Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last Triathlon of the season and more changes

As the 2009 version of Ironman Canada looms, it's time to change the blog title, etc.  Inspired by yesterday's last triathlon of the season, I'm ready to start my slacking in preparation to build it all back up for next season.

Yesterday's performance was pretty weak.  I was expecting better but I went into the day already on a negative.  No wetsuit.  I couldn't believe that this decent sized lake was 80 degrees.  My pool at the condo is way colder.  WTF!! But I'm sure the temperature was right because it was no problem at all getting in.  In my head I knew it would be a tall order to bring goods knowing I was easily going to give up 5 minutes on the swim.  The only benefit was a bunch of power hills on the ride and decent hills on the run as well.

I drove out to the event which was about a 2 hour drive.  It wasn't too bad as I had been slowly adjusting my sleep schedule in preparation for the early 3:30am wake up call.  I got the event without trouble and setup my rack.  I decided to go with my tri-top rather than my full zip cycling jersey.  I was able to get the tri-top over my torso after the non-wetsuit swim at Florida but I hadn't practiced since then.  Uh-oh.

The swim started and was uneventful early as I found clear water and had a decent job sighting.  I swam pretty straight.  I really need to figure out how to draft.  The problem is by the time I decide to try to draft, all the swimmers going just a touch above my speed are already gone.  So anytime I draft I end up swimming up over them.  I just stayed off the left of the pack and went as best as I could.  By the time, I got out of the water, I forgot all about hitting my watch for a split.  I was busily trying to hammer the super long run up about 40 stairs to the rack.

At my rack, everything went on fast except my tri-top as it got stuck.  I struggled at least 2 minutes to get it ready.  What a bummer because I saw a ton of athletes shirtless which I easily could've done.  Oh well, next year I'll have this solved as well as the cycling shoes.  I'll buy some tri-specific shoes in the offseason so I can go sockless on the bike.

The bike had a few decent little inclines plus this massive long false flat towards the end of the loop.  We did 2 loops and I was passing quite a few fast swimmers.  I was killing it on the bike.  I was really making the legs suffer.  I decided to try this as compared to my first Olympic where I went hard but not all out and still had decent running legs.  The road surface was quite good and there wasn't much bike traffic.  Plus on top of that there was no wind so it was fast even with the hills.  The finished include 2 decent sized climbs which I was trying to pass just a few more folks.

I was lightening fast in T2.  It's always my fastest taking only about a minute.  I hit the run course and my body just said "Nah I don't feel like it today".  It was weird feeling.  I guess that's what happens when you leave it all out on the bike course.  I tried to start at an easy pace and then pick it up in the middle.  I was slow for the first mile but it included some decent up hill.  I saw the overall leaders and there were going at a good pace.  I just couldn't match it on my own side of the 2 loop run course.

I was glad it was over knowing that my season is done.  I ended up 39 overall which was sad.  I might've made the top 10 in my age group but who knows.  I was pretty slow but the official results aren't up yet.  I heard quite a few athletes complain about the swim course being a little long and even the bike course being a touch long.

It was like a vortex of the worse possible scenarios.  Long non-wetsuit Olympic swim course.  This is the worst thing about the distance is the everything else is half the half-ironman except the swim which is only a quarter mile shorter.  The best part was the hills which definitely helps me on the bike and even the run although painful on both.  I guestimated my run split around 39:30ish which is only 2 minutes slower than the DC tri in June which was dead flat while this one had hills.  Plus I never felt fast, I felt like I was doddling the whole way.  How sad is that.  My A game leg was crap.  Time to take a break.

All in all my knee is hurting big time so I'm taking 2 weeks off from running.  I really want to see if I can get it in line for next year.  I'm also going to try my best to improve my swim as well since my luck seems crappy for wetsuit swims hence the new name of the blog.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Countdown

As usual it's been along time since I made a post to the blog.  It's almost August....2009 so I need to get my act together and change the actual blog title and layout.  My Ironman 08 statue of limitations is up in a few weeks.  I'll forever be an Ironman but I won't be able to flaunt it like before which is a bummer but I'll take it over having to actually complete another one this year.  It seems all my fellow Ironmen and Ironwomen signed up for an IM this year and even already signed up for one next year.  Crazy...I think their addicted to being in shape.

My next attempt at a Ironman or marathon will be when I turn 40 in 2011.  I think that would be a good final Ironman or maybe just do one every decade if possible.  Although if my knee doesn't heal, I'm not sure I can run that far again.  It's still messed up but I will head back to the PT folks and probably an orthopedic doctor after my last race of the season on August 15th.

I'm doing my first running only race tomorrow.  It's my first 10K in over 7 years.  How wild is that!  I'm thinking I might have a good race because it starts at 6:30pm.  It will be hot and I execute better in the heat than the cold of a typical morning start.  I had a good interval workout last week and my times actually compare quite well to my times in 2000 when I was under 30.  Another a benefit of this race is they will have shoe recycling.  Sweet.  Time to unload of 10 pairs of old running shoes just taking up space in my closet.  And the last and greatest benefit of this race is it's location.  It's only a couple of blocks away from a Dairy Queen.  DQ has put me into a trance with all their blizzard of the month commercials over the last weeks.  I have blizzarditis and there's no DQ near my condo.  ARGH!!  It's probably good though as I'd be having a weekly blizzard and those 1000 plus empty calories wouldn't help my weight one bit.

Summer has finally arrived in DC.  It's been pretty warm the last few days plus a decent amount of humidity.  Overall, I've only had to turn on my A/C a few times so far.  I'm saving a ton of money this summer.  If you close your eyes, you should be able to hear Geico commercial music in the background. As part of summer, we see lots of road work around the area.  They are paving my road this week and causing all kinds of trouble for me on the bike.  I have to weave around all the construction and of course the fresh new black top.  New black top and bikes don't go well together with all the little pebbles sticking to the tires and scratching your frame.  The problem out here is the road construction crews are horrible.  They always screw up and the finished job is usually worse than the original.  On my bike route, there are two locations where the road crew has paved this certain section 4 times and finally it's right.  On top of that roads in general out here just suck.

So I'll be thinking about the new title for the blog over the next couple of weeks but suggestions are welcome..

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Olympic

Well, I loved the first one so much I immediately started searching for another one. I signed up for one in mid August. It's a 2 hour drive away but not that bad. It's a 2 loop swim which should be interesting getting out of the water and back in after 750 meters. The bike is a little hilly which will help me unless it's just power hills.

I've only been biking this week to let my knee rest. I swear it didn't hurt during my race. It's sortof weird as it only hurts when I run slow. Maybe my gait is so different between race pace and training that it upsets my knee. My cycling is really coming around as I have a good set of workouts this week. It's so amazing how slow my training wheels feel after riding the HEDs for the last week. Oh well, it will just make me faster come race day sortof like racing flats on the run and wetsuit for the swim.

I wanted to add a 10K running race in between now and the next Olympic but there aren't really any coming up which is sad. There's just one which I'm probably going to do. On top of that, there is no kid's races at all. This bums me out because Elena ended up being sick for the kids race on the 20th and so she didn't get to go. We could try a 5k but I'm not sure if Elena will like running for 25+ minutes. It might be a bit much. There is a kid's race at the Baltimore running festival this October. Amber and Joe are going to do the half marathon.

I had my bag of Doritos and bag of Lay's this week so I'll go back off chips again. It will save money since chip prices have gone way up since the last time I bought them. I do miss them. The Doritos created a wave of euphoria over me as I ate them. Is that bad? I'm definitely out of practice though as my chip eating arm became sore after the multiple reaches into the bag. Sad, how far the great have fallen. Of course, Elena saw the chip bag when she was over on Wednesday and gave me the stink eye. It was hilarious! She keeps me honest in my junk food eating. I guess this is good as she gets older, she'll keep raggin me on my eating habits and hopefully keep me in line.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm an Olympian..

Well not quite but I did complete my first Olympic distance triathlon yesterday and I watched the Beijing 2008 triathlon gold medalist walk down the swim ramp to get ready for the ITU elite competition after ours was over.  Close huh?  Here's the details for those that don't want to wade through the whole blog.  I finished with 2:11:58 so I can say yep, I did a 2:11. :)  I had a 37:35 run split for 15th overall run split.  It was 6:04 pace which wasn't exactly as fast I had hoped for but overall I was pleased.  I did a 27:40 swim in the Potomac.  This was the same pace as my Ironman swim last year.  Not as good as it could've been.  I rode a 1:03:something for a 23.3 average on a pretty flat course.  Exactly my goal.  I ended up 27th overall out of 267 finishers and actually got 3rd in my 35-39 age group.  I had figured at the finish that was time was too slow though so I didn't stay for awards.  Doh!

Now onto the details...

The event was a unique mix of just a normal age group Olympic/sprint distance with the fancy ITU world cup international elites competing on the same day with some of the same course.  This created some interesting aspects to the event.  First, age groupers started at 6am.  Yep super early.  Second, there was a mandatory pre-race briefing and bike racking the day before on Saturday.  The race briefing was a joke as they didn't even talk about the race at all.  There was no discussion of aid stations on the run course, how the swim waves were going to be handled, or much of anything else.

