Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Did some weights and intervals at the gym last night. Intervals were 4 miles in 40 minutes total. warm up, cool down, then the speedwork was 1k, 2k, 1k, 1k intervals at 7.1 speed on the treadmill, with .25 miles at 5.9 speed rest intervals in between. I did have to sprinkle in a little walking too.

Also yesterday, Kelley got into the garden while the kids were napping, and she got the sunflowers, potatoes, squash and zucchini planted and somewhat mulched. I got out there too for a few minutes (it was a beautiful day) and got the rest of the peppers mulched. Still have to get the tomato plants in the ground, and seeds for corn, pole beans, and bush beans and mulch the rest.

happy hump day! My wednesday photo this week is Evil Genius. This is a really cute picture, but the look on her face kind of says "I hope you have good insurance". and that scares me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crazy Eights

I got tagged by Amanda, a cool chick down in Charleston. Amanda and her husband ran the half marathon at Myrtle Beach when Kelley ran the full. And my brother Michael lives in Charleston too, and Mike and I are always hanging out. Sometime when I'm tripping to chucktown, I really want to meet up for a run with Amanda and her husband. So here's my Crazy 8's.

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
  1. My garden being fully planted
  2. Abandoning said garden and moving back to North Carolina
  3. Finally selling my mountain house - that has to happen before I will qualify for a mortgage to move back to North Carolina
  4. Getting my lawnmower back from the repair shop
  5. Saturday (always) - but this saturday is the mud run, and Michael is coming back to Greenville to run it with us
  6. My first bike race May 7th
  7. My first olympic distance triathlon June 6th
  8. My first marathon June 13th

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

  1. Work - writing code
  2. Work - fixed web site permissions for a hosting client
  3. Ate 6 healthy meals
  4. Gave the girls a bath
  5. Read bedtime stories
  6. I don't do 8 different things in one day. very boring, I know. But I did not have to leave the house all day.

8 Things I Wish I Could/Want To Do:

  1. This should be the same thing as the 8 things I'm looking forward to
  2. Grow corn. Every year I try and the stalks get 4 ft tall and die. maybe I'll have better luck this year.
  3. Run a 4 hour marathon
  4. Run a 20 minute 5k
  5. Win a bike race
  6. Ironman
  7. Raise trees. This sounds funny, but I would love to set up a raised bed with hundreds of Red Japanese Maple seedlings, grow them for a year and sell them online. Rotate the crops so I've got a constant supply of 2 ft jap maples to sell. Japanese maples are my all time favorite tree.
  8. Build a wooden boat. This has been a fantasy since I started woodworking back in college. A kit, a cedar lapstrake canoe, a one man sailboat, it doesn't matter. I build it, and it floats. That's cool.

8 Shows I watch:

  1. Days of Our Lives
  2. All My Children
  3. Grey's Anatomy
  4. My Name is Earl
  5. The Big Bang Theory
  6. Private Practice
  7. The Biggest Liar
  8. Chuck

8 People I want to know more about: Tag, you're it

  1. Crazy 8's has been around the blogosphere, so it's tough to tag anybody
  2. Glaven could crazy 8's about the 8 types of his perverted fetishes
  3. Wow, I really think everyone else has already done it. Glaven is really a loser for not getting tagged!
  4. If you haven't done it yet, get yo crazy 8's on and give me credit for tagging you.

All is well on the homefront. I've got some speedwork on tap for tonight, and a bike ride coming soon. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer is here

One of the horrible things about South Carolina is the changing of the seasons. That is, it happens so fast. We get about 3 months of winter, 2 weeks of spring, 2 weeks of fall, and 8 months of summer. I know for most people, that doesn't sound so bad. But we are cold people. We like the mountain summers where temps never get over 83 in mid July. We hate the beach.

It was a beautiful weekend. But temps got into the low 90's here and it's still freaking APRIL mr weatherman!!! Looks like our 2 weeks of spring is gone and gone. I guess it was fun while it lasted; oh wait. I've been laid up with pollen allergies for the last 2 weeks. I've never had a pollen problem before, and let me tell you it sucks. But friday afternoon everything started clearing up, I was able to put the contact lenses back in, and things finally started feeling better.

Saturday we got out into the garden. It desparately needed some love. Here's what it looked like before:

and here's after: actually this was sunday morning. Notice all the grass from the left hand side is gone.

So we got the rest of the sod cleared,weeds taken care of, and the whole area was clear and ready to plant. Here's what we had going into the ground:

We got in a good 5 hours of gardening saturday morning. The girls absolutely loved every minute of it. They didn't want to go back inside for lunch. The earthworms that we love in the garden did not love having the girls in there, however. Evil Genuis liked using the worms we found to measure things. She kept stretching them out, wrapped them around the fence, other forms of general animal torture you would expect from an Evil Genius. Bigun liked to see how many she could hold at once before they wriggled out of her little hand, and she would end up squishing them. Earthworms are a sign that the soil is very fertile and nutrient dense, so it is a good thing we have so many.

Now after 5 hours of gardening on Saturday, the kids took a nap, I fueled up and went to the gym. I blew off a half marathon to garden, and after 5 hours in the 93 degree heat I wanted to take a nap too. But that dang training plan called for 16 miles today. I was originally going to cut it down to 13.1, and I ended up doign 13.5 miles on the treadmill at the gym. It was so hot outside, and I already felt a little sunburned. But I made sure to track my half marathon time and splits. First was 5.5 miles in 55 minutes (including a warm up walk), then 5.5 miles in 58:21, and 2.1 miles in 24:40 for a half marathon total time of 2:18:01 which would have been a nice PR had I done the race saturday. Then I kept going for another .4 miles just to see what I had left. There wasn't much gas left in the tank. But I felt god about the half time, and it was getting late into the evening so I just called it and went home.

