Friday, January 24, 2014

The new swim team.

I was very excited last Monday when I walked into the rec center to see my daughter with her new swim team.  I was never on a swim team nor did I even realize there were swim teams for kids. I had grown up with the thought the only teams were at the high school level.

We had signed my daughter up last fall for one of the "competitive" swim teams.  They practiced in a large facility and had 8 to 10 young well toned coaches overseeing the 60 or so kids. The coaches dutifully gave the swimmers drills to do and the yardage. My daughter had been placed in a lane with kids 2 to 4 years her senior and she seemed to be doing well.  The practices ended in December and didn't begin again until February.  I therefore started looking for another team that started practices in early January.

I did some research and found out that most of the rec centers had swim teams in the CARA league.  CARA is more of a rec league and was not as competitive as the summer swim teams. Whereas kids will be disqualified in the summer leagues for screwing up their strokes in races, the CARA leagues do not.

Thus I had high expectations as I pushed the door open into the pool area. Especially since this was a CARA swim team and not a competitive one.  There were 6 lanes of kids and I looked for my daughter in the nearest lane which clearly had the best swimmers...nope..then lane 5...nope..then 4..ok obviously there has been a mistake since my kid should not be in anything lower than 3...I finally saw her in lane 1.  Ugh..seriously?

I stood on the pool deck quietly taking in the lane and it's inhabitants.  All I could think of was that my daughter had somehow found herself on the Bad News Bears of swim teams.  There was the larger fellow..let's call him husky..who seemed to be swimming fairly quickly...even though his momentum defied all laws of physics.  Especially since he didn't bend his elbows..ever.  It was like watching a paddle boat head down the Mississippi.   Standing on the pool deck next to my daughter was a girl who looked half her it possible to be 20 lbs at 6 years old?..and was shaking like a frightened chihuahua since she obviously had zero body mass to keep her warm.  There was another boy in the pool who had been swimming with his goggles on upside down. If there was a short bus lane..this was it.

I then saw the coaches. The head coach was a slight much the same way that the eruption of Mt Vesuvius was a slight nuisance to the people of Pompeii.  She was leading stretches on the deck of the pool when the fabric of her swimsuit decided to just give up.  I am sure the fabric had put in a herculean effort and fought to the very last stitch but much like the 300 at Thermopylae was finally defeated by an overwhelming flood of humanity.

As the coach retreated to the pool office to get some shorts I noticed the assistant coach who was the spitting image of Maynard G. Krebbs.  I yelled., "Work" to see if he jumped but he did not.  My wife asked me who Maynard G. Krebbs was and I answered incredulously..from the Dobbie Gillis Show...she continued to stare at me like I was speaking Gaelic. I finally called her mother to confirm that Krebbs was on the Gillis show then I realized...I just had to call a person of "mature" years  to confirm my memory..could I possibly be old?  The day was not going well.

I then looked up to see the other lanes..the kids had pool noodles between their legs rising up like tails in the water and for some reason were all barking like dogs as they did the doggy paddle.All I could think about was how the heck to get my kid on a competitive team in February.

I finally noticed my daughter.  She was in the water with a smile on her face. The third coach..of mature years..was teaching all of the kids the proper form for breast stroke.  The coaches actually got in the water and helped with the kick and the breathing.  By the end of the session my daughter had met two new friends and Kristine and I had both met two sets of parents.  During the entire 2 months with the competitive team my daughter had not learned the name of a single other kid nor had Kristine or I talked to other parents.

When my daughter did the team cheer I realized that this was the right team for her.  She was having fun and smiling.  She talks about going to her team practice..and not swim practice.  I also realized that this was the right team for me also.  I was the "husky" kid back in the day..and still am...and the best coaches I ever had growing up were those that just cared about teaching the kids and having fun..not those that were focused on winning or getting their program completed.

