Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo Friday

Well, it's 2/27/09. So I went to the second folder inside of My Pictures and took the 27th photo. The second folder happens to be 2003 pictures, and this one is my buddy Chad playing the banjo.

This was actually taken at the "after party" for his wedding. And yes, in the south, sometimes after a wedding we just make up a campfire, tap a keg and start picking and grinning. at this point in the evening, we were all quite sloshed. I don't think I was playing anything that night, I don't know any bluegrass. But Chad used to take every sunday morning and go to a local flea market. There, he would drink whiskey out of a coffee mug and play banjo, guitar or drums with a local bunch of bluegrass junkies. These drunks all came to his wedding, and guess what happened. They all got drunk and started playing bluegrass outside. It was loud, we were in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere near nowhere in the mountains, and it was awesome. Those dudes can really pick.

Chad lives in Murphy, NC which is the western-most town in North Carolina. He's the band director at the high school there, which is the same high school he attended as a student. We are fraternity brothers from ASU. Currently, Chad is expecting his second child due in may. We're still really close. His first daughter has the same birthday as Kelley.

Today in fitness is a rest day. Just a little light stretching. Cause I needed a rest day (sic). Actually, 2 days into the Tri Power plan, I am SORE. I mean this thing is effective. I haven't been sore like this in a long time. I got the blood work back from the doctor, and there's a couple of liver enzymes that are a little high. So I've got to go back next week to figure out why. joy.

But I really want to get out there this weekend. It's raining all day today here, so tomorrow should leave the garden soil rather supple. oh yea baby. I also want to get in a long run (distance tbd - should be 10 miles) and/or a decent bike ride. I might end up having to do some more stuff to the mountain house, and forget about all the fun, though.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I am a weak little girl

it's true. You know how much I hate western med doctors anyway. I went to the doctor yesterday, and he basically just said "meh, it could be something", drew some blood and that was it. I was hoping for some antibiotics or some nutrition advice or something. Maybe the bloodwork will show more. But that was just a useless "come see me in 2 more weeks if you're not feeling better by then" kind of thing. If I wanted to take 2 more weeks off from training, I would have waited until then to call him in the first place. oh well, you get what you get I guess.

But really I'm calling myself a weak little girl because I did the Tri Power assessments last night. You are supposed to do these same assessments every 4 weeks to see progress. Let's just say I did not set the bar very high, so progress should be drastic. I'm going to do the same assessments every 4 weeks for the next 8 months on the program, so I am going to post these embarrassing numbers today just so we can all see how far I've gone later. And you can hold my feet to the fire if I wimp out, or don't show enough progress. I love me some trash talk, and I like to take it just as much as I like to give it out.

Pushups (60 seconds): 10
Wall Sit: 30 sec
Flex Arm Hang: 11 sec
Side Plank: 19 sec
Side Plank Bent Knee: 25 sec
Prone Plank: 20 sec
Extensor Chain: 50 sec
Core Strength: 30%

Some of these are pretty obvious. 10 pushups is pitiful. The flex arm hang is supposed to help you if you can't do a chinup. All of the "second" measurements are time to failure. The side plank bent knee is a side plank with your bottom knee bent for stabilization and the top leg raised. The extensor chain was a fun one. It's kind of a superman pose, where your feet are anchored, and you put a swiss ball under your hips and just see how long you can keep your body straight, arms back. it's a measure of lower back strength. The core strength one was really interesting too. A lot of times when we are supposed to be working core, we're actually using the hip flexors instead. Hip flexors are already strong from all the time on the bike. So you lie flat on the floor and put one hand under your back directly below the belly button. there will be an arch in your lower back at that point. Lift your legs straight up in the air, bend your knees 90 degrees, and your lower back will press down on your hand. Lower your legs until your lower back no longer presses down on your hand, and guage the percentage that your legs moved. If your feet hit the floor you have 100% core strength. My legs only moved about 30%. that's a really cool test.

Remember the Tri Power program is all about achieving balance. I've done the same ab excersices for years, and once it gave me a nice 6 pack with smallish love handles on the sides. I think these assessments shows just how out of balance the muscles are. I've got a pretty strong back, and the wall sit is not bad. but my front and side core is certainly weaker. So I'm out of balance. I truly think this program can restore that balance. and that's really cool.

So you see the moves, how do you fare on those assessments? Do you think you're stronger than a little girl? leave me comments with some of your times.

The training plan is finally finished! Ah, glorious. It is really cool, I must admit. I've got a FIRST marathon training plan and the swim/bike numbers for a oly tri plan combined. That phase wraps june 23rd with my hillbilly marathon. Then I'm taking a couple of weeks off, just because I can. Then the half ironman training plan kicks in leading up to the nov 7th Beach 2 Battleship. I pushed it online, you can download my complete plan from this link. It's an excel 2007 spreadsheet, but if you are using an older version of excel, it should convert ok. Email me if you can't open it, and I will get it to you in another format.

I've got three each swim, bike, and run workouts. The FIRST program has speedwork on tuesdays, a tempo run thursdays, and a long run on saturdays. That's the way I like it. The swim team I'm on practices mon, tues, and thurs at 5:30 am. I haven't figured out how or when I'm going to get in the bike rides yet. There's a long ride on sunday's, and I love getting in a long bike ride on sunday afternoon. I think it's the best recovery workout after a long run on saturday. I think there will be a regular group ride I can get into for that. but monday and wednesday rides are shorter, and the Spinners don't have a regular group ride those days. I might do some at the gym, or on the trainer, or find a safe route and fly solo.

The tri power program is my strength training workouts. It has 15 minutes on mon, wed, fri of basic stretching and corrective work. that's not too bad, and I can do it all in the office. Tues and thurs are the main strength days, and it's only 35 mins worth. Not bad. I'm also throwing in 30 minutes of yoga on tuesdays and thursdays. that's not too bad, really.

It's a comprehensive plan, and in the spreadsheet I added columns to track actual completions too. The sheet is preloaded with my races and those distances too. But get a load of these totals: 92.6 miles of swimming, 2,798 miles on the bike, 639.8 miles running, 70 hours of strength work, and 36 hours of yoga. that sounds like a lot. But it's only february, and that's to carry me through the end of the year. how cool!

