Category Archives: Running

Frank Cardia does his 3rd Ironman Triathlon

The morning started at about 5 am. You’re just sitting around waiting and waiting and waiting for what seems like hours. I finally got down to the race site at 6 am to get my last minute things together. Make sure all my bike and run stuff was all situated and that I had everything I would need for the day ahead of me. It’s all there so I head to the beach.

Its now about 6:55 am and 2,200 people are just standing on the beach in wet suits staring at each other and the ocean. It’s a pretty amazing sight to see this many people laser focused on the journey they are about to set out on. At exactly 7 am, the gun goes off and 2200 people jump into the ocean like maniacs. As big as the ocean is, there seems like there isn’t any room at all to move. People are kicking and pushing and an occasional shot to the face is not uncommon. The swim is 2.4 miles– and let me tell you, it ain’t easy. But 1 hr and 26 minutes later I successfully make it out of the ocean. On to the bike.

The bike ride is 112 miles and it is nearly 80 degrees down there. So I don’t have to tell you, but that is pretty hot. The bike took me 6 hrs and 17 minutes, which was 10 minutes faster then last year for me. And for just about the whole time your on that bike your leaning forward on the aero bars, basically resting your weight on your forearms. Completely stretching out your back and your stomach is almost always tight as it could possibly be. And if your wondering if is it uncomfortable, let me clear that up – Yes, it is!

Onto the run. Now running a marathon ( 26.2 miles ) by itself is a feat. But to have to do that after swimming in an ocean for nearly 1.5 hrs then biking for nearly 6.5 hrs. you’re talking 8 hrs of pushing yourself to the max and now a comes a run. That really sucks. I did the marathon part of the Ironman last year in 5 hrs and 32 minutes so I was very focused this year on crushing that time. Long story short, I did the marathon in 4 hrs and 54 minutes and my total time for the day was 12 hrs and 55 minutes, crushing last years time of 13 hrs and 48 minutes. And yes, I will be in pain for the next few days, but its worth it..

Its not about the actual race of Ironman. It’s about being the person you need to be in order to do something like this. It’s about being so committed towards a goal that nothing can stop you.

Well, I live to race another day

Frank Cardia’s Schedule To Recovering From Ironman

Week One: As the initial days pass, you actually feel better. You are psyched about your Ironman finish and excited about the future. Maybe you even signed up for next year’s race. Whatever is on your mind, chances are — exercise isn’t. And that’s a good thing. Your biggest workout right now should be some quality walking with one or two very short swims.

Weeks Two and Three: This is the Honeymoon Phase, where you feel good enough to work out, but really shouldn’t. If you actually push yourself here, you’ll find that after 45 minutes to an hour, you simply run out of power. Your heart rate will drop and no amount of food or coffee will revive you. Exercise in this period should be no longer than an hour and should be done at a very light intensity. Overdoing it here can really set you back later in your year. Extended swims and light cycling should compose the majority of your program.

Week Four and Beyond: This is the Transition Phase. If you have been recovering well and have felt good enough to include some consistent aerobic activity, then you could be ready to transition back to your regular training. A key test to see if you have made the transition is a 90 to 120-minute ride with some intensity/intervals. If you are able to hold a solid effort/wattage on multiple intervals, and you are able to recover the next day with no minimal aftereffects, then you are back. Some lighter running can also be included at this time.

Managing your recovery post-Ironman is almost as critical as preparing for the event itself. Be sure to take the time and savor what you have accomplished…the pool and the roads will still be there when you are ready to make your comeback!

Be smart and don’t try to come back to soon !!!!!

Live to Race another day,

Frank Cardia

Nutrition for runners

In the field of athletics, nutrition holds a very important place and any athlete would need to ensure that he or she consumes proper nutritious food that could naturally enhance or optimize his or her performance.

This being a fact, it has been observed that several athletes, especially runners, are seen to depend more on food that are not of much help in enhancing or optimizing their performance. So, the question is what can be and is the finest nutrition for runners? Many people who belong to the world of athletics do not have a good understanding about the right and balanced diet and they end up popping so-called health pills one after the other.

This lack of understanding has more of an adverse effect on performance. Thus, what a runner requires to do is to gain pertinent knowledge about the right food and dietary habits that can actually make him perform better and excel at his or her sport.

Now that the question of a suitable diet is doing the rounds in everybody’s mind, irrespective of whether the person is an athlete or not, this obviously means that the former, being a constituent of the world of sports, should pay a much greater attention. A number of experts are of the opinion that an energy diet is the most appropriate that an athlete can make the most of.

In other words this kind of a diet is also known as a performance-enhancing diet or an egrogenic diet. The US Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid suggests that there are five basic types of food namely, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and foods rich in protein that make an egrogenic diet. In addition to these food items, if one consumes sugars and fats, extra calories pile up resulting in weight gain.