So going in, I knew I'd be getting up super early so I had been slowing preparing all week by going to bed just a little bit early each day and on Saturday sleeping as much as possible.  I prepared all my stuff the night before race day including a bottle of Cytomax that I stuck in the fridge.  I woke up at 3:15 and left at 3:30am with everything except the nutrition bottle in the fridge.  I didn't realize I had forgotten it until I arrived at the transition area.  Doh!  I almost panicked.  Luckily I had already brought 1 gel for the bike course and 1 gel for pre-swim.  I brought a normal sized water bottle for potential foot washing.  It went into my bottle cage and I figured I'd just deal with any gunk on my feet post swim.  My rack neighbor loaned me a old school power bar.  Who knew they still made those things?  I wasn't too picky but figured only half of it was gonna sit well in my stomach an hour prior to the swim.  I starting putting on my wetsuit which was a pain as always.  Somehow during this I scratched the crap out of 2 knuckles and bruised my left wrist.  I don't remember doing this but as I was standing with my wave participants I looked down to see skin missing on my knuckles and nice bump on my wrist.


This was my first water start.  I jumped in the water was a fine 73 degrees not cold at all.  I had no idea where to position myself in this wave.  I probably made a slight mistake by getting a little too close to the front and middle.  The swim course has you swim upstream first, under a bridge and then back with a slight upstream turnaround to the pontoon.  The only problem was there was only 6 buoys for the entire 1.5k course.

The horn sounded and we were off.  I immediately started to get bludgeoned and on top of that was swimming so fast I could only barely catch my breath every stroke.  It was really a horrible first 200 meters or so.  No rhythm and horrible form combined with barely being able to breath.  I finally got settled down and proceeded to the bridge.  The Potomac was very muddy as we've had tons of rain this spring so you couldn't see past your bicep.  I got into a nice rhythm but really didn't have as much mental focus on my stroke, body rotation as I should've.  Sighting was a problem because of the current on no buoys.  We were supposed to be able to have a practice swim on Saturday but thunderstorms canceled it.  I was hoping to get a feel of the current and angle from that.  I got around the first turn buoy and was actually going quite well and then turned downstream.  I was cruising with the pack to my left about 10 meters.  The problem was the current was taking me to the right.  The course was like a triangle so it took a lot of sighting to stay pointed in the right direction.  The other problem was the sun in our eyes directly on the buoy side.  I had the tinted goggles but it wasn't much help.

I came around the last 2 buoys and up onto the ramp.  I clicked my watch and saw 27 something.  I thought hey it's less than 30 so not bad but really it was pretty bad.  Sure all of my other triathlons so far have been lake swims but still my pace was the same as my Ironman pace.  Ouch.  The pack swim just isn't my thing.  It takes too much focus that I don't have to spare due to my horrible swim stroke.  I need all my focus on it with some on sighting.  Next time I starting on the totally opposite side of buoys and not in the middle.  On top of that, I've only been swimming like twice a week and rarely 3 times so I have been slacking.  My arms are sore right now and were sore getting out of the water.

I made my way up the ramp towards T1.  It was like maybe 100 meters total but I got my legs under me and starting running at a good clip while taking out the arms of my wetsuit and off my goggles and cap.  I got to my rack and started the dreaded wetsuit strip.  This was my first ever hand done wetsuit strip.  It actually came off pretty quick although I did almost fall over.  I put my helmet, glasses, socks, cycling shoes and race belt and I was off.  My official T1 time was 2:21.  Not earth shattering but the fastest T1 time for the age group was 1:52 and I did notice some folks going w/o wetsuits for the swim.  So I was pleased.

I got out onto the road and luckily we had a 3 lane rode at the beginning because people were weaving everywhere trying to get into their pre-mounted cycling shoes.  I just use cleat covers and remove them on the fly.  I did this and got moving quite well as the first section we had a nice tailwind.  My new race wheels were awesome.  I was flying quite good.  The course was mostly north and south sections and we had a decent wind out of the north.  Luckily the course goes slightly downhill on it's longest section north.  I was able to keep good speed into the headwind and this section is an out-n-back so the last finish miles into transition are tailwind.  Sweet!  I was just flying the first loop.  Probably a little too fast but hey gotta give it go right.  There was one section that the organizers should've did something about.  It was under a bridge where there was this front tire eating bump.  I know DC roads and they completely suck so this wasn't surprising.  Overall they did a pretty good job of keeping us on quite nice pavement.  I bunny-hopped this massive gauge in the road and made a mental note to remember it on lap 2.  There was some drafting but nothing too blatant on the first lap.  I started the 2nd lap and I could feel my legs.  I was getting some pain from my running injury.  I let off the gas a tad and it went away so I started going for it again.  I ended up in legal paceline with 2 other riders.  Legal in the sense that we both going about the same pace and were staying 7 meters or longer away from each other.  With the head wind, you could feel some draft even at that distance.   As we approached the massive rut, a spectator was there this time warning riders.  I bunny-hopped it again and noticed medic tending to a rider.  Certainly a crash victim of this rut.  I saw the 400m to go dismount sign and started backing off a little too early as it seemed to take forever to get to the real dismount sign.  No big deal.

I'm off the saddle and running at a nice clip to rack my back.  I get the bike racked.  Helmet comes off, my running shoes go on, running hat on and empty my pockets of empty gel packs and cleat covers.  I'm off.  It went so fast I was wondering if I had forgotten anything.  I grabbed a cup of powerade as I excited transition.  This was a slight mistake but I really didn't know if I had enough calories to make it through the run.

I started out what felt slow.  My legs weren't clicking.  I could feel the bike ride a little plus my stomach was starting to tense up.  I thought that if I get a sideache again like at Florida I'm running through the bitch this time.  I started getting a little better and by the supposed first mile mark felt like I was up to speed.  My mile time of 6:20 was bad.  Crap...oh well if I can break 40 it won't be that bad.  I picked up the pace.  We had some tailwind sections and some headwind sections.  I was passing people here and there but just moving at what I thought was a slow pace.  I got to a marker for mile 3.  Halfway! Woohoo!  I clicked the watch and it read 11:30 for the last two miles.  I knew then that the markers were off for sure or at least that's what I thought in my head.  I figured there was know way I running sub 6s.  It felt like 6:30s to me.  I just chugged along and then it happened.  During mile 4, I started to feel my bad hamstring.  I was a little worried and really shortened my stride.  You can run through a sidestitch but you can't run through a pulled muscle that well.  It went away which was a relief and then boom goes the dynamite.  I got passed by a guy.  This particular guy I had caught right before the 1st mile marker and he asked me if I was doing the sprint or Olympic.  I said Olympic and motored by.  I had assumed he was doing the sprint because he just let me go.  WRONG!  He came by at a nice clip and I started to hang with him.  Again, I just don't have enough mental confidence and F-U toughness for a head to head matchup.  He slowly pulled away as we were head for our last turn onto Pennsylvania.  Now here's where knowing the course would've help.  Once onto Pennsylvania it really is only about a half mile to the finish.  I saw this and started picking up the pace but it was too late.  On top of this it starting sprinkling and the wind was in our face big time.  Another guy passed me and I tucked in behind in the massive headwind.  With about 400 meters to go, I came around him and started really pushing the pace as I could I see I was catching the Mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty.  He is an avid cyclist, runner, and triathlete.  He started in the top age group way.  The event had TV cameras because of the fancy pro race so I was trying to catch up to him so I could be close enough at the finish maybe to get a bit of me into one of the highlights.

I clicked my watch at the finish and saw 2:11:59.  Sweet just under to 2:12 so I can say I did it in 2:11 when people ask.  The time was pretty slow as to be really a contender you need to go under 2 hours and I wasn't close so I made my way back to my bike which was a good mile and half walk.  I found out via the results online that I had actually gotten 3rd in my age group.  Amazing... there were only 50 something in the age group so not that big of deal but definitely cool.  I had the 15th overall run split with a 37:35.  My standalone 10k PR from when I was 27 was 34:10 so looking at it wasn't that bad.  Sure sub 36 would be friggin awesome but probably right now I might be able to run a standalone in the 35s but nowhere near my PR.  Overall, that makes me happy with my running training despite having a sore knee on every step of every training run since mid January.

Overall, the olympic was great because I was able to actually jog a little back to my bike.  I wasn't completely wiped out and I didn't have to train like a maniac for the distance.  I think I'm going to do Olympics for awhile.  Just so easy plus I need a few standalone 10ks under my belt to try to get back my mental F-U toughness when it comes to battling during the run.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Last Scheduled Race

It's only 6 days away and then I can eat, drink and slack the rest of the summer away while I read about people ramping up for their Ironman's this year. Excellent! Plus it's just an Olympic so it won't be that bad. I'll actually get to test my wetsuit removal by myself for the first time. I'm not very confident I can get it off my calves and feet fast. We will see. Lots of body glide hopefully will help.

I gave the HED 6 and 9 a test ride today. Definitely interesting, it takes a bit to get them going but once you do boy they feel fast. I found out that my squeak while climbing is the other wheels and to think I thought my headset was wearing out. I also found out that the HEDs have a wider rim 23 mm than my training wheels as I've had to adjust my brakes and they're still not perfect. I'll ride a few more times this week to get it all dialed in for Sunday's race.

