Sunday, December 30, 2007

Iron Lung

I've been here for over a week now and it's not so bad if you don't like customer service. Basically, the second day I was here I got this weird shortness of breath thing. It's probably some weird virus or something but it makes it almost impossible to workout. I just can't breathe deep. I feel like an 80 year old with asthma. I'm out of breath just jayrunning across a street.

I've been hoping it would just get better on its own but it hasn't. I can't swim really for fear of drowning even though I started a membership at the local LA Fitness. It has a 4 lane pool but no heat. At least that's how it feels as it's probably a whopping 70 degree pool. I've tried to swim with this thing and I can barely do 50 yards without having to stop in order to gasp for air. My heart rate isn't even high I just can't breath.

Running is worse as my whole chest feels like its got a 50 lb weight sitting on it. I ran about 4 miles the other night by forcing myself to go real slow and still it was miserable.

Cycling on the trainer is doable if I just spin. I went out on my first group ride with a local club and everything was fine until we went up with hill. It was probably about a mile long at about 4% so nothing too difficult but I thought was going to die. I was wheezing up the whole thing. I actually got a sideache from breathing so short and fast. This is my first ever sideache on the bike.

I decided to attempt to see a doctor to get the standard, "We can't do anything, it's a virus". I just want it to be gone as I haven't really been able to do any real workout and I feel like I'm getting fat and slow.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Trip (Final Day)

So I woke up to fogged up windows inside my Escape. Luckily, my co-workers had gotten me a cool ice scraper which had a squeege on one side. It was a couple of swipes and I could see it was a cloudy day but not too cold. As before, I had gas already and just made a quick bathroom break and I was off on the last day. I was practically there.

I was moving through Indiana when all of sudden there would be construction signs with a speed of 45 posted and all these signs about going to jail if you got a reckless driving ticket. The thing was there was no construction at all just signs. It was the equivalent of neighborhood speed bumps as the traffic would slow down and then get back up to 75.

I finally got out of Indiana and was going through Ohio. This state had some hills again but nothing too bad. I stopped at this little gas station and the people in the store were actually quite pleasant and nice. It was a surprise. I got some gas and a sandwich. I washed the windows and I was off. I had calculated that I would only need to stop one more time before I got to DC.

It's amazing when I thought about how really close I was. I went through Buckeye country, Columbus and traffic wasn't too bad. I made it into Pennsylvania which was just weird. Everything was a township instead of county. I was only Pennsylvania for like 50 miles before I was in West Virginia.

I drove right through Morgantown where I was listening to a local radio station. They played an Alansis Morisette "You oughta know" parody about how the head football coach abandoned the team. It was hilarious. Good stuff. I started heading up some mountains agian basically the Appalachians. I was driving through some really raining/cloudy conditions which made visibility tough. Especially going up hills with super slow semis.

I was nearing my gas tank fillup and the town wasn't coming any sooner. I was getting a little worried because it was really countryside out in the middle of nowhere. Very little cell service if any. Just as we were entering the town on the freeway there was a classic speed trap. Basically you start heading down this hill into town and the speed limit goes from 65 to 45 and smack around this bend was a cop just sitting in his car waiting for a speeder.

I had slowed down as I was planning on stopping for gas and was looking for the first exit with those lovely blue gas freeway exit signs. I got my gas and was basically only 160 miles from DC although it seemed like a long ways since I was up in the hills.

I was driving along heading out of the hills when they started having those summit signs on the side of the road. The funny thing was the first sign was a whopping 1500 ft or so and last one was 1000 ft. I had to laugh as back in Oregon we have foothills around Portland with those elevations. At lunch time, we ride up hills that top out around 1000 ft. This has me worried about being able to keep my hill focus for the Canada Ironman as there are some decent hills on the course. I need to find a 1000 ft climb or so and do repeats to keep ready. Otherwise, I'll turn into a flatlander wussy.

I got to Frederick, Maryland and saw an exit for Gettysburg. There is going to be so much American history just miles away it will be interesting for Elena as she gets older.

And then I got my first taste of east coast traffic...There was construction going on that had closed one lane of the freeway. It caused at least a couple of miles of backup. I slowly made my way through that and was hopeful I wouldn't be too late into the day. I was hoping to get to my final destination, Silver Spring(a suburb of DC) before rush hour hit.

There was a four lane highway and people were doing 75 in a 55. It was great. I could speed along and look slow to normal. People were zipping in and out of traffic. kind of driving.

The beltway! I had to get on the beltway for 3 miles to get to my exit. It was jammed pack at 4pm and took me a half hour to get those 3 miles. Stop and go but I really didn't care because I had basically made it. I got off the freeway and meandered through Silver Spring to the house. I made it. Woohoo!! It was 4pm East Coast time. It had taken me 2 and 1/2 days.

Here's the final statistics on the drive:
2856 miles traveled
35 hours driving
$351 gas
Cheapest Gas: $2.79 outside Cheyenne, WY
Most expensive gas: $3.29 in North Platte, NE ( I got reamed!)
Average gas mileage: 125 gallons for roughly 22mpg

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Trip (Part 3)

I started my 2nd day knowing that I had to go through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and stop just outside Indianapolis, Indiana. I was only Wyoming for an hour as I guess Cheyenne is pretty close to the Nebraska border.

I had everything dialed in and my body was slowly adapting to the driving. The miles just kept going by without much effort. As I got close to big cities, I listen to the radio to pass the time. Another positive was it was smooth sailing as there wasn't a mountain in sight. No more climbing.

As I hit Omaha Nebraska I saw a sign for a Gorilla burger. It was this 2lb hamburger. I almost stopped in because it was around lunch time but I fought the urge. I saw the restaurant as I stopped for gas right next to it and bought a subway sandwich instead. I have to keep watching my weight. After the Ironman, I'm going let myself eat tons of junk food. Can't wait, multiple bags of Doritos are in order.

I entered Iowa and immediately started hearing presidential campaign ads on the radio. It was interesting as it's getting closer and closer to the Iowa caucus. I also hit some rush hour traffic in Iowa City which was lame but not so bad. Also I crossed into the Central time zone. Crap another hour lost although on this day I would only be going around 1000 miles. This combined with the flat roads and 75mph speed limit made the day go well.

I hit the Illinois border at dark and crossed the Mississippi river. It would've been nice to see the massive river in the light but oh well. This is where I deviated from the standard google directions to Maryland. I decided to skip going through the outskirts of Chicago because it would probably be a massive traffic jam and just went through the heart of Illinois towards Indy. The google directions take you north of Indy on I-80.

I cruised through Illinois but it was sure was cold and dark and the speed limit was only 65 so it was slow going. Every so often a car would come by doing 80 and I'd get behind them for awhile until the would exit the freeway. I didn't even see the sign of crossing into Indiana and before I knew it I was in Indianapolis. I had to take all kinds of exits which had patchy ice to navigate around the city. My last stop of the trip was just outside Indy.

I made it around 11pm central time. I got comfortable for a nights sleep and I was out. I had traveled 15 hours and I'm not sure of the exact mileage as I still have to calculate how many miles total and how I did on gas mileage. The massive part of the trip was over though as the last day was only 700 something miles. Piece of cake.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Trip (Part 2)

Okay, so we left with our hero(me) heading out trying to get to Cheyenne, WY on the first day.

I leave 24 hour fitness around 5:30 AM pacific standard time (more on this later). I basically will be taking I-84 thru eastern Oregon all the way to the Ogden, UT before changing over to I-80.

My group at work gave me a cooler full of snacks for the trip plus 3 comedy CDs to help pass the time. Since I had just finished a tough swim workout, I decided to drink a Propel and eat a ClifBar. This way I could just start driving and not worry about stopping to eat for awhile.

It's dark and I'm cruising along I-84 doing about 10mph over the speed limit. I get to the Dalles and the sun is just starting to come up. There is a little frost on the sides of the road but it's not too bad on the lanes themselves. There are not many cars at all on the road. I start up my music from my phone via headphones and begin to rock out as I'm flying thru the desert of Eastern Oregon.

Just before I get to Pendelton there is this little stretch of construction. I figure I might as well slow down from 75 to the construction speed. Luckily, that I did because on the other side of the construction is a state trooper shooting his laser down the road. Phew..just avoided a big ticket there. Sweet. I immediately take the speed back up figuring there's probably no more state cops out at this hour. WRONG!

I'm flying at a modest 80mph when I see another state cop. I'm screwed but hope that since I was in the slow lane doing that speed he didn't laser me. I think he was just running normal radar because as I go by at 65mph., he pulls out. Oh great, this should be interesting. I'm just cruising along with him behind me for a bit. I think well maybe he's just hanging. WRONG! The lights go on...I'm busted.

