Monday, December 18, 2006

Reach out and touch...

somebody's hand....make this world a better place.....if you can.

Yeah it's the holiday season. A time for people to reconnect. Tell those around you how much they matter to you. Spreading joy and good cheer. Blah blah blah. Is this really a special time of the year? I look around and see another season for the retailers to make some money and people to paying off happiness with expensive gifts. No to become religious on your ass but isn't there more to this time of year than gifts.

I'm not trying to be negative here. I'm more of a realist. I see what's in front of me. And quite frankly I don't like what I see sometimes. When I was growing up, I remember when gas stations, restaurants, convenience stores and just about every other place of business was closed the day of major holidays. Christmas.....closed. Thanksgiving......closed. Easter.......closed. I feel sad for people who work on holidays now. They should be with family and friends the entire day......not the period of time before or after work. I'm's bullshit.

Wow...did I just digress or what? Okay, back to making connections.

Must focus. Stay in the moment. Don't reveal yourself to the blog.

We are making contact here. During this joyous holiday season. Good tidings to one and all. Send the annual Christmas card, year end wrap up letter, and pictures of the kids.

What's wrong with contacting that one person you think about in the middle of August, beginning of June, end of February. Why must we wait until "special" occasions or seasons to reconnect. Just the simple act of reconnecting, or even connecting, should be special.

In our rush around lives we fly through the day and per chance you see an old friend from high school, co-worker from a previous job, neighbor. "Good talking to you. I'll give you a call sometime." Does sometime ever arrive? I know I'm guilty of it. In 2005 I saw many friends at my 20th high school reunion. 18 months later have I really kept in touch. No. Some e-mail here and there. A couple contributed to my fund raising for Ironman. Not much else.

(maybe I'm writing this not only to you.......but also to myself)

I know some people are better at maintaining contact than others. I'm not so good at it. Maybe it's a challenge I should pose to myself. What does it take to call someone. Even if it is to leave a message on an answering machine or on a voice mail. It may make a difference to the person at the other end.

How many times have you said to a friend, "If you need anything please let me know." It may be someone who has lost a family member. A neighbor with an ill child. A friend struggling through a tough time in their life. You want to help but don't want to appear intrusive. The other person doesn't want to impose. A stand still has developed that a simple phone call could resolve. Make that call to re-iterate the offer and be a support mechanism. Make the call and ask for help when feeling overwhelmed.

At this time of the year a little "touching" could be a good thing as people deal with the stress of life and the holidays. Be the person who "gives a call sometime".

I called my friend today. Who should I call tomorrow? Game is definitely On.

In case I don't post by the end of the week......enjoy your time with family and friends all through the holiday season however you manage to spend it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

There’s a mouse in the……

You are reading that correctly. My car has a mouse in it. How do I know? Evidence. First there was the chewed open package of Clif Blocks, CranRazz to be exact. Two holes the size of dimes and the corners of two blocks eaten. Next was the packet of hot chocolate with a small hole in it.

Then there is the ripped up napkin in the glove compartment and of course the tiny little mouse turds……ewww gross.

You see my vehicle sits outside because Aimee’s car gets the garage. And with all of the “stuff” (three bikes, Christmas storage boxes, two lawn mowers, two snowblowers, eight 5 gallon jugs of waters…..get the picture) being stored on the other half……..I get to park outside 365 days of the year.

So when the snow arrives and the little yard mice get cold, someone is bound to find the spacious HAMC (High Altitude Mouse Camp) in my car.

So yesterday there was a mouse all jacked up on runner’s crack (Clif Block) and hot chocolate running around in my car. I searched the places I could to try and find the little bugger. Not in the glove compartment. Not in the engine bay. Not under the seats. Hopefully not IN the seats. I left him some more food. I figured he would be hungry. Hungry enough to stick his scrawny little neck into a spring trap. Just a dab of peanut butter and SNAP……problem solved. He wouldn’t have to worry about the cold any more and I would have successfully evicted an unwelcome passenger in my car.

I placed the trap on the floor, passenger side. This morning I checked my trap and saw nothing. Let me repeat that, nothing. Oh the trap was still there. The trap was still set. However the bastard was talented enough to get all of the PB off the trap without setting it off. Who is this guy, Stuart Little?

I was going to use this to my advantage though. He must surely think, “Hey, I can get a free meal on this thing. No problem.” So I set the trap again. This time with a small amount of cheese jammed in there. He will have to work at it this time and SNAP, problem solved.

I left the trap in the car during the morning while I worked on a customers new computer system. I would check the trap when I went out during lunch. I was anxious to see if the trap was “occupied”. DAMN. The trap was still set and the cheese was untouched. I had to run out and refill the 5 gallon water jugs we use at home. The store where I fill them at is just down the street from my customer. The timing was perfect because we had just emptied the last of eight bottles.

At the store I started refilling the bottles and noticed that one bottle looked rather dirty on the bottom. I wasn’t sure if there was mud underneath the bottle from yesterdays trail run or what. I peered into the bottle and much to my surprise I found that little bastard mouse….dead. Somehow he had managed to get inside this huge bottle and found himself trapped…then died…..not before crapping all over the bottle……..little tiny mouse turds. I still don't get how he got in the bottle. The cap at left covers the large opening to the bottle. However, the little white cap in the middle was off, common occurance. But the hole is smaller than a dime. He might have caused himself some serious internal damage getting into the bottle.

No wonder the trap hadn’t been tripped again. He must have been thirsty from stealing the peanut butter and there was some extra water in the bottom of the bottle. These bottles were in the car overnight so he made his way in there during the 12 hours they were in the car.

I shared my story with the lady at the refilling station and she said they sanitize the bottles that are traded in. She said to leave the bottle, someone else would dispose of the mouse and I could refill a clean bottle instead. I was oh so happy to be rid of that mouse. I didn’t want to clean the bottle. But I do need to clean the rest of the car. Who knows where else he crapped.

So that is the story of my mouse in the car.

Game On…..except for mice.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chicks and Trails

What an awesome weekend. The cold weather finally broke and that allowed for some great times outside. Saturday I got together with my good friend and SBR teammate Patrick. We met in the morning for some mountain biking at Findley SP. The temp was still 26 degrees F when we started but we donned our winter riding gear and set out on the 8 mile loop. The trail was frozen and very fun. The mud was solid which was good and bad. The surface was hard but the existing tire groves were tossing my front tire around. Made for some tough riding at times but it helps improve your bike handling skills.

After an hour we made it back to the parking lot and Pat had to head home for soccer games. I headed back out for another half hour on the inner trail loop. When I made it back to the car I had 12 miles on my tires. I changed into my new trail shoes and did a 2 mile run in 18 minutes. I hadn't done a brick in a long time and it felt good on the legs.

My total workout for the morning was 2:20. I hadn't exercised/trained for that long since.....since....actually I'm not sure when. It sure did feel good to be out there for a long time.

Aimee and I did some chores before we met a group of people from the Cleveland Tri Club to watch the Ironman Championships at a bar downtown. It was great to see some fellow triathletes including TriSaraTops and TriAl. Afterwards we went home for a quiet evening watching a movie.

For Sunday I had arranged for a trail run back out at Findley SP. TriSaraTops came over to our house and we drove together to the park. We met Coach Angela at the park. I was pumped to show these lovely ladies the trails I have been running and riding on. It was my pleasure to escort them through the woods, fields and hills. It was a nice easy run which took us an hour and 24 minutes. The company and scenery was the best. I had to take this picture of my "trail girls". From left to right, Angela, TriSaraTops and Aimee.

After we left the park we stopped at a place called Bread & Brew for some coffee and hot chocolate for the ride home. What a great morning. What a great way to start the day.

I'm looking forward to more runs and rides on trails.

Today......Game was definitely On.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Family and Friends Friday - Mr. VG

First off - Blogger Sucks Donkey Balls - take two for today's post.

I want to introduce you to a little friend who has been visiting me this week. Mr. VG has been at the house for maybe two weeks and he is starting to annoy me. I'm getting cranky. I'm tiring easily and I can't eat what I like. Mr. VG has been throwing a wrench into my training causing me to back off and not get in the quality or quantity I want during my base phase.

