Saturday, March 31, 2007

Back up the bus

A while back I wrote a long post about a good book, 98.6 degrees, the art of keeping your ass alive by Cody Lundin. I had cause to go back and read that review today and realized I cut a whole bunch out because it was very lengthy and I still think it is. What I ended up doing is expediting paragraphs into a bland sweeping sentence and using some rye humor, come off as ambivalent about the book.

I really do like this book and it has really made me aware of the fact that in the past I bought gear for emergency's and never used it before the emergency, for example use to have a survival items that I had never used. After reading his book I have put every one to the test and wearing it out. In fact this afternoon at REI, I was replenishing fire starters for my kit when I saw Cody shopping in the store. Never one to fear public humiliation I walked up and asked him if his name was Cody. We ended up having a very nice conversation which was mostly me praising him for the last half of his book with informative discourse on specific items in his kit and how I combined his items and mine to one that works great for me. I did find out that he has an urban survival manual coming out this fall, his description fits right down my alley.

Before that I went to the pool to swim and ran into fellow blogger momo whose team was almost done with the Ragnar Relay and 190 mile running relay. I was so focused on my run that I barely recognized her sitting under a tree, After an hour with her I have already committed myself to work on building a team for next year and Jeff and Big John have already said their game.

Swim was a bust at the pool. They had lifeguard try outs for summer and there was a line waiting for the two lanes available for open swim. Chalk up another day of under training for ironman but I got a big dent into Mistress 'Honey-Do' list that I didn't think I would attempt till after the race.

Team work

I didn't think that after more than a decade of running and lifting weights solo , that I would find myself craving company more than solitude for triathlons. I think I need a group hug here.

Training for two ironman's last year (racing in one) I had no shortage of companionship. After helpings so many of my friends finish their first they were there for my first. In a cosmic sense it was a perfect window of opportunity to practice together. It was not unusual last summer to show up at a deserted parking lot at 4 a.m. Saturday morning and find two partners hauling out their gear because they didn't want me to ride alone for all or part of 100 miles.

This time around, for Arizona, all the same faces are here, hell even more faces, but the schedules have been different, responsibilities have changed and getting together has been dificult. Even last year when I continued to do most of my runs solo and only swam and biked with the team, over just a few months with all of us being on the same stretch of road running the same distance, it was nice. It made me want to run with friends. Now I find more and more of my training being done alone again because 'life happens', and suddenly my desire to do those activities alone like I used to has lost its luster.

Once I was the guy who walked into the room who could proclaim ten extra hours of practice since the last time I saw a team mate, now I'm smack dab in the average category. There is no feeling sorry for myself its a process of overcoming changes to stimuli.

Today I am going to swim at the pool by myself. Then go for a run or a spin by myself. Nothing flashy or new or different. Its taper time for an ironman and there is a formula for this kind of stuff. Tomorrow is loop on the ironman bike course and one loop of the run course. Thats pretty much the last of the big hurrah's a 2 hour bike and 1 hour run.

After this ironman, finish or fall off, you could almost say my yearly goals are over. I'm certainly am not doing another ironman this year after doing two only half a year apart. There are plenty of Oly's and perhaps Soma 1/2 iron in late October but I am taking my triathlon training in another direction after the Rocky Pt. Olympic three weeks after ironman. Yeah another race so quickly after a 140.6, crazy I know. But that might just define the rest of 2007...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Swimming with the Fishes

All Soprano's quips aside I was heading out to the lake to swim and swore that I saw Jeff, aka The Machine-worst kept secret anyway, driving off the mountain. I then got a call from both Mike and John saying to turnaround, that the lake was full of dead fish.

Wow. If Jeff bailed on swim it would have to be toxic. As he told me by phone later that night, "Comm, there was hundreds, maybe thousands of belly up fish. Who knows what your drinking in that water were too close to ironman."

I so wanted to just jump in the jacuzzi but instead rode the spin bike for an hour. I hit the tub later.

I pulled the plug on the swim at the lake Saturday giving the team a free day for personal training. Now I have to figure workouts today and tomorrow to keep me consistent.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not Satisfied

(Deep Breath) Okay.

Not impressed with myself on the quasi-book report I wrote to prove I read or did something before Oprah did. It stems back to when she ran her first marathon which was after I had done three already. After that every time I mentioned 'marathon', I got the "Oh, didn't Oprah did that?" As if it was no longer unique or special. The media portrayed her as the second coming of the running boom.....

...just took an employee to the ER for a nasty cut on his finger. Luckily it was middle of the day and he was in and out in an hour with a half dozen stitches. I 'wrote him a script' for a bottle of Crown Royal, a six pack of Coca Cola and to take the rest of the day off.

I had to call Mistress and tell her I was at Scottsdale Osborn's ER and I wasn't there for an injury to myself. She asked if it looked the same as before and I could only comment, "How the hell do I know. I have always been wheeled in on a stretcher. Ceiling tiles look the same though."

Open water swim tonight.

I am a Oprah book reader?

I have written about how Ironman will lose all relevance the day Oprah does one. I about crap myself last night hearing and then seeing that Oprah's new book club recommendation is a book I read last year.

See I like this author named Cormac McCarthy. Writes some amazing books. His last one called The Road, which I read in its entirety the weekend it came it, is a touching post apocalyptic survival story between a father and his son. There is no names for the two characters, much as you would not use formal names with your children or vice versa. The end of the world environment and their circumstances in it as incredibly detailed, but the most important aspect of this book and the thread that keeps you reading such a depressing book; is the utter exhaustion and love that a father has for his young son.

I really latched on to these characters because at the time I felt very inadequate as a father. Mo was/is very much a 'Mommy Do' boy and the I read into McCarthy's apocalypse as my overall relationship with my son and interaction they have in the book as those touching moments that are precious but rare in the day. What I mean is that if all week long he would rather have his mommy do everything for him (apocalypse), the few moments we sit on the floor interacting and he says, "Daddy. I like you." is is the father/son story.

This is a book showing a bleak ending for humanity but the father and his son trekking through a world of ash and starvation ultimately makes this book a testament to family and love.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Comfort Level

Inside each of us is gauge of what is comfortable. Unless properly motivated we become set in our ways, not necessarily happy or unhappy but certainly fearful of moving from what makes us comfortable.