I pull over and he walks up to my car window. I was surprised he actually came up to the driver window instead of the passenger window because of the small shoulder and traffic wizzing by. He asks me the usual question, how fast do you think you were going? I say oh 70, 75. He says nope 80. He asks me where I'm headed and I just mention that I'm starting my trip across the country to the east coast. No details just in case I need to make a quick getaway and be on the lamb for awhile. ;) Now here's where I'm shocked he says I'm not going to give you a ticket but I need to see your license. Wow, I couldn't believe it. I got off.

I continue on my way. Now here's where things are interesting. I'm cruising along at 75mph in a 65mph the rest of the way. I'm still in Oregon though just at the almost Idaho border when I see it. "ENTERING MOUNTAIN TIME ZONE" FUCK!!! I just lost an entire hour on my road trip. I totally forgot factoring in the time zone changes in my estimate arrival times. So I just went from getting to my first stop around 10pm to 11pm. Ouch!

I just keep cruising but once I get to Idaho the new speed limit is 75mph. Woohoo so I start going 80ish. As I stop for gas about every 220 miles or so I get a chance to stretch. My back is already hurting me a little and my gas leg is sore. I move my seat all the way back and my leg immediately feels better. Sweet but my back still starts to get sore about the 100 mile point of the gas stops.

I cruise towards Ogden Utah and hit some small flurries of snow but nothing major as a Jeep blows past me doing 90mph. I get to Ogden just as the sun is going down and begin my trek through the mountains on I-80. It seemed I was going up the whole time until I hit Cheyenne. It was weird.

I'm cruising along making great time when it happens. I start to run into patchy ice and blowing snow. The ice is hard to make out and goes for stretches at a time. There was one section where it was a total sheet of pack snow and ice. There was a semi jackknifed in the median. I slow down to 50 and put it in 4 wheel drive off and on. The big trucks are still doing 65mph at least and passing cars left and right. It was crazy but I guess they're so heavy they don't care about simple little icy spots. This lasted for about 50 miles and then that was it for weather the rest of the trip.

I got to my first destination at 11:30pm mountain time. Woohoo...I was beat and ready to sleep in my car for the first night. Anything to save a little extra money and it really wasn't a big deal. If truckers can do it why not me. I'm tough. I was prepared as I had my massive goose down comforter, wool gloves and wool hat. The wind was howling the whole night and outside the comforter it was in the 20s. I got about 6 hours of sleep.

I started my 2nd driving day at 6:30 mountain time...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Trip (Part 1)

I made it out here all in one piece today(west coast time)/yesterday(east coast time). I can't sleep. My body is all screwed up for what I made it go through on the trip. I consumed mass quantities of junk food and excessive amounts of caffeine.

The weather was perfect well almost perfect. There was just one stretch of I-80 which had some dicey conditions as I was driving in Wyoming.

Let's go back a few days to Saturday. I just got done seeing Golden Compass with my buddy Andrew. Check out his review here. I got the phone call from Swift. They asked if it would be okay to pack my stuff on Sunday. I said that would be great as I had been monitoring the weather on the route I was going to take and Monday and Tuesday looked great through the plains.

I had linner(somewhere between lunch and dinner) with my friends Eric, Tracey, Dylan and Susan at the Olive Garden with Elena as well. It was good fun eating and seeing them. I'll miss being able to hang out with them way out here in DC.

On Sunday the movers said they'd get there between 12 and 1pm. I was able to get in a good swim and decent run and still have time to get the last things in order. I packed up the car with all the stuff I wanted to have with me since I wouldn't be seeing my stuff for possibly 2 weeks or more.

The movers didn't arrive til 2:30pm and they look like I should've spent more money on the my trip. I start out being a little worried when the truck is medium sized and only one speaks English. They have all the appropriate documents so they start packing. At first they say it will be a snap and then they get to packing up the TV. The main dude actually packed it up awesome. I actually think it has a chance. It got packed better than my previous TV which was damaged when I moved from California back to Oregon.

They packed and packed and packed. I figured it would take them a couple of hours to pack so I didn't run any of my last minute trip errands before they arrived. I figured it would help pass the 2nd half of the day if I ran the errands afterwards as I would have no furniture or comforts after they had left. I was wrong. It took them 6 hours to finish packing up all the stuff. I was shocked. It just kept taking longer and longer.

I found out that I could saved a bundle on "my car insurance"...oh wait if I had just packed some of my stuff myself. They charged by the box. If I had bought some simple boxes and just packed my clothes I could've saved probably $300 to $400 dollars. Live and learn.

I left before they had even driven out of the parking lot desperate to get some windshield washing fluid, deposit my Oregon kicker check( YES! ) and eat. I also had to use my $25 Fred Meyer gift card. I had won the gift card for paying my rent on time. I lived in the complex for 3+ years and finally my luck came through. Not bad considering I had the rent on autopayment through my online billpay. I love online banking and haven't written checks in eons. I'm still gonna just keep my bank account rather than re-open it in Maryland. Woohoo out of state banking. I feel like a gangster except I don't have a lot of money, don't whack people for skimming, and really don't have an offshore bank account. The only problem with bill pay is you have to be careful. Last month I accidentally paid the wrong credit card. I was frantic as credit card late fees can kill. Luckily it seems since I had been paying regularly I called and they hadn't charged me. We'll see if that's true when I get my statement.

This blog is long I haven't even got to the part of leaving. I got home from my errands and slept on the floor. This was going to be the best night's sleep I would be getting until I reached Maryland(even though it's 2am here and I can't sleep in the soft bed).

I woke up at 4am and headed off for my last workout at 24 hour fitness. I had planned to do 200yd intervals in the pool. If things went well I was going to 5 sets with 30 seconds rest in between. I've found that's a nice magic number for rest. I warmed up with my usual 200. Everything felt okay so I took off for the first interval. My goal was to go low 1:50ish per 100 and maybe even sub for each interval. This was difficult. I did manage to hit the first hundred right around 1:47 for all 5 with the second hundred being 1:50 for all five. I finished with an easy 400 yards.

I just wonder about my swimming sometimes. I have to be stronger but I also wonder how much is technique. It's hard to tell at this point. All in all a great workout. I showered and got in the car for the trip of a lifetime.

I had previously only driving 10 hours straight before on my trips up from San Jose to Portland when I lived in Cali. My first day of a 3 day trip was going to 16 hours. I had set my plan to drive the most on the first day when I was fresh. My goal was to make it to Cheyenne, WY 1100 or so miles away in the first day.

Will he make it? Will his new GPS work? Is the weather gonna hold out? What does the song "Breakin the Law" by Judas Priest and eastern Oregon have in common? Find out tomorrow on another exciting edition of Al's blog.

Oh and if you made it this far one last fun tidbit. I got my body fat checked on Friday morning after swimming 2200 yards in the pool my longest and just over a half-iron effort at 42:34. Woohoo half way home. I usually get my body fat checked twice a year by the same person with the pinch test. It's a rough estimate and within a few percent of one of those scales. I came it at 5%. This is one of my lowest yet. I weigh just 6lbs more than my lightest running days when I would usually hit 7%. All in all great news. I was also quite excited that I know I won't drown for the half-ironman since I can swim 1.2 miles. I just hope it's not too much more difficult to swim 1.2 in open water with 2000+ other folks.

I really need to find some way to get out into some open water and get a feel...

Thursday, December 13, 2007


t keeps getting closer to the big drive. I've been frantically checking the forecast along the route and things are looking pretty good. An occasional snow shower but nothing like the big ice storm that just swept thru the midwest. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all stays good for the trip.

This weekend I have to empty out the car and then repack it with the stuff I'm gonna cart across the country. Let's see, my bike, bike trainer, helmet and a limited amount of other bike crap. I'm gonna need some nice business clothes for an upcoming Europe trip in January just in cast. I need to pack all my workout clothes and a good set of normal clothes for duffing around the house while I "work". I'm gonna pack a bunch of ZipFizz to keep me awake late in the day on each part of the drive. It should work great because I'm totally off the caffeine since mid-summer. I've plugged in a few key points into my phone's GPS so I'll have that help guide me along as well as the directions from Google Maps.

I have to unplug and get all my electronic stuff ready. I need to take back the cable modem and cable box. I'm not sure if I'm gonna be able to catch up on all my Heroes episodes sitting on the DVR but oh well, I can always view them on the NBC website. It seems with this writers strike we won't have much TV to watch very soon.

I hope I don't get too fat with all the days I'm gonna take off from working out and possible fast food on the road. I think I'm gonna bring a few clif bars and just eat them to keep me going. We'll see I'll try to stick to Subway since it's pretty healthy compared to Big Mac and fries from McDs.

I wonder how my swimming is gonna be affected by the long layoff. It will probably take me a bit to find a pool when I get out there so it may be a 10 days off from swimming. I'm hoping I won't lose much and just come back stronger. I guess we'll see. I've been slowly getting ready for more structured workouts in swimming which will come in January. I'm still amazed at how fast people can swim as compared to me. I'm getting a little faster but there seem to be tons who can just bust out fast times. I'm still looking for the magic...

