Saturday, May 31, 2008

Beating Cancer

My good friend and 2007 training partner Ian has blood cancer.  He would have been my training partner in 2008 but instead he tore his ACL (got it fixed), wrecked his shoulder (got that fixed), cheered for the Giants during the Super Bowl (a mistake in itself) and tore his hamstring all between Thanksgiving and well, whenever the Super Bowl is.  You can imagine how it is to depend on a guy who is the human equivalent of a 8 year old Yugo though slightly more handsome but sporting some Magnum PI worthy chest hair.  Ian then starts to recover from all of his injuries and accompanied surgeries, swimming a few thousand K in the pool, getting in regular sessions at Endurance PTC and was just starting to throw in a few miles of running in the 7:30 range.  Within days he finds out he's got this cancer and starts his chemo. 

Fast forward a few weeks. 

We're now swimming in the Belvedre Lagoon, showing up at 5:30am to swim .6 miles one way and then back.  The group contains more doctors than not, so it's a safe place to be and it's akin to an open water master's workout - except it's pretty much swim hard, stop, give the thumbs up and then swim back and mock Loren as he strolls in about 2 hours after everyone has finished (my supposed nickname is 'mermaid').  Last year to even complete this thrice weekly ritual I had to wear zoomers and Ben publicly referred to me as a flounder (a few times).  This year I'm ditching the zoomers and rely on what's available to me on race day - my legs and arms. 

Ian has always been a stronger swimmer than I am but then I catch 'the furry one' on the bike and we duke it out on the run (in Santa Barbara last year I literally ran on his heels for about 4 miles until I saw my wife and then I slowed down in the last .5 mile).  So I figure with Ian full of chemo drugs (even getting his treatment within 12 hours of swimming) that I've got a chance.  You might be picturing me wheeling this brittle creature from the car, with a blanket on his lap, hat slightly askew on his bald head, a shallow face covered in pale skin, etc... Instead he looks normal and healthy - sporting a wetsuit, goggles and swim hat.  He get into the water, we start the swim and I see him 17 mins later at the other end where he's fully rested treading water, fighting cancer and pointing out that my left arm is doing sort of a lobster claw-like thing as it enters the water.  Ben says I look like I'm too mechanical and think too much.  Then we turn around where Ian disappears into the distance, with his cancer as Ben comes from behind me and pretends I'm Steve Sexton and whacks me with his arm as he flies past me in the water with less effort than I use sleeping.  Sorry, this post was about Ian and cancer and somehow I've made it about Ben...

My wetsuit is also now chafing my shoulder so bad I've got this giant spot where it's raw and it hurts and I miss Greta.

So in closing, Ian who is fighting an incurable cancer (but beatable into remission) is once again mending amazingly fast and in the meantime is still spanking the Lorpeedo in the water.  He's pretty incredible, motivated and hairy - like Chewbacca but no gun.  Oh and by the way, he's ironically the chairman of the 2008 Leukemia Cup Regatta - so please visit his site and throw some support his way - if for no other reason than to keep beating me in the water providing me with tremendous humiliation.  If not, there are pictures of his cute wife and I think you can see him without his shirt on - which is probably the highlight for thousands of women. 

Here is Ian cheering at a local race (he's wearing the ZteaM tri suit)

ian

Last night I made 2 dozen Memorial Muffins and today there are 15.  Score: Loren 5 and Ben 4. 

My sponsors:

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bachelor Weekend (sort of)

pizza + beer = yahooo!

Ok, not really. 

Greta and Sada are headed north to Seattle for the weekend while I'm here with Piper and my adopted child Ben.  I'm not sure who naps or eats more, but I'm grateful that I don't have to change his pants or get him cups of juice.  Ben DID have a Memorial Muffin, so perhaps he'll be so moved as to post about them daily. 

We'll get a swim in together in the lagoon tomorrow at 5:20am (which he's explained is not the best time for a professional to be up) and then we're on our own.  This puts a bit more strain on the weekend workouts but I think we'll be able to cover it so I'm not dying come Monday night for a workout. 

The good news is that this means we'll be able to pull out Rock Band and we can get our band back on tour.  We are looking for a lead singer but have had no takers - (Greg, you're pretty much the only one who we hear should be filling out an application).  I expect to get in a few good hours of Kiss' 'Detroit Rock City' and The Outlaw's 'Green Grass and High Tides' (which could be one of the greatest songs ever, definitely for songs over 10 mins long). 

Today I did some LT testing at Endurance PTC.  I was definitely better than the last time we tested (about 12 weeks ago) but I'm back to where I was last summer - but for some reason, I'm significantly quicker by about 2mph on the bike.  I can't explain it - but at least things are headed in the right direction.  I'm also about 2% leaner than a few weeks ago, so that too is good.  Lastly, there's also some weirdness when it comes to my physiology and when I race, I'm off the charts when compared to what I 'should' be able to do. 

San Jose is in a week (and 2 days) and Vineman is <8 weeks out.  Ugh... the stress of another 70.3.  why why why...

RANDOM STUFF:

  • Here's a site that I found, I'm sure it's not new to anyone, but it is to me: http://dailytriathlete.ning.com/ 
  • Ben just ran out to swim and to get me some pumpkin for a certain cupcake-like breakfast pastry thing.  Rhymes with 'luffins'. 
  • I'm on disc 3 of Miami Vice Season 3.  SO GOOD.
  • My neighbor is super famous.  Really famous.
  • The human head weighs 8 lbs.
  • My thighs are 58cm around.  They also look good and are very strong.
  • I'll miss my girls (the big one the most, the smaller one I'll miss proportionately - based on size) when they're gone.
  • Here are my baby girls.  I'll also find a picture of 'Uncle Ben' that you'll enjoy. 

