Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I signed up for the Little Rock marathon and created an 18-week training plan. Well, when I say "created" I mean I got a lot of help from Hal Hidgon's 18-week marathon training plan. I changed, or added, some cross-training work so I could get some work in in the pool and on my trainer as well as some weight work. The race is March 2. My 18-week program starts MONDAY!
I also plunked my money down for the Buffalo Springs half IM in Lubbock for late June. The main reason I signed up so early was to give me a goal, a carrot out there, if you will. Something to light a fire to get me back in the groove. The other reason is you save 30-bucks if you sign up before the year's end....
Saturday, October 20, 2007
We made a guys trip to Oklahoma last weekend to spend time with my brother and his family. Alex, Will and I went to Heritage Hall's football game Friday night. Blair is a coach on the team. To date they're undefeated with a real shot at a state championship! They didn't play their best the night we were there but still pulled out a 21 - 7 victory over OCS.
The weekend trip also included 3 tickets to the OU-Missouri game courtesy of Blair and his wife, Cindy. What a treat! We had awesome seats and watched the Sooners get back into the national championship picture with a 41-31 home win!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
O.K., now that I've started with the end let's rewind many, many, many, many hours and work forward from there.
Before I get into all that I have to give credit where credit is due. The incredible sunrise photo before the swim start was taken by the hot chick in the photo above, as were all the pics included in this posting. The cool thing is I get to kiss her, just because I can!
I set three alarms race morning. My watch has three alarm settings and I used two. I set the first one for 4AM and the second for 4:10. I then set the alarm on my phone to 4:15. Not a one went off because I was up before all of them. Actually, my buddy and fellow Ironman, Kevin, put it best saying you just take short naps all night the night before the race. This was his second Ironman and he knows from experience....now, so do I.
Anyway, I woke at 3:50. I got up and headed for the bathroom where I had everything meticulously laid out. I showered and put my race clothes on underneath a pair of warm-up pants and a long sleeve t-shirt. It was probably in the low to mid-60's race morning. The Lord blessed us all with perfect weather all day!
As I was walking down the hall of the hotel towards the elevator to grab a bagel and meet the guys, I turned around and looked because I could've sworn I heard someone say "dead man walkin'"! Anyway, no one was there.
Not that I was the least bit hungry I nevertheless downed a bagel with peanut butter just to have something on the stomach. Trey, Kevin and I then headed to the car for the ride over to the Monona Terrace. I had to turn on the radio in the car otherwise it would've been one of the most silent rides in a car I've ever experienced....well, there was that one time I got in trouble as a teenager and had to ride home with my dad in the car....uh...I'll save that for another post!
I pulled into a space in a parking deck about a block away from the swim start. With a couple of race bags each in tow we all headed to a coffee shop near the finish line to meet up with Dyron and drop off our "special needs" bags (you can put anything you might need into those bags and pick them up on the bike and run). After grabbing some java (we would've taken it through an I.V. had they allowed it) we headed to the bikes to make some last minute adjustments, air the tires and just generally pet our bikes and tell them how much we loved them. That's where I lost track of the others and began flying solo from there....scary, very scary. I didn't see Dyron the rest of the day and didn't see Kevin or Trey again until some point during the bike.
After saying "hello" to the portajohn and lathering "Glide" over every part of my body where I didn't want friction to become an issue (you can imagine...um...6-1/2 hours on a bike!?) I squeezed into my wetsuit and made my way to the waters edge.
The cannon goes off and then it looks like a bunch of piranha on a feeding frenzy. Some call it the human washing machine. Call it what you want, but it's like nothing I've ever experienced. I've done triathlons before. I've done two half Ironman distance races. But I've never done a mass start with 2200+ other competitors starting a swim at the same time. The crazy thing about it (well, one of the many crazy things about it) is there's chaos for nearly the entire 2.4 miles! Now, it does spread out somewhat but there were swimmers around me the entire journey. Just to give you an illustration of how chaotic this thing is I had two watches on at the start of the race. I had a watch I timed the entire race with on my right arm and I had my heart rate monitor on my left. When I got out of the water the watch on my right arm was the only survivor. The heart rate monitor on my left arm got kicked off by another swimmer and is, right this very second, at the bottom of Lake Monona!
