Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The end of No Limits?

Well I challenged myself to train without limits for 39 days and asked you to come along for the ride.

It wasn't all roses and chocolates, very few of either now that I think about it, but a successful jump start to my 2006 season. I got in some epic training, the ulitmate Epic Training Weekend coming up in just a few short days to act as a peak for the six weeks of hard work. But I don't want to cheat myself of a great post later this week so lets just table the ETW for a few days.

I certainly found out some important information about myself to help me reach new levels of training success. I am NOT lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant, though I still have an undiagnosed condition that gives me almost daily stomach discomfort.

I can sit in the saddle for almost 7 hours and over 100 miles and not develop saddle sores or chaffing and be confident that after a few minutes I can run. I also found out that I need better hydration and nutrition discipline for those distances.

I also found out that I have a serious dislike for bike training in temperatures less than 40 degrees but I can swim in 52 degrees with a wetsuit.

Well thanks for coming along for the No Limits Challenge. If you didn't do it but want to challenge yourself starting today, let me know, let everyone know and we will give you encouragement.

Vascularity

I am not a vascular man. Vascularity in exercising terms, is the condition of having prominent veins ripping up and down parts of the body. Also known as being shredded.

In the past I have had the size (220 pounds), the body fat (as low as 5%), even the funny multicolored billowy clown pants (crap I even owned those shoes), but not the vascularity.

So why is it when I am 25 pounds lighter and three time my lowest bodyfat percentage, I get out of the shower after a 2 hour training session and my lower legs are shredded. I got veins everywhere.

I quickly run downstairs, "Honey look quick, my legs are shredded."
"Thats nice dear, now go put on some clothes the boy is looking."

The other day I was driving around town with my elbow resting on a partially lowered window, grabbing the top of the door frame. I come to a stoplight and I stare out the window and catch a glimpse of my forearm. "What is that a smudge? Craps thats my forearm, its shredded! I haven't had muscles defining my arm like that in like...ever."

This is just one reason- Why I tri.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Bike Bottle Graveyard

Another leason in Murphys Laws, good and bad.

The workout called for only one bike loop today, 40 miles. So I loaded the bike up with just one 200 calorie bottle of Cytomax (forgot to buy more CarbPro), a full aero bottle of water, an extra powerbar just in case and a small backup water bottle in case my aero spilled out. Sounds good right?

One loop turns into one and half, not a big deal unless that half equals an additional 20 miles of riding that I didn't have liquid calories for. At least I had that powerbar and extra water.

At the turn around to pick up the extra mileage, I realized that the back up water bottle had jumped ship. Down to my bottle of Cytomax and about a 1/4 of an aero bottle of water. Not promising for the next 30 miles of riding. I conserved as I could and scanned for my bottle.

20 miles later I saw it lying on the side of the road, thankfully unspilled. The temperature is 80 degrees and I am very thirsty. The bottle jumped out after I rode over a think bump in the road while going fast downhill.

As I picked up my bottle, I realized there were dozens of bike bottles strewn about the same area. Apparently I am not the only one to dislodge a bottle after going over that bump. A bottle graveyard. After examining a few, I decided on collecting a brand new Tri-Sport bottle and a short Gatorade bottle.

During next weeks training, I will have to stop and pay my respects.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Swimming

I am not ashamed to state, "I am freaking tired of the damn pool!"

I thought perhaps I was just a bit tired or stresed out this week and that was affecting my swimming. Oh no no no. I am simply tired of swimming down and back for 90 minutes a workout.

Then when I realize that the 60 freaking laps I just did equals just two loops in Canyon lake, I get a little misty eyed. Mostly because I am crying from boredom but nonetheless.
I can not imagine the Cabin Fever that my mid-west friends are experiencing in their pool swims. I at least can start going back to the lake, albeit with gloves, cap and booties pretty much next week, but to not be able to open swim until May or June. Ay' Carumba.

So its a marginal swim week. Three workouts but none with any significant distance. Total distance of 5,000 yards, mostly due to my complete lack of discipline to go another lap without strangling the splasher in the lane next to me.

What say you?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Product Review: Staples Wordlock


Ever have problems remembering your three number locker combination? Or get frustrated with having to line up those itty-bitty dashes on the dial?

Staples solved the problem with their $5.98 Wordlock. It opens using a combination of five letters that you put into almost any word or name you want. With ten letters per dial that means a 100,000 possibility's.

Words are so much easier to remember than numbered combinations, which means even after several weeks or months of non-use, the combination should come to you very quickly. Use your name, nickname, name of loved one or pet, anything you want. The lock comes with a page of words that you can use if your not the inspired type. The last dial of letters has a blank spot if you perfer to use only a four letter combination.

Changing the combination is a cinch, if your the love em and leave em type, just dial up your combination, push in the black button on the side and switch the word.

