About This Blog

As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Marathon Man

"You have to respect the distance."

That sentiment was expressed to me close to a year ago when I fancied I could handle the White Rock Marathon in Dallas. Instead, I opted to stick with the White Rock Half, and I'm glad I did; 13.1 miles really kicked my butt last December. After missing the boat for the Austin marathon in February (for which I am still thankful; it was COLD that day), I vowed to complete at least one marathon in 2006.

White Rock was a strong contender until my ("volunteer") position with the Steele & Clemens swim teams came along, so I backed it up a few weeks and signed on to do San Antonio, in spite of the ill I had heard after last year's disaster of an event, complete with awful weather and an even worse 2-loop course. The 2006 San Antonio Marathon was held today, November 12, and I don't think I could have asked for a much better baptismal marathon. Here's how it went.

The Good
Perfect weather (clear-to-over cast skies with temperatures in the 40s at the race start, high 50s at the finish) and a new single-loop course. The course was slated to begin in Alamo Plaza, wind through the King William area, then hook up with the Mission Trails to take runners past all five of San Antonio's Missions. The "running tour of San Antonio" aspect really worked to my advantage, as, at the start, Just before the start, I met a guy from Connecticut who was here to run the race and then tour San Antonio with his family for the next couple of days. He agreed to pace me (3:30 was our target finish), so I played tour guide as we made our way around town.

The Bad
Long lines for the 2649 race participants -- 30 port-a-potties for greater than 2500 race participants, plus spectators. Incidentally, of those who finished, only 965 were there for the full-bore marathon; 1684 did the half. I also didn't care for the options of only water or Gatorade at the aid stations. In my old age, I've grown not-fond of the ultra-sweet taste of Gatorade whilst running (or cycling, for that matter). Since Hammer Nutrition was a sponsor, I'd fully expected to see HEED on the course. Further, something other than water or Pepsi products (no Gatorade this time) to drink at the finish would have been nice, too. (Can you tell I post on SlowTwitch?). Oh, yeah -- $10 for parking at the Alamodome?! C'mon, guys...hide that crap in the race fee or something.

The Ugly
Mid-course nature breaks aside, the grimace on my face at mile 23.whatever when my right calf cramped could not have been pretty. Also, while technically after the race, some guy was side-swiped in the parking lot. I didn't see the crash, but I did see the impacted car spinning after the distinctive sound of screeching tires and scraping metal. To make matters worse, that car was a rental, and the guy who'd just finished the full marathon was not happy. I'm just glad my race finished better than his. Incidentally, neither driver was injured.

The Results
Total time: 3:31:00.3. Pace: 8:03.2 min/mi. Placement: 14th AG, 101st gender, 119th overall.

The Thank Yous
Obviously, all of this is D---'s fault. Yes, I now respect the distance and look forward to respectfully running Austin in February 07. However, I could not have kept anywhere near that pace today without the guidance of P---, vacationing running dude from Connecticut. Mad props, too, to the countless volunteers (outnumbered race participants, I'd wager) who helped keep everyone on the course hydrated and motivated.

And there you have my final race report of the year. My 2007 season is beginning to take form, with early contenders being the Austin Marathon in February and the PlayTri half-IM in April. I'll likely do CapTexas again in May (great way to end the school year) and Small Texan in July. The late season will be decided, based largely on how I do at PlayTri and CapTexas. But more on that another time.

As always, thanks for reading. //d

Monday, September 18, 2006

Three Dog Night

Holy crap -- three nights straight!

Yup, dog sitting gives one lots of free time to do the more exciting things in life, like watching dogs & grading papers, both of which are about on par with watching paint dry, grass grow, or flies procreate. All the same, it's good to have some semblance of downtime.

The iPod is finally working. Letting it run all night didn't do squat, but a reboot of iTunes seemed to do the trick. So, my Nano is now fairly fully loaded with a bevy of tunes matching my somewhat melancholic mood for this abnormal week in mid-September.

Upon my arrival at S--- & K---'s tonight, I popped in what has to be among the most depressing films I've ever seen; neither Closer nor The Hours could touch this one. It was a documentary about Wal-Mart, of all things: Wal-Mart:The High Cost of Doing Business...or something to that effect. If I weren't already dead-set against doing business with Wally World, I certainly am now. Heck, most of the Boxes that take advantage of China and other countries, for that matter.

Crap, it's already 9:30. I've still a hefty stack of papers to get through this evening, so it's off the Blog and back to the real world. As always, thanks for reading.//d

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cats & Dogs

Holy schneikes, a second post in as many days? What's the world coming to? Judging by the sounds of thunder and the flashes of lightning, it's anybodies guess, but the fact that I'm dog-[expletive] tired, in spite of having done little more than 30 or 40 minutes of jokingly awful flip-turns this morning in the pool, leaves little doubt that it's at least the end of the day. And it's not even ten o'clock. All the same, it was a productive day...sort of. I did get my laundry finished, as well as the aforementioned flip-turns (on a side note, it seems as though I'm not too strong in the pool as of late, most likely due to the fact that I'm so dog-[expletive] tired, but I've also just felt so...empty inside; reality, indeed, bites), and I even had time to swing by Best Buy and pick up an iPod Nano -- something I've had my eye on for some time now. Granted, my Shuffle did its job nicely, but having an LCD and better playlist management was something I'd longed for, and, given that the 2nd Gen Nanos just hit shelves, I thought I'd take advantage of it. Big mistake, and I'm not talking buyer's remorse. I headed back to my house to get a few files transferred over (Disintegration, in particular; tonight would have been perfect for it) but instead encountered a slew of technical difficulties, culminating in the moving of the MP3 drive over to Tyler in order to get the Nano to even work; the USB card I put in Jan a couple of months back hasn't done jack except cause for me one headache after another. Things weren't too much better with Tyler, but I at least seemed to not lose the connection with the Nano. Then again, it was still repairing itself when I called it quits after forty or so minutes. And now, it's time to call it quits in my ramblings here. While there's no tin roof to hear the lulling effect of the rain in its descent from the heavens, the rolling of the thunder and my dog-[expletive] tired state should all but guarantee a good night's rest. Here's to hoping, and thanks for reading.//d

