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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Doug called me on the phone Friday. He asked if I had any New Year's resolutions. Before I could answer he said, "Wait, I forgot who I was talking to. As if there were any way left to improve yourself! People should call you and ask your counsel on how they can improve THEIR lives."

In all seriousness; I'm three month's into this and it is by no means a foregone conclusion that I'm going to cross that finish line. Well, of course I'm going to finish, but I'm a long way from finishing strong. Stop by the pool any day at lunchtime and watch me swim if you don't believe me.

So as far as Ironman goes, I'm resolving to not only stick with the training but to get the runs and weekend rides done earlier in the day. Besides that I have a couple others:

1. Get a haircut every month. I was born lucky in so far as hair goes and I've still got (most) all of it. With the possible exception of my experimentation with the mullet in the 80's it looks good at every length and style. I really like it short but I procrastinate getting it cut until it's completely out of control. So I'm going to get it cut monthly this year.

2. Improve my penmanship. God, if you've read something I've written you understand what this is all about. Why do men have such rotten handwriting?

If you've ever been unlucky enough to sit through one of my motivational speeches you know it's all about goal setting. I won't bore you with the steps but this year I'm going to follow my own advice. I had two resolutions last year. One of them was to not gain weight this year. Since I'm almost 20 lbs lighter than last year at this time I'd say I was successful. On the other resolution I changed my mind on in May but until then I had kept up with it.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for a pretty good year and believe me this one is poised to be really great.

Time to get serious!

I must say something like this every time I get my next month's training plan. But this is BS!

Doug says that a BS ride is when you are out riding on a long hill and you climb and you climb until someone screams, "This is BS!"

My weekday rides now include 4, 10 minute efforts at level 4 to 5a. Believe it or not, I'm actually a little excited about this because this is exactly the kind of work I started doing when I got back from France. It's one of the things that really put some speed into my legs.


My weekday runs now include 3, 7 minute efforts at level 4 to 5a. Basically this is saying that while I'm out for my usual 7 mile run in the morning I need to run 3 of those miles in 7 minutes each.


On Saturday, after I get done with my 6+ hour ride (with an hour of it in level 3) I have to get off my bike and run for 20 minutes. No kidding, I remember when a 20 minute run WAS the workout. Of course Sunday I get to follow that up with a 2 hour run.

Bottom line: You see the workouts really don't seem to be getting longer, but they sure are tougher all of a sudden.

I'll keep you posted as to my progress.

The rest of the Rest Week

Pretty uneventful Monday - Friday. The rides were supposed to be less than an hour. On Wednesday I rode to work and then rode and met Paige and Katie and Ken at an ice skating rink. I ate wings and drank beer and played with Ken while Paige and Katie ice skated. If I find a picture of Paige in her outfit I'll post it. Somehow I just missed getting rained on Wednesday night.

Tuesday and Thursday were short 25 minute runs. I'd say no problem but my right hip never stopped bothering me after last Sunday.

I blew off the Friday ride figuring I done enough Wednesday to cover it and just swam. I swam Tuesday - Friday with some serious yardage on Thursday.

Saturday was just a fun easy 2 hour ride out to Cave Creek.

Today was a blast. The end of the rest week and my plan called for a 45 minute run with 20 minutes at level 2. I did the ride while pushing Paige in her stroller. I can't say for sure but I think the stroller made the ride easier. I still had to do the time at the HR level but we definitely covered 1/4 to 1/2 mile more than I think I've done in the past.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The weekend and now a rest week

Saturday's ride was spectacular. I left my house at 7:30 am. The temperature hovered around 35 degrees. I met Ken and then Doug as we traveled south. A funny thing happened when we approached downtown. The fog was so thick you couldn't see 200 feet in front of you and the temperature dropped suddenly.

Doug threw in the towel and went home. He hadn't even worn full finger gloves so he was miserable from the start. When we got to Tempe town lake it was spooky. You couldn't see the water as we crossed the Mill Avenue Bridge. The water looked awfully cold. I really need to remember to go pick out a wetsuit.

Anyway, Ken was concerned about time so he bailed out as well. I completed the ride. While I didn't do the entire ride as fast as I wanted to I climbed the hill from Tempe to Fountain Hills averaging well above 18 mph and never let my pulse out of level 2. I think I can go down that road about 26 easy! The Ironman course has 3 big loops that include that up and down.

The run on Sunday was great! I think I ran about 10 miles in 1:30. I was a little beat up at the end of it. There are some days that you can't wait to get out of the house and work out, like Saturday. Then there are days like Sunday where you just procrastinate until you just decide to get it over with. I'll tell you something, I don't really even feel good until 15 minutes into my runs now, but after that I feel fantastic. As the run was coming to an end and I started my cool off (10 minutes at level 1) I really felt like I could have run forever. When I finally stopped I realized how taxing the ride had been. I didn't really eat that day and I wasn't as hydrated as I should have been. I also kind of hurt my right hip. All these will heal of course.

I'm now in the middle of a rest week. Rest week rides and runs are very relaxing. Actually I guess this is my second rest week of the month since I took almost an entire week off because I was sick.

Halfway home

3 months down, 3 months to go; more or less.

I was asked what a typical training day consists of. Basically it looks like this: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I ride my bike for 1:30 at varying levels of difficulty. I usually ride to work so I get an additional 1 - 1.5 hours in the evening. Tuesday & Thursday I run for an hour or so, again at varying levels of difficulty. I try to swim each weekday between 45 minutes and 2 hours depending on what work looks like. Audit and tax season is approaching so time management will get critical.

Saturday is the long ride day. I go for 5 hours at level 2. The time for this ride might increase to approximately 8 hours in March. Sunday is the long run day which is around 1.5 hours now but will grow to 3 hours by March.

I lift weights 3 - 4 times / week, work my core muscles (abs & back) for 15 minutes , and stretch for 20 minutes or so or so every day.

The workouts get progressively longer and/or more intense for 3 weeks and then I have a rest week. A "rest" week really just cuts the workouts in half. All except the swim.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Best place to live.

After 18 years Arizona just passed Nevada as the state with the fastest growing population. One of the reasons is the 350 plus days of sunshine.

So I mentioned that I've got all this cold weather gear that makes the ride reasonably comfortable when it's cold. The one thing it isn't, is water proof.

I mention the 350 days of sunshine because today has turned into one of the 15 days of the year. Hoping Katie can come get me. I really don't want to ride in this weather.

Coughlin's Laws - Please let me know if I've missed any.

Anything else is always something better.

Bury the dead, they stink up the place.

No matter how liberated this world becomes - a man will always be judged by the amount of alcohol he can consume - and a woman will be impressed, whether she likes it or not.

When you see the color of their panties, you know you've got talent.

Never show surprise, never lose your cool.

Never tell tales about a woman. No matter how far away she is, she'll always hear you.

Beer is for breakfast around here, drink or be gone.

The Luck is gone / the brain is shot / but the liquor we still got.

Cool weather

My thermometer read 37 degrees this morning. Actually a pretty perfect temperature. Don't get me wrong, I was very thankful for every bit of cold weather gear I had on. I look like a Ninja with my shoe covers and Lycra leggings. I had arm warmers on and a long sleeve t-shirt on along with the whole head covering Lycra hat. I would have looked like a cat burglar except for my very cool Speed Racer jersey.

Actually a fantastic ride. The air temperature wasn't cold enough to freeze the exposed skin like on Monday and Wednesday but it was just crisp enough to keep the ride nice. I really need to work on drinking more water. I got to work and realized that I hadn't had a drop.

