Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mission Accomplished

It was a hard road, almost painful at times, but today I did it, I finished off the last of the christmas cookies. Time will only tell if all my hard work will actually pay off.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I don't make them, but if you want an excellent post on them and living in the present, head over to IM Able's and read her post on the subject. What I have done is adjusted and revised my tentative race schedule for 2008. The links to the right have been updated. Hopefully the schedule will motivate me some.

Point Bock Run - Five mile run, beer, and a good excuse to visit the Rewey's. What more needs to be said.

Shamrock Shuffle - 10k, it's local, I'm at least part Irish, and it fit's into the schedule.

Crazy Legs - 8k, really it's the only local April event that looked the least bit interesting. I'm open to suggestions for others.

Syttende Mai - 20 mile, and the culmination of my running efforts for 2008. I considered a marathon as well, but Madison is only a week later this year, and I don't feel like traveling to torture myself for 4+ hours.

Race for the Cure - Ok, one last run for the year, but really, is there an easier cause to get behind. If breast cancer hasn't directly impacted your family or friends it will, unfortunately.

Bigfoot Oly. Tri - First try at tri's. Still need to learn to swim, buy a bike, and probably a bunch of other stuff.

Pigman 1/2 iron Tri - Heading into fall, and ultimately training for Ironman in 2009, I feel as if I'm going to need some reassurance that I can do the distance, so a half ironman it is. But even on top of that, I want to cross the finish line and here the announcer say, "Congratulations, you are, Pigman".

Cheq. Fat Tire - Finally some mountain bike stuff, and an event I'm really looking forward to. After all of the above, I should make it.

12 Hours at John Muir - Another mountain bike event, but for me, it'll be the 3-hour or maybe the 6-hour, definitely not the 12-hour.

That's it, training officially starts in 4-weeks. At least the run and swim portions, I won't be doing any biking until it's warmer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shaken, not stirred

My confidence that is.  I attempted to swim this afternoon.  I realize it's been probably six weeks, but I honestly wondered what made me think I could do this.  Totally uncomfortable in the water.  Like a fish out of water, in the water, so to speak.

In my head I understand that I need pool time to get comfortable and gain some confidence in the water.  Swimming isn't normally something I enjoy, even if it's ninety and sunny outside.  Swimming in the middle of winter absolutely doesn't feel right.  Staying motivated to actually get there on a regular basis is going to be tough.

It doesn't help when the old woman (60 going on 80) next to me is swimming circles around me and laughing.  Alright, she wasn't laughing, out loud anyway.

That's it, I'm over it, just needed to rant a bit.  I think the bunny helped.

Pancakes are funny

Or maybe it's the bunny, not sure. I have no particular reason for posting this here at this point. But it's funny, and every once in a while I need to send it to someone at work when I get an email and I have absolutely no idea what it is about. I'm sure you you know what I mean. Today was one of those days, so I had to find it anyway.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Don't just buy stuff. Do stuff.

Get a drink, a snack maybe, and get comfortable. This turned into a fairly long post.

I hate Christmas. That may be a little harsh, but it's pretty much right on track. It hasn't always been that way, and I'm not exactly sure when it started, but I just can't stand what this holiday has become. The true christmas purists will tell you it's all about getting together with family and loved ones and spending quality time together. Seems to me it's just a front to exchange useless crap we'd never buy ourselves and will likely never use. And the time and effort we all put in to find and buy this useless crap is incredible. Not that there is any thought going into it, we're given a list to pick from or we select from the wide selection of gift cards available. How thoughtful.

I do enjoy watching our kids open gifts, it is fun, especially with a glass of "christmas cheer" in hand. But it's disappointing when you ask your kids what the meaning of christmas is and all they can answer is "presents". Worse still when one of them is actually in a catholic school. I don't know how to change things, seems too big to overcome.

Which brings us back to the title of this post and Radio Shack's tag line, "Don't just buy stuff. Do Stuff". It's not going to make me start shopping at Radio Shack, but it really hits home for me. I don't remember many, if any, of the gifts I received as a kid. But I do recall a lot of the trips we took and the things we did. Fishing at Pelican Lake and up in Minnesota for a week every summer. Crying at the end of the week because I didn't want to go home. Skiing in the Kettle Moraine, up in Michigan, and out in Colorado. Golfing with Grandpa Slimmer on summer weekends at Crystal Lake. I still remember clearing the water from the tee on #5 for the first time, and what is still the only eagle I've ever shot (on #8, and no, they don't taste like chicken). Hunting brings up a whole host of other memories, and probably could be a post all it's own, thanks Larry.

