Monday, July 31, 2006

"I was was told there would be no math in this debate"

I took that line from a popluar SNL skit where Chevy Chase played Gerald Ford in a presidental debate. Chevy was a god when it came to stumbling-bumbling character acting.

Now where was I...oh yes math. I post this link only because I think many of you need to have your head hurt as much as mine did trying to grasp such a simple concept...spin faster, go faster.

Enjoy. And report back on a scale of 1 to 10 on how much your head hurt reading this. Ten being you tried reading, couldn't get past the first paragraph without skipping words, looking for key phrases and then just bookmarking it and telling yourself you'll read it later and know that you won't but the information is really useful anyway.

I'm a 9. I would be a 10 but I have actually gone back twice to read more of it. Then the headache sets in.

What page is that on?

I have a point to this so bear with me...

Mighty Mo has been getting Mistress up four or five times a night for the last week and Saturday night was no different, except that on Sunday we had a luau at our house and she was exhausted getting ready for it and looking at a busy day finishing the prep work. So I skipped my two hour walk to take care of Mo while she slept in till 10 a.m.

The luau was great, lots of tri-team mates and tri-friends and their families came by for a pool party and authentic hawaiian cusine, prepared by hand by Mistress who has learned over the years from my parents.

Well 9 p.m. comes around, everyone has just left and I feel frisky enough to go for my walk, in my mind I knew where I was going, how I was going to get there and about the distance I would go. Instead I help Mistress clean up some more around the house and backyard and go to bed.

This morning I come to find out that around the precise time and place I was to be last night in my walk, a woman was killed (while walking alone) by the serial shooter roaming the city. He and a serial rapist have shot 35 people and killed over a dozen between the both of them. Last weekend he shot and seriously wounded a cyclist at 4:30 in the morning.

So the point of my Mistress and I heard the news about this latest shooting this morning, I told her thats were I would have been turning around in my walk at that time and she told me that I am no longer allowed to walk, run, or bike alone until this asshole is caught, especially since he keeps getting closer to our neighborhood.

So I am mentally flipping through our Training Contract (see sidebar), trying to find the 'page and sub-section' for the damn clause that allows her to throw that bombshell out there. Then I realized its really part of the over-ride that says life dictates training. Well dying sure affects life.

Stay Alert. Stay Alive.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Oh Man that was cool

Well one side effect of not running this week is that my legs were very well rested for todays 50 mile ride, which I did in 3 hours. That seems long, but take out the stop for refuel (15 minutes), loop around for people and stop lights and knock a half hour off. Average speed 21 miles per hour.

I hauled ass and my legs after felt great. I wish I could have gone for a run afterward to see how it would have gone.

I was finally able to keep up with The Machine, my training partner, for the entire ride and even though we did do some challenges on each other to see where we were at in the legs, I still have enough humility to think that at any time he could have dropped gear and blown my lid off.

I am very pysched about this ride. Its been my best in several months. I had some pushes hitting 27+ mph for a couple miles at a time and then some strong headwinds that dropped me down to 15-16 mph for several miles at time.

And I will state for the record that my testosterone levels are all within normal range.

In Case Of Emergancy...

As I sit and ponder my next post I felt compelled to ask each of you to buy a road ID today. They are $20 or less and come in a bracelet, shoe strap, shoe pouch, ankle strap or dog tag. I wear my black ankle band on every training event and most races.

I can not stress enough the need for emergancy responders to have your name and contact information along with medical history and a means to contact your family or friends immediately upon reaching you.

I have run into several people who have nothing to do with outdoor sports who are quite interested in a rugged and classy means of important information particularly regarding allergies to medicines and medical conditions like say a heart attack, heat casualty, allergic to penicillian, take certain meds, etc.

They are also quite fashionable, if I do say so myself. The dog tags have dozens of quotes and symbols you can add to the side opposite the information. You can add personal slogans and quotes if you have no need for all five lines on any of their products. So do yourself a favor, do your family a favor and link over there this minute and buy one as a special Shiny Thing for the weekend.

Friday, July 28, 2006

You with your hand raised in the back...

Okay, I have been doing Spinerval DVD's the last couple of weeks to beat the heat in the afternoon and stick to a more high intensity, flat course program. I have actually found them to be pretty good, though not as good my long weekend rides outside.

But I don't understand this point that Coach Troy makes several times in 4.0 Lean and Mean
How can I be in the big chain ring up front and the smallest in the back, essentially my hardest gear, be putting out 95-100% effort AND spinning at a minimum of 85 rpm?
It just doesn't make sense. How can I be in my hardest gear and be spinning at the same cadence as when I am in my most efficient gear for long distance riding?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tour De France Winner Flunks Drug Test

Et tu Floyd?

What is your status?

I think at this point in our racing sessions, and yes people if you have entered an endurance event this year your a racer, you wonder just where your state of fitness is at compared to others.

Sidenote: BTW, old running axiom: Whats the difference between a jogger and a runner? A blank entry form.

In the cold darkness of winter, we all stared out our window watching the sun rise or set and in that magical twillight dreamed and goal set where we would be at the middle or end of our endurance season. We pondered the PR's. We calculated, oh lord we calculated, our goal times for an "A" race. We manifested perfection.

Where are you at?

Dimes to doughnuts you are not happy, its the way of the world. Your not quite where you wanted to be but its where your at in your progress.

I admit that I did not expect to have my shin and ankle problems right now. But I have them. I have seen some training partner's reaching peaks that they never ever expected to hit this year in terms of speed and endurance. I know people that have big goals and yet are sabotaging themselves with social distraction and in some cases laziness.

