Friday, January 21, 2011

Some random musings.....

Random thoughts….

• Last week was my birthday. I typically worry about my birthday because over the years there have been some bad things that happened. This year was a great day. I went to the Limekiln Cross to watch some cyclocross in the SNOW! Really hoped to race, but my doctor said it wasn’t worth the risk of reinjuring my foot. Went home inspired and with a smile on my face, and despite temps in the low 30’s, went out on my cross bike for a 90 minute road ride! Sweet. The day was topped off with a great night with friends.
• Sunday was a good friend’s birthday. To celebrate we did a killer 60 mile ride over to Frenchtown NJ. Was supposed to be a relaxed pace, BUT. 60 miles in the wind with temps in the low 30’s hurts, but what hurt more was the fact that we averaged 21mph for the first 30 miles…OUCH. I was a tired boy that night…and feeling the extra year from the day before. Thankfully Lauren made some awesome Cheesecake to top the day off.
• It’s been nearly 5 weeks since I’ve run. I’ve gotten more used to the trainer than I ever have. Trainer workouts are now much more bearable with this little gem I found… Those videos are AWESOME, cheap and easy to download. Only one more week to go and I’ll be running!
• The time off has made me reconsider racing the HAT50K, a few short weeks before Boston and a few short weeks AFTER I return to running. Thankfully this awesome race offers refunds, so I’m going to wait until next year and do the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon on 3/27 instead.
• Last week was the PA Cycling awards banquet. Due to the timing of the cyclocross season I was recognized for my series win in the CAT 4 division this year, and brought home a cool little trophy! I also found out today that I finished 5th in the 35+ Elite Masters for the 2011 season, great considering I only raced half of the series!

• TYR was named a sponsor of our Trakkers team this year. I’ll be sporting a shiny new TYR suit for 2011. Thank you!
• I signed up for my first multisport race of the year. Actually, it’s two races. We’re traveling back to REV3 Quassy (in Connecticuit) in June and I’m doing the Revolution Challenge which consists of an Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday and a Half Iron distance triathlon on Sunday. Should be fun. The family had a blast at the host hotel and the amusement park last year. Can’t wait!
• I’m really getting sick of this weather. Two snow storms THIS WEEK, and some CRAZY COLD coming for the next 3 days. Can’t wait to get down to Tampa at the end of February to pace the Gasparilla 15K and Half on Saturday and Sunday.
Thanks for reading. BRING ON SPRING……

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What I learned about nutrition in 2010

Being relatively new to the sport of triathlon (3 years), I always brushed over nutrition as "something I don't have to worry about". Heck, I was never taught anything about nutrition by a coach (never had one) and I wasn't a big sweat loss guy, so it was one less thing to worry about. Sure, as I moved from Sprints to OLY's and on to the half iron distance I would think about it and have a plan, but my plan was simple....take what's on the course and carry an energy gel or something for the run. It seemed to get me through ok.

Well, in 2010 I was lucky enough to become a member of Team Trakkers. Team Trakkers had this wonderful nutrition sponsor, First Endurance and this wonderful website that had a wealth of information about nutrition. As I trained harder and longer, and raced harder and longer nutrition was turning into a bigger component than it had prior and now I was paying attention.

Two of the defining characteristics of First Endurance are their commitment to quality products and their persistent research and development to create the best products that work in real life race situations. They use nothing but the best, highest quality products. Their products are Gluten Free and contain no high fructose corn syrup. The three main components I was immediately drawn to were Ultragen (for recovery) and EFS / EFS Liquid Shot. After a long, stressful workout the first thing I now reach for is Ultragen. Ultragen has been proven to work best when taken withing 15-20 minutes of a hard workout and it is recommended that you not eat anything else for 30 minutes after you consume Ultragen, this allows your body to draw completely from the recovery supplement to encourage repair, recovery and healing of the muscles as soon as possible. Ultragen has allowed me to sustain a high workload during big training blocks and be able to produce the results I desired on a daily basis. And, the Cappuccino tastes INCREDIBLE!

The EFS / Liquid shot combo was an essential part of training workouts and races. EFS, the powdered drink mix has several defining qualities. The first is the taste. EFS does not have that overbearing sweet taste that you get from other sports drinks, it has a mild, just right taste (in all flavors, but the Grape has even less flavor). The second quality is the electrolyte ingredients. EFS has seven times the amount of Potassium and Sodium as say HEED. There's no need for salt tablets using EFS. Probably the most defining quality in my books is the fact that EFS won't feel heavy, slosh around in your stomach and give you GI issues. It's easy on your stomach and I have not experienced any GI issues whatsoever.

For longer training events and races I now consume EFS Liquid Shot. It has the same great characteristics of the EFS drink, but more "potent" if you will. I no longer use gels, I've replaced them with Liquid Shot for a few reasons. Reason 1: You can easily carry the flask and sip on it at will, instead of opening a gel and having to finish the entire thing (and the flasks are refillable). Reason 2: Liquid Shot is high in electrolytes just like the EFS drink. Reason 3: You don't need to wash Liquid Shot down with water, no more waiting for water stops. Reason 4: Liquid Shot has about four times the amout of calories as your typical gel. Reason 5: Liquid Shot is much easier on your stomach, no more GI issues. Reason 6: It tastes incredibly good!

So I am now officially hooked on the First Endurance lineup. Give it a shot, you certainly won't regret it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A look back to focus forward....