Dive Hammerheads Dive!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I feel pretty

So I am actually training and eating somewhat decently...and being fairly consistent.  I was at the pool last week during my lunch hour when I stopped at the end to play with my garmin. ( actual's not a metaphor)   The guy next to me was a little older than me and had also stopped.  He looked over at me and asked if I was listening to music while I swam.  I was wearing my Swimp3 which I love and told him that the music was the only thing that kept me going in long workouts. (Note- this was not a long workout..maybe 1000 yards). I told him how much I loved the swimp3 and gave him my goggles and the swimp3 to try on.  He put them on and went under water to listen to the music.  When he came up he told me how great they worked and that the song I had on was awesome.  I was listening to Sexy Bitch from my newly made Chuck soundtrack when I had handed it to him. I told him that the song really pumped me up and he agreed that it was definitely motivational. A woman in her late 20s was in the lane on the other side and had been listening to our conversation.  She had heard the guy say how great the swimp3 and the song was so she asked to try it. So I retrieved it from the guy and gave it to the girl..who put it on and then went underwater to hear it. She came up with a weird look on her face but said the sound quality was great.  She then swam away quickly.  I put the player back on to finish my workout and noticed that the song had changed to I feel pretty.  Apparently the woman thought that we had been raving about how I Feel Pretty was a great motivational song..(which it is in its own right...and do not question my playlist).  Sexy Bitch..I feel Pretty..Everybody Loves me...yeah..I have an ego what.

After I got out of the pool..I went to the locker room to take a shower and saw this sign...

Seriously?  Safety Concerns? Its not like it was bar soap and you had to worry about dropping it.  Did someone actually complain because the shower was too slippery from soap being on the floor?

I even got my long run of the year in over the weekend..ok it was a run/walk..but it was 5 miles.  I knew I was going to watch football..even if it was two crappy AFC teams.  I am not a fan of the hometown Broncos but will root for them for two reasons.  One, Wisconsin Alumni Montee Ball is playing for them and Two.. I hate dealing with Broncos fans after they lose a game.  Those are the only two reasons. So I decided to go to the gym and watch.

This saved me from abut 5000 calories of "football" food and a sore on my butt from not moving off of the couch for 6 hours (I had already watched the NFC game).  As you can see I had the gym to myself. One interesting public service message came over the t.v. from the good folks at Ballys.  It said.. Remember to wear clean clothes to the gym and have good hygiene....because you never know who you will meet.  Yes, seriously...don't say because of health issues or the fact you smell.  Ugh.

For anyone who missed my facebook definitely need to read this.  Beware of Sugarless Gummy Bears..but they are good tasting.   Seriously..You will laugh your butt off.. and it is pretty much an accurate description of what I go through every time I dehydrate and then drink gatorade or Coke. At least these guys didn't have a security guard pounding on the bathroom door.

If anyone is looking for a free training log I always send them to  It is great. And if you pay the small annual fee you get a multitude of options.  However, if you are a coach looking for a log for your athletes where you can input the training plan and make comments your choices are limited.  The one and only choice for a long time has been Training Peaks.  It is a good program but very expensive..especially for coaches.   That is why I was happy to hear about Final Surge.  The website and log are just getting started and the owners are making changes all of the time. In fact they have emailed me for my opinion on a number of issues and have been working with my Coach to add elements every day.  For coaches this site will be a game changer since it is so inexpensive compared with Training Peaks. It is free for everyone else to use and when it is all done it will rival Beginner Triathletes log.  (BT has no option where a coach can add plans).  So if you are looking for a log try Final Surge and keep coming back as the improvements continue.  And if you are a coach you definitely need to check it out. 

I was going through some of my old photos and found this classic from my sister's wedding of me and my two brothers. 

Yes the Irish mob is in town (mike, ben and me)

I think it may actually be one of the last photos of my brother Mike.  It was even harder this year with Mike's birthday being on the 13th of January and my Mom's being on the 8th.  Luckily the addition of of a new nephew in November and another nephew's second birthday being on the 13th helped to bring positive vibes to this time of the year.

Well the days are getting longer meaning race season will soon be here.  Coach Jen has me working on my base and is setting my heart rate zones.  She has also promised that she will teach me how to kick so that I don't go backwards in the pool.  Seriously, if  I use a kickboard in the pool I either don't go anywhere and sink..or I go daughter enjoys pointing this out to me and laughing.