Sunday morning we went back out into the garden and spread out some dookey. Horse and cow manure, actually. But all the kids could focus on was playing with poo. Then I fought with the tiller to try and get it started and the tiller won. I ended up tilling the pepper patch with a shovel, and got all 50 pepper plants in the ground. I'm using a flat piece of concrete reinforcing wire to outline my pepper patch this year. I'm going to hold it off of the ground with wooden stakes, but I laid it flat and put one pepper plant inside each hole in the mesh. So the plants will grow up through the wire, and have the support they need to keep from falling over. Peppers need full sun for the leaves to grow, and the leaves provide the shade needed for the pepper fruits to grow. So they are best grown in a patch, and that's why I didn't get a very good yield last year. I tried to intersperse the peppers through the other plants. So this year we'll see how much more fruit I can get growing as a patch. and if this reinforcing wire works it will be a really cool gardening trick.

We still have to finish mulching with the straw and get all of the other plants in the ground. But they are coming. It will all get there. Those are strawberry plants in the foreground, and the pepper plants are half mulched.

I wanted to take the bike out on sunday, but movies and the heat got the best of me. And the soreness. I woke up sunday with incredibly sore legs. the bike should have worked out some of that stuff, but the gardening did not. So it became incredibly challenging to push that shovel back into the dirt, or take a knee to sink a plant.

I did use the Awesome Auger to get those peppers in the ground. That was really cool. It tilled the cow manure into the dirt, and left me with a perfect planting hole. And since I was using the reinforcing wire for my layout, it was easy.

My peas are also about a foot high now, you might be able to see them starting to climb the fence. Happy monday! hope your weekend was as good as mine.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What's next

It started last wednesday, 9 days ago. One of the joys of living in the south is dealing with the pollen. Yes, it's nice that everything sub-tropical grows here. Having a vacant wooded lot next door gives some nice privacy. But for the last 9 mornings I have woken up with a huge headache. Sinuses so stuffed up that my teeth hurt. My head feels like a bowling ball perched on a golf tee. Once we got back in town, I had to take out my contact lenses - both eyes are still bloodshot. I can't do anything. I'm ready for this pollen to GO AWAY.

I can't even work out. The TOA tri was the only exercise that I've gotten since this crap started. I took musinex and advil before the race to keep everything cleared, and it worked. but once the musinex wore off, everything came roaring back with more of a vengance. I haven't even been doing yoga or the tri power workouts, just bending over makes the bowling ball fall off. 10 minutes in the garden knocks me out for the rest of the day.

I think the end is in sight, though. This is all tree pollen, and the trees are looking pretty clear now. This mornings headache wasn't as severe as the last few days. I might even be able to put my eyes back in tomorrow. This forced downtime has let me reflect on a few things and heal up from a few things.

American health care is a screwed up system. I'm supposed to have a bone scan on tuesday, and when the hospital called to preregister me..... fuggit about it. It's going to cost me an arm, I've got to take a day off of work (bad timing) and with 9 days no running my leg doesn't hurt anymore. So I'm cancelling that thing. If we had universal health care it might be a different story.

I'm skipping a half marathon that I had planned for saturday. It was an earth day half that runs through one of Greenville's suburbs and is very close to home. But it was really a training race that I had not even registered for yet, and after the tri last weekend and this stupid pollen thing I just don't feel like pulling a half out of thin air. My goal is to hit the treadmill (no pollen in the gym) for my planned 16 mile long run. If my head doesn't feel like a bowling ball.

Now is the prime time for planting down here. I've got to put the veg garden in the ground. Sure, some of the warm weather plants aren't availble yet (okra, pumpkins, cantaloupe, etc) but the tomatoes and beans and peppers and squash are ready and I've got about 70 plants ready to go in the ground. So it seems like a good weekend to garden (pollen death notwithstanding).

Next weekend May 2nd is the Mud Run. Michael's coming into town for it, and we can't wait. It's only 4 miles, with obstacles, and it should be a ton of fun. Kelley's been looking forward to it for a long time now. We're running with the C group, so it should be a bunch of other fat old people. We'll fit right in!

May 7th is the first of four time trials put on by the Greenville Spinners club that I am already a member of. Racing is free for members. This will be the first time I've tried a bike only race. Sure, it's just me against the clock just like in triathlon. There's not a big pelloton like in the tour de anything. Kelley has a cousin who's husband is a cat 3 bike racer. He's going to come down and ride the TT's too. We're very close with them, so this is very cool. But all of my other bike stuff is tri's or organized rides with distance but no time specification. This is a 10 mile out and back route that individuals get timed on and ranked by age group/time. You can choose to run cat 1 - 5 if you're a pro like Marcus, I'll stick with age group thanks. They run one TT every month for may - august, and it seems to me like a great way to spend a thursday night. So I'm really looking forward to it. Last year the first race only had two guys in my age group, so I'm looking for a top 3 finish.

The June time trial is June 11th. This falls nicely in between the Festival of Flowers international distance triathlon June 7th, and the Hatfields and McCoy's marathon June 13th. I'm not sure it's a good idea to do 3 races in 6 days, so that time trial might get dropped. Is a 10 mile bike race a good way to marathon taper? I'm still not convinced that it's a good idea to do my first oly tri 6 days before my first marathon.

The oly is double the TOA tri from last weekend. The 750m swim becomes a 1500m swim. The 10.5 mile bike becomes a 24 mile bike, and the 5k run becomes a 10k. So I have to ask myself when I was done with the race last weekend, did I feel like doing that again? Except for the post-water disorientation, yea I think I could have done it again. I've got to revisit my fuel strategy. No time goal, just try to complete, not compete. The run leg is going to be in some serious heat (over 90 degrees), and the overall time is going to be in the four hour range more than likely. Hydration and nutrition are super important here.

The marathon is going to be another story. It's a higher elevation, temps in the 80's, and maybe some hills. I still have to make travel plans for this one, get a hotel room, etc. But my first marathon is only 7 weeks away, and losing 9 days of training to pollen is not cool. I've really got to stick to my long runs more closely no matter what. 7 weeks to marathon!

Then I'm going to take a few weeks off. Good luck if you're racing this weekend, hopefully I will have garden pics to show off on monday, not a funeral announcement. Bye-bye pollen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Race Pics

We made it back to Greenville about midnight last night. The kids were pretty good on the ride, but they didn't fall asleep until about 11 pm. Overall it was a great trip to Raleigh. 4 nights is a long time to keep the girls out of their normal routine. I was suprised how easy it was to work there. Kelley's dad and I have always gotten along really well, and it was nice sharing an office with someone else for a change. He's worked for himself from home for 20 years now, so I just slid right into his office.