After the ride, I gave the hamstring a little easy run to see how it's feeling. It's okay but slightly twingy towards the end. I was just going real easy. I figure some more ice and rest and it will also be ready. I'm not sure if I can go sub 6s for the entire 10k but I'll definitely try hard to go fast.

After Sunday, I will proceed to eat chips, drink beer and caffeinated drinks and basically just get fat. I'll probably take numerous weeks off from running to see if I can get my knee to heal as it still hurts. Actually, it hurts all the time now. I'm worried because the PT person said I might be damaging cartilage because of the constant inflammation. Uh-oh! I miss running without pain.

Oh I need a new name for the blog soon...the statute of limitations is close to running out on my Ironman of 2008 bragging. It seems everyone I knew that did an Ironman last year is doing one again this year. Crazy suckers!! Last summer's training seems like forever ago. It was all a haze. I have go back to my log just see the fun I wasn't having last year.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A little bit of everything..even training.

As my waking up for swimming has diminished to non-existence so has my blogging.  It's pretty easy just to post a thought to Facebook rather than try to put out a daily boring blog with all kinds of thoughts.

The weather has finally turned around somewhat for me.  Of course, I had perfect half marathon weather but the rest of my week in Florida was filled with record rain for the area.  This only allowed for one ride and even then we got soaked.  Luckily, I had a day to let the bike dry out before putting it back in the box for airline ride home.  I had missed some beautiful weather in DC but right when I got back there was two days of cold(60s) rainy weather here.  Perfect.  It's finally turning around but I haven't had a hard time sleeping yet and it's already June.  Last year there were tons of hot as hell days.  I guess this is good but still it just seems like we're getting robbed on the weather.

When I was down in Florida, we were able to do lots of eating.  As mentioned in my previous blog about polishing off 28 slices of pizza at an all you can eat pizza place.  We went to the Golden Corral which is a buffet and I ate a ton there.  But the best part was the 12 egg omelette.  It wasn't as big as I thought it would be.  It was about the size of a medium sized football and about 2 inches thick filled lots of ham and cheese goodness.  Plus we got 4 pieces of toast and a plate of hash browns.
The waitress was in horror when both Orion and I ordered one.  She tried to talk us out of it.  Oh yeah, I forgot the breakfast came with a carafe of OJ.  Sweet!  We had swum 45 minutes prior to coming to breakfast.  It went down without trouble and I wasn't even sick full at all.  We finished the week eating 6 full slabs of baby back ribs between 4 of us.  I had almost 2 full slabs.  Orion cooked them and they were awesome.  After it was all over, I weighed in after a couple of days of being home.  I was still sitting at 145lbs.  Not bad, no weight gain.

I had Elena all of last week so it was a bunch of picking her up at school.  We also did a fair bit of training for her upcoming 5k this fall.  She's also doing the "Kids for the Cure" race this weekend.  It should be easy for her.  We'll see if she can push the pace.  Okay maybe not but she can hold a decent pace.  Every so often she'll have a tough patch and want to walk.  I push her to keep going and that it will get better.  So far so good.  I'm making her mentally tough.  It is a fine line from her ending hating running to liking it.  She still likes to train.  She's still embarrassed running in front of her friends or people she knows.

I bought some new race wheels for triathlons.  I got a HED 6 and HED 9.  I figure it's worth the extra speed come race day.  Especially, since Orion wants to run Florida ever year plus do a full in a couple of years.  If the Olympic goes well, I may sign up for more of those and the wheels will get some good use.  I got a great deal on the wheels from Tri-Zone. I'm not sure my Olympic will go well on the run though. I did a 3 mile tempo run last week trying to hold 5:45s and was struggling the last 2 miles of it at 5:55.  Ouch.  I'm going to do some 400s today to see if I can get my leg speed up.  It's definitely hard going from 6:30ish half marathon training prep to sub 6 10k prep.  Maybe I'm too old to bust out fast 10k times, we'll see.  I still miss those easy 6 minute pace legs.  I'm hoping I can find them in time for the 21st race.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


That pretty much sums up my feelings of the Florida Half Ironman.  Obligatory stats:
Swim: 40:32  T1: 3:39   Bike : 2:34:18  T2: 1:30  Run : a pathetic 1:50:03 for a total of exactly 5:10:00.
Things just didn't go according to plan and I mentally gave up.  Here's some of the details if you care to read on.

I flew into Orlando Friday afternoon and my friend Orion picked me up.  We were both excited as this was going to be his first half Ironman plus really the longest event he's ever done and farthest he's ever ran.  We got some early dinner and went to bed to start banking some additional sleep.

Saturday, we drove to the race site to register and rack our bikes.  I got some rental race wheels from Race Day Wheels.  They were unorganized so it took quite awhile to get the wheels in place.  I gave them a test spin and they felt nice and fast as compared to my bombproof training wheels with heavy flat proof Amardillo tires.  I also did a small 15 minute run to work out the kinks.  I immediately noticed the heat.  This was not a good sign.  Curse you lame cold DC spring weather.  I also tested out what I was calling our "Pulp Fiction" shower in the parking lot.  Basically, 2 gallon jugs of water, towel and shampoo for post run and race cleanup.

On Sunday, we awoke at 2:45 AM to drive back to Disneyworld.  We arrived in good spirits at 4:15 just in time to catch the first bus to transition.  We proceeded to set up our gear and start what would be many nervous bathroom trips.  It was already 70 degrees which was good so we didn't have to worry about being cold waiting for the non-wetsuit swim.

Before we knew the pro men started and then it was just a matter of time.  Luckily Orion and I were in the same wave.  My plan was to draft off him as much as possible and let him clear a path in the water.  We hoped to come out of the water at the same time so we could wrestle each other all the way through transition for fun.

I had to make a google choice and I chose wrong.  I went with the clear goggles as I thought the sun wouldn't crest over the tree line til late in my wave.  These are my favorite and preferred goggles but I should've went with the tinted ones because the sun was well over the trees.  It wasn't horrible but definitely noticeable.

Swim: The horn sounded and we were off.  I saw Orion for like 10 strokes then he was gone.  My right goggle filled with water immediately but my left was clear.  It was just lake water so not too bad just a little stinging here and there.  I was trying to swim as fast as possible but I didn't feel fast.  My new found technique is crooked.  I swam pretty crooked the entire way so I had to sight a lot more than Canada.  I was trying to use the pack to sight off but there really wasn't a mass of swimmers.  On top of that a bunch of times I'd look and all I would see was a wave of water.  It was strange.  This never happened at Canada.  Every time I sighted I also picked some clean water.  I had a pretty uneventful swim.  Only a couple of bumps here and there.  I finally got to shore winded as I really was pushing pretty hard the entire swim and clicked my watch, 40 something.  OUCH!!  I knew during the swim that 35 was out due to all my sighting but I thought maybe I'd hit 38.  Wrong!  Oh well, I thought to myself this is still faster than 42 last year and I can make up those minutes if the rest of the day goes well.  A post race note is a lot of people have commented that they swam slower than last year and even slower than they expected.  This is leading to the thoughts that course was maybe 100 to 200 meters long.  I don't really buy this until one of the pros also mentions that they thought the course was long.

T1: I was able to motor up into transition pretty good this year as there wasn't much of a crowd.  I could feel my stomach being a little upset but nothing too big to worry about. Most of my bike rack was gone.  Not a good sign but lots of room to maneuver.  I went as fast as I could.  I got my tri jersey on without much effort, helmet, glasses, shoes and I was off.  Similar time to last year but I really wasn't clicking my watch splits accurately.

Bike: The bike started good.  I got clipped in after awhile and was motoring pretty good passing people constantly and also being passed as well.  I started drinking a half gatorade half water concoction to get some calories and some liquid in as the sun was out and it was going to be high 80s for the day.  The best thing about Florida is the bike course.  It's as smooth as glass.  You can really go.  Everything was clicking along but my stomach just wasn't feeling too great.  I kept trying to find the magic to stay hydrated and carbed up without too much stomach distress.  At one point during the ride, I almost puked just because my stomach was feeling great.  It finally went away for a bit but never really felt good.  This seems to be a common theme with my bike segments.  For a lot of the bike course we had a nice tailwind so the miles were clicking off quite fast.  I rode a bunch of 24+ without much effort.  I knew though at some point during the course we would PAY.   The section was the last 15 miles of the course.  Uh-oh.  I managed to use the legal draft of some bigger guys to help conserve energy and keep an okay pace at the end.  I finally looked at my time as we were nearing the end and I knew I'd be pretty damn close to my 2:30 goal.  I wasn't exactly on it but I slowed down at the end to spin out the legs a little and undo the shoes for dismount.  I was pleased and ready to rock the run.

T2:  I was in and out of transition like a bolt of lightening.  This was the first time I didn't have to make a portopottie stop before the run.  Good sign or bad sign not sure.

