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The Gulf Coast Triathlon is the USA Triathlon Southeastern United States Long Course Championship Race by the USA Triathlon Federation.  However, I'm competing to complete the race not win it.
Welcome to Axe Out Leukemia, a group raising funds for the Leukemia & Lyphoma Society in honor of Gabe Axe.

As a member of Team In Training, Peter Klein (that's me) trained for and participated in the Gulf Coast Tri on May 10th, 2003.

The Gulf Coast Triathlon is a half "ironman" event with three elements - 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike, followed by a 13.1 mile run.

Below is my training journal...And don't forget to donate!

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Gulf Coast Triathlon...Peter Klein's Training Journal

May 10, 2003: Race Day in Panama City, Florida. After a couple of days at the host hotel preparing for the race, it was up at 5 AM to start the day. Not that it was hard to get out of bed; excitement kept me semi-awake for most of the night, ready to hit the beach for the start of the swim. My roommate for the weekend, Michael Villano (who was also my mentor for the training/fundraising adventure) and I started eating and hydrating as soon as we were vertical. This race was going to require a lot of energy. It's not every day you swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and then run a half marathon (13.1 miles). It demands the right nutrition along with training and determination.

Before heading to the beach, we headed to the Transition Area.  Triathlons require participants to go from water to bike and then to road and the Transition Area is the "Home Base" for the event.  We set up biking and running gear in an area that also holds our bikes.  "T1" - transition one (swim to bike) - has a swimmer sprinting from the beach to the Transition Area.  Once there, you strap on bike shoes and a bike helmet plus eat and/or drink a little and then hit the saddle for the cycle.  "T2" - same place/different change - is after the bike ride when you re-rack your bike, changes shoes, and head off on the run.  The goal is to keep your T1 and T2 times short while making a complete transition from one leg of the triathlon to the next.  Haste can make waste: you don't want to forget anything leaving T1 or T2.

So Michael and I set up our individual transition areas before heading to the race start.  As a reminder to myself for the next triathlon, my T1 gear included: bike shoes, socks, water to rinse my feet of sand, water to drink, a towel to dry my feet, a towel to set everything on, sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen, bike gloves, helmet, heart monitor strap, Power Bar, Accelerade sports drink, tank top (with my TNT logo), and more.  For T2, I had: running shoes, race belt with my number (#966!), more Accelerate and more water, a mesh hat to fight off the sun, another pair of socks (just in case), and more.  Plus I had some gear for the finish: plastic bag for all of my wet, worn clothes, dry clothes, flip flops, and more water and Accelerade. 

The swim was a total blast.  Before the race, the waters were so rough that the organizers were considering canceling the leg.  But come race morning, the Ocean was given the "O.K." in terms of waves and riptide but the wetsuits were given the "No Go" because the water was over 78 degrees.  Now I was never that confident about the open water swim (no lane lines on the bottom of the pool, no sides to hold on to, no ability to stand up if one tires).  I would have to swim without the added buoyancy of the wetsuit.  In I went in nothing but my tri-shorts, cap and goggles, battling the surf to get out and cruising along the course from buoy to buoy.  "Sighting" (a.k.a. being able to see the course markers) was hard because of the rough waters but overall the swim was fine.  I was being passed by some of the faster swimmers from the wave that started after me, but I passed a few of the swimmers who started ahead of me.  The way a"wave start" (vs. "mass start") triathlon works is that different groups begin the race with a stagger start.  It prevents some of the bumping, kicking, and general chaos that can occur when everyone hops into the water at the same time.  I started with the men aged 30-34 in the 7th of 10 or so waves.  It meant that there were a lot of folks with a lead for me to catch during the bike and run.

Running the Beach to T1 My swim time was almost the same in the ocean as it was in the NYC pool several weeks ago.  No records set here but no panic or problems either.  Very comfortable with a relaxing, efficient stroke throughout the 1.2 mile course.  I know that I could have sped up but in my first long tri I wanted to make sure that I paced myself with the long bike and run to follow.  The swim is definitely something that I can improve with some more practice and with some more races.

Out of the water, through the sand and through a make-shift outdoor shower, I headed to the transition area.  Time to grab a quick bite (Balance Bar), rinse, and dry my feet before putting on socks and bike shoes.  Shirt, helmet and sunglasses and I was off.  Not the fastest transition (5+ minutes vs. under 2 minutes for the race winners) but I gathered myself and exited T1 ready for the ride.


Joanna Adler
The Alshers
Judy Andrews
The Axes
JoAnn Balfrey
Randi & Marc Berson
Maria Binetti
Betty Bloxham
Bill Brick
Cecile Campeas
Rachel Cohen
Emmy & Dudley Cooke
Eric & Reva Fischman
Laura Fischman
Ruth Gallogly 
George Gaskin
Stuart Gelbard
Jeff Ginsberg
Rupert Goodman
Ruth & Steven Goodman
Amanda & Matt Henshon
Jennifer Josephs
Edna Kaminsky
Neeta Kantu
Richard Klein
Carolyn Kutz
Joanna Liebman
Frannie & Phil Mendlow
Ann Naidus
Diane & Stuart Neufeld
Andrew Newcomb
Pat Pace
Marcelino Ribeiro
Shirley Robinson
Bonnie Rykowski
Staci Salzman
Mitch Schneiderman
Bob Shapiro
Helena Silber
Marla Smith
Debbie & Mark Taffet
Mohamed Tantawi
Jonathan Toto
Shelly Uhlig
Emily Zimmerman
The 56 mile bike ride was the longest non-stop cycle of my life.  Very flat with some windy spots.  Overall an enjoyable way to spend several hours.  I had added "aero bars" to my bike the previous day and was using them for the first time against my coaches' advice.  The drafting position allowed by the bars provided me an escape from some of the windy patches of the course and provided me several other ride positions to break things up.  The need for different positions on the bike was to avoid too much body strain from riding in one position - and to break up the boredom of the ride.  I did not put in enough training for a 56 mile ride and it was apparent during the triathlon.  Winter in New York City was especially cold this year and prevented me from training outdoors adequately.  Instead, I did most of my prep on a stationary bike in they gym; this is not the same thing as "time in the saddle" on a road bike.  Then there is the 3+ hours of riding without a stop.  While the course was scenic, I didn't take in too many of the sights.  Instead, I tried to keep a consistent cadence (number of strokes or pedals per minute) and to maintain a constant speed (the goal was 18 mph and I finished at an average of 17.5 mph).  I now more training will help my future riding.  And its the cyclists who excel in triathlons.  I'm looking forward to improving on my cycle skills (with and without the aero bars) but was overall happy with the bike leg of the triathlon.