You may not be happy with your job, you may hate your job but you've been there for a long time, you might lose your friends you made there, you make okay money, it takes work to find new work. So you stay comfortable but unhappy.

You may not be happy with the way you look on the outside and commit to a diet that makes you feel better. Then you drive past your favorite drive thru and you're stressed out and traffic is bad and the diet did tell you eat every three hours and its three hours on the nose. You put on your diet face and walk into a friendly get together, there is so much good food and everyone encourages you to eat and when you decline they ask if your okay. Then you tell them your on a diet and you get 'the look' from your friend. The 'Yeah right that will last look.' So you drop off within a week but your happy to not have that mental burden of dieting on you.

These are but two examples of how well intentions are crushed by reality, your job and appearance not meeting the expectations you had for yourself when you dared to dream. Those dreams eventually beat down due to letting apathy, relationships, victimization, complacency all dictate your comfort level.

As hard as it is, change your comfort level. Often times it does not take drastic steps like giving away your flat screen tv (but if your going to do that let me know). It involves surrounding yourself with positive reminders of what your dreams are. I am a big fan of affirmations, most people are not and thats fine. Some people need to just throw away all the junk food in the house and vow to not buy more.

Commit to doing something bigger than you. Take the pressure off of yourself by focusing on the bigger goal. Climb Mt. Rainer. Do a half ironman or marathon. Backpack Europe in style. By focusing on these bigger goals that you want to do in the next one to five years you begin to create a plan to accomplish them. Walking with a backpack or train for an endurance event and you will lose weight.

If your goal is to do something that involves thousands of dollars as in a trip or a house or an event, (climbing Mt. Rainer will cost about $3,500 for all the gear, guide costs and travel expense), traveling Europe much more than that; you will learn to either make more money at work, stop wasting money on non-goal expenses or find a new job/career. Either way you make decisions that not only increase your awareness of money but also give you a chance to expand your mind with studying and possibility thinking and decreasing your waist with the work it will take to make your goal come true.

The point is don't be comfortable with where you are at and don't expect anyone to help you succeed. It starts with you. Not happy with your relationship, then you need to treat that person the way you want them to treat you. If they are abusive you need to get out because no one has the dream of living in abuse. If your determined to accomplish a physical feat, no one will get you out of bed when the alarm goes off, if your with someone they just don't want to be awoken by the alarm any longer.

If the goal is to make more money, lotto tickets are not the answer. Its comfortable though. Instead you need to ask your boss, not for a raise today but what it will take in the next few months using a specific date. Agree with what he needs to see from you in terms of progression to make that raise possible or move to a higher paying position and hold him to it. In the meantime if your in a dead end job that is uninspiring to you, find a new job while your working towards your supervisors goals. In three to six months when you formally meet to discuss your advancements and he says you didn't do enough for a raise, tell him you did your best but someone else sees your value and your moving on because you have two other higher paying jobs waiting to see what happens in this meeting.

The areas in your life you see as pathetic or lacking are based on you making compromises in terms of your comfort level. You can't run three miles, not because you've been fat for a decade, but because you would rather watch tv instead. Your blood pressure is not high because your getting older, its because you would rather walk into a burger joint than down the produce isle for your lunch.

Who wants pictures of themselves sitting around eating with family? That's right, no one. People want pictures themselves accomplishing something like standing outside a foreign building or atop a snow capped peak. Pictures of a life in action. And those action pictures go on the wall, not in a book. In my office I have pictures of me standing on pyramids, standing on mountains, holding a massive fish, my raft being pummeled in a Class 4 rapid. Not for self-aggrandizement but because it reminds me that all of those 'Goals' were really fun to reach and none of them came without sacrifice to my comfort and investment in myself.

When you consciously filter your comfort level through the prism of your financial advancement, schooling, dream trip or other lofty goal; then comfort is not as important as success. The only impact comfortable people make is on the couch, feeling miserable about themselves the entire time. I would rather be known as someone who had success life rather than leading a comfortable one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It was a fun night

Its not often that Mo and I get to spend a decent weeknight together to hang out. After his doctor appointment because he was such a good boy for the most part, we went to TMNT. This is his first kids meal at the movies. Didn't care much for the Icee but dug the corn tray which I knew because he chows off of my bag. By the way he is 41 inches tall and 42 pounds.

I whipped out my camera and he was not happy, "Daaaaddy, noooooo. Don't take picture." He was actually walking towards me when this was taken which is why he looks like that. Two female workers walked by and thought it was cute I was taking his picture and made some cooing noises so he did flirt with them.

And by flirting I mean he leaned his head forward, closed his eyes, opened his mouth, waggled his tongue and growled like a dinosaur. Its a signature move for a almost 4 year old.

A Mighty Mo Update

Well results are back on two separate tests. First off Mighty Mo does not have a sinus problem, they are quite fine, the doctor says. This means no removing tonsils or adenoids.

It does mean yet another test, the dreaded environmental allergy tests. Mo has been tested for food allergy's but in the one time we tried to have him tested for airborne and contact allergies he had such a virulent reaction it was called off right away. So we have always known he is allergic 'to air' just not specifically what the allergies were, but with the nebulizer treatments he was already getting which combated that it didn't make sense to go through the testing again based on the first tests reactions until he was a bit older. Well, he is older now.

The surgical consult on Monday was for a umbilical hernia he had at birth that mandated a four year check up. He was still showing symptoms of it but the specialist assured us that every thing felt and looked normal except for some adhesion issues around his boy part. He was, you guessed it, prescribed a topical cream that should take care of that. I told Mistress that Mo's on more medications that Anna Nicole and the doctor practically fell off his stool.

Mo was scared and nervous this time, he didn't want the doctor poke him and hurt him so he decided to hide under the chair grasping it like a Lemur when the doctor asked him to get up on the table. But Mo did great with all the poking and prodding so I took him to see TMNT (ninja turtles) while Mistress went home to relax.

We had a great time and afterwards hit the Toy R Us so he could get Leonardo's swords. Yes I spoil my kid. Would you think otherwise with the way I buy Shiny Things?

