Thursday, March 28, 2013

Danny's Top Five Movie Soundtracks

Amber and I recently watched Pitch Perfect, a spoof of Glee(I imagine-haven't actually seen Glee). In it, one of the characters was discussing the top movie soundtracks of all time. While his were fairly good-Breakfast Club is a solid choice- I decided to compose a list of my favorite movie soundtracks.

My first rule was that it couldn't be a musical since that's an unfair advantage. Obviously Les Miserables and Moulin Rouge would be up there if I included them and maybe even Hedwig and the Angry Inch although to be honest you have to be in a certain mood for that one.

Another of my criteria was that it had to be listener friendly. That eliminated soundtracks like Pulp Fiction, and The Wall(which is also disqualified like The Last Waltz, the Graduate, and Hard Days Night because they are pretty much full-length music videos with various degrees of plot. Furthermore the Wall was based on the album rather than made for the movie so... out, out!). I did this because of all of the dialogue that(in my humble opinion) should be left out of the soundtrack. Those soundtracks are awesome but I find that I always have to skip over tracks like "Royale with Cheese" or the honey-bunny dinner robbery scene.

Also you'll notice movies like Once, Poetic Justice, O' Brother Where Art Thou? and the Blues Brothers are out not because of the dialogue but because of the inconsistency of the quality of the sounds. You(or I at least) have to skip to the three or four great sounds on the album and are left with a lot of otherwise mediocre songs to trudge through. So this list has only those movie(not musicals) soundtracks where you can listen to the full thing through and by the time you finish the last sound, you're ready for the first again.  So here they are, my top five:

1)The Big Chill
By far and away the best soundtrack on the list. If there was only one CD I could bring with me on a desert island(that conveniently had a power source and a CD player) it would be this. A young Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline and Glenn Close star in the snoozer of a movie. While the movie is unmemorable, the soundtrack is anything but. Marvin Gaye's "Heard it through the Grapevine", The Temptations' "Ain't too proud to beg" and "My Girl" would make the soundtrack in themselves, but you also have Three Dog Night, Procol Harum, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin and others all making this a great all around soundtrack.

2)Reality Bites
Probably one of my least favorite actor, Wynona Ryder stars in this movie directed by a little fella named Ben Stiller. Luckily Ethan Hawke and the soundtrack save the day. Lisa Loeb's "Stay" was probably one of my favorite songs growing up and helped by Big Mountain's "Baby, I love your way" and U2, The Posies and Ethan Hawke covering the Violent Femmes make this a great all around soundtrack.
The Director and co-star

3)Donnie Darko
Jake Gyllenhaal's performance is overshadowed by this excellent soundtrack. I love the scene when Donnie is riding his bike at night to "Under the Milky Way" by The Church. It's a shame that the original soundtrack included just the score and not all of the songs from the theatrical  edition. Supposedly you can get a UK double disk(oh, look at me dating myself. All you need to do is go on I-Tunes and you can have all the songs you ever wanted) with the songs though. Songs like "Heads Over Heels" by Tears for Fears, "The Killing Moon" by Echo and the Bunnymen and Gary Jule's rendition of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" are just some of the songs that make you want to watch and re-watch this movie.

4)The Crow
This movie based on a Marvel comic book was Brandon Lee(Bruce Lee's son) was accidentally shot during its filming. The music in it alternates between song melancholy tunes from the likes of the Cure to very loud and sometimes angry sounds from the likes of Rollins Band and Pantera. It's the Stone Temple Pilots and Rage Against the Machine that had me at hello. The sequel's soundtrack is almost as good.

5)Requiem for a Dream
While this movie will likely make you never want to do drugs EVER, the soundtrack's dissonance and sometimes cacophonous rhythms make you want to come back for more.
DARE should show this to all the 4th graders and NO ONE will EVER do drugs


Up Next: Only two days until Amber competes in Oceanside 70.3 !

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Dirty Dozen

No, not that dirty dozen
While the dirty dozen I'm talking about may not be on the hunt for Nazi officers, it has been suggested that my dirty dozen may be more lethal.