Extra fats are unnecessary for athletes and can actually lead to disastrous performances. Deriving calories from a number of foods ensure that the body fulfills its want for micronutrients that consist of vitamins and minerals and macronutrients involving carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

If athletes introduce a lot of carbohydrates into their diet, it will help their muscles to absorb and store more energy which results in good overall performance. But an important note here would be to consume at least 75% of the calories through carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, cereals, grains and fruits. Different carbohydrates have differing ways to affect a runner’s energy levels which is why only those foods should be chosen in the carbohydrate segment which have a high glycemic index.

Such foods accelerate the flow of energy into the bloodstream and can help a runner regain their original energy levels after workout. Fats, when included in the diet of athletes involved in low-intensity sports, can work wonders. Such nutrients are however not the perfect solution for athletes engaged in activities of high intensity. Fats consumed should be only in the unsaturated form like fish oils. Proteins also form an important part of a runner’s diet as more than 5% of the energy required during workout come from proteins.

A runner’s diet should include at least 0.4 pounds of chicken per pound of body weight. The best protein sources are fish and chicken. Apart from the above mentioned nutrients, vitamins and minerals also play a major role. Most runners must include supplements of iron and calcium to increase their Basal Metabolic Rate.

An important aspect to be noted here is that, all nutrients fail to perform if the body does not get its quota of water. A minimum amount of thirst suggests that the body is dehydrated, as a result of which the levels of performance get diminished.

Frank Cardia takes on Las Vegas

The PumpkinMan Triathlon is said to be one of the toughest courses out there. They say its the type of course that can really break a man. Many many people who begin it, do not finish  and those who do finish are usually so far off their expected time to finish, because of the degree of difficulty. So I had to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s race morning at 7am and we are about to begin. Into the water we all go and out. I come out about 37 minutes later. This is probably about a minute or two off my usual time for a race of this size. So far so good.

On to the bike, the course begins with a 20 mile out and back with a lot of rolling hills. Some of the hills harder to tackle then others, but all in all a pretty nice ride. Then at about mile 21 is where the fun begins. You begin to start climbing,  not a road but a mountain. And it doesn’t stop until you are at mile 25. That’s right! You do nearly a 4 mile straight climb till your done on the bike at mile 25. I have never seen at any other race, so many people have to get off their bikes and walk because they just couldn’t handle the climbing anymore. It was brutal!

The run was a pretty interesting run. It started on a road and then you made your way into what looked like the Mojave. A lot of rolling hills and 1 really really steep climb on the run as well. But they had great aid to help you through and a lot of good support. All in all it was a great race.

I live to race another day !!!!!!

Frank Cardia Breaks His 1/2 Marathon Record

My old half marathon record was 1 hr and 56 minutes, which is around an 8 minute and 50 second pace per mile. Last week, I was planning to break my old record at the Queens Half Marathon, but I fell short by around 4 minutes. It was one of those days, when you just don’t have it.

But today. I was convinced that I was going to break it. As I started the race, I decided to come out with the guys doing an 8 minute pace (which is way way to fast for me) but I figured after 3 miles or so of that, I would be able to slow it down a bit and still be ahead of the game. So there I was, at mile 1 in 8 minutes and 7 seconds. Mile 2 basically the same. Mile 3, a little slower, maybe an 8 minute and 17 second pace but then I started feeling it. I pushed at around an 8:22 pace for the first 10 miles and then I hit the wall.

I felt like the last 3 miles were torture. I maintained around an 8:32 pace and finished it up at 1 hour and 50 minutes and 50 seconds, which was around an 8:27 pace. A new world record for me.

The more and more I try to run for speed, the more and more I realize that I am not built to run fast. Far – yes but fast – no.

I live to race another day!

Frank Cardia

Frank Cardia does the Queens Half Marathon

Frank Cardia does the Queens Half Marathon

The plan was set. I was set today to brake my record for a half marathon (1hr 56 min).

I arrived at the race early and parking was terrible, so I had to run about 1 mile to get to the actual start of the race. So far not off to a good start.

The race started at 7 am on the dot and w’e’re off.

The first 7 miles, I felt great and I was on pace to beat my record by 4 minutes. From mile 7 to mile 9, I really started feeling the pounding of running that fast. I think me and my buddy Matt were averaging about a 8:40 pace per mile (which is way too fast for me to be running).

At mile 10, I started cramping bad in my side, It was a pain that I never felt before. I saw that Matt had a lot of gas left in the tank, so I just told him to run his race and finish hard. I ran for 2 miles with my hands clasped on my head trying to make the pain go away, or at least die down a little but nothing.

