Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Inspiration

In 1989 I actually saw this - along with about 35 other people who were inspired to become triathletes.  I actually thought that when I was 36 that I'd love to do something like the Ironman.  At least I'm close and 17 years later I'm not too far off from where I envisioned myself and I'm not much different except I was about 153 lbs wet and could run 6 min miles forever in training.  I always liked Mark Allen despite the fact that he sometimes went a bit far talking about the 'energy' of places and so on.  I had to wait each month for my triathlete magazines to arrive - I even had to subscribe to Runner's World and Bicycling to get me through the dry periods of no new Tri-mags.  There wasn't an internet (if you can believe that Ben and Soda) or even DVDs.  Now the DVD of this race is on my Christmas list. 

I'll save my other thoughts for a new post - just so you have to come back to read it.  Today I've got a 10 miler to do - a part of my new run program: two 10+ mile runs a week (one hard, one easy) and then two easier runs of 45 mins to and hour max - with mixed levels on intensity.  Since I took a week off total, I shouldn't have lost any base fitness and since I never did a lick of speedwork in 2007, I shouldn't be too beat from high intensity training. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Random Thoughts ...

I don't have anything too thrilling to write about - so I looked at my Google Analytics account to see what was driving traffic to my site.  Other than people just coming to my site for a thrilling read and inspiration - here's what they searched for and how they got to my site:

I'm number one (which makes sense) - here are the more interesting ones:

  • what does hunter kemper wear
    • I didn't write about what he wore, but I did show him changing.  He wears something from Nike.
  • what happened to jessi stensland?
  • york maine run bike
    • Innocent enough.  I was in York, Maine and I bike and run.
  • york's best seafood & roast beef
    • Yum!!!
  • york's best seafood and roast beef
    • Wow - they're hungry
  • yorks best seafood and roast beef
    • Tenacious!
  • yorks roast beef york maine
    • I'm confused, do they just want regular roast beef in York, Maine or did they want the BEST!
  • roast beef in maine
  • tom boonen dance song
    • It wasn't the song I had a link to - I couldn't find this version either (It goes 'tomeka tomeka tomeka tomeka tomeka' with a Euro Techno beat)
  • tom boonen song lyrics
    • You can find those here
  • sleep wetsuit
  • tom boonen song
Tom Boonen: Lobster Roll (served in York, Maine) Hunter Kemper wearing clothes
tomboonen 20070604lobsterroll Oct07Late 021

On another note- I had a fantastic swim today and bought a new SUV on Friday.  Since I ride my bike to and from work I don't feel so bad getting a V8 with 4.4 liters.  It will get me into those fun race-day parking lots that are horse pastures 364 days a year. 


Monday, November 26, 2007


I feel like I have to write something thankful since it's just that time - so I was thankful for running and for having a wife and kids who let me run (even though it takes time away from the family, I know).  I was SOOOO thankful that I went for a run up a hill or mountain depending upon where you live. 

I decided to run up a hill that I always loved to run up in Medford,OR - which is basically a great hill because I've never been able to run to the top of it.  My wife's family moved about 2 miles closer to the hill since the last time I was there - so I actually made it up and over the hill this time.  Here's a view on the way down:


The run was about 1,000 ft in 3.5 miles up and then down.  It was all fire road - but nicely packed.  The weather was cold (41) but clear.  On runs like this - I'm always thankful for having a wife who supports my insane obsessions, for 2 girls who someday will be able to run with me and for having friends who are just as possessed.  Here's a chart of the run - it started just at about 2,000ft and went to 3,000. 


After the run, here's the plate I had on Thanksgiving - I really did have turkey and stuffing - but only after filling up on veggies and water first.


Then I was sick with some mild version of the flu which Greta got much worse.  I took a few days off and then went out for a tasty 11.25 miler with Ian (easy means <8 min miles for 1.5 hours) yesterday.  He tricked me by first giving me 2 bowls of turkey soup which never once stopped trying to reappear on the run.  I was also thankful for not having chubby calves like his. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For Sale: Ben Collins

I found a fun site where I was able to create the much-in-demand 'I (HEART) Ben Collins' t-shirt.  They're about $25 each if you do them on a small scale (2-5).  They get cheaper.  Here are some other popular shirts that you can buy to support or harass your favorite World Champion named Ben Collins.



The site to create these masterpieces is

Monday, November 19, 2007

More New Toy Posting: Garmin 201 Gets Better

Went for a run today - a trail run.  I never know how far it is or how steep the terrain is on Ring Mtn - there are tons of trails.  It's a beautiful run - you've seen pictures from the top in running magazines.  You can see all directions - Sausalito, Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Angel Island, San Francisco, etc...  it's also empty of trash, tourists and cars. 