This pollen is still screwing with me. Today my head feels as stable as a bowling ball on a golf tee. My sinuses are so stuffed up my teeth actually hurt. massive headache, I'm going to see if I can get into the chiropractor tomorrow. I wanted to get an adjustment after the race anyway, but this head thing is incredibly motivating. or demotivating depending on how you look at it.

Ok, on to the race pics. These are from the Triangle Orthopaedic Association Sprint Triathlon in Raleigh NC this past sunday, April 19th. I might go back and put some of these into my Race Report for posterity's sake.

I got a smiley face put on the other calf as a nod and a wink to Steve Stenzel, who does that for every race. Body marking done, I was bib #123, which I found motivating. Kelley thought it was very strange that I was running as a 34 year old, when I won't turn 34 until July.

Getting the TA setup before start. I always love talking with other racers. It can be tough to find other local people that are as crazy as we are, but they always seem to show up for the race. There was over 200 people running this one.

Kelley kept taking pictures of this guy. Any idea why?

Hanging out before the race. I did take Wes's advice and get into the water long enough to get acclimated and get used to the wetsuit before the race started. Plus I look damn sexy in a wetsuit.

Getting ready to start. Before the race I was hanging out some with the guy standing in front of me. Kelley thinks his ass is perfectly shaped. That's really why she took this picture.

We started from the dock, stepping onto the mat and diving in.

Yep, that's me diving in. this is such a cool shot.

Why so many pics of me in the water? I guess I was pleased with my swim.

I totally chicked that other guy right at the end of the swim. If that wasn't bad enough, as soon as we got out of the water, I was incredibly disoriented and slammed into him.

Coming out of the water, you can see a third green cap right on my feet.

Here I have no idea where I am, what I'm doing, where I'm trying to go and all I want to do is puke. I stumbled into the crowd, they pushed me back onto the mat and it's off to T1.

Finally able to stand up sucessfully again 6 minutes later, we're off on the bike. I love how I look in this picture, but I wish my helmet was on straight. My legs came out really muscular, and the other 2 guys look like they are fumbling around. Really, we are all stumbling like drunk monkeys. I just appear less drunk, I think.

Here I'm coming back in after the 10.5 mile bike route. Hungry but more stable. I drank a whole bottle of Heed on the bike to try and get some calories back in me once I didn't want to puke anymore. Then, after chugging that much Heed while trying to peddle faster, I wanted to puke.

In T2 for only a couple of minutes. I'm trying to catch my breath, change shoes, get ready for the run. Again, the sideways helmet is cool. You watch, in a few months rappers are going to be showing up in nightclubs with bike helmets on sideways like that. It's becoming the "green" thing to do.

Here's "that guy" again. WTH? Why so many pictures of him? Just because my wife thinks I'm gay, she had to take tons of pics of all the shirtless athletes. I think I should be concerned about this. Yet somehow, I just can't be.

In the finish chute, tons of cheering spectators, and my second tri is in the books. It's a pretty good finish line pic, at least I'm not trying to stop my Garmin like most finish line pics. I went with the "both arms in triumphant achievement" pose.

Now that's a happy nerd after the race. It was a great morning, I really gave everything I had. It feels good to know that you did your best at anything, but this face really shows the kind of satisfaction you can only get from personal achievement. I am very pleased with my performance and my preparation, and I can't wait for the next race.

My next race is a mud run with military obstacles here in Greenville May 3rd. I'm dropping the half marathon next weekend for entry fee purposes. Plus a weekend in the garden is long overdue.

Monday, April 20, 2009

TOA Race Report

Well, the Triangle Orthopaedic Sprint Triathlon is in the books. I finished with respectable times, but did not meet my goals. Total run time was 1:40:46, a 22 minute improvement over my last sprint tri. but I almost want to put an asterisk because the course was shorter. We're staying in Raleigh for a few more days, I'll have to wait until we get back to Greenville before I can pull the pics off of the camera.

Goal times: 18 min swim, 40 min bike, 30 min run, 5 min transition = 1:33 total
Actual times: 18:55 swim, 41:49 bike, 30:53 run, 9:11 transition = 1:40:46 total
Finish 22nd place out of 22 people in 30-34 age group.

Swim - 750 meters - 18:55 - 2:31 100m pace
I actually kicked ass in the swim, which was totally unexpected. I haven't been in the pool in 6 weeks, it was my first open water swim, first time in a wetsuit. The wetsuit felt like I was cheating. It puts you so high up in the water I was just floating along. It was a circle swim course with 4 bouys to go around. We started from a dock with a timing mat on it, one person started every 5 seconds. I was chip 123 out of about 230 racers. I hit the mat, and dove off of the dock and started hitting it hard. I typically freestyle until I need to catch my breath, then breaststroke until the lungs are better and freestyle some more. This time I also had to roll onto my back and backstroke it for a while. My hands really started hurting after the 3rd bouy.

Now in the pool (from what I remember in my old age) I can barely make it 100 meters before stopping to rest up. In a lake there is no lane lines to sight with, and I kept pulling left. And since my feet couldn't touch the bottom, there was no stopping to rest. After the last buoy I noticed that going from backstroke to freestyle left me a little dizzy. That's when I changed the goal from 1:30 to "finish without puke".

In the age group, my swim time was 17th out of 22 people. it's the only part where I really beat some other folks. I did beat one other guy on the run, but every other category I was in last place. So the swim kicked ass! and kicked my ass.

T1 - 6:18
This production company is called Finish Strong. I was coming to the end of the swim while the last people were just entering the water. There was a guy on the dock with a bullhorn, and the people standing around the lake cheering us on. The bullhorn guy was yelling that there was 3 people coming in at the same time, who was going to finish first? come on guys, finish strong.... and that really motivated me to keep swimming as fast as I could to beat these other people to the boat ramp we used to exit the water. But going from horizontal movement to vertical movement really screwed me up. I came out of the water completely disoriented, out of balance, and had no idea where I was or where I was going or what I was trying to do and suddenly very nauseated. I did beat the other 2 people to the boat ramp, though (score!). But I was so dizzy upon standing I ended up running sideways and slammed into another guy. Spectators from the side of the transition lane pushed me back into the course and I stumbled onto the mat to start my T1 time. We had to run up a huge hill barefoot and into the grassy transition area. When I hit the grass, the goggles and swim cap were off, wetsuit was unzipped, and I already had one arm out.