So I'm feeling better today, but run out of energy really quickly. I did some yoga this morning, it felt pretty good. I have lost some weight being sick, so that's feeling great. I'm going to do a Tri Power workout later on today, and maybe a little bike time if I can squeeze it in. I don't want to rush back until I'm sure I'm over the flu thing, but if I don't get in a good run or decent bike ride soon I may start shooting things.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have nothing positive to report today. It's why I haven't posted since thursday. It's been incredibly hectic and downright depressing. I still don't feel right. Since missing the marathon with the flu, the flu symptoms have mostly gone, but something else is still not right. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow and hopefully he will be able to figure it out. But I can't seem to get the body feeling right. Some mornings I wake up with a fever. Last night I was awake and turning from 1:30 to 3:30 am. Yesterday i couldn't finish my breakfast, today I'm still hungry. There is nasea all over the place. Most of the time, I have no appetite and no energy. Tri training season started yesterday, so this is not cool and needs to go away soon. I need my fuel back, my energy back, so I can get into the workout routine. Or do you think it's the other way around? if I can get in a workout, the body will feel better? It's been this way for almost 2 weeks now, and it's driving me crazy.

Thursday night we got to visit Ben and the new baby in the hospital. I called him Barry, and you should have seen how red mom's face got! Here's the new little one, he is soooo cute!

So back to friday. We made it up to the mountains after work, and it was only about 18 degrees outside. Cranked up the heat in the house and it got comfy in a couple of hours. I was pleasantly suprised, the water remediation folks had left dehumidifiers running that had taken care of the moisture problem. no moldy smell, no rotten holes in the floor, etc. It could have been a lot worse. We hung out for a while and crashed.

Saturday we got the U-Haul after some breakfast, packed everything up and it went quicker than expected. met with the new tenant some, and were back on the road. I did climb the hill above the house and get a pic. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

You can see the house and the view from there. We share a driveway with the neighbor, and this new tenant is a friend of the neighbor. After talking with him, I think one of these guys will end up buying this house from us. Awesome! If you would want to buy it, see more at, one of my other sites.

We made it home and unpacked the U-Haul saturday. Most of the stuff ended up in the garage or in my office. We're still trying to get everything settled and unpacked. That left Sunday as "get-it-all-done" day. More stuff didn't get done than did get done. I did get some things unpacked. Bigun found some funny bedroom slippers and started wearing them. She still won't take them off:

it's too funny! She loves those giant things. But up in the cold mountains those slippers were oversized, warm, and comfortable in the cold. My plan was to unpack, settle furniture, pay bills, get the tax stuff ready for the accountant, plant the grapes and berries (my Ison's order came in on thursday) because you're supposed to put the live plants in the ground within 24 hours. It's also time to get the tomato and pepper seeds started in the seed flats. I did get the unpacking and furniture done. I did get 2 posts in the ground for the grape trellis. I still have one more post to go, and wiring up the trellis. Plus clear and prep the bed for the 7 blueberry and 2 boysenberry bushes I ordered. I'm about to panic now it's been too long and I need to get those plants in the ground before $100 worth of fruits die in my office. I'm also sick of not having the tax stuff to the accountant. after getting 2 posts in the ground, I thought I was going to fall over with fatigue. last year i sunk 3 posts and bed prep all in one day. I'm sick of being sick.

I have found a FIRST training plan for my hillbilly marathon. I still need to plug those numbers into the spreadsheet. But I really think it's going to work out well. i'm still trying to find swim and bike numbers for an oly tri to fill in that part. And if I ever start feeling better, I will finally start the tri-power program. I should have started that yesterday too. And I didn't do the assessments on friday like I was supposed to.

So keep your chin up, I'm trying to do the same. I might be a little depressed after missing the MB marathon. All of these other symptoms could be psycho-sematic offshoots of that. Or it could be mono, or just something bacterial. Whatever it is, I'm ready to feel normal again.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

baby drama

Actually, baby and drama. I'm the oldest of 10 grandkids in my generation of the family, and until yesterday I was the only one with kids. I have a cousin Ben who lives here in Greenville and is about 9 months younger than me. Yesterday his wife gave birth to a son, their first kid. they're calling him Barrett Fincher, 7 lbs 11 oz. we're going to visit in the hospital today, so I'll try and get a picture. I'm going to call him Barry just to make Ben cringe. Ben is a lawyer.

It is going to be so nice not to be the only one at family holidays with babies anymore. I mean sure, mine are cute. but they have no other kids to play with. So little Barry will grow up knowing his cousins, and that's a really cool thing. I like it, and i'm incredibly happy for Ben and Elaine.

The mountain house is what has the drama. It is rented, the terms are all worked out, and everything is setup. But when these people saw the house, they walked into a burst plumbing pipe with an inch of standing water over the entire house. So some water remediation people came in. We've filed a claim with the homeowners insurance. So this weekend Morgan is going with us up there to get all of the furniture moved out. We've got to have the place cleared. Then next week, Lowe's is coming in to replace all of the carpet and vinyl flooring. they don't know that they can get out there next week, but the tenant is moving in march 1st. so they have to get in there next week. This is all happening very fast.

I'm just glad the dayum thing is rented. We're getting $700 per month for it, before management fees (12%), which is not exactly enough to cover the $850 mortgage payment. but it all helps. at least I won't be responsible for the electric bill anymore ($200 per month while vacant over the winter) . So this house that I have not set foot in since july 4th has just been bleeding me dry. Renting is not as good as selling, but I will take it. And I really hope all of this drama with the flooring pans out to not cost me an arm and a leg. If insurance pays up quickly and everything times out right we could pull off a little miracle here.

the training plan is starting to come together, the spreadsheet is filling up nicely. The running part lends itself to a FIRST plan. Some hills, speedwork, tempo runs, 3 runs including a long run every week. that's about what I was wanting to do. So I'm glad to see it all coming together. Tomorrow starts the assessments with the Tri Power program. I'm looking forward to it.

