Monday, December 31, 2007

New Poll

To the right you will see a poll I am taking. This question arouse during a discussion over Christmas. A few of use were discussing whether it is more important to do the right thing in a given situation or do nothing in order to keep the peace. I will provide more information on the debate once the poll has closed.

I hope everyone has a great New Year.

Update-- I am defining "RIGHT" as the morally or ethically correct action.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Easy Run

This morning was a very easy run with a good friend of mine. I haven't seen him in a while so after talking to him last week we decided to go for an easy 5 miler today. I got to his house a little after 9 and off we went in the cold cloudy morning air.



It was nice to run hard or fast and have a nice conversation. We caught up on each other's race schedules, family, Christmas Trips, and even some politics. We did about 5 miles in 53:41 which is almost 10 minutes slower than my race last weekend. But it is good for your metabolism to get in a slow run from time to time. Below is the route we ran on the WO&D and the Four Mile Run Trails.


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Friday, December 21, 2007

Back in the Swing of Things

This is the first week in a quite a while that I have worked out every day. I really wanted to get in a number of workouts since I will be going out of town for the Holidays.

Thursday I was in the pool. It was a pretty evil workout for some one that hasn't swam very much in the last couple of months.

400 warm up

2x25, 2x50 2x25 Sprint

500 free w/equipment
2x25, 2x50, 2x25 Sprint

500 free
6x25 of drills and technique improvement

150 Cool down.

Today, I get in 35 minutes on the trainer getting in 10 miles. It wasn't fast, but I am just getting my legs back into biking.

Tomorrow should be a 5-6 miles of running.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Magnum and the Trainer


No its not me. Only how I appear in my own mind, 6-4 with a great body and a semi-cheesy mustache.

Actually, Thomas is a good friend of mine as I do my riding indoors during the cold weather. Today he and I prevented a heist of Robin Master's art work in Tropical Madness. A typical episode lasts abot 45 minutes and that is great work out at the end of the day. Currently, I am sticking to about 10 miles of spinning and that allows me cool off as I watch the last 10-15 minutes of the show.

On the weekend when I am doing my long rides I can watch 2 episodes and get in about 90 minutes of riding and I am completely entertained. There is no need for me to ride longer than that right now.

So my advice to those of you out there that have been asking for ideas on what to watch during these cold wet winter days is to either buy or join Netflix and get your favorite TV shows. However, if you are riding for 2-3 hours I would recommend Doctor Zhivago. Julie Christie is flatout HOT!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Smoke on the Water

Another good morning in the pool. Today's workout totaled at about 2400 yards and went something like this:

Warm up
100 R Fin
100 L Fin
100 Both
100 Back

2x100 Right Side
2x100 Left Side
2x100 kick
2x100 back

250 Free
500 Free w/equipment
250 Free

2x25 sprint
2x50 sprint

Cool down

As much as I hate to get up in the morning, especially, when I could not fall asleep the night before, I love the feeling of a good swim workout. And in case you are wondering, it is not that I was swimming so fast that caused "the smoke on the water." Toward the end of the workout the door to the outside was opened to allow some fresh air in and with the air temp being 22 degrees we had our own fog machine going in the pool.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just a good Day

Well it was a good day for workouts--if not necessarily work. I hit the weight room and did my strength workout it went something like this:

3x15 pushups
2x15 pushup on a ball (to help balance)
3x15 lat pull downs (75lbs)
3x6 pull ups
3x15 lunge
3x15 squats
misc crunches and ab work.

Then I ran with Donna this afternoon for an easy 45 minutes or so. So all in all a good easy day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Celtic Solstice 5 Miler

The Celtic Solstice 5 miler has become a Baltimore tradition in a very short period of time. It it held in the Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. This year instead of a T-Shirt we received a very nice jacket. It was a great perk since today turned out rather chilly.

My friend Zina called me yesterday and claimed to be directionally retarded and needed a ride. So she showed up at the house this morning at 620 am so that we could make the trek north. Driving in the DC/Baltimore area can be somewhat time consuming. So even though the race was about 50 miles away I was taking no chances that we would make it there for the 830 start. We made it in a little over an hour, find a good place to park, got on the bus and finally hit the starting area. Packet pickup was efficient and soon we were ready to race--with 30 minutes left until start time. So we chatted with some other DC-Tri Clubbers and finally the race started.


The first mile of the race was uphill with a total elevation gain of 150 feet in the first 1.25 miles. I started off pretty well and was passing quite a few people until my left shoe started to come untied. I stopped to tie it back and my hands where so cold it must have taken 30 seconds or so. Then I tried to play catch up, but I decided just to just find a nice rhythm and run. Not more than 3 mintues later it start to come untied again. So my wooden fingers slowly retied my shoes and off I went.


The run was uneventful at this point, and we hit the aid station at (I am guessing) mile 2.5. I did not take any water and I kept on trucking. Not a 1/2 mile after the aid station my RIGHT shoe came untied. I really had to tie it--my car key was laced on it. That wasted another 30 seconds or so and finally I was off again.


Miles 3-4 were around the lake and I ran into my friend Brooke, who I haven't seen since July. We chatted a little and the chatting gave me some energy to pick up the pace. She said she could not keep up that pace as we hit mile 4 and I convinced her to keep running--it was only another mile. We finished the loop around the lake, made a right turn and started down the hill we had run up earlier. This allowed me to really pick up the pace and I ran the last mile just under 8 minutes sprinting the last 200 yds or so. It felt really good. The offical results haven't been posted yet, but according to my Garmin, my total time was 44:44 and my "moving time" (the subtracted for tying my shoes) was 43:36. So all in all I was happy.


Brooke and I met back up after we removed our chips and headed to the tent for the post race spread. We were both looking forward to the the hot spiced wine that was in there. Unfortunately, they were limited in the amount they could serve and she got the last 1/4 of a cup. I tracked Zina down after the race and we loaded up for the drive back to DC.


Now it is time to get ready for the big company Christmas party. That is always a lot of fun with good food and plenty to drink.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

DOMS or Why I want my arms to fall off

Until Monday I had not done any strength training in months nor I had I been swimming consistantly to give my upper body some type of resistance training. So I got up Tuesday and my arms were sore and headed off to the pool. Luckily, we did a fairly easy 2000 yd workout where the longest set was only 250. I could have kissed the coach. The swim worked most of the soreness out of my arms. That is until this morning. I got up to run and I could not raise my arms over my head. OUCH!!!!!

Well I completed an easy 4 mile run and that loosened up me up some, but now that I have gotten home and rested its hard to type. So this is all you are going to get today.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back in the Weight Room

I have been living up to my moniker the last couple of months--Lazy. I have been able to get in at least one run a week, but I haven't been biking or swimming. This the week is the week I am going to change that. Call it my New Years Resolution three weeks early.

This morning I hit the weight room to start toning back up. Let me tell you I haven't felt that weak in years. It really was a huge wake-up call. My work out wasn't that taxing, but I know I will feel it in the morning when I dive back in the water.

I will have some more information on what my resistance training is like later. I don't have the book nor the workout I used this morning with me at my desk.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Very Cool Evening

This evening Donna and I had dinner with a dear friend and his wife that I don't see very often. After picking up and setting up, but not decorating our Christmas Tree, we headed into DC to pick up Tony and Karen. Tony and I went to college together and then lived together as LTs in Texas--which is where he met Karen.

We tried to get into Old Ebbitt Grill, but it had a very long wait time, so we drove and around and settled on M and S Grill (great food btw). As much fun as the dinner was, what made the evening really great was seeing the Army Band and Louise Mandrell at Constitution Hall. We were able to get VIP tickets from Tony and Karen. It was just wonderful to spend the evening listening to to great Christmas music with some old friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Enroute to Afghanistan

This is Part II in Series. All events occurred in 2002 and are old news.