So what is my status? Obviously I feel a bit behind, but I also have perspective. Even with my leg I am stronger than ever in the water, my cycling volume is higher with my output a bit more efficient and even with a limp I will get 3.5 hours of walking this week. Mentally I still am focused on my Ironman but I still suffer the peaks and valleys of the enormity of it all.

What's your status?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cost of doing business

We triathletes are a funny bunch, we sneak off for a long lunch training event hoping the boss doesn't notice the exta 15 or 30 we took. We proudly march into our offices the Monday after a race with our inked numbers still visible on our arms and legs, "Oh I forgot to scrub off my age written on my calf? Pardon me."

Many of my peers at work go to casinos and golf and gamble on sports like football and ultimate fighting. I used to golf. I used to golf a lot. I could easily drop $300 a day at one of the resort courses in Scottsdale if you add up the greens fees, cart rental, a labeled hat, some drinks on the course, some tips to pretty young beer cart girl, a meal and more drinks at the 19th hole....buying new balls and straightening an occassional iron.

I realized I was overextended in my golf game when I began to carry only my 7 iron, 9 iron and putter and ran the course instead of riding in the cart, essentially playing speed golf. Then I just stopped playing all together and while my friends played I would run around the perimeter of the course putting in miles.

I love Vegas and I am a so-so gambler. I actually paid $500 for a bottle of Sky Vodka at the Pure nightclub once. I don't get on the tables much anymore. Never really gambled on sports or watched any unless it was my fav team or a thrilling post season game.

But I started to think about all the money I spend on triathlons and then put it in context of all the other vices I could have in my life. I could blow a few hundred a month on golf. I could blow a grand gambling really quick. I could spend hours earning nothing, gaining nothing, sitting on the couch watching a sporting event Sunday afternoon.

One day of resort golfing or a new wetsuit that lasts a year or two?
A grand or so at Vegas for the weekend or new Zipps for the bike? Hell a new bike!!!
A fifty on the next UFC cage fight championship or a couple of Spinerval DVD's?
A $50 executive lunch of sushi and beer or new pair of tri-shorts?

So I don't quite get the point of triathlons being a sport of well-to-do's. Its a choice to spend our money on three disciplines that give us great joy instead of a fleeting fancy or impulse buy. I don't really want to spend $450 on an Ironman but it balances out the fact that I didn't spend that much on alcohol at the bars last month.

Sure some of our purchases can be high end; look at carbon fiber frames, power taps, wet suits, high end running shoes, bike shoes, the helmet Lance wore in the 2005 tour, the newest tops or bottoms or socks or fuel belts. Can I get an Amen!

The problem our peers have is that our money is spent on things that benefit us in the long term. Sure I don't get the rush of putting one large on Sweet Jimmy to win in the third, but I get that same rush when I dip my foot in the water for a mass swim start. I may not get to gloat that I won $100 in a skins game on the same course Tiger won on in 2001, but I get to gloat when I best my team mate to the finish line.

Its all a matter of cost perspective. Where's yours?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


This Team Hoyt video brings a tear to my eye almost immediately. The first time I saw this Mighty Mo was in the hospital with another terrible illness and Mistress and I still did not know if it would ever get better. Or if we would ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. This father should be father of the year.


Fair to middlen

That sums up my training the last week or so since my race and current leg injury. On Monday I put in a 90 minute slow ass walk and managed to get a tan while listening to the radio. It didn't even feel like working out to be honest and on any normal day earlier this year, I would have laughed it off.

Today though is no laughing matter...I have to get in a pool and swim. Eck. Gasp. A pool. I haven't swam in a pool since before Valentines day, I have been swimming at the lake. This waters going to taste funny. When its hot out and the waters warm it almost feels 'chewy'. C'mon now folks, you know what I am talking about-

Q: What looks like water, may even taste like water, but has the consistancy of a gummi bear?

A: A hot pool in the summer.

If I am the only one that thinks that, I just made a really, really stupid joke. But today is one hour pool workout and a one hour small chain ring spin on the trainer.

Stay cool folks.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Not a drop to drink

Well my new love affair with Training Peaks took precedence over a post on Sunday. I have a great visual to put up when I get home tonight. Its my temperature gauge on my back patio.

Why oh why dear Comm's would you take a picture of that? Because Phoenix set new highs for Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the high and the low of the day. My picture shows my patio at 5 pm Friday is 118 degrees, in the shade. Cripes. The lowest temperature recorded all weekend, a new high by the way, is 86 degrees.

Got in some good training. A good HR ride Sunday, never getting above zone 2, well I did once to do a break away on an open road. Do you know I can ALMOST keep up with Floyd Landis for 1k of his 100k time trial. I felt pretty good about that. Yes, I am a 'one-percenter', no not is that way.

I will be honest and say I did put some weight on my leg. I did some sloooooow jogging in the grass around a football field. Average pace 14:32. Surprizingly my HR was in the 145-152 range but my leg did not hurt at all which was the point. My ankle got tight for the rest of the day. I think I slightly sprained it at Mountain Man when I put my shin over the edge.

Today is rehab and a 90 walk, yes just a walk, on grass or golf course. I'm going down to Tempe Town Lake, the Ironman Arizona run course. Figure I will probably walking on that anyway next April, might as well see what its like in training. For all the years I have run around TTL, I have never purposefully walked it unless it was part of my run plan or I had bonked on the run.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Another time taker

Well it seems I have another conflict with my blogging now...Training Peaks. Bolder has made much ado about his new love affair with the uber-technical online training website and I suppose its my turn now.