You see Mr. VG (Viral Gastroenteritis) is just plain annoying. Too much food or intensity during exercise and he passes everything right through. He's a cranky SOB as pictured here. I can't wait for him to finally leave so I can get back to feeling normal.
The Cleveland Tri Club is participating in the National Club Challenge and we are holding out own in the standings. I want to get some more mileage out there for our club.
So this weekend I have a brick on Saturday and a trail run with my local peeps, TriSaraTops included, on Sunday.
Here's to a better weekend, hoping to get some Game On.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Bike Porn (Time to Hit the Road)

A couple of years after getting our mountain bikes I started to become interested in road riding. I had borrowed an old bike from my friends Pat and Linda. I was enjoying riding fast on the road. Aimee was also thinking about a road bike. So we went to the LBS and started looking around. Aimee was looking at different entry level bikes with the help of a sales associate. The final bike pulled down turned out to be a Bianchi.

While waiting to get a bike down from the hooks I turned around and saw this.......GT ZR3000....on sale.

The bike I saw on the sales floor was beautiful, only too big for me. They had a smaller size for me, 54cm, at another store and would have it brought over for me. Aimee and I scheduled to come back and test ride the bikes we selected. We came back about a week later with our shoes and helmets for the test ride. I was sold immediately. Aimee liked her bike also. We went back to the LBS and bought both bikes. We went in the store to find a bike for Aimee and wound up getting one for each of us. I'm grateful Aimee was open minded enough to agree on the double purchase.
These bikes have served us well. We trained and rode our first half IMs on these bikes. I've done road races and tri's on my GT. I've upgraded the components on both bikes and the wheels on my bike were bought over the summer. I really enjoy riding my bike. During my IM training I would ride both my road and tri bike. It was a great way to change things up.
I know the cold weather for many of you has started, but get those road/tri bikes on the trainers/rollers and get some game on.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Too much information......

runnin' through my brain.
Too much information drivin' me insane.

Yep, my brain has been on overdrive due to work, family life and not much else. Training has been on the down low. Really not feeling it. Trying to get some thoughts together for some blogs. Been taking video for posting on YouTube and on this blog. Random thoughts floating all over the place.

Just making sure people know I'm here and am hoping to post some quality information for your reading, viewing, listening pleasure.

Props to Boulder for providing some on-line support when my Treo went haywire on me Saturday night. He sent me some links and offered some advice. Essentially calmed me down for the night since I needed someone to listen to me have a mini freak out. It may not have seemed like it but my Treo life flashed by my eyes as I thought of everything stored on my Treo.

Amazing how dependant we sometimes become upon technology to help regulate our lives. Even though I work with computers I sometimes think it's a bad thing. I'll rant about that some other time.

Game On.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Breaking the surface

I had a morning swim today. Up at 5AM and off to the Y. Lately I have been far from the first in the pool, usually opting to wait for a couple of the early quick swimmers to get out.

This morning entered the pool and saw this. Smooth water and no one else in the water.

In fact I did my 600 yard warmup by myself before Jason got in the pool. I don't mind sharing the pool, especially when it's Jason, Dave, Ann, Bob and Dan. It was a good swim this morning.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that you are able to spend a fun day with family and friends. There are so many things to be thank-ful for today I wouldn't know where to start.

This morning I am thank-ful for being able to run with my wife and friends at the Nakon Foundation Turkey Dash. This run is a 5k right in my back yard. I did my warmup by running to the event site and met everyone there. I haven't run a 5k in like forever since this was the year of going long.

Finish time: 19:21
Mile 1 6:15
Mile 2 6:27
MIle 3 6:04

I felt great and I am thankful for that. Now for the rest of the weekend I'll be thankful for those around me.

Look out turkey....Game On.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Before and After

Back from my blogger break. Aimee and I were on vacation last week. Nothing like the beaches of Curacao to regenerate you mind and body. So with that I provide a before and after tone. Aimee is more protective of her skin but I laid out in the sun hoping to build a tan that could last part of the winter. I know it will be gone by the new year, but a guy can always dream.

Can someone say "Rock Lobster"? More photos to come from our trip.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Off Season

Wow, it's been a week since my last post. Partly because of work keeping me busy. Partly because it's the off season and I'm taking a well deserved break. You won't get anything out of me next week either due to travel plans.

I'll catch you on the flip-side.

Game On? Nah.......give it a well earned rest.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Family and Friends Friday – The Voices in My Head

I’m c-c-c-c-c-c-cold.

Brain: Who said that?

Toes: It’s us. Down here. We are very cold.

Brain: I’m sorry. But we needed to get in a bike ride and I am trying to avoid the trainer in the basement.

Chest: I’m fine.

Hands: Sure! You are the one hogging all the warm blood.

Chest: Hey….without the lungs and heart pumping O2 and blood around you would be NOTHING!

Brain: Calm down everyone. Who else is not happy with this bike ride?

Face: I’m f-f-f-f-f-freezing.

Crotch: Wind chill will do that too ya. I’m glad we put on bike shorts and the Firewall tights. It’s colder than a wizards balls in a brass jock strap.

Chest: I thought it was “Colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra”?

Brain: Watch your language! This is a family blog.

Crotch: I’m just calling it like I feel it.

Legs: I’m doing well.

Feet: Of course. You are at least moving. Can you send some of the blood past the ankles?

Eyes: I wish you had put on the clear lense glasses. I’m watering up here. What’s the stuff in the headlight beam. That better not be snow.

Brain: That’s snow alright. Some of that great lake effect stuff coming off Lake Erie.

Toes: We are all cold down here. When will this end?

Brain: Winter just started so it may get warm again after March.

Toes: We mean this stupid bike ride.

Hands: We are starting to warm up. Actually pretty comfortable now.

Brain: The schedule called for 1:15 but I won’t let it go that long.

Face: Are we heading west again? This wind is strong.

Brain: West it is. I’m sorry we didn’t cover you enough face. You will be fine.

Face: C-c-c-c-an’t m-m-m-m-m-ove l-l-l-l-ips.

Brain: Okay let’s turn back, we’ve been out for about 30 minutes.

Eyes: That’s better with the wind at our back. I’m not watering now.

Butt: Great for you but now I get to freeze my…um….my….oh you know what I mean. I’m freezing off right now.

Brain: We will be back in about 20 minutes. I’ll take some shortcuts going home. Toes you hanging in there?

Brain: Toes?

Toe (small one left foot): The big guys are very cold. We better get home soon. Lo-o-o-o-o-osing consciousnessssssssssss.

Brain: Will someone remind me to use the toe warmers next time?

Chest: This has been a great ride.

Brain: You have to stick with me guys. I’m trying to avoid the trainer as long as possible. Even in the middle of winter we will be riding outdoors on the trails.

Hands: I think I speak for everyone that as long as we are bundled up we are in for the riding.

Brain: Good because I talked to Linda about riding at Findley State Park again this year.

Legs: Cool, those are great trails.

Chest: That gives the lungs a good workout.

Crotch: Just avoid the sudden bumps that kick the saddle into the “boys”.

Brain: I for one like riding like this. Bundled up, headlight and blinkie going. People in the warm cars wondering what the heck I’m doing out in weather like this.

Eyes: Does anyone know the temperature right now?

Butt: You should know! You’re the one who looked at the thermometer before we left.

Eyes: But I don’t know what it means smelly!

Butt: You take that back.

Brain: You two better pipe down. The temperature is 32F. Hey everyone. We made it back home. 50 minutes and 12.6 miles. Great ride.

Brain: So everyone out there in the Blog-o-Sphere…….what’s preventing you from going out and getting your Game On?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sharing the Passion

Aimee got me back into running during 2000. We ran together while she learned how to run and increase her distances. Now she has three marathons under her belt, plus a half IM. For Christmas one year I got her this poster because we had ran together and also trained together for our first half IM.

Last night I ran with Aimee. Yeah, we usually run at different speeds but I really wanted to share the evening with her. It was an awesome run.

I really enjoy sharing the passion with Aimee. The passion of running, cycling, triathlon, marathon, cooking, traveling, gardening....enjoying life.

I hope you all have someone to share your passion with.

Game On.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Chicken Barley Chili

Aimee and I have a "tradition" of making some Chicken Barley Chili for Halloween and eating it while handing out treats to the kids. This is a great altenative to regular chili.

1 cup QUAKER Medium Barley
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained, chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with chilis
One 14-1/2-ounce can fat free chicken broth
4 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
One 11-ounce can whole kernel mexi-corn
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (about 1-1/2 pounds)


1. Combine first 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn and cooked chicken; continue simmering 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is heated through and barley is tender. Add additional water or chicken broth if chili becomes too thick upon standing.

