Sunday, September 30, 2007

The great wet north

First off, the wedding Mistress and I attended in Seattle, of my partners daughter, was the most religious wedding I have ever been too. Not only has she been a leader in her church, she married a youth pastor. Her older daughter married a pastor from the same church a few years ago.

Some perhaps catty comments of the event. I would estimate the entire evening cost $150,000. The bride and groom have been dating for three years. Their first on the lips kiss was during their wedding ceremony and they were married as virgins. The dry reception alone had a ten piece orchestra with vocals. The 400 guests ate a gourmet sit down meal of Fillet Mignon or Salmon. The grooms family has a unique and amazing history. The parents of the groom had been imprisoned in Asia for preaching the Gospel. They are credited with smuggling 4 million bibles into communist Russia in the 70's and 80's.

Whether you are religious or not, you must recognize that the bride and groom held themselves to a level of commitment that is unique in todays world. They are roll models for hundreds of teenagers in their church and set a perfect example.

The rest of the weekend was full of many highs and one big low for me. The low is that I did zero training. Not a lick. I feel horrible for it. I had only a few hours sleep on Tuesday and Wednesday night and flew to Seattle completely exhausted. There was so many things that Mistress and Mo and myself wanted and needed to do that logistically it really weighed on me. I put 800 miles on our rental in three days.

We did get to see many friends and walk through some old haunts special to Mistress and I. Mo spent Friday night on our friends farm with my Mom of all people who was up there visiting from Phoenix the same weekend. On the farm we were able to eat blackberries from the bush, a true Northwest delight. I will post some photos of Mo calling for the chickens and chasing some ducks.

Time to knuckle under this week and get back on the horse.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What's the big deal?

I've done Ironman. I've done 100 Ironmans. When I was 8 I did the first Ironman in Hawaii. I was too young to be put on the results page. I also think it was just a piece of paper stuck to a palm tree at the beach until it blew off. I mean who remembers that kind of stuff anyway.

When I was a teenager, Mark Allen came to me for advice on how to win Kona, since I had done the race more than anyone else. He won. I only asked that he not give me any credit because I am a humble guy. Not sure if he stayed with the sport.

Pretty soon the Ironman became to easy. The worst I have ever done is 11:50. I decided to do it again and see if I could finish it under 12 hours. I am the only one in the Universe that has ever done two Ironmans in 24 hours. By the way, I negative split the second Ironman.

I do a self supported Ironman every Saturday and Sunday from my house. My fastest time is 6 hours and some change. Guinness came one day to follow me, but I moved so fast they couldn't keep up. I have done ten Ironmans in a row. I couldn't stop myself. As soon as I finished I just started again. Why not? Their easy.

I have come close to not finishing at all. Yes I am human to. I did Kona one year and a fresh lava flow crossed the road and destroyed my tires. I had to ride back on just my blown rear wheel and popping a wheelie for 40 miles. I stayed aero.

When I did the first Coeur de Laine, Idaho Ironman, I helped a lost group of spawning salmon upstream in the middle of the race. Sure it added some time to my swim but the look on those poor fishy's faces when they reached their homes was priceless.

When people ask me if they should get into triathlon, I say "No. There is only Ironman and you need to buy a Janus spot immediately." It's the only way to go. Don't spend years thinking about what you eventually will want to do anyway.

My home reflects my Ironman status. I don't have carpet, or wood or tile. My floor is a combination of parking lot asphalt, grass and beach sand. I put timing mats at the entrance of each room, so when you walk in it beeps.

My fitted bed sheet is 2mm neoprene. My comforter is 5mm neoprene. If its too hot I have a couple of space blankets I use instead. Pillows are obviously overinflated tire tubes. I learned if I rode in the aero position I get faster on my bike. So I installed aero bars on my bed frame thinking that if I sleep in aero, I will improve my sleep. My alarm clock emits a cannon blast.

I have no shower. Instead I have lined my bathroom counter with paper Gatorade cups and as I run into my transition area (i.e. closet) I splash cups of water on me. The first half of the counter is a mix of soap and water and the last half is just water. I have also installed a hose over the door jam, in case I have sand on me.

I don't have a tub, I use an endless pool. In fact I took out the mirror on the bottom of the pool and installed a flat screen plasma tv so I can bathe, workout and watch tv at the same time. Usually I just watch Ironman DVD's.

People never complain about not having enough bathrooms at my house. I have no toilets, I purchased Porta-Potties and have them lined up along the wall in the living room.