Finally, this is why we bought that mountain house in the first place. It is a few miles from Appalachian State University, my alma mater. We had season football tickets, and went up for all the games. Bigun used to ask when we could go back up there, she liked hanging out on the huge couch and playing outside in the snow and cooler weather. This is before Evil Genius was born. It's at 4800 ft elevation, and gets snow all winter long. One year we were up there for St Patrick's day and got a foot of snow. Here in Greenville we have gotten 3 inches of snow in the last 5 years. The kids love it. Here's a pic of the deck and snow from that St Patty's day:

And this is the view from the large deck on a sunny day:

Yep. i could stare at those hills all day long. it's an amazing view. have a great day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A New Target

OK, it's all set. I signed up this morning for the Hatfield-McCoy Reunion festival marathon in Matewan, WV. I am truly a hillbilly runner, as this marathon presents its own set of challenges and intrigue. It is officially in the mountains, but I found out this morning the elevation is only 702 ft above sea level. So there's no high elevation stuff like oxygen depravation to worry about. However, there are plenty of hills. So I'm going to have to put some hill days into my training plan. It's not a problem, there are plenty of hills around here. I'm also going to get my small camera working again, and practice taking pictures on long runs. I have GOT to take pictures during the course of this marathon. It should be very picturesque, and the course lets us run past some landmarks of the Hatfield/McCoy fued from the 1880's, including gravesites and homesites. I have to take some pictures of that stuff. It's going to be too cool.

This race starts at 7 am with a shotgun blast. so the town's 500 residents will all know the race is starting, I guess. Actually, the town is only 1.5 square miles in size, so the marathon seems quite broad to them I guess. The first half of the course is much more difficult than the second half. And with the 7 am start, it will be cooler in the morning. I am not going to set a time expectation for this race. I am going to have to put some tempo work into the training plan, so I can learn how to negative split. If I expend all of my energy trying to keep a certain pace through the first half, there will be nothing left thanks to the difficulty level. The second half of the course is easier, but the day will be warmer by then. But get this: In June, in the south, the high temp is only supposed to be 82 degrees? Here in Greenville it could easily be in the 90's by then. So if I keep a slower pace while it's hillier and cooler, I should have enough left for the easier, warmer half of the course. And I can always walk more if I don't have a time expectation. The goal is to complete the course without injury, and have a fun time with it.

So from the shotgun start to the pig fest at the end, it should be a fun, funny, fit and fantastic marathon, and I can't think of a better way for this mountaineer to pop the marathon cherry.

I started compiling a training plan and log spreadsheet last night. I will pass it on to anyone who wants a copy once it's done, but it's quite intricate. We are entering triathlon training season as well. In fact with this marathon June 13th, I also have the Festival of Flowers international distance tri June 7th, the sunday before. and before that, I have a 30 mile bike ride, 4 mile mud run, a sprint tri, and a half marathon. So I started the training plan by filling in all of the race data. The challenge now is to support the long term (oly & marathon) goal without sabotaging the other races. And I have to ramp up to the level of training needed to compete overall, you can't just jump into 9 or 11 workouts a week, each lasting at least an hour. you have to start out with 5 hours a week and work up over a 3 or 4 week period at least. This training plan is actually going to extend all the way out to the B2B half ironman Nov 7th. I've got a half ironman training plan already picked out that starts in July. So I can plan a rest week (or more) after the marathon, and keep on going into november. I've got the spreadsheet designed with the plan and the actual results, so I will be able to log my results as well. it should turn out to be a helpful tool.

I'm scheduling swim meters, bike miles, run miles, strength training minutes, and stretching minutes. I am also starting the Tri Power book I reviewed a while ago, so the strength training and stretching plan is going in there, as are scheduled yoga days. Everything has to be in balance to pull off the entire plan, and a spreadsheet should let me spot an imbalance easily.

I must admit I'm exposing a strange part of my personality. It's not just the fearless ability to be backwards, but the desire to ramp up the challenge after something doesn't work. I don't mind admitting I hate the beach. I'm maybe the only one (well, Kelley doesn't like it much either), but the salt air stinks, sand gets everywhere you don't want it, it's always hotter, I get sunburned too easily, and other people annoy me. So going to a crowded beach, or any public beach really is something I actively try to avoid. It's miserable. Yes the ocean can be relaxing and there are meditative qualities that make it fun once every couple of years. But if you think I'm crazy not to enjoy the beach, that's why I'm running my first marathon in the mountains. Another backwards thinking aspect involves challenges. my twisted mind says that if I fail at something easy, I have to try something harder to make up for it. Like with woodworking. I've been making furniture for about 12 years now, and I love it but don't get to do it much anymore. But if I made a birdhouse (something any 2nd grade boyscout could do) that looked like something birds would only shit on, most people would try to build a better birdhouse. I would try to build a coffee table. If the coffee table spilled the drinks and kept falling down, I would try to build a chair. Chairs are the most difficult furniture you can try to build. They have to look good, support weight, and be comfortable. Since there are so many specific details to a chair you've got 100 things to focus on instead of only like 3 with a birdhouse. More specifics = a bigger big picture = more chances to get it done right.

This is the same thing that makes me a good programmer. Seeing the all of the pieces that make up the big picture is the only way to complete an entire project. I will take one task of some simple code and half do it, screw it up, and not really care. But a huge architecture means more chances to get it done right. Now I don't consider getting the flu last week and missing the myrtle beach marathon a failure, but it is still a DNS. MB is flat, fast, and feb is cold. We had no other races (besides the half mary Jan 3) to contend with in that picture. Now I'm staring down more of what my personality likes. A bunch of races during the training plan, a bunch of different sports and types of races, and a more challenging marathon that actually falls more under my conditions (mountain vs beach). So I feel GREAT to sign up for this bad boy this morning.

Yet that's not the only new target we are facing. Have you seen the current issue of Runner's World?