We finally got the word to depart Fort Bragg and moved all our stuff to Seymour Johnson Airforce Base (I am not making up that name) to catch a C5B aircraft to Germany. Once we were in Germany we would tranload all of the equipment and personnel to C17 aircraft for onward movement to Afghanistan. The young soldier next to me in the C5 had never flown in an aircraft before in his life. Needless he was pretty excited and scared.

The flight over the pond was uneventful and I was able to get a good amount of sleep on the plane. The C5 has a passenger section above the cargo hold looks like a passenger liner except you are facing to the rear. We landed in Germany in the early evening and were locked down in the terminal. Fortunately, there was some food to be had thanks to the USO and the Red Cross. I don't remember how long we stayed on the ground, but it couldn't have been more than a few hours. Our equipment was loaded on the C17 and we were given permission to board the aircraft. As we were getting comfortable the crew chief informed up that about 3 hours into the flight we would be conducting an air-to-air refueling. I was pumped about that. Three hours after take off we were instructed to buckle up because we were about to link up with the tanker. Other than some light turbulance I was unable to tell any difference. I am sure if I had been in the cockpit I would have had a totally different view.


We were told we would land about 0630 Afghanistan time. As that time neared we were informed that the Bagram had been attacked with RPGs. The news got even worse--they may turn the aircraft around and fly us back to Germany and that would mean would have to start all over. We were this close and I did not want to have to mentally prepare myself to do this again.

Finally, it was determined that it was save to land. Bagram Airbase is in a bowl surrounded by some high mountains which does not make for a long gentle descent and add in the threat of the SAMs or RPGs the pilots conducted a very fast circling descent which puts any rollercoaster you have ever been on to shame. I was lucky enough to be sitting near the wheel wells so when the gear went down I was able to see our spiralling descent and watch the touchdown. As soon as we touched down the rear ramp started to open and we all had first look at the beautiful but barren landscape.

We were hurried off the aircraft by the crew (they did not want to have to spend much time on the ground) and met by a nice Special Forces sergeant who was expecting another group on the plane. However, he was nice enough to point out where not to walk (minefields) and led us to the terminal. Once we arrived at the terminal no seemed to know what to do with us. For some reason they had been informed we would not be arriving for a few more days. Luckily, we had an advanced party already on the ground. SSG Groce and SFC Rocca found us as we were playing cards in a bombed out building.


These two angels took us to some empty tents. Unfortunately, we had to go out and scrounge up cots to keep us off the ground. There were some Canadian Soldiers who had procurred (stolen) some extra cots and were happy to share. Our temporary home was not one would call the lap of luxury but we were happy to have a plastic floor and some cots to keep us out of the water when it rained (the Afghans were sure we were the good guy because after we defeated the Taliban a multi-year drought was broken).
After all the days of travel we settled down for a good nights sleep. I was curled up in my sleeping bag all toasty and warm when I heard some firing off in the distance. I layed in my bag and did hear any of the experienced units in the area act concerned so I drifted back off to sleep. A few minutes later one of my NCOs started shaking me and told me to get up. I asked him what was wrong and he said he thought we were being attacked and what did I think we should do. I still did not hear any of the other units acting like this was an attack, so I looked at him and told said, "We are either going to live or we are going to die. If we live I want to be rested and if we die, then it really doesn't matter", and I drifted off again to sleep. I later learned two things. The first one was that he thought I was the bravest guy he had ever seen (nope, just tired) and the second thing was the firing was a training exercise being conducted by the local Afghan milita. That is why no one was upset about the firing. Needless to say after my good nights sleep I was ready to face the new day.
NEXT: On to Kabul or How to piss off your boss

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Running in the Cold

I have been maintain my running by running a couple of times a week and did a turkey trot out in Tacoma over Thanksgiving. However, I haven't gone much over 4.5 miles in the past few months. It is time to get in some longer runs and work off this extra weight I have put on since the end of September.

Today, I got up, had a cup of coffee, my lovely wife made me a egg sandwich for breakfast and then it was out the door. It was about 40 and overcast this morning with just enough wind to make it feel colder. It felt really good to work up and good sweat and get in 6.5 miles. I was a little slower than I wanted. I had hoped to do it in about 55 minutes. However, I am not going to complain about 59:33. I know now where to I am and where I need to go.


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Doping

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
November 29, 2007
By Robert Weiner

If Barry Bonds were subject to the rules of track and field—America’s premier Olympic sport, holding its national convention in Honolulu this week – his home run records would be “going, going, gone,” as famed announcer Mel Allen used to say as the ball sailed out. There would be no asterisk--Bonds’ record would be annulled. Henry Aaron would be given back his hard-fought 1974 record of 755—and that’s just what baseball should do.

For the track meeting participants – national, state and local association chairs, meet organizers, officials, coaches, and athletes young and old, no decision or action will have more impact than maintaining a strong anti-drug policy for our nation’s youth, especially approaching the Beijing Olympics.

Bonds has increased his hat, shoe, and chest sizes by 25% over the last ten years, from ages 33-43, not exactly a young boy’s growing period. Time Magazine reported Bonds’ swelling up as “a telltale sign of human growth hormone.” For him to say he didn’t “knowingly” take drugs defies what everyone knows that human growth hormone and steroids do.

After a positive test result, Bonds admitted publicly (Associated Press and ESPN reported January 10 and 11 this year) taking amphetamines but predictably claimed he didn’t know what it was when he got it from a teammate. Baseball did not penalize him. Baseball players and coaches downplay amphetamine pills as unimportant “greenies” despite the aggressive, criminal, and suicidal tendencies they engender when not medically monitored.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that one million students say they have taken steroids. After Mark McGuire tested positive for Androstenedione or “Andro” (now labeled a steroid), sales of the drug quadrupled, confirming a Kaiser Foundation finding that three-quarters of kids say they look up to and want to emulate professional athletes.

Before children start taking steroids and HGH, they need to be aware of the real harm and dangerous side effects – from liver and heart disease to cancer to shrunken body parts, hair in wrong places, suicide (congressional hearings interviewed many sad parents) and – ask the family of wrestler Chris Benoit – paranoid, schizophrenic, murderous rages. Thousands of East German swimmers are now suing the current government for illnesses from forced steroid drugging.

USA Track and Field, led by CEO Craig Masback and National Chairman Bill Roe, has the gold standard for drug testing and enforcement in the U.S. and around the world. The punishment of at least a two-year ban from competition and results annulment hurts, and it’s given regardless if the illegal users are stars like Olympic quintuple-medalist Marian Jones or 100-meter world record holder Tim Montgomery. Also only in track and field, the entire entourage-- coaches, doctors, trainers, assistants – are equally subject to being banned. USA Track and Field has a “zero tolerance” policy for any performance enhancing drug and the most rigorous testing program in sport.

Baseball, on the other hand, has a “zero action” policy: do nothing unless boxed into a corner. They do not record tests for amphetamines, secretly announce to teams at least a day before when “unannounced” steroid testers are coming (allowing players to disappear or use drug masking agents), and do not seek information about HGH. The Mitchell investigation underway will provide generalities but no real action – and no unknown names will be named according to the ground rules. The NFL, Hockey, Basketball and Soccer (international “Football”) are not much better—the objective of all professional sports seems to hide rather than block and punish drug abuse.

In helping to create the new World and U.S. Anti-Doping Agencies, the former Drug Czar, Four-Star General Barry McCaffrey, urged “open, accountable” drug policies that the world can see, hear, and know. McCaffrey, outgoing WADA Chair Dick Pound, and former USADA Chair/Olympic Marathon champion Frank Shorter – the triumvirate who launched the struggle against sports drug abuse -- forcefully asserted that the era of hiding our embarrassments must be over. Youth must see and hear the point of drug-free athletic.

It’s been a bad year for high profile sports drug busts—not just Jones and Bonds but Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen and ex-Wimbledon tennis champion Martina Hingis among many others – but a good year for letting the world know that drugs in sport is unacceptable. Every bust is a message to kids: do not cheat.