The ride was 1.5 hours at level 3. I was pretty tired at towards the end. I felt like I had been doing leg presses for an hour. As I approached the last 5 minutes of the ride before my cool down I noticed my heart rate starting to slip into level 2. Just then "Viva Las Vegas" came on my mp3. I just hammered it for the last couple miles.

I really need to take it easy in level 1 going home this afternoon. Big ride tomorrow with Doug and Ken.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I really don't like bananas

Wednesday we had a company pot-luck lunch. I made Bananas Foster. If you don't know, it's a dish of bananas cooked in a caramel sauce of butter and brown sugar. It's usually prepared table side. My friend Larry over at the Different Pointe of View restaurant in Moon Valley taught me to make it about 20 years ago. It's a flaming dish and it's so easy to prepare it's silly but it's really impressive when done correctly. And very yummy!

Anyway I had enough bananas for 20 people but I only used about 8. So I have a few bananas to eat.

The proposed route for Saturday. It's an out and back and should be very boring. Hoping to get 90 miles in 4:30. Probably an aggressive goal at 20 mph and still staying at level 2. I'm going to put my old handlebars back on and clip the aerobars on next month.

Look Mom, no hands!

Something I forgot to mention a few weeks ago that I don't understand.

About a month before leaving for France I lost the ability to ride no-handed. This may not seem like a big deal but I took great pride in this skill. I once rode to Doug's house and back, 28 miles, and only touched the handlebars once other than to shift gears.

So one day, bam! If I let go of the bars the bike just veered to the right. I could correct but I'd end up going way left. It wasn't the bike because I couldn't do it on the 5200s we were riding in France either.

Anyway. Right after I finished the 500 in 5 days ride it came back. The family all went out for a spin and all of a sudden I can ride no handed again.

I hope this isn't like an episode of "House" or anything like that. If I end up in the hospital with some unexplainable neurological thing make sure you mention this to the doctor.

Do school bus drivers drink on the job?

I was at a stop sign playing with my phone/mp3 player when a school bus came up behind me. I was way over to the right, not quite on the curb but just next to it. The bus stops behind me and just sits there. I try to waive him around but he just sits there behind me. So I scoot over to the curb and he goes around me.

I'm paying attention to the phone when all of a sudden something touches my bike. I look up and it's the bus! Jag didn't swing out wide enough so if he goes any further he's going to crush me against the curb. What an ass. I'm not even yelling at the guy, I'm just shocked that he's got a license. So I pick the bike up and move it off the street and he pulls forward. The bus jumps up on the curb when he makes the turn.

It was like 30 degrees this morning when I left the house. I felt OK except for my face which which was exposed but other than that it was cool but comfortable.

I had two really cool moments on the ride this morning. The first was as I rode through a golf course. The sun was just getting ready to come up so the sky was a brilliant red. The green grass was white with frost and all the water hazards were steaming creating this surreal effect. I paused my mp3 so that the only sound I could hear was the whir of my chain. It was very zen and peaceful.

Second, my workout today was mostly at level two but I had to do some hills and I was allowed to let my heart rate rise while climbing. So I came up on this 1.5 mile road that just climbs at a reasonable rate but just keeps going up. The road goes South and out to the East you have a clear view of the mountains. The sun was just starting to peak out. A red ball rising in a clear sky. So I start to hammer it and the 80's song "Opportunity" comes on my phone. I spun out gear after gear until I got to the top. My heart rate was darn near maxed out but breathing the cold air felt cleansing. Of course what you don't realize when you are climbing is that you are beginning to sweat. This becomes apparent to you when you begin to descend and that cold air feels like an open refrigerator door. Brrr.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


My weight is now 1.5 pounds lower than when I graduated high school. I think I'm an inch taller too. My Dad said to me Sunday, "Could you lose a little more weight?" He was being sarcastic.

Anyway, funny run this morning. I had to do 55 minutes with 25 of that at level 3. It was an extreme effort to keep my HR up there. I really felt like I was working at 4.5. I think that my nutrician is off. I may not have eaten enough carbs last night.

Had my last swim lesson yesterday. While I wouldn't go so far as to call myself confident, I feel that I have the tools to rock the swim. It's up to me now.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rest of the week in review...

Let's see. When last I posted I was feeling crappy but I wasn't going to let it bother me anymore.

I finally started feeling good this weekend. I didn't wake up coughing Friday or Saturday.

I'm totally back on track training wise.

Thursday was a 55 minute short run with some sprints up into level 4. I think I blew off the ride on Friday because I knew I had a long ride ahead Saturday and opted for a long swim instead.

Saturday was my long ride day. 4.5 hours doesn't really seem like that long a ride but it can be torturous because over 4 hours of it has to be done at level 2 on flat terrain. If you are like me and you love hills and sprints (sometimes both at the same time) it can be mind numbing to just pedal along for hours. Could be worse obviously. In the Midwest I guess they do entire rides indoors on stationary bikes and trainers. Ugh.

Anyway, we had a great ride. Doug and Ken were nice enough to join me on this exercise in torture. They get longer by the way. I think in February and March I'll be out there for 8 hours. We did a ride out to New River. I stayed out front for most of it but Ken was nice enough to do a long pull at the end fast enough that I could stay in level 2 even in the draft. I think we got about 85 miles in before we were done. Doug and I almost got in a fight with some guy in a Lexus right at the end of the ride. Coward wouldn't get out of his car though.

I did exactly 1/3 of a marathon tonight in exactly 1/3 of four hours. Now that was a fun run! I stayed in level 2 for 55 minutes and timed it almost perfectly that I ended up at home when the clock stopped. I really enjoy running.

I got some really cool news on Saturday. I'll share it a little later.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm back!

A little tired? Sure. Coughing up a lung? You bet. Hungry for training? Obviously!

I've been out of commission since, what, Thursday? That's when I killed myself with a couple hard runs. My head cold settled in my chest and sleep has been next to impossible. With as little sleep a I get get anyway I've really been out of it.

Monday I had another swim lesson. It really went great. I realize that coaches get paid to pump you up and tell you good things but I'm really starting to believe the stuff Ann over at Camelback Coaching is telling me. My goal is set and she tells me that it's very possible. I'm very excited. I'd be even more excited if I'd remembered my stupid goggles today.

I missed a total of one run and 4 rides including a 4 1/2 hour ride that I was supposed to do on Saturday. As I've said, I'm not super concerned about that. I did miss one run and I'm disappointed there. I missed a bunch of swims but they were all drills and it didn't seem to affect my performance at all.

Ran last night. Great run! A lot of time at level 3 with an extremely low perceived level of effort. Had some trouble at the end keeping the HR in level three. I just kept wanting to run faster.

Rode this morning. 38 degrees at the house. Wow that seemed cold. I put on all that cold weather gear I bought a few weeks ago and I was very comfortable. The toes on my right foot started getting a little cold towards the end of the ride.

Doctor gave me a 'Z' pack for my cold on the assumption that it's migrated into a bacterial infection. Normally I wouldn't take antibiotics unless the infection was confirmed but it's been 3 years since I took any so I'm not going to be worried about becoming resistant. On the paperwork the doc gave me it says "finish all medications even if you feel better." One of the things he prescribed was some cough syrup with codeine. When I picked up the prescription they gave me like a pint of it! I said, "I'm sure I shouldn't finish that if I feel better." The pharmacist said to save it for a rainy day when I want to sleep. Sure worked last night. Might consider not drinking with it next time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The clock in hyperdrive....