Pay attention, fellas. I have been informed that if you find men attractive, this is exactly what you are looking for. It makes the gay man in me proud. the chiselled jaw, sculpted 6-pack abs, proud lean chest and little stubble beard. Apparently, this cover is getting cut out and hung on the bathroom wall (not by me). So lean and mean is in right now, and a new standard of attractiveness has been achieved. So who among us can achieve such levels of attractiveness? Ryan should be there, you big sexy bitch. Nick trains 20 hours a week and has 8% body fat. check.
I have a goal for the summer, and it's ok if it makes you chuckle. I want to wear a pair of white pants this summer. As soon as I say that, Kelley corrects me and says "cream colored pants". whatever. I want white pants, no shirt, and heads turning so fast they snap off. you can't have the little bit of beer gut I've still got and make that happen. you can't have a waist bigger than 34" and pull off that look. the "skinny" jeans I'm happily wearing now are a size 36. So it's not a weight loss goal. it's a reshaping goal. I bet the runners world model could pull off white pants. I'm also betting that if I stick with my training plan, including the Tri Power strength training, core strengthening, and endurance program I'll be there by july or august. Remember i work from home, so I can then just throw all of my shirts into the goodwill pile. try and make me wear one.
You know, I told the runners world people if they were going to use my picture for that cover, they had to change the name just to keep people from hunting me down. glad they listened. ha!
So face forward, runners. The spring is almost here and training/racing plans are all falling into place. Bask in the anticipation, and let the sunlight shine full upon our faces. 'Till next time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Kelley's race report


Kelley was so excited to break 6 hours! I am incredibly proud of her. She did it, man. She really did it. The course was pancake flat and there was a huge crowd. She made the online photo gallery, that's her in the blue shirt running between the two superheroes. She's claiming now that batgirl and supergirl are really her bodyguards. The entire finishers list is online.

It was a one loop course, but it kind of went left , came back to center, and then went right. so you have to run by the finish line for the half marathon course, then you see the finish line for the full marathon course. when she passed the half finish line, she was suddenly running alone. a huge crowd was only doing the half. So she went from running with a nice big group of people to being all alone. The winners were crossing the full mary finish line while she was in view. that was still in her mile 13. that was just cruel, I thought. haha, here's the finish line, but you won't reach it for 3 more hours. In the second half of the course everything got different. it actually got 10 degrees colder and started raining. the half marathon crowd was gone so it was just her running alone. It turned up hwy 17, the busiest road in MB, there was one lane of traffic coned off for the runner(s), but still had cars whizzing by throwing rainwater into the running lane. and at that point you are like 17 miles into the race. Which is exactly when you want cars to start splashing you and potentially hydroplane and run you down. So that wasn't exactly the "calmest" stretch of the race. but then the course turned up off of 17, to head to the finish and everything was ok again. She was the 1683rd finisher, so her dad, mom, and the girls were waiting at the finish line. The crowd had thinned by then so she had no trouble finding them. Her dad got too many pics to email us, so I'll post some once the disc gets here in the mail.

She really dug deep and pulled out a great race. Her official chip time was 5:56:00, and the clock time was 5:58:04 so it must have taken a couple of minutes to get to the starting line. Her recovery time was fine, plenty of other people to hang out with the girls and she got plenty of food.

I got to give props to the awesome friends that also finished. Our friend Deb that talked us into this race finished in 8:09. Ryan plowed through everyone else in 3:29. He's nuts. My fraternity brother Jon ran the half in 1:52, and his wife Kim ran the half in 2:10. Jon's also doing the Grandfather Mountain marathon this july, it's one of the toughest marathons in the country. And Coach Katie ran this one in 3:21. Insane! she was the 15th female finisher.


After spending most of the weekend praying for death to finish the job, I finally started feeling better sunday about 1 pm. That was a rough flu bug! I knew it was tough thursday night after it just laughed at the NyQuil. Then I knew it was going to be a rough weekend. But everything started clearing up slowly but surely, and by sunday night my appetite finally came back. Today I woke up with a migraine, but outside of that the bug is gone. and that's a big relief.

I think I might have found another marathon. I thought about heading to San Diego for the rock and roll marathon may 31st. Then I saw how expensive the flight, hotel, reg fee, every dang thing was and decided that would not be it. I have been having a west coast jones lately though. kelley doesn't fly, so the only time i get to go far enough to fly is for work. Now I don't have to leave the house for work anymore, so I haven't been on a plane in years. more travel talk later, though.

One of my favorite places in the country is Racine, WI. I don't know why. But I found a marathon nearby, I thought that was going to be it. Travel was too expensive. I thought about grandma's marathon in Duluth, MN. I've always wanted to go to Minnesota. But the date just doesn't jive and travel is too expensive. Our family has a beach house on Tybee Island, GA. Oh crap, the Tybee marathon was last weekend Feb 7. Dang. ING Atlanta? oh wait, it's the same day as my Assault on the Carolina's bike ride. So I really did a ton of research before I finally found.....

Hillbilly heaven. Turns out, there is an entire weekend of festivities for a reunion of the Hatfields and McCoy's, and the festivities include a marathon. The course goes back and forth between Kentucky and West Virginia, and I've never really explored much of that area. You run past the gravesites and homesites of some of the family members involved in the fued. And the whole thing finishes with a pig pickin. It's a small race with only about 200 runners last year, and 25 aid stations. the negatives: It's june 13th, so it could be a little hot. But it's in the mountains, so it will be cooler there than it will be here. But in the mountains the course will be fairly hilly. the web site says the first half of the course is more difficult than the second half, so it must level out some after a while. But I have always been a mountaineer at heart, so to run a marathon in the mountains is more my speed anyway. And one of the twisted parts of my personality wants to try something more difficult after the easier version failed just to prove to myself the failure wasn't my fault. So take a quick look at and see what you think. Am I crazy for wanting to try this one? Everyone is assigned to the Hatfield team or the McCoy team, and the team with the lower total finishing time wins something. It's only about a 5 hour drive north of here, so the travel is totally acceptable. So it looks small, fun, and I love the mountains anyway. Around here we train with hills because there are no flat spots in Greenville. Well, there's one place on the other side of town to bike in a flat area.