Not to bore you with all the details but I did not finish in time. I ended up finishing the race at 2 hrs exactly (4 minutes off my record). It’s amazing how at mile 7, I was crushing it by 4 minutes and then I had an 8 minute swing and wound up missing it by 4 minutes..

But, I live to race another day!

Frank Cardia does his 1st 50 mile run!

This type of a race really puts you in a whole new league. 50 miles is some serious distance to cover on foot and me and my buddy Matt were so unprepared for this race it was ridiculous. We had done 3 previous long runs of 20 miles, 22 miles and 31 miles. So, I don’t know what gave us the crazy thought that we could add somehow another 19 miles and we would just be fine. Not only were we not prepared for the mileage, but we had never ran on anything other then flat, paved roads.

This race was literally in the woods, and I mean, in the woods. You would go miles upon miles and miles and not see anything but trees, rocks and streams. I had never in my life ran on anything close to this and neither did Matt. We figured it would take us 11-12 hours ( going off our previous races ).

We ended up being out there for almost 14 hours. Yes, I said 14 hours of straight running! (13 hours and 42 minutes to be exact ).

We started to go a little stir crazy at about mile 40 or so, normally on all our runs we laugh and crack jokes, not this one.

At one point, we weren’t even speaking to each other for what seemed like an hour or so. Looking back it was actually amazing all the emotions you go through when you put your body and mind through such torture.

There was a cut off time we needed to reach by mile 31, (7:30) in order to continue on to finish up the rest of the race and I had missed it by a 20 minutes but we pleaded with Joe, the race director, to let us keep going and he did. Normally they would of just let you do the 50k (31 miles) and made you call it a day but Joe let us go back out and finish. ( Thanks Joe, good looking out! )

This was certainly one for the record books. 50 miles ain’t no walk in the park!

100 miles coming soon!

I live to race another day

Frank Cardia takes on the Turkey Swamp

The race was supposed to start at 8:00 am then some how it got pushed back to 8:30 am. We didn’t kick off till closer to 8:45 or so. Which means one thing, you are out there later in the day when it’s scorching hot! For the first 17-20 miles it wasn’t actually that bad. I mean it was hot but not unbearable. By the time I got into the 20’s and I had been running for 4 hours or so and it was like 1 pm, it was then like running through an oven at that point. The worst thing to do when your out there doing these long runs or long bike rides, is at some point start asking yourself “ why am I doing this ?” You really need to keep a positive mental attitude, because it could only take one second of doubt to convince your mind and body to just throw in the towel. So my main focus when pushing myself like this is making sure I am only filling my head with powerful thoughts and positive questions..

6 ½ Hours later — Ah, the finishing line.

You cross that line and they give you that medal and suddenly it was all worth it !!!

Another race in the books.

I live to race another day

Frank Cardia does his 2nd IronMan


This was actually an Ultra IronMan. A regular IronMan is a 2.4 mile swim then a 112 mile bike ride and then a 26.2 mile run. This race was all that except the bike was a bit longer (124.4 miles)…. Now you got to understand, most people go a lifetime thinking about getting up the courage to do even one of these crazy races.. I know guys who have been doing triathlons for several years and never even think about doing an IronMan… Just so you understand the magnitude of this type of a race.

I had just got done, the week before, doing a full Ironman in Panama City Florida (Nov 4th) The Panama City IronMan took me 13 hrs and 48 minutes to complete that race… Thats a long time to be on your feet in the Florida sun..(So up until then, that was the longest day for me )

Freeport IronMan topped that!

The race was a great race and I am so glad I did race it and that I can say I have done 2 IronMan Triathlons within the same week… (Not many people on the planet have done that )

But, it was the longest 15 hours and 15 minutes of my entire life. I never ever thought it was going to end. I went from 6:30 AM to 9:45 PM. So the next time your on the treadmill for 20 minutes or riding the stationary bike for 40 minutes and you start getting a little tired and want to stop. Please, remember this story and I hope I encourage you to keep going.

I live to race another day.


The 10k that whipped Frank Cardia

The Ghosts and Goblins 10K in Wanaque.

Doing this race was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve done throughout all my racing and training.

I had torn my ankle out playing basketball on Oct 6th, about 3 weeks prior. Actually, I had what was called a Lisbane fracture. When I tell you that my foot swelled up like a football and it was not only black and blue, but it was more like a deep deep purple. I had never in 33 years ever seen anthing quite as disturbing to look at. The bruises went from the my tip of my toes to the middle of my calf.

I really wasn’t able to walk much of October, and obviously did no training at all. A bunch of my buddies were already doing the race so game day I made a decision.

I figured that I would just wrap it tight in an Ace bandage and I should be good. DUMB!

This race set me back like 3 months. I was not able to really get out and start putting the mileage back on my legs for quite some time. You live and learn but…

I live to race another day!