Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Well the weather outside is....

I'm cold.  I've drunk more coffee than I "need" and I don't want to go run today.

It all is a mater of perspective.  It is rainy and 37 degrees which is tropical for some and I've run in much worse, but I just don't want to.

But, in two minutes I'm going to hit "Publish" and go run and one hour from now, I will be sweating from a good run and glad I ran.

But with one minute to go, I'm taking the hardest step of my day, away from the coffee and into the yuk.

Update - It was great.  I'm sweating, enjoyed the run and am ready to go back to work, and drink more coffee!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Afraid of the Dark

When I was a kid, I was really scared of the dark.  I remember a really creapy row of houses near my parents house that would teriffy me as a kid and I would race through that area.  It was dark and I'd run or ride my bike as fast as I could to get into light and near "safe" houses.

It was kind of ironic that when my wife and I bought our first home, it was on this street.  It didn't occur to me that I bought a piece of terror until the first time I left our house at night and I could picture a frigtened kid racing down the street in a panic.

I recently didn't get a chance to run until about 8:00 PM.  I was in the mountains of Idaho for work and I typically just run down a country road and down a seldome used path.  It was pitch black and I didn't have a light but I was feeling kind of cocky and proud at my ability to run in the dark an not be afraid.

I ran about 1/4 mile before I saw this dark grey animal race infront of me.  I think it was a deer but I wasn't sure if the deer was running from me or from some other animal.  Earlier in the day I had seen about 30 elk in our field and I started to wonder whether wolves and mountain lions had also seen this tasty herd.

At this point, my heart was racing and I was paranoid.  So I turned around an ran a .22 mile loop around the buildings for the next 36:04.  It was one of the longer 4.5 miles that I've run and a lot of the run was in the dark but at least I didn't need to look over my shoulder the whole time.

The good news is that while I've changed quite a bit in the last 30+ years, some things are still the same.  I run faster when I'm scared and I still get scared.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The groove

First of all, I love the word groove.  I'm not sure whether it is because of the music I was exposed to in the 70's but I like it.

You will notice as you follow this blog or look at my training log on that I tend to get in the grove for a while and then get out of it. 

Blog entries tends to start a few weeks after the grove starts and end a few weeks before the groove sputters to an end. 

My groove creators are -
  1. Great weather
  2. An upcoming race
  3. Training with people
  4. New gear
  5. Finishing workouts in bad weather
My grove busters are -
  1. Travel
  2. Work stress
  3. Sickness/Injury
  4. Finishing Ironmans
  5. Sick Family
  6. Darkness!
So, I've been running and now have my bike set-up for winter training.  I have the Sufferfest videos loaded onto an old laptop and a goal in mind. 

I do have some travel coming up and darkness is here for the next several months but...I think for now, I'm getting in the grove and ready to stay for a while!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

IM Canada Done!

Life has been busy since finishing Ironman Canada.  Great things like vacationing with my family and regular stuff like trying to get caught up at work.

The race went well given my training.  I'll write up more once I have the focus but it was 13:44:22 which is about an hour longer than Vineman.  I was 10 lbs heavier and course is tougher so I feel pretty good. 

Highlights - loved the challenge of a mass swim start.  Nothing like a bunch of contact to keep one alert for 1:24 of swimming.  Cramps in the legs at the second buoy but no real problems after that.

Love the bike course.  It is tough but has a great mix of climbs, turns, views, and really fast downhills.  Great aid stations and can't say enough about how beautiful the area was from the bike.  My legs felt great, neck felt great, and bike worked its magic.

Run - I loved the course and the support.  Didn't like that my HR kept climbing and so I had to run walk.  26.2 miles of running about 1/4 mile and then walking 100 feet and repeating can be a bit tedious but it worked out.

Biggest disappointment of the day.  They were out of pizza at the finish line.  Now that just isn't too big of a deal given all the things that went so well during the day.