2. Eleven 1-CUP SERVINGS

We love this recipe and make small changes here and there. The original recipe calls for beans but it's just fine without.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Paper or Plastic....bags

Paper or Plastic....what the heck as I talking about? Basically two types of bags....treat bags and Ironman bags.

In honor of Halloween I wanted to show everyone what will be handed out at our house. Each little treat bag, primarily for the neighbor kids, will have one of each in the picture.

Now for the meat of my post. Some people have asked about all of the baggage used during an Ironman. In honor of those racing in Florida this Saturday, here is my write-up on Ironman Baggage. Hope this clears things up for those asking.

Ironman Baggage

Dry Clothes Bag
This bag is used to store your clothes before the swim. In case you do not have anyone to take your stuff for you, this bag will be placed on the racks with the rest of the transition bags.

Where the Bags Are
The transition bags at Lake Placid were hanging on a rack like this one. At Wisconsin they were placed on the floor in a meeting room. Either way everything is numerical and should be easy to find.

Swim to Bike Bag

Grab this bag as you make your way into the changing tent. All of your bike stuff should be in here.

This includes but is not limited to:
Bike shoes
Socks – if you wear them
Towel – for a quick drying
Race number on belt – You MUST wear your race number on the bike
Baby Powder – in case you want to powder your feet before socks
Extra nutrition – to stuff in you bike jersey pocket

The following if the temperatures will be cool:
Arm warmers
Leg Warmers

When you are done with your bag either you or a volunteer will stuff your swim gear back into the bag and place it in a pile to be sorted and placed back on the transition racks. I was ahead of the masses so the volunteer took my bag for me.

Bike Special Needs Bag
This bag will be waiting for you at the halfway point of the bike course. With some of the two loop courses out there you will hit the special needs area close to transition. Originally the special needs bag was for athletes with special needs. Perhaps a spare set of glasses, medication, asthma medicine, a syringe…..anything that you couldn’t do without. Now you can pack whatever you want in it, including the following:

Extra (replacement) water bottles – these bottles should have your bike fuel, like perpetuem or carbopro.
Extra (replacement) gel and food – you should be eating a lot on the bike.
Spare Tubes/Tires/CO2 cartridges – if you have flatted twice so far you will need the extra gear.

As you approach the special needs area a volunteer will call out your number and someone will retrieve your bag and bring it to the side of the road. They wait until you are done with the bag and then place it back in line. What service.

Bike to Run Bag
Grab this bag as you make your way into the changing tent. All of your run stuff should be in here.

This includes but is not limited to:
Running shoes
Socks – maybe you want to change into different or dry socks
Sunglasses – sometimes changes glasses is good if they are water stained from dumping water on yourself
Fuel Belt – Loaded with whatever nutrition you need
Baby Powder
Body Glide
Extra nutrition

The following if the temperatures will be cool:
Long sleeve shirt

Run Special Needs Bag
This bag will be waiting for you at the halfway point of the run course. Now you can pack whatever you want in it, including the following:

Long sleeve shirt – if you are out there after dark it may get cold
Dry socks – in case it’s raining dry socks will feel great
Extra (replacement) water bottles
Extra (replacement) gel and food

As you approach the special needs area a volunteer will call out your number and someone will retrieve your bag and bring it to the side of the road.

that's about it for the Ironman Baggage. If you have any questions about the bags let me know.

Now for all those getting ready for IM Florida.....GAME ON!

Friday, October 27, 2006

I've been traveling most of the week. My last stop was Indianapolis and I would finally be able to "do" something. I've been taking it easy as of late. Between work and the weather I haven't been on the bike or swam. An occasional run is all I've been fitting in. Rain moved into the area but I didn't want to run on a treadmill. By the time I left my customer the rain had stopped. It was still cold and windy but atually perfect running weather. There is a fitness club near my hotel and as I headed out on my run I was reminded of this Frazz cartoon. On my way back after a 50 minute run that's exactly what I did. I ran right by the glass windows where all of the treadmills were lined up. What a shame for all of those people to waste a great day.

Game On.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Old School

I was in high school during the 80's.....class of '85 to be exact. I liked listening to rap and would even write down the lyrics. Jam On It was one of my favorite songs. I guess you could say I was a little freaky at night. But I had friends I could depend on.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bold Butts are Beautiful

I have to say I have never seen So I Married An Axe Murderer or The Burbs, but Bolder in Boulder had to post a movie showdown. I didn't vote and I'm not going to watch either Bold says a gratuitous butt shot is in order. In honor of Halloween I offer my tender tush for the masses.

And for the guys........ This is all I could find on the internet.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

From Ironman to Gardenman

Aimee and I waited until after her marathon in Baltimore before doing the landscaping in our front yard. Three years ago we did our back yard. It was a major change for our house. Aimee's cousin Christi does landscaping on the side, very good at it, and she planned our new garden in the back.

It used to look like this.......

Now it looks like this........and this....after three years.

The above landscaping was a full days work for a crew of 6.

So after three years, numerous olympic tri's, 2 Half IM and 1 IM for me AND 3 marathons, 1 Half IM and many miles of trials for Aimee (essentially ignoring the front yard) we new something had to be done. So we contacted Christi again and she designed a new front yard for us.

In one day we went from this........maybe not one day. We did alot of prep work over the course of two months the bushes and tree were taken out, stumps removed, soil turned (each on different days)

So today.....using this....... a big 10 yards of top soil and a big 7 yards of mulch........

and a full day with a crew of 6 we wound up with this........

I think I pushed a wheelbarrow the distance of a half marathon today. Each time I dumped a load the next load was ready to go. We had 6 wheelbarrows going. We had extra mulch so we covered the back garden as well. I think we are set for spring as well.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Get out and Ride

Last night I rode. This was the first physical activity since Baltimore. I've been pretty busy and haven't been able to do anything but this is my down time right now. Taking it easy and recharging my mental and physical batteries after an awesome racing season.

Now while Bolder had to deal with this, I only had to deal with the darkness. Fortunately for me I have accumulated the necessary equipment for riding at night. During my days of racing mountain bikes I participated in many night races and 5-6 24 Hour team races. So I put my light on the handlebars of my mountain bike and a blinkie red light hooked on the pocket of my jacket and headed out.

I stayed on the side streets where there would be street lights and less traffic. I left the HR monitor at home and just rode. I had a blast zipping through the streets in stealth mode. After an hour of riding I managed to clock 16.25 miles.

For now my Game is Off, but there are many people getting their game ready for IM Kona and IM Florida. Getting excited about tracking people during those races.

So for everyone else.......


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Videos

Something quick and simple. Check out these videos.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Baltimore Half Marathon

Here is a quick recap for the half marathon in Baltimore.

I totally underestimated this course and the hills that would be involved. However I managed to break my 1:30 barrier and left it all on the course.

bib number: 5576
age: 39
gender: M
location: Avon, OH
overall place: 51 out of 3869
division place: 5 out of 267
gender place: 42 out of 1686
time: 1:29:08
pace: 6:48

Details to follow.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Race Strategy

Miles 1 - 3 = Start running fast
Miles 4 - 7 = Start running faster
Miles 8 - 10 = Start running really fast
Miles 11 - 13.1 = Run Really Really Fast

Game On

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Random Thoughts Are Good

Seems like alot of people have been posting random thoughts and I'm not one to avoid the trend. Lots on my mind lately.

Baltimore Half Marathon/Marathon:
Aimee and I leave for Baltimore tomorrow morning. We will be driving and I am looking forward to it. Aimee mentioned that we should be able to see some good falls colors in the trees. I have already been driving on the turnpike this week back and forth to a customer in eastern Ohio. It wasn't until the second day that I actually looked around and noticed the colors in the trees. Very beautiful. I will make a point of it to watch the trees along the side of the highway tomorrow. It's one of those "don't let life pass you by, stop and smell the roses" moments. How often do we get into the rut of driving, walking, running, cycling, living, surviving that we forget to notice what is around us.

Fall turns to Winter....For A Day:
The first signs of snow have not only hit Bolder in Boulder but also Cleveland. It was not anything to accumulate but little snow showers. Cold temps were made to feel colder with the wind chill. When the weather guys start mentioning wind's not good.