Oh my God! Only 124 days left.

I'm a dead man.

I still haven't gotten over this cold and all I've done since Thursday is lift weights. Yesterday I missed my first run. I'm not real concerned over some missed rides but I'm real nervous that I haven't been in the pool Since Thursday either.

I have a swim lesson tonight.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I am soooooo sick

I never get sick. Everybody that sees me keeps saying, "I can't remember the last time you were sick." I remember. A little over three years ago I caught a cold similar to this one. Paige was a newborn and Katie wouldn't let me hold her. I was bathing in Purell.

So how stupid am I? Tuesday I flew to Seattle. I went out to dinner with everyone in the office up there and had a great time. I didn't get a chance to run before dinner. I'm not so naive as to think that I would get anything in that night after dinner but I thought maybe I might get a run or maybe some time on a stationary bike the next morning.

Trouble is everybody said that I had to leave the hotel by 5:00 am to beat traffic so that I wouldn't miss my 8:30 flight. So I got up at 4:30 am. I felt way better than I had any right to feel. I always feel like crap after I drink champagne and I think I drank and entire bottle by myself. That was in addition to the several beers that I had with dinner. UGH.

Anyway I got back Wednesday and I could feel a cold coming on. The flight was pretty miserable and my ears really plugged up. I went to work that afternoon and really hit the weights hard when I got home. Chad has given me some good stuff to work on to strengthen my back so I can really rock the swim.

I kind of had a panic attack at work Wednesday because I hadn't done anything for 2 days and I'd missed a run which always concerns me. My Tuesday run was designed to be kind of difficult - 25 minutes at level 3 with a long warm up and 10 minute cool down at level 1. That's way above anything I run at usually. I really felt bad about not doing it.

So after I lifted I was playing with Paige and at 8:00 pm I just kind of fell asleep in her playroom on the floor. She ignored me and just continued playing. I woke up at 9:00, put her to bed and decided to do my Tuesday run. AWESOME!!! Perceived level of effort was pretty easy. I had no trouble keeping my HR in level 3 and I went pretty fast. Timed it a little wrong and had to run a little further than I expected but I ended up doing a 10k in about 53 minutes.

Now the stupid part. Thursday was supposed to be just a 50 minute aerobic run with 25 minutes in level 2. I got up and did just that. Even though I could definitely tell I was getting sick. Perceived level of effort: easy. But my HR was all over the place and my speed was crap!! DUH! Then at lunch I did 1,200 meters in the pool.

Let's see what I did wrong.

1. Not supposed to run 2 days in a row, let alone 2 six mile runs 7 hours apart.
2. Not supposed to train when you are sick. Give your body time to rest and heal.
3. Not getting nearly enough sleep.

I'm exhausted and should stay in bed but I have to get month end out of the way.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


It's like Wisconsin, without the charm.

I'm here on business for the night. I need to squeeze in a run tonight before dinner. It looks cold out. Perhaps I will try something on the treadmill. I plan to put away several beers at dinner and I don't think I'll be into running afterwards.

Last night I went to the second lecture at Camelback Coaching. This one was on nutrition. I was pretty familiar with most of what was covered with the exception of how salt and other electrolytes affect how well you perform on race day. I need to do a little experimentation here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A bad omen this morning

Maybe I should have known there was trouble ahead.

I keep my cycling shoes right by the front door. This morning I was barefoot and just about to sit down on the floor to put my socks and shoes on. There were some dust bunnies on the floor so I kicked them out of the way before sitting down. One of the dust bunnies was solid. I kicked it again and then I turned on the light and looked at it.

Holy Shit! A dead scorpion! I'm embarrassed to admit this but bugs give me the willies! While technically not a bug, I don't like scorpions either. I go get a glass to scoop it up with but as soon as I put the glass around the critter the dead scorpion sprung to life. Yipes.

Anyway, I kept my composure long enough to flush that sucker down the toilet.

Did I mention that scorpions (and black widows) like to hide out in shoes? You know, Arizona is about the best place in the world to live, but I really don't like arachnids that sting and bite.

CRASH!!! (again)

I'm becoming a menace to myself.

Today was a great ride in spite of everything. I got out of the house at 5:45 am. Temp was 45 degrees so I didn't wear the full winter regalia but I put on my new cold weather gloves. The ride today was supposed to be a 20 minute warm up followed by 45 at level 3 with a 10 minute cool down.

I met Ken on the road coming in and spent most of the time pulling. At one point we came to an intersection on a red light. I looked left/right/left and even though I saw a truck coming I knew we could make it so I yelled "Clear" hammered through the intersection.

Ken didn't feel as comfortable running the red in front of the truck so he slowed. When I realized he wasn't with me I slowed down and looked back. I saw he was coming so I just kept going. I turned around and just as I was facing forward my front and rear tires rubbed up against the side of the curb.

Ken said he didn't see exactly what happened but he did see plenty of sparks! I tried to control the bike but I went over on the right side and I came down on my right hip pretty hard. I came out of the pedals and rolled for a little while before coming to a stop right in front of the bike.

A quick inventory revealed no broken bones. I know my hip is going to be very sore. I've got some pretty nasty scrapes and my right butt cheek is one big raspberry. The good news is the bike appears to have escaped completely unscathed. I don't know who's watching out for me up there but they're doing a great job.

My new goal here is not to crash again until after April 15, 2007.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The rest of the week...

F - me! I said it was cold Wednesday. B.S.
Temperature dropped Thursday and Friday it was 31 degrees! It must have gotten into the 70s in the afternoon but I was miserable on the ride in.
Saturday after my ride I went to the bike store and bought some true cold weather gear. We'll see tomorrow how it works out.
So that was a rest week. Piece of cake! I actually liked it. I sort of ignored the instructions on the swim and stuck with the 1,000 - 1,200 distance.
So this week looks like there some tough stuff on the run. Looking forward to it! I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Energy Bars & Gel

I wrote before about El Tour de Tucson and how I had problems because of the Cliff Bar I tried to eat.
Some of the energy gel packs are good and some aren't and some affect my stomach and some don't. One of my nutrition books suggested trying several and seeing which work. So I went to the store and I was reading the ingredients of different brands and they are all the same. They're all almost completely maltodextrose. Some have caffeine and some have electrolytes and some have some simple sugars in them but the majority of the gels are all the same complex sugar.
I found a recipe for the energy gels but I didn't know where to buy the maltodextrose. I called my brother Kirk who runs a food manufacturing operation in Chicago. He asked me if I need a 5 lb or a 50 lb bag of it. At 100mg / serving I told him 5 lb would be enough.

The week so far...

This is a rest week for me. Rest means that you do about half your normal work. I'm ignoring that rule (sort of) on the bike and swim.


45 degrees when I left the house this morning. Man! Easy ride to work and Ken's knee was bothering him so we skipped Mummy Mountain. I hope it's a little warmer on the ride home tonight. I had my second swim lesson last night so I'm excited about getting into the water at lunch. I actually get to use my arms in my new set of drills and it's starting to look like swimming!


Welcome to Winter!! Mid 50's this morning. For some reason I didn't ride on Monday morning. I don't know if I just got out of bed late or what. I was thinking of doing the ride at lunch since it's a rest week and the ride is only supposed to be 45 minutes long but I had a dentist appointment so that was a bust. I swam 1000 meters in the early afternoon and I was still thinking about maybe riding at night but that didn't work out either.
So this morning I got up and did my 45 minutes on the bike and then transitioned into a 25 minute run. Later I did another 1,000 meters in the pool. Piece of cake. I like rest weeks!


