Friday, April 29, 2011

Impossible with Craigslist and Ebay

I don't think I could have been a triathlete before Craigslist or Ebay.  I would have been just a runner and mountain bike rider.

All my key triathlon gear is "New to me" which is a dignified way of saying USED!

I really don't mind having stuff that is used, it just means that I don't have to be the first one to scratch or dent them.

My wetsuit was from craigslist.  Road and TT bike from ebay.  Bike shoes from Craigslist. 

I was starting to type that I wear new clothes but most of my bike jerseys were given to me. 

I sound really cheap and maybe I am.  But I personally don't feel cheap, I feel lucky that I get to use great equipment that is fast but I couldn't afford new.  I'm picky about my stuff and thanks to the web I've been able to be picky and cheap.

If it wasn't for Ebay and Craigslist I'd be riding my mountain bike with slicks and racing in my rafting wetsuit.  I'd also probably still be pretty happy and have a bit more money in the bank.  So impossible may be too strong of a word in the title, but I'll stick with it because it would have been impossible to make people feel so good about passing me without all the expensive looking gear.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Smelly Run

I love the smells on my lunch run.  As I leave my office I end up running by a bunch of cherry trees that are in bloom.  As I enter Fort Vancouver, the apple trees will soon bloom and I love the smell of grass and hay by the airport.  There is an amazing smell along the river that is hard to describe but calls to the fisherman in me.  I pass two restaurants that smell greasy but yummy.  Next I run through the woods which are damp but smell green.  Finally I run through a little park, past a bunch of homes with flowers and I'm back to my office.

You get the picture, I have one of those runs which makes it pleasant and habit forming to breath deep and notice smells.

This smelling habit kind of got the best of me today because I kept running into smokers in the midst of all this great smelling beauty.  I think I'd rather smell flatulence rather than cigarette smoke when I'm running.

There is somthing about cigarette smoke that makes me feel angry at and sad for the person at the same time.  They could be spending that money buying triathlon gear.  They could use all their smoke breaks to train.

Just seems like a waste and I wish I only had memories of spring smells rather from my run today.

Rant over.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

25 minutes is better than 0 minutes

I had great intentions for training yesterday.  It was supposed to start off with a 5:00 AM trainer ride for 110 minutes with a 10K run over lunch. 

By the time the clock struck 9:30 PM I had zero, zilch, nada, no minutes of training for the day.  I also knew that if I tried to fit it all in at that point that I would have zero, zilch, nada, no minutes of training today because I wouldn't get any sleep.  So I rode my trainer for 25 minutes, drank some chocolate milk and went to bed.

I was able to wake up just fine this morning for my 5:00 AM swim and I'm back on track.

I'm kind of an all or nothing kind of guy and I see yesterday as a victory because I actually did what I could on a day that really was out of control.

So I'm 25 minutes better trained for my next race and that is a good thing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wow and did you lose a bet?

I'm a minor radio and TV personality. What that means is that I occasionally, as part of my job, appear on television and radio.  I don't do it enough to feel comfortable but do it enough that people aren't too surprised.  Also, the only reason I'm even allowed to have air time is that I am fortunate to lead an amazing organization called Project PATCH which does great things for families and kids who are struggling.

Well...last Friday, my personality was stretched.  I was called for a segment on the TnT with Tester & Terry which is on KIDO sport 630.  One of my fears as a minor media personality is that I will be embarrassed on the air.  If smooth and knowledgeable is required, I will come out with stammering nonsense.  Also, I have a fear of debating sports.  I'm good a creating statistics but not quoting them.  The only sports celebrities I recognize are triathletes and cyclists.

So the very first thing I was doing on air was giving a loud "Go Broncos" which wasn't too hard because I'm a Boise State graduate and a believer.  Then we talked golf, the kids and families we serve and then I was surprised...I got to talk about triathlons rather than demonstrate my ignorance about sports.

From my standard bio, they learned a number of things including me being a husband, dad and triathlete.  They zeroed in on triathlon and responded with the typical wow, so how far do you have to go?  So I gave the distances for Boise 70.3 and then said I'll double that distance for Vineman.  Then they asked whether I lost a bet.  Kind of funny that these guys are around world class athletes all the time that do amazing feats and an age grouper could impress them and that they are surprised by regular people going the distance.

