had never run on snowshoes. And last year's duathlon was her first ever. And she eats dessert nearly every night!
Remember how I was taking violin lessons? While butchering the song I was trying to learn the other day, Amber took the violin out of my hands and played it perfectly. Freakin' PERFECTLY! She's also an excellent artist often drawing thank- you cards by hand.
Pretty much what I'm saying is that on the day before Thanksgiving I'm giving thanks for having, in addition to an awesome family and friends, a pretty cool athletic wife that can pretty much kick my butt at everything.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amber Ferreira is a sub-10 Hour Ironman! Ironman Arizona.

Amber went down this past weekend to Tempe, Arizona to compete in Ironman Arizona. I was unable to go due to using up too much of my days off with my Munich and China trips earlier this year, so I had to resign myself to watching her on the internet. As mentioned before, this race was stacked! Many of these women were coming off some excellent seasons and were expected to being vying for early season points for 2012. While Amber had been working hard, the October snow storm, and a stomach bug that went around had limited to some extent her ability to train and therefore we weren't sure how well she'd hold up. Amber did have some redemption she needed though at this race course, as it was the same one(only longer) that she had her un-illustrious Best of the US race a couple of years ago.

I'll let Amber do a formal race report but I just wanted to give a perspective of my day while she raced.

7am(5am in Arizona)-Amber texts me good morning. She's getting ready to head to the race start.

9am- Came back from a walk with my parents drove thirty minutes back to my house.

9:55am- Amber finishes her swim in a time of 55:22 good enough for 12th woman.

10am- Danny goes for a ten mile run.

11:10am- Danny has breakfast and showers. He puts back on his sweats he slept in.

11:40am-Amber crosses 37.4 miles averaging 21.53 mph on the bike.

11:41am-Danny takes an hour nap.

1:26pm- Amber crosses 74.6 miles averaging 20.98 mph.

1:30pm- Danny goes for a walk and grabs lunch.

3:15pm- Amber gets off the bike averaging 20.55 mph for the last 37.4 and 21.01mph for the 112 total.

3:16pm- Danny is still in sweats.

3:32pm- Amber runs the first 2.5 miles of the marathon in 17:17(6:54pace)!

4:35pm- Amber just covered the last 9 miles in 6:59 pace. She's passing people!

4:40pm- Danny thinks it's time he starts sending some good mojo Am's way so changes into his running clothes and does a late evening track workout.

5:10pm- Danny returns.

5:44pm- Although slowing slightly, Amber has moved from 22nd place at the beginning of the run to 15th!

5:45pm- Danny has dinner.

6:42pm- Amber finishes the marathon in a time of 3:21:54 with an overall race time of 9:42:20. 15th Pro female and 95th racer(male and female) OVERALL!

6:45pm- Danny celebrates with dessert.

6:55pm- Amber borrows our friend's, Jimmie Cochrane, phone at the finish and calls me to say we're going to Disney World! Okay so she didn't say that but we did talk and I told her how proud I was of her.

10pm- Danny goes to bed

10:25pm- Amber wakes up Danny to wish him a good night sleep. She has just finished munching on her 5th slice of pizza and (2) burgers. Time for Amber to replenish calories and for Danny to sleep.

2am(midnight Arizona time, 17hours after the start)- The last finishers hear the announcers shouting: "You are an Ironman!"

Congratulations to all finisher's in yesterday's race.

This was Am's first race breaking 10 hours and she did it big time. I cannot wait to see how well she does next season after dedicating her winter on getting faster on the bike. To quote her coach, Kurt Perham: "Amber, I envision a long winter of biking. Sorry Snowshoe Fans!" While that may be a loss for snowshoe fans, next year will certainly make up for it for the triathlon fans.

Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving! Find a Turkey trot and spend some quality time with loved ones.

Friday, November 18, 2011

RI 6 hour Relay

For the second year in a row, I joined acidotic RACING down in Warwick, Rhode Island to be a part of the RI6HR relay this past weekend. The race is comprised of a 2.7 mile loop that you try to complete as many times as possible in a six hour period. Mid-way through a loop when the six hour time elapses and that half lap doesn't count. Which means getting sixty miles is tricky. Getting 59.4 is pretty easy- 22 laps brings you in at 6:04 pace. However, to get that extra 2.1 miles you have to run 5:48 pace. Substantially more challenging. But a challenge that aR was up for. But first things first. It is Movember at all so we all needed to grow out our 'staches. And grow them out we did. To vary degrees of creepiness. Rhode Islanders must have an interesting view of aR racers since this is our only race down there and we always show up with upper lip hair.

Our team was revamped a bit from last year. Due to a supposed injury(which apparently didn't stop him from competing in and doing well at the Pinnacle Challenge), Steve Wolfe was out. In his stead was Chris Lalmond a solid trail runner from aR. We had borrowed CMS's Alan Bernier last year due to a last minute cancellation so we replaced him with aR's breadwinner, Judson Cake. So the team was as follows:

Judson Cake- Goal lap pace: 5:05-5:15
Charlie Therriault- Goal lap pace: 5:30-5:45
Danny Ferreira- Goal lap pace: 5:35-5:50

Chris Lalmond- Goal lap pace: 5:40-5:55
Rich Lavers- Goal lap pace: 5:50-6:05

Chris Dunn- Goal lap pace: 5:55-6:10

We were here to cover 23 laps in under 6 hours but also to win and take home the 3 cases of RedHook beer. Thanks to the Tuesday Night Turtles and race director, Robert Jackman, we could count on a well-run event with good prizes.