Dog Days

It is a quarter past twelve in the morning, and I am aware of two things:

1) I cannot sleep
2) I will not be running with RTR in the morning

And it's a shame, too. I'd been looking forward to tomorrow's (well, technically today's) run the whole week -- a 22-mile jaunt from Mac, including Stone Oak, but now, it will not come to pass. As it is, I'm already extremely tired -- hit the proverbial wall twice on the short shop ride -- yet sleep evades me. I'm sure it's my own fault, too. I was the dolt who went to Borders a few hours ago for a pumpkin spice chai. Figured I'd be safe with the small; shows what I know.

So, here I sit, in the computer room at S--- & K---, looking after their trio of Boxers: Zoƫ, Big-a-Toe, and Four-of-Seven. I didn't name them; I just get to look after them from time-to-time. My time here (all eight hours of it) has been productive, though. I've essentially caught up on grading for my juniors and am set to begin grading my sophomore's CMC exam. Grades have also been updated for all classes, so I've now only the coming week's lesson plans to tend to tomorrow...er, today.

I'm not sure why it is I've been unable to sleep the past few days. One would think I'd be exhausted at the end of the day, ready for sleep, what, with my days now beginning at 4:30 in the morning for swim practice. Then again, I'm not the one who gets to swim. Yeah, I've tossed my name in the hat to assist with the swim team this year, which means practice twice a day, no stipend, but plenty of opportunity to learn. It's only been a few days, and my training has already taken a hit, but I believe that is due more to my lack of preparation for entering the program -- everything happened so quickly. One day I send out an email offering to help, the next day I'm on deck being primed for a coach's spot...even though it'll likely not happen until next year. Oh yeah, next year.

Next year appears somewhat fuzzy. My goal was to land a job in the Schertz district, teach with K---, and eventually work into the swim & cross-country programs. I got the job, but K--- moved. Then lightning struck, and the world changed. At least, it looked as though it was going to change; for a while, it did.

Kat entered my life during a weekend trip to visit D--- & K---. We instantly hit it off, sharing many of the same philosophies on life & relationships, exchanged business cards & a few emails, but nothing much happened. Then I called her. The following weekend, I again found myself in Dallas on the RBM ride and later at dinner before finding some comfy chairs to sit and literally talk the entire night. We shared something beautiful, and I came under the impression that I might need to start looking at moving to Dallas at the end of the current school year. But lightning struck again: Kat was being moved to Connecticut.

No problem. I thought I could even handle Connecticut, in spite of it being homeland of J---, Queen Bitch of the Universe; Kat's long-term plan was to move home to New York, which I knew I could handle, despite my disdain for the cold. I mean, all you need is love, right?

The hours-long phone conversations lasted a week or two more, but as the time of Kat's next trip grew closer, the conversations grew shorter. I came to realize with bitter coldness just how far apart we were, literally, even though I figuratively never felt closer to anyone, including L---. Now, the calls have all but stopped; we talked twice the past week, and for less than half-an-hour, total. I feel lost, alone. Wait & hope...if only it were so easy.

Such has been my life as of late and the excuse I plan to use for why I've not made an entry in so long -- not that this rambling tirade remotely qualifies itself as a competent entry, let alone a decent piece of prose, worthy of even electronic, online publication. Still, much of what was said was something I just needed to get out. I feel a little better, a little more tired now, so perhaps I can now find the sleep that has eluded me. Kat, if you're reading this, just know that I miss you, but that I do not wish to hold you back or otherwise complicate your life any more than what it already is. Be well; be at peace.

For the rest of you, be well & at peace, too, and thanks for reading.//d

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Small Texan Update

Results for the Small Texan were posted today, and it looks as though I did better than I thought. I remained 26th overall (male/female; 22nd for male only), but moved up to 3rd in my age group. Out of 207 racers who finished, it's not too shabby...according to me, anyway.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Difference a Year Makes

Yesterday morning, I took part in my final scheduled race of the season, the Small Texan Triathlon. The race is designated as an ITU (International Triathlon Union) distance race, which is also referred to as Olympic distance. The swim, however, is a bit short for, in my opinion, full ITU standards, thus, I think of the Small Texan as a
"SprOlympic" distance event: part sprint, part Olympic distances. It is the only race I've done this year that I also competed in in 2005, so it did serve as a bit of a benchmark for how I've progressed in triathlon. As such, times in parenthesis will include the 06 & 05 times, respectively (2006/2005).