So my minor personality wasn't embarrassed and more than that, I was reminded that whether triathlon really unique in that people can't come in contact with and not make some sort of judgment.  Whether it is, "Those people are crazy" or maybe a glimmer of WOW.  My hope is that a few people listening may end up not just thinking wow, but end up having that amazing chance to cross that finish line with their hands in the air.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My stomach noticed how absurd things really are

Last Friday I had one of those swim sessions that is designed to takeaway all confidence...not in swimming but in counting.  It was a 4200 yard morning which isn't bad except it was

1000 Yards Warm-up - Concentrate on form and smooth easy strokes
4 X 500 Yards at steady nice pace - 2 minutes rest between
1000 Yards IM pace
200 Yards Cool Down

So I really can't count that many laps and have a crazy commitment to error on the long side rather than short.  So, if I don't remember what lap I'm on, I will go back to the smaller number. 

Everything is going fine on this great Friday morning.  I was able to get out of bed at 4:30 AM and make it into the pool by 4:45.  The pool was empty and my warm-up was going great.  In fact, all the swimming went fine except the more I swam, the more my stomach started to feel uncomfortable. 

At first it was only a bit of churning feeling.  Then it become more of a oughtutht feeling as I flipped for my next lap.  Finally it became a humphughtth with a bit of gurguthuhhh.  I had only about 400 yards left but I quit flipping for my turns.  I just went to the end, gingerly turned around and started swimming again.

This worked great and I finished my main set and started the cool down.  I just did my open turns and before I knew it was was just about to hit the wall for my final turn and without thinking, I flipped.  My stomach instantly told me that I had done one flip too many.  I started to feel that little fluttering deep in my gut.  The flutter started to become a gurgle.  I was about 10 feet from the end of the pool and I quit swimming and walked and prayed.  I wasn't so afraid of throwing up as much as where I was going to throw up.  I climbed out of the pool, walked in a trance to the men's room.  I made sure I kept of receptacle close by.  By the time I showed, went to work, finished work and went to bed, the nausea had passed.

Now I did a bit of thinking about my problem.  I worried that I would puke during Vineman.  Until I started to think about how many flips I had done that morning.

WU -   38 Flips
Main Set 4 X 18 = 72 Flips
1 X 38 Flips
Cool Down 6 Flips

Total 154 Flips

Now imagine you are taking a 2.5 mile walk and every 25 yards there is a comfortable mat designed for a somersault.  Do you think your stomach would feel good on your 150th flip?

So the point of this long pondering is that swimming longer distances in a pool is absurd.  While my mind can not count laps, it seems to have a really good grasp of how many times I flip. 

The good news...Vineman doesn't require any flip turns...I hope.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Runny noses

My girls currently have runny noses.  I'm not talking just a little moisture, I'm talking green gunk.  So we spend quite a bit of time getting tissue, wiping noses, dumping tissue and washing hands.

I'm so glad I haven't taught them how to do the "snot rocket" or "farmer spray" or whatever it is called.  Our walls and floor would be green.

So why I am sharing this?  Not sure except that as a parent and triathlete several themes become key conversation points.  For the triathlon side of me, I can talk either about how awesome and knowledgeable I am about triathlon or I can whine about training.  For some reasons, I don't get the impression that people want to hear me describe my awesomeness.  Also, my training is just kind of happening right now and isn't what I'd call inspired.

So if you were to engage me in conversation, my parent side would probably speak up.  Now parents tend to avoid certain subjects because no one other than grandparents want to hear how amazingly bright, beautiful and wonderful our children are. While I'd like to share why I think my 3 year old girls are capable to skipping the first grade right now, I don't share that because you don't believe it.

The other option is to talk about the cute things that they say.   That is really fun but for some reason it just isn't as cute when spelled out.  People try to laugh and connect but they secretly are thinking of how to change the subject gracefully.

So...what do we talk about?  Snot and poop.  And so I thought I would talk about the safer of the two topics today. 

Let me know when you are ready to hear about poop.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The natual pose of conquer

I keep looking at the picture (and forcing everyone I know) of the fish I caught last week.

A bit of background.  I caught a fish the very first time I went fly-fishing for Steelhead.  I think it was around 1996 and I was in Port Hardy British Columbia.  My cousin was my guide and the fish was amazingly strong the the fight epic.  Only camera and so people didn't believe me.

I wouldn't call myself an avid fisherman but I have tried pretty hard to catch another steelhead.  So last week, I was back at it in Stanley Idaho with my friend Mike.  Mike tends to catch fish and I tend to net them for him.  Well, I finally caught my fish.

Here is the picture. 

