Monday, December 31, 2007


I teased a holiday M-Dot for New Years and been too busy to get it done. My bad. Of course we all fall guilty of looking back and looking ahead and thinking of all the things done, undone or left unsaid.

When I dwell on such things I often find myself going to places of comfort. I like to go to Barnes and Noble. I often find myself in there. One of the things I like as much as the books and the coffee is the journals and sketchbooks. I don't know what it is about journals but there is something about buying a brand new one that is full of so much hope. Before I started CMS, long before and still today, I have detailed daily journals of my thoughts and dealings. It probably started with the amnesia and having to write everything down and then in the infantry when all good soldiers have pencil and paper.

When I see journals (notebooks, et al.) I consider all the things that will fill it. A marker of my past perhaps for a future autobiography. A recording of historical reckoning for generations of Commodore to come, full of newspaper clippings and photographs, thoughts on current affairs long forgotten. Affirmations. Prayers. Emotions and beseeches of my deepest mind too baring for this blog. Perhaps just something to describe workouts, lists of errands, jots for the next big idea. In any regard I see the potential in them to write in ways that while not as socially fulfilling as this blog, are just as rewarding.

I think my earlier post about finding a suitable new way to track my workouts in 2008 has stemmed from my longing for a new journal. I have lots of half written notebooks, journals, whatever, on my shelf but still I am drawn to a new beginning. The first touches of a blank slate. The idea of filling every page by my hand alone. The framing and setting of every page in a way that predates html and even type setting. I think longingly of monks in the middle ages who not only copied every word of the bible by hand but created such magnificent pictures and colors around the page.

So I bought a simple journal and placed it inside a distressed leather cover that has housed like sized plain journals for years. It fit perfectly. What will go in it ultimately is up to the future.

Happy New Year...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Big Dozen

Mistress and I have been married 12 years today. Longest relationship I've ever had over three months. I couldn't have married a better woman for me and though like all marriages there are the idiosyncrasies and ups and downs, I have earned a long leash of trust from her. Even when I say I will be back from my workout in four hours and she says, "See you in five," and thats when I get home.

So what did we do for our anniversary? Well we sent Mo over to Grandmas for the night and we went to a high end steak place for dinner. $250 later, I felt pretty damn good and not full at all. Mistress felt a bit full and tipsy. I didn't drink any booze but created my own drink with orange juice, 7-up and cranberry juice, she had a some great Merlot.

The meal was okay, not spectacular. We had crab stuffed mushrooms that were massive and some ravioli for appetizers, she had a 8oz filet and I ordered a 18oz prime rib. It was bone in and I ate about 12 oz which was perfect but the thing was huge. It was thicker than my index finger is long, about three inches. The side for the main meal was a gnocchi, truffles and crab meat which I was not a huge fan of, but Mistress thought was tasty. For desert the restaurant gave us a free slice of very good triple chocolate cake with Happy Anniversary written in chocolate on the plate. Nice touch.

When we got done with dinner, we tried to make it to a movie, but we were in between all the showings. Instead we went home and watched a great movie I rented for her called Stardust. A little quirky but full of fun. A bit like Princess Bride which is her favorite movie.

Mo gets back soon. I am off to do the grocery's for the week and then a 1500 swim/ 30 mile bike brick. My legs are still beat from the great 60 I rode yesterday at 19.5 mph.

I'll have a new holiday M-Dot picture going up before New Year so stand by.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's your log?

At the end of the year I could list my achievements and my failures for 2007, but I am more interested in learning from you. Specifically what logbooks do you use to track training? I have seen a few blogs with distance widgets that update from another site and there are so many others out there. I think we can all learn from the praise you give your system.

In the past, I have created my own computer spreadsheets, used calendars, day planners, bought workout logs, created my own workout journals in spiral notebooks. I still have them all so I can see workouts I did back twenty years ago. Sometimes I can't figure out my own handwriting for specific exercises but distances and times, sets, reps, weight, body fat, injuries, they're all there. These are the ultimate in ease and use. Just write down free hand everything you want in the style you want.

For the last few years I have been using Polar software on my pc and online with and enjoyed it. I think anyone who is looking for a comprehensive site for tracking exercise and nutrition would benefit from TP. It is highly customizable and they also cater to several different types of training, (running, cycling, triathlon, etc). The nutrition system in tedious but top notch. It costs about $10 a month.

