Thursday, August 29, 2013

Avoiding (or getting over) that End of Season LOST Feeling

In the last post I wrote about recognizing the 'crispy' phase of the season, and how to avoid it turning into burn-out or full blown over-training or injury.

Another proactive activity right now is to head-off the inevitable Post Race Depression Syndrome that comes with finishing an 'A' race - especially the last one of the season. If you've been in this situation, then take some solace in knowing that EVERY person I know experiences this. 
This especially happens if you have a really good race. It's similar to the Christmas morning syndrome. You feel elated at the race afterwards, you head home and maybe even celebrate that afternoon or evening. Have a nap. And then things spiral into the, "Ok, *now* what?" - At best, this happens a day or two after. For some, it happens shortly after crossing the finish line.

It's also driven by the fact that most training plans effectively take you up to race day and that's it. They simply end with a single, final entry of 'RACE'. It's a bit of cruel abandonment if you ask me.

Some coaches at least acknowledge this post race period. Joe Friel calls it 'Transition', as in transition to your next race. But what if that isn't going to happen until the following year? Those are some long, cold fall and winter months to get through all alone. No plan, no structure, no goals... just silence and a fading victory lap from your last race.

The best proven way to prevent this is to set some concrete goals. Even better is to set them AHEAD of your last 'A' race so you have something to fall into directly after the elation of your finished race flickers out (and it will). If you're already in the tree well, then lesson learned - although now is just as good a time as ever to dig yourself out. It doesn't get better just wallowing in the pit. You'll slip out of shape, start putting on weight and get even grumpier. Trust me on this.

Here's a set of sample objectives / goals / activities to move you forward:

Not a good way to spend your off-season
First and fore-most: STOP EATING LIKE YOU ARE STILL AT TRAINING VOLUME! Believe me, you're probably over-eating right now. Calories out went down. Calories in needs to follow - right freakin' now! What you don't want to do is put on 5-10 lbs right in time to slide into the holiday season. Friends don't let friends 'hoss' up - so pull your head out of the feed trough.

Ok, here's some suggestions / ideas:
1. Spend time reviewing your year and performance and determining what your weak spots were. Maybe it was a lack of top end speed? Maybe your swim was based on survival and you'd like to be more competitive out of the water? Maybe you're leg turn-over isn't what you'd like it to be. Put together a set of strengths and weaknesses that you'd like to focus on over the winter. Then start thinking about how to close the gaps. If it's the swim, maybe join a Masters team and do some swim meets. Yeah, you're gonna get creamed by full time swimmers - but who cares? You have an excuse. If your run feels like a dead moose falling down a steep, rocky hill - find a coach and get some skills and form training. Some of the drills to improve your run can be down-right fun.

2. Do rides / runs / swims / hikes / etc.. with family members and friends that didn't want anything to do with you when you were a schedule driven, type-A, nut log. Make it up to them. Ride off the back. Ride in street clothes.

3. See if you can spend a weekend without driving your car even once. Go to the store by bike and haul groceries in a bike trailer or backpack. Ride the bike or run to take the kids to school. In short - try to incorporate your formerly obsessive workout oriented sport into more lifestyle oriented sport.

4. Sign up for some 'fun' races. They have a ton of non-competitive type events. Or even better - sign up to help someone else achieve their goal. Help pace them and chat with them or even just show up to cheer them on.

5. Volunteer at a race. It's pretty darn fun to be all nice and cozy in warm clothes, stress free at the start of watching others race on a cold October morning. Of course you'll probably catch the bug to want to race again - that's kind of the point.

6. Change it up. Just raced a marathon or half? See if you can spend the next 8 weeks getting good at 5K distance in time for the turkey trots. Every wondered what your 'mile' time could be? Spend 8 weeks training to PR that on the track. Go out and learn to climb hills on your bike. Ride your mountain bike if you're a roadie. Try to learn to ride a wheelie - back and front (hint - learn to do this on a grassy field). Learn to ride your bike down a short set of stairs (preferably outdoors, but not necessarily). Trail run. Track run. Or go play another sport entirely.

Learn to wheelie your road bike like Sagan....
or even better, spend the winter learning all these tricks in the video below...

OK. Sure... If you must...
Uhhmm..... Ok... yeah, why not...
NO. Absolutely not. I don't care if it is up for being an Olympic sport....
...or apparently a regular occurrence on the VMA award shows.
Ok, now that I've got image haunting me for the foreseeable future.. Here's what's in the plan for me post season:

1. Get fitted for a new tri-bike. I figure that it's probably better to get fitted at the end of the season when I'm all tuned into that position rather than at the start after riding my road bike all winter. Plus - I've never been professionally fitted and it would be good just to know. The new bike purchase however may have to wait - we'll see.