This marathon is june 13th, one week after the Festival of Flowers international distance tri. So I've got to find a training plan that will work with both. I think I can maintain current running endurance until then, just be sure that the saturday long runs can still build and get one 18 mile or 20 miler in a few weeks before. I guess I'm taking some inspiration from Frayed Laces, who's training for a half ironman and the Boston Marathon that are only like 4 weeks apart. So I think it's totally doable. What do you think?

So Congratulations to Kelley for running a great race. I'm glad to be over this flu thing. Tri season is upon us, and it's time to put the next training plan in place. My next race is the Assault on the Carolina's bike ride March 28th. We're adding a half marathon April 25, it's the Earth Day half mary in Greer which looks like a really nice half. I'll fill in more training details as I figure them out. Have a great day! and THANK YOU for all of the well wishes in the comments of my last post. It was so comforting knowing I had support and friends from all over the country wanting me to feel better.

Friday, February 13, 2009

No Go

Looks like it's not in the cards for me to marathon this weekend. Last night was really tough. I don't want to gore you with medical details, but it got pretty nasty. I really thought I was going to have to go to the emergency room before the medication kicked in. So Kelley packed up the girls and headed out for myrtle beach this morning without me. I'm enough of a germaphobe to be paranoid about passing on the bug to the rest of her family. So she's running tomorrow, the race starts at 6:30 am. I'll be here in Greenville. It's supposed to be raining.

Tonight (friday ~6pm) I think the fever is about done. I have eaten some today, but not much. maybe 500 calories. I'm still going from sweating hot to shivering cold about every 15 minutes. But I think that will stabilize overnight. Even after getting over a bug, it still takes a couple of days to get your original energy levels and appetite back. So maybe if the race was tuesday or wednesday I could do it. But I have a really busy week at work coming up, and I have to be conservative about my energy levels to keep working. We've got a trade show coming up in less than 30 days, and I've got a lot of code to write between now and then.

So now I have to find another marathon to run. Preferably one in North Carolina in May or June. And it means I can start my tri training a little early instead of taking all of next week off. The race schedule has changed around a little bit anyway. Michael has a gig in NYC april 4th, so we won't be running the Cooper River Bridge Run. I'm taking Coach Stu to The Masters this year for one day, so that's going to be really cool. I haven't been since 2003, so it should be really fun. My family has had Master's badges since the 70's, so I get to go for a day every couple of years. And my mom wants to take us to the beach sometime this spring. so it's all screwy.

So I'm pretty pissed off and a little depressed about not getting to run tomorrow. I know triathlons are going to be rolling along before I know it, and I know I have to be pretty conservative with my health right now. And once I find another marathon to sign up for I know the motivation will fall into place again.

I do have some good news, though. We found a long-term tenant for my mountain house. They are going to be moving in March 1st, which means I have next weekend and next weekend only to make 3 or 4 trips up there (3.5 hours each way) with a pickup truck to get all of my furniture moved out. We also had a pipe burst causing a little flooding up there, so we also might get the carpet replaced while it's still vacant. But getting that house sold or into a long term lease is the first key step to getting us moved back to north carolina. so that's awesome!

I'll post how Kelley does and some pics once I know something.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Race Preview

Well, marathon time is almost upon us. Tomorrow we're traveling down to Myrtle Beach, hitting the packet pickup and expo. I hope to meet up with some folks there. We're traveling with the girls, and our neice and her friend. We're then sharing a condo with Wifey's dad, and her mom will be keeping the girls with them. so we might actually get some sleep friday night.

6:30 saturday morning is race start. It's a full 26.2 miles, in one loop. the start/finish is a few blocks off of the beach, and then you basically run a rectangle course. Here's the course map. It starts running around Broadway at the Beach, which is where we stay when we go to MB. You turn onto second row for a while, then come back through the grand strand, then back to second row until you go away from the coast to the finish line. Wifey's dad is a morning person, and I know he's bringing his new Nikon D60, an awesome camera. so he's going to be our official photographer. He's been incredibly supportive of us through the entire process. Wifey's mom, stepdad, one of her aunts, and a handful of cousins are also coming. they don't need much of an excuse to go to myrtle beach. My family is not coming because they agree with my point of view on myrtle beach.

But here's the kicker. Last night I started running a fever. Bigun went back to school today after missing a week with what the doctors called a "stomach bug" that gave her 4 days of fever, vomiting and diarrhea. EG just had the snots really bad. and I was really concerned that they were going to get us sick too, right here before marathon time. Well, last night I started the fever, and I still have it hanging around 100 degrees. I took some nyquil (love the nyquil) and an airborne, and i've been chugging vitamin c and listerine like it was keg beer. then this morning Wifey said she was starting to feel icky. I've got the full body pains today, still having a fever, but that's been it. I thought we were careful when the kids got sick, but I guess we weren't careful enough.

Did you know that webMD lists competitive running as a cause of diarrhea? I could end up finishing like that guy in the pic above. The weather forecast calls for some rain and a high temp of 63 degrees. So with a fever and maybe vomiting and diarrhea, running 26.2 miles in the rain sounds like the perfect choice of activity. Actually, it changes the goals up some. I'm not going to worry about time. If I end up walking 25 miles and finishing in 7 hours it's ok. Any discussion about marathon will tell you that the race itself is rather anti-climactic. My training plan covered 539 miles over 20 weeks. Sure, I missed my share of the scheduled runs, but I'm sure it still cleared 450 miles. Most people would argue that the most difficult part of your first marathon is having the courage to register and the determination to complete the training plan. That's done. I have also enjoyed the process enough to be sure that this won't be my last marathon either. So I'm going to get another shot at breaking 5 hours. this time I'm just going to try and be as comfortable as possible. and if this stupid sickness means i can't finish, then i can't finish.

So good luck to anyone else who is running this race with me or any other race this weekend. There's a bunch of them, i know. Jess has a 5k on saturday, knock it out girl!

We'll be traveling back here on sunday, so I will post a race report on monday. if there's anything to report on. happy valentines day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I just got word, and have to pass it on to you. tomorrow, thursday 2/12/09 be sure to watch Gray's Anatomy. They are using another one of Michael's songs. This one is called "Happy Endings" from the Shiv cd. How cool! i have no idea where in the episode it will air, but if you've ever caught his music before you should recognize it.

