Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Planning on Princeton

I recently realized my mojo is coming back and seem to be spin classing up a storm. I signed up for the Princeton 70.3 next September and am planning a race season around doing well at that venue. Even thinking about signing up for a known non-wetsuit swim race so you know the crazy is beginning.

Have a lot of work to do but I'm heading in the right direction.  Will blog soon. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What are you?

I was in the bookstore (rare, but they still exist) this morning and I overheard the clerk ask a customer, "are you an artist?" I wondered how I would answer that question if it was posed to me.

On one hand, I ceilinged out in the visual arts at either finger painting or perhaps paint by numbers. But considering yourself an artist goes beyond an ability to color inside the lines. I think this question is a flavor of not what you do but what you are. It is an interesting question to ask of yourself. If I don't consider myself an artist, what would I then consider myself as? My first thought is that it shouldn't be that hard to answer but it is. I haven't gotten to a conclusion yet.

But back to the customer and the clerk's question. The customer answered the question, "of course." I think that is perfectly artistic.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Trigger for Motivation

Last Sunday was the NYC Marathon and I watched most of it on television.While I've signed up a few times, I never raced a marathon (I don't count the walk that I did at the end of my ironman two years ago as a marathon). Based on last year's marathon being cancelled due to Sandy and my having been registered for it, I do have the option to get in to the 2014 version.

On Monday I flew to Dallas for business. The plane was full of marathoners heading home. Many were wearing finishers clothing with more than a few wearing their medals. The restaurants at the Newark Airport were even offering 25% off for marathoners with their medal. I saw people limping, challenged by getting out of chairs, looking at stairs as an impossible challenge, and sharing their stories. Mostly, I saw they were proud of what they did.

I was, in contrast, sad. I saw a brotherhood that I used to belong to. I was carrying an Ironman branded bag as a carry-on and felt like a poser or perhaps an intruder into their celebration. It now has been two years since I've raced a triathlon. I remembered flying back from Panama City not being able to walk, wearing my finisher jacket, constantly touching the medal around my neck, and being proud.

What does this all mean? I thought about signing up for IMFL2014 while watching the marathon but decided against it. It wasn't a priority. I do have the option for NYCM26.2 so I will need to make that decision in a few months. I want to be in a position where that will be a priority when that decision needs to be made.

Now that I haven't done any real racing in a while what I did do in the past has become more important to me. Does that make any sense? It wouldn't have to me a while ago but it does now. I need to get from the reverence stage to the hungry for more stage. I think that is mostly mental.

Hoping this plane ride and the feeling I had will lead me to the right motivation.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Graduations and racing

I finally decided that IMAZ in 2014 was a fantasy for me completely due to my lack of focus and training so I decided to ask for the token $150 refund. About the same time I started thinking about registering for the inaugural Challenge Family Atlantic City Full since it looks like a great race for me.

My mind went into hyperdrive. I'm in such bad shape now that doing a full next June would be a reach. A better choice would to do a HIM instead or an Oly to get back into the race game. I looked at the date and saw that Rev3Quassy (a course I hate anyway) was probably a little late for a shake out half but found that Bassman the first week or so in May could work nice. I could do the Memorial Day Fireman Ironman camp at Placid, mix in a little NY Fondo (a ride I hate too), a Montauk Century training ride, and everything was coming together. I even started looking at the race fees but then realized something.

The date of the Challenge Family 2014 Atlantic City race is the same date as my daughter's high school graduation.

Now, I am not a fan of graduations. I didn't like when I graduated years ago and my mother made me go by threatening to kick me out of the house if I didn't participate. There was no chance of me going to my MBA graduation. If I decide to go back to school now, I wouldn't dream of going to a graduation ceremony. I think kids now celebrate many minuscule milestones unnecessarily but finishing HS is a real accomplishment and worthy of recognition. It would be hard to sneak out and race this race during intermission or something so the 2014 version was out. Luckily I realized this before sending in all the money.

My  younger daughter will graduate in 2016 so that year would probably be out too. But 2015 is looking good. It gives me a chance to get in shape in 2014 and go for it in 2015.

I told my wife the plan and she said that could work. She did say it would be a good idea to actually race a race that I've registered for. That means training and everything, not just sending in the money.

Time to give that plan a chance. What a novel idea.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Purposeful cycling

As I am transitioning from slug to an out-of-shape athlete wannabe, I'm actually doing a lot of the workouts prescribed by my coach (all will come soon). One of the workouts that I did do last weekend involved bike intervals outside intervals on a flat course. It called for a set of 5x5 minute harder sessions interspersed with other sections that I viewed as just cruising as recovery. I thought I nailed the power targets during the harder bits but got an email after I posted my workout from my coach which said:

"Are you pedaling then briefly coasting frequently or is your power dropping to zero a problem with your power meter?" 

Busted. I answered truthfully that I was pedaling then coasting as I watched the scenery go by. His response was:

"More pedaling and less coasting next time please :)"

This made me think about what I was actually doing and why. There is riding and there is training - they are not necessarily the same thing. I was riding when I should have been training. I did this ride on a 4 mile loop that I went around a bunch of times. Yes, I could have checked out the scenery during my warm up lap or in my cool down but when it was time to train I should have been riding with a purpose. I will claim the invention of the term "purposeful cycling."

This week's plan was posted and includes a similar workout, extended a little longer with the comment "try not to coast." I am sure my mindset will be dialed in to purposeful cycling mode. I'm sure that'll make him happy and soon will become the norm. 

Just like it was before.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Things I remembered I missed while riding my bike.

This morning I was delaying going on my ride, inventing fake reasons why I would do it later. Yesterday I did the same thing but I delayed it to the point where I never did it at all. I didn't want that to happen again so I decided to just get on my bike and ride around the neighborhood for a while. I didn't want to get too far away from my house as one of the reasons that I was inventing ("it was going to rain") was actually based in fact.

During this ride I realized there were a whole bunch of things that I missed while riding. Thought I'd jot a few down and read this when I find myself procrastinating yet again.

Good things:

  • Fresh asphalt.
  • Cue markings for bike rides that were done before.
  • Passing one of those portable speed sensors that say speed limit/your speed and it shows you are going faster than you think.
  • The head nod given and received for/by riders going in the opposite direction.
  • Riding a road that you never had ridden before.
  • Climbing a hill as others bomb down it going the other way. 
  • Having people working on their lawn say good morning as you ride by.
  • The sound of a woodpecker.
  • Thinking of quotes from Caddyshack as you ride past a golf course.
  • Church bells.
  • Not getting rained on even though the ground is wet during parts of your ride.
Bad things:
  • Broken beer bottles on the side of the road. The people that put them there should be mandated to drink only crappy canned beer for life.
  • Old people cutting you off with their car, oblivious to their surroundings.
  • Pot holes.
  • The smell of road kill.
  • Riding over an acorn and having it shoot out at a speed which approaches the sound barrier.
  • Dogs barking from inside a car that passes you.
  • Puddles.
  • Leaves and twigs while on a road bike (note this goes to the good thing category on a mountain or cross bike).
To be categorized things:
  • The sting of sweat dropping into your eye.