2. Spend 8-12 weeks focusing on the 5K distance and trying to PR it. I've never exclusively focused on it and it will be a fun break to run less volume but higher intensity.

3. Get back in the gym and start weight training again - I actually miss it. Get better at keeping my TRX sessions a couple times a week at least.

4. Take some more swim lessons and start attending Masters on a more regular basis. Immerse (npi) myself in swimming a bit more.

5. Set a PR on Lookout Mt. I haven't worked at that since I was in my 30's. I think I can beat it based on a recent impromptu TT last Saturday and some rough power calculations :-)

6. Get a new tattoo. Very simple ode to finally feeling like a triathlete. It's a surprise - but nothing my mom will admonish. Well, other than her usual sigh and head shaking. (shhhh... she thinks it makes me feel guilty... it doesn't. I know being her first-born buys me that extra lee-way ;-) And yes - she reads this blog - 'Hi Mom!'

7. Planning a Moab trip with a couple buddies to celebrate my 50th birthday this October.

That's my plan. And it starts on September 10th - (two days after my last race). Why not the day after? Sorry - that day is reserved for sitting on the couch, drinking Pepsi from the liter bottle and eating M&M's out of that hefty size bag from Costco. Hope I can still fit into my race kit in the Spring!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


There is something that happens pretty much every season for me about this time of year. A couple years ago my coach at the time asked if I was feeling 'burned out' based on my comments in my training log. I thought about it for a while and replied, "Not so much burned out, but just a bit *crispy*"

That statement seemed to fit. It's that moment right as the toast starts to burn and you catch it in time. Still edible with a couple scrapes of the butter knife.

I think over the years that I've just developed a good body awareness to know when things are starting to smoke. There are a number of signs for me (which I'm currently experiencing):

  • Although I still get a good nights' sleep, I feel a bit restlesss and usually spend an hour or so of my night awake. No real stressful thoughts, just feel like I can't get comfortable. And you're talking to a guy that can sleep in a busy airport under the phone bank :-)
  • I get more irritable and have trouble concentrating
  • I really struggle with workout motivation, even once the workout is under-way. I can still push through and the results are still there - but even afterwards I feel so-so mentally instead of walking away from a tough work-out totally jazzed.
  • The crispiness tends to happen about a week after I feel like a million dollars and usually in the peaking stages before a big race.
  • More aches and pains than usual. 
  • I feel a general 'blah' - both mentally and physically. 

I'm pretty good about recognizing that this is the start of being over-trained and that the slope to completely burned out is slippery and steep. I've ignored this feeling only a couple times in the past. One year I had the brilliant idea that I would ride hard on the trainer all winter. I'm talking 4 hour sessions, intervals in the snow, etc.. I came out in the Spring flying. By late Summer I hated the sight of my bike so much that I voluntarily put it into the witness protection program for it's own safety.

The other time was a couple years ago. I was feeling crispy and then one track night decided to push through one more lap with a hamstring that was tightening up. I was part of a relay and didn't want to let my mates down - even though it was just a practice. Sproing went the hamstring on the final turn with 100m to go. I hobbled off the track into an 6 week rehab and about a year and a half before things really felt right again.

Right now I'm into the home stretch (less than 2 weeks) for Harvest Moon 70.3 (half ironman). Good time to just chill a bit and realize that the hay is in the barn and now it's just keeping things sharp until next week when training drops off steep to rest up for the race. Today's workout is a 90 minute easy bike ride - so it will be REALLY easy and rambling. Am just going to focus on enjoying being out in the fresh air and rolling along on the bike. Someone passes me on a hill, that's all cricket baby, have at it. See you in a couple weeks. I've got a couple more BRICKs to lay down, but even those are pretty short and if I'm not feeling it, then they ain't happening. Are you guessing now that this post is cathartic, self-affirmation :-)

Also just a public service message. Learn to recognize your own signs of being 'crispy' and you can keep out of the tree well that is burn-out, over-training and injury - which can take months to dig yourself out of.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

10 Ways to Make TIme for Sport (aka - "Where do you find the time?")

When I get into casual conversations with people about the amount of time I spend in sport per week, they often ask, "Where do you find the time?"

