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!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Week 2 Summary

Well one more week down. I ended with 15.5 hours in total. This was a good effort considering I had all the kids beginning Thursday through Sunday while Tanya went out of town (Dallas) to a fitness convention with her friend.

Thursday night after work, I had to run to the kids' parent-teacher conferences. Elementary school is terrible with so many petty rules. No home work not written in cursive will not be accepted. Why don't the teachers require the kids to write Latin while they're at it. Cursive and Latin are dead! I rode the trainer after getting the kids to bed. Big gear spins - yeehaw!

Friday was nuts getting the kids ready, dropping them off at school, going to traffic court fighting the judge for my "talking on the cell phone while driving" ticket (I got it dismissed), craming in a strength workout at lunch, holding my boss' hand while he tries to make big boy decisions, picking up the kids, and getting them fed and settled in for the night. After getting the kids to be, I watched the worst movie I'd ever seen--Mulberry Street. Never rent this!!! Here's the premise: the inhabitants of NYC get bitten by rats and become rats and start eating each other. I went to bed with a major headache.

Saturday, I dropped the kids off at the gym childcare and started my workout. I didn't have much time, so I pushed a hard tempo throughout. I started off with a 2000 meter TT swim, jumped out of the pool and and on my bike and did a tempo ride around the city (42 miles). Afterwards, I had lunch with the kids and we went swimming. After swimming, we went home and played kickball, horse, and James Bond video game. After a bunch of games, we did yard work. After yard work, I fed this kids dinner (microwave pizzas) and put them to bed. I watched another movie, Day One, about three best friends in their professional career timeframe getting drafted to America's fictitious war with Iran and how they respond to being drafted. It was a much better movie with a much more plausable story-line. Not that I don't think the inhabitants of NYC can't morph into rats.

Sunday was more of the same of Saturday. Though we had to spend a while getting the house clean for Tanya's return.

Total hours: 15
Swimming 4 hours/13,000 yards
Running 3 hours/22 miles
Cycling 7 hours/120
Strength 1 hour

I need to go, I have a meeting in 15 minutes with my boss that needs lots of hand-holding. I'll discuss more later.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Observations

While watching the Olympics, these are the things that came to my attention.

USA is the third most populace country in the world-- ~306 million, China is first with ~1.3 billion, India is second with ~1.2 billion people. There's a big drop from second to third in quantity. USA has the highest total metal count of all nations. China has the most gold metals. As of this morning, India has a total of 2 metals (1 gold/1 bronze). USA and China had 93 and 83, respectively. Furthermore, many of the athletes from other countries train in the USA through collegiate sports and other programs. One final observation, American athletes, for the most part, are self-funded rather than state-funded. For example, the parents of gold-medal gymnist Shawn Johnson mortgaged their home to fund their daughter's Olympic dreams. And, this isn't a unique situation. Given the chance to ask each American athlete the same question, the responses would be uniform: funds came from corporate and private sponsors, athletic scholarships, part-time jobs, and financial sacrifices. Such is the life of an American athlete.

On the other hand, athletes from other countries (i.e. China, Russia, Germany, Canada, etc) have the benefit of state-funded resources to get them along. I'm not saying they have it easier or better. At the end of the day, the podium is reserved for the fastest, strongest, and best. This is just an observation.

So, what can we conclude from these observations? I don't know...Maybe the same dream that has brought so many to America is alive and well and manifest in America's contribution to the Olympics both in medal-count and athletes influenced. Maybe a developed nation like the USA has the freedom and opportunity to pursue athletics as opposed to India whose focus is elsewhere. Sadly, because of economic resources and state-selection criteria, there may be some extremely gifted humans that will never swim a meter, run a dash, pedal a bike, or throw a ball. The world's best marathoner may be deep in Myanmar doing what she can to provide food and safety for her children. We'll never know.

What I do know is I can't get enough of the Olympics--Beach Volleyball, Table Tennis, Badmitton, or Diving. Bring it on! Only once every four years do "fringe" sports get prime-time network coverage. During this time we get a small glimpse into differnt sports' sub-cultures (other than cycling and triathlon for myself). It's great. I find myself saying, "maybe when I retire for doing Ironmans, maybe I'll start archery."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Training Week In Summary

You'll have to forgive my infrequent updates, we don't have internet at our house. So, I'm effectively internet blind over the weekends. We haven't decided if we're going to get internet yet at our house. We're experimenting with ways to save money/time. With the internet costing >$50 a month in conjunction with another $40 for land phone line, we're saving $90 a month, not to mention all the time surfing. This is a hard sacrifice though! We'll see how long we can hold out.