The Dreaded Treadmill:
With the upcoming race in Baltimore I have been in taper and taking it easy. I just didn't have the motivation to run outside in the windy cold weather for a lousy 30 minutes. So succumbed to running on the treadmill at the Y. I haven't been on a t-mill since March so I hated getting on now, especially when I saw people running outside. Anyways I had a good 30 mninutes with some pick-ups to race pace. I walked a couple of laps around the gym watching the little guys, 5 years old, running around and having absolute fun. Ten minutes in the sauna before hitting the shower did the trick. At my locker a guy asked me if I worked for Ford because of my bag I got from IM USA. I explained it was from Ironman and he tells me he did Ironman in Hawaii 1996. How cool is that, you never know when you will meet an Ironman. Turns out he was also a professional baseball player, catcher for the Cubs in the late 70's, early 80's, I think. We had a good talk and it made me smile sharing Ironman tales.

A New Blogger Worth Checking Out:
Eric Hodska has started a blog to detail his build-up to the Ironman Championships in Kona. Coach Hodska was in Cleveland for the summer tri camp I did in early June. He coaches my coach Angela as well as several other Cleveland area triathletes. He is a great guy and has some awesome insight that he has already shared on his blog. He qualified for Kona at the Half IM in Lubbock, Texas....I forget the name of that race. Anyways, I will be watching Eric, what a cool name, during the race and know he will kick some major Kona butt on that course.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The numbers game

September 16th seems so long ago. Oh yeah, I guess it was four weeks ago that I was on campus at "The" Ohio State University undergoing a "stress" test to determine my max HR, VO2 max, LT threshold and body composition. I know I've been slow in getting the information out but I wanted to digest the data thoroughly before posting anything. Of course I am posting it right before racing in the Baltimore Half Marathon this Saturday. So here goes.

The tests. Body composition consisted of three tests to determine body fat. The skinfold test with calipers, dunking in the hydrostatic tank and a trip in the space age Bod Pod.

The skinfold test is the most popular test and I was pinched three times to get my averages on the chest, abdomen and thigh.

The hydrostatic tank required you to exhale all of the air in your lungs to get a good reading while submerging yourself under water.

The bod pod measured your air displacement, I think. I like the bod pod because it provided the best numbers.

Skinfold: 15.6%
Hydrostatic: 15.6%
Bod Pod: 10.9%

I think the variances on the skinfold and tank bring it down to the 10% range. Interesting.

The stress test was performed on a treadmill. Officially it was a maximal Graded Exercise Test. The treadmill was put at my marathon/half marathon pace, around 8 MPH starting at a .5% incline. Every two minutes the incline was raised 2% and blood was taken. I was hooked up to an EKG machine, wore a HRM strap and had this cool breathing mask on to measure oxygen intake and output. The video was taken by Aimee while I was on the treadmill. I lasted about 14 minutes and the grade was up to 10.5%.

Here are the raw numbers:
Max HR: 188
VO2 Max: 65.8 ml/kg/min
Lactate Threshold HR: 168
LT VO2: 59.2 ml/kg/min
The LT numbers are 90% of my max HR.

Now the professor conducting the research and Coach Kara have all sorts of formulas and training information that I will share in small doses. The formula she gave me below is to estimate your finishing time based upon your VO2 max.

VO2 mlkgmin = 0.2(speed)+3.5 mlkgmin

This formula helps you determine your race speed when divided by 26.8 meters/min = 1MPH. You also have to figure out at what percentage of your VO2 max you will be racing at. As a general guideline Kara was using the percentages below for different distances.

Marathon = 70 - 85% max VO2
Half-Marathon = 85-89% max VO2
5K = 90+% max VO2

Here is my calculation for my half marathon "potential".

Assuming 85% of my VO2 max = 55.93

55.93= 0.2(speed)+3.5
262.15 = speed in meters/min
262.15/26.8 = 9.8MPH
Distance / speed / 24 = time
13.1 / 9.8 / 24 = 1:20:21 at a 6:08 pace.

I have a spreadsheet that I have put together if you are interesting in seeing it. I think the numbers are acurate from a formula perspective. So leading up to my half marathon in Baltimore that number will be in the back of my mind. My coach and I have done some speed work leading up to this race. I have the base from ironman training but the speed is only halfway there. We will also see how well I rest during taper and what race day conditions will be like.

My plan is to wear my HR watch and take splits but not look at it during the race. Race how I feel. Coach has sent me a race plan that I will take under advisement. I guess we will see what happens. If you want to place your guestimates in the comment section or a sealed e-mail to be delivered on 10/14. My best time so far at the half has been 1:31 in crappy conditions. I'd like to go sub 1:30 and possibly be near 1:25. These numbers are a confidence boost to say the least.

The Baltimore Running Festival will have live tracking during the race and TV coverage during the Saturday morning Today Show. I'm mainly looking to have a good time and enjoy being with Aimee all weekend.

It will be time to get my Game On. Booyah.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Bike Porn (A New Era Begins)

Who loves bike porn? Raise your hand. Okay, you can put your hand down now. You don't want your co-workers thinking you are any weirder than you really are.

Anyways, more pictures to enjoy.

After Aimee and I got married in '97, yeah I think that's right.....married '97, new job '98, new house '99.........yeah '97.....Aimee's dad bought us mountain bikes for our wedding present. We checked out a couple of different shops and test rode some bikes. We selected the ones pictured here (Aimee's bike below). Specialized Rockhopper FS. A great entry level bike for just getting started with mountain biking. We decided on bike because my co-workers were always talking about these 24 Hour relay mountain bike races they were doing. This was the early years of Granny Gear Productions and the 24 Hours of Canaan.

So I wanted to get in on the action and race with them at the 24 hour race in '98. So the new bike was my new racing machine. I trained with my friends and we raced. It was an awesome time and I knew I was hooked on the mountain biking scene. I've raced that bike on the local trails, 5 24 Hour races, adventure races, training rides, all sorts of places.

I pimped my ride (shown at left) a couple of years ago by upgrading all of my components....crank, shifters, brakes, derailleurs, wheels. It was a great way to learn how to take it apart and fine tune it. I haven't raced much on my mountain bike lately because I slowly switched to road racing and triathlon.

But that "first" bike is still an important part of my stable. It got me back into biking and competition after being out of it for too long.

Oh, those rocks in the driveway are for a gardening project in front of the house.

Game On.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ridin' Dirty while White and Nerdy

I've hit the trifecta. Three versions of the same song all here for you to enjoy.

Ridin' Dirty

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ridin' Dirty

This video-link was posted on the Cleveland Tri Club message board. I watched the video then went out to pick up my daughter from work. My son had left one of his CDs in the car so I started to listen to it and the song the video is based on started playing. All I could do was sit there and chuckle.

So is this guy rippin' on Floyd or supporting him and rippin' on the French?

Enjoy the video.

Here is the original song from Chamillionaire......

Friday, October 06, 2006

Family and Friends Friday - Diane

Today I decided to post to my blog instead of reading everybody elses.

Today's friend is Diane Mastnardo. She is not only my friend but my massage therapist. I found her through Coach Angela. Diane rubs me the right way and when needed puts the hurt on me as well. She has a wide range of people she works with from athletes to work rehab to general massage. It's not uncommon for me to be leaving and see another triathlete friend going in.

I look forward to my hour sessions with Di. My muscles really appreciate the attention. After a hard workout some hands on therapy to get the blood moving through my legs or arms helps with recovery and flexibility. My hamstrings are always a trouble spot and she knows where to place her fingers. Di knows when she has hit a good spot because I will stop talking and may even hold my breath. At that point she reminds me to breath and relax. It's not easy when the pressure of a single thumb on that sore spot shoots into your brain.

In addition to muscle therapy I find that our time is also like going to mental therapy. We can talk about anything and it allows me to open up, just like I do with Aimee. You never know where our conversations will go.....sports, my kids, her son, spouses, etc....I feel real good when I leave Diane's massage room. That's what friends do.....right? Make you feel good.

Game On

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Bike Porn (The Early Years)

Everyone seems to like bike porn. So here are two pictures of early bikes I had as a kid.

Bike #1 - Schwinn (1975)
I believe this is a Schwinn Stingray, but I could be wrong. Love the raised handlebars and banana seat. I didn't go for one of those sissy bars. I rode this bike everywhere, especially with my friend Mike who delivered the afternoon paper, The Cleveland Press. Mike was awesome at wheelies and I could make a skid 30 feet long. Mike swears he saw flames one time I generated so much heat from the skid. Of course the skids meant replacing the rear tire alot. I got good at taking the tire off and fixing flats.

Bike #2 - Trash Heap (1977)
My dad and I pulled this bike out of the garbage pile of a neighbor. This was a five speed with emergency brake....on the top tube. Small wheel up front was so cool, big chainring to handle the 5 speed derailleur, funky handlebars that curved all over the place, and a banana seat of course. Nevermind the pantleg strap.