He had one song from another album on Gray's a few years ago. It was "break you're mama's back" from the No Dissasemble album, which had a nationwide release on a major record label. So to sell another song without label support, he must really be doing something right. And break you're mama's back is an awesome tune. they also used it on an episode of One Tree Hill.

I am quite proud of my brother!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

4 more days

Well, there are only 4 more days until the marathon. Wifey's starting to get scared. The kiddos are feeling better, and we seem to have avoided catching anything. So here's how the weekend shook down:

saturday was fantastic outside. I did get some good stuff done in the garden, but not enough. i never get enough done. but it was sunny and in the high 60's here. It was so nice i decided to head to the gym for my long run. I went 8 miles on the treadmill. I really was just trying to get the knees a little work on the softer surface. I really wanted to focus on my form, speed/pace control, do a little speed work and just play around some. Might not have been the best time, but I did it anyway. I covered an entire mile at a 7.0 speed, first time that's happened. I hit the 5k distance at just over 27 minutes, including some walking warm up time. So that was really cool. but then towards the end I started paying the price for my speed. I moved the chopat brace over to the left knee, then the right knee started hurting. So today I've got to get the oil changed in the car, pick up another chopat brace for the other knee, and get the final 3 mile run in. it's the last run on the plan before the marathon, so i'm really looking forward to it. After that it's all just packing and travel prep.

Sunday was gorgeous here. It was mostly sunny, and 72 degrees. I got a good day in the garden. Really finally made some headway on the bed prep. I got an "after" pic from sunday, that I'm thinking will become the "before" pic for the 2009 veg bed.

You can see the raised bed I built last year, and the cleared and de-weeded part that was last year's veggie patch. The white part in the back is the garlic I planted in the fall, mulched with some wheat straw. I cut a line extending that cutout from the raised bed, and I got started removing the sod from that section. The raised bed is a cleared play area for the girls. I think it would be a cool log to post a pic with the same basic frame every couple of weeks to watch the plants grow. To the right of what's in the pic is the asparagus and perennial plantings. I've got some blueberry and raspberry plantings there, and I'm thinking about adding some rhubarb this year. Every tried rhubarb? I don't think I've ever tried growing or eating it, but I hear the pies are quite tasty.

I also got a couple of miles on the bike sunday. Turns out gardening makes fantastic cross training! After clearing out all those weeds, some sod removal, spreading lime and my homemade compost over the beds, etc. the knees felt great! I thought for sure all that walking, digging, and pushing the wheelbarrow around would tear something up. But I felt so good after all that garden work, I tried out the shoes and pedals on the roads for the first time. It was so warm and sunny I just couldn't go inside. I'm happy to report I did not fall down! There was one time I really thought I was going down, even with the old non-clip in pedals. But I managed to get a foot out in time and saved the scratches.

Then yesterday I had to be in atlanta for work. Man, that makes for a long day. I left the house here at 6:30 am, and got back here at about 8:30 pm. Stuck in meetings all. day. And i wish i could claim they were interesting. The good news is it looks like we've got a few things to send out to Wes, so we'll finally be working together on this project. At least when I'm working at home I can walk out to the backyard every once in while. At the office, I didn't breathe fresh air after I got there at 9 until leaving at 6. Lunch was brought in. The lights in the conference room became depressing when I knew it was 74 degrees outside in atlanta.

So thursday I'll post a race preview for the marathon, friday we're all traveling. If you are going to be in MB, we'll have the cell phone. call me at 864-420-0495 if you want to meet up somewhere. I'm always game for meeting a blogger. Some folks (like Ryan) I know I'm going to see. And Mendy/David I'm sure I'll run into. And one of my old fraternity brothers is going to be there too with his new wife. I haven't seen them since the wedding. So call me bitches, or at least look for me at the expo.

Then it will be time for this:

Sleep. and maybe some of this:

Babies taking a crap in the woods. C ya!

Friday, February 6, 2009

What a wild morning

Yesterday morning was so NUTS I have to tell you about it. I got up at a reasonable time with perfectly reasonable expectations for the day. Little did I know what was in store. I was supposed to take Bigun to kindergarten about 45 minutes early for a "doughnuts for dads" day, so all of the dads could get together and have some fellowship with all of the kids. She's in 3 yr old kindergarten with a local church. So I got her out of bed a little early. Every morning she says she doesn't feel so well. But today, while getting dressed she threw up on me. twice. Then again in the toilet. So no doughnuts for me. Poor thing.

Then Wifey comes home from the gym and is upset that she has to look after a sick child instead of having her in school for the morning. Sorry I didn't feel like spreading the infection through doughnuts. Then she accidentally meat-punched me, then forcefully plucked a random hair from my forehead. Then she sat down on my lap and farted. What the hell?

Then EG woke up sick too, as an Evil Genius is known to do. This time, both cheeks were encrusted with dried snot, so her nose was running all night long. Both kids also have a feveer. But at least EG wasn't vomituous.


Now to be clear, I can't use fancy footnotes like Glaven does. This programmer doesn't want to commit the time to figure that out. So meat-punching by definition is a surprise. the best way is to ring someone's doorbell and take a knee. they won't be looking down when they answer the door, and you will be on the level to deliver a square punch in the dick. Poor bastard will never see it coming. And vomituous is a word Wifey thinks I made up (vom-IT-u-us) meaning a feeling like you are about to vomit. And by poor thing (in the first paragraph), i was referring to myself. screw the sick kid. I finally get to socialize with other guys that have kids the same age as my kids over doughnuts, my favorite cheat food ever, and i get robbed by puke? dang.

Just kidding, i really was feeling sorry for the kid. And i didn't know if it was krispy creme or dunkin doughnuts. I'm a dunkin man for the coffee and all of the cake doughnuts. I'll take it over krispy's every time. Wifey thinks that's rediculous. But still, i might have gone to the church anyway if I knew it was dunkin's.

And if you notice a distinct lack of running notes, that's the beauty of the taper. Lots of rest days. Including yesterday. I did get on the bike on a trainer for about half an hour on wednesday, and did some yoga today. Tomorrow (saturday) is an 8 mile long run, and I might do some strength training on sunday, but it will be some light core work more than likely.