Pro: Much easier to remember combination when dealing with a common word rather than a lock specific series of numbers.
Con: Laziness could lead to easy decoding of your combination, if you don't jumble the lock properly.

Bottom Line: A cheap, mentally easy way to secure your valuables in a locker. The design is unique and easy to find among all dial locks hanging from lockers in your gym.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What its Thursday?

Whoa!

This week has been absolutely crushing on me. A short month, a long Vegas weekend thrown in, increased training time and same high workload has really set the ol' internet time back to almost nil.

Keeping it short and sweet, the training has been going really well. It has actually been very cold for Phoenix this week so my 0500 ride in the desert was completed with a 32 degree temperature. I really admire all of you who train mid day in that stuff right now or worse over the course of winter. I was really grumpy after that 20 miles.

Spent a great deal of time in rehab today. Calf tear is healing nicely but my QL (Quadratus Lumbram-side of back) is still very tight. Dr. Simon asked if I wanted to help him test out a piece of equipment he was looking to buy and my condtion and pain level would give him a good unbiased demonstration. We went, I wasn't impressed, he gets better results with his normal modalities, so he wasn't impressed either.

Training has been pretty spot on, except for the occassional Mighty Mo hiccup. He is still very sick but at least he is finally starting to take his medicine without spewing half of it out on us.

I have taken a few minutes here and there reading up on the rest of you, but with my phone and iPaq I can not leave comments. Keep the training going folks. Spring is almost here if not already. Try on your wetsuit, clean up your bike, wash those running shoes.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mo Update

Thanks to all of you who wrote or thought well wishes for the Mighty Mo. I know its not always easy to be empathetic for other peoples kids. Believe it or not I am finding that I have a lot of friends and family who cruise by the blog who don't leave comments on top of all the great friends that I enteract with exclusively through CMS.

Mistress took Mighty Mo in yesterday and the doctors were once again floored at his level of illness compared to his outward disposition. He has strep, a sinus infection, ear infection and pneumonia. Because Mistress did such a great job of keeping him hydrated over the weekend, we didn't need to do an overnight for the IV bag.

So after a four month hiatus, life is back to normal at the Casa.

Product Review: Specialized Chicane Sunglasses


View All SPECIALIZED Products

MODEL NAME: SPECIALIZED Chicane Optics

PRODUCT OPTIONS: Metallic Blue, Black, Bronze, Yellow, Midnight (as shown right and worn by me)

Description from online source: The Chicane├é’s larger frame design and exclusive trail specific lens formulation suits both shaded woods and exposed single track. As with the other optics, the vented design prevents fogging.
  • Adaptalite technology is used on Apache helicopter windshields. Instead of photochromatics which change tint levels by applying a coating over the glasses, Adaptalite is built into thelense so it cannot be rubbed off, smudged or suffer from detoriation with age.
  • Specialized AdaptaliteTM lenses adapt to varying ambient UV levels, providing optimal performance in low to bright light conditions without having to change lenses.
  • By varying the amount of light transmission, AdaptaliteTM lenses maximize comfort without sacrificing optical clarity.
  • AdaptaliteTM lenses provide 100% UVA and UVB protection throughout the full range of light transmission.
  • Adaptalitelense will adjust toambientt conditions in about 15 seconds.
  • AdaptaliteTM NXTTM lenses are 10-20% lighter than other plastic lenses.
  • Exclusive Mountain Lens formulation works in low light to bright conditions.
  • Vented design prevents fogging.
  • Lens and frame angles are designed for cycling-specific application in the riding position.
  • Larger frame and lens provides more coverage.

See the lens in action. Click on the glasses in frame to move through the course.

My personal review
: The search for the mythical "end-all-be-all" of sunglasses came a little closer to reality when I bought these. I originally thought the lens would change tint from clear to dark based on lighting conditions. I have since found that the lens color stays fairly consistent but the technology allows the lens to lighten or darken as needed very quickly, meaning that indoors or low light outdoors I can look in a mirror and see my eyes, bright light or outdoor sunlight I cannot.

I have worn these in every conceivablee condition; pitch dark, twilight, sunrise, overcast, bright cloudless days, indoors at low light restaurants, shopping and finally working on my computer. In every instance I have been pleasantly surprisedd at how adaptable they are.

The lenses definitely highlight specific colors like red and green. Compared to my dressy Calvin Kleins and my Aruba orange iriduims, these are not a dark lens, more of a bronze, which at first made me question their ability since I have based my likes and dislikes first on form then on darkness. After trying many styles I found the Chicane gave me the most coverage, as all the other Adaptalite models had large gaps either at the top or bottom based on my face shape.

Many times I have taken all my sunglasses and rapidly changed them out on my face while looking at an object. Each time, regardless if I want them too or not, the Chicanes have provided better clarity of what I am looking at.

Con: Price $149, gappage top and bottom.
Pro: can be worn in any condition at any time. Unlike the road frames, the Chicane is stylish enough to wear as an indoor frame and not look so obviously like sunglasses.