Sunday is the day for long runs. At this point in my training a long run is an hour. Pretty easy. About half of it at level 1 and the other half at level 2. I ended up running a little over 7 miles. Really felt like I could have gone longer or faster. I hope that feeling stays with me. Swam 1000 meters in the afternoon.


Saturday is the day for long rides. A long ride right now is 4 hours. After the success in Tucson I decided just to carry enough water and food for the ride and try not to stop. Very easy. Again, 3:35 is at level 2 the rest at level 1 so it's an aerobic ride and not designed to be very difficult. That said, level 2 can be surprisingly difficult just when you need it not to be.
But it was a great ride. I left at about 5:30 and went down to Tempe. From there I took the Ironman route up to Fountain Hills on Route 87 and then Shea home like I was doing Rio Verde. 72 miles and I pulled into my driveway at 4:01. The timing worked out perfect. I didn't get a chance to swim because we had to get over to Katie's parent's house to watch ASU kick ass over UofA.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

In memoriam...

There was probably no one less likely that I would be friends with.

Joan was a temp in my office. I met her getting out of her car. I can't remember the first thing I said to her, but with her "Kerry / Edwards" and "Don't eat meat!" and "Boycott Exxon" bumper stickers, it couldn't have been anything too flattering.

Joan and me used to go at it every morning in the break room. We used to fight I mean. She WAS in her 70's for God's sake. Our monthly company lunches were a blast! We'd debate politics and cuisine. I'd always have logical reasonable arguments and she'd just sit there and argue. But she was really funny.

When she was younger she was one of Lee Iaccoca's secretaries at Ford. She used to just hold my attention for hours recounting stories of the good old days. She tirelessly campaigned for animal rights. I even signed a petition of hers to get an anti-cruelty measure on our ballot. I must confess to voting against the proposition though. I always vote 'no' on all of them.

A couple of people just came into my office to tell me that she died Friday. She'd been battling cancer for a while. Cancer's a bitch and that's all I have to say about that. She requested no memorial service, only that donations be made to the humane society. I think I'll do just that for Joan.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Never too early...

Paige learning to get into the "Praying Landis" aero position. We'll be introducting the testosterone laced Pedialyte next month.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I feel very remiss that I haven't been updating this on a daily basis. Really though there's not much to say different from one day to the next. I haven't been updating the daily totals though. That I'm really sorry for. I'll get on that starting December 1. Oh my God. It's almost December!

Nothing special today. A little run and swim and weights. Long ride tomorrow and a long run on Sunday and then next week is a rest week.
Thursday - THANKSGIVING (my favorite holiday)

Today was the 24th edition of the Turkey Day Ride to Help Fight Erosion on South Mountain. It's a totally unsupported, unsanctioned, un-everything ride that about 200 people show up for every year.
Me and Ken waiting for the 6:30 am start.

This is either the 6th or 7th time I've done it. It's a little 12 mile ride to the base of South Mountain where you load up rocks in your jersey and then there's a little unofficial race 6 miles to the top. I think I unofficially finished about 20th this year. It's a much better ride since they paved the road up the mountain a couple years ago.
Doug tells a good story about the ride in 1993 when he had just bought his new OCLV Trek the night before and he drove off the road and almost plummeted to his death. This is him waiting for the start of the race to the top. Very stylish the way we both showed up in the same jersey.

After we get to the top we feast on donuts and hot chocolate supplied by Joel Nelson, who originated and organizes this ride every year. If you happen to find yourself in Phoenix on Thanksgiving, really make an effort to do this ride. It's the best in the valley!
Nothing big today. Weights, rode to work, and swam. I had my first actual swim lesson last night so I really am not allowed to "swim" at all until I work drills for the next couple weeks.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I'm literally not as young as I used to be.

November 19. A date in history replete with auspicious occasions. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. My birthday.

Got up at 5:00 and ran 6 miles. I was so hung over I wanted to die. Not really from booze but from dehydration; which is what causes a hangover so it feels the same. My Mom always calls at 8:00 am CST (the time I was born) to wish me a happy birthday so I wanted to be back in the room at 6:00. As I finished I realized that since the clocks changed everywhere but Arizona that 7:00 am is when my Mom would be calling. She didn't call so I called her. Apparently I get my inability to tell time from her because she was waiting until 10:00 Florida time to call me.

Anyway, I made my way back to Phoenix and drank a lot with family and friends. I got my new Giro Atmos. I like the red color but the straps are red as well and that might be a little overkill.

Still not feeling my best Monday morning. 1:25 minute ride to work with 45 minutes at HR level 3. It was a little tough to maintain that level today.

El Tour de Tucson

One of the biggest rides in the country and it's in my backyard and this is the first time I'm doing it. Doug was a no-show. Too bad. He really would have had a great time.

One of the big surprises this weekend was that John was going to ask Michelle to marry him. I met John and Michelle in France this summer. Great people! John had mentioned that he and Michelle come down to do this every year since this ride is sort of the reason they met.

First he was going to do it at the start line. But people talked him out of it saying that if she said no it would be a really tough ride after that. He was going to do it at dinner the night before. He chickened out in the restaurant. Eventually he asked her when they got back to their room. She said, "Yes." Congratulations!

I met up with them after dinner to pick up my rider packet.

There were 4,000 plus riders lined up for the start of the 109 mile ride. 8,000 plus if you include all the other shorter rides. John, Michelle, and I lined up for the 7:00 am start at around 4:55 am. We were pretty far up. Once the race got started it only took us 1:20 to cross the actual start/finish line.

Floyd Landis was at the start line. Not to race but just to make an appearance. I wonder what he gets for an appearance fee now? Probably less that he used to. There were mostly cheers for him but more than a few jeers and boos.

Off we went. John's goal this year was to finish the 109 miles sub 5 hours. This gets you Platinum standing next year so you get to start sooner. Last year he missed it by like 2 minutes. There was no warm up and my heart rate skyrocketed right away.

8 miles or so into the ride you jump off your bike and have to carry it over a quarter mile through a dry creek bed. All my cross training really came in handy here. As we got out of the creek a pretty large group formed.

After 45 minutes or so it was time to eat something. I've found that when I try to eat the little gel packs my stomach turns inside out so I brought cliff bars instead. BIG MISTAKE!!! I made a few big mistakes on this ride and that was one of them. It's impossible to eat a big chewy granola bar and breathe enough to stay with the group so I immediately fell behind. After 20 minutes or so I finally managed to finish the bar (most of it anyway) and then I made a push to catch the group.

I caught them after another hour or so and guess what? I caught them just in time to eat again. This time I just took little nibbles off the bar and washed it down right away with water. That worked pretty well for the rest of the ride.

The group stayed pretty much together until the next creek bed. This one was really long. Some people stopped for water, some to eat, and some to pick rocks out of their cleats. John went out hard from there thinking he was behind everyone; he wasn't. Michelle, Colleen, and I got a small group together and we all took turns at the front until we finally caught another big group.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful until the end. We were all pretty much out of food and water with 20 miles left but nobody wanted to drop off the group. Fortunately as we passed the next rest stop some of the volunteers held water bottles out for us to grab. That's the first time I ever did a ride that long without any stops. Michelle bonked towards the end and Colleen stayed back with her as they peddled in.

An hour or so later John and I finished towards the front of a big group. 4:52. John got his wish with a platinum finish. Michelle and Colleen ended up coming in platinum as well with 5:08. The festivities afterwards were kind of lame so we all just split up and met up for dinner later.