SWIM - 800m (20:42 / 25:46)

I rode a lot harder on Saturday than I should have for the first thirty or so miles, but I did spend the next twenty recovering, making for fresher legs in the water Sunday. In spite of the general nastiness that Boerne Lake is famous for, once I got going, I really got going. I felt calm, focused, and at ease on the swim. It did, indeed, set me up for a good bike.

T1 (01:47 / 01:56)

BIKE - 45k (01:25:52 / 01:20:11)

It seems like I couldn't have an uneventful ride in a race this year. Mercifully, I didn't cramp, but I did drop a bottle in the last half-mile of the course (in front of the photographer, so I *had* to go back), and the miles before that were layered with the worst, god-awful chip-seal in the whole flippin' state; Freiheit had nothing on this.

So, in spite of the B2 being blessed with the aerodynamic awesomeness that is the Zipp 404 wheel, I lost nearly six minutes on the bike. The course was the same as last year's, and was anything but smooth, anything but flat. All the same, I felt extremely comfortable on the bike, without going so hard that I had nothing left for the run. And, while, true, the 11-tooth cog on the rear wheel didn't want to play too nicely, the only thing that could have made the ride even more enjoyable (and faster) would have been smoother roads. I mean, a top speed of 41.2 in Comfort? On 404s? On aerobars? Still, it was a good feeling to enter T2 and see so few bikes on the rack.

T2 (01:46 / 01:40)

RUN - 10k (47:58 / 55:16)

There's not a whole lot to say for the run other than that I felt great. The first mile or so was a little rough getting into the groove (and without pavement, no less), but once I got there, I stayed there. As with the bike, just before the finish, the water flask I carried with me popped out of my back pocket, necessitating a doubling back for it. Better to lose a few seconds in picking up my junk than getting dogged with a 2-minute time penalty. Then again, the guy who tossed his Gu flask on the dam on the run in front of me didn't get docked...but, I'm not that guy. That guy finished nearly three minutes after I did.


With a final finishing time of 2:38:06 (versus 2:44:49 in 2005) & preliminary placings of 26th OA & 4th AG, I'd say the race was a stunning success, especially with how I felt during & after the race. However, that success would not have been obtainable without the efforts of a whole lot of people, most of whom are reading this right now; you know who you are.

With triathlon competition now behind me for 2006 (unless I opt for the Dave Scott Olympic race in Dallas, mid-September), I've some new targets to focus on, chiefly the MS150 (San Antonio-to-Corpus in one day [Dan, are you in?] this October) and the White Rock Marathon in December, so I'll certainly be on the move. Thank you all, again, for every level & bit of encouragement, training, equipment, or whatever else it was you helped me with over the season. Rest assured it did not go unnoticed, nor did it go unappreciated.//d

Monday, June 26, 2006

Buffalo Springs 70.3

Yesterday marked my eighth foray into triathlon, the Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3 Triathlon. Not to be confused by the name, it is not "the" Ironman, but rather a half-iron distance, hence the 70.3 designation, so as to avoid confusion with a full iron-distance, 140.6. The race was challenging, no doubt, but mostly from forces not associated with my physical conditioning or preparation (and I use the term loosely) for the event.

The BSLT 70.3 is held in the self-contained community of Buffalo Springs, just outside of Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock is typically known for two things: Texas Tech University and Buddy Holly, the musician who helped further rock-n-roll in the late 50s. Holly died in 1959 but was immortalized in Doc McLean's, "American Pie." The song, not the movie.

When I registered for BSLT in March, I was under the impression that Lubbock is pancake flat, which would help yield an excellent bike split. I was not incorrect in believing Lubbock to be extremely flat; it is. Buffalo Springs, however -- or at least the roads just outside of Buffalo Springs, is not flat. Rather, they carve a path up and down a series of canyons that are nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful. These roads are also breathtakingly challenging, literally. But let me not get ahead of myself.

Getting There
I had the great fortune of not having to drive myself to Lubbock for this race. Instead, I hitched a ride with Branton & Sarah, the former competing in his second triathlon. We would be meeting Branton's parents (who were driving in from Arkansas) at the hotel they were also gracious to share with me, but also happened to have one of Branton's friends from Arkansas join in at the last minute. Rob, a rep for Javelin Bicycles, made the total in the hotel six, yet we all fit in just fine; the Marriott was most accommodating.

Race morning, we rolled out of the hotel just before five. Buffalo Springs is about a fifteen minute drive, and on that drive, we were witness to a most-impressive lightning show in the general direction that we were driving. Scattered storms had been forecast a few days prior, but no mention of them were made in the pre-race briefing the day before. Additionally, it looked as if several trees would be uprooted by the gale-force winds whipping across the Texas plains, all but guaranteeing an even more challenging day...providing the race could go on.

As we slowly made our way across the dam and to the parking are (a logistical nightmare, yet managed to pale in comparison to what was witnessed at Danskin a few weeks ago), the lightning let up, which meant the race would be able proceed. However, because of the length of time it took to get into the parking area, parked, bikes numbered, and so on, Branton & I were left with but ten minutes to make it to the transition area and get set up -- and it was almost a mile away!

The time must have been extended, for I had time enough to set up my designated area (bike racks were pre-marked with race numbers -- sweet!) and into my wetsuit, down the stairs to the lake, and into the water for a swim to the starting beach. A short swim, but good enough to get a feel for the water and realize just how tired I was from having a combined total of nine hours' sleep for the past two nights.