That being said TP is a bit too much for me now and I am 'downgrading', not necessarily for price but for information, I don't use the nutrition side anymore and don't use half the inputs. The Polar software is for downloading my watches only. Right now I have a two week pass with which could be just the thing for me but I am not sold on anything yet. I may just go back to spiral notebooks because I am not sure how to export all my TP workouts to save them and don't want to run into that in the future. Though I will admit several months ago I began pasting my daily workouts to MS Paint and saving in a folder in My Doc's. Its an extra 10-15 minutes of work a week but probably less than 20% of all my information on the site, not including nutrition I have added. But the nutrition is not as important to me.

If you tell me what system you use and enjoy I will certainly give them all a look. I think many of us would benefit from seeing what is so great about your training log. (If you see your program already listed, still jump in. Duplicates would only reinforce the effectiveness of the system.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fess Up

I will openly admit that until this morning I had no clue what the day was. Usually I track the days by the planned workout so that gives you a bit of an incite on whats been going on in my life. In all reality I ended last week, a strong week of practices, with legs revolting; cramping, seizing, spasming, weak. I got a massage on Friday and then went bell to bell until about noon on Christmas Eve getting my shopping done and last minute errands.

I would say the one thing that really stymied training over the weekend was the night I was up all night setting up the gift I got Mistress. I sat at my computer and after trial & error and searching forums for advice I finally got the player perfect by 0600. My issue was downloading and sorting several thousand pictures from my pc to the device, which was more my issue than the players. When I crawled into bed with Mo, eventually woke him up. So instead of getting Mistress, I cared for Mo while she got another couple hours of much needed sleep.

I admit I ate too much Christmas day. Funny thing is, I probably ate less this year than any other and was stuffed. I got some good gifts, books mostly, but a major award for my mind power, alas no deed to a bowling alley. Mo bought all of us Star Wars figures to play with him, smart kid. But Christmas day is about me taking care of my family and especially Mistress. Her gift turned out to be the hit of the day and no one could put it down.

Today its back to practices in general and specifically Ironman Arizona. Time to Step It Up.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" Luke 2:8-14 KJV

On Christmas morning at our house we are celebrating the birthday of Baby Jesus. Mo thought it was very important that we have a birthday cake for him. So he made one, almost all by himself. Mistress helped but all the labor was done by him. Then before he took all his medicines before bed, only four of them at night, we gathered around and sang Happy Birthday to baby Jesus.
I am also debuting not one but two holiday M-dot's. Hope you like them.

On Christmas morning our family has a special breakfast tradition started by my grandmother over 40 years ago. Mistress and I started our own family tradition about five years ago for dinner. Instead of the typical ham or turkey, a rehash of Thanksgiving, we started a Hawaiian luau, to honor my family's heritage. Yes you see a white leg above, but I am half Hawaiian on my fathers side. Mistress has learned to cook a pig in the Hawaiian style using my grandmothers recipes and we add pot stickers, exotic tropical fruit salad, beer battered coconut prawns, chicken lettuce wraps, coconut pudding, lomi salmon, among other south pacific cuisine rotated in and out each year. It's quite a feast. Enough to feed 3 Hawaiians or 15 howly's.

Merry Christmas my fine, fine friends. Merry Christmas to you all. You have no idea how much you have risen me up and given me hope and fellowship when I have needed it most.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Would you run for a quarter-million bucks?

Would you NOT eat fast food for a quarter-million bucks?

While watching the season finale last week of Biggest Loser, I realized that I had perverted my success by not translating it into something meaningful for the effort. It was not enough to lose weight on the show, you had to lose the most percentage of body weight in order to win $250,000.

The reality is that I really haven't processed the success of my toils in a way that focused every decision I make. These weren't alibi's, they were conscious sabotages that I used to derail my Chief Definite Aim or Overriding Goal, like going to Taco Bell instead of Subway. Creating these short term obstacles to my overall goal not only affected what I want to accomplish but there was no hard consequence in the long term.

To be completely committed to success, defined currently by meeting a weight goal and overall time at Ironman Arizona in April, I need a reward. I thought that the reward was weighing less and having a PR but really in the end, those are the completions of my goal, not the reward for the training and sacrifice. I certainly don't have a quarter-million dollars to give myself but there has to be something that could 'represent' winning a quarter-million dollars.