It's about 1.1 miles to the trailheard and then up for 1.5 miles, along the ridge for a bit more - say 1.5 miles and then down to the road where I was foolish enough to answer Ian's question 'I wonder how steep that road is'.  That road is Hacienda Drive and Ian, it's 22%.  I hit 26% on the way up Ring Mtn - but that's a trail. 

Here's a view from Google Earth of the trail.  It's nicer in person.  I'll stop posting all of these un-remarkable things soon.  Nice job Garmin (and thanks Natalie!). 


Here's a view of the run. 


Lastly - here's my house and Ian's house.


My New Garmin Forefunner 201

I'm lucky enough to have friends who are sponsored by Garmin - a company whose stock has been pretty incredible - driven by it's amazing products (except they're not waterproof).  I got a new Forerunner 201 to help me with my run pacing and workout tracking.  I took this new toy out for my long run in Z2 with a few mins in Z3/4 towards the end of the run.  It doesn't have an HRM - so I have to wear my Polar 520 to track my HR + carry my iPod - so my right arm is pretty full of stuff.  Below is a picture of the Garmin software's opinion of my workout.  I call in an opinion because it's not all true: there are 2 hills on the chart one is 29% and the other is 41%. It also shows I was sub-10 min miles on a 41% grade hill.  It also shows I was on a -26% hill (I live at the bottom of a 25% grade that I have to climb UP).  It also shows I start at 1,500 ft and since I can jump into the ocean in less than 5 yards - I'd say I was closer to sea level.  


click the image above to see a better version:

It shows I ran an 8:36 for 1:22 mins - I actually ran a bit further but deleted some of the odd files I saw (it didn't pick me up with GPS for about 5 mins) and then due to the clouds it appeared to have lost GPS reception a few times.

The software Garmin provides is terrible - you can't change the scale to make sense of the data.  Hopefully they'll fix that and make some improvements - or at least get closer to Polar's software.  They do have a nice (very) integration with Google Earth - here's my run:


Despite all of the issues I mention - it is cool and fun.  You can set a training partner with goals: pace, distance, time, or mixes of both.  I plan on getting out for a 10k with a goal time of 42 mins. 

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blood and Fog

It was a bit over a week when in a nasty fog (I could see about 20 ft in front of me while riding home that evening) a captain drove his ship into the bridge in San Francisco. 

That dumped a ton of oil into the water which then washed up onto the shores of all the local beaches. 

Tonight a hazmat crew was out cleaning up all of the damaged and polluted soil (sort of spooky to see about 2 dozen people in suits - all dressed up with masks, gloves, boots, etc..) as a result of the spill.

They parked all of their trucks in the middle of the bike path - which was right next to the beach. 

I commute on that bike path.

It was foggy tonight which means moisture on the road and on the cable car tracks all over the city. 

crash A bicycle going 17-20mph over wet tracks doesn't work well for the rider who lacks ice racing skills. 

I lack ice racing skills.  Ask my mom, I wrecked one two cars and one bicycle due to ice.

I was on a bicycle going about 17-20mph over wet tracks because of the hazmat truck on the bike path. 

I hit the ground hard. 

Luckily there are lots of people to see this sort of thing - I hit so fast that I didn't even clip out or fall off the bike.  I was still clipped in but on the ground.  I quickly had an audience because I sort of just lay there to let my head catch up to my body (my head was up the road about 20 meters and upright). 

I next heard a guy saw 'I think he's unconscious' - I did hit my entire right side including my head.  I know this because of the marks, blood and the fact that I didn't get up to look at my bike right away. 

There's a derailleur stuck in my wheel, a frayed cable, busted handlebars and some scrapes.  I shouldn't have laughed at Ian. 

Hopefully Ben stays off his bike for a few days - he's due.  Now I've got to muster some courage for a 10.5 mile run at 5:30am so that I can be done before Greta has to head off to work at 7:30am.  I'm sure it's going to be fun.  At least I'm not living in the back seat of my car in the economy lot. 

I still got home in 1:20 mins.  I also was able to ride at 23.1mph at 111 RPM.  Hopefully I won the Thursday night commute time trial - no one was left at the end.  I was mad enough to just ride hard. 

PS - Here's a nice recap from another pro at the Treasure Island Triathlon turned duathlon. 

