Thursday, January 31, 2013

Training Days

Hello.  How are you today?

Busy few days of training.  Started Monday.  After my last blog post I hopped on the trainer and hopped back off five to six minutes in when the bike came off the trainer again.  Ack!  It frustrated me to no end.  My first thought?  It's going back.  I wasted my money.  How will I bike?  Waaah waaah waaaaah.  How did I react to this setback?  I didn't persevere and focus on the next workout.  Instead I gave in to frustration and ate almost double my normal amount of dinner.  Pretty dumb right?  After that I ate a piece of chocolate cake.  Before the cake I was already full (see "Pretty dumb right?").  This overeating made me miserable on Tuesday but it showed me the progress I've made in 2013.  What I ate Monday night was around the normal amount of food I used to have for dinner.  I'm definitely not starving myself with this new food intake.  All I do now is monitor my portions, include more vegetables, and eat more fruit and proteins.  After this episode of weakness I had a friend come to the rescue.  This time it was Matt "The Clydesdale" Regimbal.  More about that in a moment.  On to Tuesday.

My plan for Tuesdays and Thursdays are to get up and go to the local pool to swim.  Tuesday morning comes and I sleep through the alarm (see ack above).  I made up for it by moving my run day up a day.  I ran about three miles and incorporated hills.  A lot of them.  A big bonus for being able to do it outside.  60 some odd degrees in Ohio in January. 

What I ate Tuesday was thrown off by Monday night's momentary lapse of judgement.  I felt an odd feeling of satisfaction knowing that eating how I used to messed me up.  Those days are getting further and further in the rear-view mirror.  After my run Matt came over and within a couple minutes showed me that each handle on the trainer has rings.  These rings move towards the bicycle, when properly tightened, and lock the handles into place.  My problem before was they weren't locked in and the bike movement loosened.  I felt silly but relieved.  Since I had already run my trainer time would have to come Wednesday.  For dinner Tuesday I ate a normal, healthy, amount of food.

My plan for Wednesday was to swim.  Didn't happen again.  I didn't let it bring me down.  Instead I channeled my bummedoutness into looking at running shoes.  Since I sold my Newts I am once again in the market for shoes.  Per the physical therapist orders I'm looking for something a little more stable than a stability shoe.  I am looking into some Saucony Cortanas.  Thanks to Mrs. and Mr. From Couch to Ironwoman for the shoe review and testimonial.  That night I hopped on the trainer and pounded out a half hour ride,  Woo!!, while watching the 2011 Ironman World Championships.  Wednesday night I set two alarms to swim Thursday.

I woke up to swim.  It's a miracle.  On my way to the pool I realized I forgot my goggles.  Must have been all the excitement from waking up at 430 am.  Swimming went on regardless, although my eyes feel a little weird 16 hours later.  I was able to swim 200 yards mostly uninterrupted.  These past few days have been revealing and motivating.  Started off slow but recovered greatly.

Tonight I turned in my first college essay.  It was a collection of 6 stories in my life told in a not so chronological order.  Aimee read it and enjoyed it.  She enjoyed it to the point that she thought I should share it.  I was a bit apprehensive at first but I'm going to give it a shot.  It'll be a good way for my readers to get to know me a little better, aka my mother-in-law and Aimee (again).  I'm going to start the posts tomorrow and end Sunday.  I hope you can join me.  It will have nothing to do with running.  The little mini essays are personal but not private. 

Also I found out how to add individual pages to my blog.  Under the heading picture you will see an "About Me" button.  I'm also working on adding a page for my race history and I've also got some other ideas floating around my head.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Welcome back!

I've had a rough few days.  My girls have been struggling with some kind of bug for almost a week.  I had two nights of sleep in my marital bed.  The other nights were either all couch or part couch.  Our kiddos share a bedroom so on the nights that Savannah is sick we have her go in our bed.  This is so she doesn't wake up Addison.  Last night was by far the worst.  I could go on but this is tied into what I wanted to talk about today.  Excuses.

Before I jump into that I'd like to let you all know that my trainer came in the mail.  Woo!  I set it up, asked Bryce to come over and help me fix my bike/trainer, watch as Bryce tells me my rear wheel was put on the wrong way, apologize to Bryce for wasting his time, and watch as he gracefully tells me that it's really no big deal and he's glad to help.  After that minor fiasco I hopped on and off I went. 


The bike came off the trainer. 

