About This Blog

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finisher



At Trisition Area's Kona viewing party last month, I met several fellow IM finishers. Among them was an average Joe who had completed Couer d'Alene and was in training for Cozumel. He'd mentioned he was in need of folks with whom to run long, so we exchanged numbers, as I thought I might have some times for some longer, more casual runs. Those runs didn't pan out too well, but a few weeks ago, I received a text from J--- asking if I was interested in pacing the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon on November 15. Hmm...marathon...4:30 finish...10:15/mi pace...free...three weeks to train...sure, why not?

From there, I started hammering out some runs in excess of six miles (my longest since CdA) but never made it above a couple of fifteen-mile efforts. My planned twenty miler didn't pan out too well, due to the time of day, lack of nutrition, and sheer exhaustion from the week (and proctoring the SAT earlier in the day), so I was beginning to get a little concerned over my planned, Barney-style assault on a full marathon. Then I did a track workout (of mile repeats) at race pace and all of my fears evaporated; I knew I would rock this thing with energy to spare.

The marathon was yesterday. It was my third time running San Antonio and my slowest of them all, due to the chosen pace. I brought in everybody (who stayed with me) within the 4:30 window, even having time to stop and chit-chat with W---, another CdA finisher, who was spectating at the finish. In all, it was an enjoyable experience, but, more-so, it was a learning experience. In no particular order, here are some of the things I learned from running the 2009 Rock & Roll Marathon:
  • San Antonio's marathon sucks. The course itself is fantastic, but everything else surrounding the marathon (expo, getting to the start, getting out of the finish and back to the start [where your vehicle is parked]) could use a quick exit out of mediocrity.
  • It is possible to train for and complete a marathon in three weeks...providing the person attempting to do so has run marathons before and has completed an Ironman within the preceding six months.
  • Pretty girls run around a ten minute pace. In addition to those I met yesterday, N--- has just under a 10:00/mi pace on-tap for Austin, and girls don't get any prettier.
  • You can find some cool while running. Yesterday, I found a sequined, Michael Jackson-esque glove around mile eight. You bet I nabbed it and finished the marathon with it on my hand. I can't wait to see the pictures.
  • Non-mylar balloons do not make good "signs" for pacers -- especially with painter's tape being used to attach the pace numbers.
  • It's OK to have up to a half-cup of beer while running a marathon.
  • Lone Star Beer isn't half-bad. Then again, after 23 miles of running...
  • Even people who make a living coaching athletes have to walk from time-to-time
  • The Purple Menace isn't nearly as annoying if you don't have to share a hotel with them.
  • Red Robin totally rocks for post-marathon food.
  • Timex's titanium Ironman watch looks -hot but absolutely sucks for trying to keep track of splits in a marathon -- or a track workout. Specifically, each time I hit the lap-split button, the watch records two depressions, resulting in many, many screwy splits.
  • The Nike Free 5.0 is the most comfortable (running) shoe ever made. If you have the means, I highly suggest you pick up a pair. They are so choice.
There's more, I'm sure, but it's getting horribly, horribly late, and I need to be up early for swim practice. It will be another long week, with the TISCA meet on tap for Friday & Saturday. Three more school days, though, and then, after TISCA, I'm off for a week for the Thanksgiving break. Looking forward to time off to investigate grad school for myself, hopefully witness N---'s presentation for her wrapping up grad school, and, of course, swimming, biking, and running.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Gruene with Envy

Last weekend was the annual Tour de Gruene and accompanying time trials. For the first time since my re-entry into cycling in late-2000, I actually competed in the TTs, solo & team, and I am so glad I did. However, in looking at results and pictures from last weekend, I have reached the sad realization that I have let my body get into a sad state of affairs. Naturally, I am at fault for having allowed this to happen; I got too lazy after Ironman. Once I returned to work in early August, that was more or less the end of free time, and my exercising slacked off immensely, yet my calorie intake took no such break. From there, the imbalance worked against me in the worst way.

My posted time for the ITT (individual time trial) at Gruene last Saturday was 41:30, where I averaged 23.13mph over the 16-mile course. The good news is that I finished fourth in my category and am forced to upgrade to the Blitz category next year, as I proved too fast for the Schnell category in which I raced. The bad news is that I missed tying for third place by one second. Yes, one second. Worst yet, in reviewing the pictures, that one second (and then some) could have been had quite easily, had I paid closer attention to my form. I am finding that, again, my grip is creeping too far back on the aerobars, sitting me almost upright; that's a lot of wind resistance. Additionally, my elbows are a tad too wide. I am hoping that the former can be fixed with the obvious reduction in my girth. I may need to look at a different saddle, as well.

Sunday's TTT was run with T---, a buddy from SAW, with whom I have done countless rides, yet never raced. We fixed that this year (his suggestion, and I am so glad; I had no clue who would be willing to ride with me), although T---'s climbing legs were not operating as well as they typically do. We lost a fair amount of time over the 26.93-mile course but I lost nothing in having fun. Dropping down into the bars, with a buddy on your wheel, hammering for all it's worth is an exhilarating feeling that I would not want to trade for anything (okay, maybe a one-time winning super lotto ticket, but only on the condition that a portion of the money could be used to buy bikes and time away from other obligations to go train and/or race). Thank you, T--- for motivation to get back into training and for pulling us across the line in 1:18:55. We averaged 20.76mph, which is only 0.04mph under what I guesstimated we would do. Next year,though, we might wind up with one of those obligatory upgrades to Blitz or something. Full results are posted at www.tourdegruene.com; pictures, www.rxdesign.com.

The SA Marathon is next weekend; Austin, February. Apart from those, I've nothing on the radar, but I cannot let that stop me from getting back into a shape other than round. I'm thinking of a triangle -- so long as that it resembles a yield sign, as opposed to a pedestrian crossing sign.

With that, I'll sign off and leave you to do what you will. Whatever that may be, thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back in the Rhythm

To my countless, adoring fans who have wondered to where I had gone: Fear not, for I am, again, with you.

The start of the school year proved tougher than usual; a routine more difficult to establish. A routine, however, has now been semi-cemented, and, with afternoon practices now abolished, courtesy of the cooler weather (by Texas standards), I will find myself with more time to myself, though not necessarily more time to sit and type. This fall is going to be a busy one.

What's coming up:
  • SAW Board meeting tomorrow night. They're still searching for a replacement for me as Web dude, but volunteers aren't exactly forthcoming. I may be coerced into staying on for another term, should some changes get made.
  • Team pics at the pool on Wednesday, followed by a pasta party. Yea, pasta party!
  • Duel in the Pool #2
  • ITT & TTT at Gruene next weekend
  • Help K--- & T--- move
  • Proctor SAT on the 7th
  • Pace the 4:30 finishers at the SA Marathon (I'll be running it Barney-style!)
  • TISCA meet in Corpus
  • Thanksgiving
That, boys & girls, takes us through November; the remainder of 2009 will be every bit as busy, with 2010 shaping up to be one heckuva sequel. Bring it.

Time to fly on out of here. More updates (including some retroactive posts of significant events in the past) will be posted, now that my computer is again fully functional -- and that blasted keyboard issue has been resolved.

Hope you have been doing well. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It Has (Already) Begun

I've been back to work for almost a week now, and I already find myself finding excuses to stay at the computer a little bit longer in the morning -- I mean, just look at the last time this blog was updated and ponder why I'm doing it right now.

For whatever reasons, here I sit, in need of readying myself for the day (and a long one it will be; tonight is the community gathering to introduce all of the school's athletic teams, which includes swimming, reminding me I need to get a few words together) and, instead, writing to you. While it's not quite as bad as Office Space, where every day was the worst day of the protagonist's life, I am already feeling the stress of an academic year that has yet to even begin. Hoo-boy.