Got any to add?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The art of not racing

Last weekend was my local tri, the Runner's Edge TOBAY (Town of Oyster Bay) sprint. I sign up for this race every year but haven't done it for various reasons for a few years. This year the various reason was that I have done close to no training except getting fat. My 17 yo daughter has had good history here. She won the all female relay division with 2 friends 2 years ago along then last year did the whole tri herself and came in 4th AG. She actually trained this year so we were going to the race site, spectating and cheering her on.

The day before the race I had a silly idea. My workout that day was supposed to be a swim. What would happen, I thought, if I swam with my wave and then call it a day? It wasn't technically banditing because I paid the registration fee. My coach thought it a good idea so I packed up my wetsuit and goggles as we left at 5:30AM.

I found it is hard to get into transition the morning of a tri (athletes only) without a bike. I quickly said that I was part of a relay and they let me in. I got my packet and got body marked. I went to where my daughter was setting up her transition and she shooed me away. Her game face was on.

Since I had a number and was body marked, I could go anywhere. I went down to the water and this was the first tri that I ever felt the buoys looked short. I looked out at the bay and realized that I wasn't ready for this swim. I decided then and there to bail.

I helped my daughter get into her wetsuit and walked down to the water with her inside the ropes. The waves were going off and I had a tinge of a second thought but realized only bad things could happen to me. In retrospect, I made the right choice.

My daughter crushed this race. She took time off her swim and bike from last year. Her Garmin said the run was long but even so she took 3rd AG! We had to wait around for hardware. I found that my body markings got me free food from the barbecue and free beer from the beer truck. This is the true art of not racing.

When we got home she was asking about signing up and doing an Oly in a few weeks. She has 2 sprints under her belt so I tried to talk her down from the tri addiction. I was successful with her but then started looking for an end of year sprint, perhaps Cedar Beach, for me to race. It might be a reach as I may not be ready but it is something to keep in mind. She won't be able to race it because XC season invitationals will be that weekend.

Maybe I could transition the art of not racing into the art of racing. Wouldn't that be interesting?

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I was planning on riding the TOBAY Runner's Edge bike course this morning with my daughter as a preview to the race next week (although registered I'm not racing). I got up and when I loaded the bikes on the car to drive to the start I noticed that my daughter's bike (stolen from my wife) had a flat. It had a flat the last time we rode. Since she IS racing next week, I decided to put new rubber on her bike and teach her to change a flat - just in case.

I did the back wheel and she did the front. We started the ride. About a half mile in we heard the sound of one her tires going flat. PSSSSSSSST. We stopped and it was the front  (I had a quick sigh of relief that it wasn't the tire I changed). We changed it again and rode the course.

A big problem for me on today's ride was that my daughter, being 17 years old and starting her XC season next week, is generally in shape. I, in contrast, am not, not even generally. She rode it. I slogged through it walking up one of the hills. It wasn't pretty for me.

But there were a few good signs with my ride amid the mess. One, I am now following the plan of my coach. Looking at TrainingPeaks made me realize that he actually thinks I'm not a mere shell of what my fitness was in the past. He'll learn once he sees the data. The normal of the aches and pains of training, even though it has only been a couple of days, are oddly good. Two, I was in the SF Bay area for the last week or so and didn't gain any significant weight. In past trips that would be good for a 5-10 pound gain. Three, I have a baseline on how far up that damn hill I got so next time there will be a gage to measure improvement.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A noble effort.

This week I was thinking about the upcoming events that I signed up for which I have not trained for and subsequently have no realistic hope of doing well. I have 4 events that fall into this bucket: a local sprint tri near the end of August, a local half marathon near the end of September, IMAZ in November, and the Disney Half Marathon in January 2014. All except IMAZ I could slog through and finish but what would be the point? I've proven multiple times that I can slog through an event without training. It ain't pretty.

But then I thought again, specifically focusing on Disney. My daughter will be racing. Last year she just missed her goal to finish sub 2:00 and this year she wants go well under that time. I will be there no matter what. Last year when we did the same dance I walked the whole thing. I did finish. I wasn't last but was close to it. I wasn't swept. I got the medal. On one hand that can be viewed as a success. On the other hand, a failure. Then the epiphany hit me: what would it take to not consider the 2014 flavor of Disney a failure?

A noble effort.

To me a noble effort doesn't mean a specific finishing time. It doesn't mean a specific finishing place. It does mean trying to do my best given my current fitness and body composition state. It does mean training for the race. It does mean getting the scale heading down and not up or sideways. It does mean prioritizing with everything else going on.

So I called my coach and bounced this Disney idea off him. He hasn't been coaching me for a while since when I realized that I wasn't doing the workouts. He only coaches a limited number of athletes at a time to make sure he can provide the necessary individualized coaching but he said that he would make room for me given our history and prior success. He is crafting a plan that will really be a triathlete centric plan with enough of a running bias to race the half Mary. A problem is that I'm starting at close to zero in fitness.

More of an issue is my weight. This is my biggest limiter and I need to address this not for the half Mary, although losing weight will help tremendously, but for life in general. This morning I joined Weight Watchers. My weight on their scale was the highest I've ever measured. Some of it had to be that I was on vacation last week and didn't limit what I ate in any manner. More of it is that I'm just plain ole fat. Weight Watchers will be tough with my upcoming travel but I'd rather give it a shot and come close as compared to not giving it a shot and continuing on my destructive trajectory. I had a choice to go today or wait a couple of weeks when the workouts begin. I chose today.

I realize that doing this will get me in a better place than not doing this but it requires a noble effort. Talking about this or writing about this or dreaming about this means nothing without actually doing it.

So I'm doing something. Let's see how long I can keep doing it. Wish me well.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You Versus - a non racer perspective of IMLP

Last weekend I was up in Lake Placid cheering on a bunch of friends who were racing IMLP.  Everyone I know had a great day so congrats are in order. It was a great weekend and got me thinking about a lot of things. First, some back story.

I know Mel, the IMLP security volunteer captain. I think she is a saint and has been doing this thankless job for years. I had helped out in past Ironman races and the week before the race Mel and I showed up for the same group ride with TNT. Most people sign up to be ironman volunteers well in advance because they are looking for the golden ticket or fast track to register to race for the following year. In contrast, I am a pure volunteer as I have no desire to cash in that golden ticket and ever sign up for IMLP.  I have volunteered with Mel in the past so I knew what I'd be in for and I am thankful for when people volunteer in the races that I do race. I mentioned to her that my daughter wanted to come up and we might be able to help out. Mel told me the logistics and I told her I'd let her know either way.