I didn't start going forwards and through the wall.  The tire hit the floor and I stopped pedaling.  End of story.  Apparently I didn't tighten it all the way.  I am the tri noob.

Excuses.  Yes.  I've had a good amount of them as of late.  Sick kids, writing a paper, needing more sleep, etc etc.  I shared some of these excuses as reasons for not working out yesterday with training pal, and resident chops buster, to which he replied:
"I am going to start calling you sponge Thomas excuse pants!"
Ouch.  Very ouch.  After the initial reaction to being taunted with a children's Nicktoon I took a look within myself.  Conclusion: lately I've been pretty complain-ey.

Sick kids are no laughing matter and sleep is important.  There are still times I'm sitting on my butt and watching television or numbing my mind on social networking.  Time to switch from whiney Thomas to Trainin' Thomas.  I read a post from the blog Fitness and Frozen Grapes (on the link list to the right, or keep reading and click the link that's a different color) titled "Write It Down, Do It Up".  In the post she starts a new segment where she lists her workouts for the week.  I'm not affiliated with her blog but I thought I would try the same thing.  Not as an act of plagiarism, but a way to keep myself accountable.  Here it is in all of it's vague glory:

Monday: Trainer for 30 minutes.  Core exercises during commercial breaks of The Biggest Loser

Tuesday: Swim for 30 minutes.  Work on shoulders

Wednesday: Run 4 miles.

Thursday: Swim for 30 minutes.  Arm and chest workout

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 6 mile run

Sunday: 40 minutes trainer

I'm not a fitness professional.  Don't take my plan and adapt it for yourself.  I'm making this up as I go along.  I have some method behind my choices.  Honestly, I do.  See a fitness professional for a training plan suited for you.

I made this plan yesterday, to start this morning.  It didn't happen so off I go but it's still Monday.  January 28th.  The official kick start to the 2013 race year training!

It's trainin' time! 

What's your first race?  When are you starting your training plan? 

Thursday, January 24, 2013


If you're new to my blog, welcome!  For everyone else, welcome back!  If my post is somewhat incoherent I've slept on a couch for the past two nights.  Please forgive me.

I'm coming to you from germ central, Ohio.  Also known as my townhouse.  I have a sick 3 and 1 year old under my roof and a saint of a wife, named Aimee.  By the grace of God the two of us have stayed healthy through this storm, for now.... 

My name is Thomas.  I'm a Christ follower, husband, father, cubicle survivalist, runner, and newbie triathlete.  My family is from Cleveland, I may be the only Costello born outside of the area.  While I may not be from the city by the lake I love it as if it were my own.  From going to games at the old Browns stadium to eating dinner with my Grandpa and dad at Sokolowski's.  In 2013 I'm back in the pack, and for the second time, I'll be running the Cleveland half marathon. 

In today's post I'm going to share a little bit about running and charity.  From 1985 to 2010 I was not a runner.  I won't go too far into it, you can read about the transformation here, but running was a way for me to help when I couldn't financially.  I started my distance running journey in Cleveland.  The 2011 Cleveland half marathon was the first solo race I signed up for and finished.

Since then there have been many more races.  Thanks to friends, family, and anonymous donors, running the 2011 Cleveland half and the 2012 Chicago marathon have raised over $1,500 for water wells and clean sources of hygiene for people in Zambia and Cambodia.

Fund-raising seems like a lot to do when you're also balancing your life and training for a race, but it's not as challenging as you think.  Training and running IS the fund-raising, minus an extra Facebook or Twitter post here and there.  Odds are most of your friends, family, and co-workers aren't runners.  They may even give you some weird responses or looks when you tell them you are voluntarily running thirteen to twenty-six miles.

Plus, running for something beyond yourself has its rewards.  First, people are being helped.  Second, you get to spread the word and raise awareness for a group or cause you feel passionate about.  Third, it adds another dimension to your race training.  Waking up early for a run won't be as difficult.  The wall in front of you won't as high.  Every donation will fuel you and keep your legs pumping.  Finally, if those three don't work, maybe you'll get a shirt out of it.  (I can guarantee the first three are true).