Bottom Line: Sunglasses are all about Form and Function. If you find a model of Specialized Adaptalites that fit your face without gappage, I give you a strong buy recommendation, the cost offsets needing multiple purchases for varying circumstances.

A tale of the Century

Sunday was the big ride. My first century and IronBenny coming down for his first outdoor century. I wasn't nervous about the distance, I have quite a few 80's under my belt so my plan was to figure out pacing and nutrition.

Things did not start off well. I did a recon of the area Saturday afternoon and found out that a Greek festival with carnival was parked smack dab in the middle of the parking lot we stage out of. We ended up having to met somewhere else which cut 3 miles off each loop. Not a big deal. The weather was supposed to be cloudy with a cold front moving through. We started at about 50 degrees and six hours later it was around 65 degrees. Perfect riding weather except I forgot to sunscreen my legs and I have some interesting burns to show for it. Oh well base for summer I guess.

Loop one my goal was to go out nice and easy, which I did, I actually felt like the course was easier than times I had ridden it in the past, a good sign. I felt great coming back in for a bottle change. Average speed 18.3 mph. I was very confident that loop two would be similiar.

Loop two, I pushed a little harder on the outbound and noticed a uptick in average mph going uphill however the winds picked up and my downhill mph slowed about 5-10 mph. All things considered I will take a hard wind while going downhill at 19 mph than a hard wind while going uphill at 8 mph. I finished loop two at 18.2 mph.

I was not happy finishing loop two. I checked my bottles and realized that even though my water consumption was on track, I had only consumed 75% of the liquid calories I should have. The other bad news was that I had not urinated in 80 miles, (about 4.5 hours of training). Not a good sign and I kicked myself for the lack of discipline. This ride was to be about practicing nutrition and staying hydrated enough to enter the run fresh.

Thankfully Benny was gracious enough to stay within a few minutes of me during the loops and we enjoyed a ten mintue rest stop after loop two. Bagels and PB&J and my first bathroom break.

Loop Three started off pretty good for me. I got a rear flat which was changed in twelve minutes and kept a pretty steady pace going out to the turnaround. The headwinds really started to blow and coming back into high winds was a bit frustrating. All of us have had those moments where the bike is gusted one direction and you think your going to tip over, then is immediately hit from the other side think your going to tip over the other direction. That kind of wind conditons.

The last six miles were tough for me. I have felt much worse finishing shorter rides but my main thought was, "Can I get off the bike and run a marathon right now?" As if reading my mind, Benny asked the question to me. Hmmmm?

As we were putting the bikes away and patting each other on the back for the accomplishment, I had my answer to that question. Given about fifeteen mintues in T2 I could run. Give me that time and some rub down for my neck and hammys from the therapy tent and I could run well.

The positives of the ride were that I finished it and answered the nagging question, if my conditions are similiar on the bike, I can finish a marathon in five hours. I am confident in that assesment. Further tests including a century ride followed by a half marathon bike will be on my agenda. Also my body did well taking in only liquid calories for the distance excluding said sandwich.

The negatives are that I did not urinate, which shows a lack of hydration on my part. Also that I did not use proper sunscreen and burns will affect running. Plus I need to change my liquid calorie mix. I do one bottle for about 550 calories per 2o miles riding. The mix I used worked physically but not optimumly.

All can be adjusted or sustained between now and Ironman. Train on.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Damage Control

As most of you may remember, Mighty Mo developed Influenza A and pneumonia last October, just another series of complications from my sons low immune system. So our team of doctors decided to ask us an unusual request, electively segregate Mo from other children until the flu and sick season had passed which is generally the beginning of February.

Well the veil was lifted a couple weeks ago and he has been making up missed play time like crazy, playing himself into exhuastion and giving himself exercise induced asthma attacks.

Now he is sick again. Hard.

With his immune system he can flip from a cold to bronchitis or pnuemonia within a day, so this weekend we are pumping med's and fluids in him and watching lots of Disney movies. We think if we can get him under control by Monday we can significantly decrease the odds of a hospital stay. Due to his condition and age (2y 10m) approximately 70% of his illnesses result in hospital visits and overnights. Mostly for dehydration and intravenous antibotics.

BTW, a plea. I am looking for The Lion King on dvd. If any of you have it in your kid's dvd library and don't watch it anymore and are willing to part with it, lets talk.

Well really its Mistress doing the work. IronBenny is in town for a weekend boot camp and my brother is flying into town to see the family. So this morning Benny and I and AzTriClub did a 4,000 yard swim workout, (I confess I only did 3,200 skipping a 800 yard set). Tonight I am taking my brother and The Colonel (dad) to PF Changs for dinner. Mom is getting over what Mighty Mo has.