My daughter and I left home on Thursday night as we had college tours scheduled for Friday. After work, I put the bikes on the back of the car and we drove 5 hours to get to Hanover, NH. We got there late, unpacked the car, and slept in at the local Comfort Inn. The next day after the tour, we put Lake Placid in the GPS and confirmed that the route was mostly 2 lane back roads. Off we went.

In the middle of Vermont near Killington, an engine light went on. Our car is 9 months old with just about 15k miles on it. This should not happen. The warning messages were to keep the car under 4000rpm and find a dealer ASAP. One of the challenges of being in the middle of nowhere is the lack of internet. We ultimately found an Audi dealer in Rutland, VT about 20 minutes ahead and pulled in there about 4:45PM. They said they could take a look.

The said the computer was erroring on the lane warning system. This system is designed so that when the driver starts weaving out of the lane like if sleepy, an alarm should sound. They conjectured that the bike rack was confusing it, reset the code, recommended to ignore it should it happen again but ultimately mention it to our home dealer. An hour later and no charge we were back on the road.

Of course it alarmed again about 20 minutes later. We ignored it but we couldn't ignore that we were getting hungry. Unfortunately, the little podunk towns that were were passing through had no restaurants. When a town is proud of a population of 266 the likelihood of a good place to eat, besides a campground, is slim. We surmised that the closest point of civilization was Placid itself so we short cutted over to the Tail o' the Pup for some serious barbecue.

Tail o' the Pup has been there since perhaps the beginning of civilization. It is a stop on the side of the road with good food, a band playing and picnic tables to eat on. We ordered and my daughter stepped away to go to the ladies room and I didn't realize that this removed the counterweight to me sitting on the other side of the table. When I picked up my beer and leaned back to take a sip, the table went over! I found myself on my back, the table on me, but most of the beer saved. Thankfully we didn't have our dinner served yet. They helped me up and mentioned that this happened all the time. I had road rash on my elbow from dinner! Oh, goody.

There is a new Hampton Inn in Lake Placid where I made a reservation. It was only open two weeks but they didn't require the typical 5 day minimum. It was expensive but had a great location on the run and bike course and overlooked the swim start. We were meeting some of the boys for a shake down ride at 730 so called it an early night.

We did the casual ride with them. Their nerves were sharpening so we told them ass down/feet up and headed back to our hotel. One of the iconic parts of the IMLP bike course are the 3 bears. The bears are small stinger hills near the end of the loop. My daughter wanted to ride the bears (she never had before) so we extended our ride by biking the run course and then short cutting up and over the bears. She liked that someone marked the road with "mama bear," "baby bear" and "papa bear" and  commented that the bears themselves weren't that bad and she had ridden worse hills herself. I explained the magic word of context of these coming about 108 miles in. As an endurance athlete herself, she got it.

We went to the volunteer meeting and Mel asked us to help out at Swim Security starting at 530AM. This is what I wanted as it would get us to places where the general public couldn't go (like right next to the water). We were keeping people out of the way of the races. I caught some coming down the chute but missed many too. We ran around all day. We were out at the bears, we were in town, we were at some of the hills on the run. This spectating thing is tiring. We went to the finish line and saw some of my friends finish. The last of my friends went by the 24 mile mark walking about 10:15. They were hurting but we knew that they would finish. We left to join my wife and other daughter who were at a resort about a 3 hour drive away. We got there a little after 2AM.

My coach wasn't at Placid this year but I offered to be his eyes and ears for some of his athletes. We were talking a lot (when the really poor cell phone coverage permitted it). During one of the talks he asked if this was helping inspire me to get back at it. I didn't answer then.

The weather turned cold near the end of the race so I put on my IMFL finisher jacket. Lots of people I know and train with were saying that they are scheduling racing IMLP in 2015. This course is completely the wrong race for me and luckily I know it. No signing up for 2014 for me.

What did get me thinking was that along the run course someone put up a bunch of small signs. They said things like "You vs. last year" or "You vs. Statistics" and thinks like that. One of them said "You vs. next year" and that did impact me. My mantra when I raced IMFL was "You vs. You." I kept saying that all through the end of my training. I realized that I could start with my coach but if I didn't follow his plan and advice, I would just be throwing money away and getting more frustrated.

I also realized that I am in no shape to attempt an ironman in 2014. I need to lose too much weight for that to be even possible. I'm still seeing doctors to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with me but am going to start training with the goal of getting my body composition under control (Note that Lake Placid on Iron Weekend is NOT the place to go if you have body composition concerns - everyone there that weekend does). This is all "Me vs. Me" I don't need an Ironman to validate myself - I've done that already. But I do want to put myself into a position to choose to do it or not. I don't have that choice now but do what it takes to have that choice in the futures.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Clothing Cleanse

Most of the morning I spent going through each of my drawers and trying on all the clothes to make sure they fit. I was sorting them into 3 "groupings:" 1) stuff that fit (depressing since it was so little due to my fatness) ; 2) stuff that should go to charity; and finally 3) clothes that had a connection but do not fit anymore. The frightening point is that even though I have 4 bags of clothes designated for charity I still have plenty of clothes to wear.

I have yet attack the closet but that's on the plan. I also have the garage to attack but that has a real deadline as our garage door recently broke. The estimate to fix it is about the same to replace it. It is almost 20 years old so I think we got our money out of it. The downside is that they said we need to move all my bicycle stuff so that they can do the replacement. I think I may have more bicycle stuff than every day clothes, even after the cleanse.

This reminds me of the saying regarding spin class denizens. When you see them in real life the thought comes to mind of "I don't recognize you with your clothes on." You know what that means but it when said out loud it can mean something unintended to many.

Do you have too many clothes? How often do you cleanse?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The weekend in review

After my whining post from the the other day (link omitted on purpose), here's what actually happened at Lake Placid in Fireman Ironman:

  • I wanted to swim on Friday night in Mirror Lake and I did. I brought all 3 of my wetsuits hoping one would fit. I was fairly sure my sleeveless would fit as I bought it when I was first getting into triathlons (read when I was fat) but I first tried on my sleeved wetsuit because the water was rumored to be in the high 60s. IT FIT! Hurray for minor miracles. A bunch of LITC/TRE folks and Mandy from the Internet jumped into the lake and we were off. I swam a total of about 25 minutes and declared success even though I crashed into a stranger in the middle of the lake (that always seems to happen to me). I had some aches in my shoulder/pec/ribs that I was hoping not to have so I need see a doctor after I figure out what kind of doctor to see.
  • The next morning was to be the long ride. Most of the people who were dry-running IMLP were in for two laps. I originally hoped for one lap but struggled with my fitness from the get go. I decided to bail early, invented a very short cut, climbed the bears, and went to take a nap. All in about a 90 minute ride but I declared it a FAIL. I had lots of aches and no power nor fitness. No training with less hills will do that to you.
  • Instead of eating a rubber chicken at the Fireman Ironman talk my friends convinced me to join them for a steak. We saw the 32oz Prime Rib called the Algonquin that was calling our names. I ordered one and didn't finish it. This steak was about 3" think! Call it a push.
  • Sunday morning I was up early and although it wasn't raining it was very wet outside. I decided to run instead of ride through the puddles. One lap around Mirror Lake according to the Couch Potato was perfect to end the workout portion of the day. WIN.
Then I packed my stuff, ate some breakfast and hit the road back to civilization. Traffic cooperated but overall I hoped for more this weekend. The good news is that I came up with a plan. Stay tuned as the plan will be revealed over the next few weeks as I execute the steps.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I don't know a f****n' thing.