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Pinch Runner

I hate that.  I was going to write a whole post about it - but I figured it was too awful and that at least half of the comments would be along the lines of 'this one time....' and I really don't want to know about it that much.  I know of swimmers who have stopped mid-swim in the open water to 'deal with things' and I know of a few trail runs where more than just water weight was lost (don't finger me for that - but I DO KNOW PEOPLE) and I have two race reports in my possession (oddly both are from Hawaii) where the victims suffered greatly and provided in great detail their battle with the gods and their sacrifices left alongside the race course.  Poop happens.  I wish it just didn't happen to shorten the occasional mid-run stride effort on a beautiful morning causing undeserved stress on what should have been a Z2 gliding effort.

I just wanted to say that. 

Image:Ferrari-daytona-rc.jpgI also wanted to say that Miami Vice Season 3 is probably the greatest $43.99 I've spent in a long time.  I watched Miami Vice as a kid sometimes but I had to do it in my parents bedroom where they had a black and white TV.  I'm now getting to see the whole series (currently season 3) in color.  I was surprised to see how many notable actors and tunes were a part of this show - everyone to a younger Willie Nelson, Steve Buscemi  to Lawrence Fishburne and Liam Neeson.  This was also the season where Crocket lost his Ferrari Daytona Spider 365 GTS/4 and got his white Testarossa.  Personally, I would rather have the classic convertible since Ferraris are pretty much the only masculine convertible car worth driving (some of the late 60 Corvettes are worthy and there's a guy down the street with a 2008 Aston Martin convertible that I wouldn't exactly call effeminizing). 

Greta and I watched more TV (Miami Vice) this weekend than we have in the past 6 months combined.  The girls played wonderfully together white we relaxed and sat in awe of Michael Mann's fantastic production effort with non-stop helping of Jan Hammer's rocking keyboard.  At times during the show I considered flipping my polo shirt's collar up and getting rid of my socks (oh wait, I HATE socks) but since I couldn't move - I just watched.  I also threatened to write down some classic lines - but I'd be writing for nearly all 45 mins of each episode IT WAS THAT GOOD. 

Sonny Crockett: People in stucco houses shouldn't throw quiche.

Sonny Crockett: You just got to learn to go with the heat, Rico. It's just like life. You just gotta keep telling yourself, no matter how hot it gets, sooner or later there's a cool breeze coming in.

One of our favorite characters Izzy Moreno is in all of the episodes we've seen - he's hilarious in each one. Lastly, you can never get enough of Edward James Olmos award winning 'staring at nothing' to make a point.

izzy

Izzy Moreno: Your partner looks kinda intense today.
Det. Stan Switek: I haven't seen him like this since 1983 when he chased a guy who stole a hubcap from the bug van.
Izzy Moreno: Have we already had the scene where I ask what this is all about and you say, "Shut up, we ask the questions".
Det. Stan Switek: I don't know, did we, Lar?

I also wanted to say that I had 3 memorial muffins. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Muffins

lptriThis is it, THE MUFFIN POST.  I made another batch. Got in some good recovery sleep in the past few days - sleeping in until 7:30 for the past two days and this morning 8:30am!  I ate like a champ too: Cheetos, 2 Hot Dogs, French Toast and a muffin or two.  It must have been the 2 hours of the Indy 500 that I watched today.  It was actually a good race and looked a lot more like the Indy races that I'd see as a kid - more recently it was a collection of drivers and sponsors I've never heard of with the majority of the field crashing out or falling apart before the end of the race.  It almost makes me miss being around the race track where I spent the past few years as a driver before I turned to triathlon.  Here's where my 14 year old teammate ended up - he's professional now at the age of 16: http://www.markatkinson.net/ and he just raced at Indy this week in a USAC Midget race where they hit 140mph each lap - not bad for 16.   You can see the karts we drove on Mark's site - they'd got 0-100mph in about 6 seconds, could handle 3g in the corners, gas was $10/gallon, and would cost $500-$1,000 a race to run. 

It was a lot cheaper and healthier to race triathlons - when I sold my karts and ended up buying the HED VO4 shown in the picture w/Stinger 60s (which I just sold and will now race my Dura Ace Carbon wheels) and HED Lite Disc wheel (picture was from the Sacramento Triathlon).  I also ride an 07 Kestrel Talon SL w/Dura Ace as my commuter bike.  I'd really like to ride one of the new 08 Talon SLs and hope to get my hands on a new frame sometime in the near future. 

The rest of the weekend has been spent watching a few new DVD's I picked up on Friday afternoon:

1) ET

2) Toy Story 2

3) A Bug's Life

4) Miami Vice Season 3!

Ok, the reason you're really here: The Muffins.

Here's the scoop:

They're supposed to be gluten free, but that sounds bad.

1 3/4 Cups Flour (I've used white and whole wheat - both work fine)

1 1/4 Cups Sugar (I can cut about 1/4 cup out if you use apple sauce or something else - molasses)

1 TBSP Baking powder

1/4 TSP salt (I think it needs a little more)

1 TSP Cinnamon (you can never have too much)

1/2 TSP Nutmeg

1/2 TSP Ginger

1/4 TSP Allspice

1/8 TSP Cloves (I used about 2x this)

- Mix all that together in 1 bowl

In another bowl:

Mix 1 Cup pureed (canned) pumpkin

1 TBSP Soy Yogurt (I use regular yogurt)

1/2 Cup Soy milk (I've used skim, whipping cream, whole milk...)

1/2 Cup vegetable Oil (I use Flaxseed oil)

2 TBSP molasses (I use 3-4)

extra:

I use about 1/3 cup- 1/2 cup All Bran + 1/3-1/2 cup Oatmeal

Mix everything together and put in muffin tray - should make 8-12 muffins

bake at 400 for 25-30 mins

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ben Was Right

Weeks, if not months ago Ben gave me a lecture about getting a feel for the water.  "La la la la water water splash more swimmer talk" is sort of how I understood it.  The old tri suit I was swimming in was fine for me and since you're supposed to race in the water in it - why couldn't I just wear it in the pool - this also supported my lifelong commitment to NEVER wearing a speedo or speedo-like garment EVER.