I felt really good afterwards except for the dehydration headache. I did a short run and swim just to see if I could do it. I still have the headache 2 days later.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What I've been doing this week.

On Monday I rode early before work. Just a little 1:30 level 1 & 2 thing. But it was cold!!! I swam 900 meters at lunch.

Tuesday I ran. Not much to report. Easy. Fun. Hit the weights a little. I talked to Chad for a little while. He definitely wants to improve his run next time.

Wednesday. Christ it was cold out. 50 degrees at 5:00 am. I kind of just sat around and waited for the sun to come up. Katie was getting ready to take Paige and Ken to Disneyland so I played with the kids until about 7:00. I rode to work and back. Today was a 45 minute level 3 ride with warm up and cool down at level 1. I really needed to do something about my levers. I totally screwed them up in the last couple crashes.

I got home and took the levers off Katie's bike (Ultegra 9 speed) and then took my levers off and I'm going to swap them until I decide if I'm going to buy a whole new 10 speed group or maybe see if my bike store friend will score me a deal on a new 5900. Anyway, now I've got parts all over the living room floor and cables and housings everywhere. I need to stop at the bike store and get some new cables and end caps. Hopefully I get everything back together tonight.

Thursday I ran. Great time! I now have 10 similar runs to compare I think. There is a definite improvement in total time and pace at each HR level. I'm very stoked. I just keep telling myself, "gotta get off the bike feeling great." The race is all about the marathon. The ride sets up the run. Might be a good idea to remember not to drown.

I swam at lunch. I've done my swim assessment and I've been working the drills that I was taught. I found some stride today in the water and cut 2 strokes off my 25 yard count.

Tomorrow I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm supposed to ride but with El Tour on Saturday I may just save myself for that or do a short level 1 ride. Assuming of course, that I get the bike back together. I'm not supposed to run two days in a row yet so that's out. Maybe I'll swim.

Tonight I'm going to drink beer and eat spaghetti. I need to "carb-up" for Saturday's ride.

It's a boy!

I guess we knew it was going to be a boy. Congratulations to my Brother Keith and his wife Vicki on the birth of Jake Ryan Petrine on November 15.

Funny story I'll share about Keith. He never reads this blog anyway. Three funny things Keith did when he was little: 1. Wet his pants when he laughed. 2. Sleepwalk. 3. Pass out when you show him a needle.

#3 is really funny because he's so scared of needles that he gets his teeth drilled without Novocaine so that he doesn't have to get a shot. If I were in a POW camp all they'd have to do is show me a dentist drill and I'd give up any secret they wanted.

So he gets to the hospital and Vicki is just wracked with pain from a contraction. No one will come help her. The anesthesiologist is busy and there are no nurses around. So Keith walks in the room and he's trying to help Vicki when some nurses start talking about the epidural and how they'll stick the needle in her spine. Suddenly Keith starts to swoon and the nurses all rush over to Keith. They tell him to sit down and they get him some orange juice. Now every nurse comes in the room and they all ask Keith how he's doing.

He finally tell them, "look, if anybody else asks ME, how I'M doing, Vicki is going to kill me." So they stopped worrying about Keith and helped Vicki deliver.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my wife Katie!!!

Am I allowed to say that I wish I was 32 again? Maybe I'd be able to run faster.
My Brother Keith's wife, Vicki is a week past her due date. Maybe she'll have her baby (a boy this time) today.
That's all this family needs is a couple more Scorpios.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Long ride and run

On weekends I'm supposed to do a "long" ride and run. 4 hours doesn't seem real long on a bike and 45 minutes isn't very long on the run. I know it's going to get harder and I'm sure that I'll be begging for weekends like this in a couple months.

I'm back to wearing gloves while riding. I wore them Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday just because it seemed too cold out.

We didn't stop during the ride and I didn't eat much before we set out. I kind of bonked after 3 hours. I need to work on my nutrition on the bike.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I called Giro today and ordered a new Atmos under their crash replacement program. Basically they sell you a new helmet but Katie's nervous about me riding around with the helmet that wiped out in. My current one is fine but I don't need her bugging me all the time about it. :)

Swim assessment

I met with Ann from Camelback Coaching last night. They filmed me underwater, above water, from the side, coming to her, swimming away, etc. Then they downloaded the video into the computer and used a program to show me where I should be and where I actually am in the water. The good news is that I have a lot to work with. Seriously, I do almost nothing correctly and the couple of things that I do, I only do on one side.

I anticipate great gains in my swim times.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

HR Training

I have to remember to find out if riding too much will hurt me. I'm making sure I get the prescribed miles in at HR level 1, 2, & 3 with the required warm ups and cool downs in level 1 but I find that I'm adding a bunch of miles at varying levels of exertion.

On Monday I rode following the HR rules in my training plan to the letter. You'd be surprised how difficult it is to stay at a certain HR (+ or - 2.5 beats per minute).

Tuesday and today (Thursday) I ran, again following the HR rules. Man is that easy. I can't believe that I'm actually preparing for a marathon length run. I don't want to sound like I know what I'm talking about here, because I don't. But right now I'm just running for 15 minutes at HR level 1. This puts me at a 10 minute / mile pace or 6 mph. Then I run for 15 minutes at level 2. I move at about an 8 1/2 minute pace during that part of the run with 2 30 second sprints into level 3 & 4.

On Tuesday I noticed that I was keeping within the letter of the rules, but not the spirit. Yes, I did the run in level 1 but I really spent all my time at 1.9. Ditto when I was supposed to be in level 2 I ran at 2.9. It's much easier to stay at a certain HR range when running that when biking. I swear if you move back or forward on your seat your HR jumps or falls 5 bpm.

I swam 1,000 meters on Monday and Wednesday. I think I did the whole swim; warm up, rests, intervals, and cool down in a shorter time than I did the LT test last Saturday. Today is my swim assessment (finally). Now I get to see what's wrong with my stroke (everything). I'm sure after the swim tomorrow I'll use muscles I've never used before and I'll be dying.

I love doing something physical for the first time. The learning / improvement curve is so steep that you can't help but have fun doing it. I'm sure I'll be complaining like everyone else when I'm doing 4,000 meters at lunch 3 times / week.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First run

So I woke up this morning as usual at 4:45 am. But this morning I just lay there. I seemed to be unable to convince myself to get up. So I just stared at the ceiling for 2 hours before I finally rolled out of bed and got dressed.

Besides my LT test the last time I ran was two weeks ago Saturday and that was the day that I hurt my hip but I had a great run other than that. So I think I was a little nervous about running even though this run is done pretty much at HR level 1 & 2. Anyway I just wouldn't get out of bed.

Finally at 6:45 I got up and I was out the door. Man I keep forgetting how much I like running. It was so awesome out there.


Last night my coaches hosted their first in a series of monthly lectures about Ironman. It was about what you can expect over the next 5 months. To start Bill asked everyone to introduce themselves and talk a little bit about their triathlon experience. So it goes around the room and everybody had done a ton of sprint and Olympic level distances and several Ironman distances. Some people were doing their first Ironman but they'd done many long distance events. One woman has done 100 mile and 24 hour runs.

Then it was my turn. I said, "Hi my name's Marc. I've never done a triathlon and I've signed up for Ironman."

Every head in the place turned. "Are you nuts?" Was heard from several people in the crowd.

Monday, November 06, 2006

And so it begins...

I hired Bill and Anne over at Camelback Coaching and today was the beginning of my formal training routine.

