Thursday, December 29, 2011

Run Like a Dog or Cat

During today's run I saw a dog running.  It was retrieving a ball and what I noticed was that it ran just as fast for the ball as it did bringing it back.  It also ran like crazy each time the owner did a fake throw.  It ran in circles all around as if to shout, "throw the ball so I can run more!"

Also during today's run (in the rain) I saw a cat sitting in the doorway.  It look annoyed by the rain and by the fact that it would need to eventually run. 

Dogs run for joy, cats run because they have to.

I think I'm more dog than cat.  There are a bunch of other ways to exercise, get outdoors, wear spandex than running.  I just like to run.

Maybe I don't get all slobbery getting ready to run in the rain but I'm glad I was reminded today that I run because it is fun, not because I have to.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I won today!

I was in this major battle today.  I was fighting this mind bender (I'd be a much better at describing this sort of thing if I had played Dungeons & Dragons rather than worked when I was a kid).  My thoughts were being warped with this clear message, you need sleep.  I fought that message back by concentrating on the reality that I had only been up once helping my girls with errant blankets last night.

The next attack was that I might as well sleep a bit more and bike because family was visiting so I may not be able to bike tomorrow.  I really didn't get a chance to fight this thought except I realized that I'd rather swim than bike this morning.

The final thought as I lay in my bed which seemed to get warmer and more comfortable by the second was that I already missed my workout by laying in bed so long.  I opened my eyes and focused on the clock projected onto the ceiling and it read 5:02.  So I had plenty of time.

As I got out of bed, got my stuff and headed toward the door I was just thankful that it rained all night and I wouldn't have to scrape my window.  I took two steps toward the car and nearly turned around because my car was a sheet of ice.  The scraper was even worthless.  So I turned on the car, listened to Christmas music, read email and waited.

Then I swam in celebration of all the winning I'd already done this morning.

Feels good to be a winner!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Miles that I didn't log

It's hard not to get compulsive this time of year about trying to get year end numbers to come out cool.  I'm way off from being impressive this year and so I thought I would go for some interesting pattern or at least a round number.

And so I'm looking for every extra mile at add to my totals. 

Monday night was bike night at Portland International Raceway - Christmas light thingy.  We've made a tradition of paying a bunch of money and driving slowly through and the girls have loved it, especially since it was the only time in their lives that they were allowed out of the car seats in a moving car.

Well, this year, we decided to ride bikes rather than drive.  It was cheaper and sounded like more fun.  So Monday night, I loaded up the the mountain bikes and trailer in my VW van and the girls put on more layers of clothes than I though possible.

We went to the raceway, and we crammed the girls into the trailer and figured out how to wear bike helmets and keep their ears warm and then started our trip. 

Two things stood out right away.  First, our girls have out grown the trailer, physically and emotionally.  Second, we need to put flashing lights on our bikes.

We rode slowly around singing songs and pointing out stuff.  My oldest noticed how pretty things were.  My youngest kept saying, "Faster, Faster" and hated to be passed during a race. 

We sang (I sang with my wife correcting) the 12 days of Christmas and we had a great time.  Loaded the bikes back in the van and headed home.

I didn't count either time or miles, just told the girls that next year they are going to ride their own bikes and I silently started planning my lights, or maybe flame thrower...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Listening Deep

I don't seem to be able to do and listen at the same time.  My wife and girls know this more than I do.  I especially can't be near a TV without going into that special zone of emptiness.  I can fall into this zone mid sentence even by infomercials and stuff I'm not interested in.

I tend to start my day with distractions.  My alarm goes off at 5:00 AM and I shut it off.  Well, it really isn't my alarm, it is my iPhone and it contains a whole host of things that distract me or make me distracted.  I typically check my email to see if anything is pressing and then workout.

Rather than starting my day focused on what I want to focus on, I end up starting my thoughts on what someone else wanted me to focus on.  It just goes from there, I let myself get on auto-responder rather than allowing my mind to focus on what it should focus on.

I'm not selling or getting rid of my phone but I've added a new discipline to my mornings.  Don't check my email or FB or Twitter or... until I've had a chance to focus on more important things.  I workout, connect with my girls, and eat, say good by, get coffee, plan my work and then I check my email.  I'm thinking about even adding some more things to the list of stuff more important than email.

So in the few days I've tried this, I've found that I focus on deeper stuff rather than allowing superficial stuff to invade my early morning time. 

I'm not Socrates, but I like knowing that I have more focus in my life.

What do you think?  Any ideas on other things I should try?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Swim Day without laps

Yesterday was cold, rainy and my girls wanted to ride their bikes.  The basement still isn't set cleared for their indoor track so I started to go through options.

  1. Ride the carousel - Fun but won't get rid of enough energy
  2. Ice Skate - my wife gave me that "are you kidding" stare and then said something about ankles and damaged for life.
  3. No outdoor options
So we decided to go to a local pool - not a lap pool but one with water-slides, buckets that drop water, basket ball and a bunch of crazy kids and even crazier parents who wear jean shorts and white shirts...(you don't want to see the picture). 

For a person that swims a lot, I'm not really that fond of pools.  I don't like to get splashed and because I was a lifeguard for so many years, it kind of feels like work to me.  I spend most of my time trying to keep other kids from slamming into my kids and yelling (yes, I wish I had a my own whistle) at my girls to walk.

We arrived at the pool about 15 minutes into the last swim session of the day and the place was deserted.  We had a choice of family changing rooms, lots of locker options and no standing and waiting for the water slides. 

We had a blast and I could focus on fun rather than the typical mayhem. 

A highlight for me was being able to start teaching the girls how to swim and for them to be relaxed enough to listen and then practice. 

We splashed, played turtle, and relaxed. 

Great family adventure.  Much better than the mall!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Starting is way harder than stopping

I'm back to being a triathlete.  I had a pretty rough fall with a lot of travel, moved across town, a cold, vacation to and being tired and lazy. 

So with the time change and return from the heartland, I started to train again.  I thought I would write this point about a week ago but didn't because I didn't want to jinx my comeback. 

Starting back is tough, since I feel so much shame over not being in the shape that I was.  I rode 50 miles with my brother and one of his teammates (discovered later he is podium regular in CAT 3) and I barely survived.  He had me ride his FELT F3 with Quarq so that I could see my power numbers.  All I can say is that I didn't need 3 hours in front of the computer after a 3 hour ride to confirm that I am not that powerful and need to ride more.

So now I'm back to my lunch runs, morning swim/bike and life and I'm happy to be back.  I feel better when training and am confident that I'll be ready for racing this spring.  I've now run in the wet, scraped windows to go swimming and have made my pain cave mine.

Now if I can only remember how hard it is to get going, maybe I'll not stop again.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What I'd miss if I didn't run

I keep thinking that I will literally run out of things to write about based on my lunch runs.  As I ran today I scared off a bunch of geese but I wasn't surprised because I already knew I was a predator.  I also wasn't too surprised to see barefoot running guy or people lined up to climb a tree.

Yet I did see something that was note worthy and a warning to most of us who are afraid of "crossing the line of decency".

One of the recent inventions that I don't like is dog sweaters.  I just don't understand that after thousands of years of domestication, people had to breed for total dependence on people.  You'd think that rather than breeding dogs that require sweaters, being carried, and owners to carry and plastic bags and pick-up poop that breeders would have finally developed a breed which cleans up the house, carries it's own poop and eats compost.

And so today when I saw a dog in a green argyle sweater, I immediately started my inside rant, and then I noticed something that left me speechless.  A sort of "whuuu" left my lips and I heard a distinct ringing in my ears. 

The man walking the dog was also wearing a sweater...a green argyle sweater...which matched the dog.  A line of common decency was crossed.

I should stopped and taken a picture and then used my phone to call some sort of help line to arrange an intervention, but instead, since I am a runner, I just kept going.  Can't stop...

And so now I sit here writing, looking forward to what my next run has in store.  Maybe he will be out again, this time with a matching hat and sweater and I can respond appropriately.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Nation of Coaches or Blamers

We are a nation of Monday morning quarterbacks, Oprah's, Rush Limbaugh's and a bunch of other people who like to give advice, play coach, counselor or judge.

Wow- that's a pretty heavy sentence for me to drop on a blog about parenting and triathlon.

I was on a flight on Monday with a dad who's 16 year old daughter had gotten into Meth.  They sent her through three programs totaling over a year at $225 per day (for you that don't enjoy math that is over $82,000).  His daughter came home right before her 18th birthday and went back to her former lifestyle.  He and his were called one night to a local hospital because someone had found their daughter lying in the street unconscious.  They drove the the hospital expecting the worst. 

After three days their daughter woke up from a coma and hasn't touched drugs again.  That was 7 years ago.  He is so happy that his daughter is alive and doing well, married and finishing college.  Amazing story of a fathers love and patience. 