Ben said he would not teach me another thing until I had an appropriate suit.  So as the holes developed in my Orca tri suit and the fabric got thinner I acknowledged the need for a new suit.  So I got one of those suits that didn't violate my lifelong commitment but it wasn't a tri suit.  I don't even have boxers this small - so it was an adjustment.

MIAMI VICE -- Sleuth Series -- Pictured: (l-r) Don Johnson as Det. John Today I swam in these super-sexy shorts (no matching bra top).  Sexy they were - I won't even go into how my massive thighs looked (great) and how the buns of steel were highlighted to great effect.  I was in effect, the Don Johnson of the Marin Bay Club pool today - no jacket, no Ferrari but you get the picture.  I was also nearly alone except for the grandpa next to me and the pregnant lady in the other lane. 

Then I shot off the wall at a blazing 1:57/100m pace for my warm-up.  There it was.  I sensed it.  I felt the water.  I suddenly stretched a bit longer and held onto my glide for a fraction more.  I hit the wall, turned and shot off again and the shorts DIDN'T FALL DOWN (this was a problem when I started swimming a year ago in my jcrew jammers than went down to my knees). 

It was true and Ben was right.  The right shorts DO help and there is such a thing as a 'feel for the water' and for 38 minutes in the pool today I actually was swimming without hoping that they'd toss in a giant red inflatable lobster for me to play on. 

I AM THE LORPEEDO!

I still think Ben should shave his legs which would help with his crash recovery and clean up.  If you're gonna sprint in the Thursday night world championships, you had better be ready to go down for the win, all $10 of it.

PS: I'm making more of Desiree's Pumpkin Muffins today

Thursday, May 22, 2008

THIS IS NOT A DESIREE FICKER PUMPKIN MUFFIN POST

As you can see, there is some work to be done.  These fat sausages should make you think twice about grabbing that second DESIREE FICKER PUMPKIN MUFFIN or that 2nd glass of Merlot (or even the first). 

May08late 004

On another note, I went out for an easy hour run this AM and did a few 30 second sub 5k pace strides.  On number 5 I was running and saw what looked like a big log on the side of the trail (which is along the ocean).  As I got closer towards the end of my stride I realized it was a giant dead fish.  It was at least 5' long and a big wider than my thigh (which means big).  Someone had tossed it up from the beach and left it there to gross people out.  I'm not really squeamish - but I had to walk for a few moments in order to keep from losing my gel. 

PS - I will be posting the recipe along with my tweaks.  Sooooooooooooo good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Forecast Calls for Pain

It actually called for it last week and continues through next week.  Last week I missed my run, so I tried to throw down back to back 10+ mile runs both with varying degrees of Z3+ efforts.  I know that a missed workout should be left behind - but I really wanted to run.  It wasn't a good idea because it then caused me to push my bike interval day out which didn't give me enough time for recovering before my race.  Lesson learned and I'm focusing on not missing a workout to being with - if I do, it's gone.  The rest of May is also focus on good eating and nutrition.  Seems silly but if you say out loud 'this month we're going to focus on good eating' - it seems to make it work. 

I got in a good 1.5 hour run yesterday with about 50 mins of fartleks ranging from 5 mins (easier) to 3 mins (harder).  My legs were pretty tired by mile 10 since I had only 1 day off since racing - but I still gutted it out and was happy I had.  I clearly didn't put in much of an effort on Sunday - so my legs weren't in as bad a shape as they were after previous races.  It's considered an easy week which means less volume but the volume that I do have is jam-packed with a lot of thigh roasting efforts.

Today was the first swim for me in the Belvedere lagoon.  It's a man-made body of salt water (they flood it from the bay).  It's about 7 feet deep and I'd guess almost .75 miles long complete with fish and I'm sure in time I'll find the dead person that I'm convinced every body of water contains.  It's very different swimming this version of long-course than you get in the pool.  I think we end up swimming about .5 or .6 miles one way and then back.  End to end for me is about 35 mins or so.  I definitely will be using this venue to do more race simulation where I need to start much faster and hold on for dear life.  I know I can make up a handful of mins on both my bike and run - but nothing quite like I can on the swim where I am leaving a good 8-10 mins on the table.  With likely only a fraction of the effort in my training. 

Here is the lagoon where we swim the body on the right from nearly end to end. 

lagoon

I know I'll get faster 1) because Ben "Lat Boy" Collins will point out a few obvious things I'm doing wrong when he arrives next week (which has garnered 15 secs alone / 100) and 2) because Ben refused to do any coaching until I got his required 'wunderpants', I now own a sweet pair of those and they must make me faster than the hole-filled, see-through fabric 'tri suit' I've been seen in.  I've also tossed the Zoomers from my swim - I was required to wear them last year in order to get from one end of the lagoon to the other, otherwise I was about 5 mins behind the group and they follow the pirate-code and wait for no one.

Ben's required 'WUNDERPANTS' (that's water+underpants).

wunderpants

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

4 Brushes and The Whoo-Hooo Girls

I'll try and keep the number of topics down on this post - limiting it to two across 3 short stories.

The First Brush (with greatness):

After one of my last workouts up in Redmond, WA I was just getting cleaned up from a final swim at the Pro Sports Club.  As Microsoft employees we were given memberships to one of the nicest clubs in the country - if not the largest.  Everything from marble tile, dozens of racquetball courts, numerous locker rooms and at least 3 pools.  It was one of the best perks of working there - even better than all of the free soda, juice, milk and Starbucks coffee you could drink.  The CEO of MSFT is Steve Ballmer who happens to be one of the top 5 wealthiest Americans and an avid basketball fans.  After 11+ years of working there, I had seen the man once I think.

