Thursday, June 28, 2007

All snuggled in their beds

Don't you just love those days when you don't workout and then its impossible to fall asleep? Welcome to my midnight. Mistress, Mighty Mo and even Topper the 'precocious prince of prancing puppy dogs' are all flat on there backs snoozing away. Well at least I caught up on 150 unread posts off bloglines and several DVR'd programs.

Everyone is scattering to the winds this weekend, getting in early holiday vacations so training with the team is slim pickings. Looks like a long solo run and maybe try to rally some pals for a easy spin. Its only getting hotter over the next week so I need to be careful. I realize now that my system is just not adjusting well to the heat this year. Its pretty funny when I decide to leave my red RoadID on all day long...yah know just in case.

"Quick get that man a slushy, stat!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Well, Well

Who'd a thunk that a fired off cell phone text to my blog on the way to the track would get more comments than my half hour well researched pieces. Hmmm?

Well the track workout was great. We went very easy. I ran the practice and after a slow mile warm up we ran barefoot in the grass on the new sodded football field. We did a couple miles of 200 yard running drills focusing on different aspects of bio-mechanics.

Today I promise everyone an indoor workout.

I suffer from a condition that I know a lot of people have and wish more would contract. I think most all of you have it. Its a condition where your mind forces you to workout when you really don't want to. When I feel a bout of CMS coming on my minds says,
"Somebody is out there right now doing your workout who is in worse shape than you. Is fatter than you. Is more tired that you. "
"It doesn't matter if its too hot, too cold, too late or too early, someone is out there doing it right now."
I really wish my thoughts would just remind me what self the ice cream is on in the freezer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's 115 degree's. Yipee. Time for a track workout. 4 x 400 anyone? Bleachers. Anyone. Anyone.

This is why days have hours.

It would be enough already to say I have had a bad day. Its not even noon. I woke up this morning full of blessings, I get to drive to some great clubs and pay out a couple thousand dollars in cold hard cash to employees that did well in our company fitness contest. I also plan on going to one of my favorite stores and buy a gift (a Camelback) for a district manager because he is running up and down Camelback Mountain (no relation) in the heat a couple times a week and I don't think he carries enough water.

Instead I have found myself tossed amongst a sea of negativity and frustration from people trying to bum my high. Well you can't have it! Today is going to be a good day, even if the morning sucked. That's why we have afternoons and evenings. Its hard to say your ENTIRE day sucked when you have an opportunity every minute and every hour to change the way you think about it.

Now I get to go have a bite to eat, something clean and healthy like maybe a brown rice and chicken bowl, and then go see some employees and put a smile on their faces. I don't know about you but making other people smile is a great way to make me feel good.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Its down the road a ways but I see it

I did a triathlon yesterday. No not Roth 70.3, or Zurich or CdA. I did a sprint underground. About fifteen of us did some distance at all three events on a course that was hot and hilly. It wasn't so much about the clock as having the ability to do all three, with someone watching your transition gear so you practice that as well and your gear is safe while your out.

I won't bore you with how I did not feel right in any of the events and I was so happy to be done but I will say that it has made me very conscious of the fact that I have been dawdling around with my off-season for six weeks now and I look very much forward to getting back to a program of base training.

I think when my vacation starts next week and before I go to Disneyland on the 10th, I can put myself through a boot camp for a few days and start really focusing on my bike and running again.

Why not today? Why not right now? Good questions. My reason is that I need to put a date down the road for when I start training again. I sense this training will carry me through the next year of triathlons and don't want to rush it. I still need another week of rehab on my shoulder. Its beginning to nag me that just sleeping on it would cause it to be so painful a full week later. I still need to mentally adjust to the longer training hours and the upgraded nutrition and smaller portions. A week of not necessarily binging on poor food choices but just savoring some foods that will be extracted once serious training begins anew.

I suppose this is the point in my training where I have decided that a plan is better than what I have been doing with my off season. It was not a failure or something I regret. I have enjoyed the side training I have done and other than this injury to my shoulder have been training several hours every week, just really getting on the bike or putting in long runs. In the end, I am glad I have taken time away from formal triathlon practices and specifically ironman training. I have really needed this break from structure but with all other things in my life, I need structure to survive.