So have a great weekend, good luck if you're racing, and I'm sure some of you are. I haven't actually walked outside of the walls of the house since tuesday, so I'm half stir crazy. And got the spring fever something bad. yesterday it was 22 degrees when kelley left the gym, and tomorrow the high is supposed to be 65. Quite a swing, so I'm going to get outside as much as i can over the weekend.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Book Review

I fnished reading Tri Power: The Ultimate Strength Training, Core Conditioning, Endurance, and Flexibility Program for Triathlon Success the other night. I really enjoyed this book, and the program they promote. It is well researched, seems effective, and appropriate for runners and triathletes.

I talked some a few posts ago about balance. I think balance and stability is what gives us power and endurance basis points. When we run, we want to limit the side to side movements, and be sure all movement is helping us move forward. Same thing on the bike, without balance we would fall over a lot. And in the pool balance and stability in the water helps us rotate properly and keep a full range of motion and easier breathing. Tri Power focuses on balance, stability and core conditioning.

I think this book has equal appeal to men and women. I used to train like a bodybuilder, even though I never had the mass or definition to enter a competition. So I am intrinsically skeptic of a weightlifting book that doesn't have heavy bench press as a focal point. But this program starts with a complete look at the core, from sternum to hip flexors front and back. A lot of the exercises are body weight or light dumbells/bands for resistance, and tons of time on the swiss ball. So the true focus of the program is to help specifically with one or all of the tri sports.

It is a program, not just a suggestion. There is strength training, where you actually try and increase upper body, lower body, and core strength; flexibility which prevents injury and allows the muscles to stay supple and able to train hard; and finally conditioning which allows the muscles to perform for longer periods of time. The program is designed to take 6 - 9 months to cover you through the entire season of races. There is a self-assessment you are supposed to take every 4 weeks to monitor progress in strength and flexibility. Then 4 days a week you do 15 minutes of stretching and simple excersises. 2 days a week there is a longer strength training session, depending on what phase of the program you are in. There are base, strength gain, and maintenance phases of the program, so you can sustain it throughout the racing season.

I think a program like this is what can make the difference between completing races and competing in them. It can also be the difference between running the entire year comfortably and having overuse and form injuries. The worst thing I did in my marathon training plan was running and nothing else. I let my core fall into a secondary position. And that's when the knees, ankles and shins started acting up and bringing in new pains. When you work on your form and get plenty of cross training your body will be in balance. Focusing on only running will only work those muscles, and the body gets out of balance. Stay in balance, and you will stay healthy and show improvements in every area.

Don't use Tri Power unless you want to stay stable, injury free, and in balance. I'm taking the week after the marathon off (feb 15 - 21), then I'm going to start this program first thing on the 22nd. I really think this is what's been missing from my marathon plan. It's achievable, steady, and beneficial.


And as if my spring fever wasn't bad enough, I got my garden planned out for this year. last year I had two spaces for veg, and one of them was too acidic to really perform well. I had some beans that grew pretty well there, but this year i'm going to do something else.

I finally got my Ison's order placed. Ison's is a small family owned nursery in southeastern Georgia. they are in zone 8, so anything they can grow and sell will also do very well in the pacific northwest for all of my Portland peeps. This is a hidden jewel that is only known around some parts of the south, and they ship some amazing products. I ordered 3 seedless grape vines, 7 blueberry bushes, and 2 boysenberry bushes. Last year, I got 3 muscadine vines, they should set fruit this year and I can't wait. My grandfather found them years ago, and grew about 20 muscadine vines on his farm. I'm going to put up the grapes next to my trellis of muscadines, and make the underperforming veg patch from last year into a full berry patch. The strawberry plants I put in there last year did ok, but the squirrels ate most of the berries. still, those plants will be back this year and I can cover the whole patch with netting.

I also got my seed order placed for Park's Seeds. They are another local seed and plant shop, in Greenwood about an hour and a half from here. I'm doing an oly tri in Greenwood this year. But Parks is pretty well known around the country. I ordered some corn, plenty of peppers, some peas, and another 25 strawberry plants with growin bags. I'm going to try hanging some strawberries this year too.

So I'm expanding the veg patch that did pretty well last year. I still have to de-weed last years patch, and clear out grass and border up the new space. But the veg list for this year includes:
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Gourds
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins
  • Pole and Bush green beans
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers (sweet, hot, bell, banana)
  • Corn
  • Peas

all in a single 60 x 30 ft patch. A lot of those grow like vines, so I'm going to take advantage of that. Use the taller products like tomatoes and corn to shade the veg that burns in the afternoon sun like beans, squash & zuc, and I think I've got a decent plan put together. Now all it takes is the actual work to get the beds ready and limed, get the soil ammended, and start some of the seeds in flats inside.

I'm also going to do plenty of herbs, but I discovered last year that it was too much of a pain to leave something on the stove to go to the backyard and grab fresh herbs. So all of the herbs are going in containers on the deck. They grow really well there, and the squirrels tend to leave herbs alone up there.

I didn't order anything from Seeds of Change this year, but I normally do. They are an all organic, carbon neutral organization, and the tree hugger in me likes supporting that. But I bought such a low volume of seeds this year, that I just went to Park's. I wanted the Silver Queen corn, and SoC didn't have it.

So it's off to work! I seem to be making a lot of work for myself now, with a new strength training program, garden plan, and tons of code to write. and miles to go before i sleep, and miles to go before i sleep. Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Howdy partner

We got exactly no snow here in the upstate, even though they were calling for 1 to 3 inches. still, it was enough to make the power go out overnight monday, so we woke up to blinking alarm clocks yesterday. oops. nothing like being late for everything to start the day. I missed my workout too, but I'm ok with that. It's good to be in the taper. Today I've got a staff meeting, bike trainer time, chiropractor appointment (finally) and I got in some yoga early this morning.