I often struggle for a quick response. The reason is that like it's like finding change in the couch. It's not like you flip over one cushion and there's a $100 bill lying there. In a similar way that you have to pull the cushions off, you often have to adjust your lifestyle and more importantly, change the way you think about how you spend your time.

The following are things that work for me. I'm not saying each one of these is possible in your circumstances; and honestly, you may not want to do some of these things. It's a personal choice. I can just tell you that this is how "I" find time.

#1 - Take a look at the time you spend watching TV (or other time sinks)
This is a big one for most people. Take a week and log all of the time you spent during that week watching TV down to even a 10 minute increment (you can actually get in a pretty good core workout in that amount of time). If you're like most people, the time will add up to more than 15 hours per week.

I did a quick log of this past week. I've watched a total of 3 hours - and that's because the US Pro Challenge is on and that accounted for about all of it. During a normal week, we probably watch about 4-5 hours total, and actually we could do without that. It's a 'gap filler' - we don't replace other activities with TV watching.

btw: Season long professional sports watching and reality TV shows are massive time killers and you take away little from them. I'm not saying you shouldn't watch them. I'm just telling you why I don't watch them.

#2 - Once a week, plan your week out.
We have 'family meeting' on Sundays. The first part of that is just Paige and I going through our workout plans and figuring out when we'll do each one. We negotiate early mornings (like gold ;-) and in some cases figure out which days we'll try to line up sitters if we can't trade off. We may end up shifting around our workouts. At the end we have a day by day plan for the week. Without a plan - the week would get away from us and we'd probably do about 25% less workouts just having time slip through the cracks.

While you're at it - block out your work schedule with 'meetings' and treat that commitment like you would if you were meeting with someone. What's amazing to me is the way people will 'de-prioritize' themselves over others. I think this is noble, but there's a balance. Yes, I will often shift my schedule around to accommodate work issues - but I keep a pulse on it and a balance.

#3 - Stick to the plan (adjusting when you must)
Sarge says, "HTFU Daisy"
Look, even though I planned to get up at 4:45 AM for Masters swim, doesn't make it easy to actually get up at that time. If I have an after work ride planned the car won't pack itself up the night before - and I know from experience that I'm more likely to follow through once I've invested the 'pack up' time the night before. Driving to the reservoir as the rain comes down at the end of a long workday, knowing I have 2 hours on the bike (with hill intervals) before I can shower and unwind at home isn't happy times. But once I get going, I feel better for it. And some of my most memorable (in a good way) workouts have been in crappy conditions. There's an added feeling of accomplishment when you push through. But again - it takes planning and then preparing. Once you get practiced, it only takes 10 minutes to pack up the car the night before and 5 minutes to unpack at the end of the day. You get good at it. I can't help you too much with finding the motivation to roll out the door at 6am on a run when it's raining, dark and cold. My only advice is rule #5 (from the Velomoniti). HTFU.

#4 - Combine workouts with life
If I have an easy 45minute run to do, I'll ask Luke if he wants to ride his bike while I run. No sitter required and good 'Luke and Daddy' time in the bank. Commuting to work on the bike is brilliant. The math goes something like this. My car commute (door to desk) is 45 minutes. My bike commute is 1:10 (and it's more predictable). That means that the extra 'cost' of a 1:10 bike workout is only 25 minutes (1:10 minus :45). It's like free time. Of course you have to pack up the night before and unpack - but you can fit that in while talking to the kids about the school day and dinner is cooking.

Too far? Park the car part way or arrange your better half to sag you out on the return and head out to dinner as a family. Or leave the car at work and ride home one night, then in the next morning.  

No shower? Baby wipes. Try it. You'll actually be quite clean.

Shoes are heavy in the pack? (leave a spare pair at work for commute days). I know others that actually bring multiple days of clothes in when they car commute.

Need to be in early or leave later? Buy a good light. Here's mine.

While you're at it, take a look at other places that you can commute to. The gym / pool is a great one. If I have a 60 minute recovery ride and a hard swim for the day, I'll ride to / from the pool (30min each way - fyi, you can break up recovery rides / runs and still get the same benefit). A good light, rear flasher and side-street route is key.

I've commuted to / from work for years in various parts of the city and have accumulated a ton of solutions for pretty much most challenges. Feel free to post a comment and I'll try to help.