Run: This where I was going to rock or so I thought.  Boy I was so wrong.  Things went well at the start.  I clicked off a 6:04 first mile which I still think is officially short with little effort.  I hit the trail and rattled off a 6:30 and 6:45 miles.  My last trail mile on the first loop was 6:55.  At this time I was a little worried.  My legs just didn't feel good.  I knew they weren't going to carry me.  Mile 5 was a full pavement mile and I hit it at 6:40 and then it happened.  I got this horrible side stitch.  CRAP!!  I haven't had a side stitch on a run in like forever.  It's been so long I haven't even done side stretches before training runs this entire season.  The last time I had one that felt like this one was in a high school 3k track event.  I ran through that one but pulled my side muscle during it and was in serious pain for over a week.  I had 8 miles to go and side stitch.  I could gut and continue to run or stop and see if I could stretch it out.  I opted to start walking and stretch it out.  I'd stretch and then try running and within a few steps no change.  Repeat for the entire 6th mile.  10:46.  OH GOD, my race is officially over.  This is what ran through my mind along with a bunch of "I suck", "I'm pathetic".  Being an eternal pessimist when things go wrong in races, it's really cataclysmic for me.  The 10:46 basically put a 1:25 out of reach for sure so I knew a top 10 was surely gone with my slower swim and therefore a chance at a Clearwater spot.  In the end, I was happy that most of the top 20 in my age group all ran nice low 1:30s for their run split and all were under 4:30 overall.  Anyway, back to my pathetic run.  So after mile 6 I basically gave up mentally.  I finally got the side stitch under control but my legs liked walking too much so it was hard to get and keep them going.  I'd run to the aid station and take in fluids while walking then start running again after a bit and this continued.  On top of this my actual run pace really wasn't what I consider running.  It was a slow shuffle because this felt the best for my side rather than a full stride.  I continued to curse myself the rest of the entire race and was just glad to be done.  I did run the entire last mile but overall it was just a pathetic performance.  At mile 6 I basically decided since the 1:25 or just a little slower was out of the question that the rest of the race didn't matter.  I maybe could've gutted a sub 5 but it really didn't matter.

The funniest thing was Orion suffered like a dog on the run course because of his bad hamstring.  On top of that he had tons of cramps but kept going no matter what.  He finished and was so happy.  He loved the whole race.  What a guy!  He's a stud.

We picked up our gear and got prepared for dinner at the Wilderness Lodge Whispering Canyon.  I was going to drown my sorrows in bottomless milkshakes and all you can eat ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken.  We both ate a fair amount but were pretty tired.

Some additional notes, I got sunburned which again shows how crappy DC's spring has been this year.  Last year, no sunburn at all.  Also my legs felt fine.  I could walk easily without pain.  This is how bad my run was as I'm more tired after training runs than this race.  Sad!

My week in Florida continues with lots of eating going on.  Last night(Monday), we went to all you can eat pizza.  It was a little training for a pizza challenge  that we might do someday.  Anyway,  I polished off 28 slices of pizza in about an hour.  The slices weren't super big or anything as the pizzas were 12" with 8 slices per.  We think the pizza challenge is doable but will be tough.  Of course, I could barely move and had hoped to do 30 slices but had to stop at 28.  I also ran 5 miles on Monday afternoon and it wasn't too bad except I still had a side ache.

Orion tells me he wants the Florida Half to be a yearly thing and is already thinking about how he can improve next year.  I'm thinking about just not doing anything and becoming a shut-in while he's already planning on training for next year.

I guess when I really look at my run I can't be too upset.  I hadn't been able to put in any running miles from the end of January til mid March.  I had 8 weeks to go from ground zero on running in order to prepare.  Who knows maybe this will allow me to do great things at the Olympic distance event on the 21st of June.  I did not feel my sore knee yesterday after my 5 mile run so that's good.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Almost Here

The Florida Half Ironman is just 2 days away and both Orion and I are excited.  You can follow both us via the athlete tracker link on the webpage.  I'll try to post our race numbers tomorrow.

My bike is all packed and I'm ready to make the "walk" to the Metro station with the bike case.  But $4 for the metro train is cheaper than parking at airport for I walk.

At least I'm fully recovered from the trip to Europe.  I've been going to bed earlier and getting up a little earlier to be ready for that 4am wakeup call on Sunday morning.

So here are my official goals for the race, 35 minute swim(it's going to be a stretch but maybe), 2:30 bike(I think I can do it but it will be close), 1:25 run(This is the main goal for me.  I'm hoping this will get me a top 10 overall run split.).  Overall in the 4 hours and high 30s for the event.  If everything goes perfect and the competition isn't too steep, this time could net me a top 10 finish in my age group.  That would be awesome.  Ideally, if this happens, I might be able to sign up for the Half Ironman championships in Florida later this year.

I posted this YouTube clip on my Facebook but I'll repost just in case.

I figure I'll be taking one of these instead of an ice bath after the event.

Anyway, the blog isn't as up to date as Facebook makes little updates easier.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Olympic Distance

Yep, I'm going to try my first Olympic distance triathlon.  I signed up because I was inspired by a 39:30 10k brick training run after doing an easy 25 mile bike.  I figured what the hell.  It's local and on Father's day in June.  Maybe I could apply all the half ironman training to it and see if I could really go fast on the run.  The brick run I was just cruising to that 39:30 so if I pushed maybe I go 36ish.  We'll see as it will be more for fun than anything since my 1500m swim will be pathetic as compared to fast men in my age group.

But overall my run is really coming along.  I just need to keep any additional injury at bay.  I still have the sore knee but I don't need any new one coming along.  I busted a 5 mile tempo at 6:10s which was good.  The 1:25 for the half run segment at Florida is in sight if it all comes together.

Elena got some new running shoes and is excited to be training again.  We ran an easy 3/4 of a mile on Sunday.  She has pretty good form which is nice.  I think I can get her up to that 5k distance but we'll see.  Maybe at around 8 minute pace who knows...I know she could easily bust a 7:30 mile if she had too right now.  I'm sortof excited to see how fast she can run when she gets older.

It's fun for me because she actually likes running right now.  I have to be careful to make sure she continues to like it.  Of course, we're going to get her into the pool this summer with goal of teaching her how to swim.  On top of that, it's also time for her to learn how to bike without training wheels.  My 7 year old is going to get the full triathlon gambit this summer.  It will be good for her and improve her confidence.

It's finally hot here(90 degrees) as I just finished my first ride of the year where I wasn't cold at the beginning of it.  Of course, now my condo is 80 degrees but no A/C yet...just yet.  I'm holding out as it's suppose to cool down to the 70s by mid week.

With the hotter temperatures, the summer movies start this week with X-Men Wolverine.  Next week is the new Star Trek.  I'm still not sure what I'm going to do for the movies this summer as I'm kindof just like sitting at home.  Maybe when I'm down in Florida at O's, we'll catch a couple of movies.  We'll also be doing extreme amounts of eating while I'm down there.   We start with going to the Whispering Canyon right after the race for all you can eat chicken, ribs, and sausage as well as bottomless shakes.  I'm thinking I'll gain 10 lbs while I'm down there.  I'll have to trade off going way off my diet vs. sticking to my diet in order to go fast at that June race.

A side effect of all this nice weather is my allergies are killing me.  The Claratin is holding them back but still my eyes are constantly itching.  Elena has been walking a tight rope of allergy medication and nose bleeds.  Her poor nose gets too dry from the allergy medication and then she has nose bleeds.  She woke up last night with one.  Poor kid, definitely not fun.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lazy and Rain

It's been pouring all day after a really nice spring weekend.  I bagged my swim workout this morning because I just didn't feel it.  I put in enough calories Sunday afternoon to really need a workout in the pool. My legs are thrashed from the weekend workouts.  I thought about running on the treadmill but figured what's a day of rest gonna hurt as it still hurts just walking right now.

I was in shambles after last week's Wednesday's tempo run.  I figured I had no chance of going fast on the half and was worried that I might be slower than last year's 1:33 split.  Everything mentally changed for me on Friday.  It was 70 degrees so I went for a mild 25 mile ride just to spin the legs.  I got off the bike and immediately hit the road for a brick run of 6.3 miles.  I just wanted to cruise at a nice pace.  I clipped off the first mile in 6:40.  I thought that didn't seem fast more like a pedestrian 7:15 something to me.  I decided to keep cruising and see how it would go.  I got to the same part of the run where I had run the tempo on Wednesday.  I had averaged basically 6:10s for the 3 miles of tempo.  During this run, I was able to rattle off a 5:57, 6:05, 6:07 during that section.  I about lost it on the 5:57.  I haven't seen a middle mile during a workout since 2002.  I'm still shocked.  I finished the roughly 10k course in 39:30 and that's with a 1/2 mile cool down.  I immediately thought maybe I should sign up for a Olympic triathlon.  I suck at the swim but maybe I could drop a sub 36 on the run.  I might have to give one a go this summer.

On Saturday, I pushed my first 4 hour ride of the season.  The weather was great and even got a slight forearm sunburn from being aero for most of the ride.  The arms hadn't seen so much sun all year.  I got home with the thoughts of my Costco lasagna.  I ate 2/3rds of the entire tray.  I probably could've finished but I wouldn't have been able to hit the pavement the following day for my run.

I woke up Sunday for the longest run since doing the PT stuff.  10 miles loomed and my legs were already tired.  The first mile felt like 21 of a marathon.  The legs were just dead.  I guess it will make me mentally tough running 80 minutes with dead legs.  I was glad when the run was over.