For some reason, last season did not stand out in my mind as a stellar season for me. I'm not sure why, maybe the disappointment of the injury at the end of the year, the bout with overtraining early fall or that I didn't come out swinging in cyclocross right off the bat as I wished. But as I put together my list of accompishments as our club prepared to approach some sponsors it hit me. 2010 was a great year for me, and I'm truly blessed just to be able to compete, regardless of how fast or what place I finish. When I went a little further and tried to list all of my community involvement I was even further surprised. That little exercise of pouring through 2010 has really given me even more motivation and drive as I head into 2012.

2010 Accomplishments:

•I ran six running events from 5K to marathon, setting PR's at 5 mi (Frostbite 27:27) and the marathon (Boston 2:47:01).
•I also paced a marathon (Gasparilla 3:20 group) and a half marathon (Lehigh Valley Half 1:40 group)
•I competed in seven multisport events ranging from sprint duathlons to half iron distance triathlons.
•Three overall multisport wins, a second place and fourth place overall in the 2010 season.
•I raced ten cyclocross events with eight finishes in the top six.
•Overall win at the Highland Park Mid Atlantic Cross (MAC) series race in the CAT2/3/4 Masters (83 finishers)
•7th overall in the Mid Atlantic Cross Series CAT 2/3/4 Masters (only raced 6 of 11 rounds)
•8th overall in the PA Cyclocross Series Elite Masters (only raced 4 of 9 rounds)
•Poised to be named All American by USAT for Triathlon and Duathlon in 2010

More than just the results, what really struck me was how immersed I've become in the realm of endurance sports. It truly is a way of life and it is awesome to be a part of. The racing is not the driving factor anymore, it's the training that I love, it's the challenge of directing a race, its the reward of seeing the positive impact the HCM Foundation is having in the community and it's the joy of seeing others become active, meet goals and obtain personal records. My family is a tremendous part of that. My wife is my biggest supporter, a great mother and a great runner (and potential triathlete in 2011?). And we've got two incredible children.

So why am I writing all this? Well, I think once in a while we all need to sit back and reflect on all of the positives that we are blessed with each day. Cast out the negatives, the bad self perception, the let down of not meeting a goal and charge forward. As I watched my first full episode of Biggest Loser (I know, I live in a box) on the trainer the other night, I was blown away by the will and determination some of those contestants have. They're at the lowest point in their lives with a HUGE journey ahead of them, but they're taking it on full steam, living with the blessings they have and making a change. Truly inspiring when you try to imagine yourself in that position, it would be pretty easy to give up or give in.

So, what am I up to in 2011? Well, first off I'm excited to be a part of Team Trakkers in 2011. There are some incredible sponsors on board this year including Kestrel Bikes, Avia, First Endurance and SBR Sports to name a few. And we've added some great people to our already awesome group. We'll be doing the REV3 Triathlon events (and possibly some of their new REV3 Adventure races).

Here's what I'm looking at for 2011:

February: Frostbite 5mi, Gasparilla (Tampa, FL) 15K and Half Marathon (Pacer)
March: Caesar Rodney Half Marathon, HAT 50K ultra marathon
April: Doylestown Duathlon, Boston Marathon, Mt. Penn Mudfest (LaSportiva Series)
May: Lehigh Valley Half Marathon (Pacer)
June: REV3 Quassy Olympic & 70.3, Wilkes Barre Du
July: Langans Run (Wodstock, VT), Sunset Challenge Triathlon
August: Steelman Triathlon, USAT AG National Championships (Burlington VT ), DeSales Road Race
September: REV3 Cedar Point 70.3, Skylands Duathlon, Nittany Cyclocross
October: MAC & PA Cyclocross, local running races
November & December: PA and MAC cyclocross series
What races am I most excited for? Well, I really enjoy pacing, so Tampa and the LV Half will be fun. I can't wait to go back to Quassy (and avenge the flat tire from last year), hopefully do the OLY and HALF. I'm also looking forward to the Age Group National Championships in Vermont as well as REV3 Cedar Point. I have no specific goals in mind, just want to enjoy myself and finish each race with a smile.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Garges Family Holiday 2010

Well, we had a great Holiday season this year. Christmas Eve is usually our most hectic day as we travel to my dad's for brunch and gifts, then church, then my mom's for dinner and gifts. My dad enjoyed telling stories to the grandchildren while we got the food ready...
After church we headed to my mom's house. We had a great meal and the kids (including Daddy) got some great gifts! My gifts included some new trail gear and winter riding gloves.

Joshua got a new bike!
After a hectic day of running around Lauren read "The Night Before Christmas" to the kids so Santa could get in and get that tree loaded up!

Christmas day was a nice relaxing day spent at home.....after the kids woke us up at the crack of dawn. They had such a great time. It's such a blast to watch them open the gifts...then to get to play with them as well. Autumn is a big UNO fan, so she proudly displayed her "UNO ATTACK" game that Santa brought.

Joshua is in a Toy Story kick now, so he was glad to get his Toy Story RC car!
Walker even got a new bed from Santa. And he was quick to break it in! Don't know why he's so tired though, we did all the wrapping and running around.
I even managed to get a nice cool bike ride in!

I did get some bad news for Christmas though, I have a stress fracture in my left foot. A few too many miles on the rocky mountain trails training for my upcoming 50K. It seems as though I caught it early enough that there won't be a ton of time off. I have been forced onto my bike though, which had been neglected the whole month of December. The trainer isn't "fun", but it's a necessary evil. Heck, I may even jump into the last cross race of the season next week!

Been thinking through 2010 and planning out 2011. I'll update more on my next post