Tuesday is a rare 'get out of the office day' for me. I am traveling across town to audit one of my clubs. Just like the good ole days; I so much auditing clubs than auditing payrolls. To much ass sitting and not enough ass chewing. At least Nytro enjoys my chair job; she seems to like the fact she can ridicule me at will with online instant messaging. If things work out right, I may try to skip down the street to the Seattle Mariners Spring Training Center to see if there's a game I can watch a few innings of. It is literally a mile away, but with traffic it would be faster to run there so I might just combine a couple of outdoor activities. Spring training is over rated but to sit outdoors for a few innings on a beautiful day is a wonderful thing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The list

I have a meeting with my CPA Wednesday. Yeah should have probably started on my taxes before Monday night after 24 got over.

Luckily I have a hot shot CPA who sends me a neat tax packet with fill in the blanks. To bad its 33 pages not including those that have a decimal like page 31.1 and 31.2. It really bad that I didn't really put aside all my year end mailings for interest and charities and things like that. But I have a list, its only 21 action items long and then I am done.

What have you accomplished... the last five years.

Well for some that would be quite a bit, for others nothing at all. In the middle is Robert Garside who Guinness Book of World Records has officially titled, "The first man to physically run around the world."

I am shaking my head. This guy better get himself a proper book deal and or financial nest egg from this because it doesn't really translate into getting a good job for yourself. I totally understand the living in the van mentality so you can rock climb all summer, or spending $75,000 for climbing Mt. Everest, but five years to do that...and then what.

Its so obtuse.

Limping In

While I have 'physically limped in' , (like last years Olympic distance where I stress fractured my leg), I am thinking more along the lines of the me limping into the office today still recovering from a great weekend of training. That type of 'Limping In' in the good one. Lactic acid, slightly stiff, little sun burn, ah good times.

It also might describe how this Ironman is going to play out in, oh gosh, 20 days. Limping in is an apt description of how I will be under trained for this long day of racing April 15th. Ultimately its better to be physically under trained than over trained and I still have my strong mental and nutritional game to help get me through.

Our team had our first IM taper workout over the weekend. So strange to think that a 2.4 mile swim one day, then 56 mile bike / 2 mile run brick the next is considered taper. It really kind of concerns me what my training load will look like when I just train for Olympics and an annual 1/2 iron race.

Can I go out to the lake and just do two loops (1.1 mile) when I can four?
Can I switch my riding style from iron distance endurance to short course speed and not feel that I am cheating myself mileage?
Oh Lord, I think I actually committed to speed work on a track this summer.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I M swim

Did my first IM open water swim today. I was the first one of the group in the water and with all the rain the lake was mighty cold to start off. The first 600 yards were not very comfortable. I was hyperventilating, having doubts about my stroke, having doubts I could do the distance. Once the I got to the back buoy for my first time all that was gone and I was into my groove.

What was really amazing to me this time is that all the stroke work paid off from last winter. For one, my heart rate was much more controlled throughout the swim. Also after swimming this 1,000 yard loop I don't how many times before, a hundred times maybe, I was constantly amazing myself at how few strokes it took me to get to my targets. I am used to a much shorter and faster stroke and now that I am using a more efficient stroke, I would look up expecting to be a certain distance from the buoy or the bridge just based on past rhythm and instead I would be right on top of it.

In all I finished the 2.4 miles in 1hr 20min. My last swim before Ironman Florida last October was 1hr 34min. I PR'd by 14 minutes. I also beat Big John's time which I have never been able to do in three years and crushed Hardcore Mike.

With three weeks to go to Arizona it was certainly comforting to be able to make this a great swim.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Storm Roll

Its actually quite rare to start a workout on time when Hardcore Mike is involved. Thursday was he and I going up for swim at the lake, hoping to find a good window in the storm fronts that kept rolling through that part of the valley.

As it worked out we had our wet suits on and were dipping our toes at exactly the time we wanted. I looked up and remarked to Mike and a family standing nearby fishing, "That is a nasty looking thunder roll coming in. This might not work." This stock photo from online is a fairly good representation, though it was a lot closer to the ground.

As we stroked out a bit, the wind and the chop really got rough. Having been through Ironman Florida's swells I wasn't concerned. But those clouds didn't look right, they moved to fast. I pulled up to a outcropping of rock along the cliff face and stood up staring at the the sky. I asked Mike pull over with me.

"Lightening." I said. Something I learned from my dad, is that each time you see lightening you call it out. Having spent enough time outdoors, I have seen the beauty and felt the wraith of lightening. I don't fear it but respect it enough to stay my distance , get to safety and certainly not be swimming in it. BOOM. Then the rain started.

I told Mike I wanted at least five minutes to pass from the last visual sighting before swimming again. 15 minutes went by with 30 bolts I could call out and about double that in thunder and it wasn't slowing down. In fact it was getting closer. I decided to throw in the towel. This still meant we had to get in the water and swim 75 yards back to the gear which was fun since we were swimming in the rain but a little weird expecting an electric shock at any time.

Good times.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gear Review: Book: 98.6 degrees...

Cody Lundin, who runs Aboriginal Living Skill School here in Arizona wrote a book called 98.6 degrees: the art of keeping your ass alive. Its a unoriginal in skill set, but a hippy trippy entertaining look at how to maintain a sense of peace, positivity and ultimately how to stay alive long enough to be rescued.

The key is proper preparation and knowing a few things. With proper personal gear and a good disposition, local search and rescue organizations have an extremely high success rate finding lost people within 72 hours. After 72 hours the chance of being rescued drops to 3%. Also that a person can live for several weeks without food and a few days without water but a person in a survival situation focusing on those two things to the detriment of saving energy and protection of homeostasis can die in just a few hours.

My example is that in the winter of 2006, a husband, wife and baby from San Francisco became stuck on a snowed in side road in the mountains. We all may remember that the search for the husband took ten days and ultimately he was found dead after walking some ten miles through the snow. Do you remember that a helicopter found the mom and baby within 72 hours safe in their car? This primarily is due to the extended family knowing the route the family was taking and alerted authorities when they were late arriving. Good communication prior to departing is key.

The last hundred pages of the book give a description of what the author carries on him at all times in the field and additional pieces that complete a full kit able to keep him or a reasonable person alive for a minimum of 72 hours, fits into a small fanny pack and weighs less than a bottle of water. What is actually refreshing about the book is that instead of just a cut and paste checklist, the author gives full page descriptions of each item, why its in the kit over similar items and how to use it. I review this section occasionally to reinforce my own sense of security and update the list with my own personal choices that might be lighter specific to my area. I promise you will not learn how to catch a deer with your shoelaces, nor need to spend more than about $50 for a full size first rate emergency kit and about $20 for a 24/7 kit.

