Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well it's almost here...2009.  2008 has been a wild year for me and definitely a year to remember.  I haven't blah blah blogged in awhile because I didn't have anything really to talk about.  My couch potato life has taken on new heights as the only places I've gone in the last weeks have been Elena's house and LA Fitness.  The rest of the time I'm sitting on my couch watching The Office, Weeds, miscellaneous movies, and X-Files Season 2.

The last two days I've been at Elena's house babysitting while she's on Xmas break.  Basically my work from home office has moved to her house.  Amber and Joe have been at work and Elena basically just plays on her computer all day while watching TV.  A sprout off the old couch potato..

The Beavers play their bowl game today at 2pm but I'll miss the live watch.  I'm DVRing it so I can watch it when I get home.  Yeah New Year's Eve party for me.  I'll be on internet blackout from 2pm til I get home.

My swimming is complete crap again.  I've lost that fast stroke I found.  It always happens I keep tweaking until I can't remember the fast stroke and then I seem to start all over again.  It sucks but happens.   I keep thinking if I can just get a little higher in the water I could go faster.  With a wetsuit, I feel lightening fast because there is less drag from my body sitting low in the water.

After this morning's workout, I almost stopped at Starbucks on the way to Elena's houes for the last Egg Nog Latte of the 2008 Holiday season.  I stopped myself because well I'm fat.  I don't need those 600 calories.  I opted for a 140 calorie cereal bar.  I'm slowly running out of junk food at my house as well so my weight is coming back down.  I'm under 150 again.  Yeah weight loss starvation.  I just need to make it through the college bowl season and NFL playoffs.

This is the last day of slacking on my workouts.  Come tomorrow, I will start doing swimming intervals at least once a week as well as incorporate hill repeats and fartleks into my running training.  My cycling will still just be spin class unless the weather is good then I'll hit the road bike.  I figure by February to start putting some road miles on the tri-bike.  Last year because of my partial lung collapse, I wasn't able to train during most of January.

I'm excited about the 4 day weekend considering Xmas holiday was a 5 day weekend.  I can't believe how short the 5 days off felt.  I think if I took a whole month off I would swear it was just a couple of days.  Either way this is the last days off from work until Memorial day.  Oh joy!

Happy New Year everyone..

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the day before Xmas

Okay that's original. lol.  There's probably only a billion blogs with that title or some variation today.  I'm officially taking an FTO(flex time off) day today from work.  Woohoo...I slept in til 8:30am and I'm going to go for over 6 miles at lunch today.  The weather has finally turned around and it's even supposed to be in the 40s tomorrow, the big day.

I have to be over at the house at 7:30am to watch Elena open gifts.  Elena will be running around crazy by then as she will easily have been up since 6am.  We'll open gifts and eat some breakfast.  It will be a good time.  She tell me about how Santa ate some cookies and drank the milk.  I think she was 4 when she first put out cookies that she made for Santa.  I still remember her basically screaming at me when I showed up that Santa ate her cookies.  It was a classic moment in her Xmas experience.  She's still excited each year but soon enough she'll stop doing it and stop caring about Santa.  Well one less gift for her, hah!

Usually during the holiday season, I'm the master bah-humbugger but not this year.  It's pretty easy just ignore the holiday season when you stay in your condo 24/7.  This is positive for me and positive for Elena since it was always tough for me to match her Xmas excitement every year.  I'm not much for Xmas even though as a kid we had great Xmas's for being as poor as we were.  We always had a tree with decorations and I got gifts from Santa and Mom.  I usually got some cool stuff.  I don't know why I don't like Xmas but I don't.  Maybe I'm just weird.

Welp I'm off to start my epic 5 days of sitting on the couch watching movies.  I'll interrupt that every so often for a workout but that's it.

Merry Xmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There will be thick blood

Yep, my blood must be like molasses right now after running outside the past two days.  It was 14 yesterday with a wind chill of about zero and I ran to the gym this morning in 14 degree weather and no wind.  These are the coldest running days I've ever done.  It wasn't too bad either.  I think I'm getting used to the cold.  As I was freezing my way back to the condo this morning, I started to think of how much harder my heart must be working to push the molasses through the veins.  It hit me maybe it's good to be training outside in the winter putting in those base miles.  The heart is working extra hard but you're not going as far or as fast.  Once spring and summer roll around the blood thins back out and the heart doesn't have to work as hard.  Therefore, you get free speed.  Instead of "train low, sleep high" my mantra is "train cold, race hot".  Catchy!

I watched my DVR recording of the Ironman World Championships in Kona finally.  It got me thinking about doing another Ironman just to see if I could really kill the run.  Seeing Normann Stadler hamstring cramp up in the marathon hit home.  I was worried about my hamstring which is why I didn't push extra hard during the tough time of the marathon.  I'm getting close in my training where I can feel like if I just go my body will respond.  My early running days were always based on just going no matter what.  Recently though my body keeps letting me down so I've been running tentative which hurts not only in racing but training as well.  I can't push myself to exhaustion on tough training days because I'm worried about injury.  I keep just cruising this winter in hopes of being able to unleash some great training this spring and not get injured.

3 days til Xmas and I can tell.  I ran by Best Buy yesterday and the parking lot was pretty packed for a Monday afternoon.  I still need to walk over there and get some batteries for Elena's Xmas keyboard.  I'm hoping I can get them into her stocking Xmas morning without her noticing although at the age of 7 she's getting wiser to me being sneaky.  Every time I mention Elena's age to someone it shocks me that she's 7.  I almost always goof it up and say 6.  6 is such a perfect age not too young but not old enough to make me look ancient.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's ALIVE

at least right now, my computer has come back to life.  My old home windows box which is going to be retired soon, Imac here I come, is back alive.  The video card was having all kinds of troubles this weekend so I thought it was pretty much dead.  Somehow it came back to life today as I was going to start backing up the hard drive onto an external for the move after MacWorld in January.

It's amazingly cold right now.  It's a whopping 12 degrees with a wind chill of ZERO.  I might have to try out my condo's fitness center's treadmill today.  I'm not sure running in this weather is good for the old lungs.  Since it got so cold last night I had the head on...I know SHOCKING!  The weird thing or maybe the cool thing about my heater is it rarely runs the heat element.  Most of the time it just recirculates the air which keeps the thermostat right at the desired temperature.  I guess probably all home heat does this but sometimes it pisses me off because it just seems like it's blowing cold air around.  I guess it probably wouldn't be so bad if I actually put the temperature at like 70 rather than 62. lol

I found out this weekend that Maryland is more of a dry state than Oregon.  It seems that you can't buy beer or wine at most grocery stores if not all grocery stores.  I guess Whole Foods has an exception or a special license but Safeway and Giant don't.  I had to walk to a liquor store to get a bottle of wine.  Lame...that's the best part of California is you can buy all liquor, beer, and wine at a grocery store.  However, this tells you how sad I am as I hadn't attempted to buy such things since I moved here last year.  The wine was for a little condo association get together.  I met some more neighbors so that was good.

I watched quite a few DVDs this weekend as Elena was at her house nursing her cold/cough.  I saw Tropic Thunder and it was way out there.  Funny but so wrong.  Tom Cruise dancing was hilarious and probably the best part of the movie.  I saw Fred Claus and it was a pretty good movie but not enough humor.  I think the Santa chase was the best part of the movie.

It's only 3 work days til Xmas...JOY!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Man V Food RAGE!!

Okay, a friend of mine mentioned that there's this new show on the Travel channel call Man v. Food. She said it was about a guy who goes around the country taking on those food challenges.  WTF!!!  I was robbed!!  This was my idea.  Damn you Travel Channel!!  I should be the host of this show.  Some of his food stops are already on my list that I've been researching for the past year.  You can read one of my past blogs about it here.  Are you kidding me?  There's an actual show.  I'm steaming...

I guess I have to watch it to see how pathetic the host really is and I hate him already.  I wonder when they came up with it.  It better be pretty dang close to when they televised the top 10 pig out places.  Still though....I guess I'm not the only one with good ideas.

Well now that I'm on the blog I might as well talk about some other stuff.  It seems a bunch of companies are forcing 2 weeks of vacation at the end of the year.  Sometimes I wish Mentor would do this as my vacation is just sitting there but nope.  I could always take it but then I wouldn't be able to dish out some good ribbin on all the slackers taking theirs.  Its not like I have anything to do.  I'd just get up later and watch crap loads of TV.  Sure I could do chores but really why?  I'm such a bum.  I'd never see the outdoors during the winter if I didn't go out and train daily.