I can feel I'm getting stronger on the bike and run.  I actually may have things timed right for a good peak at Florida.  My stretch goal is to qualify for the half ironman championship in Clearwater, FL.  I'd have to have a perfect race and hope it was hot enough to decimate the field.  I would need to make the top 10 for a shot in my age group.  The key is getting my swim at 35 and then being able to finish with a 1:25 half.  Of course it wouldn't be an easy task to drop a 2:30 bike in the middle of that.  I was close on the bike last year while just cruising at an Ironman feel.  The run will be the hard but if things go well I could do it.  The real problem with the run is dodging other participants due to the course being 3 loops.  This is toughest part of that course navigating everyone as you overtake them on the uneven surface of grass/dirt.  I just want to see 6:30s on the watch at as many miles splits as possible.

The swim isn't improving but it isn't getting worse.  I haven't been swimming as much as last year but that's okay.  3 quality workouts each week seems to letting me hold some shape.  I'm not sure it's going to translate to a 35.  I think my experience from last year will help cut some time from last year's 42.  I definitely spent a little too much dodging swimmers and sighting.  I think based on my experience from Canada I will sight a lot less.  In Canada, I think I sighted maybe 3 or 4 times total.  I just used the crowd to guide me around the course.

I can't believe it's almost May though as April has just flown by.  I probably need to change the layout of this blog and change it's title.  If I do qualify for Clearwater, I'll have some purpose for training this summer.  If not I can see a lot of lounging by the pool.  I've also just given myself a new goal for 2012.  I want to run Boston when I'm 40 and possibly do another Ironman at age 40 as well.  Instead of buying a sports car, coloring my hair and buying a bunch of fancy clothes, I'll train for a qualifying marathon and maybe even another Ironman.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Yep, it's been a long time between posts. I just sortof update my facebook status with key workout information rather than putting all the gory workout details in the blog. My life continues to be pretty boring so it's not like I have some great story about going to the bookstore to talk about or even to a Wizards game. Although I had entertained doing a Wizards game just for something different since it's pretty convenient and they are so bad the StubHub tickets are super cheap.

Speaking of StubHub, this service is awesome. I'm sure Elena and I will go to a few National's games courtesy of that service. I will also try to take her to a WNBA game but man the cost of those tickets seems outrageous for the popularity and the seat locations. I tried last year but it was just too expensive. With the slower economy maybe the prices will be cheaper, I will have to keep looking for those games this summer.

And with the economy, I moved my 401k investments back to 75% into the stock market as it's been slowly increasing over the past weeks. Buy low and hopefully sell high when I'm 80 and can actually retire. I wish my 401k would show how much money I've put into the account over the years. I'm wondering if I've actually made money or not. As I think about it, I've probably doubled my investment so that's better than it just sitting in my mattress.

The weather is still cold here. It might get to 50 today. The usual average is 65 and we've only seen like 3 days in the past 2 weeks at that temperature. So sad. This is really hurting my cycling shape. I'm going out today with a bunch of layers for a hard ride so hopefully I don't freeze. The knee is the knee nowadays. I think the PT is helping but it's a super slow process especially now that I'm running a bunch. I did my first real running workout yesterday. I decided to run some tempo. I figure with the limited time I have before the race in May, I'll do one tempo run each week. I started with just a simple 1.75 mile tempo yesterday. It was brutal and I only went 6 minute pace. I still think back to 2001 when it was breeze running 6 minute pace. That's really the last time I've been in awesome shape. Anyway, if I can keep the tempo pace the same but increase the distance I could still have a shot at a 1:25 half. We'll see..

Elena is on spring break this week but luckily the before/after care went full time this week. I wonder how she is liking the no school. I'll have to ask her about it today. Easter is this weekend so I'm not sure what the plans are. I may have to get some eggs and color stuff for this weekend since she's at my house. Maybe I can do an egghunt out in our common area?

Also on the plan for the weekend is a massive Costco run, I'm completely out of food. I have one chicken breast, 5 brats, and 3 boxes of pasta. That's it other than rice for dinner. Luckily, I can eat the same thing every night for days on end and not care. I'm expecting a large Costco bill but overall it's cheaper than just a normal grocery store.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Super Flexible...not so much

After yet another week of PT, I started running last week.  I ran for 3 straight days and 4 miles each.  On Friday, I put the hammer down on a brick run and was able to bust out 6:30s.  I was quite surprised that I still had the leg speed.  Of course, I need that pace for 9 more miles to reach my original Half Ironman run split goal.  I still have time so I might be able to get my endurance back up and get used to the knee pain.

My PT told me I have this hyper flexion or something with my joints.  I guess its not normal for you to be able to bend your fingers back so they look like the letter "C".  Who knew.  She says it makes running easier because I don't have to use as many muscles hence one of the reasons I'm injured to begin with.  All these little unused muscles in my hips, etc. are weak.  I found out Elena also can bend her fingers back easily into a "C".  It must be genetic.

Elena is excited to starting training again.  We'll start to do some running and see about entering her into a summer race or two.  She's 7 so if she wants we'll see how fast she can really go.  There are a few kids races around but mostly just 5ks which is still too long for her age.

I finished her 1st grade musical video.  This is the first production on the Macbook using iMovie.  It turned out okay I just need to get better at holding the video camera.

Elena and I were watching TV this weekend and we kept seeing those weird Audi Q5 commercials.  Anyway, she said she wanted to get that car when she grows up.  Oh great my daughter has Audi tastes.
I told her she'd have to work hard so she could buy that car.

I got 2 more photo speeding tickets on the way to the PT office.  It's so sad because the little photo thing is hidden and fixed.  It just happened to be on this 3 lane street that is totally wide open.  It's also at the bottom of this hill.  Lame all the way around.  Who knows how many more I'll end up getting because they took so long to get to my house that I had at least 4 appointments.  $40 a pop is starting to add up.  I really hate Maryland because I also have to deal with this car insurance thing.  I registered my car last year but didn't transfer over my insurance from Oregon right away so now I have to prove that I had Oregon insurance.  Fricking pain in the ass.  I should've just been lazy and not registered with Maryland at all.  So technically, I'm driving with a suspended tag because they give you only 15 days to respond but if you mail them the documents they need it takes 10 days to process them.  Either way you're screwed.

I found out that I have to go to Europe after all.  I thought I was going to be able to get out of the upcoming trip but no.  I'm stuck going the week of the Half Ironman.  F-ing great.  I get to travel to Europe for 3 days, fly back on Thursday then fly to Florida on Friday.  PERFECT!!  I'm gonna do my best to sleep as much as possible and maybe even in meetings. ;)  It's the taper time so I should be okay but it's just the lack of sleep that might be a problem.  We'll see..

Monday, March 23, 2009

Felony Assault

My quads called the cops to charge me with felony assault after this weekend's cycling.  I absolutely demolished my legs on Saturday's 56 mile ride.  I just kept doing short 5 minute or so intervals the entire time after a warmup.  I could barely make it up my stairs when I got home.  Even more pathetic was my time was just under 3 hours for the ride.  I rode a 2:40 57 mile leg at Florida last year and felt like I went easy. cycling needs some serious work between now and May 17th.

On Sunday, I went out for just a nice spin session. I ended with 62 miles in 3 and half hours.  The legs were tired but I just took it easy.   The weather is still under 60 here and I sure wish it would get warmer so I could feel comfortable outdoors on the bike.  The best part was my knee felt great on Friday and I was almost tempted to run.  It felt fine on both Saturday and Sunday.

My next PT session is Tuesday.  I'm hopeful that whatever we're doing is helping and maybe I can get back to some 30 minute runs this week.  I looked at my calendar from last year and I was still doing short stuff at this time so maybe I can really have a chance at the run afterall.

The only thing that's ahead of schedule is the swimming.  Can you believe it?!?  My worst event is actually the most improved right now as I'm on mid summer form right now.  I just completed the "Pyramid of Death" this morning for my longest interval workout so far this season.  It was brutal but I kept the pace as fast as I could.  I thought I was going to faint during the last few 50s.  I'm assuming fainting in the pool is probably a bad thing.   Swimming til you puke is probably not a real good one either.  I stumbled out of the pool at the end but I feel better for busting out the tough workout.

Other than working out, I pretty much watched NCAA basketball, movies and DVR TV shows all weekend.  I caught up with 24.  I finished season 2 of Friday Night Lights and season 3 of X-Files.  I watched Death Race and Mummy Dragon Emperor.  Death Race was okay but not too great.  The Mummy was awful.  I can't believe how bad it was compared to the first two.  It didn't get going until the end and then it just was pathetic.  I saw Wanted which wasn't too bad except it also had a lame ending as well.  The cool thing about it was the director.  He's the same guy that directed these weird Russian action-horror movies Night Watch and Day Watch.  The star from those movies had a little bit part in this one.  It was interesting what he was able to do with some budget.

Even with all the TV watching, I was able to get some good sleep.  I'm ready for another week...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tournament Thursday

It's BEGUN!  The NCAA Basketball March Madness Tournament!  Everyone's got a bracket including President Obama.