If you want something light to read at the beach, in your chair watching tv, or on a flight, you wouldn't be disappointed. Worst case scenario-you give the book to someone else when your done with it.

See you can survive a Worst Case Scenario after all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's This?

A Mo update is at the end of this.

People love to hear I so work close to the Ironman Arizona course which is also used for another half dozen races during the year. I am literally right there. All the running and riding I do from my office incorporates wide swaths of each official route. The transition area while a little over a mile away, on the other side of Tempe Town Lake, is really just a short bike ride away or hop in the car away.

Needing to get up and walk a bit I went to the corner outside my building and snapped this picture. Total time walking there and back was nine minutes.

Mo did great at the hospital. He did so well that he did not not need any sedation for his testing, he just hopped right up and laid there. Everyone appreciate that and he left with some very nice parting gifts. Apparently it was in a different building than normal and Mistress said was half museum/ half game hall. She had to pull him away to leave. Of course they didn't read the results, just gave Mistress the CD to take to the doctor which means another appointment which has not been made yet. More waiting and praying about a possible surgery on his tonsils/adenoids/sinuses this month.

On Monday he has another round of tests for a possible hernia he developed at birth. It wasn't seriously debilitating but a possible hernia nevertheless and were told to wait until he was four to see if it would go away and it doesn't look like it has. Times up. I will be there for that one, since it may possibly become a surgical consult. I can't imagine living with the specter a hernia for 4 days let alone 4 years and again I am reminded at how much different my son braves adversity than even myself.

Again it is so hard for friends, strangers and even unknowing medical professionals to see such a happy, loving, polite, energetic, funny, cherubic little boy and then be told what he is diagnosed with and treated for, or is symptomatic of, and they are some very serious and physically traumatic, possibly life threating conditions. For so long we thought we suffered a collective M√ľnchhausen by Proxy Syndrome, yet, again and again our worries were confirmed by clinical analysis.

Mistress and I are strong people, strong parents and our trials have hardened us to some extent. The model our son sets for us suffering these conditions is our inspiration to be high spirited and feel blessed that through all this he has remained strong.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The traveling M-dot and travelling Mo

Got some Mo info but first a little fun. I was telling my dad about how Mistress and I decorated my calf tattoo for holidays and how I wanted to take all these crazy pictures of my M-Dot in front of historic places, ala the Roaming Garden Gnome from Travelocity. Well he came through with this great display made of all things 'ironwood' for just such events.

Now I just need to go on some vacations and trips. I would be kinda cool to have a picture taken sitting on the new Sky Walk at the Grand Canyon that opens today.

Tomorrow morning Mighty Mo has a cat scan and MRI at Phoenix Children's hospital. This is about his 12th time going under but at least this time it's not invasive. I like PCH, their top notch as evidenced by 40% of Mo's $100,000 in out of pocket medical bills to going to just them, (he's 4 next month).But I am not going since I do not do well in any hospital and whenever I watch my son being put under sedation it makes me really upset. I have had some very bad experiences in hospitals and spent way too much time in the ER so whenever I am there I tend to drive myself and Mistress nuts.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Time to Think...

I was going to post this tomorrow but it seems later in the day is best to post this.

In order to have a more positive outlook on life; emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, we have to get out of our myopic tunnel vision and recognize something good happening to us that we can benefit from. Some people can call it; blessing, prosperity mentality, karma, pay it forward, balance, kindness. The only caveat is that you can not know the person that did this for you. A complete stranger or very infrequent co-worker.

For example:
Did someone let you use their discount card at the grocery store when yours didn't work?
Did someone give you some change at the store counter?
Were you rushed and frustrated and someone kindly let you merge when you thought they would cut you off?
Did you fret over a clothing decision or hair style and immediately get a compliment on it when out in public?

Think hard, I bet it did. I'll go first. I went to swim today and there was only 30 minutes left in the time available. When I handed the counter lady my $2, she waived me through and wished me a nice day.

Low High

Well today I feel just dandy. Its so strange to have these massive swings in energy and physiological make up. Saturday I wake up feeling great and 40 miles into a ride I can't get five minutes without leaning over my bars to dry heave and hurl. On Sunday I went to go swim at the lake but it was not smart to do- my stomach was very upset, bad headache and my urine was very dark. Today I feel fine.

Got a swim on the list for this afternoon. Hopefully my panels will come back this week and if there is anything wrong it pops up.

After several days of 99*, it looks like it will calm down to the high 80's and maybe even some rain. Well the weather chick says there is a 20% chance but in reality there is only a 10% chance of that so it will probably be very windy and maybe some clouds.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Its a dry heat

Yes its been record days of 99 degrees in a row here in the Valley of the Sun. I haven't seen much of that since my Saturday ride ended with me puking my guts up.

I felt marginally better Sunday but a swim was out of the question. My stomach is upset and I have a splitting head ache. I am sure my one trip out of the house and recliner today for grocery's will be quite the effort.

Luckily I have Mo to keep my entertained.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Uh. Uh. Glee. Ugly

I worked out today. It was supposed to be 112 mile ride and I did half that. All the cold med's and recovery and sinus issues and heat played out on my the last 12 miles of the ride. I started puking my guts up about every five minutes. It started as innocent dry heaves over the handlebars but as we got to each red light I just had this uncontrollable urge to purge in front of blonds talking on cell phones.

I thought I could get in at least enough distance at this point to close the loop I was on but at another red light, I leaned over and did my best amateur St. Patty's day rally hurl and completely emptied my stomach of at least a liter of fluid. At that point Glen, my wingman for the day, questioned my judgment with just enough conviction to get me to bail and turn around. God Bless a rational Kiwi (New Zealander).

I cooled myself off sticking ice under my shorts on my thighs and under my jersey on my chest. By sitting down and doing that I was able to get in some fluids. I drank a coke and interestingly enough I was able to belch and dry heave at the same time. Kewl and new one for me. Kind of like the first time you blow your nose and fart simultaneously.