If you're still reading my post and are interested in adding another level to your running you may be thinking "where do I start?".  Feel for that tug on your heart or that still small voice.  Is there an area that you want to help?  Once you know a group you want to help contact them.  I can almost guarantee that they won't turn down your request to raise money for them.  Cleveland Marathon's site has many charities they're affiliated with if you don't know where to look.  I've also listed a couple groups below, including the non-profit I run for:

Cleveland Marathon Charities
Active:Water A great faith based non-profit with athletes running, swimming, biking, and hiking to raise money all over the country
Hope Remains Another awesome faith based non-profit.  Hope Remains helps victims of natural disasters and catastrophes.  Most recently they've helped people recovering from Hurricane Sandy
The Steps Foundation  Charity started by professional runners Ryan Hall and his wife Sarah.
This is the tippy top of the iceberg for charities available.  If you can think of a need there is a group wanting help.

I want to leave you with a paragraph from a friend who summed up donating more than I ever could (his blog RunDarenRun is listed on the right):

Since I am technically by profession a  professional fundraiser, I know the reasons why people give. One of these reasons is because the person donating sees a basic, critical need and wants to help.  But you and I both know that there is soo much need out there.  Everywhere you look there is some sort of fundraiser or campaign going on for some great cause. (To be honest, there should be. We are the richest people in the world.) Another top reason someone gives is because of this word– TRUST. They not only trust the organization, but they also trust YOU, which in this case goes hand in hand.
Thanks for reading and giving me some of your time.

If you haven't signed up for one of the Cleveland events and are on the fence: sign up!  You CAN do it.  Signing up and a slightly emptier wallet can do wonders for your training!

Are you running, or considering running, for a charity?  If so, which one?  If you've run for a group in the past share what group in the comments below.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New(ish) Gear


Anyone north of the Mason Dixon is feeling the chill today.  When I woke up at 4:45 it was in the single digits and negative double digit wind chill.  Right now at 8:13 A.M EST it is 5 degrees and -10 degrees wind chill.  Not much has changed.  You aren't here for a weather update.  Maybe you don't know why you're even here.  It's time for some tri talk.

I picked up the pace from last week's laziness.  Friday I did some weight training to rid myself of the wretched man-boobs.  (SIDE-NOTE: I debated whether or not to say the word man-boobs.  I found council with my wife and two nephews that I'm watching today.  Aimee didn't care.  The boys were all for it.  Man-boobs it is!)  As of yesterday I was still sore.  I've been running a couple years now but cross training was never something I did.  Aside from the initial tour of the apt complex, I had not been in our gym.  It's not the biggest gym but it gets the job done.

Saturday I had big plans to wake up early and go for a run.  Yep, didn't happen.  Apparently I turned off my phone when my little one woke up during the night.  I made an effort to run Saturday but a lot of small things piled up to distract me from my goal.  In the past this would bum me out but I'm not letting small hiccups bring me down.  Especially since I'm not in a training plan. 

Speaking of training plan, I signed up for the sprint tri in April.  Woo!  We did get to go out to dinner and watched "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" with Steve Carrell.  I enjoyed it.  Nice to have a movie without huge plot twists or big drama (if you don't count that the world is ending). 

Good flick.

 After service on Sunday I made my way to Mr. York's house for some basic bike maintenance and a three mile run.  I wrestled getting my bike frame into my Ford Focus for a good fifteen to twenty minutes.  This experience reminded me that during my childhood we had a bike rack for our family vacations.  I called my mom and sent her a text about it but no response.  Answer your phone!!  Anyway, since I rid the Nike watch from my life whenever I run I am thinking about pace.  I only asked once during the run where we were in terms of distance and held back a few hundred times from asking how fast we were going.  A watch is handy (no pun intended) but it's stifled my ability to judge my own pace.  I relied on my watch a little too much.  We hit the three mile mark and Bryce decided to have us finish by running uphill.  More often than not our group runs end with me saying "I hate you".  I finally asked what our pace was and for the first half of our run we were sub, or close to sub, 8 minutes a mile.  To put that into perspective during my year of Nike watch running my average pace was 9:36 a mile.  This year is looking to be a breakthrough year.  I can feel it.  It's going to happen!  The run ended with an average of 8:50.  I slowed down a bit the second half.  No biggie.  Again, this is supposed to be the off season from training. 

Sunday night I took part in a Twitter chat called "#trichat".  For any unversed in the Twitter it's talking to each other through the hash tag.  Until a couple weeks ago I never took part in anything like this.  It's safe to say I'm now hooked.  Nice to hear from other folks in the sport.  After utilizing Twitter to its full power, Aimee and I watched another movie.  This is unprecedented for the two of us.  We almost never watch movies, let alone two nights in a row.  Sunday night's selection was "The Dark Knight Rises".  Not as good as "The Dark Knight" but it was a great watch.  I used a good portion of the movie working on my Bane impersonation.

