Friday, June 30, 2006

Rock Bottom

It hit me when I was watching my team, my friends crest the hill on the run Thursday and The Machine says to me, "They don't allow cars at Ironman." Ouch. You see I had driven myself to the top of hill playing SAG, instead of running it, the final cap to a terrible trick workout.

People I am at rock bottom in my training. I think I have pushed myself to far physically with too many nagging injuries and I simply can not physically recover enough to give 100% in my daily workouts. So I am taking a week off. Its terrible timing since I have an Oly in three weeks, at altitude.

My hope is that over the weekend and into next week, the treatments and rest I do on my legs will help my batteries recharge and get back to regular recovery cycles instead of being exhausted from the slightest bit of training. Instead of a dead stop I will active rest with walking at a 17 minute pace, the drop dead minimum based on my estimates of what I will need to complete the ironman marathon if I walked the whole thing. I will also do the A.R.T., acupuncture, e-stem, twice weekly stretching routines and whatever else The Machine tells me to do or not to do. I certainly am having trust issues with myself in regards to my training and don't think I can lean on my own understandings.

All my other team mates have taken time off since Ironman Arizona except me. All of them have taken time off from training in the last thirty days except me. The difference is they did it by choice and I feel like I am forcing myself into this decision. I am an "All Go, No Quit" guy who will / who has stupidly given my all to incredibly hard workouts back to back to back. I don't turn down an invite to workout with someone and when all else fails-go for a run.

I don't want to take time off. I have the biggest race of my life four months away. I also don't want to continue to put out sub-par training that leaves me feeling like I wasn't able to give enough, to train hard enough. I am no stranger to lapses in training, this blog is called Common Man Syndrome, but I am kicking and screaming into this decision. Mentally I am looking forward to a holiday week coming up that is ripe for distance training, but physically I am sleeping longer and longer each night and my training is almost impossible to recover from one day to the next.

Right now each stroke in the water feels more like I am doing a massive shoulder press rather than swimming. Every crank of the pedal leads me to believe my brake pads are dragging on the wheel rim, otherwise why would they feel so difficult to spin. The running is just painful in my left leg from the torn hamstring down to the shin splints and locked up ankle. Just the effort of walking uphill is leaving my gulping air.

The wheels have fallen off the bus and what pisses me off is that I allowed it to happen. I have played the safe game only to keep myself in the game, when what I really needed is a break from it. To sit on the bench and recover for a week instead of pounding out the hills or the miles or the yardage. My sole purpose in the MRI this week was to rule out a stress fracture so I could continue ramping up my training. If its not broken then why stop pushing? Just add the stretching it, hold it back for a week then rocket on. I am not thinking correctly.

I have to remind myself that this is a good thing. That in seven days my body will be stronger and more prepared for stimuli. That I need to listen to my training plans and take the cut back weeks when they are scheduled even when they don't compute with the schedule of my team mates. I am training for an ironman and they are all training for a half. I trained all the way through their ironman program with them and because I didn't race it, I didn't really take any time off. Foolish and rookie.

I have become a cautionary tale. Great.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Its not broken

Been having enough problems with my lower leg the last two weeks that I decided to get an MRI to see if it was broken. Three things added up to make this decision for me. First was Mipper and her saga of woe with her stress fractures. Second, something the Kahuna said on a recent GYGO podcast, (paraphrased) "You wouldn't think twice about taking your bike in for a $75 repair but you won't go to the doctors to get yourself checked up." Something like that.

So the preliminary diagnosis is a bunch of muscle tears along the tibia, (i.e. Shin splints). Not fun and means I need to readdress my training protocols for the next 30-60 days. Obviously more swimming and cycling. I will do some speed walking, hiking and form running drill to repair the tissue damage, lower the inflammation and correct my running form. Typically Shin splints are from heel strikes and too much distance too soon in the season. I think mine came in part from beginning to run uphill which caused my ankle to lock up, which tensed up the ligaments running from the top of ankle up the shin, causing the overuse inflammation and enivitable tear.

The Machine and I are already working on our plan of attack. IRL (In Real Life) he is a chiropractor and sport therapy doctor. He is already treating me with A.R.T, electric stimulation (e-stem) and acupuncture. We are both commiting ourselves to twice weekly stretching workouts performed on us by his LMT (Lisenced Massage Practitioner). That avenue, plus the IM training changes should help turn things around.

But its not broken and that is a blessing.

To much of a good thing

Thank goodness I got in a good ride yesterday morning because I spent the rest of the day bouncing from one draining appointment to another.

After the ride I went to the dentists office. While I only had to sit in the chair for two hours for, 'The Works' all those noises and suctioninga and anticipation for the next sharp pain on a sensitve gumline had my adrenaline all drained out of me. I think I clinched my toes and hands white the whole time.

Then it one fairly stressful work activity after another, me needing X amount of time to do it and they needing Y amount of time for it to get done. Funny how Y is always less than X.

The last appointment of the day was the Blood donation center. I only have to give every five months because they do some big drain on me for being a O+ blood type. I don't like needles going in me, don't much care once their in, but this one had me jumping the whole time, about 45 minutes. Whenever the machine kicked over, it vibrated the line, which vibrated the needle in my arm, which made me constantly waiting for the next jolt.

By the time I got out of there, I was feeling a little loopy and my head was spinning. I had to stop off at a hardware store for a battery and while walking around I had that etheral stare about me, people asking me if I was okay, finding what I was looking for.

Got home and Mistress automatically caught the signals that my adrenaline was shot and my mind was wandering and sent me straight to bed and brought me advil and gatorade endurance. A little later I went down for a bowl of plain pasta and some butter but when Mo went down, I went down.

The moral today I suppose is the even though the dentist was good for me and donating was good for someone else, to much adrenaline blowing out of your system can put you down fast.

Feeling better today, a bit drained. Have a hard workout set for tonight, bike hill repeats and lake swim with the team.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Good workout on bike this am. Never seen so many cyclists out as this morning. Trip to dentist & donate blood later. Great day to be alive. Bless

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Repairing a wetsuit

Next to a bike, the wetsuit is the most expensive peice of gear for a new triathlete. In some instances when hand-me-down bikes are available, its THE most expensive peice of gear the new triathlete will purchase during their first few season.

