Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Less is More

I have nothing much to contribute today - off antibiotics, still snotty (nose not attitude) but better.  Swam today with little effort and 1 hour had passed like nothing.  I'll have to try harder tomorrow - never felt better in the water.  I could stand to have another few weeks on the bike but it IS early season, so everyone else should be about the same level.  Running is better -though my feet are a blistered and bloodied mess!  I'd say I'm not too far off where I was at Vineman last July and it's March AND I've had 2 really lame months with about 2.5 weeks of good training. 

Here's a copy of the Oceanside 70.3 Bike course elevation map I did last year:

OCelevation

Here's the New Orleans 70.3 Bike course elevation map that I'm doing this year.  The scale on the map goes to 50.  The chart doesn't even go to 25ft.  I'm not sure what to think about that.  The drawback is that I train on a lot of hills and don't mind them in races because unlike bike racing, I actually pass a lot of people on the climbs (I'm a stout 180lbs but very huggable).  I've heard the only drawback to a flat course is that you don't get to stretch out your back as much - same position for 2.5 hours.  I'll try this one though and will be happy I'm not doing Oceanside.

5 ft     _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Officer Solorzano of the Twin Cities PD, CA: Fail.

Today I left for a 3 hour ride - full of intervals and a near final long ride before racing New Orleans 70.3 in 2 weeks.  As I headed out - I got onto my TT bars and got into high Z2 or about 22-23mph.  As I rode through Fairfax I had to swerve around some potholes to avoid being knocked off my bike or wrecking a tire. As I did this - a car behind me didn't like it and he pulled next to me and started screaming at me. Since I'm somewhat sensitive to having a car threaten me while on a bike - I mean, last time that happened a few years ago - I got chased by the guy and punched in the head a few times.  I told him to pull over and get out of the car where I would call the police if I had so aggrieved him.  He continued to yell at me from his car while I grabbed my phone and tried to get it out of the baggie I keep it in and take a photo of his license plate and call 911.  The driver swerved and pulled into the bike path and stopped, I struggled to get the phone out and while I did - he took off.

I gave chase - knowing that there were a few stop signs where I might catch a better photo of him or get him to stop long enough and call the police.  He continue to shout threats as I chased.  At the 3rd stop signal/sign - he was about 20cm ahead of me - but I saw a police car sitting there in position that I've seen before - set to catch cyclists.  I quickly wheeled left - figuring the officer could catch the guy faster than I could.  As I raced up to the officer I immediately said 'HELP, there's a guy in a black mercedes who just threatened me numerous times and tried to hit me with his car'.  The officer looked at me and said 'is that what you say to get out of a ticket'? 

I balked at what I just heard.

He said "get off your bike and get in front of my car".

I repeated myself again and said I had a partial license plate and could he go down the road and stop the guy - I said I'd wait. 

He said 'I saw no black car' and began to slowly pull out his ticket book.

I asked if he could radio ahead and stop the guy.  Officer Solorzano ignored me. 

I said "if I was trying to avoid a ticket do you think I'd really turn around and ride up to you"? 

At this point my HR was 170 as I stood there -my Garmin had recorded all of the stops and starts, my skyrocketing HR and where I was - I could prove just about everything I had said - except I had no picture. 

I gave him a real piece of my mind at what might have been the top of my lungs.  I was careful to avoid threats and curses - except the ones I put on him as well as the pox on his family.

I figured this would get me in more trouble, so I kept quiet.

He continued to write - asking me the usual questions:

  • Drivers License: no.
  • Why: I'm not driving a car and I don't have to have one.
  • Name, Address, etc..

At this point he knew I was NOT HAPPY and was possibly rattled as he asked me for my area code.  "415" I barked.

He then asked me why I didn't call 911.  I said I tried but had to get my phone out of the baggie but I couldn't do it while riding.

I paced in front of his car.  Then he yelled at me and said get on the sidewalk - walking around in the road he said 'was dangerous'. 

I didn't know what to say.  Walking in front of a police car with the door open and the police officer standing next to the car on a dead street was 'dangerous'.  He was so concerned for my safety but wouldn't lift a finger to keep some psycho from hurting a cyclist, now or likely in the future. 

He asked me 'don't you ever carry water bottles in my back pocket?  I said no.  Not sure what he wanted with this line of questioning - he said, "you NEVER carry a water bottle in your back pocket"? 

I looked at my bike with 2 full bottles on it - with the rear bottle carrier and said, "no NEVER". 

