Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where's Zach?

Yes! It's time for another installment of ..only you.  If you are a facebook friend of mine you already know the story but it bears repeating.  A couple of weeks ago I actually went to the gym at lunch.  I knew there were going to be problems since the parking lot was full..which means...kids on break.  I went to the rec center with the lap pool and kids pool but decided to just run laps around the gym and do a pushup.. Which I did exceptionally well.  When I got back to the locker room it was crawling with pint sized vermin and their dads trying to keep track of them.  They of course were all at the rec center to use the urine filled kids pool. (this is just my guess).  I showered quickly..headed back to my locker trying to avoid getting within a foot of any of the pint size strep throat carriers .  I quickly donned my pants and shirt, put on my shoes and socks and then stood up and faced the locker to take my watch out of the top of shelf.  As I was adjusting my watch I felt something brushing against my leg.. I turned my head and didn't see anything.  I then looked down to see this red headed 2 year old standing behind me.  He was wearing a shirt and a smile and nothing else.  He was also peeing on the back of my pants.  I am guessing he was not doing this intentionally since he obviously had no idea how to direct the flow and he had his hands in the air.  He was just kind of letting it go wherever it wanted. It actually took me a few seconds to realize what was happening before I jumped out of the way and he continued peeing on the floor and locker.  I then heard a male voice from the lockers over one area yelling.. Mike..Mike..where's Zach..you are supposed to be watching him.  Yeah.. I know where Zach is.  Needless to say I took my pants and shoes off and wore shorts and running shoes back to the office. Probably should have showered again now that I think about it.

Oh yeah..I also took a picture of the newest sign at the rec center.  Remember the sign in the shower that said they wouldn't be providing soap for safety reason?  I think this one beats it.

So..am I to gather we are not supposed to use deodorant or sweat at the gym?  How PC can this country get?  How about requiring some people to use fragrances since their rancid body odor is capable of knocking a horse down?  Sorry enough of a rant.

So I have actually been training. Last week my daughter and I ran the stairs at red rocks and did some mountain biking which was fun. I was so proud of her.  She crashed her bike and started crying..while she was crying she picked up her bike, checked the tires and then checked the chain to make sure it was still on the bike.



The stair climbing at red rocks was completed with a real live hippie drum circle!. I felt like Eric Cartmen... Dirty hippies

This week I have gotten a couple of runs in and I did a nice 20 mile bike ride on Easter with my friend Doreen and found out that my quads are definitely not fit.  They were screaming at me every time we went up a hill..which was fairly frequently.
Me and Doreen..Yes..I forgot to shave for a couple of days

 Also, to protest all the riders that I run into that don't say on your left or acknowledge your existence (the vast majority in team kits) I have decided to road bike in my t-shirts and mountain biking shorts. (The real reason may be that I don't actually fit into any of my team kits at this point)  Oh..and an Easter miracle. I would say that a good 80 to 90 % of the riders we saw said hello or on your left.. A far cry from the usual 20%/  Yes I do keep track.

I also did some running...I hate running..especially since  really need to run with a hydration pack..but at least I look good. Yep..can you say Sierra Echo Xray Yankee?

Yes..I have neglected to shave my head for a couple of weeks.

And I did make a purchase.new Hoka One One shoes.  They are about the ugliest thing I have ever seen.  I have had them out for one run and although there is a massive amount of cushion the shoes are very light and you can still feel the trail below you.  I will reserve judgment on these until I get a few more miles in. However, so far so good.  I usually can make anything look good..but these shoes..it's going to be a challenge.

Hope you are all doing well..the next blog post I am going to do a gear review on the coolest thing I have seen in years..and which I think may have saved my life..or at least my important parts. Important to me anyway.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Now where did I put that?

So..what is the secret to being healthy and fit?  Cardio fitness? Strength? Discipline? Great nutritional plan?  The answer is..none of the above.  The true secret is organization!  And unfortunately for me that is one of my major weaknesses.  No matter how hard I try or what I do to get organized I end up becoming even more unorganized.