I have been a little frustrated that in the case of wetsuits there really has been no mentor for me. I have a bike guru, a running shoe guru, I even have mentors for my swim form but its routinely the same answer for how to fix a tear in a wetsuit, "That sucks." Sage advice in this area is to send it in for repairs which will take anywhere from two to four weeks.

Forget that.

I don't have that kind of time. So I will give you all the advice you need right now. I will be the guinea pig. I used AquaSeal Urethane Repair Adhesive and Sealent. But don't buy online, call around to your local dive shops and they all seem to carry it. I walked out the door for $5.94 instead of double that plus s/h online.

Here are pictures of my rips and tears just so you can see what is going on here. The rips that did not go all the way through are in the bicep. I am only showing one of the two here for brevity. The tear is from my wetsuit being peeled off and is located on the back of my calf.

Here is my work to fix the damages. I am not a 'maintenence' kinda of guy. If it takes someone ten minutes, it will take me thirty, if I am lucky. But this was simple. Other than the tube of product I used a plastic dinner knife.

For the rips in the arms, I applied a small dollop of sealent to the knife and smeared it over the rip, not in the rip but over it. I made sure to spread evenly and go about a quarter inch around the rip. Then applied masking tape over it and smoothed it out for a flat finish. For the tear, I laid a peice of masking tape inside the suit and over the tear hole. Then applied AquaSeal using the plastic knife, this time working it in a little bit on the tear. I did not cut of the suit out or trim the frays. Again I feathered out a quarter inch then put a piece of tape over the top to smooth it out. The directions state that if a chunk of the suit is missing you can simply tape off the back and fill the entire hole with AquaSeal and your good as new. I saw a demonstration of this at the store on a piece of neophrene.
I let it sit from 3pm Sunday till 6am Monday morning before pulling the tape off. The guy at the store told me about the tape in order to keep a smooth fix. I don't know if I would recommend it. The tear in the calf seems to be completely fixed, though getting in the water is the only test that matters. The tape adhesive bonded with AquaSeal so it noticible. The two arm rips were the same and I may have caused as much damage on one of them pulling the tape off. I reapplied Aquaseal to those areas the next day with a plastic knife and just let it sit. Its shiny like you would expect but did a great job, it looks better than the masking tape stuff stuck to my original work.

MY RECOMMENDATION. I think if the difference is spending $5 for a tube or $400 for a new wetsuit, the AquaSeal is a great first choice. Do not use the tape to smooth things out rather be extra vigilant in the application and let air dry. I will still recommend that you tape inside the suit if the tear is all the way through. I had no problems with that coming off.

Personally I see war wounds like this tape adhesive mess as a badge of honor. This wetsuit has gotten me through some tough personal milestones, I don't want to ditch it just yet. But for the rest of you, I think I can safely say your next patch job will turn out better than mine and thats all that really matters to me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

As If you didn't think...

Of course when my options are go without or buy a new Shiny Thing; I buy a new Shiny Thing!

Thus you will see by the picture that I purchased a new third string watch, the Timex Ironman O.V.A. (Optimum Viewing Angle). The watch is identical in use as the eight year old Ironman watch that bust yesterday except that instead of 100 laps, its only 75. For some reason that mattered to me.

The OVA is a different kind of watch in that it sits on the side of the hand instead of on top. It is immediately apparent that this viewing angle is much easier to see when driving around town. In correlation, it would be great on the bike in aero and needless to say 'optimum' when running.

By putting the view face on the inside of the wrist instead of the top, it supports a neutral alignment between clock and eyes. Yes I know its soooooo hard to twist my wrist a quarter turn to look at my watch like I have done for the last twenty years, but in just the last few hours I really have noticed a difference.

Surprisingly, it feels very natural on the wrist, not like if you took your current digital watch twisted it.

One thing I will say is that with the face on the inside, it has made putting my hand in my pocket a little strange. I have to drop my wrist a little bit to fit it in.

Hopefully one of my Polars will get back into my life soon. I really do miss them.

Short Life Span

I am really hard on my gear.
Sunglasses. I go through a three or four a year. It kills me to buy anything over $20.
Goggles. Already bought three pair this year.

Right now I am all out of watches. What you ask? How can that be? Well, its because I beat the crap out of my watches. My highly reccommended Polar S625x is in for repair because the start/split button cracked and I didn't want to get it wet. The new RS200sd is also being serviced because the footpod and watch could not be sync'd up.

With my #1 and #2 draft choices out of the line up I have been wearing my eight year old reliable Timex Ironman that has seen me through oh so many marathons and road races. I waxed nogstalic instead of lamenting that fact that I don't have heart rate and can't measure distance.

I was going Old School.

Well now my trusty Timex has a busted strap and they don't make replacements for it. Its a strange molded type that wraps all the way around the watch.

I could break the glass on the only watch that has ever survived my lifestyle, a Casio G-
Shock from 1987, the first year that really took off for the model. The damn thing still works after all these years. I haven't even changed the battery on it. Its retired now and resting comfortably.

So do I continue to sweat out the days until one of my Polar's show up? Naw, loyal readers of CMS know that I love Shiny Things and will get myself a new third string watch today, a Timex Ironman.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Update on morning workout

Well I am back and tuckered out. 2 mile open water swim, 6 mile hill run.

Swim felt really good, still so slow. Run was better, the shin's did not cramp up until well into the hill but relaxed coming back down. By then though I was plum out of energy reserves and had to dog it back in.

Lower Body Blues

Lately it seems I can't seem to get a break on my legs. The stomach flu last month reactivated my hamstring tear. Last Sunday I didn't stretch properly after a cold swim and gave myself shin splint like symptoms that are just now, maybe, subsiding. Thursday, I fell getting my wetsuit off, because my calf had cramped, and bruised my tailbone. Friday Mighty Mo decided to slam my car door shut as I was leaning in to adjust the a/c; the only part of my body outside the door...yup you guessed it, my shin. Very nice bruising there now too.

My amazing training parther, The Machine, IRL is a chiropractor and I laid myself prostrate before him on his table Friday so that he could work through my issues and hopefully give me some running relief for my workout Saturday morning.