I finally got Maryland auto insurance and it's cheaper than my Oregon insurance would've been.  Woohoo...probably has a little to do with only driving like 6000 miles or less a year.  So I'm totally Maryland legal with a registered car and auto insurance.  Since I'm such a good Maryland citzen the county decided to send me my first jury duty letter.  Crap.  I haven't been here even a year and I got to deal with jury duty.  I'll make sure to answer all questions like a whack job to make sure I don't make it past the first phase.  Hopefully, I won't even make it past the initial selection phase.

Alright back to work and fuming about the Travel channel.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter is back.

Well the brief stint of spring ended this morning.  It's getting colder as the day goes on and we're supposed to get hit with some freezing rain late today.  Joy!  With my body being pudgy, I forced myself out of bed early this morning from my patented run, swim, spin, run workout at the gym.

I did my first sortof swim workout since the Ironman training.  I did 100 yard intervals and was having some decent times so that was good.  I've swam 3 times since Saturday and will swim on Thursday morning and one weekend day.  So at least I'm getting a little consistency in the pool.  I think I've figured out the right stroke now I just need to get strong enough to keep pulling big water and fast to maintain my top slow er speed.

Since it was so warm yesterday, I went for a nice 6 mile run and clicked off some decent miles.  I'll start doing some hill repeats and little fartleks after the New Year.  Maybe I can find that 1:25 half marathon pace after all.  The cool thing is I know the Florida course so I can definitely be prepared for the tough mental sections.

Xmas is only 9 days away...and I still haven't taken Elena to Santa yet.  I'm such a slacker.  So the 6 year Santa Xmas card streak is in jeopardy, but maybe I can pull it out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All-time fat

Yes, it's happened as predicted.  I've hit an all-time fat of 155 lbs at the gym this morning.  My swim sucked big time as I felt lethargic and now I know why.  God how far I've fallen.  13 lbs and it's not like I haven't been working out at least some all the time.  Maybe I need this... If I was a teenager I could get this.  I guess people just have trouble feeling full so they keep eating.  Although if you just fill 3/4ths of your stomach with ho-hos, twinkies and Doritos it probably won't matter that it's only 3/4ths.  It's almost exactly 6 months til the Half Ironman and I feel even less motivated now.  At least I finished my Doritos this weekend so I don't have to worry about eating those for awhile.

Elena and I saw Bolt yesterday.  Rhino was hilarious and made the movie in my opinion.  We also saw the preview for the next Pixar movie, Up.  It looks odd to say the least and I'm not sure.  It looks even worse than the first Wall-E previews.  We saw the movie at the new restaurant/pub style theaters that's just down the street from my condo.  Elena loved the whole concept and kept saying "Awesome" the whole time.  I'm not sure how it's going to survive because it was just us and 2 other people in the entire theater and there was 3 movies going on at the same time, Day the Earth Stood Still, Transporter 3 and Bolt.  It's cheaper for admission than the big megaplex but the screens are smaller.  We ordered pizza and watched the movie.  I'll probably try to go see a few more movies over there and hope it stays in business.

I've been watching that new show Secret Millionaire.  It's so interesting seeing how rich these people are and then how they see how really poor people live.  It's also interesting to see how much they actual give.  The current leader in that department was the self-made chicken finger franchise couple.  I'm not sure how much he's worth but he doled out a good chunk of his money as compared to the saddest was the self-made internet millionaire in San Fran.  He was probably the richest of them all as he just sold a company to Yahoo for 300 million but yet he didn't meet the show's minimum rules which says they have to give at least $100K.  He only gave $90K.  Percentage wise it was pathetic.  It be like me giving $25 to charity.  I'm figuring as the show progresses maybe the millionaires will figure it out but right now some of them haven't.  They seem willing to give but then cheap out.  It's better than zero but still paltry compared to what they could give.  Overall, it's a good show for the holidays.  Way to go Fox Reality.

Not much else going except it's going to be 60 here today...woohoo!!  I'm going for a long run in shorts and a shirt.  I'm just going to bask in the warmth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Horror Fashion

Yes, it's time for horror fashion but before I get the fun started(lol) let's discuss how I'm such a bum.  I had gotten all my workout stuff together last night with the plans of waking up early and heading to the gym.  I even figured I'd just drive to the pool, swim and take the spin class rather than run.  I looked at my clock around 4am and said to myself okay I just get up at 4:40am and I'm set.  At about 4:20am, I looked at the clock again and proceeded to bag my workout.  I decided to sleep in again.  How lame is that.  The half ironman is 5 months away and I'm sleeping in.  I think I'm going to have to bust out some serious New Year's resolutions.  I'll run at lunch time today since it's suppose to be at least 40 something degrees unlike yesterday where the high was 32 and around lunch it was only 25 degrees.

So let's talk fashion specifically horror fashion.  Again as I mentioned yesterday, I saw the Texax Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning this weekend. As I saw the last victim trying to run in cowboy boots and jean skirt, I started thinking what would be the ideal attire you'd want to be have if you happened to be caught up in a horror movie.

Shoes: My first thought here is a good running shoe since if you start running you don't want to be caught.  If that's a simple jaunt down the driveway to your car or if it requires miles and miles of running until you're completely out of the current city/town/county and at quite a large metropolitan city's police station.  Side rant:  Why is it horror victims always run for awhile then immediately head up to the road or the first house they come to?  Bad idea.  I'd be running for a hella-long time before even attempting to go anywhere near a road.  I wouldn't even stop for that's city's or county's police station.  No way and I'm not taking the chance that whole town/county is on the gruesome deaths.  Okay back to shoes so running shoes seem like a good choice and probably a trail running shoe would even be better.  Less chance of slipping in the muck which surrounds most of these horror houses.  But I was thinking about close quarters escape and this almost always requires kicking at your killer while scrambling on the floor, under a bed, or through a window opening.  Running shoes really wouldn't pack much punch.  Combat boots!  I mean the armed forces run in these all the time and they can definitely put some hurt on a killer if you kick him in the face, groin or even stomp on his toe. These would also work in muddy cold water.  It always seems you have to traipse through a massive puddle in some dark basement which soaks you up the knees.  On top of that, you're protected against an achilles slash ala Hostel.
And the winner is...
Combat boots

Pants: I think this one is a no-brainer.  I think jeans are an easy choice.  They're durable and yet comfortable.  You might want to say shorts but man I'm thinking exposed legs could be bad plus with our previous shoe choice it just wouldn't be stylin.  How about fatigues?  Well these would match our combat boot but they would signal to the killer, bad ass.  The bad ass always gets taken out early in the movie so don't get too cocky.  Sweats or running pants just are good when trying to protect you against a killer's death grip.  The killer is going to be able to ball up a nice chunk of your sweats. Now you can't be wearing these type of jeans:
Baggy jeans are a major problem.  You can't really run fast because they're falling down.  I even own some relaxed fit jeans that just wouldn't work.  They'd get caught on that nail in the window as you were trying to squeeze out with the killer groping at your feet.
And the winner is...
501 Levi jeans

Top:  This is probably the hardest horror attire choice.  Now you could go with a T-shirt.  Not bad and even one of those funny T-shirts like "I'm with stupid" or "Have a nice day!" which shows the standard happy face with an ax sticking out of it's forehead in with the horror movie spirit.  Of course us guys love the white T-shirt on the hot co-eds because that is a 100% forecast for rain.  Nope a T-shirt isn't going to cut it when it gets cold as it seems there is always some serious shivering going on.  How about a stylin dress shirt?  Now that's a little warmer but just too easy to grab or get caught on stuff.  You jump into a closet to hide and lose a button as you shut the door.  The killer walks in looks around and just is about to leave when he spots button by the closet door.  Not good my friends.  A sweater has similar problems by snagging on stuff and the killer being able to get a good grip.  Sweatshirt has similar problems.  A long sleeve t-shirt is a pretty good choice.  It keeps you warm and isn't as easy to grab. Here's the ideal top though...
 
Under Armour long sleeve form fitting shirt.  I mean this is made for horror movies and well performance outdoor sports.  No extra material for the killer to grab.  It will keep you pretty warm.  It's a pretty smooth fabric so it slides through tight spots easy and be less likely to snag.
And the winner is...a cool sweatshirt with the above Under Armour underneath.  You get into trouble and shed the sweatshirt.  Throw it into the face of the oncoming killer to slow him down.
So if I'm going camping I'll have my combat boots, 501 jeans and Under Armour ready to go.  Feel free to comment on what you would wear.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Horror Fitness

Okay some might think this will be one of my typical rants about how I suck and I'm god awful slow out of shape 150lb behemoth but no.  Although all those previous adjectives are true.  This is about movie horror fitness.  I was watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning on Friday and thought of this little topic.