Enough procrastinating, then. It's off to become presentable before heading off to school. If I don't see you tonight in the gym, accept an early thanks for listening...or, in this case, reading.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The NeXT Level

The original post was rather disgusting, so I'll save you the mental image (but if you really want to know, you can read it here) and just post what has to be one of the best forum responses ever:

You can't put anything past an obese person. They've already proven they can take it to the next level.

That just really says it all. Except, that I hope I never have the motivation, or lack there of, to take whatever "it" is to that level. Hope you don't either. Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 27, 2009

IrDA

A few weeks ago, I scored a(nother) Polar S725x HRM off eBay for a decent price. This was the "Tour Edition" I'd my heart set on for some time, plus it included both the S1 foot pod and USB IrDA adapter, the latter used for uploading workouts to the computer. At least, it should be so easy. Unfortunately, I have been unable to get the <expletive> thing to work, let alone be recognized by Device Mangler. I've tried a number of drivers from various chipset manufacturers, followed all of the instructions & suggestions off of the Polar site, but nothing; I ain't got <expletive>.

No real point to this post, other than to moan & groan over the conundrum that is use of the nifty, "new" S725x: On the main 'puter, I have the ProTrainer software installed, but no IrDA interface. On the laptop, I've a functioning IrDA interface, but no ProTrainer software. So, what to do. Methinks I'll do my prescribed StretchCordz & yoga workouts and then head to bed. It's been a long day, and tomorrow is looking to be another one. I can only hope to get this <expletive> IrDA adapter to work sometime soon; the next TT is this Saturday.

Thanks for listening to me whine, and thanks for reading.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lessons Learned

Read a story today in USA Today about ComiCon in San Diego. Today, apparently, is Star Wars day at the annual comic book/sci-fi convention, and the article entailed how fans of the two sets of trilogies are trying to reconcile the differences. From the sound of it, it sounds like the (older) fans of the original trilogy are becoming more accepting of the newer ones, although the younger generation has yet to learn to appreciate what came before, even though it comes after, chronologically speaking.

And so I got to thinking of assorted scenes, quotes, and so on from the new trilogy, and one stands out from TPM that I really like. Yoda, speaking to 9 year-old Anakin Skywalker, says, "Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." (italics, mine).

While I still consider the original trilogy far superior to the CG-riddled prequels of 1999 and thereafter, there is much that can be learned from them, the above quote, in particular. Still, ESB remains, not only my favorite of the Star Wars series, but also my favorite movie of all time.

May your fear never get the best of you and morph into anything more malevolent. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Live, Again.

That one lasted a little over a month.

For the second time in as many years, I tried to kill my @off242.com email address. Once, again, I failed -- but it wasn't for lack of trying! Some of you even updated your addresses this time.

This most recent attempt was inspired by May's purchase of an iPhone (at $199; they didn't drop down to $99 until a few weeks after N--- & I purchased one for the each of us; thank you, AT&T), as the checking of my own domain's email proved problematic, given the horrendous amount of spam that manages to easily work its way through my host's filters. Simply put, Gmail provided a cleaner product and made life easier for me. To heck with everyone else who had to go through and update their address books. To heck with them, again, apparently.

During a conversation with S--- yesterday afternoon (glad you called, G; it was good to actually hear from you, and I can't wait to meet up for lunch or something next week), I was informed that Gmail offers the ability to check accounts from other mail servers, apply its own, superior filters, and deliver to the Gmail box. Additionally, users can send messages from Gmail and use the return address of an external domain. In short, @off242.com, an address I have had in excess of ten years, now, can remain active -- and with 99.9% less spam, too! So, mad props to S---, without whose guidance I would be a sheep...@gmail.com.

For any of you who have already updated your address books, don't fret: Messages sent to my Gmail account will still get to me. Or, change it back to @off242.com; whatever works for you. Just keep the messages coming; keep in touch. As always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Point Two-five

Ran this morning, feeling like poo the first 20 minutes or so. Things turned around shortly after the turn-around for the return leg, which wound up making for an amazing run. The only thing that came close to sucking about it was the sad realization that mapmytri.com was right: The route I had previously clocked at 6.25 miles is actually 6.00 miles...at least, according to the more accurately calibrated Polar foot pod, signaling the S725x HRM. Yeah, I'm back in geek mode, again, but more on that in the future. For now, I need to go sort through the past in the folks' attic; I apparently still have a lot of crap over there. I'll let you know if I find anything good.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nothing to Say

Not that I can articulate, anyway.

The summer has been relatively uneventful, post-Ironman. I've cleaned house, I've read, I've watched assorted DVDs -- oh, and I've gone to see an alleged summer blockbuster. I know that I am old, for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was one of the worst films I have ever seen and the worst $10.50 I have ever spent. Going to see Bruno (which I won't be doing, so calm thyself) would likely be a step up in both entertainment and intellect.

Swimming, biking, running continues to be somewhat of the norm, although not so much on the swimming; I need to fix this, along with my right arm stroke. Last Thursday's outing to Boerne Lake was most disappointing, for I noticed the right arm provides absolutely zero, zip forward momentum. It as though I move my right arm through the water simply out of ceremony. No wonder my swim splits suck. Running is almost in the same boat, for I am just generally unmotivated to go run. Gotta fix that, though, for I've a 5k at the end of August. Now, cycling? That has been vastly improved since Idaho. Gotta keep that going, too.

But, first, it is time to clean house -- a task I intended to begin when my run fell to <expletive> this morning. Now that I have napped, fed, and goofed off for an unreasonable amount of time, I must begin. After all, tomorrow (and Wednesday, and Thursday), I get to go proctor TAKS! I truly know how to spend my summers.

Enjoy what precious little remains of the summer break, dear friends. Thanks for spending a bit of that time here, reading.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Additional Thanks

It occurred to me while on weekend bike rides that I skipped giving some due credit to folks who totally deserved it. Mia cupla for the oversight:
  • Bicycle Heaven, without whom I would have had no race wheels, no new race frame, and a bike in less-than-optimal working condition. Thanks, Matt, Rick, Colby.
  • Rudy Project makes the best sunglasses & cycling helmets, period. As the name implies, Racing Red is, by far, the best lens option for racing in any conditions, and the SportMask frame is as lightweight & comfortable as it gets. Same goes for the Syton aero helmet. You guys rock.
  • Nike is no sponsor of mine, but I do want to comment on how nice some of their niche equipment is for training & racing. The Resolute, a mirrored Swedish-style swim goggle, is second to none in the water. On the bike, the old-school tri shoe (I forget the model, and they're still in transit back from CdA) cradles the foot for 100+ miles in comfort & style, while the carbon sole delivers power when & where needed; sucks that Nike got out of the cycling market. Nike does, however, still make some incredible running shoes; specifically, the Free. While not for everyone, I am happy to say that the Nike Free is the best shoe in which I've ever run. The two marathons for which I've worn the Free have had my feet surrounded in comfort from the first step to the last.
  • John Cobb & Elite Bicycles, in Tyler, Texas, are bicycle fit experts. It's a heck-of-a-drive to the middle of nowhere, but the journey will never be so scenic nor so worthwhile.
  • Jim Britton arranged to have a trailer filled with bikes & transition bags hauled to & from Idaho, making getting myself there & back again all the easier. Thanks, Ironman.
I'm sure there are others I have forgotten, and, for that, I apologize. The above just really needed to be called out for their contributions in making my race the success that it was...even though my finishing time was off-target. Sigh.