July 4, 2007. Back to base.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bulbous. Thats how i feel. No workouts this week & i look & feel like the proverbial turnip. I'm envious of those racing this weekend. Do great.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

All Practicing

I really tweaked my neck and shoulder somehow on Tuesday so I was a wreck for training. I canceled my swim coaching with Nick from Durapulse, (BTW good luck at CdA-he is shooting for a Kona slot) and I went to see Jeff aka The Machine, aka #1 training partner for some therapy before attempting the track workout. He spent an hour on me and told me I was hopeless. Wrote me a script for vodka and OJ and told me to get it filled before going home.

I ended up surprising Mighty Mo at his second swim practice. Last week he would not come off the step, acting shy in unfamiliar surroundings, but this week when I came in he was floating on his back much better than his father ever has.

Mistress and I were both very happy with his improvement and as we sat there against the wall watching our son practice his floating, I remarked that all of us now have a swim coach. I with Nick, Mistress with Desert Thunder Masters and now Mo with Swim Kidz. It made her laugh.

On the way home he apparently destroyed every bit of food in the car and carved his way through a seedless watermelon and a plate of pasta for dinner. I mean c'mon who isn't extremely hungry after a swim workout?

I guess that runs in our family too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm Going To Disneyland. Yeah!!!

This years vacation has been dedicated to family. Mistress has scheduled us to go to Disneyland next month which is very exciting. We will be there for three or four days staying just off site at some luxury hotel. Neither Mo or Mistress have ever been there and its been about 17 years since I have been there myself. It should be fun. I am bringing comfortable shoes.

I have been getting phone calls the past week or so from my Californian fishing posse. They all went to Bend, Oregon and fished the Deschutes river. Monster hatches and salmon size trout awaited my compatriots. My friend Matt, using a (I gag on the word) fly rod, caught a 30 inch rainbow that weighed six pounds. That is once in a life time folks.

They seemed content driving back but I would have thrown a tantrum making a two year old proud had I been with them. They did not go to the Deschutes brewery, only one of the finest microbrewery's in the country. For shame. That would be like going to the Grand Canyon and not looking down.

I suppose this is a year of recovery in many aspects. I am not doing any more races this year and I am not doing any big fishing or backpacking trips either. Next year perhaps. I already have Ironman Arizona next year and don't need any vacation for that. Maybe I can get in a ten day at Yellowstone? Oh or a quick trip to Machhu Picchu? Fish the Frazier river in Canada?

But first I must brave the Pirates of the Caribbean, not scare myself to death in the Haunted Mansion, plug my ears in It's A Small World and spin myself silly on the Teacups.

Ah, the life of a boy with dreams.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gear Review-Amphipod Hydration belts

Regardless of time of year or activity it is hard to find me not carrying some sort of container for water, especially outside. In the past I have used Camelback, I have used bottle carriers for the hands and I have used a few different types of water belts. A two bottle system that holds large bike bottles and an single bottle version that also has lots of gel and storage areas sewn into the length of it.

Recently I picked up the 3 bottle system from Amphipod and would like to give my impressions. The Amphipod is a slim line belt that comes stock with anywhere from two to four 8 oz. 'snapflask' bottles, a small accessory pouch for items like gels or radio and stretchy mesh pouch to tightly hold a key or other small item. It has a stretchy feel to it and rides quite comfortably along the hips.

The snapflask is aways something I have looked at with curiosity. They hold about 8 oz., so three flasks would be equivalent to one large bike bottle. Most of the flasks I have seen in the past use a holster to keep the bottle secure. The Amphipod created bottles with channels along the outside that fit into a special locking system on the belt attachment. I felt that the bottles would fall away if I was not careful putting them back, and they have once or twice, but always from my error and not the fault of the company's design.

These bottles are a green color which them easy to recognize in a bag or cupboard. They have a wide open top which makes pouring into and especially cleaning a very simple process. To remove the bottle from the belt attachment, you simply squeeze the sides and the pressure releases the locking bars set into the bottle to hold in place. Its much easier than it sounds.