There are no chairs in my house. I have used old Sella Itaila Trans Am bike saddles and attached them to custom carbon fiber frames. Instead of his and hers recliners facing the entertainment center, I installed his and whomever's treadmills. Its better to run together than sit together.

I don't think it's weird. I have been to homes of rock climbers and they have rope and one inch web straps all over the place. All their stuff hang off carabiners. I have been to homes of surfers and they live right on the water. They use surf boards for benches and tables and hang them on their walls. They have no shirts. I have shirts from all the races I have entered. If they need to cover up they zip up their wetsuits.

So what's the big deal?

I was so excited...

I was up this morning at 0216. Couldn't sleep. Thought about riding for a couple hours on the trainer then do the scheduled easy 1 hour run. Decided to stay in bed and think about all the stuff going on this week. Had a good run. Don't normally see runners out that early, mostly cyclist. But saw one and ran him down. We ran for a mile together. That was unexpected and fun.

Had a meeting at work. I was excited when I got out. So excited I decided to go right away to the local pool and get in a hour instead of getting lunch. I was so motivated that it wasn't until I was deep into the swim that I realized I was swimming with Coach Nick later that day. Drat.

Instead of bailing on him, I showed up. We talked about other stuff, the race from last weekend and our impressions. What my race schedule will be or might be next year. Nick challenges me in a ways that I can't figure out. Thats a good thing.

In all I am pretty motivated. Why else would I be up after 22 hours today. I have been getting up between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning more often than not to get in one of my two workouts for the day. Living on between five and six hours sleep. Sometimes four. But I am excited about getting in a run in cool weather or riding my bike on the trainer and catching up on some Tivo.

Mistress and Mo leave today for Seattle. I have to keep myself busy so I'll ride outside or on the trainer for three and half hours today, getting in my long ride for the week and trying to fit in my long run in Seattle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is the a/c off?

That time of year has arrived in Phoenix where a few days at a time the high is double digits and not triple. Mo has taken to eating breakfast on the patio in his chair swing. Mistress leaves the back door open for hours at a time with no fear of bee's or fly's or bugs. For me it means I have to put on a shirt when I run.

The rest of the year here, is much like the weather the rest of the country experiences during their summers. By November the high's will be in the low 80's, crisp mornings. Yes even a few freezes. But then again it's hit 100 in the middle of October. But that sweet spot between November and March, not to be missed.

Tomorrow Mistress and Mo head to Seattle for a wedding. I follow on Thursday. Its a packed trip of going to REI, a real zoo (unlike phoenix), the aquarium (phoenix has none), the wedding, eating at some restaurant's we grew up with and seeing some friends in some remote areas before flying out early Sunday.

I am so hoping to run in the woods. These damn cactus parks drive me nuts.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Its Electric

The starts of triathlons are so electric. The vibration level is amazing. It was a bit odd, walking around before the swim start and motivating and encouraging people and not being a part of the action.

I was asked several times about my own participation and most people that know me, know my training plan for the year, plus I was supporting Mistress in the relay and there are a lot of triathlon couples in this area of the country, so it wasn't weird at all.

Part of me before the swim, really did wish I had done the race. The competition against my team mates, the camaraderie that would follow. Then I went to the hot corner of the bike portion and OMG, it was bumper to bumper. A team mate was standing next to me, yelling "2 minutes" because everybody, EVERYBODY, was drafting. You almost had to, just out of frustration of having one lane of the road for 1,000 people to do 2 or 4 loops. From my vantage it look frustrating to be out there.

Mistress did really well. There was 123 people in her wave (Pink Caps-All relays, Women Oly's, Pro/Elites) and she was between 12-15 out of the water. At least three of those I know were collegiate elites or a Pro.

She got out at 26 minutes +/- 10 seconds. There was a lot of crowding due to loops and some scratching and bruising going on. Typical stuff. The wave that went off four minutes before her was female sprints and true to form there were lots of new triathletes out there who immediately started zig zagging or back stroking after 100 yards.

The nice thing about a race like this in a metro area is that it does bring new people into the triathlete environment. The bad thing was the road construction and constrictions that I am sure left some people with hard feelings about being yelled "Left" every few seconds. Hopefully everything except the bike will stay in their head and the finish more satisfying than the movement between T1 & T2.

Congratulations Honey. And welcome new triathletes.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Card is pulled.

Well I am not much of a believer in jinxes but I am fairly confident enough to proclaim that the Intrepid Age Grouper is no longer a Clydesdale.

I know Big'un, stop crying. Its okay. I don't feel faint and don't need caloric assistance. No. Yes! Please take the doughnuts and Classic Coke away. Fine. I will keep one Kit Kat for later, in case I feel dizzy.