The race started off well with Judson running a 13:58(5:10's), followed by Charlie running 5:4x's and
me running 5:36's. The first sign of something amiss was when Chris L was seen hobbling in running 20 or so seconds slower than what he should have been. Apparently his foot had been bothering him and it flared up on the run. Undeterred, Rich and Chris Dunn both put down some fast laps with Chris(typical of his sandbagging ways) running 5:55's for his first lap. After six laps, we were ahead of pace to break 23 laps.
Chris L tried a second lap but after coming in looking worse than the first, he was convinced by us that it would behoove him to take the rest of the day off. As much as we wanted that beer and the win, losing a season of it definitely wasn't worth it.
After that we ran a man down, but it wasn't evident by our paces. As the last set of laps came around, however, we had all slowed just enough to realize that the 23rd lap was out of our reach. Despite a valient effort by Chris and Judson, we came up about a minute short. We ended up finishing the 22nd lap in 5:47:33 which was 5:51 pace just about 1:33 too slow for Judson to get that 23. Well there's always next year.
Chris L, Chris D, Judson, Rich, Charlie, Danny

Judson taking off
So while we are running all out for 15 or so minutes at a time, there are ultramarathoners on the course vying for the New England Ultra championships. Teammate Ryan Welts was there, keeping up with two time winner Ben Nephew for the first few hours. It was fun to watch as well as run along aside some of them. It did get me wondering again about the sustainability of ultrarunning, though.
Teammate Ryan Welts racing acidotic next to eventual winner Ben Nephew

Danny starts off on his lap
I ended up finishing with the following splits:
Lap 1: 15:13 5:38 pace
Lap 2: 15:07 5:36 pace
Lap 3: 15:13 5:38 pace
Lap 4: 15:19 5:40 pace

As always a fun event that is quickly becoming an aR tradition. Next year we're expecting that we'll bring two teams down at least.

Up Next?  Follow Amber at for Ironman Arizona this Sunday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Danny's PR's (Not as impressive as Amber)

I have a relatively lazy day today and figured I'd compile a list of my racing personal records(PR's) since I started running, (and arguably swimming and biking) in 2007. As you will see below, almost all of my PR's came this year. I'd like to PR in 2012 at the 800m, mile, 5k and marathon as well as the Ironman(at Mont Tremblant). PR from the 800 to 140.6? Yep. That's the plan. We shall see.

Here are the records(better than the year before but hopefully not as good as next year):
  • 200 m- 27.35 seconds (Greater Boston Track Club Invitational 2011)*
  • 400m-56 seconds(Ultimate Runner 2011) *
  • 800m- 2:18(Ultimate Runner 2011) *
  • Mile- 5:03(Greater Boston Track Club Invitational 2011)^
  • 5k-16:43(NHTI/Delta Dental 5K 2011)
  • 10k - 36:25 (Run Your Hangover Off 2011)
  • 10 Mile- 59:08(Granite State 10 Miler 2011)
  • Half Marathon- 1:15:16(New Bedford 2011)
  • 20 Miles- 2:18:26(Martha's Vineyard 2009)
  • Marathon- 2:47:45(Exeter Marathon 2010)
  • 50 Miler-8:22:00(Pineland Farms 2009)*
  • 100 Miler- 27:43:23.4(Leadville 100 2010)+
  • Half Ironman: 5:08(Texas 70.3 2011)
  • Ironman: 11:19:03(St. George 2011)*
  • 6 mile Swim: 1:59:17(Little Red Lighthouse 2010)*
* = Only time racing that distance
+ = Only time finishing that distance
^ =Didn't count the downhill Millennium Mile since hard to reproduce elsewhere.

Up Next: IRONMAN ARIZONA for Amber(she leaves today!). Nothing for Danny this weekend as the Halloweiner race wouldn't let him do the four person race independently. Lazy day turns into lazy weekend. I will definitely be watching ZONA on Sunday though at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tentative 2012 Race Schedule

Tentative 2012 Race Schedule- Races in red are ones Danny is planning on doing, Blue Amber and purple both of us. I do realize there is an ultramarathon  potentially on my schedule but I think it will be balanced by all the mile races I hope to do this year. That study won't be out that soon anyway so I'll assume that ultras aren't bad for me.

Jan 1- Millenium Mile

Jan 7- Bear paw classic

Jan 7- Roxbury Community College Indoor Track Meet(mile, 800)

Jan 8- Dartmouth Relays

Jan 14- Winter Wild at Whaleback

Jan 21-Whittaker woods

Jan 22- Greater Boston Track Club Invitational(mile, 800 and 200)

Jan 28- Sidehiller Snowshoe

Jan 29-Curley's Record Run

Feb 4- Exeter Snowshoe

Feb 11-Horsehill Snowshoe

Feb 11(evening)- BU Valentine Invitational

Feb 12- Hoot, Toot and Whistle Snowshoe

Feb 18- Martha's vineyard 20 miler

Feb 18-(evening) Kingman farm

Feb 19 Half at the Hamptons

Feb 25-Granite State ss championship(or Nationals)

Feb 26- Hyannis marathon(or snowshoe nationals)

March 3- Hawley Kiln Snowshoe

March 17- winter wild at bretton woods

March 18- New Bedford Half Marathon

March 31- Gilmanton Road RaceApril 7- Great bay half marathon

April 14- Gansett marathon

April 22- New Orleans 70.3

April 28- Quabbin Reservoir Classic Road Race

May 5- Ironheart Classic 5k

May 6- Knoxville HalfRev

May 12- Canterbury 5k

May 17- Rock N Race 5k

May 19- Bedford Rotary 12k

June 2- Over the River and Thru the Woods

June 3- Mooseman 70.3

June 9- Black Fly In My Eye 10 Mile Trail Run

June 16- Mount Washington road race

June 24- Syracuse 70.3

July 8- Providence 70.3

July 13-15- Hardrock 100(pending lottery results)

July 21- Carver Cranberry 5 Miler

July 28- Canterbury Woodchuck

August 5- Hospital day tri

August 19- Ironman mont tremblant

August 26-Old Orchard Beach Rev3 Olympic
Sept 9- Half Ironman Championships

Oct 28- Cape Cod Marathon

 Most likely we'll throw in some shorter stuff in between as well. Looks to be another fun year of racing!