Don't get me wrong, these trips weren't always the happiest of times. We had our issues just like any family, but I remember them fondly, and they've helped shape me into who I am today, much more so than any toy I got at Christmas.

Recently we asked our kids if they would rather have a bunch of toys for Christmas or go on vacation. Reactions were mixed, leaning towards toys, but eventually they got on board with vacation. We haven't told them yet, but we booked a trip to Florida. It'll be our first time flying with the kids, should be interesting. Hopefully they'll remember the trip longer than the extra toys they would have received. We'll see.

There is a triathlon related side to this post, it's not just me on my soap box. This morning I signed G and I up for the Bigfoot Olympic Distance Triathlon. She has no idea, but I know she can swim and run those distances in her sleep. We've had a long standing argument over who would win in a triathlon between us. I've recently done the math, and over this distance I'm not sure I can pull it off. Anything longer and I'm certain I'll be waiting for her at the finish line. Merry Christmas G, and good luck to you. I'm looking forward (perhaps backwards is more appropriate) to spending the day out on the course with you. Hopefully this will give me the motivation I need to get back into some sort of routine. Game on!!

Do stuff. I know it's late in the Christmas season, but think about it going forward.

Happy holidays and Merry @$!*&#$ Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jingle Bells 10k

G and I ran the Jingle Bell 10k yesterday in Madison. It was cold, really, really, cold. I went to bed just after 8:00 last night because I was still cold.

We stayed together, and for the first 1/2 hour or so we were right up with the leaders. Then the gun went off and the race started. We arrived at the start line just as they were starting to get everyone together, so we were basically in the very front of the very large field. Which ulitmately meant that damn near everyone passed us. I didn't find official race results online, so I'm sure if we were actually last, but it felt like it.

Surprisingly, I ran the entire first mile and a good portion of the second, finishing the first two miles in about 22 minutes. The third mile had a couple of long hills, and we walked a good portion of it. The remainder of the race was a mix of run/walk, and we crossed the finish at 1:13 or 1:14. Prerace goal was 1:15, so I'm happy with how I did, especially considering my lack of activity lately. I'm finding my motivation and ambition levels are directly proportional to the temperature. I'm going to try and find another event in the near future to force some amount of training.

Legs hurt today, especially my calves. There was a pretty good knot in my left calf through most of the race. That's about it, wasn't all bad

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I've got nothing to say

Image courtesy of spandex king.

But dog and I walk/ran 3.8 in 46. First time out in over two weeks. It wasn't all bad. Thanks for not hitting us Stacey.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"I'm gonna sit right here....

....until I die." And death didn't seam all that far off. Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad, but it was the worst I've felt since I've been back on the bike.

I was just over 2-miles (yes 2, not 20, 2) into an afternoon ride when the song Bad River started playing (the Grateful Dead version, not the Johnny Cash version). Part of the chorus is "I'm gonna sit right here until I die". That's pretty much how I felt, sitting on my bike, like I was going to be there forever, and actually completing my 12-mile loop seemed unlikely. Several times I contemplated turning around, but ultimately I plodded along and made it back.

I have several theories as to my performance. The first has to do with diet. I slept late today, skipped breakfast, didn't pack a lunch, nothing. This led to a Burger King run around 10:45 for what I thought was going to be breakfast. Turns out it was actually lunch, and all I ate until dinner tonight. Since I've started exercising and trying to eat a little better I've noticed a huge difference in how I feel on days when I eat well compared to days, well, days like today. Honestly, I never would have guessed that simply eating reasonably well could have such a significant impact on how I feel in general. Shut up G, I don't want to here it. I actually didn't even want to ride, but the weather was too nice for this time of year, I couldn't justify not going.

Actually, that's my only theory.

