First Event: Hell of Hunterdon

So first event of my racing calendar was Saturday last. It was the Hell of Hunterdon. An 81 mile event, I’m not going to say race because it’s not. It’s more of a way to dust the cobwebs off early in the year.

I make it sound easy, it’s not, or at least I didn’t find it easy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely. But I was one happy little man when I got to the finish.

The race starts and ends in Lamberville New Jersey. There was a 600 strong group of cyclists ready for off at 9am for the start. We landed a bit late and then one of the funniest things in a long time happened: Not to name names but ( CONOR THOMAS O’DEA) took his cycling shoes out of the car and put them on the ground.

Two Right Feet - Cycling Shoes
He was after bringing two left shoes, so we had to rush to the bike shop and get new shoes a size 8.9??? Like what the fuck type size is that?? and he asked for a 10.

Anyway, at 9.35am, we set across the start line with the broom bike (last cyclist who goes at the back to help anyone) long gone on ahead. The event is a mix between Tarmac road and secondary farm roads, with gravel sections. It is a very fun event and it was fun.
Cycle Map

Hell of Hunterdon 2014 from One Lane Bridge on Vimeo.

It was the farthest I had ever ridden on a bike and there was 6000ft of climbing over the course. I was in great pain and felt weak during parts of it. I guess it’s down to my lack of biking so far this year. I realized on Saturday that this needs to be worked on and rapidly.

I have started a new training plan, as I am 1 month out from the first tri of the year, St Anthony’s in Florida. I am focusing more on the pain aspect and pushing through when my body would usually give up. I plan on doing some long torturous rides and hill repeats to kick my ass into shape.

This morning I forced myself out of bed at 4.45am to go for a swim before work. I ran the 2 mile to the pool and swam for 1500 m and ran home again. This was my first time wearing my new altitude mask.

Altitude Training Mask

Jesus it near killed me, I got 4 blocks and was close to having a panic attack. I dialed her up to 3000ft and it felt terrible (in a great, sadistic way). It basically works by restricting your breathing, making your lungs work harder making them more productive. It is a really weird feeling suffocating yourself. I will be using it over next few weeks to get more in tune with it. I think on first impression it is a good addition to the Spanky armory of training tools.

That’s all for now folks. I just want to give a special mention to our Jahn who is not a triathlete but tunes into my blog for the “emotion”. He would like more emotion so I will endeavor to satisfy his need for my suffering. Like Christ on the cross Jahn. Like Christ on the cross.

Goodluck and god bless

Spanky >



So I want to delve into the training I am undertaking for the Ironman. Maybe it’s enough, maybe it’s not. A lot of people talk about how many hours they do and how many you should do etc etc… I think this is fine, if you are actually training during these hours.
“Oh ye I did a two hour pool session ( really you did 45 mins in the pool actually swimming the rest was getting there, shooting the shit with the lifeguard and changing )”

What I am going to do is break it down into actual training, no fluff, no bullshit just facts and you can judge then.

This entry will be based on what I like to call “FUCKING BALTIC WEATHER. TRAINING”

As you know I live in NYC, not to dwell but this has been the worst winter I’ve seen over here for longevity, god dam snow won’t just take a hike. I had a good winter training done utilizing the gym. Around January I started to panic re: my fitness levels and wanted to step it up and I did I switched into overdrive.

So here is my basic week at the minute:

Monday: Gym at 6pm for circuit training.
Tuesday: Pool for an hour.
Wednesday: Circuit training.
Thursday: Usually 6mile on the treadmill – hate the treadmill
Friday: Circuit training.
Saturday: Swim for an hour and a half and then run 5-6 mile outdoors
Sunday: Chill. Or run (I’m addicted)

Is it enough at this time of the year, I dunno, its all I’m doing though.

I have developed two circuits that I run twice a night and finish with core.
Each circuit is 7 stations each station lasts 1min30secs with a 30 sec break between stations.
Here are the stations:

Set 1:
Shoulder Press
4 push ups, 8 mountain climbers and spring up
Chest Press
Box Jumps

Set 2:
Deltoid raises and front raises
Chest Flys
Box step ups with weights
Spin Bike
Front Lunges

We do each circuit twice then we do three sets of core work:

20 sits ups with ball
20 knee ups with ball
20 sit ups
15 side curls both left and right
20 sits ups
30seconds of bicycles
1 minute front plank
1 minute left side plank
1 minute right side plank.
Pretty much no rest between core work sets and stations, just bang it out.

My pool work consists usually of the following:

200m warm up
400m pull
2×100 freestyle
3×75 freestyle
4×50 freestyle
5×25 freestyle

This takes an hour, I rest for 30 seconds between sets

300m warm up
4×100 freestyle
5×75 freestyle
6×50 freestyle
7×25 freestyle
Cool down.

Again 30 sec between sets usually takes an hour and a half.

I ain’t no Mikel Phelps but I can float and move in the water so it’s good enough for me at the minute..

I usually run 7.50minute miles for my running segments.

Let’s do the math for the anal guys/ girls out there and see how many hours a week I train 36 weeks out from Ironman:

M: 82.8 minutes
T: 60 minutes
W: 82.8 minutes
T: 46.8 minutes for 6 mile run
F: 82.8 minutes
S: 90minutes plus 39 minutes = 129 minutes
S: 0 minutes for argument sake

Grand total of hours: 8.07 hours or 484.2 minutes.

The reason I say hours are not important to me is because I listen to my body. You need to engage what your body is telling you. If I’m fucked tired on a Friday, I won’t train ill do it Sunday, if I’m going to fast or too slow running I’ll pick up the pace or slow it down.