Tomorrow is the epic Ironman Arizona course ride which is what brought Benny down to the Valley Of The Sun. I estimate we will ride 114 miles tomorrow due to the fact that the safest turnaround is just past the course turnaround.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Someone to root for

If you watch CBS Survivor this season root for Nick, he is the nephew of one of my business partners. He and I have hung out a few times and is a geniunely nice and affable guy who gets along with everyone. He is slightly introverted but really sharp and competitive so I hope those traits do him well on the show. He is a tall, younger looking guy, who has been wearing a green long sleeve shirt in many shots.

Nick is the third reality contestant that I know pretty well. My friend Joel was on the very first season of Survivor and he came out to Phoenix a couple of times and we had bar party's to watch the show when it was SO popular at the time. He was kicked off right before the jury because the women thought he called them 'cow's' which the show actually showed it wasn't him it was Gervase but the women thought differently at the time.

On another reality show, Forever Eden which was just terrible I had two friends, Mary and Craig on the show. Not only were they friends they worked for my company. In fact Nick worked for us too, until he went to school full time and Joel was a vendor for us. So I guess our little company has had some behind the scenes association with some people who had or are having their 15 minutes of fame.

I guess being located in hottie central doesn't hurt either. There is always a casting call going on somewhere in Tempe or Scottsdale. Two contestants from the Amazing Race, (my all time fav reality show) live in Scottsdale and own a very cool bar called Six. The girl from My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance was a member of one of my clubs, that was a really cool show to, though it was destined for only one season.

I know its not as exciting as probably those readers from LA or NY who run into important celebritys in line at Starbucks, but for me to see four people that I know very, very well on reality shows over the last seven years is a real kick for me.

Go Nick!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Racing Stripes

Run training has been decreased this week thanks to my handy dandy calf tear. As near as I can tell I began having the problem when I corrected my cycling biomechanics which put a strain on my calf, figure #2 area. The positional change in my leg stroke put pressure on the calf origin which eventually tore the muscle. I am in rehab 2-3 times a week while my body adjusts, I should be just fine in a month or two, faster if I didn't train at all for a few weeks but as my doc understands, "Who are we kidding?" Meanwhile, I still train hard and work around the condition as best I can.

The pictures you see below are the work of Dr. Simon, "The Master Of Many Therapy's" and he has saved me for one shoulder surgery and many years of back and leg pain with his hands of steel, high tech toys and miracle tape. He has been my go to guy for several years.

You will notice that he adds a Nike swoosh at the bottom so people will accept the fact that I am wearing blue tape. See we believe that a person can wear anything unappealing and get away with it if a Nike swoosh is in plain site, since everything Nike is considered couture. The real test of the theory and my manhood is if I can get away with his pink tape.



The process is called 'KT' or Kensio Taping. I swear by this method of treatment which facilitates activation of neuromuscular and circulatory systems to repair damaged tissue. It is not supportive like a knee wrap or ankle brace. The link is a very good article on how it works.

I told Simon I may have to shave my legs or stuble the hair since he is doing all sorts of rubbing, stretching and modality to my legs and is giving me Indian Burns. Last time he just laughed about my complaints and pulled out the pink tape. Sorry folks, I can concieve shaving down my leg hair but not that AND pink taping. I do that and on my Sunday ride they will be calling me Brokeback Biker. No thank you. Not that theres anything wrong with that.

So for a few more weeks I will get to show off my racing stripes. Funny thing is, I can wear this around my work and everyone understands what is going on and I don't get second glances. God I love my work. Maybe I will get the courage to strap on the pink tape for a couple of days and stuble the leg hair too, but the swoosh will have to be much bigger.

Do You Have It?

This is a great game for hand/eye coordination. Its made for figther pilots to train them up to two minutes of survival. It took me a few games but I have made it 26 seconds.

Rules:
Use your mouse to control the red block. The red block cannot be touched by the blue blocks or move outside the edges.

Report back pilot!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Let's Be Honest...

Non-Tri post here folks...Valentines Day is a BS holiday. And not just Valentines Day but Mother's Day, Father's Day, Arbor Day, Halloween theres more; I am an equal opportunity despiser.

I don't think some corporation needs to tell me that regardless of all the good deeds, love letters, flowers and unforgetable moments I give my wife, aka Mistress, during the year; that if I neglect to buy one of their cards or buy some of their candy or overpriced roses and give them to her on February 14th, I am a bad person.

I am not a bad person. I buy Mistress flowers every week, why go out of my way to buy the same bunch for twice the cost during the week of Valentines Day? So I can show society I care about my wife or that I care about the institution of Valentine's Day?

I buy my mom books and candy and speciality things and give her gift certificates all year long to show how much I love and appreciate her. She knows I love her, why do I need to bend to social conformity on Mom's Day? I don't.

Just so you don't think I am some unfeeling robot, let me give you a vision of the personalized side of me. Remember Christmas, just a few months ago really? Remember what people gave you? Maybe one, maybe two gifts. Did you send thank you cards? Come on be honest? To everyone? I do. And when I use their gift for the first time, such as a gift certificate or flashlight or whatever, I send another letter or call them to let them know how their gift was used. This might take all year to use a dinner card.

