Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Valley Forge National Park

One the best perks of my job is the fact that me office is located in King of Prussia, PA about 2 miles away from the visitor's center of Valley Forge National Park. While I have always been a big American Revolution buff (I used to live in Lexington, MA, rode Paul Revere's ride, canoed under the bridge in Concord, etc) and being able to explore a place where one of the key moments in our country's history took place is amazingly cool. But Valley Forge is also a runners and cyclists paradice. Miles and miles of roads, hills, trails, fields, and breathtaking views to go along with history.

Friday, I took a ride up to the park and ran the multi purpose loop which takes you past Log City, the Masonic Arch, past cannons and statues and past Washington's Chapels. You also climb about 600 feet, pass within a few feet of the local herds of deer, got scoped out by a huge Golden Eagle, Redtailed Hawk, and a Turkey Vulture or two (that wasn't the best feeling). Throw in the bus loads of students, the lunch time walkers, runners, cyclists, the horseback riders, the model airplane pilots, and even a couple of Harleys.

A run like that just charges you up and make you feel glad to be alive, and makes the rest of the day smooth as silk. Location, location, location. I love my job.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Redemption (n): 1)Recovery of ownership by paying a sum. 2)To pay off. 3) To fulfill. 4) To make amends for. 5) To save from sin.

12 days ago, I was healthy and in some of the best shape of my life and was about half way through a spectacular race to start of my 2010 triathlon racing season. I had PRed the swim by several minutes, had a solid transition and actual got my wetsuit off in record time, and was mowing people down on the bike leg. 12 miles in and a grand total of 1 person had passed me and felt strong.

Then in an instant my race turning into something completely different. A narrow two lane country road on coming traffic, no shoulder, and a white pickup truck in the lane with the cyclists. I was annoyed by this but as I started closing in on the truck, but just then the driver comes up on a cyclist thinks about swerving out to pass but sees on coming traffic and hits the breaks hard. Suddenly I am on top of this truck with on coming traffic in the other lane and no room to the inside and I jumped out of the aerobars and jammed on the breaks and suddenly was flipping and supermanning onto the pavement. From there, my race turned into a journey about nothing more than seeing this thing to its end. I finished, but underneath the pain from the road rash/brushed ribs/sprained wrist and mangled hands and gashed arms/hands/nose/mouth/and chin, grew another pain. The pain knowing what could have and what should have been. After the physical pain faded, that pain grows deep inside.

After a week off thanks to having to keep both hands clean and dry and baby my battered ribs, I got back on the horse on Monday and did a run at lunch and then a ride on a stationary bike Monday night. I was on the way back. I ran 25 miles this week with alot of hills and did some cycling as my bike was being repaired. What drives me to get back at it, the pain of what could have been. The only thing that will ease that pain is to get back out their and on June 5th at the Rev3 Tri make something happen. I have payed a heavy price, financially and physically, but when we are faced with adversity we find our true nature comes to the surface. The drive to redeem myself to take back the feeling, the pride, and glory that this accident robbed from me. I may not perform to the highest level on June 5th, but the pride to drag myself to the starting line and strive to get the most out of my battered body is my redemption.

Thanks to my Trakkers teammates, my co-worker who think I'm nuts, to First Endurance for providing some great fuel to help my body recover like it never had to before, and to my beautiful and loving wife for nursing me back to health and trying to understand my madness. Triathlon is about stepping up to a challenge and looking deep inside to find the strength to rise to the occasion.

Enjoy the ride. Pain is temporary, pride lasts forever.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This weekend I had a very interesting race at the Rev 3 Olyimpic Tri in Knoxville, Tn. See the race report for some of the details, http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=207629 but the key moment was on the bike leg. I was flying on a narrow 2 lane road with lots of traffic in the opposite direction and one truck in the lane with the cyclists, being in the 8th wave you get to pass alot of slower cyclists from the eariler waves which really boosts your confidence, but it worked against me in this case as the truck came up on one of these slower cyclists, could pass due to on coming traffic and hit the breaks hard. Next thing I know I am closing fast on his bumper and no room to pass on either side and I jumped out of the aerobars and mashed the breaks and ended up to getting the fronts first and found myself supermanning over the handbars at 24-25 mph. I took most of the impact on my hands, chest, and chin and rolled off the road. After taking my time on my hands and knees to catch my breath, I took inventory off my head and teeth, I got up and discovered my legs were ok and nothing seemed broken, then I looked at my hands which were a bloody mess as was my chin and nose. My bike was ok except the head set was twisted and I had to straighten that and the big ring shifter was snapped off so I kept it in the small ring. So I found my water bottle, took a drink ( which hurt like heck) tried torinse off my hands, (which hurt even worse), And then popped the chain back on and started walking my bike down the road.

Now comes the momement, someone running back from the aid station I had been approaching asks me if I was the biker who fell and told me an ambulance was in route. For some reason, right then I hopped on my bike and told him, "I'm OK" and started riding. I rode pretty conservatively since I wasn't too sure of my bike but soon I was actally passing people and besides for being limited to the small ring and not getting out of the saddle since my hands hurt like heck. Those last 14 or so miles went by pretty quick and I resolved to finish out the race. Long story short despite several discussions with race officials and medical folks I would not let anyone deny me from finishing this race.

After the race and after my trip and care at the medical tent (which was outstanding), I had a good number of people tell me how couragous I was for finishing and how much of a trooper or inspration I was to refuse to let my accident keep me from finishing the race. Later I visited the ER and got stitched up and took many x-rays and fortunately nothing was broken but I had some serious road rash in my hands, arms, chest, and some on my face, a sprained left wrist and a nicely bruised rib and serveral days off work since I can"t drive with my splint on.

I can't say why I made the choice I did. I know I thought about what a waste to come all the way to Knoxville from Philly only to crash out while I was on the ground, but when I hopped on the bike it was almost an involuntary response. Once I didn't think I would make things worse, I made up my mind to see it out. Many people I greatly admire (Julie Moss, Chris S, and Natasha Badman) have had that same responce to fight on and try and finish even when it doesn't make seanse to a rationale person.

So you judge, was I couragous or stupid. Either way I can tell you, there is a strange sense of pride seeing the race to its end, especially when things really go bad. I discover this at IM Arizona http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid... when the act of fighting though adversity gave me something fast more valuable that any medal. And it was 100x stronger at Rev 3.

(knoxville run 1a.jpg)