This morning while all my other training partners are just getting up, I am heading out to the lake to start swimming at least a half hour early. I want to get in an extra lap before they show up and then do two more. That gives me a 1.8 mile swim or 3/4ths an Ironman before going on a hilly 5.5 mile run, that is hopefully if the shins don't cramp up during it.

The big project after that is to repair my Ironman Stealth suit. I have a long shallow rip in the bicep area of both arms, not all the way through, and thanks to my bone headed transition and fall Thursday a devastating rip in my calf area. I researched online for a wetsuit repair kit and will be calling local dive shops to see if they carry it. I will be sure to post how this product works. In the meantime I will be using duct tape over the tear.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Is Polite dead- Follow up

As I read and pondered all the great responses to yesterdays non-tri post I was compeled to read the Golden Rule, even before it was mentioned in a comment by Kewl Nitrox.

The Golden Rule can be explained many ways and be related to several religions and secular good wills but maybe most sucinctly described as, "Do unto others like you would like done onto you."

I read a particularly good version of this in a contemporary language edition of the good book, "Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them." I am going to use a double negative here, but I think the GR is not about NOT doing something to someone (like don't flip them off when they cut you off on the road) but doing something nice for everyone, (like leaving enough room for people to move into your lane).

Many talkbackers set on the same theme which can be summed up as; Surrender to your principles not your atittude. Atittude determines reaction; have a bad atittude and give bad reactions. Have a good atittude and regardless of others reactions, you know your right with yourself.

So thank you for your kind remarks. It gave me much to think about. Who knew that I had a little Southern hospitality in me, since my only foray into the South was a stint at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

So I suppose "Mean people do suck...but I don't care."

I totally stole this...

Yes I took this link from Andy, but it kicks so much ass.

I saw a shirt in there for Shelley and Tri-mama, guess which girls.

Nytro's got like a dozen she could buy.

There is even a pink running tutu logo'd shirt for Crackhead Sheila.

The guys are well represented and Bolder could get buy with at least a half doz.

Enjoy this link.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Is polite dead?

This is not a triathlon post but something that has been on my heart for a while. I feel compelled to put these thoughts out there into the online world. I promise tomorrow a much funnier post. I will admit its already done and I stole the link.

I have an interesting situation to share. I get conflicting responses from people. I was raised in a military household and was taught to be polite to everyone in a society where politeness has taken a back seat to selfishness. My parents raised me to have principles and that all people have value. I don’t look down at someone because I have more digits in my paycheck than them. I tip well, I try to make service people laugh because they are under appreciated. I don't judge books by the cover.

I was in a Starbucks the other day where I know the manager. When I got up to the counter I said, “Hi Darlin’ how are you?” She smiled, and took my order as we caught up on a weeks worth of life. After I called her ‘Darlin’’, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman roll her eyes as if I was using a derogatory term.

That made me think of when I was at an expo. I ordered a turkey sandwich from a college coed working a food cart and as she was asking me what I wanted on it I replied to her as I do with most people, with repect. “Yes Ma’am or No Ma’am.” After one response she says, “Ma’am?” as if she was too young to be called that and I just replied with "Please and Thank you’s," from then on.

Do you see the differences in those two stories? For the record I also use ‘Sir’ in place of Ma’am for men and if a man is noticibily younger than me I usually refer to them as 'brother' as in, "Thank's for the change brother."

I think the days of chivalry are over. Not that people won't be chivalrous, but the recipent dosen't care. People get so caught up in their head about being PC or recognized as someone of value, that when they are given the value they deserve they don't recongize it. I don’t think all women or men deserve to be treated equally but all people should be equally treated. If I don’t know you I will assume you’re a good person until you prove me wrong and it doesn’t take long. Treat them as you want them to treat you until you realize your being abused then you sever emotion, not compassion or sympathy.

Another example, I hold the door open for women. Sometimes I hold it when they are several yards away. For the most part they walk through the door and thank me. Occasionally they see me holding the door, walk through the door and say nothing, like its expected. Sometimes they see me hold the door open and that I am holding it for several seconds yet they open the other door and walk through that instead.

Its situations like that make me want to not be a nice person but say, “Me and mine and F the rest of you.” But that’s not the way I was raised. I just say, “God Bless” and go on my way. See I used to get mad at that kind of stuff but I find its hard to be mad and flip people off when you say those two words.

God Bless.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Blog Shiny Thing

I can't get into yahoo avatars, though you women that do, let me just say it makes me want to go to your site-hubba hubba. I tried the "changing the name to some cybernetic organism saying", but lets be honest with my full name it was kinda dorky. But I can get into graphs. Oh the glorious appearance of multi-colored graphs and charts makes me swoon.

In a cosmic twist, two seperate people this week have told me about a website , Bones In Motion, that does elevation maps that in our caes, can be usefull for even more training log and blogging graphics.

Its a free sign up and sets up google maps to load up in a frame right onto your BIM start page, and tracks all kind of stuff when you use the other frame to reference your workout. I think its pretty cool.

This is a relief of our Tortilla Flat runs. The green balloon is the start of the run and also where we swim on Thursdays and weekends.

Tortilla Flats sits in the saddle between the two mountains at around 3.5 miles. We will either run over the hill to TF or turn around at the top of the first peak which is around 2.86 miles and go back depending on time and traffic.

Inside Out

A little something to mull over during your training today.

"I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it (pertaining to Our Dreams). Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow."

Whatever it is you want to do, remind yourself often that it's possible. If you were not capable, the desire would never have risen within you. You've already been given all the permission you will ever need to succeed.

Success works Inside Out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ack. Shin splits. Lord give me strength.

A New Shiny Thing

I don't celebrate Fathers Day, much like I don't celebrate Mothers Day. I do however love celebrating Me Day's and I bought a new camera. Obstensibly its for Mistress who is quite the photog with her decade old Elph advantix but miserable with my Nikon F100 SLR 35mm.

In the process of deciding to get either a new video camera or a new small digital for Mistress I found the Olympus Stylus 710 on sale. Its a 7.1 megapixel with video capability. With the 1gb card I bought I can take 45 minutes of video, not high res stuff but enough to have fun with the memorys.