The dirty dozen, in regard to health, is comprised of the twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue. This list is developed by the Department of Agriculture who recommends simply by switching to organic versions of these foods you can reduce exposure by around 80%.

The argument could be made that the benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables far outweighs the risk of a little pesticide consumption but if you have access to the organic versions(or better still the LOCAL versions), this may be the time to spend a little extra money. At the same time spending extra money for labels like "All Natural", or "Free Range"(there are no requirements for the amount, duration, and quality of outdoor access) may not be produce any extra health benefits.

This year's dirty dozen(drum roll please) are:

1. Apples-Ranked annually as the most pesticide filled. Head to your local orchard!
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries6. Imported nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Spinach and Kale
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11. Domestic blueberries
12. Potatoes

So while I'm a big proponent of spending the least amount of money I need to on these the I get rid of the next day(sorry for the potty humor), these 12 items are worth the trip to the co-op or your local farm stand.

Where can you save money? On the Clean 15 which are the 15 least pesticide-ridden fruits and veggies and ones that I can shop at Market Basket for without angst.

They are:
1. Onions
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Cabbage
6. Sweet peas
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Eggplant
10. Kiwi11. Domestic cantaloupe
12. Sweet potatoes
13. Grapefruit14. Watermelon15. Mushrooms

In addition to shopping, these lists are something that you may want to consider when eating out. Often not knowing where restaurants source their food from, it may be wise to choose sides from the Clean Fifteen to ensure you health. Better still, save the money from going out to dinner and take a cooking course(or have your significant other take it) and start making gourmet healthy foods at home:)

Only a couple days until Oceanside 70.3!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Oceanside 70.3 Race Preview

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was giving you great St Patrick's Day weekend plan ideas. Now, I'm here to dispense some Easter Sunday fun day plans. It's to watch Amber on Saturday as she competes at Oceanside 70.3 then spend Sunday with loved ones:)  This Friday, Amber and I head back out on the road, this time to Oceanside, California where Amber will be competing in another half Ironman. This will be a very packed weekend as we fly in Friday and out on Monday. Unlike San Juan where we made it into a vacation, this will be all business:) Well not all business as I plan to spend most of my days hanging out by the ocean or at the pool but business for Amber. Saturday is the race and Sunday she'll be spending Easter with her fellow Zoot Ultra Teammates at team camp. I look forward to that evenings dinner as last year we went to Stone Brewery.

This race will be Amber's second time at Oceanside and she is expecting to continue her great start to her 2013 season. San Juan was very competitive and Oceanside looks to be just as, if not more, competitive. As you can read from last year's race report, it is typically a very competitive race, but this year seems to be exceptionally so.
Just look at all of these top triathletes toeing the line this Saturday:

55 Melanie McQuaid
56 Heather Jackson
57 Mirinda Carfrae
58 Heather Wurtele
59 Amy Marsh
60 Linsey Corbin
61 Rachel Joyce
62 Lesley Paterson
63 Emma-Kate Lidbury
64 Annabel Luxford
65 Julia Gajer
66 Radka Vodickova
67 Camilla Pedersen
68 Terra Castro
69 Beth Shutt
70 Ali Black
71 Uli Bromme
72 Mirjam Weerd
73 Ewa Bugdol
74 Lisa Mensink
75 kathleen calkins
76 Danielle Kehoe
77 Michelle Mighdoll
78 Amber Ferreira
79 Beth Walsh
80 Lesley Smith
81 Mackenzie Madison
82 Mandy Mclane
83 Jennifer Tetrick
84 Karen Thibodeau
85 Adrienne Hengels
86 Jocelyn Cornman
As you can see from the list, there are A LOT of triathletes. Look a little closer and you'll see a lot of ITU and previous IM champions. This race is likely to be as fast, if not faster than Puerto Rico. While PR's bike course is definitely flatter than Oceanside, athletes won't have to contend with the heat as much which will likely produce much faster run times. I expect Amber to produce a substantially improved run time if it stays cool. Watch out girls, cause here she comes!