The Machine and I have been discussing TP for awhile as a way for him to work with his sport therapy and training clients, so that they have some control over the processing of information that will allow him to better accomidate their programs. I am the guinea pig, so to speak. Better to work on a friend first and get the kinks out than look unprofessional or unprepared around your clients. And for the record he is very structured and professional around his clients.

So of course I have spent way, way, WAY, too much time going through this mac-daddy system. Good lord it does a lot. After about 2 hours I am finally starting to get the swing of things. I am public on the site and you can go find me, but I am not going to link it for another couple weeks until I get comfortable with my speed and protocols.

The next step in this process is to add all my routes and training maps, create my 'favorite food' log and get the scanner. The scanner is a neat little tool. It fits on your keychain and when you eat something with a UPC code, you scan it and it stores the nutritional information imbedded in the code- did you know UPC's did that? I didn't. Anyway you download to your TP meal log and it downloads all your food stored in the scanner, you just make a quick edit on portion size. Right now I am just doing it manually buy looking things up through the index, a bit challenging but not difficult.

Participated in my first Polar retail clinic today, a stipulation of my sponsorship with the company. Obstensibly I was just there to assist the other Polar athlete who's turn it was, but he ahhh...he ahhh...had a 'hachet in his head', so to speak and I just sort of took over. It went really well. A local news channel was doing weather reports at the LBS and I happened to be stupidly standing behind her drinking a Starbucks Grande Drip...dosey, dosey, doe, waiting for people to arrive. I happened to walk to the side and saw myself off the tv tape delay. Doubt I made any impression on people watching but I was wearing my Polar shirt, so thats exposure for them.

As per my agreement with myself I will not be running today or riding outside, too flipping hot and I am still limping. If anything I will get on the trainer this afternoon and churn out some watts.

Gotta keep my Training Peaks calorie defiecit in the red- (i.e. not gaining weight)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Right or wrong, the car thermometer reads 122 degrees Outside. Even if wrong, it still feels like it.

The Big Bang of Triathlon

Julie Moss retrospective.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Touching the Zone

Did an hour of Spinerval 5.0 mental toughness then went to the lake and swam 1.5 miles or 2418m or 2600 yards depending on your preference.

After a few minutes of The Machine going over some stroke fundamentals and critiques in the water off we went. I had a a great swim. Each lap between the inlet buoy and the canyon buoy dropped by one minute completing the entire swim in 52 minutes.

While going home I ran some numbers and decided to double check them with Phils awesome triathlon calculator, a link is located in my sidebar. I swim .6 miles farther in almost the same amount of time it took me to do the swim at Mountain Man. To put another way, if I can duplicate this todays swim at Florida (which is not possible but would be nice) I would drop 28 minutes off my 2.4 mile swim finishing it in 1hr 30min, instead of 2hr 02min.

That would be nice. In a perfect world.

Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates...

I haven't worked out since the race on Sunday. I have had a couple rehabs and lots of icing, rolling, stretching and plotting. I asked for some council from one of the best trainers in company who used to be a national level track star until shin splints and a stress fracture stopped him cold turkey, "I was just going to take off two weeks and that was six years ago."

After that I had some smart ideas, a quick call to The Machine, and I picked up a Jobst sock. That is one of those compression socks for circulation and leg fatique, stuff like that. I wore it yesterday and while at first it didn't feel any tighter than my own wrap jobs using reusable Coach's tape, I think overall it is a better option.

Today I am heading over to The Machines office for a workout on his spin bikes using a Spinerval DVD and then up to the lake. After the team swim (two loops = 1.2 miles), a bunch usually go for a 5 mile run, I may just stay in the water and do another loop or two.

I am trying to be a good boy about this. Obviously my track record on holding back from training is dodgy at best.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Damage Control

I have mentioned that I am official taking 30 days off from running. As hard as it was for me to hear it, it was hard for my doctor to say it, which really was hard since he is my running partner.

Its been 72 hours since Mountain Man and the leg is still swollen and painful. I am still limping. Had e-stem, accupuncture and a one hour massage Tuesday night to try to get some rehab going, haven't worked out since the race.

Today I am going to try to connect with a swim coach that comes highly recommended. The goal is that the four hours a week I would put into running over the next month I will instead use to get one on one feedback on improving my stroke.

From all concerned the shape of my stroke above water is good and the body alignment okay, but its the under the water stroke that is not getting any power transfer into faster movement. I will aslo guess, from feedback, that I am fairly flat in the water and don't roll enough.

I am sure there are lots of things to improve on.

Right now I can swim 2.4 miles in open water. Endurance is not an issue. Time is the issue. Based on my last two open water swims in a race I cover a mile in 50 minutes. That is S-L-O-W. It doesn't feel slow, in fact I feel quite comfortable with that pace but it can and will be most certainly faster in the next four months. Thus the coach.

I firmlly believe I can take 10-12 minutes off my mile time. 20% improvement. Which is really not that much when considering how much extra effort I am putting out in water. Minimal adjustments in body alignment, head position, arm rotation and drag control can affect 20% improvement. Endurance will go down as I retrain my body to new mechanics but just like anything else, volume will help win out in the end.

For cycling, The Machine and I are going to start using Spinervals in his rehab clinic before the swims on Thursday. This will replace the hill repeats. I will be doing some of my own riding during the week staying in Zone 1 and 2.

John, our resident genius, is working on a new short course for the weekend rides. We are trying to find flat loops of 25 miles so that any ability can join in and not be in the boonies if something goes wrong. Also since I am the only one doing an IM between now and next Aprils IMAZ, my training will be longer and its important to find a way for me to get in extra loops early before the regular ride without me having to change zip codes or speaking Spanish in case I get into some drama.