 For example..a training log is supposed to help you plan and log your exercises. Mine doesn't. Not because of the system I use..but because I use multiple systems and forget what I have put in each one.  Currently I am using Beginner Triathlete, Final Surge, Garmin Connect, a paper calendar, my ipad calendar and sometimes my phone for my training log. To track my nutrition I use Spark People, My fitness pal, a hand written food journal and beginner triathlete.  Why do I use so many?  Because I have a problem!! I see one and I think.. that works great..then I see another and think..that works better and use that until I decide the first one was the best.  What ends up happening is I don't know what I am using and then don't log at all.  I should be seeing a therapist..or going to AA (applications anonymous)

What is worse is that this skill of being unorganized persists through all aspects of my life.  Perfect example..my wife and daughter left for a 3 day trip to Wisconsin...When they left the house was in immaculate condition.  The pictures below are 36 hours after their departure.








That is just some of the damage I did.  Now granted..in the first pic I had just gotten done installing the moulding in the room. The stuff on the floor is oatmeal.  I knocked over a glass ball filled with candle "oil".  All a rag did was spread it around further, so a suggestion on facebook lead me to spreading oatmeal on the floor.  It actually worked for the most part. And the house was picked up before the wife got home..although it took a good 5 hours.

The oatmeal and oil is not bad considering last year at this time my wife left the house and this happened.



 In the third and fourth pictures above you can see the room where I keep my workout stuff..along with 2 or 3 of my gym bags.  Yes. I thought it was a good idea to have one for running and one for swimming and another for emergencies.  What ends up happening is I forget which one I have placed my mp3 player in..or lock ..or sunglasses..or even shoes. I have ended up at the pool to swim without goggles..at the park to ride my bike without shoes and the gym without shorts.  So much for organization.  The only thing that saves me at work is I have two people who are paid to keep me organized.

If I am lucky to make it to a ride I have somehow forgotten my water bottles or tire pump.  Once I had packed the car with every possible thing I needed and driven about 15 minutes toward the rendezvous when I realized my bike was not on top of the car.   Yes, I realize there may be some memory issues involved here along with the organizational problems.

My nutrition also suffers from my terrible organizational skills. I plan on making lunch and eating healthy and 1. either don't pack the lunch the night before..2. forget the lunch in the fridge..or 3. bring a salad and forget the dressing.
 
Luckily for my daughter she has my wife's organizational skills.  She gets up in the morning, gets dressed, makes herself breakfast most mornings and reminds me what I need to do and if there is anything special I need to take to school for her.   Honestly it is scary that my life and fitness level would be so much better if I acted like my six year old daughter.  Today it was..Dad..we need to get out on the bikes, the triathlon is in two months.  But I don't want to go outside..the basketball game is on...

I am afraid that I am going to have to get over this organizational hurdle or just give up the ship..provided I haven't already misplaced it. It seems like the more I try to get organized the more unorganized I become.   So I guess I need to just make a list for the week and make sure everything gets done..now should I do the list on my ipad calendar..my phone task list..the weekly calendar or the daily?  Screw it...

I made one interesting observation dealing with gear this week. In my last post I told everyone I joined a facebook group From Fat to Finish Line.  In that group I asked what shoe everyone liked for running,  The overwhelming majority picked Brooks.  What was really interesting was that Newtons was one of the least favored shoes.  Now this group is almost all runners and most of them beginners but a few are veteran race runners.  If I asked the same question of my triathlon friends I think the vast majority would say Newtons were their go to shoe?  So why is that? Does Newton do that much more advertising directed toward triathletes?  Or does the Newton price tag keep every day runners away, where triathletes who are used to paying a large amount for their gear are less likely to shy away from the cost?  Things that make you go hmmmm.

And a shout out to my friend Kelli who as I type this is completing Ironman Cabo..her first!  And John who competed in his first triathlon as a member of a relay..Way to go John..although you cannot get the title triathlete until you finish a swim leg...rules is rules.