The belt itself is modular. Regardless if you purchase a two, three or four bottle belt you can add or subtract bottles and their attachments depending on your training. At point of sale I also purchased a small gel flask which holds approximately 4 gel packets and can be added or removed to the belt. Furthermore the belt attachments can be set up to carry your bottles horizontally or vertically. These belt attachments are a plastic holder with the locking bars along the side to fit into and secure the bottle when not in use. The plastic holder is then set onto a soft square of cool max type fabric that allows the whole thing to ride up, down, sideways or placed onto another belt or strap.

The inside of the belt has a soft liner which is nice because I will run without a shirt and on other brands I have finished my training with rubs and scratches to my torso, not so with Amphipod. The stretchy material of the belt along with a generous amount of velcro to fasten it, is a much better concept than the waist pack mentality of buckling then pulling straps tight around your body.

I have used this on runs up to ten miles and with the availability of liquid, see no reason this unit could not support you for much longer runs. My full intent is to use the belt as water support for training and use the gel flask(s) to carry calories on the bike and run. I intend to modify the belt attachment to strap to my tri bike in place of a bento box. In races I would carry the gel flask in some pocket on my uniform.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Open Letter to NA Sports

I was clearing out my e-mails and found this letter I had fired off to NA Sports in February. They are the owners of the Ironman name and the trademarked M-Dot. Sue Me for the photo at right. But I thought it was an honest question. Needless to say it went unanswered.


I am an Ironman and preparing for Ironman Arizona in the next few months. I and several of my friends whom are also Ironman finishers and general triathletes were discussing the phenomenon of the common person still not recognizing that there are several more Ironman distance events other than Kona.

When we discuss Ironman to these people they simply don’t understand that Kona is the World Championship of triathlon and you must qualify to get there. With the advent of the 70.3 series, we all recognized that the marketing campaign is geared to expose equally all the event locations in the program and that it will definitely show as a much larger footprint in triathlon than 140.6 distances just based on number of events.

My question, that many of us want to ask, is what or how is marketing going to change or what are we (as observers) missing in regards to NA Sports growing the name recognition of M-Dot races other than Kona .

Honestly very few triathletes have been or will go to Kona, but as finishers at CdA, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, Lake Placid and Canada, we feel that those well established and quality run races are slighted in the perception of the general public.

Keep up the great work and thank you for providing such wonderful races. Triathlon has changed my life.

I don't think this is out of line or inappropriate. Maybe they just don't care. I hope not. What do you think from your standpoint of: finished an Ironman, been to Kona, training for a future Ironman, never want to do Ironman but love triathlon, a triathlete supporter.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How did I celebrate?

Well my car temperature said 111*. I ended up taking an employee out for a late lunch since she is leaving the company to be home with her son. I called Mistress with my plan to grab the bike and go ride intervals up a step hill outside of town. She notified me she had some appointment with a doctor to go over some routine stuff and asked if I would get Mo instead of her taking him to the appointment with her.

I grabbed Mo at my moms and now he is watching a Chinese movie with English subtitles called Supra Inframan from the 1970's. I rented it last week and he won't stop watching it. Its Power Rangers only two decades earlier. Swear to God.

I am riding my spin bike next to him. Guess I will have to wait for 115.

Lets define something slow

I have had the opportunity to catch up with most of my missed reading from my bloglines and if you have a blog I read and haven't left a message lately, I'm 'On The Way' (another military term Bolder-say it with gusto). Where I was down 900 posts I am now only down...475. Okay I guess I haven't gotten as far as I thought. But it seems like it. Boy you've all been busy.

Its been a blast reading all your race reports and long training for upcoming races. I have read a trend though of bloggers bemoaning their personal times as slow. Then I read those times and I realize those times are my times or faster. Wendy even wrote to me that doing her double-breasted-decaf-half caff-back stroke at 2 minutes per hundred was "pig slow". And that was "on 2:00" which means she was finishing her 100 and resting for a few seconds before going again.

Uhmm...this is uncomfortable. 2 minutes per 100 is a few seconds faster than my Ironman pace which is vigorous freestyle or as I call it, "The Keep Going Or You'll Drown Stroke".