Interestingly enough every Burger King I frequent (I like Burger King), has a sticker in the drive through window stating they are registered at Healthy Dining Are you kidding, burger king = healthy? What is this country coming to? How can a restaurant like Burger King imply that they are serving healthy food? I'm sure the day is coming when one of the major fast food joints will start serving "organic" french fries and chicken strips, all deep fried of course, and start passing them off as healthy. At least I know when I go there I'm getting crap. How can the general population be so stupid?

Rant over, good day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Glacial Drumlin State Trail

Patrick and I headed up to GDST this morning to get a little fresh air before the Packer game. Him on his bike, me on foot. Figured I would run/walk based on HR as I did on Wednesday, hopefully keep Patrick within site. In getting everything ready I forgot my watch and HR monitor, realized it about 1/2 way to Cottage Grove, wasn't worth going back for, I'd just wing it.

Other than one hill at the parking area the trail was pretty much flat and straight. For those not familiar, GDST is built on an old railroad bed, and as such is probably 6-8 feet higher than the ground on either side. The trail is gravel, about 8-feet wide, small shoulders on either side, then down at maybe a 45-degree angle. It's mostly wooded, with a lot of underbrush and scrubby trees adjacent to the trail. Why do I bring this up you ask? I think you know where I'm headed.

About 1.5-miles in, Patrick is maybe 20-yards in front of me when I see him turn (I still don't know why) and ride straight off the trail into the brush and down the hill. He made it to the bottom of the hill and was off the bike but basically pinned between the bike and some brush more or less a sitting position. Oh, and there were tears, were there ever. Thankfully it was colder, so he was dressed in a sweatshirt, long pants, and gloves. The only real damage was a small scratch on his cheek and a little rough spot on one knee. If it were middle of summer I'm certain the damage would have been worse.

Pulled him out and we continued on, made it to the first road past the 2-mile mark and turned around. Nothing remarkable on the way back except for a tired boy.

Overall it was very enjoyable. I hope to do it again, was nice to be able to train and spend time with Patrick at the same time. He enjoyed it, was a race from his viewpoint. I'm pretty sure he won.

The trail really is nice, we crossed three roads (I think) before we turned around, and the visibility ahead is probably at least 1/4-mile on average. Good for situations like today, where P can ride ahead and I can see where he is at.

Next time I'll bring dog along as well, as I'm certain he knew something wasn't right as we left. He's ignored me since we've been home. Not like him, sorry dog.

Flowers on the Wall

Yes, the Statler Brothers song. It's on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, another of Quentin Tarantino's (I looked it up) movies with a decent mix of music. Any song that references Captain Kangaroo can't be all bad. And it's on my playlist of short songs. The list I created a month or so ago of songs less than 3 minutes in length that I thought I would attempt to run to.

Wednesday I went out to walk the dog with the intention of trying to run again. Now that I have the HR monitor I abandoned the thought of run one song, walk one. Instead I would just keep my HR in the 120-150 range. Run when it fell too low, walk when it got too high. Results were similar to my first attempt. Run about1-2 minutes, then walk, repeat. What I did notice is that my HR recovered fairly quickly, which sadly, meant more running.

About 3-miles in I had just started running again when Flowers on the Wall started playing. As was typical, my HR monitor started beeping before the song was over, but I didn't feel that bad, and I knew the end of the song was near, so I kept running, and I actually made it through the end of the song. Two minutes 25 seconds (yes, I looked that up too) and it wasn't even total hell, although I doubt I would have made it another 100 feet.

OK, I realize this is no great feat for most, if not all of you. But Flowers on the Wall will be etched in my mind as a training milestone. I didn't (couldn't) run through an entire song again the rest of the evening. Baby steps.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Loose Ends

I've been meaning to respond to some recent comments but haven't, so here goes.

The movie I recently quoted, incorrectly as it turns out, is Resevoir Dogs. It's one of the better movies out there with a lot of good music mixed in. Actually, most of QT's (I'm not even going to try and spell his name) movies have excellent soundtracks.

When I started this excursion, I never really thought my efforts would inspire anyone else to get active. Jen, knowing that I am inspiring you has actually giving me additional inspiration to keep going. Please do not let anyone discourage you. Set your goals and go after them. Your efforts may not be appreciated now, but if nothing else, somewhere down the line your children will, whether they realize it or not.