I've been steadily under two bills now for two weeks and my main concern was at the end of this week as I have a very short training week. Three off days.


No. I switched my long run to mid week instead on Fridays which conflict with Mistress swimming before work. So I kept my old off day of Monday and started my new off day on Thursday's. This Sunday I am taking off for spectating the triathlon.

Have Fun.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A long time ago...

...I almost drown in Canyon Lake. My how my swimming has changed. How I have changed.

Anyway, I think about this event at least twice a week since I still swim this same route around those two buoys up front to the one in the back, though now its simply a starting point. The beginning of "the next lap".

It took me three separate trips up to the lake to get the courage to swim to that buoy by myself. All those 70-100 yard swim dashes from one side of the cove to the other, just off the channel, while everyone else made it look so easy. They still do.

No I am doing at least 2,000 yards per workout there. Usually 3,000 yards, peaking at several 4,000 yard swims before an IM. I have done as many as 5,000 yards at one time. But I think about that first 400 all by myself that almost took my life.

Now with the club, people routinely come join us at the lake and right off the bat swim the 400 yards round trip to the buoy as their first OW experience. Each time it blows me away to see this. Was I that bad? That full of fear? The answer to both was probably yes.

I also think that personally its one the best post I have done. Maybe because the scare is still so visual for me. That the words written are a bit too close to the reality of it. I remember every one of those thoughts while I was out there.

Damn it I still say there is sharks in that lake!

I also looked at the commenter's back then. When you read them you will see very familiar names, another level of security in my life. We were all so disjointed then. Just starting our Triathlete Alliance. Maybe two dozen at that time. But we stuck together and we taught each other and we grew. Now my blog roll is over a hundred strong. The Alliance has become a community. And its better to swim in a community than alone.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Floyd Landis


Out of retirement

No not me. Told you it's not whom you think it was and well I haven't retired. Not by a long shot.

Its Mistress.

She will be swimming in her first triathlon in almost exactly a decade. Can you say you were a triathlete over ten years ago?

Mistress is toeing the line at Nathan's (Timex) Olympic Distance race this weekend at Tempe Town Lake. She will be the swim leg of a relay consisting of Hardcore Mike on the bike leg and Wendy the wife of my training partner Jeff, on the run.

Let me just once again praise my wife. She is a fantastic, fearless swimmer. She had a four year varsity scholarship at Washington State University where she swam her best in the mile with a PR under 15 minutes. She swam 8-12 miles each day 6 days a week for several years.

She was never the fastest triathlete, she would crush everyone in the swim but used a borrowed ten speed and hated running, but she loved the races like we all do today. She even made a triathlete out of her urbanite best friend who panic swam from kayak to kayak to finish a Danskin sprint. No it was not me. There are several terms to describe me, urban is not one.

It was Mistress who introduced me to triathlon and I would have become one myself back then had we not moved before the next season began. She taught me how to ride a road bike.

I am so excited that she is has found a competitive spirit again, if just a spark and if just for swimming. It matters not for me. It's more than enough to be able to hear Mo yell, "GOMOMMYGO!" on Sunday.

I love my wife with all my heart and it makes me proud to be on the other side of the transition area once again cheering for her and celebrating in the excitement.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stealing never solves anything

I stole this week. Yes I admit it. I stole an idea from Bolder about drinking Boost before big training days. Well I don't have Boost around the house but plenty of Chocolate Slim Fast so I have been drinking two each morning before big practice sessions.

It was this morning as I was sitting on the you-know-what, for the umpteenth time that I read the ingredients. First on the list, non-fat milk. Thats an important piece of information considering I am lactose intolerant and milk and ice cream are my biggest culprits. Yogurt and cheese I am OK, pizza can be tough on me at times.

So I will continue to steal the idea but find a more suitable choice for my GI, like a lactose free substitute like Ensure. Now if I can just find a way to do a yogurt based B&J AmeriCone Dream.

Woke up this morning at 0330 and knocked out a 12 mile run. A LSD pace, roughly 10'15" per mile with my HR average at 136. I wanted to keep it low since it was my longest run in ten days. Now I actually have nothing on my training schedule until Friday, so I am taking Mo to the park for some dad & son time tonight.

Tomorrow some important news. A triathlete is coming out of retirement, and its not who you think.