The finish was relief and excitement about seeing my family.  The emotional part of the day was finishing the bike.  I wasn't worried about anything else other than how I would feel after the bike and that accomplishment was a huge deal.  I thought about my past year, the challenges and good stuff, let out a sigh and then started running.

I think I'm at the same point now, I've finished a race, took a vacation, and started training again.  I'm running and swimming and will bike tomorrow.  It feels good to keep moving and not have the pressure of the race on my shoulders. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My plan for Ironman Canada

I am in what I like to call my "build phase" for Ironman Canada. For those who have read past posts, I am way behind where I want to be.

I think my build phase better resembles panic training with a slight hint of patience based on fear.I have under 50 days to prepare and will spend as much of the time as I can executing the following plan.

Swim enough to come out of the water comfortably. When I am not traveling, I will continue swiming twice a week and be doing about 3-4 K per session. Not focused on speed but on being efficient and relaxed in the water. Will be great to have a mass start and I'm kind of looking forward to the swim leg.Bike -

Bike every chance I can get. Last week I was able to ride three times and demonstrated that I can ride about 1.5 hours each morning before work. I love riding early morning before the trafic and heat. I feel the most vulnerable in the bike and will just need to ride as much as I can and really pace myself on race day. I have some fear of the bike because I've really blown up on the bike before and know I need to get stronger.

Run - Run every chance I get and focus on steady pace of 8:30 ish rather than trying to do my typical pace. I'm a bit tired from extra biking and need to carelly add distance at the same time. The good news is that I love to run and this is the one area that I've been pretty steady this year. At this time, my long run will probably top out at about 16 miles which isn't great but I need to focus on biking.

Short 1 week taper and then race smart.

Race goal is 14 hours.I'm not sure how many times I almost deleted this post because it sounds rediculous. If someone came to me with my plan, I don't think I would be too encouraging, but I really don't have a choice.

It may sound a bit sadistic but part of what I'm excited about it that this is really a testing time for my character. Am I the kind of person that accepts a really good excuse and quits or do I find a way to make the best of my options, accept my disapointment and keep moving forward? I will learn over the next 50 days and then will learn somemore as I race.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Up yours

I noticed that I told a lot of stories yesterday. Really good stories that included bears, eagles, famous people, every pro cyclist I've met(not the same as famous people) and no doubt a wealth of other interesting things.

So what interupted my sleep last night wasn't just the non stop fireworks but was this nagging embarrassment that I wasted some great conversations during the day by playing "up yours" in which I told my better and more interesting story.

There are a lot of things that I'm trying to teach my girls but "up yours" isn't one of them. So I ran today and made some commitments to be silent, give others my attention and to enjoy giving rather than getting the limelight. Can you imagine what a total jerk I'd be if I didn't have swim/bike/run to bring some focus, perspective and commitment to my life?

What are you learning and changing?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Hope You Don't Think I'm Crazy, But I Do...

One of my favorite things about racing and training for Ironman distance races is that I can finish my race descritpion with

and then I run a marathon

It is at this point that many people give me that, you are insane look.  They can understand swimming for 2.4 miles, think a bike ride over 100 miles is crazy but to then run?

It is at this point that most triathletes start the delicate dance of trying to appear sane and yet not make our feat look too easy.

If someone starts to google local psychiatrists or addiction couselors I typically start sharing these points:
  • Over 3000 other people are doing this race
  • 80 year old nuns can do it.
  • A bunch of biggest looser contestants have done it
  • It is all about pacing and just a long day of exercise
No, if they swing too far and start relating to me by comparing it to there last 5K walk/run, I start trying to amp things up a bit more:
  • Describe in detail the mass swim start using the "swim over" as many times as possible
  • Talk about bloody nipples
  •  Lead them to believe I need to train about 18 - 56 hours per week
  • Talk about how winners pee themselves
So in the end, I don't want them to think I'm crazy, well maybe crazy but impressive crazy.

How do you keep things in balance?

Friday, June 8, 2012

"I told my brain"

My four year olds are taking survival swim lessons and it has been awesome to watch them face their fear.