Thanks for the support, and thanks for reading.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I am [an] Ironman

After twelve hours, eleven minutes, and forty-three seconds, my 140.6-mile journey had come to its end. This past Sunday, June 21, 2009, I became an Ironman. According to the bib numbers listed in the race guide, some 2,600 participants were set to begin the race, but, for a number of reasons, only 2,153 would complete the course. As I walked through the finishing area, fortunate to consider myself one of the "survivors," I could not help but think, "now what?" A big question, to be sure; after all, why was the journey even begun? To borrow from George Mallory, when asked why he had the desire to scale Mount Everest: "Because it's there."

"There" is Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a town of some 34,000 folks, some 25 miles from the eastern border with Washington state, and a couple of hours south of the Canadian border. Out of the eight Ironman-sanctioned races held in North America (one of which is the Hawaii Ironman, which, as the world championships, requires a qualifying time unattainable by mere mortals such as I), Ironman Coeur d'Alene (CdA) had the perfect combination of location, familiarity with the course (I know several people who have completed the course since 2005), and timing (it's difficult for me to take extended time off during the school year). Late June in northern Idaho seemed perfect. But, we had to get there.

Fortunately, everything seemed to fall into place in early March. Whilst reading a story on MSNBC of a six-pound burrito (yours for the eating at some casino in Las Vegas; finish it, and you get unlimited rides on the casino's indoor roller coaster -- how's that for a prize?!), N--- happened upon a link for Frontier Airlines and allegedly cheap airfares. After a few clicks, emails, and phone calls back and forth, we had our airfare. As for getting the bike and transition bag (traditionally, a backpack stuffed with all of the gear a triathlete needs to complete a race [wetsuit, goggles, bike helmet & shoes, running shoes, and nutrition for twelve hours of racing, for example]), plan "A" was to throw it all in a bike transport box loaned to me by a friend. That, however, can prove problematic (and expensive and cumbersome), as we would be without a rental car; given our hotel's proximity to the race course, we simply would not need to travel, save from the airport to the hotel, and the hotel provided a shuttle. But more on that in a bit. Plan "B" became such, as Jim Britton, local bike shop owner and now fellow-Ironman, was having a trailer hauled up to CdA a week before the race. Fortunately, there was room on board for my bike and related gear.

The hotel at which we stayed was the Coeur d'Alene Golf & Spa Resort. As it sounds, the resort was expensive as all get out, but its location could not be beat: ~100 yards from the swim start and right in the midst of downtown CdA, which put us within walking distance of both the athlete's village and numerous restaurants, thus no need for a rental car. Additionally, the resort had 24-hour room service for Ironman weekend, so the early morning rituals of race day could be observed with minimal inconvenience; I left the hotel barely an hour before the race start. Nice.

Ironman does a great job of presenting its races, allowing athletes the opportunity to peruse & train on the course in the days leading up to the big race. Gatorade sponsored morning swims, from 7:00 -- 10:00 AM, complete with buoys and watching of athletes' stuff (dry clothes, etc.) while the athletes swam; some athletes even got free Gatorade, but I was not so lucky. From last year's race, the biggest topic of conversation was how cold the swim was. Lake Coeur d'Alene is rumored to be glacier-fed, so it's expected to be cold. However, for 2009, the water temperature was perfect, hovering in the neighborhood of 65° all week. I did only one morning swim, given time constraints with scouting the bike & run courses, and it was perfect. Too bad, for it would have been better practice to have had some rougher water in which to train.

The only downside to not having a rental car was that it would inhibit me from scouting the bike course (two 56-mile loops through town and then off to hillier terrain of the northwest). However, a quick post to a well-known triathlon forum found a ride from a couple in town from Louisiana to do the race; they, too, would be scouting the course that afternoon, despite the rain. Travis & his wife picked me up from the resort around 2:30, and we navigated our way around the somewhat convoluted route. From the backseat of their rented Monte Carlo, I actually began to have my doubts as my ability as a cyclist: These were some serious hills they had in northern Idaho. Why did I have such a hard time believing this was the same course elevation profile posted online? Where was the flat land so evident in Napoleon Dynamite? The next morning, better weather allowed me time to go for an early-morning spin on part of the bike & run courses, where my legs were able to loosen up some, and my confidence came back. I could would do this. After the ride, it was time to pack my transition bags and drop them and my bike off for the next day's race. Ironman was here.

Sleep was something with which I had had trouble in the weeks leading up to the race. Being in Idaho only made it worse, as I was still running on Central time, instead of Pacific. Couple with that the fact that it gets dark late (nearly 9:00 PM) and light early (shortly after 4:00 AM); I was usually up shortly after daylight. Race morning, though, I was up at 3:00 for breakfast (huckleberry pancakes & eggs!), and then managed to go back to sleep for another 90 minutes before rousing myself and getting my remaining gear together for the race. With a little over an hour remaining on the countdown to race clock, N--- & I made our way down to transition. Thirty minutes later, I was wetsuitted up and standing on a beach with two-and-a-half thousand of my closest friends, ready to get the show on the road. The noise & excitement from every body on the beach made it near impossible to hear one's self think; I barely even heard the cannon fire at 7:00 AM, signifying the start of the race. It was time to do the seemingly impossible.

SWIM - 1:26:04
The swim in Lake Coeur d'Alene would consist of two loops around a rectangular course. I've heard horror stories of the craziness of the swim starts -- 2,400 athletes trying to swim in a relatively narrow corridor of water -- so my plan was to wait a minute or so before entering the water -- which I did: I was literally the last one in the water. That plan didn't pan out so well, though, for, by the time I made it to the first turn, I was already in the thick of it, and nearest the turn buoy -- which is where I did not want to be. Somehow, though, I still found myself nearest the buoys at every turn, getting conked on the head, whacked on the back, kicked in the side. Survivorship helped me make it back to shore for the completion of the first loop, and then it was time to do it all over again. Loop #2, though, proved to be more challenging. Granted, there were fewer swimmers ahead of me, now, but the wind had really picked up, making for rough chop on the way out. Some swells must have been three feet high, and I had little choice but to ride it out, swimming on what felt like a treadmill, going nowhere fast.

Finally, I made it back to shore, had my wetsuit peeled off of me, and I was off to the changing tent for transition #1 (T1). Because of the rumored chill that was to be in the air for race day, racers were advised to change out of their swim attire and into dry attire for the bike & run legs. I heeded this advice and had probably the slowest transition in the five years I've been racing: 11 minutes, 32 seconds. Abysmal, but I was now ready to go ride.

BIKE - 6:03:10
Typically, hills & such do not seem as bad from a car as what they really are. The opposite was true of the CdA bike leg. Whilst Travis & I commented on how tough the course was going to be from the confines of a car, once out on the bike, it really wasn't that bad. True, the hills were real grinders (and made me glad I had opted for a 12-25 cassette, just to give myself an extra gear or two, should I need it), but all that made the bike course really tough was the chill in the air and the unceasing wind: There was nary a tailwind to be found! However, there were bagpipes, just before the first turnaround at the top of the course's first climb. Hearing the pipes four times on the course was nothing short of awesome.

Loop #2 felt easier than did loop #1, for I had a better idea of what to expect for the climbing and descents. Mid-way through the second loop, I knew I would not hit my target finish time of sub-six hours for the bike split and began to recalculate my finishing time and what it would take to still hit a twelve hour finish. However, when I entered T2 (the second transition, from bike to run), I saw I was just over six hours, and still had somewhat of a shot at nailing my finish time goal. T2 was much faster (2:46), and I was off & running.