I did follow all of the advice you guys left me in the race preview, and I really appreciated that. I had everything laid out in TA for a quick transition. But since I couldn't stand up it got a little more challenging. I was dressed for the bike under the wetsuit, the bike had one bottle of Heed, and that was all I was going to need. It was colder than I expected, so I threw a shirt on for the bike anyway. I decided not to use the padded bike gloves or padded bike shorts to save t2 time. and no camelbak on the bike, just the one bottle of Heed. But I just had to sit there until I was able to stand up without falling down. I did get on the bike before the nausea went away, though.

That was one of the strangest and most disgusting things I have ever had happen to me in a race. Everyone says it's pretty common to be disoriented and nauseated coming out of the swim, but the first time it happens to you it's completely unexpected. weird. 22nd place T1 time.

Bike - 10.5 miles - 41:49 - 15 mph
I can totally see why the production company is called "Finish Strong". The whole course was designed to be challenging at first, the let you finish much easier than you started, hence the feeling is that you were very challenged at first, but finished strong. The bike course was tougher than I expected. It started out slowly, with some inclines but still nothing like the hills around Greenville. I WAS able to leave Jenny in the big chainring the whole time. I came out of the saddle and pushed up some of the hills while in Big/8, and really took some of the descents hard in Big/1 aka the Flynn gear.

The legs felt pretty fresh overall, but as soon as the nausea went away I realized just how many calories I had burned off in the swim and I was hungry. I thought I had fueled up plenty before the start, but I was wrong. The first half of the bike course was a long slow uphill followed by a short downhill, but really the hills weren't enough to really be "climbing" hills, just kind of challenging. So every downhill I would chug Heed until I finally got enough electrolytes in me to feel good again. So about halfway through the bike course the nausea was gone, the fuel was back intact, and I was finally ready to finish strong.

There was one very steep, long, and fast decline. I got very aero and took that sucker fast. Then I tried to keep that speed up for the rest of the bike route. I think it worked. I was suprised how quickly the bike part seemed to go by. The last time I didn't think I was ever going to get off of the bike (it took 1 hour 10 mins), but this time it went really quickly. I think if my swim/t1 disorientedness (yes, I think that is a word) would have been easier I could have made the 40 minute goal. Still, I am pleased with the 41:53. 22nd place in the AG.

T2 - 2:53
Rerack the bike, bike shoes off, running shoes on, took a gel and some water and off for the run. Threw the camelbak on without having to refill it (thanks Nick!) and I'm off to run a fast 5k. Time to PR the run baby! 22nd place in ag t2 time.

Run - 30:53 - 3.1 miles - 9:57/mile pace
My previous PR on 5k was 32 minutes even from the last triathlon. I haven't run a standalone 5k since then. And I really wanted to break 30 minutes this time just for a goal. I really really wanted to beat out the Godess Gazzelle's recent 28 minute PR in a standalone 5k just because I thought I could. But this is a Finish Strong event, which means you start out really tough.

Now I do run/bike bricks every week. When you're bent over in aero position on the bike, the hip flexors tend to tighten up. So starting the run typically feels like you have tree trunks for legs. MOST run courses will start out with a fairly flat soft surface so you can just put in some strides and let the hip flexors open up some. THIS course started out with sidewalks and wooden decking paths winding between buildings on the college campus with some inclines built in. Tons of zigzag turns, even a few stairs to climb. I've never seen anything like that on a 5k course period, much less a tri course.

Again, I had to load up the Heed pretty hard to make it through the first mile. I could only make it maybe 300 meters before walking to catch my breath. Then finally we made it off campus and the course leveled out. This is when I was able to really make up some speed, keep a good pace, and nice even strides to let the legs fill out again. Then it was coasting. The end of the run course had a decent hill, but once I pushed through it the finish line was in sight. I really stepped up the speed then and sprinted through the line. The finish chute had tons of spectators cheering me on and it felt really good to Finish Strong.

I finished the run with a PR, 20th place in AG. I beat one guy by a few seconds, and one other guy by about 2 minutes. Sprint tri #2 is now in the books.

Final - 1:40:46
Overall, this was an awesome race. I love this part of the state, and would love to move the family up here. I missed all of my goal times, but not by very much. And I still got a run PR and overall PR out of the race. So I am very positive about this race, and the production company. But I also have to mention that a 12 year old girl beat me by 20 minutes. That still makes me smile.

I also came to like starting out with a more challenging part of the leg, then letting it get easier so you feel like you have really overcome something difficult. that's a strange mental twist, but pretty cool once you know it's coming. If you live near the greater Raleigh NC area give the nod to some FS Series events. As a production company, they put together a really clean, well organized race. The courses were incredibly well marked. The volunteers for this one were all from one sorority at NC State, so there were hawt college girls at every turn cheering me on. That was really nice. The only thing I was dissapointed in was that my results didn't make it onto the printout at the race site. I had to wait until about 6 pm that night to get them online. even then, the printout onsite only had overall time, not the splits. But in my book that's a very minor thing. I don't normally race with the garmin for some reason. So I had no idea how I did for most of the day sunday. All I could tell people was that I felt good for the second half. This was a great race, and I'm glad I ran it.

Now the debate becomes, what is more difficult, a sprint tri or a half marathon? Yes, with the sprint tri you have to train for multiple sports, but that just adds variety. Training for running alone pounds the knees and ankles and gives you no balance. Overall endurance goes to the runner. The sprint tri's I've done took 2:02:30 and 1:40:46. The lone half marathon I've done too 2:21:28, longer than either of the tri's. So I will contend that it is more difficult to run a half marathon than it is to complete a sprint tri, but you are more likely to vomit in the tri. If you have done a half marathon and are scared or timid about doing a tri, don't be. Find a tri and do it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Race Preview

Sunday morning I'm running the Triangle Orthopaedic Sprint Triathlon in Raleigh, NC. It has a 750 meter open water swim, 10.5 miles on the bike, and a 5k run. My goal time for the whole race is 90 minutes. It starts on the Centennial camput of NC State university, which is only maybe 10 blocks south of Kelley's dad's house. Couldn't ask for a better location.

