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681 and done!

January 8, 2013

Well this post is a few days old and Jason Lester has already completed the Epicman Challenge in 51 hours.  Seriously, how does he do it?  26 marathons in 26 days, 2 days off and then triple ironman (7.2 mile swim, 336 mile bike and 78.6 mile run).  Hurts just thinking about it.  While Jason Lester kicks it in beast mode, Julie and I have been dancing around with our 681 mile challenge.  When we started we were running 10 and biking 10 each day.  I had decided I was going to do all my biking on the weekends with one ride during the week.  Along the way we had to make some changes, but we completed our mission.

This is how our breakdown worked out:

December 13 – 10 mile run (Dan)

December 14 – 10 mile run (Dan and Julie)

December 15 – 10 mile run, 40 mile bike (Dan), 10 mile run, 20 mile bike (Julie)

December 16 – 87 mile bike (Dan), 10 mile run and 20 mile bike (Julie)

December 17 – 12 mile run (Dan), 10 mile run (Julie)

December 18 – 10 mile run (Dan), 10 mile run (Julie)

December 19 – 5 mile run (Dan)

December 20 – 5 mile run, 20 mile bike (Dan)

December 21 – 10 mile run, 40 mile bike (Dan)

December 22 – 10 mile run, 40.5 mile bike (Dan), Julie 10 mile run

December 23 – 10 mile run, 20 mile bike (Dan)

December 24 – 5 mile run, 40 mile bike (Dan), Julie and Dan travel home for Xmas

December 25 – 5 mile run (Dan & Julie)

December 26 – 5 mile run, 30 miles – indoor trainer (Dan), 10 mile run (Julie)

December 27 – Xmas with Dad and snowstorm = no training

December 28 – 5 mile run, 50 mile bike – indoor trainer, 5 mile run (Julie)

December 29 – 5 mile run, 20 mile bike (Dan)

December 30 – 30 mile bike (Dan)

December 31 – 45 mile bike (Dan)

Total = 699.5 miles

In addition to our miles, my mom donated a total of 20 miles to us and my good friend John Rogers donated 25 miles to our cause  (and a monetary donation – thanks JOHNNY BOY)

Although some days I questioned why Julie and I were doing this challenge I am glad that we were able to finish the miles.  It was a great accomplishment for us and a built a good base for us heading into 2013.  We have big plans (In our heads for this year- soon to be on paper) and hope that we can transfer these from our heads to the podium 🙂

15 weeks to NOLA time to focus!

Day 5…in the Books

December 18, 2012

Julie and I embarked on what seemed to be a crazy last-minute journey last Thursday when we decided to “in theory” join Jason Lester on his 26×26.2 journey.  Since we came in late and don’t have his endurance, we decided to break up the journey for each of us into a 340.5 mile “training” session.  We have 17 days to cover our mileage which comes out to be 20 miles a day, running and biking.  We committed to running 10 and biking 10 each day.

My friend Marc, who actually “bet” that we could not accomplish this feat has asked me to download off my Garmin every 5 days we train.  So here is for you Marc, take a look.  The two workouts that I do not have on here are from Sunday (forgot my Garmin for my bike ride and my magnet for my Cateye got displaced so I didn’t have any data for my long bike ride Sunday.  Today, I also spun 20 miles on my bike and again.  But the rest of it is here so Marc, here you go…

Thursday, December 13 – 10 miles  (

Friday, December 14 – 10 miles (

Saturday, December 15 – 5 mile run, 40 mile bike, 5 mile run (,

(, (

Sunday, December 16, 87 mile bike – Penney Farms Group ride with Open Road Bicycles.  Tough ride and got dropped at mile 55, long way home with me and one other individual.  My legs could not take the constant attacks on the rolling hills and eventually I watched as the group pulled ahead and I could do nothing but watch them.  I thought this was supposed to be the 60 mile route, but i guess they decided to start riding the longer route early this year.  It was also supposed to be a max 24 mph ride and I asked the guy who got dropped with me and he said he was pushing 300+ watts for over 25 miles.  We decided that we would ride home at about an 19-20 mph speed.

Monday, December 17 – 12 mile run (two 6 mile runs – morning/evening) – (,


Tuesday, December 18 – 10 mile run, (, 20 mile spin on trainer (no data)

Total miles to date for this journey:

Running – 52 miles

Cycling – 147 miles

Total: 199 Miles

Ice has been my best friend… so simple but helps with  the residual soreness and muscle fatigue.  I bought new batteries for my Cateye (just in case) and won’t forget my Garmin for my rides this weekend.