The camera is also water and dirt-resistant meaning I can carry the thing in my jersey pocket or bento box and not worry about sweat or water affecting it during training. I don't know about you but I have feared for my cell phone a few times with the way I sweat in this heat.

Ratings online put it somewhere in the middle of the ultra compact camera catagory. I am not to frustrated with that for two reasons. I will save a ton of money on no longer having to buy expensive advantix film and pay $11 for developing including a subpar quality CD. Secondly I have a high end 35mm Nikon that no digital will touch until a 20 megapixel camera comes out. Sorry all you devoted digital people, 35mm still takes the best quality pictures hands down.

I hope to get some great training shots over the next twenty weeks and maybe, hopefully video of swimming at canyon lake. Then I just have to figure a way to get video on the site.

Is there a Flikr for video?

Monday, June 19, 2006


Well the stability of summer has arrived in Phoenix, much like the rest of you around the country and world. I remember living along the equater in the south Pacific and loved the fact that regardless of what day of the year it was, the sun rose at 6:30 a.m. and set at 6:30 p.m. and the weather averaged 87 degrees temperature with 80% humidity.

Watching the weather reports for this week...hold here an minute and allow me a sidebar. Does anyone else think the weather person is the news room equivilant of a circus clown? The anchor throws a glibe joke in the segue to the weather guy, who gets all animated doing their job, then gets to go 'onsite' to some high school pep rally. Maybe thats just me.

Anyway, I thought maybe it was a typo but all week it showed 111* as a high and 83* as the low. All freaking week. So I jump to another station and of course they are also doing weather, like they all plan this out in some National Weather Association kegger each month, and it shows the same thing.

At least I know what to expect when I get out there.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A kick in the face is all I needed

Out to the lake this morning for the half iron distance swim. Some regular faces missing for fathers day and some familiar past faces present as gifts from the spouse for being good dads the last dozen or more weekends. We can be an addictive group, as I am sure your tri-team is if you have one, and the wives can get very used to a triathlete being at home on a weekend morning.

Had a really good swim. I watched a Ute Muckel swim technique video last week, maybe the best I have watched on just form and flow, and applied it in the water. I think it made me faster, though I was hurting in spots not normally noticed like the shoulders. But I do not think I have a good stroke once my arm catches in the water, so I will take it.

A skunk had been run over on the bridge we swim underneath. You could really smell it. One of the guys pulled out because he was gagging in the water from the stench. I mean imagine skunk being rolled over on a grated bridge and everything eventually falling into the water your swimming through at some point. Ewwww.

Last Thursday as we sat in the water before the swim, a snake swam past us, all the way across the water. That freaked some people out for sure.

After the swim, some of us went on the run into Tortilla Flats. I didn't stretch very well and my shins and ankles got crampy since it is essentially all uphill for 2.6 miles. So I had to stop every few minutes and rub them out and do some rotationals with my ankle. Coming back down, they both felt much better.

I came in last on the run today. Nothing special about that, I mean your going to come in fast a few times and last a few times. But other than the cramping, I felt pretty good. I think I am going to need to figure a way to get in four runs a week of some distance for a least few weeks before I feel comfortable with my running again. I really think it is beoming a limiter.

I think by July I can get back up to 25 miles a week and then by August between 30-35. That means being consistant with three runs averaging 7 miles and a short brick off a bike or a quick 'fitness fix' during the day once a week. Consistant being the action word. During July I will stretch one run to 12-15 miles a week.

Running longer than that is not advisable when just dealing with base / sustaining mileage. For those working a marathon only plan then you work up to 20 miles once or twice a month before the race and pepper in the 18 and 19 mile distances. However, those miles over 15 are hard fought and with the additional swim and bike training during the week, most people can trade off.

Oops, off topic. The title of this post...I was being a good samaritian today and pushed Hardcore out of the way of some submerged rocks that he was going to swim over. I had tracked poorly myself and was standing on them. He took the push and moved on and I started to draft. He then slowed down to sight and took off again, I didn't see that and took a raising heel to the nose. A little blood but not broken and the goggles went askew. I figured the sharks would come and get me if they were in the lake.

HEY! I watch the Sci-Fi channel, those things happen.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Advice Recieved

I took the overwhelming advice of you the faithful and forgiving and did not do the second workout on Wednesdsy, I got the massage instead. I did do a sort of strength workout, I worked on swim technique using a Total Gym slider and a Ute Muckel swim technique video in poorly dubbed english from obvious german. Even at rest I think about being a better triathlete.

Today is actually a fully loaded day. A Trick workout. Beginning with a hill interval workout on the bike utilizing different cadence and load techniques, then a 1.1 mile lake swim and then a 45 minute run going uphill then coming back down. Its a high capacity 3.5-4.0 hour workout, not including drive time.

This should be an interesting day.

In the "All Things Mo" file, the Mighty Mo has come down with a common cold. Its the cost of being segregated his entire life due to a low immune system and now going to pre-school. He is very clingy to Mistress who has had to sleep with him the last two night to comfort him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One of Three

Finished my Wednesday ride around Usery Pass and though I finished within the same amount of time, my legs are dead today. This was my first ride since Saturday when I had everything tightened up and for the first few minutes I really just thought that there was extra tension that would loosen up.

I soon realized after a few miles it truly was me and not the PHX. I just didn't have it in the legs today.

So I am at a crossroad today. Do I continue on with my plan to address the issues of yesterday? Do I pool swim instead, knowing that I will be swimming 1.1 miles tomorrow open water? Do I take the day off and maybe get a massage on my legs, getting one more full day of recovery on my hamstring before tomorrow afternoons bike interval before the swim?


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Done and Done

Done with the run in the heat, 109 degrees, and it went okay. I ate well and waited so it wouldn't give me any stomach issues. I hydrated well. Nancy reminded me to have proper electrolyte replacement, which I didn't have so I had to run up to Tribe and bum some Endurolytes.

The first half of the run was clockwork. Started at a pace that seemed really slow, then built to a 45-60 second slower pace than normal. At 33 minutes I stopped and fished out three of the tabs and washed them down with three big swigs of water.