Nice, it's about half what I would normally do. The plan is designed so that you peak on April 15. They say in January and February I'm going to hate them.

Anyway, today was some easy spinning on the bike with a 45 minute aerobic exertion. Pretty easy. 900 meters in the pool at lunch. Turns out that I really enjoy swimming.

I ran out of beer at home Friday so I really don't think I had anything to drink on Saturday or Sunday. No wonder I feel like crap today. I think two of my home brews will be ready this week.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Did my 1,000 meter LT swim test today. The test is a little different and less scientific than the run and the bike tests. It's tough to wear a HR monitor in the pool because the strap slips every time you push off the wall. So you just write down how fast you can swim 1,000 yards and you use those times to determine your workouts.

Result: Let's just say that this is my weakest sport. Let's also say that this is going to be the place that I improve the most. Thursday I go in for my swim assessment. They film me underwater and basically will tell me that my stroke sucks.

Congratulations to my buddy Chad who did Ironman Florida today. Spectacular swim and bike times. His second half marathon was a lot slower than his first half and he still posted a great time. I haven't talked to him yet to find out how it went. I look forward to that.

By the way, I drank an awful lot last night. I finished all the bottled beer I had left and then switched to tequila and finally to Jack and Diet Pepsi.

I have 3 new beers on draft but they are all still too new to enjoy. I'm hoping they develop some taste and character before El Tour de Tucson on 11/18. Hey, it might be nice if I developed some taste and character as well.

One more rest day and the actual formal training begins.


Friday, November 03, 2006

More testing...

This has been a very quiet week for me, training wise.

Last night I did the second round of LT testing. This time it was a test of LT while running. I'm still not completely sure I understand why the body can move different amounts of lactic acid out of the body at certain heart rates during different exercises, but hey, that's why I hired a coach.

Have I mentioned that I'm not the biggest running fan in the world?

So here's how the test works: You get on a treadmill and warm up for 10 minutes eventually reaching a pace that is super comfortable. For me that's a 10 minute mile pace or 6 mph. Then they start raising the speed by .2 mph every 60 seconds. At the end of each minute they write down your HR and ask for a subjective measure of how you feel and also note other data like how your breathing looks and how you look in general. You continue until you no longer think you can maintain the pace for a minute. That happened for me at 6:40 miles.

Final result: LT HR 175 bpm @ 7:19 pace. Again, I don't understand why this number is 8 bpm higher than my bike LT. Theoretically, as long as I don't hit 175 I should be able to hold that pace for extended periods of time. Sounds hard though. Good thing my training never calls for that.

Today I do the LT swim test. This I'm not looking forward to. Simple test: Warm up for 10 minutes and then swim 1,000 yards as fast as I can. I'm worried that "drowned" is going to be my LT result for this test.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Resting comfortably

Really taking it easy today. Well I did work out with the beer pretty hard last night.
That's Paige on the left as a Wild Thing from the book "Where the Wild Things Are" and Ken as Curious George and me as his friend, "The Man in the Yellow Hat".
And yes, I had to dye those clothes myself.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Lactic Acid.

This is the bane of my existence. Lactic acid is created by your body as a byproduct of your muscles burning fuel for energy. The harder you work the more lactic acid you create. It's really nasty stuff. It's what causes your muscles to tire when you sprint for 20 seconds. It's what causes your calves to to burn when you climb stairs for too long. It's what killed PFC Santiago for God's sake.

Anyway, your body produces this stuff all the time but your blood flow allows it to be flushed from your system. To be honest, I have no idea where it goes. There is this magic heart rate level at which your body can no longer flush away the lactic acid. Your body produces more than your can eliminate. This is called your lactate threshold (LT). It's important to know this number because theoretically you can work out at a heart rate level below LT forever. Knowing your LT also allows you to focus on the "zones" at which, if you work out in them, will either increase the amount of fat your burn and increase your aerobic capacity or strengthen your muscles. So last night I went in to find out my LT on the bike.

I've done an LT test many times in the past. You ride 3 x 15 minute intervals at a maximum sustainable effort with 10 minute rests in between and then you take 97% of your average heart rate over those three efforts. That should be your LT. The problem with that test is that they say no one actually works out at their maximum sustainable effort.

So in the lab they put you on your bike on a stationary trainer (boring) and set it up so that no matter how hard you pedal you generate 80 watts of power. If you've never done this I highly recommend it because I can't explain why no matter how hard your effort your work doesn't change. Anyway after a 10 minute warm up the goal is to maintain a cadence of 90 rpm while they raise the output watts by 20 every 60 seconds. Your vitals and subjective level of work are recorded each minute until you can no longer sustain 90 rpm. They use this data to determine how many watts of power you can sustain and your LT.

Results: 340 watts, LT 167. I think a power meter might go on the Christmas wish list.

Thursday: LT on the run. They say it's different, I can't say, I've never done it before.

By the way; if you didn't get it, the PFC Santiago line was from A Few Good Men.

Friday, October 27, 2006

52 degrees this morning...Brrrr

Ken got over to my house to ride at 5:45 am. He was dressed like he was going ice fishing in Canada! I threw a long sleeve t-shirt on under my jersey and headed out.


This "no gloves" thing might have to end soon. Ken was wearing full finger winter gloves and I'm riding with none at all. Even when I tried to blow into my hands it didn't do much good. Although I wasn't suffering much from the saddle sores the fatigue and the cold caused me to feel a great deal of doubt about the ride.

As we began the climb onto Hummingbird Lane a great thing happened: As I crested the first hill I could see a sliver of the new day's sun break over the mountains to the east. Immediately I could feel the rays begin to heat my body. The warmth spilled over me like an optimistic baptism.

That's why I love the morning rides. It's when you get to see the day that is coming, not think about the day that has passed.

5 Days - 500 miles

510 technically. Nice time. But I'm not ready to qualify for RAAM.

Back to running and swimming tomorrow. I hired a coach this week. I go in for LT testing on the bike on Monday and Thursday we do a run LT test.

Friday - 70 miles

Great ride today! A little tiring. Maybe I'm just a little tired.

I remembered that back in France we had very cushy seats and nobody complained about their butts being sore. You see, normally you want as hard a seat as you can stand because you don't want any energy being wasted by your butt bouncing up and down on a foamy seat. The seat I'm about to get is just a molded piece of carbon fiber with no padding whatsoever.

For today's ride however, I cannibalized Katie's bike and took her comfy seat and put it on my bike. Very comfortable. I had no issues whatsoever and I don't even think I lost that much energy to the seat.

Thursday - 100 miles

Can't decide how I felt about today's ride. Very windy out on the west side but that helped in some areas as much as it hurt in others. Nothing really noteable about the ride other than I can't read a map correctly I guess. I got to work and I was at 70 miles. Since it's about 20 home I had to add 10 in town here. That is my least favorite thing to do, ride around with no destination.

I'll say this - I don't know about this saddle sore. Every pedal stroke is agony. My butt finally went numb at about mile 65. Ugh. I'm really not sure about Friday at this point. The goal was 500 in a week. I'm the one that pushed it to 500 in 5 days. Maybe I could take it easy Friday and rest it up and finish up on Saturday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wednesday - 103 miles - CRASH!!!!!

Today I went North instead of South. I put a ton of Lidocain on my saddle sores. That REALLY kept the pain away for about an hour. There was no wind and I kept to my active recovery pace and the ride pretty much passed without incident. That is, until....