I always have hated the locker room - I'm not keen on all of the naked hairy men and worse are the ones who prance about wearing black socks and tightie whities around.  It would figure that right next to me is one of those jokers getting their prance about outfit on with their rear end about 6 inches from me as I was sitting down.  The prancing socks went on, the tightie whities went one and then right before the prance about - he turns around and it's Steve Ballmer. 

The Next Three Brushes:

Living so close to Sausalito I thought it would be a crime to not catch the first road stage of the 2008 Tour of California.  I was a roadie for years and steeped in roadie (NW style) tradition.  Wear your kid, wave to those you know (with a raise of the finger off the handle bar  - no more, no less) and NEVER say hi to anyone you don't know.  Just pretend you don't see them.  This is what they (we) do.  If you want to freak a roadie out, say hi to them.  Here in CA, they do the same thing but if you can sit on their wheel as they try and drop you going 27-30mph on the flats, they'll actually say hi at the next stop sign or light - even if you're a triathlete, you have to earn it (you actually can't unless you're on the same team in Seattle).  I went to the TOC which started in Sausalito to see some of the greats and some of my favorites: David Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini and Mario Cippilini - to name a few.  I saw the most of them and put my photos here.  I also knew that Rock Racing had brought a full team but at the last minute they were not allowed to enter Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Babyface Oscar Sevilla- I was also fans of these guys but thought that because they were not allowed to race that they went home.  I ended up seeing far more of the pros than I had anticipated and began to ride home.  I actually jumped into the caravan for a mile or so in order to get home quickly.  As I hopped on the road home I saw 3 tiny guys standing and looking pretty confused at the stop sign ahead.  Being a good roadie I kept to the rules and didn't look (too obviously) and didn't say hi.  As I passed them I thought to myself, who are those 3 posers wearing Rock Racing kits and on the team bikes?  Turns out it was Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla who were lost as they tried to get in a ride around TIburon. 

The Whoo Hoo Girls:

cornIn the peleton in Seattle there were very few women and a LOT of guys.  There were actually more than a few women, but very few you'd want to take out for a Clif Bar and a movie.  All of the pretty ones were taken and you had to be a Cat 1 at the very least to date them (My friend Larry - Cat 1 and multiple National Champion - married one of them).  As I moved to CA, I noticed there were probably just as many women as there were men who rode.  They ride as singles, doubles and I hear even in packs.  One thing I would never do is ever let out any sort of acknowledgement that the woman I just passed was in fact, a hottie (aka whoo hoo worthy).  1) I'm married and it would feel a bit inappropriate to do 2) seems sort of creepy 3) it might actually be creepy and she could mace you. 

On Saturday after a 25 min pre-race run with a few strides, I ran into my teammate Andy's wife Beth.  Beth was on her bike and we chatted on the side of the road for a few mins as we had never met, we just knew a few of the same people and there were volumes of stories to connect.  2-3 women drove by that she waved to and then began to tell me the story of the whoo-whoo girls.  It turns out, they're a bunch of women (some are moms, some are single and some are divorced - I'm guessing at this demographic make up) who ride together and all they want is for someone to acknowledge them with a whoo hoo - letting them know that despite a few years and kids that they're still cute and worthy of a catcall or two (ok, they ride for more than just getting whoo hoos).  I asked about whether or not it would be appreciated and she enthusiastically said it was.  So, since at least >50% of the readers of this blog are women - is it really appreciated?  What's appropriate to say? I know there is more to the story - but this is what I can remember and may in fact be a better story than the truth.

Monday, May 19, 2008

UVAS South Bay Triathlon

Yesterday (May 18) I did the UVAS SB Triathlon.  I went down with Chris Berry, a teammate and former age group rock star who was getting back into the sport after taking 7 years off.  I had done UVAS last year - so I've been anxious to see how I've improved in a year.  I was more anxious to erase what was a terrible race full of mistakes and pain.  Also at the race was Frank Keane (40+) and Chris Westall (35-39). 

The two Chrises (if your French maybe it's Chriseux) and I all raced in the 35-39 wave which was pretty large - starting somewhere around the 4th wave I think.  This would be the last I'd see Chris Berry as he's one of those swimmers who starts 4" ahead of me in the pool just due to his height but after a few years of playing water polo at Berkeley, he also figured out how to swim (he put 8 mins on me).  He ended up 3rd out of the water or so and after his water polo career he became a Cat 2 cyclist, so there's no chance I'd see him...  (note, our bike splits were <1min  apart)

Back to the swim...

A picture having nothing to do with this post, it's just bad.

lewlee_f Mr Westall and I swam side by side for a while in what would likely be considered the 'laughing group' or the 'autobus' of the swim peleton.  At one point about 5 mins into the swim, I hear 'c'mon Loren keep going' - Chris was cheering for me in the water (which I don't think you're supposed to do), I figured he was sipping a latte somewhere around the 2nd buoy and wanted to cheer a teammate on during his respite.  I swam straight but my swim program starts slow and speeds up throughout the race (if you can call it that).  I must have run into no less than 20 fellas, all who started fast but faded pretty quickly.  I'd stop, sight and swim around them.  I think for the time that I was actually swimming that I swam 'well'. 

I got out of the water in 23 mins or so and looked eagerly to getting onto the bike where I'd try and make up some time on the hilly and winding course.  I started out ok, seeing 25-27mph for the first few miles until we got to some slight hills.   I then started to feel pretty gutless.  I settled in behind the one guy who passed me and let him pace for a while around 23-24.  After getting through a bad patch I knew I was faster than the pacer - so I pushed past him until we got to the short climb of about a 1/2 mile.  I suffered a bit and rode it more like I was on a recovery spin than in a race.  I didn't feel great and saw my HR in the 160s as opposed to the high 170-180s I could normally (and almost easily) push.  I just focused on catching more folks and getting to the run - not trying to let my bad bike get in my head.  I think I did TOO much this week on the bike and got myself on the other side of overreaching. 