Jen has also set up a nutritional plan for me..and with the help of my wife preparing great salads in advance I have been moving the scale in the right direction. I am starting to feel pretty again.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First workouts of the year!..or First workouts in a year..either works.

Well I am definitely trying to change my habits and so far I have been doing ok.  On the first of January I was at an all time high of 244.6. Today I am at 241.2.  So I am moving in the right direction.

On Saturday my wife and I decided to head to Bally's to get a work out in.  I love going to Bally's.  Mostly because I am a people watcher and Bally's is pretty close to a freak show.  I was expecting a packed house but it was cold and snowing so there were a lot fewer people there than I was expecting. However, those that were there did not disappoint.  I like to run on the treadmill on the second floor which overlooks all of the cardio equipment and weight machines.  One woman kept me entertained for about half an hour. She came out of the locker room wearing shorts and a sports bra with shoulders broader than mine and arms a heck of a lot bigger..In fact if I had her upper body I would be extremely happy..yes her chest was smaller than mine also. Apparently her cardio consisted of getting on the treadmill...turning it on..then straddling the moving belt for a couple of minutes to adjust her headphones, water bottle and towel.  She would then jump on the treadmill and "run" for 10 seconds before again straddling the machine and pulling her shorts out of her butt.  I use the word run loosely since her arms and shoulders were so developed that her elbows were basically pointing out instead of down to her sides when she ran. She then apparently decided she had to use the ran from the treadmill..which she kept running..into the restroom and emerged a few minutes later..running across the gym to straddle the treadmill yet again.   I was hoping that while she was in the restroom she had taken care of whatever issue it was that caused her shorts to be sucked into her butt every time she ran for ten seconds..but apparently this must not have been a priority for her since it continued.  Yes I am easily amused.  However , this was just slightly more amusing than the guy in the locker room who was getting dressed..making all sorts of weird noises every time he tried to put a piece of clothing on or off and talking to himself.  I guess somebody should have acknowledged his existence but after 5 minutes of his soliloquy I think it would have been awkward if anyone had actually spoken to him.  (Oh...and I spelled soliloquy correctly without spell check..BOOM!)

Anyway...I actually made it 45:46 on the treadmill..why the weird number? I basically was doing my first 5k of the year and thus stopped at 3.1 miles. where to go but up from here.(I think I told my coach my goal was for a sub 29:00 this  I alternated walking and running and tried to keep in zone 2..and failed miserably.  My heart rate is the biggest indicator of my fitness and right now it is totally out of whack.  It did feel good to run though..ok..again I am using the term run very loosely.  I was very proud of myself on Saturday..not only did I do a workout but I passed up the Philly Cheesesteak place and instead had tofu, vegetables and brown rice for lunch.  We then went to a movie and I did not purchase a soda or popcorn. I think this is a first for me.  I am one of those people that if I am going to a movie I have to have my large Coke Zero and large popcorn with butter.

Sunday I was on the trainer.  First time I have been on the trainer since last year.  Needless to say my actual time on the bike was determined more by the pain threshold of my crotch then by my fitness level.  People who do more than an hour on the trainer must just be dead below the belt..there is no other explanation. I set the trainer up in my bedroom..on the laminate hardwood floor that we installed last May. Needless to say I fell on my butt trying to walk over to the bike with my cycling shoes on.  I did make it on the saddle and went to turn the t.v. on with the remote..which I dropped.  So instead of getting completely off the bike to get the controller I just unclipped and straddled the bike as I tried to bend down to pick it up.  Of course since I cannot even bend over to touch my toes the stretching involved trying to keep both feet on the floor caused me such horrendous back and shoulder pain I thought I was going to need to lay down on the floor to straighten everything out again..  Luckily for me when my shoe slid on the floor and I took the bike and trainer over with me the impact did seem to help loosen everything up again..I hate crashing my trainer..and it happens way too much.