I kept going and felt good. The heat was having no part of me today and each additional minute was good acclimitizing training. At 45 minutes I stopped to switch over my iPod playlist and I did half a dry heave. What? Where did that come from? System diagnostic: Sweating? Check. Head feel okay? Check. Stomach/GI distress? No. Hamstring and legs feel okay? Check. So what was that?

I start running again and at 55 minutes I slowed to a walk not becuase I had to but to refill my water and toss the backup plastic bottle in the garbage. I puked. What? What is the contents? Its my endurolytes. But I take these all the time, why would my stomach not process three tabs?

Well whatever was the cause, I felt no different before or after the upheaval. It was just an event. I finished the run and have made some conclusions.

Conclusion One: No heat injury's today.

Conclusion Two: Hamstring felt good.

Conclusion Three: I need to do this exact same run tomorrow with the same circumstances and this time take one less tab at same spot and see what happens. Same results and I will switch to a different sodium/pottasium supplement?

The Edge or The End?

Well today will be a pivotable point in training for Florida. On the projected hottest day of the year, 111 degrees, which means it will probably be hotter, I am scheduled for a nooner 90 minute run. I am running one lap of the Ironman Arizona course.

I will hydrate all morning long and get in some extra calories for sure. I have planned out water points along the course so that I am never less than 8 oz's in the bottle. When running in the heat I normally follow two philosophy's; run slow and run less. I am planning on a slow start and progressing into a pace one minute slower than average. This would take me only around eight miles instead of my usual 9.5-10 miles in ninety minutes.

Will the heat cripple me again or will my body adapt to the forces against it?

Will my hamstring provide the necessary propulsion to get me through?

Stay tuned, I will post the results later this afternoon.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Random reflection on 2006

I am not happy with this training year. I have some big races coming up in the next 10 months and I have people depending on me to do well for them and I of course have my own expectations to meet. But thus far 2006 has been plagued with injury, illness and struggle.

My hamstring has still not healed and I am about half way through my modified rehab. The true course was to take 3 months off and focus strickly on re-hab exercises with low impact on leg exercise like oh say biking, running and the occasionally kicking in swimming. Well that really didn't fit the plan, so we designed a modified routine that allowed me to training and still get better.

Somewhere in here is a lesson as Benny would so aptly write.

The hamstring tear which is very high up in the origin (a muscle has a top and bottom, the top is called the origin-where it starts, and the end is called the insertion-where it attaches to another body part for lack of a better term). The origin of the hamstring is deep under the butt or glute so the tear is under the butt muscle so its hard to get too without some painful manipulation. The effect of the tear right now is twofold, lack of power and knotting up of the hamstring in the bigger belly area of the muscle, which you would normally associate with that muscle if someone mentions it. It has affected all my training but really affected my running speed and distance. My ego is not blown by this, put the process is a limiter.

The other big problem, short term, is I am not acclimitizing to the heat well this summer. Normally I would do this through my runs, but my running is not as consistant. This has caused me considerable issues in getting runs in. I suffered heat stroke in 1993. Any person who survives a heat stroke can tell you that the body truly never recovers. Any person who tells you they have had heat stroke and treat it like its nothing, just part of a conversation, never had it, they had dehydration or maybe exhaustion. Heat stroke kills people. It put me in a coma. I began to vomit my instintines, stomach and lungs out. Not what was in them, but them. My core temperature was over 107* and my kidneys and liver started to shut down. It makes a person become much more suceptable to dehydration and exhaustion down the road. I have learned to adapt as best as any person can in the heat and do quite well when my body accepts the temperature, but this year has been a strain. So that's not helping.

Had a great winter and now summer is getting to me. My spirits are still high and I will get through these two macro issues of the training season, I just wish this year, of all years, I didn't have to go through it.

Perhaps this is a cautionary tale for the rest of you, spefically about heat injury. Stash water or have a SAG vehicle. We were lucky enough yesterday to have someone on a motorcycle who brought us water at the turnaround instead of us having to split up the run going into a General Store all sweaty. Be vigilant of your self and watch your buddy. Have the wherewithall to shut down the engine when you have reached a critical point. Have that crucial conversation with your partner, much like a drunk with keys.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Another swim, Another Boat, Another Beer

I was actually having good swim today out at the lake. My volume the whole week was pretty high after a miserable life in May, as a consequence I was pretty worn down before I even got into the water. I also pulled out the laser range finder and remeasured the course 1, 690 meters right on the nose for two laps. Almost exactly 1.1 miles which is half-iron distance.

As I came under the bridge and back into the bay, I stopped and sighted Hardcore who is having some sinus issues and swimming slow. Started talking to a guy 50 yards away on his boat and he invited me on the boat for a beer.

Did someone say beer?

I train for beer and I race for beer. Oh common you judgemental types. Who hasn't wished for an ice cold beer at the finish line of a race or after a hard workout in the summer heat? Well our team brings a chest of ice cold ones to both, a benefit of being a member of AzTriClub. So I stroked over, asked permission to come aboard and spent a few minutes making new friends while having half a Miller Lite.

For those that don't recall, this is not new here at CMS, here is the link for just a few months ago. Again John and Hardcore swam by and again I stood at the fantail and gave them the beer salute.

After the swim we bricked a 7.5 mile round trip run into Tortilla Flats, a six resident town deep in the mountains. A great little place to go. Here is pretty much the entire town. Damn Blogger won't let me paste it in. 1,000's of people each weekend will drive to or through this small town which can make running along the none exsistant edge of the winding canyon road a bit precarious.

I felt good going into town, the hard part since the road is mostly uphill, but I hit a hard wall getting back. I have lots of reasons (excuses) I can give for why I bonked with a capital 'B', surfice it say I went through two levels of heat stress to a place I have been before and realized I had to shut the motor off. I walked (limped) a staggering line back towards the car. Hardcore ran ahead and gave John a heads up to come get me. I made it within eye sight of the parking area when I saw the Charger coming towards me.

We all went down into Tortilla Flats and had lunch. I had Lemonade and a fruit salad. While Mistress calls that a perfect meal, I wished I had the energy to have a beer and a burger like pretty much everyone else.

