Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day of 2008

I've finally gotten back into the swing of training again. This morning at Masters, we swam 3,800 yards, which included 1600 yards of kicking drills. For all my cycling strength, I'm so slow at kicking. I was getting lapped.

A couple of days ago, I was able to run for 10 minutes on the treadmill. That was as long as I could tolerate before I started noticing some pain. I directly switched to the eliptical afterwards. I don't want to rush things and hurt myself again. I'll try to run for another 10 minutes again today. I can't wait until I can run without a care again.

Tomorrow is the annual Resolution Ride in which a handful of brave souls meet and ride >100 miles. Last year was miserably cold; the temps were in the 20s all day. This year it's looking to be nearly twice that. Winter riding is such a beast. You start out bundled up with everything you have, and, as the temps rise, you start to over heat and sweat; you start to shed layers. The quandry is you don't really have many places to stowe your layers; it's all got to be on your person. At the same time, you have to stowe food, your phone, your wallet, and any other extras. So, shedding layers isn't as easy as it sounds.

I just found out my wife is hosting a New Year's Eve party at house this year. Is it rude for one of the co-hosts to beg off and go to bed early? Maybe we can make it a New York New Year's Eve.

Happy New Years!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Strange Day!

Today, 12/26/2008, I came into work--I'd taken nearly a week-and-a-half off prior to Christmas because I was going to lose 84 hours of PTO. I just hung out for my time off. Anyway, I show up to work today, and there's not a soul in the whole building. I remember my boss telling me to come back the Friday after Christmas. Turns out today is a company holiday and Christmas Eve wasn't--DOH! I pulled a no show at work. I've never done that before. no one even called me. I guess that means my presense isn't necessary.

I've fallen off the blog wagon as of late because I've been in vacation/holiday mode. I'm not back to training regularly. I'm still in the preparation phase of training, which means I'm not supposed to exceed 12.5 hours. I've been doing a bit of everything these last couple of weeks. I've been a lot of circuit training with a class my wife goes to regularly. She likes it when I go so she can laugh at my lack of coordination. I've been hiking, and I even got out to do some nordic skiing. The other day I started jumping rope--UGH! Jumping rope is hard! I lasted 15 minutes and I was done. I'm officially swimming with the Academy Masters 4 times a week. This morning I swam 3,500 yards. It was a tough workout, but fun. I'm really enjoying it. I've also been riding a little bit. In previous years, when I get time off, I'm on the bike most of the time. It's like I'd use every available moment I had, to train and put in the miles. I'm trying to shift that way of thinking to manage my hours to a plan. The first thought I had when I realized today was a work holiday was...I can go out and ride. I'm already 10 hours into this week. I plan on swimming and riding Saturday, so a ride would put me over my 12.5 hour ceiling. I just have to tell myself, there will be 25 hour weeks in the near future, but not now--not this week. Many endurance athletes struggle with the discipline. More training isn't always better; sometimes you need a value to ramp up from. It's important to have the discipline to train when you don't want to to meet the week's goal, and it's important to back off when you've met the goal.

Speaking of training, last week was my first bike ride in nearly a month. I went out on the team ride. The pace was fairly fast, and, surprisingly, it wasn't a challenge to keep up. There were times when heading to the designated sprints when I would go to the front and drive the pace. I was surprised; I must have carried over some fitness with me, because I fully anticipated struggling to stay with the group.

Christmas was good. It was low-key, and that's the way I like it. I got some cool gifts--lots of gift cards, which are also my favorite. My wife gave me some tri bike shoes. The kids seemed very happy with their gifts. All around, it was a good time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Little Bit of This and That

My training officially starts for next year on December 22nd. So, I'm just doing a little bit of this and that. I managed to swim 12,500 yards last week. I can still swim with no pain, and swimming technique fades too quick to not try to keep up with it. Saturday, I took the kids for a hike in the foothills to a small waterfall. I wanted to see how my knee would hold out on varied terrain. Everything went well, except little Mia stopped her fall by grabbing a cactus. After picking out the "Pockies" and wiping away her tears, we were on our way again. My knee felt fine, so the next day I decided to do another more challenging hike to continue to build the knee. The night before brought Albuquerque's second snow of the year and really cold weather. Saturday it was in the low 50s, and Sunday it was in the 30s. I hiked a trail I used to hike with my dogs when they were younger and a little more agile. It goes up 1.5 miles and gains 1362 feet of elevation. The trail was hardly visible because of the snow. If felt good just to get out and get some fresh crisp air. My knee felt good, and the trail was so steep I felt like I was doing continuous squats/lunges. The way down was also fairly intense with the snow covered rocks; there was lots of slipping. Today my legs are a bit sore from the hike and the knee is a bit stiff. But, I'm almost to the point when I can start running again. For sure, I'll ride this weekend if not before--that is unless it's too cold outside. Ethan and I picked up a new WW2 video game and have been playing it together alot. It drives him nuts when I beat him; I guess he'll need to put in some more P time on the GameCube to beat his daddy. Who's your daddy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Does Someone Do In The Offseason?

I've been doing a lot of sleeping, movie watching, errands, leaf raking, and planning lately. I've been going to bed nearly every night at 10pm and waking up at 7:30. Weekends I've been sleeping in until 8:30-9:00 am; it's great. For a zombie triathlete, sleep is a luxury. You take it when you can get it and go without to make the next workout. I've also rented every possible movie from RedBox possible. Last Sunday, Ethan was sick, so I made him watch the Mad Max trilogy; he didn't seem to like the movies as much as I did when I was a kid. I cleaned my car--something I've wanted to do since June. Now if I can get my Christmas shopping done and unpack our extra bedroom, I'll be all set.

I've been putting together my training plan for next year. I've posted my racing schedule below. There will probably be a few bike and running races thrown in to mix it up a bit. The big races are going to be Buffalo Springs 70.3(West Texas)/Lake Stevens 70.3 (Seattle, Washington)/ Austin 70.3 (Austin, Texas) with the effort trying to qualify for the 70.3 Championships in Clearwater, Florida, in November. I'm going to shorten the distances a bit to let my running legs get ready for the longer marathon distances. I'd like to presume my Kona campaign in 2010. Each of these 70.3 events do have a few Kona slots, but they're extremely competitive (more so than qualifying with a traditional IronMan). So I'm not taking myself out of the Kona game all together.

I have been swimming a lot these last couple of weeks. I don't want to start the Masters cold turkey and suffer. I have to say, my swimming has progressed quite a bit this last year, which makes me happy. Every few swim workouts, I've been doing 10X100 yards at 1:45 each. I consistently finish at 1:30 giving myself 15 seconds of rest between each. I'm not sure whether I should increase the volume of intervals (secretly I'd like to do 25 of these) or decrease the send off times. Either way, this would not have been something I could have done a year ago. Last year, I was struggling to consitently do flip turns. I'm excited to see what next year will bring. I'm optimisitic that the Masters will help me get to the next level.

I've been putting together my workout plans for the next year. My goal is start every workout with a specific workout task and work towards an ultimate objective. Towards the end of the season last year, I was more or less going through the motions. Ideally, I'd like to have a coach to put together my training plans and techniques--especially with running. But, I really have to pick and chose my options with the resource constraints I have. I feel like I have a lot of potential with this triathlon thing; I just wish I had all the tools necessary to get there as quickly as possible. If someone knows of any sponsorship/funding opportunities, let me know.

My knee is improving pretty well now. I've given it lots of rest and used the pool to rehab it a bit. I'm thinking by next week I can start riding the bike again and possibly start with the eliptical--crossing my fingers.

A couple of days ago Albuquerque got her first snow. Can I go back to Arizona for the winter? I don't look forward to long rides in the cold. It's miserable wearing multiple layers of clothes and your fingers and toes are freezing. You also build some bad habits while riding in the cold. Being bundled up, you get out of the habit of a strict drinking/eating regimine. Just 3 weeks ago, I was wearing a triathlon outfit for a 112 mile ride and wasn't the least bit cold.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just Hanging Out For The Off-Season

This is Shane (our >200 lbs. Mastiff) and Bunny Honey (Our daughter Grace's pet bunny). They co-habitate the backyard. They are best buddies; they even share a bed. I've never seen a rabbit and a dog get along so well. The bunny even eats Shane's food. It's funny to watch them interact with each other.

I've been rehabbing my knee taking it easy. I went to the doctor on Tuesday and they gave me a cortizone shot in the knee--OUCH! That entire day after, my knee was killing me, but it's getting better now. The prognosis is a torn bursa on the inner knee. It should be good to go in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I've swam a couple of times. I got invited to swim with the Academy Masters Program that swims monday/wednesday/Friday/Saturday from 5:15AM to 6:45AM. The facility they swim in is the best; it's a legit natatorium. How can I say no?

I've been working on a little internet business project in the downtime. I figure it'll be a way to drum up some more cash for next season. We'll see...most of the time, these things don't amount to much.

Here's a final picture of me at the finish line in Tempe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Race Report

4:00AM Alarm goes off. I jumped in the shower to get the muscles warm and fresh. I ate 2 bagels and my Naked Juice (brand of fruit puree). Tanya and Danny (my bro) drove me down to Tempe to get the party started. Once I got there, I went into transition to check the tire pressure on the bike and put all my food and water bottles on the bike. Once that was done, Tanya and Dan took off to pick up the rest of the family to get back to watch the swim start. While alone, I found a quiet place to get away from all the other contestants. At the beginning of these events, there's so much nervous energy that's extremely contagious. I was as ready as I was going to be at this point and hearing someone else talk about something that I might not have considered wouldn't help--not now. I stretched and massaged the muscles. I began to meditate on my race strategy. I was confident in my swim and bike but wasn't sure how the knee would hold up. At that moment the knee felt good, but I hadn't run for upwards of a month. I figured I'd give everything I had in the swim and bike and see how the run played out.