#5 - Prioritize
If you spent time in our household during the race season, it's a pretty boring place. There is work, family and training / racing. Social events tend to be team parties. Or I might grab a beer with a friend of mine on my way back from an after work swim. I'll catch up with other friends on rides. We don't have much of a social life or other hobbies. You might not want to have your weeks revolve so much around sport - and that's ok. In fact, it's probably more normal. All I'm saying is that you have to ask yourself how important each thing is in your life. How important is sport? For us, it works and we're happy. It also helps that both of us are athletes and understand the mindset.

#6 - Outsource
We have a lawn service and a housekeeper that comes in every couple weeks. Those things alone free up a couple hours a week. When money has been tight, we've cut back on other things because those two things buy you time back. A dinner out doesn't. A nicer car doesn't. We'd like to travel more, but a couple thousand dollar trip somewhere is a almost a whole year of lawn service, housekeeping and sitters - you're buying time back into your life. To us it's worth it and it's how we find more time for sport.

#7 - Get used to working out alone and 'launch' from where you are
Team workouts make things a lot more fun - but there is additional time needed to make those work. It also adds scheduling constraints. Over 90% of my workouts are done solo. It takes a personality and mentality to make that work. Remember, I'm just answering how *I* find time.

I do drive to certain locations for certain workouts. If I have race pace bike intervals to do, I'm not going to do those where they are interrupted by traffic lights. And I certainly won't do them on the bike path and chance hurting someone (and / or myself). But for recovery workouts and runs (where even race pace the speeds are slower), I launch from my front door. Or over lunch at work. Or I'll go launch from the office after work and leave for home *after* rush hour (more time saved).

#8 - Use your workouts as thinking time
I work through a lot of things in the hours I'm pounding out the miles. Work issues, home issues, planning for a trip. I've rehearsed presentations while running or riding - yeah, you can get caught talking to yourself, but in a moment the observer is gone and you slip back into anonymity as just a crazy runner talking to themselves. Sometimes I catch up on podcasts (although I'm currently in my iPod free phase). In other words, shift some of your thinking work into your workouts. You have to be careful because you can distracted away and miss the intensity of a run / or run too fast for a recovery run. But with practice - it's manageable.

#9 - Simplify your meals
There are a lot of cookbooks out there for 30 minute or less nutritious meals. Also, whose to say that a good dinner can't be a handful of mini carrots, some almonds and a can of tuna fish dumped into a bowl with mayo and chives cut up in it. Pour a glass of red wine or an after dinner decaf coffee and 'pow' - dinner's done. Prep time is less than 5 minutes.

We've had yogurt, nuts, flax, coconut flakes and mashed banana for dinner. Sometimes just a shake with chocolate protein powder, a banana and almond milk (topped with some coconut milk or 1/2 an avocado for creaminess) and some ice cubes. Prep time for either is 5 minutes.

Here's another favorite of mine. Basmati rice in the rice cooker and then toss it in a large pan with some left-over chicken, spinach, cashews and a bottle of Thai curry paste and coconut milk. Mix it all up and simmer. Total prep time is like 20 minutes (while I unpack from the day at work) and it will cover dinner and a couple lunches (that's 3 meals at 20 minutes - prep time average is 7 minutes per meal).

#10 - Reverse the process
Take a week and log what you must spend time on. The necessities. Things like work (including your commute), sleep, taking the kids to school, the MINIMUM you could get by on grocery shopping and food prep. You'll be amazed at how much time you have left over. Now of course there are things like kid's soccer practice, cooking nicer meals, spending time with friends, etc.. But my point here is that instead of looking at where you need to 'find time' - start with the bare necessities for living and 'add' things back in. This is a real eye opener as to where you are choosing to invest your precious time. Some parents feel like their kids need to be in 10 different activities, others limit it to one or two and create quality around that. Again - it's a personal decision.

That's some things I can think of off the top of my head. Not all of it will appeal to you and that's fine. I just wanted to put down some ideas that might be useful to you. Things that might change the way you think about 'finding time'.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Rattlesnake Pics and a Hard Lesson in ABV

Wow - usually I don't have jack for pictures from my races. Generally it's my fault - for example, as I stood by the water's edge on race morning and watched others snapping pictures of one of the most startling sunrises over the lake I've seen in quite some time, I realized that I'd left my phone way back in the car. Sheesh...

But others came through. Some I already posted, but here's some more:

Look how happy and clean I am. Soon to be covered in lake water, urine and sweat - ahhhh... yes.. the unspoken joy of triathlon when everyone is already in their wetsuits and floating around in the water waiting for the start.... not saying anything or making eye contact...
yeah - we don't talk about it.