Just like at Christmas when I wish everyone a un-PC, "Merry Christmas" regardless if they celebrate or not, I will graciously accept all the "Happy Valentines Day" wishes I recieve today. I will even respond will a good heart.

Thats how much I care about people. I love people. I appreicate the gift of giving but don't appreciate the corporate crap that has been heaped on top holidays.

Mistress knows all this. In fact I had a conversation with her because I am conflicted. Yes people I am conflicted. See I will not bow to the Hallmark-Hersey-Industrial-Complex, but I felt that maybe she expected something from the Mighty Mo. Seeing as he is not quite 3 years old that means I would have to buy the card and the gift and sign his name to it. I told her that I would really just like to raise my boy to not have to partake in this holiday and she told me that she only wants something from him when he understands the meaning of the day. She's a good woman.

She obviously has the more traditional "I've bought in" mentality so she thinks I am being just wierd. I told her that if she wants a card and a gift and flowers then I could do all that AND tell her I love her and then be completely unobligated to do any of that or tell her I love her until next February 14th. She laughed and said, "Ah, No." See guys you will never win with Valentines Day. Your expected to dish out all year long but dish out much more on Valentines Day.

So Flame On folks. I expect many of you who have bought expensive jewerly or two dozen roses or going to an expensive dinner tonight to stand up and defend yourself and your expense. As for me, its business as usual, day as usual.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Laid Low

I wish I could blame the nor 'easter that hit last weekend on my lack of training but seeing as I live in the SW, all I have to blame is my blasted body which I am firmly convinced is staging some kind of revolt against me.

Beginning Friday my stomach started to get bloated and gurglely. I went on a easy 90 minute spin on the bike with a buddy but my body would have perfered to have been on another kind of seat. I pretty much spent the next 48 hours on the couch trying to not to move since that caused all kinds of cramping and thoughts of that other kind of seat. I had to cancel the Saturday swim and the Sunday brick. Man I wanted that brick. I may have been able to do it but I was dehydrated and under nourished by Sunday morning. However by Sunday night I relapsed and it kept my up for an extra two hours so I guess I get credit for holding back the training.

My stomach still dosen't feel right but I am going to attempt the Sunday brick today. 40 mile ride and 13 mile run.

Mistress is looking into finding me a gastrointestinal doctor since this has occured off and on for several years. I started the process by looking into food allergies a couple weeks ago but everything came back negative.

I am positive this will pass and things will be sorted out. I only missed two day of training that I should be able to make up this week. I have to get some road miles under me since I have a century plus coming up this weekend.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Canyon Lake photos

2 shots from yesterday's COLD swim. The first is the winsome me, the one eager but not quite really prepared for the cold that will soon envelope his body, especially his face. BTW, very strange to see myself in a swim cap like that.


This next one, is me holding the temp. gauge which is pegged at 52 degrees. Notice the youthful expression replaced with the, "Crap that sucked look."

Thursday, February 9, 2006

No Limits Day 20

The half way point in the No Limits program. How many of you who started are still involved? I sure am. Its taken some interesting turns, but for the most part I am getting in some great training.

In my last post, The Pool Is Open, I mentioned we were heading out to Canyon Lake for our first swim of the year. Holy Crap it was cold. 52 degrees. As the water seeped in through the back zipper it took your breath away but was not real bad. Putting the face in the water... now that was cold. The three of us; myself, John and the Good Doctor all had to stop and get our faces out of the water every ten or twenty strokes for the first hundred yards. By then either our faces were numb or we got used to the water because then we swam to the next buoy, caught up with each other and then swam non-stop back to the gear.

It was 30 minutes in the water at 52 degrees. I would guess it was about 500 yards, maybe a bit less, I know I was swimming a little slow because of the cold and having to remember to lift my head up to tack, and also compensate for the gloves and socks that filled with water and made tactical feel of the water a bit strange the first time out. Thank God it was mid 70's when we got out to change.

We three beat it out of the canyon to the Waffle House and each had some strong coffee to warm up completely and head home.

Hooyah! No Limits continues...

No Limits Day 20

The half way point in the No Limits program. How many of you who started are still involved? I sure am. Its taken some interesting turns, but for the most part I am getting in some great training.

In my last post, The Pool Is Open, I mentioned we were heading out to Canyon Lake for our first swim of the year. Holy Crap it was cold. 52 degrees. As the water seeped in through the back zipper it took your breath away but was not real bad. Putting the face in the water... now that was cold. The three of us; myself, John and the Good Doctor all had to stop and get our faces out of the water every ten or twenty strokes for the first hundred yards. By then either our faces were numb or we got used to the water because then we swam to the next buoy, caught up with each other and then swam non-stop back to the gear.

