Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Week 3 Review

Holiday Week

Eat, drink and be merry.

Barely worked out. Plenty of time for that when things kick off next week.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Week 2 Review

The rhythm has begun. I'm still sans pool and weight room, but that shall be remedied the 27th when I start up my Y membership again.

This week has been all about the bike. Strapped into the infamous indoor trainer. Boring, boring, boring except for the saving grace of DVD's. I do enough interval work to keep from getting a numb mind. Nothing is worse than just steady state for three hours; unless you are watching The Godfather, but you can only do that so often.

The focus of my spinning this week has been on technique. This is an often overlooked aspect aspect of cycling. But if you are doing a 5 hour Ironman split at an average of a 90 RPM cadence, that's, well....let's see...27,000 pedal strokes. Shouldn't each of those produce the maximum amount of efficiency and transfer of power. Efficiency and power transfer is found through a smooth rotation for the full 360 degrees of the pedal stroke. It doesn't come natural.

One leg drills. Over and over again. 30 seconds a leg followed by 1.30 recover for about 30-40 minutes total of drill time. That's been a big component of my week. All to make the millions of pedal strokes I'll do this season all the more effective.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Sorry, the philosophy major came out in me again, and the following occurred.

A Brief Manifesto Concerning Stuff

Part of gearing up for Triathlon season is removing myself from distractions. This has resulted in an introspection regarding my possessions. As I begin to move into a new phase in my life, I have embraced an aesthetic that has given me a freedom, joy, and pleasure previously unknown to my mind.

Recently, I sold all my stuff and what I couldn’t sell, I gave away. When I speak of stuff I am not speaking of my art or my tools.

My art includes my journals, photographs, music, relics, etc. My tools include my computer, instruments, car, triathlon gear, clothing, and money.

When I speak of stuff I speak of the superfluous clutter that permeates throughout my experiences as an American. This is not endemic to The States, but I believe, though not from experience, that it is universal in most of the developed world. People like stuff. It would reach the undeveloped world if only the people there had the means to buy stuff.

Let not this be taken as an attack against capitalism or money. I love capitalism and I enjoy money. Money is a means to the greatest life has to offer: leisure and accessibility to the ability to create and enjoy art in that leisure. Art does not need be acutely defined. It can extend from basketball to weaving to a music collection to family life.

The paradigm of contemporary society seems to contain a tragic disconnect with money and its purpose. People work for money to buy more stuff. Another thing to fill the garage beside the one car needed to get you where you are going. Another pointless piece of plastic in the attic. Something bought because it could be. It was probably on sale and that was reason enough. That digital dart board when you don't play darts. All blow up lawn ornaments. Three sets of salt and pepper shakers when you don't collect salt and pepper shakers.

This is not a call for austerity. Instead, it is a manifesto for thoughtful consumption.

Stuff is what is not a memory or a tool. It is what is obtained simply to have obtained it. Stuff serves no purpose. If you cannot explain the direct use or implicit pleasure in an object, destroy it or give it to someone who would define it as art or a tool.

I sold and donated all my books the day I realized my library card was far superior. I took bags and bags to the salvation army containing all clothes not worn in the past three months. This is not austere, only pragmatic and pleasurable.

Never have I understood purpose more than now. I have what I need to do what I do.

Stuff is the accumulation of whims.

Moving home to train I possess what I need, nothing more. Thus I finally can grapple with the importance of what I am doing with what I have. I am not grappling with having more. And to me that is happiness.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Bit by bit, day by day, I’m acclimating myself back into the mindset of full time training. Foremost, on the adjustment schedule is running, and plenty of it. Running is where you get the most aerobic bang for you buck. You tax your system most effectively for the time spent. Got 20 minutes? Take a couple fast loops around the block. Try doing that on your bike with all the hassles of dressing and gearing up. Trying getting to the pool, in less than 20 minutes.

Early season I don’t have to be so sport specific. Thus I can aquaint myself with the trails. I have been running Patriots Path. The previously mentioned 50 k trail run this fall was an eye opener. You are too busy trying not to fall and crack your head open on a bolder as you near exhaustion. It's not what I'll be doing in IM but it offers great strength training as you have to leap and bound over obsticles. Plus the terrain makes you test your anearobic threshold more often, as in, it's not as steady state as the pavement. Now that’s my kind of fun. Trail running is burly.

See, I even grew a beard for the event!

I still have one. See

This brings my first sacrifice for triathlon, an imperative in getting the proper mindset: forget about looking good. In the coming months I figure I’ll be too tired to dress, groom, or, most probably, behave properly. I won’t be dolling up much. I'll try not to smell. Promise.

All in all, I'm transitioning well. Today I broke out the Bloc Party. This brings back some vivid memories. Two come to mind.

1) The Hill- I've got a secret paved path (well, me and the paver know about it hahaha) that climbs sick elevation in 1/2 a mile. I used to put Bloc Party on the headphones and to 8-12 repeats (when I was peak) at full bore, puke speed. Then run 2 miles home.

2) Lake Placid Swim- I sang Banquet the ENTIRE swim of 2006. They rhythm works perfect with my stroke I guess. I'm hard as stone, a smoking gun, I can give you life, I can take it away.....I working it out

But it can't be all fun an games on the trails. Today I'll be riding the indoor trainer. This winter I'm not going to repeat 2005-2006 where I road the ENTIRE winter outside. Nope. No chance. Instead, this year I'm going to watch every movie ever made. Twice.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week 1 Review

Taking Stock of 2009

2009 wasn’t my most athletic year. I was far from my formal capabilities of 2006-2007. This was an important, informative, and extremely beneficial circumstance in my understanding and respect for humility. I learned it’s OK to be middle of the pack. Hell, it was OK in the back of the back. The point is you are in the race. The pack is irrelevant. I realized in 2009 something that was missing in 2006: multi-sport and ultra-distance is fun. It’s supposed to be anyway. If it’s not, what the hell are you doing? Just stop.