Lastly...Go Badgers!




I honestly don't take sports all that seriously but anyone rooting against them is dead to me.  You know who you are.




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Past the ides of March and going out like a lion..

Well I actually signed up for a race..no....seriously.  April  27 - West Side Duathlon - I will probably do the 2k-15k-5k Du as opposed to the 5k-30k-5k.  Considering I am breathing hard just bending over to tie my running shoes I think the shorter option is best (Ok..I'm lying..I haven't put on my running shoes in months).  I do have 4 weeks to train though..and miracles do happen so maybe I will switch to the longer distance.  The race is very close to my house so I can pretty much just roll out of bed and be there in 10 minutes.  I don't run fast enough to actually need to stretch and I can sleep in my shorts and shirt.  I'll probably just take my bathroom break after the run and before I get on the bike.  Yes, I tend to lose a lot of time in transition.

Ironman came out with a new transfer policy for athletes who can't do a race because of injury or "life events". Very cool..until you read the rules, regulations and fees.  Yes..more of a PR stunt. I am really beginning to despise Ironman brand races. I understand that when you are the big dog you can do as you please. I just don't think I will be feeding that dog anymore.  I wish there were more Rev 3 races this side of the Mississippi.

With that being said I think I will transfer my Ironman Boulder entry to Racine 70.3.  There are a number of reasons.

1. my shoulder still hurts from the car accident I was in during October.  It really only hurts on long swim sets and when I am in the aero position on my bike for an extended period of time..but guess what..an Ironman requires doing long swim sets and being in the aero position for an extended period of time. 

2.  I have no desire to do IM Boulder at this point.  When I did IMWI I was so psyched..the swim .. the transition area...the bike ride..and the run through the city and campus.  Plus I was looking forward to the post race meal of  fried cheese curds, brats and mac'n'cheese pizza.  I am not a big a  fan of the city of Boulder or CU. (Too many hippies and not enough Badgers) The reservoir where the swim is going to take place is a large dirty puddle and there is rumor it may be too warm for wetsuits.  If it is too warm I am screwed because I can't kick..my legs will sink..or if I actually try to kick I will propel myself backwards. And if the race is wetsuit legal the water will still be warm enough where I will boil like the fat bratwurst I am inside the black sausage casing I call a wetsuit.  Although Boulder has some beautiful vistas and climbs the course will mostly go north and then east..away from the beautiful vistas.  I think the race organizers had a chance to make this a very tough but beautiful bike course but shied away from that due to the altitude already being a deterrent to athletes making the trek to Boulder.


Boulder Res



Lake Michigan - Racine


 3.  I think I want to be back in Wisconsin for a race where people that know me can kick my ass on the race course...and then have a beer afterward.

 4.  post race food in Boulder..green chili or some other crime against nature..Racine - Kringle.  Enough said.
Green Chili (WTH...chili is supposed to be red)

Kringle..food of the gods

If it sounds like I am talking myself out of IM Boulder..I am.  I'll give myself another week to think about it..but I think the crystal clear..ice cold waters of Lake Michigan are calling to me.(along with Friday night fish fry, deep dish pizza, potato pancakes, fried cheese curds)

I have been doing gear reviews here and there but today I need to talk about gear in general.  I don't usually like to call people out in public..I much prefer talking behind their backs..but I think I must....  Angela Lee!! How dare you question buying multiple expensive non interchangeable pedals and shoes for your many bikes?  I thought you were well on your way to becoming a triathlete..but apparently you have much to learn. A true triathlete knows that they must have different equipment for every and any situation that could possibly come along. (The only exception may be underwear..seems like one or two pair is pretty much all you need..especially since as a triathlete you don't wear it much)  For example...hydration packs.