It was 30 minutes in the water at 52 degrees. I would guess it was about 500 yards, maybe a bit less, I know I was swimming a little slow because of the cold and having to remember to lift my head up to tack, and also compensate for the gloves and socks that filled with water and made tactical feel of the water a bit strange the first time out. Thank God it was mid 70's when we got out to change.

We three beat it out of the canyon to the Waffle House and each had some strong coffee to warm up completely and head home.

Hooyah! No Limits continues...

Pool's Open

For those not familiar with my pool it is Canyon Lake which sits between Apache Junction and Tortilla Flats. We swim into the lake, turn around at a buoy and swim under a bridge to a buoy inside the canyon and back to the front buoy. Going buoy to buoy for two full laps plus the distance to and from the starting area is 1.2 miles, exactly a half ironman swim.

From our starting point looking at the front buoys center left and right of shot.

Today a select crazy few of us are going to jump in and go for it. Lake temperature is currently listed at 53 degrees. I will bring a thermometer to find out for sure. Yesterday I stopped by the local dive shop (they actually have those here in the desert-who knew?) and bought dive gloves, booties and dive cap.

It has been since Thanksgiving that I last open water swam. Not only will this be cold, it will be very interesting. I am not afraid of the water temp., its going to be cold regardless, so I will swim at least to the inlet buoy and back for putting all the stuff on. Then it depends on if its physically possible to stroke out a full lap into the canyon. It has been in the high 70, low 80's for the last week so the water may be okay by afternoon time.

Since last Thanksgiving, I have been putting in my laps at a gym pool. Not quite the same thing but has done the job.

Will let you know tonight how it went.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Fighting in the jungle

What I love about our Triathlete Alliance, is not only do I learn so much from all of the postings, I get inspired for new posts. Thanks Wil.

Her great post, and they are all great, was about being concerned about the snipers that take out your training plans, not the big bombs that fall from the sky and you see a mile away. Wil, wrote about that famous axiom, "It's a jungle out there."

Sidenote: Out of curiosity I spent an hour just now researching the origin of this quote to no success.

This is really a post to massage some of the regrets Wil had about missing most of her swim and having her day screwed up because she got 'sniped' by the time thief (my paraphrase).

See, infantryman, grunts, don't use that phrase. I was a grunt for ten years. I spent a solid chunk of that in the south Pacific, (i.e. The Jungle) Grunts don't say it because not only is it self evident but because its more of an armchair saying than an actual boots on the ground saying. A grunt would use, "Its a jungle out there" as sarcasticly as they would, "SNAFU", "FUBAR" or "TARFU" (if you link over, read the second paragraph for definitions)

Grunts are trained to live in the jungle, trained to survive in the jungle. A grunt's training regimen is designed for them to do impossible things at the limits of their endurance. The entire goal of basic training and any combat school worth its weight is too push the grunt to the limit of their endurance and still function.

Now the switch over in my analogy to triathlon. A triathlete, specifically an Ironman distance triathlete like Wil is becoming, is training her body to function at or past the limits of her endurance, pushing her body to the point of mental and physical breakdown and then sustaining it for hours at a time. (In the terms of a soldier, days or weeks at a time).

Bombs fall. Snipers are out there. Uncle Murphy rides shotgun. Things happen in our daily lives that are counter productive to our training. Issues arise that steal our attention from what's important now, (i.e. Wil looking for a glove for thirty minutes instead of going to the pool or me spending an hour researching a stupid quote).

What our training allows us to do is push our 'Stress Envelope'. Yes a silent sniper took time away from Wil's training and frustrated her and pushed her out of her comfort zone but she didn't blow it off, she still went, she 'soldiered on'. By surviving that issue she increased her Stress Envelope just a little bit more.

There will be other issues that she will overcome that will push that envelope out more and more until Ironman Wisconsin, but by then the envelope is big enough to fit all of that day into it no problem.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

I can't help myself

I can't help it, I have to rub it in.

Afternoon bike ride. 35 miles on the Ironman Arizona course, 80 degrees outside, good wind. Perfect weather.

Odd question

Just a fun little question...

Whats the oldest piece of clothing in your closet and why haven't you got rid of it?

Mine is a half marathon tank top from 1993 because I PR'd that race. I never wear it but still it sits in my drawer.

Monday, February 6, 2006

No Limits Las Vegas

Superbowl first, the good stuff next.

Superbowl
Sunday. First off the Hawks were plagued by shady officiating from the ref's the whole game. Since when does a quarterback sacking a DB constitute a personal foul? How does a touchdown count when the ball doesn't cross the white line? How does a reciever touching a safety in a scramble equate to a offensive penalty?

My brother counted the stupid(come on they were stupid) Lombardi commercials and they played nine during the game. Six were Steelers, three were Seahawk. Players from both teams were mic'd up but only Bettis of the Steelers had his turned on for television, and that was two times. The whole Superbowl was Steeler-centric and that sucked. So endith the rant.

