Friday, January 30, 2009

A little Change

I got the registration processed for the Greenville Sprint today, so that one is definitely on. I am changing one race on my schedule, though. I'm going to skip the Langley Pond tri on April 25th in favor of the Festival of Flowers on June 7th. This will push the date of my first International distance tri by several weeks. I'm getting a little scared of the 1500 m swim part the closer it gets. I'm not worried about the 24 mile bike or 10k run parts. But the April 25th Langley Pond would only leave me 8 weeks after the marathon to get my swim endurance up from less than 100m abilities now to 1500m, and that seems a little difficult. So I think it's a safe move.

I would also like to know if anyone has ever been involved with FS Series. It's a tri production company out of Raleigh. I think I might add the Triangle Orthopaedic Sprint tri April 19th, so I can still get a tri race in april. It seems like these FS guys are pretty decent, and they put on some good looking events. Plus that will be a good time for us to have a weekend in Raleigh with Wifey's dad.

Have a great weekend! My right knee is hurting again today, so I'll see how far into that 12 mile run I can get tomorrow with the brace on. Also happy birthday to my brother Michael, who turned 32 yesterday.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Ride

First, let me say that the knees are feeling ok. I wore a brace on each knee monday and tuesday, gave 'em plenty of ice, and things are better, but still not back to normal. I haven't tried running since saturday, but I will soon. I might get a few miles in today, and still make my 12 mile long run on saturday. I did talk with coach Katie, and she is recommending a Chopat brace, which is a strap you put under a knee to help stabilize the kneecap. So I should be able to pick up one of those soon from the local running store.

I am slowly getting used to the new clipless pedals and the indoor trainer. I got in about 45 mins on there tuesday, just long enough to realize how many small adjustments I still have to make to the setup. I couldn't get the computer to work, one pedal was too tight the other too loose, and the cleats were in the wrong position on my shoes. I might even have the tension set wrong on the trainer too. So this morning I'm going to make those adjustments and try again. Then after work I'm going to head to the gym for a little treadmill time. might not be much, but some treadmill time is in order.

And I'm adding a new ride to the schedule. Coach Katie approved, and said it's a fantatic ride that she does every year, and that the scheduling was fitting for me to jump in as well. It's called the Assault on the Carolinas, and there are three ride lengths, 30k, 60k, and 100k. They all start from Brevard, NC, and the 100k distance ends by climbing Ceasar's Head. I will be doing the 60k length. Ceasar's Head is the most challenging hill climb here in the low elevation mountains. Even my distance has 1.1 miles at 15% grade, which will be incredibly difficult. and 60k is about 35(?) miles, which will also be the longest ride I've ever attempted. Plus, it's going to be the first time I've ever attended a paid for organized ride where the police let you through traffic lights and stuff like that. Sure, I've entered plenty of running races and one tri with the same support, but this will be the first bike-only event. It's all going down on March 28, 2009, and I would love to see/meet up with any bloggy peeps there. I'm really getting excited about this one. Come ride it with me!

For the log, I got in the swim practice on monday, and trainer ride on tuesday. Yesterday the alarm went off at 4:45, and I just turned it off. It seemed like a good time for a rest day. Today's swim was preempted by Wifey's training, so I'm going to hit the bike instead. and either tonight or tomorrow am I'll get in some treadmill time. But I think keeping my workouts diversified and only in the early morning will make the marathon taper more effective, and still leave me prepared for the tri training season soon after. Only 4 workouts during the week should be one swim, one bike, one run, and one strength session, and the long run on saturday and maybe bike ride on sunday. Seems like a viable plan for the next few weeks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shatty Sat

Saturday started out pretty good, then got really bad. I did a bad, bad thing. But first, I did a good thing. I brought the camera out to the lake and snapped a few photos of the lake at Furman that I keep running around.
I got a decent parking space -- not always easy

This is the Bell Tower at Furman. It's a local landmark in the middle of the lake. It might have been the most photographed thing in Greenville until they built a walking bridge over the falls in downtown.

There is an ampitheatre on the far side of the lake. They have free concerts here every tuesday(?) night during the spring and summer. Very cool, and a great family get-out-of-the-house thing.

There are always plenty of waterfowl on the lake. I saw several different types of ducks, geese, even a few swans. Very cool.

We shoot with a Nikon D40 digital SLR. It's not one of the small, cute point-and-shoot things, so it doesn't fit in a pocket and can be very cumbersome to carry around. That's why I took those before I started the planned 22 mile run.

Then everything started to go downhill. I started the run and forgot the iPod Shuffle. So I had to do the first lap with no tunes. The students were back, Furmas has about 2500 students, and they do a Jan term, like a 6 week semester in Jan and Feb. So it was neat to see some students floating around. An intramural soccer game broke out behind the ampitheatre, and an intramural beach volleyball game started up beside the parking lot. So I still had plenty of distractions. But I was very glad to stop and pick up the shuffle when I finished the first lap.

1: 1.28 mi, 13:55, 10:50 pace included warm up walk

The second lap was uneventful, just took it kind of slow. My time included the time to stop at the car, locate and plug in the shuffle. The third lap I went up the hill on the backside to say hi to my grandfather's in memoriam garden. Ended up being the only time I took on the hill.

2: 1.32 mi, 14:08, 10:43 pace
3: 1.63 mi, 17:51, 10:58 pace

Lap 4 was uneventful, but I did hit my highest max speed (according to Garmin) during that lap of 8.0 mph. Lap 5 is where the fun started. I walked more than usual, but everything still felt ok. I was sort of taking it easy just be sure I would still have some gas left in the tank. Lap 6 and 7 were also slow, but controlled. I was really trying to stay in my form, and hold out for some of the later miles.

4: 1.33 mi, 15:24, 11:35 pace
5: 1.30 mi, 16:55, 13:00 pace
6: 1.30 mi, 16:10, 12:26 pace
7: 1.24 mi, 15:27, 12:30 pace

Now at this point, I'm 9.4 miles in. And somewhere in mile 9, my knees started to revolt. They just started with a low roar, and ended up screaming for mercy. My shins felt great the whole time, they are usually the source of discomfort. But this time it's the knees. I got in 3 more laps:

8: 1.31 mi, 14:19, 10:55 pace
9: 1.31 mi, 17:40, 13:30 pace
10: 1.34 mi, 19:40, 14:43 pace

Totals: 13.35 mi, 2:41:31, 12:06 pace

and THAT was the end of my day. So no 22, only made it 13.35 instead. I know the smart thing to do was to call it a day instead of trying to push for the entire 22 and risk hurting myself more. That last lap was mostly walking. I would try and run, make it maybe 15 paces before crumbling in pain. I just walked back to the van and called it a day. Lap 9 was pretty bad, but I didn't think the pain was going to stick around like that so I went back out for another lap.

Now this really has me very upset. GAAAAA!!!!!!! 18 weeks into a 20 week training plan and I get the first thing painful enough to really be called an "injury". Damnnit! We've got 3 weeks to go until the marathon and today (Monday) I'm still having way more knee pain in both knees than I ever would have anticipated. I don't think I'm completely derailed, but my 5 hour goal might be shot. And that's dissapointing.

Oh, and then we dropped off the kids with my folks (planned) and got some dinner. Came home, rolled into bed just in time to turn on the tv and catch.... finaly Jeopardy? yep. I went to bed at 7:45 pm on a saturday night. 'cause that's how you roll when the kids are away. Actually, we watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Love Guru before finally calling it a night. but that still seems funny.