C fell in the lake a few weeks and didn't even make a splash. She had a life jacket on and things worked out fine but we had two problems. A four year old that was convinced she could swim and the discovery that she doesn't scream, splash and panic when she falls in ice cold water.

We enrolled them in swimbabes which is a survival class (10 session) focused on teaching not breathing water, floating, and moving into the water.

During the second lesson, C got her blue ribbon for jumping in on her own, turning on her back and floating for 10 seconds - three times. The ribbon comes with a picture of her floating, a certificate, water slide privileges and the rare ability to have something her sister doesn't have.

K spent most of the weekend getting her plan in place so that she could get a ribbon. The only problem is that she doesn't like water in her face and her float couldn't make the count. She did have a plan and through sheer will, she got her blue ribbon on Monday.

By the next class, she was kick boarding with her head under water from one side of the pool to the other. She told my wife what she did to learn how to swim

"I told my brain 'you can do it', and I did it"

Wow, what amazing things I can learn from my girls. I now know what I need to do to make it to and through Ironman Canada.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm that person

I tend to have a just do it attitude yet this has been one of the lowest years of training motivation for me.  I love to exercise and I feel, think and am generally a nicer person when I am training.  This year's training has been horrible.  I could list off a bunch of reasons (excuses) but I won't bore you with those or allow them to hold be back.

Here is the reality - I have 81 days until Ironman Canada and for this year I have trained for:
Bike - 165 Miles
Run - 103.42 Miles
Swim - 29000 Yards (16.57 Miles)

What this means is that I have barely trained the equivalent of a IM event and it took me 6 months.

This makes me want to quit because I am nowhere near where I intended to be at this point.  However, today I choose to train.

I have 81 days to get to the beach in the best shape possible.  My plan is to be patient, positive and persistent in my training (I love alliteration).  It is hard not to start going crazy and panic training but I can't afford to be injured so my new focus is also a "p" - pacing.

I could also use your encouragement.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Contest - Where do I run?

Shot this at mile 3 of my run yesterday.

Where was I?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Which comes first?

I've had a pretty dismal winter of training.  I'm not injured but just can't seem to get a rhythm going.  I think I may be on a bit of a down cycle.  Work and life have been invasive into my training and I just haven't broken out of it.

I keep sleeping through workouts and skipping runs during lunch.  It is so hard to get going knowing I have such a long way to just get to the place I want to be.

I guess one step at a time and sooner than later, my motivation and inspiration will catch up.

So I ran today.  That is good.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Records I'm glad I don't need to defend

I ran with the king of a trail last night. Joe is my college roommate and he lives in Irvine area. He typically ru s mid day and goes between 3-6 miles. I visited him yesterday and we decided to run and catch up on things. He mentioned in passing that he hadn't been passed on the trail for 10 years. He has never allowed anyone to pass. I thought he was joking. I train at a pace a bit faster than he does but our goal was 12k of a perfect day and talking. Hints went well for the first 7k and the. We were mid sentance and he suddenly took off. He was in full stride and I caught up and at the same time heard and saw a guy trying to pass. Joe said "no you don't" and sped up even more. We ran slowly away from this guy and at the turn he took a different way. His record stands and we then had the talk about training rather than reacting. He chose to remain king I guess I need some of his fire and he needs some of my focus. Great time!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Swear I'm Not Competitive

I recently was trained as a Strength Finder trainer.  This allows me to meet with my staff and others to guide them through the process of discovering their strengths and how our strengths mix in a group. 

One of the 34 strengths is called "Competition"  are:

"People who are especially talented in  the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others.  They strive to win first place and revel in contests"

These are the people who like to be in competition and if they aren't in a competition, they find a way to turn it into a competition.  My older daughter I think has some of this in her because she announces all the time, "I was first".  This can be when setting the table, brushing her teethe, using the potty, putting on shoes...

I've been labeled as "competitive" but I really don't see it.  According to the geniuses that came up with the strength finder, competitive people only compete when they think they can win.  I do things all the time knowing that I won't win.  I've only one 1 race in my life and that was a 5K in which I knew fast people weren't going to show up.  I was "relatively fast" and got the gold.