The swim is the only part that scares me, because I haven't been in the pool for a month. I rented a wetsuit from, and it came in last night. I waited too long to place the order, they typcically ship 2 weeks before the event. This will be the longest single swim I've ever attempted, my first open water swim, first time using a wetsuit. The water temp is 65 degrees. It's a mat start from a dock, so you step on the mat to start your timing, and dive into the water and start swimming. They are sending one swimmer out every 5 seconds, so there won't be any fighting for position or problems like that. We swim out around a buoy and back to the bank. I'm starting 123'd out of 217 racers, so i'm right in the middle of the pack. Goal time for the swim/into T1 is 18 minutes.

Then we run barefoot up a sandy bank and maybe 100 yards down a street into transition area, strip off the wetsuit and throw on the bike stuff. This includes bike shoes, bike shorts, a shirt and the camelbak (preloaded).

It's a single loop bike course on some good roads with our lane blocked off from traffic. A lot of the course is through the college campus, and it goes up Avant Ferry Rd and Western Blvd then back into campus and transition. Raleigh is east enough in NC not to have very many hills. So I expect to be able to keep Jenny in the big chainring the whole time, and just power through this bike course. I would LOVE to see a sub-30 minute bike time here, but I don't really know the terrain. Official goal time on the bike is 40 minutes.

T2 is in the same transition area as T1, so rerack the bike, reload the camelbak, throw on the running shoes instead of the bike shoes. I want to keep total transition time below 5 minutes, but I have no idea how long it will take to strip off the wetsuit. It came off pretty easy when I was trying it on last night, but race day could be a different story.

The run course is 5k, and starts out on a greenway, so it looks offroad. It's a single loop course, with mostly roads and sidewalks. It looks like it stays on campus most of the time. It's been a long time since I've run a 5k, but the time goal is to break 30 minutes. All of my training runs have been longer and faster than that, but you never know how much gas will be left in the tank after the swim & bike. But with a single loop, easy flat & fast course, it should be ok. The finish line is right across the street from the TA

18 minute swim + 40 minute bike + 30 minute run + 5 minute transition = 93 minutes total. The winners will be able to break 50 minutes on this course. This is only my second triathlon ever, the first was last august. I ran it in 2:02:30, but it had a 400 m swim (10mins) and a 15 mile bike (1:10), but I didn't know how to change gears on the bike then. I would love to break an hour and a half here, it would show so much improvement over last time. And I know I've made tons of improvement since then.

I remember before the Greenville Sprint last august, my main focus was on endurance, and I wasn't sure I could actually cover the distance. I knew I had made it when I did a brick at the gym of 15 miles on the bike and 3.2 miles on the treadmill. I felt on top of the world after that workout, like I could do anything (and metabolize anything I wanted to eat that night). Now, I call that workout "thursday" and increase the distances. But the proof is in the race report.

This marks the first of 5 triathlons this year, and intro's "tri season". I am absolutely thrilled to get back out there and show my mettle again. People who run one marathon and never want to run another one say that they "ran a marathon", but people who completed two or more and look forward to the next one say they "are marathoners". So for a long time now I've been looking forward to changing my conversational banter from "I ran a triathlon" to "I am a triathlete". Even if it's just a couple of sprints, it's a mental shift that I am looking forward to. What do you think the criteria is to go from "a triathlon" to "triathlete"? or from "a marathon" to "marathoner"?

Raleigh is a good 4.5 hour drive from here. we're leaving after I finish work today. Kelley's dad also works from home in his basement, he's a structural engineer. Since the girls don't travel well, I predict we will stay in Raleigh for a few extra days. I can work from his basement just as easily as I can work from mine, it's one of the beautiful things about having a phone built into the laptop and doing everything online. For the kids, 4.5 hours in the car on friday means that the 4.5 hours in the car on sunday would include at least 3 hours of screaming unpleasantries. If we wait until next wednesday to make that drive it would only be 1 hour of screaming. And I think Kelley has a few things she wants to do with the kids while we're there.

Have a great weekend! I am hopeful this will be a good one for me too. Jenny had to go back to the bike shop yesterday. I noticed after travelling back from the beach my rear derailleur was bent in towards the wheel really bad. It screwed up the chain tension, and rubs the spokes when in the Glaven gear (the weakest, or granny gear). the bike shop folks tell me it will have to be replaced eventually, but they got it stabilized enough to get me through the race this weekend. Also yesterday I woke up with a bad sore throat. Took some NyQuil last night and woke up with huge sinus problems this morning. and a headache the whole time. Why do I get sick before races? Kelley thinks it a mental block. I still feel good enough to run this tri sunday but I will be on my best behavior until then.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

not funny

I told Kelley last night that I haven't put anything funny up on the blog lately. She rolled her eyes and said "Yea, I know". thanks. I guess I've been a little blue lately. Job concerns, foot pain, whatever. Her idea of something funny for the blog was to xerox my ballsack and post it. Then I had to tell her about Glaven's fondness for fondling nutsacks and how much danger a sexy nutsack like mine would really put us in re: his bony fingers. Then she conceded that it would be a bad idea. Our subsequent brainstorming session only led us to taking the kids outside to play.

What are the 5 stages of grief? After Marcy announced her blog retirement yesterday I'm having withdrawals even though she claims to stick around until june. I think one stage is denial. I believe she will turn 30, and realize that blogging after 30 is still trashy. and yes, keep finding trashy stuff and book giveaways for us to enjoy. Blog retirement is some kind of late april fool's joke. In honor of her apparent retirement, I found what she's going to do next after moving to Maine:

Yes, that's a topless coffee shop in Maine. Link to youtube if the embed doesn't work. I think another stage is acceptance. I will still contend that an intertube without Marcy is not a web worth searching. She will miss the blog and come back.

I didn't get a workout in yesterday, too much code to write. I am really sore after the core session and strength workouts recently. This Phase II of the Tri Power plan is really leaving me with some lactic acid. gotta up the water intake to flush that stuff out.