As Tri-Boomer would say,
Stay Tuned....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Augies Quest

The BlogFather, Hugh Hewitt is back on Live in Phoenix starting this week. In a touching moment for me, he gave a full segment to promote a cause and video about a man seeking a cure for ALS and he was able to use the song "100 Years" from Five for Fighting for free.

His name is Augie and he is the founder of Augie's Quest.

Many of you are familiar with ALS through the Blazeman Foundation. Jon Blais, the Warrior Poet, completed the 2005 Kona Ironman in 16:28, returned in a wheelchair in 2006 to pass the torch and died in the spring of 2007.

I know Augie. Not very well, we met many years ago. But we have met and he is a friend of my partner and mentor. He is a visionary and was a driving force behind Life Fitness exercise equipment. So if you have ridden a life cycle, recumbent bike or run on a treadmill at your gym, most likely you have benefited from his vision of what cardiovascular equipment could be way back in the late 70's and then the 80's.

For every viewing of THIS VIDEO on their website, two families will each donate $1 to the foundation.

Its a good song, one you are familiar with and another reason to celebrate life. Last week a blogger asked the question, "What would you do if you only had six months to live." With inspirations like John Blais and now Augie Nieto, I think it becomes more clear that what we do is very much tied to what legacy we wish to leave our family.

Will your legacy be that of an absentee parent. A disinterested spouse. A mediocre employee. Someone who makes a personal goal and continues to blow it off. In the terms of another familiar organization, I think I have learned to re-appreciate one word- LiveSTRONG.

Self Guilt to Success

Dear Me,

I feel like I let myself down last week. I didn't miss any one scheduled workout but I didn't complete all of them either. Of 15 hours of training I came up short by 2 hours. The majority of that coming from the absolute frustration of running on a treadmill for 12 miles.

I simply could not bring myself to finish it. I couldn't. I tried. I got on the machine with all my fuel and water and towels. I ran for a while, more than most people do in a week of training but mentally I didn't have a long run in me after the week I had.

My closest adviser having a stroke. My friend possibly dead, an unknown cyclist in her neighborhood crushed by a semi truck and no answer from her phones. Some crucial conversations with employees. It took too much out of me.

I let myself down. I'm sorry. I take myself way to seriously. I put high expectations on my employees to memorize scripts and follow through with the instructions of my production partners. How can I expect excellent execution of our company systems from them when I can't follow through 100% with my own training programs?

I can't promise myself that I won't become weak during a practice. I can't promise myself that in a moment of crisis or weakness that I will skip a workout. I can only rely on my Heart, my Determination, my Perseverance to succeed.

I want to do well so badly. I want to redeem myself at Ironman Arizona next year. I have put so much effort into my fitness and nutrition and balance with my family that momentarily lapses of conviction punctuate my weakness.

I am sorry for myself. Not in the way that I am a mopey sad sack and need a kick in my ass. I am sorry for myself in that I know I can do better and yet I let myself down.

Have Fun but do better. You deserve the best.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Lake Closed

There was a celebration at Canyon Lake over the weekend by the aztriclub. It was our last swim in the lake for the year which was part of the impetus for the party, which is normally held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

For the first time in over 50 years the lake will be drained for work on the dam at its western edge. The water will drop over 50 feet and the park service will not allow anyone in the water. I do hope to go up there and just look at the change as it will be a once in a lifetime for me.

The other reason for the party is that two of our team mates have birthdays this month and their spouses wanted to combine a party. Since both the guys are doing Timex Olympic next weekend, coinciding with their birthdays it was decided a much earlier celebration was better than one after the fact.

My small part was to get the two over to the beach after the team swim. I swam the 1/2 mile from the beach to the team and told them Mistress had beer and cheesebrugers back at the beach for the annual BBQ closing the lake and thats really all it took. That and getting everyone else clued into the rouse before Sunday and playing along. I then swam back with a couple of guys.

Mistress, Mo and I went up early to secure the area of the beach we wanted for the party. As Mo and I were picking up trash the Park Rangers came by on their garbage rounds. They recognized me as someone whom is up there often and has asked for trash bags in the past and when they saw Mo and I using our liter-picker-upper they struck up a conversation. I mentioned I'd taken out around 200 pounds of trash so far this year and in a small gesture they gave me a huge supply of bags since they knew I'd been using my own. It was a nice gesture.

So long lake. Swim you next year.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, you should have started six weeks ago.