So, while running this week, I spotted a runner a ways away and thought to myself, "I wonder if I'm going to pass him?"  I maybe picked up the pace a bit but I was more curious than in competition mode.

Then he cheated!  He cut a corner and probably gained about 12 second on me.  Then when we got to an intersection, he had it clear and I had a car to wait for.  He was cheating on our race.

It took me another 1/4 mile of running faster than I would have to pass him and keep going.  The problem was that I wasn't about to make this great effort to pass him, only to have him pass me again as I struggled for air.  So I had to keep up that pace until the turnaround point.  My plan was to pass him, look like I'm taking an easy run and then take a different way home so I could walk and gasp in peace. 

I made the turn around, and he wasn't there.  He took a different route.  My plan fell apart and I just had to keep up my strong run in case I met up with him again. 

So the good result is that I ran 6 miles at a 7:20 pace - the bad news is that I really should have been running at 7:45. 

So, to make a long point longer.  I just wanted to remind everyone that I'm not competitive according to the Strength Finder and if you base my personality on my race results.  However, if you meet me on the trails of Vancouver, please slow down so I can pass you without being competitive.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nod, Smile, Glare, Ignore

I am socially awkward because of two major life impacting things that were out of my control.

First, I grew up in Japan where people are polite and bow.

Second, I then moved to Nebraska where people tend to be like Golden Retrievers and are ready to be friends just because you both are wearing red sweatshirts with the letter "N" on them. 

Now I live in the Northwest and spend most of my time interacting with people from Washington and Oregon.  While we are no means like people from the other coast, people here tend to not be quite as friendly or polite. 

So, my awkwardness really shows when I run because I tend to do several things that when combined together come accross as creepy.

1.  I smile
2.  I make eye contact
3.  I nod

It is at this point that people either non, smile, glare, or ignore me.  They rarely say anything and I don't look over my shoulder to see if they are staring in disbelief. However, I imagine them shaking their head and wondering whether I'm evil or just weird. 

I have discovered two trains of thought that make me feel better.  I try to imagine them either thinking that I am the most fluid effortless runner they have ever seen or that they just can't get over how great my calves look. 

So, I keep running, awkwardly doing steps 1-3 and then doing this strange run in which I try to look like I'm floating while simultaniously flexing my calves.

See you on the trail and just smile back!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Put Me In Coach

My youngest is taking basketball lessons. She has liked basketball ever since she could stand and stare. She learned to dribble on her own. I am writing not only to brag but also because I learned a bit about myself tonight in class. I am not a good basketball player. Partially because of my physical size but I make up for being small by also not having fundamental skills. I watched her learn to stop, plant her feet and assume the "triple threat" pose. I didn't even have a one threat pose which explains why I sat on the bench and was ignored by the coach. I also don't think I'm as coach able as I pretend to be. I kind of figure things out on my own which may explain my bench like performance. One of my goals for this year of the dragon is to be more like my 3 year old and focus on basics and listening to coaches.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Feeling sick in the pool

I'm swimming at a new 24 hour fitness now which is a bit closer to my house and the pool is a bit nicer, except for one thing.  The one thing I don't like about the pool is probably the one thing that 80% of the other people who use it really like.  It is the hot water that pours into the pool from a certain vent in the deep end.

This vent really doesn't spew its evil purpose until about 5:45 AM.  By this time, I've been swimming for a while and am really warmed up when the torture begins.  I've gone past this part of the pool quite a few times already without a problem so I'm kind of surprised by the sudden nausea.

There is something unpleasant about going from cool to hot water while swimming.  Maybe it is just a reaction because I've been warned about what hot (or warmer) water in a pool can be from.  So maybe my nausea is just because my mind assumes I'm swimming through a huge cloud of pee.

So, after about 10 minutes, the little vent stops the madness, after a few more minutes, the pool returns to more of a consent temp and I get my swim back together.