Jason is collecting donations to help feed needy families during this holiday season so if you are inspired by what he is doing or by what we are doing, you can go to his website www.26× and donate.  Please reference in the note that you saw this on our website.  Thank you.

2(17×20) Challenge 2012

December 14, 2012

This blog originated with the tagline “A beginner triathlete trying to keep up with an Ironman.” Today it evolved to “A couple restless age-groupers trying to keep up with a UltraIronman.”

At some point today, December 13, Dan and I decided that Sibling Trivalry should be involved or support our favorite ultra endurance athlete, Jason Lester on his latest project, 26X26. Jason, as well as ultra-runner Dave Carlsson, will attempt to run 26 marathons in 26 days (starting Dec 1) to raise money to help those in need in their local communities as well as raise awareness about the hunger crisis throughout the country. It started off that we should donate money to the Never Stop Foundation and help support the project. Then it evolved to: we should run everyday too. Then to: Well, we may as well do 681 miles too, just the two of us.

So we are calling it the: 2(17×20) : 2 People. 17 days. 20 miles a day.

Untitled-3 @ 400% (CMYK_Preview)

Starting now, because we don’t have a day to spare.

Jason Lester is such an inspiration to both of us (you can read about Jason’s amazing and inspiring accomplishments here) and we didn’t hesitate (too much) to join this challenge. Well, all hesitation stopped when it became a little bet among friends (thanks Dan). Earlier this year, Dan had the great opportunity to join Jason during a leg of his Journey For a Better World project, when Jason ran and biked across the US (over 5,000 miles) to help share the importance of sustainability. You can read about Dan’s experience here.


At the end of journey, Jason made a stop at the Nike campus where I got to have a super-brief interaction with him. I made him laugh I think.531499_365484596850708_57562456_n

Ok, so here is the deal: each team must pledge to complete 681 miles by December 31. If we start tomorrow, we have exactly 17 days. This means that divided by the two of us, we each have to go 340.5 miles, or 20 miles a day. Dan and I have decided to make mileage count by running, biking or swimming. Dan will no doubt contribute 0 miles by swimming. Our goal is to do 20 miles a day, although we are allowing ourselves to put on higher miles on the weekend, because, well, we have jobs and other stuff to do during the week.

There is no backing down now, because our names are already on the website. And some of our friends already know. And now its posted here.

26 Marathons in 26 Days to help feed the hungry

Dan and I are so thankful for being able to do what we do and hope to use it for good for others. Selfishly, this is helping us both get back into training. Nothing like a little crazy goal and someone to do it with.

I Want Revenge…IMKY 2013

December 12, 2012

Well, I write this today with a little bit of hesitancy, fear, excitement and a sense of revenge.  Ever since the debacle Ironman called registration for IM Arizona, Julie and I have been left scrambling to figure out what our 2013 season will look like.  We had set goals based around competing in that race in November.  Yesterday our season firmed up a little with a collaborative effort on a particular race.  Ever since my sister crushed her first two 70.3’s (IMFL 70.3-20th AG and Miami Man half-1st AG) she has been itching to test her herself in a full distance triathlon.  She initially wanted to do Whistler while I told her I wanted to do a flat course (previous two IM’s were Louisville and Coeur d’Alene).  I eventually talked her into waiting to sign up for Arizona and watched as Whistler, Coeur d’Alene, Florida all closed.  Whistler looks good now, HAHA.  Sorry Jules, I ruined our plan, but our new plan may make this year a little sweeter…

Yesterday, we spoke and the only two IM races that were still open (branded 140.6) were IMTX and IMKY.  I had a little trepidation about LVILLE because let’s be honest the race almost killed me- even though some of that had to do with my miscalculation of food intake.  IMTX is in May and my sister was hesitant to sign up for that because…well let’s face it most of her long rides would be on a trainer indoors.  Damn you Pacific Northwest weather…

So we discussed, cursed, yelled, hung up on one another and finally decided…  The winner is…

Here was my initial thought…




You get the idea.  The start is unique as it is a time trial start (better get there early).  The bike course has an awesome city called La Grange where spectators gather around mile 60 of the bike and cheer you on, definitely reinvigorates you and the run is flat and 4th Street is undeniably a truly fantastic finish (so I’m told).  Yep, that’s me talking myself into excitement.