Lesson here is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

We are finally coming out of the cold snap here so I will update my training in the next installment to deal with outside training, building up miles etc.

Good Luck and God Bless.

The Importance Of Wearing A Helmet

With the snow leaving New York (for the time being), I organized the first spin of the year for the Ironman training. Four of us decided to cycle from New York City to Rockland lake, circa 80 mile round trip. I was very excited first spin of the year and all.

I got new 25mm tyres on the bike on Friday, (Hell of Hunterdon March 22nd), got new water bottles Saturday, all ready for Sunday spin. Sunday came around and I got up, spring in my step at 7.30 ready to rock (leaving me beautiful gfriend in bed). Met Steve to the 59th street bridge, we went at a nice pace across the city to meet the guys on the Hudson River Park to head for GW. Bridge. Conor and Taylor arrived as scheduled and we set off for Rockland! again nice pace, smiles galore, bit chilly but conditions were fair. Then Disaster.

I was tipping along, happy days, singing some stupid song and BANG! For anyone who has spun up Hudson River Park, they have some undulating pathways with divots, I hit one divot the bike popped up, wheel turned and I hit the ground. It was like one of those Willey Cayote cartoons, before he falls off the cliff and he has that spilt second of impending pain. I experienced that only I had the Irish version “AH BOLLIX”. Steve was behind me and thankfully, for him, he didn’t crash into me. I got up, dazed I began to assess the damage, it wasn’t good, broken bottle cage, gear lever in giblets, front wheel wasn’t turning – this was just rubbing brakes. As any cyclist knows the first thing you check is your bike, then yourself. I gathered my shite with the help of the lads and I turned back while they continued on.

I hailed a cab and headed for the sanctum of my house to gather the full extent of what happened. My leggings were ripped, under armor, jersey and gillet all ripped from impact. Frame was perfect thankfully. Final damage: new front sram red gear lever, bottle cage and bottle, and saddle bag. Bump to the head and scrapes and bruises.

When I got up from the spill, my head hurt! thought nothing off it, didn’t check my helmet.

Specialized Helmet

Specialized Helmet

Specialized Helmet

This is the Specialized S3 helmet, I have it about 10 months, love the helmet, it fits good, looks good and after today I know it works. This helmet has the Kevlar running through it so it never splits. I’ve realized tonight that this helmet saved me from some serious head injuries. I took the brunt of the hit on my head and thank god I had this helmet on me.

Two points:
1. Never skimp on paying for a helmet, would you rather pay $250 for a helmet? or be left like a cabbage for rest of your life? I know what I’d pick.
2. Never get on your bike without your helmet, even if you are going to the shop a few blocks away. Never let your kids get on a bike without a helmet. Just wear the fucking thing. Ye it’s not cool, ye you may not need it and yes it will save you from serious injury.

Money will come and go, things can be fixed, but your body is important.

Touch wood it is my first and last crash of the season.

Wear your fucking helmet.

I will be producing some training blogs this week I will keep ye all posted.

I tend to finish off with a special shout out and this is a very special one, my oldest and best friend got engaged last weekend, first of all, a massive congrats to Danny and Sinead and secondly I’m the best man let the carnage begin.

Over and Out,

First Post of The New Blog: (infact any Blog) This is my first Ironman

I suppose I will give a brief introduction:

Im Damian aka Spanky, The Mayor or Dam. (I will sometimes refer to myself in the 3rd person, usually when I do something stupid).
I am a 27 yo, Irish guy living in New York. I work a fairly stressful job and training is my release.

Why Ironman?
Why not, sure fuck it! Im young, I love to train, I love to test myself and what better way to test me than an Ironman triathlon.

Triathlon Background?
Zero, nada, zilch. My first triathlon was NYC tri in 2013. I had to learn how to swim 6 weeks before the tri. I only entered the tri on a whim when I was moving back to the States and my buddy was doing it so i said:
“ye fuck it like why not”.
Im not going to say “it was a turning point”… “I fell in love with the sport” blah blah blah blah. I didnt. I enjoyed the feeling I had achieved something new. I suppose, I was on a new journey in life and this was part of it. So typical Spanky I went head first, bull in a china shop, and signed up for Ironman Florida 2014.

Why am I blogging?
Great question, glad you asked. The answer is I don’t know really. I want to chronicle my journey (that sounds gay). I want to help people maybe that are in a similar situation they can look here and see someone else suffering. I could be just writing this and no one will read it. It could turn out that come November 3rd after I have completed my first Ironman that this blog may have just been the ramblings of a fool. But i don’t really care, at least I will have it.

Enough with the Q&A session. I will be journaling my training, race updates, pain I’m feeling, thoughts I’m thinking, bikes I’m riding, shoes I’m wearing. all that fun stuff. I intend on doing it regularly enough.
I have a good group of training partners and basically we train together most days of the week. I have one guy who has ran multiple marathons, another guy who is on his 4th Ironman and has ran multiple Ironman, another who has done 1 Ironman, but in that ironman swam the fastest ever swim in an Ironman ever by an amateur or pro, and the last guy is a multiple ironman and marathoner. Then theres me who the longest I’ve ran in one sitting is 15km about 11 mile, and an olympic distance tri. Im not saying I’m useless, I train as hard or harder that these guys, I’m just saying I’m inexperienced, but hopefully with training with these guys i will improve. If not, I will just drown and this will be part of the funeral. hahaha Im joking no dying.

A friend from Ireland mailed me today and he signed off with this:
“TRAIN HARD, RACE EASY” copyright Damien Shaw.

Im going to sign off now, leave a comment, or dont. Read it or dont. I’m new to all this.

Cheers and good luck.