Tonight is steak. And advil. And gatorade endurance.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Houston We Have A Problem

I thought that a lot on my last two rides, hill intervals before the swim on Thursday and today with the Tribe. Tribe is our local tri store the largest and best in Phoenix.

Thursday we did hill repeats and I flatted the front on my first run to the top. At the top I fixed the flat, checking the tire to make sure I didn't have a catcus in there or something. Saw a tear on the outside of tire on the rolling surface but it did not go through. Get back to the bottom and turn around, get half way up, then pfffstt. Another flat. Walked it back. Had to buy a new $55 tire and new change out kit.

On the Saturday ride, I dealt with these things:

1. Like a little princess I didn't tighten the zip ties on my speed sensor to my fork very well and for the first half I heard the clang, clang, clang of the magnet hitting the unit. Every time I adjusted the sensor the wind would just push it in. The last half the magnet moved away from center so as I adjusted it, the speed sensor with the loose cables decided to fall off and I carried in my pocket the rest of the way.

2. My front brake was a bit loose and after each braking I had to lean over and slide the pad off the rim. It caused drag which slowed me down. Sometimes I forgot, unconsciously hit the brakes or caught dip in the road and I would travel half a klick before figured out why I was working so hard. But I had no speed sensor I could tell how fast or slow I was really going.

3. Developed a nice clack clack clack in my crank each time I pedaled. Which is irritating and I think led me to #4.

4. Ten miles out from the store my left crank arm decided to loosen up. So as my right leg went through the normal range of motion, my left decided to also move through that plain but added a large wobble to it. I thought I was going to loose the crank completely. But the clack in the crank mostly went away.

5. Because something was definitely going wrong with the crank my front deraileur decided to drop me into the small chainring. My last miles were also a high cadence event which continued to make me worry because of #4.

I made it back, limping in and the guys put the PHX up on the rack and had me back in the green in 15 minutes. A quick phone call and I met Mistress and Mighty Mo at a breakfast joint and then to Kohls for some impulse buys.

The rest of the day I am on Gods good humor.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Well thats a relief

Oh the follies of triathlon. Here is a good lesson for all of you and open water swims. The more I think about this wrinkle compared to all my fussings and fears of my swim ability, God really does have a sense of humor.

As I have written and lamented several times I am not a fast swimmer. So when we go to the lake I am just finishing my second lap and coming ashore as everyone else is packing up their gear and going home. Well why not they have been sitting around for twenty minutes.

Thursday was like every other lake swim day, except I was actually keeping up with Hardcore and the inlet buoys were further out into the bay. Oh yeah and everyone else was on track to lapping me.

Hardcore pulled up short with just one lap leaving me to my lonesome for the last lap. As I came out of the canyon and back into the bay, everyone else was already on shore. So I swim out to the inlet buoys and back to shore, looking at my watch and thinking, "I really could be the absolute last guy out of the water at Florida based on this time and distance. "

As I pulled ashore the gang was asking why I did another half lap. The Machine said he was going to walk along the cliffs to see if I was going to do a third lap. John commented that I was going to guilt him into the water for more swimming. I thought we always went to the inlet buoys three times. Oh no no no no no. You don't go to the inlet buoy for a third time you just come ashore.

So stupid me has been doing an additional probably 600 yards and comparing my times to everyone else who is doing less that distance. Well Guh!

I'm still slower than the rest of them but I am now comforted by the fact that I am faster than I thought by a considerable amount based on time.

The funny part is all the additional distance is in the part of the course that has given me the worst mental problems. Guess no longer.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

New Shiny Thing


I love Shiny Things. ShinyThingsShinyThingsShinyThings.

Thanks to all the feedback on how to cart my Valdora PHX around with my Charger, I got a car hitch and Thule bike rack to go with it. I just couldn't break up the roof line of the car with a carrier. Plus I would scratch the roof putting bikes up there. I know it.

Never really had to deal with a bike rack before since I always had the truck. This model carries two bikes and folds out to get better access to the trunk. It comes off also, so on those few days I don't ride, its a breeze to pull off. Oh, the bike hanger also folds down so if I leave it attached to the car but don't have the bike, it's not sticking out.

Same kind of weather yesterday afternoon, monsoon came through. This time less dust cap and more rain and lightening.

BTW, I was trying to remember the meteorological name of the dust cloud but couldn't in my last post. I heard it Wednesday. Its called a Habib (pronouced Ha-beeb, middle eastern sounding) I always thought that was a cool term. I also like Virga, which describes rain that you can see falling from clouds but dosen't reach the ground.

Have not been able to post today. So trying text message a back hitch for bike put on. Looks good. No picture due to muddy rain.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

See I told you so...

Okay so Blogger was down most of the day. But my point was proven. That is why this is a triathlon blog and not a political one. Geesh I guess its a good idea that I have sat on my illegal alien post for the last year.

Now back to the good stuff.

Thursday I show off my newest Shiny Thing...and yes its triathlon related.

Much ado...

Yesterday was our first dry monsoon of the year. Monsoons for those NOT in the know, are massive dust storms, 3 miles high, moving at 40+ mph and ripping through the area. They are usually followed by super charged electrical storms with between .5 and 3 inches of rain falling in just a couple hours and thousands of lightening bolts and unceasing thunder.

Yesterday was a dry monsoon, all the rain and lightening stayed south in Tuscon. Maybe Fe-Lady can comment on that. I heard that there were 18,000 sky to ground lightening strikes in three hours.

Follow HERE and click on third link: Huge Dust Storm Enfolds Valley and click the 'Wall of Dust' link. Its a short video from a local news station with good footage.

Awoke this morning to great weather and headed out for my Wednesday ride. Took it slow but this week is a get the feeling back and build that foundation week, after the drama that was May 2006. Had a new addition to the ride, Heather a Tennessee transplant who is working with The Machine, who among many envious titles is a USAT Level 1 coach.

Heather is doing IMFL.