Monday, December 10, 2007


Man, it was cold this past weekend. At least, it makes the start of the swim more comfortable. I got in the water and I was still tired from my 2000 yard effort earlier last week. So I just cruised easy on Saturday morning. This was good because I went out to my last team ride.

We went up one of my favorite routes, Dairy Creek. It kicked my ass. My first team ride was up that beast and it killed me. I can't believe it crushed me yet again. I guess it just shows how much top end I've lost. I've just been spinning for the last couple of months and it shows. I'm okay with it as the real training doesn't happen yet. Overall, when I got off the bike I had put in 74 miles and 4 hours of riding. Not lightning fast but just there for a winter ride. The temperature at the end was a balmy 40 something compared to the frosty roads at the beginning.

On Sunday, I swam an easy 1000 before hoping on the bike. It was colder at a whopping 28 degrees. I decided to ride and then run afterwards because it would be my last ride with the Sunday riding group. I usually ride almost all summer with these guys so it would be fun. They are usually really laid back and my legs needed a nice spin ride before pounding the pavement for the run.

The ride started off super hard at least it felt hard to me. My legs were just dead. I had looked at the doppler radar before the swim and there was moisture on the coast. I figured we'd stay dry til Noon. We started to head towards Hagg Lake. We decided to stop at this golf course about 16 miles out and make some decisions about total mileage, etc.

The pace was pretty smooth and hard out to the golf course and it was still about 32 degrees because unlike Saturday there was only clouds and no sun. I stuffed a whole Clif Bar in my mouth at the golf course as people took bathroom breaks. We figured to go about 3-5 mile more miles out which would make my total for the day around 50. We started pedalling and not about 5 minutes later it started to sleet.

We all immediately turned around and started hightailing it back. All I can say is I'm glad we weren't in the middle of a longer loop. I was racing the roads becoming wet and slick. We were rotating pretty well and only dropped one poor soul. He had a rain bike so I wasn't too worried about him not making it back. It was every biker for himself. I had to get back through Tigard before it got too dangerous. I just remember the last time it started snowing on a Sunday afternoon when it was cold and there was mass accidents.

I got back to the 24 hour Fitness parking lot and tossed the bike in the car. I downed a power gel and put the running shoes on. I took off on a nice 7.5 mile loop as the snow was still coming down but not really sticking. My legs felt great on the run compared to how crappy they felt on the bike. I'm really surprised about how fresh and relieved the muscles feel when I get off the bike. I think my body is just built for running.

I finished my run and was tired but not totally wiped out. I was totally frozen though and was thankful for the hot shower when I got home.

It's still cold today so I decided to stay warm by just spinning on the trainer. If the weather stays dry, I may venture outside tomorrow...we'll see.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

New Phone

I ordered a new cellphone last week. I had been wanting a nice cellphone with a larger screen so I could read email. I was thinking about maybe going with an Iphone but it had so many limitations as far as certain features even though it was really cool. I decided to stick with Verizon since I had purchase about 3 or 4 albums already with the Verizon music store. I also have "ringback" tones with Verizon which allow people calling you to hear music instead of listening to a boring ring sound.

By luck Verizon and LG just came out with this cool phone called the Voyager. It has a touch screen like the Iphone but also a full QWERTY keyboard on the inside via a flip. It has full blown GPS capability which will be great since I'm moving. You can even watch TV on it. It has like 8 channels with some programming like normal TV. Of course, it's a full blown music phone with bluetooth stereo capability. All in all it's one sweet phone.

I'm in the middle of loading up a 2Gb micro SD card with a bunch of music. Man is that slow but at least I'll have a ton of music ready to go.

Here's a couple of pics:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I decided after taking two days off from swimming to see how things went for a long swim this morning. I just started and kept knocking off hundreds. I totally lost track and at one point tried to figure out what split I was on. You really can't read small watch text with goggles. I wasted a simple 8 seconds looking and decided just to do my best.

I used the big clock on the wall and just tried to swim past 30 minutes as I was cruising. I wanted to make sure I got a full mile in so I made extra sure. After it was all done I ended up with 2000 yards. My farthest swim to date. The other cool thing was I swam a 34:17 for the mile which is 3 minutes faster than time.

I could barely raise my arms though at the end. I just need to be able to set them on the aerobars and start the cruising on the bike. Overall I was just a little short of the official half ironman swim distance. I wish I would've kept better track because having a nice benchmark time for that distance would've been nice.

I might be able to find some more speed but it's just a matter of feeling comfortable once I get out of the water and not drowning.

Only 3 weeks til Xmas..

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I was looking through my gmail today and noticed the RaceCenter NW newsletter. As I glanced through I saw that TriNorthwest had published their 2007 rankings. I figured I'd hop over there to check them out:

If you notice, I'm ranked #1 in the open male. Woohoo!! I have no idea how they come up with their rankings since I failed to even make the overall duathlon rankings. Oh well, I guess all those races and training accounted for something this past year.

I got a new fancy phone that I was hoping to use for email and stuff since I'm traveling more. I saw one of those email ads from wireless provider, Verizon and decided to check it out. Well they cut me a deal on this phone called the Voyager. It's like an Iphone but with a full QWERTY keyboard. The screen is smaller than an Iphone but it also has an inner screen due to the flip open keyboard. It also includes GPS which will help since I'm moving to a new place. I'm syncing my music to it as we speak. It also supports bluetooth stereo so that will rock on rides without wires everywhere.

So the Beavers are in a cheap loser bowl called the Emerald bowl. The only interesting thing is we're playing Maryland. I just happen to be moving to about 5 minutes away from the University of Maryland campus. I'll be out there for the bowl game on Dec. 28th. Can you say, hello residents of Maryland in my full OSU regalia in a bar drinking lots of beer. Okay, well I won't be drinking beer but I'm an asshole 24/7 even without beer. I'm sure I can make lots of new friends. I can just hope the Beavers don't get embarrassed.

The move is getting closer and closer. I can feel the pressure...ugh. I determined my route barring massive snow and ice. I'm gonna try to make it to Cheyenne on the first day, then Indianapolis and then finally Silver Spring, Maryland. I figure I can drive the farthest on the first day as I'll be rested and ready to go. The last day will be the shortest at 880 miles.

How about the flooding everywhere...makes you want to see Evan Almighty and get your own Arc ready to float.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Are you a SUPER fan?

With today being college football rivalry week, do you call yourself a super fan? I'm hardcore in my dedication to the Oregon State Beavers and my hate for the Oregon Ducks. I was talking with some fellow alumni at work and they mentioned how they actually root for the Ducks when play other schools. I almost died. I always root against the Ducks no matter what. I have friends who are Duck fans but they just know that I will never root for their team. It's just the way it is. Is that going too far? I don't think so.

Another thing about my young alumni co-workers was they thought it was gonna be a cake walk this year because of all the Oregon injuries. I told them they were high and I was just hoping we could win the game. We hadn't won in Autzen in eons. I just saw the box score and noticed that we were crushing them and then all of sudden they were winning. It looks like we did our typical screw up at the end of the game that would've won it and then almost lost it on a penalty for their game winning kick. We pulled it out which is amazing. I'm so excited but I knew it would be close.

Double overtime win, 38-31. Nice. I'm sure Duck fans are suffering especially after the injuries and watching their season slip away due to injuries. I just wonder which bowl games we'll end up.

Go Beavs!

Fast Girl

Today was a complete indoor day and it's not because I'm a total cold wimp. I had my daughter Elena this morning. We first took her to cooking class and it started to snow. Not bad considering its only the first of December. Elena was quite excited but I'm sure she'll just get used to snow once we move to DC. After Elena finished making her PBJ scones which were quite tasty, I went over to 24 hour fitness. It was just before 10:30am. I was in shock as the place was totally packed. Almost every treadmill, stair stepper, and elliptical was going. I have never seen it this crowded.

I was thinking about totally baggin the swim this morning but with it super packed I figured I'd check the pool and see if it was crowded. There were only 2 lanes out of the 3 being used. Okay so I'm getting into the pool. My arms are completely dead after the Thursday's hard 200 yard intervals and yesterday's 4x400 yard intervals. I decided to focus on stroke and just cruise til at least 800 yards.

I finished the swim and went out to hit a treadmill for an hour. I felt nice and relaxed on the treadmill at my 1% incline with 7:30 pace. I decided to up the last mile to 7 minute pace. It felt good and I'm excited about that as a nice goal pace for the IM marathon. I got off the treadmill and walked over to the "special" spray that is suppose to kill sweat germs on site. I notice a nice looking blonde girl clipping along on a treadmill. I stole a closer look and she was doing 7 minute pace and was into her run about 13 minutes. I was impressed. This is the fastest girl I've seen on a treadmill in a long time. She looked like it was a piece of cake. Nice!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Professional Bike Fit (2 days ago)

I had my bike fitting appointment today before driving to the airport. I definitely can recommend Michael Sylvester as he asked various questions about my experience on the bike, then proceeded to see how flexible I was. It was interesting to see how flexibility directly affects bike fit. The strangest part for me was that he said I should raise my seat. I thought my current seat level was pretty high but he mentioned that you can exert more force as your leg straightens.

