Monday, February 18, 2008


Well, I did it. I tweaked my calf yesterday and aggravated it this morning on the easy slow 3 mile run to the pool. Crap!! I guess all these little 3 mile runs plus the big almost 2 hour run this weekend did me in. I figured I had spaced the runs out that my body was fine. I was also cruising at a nice pace on Sunday on my run. It was just towards the end that my calf was bugging me. I stretched big time afterwards but I guess it really was just waiting for that next run to screw me.

I get to the pool and decide to just cruise and focus on form. Basically a rest day like Sunday in the pool. On Saturday, I pushed myself and swam for 1200yds. I kept all the 100 splits under 2 minutes. This is the first time I was able to get close to my times before the lung. It hasn't been quite a month of training yet so it's coming along.

Anyway, so I had decided before leaving today to do a spin class. I did one on Friday and it was nice intense workout. The weather today is awesome though so I should've just rode outside. I'd probably ride outside for another workout if it wasn't for my stupid calf. It's 65 right now and just before 11am. It was 60 degrees at 4:30AM when I ran to the pool. Considering it was 35 degrees yesterday at 9AM, I just don't get this DC weather yet. I had to walk/shuffle home from the pool today. I keep trying to stretch but it just hurts.

The running was really going well and falling into place. I guess this the normal thing with age, nagging injuries all the time. I'm going to cycle until this Saturday's pool/running session with the fellow Ironman Canada PFers(possible finishers). I hope my calf feels fine for the run. We'll see.

I have to drive tomorrow to the pool for some intervals before I fly back to Oregon. I'll be back in Oregon til the end of the month. I'll only get one pool workout so it will be interesting to see how the rest helps my speed.

The trip to Oregon will see me import a bunch of sales tax free items back to Maryland. I'm going to buy a massive winter coat so I can stay warm. I need some real luggage so I'll be picking those up as well. I'm also going to hit up Costco and see what non-perishable foods I can get for a good deal to bring back in my new massive suitcase. I'm thinking some trail mix for sure. I wish I could bring back the frozen chicken breasts that Costco has because I've been to 3 different grocery stores here and I can't find any at all. It's like frozen chicken breasts are against the law. I'm definitely going to buy another pair of running shoes to bring back.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

35 and pouring rain

Those were the conditions yesterday as I set out for a long run. This was at 3pm because up until then it was below freezing. The night before all it was did was dump freezing rain on everything. I had to skip my swim which maybe was good.

The run wasn't so bad except I almost got run over at an intersection because the sidewalk was under-construction. I had to run out in the road a little bit and this SUV gave me no room. Luckily I was able to "jump" out of the way before his mirror smacked me. It seems more dangerous running here than it does cycling which is the exact opposite of Oregon. Overall, I got soaked but put in a good 55 minutes of running.

I'm pretty settled in the condo but the lack of storage space is getting to me. I have lots of stuff that just needs to be in storage like cycling stuff, electronics, and linen. I need to put some shelves/racks in each bathroom to alleviate the lack of space for linen/towels. I'll need to hit up Home Depot and see if they have some decent priced stuff.

The other thing is the heater. I have an electric heat pump thing. Anyway, when the temperature gets close to the set temperature it starts blowing out un-heated air. This sucks as I immediately start to freeze. So I go turn off the heat and then turn it back on. I'm sure I'm going to start taking it in the shorts for my electricity bill. I'll buy a little space heater for when I'm sitting at my desk. This will balance out the heat. The good thing is with the position of the thermostat and high ceilings the bedrooms are warmer than the living area. The living area is on the south so if it's sunny out I get free heat that way as well. I think the summer time I'll be able to take advantage of no air-conditioning for most of the day.

Everyone who sits at a computer for gobs of time needs to check out this free internet radio site called Pandora. It's cool as you basically tell it artists you like and plays music from them and from artists like them. If you like a song you can buy it directly from Amazon or Itunes. The interface is pretty friendly as well. If you don't like a song, you can just fast-forward past it.

I'm getting a few bonus running miles in as I run to the pool and back. It's just under 3 miles each way. I swam 2000 yards this morning at just over 2 minute for each 100. I still can't figure out why I'm slower. I guess it still hasn't been a full month since I started working out so maybe it will come around.

Happy Valentine's to everyone...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm IN...finally

I finally closed on the condo last Friday. It wasn't without stress. I found out that the seller's agent had to scramble to get the documents signed by the builder. He was leaving for New York at 11am on Friday and hadn't told the agent. She found out that while in the middle of her workout and had to scramble. Luckily, she was able to get everything signed. There was a last minute change to the closing costs so I ended up getting a check for the overpayment of my cashier's check.

I had found out on the way to the title company that my mover's would be able to deliver my stuff on Saturday morning. Perfect. My luck was starting to change. I had before getting on the metro train to the title company had withdrew their money in order to get US Postal Money Orders. The bank I went to was quite interesting. It's about 1 mile between that branch and another branch near Whole Foods but they are night and day. The one by Whole Foods is all open and what seemed to be normal for me. The one on the opposite edge just outside downtown Silver Spring has 5 inch plexiglass encasing all the tellers. It has an armed security guard standing outside at the door. I guess it might have attempted robberies and those are the precautions. I was worried that with current luck the bank would get robbed while I was there. For such a short distance between them, it was very interesting. I got my cash and went over to the post office. I found out that I could've used my debit card to get the money orders. Luckily I wasn't mugged. Although, now that my lung is healed I could run if I had to.

So I got my keys and started moving stuff that I had brought with me in the car on Friday. Here's some pictures of the empty condo:

The first two pictures are looking out on the living area from door landing area. It's down 3 steps to the living space and up 3 steps to the bedrooms and bathrooms. The kitchen is cool although the cabinents are built for Greg Oden sized people as I can barely reach their 3rd shelf. The gas range/cooktop rocks as it has one of those super-sized burners for heating water for pasta. The kitchen also has a ton of outlets so my coffee maker and rice cooker are happy. The last picture is the dining area. It's nice. The floors are hardwood in the living area, stone tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms, and carpet in the 2 bedrooms.
The movers arrived on Saturday morning just after 9am. There was a skinny guy and a bigger slightly pudgy guy. They sound possibly Russian. Anyway, they started moving in the stuff. The pudgy guy was struggling caring stuff up the stairs. It was kindof funny because I think I was stronger than this guy even though he's quite bigger than me plus I'm a wimp. I had them move one box into the bedrooms and that's just one. The entrance to the bedrooms has a tight corner in it and the first box that went through scuffed the white walls leaving marks. I just had them put everything in the living room rather than deal with them totally trashing the walls. Overall, my TV and big speakers made it. The only thing that got broke was this CD bookcase as they didn't take it apart when they moved it. It lost a leg and some brackets. I seem to have lost my coffee scoop and rice paddle. That's about it that I can tell so far that is missing. I have no idea where it went.
The cable guy came on Saturday afternoon and proceeded to break the cable line from the outside in the wall. It was a tight fit with the outlet so they had to setup a different appointment with a different Comcast to come back and fix it. wasn't too bad as I spent the weekend watching DVDs and unpacking. It's Wednesday and I'm still unpacking. I'm trying to find space for all my crap. After much toil, I have my cable hooked up as of Tuesday. The foreman onsite sent a person up to fix the wall that had to be cut in order to access the cable. That's cool as I don't have to worry about fixing a drywall. They plan to come back today and smooth it out. I hope they'll paint it as well. We'll see...
As for my workouts, I've been on the trainer a bunch as it's been freezing here and now a massive ice storm. My swimming has still been stinking. I really can't seem to get my arms not hurt. I've been trying lengths with just breathing on my right side. I can really follow-thru on the right stroke which speeds up my times. Also, I can do a faster turnover because of being able to breath every stroke. I really don't think I'll do that for the real swim as I'll be anaerobic which would put me into a hole right out of the water. I'm taking today off from swimming because of the ice everywhere. I'm hoping a little rest will make me stronger when I get back in tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Okay, I'm finally going to close on the condo today at noon. My luck might be starting to turn around although there was one last struggle yesterday. Things are looking good to close on the condo when I get a call. It's Bank of America saying they're ready to close on the condo. I'm like WTF are you talking about. I told them that they declined my loan well they said the following day they talked to the builder and approved it. This was last Friday. Can you believe this? I was totally scrambling Friday between two prospective loan officers to find a new loan.

The lady mentioned that I should've been informed of the change. You got to be kidding me. So my loan rate had expired but the renewed it because they take the worst rate of the two days after it expires. It was 6.25 because I was stupid and locked so early. I guess the only good luck I had is my new mortgage rate is 5.875. After all the closing costs I have to pay with the new loan it evens out on closing day but I will start saving money after 4 years for the cheaper interest rate. My new mortgage guy is "Johnny on the spot". He's always available via phone and was really trying to do anything to keep my business.

Another chance of good luck is my stuff is so late that it's still not here. I don't have to worry about storage but I still may not have my stuff. I'm hopeful I'll get it this weekend or Monday.

Just in case, when I get my cashier's check for a god awful amount of money I have to withdraw a bunch of cash for the movers. They only take cash or US Postal Money Orders. You would think they'd be higher tech these days.

As for my training, I just can't seem to get motivated to ride. I've hit the trainer twice this week for okay workouts but just don't feel like battling the stop and go traffic to get a ride in. I'd rather run than ride these days.

My running has been improving. On Wednesday it was 70 degrees and humid. I had a great 8 mile run where I really pushed the last 4 miles. I averaged a good 6:30 pace on the way back. My quads were tired but hopefully they'll get back into shape. That morning at 5am it was 60 degrees out as I walked to the pool. I put in a 32 something 1600 yard swim. It was my first long swim since coming back from the lung.

Even today I had a decent swim but my stroke still feels different than before. I can't really explain it.

I'm going to put together my official training schedule soon as the half ironman closes in. It's only 90 or so days away. My main concern is the bike and swim right now. I feel I'll be able to gut out the run.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Flick = 6 seconds

It's so true when people talk about how technique is king for swimming. After taking a swim day off yesterday, I went to the pool today to work on technique and form. I was just planning on trying to keep my stroke smooth for each 100 yards. I've done this before tweaking stroke speed, breathing, hand position in the water, etc. I did three hundreds just trying to keep a smooth stroke and rotating my shoulders above the water. I was hitting 1:56 without much trouble. So I decided to make sure to use the last part of my hand to push water at the end of each stroke. I had noticed I was tending to just pull my hand right out instead of falling through with the whole stroke. It took a little to stay focused on doing it but then my times were rocking 1:50 without any really perceived extra effort. I was shocked.

My plan is keep practicing that last little flick of my wrist and not in the privacy of bedroom either so it just becomes a natural part of my stroke(I can hear Beavis going "huh-huh-huh"). We'll see how it goes tomorrow. I'll hit the pool in the morning and then go for a long run during the afternoon. It's suppose to be 70 here tomorrow. Woohoo!

Super Bowl Workout Weekend

So another full weekend of workouts and the weather was actually sunny and not too cold. However, just when I thought my cycling was fine it goes to hell. I rode a good hard 90 minutes on Thursday and by Saturday my legs were still dead. I could barely get through 40 miles. This doesn't bode well. I'm hopeful everything will start to come together like all the previous years where February always stinks but July/August is good.

I keep trying to find my rhythm in the water. It just seems something is missing or changed. I think it might have to do a little with going from a saline pool to chlorine. I'm not floating as parallel as I need to be and I think my ass is dragging. I did put in some fast 100 intervals which are the fastest I've ever done. That's positive but my endurance just isn't there yet.

On Super Sunday, I was able to get in a nice 10 miler(longest run so far since the lung). I was clicking off 7:20s on the flat sections of the run. My legs were fine until about mile 9ish and then all of sudden they were dead. I think calories played a part. Overall, I'm still trying to tweak my diet.

On the luck for the year, it's still in the mud literally. On the run, the trail/path went under this road to avoid crossing a busy street. I didn't notice this on the way out so I waited about 2 minutes at the light. I figured I'd take advantage on the way back and sure enough the creek had flooded. The whole path was covered in 4 inch deep mud. I sloshed through and my shoes are totally caked. Perfect..

Friday, February 1, 2008

2008 = Unlucky

I have to be the most unlucky person right now. Everything is going to crap. First, my movers charge me an arm and leg to pack my place. I did have great luck driving across the country. However, I get to DC and immediately I have my lung partially collapse. I end up in the hospital for the first since I was 11.

And now after all the trouble with trying to get Bank of America the appropriate information to close on the condo last week, it fails a county inspection. Fine, not too bad as we'll just close this week. Well, my bank tells me at 5pm yesterday that the underwriter won't give us the loan. It's because the condo is brand new and they won't give loans until there are at least 25% or so occupied. I guess with all this mortgage scrutiny going on they are really restrictive. On top of all this we hear that this policy just went into effect 2 weeks or so ago.

I could just scream. Supposedly there are underwriters that will be able to issue loans but that means I have to start all over. This just bites because the Bank of America loan was going to kick ass in my favor because it was a no closing cost loan. I was saving 3,000 in closing costs by using them.

We are way past the date so my earnest money is basically gone if I don't somehow figure out how to close on the house. Wouldn't you know, it's 3,000 dollars the exact amount of savings I was going to get with Bank of America.

Overall, life just sucks right now. I'm in a big city where I know no one. I'm slow because of not being able to workout for so long. It's freezing cold here and today it's pouring rain and 30 degrees. Luckily my loner tendancies help me out. But man this year is just suck so far and we're only 1 month done. This doesn't bode well for the upcoming half-ironman and ironman.

I just hoping things turn around...