I just had to share.

Game On.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm still standing......

Just wanted to blast out a quick post so everyone knows I'm still around. I have things to post about but have trouble finding time to post because sometimes it just takes me too much time to compose a single post. If it's a detailed post it may take me an hour or more to get my thoughts out in a way that even I can understand.

I saw this quote on an e-mail signature line and I liked it.

To be free of destructive stress don't sweat the small stuff and realize that all stuff is small.

Author Unknown

I think we have all read something similar to this but the part that sticks out for me is the be free of DESTRUCTIVE stress. How true that we often find the stress in our lives to be destructive mentally, emotionally, physically.

Lighten up people......Get Your Game On.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Thoughtful Words

Found these words posted by a member of the Cleveland Tri Club. A very nice post by a youngster in the sport, he's 26 (I think).

Check it out here........

Thank-you Triathlon

I say thank you all for being part of my triathlon life and Ironman journey.

Game On.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ironman Race Report - Post Race Wrap-up

I really need to put my race report to bed. I thought I was done but remembered many other things about after the race that I need to write about. I mean it's only been 8 weeks since Ironman USA. Perhaps the recent Ironman Wisconsin has rekindled memories of my race. I have also had some other questions from people that can be answered with my recap.

So we made it back to the condo after my race. I had talked with my coach about the race and we were both excited about the results. It was getting late in the day and everyone was hungry. We piled into my parents van and Tom's car and drove to Tail 'o the Pup for food. I had my finisher shirt, hat and medal with me to wear. If you remember, this restaurant was pretty cool with live music, picnic tables under a huge tent and a very relaxed atmosphere. My family all had their volunteer shirts on so we must have looked great.

As we sat down a woman at the table next to us asked me if I had just done the Ironman. I sat with her for a couple minutes answering her questions about the race. She was very excited about talking with a finisher and I didn't mind talking with her, but my family was eager to eat and talk with me about the race. I pulled myself away so we could order food. A little while later my sister-in-law, Becky, told me what Amanda had said while I was talking with this lady.......Amanda, "I think that lady is hitting on my dad!" We were probably close in age but I didn't feel she was hitting on me. She was excited about talking with a finisher. It was cute Amanda thought she was hitting on me.

We had a great time eating and recounting the days events. I enjoyed hearing about what happened for my family during their day, especially at the run aid station. Amanda and Becky picked up some hoola-hoops and Aimee and I posed for a picture in an Adirondack chair made of old snow skis. As we started to leave the restaurant, I stopped to congratulate another finisher eating dinner. What an awesome group to be a part of.

As we drove back to the condo it started to rain. I thought of the may athletes that were probably still on the course moving forward towards the finish line. I was glad to be done. At the condo we turned on the TV and found the local Adelphia feed from the finish line. It was now pouring rain at the Olympic Oval. The fans in the stands were still very up-beat and cheering for every single finisher. I saw some people finish that I had seen on the course, they must have had a bad day to finish so much later than I thought. All of my Cleveland friends had already finished, so I wasn't expecting to see anyone finish. I had a beer and everyone around me was starting to fall asleep. Becky had to get up early to drive to Albany for a flight back to Cleveland. Andrew and Amanda were going to leave early because they both had to work Monday night. Tom had to leave fairly early also to get home and pack for work in Houston.

Oh yeah, Becky had been working in New York City the week prior to the race. She flew to Albany, drove two hours to Lake Placid (on Saturday), worked the race on Sunday, got up 2:00AM Monday morning, drove two hours to Albany for an early flight back to Cleveland. She was back in Cleveland before we left Lake Placid. I am forever grateful for her efforts to be at my race.

I appreciated the efforts of everyone who came out to watch me race. I woke up early Monday morning, probably around 6:00Am. I had a lot on my mind because there was quite a bit to do before we left. I started to clean up the condo pulling down streamers and packing my stuff. Amanda and Andrew woke up, ate and left for home. Tom followed soon after that. I had a 9:00AM massage at the Horse Show Grounds so I left Aimee to do some more cleanup. At the grounds the registration line for IM USA 2007 was quite long. Little did I know the race would sell out in 90 minutes. I got my massage and was able to talk with Jen and Bethany, my new best friend massage therapists. I went back to the condo and picked up Aimee and the rest of our gear. We headed back to the grounds to see what else there was to do. The awards ceremony was slated for 11:00AM. We checked out the ASI booth and decided to wait until my pictures were available on-line, which was a very smart move. My parents had the back of my finishers medal engraved with my name and time. I also had a picture taken with Jen and Bethany, I love these two and they were a big part of my Ironman experience.

We parted ways with my parents and got in line for the award ceremony. I had my finisher shirt on so I could eat for free. Aimee checked about a ticket for her and it was $30. We decided that since they weren't serving filet mignon and lobster tails that it wasn't worth it. We bailed and left town. A quick stop at McDonald's for lunch was much better and cheaper. We were on the road around noon, heading for home.

We made our way through the cellular "dead zone", Adirondack Park. Once we got cell service I talked with Becky, TriSaraTops, Coach Angela and Tom.

Becky recounted some great stories about race day.

Sara was excited about my race.

Coach was telling me about other people and how awesome I did.

Tom was stuck in Rochester, NY with car trouble. His timing belt broke and he was at the auto shop. Problem was he needed to be in Houston the next day. Aimee and I detoured to pick up Tom and get him settled. We grabbed his mountain bike and a couple of bags then took him to a Holiday Inn where he could eat, rest and catch a flight to Houston. He flew back to Rochester at the end of the week to pickup his repaired car.

Except for my hips the car ride home wasn't too bad. At one rest stop I saw another IM finisher and told her congratulations, then I noticed her car license plate, IronChik. I saw that car earlier in the week. I also saw my friend Matt Luck from the Cleveland Tri Club. Matt was a first timer also and we were able to catchup and talk about our races. He had some stomach trouble, puked once and emptied his bowels in a porta-potty. He still finished around 13:30.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful, thank goodness. As we pulled into our drive I was greeted by two signs on the garage from my neighbor Kim. It put a big smile on my face.

Back home and my Ironman experience comes to a close, but the experience and images and memories will last forever along with the bragging rights.

Post race, especially with a 10+ hour drive home, you have a lot of time on your hands to think. Think about what happened before, during and after the race. What could have been better with the race? What is next? What am I feeling inside? So I close with these thoughts.

What could have been better with my race?
I know you are thinking that I am crazy posing that question. I can hear you in cyberspace yelling, "You finished your FIRST Ironman in 11:15:39 and you are wondering how it could have been better!!!!"

Sorry, it's the competitor in me. It's analyzing the day and finding where the weakness was and how I faltered.

Swim, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect swim. The time was 5-10 minutes faster than anticipated.

Bike, probably could have been a little faster and I wavered from my nutrition plan. I didn't recognize where I was lacking and I didn't set myself up for the run like I should have. Still, I was very happy with my bike.

Run....I wasn't sure what to expect here. I had never done a marathon before so I had no base time. I knew what I was capable of and Coach agreed with my goal time of 4 hours. So when I had a 4:04 marathon I was thrilled. But this is where the biggest improvement could have been made during my race. I wasn't setup for the run coming off the bike. I hadn't fueled enough on the bike. I didn't fuel up properly during the first half of the marathon (8:44/mile pace). The second half of the marathon was more of a struggle than I was expecting (9:56/mile pace). I ignored my HammerGel and only took food at the aid stations, (orange, watermelon, grapes, cola, water). I could feel my energy levels dropping. My HR was dropping and I couldn't get it back up. I knew I had to fuel the body but I really didn't have enough time to fuel the body enough for a stronger finish. I just hung on and knew I was going to finish.

About one week after Ironman I found an article written my Jennifer Hutchison. Jen is a nutritionist brought in by Coach Angela for the Cleveland Tri camp so I got to know her during the weekend. Her article was awesome, Attrition by Nutrition. The lack of fuel was affecting me mentally as I was starting to "tunnel" mentally. Maybe I was just focusing on finishing but I began to block out everything around me. I was keeping the rest of my energy to myself, probably a good thing. I was very much within myself. Even at the finish line I was not aware of the people lining the finish chute or the announcer. That is one part of my Ironman that I wish I was more aware of. The competitor in me was focused on the finish line and not the experience of finishing. I should have stopped to give Aimee a kiss. I should have stopped and looked into the crowds. I should have encouraged the crowds to yell and scream. A lot of "should haves" that I will try to remember next time. Next time? There will probably be a next time.