So mentally and emotionally I know I've got the 26.2 in me. I know my nutrition and hydration plan is tested and effective. I know from doing the 20 miles 2 weeks ago that I can aerobically cover the distance. But thanks to a little discomfort after that 20, I only ran once for about 3.5 miles in 2 weeks to save the impact stress. So I guess I needed more intermittent runs to maintain the physical stuff.

Next saturday is 12 miles, then 8 miles the following saturday. Then it's the marathon in MB. So I'm going with RICE, and a brace on each leg for the next few days. Time to go back to the chiropractor. And I've got to get in touch with Coach Katie to see what I'm going to do for the next 3 weeks. I'm not afraid to wear a brace during the marathon if that's what it takes.

I did have a great masters swim this morning. Bright and early, 5:30 am. There were only 2 other people in the pool with me. This was a big surprise because last thursday there was like 40 people in the pool. It was a blast, I did a couple of miles and worked on my form and bilateral breathing. maybe 50 laps in the 25 meter pool. I was surprised, my knees really hurt during the swim. Swimming is non-impact, so I didn't expect any knee pain. But boy it was really noticable.

So Saturday was Shatterday, as it all went to shat. What a shitty run. But I'll recover and I'm trying to keep my spirits high. I got plenty of code to write today. Have a good one!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nick is the Man

Nick is the freakin man. He's just like me if you replace the gay parts with iron parts. He's in Columbia SC, just over an hour east of Greenville. He's a programmer, got the wife, 3 kids (I only have 2) that are about the same age as my kids. Good Christian father & husband and all around ok guy, from what I can tell at least. But that's where the similarities end.

He posted yesterday a response to a comment I left him, and the data will show where the similarities end. Nick's trying to qualify for Kona this year as an age-grouper. We're running a lot of the same races this year in the SCTS circuit, so I've been talking smack (i.e. lying) about making him look slow. He's got sponsors, trains 20 hours a week over at least 15 workouts, has 8% body fat. My eyes kept getting bigger as I read the post. So I would encourage you to give it a read. It really makes me want to plan more and double check my focus.

Wifey is out doing her 22 mile run right now on the treadmill. She's crazy. Tomorrow I'm going back out to the lake at Furman for my 22 miler. This is the last long long run on the training plan. The remaining saturday runs are 12, 8, 26.2 miles. So going into a marathon taper is not exactly the best time to mentally get really excited about tri training. I'm going to stick to the pool 2 days a week, and bike some more. And I'm more than likely going to take at least a week off after the marathon. So when tri training really starts to ramp back up at the end of feb, I don't want the ramp to be too steep.

Last night I finished reading Going Long. I understand this is a fairly popular tri training book. It was really cool, and really gave a good explanation of several tri concepts. So it was a really good read. It makes the ironman distance look achievable and exposes the harshest difficulties at the same time. very cool. Flynn Recommends.

Also, my recent shipments have arrived. The new Laird Hamilton book (Forces of Nature) looks awesome! About every 3rd page is a picture of him, so it's a pretty quick read. I can't wait do dive in, but it looks like Wifey and my MIL are laying hands on it first. Can't say I blame them. Mind, Body, Soul and Surfing from the fittest family in America with all of those pics is a woman's dream. The Strength Training for Triathletes book I bought at the same time looks really good too. I might take it in first, while they sodomize Forces of Nature for a while.

Also, (bum-ba-da-da) trumpets blaring: My trainer and pedals arrived yesterday. Everyone has a story of how they pulled up to a stop sign, couldn't get their feet out of the pedals fast enough, so they just fell over. I'm going this route first:

until I feel comfortable getting in and out of the pedals. It's going to be nice to get some hours on my bike while it's so cold outside. And as soon as I write that, it's not that cold outside. High today: 60 deg, tomorrow 58. So it's going to be nice and warm for my run. And that really makes me want to take the bike out today, fall down and enjoy the sunshine. Maybe i'll drag the trainer outside. But it is my first attempt with clipless pedals, so it should be interesting at least.

Let the good times roll!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gettin Fishy

Boy it felt great to get back in the water this morning. I actually made it to my first masters swim practice on time and ready to get wet. The coach was awesome, the other members were friendly, and I was absolutely the slowest person there. I'm amazed how little swimming fitness I have left. I haven't been in the water since August, and I could barely make it 50 yards straight.

But, the coach there was really easy to work with. He gave me tons of pointers on body position and form, and the laps just got easier through the workout. Mostly I was just glad to be puttin laps in the water again. Form and efficiency really are the key, not arm speed or strength. In one hour in the pool, I did about 36 laps freestyle, and finished with 6 laps of backstroke to balance out the muscles. The coach also taught me about bilateral breathing and balance in the pool, and that really made a huge difference.

The strangest thing was that I got there at 5:30 am, left at 6:40 am, and the sun still wasn't up. I can't remember the last time I finished something before sunrise. Now (9 am) I'm feeling the workout a little bit more. The muscles have gone back into repair mode now and I'm really feeling some soreness creeping in. Boy it feels good to be back in the water.

Yesterday work caught up with me and I missed my scheduled strength time. I might make that up later on, but I might skip it. Saturday's 22 mile run is going to be here before you know it. Tuesday I did get in 45 mins (5 miles, 500 calories) on the elliptical. So it's been a pretty productive week.

Also starting this past monday, Wifey put me on weight watchers restrictions to get this holiday weight off. I can tell you it's difficult getting by on 33 points a day plus excercise points. But saturday (Jan 17 - holiday's are over) and I still weighed in at 205, then I know there's about 9 or 10 lbs to lose to get back to fighting weight by marathon time. I also know that it will make my knee/shin thing feel better to lose a few. So it's back to chub fighting for a few weeks and then all will be right with the world again.

Gotta code some, have a great day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a little snow

Well, we finally got our first snow here in SC. Sunday morning I woke up to a little dusting with more falling. But by 8 am it was sleet, then gone before the girls got up or I could take a picture. Then today I saw flurries when I pulled the car out of the driveway at 5:10 AM, but no accumulation. That is still more snow than we got in 2008 (none at all) and in 2007 we got about 3" total in one storm.

But get this: It was still enough to cancel the masters swim practice. Apparently, nobody knew. I think it's all going to work out ok, though. I showed up for the 5:30 practice at 5:35, after not knowing how long the drive would take with morning traffic. There were about 7 cars there, and I noticed one car still had somebody sitting in it. Then, every car still had somebody sitting in it. Then, some discussions took place that did not involve me, and every car simultaneously started up and left. I guess that meant the coach didn't show up thanks to the snow. So my first masters swim practice consisted of getting up at 5 am which should have been 4:45, and spending an hour in the car when I didn't need to. I almost slept in anyway, just thanks to the threat of snow, but decided that wasn't the triathlete thing to do.

I should mention that the county northeast of us got about 3", and when you get over the NC state line into the mountains (due north of me), and towards Charlotte (1.5 hours northeast) they got about 6" of snow this morning. Schools are closed, most businesses are closed, even government offices are closed today. And once again, I have to work. With no swimming this morning, I'm going to get out to the gym today. Maybe weightlifting, maybe bike or elliptical. But for at least an hour. If you are interested, the local TV station has a webcam setup that is currently showing the forecast and storm warnings too. It's downtown Greenville, I live about 15 mins outside of downtown.

The shin is feeling better, but not totally great. The right knee feels pretty good too, but not totally great. I'm still going to save the impact time for the 22 mile run scheduled for saturday. The training plan has a 5 mile run scheduled for today, so an hour on the elliptical is a rough equivilent. It's better to play it conservative for now.