Been a rough couple of days lately. My partner/boss is out of the hospital and back at home, which is in another state. Hopefully resting comfortably. My friend whom several of us believe to be the victim of a semi truck-cyclist fatality has not returned any of our calls or emails. Nor has her husband. I am praying that they are one of their many cycling trips they take around the country.
If its not one thing its another. The stroke and fatality incidents Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I got a great run in the desert but think I have an ear infection because the bricked swim was absolute torture on me. Had it not been OW I would have got out well before my 1,500 set was done. Today my ear still bothered me in the pool but it also hurt my running today too. I cut my 1/2 mary short because the running made me feel like I was being punched in the jaw and earhole with every step. It may not be an ear infection but some sort of disjointed jaw or something.
In any regard, it sucks.
At the lake Thursday, two newbies showed up. Nice ladies, terribly new to triathlon. As in first time in OW. I acted as lifeguard as they attempted their first 400 yard swim OW around the lake buoy. One had a panic attack but recovered on her own. The other faired better but swam horribly off course going back.
There were several of us there to give them support and talk to them afterward. They said they had started training in June for triathlons but hadn't progressed very far. Blah, blah, blah, busy, blah, blah, blah, we joined a training program and the coach sucked, blah, blah, blah. I was busy messing with my ear when I heard one of them say, "...It took us 4 hours to go 25 miles."
With one finger in my ear and without thinking, I busted in with, "Hey that's a pretty good run time."
She corrected me, "We were riding our bikes."
If it's possible to fall OUT of the water, I think I did it.
My recovery line was, "Well you got all winter to improve."
She responded with, "We're doing the Soma Quarter Man."
Now lookie here folks. I went about my small admonishment to them very gently but I admonished them nonetheless. Because even though their distances are what? 800m/ 26mile/6.5 miles; you can't start taking your training seriously six weeks before the damn race and expect to do well, let alone finish.
One of them told me/us, "I like to play with the big boys, I don't like to finish in the back."
Hello? McFly? Anyone home? A modifed Olympic distance race on six weeks total training, during the second largest and most popular triathlon in Phoenix. (IMAZ being 1st)
They were nice 20-something ladies and truly I, we all, gave them some moral support and advice from what we have learned over the last few years, but to blame a coach for them not being prepared after he/she gave them two months of personalized training programs and group classes, to take no personal responsibility for your progression after saying you do little training on your own. You get kind of a head shake from me.
I am the last person to want to scare someone off from this sport, I love it. But I see a mess for them at Soma. I could see them finishing but in horrible fashion, with a bad taste in their mouth for a coach who can only do so much with what he has and a "I'll never do that again" thought of triathlon.
There is no easy way for me to write this the way it was said. God I sound like such a elitest smuck, but I got a strange feeling about them, as if they were sensing us up for being their personal training coaches; stroking, pedaling and running with them as they trained with us. As we were all drying off and discussing the Saturday ride and distances and meeting times, I said to a long time training partner and Ironman whose coming back from his off-season, "I'm really in a good zone with my cycling, I 'm around your speed now. I have got to get in 60 miles. We need to be moving."
It was my round about announcement to those that heard that I can't be riding with a 110 HR @ 12 mph when I need some quality time @ 148 HR and 90 rpms. Right now that's around 21 to 22 mph. When I was a slower rider or injuried or disinterested in the workout, I certainly sacrificed my training for the betterment of the sport. For the betterment of the tri club. So the new person at least couldn't say, "Those aztriclub guy's are rude, they didn't help at all. They just took off." I make sure they know the route, the turnarounds, introduce them to the group. Make them feel a part of something.
It's a sense of personal pride of mine, that I run into people who remember my name and they shake my hand vigorously with smile and tell me, "I rode/ran with you on suchandsuch, and you were just the best dude to hang with." I am trying to reckoncile that tonight with my goal of riding in my training zone and getting 60 miles in when that future handshaker is two women who will pull me down if I coddle them.
I was there once too. I was and still am a middle of the packer. I've been the slowest on swims and rides. On Thursday they both swam to the lake buoy the first time out. It took me three visits to do that and I almost drown coming back. I understand their need for assurances we can provide assistance and eduction for Soma. What I got from them is very little personal motivation and that to me is just as important as everything else.
I used to tell my members/clients, "Look, I can train you for an hour everyday and tell you what to do the rest of the time, but what you decide to do the other 23 hours is going to get you to your goal. You screw those up and it's not my fault."
I have to do this. I am going to ride my ride Saturday. I owe it to myself.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2 halfs equal...well still half

Today I was good enough by only half in both workouts.

To start I went to bed at midnight and my watch went off at 4am for my 90 minute trainer workout downstairs. As so many of us do, I turned off the alarm and closed my eyes for just one more moment of rest. BAM. I wake up and its now 5:15am. Just like that. I decide to move the ride till the night and close my eyes one more time. BAM. In the span of a blink its 6:40am and Mistress is kicking my out of bed.