I thought wifey was going to kill me this morning. After the power outage monday night, I reset the clocks. To the wrong time, apparently. Didn't notice anything wrong until this morning, when the alarm went off, and I got up half an hour later when the alarm clock said 6:05. I came in, fixed breakfast, fired up sportscenter, and finished my breakfast at 5:20 am. what? when Wifey realized my gaff, she about went nuts. she got up too early for her 3 mile run at the gym? Everyone out there make a note: never take sleep away from a sahm. it's their only peace. I'm lucky to be alive. Since I had the extra time this morning listening to the baby monitors, I decided to do some yoga.

I've got a call to action today. We want to run a particular race called the Mud Run. Here are the details on for the registration details, and the official race website. It's a four mile race with obstacles. There's a military influence, so the obstacles are things like crawling through mud, scaling walls, lots of rope things to deal with. It looks REALLY cool, and Wifey really really wants to run this race. The problem is, you have to register and run as a team of 4 people, two men and two women. The teams start and finish at the same time, and you have to help each other over the obstacles. We cannot find another couple to race with us. My brother Michael said he would do it, but his wife is battling some plantar fasciatis right now and won't be able to run in time. The race is saturday May 2nd. So if any of you chicks want to run with us and Michael, that's cool. Or we can chick Mike if you and the spouse want to do it too. either way, we want to run this race. BONUS: Phil and Amy from last season's Biggest Loser are already signed up to run this race, and will stick around for autographs and hanging out time afterwards. So comment, email, call or skype me if you are interested.

On a northern note, today it's 17 degrees and sunny here in the upstate. they were calling for more snow. But it's only supposed to get up to 37 today, so keep your fingers crossed for a little precipitation. I love the snow, and we never get any here.

10 days until the marathon! Countdown is on.

Monday, February 2, 2009

If triathlon was easier, they'd call it Football

Did you see those candy-assed overpaid bitches on "the game" last night? I was pulling for the Cardinals. If the steelers opening drive field goal had been counted a touchdown, or Kurt Warner hadn't been picked off on the goal line right before halftime then we might be singing a different song today. So let me describe my super bowl party. I started with some yoga during the pregame show. Then we all went out to dinner and to a local circuit city store that's closing down. We found a new dvd player for the back room. I saw the kickoff from the restaurant. TiVo got first couple of hours anyway, so I wasn't worried. Then we came home and got the kids in the bath. Because it's not a great super bowl party without a couple of naked girls. Then we read bedtime stories and saw 7 minutes of springsteen at halftime. Then I caught up with TiVo, and we got to watch the forth quarter live before going to bed at 10:30. oh yea, that was wild.

Other than that, it was pretty uneventful weekend. Michael and Summer were in town from Charleston for his birthday, so we had dinner with the fam saturday night. Wifey did 12 miles on the treadmill saturday morning, I made it out to Furman for my 12 mile run too late in the day saturday, so I only got about 7 miles in (1:16, 750 calories).

I did find a trail to run on saturday. Coach Katie said the normal asphalt path I run on could be too hard on the knees. So I went off road, and it was pretty fun. There were a lot more hills, twists, and turns than the normal route has. And the loop was about 2.5 miles instead of the normal 1.3 mile loop. It would be a fantastic trail to take the mountain bike out on. Lots of single track MTB type of surfaces. But it was a good run.

Before the run, I went to the local running store and got a double chopat brace. This thing really got the job done. The double brace has velcro stuff for above and below the kneecap. It really kept my right knee stable and pain free. I really need to get in some more smaller runs, and I've got to go back to the store and get one for my left knee too. They were also having a big Mizuno sale, so I picked up another pair of shoes, and some extra gels for the marathon.


Oh my. Marathon prep is in full swing, we're starting to get a feel for the weather patterns and make some final race weekend plans. The condo has been paid for, travel plans are all set, everything else is falling into place. I know we're ready, but now's when the anxiety starts to set in. Relax, enjoy the taper. This is what all of those miles are for.

Sunday was sunny and in the low 60's here. So I had the girls with me outside and in the garden. It felt sooooo good to get dirty again. it's all still bed prep and planning at this point, but just pulling some weeds and clearing some space in the sunshine was a great start. I also got all of the planning done, planning the space and picking what i want to grow this summer. Time to get the seed orders placed.

Oh, I did sign up for that april triathlon with FS Series in Raleigh. It's a small sprint, 750 meter swim, 10.1 mile bike, and 5k run. I think with those distances I should be able to break an hour and a half. And Wifey's dad was thrilled that we would be coming to see him for the weekend. So we can kill a few birds with one stone. I'm really going to try and give this short bike route all I've got, it should be a flat and fast course. My tri last year was just to complete, not compete. This time I want to pay more attention to what i'm doing, not just wondering if I'll survive.

Speaking of surviving, I had a really good swim this morning. I FINALLY knocked out 100m consecutively to get a base time. Not that 2:15 is a fast swim pace, but I have to enter a pace for seeding in the races, and this will give me a guidline. Last year it took several months before I could do more than a few laps in the backyard pool, so I'm really glad to see the swim endurance falling in line. This morning I did a 1/4 mile breaststroke, 1/2 mile backstroke and maybe 44 laps freestyle in about an hour. Swimming is such a good workout, but it really takes a while to get good and be able to go long. What was really cool about today was my stroke count. When I first got in the pool a few weeks ago, I counted 24 strokes average to get one length of the pool. After working on the form and starting to breathe from both sides, I am averaging 19 strokes per lap today. Coach says that's the best indicator of improvement. I remember being overwhelmed by my first 8 mile run, then sweating bullets just thinking about running in double digit miles. Now 8 miles is an easy midweek jog. I know swimming is going to be the same way. And to be able to see some improvement already is really reassuring. And unexpected.

And if that weren't enough, I think I'm starting to get the hang of the clipless pedals. I was going to take the bike on the road sunday when it was so warm, and I ended up doing gardening stuff instead. But this is why triathlon is tough. You always have to be looking forward. Planning the next set of workouts and the next race. It also helps you achieve balance, which is what I lost when I was only running. Just doing the marathon training plan, I stopped lifting weights, stopped biking and stayed out of the pool. Then my knees and shins started hurting. Balance is the key to maintaining overall fitness. But that's another post for another day.