At 30 minutes before race start, I pulled on the wetsuit. I put my goggles on with my swim cap over the top. I made my way to the dock. There were 2,300 athletes making their way to the pier jumping in to the water. We were like lemmings jumping in. When it was my turn, I tried to hesitate for a moment, but with so many people behind me, I had to go. We were like soldiers jumping off a boat to storm a beach. There was a palpable trepidation amongst the athletes. The initial shock of the water took my breath away. I moved forward as the next athlete jumped in right behind me. As I began to move, I started to warm up and gather my senses. I made my way to the start buoys, which was 200 meters away from the dock. During that 200 meter swim, I began to get comfortable. I started with an easy breast stroke then gradually started swimming freestyle. I felt good. When I did Boise, the water was so cold and choppy it took me a third of the swim course to finally be comfortable swimming freestyle. This had cost me a lot of time. In the 10 minutes before the race started I swam a few hundred meters getting used to the water and getting comfortable with my stroke. I was really happy because I knew I could start the swim right off the bat in freestyle. I made my way to the front of the line. I figure it's better to make the faster swimmers swim over you, than having to swim through the slow swimmers if I had started in the back. I looked at the spectators from bridge looking for my family. I waived hoping they might see me. Then someone sang the national anthem from the shore. Then "Boom" a gun was fired and the race began.

The first 200 yards were swum all out. I was just trying to keep up with the front group. That pace caught up with me and I was winded. I slowed down to catch my breath. People swam over the top of me, which made it harder to catch my breath. I kept swimming still trying get the heart rate back in check. Then, after I calmed down, I began to swim at my optimal pace. I focused on my stroke gliding with each arm before starting the next stroke. No one was swimming over the top of me anymore. I began to catch people. The difficulty of catching people was they weren't alone but in pods of many people. I physically had to cut through them--push them aside--to get through them. There were times I could feel myself kicking other swimmers. I jammed my fingers on anther swimmer. I spent the bulk of the swim moving up from one pod of people to the next until 3/4s of the way when I caught up to the people swimming at my optimal speed. There were about 4 of us and we stayed together until the end.

During the swimming event, I sustained my worst injury. My zipper strap on my back kept wrapping under my arms as I swam giving me the equivalent of rope burns under both my arm pits. It's not that big of a deal, but gosh does it hurt. This morning, I have a bunch of scabs all over my arm pits. I can't wait to put on deodorant.

When I swam to the finishing dock, I put out my hand to the volunteer to help me out. He yanked me right out of the water. I ran up the path towards T1. Some other volunteers, aptly named "Strippers", stripped off my wetsuit. As I made my way, I kept hearing the volunteers shouting my race number ahead to the other volunteers to have my T1 bag ready for me. As I got to the change tent, a volunteer handed me my bag and another was eager to help me change into my bike clothes. Most of my bike clothes were on under my wetsuit, so there wasn't much I needed help with. But the volunteer put my socks and bike shoes on for me as I put my helmet on. I stuffed my wetsuit and swim stuff into the bag and ran off to my bike. Another volunteer grabbed my bike for me and ran along with me to the beginning of the bike course. I jumped on my bike and took off. I cannot say enough about the help the volunteers were for the transitions. I have never seen such help in any of the prior events I've done.

When I started the bike course, I had no idea of my swim time. Turns out I swam a 1:07, which is much better pace than anything I've done previously at half the distance.

On the bike, I slammed it in to the big gear dropped into the aero bars and went to work. The course was well marked with an open road. I was amazed at how many people were in front of me from the swim. I had a lot of time to make up.

About 5 miles into the ride, a peloton of about 15 riders came up behind me. It was like a team time trial event and the Tour De France. They were rotating through. My cycling instincts kicked in and I jumped on the back of the group and began to rotate through. We were averaging upwards of 30 MPH. All the other riders not in the peloton were shouting at us. Then it dawned on me, this is illegal. It's illegal to draft during these events. As soon as I realized what I was doing I pulled over to the side and let them go. I felt bad. Minutes later, a referee on the back of a motorcycle zipped by and caught up to the group. All the riders were assessed a 4 minute drafting penalty. They fought with the referee but were still busted.

The course was three loops of an out and back course. On the way out it was a long drag up a gradual hill with a fierce headwind. It was tough. The turn around was just past the peak of the hill on the downside. On the way back it was great: down hill with a headwind. The penalty tent was at the turn around, and all the riders in the peloton were in the tent. On the way back, I averaged 35 MPH. It was a drag race back to town. It was great. Half way back to town, the peloton came riding past, this time the person in the back was looking back for a referee. These guys were intent on drafting during the race at all costs. Being given two penalties is an automatic DQ. Off they went, zipping by at what I'd bet was upwards of 40 MPH in the downhill tailwind. Part of me felt bad because I was part of that for a brief period of time (2-3 miles) and partly because one of these riders was taking my ticket to Kona. Furthermore, they were so brazen in their activity; they didn't care that all the other riders were jeering them for cheating.

As progressed through each loop, the people in front of me became more sparse. By the end of the second loop, I had caught everyone I was going to catch and was finishing up. By the third loop the course was littered with riders at various stages of their bike section; it was impossible to know who was in what position. I just put my head down and rode.

I finished the 112 mile ride in 5:09. I had stopped twice; once to use the porta-john and once to check a false alarm flat tire. There many riders that didn't stop at a porta-john and did their business while riding. I couldn't bring myself to do that. I may have cost me a minute of so, but that's OK.

At T2, a volunteer took my bike and directed me to the change tent. Another volunteer handed me my t2 bag. When I got in the tent, another volunteer emptied the bag, pulled off my cycling shoes and sock (and timing chip), put on my running socks, and shoes. I put my own running shorts on--thank you very much. I threw on my hat and proceeded to my wild card event: running.

My knee felt good. I finished my first mile at a 7:30 minute pace. The transition from bike to run is painful and I was suffering. You're supposed to feel good after 3 miles of running. After the first mile, my knee started to hurt. I had compression socks on, a knee brace, and lots of Ibuprofen in my system. My pace started to come down to what my knee would allow. At the first timing mat, I didn't hear the buzzer go off. I looked down, there was no timing chip on my leg. Doh! It dawned on me the volunteer at T2 pulled my timing chip off and didn't put it back on. I grabbed the next volunteer I saw and had him radio in to HQ. He told me to stop at T2 after the first loop. This is why, people following me on the internet didn't see any updates after the bike section. When I got through the first loop, they gave me a new timing chip and sent me on my way.

By this time I was averaging 10 minute miles. It was time to focus on finishing rather than qualify. I was happy though because I had confidence I'd finish--even if I had to walk. The run course was three loops of run paths and sidewalks around the Tempe Park Lake. Different organizations of volunteers manned the run aid stations every mile. They all had different themes, super heroes, country western, angels, and more. They passed out gatorade, water, ice, pretzels, gels, coke, bananas, cookies, Powerbars. When it was dark they handed out chicken broth. They'd shout words of encouragement as you passed. The miles ticked by and my pace went from 7:30 minute mile to, ultimately 12:30 mile. By mile 20, I was hobbling pretty obviously. This made the volunteers at the aid station to give me that much more encouragement. Finally, the last mile was over and I ran to the finish line. I wasn't too aware of everything going on around me. My son Ethan ran with me for a 100 yards, and my daughter Elise crossed the finish line with me. My finishing time was 11:32. I ran a 5 hour marathon, which I like to call my cold turkey marathon. I honestly think I'm good for 2 hours less--but that's another time. They gave me one of these futuristic aluminum foil blankets, my medal (the hardware), a shirt, and a hat. They snapped some pictures. Then I found the family where more pictures were snapped.

I gingerly made my way to the transitions and grabbed my bike and transition bags. We went home where Dan made some big steaks, pasta, and, my favorite, brownies. Then I went to bed.

This morning I'm sore, my knee is extremely painful, and my arm pits are killing me. We're heading back to Albuquerque, but not before a trip to Chipotle for some burritos. Let the off-season begin. Thanks for everyone's support!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Calm Before The Storm

I'm just about to go to bed and wake up to an epic day. Today started off early with getting the three oldest kids to the Ironkids 1.25 mile run. They really enjoyed it. I ran with my daughter and my leg held up OK. These events are really family friendly.

Afterwards it was a rush getting everything set up in the transitions. The day before one of these events is very stressful trying to get all the final pieces in place. While dropping off my bike, I forgot I had my bike on top of the car. I accidental ran it into a parking garage. My heart sunk when I heard the noise. Fortunately, there wasn't any damage. I was driving really slow at the time. Still, it was quite a scare.

I'm now going to crash. I'm tired. Full race report tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Today during a meeting, all the people in my group put together a poll of my finishing time. The times varied from impossibly too fast (thanks for the confidence) to 12 hours. Fortunately, no one wagered a DNF (thans, again, for the confidence). Aftwards, a co-worker posted some statistical data from all the previous IronMan Arizona events. Take a gander.

Now you know what geeks do for fun!

That first blip of people on the left are the ones that got a golden Willie Wonka wrapper to the Chocolate Factory (Kona). Gosh I want to run with the Ompa Lompas next year!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Almost Time!