I watch tons of horror films as seen by my previous statement.  I've seen all the Chainsaw Massacres.  This one was pretty good and really put things together nicely with the previous franchise redo, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It had all the same faces from that one including R. Lee Ermey who is quite good in both of the movies.  Not Full Metal Jacket great but good.. I've seen all the Friday the 13th and even noticed there's a new one coming out this spring.  I suffered through all of the Nightmare on Elm Streets including the later ones.  I made it through all of the Halloweens even Rob Zombie's reboot and he's doing part 2 soon I hear.

So as I was watching Leatherface running after a victim in the movie, I thought I wonder how fast he can run.  It looked like he was doing 8s.  Then I started to compile a list of horror killers, the requirements must've be an actual person(sortof) and have at least 3 movies.  This rules out Candyman with just 2 movies for instance and Chucky from Child's Play doesn't count because he was a doll.  Here's my list: the aforementioned Leatherface, Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, Jigsaw(he was in 3 1/2 of the 5 movies), Pinhead, The Tall Man, and maybe Ghost Face from Scream.  The problem with the Scream killer was he/she was different in all 3 movies so I'm not sure it counts.

So let's break it down..

Leatherface:  He's quite a big fella and was moving pretty good in this last movie and not so fast in some of the others.  I'm still thinking he's about 8 minute pace guy.  He makes up for that pace by being able to wield a large chainsaw while running that pace.

Jason:  He really seems to be able to do some serious trail running.  I'm not going to count we he was revived in the future with nanobots and became bionic Jason.  He ran mostly with a machette and sometimes an ax.  I'm thinking he ability to catch co-eds in the forest quickly puts him about 7:30s on the open road.  Speaking of running co-eds here's a great Nike commercial:




Now Jason's build would make him a decent triathlon athlete but he can't swim and water is his kryptonite.  So no triathlon for him.

Freddy: He's one of the leanest and wimpiest looking of all the horror killers.  This makes him the perfect distance runner.  Of course, he's in the dream world and can basically do anything even outrun Gebrselassie.  Before being whisked off to nightmare land to terrorize folks, he probably was able to run pretty good.  He did have to catch kids to bring them back to that warehouse.  I'm thinking he's one of the most natural runners based on his body composition.  On top of that he's smart and would be able to execute a race plan, push the pace early, cover the moves, let someone else lead. Now for my time estimate, I'm thinking sub 7s without training.

Michael Myers:  He can move as seen by him jumping onto the station wagon in the first movie.  I'm thinking he's a little faster than Jason but not much maybe 7:15 mile pace.  Still not lightening fast.  He's got a similar build as Jason but not the fear of water so he could probably excel in triathlons.

Jigsaw(killer in the Saw movies): He's tall and in the first movie was able to outrun that young detective after being shot in the leg.  I'm thinking he's pretty fast at 7 minute pace.  He probably competed in local runs as a cancer patient to help raise money for cancer.  Think about it, he needs some relief from building all those elaborate death traps.

Pinhead: Another lean and mean guy who could probably bust out some decent mile times.  He was in the war so he probably was able to move fairly fast carrying a full pack and gun.  He mostly glides/floats as Pinhead except in Hellraiser 2 where he's walking down the street.  Unlike Freddy, I think he's uncoachable.  He's too arrogant to take any direction.  I'm thinking he's a 8 minute guy just not able to live up to his potential.

The Tall Man: He's one of the main killers in the Phantasm franchise.  I don't remember much of the movies but I don't think he ran at all.  He had these metallic death balls do his bidding.  However, he is tall and based on such a long stride length it wouldn't take much for him to move.  He's the oldest in our list at what I would estimate 60s.  I'm saying 8:30s.

Ghost Face(Scream franchise): Again technically not really in the same league as the previous killers because there were different people under the mask each movie and even multiple people in the same movie.  These killers seem to be the fastest in our list though as they were moving in full sprints at some points.  Interval training at its best.  I'm guessing sub 7s were doable for most of these killers.

I really hope I haven't missed any key killers for the list.  I'm going to have to give Freddy the nod here as the fastest of the bunch.  You definitely want to be trained up if you came up against Freddy in a horror movie.

Tomorrow more horror fun...fashion!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Loafing

That's one of the many terms Thesaurus.com gave me as a synonym for lazy. I bagged getting up early to run, swim, spin and run back from the gym.  I was actually sortof awake and ready but just blew it off and decided just to run at lunch time.  How far I've fallen in such a short time.  My sleeping-in training is improving greatly though and I should be able to conquer the sleep til noon before too long.

I guess people get fat because well they don't want to work out but still eat like they did when they used to work out.  I'm heading down that path.  At least I'm getting faster at my running.  My pace has been slowly coming back around to a nice smooth 7:15ish which doesn't feel too bad at all.  I tried to push the pace a little yesterday for about a mile trying to reel someone in on the trail and boy that was hard.  I have no speed at all.  I definitely miss the days when in the middle of a workout I could throw down a 5:30 if I needed to.  Who knows if I can keep my legs healthy maybe by spring I'll be able to get back to that?

Elena told me she wanted a Wii or DS for Xmas.  I told her that she could "want" all she wanted but it wasn't going to happen.  I asked her why and she said because she wanted to play Pokemon on the DS.  My daughter likes Pokemon.  That's been around forever and I thought by the time she was old enough it would've disappeared..no such luck.  I told her to be happy that she has a computer and not to get too greedy.  She agreed but said she still wanted one.

I'm trying my hardest to make sure she doesn't turn into one of those kids who always bragged about what they had or flaunted their cool stuff.  I definitely want to give her all the things I never got to have when I was a kid but I don't want her to brag about it.  She goes to school with a bunch of kids less fortunate and I still remember how it hurt to see someone bragging about the cool toy they got for Xmas.  I think is starting to understand as she is very compassionate for other people's feelings.  She always has been and its one of her great qualities that I never and still really don't have.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ahh Cyber Monday

Hopefully everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I ate so much that I gave back all the losses in the lb department I had worked on the past week. It was massive on the old scale at the gym this morning. I had to move the big balance onto the 150 for a whopping 152. Ouch...considering after my killer workout Thanksgiving morning, the same scale said 142. I was dehydrated though as I did the killer spinning class, went for about a 5 mile run and then swam for 45 minutes. I bonked big time in the pool but that was okay as it really wasn't about going fast but more about fasting. Heh!

I was eating T-day dinner with some friends of Amber and Joe. They live in this suburb of DC called Bowie. I arrived just before 1pm and there were snacks a plenty. I proceeded to slowly consume snacks but tried to limit the intake in order to consume mass quantities of turkey and mash potatoes. They were deep frying their turkey. This is a really cool method to cook a turkey but it's quite dangerous I guess due to the fact you have a big pot of 350 degree oil. I guess that's why castles back in the day used to use it for defense because it would not be fun to have it dumped on your head.
Just the plain oil heating up which takes awhile.
Turkey is in cooking...I heard on a radio show that it only takes 3 minutes per pound to cook the turkey with this method as opposed to 20 minutes per when you put in the oven.
And the final product...the skin was nice and crunchy plus the turkey was quite juicy. Just as everything was finishing up I was having a massive hunger pain. Basically I was bonking just by sitting in a chair...good times. I got a small plate of turkey to tide me over before the true feast begun. Phew...crisis averted.

I had 3 massive plates of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing. Plus some corn, rolls and green beans. I could barely move afterwards as we all let things settle before starting on the 3 pies, and 2 big massive buckets of homemade ice cream.

By the time everyone left at 8 something I was in a full turkey coma. I got home and went to bed but I woke up about 1am all hot and full. I couldn't sleep at all. I think my system was in overdrive converting all my stomach contents into FAT!! I rolled out of bed at 7am and hit up the internet to see what sales were going on.

I live about a block from a Best Buy, Circuit City and Target. I had planned to start looking for Elena's Xmas present an electronic keyboard. It was on sale at Best Buy but was sold out online but Target also had one on sale. I got dressed and decided to walk over to see about picking one up. It was pure bedlam at Best Buy. The parking lot was packed and people were parking on the street. I had to stop in just to see it first hand. There were people everywhere. I strolled through some aisles and they had the keyboard in stock so I figured why not save my walk over to Target and just pick it up. I waited in line for about 30 minutes just to check out. They were saying that doorbuster people had arrived at 11pm the night before and camped out in line for the 5am opening. Definitely crazy and I might have to see this door opening first hand next year.

I watched DVDs all day Friday and just tried to recover from the turkey. On Saturday, it was time to starting thinking about the chance of the Beavers to go to the Rose Bowl. I watched the game and it was so sad. Our defense played horrible which I really blame on the defensive coordinator for not preparing them to defend Oregon's spread offense. They had a chance to go to the Rose Bowl and just blew it. I guess it's for the best since I can save all that money I would spend on that mini-vacation and use it elsewhere. Typical Beaver let down. Plus I think I may have to travel already twice in December for business so a third time would be hard.

On Sunday, Elena and I watched a bunch of HGTV. She likes those shows because Amber and Joe are in the process of getting a house. They had been renting but now they are going to buy. It interesting watching because they show various markets in certain cities. Like they had one couple looking at houses in the Bay Area where a 3 bedroom 1 bath is 700k while this other lady in Dallas was looking at a 3 bedroom 2 bath for 130k. Wowzer!! Of course another show was about log cabin homes and those were just crazy. It's just amazing at how many people just have tons of money. I mean these things were monstrous and had crazy stuff. I just wonder how people can even heat such a massive house. One log cabin was out in the middle of nowhere and had to provide all its own energy with generators and solar power. Wild stuff...I wonder how these HGTV shows are going to be after a few months when they actually were taping during the current environment.
Hope everyone has fun shopping online today...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yay oh YAY!!

I'm so happy right now it's unbelievable and it's all due to something that I found out late last night about work.  Yeehaw!!  I can't tell right now until it's official but it's going to make my work life so much more enjoyable.  Can't wait..

On to the more mundane, my workouts.  I got my fancy new watch yesterday and it's looks weird.  I wasn't expecting it to be so small but that's a benefit for my dinky wrist.
 
The other odd thing is it has a screensaver.  The display can automatically turn off after 6 hours or 12 hours to save batteries.  Awesome!  The thing that currently bugs me is the back light comes on for every split I take with the watch.  My previous Nike watch had a mode like that but you could turn it off.  I can't seem to find the "off" for this mode.  It's cool that even the numbers are tilted where as in the first incarnations of Nike watches they just tilted the entire dial.
I've started my fasting for T-day.  I've slowed my food intake but I've upped my workouts as I swam, ran and did the hard spin class today.  I should head into the T-day dinner with a nice calorie deficit and be able to gain 5 lbs easily.  I'll be like one of the hobbits from Lord of Rings and be eating at least 5 times during the festivities.
My run is slowly coming around.  I feel pretty comfortable muscle wise on most of the runs and I feel my legs are adapting to the daily pounding.  If I can keep a nice weekly mileage and be ready come January to put some hill work on top of it that will set up nicely for the half Ironman.
I'm all set for some serious slacking during the next 4 days of holiday.  I've got 5 DVDs from Netflix plus on top of that I can stream movies via my Xbox 360 from Netflix as well.  We got some decent football games on Thursday and of course Saturday is the big OSU/Ducks game.  I'm awaiting a nice mold of my ass on the couch cushion by Sunday evening.
Well here's to everyone and hoping you all have a good T-day... 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beavers!

I can't believe they pulled out the game on Saturday.  The whole game I was the supreme pessimist even up until the point where Straughter got behind the AZ secondary with 40 seconds to go and us being down by 1 points.  Of course we had blown the PAT yet again in a close game to be down by that 1 point.  After the win, I was thinking that usually we'd lose that game so maybe it is our year.  We have to win at home against the Ducks to go to the Rose Bowl for a rematch with Penn State.  It's going to be a great game and could rival the triple OT game in the rain at Reeser Stadium back in the day.  Our last second field goal win in Arizona made the ESPN Pontiac Game Changing Performance voting.  Pretty cool...and we're sure to move up in the rankings.

It continues to be bitter cold. I don't think it's been over freezing for a week or so.  Well maybe yesterday.  I've been running in high 20s with wind chills for the last few runs.  Brutal.  I did put in my first 6 miler since returning from my calf injury.  It was perfect.  I'll continue to slowly increase the miles to get in a nice base.  I have absolutely no speed and it seems a struggle to bust out 7:30s these days.  I have a nice winter coat which probably is helping with those slow running times.

I barely made it out bed this morning for the run-swim-spin class-run workout today.  I love me some sleep and its so hard to suffer by waking up.  I ate tons of junk food this weekend so I needed the workout.  It's almost December and I really need to get my act together as I spent yesterday on the couch.  It's been dry so I could've road the bike outside but I'm such a cold weather wimp I haven't been out on the bike for weeks.  And unlike last year I haven't been getting on the indoor trainer either.  I just chalk all this up to the extreme work ethic I had leading up to the Ironman and it just wearing me down mentally that I'm like a teenager rebelling.

Time to look for flights to Pasadena...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Old and forgetful

The other day I received not one but two current issues of Bicycling magazine in the mail.  It had my address on it and looked all official.  I have no memory of subscribing to this magazine.  I've read the magazine at gyms and Eddie's in the past but it's pretty fluffy.  It's a cool airplane distraction but I really don't remember actually spending money on a subscription.  Weird huh?  Maybe it was a gift but again no one has come forward?  I guess I must've just forgot about it or I got suckered by a banner ad somewhere.

I know it could not have been one of those down on there luck kids who came by selling magazine subscriptions because our building's exterior door is locked.  This requires a key even from our mailman to deliver.  No unwanted solicitors at these condos.  It should've been a selling point as I'm sure most people hate having to answer their door in the middle of the evening.  You got have you found god folks, the aforementioned magazine kid trying to go to summer school program, and the classic neighborhood girl scout schlepping cookies for the man. 

I mean seriously $4.50 for 18 mint wafers.  Really?!?!  Where's all that money going?  Maybe it's turning girls into leaders of the free world but still it's seems like some serious filling of the coffers for the higher ups in the organization.  It's a dot org for f-sakes. Basically, non-profit but still making the officers of the company some serious dough.

On top of this nowadays, the girls aren't even the ones selling the cookies.  Their parents are running around doing the selling for them at work and in social settings.  Back in my day, you walked miles and miles through neighborhoods knocking on doors, putting on your best sales pitch, runnning scared from dogs as you approached fenced off doors, getting stink-eyes, and being offered to come in, have a conversation with an old lady who hasn't seen anyone in months while only selling 1 item for a half hour of your time.  Kids have it way to easy these days with their fancy internet, HD TV, and gaming consoles.  Back in my day, we'd have to go outside and play and had to squint at the TV to see through the fuzziness because the rabbit ears weren't just right.  Those were tough days!

It's Friday and the big Beaver game against Arizona is tomorrow.  We win this game against those Wildcats and we're one away from the Rose Bowl.  I think I'll be watching the game from the comfort of my home rather than heading down to the alumni sports bar.  The sports bar that the alumni gather at just doesn't have that great of food or beer.  It's just so-so.  It does so well because it has a ton of HD tvs and gets all the games no matter what.  It food just is mediocre.  It reminds me of the Kitchen Nightmare shows in how the food can be a killer to a restaurant.  I love that show.  Last week's mexican restaurant episode was classic.  Cockroaches, week old refried beans and rice and the waiter throwing un-eaten chips from a table back into the chip pile.  Awesome!  I've eaten at enough sketch mexican restaurants to relate.

Go Beavs!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mmm...cold pizza

I'm munching on cold pizza right now as my post workout breakfast.  It's just simple cheese pizza from Elena's birthday.
 
I know it doesn't look all that great but hey it's carbs and fat so what can I say.  I'll eat anything.
It was a balmy 34 degrees out this morning at 4:30am when I took off on my run to the pool.  It felt amazing as compared to yesterday's 28 degree run with a wind chill around 20.  I got to the pool and just did some drills.  My arms felt tired which I thought was odd since I hadn't swam since Tuesday.  I finished up my drills and did the spin class.  It only had about 8 people as compared to the Saturday morning class which had at least 20.  The workout ended up being only 45 minutes as compared the normal hour.  I wasn't complaining as I still had to run home.  Luckily the run is only 2.8 miles so no big deal.
I'm home, showered, drinking coffee and eating cold pizza and it's only 7:30ish.  All my workouts are done for the day.
Last night I watched Lady in the Water by M. Night Shyamalan.  It was an odd movie but pretty straightforward which made the movie seem even stranger considering M. Night Shyamalan is know for such major twists and turns during his movies.  I'm surprised after seeing that it got such bad reviews.  I mean it wasn't great but it sortof had an interesting story.  Although it was the worst in regards to him pimping himself as an actor during the movie.  He had a major part in this movie and it was ugly to watch.  His career is quite interesting.  Basically, he's riding The Sixth Sense for 9 years.  It's like hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth to win game 7 and the series your rookie year, signing a 10 year multi-million guaranteed contract and then batting .205.
So far the oddest movie I've seen this entire year is A Scanner Darkly.  Not only is the movie shot in a real animation style but it's totally bizarre the whole way through all the way til the end.  It's an entertaining movie and Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson do a pretty good job throughout.  Keanu is well Keanu.  I'd recommend it if your looking for something totally different.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's dead

My watch that is...the main display just disappeared during my run yesterday in sub-freezing temperature.  Who knows maybe it was the cold that did the watch in but no such luck.  I even replaced the battery hoping that was the reason but it's dead.  It was the first model of the Nike foot pod system.  I bought it after my marathon in 2002 and then it sat while I exclusively cycled until 2005 when I started doing duathlons. I guess it had a decent life the best part of the watch was the band never broke.  My previous Nike watches and Timex watches have always had the bands break.