This week wasn't high in terms of quantity but more so in intensity.

In total I had 13.5 hours of training:
3.2 hours swimming/9600 yards
1.5 hours running/11 miles
8.8 hours bike/150 miles

This weekend was the State TT championships. I spent Saturday preriding the 30K (19 miles) course getting to know the nuances (i.e. hills, descents, wind patterns, road surface, mile markers, and turn around). Also, I didn't want to put in a hard effort and kill my legs for following day's race. So, the total ride ended up being 19 miles at a leisure pace. I rode it with my training partner and we took mental notes of the course. The course was about 45 minutes (driving) south of Albuquerque. So with drive and reconnaissance ride, that took up most of the morning.
Afterwards, I met the family at the pool. I had the intention of swimming 2,500 meters. The weather didn't cooperate. I wasn't in the pool 15 minutes before thunder and lightening began. The pool rule is to evacuate the pool for 30-45 minutes following the last visible lightening strike. I knew they'd pull me out, so I started a continuous swim. As I was swimming I could see everyone leaving the pull. The lifeguard was walking along the pool trying to get my attention. I knew he wanted me to get out. I had ear plugs in, so it was plausible that I couldn't hear his whistle. I did a flip turn at each end, so the life guard couldn't tell me to get out. He began hitting me with his floating device at each flip turn. I was able to ignore him for a few more laps, until, finally, he physically grabbed me. JUST LET ME SWIM!!! I was able to squeeze in 800 meters.

The next day I was up bright and early and of to the TT. I hadn't pre-registered for the race--I don't believe in doing so. Someone called Silvio en route and told him there was no race day registration. We still went, and fortunately, one of my team mates put in the good word and got them to let me register--that wasn't until after the promoter gave me a bit of grief. Hey, I'm superstitious and and don't believe in registering until the last minute--it's a Murphy's Law thing!

I warmed up with a structured warm-up Silvio's coach provided. It took about 45 minutes on the trainer. It was very humid and I was sweating way too much. I took in as much fluid as possible. Finally, a few minutes before my designated start time, I rolled up to the start line. I was off at 8:55:30 AM. Knowing the course was a significant benefit. The course started with a rolling net elevation gain into a headwind. Both of these elements have a phsycological effect on a racer in that they'll see their time at the turn around and be dismayed given the amount of effort used. I was able to spin a smaller gear on the climbs conserving energy; I knew the way back would be downhill into a tail wind. I passed 5 people along the way and finished with a time of 42:37--an average speed of 25.2 MPH. The total elevation gain was 467 feet. When I was done, I was wiped out. I warmed down a bit, packed up my stuff and came home.

I didn't do extremely well relative to the people in my category. But, as a sense of perspective, if I would have maintained this speed at Boise's Ironman, I would have trimmed off 18 minutes from my bike time. That's probably not plausible given the effort, but it's fun to think linearly that way!

Afterwards, I came home and zoned out watching the Olympics. I was schedule to run, but the morning's TT effort left me wasted. I spent the rest of the day recovering.

I've posted my TT effort--look at the HR flat line. OUCH!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Pre-Pack Routine

One of the things that I find myself doing every night is packing my stuff (workout clothes/work clothes) for the next day. It's a routine that drives me nuts. It goes with working out early before work. Last night, I packed four bags: 1 for AM swimming, 1 for work clothes, 1 for running clothes at lunch, and the last was my lunch. This task entails ironing my work clothes, digging through the dryer to find my next set of workout clothes, making my lunch, making sure I have everything I need for personal toiletries (i.e. shaving cream, razor, brush, tooth brush, tooth paste). Each detail needs to be considered or the consequences can be time consuming or uncomfortable. For example, I once forgot to pack socks. So, I had to spend the day at work Miami Vice style. This morning I forgot my brush--I guess my fingers worked well enough. you don't even want to know about when I forgot my underwear!

Depending on the next day's workout schedule, I can spend upwards of an hour putting my stuff together. This is a drag! Almost every night, it's the same thing. If you stopped by our house between 8:30-10:00 PM, this is what I'll be doing. I've grown to really dislike packing for the next day. I've heard lots of suggestions as to how to improve this. I have two lockers (one at work/one at the gym); that helps a little bit. Someone once suggested preparing everything Sunday evening. I might give it a try, but spending 2+ hours ironing and organizing clothes just doesn't sound very exciting.

On the other side of this equation is the tremendous amount of dirty laundry I generate. During a given week, I run 3-5 times, ride my bike 3-5 times, and swim 3-5 times. Nearly all of these activities generates additional laundry. This doesn't include work clothes. Oi Vey!