The closer I get to the event, the more of a reality it becomes. I find myself growing more pensive. I keep catching myself saying, "I can't believe I'm going to do this!" or "Gosh, what was I thinking?!" At any rate, we leave 6AM Friday morning to pick up my race packet later that day. I've called the officials at Tempe Park Lake and the water temp is 65 degrees, which is much warmer than Boise (56 degrees). Today the weather in Phoenix is 84 degrees with a projected 77-78 degrees on Sunday. That's much warmer than Albuquerque this time of year, which will be a bit of shock to the system.

If you feel so inclined to follow me during the race, my bib number is 766. You can log into the website and go to the link for Ironman Arizona. There you'll find an athlete tracker. Just drop my bib number in there, and you'll be good to see my times for each event.

This last week was my last to get in any quality workouts. I ended up with 12 hours split between swimming and biking. As I rode around the city on Saturday morning, I couldn't help but be jeolous of the people out running. I want to be running or at least have the knowledge that I can be running without any fear of a nagging injury.

Part of me wants to treat this like a race and really push it. The other part of me wants to go at a pace that will ensure I finish and not be concerned with my final time. We'll see. Honestly, I'm just petrified and uncertain as to the reality of this new adventure. Again, what was I thinking?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Next Year's Plans

I know it's a bit premature, considering I'm 10 days away from my big day, but I've been thinking about plans for next year. Some of my thoughts are to focus on shorter distance events (i.e. half-iron) to let my running legs get used to the abuse and to develop some swimming speed and race experience. I worry that I inadvertantly named this blog the "Long" road to Kona for a reason. No, I'm not getting down on myself, but I'm just preparing myself for a potentialy long haul goal of getting that call up to Kona. At this moment, it's an a nebuluous goal that will firm up a bit after Arizona. Hey, if I qualify at the first attemp, great! Then I'll spend next year preparing for Kona. That's my plan A. But, I'm a contingency planner by nature, which means I've got plans B-Z already formulated in my mind. That's where I'm going with this entry.

My wife gets frustrated when I ask the following: "What's next?" She doesn't like that I can't just be content with the status quo. I understand her frustration; it's taxing always being on the go. But, unfortunately, it's my nature. I've got to conquer that next challenge. So, after Arizona, What's next?

I'd like to do 3-5 half iron distance events (i.e. Buffalo Springs, New Orleans, Austin, something in Q3)
I'd like to do some local shorter distance stuff
I'd like spend a lot more time running and less time injured
I'd like swim masters regularly--not the get up at 4:30Am group but the get up at 5:15 group--big difference
I'd like to do a few running events
I'd like to use a coach so I can it right or at least get sense that I'm doing it better than my current training technique.

We'll see. This is, after all, plan B.

Monday, November 10, 2008

12 More Days! Doh!

The time is really drawing near. It kinda freaks me out. 12 days. Yikes! Well, I spend about 11 hours at Ironman practice. I mainly split my time between between cycling and swimming--there was about 1.5 hours of running, which was a bit of a no no! I feel weird laying off the bike so much. I only rode twice; once to/from work and a 3.5 hour ride on Saturday. I swam 4 times this week. Now that I'm coming down to it, I'm finding it hard to be motivated to train, which is probably a good thing. Instead I've been readying all the final details. I'm going to run tubulars on some Zipp 404 wheels. I put some latex sealant in the wheels just in case. And, I'm bringing an extra tuby--just in case. Truth be told, I've never changed a tuby. I hope it doesn't come down to that though. I've called my contact in Phoenix a couple of times to get a read on the the course/weather/swim. It's been windy--YAY! I figure living in the wind swept New Mexico should give me a bit of an advantage. I've spend lots of time training for the wind. It's really mental more than anything. The waters fairly cool but not Boise cold (56 degrees).

The real variable in this event will be the run for me. I try not to think about it too much--it's too depressing (see my last post). Oh well, real men are bourne from adversity (so are stress fractures and month long hobbles). I don't care! I'm crossing the line--even if it's in a stretcher! There's been too many early mornings, long solo rides, physical exhaustion, and hard work to just bag it because the run might not be stellar.

On another note; congrats to my sister for having her 5th baby. And, get well Marilyn.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Weather's Cooling

Yesterday I commuted to/from work on the bike. The temps were in 45 degrees in the morning and not much warmer in the evening. At the same time, it's been in the
mid-80's in Phoenix. That's going to hurt! After I got home, I jumped on the treadmill for an hour. My knee was killing and it was all I can do not to stop after 45 minutes. I'm not sure it's going to improve enough to be even close to 100% in the next couple of weeks. It's very frustrating going from planning on racing the Ironman to hoping I can finish. I've trained for this for so long. The thought of not being 100% for race day is depressing. My goal was to show up race day knowing I did all I could in terms of preparation. Now it's all up in the air.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Day Swim

I left work and headed to my precinct to cast my ballot. Sure, the thought of blowing it off crept into my mind, but I just couldn't ignore the sacrifice that so many had made for me to have the freedom to cast a ballot. I couldn't blow off the principles that this country were established upon. I have a Chinese co-worker whose husband has just become a US citizen. Her excitement to get home to go with her husband and cast his first ballot was so electrifying. I couldn't take that for granted. I didn't blow of my vote.

After voting, I went to the pool and swam 2,500 meters straight without stopping. That's alot of alone time to think about things. I thought about the election, all the events that led up to the election, and my votes. I reflected on the issues that mattered to the election's outcome, the ones that shouldn't have mattered (but did), and the ones that should have mattered.

After the swim, I went home, had dinner with the family. Tanya made a great steak and pasta dinner. After dinner, I turned on the TV to get caught up on the latest with respect to the elections. They had just called the election for Obama and the cameras were filming Referend Jesse Jackson bawling like a baby. I didn't throw up a little bit in my mouth, but a lot! The cameras were also filming Oprah Winfrey and multiple other celebrities caught up in the Obama victory. Dammit! It was such a good dinner too. It all came out.

I promptly turned the TV off an went to bed. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Except, I guess I can expect to see some CHANGE that will bring me some HOPE. This should be a challenging task from a senator who didn't even finish his first term. Maybe I'm just too jaded to know it'll be More Of The Same.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Post Birthday Reminiscing

As some of you may be aware, my birthday is October 31st (Halloween). This year was similar to the last few years in that I went to work, came home and took the kids trick-or-treating. The only difference was my oldest daughter decided to go trick-or-treating with some of her friends instead of with me--Bad deal! I guess I'm starting to get old enough that my kids are starting to do things with their friends, even on the important days.

Works been crazy lately. I swam in the morning Saturday then went to work from 10AM to 7PM. I came home pretty trashed. I narrowly dodged having to work on Sunday as well.

Sunday was daylight savings/losings. I got up early 5AM and rode with some friends for what was supposed to be a brisk 100 miles and ~5 hours. Well one of the friends invited some people not necessarily up to the brisk pace. So, the ride ended up being 120 miles and 7.5 hours...UGH! At any rate, a bad day on the bike is better than...(you get the jist).

I came and took the kids (and a couple for their uncles) to Tingley Beach to check the the remote control boats and the man-made fishing ponds. They enjoyed it, and I enjoyed hanging out with the kids. I felt really mellow from the ride.

Afterwards, my wife threw a family birthday party for me. She made some great lasgne and mojitos. It was a good time and I scored a bunch of cash/gift cards for future endurance sports equipment acquisitions.

I ended the week with 14 hours. A lot of the hours were crap from the overly long bike ride.

Monday I ran for 30 minutes, and felt really good. I'm a bit sore but feel like I can run a couple of times this week. I'm crossing my fingers.

I need to go to the voting booth tonight and cast my ballot. I'm still undecided though. Someone told me being undecided this late in the game means your an idiot. So that's why! I'm a blithering idiot. I need another mojito!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taper - Week 1

There are some real challenges with tapering. First--it messes with your mind not to be training as you've done for so long. I've been freaking out thinking about how I didn't train right for this or that. I want to squeeze in that last break through workout that'll magically cover what I forgot. As an endurance athlete, you, strangely, derive a bit of self-worth from how much you flog yourself during training (at least I do). But, if you ease up on the throttle, you start to worry you're losing it. It's such a strange mental struggle. Logically, I know I'm doing the right thing by letting my body recover, but my programming isn't on the same page. I really go stir crazy if I don't put in a long ride over a couple of weeks. It eats me up.

Second--my weight has been shooting up. I still eat like I'm full on training, but I'm not. So, I've been packing in the pounds. I can already see some of you rolling your eyes--"A little more weight will do him some good." I'm not so much a weight freak like some of my other collegues. But, here's were the issue comes into play. A little more weight during a 26 mile run can wreak havoc on an already injured leg, or be the source of a new injury. More weight is actully welcome on the swim; it adds a degree of buyancy. I'm indifferent to more weight on the bike--that is if the course is flat, which IMAZ is relatively flat. But, additional weight on the run can be a deal breaker. There's a bit of a chain reaction that takes place during such an event as an IronMan. The swim doesn't have too much affect other than initiating a bit of fatigue. The 100 mile bike ride is where the chain reaction really begins. Long miles, pushing a big gear, lots of fatigue all add up to a slightly modified running gait. Throw in a bit of additional weight on an altered gait, and you got an injury waiting to happen.