Something to meditate on through the end of the year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

PSA; Be Prepared

The news hounds have been talking about the dad and kids in California that got stuck in the woods for three days while trying to cut down a Christmas tree. Not too much it appears because every other word out of their mouth is humbly praising God and their faith carried them through. I am going to give you my thoughts on this survival story and then some tips for yourself at the end.

SHORT TANGENT: I think this hasn't got as much publicity as the Kim tragedy or the Mt. Hood tragedy because the news feels it okay report someone 'found' God in a foxhole, or use Him as a euphemism they just can't REALLY believe in religion or allow the name Jesus Christ used as a affirmation of His plan for your life.

But the point of this post is to mention the importance of the 6P's. Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance or a my platoon sergeant used to say to me, "Planning equals not getting killed, Mann."

First, the family did not tell anyone where they were going. "It was a nice day. They were just going to the woods to cut down a tree after church, they didn't know the weather would turn," you say? Look what happened. Things like this do happen and while it may seem foolish to tell people where your going all the time, its important to do so when you will be out of good communication or cell phone service.

Second, they had an ax/saw to cut the tree, but no matches or lighter. This really comes down to having just some basic thoughts about your environment. I have no illusions that most of us would carry a sleeping bag, some water, maybe a map and compass or a even a knife with us on a short trip to the woods. Even so the items would probably be left in the car. However, everyone understands that winter weather is unpredictable and can change rapidly. Carrying some basic survival gear takes up less than a jacket pocket. Just a simple fire would have increased their chances of being seen, improved their morale and kept them warm.

Staying on preparedness for a moment; be ready to spend a night outdoors, regardless of the time of day you leave and plan to return, every time you leave suburbia. Its easy to flag down a car on the side of a major freeway to change a tire, a bit more difficult if the main road is several miles away or the road is less traveled. Chances are 1/10 someone would stop anyway on a deserted road to help you.

Here are some tips I have for you and your next outing.
  • Leave a note or voice mail of where your going and the when will be back. This can be as easy as telling your spouse the route your running and how long it will take. In the winter if you slip on some ice and break a wrist or sprain your ankle you may not get back in time and they can come looking. For longer solo trips or overnight trip in a group, give a NLT (No Later Than) time. For example: tell someone where your hiking and will be back by 4pm. If they don't hear from you by 8pm to call the closest police. Personal Note: When I swim up at Canyon Lake there is no phone service, as I drive up I tell Mistress when I will be back down the mountain and I call her as soon as service is available.
  • Stand out without standing out. Its seems silly but you're not alone outdoors. If you do become lost it is probably on a path or in an area that people do frequent. So if SAR (Search And Rescue) is called to look for you its a good idea to give them some info to discern you from everybody else in the last week that has been where your at. For example: when you leave your car pull out a square of aluminum foil and step on it with your footwear, making an imprint of your sole. On the back, tape a piece of paper with your route or destination, the gear you have with you and what your going to do if you discover your lost; sit and wait or move to 'handrail', (like knowing that at any time if you walk east you will reach a stream). If SAR knows that your heading to Mt. Trundle, have a sleeping bag rated for the season, a means to make fire, cold weather clothing and a flashlight, they can create a better plan of finding you than searching an unknown grid. Personal Note: A friend of mine became lost on a mountain while out running. She had several pairs of the same shoe so I brought a pair to the SAR base camp with thoughts on her running routes. The were quickly able to find her shoe imprint leading off the main trail and found her by a stream with a broken foot, she needed to refill her bottle and slipped on moss. She would have been found eventually but was saved several hours earlier.
  • Be Prepared. I know it sounds incredibly cliche and you might feel weird, but a small backpack or fanny pack can sustain you for days in freezing weather if you have the right gear with you. I won't belabor the obvious so I will link to the 10 Essentials. Personal Note: While I am often maligned for my ubiquitous backpack, I have most of the 10 on me at all times, with redundancies in many cases plus a few extra tricks I learned on my own. My EDC (EveryDay Carry) fits into a small 3x5 pouch and goes every where with me. Maybe I put up some photos of my stuff for you to see.
Most of you will have started scrolling by now, so how about ending this on a positive note, Christmas. Here are some last minute fantastic Christmas presents for someone you love. A car emergency kit. A small personal survival kit, my personal favorite. What guy doesn't like a simple compass. A medical kit. Headlamp or flashlight (personal fav's). Go to your local big box like Wal-Mart or Target and make a nice emergency kit for someone with a cheap backpack include; flashlight, small blanket or inexpensive sleeping bag, a bright colored rain poncho, a single bladed knife, generic multi tool, cheap transistor radio, compass, a waterproof match case or waterproof matches. Lighter. Duct tape. Extra batteries.