I guess in every pursuit there are embedded costs/activities. Packing and laundry or, to a greater extent, planning and logistics are my plight.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How's The Training Going?

Well, as of late, I have written much about my training activities. Since moving houses and offices, I'm still working out the bugs. But, I have started to develop a bit of a rythm. I'll swim Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday AM before work--I'm not going to continue with the Masters though. Getting up at 4:30AM in light of all other training, just isn't feasible. I attribute getting sick a month ago to the sleep deprivation--at least that was a big part of it. I'll swim at Highpoint, which is literally only a couple of minutes from the house. To build my speed, I'm going to use a pacer--an underwater metronome you attach to your goggles that emmits a sound you're supposed to sync your strokes with.

Tuesday/Thursday, I'll commute from the house and take a long course to build the miles. I commuted Tuesday and today. My ride this morning was 37.5 miles and took 1:45 minutes. I'll do the same route home.

I'll run and lift weights at lunch. Yesterday, I ran from the downtown office to Tingley Beach along the Bosque Trail to the Botanical Gardens and back. It was 4 miles round-trip and took 30 minutes. I'm slowly getting my running legs back. I feels good to be running again.

This weekend is the State TT championships. Last Thursday, I did the last of the local Thursday night TT series. It's a 14K course. I actually did it twice for the workout. My times were 20:39 and 21:14, respectively. That turns out to be mid-pack in terms of results. I don't have expectations to win the State TT this weekend: my training over the last year has been long/tempo efforts. At Boise, I did 56 miles in 2:30. That equates to 22.5MPH. To be competitive in these shorter TTs, I need to push 30MPH over 20-30 minutes. At any rate, I'll take any opportunity I can get to race on my Tri bike.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Women's TT Gold USA




Today, Kristin Armstong, from Boise, Id., won the gold medal in the Olympic time trial event. The time trial event is a timed event in which individual riders leave at timed intervals over a specific distance. The person with the fastest time wins. The time trial doesn't allow for the benefits of drafting or team tactics; you just go out and ride your heart out.

Having moved from Boise, I've had many opportunities to ride with Kristin. In fact, when she would race locally, she'd race in the mens category. So, I got to race with her as well. All I can say is, she was freakishly strong and fast. I couldn't hold her wheel when climbing--she always finished just behind the fastest men. On flat races, she loved to attack. I can recall once getting in a break with her and after a few rotations, I couldn't come around. If I kept pushing, I'd blow up and have to drop back eventually getting spit out the back of the chasing peloton. She knew I was tired and wouldn't pull through anymore, so she sat up and waited for the group to catch back up. Once we were safely back with the group, I took respite in the back out of the wind to recover; and she took off on another flyer with someone else. After a few minutes, she was back again. Minutes later, she was out again with another group. The third time was a charm; I never saw her again until after the finish.

Kristin was always nice. At the same time, she had a very surreal quality about her. For example, Boise has a Tuesday night ride the locals do. The first half of year, the group ride is south of town on a ~25mile flat wind-swept location. The second half of the year, the group-ride climbs half-way up the local mountain: Bogus Basin. I can recall one Tuesday night ride, Kristin shows up to ride. She just won the Tour of the Gila the weekend before. The Tour of the Gila is like a Masters of golf, or a playoff series in the NBA, NFL, of MLB. Iconic riders win the Tour of the Gila in the pro category. Just a few days prior, she's on the top step of the podium at the Tour of the Gila, now she was riding with this small group of locals like she was just one of the locals. I'll bet she'll do the local Tuesday night ride in Boise when she gets back from Beijing. It's like having a pick-up basketball game at the park, and Kobe Bryant shows up to play--and does so every week. It's really cool but also surreal.

I'm very happy for Kristin. I know she's made many sacrifices to be on that top step of the podium in Beijing. I know that she put off her career and worked part-time at Home Depot to have the success she has. Good on you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

What A Weekend

Well this has been a crazy weekend. Not a single swim, bike or run session but I'm physically wiped out! With the help of some great friends and family, we moved all of our personal belongings across town. If you want a great cross-training session, try spending the weekend moving. There's nothing like carrying boxes up and down stairs, lifting furniture or heavy appliances. In many respects it's like a race because you want to get every thing done before the time runs out with your rental truck or the time you took off from work ends.