RUN - 4:28:12
I had run three marathons prior to Ironman CdA, and in none of them did I walk. Ironman, however, is a different animal. I felt great the first 10k (~6 miles) of the run, but by mile seven, the mile markers were becoming sporadic, and it became difficult to get my run splits, to see if I was on pace. Shortly thereafter, I gave up and had to walk, feeling like I was going too hard. Taking in the right amount of nutrition to counter the cold (it was barely above 50° when I began the run, and rain was coming) became paramount, seconded by finishing. If it could be done in twelve hours, super. If not, well, I would still finish; death before DNF and all that.

Seeing so many fellow runners and triathletes was really motivational. I ran into (no, not literally) another poster from the triathlon forum, recognized by the kilt he wore on the run. With a little over 10k remaining in the race, I began to increase my pace, slowing down only once more to take in some fluids at the aid stations. As the course wound its way back into town, a kid on a corner, shouted out that there was less than a mile to go. The pace intensified even more. At the top of the final hill, a volunteer patted me on the back and said to hang a left and then it was seven blocks to the finish. Rounding that final corner was an amazing sight.

With one exception (the weather), everything I had heard about the course at Coeur d'Alene was true: It was beautiful. It was just the right amount of challenge. The volunteer support was superb. The entire town turns out for the finish to cheer athletes on, regardless of finishing time. Running into town, through the finishing chute, and hearing my name (mispronounced) that I was now an Ironman was a one-of-a-kind experience. As I crossed the finish line eleven minutes & change over my desired time, I received my finisher's prizes (a nice hat, a bland t-shirt, and a medal that will make a lovely Christmas tree ornament), and found myself asking, "[I've finished an Ironman,] Now what?" For starters, work. I focused entirely too much on my training this past school year and not enough on my students. Additionally, taking the GRE and beginning work on a Master's degree, although in what, I have not decided; I'm barely a week across the finish line -- work with me. Most importantly, though, is getting married next March. N--- has been wonderfully patient with me through the training and selfishness that accompanies the prep for a race like this. It's my turn to now support her.

Other thank yous go out to:
  • Dan & Kristine, for all of the help in getting prepared for what to expect from both Ironman and the town of Coeur d'Alene.
  • Dad & Mom for use of the camera, watching after the cat while N--- & I went adventuring in the Pacific Northwest, and for rides to & from the airport
  • Travis & Kristin for shuttling me around the bike course on a wet Friday afternoon. It's folk like you who make the triathlon community a great thing to be a part of.
  • Jennifer, Skyler, Taylor, Keith, & Tamara for meeting N--- & I at the airport with Mom. It made for one heck of a landing & reception.

Although she has already been mentioned, not enough can be said to thank N--- for her love and support on every front in this venture. From the times she literally dragged me out to go run to warm meals cooked after long bike rides to the simple smiles and cheers given while out on course, nothing can beat having someone as kind and as caring as she. Thank you.

And thus concludes my lengthy race report for Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2009. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

By the Numbers

The message for which I had been waiting was received today. While not entirely pleased with the results, getting the number I wanted was a one a million shot; well, one in 2400, give or take a few.

Bib numbers for the 2009 Ironman Coeur d'Alene were posted today, so, like all other tri-geeks anxiously counting down the remaining days, hours, minutes, seconds until the cannon goes off (almost down to single-digit days!), I rushed over to Ironmancda.com to find mine, and here it is:

807.

Kinda lackluster, I know...not something I can get entirely psyched about. One digit up, and it would have been a cool wheelset made by Zipp, but, I guess it's not possible to switch now. I will forever by bib #807 for this race, so I need to make sure I make the most of it. At least I can now compose that email for friends & family that includes the bib number, for whatever difference it makes; apparently, last name is the preferred method of tracking athletes over at ironmanlive.com.

Grumbling aside, that's now one less thing over which I need stress, if, in fact, I've been stressing. With ten days & change until race day, insomnia has again surfaced. Fortunately, I can sleep during the days, now, if need-be (which I did today; just got up from a ~4-hour nap; felt good), and do what I must in the evenings. However, a pattern must be established, so I'll be working on that in the lead-up to the weekend. Elsewhere, I've made the arrangements for transportation from the airport to the resort and dropped off the Slice and my transition bag at Britton's for the long ride up to Idaho. And, yes, I did remember to pack my Big Red for the special needs bags. Apart from the whole lack of sleep thing, I think I'm pretty well set. Come on, June 21st...or at least the 18th. Methinks I'll feel much more relaxed once I'm at the race site. One week to go.

With that said, it's time to tend to things around here. Both my & N---'s vehicles need oil changes, and I'd really like to make it through as much of that book that N--- gave me for Valentine's Day this year before the weekend, in order to devote full attention to an in-depth reading of In Cold Blood; I want to be better prepped for PAPE2 this year. Enjoy whatever's on your summer reading list, even if it does include this blog. Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Gearing Up, Gearing Down

Apparently, nothing can go as planned.

The plan was to clean the bike & pack up the transition bag after dropping N--- off at church for her mission trip to Galveston (after her first race of the season; she finished 2nd in her AG & 4th female, overall). A jury summons for N--- for Tuesday morning changed all of that, as there were no means of contacting the county courthouse over the weekend to request postponement, etc. , which means I made a quick trip out to Galveston Island today to drop N--- off. I tried checking in on peeps in the area I knew, but everyone was at work (or, not at home; L--- is a teacher, too, but even she didn't answer). Some four hundred miles later, I'm home.

Elsewhere, and after doing some reading on ST, I'd come to the conclusion that an 11-23 cassette might not be the best option for me for CdA. A quick call to Bicycle Heaven secured a 12-25 cassette for the Jet 90 (I didn't want to trust the season's "A" race to the aged cassette off the CAAD9), but, after installing it and finding the cassette rattled on the wheel, I freaked. Unnecessarily so, as it turns out I simply needed a 12-tooth lockring; silly Campagnolo equipment. While there, though, I ran into W---, C---'s girlfriend, also doing the course, as well as V---, a triathlete who has really taken off in to the multisport world, seeming to "live for the sport." V--- even quit his job with a local sports team to go work for Mellow Johnny's up in Austin. He seems to be enjoying it, including the perks: A new Trek TTX with Red componentry. Very, nice, but I'm still keen on my Slice; after all, it really does have my name written all over it.

Once back from the shop, lockring in hand, found the Slice now shined, primed, and ready to rock the bike course at Ironman Coeur d'Alene Sunday after next. Additionally, my bag is all packed (nutrition & all) and ready to be dropped off with the Slice tomorrow afternoon at Britton's for safe transport up to Idaho.

I've had quite the busy day; sitting in a car can be exhausting. Methinks I'll wind down with some reading and drift off to sleep. Enjoy your summer, and thanks for reading.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Finished



Yup, the school year's (finally) over. 

What has been said about the fifth year being the hardest is true: This was definitely one to test me on nearly every front. However, I survived -- and even renewed my contract for next year, which, I'm hoping, will not be much like the 2008-09 year at all. Rumor has it I'll have conference and athletic periods, N--- finishes grad school in December, which should help remove some of the stress on how (in)frequently we get to see one another, and having another swine flu outbreak (at least one that shuts down the entire district) seems unlikely. About the only thing that could cause difficulties are the new TEKS, but, like a good little school boy, I brought my binder home for the summer to start planning...once Ironman is over. With a little over two weeks until race day, I should be left with plenty of time for that sort of thing...unless I qualify.

<insert.laughter.here>

With that said, I'm off to get a massage. My body has all but shut down from racing & training the past two weeks, so it's time to start rejuvenating. Taper starts tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CapTex 2009

Great race, save the bike retrieval from transition. Thanks to the awesome support from those who made the journey to Austin, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HTFU

I'm staring at 32 days until the gun goes off at Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

That countdown timer has whittled its way down from triple to double digits and, before too long, to single. There are a two or three more intense-ish weeks remaining until I begin my taper (sadly, at the same time school lets out for summer; now I really am grateful for Swine Break '09), and the workouts are every bit of that: Intense.