Another interesting thing is he's working directly with Trek on their time trial frame fit. He had on loan a TTX bike all decked out in the old Discovery colors. As part of this work, he was an observer in the wind tunnel in San Diego when Ivan Basso was getting his position dialed in. We were only able to go so far with the fit because I didn't have a time trial bike with me. Luckily he was only 3 blocks from River City and Mark Ontiveros was in the shop today. We called him and he loaned me a 56 Cervelo P3C to get dialed in on as this will probably be the frame I purchase. I was also interested in the new Specialized Transition frame but after the fit I can' run that frame for an Ironman and be comfortable. It's head tube height is just too small. This simple size is one my main limiting factors when it comes to my final frame purchase. The P3C is right on edge and I might just get a P2C because it has a longer head tube. Overall, I spun on the P3C for a bit and it's real nice.

I might make my bike purchase before I leave so I can get it completely dialed in by Michael. Of course this will complicated the move a little bit as I'm not sure I'll trust the movers with my Trek and definitely a brand new Cervelo. We'll see...

My swimming is improving. It's pretty interesting. I've slowly been able to ratchet down the times to the low 1:50s for a my simple intervals. I think that 1200 yard swim where I was really pushing to stay under 2 minutes for each 100 really helped. I still haven't bought my wetsuit so I'm hoping it helps reduce my time as well.

I'm on the plane right now and it's frickin bumpy. Crazy turbulence and my tummy is upset. It didn't help that I decided to do Wendy's at the airport for dinner, plus a Coffee People latte.

Someone in front of us brought a little yippy dog. I don't even understand that. Do they have to pay for a ticket for the dog? Is it's just a carry-on? All we know is the dog keeps crappin it's carrier and stinking up the whole back of the plane. The only benefit of the plane ride so far is I have an entire row to myself. Oh joy!!

It's gonna be 70+ in Phoenix tomorrow so I'm hoping to get a long run in before my morning meeting but there is all this talk of meeting for breakfast. That's another thing about business travel which sucks is having to socialize. I'd rather just do my run in some nice warm weather. My travel companion also is wanting to workout in the morning. We're devising a plan to see if we can get out of the dumb breakfast. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

4 days

What a break from going into the office? It was definitely nice not having to get up at 4:30 in the morning the last 4 days. I've even stayed up past 9 a couple of nights. Woohoo!! I've been trying to eat just enough but not too much so I don't end up 5 lbs overweight on Monday. The weather has been dry but frickin cold.

During the run this morning, there were numerous little ponds with ice in them. The last two morning rides have been a challenge just to keep warm. The only good thing about cold frigid mornings is getting into the pool seems actually warm.

As for the pool, I took a day off from swimming today. My arms were beat yesterday so I figured a break isn't going to hurt. I'm really getting the rhythm with my stroke to clock off just under 2 minutes for the 100 without much effort. I've been working on getting low 1:50s with pushing myself. I swam just over 24 minutes on Friday for 1200 yards and then went out into the elements to battle 20 mph headwinds for 55 miles on the bike.

I caught up with some DVD viewing during this little break. I finished the final season of the Sopranos and at least some of the episodes got back to the roots. It was 10 times better than the first part of season 6 where I kept fast-forwarding through spots that were just boring. The ending was weird but I guess it leaves the door open for a movie or something else.

I kept trying to for myself to watch Heroes on DVR but no luck. I have 6 episodes on DVR but the first 4 episodes of the season were so bad I just can't get myself to watch. There's nothing compelling about this season at all. It's just meandering with the same characters and a few news ones that really don't have help. was so good last year but man it sucks right now.

Well my legs are trashed so we'll see how tomorrow's workouts go. On Tuesday, I'm getting a professional bike fit. I'm excited to see how that works out plus I'm flying to Phoenix on Tuesday night for a business day trip. It will just be a little hiccup in my workouts.

It's almost December and the official Ironman workouts for me begin starting in January...I'm getting nervous and I still have over 9 months.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just saying...

At work, we use the phrase, "I'm just saying.." to disagree politely. It's a total inside joke at work. It's telling the person that they're totally wrong and you want to get in the last word. A bunch of us at work have been doing this for the last 6 months. I'm not sure what movie or TV show we saw this phrase used or we just sortof came up with it but yesterday I heard it on the radio for the first time. Bloggers unite! We can get this phrase to be a normal everyday phrase by the end of 2008 if we work hard.

I bought Rock Band for my Xbox 360 yesterday. I used Elena as an excuse. It's almost as bad as buying power tools for your SO at Xmas. Actually, Elena likes video games. This is a positive for me because I love video games. If it wasn't for my workouts, I'd never really ever go outside. Between video games and TV, there really isn't any reason to go outside. I'd end up being a "shut-in" and probably weigh over 300 pounds becoming like Jabba the Hut w/o having Princess Leigh on a leash. The reason I bought Rock Band is its a game that Elena and I can play together. She likes helping me play Guitar Hero which I credit my friend Orion for pestering me to get it. It definitely releases your inner rock star. Rock Band takes Guitar Hero and turns it up to 11. You basically can play drums, sing or play bass or lead guitar. The game came with toy like instruments for all those parts. I have 2 guitars, a drum kit and a microphone. I think Elena is gonna like the drums and she's already getting used to the guitar from Guitar Hero. It's gonna be fun the next time she comes over.

My swimming is going quite well but my biking is stinking. It's the winter doldrums. I just don't have any leg power right now as compared to when I busting out 95 mile rides on weekends. I definitely need some fast biking aggressive group riding to really dial in my bike performance. The good thing is my base will be better going into the spring than it was this year.

Tomorrow is pig-out Thursday otherwise known as Thanksgiving. We were invited to a big family's Thanksgiving feast where they have a contest on who eats the most. When I was training for my first marathon back in '98, I tied for the most. The person I tied wasn't a super huge guy but he hadn't even been challenged in years so it was quite a surprise. We'll see how this year goes but I hope to get in a swim and possible bike or run before the feast so I should be able to put it away.

So have a great Turkey day tomorrow and ....

I'm just saying, Rock Band really was for Elena.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dumbo & Santa

Another weekend is finished and we are starting the shortest week of the year, Thanksgiving week. Woohoo as workers around the US rejoice well almost all workers except the poor souls that have to work Black Friday sales. Talk about crazy times. I have yet to see the carnage that is Black Friday yet but I might one of these days.

I went for a run with the fellow Ironman Canada PFers(possible finishers) this Saturday. Jeff, Don and few other tri folks I didn't know braved the wet cold morning for a nice 6 mile loop. I got to see both Jeff and Don run for the first time. I gave them some suggestions for their respective running styles to help them improve their running economy. It's great to see various strengths and weaknesses from individuals in the sport of triathlon. I completely stink at swimming and both Don & Jeff are super fast. They're struggling with their running form and it's second nature for me. At Canada, I'll be chasing them all day which will make the race interesting for me. Will I be able to catch them? Will it be on the bike or on the run? I can't wait.

I mapped the route in my Runner's World training log at 5.8 miles. With our time, we averaged 8:30 miles. Not bad considering Don hadn't run since September.

So I got a little bit more swimming advice from them about reaching farther by turning your shoulder and basically rubbing the side of your head with your arm. I tried this on Sunday morning's swim and I discovered that I have big fat Dumbo ears. My times were crap as I think I was slowed down by all the ear friction. I was tired from the previous swimming so I'll have to try again to see if I can use it to my advantage. I got on the treadmill as Elena played in the massive 24 hour fitness playcenter. I had a nice treadmill workout which is quite easy but helps with efficient strides.

After the workout, I took Elena to see Santa. Elena gets a yearly picture with Santa every year that I used for my Xmas card. With all the move turmoil coming during December, I decided to get Santa out of the way early this year. He had just arrived at the mall on Friday. We got there and there was no one in line. She got a nice picture and then I built my Xmas cards right there. It was cool. All I have to do now is mail them. Elena is all about asking questions and making deductions. She asked how old Santa was. I said I didn't know but pretty old then she thought her Grandpa was probably older and didn't have Santa when he was a kid. Interesting conversations. I'm still in a state of shock that she's 6. I can remember things I did when I was 6 and now I have a daughter who's 6.

Well time to slave away at work albeit for 3 days...

Friday, November 16, 2007

1200 in sub 2s

Today, was an interesting day in the pool. I decided last night to see if I could keep my pace under 2 minutes per 100 yds for as long as possible. Friday is usually my long swim day because I take swimming off on Thursday's to take Elena to school.

I'm still battling the tail end of a sore throat thing. I have really never felt like total crap but just that nagging sickness. I wasn't expecting much. This week really hasn't gone too well for my workouts. I had major stomach problems on Wednesday during my run and had to cut it short. It was a nice day but I just didn't want to be caught out in the middle of nowhere walking and suffering.

Thursday's indoor trainer ride was okay but I just feel dead on the trainer. Actually, my biking has been really suspect this last month. I figure as long as I keep a good base I'll start adding intensity come January.

So I hop into the pool and take off. I keep focusing on my stroke as each 100 yards clicks off. I'm hitting 1:58, 59 for each one. I figure as long as I feel good and see a 1:5something on the watch I'm golden. I got to 400 yards and told myself okay just make it to a 1000. I hit 500, the halfway point in my head. Before I knew it I was at 600 and with 400 to go I felt, no problem. I've done 400 yards at the end of my recent workouts as part of my cool down. No biggie. Next thing I hit 1000 and think why not try for 1200. The last 200 yards was pretty tough as I was having breathing issues. I really wanted to get some more air. I tried my best to relax and continue to focus on my stroke. Glide, big pull, etc.

I finished the last one in 1:58 and my total time was 23:40. Woohoo! I'm tired and my arms were sore. They hurt to raise over my head for washing my hair. I'm not sure about getting any faster anytime soon but I hope I can keep that pace for entire 2.4 miles next August. Basically, trading 20 or so minutes on the swim and hopefully taking it all back on the run.

We'll see...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Almost bagged it

So I'm almost slept in this morning and skipped my swim workout. On my business trip last week, I started to get this scratchy throat thing. Luckily, I had planned ahead by bringing a tube of Airborne. So I battled the throat baddies by taking one of those every morning while I was there. I continued to take Airborne when I got back as with all these workouts being on a plane with 200 other people there's definitely germs floating around especially this time of year.

Yesterday, I couldn't sleep because of work. I woke up for my usual in the middle of the night bathroom relief and couldn't get back to sleep. I'm so used to waking up that during a normal night it's not a big deal. It was 2am and by 2:30 I said what the hell might as well get up and start the day. I was in the pool by 3am or maybe I should refer to it as a "tank". Swimmer lingo that I found this past weekend by reading about the new state of the art Mt. Hood Tank/Pool. I guess world class swimmers call it a tank. Who knew, now if I could find out what those Olympic divers shammi like towel things are called I'd be able to hold conversations with the aquatic folk and impress. :P

I had a decent swim yesterday and made it to work at 4am. I went for my normal lunch time ride and then started to feel the throat afterwards. I just know I was right on the edge of a full blown sore throat. I was beat when I got home last night and called it a day at 8pm.

I felt worse this morning and the bed was so warm. Thank you flannel sheets. Flannel sheets are the best and it really makes me want to sleep forever. I was thinking I'll just sleep in since my throat was really bugging me but I got up anyway. I'm hoping by keeping my routine I'll be able to just kick the bug quicker. My arms were sore from yesterday's swim so I didn't go so well in the tank today.

I did treat myself to an Egg Nog Latte at Starbucks before I got to work. OMG!! I have a major weakness for the Egg Nog lattes. I'm always excited once November hits because Starbucks starts up the egg nog. They're so good I can't resist. I'm pretty sure I could gain a ton of weight if they were offered year 'round. I luckily didn't gain any weight from my trip so I was quite pleased but now with the Nog it's gonna be hard.

Can everyone believe that next week is Thanksgiving? Where did all the time go? It just seems like yesterday it was September. Of course, that means Xmas is coming super fast. least I'm gonna get a little jump on things this year and get my daughter's yearly Santa photo out of the way this weekend.

That's about all the stuff going on with me. The big move to DC is coming up fast and I don't feel ready.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Diet Deep-Six

I don't even want to get on a scale when I get back from my trip this weekend. It's crazy how much bad food I ate. I tried really hard but that Ben & Jerry's chocolate milkshake was calling me yesterday. A huge massive burrito at lunch the previous day, fish & chips yesterday, and a chocolate brownie w/ ice cream for dessert tonight. That doesn't even count some muffins in the morning with my coffee.

I'll get back on my diet when I get back to Oregon on Friday night. This will be easy because I have absolutely zero food at home. I'm slowly working through all of it as I get closer to the move to DC. This east coast living will take some getting used to especially if I ever want to watch sports live. Everything starts so late on the east coast. It's crazy. Of course it makes it easy to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday since football doesn't start til after 12pm at least.

After this trip, I think I see some more travel in my future. I just need to get into a rhythm and keep staying at hotels with workout facilities. I wonder how my body clock is gonna work when I get back because I've been getting at 5:30am to workout. Should be interesting....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Easy week

So I'm in Providence, RI on business. Eating fattening food and working out inside on a stationary bike and treadmill...ugh. I ate this massive mexican lunch and can feel that I gained like 10lbs easy. The east coast has Dunkin Donuts everywhere and very few Starbucks. Oh well, it's good coffee at least.

The trip is going well business wise but I'm gonna have a ton of work to do when I get back. Ugh...oh well it happens. I'll probably be traveling more in the future so I'll have to adopt my workouts according. The major problem will be swimming. I scheduled my easy week to coincide with this trip so when I get back I hope I'll be rejuvenated for another good 3 weeks of training. Plus it's a good mental break as well.

I will get back on Friday night and have to immediately figure out what to get Elena for her birthday. It's on Sunday. I still can't believe I will have a 6 year old. It seems like every other time I see Elena she's always wanting something and I'd say how about for your birthday. Well of course I can't remember any of those things when I went shopping before I left last weekend. I tried to find a lunch box but couldn't find them at Toys R Us or Target. So I wonder if they sell those anymore...

I'm sure I'll find something...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day Off

So I did the unthinkable and took the day off from working out. I tried to sleep in but still got up at 6am. I figure I might go swimming and then maybe go for a run and a bike ride. I just did nothing except pack for my week long trip to Rhode Island. It was weird. I made sure not to consume tons of calories since I really didn't burn any sitting on the couch today.

I fly out at 7am but I think with the time change tonight I might still go for a swim before going to the airport. That's the one thing I will miss when I move out to DC is 24 hour fitness. Being able to go work out as early as you want. We'll see if I can get up a little earlier than normal because I almost fell asleep watching TV this afternoon.

The marathon trials happened today and Hall kicked some major butt and looks like he can contend for a medal next year. Meb was a non-factor which is disappointing. The sad news is one of the runners actually died on the course. It seems at every marathon there is at least one death. It also always seems to be a healthy runner. I guess they just push too hard and don't notice and their heart just gives up. It's a definitely scary thought especially when you push a workout and feel like your heart is going to explode.

The Beavers are getting crushed right now at USC. Nothing new I guess...tomorrow is the big Colts/Patriots game and I fly into Boston an hour before kickoff. Should be interesting to see th e mood of the city after they just won the World Series and with the Patriots playing so well..

Welp, I may be able to blog more this week from my hotel room as it will be pretty boring.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Hopefully, everyone had a great Halloween last night. My little one really took in a big haul of candy. We went through her neighborhood. There really weren't many trick-o-treaters out so at each house she got tons of candy. Her bucket was full in 40 minutes and we skipped tons of houses on the way back home. She was getting full bars and sandwich bags full of candy from houses. It was crazy.
She'll be 6 in a couple weeks. Amazing. She got her first official haircut a couple of weeks ago. Now her hair is short. It's easier to deal with everyday but I miss her long hair. She also lost her first tooth last week. I was trying to keep the tooth fairy secret but her mom introduced her to the a tooth fairy that also happens to be a millionaire. She got $15 for her tooth. Crazy...but I guess that first tooth is worth a little extra. I remember being happy to get 50 cents for my teeth when I was a kid.
I'm travelling to Rhode Island next week on business. I had pushed an extra week so I'll have my easy workout week when I'm there. My hotel has a fitness center so a run/bike every morning should be fine. Just real's my luck but their indoor pool is closed for renovations. Bummer as my swim stroke is really coming along. I'm able to swim 400 yds in just under 8 minutes. I just need to extend that pace for the full 2.4 miles and I'll be all set.
In sports news, Joe Torre is gonna be the Dodger's manager. I'm super stoked as the Dodgers are my baseball team and they've just haven't been there that last years.
Depending on internet access and being busy, we'll see if I can post anything next week. I fly into Boston on Sunday afternoon right before the big game. It should be crazy...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So busy...ack!

I'm losing all kinds of slacking TV watching time so I can workout because work is killing me. I'm still getting my workouts in though so at least I don't go postal at work.

Not much time to blog these days. My swimming has been off and on. Today was a totally on day as I really swam strong...for me. I was busting out some decent times without soreness. The other day was a sucky one where my arms hurt before the first 100 warmup and it was just ugh. I talked to a guy at work who son swims on the high school team. He is also getting ready for some triathlons. Anyway, he routinely swims a mile in 34 minutes. He's been reading the Total Immersion book about technique and such. I had him ask his son how many strokes he does per length. He found out that when he's in distance mode it 9 FRICKIN strokes. I almost died. That's amazing and during sprints its 15. Since I started breathing every other stroke my stroke count has gone up a bunch. I definitely would like to watch him swim with 9 strokes. I think it would be interesting to see. I wonder if he kicks really efficient and just pulls like a monster?

Must go to sleep...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Things are so busy at work I didn't get a chance to write about this first time event for me that happened at the pool yesterday morning. I had a planned breakfast before work yesterday so I figured I'd go for a long swim before in order to be nice and hungry.

I decided to try for an actual "mile" in the pool. It's basically 70 laps or 17 100s with an extra 50 tacked on at the end. I got up and went to the pool. The first 300 or so is always a pain in the ass. I swear I go faster at the beginning because my body is so cold I'm shivering down the entire length of the pool. I tried my best to keep good form as I did my best to keep track of each 100. I took splits so I could see where I was at post swim.

As I was counting 13, I knew I had it in the bag. I could tell that I had seemed to slow down so I really did my best to focus on good form as my arms were getting tired. I finished the mile in a lightening slow time of 37:40. Ugh....oh well I still have 10 months before Canada as I hope to get to about 34 minutes. I was pretty tired once I finished. It was like a body fatigue and of course my arms were crazy sore. I had this pain in my left triceps that made it difficult to lift my arm.

I only have to be able to do 1.4 more miles after that. I'll just keep slowly building up to it.

Work has been so crazy that I skipped my pool workout this morning. I figured it was okay to take an extra day off from swimming this week.

Well I got get to it here at work...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Snack mania

That's how today has gone. I've been snacking on food ever since I got back from my workout this morning. At least it hasn't been Cheetos, Pringles, Doritos and KC Masterpiece Lays, I've stuck with grapes, jerky, and "smart" popcorn. Since I only swam and ran today I had lots of time to sit in front of the TV and snack. I swear I could easily be sponsored by Frito Lay before I went chip cold turkey. I used to bring home about 6-8 bags of chips when I went grocery shopping. So far so good with the will power as I just skip the chip aisle. Once I finish the Ironman, my treat to myself will be a bag of Doritos as soon as I can stomach food. Just sitting probably in the hotel room afterwards with a bag and TV. I can smell the nacho cheese already...

The weekend has been pretty good workout wise. I rode 4 hours on the trainer while catching up with my DVR shows and barely noticed. I had a great swim on Saturday morning where I worked on some consistency. Today's swim didn't go so well but I was really just messy around with various stroke stuff to find some extra seconds here and there if possible.

I started to clean out my office at work in preparation for the move. I've narrowed it down to 3 apartment high rises in downtown Silver Spring Maryland. There within a mile of where my daughter will live and within 1.5 miles of her school. Plus we're close to downtown where there are shops and stuff. Not that I'll be able to buy anything since the cost of living in the DC area is quite expensive when compared to here.

First thing to clean up at work was my empty soda can collection which had basically taken over my entire bookcase. It ended up being around $20 in cans. It's not like I can use it to retire but it's a decent chunk of change.

I just turned off the Red Sox/Indians game as the Indians are gonna lose after failing to capitalize on 2 runners with 1 out in the top of the 8th.

One thing about doing all these base workouts is it helps relieve all the stress going on right now. I can forget about preparing to move which I absolutely hate. I can ignore during that time the important project I'm hastily trying to finish at work by November 5th. Work had been pretty laid back which is why I figured I could do an Ironman but not now. It's crazy and with this move....all I can say is ugh!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The junk is free

It's amazing the stuff you can forget when you try to pack up clothes for 5AM workouts. Commando isn't so bad except for when you pants keep feeling like they might fall off. My current set of jeans are bagging on me and one less layer doesn't make them any tighter.

It's mid October and I've started heavily looking at apartments in DC. It's frickin expensive. Holy crap. I need to find a decent place since I'll be there 24/7 because I'll basically be "working at home". I might end up in an apartment tower in this downtown suburb to be close to Elena and her school. I also started looking at moving options. It looks like I'm gonna drive cross country as it will be cheaper than having my Escape transported and paying in addition to that a plane ticket. I'll do the blitz across the US as short as possible since it will be in the middle of winter. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a non-snowy window to get across quickly.

On the good side, my swim has been going well. I was able to kick the fastest 50 yards yet in my drill. I'm gonna try to incorporate some of the kicking while actually swimming but that's tougher as it's really hard to get into a rhythm. Practice, practice and more practice.

I thought about doing a half marathon downtown this Sunday as a training race but it costs $45. I need to save every last dime so I'll just workout on my own. The weather looks like it's gonna suck anyway. More trainer time for me. I'd be fine with the trainer if it felt more like road riding. I just can't find that magical gear that feels just like a day outside. It's going to be an interesting 3 hour ride at least on Saturday.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mysterious Bruise

So I'm sitting here thinking about what of any signficance went on with my life today and my leg feels sore. I had a decent trainer ride for 90 minutes but it feels like a bruise instead of typical workout soreness. Sure enough it's a bruise the size of half dollar. I have no idea how it happened. I'm usually very sensitive to things bashing into my legs, arms and other appendages. No dice on this one. It started bugging me after I dropped Elena's bag at the house. Maybe I clunked my leg with it. It was massive.

Elena was all happy to see her mom again. She even told Amber that we got along for our time together and it wasn't too bad afterall. That's my daughter. Tells it like it is. Doesn't hold any punches. Straight to the point. She's like me in that regard.

Where do these mysterious bruises come from? I guess if I woke up with a bruise I could come up with an impressive story about being abducted by aliens and being experimented on. They had heard cats always landed on their feet when dropped and wanted to see if 30 something engineers had that same ability. Or if I woke up with a hangover and bruise, it would've been caused by smashing into some table stumbling back from the bar with a fresh beer. Everyone's had beer bruises, beer cuts and even beer gashes. They happen and come with drinking too heavily while roaming the city streets with a few of your buddies.

Well I better get to bed so hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I'll have a mysterious good swim instead of a bruise.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ironman World Championships

Well today was the 2007 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. I watched some of the live webcast when the site was working. I guess it was getting slammed by people watching the coverage. It was cool actually to have workout with a person who was competing as well as knowing of a few others via the Slowtwitch forums.

Spoiler Alert: Chris McCormack ended up winning the men's race. The women's race is still going on right now as I write this. The woman's race wasn't as predictable. The men's race had a couple of the favorites go out right at the beginning. Crazy's just amazing even at the pro level things can happen to ruin their race day. The defending women's champ had a preforated ear drum. I'm not sure how that happens but that doesn't sound fun at all when it comes to swimming. The defending men's champ basically threw up right after the swim and dropped out. The heat looked like it was taking its toll on most of the other folks there as their split times were nowhere near previous times they ran earlier this year.

My goal is to not only complete Ironman Canada but qualify for Hawaii as well. It would just be a great experience to do the course where it all started. It's like when the Olympic marathon was basically the exact course that was run in Athens. I'm not sure I'll be able to do but I'm gonna really put it all there next year.

The OSU Beavers are playing California right now. Since the LSU Tigers lost today if Cal wins they'll be #1 in the nation. I'm hoping for a nice upset by my Beavs kind of like the Stanford win over USC in LA. I got a coffee on it so we'll hope for the best.

I had a decent treadmill run today and tomorrow I'll get back in the pool as well as doing another treadmill run.

Friday, October 12, 2007

More travel

Well it looks like I'll be traveling more for my job. In 3 weeks, I'll be going to Rhode Island. I hope it's not super cold but it will probably be snowing. I'll have to time my training to deal with such travel. I trained for a marathon when I was traveling internationally. It was tough but not impossible. I haven't swam in a couple of days and we'll how my swim on Sunday goes. Maybe my muscles will be all built up and I'll just hammer out some fast times and feel great doing it.

The cycling this week has felt pretty good but not great. It's weird as early this summer I was able to ride for a short distance/time pretty fast but not now. My body is all about just sitting at a nice tempo. Overall, it's okay because come spring there will be time to really start pushing some fast intervals.

It seems a lot of the top wetsuits are going on sale because the 2008 models are coming out. I should be able to get a nice 2007 for almost half price. I might buy a Nineteen suit, Blue Seventy, or Zoot. I wonder if it really will help streamline my body in the pool/water. Of course I won't be able to use a wetsuit at the Florida Half. I could if I didn't want to be considered for qualifying. I don't think I'll do that well because people's bike legs will be super fast compared to mine. I'd probably be able to hold maybe 21-22mph while the top cyclists will be well over 23. I'll make up some time on the run as I expect to go under 90 minutes. I still need to find a tri-suit for this event.

At least the weekend is upon us and the weather is supposed to be good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Some days you have it and some you don't

Today's swim was a chore. I just couldn't get going and didn't feel smooth or comfortable. My pace was similar but I just felt like crap. I felt like crap yesterday on the bike but today's ride felt comfortable. Go figure..tomorrow I'm running so we'll see how that goes.

I was lucky to get a ride in today as we saw the doppler radar and there was this huge storm coming off the coast. We decided to leave earlier than normal but as of 8pm the storm still hasn't reach Portland. Wild stuff...I just can't seem to win this fall with predicting if it's going to rain or not.

I carted over Elena's suitcase for the 5 days she'll be at my place. Here's a picture of it upright next to a normal chair:

It crazy she's only a 5 year old. I can't believe she packed so many clothes. Plus I find out that mom got her a makeup bag with lip gloss, nail polish and some other stuff. Argh!! I have no idea how I'm going to survive her teen years. I better start saving now for all the fashion she's going to need to "fit in" at school.

The fall TV season is in full swing so my DVR is working overtime. I was able to catch up on some shows while riding the trainer this past weekend. I think my favorite new show right now is Kitchen Nightmares on Fox. It's hilarious and scary to think about dining out with some of the restaurants Gordon Ramsey has discovered. If you have a weak stomach, I'd skip it but if you don't it's well worth the entertainment value. The whole shock and awe is right up there.

Welp I'm hitting the hay with another 4:30AM wake up coming...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Arms are tired

Friday's swim really took it out of me. The new technique has made my arms really tired from doing the first consecutive swim with it. However, it was my fastest swim for 1000 yards yet so I was pleased. I'm slowly getting the hang of breathing bi-laterally. I did it for the whole swim and I've done it during this weekend's workouts.

I just could get the weather figured out on Saturday. It kept looking like it would rain but never did. I ran from the pool to get my haircut and then ran back. It was a 12 mile run split with a haircut. So it wasn't difficult but my legs felt dead on Sunday's run.

I finished all my grocery shopping in preparation for 5 days with Elena starting Wednesday night. Her mom and step-dad are going to DC to scope out the area for the move this winter. I've been looking online and renting an apartment is quite expensive luckily I don't really need to buy anything but food so I should be able to survive. I'm actually quite pleased with myself as I've been able to save money quite well. Maybe it's easier to save as you get older and wiser.

The Portland Marathon was today and the weather was perfect for 90% of the people who do marathons, overcast and mid-50s. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears going on during that event and I can still remember all the suffering I did on the course. The Ironman marathon leg is gonna be a totally different experience and challenge. I won't be out on the razor's edge of aerobic/anaerobic which I've fallen off on 2 of my 3 marathons. The Ironman marathon will come after 7 hours of constant exercise. I still think once I get out of the lake my Ironman will be all gravy from there. I'll be so happy that I didn't drown that it will make the rest of it fun. The Ironman is setup perfectly for me. The swim is my greatest weakness, then the bike is so-so, but when I hit the run I'll be in my element. So I'll gain more and more confidence as the event goes on rather than dreading the next leg.

It's only October but I'm still stoked for the challenge ahead.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thursday Humor

So I got this picture from a guy that kicks my ass on a daily basis on the lunch time rides.

Good stuff. If the training was only so easy. It seems the weeks are clicking by now that fall has arrived. The trainer is becoming my best friend right now. I figured I pass time faster if I'm reading while spinning away so I'll have to find some good books to read during the winter months for those 3 hour trainer rides. If I can keep my long ride of the week right around 3 hours throughout the winter that will really give a good base for starting the real Ironman training come January.

I got my first issue of my Triathlon magazine subscription. It's a cool issue because it's right before the World Championships in Kona so there's all kinds of cool little tidbits. I also like oggling over all the cool advertisements for equipment.

I still have to figure out which wetsuit, triathlon suit, and triathlon bike to purchase. I'm probably going to go either Cervelo or the new Specialized Transition because of a good team deal I'll get with River City Bicycles. River City Bicycles is the bomb! It's amazing because I read today in the Road Rider Newsletter that cycling is down because normal people are just hating their local bicycle shop customer service. River City has awesome service and the place is always hoping with racers, commuters and just people wanting to ride. I guess I'm a little worried that I won't be able to find such a good shop in Washington DC after the move next year.

The move is getting closer and closer. Amber and Joe are scouting out places next week so I'll have Elena for 5 days straight. Hopefully, she'll be able to deal with me for that long. We've definitely been battling here and there recently. I think it will go well and it should be a good change of pace. I'll have to cut back on my workouts a little but that's okay. It is only October.

The fall TV season is in full swing and my DVR is working overtime but I'm glad to have so I can see great shows like My Name is Earl and my favorite show of all-time The Simpsons. But I'm already behind on Heroes. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up this weekend during some rest and relaxation time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Is it Monday?

So I get to work this morning and the powers that be decided to change our mail client? Oh joy, so I spent about an hour just trying to get it setup and work. Ugh...luckily I had a nice warm chocolate chip hazelnut scone to keep me motivated. I figured I would indulge since I'm planning on still running my normal miles during my rest week. I'm low on running miles anyway so each running workout is pretty easy.

Rain and more rain. A common theme around here but at least driving hasn't been too bad commute wise. They just repaved a big section of the main freeway(I-5). It seems that the new pavement is not only like butter when driving but has nowhere near the tire spray as normal pavement. I wonder if its some special draining pavement or something. It's weird. Maybe it's perfectly crowned right now that everything runs off of it. It makes seeing while driving not so bad when it's pouring.

The pool was warm this morning so it made getting in and starting my workout a lot easier. I'm still trying to figure out the new stroke and my arms are tired but I'm definitely faster. I just need to see how my swimming endurance is with the new stroke. Next week we'll try to swim 40 minutes for my long swim.

I still can't get my routine done as far as waking up and being ready to go. 4:30 still is hard even after 6 weeks. Tomorrow I get to sleep in because I take my daughter to school...woohoo I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Relaxing week

So it's Tuesday morning, I've started my kick back easy week before putting in more base miles next week. A perfect week to start because the highs this week will be 60 with scattered showers throughout the day. The average in Portland for this time of year is 70. We totally got screwed on nice weather this summer and early fall. I really feel for the marathon this Sunday as it could be raining. I'm sure everyone will love the 60 degree high but if its wet I can see some painful bloody shirts come Sunday afternoon.

I've been doing the swimming drills for the last two mornings. Its hard but I'm feeling like I can go faster just from swimming correctly. I'm still trying to get the rhythm down and sometimes I'm so focused on my stroke that I forget to breathe when I pop my head out. Of course this almost kills me because I realize when I face is back in the water that I forgot. DOH! I keep trying to swim straight but I'm all over the place. Open water swimming will be interesting for sure.

It's October already. Amazing...I definitely have to really work on my diet this winter so I don't put on a bunch of extra pounds. I also need to get miles in so I don't spend all spring trying to get in shape like I've done the past 2 years.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Headwind = Tailwind

The weekend plan was to do a hefty workout on Saturday since it was supposed to be dry. They had predicted that today(Sunday) was going to be wet. With that in mind, I had scheduled some swimming help from Don at noon Sunday. He's an awesome swimmer and has coached swimming in the past. He was gonna watch my pathetic technique and give some drills to work on.

I woke up Saturday morning all nice and carbed up from the Olive Garden. I went out to eat with Emily, Andrew, Kyle and Anne. I had the all you can eat pasta bowl. Based on my last experience with the bowl I was bound to top my measly 5 bowls of pasta this time. I stuck with simple angel hair with marinara pasta. I finished 7 bowls and was quite full.

I hit the pool and my swimming still was stinking. I just didn't have a good feeling. I suffered through a short workout and got my biking gear ready. The plan was to stop by and get Ernie in Wilsonville. He was going to come with me and basically just get some miles in the draft. The main problem with that plan was a 20mph wind out of the south. My route basically takes me directly south just past Salem and back.

The headwind was brutal. There were parts where I was just trying to maintain forward progress at a measly 16mph. Ernie wasn't having much fun because I was in full aero position and he wasn't getting much shelter. I was trying out different nutrition for the ride. I was going solely with Clif Blocs Coke flavored for my additional calories on top of my cytomax. They were not sitting well at all.

I was a little worried on the way out I wasn't able to consume as many calories as I needed because of my stomach issues. It was colder so I had a vest and gloves which made reaching into my pockets for food difficult. Just sitting up to get food was painful because of the huge headwind.

Ernie stuck it out til the turnaround like a trooper even though his legs were sore and he was having back trouble. With the little jaunt to pick up Ernie, I had 50 miles to the turnaround point.

Luckily the wind did not let up as we made the turn. I was barely pedaling and cruising along at 25mph in certain sections and 27 in others. It was great. Ernie decided to head straight back home. I kept going my usual way and was really feeling good with the tailwind. I forced myself to consume more Clif Blocs in order to be able to do my planned run afterwards.

The tailwind really helped revitalize my legs so I made it back to 24 hour Fitness with a decent amount of energy. I had completed the ride in 5 hours with probably a 17.5 avg on the way out and 22 avg on the way back. My plan was to attempt my 7.5 mile loop this time. I went out at a nice easy pace and the plan was to push it for the last couple of miles.

I made it to Hall Blvd and started to push the pace. I felt really great again on the run. It felt like a normal 7.5 mile run. It was like I hadn't even been on the bike. I'm hoping this feeling I can keep and maintain throughout my training. So far it really has boosted my confidence. I finished the run at just under a 7 minute pace average. Perfect...I figure I was doing 7:30s for the first 5 miles and ran 6:30ish for the last couple.

My legs were a little tired at the end of the run but not totally wiped out. Overall I was tried as I started my workout at about 7:30 in the morning and didn't finish until 3pm. I came home and showered, cooked dinner and then high-tailed it to my friend Andrew's poker game. This was a money game. $10 entry fee with top 3 taking money. He had moved the game to 5pm instead of later so I could play.

The game finished at about 9:30 as the top chip stack decided just to split the pot 3 ways rather than grind it out against Emily and I. It was really cool as I had been 2nd too shortest and shortest stack almost the entire night. I skimped and made my way to the final 3. I finally started to get some cards in the final 3 and started to come back from the dead. I might have gotten 2nd because the chip stack leader was so good there was no way I would be able to beat him. I made $10 and had some fun.

It rained as predicted today. It basically looks like fall is here so the trainer is gonna get a lot of work for me. I did go for an easy run after all the swim drills today. My arms are sore and so are my legs. I found out that my entire stroke was wrong. So I have a lot to do but hopefully with practice I'll get faster and more comfortable. The swim help was great. I can't wait to really start swimming correctly.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bee: 1 Al: 0

Yep, it was just a matter of time. Every ride I've done in the past 2 months I've been hit by at least one bug/bee. I've even had a bug *splat* onto my sunglasses while riding.

Yesterday, I was in the front of the group just spinning away when I get hit on the left side of my face. Everything would've been fine except the bee gets caught under my helmet strap. I immediately try to get him out but the little bugger was pissed and quick. Whammo!! He stings me. I reach up and by luck as I'm still in the front riding pull out the stinger. You have to wonder when the bee stings if he knows that hey wait a minute that leaves me a big hole in my ass. It's kindof like when some people get pissed and punch a wall only to break their hand. I wonder what the world would be like if you couldn't control your anger got pissed, punched a wall, then about 2 minutes later died. People probably would think a lot more before flying off the handle.

I finished my ride but I can feel my left side of my face swelling. It's amazing what just a little bee sting venom can do. I can't imagine getting attacked by an entire colony of bees. Can you say Michelin Man?

Today's swim was somewhat painful because my goggle strap happens to go right across my swollen face. Now my after swim goggle indentation is much more pronounced and really makes my face look deformed. Just call me Igor!! I could blame my crappy pathetic swim on my swollen face but I won't. Just not my day today. I swam 22 minutes but that was a chore and I didn't do my usual continuous Friday swim as I just sucked. Oh well, there are always bad workout days.

Olive Garden's All-you-can-eat Pasta Bowl is up for tonight and the last time I did that I had a super fast Saturday workout so I'm stoked for a repeat performance. There is a slight problem it started to pour down rain last night so a long 90 mile ride Saturday morning might not be happening.

Pray for sun!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Training & Work Stress

I guess I've been more on edge the past week than usual as seen by flying off the handle and misinterpreting two people's fine wisdom(Tri-Rob & Garren). They've been there and done it and I need to pull my head out of my ass and listen.

My swim sucked this morning but Sunday's swim was good. Go figure. I think it has to do with 5AM swimming vs. 8AM swimming. It seems I go real fast on my weekend swims and not so much during the early weekdays. I've been working on trying to get as comfortable as possible with bi-lateral breathing. I think that's what real swimmers call it. I can go faster for less energy doing this type of swimming. Of course, I swollen a ton more water and drowning is a real possibility. Form also is tough to manage because I'm so focused on breathing in and out. I think I'm gonna focus exclusively on this so I can get faster and build it as a habit. That way if all else I can breathe every stroke if bad things happen.

My running is still feeling really good. I'm definitely getting back in the groove. I can feel my mental side coming around finally. The bike well is the bike. I can't seem to get a nice feel on it just yet but it's all base right now so I'm sure it will come around when I start really doing focused workouts. Just trying to get the miles in without too much worry on fast or slow.

I'm still planning on a rest week next week. I figure even with base it's probably good to take an easy week every 4th week. Basically, I'll cut back the cycling and swimming and leave the running alone since I'm not putting any big running base in at all. Based on the Going Long book, you just maintain your strength and really train the crap out of your weakness. My current weekly mileage of just over 25 a week will get me through the winter no problem. The hard part is I can easily run in super crappy weather but sitting on the trainer for 90 minutes 3 days a week and a 3-4 hour weekend ride is gonna be tough.

Next time I'll think before I insert my foot in my mouth...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Base is for wussies...

Okay that's not all true. I am working on building base in all the events right now. I'm not doing really anything super hard or structured. For instance, today I worked on some more form during my swimming and it wasn't harder but I was faster. I went for a 7.5 mile run at a nice easy pace. I'm really trying to build as much confidence right now so when I really start to focus come January I'll be able to get through those winter/spring months.

On Thursday during the lunch ride, we were joined by a person who had just did Ironman Brazil this year in 10hrs. Fricking amazing. I chatted with him about all the stuff I could. He said his swim split was 56 but he didn't feel so hot on the bike because he was just coming off a cold he got while down there. His marathon split was 3:50. I told him that my swim sucked but I would make it up on the run as my goal for the run is 3:15ish. He practically laughed at me. It sortof pissed me off a little.

I was telling that basically I can run 7:30s all day every day and if the nutrition went good and I was on for the event I could bust it out. I haven't even started really training my bike/run combo yet and I feel pretty good about my chances especially since I put in a 90 mile ride last weekend with a 5ish mile run afterwards. Sure 5 miles is nothing but I really wasn't even tired at the end of the run. Again this is with no base or structured training yet. Just plain endurance stuff right now. Oh well, it will just give some motivation come race day if it's starts to hurt about mile 18 of the marathon to really push past it.

It's not like I'm gonna set the bike course on fire so I'm planning to have a lot left for that marathon.

Soon enough fall will be in full swing and those 5 hour bike rides won't be 5 hours on the trainer. I figured if I can successfully do a weekly easy 3 hour spin on the trainer during the crappy months I'll have enough base. I also just plan on keep running at least one run of about an hour or so as well through the winter. I will continue to swim everyday just to build confidence and good habits. Swimming really doesn't break down the body it seems so I could see definitely swimming for an hour once a week during the winter when I get strong enough to do that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Swim workouts = OUCH!

On my trip to sign up for Ironman Canada, I met a couple of really fast swimmers from the Portland Tri-club. They were predicting just under an hour for the Ironman swim. Fricking fast but they have had trouble with their running. So I told them if they'd help me swim, I'd help them get faster on the run.

So yesterday, my swimming had basically come to a standstill so I figured I'd drop Don an email to beg for some help. He responded that he'd be able to give me some technique drills and look at my stroke. He suggested I do the following workout to get an idea of where I'm at. Basically you warm up for 200-300 yards and then proceed to 10 100yd intervals. An all-out fast one followed by 30 seconds rest and then a slow one followed by 30 seconds rest. Odds are fast and evens are slow. I figured I'd just do a couple of those intervals to get my body ready for the full on 10.

I ended up doing 6 in the pool this morning an almost puked into the pull. What was totally sad was during my fast ones, this other swimmer in a couple lanes over was basically just cruising and still going faster than me. How sad is that! I did however but out my fastest 100 yards times yet but what's funny is my "slow" ones were only 20 seconds slower. I'm thinking I'm pretty much gonna be a slow swimmer.

Today's run didn't go much better as my running partners decided to hammer the last 1200 or so meters at the end of the 7 mile run. We were in what I felt like a full on sprint by the last 100 yards and they were pulling away from me. Ouch....I'm sure my legs tomorrow on the bike on the hills are not going to be happy.

We'll see how the body feels tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Always hungry

Man, I don't know what it is but swimming in the morning makes me really hungry. I've been eating a bagel with peanut butter after getting to work but man I'm usually still hungry after that. I gained a pound over the weekend which probably had to do with that large chocolate milkshake I had on Saturday night. Oh well, it will come back off as I think my body has settled at 142 for now. This is 5 lbs lighter than my cycling only weight from a couple of years ago when I was tearing it up on the bike. I think it's mostly 5 lbs of muscle that I've lost and little here and there from my belly.

I think I'm stuck in the water. I haven't been able to feel as good as I did Saturday and my arms hurt with this latest change to my technique. I was able to swim a 2 flat this morning with the technique but was super tired just for those 12 or so seconds faster than my usual these days. I keep feeling like I'm sinking in the water. My floating isn't the greatest.

I booked my hotel for the upcoming Florida Half Ironman a couple of days ago. I decided to stay at the Wilderness Lodge for a couple of days. It's right at the race site. I'm gonna stay with Orion for the rest of the time but I'm not sure exactly when I'm gonna fly in and leave.

Well that's about it, tired as usual so I better get to it...