Sadly, I love to eat! Last night my wife made steak with a special cheese sauce pasta. Gosh, it was so good! I ate alot. Even after I was done, I kept eating. I knew I should stop, but the food was so good. After dinner a found myself on the couch with my belt and button undone watching TV. Thank goodness there wasn't any chocolate cake around, I would have eaten that too! At work I find myself eating all day. I have cut out the Coke and chocolate. I've made an effort to eat more fruit. But I love to eat! It's no fair.

Monday, October 27, 2008

End of Week Summary

This was supposed to be my last week of my final block before taper. I really wanted to put up some big numbers, but my leg isn't letting me do the running thing too much right now. I finished the week off with 14 hours, which included 6.5 hours of riding for 135 miles, 6 hours of swimming for 14,000 meters of swimming, 30 minutes of running for 3.2 miles of running, and an hour of walking.

Saturday, I started with a hard tempo 2,000 meter (rougly half the Iron distance) swim just to get a feel for how long my swim will take. It took me 45 minutes sans wetsuit. I figure a wetsuit will cut a bit of time off, but this is still fairly slow. I started to freak out because a ~1.5 hour swim time will put me in a big hole right off the bat. I tried to brush off the time considering it was a fairly long swim week. I cooled down with an easy 1000. Righ after swimming, I jumped on the bike and rode my regular loop (and then some). I finished the ride with 100 miles and 5 hours. It was really windy and the wind kept shifting. The prior day, I changed my stem length from 12CM to 9CM so I could more on top of my aerobars. The change was a good one. I also wore my aero helmet, which probably gave many people a laugh at my expense--"That guy must have really liked the movie Tron!" I wanted to try out the aero helmet over a long distance to see how I felt after the ride. I'm very glad I did take it because the lack of ventilation in the helmet was horrible. I felt like it was raining inside the helmet because I sweat so much. After my ride, I felt like my head was dehaydrated and my eyes were sunken into my skull. Yes...there's a bit of hyperbole here, but the aero helmet adversely affected my performance. Imagine how bad it would be in the hot Arizona sun. No thanks!

After the ride, I loaded up on some Subway and got the girls dressed in their Halloween costumes. I took them and met Tanya at the kids' school fall carnival--not PC to use Halloween at public school functions. I brought a gallon of water and proceeded to gulp it down. After the carnival, we came home and watched some videos. Oh yeah, I polished off half a pint of Ben & Jerry's Brownie Batter ice cream. That probably wasn't the smartest thing to do.

Sunday morning, I dragged myself out of bed by 9 AM and went to the pool and swam an easy 2,500 meters. I came home and got ready for church. After church, I took a nap while the kids cleaned their rooms; Tanya went to a friend's house to cook dinners for the rest of the week. When I woke up, I had the kids practice their songs for their piano recital. We then met Tanya at the recital. The kids did well. Piano recitals are very interesting (more on this at a different time).

After piano, I decided to try out the running legs. My leg wasn't bugging me. I fired up the treadmill and ran for 30 minutes/3 miles. It was probably 10 minutes too long. As I was running, it dawned on me why my leg has been bugging me. I've been spending so much time pushing (mashing) a big gear while riding. The strain has been significant on the knees. To do that, and jump off and run isn't the best idea. Saturday, I never left the big chain ring. I averaged 20 MPH, over 5 hours, which included nearly 4,000 feet of elevation gain. There was lots of time I had wind on my face. That's terrible strain on the knees. So, I'm not going to do anymore long rides for awhile and I'll start to ice the knees. Nearly all riding for now on will be small chain ring--at least until the legs/knees recover. I'm fairly optimistic I will have my running legs back for IMAZ--if not sooner.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Forced Recovery Week

This tendinitis behind my knee is really starting to irk me! I've refrained from running since last Saturday and haven't ridden my bike for three days and it seems like my leg is still the same. I've been taking lots of Ibuprofen and doing of alot of icing, yet status quo. I don't want to lose fitness, but I don't want to prolong my injury. It's too close to IMAZ to take any chances. So, it looks like I'm forced to take a recovery week.

Big picture: I want to show up to IMAZ perfectly confident that I've done everything possible to be prepared. Even more so, I want to have great results. The logical part of me says I need to log a tapered weekly training quantity up to that point. The goal-minded side of me, says to push through. But, if I push through with the scheduled training quantity, I risk aggravating my leg more. So, obviously, I'm conflicted. GRRRR! The smart thing is to recover; I know it. But my drive is to log some miles. The only safe thing I can do is swim, which I've done these last few nights.

Have Mercy! This Sucks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekend Ride Data

Here's Day 1. You'll notice between mile 10 and 20 there's a vertical drop. I forgot to turn my GPS on for most of the descent.

Here's Day 2. My GPS battery died just before Emory Pass.

Final Week Of Last Block--Off To A Slow Start

This is supposed to be my last week of my final block and I wanted to work towards 25 hours, but my body isn't cooperating. Monday, I was just so wiped out, that I decided to take the entire day off. Furthermore, all the riding I did last week has given me a mild case of tendinitis behind my left knee. I went out Tuesday at lunch to run, and after about 100 yards realized it was stupid to try to run; I'd just hurt myself and jeopardize prolonging/exacerbating a small injury so close to IMAZ. So, I just walked for an hour. It was nice just to walk around and take in the autumn weather. After work, I swam 3500 meters. This is the first time I've swam in a week. I took a break to get over the Swimmers Ear--this really worked. My ears and sinuses cleared up. I felt good during the swim and didn't feel like I missed anything fitness-wise.

It's now Wednesday morning, my tendinitis is getting better with rest and anti-inflammatory medicine. I'm still going to give myself a couple of days before I start running again. I'm not sure I'm going to be putting up some big numbers this week. I've been sleeping really hard these last few nights recovering from last weekend. I guess this weekend was more intense/demanding than I thought. Tonight, I'll swim for 1.5 hours and bring it home with some time on the trainer. Last night the cold weather came that usually shows up around late October in Albuquerque. I'm probably going to have to live with it now. I'm OK with it though; the warm weather has lasted a long time.

The presidential elections are just around the corner and I'm still not decided. Actually being undecided isn't a fair statement--I'm not enamored with either candidate. Why do we have to only have 2 viable candidates? Both candidates offer a mixed bag of promises--good and bad. During the debates, both candidates were great at discussing their opponent's weaknesses. That being said, I really never got a sense of what the two candidates believe or a fair measure of their quality; I just got lots of buzzwords and distorted claims. What makes it worse are the terrible television political ads airing every commercial break. These need to be illegal; they are about at trustworthy as the National Enquirer. They pander to the lowest lifeforms that claim the title of human being! What a waste of resources. At the end of the day, it seems both candidates are more concerned with winning than being the best man(women) for the job.

At the risk of offending anyone, these are the political issues that most concern me. If you can find a candidate the best represents my views, I'll vote tomorrow!

1) I'd like to end the war in Iraq. America is using too much of it's resources fighting in Iraq when the benefits are marginal. We don't have the resources to fight a war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and spend 850 billion to sure up our financial system all at the same time. The toll these three major efforts are having on the financial welfare of our country is significant.
2) I don't think it's the government's prerogative to define how much personal income is too much. I've heard it mentioned on numerous occasions by one candidate, that if he's elected, there will be no new taxes unless you make $250K or more. Many of the people who earn upwards of $250K have worked hard through education, taken significant risks, and worked their fingers to the bone to realize the American dream. This tax policy will deter that character. Conversely, are we willing to reward someone for not pursuing the American dream?
3) I'd like a leader to tell the voters it's not just Wall Street that's responsible for the current financial crisis. We chose to purchase homes that we couldn't afford. We chose not to save for a rainy day. We chose to max out our credit cards. We chose to finance cars we couldn't afford. What happened to personal accountability? Being a leader means telling someone something they may not want to here because it's true rather than telling them everything they want to hear to get their votes!
4) I'd like to strive to be an energy independent nation. This means drilling for fossil fuel in Anwar and off-shore or where ever. This means building much more nuclear energy plants. This means funding research for renewable energy technology to make them viable--because now their conceptually nice but extremely impractical. Energy is my professional vocation so I feel strongly about the subject. We shifted so much economic power to the Middle-East with both our excessive demand for oil and our inability to politically allow for us to internally meet that demand. Let's shift the power back home!
5) I have 4 children in public schools. My wife used to be a school teacher. Our public schools are in dire straits. Public teachers, try to support themselves on salaries roughly equal to $25K , which also must be used to for setting up a classroom (i.e. decorations, reading books, and other objects that teachers would use to supplement their teaching). My kids' teachers sell pencils and other school supplies during lunch to the students to raise money for a field trip. That's not right. We need to double, if not triple, teachers' salaries. Our children's' education is one of the most important long-term investments we can make. It's time to make that investment.
6) I'm not hung up on gay marriage or gay rights. I don't publicly display affection for my significant other; all I ask is the same restraint. Why are we making such a big deal about this?
7) I'd like to set term limits for all elected positions. If it were my choice, there would only be one term, but I can live with 2--max. It's distasteful the some politicians make a career out of elected office. That was never the founding fathers' intent! Elected office is a brief civic duty not a career. Congress would function much more efficiently if the elected officials knew they only had 1 term to make a difference--rather than a life time.