By the time you're done you'll have a second set of everything for yourself.

"Why do I let you in the kitchen?"

Mistress was a bit exasperated last night as you can see from here quote above.

She was putting some more Christmas things up in the front room and I was in the kitchen. I decided for our to dinner cut up some apples, veggies, turkey meat and cheese and also crisp up some bread to dip into hummus. Just light, hands on stuff.

I decided to toast the bread in the oven to do it all at once. I confirmed with Mistress to use the broil setting and she was very clear I needed to watch the bread to make sure it didn't burn and turn it over. I did pretty good...and then got busy for an extra 20 seconds. I ran to the oven, opened the door and WHOOSH, out came the flames and the smoke.

I am glad to say that we don't panic much in this house. Mo of course yelled, "Daddy started a fire mommy!" I started opening windows and hitting fan settings and Mistress ran to grab the baking soda. Once the fire was out she had to call the alarm company so they didn't send a unit out, which was the only real drama since she had misplaced the number.

The aforementioned title was her comment when she got off the phone.

I really thought I might get out of 2007 without starting a fire in the kitchen, but guess not. This makes, I believe, three years in a row, maybe four. And that might not seem too bad, one fire a year, except I only cook maybe five times a year and usually with supervision. Remember I am the guy whose has destroyed an entire kitchen by fire and charred some perfectly good cabinets in the past. My level of cooking is boiling water to add to my dehydrated camping meals or pouring a can into a pot. Everything else is pretty much between two pieces of bread.

Luckily I also bought wine for the dinner, which Mistress got open a bit to quickly, and there was plenty of remaining bread (albeit not toasted) to enjoy the dinner and ultimately have a good laugh. The fancy fudge brownie for their desert pretty much put me back to even with Mistress.

This morning I was told, I need to buy some oven cleaner and some latex gloves. Looks like I'm going in....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

One Thousandth and fifty seventh rule of Triathlon

We all know rule #1 of Triathlon: "Don't try anything new in a race. "

Well if there isn't a rule for the next quote, I ask it be made rule #1057: "Don't call a team mate about getting into a lottery race when you know he's on his bike."

Here is the sictch'ia'tion that involves a certain team mate that shall remain nameless, but not link-less. On Saturday said unknown teammate did not show up for a scheduled bike workout after just days earlier proclaiming loudly he entered the fall IMAZ 08 race. He lives less than half a mile from the meet up. So several of us rode over and reminiscent of a gang of boys on BMX bikes we came to a skidded halt in front of his garage sale.

Without speaking to him and addressing only his wife, we asked if her husband could come out and play and when she eagerly said "Yes." We told him he had 15 minutes to get ready and we'd be back to get him.

What ensued was a great time for 25 miles of my 60 mile ride. He rode strong. We talked and fellowshipped. When we parted, he to go home to the warmth of his house and family and I to grind out another 25 miles of Spartan like training in 45 degree weather, he knew there was another ride/run brick the following morning at 9 a.m. And that is the key to this story and this rule.

Later that night the first list of lottery names rolled down for Escape From Alcatraz. Did the unnamed team mate who made the list, realizing the incredibly step hills and difficult race come to the workout the next morning? No.

Instead what many of us got were phone calls reminiscent of tele-marketing barrages speaking of his good fortune for which I heartily congratulate. But again I was riding a route that started a half mile from his house! Do you see my point here?

And lets be honest I am a bit jealous, I didn't make the first cut and being one of elevenity-eight people that he called about making the list only made the fact he did and didn't show up for the workout, FOR THE WORST EXCUSE EVER, only served to make my brick that much better. Maybe had he used THIS product the night before he would have made the ride.