This Saturday March 30th at 6:43am(9:43ET) watch Amber tear apart Oceanside 70.3.

Friday, March 22, 2013

San Juan 70.3 Trip Report

Last Thursday, Amber and I headed down to San Juan Puerto Rico for Amber's opening race of the 2013 triathlon season. I was excited to explore this island with a lot of history and geographic diversity. Rainforests to hike through, lagoons for swimming with manatees, caves for exploring, reefs for snorkeling, and plenty of beaches to relax on were just some of the attractions that I was planning on.

We arrived Thursday night and after a very smooth rental car pickup we checked into our hotel, the Conrad Condado. Condado is a district of San Juan which was to host the swim start of Amber's race. We walked over to the Hilton Caribe(the location for T1/T2 of the races) which is probably most well known to be the bar where the Pina Colada was invented. We met with fellow Concord area triathletes, Gina Whipple, John Rymes, Ryan Kelly and Keith Shields for probably the least memorable dinner of the trip not because it was terrible but rather because all of the other ones were so great.

The next morning we headed to the El Yunque National Forest. As Puerto Rico is a US territory, this is part of the National Parks Service and is the only subtropical rainforest in the US.  If you go to Puerto Rico expecting to see leopards, gigantic snakes, monkeys etc, you will be disappointed with the Rainforest-that's Costa Rica. If fact, except for bats, there are no native mammals to Puerto Rico. And just like in Hawaii, it appears someone had the brilliant idea to use mongooses to eradicate the rats that came from European sailors. It didn't work in HI and it didn't work in PR as mongooses are diurnal and rats nocturnal so now there are two rodents Islanders have to deal with. If you're not so interested in fauna but more so flora and if you're looking for a lush forest with nice(albeit paved) trails and great waterfalls, then Puerto Rico is the place for you.

 As with almost everything in Puerto Rico, the rainforest was packed. But the trail thinned out the herds enough that there were at least a few times that we had it to ourselves. However, on our way home from the rainforest we stopped at this little hole in the wall and found this great local vegetarian juice bar(is there any other) and had a made-to order salad that Amber is still raving about.
The next day, while Amber and the gang did pre-race stuff, I headed out west to explore some more of Puerto Rico. I was originally going to head over to the Caves in Camuy but after reading more about it, it sounded like most likely half of the tourists end up there on any given day resulting in long lines and little fun. So instead I headed out  towards the town of Arecibo. I had read that there was a pretty cool lighthouse out there but also that there was a less-traveled cave, Cueva del Indio Cavern, that had Taino petroglyphs and was pretty fun to explore. The trip out of San Juan is unpleasant at best if you travel on PR-2. Traffic, stop lights and fast-food is the highlight of the trip. Arecibo was about 50 miles away but took over 1 1/2 hours to get there. On the way back, however, I took PR22 and it took me less than 45 minutes. So if you want to go to Arecibo, stay on the toll road :) The lighthouse was okay but I'm partial to New England lighthouses which in my opinion are far cooler, but the cavern was awesome. You have to scale a large petrified sand dune then descend a 40 foot ladder down into this cavern. In it there are drawings estimated to be 400-500 years old and there are also many
A private beach all to myself

A bad quality picture-but in this cave there were petroglyphs estimated to be over 500 years old

Light House in Arecibo
I arrived home just as the crew was finishing up their triathlon related activities and we headed into Old San Juan for dinner and coffee. Cafe con leche is kind of like a latte but has a 1:1 ratio of espresso to hot milk. Boy is it delicious! Ryan introduced us to this great coffee shop where we all had pre-race drinks.

The next morning was race day! The good thing was that unlike most races where I have to get up at an ungodly hour to drive Amber to the race start, we were staying at the race start. I put on my eye pillow when her 4am alarm went off, wished her well and slept for another 2 1/2 hours. I got up, went up to the balcony and filmed the race start.