My lunch swim I got half in the workout and had to get out of the water. I can bike and run with a cleared mind, but in the water, it is so easy for me to loose my place. How many yards have I gone...thinking of everything but swimming. I had a lot on my mind and couldn't center. I was slow, labored, the board shorts didn't help limit drag.

Later that night I hoped on the trainer, thinking that the rerun of Amazing Race I DVR'd would keep me occupied. I did half the workout and got off. I just did not have it in me.

My business partner, boss and mentor had a small stroke on Tuesday. It was something that we're told was unavoidable but it's weighed heavily on me since I heard. On Wednesday, I received a phone call that a female cyclist was killed by a semi truck. The description and location are conspicuously similar to a friend and aztriclub teammate. Calls to her house went unanswered. I stopped by but no one was home and I saw a stack of mail on their front table. Her and he husband are retired and travel quite regularly so its not unusaul to find them gone for weeks at a time. I pray to God it wasn't Robin.

A lesson learned speaking with the reporter who wrote the story, is that the cyclist did not have ID, and had not been identified. So again I preach to all of you, buy a Road ID ankle bracelet today and wear it for every workout, whether that be in the pool, running around the block or riding with your friends.

Do your closest training partners have your spouses cell or home phone number in their phone in case of emergency? When you go for a run in the morning, does your family know your route or which direction you're going in case you don't come back in time.

Be careful out there. People love you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Its a test, get angry

I haven't swam with Coach Nick from Durapulse (link on sidebar) for about a month. We discussed the things he has been helping me with on my plan but we haven't swam 'together' lately. I wasn't sure where we were going Tuesday with the drills and when he said, "Just warm up and I'll watch", I figured I would swim for about ten minutes in the endless pool and then get some feedback, then some drills.

Over the course of 30 minutes he never spoke to me, nor raised his hand signaling me to stop swimming and get instructions. Instead he stood to my right, my front, my left and my rear on the lip around the tank just watching. I was getting pissed. How much time is needed to see what my stroke and body positioning looks like?

Speed increase. Increased again. Another increase. With each twist of the dial I refused to back down from the challenge. A few times my stroke suffered. Sometimes I had to single stroke breathe to catch my breath. With the third significant increase I watched as my body was forced backward from the water coming at me. I vowed to be pushed into the back wall before giving in. I asked myself the question always on my mind, "Do you have the heart?" while steadily gaining on the water until I was back in neutral position.

A decrease in speed to a comfortable level. For how long, I thought. I will not give up. Rather I will not give in. I will not pop up. I will swim angry, waiting for the next increase. I had not seen Nick in a long time, he must be standing near the dial just waiting to drown me when I am struggling to keep it together.

Then the water abates. I stroke until I can't help but hit the front wall. I look up and unflinchingly he asks me what I was thinking. I am honest. I told him I swam angry at the end. I was honest. I listed the litany of my errors and oddities.

He smiles finally. "You did really good, Commodore. Really good." He gives me praise and confirmation of all the things I listed as his own thoughts. Telling me I recovered well when I had to, my legs and kick were improved and my stroke and breathing technically proficient.

The most fitting way to end this post... the hardest effort was a 1:30 pace per 100 yards.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Healing Transition

All across America today people remember 9/11. I know my small little world changed. In the end I would like to think for the better amongst all the tragedy. Don't forget to wear your flag pin today.

On the grassy area that for the past few years has been the bike transition area for Ironman Arizona, so many other triathlons and my personal running grounds, is for today, the Healing Fields. Almost 3,000 flags reposed in memory of the lost citizens of that day.

God Bless America, the greatest, most generous nation on Earth.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fix with Fitness

The Charger's transmission wouldn't shift out of Park today so I am currently at home waiting for a tow to the dealership, covered under warranty. Never happened before or had problems before so it will be interesting to see what is discovered.

I can't let a little car problem screw my whole work day so I am pumping up the tires and riding the Valdora in. Nothing like a little extra bike training during to build base.

Its going to be hot, forecasts are 111* today. I won't have a choice but to ride through the worst of it and guess I will get between 30-60 miles today. The sunscreen is definitely going into the bag.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Open mouth, spew crazy.

Missed my 2500 yard swim and 12 mile run brick today. Man has work been crushing me this week. My partner actually apologized to me for all the additional duties he put on me, not knowing that it was really breaking me down. I have a hard time saying NO right now, because I am picking up slack from some promotions and demotions of people. Luckily this is the only day I have actually missed a workout(s). The workouts I have been on have been benchmarks. The progression is really coming along.