So here it is Julie and I are now embarking on her goal when she first got into triathlon, hear the words, “Julie…YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”  Since her initial sprint race (where she finished first) her goals have changed from “Hey, this is fun to Hey, I want to qualify for Worlds”- which she has a good shot at doing at NOLA 70.3.  She has never wavered from the fact that the 140.6 distance is calling her name.  She thrives in long distance and now we embark on a new journey together.  2012 was a 70.3 and now 2013 goals are set a little higher.

For me this race represents something a little different.  My first IM was at Louisville and I struggled, and struggled mightily.  The details are ugly and so was the time.  Nevermind the fact that I was throwing up throughout the bike and by the time I got on the run could only dry heave cause there was nothing left in my stomach.  I was delirious and walked A LOT, barely remember crossing the finish line, but I did.  I spent the next 90 minutes in the medical tent, but had my medal with me.  It is the spirit of Ironman that makes you push yourself further than you ever have.  I wanted to quit so many times and kept thinking, “who the F$#@ would want to do this again?”

So I write this tonight, scared that I do not want to endure what I did in 2010, but determined to extract revenge on that damn course.  It tried to break my will – okay did at many points, but not in 2013.  Next year, with my sister by my side I am there to take revenge on a course that tried so desperately to make me believe that I was never meant to do another 140.6 race.  This will be a very personal challenge for me, but one that I embrace and look forward to.  Give me your best Louisville, cause I will sure as hell bring mine!

First Steps….

December 5, 2012

So still feeling a little under the weather, but getting better and needing to get back to running if Julie and I are going to run this 5K for a PR post-Christmas.  So here was Day 1 of my speed workouts (all my speed workouts are done on a treadmill):

1 Mile warm up at 730 pace

4-400M repeats with 45 second rest between at 5:45 pace

4-400M repeats with 45 second rest between at 5:30 pace

4-400M repeats with 1 minute rest between at 5:15 pace

1 Mile CD at 8 minute pace

walk .25 mile

Spin my legs on the indoor bike for 10 minutes


A Shorts Theory

December 4, 2012

Here Dan, maybe this helps illustrate your theory:


Is this pretty accurate?

Speed, Where Ya At?

December 3, 2012

Yes, my sister hates 5K’s.  I have never been to fond of them either.  My first 5K race came in 2011, after my first Olympic Distance race, Half Ironman race and yes my first full Ironman.  I don’t have a great affinity towards them, Why?  Two reasons:

1.  I am not, nor never will be fast enough to compete (legitimately) in a pure running race.

2.  The races are over in less than 20 minutes and you feel like your about to pass out.

Julie hates them for other reasons.  She can run steady for hours but can never kick those legs into high gear.  Julie mentioned our debacle at the Portland cross country race in October.  I ran a 6:45 pace and finished in the bottom 20% of the race and in reality I think I was 15th from last.  I should have known better when we showed up and the “short” rule was in full effect.  I always say the shorter the running short the faster the runner.  I normally run in the 9″ inseam running shorts, but this year at the Gate River Run I went crazy and upgraded to the 7 inch inseam.  At the race in Portland, the only people not wearing 5 inch shorts were Julie and I (slight exaggeration, but not by much).

In reference to her mean running streak, yes, Julie does have one when she runs 5K’s.  I think I have heard every expletive in the book running while running with her.  I first noticed this last year when we ran the Subaru Distance Classic Half Marathon (she wanted to set a PR and I was trying to pace her to one until she told me to, “not F#$%ing talk to her the rest of the race” at mile 8 and then again a week later some expletives were thrown my way at the OUC Half Marathon in Orlando.

So is a 5K good for our sister/brother relationship?  Probably not, but revenge comes the day after Christmas.  My PR for a 5K race is a 19:20 and I would like to break this and dare I say go sub 19?  Not there yet, realistically 19:10 I think it doable.  Guess it depends on how damn cold it will be in MA and if there is snow on the ground.  Julie is going to break 21.  Are we starting the race together? I think I will start on the opposite side of the starting line, HA.

December is our month to focus on running speed and cadence – we will continue to keep speed as part of the routine through NOLA.  For now, the focus is on shorter distance and speed workouts; 400M, 800M and 1600M repeats.  For the month of December there will be no running day over 7-8 miles and at least two “redline days” each week.  We will update our workouts and progress in hopes that we can turn in two PR’s.

Now, can I just kick this cold?  I have been on the PUP list for the past 10 days.  This weekend was the first time back on the bike and man have I lost my endurance, not to mention being able to breathe.