Up Next: IRONMAN ARIZONA for Amber. Follow her live as WTC tries out a new system where you can view her status throughout the entire race(instead of just at the timing mats).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Sustainability of Endurance Sports Revisited-Be Part of the Study!

After watching the RI 6 Hour Ultramarathon this past week, I again questioned the sanity and safety of ultrarunning. I have in the past wondered this but now there may be a definitive answer on the horizon. Dr. Marty Hoffman professor at University of California, associated with the VA Northern California Health Care System,  and the director of the Western States Ultramarathon will be organizing a multi-year study looking at the health of Ultrarunners called the Ultrarunners Longitudinal TRAcking (ULTRA) Study. I was able to speak with him via email and he seems very excited to get as many runners as possible involved. You can participate if you've done at least one ultramarathon (50 K or longer).

The main purpose of his study is to compare moderate and sedentary lifestyles to those with high levels of exercise and whether the level of exercise alters health risks. This information will be helpful to determine health benefits or risks of participation in ultra-endurance activities.

If you are interested in participating, you will be asked to complete an initial web-based questionnaire that takes about thirty minutes. There will then be periodic follow-up questionnaires over the course of many years.

You may contact Dr Hoffman to discuss the study at (916) 843-9027 or

If you would like to participate in the study, check it out here.

Up Next: Amber: IRONMAN ARIZONA! Check her out and follow her at

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ironman Arizona Race Preview- Stacked Pro Field!

Amber will be heading out to Arizona for her last triathlon of the season. Possibly due to it being the end of the season or due to the large prize purse of $75,000, it appears that a lot of other professional triathletes have decided to also use this race as a nice wrap up for 2011. Also it may be a good way to get some Kona points for 2012 banked before the year ends.

 Here is the official start list from the website. I've tried to find all of these triathletes' websites but there were a few that I was unable to.

  1. Teri Albertazzi-
  2. Jackie Arendt-
  3. Kathleen Calkins-
  4. Leanda Cave-
  5.  Jeanne Collonge-
  6. Linsey Corbin- 
  7. Erika Csomor-
  8. Marie Danais-
  9. Susan Dietrich-
  10. Jessie Donavan-
  11. Rebekka Essmuller-
  12. Amber Ferreira-
  13. Whitney Gracia-
  14. Caroline Gregory-
  15. Sara Gross-
  16. Meredith Kessler-
  17. Tamara Kozulina-
  18. Nina Kraft-
  19. Kelly Lijiblad-
  20. MacKenzie Madison-
  21. Donna Phelan-
  22. Lisa Ribes-
  23. Regula Rohrbach-
  24. Jessica Smith-
  25. Erin Spitler-
  26. Amanda Stevens-
  27. Michelle Vesterby-
  28. Mirjam Weerd-
  29. Charisa Wernick-
  30. Kristen White-
  31. Kelly Williamson-

 Holy Smokes! This looks like the Kona Start list.

 Here's a look at the course itself:

The Swim: Looks pretty straight-forward: a very narrow rectangle, triathletes will swim out a little over a mile, take a .1  mile left hand turn before starting about a 1.2 mile swim back to the finish. The water temp should be in the low 60's.

The Bike: Consists of three out and back ~37 mile loops which include a 10 mile climb in the desert before the turn around. Guaranteed to be exposed and hot, but likely not oppressively so.

The Run: As simple and straight-forward the swim and bike are, the run appears to make up for it in its tortuous and circuitousness. From the description, it doesn't appear to be a multi-lap course but rather a series of three distinct laps, an out and back, a rectangular loop hugging the lakeshore and a loop with a lollipop out and back. Again there doesn't appear to be much shade to be had so sunscreen will be a must!

This race is going to be FAST both because of the depth of the field as well as the course itself. Take a look at the results of last year. The TOP 11 women went sub-10 hours!

       1. Wellington, Chrissie   08:36:13 (with a 02:52:55 marathon!)

       2. Corbin, Linsey  09:05:33

       3. Cave, Leanda  09:13:50

      4.  Kessler, Meredith 09:15:01

     5. Wurtele, Heather  09:19:10

     6. Csomor, Erika 09:22:38

     7. Madison, Mackenzie 09:24:11

     8. bij de Vaate, Heleen  09:29:15

     9. Bromme, Uli 09:31:22

     10. Harrison, Lauren 09:33:53

     11. Kamenz, Annett    09:49:18

Most likely this year will be even faster as more pro's are vying for those 30 coveted Kona slots for 2012. Good luck to all athletes racing in Arizona!
Up Next: Amber: November 20th Ironman Arizona follow her at; Danny: RI 6 Hour Relay with Acidotic this weekend. Growing the 'Mo for Prostate Cancer Awareness month.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cape Cod Marathon Race(walk) Report

If you haven't read Keith Shields interview with us, click here. It is very funny. Below is a somewhat whiny race report so if you've read enough of those, do as I do and just look at the pretty pictures.
Smiling because I know I will be done soon
This past weekend I missed the Blizzard of October by being down in the rather balmy(by comparison only) Cape Cod. I went down with my friend, fellow race director and teammate Rich Lavers on Saturday with his wife and son. We spent the day hanging out with his family who lives down in Falmouth, going to the expo and driving the course. Did I mention the torrential downpour? How about the 30-40 mile an hour wind? Hydroplaning a dozen times in as many miles? Locusts? Okay well no locusts, but you get the idea. The weather was miserable. Two weeks before, Rich had been swimming here and now the temperature was hovering right above freezing. Tree branches were down everywhere.