I am also eagerly awaiting a couple of shipments. I found Bike Island recently, and ordered an indoor bike trainer from there that shipped out on saturday. I also got a set of cleats/pedals for the bike. I've got shoes already, but no clipless pedals for them to snap into. So it will be interesting to get that all setup. I still need to get a bike computer that will show me distance & speed while on the trainer, and would appreciate any advice you've got on what computer to get. or maybe I just need a heart rate monitor, I have no idea.

I also ordered a few new books from Amazon that should be here soon. Forces of Nature by Laird Hamilton looks really really good. It's his new philosophy book about surfing and how it gets him all zen'd out. America's fittest family shares mind, body, and soul secrets to living healthy and happy? I'm in. That seems really cool. And since I'm a sucker for free shipping, I tacked on Tri Power to push me over the total needed to get free shipping. I don't know how adding a $11 book to save $4 in shipping costs makes sense, but it works for me. I have been keeping my eye out for a good strength training plan specifically for triathlon, as I know I need to add more weightlifting workouts. And this book is the ultimate strength training, core conditioning, endurance, and flexibility plan for triathlon sucess. So how can you get any better than that? Have you read either of those? opinions please?

Have a great day! Flynn out (of the pool).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Blahs

So I'm working on MLK day here in the stupid racist south. Actually, that's not a stereotype I want to promote. I am fiercely anti-racist, and most people here (at least the under-70 crowd) is also strongly diversified. But it sucks that larger companies, government offices, schools, etc all get the day off and the small company I work for remains open for business. I've got a bad case of the monday blah's and BPD (Bipolar Posting Disorder) and not having consumed enough caffine yet, so I'm just all over the place today.

Only 4 more weeks until marathon time. The remaining saturday long runs are 22, 12, 8, and 26.2 miles. It's going to be here before you know it. And I gots me some healin to do. Since the trashtastic thursday night run, I've been fighting some left shin & ankle pain, and right knee instability. It's more discomfort than pain, really. And it's kind of fun to watch the right knee wobble when I try to walk down stairs. No falling yet, though. It's my own dumbass fault too. I wore a pair of shoes that I know I shouldn't have worn for that run. Those shoes are bound for a recycle program now.

So this past saturday was supposed to be 12 miles. Wifey ran it without any problems. I decided that it would be more comfortable to go without impact. 12 miles would normally be around 120 - 140 minutes, so I did one hour on the stationary bike (16.2 miles, 560 calories) followed immediately by one hour on the elliptical (7.5 miles, 760 calories). I might should have done another 20 mins on the elliptical, but I knew wifey was ready to go to dinner at the time so I got out of there. It was a really good workout. But mentally, I couldn't help feeling defeated because it wasn't the 12 mile run it was supposed to be.

But really, put things into perspective. Before the Greenville Sprint tri in august, my longest brick workout was 15 miles on the stationary bike followed by 3.2 miles on the treadmill. That took about an hour and half, and at the end of it I was soaring with confidence. I knew then that I was going to be able to complete my first tri and it was going to be fun. I mean I felt like I could conquor the world. The other workout that I did a few times when I had time was 30 mins on the elliptical, 30 mins on the bike, and 30 mins on the treadmill back to back to back. Every time I did that, it was really cool and I felt great, like I was really going long.

So with perspective, saturday's brick was pretty cool. I stayed aerobic and hydrated and got a great workout in. I might also stay with the no impact stuff until the 22 miler on saturday. My folks are keeping the girls saturday night so we can run and rest with no other responsibilities. I'm also going to try and see my chiropractor again this week as well. That will really help. This is the longest I've gone without an adjustment in the last 3 years.

And I think I'm going to start with the master's swim program this week as well. I got an email back from the coach saying I should just show up for a few practices and bring the forms then. So that sounds easy enough. Oh wait, don't skip over this part of the email:

Come and try a few practices. Morning schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 5:30-7:00 am; Saturday 7:00-8:30 am.

Well shit, that's not quite as easy as I hoped. I've been sleeping in until 8 or 9 am every day. I haven't had to set an alarm in years, and for some reason when we're on daylight savings time I normally wake up between 5:30 and 6 am. When we're not on dst like now, it's normally between 7:30 and 9 am. why is that? it makes no sense to me. I guess we'll see if I can get there in time tomorrow. OMG I am actually going to try and be somewhere at 5:30 a-freakin-m? I must be really desparate to get back in the pool.

So enjoy your holiday. I'll be going crazy here in South Carolina. Call or skype anytime, I need some procrastination motivation today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

bad influence

I might be a bad influence. I have two younger brothers, Michael who lives in Charleston with his lovely wife Summer, and Morgan who lives about a mile and a half up the hill from us. Well, Michael has started a blog of his own (they grow up so fast!) because his myspace blog just wasn't getting the job done. Michael is only 18 months younger than me, Morgan is like 5 years younger. So when my girls were born 23 months apart, mom wanted to know why we waited for so long. But Michael has always been the most creative and maybe the funniest of the three of us. I might have sharper comedic timing, but he's got the words for belly laughs. And the first post on his new blog is no exception. So give it a quick read, and I'll add it to the blogroll in my left nav too. It's mostly about music and video games. Michael went to Berkley College of Music in Boston as a songwriting major, and now he's a top executive producing a new video game. He's also a sometimes writer for So his blog should be a steady feed of comedy, music and fun.

I did finally leave the house last night. I should have stayed in. I went to the gym for a scheduled 8 mile run on the thrillmill, and it was so sucktastic few other things have ever sucked that bad in the history of things sucking. I left here at 5 pm instead of my normal AM workout time, which kind of sucked. traffic was a bear. Then the gym was crowded with resolutioners, and some people were even getting the "new member tour" and taking up valuable oxygen. My gym is the Pivotal Fitness on E North St in Taylors. It has 38 treadmills, 43 ellipticals, 24 stationary bikes, and 2 stairmasters on "the cardio wall". it's freakin huge. Last night was the first time in 14 months I have ever seen every treadmill taken. I got one with a working tv before they all filled up.

I was a little hungry once I got into the run. and for only 8 miles, I only brought water. So I wasn't off to the best start. And since it was the first time I had run since the 20 miler on saturday, the knees/shins/ankles had some kinks to work out. So I wasn't exactly trying to push it real hard anyway. It was pretty uncomfortable, and I kind of expected that.

But the stupid broad on the treadmill next to me was what really sealed my fate. First she stood on the thing for 20 minutes talking to the person on the other side of her. Not moving, just standing. Then she finally turned the thing on ramped right up to a speed that was way too fast. So she couldn't stay on the thing for more than 30 seconds without stepping to the sides and letting the thing just run without her. Sometimes she would even get off, go to the other side of the room, wave at her friends, then come back. all without ever pausing the machine. And you know she went home and told her husband that she ran for like 10 miles or something, when it was never for more than 5 consecutive steps. Eventually she got down to "running" in just a sports bra, even though she had no business showing the rest of that abdomen in public. And this annoying bitch was constantly surrounded or otherwise distracted by a swarm of other seemingly more annoying bitches. This is amazing. This is why I don't like hitting the gym at 5 o'clock. It drove me insane.

Long story longer, I stopped my sucktastic sucky run after only 3.5 miles. Kind of hungry, kind of uncomfortable from the knees down, and really really annoyed. This is why running shorts should come with small pistol pockets built in.

Tomorrow's long run is 12 miles, and it's only 27 degrees outside now. I think we will be back in the gym for another shot at treadmill time. We'll have to see what happens.