After taking a couple more pictures, I ran to the bridge then to the bike transition area.

Amber giving me the stare down after making it out of the swim.
Amber came out of the water in 28:31, which is pretty impressive considering it was not a wetsuit legal swim and it was her first open water swim in 5 months. A little less impressive is when she got on the bike, she stopped and asked me for directions. Seriously! The fan support was a little sparse at that point but to take the time to stop and ask if she was going the right way? Just makes it all that much more impressive that she biked a 2:27 split.

Amber slowing to a stop to ask for directions

Amber coming in on the bike
 Amber the proceeded to head out on the run. It was a very hot day and I was struggling just to jog from place to place to cheer her on so I can only imagine how it must have been to have to run 13.1 miles after the swim and bike. She did still manage to run a 1:34 which brought her in at 4:35 for 11th place. Her race report can be found here.

After the finish, we cheered on John, Gina, and Keith(Ryan had already finished) then spent the rest of the day alternating between the pool and the beach.

The next day we all piled into John's rented Jeep(Keith had already flown out that morning) and headed out to Loquillo. Loquillo is home of La Monserrate Beach commonly known as simply Loquillo beach.

Amber all by herself in the water
We spent a couple hours there but then headed out to the real goal of the day: the food kiosks! These roadside shacks abut route 3 and provide traditional Puerto Rican food choices. Fried fish, fried lobster, fried chicken, mofungo, fried plantains, plantain wrapped chicken etc. After getting my fill at various vendors(each food selection was between 2 and 4 dollars) we headed over to Farjardo to see if we can sneak on a biobay tour. We had called ahead and every one of them was sold out until at least Thursday(it was only Monday now) but we figured we'd head over the to see if we could sneak on. No such luck. It was nice to see the town of Farjardo which is a fishing community.

On our last day in San Juan we spent exploring one of Old San Juan's forts, coffee shops and restaurants.



A view of the city wall

This was actually part of Amber's run course!

Steep steps going from one level to the next in San Felipe del Morro 

Two salads for Amber? Too bad she only found this place the last day

This was how Amber felt about leaving Puerto Rico
 Have no fear though! In less than 2 weeks, Amber will be again competing in a IM 70.3, this time in Oceanside California. More details to come!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Granite State Snowshoe Championships

This past Saturday was the Granite State Snowshoe Championships at Bear Brook State Park. Fellow aR racer, Ryan Welts, was race directing and I had been getting relatively frequent trail condition updates over the past few weeks. It's gonna be good! Turned into It's gonna be great! Supposedly the trails were in pristine condition and he had set up a great course as well as brought in some fast competition to go head to head with Double J, D and KT. Rich and I were planning on heading over to volunteer and promote our race the following weekend. Rich was planning on running(he ended up not being able to due to a sick family at home) but I had not made up my mind. I have not been running much at all this winter(less than 50 miles for the year) and hadn't run 6+ miles since Quebec. That course, I suspected was going to be a lot easier than Bear Brook. However, as I drove up with Lisa Ransom I caught the snowshoe bug. I decided to do day of registration and see what the snow gods had in store.

If you have never been to Bear Brook, you really should make the trip. It is a very interesting state park with a residential section bisecting it. The terrain is a lot of rolling hills with ponds and plenty of trails. I had only been there once before so I had no idea what to expect in regard to the course. Instead of warming up prior to the race, I mingled with all my fellow aR racers. It was nice to see such a large turnout for a snowshoe race. The weather was so nice that I decided to forego arm warmers and even pants(don't worry, I did wear shorts).