Neither fish nor I are actual size

As I stared at the picture, I realized that I naturally assumed the pose of a conquer.  For some reason, the best pictures of a fisherman require the fisherman to:

  1. Kneel on one knee
  2. Appear comfortable despite frigid weather
  3. Don't look too suprised by the fact that you actually caught a fish.

I wonder what I will look like when I finish Vineman this year.  I've watched Kona finish line by the hour and there are all sort of ways people cross the line.  From kissing the ground, colapsing, raising the arms, to just looking dazed, there seems to be no standard way to finish.

In professional cycling, many riders have their "signature" move.  From pistola to kissing the cross, each makes a statement.

I think I'll incorporate the following into my move.

  1. Avoid doing any move that may result in falling (no leaping heal kicks)
  2. Avoid any more in which I have to get up off the ground
  3. Nothing that king kong would do
  4. Incorporate at least two clinched fist "yes" moves
  5. Work in the "What has two thumbs and finshined vineman"  -  This guy
  6. Say a prayer of thanks (for my family and health)
Pictures to follow after July 30th.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fear of matching

For some reason, all my new gear is the same color.
  • 2010 Felt B2 (Bright Red)
  • Long Sleeve Nike Running Shirt (Bright Red)
  • New Shoes - Nike LunarGlide +2 (Bright Red)
  • My Triathlon top (Bright Red)
  • Bike gloves (Bright Red)
  • Running Socks (Black/Bright Red)
For those of you who are perceptive or have super powers or insight- you already know that I am cheap.  I also tend to be a bit practical.  When I shop for tri related stuff I will buy using the following guidelines.
  1. Is it on sale -  preferably clearance.
  2. Is it NOT the color of pavement.
  3. Fits reasonable well
  4. Does not make me look feminine.
That list has resulted in me wearing all sorts of colors and styles but all in all has served me well.  My last pair of shoes were am amazingly ugly green and blue - people would stare in shock as I passed by (or maybe they saw me as a predator).

So for some reason everything is going bright red.  Maybe I'm red is out and so now it is IN my closet but my problem is that I don't want to match.  It kind of goes back to #4 above.

If you enjoy coordinating or looking like your favorite pro...I have no problem or judgment of you doing it.  I just personally have a fear of matching too much.  Because of this, I will purposely wear the bright orange University of Oregon sock whenever I can to demonstrate that I believe in form over beauty. 

Maybe I'm under some sort of spell to only buy a certain color.  Maybe living in a home with three girls (2 little, one an adult) is moving me subconsciously toward pink.  I don't know but I do know that I am afraid.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My trivial dilemma

I tend to forget to give context so here you go – I am not coached.  I think for two reasons.  First, I can’t afford it.  Second, I’m not sure I’m coachable.  More context – as long as I’m physically and mentally well, I will follow my training plan as close as possible.  Finally – I’m using a plan from  I pretty much like everything about that site.  I use the logs and race reports and like the forums.

Now the dilemma.  This mornings swim was a 50 minute swim and called for 1 x 2500 yards.  What a horrible thing to read before going to sleep (I have my workouts emailed to me at 9:00 PM).  I have no problem with the distance.  That is my typical distance.  I just had a problem with the fact that there was no warm-up or cool down.  I had no chance to stand at the end of the lane concentrating on my watch.  I also had no chance to talk to the people around me and make comments about the water temperature or the clarity of the water. 

So I get to the pool and start swimming.  I also start counting my distance.  I was at around 1500 yards when I checked my time and discovered that this workout wasn’t going to take me 50 minutes.  I was in a quandary.  You see, on my workout logs, I have a handy bar chart that shows what my planned volume for that week is supposed to be.  If I swim 43 minutes rather than 50, my whole week will appear as a slacker week.

By the time I had hit 1750 yards I was in full contemplation rule.  Is it worse to swim more than 2500 yards or swim less than 50 minutes.  By 2000 yards I was contemplating about what I would do if bike and run specified both time and distance.  Thankfully that isn’t the case. 

By the time I hit 2400 yards I decided that I was going to do a cool down for the final 5-7 minutes.  But then I wondered whether I would be breaking the spirit of the workout which was a 1 X workout without any warm-up or cool down.  So I just kept swimming until I hit 50 minutes.  I ended up going 3000 yards.  Nice and convenient. 

I think I chose correctly when I reviewed my log this morning.  Nothing told me I went too far and I noticed that my time was adding up nicely. 