Oh, and I think I might have found an answer to the pool problem! I talked to the people at the Westside pool to figure out why they were only open for 2 hours a day, m - f. The rest of the time it's used/reserved for groups. So after school there is a kids learn to swim group, and during normal before and after work time, there's the Team Greenville Master's group that practices. It's only like $100 for the year to join the team, and it gets into the pool I want when I want to be there. and a little coaching and the opportunity to join swim meets if I want to. The only other option is a YMCA membership for $45 a month. the Y only has 2 ellipticals and 6 treadmills, all with 30 min limits. So we can't replace the Pivotal membership with the YMCA membership just to get the pool. And I don't really want to pay for both. While I had not planned on joining a master's group in addition to the spinners and track club, it does appear to be the best option. Take note, Mendy! I think this is a winner, but I'm still trying to get signed up. We'll see if there's tons of hidden trouble in there.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You know you're in the deep south when....

I am a proud alumni of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Today, I saw this headline in the local newspaper from there:

Crimestoppers: Suspect with ‘very clean teeth’ steals two rings Watauga County Crimestoppers requests the public’s help in identifying the person responsible for the following crime: On Tuesday, Jan. 13, at 11:30 a.m., a suspect entered Saslow’s Jewelry at the Boone Mall. The suspect spoke to a salesperson for an extended period of time, having shown interest between two engagement rings. Once the salesperson’s trust had been obtained, the suspect asked to see both rings together. Once in his possession, the suspect ran from the store and out the rear of the Boone Mall. The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-20s with dark hair and a goatee. His height is approximately 5 feet, 10 inches. The salesperson also recalls that he had blue eyes and very clean teeth. He was seen wearing a gray toboggan, darker-colored jacket and blue jeans. Anyone with information on this crime, or any other crime, is asked to call ...


Wow, Boone North Carolina is a small town. But it has to be a bad thing when you can be identified as the one with "very clean teeth". Wouldn't it suck to be the other guy with clean teeth? Sometimes I am just proud to be from the south. Other times....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's done

Monday night I officially joined the Greenville Spinners Bike Club for the year. It's one of those things I said I was going to do in January. I'm getting these associates in place across the board now. The Spinners have regular group rides, and I'm really excited about getting in on some of those. I know some people (including former clients and employers) that are Spinners members, and I will run into them some I'm sure. But this is a really good thing that I've been looking forward to for a long time.

I also applied for a USAT number and have not heard back yet. If you don't get a number, there's a $10 fee per race for a one-day membership. In 2009, I'm finally running enough races to save money by getting a number. So that's really cool. But it also means I can't finish registering for my races on the schedule without the number, and I'm getting impatient.

The capper: last night Wifey signed us up for the Greenville Track Club with a family membership. That's going to be a lot of fun for both of us. Group runs, track runs, the GTC sponsors a handful of races including the Spinx Run Fest every October.

I'm hoping these will become social outlets for us as well as training motivators. It's going to be a lot of fun to get out and meet new people with common interests. They are both really large groups with several hundred members already, so we should be able to blend in and just do our thing.

I still have to find a pool, though. There's not very many indoor pools here. The YMCA won't give me a pool only membership, and the non-pool parts suck bad enough to make me not want to pay for a full membership to the Y, and a full membership to my gym. Greenville County Rec Dept has an indoor pool at one of the parks nearby, but it's only open from 9 am to 11 am Monday thru Friday. How strange is that? I can't figure out the strategy on that one. A season pass is $85 for Jan 1 - April 31 so the price is right, but the hours are so strange! I can't figure out what to do there.

The Garmin Training Center software is pretty cool! I did get it installed, and get my lap data off of the Forerunner from my 20 mile run on Saturday. here's the details (I have no idea why blogger is making you scroll down that far):

11.7921:3712:06I was looking at stuff
21.6118:2511:24Settling into a pace
41.2212:1910:07Kanye kicked in
61.313:4910:40Decided to stop running the hill
91.315:4712:11Starting to feel it
111.318:5614:32The slow point - i walked most of this lap
131.3216:4112:40Feeling better
141.3119:5612:14Crying out loud most of this one
150.111:2012:42circle the parking lot to get over 20
Total20.033:56:3711:48Wow, that just happened!

That's an average 11:48 pace. That pace over marathon distance would render a 5:09 marathon, so I'm going to try not to cry during Myrtle Beach I guess. So I do need to pick it up a little bit to keep it under 5 hours. But this lap pace also had built in walk breaks up to twice every lap. I would walk through the parking lot at the end of every lap, and sometimes stop at the car to refuel. Also, I would walk up the one hill on the longer laps, and coming down the other side of that hill isn't exactly a fast thing. So I still feel pretty good about Myrtle Beach in LESS THAN 5 WEEKS!

I still really liked the path around the Furman lake, so I think I'll head back there for the 22 miler in 2 weeks, and maybe even the 12 miler this saturday. I've got to hit the gym more often though. The only workouts since the 20 mile run have been yoga. Literally, I took the trash cans to the street monday night, and that's the only time I have been outside of the house since saturday. The good news is that we now have our first client for the dental forms software up and functioning on their own, and they love the software I wrote. But I think this chair is sucking my soul out through the backrest. Here's to better training!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Twenty twin/twin

Dang 20 miles is a long way to run. I'm glad I made it through, though. And I felt pretty good the whole time. I went up to the lake at Furman and started taking laps. One end of the lake has a large hill that you can go up and back down in a loop. There's also a gravel path across the corner of the lake that cuts out the hill, and makes the lap 0.3 miles shorter. I did both. With the hill, the path is about 1.8 miles, without about 1.5.

The first few laps I did the hill. Then Kanye came on the shuffle (Jesus Walks) and my feet decided to match his beat, so I was flying. Normally on 20 miles, I would keep about a 10:20 ish pace. Kanya had me up about an 8:25 pace. So I finished that lap at about 12 mins, and cut out the hill. All of the other short laps were between 14 - 18 mins. I used the garmin and did gather lap data, so my task today is to get the garmin working on the laptop so I can actually download my data and crunch the numbers from this run. I'll put it up here when I can get it. The long laps were 16 - 21 mins.

Oh, and the total run time was 3:56. I was really pleased to break four hours. 6.2 miles short of full distance when I felt that good really makes me think I can pull together a sub 5 hour marathon. So with 5 weeks to go before Myrtle Beach, I know that the distance and time are within my grasp. That is really cool. Next saturday is 12 miles, then the following is 22 miles. That's the last really really long run before Myrtle Beach.

I should mention that both of my parents, one aunt/uncle set, and a few cousins are Furman alumni. So my blood runs purple. My uncle has more money than sense apparently, and donated some ungodly amount to old FU. So they gave him a garden in memoriam of my grandfather (his dad). This was a recent occurrence, so nobody in the family had actually seen the garden yet. I found the garden on the run about my 4th lap around the lake. It was a little ways off of the path, maybe 20 yards down a dirt walking path that veered off of the paved running path. There is 9 shrubs, 2 stone retaining walls, a swamp that was dug out, the water rose up again and it became a pond. There was also two benches and a sign that only said "Rest and Be Thankful". That was also a sign that my grandparents kept at their farm after my grandfather retired, so it has a special meaning. And that's how we were told to identify the garden, by finding that sign. I'm really glad I found it.

Now these long distances will really mess with your head if you let it. My grandfather passed away about a month before we got married over 10 years ago. And during my last lap around the lake I figured I needed to tackle that hill again to get the extra .3 miles and finish with an even 20. So I walked my way up the hill, then started running again near the top. Going back down the other side, (19.2 miles into the run) I saw the garden off to the right and was completely overwhelmed with grief and a wild sense of missing my grandfather. I started crying uncontrollably - weeping out loud. Thank God nobody else was around because I couldn't stop crying. And I didn't break my running stride until the very end. I felt like he was there, pulling me the last .8 miles. I did stop crying by the time I hit the bottom of the hill, though. But my grandfather is one of the reasons I run. He smoked like a chimney, and stopped smoking 17 years before he got lung cancer and died. Everyone in my family misses him every day. I guess now we can rest and be thankful.