Revenge on the 5K

December 1, 2012

5Ks are my least favorite race.

Two and half years ago I ran my first road race ever: the Mad Dash 5K in Warren Vermont. I was content then with my 25:04 (8:04 mi/mi) finish, but more proud that I had just done my first race ever. My viewpoint on 5Ks was “ok, fun little cute race,” but I want to go farther. My happy little view on 5Ks was totally spat in my face and left me in the dust this past October when a friend talked Dan and I into doing one of the Team Red Lizard Stumptown Cross races. My friend (17:13 time) and Dan had no problem (21:19 time, but majority of the time he ran with me…so this is not truly accurate) with this race, but I almost declared defeat.

I am pretty sure I yelled at Dan (because Dan, once again was trying to be nice to me while running)
F*ck that
F*ck you
Dumb Sh*t
I hate this F*cking Race.

5K’s can be great. They can be a great goal and gateway for anyone looking to start into the world of running or triathlons. There are races all over and throughout the year. Plus there are a lot of fun events around 5Ks from Turkey Trots to Spartan Races. (/7:10 min/mi)

However, if you aren’t careful, a nice, but super-fast, friend might convince you that doing a little cross-country meet with a local running club would be fun. Well its not. Not if you aren’t lightening fast. Not if you haven’t been training for full out red-line sprinting. It is a pretty darn humbling experience. What I would have given to see a team of fundraising joggers with Santa hats and striped high socks at the starting line. Well, they would have blown by me too. By the time I finished the race (a PR of 22:16/7:10 min/mi, finished in the bottom 20%) I am pretty sure everyone was starting to pack up the event and everyone was already getting in their cars.

Dan and I discussed today our trips back home to MA for the Christmas holiday and decided that we should do a race, duh. Of course, the only races going on the week after the holiday in MA are 5Ks. I got irritated right away, then declared revenge.

After our recovery break from Miami Man (its been 3 weeks now) it is starting to be time to focus on getting back on track for IM NOLA. What better way than to build a little base by doing some speed work before we start to add on the mileage.


Danvers Fun Run (Ha, we will see how fun it is)
Dans Goal: 19:01 (6:10 min/mi)
Julie’s Goal: 20:59 (6:45 min/mi) Yea I want to break 21)

What races will you take revenge on?


Ironman AZ Registration: The Race Before the Race

November 22, 2012

Registration is now the first event in Ironman races. I previously mentioned our failed attempt to register for the 2013 IM AZ due to issues on the website. We ran into some glitches through the process, but IM won’t admit it. Dan wrote this great letter to IM following the closing of registration:

Daniel Kowal, Nov 19 03:00 pm (CST):

To Whom It May Concern-

I don’t usually write letters, but at 2:00 pm I tried signing up for IMAZ and what ensued was a shear debacle. I sat on since 1:00 pm andas it got close to the 2:00 EST sign up time, I kept refreshing mybrowser. 1:56, I refreshed and it said registration open, I quickly texted my sister as we were both waiting to sign up so we could tackle an Ironman together. When I tried to click on the AG button, it said registration was
not open. At 1:58 the same thing happened. 2:01 I was able to click on AGand move forward in the process. I filled out all the information needed(even all the lengthy info about wheels and bikes and wetsuits etc) – Whichshould be done after you register. I went to click continue and at the topof the page it says that the “category” is sold out. I kept trying to hitcontinue but to no avail.

Meanwhile, my sister who lives across the country was sitting online at thecheckout not wanting to click pay because this was something we wanted todo together. I told her to hold on while I refreshed my browser in doingso, made the web page unavailable. So I went back into active.comm tobegin again. By this time it is 2:08 and all the slots were “on hold”. Ikept clicking refresh for the next 40 minutes hoping that something would
open up (I thought you only had 15 minutes to complete your order so ifthey all purchased it should have technically sold out within the next 15minutes). The website kept saying open just that the slots were on”hold”. I kept Instant Messaging my sister telling her not to pay yet andto have her tell me when it was about to time out (which it never did).3:00 came- give or take a few and the website finally read sold out, mysister’s entry obviously released although the website never told her it

We live on opposite coasts and this past year we did two 70.3’s togetherand next year was supposed to be our full. We decided carefully and agreedon Arizona. We are very disheartened that we will not get to race a fulldistance in 2013, but I write because I am very disappointed in theregistration process.Ironman is a journey and usually a year long endeavor,we wanted to enjoy this journey, the training and ultimately the words,