It’s appalling for Bonds to assert, “This record is in no way tainted.” It’s time for baseball to delete the asterisk from Barry Bonds’ records and do what USA Track and Field and the Olympics would do—remove his records altogether. It’s time for other sports, sponsors, and the media to step up and help. Because of the powerful symbolism of the baseball home run record—like no other--it’s the best way baseball can restore its integrity, and join track and field in sending a loud and clear message for drug-free sport to youth and the nation.

Weiner was spokesman for the White House National Drug Policy Office 1995-2001 and directed White House drug policy media at the Sydney Olympics and WADA media at the Salt Lake Olympics. He is a masters track runner and delegate to the USATF Convention at the Sheraton Honolulu Nov. 28-Dec. 2.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Off to Afghanistan

We all have things in our life that has a profound effect on us and that we are proud of. One of those moments was the year that I spent in Afghanistan. I was a member of the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion in Knoxville, TN and soon after 9/11/01 we were notified that we would be the first Civil Affairs battalion from the Army Reserve to deploy.

I had joined the battalion in August 2001 after spending 6 years on active duty and a couple of years in the IRR where I did nothing. My primary reason for joining a Civil Affairs unit at this time was due to the fact they were part of the Army Special Operations Command and had money for some good missions and good training. You would get to actually go do Army Training or to other countries for good training.

After 9-11 I was soon on my way to Fort Bragg, NC for training at the JFK Special Warfare Center. To quickly train more civil affairs officers this course was shortened to two weeks. The course is now 9 weeks long and much more thorough. I completed the training and started a new job. We knew we would deploy just not when the date would actually be. So I was only at that new job for about 6 weeks before we got the deployment notification.
We were at Fort Bragg for about 6 weeks before going on to Afghanistan. During this period of time we conducted a lot of different training. The most difficult training was taking part in part of the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape). We did not have time to take the entire course nor were there enough slots. However, the survival training we got was first class.

We continued with Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) training, shooting our weapons, some advanced weapons training, and in addition to combat training we practiced our civil affairs skills. We met with members of the Department of State, some NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), and conducted area studies for the areas of the Afghanistan that we would be operating. In addition, conducted liaison with member of the special operations community we would be replacing. I even got 15 minutes of fame on the local Tennessee News.




Then we packed up all our stuff and headed into the unknown

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tacoma Parks Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving Day I ran in the Tacoma Parks Turkey Trot. Turkey Trotting has become a ritual for me the last few years. In the past I have run the Del Rey Turkey Trot in Alexandria, VA. This year we were in the Seattle area to visit my brother. Donna has just started training for a half-marathon and is doing great. She has not run in over a year and half but is working hard to get back in shape and take her running to the next level.

We headed out for the race about 8 am. We arrived at the race start about 8:45 to pick up our chips and swag which consisted of a shirt. There were about a 1000 participates in the race. Most of the people in costume were dressed in a manner that fitted the Thanksgiving Holiday, but one individual dressed as Wonder Woman. I thought it was a very tall lady, but my brother was convinced it was a man. I wish I had a picture so I could get a vote. But alas.

The race started at 9:35 and the first mile was pretty crowded with an elevation gain of about 100 ft in less than a half mile. My time for the first mile was just over 8 minutes. Considering that I did not warm up and the crowd I had to deal with I was not overly disappointed with that time. The second mile had a loss in elevation of about 175 and I completed it in about 7.5 minutes and I was pretty happy. We had been told that the final mile was a gradual uphill. That may be a gradual uphill to people in Tacoma, but to those of us flatlanders in DC, this was a hell of hill. Based on my Garmin, the final hill was 175 feet in 0.6 mile. Even the hills I run for my "hill workouts" are nothing like this.


Over all I ran the race in 26:14. I was shooting for 25:00 - 25:30 and I finished in the top 20%, so I am not unhappy. It was good to get out and run before eating too much.
Donna finished the race in 43:??. For someone who has not run much in the last two years and is just getting back in the swing of thing I was very proud of her. She will do great in March at the Shamrock Half.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This is such a great sport. This video always touches me and reminds of of a father's love. I will always be thankful for the memories I have of my own father.

REI, Music and Fish

Donna and I spend the day in downtown Seattle today. We went to Pikes Market, had lunch at Lowells (it is rather over rated), visited the Experience Music Project, and capped the day off at the REI Flagship store.

Pikes Market was pretty interesting. We did not spend much time there, but we did eat Lowells. I have heard of that this place was very very good. However, I found this restaurant not to be that good. However, the view was outstanding.

The Experience Music Project was rather fascinating. Since I am rather cynical, I came to the conclusion that Paul Allen started this project (1) because he has more money than God and (2) he never really had an friends and was not cool. Now he gets to hang out with cool rockers.

We ended the day at the REI Flagship Store. This place was HUGE!!! I could hang out the for days.

Well, its late and it is time to hit the bed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Feeling Fat Fat Fat

Man, it is the week PRIOR to Thanksgiving and I am feeling the lure of food. Last weekend we ate very good (and very bad), today my mother flew in to travel with us to visit my brother out in the Seattle area. So tonight, we headed out to Overwood for dinner and I chowed down on their molasses and rum ribs. MMMM Good.

This month I have run a piddly 12 miles and swam 7300 yds. And I continue to eat. We depart for the airport about 9 am in the morning. I need to get in at least 45 minutes of running prior to the flight. Lets hope I get up.

Next stop will by the Great Northwest!!! Oh yes, and Thanksgiving Dinner!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two Years

It is so hard to believe that we have been married for two years. The time really has just flown by. We had kind of make it a tradition to go on a cruise for our anniversary, but this year we are heading to Seattle for Thanksgiving to visit my brother who I haven't seen since he returned from Iraq. So we decided to stay closer to home and visit Colonial Williamburg and stay at a very nice resort known as Kingsmill.

We both left work early on Friday and we were on the road by 1:15. Since it was a holiday weekend, there was not much traffic leaving DC and we made good time. I had to make my mandatory stop going to south at a Waffle House to get my patty melt fix. Then it was back on the road to complete the journey back in time.


We arrived, checked in, and after some relaxing it was off to dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Food for Thought. If you are in the Williamburg area or traveling along Interstate 64, get off and enjoy the food and service. I can't say nice enough things about both. Then it was back to the condo, after a stop at Wawa for some coffee and half and half. There was only Starbucks at the Condo and neither of us are big Starbucks fans.


Saturday we slept late (almost 7:15), had some coffee, watched some college pregame, and it was off on our trip back in history. We did not pay for admission to anything this weekend. Everyplace we went had Veteran's Day specials, so we watched the movie and then stepped back in time. During our few hours in the 18th century, we saw a trial, toured the magazine and saw the weapons (most original), watched a fife and drum parade.

toured the old prison and finally took a tour of the Royal Governor's Palace. This is Donna outside the prison enjoying some hot cider.

And here I am in trouble as usual.
Then it was back to the hotel to watch UGA and Auburn, and get changed for dinner. The dinner at Eagles on the property was very good. After dinner we watched some of the Maryland/BC game. All in all it was a good day for the both of our teams!!
Sunday we ventured down Jamestown to learn a little more about the first settlement in America. The actual settlement has some ruins, the walls of the old Fort, a visitors center and of course a statue of Pocahontas.
We toured a couple of recreations of the ships that brought the settlers to Jamestown and decided to call it a day. We then headed back north to our little casa for a good nights sleep prior to heading back work.

It was a great weekend and anniversary!!!! I couldn't have asked for more fun!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The UGHKnown

What is about the “fear of the unknown” that paralyzes so many people from moving on and trying new things in their lives? I grew up in a small town in Northern Georgia and the year I graduated from high school we had more scholarship money than any class before us. I am not talking huge scholarships to Harvard or Yale, or even athletic scholarships to play football or basketball at major schools. For the most part, the class of 1989 had scholarships that made good smaller region or state schools affordable. However, a very large percentage of people with the scholarships never made it to college or only to the Junior College down the road (and most never graduated from that).

