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


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.