I still can't run either, but that's a topic for another post. We may have missed the beer run this year, but I'll be happy to run it, or any other event with you in the future. Keep at it, and keep me informed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Recovery went well, probably as well as can be expected, so we won't talk about that anymore. Back to the pool today. I went out for a short ride on Friday last week, nothing worth noting. Not much worth noting in the pool today either. Was joined by a bunch of older women doing some sort of a water fitness class. It was kind of humorous watching them bounce around the pool, chatting and listening to disco music. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy they're out and being active, but it was amusing none the less.

As I floated back and forth for an hour I got to thinking about balance. Swimming has to be the most boring of the three triathlon endeavors, nothing to look at, not going anywhere, no real distractions, all your mind can do is wander. So today it was stuck on balance. These swim drills I've started are all about balance in the water, so I guess that is where it started.

I actually think about balance on a fairly regular basis, but I'll be the first to admit I'm terrible at it. Inevitably, I usually focus on a single thing at time, neglect others, then rotate. Not the best scenario, but it is what it is.

Still working on improving the diet in general, today was a good example of a refined diet mixed with balance. Breakfast was eggs, toast, and milk. I don't really eat lunch, just graze as I'm hungry throughout the day, but today I ate a banana, an orange, a thing of yogurt, and some leftover pasta from this weekend. I balanced that out with mountain dew, a snickers, a baby ruth, a kit kat, and a twix. It's all about balance.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tyranena / Jingle Bell

Couple of weeks ago we received a mailer for the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell run/walk. This seemed like a great first event to kick off my ironman quest so I put it on the mental calendar. It's appropriate because I actually have arthritis, and it's only 5k or 10k.

Then this weekend while parked on the couch I came across the Tyranena Beer Run. This seems much more my speed. Run (likely pronounced walk), drink beer, and eat lasagna. What more could one ask for? They have 1/6 keg (marathon) and 1/2 keg distances. This would definitely be a 1/6 keg (4.37 miles) for me. If I attempted the 1/2 I'd be worried they would run out of beer/food by the time I finished.

Let me know if you want to partake in either with me. I think Tyranena is on Nov. 10 and Jingle is on Dec. 8.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I can't for the life of me figure out why anybody would decide to head into the field of urology. Honestly, if anybody has any insight, I'd love to hear it. Probably not the type of profession where you come home and talk about your day over the dinner table. Reminds me of a movie quote....

"Dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick"

"That's a lot of dicks"

I'm sure there is more to the profession than what I've experienced, but I can't imagine anything in it being all that appealing. Of course, I work at the landfill, who am I to judge.

With the help of ice and some codeine infused tylenol I feel a little better. Earlier I felt as if I had been kicked square in the groin. And not your average 3-year old girl kick to the groin, more in the league of a Brandi Chastain or Ryan Longwell kick to the groin. I don't anticipate getting off the couch for at least the next day, so despite a lack of actual training, you may find me rambling on about one topic or another here.

Oh, and although they are probably fine, if you're coming over for dinner in the near future, I wouldn't eat the peas.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


For whatever reason I've lacked a little motivation lately. Sunday I went for a short ride, but yesterday I blew off my alarm clock in the morning, then decided to lay on my butt last night. Bad timing, especially considering my forced 7-10 day layoff starting thursday afternoon. We don't need to get into that here.

Today was a different story, not exactly planned, but it just worked out that way. Started with a noon swim up at MG. Unfortunately 25 minutes into it the fire alarms went off. I was told to get out of the pool, was allowed to grab a shirt, and then ushered outside, where I sat for the next 20 minutes. It was reasonably nice, but still cold when you're wet. Apparently there was a fire in the art room. Must have been paint with gasoline day.

Turned into a very nice afternoon, so after getting home from work I went out on the bike. Nice ride, 16+ miles. Heading down the river trail I almost hit a deer, when I turned my head back forward from the first I realized there was a second running next to me. On my ride Sunday, 8 or 9 turkeys were standing on the shoulder of Skyline Drive directly in front of me. I didn't really move over, and they weren't too concerned about getting out of my way. It's little things like this, and chasing the ducks and geese off the Virgin Lake trail, that make riding outdoors so much more interesting than sitting on a stationary in the basement.