Yet as our plane started to land he told me that he felt a great deal of guilt and blame.  I asked for more specifics since I work with at-risk teens and parents for my job and I'm personally interested.  He told me a bunch of things about the fact that the other kids in the family never struggled, his wife and him have always worked hard on building a strong marriage and family.  They are active in a local church, they didn't have drama in their lives.  Didn't spoil the kids and also didn't break their spirits.  They worked hard as parents and still the daughter took a very dangerous turn and this father feels a bunch of blame.

I asked him how the story could have ended if he and his wife hadn't been as strong and committed to their daughter.  He looked at me a bit, let out a sigh, and said, "I'm so glad to have her back". 

This dad felt judged the whole time his daughter was acting crazy and destructive.  He felt like a failure the whole time they were scraping up $82,000 on a middle income salary.  He felt ashamed when she went back to drugs.  While he learned better ways to support his daughter during the years of pain, he shouldn't hang his head low, he stepped up the plate and did his best. 

I have a lot to learn about how I can support struggling families and help them understand that strength doesn't come from blame.  Ignoring the blame is hard but I think as triathletes we learn which voice helps us when things get tough and which voice makes us sleep when the alarm goes off at 5:00 AM.

Best of luck to all the parents out there.  I'm pulling for you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No Crisis or Bucket

I'm turning 40 in a few hours and I'm pretty excited about it.  I don't have a sense of dread and I'm not down or feeling pitiful about the inevitable.

First, I'm not in crisis, I'm feeling strong and good about my life.  I feel like I have less to prove to others than ever before and more to prove to myself.  I am a triathlete because I enjoy training and racing.  I'm a dad who loves being a dad.  I'm a husband who wants to be a great husband.

No buckets either.  I'm not living life getting ready for death.  I am enjoying what I have today and even though life is busy and I have much more stress than training, I am choosing to focus on today.  I don't do triathlons to check something off so I can finish life with a list, I do it because I feel I was made to enjoy this torture.

So, I'm aging and life seems to be picking up a pace I have never felt before, however, no regrets and lots of enjoying the people and things I get to do.

What are my plans for my 40's?  Don't have any but I do expect to enjoy the years.

For the few who are looking for less philosophy and more funny, I'll work on being more interesting, funny and helpful, just hang on while I mature.

Dreaming of a new pain cave

Life has been chaotic with a bunch of travel for work and an eminent move.  We are downsizing our house and it has taken longer to close the sale of our current home than to have it on the market.  Today we sign the papers and then we can sign the papers for our new smaller home. 

Smaller typically doesn't bode well for having space to set up my trainers. Even in our big home I constantly moved the trainer from Office to our bedroom to its final spot in the guest room.  In the new house, I will finally have my pain cave.

It has an unfinished basement!  I am so excited to set the trainer out and store the bikes downstairs.  Maybe buy a work stand for the bike and...

I think they should have a special on HGTV for triathletes just so we can show off our pain caves. 

Winter is coming and Jorges Winter Bike Program is also coming.  Sounds strange but I'm really excited!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Almost Perfect Pool

Swimming has been out of touch all week for me, close but out of touch.  I was in Nashville all week for meetings that started at 7:30 each morning (5:30 Pacific Center of the world time).  I hadn't made it back to my room until past 10:00 PM (still feels early) but too late to swim in the hotel pool.

The hotel (Gaylord Opryland) has a beautiful pool.  I did my research and it looked perfect, even a lifeguard to be there and admire my swimming.

Everyday I planned on swimming and never got the chance.  I looked at the pictures of the pool knowing there were 25 meters of swimming perfection waiting for me.

So on Saturday late afternoon when everyone headed to dinner, I decided to head to the fitness center for a run and swim.  I was so excited.  I ran for 30 minutes on a treadmill that had a great view of the pool.  There were open lanes and I couldn't wait to swim.  Finally, I was done running and I headed down, picked up a huge towel, figured out the electronic locks and then did my best to confidently walk out into a pool area full of board shorts (more like baggy capris) in my box cut swim suit. 

I had a center lane to myself, put on my cap and goggles and got in ready to swim for an hour.  And then the "almost" part of the almost perfect hit me.  Not to digress too much, but I have noticed that for a person from the Northwest, there are quite a few "almost" surprises that come when visiting the South.  Vegetables are almost good for you except the ham and butter.  It is beautiful outside to exercise but the "almost" part is this thing called humidty.

So as I eased into the pool I was expecting refreshing and instead got hot.  Hot salt water that didn't even feel refreshing on the first lap.  The water was hot, not hot tub hot but way too hot for swimming too long.  I swam 1K and couldn't handle the heat and so I walked away from a perfect pool disappointed.

So, I'm almost home.  My pool at 24 hour fitness isn't as clear or pretty, but at least I know I can swim without fear of passing out from heat exhaustion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Arachnophobia vs MissAPerfectTrailrunophbia

I've always had a fear of spiders.  I'm glad there is a very nice term for my terror because it makes me feel more normal. 

Sit back and I'll share my childhood fear...I grew up in Japan, not the city part but the country part in Chiba Ken which is a ways from Tokyo.  Why I give you this accurate geographical description (from a kids perspective since we moved when I was 11) is that most people don't think of spiders when they think of Japan, but we had some scary ones. 

I spent a lot of time in woods as a kid and always hated to bust through a web.  I'd hope I'd picked an abandoned web and do my best to get the stringy mess out of my hair.  Typically about 8:42 seconds later when I'd finally calmed down, I'd suddenly see the venomous beast sitting on my shoulder ready to kill me.  I'd then do this sort of ancient fight dance and try to get rid of the spider without actually touching it.

So, today I had the choice of running along streets on sidewalks and nice bike trails or including my favorite local trail section to my run.  It sounds like an easy choice...not this time a year when the trail is a den of spiders.  There are spiders everywhere this time of year, especially in the woods. 

And so...I ran the wooded section today.  I would rather deal with spiders than not be able to run the woods on a perfect day.  I had to stop and avoid some really large spiders and I did catch a web in the hair.  I'm still looking for that spider but it was totally worth it.

Chuck (+1) --- Fear (0)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tough Day but Blessed

Had a long day today.  Woke up tired with a full on cold.  Snuffy, puffy and didn't pack my razor to shave...not a good start.

Spent the morning at the new facility for my non-profit Project PATCH.  This was the kick off weekend for our Family Experience which is an amazing therapeutic weekend experience for an entire family which gives them the tools to be closer and more effective as a family.  This weekend was a culmination of years of work for our team.  I meant to be with the group all weekend but had to get home for Emmet's memorial service and to speak at a church tomorrow.

Spirit Media was filing the promotional video and it is always great to see a program from their respective.  Bill and Anne are amazing people and I love being with them.  We spent a bit of time filming my interview and even though a lens doesn't make me feel comfortable, it did give me a chance to remember all the donors, volunteers and dreamers that made this new facility and program possible.  500 acres have been transformed from raw ranch land to a resort and families are now also being transformed.  Great experience.

I raced out of there to make it to baby Emmet's service.  Barely made it in time but what an amazing service.  Everyone was wearing blue in his honor and Jaysun and Dana's cross country teams and students were there.  The church was packed and it was a great affirmation of love and confidence in God.  It was also a time for lots of tears (and sniffles on my part). 

We raced and picked up our girls and then went to a program to learn what they teach at our older daughters Montessori for their Catechism.  I learned a lot, including how to say, "Catechism" and felt good because I knew what Parousia was.  Like their comfortable kid paced approach to learning.  A highlight for me was that they had Cheescake, raspberries and fresh gobi berries.  It was good to learn more and discover once again that our daughter will be smarter me.

So the day ends with me getting ready to give a sermon at a church in the morning, sniffling about my cold and the events of the day. 

No training today, tougher day than races I've done including my IM, but going to sleep satisfied that I'm blessed.  I have a job that makes a difference for at-risk teens and families.  I get the chance to be a dad.  I have friends who inspire me.  I'd say I'm blessed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Off Season

I'm all out of races for the year.  I thought I was going to race last weekend and another duathlon in October but both aren't happening.  No injuries, just out of time and can't be two places at once.

The only race that I'm registered for is next August and so I guess I'm in my "Off Season". 

I thought I would call a press conference to talk about my season and to start the buzz going so that I could get a better contract for 2012.  I also wanted a chance to thank my sponsors and team.

Only problem, I've already said pretty much all that needs to be said about my races and I don't have a contract, sponsor, or team. and so no one would show up.

So my season ends with a sort of fizzle.  I feel good about 2011 with some good results and my first full distance triathlon, yet I also know I haven't tapped my full effort yet.

So, my main goal for 2012 isn't just to keep moving during races (run rather than walk) it is to go to that place where I keep going when my body begs to slow down.  I've had too many races where I feel quite a bit of pain but don't give it my all. 

So, for 2012, look for race reports with some epic fails and hopefully some epic triumphs.  I will risk more and will also learn a lot more about myself.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Run in Honor of Baby Emmet

Emmet was born yesterday and for the short duration of his life was loved fully and completely.  My prayers are with his parents Jaysun and Dana as they carry a wound no parent is capable of carrying. 