I finished that last lap and pulled into the parking lot, the Garmin said 19.97 miles. So I circled the lot once to get in the last .03 in there. Then it was off to recovery, physical (eating and rest), mental, and emotional. Has anyone else had their brain reveal anything in the delierium of a really long run? I know my grandfather is always with us in spirit, but since he passed on I've never felt him that close physically. It was crazy.

Friday, January 9, 2009

This is not an emergency

I had a funny run last night (thursday). It was only 5 miles on the treadmill. 755 calories burned in 55:04 minutes. I wasn't really trying to push the envelope here, I was more trying to hang on for dear life. My legs felt really strange, as if they were flailing about outside of my control. I felt like Michael Flatley (the lord of the dance guy) with the treadmill simply flowing below me for about the first mile and a half. Then the feet sort of settled down some. Once I got into a decent rhythm, everything felt ok. Still, for the first run since the half marathon it was good to get all of the kinks worked out.

Our long run for the week is 20 miles. Wifey did it today (friday) on the treadmill at the gym. It took her 3 1/2 hours and she gave me no other stats. I am still amazed that she survived the sheer boredom of 20 miles on the treadmill. She was on there for so long an aerobics class formed around her, then finished and dispersed. It's called "Tread & Shed" and the instructor grabs 2 rows of treadmills on one side of the cardio wall and conducts a 1 hour class. Wifey was running when she started the class, and running when she was done with the class. and still running when the other girls from the class finished the shower & change routine. They were amazed. She has to reset the machine every 60 minutes, and between resets she went 6 miles, 6 miles, 5 1/2 miles, and 2 1/2 miles. 4 blocks, 20 miles total. and that's 'gettin it' folks. wow.

I'm going to do my 20 tomorrow. Monday I actually worked from 4:30 am to after 10:00 pm, so I didn't mind taking a little time today to tie up some loose ends. I finally got a haircut. I went by the pool to sign up for a season pass, and they were closed (bastard county employees). I have no idea when that pool is actually open, but it's an indoor pool and I am so ready to get back in the water! RBR is the inspiration on that one. She's a bad influence.

Tomorrow it's supposed to start raining by about 4 o'clock pm. Until then, it's supposed to be sunny and in the low 60's. So I'm going to go run around the lake at Furman for my 20 miles. I have no idea how many laps that will be, but I'm just going to take the garmin and tons of water/heed/gels/blocks and see what happens. I'm hoping to get out there kind of early in the morning, like 8:30 or 9 am. And I'm supposed to write some code when I get back. Have to see how I'm feeling.

I did something else unusual on thursday, and it prompted my title. I went to verizon and turned off my cell phone. Gave up the number and everything. I gotta tell ya, it's rather liberating. Actually, very few people called me on the cell. We still have a landline and Wifey's cell number, and since we almost never leave the house it really is ok.

Originally, cell phones were purchased for emergencies only. It is really bothering me now to see things that were originally to be used for emergencies only being used as everyday items. It gets to the point of ruining the item. We've had the same cell number since 2000, not long after we moved back to SC. We paid verizon about $25 a month for about 100 minutes, and only used it if we had a flat tire or something. They gave us the phone for free. I know you like to enjoy the convenience of talking on the cell phone while driving, shopping, on the treadmill, eating at a restaurant, or any other place where that can possibly be annoying. This change in demand has caused the minimum expectation to be raised beyond emergency levels. With two phones, the smallest plan was 700 minutes, and we were paying $91 every month. Now with just one phone, it's still $41 a month, and I'm a little upset about that. The smallest most basic plan is 450 minutes a month, and our combined monthly usage was only about 70 minutes a month before. AND we had to pay about $500 for the phones when they were purchased a couple of years ago. So consumer demand has made it impossible to get something that was once easily available just a few years ago.

Credit cards are the same way. Many years ago, I had one credit card that my folks gave me to use only in an emergency. Now U.S. citizens under 30 years old have more collective credit card debt (in USD$) than the entire gross national product of Equador. So what was once an emergency only last resort has now become a way of life staple.

So I have to ask, do these things help us or hurt us?

I may be the last american driving without a cell phone now, but I don't want people to get in touch with me when I'm not at home. Since I make a living at the computer, I'm no good to anyone work related when I'm not sitting at the laptop. And I don't want anyone else to bother me when I'm out on a run, or shopping, or biking, or any other dang time. There is a benefit when you are meeting someone else and can't find them, or get lost while driving and need to call your destination for directions. But that may also be the one benefit of not having many local friends. Nobody ever expects me to be anywhere at any specific time.

Credit cards are the same way. Nobody ever cried out, wishing they had more credit card debt. The benefit to credit cards can be a layering effect. My gym charges a credit card every month. So if I want to cancel the membership and they won't let me for some reason (like a yearly contract) I can just dispute the credit card charge, the gym will have to pay a fee, and they will stop charging me. Now I love my gym and wouldn't do that unless things got really ugly, but it's nice to have that layer of separation between them and my money. Same thing goes for online shopping. If your purchase never arrives, you can dispute the charge. So there's a little safety there. But if you don't pay it off every month, the only people who win are the credit card companies. The debts accrue so quickly, and it's so easy to go into default and ruin your credit rating, that credit cards are scary, scary things that college kids use to really screw things up for themselves on down the line. How many people set the new year's resolution to get out of debt? To me, that is the real credit crisis we're in.

So what can you move from an everyday use/staple thing to a "for emergency only" use? I think chocolate should be on that list too. maybe pancakes. Flynn out. don't call me on the cell phone, and don't call me late for dinner.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Photo Wednesday

**** Update ****
The local newspaper here covered our half marathon on saturday! i wondered who the photography was. Online, one pic of us made it into the online photo galleries. There's the link. Also, here's a link to the article. It does not mention us. but is still kind of cool.
**** end update ****

These are not in any particular order. But I will tell you what they are.

We got the kids up on the road in our neighborhood so that Bigun could try riding her new bike for the first time. Hence, the helmet.

There's something about a white patent leather jacket for an 18 month old that is soooooooo cute! This is just a candid moment in the bike ride.

Teaching Bigun to steer, pedal and brake. It does a daddy proud. That little pink bike is just adorable. And she got the hang of it after a while. The first time I wasn't holding onto her jacket, she steered herself right into the curb and fell over into the yard. But there were no scrapes and everything was ok. She did cry some, but then got back up and started pedaling again. As a parent, it's difficult knowing your kids are going to do something where they will get hurt. But that's the fun part of learning. You fall down sometimes, get up, dust yourself off and start pedaling again. Then when they get the basics it brings a newfound freedom, the joys of which are unparalleled.

I pulled out the old mountain bike for a little spin, and they were chasing me. It's fun to see them run. And I'm always surprised when the wheels still turn on that 15 year old mountain bike.

Ah the infamous broken toe. Purddy, ain't it? By half marathon time, the color was back to normal and there wasn't really any pain left, just sort of a little discomfort.

Wifey and the girls in their normal positions this time of year, under a blanket watching tv.

Bigun got drunk enough (those empty bottles?) to fall asleep on the floor on a stuffed penguin. She calls that blanket her "magic blanket" because it's a source of comfort anytime she wants it. Santa brought the bike and penguin, and Wifey's dad gave each of the kids a magic blanket.