The runs are out. Not even hiking or power walking. I may try the ellipticals at the gym since they are almost zero impact on shin splints and mimic running. I also am going to be looking into an aqua jogger. I have no clue about them, only that everyone says to use it, so maybe I will do a 'How To' post on it in the future.

This...this is going to be an interesting mix of influence getting me to Florida. The train up I did earlier this year for IMAZ (though I did not race it) seemed so straight forward, it was just a methodic following of a good plan. Now it seems I (we) are working on a "lets see what happens" basis.

I say we because I am not in this alone. I have half a dozen training partners who are as motiviated for my Ironman success as I am and they want me to be strong for my chance.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mountain Man follow up

I got an e-mail from John, a true training partner, mental giant and inspiration to me. He finished this years IMAZ in 16:36 while doing a walk/jog for the entire marathon with 16:30 minute miles, which by the way he calculated in his head after getting on the run course. He is not a runner but makes up for it being a strong swimmer and capable cyclist.

Usually John crushes Hardocre Mike and I in the water, holds us off on the bike while we hammer to catch up and then we will pass him about a mile into the run. John handed me a smack down at Mountain Man, only seeing each other in passing near the run turnaround.

John's e-mail:
Hey some good news and bad news( for me) neither of us finished dead last and even with your bum leg you still beat me on the run. Dang I suck.
Well John you don't suck. Ever since my shin went bad I think of your courage to race Ironman at your ability level and not get sucked up into ego and pride. You earned your Ironman by racing your own race and I pray I have the strength to do the same.

Hardcore Mike, my oft mentioned training partner who is essentially a walking injury waiting to happen, is a fair swimmer and capable cyclist and becoming a really strong runner this year. He had a great race and took pride in telling everyone he finally, after two years, beat John off the bike and into T2. Oh yeah then he will tell you he set his PR at olympic distance. In true triathlete form he has his priorities straight, beat your team mate first, best your time second.

The Machine, hardly putting out any effort finished well under three hours, holding off another team mate (both Polar and AzTriClub) Tai by only five minutes.

Andy #2, a new addition to the team (hence why he is not Andy #1) who drove to the race site that night and got there at 2:00 a.m., slept in his car for a few hours then had a strong swim and bike then flat out hauled ass like only a former 10k state champ can haul ass, passing The Machine in just the last mile, setting his own new olympic PR.

Karl, a mulitple Ironman finisher and Polar team mate, took the second place medal in his AG. A little side note on this Ironman. This past January he aggresively ran the PF Chang half marathon with a broken neck, with his metal framed halo still screwed into his upper torso. Talk about sick puppy for enduracne events. He just returned from the Hono 70.3 a few weeks ago.

The Machine had some training clients who did their first sprint distance triathlon at Mountain Man and I could tell by the smiles on their faces that we have new converts to the tri-family.

Good job to my Polar team mates and good job to my training partners at AzTriClub...

...and John, yes Mike beat you into T2, but he'll never beat you to a workout.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Race Report #4 2006: Mountain Man Triahtlon

This race is billed as, "The Toughest Race You'll Ever Love." I must say it is in a beautiful location and though support is minimal they overcome non-traditional racing obstacles (like keeping the freeway open during the race) with precision execution. Mountain Man has a sprint, olympic and half iron distances.

There were about eight of us who drove up for the event, most of us staying at a gorgeous three story 'cabin'. Other than two of us, everyone brought their wives and kids.

One of the unique aspects of this course, from my point of view, is that the bike is out and back east of TA and the run out and back west of TA along a four lane country freeway, which remains open during the race. The sponsors were adament about the fact that triathletes will be running and cycling along the ample shoulder so do not park on it, rather pull out into the grass. Look folks I drive a brand new Dodge Charger there is no way I am parallel parking on a slope on the side of the road, so I and John arrived early for a primo location in the parking lot.

I wish someone had told me we had to walk 200 yards to from TA to the boat ramp for the swim because I am a tender foot, next year I am bringing cheap shower shoes. The wetsuit swim was in 71 degrees and though not the clearest of water, tasted very good. The orange buoy's were perhaps to far apart but clearly marked for when you needed to make a turn.

BOOM. The gun goes off for my wave and I really had no emotion. The first race where I was completely ambivelant about the start, I hit the start button on my S625X and walked into the water like I was crossing the street. The drama was all out in front of me so I was completely alone until about 200 meters into the swim when a foot hits my hand. I look up and its Hardcore. Of all the people that has to run into me in the swim, its him. The rest of the 1500 meters was just methodical work. I didn't zigzag, a first for me in a race (though I did sight wrong a few times causing me to veer wide but on course) and I passed someone in the swim, another first. The last 300 meters I got a little tired, still a bit run down I suppose and the low oxygen but I never stopped swimming freestyle or had to tread.

After the race, I could hear people talking about how they had panic attacks or saw people freaking out. I didn't see people freaking out but saw a lot of breast strokers and treaders trying to catch their breath. John mentioned that he had a panic moment in the first 200 meters and had to talk to himself to keep going. The lack of oxygen plays tricks on you.

The Machine mentioned that he did this race last year but didn't mention the hills the last four miles of the out and back 25 mile course. Well he did, but as he put it, "There's some hills but I can't remember how bad they are since Ironman training kinda warps your preception of what hard is." At mile 8 as I looked at my computer and saw 5.2 mph and 48 rpm, I seriously thought about getting off my bike and walking. Luckily I was reeling in a cyclist and pased two on the hill, so I stayed upright. The rest of the four-odd miles to the turnaround were moderate rollers and then had to do the reverse to get back which meant another go on the hills.