Good Stuff
Friday I lost only $60 at the tables. Not bad. Most of the crew hit the tables and clubs until 0500, while I retired after a late meal and was alseep by 11pm.

Saturday at 0500 I woke up for my run while my roommates where dissecting their night. I put on my running clothes and much to their comedic disbelief I went out for a 16 mile run over 2:34 (9:37 pace). Using a 5:1 plan of run/walk, which sometimes became 10: or 12:1 when I lost track.

What a great run. It was still quite dark, just me and the lights of the Vegas strip. Occasionally another lone runner would pass but for the most part I just ran south off the strip for several miles, finally deciding to turn around past the outlet mall. I didn't know they had an outlet mall. The sun was up and running back towards the strip was a great experience, it looked so close but oh no it was not. I ran a five minute negative split due to the motivating view. I ran back onto the strip and decided to do my own version of coast to coast and ran past the Paris to the northern most casino, the Stratosphere or whatever its called nowadays, turned around and back to Paris. About 90 minutes into my run, the calf tear started to flame up and though my pace did not drop much, it hurt quite a bit. My last mile was like running against the stream as people were now walking about.

Got back in time for everyone to be getting up and we hit the gym. Them to workout and me to spa. Yes good people I jaccuzi'd, steamed, sauna'd and cold plunged (legs only-what are you nuts?) a couple of times and felt 100% better.

Sunday at 0500 I was looking at my watch through blury eyes thinking that twenty four hours ago I got up to run and really had not stopped since then. After a the spa Saturday it was gambling, eat, gambling, eat, until midnight when we went to Pure nightclub at Ceasar's and then it was dance, walk, stumble, vodka/cran until 0630. We partied like rock stars in the VIP area (don't ask), on an open roof overlooking the strip. BTW, I had my first taste of redbull, it was a mixer in a vodka drink and tastes as bad as it smells. Totally not interested in it again.

After a couple hours sleep we had breakfast and the rest of the day I literally felt as if I had hit the 18 mile wall in a marathon. And I felt like that the whole rest of the day. Got home at midnight.

Monday. Today's goal is to stay awake and balance my checking account. (haha) I preset a rehab appointment today since I knew one way or the other, my body would be trashed. So that will be my training for the day.


Friday, February 3, 2006

Hi, Your Faris Al-Sultan

Honestly, thats how I introduced myself. What a great night. I spent four hours at the party for Faris and I gotta say he was so humble and polite. There was only about two dozen people there so it was so easy to converse and ask questions. It was great to listen to this ultra-competitive guy speak so humbly about himself compared to his peers.

A surreal moment occured when someone put on the 2005 Kona Ironman, which Faris won, and watch it with him. At one point the narrator remarks, "It looks like Faris is struggling right now." My trainning partner John, who is sitting next to Faris say, "So Faris, where you really struggling there?" And he responds. Kind of laughingly he says, "No not really but it sounds good."


The party was actually a lot of fun. I ran into some people that I had rode with in the past year and it was good to catch up with them. I was talking to one guy in a group for ten minutes before I suddenly blurted, "Ah crap, your K.K." "Ah yeah and your Commodore". "I didn't recognize you in normal clothes, I haven't seen you since September and it was always in cycling clothes." So we had a good laugh and now that I was clued in that I was a tool, we had a fabulous talk about dogs and current rides. He recognized me on the Ironman Arizona course last weekend but couldn't loop around.

I ran into another triathlete, whom I had met at the Tribe, but couldn't remember her name. Claudia. Well Claudia did IMMOO last year and is going back this year. Oh really. Well tell me all about that because I have some really good friends doing that this year. I asked her about some of the hills she trained on here for IMMOO and how they compared. Her response, "Madiaon is shorter and steeper." She said as hot as they said it was last year, she felt great, "Felt about 20 degrees cooler than what we train in during the summers in Phoenix. If you can handle a 6 hour workout here, your breezy there."

I met another woman who had done Ironman Florida twice and had some great feedback. She said the water is usually cold, so wetsuits are allowed. That it can get very windy on the course, she said it was so hard on the run that gusts would throw her trail leg into her planted foot. It gets dark early and they put up giant generator lights along the run course since its pitch black out there.

I had a great time talking with Sue Berliner, who publishes a popular magazine in Arizona, SWEAT. She writes and puts out some great articles and we spoke at length about great century plus rides from Phoenix. This woman is a monster cyclist and has done some huge rides, 300-400 miles in three days, with 20,000 foot total ascention. Stuff I dream of. We have been introduced before and have some mutual friends, she is very recognizable so I have seen her at different local races so we had commonality from being on the same courses. She and I hit it off and she gave me permission to send her articles and ideas to be reviewed for publication. As I was leaving I noticed her and Faris in the living room alone, she was interviewing him for the magazine. I was heading for the door but decided to turn around and snap off a picture of them sitting together talking. I am going to send it to her as a momento.