Honestly..can you just have one?  Am I supposed to clean out the bladder after every use? Isn't it more fun to cycle through and try to "guess that liquid"..in a bladder that has been sitting for a week or three?  What if my shirt clashes with the blue pack? And what if you needed 80 ounces of water and only had the 70 ounce model? OR only needed 60 ounces of water and had the 100 ounce pack?  Wouldn't you feel silly..and more importantly..inefficient...I mean you would be carrying an extra 4 or 5 ounces of pack around for no purpose..what would that do to your time?

Or swim goggles?
Do you really expect a person to drive and then wear the same pair to swim in..that would definitely be a faux pas.  And what if it is bright out but not quite sunny..should you be forced to choose between clear or dark lenses when the amber lenses are perfect for that situation?

A true triathlete understands that there is a product made for the exact..time, location, temperature, situation and outfit that you may experience at any given moment.  And as a triathlete you should own that product and be able to use it without compromise.  You are an intelligent woman and cannot possibly be taken in by the arguments that if something fits and works that you don't need anything else.  To believe that would be to believe that all of the companies out there trying to improve your life and sport are merely just making small cosmetic tweaks to their products and running huge propaganda campaigns aimed at our vanity and willingness to spend money to try and improve our times without actually training.  As an American I just can't believe that to be true.  So please Angela...go buy another set of pedals that you can only use on Tuesdays before 5 p.m. when it is partly cloudy and above 50 degrees.  You don't want to make the rest of us look silly..do you?











Lastly, I just want to give a big shout out to a facebook group I joined.  From Fat to Finish Line. It is an open public group aimed at giving support to those who are just starting to run..or those continuing their running journey and pushing their limits. "Founded by the original members of the "From Fat to Finish Line" Ragnar team featured in the documentary of the same name, this is a support community for runners (experienced and newbie) looking to use running to lose or maintain weight." So far it has been a very supportive group and I would urge you to check it out.

And Remember...




If you want to read about my tutu reference and how a magazine can do something incredibly stupid..check this out.. Miles Muscles Mommyhood.

Happy Trails everyone!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

March to Madness


My daughter competed in her first swim meet. which was pretty eye opening.  Getting to the pool at 7 a.m. to watch her swim in 4 events which took under 3 minutes to complete would have been a bit boring..except for the fact that I am a social butterfly and always found someone to talk to/bother. The meet was about 4 hours long.  Luckily a family which was more prepared than me brought an extra chair that I sat my butt in for most of the meet. (The chair actually belonged to one of my arch nemesis from my daughter's school..I ended up talking to her husband and mother in law for about 2 hours and got some great dirt on her)

I don't know if I will like swim meets. There are 250 parents in a confined space and yet every one of them is on an ipad or phone except for the 8 parents who have kids swimming. Even the kids tended to go off by themselves and get on their electronic devices.  I was pretty proud of my daughter though..if she wasn't swimming or in the heating room she was watching her teammates and cheering.  She did great in the backstroke..and told me that was her least favorite race..and she was last by a good 15 seconds in the breast stroke..which of course is her favorite race.  But being about the youngest kid in the meet I would say she did good..it's all about having fun and she did every race with a smile. (all about having fun when you're young..she better start taking it seriously when she is older..like 7)
7:00 Warm up

Getting ready for freestyle
 I think the meet had a positive effect on my daughter. Before the meet she was waiting for other kids during practice to catch up with her..the first practice after the meet she wanted to be the first kid to swim in the lane and actually cut a kid off who was trying to pass her.   Finally....some competitive spirit.  However, there was a down side.  When we went swimming together she actually was complaining about how I did my workouts and my form...don't kick with your knees...grab a kickboard and fins and kick on your back...breathe to both sides...don't stop at 50..do 50 more meters...don't pee in the pool.  Ugh.  But she is looking forward to her next meet..beating her times..and we have actually planned out a triathlon race schedule for her.