I assume he thought that if I did do that, I could easily make a call while riding - which would mean I would of course have to unwrap my cell phone, turn it on, enter the security phone, dial 911 and wait for someone to respond. 

I knew that if I couldn't provide a license #, they would do nothing.  So what choice did I have?  The officer said they could have done something if I had called, instead I chose to ask for help from a real live useless cop.

At this point a 2nd officer rolls up with HIS LIGHTS ON and comes over to us.  I said that I couldn't believe how he could not have ever lifted his radio and called ahead to verify my story and stop a black Mercedes - who had made numerous attempts to use his car to threaten me. 

He continued with his line 'I saw no black car'.  The officer was committed to issuing me a ticket, which I did not care about - I mean, go ahead I have a $9,000 bike I'm sitting on, your $100 ticket isn't a big deal. 

He gave me a citation and asked if I had anything else to say.  What I said was to his supervisor when I lodged a formal complaint against him this afternoon.  Officer Solorzano, serial # 219, you fail.  Boo.

Bonus: the best part of the whole episode was that he wrote down that I was 5'10" and 173lbs.  I mean, I lost 7lbs - which is awesome.  So I'll take that! 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'll Race the Baby

Our master's swim coach had a baby, his wife did the work but he suffered too.  I know this.  We do suffer - except we don't get our tenders all blown to disrespectful proportions. 

For the past two years I've been swimming on my own. I was prodded into doing a master's group but didn't think I'd survive - so I swam on my own.  Sometimes I'd swim for 20 mins and other times I'd swim for almost 40 mins, but never ever longer - except in races where I think I swam into the low 40s. 

I wore an old tri suit for a while and then Ben made me stop that.  He was right.

I then had him coach me a few times.  That helped.  He was also right and he's a good swim coach - though my legs still apparently go all caddywompus despite the fact that I swear they're together.  SO now I just try and make sure they're touching. 

My longest set was 150 yards and I thought I'd die.  Honestly.

My shortest was like 25.  I think I rested as long as I swam, something like 30 seconds between each set. 

2 years I did this.  I'm also sort of retarded when it comes to swimming.

Then again, I've seen people in the pool before masters and I'm not the worst by far. 

Then I joined a masters group and I swim in the less competitive side of the group.  There are 3 fast lanes who look at the clock and there are 3 lanes who usually find that if you don't look at the coach after a set he won't walk over quickly and give us the new one.  We're still competitive but I usually add 'but I think we did a 200 today' or variations of that for most sets he gives us - hoping he'll offer up some 25s or 50's because I don't get dropped to badly there. 

So now I swim like 3x a week for a whole hour and I don't get 30 second rests except when we're pretending to be in between sets or if we can get the coach to explain something twice. 

Today he brought his baby who is all of 2 weeks old maybe?  I offered to race the baby.  Since the baby wouldn't race me, I took the win. 

I also like swimming and never ever thought I'd say that. 

Now if I can only remember to stay long, reach, pull correctly, head down, feet up, kick small, stay straight, and a few other things - I might get faster. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why I Won't Wear Those Socks

When I was in jr. high - the rage was these parachute pants, the music was Michael Jackson and I'm sure there was something else. 

My mom refused to get me parachute pants.  She said they were a trend and amazingly, she was right.  I'm surprised at how much parents know and then I became one and it's really just experience and some good sense. 

I did love Izod stuff and owned the preppy handbook when I was about 8.  That sort of turned into Ralph Lauren and I sort of did that trend and probably own, aside of all my spandex and exercise friendly fabric-ed clothing, mostly stuff with a Polo guy on it.  Somewhere in between I wanted to be a surfer and owned a lot of Op stuff (Ocean Pacific) too. 

My wife probably hates that I'm about as trendy as Clark Griswold.  I try to get quality and timeless stuff instead of trendy - Greta has this house covered with being in style.  I used to go to Europe and got the girls stuff when I was there and then 1.5 years later you could get it here.  When Sada was 2, she had more clothes from Madrid, Paris and Stockholm than from the US.  She was cool.  It also helps that she's cute and awesome and a piece of tape would look cute on her.  Same with Piper and Greta but I'd prefer none of them wore just tape. 

When I was 18 and racing duathlon/triathlon the rage was a lot of neon.  I had a pink disc wheel, neon green handlebar tape on my Scott DH bars and I had a lot of bright green and pink Nike cycling stuff (their east coast hq was in my town and I got LOTS of nike stuff) AND I owned and ran and rode in Oakley Factory Pilots- THEY WERE AWESOME. There is one photo of me before a 5k in my Pink (Neon) Nike running kit with neon green and yellow and white racing flats.  I dont' have it though - my mom does.  I'll have to find it.