Glen was nice enough to mention that Sonic has a Powerade Slushie that you can get in a 44 oz. cup so I got one of those and while Mistress and Mo are at the zoo I can sit still and read Into Thin Air for the upteenth time.

Looks like I am still under the weather. And six pounds lighter than when I got up this morning.

Not a tag, a challenge

I don't often answer tags and in this post I may offend several of my friendly bloggers. But Nancy tossed a gauntlet down on my perspective of feminism knowing that her and I, even as I consider us good friends, are diametrically opposite in most all political beliefs. So as I squint my eyes and press my lips looking at this screen, how will I respond to this question...

What five things can I thank feminism for?

First off I was raised by women. No not that way. I was in a car accident and lost my memory when I was 16. Sometime I will have to tell that fairly amazing story. As I recovered at home my mom, a teacher, and several of my friends, mostly girls since the dudes didn't care, helped me in every aspect of my cognitive, emotional and physical recovery. So I feel that I was imprinted upon by this group of female friends in a way that most men don't understand.

Knowing that and knowing that I am a conservative I find today's feminism to be in stark contrast to most of my firmly held beliefs. Long ago the women's suffrage movement was inspirational and motivating but its been a century since a woman like Susan B. Anthony has appealed across political parties and thirty years since professional barriers were broken. The feminist movement of today is more in tune with Marxism.

I thought long and hard on the question, jotted some notes and went home. I asked Mistress, knowing I might be picking a fight, "What am I thankful for feminism for?" It was interesting but in the end she said many of the things that I had already put in the post. So if I can thank Nancy for one thing, she gave Mistress and I a great evening of dialogue on a deep subject.

When I got into the office the next morning I went to our office pool and asked some young ladies and one older gay male if they considered themselves feminists and spoke with a vendor who took a Feminism in the 21st Century class at ASU last year. All of them said they would not define themselves or each other as feminists. I asked why and they expressed that feminism today is a choice whose ideals can be reached in more mainstream methods, it also has negative connotations for women their age, and in this century it is not necessary for them to have a label to define a womans strong sense of self worth. Nor do any of them feel they are limited in things they want socially or financially such as the feminist movement expressed over thirty years ago.

The real fact of the matter is I don't think women in general between 18-40 years old define themselves as feminist. The women I asked point blank, "Do you consider yourself a feminist?", all scrunched up their faces and vigorously shook their heads saying emphatically, "No. Do you think I am a feminist?" I don't think that they refute feminism and what it has done for them, but in this age it is such an amorphous statement, meaning it defines form. Feminists of today teach that feminism is a deeply personal thing for each woman which is really just saying, "We don't really have any national or political policy we can all agree on so fight for what you 'feel' is right".

The woman's suffrage movement of the early twentieth century most importantly gave women the right to vote. The feminist movement of the sixties and early seventies stood more for legal, sexual and professional equality. The problem with todays feminism is that they achieved all their tenets legally or otherwise two decades ago and the consciousness of todays woman has moved on. Are their still Good Ole Boy societies? Yes. Do misogynist's still exist? Yes. Does that mean women today are abridged of rights to earn and live a full life. Hardly. Not like fifty years ago.

A thoughtful comment from my gay friend is that current Gen. X and Gen. Y women do not consider themselves feminists because one current view of feminism is prescribed to militant lesbians. But when I asked him if he felt lesbians considered themselves more feminist than lesbian, he was stumped at first and ultimately said no.

I can see why. The leaders of the feminist movement today still make claims that "men oppress women" when more women are graduating from college today than men. I asked all the women if they had heard of Title 9 and over half said no, which is terrible and quite sad in my opinion. When in 2007 Condaleeza Rice is Secretary of State, Nancy Pelosi is the third most powerful person in the country and Oprah Winfrey is wealthier and has more global influence than some nations. The ideals of equality between sexes have been reached by law, enlightenment or broken by strong willed women. All that holds back any woman of today is her own will power and imagination.

Women today are disconnected from the old definitions of feminism because they never had to fight for the right to vote or lived in a society that was centered on men being the bread winner and them being regulated to secondary status. Those 'fights' are over. There is really just one last refuge for feminism and that is through subverting mainstream consciousness with progressive ideas. In the future they will continue to target education and development programs that feminize little boy's and profile specific messages like CODE:PINK's anti-war crusade and similar direct action protests.

After all this it might seem that I am not thankful for anything coming from feminism. Not so. The originators of the feminist movement brought the right to vote to an important part of our society. It gave women the ability to go to school and be who they want to be and do what they want to do in life. Women today are competitive in almost every profession which is a great thing for this country. With freedom and liberation women can express themselves physically, socially and emotionally without any repercussions which is no longer refreshing but commonplace. I not a fan of Title 9 but I thank God everyday for female triathletes.

And thats five.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Holiday M-Dot: St. Patrick's Day

Faith and Begorah me fine friends. Be wishing you a right St. Patty's day and long health. Have a baked pah-ta-toe this fine day and lift a glass to rainbow. May you find your lucky charms and your pot of gold.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Yesterday I hope was a turning day for me. Even though I had some great news on a routine EKG test, I felt pretty lousy the rest of the day. While I am still completely drained and feel physically exhausted, my sinuses are clearing up and I am only choking on post nasal drip every so often.

Still though I did not feel good and realize that my problem is that I am letting this illness, my up and down training, a looming Ironman I feel unprepared for and things at work begin to wear away at my normally strong defense for negativity.

I am not a negative type person. I am an optimist. More importantly I am a problem solver and people who solve problems are for the most part people who see solutions or find a way in a problem to get through it.

I will find a way. It begins by being true to myself and centering myself with words and phrases that affirm, heal and push success in all areas of life. Some are very much religious but most are just positive reminders about things that are important to me; controlling behaviors and thoughts, etc.

I know that I have not been working on my mental game like I have so regularly done in the past. The time I used to spend in meditation and reading was co-opted by needing to help Mo with his medicine and an increase in morning traffic thanks to snowbirds. I am also to blame in this; sleeping in later as a result of being exhausted and reading more blog/gossip/news sites than I should now that I am chained to a desk after a decade of free rein around the locations in my business.