According to my log, it had been 9 days since I've walked the dog, so after a quick dinner G and I headed down to PT conferences, dog rode along. Patrick is doing well, and dog and I took a round about walk home from school, including a trek up the river trail from town. 5+ miles later we made it home. Legs hurt now, I'm dreading the morning. But basically I finished a sprint distance triathlon today (with 4.5 and 1 hour transitions), so I feel pretty good about that.

Plan to get as much in tomorrow and thursday morning as possible, then it'll be the couch for a while. Not sure what to expect.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

First IM in the books

That's right, with this mornings ride, I've finished my first Ironman, at least the distance of one. Only took me about six weeks. In actual training time, just over 20 hours. Five swim workouts, 9 on the bike, and 7 walks to accumulate my first 140.6 miles. Swim took two plus hours too long, bike about one, and walking was pretty much right on pace. I think I'm ready, bring it on :) I'm actually quite surprised by the total time, thought it would be higher. It's somewhat encouraging.

Yesterday I went bike shopping. I hate shopping, even for something as cool as a new bike. Machinery Row was by far the most helpful shop I stopped at. Found a couple possible options, great end of season deals, but I'm not sold yet. I have a hard time pulling the trigger on purchases of this type. Took me forever to buy new golf clubs after I started looking, there's something so final about it.

Tonight it's back to the old mistress, poker. Perhaps if I talk to her real nice I can convince her to pay for this whole IM adventure. I haven't really figured it out yet, but the downside of this journey is definitely the cost. Bike, wetsuit, registration, shoes, clothes, etc. I'm guessing that when all is said and done, there could be a $2k to $3k bill attached. Time to start a new spreadsheet.

We got a live one!!

After carefully selecting the bait, setting the line out just so, and patiently waiting for almost two weeks now, I've finally gotten a bite, and happier I couldn't be. Josh, who I'm guessing was hip deep in a new batch of his own brew, has decided to join me in riding Chequamegon. Welcome to the nuthouse Josh.

Shortly after reading the news reality set in. Forty miles on a mountain bike, off the comfort of a paved road, is a long, long way. Time to start putting in some trail miles. Josh, we'll have to talk, perhaps over dinner, I'll cook.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Strange Happenings

Something strange happened at the pool today, I didn't want to get out. I started to feel at least a little bit at home in the water. I didn't swim any faster, any further, or have any more endurance, but I wasn't white knuckled during the drills either.

The drills you say? The book I bought, Triathlon Swimming Made Easy, has a series of drills (13 I think). The first five deal primarily with balance. I've tried 1-3. Simplified, they are something like this:
  1. Float on you back, hands to your side, gentle flutter kick.
  2. Same position, rotate body slightly so one arm, shoulder to hand, is out of the water. Keep eyes, head looking straight up.
  3. Same position as #2, but take lower arm and extend forward in front of head, slightly under the water's surface.

Tuesday I didn't get past #1, I floated on my back ok, but was extremely tense the whole time. I attempted to go into #2 position once, it didn't work out. Today was a different story, and I got into drill #2 and #3 without much issue. Three has the added benefit of keeping me from hitting my head on the wall, not that I'm ever moving that fast.

The first part of the swim was primarily drill #1, with an odd length of back or front stroke. After I figured out 2 and 3, I alternated between the three drills and more odd lengths of actual swimming. It was at this point I was actually almost having fun. I could see it, that little glimmer of hope, that tiny ray of light at the end of the tunnel. Some day I might actually be able to swim.

On a somewhat related note, I work down in Verona a lot, probably there 2-3 times a week for a couple of hours at a time. Figured I'd look at the Verona pool schedule, see if I could work in a swim there at lunch instead of at Monona Grove. Did a search for "Verona Pool", didn't find much, searched for the high school, looked around there, turns out Verona doesn't have a pool.