Now there's this thing with those compression socks - see 2 folks below.  I'm sort of with the Euro peleton when it comes to stuff like that - basically, no way.  I shave my legs, wear bright clothing and have just about everything you could possibly buy to go faster in a race.  I don't have an aero water bottom on my down tube - but I think that is ok. 

Though the compression socks 'might' work - I'm not doing it.  I'm not.  Well, maybe until the top 20 guys at New Orleans 70.3 or any race I do are wearing them.  If so, I hope they come in neon yellow.

Here are my two fashion ladies:

IMAGE_013 IMAGE_015

Monday, March 16, 2009

Is This an Injury?

Since I've been sort of not healthy and on antibiotics (again) and on strict orders to take 4 days off - I have been playing some Xbox 360.  I've also been cleaning my bike, the garage and learning the intricacies of routing a shifter cable through an internally cabled frame.  The trick is to send another cable in from the back and out the holes which you then tape the two cables together and pull the new one through.

Hints:

  1. Put the cable into the shifter correctly.  I didn't and found out I could only shift 2 gears.  Result: recable. try again.
  2. Be sure to put the cable underneath the handlebar and under all the right cables before you start.  Result: recable. try again.
  3. Buy a road shifter cable before starting.  MTN and Road are different despite what the dude at the bike shop says about Dura Ace being too expensive.  Result: 2nd trip to different shop.  try again.

That's it -only 4 tries and one success.  25% isn't that bad.  The guy at the bike shop said good luck and it couldn't be done at home. Kiss it now.

Ok. Back to my injury. 

I always get injured before a race.

At Vineman, or rather 3 days before I flipped over the handlebars, knocked myself into a concussion and bruised a bunch of parts and bones. SO it's only fitting.

Except I have a nerve injury.

In my finger.

And I can't feel the whole end of my index finger.

And I haven't been able to for 3 days.

I played a racing game and my index finger is the one I use for the gas and I played a lot on Friday night.  Now it's Monday and my finger still is numb. 

I once scraped my toe - the tip of the big one - really bad after trying to dismount all awesome and fast at a race last year. 

That had nothing to do with anything.

I'm going to have a good race in New Orleans in 2.5 weeks despite no training and this finger injury.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Awesome

I'm not 100% healthy - so I'm just going to chill until I am but that means more time for work and a few mins of yard work (that's all I'm good for).  I might even get to the bike shop to get some new cables for my road bike which I will try to internally route (I think the trick is to use a magnet to help). 

I did ride and run earlier this week and my run was awesome and my ride was awesome.  I ran 10 sec slower per mile for 11 miles than my fastest run of the season - I've only been doing Z1-Z2 stuff for the past few weeks AND on the bike I had to keep shifting down because I could push more! 

I'm going to get better and be 100% and I'm going to have an awesome race in a few weeks.

I didn't sleep well for weeks and then tried using some OTC sleep aids, which work but leave you feeling hung over for a few hours the next day.  Don't even try to get up early using those either.  Soda turned me onto trying some melatonin before bed which doesn't work as well, but I still feel rested and have some pretty whacky dreams which means I'm getting some deep sleep. 

Until I'm 100% I'm going to enjoy the extra time with my girls - including Greta. 

Regardless, I'm keeping it awesome.  Like me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3 Weeks and 4 Days

New Orleans 70.3It sounds like a long time to wait before the first half ironman (New Orleans 70.3) of the year but it seems to be too close.

Now that I'm on the mend with antibiotics clearing out my lungs and head - I am back on my regular schedule but with nothing too hard still.  Next weekend I should be able to give my workouts full gas.  I did have a good easy run the other day where I knocked off 11 miles in 7:30 or faster - even got into the 6:45 range, all in low/mid zone 2 effort.  Yesterday's workouts were a struggle due to the antibiotics - felt like I had someone riding on my back throughout my swim and run - but I didn't finish each swim set or mile with a mild coughing attack.  I also didn't actually check my back so it is possible a small person was there.

I need to do some pre-race prep - like find the stuff I'll use, wheels, tires, aero water bottle, etc...