I was on a bike path and coming up out of a tunnel. The road veers right but dumb ass me was paying attention to something else when a curb jumped out in front of me. I crash a lot and I'm starting to get really good at it.

I must have looked like Ninja Man going over the handlebars because I was totally relaxed and I was in a pretty tight tuck. I flew about 10 feet over the handlebars and hit the ground rolling. I banged up my helmet (Katie must own stock in Giro because she's making me get another one) and got some road rash on my left shin and my back and left hip ended up getting torn up a bit. But, this is the cool part, my hands are pristine. I don't wear gloves and usually after something like this your hands are all torn up because you try to stop yourself with them. It's really a bad idea to do that because that's how you end up breaking your wrists.

So when I hit the ground my bike pulled a little "Evel Kenevil at Caesar's Palace" and it tumbled over me. Then I'm laying there on the ground laughing because nothing was broken. The bike's OK. It's taken some shots over the years and the shift levers probably need replacing but besides that it's OK.

Tuesday 107 miles

What did I do today? Oh yeah, I rode my bike. I can't describe how bad I felt this morning. Man, I hurt all over, especially in the saddle region. I don't understand where it came from but I have a really uncomfortable saddle sore.

I rode with my buddy Ken this morning to work and then I went South to Tempe Town Lake and then East out to Fountain Hills and did one lap of the Ironman course. Doesn't look too hard. Of course that was done without swimming for an hour before.

After leaving Ken I rode the rest of the way pretty much at 130 bpm HR and I never stressed out my legs. I was really surprised how good I felt for the ride home. That active recovery crap really works.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Kenneth Anthony Petrine who turns 1 today!

Monday - 130 miles

Maybe it wasn't the smartest thing in the world to do, drinking 2 beers, 4 Mohitos, and 5 cognacs. I only know that it felt good - until this morning that is when I decided to ride out to the White Tanks. So there I was, hung over, hip bothering me still, getting on my bike for a day which promises to be as long as any day I've spent on the bike.

After 65 miles or so I was down in the lower left of the map at about point 'D'. My average speed at that point was 20.5 mph. It was a great ride. Calm winds and either flat or 1% up or down. As I turned left to get to the town of Buckeye - WHAM!!!! I ran into a wind that had to be 25 mph. Up until then I was trying to maintain a speed above the average. Immediately what had been an easy 25 mph pace turned into a 13 mph struggle. It would be 3 hours before I would be able to maintain a speed above my average and my average will have dropped to 18.5 mph at that point. It was 111 to my office but I did a 1 mile loop so that I'd be at 112 (ironman distance). So, technically I still have 18 miles left to get home but I'm still counting the mileage here to get to the 130.

Another not so great thing that happened out there was that my back wheel slipped into a crack in the asphault in Buckeye and scratched the rim really bad. There's no damage and it runs true but it sure makes a funny noise when I brake.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Something neat about the run...

In general this is a pretty restful couple of days. I rode 4 days, swam 3, and ran 4 this week but I'm not sure I really overdid it any single day.

I'm taking the week off of running next week because I have something special planned on the bike. More on that later. To prep for next week I did something I rarely do; cleaned my bike. My new Mavic Kserium wheels arrived so I put those on. It's time for a new chain and I planned to put a new cassette but when I opened it I discovered I had purchased a 12-27 instead of a 12-23. I just told the guy at Performance Bike I wanted an Ultegra cassette. He must have taken a look at me and made the value judgement that I needed a 27 to climb the hills around Phoenix. Or maybe they were just out of 12-23s because they didn't have any when I returned the 12-27. I cleaned the old gears and ordered a new set online. I also cleaned up Katie's bike so we'll be ready to take Ken and Paige out in the carrier next weekend.

Today I had a little epiphany on the run. Day started bad. I got up at 4:00 but I couldn't motivate myself to get out of the house so I just watched 2006 Ironman Arizona and Coeur d'Alene. After the kids went down for a nap I decided to get out there. Temp was 89 degrees and sunny. It's been a while since I ran when it was that hot.

Immediately I had problems. My phone's mp3 player fritzed on me so I listened to "No Myth" by Michael Penn 3 times while I got ready and headed out. I had planned on doing my (now) usual 5 miles but a little faster than usual because I knew I wouldn't be running next week.

I went out at a 7:30 pace and within 1/2 mile I had a huge cramp in the muscle right above my right shin just to the right of the bone and my right hip felt like I had dislocated it. I struggled through another half mile and decided to walk for a second and fix my mp3 player while I contemplated my future.

After I got the tunes going again I decided to just go along at a fast walk. That didn't hurt and I sped it up to a slow jog. Suddenly I felt great. I checked an I was cruising along at a 10 minute mile pace. Slow, yes, but almost effortless. I forgot my HR strap again but I'd estimate my pulse was around 120 -130. I was almost able to breathe through my nose exclusively. I was just cruising along and I noticed that if my pace went any faster than 9:30 my hip would start to throb. Funny thing was, I think I could have gone forever at that 9:30 - 10:30 pace. So I realized, that's my base pace. Just like on the bike, you have to get lots of miles in at a slow pace in order for the blood vessels to grow in the correct places to feed the muscles quickly and efficiently. I've just never really tried to go that slow before. So anyway, I kind of lost track of myself and ended running about 10 miles. That is by far the furthest I've ever run at one time.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Something to look at if you ever start to take yourself too seriously or if you, like me, mistakenly start to think that what you are trying to accomplish is really meaningful in the big picture.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Couple of kid pics

Nothing to do with training but here's a couple cute pics of Paige and Ken.

Paige is obviously very much hamming it up for the camera.

Love this outfit. We have Pictures of Paige wearing the same thing.

The Stockdale Paradox

"Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be... while retaining faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties."

This came from Jim Collins' book Good to Great. It describes the duality of the situation Admiral Stockdale faced as a POW in Vietnam. On one hand POWs needed to have faith that they would be rescued one day while at the same time understand that it might take several terrible years for that to happen.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Don't lose focus...

Two, count them, TWO life-flashed-before-my-eyes moments today on the way in.

First I was flying down this steep short hill after doing a short steep climb on the edge of a small cliff. There's a right turn that I usually go slow around but today I just dove into the turn and leaned hard. As I started to come out of the turn I hammered the pedals and I WAS IN THE LOWEST GEAR! The rear tire came up off the ground and then slammed down hard. Then it rocked back and forth and the bike fished left and right and left again. Usually that is when you go down. In this case it would have meant going over the little ravine. But thankfully it just sort of straightened itself out and I continued up the next climb.

Second time I was descending right after the next climb. I got to about 40 mph and I felt a rock hit the front of my foot and then I heard it bounce on the ground. Then another rock hit my foot. I looked down and saw that it wasn't a rock but the battery for my headlight. It was tethered to the light by its cord and was bouncing hitting the ground and my feet. Now it bounced right into my front wheel. Fortunately it bounced off the spokes and started bouncing some more. By this time I'm pulling as hard as I can on the brakes but they aren't much good. I unclipped my right foot and I'm using it to block the battery from bouncing into the front wheel. I don't know if it gets into the spokes if the spokes will just shear off the cord or if I'm going over the handlebars "Breaking Away" style. As the bike slowed to about 15 mph the battery bounced off the ground and I leaned over and snatched it out of mid air, coasted to the bottom of the hill, and reattached it to the frame.