On my way up to Lake Placid today I was alone in the car driving for about 6 hours. Although there were periods of singing along (in key, of course) to the songs on the radio and that singing was loud, it did give me time to thing without a lot of distractions. The net of this soul searching was the title of this blog entry.

But Rock Star, you know stuff. Most of it is useless but there is a gem often hidden in the muck, right? You've done all sorts of events, coached people in endurance sports, got certifications and licenses, have hundreds of people working for you in real life, you have patents, you even worked on the Space Shuttle back in the day you real life rocket scientist. You must know some thing even if it is simply how to wipe your own ass.

If I knew anything why would I have gone up to Placid without being properly trained? Because I rationalized it. I convinced myself that I knew something and there are exceptions to the rule and because I did it before I should be able to do it again and, and, and, (you get the picture).

In summary, I've been listened to the voice in my head. That voice, I determined during my drive, knows nothing. It doesn't know when things are going good or when things are going bad. It keeps telling me not to train because there is plenty of time to make the training up but there isn't. When something hurts it convinces me to shut it down so I don't get injured rather than having confidence to tough it out. It rationalizes the amount of food that I eat and tells me that in spite of all evidence to the contrary I'll be about to lose a gazillion pounds almost instantaneously. All wrong.

So, what to do?

I'm here in Placid looking at Mirror Lake. I've brought all my stuff even though I doubt my wetsuit will fit. The bipolar voice in my head keeps telling me that I will amazingly gain all the fitness necessary to be amazing but then it changes its tune rather quickly and rather often. The new tune is a variation on a requiem.

I originally went into this weekend with the plan of swimming a lap (1.2 miles), biking at least a lap 56 miles on Saturday and see if Sunday mixes in a run or a swim or another shorter bike ride before the drive home. My new plan is that I'm going to try a bunch of stuff and see how it goes.

What that stuff winds up being will determine if I should listen to myself or perhaps revalidate the need for a coach to be that voice. Either way, the weekend will have value.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


There are times where I feel I am smarter than most. There is a cause for this and a cure for this. The cause, besides ego, for me is often when I find myself surrounded by idiots. My cure is to surround myself with people who are, ahem, actually smart. The crux of this problem is figuring out who is actually smart when everyone is an idiot. Everyone.

I used to consider myself really smart. Not valedictorian smart like my wife was before I met her but more of the lazy flavor of smart. I got decent grades in school without much effort. I was able to be successful in technology stuff not by working so hard but by it just making sense to me. I was reminded that I still am fairly smart in that area as I gave a talk yesterday where the audience (yes there was an audience) lined up after my talk to continue the conversation and actually pay attention to my ramblings. In other parts of my life, though, I feel I'm more of the lazy flavor of dumb than the lazy flavor of smart. Lazy comes from the training that I should be doing but am not. Why not? Dumb not.

I'm not training like I should be and I think a cure for that would be to surround myself with people who are training like I should be. The catch, not 22 but there is always one, is that most people do not train like I do. I'm slower than most. I'm definitely fatter than most. But I can do what I can do.

Next weekend I've setup the whole weekend of training already in Placid. This weekend, with the seemingly monsoon like rains we've been experiencing, I'm planning on riding Saturday and some sort of run on Sunday. (I am breaking a cardinal rule of blogging here by talking about what I am going to do versus what I have done but I'm already on the dumb way to hell so what's the risk?)  Any smart people want to join me?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Indications of training.

Tonight I swam. Like in a pool and everything. It wasn't a long swim, only 30 minutes and about 1000 yards, but it was a swim and I'm hoping this could be the beginning of a "thing."

Earlier today I decided to go to the Fireman Ironman training camp in Lake Placid in just a few weeks. I'm expecting that I'll be able to swim a loop of the IMLP course on that Friday, bike a loop and perhaps a little more on Saturday, and finish up with weekend with a short run on Sunday after I swim another loop in Mirror Lake.

I think I learned my lesson last weekend. I won't be able to swim 1.2 miles without some swimming beforehand. So, why not try some actual training? There still could be issues with fitting into the wetsuit but that's a worry for another day.

I also ate healthy-ish today and wrote down everything I ate. If I keep this up a little more it might mean that I really am training.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Ride to Montauk (in bullets)

  • I haven't done a lot of training this year
  • The last I was on a bike was 3 weeks ago.
  • Longest ride this year has been 50 miles. 
  • Somehow I didn't think this would be an issue.
  • This ride had 73 and 109 mile choices.
  • I chose 109. Should have chosen 73.
  • Summer decided to start this week with temps breaking 90 on Thursday and Friday.
  • Saturday was supposed to be not as hot.
  • Woke up without a cloud in the sky.
  • Up at 5am to met the TNT LI cycle group for a 6am departure. 
  • In typical TNT timing, actually left at 7:15.
  • Serious cross wind and sun beating down. Getting hot early.
  • Realized I missed some key spots with sun tan lotion.
  • First 30 miles was great. Rest of the ride less so.
  • Didn't have any endurance (surprise!) but kept going.
  • Lots of aches and pains since I wasn't used to being in the saddle this long.
  • At the 3rd rest stop (76 mikes) decided to get in a SAGmobile to the end rather than slog it in. Could have finished with a high physical cost.
  • Still think this was a wise choice.
  • Waiting too long for the stragglers so got on the bike and rode the last 6+ miles.
  • All in, 82 miles.
  • Fairly happy with the 82.
  • Realized, though, I have to actually train. Can't wing it any more.
  • Had only one free beer at the end.
  • Enjoyed scamming a way to ship my bike back to civilization.
  • Not feeling so bad today (the day after).
  • Looking for more rides to do better.
  • Think I'll do the FiremanIronman training camp. One issue is that I'm swimming less than riding.
  • There is an obvious solution to that. Just need to do it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Quote of the Day.

"And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me." -Lee Greenwood

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The trash can incident.

One of my garbage cans broke. I found it split down the side. I am blaming it on raccoons since I think they try to knock the cans over and hop on them to get to the feast (at least from a raccoon perspective) inside. The net of this incident was that I needed to buy a new can.

I didn't think that buying a can would be an issue but was more concerned with how to throw out a garbage can. People were recommending to leave a note on it, to put it in the back of the car and find a dumpster to dump it in or to just tip our garbage men to take it away. The problem is that we are the first stop for our garbage men in the morning and that means that they often are at our house before 5am so talking to them (or tipping them) would be a challenge. Our garbage men are good and take almost everything in the almost 20 years we've lived in this house.

