Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Chucktown Stop"

It's been a great vacation!  We topped off the Hilton Head trip with a stop in Charleston, SC to visit our great friends Todd & Mindy and their beautiful daughter Lexi.  Lexi is 2 yrs old going on 3 and is full of energy.  We were excited to introduce her to Luke, especially since she will be getting a baby sister this fall.

Todd and I have been friends since we first met the summer of 1996, when my dad and I met Todd and his dad at Duke.  Todd and I became roommates for three years and were each others "best man" in our respective weddings.  We played football together at Duke.  Todd was a linebacker and I a wide receiver.  Although we didn't win as many games as we had hoped, the friendships forged over those years are truly priceless.

The past week has been a great vacation with tremendous memories.  I was able to keep up with my training as I prepare to race Providence 70.3 on July 10th.  I especially enjoyed the bike ride with my Uncle Mark on Friday morning.  Good luck to him as he prepares for his own bike race over the 4th.  I always enjoy the long runs on the beach, especially during sunrise.  Not only is it a bit cooler, but it allows me to experience the best part of the day with the goal of living and enjoying each day to the fullest.  Come tomorrow morning, it'll be Pittsburgh or bust and only dirty diapers and baby screams could post-pone our arrival home.  I'm looking forward to getting back to the 'burgh and getting back into a more consistent training week as I look to improve on my Eagleman performance in Providence.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"The Bike Ride"

We continue to enjoy ourselves on vacation in Hilton Head.  Luke was actually awake for over an hour at the beach today.  He even put his feet in the Atlantic and felt the sand between his toes.  Definitely a big deal for first time parents.

I went for my second bike ride of the vacation in this morning.  It was an overcast morning, which made riding very comfortable.  As I explored the 56 miles of mostly unoccupied back roads on Hilton Head Island, I thought about the sense of freedom that comes with a good bike ride.  When the legs are strong (and the road is flat like on H.H.I.), you feel as though you could ride forever, getting lost in your thoughts.  This morning my mind wondered back to the bike rides my dad (in the background of the picture above, hah) used to take me on when I was a kid.  Many Sunday mornings my dad would wake me well before my sisters and mom awoke.  He always led the way on his red Schwinn and I followed on my blue Schwinn.  I remember riding into downtown Pittsburgh, through Etna where my dad grew up, and through many other communities surrounding Pittsburgh.  I recall my dad encouraging me with "go for the gold" as we road up California Avenue or even Coxcomb Hill.  Once at the top of Coxcomb, we would often stop at Veltri's Restaurant parking lot and look out over the Allegheny Valley.  My dad doing most of the talking trying to instill a sense of perspective into my 12 year old brain.  Of course, my favorite part of our rides was when we would stop at the Oakmont Bakery for a couple of cake donuts and some chocolate milk.  Ah man, I don't think my dad even knows how much I hoped we would stop at the bakery.  I remember my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Dolan, asking me about the bike rides one day in school.  I don't think she got the enthusiastic response she anticipated from me.  I think she was impressed that a 12 year old kid would ride so far, but to me it was just a chance to be with my dad and enjoy the freedom of a bike ride.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

This is my first official post on the blog.  My hope is that this blog becomes a way to document and share my experiences as a triathlete.  I also hope that the blog becomes somewhat of a journal of my life experiences as a husband, father, teacher, coach, and triathlete.

Eight weeks ago my beautiful wife, Laura, gave birth to our first child.  Simply stated, Lucas James is awesome!  I think we've been very lucky so far because he's a very good sleeper and eater.  I've talked to a lot of parents about the tremendous responsibility it is having a new born.  We've started to experience that responsibility, but I think keeping the disciplined schedule that a triathlete keeps has helped me fulfill those responsibilities.  Sure it means many more 4:30 a.m. alarms so that I can get a workout in, but it's well worth it results in a few hours to spend with Laura and Luke.  Actually, the 4:30 a.m. alarms kind of blend right in with the middle-of-the-night alarms Luke sounds off for us.

(On vacation in Hilton Head, SC.  I have a lantern for a hat.)

Last week I raced Eagleman 70.3 (half-ironman distance is a 1.2 mi. swim, 56 mi. bike ride, and 13.1 mi. run) for the second year in a row.  It was a good day overall since I improved my time by 24 minutes from the previous year.  However, I fell short of my lofty goal of 4 hrs 50 min with a final finishing time of 5:02:15

The reason I bring this up in my first blog posting is because at dinner the night before the race my dad asked the question that I think every triathlete ponders.  Why do you do triathlon?  I started my response with the caveat that there was no quick and simple answer.  It's more of a conversation that can lead down many paths, and if he wasn't truly interested in the conversation (like most people that ask the question and quickly lose interest in your response) I would understand.  Being the caring curious father that he is, he said he was truly interested.  So we proceeded to have a conversation that my mom and Laura's parents participated in as well.  Now, if you thought I was going to answer the question here on my first posting, you're going to be disappointed.  I've already taken up too much of your time so I'll just give you a sneek preview.  The reasons why I do triathlon have elements of spirituality, soul, competition, accomplishment, health, and ego just to name a few.  If you choose to become a consistent reader of my blog, which means I'll need to become a consistent writer, I hope that my postings will provide a good sense of the motivation I have to do triathlon.