Here's the entire greater Flynn family. From left to right, it's my brother Michael with his wife Summer, then Morgan holding Bigun. My grandmother (Dad's mom), Wifey, me, and Evil Genius. This was taken Christmas morning. EG tried to un-decorate the tree immediately after this was taken. At least the bottom 2 feet of ornaments.

This one is also Christmas morning, just the four of us.

EG got a bit of a Michael Jackson effect from the heat grate at Wifey's dad's house in Raleigh. That wild hair blowing in the wind makes me smile. We're due for another visit up to see him soon.

And we finish with a pic of us Wifey and I at my company's Christmas party from Dec 20th. Her dress was stunning, jaws were dropping and a bunch of people got drunk and signed up for weight watchers after she made them feel fat. It's a natural occurrence, I guess. Nobody had seen her since last year's party, she lost over 80 lbs between the two.

From a fitness point, it's time for me to get all of the kinks worked out. Time for all of those things that I've been putting off until January to actually get done. Gotta join the pool, get the last few accessories that I need for the bike, join the Greenville Spinners bike club and Greenville Track Club. Wifey wants to join the GTC too. This year I'm also going to run enough tri's to actually register and get a live USAT number. It's kind of scary how many other organizations get you for $30 at a time. It adds up fast.
And I need some crap still. I'm currently drooling about an indoor bike trainer, I've got bike shoes but still need pedals/cleats. Some new bike gloves would be nice. I also need a swim cap and still need a haircut. But I did find some goggles that I think will fit.
I haven't run since the half mary on saturday. In fact, I have only been outside of the house twice, teaching Bigun the bike stuff above, and one other trip to the mailbox. But nothing actually past the end of the driveway. It's driving me insane. anyone else stir crazy? it's one of the joys of working at home.
Nothing has happened to the garden recently. It has rained nearly every day for the last few weeks, which would be wonderful if I already had the soil amendments tilled in. I still have to spread out last year's compost, pull out all the stuff for this year's pile, clean out the beds.... boy it piles up fast.
Also the seed catalogs have started piling in. My favorites are the Park Seed company, because they are in Greenwood where they run the SC half iron, a local favorite race. Ison's is a real gem from Georgia. They are known for their muscadines and grapes, and I'm getting a bunch of berries from them this year too. I normally put together a large seed order from Seeds of Change too. They are completely organic and carbon-neutral, and I'm really down with that. So it takes a ton of organization while nothing is growing. But it looks like we're going to get a good garden going this year.
OMG I hope I can get to the gym soon, I'm going crazy here. Have a great week!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rocket Launcher - A Race Report

I thought it was very appropriate to start off 2009 with a half marathon, as I will end 2009 with a half marathon that is the run leg of the Beach 2 Battleship half iron triathlon. And I doubt there's going to be another half marathon in between those two. So now it's game on to the tune of:


Yea baby. Broke that 2 1/2 hour target. The bar has been set. The real kicker? Broken toe and all, Wifey beat me by 7 seconds. yep, she took it at 2:21:21 with a dayum broken toe. She was so happy to see the finish line, she even turned around and asked me "is that it? is that the finish?" and when I acknowledged that it was indeed the end of our run that day, she kicked it into another gear that I couldn't keep up with.

Truth be told, the toe thing didn't bother her a bit. They heal really fast, and she treated it right all week long with ice, elevation, taping it to the next toe, and just being more careful where she walked. She also iced it down good after the race and feels ok now.

So the race results: We finished overall in 156 & 157 place out of 180 finishers. The last players came in at 3:15, so we left a little room between us and them. We maintained a 10:48 pace, which is a little slower that I had hoped, but I can live with it. Age group results are only posted for 1 - 3 place, so I have no idea where we finished there. A quick scan tells me that nobody in our age groups finished after us, so last place there is a safe bet. Again, I'm ok with that.

The course was great. It cut through downtown Traveler's Rest for the first few miles. Just a quaint, small town on the edge of suburbia. Then we made our way through the Furman University campus, and went around the lake. The Greenville Spinners had the First 50 From Furman starting about an hour after the race started, so we saw the riders on campus and I got to cheer on some of those guys. I even recognized some folks from my Paris Mountain ride a few weeks ago.

We went into Furman at about the 7 mile mark, and they had an aid station where I stopped to refill the CamelBak. There was a serious lack of aid stations along this route. Usually there's one every mile, right? They only had like 4 for the whole course. Wifey doesn't carry water, so that was really tough for her. And then they had tiny little shot glasses for you at the stations. pitiful. Well, when I stopped there at the Furman entrance, Wifey caught up with me. She was running with these two other guys, one from Greenville and one from Minnesota. They were both really cool. So the four of us ran together from there until about mile 11. Furman was a loop with some of the lake, the bell tower (a local landmark) and some of the dorm buildings within view. Then we went out the same entrance we came in, and hopped onto an unfinished portion of the Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail. That is going to be really cool when it's done. It's getting paved with a rubberized running surface and an asphalt bike surface as the money allows construction to continue. This part (maybe 2.5 miles) was all still unpaved gravel and mud. So much for nice, clean running shoes.

Somewhere in mile 11, we were going up a long, long, slow, long hill that was really not that steep when I decided to slow to a walk for a bit. This is when we lost the other two guys. And I discovered something then. I need to limit my walk breaks to about 4 minutes or less. I was ready to pick back up, but Wifey talked me into walking until we got back onto the paved survace again, which was about a 10 minute walk break. I had caught my breath which was good, but I think after about 4 minutes my body starts going into recovery mode. The muscles start to heal instead of lasting through the tear, and the joints start their repair process. And when they start the repair, then you start tearing them down again with more running they don't like that at all. So the last 2 miles or so were pretty painful.

I started out that last leg back to the start/finish line running in front of Wifey. She passed me after about half a mile of that, and didn't relenquish her lead. The debate rages on that if we had started running again when I was ready to instead of waiting for pavement again that I could have stayed ahead of her, but who really knows. Neil (the guy from MN) finished in 2:17, so I maybe could have shaved a few mins off the time by keeping his pace a little longer. Also, I kept a slower pace going through Furman to stay with the pack and talk with those guys. Any way you look at it, I was glad to see the finish line. They gave out medals, then we walked back up to the little area for some food.

I forgot to mention that it was freaking cold out there. We don't see too much cold here in SC. It was 37 degrees at the start, and got up to about 41 when we got back to the house. The weather channel said it was going to be in the 50's all day, so I was a little dissapointed. And there was very thick fog through the entire course. It was pretty neat, we don't see that kind of fog here very often.

Apparently, the second half of the course (Furman and the Swamp Rabbit) was drastically changed from last year. Most of the really difficult hills were taken out. Which was really good. Coach Katie ran this one, and we hadn't seen her in a while so it was good to hang with her. She called it a slow, social excuse to get in her long run for the week. She finished in 1:37 and won Wifey's age group. I thought that was a funny definition of slow. But maybe 10 of the people she's currently coaching were also running, including some trying to BQ and Kona. We got to meet some of them post-race, and that was really interesting. One of her athletes ran with her most of the race, and then pulled ahead and beat her pretty good! how cool would that be to come back and beat your coach?