While thinking of my approach on broken can disposal, I went to the local Lowe's where they had quite a selection of new cans. I chose a nice wheeled can that had a rather solid cover (to frustrate those pesky critters to the point where they'll go somewhere else for midnight snacks). I got two of the larger cans to minimize the schlepping. I've had an issue in the past where we've "lost" the top of the cans so I got some spray paint and painted our address on the cans.

The other morning I needed to go to work early so was leaving the house about quarter to five and heard the garbage truck. I grabbed the broken can and walked down to the street to give it to them. I said good morning and they said that there was a problem with the new cans. They were too big per the guys. They said that the town passed a law a while back that said the maximum size can be 32 gallons. Our old cans were bigger than that but they said they were grandfathered in so they kept taking the garbage. They said that they wouldn't take the garbage in the new 45 gallon cans. I mentioned that facts like this would have been nice to know BEFORE I brought new cans and asked why would the store sell cans that couldn't be used? They, of course, couldn't answer that. They did take the broken can.

I mentioned before that these guys have been great over the years. I checked the town code and it does say 32 gallons or 50 lbs. max. I can't return the cans because my address is spray painted in them. I can understand the rationale if some people loaded up these cans to the brim they could be extremely heavy and that isn't really fair to the guys who have to lift them.  I'm not blaming the guys. I'm blaming mysef a little but I'm more upset at the store for not simply putting a sign up with the regulations.

Now I have 2 new cans that I can't use, have to buy 2 new ones and do this all again. $80 down the drain. An expensive lesson. I'm sure I won't be the only one learning this lesson though.

Do you throw out new unusable garbage cans?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Not doing and doing stuff.

I took off Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from work this week. I did not go away. I did not have a race-cation. I did not go looking at colleges for my daughter. I took off simply to help improve my mindset. I tried to avoid work as much as possible and I set some lofty goals to sleep in, do as much or as little as I felt, and to think about my personal goals for this year and beyond related to weight loss plans and racing. I think I met those goals. Of course, every time I put on the TV it appeared that "Office Space" was on and that kept me thinking of work.

The good news about this effort is that I came to some conclusions. Most of the conclusions have to do with desire and focus. I can still have a successful year but I need to prioritize and get to work. I've decided not to cancel on IMAZ. I have a couple of other training events that will act as checkpoints to see if I'm progressing. I remembered that this stuff should be fun. We get to do it - we don't have to.

I've decided to start the C25K as "Couch" is a good description of my running fitness at this time. My fitness level will change. It will improve. I still have the chance to do great stuff or at least damn good.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chris Christie and another fat guy.

News reported last week that Gov. Chris Christie had lap band surgery last February. Dr. George Fielding of the NYU Langone Medical Center did the surgery. Since the operation it was reported that the governor has lost about 40 pounds. He has not said how much he weighed when the surgery was performed but estimates were that he was somewhere between 300 and 350 pounds.

The picture on the left was from when the he was on the Letterman show recently. I haven't seen any post surgery pictures of Gov. Christie but when I look at pictures of him from before his surgery I see someone who I consider fat. I'm sure that everyone has a different gage as to what is fat versus what is not fat but I rationalize it as someone who is much fatter than I am (at least through my eyes).

Objectively, though, I am in the same weight range as Gov. Christie. I don't think I'm as fat as he is but I guess I am. I'm not proud of this but facts are facts.

I haven't been training as much as I did in the past for a whole bunch of reasons. Am I getting fatter since I'm training less or am I training less because I'm gaining weight? I don't know. There will come a point in my life where I will not be able to train the volume that I have in the past. That point may in fact be now.

Before this news came out, I made an appointment and saw Dr. Fielding to talk about weight loss and weight loss surgery options. He is very persuasive and lays out a very well thought out rationale. One of his points is that you rarely see fat old people. Why? Because they all die before they can get old. I also know a lot of people that have successfully lost weight after a heart attack or stroke or something like that. The choice is to lose it now and avoid that potentially life ending event or not. My weight is high enough to qualify for the surgery.

I haven't decided what to do yet.

I did realize some things though. The bariatric folks are into meal replacement drinks and gave me a list of those that they recommend as healthy (you would be amazed how they differ nutritionally). I'm trying them to see if I can tolerate them by starting to have them for breakfast and will continue down the list for taste and other stuff.

Gov. Christie said that he is now working with a personal trainer 4x a week. I looked at what is preventing me from training (I know what to do) and found it is all about priority. I seem to find things (normally not significant things) that I do instead of training. There are ways to solve that problem.

I'll try this and watch what I eat. Maybe then I'll be less of a fat guy. I need to. It will be either one way or another.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wind and cold or sausages?

I haven't been following a structured training plan in a while. This fact does not bode well for my 2013 race calendar but I need it that now for my sanity and future. The net of this is that I am not training more than I am training but when I train my primary goal is to have fun rather than increase fitness or test or to generally embrace "the suck" or (you get the idea).

This morning I decided to ride with the TNT group out east. They had 3 routes on the docket: a 25 miler, a 42 miler, and a 73 miler. The team is gearing up for a century ride on June 1, just a few weeks away, and I expect to be joining them. My training is not where it needs to be but I believe I can fake it through a century. A better way to say that, though, is that I've faked a century before, survived, and didn't pay too high of a recovery price. At least that's how I remember it.

The weather yesterday was beautiful here. The high temperature was about 70 degrees and it was a perfect day. Unfortunately, the ride was today. I woke up and it was 39 degrees and the wind was whipping. My daughter's track team was volunteering at the local marathon/half marathon so I needed to leave the house anyway to drop her off.  The cool weather was good for the runners but I decided to not mess with the cycling gods. I knew if I wore tights, it would get warm, so I wore shorts. I did wear a windbreaker but didn't bring full finger winter gloves.

When I met the people for the ride it seems like some of them were dressing for Shackelton's Antarctic expedition. People were looking for reasons to bail and I knew if one person bailed, there would be a stampede to the diner. I started whispering the work "sausages" while people were pumping up their tires. The wind seemed it was howling. The sky was getting darker. I decided to do the 42 miler route and see what the weather looked like and how I felt. The groups left.

We pushed the pace a little harder that was comfortable for me. I really can't complain since for a lot of the ride I was setting the pace. I kept asking, dare I say begging, for the group to drop me so I could bail and turn around to head back to the cars. They wouldn't. I said I would pay for the sausages. They still wouldn't. Dayum.

At the end of the ride it was still windy. It was still cold but probably was now high 40s. Nobody got sausages. They chose wind and cold over sausages! I think the world stopped rotating there a moment.

Maybe I am embracing the suck. Just a little.