I finally got the controller, velcroed it to my bike and watched Weird Al Yankovic videos for an hour while I rode.  There are very few hours that go slower than one on a bike trainer.

 Two days in the books..two days of workouts and two days of eating healthy. Only minimal injuries..a good weekend.

Friday marked one year since my mother's passing. My sister put a bunch of family pictures up on Facebook to commemorate her.  I saw some pictures of me when I was small and I realized that I have never really been small..except for the time between my sophomore year in high school and my last year of law school. Basically I hit a growth spurt, didn't eat much and was very active in sports during that time period.


In fact I remember shopping with my mom when I was a kid.  We would go to the "husky" section and look for the animals to match up on the tops and bottoms of clothes.  Yes Garanmimals made life so much easier.  I love this commercial. 

And what didn't match with 8 colored plaid pants? (Of which my brother and I both owned a pair). I also remember being 120 pounds in fourth grade.  We didn't eat fast food at all and very rarely had soda so most of my weight was due to my love of meat and potato cooking.  And of course bologna and cheese sandwiches with butter on white bread..I still get a hankering for these but never indulge. Every once in a while I would get my favorite..ham and cheese loaf..yum!

The other standby for lunch was peanut butter and butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread..Yum..and for breakfast it was usually Apple Jack Cereal or fried eggs.  If I was at grandma's for breakfast she would save the bacon grease to fry the eggs in...Oh Yeah..  And it is true I did try this once or twice:

Enough reminiscing..onward into 2014.    BTW..if you are interested in the Whole30 eating plan check out my friend Jen's blog..HERE She is tracking her progress on the plan and is currently on Day 4.  Apparently there are no butter, ham and cheese loaf or poptarts allowed.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vacation 2014

We arrived home from the land of Ice and Cold exactly 5 minutes before midnight on the 31st.  We spent roughly 11 days on the road visiting family and friends back in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In that time we got in at least three Christmas parties, a wedding reception and a baptism.

We started the visiting on Sunday December 22 at a Christmas party for my wife's mother's side.  I was just getting ready to fill my plate when my wife's cousin Julie made the remark to watch what I was eating so I didn't get gout. (Yes she actually reads this blog) I chuckled to myself since I have not had a flare up in about three months and there was no red meat or other gout inducing food.  That night as I was getting ready for bed I could feel the twinges of a gout attack and silently cursed Julie..or I may have possibly told Kristine..I hate your of the two.  What the heck? I had eaten a small amount of pork...some fruit and veggies as well as mashed potatoes.  How could that be the cause of a gout attack?  And then I remembered the 4 cans of Squirt and the Christmas cookies. ( I love Squirt soda and very rarely see it in I took advantage of a fully stocked fridge of ice cold Squirt..I even drank the good diet...During the trip I also saw Mello Yello..Sun Drop and Big Red..sodas not seen very much in Colorado)   Thus I am thinking the high fructose corn syrup may have been the culprit. Ugh. Luckily I had brought some of my pills and took them before the attack got too bad.

I had promised myself that I would not put on weight this trip and would work out.  And I actually did work out.  I made it to the Sealed Air YMCA in Racine which is a fairly new facility. If you are ever in the area make sure you check the facility out. I ran on the treadmill the first day. I was actually pretty impressed with my effort and how low my heart rate was..until I realized I was running at altitude.  That does seem to help immensely.  I even went to the Y on Christmas Eve. I took my daughter with and we hit the pool for some laps.  It was pretty cold out..single digits with some there were hardly any people there and no one to share the pool with.

Of course it was a Wisconsin they had a snack stand complete with nachos!!  Just in case you wanted to fuel up before or after a workout.  Seriously, I asked the guy working the stand about the Nachos and he was just glad they weren't selling fried cheese curds.