Now I don't mind being called a pig. I am a pig. I am a knuckle dragger, puke after a hard run, more comfortable sweaty than clean, straight talker. But I am not slow. I once took second in a Clydesdale division, to quote Ralphies Dad from A Christmas Story, "Its a major award."

Others haltingly confess their slow running speed of 10:30 miles. Crap. Really. Thats slow. I have a 9 minute pace but try to run 10:00 to 10:30 when I do my LSD runs. I could only dream of the day I run an Ironman course at 10:30 miles. You realize that's a 4.5 hour marathon? I could finish an Ironman under 12 hours with that run pace.

So let me tell you my personal parameters of slow.

The cut off for an Ironman swim is 2hrs 20min. That equals 3'17" per 100 yards. If you're slower than that you get pulled from the race.

The cut off for an Ironman bike is 5:15pm, if you concede a middle of the pack swim time including T1 is roughly one hour forty-five minutes that means approximately 8.5 hours on the bike. That by the way is an average of 13.17 mph. You would then have 15 minutes to get out of T2 before the cut off.

That means a "slow" person has 6.5 hours, or from 5:30pm to Midnight to complete the marathon. That a 14:53 per mile pace. Truth be told my training partner John who is a capable swimmer and cyclist, walked the entire IMAZ course in 2006 at a average pace of 17 minutes per mile and still finished with twenty minutes to spare.

So in my book, you're slow if swim 100 yards in 3:18, bike slower than an average 13 mph, and run a mile in more than 15 minutes. Other than that and your just great.

Believe me, I know, its hard to celebrate personal success when compared to the media perception of what a triathlete is. I have been clocked almost twice as slow as the pro's at one time or another. At Ironman Florida I came out of the water with Heather Fuhr. Of course she was done with her two loops and I still had one left. Even though I had no business doing Ironman Arizona this year with as sick as I was, I did the blustery bike course in (off the top of my head) 8hrs. 15min. Norman Stadler did Kona in half that. I consider myself a capable runner and yet my Florida pace was 12 minute miles. Most pro's are half that pace.

The point is, do not ever, I mean ever, be ashamed of your speed in this sport. Proper humility or self deprecation is fine, but be excited and celebrate the completion of a hard workout or hard race course. For example, do not be ashamed to tell a co-worker that you finished a marathon in 6 hours; they have either never done one before so their criticism in invalid or if they have done one before they are most likely asking so they can give you a personal anecdote or give a specific congratulation.

There is no shame in your speed or your time. There is only glory in the completion.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Passively Impulsive

I have an issue with impulsiveness. I have tried to curb this impulsiveness by engaging my intellect, as small as it may be. However I am usually not talking myself out of anything but only delaying my immediate gratification by making sure the item that I want so badly, is the best product on the market that works for me.

Today (and for the last two weeks) I am thinking about trail shoes.

I am gearing up for a Grand Canyon trip later this year and have been doing a lot of trail running and hiking up steep trails. Currently I have been using a pair of trail running shoes from Nike and they have held up well even under an 80 pound backpack for ten days in Yosemite. They don't make them anymore and I need a pair of shoes.

My gut is to go with a vented shoe rather than a gore-tex liner as 90% of my trail use will be in desert climates, usually hot with little worry about crossing water. But, and their is always a but, I wouldn't mind being prepared for crossing streams or using them in wet rainy climates with a gore tex boot/shoe. I realize that most of what I do in Arizona is dry but if I do travel anywhere else on this planet or their is snow at GC, it would be nice to have some protection. Currently I have a pair of waterproof socks that I carry with me, just in case.

Second, I am thinking of a mid cut boot but I have strong ankles and running on trails would probably be easier with a shoe.

I am not new to hiking shoe or boot purchases. As you can see I will get something, its just a matter of what.

How about some input.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Can you turn that down please....

In most parts of this country that statement would probably be directed at music played to loudly. But this is Arizona. And Arizona is hot. You can't hear the radio being played in the car next to you because everyones windows are up and a/c blasting. Hell, most of us have tint on our windows and can't even see the other drivers.