I even had a great conversation with a woman who worked at the place we were at, who studied special education in college, so she was very interested Mighty Mo and his issues and how we taught him sign language, and continue to do so, to limit frustrations. Behind the office is a farm with a bunch of animals and she invited us to come over to see and pet them. She has some siblings that are young and we will try to put something together.

I consider myself an introvert, but deep inside of me is a true connector. If I am in the right mood, I can sweep up a party. I did that last night. I had a blast. I made about six great friends. The tri community is not huge in our area, so any new contact is good.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Las Vegas Is Calling...

My Seattle Seahawks are going to win the Superbowl this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I would have rather seen them beat the Bronco's because they had great rivalrys when they were in the same conference for years but it was not to be.

Its been a tradition to go to watch the Superbowl in Vegas with a bunch of my business partners and senior managers, though I did not go last year. I am super pysched that I decided months ago to partake this year because the Hawks have never been to the Big Show. Truth be told I am not much of a football fan, I only watch if its the Seahawks or its a big event.

We are staying at Paris Casino. Have no fear I am packing the Nikes to get in some running. I would really like to get into the spa for some soak time. I don't think I will get any rides in since I really can't sit on a stationary for more than about 30 minutes without going nuts.

Have a great weekend everyone and try to make your eating habits this Superbowl Sunday different from previous years. I know that I personally won't be drinking a dozen beers, inhaling pizza and eating chips with chili con queso . I make no promises that I will be a 100% healthy boy, but I will make smart choices that won't derail weeks of positive results.

Your Invited...

I have spent a lot of time in the saddle since Sunday. 8.5 hours to be exact. That's a lot of time to think. No matter where my mind wanders to, I keep going back to Faris Al-Sultan, the winner of Ironman Arizona 2005 and Ironman World Championships in Kona 2005. Partially because I have been riding the IMAZ course, which he won on, and partially because he embodies my one of my favorite quotes, "I will bring my own weather with me."

I had never heard of Faris before IMAZ, not many people had I reckon. However in those months since I have come to really respect his competitive, take no prisoner, I don't need a chase pack to win mentality. I really became fascinated after I read this article in Outside magazine. Its short but so captured the essence of a renaissance man that balances competitive drive and a life outside the reason of his success. The line I memorized and have on several walls in my house and work is:
He balances his workouts-— up to 450 miles of cycling, 50 miles of running, and nine miles of swimming per week- —with studies toward a master's in Arabic language, literature, and history at Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University.

I think about the part in red almost everyday. Its weird to think about someonelse'ses training like that. But that is what motivates me a lot of days to just keep going farther than I think I can, and often times farther than I should.

Your Invited...

That was the subject line of an e-mail I got yesterday. Faris Al-Sultan is in Phoenix for three days and a local triathlete is having an intimate dinner party at their house for him. I am told right now there is only about a two dozen people attending. Looking at some of the names who were invited in my e-mail thread is a Who's-Who's of Arizona triathlon elites. The #1 amateur triathlete in the state, the owner/publisher of SWEAT, (a popular Arizona exercise magazine), one of the top 100 trainers in the nation and also several time Ironman finisher and then little ole me.

I couldn't stop thinking about it yesterday. I thanked my benefactor about twenty times for inviting me. I hope to have a picture taken and posted before mid-day Friday but it may take till next week.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

No Limits Day 11

Had a stressful Tuesday. I completely missed the swim due to a 'make a wish' call.

See, one of my roles with my business partners is I get sh*t done. Need the impossible possible and I can pretty much McGyver a way into making it happen, and it turning out better than expected I might add.

Today is a big meeting and my boss/partner wants twenty copys of a book published thirtheen year ago, so of course I get the call to make it happen with only 24 hours notice. Make some calls and I am off to five book stores, covering 100 miles of territory, still coming up short on numbers and its the last day of the month and still have my own time sensitive work to accomplish. This sounds fairly mundane, except that I really had a lot of personal work to finish in my timeline and I have not failed to deliever for my partners in a dozen odd years of work.

I got all the books by hitting a bunch of little book stores and picking up one at a time. Online would have been so much easier if I could trust the overnight delievery.

Back to No Limits. So I lamented to Mistress about have a problem fitting in my swim. She tells me that I'll spend more time on the bike at Ironman than swimming so go home and ride your bike. What a good woman. I came home and plugged 60 minutes of big ring interval bike work on the trainer and then added 15 minutes of core. I will try to make up the swim on Friday, which is supposed to be a day off.

Already today I can report a good 5 am ride of 90 minutes burning 1200 calories. Cold but I have that meeting today and can't trust I will have time later on.

There is no limit to what you can achieve. I challenge all of you to make a commitment to just 39 days of training with No Limits. Until the end of February what can you do to improve yourself that you know you can do, know you should do, but right now do not do.