Swim - 35:56.1
Unlike CapTex, my wave was the second to go out, meaning I didn't have to wait for an hour before hitting the water. The horn sounded at 6:40 (6:39:39, according to the Polar, but who's counting?) and we hit the water. Temperature was reported to be 76 degrees, which technically made it wetsuit legal, although the water was on the comfortably warm side. I'm glad to have opted for the wetsuit, for a couple of hundred meters out, I began to feel sluggish and sleepy; I couldn't churn my arms well enough to generate any speed. That changed after rounding the second buoy, and I began to feel better and gain ground. Yes, there were the obligatory couple of mouth-fulls of water, but in all not bad. Both lenses managed to stay sealed, too, which helped out a great deal. Final 100 meters or so, I had to move between two swimmers, where I somehow managed to steer/split them using my hands. Open water is getting to be much, much easier.

Once I hit the finish, I was helped out of the water by a volunteer and then confronted another who grabbed the front of my suit and pulled it off of my arms. I was then instructed to lie on the ground, where I my suit was ripped off my legs, and thrown back at me. A few seconds later, I was off & running to T1. Beats the heck out of the fumble fest I had with the suit at Gulfman.

Bike - 2:59:50
This was easily the most problematic bike ride I had ever been on. I was barely clipped in before two guys went down in front of me, one spilling three Gu bottles. I grabbed two of them and handed them back before attempting to remount. After what seemed like an eternity (more like 20 seconds, according to the HR stats from my monitor), I managed to get clipped in and rolling, only to be slowed down by a near-nine percent grade hill. Not exactly the best of things to be faced with after a swim, but manageable, using the little ring. A quick downhill, another up, and I was really rolling...into the wind. Still, I was holding around 19, preferring to ride conservatively the first half or so before picking up the pace. In doing so, I would be able to take greater advantage of a tail wind coming back into transition.

The course was somewhat congested, and I was thankful Branton's father drove us over the course the day before. I managed to maintain a decent speed, yet was still passed by numerous riders, many of whom had 404s or better; many had a full disc, lucky bastards.

After passing and then getting passed by the same cyclists a few times, I noticed one of the officials began to take a notice in me. Rather than risk a penalty, I sat up and created a substantial gap between us, still holding it a little under 20mph.

While descending after then second turn around (the course was a "modified out-and-back," having three turn arounds after some serious climbing), I noticed my back wheel felt funny. At the base of the hill, my fear was confirmed: I had flatted. The problem was a small staple-like item that had penetrated the tire and proved to be a real bugger to get out. It finally was worked out, wheel remounted, defective tube tied beneath the saddle (more on that in a sec), back on the bike, and I was rolling. Since we were now on the back stretch, I decided to ride a bit more aggressively, and in doing so, began to make up some time. Never mind that I had lost a little over eight minutes because of the flat, I was able to start making up some ground. Tail winds are indeed a great thing.

On one of the last stretches, I noticed my dead tube was working itself out of the saddle straps, necessitating a sit up to remove it. I tried to finagle the straps beneath the saddle, which worked for a few more miles. In the final few miles, though, they were coming into dangerous contact with the rear wheel, so I again had to sit up and remove the straps, somehow sandwiching them into my already crowded jersey pockets. Total time lost because of the flat was in the neighborhood of 9'15". I wasn't happy, but that was irrelevant, for I still had a half-marathon to run.

Run - 2:02:17
I'm not sure if I over-hydrated on the bike, but the first half of the run sucked. Breathing in was difficult and almost painful in the area of the chest & abdomen until about mile five, where I began to pick up steam. By the time I hit the turnaround, I was feeling much better and managed a good run until the last mile. By this point, my hamstrings were tightening, and I got a little scared for myself when I saw another runner completely seize up half-a mile from the finish. I still managed to make it across in decent shape, but without the typical sprint I somehow manage in the closing meters.

Between the heat and the hills, this was probably my worst performance on foot in a race. However, it was finished, so what did it matter, other than to take the experience, analyze it, and plan for next time. Total time for the race, then was 5:44:25.

Next Time
You have a lot of time to think to yourself while participating in triathlon. In doing so, I almost considered quitting teaching, in order to get a better paying job to finance my expensive habit. However, the events of April 20 will never permit me to do that, so I will continue in the classroom, doing what I can to better the lives of others. Triathlon does better my life, but some changes will need to be made for me.

I've one more race I am registered for for this year and from there, will begin scaling back my competing in triathlon. The training is still enjoyable, and I will continue to do it, but mostly for the fitness and aspect, not because I have some event of other coming up. That means my goal of Ironman (Arizona was a strong contender) will most likely not be realized in 2007. I need to refocus my efforts (and especially my finances) into other endeavors, namely my savings and my education. Ironman will have to wait until after my masters, instead of coming beforehand.

Mad Props
Buffalo Springs was a tremendous amount of fun, even if it was horribly expensive. I literally could not have made it there without Branton & Sarah, so thank you for letting me tag along and letting me crash on the sofa. Much love to the rest of the good folks at Bicycle Heaven for support & gear in order to make the bike all the more enjoyable, let alone possible. Though only having met en route to the race, thanks to Rob from Javelin for advice on making the bike section that much easier. Thanks also to Dan for getting me wholly into the sport, and to his wife, Kristine, for continued support and lots of laughs. Bill & the gang from Tuesday nights, my hard-charging effort on the last half of the ride would not have been possible without riding with you guys every week; please understand if I'm not at 100% tomorrow night. Naturally, Mom & Dad for your kindness and support on every front. Wish you could have been there.//d

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summertime Rolls

Yeah, get the link to the Blog back up, and I'll be making posts all the time. After all, I'm not working this summer, so I'll have loads of free time!