I was asked on numerous occasions how I could go to college so far away. How far away do you think I went? To Texas? California? Manitoba? Nope, I went to Mercer University in Macon, GA. My trip was 93 miles from my parent’s house to campus. The main reason these people did not take the scholarships, I found out later, they were afraid they would not make friends. They had bought into the fallacy that high school was the best time of your life. I have repeated told high school kids that I work with that if high school was the best time in your life, then I should just shoot myself.

I find it hard to believe that the simple fear of a controlled unknown ruined people’s life. Ruined may be a harsh word. This irrational fear did not allow these people to live up to their full potential. It short-changed the individual and it could have possibly short-changed the world. Who knows what one of these individuals would have accomplished?

The same is true for our athletic endeavors. If the irrational fear of failure keeps us glued to our sofa, who are we short changing? Yourself for sure and on many levels at that. You could be short changing your spouse (getting sexier) and your kids (living longer) and maybe even some person that you have never met yet.

So overcome that irrational fear, get off the couch and make the world and yourself better.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Did I really swim that fast?

I finally got back in the pool after two weeks on dry land. I had planned on swimming two days last week; however for one reason or another the pool was not open during my self imposed morning swim hour.

Our coach is still out with her injury and we had a “sub” whose methodology is very different. We started out with a basic 600 yd warm up broken down in the following:
200 kick
200 swim
200 pull

Next we did down steps totaling 600 yds:
300 yd 30r/i
200 yd 30 r/i
100 yd 30 r/i

We then did sets of 10 x 100. These were broken down into 3 x Slow, Medium, Fast and the final 100 was all out. The purpose of the slow sets was to rest while swimming. It is not that hard to lower your HR after a fast set while swimming easy and slow. The medium set was a moderately fast pace that you could maintain for at least 15 minutes. The three fast sets were as fast as you could hold for 100. Then the last one was an all out sprint. Some how my three fast sets were an average of about 1:46 and then my all out sprint was a 1:43. The really scary part of that is that if I could do a decent flip-turn I could cut another 2-3 seconds off.

Overall I was very pleased with the workout today. However, I am certain I will feel it tomorrow. Lets see how my lungs like running the newly cold.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Solar Powered Man

Do you ever wonder powers us? I am not just talking glycogen and fat. I am talking about what makes feel good when we get out of bed in the morning, motivated to meet the new day, and contribute to the betterment of man (or at least our wallet). I can’t speak for each one of you, but I have learned over the years that I am solar powered. I need sunlight to make me happy. It took me many years to figure this out and it still catches me by surprise.

The last couple of weeks I have been feeling rather blah. Its not that I am sick, but I just have not very motivated to do much of anything. I haven’t wanted to go to work, I haven’t wanted to workout (even though I feel so much better when I do), and all I have wanted to do is sleep. I mean sleep like 9-10 hours. I may go to bed early, but I usually get up between 0430 and 0450.

I had Army Reserve Duty this weekend and I fell like crap on Saturday (I went to be about 2030 on Friday night) and I was not looking forward to getting up early for the change of command. I went to bed early AND gained an hour of sleep on Saturday. I woke up before my alarm, had some breakfast, showered and hit the road. I could see the sun starting to peak over the horizon and it just made me feel so much better. I felt so much better all day on Sunday. This morning I woke up prior to my alarm and I just felt energized—even though I did not have a day off this weekend.

I usually suffer from this melancholy in the spring when we are just waiting for the warmth and longer days. I guess this year it just hit me earlier. Well, it appears to be over and it is time to get moving again. I guess I really am solar powered.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Todays Workout--Locked out!!!

Yesterday afternoon I received an email from my swim coach. She was going to hold a special Monday morning swim work-out due to the fact that she had an early morning doctor appoint on Tuesday. I thought this was very kind of her so of course I intended to be present at the class. Welllllll, I was up and at the Alexandria YMCA at 5:25 this morning and none of the lights were on. The doors typically open at 5:30, but there is a crew of people in there getting the place ready. They are not the friendliest people in the world (more on that in a minute). I looked over at Kim (the swim coach) as I drank my nice hot coffee and she just shrugged. A few minutes later other YMCA employees showed up. However, they also have not been entrusted with keys to the building. Finally at 5:45 I departed for my house to get in some stretching and ab work.

One morning a month or so ago, a new member of the masters team was trying to get into the Alexandria, VA YMCA. She was being hassled by the lady who opens the place up in the morning. This lady is very over weight, whenever I see her around the facility she is complaining about some slight she has subjected too, or how she is the only one who does any of the janitorial work (her primary job). All of these complaints are usually being discussed with a member or another employee while she sits on her butt. This is not professional behavior and shows a lack of decency on her part. Back to my story--

Our coach went up to the desk clerk and informed the woman that she would take responsibility for her and after the computer people arrived later in the morning, would work out the computer problem with her card. Now, keep in mind this was 5:30 in the morning and the new member of the team had gotten up early to swim and was being kept out because of a computer error. The janitor/check-in lady told her, “No, you can’t take responsibility for her because I don’t her,” in a very rude fashion.

I am not certain as what Kim (our coach) did, but I confronted the executive director of the facility. I was giving the typical song and dance that it would be looked into and that she was having problems at home. Management of this facility is just pathetic.

If this facility was not so convenient and the majority of the employees were not so friendly and helpful I would be looking for another location.

Enough of my complaining---I am getting back to work now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Todays Workout--Watching

Today I rode over to the Jefferson Memorial to watch and take pictures of the Marine Corp Marathon. I realy can't count an easy 11 mile bike ride as a work out, especially after seen the runners at running along at mile 15 knowing that they have another 11 miles to go, including those three dreadful miles around Hains Point.

Watching the competitors, especially the Challenged Athletes, is just so motivating. These two handcart competitors were at mile 15 in under two hours. Watching these two (and the rest) is just truly motivational. All the people who sit on their ass complain about how life is not fair need to get out and watch these guys. Then get off their asses and start moving. I promise you after a few weeks of regular exercise, they will feel and look better.


This guy carrying the American Flag was also amazing. He hit the 15 mile mark in about 1:45 and he was carrying a big flag, with his water bottle attached.


There there are the great costumes. There were many more than just these twos, but I was unable to get any really good photos. I don't know if the "Devil" picked his number or decided to dress up as the Devil after he received it. But I thought it was pretty funny.
Finally there was Mr. Cow. I don't know how he ran the whole thing in that get up, but I have to applaud him.
My congratulations to all the competitors. Great Job!!!!!










Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Run

The weather this week rather moist to say the least. That is not to say that we don't need the rain, we do. Wednesday and Friday it was raining rather hard at the appoint run time of 0530. It was also raining after work, so I took a few days off. Thursday I had an early morning meeting at work and was not able to swim.

This morning when I woke up it was still pouring, made sure that no water was coming in the basement (don't ask). About 930 it started to clear and finally about 1130 I hit the road. It was nice to get in an easy hour run. It may be tough to get started, but damn I feel so much better when I get done.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Songs in my Head

Finally a cooler morning to run. Since I am not training for anything right now, my workouts have not exactly been focused. I have to admit that I like not having focused workouts. It nice to find the fun in my work outs again.

My alarm went off this morning at 0450, I turned it off with the intention of going back to sleep. However, my bladder had other ideas. So did get up and I am glad I did. Those days you have hard workouts, I don’t really have time or the inclination to think much. Today was an iPod day with nothing but 80s songs.

I started out with a little “Girls with Guns” by Tommy Shaw. I first heard this song on an episode of Miami Vice. This song always reminds me of driving too fast in my Camero as I raced a buddy of mine through the early morning streets of my hometown.