Triathlete Alliance?
You know it is hard to describe our Triathlete Alliance to new people. I will say, "Oh your doing Florida too. I will give you my blog address so you can get hooked in with over a dozen friends of mine doing Florida with me...course most of us have never met. But its a good way, everyday to get some motivation for whats coming up. On top of that there is like 90 of us with Tri-Blogs that you can get a lot of information and fellowship from."

They say, "Ahhhh, okay." They think, 'cuckoo-cuckoo-cuckoo'.

Political Sidebar
Actually Heather had a unique comment, "Well as long a George Bush isn't a part of your blog I'll read it."

Well Heather, this is a Tri-Blog and sometimes, in a wide arc sort of way, I bring politics into it but mostly if its not tri-centered or my life-centered, or sponsor-centered, please see the sidebar ;), the spotlight is on the Mighty Mo, my beloved three year old and my wife, aka Mistress.

BTW thank you for the political segway, I loved W's first term and not so impressed with his second. I have not renewed or sent money to the GOP in three years because I believe they have mucked it up, though I do support individuals candidates. I live in Arizona and can't stand John McCain. I believe in the Global War On Terror. I am a Green-Conservative meaning I care deeply about rugged individualism, small government, lowering taxes and protecting the environment. I am not a fan of scooters but I am a fan of one who rides them. But don't hold that against me...not that I like someone who rides a scooter, but that I am a republican.

I am a deeply political person and the foundaion of my core values were shaped by my life experineces and two years of intense daily conversation with a powerlifting mentor who happen to be a communist. No not a socialist, a communist. The difference between the two as I told him once, "A socialist will put you in jail, a communist will put you against the wall and shoot you." Funny enough it was one of the few political statements that he didn't debate me on.

If anyone wants to have a dialogue in an ongoing e-mail exchange I am more than willing, though I will not do it openly on this blog. There, now I have made my political statement for the year.

Lets focus on Ironman and Triathlon. Have Fun.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

I kicked your ass!

I kinda like that quote, the title of this post. Well, its my quote.

One day a long time ago I was sucking wind in a hard road race. I was pushing the red line and didn't want to let the course beat me. When I crossed the line, I raised my arms and yelled at the course, "I kicked your ass!" It symbolizes my dominant thought at not giving up on something.

Today I said it when I completed the run outside my office. Last week, still feeling the effects of the flu and not being properly acclimatized, I bonked hard, physically and mentally. Today was my attempt to just go slow and easy and overcome both those obstacles.

I did that and more. I ran farther than I wanted and felt fresh doing it. Oh sure my knees and shins felt a bit sore, just like every person's does when they are inconsistant in running but I know very well, that will be gone by next week after two or three more sessions.

Thank you for all your personal blogs that I have read the last couple days that have helped get me back out there. Sick is not cool.

Mo's First First Day of School

Oh my Mighty Mo. Monday was his first day of Pre-School. The school he goes to is good through 1st grade. He had a really good time.

Okay back to me, where the spotlight rightfully belongs. Got in a 1 mile pool swim. I swim a 100 yards in about 1:50, which puts me at roughly 2:10 per 100 meters. So why is it that in open water I am much, much slower? Is it because I can't tack worth a damn? Is it because I don't stroke as hard or as deep? (Simmer down Bolder)? Maybe a bit of both.

But got the workout in and thats what matters. I was snockered by 6pm and ready for bed, its a process getting back up the foundation of my training.

Today is a short run. Its a redemptive run for last week. Its only going to be about 20 minutes outdoors, but its important for me to acclimitize and overcome the stigma from the bonk last Thursday.

Monday, June 5, 2006

What a mess

So the tone of my last post was pretty frustrating for me. I appreciate all the comment left trying to bolster my confidence.

I should tell you that I cancelled my training on Saturday and felt terrible for doing it. I convinced The Machine to do the training with me and then I woke Saturday feeling worse if that is possible. I felt there was no way I could do any training.

Instead I decided to tag along to a kids birthday party at some huge warehouse full of those big bouncy castles and slides. There was kids everywhere and music piped in as loud as a rock concert. Between the dehydration, migraine, nausea and upset stomach, I went to the bathroom and puked my guts up. I didn't tell anyone because I actually did want to go to my training parther Andy's house for his kids 4th birthday.

I did have a good time there and then spent the rest of the day on the couch or in bed. Sunday I felt better but took off. There are too few Sundays coming up that I can hang out in the morning with Mo so we blew bubbles outside, watched Topper our Lab catch and kill a bird then have to explain to Mo why the bird was not making noise and moving (went well), then went to the movies to see Over The Hedge.

Good movie, not great, Mo didn't like it, I thought it was okay. Two extremely funny scenes; first was RJ (Bruce Willis) explaining how a human's life revolves around food. Talk about a great illustration. The second was The Peoples Elbow a cop gives a woman at the very end. For those that are fans of The Rock from WWE will know the movie, play the first you tube video after the jump.

In other news, its forecasted 110 today. It was 112 yesterday. For goodness sakes people are passing out in parking lots from the heat. The heat advisery stating, "Don't be outside" runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It does however not qualify as a Weather Alert in the new's programs. Oh no that is reserved for some city back east that got seven inches of rain over the weekend. I can't stand local news that has to use shock graphics and music like "Weather Alert" and then the alert is for some po'dunk city 3,000 miles away.


Just call Martial Law for cryin' out loud.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Turned to Zero

Just getting off to bed and feeling a bit hurt from the day. Mistress even felt my morose and made me my favorite blackberry and apple tart for a desert.

The source of my funk? My bonk. I admit for the last three weeks its been either a 75 hour work week, a full week stuck in my chair for a conference interpersed with "Commodore I need these twenty things done before the meeting, during the breaks and afterwards", then a week of the stomach flu and the attending lack of energy.

I sound like a whinny little bitch and maybe I am tonight because my run today sucked. My planned thirty minute run in the 110 degree sun turned into a disasterous affair leaving me questioning...and thats the worst part of preparing for Ironman, the questioning.

So after my run, or should I say shuffle or should I say walk, I feel like I am at zero base. When just two months ago I was at a peak ready to complete the Ironman itself (Arizona) if I could have only got a slot, which I tried very hard to do.

Luckily The Machine was willing to do a 'recovery brick' with me on Saturday morning since everyone else is scattered to the wind and he was going to sleep in. I write recovery but right now its more 'reassurance'.