After riding 60 miles on Saturday averaging 19 mph, 93 cadence with average HR of 131; On Sunday as I got his call I was riding 40 miles with similar gusto and then capped it off with a 50 minute 10k (8:02 pace, thanks to my rabbit Jeff).

So once again, congratulations to those that I know made the first cut. I am jealous and waiting for the final list in February to see if I made it. In the meantime, I am going to train with a Fever inside me and make every workout, everyday count for my upcoming races.

Because you just never know when Preparation meets Opportunity.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Of course he's sick

Mistress called from leaving the doctors. Mo has pneumonia, ear infection, sinus infection. Of course it was hard to hear her over the growling and roaring Mo was doing doing from the back seat with his animal puppets. Even his primary doctor reports as she can't help giggling from his antics in the office and his politeness with the nurses, "He is the happiest, sickest kid I see. His lungs are so full of fluid he shouldn't be upright, let alone flirting with my staff and playing with me."

Through all his illnesses and medical expenses we truly are blessed with a boy who has the best attitude in the world. You would never ever really know how bad it is. Part of the routine this weekend is mandatory nebulizing every three hours for 72 hours. At least at this age he can hold or will wear the mask himself during the day.

After our Christmas party last night, Mistress crawled into his bed and snuggled him through a couple treatments which he mostly slept through. He cried through the first one because he legs also hurt so while Mistress helped Mo and gave him soft touches to calm him down, I held a warm water bag on his legs. Mo has growing pains which I believe are still scientifically debated but almost every mother can attest too, and he has grown two inches in the last month so that is why he will cry and say his legs hurt. He's been complaining of them off and on for a couple years. Also explains why we have had to buy him all new pants and shoes in the last month.

I had to skip a 90 min ride yesterday. Had planned on it after getting home from the dinner, yes at midnight, but after helping with Mo I just wanted to sleep. Today and tomorrow's workouts should be on track.

Tonight I was invited to a private party through my triathlon store, Tribe Multisport, to this little bar downtown. I plan on going but I still have my concussion headaches about 5 days a week in the evenings and its still a hard to drive at night with all the lights hitting my eyes. So I may not go and also to help with Mo at level in this weekend at home.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All Work and No Play...

How many times has that been used as a title? Its been a long day, 16 hours at work, not including the 3 hours in prayer and mediation and daily rituals to get out the door with the Mighty Mo before work.

Today was to be a nice LSD 12 miles, but I was lucky to find a moment to get adjusted by Jeff my training partner and chiropractor. My neck was way outta whack from hitting my head on the pool bottom the day before. It took a lot of coaxing to get it to adjust back into alignment. But other than some mild head pain and bit of a kink still in my hip, I'm doing pretty good.

Its going to be tricky to fit the run in on Thursday, my normal rest day, since I will probably still be recovering from the long previous work day and our big company parties are that night celebrating our members. But I am going to try.

I have a fancy smancy banquet to attend Friday night. I'd love to tell you I am getting an award for best blog (no link on purpose) or the Common Man of the Year Award, but I have no idea what I'm going to be doing there. My partner is putting it on for our key employees and spouses and its costing about $30,000 for 60 people and he's not telling me anything about the itinerary. I better eat well and have an open bar because I am not impressed with it just being at a 5 Star resort in trendy north Scottsdale. I lived there for five years, color me not impressed.

Since I have blown my rest day on work, yeesh, the remainder of this week is primarily bike focused. If I get in all my practices between Thursday and Sunday I will get about 130 riding miles and 20 running miles. I have already banked (or bonked depending on how you look at it), all my swims this week.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Your just not going to believe this....

I met Mistress at her office to do my swim workout. She was going to coach me on flip turns. I have been doing them off and on at my usual pool but wanted some feedback. So, go to the pro.

See watched from the side and gave me some feedback. I was nervous as I had been practicing off a five foot wall and this was only three. Plus there wasn't the usual lane lines to judge off of. After a half dozen flip turns she told me she was very impressed. When this man's wife says she is impressed with something, I feel pretty good about it. And unfortunately like most men, a little cocky.

Thats when I hit my head on the bottom of the pool doing a flip turn.

I know.

I stood up, holding the top-right of my head and feeling the impact in my jaw, neck and upper back. An immediate headache appeared.