A sense of "eh"
Why do I feel this way? I just completed an Ironman triathlon. Swim/bike/run for 140.6 miles. Why do I shrug it off when someone compliments me about finishing? I think I have a hard time seeing it through the eyes of the "common" man, not that there is anything common about anyone. I've trained with or been coached by "Ironmen". Even the athletes in the Cleveland Tri Club inspire me with their speed, endurance, and determination. My efforts are sometimes minor compared to how other triathletes must train, live, compete. I will say that everyone puts their heart and sole into their sport.

I think my training prepared me so well for Ironman that the day was "easy". I didn't experience any stomach problems. No muscle problems. No mechanical problems. It was a perfect day to race. I was racing well within my limits and according to my race plan. I think my coach and I played it conservative since this was my first Ironman. I think back and realize that the challenge wasn't race day but the training leading up to race day. I remember having difficulty during my long rides and bricks that afforded me the experience during training to avoid mistakes on race day.

So post Ironman I found myself saying, "eh". Yeah it was a long day but I never had any doubts that I would finish. I'm extremely happy with my finish time and how I felt afterwards. But I think the challenge that I was expecting never arrived. Ironman Wisconsin has provided the missing piece to my Ironman Journey. Tracking my friends and reading race reports from the coldest Ironman in history has helped me understand and fill the void in my own IM journey. Like Frazz says in the sidebar, "Why not have trauma and suffering?" To find that personal place where you have to dig down deep and drag yourself up out from the bottom of a pit and will yourself to complete the task as hand. Has my Ironman Journey transformed into a personal journey to find my limits? I think so.

There will be more on this topic later. Let's lighten it up a bit........

Ironman Blues

It was Dante who asked me about post-IM Blues. Diane, my massage goddess, also asked me that question. Did you ever feel depressed after completing this huge undertaking? I think part of my answer is given above. I had also read enough articles to prepare me for post-race. On my sidebar I listed another half IM which is this weekend. I'm not doing that. But I am getting ready for the Baltimore Half Marathon on October 14th. I had this planned since the beginning of summer because Aimee is doing the full marathon. I figured with an awesome base beneath me, proper recovery and some good speed work prescribed by Coach I could whip out a pretty decent half.

During taper before IM USA I had also thought about my 2007 season. What was I going to do next summer? I knew I didn't want another Ironman. So at this point I am going back to sprints and olympic distances to work on my speed for a fall marathon in '07. I'm actually excited about next season. Aimee and I have also signed up to volunteer at IM USA. There will be alot of people from the Cleveland area going and I want to be able to cheer for them and see the race from a spectator side.

So there you go. Maybe I have generated more questions than answers about my Ironman Journey. I think it has become a journey bigger than I ever expected, but I am looking forward to the ride ahead and hope you want to come along. I'll be posting. Hope you enjoy what I have to write.

Game On

Monday, September 11, 2006

Family and Friends Friday - Kara

I've been reading many awesome reports from Ironman Wisconsin. NO matter what the report or the outcome everyone who started IM MOO is an Ironman. So it is with great pleasure to post about a friend of mine who was at IM MOO.

Kara Kelly is one of the biggest supporters of running in the Cleveland area. Her resume includes
30+ marathons, with many of those being part of her 50 state goal.
7 Boston marathon finishes
A coaching assignment at Craftsbury Running Camp
Founder and coach of the Second Sole Running Group
Founder of In On Time, providing pace groups for half and full marathons
A registered nurse, exercise physiologist and PhD Student/grad assistant at Ohio State University

An to top it all off, an awesome person to boot.

Aimee and I met Kara about 5 years ago when Aimee first got serious about her running. She joined the Second Sole group and met some of the greatest people, TriSaraTops was part of this group also. We have developed many wonderful friendships through the group.

Kara organized the running group into 6 different levels so everyone could train with people of similar abilities and speeds. With all of her experience and training she has training schedules available and often shares information one-on-one with anyone who asks. Aimee has sent Kara questions about her current marathon training and Kara has answered all of her questions eagerly.

I have run in a couple of pace groups for Kara, one half and one full marathon. When I paced the second half of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon it provided me with a great way to give back to the running community. I was more than happy to help Kara fill the gap for pacing a fast group. I wound up with ITB afterwards but it was worth it.

Kara is back at Ohio State doing research work in exercise physiology. This has not stopped her from keeping track of the Second Sole group though. She is constantly posting threads on the message board and organizing activities. Her latest activities revolve around getting test subjects from the Cleveland area for her research.

On Saturday, tomorrow, Aimee and I will be in Kara's testing lab. I will get a body composition test (calipers, water immersion and BodPod) then be subjected to poking and proding while running. I've been calling the treadmill a stress test, which may not be acurate. I will be running at half or marathon pace on a treadmill while hooked up to a breathing mask and electrodes. At regular intervals my finger will get poked to do blood analysis. The treadmill will also be raised at regular intervals until exhaustion.

The results will provide me with my VO2 max, lactate threshold and some training guidelines based upon my max heart rate. I'm excited to learn more about my body (how fit am I) and helping Kara with her research.

Okay, back to Kara. Kara and I were both on an Ironman Journey this summer. Her training wasn't as consistant as mine but she is such a strong runner that once she made the marathon it would be a breeze from there on out. Kara was never sure if she was going to Wisconsin. There was the possibility that she would skip the race completely. I was excited when I saw her in the group picture TriAl V2006 posted from Madison. I had alot of people to track.

I didn't get to check the race until I finished the Great Lake Escape and got home. When I did check the IronmanLive website Kara didn't have any times. No swim time at all. I figured that a last minute decision to bypass the race was made. It wasn't until I talked to TriSaraTops after her finish that I learned the truth. Kara had started the race but didn't complete the swim in time. Considering the conditions I could understand why. But the story doesn't end there.

Kara and her husband, Tim, went out on the bike course to cheer for the Cleveland athletes. TriSaraTops saw her out there. Then Kara went out on the run course to not only cheer but keep some people company for a mile or two.

Kara is such an inspiration and motivator that her actions really don't surprise me. I know some of the other people who missed the swim cut-off may have called it a day and stayed inside, their option. But Kara was out there in the crappy weather being a part of Ironman.

Coach Angela wrote in my race plan, "IM does not define you, it is just a part of who you are!" Simply finishing an Ironman Race does not make you an Ironman. The journey makes you Iron. The growth from within becomes Iron and the aura is present to those around you.

So Kara, IronWil and others may not have finished their "race". Their "journey" may not be complete. Kara says she will be at Lake Placid in 2008. IronWil will be at IM Wisconsin again in 2007. I know each will have a much better day and will earn the title "Ironman Finisher", but right now......I call them Ironman already.

Game On.

This picture is of Aimee (left) and Kara (right) after winning a duathlon relay. Aimee biked and Kara ran.


I spotted this sign as I drove back and forth to the house for the Great Lake Escape. How can you pass up a picture like that.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What a day!

Today was the Great Lake Escape Triathlon. This race is similar to the Escape from Alcatraz because the swim start is from a ferry boat. This was my first race since Ironman USA and I had never done this one before. The jumping off a boat into Lake Erie is what makes this race so fun, and it's close to home.

Aimee secured a house in Lakeside, a couple miles from the event site, that we could spend the night at so we didn't have to wake up at some insane hour race day. We drove up the night before and saw many friends and bloggers (DaisyDuc, TriFrog, and JT) at packet pick-up. There was also an athletes meeting to discuss the swim start. The weather on Saturday was very windy. The lake was choppy. The RD was telling us about the possibility of the swim being cancelled. While a total bummer if that happened it was a safety issue. If the Coast Guard issued a small craft advisory the safety boats would not be able to line the swim course. We all hoped that the weather would improve for the Sunday race.

We went to dinner with TriFrog and his wife. A local restaurant had a pasta buffet and was showing some college football games. The big game for the night was OSU vs. Texas. We hit the place way before any crowds then finally made our way to the house we would crash at for the night. I had not been to Lakeside for many years. This gated community was founded as a Methodist retreat and camp. My mom was often a delegate from our church and I had to accompany her since I was still in elementary school. We walked around and Aimee watched me reminisce about the park, pier and downtown. It was pretty cool to share that with her.