Monday I had off work for MLK day.  To celebrate my mom sent me a text saying "yes".  Just yes?  I needed more information than that.  I don't like calling people necessarily but this was important (not really).  Success!  She has the bike rack!  See ya later Focus backseat!  You are once again reserved for my children.

For the first time since Italy in 2011, I was back on the treadmill Monday.  Similar to weight training, I haven't done anything more than run a few miles at a time during my workouts.  Monday I did some interval training and I didn't hate it.  Throughout the last few years I have told people to do interval training to help with endurance when I had not used my own advice since I was in basic training in 2006.  Which in turn makes it not my own advice, but the military's.  When I got back from my run my friend Matt informed me that my shoes had been sold.  One attempt to sell the Newts and they were gone.  Au revoir.  With the money I was able to purchase a bike trainer.  It's a two point swing.  Sunday: no bike rack or trainer.  Monday: BOOM.  Bike rack and trainer.

I took today off work to have a four day weekend.  The day started like other Tuesdays with a trip to the pool.  The first few laps I did as good as I had been and then I had a breakthrough.  Last week I made it three fourths of the way down the 30 meter pool before needing a break.  Today I was able to swim the length of the pool and then back to the other side.  That's 60 meters!  I took fifteen to twenty seconds exclaiming my accomplishment and did it again.  120 meters!  Double woo! 

That felt like a long post.  Thanks to all those still hanging with me. 

Friday is my Cleveland Marathon post.  As I've mentioned many times before, I'm excited for the opportunity.  Especially since I haven't been too consistent with this blog until November and December.  I was selected to share one post over people that I'm sure have been blogging much longer than I have.  I'm going to make the best of the experience.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Running: Assessed

Welcome back.  How's it going?

Today I went to my runner assessment.  I don't want to completely give away the ending but I came out of it better than I was before.  It was definitely worth the price.  Let's just start from square one.

I woke up today and I didn't swim, bike, or run.  This isn't all that big of a deal because I'm not in any official training plan (that will come the last week of January).  Instead of sleeping an extra hour I sat in bed and heard my youngest daughter babble in her room.  While I may have wanted to go back to sleep it was a nice moment to soak in.  A lot of days I'm going full speed from when I wake up till 8 when the girls go to bed.

Getting ready today I had an extra spring in my step.  Added to my routine was finding shorts and a shirt to change into for the appointment.  I grabbed a shirt.  Grabbed a bag from my pile of race bags and I headed to work.  The assessment was all I could think about.  I was nerding out.  The minutes crawled by thinking about finally being able to use my new running shoes.  My hopes were very high.  4 o'clock hit.  Time to rock!

When I arrived I changed out of my work clothes and into my running attire.  This morning while I was getting ready I made a mistake.  I grabbed a shirt which turned out to be a Turkey Trot shirt and the bag I had with me was a Turkey Trot bag.  Maybe I'm just being a turd but wearing a race shirt and it's matching bag to a running assessment felt weird.  I felt like I was bragging.  OH! It's like wearing a band shirt to their concert.  There ya go.  That's a good one.  The turd feeling wore off faster than it took you to read my paragraph about my shirt/bag fiasco because I was about to be healed.

The physical therapist had me run across the room and back a few times and he noticed what was wrong right away.  Before he says it I mention that I thought it was pronating.  EHHH!  Wrong.  Turns out I'm a freak of nature (overreaction).  When standing still my feet are not parallel.  My left foot angles outward.  Instead of pronating my left heel is hitting my right shoe and I can live with that.  Mark shifted his focus to my shoes.  He wasn't a fan of the Newtons and I can live with that too.  Then he explains that he wasn't a fan of these shoes for me specifically.  Because of my flat feet (that he also confirmed) I need a better stability shoe.  He took my Newts and bent them almost in half and then bent my Nikes.  Huge difference.  Case in point: he told me if I continued to run in them I would more than likely hurt myself.  It's also not a coincidence that I have had some minor foot pain since starting with the shoes.  Hmmmm.  From this point on in the assessment he shows me a few stretches, tells me I don't need over the counter orthos, and then shows me all the different kinds of shoes and the science behind them.  The information I learned was invaluable.