Getting out onto the run - I felt great.  Then I hit about the 1 mile (of 5) mark and felt terrible.  I wanted to walk and call it a day but I know that there are always bad patches that pass.  I got through it thinking quickly about all of the time I spend training and how much my family contributes to my racing and that I was not going to quit or give in because of what they give up.  I pushed the pace and saw at least I was running a 6:30 or so, which wasn't terrible given that it was uphill.  At the 2 mile mark I saw Chris Berry towards the front of the race (he was actually leading) where he had a mile or so on me. 

I kept it up and pushed to keep catching one runner after another - towards the end I got behind a guy who was 25 and was about 6'6".  I said 'c'mon Thor (he looked like a Viking) let's catch that guy' - so I sat on Thor's shoulder as he paced us past one runner and then another.  I'd get up to his side when he'd slow and then he'd go faster for a bit.  I must have done that 5-7 times and then Thor cracked and I was left to catch the man in the red spandex ahead.  I passed a few more folks before the finish and ended the day of pain. 

Vs. last year:

4 min faster on the swim (213th out of 379 - better than my season goal of being ~35th percentile)

1 sec faster on T1 (23rd OA)

3 mins and change faster on bike (16th OA)

14 secs slower on T2 (I must have had a latte in between shoe changes) (23rd OA)

1:45 faster on the run (very lame) (77th OA)

Still 14th AG and 20 spots higher on the OA.  About 8 mins faster than last year.

Next up is San Jose where I WILL go much faster.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Note From an Addict

I found another guest writer, or rather his wife found me and said 'would you please ride with my husband' to which I later learned that she did this because if she didn't find someone to ride with him, she would have to.  So in a way, by making my wife not so happy, I'm making someone else's wife happy all through riding a bike. 

I mentioned earlier this week my friend Chris who is a writer (as in he gets paid to do what I'm doing for free).  He provided me with the following piece after our discussion about whether triathlon is a sport, addiction or lifestyle.  Actually, the conversation snippet went like this:

Loren: hey, we've ridden 32.13 miles, I'm in Z3 and it's about a 8.9% grade here- I've only got 11 more mins before I have to back down to Z2 for 5 mins where I'll spin at 90 rpm. 

Chris: ...I threw, actually put that stuff all away.  Triathlon is an addiction you know.  It's not good.

Loren: Your right.  I don't think there's a cure other than to let it run it's course. 

Chris: Righteous.  (he didn't say that but I can't remember because I couldn't believe I agreed).

 

That all said, Chris moved to Tiburon, CA last week and according to his wife, he hasn't actually been home.  He's out riding his bike.  Here's his story.  I didn't write it. 

My name is Christopher Behrens, and I like to ride my bicycle.

I have sat in on the sessions for the past six weeks and listened to your stories and felt your pains. We all need help. There comes a time when we need to look behind us and see where two tire tracks become one. You know, riding side-saddle on Jesus' lap.

Addictions come in many forms, and I've been through my share. Sex, now that was a good one. I now realize that sex is only good if it is performed as intended by the good Lord - a couple of lesbians, a hairless Chihuahua, Elmer's glue, plastic sheets, and a professional videographer.

Drugs, alcohol, food, even binky addictions are rough, but nothing compares to the challenges of bicycle addiction.

It starts out small, insignificant. A Schwinn Stingray (Orange Crate edition with the stick shift and drum brake). It's fun. Your parents even buy it for you - your first hit. Mom and Dad - dealers, pushers, peddlers of the chain driven crank. How is it possible to stay an innocent child with those pressures? Then you see your sister's much too large Schwinn Varsity. You have to try it! Regardless of what happens, you want a taste of what ten-speeds feels like. Nobodies looking, you slide out the garage with it. Take a look back, all clear, and you're off - flying. High as you've ever been. It doesn't matter that your feet barely touch the pedals, much less the ground. You know you will end up in a fiery crash, but that's inconsequential - what matters is the high. The cuts and bruises no deterrent to your need.

We are able to sidestep the accusations for years. "I'm a kid". "I just use it for transportation". "I'm a professional bike racer, it's my career". "My doctor says I need the exercise". Eventually the excuses run out, and usually they run out on others long before they do on ourselves. Especially as we enter middle-age. "Who's the doofus in the tight shorts?" We are the last to see what is controlling our lives - that big pink lycra-clad elephant in the middle of the room.

You don't even need to drive to your local dealer. It's so much easier and discrete online. You can get your fix delivered in an innocent brown cardboard box. Neighbors none the wiser. Ebay! Where do I start? Compound my cycling addiction with that of gambling. I won! I won! How many times have I "accidentally" satisfied my fix with a low bid, "unexpected" in its power of purchase. If the Devil has hooves, he bought 'em on Ebay.

Eventually we all must face ourselves. It's almost never pretty. We ride through aches and pains. Bruises, saddle sores, road rash, pulled muscles, sunburns, hemorrhoids are just rigors du jour, something to secretly take pride in as you bitch with other addicts, but eventually something comes along that completely severs your ability to get your fix.

My awakening came in the form of multiple surgeries in the winter of last. Two ankles and a knee surgeries somehow left me sidelined and on crutches for nearly six months. At first I made excuses to myself that this was a rest period, a time to recuperate. Not much later, I found myself breathing hard for no reason, cursing cyclists as they rode past my cell window.

Detailed plans followed. I devised plans on how I would utilize my future fixes - LSD training, base building, tempo training, lactate threshold training, hills, hill intervals, descending intervals, ascending intervals, jumps, jump starts, sprints. I was piling up future fixes! I had no concern how I would get there. I just would! The only way to stay alive was to look to the fix.