I am, admittedly, a slow swimmer. It's O.K., I've already come to grips with that fact. Knowing that I set an extremely slow goal of finishing the swim in under 2-hours. Just so you'll know, that's extremely slow....and as I mentioned, I'm extremely slow. However, having said that, I knew when I set the goal that I was going to beat that easily. I really set that goal for overall time purposes in a kind of worst-case scenario situation. My swim time was 1:28:07. Hey, sub-1:30! I'll take it.
I entered the water and got as far to the right as I could. I was basically on the shore. I did that for two reasons; 1) I didn't want to tread water for very long before the start, and 2) I didn't want to be down the line of buoys where all the excellent swimmers were because, well, as I mentioned above, I'm slow. The more you're in the mix of the excellent swimmers, the more trampled you'll get.
My true goal for the swim was to be relaxed and get out of the water. I accomplished both because I was relaxed for the majority of the swim. I did get off course a couple of times which causes you to swim a little farther then you need to and it sends you into a bit of a panic, but I quickly corrected my direction and kept moving forward. Keep moving forward! Isn't that what Rocky Balboa says? It's not about how hard you get hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward!
One final note about the chaos in the water. I got elbowed so hard in the gut at one point that had I been standing on dry land I would've doubled over. KEEP MOVING FORWARD!
One lap down...
Two laps down...
... and out of the water! YES
Immediately coming out of the water you begin stripping. First it's the goggles and swim cap. Then you reach back and pull the rip cord attached to the zipper on your wetsuit and yank it. After that you pull your wet suit over your shoulders and down to your waist and then you begin searching. You're searching for the the first available "wetsuit stripper". Some call them pullers. They are volunteers who will yank the wetsuit right off your body. It works like this. After you've pulled the suit to your waist you find the first available person, sit down on your rear with your feet in the air at a 45-degree angle and they grab the top half of your suit and yank until it comes all the way off. There's one Ironman myth that goes around at every Ironman race that at one race a puller yanked off a simmers' wetsuit revealing he was going commando underneath! Not a pretty site. I wasn't going commando.
Off with the wetsuit for me and then a run up a helix of the parking deck which led to the first transition area. It's kind of hard to know what you're feeling at that point. You're kind of tired yet you're adrenaline is kicking in at the same time. There's thousands of people there cheering, clapping and whistling. You see the faces but you don't lock in on any of them...one foot in front of the other. After laying for an hour-and-a-half it takes a little time for the blood in your body to redistribute to the parts of your legs that are calling for a little more oxygen.
To the top of the helix I go and then I hear it..."Scott!" It's Kasie. She's positioned herself right before the doors to the first transition area. I did lock in on her face if only for a second. I raised my fist in acknowledgment and definite appreciation for the encouragement...more on that later.
In through the double-doors of the Monona Terrace Convention Center and down the hall to first room where the transition bags were. We dropped them off there the day before. After grabbing the bag it's off to another room where you can change into your bike gear and then out the double-doors at the back end where more volunteers are waiting with surgical gloves on ready to rub you down with sunscreen.
The time for my first transition was 8:13. I didn't care how long it took. Well, I say that. I guess if I'd been in there for 20 minutes I would've been a little disturbed.
2 WHEELS AND 112 MILES...HERE I COME
Once out of the first transition area it's down the long, narrow parking deck to find your bike. The picture above represents half of that long, narrow parking deck where the bikes were kept. After grabbing the bike you have to run to the complete opposite end of the deck before you can get on your bike. That's where I saw another familiar face...my sister-in-law Bonnie...yes, more energy and another adrenaline surge.
As we ran up the helix after the swim, we rode down the helix at the opposite end of the deck on our bikes to start the 112 mile journey. That's when I received another adrenaline surge...my family was waiting, Ashley, Lilly Kate and Will ready to give it up for dear old dad. That's where Ashley snapped this shot....
The bike course worked like this: a 16-mile ride out to a crazy town called Verona (more on that place later....just FYI, it was awesome!), then two 40-mile loops before riding back to Madison on the same 16-mile stretch we rode out on. 112 miles total.
My Bento Box was packed, my water bottles were full, my strategy was in place and I was out of the water.....LET'S GO!
Much like my strategy in the water my plan for the bike was to stay relaxed and enjoy the journey. Along with 6 GU gel packs I had 2 Cliff bars, 20 Endurolyte capsules and 5 bottles full of GU2O. By the time I rode 112 miles everything was gone with the exception of 2 GUs and a couple of Endurolyte capsules. My hydration plan work to perfection because I felt the best coming off the bike over any race I've done in the past.