It's been more than a week since my last post, and all I can offer up is the oft-used excuse, "I've been busy." Busy with what? Well, let's see.

For starters, there's the training for Buffalo Springs. Of course, there's the remote possibility that I won't be able to even make the race, given my financial situation for the summer. However, recent developments may permit me to essentially free-load my way there & back, including lodging. Of course, I'll throw in at least half for gas, and need to feed myself, but it's certainly cheaper than going it alone.

Twelve hundred meters in the pool today, though, along with 20-ish miles on the TT bike, and I'm feeling fine. Long run on tap for tomorrow. But first, bed...and sleep.

Thanks for reading.//d

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wiped Out

I can't feel my legs. Rather, I wish I couldn't feel my legs, because they hurt...bad.

Tuesday, for reasons I'm not entirely clear on, is intended to be my "hard" day. By that, I do all three disciplines (swim/bike/run) to a relatively high degree of difficulty in order to really challenge myself. Today was particularly trying, given that I'm not swimming at the crack of dawn anymore (ah, summer!), but competition for lanes at Gold's is a bit fiercer in the later part of the morning; everyone trying to get their laps in before the utterly ridiculous water aerobics classes start up. All the same, I did get a couple of thousand meters in, mostly in the form of kick & paddle drills; I only did about 800m free (300 warmup, 500 cooldown). In doing so, I was humiliated by the portly bloke in the next lane who seemed to swim so effortlessly. But one of these days, I'll hit super lotto and can hire a real swim coach...or maybe join SA Masters or something.

Right, back to the day.

I returned home to mow/trim the yard, which I followed up with a nap, in preparation for the evening's activities: Tuesday night ride with the gang from Greenvalley Elementary and a long run.

En-route to the ride, I rode over to Steele HS, where I'll be teaching next year, in order to time myself. Distance clocked in at 4.1 miles, taking me 11'58", door-to-door, running at a moderate effort. If I give myself 15-20 minutes for transportation & such, I'm good. Even at 2o minutes, it's still half the time it took for me to drive to HMS...and will save me billions on gas. Well, maybe not billions, but certainly a couple of c-notes each month.

Upon leaving Steele, I high-tailed it over to GVE to meet up with everyone -- and I do mean that. The first couple of rides of the season were limited to just three or four of us, but we're up to about 10 - 12 regulars each week now. B--- & I were both on TT bikes tonight, as was B---'s neighbor, J---. J--- is just returning from a near-decade off from triathlon and showed up on his new steed, a Cervelo P2-SL, a totally sweet bike.

We all gave it a fairly hard effort tonight, and it showed. By the time I hit the run, I was fairly well spent, but was able to crank out 10 miles at a decent pace. As on the bike, I was pretty parched (temperature exceded 100° again today). I'll need to remember that for Buffalo Springs in a couple of weeks.

And, that was my day. It's ended with this entry and chatting with I--- on the phone. On-tap for tomorrow is a casual ride with the Trailblazers in the morning and then another pool workout in the afternoon or evening...maybe weights, too. Thursday is what I'm anxious for, though -- swim workout at Boerne Lake! Despite my initial hesistency towards open water, I certainly prefer it to lap after mind-numbing lap in the pool.

Okay, it's past midnight now (woohoo! survived 06-06-06 without any troubles, including religious fanatics or non-religious lunies waving anything in my face), and I'm beginning to get tired. WHC is a little over eight hours away, so that gives me some time for Icy-Hot, cuddle time with Crookshanks, and one more call to I--- -- she got to go get ice cream. Hmmph.

Sorry for the high school style journal entry tonight, but it was what I was in the mindset for. Regardless, thanks for reading.//d

Monday, June 05, 2006


Hey there, sports fans!

Yes, it's been a horribly long time since posting anything here. Part of it is my fault (got busy, sorry), but part was due to changing Web servers and never getting around to setting up the Blog password stuff. So, again, sorry 'bout that. On to business.

Tri season is well under way for me. I raced Gulfman way back in April to lackluster results (cramped on the bike). However, the race was intended to use as a benchmark for what happened with my fitness over the winter. In spite of the cramp, fitness level was good and has continued to be such. Finish time for Gulfman was 5:22:13, ranking me 63rd out of 140-something competitors.

Next up was Capital of Texas this past Monday (Memorial Day), in Austin. An Olympic-distance race, things went almost as expected...except that I didn't bring my wetsuit, and the water was @#%* freezing (73°, technically, but still pretty damn cold). After struggling to get warmed up for ten minutes and change, I managed to be #119 out of 147 in my AG out of the water. Twenty-five miles of cycling later, I was #13 -- and that was without use of the 404s (I elected to not use them, given the technical layout of the course and my limited cornering experience on deep-dish rims -- and A---'s story of wiping out on the course on similar rims still rang in my ear). I faded a bit on the run, but still managed a 45th place ranking in my AG and 229th OA. With 1116 athletes crossing the line, I'd say that's not too shabby for a B-level race.