As I look up at Mistress at the edge of the pool she flailing her arms and mid sentence yelling at me, "...not even off a starting block! You're not even using a diving board! You're the only man I know that even swimming is dangerous to your head..."

I just had to laugh. With all we have been through with these traumatic head issues, she gets to see me hit my head in a pool. She finally calls me over and inspects where I am holding my head. "Well I don't see a bump. But with you that doesn't mean anything. Are you okay?"

I felt relatively okay and decided to try some more flip turns but I never completed another. A water aerobics class took up the lanes on the other end so no lap swimming, ergo no endurance workout.

Earlier I got in a great run of 6 miles averaging an 8:20 pace so the entire day wasn't shot.

Now I have popped a couple Tylenol PM and heading to bed. Hoping to stop the headache and muscle soreness I still feel on the right side of my back and neck.

You gotta love this ride...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Something nice

The weather has turned decidedly winter like, with almost three straight days of drizzle, wind and cold. Could be Seattle almost any day of the year but this is Phoenix.

There is something to be said about a dark night, listening to the rain fall in my backyard; the air temperature being 40 degrees and my jacuzzi temperature 104 degrees. Just soaking the days troubles away.

Life's pretty okay when that happens.

Too Human

A vendor walked into my office today bearing a gift. A tray of about 80 small cookies of bakery quality, all different types and flavors. Turns out said vendor spent 28 years as a baker before starting his current business. He made all the cookies at home, put them on a decorative clear serving plate and wrapped in festive translucent wrap with streamers.

I told him I would share these with Mistress, whom he also knows well, he knows her better than me, I must admit. Upon sharing with Mistress this information of our shared blessing, she asked me to wait until we got home so she could she the gift in all its magnificent glory.

But.....I just had to try one. I mean, c'mon, who wouldn't when the thing is sitting there on your desk all big and all. It was begging me. Taunting me with its clear wrap and bright bows magnifying the lure of sugared confections.

But what of Mistress. Did not she also want to share in this Christmas bounty?

Out with a flick comes my smallest, sharpest knife. I'll make just a small incision of the wrap along the decorative tray. I would snatch a few precious snacks and use a little piece of tape to cover my deed.

Damn. These cookies are good!!!

The hole doubles in size before I am satiated, the seam carefully concealed in tape and tucked amongst the folds of clear wrapper. A right fine cloak and dagger operation I admit to myself. I also admit that the ease of my decision to secretly abscond with valuable booty would put me in an unfavorable light with The Mistress if she ever discovered my traitorous heart.

What is that? A voice in my head? No lower, in my stomach. My its late, almost lunch. I am too busy to leave right now but I should eat.

I'll cut along the same line and snatch just another couple morsels. Quite tasty those powdered ones but their all much higher on the plate now and the hole is too small. I'll make a...oops the knife slipped and the hole is much larger and jagged now. Oh well, time to fess up with an email and enjoy the sugary bliss of holiday cheer.

While I am sure I will feel some heat for this I know two things. One, I didn't lie and say they were just for me to begin with.'s not chocolate. I would never attempt to do this feat with chocolate. Taking chocolate from Mistress is a hangin' O'fence in these parts.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

That was that

To follow up on our first 'date' in many months, Mistress and I had a good night. We went to the mall where we did not eat at some giant chain restaurant but a great Mexican joint. Hit some stores and had some good conversations.

I have mentioned before that some tissue damage I got at my bike race last month has lingered around the back of my right knee. During a tough swim practice with lots of kick drills that day, it really tired the area out so we didn't wander aimlessly for hours, in fact I sat when i could.

The same night a storm came to the valley bringing lots of rain and wind and cold weather. Now look...Phoenix gets rain only a dozen days a year. Maybe only two or three that rain all night and into the morning, which is what happened this weekend. It usually a no-brainer to skip workouts on those wet mornings or go later when the roads are dry.

But I had a 60 miler on the calendar and only the morning to do it. Things went well for a while but while managing a wet turn the bike slipped out almost dumping me completely. I didn't fall but the suddenness of the correction wrenched my leg and stretched out that already deconditioned set of muscles behind my right knee.

