Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bizarro World in Cleveland

Workouts going well.Have gotten in excellent upper body workouts and one solid leg workout. Did my brides Pilates class on Sunday. Had been straying from Pilates as triathlon was winding down. I always figured, its best to enjoy the gorgeous late summer and fall weather by training outside. Today, a nice leisurely run at the Chagrin River Park. See earlier post about my thoughts on the place.

Bizarro world in Cleveland. As long as I have been doing the sports on the boob tube for Fox 8, I have never seen all the sports teams perform as such a high level at the same time.

Indians were always lousy till the 90's. Cavs had their moments in late 80's but never got past Michael and the Bulls. Browns had solid 80's teams with Kosar, Mack and Byner but were the pits from the early 90's until the team was moved to Baltimore. Since the Browns were re-born in 99, they have been doormats, save for one year.

Now, what the heck is going one??? Lebron and Cavs in the finals.!!! Thats yours truly quizzing LeBron after a playoff win.

Triguyjt "Cripes, your a tall human being"

LeBron "Standing next to a midget, what would you expect?"

Triguyjt "What was the key to your victory?"

LeBron "Scoring more than the other team!!!"

Triguyjt " Thanks LeBron,..Back to the Studio"

Indians go to the 7th game of the ALCS???

And now, the Browns are 4-3. What in tarnation is going on???

The teams success's mean my triathlon world gets knocked around!!! I could always figure on racing in late May or early June, but now, I have to be ready to travel to the Cavs playoff games..........

The Indians went deep into October, jostling around some potential races and now, the Browns might make the playoffs. That puts January plans in jeopardy.

I am not complaining. Secretly, I think we are living a Seinfeld episode in Cleveland. What was down, is up and what was up is down.

Next year, heres hoping all the teams records are through the roof. That just means I will have to be one heck of a juggler, but not any more of a juggler than most of you, who bust your butts in training and racing and working your jobs.

Give me a title, and I'll go anywhere!!!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hank was a Smart Guy

Good solid, workout today as I remain in the "recovery phase" from the triathlon season.
I did 5 sets of upper body work and 25:00 on the elliptical as I try not to aggravate my bone spur on my right heel, plus a very sore right hammy. Enough about that stuff.

Soon will be ramping up the mileage as I anticipate 2008 to be my most intense season in my 22 years in the sport. Why not?? I'll be 55. 5 races this year. Next year I would like to do 7 with perhaps my 4th Ironman distance race to finish out the year.

Now to Hank. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

"The heights by great men
reached and kept
Were not attained
by sudden flight,
But they, while their
companions slept,
Were toiling upward
in the night."

Its the perfect poem to sum up our sport. In fact, any sport. Whomever thinks they can just "take flight" and smoke out the competition is kidding themselves.

I have been guilty of it for certain races over the years. I am not elite by any stretch of the imagination. But there has never been a race where I have posted a personal best or where I was high up in my age group where I didn't put in the extra work.

Its not that we toil while everyone else is sleeping, although some days it feels like that. Its that we don't take for granted the fact that "peparedness and sacrifice means a thoroughly satisfying racing experience."

Theres some smugness about us in this sport. We are aware that we compete in a very demanding sport and that we are in the upper percentile of fit people around. I just hope that I don't take any of that for granted. That I continue to strive to do my best. That I strive in training and that I strive in going the extra mile in doing for others.

Thanks Hank. Hey, you were ahead of your time.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Decisions Decisions!!!

Still debating with my advisory board on which races to do in 2008. My advisory board????

The board is comprised of my left brain, my right brain, and all the muscles in my body. I have to convince some parts of the brain that I can do a race.

Will let you know when the tentative schedule comes out.

Today, good upper body workout and lots of leg work.

Plus 35:00 mins on stationary bike. Heart rate 140-150.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thank You Tracy Zuckerman

I never got to know Tracy Zuckerman very well, although I worked many years with her husband Barry, a photojournalist at Fox 8.

I want to thank her for a gift that she gave me, but I can't in person.

Tracy died of cancer recently. For about ten years, Tracy was battling cancer. Thats right, ten years. Imagine the Indians making the World Series in 1997. Okay, now imagine you find out you have cancer at about that time. Now imagine battling the insidious disease for a decade.

Thats what Tracy did. All with a smile on her face, and a song in her heart.

I want to thank Tracy for a little piece of heaven on earth. Chagrin River Park in Willoughby.

I have lived in Cleveland for all but 9 of my 54 years. I have been to every Metro Park in the wonderful Emerald Necklace that we love here in Cleveland. I had never been to Chagrin River Park. That all changed this past Saturday, when friends, family and colleagues of her husband gathered to hold an informal service in her honor.