Another Half IM looms on the horizon, though, and I am again behind on my training. Buffalo Springs is in less than three weeks and I am in some serious need of swim time. If I can drag my arse out of bed in the morn for a trip to the gym, I'll work on some drills for an hour or so. In any event, I plan to make it out to Boerne Lake a few times before heading to Lubbock. K---- had mentioned something about swimming in Austin this weekend, too, so we'll see what happens.

Much has also been happening outside of my little tri-verse, too, but that's another topic for another time. For tonight, I just wanted to get something posted. Don't mention it.

As always, thanks for reading. I'll try to do better about getting content up here on a more timely basis.//d

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday

Yes, it's been alost a month since I've written anything, and my excuse is the same: I've been busy. And, as always, I remain optimistic that things will begin to slow down, but that remains as likely to happen as it ever did.

Rather than outline everything that's been going on -- which really isn't all too different than the s.o.s. -- I'll just say that the state writing test is over, so my job is a little less stressful, though perpetuates itself in being time consuming: Yearbook season is full on, it's research paper time, and I still have a 30+ minute commute each way. One lead has shown promise for a position closer to home, but I'll put out some additional lines during spring break. Should nothing pan out, I might have to move. Damn.

Gulfman is still up in the air. The organizer promised to have new routes, etc. posted online by the 28th (today), but he instead posted that new info will instead be posted Friday, 03/03. With roughly one month remaining until race day, it's not exactly comforting. My attitude remains constant, though: As long as I'm not eaten by a shark or hit by a car, I'll consider it a successful race. Besides, I'm ready...or at least feel like I am.

I've been scaling back a bit on the training, though not entirely by choice. Yes, my schedule is packed tighter than a can of sardines, and the weather has been less than ideal on the weekends, but my workout times are better than ever: 7'19" miles (on hills), 22+ mph bike (with wind), and 30 minutes & change for 1500 swim times. I was unable to get an 1800 meter time because I was ejected from the pool tonight by the eternally overweight, elderly "swim" crowd at the gym: Water aerobics.

The class itself, to say nothing of the participants, is a joke. A bunch of overweight, old ladies gather in a pool and splash around to some music and think they're getting in a quality workout. To make matters worse, they "have the right" to take down the lane dividers in order to hold their classes, which, I suppose is fine, but the situation could have been handled better -- and I didn't need to catch any flack from the participants for my ability to swim. Yeah, I complained to management and managed to get recognition that lap swimmers (me) get preference to the lanes when classes are not in session. Signs are supposed to be posted soon stating such, which will probably amount to a computer printout on a sheet of paper destined to be wettened and whithered away in less than a week's time. Typical.

Time to fly. With Lent about to begin, I hope to give up my habit of not posting here. Heck, I might even have something interesting to say. Until then, thanks for reading.//d

Saturday, February 11, 2006


The Cure echoes through the halls of my home this evening, setting a seemingly appropriate, somber tone for this Saturday evening.

This was a trying week for me, the least of which being that my swim turned to shit again, due in large part to general fatigue and the fact that the water in the pool on Goliad was the most vile, disgusting, and just down-right nasty liquid to ever be found in a swimming pool. To a certain degree, I can still taste it in my mouth, and it's been four days since swimming there. It'll be many, many more days before I swim there again, meaning I'll need to adjust my T/R routine. Running & swimming will most likely be swapped, which might make track workouts a little more difficult, but, as those only happen every 4th or 5th run, I think I can survive.

Tonight's swim wasn't too grand, either, but I was severely bummed over something I'd read on Velonews prior to leaving for the gym: Tyler Hamilton's appeal to the CAS was denied; home boy will have to sit out another season.

It's unfortunate, to put it mildly, that such a stellar athlete and role model won't be able to professionally participate in the sport. The Tour would have been really interesting if he'd been there. It'll be interesting enough with the return of Millar, but, there's always next year. Just keep on believing, Tyler. I do.

A little over a week remains before the writing portion of TAKS, and I'm getting a little anxious. The second TAKS academy was held today, with a pretty high turnout. Granted, there were quite a few stragglers, but that's not what's important. They were there...and boy, did some of them need to be.

I'm still a a lot concerned over how things are going to go on the 21st, but C--- gave a pep talk to me today, reaffirming what others have said about the kids, their abilities, and that it really boils down to them. Regardless, I'm still somewhat worried about how it will reflect on me...especially with this whole "teacher of the year" crap they threw on me last week. It looks good on a resume, but if I'm not able to deliver whatever goods it is that are expected of me...providing any goods are even expected. Oh, hell, I don't know. I just want to go, teach, and try to make a difference in as many lives as I can.

It's cold outside. I'm beginning to feel that way inside, too, so I think I will shut this down so I can go and shut myself down for the night.

This blog was intended to be a training-type diary for me, but it's, instead, become something different. Given that there have been no posts or replies to any of my previous posts, though, it doesn't appear to be that big of a deal. Regardless, I'll get back on track eventually. Maybe after TAKS...maybe not until after Gulfman. But soon. Keep the faith, and thanks for reading.//d

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Gulfman, oh man...

Holy schneikes, has it ever been a while since I've made an entry here. Sorry 'bout that; been busy with work & such.

Actually, yes, things have been really humming along at warp speed. Work is keeping me insanely busy (TAKS is less than two weeks away -- huzzah!), but I still find time to get some training in, although some of the workouts have become shorter than I would like. Still, when I find I need to push myself on the occasional long(er) workout, I'm able to do so with less anguish. In all, I feel I'm set for Gulfman on April 2nd. That is, if I wind up doing it.