Its been nice the last two days. Under 100. Rare. However someone turned the furnace up because over the next 48 hours the temperature is going up 15 degrees. That means over a 110 and closer to 115 degrees. Thats in the shade. Black top parking lots will be around 130 degrees. Getting into your car after it sat in direct sunlight for a few minutes and your looking at about 148 degrees.

So why all this farmers almanac stuff, you think to yourself. Well because 115 degrees is unusual, well not here but probably where you live. I try to plan something around the first 115 degree day of the year like running a half marathon or long ride. Maybe the unusual thing this year is to do nothing?

I better start thinking.

Monday, June 11, 2007

We're together, but apart

The topic of vacations came up the other day at lunch with my business partners. A couple of spouses were there, Mistress was not one of them. The topic came up that Mistress and I don't take vacations together. Except for one BIG Mexico trip we took the year before Mo was born and short Christmas travel once or twice over the last dozen years, she goes to see family and friends in Seattle and I go on fishing and backpacking trips with guys.

That about floored one spouse who is very family oriented. Mouth agape and eyes wide, she inquired why in heavens name we would do that. My deadpan answer was, "I see her enough during the year. We need to get away from each other."

Had some other people not laughed and chimed in, I think she could have passed out right there at the table. These are some of my closest friends so they all agreed that for our family it works just fine. This year is already established as a family trip and we are deciding what to do.

But let me be honest. I need to be outdoors on vacation with plenty of ME time and lots of personal space, hopefully learning something or improving skills. I am not a big "sit on the beach guy" or "eat at restaurants 2 or 3 times a day" unless its to rest after a monster day of doing something active. Room service is considered outdoorsy to Mistress at this point in our life, it was once not the case, but I am happy she has matured into a woman of taste to balance out my knuckle dragging self.

Vacations to me equals adventure; not what rest I could do any weekend at home, just in a different place. My future vacations are items at the top of any life list including Machu Picchu, Eygpt, bushwhacking South American jungle, climbing Mt. Rainer or any tall peak, rafting the Grand Canyon, an African safari, traveling Europe, fishing the Frazier river in Canada, or maybe reaching the North Pole. But I also want to speed two weeks in Washington DC and New England slowly going through every aspect of my countries history and monuments, going to military battlefields and Boston Commons and the site of the Congressional Congress. I would love to do any or all of this with my family but like I said, we need some time apart from each other to make being together that much more special.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Weeks over

Well my hectic week is officially over. I sit here with sore feet and a raging headache mere minutes after finishing my responsibilities running our fitness challenge. This contest is different than the 90 day 'fitness challenge' that many of my peers are doing which is essentially a body fat and weight loss challenge similar to Celebrity Fit Club.

This fitness challenge is a one day event where our employee compete against each other in five events, cardio, bench press, leg press, bicep curls and sit ups. Its all dependent on how much each person weighs. Back when we were small enough and I still hit the weights hard, I came in top 10 each year but now I am the head judge. Even though I don't workout in the weight room anymore I look at the scores and I still think I am more physically fit in this competition than half the personal trainers and employees in this company and I am a decade older than most. (The health club industry is a young mans game).

Its gotten to the point that next year I would really prefer to blow everyones minds with a completely different set of events. My partners are happy with what we do but its become to institutionalized. My perfect scenario would be create or find an obstacle course and let each person race against the clock using all the skills they created in the gym over the last year. There would be no nit-picking about how far up or down someone went on a machine, its a clock and penalties for not completing a station.

In my mind is a military obstacle course or a very modified confidence course with climbing, jumping, swinging, crawling, running, etc. I could easily pull one together but would rather find one locally. Rumor has it their is a military base in the valley that has one.

Friday was a nice break in the rush. All the partners in the company went and looked at locations we are working on and had lunch. Its been awhile since it was just us and not district managers or take along's and it was fun. I really don't talk much about triathlon with my partners, this is a not so secret lifestyle, but talking about the distances and the heat and all that was a kick. A couple of them have picked up tennis and talked about how hard it was to play 2 out of 3 in the heat. Then when I tell them I do a 1.5 mile swim and then run three hours or ride for 50 miles, they are simply amazed, as if otherworldly.

I suppose it is. But that is what makes me, well me. And you my fellow triathlete, you.