Off the bike and into T2.  Out of my bike shoes and into my Sauconys for the run.  Plus some Accelerade and more water.  I was in the transition area at just before noon.  The Florida Sun was out in full force and I spent an extra minute or so preparing for the third leg.


Riding the Road in Panama City
My run totally sucked.  I normally run a sub 2 hour half marathon but the heat coupled with the previous swim and bike legs would not allow anything resembling a typical run for me.  I make sure to manage myself by watching a heart monitor that I wear during endurance events.  Without it, I know I would let my Male Ego take over and push me into injury and/or exhaustion.  But with the monitor, I make sure to keep my heart rate in a safe range which lets me finish long races - marathons or in this case, Half Ironman triathlons without "bonking".  Bonking is basically running out of steam before the end of a race.  This was definitely a "run-walk" event for me.  I would run for 3-5 minutes and then walk to a marker or a water/food stop or until I became too frustrated at my slow pace.  I'd run a bit, watch my meart rate spike, and then return to walking.  When I realized at around mile 3 or 4 that I wasn't going to break my goal of 6 hours for a finish time, I paced myself to finish in good (or semi-good) physical shape in the sweltering heat and humidity.

It has been a long road to get to Panama City Beach. Training with TNT started in December and occurred during a terribly long and cold New York winter. I started off being able to swim a total of 5-7 minutes continuously and needed to build up to the needed 45+ minutes. It required "relearning" how to swim in a way that is efficient and that preserves your leg strength for the bike and run. I have had to spend more time cycling on a bike than I have historically. Fifty-six miles is long in a lot of way - endurance for the distance and for the time it takes to finish (i.e., battling the boredom of 3+ hours of riding). And then the run, which wasn't supposed to pose much of a challenge but became its own form of torture in 90+ degree sweltering heat.

There has been the fundraising for leukemia research. My friends and family were very generous last year supporting my London Marathon. This year, a new crop of friends and co-workers showed their support for my campaign (see the list of contributors above) as well as the continuing support of many of the same contributors from last year.

Struggling through training sessions, I'm reminded of the physical challenges cancer patients face with chemotherapy and radiation.  If I'm tired on a run or feeling badly during a swim session, I stop.  People battling deadly illnesses can't take the same sort of break.  I'm inspired by the stories of individual accomplishments - in sports and in feats of courage related to fighting back against diseases.  Thinking of my cousin Gabe and other cancer survivors during training makes the time pass by and the pain disappear.

I just hope that the funds that I raise and the awareness that arises out of things like Axe Out Leukemia helps find a cure.

Make Sure to Drink and Ride Remember: RACE time is not FINISH time A Wave from the 1171st Finisher
Triathlons are won on the bike.  It's the longest distance and requires the most time.  It is the area in which I need the most improvement. Crossing the finish line, still able to wave for the camera but not sure sure I had a smile in me.  Note the clock has the RACE time and not my FINISH time.  Since I started in a later wave 35 minutes after the RACE start, my FINISH time was 6:37:57 Every finisher's medal looks the same - from the first guy (Spencer Smith who finished in 4:06:35) to the 1171th place finisher (that would be me!)
May 9, 2003: One Day Before Race Day
The whole Team in Training crew from New York City was in Panama City preparing for the race.  I was full of excitement and nervousness, making mental notes of things to remember and lists of things to do before the start of the race.  As a first time triathlete, I was nervous about everything.  What was the ocean swim going to be like?  We practiced briefly on the course which only added to my nervousness.  What would I need in the transition area?  I layed out on my bed clothing, eats, drinks, and other race gear.  What was a 56 mile bike ride going to feel like.  I had aero bars, which I hoped was going to help.  I could change a flat tire (slowly) if I needed to.  I was as ready for the race as I was going to be.

So after spending time (and money) at the race expo, it was time for one of the most powerful and emotional parts of a TNT weekend --  the pre-race Pasta Party.  In addition to last minute carbo-loading and hydrating, a leukemia, lymphoma and/or myeloma survivor speaks to the athletes at the dinner and shares their story.

Extra special at this pasta party is the fact that the New York City chapter honoree was speaking.  And it was extra, extra special in the fact that my friend Jenny Hinshaw was that honoree.  Jenny and I spent many post-workout morning having brunch with each other and fellow teammates.  Jenny and I collaborated on an article for the Panama City News Herald that featured her story.

T-1: 20' Bike
T-2: 20' Swim
T-3: NYC
T-4: 20'S/20'B/20' R
T-5: NYC
T-6: 120' Bike
T-7: 60' Bike
T-8: NYC
T-9: NYC
T-10: 1.2M Swim
T-11: NYC
T-12: NYC
T-13: Lake Las Vegas Triathlon (0.6M S/15M B/ 4M R)
T-14: 60' Bike
T-15: 30' Swim
T-16: Houston
T-17: Houston
T-18: 30' B/30'Run
T-19: 60' Bike
T-20: 60' Run
T-22: 20'S/70'R
T-23: 60' Bike
T-24: 80' Run
T-25: 60' Bike
T-26: 35'R/30'B/20'S
T-27: 45'R/15'S
T-28: 60'R/20'S
T-29: NYC
T-30: 60' Bike
May 6, 2003: Final days before the Gulf Coast Triathlon and my bike is headed to Florida.  TNT hires a truck to take all of our bikes to the event.  This is a great savings - and removes the biggest hassle about travel triathlons.  For the Lake Las Vegas Tri I was fortunate to find a great bike shop that rents top quality bike - I rode a Trek 2000.  The airlines charge you a bundle to fly your bike anywhere.  And you need a special box/crate to prevent damage to it.   aerobars.jpg (12508 bytes)
Aero Bars
I'm glad I'll have my bike in Florida for the 56 mile ride.  I wish had aero bars for this event.  Need to get them for the next one.  Final tune up - 20 minutes each of swimming, biking and running tonight.  Just another 80 or so hours until the race!  I'm starting to get very excited and very nervous.  It's going to be great.