A riderless horse was part of a procession. Tracy was an avid horsewoman. They were very close to her heart. Barry gave a stirring tribute. I don't know how he held it together. B.Z., that was your finest moment. He spoke of a woman who embraced life. A woman who always smiled and fought cancer with dignity and courage and never a.."Why me"? from her lips.

The park was one place where she could be free. Away from the treatments, the drugs, the underbelly of cancer. I met the women who rode with her. All spoke of her great spirit of life.

A few days later, on the very same kind of perfect fall day, I returned to Chagrin River Park. I discovered the trails she may have ridden on. The jogging paths that circled the woods.

The Bridge that takes joggers and walkers over the Chagrin.

The steps to the sledding hill. 52 of them. All perfectly laid out. I ran up and down the stairs. Sweat was flowing. My feet barely meeting the ground. In a way I was running for Tracy. Paying tribute to this beautiful woman. Enjoying the feeling of being free and easy, without a so called care in the world. As I ran, I smiled most of the way. Just as Tracy may have done, staring at the prospect of leaving this earth way too soon. And as I ran, I thought that all those so called aches and pains. The hamstring pulls, the sore feet. They don't mean a hill of beans compared to the gift I received from a woman who always lived in the present.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Today WAS a day off. But, due to the frustration of watching the young Cleveland Indians squander a 3-1 lead against the Red Sox, I decided to get some miles in.

No problem. 50 strong minutes on a glorious day. Worked in some hills. Spectacular day and as the minutes wore on, the memory of the Tribe Slide diminished. Endorphins are a beautiful thing. Mood elevated???? Check. Sweat worked up???Check. Swear words forgotten???Check.

Running and racing has always helped me keep a balance from my hectic job covering pro-college-and high school sports on Fox 8 in Cleveland.

Ahh, that run was the perfect piece of insurance against insanity.

Later at work, my cellphone buzzed.

"Hey Dad, how you doing"?

Pat, my 28 year old son checking in. He's the stud newbie triathlete. Stopped smoking 2 years ago. Got into raciing this year. Can't tell you how much of a kick I got out of him getting into the sport I have loved for so long. He raced 3 times. Maumee Bay, Fairport and Portage lakes.
Maumee was on Fathers Day. Ahhhhhh. That was his first and that was the first and last race where I bettered his time. Since then, he has smoked me.
"How far is it from the bottom of Euclid Creek park, up into the park, out of it..down So. Green to Mayfield and back"??

"Ahh roughly 6 miles I would say".

"Okay, then I ran up Highland Road to Richmond and back. How far would you guess"?

"How long did it take ya"?

"Not sure"

This is where Pat and I are different. I know how far..how fast. the pace. You name it.
Pat runs about 8 min miles, I guess. In a way, I envy how he can go out and run, carefree and not be tied down to the watch.

All told, I figured he ran 10 miles. He's ramping up him mileage. He's thinking of longer triathlons. Cool.

We are also thinking of racing the Buckeye Trail 50 K in January. Wow , has he come a long way...even if he isn't exactly sure just how far.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jump Starting J.T.

Checked my workout logs from the past couple years.. found a pattern that I either don't like or should be used to by now. Weight in the month of October usually hits the peak for the year. That means the triathlon season has finished. (unless I got in the lottery for Kona and they actually picked me..which hasn't happened yet, but hey...I can live with it.) Anyway, I don't like the pattern but I am here to do something about it.

I am sucking up to my personal trainer bride and asking her to kick my fanny on some workouts at the gym. She really drove me with innovative power drills. Bounding up steps, and things like that. I was smoked every time but I saw the benefits. I will be more specific on setting my goals for each week..each workout.

I want to thank Jodi who posted her tentative 08 schedule and getting me to realize how i can visualize the types of races I might enter, or the mileage I will do . But visualizing is great, you have to write it down. You have to put it out there. So thanks Jodi.

Write it down J.T. Come on!!!!!!

Okay, I will. Ironman Louisville 08??? I believe its still open. My swim buddy Eddie from our Fairport Harbor Open swims, has been chiding me to enter. He is doing Ironman Florida with my other swim buddies, Karen, and Juan. First of All guys, Good Luck. Godspeed. Eddie says I have to enter Louisville if he goes sub 13 hours. I am leaning that way Eddie. Just need a nudge. My last Ironman distance race was 6 years ago at age 48. Ohhhhh stop it with age b.s.!!!!!

Mountaineer Half Iron in West Virginia. Loved that race. You can have the hills!!!! But, hey it was a great challenge. Who wouldn't love to swim in a river thats had the current shut down. Cool.