So today, I wore my sunglasses inside and left my hotel for a long run for Emmet, to run in honor of his strength and that of his family.  I ran because I didn't know what else to do.  I ran because I could and he won't be able to.  I just ran.

Parents walk a fine line between fear and exhilaration.   So much out of our control, tenuous dreams and so many snares.  Yet we also find moments of pure clarity, and heart bursting love.  Moments in which hearts are one and we know our only purpose is to fully love.

I ended my 10 miles today by running as fast as I could.  I felt my heart pound and my lungs strain and I long for the day in which I see Jaysun, Dana and Emmet reunited.  Running together fully secure in love and joy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stumptown Race Report (Okay, 1/3 of a race report)

First a rant and then maybe I'll actually have some content.

I spent a whole day at a race named Stumptown longing for Stumptown coffee only to discover that they just used the name, and that race had nothing to do with the coffee company, except of course the name, location and expectation of perfect balance...

I love coffee.  It's a huge motivator to me.  I spent two weeks drinking McDonald's Coffee in August just because it was free.  I probably would have even sung a song in the drive through just to get the free, notso good coffee (okay, I'm a snob and can't quite say it was good, but I guess since I'm mostly honest with you readers, I liked it). 

So to go to a race anticipating the mating of two of life great things, triathlon and coffee and to not get coffee, well, it left me as close to a funk as I get.  They did have a very small coffee truck that couldn't brew coffee or run their equipment without breaker problems but that left me even more disapointed.  I expect much better from Portland.

So now to the race report (1/3).  I was asked by my friends Larry and Jaysun to be their runner.  As far as I know, I was the second choice but I could possibly have been the third.  I just pretended to be the first choice kind of like I did when playing group sports as a kid.  We signed up the morning of the race for the "Long Course" which is a bit deceiving given it is a 70.3 distance but it still qualifies as a long course because one of the volunteers said "wow that's a long ways" when I told her I had to run 13.1 miles. 

Jaysun swam and did an amazing job.  It was a really long transition but he finished his leg in 29:08 which was the 10th fastest overall and 8th fastest male.  He handed off to Larry who made his way out of his University of Washington purple folding chair with plenty of time to race.

Larry put in a great ride with a 2:34:39 (27th fastest of the day) ride including a ridiculously long transition.  While he biked his three laps, I got to hang out with some great local athletes who were recovering from IM Canada.  Since I'm doing that race next year, I decided to focus on me rather than Larry.  I should have been documenting and making videos of his speed and agility on the bike but instead I was trying to get all the advice from the elite guys and the coach the providence stuck me with on this coffeeless day.

The wind started to come up while I waited for Larry to finish up the bike.  I thought he would pull of a 2:20 - 2:30 ride and I think he could have nailed a 2:20 without the wind and 1/4 mile transition.  It was a bit painful to see him get off the bike, a mere dot on the horizon struggling his way to transition.  The nice people that were waiting for their teams were wowed by his ride but seemed to understand why he wasn't running for our team.

So the hand off took place and I started to run.  I had warmed up by running around transition and had hydrated a bunch and so I thought I was pretty ready to go.  I wanted to run a 1:30 and thought that I could.  The run was great until I turned onto Marine Drive and met my nemesis, the wind.  The I met my other shadow, stench blowing in the wind from rotting compost.  I was feeling pretty good and looking forward to the effortless down wind leg and then I met my third rival, stuffy heat with a tinge of oppression and rot.  I kept going and had a pretty good first lap. 

The second lap wasn't the negative split that I hoped for and I really had a painful drop around mile 10.  I lost some of my motivation and fire and picked up some wus and whine.  I picked things up again but too late and ended with a 1:43:09 which was a 7:52 pace.  Not my best run but not too bad either.

I felt bad on the run because I didn't have the right to feel pain because hadn't put in the time or pain that others had.  They were so nice as ran told me how fresh I looked and stuff like that and I wanted to apologize the whole time but instead I said thanks and did my best to believe them.  The other strange thing is that I haven't spent much time in the front part of a race.  There were some huge gaps in the front of the field and I ran alone for much of the race.  I made a few passes but was pretty lonely and pacing was hard.  I ran the 18th fastest run of the day overall and 16th for men but would have been disappointed if I hadn't because I was cheating by only running.  

After the race, we hung out, ate and tried to win stuff.  We won the relay division (1 of 3 teams) and I got my hardware.  I felt proud and like a cheat at the same time. 

Glad I got to race on a good team with good people and glad to learn more about myself.  Now, if only they had served Stumptown Coffee.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

100th Post

This is my hundredth post.  Doesn't sound like much but I like to celebrate milestones and so I'm throwing myself a bit of a party today.  Extra coffee, time for training and a bit of trying to pat myself on the back without dislocating my shoulder.

As part of my first post, I wrote:

"I have been looking for a place on-line to connect with triathletes that are like me and have to balance really important commitments with the triathlon hobby.  Since I couldn't find the place, I created this blog."

A couple questions?  Do I feel more connected?  Yes, in a small way I do.  While the number of followers (12) is small and the people that comment are few and the stats are disheartening (1700 page views), I now know there are people out there that struggle with the same things I do. 

They care a lot about their families AND want to be improving triathletes.

Now the harder question, is this blog helping me and others with balancing our priorities?  Not sure, but I do feel much more purposeful and appreciative of my life than when I started 100 posts ago.  I've noticed more, remembered more, and cracked myself up more (yes, I think I'm kind of funny).

So, thanks Google and Blogger for providing an easy way for me to write and occasionally connect with people. 

Thanks to those that read for keeping me writing.

Now for the sap, thanks for my family that puts up with and encourages my training and racing. 

Whats next?  Life is just getting more hectic.  My girls want to race more AND I just signed up for Ironman Canada (August 26, 2012).  Lots of suffering on horizon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A week of two first

 FIRST of the Firsts
My oldest daughter is starting school this week.  Didn't think that I would write for a few more years but she really wants to learn and go to school. 

I want the best for my girls and can't wait to see how they impact the world.  I want them to be strong, confident and most of all fly-fishing triathletes.  Well that is kind of awkward, but I mean girls who enjoy both activities, not necessarily at the same time. 

Sending her to school wasn't an easy choice because I know childhood only comes once.  She has a lifetime of achievement ahead of her, and I'd like to postpone the years of obligation and keep her care free as long as possible.  Yet this is what she seems to be wired for and I know it will make her happy, so I'll go with her feelings over mine.

SECOND of the Firsts
I'm doing 1/3 of a 1/2 Ironman.  So for all your math people, I will be doing 1/6 of an Ironman this weekend.  I was asked to be on a team with my neighbor and a friend.  My neighbor will swim, friend will bike, and I will suffer on the run. 

It has been a while since I did a stand alone half marathon.  I'm not nervous, just don't know how to pace myself.  I'm used to doing my best given I already swam and biked.  Now I don't have an excuse.

Also, I feel like I have to apologize to anyone that I may happen to pass and explain that I'm only doing 1/6th of an ironman. 

I'd much rather do the whole thing rather than just the run, but now it isn't all about me, I'm now part of a team and even though we don't have a cool name or matching jersey's we are a team to be reckoned with, at least until the run begins. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Perfect Boise Run

All week long I have been looking out my hotel window at the cross on top of Table Rock.  I climbed table rock several years ago and really enjoyed the hike. 

So today, my Beginner Triathlete training plan commanded me to do a 1:20 run with some sustained efforts.  It was the perfect excuse to do the Table Rock trail.

I ran along the Boise River Greenbelt and a trail that took me to the old Idaho State Penitentiary.  From this point, it was about 1.5 miles up.  It is about a 900 ft climb to the top which isn't too bad but it is steep.

I was rewarded with this view when I got to the top.

Here is a picture of the cross - sorry, it really isn't sideways but for some reason I like the ability to make it vertical.

I made it to the top in 35 minutes (3.5 miles) and then finished my run by going along the Boise river.  I feel really lucky to be able to do such a great run on such a perfect morning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nice Surprise

I travel some and have almost gotten to the point of not bothering to bring a swim suit and goggles.  I went on-line when getting ready for this trip just to see if there would be a decent pool and couldn't even find a picture.  At the last minute, I threw in my swim stuff just in case there was a 24 hour fitness or college pool nearby. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered the hotel had a pool. 

Not only do they have a decent (if a bit short) pool, but apparently, I'm the only one who uses it.  I swam this morning for 30 minutes and all morning have been working with a view of an empty pool.

The pool is about 20 yards long, has an unmarked bottom and becomes choppy pretty quick, but it is a pool and is mine, all mine!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I came back for more suffering

I did Boise 70.3 earlier this summer and suffered on the run.  That phrase could be used for practically any triathlon that I've done.

So today I had a chance to run in Boise again and decided to run that route again just to experience it again.  The run is along the Boise river and it was about 97 degrees when I started the run.  From my hotel it ended up being 6.74 miles and I noticed a couple things.