May 4, 2003: Weekend in Philadelphia with my bike, providing the last chance to train before next weekend’s Gulf Coast Triathlon. It was a very easy commute to Philly from New York with my bike – New Jersey Transit from Penn Station to Trenton and then transfer to the SEPTA train south to Center City. Unlike Amtrak, both regional rail lines are set up for bicycles. NJ Transit even has special areas for strapping a bike to the wall for stability. Once I was in Philadelphia with my bike, it was time to log some miles and spend some time in the saddle. I rode the West River Drive, which is closed to traffic weekends in the Spring and Summer. My father’s apartment is at one end of the drive, which makes getting on and off very easy. Sunday was a commute to my brother Alex’s new townhouse in Lafayette Hill from my father’s apartment – a 40 minute ride with some nice hills. The route winded its way through Manayunk and The Wall, a very hilly road used in several professional cycling events. I stumbled across Shawmont Road which is a long, killer hill. Up I went, with a back pack. Won’t be anywhere near this hilly in flat Florida. However, Panama City will have temperatures a little higher than Philadelphia (probably 85 degrees vs. 50!).


April 30, 2003: Another TNT Group Training Session (GTS) at Riverbank State Park on the Upper (Upper) West Side of Manhattan. This time, the team completed a 1.2 mile swim with wetsuits. Since I had not previously swam the Gulf Coast Triathlon distance in training, I decided to complete the training swim without my wetsuit. Plus, I didn’t bring it with me to practice and therefore didn’t have the option of swimming with it. After 47 minutes and 41 seconds, I was out of the pool and had completed my longest swim distance ever. It provided me a lot of confidence that I’ll be fine in the upcoming Florida race now that I finished the course distance - battling a cold and without a wetsuit. The open water swim in the Gulf of Mexico will be a bit more challenging than swimming laps in a pool. I figure the wetsuit will be the equalizer and if I can shake my cold I’ll really be all set. Plus, all of my 100 meters laps in the pool were timed without 5-10 seconds of each other. This reassures me that while I am far from a fast swimmer, I have the right pace and endurance to complete the first leg of the tri in two weeks.

April 27, 2003: Competed in t he Lake Las Vegas Triathlon, a sprint distance event in Henderson, Nevada (about 15 miles southwest of the Vegas Strip).

The picture above is of me starting the run of the Lake Las Vegas Triathlon.  The bike course wrapped its way through the hills in the background.  

The 0.6 mile swim started at the beautiful Reflection Bay Golf Club beach, swimming in the crystal clear Lake Las Vegas with a water temperature of about 63 degrees.  The swim was followed by three loops of a 5 hilly mile bike course, with nice long up hills and fast, smooth down hills.  The triathlon finished with a 4 mile out-and-back run - one mile on asphalt and two miles on packed dirt roads along lakeside.  Much fun had by all...

April 25: 2003: Miserable day swimming today with a chest cold that sapped me of all of my respiratory strength. The nasal congestion and swollen glands that knocked me out of commission earlier in the week slid down into my chest and caused tremendous congestion in my lungs. I spent a half of an hour to an hour in a Bally’s pool in Houston, struggling to swim 100 yards no-stop. I shifted my training focus from endurance to technique, making sure to following all of the tips I read about in Total Immersion. The main focus of TI is that swimming is like tennis, golf, or skiing: Better performance comes from how - not how much training you do. The farther your body travels in the water with each stroke, the faster you'll swim. Make your strokes longer and you'll swim faster...and easier. TI talks about two ways to improving your stroke: The first is eliminating resistance caused by the water to forward momentum; you do this by improving body balance, position, and alignment. The second way is creating more propulsion by locating your power source and using your hands more effectively.

April 22, 2003: A beautiful morning of biking (indoors) and running (outdoors) in Houston. It was actually too dark in the morning when I first stumbled out of bed – 5:45 AM. My body had no idea what the Time Zone was; this was day three waking up in a different place (Saturday night in GMT in Manchester, England; Sunday night in EST in New York, and Monday night in CST in Houston). Thank heavens for those little sleeping pills – Ambien – which knocks you out with a hangover in the morning. Back to Houston training, where I rode an hour on the stationary bike before running through Hermann Park. Good day of training in the US after a week in England. Nice to be back to running on the right side of the road….

April 20, 2003: Early morning run in Manchester before heading home to New York.  It's great running through the woods is near silence.  No people or pets.  Just a couple of birds on Easter Sunday.

April 18, 2003: My sister in-law Nita’s birthday, and an exploration of the trails that run around Manchester. I started training in grandpa Rupert’s pool, a small little lap tank but an o.k. place to practice my Total Immersion technique.  Then into a park that backs onto the National Cycle Network, which provides miles of trails.

April 17, 2003: First full day in Manchester, home of my brother Geoffrey’s inlaws. Steven and Ruth Goodman are the perfect hosts and I feel right at home in their house. Steven has a mountain bike that he was given by business friends; we think it’s been ridden 2-3 times and not in several years. I filled the tires with air, dusted it off, and spent an hour riding through Heaton Park. Lots of hills but not a straight loops. I had to double-back several times but pedaled for a full sixty minutes to make sure I was getting enough of a workout. I do miss the simplicity of Central Park in NYC.

April 16, 2003: Started the morning waking up in Oxford. My uncle Mark Greene is a Fellow for the year at Lincoln College at Oxford University. He is spending his year sabbatical from the University of Pennsylvania in the UK with my aunt Bella, and they hosted my father and me for the day at England’s oldest university. I took advantage of the tranquil college town with an early morning run through the many colleges of Oxford and down to the Isis (a.k.a. the River Thames at Oxford). There is a great footpath that runs along the river, where the famous eights of Oxford College rowing practice their sculling.