Tomorrow we're having some old friends over for dinner, and I can't wait to see them. Then friday we're headed to Raleigh for the race sunday morning. Race preview to come before leaving. Have a great hump day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Finally, a decent run

Well it's about time. I totally did not want to get out of bed yesterday. It was raining, I worked until almost midnight sunday, watched a little tv and crashed hard. My energy was everywhere monday morning. I started out dead to the world, then finally got enough coffee in me. One of my cohorts was up at 5:30 am testing my software from Sunday night, and she found some very creative ways to break it. So I came down to the office to a flurry of demands while I was still barely awake and craving more coffee.

By lunchtime, the pressure eased up a bit and everyone sort of calmed down it seemed. I was actually able to eat lunch, that was unexpected. Then we got the last few tricks cleaned up in the afternoon, and everyone seemed happy by the afternoon. That was one hell of a relief after friday, when everyone was working in fear and nobody felt at ease about anything around the office. So big sigh of relief there, but it's the kind of sigh of relief that still has an air of caution.

Have you ever tried shredded chicken in a lasagna? Kelley made one last night that was freaking outstanding. It's 10 am and I'm already drooling for leftovers. Chicken, tons of veg (carrots, peppers, you name it) and fat free mozzarella. oh yea. Great dinner last night.

Then I gave the girls a bath and hit the gym once they were in bed. I did some core work per the Tri Power plan, and then a 4 mile tempo run on the treadmill. it was dead on 40 minutes and felt great. My form felt good, legs felt good, everything was smooth and fast. the 40 minutes included a 3 min warm up and 3 min cool down, so the bulk of the miles came at around a 6.4 speed.

This morning my left shin and foot pain is back, but it's not too bad. Still, I think that will be my last run before the sprint triathlon on sunday. Gotta get some bike time in though. Happy tuesday!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm still here

I'm still alive, still employed, still hanging around.

The passover seder was awesome friday night. Even though we had golf ball sized hail and most of the women and children were scared of a tornado or something. there were trees and trailers blown down everywhere, but our stuff was all safe. The aunt that hosted the seder lives about 2 hours from here in the middle of the country. nearest neighbor is her kid, they share 300 acres. I love going to visit them and see everyone in that branch of the family.

Saturday the Masters was awesome. Couldn't have asked for better weather, the sun was shining the scores were low, and we saw some really cool golf. Stu was just beside himself the whole time. It was the highlight of my year so far. might put more details later, running out of time.

We left the kids with kelley's mom saturday night and came back to greenville. She's gone to get them now, but I had to work all day sunday. We still had an easter lunch with my folks, but I was working until midnight last night and had to miss seeing my kids get their baskets from the Easter Bunny. Not cool. But everything is almost smooth again. Gotta code.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hello Nasty

This week marked the start of Phase II of the Tri Power program. It's the build phase where I finally start overloading the muscles to try and make some real strength gains. I thought I was already getting a lot stronger, so this is a scary thing. I've been doing the workouts, but last night I had to do my strength training before my regular thursday brick. So I did a half hour of yoga first thing yesterday morning, then about 8:30 pm I made it to the gym.

Did the strength training workout (about 30 minutes) then moved on to my brick. Given the time of day and my energy level I wanted to shorten the brick, so I started with 10 miles on the bike. Did that in 30:31 which is so dang close to a 20 mph pace it's rediculous. Then I moved on to the treadmill.

I should explain something from the last post here. My new foot pain (I think) is neck related thanks to the chiropractor. The last time I was in there for an adjustment Kelley went with me. I was laying face down on the adjustment table, and he told her "watch this. You see how now, his left leg is shorter than his right leg?". Then he twisted my head around some, and told kelley "now look, both legs are the same length again". WTH? The last few times I've been out running, it feels like my head is dipping down with every left foot strike, like my left leg is shorter again. Whenever that happens, the muscle pain (that the doc wants a bone scan on) flairs up worse than normal, and now this foot pain is getting extreme. Extreme in the Axe body spray style of extreme, not like I'm actually having trouble walking kind of extreme.

So when I hit the treadmill last night it was not exactly "pleasant" or "fun". It was more like an evening out with Glaven; sweaty, painful, and you wish you weren't there because you know you're going to regret it in the morning. I was supposed to do a 5 mile tempo run around 6.3 or 6.4 speed. It was actually only 2 miles with a walk break or two thrown in. My right shin tightened up, and that was fairly uncomfortable. But the left calf pain and foot pain and short leg syndrome was the real killer. I haven't had a 2 mile run since I was first able to run 3 miles consecutively early last year. And it felt like my nutrition gave out too. I was chugging gatorade through all 3 phases of the workout, but I guess I could have used a gel before starting the run. It felt like I hit "the wall" for a bit, but not too hard. Still, I was praying for daylight when I hit 2 miles and hit the showers.

The good part of BPD (bipolar posting disorder) starts today. At work today, we're turning live a project that I've been working on for six months now. Monday we present to the client for final approval, then activate for their patients. Basically, I've taken the web form which looks the same for everybody, and changed it into a PDF for their patients to fill out. So each PDF is different, but the processing is exactly the same for everybody. It's incredibly cool.

Then tonight we're going to visit one of Kelley's aunts for a Passover Seder. I'm really glad we get to go to one this year.

Tomorrow I am taking Coach Stu to the Masters golf tournament. He's never been, so it's a real treat. My grandfather got on the list for badges back in the mid 70's, so our family gets to go every year and we split the days up so more people get to go. Today my folks are going with some friends of theirs, one of whom is a professor at Clemson. I've got to pick up the badges from them tonight before we head to the seder. If you're going to be there tomorrow, I'll be the guy in khaki's and a green shirt. Come say hi!

everyone there will be in khaki's and a green shirt, if you've never seen the tv coverage.

Then sunday I'm getting back into the garden for a bit. I've got to cut the grass, clear some sod out, plant the potatoes, and pull some weeds. I've got 70 some-odd pepper plants that I'm in the middle of transplanting from the seed flats into peat pots; need to finish that. I'm also supposed to do a 14 mile long run, but that might turn into a long bike ride if the leg isn't feeling better.

I also got an update on the beachhouse property tax situation. Turns out, only one house has sold on the entire island this year. The lawyer we're using just got a very favorible tax value reduction on his house (he's a full time resident on the island). So this depressed economy means that we will be able to hang onto the house for a while longer than I expected. Great news! We're still waiting on the court date to get the actual reduction, but all signs are pointing up there now.

Have a great weekend! Good luck if you're racing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I made it out for some nice treadmill intervals last night. Warm up, 5 x 800, 90 second rest, cool down. run was 4 miles total. The cool part was that I increased the speed with each run. Half a mile each at 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5 mph speeds. Considering my typical treadmill sessions are like 8 miles at 6.3 speed, getting in a half a mile at 7.5 is a real treat. That's a flat 8 minute pace for you non-treadmill junkies. The whole thing took just over 41 minutes and burned 586 calories. Freaking great workout! I needed it too. I hadn't left the house since we got back from the beach on sunday, and was getting a little stir crazy.

I do have a new pain to deal with. I actually think it's related to my neck, so a trip to the chiro might be in order. But walking back from the boat to the car after fishing on saturday I noticed a pain in my foot. It has since gotten worse, but felt ok during the run last night. It's a fairly shooting pain that runs from the ankle in two directions. One shot goes out to the third toe, and the other shot goes out to the outside edge of the foot. I have no idea where this is sourced, but it also seems like the arch in that foot is a little lower than in the right foot. I bet the chiro can fix it, but there's no time to get out there this week. You guys got any ideas?

Also, tonight starts Passover if you celebrate the Jewish holidays. We're a Christian family, but I do love a good Seder. It's still Old Testament. Shabat Shalom!

Monday, April 6, 2009

At the Beach?

Yea, we've been at the beach all weekend! We truly are not beach people. It takes a beach trip every couple of years to remember how much we hate it. Truly. It's so much hotter than Greenville, everywhere you walk sand gets stuck to my legs, the air smells different from all the salt influence, sand gets everywhere it should not be and I just never feel clean. The tap water tastes horrible, so I don't end up drinking as much water as I do here, the list goes on. We, as a family, are just not beach people. Unfortunately, the kids loved it. They want to go back already.

The backstory: 58 years ago my great grandparents bought this house on Tybee Island. It's a barrier island outside of Savannah, GA. If you've never been to Savannah, it is an awesome little southern city. But my mother was 2 when her grandparents bought this house. Now for her 60th birthday she wanted all of her kids and grandkids together at the house. The ownership has splintered over the years but it has stayed completely in the family. It's pink, near the lighthouse, and beachfront. Our land goes all the way to the water, so a private beach is really nice. And that house holds memories and the kind of generational bridging that can never be replaced. My mother went there with her grandparents when she was the same age as her grandkids are now.

Now Sandra Bullock bought a house on the island, so did John Cougar Mellencamp, and Jennifer Lopez. So the local island goverment is trying to encourage big money developments. Our house is a part of the old fort Screven, a revolutionary war fort. So the walls are concrete 2 feet thick, and it's been there for 200 years and is on the national historic registry. The whole fort is like that, not just our house. The govt is trying to get the whole fort taken off of the national historic registry so that it can be demolished to make room for bigger newer houses. They have also raised the assessed value of the house so high that it jacked the property taxes up to over $1500 a month. for a little 2 br nothing of a house. Nobody in my family can afford that, so we're going to have to sell it before too long. and that's what the city govt wants. So my folks have been in and out of court, dealing with lawyers (and when you have to bring in a lawyer, the lawyer is the only one who wins). My greater family is having a difficult time seeing the silver lining. And that's a big part of why this trip is so important to my mom. End of backstory.

Now John Cougar's wife is a Victoria's Secret model, and his house is on the same side of the island that our house is on. So Kelley just new if she put on a bathing suit and went out on the beach she was going to have a freaking Victoria's Secret model plopped down on the next towel. Yes, that's just her luck. She did not put on the bathing suit, and we did not run into anyone famous or their spouses. Time for some pictures of what did actually go down.

The girls just loved being at the beachouse. Here they are playing on the back porch looking into the house.

Dad, Morgan and I went fishing with a guide in the back rivers around Tybee. We didn't go into the ocean or the Savannah River, just sort of stayed in the back water. I caught one trout and this redfish, the guide caught a couple of trout just to add to the load, and that was it. Morgan and dad came back empty handed. Bigun was scared and grossed out when she touched the fish.

Kelley and Bigun hanging out on the beach. The light reflection on the sand kind of washed out this photo, but since Kelley took most of the pics, this is about the only proof that she was actually on the sand. You can tell we are not beach people; she is wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans on the beach when it's 78 degrees and sunny out there. Fish out of water.

Here are my parents with their grandkids on the same beach my mother has been playing on since she was their age. You can see the lighthouse in the background. This is the closest we could come to making the kids stand still while on the beach.

A great shot of bigun with the lighthouse in the background. She kept getting completely naked just to go play in that puddle left over from high tide. She's nuts!

Evil Genius playing with the lighthouse in the background. She was able to refrain from complete nudity. I say she missed out on a chance she will soon grow out of.

Both kids playing in the puddle. They freaking loved it! It opened their eyes to a whole new set of toys and playing medium.

Morgan and Bigun sitting down for once. I think Bigun is plotting her next toy run. Kite or shovel? How can you pic just one, Unc? they call Morgan "Unc", he loves it.

Morgan in his more natural position. This is the wild unmarried adult male in his natural habitat. A rare sighting indeed.

Evil Genius and my dad flying a kite. Every other sentence out of the kids mouths on the way down there was about flying a kite with grandad. Then the wind was actually too heavy for those kites to get up into the air. Still, they had fun trying.

So what else happened while we were down there? Well, we went down thursday night in the pouring rain. The kids travelled ok, which is rare. I guess we found the right combination of movies to keep them entertained for 4 and a half hours. I had to unpack the van in the rain, that wasn't fun.

Friday I got in a bike ride of 21 miles. I had the energy to go farther, but the island is only about 3 miles wide so I was just bored. They run the Tybee Island marathon there every year in February, and I don't see how they found 26.2 miles in a loop. But one year i'm going to run that thing. Bike ride was great, it was flat and fast, and I left Jenny in the big chainring the whole time Got up to about 26 mph, and averaged about 18 mph. Then mom kept the girls during naptime, and Kelley and I went out playing on the island. We went down to the public beach on the south side of the island, and hit a restaurant and did some drinking. Good times!

Saturday Kelley got in a small run, and I ran 8.3 miles. The cool part was the speed again. It felt like I was flying! I made it 6.5 miles before I had to stop and walk some, and averaged about 9:20 pace in there. That was so cool. I felt good, ran nice and strong, and everything was ok. Then Saturday afternoon Dad, Morgan and I went fishing while Kelley and Michael's wife went out drinking. Michael was playing a show in New York City and couldn't make the trip.

Then sunday we packed up and drove home. I took the girls to a nearby park while Kelley cleaned the house. Bigun rode her bike down to the park, and it was the first time ever that she really put the ability to pedal together. She finally made the mental connection between legs and movement and steering, but pedaling backwards to put the brakes on was still too advanced. So she hit a little downhill and picked up too much speed and that was it. So I ended up putting her on my shoulders and carrying the bike the rest of the way to the park. Still, it was a blast. And they were calm the entire drive home.

This drive was 4.5 hours each way, and in two weeks we're driving 4.5 hours each way to Raleigh for the triathlon. I really hope we can get this type of calm during that drive as well.

I will eventually get caught up reading all of those race reports, I hope everyone did well in New Orleans this weekend! I'm so far behind from taking a day off of work it's nuts. But I will get caught up. Hope your weekend was as good as mine.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

March Totals?

are pathetic. And yes, I'm a day late but it's the first month I've tracked everything using my training plan spreadsheet. I didn't exactly get April off to a rousing start yesterday either. I billed out almost 12 hours instead of doing my planned brick. Sometimes that just happens. But today a new version of my software is going live after some user testing, so it had to be done.

Swim: 1800 meters (one swim total) wow that really sucks. i just dropped it. and with my first tri of the year only 17 days away, I better figure something out quick.
Bike: 124.8 miles including one race. Now that's more like it. not bad at all.
Run: 33.15 miles. That's supposed to be a weekly total, not a monthly total!!!! Geez, you'd think I wasn't training for a marathon here. But, I did have the liver thing and the doc told me not to run for about 10 days. Still, that flat sucks. I've GOT to step it up a notch.
Total: 159.15 miles. Geez, I didn't even get in Glaven numbers (he topped 200 miles on the month). That's really pathetic. No excuses, April has to be over 200.

Also, I had 6.3 hours of strength training, I did miss a few of the Tri Power workouts with the liver thing. And 4.5 hours of yoga should have been 5, I skipped on day with the liver thing.

So what does april hold exactly? Some fun. I'm taking Coach Stu to The Master's golf tournament that saturday. The following weekend (april 19th) is a sprint tri in Raleigh, NC. Kelley's dad can't wait to see the girls, we haven't seen him since I don't know when. Maybe Christmas. Then april 25th is planned as a half marathon here in Greenville. It's really a training race for my full marathon in June. Then May 3rd we're doing the mud run (4 miles with obstacles), so I'll be racing 3 weekends in a row. that's going to be wild! But April is when March's training pays off, so let's hope last month's slack doesn't hurt too much. At least I know that my core is strong and the bod is thin and ready. It's going to be a cool month.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Today is my mother's 60'th birthday. We've got big plans that I will have to reveal later. Bwuahahahahaha!!1! I'm sure the suspense is killing you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Perfect Rain

Have you ever seen one of those perfect rains? I woke up this morning right at 6 am with no alarm clock. I could hear it raining, but not so hard that it sounds like a torrential downpour, but not light enough to make you wonder what was going on out there. It was just coming down hard enough to make you want to get a cup of coffee and go back to bed with the newspaper. Of course, we don't take the newspaper, so I went on down to work. This is one of those days when I'm glad I work at home and don't have to walk across some parking lot into an office building in that mess. My commute downstairs seemed just far enough today.

The rain just started overnight. This upcoming weekend is going to be fantastic (more details later), but I've had to really put in the hours at work to get ready. So that means no running or biking since sunday. I'm going to try my best to get to the gym tonight. I have been sticking to the yoga and Tri Power regiment. But what happens when I don't get in any good workouts? Pics of the family. Enjoy!

Kelley and Bigun gettin cozy. It was in the mid-60's this evening.

Evil Genius can't reach the pedals yet, but she loved getting pushed up the driveway and then racing back down. Sometimes she would go down and pedal backwards putting the brakes on during her speedy descent. It was very cute.

I on the other hand, have a Hee-Haw t-shirt on, and I had a problem with the contact lenses yesterday so the glasses had to make their monthly appearance. Insert redneck joke here. Does anyone under 30 even remember Hee-Haw? I can admit that I used to watch every saturday night. Loved it.

Bigun actually preferred the tricycle tonight, she usually takes the larger bike, and leaves the trike for EG. But tonight, for the first time, she really had the pedalling down. Ever since getting the bike for christmas, she's been jonesing to take it out. Since it's been warm, all she wants to do is "practice" her pedalling. As a parent, it was so COOL to see her finally grasp the concept and apply it so well. The other thing I notice in these pics is that she's really not a toddler anymore. She's turning 4 in June, and looking at last years pictures, or the spring before it is surprising to see how fast she's grown.
And rest assured, her T2 times are spectacular. There's a little hesitation getting off of the bike without falling, but that will go away when her legs get a little longer. But she's off and running like a lightning bolt. So bike-to-run is no problem. T1 (swim to bike, or in her case jumping from mud puddles to the bike) needs a little work. HA!

EG is certainly still a toddler. Her hair is so long and pretty. She loved the bike even though she couldn't reach the pedals. We had the camera out for this photoshoot to get a certain type of picture. We got the shot, and Kelley submitted it to some baby magazine contest for a cover shot. I think they should go ahead and close the contest now, no other baby has a chance.

Bigun did make an appearance on the bike. These pictures were all taken last night, between work and dinner. It was a great spring day, the dogwood is about to put out flowers, and it's nice to have some warmer temps. Happy april fool's day everyone! I can't come up with any good april fool's stuff today.