My original goal for the bike was 6-hours. I finished in 6:31:54 for an average of 17.1 miles per hour.
A word about the course. Wisconsin is considered to be a hilly course. Central Arkansas is a hilly place. I was ready for the hills of Wisconsin! There were three pretty tough hills in a row towards the end of each 40-mile loop around the town of Verona. The first time through the hills weren't that tough and actually made me feel good and confident as I powered up each one. What also gave me energy was the crowd lining both sides of the streets going up each hill.
It felt like we were riding in the Tour de France. Some people ran along side of you shouting encouragement, others banged on a drum to help you keep your cadence up and all cheered the bikers on. It was truly overwhelming! The streets were also lined with people in the actual town of Verona shouting encouragement as well. It was fun going through that area, even the second time through the hills which were even tougher at that point.
I've never been so ready to run a marathon in my entire life. After 112 miles in the saddle there's not enough Glide in the world to not make you ready to stop wearing that bike seat! Pedaling up the helix I rode down 6-1/2 hours before wasn't as bad as I anticipated. One of the 3500+ incredible volunteers was waiting there ready to take my bike from me and put it back on it's rack.
I grabbed my Endurolyte bottle out of my Bento Box to carry with me on the run. I had more capsules in my transition bag to replace the ones I used on the bike. In through the double-doors I ran to T2 to grab my second transition bag that was filled with all of my running gear.
In a shorter race I would more than likely just run in the same clothes. I'd take my helmet off, slip on my shoes and hit the road. This was no ordinary race and it wasn't shorter. My plan was to completely change into some dry running clothes. I was happy I did.
More Glide, shoes on, full Endurolyte bottle, more GU packets and out the door for more sunscreen and to revisit the portajohn. 12:37 was my T2 time. A little longer than I'd like, but then again, as in T1, I really didn't care unless it got to be 20+ or something.
The above photo was taken as I was seeing my peeps for the first time on the run. It was joyful.
I felt better going into this run than any race I've done before. It's sounds crazy, I know. But, my legs felt fresh and I was not cramping anywhere! I was 2/3 through this thing and I think it was at this point that I realized that I was going to actually make it.
A little about my strategy going into the run. Realistically I thought I might run a 5-1/2 to 6 hour marathon. I allotted 6 hours when I was setting goals. Much like the bike I wanted to stay hydrated and nourished taking advantage of nearly every aid station along the way. Part of my strategy was to walk through every aid station. My other strategy was to run 4 miles and walk one at least through the first loop. I did just that and I think that helped me stay fresh.
One of the cool things about the run is there are more people there encouraging you and you get to see your buddies running as well. I crossed paths with both Trey and Kevin twice during my run.
The aid stations were well stocked: water, gatorade (which I don't mind saying It'll be awhile before I down any of that liquid again), Coke, chicken broth (and it was warm, too), cookies, pretzels, oranges, grapes and gels. These aid stations were like an oasis every mile. Kinda sounds weird to have Coke and chicken broth at an aid station! They are both heaven sent. The Coke gave a quick sugar, caffeine fix and the broth loaded you down with some sodium, plus it was warm which felt good.
While I didn't use my "special needs" bag on the bike, I did utilize it on the run. The temperature started dropping and I got a few chills so I slipped on my long sleeve shirt for the second loop plus munched down another Cliff bar for more energy.
At mile 16 I realized that I had 3-hours and 15 minutes to run 10 miles to achieve my goal of a sub-14 time! That gave me a little pep in my step I dropped my strategy of running 4 and walking one at that point because I felt good. I did keep the strategy of walking the aid stations. After running miles 16 to 22 I looked at my watch and it was 7:28PM. 32-minutes until 8:00 and only 4 miles to go! What were the chances of actually reaching my stretch goal of a sub-13 Ironman? I decided to push it a little and find out. I paced myself from mile 22 to 23 to see how long it took. 4-minutes passed, still not there. 8-minutes gone by and no mile 23 marker. Finally at 10:23 there was mile marker 23. That didn't add up to a sub-13 Ironman. It was kind of a relief though because it would've been tough to push it the rest of the way. Once I realized that the sub-13 wasn't going to happen I relaxed, took in the aid stations, walked a little and began to thoroughly enjoy the last 3 miles!