I have a whole list of affirmations that I created and put on 3x5 cards. When I first started this I had 100's of them. Most I have overcome or are no longer relevant. Some like the one below is based on universal laws and is always in the stack.
I am an irresistible magnet, with the power to attract unto myself everything that I divinely desire, according to the thoughts, feelings and mental pictures I constantly entertain and radiate. I am the center of the universe! I have the power to create whatever I wish. I attract whatever I radiate. I attract whatever I mentally choose and accept. I begin choosing and mentally accepting the highest and best in life. I now choose and accept health, happiness and success. I now choose lavish abundance for myself and for all mankind. This is a rich friendly universe and I dare to except its riches, its hospitality and enjoy them now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Left Blank

Slept nine hours last night. Unusual for me and I still woke up tired. Really tired. Went to a doctors appointment today and they did an EKG, urine and blood test. The EKG results were considered Outstanding. I have the heart of an athlete, I was told by the doctor. Resting heart rate was 57. I'll take that.

I was being shuffled out without getting anything for my head since she wanted to see my results first, but I was like, "Hey, I have had this for ten days. Can I get something like AlleRx?" Well they had never heard of this prescription wonder drug, since its old school but I got a script for it. And BTW, if any of you have a runny nose or sinus congestion, ask for this product in the ten day am/pm dose pack.

I am hoping that the full panels will show why I have been so damn tired the last few months. Especially being sick its like 48 hours of crap, 48 hours of good training window, repeat. Most uncool. I should know something next week.

I am going to head home very soon to do some work from home but mostly just be horizontal and more comfortable.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

High, Low and a book report

Today is one of those days I am waiting for something to happen. I felt sick yesterday, stomach was killing me last night, now today I feel better with more energy for sitting at my desk and having a dialogue. So I suppose tomorrow I will feel like crap which is good since I have a doctors appointment first thing in the morning. I may just ditch the workout today, (two days in a row) in an attempt to get over this sinus/lung thing. I haven't eaten a solid meal in 24 hours so my endurance energy might be off as well.

Listening to talk radio is a mix of Don't Ask Don't Tell and Global Warming. Caught a glance at The Today Show and Norah O'Donnell was kind enough to say that, "...of all the candidates among the "So-Called-Family-Matters" conservative party, Mitt Romney is still on his first marriage." What a stirring criticism of his background qualifying him for a run at the presidency.

I have a bike ride planned this afternoon along the IMAZ course. Like I said, I may ditch. I need to eat first before going into the furnace and riding along a busy highway in the heat.

Mistress has taken Mo are at another doctor appointment today. His second or third this month and this one is for his sinuses. Unless something else comes up he still has one more scheduled at the end of the month, a big one, a surgical consult for something else. We are hoping that the consult shows he doesn't need one.

As many of you know I am fascinated with the outdoors, survival exploits and realistic survival/outdoor gear. As such I am constantly reading books on the outdoors, mostly hiking, backpacking, navigation, exploration, archeology, buried treasure (oh what guy isn't), and situational exploits.

I recently finished reading The Ultimate Desert Handbook by G. Mark Johnson. Not so much a survival manual as a guidebook to co-existing with a desert environment. This is perhaps the finest book I have cracked that focuses primarily on our own American deserts but gives thorough explanations of all the desert eco-systems around the globe.

The essence of the handbook is a presentation on how to travel in a desert or be in a desert environment and enjoy yourself. It is not a trail guide or destination reference. It is more along the lines of how to find, draw and ingest drinkable water using methods as current as today and as old as time. How to navigate using a map, map and compass, constellations or GPS unit in terrain that very few landmarks to orient with.

G. Mark Johnson also has some very realistic chapters on choosing a good campsite away from wildlife and protected from the elements. How to dress properly and prepare a good desert kit. How to prepare your vehicle for travel in desert conditions and using it as a means of being safe and eventually found in a breakdown situation. I was pleasantly surprised and learned some things in his chapter on desert photography.

Not confined to hiking and navigating the desert on foot, there is also good information on how to use a 4WD and mountain bike to get around.

I can actually see myself using this book as a reference tool for many years to come living in a desert climate myself.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A renaissance man

Had a great weekend of training, the hill intervals and open water swim on Saturday and 14 mile run on Sunday, though now I am feeling like crap again in my lungs and sinuses. I have a doctors appointment on Wednesday so I guess I will go and see what's up.

I wasn't happy with the photo I put up for canyon lake so here are two pictures I took last year on the bridge that we swim under. The two buoys are towards the lake and we swim out to them and around them. Then we come back under the bridge and into the canyon to a buoy in the very back. Each loop starting and ending at the bridge is 1,000 yards. The course really works for navigation practice since you have such an obvious target to search for.

Mistress, Mighty Mo and I went to a massive Renaissance Fair on Sunday. Mo was very taken by the jousting and sword fighting. He got to look at hundreds of people in medieval clothing and I got to look at lots of maidens in tight bodices and wispy skirts. While I am not a fan of umbrellas as a sunshade they were worth their weight in gold as the temperature was close to or at 90 degrees and the village is in the middle of the desert. The sun was beating down the whole time. The entire village, complete to the tiniest detail, must be a dozen acres and still after three hours of watching shows, looking through shops and standing in line for diet sodas, felt like I did not see the whole place.

I got several pictures from the afternoon including me eating a huge turkey leg medieval style, Mistress and Mo posing with Mother Goose and her geese but this is my favorite photo which was taken at the Tournament of Champions joust and sword fight. I love those things.

A renaissance man

Had a great weekend of training, the hill intervals and open water swim on Saturday and 14 ile run on Sunday, though now I am feeling like crap again in my lungs and sinuses. I have a doctors appointment on Wednesday so I guess I will go and see what's up.

I wasn't happy with the photo I put up for canyon lake so here are two pictures I took last year on the bridge that we swim under. The two buoys are towards the lake and we swim out to them and around them. Then we come back under the bridge and into the canyon to a buoy in the very back. Each loop starting and ending at the bridge is 1,000 yards. The course really works for navigation practice since you have such an obvious target to search for.