Oh, and I'm calling this one a Rocket Launcher both as a reference to kicking off the 2009 race season with a bang, and to emphasize the number of snot rockets that I had to launch during the race. This cold is still kicking me up and down. The pom juice, listerine, and other cold remedy's got the job done, we felt pretty good before/during the race. We also took some Musinex the night before. It's 12 hour stuff, so we took it so that our 12 hours would be up after the race was over. It just loosens/thins out the mucus to really let the body move the bad stuff around easier, and boy it works great! I don't usually like OTC medications, but this really seems effective. Most anti-histaminese work by preventing the sinuses from generating mucus, therefore rendering the body unable to remove the offending bacteria. So I don't take those. Musinex allows the body to move the bacteria more easily, so I like that. And boy does it really make for a fun race/dodgerocket event. Throw in the cold weather and fog/humidity and you've got an ideal environment for discusting activity. Even Wifey tried to rocket once, and we discovered that's a talent she doesn't have. LOL:P

And apparently I'm a loser for racing on saturday and not posting results until monday morning. Sorry 'bout that. I was unable to walk downstairs and get to the laptop. Today my calves are still pretty sore, gotta roll them out more. I'm having some really bad shin pain too, but I know it's muscular as well. Nothing hurt during the race (until the last 2 miles), so I was really grateful about that. It was pretty cool to finish with Wifey too. I was pretty surprised (she was totally shocked) that she caught up with me at all, she doesn't normally do that. So it was a fantastic race, and a great way to kick off 2009!

Next up, the Myrtle Beach marathon in only 6 short weeks. Time to make those final travel plans, line up babysitters, etc. Hope you guys had a great weekend too!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Race Preview

Tomorrow at 9 am is the starting gun for the Resolution Run (a.k.a. the Get Your Rear In Gear) half marathon. This is the first half marathon for us, and the only race that has been on the schedule during our marathon training plan. It's also the first race since September 20th, when we did the Ache Around the Lake 5 mile race.

So I've put about 350 miles under the feet between races, blown through a set of running shoes all in a tunnel that I couldn't see the light at the end of. So this should be a really cool race. It's nice to see that light. Also, the realization hits home that the Myrtle Beach marathon is only 6 weeks away. Last weekend the long run was 19 miles, next weekend it's 20 miles. So I'm not worried about the distance here. But the fact is we only have two more runs over 15 miles on the schedule before the marathon. So it's going to be here before you know it.

Tomorrow's course is 13.1 miles, and it starts/ends/park the car at the YMCA in Traveler's Rest, SC. Furman University is home to the FIRST training program center, and is also in Traveler's Rest. This is about 10 miles from my house. Most runners have heard of FIRST, but might not realize that it's close to me. Greenville sits in the foothills, and TR is in the hills. It's a small suburb of Greenville, just like Taylors (where my house is). But it's on the mountain side of Greenville, so the course is pretty hilly. This a small race organized by the people at the Y, so there is no course map available online, and I have no idea what the route will be tomorrow. But my favorite golf course is also in TR, and I never played a level lie on there. So I don't expect there to be much flatland to run through.

We're doing the marathon in Myrtle Beach because it is flat. Running the hills is still beyond our skill level, so this is going to be interesting. We should be in good enough shape to handle the hills, and hopefully that will make it a really fun course. The weather is expected to be around 60 degrees and sunny for the 9 AM start.

TODAY however, it's rainy and in the low 40's. I came down with a cold late yesterday afternoon. Sinuses, the head is a little jiggly feeling, and a sore throat. I'm thinking it's just a 24 hour thing, so I should be fine by tomorrow. Wifey's broken toe was feeling better today, until Evil Genius stepped on it again this morning to re-aggravate it a little bit. She's kind of unsure about running tomorrow. I don't want to run with a cold, it will just depress my immune system more. She doesn't want to run out-of-balance and end up tearing up a knee or ankle because her form has adjusted to compensate for the broken toe.

Got any tips for staying healthy before a race? I'm using my go-to guy Pomegranate Juice with Blueberry. Down a 20 oz bottle every day until you feel better. My chiropractor got me turned on to this stuff, it's like OJ times 1000. Very effective stuff. Also going with some vitamins and lots of fruit today. One other thing I picked up along the way: Listerine every couple of hours. It kills the germs inside your mouth, where colds can spread. Apparently Lance uses it all the time when he gets a cold. I'm also spending the afternoon with Green Tea.

So wish me luck tomorrow! both to beat the cold, and beat my goal time of 2:30. With the hills and the cold, I'm not real hopeful about the goal time. But if i can finish the half in less than 2.5 hours, maybe i can finish the full in less than 5.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

Out with the old:

So 2008 has come and gone. My theme was "Great In 08", and in retrospect, it was a pretty great year by comparrison. 2007 was a HUGE low point for me. The details are fairly private because they are so embarrasing, but I will share if you give me an email address to send you the details. It had some high points, Evil Genius was born May 31, 2007. But there were many, many more low points. I lost the business I had owned for over 4 years and had to take a job which I now enjoy, but 2007 was really tough. So 2008 didn't have to climb very high to seem like a great year. Here's what I did in a nutshell:

  • Garden kick-off: I got the hobby of organic gardening started, and defined some landscaping in all sides of the house. Bed prep, plant selection, starting plants from seed for the first time, building a raised bed play area for the kids, and planting my first Muscadine vines were the highlights. Plus studying and practicing the organic technique. Fighting bad bugs with good bugs, and attracting the right predators are all really cool things to know how to do. That was mostly Jan - May for the prep, watering over the summer, and harvesting in the summer & fall.
  • Training: I signed up for my first triathlon (the Greenville Sprint) in January after talking to a trainer at my gym. I just happened to get a trainer who ran tri's purely by luck. It was one of those free sessions they give you when you sign up as a new member, and she told me the greenville sprint was very beginner friendly. That one meeting was all the assistance I got. The rest of the training research, training plan, everything was done alone by me online. Wifey, my parents, nobody wanted or actually expected me to run this race.
  • My first real car accident: April 5th I was at a fraternity brother's wedding in Wilmington, NC. Jon is a great friend and the wedding was awesome. I left the reception, pulled the parking ticket off of my car, and drove 4 hours 25 minutes home. I was waiting at the last stop light, cross the street, get some gas, turn right and go to house #14. I was 2 blocks from my house after not stopping the entire 4+ hours. Light turns green, I pull through the intersection, and some redneck from the next county runs the red light and smashes into me. Then lies to the police about it and claims HE was going through a green light. Even though the witness (who was gone by the time the state trooper got there) clearly agreed that he went through a red light and was solely at fault. I separated 3 ribs, tore 7 tendons at the base of my neck, and straightened my spine from the whiplash. Yea, I had little scraped cars before, but never anything that required police involvement. So this was the first time I had a car accident where the car was totalled. We are still a one car family from this accident. We don't really need two cars right now, so I was planning on selling my car anyway. But the way it shook out, I got a grand less than expected for the car from the insurance deductible, and had to cover my own health care costs. It only took the chiropractor a few months to get everything reconnected. But health insurance doesn't cover chiro care, and the car insurance doesn't cover any health care costs. If the redneck would have accepted responsibility for what he did, his policy would have covered my health care costs. So as it stood, I ended up with $55o left out of the deal to buy my Javis road bike. and that was all.
  • Ran my first triathlon: I was determined not to let this redneck (I really don't like many people from Spartanburg county) cost me my race. I was in the middle of a couch to sprint tri training plan when the accident put me on the sidelines for all of april and may. I had gotten out of the habit of training at all during recovery. My schedule had enveloped the regular workout time. Finally Wifey had convinced me not to run the race at all when I revolted against her request. She still says that she had to be a complete jackass to make me realize it was not a feasible goal anymore thanks to my lack of training. That made me revolt and take control again. I was able to recover the schedule, get back into training, and run the race as scheduled. The day before the race, we picked up the race packet, and drove the bike route. She even told me "you've got the race t-shirt, we can tell everyone you ran it and now it's out of your system, and all we have to do is eat breakfast". Then when we showed up at the race site at 6 am and it was still raining with thunder and lightning, and there was no way I was going to run this thing. Then the rains cleared, the sun came out, and my 8 am start time I was in the pool swimming. I finished the race in 2:02:30. It was the first race of any kind since freshman year of high school. I didn't start out as a biker, or run a 5k, or any other kind of training or race. I just picked a sprint tri as a goal when I stopped smoking in december 2007 and met the goal. If I don't pick goals that are really high, higher than most people thing are actually achievable, then I tend to forget about them. That's why I don't like making new year's resolutions. People forget about them by valentine's day. I ran my race, and got hooked on tri's. and training. And the road bike.
  • Then my first running race since high school: The Ache Around the Lake 5 mile race was september 20th, and it was the first running only race since I did a 5k with my mom in high school. Wifey ran it too, and it was her first organized race of any kind, ever. She took 3rd in her age group. So it was a bigger deal to her than it was to me. I finished last in the novice category in the Greenville Sprint Tri (10 competitors), and last in my age group here (6 competitors). I'm ok with that.
  • Found Coach Katie: I volunteered to do some work on the Ache web site, and Katie is the race director for that race. She then volunteered to help me out with a little coaching. Since people don't volunteer expecting to get something in return, this is really, really nice of her. I'm not trying to usurp to much of her time, but I think we're going to get together once before the marathon, and she's helping me set the schedule for 2009. She's a 13 time ironman finisher, pro triathlete (she even ran Kona once in Elite category), and makes a living as a tri coach. So she's amazing.
  • Started this blog: Working from home has it's benefits like setting your own hours, working without interruptions, training in the middle of the day if I want to, etc. But there are also downsides. Like social depravation. I find that talking to other people at the gym gets in the way of my workout. So I hate talking to other people at the gym. But it's the only time I ever leave the house ever. So for any given month, I will have about 5 phone conversations with people in the office, 10 skype video calls with office & client people, and maybe one get together with some local friends. I have incredibly few local friends left here, since they were all people that worked for me when I had the business. So this blog has filled the social void I so desparately needed. Thank you, internet readers for becoming my friends. I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blogs and revealed self-interests as I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me. I'm the same in person as I am online, so if you think I'm funny here you should pump a few beers in me. Call, email, or skype me anytime.