THE NEXT DAY
Ashley probably put it best. It really wasn't the next day but it's better described as one 48-hour period. It all ran together.
We got back to the hotel about 12:30A - 1A. Wound down a little and hit the sack for what turned out to be another night of short naps for me. I didn't sleep very well and got up about 6:30a went down and ate a little breakfast.
Kevin and Kasie were making their way back to Arkansas later in the day on Monday. We drove all the way back on Tuesday. But before they left on Monday we all went out to lunch and I had the biggest bacon-cheeseburger I could order....it was awesome!
I don't know if you've seen any of the Bourne movies, but I recently watched the third in the trilogy the "Bourne Ultimatum". Great flick, by the way. If you haven't seen it yet I apologize and you might want to look away...er...not read the last little bit.
In the last scene of the movie the main character, Jason Bourne, is jumping off a large building into the waters below as someone is shooting at him. You don't know if he was hit or not because the next picture is him just laying in the water motionless for what seems like an eternity.....and then he kicks his legs, moves his arms and begins swimming away leaving the door wide open for a 4th "Bourne" movie.
Will I do another "Ironman"? I'm not sure, yet, but my arms and legs are moving and I'm swimming away!
Saturday, September 08, 2007
O.K. so after we checked in all our gear and had our fill of the Ironman Village on Saturday it was time to go back to the room and get down to business......watching my Sooners romp all over the Miami Hurricanes! 51 - 13. That made the afternoon very relaxing!
Tonight it's out to dinner about 6 - 6:30 and back to the room and pray for a good night's sleep. Sunday A.M.....the Ironman journey!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I'm not sure what's more taxing, the actual Ironman race or making sure you have all the gear you need, and gathering it up. There are 34 different items on the table that I'll use at some point during the race Sunday! The shoes count as one item as do all the packets of "GU" in the box by the same name (FYI - there are 20 GU packets in the box). GU, AKA, life-support. All the stuff actually looks a little more overwhelming than it is. All this stuff, with the exception of the bike, will fit in the nice transition bag standing up at the top of the picture. Now, I will say, it's one stuffed bag!
A word about the crew in the above photo. This Ironman journey of mine is so much more involved than just me. It's an incredible sacrifice by everyone involved in my life. None so more than my wife, Ashley, who has been incredibly supportive throughout. I appreciate it so much. Alex, Lilly Kate and Will have sacrificed as well. I wouldn't be at this point without the support and encouragement from my brother and parents, my friends, church family and co-workers. I will say this, every single word of encouragement is important no matter how insignificant an encourager might deem it. It means a lot! There's indeed a lesson in that for me and all. No matter what you're doing or going through an encouraging word carries a lot of weight no matter how small or seemingly insignificant!
We're leaving Thursday with wheels rolling at 6am. We're driving straight through and sleeping in Madison Thursday night.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Now to the marriage portion of the post. My brother, Blair, got married in Oklahoma City the 24th of June. His bride, Cindy, is fantastic. The wedding was a big affair and it was nice being there. We played a round of golf at Oak Tree the morning of the wedding and had a great time. Alex started the round like a scratch golfer. He started out with a birdie on the first, then went bogey, par, birdie and was 1-under through 4. That was great fun to watch. It put a smile across his face and his cousin Bennett was amazed. Bennett played good as well.
Pretty sweet view, huh? That's looking out from the balcony at the Ritz-Carlton resort in Jamaica. No, it wasn't a vacation but a national sales meeting. Truth be told, you're looking at probably one of the nicest views on the entire island. Outside the gate there's ample evidence that it is indeed a third world country. We had a great time though. We went snorkeling out in those blue waters and had plenty of time after the meetings to lounge on the beach.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
O.K., about the times. As a refresher from the previous post I wanted to complete the swim in sub-25, the bike in 1:15 and the run in sub-55. "Two out of three ain't bad", isn't that what they say? The swim was 27:50, bike - 1:05:10 and run - 53:42.
We (Trey, Bird and I) got to the venue in plenty of time. I think it was around 5:45 A.M. for a 7:50 start. We had to pick up our race packets, finish our coffee, get body marked, put on our sun screen, put more air pressure in our tires, take our bikes to the transition area and make sure all of our stuff was set up perfectly. It was also important to visit the porta-john, recheck the air pressure in our tires, double check to make sure everything was set up perfectly in our transition area, make sure our numbers were affixed to our bikes, helmets and race belts correctly, revisit the porta-john and recheck the air pressure in our tires. Visit the porta-john. Recheck the air pressure in our tires.