First, I could have used an aid station today, maybe two. 
Second, I didn't remember too much about the course but I remembered exactly there my girls and wife met me during the race.
Finally, I didn't seem to be having as much fun as the people floating down the river.  It was great to see families and groups of friends on inner tubes and cheap rafts floating down the crystal clear river.

I did have a nice run and started to feel the pull to race Boise 70.3 again.  Hmm...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The sweet smell of summer

For those of you that have followed this blog for long, it is already apparent to you that spelling isn't my strong suit.  I remember a teacher in the 6th grade trying to inspire me through competition.  I really worked hard but sat down on the first word.

I mention this because this blog entry was almost titled the sweat smell of summer which could also have been a great blog subject.  However, I'm just happy today because my run smelled perfect.

The black berries are out and I had miles of that warm sweat smell that you only know about if you live in a place being taken over by black berries.  Every once in a while I just reach out and grab a berry and I have all the race nutrition I need, especially if I eat a buggy one.

As I ran along the river and the small late summer beaches along the Columbia river I smelled sunscreen and then as I finished my run through the neighborhood, I started smelling grills and roasting meat.

What a great run, I love summer! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

How long before I quit blabbing about my knee?

I felt the first pang in my right knee during the run during Pacific Crest Long Course (70.3).  I was about 8 miles in and an hour into my run.  I later learned it was IT band related.

Since that point, nearly every log entry includes how I feel about my knee.  My knee was the focus at Vineman and I should have taken pictures of my knee as it carried me well through that race.

I've now run a bunch without knee problems.  Sure, I've been getting very personal with my foam roller and "The stick".  I also wear my IT band strap on my knee about 1/2 the time so it's not like my knee isn't a focus...but...

I think it's time I stop ending every run entry in my log with, "knee felt great".  I need a new closing line but I'm not sure I can pull it off since my "Knee Jerk, Knee Report" is kind of natural.

However, I will do my best to focus on something else, hopefully more interesting and funny.

On a side note, I just loaded my next 26 week plan which focuses on the Olympic distance.  Not that that is my goal for 2012, but it just kind of felt like a good way to spend the next 1/2 year before ramping back up to IM distance.  

It still is a bunch of exercise but most weeks is about 8-10 hours and will give me a chance to work on some speed. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back in the saddle (or shoes)

Started training again today.  Not sure exactly what I'm training for but I really missed the routine over the past week.  The 1 week recovery was harder than tapering in certain ways because I depend on training to help me think and process so I feel much better today.

I only ran 4.3 miles and will be looking for some sort of rhythm now that my season goals are pretty much done.  I have an Olympic in a month that I want to be fast at and another duathlon in the fall.  Other than that, just more swim, bike and run. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vineman Race Report

Fact:  I finished in 12:38:12
Swim:  1:13:19
T1: 4:00
Bike: 6:37:49
T2: 2:57
Run: 4:40:07
Bathroom Stops:  Approx: 7

Going into this race, I was flat lined a bit emotionally.  I know that tapering can bring on a bit of a depression but I wasn't really down in other areas, just kind of not hyped like I expected.  I think part of that had to do with the truth about my fitness being exposed to all, my self, my family and all the people that I've been blabbering about this race to both on-line and in person.  I wasn't sure whether I would need to find someone new to cut my hair because I didn't have a reason for melting down on race day.

I also had set a goal of 12-13 hours with a hope to be closer to 12 and a fear that things could blow up.  So I went into this race partially enthusiastic but also with some impending doom or foreboding. 

Race morning:  Crazy scene at Johnson Beach.  There was a huge line of people squeezing into a very small space and no one seemed to be able to wheel a bike, carry their gear, flex their muscles, while checking out bikes and competitors.  Also, I've never racked by age group and it was a bit weird.  Body marking is kind of hap hazard and a guy happened to be in my isle when I arrived so I was marked.  I set up transition, took a gel, didn't have water, sunscreen, wet suit on, posed for pictures for my dad and then went racing.  Not even time to think about that last little squirt at the potty. 

Swim:  Warm water, chaotic start, a bunch of bumping but nothing major.  I keep hearing about people getting angry about contact when swimming.  It was a weird the first time I touched the river bed.  It is fine pebbly gravel that really isn't painful to hit or even walk on.  As much as possible, I tried to swim but if I couldn't swim without dislocating my shoulder, I would stand and move at an angle to get in water that I could swim in.  I should have pre-swam/waded the river to find the deeper channels because swiming is faster and more fun than wading.  Also, on the Wednesday before the race, I had ripped my right big toenail back about 3 mm and it was tender and could easily get wrecked more. 

So I swam and swam, the back portion seemed deeper, I made the turn and then swam more and it seemed pretty easy.  I was passed some but noticed that I was mostly in a group of orange and silver caps which meant I was swimming with slower people from the early groups. 

I was stunned when I exited the water at 1:13.  My 1000 yard pace is 1:40 and so to pace the 2.4 miles at 1:45 and feel fresh was great.  I just took things steady and didn't let the traffic get to me.  Amazed to read how many triathletes feel angry during the swim.  The swim is what it is and wave starts mean that you will keep meeting people who can't swim straight and occasionally most of us (meaning me) will swim into the bushes.

Transition:  Not much to say except the carpet was small, people should stay of the carpet if they are going to walk slowly and no one should be allowed to stop for pictures.  Also, for those who recommend running up the hill, that is a great idea if you don't have plastic on the bottom of your carbon fiber shoes.  No traction and I almost gave up trying to get up the hill.

Bike:  Awesome ride, love almost all of it except for the constant exploding bladder.  I rode all on RPE although I did have my GPS.  I just wanted to ride fast but not at a pace that would cook my legs.  The ride was beautiful and the roads were interesting.  It was a great mix of winding narrow with some breaks on smother roads which allowed a bit less concentration.  The worst was the Chalk Hill Section on lap 2.  We had a some headwind, and the road is horrible.  Trying to stay on the elbows in the rough stuff to negate the wind was hard, especially after flying into Geyserville.

T2:  Once again, if you don't want a fast transition, get out of the way.

Run:  Not much to say except they had hills, it felt long and it took a long time.  I walked uphill and though aid stations that I used.  I just kept running at my "new" pace which is pathetic but worked.  NO knee pain or IT band issues.  Just fatigue.

Nutrition:  No problems except I stopped at   way too many potties.  My bladder was the most pain causing thing of the day.  I didn't have stomach problems or energy drops and even ate stuff that I shouldn't during a race like peaches.  I saved flat Coke as a prize for lap 3 of the run and it was good!

So, there's the report.  I will be posting another picture and video based report soon thanks to my brother and dad being a big part of my race day.

Mush:  My brother really made this race amazing for me.  It was a gift from him and his wife and he used it as a chance to get my parents out for a visit.  Being with family and having my girls with family really made the trip great and helped divert my focus.  My brother shot some great video (Yes he says the same thing each time he sees me) and their footage via the scooter makes me look really fast.

Finally, thinking about my wife and girls and then seeing them on the bike and run really helped me.  They have sacrificed for me to do this and I'm grateful.

Recovery:  I had an uncomfortable night on Saturday but since then, I feel pretty good.  I have climbed up and down stairs, with luggage and even though I'm tired, I'm not injured and will start swimming soon.  In fact, I've recovered so quickly that I regret not trying to go faster.  Okay, now I' showing off but I'm really more proud of the fact that I can walk stairs than my time. 

Conclusion:  I've worn the finisher t-shirt for a significant part of the last three days.  I feel good about my race and will soon pick a plan for my next.  My fears and doubt are gone, sure I have lots to improve and want to challenge myself more, but I am now and Iron(distance) man.  No one can take that from me, not even that small voice of doubt that I carry with me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Vineman -1

Great day of scouting the course, meeting and registering. My brother who lives in the area and did vineman 70.3 last year was my guide which made the day easier.

Here are somethings that stood out today.

1. Weather here is perfect. This is an amazing area. I must be part grape because I love being here.
2. The roads are rough. I will be jostled tomorrow and knowing my the way I put off potty stops until the last minute, I will experience some pain.
3. There are a lot of triathletes who don't appear to understand the value of a taper.
4. There are a lot of triathletes who don't know wearing the race shirt before completing the race will jinx their race.
5. Three bike lengths is measured differently by officials and athletes.
6. I need to sleep to tonight and be ready for tomorrows reality.
7. I'm blessed to be able to do this.

So T2 is set up. Strange to be racking based on age group rather than bib number but I have a great spot and will be back to see how many bikes
Are there before me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vineman -2

Training is in the bank. Fitness is what it is. Tapering feels horrible but I know racing will feel worse or maybe better.

Bike is clean and stuff all organized. My brother and I will be scouting tomorrow and the goal is to resist the urge to judge pass judgement on how stupid or crazy a person needs to be to race 140.6 miles.