I can think of any other pressing political matters, but if you can find a politician that embraces these views, I'll vote today--even if it's a write in candidate!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Big Bike Week Comes To An End

This week I logged 19 hours of training. 17.5 of those hours were on the bike and 290 miles. I was also able to run 1.5 hours and 10 miles. I didn't quite reach my 300 miles on the bike, but with all the elevation gain I picked up, I'm content with the ride. This last weekend, I went with a group of people and rode between Hillsboro, NM, to Silver City, NM. Silver City is the home of the famous Tour of the Gila road bike race. We spent both days covering most of the Gila course. It was a blast! The first day was a 90 mile ride with 8,000 feet of elevation gain. This ride started in Hillsboro and climbed over Emory Pass in the Black Mountain Range and down to a small village called San Lorenzo. From San Lorenzo, we rode through the Mimbres Valley to Lake Roberts, and finally up Sapillo Hill to Pinos Altos and down into Silver City. I was feeling really spunking during the ride and was climbing really hard--some of the people in our group said they hadn't seen me climb that well. In the 35 mile stretch through Mimbres Valley, I ditched the group and rode ahead by myself. I didn't want to get the benefit of a draft. Again, on the climb to Pinos Altos, I put the hammer down and climbed really hard. After the ride, I threw my running clothes on and ran for an hour. Ouch! It's no fun running after killing yourself on the bike. After my run, I came home, cleaned up, ate, and crashed. The next day, we rode to the City of Rocks from Silver City, which is south-east of Silver City. Then we went back to San Lorenzo and proceeded to climb back over Emory Pass and down to Hillsboro. The prior night's run really put my climbing legs out of commission. I was very happy to see Emory Pass after the 1.5 hour climb. The second day ended up being another 90 miles with 7,000 feet of elevation gain. When I got back to the car, it was all I could do to load up my stuff in the car, get changed, and drive home. The weather was perfect, the conditions were optimal, and the locals were very nice.
I have one more week of this training block, then it's taper-time! Today, I think the only thing I can muster is a swim. My legs need a bit of a break. This Saturday, I'm planning on doing my 8-hour workout: 1 hour swim/5 hour bike/2 hour run. I figure, if I can do 90% of the entire event in a training exercise, then I'll have the confidence during the event to know I (nearly) done it before. Wish me lucky!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dusting Off the Lights

Last night after work, in the spirit of trying to log 300 miles on the bike this week, I did my 3 hour Troy Jacobson training video. Yes, that means I did 3 hours on the trainer in the garage--the day after doing nearly 2 hours on the trainer. I guess there's a reality that working folks need to embrace: not all training is going to take place during daylight. So, you adapt and work with your constraints to meet your goals. I don't mind riding the trainer--as long as I have a specific workout.

Back to the 3 hour trainer ride: I play a game with myself every time I do it. I tell myself I'll only do 2 hours and see how I feel. After 2 hours, I tell myself I only have an hour to go; I might as well stick it out. Once the full 3 hours are over, I scratch my head amazed that I just did the whole thing. Much like eating an entire package of cookies, which I do weekly. Darn you Tanya and your poor shopping choices!

When the video was over, it was about 9:30. I realized I was about 40 miles shy of what I needed before this weekend to make 300. So, I decided I should commute to work to pick up the rest of the miles. Now that the mornings are fairly dark, I realized it makes sense to dust off the bike lights and put them on the commuter bike. Additionally, I never know how late I'll work, and I don't think it's cool to have my wife come pick me up with all the kids late at night. So I spent the next hour putting on my bike lights and finding my battery charger. By the time I was done with that and packing my clothes for the next day, it was 11:20.

I can't decide whether to wear a black latex body suit or a flesh body stocking for the IronMan.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bike Week

It seems that last week in my over-exuberance to add more running miles and running intensity I might have mildly strained my left knee and right shin. I'm going to play it safe and take the week off of running. I ran yesterday, and noticed it was a bit more than muscle soreness. Furthermore, I've been dealing with a mean case of Swimmers Ear for the last few months. I didn't really know what was going on. I though I had a sinus/ear infection. I even went through 2 rounds of antibiotics. But, as soon as I'd seem to get over the infection, it'd come right back. These last few days I've done a bit of research and I've self-diagnosed myself with Swimmers Ear. I don't trust doctors--especially ones that work at an HMO and are allowed no more than 15 minutes per patient and have minimal experience with endurance sports related injuries/ailments. It appears that I got in the pool too soon after my ear infection, which further exacerbated the situation. Sparing you the unseemly details, I've kept reinfecting myself by continuing to swim with an ear infection. That being said, I'm staying out of the pool this week and taking Swimmers Ear drops. It's Wednesday and I'm already seeing positive results.

Now the only training I can do is on the bike, so this has officially become a bike week for me. My goal is to log 300 miles. We'll see. I hope I don't get too bored on the bike. I am looking forward to this weekend in Silver City though. I haven't done a road trip since Boise. That's too long!

On other news. I've been trying to get our rabbit to burrow a hole for the winter. Last night I raked the rocks out from under the shed: the rabbit spends its nights under the shed. I softened the ground up so she'll start digging. I'm hoping at some point her instincts will kick in, and she'll start digging. No luck last night though; I checked this morning and status quo. I don't want the bunny to freeze in the winter, and I don't want the bunny to live in the house either. The other option is to get another bunny for her to snuggle with, but I don't want our backyard to be over run with rabbits. The vegetation can't sustain it. Our bunny has already eaten nearly every shrub in the backyard. At some point, I might have to burrow her a hole and line it with straw. Gosh the nerve of the rabbits these days! Maybe the addition of a pet coyote will solve the burrow problem quicker.

Monday, October 13, 2008

First Week of Last Training Block

This week was hectic with work, training, and family activities. My wife got the results back from her first statistics test and got a 97%--the highest grade in the class. I'm hoping she'll do better next time! Seriously though, Tanya and I were the people you hated to have in your class because we loved to screw up the curve. There's nothing better than students in your class asking if the test is going to be graded with a curve, and your teacher responds by saying, "I was planning on it but someone got 100%!" Deep down inside I'd laugh because I was the nerd that got the 100%. Ha ha--you better bring your A game to the next test!

The weather's been messing with me in terms of preparing for Arizona. It's starting to dip--not that this is any different than prior years. But, I was hoping the heat would hold on a little longer so I don't acclimate to cooler temps and melt in Phoenix on the big day. Saturday, it was really windy and cool. I like the wind because riding in it makes you stronger--MASOCHIST! I rode 95 miles that started out with a brisk tailwind out to San Felipe reservation. My average speed was 30 MPH. I knew I was running up the credit card on this one, and paying it back would be long and tedious. Sure enough, I turned around right into a headwind that made my average progress near standstill. I had sand blown in my face the whole way. Someone commented that I didn't put my "foundation" on evenly. Slowly but surely, I made my way back to Albuquerque, hit the river trail and continued south past the city. I came back to Tramway via the Southern route and caught the tailwind back on Tramway. I pleasantly surprised how fresh I felt. I drank 6 water bottles and consumed roughly 1000 calories while riding. I was hauling on the way back on Tramway and ran into my brother and sister-in-law. They pulled over and were laughing because before they knew it was me, the commented on "what idiot would be out on the bike right now!?" Sure enough, it was me. I finished up with a loop to the County Line and back. After the ride, I through on my running clothes and fired up the treadmill for my tempo run. I ran 9.5 miles in 70 minutes. I keep upping the speed and time to adapt to the transition. The first 15 minutes were really painful and I kept rationalizing cutting my run back a bit. I, ultimately, stuck with the plan and finished. Ouch!

And the end of my run, my wife told me I'd been working out all day. She asked me how that made me feel. The only word that came to mind was "empowering". It's kind of like screwing up the curve in a's cool to know you're doing something not many other people would be able too. I don't mean this in a conceited way, but it's cool to tell people what you did with your weekend and people freak out. "You did what!" "You're crazy"

Saturday was the Ironman World Championships in Kona. I read the reports and saw many pictures. I really want to be there next year. I know it's a tall order both to qualify and to afford Kona. I mean I read a story about some guy who won an lottery slot (non-qualifying drawing) to Kona, paid $2,300 for a condo just for the week and a bunch of other money for airline tickets and what not. A week before he was supposed to fly out, he went down on his bike, and hurt himself. That was it. His once-in-a-lifetime lottery slot was gone along with his condo fees. That's alot of money to rustle up, especially if you got a big family. Oh well; I'll cross that bridge if and when I get there.

The times the pros finished in were super-human. The winning pro men finished his marathon in 2:45 and the women pro in 2:58--that's after swimming and biking. I'm guessing they were using the "force" to finish with these times, and they were Jedi's because, otherwise, the results are unbelievable.

My training this week consisted of 17 hours. My bike was really soft with only 6.5 hours and 122 miles. I swam 5 hours for 14,000 yards, and ran 5.5 hours for 38 miles. This week coming up will be heavily weighted towards cycling because I'm going to Silver City for a mini cycling camp. I did this last year and it was a blast. The first day was 90+ miles with 15,000 feet of elevation gain. The second was about the same. I'll probably suffer with all the climbing but it'll be a good workout.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Boycott PayPal!

Anyone who's used Ebay knows about PayPal; it's the transaction processing arm of eBay. Nearly all eBay auctions are funded through you're PayPal account moving funds between the buyer and seller's bank accounts. For the most part, PayPal works fine with the exception of pulling a 6% transaction fee out of the seller's proceeds). But I just got hammered by PayPal, and I'm not too happy.