Eying the racers as we got ready to race, I immediately knew that it was going to be a faaast race. In addition to the usual suspect, Jim Pawlicki, Greg Hammett and Mark Miller(the solo racer who nearly beat our team at the Pinnacle Challenge) were there. The course started with single track so I knew I didn't want to get boxed in behind slower runners, but I also didn't want to be the one boxing in any faster runners, so I lined up next to Chris Dunn and J Massa. J had just come off a great Escape from Alcatraz performance so I knew he was in top shape and Chris seems to only be getting faster as the season progresses. He was only seconds behind me at Whittaker Woods so I knew we'd be in around the same time. As Ryan set us off, I settled in behind J Massa. We had a pretty steady pace with DD and Chris Dunn just ahead of us for probably a solid 1 1/2 miles before they started to gap us.
Chris Dunn, Massa and Danny all in a line at the start
Phil Erwin attempted a pass but the snow was just deep enough that it made it nearly impossible. Around the 2-3 miles, we finally came to an opening that allowed us to pick up the pace. Yelling encouragements to Massa in the form of a pat on the butt, Phil and I opened it up. Phil hung with me for a while but as I saw Chris Dunn in my sights, I picked up the pace and Phil fell back a bit.

Around 3-4 miles(as you can see I'm not good at distances), I caught and passed Chris who was still looking strong and set my sight on the next set of runners. Who I never saw. I must have given them too much of a lead, as I never saw another runner until I popped out of the woods for the finish. Those last few miles were fantastic and I just ran at a comfortable pace and really enjoyed myself. Ryan definitely put together a great race and I would recommend putting it on your 2014 race schedule. Looking at the results, JJ crushed the field which otherwise looked like they stayed pretty much together. It was nice to see such a fast field out ahead of me.
JJ in the background probably already done his cooldown

Top Ten Results:
1 Jim Johnson  BAA                                          43:22 6:59
2 Kevin Tilton  Central Mass Striders/INOV8    46:24 7:28
3 James Pawlicki  Central Mass Striders            46:29 7:29
4 Greg Hammett  Central Mass Striders             46:30 7:29
5 Dave Dunham  Central Mass Striders              47:27 7:39
6 Mark Miller  BAA                                          48:22 7:47
7 Danny Ferreira acidotic RACING              49:35 7:59
8 Anthony Parillo                                               51:11 8:15
9 Phil Erwin acidotic RACING                       51:17 8:16
10 Chris Dunn  acidotic RACING                  51:25 8:17

At the finish, I was surprised to see my parents who decided to sneak out and visit. We ended up going for a nice walk in Bear Brook and then out to lunch where I probably had one of the best roast beef sandwiches I have ever had at a little unsuspecting restaurant that my dad recommended. A nice walk around Concord with Amber later in the afternoon made it a great Saturday all in all.

Up Next: Amber will be racing San Juan 70.3 on Sunday and the Winter Wild Championships at Bretton Woods is this Saturday.

[Thanks to Gianina Lindsey, Joe Viger and Scott Mason for their photos]

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ironman San Juan 70.3 Pro Field

Wow! There is a very large contingent of very fast racers toeing the line at San Juan on March 17th.

 Below are their respective race numbers and a few recent race results. Click on their names to go to their blog/website.
50 Kelly Williamson USA
  • 2012 US Pro 70.3 Pro Champion (IM Texas 70.3)
  • 2012 Champion San Juan 70.3
  • 2012 Champion 3M Half Marathon (1:14.42)
  • 2012 2nd Panama 70.3
51 Linsey Corbin USA
  • 2012 Ironman Airzona 1st
  • 2012 Ironman Austria 1st
  • 2012 Hawaii 70.3 1st 
52 Leanda Cave GBR
  • 2012 Ironman Champion(Kona)
  • 2012 Ironman 70.3 Champion(Lake Las Vegas)

53 Mirinda Carfrae AUS
  • 2012 Ironman Melburne 3rd
  • 2012 Ironman 70.3 New Orleans 3rd
  • 2010 Ironman Champion(Kona) 
54 Jodie Swallow GBR
  • 2012 South Africa 70.3 Champion
  • 2012 Boise 70.3 Champion
  • 2012 Syracuse 70.3 - 2nd
55 Caitlin Snow USA
  • 2012 Timberman 70.3 2nd
  • 2012 Rhode Island 70.3 1st
  • 2012 Texas 70.3 4th
56 Nina Kraft DEU
  •  2011 Ironman Louisville  1st
  •  2011 Great Clermont Triathlon Festival 1st
57 Margaret Shapiro USA
  •  2012 Eagleman 70.3 2nd
58 Sara Gross CAN