April 10, 2003: Only thirty more days until the Gulf Coast Triathlon.  Thirty more days to strengthen my swimming stroke, increase my cycling speed and improve my running endurance.  It is going to be a month of international training, starting this weekend in London, followed by visits to Manchester (UK), Houston, Las Vegas and Philadelphia.  I'll finish with a week in New York City to "taper" but it will only be an enjoyable last week of workouts if the next three are intense enough to build a strong base.  Need to get in at least an hour or so of training each day, and some "doubles" (i.e., morning and evening workouts).  Very hard to manage a work schedule, dating life, quality time with friends and family, PLUS triathlon training.   I need to find a sponsor who will pay me to work out all of the time - or I just need to realize that this is for fun and I'm not training to be a world-class athlete.  I'd be happy being a  bringing-up-the-rear / but-having-a-good-time finisher.

It's going to require sticking to a training schedule for the next month.  I should be able to do that...I hope.  Sixty minutes on the bike tonight after a TNT Team Social.  Good start.

April 9, 2003: Back to back days in the pool.  Today with the TNT team after swimming solo yesterday.  Still don't have my lung capacity back after being sick for a while.  Only did 26 minutes on my own and then spent the group swim practicing technique.  At some point I think I'll master the right swim stroke.  Maybe even before the triathlon!

April 5, 2003: Another day of running with the team in Central Park.  It doesn't feel like Springtime, with sub-40 degree weather and a constant light drizzle.  Not a lot of fun training in "April Showers" - even though I'm sure the May Flowers that will follow will be beautiful.  Unfortunately, training for an event that requires six plus hours of outside exercise demands some outside time running and biking (and even some outdoor swimming would be nice but not too realistic for winter and spring in New York City).  The Gulf Coast Triathlon is five weeks away from today - 35 days! - and I'm almost halfway to my fundraising goal and probably about halfway to my fitness goal.  I think the fundraising is behind were it could be because I did too good of a job last year.  People continue to applaud my efforts (training, the website, etc.) but forget that the reason for all of this is to contribute needed dollars to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

April 2, 2003: This cold that I have is totally messing up my training.  Third try in the pool in the last week where my fever prevented me from having a productive swim session.  We were suppose to swim 3/4 of a mile in our group training session; I completed 1/4 of a mile and had to pull myself out of the water.  This cold has me lacking the needed respiratory capacity to swim efficiently and effectively.  Instead of paddling through a mile or so (which I was doing 2 weeks ago), I'm struggled to do 25% of that.  As long as I can shake this cold thing, I'm sure I'll be o.k. for the triathlon.

April 1, 2003: Unbelievably I received a call today from Ironman USA who is holding a space for me in the Kona, Hawaii event.  They want me to participate in a new reality TV show about training for the event.  Because I'm singed up for the Gulf Coast Half Ironman event, they want the show to start in Florida and progress from there until the Hawaii event.  They want to sponsor me (a.k.a. pay me for my lost time at work) and film the months of training as I spend 4-6 per say, 6 days per week preparing for the 2.4 mille swim/112 mile bike/26.1 mile run event.  O.K. Seriously? This is just an April Fool's joke.  If you've read this far, I got you.  Do you think I'm nuts?  A half Ironman is fine for me.  Maybe next year I'll do a full Ironman event...
\March 29, 2003: It's another Jell-O Mellow Weekend - which means more "Bricks" (transitioning between the run and the bike and back again).  Jell-O is what my legs feel like during the first running mile after biking.  It takes some time for your muscles to adjust from one exercise discipline to the other.  I started the day biking with TNT friends from last year's  Vermont City Marathon, Annie Kozuch and Lucina Cipriano.  Just relaxing spinning around the Park for 10 or so miles.  Then off the bike and into the NYRRC Lucky 7-Mile Reversible, a loop-de-loop course around Central Park.  I ran the race with Vanessa Tung who is a staffer at Team In Training. Another great thing about TNT is they have dedicated people working for them who are committed to the cause.  I've become good friends with several of the staffers and am very appreciative of their hard work. After 7 miles of running, back on the bike for another half dozen or so miles of riding.  It's much easier to go run-to-bike than bike-to-run from a Jell-O Quotient but I'm usually much more tired post-running compared to post-riding.  I guess that's why the triathlon order is swim/bike/run.  They don't want you to totally "bonk".

March 25, 2003: Another lunch spend swimming with my boss Mark.  Another mile, trying to get comfortable in the pool.  I did cut three minutes off my time from a week or so ago.  I'm never going to be a fast swimmer but hopefully I'll manage through the swim and have the energy for the bike and the run.  I still am not totally comfortable in the pool and can only imagine that swimming in the Gulf of Mexico is going to be a whole new experience.  There is only about seven weeks to go until the triathlon (45 days, but who's counting?!?!).  A tough couple of weeks of training coming up, as Coach Scott says, "7 weeks left…..5 weeks of building to peak conditioning and 2 weeks of well-earned taper."  I can't wait for the "taper".

March 23, 2003: Being a Weekend Warrior is a lot easier when the weather cooperates.  As New York City warmed up, we've stepped up the training for the triathlons.  Saturday was all about the bike - circles and circles around Central Park.  Sunday was all about running - again circles around the Big Apple's best playground.  Lots of hills on the bike, despite the fact that the Gulf Coast Triathlon is suppose to be relatively flat.  The 42 mile ride would have been much more of a chore if I didn't partner with a fellow TNTer Joanne to chat with through the loops and loops of the park.  The 2 1/2 hour ride would have put me to sleep without Joanne's help.  Then Sunday's run - 10 miles of the 20 Relay Race - would have been much more of a challenge if not for the crowds and clocks.  The 1 1/2 hour run flies by when you clock your mile splits and ease drop on conversations around you while running.  Then a tag of my partner Ramsey who ran the next 10 miles.  I was able to hang out and relax with other past and present Team In Training participants while she finished the relay for our team (we placed 41st in the  2-person mixed category).  Spending time with TNT friends is another reminder about the importance of the Team in Training program and the funds it raises for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

March 19, 2003: Back to the swimming - this time with the TNT group in the 50 meter pool.  We did a timed half mile swim (a slow-ish 18 minutes for me) in semi-race type conditions.  The lanes were full of swimmers and I was kicked, nudged and generally harassed as I swam.  The actual event is going to be a breeze compared to these simulated race conditions.