The Little Merman

I finally got a swim lesson after about 12 months of 'floundering' on my own.  Ben took turns hitting my hands with a kick board to ensure my hands were entering the water far enough from my centerline (and palms in), grabbing my feet if I kicked too hard (or separated my feet too much) or swimming underwater on his back to watch me in the cold and murky waters of the Bay Club Marin's pool (the heater is broken there - so I'm swimming in 70 degree pool water - if that).

boratYesterday I did the run (3.5 miles) to the club, lifted and then ran back (about 2 mins faster) with a negative split.  Today I swam again and still felt my swim coach hitting me and grabbing my feet - so hopefully I retained something.  I did a quick look and found that I am swimming about 20 seconds faster with a HR of 10-15 beats lower per 100.  Now I just need a good simple workout to build on.  Ian 'Huggy Bear' Charles and Matt Dixon have both given me some - so I'll start with those.  I won't have another lesson for a few months - so I should make some great progress over the next 8 weeks or so. 

Tomorrow I'll get out for a 10.5-11 mile run OR I'll ride Mt. Tam at 6am and follow it up with a brick run.  I'm heading up to Napa for the weekend with Greta because it's our 10 year anniversary - so I need to get all of the triathlon out of my system before spending time with her.  I won't be able to run or bike on Saturday - instead I'll have to suffer at the tasting bars in Napa and Sonoma.  I only hope she keeps me around for another 10 years and that I'm still able to race then too.  That's all for today.  Above is a picture of Ian Charles in his new tri suit.  He typically pins his race number between the straps.  You like?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Treasure Island Triathlon Photos

Here are a few pictures from the race this weekend. 

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You'd think he'd be all logo'd up - but here's Hunter Kemper.  Fast fast.
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Jarod Shoemaker - the first member of the USA Olympic Triathlon team. 

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The Pro men's start - they won't feel this good for a long time. 
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The pro men's transition area. 
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Sarah Haskins. 
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Sarah and Julie Ertel before the race
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Jillian Petersen - finished 3rd for the day. 
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Sara McClarty - fastest women's swimmer in triathlon.  She didn't race but she showed up with her bike and bag. 
 Oct07Late 007

Chris 'Boom Boom' Tremonte from Redmond, WA.  We've done some nasty nasty rides in the rain together.  He got to do another one at this race without me.
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Mr Multi-Megawatt Smile - 2007 World Champion and professional babysitter Ben Collins
 Oct07Late 048

The men's race - Derek Kite and Jarod Shoemaker
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Not so much smiling right now.  Look Tri-Cal - No transponder!
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Chris Tremonte enjoying the Sunday fun run.
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Jillian in 3rd place - she's too fast for the camera to focus.  I think she ran a faster 10k than Ben or Chris.  This is called getting 'Chicked'.  I get this in all of my swims.
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Haskins can run.
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The women's lead pack: Sarah Haskins, Julie Ertel, Sarah Groff and Jillian Petersen.
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I'm lucky to even find a transition spot let alone have one with a nice box for my stuff and my name on it.
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Chris gets one too!
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The USADA Drug and Pee-pee ladies.  They're just waiting with their cups!
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Jason Mucher, USAT’s “Communications & Media Relations Manager".  He actually knew me from Ben.  Small world.
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Season over.  The glamorous life of Ben Collins, professional triathlete.
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"The Piper".  Professional ragamuffin and comedian.

Sada and her pumpkin. 

Ben's cat.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Papa Wheelie & Treasure Island Triathlon

Got to catch the Treasure Island Triathlon this weekend. This race should also should be known as the worst course in triathlon, triathlon. I've never seen a course with more potholes, rocks, and debris than this one. If it was a bike race they would have repaired the potholes (or at least 'coned' the dangerous ones) and had hay bales on the corners. I'm not sure how many people left the course in ambulances - but it was more than one. It also didn't help that the race went from a Triathlon to a Run/Bike/Run race and that it rained halfway through the race. I enjoyed seeing some of the sport's big names race with friends only a few miles from home - Hunter Kemper made it seem easy to win a hard race. I'm not sure he even was sweating.

Photo: Sarah Haskkins (hubba hubba), Julie Ertel (ERRR-TELL) and Jillian Petersen (from Bradon Basso)

After getting in a good run and lifting workout on Friday (run 3.5/lift/run 3.5)

On Saturday I went out for a 60 min run that turned into 10.5 miles at some point. I was glad to get out there and found that I definitely need to get in some good long runs before the Oceanside 70.3 race at the end of March. The first hour was easy and then it got to be a bit harder.
On Sunday Ben, Ian and I limped to our bikes (lots of sore quads this weekend) and did 30+ miles and 3,000+ feet of climbing along the south side of Marin. Before we climbed a single vertical foot Ian 'Huggy Bear' Charles - aka Papa Wheelie decided to lift his front wheel off the ground and fall over. It was a bad version of a Cirque du Soleil act. It wasn't fun to see him fall but the simple fact that he fell over going about 1mph for not apparent reason was mildly humours (it's funnier since he didn't get hurt). He also fell in front of a car who then honked at him as he lay dying in the street with his life flashing before his eyes. I can only laugh because I slipped in the shower - breaking my nose followed by flipping over the handlebars while talking on a cell phone last winter.