I immediately started looking for a replacement watch.  I had started my search a little before the Ironman when the watch face fell off in the pool.  The watch still worked fine after I superglued the face back on but who knows maybe all the water got in there and somehow screwed it up.  I'm just thankful it didn't fail during the Ironman.  Overall looking back on it most everything went right for the Ironman.  I didn't get sick leading up to it and the watch hung with its problems and even the batteries in the cycle computer and watch made it.  I ordered a Nike Vapor watch because I got a decent deal on it from Amazon.com and it has a memory of 300 splits.  Sweet...I was looking for a watch with at least 100 splits.  I love my splits.  50 splits just isn't enough because if you forget to record workouts for a couple of days the splits are gone.  I still don't know my splits from first ever and fastest marathon because they got accidentally deleted due to the watch only having only a 50 total split memory.  I still curse not documenting them sooner. This was in 98 before the Portland Marathon went to chip timing.  I think my watch time was 2:49:something where as the official time was 2:50:something.  I started a few rows back(big mistake) and started my watch when I crossed the start line.

Today's run will be on feel.  That's okay I guess since it's probably going to be a whopping 30 degrees when I go.  Right now it's 25 with a wind chill of 20.  Joy!!  The sun is out so no snow.  This will make it feel like a warm 30 when I run.

The benefit of working at home is I get to roll out of bed and be working in about 5 minutes.  The disadvantage is I have to pay for heat and air conditioning which I'm notoriously cheap about.  So right now it's probably under 60 degrees in my room because it's on the north side of my condo.  This is great for the summer as it's cooler but sucks in the winter.  I think I'll be investing in a space heater soon as my fingers are slowing down due to numbness from the cold keyboard.  I guess typing with gloves can't be too bad...maybe I'll test it soon.

8 more days til some serious turkey eating...I can't wait.  I've been preparing myself by waking up with stomach pain each morning due to the amount of junk food I'm consuming the evening before.  Just replace junk food with Doritos and it makes more sense.  They're so good but they hurt my tummy so much and on top of that make me fat.  Who knows maybe all this extra weight is allowing me to float higher in the water during my swimming therefore making me faster?

1 more month til the shortest day and the start of winter...UGH!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Video

So I finally got my finisher video of Ironman Canada.  It's a montage until they show about 10 seconds of the finish area when I'm going through the finish line.  I guess I wasn't going as fast as I thought. ;)


I had Elena last night as well so I got to swim again this morning.  I was trying to keep up with lady who had these monster fins on during my 100.  She crushed me but I posted my fastest time in the 100 for awhile.  This new stroke is really working.  Next month I'll start the intervals back up and we'll see how that goes.

Winter has really begun out here in DC.  The high today will be 45 and the low just around 30.  Ugh...the bikes are just hanging on the rack as I really don't want to strap one to the trainer just yet.  I think I'll keep running instead.  I just hope that I can keep away from the injuries.

Is it just me or does Thanksgiving vacation seem like forever away?  I'm really looking forward to that 4 day weekend.  Gluttony and slacking are perfect.  It appears that Elena's karate class is going to be part of a local Thanksgiving parade so that should be fun for her.  She's probably going to freeze although she quite adept at wearing about 4 shirts and 2 pairs of pants.  I guess she doesn't like her big winter coat that much so she wears extra clothes so she can just leave it in the closet.  My little fashion diva.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prepare for a mega post

So much cool stuff happened since my last post.  I can't believe it.  Well it seems cool to me at least.  Here's the cliff notes version.  Elena's Chuck E Cheese party, signed will, Beavs win, Doritos rule, Facebook fun and 2 frickin seconds.

First on Friday, I signed up for Facebook.  I have no idea how to create a link so anyone interested in "friending" me can do so.  I'm not even sure how you could find a fellow blogger in Facebook.  Here's a link to my profile but I'm not sure it will work.  Send me a friend request.  The best thing about Facebook is I can upload pics and video straight from my phone to the site.  I couldn't do that with my Webshots account, Google or even this blog.  Sweet.  So expect more random photos in this blog.

On Saturday, it was Elena's birthday celebration at Chuck E Cheese with her friends.  Here's a picture of her and Chuck E Cheese.
 
The phone is blurry sometimes...oh well.

 
While I was at Chuck E Cheese, I was able to finally get my will signed.  I had to have 3 adults sign a document stating they watched me sign the will.  I don't really see anyone and certainly not 3 people I know so I was able to use Elena's friends parents to accomplish this.  So it's official everything goes to Elena if something happens to me.
We finished the festivities at Chuck E Cheese and it was time to go home.  Elena got in trouble on Thursday and was grounded from TV for a week starting on Saturday.  So she groaned and groaned all weekend because she couldn't watch TV.  She basically figured she couldn't continue.  All in all pretty dramatic.  Hopefully, it will be a good lesson for her and she'll not break anymore rules. 
Later in the day, the OSU Beavers beat the Cal Bears to keep their hopes and my hopes of a Rose Bowl alive.  We have Arizona this Saturday and then arch rival Oregon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  This is the problem.  Oregon has a bye week this week so they get a full 2 weeks of preparation while the Beavs have a short week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  This really sucks and could have a negative affect on our team.  Just one more hurdle to overcome in order to make it to the Rose Bowl.  That damn Stanford loss at the beginning of the year looms big right now. 
I woke up Sunday late as usual.  Elena was already up, playing and reading books in her room.  It was time to go to Costco.  I had pretty much eaten most of the food I purchased during the mega Costco run of September.  We got there and it was crowded.  I guess people were starting to get ready for Turkey day.  We proceeded to load up on all the food I needed.  Fries, chicken nuggets, pasta, jerky, etc.  They didn't have the tortilla chips out in the front area so we made our way finally to the chip area in the back.  I rounded the corner and I saw them.

 
OMG!!  I freaked out.  Yes, they're back.  I immediately threw 2 bags into my cart.  I knew that 20 pages letter I sent to the Costo East Coast Regional Manager would help.  Okay, I didn't send a letter but I thought about it.  It was like Christmas had come early.  Of course I had a few or 15 chips last night right before bedtime and paid dearly when I woke this morning. 
We got back and went over to the park because it was super windy.  Elena wanted to fly her kite.
  
I took her to UMAC this morning and stopped by the pool for a workout.  During Saturday's swim workout I had found a couple of seconds per 100 with another tweak to my stroke.  I worked on it some more this morning and it rocks.  I'm now down to 1:49s for the 100 in the full swim trunks.  Take off about 5 seconds for drag as compared to my tri-shorts and it's now 1:44s.  Sweetness!!  I haven't even started doing speed work yet and really don't feel in the best swim shape as compared to right before the Ironman.  I'm totally pysched.  With all this speed, I might be able to keep up with Orion afterall. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Facebook

So I registered on the facebook site and boy is it a weird networking site.  I thought it was basically like Myspace but it's not at all.  I did find news on my 20 year high school reunion.  How wild is that!  My high school graduating class were major party animals and basically fought all the rules.  We elected class presidents who bought beer for the class party.  I was surprised there was a 10 year reunion which I totally forgot about and missed even though I could've made it.  Now there's a 20 year one in the planning stages which again I'm amazed that someone from our class cares enough to plan.  Of course I'm way out in DC so I'll probably miss it as well.

Back to Facebook, I'm totally lost on how it works but a couple of people I know are on there so I sent a couple of messages.  Oh well, it's there and I'll probably neglect it more than most but I have one.

I must be sick as I went to bed early and couldn't get myself out of bed until just before 7am.  I did wake up about 10 times during the night to blow my nose because I couldn't breathe.  It could be allergies but I'm usually not tired during any allergy bouts.  I'm sure it will linger for awhile especially with the cold weather.  I ran in torrential rain, wind and cold yesterday.  It was pretty miserable.  I just gotta keep running so I can really blast some runs during the spring.  I long to get back to my old running form where I just felt fast as compared to know where I just feel slow.

I finished watching the final table of WSOP last night.  It was sad actually. I only saw good poker for like 3 hands.  The overall winner won because he was on this mad luck streak.  He river'd two people on their all-ins and turned another and then hit a few other hands amazingly as well.  Just overwhelming luck.  Each time it wasn't that much to stay in at first and then just called with sad pocket pairs which hit every time.  It was shocking how lucky he was.  Of course maybe he's a good player but it was hard to tell at the final table.  Actually the final table was an all-in fest constantly.  Rarely did you get past the flop without someone going all-in.  I guess there was quite a large discrepancy between stacks so most of it was short stacks trying to double up at all costs.  I guess it makes for a decent strategy but I just wonder how they determine chip stacks before they get to the final table.  If they went through the same number of tables, they'd all be the same at the final table.  I don't understand that but oh well.  All in all the final table was pretty sad.  Who knows maybe ESPN skipped normal hands in editing and only showed the all-in knock him down or out hands?  Hard to tell.  The funniest and saddest moment at the final table was when a guy went all-in without looking at his cards.  He ended up with pocket Kings I believe after they were flipped over as he had one taker.  It's the final table where each person you get past is worth about 1 million dollars and you're not looking at your hand.  Are you kidding me?  Of course he won that hand but still...play F-IN poker for the fan enjoyment.

The big college football game is tomorrow.  Cal visits Corvallis.  My Beavs(okay they're not mine but I am an alum) go for another win to keep their Rose Bowl hopes alive.  A running buddy at Mentor back in Oregon is a Cal alum and we've had numerous bets over the years.  I've lost a few and he's lost a few.  We don't bet money, we almost always bet pride.  Like one time I had to buy and hang a "blue" shirt in my office for entire year which of course required numerous explanations of "why".  The best was a year of him announcing "Cal sucks OSU rocks!" before every run when his Bears lost to Stanford and my Beavs beat the Ducks during rivalry weekend.  Both Stanford and the Beavs were big time underdogs.  He's traveling in Europe this week so we didn't get a bet in place.

Go Beavs!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Swimming less = Faster?!?

So I did my typical drop Elena off at her morning before school program and stop by LA Fitness for my swim.  I was messing with my stroke some more and was able to run off some decent times in the middle of a 30 minute swim.  I really haven't started any speed work at all.  I think I'll just put in "base" like running until January then start some speed stuff.  Who knows maybe I can get faster this year on my swimming.  I'll have a chance at keeping up with Orion at the Florida half in May.

My running has been well just there.  Nothing earth shattering with keeping my mileage low and slow.  Again, I'll probably start doing some hill repeats in January and then some tempo sessions in February.  There's a virtual challenge on Slowtwitch to see how fast one can run 1600m.  I haven't tried to push a mile since before heading to Oregon and suffering through a 5:45 on the trail.  A fast mile time would be helpful in my prep for the half.  I'm not sure I have any speed left in my legs though.  I was doing 800 repeats in the summer of 2007 at 2:35ish so I should be able to go under 5 but I'm not sure how far under.  It would be cool to do a 4:40.  Either way it's going to be fun to try over the next season.

The last sport cycling is suffering.  Its been cold and windy lately so I've been ignoring the bike altogether.  I'll do a spin class on Saturday for a little work but I really don't feel like getting on the trainer this winter.  We'll see how the spring shapes up in building to the May race.

Anyone out there interested in poker?  The World Series of Poker happened this past weekend in Vegas and some unknown amateur won.  I DVR'd the final table on ESPN and started watching it.  The first few hands were quite humorous and you could definitely tell that most of the players weren't professionals.  I read a Bill Simmons article that mentioned they should have a pro-only tournament.  I have to agree or something like 5 seats at the final table should be filled from professional only bracket while the 4 others could come from an at large amateur bracket.  Overall it's also funny watching the players appear more sponsored out than NASCAR cars.  I'm amazed that they can actually move in those jackets with all those patches sewn on.  I see a future Halloween costume.

I also watched the first quarter of the Blazer/Heat game last night as Oden made more of an official debut.  He had a dunk and a block.  It was against the Heat's(we have no real center) team.  I looked at the box score and he only had one additional field goal for the rest of his 16 minutes.

I've been extra tired for some reason.  I can't tell if I'm still battling a cold as I seem to blow my nose a bazillion times a day or if my body just likes being under my warm comforter.  The 2nd warmest comforter they sold at Macy's.  I love that thing.  Flannel sheets + comforter equals sleeping warmth without having to heat the condo.  The nightly bathroom visit which is about 2 steps from my bed is major body shock.  If I could get a bed pan, I wouldn't have to leave the warmth of my bed.  Eureka!!

As Black Friday approaches, we inch closer to Xmas.  I'm undecided about Xmas cards this year.  The tradition has been a Elena on Santa's lap since 2001 but I feel little motivation to even bother this year.  I'm already in my Scrooge mood and Xmas hasn't even hit.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy 7th Birthday Elena

My daughter turns 7 today.  Wow, 7 years.  It seems longer to me but overall it's just amazing that she's 7.  2001 was a crazy year considering 9/11 happened during it.  Luckily for Elena she was born in November and not on that day as it would be hard as a birthday.  I do remember going to birth school at OHSU that night.  Kindof surreal...as I'm sure most people remember what they did that day.  Onto to more happy things during that year...I competed in my 2nd marathon that October.  I was in awesome running shape probably close to the best ever in my life.  Earlier in that year I had to travel a ton due to my job but then with the pregnancy complications I stopped all travel after an epic trip in May to Europe.  A few friends got married that summer and we even had to leave one reception early and race back to the hospital.  We practically lived in OHSU during those months.  Elena was born after an epic 5 days of on/off labor for Amber who held on as long as possible but she was still 4 weeks early.  Luckily, the steroids worked and her lungs were fine.  She was super small but she's pretty normal right now.

Here's the latest picture I have from this September:
 
 I bought her Kung Fu Panda, 2 pairs of PJs, and makeup/hair Sleeping Beauty head.  The Sleeping Beauty make-up/hair head is one of the things she picked out when we were at the store.  She really likes to create so I'm sure she'll spend hours putting makeup and doing Sleeping Beauty's hair.
Elena has a half day at school due to parent conferences today and tomorrow.  Our conference is at 4pm so I'll get to hear how she's doing and if it's bad NO GIFTS.   Hehehe...I hope things are going well at school.  It looks like from a picture I saw that her classroom size is pretty small so I hope she's excelling so she can get a scholarship.  More money for my retirement!!
Winter has started here.  It's frickin freezing out right now with the temperature under freezing.  I'm all bundled up as I haven't turned on my heat...yet.  It's not too cold, 62 in house but the sun is out so the living room will be up to 70 easily by noon.  My coffee and my new fleece robe is keeping me warm.  My office/bedroom is cold all the time and my living room is warm all time.  I guess I should migrate like geese for the winter into my living room or just turn on the heat.  Hmmm...electricity expensive, 5 layers of clothes cheap.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The First Nog

As predicted, I didn't make it out of Target on Saturday without stopping by Starbucks for my first Egg Nog Latte of the year.  It was good but it wasn't great.  I'm not sure what happened...maybe not enough nog or the coffee was old.  Something because it wasn't how I remembered.  I guess this is good because the venti w/ tax cost $4.63.  I can't afford drinking those often at all.  I can get a full deal meal at McDs for that money.  I may go poor man nog coffee by buying some Egg Nog at the store and using it as cream for my coffee at home.

I had a couple of okay run days on Friday and Saturday.  I'm still taking it easy with just 4 miles or 30 minutes of running.  I'll go another week of just 4 miles and then the following week throw in one 6 mile run.  The calf soreness is still there but I'm hoping it will just work itself out.

I decided to stay with LA Fitness and just drive down there 3 times a week.  Overall, the quality of the facility won me over and paying $400 up front for a year at Bally right now just isn't worth it.  I woke my sorry ass up this morning and made my way to LA Fitness for my first 5am workout there since I got back from Canada.  It wasn't bad but my awesome stroke that I found didn't provide the fast results like last time.  Ugh...back to my futile attempts at finding the miracle stroke.  I've got 6 months til Florida to find some swimming speed.

I'm in the midst of an internal struggle on getting a coach for training.  I think it would be good to have some focus and experience a coach could provide but it would also make me actually get serious about my training.  I just going by feel right now.  No structure at all.  I didn't even workout on Sunday even though the weather was good just because I was lazy.  I drank a few beers and had a greasy burger at the sports bar watching the Beavers win on Saturday night because well it's no big deal.  Of course, if I pay someone each month to give me workouts all that would change.  My cheapness would overtake everything that didn't help my training.  I wouldn't be skipping workouts because I actually paid for them.  I'd make sure to get enough rest and give my body healthy food in order to achieve the best performance for those "paid" workouts.  On top of that, I'm sure the workouts would be hard.  I'd have to suffer.  I'm getting used to finishing workouts and not feel like puking, being able to walk straight, not wishing for a car to run you over so you can stop the workout, wondering what would happen when you heart explodes, and thinking if it's normal for your legs to burn as if they were being dipped in acid.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Interesting...

I hit up the Bally pool this morning and it was crowded but since it doesn't have lane lines it really makes swimming easy with a bunch of people. I went about swimming with the new found technique from yesterday. I was averaging 7 seconds per 4 lengths slower than yesterday. I say lengths because I'm not sure if it's a 25 yard or 25 meter pool. The person who gave me the tour last Sunday said 25 meter but I figured he was wrong. I finished my workout and walked off the edge. I came up with 26 strides so it could easily be 25 yards with just the "chop" slowing me down. It would cool though if it was meters.

I had a tough run yesterday. Well not too bad but I was trying to make sure my calf was good the whole run. My quads hurt but that always happens after a long run layoff for me. I know I'm getting good running miles in when my quads no longer hurt from the pounding. Today, it's clear and suppose to be 70 so I'm going to hit the road with the bike. I'm going to ride my road bike. I haven't been on it since early May. It should be interesting. There are a lot of leaves on the ground so I have to be careful. I might put in a brick run after the bike. My muscles would be warm so it might make the run easier.

A funny thing I realized this morning as I was waking up, I never feel I can run "fast" in my dreams or nightmares. Isn't that odd? I swear each time I try to run in a dream it's almost impossible to get my legs moving. I don't remember many dreams but the ones I do it always seems impossible to get running fast if I need to. I can fly like Superman..nah just kidding. Although I always loved that 80s movie about dream fighting with the snake guy. I can't remember the title and of course you have the Nightmare on Elm Street titles as well. But damn if I can't run in my dreams. It must be some subconscious thing. Maybe I should get one of those dream analysts to help me understand. They'd say something like, "Not being able to run in your dreams mean you feel trapped in your life" or some bullshit like that. Maybe it's just because my legs are tired and my brain is trying to save them for the following day workout.

Oops forgot to add the thing that I put in the title. I looked at my Runner's World training log yesterday and notices some interesting information. YTD, for my cross training, I've bike 130 times and swam a 129 times. Wild that they're so close. I have 3500 miles of cycling and 137 miles of swimming. Holy crap, I've swam a 137 miles this year so far. That's crazy when you think about it. The duration of swimming has been just under 80 hours. Baffling which averages out to about 37 minutes per session of swimming. I have a 186 miles of swimming since I started swimming back in mid August '07. My running hasn't been as good with 723 miles for just 89 hours for 2008.

Egg Nog: 0 Al: 5

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breakthrough

Okay so I was doing my morning swim at LA Fitness after dropping Elena off and boy is that pool nice compared to the Bally pool.  Ugh...oh well convenience trumps everything.  I was just swimming along struggling as usual.  I decided to try kicking a little bit just to see if it would matter.  It's the off-season so why not kick if nothing else but to use those muscles a little bit.  I was kicking and dropped about 2 seconds per hundred.  Not bad I thought but not great.  I don't what caused me to do it but I just started looking a little more forward than down with my eyes.  This lifted my head and shoulders and I started pulling my arms through the water at a more shallow depth.  Hard to explain but I kept kicking hopefully counteracting my more upright face/shoulder position.  I first noticed that since my arms weren't so "deep" in the water, it became easier to pull faster.  Also it seemed that I was gliding on top of the water.  I clicked my watch split and about died.  I went from a 1:59 to 1:51.  Shocking!  I was keeping 1:51, 2s and 3s for the rest of the swim with this new position/technique.  I'm guessing it might be all wrong since my head is up and I'm not pulling as much water per stroke blah blah blah but I'm faster for sure.  These splits are comparable to my fastest consecutive swimming splits in normal trunks.  It might be all wrong but I'm faster so maybe it's not too bad.  It does require a kick to keep that speed.  I'll keep it up and see if I can even get faster.  Stay tuned...

Onto the run...argh!  I had a pain free run yesterday.  I ran 4 miles in 30 minutes.  The sole inserts felt okay.  They need some breaking in but I think they might help my foot.  My foot is totally healed after all this time off as well as my hamstring.  The calf felt fine and it wasn't tight at the end of the run BUT it was tight this morning.  I'm debating on another 30 minute run today or take today off from running.  Hmmm...I'll probably run just because I really do love running.  It just feels so natural to me.  I guess it's really all mental because I had so many good feelings from running through my younger years.  Either way, I'll start going full assault on this injury which means constant stretching and icing throughout the day.

I've made it through another day without a scrumptious egg nog latte.  Although I may fail that test on Saturday when I hit up Target for Elena's birthday gift.  There's a Starbucks right in the mall on the walk to Target.  I'll keep you updated..

Egg Nog: 0  Al: 4

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Voted

So I'm tired because I stayed up a little bit past my bedtime watching the election coverage.  Once I saw Ohio and Pennsylvania go to Obama I knew the election was decided and hit the bed.  Of course at 5am this morning, I slept instead of swam.  Maybe it's too easy to take Rich's advice from Endurance Nation and skip a few swim workouts.  Hey, I've been battling a cold since I got back from Europe so...there's another excuse.  I am planning to run today for the first time in 10 days as I hope my calf is recovered.

I stood in line to vote which was weird since it was just after 10am.  I was in line for just about 30 minutes.  Wild stuff...but it looks like the popular vote went to Obama as well.  In some of the battleground states, it's looking like every vote matters as there is only about 20,000 votes separating Obama and McCain after over 2 million were cast.  Amazing...

Since I'm in DC, I might go watch the inauguration.  It's a historic event with the first African-American being sworn into office.  Maybe if you're white, it's not that big of a deal but as a minority with my daughter being a minority it is a big deal.  It's like all of sudden, "Whitey likes us!".

Lots of good emotions on that but I immediately start worry as I'm sure lots of people are worrying about the A-word.  I mean it's not like you won't see Obama not walk down a line of folks and shake hands anymore.  Sure probably not as elaborate as a 2hr In Line of Fire Eastwood movie, but more like the Reagan one.  There was already two knuckleheads who were arresting for planning an attempt.  Definitely scary stuff and worrisome.

Back to the lighter side of things, Elena's 7th birthday is coming up in less than a week.  I'm planning on hitting up Target to get her gifts this weekend.  I really don't have any idea what I'll come out of there with but at least as I mentioned before she gave me some ideas.  As always, I'm torn from spoiling her to making her understand that she can't have everything and will need to work for things.

On another Elena front, she'll be 7.  It's time to start thinking about developing her into a world class distance runner.  Okay maybe I'm dreaming but this would be the time to start something like that.  She did run a 7:30 mile as a 5 year old after training for a couple of months.  She might have something there.  There could be something else as well.  I guess she likes messing around on the piano at a friends house so maybe she's pianist.  Although you don't get a scholarship for playing piano to most schools but there are lots of cross country and track programs. ;)  The problem around here is the lack of kid races.  Everything just a 5k and 3.1 miles is a little long for a 7 year old.  Hell back in my day high school girls weren't even competing at the 5k distance in cross country.

On a social note, they re-opened the theater across the street from condo.  It's now a beer and movie place I guess with 6 screens.  They even run first run movies and have happy hour $3 movies at 6pm.  Not bad...if I could get any forward motion on actually going over there to see a movie.  Sure Saw V is tempting me but...I could just wait til DVD as it's not like I know anyone going to spoil the movie for me.  For $3 though it might be easy to catch a so-so movie without much worry like Quantum of Solace...nah that movie looks like its going to ROCK!  It requires a full blown sound system which I don't think this theater has.  Of course if I find out that this theater has Black Butte Porter,

I'll be there at least twice a week.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Open water simulator

That's what the pool at Bally's feels like.  It's 3 "lanes" wide but has no lane plastic do-dad separators that keep the waves down.  They have the lanes painted on the bottom of the pool but they didn't put any anchors in the walls for lane separators. Wild stuff.  I was only one swimming laps this morning at 5am so I was creating my own wake.  I wasn't moving very fast more of a slow tugboat wake than a speed boat wake.  I guess it'll get me ready for sloshing of open water.  Every so often I'd breath in some water because of the extra turbulence.

The facilities are definitely just older at Bally compared to the relatively new LA Fitness.  I'm going to swim the rest of the week to see if it gets crowded then cancel my LA Fitness membership and start the Bally one.  It's about 5 minutes from my condo walking.  Even with the older stuff, it's just too convenient to pass up.  Although, there was a big thread on Slowtwitch that the Endurance Nation coaches recommend just biking and running in the off-season and no swimming.  Of course this was there recommendation for an hour Ironman swimmer.  I guess they say it should be easy enough to get to an hour.  Oh my, I really do suck then..argh I swam my butt off last year and just pulled out a 68 swim.  I must still be doing some technique thing totally wrong or a bunch of little things just slightly off.

I'm heading over to vote at about 10ish with the hopes of avoiding the lines.  The news is talking about all the long lines and Orion said he was waiting in a long line in Florida.  Crazy stuff...I wonder if there were long lines last presidential election.  I was in Oregon which is a total vote by mail state so no polls and no lines at all.  Definitely more convenient and easier in that respect but tougher on candidates as there is no climax to build for TV ads and such.

So has anyone changed their spending habits due to the economy?  Christmas is just around the corner and I wonder how many people will cut back big time this year.  I'm cheap year around so I really haven't changed anything.  I am buying chips again so the Frito Lay line item in the Pepsi quarter results will continue to be healthy.  Google says Frito Lay in North America accounts for 30% of the Pepsi revenue.  Not bad.  I may cut back a little because I've been waking up for the last two mornings with a stomach ache from the previous nights junk food binge.  Luckily, the junk food from the infamous Costco run has been slowly diminishing.

Well back to it..

Monday, November 3, 2008

Are they out yet?

Anyone know if the Egg Nog Lattes are back at Starbucks?  I almost made my way to a Starbucks yesterday but I decided not to chance it.  Once I know the Nogs are back, I'm a slave to picking me up one.  The closest Starbucks is a bit of a walk but I'd brave the weather for it.  The nog is a major weakness during the holiday season.

Elena and I saw Beverly Hills Chihuahua on Saturday.  It was a pretty fun movie.  The rat and the iguana were the best I thought although the voice acting for the dogs was quite good as well.  I rented the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything Veggie Tale movie and we watched that at home.  Elena really likes that movie and saw it in the theater.  It was pretty good for a kids movie and the Rock Monster video at the end was hilarious.  Definitely two good kid movies to watch.  I tried to rent Tinker Bell but Netflix had it as a "Long Wait" so no luck there.

How about the fall back?  Wow, my clock is all messed up.  I woke up at 3am this morning and just catnapped until 6 when I tried to wake up Elena.  She's always a major grump in the morning.  I tried to stay up late enough to watch the entire Texas/Texas Tech football game on Saturday but didn't make it.  I thought Tech would win but it looks like they need a desperation drive at the end.  The Beavers pulled out a win to stay in contention for the Rose Bowl.  We still have 4 more games to go with 3 of them against teams with winning records.  I'm crossing my fingers but we'll see.

I went over the Bally Total Fitness to check out their facilities.  It's pretty small and the pool is 3 lanes wide but no lane lines.  Weird...I guess it makes for more space should it get crowded.  I got a week pass so I'm going to try to roll out of bed tomorrow and hit it up to see if it's crowded.  I'm going to try the spin class too but the spin bikes are the old knob resistance ones unlike the ones at LA Fitness which are magnetic resistance.  The monthly dues are similar but slightly more.  If it's not too crowded, I'll switch just for the convenience factor.

I actually did a swim workout this morning.  I did some intervals and it was tough but not too bad. I swam for an hour on Saturday as well so I'm slowly getting back into the pool.  I'm still way slow compared to summer.  I'll start hitting the pavement on Wednesday to see if the calf is healed.  I bought some insoles for my running shoes.  The podiatrist suggested I do that after looking at my foot injury in June.  I waited until now just in case it causes trouble.  Maybe that combined with slowly bring up the miles will result in pain free running?

Tomorrow's the big day...Everyone might as well make the effort to vote even though it never seems like it matters.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween and I had a ghoulish ride today...Har-har!  I'm hilarious.  At least the weather was decent with 60 degrees sunny and no wind.  I can tell I'm in full winter fitness mode though as it was pathetic trying to do some intervals just keep the legs and blood flowing.  My calf is feeling better and I'll probably start my easy 30 minute runs again on Wednesday.

Elena was all excited for Halloween yesterday.  She also knows that Halloween means her birthday is just around the corner.  She has changed her mind for next year's costume to a witch.  I guess she got my planning gene since she already knows what she wants to be.  She also start talking about being an archaeologist when she grows up so she can study dinosaurs.  She wishes she had a time machine so she could go back and see what color the dinosaurs were.  On top of that she starts talking about how an asteroid hit the Earth which killed the plants and killed the dinosaurs because they could find food.  It's just amazing how fast she's growing up.

She's staying at my place this weekend so hopefully she won't leave upset.  The last time she was cheering that I was going to Europe and she wouldn't have to come over to my house during the week.  Good times.  She definitely has her opinions which I love even though most of time she thinks I'm too tough on her.  It's a fine line on making her independent and tough but not be too hard on her.

We change our clocks back on Saturday night so an extra hour of sleep.  Woohoo!!  Just means it's going to get darker earlier in the day which sucks but oh well.  I still wonder why we still change our clocks.  I wonder if it really saves energy.  I guess people would revolt in the summer if the sun started coming up 4:30AM.

Beavers play tomorrow still having a chance at the Rose Bowl.  GO BEAVS!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Digital TV

I keep see all these ads for digital TV and how if you don't get a converter box by February you won't be able to watch TV.  WTF!!  Who in the world watches TV with rabbit ears?  Are these people so out of touch does it really matter if come February they just get the snow channel?  Will millions of folks in trailers parks across the country wander outside and start wondering if the aliens have invaded because their TVs don't work?  We hear all these percentages of people who own HDTVs I like to hear percentages of people who don't have cable or satellite.  I have to endure commercial after commercial and news story after news story for what 1% of the country.  SAD!!

On top of that what's with these government $40 coupons to help purchase the digital converter box?  Huh?  Why do I care if someone who has a TV can't watch TV because it's too f-in old?  Watching TV is a privilege not a right!  Why are my tax dollars going towards this!!

On the sadder side of sports news, Oden is out for at least 2 weeks.  What a bummer for the guy!  I can feel for the guy since it seems everytime I get healthy enough to run I get injured again.  Although he has quite a few more millions in money guaranteed even with his injury.  It still must suck.  On the relief side of sports, it looks like Brad Lidge can finally put the Pujols home run in his rear view mirror after last nights successful save in the World Series win.

I swam this morning after 2 weeks and it went okay.  My arms are sore which is funny since I only swam 30 minutes.  My form was decent which was most surprising. Obviously if the form was perfect I wouldn't be so slow.  Even after over a year swimming, it still amazing that still something is wrong with my form which accounts for over 10 seconds per 100yds at least.  I don't know it might make sense to do more technique work this winter.  I'm torn between really wanting to get my run back on track like in the old days and improving both my cycling and swimming.  Triathlon training is hard.  It's like when you're eating Neopolitan ice cream.  Should I slowly eat a little of the chocolate, strawberry and vanilla or just eat all of the chocolate first because it tastes so good.

Only 5 days til the election and that tricky DMV updated my address so I only have to walk just under a mile to the polling place.  I'll probably go at like 10 something since it probably won't be crowded.  Nader made the voter pamphlet.  How cool is that!  He really didn't have to do much of anything that I've seen to make the voter pamphlet.  Also what's with the half hour long infomercial last night from Obama!  That was just weird.  I don't understand why he did it.  He's in the lead or so they say so why go so over the top.

On a final note, the whole Jennifer Hudson story is so sad.  I mean really you're a full blown celebrity and you're letting your mom, sister, brother etc still live in a super bad neighborhood because they want to.  I mean I know its different culture but still I would think I'd be putting my foot down on moving the entire family to a better area.  Although who knows if they "knew" the killer it probably wouldn't mattered.  Same thing happened with Michael Jordan's dad, just parking at the side of the rode to sleep while driving across the state.  I guess everyone is stubborn and set in their ways even if they have money.

Back to your normal schedule DIGITAL TV PROGRAMMING...