Fast forward to the end of the assessment.  Mark talks to me and warns me that more than a certain amount of miles could lead to shin splints and that I'd be good doing 5ks.  He said I could even try for a 10k!  That was the comment that hit me in the gut.  I'm not the most in shape looking guy but when I told him I ran a marathon he seemed a little surprised, "wow, good for you!"  Zoinks.  Where's the woman from the Help when you need her?

Just kidding.  I wasn't insulted.  I mean I WAS wearing a turkey trot shirt WITH matching bag!  I find the assumption funny and, in a weird way, motivating.

You can look throughout the Bible and see people who didn't have certain strengths.  Moses was afraid to speak up.  David was too small.  Peter denies Jesus.  I'm not putting myself in the leading people out of Egypt realm but God uses crooked sticks to make straight lines.  I don't have a runners body but I've been used as an instrument and have raised over $1500 for people in need and have completed half marathons and a full.  I'll take it!

I'm bummed out about the Newts though.  They were a birthday gift from my wife and family.  The whole reason I did the assessment was so I could wear them.  Now I'm outside of the return period.  My plan is to try one or two places to sell them and donate if none of that works.  The way I see it is if I can't sell them I can help someone.  I'm not going to walk around in running shoes that I don't run in.  My Nikes have seen better days.  I now start the process of finding some new kicks.  I think I love shoes more than my wife does.  

Next week the Cleveland Marathon will be featuring my blog.  I'm going to focus on running for a charity.

If you are interested in getting a runner assessment through Concorde Therapy give them a call at 330-493-4210.  It's 25 bucks, you'll learn a lot, and there's a 15% off coupon for second sole.

Also I'm still working out some news for Active:Water.  If you want to run the Akron Marathon with the AW Canton team let me know.  The price for the race increases February 28th.  Team training starts in April!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Race Schedule

I just finished the first paper of the semester and the writing bug has carried over to this blog.  I promise to not keep you long.  Thought I'd share the races I plan on doing this year.  Maybe you can even sign up for the same one!  I've included the race links just in case.

Before I get started with that I went swimming this morning and I felt great.  I'm still getting the breathing technique down but it was a vast improvement from Thursday to today.



January - March: Nothin'  Trainin'

Triaaathlon trainin
April 13: Ashland University Sprint Triathlon

May 19: Cleveland Half Marathon

June: More trainin'  Maybe a Jolly Jaunt....

July 28: Giant Eagle Multisport Festival Olympic Triathlon

August: Notta

September 28: Akron Marathon with team Active:Water!     Join team Active:Water by emailing me at!!

October: Nope.  Maybe a few weeks off for recovery?

November on Thanksgiving: Perry Rotary Turkey Trot!

December: Done.  Onward to 2014!

There it is folks!  Not as many races as years past but I'm excited about every single one of them.  Last year I completed 11 but we're on the Ramsey budget.  A lot of thought went into these events.

May consider adding another race if people out there need an official blogger.  Eh?  Ehh?  My services are available.

Anyone out there running these races too?  Any races you want to suggest I check out in the Northeast Ohio area?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I Stand Corrected

Howdy.  How's it going?

It turns out I was wrong about the existence of the St. Patricks day triathlon.  A day after I posted my last blog entry the race organizer emailed me:
Sorry for the delay!  After reading your blog we finalized a date and it is April 13.  Within the next week or so, I'll email you the registration page.  I'm very fortunate to have such great bloggers, like yourself, keeping me honest.  Keep up the great work on your awesome blog!
OK that wasn't what he said.  Here's the real email:
 Hi Thomas!
Sorry for the delay! We finalized the date yesterday, and it is April 13. Within the next week or so, I will email you the link for registration.

Thank you for your patience and have a wonderful day!
You're welcome race director!  I will have a wonderful day! In all honesty I was very impatient.  I emailed the race organizer's school email address on a Saturday night, and then blogged my frustration Tuesday.  I'll take the thank you regardless!  Manners will get you everywhere.  While the race isn't in March I've still got a race to look forward to in the next few months.  Plus, who wants to ride a bike and run outdoors in March?  Right?  That's what you call a blessing in disguise.  Before I emailed the nice race director I noticed on the race's prior page that you had to be a member of USAT (USA Triathlon).  In my reply I asked if I still had to be a member to compete.  Turns out I do.  Aw nuts!  It'll cost $12 for a one day membership.  I'm weighing the pros and cons of paying for an annual membership next year (coming in at $45).  I've asked my beautiful and talented wife to photograph my first triathlon so I can share all the swimming, biking, and running action with YOU!

