Friday, October 22, 2010

Say It With Charts

That’s actually a title of a book I have.  It turned into a joke with other analysts (I do math you know and some thinking but mostly math for a job), which is nearly as nerdy as wearing a t-shirt with code on it.  The worst I got was using the random function in Excel to make this quote generator using a co-workers most over-used phrases, combined with a picture of him into a sort of fun little nerd-analyst funny joke thing.  So I’ll claim the work below as mine because it’s super clever but it honestly isn’t, but I still think it’s awesome. 

But first…

We got Sada dressed for her 2nd grade school pictures and she was wearing pink (which IS NOT her favorite color now) sweater and a white shirt.  She took one look at herself and yelled ‘I LOOK LIKE A BUTLER’.  And insisted on changing her clothes.  I don’t even know where to start with that one.  Yes, a butler.

I also went out to lunch and managed to dump an entire cup of coffee all over a fancy white linen table cloth which I covered up with lots of linen napkins as I ran out of the restaurant like it was T2.  Except faster and I had a hamburger in my stomach. 

So here.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chasing Baldwin

DSC01578So I’m sort of training or exercising – which I think I’ve said probably 92,931 times in this blog. I haven’t swam a meter nor run a foot though in about 6 weeks, I’m just riding my bike because that’s what I like the most.  Lately I’ve been riding with Rhae who finished 4th in Kona almost 2 weeks ago -  I think with the women’s AG bike course record beating plenty of fellas along the way. 

We did an easy 3.5 hours last Saturday without a lot of mess – a group ride usually means some sort of issue for someone, so I like to participate in a max of 2 people in my ‘group rides’. 

Longer rides with water and a handful of calories usually end in a bonk or at the very least some 12 year old girl giggling even when there are no 12 year old girls around.  This was no exception as I thought the dirt parking lot cut-through would be a nice little diversion from the paved bike path we were on.  This was true until the middle of the parking lot was more loamy than dirt and my bike sunk 4 inches into the ground as I came to a flying halt.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, I’m pretty prolific in making a complete boob out of myself to ensure a good time for all. 

It was about now when one of the ‘we’re-all wearing-the-same-bike-kit-and-that’s-about-as-good-as-we-are’ local teams came breezing by, passing Rhae as she’s just laughing and I’m now really stuck and the whole team gave me a look of disgust while my $600 carbon soled limited edition Italian cycling shoes are now submerged in the really deep and loamy dirt. 

The looks they gave were priceless, I could have only one-upped them by throwing on a yellow Teletubbie costume which I threaten to do because I do have one.  Except our new cat Steve-Prefontaine-Honey-Jake pooped on it in the back corner of my closet. 

So Rhae nearly crashed laughing for what seemed to be 3 miles and it’s all a great big joke.  Which is sort of funny.  Except I was the joke. 

THEN…

Sada and Piper found a makeup kit they got from someone who loves them and not me.  Piper is probably the least capable person in the world at applying makeup right now.  She had green, purple and blue eye shadow on her forehead, a good look if you’re a hooker with a heart of gold and a nasty little PCP habit but she’s 5 and not quite there yet.  She did get her lips nice and red or pink and sparkles on 90% of her face.  She then accented this look with a giant tan beach hat and an elegant cougar skin colored handbag.  And flip flops. 

She couldn’t open the purse so I had to help her.  This purse had 1) a bottle of Jhirmack hair spray 2) 2 tennis balls, 1 pink, 1 green 3) a 4x6” multicolored pad of paper 4) a spider ring (a ring with a spider on it) and 5) some ‘good job’ stickers. 

Now I’m sure this seems normal to you, especially in Seattle where the majority of women both married and single look, dress and accessorize in the exact same way (replace flip flops with Crocs). 

In the other hand she carries this paperback of James Baldwin’s The Evidence of Things Not SeenThere are no pictures in this, it’s just a paperback book.  As I watched some football, she sat in her engraved ‘Piper’ rocking chair, beach hat on, purse at her side, feet up on the edge of the couch and James Baldwin in her lap.  For like 20 mins.  Which for me is a long time, especially when there are no pictures and the world ‘bike’ isn’t on the cover. 

Because it was Saturday, we had to celebrate this by going out to dinner at a new bistro down the street. 

Saturdays are something to celebrate you know and not with just a pizookie

So we TRIED to wash Piper’s face but kid makeup requires gasoline or something along those lines to remove it.  So we went to dinner, me, Greta, Sada with a splash of eye shadow and Piper, dressed as a blind hooker – complete with purse and James Baldwin paperback.  Throughout dinner, she insisted on turning sideways, crossing her legs and reading her book.  I can’t really tell if she knows how to read or not.  She indicated that he looks like a funny man and it’s sort of true, the author’s photo on the back isn’t the best shot of him.  I’ll have to ask her what it’s about.  I can’t imagine she chose the book for it’s cover. 

So that’s it. 

Then I went to the pumpkin patch and NOT getting a wheelbarrow and carrying 2 pumpkins for 11 miles through the field was one of the dumber things I’ve done recently. 

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And yeah, this might be some of the best videos I’ve seen in a long time.  I don’t even know where to start….

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fall Update

I feel like writing this blog is like a quarterly update now.  I’m sort of training but more busy than ever. 

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We got a new cat and found egg nog in the store.  This called for a family photo.  I tried to name the cat Steve Prefontaine, but it’s a girl so we named it Honey but then Greta mocked me for calling her Honey in the same way her aunt says ‘honey’ which I guess she doesn’t like so I named it Jake. 

We we to a resort called Suncadia for a wedding (which was awesome and fun).  They have a fun little aquatic center but the chlorine in the pool was so bad my eyes burned and I never even got into the water.  I just yelled at my girls from the side of the pool and wished I had worn my goggles or a chemical mask.

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See, wedding clothes.  Piper cared more about the 12 caramel apples on the table than anything else.

The Ironman.  It happened. 

Because we were at a wedding, I got to see PART of the Ironman online but then had to rely on text updates from Scott, Ian, Greg and Dr. Phil Spencer.  Last year I was in Canada where text messages are like $0.50 each, so I paid less attention to it.  This year I was as engaged in text updates as I could be – and somewhere between the toasts and Bride dancing with the Father of the Bride dance, Macca won (and BTW I was ONLY texting on MY time, not like doing it during the exchange of the vows).  And then I was getting pace updates on Rhae from Phil and then he admitted to buying those barefoot running things from Vibram.  We’re not speaking as a result.

I must have checked Rhae “I Will Orange Crush You” Shaw (4th), Marc “I like You” Malott (26th) and Meredith Kessler’s (26th) times 3,021 times each.  Eventually the tracking site will create something to allow you to track multiple folks at once. 

Because I had to do something to celebrate not being there and cheering for those people, I thought I could drink 140.6 beers (140.6 miles is the distance of an Ironman).  I considered this until I got to beer #2 at 6pm I think and realized I was going to miss the midnight cutoff, so I switched the rules to oz.  140.6 oz sounded doable over the course of a day, just under 12 beers.  Except I got side tracked with watching the whole wedding thing and fell behind around mile… 24.  It got messy as I surged and threw down the hammer around 10pm, knocking out 48 oz in an hour but the pacing messed me up and as I got into the energy lab portion of the effort, I knew I wouldn’t make it.  I DNF’d at 96oz, which for a light drinker hitting the Oktoberfest beer Spaten – a good effort.   Next year I’m switching to Bud Light. 

But now I’m fat and training again, eating as little as I can and bonking on my rides nearly all the time.  I’ll probably fix this since I nearly went blind yesterday I was so bonked which led me to almost hit a runner going around a blind-ish corner.  Rhae thought riding until I was blind was pretty tough except I did it in <40 miles.  Water is a poor source of nutrition I think.

I also had a black cat run out on front of me which left a sort of lump in my stomach as I waited for the bad luck.  The bad luck immediately followed the black cat in the form at a super-sized Marmaduke looking dog chasing the black cat followed by an even more super-sized owner of the dog chasing him.  This all happened as I was heading down a hill going about 30mph.  None were Chinese.

Then a Chinese lady pulled out in her Camry, oblivious to me missing her by a few feet.

And then my Power Tap died.  But I fixed it with new batteries in the hub.  I think it’s made in China.  The batteries are.

Then Greg got hit by a Chinese couple, oblivious to him as they pulled into a parking spot. 

And now I think it’s time to say that I don’t believe that the Chinese are the best drivers out there.  I’ll vote in the next election for the person who says they can fix that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

39 Things

So I turned 39, which is old unless you’re 39 and you think it’s not so bad, because for crying out loud there are 40 year olds out there.  AND 40 IS OLD.  And so on. 

So now that I’m 39 but according to USAT, I’m really 40 and should really be able to take it to the 44 year olds in my new age group next year, except Ben told me racing your age group is lame and until I’m in my 50’s or older, I shouldn’t look at anything but overall. 

And if you haven’t left yet – I’m really now supposed to wow you with 39 years of wisdom – so I’m going to do that except I think I need to categorize this and probably do 39 triathlon related things and 39 other things, so first, I’m going to do the triathlon thing.  I can’t say I’ve done all these things, I just know them.  I know people who know them you know.

  1. consistency is key.  don’t swim 3x in a week and then 1x the following week, keep it the same unless your coach says to.  run a lot, ride a lot, swim a lot.  then again, anything you do for about 10,000 hours will make you awesome. except sleeping or watching tv.  I read a book about this. 
  2. get a coach.  keep the same coach for at least 2 years.  they save you from wasted workouts from making mistakes and they will save you from yourself.  you’ll feel more guilt than you usually do if you miss a workout. if you’re self coaching and not improving every few weeks, you’re probably not doing a great job.
  3. swim more and you’ll get better.  I hate swimming mostly but I did it more and it got better and I liked it more.  I even got faster going from 30th percentile to 75th in 2 years.  Not great but I didn’t do it consistently. I heard getting in a few weeks of 25,000 yards will change your swimming life forever helps.  I’ve never swam over 9k in a week. I’m just saying what I heard. 
  4. buy a power meter.  honestly. single best investment you’ll make.  Consider the cost over a few years otherwise, $1,000 is a lot.  $200 over 5 years is better, even better if you amortize it over each mile you ride. like $0.01 per mile if you slack and ride 2,000 miles a year.
  5. run in different shoes.  I run in at least 3 different kinds of shoes a week.  some are soft (shorter hard runs), some are more motion ‘controlly’ and the other pair are in between.  you force your feet to get stronger running in the lighter ones and you don’t beat your feed to much in the more cushiony shoes but you can run longer. even better, have a real running shop watch you run and tell you what you should be in.  99% of the time, it won’t ever be in a pair of Nikes. 
  6. practice your transitions.  think about them, plan for them, walk the transition area before a race, twice or more.  Not knowing where your bike is hiding after you get to t1 is for boobs.  don’t be a boob.  if you are challenged beyond help, use baby powder on the ground and make a big line where your bike rack is.  using a balloon is against the rules, plus it’s retarded.
  7. get fast before going far.  I don’t understand doing an ironman until you have done relatively well in a sprint or Olympic distance race.  finishing an ironman in 17 hours isn’t an accomplishment, it’s dumb.  try going sub 5 in a 70.3 race first.
  8. completing an ironman doesn’t mean you should get a tattoo.  winning one does. 
  9. get non triathletes into triathlon.  inspire 1 person a season to get into triathlon.  if they beat you on their first try, find yourself a new sport.
  10. do not ever touch other people’s stuff in transition.  in Seattle it seems to be ok to do.  they also rack their bikes all going the same way and then complain about there being no room. 
  11. 1 lb. of fat is 2 seconds per mile in lost running speed.  put down the potatoes and the pizza.
  12. You can buy used stuff from pros cheap.  Check their websites or ask them. 
  13. Buy stuff and make sure someone knows a pro influenced your decision.  It’s how they get paid and if they do a good job, make sure they get credit.  It’s a terrible profession to be in – so help them out however you can. 
  14. travel and race.  it’s hard and expensive but you get to race somewhere else that you might NEVER go (like New Orleans, Oceanside or Nova Scotia) and you’ll meet people who you may even like.  the fool at the airport in compression socks and shorts, don’t meet him, but say hi to the lady pulling a bike box across the terminal.  (Greg hates this one, if you are up for adventure, then go ahead, if you hate spending $2,000 in 3 days, paying $200 to ship your bike, and risking everything for a 5 hour race, then do it, otherwise, race a lot locally, you’ll find the same people at every race and they might even train with you.  It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.  know more people.  through racing.
  15. you can dig deeper than you think.  you know how you can find the energy to sprint that final 100 yards at a race when people are cheering?  well, you could have run harder about 3 miles ago.  You’d be surprised at how much your brain keeps you from doing.
  16. it’s a race.  race it.  baseball is for people who walk.  even in transition.
  17. you need a bike, helmet, shoes, number and wetsuit to race.  I’ve seen an 11 time ironman winner carry just that into transition in a plastic bag for a half ironman.  I see Age Groupers bring coolers, backpacks and buckets to a sprint race. it’s a less than full day event, save the luggage for vacation.
  18. if you draft on the bike, you’re a bad person.  if you cheat and live with it, you should be beat. 
  19. train with people faster than you.  1) they’ll push you 2) you’ll learn you have more in you 3) you’ll see what it takes to get faster 4) you’ll learn how hard people work – especially professionals.  you’ll say ‘wow’.
  20. it’s just a sport.  it’s more important to teach your kids to swim or bike or run.  it’s more important to have that glass of wine with your wife/husband at dinner than to your ride in the morning to NOT have it.  in fact, have 2 glasses. you won’t drop 10 watts at threshold the next day.
  21. race bikes.  you learn that bike racers go REALLY fast and hard.  you’ll find you can race without a power meter or HRM or garmin thingy.  plus you might even gain some respect from roadies. 
  22. say thank you and cheer for people behind you.  If you have a bad race, cheer along the way.  if the race was well run, find the race director and tell them it rocked and thank you.  if it’s a really out of shape person who finishes like 2 hours after you did in a sprint, don’t cheer, they should have trained.  
  23. race with a friend, you’ll go faster.  rub it in their face.  if they beat you, make up an excuse.
  24. know the race course.  I’ve been misdirected before by a volunteer.  it takes 30 seconds to look at a map and remember key points.  getting off course isn’t an excuse for #23. 
  25. find out if the person you are sharing a room with is going to use the coffee maker for oatmeal.  make the coffee first.  in fast, I’d avoid sharing a room with Ben at all costs.
  26. if you want stuff cheap, join a team or club, they probably have deals with a shop to get you 15-20% off of stuff, pro deals on bikes and of course, fancy racing stuff to wear. 
  27. the more you race the easier it is.  if you toe the line 4 times a season (and they’re not ironman races) but train every week, you’re going way too easy on yourself.  race more.
  28. host a professional home stay if you live close to a race venue.  there’s a good chance you’ll make a new friend for life. 
  29. go watch races if you’re new, at worst, on tv. you’ll learn a lot.  like put your helmet on before getting your wetsuit completely off. 
  30. get really small race t-shirts and give them to kids, give your medals and trophies to them. 
  31. sponsorship is easy to get if you can show that you can sell products, if you win 32 races in a row but don’t ever talk to anyone after a race or write a blog, don’t expect much.  it’s work.  it’s probably a better deal for you to work and just buy the stuff from a local shop than it is to put tons of effort into getting a sponsor deal for 100 free gels.
  32. less is more. I once drank 2x20oz bottles of water before a sprint race.  it hurt.  you can always take in MORE food, but getting ride of too much food is really unpleasant.  you don’t need 2 bottles of water for a 13 mile bike.  you don’t need 3 gels on a 25 mile bike.  I don’t think there is ever an excuse to have a bento box.  unless you’re keep cassettes in it.
  33. listen to triathlon podcasts, simply stu and the competitor’s radio show are both awesome.  you learn a bunch and they’re generally very well done. 
  34. share a good tip with someone on race day or just help them out with something.  the girl who deflated her tires completely before pumping them up thought she had to do that in order to get a proper zero on her pump.  I told her ‘you really don’t have to do that’. though I avoid talking to the crazies who always seem to be near me.  I get their life story.  if they are riding a trek from the early 90’s and are wearing a cycling shirt that they plan on racing in – even under the wetsuit – there is a 93% chance they’re crazy.  do not engage.
  35. I don’t have a thought on those race photos.  I think giving a thumbs up or a big smile is on the retarded side.  I smile after when I find out they have sausage as post-race food.
  36. First Endurance Pre Race is awesome stuff.  But I think it’s like $50 a tub.  It lasts like 2 years.  Excedrin works pretty much the same and is $5 for a bottle.
  37. Buy the nice components for your bike.  Over 5 years you’ll use it a ton and you’ll forget that it was $500 more than the mid-range stuff.  It performs 3x better.
  38. don’t ever train in a tri-suit. ever/ don’t say ‘nice job’ to someone who is walking on race day.  it’s a terrible job.  they don’t want to be reminded that they messed up, got sick, didn’t train enough, are mentally weak or didn’t bring it.  you don’t say it to someone who did a bad job at work and blew it, so don’t make them feel worse.  be supportive of the first timers out there.  explain something they might not know to them, like the free post-race massage or that their helmet is on backwards. 
  39. don’t (please) ever train on your deep dish race wheels/aero helmet.  train in heavy duty stuff that makes that race day stuff seem amazing.  you look like a turd out there in your race gear while training.  no turds, we have enough fashion issues with compression socks.