Tomorrow I'll post some pictures from the race of Hunter Kemper changing under an olive tree, the USADA ladies hiding their faces when I yelled 'smile drug control ladies' and Chris Tremonte in his jammie bottoms. I also took pre-race and race photos too

Friday, November 9, 2007

Oil and Water and Triathlons Don't Mix

In moving to California I had some expecatations but I really had no idea what we were in for.

It's been incredibly nice weather - I think I've seen rain 3-4 days since March 5.

It's a bit windy (Chris Tremonte can testify that it is wicked windy) on a regular basis (I get a good hard wind for about 60% of my commute each day).

You can ride from micro-climate to micro-climate - 4 miles south is a different kind of weather - ride 2 miles north - it's warmer and no clouds.

On every ride/run/swim you will see a number of different animals: turkeys, jack rabbits, deer, skunks, foxes, sharks, seals, and all sorts of fish. I was climbing a hill in SF last night and next to me with his tail up and his rear end facing me was a skunk. That's twice in 2 months I've been within 10 meters of an unhappy skunk.

Last night though - I did notice a big change. After hearing about the oil spill (somewhere between 140 and 154,000 gallons of oil spilled) - I figured I'd see something along my ride (which is along the waterfront for 95% of my commute). Every beach was closed, they were all roped off with the police sitting there. There were animals covered in oil dead on the shore - the same birds in oil you see on TV. It smelled like oil all along the Embarcadero (the road along the waterfront in SFO) and even on the Golden Gate bridge - you could smell the oil.

Needless to say - the Treasure Island Triathlon that Ben is in town for is now a 10k run, 40k bike and 5k run. I was looking forward to seeing Ben get out of the water in the top 3 - with guys like Matt Reed and Hunter Kemper - so now it's a duathlon. Too bad for everyone who signed up - but triathletes love challenges (I'd welcome every triathlon I do to drop the swim).

Good luck to Ben and Chris tomorrow! Christine and I will be out there in our I (HEART) Ben Collins t-shirts - hopefully I can find my cowbell in time.

Today I ran to the gym: 3.5 miles/lifted legs and upper body and core/ran home 3.5 miles. Ouch.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I got back into the pool today after about a month break from swimming. It was not too bad. I did 35 mins and just worked on my form and did a few catch-up drills. My arms were pretty tired since all they've been doing is lifting a few pumpkin ales at most. I also lifted a bit, kissed the family and headed out the door for the morning bike commute into work. It didn't feel like training but I think it was. I also didn't see any other shaved-legged-tri-shirt-wearing people lifting yet. Hopefully those chumps were still sleeping.

Seniorita Collins arrives tomorrow and hopefully he'll be able to do something with my swim talent. I suspect he can harness it and somehow transfer it into forward motion in the water. It's probably not a good thing that I look forward to races with 2 laps in the water and that there's a run out/in - just to make up some ground.

Garmin also send us some new toys - a pair of Garmin Forerunner 50's to play with. I wasn't sure if it's waterproof - so I'm hoping to figure that out. The Edge 305 seems waterproof (as much as you need for a bike computer) but not sure on the 50.

Does anyone know what to put in a fuel belt's bottle? Is it water, gel or both? I'm not sure.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Nemo's Adventures

I got out this weekend - sort of a warm up for the 2008 season. It started with a baby pace run with Ian who is just back from shoulder surgery (he's not supposed to be running but like all good triathletes, ignore the dr and just go real easy). Got in 40 mins or so - which was good for my calf.

After the run I went to the gym to start lifting for 08 as well. I'm doing 1 set of 15 reps on about every machine there - head to toe. I'm also doing squats with the freeweights. I'll do this for about 4 weeks - going up 5 reps but keeping to low weight and 1 set each. This will help me get used to lifting and prepping the muscles for some heavier workloads in December.

Ian and I then rode to Nicasio - an easy ride. Except I mentioned to Ian that his calves looked 'flabulous'and were 'muffin top-like' and he and his injured little arm decided to turn up the heat for the next 2 hours. At one point I was doing 31mph at 107 RPM and a HR of 179. Don't anger the person you're riding with - they'll wreck your easy ride. You'll notice that it was a nice easy ride until about 46:10 into the ride I made my comment while climbing. I made things worse by singing 'do you know the muffin man'.

I followed the ride up with a brick run up and down Ring Mt. I had an avg. HR of 173 and a max of 191. I'll have to post that.