Things I think should be considered:

1. I know athletes and volunteers can sign up the day after the event. Sowhen you go to it should have a tally of the total number ofslots available for everyone (whether it be 150 or 500) so they know theirchances up front.
2. On it should have a timer so you know when your registrationis about to time out.
3. Individuals should be able to sign up one additional person. Ironman is a journey and an accomplishment and most like to do it with anotherperson. If my sister went ahead and purchased her entry she would be doingher first IM alone – which she did not want to do. Then if she decided toforfeit that slot would only receive $150 of her entry back?
4. Create a waiting list for people in that position if they want to
forfeit within a day then another can sign up. In addition there should bea waiting list for an event that is kept for people who have to pull outdue to injury. If there was a chance for me to get into an event I wantedto do I would keep training and would sign up for the event up to 2-3 weeksbefore if someone had to withdraw (I am sure I am not the only one). I am a 2x IM finisher and I was really hoping to share this experience with

my sister this year. I ask that you take these points into consideration.

Frustrated at the process-

Here is the response from IM. I will give them some kudos for actually writing back, but obviously they got their slots filled and their money, so they customer service isn’t their top priority.

Response from Ironman, Nov 21 10:20 am (CST):

Thank you for reaching out. We apologize for any confusion during the online registration process. Please note that we are working with Active to make several improvements moving forward. However, we did not experience any glitches with the registration launch and the correct number of slots were filled for both General Entry and IRONMAN Foundation. The 2013 IRONMAN Arizona sold out in record time. We have reached maximum capacity and do not offer a waiting list or resell withdrawn slots.

However, 2013 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas and 2013 IRONMAN Louisville General Entry slots are still available.

Thanks for your understanding on this matter.

Best regards,

So and so
Manager, Athlete Services

Rest Confidence

November 21, 2012

The off season has finally arrived for us!
Depending on when your last race of the season was and when you are looking to ramp up again in 2013, this off-season could mean a few weeks or several months off. WIth IM NOLA 70.3 for us in April, makes our off season approx 2 weeks long. Ha. It has been 8 days since Miami Man and I am both so relieved that the season is over and so anxious to start again. There are times in my training when I felt guilty for missing or workout, or not doing a full session like planned. This guilt was terrible and often made me think that I wasn’t ready to race. I am not missing that feeling now. On the other hand, I am so pumped for next year. After seeing the major improvement I made this year, I am excited to see what I can do with more training. We have big goals for 2013. I am looking forward to training again, but I need to be patient.

Yesterday, Dan and I attempted to sign up for IM AZ and it had me irritated the whole day. We did not get in. We were there at our computers, poised and ready to lock in our credit card numbers when Dan was kicked off his page losing his position in the registration. What a debacle, Ironman! I was able to make it to the check-out page but there was no way I was signing up without knowing that Dan was making it too. If you were able to sign up, congratulations, that is a victory. That was a shit show. Out of the 10 people we know wanted to get it, 3 did. We are now considering IM Louisville. Anyone?

Image from, Illustration by Matt Collins.

Anyway, back to our short lived off-season. I have quickly filled in my time with a lot of beer drinking, cleaning, and checking off other random things that have been on my list for months. In the recent edition of Triathlete Magazine, pro triathlete Jesse Thomas writes about the important of taking breaks, and the test of patience it can be. This article was very fitting for me this week. I know this is crazy to say, but I feel out of shape, I feel like I am losing endurance, and I feel like I am 10 lbs heavier. Yea, that must have been a lot of beer in the last 8 days! Just kidding, sort of. Jesse recognizes that he has the same doubts and summarizes that it can be a “depression cycle feeding on itself.” What I really like about what Jesse says is that it is all about the “confidence to rest.” It is our own insecurities that put us out of ease during our rest periods. He says “For some messed up reason, our athletic egos still feel that we only get faster as we pedal harder, run quicker and swim stronger. It’s athlete psychology- all of our confidence is built around the times that we actually destroy our bodies. But it’s only the rest afterward that makes our bodies stronger.” This article made me feel so much better about doing absolutely zero, well I did play shuffleboard the other day.

For the past week I have swam 0 miles, biked 0 miles, and ran 0 miles. (Eaten 6 cheeseburgers, 3 donuts, and drank a dozen or so beers.) This offseason isn’t going to be long, but I am sure going to enjoy it.