Why am I sharing this?  I'm not really tell me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Avoiding becoming a premadona

There isn't much snow in Idaho right now. I've talked to a several people who won't go skiing even where there is man made and nicely groomed ski runs. I understand how frustrating it is to have a bad ski day. I know it costs a lot and why waste money. But I also know a bad day skiing is better than none. I grew up in Nebraska and we skied at a place called Nebraski. It was a short icy hill beside the Platte River and it wasn't like the Rockies or Nagano (Place in Japan wher I learned to ski when I was 4). I would ski in nebraska every chance ingot because I loved to ski. So I just don't get not going unless things are perfect. There are a lot of great things missed simply because I forget that good and great are missed chasing perfect. Short runs, swims, bikes are great but skipped because they are too lame. Amazing memories are missed because we don't play games or read during those 15 minutes between dishes and bed time. What am I missing waiting for the right time? I choose to take less than perfect opportunities.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why we get outside

I had one of those heart pounding, catch your breath moments today during our family walk.

It's been kind of cold and foggy today and we spent most of the day inside but the sun came out late afternoon and we went for a walk to the park.  Pretty basic, hold hands, look both ways, avoid dog poop type stuff.

The girls are getting awesome and it takes more and more for them to think I'm superman.  Today I introduced that thing where you push them on the swing and then run completely under them.  I'm sure I'd remember the name for what that is called except I've replaced that memory area of my braid in more important things like annoying song lyrics.

So, we played, climbed, didn't slide because of wet slides and jumped quite a bit and then headed home.  So far the most exercise was trying not to get kicked in the head while pushing on swings and the occasional pull up I tried to do on the monkey bars.

Then the event happened.  As we walked past a neighbors tree this bird swooped right over our heads and swerved over a couple of branches at an amazing speed and then poof.  A bunch of feathers fell to the ground and about 10 feet past the feathers there was a death scene as a little bird lost to the big, fast, ferocious predator bird.  The bird picked up its dinner and flew a bit further and started eating.

You wonder why I'm telling you this gruesome story...because over the next few days I'm going to tell everyone and you just happen to be the first.  Seeing nature in its reality creates problems for us parents.  First, we need to explain in non-nightmare causing terms that a bird killed another bird and is eating its brains for supper.  Second, there is something in that flight and fierceness that leaves me speechless and amazed and just wanting to jump around like an idiot yelling, "Did you just see that" but I've learned not to frighten my girls with shouting and jumping too much.  Finally, it makes me feel vulnerable.  Like I'm that happy song bird in the tree and before I start my "oh no, a ferocious falcon..." song, I'm lunch. 

Wow, that last one is a bit too much isn't it.  I'm not a doom and gloom person but wow, nature does make you think about realities.

So we were outside today and I'm so thankful we went.  Yes, nature causes questions and maybe a few nightmares for kids and parents but "wow, did you just see that!"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Riding to Nowhere

I'm finally back into bike training.  The move is done, basement is pretty much set-up and I now own what many call a "pain cave".  I'm not sure exactly whether I should call it a pain cave because if I was really looking for pain, I would be riding outside all winter, avoiding cars, but instead, I'm in the comfort of my home, riding my bike and watching movies. 

Sure, it hurts on the bike, intervals aren't easy but for me, I've created a road to nowhere rather than a pain cave.  I noticed recently that I've put about 1000 miles (okay 989 but who's gonna know) and I haven't moved an inch.  If I had decided to actually ride down the road, I could have made it to the following places.
  • Glacier National Park (620 Miles)
  • Hollywood, CA (974 Miles)
  • Moab, UT (997 Miles)
  • Calgary, AL (779 Miles but I guess I would need to ride kilometers rather than miles...)
  • Almost halway to Hawaii
So this winter as I ride to nowhere, I'm going to maybe pull myself away from spinervals and whatever nonsense I'm watching on Netflix long enough to pretend that I'm actually riding a bike and and arriving someplace cool rather than just exercising.

After reading this post again, I think I need more oxygen in my pain cave...I'm starting to get weird.