DT's were as bad as they could get. I itched, I scratched, I screamed in horror. Forlorn, I shaved my legs for no legitimate reason, I just needed to feel the razor burn, the ingrown hairs, the two day scruff. Needing more, I found myself pulling on my cycling shorts and crutching around the house, only to dive under the covers as a car would drive by or headlights illuminate the room. I had a lot of shame, but still not enough to stop me.

I think I hit bottom at about the fourth month of my inability to feed my addiction. The planning, the shaving, the shorts, cycling videos Ð they'd done all they could do to stave off the hunger. I was desperate. Desperate. I knew it was wrong before I did it. Crutching my way down the long hallway, my rational mind told me to stop, it was immoral, wrong! I kept crutching forward, undeterred. Determined to satiate my hunger anyway possible.

Reaching the bathroom, I pulled my cycling shorts down to my knees and sat down on the toilet. I held the container in my hand. I shook as I gazed upon its beauteous simplicity. I slowly unscrewed the top, gazed at the substance. Breathing deep, I took in the aroma. I dug my fingers in, feeling its weight and texture - a creamy lubricant. Unable to control myself any longer, I grabbed my crotch. Pulling the goods aside, I reached between my legs and slathered the Assos chamois cream across my ass. Ecstasy! The menthol burn awakening my sleeping taint. Wanting to escalate the moment further, I pulled my shorts up tight. Shivers ran through me, my senses at their fullest just before I passed out.

I woke curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, my crutches splayed beside me. My crotch wet. My wife crying.

That was my lowest moment.

Now I'm here, with the rest of you. I've accepted that this is a disease, not a choice. I can only do what I can - "one day at a time". I know I can never kick this addiction, it will be with me forever. Just knowing that I have your support is enough, and the love of the Lord.

Most days I look behind me and there are two sets of tire tracks. I don't think it's because Jesus doesn't love me - it's probably because he's not gay and doesn't too much like riding side-saddle with a fella on his lap.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Want a Bean Feast

Now that we've moved into the latest century I actually have DVR.  This means I can save all of those great movies that I've seen dozens of times but somehow never owned on DVD (there's something about not owning every movie ever produced and finding great pleasure in seeing it in the TV listings).  Here are a few of those films that we don't own (ok, maybe we do) and when they're on we love to watch them - or at least I'd like to watch them now:

  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971 version ONLY) (btw, I swear Veruca Salt sings 'I want a bean feast' before she plummets down the bad egg chute)
  • Any James Bond Movie (though I own all but from Russia With Love, which is one of my favorites)
  • Star Wars
  • Top Gun
  • Patriot Games
  • Uncle Buck

I thought the following image would help inspire a few folks through their training.  If it doesn't inspire you, it will likely anger you.  It's pretty much the most confusing piece of art I've ever seen.  Terrible doesn't really cover just how insane it is.  It's about a good as a video of someone riding a bike through a graveyard - WHICH BEN REMOVED FROM HIS SITE (cowardly to remove such a bad post).

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I'm still pretty knackered from a decent effort up Tam plus all of the hard miles I've been running.  Today my legs got a break and I got in a swim!  My coach has me doing longer (300s) efforts 4-6x at a faster but sustainable pace - it's getting easier every week, so I push harder.  Lately I've seen good progress and even got a compliment today from a real live swimmer (the kind who takes 6 strokes and is across the pool in 1/2 the time it takes me to paddlewheel it).  I think that was my first and it wasn't 'man, you use a pull buoy longer than anyone I know' and it also wasn't 'you're a paddlewheeling fool'.  I'll feel good about it for about 12 days before Ben makes me feel bad again by video taping me and naming the videos sad and depressing titles. 

I'm looking forward to racing on Sunday down at the UVAS triathlon, I think the distance is .75/18/5 miles.  I may even wash my bike before the event so I don't have to endure it's cement mixer-like sounds. 

It's a big weekend of racing for a bunch of people - I think Greg/Court10ay are racing the Columbia Triathlon, Me and Westie are racing UVAS, and Kelly is racing Auburn.  Sarah is going to be racing ____________?  Ben heads off to Korea for an ITU race in a week along with my friend Chris Tremonte.  It should be interesting to hear how that goes.  I am behind on what else is going on in the sport - so hopefully with a slow end to my week I can catch up.  Right now work is insanely busy and I swear that when I get home it's whirlwind of activity which includes, changing clothes (I ride home), eat dinner, play with kids, bathe kids/shower, change, jammie the kids, holler a few things to Greta, sit down, help pick up (I like to think I do this), stretch, watch 30 mins of something/read, get milk before bed (kids), lock up house, put kids down, after they get up 21 more times, put them down again, maybe have glass of wine, sit down with Greta and watch 30 mins of something or read or intend on doing either of those and instead falling asleep - all of this in about 2-2.5 hours. 

I'm a real hoot.

For those of you who don't live in the Marin area, here's why we left Seattle:

5day

Monday, May 12, 2008

Merde Alors

I think between driving 950 miles to Disneyland and back, a week of work and some hard training has left me too knackered to say much.  I had a lot of Z3/Z4 work last week and had a solid swim or two where I felt as if the paddlewheels were actually moving me forward.  I'm looking forward to racing another course I've raced in the past next Sunday (UVAS down in San Jose).  It was a pretty rough race last year - so I'm hoping to get it right this year. 

On Saturday I got out with playwrite/author/artist Chris Behrens who is a brand new Tiburon resident and showed him the fun route up Tiny Tim (aka Mt. Tam).  The weather was spectacular - perfect temps, no wind and low traffic - though I'm not even sure I remember more than a half dozen cars at all.  I suspect he'll learn to enjoy the area a bit more than he did Spokane, WA as I'm not even sure the wheat fields there enjoy it. 

I put down the Fountainhead and picked up 'A Year in the Merde'.  I think I read more in 30 mins than I have in the past 30 days.  I guess I'm just not ready for such work right now beyond looking at Velonews (I'm 3 issues behind), Triathlete, Inside Tri and making DESIREEs Muffins for a 3rd time.  The Giro D'Italia started Saturday and that too gives me about 1.5 hours of TV to watch that I normally would not.  Yesterday's stage was a great one - but it's a shame that David Z crashed out, breaking a bone in his back.  Ouch. 