Rich is a buddy from my masters swim team. What's funny about this picture is that Rich is actually like several inches taller than me and much broader in the shoulders. But because of the angle of the shot, I'm the hulk. (PUNY HUMAN!!)
btw - notice the guy in the water in the background? Yeah, he's peeing.

Running...... and it's hot.... sweet....

Done. That's not a smile, it's a grimace.
Left arm does that 'thing' when I'm tired - shhhhhh.... don't tell my competition.  If I showed you the MRI from my snowboarding accident 7 years back, you'd forgive me.

Ok, so now your'e all asking (or have moved on to more interesting Internet stuff) - what's up with the hard lesson in ABV? And what *is* ABV? Ahhh... now do I have you back? Wait for it.....

On Sunday I decide a good recovery would be a 2 hour road ride with my buddy, Chris. Launch from Golden and we head south to some Red Rocks climbs and a circle back from Morrison to finish at the new Mountain Toad Brewery (MTB - get it??) in north Golden.

btw - the Woody's hostess
was sitting on one of these
outside the restaurant.
Like she's all high and
mighty.. Well take that!
side-bar: It's our first, then second, then first again choice when the hostess at Woody's can't get us seated at an empty patio table to save anything. Keeps saying, "Yep - any minute now. They are cleaning it right now". To which I reply, "Uhhh... I'm looking right at it and they aren't doing jack and haven't been doing jack for that last 10 minutes you've been telling us that they *have* been doing jack... so long jack..."

Anyway. We head up to MTB (cool place btw) and order a pitcher of one of their craft beers. It's awesome. We order a sampler tray too 'cuz I'm a wimp and only usually order ales and wheat beers... shaaahhdup beer snobs.

Personal note to K.F. (you know who you are) I know that I keep having beers in Golden and don't text you. It's not my fault. I'm there and I think about it - and I realize that I don't have my stupid cell phone. Honestly...HONESTLY!! (gads... I suck...)

So I have less than 3 total beers ('cuz Chris is better at emptying the pitcher than my sorry butt) and I am freaking wasted. Like the world is moving in stills instead of one continuous movie like it's supposed to. I haven't been this in the bag in years. I'm trying to figure it out. 3 beers - WTF? Ok, yeah - I haven't eaten since breakfast and it's now like 2pm or so.... but *this* wasted?

The 5 minute ride back to Chris's is comical. I can't balance very well on my bike. I tell him we need to stick to path and side-streets. I'm going slow enough that I'm not a danger to anyone, even myself. I under steer one turn and roll off the path into the grass. I fall over. I get back on and manage to leverage what's left of my awesome bike handling skills to click out before I fall over in the driveway. I then spend the next 2 hours on a bean bag chair, drying out before I can drive. I pass the time by providing important commentary an old Star Trek episode (The Naked Time - that's the name of the episode, not my state of clothing) on Netflix. Chris makes fajitas - it helps.

The next day I'm still perplexed (and nursing a hang-over) and check out the MTB website ('cuz I think the place is awesome). Oh... they list the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of their beers as 6.5% to 6.9%. I look up  my usual brands - yeah, 4.5%. That means my 3 beers was actually like 4.5 beers. Yeah, yeah - still wimpy - but I'm proud that I'm a Sheila when it comes to being able to drink under the table.

Anyway - lesson learned.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rattlesnake Triathlon Race Report

Raced this on Saturday. I had picked it because it was the same venue and basic course of the Harvest Moon 70.3 (1/2 ironman) that I'm doing in three weeks.

It's a well run race and great venue. It's an olympic distance with a swim that was short by a couple hundred meters (1300m swim / 25mi bike / 10K run)

I took first in my age group (out of 21 racers). Overall I was 19th out of 315 racers.

I don't know if you'd call it a race strategy, so much as an experiment of '1' that I wanted to try. I've noticed in my training and racing that if I go really hard on the bike, I feel crappier on the run - but I don't necessarily go that much slower. So I guess on this race I wanted to see exactly how crappy I could actually feel on the run by riding the bike portion at TT pace (meaning you ride like you are going to be done when you get off the bike in an hour).

I found (for me) It's harder to do than I thought because no matter how you try to convince yourself while riding, you still have in the back of your head that you're going to need to run after this, and I couldn't just let it all hang out. But I still went pretty hard.

