Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Confusion at the pool

Well my swim coach agreed to meet me at the pool for a 1-on-1 but because of the holiday yesterday got things screwed up. So I spent 20 minutes watching a local high school team do their drills. Holy Crap they are strong and fast. I watched one kid, just a bull, absolutely haul his ass down the lane and was so strong he could stop his stroke and coast the last 4 meters to the side and still have to stop himself on the wall.

I will never be that good. Gosh I must have twice the years on the kid and 1% of his training, but I studied his stroke and his kick and if they help me focus on what I have to do to improve so that I ultimately finish 2.4 miles, well what can I say.

I guess what I am saying is this, even though I may never talk to 1/4of the people I admire for a few fleeting moments, I take something away and appreciate the learning. That got me thinking or trying to think of all the folks I have watched and by watching become more inspired, more pumped up, more thrilled of my own goals and aspirations.

Its the same with the people's blogs that I read. I am so enthralled with Shelley and Oldman. Shelley for her just flat out blessing running Boston and doing Kona in the same year and the process she is going through. Oldman, because damn he trains hard, harder than me maybe and he's twice my age. I wish I had Shelleys race schedule and Oldmans training base. But I don't so tomorrow at 0315 I will get up and drag myself the pool and remember that kids stroke and powerful kick and just dream...

A Question Posed

Let me ask a few questions, your answers are not right or wrong, but personal opinion. What is the first answer that pops into your head, before you go to the next question.

1. You finished a bike workout. You are gone for 2 hours but spent 30 minutes changing two flat tires. Do you log the workout as 90 minutes or 2 hours?

2. You finished a bike workout. You rode out to a Starbuck, had coffee for 30 minutes, and came home. It took you 90 minutes to get to and from Starbucks. Do you log this as a 90 minute workout or 2 hours?

3. You go on a 30 minute run. 10 minutes into the run you develop a shin splint that is too painful to run so you walk home. Getting home takes 20 minutes. Is this a DNF run, a 10 minute run or do you log it as a 30 minute run as it was the same amount of time you planned on being out anyway?

Did you find any difference between the bike questions? What about the run?

Monday, May 30, 2005

A New Week Presents Itself

Well, back on track this morning with my usual Monday morning stretching, core and run session. This was a SSD, Short, Slow, Distance. I did the normal 30 minutes and added some light pole sprints in the last 3/4 mile along the road back to the Casa.

I was think of my injury to my nerve and I actually got some good training in last week. 3 hours rehab, 2 hours cycling, 2 hours climbing a mountain, 45 minute swim. Thats almost 8 hours. Its not pretty but its going in the books.

I though about this weekend I have a 3 day resort session with some friends from work. Instead of going out of town on vacation we pack up the families and go to a big vacation resort in town and stay there. We all hang by the pool, go eat, hang out, very relaxing. Got to remember to pack workout clothes to get in my long runs.

While running, I thought about Wil. She has a marathon this weekend I think. And I thought of all the 'last week' confusion that will assault her. I remembered all the months of training and sacrificing I go through for marathons and how I always managed or just managed to screw it all up because I let doubt creep in. I let my Right Mind be swayed by my Evil Mind. "Oh, I have to take these gels I have never tasted, not my tried and true because the vendor said they taste better". "Oh I have never used salt tablets in training but I see people buying them at the expo, lets introduce that in the race." Get through all that using the Right Mind and it still dosen't even prepare you for the the all time dirtiest trick of them all. Saved until the moment before the race starts, Evil Mind plays to your pride and says, "I'm not as fat as that person, surely I can run faster than him/her." Can you say Bonk! ?

Wil, if you read this, you are ready. You are trained, you are prepared. The only advice I want you to listen to all week is of course mine and its this, Stick to your plan, don't do anything you haven't already done or tried in training. The sleep two nights before the race is more important than the night before (who sleeps the night before a big race?) Walking and finishing is still finishing.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Mighty Mo wearing his first wetsuit at swim training. Its a sporty one piece with removable foam inserts for additional bouancy located in the front and rear of the suit. Generous fabric in the shoulder and hips allows for ease of thrashing and fit comfortably over swim diapers.  Posted by Hello

What is it with strawberries?

I make a conscious decision to avoid strawberries. I won't eat them. I refuse to eat them in any food. I won't buy or eat food that has strawberries in them.

You see, strawberries are taking over the world. Everything you can possibly eat has strawberries in them. One friend when I was explaining that strawberries are in everything said, "Well what about beef they dont put strawberries in beef?" Well I do eat beef, and thank the good Lord no one has figured out how to add strawberries to that but I refuse to buy or consume protien bars with them in it. That made sense to him.

I am so sick of seeing strawberries. The reason I mention this was at the conference dinner last week the salad had, you guessed it strawberries. I asked who wanted them and thats how we got on the subject. They had a good laugh and then later when desert arrived...yep, you guess it brownies with strawberries AND strawberry sauce. They laughed at my observation but now they begin to understand.

Its a conspiracy I tell you! Think about it almost everything comes in strawberry. I so sick of seeing and tasting it that many, many months ago I said "Enough, begone".

Oh I still eat other berries, eat them all the time. I love blackberries and raspberries, huckleberrys, blueberries, snozberries, just about all berries, except that cursed strawberry. Did you know that strawberries are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside of the skin. Thats scary right there.

I am sure that many of you have certain food foilables, don't eat certain M&M's, avoid either Coke or Pepsi but not both, you see my point. Love to eat cookies but refuse to eat Oreo's.

Its been even longer since I have had anything Cherry related, years in fact. Cherry is in everything. I had an upset stomach, pre-lactose intolerance discovery, so I bought Pepto Bismol. Damn thing now comes in Cherry flavor. I refused to open it. I went through hell that night because of that damn Cherry flavor. They even make cherry flavored chapstick, whats up with that? Its not like your supposed to eat it. Cherry flavor is sick.

Cherrys are the Devil. Strawberries are the Devil. I can't have cheese anymore and I am still trying to get used to avacados. Please Lord don't start putting strawberries on hamburgers.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A 2.0 megabyte picture of my mentor, business partner and friend, Neil Schober and his daughter Chrystal coming down the Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix Arizona.

This is the first posted photo from my new toy the Philips Keyring Camera. I was a bit disappointed with my first few photos but after I learned to be a bit more stable its great for what I want, something to take on hikes, runs and biking.

Feel a bit beat up from all this conference stuff but feel I have been completely healed from my pinched nerve and hamstring issue from the fitness challenge last weekend and ready for some good old fashioned tri training.

Legs Okay

Had a good climb up Camelback today. Leg feels great. Took it slow. I helped sherpa two people up who eventually quit at some point so I set my longest time going up today at 50 minutes. Saw many people turn around. These employees need to do more than just lift weights, hahaha

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hamstring Update

Its the sixth day of my pinched nerve, thrown out back and stretched hamstring.

Waking up this morning the right big toe is still numb but the rest of the foot is better, my back and hamstring are not in a lot of pain just tight. Especially the hamstring.

I think if I do some corrective stretching today and get my rehab tonight that I will not cause any significant re-damage during my climb tomorrow.

Being in this conference and injuried has really thrown off my tri-balance and look forward to this weekend and definitely next week when I can start winding things back up again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Conference Day 1 done

Well it went better than I thought it would. The highlight of the day came right in the begining when the CFO and my partner showed us how much money we will be making in the next two years. Its been seven long years since I felt like I have made any money. I am not broke, so no pity, but I am making way less than my worth. (We all feel that way don't we?) But in my case as a self employeed business owner I get to pay taxes on money I don't even get to touch because it goes back into the company. So for example, if you take home $50,000 but you actually made $150,000 and the difference was put back into the company to cover costs, you still pay the IRS on the bigger number. So it will be nice to finally get a profit check early next year.

Tomorrow is a non-training day as I can't run, can't bike and the day won't be over until midnight so I can't really get up at 0330 for a swim. But I am skipping out of our go kart racing event early so I can go get a rehab session with Simon before I climb Camelback Friday.

Oh I know I am an idiot. But I am kinda tied into this and it would be bad juju to bug out. I have an appointment set with Simon for just after that as well since he has the rest of the weekend off for Memorial Day.

I Can Swim!

Finally I got back onto a morning schedule for a swim. I put in 850 meters in a very chlorinated pool. Have to talk to my maintanence guy, well at least its not under treated...I'll let it go.

1x25 warm up
8x25 hand touch drills
4x25 fist drill
4x25 finger drag drill

(add one recovery lap per drill)

Leg felt good, even on the push offs. Hit Starbucks got breakfast for the fam, just a tall black coffee for me.

Maybe on breaks I will go pump out a quick set on chest press, if I don't have any other pressing issues.

OH WAIT, I got my tiny phillips camera last night and will post something today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Allow me a non training rant

I am a bit cranky and next to my computer so I thought I would put a vent out there in the blogesphere.