Note: That is an aR singlet but I was racing for GCS. No singlet yet for them.
I had been training for Cape Cod Marathon for probably the longest of any of my marathons hoping to not only help my team, the Gate City Striders, but also set a new PR. I even held off running any races the day before on Michael Wade's recommendation that it may hinder my marathon performance. The only thing that hindered my marathon performance was my performance. I fell off pace a bit the second ten miles dropping from 6:20 pace to 6:40 but could have still finished fairly well. However, I started thinking(which is never a good thing for me to do) and soon I felt some cramping come on. Was it really cramping or was it all in my head? I'm not sure but all I had to do was run under 25 minutes for the last 5k to break 3 hours but I didn't having to walk miles 24 and 26. Not too impressive.

I can talk about the strong wind gusts, the dehydration from unmanned water stops and lack of long-run training, but that would entirely be ridiculous. I have run faster in strong winds, further with less water and NEVER train with long runs so I cannot blame my performance on any of those things. Additionally, I had my parents pop up at multiple spots along the course in addition to Rich's so I probably had more motivation to keep me going. But for whatever reason I didn't. But luckily they say that gold fish have no memories so their minds are much like mine as this little thing called running is a surprise every time. Best thing to do when you have a lousy(compared to your expectations)race? Train More? No way! Sign up for another race. Hopefully a destination far far away.

Quick Aside: Typically I just throw up pictures on this blog that were shared with me or taken by someone I know. If you notice, a lot of them have a similar name at the bottom: Scott Mason. Scott Mason is an amazing photographer and I am glad to be able to call him a friend. I am always a little disappointed to see him on the sidelines as he is also a great runner but I know that at least I will be getting great photos taken. Check out his website for some amazing pictures.


 This was the second marathon this year that I also did my first year(2007) of running. While I improved my Hyannis marathon time by almost two hours, I only improved by Cape Cod time by 16 minutes. Darn.

 Danny's 24 Marathons to Date:
  1. 10/30/11 Cape Cod Marathon 3:04:54 ---->; BOSTON QUALIFIER
  2. 9/25/11 Adirondack Marathon 3:10:00
  3. 5/7/11 Ironman St. George 3:56:43
  4. 4/16/11 Gansett Marathon 2:52:46---->; BOSTON QUALIFIER
  5. 2/27/11   Hyannis Marathon  2:49:02---->; BOSTON QUALIFIER
  6. 11/6/10 Manchester Marathon 3:33:02(PACER)
  7. 10/31/10 Marine Corps Marathon 2:52:57 --->; BOSTON QUALIFIER
  8. 5/2/10 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon 3:02:21 --->; BOSTON QUALIFIER
  9. 4/17/10 Gansett Marathon(Exeter) 2:47:45 ---> BOSTON QUALIFIER
  10. 2/28/10 New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon 2:51:44 ---> BOSTON QUALIFIER
  11. 11/1/09 Manchester City Marathon 3:33:18
  12. 10/18/09 Bay State Marathon 3:21:23
  13. 3/29/09 Ocean Drive Marathon 3:01:41 --->; BOSTON QUALIFIER
  14. 3/07/09 Peak Snowshoe Marathon 6:29:10
  15. 12/13/08 Roxbury Marathon 4:33:23 
  16. 11/2/08 Manchester City Marathon 3:08:41 --->; BOSTON QUALIFIER
  17. 10/18/08 Breakers Marathon 3:25:30
  18. 10/5/08 Maine Marathon 3:19:24 
  19. 5/25/08 Vermont City Marathon 3:26:05 
  20. 4/21/08 Boston Marathon 3:34:44 
  21. 1/13/08 Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon 3:21:34 
  22. 10/28/07 Cape Cod Marathon 3:20:48 
  23. 9/22/07 Odyssey Trail Marathon 6:08:11 
  24. 2/25/07 Hyannis Marathon 4:44:46
 Up Next: Amber Ironman Arizona; Danny- Yoga, rest and relaxation

Friday, October 28, 2011

NHPR's Keith Shields Talks with Danny and Amber Ferreira

Amber and I met Keith Shields at Sean Snow’s Winter Spin Class. Amber and I were getting ready for Ironman St. George while Keith was preparing for his first Ironman, Ironman Lake Placid.

Welcome to the blog.

Thanks Danny and Amber. I’m a HUGE fan of the irongirlandultrarunningboy blog.

You have a background as a runner, but relatively recently made the conversion to triathlete. What brought about the change and how does it impact your overall training?

I actually dabbled in triathlons about 10 years ago and did 2 ½ Ironmans but did it in regular bathing trunks (for the whole race), a 20 year old ghetto bike (complete with bike rack) and minimal training. Then I developed bad allergies in the water and couldn’t repair a bike tire to save my life. So, I quit the sport resigning myself to the fact that I’m just a marathoner. Then in January of 2010, out of nowhere, a thought re-crossed my mind “I want to do an Ironman!” Three days later I bumped into my future coach Sean Snow at Dos Amigos Burritos and the rest as they say, is history. As for its impact, I’ve run 26 marathons and started feeling the strain on my body. I was very happy at how much triathlon training kept my general fitness up with far fewer miles on the road. I was able to run a 3:08 marathon 2 weeks ago on only 2/3rds of the amount of running I usually do.

What’s a typical training week look like?

When I’m training for marathons, I try and max out between 70-80 miles a week. This year’s Boston Marathon training I did that and 4 spin classes/week which at the age of 42 gave me a marathon PR of 3:05. This summer for Ironman training I swam about 4 miles a week, biked between 175-250 during the peak weeks and ran only 30-40 miles. Now that I know a little more I’d like to step that up a bit for the next Ironman and I have big goals to try and flirt with the 3 hour mark for this Boston marathon which means more running miles, more spins, snowshoeing and getting in the pool earlier. Like many people, I’d love to do so much more but keep a pretty busy schedule

Wow! You do that in addition to taking an anatomy and physiology course and working full-time? Anything else that you’ve got brewing on the side?

