Monday, December 31, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Mileage

Here are mileage totals from my 2007 training log:

Running: 1,515 miles (220 hours)
Cycling: 585 miles (31 hours)
Swimming: 48 miles (24 hours)

Total: 2,148 miles (275 hours)

275 hours only equates to 3% of the hours in a year. So I have some room to pick up the miles in 2008!

For 2008 I'd like to hit 2,000 running miles for the year. I don't have a specific cycling goal but I'd like to step up the cross training on the bike since cycling is my true passion.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Last month we visited the Essex steam train and took the kids for a ride on Thomas The Train. After the train ride, we enjoyed lunch at the Black Seal and hung out at Town Park overlooking Middle Cove. Can't believe the weather was that nice just last month!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Day Revisited

Here's a video of Christmas Day:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

Santa left presents!

Alex, Gavin, Ciara


Kourt & Keith

The kids with Oma & Great Gram

The kids with Big Papa

Kasia & Chris

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eve of Xmas Eve

"Good night sis. Only one more day until Santa comes!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bummed about Frosty

Alex just watched Frosty The Snowman and was pretty upset when Frosty melted at the end.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vermont 100 Pacer

“Pacers” are allowed in 100-mile endurance races to run with competitors the last portion of the event. The Vermont 100 allows pacers to join runners for the last 30 miles of the race. Pacers provide encouragement, help runners at the aid stations get food and hydration, help the runners follow the course etc… My training partner Mark and I decided to pace at the VT 100 (July '07) with several goals in mind:
- Gain some experience with the ultra running scene
- Log some training miles in preparation for our first 50 mile race
- Fulfill volunteer requirement for entry into the 2008 VT 100

Click here for an account of my pacing experience at the 2007 VT 100.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mt. Whitney Hike

Back in 2002 I hiked up Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states, standing at 14,496 feet. It was such an awesome hike. The terrain was incredible, the views were spectacular and the weather was perfect. I flew out to San Diego, CA and met up with my buddy Doug and two of his friends Tim and John. We drove up to Lone Pine, CA and camped out at the base of Mt. Whitney. On day 1 we hiked up the east side route to just over 12,000 feet and set up our tents at Trail Camp. On day 2 we completed the trek up to the summit and then made the return trip back down.

At the summit

Here's a video I put together of the hike:

Monday, December 17, 2007

2008 Race Schedule

Here are some races that I’m planning to do in 2008. Come join me if you’d like!

1/27/08 - ING Miami Marathon - Registered
Location: Miami, FL – I hope to qualify for Boston!

3/16/08 - Shamrock Marathon - Registered
Location: Virginia Beach, VA - St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

4/21/08 – Boston Marathon - Pending Qualification
Location: Boston, MA – C’mon 3:15 in Miami!

5/18/08 – Soapstone Mountain Trail Race - Gonna register
Location: Stafford Springs, CT – Had fun in this 14.5 miler last year.

6/1/08 – Nipmuck Trail Marathon – Gonna register
Location: Ashford, CT – A tough 26!

7/19/08 – VT 100 Mile Endurance Run – Registered
Location: West Windsor, VT – My first 100 miler!

9/28/08 – VT 50 Mile Endurance Run – Gonna register
Location: Mt. Ascutney, VT – My first 50 miler last year.

10/11/08 – ING Hartford Marathon – Gonna register
Location: Hartford, CT – My 3rd consecutive HM.

“Run as fast as you can until you can’t, then go slow”
- Dean Dobberteen

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Elf Yourself

A Lauren video creation:

Turco Family Elves
Keith & Kourtney Elves

Auggie & Sissy

Sometimes they aren't fighting over toys...

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today was the funeral for Shannon’s Aunt Jan. She passed away this week from brain cancer. Jan was only 53 years old. It’s tragic for someone to pass with so many good years ahead. Cancer is such a devastating disease and has struck this family before, which adds to the pain of another life being taken. Jan had an infectious smile and lots of enthusiasm. She was remembered today as “the sparkplug that charged everyone up.” Her son Christopher recalled how his mom was the loudest parent at his football games. Jan leaves behind an inspiration to always be positive and enjoy life. She enjoyed life most by loving her family. Her kids described her as their best friend. Jan liked traditions. She included our kids in the tradition of celebrating a birth in the family by having custom decorated pottery plates made with our children’s names and birthdates. Our children were the latest in the family to be baptized and Jan provided a family gown for the kids to wear. Alex and Ciara were the 4th generation in the family to be dressed in the gown. Jan was an elementary school teacher. Therefore, it is not only a great loss for this family but for the many kids whose lives she helped develop. Appropriately, the funeral was on the first storm and school cancellation snow day of the winter. This was a salute from above to Jan the teacher. We pray for Uncle Doug and Shannon’s cousins Karen, Mark and Christopher, that they may live their lives in her honor. May we all carry on her spirit. Jan will be missed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

USA Running

This video of Ryan Hall is pretty cool. It’s amazing how smooth he is and how he makes running appear to be so easy and effortless.

Note: He went on to win the trials and will represent the US at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cape Cod Airshow (August '07)

This summer my family and I traveled to the Otis Air National Guard base in Massachusetts to see the Cape Cod airshow. Although it was hot and humid, the continuous activity and thrill of planes blazing through the sky made for an exciting day. My company sponsored a VIP area on the flight line, which provided us some shade, cold drinks, food and the best seats in the house, not to mention visits from many of the pilots who performed throughout the day.