As I came out of a downhill with just a few miles left and began getting some pressure back into my pedal stroke, I noticed a twinge in my left shin and calf. My legs were not all that tired, the headwind did not help but I was well nutritioned; I prayed it was not my shin splint flaring up already. I should have prayed harder but overall I was happy with my ride considering the course and the elevation.

The 6 mile out and back run course is basically broken into four distinct zones. Zone 1 and 4 are flat 1.5 mile runs along the freeway, very nice. Zone 2 is a 1.6 mile monster uphill that only gets steeper as the climb continues. Zone 3 is the downhill of that beast. It can be run all the way to the top if you are a strong runner, but most people walked at least part of it.

The Machine, (my chriopractor), and I had already discussed putting a compression wrap on my lower leg in T2. Wrap applied, I left my TA and took my first steps towards the run course. Step one. Intense and instant pain. Step two. More of the same. I was five feet from my bike, still in transtion and I felt like I was running on a bloody stump. The pain was never ending. Each time my left foot struck the ground was torture.

I stopped only a few times before reaching the hill. The pain was ever present and having drove the hill twice before the race, I knew what was coming. I tried my best to shuffle up the course, each step more painful than the last. I was in pain. I started breathing very hard from the exerition at elevation, my all started to become to much. I started to tear up, finally 'Coming to Jesus' on that hill and seeing my entire race season crumble with each passing step.

Triathletes can recognize pain in others, usually because at some point they have or are having the same issues. Running with the wrap around my leg and the grimmace on my face elicited some very encouraging comments which helped me get to the top. I stopped a quarter mile from the top to talk to John who was coming back down. I couldn't stay on my feet, my leg was failing under me.

My pace going down the hill was slower than when I went up. My left leg, now useless below the knee was dragging on the pavement as I picked it up, scratching the gravel on the road. A sure sign that inflammation had locked my ankle up as well as everything else.

Stationed along the hill were Jordan, 13 and Nate,10. They belong to two of my training partners and were using my camera to take pictures of the team while on the hill. Seeing them and hearing their cheers at my worst made me proud to be a part of this group. The hill had some switchbacks but the boys just bushwhacked and met me at the bottom. Had it not been for them I would have been a a bigger wreck emotionally. I shuffled along at 12 minute miles, occassionally stopping to grab my shin when an exceptional spasm rocked me.

A half mile from the finish the boys mom's were waiting for me to come by so they could take their pictures. As I limped by with my two raving fans, a third joined in for the final push, Kallan, Jordans 10 year old sister and an irongirl. Their support and encouragement kept my spirits high and the pain at bay and as we neared the finish. Triathletes already done with their race and had watched me limp along the run the course and saw the grit of my face with each step, applauded me and shouted encouragement. A hundred yards from the finish, my team mates and friends stood in line and gave me high-5's and shouted my name. All the shouting and encouragemnet was surreal, like a movie. With the finishers arch all to ourselves I asked my rag tag team of three to go through with me for the picture and the final chirp of the chip mat. We all held hands and lifted them up high.

The Finish
We cross the finish line and I am handed a race towel. I just ran 1.5 hot miles since the last water station and I really wanted a water not a stupid towel. I knew I had water on my bike so I shuffled back to my gear. The TA was almost empty since most of the racers were sprinters who were long since gone. I sat on my race bucket in realitive quiet and as the enormity of everything flooded over me, I became emotional and cried into my hard won finishers towel. I had never cried after a race.

I collected my bike and my gear and limped back to my car. Some team mates came by to find me, make sure I was okay. Now that I was no longer running, the swelling really started and my leg felt like it was on fire. As I was helped back to our little team area, I was lucky enough to sandwich my leg in ice and eventually get some massage. Now surrounded by my closest friends I heard their tales of success and how most of them did PR's in their olympic distance.

And Finally...
The Machine handed me a beer and examined my leg, he looked at me like a doctor does when he has bad news he doesn't want to give and told me no more running for a month, zone 1 & 2 cycling and swimming only. A month. 30 days. 25% of my remaining time before Ironman Florida. It was hard for him to say and hard for me to hear. He is an ironman. He is my training partner. He is my team mate. He is my coach. He is my sport therapist by profession. He knows the stakes for me this year and ever the optimist tells me I can now focus on swimming and taking twenty minutes off my IM swim time.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

No longer a sea level pussy. But the rest of the season will never be the same. I will adapt or die in Florida. Lots to say and not all bad.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Did recon and trained on bike & swim course already. No prob with elevation.really relaxed about race. Mo is doing better.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Up at base camp for the race. 6820 ft. Went for a 2 mile run. In the first tenth of a mile my hr hit 144. Does that bode well? Ha ha

Im going.


As of last night I was out. I didn't lose any sleep over it. So why am I packing my bags today and every waking moment has been spent staring into my son's swollen face and wondering that immortal question. "Do I stay or do I go?"

Mistress tells me to go, a sure sign that she thinks Mo is on the mend. She wants me to not lose this opportunity to race and be better prepared for Florida. She understands my commitment and the investment the whole family has made.

I sort of cut the race out of my head last night. It was really, really hard to finally say, "Its over" and be okay with it and tell myself to no longer doubt my decision. But here I am, doubting my decision about staying. I am trying to wrap my mind now around the fact that maybe I should do this race.

If I stay I will be thinking about a sick Mo every minute and not have fun, I certainly won't / don't have the heart in this race like I did earlier this week.

If I stay I will be thinking about the race but know I most likely made the right decision, family first.

I guess I still have a couple of hours to decide. I'll pack my bags and get my gear ready to go and then figure it out.

Stay tuned

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It looks like it is just me going to Flagstaff.