But back to this stress. Oh it will dissipate. My stress envelop is being pushed but its big enough, more than enough. I still have an hour to get home for movie night with Mighty Mo and Mistress. Peter Pan tonight. Love that movie. Oh we couldn't get a babysitter for the friends night out, so we bagged.

I might actually try to have a little vodka and OJ tonight. Not too much, just enough. At 3 a.m. I am getting up to fit in my 60 mile ride before Mistress has her Masters swim. The key run I missed today I am going to replace with my base work on Sunday.

A lesson to people in the same time crunch as I am right now. Never sacrifice your weekly key workout of each discipline. You can miss the filler but not the long stuff.

I don't know if this correlates, but in my punch drunk mind it does. I can hear Bolder in my ear saying, "You want to train for hills, ride hills. You want to train for flats, you ride hills."

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Forget the fact that my kick ass silver laptop with 17" screen feels like the size and weight of the nuclear football, but it does allow me to work from Buffalo Wild Wings this afternoon, and they do free wi-fi. God Bless America. For those that know my penchant for my favorite meal, well its fifty cent boneless wings Thursday. Hoorah.

Its been just a nutz day. I have been backed up all week with demands and I finally had to have the, "You have given me this, this, and this as urgent. I have time deadlines on this, this and this. What do you want me to sacrifice?" Point made.

Mistress got frustrated with me for not answering my phone a few weeks ago. To be honest I don't carry my phone with me everywhere I go. I don't take it into meetings, or movies or I turn off the ringer when I am jammed up. But I have tried since that conviction to be better at answering her calls.

She called today right before going into a meeting with some lawyers, asking if I wanted to see a comedian Friday night with a six other couples we are friends with. If she was asking I knew it was important for her so I was interested until she said it was the 9pm show and we'd be home around midnight. I sort of groaned out loud as I had planned to get up at 0330 Saturday to get in my 60 mile ride before coming home for her to go to her Masters swim.

Her mention of me skipping the ride did not go well, but I told her right away that I would simply ride on 3 hours sleep and that it seemed this was important to her. So I am riding on three hours sleep.

I hung up, still frazzled from all the demands of the day, walked into the meeting with the lawyers and realized I had brought the wrong case file. Yup. Thankfully all I really do is consider these cases, looking at every angle and we had a productive meeting with me going from memory and them from their files. Thank god they were on my side.

It a day in the life.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Does this look lonely?

The sad fact is that my base training is ramped up harder than most half iron plans right now. But I have big goals for next year and I can't wait for the season to start. But first the sowing, then then the reaping. And as all good farmers know, the seeds are growing long before they pop through the loamy earth.

I am one of the slower swimmers in my tri club. Let me put that in perspective for a moment. I am on pace to swim a 82 minute Ironman and I finish in the back of the pack with my peers who all pace about an hour five. I really don't have any problems with my swimming right long as its wet suit legal. Thats another story.

Lately I have been swimming for an hour in open water or about 3000 yards. Most of my pals are swimming 2000 in about 30 minutes. So its a lot of time spent by myself in water, usually I try to get in the water 30 minutes earlier so we all finish together. When that doesn't happen or someone else is staying in, one of the team will spot from the steel bridge that we swim under and has perfect viewing of the entire swim course.

Ken took this picture of me swimming late as he guarded me from the bridge one night. I think it's a beautiful picture of a beautiful place, but it only emphasizes my sense of loneliness now that I am deep into the biggest training program of my triathlon career. I look at it and see just me. Alone. Happy but alone.

I usually arrive an hour or more early to all our events to get in extra miles of whatever practice where having. But that is the sacrifice one must make to accomplish big dreams. It's the training that I do when others are not around that is going to get me where I want to go, though I would never want to give up the camaraderie I have with my team.
Its also sort of a metaphor of my blogging. While my daily posts have not slacked much, my daily reading has and that causes me to feel as alone as I do in my swims. I am happy, but alone. Reading the success and struggle of my good friends is as much a part of my life as any swim, bike or run.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Filling in the holes

Sometimes the hardest decisions are not if your going to finish your workout, but if you will start it at all. I am not immune from those thoughts as well. So many times in my life I sat on the couch or at my desk day after day rewarding my indecision with poor nutrition. The days turn to weeks and so a true lapse has occurred in my fitness. Luckily this has not occurred in many years but still I vividly recall those months telling myself, "Tomorrow I'll start working out/eating better." It taunts me like a drug taunts an addict after many years of recovery.