My bracket has changed 3 times before the games tipped off.  I already had a major scare**SPOILER ALERT** with Memphis almost losing in the opening round.  I have them winning it all.  We'll see how it goes.  It would be great to be in Portland right now as the Rose Garden is hosting opening round games.  Actually being part of the first two days would be great fun although I hear they don't serve beer at college basketball games.  That's lame and major money detractor.

I made it through my 3rd PT session today with no improvement.  Well that's not totally true but man it's slow going.  I was able to test the knee on a 3 mile run yesterday under sunny skies in 65 degree weather and it failed.    My cycling is slowly coming around and my swim is holding steady.  I did break 1:40 during some 100 intervals earlier this week which was lots of fun.  I really don't feel like I'm going to be able to bust out a fast run come May.  I just haven't been able to get any work in on it.

The PT person makes fun of my lack of flexibility and my loathing of weight lifting.  She moves my leg around and just starts giggling sometimes about the lack of mobility.  Oh well, she's been working my hip, IT band and hamstring.  I guess all these 3 being a little tight is causing running stride issues which effects my kneecap positioning.

Spring is tomorrow but man it's still pretty cold as compared to last year.  I think it was a mild winter here last year as we were already getting lots of sun and for lots of outdoor rides.  I'll probably be able to do some 3 hour rides on Saturday and Sunday.  At least my heating bill last month was cheaper than expected, woohoo.  I can turn on the heat now if I get too cold.

The Macbook is doing great.  I have it sitting on the coffee table while watching evening TV so I can still respond to email and do work.  This is good and bad because sometimes it's 7pm before I even think about relaxing.  I've been trying to get a good sleep so I feel rested.  I've been trying to get my 9 hours at least to feel good waking up at 4:30am.

I looked at my 401k recently as the market has started rebound and was shocked.  I think I'll be working til I'm 102.  I've lost half of my total account.  How sad is that?  At least all my current purchases are bonds which are getting at least 2%.  I thought about switching to a fund but I think I'll wait just a little longer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

West Wing Tour

On Saturday night, we got to go on a West Wing tour.  It's one of the perks Joe gets for his short 6 month stint working for the office of the President.  We walked through two different security posts and through an metal detector with our cameras and wallets X-rayed.  It was raining so we hustled over to the basement entrance of the White House.

You walk in and there's a guard behind a desk who checked the badges we received for the tour.  We walked down some stairs to see the door of the Situation Room.  It's a normal size wooden door but has a peep-hole.  It's not like you're opening the door during a meeting unless you see who's on the other side.  There were numerous action shots of President Obama in frames all along the walls.  There are also old paintings of special events through the halls as well like Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Next past another guard post, we made our way out onto the patio of the Rose Garden.

This is the walkway right next to the Cabinet room and at the far end is the Oval Office.  Here's a shot looking into the windows of the Cabinet room and of course my daughter is all smiles.

So right at the end of the walkway is where President Obama has his smoke every so often I bet.  It was cool just thinking about all the history of that patio.  I mean Presidents had to be out there clearing their minds before big decisions in the history of the nation.  Just amazing when you think about it.  We saw a guard all in black packing some serious fire power walking through the garden as we were about to leave.

So we went back inside for the best part of the tour, actually peeking in through an open door at both the Cabinet Room, the Roosevelt Room and Oval Office.  The Cabinet Room and Roosevelt Room each have a chair just for the President.  It's almost identical to the other chairs in the room except it has a taller back and of course is at the center of the table.  There was guard right outside the Oval Office who actually knew some information about the rooms, etc.

She told us about the Roosevelt Room which has Franklin's Nobel Prize in it on the wall and Teddy's Congressional Medal of Honor.  It also has all the military branch flags with ribbons signifying each action they were part of.  Even the Coast Guard has a flag(a shout out to my Jeff and Elizabeth in Seattle).  It has a secure video conference equipment and cool fake skylight in the ceiling.

Obviously, the most interesting was the Oval Office.  We found out that President Obama is using the Resolute desk as in the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets.  It's looks really cool in real life with all the carving on it.  He just got a pen holder given to him created from the hull of the HMS Resolute's sister ship.  He had pictures of his family and wife on a little table behind the desk.  The Oval Office has this cool stone carving of the Presidential symbol on the middle part of the ceiling.  He has two busts, one is Lincoln and one is MLK.  The guard said this was the first time a civilian's sculpture has been in the Oval Office.

We just marveled at it for awhile and easily spent 20 minutes just chatting with guard and asking questions.  Just trying to make a mental picture of the place.

We walked out through the actual White House lobby to the outside.

Our last stop of the tour was the Press Briefing room.  It's quite small overall as compared when you see it on TV.  It only has 35 chairs.

We hung out and got some fun pictures in here.
I'm not a crook. Okay so maybe I was only one goofing around.  What ya gonna do!

Overall, we spent an hour for the tour.  A co-worker of Amber's had a nice camera so I hope to get a bunch of high quality shots from him as these were all camera phone shots.

Elena even had fun and was not bored.  I guess living here isn't bad all the time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Yep, I bit the bullet and caved into the physical therapy route for my stupid knee.  I went in and they grabbed, poked, massaged and tweaked.  They finally came up with the answer.  My foot injury is what's causing the knee pain.  It's not runner's knee at all.  It's the muscle be overstrained because it was compensating for my tendon in my boot being tight.  My whole left leg was tight as compared to my right one.  The physical therapist pushed and massage different spots.  It hurt like a mother.  I've never gotten a massage because it hurts too much.  It was hard to tell if the various pressure and massages were helping relieve my knee pain or if it was just hurting worse and masking the knee pain.

At a point during the procedures, the knee did feel better.  I got various exercises that I'm doing to loosen up my muscles in my legs to help the soreness.  Overall, it's good that I can get this to go away and not have to worry about cartilage being inflamed.  They said it should start to feel better in a couple of days if I keep doing the exercises.  Once, I can walk down stairs without pain, I can start running again.  Hopefully within the week as I can still get some sort of training in before the May Half Ironman with 8 weeks to go.

I did get some fancy ultrasound on the top of my foot.  Not sure if it helped or not because I really haven't had pain in my foot since the knee injury.  I can see how professional athletes can heal really fast.  If they do PT everyday, it can help a ton.  I have another session on Tuesday so hopefully it just get better and better.

The next running injury I get I'm hitting the PT immediately.  It's worth it to me to be able to keep running at a high level.  Maybe this way I can really ramp up the running speed and get a little closer to my old pace.

Elena is taking a nap right now in preparation for our White House tour.  It got moved from 2pm to 7pm so she'll be up past her bedtime.  It was her own idea to take a nap.  What a conciseness kid.  I had to get her some dress shoes as she's grown out of her past ones.  She also needed a new dress sweater to go over her dress.  It was hard finding because all the spring clothes are out.  We found one at the Gymboree but it was spendy.  Oh well...such is a parent's life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


In continuing with the Apple theme, I sent in my old PC to be recycled by Apple this morning.  When you buy a new Mac, Apple lets you participate in a recycling old computer program.  It's pretty sweet.  They send you two FedEx barcodes so you can ship 2 boxes full of old computer parts.  I cleaned out all kinds of old stuff that I can no longer use.  The only problem was finding boxes big enough.  I had to use my work 24" LCD empty box so if I ever get whacked I'm not sure how I'm going to send back my monitor.

I'm typing this blog as I ice my knee for the billionth time.  This runner knee is not getting any better.  I've gone to an extreme measure and sent an inquiry email to a physical therapist.  I'm actually debating with myself to call them today to see if they can help.  I'm also seriously thinking about not running for 14 days just to see if it can heal completely.  This would leave me 7 weeks to build up my run.

I rode both Saturday and Sunday on the tri-bike in 70 degree weather.  It was great even though I can tell why I got runner's knee.  My quads are pathetically weak.  Endurance was fine but leg strength was horrible.  It's just amazing at how hard my Ironman pace feels just for 60 miles.  My neck and back hurt as well because I'm not used to the tri position.  It's not like my lips are kissing my front wheel either, I was just too much of a winter riding slacker.

I can safely say my off season didn't accomplish anything.  My riding sucks and I can't run because I'm injured.  Perfect!  The only benefit so far is my swimming is faster.  Who would've thought!

Since I didn't have to go to Europe this week, I get to go on a White House tour on Saturday.  Amber's husband works for the President so he was able to get us the "special" White House tour.  I'm sure now my blog will be flagged because I used the word "President" and "White House".  Anyway, it's going to be pretty cool as we get to see the West Wing and might get to peek into the Oval Office.  All this assumes that the President isn't around because if he's working the tours are all canceled.  I hope he's slacking this Saturday at least.  I guess this is one of the perks of suffering out here through super cold winters and super hot and humid summers.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pure Pain

I went out today for my first "long" ride.  It wasn't really long though since I only managed just over 3 hours and 60 miles.  The weather was great for early March and compared to all the cold weather.  It was 70 degrees by the time my ride ended.  My energy ended about 8 miles short of the finish.  It was a struggle to get back home.  I was wiped out.  This doesn't bode well for May but hopefully I can get my act together.