I teach a course once a year at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester which is a blast. The course is called “Fundamentals of Audio Production” which my students learn how to record, mix and edit sound along with using the medium of sound to tell a story. I’m working on my first full-length radio documentary which will air this May on the History of Immigration in New Hampshire and I’m the very proud Race Director of a 5K road race in the West Roxbury section of Boston called “Walter’s Run”. It’s not only a competitive race with mile timers, a water stop, awards 3 deep and FREE RUNNING GLOVES to the first 250 runners but it’s got something for the whole family. We have a ton of delicious food provided by local vendors, a huge raffle of prizes, a free kids race, a visit from Santa who will hand out candy canes, temporary holiday tattoos, and Christina the Clown who makes balloon animals!!! All proceeds go toward 3 local charities that give back to the community. The Boston Globe Globe Santa, which provides gifts to children whose family can’t afford them for the Holidays. Also, the YMCA of Boston Reach Out Program that helps those of need afford the valuable programs that the YMCA offers and the Walter Burgess Scholarship Fund which assists local teenagers of need by providing scholarships for them to attend a local running camp. So it’s a great race, a fun day for the whole family and all for a good cause.

And who is this Walter Burgeese of which you speak?

Walter was a member of my running club in Boston, the Parkway Running Club. He was a good friend of mine. Walter had completed 25 marathons and finished his first Ironman in Florida. Three weeks after the Ironman, Walter passed away of an undetected heart condition at the untimely age of 40. In fact, I competed in the Timberman ½ Ironman this year. It was 10 years before that day that Walter and I stood on the shore of Ellacoya State Park with our toes in the water waiting in anticipation for our first major triathlon race. When we finished, I wanted to die, while Walter came up to me with a smile on his face suggesting we should run a slower friend of ours in (I declined). That’s the kind of guy he was, he waited to cheered on every last runner who crossed the finish line of a race and no matter what adversity he face he always had a smile on his face. We really hope to capture the spirit of Walter in the race we named after him.

As a volunteer at Lake Placid this past year, I was able to see you get out of the water into transition. While it may have taken you a little while longer than some of the pro’s, you probably seemed the most excited to be out of the water. My recollection was you saying “thank god that’s over!” How did it feel knowing that you had your least favorite part of an Ironman done?

Photo of Keith taken by Danny as he exited the water at Lake Placid.

It was a huge weight off the back. Despite hours of lessons, practice, videos and even a Total immersion course, I still am a horrible swimmer. Once I train I can go forever but I’m just really, really back of the pack slow. I’ve never been able to figure out why I can’t get faster. So it was my fear that after all that training I wouldn’t make the swim cut off of the Ironman. The day before the race the swim course looked SO much longer than what I had been swimming in the practices. So when I got out of the water with 20 minutes to spare before the cut off, I knew I would become an Ironman. Maybe team Danny/Amber can teach a Jersey auqa-flailer how to be at least a mid-pack swimmer.

That will definitely have to be Amber as I don't think I would be too far ahead of you. As impressive as that Ironman completion is, I was actually more impressed with your 42 miles at 7:40 pace for Reach the Beach. How did the two races compare?

The RTB was nothing compared to the Ironman. Running long distances is my comfort zone. I’ve lucked out to be given a body that seems to be ergonomically made to run long distances without that many problems. Plus that’s under 5 ½ hours of working out with some rests in between. The Ironman was the greatest challenge of my life. I couldn’t fathom working out for 13+ hours. I’m a slow swimmer, still somewhat unsure of my biking abilities, didn’t have a ‘tri-bike’ and every time I ran a marathon I was completely tapered and had not already covered 114.4 miles. Hearing “Keith Shields, you are an IRONMAN” was one of the best experiences of my life.
S2's Keith Shields exultant as he becomes an IRONMAN!

I know you have Ironman Mont Tremblant coming up next year, any Ultras?

Funny you ask that. I was thinking of doing my first Ultra right before I got the ring back in my ears to do an Ironman. The original plan was to get these Ironmen (mans???) out of my system then do an Ultra but a friend has been hounding me a bit to do one. Growing up in the asphalt and brick Jungle of Newark, NJ then spending my formative years in Boston, I’m exclusively a road runner...trails scare me (and I’m clumsy) and a crack in the pavement is my version of ‘off road”. Being that most ultras are on trails I was thinking this may be a problem, but my friend introduced me to this run around the lake in Wakefield. Now there is possible talk of running it next July. My thought is to either 1) Run 50 miles or 2) see how long I could run for 12 hours. That’s still less time than my 1st Ironman.. stay tuned!

So you will be using snowshoeing again to cross-train this winter?

Heck to the yeah! Last year was a total humbling experience for me. Again, I run only on the roads so running on slippery snowy trails was a brand new experience. There was lots of falling (face and back), I ran most of the time with my arms pin wheeling in the air, I used a lot of 4-letter words out on the race course. The last race I ran was the one at night at UNH [aR's Kingman Farm], that was the one that got me hooked, running down those hills with a little headlamp was a huge boost of adrenaline. I will do more snowshoe races this year... a bit of unfinished business.

Keith, as the executive producer of NHPR’s The Exchange, you must hear and get exposed to some of the most interesting (as well as mundane) stories. Tell us a little about one of your favorites.
NHPR's Keith Shields

Hmm, We did do a show a while back on New Hampshire having a larger than average cremation rate. I decided to do a ‘set up piece’ for the show and visited a crematorium in Manchester and had one of the people there walk me through the process. What I didn’t know was that even after being in the oven for a few hours, parts of the major bones (femur, os coxa, humerus) don’t completely ‘ash-ou’t. So what they do is shovel the remains into a very high powered ‘blender’ and hence... ash. I was able to record that and put in on the airwaves..l a little disgusting but definitely not mundane.