Then I had a long set of Survivor power ballads. These were high school dance songs (remember those?). The most vivid memory related this set was a church retreat I went on and met a very pretty girl. We exchanged letters on and off for years. I wonder what happened to her.

I finished up with a couple by Prince, “When Dove’s Cry” and Darlin’ Nikki”. The first thought that popped into my head was my parent’s old conversion van. It had a groovin’ stereo. I would sit in the van (I was 14 and really wanted that learner’s permit) and listen to that cassette over and over. For a boy 14 going on 28, Prince was awesome. That van was traded in so that I could get a brand new Jeep CJ7 Renegade. I really wish I still had Jeep—that’s a story for another day.

So all in all it was a very happy 4.3 miles on this cool October morning. Who says that running is not fun?


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Friday, October 19, 2007

The Light Weight and the Ultra Runner

Last night the National Geographic Society sponsored a talk by Charlie Engle, an endurance runner and TV producer. Charlie’s latest feat was running the Sahara with three of his friends. This amazing feat was captured on Film and will be released as “Running the Sahara” which should be released in November.

Charlie was an amazing speaker. He has the gift of being funny, serious, and especially motivating. His idea for the run was hatched out on another run one day. He said he just wanted to see if it could be done. There was no “higher motive” involved in his idea. However, it did evolve into a project called H2OAfrica, which is “a clean water initiative with the mission to create widespread public awareness of the water crisis in Africa and gather support for integrated sustainable clean water programs in critical areas.” Having spent some time in the Middle East and assisted in well building, I completely understand his desire to be able to provide more water to remote locations and educate the people on the need to keep the water clean.

Well, now on to the Light-Weight part of the post. Donna and I, along with a couple of other friends met up at Old Ebbitt for drinks and some dinner prior to going to National Geographic. I had two (yes just two) beers and some food. By 9pm I was dragging and ready to go home. I got up this morning for my Friday run and I was HURTING. I just can’t drink any more. I think we ended up running about 4 miles and it really hurt. This was less than 12 hours after listening to a man who had run the f’ing Sahara. Really puts things in perspective.


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Todays Workout: Swimming

It was good to get back in the pool. I really have to stop being so lazy about swimming in the mornings. I feel so great when I am done. But the biggest reason I need to get back to my regular workouts is that people I use to beat are now out swimming me.

Today's workout was as follows:

300 free
200 pull -- W/U
400ish free kick on the coaches command fast/slow
6x100 free (slow, med, fast--repeat) 1o Rest
600 free kick
300 paddle pull

It was not an overly long workout, but the 400 kicks and the 6x100 free were pretty intense. I need that to increase my endurance. However, today was not the day. LOL

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Todays Workout: The Run

I had not workout since the PT Test on Saturday. Mike and I were going to ride at lunch time on Sunday, but as usual we were OBE. I over slept on Tuesday and did not make it to my Masters Swimming.

So today Janel and I did about 5 miles and then you add about .8 miles round trip from my house to the link up point, I got in almost 6. The PT test this weekend could be called a breakthrough workout. I don't normally run as fast during my regular workouts. However, the added benefit of pushing myself over those 2 miles made me feel so much stronger today. We still ran our 9ish min pace, but it was much easier than it has been in the past couple of times. Maybe resting up the last couple of weeks have helped.

Tomorrow is back in the pool. Lets hope I don't cut off my alarm and don't remember it.


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Monday, October 15, 2007

Mini Triathlon and the Art of Balloons

This weekend I was talking to people at in my reserve unit and I had forgotten what it was like not to understand triathlons. I am not talking about the intricacies of Yantz laces, or the difference between a road bike or a tri bike, or even the science of picking the right balloon to mark your rack. I am talking about the basics—“There was a triathlon in DC?” (meaning an Ironman). “Oh you do mini triathlons.”

I haven’t done an Ironman and I am not sure I will do one. I am happy at the Olympic Distance. However, I do take offense to the term “mini”. Especially, when talking to people who find it hard to run 2 miles.

So, friend of mine and I were talking about biking and racing in general, and I mentioned a race and some Nosy Ned, asked if I did triathlons. I told him that I did, and that was when the mini triathlon was brought up. I went to explain there were sprints; international and they were also called Olympic distance; Half Ironman; and finally the Ironman distance.

So my friend (who had ridden a century the weekend prior) and I were trying to explain that even a sprint for a normal person is at least 1.5 hour endurance event and takes some preparation to do. Well, we were not getting through to this individual and it was becoming more and more obvious that he just had to put others down.

After Mr. Low Self-Esteem walked away to get a 24 oz bottle of Coke and some chips, my good buddy and I continued our debate over which balloon was better, Mr Incredible or Barbie!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Army PT Test (Sort of a triathlon)

This was a Battle Assembly (Drill) weekend at my Army Reserve Unit. This morning we had what I have started calling the PT Test Triathlon, because is composed of three events. You have see how many pushups you can do in 2 minutes, how many situps in 2 minutes, and then a two mile run. Back in my younger and lighter days I would do about 80 pushups and situps and run the two miles in 13:30 or so. Even with doing triathlons I am no longer a fast runner.

I have not been in the gym since Feb and haven't really done any pushups or worked my core like I should. I have just been swimming, biking and running. So I figured I would I would do 50 push ups and then 50 situps, and then just get up after each event. Which is exactly what I did.

The thing about the reserves, in comparsion to active duty, is how slow everyone is on the run. Most people don't do enough to stay in very good shape. I figured I would I could run about a 7:30 mm and still place high in our unit. I was able to run a 7:29 mile (which is damn fast for me) and i finshed 4th out of 60+ people. So all in all I have happy. Now just to work on my speed and get my 10K time down to 8 m/m.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

And to all the Kona competitors--Good luck and Great job!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Today's Workout--Back in the Pool

I did not swim at all last week. I did a couple of easy runs and an hour on the bike, but I slept in on the swim days. I could just feel my body needing the rest. Well, today I was back in the pool and I felt damn good. It took the entire 600 w/u to get my blood going. However, once I woke up my blood up (its on a different schedule from my brain) the work out went well. Every set we did today was a 600 of something. Since I did not keep my workout sheet today, I really don't remember everything. How sad is that?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Nice Lazy Weekend

I decided not to do much this weekend. I was going to take a short ride and watch the Army Ten Miler, but I ended up sleeping in.
On Saturday, Donna and I went for a little hike at Great Falls National Park. We hiked for a couple of hours and then had a nice picnic sitting on the deck. The first picture is of a small dam that is used to channel water into the greather Washington DC Water System and provide a safer area up stream of the falls for kayaking and fishing.

This photo is of Great Falls itself. The falls are just north of Washington DC on the Potomac River. The water is down so the falls are not nearly as wild as they are after a rain. It was calm enough for some kayakers to play around in the river.


This trashcan just confused me. Where do I actually put the trash if I can't put it in the can?
Later in the day I friend of mine came over and we watched the UGA Dawgs be handed an embarassing defeat by Tennessee. I ended up staying up late and watching the LSU come from behind and beat the Florida Gators. That was a great game.
Since I stayed up too late I ended up sleeping until almost 830 this morning. Which is VERY late for me. I did not make it out to cheer on the Army Ten Milers. I guess i really needed the sleep and my body feels better than it has all week. The rest of the day revolved around cutting the grass, cleaning the floors and doing some laundry. Now I am off to make a nice steak dinner.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Nation's Triathlon Race Report

I thoroughly enjoyed this race. It was great fun to see all the DC Tri Clubbers either on the course of volunteering. Thanks to all the volunteers. You guys did make this a great race.

Donna was a trooper and dropped me off near the Watergate a little after 6am. I am glad she volunteered because that made getting into town easy and I did not have to find a place to park. I walked the short distance down to transition, racked my bike and laid out my gear, and then I went looking for John and Mira.