For the last week or so I have been hyper sensitive to people that forget to do something I ask them to do and its starting to get to me. Just now for example, I asked Mistress to grab a pair of sweat pants for me to ice my hamstring since she was going upstairs to put the Mighty Mo down. She forgot and I had to trudge up to the closest and get them. It happens, people forget, but I am really noticing it a lot.

With all this conference stuff, I am asking people to do all sorts of things for me and then they drop the ball and it becomes my emergancy because they didn't get it done. I will ask someone on the phone with someone else to ask a simple question for me before they hang up, get a number or add up a total, and that person will forget and I have to call them myself, which I was going to do anyway but it would have been so much faster and saved time if it had just been done. I will tell someone I need their presentation e-mailed or handed to me by a certain time so it can be loaded into the laptop and they don't get it to me. So the phone calls begin again and the excuses flow again.

I think my biggest issue is that I have been feeling more and more abused for having a servants atittude. I have been doing a lot of tasks and handed a lot of responsibility for things that have zero recognition and getting very little thanks. I don't need much and I am very appreciative and recognize when I get it but its just...I don't know.

When a partner wants a handout to look exactly like it does on the sheet of paper they worked on at Starbucks, they have no concept of how to build diagrams or sizing or spacing or equations or charts. They just want it perfect and they want it in two hours before they gave it too me.

When I tell people I may not climb Camelback because I pinched a siatic nerve and blah, blah, blah they just look at me and sometimes even say, "Well how did you get hurt, you didn't compete?" No but I did load and unload an average of twelve 45 pound plates for 60 people over the course of five hours and had to stop the weight sled from slamming into an employee at least a dozen times by pivoting from a kneeling position on one knee to a 45 degree press (12x45= 540 plus 50 pound sled= roughly a 600 pound weight sled that I had to stop moving from a kneeling position) so the employee could lock out the sled. No wonder my right side is fired up.

Okay I feel better now.

Well This Should Be Fun

So far this looks to be an okay set up for the conference. I only have to deal with a/v stuff this year, I don't have a speech or anything like last year when I memorized a 35 minute speech on leadership and recited it verbatim. I actually enjoyed that and was considered the best presentation of the conference. I didn't actually think so as I only memorized someone elses speech and didn't have to create anything. BTW, if you have the time, read that speech on leadership. If you don't bookmark the page and come back to it.

I only have one small problem this year, its this woman. I will call here Fifi. Fifi is the most annoying person I have ever met. She drove me nuts last year and already I am ready thinking bad things. Everything she says is annoying and off topic.

The rest of us are in sensible business or quasi-athletic attire (we are in the fitness business ya know) but Fifi is in cotton draw sting clam digger pants and flip flops with a big flower on the 'toe stem'. Totally bohemian. '

Fifi runs a minor department, yet considers herself a player at the table. Unfortunatley she is led to believe that she's a player. She calls her department a term that is coined by our competitor and it drives me nuts. It is one of my biggest pet peeves to hear employees use other company's lingo to describe our departments and services.

We re-designed our conference room to accomidate a new academy we are starting. We took a bunch of old plaques down to give to the clubs that won them and they were stacked in a corner. I made a crack about handing out awards at the conference to the Arizona clubs and a Washington person had a canniption fit that we were giving out awards and they weren't. I thought she might have an attack that there was not some sort of parity to whats going on. Ah politics.

I have a real dry humor and make a lot of remarks that if you didn't know me, would think that I was just being extremely forward or rude. Of course 100% of the people I am close too know this as they have the same type of humor, but there is always that guilable person that takes everything sooooo seriously.

I hope I can keep it together for the next three days. Lord, I pray that my hamstring heals up for my climb up Camelback, if I don't get out of it. I pray you give me wisdom to keep my big mouth shut and supernatural power to stay awake during the boring presentations.

Quick Update

Got a quick break from the pre-conference meeting, meeting. The leg is feeling better, still not much sensation in my right foot but its getting less numb. Had another treatment this morning and the hamstring is still on fire.

Simon, is releashing me to swim now, so tomorrow at 0400 it will back to the pool for my 1200 meters.

I have already resigned myself to missing the 5k this weekend and just praying that all the therapy will prep me for the climb up Camelback mountain on Friday.

Will get more out later, now back to the frontlines.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Leg Update

Well I went to Simon, the best non-medical doctor ever, and he did his magic on me for the better part of an hour. He pretty much said it all, "You're about a 8.0 on my Jacked Up Scale. A 10 being non-functional in bed." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

After a torture session with him, vibrating, stretching, sucking, rolling, adjusting and contorting me, I now feel marginally better. I actually have a couple of impinged nerves, one affecting my right foot and the other affecting my right thigh, which has slowly siezed up throughout the day on the outer quadricep and the hamstring. I'm walking around like I have a massive charlie horse.

I really wish Simon had a website to promote the stuff he does because it is flat out miracle work, IMHO.

I need to get to him at least two more times this week but this conference prep is killing my time. Training right now is secondary to full recovery Friday morning, so I can do a hike up Camelback Mountain as part of the conference team building. Guh.

This Is Not A Fun Day For Me

Well I am an idiot. I woke up in a lot of pain Sunday and didn't treat myself nearly anywhere close to how I should have. I will try to post my struggles with pulling off my company's fitness challenge and dinner/awards ceremony sometime this week in order to explain my condition this morning.

The results of all my efforts on Saturday ended with me throwing out my back in a big way and pinching a nerve in my spine. So Saturday night I went to bed with no feeling on the outside of my right hand and inside of my right foot. Isn't it funny how that happens? Oh yeah, plus the whole back outta whack hunched over walk thing.

When I woke Sunday, my inside right foot and big toe and outside right hand and last two fingers were numb to the touch. Kinda like when your foots asleep but you don't have the pins and needles sensation yet, kinda deadened. But I had invited my dad over to help clean up some palm tress in my front yard and get them to the dumps. Why did I not just cancel?

Well, there is a lot of different palm trees, these particular two that I have in my front yard happen to have a 'neuro-toxin' in the tips of their extremely, extremely sharp points. I know this because I was poked a few times last year and had some complications. I forgot about all that until the exact moment that I grabbed an end of a frond and got a tip speared about a 1/4 inch into the muscle between my right thumb and index finger. Not only did the puncture hurt like hell, but then it also went numb and can't make a decent fist to grab stuff.

So here I am with the outside part of my right hand numb and the inside part of my right hand hurting like I have been stabbed, oh wait... I have... by me. So the only part of my hand not giving me any problems is the one I use to flip people off. Plus I am bending over like a hundred times to clean up all the mess from the palms. Did I mention it hit 107 today.

Then I drive to the dump and it's closed. So now I have to go there before work today and unload this massive amount of tree debris before it dries out in the heat and starts blowing away. Then go to work and change into good clothes.

My hand is finally starting to stop throbbing from the puncture enough to hunt and peck my way through this post. The one smart thing I have done this whole time is I scheduled an appointment with my chiropractor for mid morning, I knew all the time I spent pushing and grabbing heavy weights would do me in and would need some help. Also no workout this morning. And to think this is supposed to be a busy, hectic week. God save me.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Oh Lord the Heat Is Here

Tomorrow I will post how the big company event I put on went. I suppose the lucky part to not 'training' today was that it got to 110 degrees. WTF! So outdoor activity would have been an a-kicker, not that the six hours I spent on, over and around a leg press was a piece of cake. Oh my aching back.

It is supposed to get to 113 degrees over the next two days then drop to a modest 105* or so the rest of the week. (In my sarcastic voice I say) "Week, how about next four months." Can you say sunblock?

The Fitness Challenge

This is the fifth year of my company's, fitness challenge. I have trained for it four times and competed in it twice. You see for some reason I am always tasked to run the damn thing and be the head judge and coordinate the awards dinner afterwards because, well I get things done and in our competitive company I am considered the most fair because I have no allegiance to any one particular club.

I have done well in the past. I finished 10th one year and 12th the second time. Which is good because I was kickin the crap out of young stud personal trainers ten or more years younger than me who thought they were tough stuff. I have two other partners who have each won or been Top 3 each year they have competed and their older than me. The other two times I trained for it, I was called upon to do other things like judging and I just didn't have the time. This year I just kept with the tri program.

The events are done 'round robin' and there is six hours to do the five events. I doesn't take five hours unless you want it to, mostly its to stagger people through. Each correct repetition or minute of cardio equals one point. In no particular order is the Military Sit Up, done under a two minute time limit, a full sit up, hands behind the head, as many a you can do using strict from of coming all the way up. Cardio is an event that is using an elliptical machine on its highest random level for a max of 60 minutes and the rpm's can't drop below a set point (the majority of people do not finish the full time).

The others are based on the contestants weight which is taken at sign in and have no time limit. A bicep curl using 35% of your body weight (ladies 30%), we change this each year from one bicep exercise to another, this year is a seated hammer strength preacher curl. A standard flat bench press men using 100% of their weight and ladies 60%. Lastly, the kicker, is a leg press everyone doing 3x their body weight.