The Macbook Pro is doing great.  The display is so amazing, it's hard to describe plus just being able to pick it up and move around the condo is sweet.  I didn't have to go Europe. Woohoo!!  Things are changing for me so I won't have to travel as much hopefully.  So bye bye to my United Premier status for next year.  The one crazy thing with the Mac is trying to figure out how to read in the movies from my camcorder.  I need to catalog and put together some movies from last year of Elena.  Plus because I don't have to go to Europe, I get to see Elena's 1st grade music performance.  We'll give the iMovie a spin to see how it goes.

The knee still hurts but I think I'll just get used to it.  I probably won't be able to walk after the half but I'll just recover this summer.  Ice and more ice with some Aleve throw in for good measure.  It hurts getting out of the saddle on the bike as well but definitely didn't make me so slow on all the climbs today.

I need to wash my car because it's covered in salt.  It looks like a heavy sweater's tri-shorts at the end of a hot day.  Actually all the roads around here have the same salt streaks.  Massive salt and I didn't see anyone with chains that day when it snowed.  The roads can't handle that type of wear because they already have freeze cracks everywhere.

Well tomorrow it's suppose to be another nice day so I'll try the trifecta for bike rides.  I might die but at least the legs will get stronger because right now they're weak.  I'm already down to my race weight of 142 and I know its mostly muscle loss.  I just slacked way too much on the bike this off season so my legs have turned back into runner legs.  Of course that's useless because I won't be able to leverage all that good running base into speed because of the stupid knee.  Last year my off-season was wasted because of the collapsed lung and this year most of it was destroyed because of one 12 mile run.  I wish I would've just stuck to my normal route and maybe it would've been different.  Just one of those time machine type moments.

Well it's another exciting Saturday night in DC, as I watch Netflix.  I might try to see Watchmen tomorrow but I hate going to opening weekend movies.  I just rather not deal with the crowds.  Although I might brave the crowds for Monsters vs. Aliens because Elena is totally excited to see it.  She's been talking about it for months.

Well we lose an hour of sleep tonight which's odd that this year its so early when last year it wasn't until April.  I wonder who makes that decision.  It seems random.  I want to be the daylight and standard time change czar.  Full control of people's wake-up schedule and screwing parents nationwide when they attempt to get their young ones up an hour earlier than normal.  Excellent!  I wonder if Congress would have to vote to stop daylight savings.  Imagine being like Arizona where you don't have to deal with a time change.  I guess in June the sun would rise at 4am and most people wouldn't like that.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stimulating this horrible economy

Well, I'm doing my part to stimulate this economy by spending a bunch of my federal tax return.  I decided to go even more Apple this past weekend by getting an iPod at Costco.  I got an 8G one and I decided purple based on Elena's suggestion.  She loves purple and I like it as well.  Anyway, she'll be getting this iPod when she gets older anyway so it works to my advantage.  I saved $10 by getting it at Costco which covers the sales tax.  It would've been cool to get the free engraving Apple is offering but oh well.

Of course the biggest purchase of my new Macbook Pro 17".  The screen is awesome and it's really light for how wide it is.  It's not a big hassle carrying it around but man it's tough to get used to the new OS.  I'm still trying to find out how to "cut" files and "paste" them rather than just "copy/paste".  I'm sure I'll find it. The files I backed up from my PC don't work though.  Stupid media player built a bunch of wma files and those aren't readable on the Mac.  Luckily, I had only purchased 3 albums so it's not that big of deal.  I can try to convert them via Itunes on Windows but my PC is pretty messed up.  The graphics card is almost dead as it only boots in VGA mode.

Some things are really cool like this "Expose" feature which zooms all windows to fit the screen so you can find one easily.  I have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard that's really cool.  The best thing is I turned it on and selected my wireless network from a list and entered my password.  It was that simple.  No selecting which type of wireless password crap that XP has, etc.

Elena and I also went to Ikea and bought a desk for her room and I even upgrade to a normal desk.  The folding table disintegrated when I took it down.  Good times!  This desk is nice and it's all clean now.  We'll see how long that lasts.

I get to Europe next week well I have to is more accurate in the description.  It's going to be a brutal trip because I have to leave on Saturday and I don't get back to the following Saturday.  Plus on top of that I'm missing a tour of the White House that Saturday.  It pays to know people but I can't take advantage this time around.  Elena, Amber, Joe and a couple others are getting a tour and including the West Wing.  Amber says they might get to peek into the Oval Office.  Bummer for me.  Oh well...

It's fricking cold here still.  It snowed 6 inches yesterday.  This is compared to mid 50s last Thursday when I took my bike outside for the first time since October. wasn't too bad of a 27 miles.  The legs definitely felt weak but not totally dead.  It was 66 on Friday but it rained plus Elena had a half school day so I didn't get out on the bike.  Now there's snow everywhere and it's like 20 something degrees.  ARGH!!  This is hurting my heating bill although I'm still keeping it cool in the apartment.

The swimming is continue to stay at my new faster pace.  This is cool and was able to bust out a sub 1:40 for my last 100yard interval yesterday.  Sweet...  Of course this is all tempered with not being able to run at all.  I even bought Aleve at Costco.  I took one on Saturday.  I haven't had an Aleve in easily 5 years not counting the drugs they were giving in the hospital last year for the collapsed lung stuff.  The knee is still sore.  I'm also trying some glucosamine supplement to see if that helps.  I'll try to run on Sunday in Zurich for 30 minutes and see how it goes.  The run last Wednesday was 4 miles and I kept a decent pace even though the knee hurt.

That's just a quick update of stuff going on...I'll try to be more active but I've gotten super busy at work.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The barrel

OMG!  I couldn't wait til the end of the weekend to post this.  I just swam my fastest ever 2400 yards in the pool sans wetsuit.  My half ironman swim split was 38 minutes.  This is a minute faster than my previous best.  I was averaging 1:43 per 100.  That's insane for me.  I haven't seen really anything under 1:50 consistently for a long time.  And it all has to do with this:

It all because of the barrel.  Yesterday, I tried making my arm into a "C" like I was hugging a barrel during my pull.  I noticed it was harder and I got some speed from it.  I had been pulling my arm like an oar.  Perpendicular with a high elbow through the water.  I just thought that a flat arm would direct the most propulsion backwards well somehow a "C" shaped forearm and upper arm pulls more water for me.

I decided this morning to use the "C" shape pull the entire swim.  I had forgot to dry my baggy swim trunks last night so I was stuck wearing just my tri-shorts for the swim.  Shedding the baggy trunks cuts about 5 seconds per 100 for me.  Anyway, I hoped in and swam my first 100 in 1:41.  This is almost my fastest ever 100.  Even when doing intervals I've only gone under 1:40 a few times.  I was excited but the next 100 was 1:47.  Crap, let's get focused and see what I can do.  I just kept busting out 1:42s and 3s.  Towards the end I had a couple of 1:45s but overall I averaged 1:43.  Sweetness!!

Maybe a 35 minute half ironman split is in my grasp at Florida.  Combine that with a 2:30ish bike and then if I can just bust out a fast run split, the high 4:30 something range is in my grasp.  That's right in the thick of things in my age group.  Of course that all depends on my run coming around.  My knee feels pretty good today so I'm going to lay off until the first of March and then come back slowly.  The run base should still be there and if I can just build up a little slow and overlay some speed in April I should be okay.

The run is going to be harder this year because my entire cheering section from last year won't be there.  Amber has a conference the Monday after the half so she, Elena and Joe are not coming.  Of course, Orion is participating so he won't be in the crowd either.  I'll just have to stay mentally tough on my own.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I made it

I actually drug my ass out of bed in time to head to the pool for a swim plus the spin class.  I've even hit the indoor trainer twice this week.   Since I have only run twice in the last 12 days, I need to keep myself stress free by doing something at lunch time.  The riding of my road bike on the trainer has been interesting as compared to the spin bike.  It's nice to get a feel for the old road geometry although I'll probably transfer over the pedals to the Cervelo when I hit the outdoors.  We're under 12 weeks for the Florida half.

Orion's training is hanging in there but he is also struggling nagging soreness from his running.  He's following the beginner's 16 week half training program from Triathlon magazine that I sent him.  We're still excited to do the event together.  Hopefully, I can hang out in the finish holding area to get a finish photo with him.  I'm also hoping for no rain at all and just oppressing heat and humidity.  It's probably the only event I'll be doing with this "economy" and my laziness.

It's still cold here so I'm getting more and more pissed at the weather.  I don't know if I can make it to the days when the temperature high is 50.  It seems like spring is never going to get here.  Frickin east coast...stupid DC area.  Of course, I don't get to run right now as I need to keep resting the knee.  I figure if I give a full 2 weeks off maybe it will be healed enough to get some run workouts in.

I sit here typing this on my old computer since my Macbook Pro is still on a FedEx plane somewhere.  Apple delayed it 10 days for everyone and now finally started shipping them out.  Mine went from Shanghai China to Alaska and now it ended up in Indy before heading back Oregon.  How weird is that?  Talk about a waste.  I guess those FedEx folks really don't know how to route shipments.  How many other west coast shipments from China go to Alaska and then to Indy before heading back to the west coast?  Wild stuff.  Anyway, so I won't have my computer until March.  It will end up at work on Monday and then my AA will send it to me here.  It's going to cost $40 so in the end I'm saving $200 by shipping it to my work.  Woohoo!!