PS: Maybe I wasn't as focused on sausages as I recall though. Think I can sell sausages for dinner tonight at home?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Training Resurection

I was supposed to be in St. Petersburg, FL this weekend racing St. Anthony's. I did not go because there was no way that I was ready. I haven't really trained in a while and I doubt I could even finish without a personal tragedy happening. I was doubting if I'll ever be racing again for me and if I should just drop the training lifestyle forever. I imagined I could find something else to fill the little free time that I have.

This morning, though, I ran. I could list all the caveats around it how it was only 30 minutes, there was copious amounts of walking, it included a warm up and a cool down, etc., but the net is I had a choice to run or not and I chose to run.

I'm looking forward to choose to ride my bike tomorrow. There is a group going out with about 60 miles on their agenda that I think I'll join. The pace will be slow but I think that on a bike is where I need to be next in this journey.

Game on.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Absentia, Boston, and Mojo

I could give a lot of excuses as to why I haven't blogged recently but the chase is that I haven't. The only thing that I've been doing less of than blogging seems to be training though. I did go for a bike ride last weekend but that ride wound up being sort of a train wreck. The ride was 52 windy miles. I did finish.  I realized during the ride that the last time I was on a bike was the first week in March when I was in California. That ride was sandwiched between looking at colleges with my daughter and some business meetings. After last weekend's ride it took a few days for my muscles to stop aching but that might be because after the ride I hopped in a plan for a 18 hour plane ride to the other side of the world.

I was in the air last weekend and heard the news about the Boston Marathon bombing. I had a bit of a different perspective than I would have had as I only had the international news coverage to give me information. I did get spotty emails that the people I knew were running Boston were all ok. Last night on my way to my hotel the roads were closed since they were running the local version of a corporate challenge. I was happy that they were running this local race with apparently thousands of runners so I didn't mind the inconvenience. I did have a flash through my mind that I should have run this race too but realized that my lack of training would have made that very ugly.

Right now I'm sitting in the Singapore airport watching the Yankees play on TV while I wait for my ride back to New York. I don't know if the game is from today, yesterday or perhaps even tomorrow since my inner time zone clock is all off.  But watching baseball is good. I thought about going to a game soon but decided I want to ride this weekend and perhaps even try a little run. Perhaps.

I'm still in search of my mojo. I miss my mojo. I need my mojo. Often when I travel I eat poorly. This week while I didn't eat great, I did eat better than the "travel" usual. If I can start mixing in more training, maybe my mojo will come back. I decided not to race St Anthony's next week but I am still go ing for the Montauk Century in June. There is still joy to be found on my bike. It is right in front of me and I just need to recognize it.

PS: The best thought I read this week is how while Boston and New York are typically rivals in almost everything but it is more like a sibling relationship than true hatred or dislike. We may argue but they know we've got their back. Always. Even more so now.

Realize, though, the Red Sox are still allowed to suck.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Make it difficult to do the wrong thing.

The other day my kids were watching my wife's cousin give a techie talk on YouTube or some other webcasty type of thing. I wasn't paying much attention to his talk but I overhead him comment that a goal of his "stuff" was to make it difficult for users to do the wrong thing. That short sound bite got me thinking.

Deep down and somewhat in real life I am a techie. My family keeps forgetting that I actually knew (note the tense) some things and I often have to remind the folks that work for me that I used to be smart. Normally this results in an eye roll or even a laugh/snort but I've given talks like his talk in the dark ages before every talk's video was immortalized via digital archiving. It is frightening that I would have to pay to get copies of some of the technical articles I wrote back in the day (assuming I would want them) but at least the patents that I've gotten more recently are still freely searchable. Why do I write all this? Perhaps I think my thinking about sound bites could be profound. Yup, that was an eye roll. I realized that I didn't want to write about this in terms of technology since that could cause me to go down a path of regularly writing about technology. That would have more detriments than benefits so I'll put this into an endurance sports slant.

Back on topic: the statement "make it difficult to do the wrong thing." I thought if the corollary "make it easy to to do the right thing" was valid or perhaps even more impactful of a thought. I realized that idea was valid but wasn't more impactful. Then I thought if it was hard to do the right thing and/or easy to do the wrong thing, what would happen. That, I thought, was the cause of many endurance training failures. The right thing to do seemed too damned hard. Perhaps not physically. Perhaps mentally. Perhaps with life balance. Perhaps with everything else that goes on in ones life. Some times the right thing to do does seem hard. But is it?

Compare it against the wrong thing to do. Is it harder to do or not do a workout? Scheduling the right thing and the wrong thing takes the same effort.  The choices one makes while scheduling (the workout or something else) might be though. If you are doing the workout, you can do it right or you can do it wrong. I often try to make mental excuses as to why I can't do something then all of a sudden, I've done it.

Where am I going with this? The more I think about it the more I realize that if I make it difficult to do the wrong thing I will be more successful at what I'm doing.

Success, my friends, is the right thing.

Defining success is a topic for another day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Broken new scale

As we were walking through the mall my wife mentioned that she wanted to get a new bathroom scale. We had a Tanita but she recently got these Fitbit things and there is a scale that synchs to the pedometer and such. Since I wasn't emotionally attached to the scale (and wanted to bank some good will for when I want to buy something new), I said go for it.

She was configuring the scale last night (yes it requires configuring) and said it was ready to go. This morning before I got dressed I got on it and then got on the old one. The new scale reads 3.4 lbs heavier than the old.

The new scale must be broken. The old one can't be. I know the old scale was 5 pounds lighter than the official weight watchers scale but I rationalized that as the weight of clothes. I asked my wife and she noticed it too.

At some point I'll have to bite the bullet,use the new scale, and track my weight with it going forward. Why couldn't it have read lighter? Would have made me feel much differently.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First trimester of iron

Nine months from today is Ironman Arizona. I realized that as I was procrastinating rather than doing my scheduled bike workout looking at events that would act as training sessions for the rest of the year. When most people think of things that take nine months they normally do not think of Ironman preparation but of a pregnancy.

How is ironman training like a pregnancy? Full disclosure, I have never personally been pregnant (even though I have had times where I may have looked like it). I first thought that there was no way that ironman training was similar to being pregnant. I need to lose weight, not gain weight. Then I thought a little more. I need to watch what I eat. I need to take care of my body. There will be times where I don't feel so good. There will be other times when I feel great. I need to listen to my doctor (and coach). I'll need my rest. My family will be pulling for me. Some times I'll not be making so much sense but people will humor me. Near the end I'll just want to get it over. November 17 is the date I'll go into my final labor. I'm hoping the labor is less than 17 hours.