Mo has come down with an undefined illness that has him just hours from being IV’d and spending an overnight in the hospital. The doctors have run every test except meningitis and some other equally unsavory conditions that are best left to be done when someone is admitted to the hospital.

He has an appointment tomorrow morning with his regular team of physicians to see if he has become hydrated enough to not be admitted but currently that may be the plan of the doctors and they are just giving us a soft warning and an extra night in our house with him before the weekend. They have already said he is very close to concerning dehydration levels.

We have been here before and this sudden relapse is…troubling. Earlier this week we at first felt, as did his medical team, that this was a routine sickness for any child in preschool, especially one that was just recently reintroduced into society after being quarantined for four months from any contact with other children due to his low immune system. Today, Mistress tells me that that optimisim was not present in that room by the doctors. They are optimistic that things can turn around but....

I am already having a really crap day and this dosen't help. Usually I can shield Mistress from my lack of Emotional Quotient (EQ) and try to support her when Mo's down because she really takes this stuff hard. Not today and I do feel very badly about that. I lacked Emotional Intellegence on the phone getting this info from her and I need to call her back and seek to understand better.

There is nothing I can do about this and honestly she is better off with me being away if he gets admitted tomorrow. I go bonko in hospitals and drive the nurses there nuts. Plus I am being selfish because I want her and Mo to get out of town with me, our first all family trip out of the Valley in three years to relax with non-work people in a cooler climate.


Update: 4:16pm. No change in Mo's condition though he did eat some watermelon. No its me. I re-read my post above a realize I have a big chink in my mental armor right now for this race. I want to go but I want to help Mistress in what will be a difficult weekend for her regardless of where its spent.

If I stay home I will hate missing the race but I will be there to support Mistress and keep her fed and watered and the house reasonable making her weekend of being clung too by a sick child some what managable. But I will let my team mates, my sponsors and myself down.

If I still go, I get to do my race but will always be thinking about Mistress and Mo back home and that an extra pair of hands would do wonders. I will fret about his well being and be concerned that Mistress is burning herself out, since Mo has been showing symptoms since Monday and that has been making her tired already with his fussiness, trips to the doctors, lack of sleep at night, etc.

Selfishly, I hate making this decision. I hate that I am forced to. This is a race weekend. Its supposed to be fun. I just don't think it will be.

Crap. Still.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm listening and I hate it

I am trying, I really am, but yesterday was a nutritional disaster coupled with no training. I kept pushing off my run because its 116* and the dearth of comments coming to me, which are 100% valid, all say hold back on the heat. So when I thought about running at like 9pm, it was still 105*. That just kind of sucked the whole life out of my evening and grabbed a Mikes Hard Lemonade instead.

Today I am still in the push off mode. John got some other takers on the Wednesday morning Usery Pass ride, which I am no longer doing due to IMFL so I bailed on the 0500 bike and felt terrible about it. Its afternoon now and here I am with only a few minutes before I have to go to therapy for my shin. I think I can run on one of the treads there if I don't puke over the fact that I don't like running on treads.

In any regards I will get something in today. I got to.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I am overwhelmed at the outpouring from you people. I don't think I have recieved so much concern from any other posting.

I must say that I am doing all I can to limit any further training damage. This weekends race for me is not very important, I can finish in 3 hours or four, I could care less. I just would like to finish. I actually have no concerns over the swim. As long as I can hit my sweet spot on the bike I will be great there and then its just the run. I will walk the whole thing if I have too. I don't want too, but I will.

I read the Peter Reid article in Triathlete magazine about his retirement and how he treaded that fine line between racing to win and complete physical and mental breakdown, which he had a few times. I sometimes think I have the same desire but my arc a bit lower. I don't want to win Kona, don't even want to do Kona, but I would like to be top 10% of my AG or Clydesdale.

The one thing I won't do is hide myself. I sometimes think I am whinning or being a little bitch about my injuries but I think it more of being honest and transparent. I am what I am; a passionate, driven, no quit som'bitch.

Who is very thankful that more rational minds read this blog and give common sense to this Common Man

Sunday, July 9, 2006

An Open Request

I am hereby petitioning the Prarie Dog Leader from da Republic of Bolder for a boon. This coming weekend I am racing in the Mountain Man Olympic distance triathlon up in Flagstaff. The race elevation starts at 6900 feet and peaks at 7300 feet.

Therefore I am requesting that upon completion of the race, the title of SLP be removed from my investigative personnel records held within a top secret hole deep within Da Republic. In the slim chance of a DNF due to lack of oxygen, I will be requesting a hearing to determine if sheer stupidity combined with a lack of altitude training will atleast grant me a one year waiver.

In all honesty, word on street from the veterans of this race is that there is a high DNF due to altitude, most occuring within the first 500 meters of the swim. Even veteran ironman finishers have bailed or lost all rational thought about their ability to complete it due to the elevation.

Surrounding this race will be a great time. Hardcore, The Machine and I and all our spouses and kids are renting a big cabin or house together. Should be a blast. To bad the race is on Sunday instead of Saturday, so we could enjoy a real bonfire and drink beers celebrating our race.

Instead my family will be driving the three hours back to Mesa for work on Monday.

Anyway, please consider my offer PDL and perhaps a response on your website with your answer would satisfy my man Bolds creative writing for at least one day.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Win Some, Lose Some

Put in a 1.5 mile swim today and felt pretty damn good. I am still slow, it took me an hour but so be it I suppose.

The run was another matter...again. I got through the first mile without incident at about a 10:30 pace and was feeling my shin get progressively tighter and more cramped. About 1.5 miles I was pulled over on the side and trying my best to massage the swelling down. Some of the others who came by noticed a significant difference in the shape of my legs below the knee, one swollen and tight looking the other normal. I went a bit further up the hill, mostly at a fast walk and then turned around with John as he came back down. The miles back were not so bad, going downhill stretched the area out and I maintained about a 11:30-12:00 minute mile pace.

Horrific in my opinion. But I reminded myself that John finished his Ironman walking almost the entire marathon at a 16:30 pace and finished it. I reminded myself of people who have related to me the cramping and the pain of their ironman marathon and averaging 13 minute miles and finishing. So I felt bolstered by my pace. If I average between 11-12 minute ironman miles for the whole marathon, I will consider myself very lucky indeed.

So today goes in the success column. The recovery week has really helped me with some of the physical aches I had swimming, though not the speed improvement I was hoping for and I ran further today before breakdown than I have in the last few weeks.

What really sucks is that right now I feel great. When I am not running, I feel 100%. Once I get some pressure on that shin from my running, it seizes all up.

What was really great about this workout is that so many other people had terrific runs. A few dropped almost ten percent off their times running up and down some steep switchbacks. Some went further than expected in less time than expected. Some just ran the whole way. And while I am not happy with the fact that I am pulling up the rear on the run train, when six months ago and less I was leading it, I am taking what I can get with a smile.

Have Fun

Friday, July 7, 2006

God I love this commercial

Primal Quest Adventure Racing

At some point in my life I will do an adventure race of some note. Akin to wanting to go from just thinking of being a triathlete, to doing a sprint race to completing an Ironman. I have never done an AR but previous to getting back into triathlons in 2004, I was getting my gear sorted out to start them.

I still follow the sport closely, though some slack has been taken out of it's sails the last two years. Ian Adamson is still my favorite overall athlete of all time.

At the end of June Moab Utah hosted the Primal Quest AR which is about as big a deal as the sport will have in America this year. Imagine if there was only one Ironman in the USA this year. Team Nike /Powerblast won in a somewhat contested finish. The team is a perpetual favorite in every race it enters with all members being a world champion or world record holder.

The link above is an overview of the race some of the entirely random pitfalls that can befall any endurance event. The snippet below is cut from the article and explains the course description. The blue words are my input.

All (four person co-ed ) teams who complete the course in its entirety, covered what will be remembered as one of the hardest races of all time, comprised of: a 29-mile horseback ride/foot section (one rides and three walk, rotating saddle time); a 21-mile desert trek; a 65-mile mountain bike; an 8-mile hike and whitewater swim in the rapids of Green River; a 35-mile river kayak; a 26-mile canyoneering leg; a 45-mile river kayak; a 29-mile canyoneering section; a 68-mile mountain bike; (300 foot rappel with bikes) a 65-mile mountain bike; a 38-mile mountain trek and 8-mile orienteering section; a 41-mile mountain bike; a 14-mile trek; six miles of rope work, ascending, descending and traversing; a 2-mile flatwater paddle. (Total distance is 425 miles over 6 days for the winners, ten plus for the final teams)

Someday...I still have three Ironmans on my schedule and yet to finish one of them.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

okay. not as planned

The workout did not go quite as planned. For the ride my quads were killing me. I think my seat has been adjusted lower or dropped somehow. They swelled up really quickly. At the first stop about ten miles in, I unhooked my cleats and straightened my legs out. I immediately felt this rush of blood and I damn near passed out! I lowered the bike and myself to the ground. After a few minutes I looked up and everything was white washed except the road infront of me, that lasted about five minutes then cleared up and I could see again. It was hot and very humid for Phoenix which may have also contributed.

The swim actually went okay. I was slower than normal by about two minutes. I only did one loop, a half mile.

One the run, I immediately realized I have no legs. A little shin issue, a little cramping issue, throw some lack of nutrition in there, 102 degrees, 40% humidity (its normally 3% right now), no training for the last week and I couldn't run to save my life. I would get about two hundred yards and go back to my 16 minute mile walk along the rolling hills. My HR was pretty low, mid 130's but there was no gas to move the legs. None. So that is an issue, I gotta be able to run.

There is alway something to work on. The shins getting better but the legs are still very tired. I think I will try to move my seat up a couple mm tomorrow and go for a short ride to see what happens.

I would be interested in anyone else who has experienced a sudden focus of blood and lactic acid in the quads while riding and what you did to fix it. I am not the most knowledgable cyclist.

Fly...Be Free

Today it is back to training. The Machine and I over the last few months have been ramping up the Thursday training sessions till they have become almost a bizzaro race day in and of itself.

For example today is a 25 mile bike, then long transition up to the lake for a 1.1 mile swim then a 6 mile run brick from the shore. Sounds like a freaking Olympic distance race once per week.

Now not everyone does all three sports, in the past it has only been The Machine, myself and Hardcore Mike. John when he gets the opportunity. In fact today I won't be doing all that. Since its my first day back in a week, I am doing the ride, then .6 mile swim, then power walk or jog/walk 3 miles and maybe little more depending on how the shin feels.

The rides used to be monster hill intervals / repeats for a power workout which fatiqued the legs before the uphill run 5k, downhill 5k we did after the swim, but we are switching the hills out for flat longer rides with high cadence.

The swim is what it is, but instead of running up the hill and turning around, I will run the 1.5 rolling miles to the base of the hill then turn around. Its a flatter alternative than attacking the monster and screwing up my ankle /shin again.

I actually woke up today with no pain. Its amazing what you get used to when your training hard. I think the rehab last night was a break through. I have been really tight and The Machine was able to get things adjusted (loudly I might add) which gave me some instant relief in my low back and neck. The shin has been taking the rest /ice / compression / A.R.T. / e-stem /acupuncture treatments really well. Today should be a very illuminating day.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

What day is it?

Is it just me or did a Tuesday holiday really just screw up my weekly clock?

Went to an awesome wedding Monday night. Ten minute ceremony with open bar before and after and an all you could eat sushi bar at the reception. Thats what I'm talking about. I refrained from the desert table where the chocolate fountain was a bit hit, along with dipping marshmellows and doughnut holes in chocolate.

Tuesday morning Mistress and I hosted a brunch breakfast at our place with big slabs of bacon and scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. My mom blended orange julius for drinks. I cut up hawaiian bread to fit in my toaster and served it that way instead of regular bread. Not bad I must say since that was my only job. For those that don't know...I am not allowed to cook. It is verboten in my house.

Tuesday afternoon, Mighty Mo and I went to The Machines for a cookout with some other familys and their kids. Had a good time. Mistress was not feeling well so she stayed home. Mostly the kids stayed in the pool and we watched Ironman Kona 2005 and some high school football highlights of The Machine Jr. , himself an accomplished and sought after athlete at only 12 years old.

I had just recieved a size kit from Sugoi, who is making our AzTriClub uniforms and we tried on different fits and sizes to see what is best to order. On top of the racing/training apparel we are ordering running jerseys with the same color and sponsorship information for us to wear for training or daily wear but also for our spouses and support teams to wear at our races. We all think it says alot when people in the crowd are wearing team apparel too. Plus it makes the spouses and children feel more a part of the organization when they also have the team gear. They are after all in this thing as much as the rest of us.

So it already feels like Friday. Thats a good thing right?

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Happy Independance Day

I truly love the 4th of July, the day which we celebrate our country's forefathers signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Do not confuse the Declaration with the Constitution which frames our form of democracy and was drafted in 1787 and by the way, I carry a copy of in my bible.

The Declaration has three parts; the first discussing the rights of all men to be free and the legitmacy to revote against oppression, the second part a set of specific grievances the 13 colonies had against King George III and finally a claim of independence. I would like you to take the time today and read or scan just a bit of it.

So today while your eating your hot dogs, having a beer, sampling mom's hot apple pie and hopefully sharing the day with people you love and respect, take a moment and thank your god that America was created. The greatest nation on this great earth.

This video, my first YouTube, by the way, was taken by a spectator at last years Gasworks show in Seattle Washington. I used to go to this every year. In the beginning I would sit on the hill of Gasworks park with tens of thousands of others and watch the show. As I got older a friends father lived on a massive boat moored at the end of a dock a few hundred yards away. So close that the debris from the rockets would land on us. The last few years I lived in Seattle, I and some friends would kayak to just beneath the barge as close as we could get. This is the closest I have come to a fireworks show in almost ten years, watching it on tv or computer feed. There are many shows of low caliber around town at churches and ballparks, a few big ones such as at Tempe Town Lake (IMAZ site) where my company actually hosts the main stage for musical acts, but too crowded, too hot.

Sit back and enjoy the show.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Vertical Man emerges

No not Superman, though I did see the movie yesterday and it was great. No I got an e-mail from an old friend. Vertical Man for those of you not familiar, is a true friend of the Triathlete Alliance and one of our original compatriots. He, Wil and Shelley last July did a whole bunch of training together for Steelhead. Some of IronWil's best writing is about her SEBA outings, but read the whole month of July to truly fall in love with her prose and to get a feel for hardcore 1/2 Iron training.

VM has done some relocating and some personal introspections and promises to be back online soon, charming us with his hardcore, high speed training and quite amazing cooking reportoire. Here's VM in his own words, with permission to post from him.

Things are going OK in Omaha. The new job is awesome - the best ever. The city is growing on me though I still REALLY miss Chicago. In fact I'm back in the Great Suburban Outback writing this, visitng friends and family over the July 4 holiday.
Training is one thing that has really suffered. I talked to CoachKaryn yesterday and decided to defer my Ironman dreams to, maybe, IM WI 2007 or IM Cour d"Alene 2007. I got way behind the training curve and the looming IM WI 2006 deadline had just become another major stress in my life. Triathlons should be fun and rewarding, not something you dread and that's sorta where I was. I'm still doing Steelhead in early August and a few other races, but not IM this year.
I'm starting to get into a training community in Omaha - swimmers, bikers and runners - so that should help. I'll be back to the blogging gig before too long. I don't yet have a computer at home in Omaha and don't want to blog from work for obvious reasons.
Hope to see you back soon VM, your still one of the best out there.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

What to do with me...

My first Saturday morning without training since I don't know when. Went to bed at 9 on Friday and woke up a midnight feeling like I had a full nights sleep already.

Mistress and I took Mighty Mo to his swim lessons together and I was not happy. The two instructors were just teenage girls more interested in talking about boys and who got raises rather than helping the parents there with their kids. I figured it out about ten minutes into it and kept asking them to move onto the next drill or next event or next anything to keep us from horsing around in a pool twenty minutes from our house paying them do what I do with my son almost everyday in our own backyard pool. Unfazed. Mistress had a stern conversation with the managers after and she will probably cancel the class.

Mistress kept asking me if I wanted to do some laps since I was getting tense, so I stroked a little bit and even though I still didn't have any preconcieved notion of training I was sucking air and tired after 50 yards. Yup, I need this rest.

Mistress doesn't really know what to do with me. It is as strange a thing for her that I am home all day today as it is for me. She has asked me atleast a dozen times if I want to leave and do this or that. She finally confided that she is asking me these questions about leaving the house because she is not used to me being in it on our days off together.

Geesh. Guess I got her trained a bit too well.