  • 2012 Ironman Arizona - 4th
  • 2012 Ironman World Championships-22nd
  • 2012 Calgary 70.3 4th
  • 2012 Ironman Brazil - 4th
59 Arrate Mintegui Gonzalez ESP
  •    2012 Lisbon LD International Triathlon 5th

60 Jennifer Lentzke CAN *
  • 2012 Galveston 70.3 – 5:02, 6th in age group
  • 2012 Ironman Texas -10:47, 3rd in age group
  • 2012 Mont Tremblant 70.3 -4:58, 1st in age group 
61 Molly Roohi USA *
  •  2012 70.3 Ironman World Championship; 2nd AG/5th Amateur Overall

62 Lesley Smith USA
  • 2012 Kemah Triathlon 2nd
  • 2012 IM 70.3 Austin 4th
  • 2012 IM 70.3 Steelhead 7th 
63 Kimberly Schwabenbauer USA
  • 2012  Kinetic Half IM 1st 
  • 2012 Eagleman 70.3 8th  
64 Andrea Hutchins USA
  • 2012 Branson70.3- 3rd
  • 2012 Ironman Texas - 8th
66 Stephanie Jones USA

67 Svenja Bazlen DEU
  • 2012  ITU World Triathlon Yokohama 19th
  • 2012 Olympic Games in London 32nd
  • 2012 Dextro Energy World Triathlon, Hamburg 16th 
69 Helle Frederiksen DNK
  • 2012 Olympic Games in London 27th
  • 2012 Garmin Barcelona Triathlon 1st
70 Jennie Hansen USA
  • She turned pro last year but apparently hasn't updated her website so not sure about results...
71 Camilla Pedersen DNK
 Lots of 1st and 2nd Place finishes last year(I just can't make out where they were)

72 Amber Ferreira USA
  • 2012 Mooseman 70.3 4th
  • 2012 Pumpkinman 70.3 1st
  • 2012 Poconos 70.3 2nd
73 Jessica Jacobs USA
  Broke the IM Florida run course record in 2011 with a 2:53.
 *= New to the Pro field for 2013.

As you can see there are some very fast women out there and should make for an excellent race. So make sure you recovered from the Winter Wild Championships with a green beer and watch these women tear it up!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

2013 Winter Wild Course Preview

Rich Lavers and I went up to Bretton Woods yesterday to solidify final plans for the Winter Wild Championships on March 16th. Unlike last year where we had to significantly modify the course due to all the warm weather, this year the course is going to be awesome. Due to potential issues with bombing down a lift line, we're not 100% sure which way the course will descend yet but BOTH options are great. We videotaped skiing down the ascent and one option of the descent while we were there so you will get a good idea what to expect.

Should be fun!

The Ascent
The Descent

As you can see from the ascent, this couse is entirely runnable which should be really interesting to see who will get to the summit. It theoretically could be a skier. It will be exciting to see how it all unfolds.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

St Patrick's Day Plans for Everyone

No St Patrick's Day weekend plans?   Have no fear! I have planned out your St Patrick's Day weekend for you.

The Winter Wild Championships at Bretton Woods
Don't let the championships in the title scare you off. While this is the culmination of the race series and series winners will be crowned, anyone can do this race. Even YOU! It's a fun way of exploring a mountain, with a HUGE raffle afterwards including: Joe King's and MC Cycles Gift Certificates, Julbo sunglasses, Brooks running apparel, and a two night stay at the Mount Washington Hotel!. That's just some of the raffles that will be given away at the season finale.

While there is a little climbing involved....

What goes up must come down!