I got out this AM for yet another perfect weather workout.  This time I did a long run of about 11+ miles with about 30 mins of Z3 effort - which really was an effort.  My HR keeps dropping - so I have to push harder it seems to get it up there.  Right now, my legs do not want to go as fast as my heart needs to go.  Any ideas - other than run harder (this is Ben's answer)? 

We had a great mother's day weekend - which is easy when you've got a super-Mom (Greta) and 2 super kids.  It's also nice when it's just perfect outside and there's nothing to do but enjoy a nice Pinot Gris, sit in the 70 degree temps and paint a few dozen small toes a kid friendly shade of pink.  I wish I thought ahead long enough to try one of Sarah's recipes but instead I pulled out the much easier to plan for hot dog/fruit salad/ guacamole combo.  I asked Sada what she wanted to be when she grew up (always fun to do) and she said 'I want to be a monster' and then decided that she would amend it to 'I want to work with my dad'.  Not sure if that is the same thing or not.

Below is Sada at breakfast at Disney where she enjoys a pitcher of cream with her eggs, toast and hot cocoa.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

My Little Pony(tail)

Today's post was written by a guest of mine (my wife Greta) in response to the outcry on other sites for solutions to a better 'finisher's photo'.  I know that the following advice will be applicable for everyone from David Hasselhoff look-a-likes to the double french-braiding racer. 

On race day it's important to make sure that NOTHING takes away from your transition time. This is what Loren (ED: I've asked her to refer to me as 'the Lorpeedo', and yes, all changes to appearance must be done while moving as quickly as possible) says when I ask him why he can't change outfits between swimming, biking and running. So be it.

I still think there is a way to look fabulous and not take away from kicking ass. Let's take a closer look at this - specifically around how hair can be easily transitioned to look better for those #1 winner pictures.

From what I can see, the same hair style can be used for the swim and the bike (i.e. you have the swim which you have to wear a not-so-lovely cap for and the bike has a helmet) because

a.) nobody can see what it looks like and

b.) there really aren't any photo ops happening during this time.

What I propose for hair longer than shoulder length is either a tight low bun with bobby pins (at least five in place) so the swim cap/helmet sort of fits on top but doesn't mess with the bun. Now, I'm wondering if tucking the bun up under the swim cap is possible? I've never worn a swim cap so I don't know.

If the bun stays out of the swim cap it might slow down your swim time? I don't know these things so ladies (ED: and by ladies, she means Ben and Courtenay) please weigh in.

At any rate - use the same style for both swim and bike but once you get off the bike and you're running, use that run time to make your hair super-cute and winner-picture worthy.

(ED: Here's the grand finale)

As you're running, take out all of your bobby pins and rubber band and stick them in your mouth. Run your fingers through your hair and bring all of it up to the top (sort of like bam-bam from the Flintstone's) and make a pony tail. Loren's mom calls this style "the fountain" as it looks like there is a fountain sprouting from the top of your head. You'll see a similar style on very young baby girls that only have 4 or 5 strands of hair to pull together- I was guilty of this with Sada who, at age 3 was still being called 'little buddy' by strangers which totally pissed me off. Anyway, I digress. Back to the ponytail. When you get the rubberband around the base of your hair, take the end of your pony and start wrapping it around the base of your ponytail. Think Princess Lea and cinnamon buns (ED: mmmmmm cinnamon buns....). Feel around for loose hairs and fly aways. Using one bobby pin at a time, open the ends with your teeth and "sew" the bobby into your bun so that the bobby pin is grabbing the outside of the bun and sort of bringing the hair to the middle or inside. Use as many bobbys as you can. For those of you out there lucky enough to have a bit of wave or body to your hair, this task will be easy and at the end of your run you will look as cute as Tinker Bell for your 'end of race winning photo'. You'll have little wispy hairs at the nape of the neck which are totally sexy too!

ED: There you go, everything you wanted to know about how to look grand-fricking-fantabulous for that post-race photo. 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Truly Random

Lots of blogs will write posts about stuff that isn't related to anything and they're tagged 'random' - this is one of those posts.

As I was riding home the other day I was going about 23mph or so down a trail and coming the other way this lady who wasn't wearing a helmet was weaving all over the road.  As she got about 10m from me, she swerved right at me.  It turns out she was trying to put her cigarette in her mouth while riding. 

I was searching the web and found that someone had caught my swim start at Oceanside along with some of my swim - watch below to see me in action.

Actually, Sada (that really wasn't me) was so proud of not being afraid of getting her face wet (a bit issue with kids) in addition to truly 'swimming' as opposed to walking on the bottom of the pool or floating in a life ring.  She insisted I tell Uncle Ben immediately about how she was swimming.  It's really great to have someone like Ben who very enthusiastically tried to teach Sada how to swim and be comfortable in the water.  When he wasn't doing that he would do things like lay on the bottom of the pool for long time or try and swim with a beach ball down to the bottom of our pool (this usually meant he'd go down about 2 ft and kick a lot in the air but never made much progress). 

Those of you who have seen me know I'm not pro-athlete lean.  I had to carry some weights upstairs yesterday (8lbs each) and realized how hard it was to carry an extra 16 lbs up -which is about what I am over my old 'race weight'.  The good news is that I can still beat on those really skinny guys (which is just about everyone reading this) who are toting <7% fat and I will improve and get faster with fewer lbs to haul around.  Carrying that weight hit home a bit about how much I'm giving on the run up by just not putting down that 2nd muffin.  The positive takeaway is that I'm a heck of a role model when it comes to eating for my kids - Sada is obviously not taking after me but Piper is taking eating to a whole new level.

food

This amazing bite is then followed by a subtle 'thumbs up'

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Which apparently wasn't enough because she provide a double thumbs up afterwards. 