Thursday I was back in the pool and I'm making strides.  I may not have the distance but every time I stop I don't dwell on it.  I put my head back in and keep moving.  Thursday was also the first day of my online English Composition class.  I'll have thirteen writing assignments in the next seven and a half weeks.  Joy!  Luckily I've been enjoying writing this blog over the past few months (I'm afraid to see what would happen if my blog was graded).  My hope is that the enjoyment I get from blogging transfers over to the world of academia.

Quick hit about Friday.  I had been making wise choices all week in terms of eating.  Eggs and fruit for breakfast, a lot of fruit for lunch with a sandwich, and more vegetables at dinner (and less carbs).  Friday came and pizza was ordered.  I only ate two pieces!  As opposed to blacking out and waking up with my head on top of an empty pizza box.  Wooo!  (from my last entry to today I've lost 4 pounds)

Saturday was a fun day.  I was leaving Men's group and my windows were covered in rain.  To clear this issue up I put down the windows and BOOM!  One of the windows slammed inside the door.  I'm by no means a car expert but I assumed this wasn't good.  My assumption was correct.  I pushed the "window up" button and I hear the grinding of gears and see no window movement.  Normally having something like this happening in Ohio in January is a big issue but it was over sixty degrees.  I'm not good at handling vehicular stress.  I drove home and of course I don't have any tools (townhouse livin') so I make my way to the home of my motivational training partner/jerry-rig guru B-ryce.  About a half hour and one wire hanger later I'm back in business!  The window can't go down but the car is paid off.  It's nothing that needs immediate attention.

Later on Saturday I ventured out for a run with Bryce.  It was at a good pace with some good hills.  I struggled through it but I'm going to be positive about it.  I'm going through a mental rut in my running but I'm going to break through.  This was also my first run without my Nike sportwatch.  It landed in the beautiful state of Hawaii and according to my Ebay customer feedback they love their watch and I'm a great seller!  During the run I noticed a half mile in that my wrist felt cold and light.  I fought every fiber of my being to not ask Bryce where we were in terms of mile and pace every other stride.

I got some air in my tires and Sunday I took my bike out on it's maiden voyage of 2013.  I completed five miles in twenty minutes with messed up gears.  Right now the bike has three different levels of peddling.  If I had to ballpark it I'd have to say this bike hasn't had a tune up since before I was born.  Put it on my list o' tri stuff!

A while back I wrote a post about what people love.  The pictures we took with our friend Kelly are done and she shared one of them with the world:

Addison "Bugga Boo" is on the top right.  Savannah "Lynnski" is on the bottom right.  My beautiful wife Aimee is on the bottom left holding our girls.  Please visit Kelly's non-profit page.  God's using her and her group to do amazing things for disaster victims.

Also you may have noticed that I changed the heading picture for my blog.  Thanks Aimee for the great picture!

Next post I hope to have some news to share regarding Team Active:Water.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Training For a Race That Doesn't Exist

Welcome back!

As you may or may not know I am training for a sprint triathlon (400 meter swim, 16 mile bike, 5k run).  It's set for the day before St. Patrick's Day and it's benefiting a mission trip for Ashland students.  Training started last week and it's been exciting throwing non running activities into my repertoire. 

Thursday I headed to the pool with Bryce "The Catalyst" York and it was our first time at the Natatorium.  The pool opens at 5:30 and I got word that you have to get there early to secure a lane and that morning was particularly cold.  I pulled into the parking lot and sat in my car, cold, for a good ten to fifteen minutes.  Since it was my first time there I was ultra paranoid that I was at the wrong place and they wouldn't be open.  Luckily two older gentlemen got out of their car and headed around the building to the entrance.  At this point I still didn't know where the entrance was so I pulled a pretty creepy card.  When they turned the corner I started up the ole Focus and followed them.  Sure, I may have looked like a creeper but I found the entrance.  Success!  When we mustered up the courage to go into the building we wandered around for a good couple minutes before asking for help.  The kind janitor pointed us in the direction of the locker room and it was time to jump in the pool.  Kinda.  When we walked out of the locker room the lifeguard told us about how to sign in and where to pay.  He could sense the fear of being first timers.  Time for the pool.