There was a professional category at this race and it was cool because Chris McCormack was there. McCormack finished 2nd at the Ironman World Championships in Kona this past year. He's a stud! The pros went off at 7:30 and they went off every 10 seconds. The amateurs started at 7:50 and went every 3 seconds starting with 101. My number was 1281 so by the time they got to me it was 8:53....that's a long time to wait around in a wetsuit....get's kind of hot. The cool part about it though, was that it allowed me to watch the pros finish the swim and transition to the bike. A true learning experience especially when their swim to bike transition is about 47 seconds....mine was 2:27. I need to trim some fat off of that in the future for sure.
By the time 8:53 A.M. rolled around I was absolutely ready to take the plunge. Even though the water temperature was a cool 74 degrees it felt good after standing around in my wetsuit for more than an hour waiting to start. I do like the staggered start versus the mass start for the simple reason there's not as much chaos in the water. You're slapping water and not as many arms, legs, heads and elbows.
The swim course formed a triangle and they used just about every wet inch of the small lake to complete the course. Buoys were on the left initially to help us avoid a dock that stretched out into the lake. Past the dock all buoys were then on the right the rest of the way home.
The importance of proper sighting and swimming straight can't be minimized. Although never in the military I did too much Army swimming (left, right, left, right). It not only adds distance to your swim but naturally time as well.
After the first hectic 4 or 5 minutes I settled into a decent rhythm...that is until I looked up and realized I was off course, then I kick myself, frantically changed directions and picked up my pace until I was back on course. Then I got into a decent rhythm again. All in all I felt comfortable with the swim and exited the water in 27:50.
As soon as I climbed to my feet in the water I began T1 by stripping my goggles and swim cap off and reaching for the rip cord at the back of my wet suit and unzipping it. Passing the timing device I grabbed a cup of water at the aid station and started jogging to my bike in the transition area while stripping the wetsuit over my shoulders and to my waist. Unfortunately there weren't any wetsuit strippers at this event so everyone was on his own. After grappling with my wetsuit trying to get it over the Philbrick heel I velcroed on my bike shoes, pushed on my shades, strapped on my helmet, squeezed down a GU, pulled my bike off the rack and headed for the transition exit. A 2:27 T1 needs to be cut down. In the future I'll take the GU and drink at the beginning of the bike and not during the transition.
Once on the bike you can settle down after the transition and get into a good cadence. It took me about 3/4 minutes to make that adjustment and find a good pace. I felt really strong and confident once on the bike and began passing people. My cadence stayed in the 92 - 94 range for most of the bike. It was a flat course with a few gradual inclines and no major hills. All in all I was pleased with a 1:05:10 and 22.6 MPH average on the bike. That was 10 minutes faster than my goal going in. I think I can get better coming out of and into the transition area.
Having unvelcroed my shoes while still clipped in near the end of the bike I pulled my feet out of the shoes as I came to a stop at the line going into the transition area. Being at the other end of the area it was a long run to my spot. Once there I put my back wheel into the slot sat down and reached for my socks...one of which was underneath my wetsuit and therefore was totally soaked. I slipped my shoes on, traded my helmet for a hat, sucked down another GU, chased it with some GU2O and strapped on my race belt with the number 1281 in front. Again, I need to improve on the 2:37 it took my during this transition and I think I can by simply taking in my GU and drink while exiting the transition area and carrying my race belt with me and putting it on while running.
While my running has improved I really wasn't sure what to expect. My legs really cramped up coming off the bike at the half in Houston last October. Fortunately that didn't happen this time...granted it wasn't as long a bike this time and it wasn't as hot. But I have been working on my running as well as doing at least one brick a week during training to get my legs used to running coming off the bike.
The run course had some pretty good rolling hills to it and was an out and back. Fortunately there was some shade intermittently. I took in liquids at every aid station which were situated at miles 1/5, 2/4 and mile 3. They had water and Gatorade at every station. I drank the Gatorade and poured the water over my head.
I caught up with a guy from Marion, Arkansas at the turn around and ran with him the rest of the way home. That always helps pass the time and it gives you incentive to keep going. One of my goals during this run was to not walk except through the aid stations. I was successful with that and didn't even walk through every station. I ran through the first two and walked through the last 4.