After the huge floods that devastated the Southwest corner of the state in 2005, we decided to do a show the next day on it. A guy who had to be evacuated called in live as he had pulled up to his house. He was still on the air as he walked through his home that was now submerged in several feet of water... It was ‘amazing radio’ as we like to say. Those things can’t be planned.

Also when Senator Joseph Lieberman came on the show I told him that I’ve lived for the past 20 years as a Yankee’s fan in enemy Red Sox terrorist and got a full-on, both arms around the back hug from the Senator.

Okay, serious question. We know you’re a Yankees fan so: Who would win in a fight? Mike Dikta or Derek Jeter? How about Jeter versus a Hurricane? What if the Hurricane’s name was Dikta?

Well Jeter was born in New Jersey, not too far from where I grew up so that gives him magical powers... He could totally take Ditka, especially with a bat in his hand. As for the Hurricane... it depends I guess. The storm... I’d totally put my money on Jeter, if he goes against Hurricane Rubin Carter (“Here comes the story of the Hurricane...”), Well Carter is from Jersey as well so that cancels each other out... a tough call. If he went against Danny and Amber... another tough call as they are the Jeter and Jeteress of the New England multisport world.

Thanks for being on the blog!
Thanks so much- this was fun!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If you run a race and it's not posted on Cool Running, does it count?

When I first started running in 2007, Amber had given me a link to Cool Running where I could look up races throughout the country based on distance or location. Immediately I found a 15k, 20 miler and a marathon that I signed up for as my first three races ever. Since then, I have been hooked. No plans for the weekend? Check Cool Running. How did your friends do at that half-marathon they'd been training for? Check Cool Running. Need a cool homepage? Use Cool Running. Need training tips? Check Cool Running.  Now as a race director I use it to post my upcoming events. AND will post the results.

But what happens if those results don't get posted?
Every great once in a while, I enter a race that does not post the results of the race. When this happens I go through several stages of coping:

First it's perseveration- I check multiple times every day on the Cool Running website to ensure I didn't miss it. I try going from the race's website, from the races/results page of Cool Running, from the event's calendar page. I try everything.

When that doesn't work, I move to ambivalence: I didn't want to see my results, anyway!

Quickly, I move on to pseudo-acceptance: Well, I do have my time on my watch and I know what place I came in so it's okay that it's not online. It was a stupid race anyway!

That soon changes to exaggeration:  I won the race and ran a sub-15 5K! Piece of cake!

As soon as I get called out on that, I move along to panic: Nobody's going to believe me( see above to see if they should) and they won't even know I did it!.

Eventually it turns to acceptance: While I'm not happy about this, it's okay since it's only a race. When I become a race director I will make sure I always post my results.

Everyone's coping strategy is different with some more helpful than others. The thing to remember is that we aren't (or shouldn't be) doing these races for other people or even for the results themselves. There are so many things that are out of our control that if we are only focused on time we will be disappointed time and again. Races are for us to test our fitness or training plan, and to have a fun time being outside with like-minded individuals. Maybe to go somewhere exotic or to be amongst friends. So next time you find out that race you entered didn't post the results, don't fret. Just remember all the fun you had that day and the world record you (supposedly) set, and you should be alright.

Up Next: Granite State 10 Miler Oct 22(Danny), Cape Cod Marathon Oct 30th(Danny), and Ironman Arizona November 20th(Amber)

Monday, October 17, 2011

China Trip

After an eventful late summer and early autumn of my munich trip, white water rafting, deep sea fishing, a marathon, and the Pocono 69.1, time for my Shanghai trip had arrived.

The trip to china started out well. I had stayed at my brother, Matt's, house the night before and he drove me to Logan without issue. I made my connecting flight and Newark and began my first sixteen hour flight of my life.

How did I pass the time? Very easily when they have movies on demand. After not one, not two but three superhero movies(Captain America, Green Lantern, and X-men:First Class) and the Hangover Two I only had another eight hours to fly. As the movie choices got slimmer, I decided to pass my time the best way I know how: sleeping.

Apparently, I can't sleep on a turbulent plane with people yelling across me speaking various dialects of Chinese, and pumping into me as they walked by. No worries. I decided to watch JJ Abrams' Super 8. Kinda reminded me of a 2011 sci-fi Goonies. Got bored of Bad Teacher and Zoo Keeper so ended up just reading. Those last few hours were spent reading "Reading Judas" a non-fiction interpretation of the "Book of Judas" which gives a very different perspective of Jesus' infamous betrayer. Interesting book.

Finally getting off the plane, I was met by a VIP guide arranged by the people I was staying with. He walked me through customs(managed to cut the large line of people waiting for some reason) and out to a car to take me to my apartment.

The drive from the airport to the apartment was an experience in and of itself. Not once did I see a directional in use: everyone merging, braking, and accelerating with what seemed, at first, abandon. After a while I realized that it was more like a well rehearsed dance as all the drivers knew there parts swaying on four lanes of concert at 100 km/hour.

I didn't know what to expect from Shanghai but my sister, Marilyn, warned me that I most likely would not be able to run outside due to the traffic and smog. That makes marathon training pretty challenging. I dislike treadmills enough after one or two miles but definitely am not able to do a long run on one. I had to find another way to train. I decided to take it outside. I made it about thirty minutes, twenty-nine of which was spent dodging scooters, motor-bikes, bikes, vendors, pedesterians, and, once, a car that had gotten up on the sidewalk. I got back to the apartment, thinking that it wasn't too, too bad and I would be able to manage. Only later was I told that it was a national holiday- National Day(which is actually a week long celebrating Mao's famous speech made on Oct 1st,1949) and that only one tenth of the population was out during this week.