Various HFP Races. Shannon, whom I will write about later runs a tremendous operation. Scott is the ultimate"p.r.-marketing-anouncer guy-ironman-himself -dude"

More racing ideas to follow. Too nice a day to stay indoors, Fall Colors are stupendous. Heading to the Park. Got my Horse Poop detector with me!!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pie-lates?? or Puh-latte's?

Musing about when I first heard about the wonderful discipline called Pilates. I was covering the Cleveland Indians in spring training in 1995. Back then they had a budding star whose last name ryhmes with Homey. Not Homey the Clown from T.V. Homey. Jim Thome. He's a country kid but he had a balky back due to his verrrry powerful swing. Speed times force equals....lots of tylenol. And therapy and whirlpool baths. Anyway, we were chatting about various training methods and Jim said he was doing this new thing called "Pie-lates".

Obviously Jim was off a few years. Pilates, developed by Joseph Pilates was several decades to say the least old when Jim first heard of it. To those who are not familiar, think coffee not Pie when you pronounce it. Latte, not pie. Its Puh-latte's. Not Pie-lates as Jimmy called it back in 95.

Now, fast forward so many years of triathlons for me and home runs forJim, (he just went over 500 this season) and I have found myself doing Pilates. About the last 2 and a half years. Its been tremendous for my training. My gorgeous bride is an instructor and I have taken her classes and also classes from other instructors as well. Many of you in the endurance field understand the importance of core strength and mat pilates has served me well in that regard. There are so many variations to the workouts. We use stability balls, rings, weights. More than anything you just use your body weight in so many of the movements. Breathing is a big factor. Its just a great workout.

Its also about 90 percent if not more attended by women. Can't figure out why men don't try this more often. Must be the testosterone thing. Why bench press a house guys?? What are you proving.?????

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wheres the Horse poop???

Back again. In my first post, I mentioned how I was in a rut. How I race quiet frequently yet my times don't significantly drop. Okay, I will grant you, I am no longer a spring chicken. That horse left the barn. However, keeping consistent wouldn't hurt either.

I have been toying with ideas on what races and what kinda races to attack next year. Doing a 50 miler intrigues me. Dean Karnazes is a guy I envy, not just because he is the Energizer Bunny of distances runners, but because his running and his writing about it, speaks to the inner core of our beings. www.ultramarathonman.com Why we do what we do. So, getting into ultras is something I think about.

The lure of the marathon swimmer also excites me. Tuesdays in the summer, a small group I am part of swims long distance at Fairport Harbor State Park. Some days its 1.5 miles, others it can be 2. I just love the long distance challenge. I feel swimming is the best of the three disciplines I attack in triathlons. Soooo...theres the thought of racing in those 5 mile open water events... Or the Swim around Manahattan. You get the idea.

But back to the rut. and Back to the Horse Poop. Once in a while, I will do the fartlek approach to running. I love to run the North Chagrin Reservation. The Bridle Paths. So lots of times, I will just start running hard and tell myself...."Next Pile of Horse Poop and you can take a Break". Its entirely unscientific. And insanely enjoyable. You never know where the Poop is gonna be. Kinda a metaphor for our lives, wouldn't you think. No matter what day I hit the Path, the Poop awaits.

Got in a 1 hour 45 minute run with my son yesterday. Off today. Have to emcee a 100 year celebration of our Euclid Hospital, and keep an eye on the Indians game #2 against Boston for my job. I should tell the Indians to watch out for the Horse Poop around Fenway. They have many cops on horseback there.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Johnnytri is in the house


This is my virgin post of blogspot and hopefully, I can give you a sense of what I have been up to the past 22 years in the sports of triathlon. I am one of the old guard. I am 54, have raced all kinds of distances from sprints to Ironman distance and still think I can grow in this sport. Its given alot to me. I have met tons of excellent, exciting people who motivate me and give this old guy a time or attitude to shoot for. I have been blessed to have had enough influence so that colleagues of mine have tried races, but most personal to me, however, is that my son, who only got going on his fitness trail about a year and a half ago, is now racing with me and of course is kicking my fanny. Thats okay. I love it.

I just finished a 6 race year. The toughest race was the West Virginia Half Iron the Mountaineer in Morgantown. I am atypical of triathletes. I usually race at around 190 pounds. When I have been svelte, that has meant being in the low 180's. I have a linebackers body in a sport for wide receivers... However, I usually enter in age group and have, on a few occasions, placed in my age group.

I am in a little rut. I need to jump start my training and focus on new goals. Any help anyone can send my way, would be very much appreciated. I am a Cleveland, Ohio native and a long time member of the sports media.... Being a long time endurance athlete gives me an idea as to the commitment many of the athletes that I cover have to make in order to be at the top of their games. Please give me feedback. I have ready many posts from area and national triathlete bloggers and enjoy lots of them. I hope you will stop by as time warrants.