As you all know last year was a complete bust for me..and this year has not been much better.  I have been in a funk for more than a year and I cannot seem to break out.   However, I have figured out that I miss camaraderie. I miss the family Sundays that were always part of my life in Wisconsin..having friends to go watch the Badgers play hockey..or basketball..or football on a moments notice and I just miss the mandatory after work mountain bike rides at PETS.  As I am want to do..I compare Colorado and Wisconsin..  One of the things I have noticed is that the athletes in Colorado seem to be a lot less social...Maybe its the sports they do..running..skiing..biking...all pretty solitary endeavors..compared with the volleyball..beer pong..bowling...etc that us Wisconsinites do..the more the merrier. 

I loved mountain biking in the midwest..because we always had a big group..mostly my brothers and friends..and we had a blast.  (The big group was partly because we always loved each others company and partly out of necessity since one of us would always due something epically stupid which would require the others to carry him and/or his bike back to the car)  And I think we were always more laid back.  My brother and his friends were probably the best mountain bikers I ever knew..yet they didn't buy a new rig every year..never wore kits and always stopped to help others..but they did make fun of the FIBS from Chicago who would ride the trails on $4,000.00 bikes and shiny kits and get winded after 20 minutes.

Here in Colorado it is harder to find those groups but they are here.  The mountain bikers seem to be the friendliest and usually the groups are filled with mid-westerners.  However, the triathlon groups are definitely different.  A lot of the triathletes I know are good people..and in theory want to do group workouts..but only if they don't have to modify their training schedule.  I miss the groups I met in Wisconsin and in Maine and out east that were in it for the fun first and then the training factor.

By the way..if you don't agree with my assessment of the states take a look at this study United States Attitudes  It is a comprehensive study of the people of each state.  Wisconsin is number 1 for being Extroverts and number 11 for being agreeable (compassion and cooperativeness)  Colorado is 36 for extroverts and 33 for agreeableness..what I have been saying all along..and boom..study to prove it. Luckily there are enough mid-westerners and Colorado natives that I have met that buck the trend to make Colorado a great place to live. (I have found some really great natives..especially in Golden... unfortunately they aren't mountain bikers or triathletes but they are there for the post ride beer and camaraderie)  The study is pretty interesting and the link even has a test to tell you which state you belong in..weird enough I took the test and it came up Wisconsin..

So this year I decided to try to find more of those fun groups. At the very last minute Kristine and I signed up to volunteer at a half marathon. On Saturday it was about 60 degrees..at 7 a.m. on Sunday when we had to volunteer it was about 6.  We had a blast anyway and we both ended up getting two free races for our efforts (5.5 hours in the freezing cold).

Kristine doing registration and then taking a break to thaw out.

I also joined the Arvada Triathlon Club and the  Foothills Running and Cycling Club in the hopes of gaining some of that camaraderie I miss.

I'm also thinking about transferring my Ironman Boulder race entry to Racine 70.3 so I can hang with some of my friends from Racine and go drinking afterward. All I know is that I have to get out of this funk..or mid-life crisis or whatever it is and start enjoying being outdoors and exercising again.

Lent starts tomorrow..and being the renewed Catholic that I am.....I plan on giving up going out to eat for the Lenten period and to exercise in some form or another at least 30 minutes everyday. (Which dovetails nicely into the training I am supposed to be doing...lol)  I am also going to volunteer at least 10 hours during the month of March.

One tri gear related tip for all my Garmin wearing friends.  If you ever need a new ant stick..don't buy the replacement Garmin..buy the Suunto Movestick -  you can get it at Amazon here Suunto Movestick Mini.  I just checked and it is $29 and works great with my Garmin 910xt. It may be worth getting one now just as a back up or to put in your laptop..and look at the difference in size...you don't have to worry about breaking it or knocking it out of the USB port.


And this weeks Shout Outs.!!  Get Well Julie or is it Julia...it's so confusing!! ..Congrats to Greg on his Indoor Triathlon age group victory!!  And Congrats to Cynde and her son and Barbra and her daughter on the kids performances at their state swim meets (Wisconsin and Maine)  I now know the parents should get ribbons for swim team also.

Happy Trails everyone.