Anyway, objective achieved. I felt really crappy on the run. But I didn't got that much slower. Probably didn't pick the best day for such an experiment as it was bloody hot (about 90 degrees) on the run with no shade. Then again, maybe that's a perfect test :-)

The swim was interesting in that it was a TT rather than mass start. You went out one at a time in 5s increments in a count-up of bib numbers. The swim follows a lane out for 300m, then back on the other side of the buoys. Then you exit the water, do a 180 and head back out again. On the far buoy this time you hang a slight left on the way in and angle towards the water exit about 50m down the beach from the start.

I don't know that this makes it any less congested than a mass start, because the lanes out and back are rather narrow and your mixing in with people that are technically behind you when you do the 180 - so there's never much open water to be found. But it was fine. I got kicked a few times when I would go to pass and the person I was passing would all of a sudden start breast stroking and frog kick me in the ribs or hip. Couple of bumps and arm bashings here and there - but hey, that's the nature of the sport.

I had a really great swim. Felt strong and passed a ton of people. Didn't get passed by that many others and came out of the water feeling like was finally able to 'race' the swim portion (which was one of my pre-season goals). When I was heading in on the final leg I kept thinking how I wished I could swim further to delay putting out the hard effort I knew I was going to try on the bike ;-)

I had a goom-bah first transition. First, I couldn't get the wetsuit off over the monster sized square timing chip on my leg. OK - it wasn't that huge, but most chips are more rounded and don't get hung up. I was worried about ripping my suit, so I just took a bit longer to work it off. It wasn't that much more time (probably 10s or so), but still - clock's ticking.

The REAL dufas moment came when I tried to flying mount my bike. I had been staring down at that chip situation and was a bit dizzy when I went to mount. Missed my right foot and came to a dead stop. Re-grouped and now with the rubber bands broken (temp bands that hold the shoes horizontal and snap away when you start riding), I attempted to just get rolling. One shoe caught the pavement wrong and the bike 'hoppped' up and stopped again. At that point I'm like, "Really?". Finally got rolling but it took longer than I thought to get my feet actually into my shoes and strapped down. Total time lost in T1 was probably around a minute - but as I rolled off I just said, "Well, now it's time to go harder to make it up"

The bike course is straight-forward, but a bit congested in the park. Plus, here's a tip to my fellow athletes. Stay to the freakin' right when you are not passing. Holy %&#^* blurg!

Once we got out onto the open road it was much better as things thinned out. I just put my head down and started cranking.

The course is an out and back on rolling hills. No shade or scenery to distract you. Just prairie. Open to traffic, but it was light and all the drivers were very courteous. There was a steady tail-wind on the way out which I didn't notice until I was heading back. At that point it was a steady headwind offset at about 20 degrees - which is actually perfect to pull an aero wheel along. You can really feel the wheel lift and pull like a sail and you just lay it up in the slot and hook in. Nice and steady, no gusts to wobble you.

Also trying out the new aero bottle:

It works really well, especially with my modifications (retention strap and different, softer drinking tube). I wrote a review on Amazon and also have talked to their customer support regarding the retention issue. They said they really liked my retention strap 'design' - to which I replied, "yeah - I kind of would like the bottle to keep from ejecting all on its' own though ;-)" - they agreed and are sending a proto-type bottle cage for me to try out. Mucho cool of them.

Here's my retention strap I fashioned (it's not really a 'design' - I'd call it a kludge):

After the race I had the bottle innocently sitting on the kitchen counter (like this) so any remaining fluid wouldn't drain out of the straw and the bottle would stand up on it's own.

Ok, am I (and Paige) the only ones that thought this looks like Mr. Potato Head in formal wear sporting a 'stiffy' ??
Ahhhh... anywhoooo... where was I? Oh yeah....

Bike went well. Just kept going hard, especially on the uphills. I only got passed by one guy that I passed again when he gassed out about 30s later 1/2 way up a roller. Never saw him again. Bah-bye.

I knew I was having a good race when I didn't even see the leaders until I was almost to the turn around (Elites went out about 15 minutes ahead in the swim start).

Kept the gas on all the way into the the park and T2. I hear Paige and Luke cheering as I come into T2 and see Luke again cheering as I exit to the run.

Waving to Paige and Luke coming out of T2

I'm not drinking. This is the first of many face splashes (see the drops / spray?)

Uneventful, by the book and quick. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Ok - mission accomplished. I feel really crappy. First mile feels like the 4th mile usually does. But I'm turning over at about a 6:50 pace, so my crappy feeling has no correlation to my speed. But MAN do I feel lousy!