A few weeks ago I sold a bike on eBay. The bike was an older bike with a hodge podge of parts. The frame had a little rust. All these details were disclosed as well as pictures included. I listed the price at a low opening bid. To my surprise, the bike got bid up to $510--I hoped for $250 best case scenario. The buyer provided me with $50 for shipping and did add more for insurance. UPS provides for $100 of insurance unless you pay for more. I paid the local UPS store to pack the bike up and ship it. The total bill came to $60. I was glad to pick up the difference because the bike sold for so high. Anyways, a week later, I get an email from the buyer saying he was going to send the bike back and cancel the PayPal payment because the bike wasn't as described. After a few more emails, I learn that the bike was trashed en route by UPS. The frame got scratched up, the quick releases (which I packed in ziplock bag and taped to the frame) were missing, the chain ring was bent. I told the buyer to file a complaint with UPS and told him he was the one who refused to pay additional insurance. Rather than go to the UPS store, he filed a complaint against me on PayPal. PayPal put a credit for the total amount of the sale and shipping in my account, which gave me a negative balance because I'd already spent the proceeds to switch my road bike from crappy SRAM to Shimano groupo. Both parties then provided their story of what happened. His Explanation: Item doesn't fit description. My explanation was a summary of all the events explained above. At the end of the day, he got all his money back and I got the busted up bike back. After 2 phone calls with PayPal customer services agents, they said I'm completely responsible. This is odd to me because whenever I buy something on eBay, it's the buyer paying for the additional insurance. Because the buyer pays for the insurance, you'd think he or she'd be responsible for all or at least some of the shipping responsibility. Apparently not!

What this means is this: I can buy a brand new complete bike on ebay, take some of the parts and claim the bike was mishandled during shipping, rip up the box a little, and complain to PayPal that the item isn't as described. The seller would be responsible to take back the bike and the buyer would only have to foot the bill for the return shipping. Now I would never do anything like this. And this is an extreme situation. But why would I ever sell anything on eBay and use PayPal? I won't, anymore. For now on, money orders. Meanwhile I have to figure out how to pay off the credit. Grrr!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Boo Hoo Rest Week Is Over!'s the first day of my last training block before taper. Rest week was good but I'm still feeling tired. Last week I did a total of 9 hours of training. 4 hours/75 miles bike, 2.5 hours/20 miles running, 2.5 hours/6500 meters swimming. For those of you not familiar with Albuquerque, Saturday the International Balloon Fiesta (IBF) began. IBF is Albuquerque's biggest tourist event in which people come from everywhere to watch 100s of hot air balloons take off in the mornings or light up their balloons at night (balloon glow). It's a novel event, I guess. The one downside to it is avoiding vehicles meandering all over the road as the drivers focus on the balloons above. I went on my Saturday morning ride a little later to avoid this. But, I didn't leave late enough because there were 4-5 occasions where I had to brake really hard (on my bike) not to rear end a vehicle that stopped abruptly in the middle of the road. Why wasn't I on the shoulder you ask? Because the shoulders were lined with people parked gawking out their window watching the balloons land in the middle of the fields between Albuquerque and Bernalillo (my usual Saturday morning ride). It wasn't too bad, but the IBF lasts all week. We'll see.

Fall is now in the air. Fall's my favorite season. I love it when the hot summer breaks and you can smell fire wood burning (as opposed to residents of the valley burning garbage). I'm generally a cool weather creature. I suffer in the hot extremes. For this reason, I'm a bit concerned about the weather in Albuquerque cooling too quick relative to Phoenix. I don't want it to be too hot during the big day and I over heat. The other thing I really like about the fall is Halloween. For those of you who don't know, my birthday is on Halloween. Honestly, I couldn't think of a more fitting day for me to celebrate my birthday. There isn't a better holiday! I'd like the theme of jack-o-lanterns, black cats, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, witches, skeletons, and trick-or-treating to happen year round. Then, this world would be a much better place to live. Business meetings would be less serious because everyone would be dressed up. The office would full of candy all the time. TV programming would have a scary movie theme. Shrieking and howling wouldn't be so frowned upon. Gosh...I get teary eyed just thinking about how much I love Halloween. These last few years I've dressed up like a nun. Now I need to pick something new. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rest Days Are Good

These last couple of days have been good. Long nights of sleep, not having to pack multiple workout bags, vegging out in front of the TV. It's great. The legs are starting to feel good again. I like to use the recovery week to rejuvenate both my body and my mind. I like to take enough of a break that I get excited about training again for another block.

I've been making some upgrades to my bikes. I'm switching from SRAM to Shimano. Sorry; I'm not a big fan of SRAM. I want reliable shifting and maintenance free--that definitely wasn't the case with my Force group. I had the group for a year and had to get the rear derailleur adjusted every other month. Every time I tried to do it myself, I'd just make it worst. The bike shop would scratch their heads wondering if I bent the rear derailleur hanger, but that wasn't the case. So, after a year of dealing with the rear derailleur issues, I'm throwing up my hands and going with Shimano. I'm also going to increase the crank arm length on my Tri/TT bike to 2.5mm bigger than my road bike crank arm length. I've resisted making this change but after many conversations with TT-focused individuals, the difference in anatomical positions warrants longer crank arms. I just want to be as fast as possible on the bike. If a simple crank arm change can accomplish this--that's low hanging fruit.

People keep asking me what I'm going to do next year. Am I going to continue focusing on the tri thing or get back to bike racing exclusively? That's a tough question. My wife thinks it's cool to tell her friends her husband does Ironmans. I do miss being fit on the bike though; one of my training partners told me I ride like a triathlete (fast on the flats/slow on the climbs). I guess alot has to do with how I do at IMAZ. If I qualify for Kona (just for conversation purposes because I don't want to pressure myself), I'll spend the next year focusing on putting on a good showing for Kona. Otherwise, I don't know yet. Honestly, the tri thing is so expensive. $500 for an Ironman and $250 for a half--that's before travel, food, and hotel. Racing locally is much more cost effective. Sadly, I think I can do well with the Ironman thing--I seem to excel with ultra-endurance events. But, many of the people I train with are roadies who have no intention of running or swimming. It gets tiresome training by myself all the time. So, I don't know what I'm going to do next year. We'll see.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Week 3 -- Finally!

Sorry the posts have been weak. It's all I can do just to get through my training this last week. I'm so happy for a recovery weak. Can I just sleep all week, do 1 long training day for 8 hours, and call it good? Probably not but it's tempting.

Last week, I was able to put together was 17 hours: 150 Miles/9 hours on the bike, 23 miles/3.25 hours running, 12000 meters/4 hours swimming. I took Friday off and was soft on Saturday--I trimmed out 2 hours of my ride. Towards the end of the block, I get so dull tired that it makes more sense in the long term to trim the workouts just to avoid digging too deep of a hole.

Saturday's workout was a swim/bike/run brick work out that included a 2,500 meter swim, with a 50 mile bike ride, and finished with a 1 hour tempo run. The run has really started feeling good again. After working out, I had to change really quick and go to Ethan's basketball game. I didn't get time to eat--big mistake. Ethan's team won. Afterwards, Tanya sent me to the grocery store to pick up some things--another big mistake. I bought things that I know I shouldn't have--but I was pretty hungry. Afterwards, Tanya went shopping with her friend and left me alone to babysat 9 kids--we were having 4 kids spend the night and 2 others playing--another mistake. Actually the kids were well behaved and we watched Call of the Wild and ate lots of Mac & Cheese. After the movie was over, we had a giant James Bond video game tournament.

Sunday started with an early morning swim followed by church. My wife and I escaped in the middle of church and ate brie, crackers, and apples. This is a new tradition we're starting. Don't tell anyone. After church I rode for 2.5 hours in a loop around the city. My original intention was to do big gear climbs up Tramway, but the quads told me otherwise. I settled with working on cadence work on the TT bike for the afternoon. When the body talks...

Afterwards, we took the kids to the park. I went back and forth between pushing the kids in the swing, running with Elise in the grass, and playing basketball. At dark, we put the kids to bed and I celebrated the completion of another training block by eating a bowl of Count Chocula and watching a movie with a wife. Now I'm going to enjoy my recovery week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

That Day

These last months of training, I've been thinking alot of the day my IronMan will take place. I refer to it as "That Day." I keep trying to visualize what it'll be like. As I train, I try to synthisize the pains, the thoughts, the emotions I'll be dealing with. At one point in my training this year, I've done each of the three segments and have a good idea of how I feel after each. But, how will I feel with all three events done consecutively? That's the real question.

I have accepted the fact that there will be points when I'm tired and want to rest. Maybe I'll want to throw in the towel. I know I'll fight my way through a few bonks during the day. From what I've read, an IronMan's grit shows itself between mile 15-26 of the run for a well trained person. How will I conduct myself on that day? What choices will I make when pushed to the brink? Will I have the fortitude to push through? I think about the heat during the run...the dry mouth...the tired legs. It's a good time to walk; maybe I should find a spot of shade and lay down for a bit. These will be the thoughts I wrestle with.

I haven't put a projected time for when I think I'll finish. If I think about the enormity of the challenge, it's overwhelming. I don't want to think about running a marathon after riding 112 miles. I just think about each individual task seperately with a nutrution plan that bridges the events. I have a pace in mind for the swim, the bike and the run in terms of heart rate and pace. The swim is less concrete; swim my tempo pace. The bike will be to maintain a heart rate of 145-150 BPM and >20 MPH per hour. The run will be to maintain a heart rate ~140 BPM. If I follow my eating plan, I'm hoping the wheels will start to fall off the bus at about mile 20 of the run--that's when I'll have to gut it out. It seems strange to figure out when you'll hit the wall and how long you'll have to endure being at the wall. But, based on my training, this seems to be the most prudent strategy. Until then, I'll be simulating "that day" in each of my training sessions mentally preparing for the biggest event I've ever done.