Will write out my plan more when I'm no longer racing in the car through the mountains.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Feeling twitchy

Ignorance is bliss.  I like the word bliss and think it should be used more.  What is your goal for today?  Bliss!

So I was on a blissful 5 mile run in Idaho which is one of my favorite.  I love this run because of the views, and how quiet it is.  Just me on dirt climbing and going down hills.  This is the only run that my wife and I have ever named and we call it "Take 5". 

So I started out at 5:00 PM and it was in the high 80's.  Perfect weather and I'm tapering so I just took things easy.  Within 1/4 of a mile, all the houses and people are gone and it is just me on a dusty road.  I run without music because it is just so nice to hear the woods, animals and my gasping.

I had gone about two miles when I remembered something from this past weekend.  Let me digress...

I got two calls, both left voice-mails  and were about the same thing.  My wife called to let me know that a Mountain Lion was spotted walking from our side of the street to between our neighbors house.  The second call was from our neighbors letting me know of the same lion. 

We live in the city, and Mountain Lions are supposed to be wary of people.  You noticed that I carefully referred to the creature as a Mountain Lion rather than Cougar.  The main reason for that is that cities are known for their Cougars in the tacky connotations and I didn't want my few remaining readers to think I was trying to be clever.  I am talking about a large lion which can pounce and go for the jugular, not the other kind that does the same thing but is easily avoided.

So I'm running in the woods, by myself, and I remember that there was a Mountain Lion near our house, in the city, in non-mountain lion area.  However, I'm now running in what zoologists refer to as "native habitat" for lions.  It is at this point of my run that I become twitchy.

I reacted to everything, whether it was a twig breaking, grass moving, or phantom lions appearing in the trees.  I couldn't decide whether to scan the trees or the shadows.  I just kind of ran along trying to do everything.

The run ended, I was surprisingly in a blissful state given my twitchy run.  We'll see how I feel mowing my lawn.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Alert - triathlon is full of smug people. 

I'm discovering certain people get great deal satisfaction from passing expensive carbon bikes with race wheels.  I get passed and I occasionally make passes during a race.  I hope to pass those in my age group and try to not look when I get passed.  However, I am used to it and typically give a "Great ride" which is my way of saying, "you are having a superhuman ride to be able to pass me." 

So as a person that wants to gain even more satisfaction from triathlon, and "suck the marrow" from the experience, I'm looking into the benefits of focusing on how I am better than strangers.  Here is my plan for smug thinking during my next race.

1.  When swimming - I will minimize my training and exaggerate how much everyone swims.  I'll smile as I reflect that my wetsuit was purchased used on Craigs list and lacks the modern  features on the suits used cheaters who train too much.
2.  When biking, I will focus on my lack of a power meter, expensive pedals, not having dimples on my carbon wheel and my cheap sunglasses.  I'm kind of frustrated that all my other bike equipment is unbelievably awesome.  I'm considering assuming that all the other people ride 500 miles a week because they don't love their families as much as I love mine and they don't have a real job.  I also will assume they are the few that take PED's.
3.  When running, I will assume they all raced on college scholarships and have never been injured.  I'd feel best if they either wear Newtons and are sponsored.  I'll also assume they have been coached and that their mom packed their race nutrition.  Once again, I love my family more and have sacrificed at a greater level for the good of all mankind.

I kind of feel smug already and I'm only planning my thinking errors.  If I can learn to do this sort of thing faster and verbally, I could maybe have a career on talk radio...

Friday, July 15, 2011

I am that guy

Life is pretty busy right now and I just kind of grab and go in the morning when I'm packing my running hear.  So I finally carved a few minutes to run late yesterday and rushed to get ready to go.  I raced out the office door and down the block and suddenly got that "something may be terribly wrong" feeling. 

So here is my checklist:
  • Shorts - Yes
  • Fly - thank God running shorts don't have one
  • Am I wearing dress socks?  No - not today
  • Do I look like an idiot - egomaniac - YES
I was wearing my Boise 70.3 race shirt and my Boise 70.3 race hat and I didn't look but I think I was towing a banner that said, "look at me, I raced Boise IRONMAN 70.3" and wearing my finisher's medal.

Nothing wrong with advertising past accomplishments.  If I thought it was taboo to wear race shirts, I would end up running shirtless most of the time since I'm too cheap to buy tech t-shirts.

My issue is that one item is cool, more than one item is just bragging. 

The problem with being "That Guy" is that now that I've identified myself as one of the worlds premier athletes as referenced by the abundance of race gear and have to back that up by not getting passed. I also have to make my run appear effortless.

I did have a good run but ran about 30 seconds per mile faster than I intended.  I occasionally turned in shame to hide my shirt of hat as I passed other runners and generally tried to overcompensate by being overly friendly.

I'm thinking about running in jeans today, maybe with boots and a cowboy hat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My compass disappears when on the bike...

I rarely get lost.  Mostly because my wife has this uncanny ability to constantly know where we are, which way north is, and the best road to take. 

I don't get confused when driving a car and can typically navigate without GPS or sheets of Google Map (need new feature that you can click "Yes, I know how to leave my neighborhood"). 

I can run and magically find trails that meet my time or distance requirements and rarely get lost.

However...I can't seem to bike and navigate at the same time.  On Sunday''s ride, I got lost finding a friends house, I ended up being one street off.  Then he took me on his typical route which wound through these nice, paved, small farm roads.  We started way north of my house and ended up South East but I though we were still north. 

He said, "I think we are now on Fourth Plane"  and I pulled out my I-phone and said, You are right.  At this point he started to ride to my house and I followed but at every turn, I wanted to go the opposite way.  If it had been up to me, we would have ridden into the wilderness.

I've gone on some great rides with friends and during those rides I see parks or farmers markets that I want to go back to with my family.  I try to take them there and end up on the wrong side of town.  I try to re-create rides that I've done with a local club and can't seem to even remember the first turn. 

So, is this a permanent problem?  Can I get help or do I just need to bike with friends?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sorta Race Report: Two Hour Massage

Before Race:

I ate a Trio bar and spilled crumbs all over myself.  Finished my coffee and used the bathroom.  I drove to the office early and then sat around waiting looking at FaceBook on my phone.

I filled out a bunch of paperwork, signed away my life and tried to describe what hurt and why.  Took a potty break.  I listened to the pre-massage directions and chatted a bit about what I hoped from the session before getting into my race outfit.  I kind of wished for the protective modesty of spandex.

It hurt, a lot, I don't mean a little, I mean a lot.  Grande pain!  Venti pain!  I think I go to Starbucks too much.  Most of the pain was in my calves and right above my knee.  He wasn't mean, I just have some really sore muscles and am kind of a wuss when it comes to massage.

The good news is that my joints and ligaments seem great, not swelling or major imbalances, just a need for recovery, more stretching and to be worked on once in a while. 

One of the things that I really had to work on was relaxing.  I tend to tense up really had to focus on breathing through the discomfort (a politer word for muchos pain).  It took a lot of focus but I found that I could relax certain areas of my body and think that will come in handy in life.

Post Massage:
We talked a bit about vitamins, stretching, and some different ways to run and then I paid and left.  I drank a ton of water and took a light 50 minute run that evening.  I feel sore but great.

Take away:
Glad I finally got over my cheapness and fear and had the work done.  It really was what I needed at this point in my training for Vineman.  I feel more confident about how my body is reacting to training and much more confident about my knee. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One of these groups is not like the other

In the past month I have been at Boise 70.3 and Pacific Crest Endurance Weekend and the Fourth of July Celebration at Fort Vancouver.  All of these events included large crowds, cheering, lines for porta potties and people baring way to much skin.

Being at Boise and Pac Crest had set a subtle new stereotype for me that was completely smashed at the 4th of July event.  I'm not trying to be judgmental, just observant but I find that as I type, erase, and type the following sentence that you'll have to decide for yourself what kind of person I am.

I thought people in general were getting thinner and more fit but the reality is appears that people in general are way more fat,/obese than I ever imagined AND they appear to be multiplying. 

I know there are many reasons for being obese and that certain skinny people are just as unhealthy under the skin, but it is clear that there is a problem.

I think what made it hard is that after several weeks of being around a bunch of generally healthy people, it was hard to be in a crowd of people that apparently didn't care about their health or the health of their kids.  The fourth is also a time for families to be together and it wasn't uncommon to see three generations frolicking in the grass together and then struggling to get back up. 

So, I'm not sure what the point of this observation is, other than that it was really eye opening.

It also caused some fear and I don't like to be afraid.  Not fear that I would be smashed but fear about how this will affect my family, country, health care.  Something needs to be done in our communities to help these kids who seem destined for a life of challenges brought on by being overweight.

Any ideas on what I can do other than watch? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When idealism collides with reality

I'm now 32 days away from Vineman and there is an eminent collision between my ideal self and the actual guy that hasn't trained enough.  I have been trying a practice called denial and also positivity but those aren't working as well as I would like.