 It is the championships though so there will be some fierce competition vying for the First to the Summit prize. Last year Kevin Tilton took the prize but I'd be interested to see what happens if Jim Johnson or Dave Dunham(coming off his win at Mount Washington) show up to run. Also the Freeman brothers could show up and take the prize on skis(usually runners have an advantage up the mountain but these guys are machines). Where else can you compete against skiers while running up a hill?

 You can register for the race here.
aR's Chris Dunn chasing down Dave Veale
Nothing planned for the rest of the day???
How about taking advantage of the ridiculously low priced lift tickets that you can get if you pre-register for the race? For $40 you can do the race and then spend the rest of your day shredding some pow.

After stocking up on Guinness, corned beef and mash, it's now time to sit back and let the pros do the work. What better way to have a relaxing St Patrick's Day(and to recover from the previous day's workout) but sitting back and watching Amber Ferreira race her heart out at San Juan 70.3. There should be a live feed so you can sip on some green beer and cheer her on. Click here for LIVE COVERAGE for race day morning heroics!

There you have it, dilemma solved. You can have a guilt free, lazy St Patrick's Day if you follow my plan. And I guarantee you won't be bored but your thighs may be a little sore!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Amber Ferreira's 2013 Triathlon Season is About To Begin!

On Sunday March 17th, Amber's 2013 triathlon season will begin. We will be heading down to San Juan, Puerto Rico so she can compete against some of the World's best triathletes at this 70.3 triathlon.

The Venue: Taking place in Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan, the race will be trace its way through a city with an interesting history. Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the US, hosts the  second oldest European-established city in the Americas with San Juan being established in 1521. San Juan, named after John the Baptist, is, in addition to being old, also populous as it is the 46th largest city in the United States. Interestingly, it was also the location of the first shots fired by the US during WW I as an officer in the Puerto Rican infantry opened fire on an armed German supply ship it is was forcing its way out of San Juan's bay. Hopefully the only shot fired during the race will be the start cannon.
The average temperature for March is in the low 80's so it looks like a great day for spectators while not quite as good for racers looking for speedy times.
Old San Juan

The Competition: Interestingly, the participant list is not being released until March 10th(or later) so we don't have a clear idea who Amber will be racing against yet. However, last year's top five women were: Kelly Williamson, Linsey Corbin, Radka Vodickova, Magali Tisseyre and Ariene Monticeli with Nina Craft, Amanda Lovato and the speedy Jessie Donavan on their tails. I expect similiar high level competitors showing up this year.

The Swim: The swim will take place in the protected waters of the Condado Lagoon which the endangered Antillean Manatee resides. The water temp is supposed to be around 78 degrees so will not be wetsuit legal(which means a little more fatigue during the swim). The 1.2 mile swim seemed to be pretty accurate from last year's results.

The Bike: The majority of the bike course heads west from San Juan to Dorado. It is 28 mile out and back done twice and looks like it there won't be too many turns to slow riders down. However, based on the website's description "the athletes will enjoy beachfront views and some short but challenging hills". Beachfront views means the potential for wind and hills means hills. They also use "endure" as the verb of choice describing what the athletes will be doing during their 56 mile ride. In races I do, I always prefer, "meander, lally-gag or cruise".

The Run: Based on last year's results, this race must either be very hot(likely) or very hilly(also likely based on the elevation profile online) because except for Kelly Williamson's strong run performance none of the usual strong runners posted all that good results. OR it could just be that they were just trying to enjoy themselves as this run sounds awesome. It courses through Old San Juan(which is actually an island separated from the rest of San Juan) and the turn around point is at the entrance of the famous Fort San Felipe del Morro. This 16th century fort was made to protect the town from attack by sea. It looks like a great place to explore.

Wall Surrounding the City
 The Vacation: Amber and I will be staying down for a while to make a nice vacation out of this trip and there looks to be some fun hikes(the island has 4,000 footers-should I try to climb them all in winter? I may actually have a chance) to do as well as the usual Carribean fun stuff.

Date and Time: The race starts at 6:50(pros) on March 17th. Follow Amber at