It gets busier than this? Apparently much so. The next day I went out for another run, this time shooting for an hour run. I made it about five minutes before feeling the odd sensation that I was having an asthma attack. Not to be too over-dramatic it really felt more like the last .1 of a 5K but definitely not a feeling that I enjoy having, especially not so early in a relatively mild run. I slowed my pace further still and was able to pull off 30 minutes but I had had enough of the smog. Treadmill running it was for me at that point. Luckily the gym at the apartment I was staying at was excellent and my sister and I worked out together almost everyday. While not getting in any long runs, I was able to get some speed work(or it may have just felt like that with the speed in kilometers/hour).

Some artifacts from the Shanghai Museum
The trip wasn't about running though but visiting a country in a continent that I had never been yet read so much about. "The Joy Luck Club", "Chasing the Monk's Shadow", "The Good Earth", the biography of Genghis Kahn, Tao Te Ching and the Tao of Pooh all left me with expectations of what China would be.

I should have kept up with the reading. None of the books were written in the twenty-first century so the authors wouldn't have known of the transformation China had undergone. In 1990, Shanghai had no skyscrapers and now it currently has the second and third highest in the world and has so many that it is difficult to determine which direction is towards the center.
View from the River Boat of the Pudong side of Shanghai
Where tea houses and opium dens once stood now stands massive buildings each trying to outdo the next. Shanghai was nothing like what I predicted of China. We spent a day viewing this new city from the second highest building which looks very similar to a bottle opener and the night viewing it by boat along the Bund River.
The building in the reflection, when completed, will be the tallest in the world.
The way the city was lit up at night was amazing.

Despite the visible changes to the city, it did retain a lot of the "old time charm" that I had expected. Once out for a walk with Marilyn, we came upon a market place with live eels,chickens and ducks as well as hot peppers, nuts, seeds, clothing and a barber shop amongst other things. Also we were able to find some off-the-beaten path tea houses where we sampled teas ranging from the popular oolong to the aged fermented puerh teas. While surprised with how developed Shanghai was, its blend of new and old, and east/west styles(a large part of the city was conceded to various countries in the early 1900's) made for a pleasant "home-base".
View from apartment illustrates how the old and new live side by side

My sister and her boyfriend, Matt with whose parents we were staying, treated me to a trip to Bejing. This trip was amazing. Not only was I able to see the Summer Palaces and Forbidden City for the Emperors of the Ming and Ching dynasties, as well as indulge in local delicacies at some very local eateries and taste all the various teas, was I able to see the Great Wall of China. While being built too late(200CE) to be considered one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, it now holds its rightful place on an updated list.

The Great Wall really holds true in name. How many times have you had the Greatest Cup of Coffee or the World's Best Pizza and it ends up only being pretty good or fairy decent if not downright bad? This was not the case with the GW as I like to call it. Pictures can not capture the steepness of the stairs, the tortuous curves to connect the mountainous peaks, or the immensity of a wall this great.

Most tourists take a gondola to reach the wall from where the road ends, but I decided to run up the steep stairs. Our tour guide said she had once done it in an hour but thought I could run it in thirty minutes. I shot for twenty-five. I made it in eleven. Nothing but step after step to meet my rising feet as I was finally able to breath the clean mountain air I so missed in Shanghai. Gasping for air and with my quads screaming for me to stop, I could imagine ancient warriors having to scale these mountainous cliffs without the aid of the steps, only to be met by this Great Wall that held warriors there to beat back any attack.

After those days in Beijing and the five hour, 1,266 kilometer high-speed train ride back to Shanghai, it was time to take it easy. We went shopping, which against all expectations, I actually found enjoyable.

If their driving is a well-rehearsed dance, a day shopping is an improvised one-act play. Going to a market of high-end products(which we speculate may be "over-produced" at the factories so that there are "extras" to be sold at these markets) is nothing that I had ever seen. I have read about bartering at markets and coming up with a counter-offer somewhere in the range of 20-40 percent lower and then working to a middle ground. Here, however, the vendors would give an outrageous price( 4,000 RMB or $600) and I'd come back with something like 400RMB or 10 percent.

Vendor: Impossible! Give me your best offer!

Danny: That's it that's my best offer.

Vendor: Okay okay, how about this(holds up calculator showing 3,000 RMB).

Danny: I can end this in the States for cheaper than that. 400.

Vendor: I am here to make friends not money- you're killing me! 2,000!

Danny: Actually I don't think I want it at all- look that this right here. Doesn't look like good quality.

Vendor: No, no, no! The best quality. Only the best. Real leather- look( holds a lighter to the product(cannot divulge what it is as someone will be seeing it under the christmas tree)). 1,200!

Danny: (starting to leave) I can maybe go as high as 425 but that's it.

Vendor: You joke! Best offer,best offer!?

Danny: 425.

Vendor: 500.

Danny: 450.

Vendor: Okay.

This was how it went at every single spot we stopped, and I knew I paid too much when the vendor would immediately accept my first counter-offer. The whole experience, while extremely different from the spiritual one on the GW, was very enjoyable and made me feel like I had gotten a little more of an authentic Chinese experience.

Overall, I had an amazing trip but was glad when I arrived back in Boston. The best trips are made like this- where you see and do enough to get the sense of a city, experience its true nature but not so busy that you arrive back so exhausted that you need another vacation to recover. Now back, I've got one week to pick up my mileage again before it's time to taper for the Cape Cod Marathon.

View from the glass observatory on the top of the second tallest building in the world

The Drum Tower

Inside the bottom of the Drum Tower

The Summer Palace

Up Next:  Granite State 10 Miler this weekend, Cape Cod Marathon next weekend for Danny, and IM Arizona November 20 for Amber.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pocono Mountains 70.3 Race Report

As noted in last blog, the swim was canceled due to substantial flooding on the Delaware River. After seeing the river for myself, I could appreciate that they canceled it. This river typically runs at around 4-5 feet of water and it was at nearly 18 feet. The flooding was immense and the water looked like it was going very fast. The course required that we swim upstream to the first buoy, then downstream until the last few hundred yards which would go back upstream. I could just imagine myself getting pulled out of the water due to the time cut-off without ever having made it to the first turn.