Today is the beginning of my first trimester of iron. Time to get on that trainer and do that bike workout.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The WW Weigh in Ritual

  •  Make sure no watch is on. 
  • Move the phone and wallet to coat. 
  • Keys can't be in a pocket.
  • Don't want to weigh that belt.
  • Make sure that you remembered to go to the bathroom beforehand.
  • Shoes off.
  • When the formerly fat person working the desk says you may step on the scale, you do. 
  • Make sure there is no air in your lungs because Physics told you that air weighs something when you were in 12th grade (perhaps the only thing you remember about AP Physics except shooting the laser at people across the quad).
  • Breathe a sigh of relief when they tell you that you lost 5 lbs.
  • Now comes the true irony. They say you should consider exercising some or a little more. You scream to yourself "I'M TRAINING FOR AN IRONMAN" then you demurely explain that exercise isn't your problem. They look at you confused.
  • Later go home and don't wimp out on your bike trainer workout since you have to do the weigh in ritual again next week.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fat intervention

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin

My weight has been out of control recently. I've noticed. Other people have noticed. I thought of the quote above and thought it applicable to life in addition to my races. The reality of the situation is that life is more important.

I had to get some new suits since my old suits didn't fit well and I had some events where I needed to "suit up". When I buy suits I normally spend a lot of money to get something similar to the classic Brooks Brothers type of cut, often from Brooks Brothers or even custom made. The problem with custom made is that you don't know your size. I went to Brooks Brothers and while the largest suit there was too small, the selection was smaller than usual.  I then went to another store and they had suits that fit but the size scared me a little. Even though they fit me, they didn't fit me well. I was into fat sizes though. Since I'm tall I buy my shirts at the tall and fat. I went there and got two, cheap, basic suits. I didn't spend a lot of money since I hope to fix my weight problem quickly.

I've lost weight (and gained it back) many times. One of the guys at work asked me if I've ever considered stomach surgery. He had it done and now seems to be an evangelist. I'm going to find out the facts.

In the meantime, I went back to weight watchers last Friday. If I can't fix myself with diet, I need to consider more radical methods.  I'm at the mindset where my life will be shortened due to my weight. Gaining weight while training is something unexplainable as well. A fat intervention was declared. By me. For me. As a priority.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Scratching an itch.

A few weeks ago I got a rash on my right calf. It quickly spread to my left calf, then both shins, my stomach, and then finally in the part of my back between the shoulder blades that cannot be reached by conventional means. The itching was driving me crazy.

I realized that my wife started using fancy detergent, Tide pods, that are cleaner to use (for her) while washing. I guessed that I might be allergic to this so asked her to return to old school Tide. She did. The itching kept driving me crazy.

I was seeing my doctor for a follow up from my plague and such and showed him the rash explaining that I thought it an allergy. He didn't think it was an allergy so recommended for me to see a dermatologist. I saw the dermatologist and he said I was suffering from dry skin. He recommended some cream to get from the drug store to solve the dry skin and a prescription cream to stop the itching. The local CVS had neither in stock so had to order some. Been disappointed with CVS lately as the folks working there seem to be getting less smart (aka stupid) and they never have what I need.

I kept thinking of this stuff as "the cream and the clear" from BALCO or potentially a "balm" from the Maestro. I picked up my creams last night fighting the crowds preparing for the snow storm and started applying liberally. I'm still itching but hope this will be cured soon.

PS: Everyone in the house seems relatively healthy these day having gone over our various illnesses. Thanks for all the emails.

PPS: The only thing worse than 2x20s on the bike trainer is 3x20. Guess what is on the plan for while the snow comes down? Yup, 3x20. Maybe I'll get an itch for more training.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

When you think you can plan....

Last night, while I was reviewing some essays that my older daughter was crafting to get into some nerd summer program, my younger daughter called from her school activity saying that the barfies had shown up. She was requesting a pick up as she was the one channeling the barf. I gave my wife the choice of fetching or editing. She chose fetching as the essays were due yesterday.

I was debating either running this morning or seeing my kids perform but after six overnight barfs my younger daughter was in no shape to perform. We decided that my wife would go to the concert and I would stay home with our plague petri dish.

We had about 30 people scheduled to come over to watch the game later Sunday. Since we felt that we didn't want to give all our guests the now fully incubated plague, we decided to cancel our super bowl party. I was able to cancel some of the food we ordered (so that was good) but we have plenty of chips and beer. I have a call into Roger Goodell to reschedule the game but somehow I'm not getting through on his cell. Maybe I have the wrong number or maybe the Saints were able to get his phone service suspended while in New Orleans. I'm sure someone there tried.

The net of this is that even though I had grandiose plans, I'll be watching this game with a sick teenager cuddled up net to me at best. I hope to still get in some sort of workout during the pre game show.  I'll still be rooting against the Ravens though.

PS: We'll hear about this summer program sometime in April. She has a few other programs that she has already applied to as well that we'll hear about the same time. Next year she'll be writing college entrance essays. Joy. Joy. Joy.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Concerto

For the last few years my Super Bowl Sunday has been quite predictable. We get up early, head into Central Park to run in the 4 mile NYRR Gridiron Classic, then head home and have a bunch of folks over to watch the game. The race puts an interesting counterpoint to the eating bonanza that normally occurs. As part of the classic, there is a football toss at 8am and the race follows at 9.

This year is different. My girls were invited to audition for a concerto competition. Their audition is on Super Bowl Sunday. One is scheduled to play at 11:00am and the other almost immediately afterwards. Now on one hand it seems good that they were scheduled to perform before the big game but this time makes it close to impossible to do the race and the concert (they are about an hour drive apart). My older daughter, while registered for the race with me, realized that and chose to play her concerto.

I have a dilemma. I've seen my girls play many times. The latest time was just last week. I fully expect them to nail this audition and they will perform again shortly. Even if they don't get selected for this competition, there are many on the schedule already. My so called running will make the race a train wreck but it is better to do it than not. Yes, forfeiting the race fee and giving up the tee shirt isn't a good thing but the registration wasn't that expensive since we registered so long ago.

So, what to do? Race and miss this performance or don't race and see the performance. I'm leaning towards running early solo, missing the race, and seeing the concert but I'll probably waffle a dozen times before I actually need to make a decision.

In any event, I'll be watching the game rooting against the Ravens. Not for the Niners, but against the Ravens. Read into that what you will.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Surgery interruptus

Last month I was scheduled to have a minor surgical procedure that would hopefully have had a positive impact on by preventing the medical woes I experienced last summer. My issue is that nasal polyps grow in my sinuses that are most likely due to allergies and they sometimes grow to the point that I need them surgically removed. I had them removed twice before years ago and my ENT said that it is time to remove them again. We scheduled the surgery to happen in December.

Unfortunately, I got the flu a few days before the scheduled surgery date. This cancelled the surgery at that time and it was rescheduled to last Thursday. I was ready but had a cold. Nothing all that serious and in fact I wouldn't have even gone to the doctor but since I had to get cleared for this surgery, I went. The result was yet another cancellation. Apparently surgery on a sinus isn't that easy with a runny nose.

Now I have no reschedule date. I've been very haphazard with my training as I mentally viewed the surgery as step one and then real training for StA to be step 2. Somehow in work and for others I can balance a gazillion things at the same time but with my own training I'm very sequentially oriented. I need to fight that tendency and get with the program.