In many ways an IronMan can be a metaphor for life.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Week Closer

This last week, I was able to put in 20.5 hours training. I ran 29 miles in 4.25 hours, swam 10,562 yards in 3.75 hours and rode 225 miles in 12.5 hours. I'm wasted! Saturday was killer. I rode 90 miles in ~4.5 hours on the TT bike, jumped off and ran for an hour and did intervals. The run ended up be 8+ miles. Secretly, I'm trying to push myself so hard that I vomit--it's a sadistic goal of mine. I haven't ever been able to do it though. Other unnamed people I occasionally train with will vomit every time--maybe I push them too hard. At any rate, after my run I was feeling a bit woozy--but that's as good as it got.

The fatigue in my legs keeps accumulating and isn't clearing like I'd like. I probably need to take an ice bath or an Epsom salt bath. They just feel dead. Every time I go to bed, as soon as my head hits the pillow, it seems like it's morning time already. I'm sure anyone would agree, there's just not enough time in the night--or the day!

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5:45AM and joining a bunch of people for a group ride that ended up being 4 hours and 70 miles. I was worried that I'd get dropped due to the lack of snap in my legs, but the route was flat. Surprisingly, I spent most of the day pulling at the front. People kept remarking that I was Mr. Endurance. However, any time we'd hit a punchy climb, I'd lose contact with the group. The rode would flatten again and I'd be right back at the front pushing the pace. The muscles I use while running really affect the way I climb on the bike.

I got home from the ride just in time to join the family at church. After church I took the girls to the park. Tanya and Ethan went to a friends house and hung out. Elise has been wanting to do some cross-country running. I figured the best way to start was by running bare foot in the grass around the park. This is good for building form and foot strength. We did a set of strides, which is more than I should have done given my leg fatigue. Then I had her do 4 laps around the park, which is roughly a mile. If she keeps with it, she could really be a great runner. She's got long legs, a good stride, and the will to push through the pain. Afterwards, I pushed Mia on the swing for a while while the other girls played with a dog at the park. It was good fun.

One of the best things for me about training like I do is getting out all my excess energy. For better or for worse, I was born with an inordinate amount of energy. If I don't manage it, I'm crazy to be around. I'm high strung, moody, and insensitive. When I train out my excess energy, I'm calm and mellow. Everyone is more at ease around me. It's much like a Dalmatian or a Jack Russell Terrier. If you don't walk these dogs, you'll come home with a torn up sofa or rug. I'm not malicious when I do these things, and I get my feeling hurt when scolded, but, gosh, I gotta get it out.

After the park, we came home and snuggled on the couch and watched TV. Elise has really been getting into cooking, so we watched the cooking channel. Mia and Grace gave me a magic marker pedicure--whatever. It was good just to hang out. I slept like a rock last night. I've got one more week in this training block, then my recovery week. After that, It's my last training block before the big taper. I hope I can make it through!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Break Through Workouts

I didn't want to get up early this morning, so I decided to stack my swim and run workouts after work instead. Getting up early really takes it out of me, so if I can avoid it, I will.

I was able to get out of work right at 5:00; now that I'm moving into another department, I'm getting the cold shoulder. Just as well. I was in the pool by 5:30. I started up with a quick 250 kick to warm up. Then I figured I'd just go as long as I could. I swam 3,000 yards straight! That's 120 lengths of the pool and nearly the entire IronMan distance swim. I had to stop because I started getting dizzy from the flip turns and was also taking on too much water. I warmed down with an easy 1000 yards. I'm happy because this is a break through workout. From an endurance perspective, I felt like I could have swam longer and my pace was reasonably fast and consistent. I took me an hour to do the workout; I'd be happy if I could do the same speed during the actual Ironman event.

After the swim workout, the family went to dinner at Dions for pizza and sandwiches. We took the kids home got them settled with homework and put them to bed. Then I started my long run. I ran for 1:20 at an easy pace. I ran 9 miles. I'm still building up the distance for my long runs; this is only my second long run. I'm hopeful I'll get to 20 miles before the big event.

After my run, I did a bit of stretching and other recover precautions. I'm using icy-hot for the legs and compression sock while I sleep. I'm also using the foam roller. It's too close to the event to jeopardize an injury.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A confession: I don't like to register my cars! It's such a hassle. Well, I got a ticket (actually a few) about a month ago for expired registration. My registration was out-of-state and expired as of February 2007 (1 year and 7 months). Before that, when I had my truck, the registration was also expired for a duration even longer. I guess I figure, that if I get pulled over, they'll give me a fix-it ticket, then I'll have to update it. Well that happened. So, I registered my car for the state of New Mexico for a duration of 2 years--the longest time available. It cost me $250 for out-of-state title transfer, VIN verification, emissions test, and actual registration. So, now I'm legit.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Crazy Week

As you're already aware, I took a week off of the blog last week. I took another job within the company and the transition has been hectic. My last day in this department is the 24th of September. Yes, there's a lot of hurt feelings and closed door meetings. Life goes on though.

Many people have told me it's not a good idea to write about the work or bosses may run across the blog and get worked up. It may lead to hard ship or loss of a job. It's probably a smart thing to do.

Since I missed a week, I wasn't able to give last week's summary workout. If you recall, last week was a recovery week so I try to keep the time to no longer than 10 hours. Coming into the weekend, I only had 3.5 hours--I was really recovering. So, Saturday, I did a mini-triathlon primer just to get a sense where I stood fitness-wise. The morning started at 9:00 am with a 2,000 meter time trial swim, followed-up with an 80 mile bike ride, and finally I jumped on the treadmill and ran 8 miles in an hour. I really want to work on my running speed after the bike, so I'm trying to push really hard right after a long run. The entire day was roughly 6 hours long. With that workout I was able to spend all day Sunday resting, which was nice.

Last week was the first week of my next training block. I was able to put in 16.25 hours. I swam 4 hours and 12,303 yards, rode my bike 8 hours and 138 miles, I ran 4.25 hours and 30 miles. On Tuesday, I got a little post-nasal drip thing going. Nothing that would stop me from pushing through. I took my decongestant and kept working out. By Saturday night, I was really feeling it and the post-nasal drip grew to a minor sinus infection. Sunday morning, I swam 2500 meters before church and had the intention of riding a couple of hours after church, but I was too wiped out. After church I went to bed, waking up intermittently until the next morning. I slept 15 hours. It looks like I'll probably go to the doctor and get some anti-biotics. I don't mind, as long as I can continue working out. I only have 63 days until the big day. That's really quick.

I tell you, after sleeping for long durations of time (>10 hours) I feel so weird like I'm in a tunnel. It'll take the whole day to recover from my sleep.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Recovery Week

In everything I've read, you're not supposed to take 2 consecutive days off for recovery, unless you're really in a hole. I wouldn't say I'm in a hole, but I took 2 days off anyways. Monday (Labor Day) was dedicated to reconnecting with my kids with lots of games and fun. During my heavy training weeks, I'm not around as much, getting up early to train, being gone at work all day, and coming home late after training in the evenings. I get some good time with the kids on the weekends, but that's not enough. So, days like this are good too. I don't know who gets more out of spending time together--them or me--because I really like it. It's fun to see the kids with their little personalities. We can really joke with each other and hassle each other over a few games of Horse. Also, as the weeks of training accumulate and I grow exhausted, I am much more terse and stressed. I can be down right grumpy. So, days like this are good because the stress is gone and I can be myself and be fun. No, it's not cool that the kids have to see the range of my moods; I'd like them to always see happy dad. But, regardless of what I was doing, they'd probably still see the full spectrum. The good thing is I know what causes the changes, the cycles, and I (or my wife) can let the kids know it's not them (it's Dad-zilla).

The second day I didn't feel like hassling with packing bags the night before and work has been really hectic. So, I took another day off. In the grand scheme, I think this was a better choice.

Yesterday, I swam 3000 meters after work and got an hour massage afterwards. The massage was the second of three I received for Fathers Day. I like to get massages during my recovery week. So today was as good as any.

In most cases, we associate massages with feeling good or relaxation. That wasn't the case last night. Oh my gosh! Before the massage, the masseuse asked how deep/hard I wanted it to be, being an idiot, I said, "as hard as you can go." The masseuse is pregnant and she likes to lean all of her body weight into her elbow--a detail I forgot since my last massage. Sure enough, the elbow came out and the pain began. I know this is a good pain; since my last massage I've moved, helped someone move, moved my office, changed job responsibilities, trained long hours, worked long hours, raced, and dealt with all the regular day-to-day stresses; so, there was a lot of tension/stress accumulated in my muscles that needed to be worked out. The masseuse did her job and found each knot. Then she proceeded to drop the elbow; inside I was whimpering like a new puppy left outside on a rainy night. The calves, the quads, the muscles around the shoulder blades, and the neck; each a recipient of the elbow. I had visions of the Macho Man Randy Savage dropping down from the ropes elbow first delivering a nearly fatal blow to his opponents. Can I just step into a Slim Jim instead!

The hour was up and she asked me how I felt. Not wanting to admit I'd just been emasculated, I mustered a "Much Better." I went home afterwards and fell into a stupor in front of the television--this is an activity reserved for the longest/hardest training days. It wouldn't have mattered if I was watching Telemundo or Lawrence Welk, all that was registering was the array of moving lights and sounds. I've never taken acid or, for that matter, any other hallucinogenic recreational drug, but I imagine the experience might have been similar. After a while, Tanya told me to go to bed, and I pulled myself off the couch and in to bed to a night laden with strange dreams.

