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.