We secured our lanes.  Ready.  Set.  Plop.  Aside from watching the Olympics I don't know how to swim.  I can survive and float but I have no swimming technique.  It wasn't a bad session though.  I was able to work on what to do with my arms, thanks to my training partner.  Yeah!  The last couple laps the lifeguard came and sat down right next to my lane.  This made me a little embarrassed and I also didn't want to splash him.  My form isn't very flowing and smooth.  Breathing and being aerodynamic is still a hassle.  God blessed me with a larger than normal noggin so I have to work a bit.  Another positive that came out of the day came from my training pal.  He said because of my beard that I look like a bear coming out of the water.  Yeah again!  One goal that's kind of silly and not mentioned in my 2013 post was that I want to grow my beard for the entire year (much to the dismay of Mrs. Costello)  I'm taking the bear comment as a compliment!  

Now is when the non-existent race comes into play.  Saturday I was browsing some triathlon stuff online and I checked on the site for the St. Pattys day race.  Maybe it was the excitement of finding a tri in March but the second time I visited the site I wasn't too confident that a race would happen.  The race is in it's second year.  They're using a Blogger page for their race but it hasn't been updated since July 2012.  There's no link to register.  No start times.  I emailed the address on the site and have yet to get a response.  Yeah, it's not happening, and wouldn't you guess it there aren't too many triathlons in Northeast Ohio in the winter (not counting "indoor triathlons" because I'd like to actually go somewhere when I pay for a race.  I'm not paying a race entry to ride on a stationary bike and run on a treadmill).  My first reaction was to be a little bummed out but now I have more time to train.  My training will continue!  Race or no race!  Still excited for the future and excited for the next day when I would start training on the bike.

Flat tire.  Crappola!

My list of things needed for triathlon racing is growing.  Most of the items needed are bicycle related.  Running is cheap.  Tris?  Not so much.  Patience.  Patience...

I am saving up money by working some overtime and not spending frivolously.  Also I sold my Nike GPS running watch (just shipped it today).  I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the watch but it's too one dimensional for my mission.  I have jotted down a rough list of items I plan on purchasing:

-Trainer (item used so I can turn my outdoor bike into a stationary bike)
-Running assessment (to combat my pronation)
-Tire pump and other bicycling repair items
-Garmin watch
-Swimming cap

The last three or four items aren't anything I'm too worried about right now, or within the next year. 

Monday was a rest day and this morning I was back in the pool.  This time we walked with confidence.  Seasoned vets.  I made the mistake of telling Bryce that I didn't want to get the lifeguard wet.  He took that as an opportunity to make fun of me for not wanting to get a person who's job it is to jump in the water, wet.  Is it so bad that I don't want to get the guy wet?  I mean he has breakfast with him and everything.  He's obviously not planning on getting splashed.  I chose a different lane. 

From Thursday to today I looked up a few swimming videos to help my form.  I put them into action and surprising enough these video makers know what they're talking about!  Breathing is now my focus.  I'm still in "panic mode" anytime I put my head underwater.  Apparently taking a breath underwater is not the greatest idea.  Bryce gave me some pointers and I feel like I'm on the up-and-up.  Breath out WHILE you're going underwater.  Now it's time to play jigsaw and put all the puzzle pieces together.  It's a great workout too.  Makes me feel like I've done something and the feeling lasts all day.

On to a local annoyance, a feud brewing between the two parties responsible for the Canton Marathon.  I mentioned something about a few posts back but over the past week things have heated up.  A new race was started.  Looked legit.  The Canton Marathon Facebook page was even referring people to "like" the new race.  Turns out there was a big split and now there will be two races Fathers day weekend, which is logistically impossible.  They're pointing fingers and throwing out debt amounts in the hundred thousand plus range.  I foresee no race happening in June and a black mark over large running events in the community.  Both races claim to want to do their race for the community when it's the community they'll end up hurting.  Can't we all just get along?  Take a year off from the race.  Pay off all your debt.  Hug it out.

Here is a link to the North Canton Patch if you'd like to read about it.

Finally, I've reached 1,000 views on my blog (thank you!).  After I noticed the milestone I went to the stats section and it even breaks down how many views I get from each country.  Coming in at number 1?  USA USA USA!!  No surprise there.  What did catch me off guard was 37 views from Malaysia.  That's right, Malaysia.  Canada had 7.  Come on Canada.  Malaysia is making you look bad! 

Thanks for reading everybody!

Any ideas that can help me reach out to our brethren up north?  Leave a comment!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy new year one and all!