I expected that the lack of a swim, the predicted rain and cold temperatures would deter some racers but come race day, close to the 2,000 pre-registered athletes showed up. All except one pro female triathlete made the start.

Without the swim, the race became a time trial with the pro's taking off every 30 seconds followed by the age-groupers every 3-5 seconds. As a pro Amber started out almost an hour ahead of me as my bib number of 1919 put me almost all the way in the back of the pack. Both starts had their advantages and disadvantages. For Amber's part she had an unimpeded ride on the course, but was second guessing herself at several road junctions where she wasn't sure on which way to go and also couldn't necessarily pace herself off any other riders as there were none around. I, on the other hand, had the benefit of the draft of 1,900+ previous riders, but also had to continuously ride around many of these riders; some of whom appeared to never have gotten on a bike before. There was passing to the left of me, passing to the right and here I was stuck in the middle with you. Not YOU, but the ubiquitous you embodied in the form of the sluggish, mountain or hybrid bike rider who must have at the last minute decided a 56 mile bike ride would be fun. Lots of braking, skidding, ducking and dodging ensued for my ride.

As much as I like to say that all those people blocking my way was a disadvantage, I actually believe that it may have helped me, because there was never a time that I could just leisurely ride as I was always coming into people's drafts. This forced me to be continuously picking up my pace to get past each group. Also, since there was so many people around me all the time, I couldn't do my typical "I'm the king of the world" riding which involves no-hands and upright sitting while singing various show tunes.

I got off the bike feeling strong and ready to run. Elapsed time: 2:37:00- 21 mph, 100th overall.

The night before I had decided that I waste too much time in transition tying my shoes. Apparently in kindergarten I learned how to tie laces with two bunny ears and to this day that's the extent of my knot tying abilities. As such, I end up struggling to get out of transition with my age-group(and otherwise age appropriate) peers. I, thus, came up with this ingenious plan to tie my shoes the night before and just slip them on for the run. Fool-proof. Except: Apparently I hadn't tied them tight enough because within the first mile my feet were killing me as I tried with all my might to keep from kicking off my shoes with every step. I finally resolved to stop at which point my ape hands prevented me from untying the double knot that I was fastidiously tied the night before. After about a minute or so fumbling with the laces, I finally was able to untie, tighten, and re-tie my laces. And I was back!

Prior to untying my laces, I had seen Tim Snow and Ryan Kelly pass me going towards the finish. Ryan yelled over to me to watch out for the hills. "Oh great, Adirondack Marathon all over again." I thought. Rather than beat myself up over the impending hills, I just settled into a comfortably hard pace, picking off runners as I ran by. I got to the turn-around averaging slightly under 6:30 pace which was about 15 seconds off pace but with all the hills I had just climbed I was pretty happy with. All downhill from here, right? Well, apparently not. Although I thought I had been climbing the whole way out, I had missed all the downhills that I had also covered. Now as uphills, I definitely did not miss them. I slowed a little over the last few miles, which I blame on the lack of people running a similar pace. It is really easy sometimes to get into other runners' paces and not push yourself as hard as you could. Despite the slightly slower second half, I finished up with a 1:25:28 which brought me to 45th overall finish for the day with a time of 4:03:56. An excellent time if there was a swim involved.

 Amber had a tough race, having picked up the cold that I gave her, racing somewhat blind to her competitors as well as not having the advantage of a swim to get a lead on some of the other pros. Despite a bike best described as below her abilities, she did manage to have a solid run on a very hilly course against some very strong competitors, including Desiree Ficker, a pro triathlete that Amber used to follow before she even got into the sport herself.

So while Amber may tell you that she was disappointed with the final outcome of the day, I would say that she gained a lot of insight of the importance of pacing and sighting on the bike and how never to give up as she, on another day, could have run herself back into top five. As it was she finished with  a solid 4:16 for Top Ten Female.

Up Next: Danny's off to China, then back for the Granite State 10 Miler with Am on October 23rd.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pocono 70.3 Update

Just got an email from Ironman today:
"Due to the hazardous river conditions which have developed over the last few days, the National Park Service and event organizers have jointly decided to cancel the swim for Sunday's race.

Heavy rains this week have caused the river to crest at an extremely high level and currents to run at speeds too dangerous to allow athletes in the water. After reviewing the river forecast, we've determined it will not recede to a safe enough condition by Sunday.

We know you've trained hard and we've worked tirelessly to bring you a first-class race...and there is still a race to be run on Sunday. Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains will proceed as a bike/run on the course as planned with athletes starting in a time trial format."
No swim? Duathlon? Not great for Amber as she is a TRIathlete and actually benefits from the lead she gets from the swim. However, for me this is a blessing as now I am only one sport away from actually doing well at Sunday's race. If there is some way that we can prevent the bike from happening, I am sure I can qualify for the 70.3 Championships for next year. Hmmmmm... where I would then finish last because I'm sure they'd have the bike and swim at that one.
In addition to finding out that little nugget, we also found out that several more professional women have decided to enter the race. The official pro start list is:

1)Jessie Donavan
2)Amber Ferreira
3) Desiree Ficker
4) Stephanie Jones
5)Missy Kuck 

6)Heather Leiggi
7) Sharon Schmidt-Mongrain
8) Karen Smyers
9) Jennifer Tetrick

10) Magali Tisseyre
11) Mirjam Weerd
12) Kristin White

So 12, instead of the seven that were originally listed. Any many of the late entrants are excellent bike-runners which means it will be even more challenging for Am. However, I suspect she will step up to the challenge.

Up Next: BIG breakfast tomorrow morning, then POCONO 69.1 on Sunday.