So I rode in the cold, and the wet and my leg hurt. (I know...BIIIIIIGGGG whah, whah, whah from those north of Texas.) And my projected speed plummeted. But riding by myself allowed me to stop a few times to rub out my leg and go at my own pace.

Since getting home its been a managed care approach based on RICE. A little concerned about a ten miler run as my next training session. But it's been nice to just get some couch time after a long week.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Kind of feels like a race, at least my hearts beating fast

Life has been a whirlwind the last few years for Mistresses and I. Between the work, Mo's medical condition and the fact that he is almost five, my endurance training, all that, we really haven't gone out on a date as adults in a long, long time.

So Mo goes to grandmas for the night and we get to do...whatever. What do married couples do outside of the house without having to track a personable kid or have any other worries. Just two people who love each other and need to connect on a level that is not just shy of 4 feet tall and 50 pounds.

Kind of makes me nervous, like those mornings right before a race.

We're not young enough anymore to hit the bars and listen to bands. We don't, well I don't, dance.

Food is a given, someplace that doesn't serve fries or have a mascot would be preferred.

Movie? Maybe. We love movies but we can sit on the couch and not talk to each other when ever we want at home.

Window shop? I am not much for crowds but this is most likely how we will walk off dinner. All the decorations will be up and I haven't been in a mall in very long time. So that would be interesting.

But look. I mean, I'm not nuts. I still have a 60 mile bike scheduled for Saturday morning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Taking the Pace out of the Case

I ended a long day of work Wednesday with a concussion headache and a dead phone after dozens of texts and calls. All that was left before me was a short, easy run; 3-4 miles just to see how the legs felt after the marathon just a couple days before. I told Mistress I would call back in no more than 45 minutes, tossed the phone in the car and headed out.

It must have been the cool weather and the pretty lights because at 3 miles I was averaging less than nine minutes a mile with a low RPE and no where near my car. So I turned around. While coming up to an intersection I realized I was exactly five miles into my run and one mile from my car. Now the nice thing about suburban sprawl here is that most major intersections are exactly one straight mile apart. At night with the stoplights, its presents a perfect sight line for distance to the next intersection.

With several feet before the crosswalk and the light in my favor, I opened up the case I had kept my 'all out' in while doing Zone 2 base training and just ran as hard as I could for one mile.

At first it seemed frantic. I focused on the stoplight up ahead of me and just willed myself closer as fast as I could. I looked at the pace on my watch, it read 7:04 per mile. I surged. A few hundred yards further I looked again, my pace was 6:48. Elation. The lights looks close in the cold air but I was not fooled; I had a half mile to go. I stole another look and the pace read 6:39. Unbelievable! I had to look closely to see my heart rate on my pumping arm and it was 180 bpm. Closer. Closer. Closer I came to the lights of my finish line. 6:20 reads my pace. Pumping my arms. Clawing the ground with my forefoot like a cougar grabbing dirt as it chases its prey. The light is right there in front of me. I ran the whole sixth mile as hard as I could after finishing a marathon Sunday and already running five miles this night.

A beep on my watch signals one more mile ran and I slow myself down, peeling into an empty parking lot. My split read 6:47.

A pumped fist, a prayer to God and an impromptu jig follows as I walk to my car gasping for air. Completely satisfied. I have a long way to go and a bumpy road ahead of me, but today was just one more reason to believe in myself.

Top 100 hits

It all comes down to the next 100 days of perfect execution. That is all I have left to put deposits in my Bank of Ironman. After that is a couple key workouts and then one big withdrawal for Arizona.

Two winters ago I wrote about The Fever. Last winter I wrote about my success at Florida. This year I write about Belief. I believe I can do my best at this race if I do not take for granted the opportunities I have been given in this life and the preparation I have given myself. If I don't distract myself or delude myself I know that I am capable of more than I have seen.

There are many obstacles in my way. I have no illusions of my limiters and liabilities. But I also know the untapped potential in me. All it takes is one day at a time of quality effort and focus totaling 100 days in all.

As I have written before, Arizona is a funny place. While the rest of the country is enjoying their winters and off-seasons, I will be running 15-20 miles at a pop and riding outdoor century's every other weekend it will seem. I have never been more prepared for as much load as I will be handling. I believe in myself and I believe in my mentors and I believe, I believe, I BELIEVE, that this race will be much different that the others.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Race Report #2 2008: Tucson Marathon 2007

Sometimes a race is more important than a finishing medal.