When it arrives, I'll be going to Ikea for a new desk to put it on.  I figure why not get rid of my pathetic folding table desk and step up to a somewhat real one.  I'll buy one for Elena and me.  Elena will help me put it together and organize my bedroom around it.  It's nice having a little slave er daughter that helps around the house.  I really need a new dining table and chairs but I really haven't found a cheap enough one yet. ;)  I should just bite the bullet and buy a nice one.  Maybe with the current economy, I can find some great deals as places drop their prices.

Not much else going on here in DC which means less blog updates.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feelin better

Well it looks like my diet is coming to an end.  I felt better yesterday.  I was able to eat some food and even have some post dinner snacks.  I did go to bed extra early to see if I could feel rested for today.  I slept well and didn't have to wake up in the middle of the night to blow my nose.  Woohoo!!  It's the little things although I probably only have 2 more weeks before allergy season starts and then the nose will be covered with a tissue constantly.

I can never remember all the cool things that I want to talk about when I write this blog.  It seems I always forget.  Maybe I should switch to Twitter since it seems to be for ADD bloggers.

After this past weekend, you can almost guarantee that the Friday the 13th franchise will start back up.  42 mil, are you kidding me?  I can't wait to see it.  I might think about going to see it this weekend although I'll probably just stay home and watch TV instead.  Let's see spend $15 on a movie and popcorn or just stay home for free.  Tough choice!  Plus I have 4 hours of 24 on the DVR..sweet! 24 mini marathon here I come. I think Watchmen is probably the next movie I'll see in the theater.  It's big enough that it requires some big screen viewing.

It's still cold here so I still haven't taken the bike outside.  I know I'm a wimp but well there is it.  Florida is looking worse and worse.  First, the running injury which basically blows any chance of a 1:25 run split.  Second, the two weeks in Oregon with no swimming drowns the chance of going sub 40 on the swim.  Third, no outdoor cycling and we're 3 months away drops the hopes of a 2:30 bike split.  My training this season has been abysmal as compared to last year and last year I had a mandatory 4 weeks off because of a partially collapse lung.  This year I just have a collapsed motivation.

I'm still bitter about all the sub freezing runs I did to just have it all slip away due to this stupid knee injury.  I could've been a fair weather runner all winter and be in better shape now because at least I still be running 5 miles every so often.  I had to explore a new route.  I should've just kept to my old route that I did all last year.  I should've just did 10 miles instead of 12.  Wow!! I just can't think about it anymore it's too painful.

Hopefully, my new Mac will arrive soon.  It's suppose to finally ship out this week.  It's going to the office in Oregon(no sales tax baby!) and they're going to ship it to me here in DC.  I'm sticking it to the Maryland state government.  I'm doing it because well I can.  I didn't bring back a ton of stuff from my Oregon trip tax free except running shoes, wireless keyboard, and 2 boxes of Clif Bars.  Because of the extra stuff, my luggage was going to go over the alotted 50 lbs.  I decided to put the extra weight into my backpack and then after getting my baggage tags stuff it back into my suitcase.  At Portland International Airport, you have to take your own luggage over to the big X-ray machines after the airline tags it.  Well as I was wheeling my 50 lb bag over to the X-ray, it all sudden acquired some extra weight and my backpack was 2 lbs lighter.  Take that airline!  Overcharging us for bike cases and having to pay for the fatty who's 50 lbs overweight sitting in a middle seat because your fuel economy isn't the greatest.  F that!

Monday, February 16, 2009


This cold/sore throat that I caught in Oregon sucks.  I felt miserable all weekend but at least I tried to workout.  I figured I'd try to drown the cold by swimming.  Hacking flem underwater just isn't fun.  Boy 2 weeks is a long time to be out of the water because it's like I'm starting over from scratch.  I have 3 months to get it all together in hopes with staying on the feet of Orion in Florida.

I tried to run 4 miles on Friday but it was more of a hobble than run as the knee is still trashed.  I get a solid 3 months of training then I get injured.  Although, I thought I figured it out this time.  I wish I could blame the brutal 14.5 mile run with Don's friends but my knee was screwed up before I even went to Oregon.

At least as I was hacking and blowing my nose this weekend, Elena was extra nice and good this weekend.  She's becoming more responsible about things like keeping her room clean and picking up her clothes.  She had all her valentines from school on Friday and gave me one.  I'm sure she'll try to keep all her valentines her friends gave her because she's such a pack rat.  I usually have her clean her backpack out when she comes over because it's full of stuff.  Rocks, papers, random receipts from grocery stores, left over bag lunches, etc.  This time she surprised me with a mason jar full of sweet tarts.  She won this at school by coming the closest on guessing how many were in the jar.  I always remember not even getting close on those types of things when I was a kid.  She guessed 230 and there were 266.  She said most people said around a hundred.  So she has a year supply of sweet tarts.

The only good thing about this dumb cold is I've lost 5 lbs.  I rarely eat when I'm sick so it's easy to shed the pounds.  So bye-bye Oregon pounds...

Monday, February 9, 2009

A disgrace

I failed.  I didn't even show up.  I've let my fans down.  This is the way I feel after eating just one 13" pancake and starting the 2nd at the Stepping Stone Cafe in Portland.  The pancake was quite good.  Nice and fluffy airy even.  This was my downfall as they only had tabs of butter and not one of those big ice cream scoops.  I went through about 10 tabs on the first pancake and it wasn't even close to enough.  The pancakes are about an inch thick.  The real food eater eats 3 of these in a stack.  The kitchen screwed up and only sent me one pancake out at a time.  This allowed for more room to eat but I just wasn't feeling it.  I got to the cafe without feeling very hungry and after the first bite I knew it was going to be almost impossible.  A fellow Ironman Canada finisher, Alanna, went with me and she polished off her pancake without trouble plus had 2 scramble eggs.  She crushed me.  I got beat by a girl. ;)

The weekend started by going to see Pink Panther 2 on Friday.  It wasn't as good as the first one but during the movie I polished off a tub and half of popcorn.  I woke up early even though I was trying to sleep in and decided to go ride for 2 hours on the indoor bike.  At 11:30, I had reservations with Eric & Tracey at Claim Jumper.  I had the roasted tri-tip with cheese potatocakes plus biscuit.  For dessert, I was somewhat conservative only getting the chocolate cheese cake.  I thought about the "I Declaur" e-clair which was the size of a football and the 6 layer chocolate cake but I knew the pancakes loomed so I just had the cheese cake.  Just think double the normal size of a dessert cheese cake.  I said goodbye to Eric & Tracey and stumbled back to my hotel room.  I was full.

The sun was great on Saturday so I decided to go for a run in shorts.  It was awesome even though I knew I would be doing a long run on Sunday.  My knee wasn't happy but I was even though I could feel the cheese cake every step of the way.  I rested afterwards but it wasn't enough to have a chance at pancake history.

Sunday morning I gave my report to Orion who promptly said I was worthless as an eater and didn't even feel like taking me to the any buffets when I come and visit.  I begged and promised to train harder than ever before.  It was just a bad day.  I could find it again.  My only saving grace was Orion saw me wreck the Brazilian steak house in DC.

I decided to run with Don and his group for a reported 12-13 miles.  It would be at a slow pace so I figured my knee could hold up.  We proceeded to run and immediately it was bathroom time.  The pancake wasn't happy sitting in my stomach.  I found one on the waterfront and left the pancake and shame in the honey bucket.  We hadn't even reached the turnaround when I asked Alanna how far we had come.  Just under 7 well exactly 6.38 is what her Garmin watch told her.  I started cursing Don who had dropped back behind us so he didn't hear.  I hadn't brought any water or gels or nothing.  I was thinking at least there would be people around when I bonked.  Paul decided to up the pace when we hit the west side waterfront trail in Macadam.  This felt better on my knee and would also get me done before the dreaded bonk.  I started to feel pretty good and just opened it up a little more.  The knee was throbbing with every step but I wanted the run over with.  We finished at the Athlete's Lounge in NW.  The run stats were 14.4 miles in 1:48.  This was my longest run so far this season and I only went longer once during my Ironman training.  Thanks DON!!

I could barely walk on my knee as I headed off to the Blazer/Knick game later.  This game was quite a spectacle.  The Blazers were crushing it until the 3rd quarter.  We hit 75 points and I was thinking chalupas.  Taco Bell gives everyone a chalupa if the Blazers score 100.  Well right then the Knicks started bombing the 3s and Blazers went cold. For all the gory details head over to Andrew's Blazer Blog as he was the one who invited to the game with his season tickets.  He took some great pictures and I'm sure he'll post them all.  Here's a picture I snapped with my phone:
I was pretty hungry from the run so I had a cheeseburger, 2 orders of fries, and a bag of popcorn.  The Blazers ended up coming back to win with a last second shot from Brandon Roy.  Awesome!
The weekend is over but it was a great weekend.  I probably gained 5 lbs. and have to start getting serious about my eating.  I only have just over 12 weeks til the Florida trip and I need to be ready both on the half ironman course and off the course at the post race restaurant.