And then the heat is kicking in. No matter how hard I work at it, I just am not good at running in the heat. My perfect run-racing temp is like 45 degrees. It's almost 2x that temp. The run is an out and back and it takes FOREVER to hit the turn-around point at 5K!! The usual thoughts of stopping and walking are stronger than usual (why do those thoughts even bother - it's not like I'm going to listen and they are just annoying to hear!). I'm throwing water down my back and into my face at every mile aid station. It cools me down for like 10 strides. I take one sip of Gatorade at one station. My stomach immediately starts to knot up. Man it's hot.

About a mile from the turn-around I see the leaders. I get motivated as I know the turn-around is getting near. I'm not kidding. It's like the longest 5K segment I've ever run. FINALLY I hit the turn-around and things improve. I am slowing because of the heat, but not that much. It's manageable. At this point I'm pretty sure I'm in the lead by a healthy margin for my age group. Nobody behind me for quite a ways and the only guy in front of me is two age groups below me (via the age marking on his calf :-). Still, I pass him and move on to the next guy. No reason to hang back and then see results posted of someone that started behind me but is in front of me time-wise (one issue with the staggered start). Plus, I just want to be done - run harder.

I do have one more gear in reserve. I can feel it there - but it would REALLY hurt to shift into it so I pansy out and just keep a steady tempo.

400m from the finish. It's a big swooping right hand turn that I can see. Sheesh - that's only 400m? Seems like a mile. Ok, shut-up and just run you little girl.

Finally, last 100m. Slight downhill to the finish. I shift into the higher gear - yep, it's there - and tempo+ across the finish line. I can hear Paige and Luke are cheering me on at the finish, but only have tunnel vision.

Hand's on my knees while the girl struggles to pull off the velcro strap of the timing chip. It won't release. It's like some bad juju that won't give up. She apologizes, I tell her, "I can't stand up straight yet anyway, take your time" - finally it's off.

I walk out of the chute and see Luke's little smiling face. He gives me a big hug and I tell him how happy I am that he was cheering me on.

Post Race:
Really happy with my race. Recover pretty quickly from the heat just stepping into some shade. I feel confident about my 70.3 in a few weeks. Results posted. I'm in first with 4 minutes margin - 2:20 and change finish time. Average run pace by my watch is like 10s slower than L2L - Probably 1/2 of that is the heat, not the hard bike.

Ok, this was my award.

Still..... I think the Grinch's award ceremony ended with general mayhem, the mayor having his hair sheered off and a Christmas tree bursting into flames. I'll point out that none of that happened at this award ceremony.

Afterwards, hanging out with other team mates and friends. Lisa pulls a personal PR by like 20min on the course. Trish took 1st in Elite women, Bob 2nd in his AG, Rich 2nd as well - they are in larger, younger fields. Bob is 6 minutes faster than me. He's my bell weather. Great athlete, long history in triathlon and endurance sports, consistent. About 8 years younger. Someone good to chase and never catch :-)

We all talk about how freakin' hot the run was. Topic of the day.

Beach, swimming, play-set and a snack bar nearby. What' s not to like about coming to cheer on at Mom and Dad's races at this venue!!!??
Really fun race. And as I sit here the next day, my body feels really good. Ready for a 2 hr road ride today with Chris. Just rolling along. We'll see what's in the tank - but I suspect not a whole lot. On to the final 3 week push for the final A race of the season; Harvest Moon.... where' I'll bike and run 2x the distance. Hope it's cooler.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Some Things are Just Plain Wrong...

Shortly after the Boston Marathon attack, I wrote a post regarding how we should focus on the victims and survivors of the tragedy, rather than following the media's instincts to run stories about the scum and villainy that inflicted such sorrow on their victims. Victims like 8 year old Martin Richard (pictured) needed to be remembered, not his killers.

But even I could not have predicted how far into the reaches of the sewer the media would go in it's never ending effort to 'sell copy'.

By now you may have heard that many people are outraged by the cover of the August version of Rolling Stone magazine. If you haven't seen it (and I refuse to post it here) - the magazine chose to use the self-portrait the bomber posted of himself on Twitter for his cover photo. In short it's how 'he' wanted people to see him, rather than how other people really saw him and certainly not an accurate depiction of who he was inside.