My goal for the 10K run was a sub-55. My time was 53:42 and I finished strong and felt like I could've gone further.......but glad I didn't have to! My next goal at this distance is to finish sub-50. I do have some work to do.
My overall time: 2:31:37. I was very happy with that time finishing 61 out of 126 in my age group and 374th out of approximately 900+ male racers.
Monday, May 14, 2007
MiM is this Sunday. Birdman, Trey and myself are making the journey to Memphis Saturday night for our first tri of the season. It's an olympic distance event (my first tri of that distance) and it's a good first test. I'm looking forward to it, I'm excited and not as anxious as I was for the first tri of my life last June. I still have a few butterflys which I'm sure will mulitply as the week goes by....which is O.K. because a few butterflys are good and they help jump start the adrenaline.
No predictions but ideally I'd like to complete the swim in sub-25m, the bike in 1:15, and the run in sub-55m. Add in 3m or so for each transition and there you have it. My true goal is to be relaxed, stay focused, hydrate well and finish strong. Of course, updates to follow.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Triscoop - Triathlon News & Reviews General Coffee Talk
I'm Age Grouper of the Week!
bryancdMemberPosts: 454Location: Fountain Hills, ArizonaJoined: 29.06.06
Posted on 04-30-2007 18:38
..at IronmanTalk.com!Thanks to James, jdub. He nominated me and Bevin and John at Ironman Talk picked me! Their podcast, Ironman Talk, was one of the very first triathlon podcasts I started listening to back last year and I have taken away more useable information from thier show on Ironman racing than any other triathlon news source. For those who have never heard it, here's a link:http://www.ironmantalk.com/Podcast.html
Bryan-Be the person your dog thinks you are!
The above excerpt was taken from a triathlete website I frequent...TriScoop.com.
Now for the reason for the post. As you can tell from the huge gaps in time between posts I'm not the most diligent blogger. And it's taken me a while to figure out why. I can be oppinionated and I do have things to say occasionally. But the reason for my infrequent entries has to do with the basic premise of a blog.....which is the reason I included the above example. A blog is really a bunch of entries about me, myself and I. Come on, sing a few bars..."It's all about me". For the most part I try to divert attention away from me. It's uncomfortable to me for all eyes to be on me. I just realized I need to clarify something....the above excerpt is not about me....but while I'm on the above excerpt I'll go into detail about it. This dude Bryancd, "loves me some me". He's forever on this website talking about him. Now, from what he says and writes, he's a pretty solid triathlete. He's had good results in a very short period of time. He qualified for Kona this year as an age-grouper as a result of his finish at Ironman Arizona. But, really, let others talk about you rather you talkin' about yourself. That's when you know you've really arrived. But, to each his own, I guess.
I'm still going to jot down entries on this blog. I like the outlet it provides. And sometimes they're going to be about me and what's going on in my life. For example, right now, I'm trainin' my brains out for Ironman Wisconsin (please don't peak too soon!). But for the most part they're going to be observations, what's going on in the lives of the people in my life (which in a way is about me) and a few rants and raves.
Now for something random...I still can't believe the Minnesota Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson! I've grown accustomed to things like that not happening to a Viking fan. I'm a lifelong Sooner fan and a lifelong Viking fan. For my favorite player on the Sooners to be drafted by my favorite team in the NFL....well now, that's just like rollin' a yahtzee on the first roll. What? Now the Celtics are going to get the first pick in the NBA draft?
Monday, March 19, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
There are many things I love about this time of year. I've found that as I get older I do love the change of seasons. Yes, I even like the end of Daylight Savings Time. It took a long time for that one to take effect though. Springtime is my favorite which leads into summer. Among the things I love about this time of year are: Daylight Savings time, warmer temperatures, baseball, golf, green grass, wearing shorts, cooking food on the grill, colors everywhere. The world wakes up in the spring. Unlike humans, when the world wakes up it looks beautiful. It doesn't worry about bad hair or breath or crust in the corner of the eyes.
One of my very favorite things is the bloom of the Bradford Pear as seen in the picture above. I think the white blooms are just beautiful. You do have to enjoy them in a hurry though because the blooms don't hang around long. In about a week the white is gone replaced with the leaves of green. Hello world.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Christmas comes again this Tuesday! Well, OK, truthfully, Christmas doesn't come again this Tuesday but the next best thing does....the FedEx man. He'll bring with him my new Roo. I've upgraded to a dedicated Tri bike, the Quintana Roo Tequilo. I'm certain this is going to make me Normann Stadler-fast. Stadler won the 2006 Ironman world championships with a record setting bike split of 4:18:something. He rode 112-miles in 4-hours 18-minutes and change! Ridiculous! You've probably been stuck behind someone in their car driving in the fast lane who's head you couldn't see over the back of the seat driving at a pace slower than 4:18:something for 112-miles. Drives you crazy doesn't it? Why don't they just get over? I'm sure Normann Stadler wondered the same thing during his Sunday ride in Kona. Now I'm sure I'll be thinking the same thing on my new QR! Seriously, I'm kidding...........seriously!
I do wonder about all this equipment stuff, though. Does an upgrade really make you faster, better, more efficient? I used to be an avid golfer. I played with blades my entire life. Still do when I get a chance to play. There's nothing like the feeling of a well hit shot struck with a blade. You know instantly that it's going to be good. My question is was it the club or the swing? You know that comment "it's not rocket science"? That can be thrown out with yesterday's coffee grinds because when it comes to sports and the equipment we use to play them it has become rocket science. Look at the technology used to build the better driver these days. It's truly amazing filled with a lot of rocket-science terminology promising to deliver a driving average of 350 yards (give or take 100 or so....usually take, right?). I've never had the latest, greatest technology on the market when it came to golf clubs. Heck, I was reluctant to give up on the wooden driver and probably wouldn't have except the day I won a long driving contest using my wooden driver and the prize was a Big Bertha. Side note: I've always questioned that. Why would the prize for winning a long driving contest be a new driver....wouldn't they assume you were happy with the driver you had and maybe give you a golf bag, putter, 10 dozen golf balls or something other than a driver? Oh well, I'm kind of glad they did because it was getting embarrassing being the last surviving golfer using a wooden driver. It was akin to being the last known member wearing a "Members Only" jacket! The point is this, you still have to have the swing that will place the club head in just the right spot when it makes contact with the ball that will put the ball on the desired trajectory. All the technology in the world will not move your muscles to make that happen.
Back to the technological, geometrical upgrade with my new bike. Is it going to make me stronger, faster, more efficient? Time will tell. It is a dedicated tri bike rather than my current road bike fixed with aero bars. So there is different geometry at work providing a more aerodynamic position on the bike. It does have the latest, greatest technology........this is beginning to sound familiar. That technology still isn't going to make my muscles move any differently to make me stronger, faster, more efficient. Oh, what do I care, the FedEx man is coming Tuesday!
Friday, March 02, 2007
If the person who cuts your hair doesn't charge extra to trim your eyebrows and he asks you if you want yours trimmed, you might want to go ahead and take him up on the offer because he certainly didn't ask you to get more money out of you....wink, wink.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Now, in this world of instant and text messaging the acronyms are endless: BTW, LOL, OMG, TMI (WTMI - when there's just Way too much information, because, you see, there's too much information and then there's a completely different, higher level of information that's just, well, WAY...).
In the world of triathlon there's an acronym that gives you this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach: D-N-F! DID....NOT....FINISH. My journey into the world of triathlon is really in it's infancy and I've been fortunate enough to have not experienced a DNF. I know many have for various reasons. My Brother-in-law, Trey, who is an Ironman triathlete, gave me a book entitled "Becoming an Ironman". It's a collection of stories from triathletes experiencing their first Ironman distance race (I'll be attempting my first in September in Wisconsin). After reading the forward I went directly to the chapter simply titled "DNF". Some DNFed because they were disqualified, some had bad chicken the night before and their stomachs weren't right the next day and some just did not finish in the allotted time. That, to me, is the most difficult to deal with.
Some explanation is in order. You have 17 hours to complete an Ironman race. If you finish in 17:01 you really did not finish at all but rather received a DNF! That is hard to swallow! After a year or more of planning, preparing, gutting out the miles on the road biking and running and enduring the laps in the pool at 5:30am, sacrificing the good foods you like to eat for yogurt and protein bars, going to bed at 9:30pm so you can get up @ 5a, forking over the cash for the entry fee (north of 4 Ben Franklins, BTW), all the gear required, the different kinds of food, the hotel, travel money, etc., etc., etc., only to endure the entire, grueling day and you don't finish in 17 hours.....DNF!