Mistress, Mighty Mo and I went to a massive Renaissance Fair on Sunday. Mo was very taken by the jousting and sword fighting. He got to look at hundreds of people in medieval clothing and I got to look at lots of maidens in tight bodices and wispy skirts. While I am not a fan of umbrellas as a sunshade they were worth their weight in gold as the temperature was close to or at 90 degrees and the village is in the middle of the desert. The sun was beating down the whole time. The entire village, complete to the tiniest detail, must be a dozen acres and still after three hours of watching shows, looking through shops and standing in line for diet sodas, felt like I did not see the whole place.

I got several pictures from the afternoon including me eating a huge turkey leg medieval style, Mistress and Mo posing with Mother Goose and her geese but this is my favorite photo which was taken at the Tournament of Champions joust and sword fight. I love those things.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Into the frying pan

Considering I got burned yesterday it will make for an interesting two and half hour run today. It's going to be around 90*. But I am running between 9 & noon so I won't get the worst of it.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pool's Open

With perfect weather a group of us went to Canyon Lake for a bike loop. I posted pictures from this ride a week or two ago. Its basically a high desert ride on a perfect road with usual very few motor vehicles. The ride is not long perhaps 16 mile round trip but its quite a hill climb.

I got passed by quite a good cyclist on a particularly nasty part of the hill. Passed in the sense that he was blowing my doors off on this climb. Instead of a complementary remark he made a rather snooty one and my response was, "Hope you brought your wet suit, I'm swimming a mile in the lake when I get back down." I would like to think it made him pause in his cadence for a split second but doubt it.

In reality I was not going to swim a mile, just one loop (1,000 yards) and what a glorious time it was. Water must have been high 50's and in the wetsuit felt great. The diving gloves were a bit of overkill and won't be using those next week. We started just at the base of the bridge on the left, swam towards the camera and around two buoys posted just beneath the frame, then underneath the bridge and into the canyon to a buoy in the very back, then back to the bridge. Four of those is an Ironman distance swim. From now through Halloween I will swimming at least two loops two times week.

Good times.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Flippy Flop

I am a flip flopper. Yes much like much maligned presidential candidates John F. Kerry and now Mitt Romney I have that distinct dishonor today. While Mistress and Mo have steady improved this week, I went from bad to good and now slowly sliding backwards again.

Each of the last two days I have been lethargic, sneezy, head colded out. Not a great sign for this Saturday and Sundays 8 hours of total training nor for my upcoming race. So today is a rest day, alright I already knew I was going to see 300 today, and this weekend is what it is for training. Give it my best shot.

For those racing Ironman Arizona I strongly advise heat training from now on. It is high 80's today and will be 90 degress on Monday. The word of the day is acclimatize.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Successful dinner

I forgot to mention that I made a full dinner last night without starting a fire. Mistress did open the back door for smoke but nevertheless it went well.

All off the top of my head I floured and pan fried pollock, then took them out and made a white wine sauce in the pan using the remaining crusties, adding lemon and basil. I made rice and added canned mushrooms and chicken broth instead of water. I also did a saute of zucchini and squash and a little red pepper.

Farewell the Hero

This is not a triathlon post but I grew up fiercely devoted to Captain America and his fight for Truth and Liberty. I haven't read comics in years but why did Marvel Comics kill Captain America? Unfortunately I think it has less to do with money and more about how they can play the repercussions of his death in the rest of the Marvel Universe ergo how will the demise of America affect the world.

So why is this blog worthy? Because Captain America stands for something more than just a comic icon. He was an ideal. He was noble and he was brave and he defended his family (America) and he protected the weak and he did it with honor. Notice the colors of this blog; red, white and blue. The colors of my country and the colors of Captain America. His was not the highest selling story line for Marvel but in the marvel universe all the other superheroes (and more popular and profitable characters for the company) were written to look up to Cap. with admiration for his leadership and authority.

Now Marvel Comics is tossing that leadership away, constructing a vacuum of doubt and drama, in a product (comic books) that thousands of children and adults look to as a diversion from reality. If Captain America can be killed by a sniper on the courthouse steps, then certainly Spider-Man should be thinking twice.

The one thing this country has lacked for many years is an solid indisputable avatar; a person or item, an icon, that conveys this country's substance of character. Presidents haven't done that. Our flag used to do it before it was physically burned by our own people and symbolically burned by our courts who upheld it. Captain America was a champion of that flag. Captain America, Superman, Mickey Mouse, Ronald McDonald and very few others project the great ideal of America with such a clean vision to the world.

The life of Captain America, albeit a fictional character, imparted a thread of decency and honor in our society that is sorely lacking it. When I open magazines today or surf the web there seems to be no sense of shame. People making money on sex tapes and exposing body parts, leaving baby's at home and getting sloppy drunk. Spending thousands on clothes but not a minute on self reflection, celebrity bastard babies. Self aggrandizement. Victimization. The one thing I think everyone can associate with Captain America, whether you read him or not, was that he strived for better things for this country and its people. And we need more of that in this society.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Managing the time

After a few days of being sick, feeling much better now thank you, I have to climb out of the muck at work that got put to the side the last couple of days. I tried to go for a swim and realized yet again that did not bring any goggles with me. I saw my swim trunks in the car, saw my towel, figured my swim bag was in there too. Nope. I think I can run though. Have to see what's in the magic trunk.

My time issues also include the family. Mistress is still struggling with her cold and Mo...well Mo is Mo. You would never guess this kid is sick. However, at his check up Tuesday he still has a sinus infection and low grade fever. He has had this since the week before Halloween and been on antibiotics since the day before flying to Florida for my Ironman. Since then he has had other ear and lung infections but the sinus thing just hasn't gone away.

Now the doctors are saying things like "Testing" and "Admitting". They gave him one more run on antibiotics while they do some of this testing which will include MRI, cat scans, more blood draws and more appointments. Then if it's still there, it a couple days at the hospital getting intravenous IV's and such.

Mistress takes the brunt of this as Mo is a 'Mommy-Do' kind of boy right now. I am going to attempt to make dinner tonight to relieve some pressure on her. GASP.

I promise low heat, no ovens and a box of baking soda nearby for heat incidents. From experience fire extinguishers are too much effort to clean up and I like to use the whole can regardless of size of fire.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Long Way To The Top

I am feeling better. Not much better but good enough to attempt a run today. Mo is much better but has a doctor appointment today. He still has his symptoms after ten days on antibiotics. Mistress has not improved. She went home early on Monday.