On the to do list over the next week:

  • wash and lube TT bike (I'm riding it all the time now, so I may have to do this twice)
  • get bike box for shipping
  • glue tubulars
  • get glue to glue tubulars
  • wash aero bottle (it's full of black muck)
  • find spare tire and stuff for race day
  • get TT helmet, bike shoes, etc.. (it's all somewhere in the garage)
  • check travel again - I've been known to show up a day late or early for my flight or on the wrong side of the day (10 am vs 10 pm)
  • bring garmin nav system for car
  • print out where I'm staying
  • bring camera
  • figure out what shoes I'm racing in
  • find tri suit, swim stuff
  • put all nutritional stuff into baggies
  • find thingy used to inflate disc wheel
  • figure out pump solution - do I really bring a floor pump - ideas?  It's hard to get 140lbs into a tire with a hand pump.  I also suppose there might be one local who will bring a pump that I could use.  just maybe.
  • pack race wheels which I carry on (a great tip from bencollins.org - plus a lot of kids ask what is in the bag and you can talk all about triathlons and be a super hero for a few minutes

Not to mention, learn how to swim, run faster and bike 56 miles all hunched over. I'm nervous already but not for anything but that's what you do - get nervous.  It's not my first race and it won't be my last - I suppose it's the fact that I've been training since October for this first race and will be anxious to get going. 

How fast will I go is the question I ask myself a lot.

Last year I had expectations at Oceanside 70.3 and got killed.  I had done too little and too much, I had never raced the distance and I didn't know about salt pills.  I also raced in shoes I had never raced in before.  Ugh.  I'm retarded sometimes.

Last year:

  • swims:38-41 mins
  • bike: 2:40-2:30
  • run: 1:36-1:39

This year:

  • swims: <35 mins
  • bike <2:30
  • run <1:35 and hopefully under 1:30 by Vineman 70.3

Monday, March 9, 2009

2 Questions: Where's your Trophy and What's in my Bum?

I haven't written much because I've been busy working, being a dad or training.  I'm also lazy and don't do yard work but I did clean my bike and snapped my rear derailleur cable (which was better to do in my garage than on the wrong side of Mt. Tam). 

I'm healing up now that Ian's wife talked me into going to the doctor.  All she really said is my sister has your cold and found out she had bronchitis.  I'm already healing on day 2.  This is good - training with a system on antibiotics is harder to do but easier than training with bronchitis and sinusitis (this is what the doctor said I had). 

The Dr. appt took the following time:

  • 2 months for me to finally decide I wasn't getting over it
  • 15 mins of waiting in the urgent care clinic yesterday AM (I was banking on the fact that people couldn't get up at 8:30am on daylight savings day to make it in at 9am)
  • 2 mins of paperwork
  • 15 mins of chatting with a nurse
  • 10 mins of waiting for the doctor
  • the doctor came in and I said "I get the same cold every year and get zpac and them I'm better"
  • 2 seconds later he said, 'ok I'll get you that'
  • 5 seconds and he was done
  • 30 mins to get prescription filled

Next year, I'll go in on like day 3 and just say I've been sick for a month.  I think this is the 3rd year in a row I've been sick at this same exact time of year.

Last night we were watching something with the girls and a kid had won a trophy.  Sada asked me if I had ever won a trophy won a bike race and I said no.  I'm not sure if that's true because I think I won a tt or two years ago but don't remember.  She said that was sad.  I pointed out that the garage had a bunch of trophies from when I raced cars - including a track championship.  That didn't hold any weight and she began to make up a song about how it was sad that her dad didn't win a bike race.  I stopped her on the 2nd verse of 'it's sooooooo sad that my dad has nnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooottttttttttt won a bike race, he doesn't have a trophy.....'.  I should have pointed out that a year or so ago she called trophies - tro-pees. 

THEN

I rode 3 hours on sat, even though I was sick.  It was close to my record pace - which was nice since I wasn't going that hard and I thought it would be fun to do 3 hours on 2 gels. 

I survived but barely and I was sort of hungry but I wanted to see how many calories I could put into my drink and how few gels I'd need.  I probably need to race with 3-4 gels on the bike and 2 bottles of water/drink. 

In the 2nd half of the ride my butt hurt.  Like I had a splinter in it.  But not IN my rear, but sort of where you sit which isn't really anywhere you can ask someone about.

So I finished with a few grimaces and then got home and took a shower.

But of course I had to see what was hurting.

Without posting any pictures, I sort of had to go all yoga style in the bathroom trying too see where it hurt - which is impossible without smoke or mirrors.

But enough deep breathing I was able to see what hurt and it was a saddle sore and it hurt and it was angry.

Then my arms and back and legs and neck got all spazzy from trying too look for too long at my under-carriage and I needed a nap.