I know those who do it bring it on themselves. I fully acknowledge that fact. It's masochistic. But it's also why we do it because when you receive an actual time after you finish and not an acronym, it's incredibly rewarding.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
O.K., now to the real reason for the post. The shoes above belong to my oldest, Alex. He's 14. These shoes are almost the same size. Please!? When I was 14 I think I wore a size 9. When I got married at 24 I wore a 9.5. Now that I'm pretty darn close to 20 years older than that and gravity has done it's job I wear about a 10.5 or 11 depending on the shoe! Is Alex going to be this gigantic monster in 3 to 4 years? Well, we do know this...yesterday Alex got his arm x-rayed because he fell on it playing basketball with some of his buds and it's been hurting for several days. The good news, there was no fracture according to the film. What we learned from the film was that the growth spaces in his wrist and elbow have pretty much closed. What that means is that he's pretty much done growing, at least in his right arm. The doc did say that his spine will probably continue to grow over the next couple of years. That was certainly good news to Alex because right now he's about 5'8". It's pretty tough to get to 6'1" - 6'2" if you've stopped growing at 5'8". Now there wasn't an x-ray of his foot...we can only hope the growth spaces have closed there as well! Size 16 anyone? Does anyone have the website for the shoe of the month club?
Now, for the second main reason for the post. If you'll notice these are brand-spankin' new, shiny, red, unscuffed, lightenin' fast, fresh-out-of-the-box, haven't-made-an-error-yet, baseball shoes! Baseball season is here. Pitchers and catchers reported a week ago. Positions players are rolling into camp (except for Manny Ramirez, because, you know, it's just "Manny being Manny"). The JD Babe Ruth Reds have had 2 practices.....BASEBALL SEASON IS HERE!
Monday, February 12, 2007
Anyway, this post is about the end of the NFL season. Will you survive until the next kick-off in September. That depends because anymore you don't have to survive...there's always Mel Kiper, Jr. analyzing the deep snapper for Hofstra who might go late in round 7. Then there's the free agent season, mini-camps, the start of training camp and then pre-season games televised nationally in prime-time when we actually get to see that deep snapper for Hofstra perform after the first series...so exciting!
So the question I pose today (and will answer) is to what does the NFL credit for the explosion of this game in this country? Many things, but a lot of credit should go to those who play fantasy football. I'm one of them by they way. Come on, why else would you care, and watch by the way, the Buccaneers playing the Cardinals unless you had Larry Fitzgerald. Or, why else would you watch the Vikings playing the Bills unless you had Chester Taylor. O.K., not really a good example because I would watch the Vikings play anyone...I've been yoked with this team for years (see post below). And now McBrick is yoked with the Eagles (see post below), poor guy! So, many people will have to survive until next season (no alternative, really) but most are waiting with great anticipation because they can't wait to manage their fantasy football team because most are sure they're going to win it all next season and grab the glory (not to mention the cash!). They just hope they don't get the first or last pick in their draft.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
O.k., I admit it, I was just unorganized. There, I said it. I feel better, don't you? I finally came to that realization and wanted to do something about it after the calendar turned to 2007. It wasn't a resolution either. So, I put on my fire retardant suit, increased my life insurance policy, kissed my wife and kids, threw a Milk Bone to the dog and went out into the cold, dark room that I was forevermore determined to call my two-car garage. Unfortunately after sifting through all the rubble I didn't find any long lost Rembrandt or 10,000 original shares of Wal-Mart stock that was worth millions. But what I did find was that when cleared, there was enough space in that room for another car! VICTORY!
After sweeping up the last bit of trash (and the amount of trash could be measured in metric-tons) I was ready to steer the gold Highlander into its' new home. Now, we have an outside dog named Maggie. She's lived outside her entire life. She likes it outside. She does come into the house on occasion and you can tell right away that she knows it's a foreign place. When she comes inside she gets low to the ground and walks fast and she's soon at the back door again ready to get back to more familiar territory. My gold Highlander had the same reaction. It did take the car a few nights to get adjusted to it's new surroundings. I actually had to mop up a wet spot the next morning...but it's learning.
You can't see it very well, but there's a new shelf in the garage as well....more organizational activity. And there's more shelving to come. Man, I feel like Tim the Tool-man Taylor. I did sustain an elbow injury due to patting myself on the back too much. But, it is the simple pleasures that make a difference, right?