Started getting serious about fundraising today.  Sent out a hundred or so emails reminding folks about the importance of the funds raised.  It goes towards research and patient services for programs that would otherwise be without the needed financial resources.  I've committed to raise $5,000 and I have a large gap to close.

March 18, 2003: A driving force in my training for triathlons and marathons has always been Male Ego.  One looks around at the "competition" and says if they can do it so can I.  So today's lunch was spent swimming with my boss Mark Taffet where I couldn't  let the "Old Man" (a.k.a. 45 year old father of two) beat me in the pool.  But Mark is in better swim shape and has more speed than I do in the pool.  Endurance is another matter.  I finished my first "measured mile" in a (hopefully) respectable 46 minutes.  I felt fine after the swim; Mark said he was getting too old for such a distance.  Call it a draw - he beat me in time but I was ready for a long bike ride and a run where Mark was just looking for a place to go for lunch (and a place to take a nap).

March 17, 2003: St. Patrick's Day
No workout today.  It should be a mandatory day of rest.  How can you work out on a national Get Drunk Day?!?  I'm actually trying to remain alcohol-free until the May 10th triathlon.  I spent the evening at the Flyers/Devils ice hockey game ( a great 4-2 win for Philadelphia) and didn't drink.  It's going to make this week's training sessions a lot easier...I hope.  Only 53 more days until the Gulf Coast Half Ironman!

March 16, 2003: Back to Central Park for a "brick" where you complete two different legs of the triathlon.  This beautiful Sunday morning was a chance to try out the new bike for the first time and then run.  I rode for 1 hour and 45 minutes (about 27 miles at a 16-17 mph pace) and then ran 6 miles (at about an 8:30-8:45 per mile pace).  My legs felt like jelly during the first mile of the run.  It's a bit of a shock to your body when you hop off your bike and then start running.  But my mile split times weren't horrible and I gained a lot of confidence that I could complete the back-to-back bike/run legs of the triathlon.  You're always scared of the unknown until you actually complete it.  So I'm getting closer and closer to know what will be required for the triathlon.

March 15, 2003: Trail running in Central Park with the TNT Tri Team.  We did an Out-and-Back where you run for 45 minutes and then retrace your course.  The weather if finally starting to cooperate and make training less of a chore.  Only 8 more weeks until the Gulf Coast Triathlon and I need to increase the intensity and frequency of my training if I'm going to complete the race.  Running today with teammates Marni, Jeanne, Anette, and Angelo, we talked about how long the triathlon should take.  Figuring as individual legs the swim will be around an hour, the bike around 3 hours and the run around 2 hours, all together the race should be between 6-6 1/2 hours.  If I can shave some time off of the swim and keep a good pace for the cycle, the run will be the push to finish under six hours.  Doable - but it's going to take a lot of work to get into that kind of shape. 

March 11, 2003:  Back in the pool after a few days off. The Brooklyn Half Marathon kicked my butt, highlighting that I am not in as fit shape as I was at this time last year. My event is a month later this year – May’s Gulf Coast Triathlon vs. last year’s April London Marathon. My event isn’t as running intensive – 13.1 miles vs. 26.2 miles. And I could barely swim for more than 5-10 minutes last year while I have to fight boredom and not fatigue when I reach the 30 minute mark in the pool.

Today was also RECOMMITMENT DAY. I had to put my money where my mouth is and guarantee that I would raise the necessary funds for the Society to enable me to participate in the triathlon. The organization is very good about maintaining a 4:1 expense ratio. Over 75% of every dollar raised goes to the mission of the Society – clinical research, patient services, advocacy, public health and professional education. I am proud to be associated with an organization that spending money on fighting blood cancers (and not spending money on fundraising like some other "charities").

March 10, 2003: Spent the night with my cousin Gabe, watching the New York Rangers battle the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden.  Loss for the home team, which wasn't a lot of fun for us fans, but a nice evening catching up with my Honoree (and the reason I've stayed involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program).  Spending time with Gabe highlights for me some of the "forgotten" aspects of being sick with a disease.  He has been chemotherapy-free since August but is still working towards regaining his full strength after 25 mos. of intensive treatment.  He spent a weekend snowboarding with his brothers recently and complained that after one day on the slopes he was totally wiped out.  He had to cut back his work hours because he couldn't work a full day.  But he's improving.  The other thing that became very clear to me is that while leukemia robbed Gabe of two years of school, it took a lifetime of high school friendships.  He spent the final two years home schooling and lost most of his interaction with his classmates.  If he wasn't in the hospital because of his leukemia (or a related condition), he was at home in bed exhausted from the intense.  He talks about the friends he had now off at college - where he should be.  He talking about missing a lot of the experiences juniors and seniors have getting into trouble and pushing parental (and general adult) authority to its limits.  He might be a camp counselor this summer - a very "normal" thing for college aged kids.  I think he's hesitant to commit to the job because of some underlying fear that he won't be up to the stresses of camp life.  I hope he takes the challenge and takes the job.  I hope leukemia has finished robbing him of the experiences he deserves to have.

March 8, 2003:  Up early to head to Coney Island for the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  Longest run for me since the Marine Corp Marathon back in October of last year - and a reminder that I'm not in the same shape as I was last year.  So I was "good" and made sure to watch my heart rate the first 10 miles.  44 minutes for the first 5 miles and 44 minutes for the second 5 miles.  Strong finish for the final 3 miles.  There was a great cheering section of Team In Training - current and past participants.  Running in New York City for me has become a community event with all of the friends I see on the course.  It makes the misery of some of the long miles a little less miserable.  And it's nice to see so many folks running for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  It also means that post-race usually means brunch with fellow runners, which we did in Brooklyn after the Half.

March 5, 2003: Business travel to the UK didn’t turn out to be the Workout Fest I thought it was going to be. There always seems to be more work to do while traveling. And then there is the constant English drizzle that makes for great pictures but terrible living experience. Who decided to build the home of the British Empire in one of the worst areas of the Empire? Shouldn’t they have moved everything to some tranquil part of India when they ran the place? Or some nice place in Africa? Too much thinking on my part.