Here is the reality as I see it.  I pretty much ready for the swim, transitions, riding half the bike and half the run.  I haven't even tried to run since Pacific Crest because I don't want to know if there is a problem.  My knee feels great and I've had a great swim and bike week but I'm avoiding the discovery process, at least until tomorrow. 

The other reality is that I'm really excited about the race, I re-read the course description and just can't wait to do it. 

So I have a few more weeks to get my run back, my bike a bit stronger, and most of all, to get me to the starting line as healthy and strong as possible. 

I used to think that triathlon training was all about getting top notch fitness in three disciplines, and as good of skills as possible given that time is split in three areas.  I now am getting a better view is that what makes the 140.6 distance so difficult isn't just the training but doing all the training and being able to keep healthy and injury free.

Getting to the starting line takes discipline, a huge amount of self-awareness, and a bunch of luck.

For me, reality will ultimately collide on July 30 and I'm working hard to make the collision as soft was possible.  collides

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pacific Crest Long Course (71.66) Race Report

Just so you know my thoughts about this race, if I could only do one race each year, it would be this race.  There is so much to love about it.  It is in a beautiful place, there are a ton of things going on, everyone has a chance to compete in some manner and I have a great time hanging out with friends.

The race is headquartered out of Sun River Resorts which is a sprawling bunch of connected roads with a web of bike trails.  Logistically it isn't the easiest race.  For those who enjoy convenient and predictable parking, avoid this race.  For those who like sun, constant awards ceremonies, vendors, eating, racing and relaxing...and can tolerate some parking and logistics, this race is for you.

Here are your race options:  Kids Splash Pedal N Dash, Kids 1 & 2 mile, 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Olympic Tri, Olympic Duathlon, Long Course Triathlon (billed 70.3) and long course duathlon, and some ways of doing the above as a team.  Lots of choices.

This was my third HIM time at the long course here.  Both prior attempts were painful experiences in which I suffered on the bike and run.  This year, I had much better training, equipment, and confidence.

We do this as a group and this year most of the group was doing "team" or monoathlete events due to injury.  I was doing this race as part of my training for Vineman but don't think that I wasn't going for it with the intent of knocking an hour off my time from last year (6:36:30).

There was frost on the ground this year as we set up T2.  It was freezing at the lake and they were recommending arm warmers for the summit because of walls of snow. 

The elite waves started for the swim and I had about 5 minutes to "warm-up" in the water.  I went right in and was surprised how much warmer 60 degrees is than 53.  I could actually breath.  The swim went well and I was able swim comfortably for the whole time.  It is kind of nice for the swim to be un-notable.  One thing that surprised me was how many of my wave stood waste deep on the boat ramp and didn't even put their faces in the water until the horn went off.  I think getting a bit acclimated to the water really helped me.  I came out of the water at 39 minutes and started the next phase of my madness.

The bike route is spectacular at Pacific Crest.  Overall, it has elevation loss but don't let that give you confidence.  It climbs about 2400 feet and the profile resembles a mountain, it looks like Mt. Hood but really is just the corner of Mt. Bachelor. 

I love my bike and the ride went well except the Porta Potty Incident which I totally missed but I heard.  I had to stop really bad by mile 17 due to my C2 (Coffee 2) stop after setting up T2.  I raced to a stop, got off my bike and went into the small green house and proceeded to wrestle with the tie on my tri shorts.  I finally got down to business and then heard the loud conversation outside.  A female voice said, "I'm just going to go behind" and a male voice said, "No way, I'm going to wait".  I finished my task and came out to see an impatient man and a woman looking relieved emerging from behind the porta potty.  Kind of weird but a great conversation piece.

The snow banks started around mile 25 and steadily increased until they were way over our heads.  It felt cool but gave me a wicked sunburn.  The climb to the summit is just plain brutal.  8-10 miles an hour for several miles is torture.  There is drafting in this section, no way to avoid it because no one can pass and if we slowed down, we would fall over.  It is eerily quiet, no one talks, no one encourages, just an occasional bout of swearing. 

The the fun, the terrifying kind that can make you laugh but inside you want to wuss out.  It doesn't take long to go from 8 MPH to 45 MPH.  The road is straight and long but it feels exhilarating and frightening all at the same time. The rest of the ride into town is normally pretty easy except this year there was a slight head wind but it was still fast.  I averaged 25.5 mph without much work for the final 19 miles.  Bike was 3:10

T2 went really well and I couldn't believe how good it felt to run.  My legs felt great, just like they do on a normal lunch run.  I was passing people and having a good time.  I was eight miles in at one hour and looking for a great finish, tired but legs felt good.  Then my right knee started to feel a pang.  I had felt a bit of this in Boise but ran through it there without a problem but the pain kept growing and so I shut things down and started to walk until my knee felt better, then I would run till it hurt. 

At first I could only run about 40 steps after walking 40 steps but by the end of the run I could run about 1/4 mile before walking 40 steps.  Really disappointing that I didn't run the whole thing but I don't need an injury going into the final 5 weeks before Vineman.  I finished the run in 2:13 which was a PR for this course but I was hoping for 1:45.

My family was at the finish, great atmosphere and I pretty fresh.  My stomach did great this race and my body with the exception of the tight IT band did excellent.  My recovery has been good and I'm back to training.

Great race and can't wait until next year.
Time:  6:06:34, Swim, 0:39:29, T1 2:27, Bike 3:10:05, T2  1:22 Run 2:13:10

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kid's Splash n dash report

As a parent I'm always looking for something to motivate my girls. It's surprising sometimes just how much something can mean to them and once the secret is out, we as parents get huge power. For potty training, we used Graham teddy bears as potty treats.

This race has been gold for us in motivating the girls. I don't know what will get us through the ride home.

Today's race turned out better than we could of imagined. They lived everything except waiting for an hour to race. A bit disorganized as far as the waiting but the volunteers were amazing.

The start was an inflated play house. My girls needed help getting in and a bit of assistance getting up the wall. K decided to bounce on the slide but C was in race mode. They figured out the next obsticle then were in the two wading pools. C wanted her goggles but they loved it.

The bike transition to socks went okay and then the bikes. K was ahead and C fell while we pushed her bike. The bike went great and the quarter mile had a great tunnel and downhill. The tips don't know how to brake but C wanted "self" and was persuasive and proved she loved

The run transition was really fast and they both ran the whole run. It would have been faster except they really liked to give high fives. I think they could have been adored and cheered all day long

They finished, got their medal and then drank water then back to running.

I'm really proud of them and hope they love it as much as I do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I wanted to pass the guy wearing jeans

I was speaking this past weekend at a conference and thought it was an awesome coincidence that they had a 5K scheduled for the same morning I was to speak.  The race was at 9:00 AM and my presentation was at 11:00 so I thought it would fit great.

From my last post, you know I forgot my shoes, but other than that I was prepared.  I thought it was going to be cold and so had planned on a long sleeve shirt, however it was muggy and sweaty during warm-up so I just wore my newest, proudest, race T which was my Boise 70.3 shirt.

It was a small race of maybe 40 people and it was mostly women.  Women that were planning on walking.  I'm 39 yrs old and there was only one guy that looked my age.  He was 25 and was with his wife and mother-in-law.  The ladies were in race gear and he was in jeans and spent most of the pre-race working on his music.  The other guys there were older and were in deep conversations which I think they planned on continuing during their relaxing walk.

The good news is that I didn't have much threat in winning my age group.  The bad news was the race was starting late and I had to shower, pack out of the hotel and be ready to speak.  The start kept getting pushed back.  I also knew that I was going to really have a challenge to break 20 minutes given that the race was cross county on a grass/moss/muck runway.  My warm-up mile felt like I was running on jelly and it was slow.

So the gun (shout) when off and I took off.  I was surprised by how many people were running near me.  I was most surprised that Mr. Jeans was easily pulling away.  I was running about a 6:15 mile and he just pulled away.  My mind started racing, how to I explain that me, my Ironman lost a 5K to Mr. Levi's? 

So I turning things up a bit and chased after him.  I finally caught him after about 1/2 a mile and made the slow pass.  I never looked back and just kept going hoping that he didn't get a second wind.  The good news about this course is that it was loops on a runway so I could see the other runners.  I soon discovered that Mr. Jeans decided to mosey rather than run for the rest of the race.

It was a tough run and it was fun to be cheered on by all the runners.  I stopped the clock at 20:50, was awarded my medal right on the spot since they new I had to leave, we took a couple pictures and we were off. 

I wonder if I would have chased him down if he had been wearing an Ironman shirt rather than jeans?  I wonder whether my ego serves or hinders me during races?  I wonder if I would be faster wearing jeans?

Friday, June 17, 2011

5K sandwiched between 70.3.

I have a race this weekend and I'm rolling like a beginner. I'm kind of in the zone right now as far as 70.3 races and so I didn't think too much about squeezing in a 5K race on Sunday. What better way to see whether I'm ready for Vineman.