Another thing interesting to note about moving, is you really find out who you're true friends are when you move. Moving has to be the absolute worst weekend activity anyone could do. I know this because I've moved so many times in my life--I hate it! But, it's even harder to ask friends and family to give up their precious weekends and help you move. This may be an oldest child thing, but I really have a hard time asking someone to help me. The oldest has to take on bigger tasks and be the "go to" child in times of need. You take pride in thinking you can handle anything asked of you. But moving isn't something anyone can do in a timely, effective manor alone. So you "need" help. I asked some, but many others volunteered without me asking. That meant so much to me.

So many times at church, I've been asked to help someone move. I generally politely decline, "I'm sorry, I have plans". I didn't want to put the word out with members of my church because, frankly, I didn't think I deserved it. Sure enough, 5 guys from church (3 of whom I've never met) show up bright and early Saturday morning and helped load the truck with furniture that included dressers, desks, and a piano--and of course lots of boxes. Another friend, showed up with his own truck and dolly and spent the best part of the day helping--he even hooked up my washer! Sister-in-laws came and cleaned the house we vacated so the check-out process would be as pain free as possible. That really helped.

Early Saturday morning when Tanya woke me up because she was anxious about all that had to happen before the scheduled check-out the following day (Sunday), I told her she was crazy because she scheduled the check out the next day. "There's no way we'd finish that soon!" I honestly believed that. I was a bit grumpy because I spent the entire day before (Friday) moving boxes and hadn't even made a dent. Boy was I wrong. After every one's help Saturday, we spent all day Sunday unpacking and setting up our new house.

Thanks again.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Remembering Eli's Sacrifice

When I was in college writing for the school paper, there was a football player, Eli Herring, who was one of the highest ranked offensive linemen in the nation. During his senior year, we was projected to get drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. He weighed 340 pounds and was very nimble and adept and protecting the quarterback. Additionally, he had a 3.5 GPA in math, and wanted to be a high school math teacher. When Eli was younger he made the commitment to himself that he'd never play sports on Sunday. This was fine in college because most college games are on Saturday...and none of BYU's games are on Sunday. But, during his senior year, his results were good enough to warrant a one-way ticket to football's biggest game--the NFL. The college was buzzing with excitement. BYU has had some standout players make a name for themselves in the NFL: Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Ty Dettmer, and a couple others. These people were BYU sports icons from a previous era. With Eli's guaranteed high draft pick, he was the campus icon from our era--our peer. We could legitimately say, "I had a class with him, he was down the hall from me in our dorm, or I was his TA." It was so exciting.

There was one snag though. Regardless of the sacrifice, he would not play on Sunday. Word spread all over campus. "Is he crazy!" No one could understand why he wouldn't budge on the one issue. What further complicated things was the San Francisco 49ers, with BYU alum quarterback Steve Young, had just won the Superbowl the year before. Steve Young didn't seem to be conflicted about playing on Sunday, and he shared the same faith as Eli.

Pro scouts came to campus and tried to convince Eli to back off of not playing on Sunday. He did not waiver. Afterwards, the word was out. All the pro teams knew it was useless to draft him. He wouldn't play.

One of the scouts did convince him to, at least, put his name in the draft to see what would happen. The draft came and he was picked by the Raiders in the 6th round. The Raiders knew he wouldn't play; they just hoped he'd come to his senses and be required to play for the Raiders when he did. He never did.

Eli ultimately became a high school math teacher and an assistant football coach. His starting salary was $20k and year.

It's been more than 10 years since Eli made his sacrifice. There are probably a handful of people that still remember Eli's sacrifice--except Eli. Eli remembers. I wonder if he has wrestled with this decision every day since. He has four kids; the cost of living has gone up dramatically in the last 10 years; and, a teacher's salary still remains scant. Given the choice today, would he budge? We will never know.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Transition Week

Well, since I have an unplanned training interruption next weekend (moving) and I'm still getting better, I'm calling this last week and this week "Transition" weeks. Once the move is over, I can begin training in earnest.

Last week started out a bit shaky because I was still feeling the effects of being sick. However, Saturday I decided to push myself and see where I stand fitness-wise. I rode with Silvio and we did 3X15 minute hard efforts up Tramway. I didn't have any expectation; I just wanted to see what I was working with. We climbed up the first time in the big chain ring flying along at about 15 MPH on average up the climb. My HR hit 183 BPM and I was able to stay with Silvio the first 11 minutes of the interval then I backed it off a bit. The second interval was the same and I hit 186 BPM. The final interval I maxed out at 188 BPM. I was happy because I was nearly able to hit my max HR (191).