We got to bed around 9:00PM after watching the first quarter of the OSU game. Actually she was sleeping and I was reading. I woke up around 2:00Am to hit the bathroom and never really fell back to sleep. My alarm went off at 4:00AM so I could eat and get ready to leave. Transition opened at 5:00AM with busses leaving for the ferry at 6:00. We were very early getting there and I was possibly the 10th person to rack their bike. I managed to find some of my friends in the dark and we talked about the strong winds. The decision to cancel the swim was expected at 6:00AM. The busses arrived and were ready to load up the triathletes. I walked down to transition to hang out with my friends. Then we could see the busses pulling away across the marsh. Problem was, no one was on the busses. We already knew the swim was cancelled. The RD made the official announcement minutes later. It was out of his hands. The Coast Guard made the call. Weather is never in anyones control. There was also an aquabike and duathlon scheduled. So the aquabike became a 40k time trial. The triathlon athletes pretty much joined the duathletes for one big DU, 5k run/40k bike/10k run.

Most people were pretty upbeat about the change. I didn't care. I was bummed that I wasn't going to be able to jump off a boat into Lake Erie but maybe next year. I was a little concerned about two things.

First, my right knee has been slow to heal from Ironman. The ITB has always broken down pretty hard after my big races and takes a while to heal. My run last weekend was on the trails in our local park system and I saved the hills for the second half of my run, but the hills is where I would feel the knee the most.

Second, the winds that kicked up the waves on the lake were coming ashore and would make the bike interesting. Would I be able to maintain a good pace for the entire 40k?

The run course is along the beach and trails of the park. Most of the run would be on hard packed sand, especially at the water line. I love running on varying surfaces like this. Because everything was a duathlon the start was a time trial format sending people off in groups. So you are in a group of people that may not be in your age group, that makes it tough to know how to race. A true race against the clock, only I didn't have a clock to race against. I decided to go low tech at this race. No watch or HRM. No bike computer either. I was going to race on pure feeling. Coach Angela told me that I should be "uncomfortable" the entire time. Not blasting myself, but exerting myself. And I can saw that I was succesful.

The first 5k run I was trying to hold off the people behind me without loosing ground to the ones in front. I went 21:41 for the 5k...that's a 7:00 min/mile pace and I felt good going into T1 for my bike. I slipped on my bike shoes and ran for the mount line. In typical fashion there were two guys stopped right at the line getting clipped into their pedals. I ran past them and did a running mount onto my bike. After the race, Aimee said that TriFrog's wife commented how well I jump on my bike. I have to get video of that.

On the bike it was windy. No matter which way you were riding there was a wind to contend with. On rare occasion I felt "fast". I was pretty much alone the entire ride. I would come up on an aquabike rider or be passed by some young stud. That was fine because I was "uncomfortable" according to my race plan. I came into T2 tired but knowing I was going to have a good second run. My 40k bike was 1:09:07 with an average speed of 21.5 MPH.

I slipped on my running shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and hat, then exited transition. See Bolder, I even wore my belt for a 10k run....I think I was the only one who did but I didn't care. I had two water bottles and a flask of HammerGel. I used it too, especially the gel. I held my position, tried to reel some people in and hold off others. The worst part of the 10k was mile 5. About half of the mile was in soft sand. It was hard to run in but I pulled close to the guy in front of me. Of course someone passed me as well. I wasn't too upset about the "kid" who passed me because he is from the Cleveland Tri Club. Once I left the beach the rest of the course is hard ground so I turned on the afterburners and took it in to the finish. My 10k time was 44:51 with a 7:15 pace.

I was very happy with my splits. The 7 and 7:14 pace is awesome considering I was LSD all summer. I have had very little speed work. I was 19th overall male and 5th in my AG.

Time to put this post to bed as well as myself. I've been watching IM MOO on my laptop and it's almost midnight at home, but only 11PM in Madison. I saw qcmier and TriSaraTops finish which is huge. I'm so proud of each of them. I'm proud of each and every person who toed the line this morning for Ironman. I love this sport.

GAME ON!!!!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bike Porn

After Ironman I was cleaning out the garage and had all of the bikes lined up in the driveway. So today I offer you Bike Porn.

Let's see what was in the stable that day.

On the left, bottom to top, my tri bike, Aimee's road/tri bike, my road bike.

On the right, bottom to top, Aimee's mountain bike, Amanda's mountain bike, my father-in-laws bike, my mountain bike.

Maybe I will take individual pictures and provide a brief history on each one. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Game On

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What's Cooking Wednesday - Chicken 'n Rice Casserole

This has been a family favorite of mine since the 80's. Now it's one of my daughters favorites as well.

1 chicken cut up
1 can each , Cream of Celery and Cream of Chicken soup
Water to suit consistancy
1.5 cups minute rice
1 package dry onion soup mix

Mix soups and rice together
Pour mixture into greased 9x13 pan
Sprinkle with dry onion soup mix
Cover with foil and bake at 352 degrees for 2.25 hours.

DON'T PEAK because you aren't supposed to. I don't have any modifications to the recipe since it is so freakin' good.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Understanding Women....or something like that

I know. This is a loaded topic. Will I be chatised? Will I loose my female followers? Will I begin to receive hate mail, advice or kudos?

Bear with me as I put my observations out there.

Let me step back to a long run which is the motivation of my post. Aimee and her friends were scheduled for either 20 or 15 miles in preparation for their respective fall marathons. Mind you each person has done at least 2 marathons. I owed them big time because they had come out to help at the Snakebite Racing sponsored road race. They all stood at intersections directing traffic while I sat on my butt driving a pace/follow car with the racers. So it was my duty to provide bike support. Usually bike support is just riding along for some conversation and maybe carry some extra water or a shirt.

Well it was raining that day. It was raining when we started and was intermittant all morning. I stuck with Mandie for most of the run. She is the fastest of the group having run Boston this past spring, she qualified at the Columbus Marathon, sub 3:40.

So I was riding with her chatting about all sorts of things. I rode ahead to get my running shoes on and finish the final 8 miles with her. I needed an hour run anyways.

The rain was not making the run very fun. Wet socks, wet shoes, high humidity, sand/grit in the socks.....Mandie was beginning to have a bad day. "This rain sucks". "These f!@#king socks keep bunching up". "My legs are starting to hurt". I was along for the ride and wanted to provide the silent, mental encouragement she was needing. Each time she started to slow down and stop I moved her forward. "Let's keep walking" I would tell her. I just wanted to make sure she kept moving foward.

I suggested we turn around and call it a day, " I can't." she would say. "I HAVE to run 20 today. I ran 18, then 20 and I have to do 20 today." I could tell she was starting to loose it for the day. I tried to rationalize with her that she has the base. She has been putting in good speed work. I didn't want her hurting herself either physically or mentally leading up to her marathon, which will be Columbus again.

I admired her determination but we had to stop several times, with the final stop half a mile from the trailhead. She had to release the frustration that had been building up during the final 8 of the run. I waited for her and tried to reassure her that it's okay.

That is the recap of my "inspiration" for this post. Now for my observations. And if I am totally off base please let me know. These are just my opinions and thoughts.

Women are hard on themselves. No matter what it is, women are their own worst critic. Of course we have society to blame for that. Women have been at the bottom of the proverbial pile for a long time.

Work: I'm no historian but women in the work place wasn't a reality until the 1970's. Yeah sure they were secretaries and typists and swithboard operators, but what about women in leadership roles? Slowly but surely when the education was provided to these highly motivated women they had to prove themselves in the "good old boy" network. I think that sucks, especially when a woman of equal ability and talent receives a lower salary than a man. I work with two women in my area that I would be potentially lost without. We make a great team because we all bring certain qualities and talents to the table. I feel that they are my equals, if not my superiors in the workplace. And I'm just fine with that.

Sports: Again women are considered inferior to men when it comes to sports. Traditionally thought of as weaker and more fragile, women are proving that they are a force to be reconed with. But why do they have to prove it? Why does anything have to be "proven". It's unfortunate the egotistical, testosterone driven male is somehow threatened by a woman who can take care of herself on the basketball or tennis court, field of play in football, baseball, soccer and on the track or road during running sports. And of course that woman is almost instantly labeled a lesbian because of her talent and strengths. I am just so sick of it all. Sorry I have digressed immensely from my original mind-set.