I celebrated Christmas with the family and got a Ninja Blender from my wife.  I can't wait to actually put it to use.  Thursday I was back at the Y, this time with the in-laws and Laila and her cousins.  I got a decent swim workout in and then went upstairs to walk the track.  While upstairs I met Jason who is the co-founder of Strive Tri Club in Racine.  If you are at all interested in triathlon and are in the Racine area check out their webpage and give them a call.  I talked with him a bit and met three high school students he is training to compete in the Racine 70.3.  They are also trying to raise money to support different community organizations and programs.  You can find out more about them and their efforts here..VAD 70.3.
David, Alonzo, Jason and Victor
Friday we attended a relatives wedding and I noticed my suit was fitting a little snug..I actually blamed the dry cleaner..although I do look good.

Me and the wife stylin
Saturday we were on the road to Minnesota..moving from the balmy - 2 in Racine to the fridgid -12 of Minneapolis (-25 with wind chill)  and there is a big difference between Racine Cold and Minneapolis cold.

Racine Cold (-2)
Minneapolis Cold (-14) - and I'm still freezing in this coat..looks like I put on 20lbs in 4 days
While in Minnesota I got to meet my new nephew and hang out with my brother and his wife. 
I was even a Godparent.

Unfortunately we were not able to work out much in Minnesota although the Cambria Suites where we were staying had a great workout facility.  In fact I would recommend the Cambria Suites for anyone especially since they are more than reasonable price wise.  I was able to at least have a picture done in the facility though. That should count for something.

We were able to get some golf in as well as "ice"ball.  (They called the skee ball ball..which was actually appropriate.  We also got some hockey, basketball and baseball in. 

We left on Tuesday after Laila worked her mandatory shift at my brother's coffee shop. was the big moment.  I got on the scale and was hoping to see a loss.  I had eaten ok and worked out..Hell I had played like 5 sports in one day...instead of a loss I saw this..

A new record for me and one I hope not to ever break.  There were some signs I was putting on weight during the suit "shrinking" after having it dry cleaned.  The fact I had to buy size 40 pants ..seriously..I just blamed the manufacturer for faulty labeling.  I also noticed I was now using another hole on my belt.  During the the month of December I had two friends post pics of them at work with different colored shoes on..and then Jen Small posted a pic of her work out pants being on backwards. I made fun of them all.  On Saturday night I was thinking how nice my underwear were feeling and went to check the tag when I was getting ready for bed.  The tag was in front..apparently my underwear are now fitting me better backwards..this may also have been an indicator of things shifting.

I didn't think my dietary decisions had been all that bad. I didn't have a single piece of kringle and limited myself to one serving of cheese curds. However it would seem by my weight gain that there were only two people who had made worse dietary decisions than myself.  My 8 year old nephew (on my wife's side) who had eaten a dollar coin and had to go under to have the coin extracted from his throat (yes he is a special ..and my sister-in-law Adrianne who decided to open her mouth and look at her two month old just as he decided to belch up his milk.  Apparently regurgitated breast milk is not that tasty.

I am guessing the 4 days of being on the road were what really killed me.  No moving around and I get a hankering for Mountain dew..usually the 44 ounce variety..right about the 4 hour mark of a road trip.  Luckily on the drive home my peeps on facebook persuaded me to forego the Moutnain Dew on the return trip home. There are just some items that you must have on a road trip and for me those items are Dew and Smartfood popcorn.  Also, there are just not a lot of healthy things to eat at gas stations.  However I did see this in one of the bathrooms in Iowa.  Maximum strength horny goat weed..unfortunately I did not have 3 quarters to purchase the item. I did notice that it was coming out of the "Health Care Convenience Center" so it had to be good.  Also..what 6 different sensual items could you possibly buy for 75 cents??? And honestly, why are people buying condoms at a gas station in Ames Iowa?

Well the trip was fun. Tomorrow I start work again and the stress that goes with it.  We did stock the fridge this morning with "good" choices and I am looking to a 2014 full of change as well as races and training.  I am hoping to start the change right off the bat.

One good fitness blog related item came out of the trip. I have a great "before" picture.  Holy crap..I have no words for the pic or the idiot in it. And no..I wasn't playing baseball..the employees at the fun center just thought I should be wearing a helmet at all times.

Happy New Year everyone.