I love trivial dilemmas.  Now to bigger questions – how can I incorporate more Nutella into my diet?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why I want to be a pro've written before about how I like free stuff.  That hasn't changed.  However, I now have a bigger reason for wanting to be a pro.

I want to take naps and talk about food.

I use twitter to spy on certain people and have noticed that certain famous Kona winning triathletes (@chrissiesmiles, @maccanow, @mirindacarfrae) seem to either be taking naps or talking about food most of the time.

I also did some research by watching "A Training Day with Michellie Jones" which is great and shows her swim, bike and run and even riding a horse but for some reason doesn't seem to show her biggest brick which is a napping.  She also does talk about food with a very nice Vegemite plug.

Meanwhile, I don't get naps or much sleep and people don't listen when I talk about food.

So, now that I have finally zeroed in on what pro's most endorse, I think I would be a great spokesperson for the following companies.

The Food Network
Any maker of fuzzy blankets
Big comfortable chairs
Boring books

Until then...

Monday, April 4, 2011

First Long bike for my girls

As some on you know that have read the blog for while, my two girls, both three years old will be doing their first race this summer.  It is the Kids, Splash Pedal & Dash that is part of the Pacific Crest Sports Weekend in Sunriver Oregon.

In terms of full disclosure - I am a nice person and really am not "that dad".  My wife is concerned that each time I bring up this race - I sound like that jerk dad that is pushing his fat nearsighted kid into baseball.  I'm not totally sure why I want my girls to race but I think most of it has to do with how much I enjoy it and I would love to share that great experience.  Plus, I would like to gravy train once they hit the ITU and Olympics.  I can just see the NBC coverage with me and my wife looking supportive and crying tears of joy... oh sorry, I guess I am that dad.

Their training plan is slightly different from my 140.6 plan.  All they really need to learn between now and the end of June is to be able to slide down practically any slide without hesitation, ride their bikes (with training wheels if still needed) and run a while.

Slides - no real problem unless I'm not sliding with them.  Need to work on a plan that doesn't involve me sliding but I love slides so much...

Splashing through pools - not a problem for either girl unless they want to play in the water.

Bike - Until yesterday they had only ridden their trikes.  Both girls have played with their bikes but our driveway just is better with trikes.  So my wife and I loaded them up yesterday and headed to the walking path along the Columbia River.  The girls were so excited to exercise and we took off.  They ended up riding about a mile and did better than I expected.  Now that they have steering down, I think we may have a chance.

Run - I think this will be fine.  They ended up kind of running a brick yesterday and felt great.

"My legs hurt from biking" was the comment after naps.  So we sat on the floor and stretched and I learned a very important lesson about daddy's teaching their little ones to stretch.  The phrase "Watch me" really doesn't allow them to stretch much.  I tell them to lean forward and and touch toes and I can barely reach and they can scratch their back with their feet.

Great day of training for them and even better day just being together as a family and watching them learn.  I wish my training was as simple and that my stretching was as easy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Taking your kids to "Your" stores

I had to stop by two stores yesterday and so decided to make it a family activity.  The first was stop by a running store before my coupon ran out to buy a new pair of shoes..  The second was to make an exchange at a bike shop.

I really like running stores and bike shops.  If you'd asked me before yesterday, I would've told you that I like to look at things at the stores.  Well that isn't quite true, I like to touch things at stores.  I would have never known this unless I had my two girls with me who were touching everything.  I kept telling them, "Look, don't touch".  They didn't seem to be listening and instead were touching everything.  They were trying on hats, playing with the foam rollers, touching every shoe within reach.  They played with the socks, tried the treadmill and wanted to try on clothes.  As I "calmly" and "sternly" told them that if they don't stop touching, I noticed that they were just copying me.  As I waited at the counter to ring up the purchase (Nike Lunarglide 2)  I became aware that between the girls and myself, we had touched nearly everything on the counter.  I was setting a horrible example.

We then went to the bike store and the pattern repeated again.  I told them not to touch and I proceeded to touch everything and they copied.

It wasn't the relaxing trip to the stores that I hoped for.  I felt like a hypocrite every few seconds.  I know adults are allowed to touch but maybe, just maybe, I need to rethink how we shop when together as a family.

Do you think this will work?
1.  They only touch things that I hand them?
2.  I only touch things that I trust them not to break.
3.  I make them wear really baggy pants when we go to stores so that they they are too busy holding their pants up to try to touch things?

Maybe it's me that needs to forget the belt, and the wallet...