Good news: I taught it a lesson.  Bad news: the lesson it taught me was gross.  I'm glad I don't have to ride again until Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

11 Reasons why you should NEVER run with a stomach full of Salmon

Yesterday it was raining and windy - like Kansas windy.  I wasn't sure when I'd get my long run in (1.5 hours) - so as my morning bagel started to wear off I needed to eat something. I found a nice bit of salmon and made a sandwich with it - thinking I could probably kiss a nice hole in the weather goodbye.  I figured a healthy lunch was better than nothing if I was keeping score - I'm sick-ish, so I can pretty much just say I'm recovering. 

BUT

imageThe sun came out along with the still whipping wind. 

I changed into my awesome Under Armour stuff, threw on my cheerleader attracting Under Armour Spectres and went out for a very very slow run.  I'm just keeping everything in Z1 and that is fine, anything harder and I choke from coughing.  So I ran as did the salmon in my stomach.

I can barely run with a bagel or a gel without getting terribly sick.  I've known this for years but I figured if I could run with a stomach full of salmon - I would be fine with whatever GI issues I'd face in a half ironman or shorter. 

It hurt. 

When the wind wasn't blowing so hard my really tight UA hat was blowing off (it's a beanie and it was coming off my head) and my FEET were blowing around in between foot strikes!  As I got to the south end of Tiburon - waves were blowing over the rocks and into the road where I was some 30 meters away.  For the first time ever - I didn't see a single cyclist on my run, they'd be on a suicide ride but there's usually someone like me willing to take a ride in ridiculous conditions. 

I just took each mile one at a time (it's not as though I'm fast enough to take them 2 at a time even on a good day). 

Between the coughing and the salmon trying to get back into the ocean - it was a painful run. 

I did finish - all 11.25 miles but it wasn't fun.

I'm finally feeling a little better but not yet 90% and it shows.  I can't swim (couldn't anyhow), ride with good power and my run is still stuck in the 7:30-8 min zone until probably next week.  Luckily Greg has had the same cold - but got it a week prior to me, so I get good feedback from him on how he's feeling - even with some training and how I should be feeling in a week.

I'm out tomorrow to get in some riding and a run later in the day - I might even try some Z2 and Z3 pushes to see what happens! 

New Orleans 70.3 in 4 weeks. 

BTW - the picture is from a race I did a few years ago.  It might be one of the worst photos taken at a race (my fault for being a hog in spandex as well as the camera man's).  At least they got my race number. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Kind of Luck is That?

Somehow I got onto trying describe to Sada (5) what luck is. 

Since I'm somewhere between an analyst and a statistician - there isn't a whole lot of luck in the world I live in.  I did ride a bike for 5 years without a single flat.  I sometimes go months and months without a flat but when i get one now - it usually means I'll have 2 more within the following 2 days (this has happened 2 years in a row).  I guess I believe more in making my own luck - which is essentially avoiding bad luck via preparation.  Before a race I check nearly every bolt on my bike, I check tires a few days prior to the race for leaks and cuts and then I bring 2 of everything within reason. 

Myspace CommentsI once was on a date with a girl where I got hit with food poisoning and had to duck into a public restroom for what seemed like an eternity followed by getting pooped on by a bird immediately after emerging from the restroom.  There was no second date.  That was bad luck. 

I applied to two schools for a 1 year 'exchange' program - UCSD (San Diego) and USF (Tampa, FL).  I met a girl who was from Washington at USF who I then visited in Seattle and who I then moved out to be with after graduating school.  I got a job at a bike shop in Seattle and met a guy who's wife worked at Microsoft where she eventually got me a job.  I met Greta on my 2nd day at Microsoft who I eventually married 2 years later.  That was a string of good luck. 

Now back to explaining luck to a 5 year old....

I tried to use examples of things to explain luck. 

I started with the always popular - if you found $10 on the street that would be good luck, but she really doesn't know what $10 is.  So I tried a few more. 

She sort of got the hang of it and tried her own:

Sada: how about if a seagull is flying along and all of a sudden a necktie falls around his neck - is that good luck?

Me: why would that be good luck

Sada: well because he would look handsome

I tried again - going for the obvious and said:

Me: how about if you were walking down the street and your leg just fell off - I would think that would be bad luck (not to mention a medical emergency and probably a pretty big issue)?

Sada: no, that would be funny luck.

So I got nowhere. 

Then she thinks she got it and tried one more:

Sada: would it be good luck if a dog had a palm tree for a leg?

This is where I gave up parenting for the day. 

So next time someone wishes you good luck before a race hope that they aren't forecasting a free necktie landing on you or the sudden growth of a palm tree where your leg used to be.