I'm not here to convince you how wrong this is. If you want to have a debate, send me an eMail and I'll be happy to point out the flawed logic and inane rationale being used to justify this offensive material. Arguments such as:

  • "Well, RS and other magazines have done this before..." (really? that's your defense?)
  • "It's freedom of speech / first amendment..." (nice try - nobody is talking about government suppression here - nor am I being critical of the article itself)
and my latest favorite...
  • "Shocking people that this guy doesn't *look* like a monster"

Wow. So let me get this straight. You believe that we are so stupid that we believe horrible crimes are only committed by.... what? Physically 'ugly' people? 'older' people? 'fatter' people? People that don't look 'white'?. I honestly don't even know how to respond to that, other than; "don't project your shallow, racist thought process on to all of us. It's all you and you need to square with that." -

For the record; I personally don't need a snapshot of a baby cooing in a crib to know that at one time, every monster was an innocent soul. The only variable is how far back you need to go.

The last argument also tries to leverage the tired old saying that "you aren't defined by the worst thing you've ever done" - let's remind ourselves what 'worst thing' this person did. He dropped a bag of makeshift explosives to indiscriminately kill innocent people out cheering their friends and family finishing a recreational event. The result was that he killed a little 8 year old boy, two young girls and maimed hundreds of other spectators.

"You aren't defined by the worst thing you've ever done"?

Yeah - sometimes you are.

That's enough of that silliness. If you think you have a better 'angle' of justification - by all means, send me an eMail and I'm more than happy to engage you on this topic.

The simple matter is that this is really about a magazine trying to put something offensive and controversial out there to sell copy and focus eyeballs on their advertisers. That's it.

So if you're as angered as I am at this kind of money grabbing behavior hiding behind the guise of 'free speech' / 'art' / 'starting the conversation' garbage rationale, then like me, you should do something.

Don't bother writing to these bozo's. That's what they want. Like some insolent, misbehaving child, they want attention and any attention will do. The strongest message you can send, is to make them irrelevant. To bury their thoughts and perspective in the dung heap it belongs in.

So what can you and I do?

This is about money for them - so cut off the money. Write the advertisers in the August issue (provided below) and tell them you will not buy their products until they publicly sever ties with the magazine (via a definitive press release) and stop paying them money to run their ads. To date, the responses I've received demonstrate a complete lack of responsibility. "We weren't aware" / "We're always re-evaluating our campaigns to align with our corporate values" - blah, blah... My advice to these advertisers - grow a pair and be definitive. Sadly, they'll certainly 'align their corporate values' to a loss of market share - so be it.

Here's what these guys (the magazine and it's bank rollers / advertisers) count on. They count on you and I to tire and just forget about it. They count on this to blow over. So long as they send out placating responses, they don't have to take a stance.

But it doesn't take much of your time. Maybe 15 minutes a month and a bit of tenacity on your part. First, send an eMail to each of the advertisers in the August issue. Keep it short. Tell them you find what RS did offensive and disgraceful and that you want a definitive answer from the advertiser. Tell them if they don't offer a definitive response, then you'll buy their competitors products instead.

Tell them you'll also continue to stop by the new stand at B&N or else where and simply flip through each subsequent month of RS. From here on out - any advertiser you see for that month that you normally buy from, you'll stop buying from and using their products. And then do it. Follow through.

By the way; If you do believe that the picture was motivated by the right to artistic expression and 'starting the conversation' rather than money - then cutting off their advertisers shouldn't bother them. Readers and subscribers should rally so hard to maintain this 'icon of journalistic integrity' that they should have plenty of money to continue writing and distributing their words. They'll have no problem with subscription prices doubling because their words are so valuable. True, the magazine might not be able to afford the glossy photos and salaries they once had - but their 'art' and 'freedom of speech' will continue to be preserved. In short - I dare you to prove me wrong.

Or do nothing. It's your choice. It's your freedom of expression and your voice. What I hear from people is they don't feel like they have a voice. They don't feel like their opinion matters. Well it does - you just have to express it in a substantive way.

Here are the advertisers in the August issue of Rolling Stone Magazine:

M&M's and Snickers (Mars)
Netflix (+1 (408) 540-3700)
Dove Chocolate (Mars)
TexasPete hot sauce
Camel cigarettes
Miracle Whip (Kraft Foods)
A1 BBQ Sauce
Pringles (Kellogg)
Full Sail University
Vapor Genie
Altoids (Wrigley)

Here's a sample eMail (feel free to copy / paste):

Recently you ran an ad for your product and brand in the August issue of Rolling Stone magazine. I find the cover photo and the magazine's stance on the issue offensive.

I would like a public statement from your company that you no longer will consider this magazine in your ad campaigns. I will interpret a non-definitive or lack of statement to be one of passive support and will discontinue buying all of your company products for my household.