Part of my desire to make my first two races of the 2008 season non-competitive, is because I felt that I had to reconnect with the heart of endurance sport. I spent so much time training for Ironmans and PR's that it became all about me. All about me beating the clock and beating my team mates and others on the course.

John (an Ironman), Dan (an Ironman) and myself, all traveled to Tucson for John to PR the marathon. Dan drove all the over from San Diego.

John is a capable swimmer and cyclist, yet he falls apart on the run. In fact he doesn't run. At his Ironman he calculated exactly what pace he had to walk to finish before midnight and did exactly that, with the best attitude I saw the entire time on the course. So he has been training, through some pretty scary physical issues, to at some point PR the marathon distance. The Tucson marathon with its mostly downhill course provided the right impetuous for him. Dan and I signed on as his personal race support on the course.

The expo was small but fun. I love expos. But I left mostly empty hand because the PF Chang expo is massive and in just a few weeks. I met some locals that had also came down which always makes the time more fun. Later that night at Olive Garden I saw even more locals and it was like a dinner party. Triathletes for the most part are such fun loving people that when all they have to do is one of the three events, its very lighthearted.

The day started with freezingly could temps. At least to me. I have I must admit become a wuss for cold weather. I love cold inclimate weather but the prospect of standing in it for 90 minutes in just running shorts and tee-shirt before a race...forget it. So I wore three layers of clothing. The top most layer being a set of sweats that were tossed for donation after serving their purpose.

John was adamant about a 2:1 run/walk pace and started it immediately. Right off the bat because this is a small race, the three of us were in the very back.

Dan and I have met in the past, many times, but really bonded over the weekend. Great guy. Being Johns brother he was able to bring a level of motivation that I could not. He promised us a funny joke that he would tell us 500 times. Well he may have only said it 100 times but because he kept changing the punchline and after all the hours out there, it never got boring.

By 13.1 miles, John was in poor shape. We had moved off the 2:1 program for "small victory's", running to signs and landmarks ahead then walking a spell. There was wobble in the walk, pain in the knees, lots of sweating. But we kept him motivated and hydrated. To Johns immense credit he never once voiced negative concerns or said he wanted to stop. He took to heart my personal mantra of, "Ever Forward". Not once did he stop unless it was to perform some sort of maintenance such as stripping off layers of clothing or apply a bandaid or Vaseline to hot spots and never for long. Dan and I were able to run ahead to aid stations to fill bottles, we also took turns up front setting the pace or staying back to talk John through the effort.

He had a great streak between miles 14 and 20. He never failed to complete whatever distance we laid before him. At mile 18 the we saw the only spectators we had seen in hours. Dan ran blindly forward to thank them for their enthusiasm and patience as he had with all volunteers and spectators this day. As we got closer I realized they were friends. Tony and his finance must have waited a long time for us. Tony is a member of AZTRICLUB. John was quite moved by this selfless act. God I love this sport.

By 20 miles however, the grime reality was that we were not going to make the six hour race cut off in time. Undeterred we moved ever forward. The volunteers had long abandoned their stations but all the fluids remained. An oasis in the desert. But all thing must come to an end and the cones were all picked up and traffic reopened so for several miles we were forced to run on sidewalks and dirt paths.

When we finally got to the finish line, or the proximity of the finish line, we were warmly greeted by those that remained, had our chips removed and even received medals for our effort. How unexpected!! We were showered with iced drinks and remaining food, actually leaving with boxes of unopened finish line food.

I must say that I felt great. Though I had the expected soreness of being on my feet for that long, I had no blisters, no pains, no hot spots that I didn't already have before the race. The longest marathon I have ever run and maybe, quite possibly the most fun I have had in race. I was able to thank every single volunteer, support person and spectator. It was the final filling of my humble cup before the looming race season gets into full swing. I sought to learn the humility that one needs before undertaking the Heroes Journey described by Joesph Campbell and in my last two events I did exactly that.

In the end, the marathon ended the the only way the three of us knew it would. Three friends, Ironman's all, tucking into big plates of food and tall beers rehashing a long day of running with some laughing, some joshing and one last telling of a long tired joke.

Oh yeah, John PR'd the marathon by 40 minutes.