Well, my confidence is now shaken because I made a major mistake. I forgot my shoes. So today I went from store to store to buy another pair of shoes. Funny, they match the pair waiting at home. The good news is that I can now run this race and enjoy another day of unorthodox 140.6 training.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I am starting to measure things differently

I grew up in Japan and wasn't weaned from the Metric System until the age of 12 at which time I had to learn to measure things by a system which really doesn't make sense.  When confused, I just had to accept that a very powerful inbred British king at some point was able by sheer audacity to name weights and measures and people just had to live with it. 

Now that I'm training and racing triathlons, I'm starting to use a whole new measuring stick, the Triathlete Standard.  In it's most basic form:
  • Bodies of water is measured in 1.2 mile increments
  • Reasonable distance on foot is in increments of 5K, 10K, 13.1 Miles, and 26.2 Miles
  • Reasonable distance on bike is in increments of 40K, 56 Miles and 112 Miles
So as I drove home from Boise yesterday I thought in terms of how many HIM courses till the rest stop?  Could I run from here to the next exit?  Did my girls actually nap the equivalent of a 140.6 bike?

I also use distances to encourage me.  During Boise 70.3, I was able to just tell myself, you only have 10K left, you can run that with your feet covered in warts if you had to.  At 5K I told myself that if I wanted, I could run that distance in 19 minutes so its going to be easy running it in 25.

So now that I have a choice between Metric, Goofy and Triathlete standards...the world should just be happy that I'm not king...yet.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Boise 70.3 Race report

So I'm in that melancholy mood that hits me after a race is done.  It was a great experience and I'm feeling good and disappointed at the same time.

This was my first "Ironman" branded race and I think I brought a bit too much expectation into it.  I was expecting really efficient registration and huge expo but instead was met my long lines and a sparse expo.  I think WTC makes things so exclusive that the local area and vendors didn't shine like they should have.

I attended the pre-race briefing on Friday morning and learned a lot, mostly about how cold the water was and how many lane changes we would have on the bike.  I also learned that the head judge uses tandem bikes as his basis for 4 bike lengths.  I swear he told us to keep about 80 feet between bikes.  

I think a highlight of the morning meeting was when a person on the front row asked if we were allowed to modify our helmets.  The judge looked a bit confused and I admit that I was wondering about whether this discussion was about taping air vents.  The judge asked for clarification and it ended up that this person wanted to attach a wig to her helmet.  It just shows that people race for different reasons.  I can't imagine purposefully adding both meanings of the word.

One of the pluses of having long lines for registration, but and finish picture is that I was able to meet some great people.  I also learned that compression gear pre-race is important.  I'm not sure why it helps during the taper and everyone I asked wasn't sure either but "all serious athletes" wear compression gear.

Also, it is important to wear exercise gear to any pre-race activity you can.  I chose to dress in my typical casual wear and regret that I was not representing my favorite brands adequately.  They key is to look like you just ran from your hotel across town and are fresh and ready to run the bike course after three loops of the swim.  It also is important to look more like a pro than the pros...I will adjust for my next race.

Boise 70.3 is weird in that is starts at noon (or 12:37 PM for people my age who's last name is between A-J).  I got to sleep in past 7:00 AM and eat breakfast.  I also had to stop by the grocery store for "lunch" once I figured out that I better eat something for lunch.

I rode the school bus to the start, checked my stuff like I was crazy and then sat around and talked to strangers about their ailments and fear of the cold water.  I was particularly struck again by compression wear and the cool tape that people had all over their body.  I was confused by the tape watching beach volleyball and was even more confused at this race.  There seems to be no set way to apply the tape but I personally believe that anything with an X pattern is faster. 

I also noticed that tattoos, compression socks and extreme body hair get in the way of body marking.

The swim was tough.  The pro field was already on the bike by the time I was shivering in the water.  I bobbed and put my face in the water as much I could for the 4-5 minutes before my wave started but never caught my breath.  I ended up with a 42 minute swim which was slower than I wanted but not too bad considering I couldn't breathe. 

T1 is really long with a hill and bad bike placement but I got through it with the help of the wet suit stripper and sun screen appliers.  The funny thing about the wet suit stripper is that I had to take a quick look to make sure I still had my shorts on.

The bike ended up as my pleasant surprise of the day.  My race goal was to focus on the run and so I took things as steady as I could and didn't want to waste all my energy on the bike.  The course was interesting and the wind was not a factor for me.  This was my first race with my Reynolds Wheels and the Wheelbuilder disk.  These are tubular wheels and I chose not to run with a spare tire.  I had both pit stop and the other product with a flexible hose for the disk.  I also had two air canisters with a small tube of stans and so I thought I would at least have something to do if I got a flat.  Ironically, I only saw one person with a flat during this race.  That shows how good the team did in sweeping the course before race day.  Boise is known for punctures and a late summer race would be a challenge.

I ended up with a  2:54:08 on the bike which is 19.3 MPH.  The course was crowded and I did a lot of passing and slowing to set up gaps with guys that were faster.  I did see some blatant drafting but overall people were doing a nice job.  The best thing about the bike was that I was able to stay aero the whole time.  There were plenty of people that I passed that were stronger than me but apparently couldn't hold their position and so were slower.

I started the run feeling tired but strong.  The run course was crowded and because of flooding on the river the modified course ended up having people in both directions.  This wasn't too bad until my second loop in which there were a bunch of walkers which didn't seem to understand that people would choose to run.  I really wanted to walk but kept going but really felt slower and slower.  I was tired but won the battle and ran all but the aid stations.  I felt a bit of pain in my right knee and so I ran carefully hoping knowing that this wasn't my "A" race. 

This race is cruel in that you pass the finish 3 times before you get to cross.  The good news is that I was able to see my girls two times on each loop which really meant a lot to me.  I stopped to give kisses and hugs each time and don't regret a second of lost time.

I finished, was treated like a king by the volunteers, wandered looking for my girls, and finally gave up and at pizza (3 pieces) and drank chocolate milk (3 wonderful servings of yum) and sang praises for my reflective space blanket. My overall time was 5:37:34.  I was 69/173 in my age group.

I finally found my girls, drove to our friends house and showered, then headed back to collect my bike and stuff.

I enjoyed the race.  I'm impressed once again by the people of Boise and the great volunteers.  I'm glad I raced and would do it again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

boise 70.3 is done

Longer race report later but the basics are that I finished the swim surprisingly warm, had a good bike and was able to run the run

Here are my results

Lots of inspiration and funny stuff from the race to follow

As always any race in which you aren't covered in poop and vomit is a grips race.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pre-race shivers

I was sitting in the pre-race briefing this
Owning for Boise 70.3 and I was really excited and ready to go. That is until they said the water temp is 53 degrees.

I put my sweatshirt back on and haven't been able to stay warm since then.

I will do it but I hate cold water. I know the pain and now wished I swam more so that I would be out of the water earlier.

Keep me in your warm thoughts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I used up my luck today

I spent the day golfing to raise money for the non-profit I work for. The last time I goofed was a year ago at the same tournament. I enjoy golf but typically I rely on players that golf to save our team from mockery.

This year my team was made up of two amazing former Boise State football players. The more experienced was Drisan James who learned a bit as a I'd and golfed a few times. The other guy was Ian Johnson who is a hero running back but had never played golf before.

So I had some pressure.

We ended at +1 for the day which is simply amazing. The problem is, I used ip moat of my luck quota during the round. So what am I supposed to think getting ready for Boise 70.3 with no luck? I'm using tubular wheels fir the first time
Just to tempt fate even more

On a positive note, things here in Boise are great. Weather is good and hopefully the water is warming.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Early lessons in lovin the burnin leggs

Friends from Wyoming visited this weekend and we decided to show off where we live.  We also finally had a chance for a hike and so we headed into the Columbia Gorge. 

As predicted, we weren't the only ones that had the idea of spending the first hot day of the season freezing in the spray of a waterfall.  The crowds were huge at the tourist spots like Crown Point and Multinomah Falls.

We decided to hike one of my favorite short hikes.  It starts at Horsetail falls and goes up to Ponytail falls and then has some great views of a gorge.  I thought the entire hike was about 1.5 miles. 

This hike marked a transition in our home from carrying to walking.  I know how beneficial it is to carry kids in those packs.  It is a lot of fun to have a sweaty body with boots that kick in the kidney on every third step.  It is great to have to do an amazing twist to get the kid on your back and back to the ground without tipping them out on the rocks.  It is a lot of fun...but good times end.

So we hiked a bit slower.   Every switchback we switched hands so that we could block the fall off the trail.  Finally we reached Ponytail falls which is awesome because the trail goes behind the falls.  My girls weren't scared and even surprised me more by wanting to go directly under the falls. 

We then continued to hike and hike and hike.  The 1.5 mile hike stretched on and on.  We had water and snack breaks and still kept hiking.  It was this point that I remembered the hike was closer to 3 miles with an additional .5 mile walk on the road. 

We started hearing the dreaded, "My legs hurt".  My girls are a bit dramatic and they really were putting on a show.  It was at this point that I decided to teach them a key lesson for the triathlete.  You have got to love the burn. 