I barely raced in 2009. I ran my first sub 39:00 10k in the spring. I did it on very little training. Getting under 6.16 10k pace is quite pedestrian amongst competitive runners, even triathletes who run hard, but for a one speed guy like me, I’ll take it. Couldn’t have done it without my great run coach, Heather.

In the summer I got suckered into an Olympic Tri by the aforementioned coach. I barely trained. Finishing in the front portion of the pack I came to the conclusion that I’d have to make a comeback in 2010. I started to realize that my body was growing more accustomed to endurance as I aged.

I confirmed this by doing my first 50k ultra distance trail run in the fall. Again on little training As I ran the 31 miles of hell terrain getting lost in the woods between the aid stations situated 8 miles apart I remembered how much fun insane events like this were. The moral: If I actually trained I might do pretty well. Also, I really just love this stuff.

Other than that I lived a live quite contrary to fitness. I was overweight and not consistent in any workout routine.

2010 Preparations

Race Weight
I spent the fall working on dieting and nutrition for the upcoming year. If I was sitting on my ass I figured I could at least study nutrition and apply it. I took a course on being a fitness trainer and learned all sorts of informative stuff.

I took advantage of a high stress and tumultuous time in my life to let myself forget to eat. When I hit 142 pounds I got super dizzy when I went for a run. Lesson learned: Race weight is indeed around 150. No exceptions! I’m just too much of an stocky, broad shouldered Croatian to get much lighter. I’m built all wrong. I smell protein and it goes to my arms while all my competitors have the biceps of a 13yr old girls. Sounds like I’d have an advantage, but remember, I’m slogging those arms up mountains while running and biking the 138 miles after an Ironman swim.

But my body type is slowly changing already. A low caloric intake allows me to beta-oxidize (eat) muscle as a fuel source. My body is slowly learning to take it from my arms, and as training picks up, put it in my legs.

It’s December. I still have plenty of time before Eagleman in June. I need to be patient. I don't want to burn out in March. Thus I’m focused this week, and even next, not so much on training, but on organizing to train effectively. I’m making a smooth move to my new training facility, aka home. I’m looking forward to the stability and support of living with my family. I never would have made world championships in 2006 without them. No discussion. Also, the great roads and mountains available for training around Stanhope will make for superb training. Driving around there the other day I got all nostalgic for the long hours in the scenic terrain.

When I say I had a 20 hour or 25 hour training week, most individuals don’t realize that that time is the total time of cardiovascular/strength training. It does NOT include a)driving to the pool, b)cleaning/maintaining my bikes c)doing all the laundry of training clothes d)eating for recovery e)the process of cleaning up and showering 2-3 times a day (after each workout) etc. The 20-25 hrs quickly turns into a full 40 hr work week. Thus it’s important to have all my gear easily available and a plan of action for eliminating time spent before and after my swim, bike, run, or weight training of the day.

I’m moving home with little or no possessions. Thank you Craigslist. I don’t want the distractions. I have my gear and a guitar and bass. I plan on training and teaching some lessons. Period. Makes organization easier.

This will require some mental adjustments and I’m taking time to make sure this is what I really want to do. Friday nights are looking to be a little less fun. Saturday too. I’ll probably be passed out on my futon. As things heat up training wise I better want to be doing this.

And I’m concluding that, yes I do. It’s important for me to have a year in my life when I’m focused on this aspect of my character.

It helps that I’ve been working one day a week at The Running Co. in Morristown. I love it. Come in and see me on Sundays. There I’m always around top athletes who inspire me to be my best. I’ll be working today after I finally stop procrastinating with this blog and run a few miles…

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Distance traveled is an integral part of daily existence. It denotes movement. I refrain from using the word progress. For I know more than most, movement doesn’t always equate with progress. But distance traveled is a relative measure of a life lived. For good or for ill, either way, movement is better than staying in bed all day. Whether it be traveling the country, climbing the corporate ladder, running mad miles, or just soaring in your imagination, distance traveled is note worthy and significant. That is why this blog is called Mileage. This blog is about my movement forward through Multi-and Ultra Distance sports. Specifically Ironman in 2010.

I’m beginning this blog at the onset of the 2010 triathlon season. I’ve never documented an entire season online before even though I’ve traveled a great deal in the world of ultra distance sports already. I’m excited to share where it goes from here. My goal with this blog is to not just publish workouts and statistics because, well, that’s boring as hell to anyone who isn’t ‘in it’. I find anecdotes from training are universal: applicable from doing laundry to investing. I also hope to have some ridiculous stories for I often end up in situations way over my head and out of control. ☺

This year I plan on training as if I were to race as a pro. I'm moving back home to my original stomping grounds and the roads and mountains I trained on my whole life. Sussex country, for those who don't know, is the county with the most elevation and chockfull of rural beauty to make hours of training enjoyable. I'm going to try just earn enough to subsist. All other time is to be focused on Triathlon. I've got Eagleman in June and IM Kentucky in August. If I up trained after a full commitment and fail I can then give up the dream of being a pro athlete in peace. This is my year to give it all so I'll live without regrets.

I hope you all subscribe to this blog, chime in, and enjoy it. It should be interesting to say the least.