One pleasant part of the ride was the view. As I was climbing Trawmay, I had a head-on view of the Sandias that are very green because of the exceptional rainfall they've received in the last month. To the south were bison roaming around in the field. It was warm but not too hot. On a couple of occasions as I was climbing, I told myself, "There isn't anywhere else I'd rather be riding right now." This is like my comfort ride...I've probably climbed Tramway more than 100 times. I know every inch of the pavement. Even when I lived in Boise, I could still recall every detail of the road. For some reason, it felt so good to be climbing it again.

After my ride, I went to the gym and jumped on the treadmill and ran 25 minutes at a moderate pace. I felt good too. Afterwards, the family and friends grabbed some Dion sandwiches and had lunch. Afterwards I swam 2,000 meters (that's all I could muster at the time). I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with the family by the pool. It was good.

On Sunday, I decided to mix it up a bit and do my own indoor duathlon. It was really hot outside, and extreme heat can negate any training gains. I set the TT bike in the trainer, and set my transition area up. The duathlon started with a 15 minute run on the treadmill followed up by a 1 hour TT session (rotating 10 minutes between high-cadence gear work/big-gear strength work). After the 1 hour bike ride, I immediately jumped back on the treadmill for another 15 minutes. I was able to keep the pace at a tempo effort throughout. I'd like to continue and build on this workout increasing both the run duration/intensity. This type of brick workout should help with T2.

In total I worked out 14 hours, with 4 hours of swimming @ 10,000+ yards, 2 hours running @ ~13 miles, 6 hours of bike @ 100 miles, and 2 hours strength/yoga.

Next week I plan on doing the last of the 3 part TT series--that should be a rude awakening. The state TT championships happens 2 weeks from now.

On a final note, I got up this morning at 4:30 AM to go to Masters swim. My body told me "No!". I listened. I'm not sure it's prudent to get up that early.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Well, I've been running, swimming, and cycling in a more regular pattern now. I'm so glad to be able to run pain free. I've run three times so far this week at 20 minutes each. Nothing too demanding, just enough to let my body adapt to running again. It had been so long since running, I was sore after the first couple of times. I plan on running 5 times this week.

Well after this forced rest period, I need to plan my final assault on Ironman Arizona. I figure after moving next weekend and fully recovering, I'll be left with 100 days to prepare for the final assault. 100 days isn't very long considering I've lost a bit of fitness while being sick and I haven't been running for at least a month.

Sometimes, in these situations it helps start at ground zero--assume you're starting over again. With the fitness base I've built over the last year, getting my aerobic system to where it was should take roughly a month. After that, I can work on strength and tempo efforts and slowly build from there for the remaining period. Yes, getting sick can really set you back. But, sometimes that's how your body tells you to ease up or stop all together. Unfortunately, I was ignoring all the precursors--being totally focused on the quantitative goal. Oh well, live and learn. I just hope I'm finally rising from the trough and working my way to the peak, which hopefully occurs November 23rd.

As mentioned above, we're moving next weekend. No, this wasn't planned. We made a verbal agreement to renew our rental contract for another year. Weeks after the agreement, we hadn't received any paperwork. The day we were going to call and follow-up, we get a letter saying that the renter has terminated the lease and we have 30 days to vacate. This put us in a predicament, because the kids' school starts in 10 days. Tanya scrambled and found a place smaller, older, more expensive, and across town, but in a good school district. As a result, Mia won't be able to go to pre-school because the school she was enrolled in--after a months on the waiting list--is back in our old school district across town. The local preschool at our new house is full. For these factors, we're considering legal actions, but I don't fancy myself a litigious individual--though I've spent more than my fair share in court. We'll see!

So why are we renting? That's the real question you're asking, right? Well, I could give you lots of reasons that would sound legit (i.e. waiting for home prices to finish the devaluation, it doesn't make sense to buy a home with a 30-year note when the job market is so temporary, or while my kids are young and messy, I'll let the renter pay for the home's up-keep). Those sound nice and may be of some benefits though not the actual reason. Frankly, we bare the burden of a failed business. In other words, our credit isn't up to snuff at the moment. When we lived in Boise, we started a business that was too successful--it grew way too fast. That growth overwhelmed us, and we came to a point where we had to choose between doing the business full-time or giving up the business and go back to our previous vocations. It was a hard choice. At the time, the business wasn't providing a positive cash flow from operations, it required significant manual-labor (which was very tight), and was creating a significant strain on our marriage. We decided to close the business, liquidate the assets, and live with the consequences. Risk and reward. In retrospect, it was a good choice because the business was tied to the housing boom--it was a fencing business. Had we quit our jobs and did the fencing business full-time, we'd be in dire straits because the market has tanked.

So, there you go...Paul Harvey has just given you the rest of the story.