Before we get into talk of the future, and this brand new year, let's take a small step back in time.  2012 was awesome, exciting, and challenging.  Ran a half marathon in the city I work and live, Canton, Ohio.  Completed my first marathon.  I even roped a couple people into this lovely sport of running.  Here are some stats for your viewing pleasure:

1 trip to Chicago
3 pairs of shoes used
10 races
140 runs
632 miles
98,000 calories burned
most importantly: over $1,000 raised for Active:Water

Speaking of Active:Water.  Director extraordinaire Daren Wendell will be running across the United States of America in 2015 (for more information view his blog on the list of links to the right).  Pretty awesome, huh?

Another item of business I'd love to mention is that I'm recruiting a team of runners for the Akron Marathon to run for Active:Water.  I would be honored to have you as a member of the team.  Whether you haven't run a day in your life or just qualified for Boston there's a spot for you!  You can choose any race distance you want.  We'll train together (if local), fund-raise together, and become awesome friends!

I had a lot of fun in 2012.  Over the past few days I've seen a lot of talk about resolutions and goals and they've inspired me to write down some things I already had planned for 2013.  Sharing them with all of my loyal readers will hopefully inspire some of you to make some action items for yourself.  I'm not trying to be a one upper but I don't have resolutions or goals set in place.  I've got missions!  "The difference between a goal and a mission is attitude".  That's a quote (or as close to the quote as I can remember) from a book I recently purchased.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay books!

If you are dabbling with the idea of doing triathlons I highly recommend it.

So, onto the missions!

1. Put together a killer team to run for Active:Water.  Last summer I applied, and was selected, to captain a team that will raise money and awareness.  What is Active:Water you ask?  It's a non-profit organization that provides clean water, hygiene, and the love of Christ to people who desperately need it.  Here's a short video about the group:

2. Run another marathon.  This mission is connected to the first.  I'm not a big pace setter or watch.. watcher (?) but I would like to complete it faster than Chicago.

3. Complete a triathlon.  I'll git r dun March 16th.  St Pattys day and endurance racing.  What can be better than that?

4. Start training for my first Ironman.  I've mentioned this on past posts, but I will be doing an Ironman in 2015.  Does it take two and a half years to train for one?  I don't know (haven't gotten that far in the book).  This isn't an idea I pulled out of the sky and I'm not just trying to raise the stakes after each longest distance I've completed.  Before I ran my first 5k I've been intrigued by the Ironman and after it's completed I won't be looking ahead to any further distances.  Endurance sports have been a great blessing in my life.  It's a great platform to help those in need and the personal benefits can't be ignored.

Those are the running/sports themed missions.  I also have personal ones that I won't dig too deep into.  The Canton Costello clan is going to strengthen their relationship as a family and with the Lord.  We're going to pay down debt.  Work on saving for a house.  Buy a second vehicle.  Send a child off to preschool.  MAN.  I have a kid going into preschool.  When the crap did that happen?  Wow.  This is a lot of stuff.

I'd also like to keep this blog going.  While I enjoy you reading my blog I get benefits from writing.  One day I can bring these entries up and show my kids.  They'll more than likely be bored and I'll use it as a threat to make them do their homework.  After that, when they're older, maybe they'll learn stuff about me that I will not have told them, due to old age and memory loss. 

Oh I have some blog business to promote.  On January 25th my blog will be featured by the great people at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!  My page will be shared with the masses.  Masses!  Isn't that exciting?

So 2013?  Today, it starts!  How did I start it?  With a run of course!

I ran the Resolution Run, benefiting the First Christian youth group's trip to Haiti.  How did I do?  Did I start the year off with a PR?  Did the excitement of a new year and a clean slate possibly propel me into a  top three finish for my age group?

In a word, no.  I didn't do well at all.  It was possibly the worst timed race I've ever completed.  I really didn't know what I was getting myself into.  Ended up being through packed down snow, which is by no means an excuse.  Although when I got back onto the pavement I wanted to stop mid stride and kiss the pavement, Indianapolis 500 style.  Should have brought those friggin yak trax!  I'm glad I was able to benefit a worthy cause.  With a little more preparation on my part I may have done half decent.  Well you know what they say, what does not kill us make us stronger.  Starting off a year with a run like I had today means I've got nowhere to go but up.  At the end of the day I gave it my all.  I left it all on the court.  Cheesy sports cliches aside, I will do much better next time.

Today I learned that I need to start training for the St. Pattys day sprint tri this week.  This should be fun.  Here goes nothin'!

Thanks for reading!

Do you have any missions for yourself this year?  I'd love to hear 'em!