This past weekend was to see a century & follow-up run, but, due to the aforementioned Swine Break, the SAT I promised to proctor was rescheduled for this past Saturday. While the bike ride was definitely out, the run was still a possibility -- until the heavens opened up, literally, as I handed in my paperwork to the lead administrator. So, I went home & slept. Sunday was to be a bike ride to the gym, weight workout & swim, followed by a ride home. Stupidly, I left my bike lock at home, so I turned around at the gym and rode back home, narrowly avoiding being taken out by people in a hurry to get to church (seriously! two cars, making turns into two separate entrances, nearly took me out -- my front tire actually hit the rear bumper of the second car). By the time I made it home, I was livid and unwilling to do anything. Then N--- came over and game me a pep talk before she all but dragged me out the door to run with her. While the run was only six miles, and at a 9:something pace, it gave me a wakeup call: I need to harden the <expletive> up. Granted, it's not likely I'll have any near misses with the church crowd at Ironman, but I am likely to face some serious mental challenges out on course -- physical challenges, for certain -- and, unless I am fully prepared for anything that can get thrown at me, I may as well not even board the plane.

Hypocritically, I skipped this morning's workout, due only to nearly passing out after last night's harder-than-it-should-have-been 15-mile run, but did post a really good brick tonight. Swimming's scheduled for tomorrow morning, with the Ride of Silence having the green light for the evening. Meet at Hemisfair Park, if you're keen on the Ride of Silence; wheels down at 7:00. Yea or nea, keep an eye out for cyclists, and thanks for reading. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm in the Wrong Business

So I'm sitting in a workshop, learning about blogging. Sit & ponder that one for a moment.

Right, that's what I was pondering, too. Personally, I was hoping for more on how to use blogs as a useful writing tool for teaching. For that, I do have my own ideas, and I'm hoping to get them in order sometime after Ironman has been put to bed, for it doesn't appear I'm going to get anything useful here.

The person running the workshop (remotely, from Arizona) is doing little more than serving as a human search engine for various blogs he's found and organized. Yes, it's that lame. I'll bet he gets "exceeds expectations" on his PDAS, though. Maybe I need to move to Arizona. Why not? J--- is. A--- & her husband moved there, too, and they're both triathletes. Hmm....nah, wouldn't work. N--- hates Texas because it's so hot; I can only imagine what she'd think of Arizona. Still, we'd be closer to an Ironman course, because we all know how much I'm enjoying the whole training process.

Speaking of, I'm off for a 15-mile run after this workshop is done. For now, I'm off to mapmytri.com to get a route together, as, after 34 minutes, there's been nothing mindblowing going on here. I so hope this is not how my kids feel.

Right. If you're keen on the run, meet me at the library ~4:30 this after. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Safe Transport

The past few days have been tough, both in terms of training and in terms of going back to school after a week-and-a-half off. The down time was great for training, and I could have certainly used a lot more of it. I am totally looking forward to the summer holiday.

Yesterday was a brick workout out at Boerne Lake. I'd heard there would be a few people swimming at 7:00, so I headed out from N---'s just past six in order to get there and suited up in time. Glad I did, too, for the parking lot by the boat ramp was filled when I rolled in at 6:45. Apparently, several groups were meeting to swim at seven, including the Purple Menace, and all of them were intent on being in the park by 7:00 AM, for that is when the gate guard comes in. Make it in before she does, and you save $8 a car-load.

I wound up swimming the circumference of the lake with a small group of CdA-bound triathletes. My first time all the way around, according to one's GPS, we clocked 2.3 miles of open water swimming -- and in 1:08:33! Once out of the water, it was onto a bike ride, again with the same group. Some were more swift in "transition," while others took nearly 45 minutes to be ready to ride. Because I was an uninvited guest, I opted not to say anything and just hung back as best I could, until I saw how late it was getting -- and we were still nearly ten miles out. Thus, the proverbial hammer was dropped, and I rocketed back to the lake to get changed and head back to N---'s in order to grade papers until she returned from the lab. Unfortunately, her day didn't go as planned, either, so we just wound up hanging out together, making veggie burgers, and watching the HBO miniseries John Adams.

This morning was a planned 20-mile run, but I failed to take in adequate nutrition pre-run, as well as not loading up the Camelbak with a Nuun tablet. I tanked after 11 miles, and sulked back home to shower and feel sorry for myself.

About the only thing that has gone perfectly this weekend is arranging for the bike transport up to CdA. Rumor circulated around last weekend's fateful 1604 ride that J--- was taking a trailer up to CdA with room for several bikes. I swung by J---'s shop yesterday to inquire about it, and, while the price was a bit more than that of the airlines, that I would not have to fuss with a bike box (and that I could smuggle my Big Red for the special needs bag in the trailer) made it worth the extra $50. Barring theft or serious traffic accident, the Slice will be waiting for me in Idaho without the need for assembly and little-to-no maintenance. That alone made up for the longest 56-mile bike ride I can remember.

Tired and sore from this weekend's activities, I'm off to lick my wounds. Thanks for checking in, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Back to School

Alas, the unscheduled break (aka school closures due to swine flu) has come to its end. Faculty & staff returned to school yesterday for a meeting and work day; the kids return today.

Over the break (including yesterday, since I was still without students), I managed to get in...
  • 12,749 yards (including two trips to Boerne Lake!) swimming
  • 217.3 miles (plus one 2-hour trainer ride) of cycling
  • 51.99 miles of running
I'd have liked my bike mileage to be a tad higher, but, in all, I don't think it was too bad, considering Sunday's wreck, which effectively shortened bike mileage by 40; run, 10. Meh, whatever.

Tonight has (hopefully) another 20-mile run on tap, with brick workouts beginning with Trisition at the lake this Saturday. I'll see how the first one goes and then reschedule accordingly. However, both CapTex and CdA are creeping up on me really quick-like. Training must really stay ramped up, even though there are four weeks remaining in the school year. Lucky for me, most of it will be spent in testing, insuring the kiddos are ready for final exams that first week in June. From there, it's taper, taper, taper, all the way into Idaho.

See you on the Parkway tonight. For now, it's off to work. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

To Be Continued...

Apparently, this swine flue thing is still hot on the nerves of the powers that be at the Department of State Health Services. They've "recommended" the district stay shut down until May 11th, and the district, apparently, is complying.

While bad news for getting curriculum & whatnot knocked out, this is quite good news for training, as I have been blessed with yet another week to get in some serious training for CdA. At 49 days and counting, timing is actually pretty good. I just hope we don't wind up going too much further into June than what we already do. In a podcast, the superintendent requested that employees stay home and away from others to stop spread of the disease. While I am staying shy of others, staying home is just not something I can do too well; there's training to be done. Then there was snippet from USAToday:

Health officials say swine flu is preventable: the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests washing hands often, getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, eating nutritious food and drinking plenty of fluids.

Why we are expected to stay at home and do nothing, essentially waiting to get sick, is beyond me. I guess I'll just keep doing what it is I've been doing: Hitting those last three points hard and heavy. Of course, with all of that physical activity, getting plenty of sleep is a no-brainer.

I'm off to finish my tea and head out to the lake for a 2-mile swim. Tomorrow's the 1604 ride, for which I am quite stoked, followed by a rest day on Monday. Depending on how things go, D--- & I might head up to Comfort for some mountain biking.