Verona has a natitorium. This is a term that's new to me so I had to look it up. According to Merriam Webster, a natitorium is, are you ready for this, an indoor swimming pool. On principal, I will not be swimming in the Verona pool. It's a pool, call it a pool, reminds me a George Carlin skit on language, it wasn't this one, but it still gets my point across well. Why on earth do we need to add unnecessary complexity to common terms in the English language. Us simple folk don't get it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ride Report

I swam yesterday, but wasn't really in the mood to post about it. Instead I scrolled through some other triathlon blogs looking for inspiration. Some of the ones I thought I might follow are linked over to the left. Spandex King recently posted a rant from Jay Leno. I have to say, I completely agree with him. It's an interesting read, go there. Now!

Today I rode, except for the wind, weather was great. Seems the first couple of miles are always tough. I intentionally went out slow, but within a mile or so I fell into my typical pace. Swung through town then headed east towards Oregon. Seems like on every ride (and perhaps to a lesser extent run/walk) you get to this point where you're not sure which direction to go. This happened today at mile 10 or so. The wind had been at my back most of the way and I was feeling pretty good. I went left, the wrong way. I knew where I was and where I was going, I simply underestimated the extra distance, figured it might be an extra mile or two, turned out to be closer to 5 or 6. It also took me further west on a day when the wind was blowing hard from the east.

Big mistake, I didn't really feel it until about mile 16 or so, but when I did it hit me like, like a two ton heavy thing (quick, name that tune). Really struggled through the rest of the ride, part of it was the wind, but for the most part it was dead legs.

Overall I feel pretty good about the ride, much better than the swim yesterday. 20+ miles is my longest ride to date, and at 13 mph, it's also my fastest. Tomorrow will likely be a pool day if anything.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Impromptu Ride

I guess it's that time of the year when outdoor training (specifically on the bike) turns into an opportunistic endeavor rather than one that follows a schedule. This afternoon the weather was about as good as I thought it could get this time of year. So off I went.

Immediately I felt the after affects (effects?, I don't know, I'm tired) of yesterday's ride/walk. Sore legs, aching knees, etc. But it was nice, and after riding a portion of the river trail yesterday, I decided to ride the rest of it this afternoon. This led me downtown, then out of town to the south. Fourteen miles later I was back home. Legs loosened up and I felt pretty good most of the way.

I like riding off-road so much more than on the streets. No traffic, out in nature, twisting trails instead of arrow straight roads, what's not to like. If only I was fast enough to out run the mosquitoes. I wish we had more trails in the immediate area.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Back At It

Three days without any exercise and I feel like a total slug. Thursday was a planned day off, Friday I got stuck at work for two hours after I had wanted to leave and didn't get my planned workout in. Yesterday I worked in the morning and spent the afternoon working in the garage. Today the weather was crappy, but it didn't take much of a break in the clouds for me to get out on the bike. At least I don't have to worry about sunburn, this looks like it really hurts.

So after the ugly Packer game I headed out. As I walked out the door the dog just sat on the edge of the carpet staring at me. "Don't worry, I'll be back for you in a bit" was my response. Yes, I talk to my dog.

Plan was to bike, then walk. A lot of the info I've read emphasizes the need to get used to the run after biking, and doing the two together allows you to practice transitions, more on that later.

So with the heart rate monitor on I headed out. Patrick set it up to tell me if I'm out of the target heart rate zone. If you're high or low, every 5-seconds it plays a little message to tell you the error of your ways.

"Kick it in the ass, lazy bones."

"Are we working out or sleeping here."

"My grandpa works harder than this."

Actually it just beeps, but after a while it feels more like the above. It took about 5 minutes to get my heart up to the point where the thing stopped beeping. Then it beeped pretty much whenever I stopped pedaling. Hit the high alarm on a couple hills (the one by the hospital at the end of the bike path was a killer). Average heart rate was 132, and after about 11-miles I made it back home.

Transition time. Apparently transitions can be a big time drain, so they should be practiced. Here is mine.

  1. Remove helmet and gloves.
  2. Open garage door.
  3. Replace bike on new storage thing.
  4. Enter house, remove shoes.
  5. Turn on tv, check cowboys/patriots score.
  6. Watch cowboys score defensive touchdown.
  7. Remove bike clothes, search three rooms for walking clothes.
  8. Get dressed, search for shoes.
  9. Shoes on, find ipod, find headphones.
  10. Grab poop bag and leash.
  11. Drink some water, use the bathroom.
  12. Leave house, close garage door.