No, I'm not wussing out of the event -- again, my training is way on track (200m swim time is down to 3:55; bike averages are in excess of 20mph [solo, against the wind]; run times are hovering around 7:20/mi), but some of the things I've been reading in the forums at Slowtwitch, as well as some disturbing news from USAT regarding sanctioning, have me wondering whether or not this is an event I am really that keen on doing. I mean, when USAT says they'll not sanction anything this particular promoter puts togeter...well, it just can't be pretty. I've asked for a refund and, if granted, will focus my efforts on the South Texas Tri at Canyon Lake on 03/25. It's a week before what Gulfman should have been, but it is an Olympic distance and on familiar territory. Providing it's not raining this time, I should be able to post some stellar results on the bike.

More...I would really like to write more, but my eyes will hardly stay open. Heaven knows how many typos I've made thus far, but I'm at a point where I don't care about anything but sleep right now. Thursday will hopefully be here soon, and with a track workout on-tap, I should be able to be back in front of Jan (the kitchen computer from where I compose my musings for all the world [okay, just for you] to see) at a decent hour and can maybe actually hack out some decent crap for you to read. Until then, thanks for reading, and good night.//d

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Shuffling Along

The part couldn't have cost more than ten cents, but it cost me nearly $200 to replace.

My MP3 player, the most recent in the ones I've had the past five years, became officially useless (to me) earlier in the week when a cheap, clear plastic snapped. I was unable to repair the sleeve and, as a result, can no longer use the MP3 player at the gym or when running, the only two instances when the player was actually useful, save the flights to & from Philadelphia this past summer. I essentially knew what I wanted (Apple iPod), so I did my research on the various models, leading to a toss-up between the new & ultra-slick Nano and the sveltely simple, yet sexy, Shuffle.

In reality, I shouldn't have purchased one, but contemplation during & after a conversation I had with another tri person this morning (J---, new to the area from NO -- would you believe she's sponsored by BMC?! And she's only 20!), I decided to bite the bullet and trekked out to the Apple store.

J--- uses the Shuffle model, which she cited for simplicity & durability, both of which I'm keen on, but personally was leaning more towards the Nano due to its larger capacity & greater selection of accessories; speakers, in particular. See, the district bought me a new 'puter (iMac G5, which dropped in price this week after Mac World; oops), and I'm not supposed to keep any personal media on it, such as MP3s. So, by using an iPod and some fancy docking station, it'd all be cool. However, none of that will be necessary. I'll need only make a CD of the MP3s I wish to play, and iTunes will play them straight from the disc; no media will be transferred to the district's property. And it saved me $60 on the price of an iPod.

Yup, I wound up going with the 1Gb model Shuffle, in part because I wanted to feel like I was getting a deal (no discount on the 512kB model for educators), and also because I couldn't be out done by G-man and the twin 'pods he picked up over the break for his kids. By the time the Nike-branded arm band was thrown in, I was just south of $200. Apple stuff looks slick, but, damn, you pay for it.

My MRI was this morning...for the knee thing. It was essentially uneventful, hence its mentioning going way down here, but I hope to hear some good news come Tuesday afternoon. Naturally, I'll keep the one or two readers I pretend to be writing to here informed of what transpires, as well as how training for Gulfman draws nearer.

Training, in general, hasn't been going too well the past few days. I've been horribly depressed about the usual, and I guess I just can't move through the denial stage that I will most likely be alone for the rest of my life. But that's another post for another Blog another time. Right now, I need sleep. It's been a busy day with little intake in terms of nutrition. Tomorrow will be better. Woman Hollering Creek in the afternoon, so that's at least motivation to go out and kick some arse on the bike, since I won't be able to on Monday; teacher work day, but at least no kids. :)

Peace out and thanks for reading.//d

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Here, Chicky, Chicky, Chicky...

Cripes, where does the time go? I've been meaning to sit down in front of this flippin' machine and type this post out since Saturday but have not had the time until today, Tuesday. Here's a quick recap on how things are going:
  • Hit the pool hard almost daily last week
    • Lots drills with fins & paddles
    • Lots o'laps freestyle
    • New (Swedish) goggles are working out fantastically, and with minimal ring-around-the-eyeballs
    • 1500m time down to 33'16" on Sunday; 33'30" today -- more than a 3-minute improvement in <>
  • Weights are going great...almost back to my pre-crash chest press weight stack...which wasn't really all that impressive, but it's certainly better than the 35 pounds I was maxxing at a month ago
  • Laid off the bike over the weekend due to general tiredness/laziness (was up late both nights, including a date on Saturday!) and not wanting to peak too soon
  • Been running a fair amount, including:
    • 12-miles on Sunday morning with no pain in the knee
    • Track workout tonight with RGR; again, no pain in the knee
So, my knee has been cooperating, but I still went to see Doc Jacobs this after for his opinion. His opinion is that I might have a torn meniscus. To confirm, I'm scheduled for an MRI on Saturday morning, meaning no riding for me Saturday. Sunday's outing has the potential to be painful, simply because I didn't ride last weekend and everybody else did...on Skyline. Geez, I've been back riding now for close to six years and still haven't done that flippin' road. Then again, at a 23% grade in one spot, it might be good that I didn't. Ah, who I am kidding? It's all for fitness & training, so it has to be good. I'll tell you what else is good, too: sleep

Yes, as overrated as it generally is, last night's 8+ hours of shuteye did me lots of good...or, at least I felt like it did. Perhaps I'll go get some more just to be sure. Thanks for reading.//d

Friday, January 06, 2006

Coming Up Roses

At about 24 hours shy of being a full week into 2006, I have to say that the year is, thus far, off to a great start. True, I've no lady in my life, but I've found little else to complain about.