The sad fact is that millions of people go their entire life thinking everyday about the fitness hole they are in and never doing anything about it except making a promise to start with never setting a date. Its no wonder this hole has created almost a nastiness towards those that have not only dug out of their hole but turned their hole into a mountain that constantly grows as the person reaches higher after meeting each goal.

I think these mountains are not based on altitude so much as capacity and atittude. Whose to say my mountain made with recovery from paralysis and head injuries, finishing marathons and ironman's is any higher than someone who just finished their 5k. I am just as excited for them as I am for myself. Its our own personal self worth that makes the mountain, not what our ego tells us.

So many people live without the faith they can lose weight, get in shape and maybe, just possibly feel a little bit better about themselves. Its this lack of faith that limits them more than any physical ailment. This is why I think deep down all of us mountain builders are so excited for those hole dwellers when they begin to fill in their holes by joining a gym (and using it) or perhaps just running on a consistent basis. Really deep down, just getting themselves outside of their comfort zone to improve themselves is celebration enough.

So today find a reason to celebrate someone who is working towards filling in their hole. Remind someone who told you their New Years resolution was to run a half marathon this year that a 5k is still very much possible. Encourage that person that continues to say they will run with you or swim with you or go to yoga at least once (guilty) that you will stick with them the whole time and then you dedicate that workout not to showing how good you are, but how fun what your doing is.

That the view from atop the mountain is a lot more satisfying than at the bottom of a hole.

Perspective of the life

We all live in stress envelopes of our own creation. We have different levels of stress for work, friends, outside stimulus, and of course physical stress. As we train our minds, numb our feelings or train our body's we can increase these envelopes till what used to be very stressful is now merely a blip.

At the pool the other day I shared a lane with someone getting back into swimming after a long absence of exercise. At one point in my set we both ended up at the same wall with some time to spare and he asked how much farther I was going. I replied about a mile more after already doing 800 yards and what about him.

He had done 6x100 and was smoked and leaving. He asked me what I was doing for the rest of the day, going back to work or going home for Labor Day weekend. I responded that I am going to go run 10 miles.

His eyes got HUGE. Thats when it dawned on me.

At work I am constantly surrounded by people striving to be better physically. In training and racing and blogging I am constantly surrounded by, listened to, dropping advice, or in the company or conversation of fitness.

I suppose I am sometimes blind to the fact that people are not into the lifestyle that I have. Just as I am aghast that someone would drop their cigarette butt out the window of their car, others I am sure are aghast that I would over the course of a Friday, Saturday, Sunday; run 15 miles, cycle 60 miles and swim 5,000 yards. And that was just the schedule for last weekends base training.

I read the facts and see the results of the increasing weight problems of this country. While I am not shaped like a sleek whippet or coiled spring, (see: Bolder for that), I have a decent build and my mode of dress does describe a Fitness Enthusiast. The funny (or perhaps sad) thing is making sure I don't have too much triathlon gear on. Between my M-Dot tattoo, a race shirt, my road ID which never seems to come off my ankle, a IM visor or other races ball cap, or drawstring swag bag, (which Nytro calls a Murse), it can be triathlon overload. Like when you see someone head to toe in Nike.

I don't enjoy blowing the mind of the Common Man, intimidation can overwhelm someone into NOT getting started on an exercise program, but I do get a glimpse at the understanding of where my fitness stress envelope is when seen through their eyes.

I suppose the moral of this story is when you think you're just barely making it, in whatever you're doing, someone else will see it as Herculean.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Doings

I have been a bad blogger. I am quite a bit behind in my readings but damn if I haven't been having fun. While I have opened up the '4th Wall' into some of my work woes, the last month of training has been off the hook for me. I am loving it. Whether this is because I took 9 weeks off or whatever, I have found that passion that was sorely lacking after eighteen months of hard training.

For my first three weeks of base training I have been averaging 8,000 yards swimming, 90 miles cycling and 26 miles running per week.

I have not been without conflict or issues, like for instance a front and rear flat today up through the first half of my ride and not having the gear to finish the second half. That'll happen.

So its not hard for me to apologize and know you all understand. When I have my spare times I try to get through blogs as I can. Being a rather OCD guy I tend to go alphabetically so the A-K get read much more than the rest. Trying to remedy that.

Have a great weekend dear friends.

My Sunday is a 1 hour run in the canyon, followed by a 3,000 yard swim. All over by 0830. Then a steak dinner later for dinner.