Back to Aimee and Mandie, two of many special people in my life. These two are serious about their running. If they have plans for a running race, they will plan, train and execute to the best of their abilities. No workout can be missed. No mile can not be run. And no matter what I may say, if it is not up to their expectations they have failed. But I see success. Success in setting a goal and following through with the sometimes difficult training that goes into the effort. Success is sacrificing time from family and friends to become prepared for race day. Going to bed early and getting up just as early to make time for the scheduled runs. The battle is not crossing the finish line, it's making it to the starting line.

And their goal oriented attitudes are not just in sport. I think the workplace also places a great deal of stress on them to be successful, to the point of perfection, in order to be accepted as an equal. Mandie works in information technology which is a male dominated field, but I feel that she puts her best foward at all times. Aimee is fortunate enough to work with people that recognize her contributions and compensate her quite well, both monetarily and emotionally. She is a valued asset in her workplace.

I've tried to make this post flow with some sort of intelligent stream of thought, but often I need to just do a brain dump and hope someone understands where I am coming from. And the longer I sit here the more I can think to add to the post, but then I might as well write a small book.

I doubt if "equality" will ever be realized in our world, be it religious, sexual, racial, economic. But I will make is a reality in my little piece of the world because that is how I put balance in my life. Sometimes the see-saw tips one way or the other and my balance is wacked out, but those around me help me get it back on track.

'nuf said, at least for today.

Game On.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I am way too excited.......

...about Ironman Wisconsin, and I'm not even competing. I was chatting with TriSaraTops yesterday about IM MOO. So it was in my brain. I tossed and turned all through the early morning dreaming about the race. Meeting SimplyStu. Watching the start of the race. Needing to get up so I could check everyones status.

Then I realized....the race is still a week away. OMG! I'm infected with the IM virus. Not only am I an Ironman, but Ironman is me.

Next week I will be competing in the Great Lake Escape. I've been told this race is a blast. I'm going to have fun with my friends at this race and not even wear a watch. Just see what happens. But after that I will be camped out in front of my laptop watching the progress of my Cleveland and blogging friends.

I'm totally geeked about next weekend.

Game On.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

First you have to admit it......BPA

Self: Hi, my name is TriEric and I pee on the bike.

Support Group: Hi TriEric. Welcome. We all pee on the bike also.

Yes, that is how my first meeting with Bike Pee'ers Anonymous started. I first had to admit what I do. It felt refreshing, like the warm stream of water running down your legs from a bursting bladder. I was able to share my secret without someone saying EWW or GROSS. Of course most of the people in the group were triathletes, except for the 5 year old who had his training wheels recently taken off and it scared the piss out of him. Such a sad little story.

Coming fresh off my recent Ironman I was presented with this question time and again, "What do you do when you have to pee?" I look people straight in the eye and tell them the truth. If necessary, I pee my pants. In fact the only time I unclipped from my pedals was during my stop at the special needs bags. Otherwise the bike and I were one for 112 miles.

During my IM training I had talked with Coach Angela about peeing on the bike. She highly recommends the practice and knew I could handle it. Okay that didn't sound quite right. Angela said, "If you have plans to race a Half Ironman or Ironman event, one thing you want to do ,or be able to do, is PEE ON THE BIKE! This means you pee while riding, while moving, you do not stop to go the bathroom."

The hardest part is the mental aspect of the act. Except for when we are babies and learning to use the potty, we usually don't pee ourselves. Maybe that occasional drunken evening out or the uncontrollable laughing will make you squirt, but we try to avoid urinating on ones self. But during a bike race or triathlon the time it takes for a natural break is costly. Consider the following.......

Decide you have to pee.
Slow down to pee.
Get off the bike.
Walk over to the port-a-potty / tree / bush / etc.....
Walk back to your bike
Get on the bike
Get back up to race speed.

WOW, you've just spent 3 or more minutes going nowhere. No forward progress. Now for an Ironman race multiply that by 4 or 5. Even if you "only" spend 3 minutes per break that could be between 12-15 minutes. I don't care how fast or slow you are, this could have an impact on your race. For the quick this be the difference in placing or qualifying for Hawaii. For the back-of-the packers this could mean missing a cutoff time and not being able to continue. For everyone it could mean missing that goal time.

So there are advantages that go with peeing on the bike. But how do you actually do the "dirty" deed? I have enlisted Coach Angela to offer her words of wisdom for the women and I will provide some personal insight for the guys. Either way peeing on the bike, as well as yourself, is a mental battle.

Mental Preparation:
What is pee? Water. Okay with some "waste" mixed in for color. The main components of urine are (salt) water and waste products. The major waste product from cells in the body is ammonia which gets broken down by the liver. That yellow tint is the waste products from the blood. Read more here Ask a Scientist or here MadSci Network.

Remember the time savings during the race.

You will already be sweaty and stinky. You probably won't know anyone around you. You will look hardcore, or crazy. If it's hot out you will dry up pretty quick. Wash yourself off with a water bottle.

Believe me, it's not easy. It took me a bit of convincing the first time I peed on the bike. Since that first time I have learned some important things to think about.

For the guys:

Face it. We have it easier with two options for peeing on the bike. Stand up and "whip it out" or simply open up the gates feel the warmth.

"Whip it out" Method:

You need a slight downhill for this to work. This way you can keep your forward momentum while not pedaling. On the side you are going to pee, drop your leg to the bottom of the stroke and stand on your pedal. With your opposite hand maintain control of your bike, possibly even on the brake in case you have to stop. Pull down your shorts and take aim. The stream usually makes it to the road without getting on yourself or the bike. Now I have read where it's bad form to pee off the right side of the bike because of the drive train but that is where the side of the road is, away from traffic. I usually don't hit my bike. I also watch my speed. You don't spit into the wind, so why would you piss into the wind. I have found that speeds approaching 10MPH produce enough wind to blow your pee back onto your leg or bike. At that point you should have just peed your pants. And no matter how much you "shake it" that last drops will wind up in your shorts.

"Let it Flow" Method:

Now we are getting hardcore. Just go. Your tri shorts will provide the path for the water to flow. Usually down and around the back of the leg. Speed doesn't matter at this point. Actually speed is sometimes a friend as it will blow the water off the back of your leg. There is also the drying affect of the wind. I usually don't worry about my bike shoes getting wet because there is not as much movement like with running, so there is no aggravation or chance of blisters.

With peeing in your shorts you will want to have a spare water bottle available to wash off with. If you are fortunate enough to pee before an aid station you can get a bottle from there and have a quick mobile shower.

For the Women:
I enlisted the help of Coach Angela to help me with this section. Here are some excerpts from her e-mail to me.

Peeing on the bike… yes girls do it too!!

For women this is a harder thing to practice during your training, because we cannot whip it out, so to speak. Yes, you are going to the bathroom on yourself. If you are on a long ride by the time you have to go, you should be peeing water anyway. If you hydrate properly, needing to pee will take care of itself during race day.

Preferably you are drinking at least a 20 oz bottle of water per hour, not including Gatorade or other sports drinks. Assuming you were hydrated before the race, along with the length of the race you should be able to go to the bathroom.

I talk myself into having to go. I start thinking about having to go. I think about how much I have drank, or being cold, or think of running water. Use whatever method or thought that will trigger your brain to make you want to pee.

If possible I try to time going right before an aid station, because then I can get a bottle of water to rinse off with, throw away the bottle I just went the bathroom on. Most of you have a bottle below your seat, just make sure the bottle that is down there is one you can dispose of and not one full of fuel for the race. To some of you this may seem disgusting but you are only peeing water. Also you may have bottle cages behind your seat. I have never had a problem with that because the pee is running down the leg of your shorts away from the bottle. No "spray" makes it to the rear bottles.

WOW, thanks Angela for that helpful insight into peeing.....for women.....on the bike.

Here are some other tips for bike peeing.

I find there is a make or break temperature for peeing on the bike and being comfortable. I think somewhere around 75 degrees F I stand up to pee. Below 75 nothing dries up and you are a wet sticky mess longer. It just makes things uncomfortable. Guys are fortunate to have options. Above 75 degrees you will eventually dry up with the heat ad wind.

If it's raining out, anything goes. You get washed off by the rain while you pee.

You can quickly drop those people that have been drafting behind you illegally.

Wash your shoes after the ride ASAP. I've heard vinegar works well to kill the smell, and if left unattended IT WILL SMELL. Remember, there is a form of ammonia in urine.

I know this is hard to deal with. There is a support group out there to help. If you have any questions or comments that you do not want to post publicly just e-mail me. Coach Angela is willing to entertain questions from the women in the blog-o-sphere. She can be reached at and she says, "I always pee on my bike."