I did manage to spend some time in the hotel gym lifting weights and completing a session on the rowing machine. The "erg" is probably the best already cardio machine: it works your arms, abs, legs and heart while being low- to no-impact. If I could just spend 20 minutes or so on the rowing machine every day on top of my swimming, biking and running. It’s great exercise to strengthen one’s "core" (abs and back).

March 3, 2003: Off to the Southern coast of England for the work part of my trip to the UK. The visit includes several part days of presentations and meetings for a business transaction I’m doing (selling a business with manufacturing sites in Houston and Gosport, UK) so there should be some quality work out time.

March 1, 2003: The start of a new month with new commitments to full preparation for the triathlon. I’m spending the week in England in a combination work and leisure visit across the Pond. Started in London with Georgie (my sister-in-law Nita’s sister) and her boyfriend, trekking around Notting Hill and Primrose Park. Then a Saturday night dinner in Oxford Circus, breakfast with my friend Seth Martin in South Kennsington before a Sunday afternoon flight to Manchester to visit with the rest of Nita’s family. I’m headed back to England in April for Passover so this short visit was a chance to check out the training facilities without actually working out. Nita’s grandfather Rupert Goodman’s apartment building has an indoor pool which might become my second home in April. We saw several cycling groups riding through the countryside which would be a great experience next month. Manchester also has a Veledrome for track cycle racing; might try and schedule a lesson and riding session for my return visit.

February 25, 2003: Finally recovered from my weight training on Saturday.  That's the last time I let my friend Alyssa train me.  My whole body ached for three days.  Today it was back into the pool.  My boss Mark Taffet and I spent part of lunch at the West Orange Jewish Community Center swimming laps before heading off to lunch to celebrate Mark's birthday.  The old guy out lapped me in the pool (50 vs. 42 laps in 29 or so minutes).  I'm not that competitive or anything but the guy's more than 10 years older than I am!  I guess he's been swimming a lot longer than I have so that must be his advantage.  I'll catch up by the time May comes around.  Still, 42 laps in the 25 yard pool isn't bad for a "non-swimmer" like me.  Not sure how much longer I can wear that tag.  The Gulf Coast Triathlon is in 230 days...At today's pace (around 200 yards/five minutes), the swim is going to take me 55 to 60 minutes.

Click for larger picture February 22, 2003: It was time to buy the needed gear for the cycling portion of the triathlon (a.k.a. "The Bike").  As you quickly learn shopping for a new set of wheels, it is easy to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a many thousands of dollars on a bike.  I was unsure I needed a top flight bike since I don't anticipate being a top flight triathlete.  And I'm not sure I'm committed to being a long-term participant in the sport.

I settled for a Specialized Allez Comp 27, which is a road bike that I can "convert" into a triathlon bike by adding Aero bars and adjusting the settings.  

A torture session today with my friend Alyssa who kicked my butt lifting weights at the gym.  I know strength training is important for overall fitness; I just don't like spending time in the weight room.  But Alyssa made it bearable - and a bit competitive - so it was a good morning session working legs and arms.  She says the upper body conditioning really helps her swimming so I'm glad for the company and the help.  She's a much stronger swimming than I'll ever be so listening to her advice is going to be beneficial.  I can't see to keep up with her anywhere - swimming in the pool, biking on the road, or drinking in the bar!

Some Fellow TNT Triathlete Web Sites

April Biggs, St. Anthony's Guy Chung, Gulf Coast
Linda Elmani, St. Anthony's Kim Jacobson, St. Anthony's
Peter Karlin, Gulf Coast Jenny Hinshaw, Gulf Coast
Philip Kiracofe, Gulf Coast Joel Matalon, Gulf Coast
Gary Montesinos, Gulf Coast Don Prycer, Gulf Coast
Gary Rabinowitz, Gulf Coast Ginger Schultz, Gulf Coast
Maryanne Shiozawa, Gulf Coast Keri Stone, St. Anthony's

February 21, 2003: Into the pool again after three days in Texas.  The weather in Houston and Odessa wasn't that conducive to exercise (wet, cold, dark) so my running shoes and exercise clothes didn't make it out of my back during my trip.  Returning to New York, I made sure to get back into the water - 15 minutes non-stop followed by another 7 1/2 minutes.  My intention was to go for a full 30 minutes but it didn't happen.  The guy at the pool said 53 lengths equals a mile and I'm usually swimming 2-3 lengths per minute.  Splitting the difference, it should take me about 21 minutes to swim a mile.  So (hopefully) I swam a mile tonight (with a slight break) and a mile on Tuesday night.  The commitment continues, and I just might make it to Panama City in May ready for the triathlon.

I also mailed my first batch of fundraising letters.  I've committed to raising $4,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of my cousin Gabe., who has battled leukemia and recovering after two years of treatment.  I know ithey are important dollars that go towards research and patient services but no one likes to ask for money.  I just need to remind myself that people like contributing to worthy causes (which this is) and I am servicing an important role in the marketing efforts of the Society.  Since I am helping raising their funds, the Society can minimize their administrative overhead and have more of the contributed money go towards research.  I just hope I can raise enough money to make a difference.

February 18, 2003: Back to serious training after a week away from the gym.  A full 25 minutes of swimming (my longest time ever) and then an hour on the stationary bike.  My biggest problem tonight was boredom.  Swimming is music-free and generally scenery-free (unless you count the pool lane as something interesting, which it's not).  And it's hard to have a training partner in the pool like running or biking.  Unless we're doing a swimming relay or something.  The group training session in the pool are much better than this solo training that I'm doing.  But if I don't practice the laps I'm going to drown in Panama City.  Riding the bike in gym allows me to watch really bad television.  Tonight's show was "American Idol."  It's an hour long show, which is a good distraction from the cycling.  Hopefully the weather improves soon so I can ride (and run)  outside.  Tonight would have been a mini-triathlon but I skipped the run thing.  I'm off to Houston and Odessa, Texas where I'll have plenty of time to work out on the road.  What else am I suppose to do in the Lone Star state?

February 17, 2003: One of the challenges of training for a summer-time endurance event in the winter is the winter!  And New York City got dumped on today, maybe 20-24 inches of snow.  Working out this winter has been tough with all of the cold weather and snow.  I never realized how much my mood was correlated to the weather. We New Yorkers might work harder in the Rat Race than other cities, but if I lived in San Diego, Atlanta, Phoenix or some other warmer-weather city I think working out would be a lot easier.