So anyway, I saw my life flash before my eyes twice today. Let me tell you. My life is fucking awesome!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Decided to swim after my haircut.
I was telling somebody a story about Paige last night. She's three and pushed a stool over by the couch and started diving from the stool to the couch. Then she would move the stool back a couple inches and do it again. Finally she missed the couch. Then she moved the stool in a couple inches and started doing it again. She went on like this for 45 minutes.
So this person says, "Don't you wish you had the energy to play like that?" I guess I might have the energy if I didn't run 5 miles this morning, ride to work, swim 800 meters, and ride home.

Panic sets it....

I was riding home last night with Ken and I said that I don't feel like I'm training enough. He said that he's not sure what else I can be doing. He's a real downer by the way. I'm not exactly sure what he does for a living but it has something to do with analyzing risk. God I can't stand analysts. So all he does is go on about why I can't do this. I told him that I won't be hiring him to be my sport psychologist.

Speaking of which, I have to interview a new therapist today. And I have to hire a swim coach. Do I keep saying that?

This morning I ran 5 and rode to work. Considering skipping the swim this afternoon and getting a haircut which I desperately need.

Had a complaint yesterday about the lack of pictures here. Not much to really show. I wish I had a good before picture of myself. My legs and stomach have completely transformed. It's weird because my legs have gotten so thin since July. I had no idea I was carrying around so much body fat in them I guess. None of my clothes fit. I look silly in everything. I had lunch with my buddy Dustin the other day. He hasn't seen me since before I went to France and his first words were, "Are you trying to lose weight, or do you have cancer?" I don't really want to buy new clothes though because I'm going to be putting on some upper body weight.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ride & Swim

I was riding with Ken this morning but he called and was running late so I met him on the way. Very lethargic on the ride this morning. Heart rate was low but so was the average speed. Might have something to do with giving blood a week ago but more likely it was the massive amount of beer and Irish Car Bombs (A shot of baileys in a glass of stout) I was drinking last night until midnight.

700 m of swimming at lunch. Very fun. I forgot how much I enjoy working out.

57 degrees

About to leave for a ride to work. There's this magic temperature here in Phoenix - 59 degrees F. As soon as it is 59 degrees in the morning you have to start wearing arms and legs in the morning. It's 57 this morning. I wasn't ready for this change. It'll still be very nice in the afternoons.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

6 months!

Six months from today and counting.

Ran 5 miles this morning. Supposed to have done it yesterday but thre rain got in the way. No more excuses.

Planning on many beers this week.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It rains in Phoenix?

Man, I was planning a 20 mile ride this morning and then a 5 mile run but it's pouring rain today. I guess if I'd have rolled out of bed at 5:00 am like I planned I might have gotten to it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Swim Swim Swim

700 meters at lunch. Really need to hire a coach.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Feeling better

Last night the ride home was much better than the ride in.

Ran almost 5 miles this morning before 5:00 am. Great run! Great time! I saw something I've never seen in the wild before: A tarantula. Big sucker! As big as my hand with my fingers spread out. Just walking on the side of the road. Of course my does-everything-in-the-world camera / smartphone /pda didn't have enough memory to take a picture of it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Spent some time looking at something this morning that I haven't looked at in a while: Ken's back wheel.

Wow I'm beat. I think the blood donation really took a toll on me.

Might take another day off from swimming and running.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rest day

Needed to work early this morning so I'm counting this as a rest day.

Gave blood today. Iron level came in at 49%. A little low for me. I'm usually at 51%. I asked them to test it again when I was done but they said they couldn't. I figure if I have roughly 8 pints of blood in my body and 50% of my whole blood is red blood and I gave them 1 pint of red blood (I give what's called a "power red donation") I have given them 25% of my red blood. My iron level should have fallen to 38%. That would make sense since you need a level of 40% or better in order to donate the power red.

Last time I gave I had ridden to work. They say to you as you leave, "don't do any strenuous activity for the rest of the day." Today this was not a problem. They also recommend you avoid alcohol for 24 hours. That's going too far and is just wrong! I gave them my blood already, what else do they want?!

I'm approaching desperation in my need for a haircut.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Slow progress

On Saturday I did 15 miles with Paige in her bike trailer. Look around, you don't see a lot of carbon Trek bikes pulling 3 year olds. On the way home a guy on a very nice Trek TT bike with Ironman stickers on it went past me. Even though I didn't quite keep up with him I think that's understandable since I was pulling 40lbs of trailer and baby.

That afternoon I rode 45 miles up to the towers in Carefree. Averaged 19 + up to the turn to the towers but didn't go as fast as I thought I would have on the final climb. Final average was 20.5 mph for the whole trip.

Ran 4 miles Sunday. Effortless. 8 mph pace. Need to get faster.

This morning I rode 20, ran 1, swam 700 m, and ran another mile before work. Have a 23 mile ride home this evening.

Need to hire a swimming coach soon.

A little history

I was always the smallest, skinniest kid you ever saw.

In 1982 I was a freshman in high school and I think I weighed 72 lbs at the start of the wrestling season. I think your average 5th grader weighs more than that. When I graduated high school 20 years ago I weighed 145.

I pretty much held that weight for 10 years. In 1995 right after I sold the pool hall I started kick boxing and lifting and put on 30 lbs of muscle. Then I stopped working out, went to school for my MBA, stopped kickboxing, and got married. My 30 lbs of muscle turned into fat. A lot of fat. Somewhere around my 33rd birthday I tipped the scales at 189 lbs.

Through exercise I reduced that over the past years to a manageable 160 or so. My pattern is that I ride my bike like a maniac in the Spring and watch what I eat and drink. I always quit drinking for Lent. By the end of the summer I'll be down to 155. Then over the holidays and birthdays I put on 10 to 12 lbs over the winter. This year I swear that won't happen. This morning I weighed 148. I've never been stronger on the bike. Probably never run or swam this well either but that really isn't saying much.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How this started....

OK. I'm going to try and be a little more diligent with my postings on this one but I want to step back and talk about why I'm doing this.

Here's how it came about: As many of you are aware last summer I went on a trip to France to ride my bike and watch the tour. See for details. Anyway, my wife Katie is thinking about renting a house in the south of France with a friend of hers next July. If she did I would do another Trek Travel trip. I might even do a two or three week trip instead of the one-week I did last year.

Anyway, in September I got the crazy idea that she could do one of the weeks with me. She's thin and fit and young, but she's more into yoga than aerobics so it would take a great commitment on her part to train for such an event. After thinking about it for a while she decided not to attempt the ride. Whenever I'd tell that story to a friend they would laugh and say there's no way someone could get ready for a trip like that in 10 months. I commented that with 10 months training I could do an Ironman. Again, friends would laugh and say it couldn't be done which of course is exactly the wrong way to discourage me.

I checked online and although the open entry for the Ironman Arizona event on April 15, 2007 was closed there were still slots open if you made a small charitable contribution. I signed up and committed myself to the event. Of course I only have 6 months to prepare, not 10.

Friday, September 29, 2006

First Swim

On Monday 9/25/06 I rode 25 miles to my brother-in-law's house and averaged 23 mph. I was a little tired but I was feeling pretty good about that until I realized that the final run on April 15 will be 1.2 miles longer than that ride. : 0

Rode 25 to work this morning and then hit the pool at LA Fitness. Definitely worried about my swimming abilities at this point.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Preconceived notions

Here are some thoughts that I'm writing just so that I can laugh at them in 6 months.

1. I can complete the bike ride today.
2. The swim is what has the potential to kill me. The run will only make me wish I was dead.
3. All I need to do is run enough miles to get a decent base then a ton of intervals to get strong enough to complete the 26.2 miles.