Finally some photos from the Sonoran desert. Some people spend a lot of time in their air conditioned cars driving out to this place. Others we'll ride the hell out of it. The desert really can be a beautiful place if your careful. You should know that the background mountains are anywhere from five to twenty miles away. There were so many great vantage points to choose from so I picked those with the best views, mostly from the top of peaks. What frustrates me so much about digital photography is there is no depth to the frame, its so flat. I will have to get back there with my Nikon for comparison pics.

The last picture was taken recently at the dinosaur museum in Mesa. Mo obviously likes the place. With him is his constant companion 'DanBear' (all one word).

Monday, March 5, 2007

Pass the M&M's and Diet Coke

Yes when you see me leaving the store with cases of Diet Coke and pounds of M&M's it can mean only one thing...I'm sick.

Mistress and Mo are sick too. We are house of germs. The only thing worse than a sick kid is two sick parents. Of course all the important household chores and paperwork for pre-schools went undone and I groggily walked into Mo's school today and got stuck signing him up for summer school and having to interact with parents and teachers. I just wanted to get in and out.

Is it universal that the more your throat hurts to talk, the more sensitive your hearing becomes? Well training is suspended until probably Wednesday.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A sensitive story, put the coffee down first

Today on the IM Arizona course there was many many cyclists practicing their hill repeats up the B-line. AZTRICLUB always being different decided to ride off course and go through Fountain Hills and into McDowell Mtn. Park for some more rollers and hills. FH is so named for the massive fountain in a lake that every hour shoots a 562 foot wall of water for 15 minutes. Its quite impressive.

We missed the fountain today but thats alright. I have pictures from McDowell Mtn. Park I will put up during the week so you can see just how desolate riding in the desert can be.

I was a bit behind the group since I was taking pictures and phone calls during the ride. Mo meds are a bit off so I answer all Mistress' calls in case one is an emergency. The reason I mention that is that I was having a bit of a chaffing problem myself on lets just say the MOST sensitive place on a male. And at 85 rpm I was getting a noticeable reminder every .45 seconds for an hour. A couple of guys did a turnaround at the bottom of the B-line for one more loop I stopped to get some Vaseline for a protective barrier and do one more myself. Thats when I realized my chaff was actually a bleeder. Not exactly what you want to see when you tug open your tri shorts.

I still attempted a run back up the hill but alas the coating did not last and instead I turned around and rode back to the car. Still 6 miles or 20 minutes away and at 85 rpm you can do the math at how many times I said the F word. Needless to say the Intrepid Age Grouper is now wearing boxers and a heavy coating of Bag Balm and also a smirk at just how wrong that vision is in my head. You just have to laugh.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

sticks and sporks

Do you have a preference to how you eat? Its not silly. Do you have a favorite drinking cup, coffee mug, fork, spoon or knife?

I will admit that my eating preference is to use my hands or two pieces of bread. In the Infantry you never really had a place to sit and eat a hot meal with a table and a plate and utensils and all that high flaunting stuff, so it was not uncommon for most of us to put the entire meal between two pieces of bread and stuff it in our faces as fast as possible so nothing fell to the ground. Oh the heady days of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and tapioca pudding between two slices of whole wheat.

Most of the food I ate was MRE's and even though it came with an adequate spoon it was not something to pride yourself on and I would spend spare moments in stores looking for the perfect spoon to eat with. (I'm not alone here) It had to be long enough to snake it into a buddy's pouch of Chicken Ala King but have a big enough bowl to get a decent serving of food on it. Sometimes I still catch myself looking for the new perfect spoon at outdoor retail stores.

I do have two favorite spoons right now. Super Spoon and Sporkzilla. Super Spoon is almost spatula like in its appearance but has got me through many nights of chili and soup. My most favorite is Sporkzilla. Sporkzilla is a titanium spork from Snow Peak. You may laugh but this spork is highly prized by backpackers, they even write reviews about it. My only concern with this reviewer is that he seems a bit of a princess. What guy spoons the milk out of his cereal bowl or finishes soup broth with a spoon, you slurp it up from the bowl for crying out loud. And you don't rely on a spork for eating meat which brings me to my next much ballyhooed utensil.....

The Stick.

There is perhaps no better way to eat than off a stick. Oh you can buy those cheap wood skewers or use chopsticks, for eating purposes a good knife is considered a stick. But nothing is more manly. The thrill of eating an apple by knife blade. The satisfaction of eating grilled chicken and vegetables off a long sharp rod. Even sushi is perfected by using chopsticks though easier with just the hands. Oh heck even eating ice cream off a stick is pretty cool. I have eaten just about everything off a stick. I had bat on a stick. It was a fruit bat so I got my protein and my vegetables in that meal. There is nothing better while backpacking or on a mission than eating squirrel, rabbit, snake, deer, grubs (big fat white marshmallow size grubs) , pancakes, biscuits, turtle, fish, squab (thats Scottsdale for pigeon), fruit, veggies, shrimp.

Look. People plan elaborate parties around fondue pots which means you dip food into a sauce using a-pause for dramatic effect-yes thank you a stick. I went to a wedding that had sushi and a chocolate dipping fountain. I used the same set of chopsticks for both. (Hey I disinfected them with my glass of Glenlivit).

Children learn at a young age to toast marshmallows and bread around campfires using sticks they found around their campground. Its ingrained in us and then we get all discombobulated with rules and etiquettes when all you really want to do is forgo a little civility and slurp from that bowl or tear something with your hands and shove it in your mouth.

I believe my (perhaps) over analyzed eating solutions are just another way of staying young having fun with food.

Can you relate?

Do you Sally up?

I don't think anyone can forget Meg Ryan as Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally. There are so many great stereotypical connotations in the movie, 'transitional person', 'no man can be just friends with a woman', 'the fake orgasm'. I want to describe one other that I like to call...'Ordering like Sally'. I work with someone like this. Very pretty blond who orders EVERYTHING on the side or different from the menu. Totally annoying.

But I do it too.

I like Burger King coffee and since there is one close to work I usually drive through for a cup of Joe before getting in. If I missed breakfast I will order the breakfast burrito- egg only.

My favorite lunch is a Chicken Teriyaki bowl but I order it with brown rice, white meat only and easy on the sauce. Not exactly whats on the menu but legit upgrades.

How do you Sally Up?