Getting to Panama City for the Gulf Coast Triathlon is going to require a pretty strict exercise schedule from now until May 10th.  I think the focus needs to be on the swimming and the "brick" (two legs of the swim/bike/run back to back).  Swimming is a challenge since I've never been much of a swimmer.  I've figured out that any endurance I've built running or cycling means nothing in the pool.  Breathing is totally different but I'm starting to get the hang of it.  Then there is the challenge of getting off the bike and start running with jelly legs.  I think some practice will overcome any problems I have jumping from the bike into running shoes.

Only time will tell...

February 9, 2003: Ran the Thomson Valentine's Twosome 10K in Central Park at a leisurely pace with friends.  Team In Training creates a community, many of whom I see around in the City - and especially in the Park.  Started the race with Nichole Wright and Stan Labanowski (who I ran with in London) and finished with Ann Ryan and Erin Farrell (who I ran with in the Marine Corp Marathon).  Ann and I spend more time talking about life than worrying about time - we finished at a nine minute per mile pace, running the second half faster than the first.  TNT folks in general are really good people: getting into shape and raising money for a worthy charity.  Almost a dozen or so of us then did some post running recovery at the Vinegar Factory for pancakes, omelets, etc.

My  morning started with a swim at the gym.  Finally getting some comfort in the pool - 15 minutes non-stop which is the longest I've swam since being a pre-teen.  Maybe this triathlon thing isn't going to kill me.  Just need to keep practicing and remember than the Gulf Coast Triathlon isn't for three months (from tomorrow).

February 7, 2003: This has been the Week of the Swim, in the pool Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  It's a frustrating, humbling experience.  Running has been second nature to me.  Since playing sports in high school, running has always been part of my training for wrestling, soccer, etc.  Biking always seemed to be a "doable" event.  I've never signed up for a triathlon because of my fear of the swim.  But I know if I put in the time there's some hope that I'll be able to finish without drowning.

February 5, 2003: Group training swim at Riverbank State Park with the TNT team and another chance for me to "solve" my swimming challenge.  I don't have the lungs to swim for more than 4-5 minutes non-stop.  My legs and arms are fine but I become winded very quickly.  I am getting a little panicky about swimming 1.2 miles (35-45 minutes) if I can't swim for more than 10-15 minutes.  And there is no pool wall to grab onto during the Gulf Coast Tri (as in Gulf of Mexico).  

January 26, 2003: Super Bowl weekend in Los Angeles with my brother Geoffrey and his wife Nita.  Nice to run in warm weather instead of jogging in the bitter cold of NYC.  Found a hilly neighborhood near Beverlywood where my brother lives.  I'm always amazed that a city with such good weather like LA isn't full of outdoor exercisers.  I did see some people out and about during my run but then we went to play racquetball  indoors at my brother's office.  The MGM offices look amzing.

January 12, 2003: The ultimate morning of overdoing it as a "Weekend Warrior".  Running, swimming, yoga, weight lifting.  Rationally I know that I can't make up for a week of inactivity over two days on the weekend but it doesn't stop me from trying.  After the cross training TNT session on Saturday, Sunday started with a swim and then the Fred Lebow 5 Mile race in Central Park.  The New York Road Runner sponsored race is a "qualifying" race for the 2004 New York City Marathon (run nine qualifiers in a calendar year, gain automatic entry into the following year's NYC marathon).  The shorter distance (5 miles) is a chance to work on speed so I pushed myself a bit (sub-7:30s per mile) - very different than my marathon training last year.  Then brunch after the run and then off to yoga class.  I definitely overdid it: yoga class killed me!

January 11, 2003: Team In Training cross training in Central Park with the Marathon, Triathlon, and Walking teams.  Lots and lots of folks, some from previous season in which I participated.  Plus the whole staff (Elissa Bedell, Emily Meyer and Stacy Mitz) providing encouragement and post-workout eats - bagels, juice, etc.  We all did interval training - 10 minutes of running then 10 minutes of strength training (swats, lunges, push ups, etc.), repeated four times.  The temperatures was in the 20s making it frightfully cold but I think everyone managed to enjoy themselves despite the weather.

January 6, 2003: The triathlon team received a scary reminder email from our coach Scott Willet today.  At least it was scary for me.  He said unlike exams, you can't cram for a triathlon.  I spent my high school, college, and business school careers leaving most of the work until the last few days of each semester.  Completing a 6-7 hour endurance event like the triathlon is not something I can train for in a week.  It is going to take five months - at least I hope that is enough time to train.  So...inspired by my coach's advice, I did my first "brick" today.  A brick is a workout in which you follow one activity immediately by another.  While I initially thought the concept of bricks referred to the Wall people hit in marathons, I've been assured that in triathlons the metaphorical term can be construed as an edifice - you build the wall laying one brick upon another - NOT the thing each of your legs feel like once off your bike and afoot.  I rode the spin bike for 70 minutes (watching "Joe Millionaire") and then hopped on the treadmill for 20 minutes.  Running after biking is a different experience than just running.  It's going to take some training to make the transitions from swimming to biking and then from biking to running.  I just need to keep layering the bricks.

December 31, 2002 - January 1, 2003: Welcomed in the New Year running in Central Park in the Midnight Run.  Over 4,000 runners started 2K3 watching fireworks and then racing around for four miles - with a champagne station at the halfway mark.  There wasn't a need for bundling up - it was almost 50 degrees for the run - but I donned an all white suit and ran as "snow".  Lots of folks were in costume (there is even a parade and contest for best-dressed before the run).  Ran TNT friends Rachel Salzman, Eliana Agudelo, and Melissa Groves at a very comfortable pace - especially considering the New Years' cheer we had prior to running.

santa.jpg (60638 bytes) December 22, 2002: Weekend Warrior regiment of running. Saturday morning with the Team In Training tri team in Central Park. Seven miles - from Bethesda Terrace up to the Reservoir, twice around and then back down to the bottom of the Park before returning to where it all started. Ran with several groups of TNTers, as we all stress about our training, fundraising, etc. Seems like a good group of people, committed to raising funds for leukemia research while challenging themselves physically. Post-running brunch at EJ's with Kate Fleming and Ramsey Frazier who have become my Rachel & Rachel from the TNT Marathon Team - ganging up on me with sarcasm and slander, which I seem bring upon myself.