So what did we learn from 2008?

  • How to persevere through challenges
  • How to set goals and achieve them
  • Take control of your own time
  • Value your relationships with non-work and non-family allies
  • Spartanburg county is full of rednecks that cannot be trusted to do the right thing. I still can't believe I didn't have the balls to confront that stupid redneck and demand that he accept responsibility for what he did. I thought the truth would come out just because I was right.

I also became very cynical in 2008. I went from fairly conservative Republican standpoint to a fairly democrat/socialist person. I finally accepted the view that "people" in the grander scheme of things, are all bastard coated bastards with bastard filling. People are greedy and don't care about what's right, only what's best for them and damn the affects on anyone else. That's why the lending industry collapsed and started this whole recession. Deregulation allowed banks to lend to anyone for anything, then foreclose when they couldn't make the payments. Banks could then sell the properties and still turn a profit on the deal thanks to the fees charged up front on the mortgage closing costs. When they couldn't sell the properties anymore after foreclosure, the house of cards collapsed, a bailout ensued, and now we're in a recession. Big surprise. Republicans only do things that benefit the republicans, which was ok when I had a fat 6 figure income. Now I see how bad that is for everyone else, and how much it hurts the american economy in the long run. What's good for everyone can still benefit the republican's just as much if not more than everyone else without hurting other people. I think old W dumbass has done irreparable damage to the republican party, and it will have to refocus priorities to something more along those lines in order to get me aligned right of center again. but's that's enough of that.



We're going to be "Fine in 09". Since 2008 was so much better than 2007, I'm optimistic that the upward trend will continue. I want 2009 to be a year of firsts for me:

  • First half marathon 1/3
  • First Full Marathon 2/14
  • First International distance tri 4/25
  • First Half Ironman 11/7
  • First 10k race 4/4

I'm also going to run the ache race again, and maybe 3 sprint tri's. And I'm sure I'll sprinkle in some 5k races in there too. Wifey doesn't swim or bike, and only wants to run. She doesn't care about tri's. Marathon training has made her not enjoy the distance as much as she had hoped. So she wants to get into running really fast 5k, 5 mile, and maybe 10k races after the marathon. But she claims she will not purposely do anything longer than a 10k again. I also said last year that I would do that one triathlon, and that would be it. Now i'm hooked on multisport, and I bet she will get hooked on distance after running Myrtle Beach next month. So we're looking for firsts and PR's every month of 2009.

Outside of training, here's what we expect will happen in 2009:

  • I will turn 34 in july
  • Wifey will turn 38 in december (i'm not supposed to reveal that)
  • Bigun will turn 4 in June, and start 4 yr kindergarten in august
  • EG will turn 2 in may. I might even be able to teach her to be less evil.
  • We will move back to North Carolina - I've been saying this since I took this job in August of 2007, the office doesn't care where I live. But this year we really are going to make it happen. By now everything is secure and stable, I have enough work history to qualify for a mortgage, and the pieces are in place for everything to come together for a move.
  • I will remain a non-smoker. One year is great, two is better.
  • I want to make some new friends just for the sake of having friends. no expectations, no "users" (people that only call when they want something), just hang out and enjoy what we have in common. Would you be my friend?
  • "Iron up" my body. This means losing some weight (about 20 lbs), staying focused on muscle definintion and aerobic endurance and capabilities, and working on my heart. This makes nutrition & fuel just as important as excersice and training. It should get my BMI down to about 25 as a goal, even though I don't think BMI is a very effective health measuring stick.
  • Someone will freaking buy this house. OMG I hope this mountain house sells this year. I thought it was going to sell last year, and we still haven't had a single offer even after dropping the asking price by $35,000. that's leaving a ton of cash on the table.

So I'm very optimistic about a healthy and fruitful 2009. I'm also reminded of 1984 and my own father. I was 9, Michael was 7, and Morgan was 4 at that time, and we had just emerged from the gas crisis into a pretty bad recession. The real estate market was in the toilet just like it is now, and my dad owned a Century 21 franchise. His father started the business back in 1947, and passed away in his office in 1981. So my dad was faced with a terrible market, a young family to support, and tons of responsibility to live up to. This sounds really familiar. The current recession, my young family, Wifey is a stay at home mom, I've got all of the responsibility for keeping the family afloat and accomplishing our family goals for the year.

Meeting the family goals will make it easier to measure up to my responsibilities. Our monthly expenses include paying 5 mortagages every month, which (surprise surprise) is not easy. Moving to NC and selling the mountain house will help this burden. It's not fun having the expenses you line up when you have a nice fat 6 figure income when you no longer have the 6 figure income to support it. So that's why I'm optimistic about being Fine in 09. 2008 was about establishing stability. Now that everything is stable, I can implement the changes needed to balance work and family, income and expenses, family time and personal time, training and recovery... you get the picture.

One last prediction.... I think the real estate market will start to loosen up at least here in SC by about may or june. We didn't see the drop in property values that most other states saw, the time on market increased some, but home prices held or rose some. Resort areas (like our mountain house location) might come back a little earlier thanks to out of state money influencing purchase time on deflated home values. It might also come back much, much later in the year because people don't buy second homes until the economy stabilizes completely. But when there is this much undervalued real estate in volatile markets, it's a short matter of time before people start buying it up.

So have a great new year's day! I've got to write some code today, get some cross training in, drink beer and watch football. I wish you all the best for 2009, it's going to be a fine year indeed.