Wow, maybe some massages should be registered with the FDA! I'll have to be less cavalier for my next massage.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Calf Compressor Socks

There's this new thing sweeping the running world--Calf Compressor Socks! And guess what? they work.

Someone recommended these to me the other day. I was tentative. My wife used to wear these while she was pregnant because of blood pressure issues. Additionally, they come with a big price tag. And, they look dorky to any normal person in a Chuck Taylor kind of way. Yet, I'm desperate to rid myself of calf pain when I run. So I jumped on the band wagon and got a pair.

I put these on, along with my short running shorts, and ran for an hour--this was the run after my TT on Sunday. If I had a crystal ball a few years ago and saw myself in the future wearing small running shorts and knee high compression socks, I wouldn't believe it to be true.

My legs felt fine during the run--no pains...nothing. So much so, that I forgot that I've had calf pains these last few months. After the run, I got back in the car and ran consumed with thoughts of the TT I did prior to running. It didn't dawn on me that I was wearing the calf socks until I went to the park in Moriarty where the post TT activities were taking place (i.e. awards ceremony, time posting, and eating). I got out of the car and walked up to the group of cyclists. People kept looking at me weird. Whatever! I assured myself they weren't looking at me weird. Sure enough, they were. My socks looked like I was wearing tights and my shorts made me look like I worship Richard Simmons. Gosh! What have I done to myself? I galloped back to my car much like Napoleon Dynamite would have with his moon boots.

No calf pain--my pride's wincing though.

The week prior, I ran for an hour and couldn't run for 3 days. With the compression socks, my legs felt like I just got done getting a massage. They work!

Week Summary - Loss of Specificity/Gain In Generality

I finished the third week of this training block with the Record Challenge TT, which is 40K. It was a hard week because of the accumulated training these past few weeks, busy work, stressful living conditions (moving and unpacking and helping my brother-in-law move), and throw in a bit of racing and I was cooked. At the end of the week, I had a total of 14.5 hours. I swam for 3 hours and 8749 yards, rode my bike 9.5 hours and 157 miles, and ran for 2 hours for a total of 15.5 miles. The training alone is fairly scant relative to prior months, but everything else made this a fairly sucessful week.

Yesterday was Labor Day and rather than go out and kill myself training as per usual, I let the whole day be a recovery day. I hung out with the two oldest kids and we just had fun. We played games, watched a movie, and just hung out. It was good fun.

I did the Record Challenge TT, which is 40K (24.76 miles) on Sunday. The course is out-and-back from Moriarty to Estancia and back. It's extremely flat with an oveall elevation gain over the distance of 365 feet. The course is given to gusty wind conditions. The race is held over 2 days; the first day is for solo time trial rides and the second is for specialty type rides (i.e. tandem, team, and other). When I arrived to the course it was pouring rain. The course was wet. Warming up was a real challenge because I had to huddle underneath the rear hatch of my car while on the roller to stay out of the rain. As I warmed up, I couldn't get my heart rate above 165 BPM--just like during the State TT Championships two weeks ago.

After my warm up, I decided to get to the line early to see if there were starting delays due to inclimate weather. As I rolled up to the line at what I thought would be 10 minutes early, they called my name to start in 40 seconds--DOH! How could this be, my watch is GPS. Good thing I came early. I rolled up and got ready to start. After 40 seconds, I was off.

On the way out, there was a headwind that spit rain directly into my face. I was getting drenched. I was killing myself to keep a good cadence and get my heart rate up, but all I could muster was a HR of 165BPM. I couldn't figure out if I was overtrained or too well trained to be able to get my heart rate up. There is a difference. If you're over-trained, your body won't let you get to the upper limits of your heart rate either because of muscle failure or aerobic inability to reach its peak. It just doesn't happen. If you're trained too well--you've trained yourself not to go too high from a HR perspective. Long-distance athletes can't afford to go too hard or they can't finish their long-distance events. They train in tempo heart rate zones and never go higher. This would be me--I never go higher than 165 BPM when I train. During my Ironman, if I see a heart rate at >160BPM, I'm doing something really wrong and am jeopardizing finishing.

I kept pushing with a goal of finishing within or under 1 hour for the entire TT. Near the turnaround in Estancia, the rain let up to a very mild drizzle. I hit the turn around and saw 35 minutes. If I wanted to reach my goal, I would have to make the return trip in 25 minutes. As I turned around, there was a tail wind. I slammed into my biggest gear and started to push. I started to catch people one-by-one until I passed 5 people. Even still with my hard efforts, my heart rate never broke 165BPM. My cadence was around 80 RPMs because I was pushing a bigger gear. Near the end, I did get passed by one person; I tried to keep his pace for a while and almost blew up because I dug too deep. I had to back off a bit and recover. I finished the TT in exactly 1 hour, which means I was able to keep an average speed of nearly 25 MPH for an hour. I was happy with the effort considering the weather conditions.

I warmed down for a few mintues, then changed into running clothes and began to run. I ran for an hour and was able to maintain a 8:30 minute-mile-pace without too much effort. After the run, I was done--I mean I was physically ready to take a nap. That didn't happen because my wife called me on the drive home and pleaded with me to join her for the last hour of church, which I did. Don't ask me what the lesson was about because I was in another place!

In reviewing the results of the TT; I've noticed that my time is much slower than the times of the individuals I used to compete with when I solely raced my bike. Some people put as many as 5 minutes in to me. What's wrong with me? Why was I so slow? Someone once told me triathletes are mediocre in individual sports but fast when all those sports are combined. I think the longer I run and swim, the more I lose my cycling strength specificity, but at the same time I'm improving in my general strength across all three events. It makes perfect sense, but it's humbling none the less when your former competitors ask you what happened? Did you have a mechanical? I hate to go through the long explanation: my priority is triathlons right now. I'll explain to you why I was so slow on the bike...just join me during my run...I explain every thing. I didn't think so. Oh well, I'll just keep getting beat up on the bike and hope it pays off in my triathlons.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Broke The Seal On Another PR

This morning I started my swim and felt pretty mellow. After stretching my back while kicking for 250 meters, I decided to start doing freestyle laps. Originally, I started off wanting to do either 500 or possibly 1000 meters for a warm up. You can tell I don't have a very specific training plan for my swimming. After 500, I still felt good and went for 1000. At the end of 1000, I decided I'd keep going; maybe I'll knock out a mile (1,650). After a mile, I still felt good, so I kept going. I hit 2,000 meters, and figured I'd keep going. After 2500 meters 100 lengths consecutive without stopping, I decided to finish the total 3000 meter workout by doing 250 more meters, which gave me 110 consecutive laps--without stopping. My previous best was 100 laps. This is a new PR for me! This was 1.66 miles.

The total IronMan distance swim is 2.4 miles or 158.4 lengths of a 25 meter pool. I guess I still have a little more to go. I still have until November to get there.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crazy Life

As I've alluded to a few posts ago, I have this new boss and her boss that I have to deal with. Well, life has been so hard with these people as my supervisors from a life planning perspective. Both pride themselves on working riduculous hours, skipping lunch, and ignoring outside-of-work priorities. This last week, I've had a couple 7/7:30 AM meetings and every day I've left the office at 6:30. All of this challenges training/family life, as can be expected. I've had to get up earlier and go to bed later just to get my time in not to mention the stress levels. The hardest part is not feeling like I have control of my life; I'm at the beck and call of my bosses. I'm sure many of you can attest to this challenge.

Yesterday, it started to come to a head when my boss was emailing me from his Blackberry while on the golf course asking me if I was done with some analysis he asked me for. I had a lunch run scheduled that I just blew off to get this project done, and I'm getting these emails...are you done yet...are you done yet...are you done yet? The night before I got hardly any sleep because my youngest daughter climbed into our bed, fell asleep, and proceeded to wet the bed--somehting she never does. Both my wife and I jumped up right away--my poor wife got the worst of it. After working through this problem, I finally fell back to sleep only to hear my alarm go off--time to swim! Everything pointed to blowing off my swim, but I got up anyway and swam. Besides I didn't want all the time I spent packing the night before to go to waste.

About 3 in the afternoon, I was on the phone with my wife, eyes bulging, head throbbing, and the only audible thing I could tell my wife is "I think I'm going to quit!" Just then, an old boss from a fews years ago came to my office, shut my door, and told me he posted a position internally he wanted me to apply for (I got off the phone with my wife). SWEET SASSY MOLASSY...can I just print my resume right now and hand deliver it across my desk? I played it cool though, but inside I was going to burst like a 2-liter bottle stuffed with dry ice.

Again, I left work at 6:30 and got home in time to start my adjusted workout: bike 4X10 minute big gear spins (1.5 hours) and an added 35 minute run on the treadmill (the one I gave up at lunch): a mini-duathlon. The ride was difficult, pointed, and uneventful, but when I got on the treadmill I fired up the hardest loudest punk music in my ipod and ran my heart out. It felt so good! It was one of the workouts that gives you goose pimple (or bumps) because it feels so good--almost cathartic.

After the workout, the kids were in bed asleep. I kissed each of their heads and whispered "I Love You"s to each of them. I ate my cold hamburger and tater-tots, skipped the squash, drank 2 cokes, devoured half of a mini chocolate cake from Smiths and capped the night off by packing my clothes for tomorrow's bike ride to work. Such is the life of an IronMan!