While I was setting out my gear a guy near me was talking about a wedding he was to be in that afternoon. Someone asked him if he were the groom in a joking manner and he said he was. His wife-to-be said he could do the race or have a bachelor party. Like the rest of us athletes, he chose the best one. However, I bet the bride expected him to choose the bachelor party.

Men age 35-39 had two waves and I was in the second of those waves (about 5th over all). We jumped in the water, which was a balmy 76, and I warmed up for a couple of minutes. The horn sounded and off I went. I was amazed at how clear the water in the Potomac actually was. I could see at least an arms length and maybe a little more. I tried to stay to the right side using the wall as a reference, but I found myself drifting in to the left. There was not a lot of contact and I made it to the turn around near the Key Bridge. If I thought I had zigzagged on the first half of the swim, I was in for a rude awaking. On the return swim, we all were looking directly into the sun. I was all over the place and being a more comfortable right side breather, I did not have a good reference other than Roosevelt Island. I finally made it back to the finish, climbed the ladder and ran through the mustache wash.

Swim Time 34:56—slowest of the year. However, I had not swum much in the last month.

I was in T1 for a long time. I had no real goal for this race other than to have fun. There was a first-timer near my rack and he was having trouble getting out of his wetsuit. So I assisted him and tried to motivate him some. He was from the wave before me and was getting frustrated.

I jumped on the bike was motoring down by the Kennedy Center and on to Ohio Drive. I was able to hold a little over 23mph and was feeling good. I reached the end of Hains Point and the Awaking Statue and ran smack dap into a head wind. I slowed to about 17 mph and I had to work hard to keep that. The little hill up 15th Street was painful, but after that it was down hill to Constitution to 9th Street and in the tunnel. On the return trip I was able to talk smack to some of the volunteers and I was off again.

The second loop was similar to the first. I was able to see Donna on both loops and give her a high five as I went by.

Bike time 1:15:31

I started to leave T2 and a kind volunteer yelled that I still had on my bike helmet and not my running cap. I tossed her my helmet and she put it back with my stuff. I had mocked someone earlier in the week for that error. What goes around comes around I guess.

It took me about a mile for my legs to loosen up. I was running SLOW, but it wasn’t hot and there were plenty of volunteers and spectators to motivate me. As I started down Independence, Donna was attempting to take a photo of me. Some crazy lady in front of me, apparently thought Donna was one of the official photographers and started hamming it up and telling her thank you for being out there. I don’t think the lady was delirious yet, but what do I know? Not having mile markers on the course was frustrating, but everyone suffered the same fate. At one point a friend who was volunteering told me that I was at the 4.5 mile mark. I looked at watched and just laughed. The one marker on the course was at the last aide station (allegedly mile 5) and again I looked at my watch and realized it was not in the right spot. I finally made it to Pennsylvania Ave, turned to the Capitol for a couple of blocks and then reversed course to the finish. I crossed the line in 2:57:37 for a new PR. I am sticking with the official distances, but I think the bike was a tad short.

Run Time: 59:32.

This off-season I am going to focus on my speed and running hills. I know if I swim consistently I can easily swim in the 28-29 min range. But this year is over. Let the beer flow!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gadgets

I am a gadget guy—but what man isn’t. I have been debating on whether or not get me the Garmin 305 Forerunner for a while now, but I could not bring myself to justify the cost. Luckily, there is a guy in my office who is an even BIGGER Gadget guy. He has (had) the 305 Forerunner, but doesn’t run much. He prefers to bike—so he bought the Edge 305. I run and bike (can’t swim with it, it’s not waterproof), so I said I would take it off his hands. I ended up getting the thing for $60. He wanted $50, but he did not have change. It’s worth $60 bucks to me.

Monday morning I did a slow recovery run for my test. I have to say it is pretty damn cool. I have been using GPS receivers since way back in 1994 when they were big and had no maps embedded in them, etc—but I love the data you can get from this thing. Now just to learn to use it.

Below is a graph that can be created with the data. This one shows HR/Distance/Time/Elevation. Pretty cool!!



























I am still working on (ok I haven't started) my Nation's Triathlon race report.



Friday, September 28, 2007

Twas the night before my last race of the season

I have just finished packing for the Nation’s Triathlon. I went in this morning and attended the prerace safety meeting and packet pickup. The prerace meeting at this even was mandatory and you could not pick up your packet until after you attended the briefing. It was very well done and the MC attempted to keep it as short as possible. The majority of it covered safety and there was a few USAT rules thrown in. I am sure that city required the briefing. Washington, DC is lucky to have a mayor that is also a triathlete, which has helped with the permitting process.

During the actually pick up of the race packets, some woman can in there raising hell because she needed to get back to work and needed to make a bunch of changes to her relay members. There was a good 70 people waiting in line and she had the unmitigated gall to hold up other people (I am willing to bet that there were others that had to get back to work too). A gentleman behind me, commented to me that it appeared that beggars CAN be choosers. She turned to us and asked if we were talking about her and we both said in unison, “YES”. She was not overly happy with us, but who cared.

I have eating 3 slices of Donna’s wonderful homemade pizza and just finished packing my tri-bag. We are about to sit down and watch the “Producers”, and I am sure I will drift off to sleep during the movie.

I am amazingly not very nervous about this race. I don’t have high expectations either, so that may be it. Let’s hope that my lack of pre-race jitters doesn’t cause some tragedy to fall on me during the race.

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One Hell of an IED



I encountered a few IEDs during my year in Iraq. However, nothing like this.

A Couple of Workouts

Can you believe I actually got in two workouts in one day and it was a race week? Tuesday afternoon I did about an hour on the bike. After work is not the best to ride the Mount Vernon Trail (is there ever a good time?) but yesterday was not that bad, except around the airport.

I was cruising pretty good down the trail, seeing how fast I could go and still keep my HR under 140. I knew that some guy had been drafting off of me for a couple of miles, but did not give it any thought or than, “hey I am pushing 20mph with a HR sub 140”, finally after a small climb my HR went above 140 and I backed off. Much to my chagrin, the guy passed me and I realized he was riding a big-assed tandem. Talk about a blow to the old ego. The rest of the ride was uneventful, but I did recover my lost self-esteem as I continued to pass most of the people on the trail. Too bad I will not be at the front of the pack on Saturday.

On a serious note, I have cracked the nut on flatland cycling. I can consistently ride 25 miles at 20+ mph pace. I could not do that last year at this time. What I need to do now is learn to climb.

This morning was a nice easy 4 mile run. It was a little more humid than I thought it would be, but my legs felt good. Easy swim tomorrow and nothing on Friday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's Workout--Swimming while dressed

I was very happy to be back with the masters this morning. Our coach, Kim, was involved in a bad boating accident a couple of weeks ago. An irresponsible boater was not paying attention and ended up slamming the boat she was riding in, into a navigational beacon causing major damage to the boat and to her left side. She shoulder is messed along with her wrist. It is good to have her back and see her in good spirits. The down side is that no one got the registration number of the boat that caused the accident. The guy is still at large.

The workout today was fairly strenuous. I did it even though I am racing on Saturday. I am approaching the Nation’s Triathlon as just a long workout. I am not really prepared and I have not set any goals other than to have fun.

The workout today consisted of:
500 kick warm up
Main Set (with T-shirt)
300 pull
300 swim w/fins
300 kick
300 pull
End main set (shirt off)
300 swim
300 kick (cool down)

The 1200 while wearing a shirt makes it a little more difficult. Try it some time!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday Run

There was nothing special about my run on Sunday. I did a little over 5.5 miles. We had to go to a Brunch some friends of ours were having. He is in the Navy and is being transferred to Tampa. It was good to see them and their new daughter. He is a fishing fanatic and loves seafood, so we had some good food (Crawfish Etouffee) and a couple of beers. As you can expect, the men sat out side and talked work and fishing and the military, and the women hung out inside and did what ever it is they do!! LOL

Today (Monday) is a day off. I may go for a short ride with Donna after work. I am glad to see that she is desiring more to get on the bike and go for some short ride.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday Morning Ride

I was suppose to assist at the DC Tri Club Time Trial this morning, but due to a problem I did not make it until it was over. However, I was able to get in almost 25 miles on the bike. I did some speed work at Hains Point. There was a hell of head wind for a while, but I was still able to average 18 mph. Overall, I was pretty happy with the ride.

My main gripe is the (and has been for a while) is the lack of etiquette on the trails around DC. So many of the people out on the trails walk 4 across and take up the entire trail while they are just talking. The biggest idiot I saw today was a mother who was teaching her young daughter to rollerskate at one of the busiest parts of the trail. She could easily get hurt and hurt a cyclist at the same time. But then no one is responsible for their own actions any more!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

What day is it?

Have you ever one of those days when you had no idea what day it was? Well today was one of those days.

My alarm went off at 445 as it normally does during the week. I reached over to turn it off and wondered why the hell I did not reset it for 630 since today was (at least in my mind) was Saturday. I reset the clock and retreated to peaceful slumber. An hour and half or so later it beeped again and up I sprang (I am volunteering at the DC Tri Club Time Trial). A quick shower, pop in the contacts, put on my biking kit, grab the bike from the basement, grab a GU and water bottles, and I was outside to pump up my tires. As I was checking my pressure I noticed there was a lot of traffic on the road for 645 on a Saturday morning. I pondered that for a minute, put on my bike shoes and helmet; and then it HIT me. TODAY IS FRIDAY YOU IDIOT!!!! Talk about being bummed!!

I took my bike back in, showered and shaved, and I started to feel bad because I stood my running partner up—and I actually had to go to work.

Well, I made to work a little later than my normal 730, but the good news is I get to have ANOTHER Saturday tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some Humor


Today's Workout: Morning Run!!


This mornings run a 6 mile jaunt through Old Towne Alexandria. The last couple of weeks we had only been running 35 minutes and with the Nation’s Tri coming up for me and the Army 10 Miler for Janelle, we decided on a longer run. We ended up running about 55 minutes. Starting at our runs at 0530 it is still dark, but the cooler weather is GREAT. The picture is one of the neighborhood as I was running home!!! Tomorrow back to the pool and then a DC Tri Club Happy Hour.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Today's Workout: Back on the Bike

Fall is in the air here in National Capitol Region. The low last night was about 55 and the high today was around 70. I started my bike ride around 930 and planned on riding for about 90 mins very easy. I biked from my house over to Hains Point and did one long loop and then three short loops and then back home. That totals out a little over 23 miles. I kept it very easy since I haven't ridden in 2 weeks and I just wanted to get my legs moving again.

There is almost something interesting on the Mount Vernon Trail, especially around the Reagan National Airport. The trail is usually very crowded and one has to be very safe. On my way home I ran into a man dragging a cross who had stopped to use the bathroom at one of the porta-johns. He was discussing how to navigate the trail to Mount Vernon and then how to get to Fredricksburg with a Park Ranger--so I did not interrupt. Always something interesting around here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Todays Workout: Kicking

Wow!!! I finally got back in the pool. Other than a brief ocean swim and some SCUBA diving in St Thomas I haven’t been in the water since the race in Chicago. My motivation had been lacking to actually get off my ass and do something. This morning was no different, but I woke at 0445 (5 minutes before my alarm) and pushed through the grogginess. After slacking for a couple of week, it is easy to remember why I do this. I feel so much better after a good work out.

Today was an intense leg day. We started out wearing our fins and doing “bicycles”. This exercise is basically treading water for 10 minutes. However, it puts a lot more stress on your quads. Over all I swam 2000 yds and all but 600 of it were kicking drills of some kind. I am sure my legs will love it when I run tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Todays Workout: Run in the Cooler Weather

I was up at 0450, ate a small bowl of cereal and was out for a 45 minute run. This morning was a cooler than it has been in a long time. The front that moved through yesterday brought some much needed a rain and then cooler weather. I am glad that fall weather is starting to show up. However, I do miss the long days of summer.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

From 9-11 to Triathlon

Today is the 6th Anniversary of 9-11 and I have been wondering where the time has gone? I was living and working in Nashville on that fateful day. It is amazing how that one day has totally changed my life. I did not know anyone personally killed in NY or at the Pentagon, but the events put in motion by this single day have changed my life.

I served on active duty in the army from 1993 to 1999. When I left active duty, I was not sure I wanted to play any more. However, after living the life of a civilian, getting divorced and working 9-5—I was bored. So pre 9-11 I joined the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion in Knoxville, TN. Prior to 9-11, Civil Affairs was the reserve component you wanted to be in if you wanted some cool travel and interesting jobs. After 9-11 it just meant you stayed busy. So back to how this changed my life—it ultimately led me to Washington DC.

On 9/11/01 I knew that our lives were changed forever. I was completely shocked at the reactions of some of the people I worked with. They were acting like this was just a fire or some other calamity in another city. I was really shocked at how much people did not understand what had happened. For example, a lady that worked for me was concerned about me learning to fly (I was working on my private pilots license at this time) so when I walked in the office she started lecturing me on the dangers of flying. I asked what she was talking (I had been listening to a book on tape) and she informed me a plane at hit the World Trade Center. I immediately asked her if it was known whether it was a small private aircraft or a commercial jet. She told me that it was a big jet. I immediately looked at her and told her it was an act of terror and probably Osama Bin Laden. She looked at me like I was insane and walked away muttering about right wing nuts. A few minutes later after the second plane hit, she ran in and asked me how I could know something like that. (Hey—once you do some intelligence stuff you really never stop looking). I sat in my office and listened to the radio and was just numb. I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t mad—yet, just numb. Some time after the 2nd Tower fell; someone hooked up a small black and white television in another part of the office and finally walked over to see the devastation. While a group of us were watching the coverage the president of the company came in and told us to get back to work. His comment was something to the effect of, “None of knew anyone there and there was nothing we could do about it anyway.” I saw red and my boss actually grabbed my arm and led me from the room. He knew how angry that made me. To make a long story short—the next week I was asked politely to find more work. I suspect it had to do with the fact that I would probably be called back to active duty and they would have to hold my job.

So mid November I started working with another company as a consultant. Talk about a road warrior. Take off Sunday afternoon and come back on Friday night. It made for some long weeks, but the pay was good. Right after Christmas of 2001, we were notified that our battalion would be mobilized and sent to Afghanistan. I spent the vast majority of 2002 in Afghanistan (I could write a book about that). I was in Frankfurt, Germany on the first anniversary trying to get back to Afghanistan after two weeks of leave.

After returning from Afghanistan I took a 6 month tour of duty at the Pentagon. I was not ready to return to my civilian life and I really had no ties back in Nashville. I only had my house and a really good neighbor to take care of things. During this period of time I met Donna who I ultimately married.

At the end of the 6 months, I knew I was headed back overseas. This time for a year in Iraq. On the second anniversary of 9-11, I was in back in Nashville wondering what I was going to do until the end of November when we were to be mobilized.

I really don’t remember if we did anything special for the third anniversary of 9-11 during our time in Iraq. I am sure there was something, but we were either out of the wire working, or enjoying some time off. When you are in a combat zone the big issues such as 9-11 are not important. You are focused on just your little part of the world.

When I returned to the States, I moved to the DC area (I had sold my house while I was in Iraq), moved in with Donna, and started looking for something to do. I sat on my ass for 3 months after I got back and just ate. I needed to lose some weight and get back in some shape. That necessity lead me to the DC Tri Club. Which I am very happy to say has been very good to me.

On this anniversary of 9-11 I have to say that I have found home, found a wife, and made some great friends. I have had the opportunity to do things that most people only read about and I am very satisfied with the way things have personally turned out for me. There are events that change our lives. Some of those changes occur quickly and some take time to develop and even longer to understand. It is up to use to make the most of the opportunities and challenges given to use in a positive manner. I am just glad that my glass is half full!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Getting Back into IT

Today was the first day I have done any serious exercise (if you can call today a serious workout) since my race two weeks ago in Chicago. I did get in a short ocean swim in St Thomas and some SCUBA diving, but not a real work out.

I have just felt like ass the last week. It appears that ragweed is way up here in the DC area and it has affected my head and throat. I have been on a regime of allergy meds for the last four days and today was the first day I really felt like I could run.

Today's run was an easy 35 min run around the neighborhood. It was already 75 degrees and high humidity when I started at 530am. Lets hope the run opened up my aerobic engine. God knows I need to work off the 7 lbs that I have put on lately.

Friday, September 7, 2007

You Are a Phoenix (Hell I have never been there)

You Are a Phoenix

Driven and ambitious, you tend to acquire material success easily.
You have grand schemes - both for your own life and for changing the whole world.
You are a great leader, and you have no problem taking the reigns.
However, you aren't all business. You also have great talents for performing and visual arts.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fun in the Sun

If you have never been to St. Thomas and St John in the US Virgin Islands I highly recommend the trip. August thru mid-October is off-season and the hotels are much more affordable.

We flew down island on Tuesday (Aug 28) first class the entire way. You gotta love Donna’s status on US Air. We took a cab from the airport to the Marriot and settled into your room. We strolled the grounds and settled on eating at ocean side cafĂ© on the property. The food was nothing to write home about (especially at hotel prices), but it sated our hunger and then off to bed.

I slept in late (8ish), made some coffee and sat on the balcony watching the cruise ships come in across the bay. We went to the beach and to the pool and then at 1230 I was picked up by Andre of the St Thomas Diving Club for a two tank dive. Other than the dive masters (Andre and John) I was the only certified diver.

The first dive site was known as Barracuda Point and was a 35ft dive. My bottom time on this dive was 53 minutes. The high light of the dive was two large barracuda and little Ernie the puffer fish. The second dive was a little deeper at 45ft on the sunken freighter Cartanser Senior. At both sites, the water was still a little churned up from Hurricane Dean.







Thursday was spent on St John snorkeling and lounging about at Trunk Bay. After 4+ hours at Trunk Bay, we headed back to Cruz Bay and the many bars and restaurants in the area. We spent the afternoon at The Beach Bar drinking Lime and Coconuts, and Virgin Islands Pale Ale. We then had a great dinner at High Tide Bar and Grill. After some yummy seafood, we headed back to the Beach Bar for one more round before heading back to St Thomas on the water taxi.

Friday was a morning of sun and sand then we had our time-share sales pitch (no we did not buy one) and that evening we a great dinner The Banana Tree. I had three pomegranate martinis. I really did drink more on this trip than I usually do.

Saturday morning we ate breakfast at the Coco Joes on the beach, swam some and then headed to the airport. I got us there a little early. However, there was another Dawg fan there and we ended up following the Appalachian State/Michigan football game on his Crackberry. We landed in Charlotte, NC and I was able to watch almost 2 quarters of the UGA game before we took off for DC. It’s almost sad to be home.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chicago Race Report

Pre-Race

Donna and I arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and spent the night with Donna’s sister’s family. I took off in the early afternoon to meet John and Mira at the Race Expo and Packet Pickup. The packet pickup was painless and I headed back out to the Diltz’s for dinner and some Wii Golf. I am not much of a video game person, but that game just rocks.

Saturday afternoon we headed back to the race hotel where we had a room and Donna with all her travel status got us checked in early, a room with a great view and we did not have to pay for parking. A dinner at Due with some great Chicago pizza, a pedal cab ride back to the hotel and then off to bed.

I was up at 3:50 after having some bad dreams. I do not usually have dreams about race day, but since transition opened at 4:15 and closed at 5:45, I was nervous. I met John and Mira at the hotel entrance and we did the 1.5-mile walk with our bikes to transition, racked them in the mud, and came back to the hotel for some coffee and food.

Swim

Mira was in wave 30, and John and I were in wave 34 which went off at 8:33. The announced water temperature was 68 degrees. When we jumped in it took my breath away even in a full wetsuit. As an aside, I met a guy at the Chicago airport who told me it was a complete swag at the water temp. They did not have a thermometer and everyone wanted to know the temperature so they just guess.

The swim started and it was not too physical. This is the first race where I was the one actually swimming over people. The lake was incredible clear and you could see fish and all the underwater flora. Once I warmed up the swim went very well. There were a lot of slow people and lots of back-strokers in this race due to the large size. I was helped out of the water, climbed the ladder and headed off for ¼ mile run to transition. My final swim time was 36:53, but at least 3 minutes of that was the run to transition.

I took a while in transition to get undressed in the mud and then run my bike up the muddy hill and on to the course.

Bike

Chicago’s bike course is along Lake Shore Drive which is very flat with lots of potholes. The biggest hill was the ramp out of transition and on the main course. The course is the left two lanes of the 4 lane road, so you ride to the left and pass on the right, which was confusing at times. I got my speed up and looked down at my bike computer and saw I was doing 24 mph. Since I had just replaced the battery and I had to make sure I was not registering in kph, because I did not feel like I was working that hard. I hit the first turn around and started back into town. I was picking off lots of riders and feeling really good. At the second turn around, I had to slow way down due to the right turn and congestion. I continued to pick off riders and was only passed by the really fast guys on their $3000 bikes. LOL. I finished the bike in 1:15:39 with an average speed of 20.1 mph. I am very happy with my bike.

Run

Out of T2 and one the run. My shoes were muddy and somewhat wet so I was concerned about blisters. The first mile of the run was along the water front and it was great to have all the energy from the fans. My left calf was cramping some, which it had done in the swim so I stopped at pole and stretched it out. I felt better after I started running again. I was drinking Gatorade at the aide stations and dumping water on my head to help me cool off. I saw Mira at about mile 2.5 and she was heading back in. She looked really strong and it did not appear she was sweating at all. I ran into John about mile 3.5 at an aide station. I almost did not see him, but he yelled out my name. Its always good to see your friends on the course. About mile 4 I started to feel really good and picked up my pace. I was hurting, but my legs felt much, much better. The course lead us back around Soldier Field and under a tunnel the finish line. I saw Donna right before the finish line, gave her a high-five and I was off to the finish line. The announcer called out my name (which is always a thrill) and I was done.

I was awarded my finisher’s medal and got my free beer. Damn did it taste good.

All in all it was a good race. The swim was about what I expected, I was very pleased with the bike, and I still have to work on my run. But I have at least one more race this year and the Nation’s Triathlon course is flat also. I still have the chance to break 3 hours.

Now its off to St Thomas for some diving, eating and fruity drinks!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

That toddlin' town

My bags are packed and the plane leaves in 3 hours. I did not get to bed as early last night as I wished. I was taking the PADI Enriched Air Scuba Course and I did not get home until after 10pm. I finished up some work stuff that I needed to have submitted (its great that I will not be back at work until after Labor Day). After I laid in bed, I started wondering if my GU and sunblock needed to be in a one quart clear plastic bag? I am hand carrying all my racing gear. My GU, sunblock and anti-fog stuff are now happy in a clear plastic bag that I can easy show TSA.

I talked with Mira and John yesterday. The bikes had just entered Ohio on the top of their car and the trip was going well with the exception of John forgetting his phone. But then John is a rocket scientist--no really he is.

I am enjoying my cup of coffee and I am finally starting to get nervous (or is it excited). I have never done a race that had this many people in it. My age group has over 700 signed up. My last race only had 300. There will be over 9000 people participating this weekend. That makes for some crowded streets. The weather looks perfect with a low of 65 and high of about 80. Lets just hope for low humidy.

I will soon be playing with my neice and nephew. Those two balls of fire will keep any aprehension at bay. I will not have time to think about the race. LOL

I hope to have a race report posted on Monday.