2thumbs

I had a great swim today doing the warm up (200) followed by the famous (and fun) Ben workout along with some paddles and sculling drills.  I probably paddle wheeled a bit but it was my fastest and strongest swim workout ever.  Every 'hard' effort was truly solid with no fading in the final 25 and it was even fun.  I can't wait for the next showdown with Ms. Brown.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

This Isn't a Date

Greta wasn't feeling great (the LA smog got to us both while visiting Disney) and went home (hotel room) early with Piper (2 year old) - so Sada (4 year old) and I decided to catch the fireworks and a few final rides on Sunday night.  Since there are tons of crowds at Disneyland, we make the girls hold hands with us and as Sada and I were walking down the street to the carousel ride I said 'this is just like we're on a date' and Sada says 'no it's not' and I asked her why not and she replied 'because we're not going to a restaurant'.  I only issue this as a warning to all guys who are reading this who are about 4-6 years old right now - she's got high expectations for a date fellas.  Everything she's learned about dating is from the Disney movie 'Enchanted' where I think Greg could easily play Prince Edward in an off off Broadway adaptation.  If you haven't seen it, be prepared to endure LOTS of singing.  Ben and Soda, you'll both know this movie well in the coming weeks as I've got you both heavily scheduled for babysitting.

Once again we bring the sweetest 2 girls to Disneyland only to see them pose inappropriately with the Disney characters - I swear we do not teach them this at home.

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It was nice to take 4 days off from training and my workouts for the past 2 days have shown that the rest was needed.  I ran .4 miles further today during my fartlek workout than I did last week and my average min/mile pacing continues to drop about every 2 weeks with anywhere from 2-4 seconds off per every 10 days or so.  I haven't done as much running as I'd like to - so we've made some adjustments there as I know I have a lot of room to improve and hope to get my race pace respectable among the top 10-15 guys.  As I've mentioned before and besides my 'swimming', my #1 issue on race day is not my run training - it's my mental ability to run fast, I mean I clock 7 min miles in a 4-5 mile race which is a crime and is disrespectful to the sport not to mention my family and country!  I'll be racing differently in 1 week at the UVAS triathlon where I hope to push myself harder than I've done in any prior race - solid focused efforts in each effort. 

I was proud of Courtenay and Chris's efforts at Wildflower.  The 70.3 distance is a fun one - but it's easy to see a small mistake affect everything.  I hope to take the lesson's I learned at Oceanside 70.3 and apply them to Vineman:  swim harder not worry about conserving energy or running out of gas, not worrying about riding too hard/easy - it's still a very good distance to RACE, bring enough electrolyte pills, drink more water, and lastly, have the right footwear.  

I hope to catch up on some blog reading, commenting and getting out some new marketing materials for a few of the faster folks I'm helping with sponsorships and generally just being bossy with.  I should be finishing up The Fountainhead but I only made progress on 3 pages during our trip while Greta read an entire book (thanks Sarah for the book recommendation).  I also found that I've got 4 triathlete/inside tri magazines I haven't even read!  Ugh. 

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Zippity-Doo-Dah

dad

This is today's post - I would have written one yesterday but it was the same as today. 

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This is how a 4 year old saves her chicken leg for the morning, you put it in a glass on the night stand (next to the spaghetti - like you didn't know that).

Here's Piper - the 2 year old who can't ever walk a straight line.  This is pretty much how we all have navigated Disneyland for the past 3 days.  Note the thumbs up for 'let's go'.  Not sure where that came from but we see it a lot. 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mice, Ferries and $6.95 Dogs

That's right - I'm going to Disneyland!  I'm taking my mid-season break which is basically the only break I've ever taken since starting my training around the end of October 2007 (except for illness).  I could fly from SFO to LA and then hit Disney, but with the never ending flight delays, bringing 2 kids, a stroller, car seats, and all of the waiting -it's about the same amount of time (and certainly less expensive) to suck it up and drive 7 hours - PLUS we can stop at Starbucks.  We're all very excited and we'll be posting our adventures over the weekend here: http://sadapiper.blogspot.com

Here's probably the most inappropriate photo Mickey has ever taken. 

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Since it's a short week - lots of intensity - bike intervals Tues and Today along with a great fartlek workout today

5 min @ 168/172

4 @ 164

4@ 175-180

3@ 164

3@ 180/185

2@164

rinse and repeat x2  It was a good workout and takes about 1 hour and I got in a bit over 8 miles. 

It's a big weekend simply because I know 3 Pro's named Chris doing Wildflower.  I also can't wait to see Courtenay's times up there with the top pros - she'll for sure turn some heads. 

One of the best parts about Disney is that you can expect to 1) have lots of fun 2) see lots of parents killing their kids (whether it's through tiring them out and then the kids melt down or they just stop and beat them) 3) there is no where except for Disneyland/World and Giant's Stadium where a hot dog costs $6.95 (I did partake in the FREE HOT DOGS after the Sac Tri last weekend - probably the best post-race meal ever). 

I'm excited for it regardless of cost and the 14 hours of driving.  Who wouldn't want to see these kids happy?

disney

Kelly just wrote the single best review of a triathlon swim.  It's absolutely perfect and it probably speaks for 75% (I'm guessing 75% because I can honestly only speak up to the 66th percentile of swimmers right now) of the people who race because only about 3 people I know actually enjoy the swim and all of them do the sport for a living.  Maybe they'll launch a series that only involves a 1.5k knee-deep water run. 

Kelly writes:

I get a little spastic in swim starts in general. I have been known to panic/asthma attack. So I was happy when at first the swim was just bad, not awful. I had some space around me. Then I got hit on the left. Then I got hit on the right. Then the two guys started veering into each other and squishing me in the middle. read more....

There is always this classic: