Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smimming

IMG_2020 I call it that, ‘sMImming’ for some reason. Makes me feel better about not actually swimming. 

So I’ve been swimming for about 3 weeks and have not considered myself out of the running for the 2012 games but I’ll decide that after about 12 weeks. 

Since I’m only racing sprint races, I don’t think I have to swim a ton – just good warm ups, lots of fast stuff, a cool down and 2,000-2,500 yards 2x a week.  I also sip Cytomax in between the larger sets and was accused by the lifeguard of having beer in it.  Because of course, you swim and drink beer like chips and dip – they just go together.  I told him it wasn’t beer.  It was cytomax. 

High School kids – try that. 

“No officer, it’s Cytomax” 

Just be sure to use a water bottle and have swim goggles on (call them beer goggles when he’s gone). 

This is what you get when the lifeguard is old enough to probably drive but doesn’t yet need to shave regularly.  I think he was 85% serious.  Because who jokes around at 5:30am.  Who also drinks beer then? 

I swim in the slow lane. 

Unless of course the slow lane has the ‘Special Needs’ (I’m told this is nicer than saying retarded) swimmer – then I move over.  I’m not yet ready to swim alongside her just yet.  She swims pretty fast but stops to look up after every 50 and takes about a 1 min break and also takes up the whole lane.

So into the medium speed lane I went and for a while, shared a line with a nice fellow until this lane creeper lady jumped into the pool.  She just showed up in between my 10x100 and my 2x400 set.  So much for taking extra rest – I swear she snuck in under 15 seconds when I’m gasping for air and rubbing the fog out of my goggles and pulling my suit up and drinking my beer/cytomax mix.

She decided to shimmy her way the entire length of the pool with the speed of a US Government Bureaucrat bucking for a mandatory every-2-year pay grade promotion. After about 2 mins, she got close and after I asked if ‘she was going to do that the rest of the time’ – she said no (she was probably well north of 65 years old, so I should be nicer, but it’s not as funny if I’m all sensitive and kind) and that ‘we should circle swim’.  So me and the other guy say ‘sure’ and we start off.  Except nana decides to do this side-swim sort of thing and holds onto the lane line the whole time.  So we swim around her for a bit and then other guy leaves because I think 90% of people at this pool swim 30 mins max and at least 50% do it with fins the WHOLE TIME.  So it’s just me and sideways nana for another 400 yards and then I’m out. 

Then about 30 senior citizen nanas all show up (really, it was 6, but they’re good-sized so it feels like 30).  They swim sort of.  At one point I saw 2 of them doing what I thought was swimming in place – the one lady just rotated about 90 degrees each side but never seemed to make forward progress.  It was like watching an ear of nana-corn just bob and cook in the 85 degree water.  On my way out I passed air-tank-nana who takes nearly 30 mins just to get into the pool (I only take 10 mins!).  She has to get her air tank to the side of the pool, then get into the pool, then hold on to the side to get closer to hear air tank.  No, she’s not a diver – she’s just hooked up to an oxygen tank.  Why not get some exercise when you’ve got only minutes left to live after a life of smoking? 

I also totally swim faster than all of these nanas.  Which is way better than I did in California.  I got smoked by the AARP crowd regularly.  Then they played tennis or did other retirement related stuff. 

Today, Piper told me she could swim.  I reminded her that she really couldn’t and she said, ‘well, when I’m older I can swim but now I swim with a noodle’.  I thought that was pretty awesome that she just says what she will do but thinks that she can do it now.  She also saluted me and said ‘yes sir’.  Which made me decide we need to have another kid because you pretty much don’t get any better than that.  I need to start asking her if she can run sub 4:30 miles.  I’d like to lock on her U of Oregon scholarship soon.

AND WHAT DOES THIS PICTURE HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?

Well, when you have a picture of you rat-dog attacking a helpless baby while your kid laughs, you post it.  Get him Jack!  After the picture was taken, Piper just stood up and let the baby hit the ground and she walked away. There’s no making Piper do anything she isn’t really passionate about.  Including not injuring family.

WARNING: One child was probably injured in the making of this photograph.

See the close up:

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

So I Got Hit by a Vet(eran)

Well, I hit him.  Mostly or entirely because he pulled in front.  Of me. While I was going over 25mph. 

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I blame Harig, because he was supposed to ride with me and since he didn’t (It was raining he said) I went my pace which was clearly perfect for putting me in harms way.  Had he shown up, we probably would have deviated and I would have missed the big yellow truck.

I ride 1 day a week outside for 2-2.5 hours.  Usually pretty easy, like 200-250 watts, or rather Zone 2.  It was cold but not raining and I think I saw about 3 other cyclists – I don’t count nerd bikers and believe me, there are a lot of nerd bikers here in Seattle – but just 3 cyclists were out today. 

So I was riding nicely on a pretty flat road, picking up some speed because it was flat and the Issaquah-Hobart Road is not a friendly place for cyclists.  I think the road is fine, the people are generally not so fun, always in a hurry to get to Target.  But I was only on it for maybe 2 miles before there’s a bike lane and where the speed limit turns to 25.

Up ahead of me is this paragliding parking lot/base area.  Paragliding is not gliding for paralyzed people, it’s like a parachute but you sort of glide down from this mountain peak above and the occasional ding dong hits the power lines and missed the parking lot.  It’s like really slow parachuting, except you find a tall mtn to jump off of. 

So sometimes people turn into this lot but usually not in front of cyclists – to go paragliding. 

I take great pride in my ability to read whether or not a drive sees me, is aware of anything or is going to do something dumb.  In this case, the driver of this enormous yellow jacked up pickup chose the last option – the slow, gradual turn and then panic stop: RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  In the chart above you can see that I sort of noticed the guy and slowed a little and then suddenly slowed a lot from 26.5mph to about zero in 2 seconds.  The road was wet as were my brakes and I hit them and the bike sort of skidded on the wet road which was pretty much the same effect as pedaling – I wasn’t slowing much. 

So because I was a super talented race car driver (I even won a track championship!) I had experience hitting a lot of things and knowing that as you are going to hit something you have a bit of time to think about stuff or that if you look somewhere else, you’ll end up there.  I thought that I could probably fall down and stop that way but hitting this giant yellow jacked up thing might not be too bad.  Mostly because I didn’t look anywhere else because he was taking up the entrance to the parking lot, the left lane and the right lane. 

 

So as I got closer to figured out the technique I was going to employ – I used my swimming coach’s advice as I sort of leapt a little off the bike, rotated my torso 45 degrees, extended my arm out straight, outstretched hand, anchored, pulled and sort of not really nicely beefed it into his truck – think of this as a person swimming into the wall at your local pool, slow, steady and not really that dangerous. 

Like any bike accident, the first concern is – did my bike get hurt.  I wasn’t too worried about the bike, it was my road bike and the WHEELS ARE AWESOME (see below, they’re awesome) so I made sure they were sort of not taco’d or even out of true before I went crazy at some driver I couldn’t see because his windows were so dark that even next to it – I couldn’t tell if there was a pile of rednecks or just one.  Luckily, it was one.  Which was, like my wheels and calves, awesome, because I just offered a loud assortment of French or possibly English less-than-carefully-chosen words. 

Mostly I yelled because it nearly scared the crap out of me and that seemed worth yelling about. I’ve got strong buns and no crap had escaped in the scaring. 

He was immediately sorry.  As he said ‘sorry’ about 5 people sat in their cars amazed at what they had witnessed. 

image One guy yelled ‘CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, HE TURNED RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU OVER A DOUBLE YELLOW LINE’.  I wanted to tell him to read my blog where I could tell him this was good news but not that helpful.  But if it had been a car full of cheerleaders I would have fallen over immediately pretending to seizure.  But it was a dude.  And I really needed to get things back into Z2 to keep the fat burning going.

Yeah for witnesses! 

Then he pulled into the parking lot instead of holding up the now 30 cars sort of sitting and waiting and actually not going 50mph. 

He said he was sorry and that he didn’t see my.  I just looked down and said ‘I’m 6 feet tall, 190lbs and dressed like Captain America – how could you not see me?’.  Then he said he was a cyclist and was really sorry, he just didn’t see me.  He wasn’t a punk or a redneck and was clean cut and all nice.

I believed him because it happens.  I once almost hit a small person in a motorized wheel chair thingy while he was IN THE CROSSWALK.  He was small – honestly I didn’t see him, but I didn’t hit him.  But that wasn’t today.  But I really didn’t see him, so it happens.

So I sort of thought or tried to think if I had to do anything – so I looked at my bike and he grabbed my gloves and handed them to me (because I suppose I flung them off just in case I need to throw down or pick up his truck and fling it into the woods).  I was pretty livid. 

Then I saw he had Veteran plates.

I’ve been watching the Pacific (a show about the war in the Pacific) and about a million other things about our troops in various wars and suddenly I asked him where he served.  He had spent the last 13 years in the Army.  I didn’t want to know more and told him I appreciated him serving in the Army and that it was more important to me to thank him for that than anything that could have been wrong with my bike.  I figured not enough people thank or value people who serve in the military and that I wasn’t bleeding badly that I could see and that in the great battle of cars vs cyclists I could totally flank this situation and say thank you and win. 

He shook my hand looking at me pretty stunned and I rode off. 

SO there.  Yeah for Veterans and not getting hurt.

UPDATE: I DID SORT OF GET HURT, A SORE NECK AND APPARENTLY A BROKEN MOLAR FROM CLENTCHING MY TEETH IN AN EFFORT TO HELP MY BRAKES WORK BETTER.  (If doesn’t work)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Food Pyramid Explained

I’ve forever never understood exactly what I need to eat.  Piper has been learning all about the Food Pyramid at school and she’ll inform you that candy is not good for you.  I’m guessing the food pyramid is colored, so here’s her 4 year old version:

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Under Armour Illusion Review: It’s Magical

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For years I ran in Brooks – the grandpa shoe maker (I ran in their motion control shoes which are white and grey and look about as sporty as an RV).  I ran in the Beast (shown above) and their Addiction models (not shown because they’re so ugly).  I have flat feet, so I sort of had to but I knew there was more than grandpa shoes out there – I wanted to run and not be ashamed of my shoes. 

THEN I ran for Zoot, but they didn’t make much of a training shoe and I ended up breaking their carbon-soled bottoms the the amount of torque I was putting on the shoes – so they had me try their motion control racer but it left the ball of my foot bruised. Then I started running in some of the new Under Armour models – the Spectre (Neutral), the Revenant (their motion control) and the Illusion (also motion control). 

The Illusion (technically, it’s the Illusion II) became my favorite and had the same super grippy sole that I’ve come to love – I can run on trails, in mud and on the road in the same shoes because they simply don’t slip.  The Brooks were HORRIBLE when I went off road.  See the super outer grippiness of the UA Illusion vs the Brooks Beast?  The Beast is really a tame little mouse that slips on the dirt and they’re overly cushioned, too heavy and even with a splash of blue, they’re embarrassing to wear after the run is over. 

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So recently UA released their V2 of the Under Armour Illusion.  I was shocked at the improvements over V1, but it was even more amazing.  Amazing like Olivia Newton John on roller skates, singing and being cute. 

  • Stability
  • Cushion (not TOO much)
  • Traction
  • Awesome road feel
  • Solid fit

I didn’t mention the looked awesome but they do, but you don’t have to embrace the yellow ones I do – I run nearly every day before 7am, so the added visibility for drivers who might still be only on their 2nd cup of joe or possibly had just switched to Sanka. 

I’ve used these for my trail runs, my tempo run, my long run, my accelerations, and my simulated race that I do every 12 days.  So far they’ve performed beyond my expectations and I’ll be ordering a 2nd pair soon.  If you run in any motion control shoe, I’d try these – I’m a heavy runner (over 180) and these have been perfect for me.  It’s possible I might just race in these, despite them being trainers – I know they won’t blister my feet (I run barefoot in them), they have great off-road traction and I won’t end the race with bruised feet. 

It’s also possible these may make you better looking because people won’t see your feet and think ‘runner’ – they’ll see them and assume you’re smart, handsome, your calves are amazing, you make unquestionably GOOD choices and you are of course spontaneous (because women always say they love that). 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Boys are dumb

IMG_2808I’d write about Z3, like that I think I spent a bunch of time in it yesterday but here’s a better story:

Sada:  Boys really like baseball

Me: Yes, except it isn’t as much fun as running

Sada: I’m a fast runner!…. Boys also like to burp a lot, they’re always burping at recess

Me: boys are sort of dumb

Sada: Yah, boys are dumb…(thinks) but you’re a boy.  But you’re really smart

(this is actually true)

Me: well, boys get smart after they’re 35. 

Sada: but you’re 38, so that is why you’re really smart.

There you go.  A conversation with a 6 year old.  Piper is now telling me about the food pyramid.  Apparently we’re not supposed to eat candy now that the 4 year old has learned that veggies and eggs are good for you. 

But wait there is more….

Yesterday I played in this during the work day cross-org softball game.  We showed up, there was beer and burgers and a free t-shirt. The other team brought cleats, everyone was clearly juiced (HGH I’m guessing) and they had bats, a bucket of balls and everyone had a glove.  We also brought Indians.  And if you think these guys are just good with computers – forget it.  Apparently everyone in India has played cricket.  I think we had 2 guys on our team who had NEVER played softball/baseball but they knew cricket.  They both hit well except in cricket you apparently carry the bat as you run. 

But in softball you don’t.  But no one told these guys. 

So they both hit, then take off carrying the bat around the bases.  This wouldn’t normally be a big deal but these guys flew around the bases (neither of them touched a single base in all of their base running) and trailing in their right arms are these 34” aluminum bats.  I swear 4 people nearly lost legs and elbows as they ran by and when they stopped running, they didn’t actually stand on base, I guess in cricket you can stand NEAR the base or whatever it is called.  

I went 2 for 3 btw.  Shallow hit to left was caught at my first at bat.  I had also forgotten how slow triathlon is, we get TIME to get out of the water, change into bike stuff and so on.  It seemed a lot to go from swinging a bat to running in just a half a second.  I think I might have referred to the batter’s box as T1 which was lost on everyone. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Princess and the Wall

So I had this roommate who I called Princess.  He’s different from the other person I call Princess – even though he’s slightly faster.  I even accused this roommate of prancing at times which including a mock-prancing type of dance anytime someone mentioned him.  He trained and raced all the time and was a solid bike mechanic (his special talent was fixing anything with an old inner tube or part of one) and a good roommate until he met this girl. 

Most of us know these guys, who meets a girl and then disappears from our lives.  He married her so I suppose he’s excused, except I don’t know what happened to him.

So here’s a story anyhow.

So we were training, indoors because it’s Seattle and raining (soapbox alert).  Seattle, btw is horrible for everything except for working inside on a computer or for government programs and ongoing ‘studies’ of everything that reach conclusions like ‘we should definitely build a bridge across the lake because the current one is going to sink’.  This study of course was by a BLUE RIBBON PANEL of amazing people that took 5 years to figure this out.  Sorry… dismount box.

So we’re going through the workout, which I think we were making up as we went along.  We were doing this in my bedroom, which was about the size of a billiards table with my TV/VCR combo at the end.  I’m pretty sure we would have been watching the ‘94 tour where there was a big crash because of that policeman who was taking a picture.  I watched that video all the time.  The tours where nearly every rider is doping are so much better than these clean ones.  They climb everything going about 30.  And they don’t sweat or eat. 

We had been going at these intervals like a bunch of amateurs riding each other into the ground.  It’s at this point I should let you know that Princess is on rollers and I’m on a fixed rear wheel trainer (which I traded to Soda for some babysitting I think).

We’re doing some nasty wind up, probably to mimic one of the stage finishes and sure enough, Princess gets a little too far to the right of his rollers, hits the ground going well over 25mph and suddenly ROCKETS from 0mph on the carpet to 25mph in about 1 yard which ended about another yard later when his front wheel hits the wall and he flips over the bars, into the wall, followed by his bike with the notoriously smelly saddle.  If you’ve never seen anyone go from 25mph to 0mph as a result of a wall, it’s quite spectacular.  Even more fun was the nearly 5 mins of gut busting laughter and mockery I spewed.  To this day, I still laugh at this story which makes me look crazy if I happen to think of it while walking down the street or in the mall or while staring at my computer screen. 

An update to this story is my friend Jen who actually crashed her bike while riding a Computrainer.  Complete with chipped tooth, bruises and an ego that was nearly left for dead. 

I’m probably going to get whacked by karma now.

My dad broke some ribs falling on the green at a golf course once.  I don’t understand how this happened but it did.

So there.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Best Cry Ever and I Swam

So I last swam at Timberman 70.3 which was last YEAR in AUGUST.  Then I quit triathlon, then I un-quit, then I quit and then because I’m insane if I don’t do something, I un-quit.  Then I’ve been running and biking and then I raced.  I also built a tree house. 

Now, since I’m un-quit (that isn’t even close to being a real English word) and I’m signed up to race in a few weeks, I had to swim sometime.  I wanted to get some solid time running and biking in my legs first because I’m not going to get faster swimming but I will get faster in those other 2 sports.  So that is why I did that.  Plus I sort of hate swimming, but I don’t – I hate the thought of swimming, but it actually isn’t that bad.

Except the pool was 84 degrees because the senior citizens who get a discounted rate need it warmer even though old people won’t drive all over creation to find a pool that’s 3 degrees warmer – so they SHOULD make it 80 or 81 at the most.  Also, the guard said babies like it warmer but again, they’ll cry over just about anything and I’m guessing the poo critters that leaks out of their swimmies probably likes the warm temps too.  I’m sure I’ll have pink eye in a week. 

But I wasn’t the slowest and there were a lot of people swimming with their feet about 2ft below the water line – so that is encouraging in case there’s an impromptu swim meet at 5:30am some random Tues or Thurs – I’ll surely be up for the 25 yard relay or something short and not too exhausting.

So that’s it.  I was mostly nervous but I’m not sure why, I hopped into a pretty empty pool and fired up the slow lane and lasted 45 mins before my left arm stopped moving and my right arm went left.  But I’ll be back on Thursday for a few more yards.

With that I offer you the best cry ever.