The form on each is critical, as we do deduct points. I guess I get to be head judge because no one dare cross a decision that I make or back up. I have stood toe to toe in the heat of competition with some of the most competitive people and ready to slug em in the head because they want to slug me in the head for stripping points off their total sit up count for bad form (real example). There can be lots of screaming and grunting, (I could still be the loudest on the leg press) but hey I had to push 600 pounds and would do it consistently around 50 reps, most all the other guys doing those reps and some much, much more, weigh under 160 pounds when wet. On the leg press was giving up 120 pounds in plates, you'd be screaming too!

So I am swamped all day setting up, directing, judging, hopefully not arguing or calling an ambulance, coordinating the catered dinner, ranking the contestants, coordinating the awards ceremony and making sure everything is taken down. On top of that its at our newest club which is about an hour away, so got to add two hours to driving time.

Its going to be a long day.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I Love New Gadgets

I bought a new toy and can't wait for it to arrive. I have generally been very jealous of Tri Geek Kahuna and Wil, for their ability to post just really amazing pictures and seamlessly incorporate them into their daily posts.

Then I found out that Kahuna has a staff photographer, Kevin, who follows him around the world to Alaska, London, Wildflower, I think I saw a picture of him at Stonehenge, I wish he had followed him for his beach run wearing only a Speedo and a smile a few months ago. Wil on the other hand, is pretty enough to give her camera to anyone who falls under her spell and they will give it back to her, instead of running off with it like they would with me, or that she too has a posse of paparazzi that follow her around.

So I made some changes. First I downloaded Flickr, which so far is easier to post photos online than Hello. Though Hello does have some really good, quick editing functions that I haven't seen yet with Flickr. Second instead of my normal routine of NOT packing a big bulky digital camera on my runs and rides I bought a Philips Keyring Camera.

No battery, just plug the USB into a slot for a recharge. With Win XP there is no additional drivers to install its reads like a jump drive, with drag and drop capability into my picture folders. It is incredibly small so I can tuck it into the key pocket inside my running shorts or on my water belt, it comes with a lanyard but probably won't use it. Now I can take 2.0 mp photos during my workouts and not be encumbered. I am so excited. It should be here next week. I found it on amazon.com for only $59.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Wow That Was Cool

Just finished my 1-on-1 and boy did I learn a lot. Christopher Aikens with Sun Devil Masters program took me through many drills. He is very laid back, is a triathlete himself so he understands my goals and believes they are very doable.

I did not stay for the tri-swim group but will get back to them at the end of the month after the conference. He is actually a member, loves my clubs and I hooked him up with one of my trainers to train him 1-on-1.

He figures I did about 600 yards and my drill set until our next session is the following:
8x25 fingertip drill or shark fin drill?
8x25 catch up drill or hands out in front and hand touches hand before next one moves
8x25 fist drill or swim with closed hands

After each 25 meter drill I do a recovery 25 of free swim. So its a 1200 meter workout.

I love structure.

A bit of the nerves

I have my first 1-on-1 lesson with my new swim instructor in an hour and then if I am not completely fried after the 30 minute lesson I will stay for the triathlete swim group he runs several times a week.

But I am a little nervous. I know I am not a strong swimmer and I am eager to learn and I like being coached and motivated...but still..its swimming. I am self conscious about myself, by myself, let alone in a group of others wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. And I brought both, the normal board trunks I wear when I must be around a pool and people and my VERY conservative Speedo brief, that I wear during my 0400 swim when I am by myself in the pool. I guess I just have that feeling of not wanting the be the last guy in the pool or the last guy to make it to the side or being the 'big' guy poolside.

Also I have a bit of the nerves because I have two huge projects coming due within the next week. My company holds a big fitness contest for the employees and I am the one ultimately responsible to make sure its judged fairly and accurately (theres lots of money involved and ego and competition) and the awards dinner afterwards, plus all the computer scoring and assorted issues that arise. Its a tremendous strain on me and will write about that probably Sunday to decompress.

Next week is a big conference of all the key people in Pure Fitness from both States, Arizona and Washington. I really don't want to be in it but I know its important. This year I don't have anything to teach but again I am in charge of setting up the conference room, making sure all the audio/visual issues are sorted out and that kind of stuff. Last year I did all that plus memorized a 35 minute speech verbatim to give to all assembled. I have somewhat of a photographic memory, if I do say so myself.

I just found out today that I will be going into a recording studio to dub a letter my boss/partner wrote and it will be put onto a CD and given to everyone plus extras for other people. You may not know this but I do have a rather good reading voice. Its just that with all the other things going on I have no clue how to fit a two to three hour block to get to a studio and record this letter. I read through it once today and it was 45 minutes of talking. I know I am going to need to re-dub some areas, as I can't do a perfect job in one take. But my partner would not ask me to do something that I can't handle so I will handle it all.

Damn 45 minutes till my lesson.

Allegric to Technology

I'm not sure if I have posted about this but I had a bad reaction to a Timex Marathon Heart Rate Monitor last year. Its still haunting me.

Long story short, after wearing this HRM for a few months I suddenly one day developed a really bad skin reaction to it, almost exactly like a chemical burn. It itched, rashed out, developed bumps, the only thing it did not do was peel over its three week healing. So obviously I put it away. Every few months I would try it on and get the same reaction. Each time doing something else to it to clean, to see if it was a reaction to an agent I used on it.

I finally contacted Timex last month and they were very helpful and concerned and asked me to send the HRM for a free replacement. I finally got my new one Monday and tested it for only an hour and a half. Here is the results...

You can even see the dot on my right side rash which was the slot for the strap. I took this picture the next morning to e-mail to Timex and see what they say.

Obviously I can't wear this anymore, and it must be my skin's reaction to the material used, not the fault of Timex, I love Timex gear. So I am thinking of switching to another HRM and wonder which ones you people use? I am thinking of going really hi-tech with a system like Polar, Garmin or Nike, that can capture HR, running and cycling information, though I have issues with all of them.

I have used Polar in the past and found their watch interface really difficult for me to get used to compared to Timex. I owned an original Polar HRM back in 1995 and bought another before returning it for the Timex in late 2003. I also see they have a HRM that does not have the thick molded plastic that stretches across the front, just a little plastic in the middle for the sensor.So I may go back to them but not sold yet. I simply don't like Nike's watch design and number style. Garmin looks good but the watch is huge and only has a ten hour battery before a re-charge, thats annoying.

So any ideas?

The future of 'core training'

I would like to thank those of you who have left comments on my two very long posts going over 'core training'. 1, 2. In a effort to continue the educational process, I will continue to answer some excellent comment box questions openly in ongoing posts so that all can benefit, though hopefully in not so long a post as those recently.

What should recently pregnant women do who have a separation in tva. How long till core workout is advised-is it ever contraindicated? (Tri mama) Awesome question and important to women who exercise. A separation in the TVA would suggest a c-section delivery. To my knowledge, I asked our OB-GYN and other medical professionals during my wife's pregnancy along with my own research, there is absolutely no long-term damage to the TVA from this form of delivery. A c-section cuts through all layers of skin and muscle to remove the baby from the womb. Already your muscle fibers are stretched to an extreme limit. Post-partum, it is more important to heal fully and care for the new addition. Returning to exercise in general is not recommended for at least three weeks after c-section, which is still considered a big deal surgery. Long term their is no evidence the surgery causes any loss of function to activity's which your TVA would activate.

I've heard that core training is a hit all kind of a workout program, as you inevitably must use other muscle groups not actually part of the core in order to do the core exercises. (Wil) Yes and no. 'Core' training doesn't necessarily work your entire body, like say a bicep curl works your entire bicep. Kinesylogiest can explain better than I, but essentially all your inherent and latent power come from your activation of TVA. The TVA is the key to a highly functioning kinetic chain, read #2 for refresher on kinectic chain. By becoming sensitive to your kinetic chain, through TVA activation and incorporating Functional Exercises, your entire body assists the movement and the exercise becomes easier to perform and your body can then load more stress upon it, through progressing to more unstable platforms or increasing weight .

It is important to separate fact from gym myth and Wil allows me to bring up an important point. Just like you can't, "Turn fat into muscle", you can't create greater leg strength by laying back on a Swiss ball to do a dumbbell chest press. Core training, as a perjorative, will not make you stronger. The only thing that will make you empirically stronger is to overload the muscle group(s) with stimulus like a big heavy weight, or in specific functional training exercises, your own body weight.

As more and more people become familiar and open to functional training, the progression will come not from personal trainers but from physical therapists and probably more specifically chiropractors. Scheduling a session with one of these professionals will become as standard as meeting with your trainer at the gym. Many gyms, mine included, have medical professionals qualified to do these sessions in them or nearby.

Active Release Technique (ART)- I love this therapy, and so does the World Triathlon Organization as they endorse it at their events. The premise is that as people overtrain the body they create areas of scar tissue on the muscle and fascia. ART is a hands-on approach to detecting and then removing this build up of scaring so that the kinetic chain can work unimpeded. ART is basically an invigorating massage but so much more.

Graston-very similar to ART, it detects scaring and trauma of the muscle and fascia and using specific stainless steel tools, (I call one of them the butter knife) the user massages the tissue and 'rubs' the blockages away. It is not a pleasant sensation, but very effective. I have this done on my hamstrings and sometimes upper back.

Mineral Cocktails-Ever wonder how your body responds to exercise, such as how much sodium, potassium and other electrolytes exit your body in physical activity? Ever wonder how much and what types of vitamins, minerals and aminos your deficient and how to replace them?

Wait no more my friends, you will soon be able to go to the corner 'lab' and after a thorough initial work up get your own personal replacement cocktail. Oh but you don't drink it, its either injected or given intravenously. You have heard of B12 shots right? Insulin injections? All preventives medicines to cure a condition. But...how do you feel after running a marathon or half-ironman? That's a condition too.

If you could go leave a race and go get a 'rejuvenation I.V' that replaces all your electrolytes, sodium, cell fluids, add an anti-inflammatory or better to repair damaged tissue, plus replace all your vitamins, amino acids, maybe add a little jolt to it so you don't have to go home a sleep all day, would that interest you? Sure the hell does me! And I am doing it next time I have a big race. Maybe I will see if he can add a little prozac if its a bad race, haha.

I have been praying for Wil to get better before her marathon, shes sick, and I wonder if she would be interested in a preventative cocktail that would be optimized for her body and recieved once per month. It would boost her immune system with pro-botics to defeat colds that enter her body when its run down by heavy training loads. I know I want one. The concept is no different than those that stand in a line for their flu injections at the local grocery store each winter.

IV cocktails have been around for a long time as sort of a back alley thing and getting more and more acceptance, mostly because of peoples hook up with needles. Years ago, when I was in the military, my squad would get a pass and we would go get just hammered at the closest bar possible. We would crawl back into the barracks with only a few hours before a grueling run and workout in the morning. Well, the friendly neighborhood medic would hook us up to IV's while we where passed out in the bunks and we would wake up on time with no hangovers. Yippee.

MediSpa's- I was watching the news the other night and a local doctor, whom I know and is a great guy, is opening a MediSpa at a local fashion square (aka mall). You can go in and without a lengthy process of paperwork you can get a botox treatment or have a microdermabrasion, permanent make up, spider vein removal, etc. Then go next door and get that new shirt at the Gap, or walk down to Sbarros for a slice of pizza. I call them McTreatments, after McMansions. Cosmetic service at mall hours.

Functional training is the core of 'core' training. This glimpse into the near future is all happening now. Just like ten years ago, core training was called physical therapy, and the only way you saw a Swiss ball was at a hospital after a knee surgery. Then it was covered under medical insurance and now you pay for it at your local gym. Botox a few years ago was only heard of in NY or LA, now its competing for space at the local mall. Massage and Spa palors where only available at big hotels and resorts, now in Phoenix, theres massage stores popping up like tanning centers. Oxygen bars were just the begining, soon you will order a pre-mixed or self ordered solution, off a menu and injected into your body. (like ordering a smoothy-"Oh sir, can I get the BCAA, electrolyte mix, with a vitamin booster, pro-botic, I think I'm getting a cold, and um could you please add a B12 and Vitamin C kicker too it? Thanks I'll be sitting over there." )

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Please Lord, Bring August To Me

Most people don't like to discuss their age. They confuse, distract or deaf ear any notion of their age. Sometimes they flat out lie about their age and drop it down a few years. Well runners are different. I need to turn 35 years old.

Do you know how difficult it is to compete in the men's 30-34 year old age group which is the most competitve age group in running? Let me give you a hint, I turn 35 on August 1st.

I found the results for the Cheetah 5k I ran on Sunday. You can read my race post here.

Overall I came in 58/248.
In my age group I came in 4/8.
BUT-If I was 35 years old and in the next higher age group I would have been 3/12. TOP 3.

This has been happening a lot this year. I do respectable in my class but in the next higher I get respect.

Whats that noise Charle Brown makes when he's mad...oh yeah-AAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH.

The Ability To Core Train

After reading some important comments on 'core training' which I will refer to as TVA activation or Functional Training, I want to point out just a few issues on it's importance. I begin this post with the assumption that you have already read my first post, The Tao of Core. And that the basics have been mastered or understood.

TVA activation is the ability to exercise in a manner that recruits more muscle fiber throughout the body to perform a given task. Functional Training is then incorporating TVA activation exercises and techniques into a fitness program that overall benefits the neuro-muscular system and enhances your kinetic chain. The Kinetic chain is a subconscious recruitment of muscle systems to perform simple tasks, like picking up a book or getting into a low car seat, to complex motions like hitting a 95 mph fast ball, low and inside.

For the average person trying to overcome symptoms of the common man, using functional training in conjunction with a progressive resistance program, sound nutrition, some supplementation and (everyone smile) cardiovascular endurance, is not a very difficult to live a relatively pain free and physically invigorating life.

Like I wrote in my earlier piece, there are many different tools to use when performing these exercises but not all or any are necessary to begin improving your TVA activiaton, begin incorporating functional training and improve your kinetic chain. However first and foremost a person should be diagnosed by a certified personal trainer who has been trained to assess postural deviations to suggest appropriate corrective movements and stretches to put your body back into alignment. Who do you feel buying your running shoes from, the guy at Meryns or the runner working at the your local running shoe store? Exactly. Don't copy what you see someone else doing because you may have no idea what their doing it for. To get a bit techy here, "Why stretch for an anterior pelvic tilt if your dealing with Upper Cross Syndrome?"

Most exercises in the beginning require only an educated mentor and your body weight. While you may not get stronger at one specific movement like a bench press using just your body weight, you will be doing exercises that will strengthen your kinetic chain and through that become a better athlete, to a point.

Using Swiss balls, dyna-discs, bands, tubing, medicine balls and light dumbbells allow you to push your body through additional processes that now involve greater strength and progress you through greater unstable environments. Which as I explained earlier, instability is the primary focus of 'core training'.

The movements in functional training are designed to mimic real world scenarios. For example, someone tell me the last time you used a movement similar to a behind the neck lat pulldown machine? Or the last time you thanked yourself for doing all those upright rows with a barbell? Exactly, staples of bodybuilding but not really applicable to real life.

In functional training you perform exercises that seem funny like the single leg squat or the Romanian Dead Lift? (the RDL, a great movement BTW, stand on one leg, keeping it straight, lean forward from the hips down till your parallel to the ground and back up, doing a set of repetitions, like a touch your toes stretch) The RDL may seem boring or look silly and slow but you have no concept of how crucial it is to a person with back problems building that area of the body so they can get in and out of a car with some degree of ease. Ever throw your back out just picking up something off the floor, a single leg squat mimics that movement. See functional training has real world application.

Now when you get to a triathletes level of functional training, or a football player, basketball, baseball, soccer player, even in golf, we need to begin discusses functional training in relation to sport specific training.

Upper Cross Syndrome is a condition that affects the shoulders, neck and head. Symptoms include a forward head, shoulders that roll or droop forward and a upper back that tires easily, the chest is pulled in.

Do you think a triathlete would benefit from knowing how to overcome Upper Cross if they have it?
How about in the pool, by bringing your head back into alignment, you reduce body drag in your swim.
How about on the bike? Upper Cross Syndrome can rob power from your legs if your chest can't open up enough to get a lung full of air.
How about the run? If your back is already weak, well its supposed to be holding your head up and pushing your chest out, isn't it? It should be.

Each sport has its own functional training techniques. A basketball player or running back may use plyometrics or explosive movements to improve vertical jumping or lateral quickness. Does a triathlete need to practice explosive movements? Heck no.

There are a tremendous amount of resources available to someone to improve their TVA activation and start a functional training program. If your interested, it can become a very educational approach and would not be surprised if you noticed a break through in your training.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

To the Big Kahuna

The post I did called the Tao of Core, was at the behest of Tri Geek Kahuna. He asked that I flesh out a comment on core training I left on his awesome blog. For those of you coming to this blog for the first time from Tri-Geek Dreams, I hope you like what you see.

As for the Great and Almighty Kahuna, thank you for your support and indulgences.

The Tao of Core

Well I had to go and type my big hands off and now try to sound really smart and discuss 'core' training. Well here it goes...

Core Training is basically a catch-all term to describe exercising an area of your body that reside roughly between your diaphram in your torso and the diaphram in your sphincter. It involves a whole spectrum of neuro-muscular connections (brain & muscle working together) in order to achieve a greater rate of overall strength. Can you get stronger? Yes. Is it the best workout for you? Let me put it this way, in really plan terms...any deconditioned person is going to get benefit from progressive resistance activity (i.e. lifting weights), until a point of diminishing returns. Core Training has tremendous benefits but like all good things must be used in moderation.

Core Training is considered 'Modern Fitness' as much as using nothing but barbells and dumbbells is called, 'Old School.' Modern fitness is a term that defines a current movement to bring physical therapy techniques into the health club environment, and that's a good thing really. Ten years ago, no self respecting health club had a dozen big plastic balls floating around and now people won't join a gym without them available.

The problem develops however when people new to exercise are immediately provided a detailed core training program and the exercises are so elaborate that they can only do them when the trainer is there to set everything up and coax them through the movements. Trainers use foreign jargon and strange acronyms that even other trainers can't decipher sometimes. So the downfall of modern fitness is the absolute reliance on a trainer if the person can't catch on to the movements. As much as I appreciate the use of a good personal trainer, I think it is detestable for them to create programs for clients who then can't do them on their own. What's the benefit of core training if no one remembers what to do and how to do it?

Core Training is also a marketing concept. The actual movements of core training involve activating a muscle system called the Transverse Abdominus or in layman's terms TVA (which is what I will call it from now on). The TVA is a band of muscles that stretches completely around your waist and attaches to both sides of your spine. It is buried deep within your body and no matter how thin or how low your body fat is, you will never see it. Think of it as an internal weight belt, much like you see people in the gym use.

By activating the TVA, which I will describe in a moment, your are tightening all the internal muscles around your torso which in effect allows your body to undertake more stressful environments. Now you DO NOT activate your TVA by simply tightening your abs like your about to take a punch to the gut. Rather think of it this way, imagine a fish hook is attached to the back of your belly button, inside you. The line is attached to your spine and you reel in your belly button towards your spine, that's TVA activation.

A little exercise now. Sit up straight in your chair everyone. Good. Now flex your stomach as hard as you can, as if you were going to get punched really hard. Hold it, 1.......2.......3.......4, relax. Did you feel your throat get tight? Did you hold your breath? If you did breath it was labored, huh? Does it feel like you just did ten full sit ups? Go ahead try it again. Well if you felt all that you successfully contracted your abs but not your TVA.

Now sit up straight again. And draw in that belly button towards your spine. Don't hold your breath, breathe naturally. As you breathe and draw in your navel, you'll feel your stomach tighten but not in a 'getting punched' way, but a 'solid muscle' way. Now slowly and out loud count to ten while your breathing. If you can make it past five, still feeling that solid muscle feeling and your not out of breath, then you did it, good job.

Here is an interesting trick to show your progress. Practice TVA activation a few times standing up and counting to ten to make sure you have it down, then go find someone you trust. Walk up to them, stand normally with your feet shoulder width apart and ask them to square up to you and give you a good shove using both hands at shoulder level, not enough to knock you down but enough that a shove will force you to lose balance and take a step backwards to stay upright. Just ask, no one wants to give you the shove you deserve. You'll move because your body is unbalanced. Now before he/she thinks your absolutely nuts, regain your stance, square up but now tighten your TVA. Ask the person to shove you again and you should notice that you didn't lose balance. Oh your upper body may have moved from the impact but your feet should have stayed in place. That's using your TVA.

TVA exercises are based on movements that progress or regress from stable to unstable environments. An example of these environments? Slip off both shoes, come on its an experiment...Stand up, right now, no you don't look foolish, no one knows what your doing. Just stand there for a second, not too difficult you could do that all day long, huh. Now, what's your dominate leg? I want you to lift that foot off the ground, just far just enough to not throw your hips off balance. Notice how your weaker foot and ankle are having to work really hard to keep you upright. That's an unstable environment.

So a TVA exercise is one that you would do in a stable environment but progressively make it more unstable. Instead of a flat, bolted down bench press with a long heavy and weighted bar in both hands, move to a Swiss ball and dumbbells. Using the TVA to control your balance. If its initially too hard then regress by putting your feet against a wall giving you more balance/more stability.

My favorite is The Bridge. Lay face down on the ground. Then lift up your body so only your toes and your forearms are supporting your body weight. Try to form a straight line with your torso and activate TVA. Hold for 15, 30, 60 seconds. A progression is lifting one arm or leg or one of both at the same time.

Marketing people want you to believe that you have to have all these devices to do 'core' training. The only must have, if you must have, is a Swiss ball. A large plastic, inflated ball that you sit on, lay on, press on to create an unstable environment for exercises. I actually do think every home should have one. I know people who use it for desk chairs because the motion of the ball will keep the back muscles from tightening up and you can burn an estimated 300 calories a day more than sitting in a regular chair. Swiss balls are based on height and come in centimeters, get a fitting, its important that its not to big or small. A dyna-disc is a great thing to use. Essentially a flat plastic, round disc of air about the size and shape of a medium, deep crust pizza dish that you can sit on or stand on to create an unstable environment for your feet, especially in say a squat exercise. A dyna-band is a colored piece of rubber tubing used to strengthen muscle and connective tissue, the colors denote how strong the band is. I do not believe that a BOSU ball is the end all, be all of core exercises, like marketing people will tell you. A BOSU ball is basically a Swiss ball cut in half and the flat side is a hard surface. There is a lot you can do with it but its no better than more ready equipment and its more expensive and has limitations. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT YOU REALLY DON'T NEED ANYTHING TO TRAIN YOUR TVA OTHER THAN EDUCATION, YOUR OWN BODY WEIGHT AND AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF PATIENCE BECAUSE YOU WILL GET FRUSTRATED AT NOT BEING ABLE TO DO SOMETHING SO PATHETICALLY EASY.

TVA training or core activation training or whatever else you call it, is primarily a means of creating more strength in your body by using your entire body to accomplish the movement. When utilizing a TVA activated posture in an unstable movement it is entirely possible to reach total body failure before you even feel tension in the area you think your working. See if your TVA is not strong, then your entire body is working from a compartmentalized position. When you were pushed by the co-worker (or soon to be pushed) you fell backwards the first time because your upper body took the brunt of the impact and your feet moved to compensate for loss of balance. The second time, with TVA activation, your legs, your back, your whole body absorbed the push and you didn't lose balance. Starting to make sense now?

Now in the case of advanced athletes, once the basics of TVA are mastered they move into Functional Training. This type of training takes TVA movements and combines them or specializes them to the person. Plyometrics, for example, is one such technique that uses explosive movements sometimes under tension to perform a sport specific function, mostly using gravity but also belts or cables. You can use plyometrics to increase your vertical leap by jumping as high as you can as many times as possible. Then to get higher you attach a rubber strap to a belt around your waist so you can't jump as high, now jump as high.

Core Training is as much a marketing tool as a smart approach to overall fitness and it is very much still in its infancy stages. As society gets more deconditioned and doctors become more proactive to preventing injury we will continue to see a cross over of physical therapy exercises, eastern philosophy (which I didn't touch on but is co-dependent to core training), and sport specific conditioning to offer greater benefits to overall physical fitness.

Monday, May 16, 2005

ITU Ishigaki Triathlon

As important as my race was to me yesterday, I continue supporting the person who really was the impetus for my triathlon life, Joe Umphenour. Joe, in his mid 30's, is still living his dream of being a professional triathlete after a dozen years of racing. There are bigger names in the ITU world, (i.e. Jessi Stensland to name but one) but few have Joe's 19 year longevity in the sport.

He has been ranked #1 American triathlete in the world in ITU standings and he has missed the Olympic triathlon team twice, though made alternate both times, due to injuries sustained just prior to deciding races. He is currently, I believe, the athlete representative for ITU affairs, sort of a teamster boss, and been asked to color commentary for Olympic distance races because of his background with most of the racers and his boundless energy.

He came in 11th place in Ishigaki, Japan this weekend which will lift him from his current 14th place in ITU's overall standing. Its hard for a back of the packer like me to understand how you can miss being first over the finish line by 1 minute 47 seconds and come in 11th place, but he is a professional and I am not.

More than anything I appreciate the fact that Joe has given up so much to follow his dreams. The life of a professional triathlete is not pockets full of money and lavious lifestyles. Due to his dedication to his sport, as with most triathletes, he forgoes regular paying jobs, relying on sponsors and his race finishes to pay the bills. He is gifted enough to be invited each year back to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs where he has room and board and facilities and coaches that round out his natural ability and energy. Its not easy to maintain or build relationships with people when your life is comsumed with triathlon training and racing and winning.

Joe may never read my blog, he doesn't have too, come to think about it I may never have told him about CMS, but he is in it. He is built into my dna of triathlon. Every workout and race is in someway to prove that I can do what Joe does, but even then he takes its one step farther.

Unexpected Mo Delays

The last two mornings the Mighty Mo has decided to get up at 0330. He stays in the crib but talkative for about an hour but thats it. Mistress was kind enough to not bother me any more than I could have been to prepare for my Sunday race but today, Monday morning, we suffer together. Not sure if it has to do with potty training or the a/c being out and his room being so flipping hot.

Mistress advised me I could still go on the run, but that would just be mean on my part. We are a family first and we need to do this together. Besides its her first day back to work since last Tuesday and she needs all the support possible because we can all recall first days back to work from vacation.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

One last thing for the day...

Okay it officially hit 100 degree's today. So here is a few rambling thoughts as I go to sleep...

1)Upstairs a/c is broken and temp. in bedrooms are hovering at 85 degrees. Call home warranty in the morning.
2)How's the heat play out this week and adjust outside workouts accordingly.
3)Deliver latte and flowers to Mistress office Monday morning, her first day back to work in a week...order take out for Monday night... and a bottle of wine.
4) Finalize cycling group this weekend to schedule long ride and long run accordingly.
5)Finalize swim coach program, first one-on-one and then group swim Thursday night.
6) Introduce speed drill day in running program
7) Buy 'Going Long'

Race #4- inaugural Race For The Cheetah 5k

Was going to title this post as, "Mind says not good enough, Body says that's as far as I am going, piss off."

For the Valley Of The Sun this was a hilly 5k located in the Papago Buttes just north of the Phoenix Zoo. The day started off with its usual pre-race challenges. Mighty Mo got up with the roosters which threw the whole morning thing outta whack. Then I leave for the race and just as I get there realize I left my timing chip at home, so I had to drive 20 minutes back home then 20 minutes back to the race. That was fun.

Still made it to the race in time to grab my number and goodie bag and store everything in the car, then run a few laps to loosen up. Say a couple of hi-speed, lo-drag guys from Scottsdale Running Company I know. When I saw them all I could say was, "Glad your not in my age group." You see they run sub-5's and that just doesn't help me out at all.

The race was HOT. It was 83 degrees when I got out of the truck so was probably 85* to start the race. An out and back on a hard pack canal for the most part. It was a fairly hilly experience as I stated. Nothing the rest of you might cry home about, but out here an incline is rare.

I started off already feeling like my chest was tight and breathe was hard. This was my second weekend of training since getting the shoes back on after pneumonia. I ran a hard first mile somewhere in the 7:20 range, then a solid 8:00 for mile 2.

Now let me deviate for a moment to explain where I went wrong. For 5k races I don't take water stops, its too short a race. It takes longer for the body to process the water in your system than your on the course. Same with long races, in the last three miles I don't take in water, I just wait till the finish line. But it was HOT, did I mention that. At least 15-20 degrees hotter than I have run recently, since its all been a.m. stuff, and nothing with speed drills.

So my mouth is dry, can't even spit right...all stringy and sticking to my lips. There is a water stop 1 mile from the finish and my mind says, "no don't it", my body on the other hand reaches for the liquid and takes a long pull from the sloshing cup...and the body goes nuts...its ice cold, freezing ice cold. My overheated body is not happy at this sick trip and I start coughing and hacking and eventually a 1/4 mile later pull over for a quick couple of dry heaves.

A much better now and back on the way. Now that little instance sets me back a bit as my stomach is saying, "Hey, cold or not, I needed that!" My mouth is saying, "Damn that was a dirty trick!" My hand is saying, "I couldn't help myself, I never can!" And my mind is screaming, "What is happening to my 22:30 finish!"

The end is bit cloudy, there was another hill, a sharp turn and the finish line. I remember seeing chairs just beyond the chip pad for the finish line and thinking to myself, "Thank God, I have my own chip and don't have to sit down." I hit my Timex after the chip removal area so I came in somewhere right at 24:00, which is a 7:44 per mile pace.

The free food was about 200 yards away so I started to move over there and grabbed some water and a couple of bananas and moved back to the truck for my Finish Transition. I really wanted a 7:15 pace but not terribly disappointed. I stayed under 8:00 per mile. My mind may not be happy but it seldom is. My body is convincing all the other voices that there was nothing left in the tank, no last minute spurts available, no hidden reserves that could have passed one more person...done, finite. If I have a bad time, but I leave it all out there on the field, then I can't be upset, I gave it all I got.

Seize the day, and throttle it. Calvin & Hobbes

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A good day

Had some breakthroughs today that I thought I would share, kinda makes me wonder what to post tomorrow, but why put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Finally got the bike computer re-situated so that the cadence works. Hard to believe I rely on that number more than anything else. Worked great on my 70 minute ride today. It was a high cadence day staying around 90 rpm in the small ring. Average speed was 16 mph. I have a 5k race tomorrow and didn't want to beat myself up. I think with all the miles I will set my goal for IMFL at 18 mph average speed. If I do better than great for me. I will train for faster but 18mph is my, "Thats okay for 112 miles with something left for the marathon speed."

I got tied into a cycling group at Tribe Multisport on Sunday mornings. The will go between 30-50 miles at a clip, or thats the plan. I will start with them next week. This is good because I need to watch some cyclists who know what the hell their doing so I can build my confidence over my solo efforts.

I have a one-on-one with a swim coach this coming Thursday and then got tied into his triathlon swim practices he holds 4 days a week. I will need to rearrange my schedule or have a sit down with Mistress as the evening swim times are a conflict of my training agreement with her. Only $50 bucks a month for all the group sessions I can attend (he runs 4 per week)

Well off to church, and see what Mistress has bought at the store.

How hard is it to take a compliment?

Whenever I feel like getting a strange reaction from someone I don't know I give them an unsolicited compliment. A compliment you think, what's wrong with that? Well, you would be surprised at how hard it is for someone to take a compliment, or how good it feels to give one.

Try this sometime today; when you see someone, you don't know (in a parking lot, in a store, etc) and you notice something you like about them, tell them. For example say, "I really like the colors in your dress." "that's an awesome backpack, who makes that?" Those are pretty harmless and usually get a smile or a thank you.

If your feeling about more energetic about getting a reaction, say something like this, "You have beautiful eyes." "You have a great smile." Whoa, then people look at you like your some kinda weirdo. They kinda lean their head to the side and look at you from the corners of their eyes, maybe, maybe say thank you as they move away. Never recognizing that you are actually giving them a compliment.

I may be old fashioned in this regard but I like to give compliments because I have a hard time taking them myself. But I have gotten smart about it. So once you have tried one of the above unsolicited compliments, give a solicited compliment and you will get a completely different reaction. For example, as you are walking past someone, anyone you don't know, smile at them. Don't say anything, just smile. When they smile back, stop walking and as they come up say this, "Can I give you a compliment?" Instead of the head leaning to the side and looking from the corners of their eyes, their head will rock back a bit and they may even stop as well. When you have their attention say, "You have a great smile", or "Your eyes really sparkle when you smile." Then just continue walking in the direction you were going. Even if they have a terrible smile or they close their eyes when they smile, the point is your complimenting them. They will get a huge grin and noticealbly feel better about themselves and you will get a much more hearty thank you.

Think about yourself, when was the last time you got a compliment? Can't remember can you? We are more apt to remember the negative than the positive. Be a positive for someone today, its a triathletes imperative.

Its just a theory, but what's to lose by testing it?
Hey...Have a great day;)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Killing with kindness

I never would have thought I would make friends poolside, unless it was the bartender at a resort. I have no pride do I?

But this morning I made a friend at the pool. Who’d a thunk dat. I met Jen a few days ago at my last swim session and we chatted up in a friendly way in between our sets, we were the only two using the lap lanes. I was remarking about her much-better-than-my swim ability and found we actually had some mutual friends. And well, I’m a hunk and I am sure she felt compelled to talk. Yeah right.

Well, Mistress is on her last vacation day and since I did not have to go home to get Mighty Mo ready for anything, I slept an extra hour, got to the pool at 5 a.m. and then stayed at the club to do some work. Well who should pad out to the pool area but Jen, we were the only two people in the whole pool area and had a really good conversation in between our sets. I even got an extra 100 meters out of it, for a total of 800 meters.

I have never had a problem meeting people and I am always striking conversations with members, well with people anywhere really. Think about this: how many times a day are you close enough to a conversation between two people that you can overhear, not in a ease dropping way, but as a course of doing business way, like say at the checkout line? Well I have no problem making a nonchalant comment, usually in jest or a colorful agreement. It’s who I am.

People think that if they are not a part of the conversation, but can hear it, they should respect the people and stay out. Hogwash. I have helped hundreds of people asking someone for directions or the location of place and through proximity to the question will answer it.

So here is a challenge for the weekend. When you hear someone this weekend that you don’t know, asking someone else a question that you have some knowledge of, butt in and answer or clarify the response, you may be surprised at the kindness you get in return.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Active Recovery

I woke up just before my alarm and knew my body was not going to function today. No, not sick, just over trained. I probably should have scheduled only seven hours this week instead of nine. I skipped the 30 minute run, but could not go back to sleep. When I did finally get up I knew I made the right decision as my back was tight and my hips really sore from the rehab I have been going through. I have bruising in front of my illiac crest from the stretching that Dr. B is doing to my illio-psoas and hip flexors.

All morning long I just felt really sluggish and out of sorts. I feel much better now, later in the day, I made the right decision. I have a 5k this weekend and want to have it all if I want it. The run was all I had planned today. I am going to add something to my schedule tomorrow but already have my swim and rehab.

On Sunday after the 5k I am going to attempt to hook up my pool appartus so that I can simulate lap swimming in my backyard tool. I am not sure if it will work but will post a picture and description next week if it goes well, which like I stated earlier in a post is why Sunday is my last day of my training week- to pad my numbers.

Feeling a bit better about myself

Now for those of you who are pounding out big mileage right now this may seem a bit inconsequential but I am taking some pride in myself this morning for getting in a decent 60 minute run last night.

The day started well but soon enough as you all know, things start to get pushed back. I pushed back my run at noon till after my afternoon meeting and then till later than that. I almost considered bagging the day but after reading some great blogs in the Alliance I felt a great sense of obligation to get it in. So I did.

At first I felt a little sluggish, then things looked up, then the hills, then I realized on my route that I was in the home stretch with only 46 minutes on the Timex so I hooked a left and ran to the light up the hill, why the hills?, and back down to the back door of my office.

That and a righteous 60 minute core and flexibility drill set with chiro adjustment and that puts together a nice day.

Thanks for keeping the dream alive.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


For those in the know, the Mighty Mo is going through vigorous potty training and the report from Mistress close to the front lines is...

He squeezed out two little drops and one loud fart while standing over the pot. He was quite concerned and started doing little circles to see where the new noise came from. Unable to locate the noise he stopped spinning, got the whoosys and sat on the pot demanding his M&M's for a job well done.
I have been a bit hard on myself the last twenty four hours because I did not get my 60 min ride in and instead of putting a dent in that by spinning at home, I spun my wheels on the couch watching the finale of Amazing Race.

I explained it away as counting the hours I was already up, (since 0330 hrs) and was dog tired; I minimized the slacking because I had an awesome 700 meter swim, which was why I was up at 0330 hrs; I had a very frustrating evening between fixing my pool and tracking my son. But the fact is that I had a relapse of CMS for my second workout.

Today is my contracted sleep in day as per my training contract with Mistress. Boy that 8 hours was good! I have a busy morning of work and 90 minutes rehab (30 minutes core training, chiro adjustment, A.R.T and Active Isolation Stretches), thank god they are in the same club. Then I packed my bag for a noon one hour run which will probably be a hot one along a canal. Then a fast trip to the office for a shower and then a meeting at F1 Race Factory because we are having a team building conference later this month and rubbing paint is the fun part. (Side note: last year I convinced everyone to do a sunrise club of Camelback Mountain and pretty much single handedly ruined the rest of the work day for everyone as they were too tired or sore to get any work done, this year its a bit less physically demanding)

I am going to try to make up the bike by getting back to the office, getting in some work high octane style then sitting on a stationary bike for at least thirty minutes before going home.

Mistress is taking the rest of the week off to potty train the Mighty Mo so I am free of the time constraints normally put upon me and can get home a bit later.

Oh the sacrifices and juggling we multi-sport athletes have to make to get in our training times.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Being In The Zone

I have a pretty good handle on managing stress. I think that stress can easily be managed by equal parts: preparedness, capacity and right attitude. Now I am not going to explain all that because that's not my point today, what I do want to talk about is when all three are combined plus a little something extra that is more supernatural- there is the feeling of being in The Zone.

When a person is in The Zone, then everything in their life is firing on all cylinders no matter what is thrown at them. You could be in the zone for a few seconds or a few months. You can't be in The Zone in only one area, when it occurs all aspects of your life are touched. Being in The Zone is not to be confused with arrogance or cockiness. The Zone is an area of bliss, of perfection, not confrontation.

I have been in The Zone only a few times in my life, most for perhaps a day of work or a short race. I had the pleasure of feeling I was in The Zone for close to a whole month when nothing could phase me. Any obstacle could be overcome and I felt in complete control of the outcome.

I have no control of when this happens or how to keep it. Its a sense of self awareness that perhaps we humans are not supposed to touch all that often. Though I sometimes wonder about monks attaining a Zenlike enlightenment.

In hindsite I think The Zone happens more often than not when I am tunneling my focus into a single activity, like a race, and that tunneling makes me so much more efficient in all other areas of my life. My mind, body and spirit reach a critical mass of systematic training and mental preparation, increased capacity and right attitude. With a powerful combination of that, how could you not be highly attuned to life and have a sense of complete control.

I just hope The Zone finds me before my next Triathlon Swim, otherwise I may only have my doubts to face..Only.

Monday, May 9, 2005

Great Start

My a.m. run went really well. I ran 30 minutes at a great clip. Precieved effort was easy warm up for five minutes, then training pace for ten minutes then the last half was race pace. I was visualizing my race this Saturday so that could have helped.

After I had put up my race schedule, someone, Oldman I believe, suggested I substitute a triathlon for my Valley of the Sun marathon in March 2006. Well, it looks like a lock that I am going to do Wildflower next year with Tri Geek Kahuna, Robo-Stu, Playboy Joel and Head Doc.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Training Week May 9-15

My training weeks have always been Monday to Sunday. It just never made sense to me to start on Sunday as it was usually a capstone workout, like a long run or a race, plus it gives me an extra day to pad my times for the week if I missed anything.

I stopped tracking miles per minute in favor of simply running for time and perceived effort. So I will only know my running abilities based on races. By the benefit of swimming a known distance during drills and having a computer on my bike give me a reasonable trip readout, I can include those number if I want to. Hopefully my warranted Timex HRM will arrive this week so I can get back to monitoring that, though to be honest I don't wrap myself around the axel on it like some people do, its a tool and nothing more.

My first week back from being sick that I am doing two-a-days. I have Race #4 of 2005 on Saturday a running event. Kevin from Tribe Multisport really wants to dot this run as well with the promise that I would run with him and since his run is slow it will not be so much for time that I shoot for but companionship and connection. I talked with Rett off line and he may run this race as well, since he focused so much on his swimming lately and there is the guarantee of a reasonable pace.

My "Other" this week is my on going rehab on a compressed disk in my back and general tightness in my hip flexors, hamstrings, lumbar and glutes. It is a combination of A.R.T. (active release technique- a painful form of massage if ever there was one), active isolation exercises (similar to A.R.T but the movements are more stretching movements than massage-still very effective but painful) some cold laser treatment, chiropractic adjustment, electrical stimulation (e-stim) and 30 minutes of hardcore Core exercises.

My swimming goal this week is to get two more 600 meter swims and then add another 4 laps in some combination. It is more critical to focus on form and breathing at this point rather than distance. I am even considering joining a program or getting some one-on-one coaching to increase my performance in my this my weakest area.

Lucille needs to go into the shop one more time to get the final solution to placement of her cadence system. I will probably incorporate this into my Tuesday ride in the afternoon.

In order for me to feel like I am improving in my training I have to get my running back to a respectable level. Right now it is my comfort session and the one I will rely on at IMFL to ensure the proper finish. Notice I said proper because simply getting to the run means I did not drown, thereby ensuring A finish.

Monday- Run 30 min, Swim 30 min (600 meters)
Tuesday- Swim 30 min (600 meters), Bike 60 min, Other/Rehab & massage 90 min
Wednesday- Run 60 min
Thursday- Run 30 min, Other/Rehab & massage 90 min
Friday- Swim 30 min (700 meters)
Saturday- Race #4 2005 (Run)-inaugural Cheetah 5k
Sunday- Bike 60 min

Potential totals:
Swim 90 min or 1900 meters
Bike 120 min
Run 150 min
Other 180

Total time: 540 minutes or roughly 9 hours

Mom's Day? Why the heck do I do that?

I forgot to get a card for Mommy, from the mighty Mo. Is that a crime? Mommy gets at least one lovey dovey card a month from him year round. I caved in and bought her a gift certificate at her favorite clothing store. Is that a crime? I have bought her flowers every week for ten straight years. Nothing fancy, just the $5 bouquet at the market, but they are always pretty, no roses but daisy's or tulips or mixed stuff.

As you can see I am not big on pre-fabricated holidays. BTW, I feel the same about Father's Day, Arbor Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, St. Patty's Day, Cinco De Mayo, pretty much all holidays in that vain. Yes I love Christmas and celebrate Easter and birthdays. I appreciate New Years for its sense of renewal and 4th of July for it patriotism and Thanksgiving for its sense of family and communal unity.

I believe in treating your loved one's right year round. I should not have to be reminded by the Hallmark-Hersery-Industrial-Complex that I need to spend money on their products to feel like I can absolve myself from guilt. I buy my mom flowers and books and take her to lunch and do nice things for her all the time. I look into my wifes eyes and tell her I love her all the time; not in the passing each other through the bathroom door kind of way but the look into eyes, complete appreciation of her sacrifices and struggles as a mom and wife with a heartfelt hug and kiss. I also apologize A LOT. Even when I feel I haven't done anything wrong because I never know what I do that can upset her.

So have a good day however you celebrate it.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

First miles down, thousands to go

My first weekend of training in four long weeks. Plus today I took the last two pills to fight the pneumonia I had. I'm Free. I'm Free.

Lucille and I decided to take a trip to the barber shop down the road so I could trim my lovely locks. We were having such a good time that I passed the place and had to turn around.

Now my barber, Pauline, is a pro. She's like 70 years old and been cutting hair for fifty years. I think she knows what she's doing. I even recruited my dad to her and he loves the cut she gives. Anyway, she and the other barber googoo'd and gaagaa'd over Lucille and how she doesn't have a rear post and how do you use the pedals, Lucille was a happy bike.

After that we trolled down the road a few miles then looped back around to get home. As I was slowing down a trio of cyclists cut across the road at the light and since they were going my way anyway I decided to draft them and pick up some conversation.

They were great and very nice and amicable. The leader half joked that they were going to go up Usery Pass, which is the only hill of any note in this part of Mesa-well come to think of it anywhere in Mesa- and the other two started to groan. It was a good laugh. They were only moving at about 14 mph so I picked my clip up a bit to 18 mph and motivated myself home.

Oh, I posted that Lucilles computer was on the fritz. Well actually it was the magnet for the cadence system was missing and the front wheel magnet for distance was moving out of alignment due to centrifical force (the spoke was too small for the attachment). Which is what Kevin at Tribe fixed.

He fixed both yesterday but today when I switched into the big chainring, somehow the zip tie holding the magnet to my crankarm was sheared off. I looked down and saw it hanging there on the arm and turned into a parking lot to put it in my pack. Well I couldn't find it, which was weird since it was such a short area to look, but at least now I know what the problems is. Maybe we can move the sensor to the left crankarm? Any of you have that problem?

Friday, May 6, 2005

Hello Hugh

While surfing my blogs I always go to Hugh Hewitt's. He has the first blog that I really paid attention to and in a way was the impetus to start my own. It was as if I witnessed a burning bush to see my hyperlink on his front page.

With my work I am driving more than sitting, so as a confessed conservative talk radio junkie, I often plan my drives during the day around talk radio timelines. The best time to get a bottle of water or stand in line at Starbucks is the ten minute window at the top and bottom of the hour. I know if I have to leave one location and go to another that if I wait just a few extra minutes then I can maximize my talk radio time. I always wanted to call a host and scream, 'I agree' but never have. Are you like me?

If you are then you also have goals that are bigger than yourself. You have a busy, sometimes stressful job, a spouse, children and little time to yourself. Still with me? Then you need to start exercising. Whether you prefer to swim, bike, run, lift weights or just walk around the block you will do yourself so much good. But have a goal. Start small and build gradually. You can't run a marathon without running a 5k (3 miles) and you can't do that without getting outside.

In fact I will make you a deal. I understand that you still may not be convinced to get outside or into a gym to workout, so bookmark this page. Everyday you are procrastinating at your computer and surfing the web come back to Common Man Syndrome and read about how I am defeating this insidious disease.

In my sidebar is the Triathlete Alliance, a handful of dedicated teachers, mothers, fathers, graphic designers, heck we even have a retiree from Florida, more ornery than any radio host. They also detail their exploits in ways that only they can express. Just one of these blogs will hopefully stimulate the deep, latent desire within you to dare to be great.

Look Pa, That Thar Triathlon Is A Comin To Town

The computer on my Softride 'Lucille' went schitzo so I lovingly placed her in the back of the truck and took her to Tribe Multisport here in Scottsdale so Kevin could perform an emergency diagnostic before my ride tomorrow.

It looked like a M.A.S.H. unit triage tent when I came in the door. Apparently I wasn't told they were the packet pick up location for a local tri here on Saturday. Its an off-road tri, so all these muddy suspension bike were leaning against the walls and people were comparing knobby tires and dual suspension forks. So it was a bit incongruent to see Kevin, two women and a twenty year old ten speed up on the rack getting the once over. Who knew Panasonic made ten speeds, I thought they only made lousy telephones and decent televisions.

The two ladies were getting a long course on a short subject, "How to change a tire 101." I don't normally get into watching instructional pieces on tire changing but I could not help but be transfixed. The woman had just bought the bike from a friend, and the bike is in really good shape by the way, but ancient. All of us took great delight in watching Kevin remember how to work on a piece that has not been made in fifteen years. He tried to convince the ladies to ditch the hand pump circa 1990, and switch to air cartridge. Well apparently one of them had a bad experience with a cartridge in the past so that was not going to pass muster. Even when he explained it would take a hundred pumps to inflate the tire, they were intransigent.

So after a decent amount of time in instruction, they both seemed to have the knack of changing a tire, though NASCAR pit crew they will not make. The owner was simply resigned to leave the bike on the course and walk back to transition if she got a flat. I think I can relate to that after having more flats than tubes on one particular ride.

There were many people crowding the wares and picking up race packets and a great general buzz in the store. Triathlon is such a growing and still maturing sport in many ways. Each year it brings more and more people to the line, ready to subject themselves to a swim, a bike and a run. Those two women, who were doing the off road tri, so not really sure why the ten speed was there, were doing their first triathlon. They had that gleam in their eyes, the stary look of doing something bigger than themselves.

One of the ladies told me that she hadn't swam in ten years. That until two months ago she hadn't swam longer than a play pool length to get a beer and tomorrow was going to swim 850 yards and oh yeah ride and run. She said it with such pride that I knew she was getting no sleep tonight. Tonight is going to be like Christmas Eve.

I think its important to remember what it's like to get into a sport. To control and master fears, to learn discipline and self control. Like after a few marathons, they become highlights of a yearly training program, not the capstone. Triathlons have such a intrinsic gut reaction of, "Oh my goodness, I could never do one of those. I haven't swam since high school, I don't own a bike and they costs too much money, I haven't run farther than after my kid heading down the driveway and towards the street in years." Yeah I said all that too. Then I thought bigger than myself, I got that gleam in my eye just like that lady and my first triathlon hooked me so bad that next year I am going to finish Ironman Florida with a dozen friends I have never met, except online, and you know what...I just know they have that gleam in their eye too.

Oh No, She's Coming

My mother-in-law is coming for the weekend. Her mother passed away at Christmas and since she lives in another state, again but sure to be back, Mistress invited her to come this weekend, which is also the same weekend as Mother's Day and on Sunday the Mighty Mo is Blessed at our church.

MIL and I have had a lukewarm relationship at best. After ten years she has come to realize that I am not planning on ruining her daughters life and that I can even be a good guy. She MIL and I have some pre-relationship with daughter issues. Namely I was an ass as a teenager, before I was in a really bad car accident which set my life right, and MIL knew all about my being ass, as did most the town, Mistress and I grew up in. MIL never really forgave me for my transgressions and still harbors some ill will towards me. Father-In-Law (Step) is not a bad guy, I actually like him though we are complete opposites. He is a genius introvert and well I am a genius extrovert. He has said less than maybe 1,000 words to me in the last decade...that might be high. He reveres his step-daughter and when the Mo was born he looked at me said, not good job, or beautiful baby boy but...well guess I can't deny you sleeping with my daughter now.

Anyway, got in 600 meters this morning, 90 minutes of weight training and rehab last night, a 30 minute run yesterday morning. Its been a good week. Tomorrow is a long bike and I need to get an hour run in before Sunday night.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

My New Clock


This has taken me way to long to figure out these html changes . The big one as you can see is a countdown to Ironman Florida that based on my reviewing of past races dates will be on November 4, 2006. Yes that is how many days are remaining.

I also went deep into html code and fiddled with the numbers that represented colors for my links, visited links and post titles, oh yeah the main title. It was actually pretty simple but time consuming. First I saved all of it to a word file, then located the place I wanted to change color and then worked with the code there. Its numerical, if the code is: #c80 or #996 for example, I just changed it by ten or twenty points up and down to see which way I wanted it to go and then worked it that way, each time I changed something I hit Preview and then went back to work on the color in the template.

If you want the countdown timer html for yourself, go to this site and scroll down. It has a black background as I previewed it, but disappeared after I saved the template changes and refreshed the site. It took me quite a while to get it set on the page in the right spot. By checking my source page you should be able to see it based on the heading and then figure how to relate it to your site.

Instead of listing a gob of sites I found with interesting first person accounts of IMFL while researching the date for next year, I would simply instruct you to Google Ironman Florida 2001 (or whatever year you want). Iin a matter of seconds I was able to get a list of dozens of personal notes.

Course discription IMFL

I was over at Ironman Florida and decided to check out the course descriptions. Initially I was shocked at the spikes on the altimeter readout until I looked at the side bar showing feet above sea level.

The swim, no surprise is at sea level. Its a two lap course with a water exit then entry to start the last lap.

The bike course is nice in that it is essentially a big loop and although the altimeter readout looks impressive the route never gets over 161 feet and is mostly around 50 feet. Thats pretty flat, folks.

The run looks to be a really nice out and back on a spit of land, ocean on one side and bay on the other.

This is motivating. I once did a marathon in Lincoln Nebraska and it was the flatest marathon I have ever ran. Only one little hill and that was because it was an overpass above the freeway. So flat is good.

In Phoenix its about 1300 feet above sea level and hotter, so that helps a little though the humidity will take a lot outta of me (us) . As a heat stroke casualty I have to be aware of that stuff.

Yes I know, a heat stroke casualty who is a runner who lives in Phoenix. Believe me I know.