This flu took me to the cleaners. I really felt the expenditure of nutritents from my body being leached by the fight going on inside and I still have not been able to normalize. My lips are chapped which means I am still dehydrated. You know when you can taste your breath and it just seems not right? I still feel that way. I have been doubling up on calcium and multi-vitamins to replace all the leaching during the worst of it but its a slow process.

Maybe I should still take this weekend off, and I suppose I am since my Saturday brick is not my normally hardcore affair. Nothing is planned for Sunday but I would certainly like to do some kind of early run.

Its these middle innings where the metal is tested. The game has been going a few innings, everyone is comfortable in their seats and waiting for the foul balls and home runs, the 7th inning stretch still a ways off. What I do now still defines me as much as what I did over the winter and what I do next month.

I am rambling...time for bed and a mental recharge.


Some of my stress lately has been over getting rid of my falling apart pick up. It has served me well but rumors of Mistress wanting an updated model of Mighty Mo in 2007 has also got me thinking about where I would put another car seat in a standard cab truck.

So I bought a 2006 Dodge Charger.The color is off, I got the Steel Silver version. I must admit I did not get the hemi. Yes I am all about 350 horsepower but I was not prepared for 9 miles a gallon in city, premium fuel no less. Sorry but I will give up 75 horsey's for sheer sensibility. Plus all the literature says the V6 model I got is actually the best engine of the group.

Now a little poll for you folks.
With prices fairly similiar, Do you think I should go with a roof rack that would destroy the great lines of this car or put a small trailer hitch on the back and attach a bike rack to that?
Today is my first official outside workout since the stomach flu. A short run in the middle of the afternoon. Local temps. call for 110 today. Short is the operative word.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Triathlon 90: Transition

This is my second post in Beginning Triathlon or Triathlon 90. Many people who have never completed a triathlon often wonder about different or confusing aspects of the sport and my hope is that these short lessons will answer some questions. Your feedback is always appreciated.

I think one of the most thought about aspects of the triathlon aside from the events has got to be transitions. Do I train for it? What do I bring? How do I lay it all out?

To begin with the Tranistion Area (TA) is a segregated race area where triathletes put their components necessary to completing a triathlon. At some larger races your spot is pre-determined based on your bib number, your age group, or which race of the many held that day that you are entered in, (for example Olympic distance towards the front and Sprint distance to the back). For shorter races, its first come, first served.

Some race directors will make it manditory to put your bike in tranistion the day before the race. In that case it is advisable to put a garbage bag over the bike in case it rains and to deter theft. If they can't see your bike model they may not want to steal it. Theft in overnight transitions does occur though race directors are getting better about security.

Once the race begins the TA become T1 and T2. T1 is the transition from swim to bike and T2 is the transition from bike to run. It is important to remember that time does not stop when you are in tranistion. When you get all your race results you will even see the amount of time you spent in transition as part of your total time.

I have seen some crazy stuff in transitions. I helped my wife in a Danskin triathlon back in the mid-90's (Danskin is a women's only tri) and I would guess 50% of the 500 racers had a helium balloon tied to their post to find their gear. The only problem is that there were so many balloons you couldn't find your's in the mix, which essentially negated the effect. I have seen men and women changing out of and into clothes while in transition leaving themselves openly exposed.

In the beginning I would check and double check and triple check all my gear the night and morning of the race. I knew that I forgot something. Now when I check my gear I am amazed at how little it really is.

I have seen some really great packing lists and if your OCD or forgetful its certainly beneficial. One good tip is to have a ziplock bag of extras that you put in your kit for each race. This kit should have all the little things in it that you may never need but will thankful you do in an emergancy. This bag could have; an extra powerbar for during the race or post race, lip balm, some duct tape, safety pin, extra goggles, extra sunglasses, CO2 cartridge, a bit of lotion for hotspots, just to name a few things. Its just a bag of things I know that I have a habit of forgetting or wanting and not including.

Most people will carry their gear in a backpack and that is certainly convienent. Some people bring camp chairs or stools to sit on while changing or cleaning their feet. I personally put all my gear in a baseball bucket. They are very similiar to the five gallon buckets from a lumber store except the lid is easier to remove and it sit's slightly taller. This way my gear can stay dry, I have a place to sit and I have a place to put things quickly when I am done with them.

In Ironman races the TA is a massive affair. To begin with you're given five bags at sign in. Bag 1 is the Dry Bag for clothes that you wear to the race that morning and take off before the race begins. Bag 2 is for T1 (bike gear). Bag 3 is a speical needs bag that you can pick up during hte bike portion and contains special goodies you put in it; pretzels, pringles, extra tubes or CO2, a sprite, a PB&J. Bag 4 is for T2 (run gear). Bag 5 is speical needs for the run, I have heard of people putting pictures of a loved one in it for motivation or a long sleeve shirt along with other food and gear stuffs. It is important to note that you may not use or need your speical needs bag and you may not get your special needs bags back after the race. So be sure to put things in it that are not valuable enough to warrant its loss. For example I wouldn't be putting your favorite long sleeve technical top in your Bag 5.

For Ironman distances the tranistion area may include a changing tent, obviously separated for men and women, though I have seen them coed in the past with changing stalls in them. Bikes are in the outside TA and for Ironman Arizona 2006 for example there was enough volunteers to get your bike for you and take your bike from you so you didn't even enter the bike area as a triathlete.

For shorter distance events I recommend being at the TA at least an hour before the first wave starts. Before you even put your gear down, walk through the area and take note of the entry and exits for each event. You don't want to put yourself in the furtherest area from the bike out or bike in since you will be running with your bike shoes on. Once you find your perfect TA spot and get your gear sorted be sure to walk the route you will take from the swim to your bike, from the bike to the run. Mentally keep track of where you are at by counting lines or finding landmarks. Trust me you will not remember where your stuff is at when you come out of your swim or bonked on the bike.

As common courtesy don't take too much space and be prepared to lose half of what you've got.

Transitions are not a scary place. Once you understand what you need to race, are comfortable using what you have and can work in confined spaces, you will be fine.