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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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.