School started back up on Wednesday (Tuesday, technically, but the kids didn't come back until mid-week), and a three-day work week is seldom a bad thing. To improve things even more, they're finally starting to catch on to prepositions, their pre-TAKS results weren't quite as horrid as initially thought, and my new iMac G5 arrived this morning. Once I get the necessary software to support the teaching & extra curricular stuff (Mac Office & Adobe CS -- the latter for yearbook, which I appear to be moving into the sponsor instead of technical consultant), I'll be able to stop lugging my laptop around with me, making the trip to & fro work that much more enjoyable...and potentially more possible to do by bike. Perhaps after Gulfman.

Speaking of Gulfman, training has been going awesomely well, and it's all thanks to self-monitoring of my form: knee problems while running seem to have subsided (still going to see an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday) and my swim times are down significantly -- I've shaved nearly 1 minute off my initial 200m benchmark! Granted, I'm still no Josh Davis or Ian Thorpe, but I am slowly clawing my way towards improved endurance in the wet. Well before April, I hope to take a few private lessons with the fine folks who run the Master's program in SA (I've a little rant about costs involved with triathlon, but, as the hour is late, I'll save that for some other time), to tweak things, but the Becoming a Faster Swimmer DVD and Total Immersion book are proving beneficial, in spite of my initial reactions to the DVD.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and I'm still not 100% on what my primary activity will be. According to my self-made training schedule, I'm supposed to ride & run, but the weather is again turning chilly, which means I don't want to be out on a road ride, freezing my butt off for umpteen miles. In consideration of last week's stellar performances on two wheels, I'll likely skip the ride and go for a nice, long run...in part, to test my knee, and in another part, to avoid cold-ass bike rides and the long-ass distances to go to do said cold-ass bike rides. Sheesh...looks like I'm getting a little testy. It's definitely past my bedtime, so I'll go ahead and shut this thing down in order to get myself shut down for some quality shut eye.

As always, thanks for reading...presuming anyone actually is. With no comments posted to date to previous posts, it's kind of hard to tell. Still, without anyone really to talk to who is remotely interested in the goings on of my life, triathlon or otherwise, I'm pleased to have this medium to bore the snot out of you, the reader. Tschuss.//d

Monday, January 02, 2006

Four Months

Holy crap, it's 2006.

With today being the second, I have four calendar months remaining until I dive into Galveston Bay to take part in my first half-iron event, the Gulfman. It is at this point I have to ask myself if I am ready. The answer: sort of.

My swim is still weak, but it's not due to arm strength. Granted, my shoulder still aches when trying to do chest presses and/or certain yoga poses, but my reduced swim times can be highly attributed to a lack of form & proper technique. Go figure, with my never having had any formal swim training, save the few group sessions I went to at UIW last year. While no one-on-one training was to be had, having a knowledgeable eye watching my goofs was beneficial. Guess I'll have to see if S--- will be hosting those again this year and if I can still sneak in. Providing I can make it through 1800 meters of the fluid fun that is the swim, I am fairly confident the bike & run will go well. My long distance runs are still averaging in the 7'45" range, which I feel is respectable. If I've not already said it, I'm not looking to place at Gulfman; rather, have a good time and get an idea of where I am entering the season and just how much work is ahead of me before my "A" level races later in the season. It will also (hopefully) give me a better idea of what the multisport athlete needs to do in the off season in order to be prepared for such an intense effort so early in the season.

Back to the bike.

If the past two weekends' endeavors are any indication of performance, I should be able to post an incredible bike time. Last Saturday was on similar terrain, though with a more intense wind...and I dropped everyone but a lone SPW (shameless parasitic wheelsucker). A look back at the data from my HRM shows that it was possible for me to squeak out even a bit more juice yielding a better bike time. If I'm able to score some sweet wheels for Gulfman...

Running is going swell. No significant knee worries to speak of, but I do have an appointment with my orthopedic doctor on the 10th to make for certain. That will be the determining factor on if I register for the Austin marathon, but, regardless of the outcome at the doctor's, I feel confident I can still post a respectable run time. After 85 hilly miles into the wind yesterday, I cranked out a little over four miles with good feelings in my legs. All that was lacking was a gel before I started the run. Too bad I'm out. What's worse, there's only one place in town that carries Honeystinger, and they're on the opposite side of town of where I am. Typical, but I'll be going by there on my way to run tomorrow night. Hope I've time to make a pit stop.

Speaking of tomorrow, it's the end of the Christmas holidays, and I need to return to the real world and begin working again. To complicate things, it's TAKS season. The good part is that the writing test is in late February, so my training should be impacted only minimally. Here's to hoping the weather holds...to a certain degree, no pun intended. A few more good freezes would be nice (to help curb potential bug problems in the spring & summer), but weather like yesterday's (blue skies &amp;amp; 75°) is sure nice.

Time to wind this entry down and begin winding myself down for the night. True, it's relatively early, but I get back on schedule tomorrow, which means a 5:00 AM wakeup call in order to be in the pool by 6:00. Here's to a great 2006, year & season. Thanks for reading.//d