Its back to the outdoors for me. I need to get my off-season off and running again.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Just when my stress levels dropped a bit after a key meeting Thursday, it has jumped right back up thanks to the whole Paris Hilton debacle. At a bagel shop this morning I screwed up my order for a breakfast sandwich and blamed it on my concern for Paris Hilton and the girl laughed so hard she couldn't complete my order.

Because my week has been frenetic, I am getting grief from people that I am becoming a fitness slacker. Oh, for shame. I admit that my hours are frighteningly low this week but I look at it as a recovery week, even though I pulled a muscle along my rib cage underneath my chest. A nice constant reminder that if I wanted to, I shouldn't.

I see bright sunny sky's and my overall anxiety is much smaller. Course I live in Phoenix, every damn day is bright and sunny. But nevertheless I am charging ahead, ever forward.

Charlie Mike.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This whole week has been a blur of emergency's & fires. I think i actually had an anxiety attack today. I need to get thru saturday.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Big Ditch

Of course those that no me know that I don't dream small. And even though I have no races scheduled the rest of this year I am still looking at fun things to do for the next year or two.

For example, I have mentioned a bunch of co-workers are doing this fitness challenge. Well its just a 90 day contest and I don't want them to catch Common Man Syndrome when their done. I am going to throw down the gauntlet that they now need to refocus their goal and we all climb Mt. Rainer next summer as a corporate team. I think I can get it to happen and I can circumnavigate my training contract with Mistress who has forbade climbing up grades steeper than a scramble.

In the meantime I am trying to get a group together from my training partners to do a rim to rim or rim to rim to rim of the Grand Canyon this October/November. One way is 24 miles over about 8 hours and round trip along a different route is 45 miles taking closer to 17 hours if we went straight through.

If we do just one way we would stay at the North rim and take the 5.5 hour shuttle back the next morning. Or we stay the night and hike back the next day for 6 hours. Or like I said, we make it a very long out and back.

Doing a rim to rim is one of the most sacred hiking routes of all time; up there with a trip up Mt. Rainer or Mt. Whitney or hiking to Mt. Everest's base camp or doing a long hike on the Pacific Coast Trail or Appalachian Trail.

I smell fun.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Zoo tri and a lost walk

The family zoo tri was a mixed success. The tri was bike/boat/train.

Mo loved the bike, sitting up high behind his mommy and daddy and got great views of all the enclosures he normally can not see at his walking height. We cruised through the zoo in about 40 minutes, stopping occasionally. The bike had seven gears and three chain rings. It took me 15 minutes to realize that the front chain ring was permanently set to the smallest ring. Once I reminded myself that the vast majority of users were not regular cyclists, it made perfect sense.

This was Mo's first real time on a 'boat' on a lake or small pond. He had to wear a life vest and he sat on each of our laps while we pedaled around. He had a good time but soon tired of the up/down from our pumping legs and we heading in.

I was really looking forward to the last part of the triathlon, the train. I chose to carry the lion share of the work on the bike and boat, but here I could just sit and drink my diet coke for 30 minutes without having to do anything.

After the 'race' we went to REI for some gear, I had a trail guide book stolen and had to replace it and get some lunches. Yes folks, I fire up the camping gaz stove in my office and try out different dehydrated camping meals as this is faster than going somewhere to eat most of the time and I have to protect myself from impulse eating.

Sunday I was the only one to show up for swimming at the lake and my training wet suit was in tatters from ripping at old glue spots. I don't like to swim alone and certainly not without a wet suit but I got in anyway, Road ID firmly attached in know I drown. As I got to the main bay half a dozen family boats showed up and parked right in my way. As I waited for them to move, more boats arrived and being without the wet suit my confidence dropped and I headed in after just 500 yards.

The second half of the workout was a long hike to La Barge creek which is deep inside a canyon. My stolen guidebook had the map and directions. I found that the trail description has changed and the 1993 trail is now a faint off shoot and the 2007 trail is not listed. After realizing this it made the trip much better. I got to the cliff and in hindsight was the best part and view of this trip. Going into the creek was anti climatic and I worried too much about rattlers to have much fun. But it was nice to be all alone out there.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Blazeman died last week. what He got from ironman is less than he gave.