I still have enough time for St Anthony's triathlon to be a success. I'll deal with the surgery as a surprise and not schedule it in. Time to get on the trainer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A hike through Disney

Last weekend was the Disney Marathon Weekend. This Disney extravaganza has grown into a series of events and my daughter earlier in the year said she wanted to run the half as her first half marathon. Her previous longest race was 4 miles but she is a runner. I was going to run it too so I signed us both up at that time.

Her training plan was to start adding weekly long runs in early November with her longest run scheduled for 11 miles a couple of weeks before the half. She did all the training per the plan and was ready. In contrast, I did minimal training except for getting fat. I can't really run well so I walked a bit. My longest "walk" prior to race day was 7 miles. Getting the flu a few weeks before made me regress even more. I was just starting in mixing in a little jogging to my walks but I realized, at best, I was undertrained. I didn't really understand how undertrained I actually was but that epiphany was coming.

I wrote previously that my goal was to not get picked up by the SAG bus. My plan was to move up in the corral to gain some slack from the sweep. My goal was to move my daughter up too so she could run with people at her pace. Her goal was 2 hours and to not have to walk at all.

We were originally in corral H. They moved her up to corral A (with the fast folks) and me to corral E based on previous race results. I thought that fair. The expo was interesting where we listened to Bart Yasso give a talk and checked out the expo. The main buzz had to do with the heat wave being experienced in central Florida. The high temperature the day before the race was in the mid 80s - not great for running.

The clock was set for 2:45AM on race day and we were out of the house by 3:30 per plan. My goal was to go back to sleep in the car but my daughter was bouncing around already. We headed over to the staging area and they let us head towards the start at 4:30. After the long walk to the corrals, I walked her to near her corral, wished her luck, then started the long trek to corral E. When I got to D, the bouncer said this entrance was for D and above. I hopped in and blended with the "real" runners.

After the anthem and the starts for the other corrals, it was our turn to run and off we went. I started jogging planning on a jog 2/walk 3 mix to start. I thought I was golden It was, as expected, very crowded with 25k runners or so. There were time where the road narrowed and people stopped running. All was good until about the 2 mile mark when I started feeling a  slight tinge in my upper right hamstring. To save myself I decided to walk it in. Walking was fine, running wasn't. I somehow convinced myself that goal#1 was to not be picked up, goal#2 was to get a medal, and goal#3 was to make the official 3:30 cutoff.

About 10 miles in I realized that as long as I kept doing what I was doing, it looked like I would meet goal#1and#2 but not #3. It would be close but then I started feeling a blister start. I also noticed that my hands were swelling and starting to hurt. I was near the end so it wouldn't be that bad so I kept going. At this time everyone around me was walking. There were no runners at all.

I saw my daughter at the 12 mile mark. She had her medal, space blanket,  and was very happy. She walked in with me and told me about her race. She said she was doing great but had to really go to the bathroom at mile 8. There was a line for the porta potties so that delayed her. She said when her Garmin said 13.1 miles she was under 2 hours but at the end Garmin said 13.28 miles in 2:01:11. She was happy but was talking about being more aware of the tangents and bathroom next time. She said that there was a big difference between 11 miles and 13.1. She said at the beginning it was so fun she was thinking about the full next year. At the end, though, the half was enough for her.

I didn't get picked up. I got my medal. I didn't make the 3:30 cutoff. There were still thousands of runners behind me. My blister wasn't that bad but my hands were hurting from the swelling so I went to the medical tent and iced them down. This was a mystery to me but with the heat and lack of training, odd things should have been expected. The medical folks seemed to feel that this wasn't a big deal.

After about an hour, my hands were back to normal. I've proven that I'm stupid enough to get this stuff done by virtue of my inability to admit defeat. No need to prove that again. I wasn't in that bad shape but realized that there is some advantages to actually training.  That has to be the plan going forward.

StA up next.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Racing a bus

This upcoming weekend is the Disney Half Marathon. The plan was that this was going to be my 16yo daughter's first half marathon and I was going to run it too. The plan called for some training. She did the training. I thought about it, at best.

So here we are the week of the race. She is ready. I am not. She is hopeful for sub2:00. My goal is to not get picked up by the bus. The bus?

Let me explain. Disney requires a 16:00/mile pace or they sweep you off the course. Supposedly there are a few points along the route where if you don't make it in time, they have a bus to drive you to the finish. If you get in the bus, you don't get a medal. Bragging rights were conceded to my daughter some time ago.

I have been walking a bit but my training has only started. I walk at a little less than 18:00/mile. I need to run some and I need to run a scam to position myself properly at the start.since the bus clock starts when the last racer crosses the start line. With 20.000 racers, I could probably get me 15 minutes of slack that way.

The other issue is that 13.1 miles can be a long way if the longest you've covered in a while has been about 7 miles. At a slow walk. To add insult to this perfect storm it is supposed to get hot in Florida (surprise) That only will impact people who are out on the course a long time (like me). I can only hope that I get on a roll and see what happens. If I'm in danger of hurting myself, I'll divert and start riding Splash Mountain early. My family expects to hit the parks after the race for the rest of the day.

I'll be happy with finishing last. Next time I'll train. Or monorail. Want to avoid that bus though.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Other types of PRs

I was thinking about PRs in racing and training. Many people are posting about how many miles they raced or trained last year or PRs that they set. My mileage was low last year but I didn't dive into the numbers. My PRs are fairly modest compared to most but I keep track of them, look at them from time to time, and sometimes figure out which one to attack next. This year I hope to break two of PRs - Oly tri and Ironman - at least that's the goal.

I don't believe that I'm very different than most so called athletes. As an experiment as someone what their PR is in a common distance like a 5k. Most athletes will rattle it off immediately but then the next sentence is often either an excuse or a plan to improve. Try it.

Then I had a brain fart. What if you had PRs in other parts of your life that you mentally track as closely? I thought of how much money one makes in a year or the biggest bonus or commission if you work in fields like that. I knew that off the top of my head too.

Some other ideas for PRs came to mind:

  • The most vacations taken in a year. (notice it isn't the most days worked in a year)
  • Worst sunburn (hard to measure).
  • Smartest moment.
  • Number of near death experiences.
  • Number of times fate intervenes in near death experiences. (all?)
  • Highest (dubious) or lowest weight as an adult.
  • Smallest size clothes you've fit into.
  • Date of last all nighter.
  • Luckiest you've ever felt.
  • Date of last all nighter not work related.
  • The fastest you've ever driven in a car  (mine was >100mph since the speedometer only went that high)
  • Dumbest moment.
  • The fastest you've ever ridden your bike. (I've topped 50mph a few times, last at a Placid training ride).
  • Longest your house has been out of power.
  • Coldest/hottest temperature you've experienced and where.
  • Saddest you've ever been.
  • Most frightened you've ever been.
  • Happiest you've ever been.
Some of these have crossed into the athlete mode again - hey, it happens. I can't remember all of these for me but it is an interesting exercise and I'm thinking about keeping track. Any to add?