Stay healthy, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trainer Workout

With the weather as iffy as it was this morning, I opted out of the scheduled bike ride and hopped on the trainer, instead. While not my preferred method of getting in bike time, it did let me spin on the TT bike (was going to take out the Cdale road bike, as the Slice's rear bottle cage mount is out of commission) for a couple of hours, instead. I have to say, today's workout was a real challenge. Here's what I did:
  • 15 minutes easy
  • 15 minutes leg drills (1-minute left, 1-minute right, 1-minute both; repeat)
  • 20 minutes tempo
  • 20-minute TT (all-out effort)
  • 10 minutes easy
  • 15 minutes tempo
  • 15 minutes easy
Special thanks to the fine folks at Cycle Ops for posting some of Linsey Corbin's trainer workouts; they're a real life saver on days like today.

Nap time before this evening's swim. Good luck catching a siesta wherever you are. Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Break?

Now doesn't that make you feel better?
The pigs have won tonight
Now they can all sleep soundly
And everything is all right

Wow. Friday's emergency faculty meeting blossomed -- nay, exploded! -- into a full-fledged shutting down of the whole district by the Texas Department of State Health Services this week. And just in time for TAKS, too!

So, just like for spring break last month, my district is again down while everyone else is in school. Truth be told, I was a lot disappointed about all of this; I was actually looking forward to going into the work today. But then I went for a run.

Thirteen miles and change later, I am pumped about getting a whole week off to do little more than train and maybe grade some essays. Of course, this week was supposed to be an easier week, but I'll just do a tweak here & there to get done what I can get done in the time I have been afforded. I just hope we don't have to go too much farther into June than what we already do. I'd kind of like to have that week in between finishing school and leaving for Coeur d'Alene to myself, to wind down and more effectively taper before departing for the Pacific Northwest.

I'm off to toy with my training schedule for the week. Weather permitting (and it looks really iffy this week [surprise]), I'll be able to get in at least one more long run and a long ride or two before Sunday's excursion around 1604.

Stay safe out there with the flu & such. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Birthdays

Today is William Shakespeare's birthday. Two days ago was Robert Smith's birthday.

How coincidental is it that two of the greatest poets to have lived were born days apart from one another?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Narcissism

N--- sent me this article today:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30312181//

...and it was sobering, on how I perceive both myself and those around me (no, not you). Makes me wonder if that Facebook page (or Facebook itself, regardless of how many people it's put me back in touch with, for if they were all that important, why did we lose touch?) was really all that necessary.

I'm appreciative of the article, for I believe it will be helpful to me, personally. I've some serious growing up to do. Really, I think many of us do.

Whether you do or not, thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sick & Tired

...of all the @#%* wind.

Had to say it.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Approaching Normal

The past week has been exhausting. Tacked on to the passing of M--- have been complications in my own life, all of which have since been overcome, thanks in large part to the patience and love of those around me. I literally could not have done that on my own, less I be on my own. Regardless, I found myself completely exhausted upon my return from work to swap out attire in my gym bag (nearly 5km swum in the past 24 hours, coupled with riding & such). By the time I made it to the bedroom, all I recalled doing was slipping off my shoes and falling asleep atop the covers. I woke up a little over an hour ago.

So, here I am, now showered, dressed, and ready to go to work. Hmm...maybe "prepared" would be a better descriptor for that last clause, as I have been actively trying to find distractions from leaving the house. However, at 7:58, I fear I can delay no longer and must go. I just hope that this Thursday is a better day than was last, in terms of metaphoric bombs & such.

A closing, somewhat random note (though the inspiration for the title of today's post), is again regarding music. Blue October has released another album. While largely more commercial than others (and certainly not as good as its immediate predecessor), Approaching Normal does have some great tracks. "Weight of the World" and "Kangaroo Cry" stand out among my favorites. Download your copy from Amazon or iTunes to give it a listen. Thus far, the only thing upsetting me about the band is that I'll not be able to see them when they grace Sunset Station in June; ticket prices are cheap, but factoring in the Ticketbastard prices make a pair of tickets obscenely expensive. Bleh.

Off to work with me, off to wherever it is with you. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cut Here




"So we meet again!" and I offer my hand / / All dry and English slow / And you look at me and I understand / Yeah it's a look I used to know / "Three long years... and your favourite man... / Is that any way to say hello?" / And you hold me... like you'll never let me go


"Oh c'mon and have a drink with me / Sit down and talk a while..." / "Oh I wish I could... and I will! / But now I just don't have the time..." / And over my shoulder as I walk away / I see you give that look goodbye... / I still see that look in your eye...

So dizzy Mr. Busy - Too much rush to talk to Billy / All the silly frilly things have to first get done / In a minute - sometime soon - maybe next time - make it June / Until later... doesn't always come

It's so hard to think "It ends sometime / And this could be the last / I should really hear you sing again / And I should really watch you dance" / Because it's hard to think / "I'll never get another chance / To hold you... to hold you... "

But chilly Mr. Dilly - Too much rush to talk to Billy / All the tizzy fizzy idiot things must get done / In a second - just hang on - all in good time - wont be long / Until later...

I should've stopped to think - I should've made the time / I could've had that drink - I could've talked a while / I would've done it right - I would've moved us on / But I didn't - now it's all too late / It's over... over / And you're gone..

I miss you I miss you I miss you / I miss you I miss you I miss you so much

But how many times can I walk away and wish "If only..." / But how many times can I talk this way and wish "If only..." / Keep on making the same mistake
Keep on aching the same heartbreak / I wish "If only..."

But "If only...." / Is a wish too late...


Friday, April 10, 2009

A Loss

I got word yesterday afternoon that, at some point earlier in the day, a cycling friend, with whom I'd ridden, literally, thousands of miles, committed suicide. The demons plaguing him since his wife's sudden death 18 months ago must have become too much for him, so he sought solace in eternal silence from this world; or, I suppose as much.

M--- had been on my mind for over a month, for I'd not seen him on any rides or elsewhere in so very long. I'd intended to call, or at least email, and I did not; it seemed as though when the thought occurred to me, it was not at a convenient point in time (in the midst of a ride, whilst teaching school), and the thought would be gone by the time it was no longer inconvenient. In essence, M--- was forgotten.

Sadly, this came to be too real yesterday, at least, perhaps, from M---'s perspective. Perhaps he felt forgotten or at least out of place; everyone around him still has their significant others. Everyone around him went about their daily lives, thinking, wishing he would "get over" the death of C---. I know I still miss C---, so I cannot fathom what the pain, the absence must have been like for M---.

This is a total departure from what I typically write here, but, being my blog, I can pretty-much write whatever the <expletive> I want. Additionally, having had the past 15 hours to think, mold into words what, previously, was only shock and silence, I finally felt ready to say something; writing is that outlet for me. Funny, me being an English teacher & all.

I need to go. The car's radiator needs replacing and, in a sad twist of irony, I'm off to pay more heed to the needs of a machine than I did to the needs of a friend. Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Break Wrapup

Lots happened with the miles reported, but here's what I managed to accomplish, training-wise, over the 9-day spring break:
  • Swim: 7000 meters
  • Bike: 210 miles
  • Run: 19.78 miles
  • Two bricks: 1 swim/bike; 1 bike/run
It's weak for a week, plus, but I did lose two days for the bike fitting, plus the weather wasn't always cooperative (the above does not reflect trainer time for the bike). With only 90 days remaining until race day, I now have backup plans in place when weather is or may be an issue.

If you had one, I hope your break was a restful one. Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 09, 2009

New Bike!

The Felt B2 has finally been retired. After last Saturday's ride over godawful asphalt out near Helotes, the decision to switch from aluminum to carbon was solidified, and I am now the pleased-as-punch rider of a Cannondale Slice 3.



I'll take it out on its maiden voyage tomorrow night, plus there's the whole bike fitting with John Cobb next week, so some adjustments, I'm sure, will be made. For now, it's bedtime. Oh, what dreams may come.
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Perfect Ending to a Perfect Week.

Winds blow, riding bikes doesn't.

The weather was better than it was last weekend, so I intended to take full advantage of it to break in the new Hed 6/9 wheelset on my TT bike. Meeting up with a guy I met off Slowtwitch at The Rim, we headed off for a 70-mile jaunt to Castroville. We knew it would be tough going out, due to the velocity and direction of the wind, but thought little of it in consideration of the promise of a killer tail-wind on the way back. That didn't exactly happen to plan (winds can shift direction--who knew?), but the ride was great, PLUS I met a fellow CdA-bound triathlete on-par with me in cycling ability. I am so looking forward to the lead-up to Ironman.

Today was another 70-mile ride, this time solo; this time on the Cdale. The winds were still blowing, making for a tough ride home. The cloud cover helped, but the rough pavement on River Road did not. That which does not kill me may make me stronger, but it certainly did no good for my lower back. I see a massage in my future.

But first, a trip to Target for N--- to pick up her new iPod, given the premature demise of the last one she had. Thank goodness for extended warranties.

Big training week ahead, so I'll see you on the road, at the pool, or next Saturday at Boerne Lake. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tranced

It's late, and I should be in bed. Unfortunately, I'm still a tad wired and have been unable to lull myself to sleep, so, here I sit, typing. This is not going to help tomorrow morning's scheduled track workout, I'm sure.

The past couple of days have rocked. Monday was "get your <expletive> back in the pool" day, and the temperature at the gym was a crisp 81°. While two weeks out of water did my form & function in the pool absolutely no good, it did feel good to get wet...and to break in the new Swedes (now featuring bungee cord!). There's just something amazing about that first swim with new goggles. Ah...

Right. Back to the rockin' past couple of days. Tuesday rocked because the ELA TAKS test was taken, finished, and put to bed, meaning work can feel less like it, and maybe, just maybe, I can teach the kids something other than how to take one, <expletive> test. After school, it was off on the TT bike for a 30-mile spin around the block. As luck would have it, the winds really picked up, but were nowhere near the Oz-like proportions they were on Saturday. That, plus a minor tweak of my elbow position made me not only more comfortable but also more powerful: It was though the wind wasn't even blowing, noticeable only when it was at my back, and my speed ramped up from the low 20s to the high 20s, pushing 30+. I love riding a bike.

Once home, it was off to Borders to pick up a copy of Speak (started a novel unit with that book as the focus; poor kids have no clue what's in store for them), as well as a couple of Tiesto CDs. I've recently rekindled an interest in his twist on music, scouring the Internet for favorite tracks, including the radio edit of "Tears from the Moon" (which was found through a kind soul on Slowtwitch -- thanks!).

The iPod is now filled with the usual fare, as well as some great trance tracks, which means my next long run is going to be that much cooler. I literally cannot wait. However, I will have to do just that, for the next long run will be Monday. Tomorrow is track and long swim; Friday, swim; Saturday & Sunday, bike, with Saturday's ride done on the TT bike with my new Hed 6/9 wheelset; I pick 'em up tomorrow. Yes, the past few days have been so good.

Before I get too excited, though, I need to get some sleep. Guess I'll try curling up with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, plow through some pages, and try to get some shut-eye. Four hundred splits are on tap for the morning, although I'm not looking to bust any records; rather, just keep my speed up where it needs to be. Again, distance isn't for a few days more.

Thanks for letting me entertain you this evening, and thank you, N---, for agreeing to go on that run with me around Boerne Lake, three years ago this day. Life continues to be good ever since.

For the rest of you, here's to the good life. Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Still Recovering

The difference a week makes is incredible.

Last weekend, I could barely move, I hurt so badly from 100° temperatures & such. This weekend, I rode and ran, but not on the same day. Saturday's 55-mile excursion into 30 MPH winds didn't kill me but certainly did not feel to make me stronger, either; at least, not immediately. I slept Saturday and piddled around the house most of yesterday until finding the energy to go for a jaunt out & back on the Parkway. I'm not sure if it was the tunes or just a general frisky feeling, but I managed a 7:20/mi pace for the duration of the run; it was awesome...until I got home. Post-run, I felt severely worn down, wanting to do little more than sit on the sofa and reflect; I barely wanted to eat.

Twelve hours later (nearly ten of which were spent sleeping), I feel much better. Obviously, I didn't make it to the pool this morning, but that will be remedied this evening or in the not-too-distant future. I feel confident about my running and think now I just need to increase the time spent in the lanes and on the bike. For the latter, daylight savings time kicks in next weekend, so as long as the weather doesn't dump snow or blow with gale-force, methinks I'll be okay.

It's off to school with me, now. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

North Winds, Blow!

From the weather desk:

NORTH WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 40 MPH CAN BE
EXPECTED TODAY.


Looking at the windmill in front of the house, every bit of that 20--30 MPH wind is blowing in from the north, right now. Time to go suit up and ride a bike into that for the next four hours. Woohoo.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Twenty-fifteen

Great day today:
  • It's Friday
  • One more (school) day until TAKS
  • I'm feeling good enough to go swim tonight
  • My teaching certificate is good until 2015, so it looks like I'll have a job for the foreseeable future
In order to swim tonight, though, I need to run out to D&J for a new pair of goggles. Swedes are great, but the strap tends to wear thin after a few months. Maybe I'll look into a bungee or something. Regardless, it's out to 410 & Blanco with me before it gets to be too late. See you at the pool or in the AM on the bike. Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Type B

I am officially sick.

After a brief spell of feeling better, N--- shuttled me off to the Doc in the Box yesterday afternoon, mid-way through the first disc of season four of Battlestar Galactica. After hours of waiting, the verdict came back: Influenza, Type B.

Doc said that I should be on the down-side of this by now, since I've been feeling ill since Wednesday afternoon, but he prescribed the meds, anyway. A "quick" trip to the only local pharmacy still open after 6:00 PM on a Sunday got me what I needed, so it was back home for lasagna (yum!) and more Battlestar. When I finally cratered, N--- & I had just finished the first disc, and she made her way home. Mad props to N---, too: Drives all the way out from the other side of the universe, puts up with sick ol' me, takes me to the doctor, comes back, goes for a run, comes to get me, and still can sit through hours of sci-fi with me. Definitely says something of the perks of being an endurance athlete. No wonder I want to marry this gal.

So, here I am, at home, playing the pathetically sick boy. I managed a run up to the school to make copies & instructions for the sub and to grab the last stack of journals that I need to grade, meaning I will have plenty with which to occupy my time, just in case sleep doesn't overtake me. For now, it is time for a bit of breakfast. Wash thoroughly, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Anti-Bike?

You ever get the feeling that all the forces in the universe are working against you? While I don't think the gods are necessarily against me, I somehow think there is a conspiracy against me riding my bike outdoors. Seriously. Look at the facts:
  • After Longhorn, it was marathon season, so running took precedent.
  • Come December, the weather was an issue, making a soppy, wet mess of the roads.
  • January, I managed to build some decent base miles and regained my confidence, courtesy of some good MTB sessions (thanks, D---).
  • Now, February, swim season is over, and I get sick. Two days before the weekend's double-awesome area rides, including Freiheit. I am so <expletive> angry.
Here I sit, recovering from fever (hit a high of 101° yesterday!) and trying to find the strength to even hop on the trainer to get my legs spinning. Freiheit isn't until tomorrow, but I doubt I'll be able to make the century ride out of it that I had initially planned -- unless a minor miracle happens with my health. Eh, who knows.

On the up side, the TT bike has received a couple of upgrades: A new stem (thanks to a cleaning session where, during reinstallation of the old stem, I somehow stripped a bolt) and new wheels. Yup, I bit the bullet yesterday and ordered a set of race wheels, Hed 6/9 C2. They won't be in for a week or two, but that's fine by me. As I've not been out on the bike much at all lately, I doubt I could do them any justice.

I'm off to nap with the cat and sulk myself into feeling better. Thanks for coming to my pity party, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Houston Half

Got a postcard in the mail today with the official results from last month's Houston Half-marathon.
  • Chip time: 1:36:03
  • Gun time: 1:37:26
  • Pace: 7:20/mi
  • Place within division: 28/544
  • Place within gender: 231/3548
  • Place overall: 315/8333
Not too shabby, but imagine if I would have trained.

Swim season ended today at the regional meet. More on that another time. For now, I'm ready for some well-deserved and seriously-delayed rest. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Countdown

This is so cool:



Available at: http://www.ironmancda.com/cdaclock.html.

I really need to go to bed, but thanks for staying up with me. Thanks for reading, too.

Cool Pool

A little whining goes a long way.

Remember my ranting about the temperature of the pool at the gym? After a week of non-returned phone calls, I decided to call again, this time reaching a competent rep who fielded my complaint, asked some questions, and took down my number to call me back when she had an answer. She called the next day.

A compromise had been reached between corporate management (from whom the edict of an 88° pool temperature supposedly had originated) and the local management. It wasn't the 82° for which I was shooting, but, rather, a mediocre 85°. Tonight was my first night back at the gym to swim (N--- wasn't feeling well, and it would have been too late ([about this time] when I would have left UTSA to return the pass key to her, and her health is more important than my swim time), and I am ecstatic to report that the pool temperature was a cool, crisp 84° -- the same as at Chisolm Hall. Of course, the gym pool is but four feet deep, all the way across, but, for my Thursday night swim, it did just fine.

Tonight's workout was focused on bi-lateral breathing, a technique I preach to my swimmers, yet have had difficulty in putting into practice for myself. My arm turnover is improving (thanks, in large part, to increased work with Stretch Cordz a couple of times a day), so bi-lateral breathing has become somewhat easier. I'm still no Thorpedo, but my 500-yard splits were about 20 seconds faster tonight than in weeks past. Woohoo.

Well, sports fans, it's way past time to call it a night. Tomorrow is what will likely be the last swim practice of the season. The regional meet is tomorrow night, and we are in a ridiculously tough region. That, plus the kids are tired. Real tired. Deseveredly so, too. They've put in a good, long season since Labor Day, and, with only two exceptions, all of them should be returning swimmers for next year. Hopefully, we can keep a better handle on eligibility this next year, but that's another topic for another time. For now, it's sleep-bye time. So sayeth the kitty.

Sleep well and enjoy sleeping in after tomorrow morning. Thanks for reading.

The Rudy Project Project

I have a thing for sunglasses and have for several years. When I applied for and received sponsorship from Rudy Project last year, I knew things could get expensive. Until recently, though, I've actually been able to keep a pretty good handle on things. Here's my side of the story.

There was, of course, the helmet N--- got me in 07 for Christmas, which started the snowball rolling. From there, I received a complimentary pair of Sportmask Performance glasses in the same color scheme as what Macca wore in Kona 07. This past summer, RP released the Exowind, a dual-lens system with rocking lines that rivaled the Tayo. I tried the Exowind and liked them but wound up returning to the Sportmask Performance, due to its virtually non-existent weight and superior field of vision. Last week, though, I pulled the trigger on a pair of black Exowinds, with the intent of going Frankenstein on my other pairs of Exowinds in order to create a unique pair of glasses: Black frames with red accents. It worked, too, and they were, indeed, a sweet-looking pair of shades:


However, there was the issue of cost. I'd a good chunk of change invested in the Exowinds, even with my discount, and I remained unconvinced that the extra 10g of weight over the Sportmask was insignificant. That, plus the pinching I experienced at Longhorn (and after only 4-1/2 hours) made me leery about sporting them for the duration of CdA come June. Last night's run with the Sportmask solidified the feeling that it was the ideal pair of sunglasses for triathlon, for me. So, the black Exowinds are on their way back to RP for return. I may contact RP support to inquire about returning the other two pair of Exowinds I own for some sort of store credit (RP has finally released a multilaser red lens for the Sportmask -- wahoo!), but I'll check into that another time. For now, it's time to head out for the pasta party before heading out to the pool to swim. Thanks for bearing with me and my sunglass fetish, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ghosts Run

14-mile run tonight. Very casual pace. Very good soundtrack, too: Ghosts I-IV, by Nine Inch Nails. Strongly recommended, be it for running or just plain listening. ghosts.nin.com.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Sufferfest, Part 1

Hot diggity! The difference a few hours and a clean house can make is incredible!

After an afternoon of doing little more than watching Serenity and the bulk of the Firefly series, N--- had to make her way home, so I decided to hop on the trainer and try to get in a workout before she got home. She made it home before the workout ended, but what an awesome workout it was.

A few weeks ago, I read about this Podcast site called thesufferfest.com, which posts workouts geared towards indoor trainers, complete with video and audio. The latest workout caught my attention by title alone: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now." While The Smiths did provide the opening & closing tracks, the workout was an interval type based on perceived effort, as opposed to a specific gear or cadence -- something that was right up my alley. I did pause a time or two to make a couple of minor tweaks to the arm rests on the B2, but after 10 or so minutes, I was totally in the zone and rolling for the duration of the video. If you own an iPod with video, or have a computer near where your trainer is set up, I highly recommend these videos, especially when they're as cheap as free.

Workout done, legs shot (but cleanly shaved after a shower), and swim practice a little more than six hours away tells me that it's time to get to bed. Methinks I will make a quick trip to the Quick Stop for some OJ, but then it's night-night time. Thanks for checking back on me, in consideration of the rough morning I had, and thanks for reading.

Breaking Point

This morning was near-perfect for a bike ride: Cloudy, cool, and a barely-noticeable breeze blowing from the south. The plan was to roll out from home around 8:20 and meet up with the group for a ride that would clock in just under 90 miles. Of course, that was the plan. Enter my fragile mental state at an early hour with a less-than-idyllicly clean house. Yeah, I lost it.

Something seized hold that frustrated me how there just never seemed to be enough time in the day or days in the week to do what needed to be done, compounded by the fact that I still had not finished last week's laundry and that this week's was already over-flowing. In what was probably not a terribly flattering manner, I proclaimed, "<expletive> it," and changed from cycling garb into the attire of a domestic do-gooder: sweats & a t-shirt. Several hours and a considerably cleaner house later, I now sit at the computer, ready to draft up this week's lesson plans. But first, I thought I'd write to you, dear readers, for it has been so long.

Much has happened as of late, including the district meet (we advanced; regionals are this upcoming Friday & Saturday [yes, on Valentine's Day, of all days]) and a rocket trip to Dallas for the baby shower for the forthcoming twins of D--- & K---. The latter was a lovely, albeit rushed, trip up north for the shower and a bit of face-time with dear friends. That they are about to welcome two children into the world makes me extremely happy, in a vicarious sense. Before I get too teary-eyed, I'm going to get those lesson plans done and then try to spend some quality time with N---.

I do hope your Sunday has gone better than mine and that you, too, have a clean house and content kitty cozied on your lap...providing you're not allergic to cats, that is. I'd hate for you to be sneezing your head off just in the means of fulfilling my prerequisites for Sunday afternoon bliss. Whatever four-legged fuzzball you have on your lap, thanks for reading.