Here’s a slide show of some more pics I took at the airshow:

Here’s a video I found posted on youtube that has some cool footage of the action from the show:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weekend Family Fun

Last night we got together with some friends and enjoyed the festivities of the Connecticut Trolley Museum winterfest. We had dinner in the Trolley Stop restaurant, checked out all the active model trains and then took a 3 mile ride on a 1920's trolley car down the tunnel of lights.

Today we had lunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the historic Lyman Orchards Homestead. The only disappointment was no horse and carriage rides this year!

Here’s a short video of the weekend activities:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sleep eating

This video, taken a year ago, is of Ciara eating her mac-n-cheese while falling asleep:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Gingerbread Lane

Yesterday the kids had some fun decorating gingerbread houses with their Oma.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

11 Degrees

The last few weeks I’ve been recovering from the races I completed in the fall. I’ve been getting plenty of rest and have gone to the gym for only a few light workouts. My only run outside was the one in Washington DC last week. And although it was a great run, all the stops to take pictures didn’t make for the best workout. So I decided that this morning would be the start of getting back into training mode, with a focus on the end of January Miami Marathon. My alarm clock went off at 5:30 AM and as I was trying to pull myself out from under my warm Canadian fleece bed sheets into the winter chill, Shannon was mumbling something about it’s “not fair” and “need to sleep”. I’m the one getting up to go out in the frozen tundra and my wife’s the cranky one?!

After checking the thermometer and noting that it was not so cozy outside, I put on my cold weather gear, lit up the headlamp and set off on my 7¼-mile route. I must’ve chosen the right clothing combination, as I was comfortable and not too bothered by the sub-teen temp. I managed just under an 8:00 min/mile pace completing the run in 57 min. It was great to be back outside running, even though it was an icicle forming 11 degrees!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

California Ironman 70.3 Triathlon

Here’s a report of the Ford California Ironman 70.3 I competed in earlier this year. (Saturday 3/31/07)

Pre-Race: Two days before the race my family and I traveled out to Southern California. The day before the event I visited with my friends in San Marcos, picked up my packet, checked out the race expo, organized my gear, carbo loaded, and settled in to the West Coast time zone as best I could. Race morning, I woke up at 4 AM, loaded up my stuff and arrived at the race parking area in Oceanside at about 5:15 AM. I picked up my bike from the
tribike transport folks located by the expo area. What an excellent service they provide! I biked the 1.5 miles from the parking area over to the race start. The nervous energy and buzz of the pre race transition area is always one of my favorite parts of an event. Thoughts of keeping all the gear straight, visualizing the flow of the race, hoping I don’t drown, psyching myself up, culminates all the time and effort invested in training and creates an energy that’s intense.

Swim: At 6:40 AM my age group wave started. It was an in water start, and the only chance to get in some warm up strokes was the short swim out to the middle of the harbor starting line. The cold air temperature, which was about 49 degrees, actually helped with mitigating the shock of the 60 degree ocean temp. The air temp along with wearing my long sleeve wetsuit resulted in the water not feeling too cold… at first. I faced the usual challenge of maintaining a straight line, and easing into a rythmn while bumping into people, getting kicked and sorting through the congestion of bodies, arms and legs. My hands and feet numbed up and it was odd to lose the “feel” of stroking through the water. Open water swimming is quite different then training in the pool! I completed the 1.2 mile swim in just over 36 minutes which I was happy with…

Bike: I didn’t bike train over the winter much at all. Winter in CT doesn’t make it easy to get out and ride. So I was wondering how I would feel in the race and how prepared I was to handle 56 miles at a solid pace. The first 25 miles were pretty flat and fast. It felt so good to be out on a ride, I forgot about the race and just enjoyed the scenery and the perfect weather. This allowed me to get into a nice rythmn and hold a decent speed. About 30 miles in, there were a series of major hills, which slowed things down dramatically. I pushed through as best I could and this is where I started to feel the lack of bike training. I got through the climbs and finished off the bike segment with a solid time of 2:42.

Run: The run was an out and back along the ocean and was lined with spectators the whole way. The cheering and support was pretty awesome. It was hot in the direct sun and I made sure to drink at every station and dump some cold water over my head. I kept a steady pace the whole run and finished it in 1:51.

I completed the race in a total time of 5:18. It was an awesome race, well supported and a lot of fun. Here's a table of my split times:


After the race I had to walk over a mile back to where my family was parked and my son insisted that I carry him on my shoulders. My few hours as a triathlete were over and I was back to being Dad!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mountain Wingsuit

A friend of mine (Bruce) emailed me and said if I get bored with long distance running here's something to try. It combines interests in the outdoors, aviation and insanity:

Here's another wingsuit video
Yet another wingsuit video

Crazy!! I think I'll stick with the land stuff.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

No go in the lotto

The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run lottery was completed yesterday and my name was not one of the 16% of applicants picked from the Gatorade bucket. I’ll have to try again next year! So now it’s time to register for the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race which takes place July 19, 2008.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Three S's

Ciara sneezing, singing and then sucking her thumb: