Sunday, July 31, 2005

The West Coast Retreat

I am home now in hot, and now muggy monsoon-at-any-moment Mesa. The trip to the "O.C" was amazing. I have been using that word a lot lately. Not all went according to plan but you can thank mother nature and geological formations for that. But first let me round out our cast of characters.

The Great and All Powerful Tri-Geek Dreams Kahuna. Just an amazing host and great guy. He made me feel comfortable the entire time we were together. The thing about the Kahuna is that he is always smiling and laughing.

Prodigal Joel. I actually spent more time with Joel on Saturday than anyone. He is funny, flirty (as pictures will hopefully show), and really just an affable guy. To everyone's joy he was the first to arrive and as I will relate, he saved my ass at the end of the day. Much props out to brother Joel.

Robo-Stu. Crap he is a blaze on the bike. He just doesn't want to be out in the front he wants to be lapping the pack. Stu is incredibly friendly, asks well thought questions and then beats the hell out of you based on your answers. If anyone has scared me straight on my cycling skills its Robo-Stu and for that I am eternally grateful.

Head Doc. Head Doc is pretty cool. He is extremely polite and easy going but has a core of molten lava. I think mano-y-mano he could take Robo-Stu out but he is so gracious he would never do so.

Commodore. Some dumb hick from Arizona who only rides on table top flat terrain with lots of stop lights to catch his breath. What the hell was he doing with these guys?

I arrived late to the impenetrable fortress of Casa de Kahuna and while the street is right out of Mayberry the house is out of Extreme Makeover. Just amazing. We had enough time to drop my gear and head out for a sunset viewing on the ocean, again amazing and awe inspiring. Then we went to his decade old hangout a Mexican diner come surf shop. We swapped stories and a beer discussing work and training.

Saturday morning the cast of characters arrive and after much badgering and photos, we get out almost an hour later than planned. It didn't help that I spent four minutes looking for my sunglasses that I found underneath my helmet firmly on my head. That was a tough one to live down for a few minutes.

The PCH route is just ama...its beautiful. Lots of surf and tanned bodies. The pace was at a speed that I was comfortable with but not the hills. After an hour of rollers and some bigger rollers, I was trailing way behind the pack. Joel and I stuck together for a while but what he lacks in his training he more than makes up for in raw talent and was soon pulling Kahuna and Head Doc away from me on their quest to catch up to Robo. Upon inspection Robo has a normal drivetrain on his bike but I kept looking for the engine.

By the time we hit Marine Corp. base, which was a great flat layout my quads were snockered. I was pulling up on the group but they are all freaking fast, big ring mashing all the way. Average speed probably 22 mph. One picture taking session and a flat tire by me later, plus the tardiness when we left, started to put a time crunch on making the San Diego train in time and the pack picked up the pace.

At around 50 miles, Joel decided the time crunch was too deep and he needed to make it back to Hollywood for an appointment, (work, date, drinking, partying-maybe all of the above at the same time). So we stopped at the Amtrak for him to go back north and I went with him. No not to chaperone, those 50 miles of hills pummelled my quads and I was cramping hard every time I got out of the saddle. Kahuna had told me earlier about the 3 mile climb into La Jolla at the end and the rest of the 'bigger' rollers and I had enough. Plus deep down I felt I was holding Kahuna, Robo and Head Doc back. Joel and I were going to peddle back to Kahuna's anyway and that eventually added another 20 miles to the day.

Sidenote: Sorry Kahuna, we tried to follow your 10 mile instructions but decided to follow a bike path map that we later realized did not have any street names on it. You know what they say about shortcuts...

While at the train station, Head Doc had convinced Kahuna to enter a 1.5k swim the next morning and at that point I decided that since I was getting back to the "O.C." earlier I would just drive home since I haven't seen that place much anyway in the last couple weeks. BTW all the swimming and running that was planned was sorta cast aside. The water temp. dropped to 60* and I don't have a wetsuit and Kahuna was nursing a bad calf that hurt his running. So it just worked out right.

Joel and I spent a hazy hour plus getting back to house. Speaking for myself I was beat. The path we took was again lots of ups and downs going under roads and just as we turned the corner to get home my legs seized up and stopped peddling. Luckily I just coasted down the block and Joel helped me off the bike. A hot shower and I was heading home in twenty minutes. No regrets.

Its so exciting to met an entirely new group of friends and just feel like one of the guys. I took something away from each of them that will stick with me for years to come. One of the words that comes to mind is 'community'. People that barely know each other yet have a common bond and electronic communication can come together and find so much in common and be so well intending to each other. Just...well I will say it again...amazing.

And to cap things off, a retort made by Robo-Stu at the beginning of our little jaunt after he asked me when the last time I rode was I answered before my vacation started two weeks ago, "Your a triathlete...right?" See what I mean.

Friday, July 29, 2005

I am deeply intrenched at casa de kahuna. This house is gorgeous & huge. Sunsets watched,beers drank, male bonding ensued. Pch on the way.

Off On Another Great Adventure

The time has come that I must depart the dusty, now-humid, and extremely hot Valley of the Sun for better climates. If the back and forth e-mails are any indication of what is to come this weekend, I will summarize here:

1. Joel is already drunk and made it through the first two rounds of Texas Hold Em' at the Indian Casino. He has a phone number for every barmaid serving him.

2. Robo-Stu has already done the PCH today so that he is ready for tomorrow.

3. Head Doc is bringing a recorder to memo himself on the new pyschosis he has found in me.

4. The Great and All Powerful Kahuna wants to put his L.A. life guarding skills to task by taking me on a sunset swim. NO I am not letting him practice dragging me in from sea...He really will be.

5. Under diress of Mistress, a camera will be used to document all my lap dances, I mean casino winnings, I mean buffett dinners, I mean...ah crap...

Well, it begins.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Today will be a workout day

The day has just been slipping away from me. My rehab appointment led into realizing that I was way not done auditing the club I was at, which put me two hours behind schedule. I had an appointment to take Lucille to Tribe Multisport for a quick hook up prior to the PCH ride this weekend which went a bit longer than planned. I had scads of amazing e-mails that I had to answer and read. Now I have only a few hours left of work. I need to get to three more clubs. My goal is to get into the pool at my last club on the schedule for at least a 30 minute swim.

You know what...triathletes have way too much gear. I have gear in my truck, in my office, in my garage, in about four rooms of my a store where I haven't bought it yet (but its there waiting for me to see it). Gotta find it all before tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Workout? What's that.

Except for my extensive hiking last week, I feel as if I have done no working out since mid July. Coming back to work has been a chaotic and choking experience trying to catch everything up in time to leave early on Friday for the ever expanding experience that will be the West Coast version of the Wil, Steve and Shelley show back in the mid-west.

I personally think that we will collectively write a worser report on our escapades but drink more beer, get more phone numbers and probably get kicked out of at least one bar, restaurant or casino. We are relying mostly on Playboy Joel for this, though my five hour leash from Mistress is looking good.

Oh back to my lack of exercise. Since July 16th I have not touched nary a goggle nor brake lever. Yes I am going into the workout weekend of the year virtually untrained, but well rested.

We merry band of brothers will do all the damage that can be done in a single weekend live to tell a ribald tale.

Monday, July 25, 2005

This is how three men eat for six days. Lots of freeze dried food and beef jerky. Godfather purchased a bunch of asian noodles and soups from Trader Joes but I stayed to what I knew my stomach could tolerate.

Sidenote: I like camp food and have been known to make it for home meals as I don't know how to cook past scrambled eggs and fried spam. Oh wait, I can prep a rice cooker. Basically anything with less than five instructions with one of them being, "Remove from wrapper."

Just a nice little bubbling brook. I took all these with my little Phillips Keyring camera. Almost everyone else had a camera so I felt I could just use this. Better photo's and ones with me are on the way.

This is the final campsite. Three on the left, three of us on the right. There was a creek splitting the area we were in, the white-ish flatspot in the middle is snow were the creek ran through. I took to calling us the Hatfields and McCoys. My single tent is shadowed by the trees in left-middle, just right of the yellow tent.

This was the water supply. Pure glacial run off from just a few feet away. The best tasting water ever. Yes it was filtered for all our needs.

The mouth of Townsley Lake feeding into Lake Fletcher, in the background. For perspective, I was actually taking this shot to show the 15 foot snowbank. The two fish I caught I was standing on the snow in the far background high middle of photo. We fished the left side going to another lake and the right side coming back.

This was taken during the climb out. I was feeling really good at this point and turned around to actually look at the scenary as opposed to the head down so I don't trip routine. Probably the best picture I took the whole time just based on color and image.

I like the Philips 2 megapixel for its portability but I am glad that I knew everyone else was going to have a camera or would have brought my elph advantix.

Pictures Coming

I have pictures from the trip and more coming as all of us are creating extra cd's from each others cameras. I will post some tomorrow and get back to triathlon posts with a couple smaller blogs detailing the cunning marmots that lived near our campsite.

Back Country Vacation Day 3

Day 3
No shit, there I was at 11,000 feet climbing over Toulumne Pass puking my guts out in between gasping breaths of air. I have altitude sickness and I have to drop altitude before it gets any worse. I am barely aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The headache is pounding so bad that I can only see a few meters in front of my feet. How did I get here? Oh yeah, its the annual fishing trip that instead of being on a river is in the high sierras of Yosemite National Park.

Day 1
Yosemites beauty is only eclipsed by its size. It takes 2 hours after entering the park just to get to our trailhead which is by no means in the middle of the park. During the drive as we gain altitude my breathing is becoming more and more labored and I begin to take deeper breaths. At first this is mistaken sighs as we pass natural wonders like Bridalveil Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan. At 8,500 feet, our staging campsite, walking across the campsite sounds like the final yards of my last 5k. However if I sit still I feel better so we build a huge bonfire and share stories while nipping Crown Royal until 1 a.m.

Day 2
I wake up at 4 a.m. coughing. Its a short 5 miles to the next campsite. I am still not acclimated to the elevation and pretty much feel delirious the whole time. It doesn't help that I have 75 pounds on my back. While I wish I could ditch the extra weight I think of the only thing I did forget..a pen to make notes on my map. I am mocked the whole trip by people asking me if I want to write that down?

At the camp I set up my tent and lay down, the only time I feel better. Everyone else goes fishing. A nice and low thunderstorm travels overhead long enough for everyone to come back to camp and compare fish stories. On average everyone is catching 15 fish. That night we have our last open fire, and while everyone else stargazes I stick by the fire and go to bed early.

Day 3
I wake up feeling better. The pack is heavy as we begin the hardest part of the climb, a rocky scramble over Toulumne Peak. As we begin to reach 11,000 feet I stop talking. I can't speak without big gulps of air between words. It is just awesome the mountains and snow and the way the sun strikes the land. Just over the top I puke and then start to feel nauseous. I can't stop coughing. I have to climb one more unnamed peak to reach the campsite. However the slope is covered in snow, glacial run off and more mosquito's than I have ever seen. I am the last one over as I need to take breaks due to headaches and tunnel vision.

Reaching camp I find the two youngest members of our group have gone looking for me on the ridge, to help me down. Stupid mistake. I was already with someone and to just leave without a plan or my whereabouts could have been costly. Then they compound their stupidity by splitting up. Each makes it back a short time later. The rest of the day is spent lying down and setting up camp. That night we watch a storm pass over another area of the park. The moon climbs over the pass to the east and we mark time by the illumination of Mt. Fletcher right across from our campsite. A most amazing night. We tell each other jokes, movies quotes, point out shooting stars and constellations and nip at our flasks.

Day 4
I wake up nauseous but feel well enough to travel a few miles to Vogelsang Lake. I also get to fish Lake Fletcher on the way and catch my only two fish of the trip, two Brook trout. At Vogelsang it was so amazing. The fish were in a spawn and kept to the inlets which were shallow enough to just watch them. We all tried to fish them but to know success. My drag my lure over a 14 inch rainbow several times, but not interested. Coming down from Vogelsang we run into small groups of hikers who are also on the trail. Surprisingly most of these are young women. Its a very cold night at altitude, getting to around 25 degrees. The wind is so noisy that I wear ear plugs to get what little sleep I can.

Day 5
We have been camping on the south side of Townsley Lake, below Mt. Fletcher at about 10,200 feet. I wake up coughing and nauseous again. Since crossing Toulumne Pass I have not stopped deep breathing. Its an effort to simply move. Half the party decides to fish Hanging Basket Lake. Without a map you would never know this lake existed. It is literally suspended in the air, nestled between Mt. Fletcher to the west and the rise to the east. A saddle of area between the two provides the back of Hanging Basket Lake. I can not afford to climb the several hundred feet so I hang back at camp with my godfather and we discuss the fact that I simply must drop altitude before I get worse or a clot develops. Luckily the lake was frozen and unfishable so the decision is made that its time to get out early.

Everyone has been complaining about the mosquito's which are hanging around us like a curtain. Truly the worst any of us have ever seen. Also the fish just are not biting on the lakes like we expected. That seems to be the vocal reason to leave but its understood that I need to get down. Everyone in the group has had altitude sickness at some point in their hiking days, some much worse than what I am exhibiting on this trip, so there is no derision or joking. Everyone is genuinely concerned.

Its 9 miles to the trailhead and about an hour down I start to feel much better. By 90 minutes I feel amazing the best I have felt in a long time. Now that I am getting extra oxygen my body feels completely invigorated. I decide to stick to my godfather and walk out with him as he had reconstructive surgery on his ankle and even though he felt great he wanted to be gentle on the ankle.

We reach the trailhead, do a quick change and hit the burger stand a few minutes away at the ranger station. I have a double hamburger, fries and beer from the six pack Gordy buys at the store next to the burger joint. We get back to godfathers in Porterville at 11:30, sort out gear and I hit the bed at 1 a.m. I wake up at 5:30, shower, say goodbye and head for Phoenix.

Day 6
I decide to surprise Mistress and Mighty Mo so I don't call them, they expect me home on Tuesday, not Sunday. They both are happy to see me when I get home. I plan on spending my free day with Mighty Mo

Sunday, July 24, 2005

All things considered an epic adventure. 5 days above 10000 feet w/curtains of skeeters. . Altitude sickness .. Death & beauty.more to come. . .

Well back in the world. Came out early and heading home.

Well back in the world. Came out early and heading home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Final post until next monday. I hope is well for you my friends. I hope i dont have to fight off a bear to protect my hammer gel. Thats lunch!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Got into porterville in good time. Today is final pack day and then leave tues. I can respond to e mail and will do some more short posts today

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the usa yet i feel like a country bumpkin on this freeway in ca.

I just started my eight hour road trip. I am feeling better if not still a bit contemplative about my race. Thank you to all who left me msg.

So this is humidity. I had forgot. Its like being by an insid pool

Stopped in indio, ca fora stretch can you say boring

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Best Laid Plans

...I didn't finish...I just had no gas...I woke up not feeling my best but thought it was pre-race jitters...I have never not finished before...I don't even feel embarrassed..just extremely tired, very tired. Maybe I lost focus because of vacation tomorrow, maybe I trained too much, maybe, maybe, maybe...

This is a dissapointment. Its also a learning tool. I am supposed to learn something in this lesson and I will. I have goals are bigger than this defeat. I lost this race but not the dream.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Little This, Little That

To hot yesterday for a workout, even for me. Plus my nutrition was just...well I didn't have any until dinner. I think my office chair is a timewarp machine. I can sit down and before I know it five hours have gone by and I haven't moved. No water, no bathroom, no food. Its terrible.

But last night was a family dinner at Red Lobster as The Colonel has stacked up like four defense contract scenarios back to back for the next two months and I am leaving for California on Sunday, so it was the last time for all of us to get together. Below is a post about my fishing trip. The nice thing is that with mobile blogging I can fire off some posts on the road.

Today my new tri-suit arrives so I can use it for tomorrows F1. I got a Quintana Roo. Its a better option than putting on a shirt after the swim and then taking it off after the run to swim again and then put it back on for the last two events. Because this is a two loop tri, there is twice as many transitions, so I may even ditch the socks, though I haven't trained for that. I am thinking that because its a mountain bike tri, I have to keep my running shoes on for two disciplines. Sort of the same situation as the top, it would save time not having to deal with it. I certainly would not be having these thoughts on a regular triathlon.

I should be able to post the race review early as the event is just outside my office. I run or mountain bike the area all the time. Well my regular office route I run in the heat is on part of the course. So I might pop in here to write up an summary before going home for my last day before leaving.

Here Today, Gone Fishing

As far as triathlon goes, I am a pretty good fisherman. For a long time the only fish I was catching in the water came from the end of my opposed to my now phenomenal tri-swimming skills (okay that's a lie). To date, I still have more fishing poles than running shoes.

Every year with a few exceptions The Colonel (aka Dad), my godfather and another buddy Gordo would link up in Montana at my folks place and we would then traverse the state on a 7-9 day fishing spree. The last time we all fished together in 2003 we hit five different rivers in five days. We catch huge trout, we kept nothing below 20 inches. They were like footballs and fought like salmon.

Sidenote: We were all on a fishing trip in Montana during September 2001. We were staying at a national guard base in Helena as The Colonel has connections and it allowed us to have a homebase while hitting multiple rivers. I was deep into a pre-contest diet for a body building show I was going to do that fall. As we were leaving, I was turning off the television and Bryant Gumbel broke into the newscast to show the second plane hitting the WTC. We all sat stunned and at moment I stopped my diet and grabbed the coffee pot and poured a long cup. My diet and attitude were ruined and at that moment my selfish physical goals for a show died. We all debated about what to do and we decided if the world was going to end then it would end with us fishing. All our lives would be different and we would at least have one more day together on the river out of contact with the world. Well the world intruded. The Colonel was reached and consulted. My brother, phoned that he was called up and starting the next day spent a year protecting a reactor in the SouthWest. I only mention this because since then when any of us get together to fish it has more meaning to it, a band of brothers thing.

This is a picture of how our week ultimately ended. The Colonel getting a somber send off as he boards a Blackhawk helicopter dispatched to lonely Billings, Montana to take him off to one of many important meetings following 9/11.

Okay, sorry for the soliloquy.

This year The Colonel is not attending and is nursing his bad hip by taking a three week assignment in Germany, then hopping around bases in the states. The godfather had reconstructive ankle surgery last Christmas and demands an easy route. I suggested going to Mexico and deep sea fishing but that's for another trip.

So godfather, Gordo, myself, along with son of godfather and another father/son team are going to Yosemite to lake and stream fish up around 10,500 feet. I found out last month that there is still two feet of snow on the ground and that it gets to below freezing at night. Below freezing? Below Freezing? I got news for you folks, my flippin' refrigerator freezer doesn't get below 60 damn degrees in the summer.

Should be a grand adventure. I hope to combine light hiking and good fishing with some altitude training by getting in some trail runs. How do you think the bears will react to seeing me run the trails in a tri-suit?

I should be able to manage posting through Tuesday and then I will probably be blacked out until Monday, July 25.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Its 117 degrees. . . . Today i respect the taper

Further exploits of an eventual wannbe badwater runner

Badwater is the baddest solo running event around, not the Marathon de Sable. According to people who have run both the consensus is that Badwater is the king. But fear not intrepid wannabe ultra-distance people there is still hope for the ultra-endurance moniker to your name without all the consecutive mileage. Get a team together and do the Mojave Death Race. From their own website I captured the spirit of the race:

Welcome to our Race, we hope you survive it!
This is not another pretty 5 or 10 K race on
Sunday morning at the beach.
If you and your teammates are not up to an

Adventurous& Hazardous

Endurance Team Challenge
then go to that beach race and collect seashells.
Most athletes that take on this challenging event
will have more war stories and adventures to talk
about than they have friends who will listen!
We're gonna test you to see if you're a challenger or a wannabe!
If you enter the race and don't survive, don't
expect us to come looking for you.
Heck, if you go out in some spectacular fashion you might get
an honorable mention here on the web page...... maybe.

Some friends of mine did this a few months ago and loved it, they are very competitive and came in 4th place. Its a team run, mountain bike, road bike event. The legs for each section go from 6 to 42 miles. To read the first hand report from my friend Steve go here.

This might be something I do next summer as I have a clear schedule to train for IMFL after Wildflower in April. I was invited this year but I was negotiating with Mistress on IMFL at the time and thought if I mentioned Ironman and Death Race in the same sentence she might have cut off my head and buried it in a shallow grave. If there is enough interest with the triathlete alliance maybe we could get a crew together for 2006? Just a thought.

Set up test

BadWater Ultra Marathon Is Over For 2005

It gets lost in the shuffle of that guy named Lance, but an important annual race was held this week and the winners have been crowned.

Scott Jurek, whom I blogged about recently winning his 7th straight Western States Endurance 100 race, not only won the Badwater 135 mile ultra marathon he set a new course record of 24:36:08. That is an average pace of 10:56 per mile. See its not that bad to run slow!

Pam Reed, whom you may remember became the first person, male or female, to run 300 consecutive miles without stopping, was the first woman across at a time of 30:29:55. Not to take anything away but she has been an overall winner in the past. It doesn't appear that my favorite ultra endurance runner and 2004 winner, Dean Karnaze competed this year.

For those who don't know the course this is a short description of badwater;

While an ultra-marathon is defined as any race with a distance longer than a marathon (26.2 miles), Badwater is a grueling 135 mile race beginning in Death Valley (Badwater, California, elevation 282 feet below sea level) and ascending to 8000 feet by the race's end which includes an 18 mile stretch where the elevation rises over 5000 feet. With temperatures reaching 125 degrees in the middle of the day, the Badwater 135 is perhaps the nastiest race in the world.

Dean mentions in his book Ultramarathon Man, which I read, that the soles of his shoes melted unless he ran on the white stripe of the road. It gets so hot that he ran in a white suit with full hood to avoid the sunburns. And that the bread on his food would be toasted the moment it was handed out the window to him.

I for one would love to have the ability to do this race. It is invite only so I won't hold my breath. However, in early spring of each year at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico is the annual Bataan Death March Marathon which is just your garden variety 26.2, except for the fact that its run in the desert through the missile range and if you stray off course you could end up surrounded by unexploded ordinance. I entered this race in 2002 but couldn't go because a million dollars worth of new equipment arrived a week early and it was my project.

Maybe I will look at it again in 2008, as I am planning on doing Wildflower with Kahuna, Robo Stu and Head Doc next spring 2006 and will probably do Ironman Arizona in the spring of 2007.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It's been a long couple of days.

This has been a hard week so far to get everything in place. On the Good News side, Mistress was able to get her schedule changed so that she can now pick up Mighty Mo every night which gives me carte' blank training time. I just have to be home by the time the little tucker hits the sack. She wants me out of the house training- isn't that cool?

Yesterday I was not able to get a full bike workout going because of a schedule change. I was only in the saddle for a hour. But I got an unexpected break at my club with the pool and put together a monster swim workout (for me), 2,550 yards all sets done with a 60 sec break.

I am getting ready to head out again for another hour in the saddle. One of the weather readings for my area puts the conditions as follows:

Temperature 115°F
Dew Point 41°F
Relative Humidity 9%

This will probably be my last decent training sesson until the end of the month when I travel to SoCal to do the 85 miler with Kahuna, Robo-Stu and hopefully Head Doc and Playboy Joel. I have a F1 Tri this weekend on Saturday and then leave on vacation on Sunday. Which I will post the details of that tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Never Quit

OptimizeI think I made a big mistake running today. Its 110 degrees. I'm used to running in that. I have been in a very cold air conditioned building for five hours, mostly sitting before I ran. Okay I have done that many times as well. I have only had three 220 calorie bars to eat all day. Not very smart. I forgot my hat, my sunglasses, blister shield, my lip balm and had only a cotton shirt. All big obsticales but I had my A-game shoes, good shorts, a water belt, my iPod and my Halo, so I thought I could at least pull it out. However I had a run I physically don't ever want to repeat.

I have described running in the Phoenix heat before. The tongue dries up and swells a bit. The throat gets raw and dry. The lips dry out, then get that 'dry' stickiness covering them. The sun..well the sun is unrelenting. It beats upon you like a physical thing, blinding, stinging, pulsing.

This was my routine office route. It is a benchmark of exactly 30 minutes to run. It has a nice hill with 60 feet of elevation over a short 1/3 of a mile as a climax before a short 1/3 mile downhill finish. 60 feet dosen't sound like much even to me, but its not easy to do it. At the 60% done point is a 'bug out' route that gets me back to the office in 3 minutes.

I was in so much physical pain from the sun blinding me, my calves cramping, my dry cracked lips and raw throat that I stumbled upon the bug out route and as I ran past it I decided to Bug Out. I turned around and stopped.

I had never used the Bug Out route, this would be a defeat. I tried licking my lips but it felt like sandpaper over barbwire. I squirted water in my mouth and the formally ice cold water was shower hot. My mouth revolted. The part of tongue that touched water was thankful. The throat however did not understand what was occuring and spasmed.

The distance to the Bug Out route was only thirty feet, I covered half that and felt ashamed. I don't like to quit. I have suffered many a traumatic result from ignoring my physical responses and again I stubbornly ignored my rational mind, telling me I was going to that place I had been to in the past and where the cost had been to much to return. I refused to quit. I turned around again and pushed my failing body forward, ever forward to the hill, oh lord the hill I had forgotten and I ran up the hill and turned right and ran up the second part of the hill. I was slow, so painfully slow moving up that hill. I told myself that I would be faster if I walked. I also told myself that this was the final mile of my tri this weekend, of Soma half IM, of Wildflower...of Ironman Flordia.

OptimizeAs I was dragging myself up the hill, I flashed a memory to what a Drill Instructor told me many, many times, "Mann, there's two ways your leaving Officier Candidate School, smart or strong; and your going to be the strongest motherf-er in this class. NOW BEAT YOUR FACE AND GIVE ME 100 PUSH UPS, NOW MANN, NOW" I did actually finish in the top 10% academically and was the only one in my class to recieve perfect marks for my field operations, but I also did three times the flutter kicks and push ups as anyone else. I think about OCS right now, because I could have quit at any time. It would have been easy, we graduated 12 people out of 85 (14%). For fun the cadre, would print out a Drop On Request form and force me to read it (scream it) as loud as I could so the whole base could hear it and each time after I read it they would tell me to sign it. I would refuse and they would drop me or run me or some other terrible physical torture, over and over and over again. Sometimes 50 times a day. In all my class, I was the only one the cadre did this too. Right now I still shake and shudder at the humilations I endured during those readings.

So on days like this I think about how easy it would have been to quit OCS, or how easy it would have been to not push myself to walk again or to learn to read again after my car accident and the resulting amnesia. How simple to have the mentality of a third grader for the rest of my life like the doctors told my parents for months as I recovered, forever living with them and on disability without a care.

But I forced myself to walk and then to run. I went from no short term memory to almost photographic. From a 16 year old with no memory of anything or anyone in his past to a great husband and a decent father. The point is never give up. Giving up is easy. There is always people in your life or in your mind waiting, wanting, you to give up. Find that spark inside you that remembers why you started in the first place, what the goal is and goals aren't easy or we would all be financially rich and physically ripped. I guess I have subconsciously trained myself to never give up, to always find a way to. Today wasn't pretty but I finished my run +2:46 over 30 minutes.

IMFL Tattoo's

Shelley, the coveted holder of Most Blessed Triathlete 2005 (Boston marathon finisher, IM World Championships- Kona participant, slot at IMC 06, IMFL06 participant, profile, etc, etc) has something that I personally covet, an Ironman finishers medal. She has three actually. On top of that she also has the gold ring of my IM experience, the M-Dot tattoo. Photo shamelessly copied from Tri-Geek Dreams.

But there has been chatter in the blogesphere that tattoo's are forbidden in Panama City. I did some reasearch and found the Florida State Regulations on tattooing. Also I have the address of a few palors in the city. We can get them done no problem. The legality issue is not against having one done or where it's put on the body, it's a regulatory issue on by whom can do them and how the store is supervised.

So, while the Tri-Geek Alliance may not have an artist coming to us and our drunken bacchanalia the day after IMFL, we can at least all hobble down and get one done on the way to the victory dinner.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

The price of ego...and a little fun

I have an appointment with Dr. Simon my rehab guy this morning because I did the most rookie mistake ever, I sidetracked my training with ego. Let me explain.

Because of my head injuries when I was younger, I cannot compete in team sports. So I got really good at things like running and racquetball. So yesterday as I was getting ready to swim, my fitness director came over and told me how he was really getting into racquetball and we should play sometime. I 'awe shucks,' the idea thinking maybe someday we could play, then he produces two racquets. Its been a while since I have played, two years at least. I'm not a great player but I understand movement and angles so we played best 2 of 3 to ten points.

Game One, he beats me 10-3. By the end of the game my arm no longer hurts from swinging, its just numb. Like the first day of baseball practice and throwing the ball a hundred times.

Game Two, I beat him 10-2. I am starting to remember some tricks and my serve returns.

Game Three, he's beating me off some stupid ego mistakes 9-3. I comeback and beat him 11-9 in straight point scoring.

So why did I explain all that? Because I didn't stick to my training plan I strained a muscle on my left back/torso and there is no way I can run this morning. So I am going to see Simon. One session with him and I will be right as rain. I need it because I have a great ride planned tomorrow and need all the fixing I can get.

Friday, July 8, 2005

Found some original garage shots

I am already running late today so why not try to find my photo cd of the garage. So here you go, now no need to post next week.

Driver? Up. Camera? On. Download? Complete.

Well here we go folks. The aforementioned cabinets that took so much time to complete. Most of the garage is put back together and on Monday, (camera driver willing) I will put the formal garage photo's up with Lucille in her new rack.
I finally decided on common wall paneling for the interior framing. Partially due to cost and partially the ability to form the deminsions best to fit. The little white piece you see in the bottom box of the right cabinet is an anchor to the post we had to work around.

This was taken without flash so you can see how we matched the outside of the cabinet to the expensive laminate on the professional cabinets behind it. When the garage is all put away the things behind the lockers will be gone.
Lucille's new home and additonal pegboard to hang bags, hats, goggles, etc. On the left in the background is one of the cabinets with work area built in. The dark brown is pegboard which allowed me to keep a good flow or scheme in the garage.

A better view. The cabinets are divided into three areas. The bottom is for baskets which will hold all our shoes. Then the seat which is getting pillows today. The middle portion is for sitting and having room to hang a jacket or umbrella. Mighty Mo has the middle cabinet with the lowest seat for him to climb on. We can lift this as he gets older. The top area is for knick knacks, probaby put a basket tray up there to. The area behind the cabinet is a single car garage area with carpet on the ground. All the stuff in that area will be put away. The floor has an industrial epoxy that can not be damaged, not the thin stuff at Home Depot.

Mighty Mo had to come out and help so we gave him a telescoping magnet to pick up loose screws. He decided to add the ear muffs on his own. Next to him is the primary work bench with peg board on the wall. Again this is usually very neat.

Well thanks for being patient.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Before I Get Tagged, But At A Price

I will never send a chain e-mail to anyone. However in this climate of 'tagging' favorites I felt I should be preemptive and in my fashion of doing things faster and better than expected. So I am not going to list my top five favorites songs but the first 22 songs I downloaded to my iPod. The price I paid was missing my swim practice tonight because I was downloading. But on the bright side I scheduled a meeting at my club with a pool so after the meeting I can get in a swim, then go to my next meeting and get in my bike/run brick. So for all my effort of sampling for the right version, downloading all these songs incorrectly the first time, then figuring out how to fix the problem then downloading them all again (4 hours) These are songs that I have always wanted to own or maybe a recent favorite. In order of playlist:

1. Foo Fighters: My Hero (from movie Varsity Blues, best first song to any playlist)
2. Gwen Stephani: Hollaback Girl (good hook)
3. Bowie/Queen: Under Pressure (from movie Grosse Pointe Blank)
4. Foo Fighters: Learn To Fly
5. John Mayer: Bigger Than My body (I know John Mayer, but good song to run to)
6. Filter: Take A Picture (forget Amazing Grace, play this at my funeral)
7. Outkast: Hey Ya!
8. Jackson Browne: Running On Empty (my fav running song)
9. Peter Gabriel: In Your Eyes (from movie Say Anything and 1 million proms)
10.AC/DC : For those about to rock... we salute you (I saw this live during Desert Storm)
11. James Taylor: Fire and Rain (really into Jimmy right now)
12. James Taylor: You've Got A Friend (even tempo)
13.AC/DC : Thunderstruck (best kickass song by AC/DC)
14. John Mayer: Why Georgia (he just has a steady voice to run to)
15. John Mayer: Body is a wonderland (did you see that video?)
16. Foo Fighters: Times Like These
17. James Taylor: How sweet it is to be loved by you (to get into the grove)
18. Outkast: Hey Ya! (yes its twice b/c its short and gets you up)
19. Outkast: Rose (funny song to laugh to)
20. Alien Ant Farm: Smooth Criminal (best cover ever of MJ's best song)
21. Peter Gabriel: Solbury Hill
22. Louis Armstrong: What a wonderful world (play this at my funeral after filter)

Considering I downloaded over 50 times today it cost me less than $10. The average song cost only twenty cents at


Ah crap. I left the cd with the camera driver at home. So after my meeting today I will try to load one up from online.

Tie Up Some Loose Posts

I would like to tie up some loose ends on my blog posts to keep everyone up to speed.

1. Cabinets
Cabinets are done. I took some good pictures but can't download them to my computer right now, I should be able to post them this afternoon, but the cabinets turned out great. I will straighten up the garage and get some formal introduction pictures within a few days. I have set up some high expectations for my showing my garage. But it really was the deciding factor for me on the house.

2. The new dog.
Topper is getting along very well with Mighty Mo. He is getting along well with Mistress who is shouldering the bulk of the responsibility. I like him, he is very cute, but its going to take a while still for me to embrace him in my family. I wear earplugs at night so his crying doesn't keep me up since I am such a light sleeper.

3. iPod
It was a little difficult to get everything set up and understand the nuances but I have downloaded a few songs and so far so good. The thing does an automatic update of the entire library of music in your system every time you sync up which is a little strange. I am trying to have more control of that. I am in iTunes right now, it did not accept my PayPal account for music buys so it took me a while to sort out that I must use a visa or mastercard. Oh well. In iTunes I can not find a way to listen to a short version of the song I may want to purchase so I bought a song for .99 that I ultimately did not like. Wasted a buck. I really don't want to steal music so may find some different sites to buy from.

4. Polar S625X HRM
I have been too busy to fiddle with the graph software other than download my workouts. I hope to able to do this by the weekend. I still have not sync'd up the foot pod for figuring pace and distance- the brain of the system as it were. It can still do much more than I am pushing it to do.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

OptimizeShelley why do you do these things to me. If I have a vice for something(s) its either for Pringles or movie popcorn, buttered.


Tri-Geek Gathering

As posted at Tri-Geek Dreams by the Great and All Powerful Kahuna, I have been invited to partake in the 85 mile training ride from the "O.C." to San Diego. I am honored that Robo-Stu would think to invite me on this training ride.

It took me all of about one minute to get a travel waiver from Mistress to go to California. As stipulated in our Training Contract, I am only allowed specific training/racing destinations outside the Valley Of The Sun and those were scrupulously hammered out in our negotiations.

What is surprising about her sudden agreeablity is that I am going on a backpacking/fishing trip to Yosemite National Park with my godfather and other fishing buddies from July 17 to July 26. So I will be home for two days then leave Friday afternoon for Casa de Kahuna.

As fate would have it I was concerned at the California ride and my lack of biking leading up to it but today, my designated swim day, I will have to switch to tomorrow so I can get back home early enough to relieve my mom from Mighty Mo and Topper duty. So today I am plotting a 90-120 minute bike workout. Its only going to be 112 degrees today so it shouldn't be that bad...right?

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

A Shiny Thing

I have been thinking about Flatman since early last week. See we are techies and love to get new gadgets and gear, I call them Shiny Things. I love getting Shiny Things. As a fellow gadget guy I knew Flatman would be as appreciative of this as I am. Well I have been trying since last week to carve out just thirty minutes to go and buy my new Shiny Thing and talk about it.

OptimizeSo here is my new Shiny Thing, the 2nd Generation 6 gigabyte iPod mini. Its silver, because I like shiny things. I also picked up the arm band.

The Colonel traded for the same model of iPod when he was in Korea last month and I bought him a car charger/FM reciever to play his mp3 music through his car's sound system. I am going to borrow it while he is in Germany later this month since I am driving to California two times in July. The Colonel also has 15 gigs of mp3 ready to be transfered to me and I have a business partner with about 100 cd's that he is going to let me rip. So life is musically good and I have a new Shiny Thing!

Where The Day Went

Still not done. Oh for goodness sakes this project is taking way to long. By the time I got home The Colonel had braced the units and finished all the moldings. The issue still remains that the wood is bowed out and we needed to brace and clamp it down before we screwed it together. We made a 45 minute detour to Home Depot to pick up some new parts for the sander and skilsaw. After many debates I decided on using ordinary paneling for inside the cabinets. I also found a great hanger frame to put the bike up off the ground.

After The Colonel went home I filled all the holes made by the pneumatic nail gun and gaps in the facade. Now when we do the final sanding today, it will look seamless. I also pre-cut the paneling for inside the cabinet. I hope that we can get it stained today and all the clean up done by tomorrow for pictures.

A difficult day for training. Mom is having a root canal this afternoon so Mistress and I are tag teaming Mighty Mo duty this afternoon. I can do some work from home anyway, but between that, watching a two year old who plays with his new puppy so much he gives himself an asthma attack twice a day, and trying to not feel guilty about The Colonel in the garage by himself, its going to be a looong day.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Happy 4th of July

I miss the 4th of July. Not in a sense of the historical significance or the sacrifices that soldiers old (me) and new have made to protect the document this day is so celebrated for but in a sense of missing the things that make the 4th so American.

Growing up in Seattle, you could by fireworks at any of the multitude of rickety stands that popped up the week before the 4th where you could buy anything from sparklers to big pre-packaged boxes for families. I lived in a cul-de-sac and every 4th everyone would come out and for a big BBQ and cherry stem tying contests, egg tosses, sack races, just pure Americana. There was the prototypical drunk dad, sobbing mom, one bottle rocket setting off a whole box of fireworks on accident.

As an adult we would all go to the big festivals that all the larger cities put on. One year I sat on the hill at Gasworks park in Seattle. One year I spent watching the Gasworks show on my friends dad's boat who was the pier Marshall. We were so close, the spent fizzle rained down on us. The last year in Seattle, 1998, I was in my kayak parked a hundred yards from the fireworks barge with some friends.

In Phoenix, you can't light a fart without something catching fire. So you can't buy anything, anywhere. Oh sure you can go illegal, but trust me I have blown up more things than you could ever imagine when I was in the infantry. Once you 'accidently' blow up a building with the wrong sachel of C-4, everything else looses it's luster. Oh it only cost $30,000 for the Army to replace the building but having the envy of an entire fort-priceless.

As I have gotten older my desire to sit in traffic for an hour just to get to the freeway has diminished. With the Mighty Mo and his whole thing, we don't fee like sitting in 110 degrees all day for a 30 minute show. I watch it on tv and that's about it. I am not big into crowds for long periods of time, triathlons swims notwithstanding.

Whatever you do today, do it with spirit. We are the only country in the world that can focus the beginning of its nationality to one specific day, one moment in time, July 4, 1776. Every other country became what it became due to population shifts, technology over time or geographics. America became independent on July 4th because of a concept, a willpower to be free. Let freedom ring.

Race #8 of 2005, ARR Summer Series 5k

Well this could be my most uninspiring race of the year. I woke up feeling like I am a bib whore. Meaning the only reason I went this morning was to collect my bib. I am wiped out from all the laboring I have been doing in the heat of my garage and did not respect my training or my taper.

But all is not lost. Even though I showed up late, I was able to jump into the corral at the BOP and I took pictures during the run. So here is my collage, taken with my Phillips Key Camera which fits so well in my hand that I forgot it was there a couple of times.

It was a uphill/downhill run. My altimeter on the Polar showed a gain of 150 feet for for the 1.5 miles up. Dosen't sound like much but thats a hill out here. I took a lot of pictures going up, just taking my time. I went past the turn at 17 minutes and then took some picture coming back but nothing came out as well as I liked. I came back down at 13 minutes. My watch time was 30 minutes which I can throw 3 minutes at least onto photo opportunities.

Not my worst ever 5k, but as tired as I am, it was nice to just be around motivated people and fulfill my goal of getting pictures in a race with my little camera.

The New Dog Cometh

Topper in full puppy sprint

Topper (above)
Mighty Mo trying to get Topper to go over the bridge.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Still building

Made great progress today but the cabinets are not all finished. The double set for Mistress and Mighty Mo are up and ready to be stained over. I don't like the inside stain I used so will have to repaint another weekend. Mine has a partial fascade attached and tomorrow we will get that done in quick order than get them all upright and attach the top and back pieces. Should take about 3 hours I think.

I bought fairly decent plywood but should have doubled down on more cabinet grade materials. The heat has caused most of the boards to bend like a crooked politician so we spent 25% of the time clamping and pressing boards to the pieces are all aligned.

I am completely exhausted by all this work. Its been around 110 degrees outside and we have spent at least 7 hours each day working in the garage. And having a new puppy crying most of the night dosen't help. I have resorted to ear plugs.

On Monday morning the 4th I am entered in the ARR Summer Series #3 5k. This manual labor is not exactly the taper I was looking for. I don't think its going to be pretty. I will bring my little key camera and hope for some good shots. The race is on a desert mountain course, uphill 1.5, then down 1.5. Should be interesting, certainly not a PR day.

Not sure if I have to work tomorrow on the 4th. I am going in anyway after the race to shower but I have a lot of work to catch up on and then find out what my partners want to do. It will probably be a short load day as we most of us have been invited to the VIP tent for the big fireworks show that we are title sponsor for. It gets like 100,000 people there with a dozen music acts throughout the day. No I am not going. Too many people, 110 degrees. I would rather finish the work in the garage and maybe go for a swim.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

I will build it, they will come

In my garage, the best garage ever by the way, I have pictures to prove it, The Colonel (that's good ole dad) and I are building open facedlocker room cubbys for Mistress, Mighty Mo and myself. We might be a strange family, but we pretty much never use the front door. Its all about going through the garage. Usually we have our hands very full. In her case, a god awful pink purse (how do you women do that), a bag for used tuperware and odds and ends and some other type of bag full of stuff from a store. Me, oh well you know, work backpack, workout bag for running or biking, workout bag for swimming, usually another satchel or sack full of something coming back to the house. One of us will always be holding the Mighty Mo's backpack full of medicines, toys, diapers, all the stuff a two year needs. So short story long, lots of stuff.

The whole project started when I was recently reading my five year vision statement written in 2002. The scary thing is that my current house is almost identical to my vision and I haven't read the thing in two years, didn't even have it in mind when we moved to this home last year from the house I was happy with in Scottsdale.

I personally was getting tired of slugging bags into the house only to be bumrushed from Mighty Mo, who demands a pick up, and everything gets dropped on the floor, to which point it stays there until Mistress demands action or I am five minutes late out the door. Add a new puppy who would just love to get his little puppy teeth on my bags...and well you get the point.

The whole project started when I was reading my five year vision statement written in 2002. The scary thing is that my current house is almost identical to my vision and I haven't read the thing in two years, didn't even have it in mind when we moved to this home last year.

The cubbys, right back to the post, inbetween the double and single roll ups (3 car garage with extensions) I have a three foot wide gap that is perfect for these cubbys. Problem is that I have just under $6,000 in custom cabinetry surrounding the inside of my garage so whatever I do it can't look like crap or it throws the whole thing off. So The Colonel and I are building it ourselves, to save oh about a grand. We got mine 80% built and standing and most of Mistress and Mighty Mo's up, (there is a steel post in the way that we are building around). On Sunday we finish the seats and high shelves, set the roof, then apply the front facsades so the studs don't show. On the back, the last part going on, I am incorporating a full sheet of pegboard to hang hats, helmets, bike gear and tools, camelbacks, swim trunks, extra bags and such that normally just go wherever on the countertops. Plus installing a post to hang Lucille on so she is off the floor and I can work on her without bending over.

I will post some pictures when the project is completed. The downfall of this project is the absence of the long runs and bikes planned this weekend. I do have a uphill/downhill 5k race on Monday so the carpentry work gives me exercise and a taper (I gotta keep telling myself that) .

Friday, July 1, 2005

The Numbers Game

So the SUV that Mistress drives split its a/c belt last night and as I attested to in my post last night it was flippin hot to drive around that way. So this morning, I as the dutiful, (read: under contract) husband went with SUV and the tow truck driver up to the dealership to get the thing fixed. While waiting for the repairs to be done there was a blood drive in the parking lot so I donated blood. I am what you call a Universal Donor as I am O+. They pretty much bring a limo to my doorstep for my precious life fluid.

Anyway, the numbers. Mistress and I for a decade have had a running match of lowest numbers and so I am going to post these in the blogesphere and get some feedback from you. Lets all share and learn in the process.

HR: 120/81.
Temp:. 97.3*
Pulse: 55

Hanging Out By The Womens Locker Room...

Ah the occassional benifits of having an office with a door right next to the women's locker room. Its not too bad except the hand air dryer is just behind the wall and I hear the constant click-clack of high heels on tile flooring.

But I digress. My office door was open and a friend I met in my Chandler clubs pool walked out and saw me, stopped said "Hi", saw my mountain bike leaning against my wall behind me and gawked, "That is so awesome" and came barrelling in. Then she turned around to look at me and saw Lucille against the other wall and went over and grabbed her.

She's a teacher and uber-athlete and occassional volunteer for a local tri company. She mentioned she had not seen me at the club pool and I told her about the tri-swim team. I then told her about my dissappointment last night of Fat Tire #3 being a relay only event on July 16th.

She immediately started a rapid conversation about how that's incorrect, she just did the promo write up online and that its a Formula One race like I originally thought. I showed her the site I went to and then she showed me hers...sicko's, but thanks for thinking I could be capable of that.. and assured me that its not relay only.

So the race is on. I am going to sign up as soon as I am done with this post. I am posting the link but really this is just the best way to read what this particular course will be like..

Triathletes, start your engines! DBC Adventures presents the world’s fastest “Formula One Fat Tire Triathlon.” Yes, we are bringing in the format so wildly popular in Europe and Australia to the trails of Tempe, AZ. Join us July 16th for the third installment of the Fat Tire series, a race sure to cater to those who love transitions, shorts swims and pure speed! The race will consist of two consecutive laps. Each lap will include a 250m swim, 10k mountain bike, and 3k trail run. After the two laps, the top 25 men and top 10 women will race a championship lap in reverse order (3k run, 10k bike, 250m swim). There will be a 30-minute break between laps 2 and 3 for racers to reorganize their transition area, get a drink, and read the paper. The first two laps only qualify you for the final lap. Times from the final lap will determine the overall winners. Basically, you could be the 25th male after two laps and still win the race overall if you have the fastest last lap. So what will your strategy be for laps 1 and 2? That’s up to you we just mark the course! This is truly for the fast and the furious, so don’t miss out!
Seize the Day and throttle it-Calvin

I got some feedback from Polar on how to capture their graph and post it online. This may work for other HRM programs from Timex, Nike, etc., though I honestly don't know.
Dear Mr. Mann,

Thank you for your email.

You may use the Export as Text feature in the PPP SW. Export as Test
saves the exercise/activity data to an ASCII text file with the .txt extension. You can then open the exported file in other software.

If the function is not visible in the File menu, select Options – Preferences and open the Features page. Then check the Export as Text box to display the function in the menu.

If you have made selections in the Curve view, the information is saved according to these selections in the text file.

You can also use the Copy function in the Listing to export exercise and activity data to other software.
Open Listing (View – Listing). Select Edit – Copy to copy all values
on the Listing to the Clipboard. Then paste them to the desired
program, for example, Windows Notepad.

For further information see the on-line help file in the software.

If you need further assistance please feel free to contact Customer Service at 800-227-1314 or 516-364-0400.

Thank you for choosing Polar.

Customer Service
So I will give this a shot as soon as possible. I would also like to direct you to Bolder in Boulder's blog where he has listed a method of posting HRM graphs using a different method. I am going to try both methods.