Sunday was 4 Mile New York Run Runners race in Central Park.  Running training for the triathlon where the run is only a half marathon is different than preparing for the full 26.2 mile marathon distance. I want to get faster in shorter distances, so I ran at a faster than usual pace (7:24s per mile) knowing that I don't need the same type of endurance.

Recovered from a weekend of working out with a meat-packed meal at Peter Lugar's in Brooklyn with the whole Axe family - my aunt & uncle, cousins Judah visiting from San Francisco, Noah on break from the University of Hartford, Gabe and Noah visiting from Greenwich.  The Axe Out Leukemia effort is named after Gabe, who is through 25 months of chemo to treat his leukemia and has now been four months free of treatment and cancer.  He's trying to get his life back after spending two years in bed 

December 19, 2002: I'm only going to survive the tri if I find the time to swim.  So today's lunch "activity" was a work trip to the West Orange, New Jersey JCC pool.  My boss Mark and I spent 45 minutes or so swimming - he's a regular.  Can't seem to get away from my competitive tendencies: we raced a handful of pool lengths -- and I couldn't let the old guy win.  I was definitely out of breathe - but I'm working on breathing from both sides, refining technique, etc.  It's almost becoming fun...

Then a group social after work - drinks and apps at Session 73 (two blocks from my house).  A great chance to meet and greet other tri-geeks like me.  In general, it's a really good group of people.  Athletic-minded but committed to raising money for an important charity.

December 18, 2002: Back in the pool tonight, and another reminder that all of my running conditioning means next to nothing in the water.  Before I can get into shape swimming I have to improve my technique.  A bit different from running (technique: one foot in front of the other - and don't forget to breathe).  But the coaches have been providing a lot of feedback and I'm confident that as long as I can get into the water a few times a week, I'll be o.k. come May.

December 17, 2002: Ran in Central Park in the frigid cold - temps in the 20s with the "real feel" around 19 degrees.  I bundled up like any other wintertime TNT training session and figured that the Gulf Coast Tri in May will be a lot easier if I battle through some New York December days.  This was a timed "out-and-back" - 15 minutes running around the lower loop and up the West Side and then turning around and retracing your steps. Ideally, you're suppose to run negative splits (running further in second 15 minutes than in the first) or as close to the same distance in both timed sessions.  Somehow I finished exactly where I started.  I think I ran the first and last quarters quickly and dogged it a bit in the middle but it worked out.  Made it up to the "7801" lamp post (at 78th Street inside the park) and will need to track whether or not I can go further out the next time we do it timed.

One thing I'm realizing is that the tri team is pretty competitive.  The marathon TNT group was a bit more supportive of the whole team, getting everyone through, etc.  The tri-geeks (an affectionate term) watch the clock, track the splits, monitor their placement, etc.  I'm not sure this is so good for me right now, as I don't need to be pressing so hard.  I did go from our running workout to the gym to use the rowing machine and then ride the stationary bike.  It's like being on a college or high school sports team again.  The marathon team pushed itself some days but to date, I'm feeling like the tri team pushes itself every day.  While there may not be any "I's" in "TEAM" there are a whole bunch of them in "Team In Training."

December 16, 2002: Tonight was the TNT Fundraising Clinic, moderated by staffers Emily Meyers and Stacy Mitz.  A great overview of the ways of raising needed funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, where the funds go, etc.

December 14, 2002: Enduring a heavy rain, I pedaled through a TNT group biking session in Central Park. The coaches wanted us to bike at a high RPM (revolutions per minute), getting our legs moving so we stayed in a low enough gear to pump away on the uphills and downhills. A bit different than just trying to get from Point A to Point B on my bike which is how I usually ride in New York City. This turned into a pretty good workout with fellow triathletes Yessica (a former collegiate tennis star at TCU and originally from Sweden) and Carolyn Michael (a teacher at the East Harlem School, just back from a couple of years in the Peace Corp in Senegal and on her way after practice to a Kayak Polo match). Without my heart monitor it was hard to gauge the intensity of the workout compared to my past running session. However, it was a good 10 mile ride and I know it's helping towards building a fitness base. Plus riding in a torrential downpour....Maybe I should have just gone to spin class instead. No pain, no gain.

December 11, 2002: First group training session with the TNT triathlon group.  It was a swim session at the River Bank State Park way uptown at 145th & Riverside Drive.  Any illusions that I had about being about to swim because I am in marathon shape quickly dissolved when I hit the water.  Totally different muscles.  Totally different kind of endurance needed.  I figure I need to swim 2-3 times a week if I want to avoid drowning.  Thankfully, the triathlon is designed to go from most dangerous element (swimming) to the least dangerous element (running) with biking squeezed in the middle.  Therefore I won't be tired until I'm finished swimming (hopefully) and can muscle myself through the biking and running without the fear of being shark food.  The coaches seem great and I know that come May -- in more than 22 weeks -- I'll be trained and conditioned for the whole Gulf Coast Triathlon.

December 5, 2002: The Spring Season Kick-Off for Team In Training and for the first time I'm signed up for a triathlon instead of a marathon.  Same electric environment with several hundred people nervous and excited about their training and endurance events (marathon, century bike ride, or triathlon).  Same moving experience listening to survivors of (or those battling) leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma or other blood cancers.  

After running the London, Vermont City, and Marine Corp marathons with Team in Training, it's time to give my knees a rest and "try a tri."  The challenge will be to build swimming and biking training into my weekly exercise routine.  The running part is easy - put on running shoes, go outside, run.  Arranging time to swim (and a PLACE to swim) is going to require some work.  With the team, I'll get to attend a regularly scheduled weekly swim - then I just have to find one or two other times to get into the pool a week.


This site is maintained by Peter Klein and is not associated with the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, Team-in-Training or The Light the Night Walk other than the participation in the Society's  programs of the individuals included in this site.  
Last updated on July 26, 2004 .