We did a bit of a huddle, which means I crouched and they stood stomping rocks and mud.  I told them that when their legs hurt, it means they are getting stronger.  Hurting legs make you strong!

So we finished the hike without either girl being carried, we gave high fives, hugs and they put their hands in the air and shouted, "I did it".  Then they told us how their legs are stronger.

My new problem, no sympathy at home.  I race Boise 70.3 this week and if I were to hint that I'm tired or my legs hurt, I will just hear "You are getting stronger!" 

I love it...

Friday, June 3, 2011

How to get that post race feeling without racing

I emailed my wife a very simple message last Wednesday evening at 9:59 PM.  I typically don't email her when she is in the same house but I wasn't sure how else to get her a message.

The email read:

Subject:  Vomit
Message:  I just barfed but made it to the bathroom

I had already has some "discomfort" that evening but this email kicked off my marathon bathroom sessions for the rest of the night and next morning.

My wife is wonderful and so she joined the party.  We both had good timing and shared the bathroom well but neither had much left to give to the world in the morning.  We also had a great topic to discuss, what did we eat that the girls didn't.

Our girls didn't get sick and were ready to jump on the bed at 6 AM but one look at their green imaciated parents let them know it wasn't a jumping day.

A couple funny things.  First, I really wanted to weigh myself before I started to recover so I could figure out what I weigh without any fluid or crud in my body.  I'm not sure what I would do with that number but it would be interesting.  I was too tired to move the scale to the hard floor so I never weighed myself.

Second, it felt just like I had finished a very long, unprepared for, and pitifully run race.  My hips, legs, muscles and brain hurt.  I don't mind this feeling after a race because it lets me know I gave my all but on Thursday, it was less than satisfying.

So for those that want to know what it feels like to run a half ironman (70.3) race or a marathon without ever running a race, I have a receipt for you.
1.  Eat a egg salad sandwich that has sat on your patio in the hot sun for 4 hours. 
2.  Get a really bad sunburn in the areas you can't reach with your hand.
3. Rub your feet and sit bones raw.

Now you can relate to any endurance athlete.  You know how it feels.  You have truly suffered.

I race Boise 70.3 in a little over a week.  I know I will be feeling bad again, but I can't wait.  Clock will be running and so will I!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wind in paradise

I packed my mountain bike and flew phoenix. My college roommates and I then drove the 8 hours to Moab Utah for a weekend of riding and reverting. 

Two of us are turning 40 this year and we became friends when we were 16.  We also first went to Moab in 1996 to ride bikes.  Since then, we've made the pilgrimage many times and left our skin and blood on trails all over the area.

This year, we started by riding down from the LaSalle's on Kokapelli trail to Porcupine Rim trail.  Totally epic day with clear sky, no wind and only a little trail rash.

On Saturday we took an easier day and went to Klondike Bluff so I could show one of the guys dinosaur tracks.  We finished this ride and they were going to drive the 20 miles back to town and I decided to ride because I needed more time on the bike.

It was at this point that the wind was "freshening" which means, I started to notice there was a wind.  By the time I got to the highway, the wind was way beyond fresh, it was downright howling.  It took me 2 hours to rice 20 miles.  I had to pedal downhill.  I was searching for gears on the flats and did one of those head down 4 MPH slogs on the uphills.

The main thing that occupied my mind other than trying to move and stay on the bike was whether this was worse than the lava fields of Kona. 

I finally made it to town, showered and ate and felt like a champion.  I hate wind and felt strong for mentally getting through the storm.

I thought it would be better by the next day but instead were were met with even more wind.  It absolutely howled.  My friends were to ride down Gemini Bridges as a quick easy ride before heading out of town, and I ran shuttle and was to ride up the trail and meet them. 

The first hill is a little over a mile long and was conveniently positioned to allow the full fury of 30 + MPH wind to constantly hit me in the face.  I had a hard time staying balanced on the rough sections of the climb.  Meanwhile, my friends were hitting epic speeds on their way to meet me.  I got an amazing workout and trashing and they had a ride of their lives.

I still hate wind, but coming into this part of my training, I was lacking confidence on the bike, I didn't think I was strong enough physically or mentally, thanks to wind in paradise, I think I can handle wind, even if it comes in Boise, Bend, or Vineman.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm hearing birds

I've been running with my Iphone using the Nike+ GPS app.  No, I don't post my runs to Facebook or get cheers as I run.  I would if I didn't think I would end up de-friended. 

So one of the many benefits of the Iphone and Nike + includes tracking my miles, seeing some semblance of my pace, a pretty map and getting interrupted by calls.  Oh, and I can listen to music. 

I typically run with my aptly and creatively titled play list called "running songs".  I used a great tool to tell me the BPM so that I could find a bunch of fast but not too fast paced songs to keep me moving.

I'm bored to death with the mix.  Since I got the phone in February, I've used it for exactly 34 hours 48 minutes and 10 seconds of running.  Nearly every second of that was listening to the songs on that play list.  So I shook things up a bit by allowing my phone to randomly play all the songs in my libarary except Christmas songs. 

Things were going great on my run until a really relaxing album came on that is filled with this sort of meditative piano music.  The Living Music, my Michael Jones CD is really nice when trying to fall asleep but not what I consider inspired running music.  However, since I didn't want to be a slave to my musically infused metronome, I kept running while listening to "Morning Mist" or "Spring Song" or some other stirring melody.

It actually was nice and then I started to get confused because I was hearing things in the music I hadn't heard before.  Birds... not just one but a bunch of singing birds.  I listened carefully and kind of got a kick out of listening to fake birds while running outside.  It seemed ironic and kind of silly...that is until the song ended and the singing birds didn't.  I pulled my ear buds out and the birds were even louder.

I didn't realize that I was missing out on so many birds.  Maybe they just migrated in but most likely my carefully chosen, BPM focused music was drowning them out.

So today, I ran with one ear bud out and the music turned down.  I heard lots of birds and while I can't understand them because I am a predator, not a song bird, I think they liked how fast I was running and that I finally was listening.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pool Closed

I missed a week of swimming due to travel and am really, surprisingly, in all truthfulness really excited to get back in the pool.  My alarm went off at 5:00 AM and I just started my automatic routine.  I had a really strange swim workout so I took a minute to write it out and then I drove to the club.

I checked in, changed, took care of business, showered and even put my swim cap and goggles while showering (I am not sure why) and started to walk toward the pool.  There was a sign on the door that I couldn't quite read because I had my goggles on.  I thought it said pool closed.  So I took off my goggles (and for some reason my cap...maybe because a tight swim cap will result in blurred brain) and read again.  Sure enough closed.

So I showered, muttered about lack of signs and not being personally emailed since I am the King of the Pool and went grocery shopping.

Not a great way to start this week...but life is all about adjustments and plan B-Z.  I hope your pool isn't closed, your trails are long and roads clear.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I was taunted by art

No the person's name wasn't Art but I'm talking about the thing that hangs on the wall.

I was stuck in a very frustrating and difficult legal meeting yesterday and had ample times to stair at a painting that hung on the wall in the small conference room.  The picture was filled with a bunch of trees that were starting to change color as fall approached and the sky was hazy.  It looks neither hot nor cold.  In the center of the picture is a narrow gravel road that is slightly climbing toward the horizon.  The road has some grass growing in the center but isn't particularly rutted. 

That picture taunted me, because there would have been nothing better than to run out of that meeting and even better, run out of that meeting and have the chance to run for a long time without seeing people.

The longer I sat there, the more I could picture myself running down that road.  I could hear the sound of my feet, estimate how long it took to get over the hill and most importantly, I could feel the quiet and peace.

So the picture kept taunting me all day.  Yet today I had my vengeance.  I ran one of my favorite runs, uphill through the woods, gravel and dirt, grass growing up in the middle.  No other people, just the sound of my shoes in gravel and my gasping for air.  I didn't race today and I didn't look at my watch.  I just ran and soaked in how lucky I am.  Lucky for my family, impact I'm making, and roads I get to run.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Running helps me

I'm in the midst of one of those weeks with pressures and obligations that are stacking up.  I'm not being dramatic, it is one of those weeks that turns hair gray and stomachs inside out.

In the midst of this, I ran today, uphill for 5 miles and it was precisely what I needed.  I thought I should be doing other "productive" things but instead I ran, prayed, and thought.  I also stopped at the top and was surprised how high I climbed.  I've attached a picture below and will let you guess where it is, no prize other than the satisfaction of being right or wrong.

5.2 Miles into my run (HINT - view of state capitol)

I think knowing why we run, bike or swim is important.  For me, it is refueling, energizing, and focusing.  Not every run, but triathlon has a role in my life that is so much deeper than racing, it really provides me a time to think, or just allow monotony to take over (lap X our of X).  I tend to come away much more open to hearing what God has in store for me as well as ideas on how to entertain my tiny group of followers on this blog.

Why do you run?  Why do you tri?