According to my handy watch, elapsed time was 10 minutes, 9 seconds. Apparently changing clothes on a regular basis for the last 30+ years has done some good. End of transition practice. I can live with 10-minutes.

Walked about 4-miles. Nothing much worth noting I was surprised at one point to look down and see my heart rate in the 120's (I had turned the alarm off). The average for the walk was 117, not far off the previous outing.

That's about it, probably get back in the pool this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Toy

I finished what I'm going to read of Be Iron Fit at this point so if anyone wants it let me know. It's good, and I'll probably use one of his training plans rather than the one previously mentioned from the web. I'll need it back down the line, but I got what I needed from it for now. It emphasized one point which I had read previously, the importance of training by heart rate and time rather than by feel and miles. Luckily, my brand new heart rate monitor came in today. It's a timex ironman something something something. About $60 from amazon.

Works great, if you can read an instruction manual printed on something the size of a matchbook and you have an advanced degree in, well, something I don't have a degree in. How they can cram so much crap in a watch with only five buttons I don't know. But with Patrick's help I got through set up, and having this new toy, I had to give it a try.

So with the kids safely in bed, dog and I went out for our evening walk. Nothing noteworthy about the walk, cold and windy but tolerable. I learned that walking isn't enough to get my heart rate into the "aerobic zone" or whatever it's called. First half of the walk I averaged 107 bpm, second half 112 (resting I'm around 50). From everything I've read, I need to be doing most of my IM training in the 120 - 150 range to get the most benefit. I was tempted to run a bit to see what my heart would do, but I really wasn't up to it. Very curious to see where I'm at on the bike. Hopefully friday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Odds and Ends

The two books I ordered came in today. First is beIRONfit by Don Fink. Second is Triathlon Swimming Made Easy by Terry Laughlin. This is the book that is supposed to teach you how to swim from square one. I will probably be through both books by the end of the weekend. If anyone wants to borrow, let me know.

Second, there's this comment button on the bottom of each of my posts, use it!!! I've gotten a lot of feedback, most of it second hand through G. Writing this blog isn't exactly work, but it's a lot easier when I know people are reading it. The way I see it, a bribe is in order, a two parter.

Back in early September I went up to hodag country to harvest wild rice. What's a hodag you ask? Good question, apparently in Rhinelander there is so little to keep people occupied they feel the need to make up mythical creatures and name town events after them. Anyway, the rice is back from the drying and cleaning place, and we have a lot of it. So to all out there reading this, I'm willing to share the harvest with any that are willing to leave comment. Be funny, be critical, be supportive, be stupid, I don't care, but comment, and the bounty of hodag country will be yours as well.

Second I've added a "tentative race schedule". I'll actually make dinner (with or without wild rice) for the first person (and their family) who commits to joining me in a race, either on my schedule or an event of your choosing. I'm trying to keep training interesting and diverse, so events out of the ordinary will receive special consideration. I'm also looking for suggestions for events to fill out the schedule.

I think that's it. I need to go eat, again.

Work Commute

Last night I decided I would ride the bike home from work tonight. Seemed like a good idea, so I loaded bike in the truck this morning, got all my riding crap together and headed off to work. Trouble is, it got cold and windy today. Cold enough I thought riding home in shorts would be too much. So on my way back from Verona I stopped off at REI for some pants and a warmer top. Enter ubber dork.

I left with a pair of lined black tights and a fleece type top long enough to hopefully cover my ass. How much of a dork did I feel like. I got dressed in the parking lot at work, rode out a side entrance of the AEC parking lot, and hoped like hell I made it home before the wife and kids. To top it off, I kept my head down while in the vicinity of my old office hoping nobody would see me. But warm and comfortable I was.

Either the padding in the ass of these tights aren't as good as my shorts, or the longer ride took it's toll, but my ass is sore. Ride ended up being 19 miles, and I was wiped out at the end, pretty much crawled up even the smallest hills. Luckily, I never really went directly into the wind, and had it somewhat behind me most of the way. All that said, my average speed was (drum roll please) almost 13 mph. Definitely wind aided. Probably would have been an average speed of 6 or 7 mph if I had to do it the other way with that wind. Likely a shorter ride again tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, October 8, 2007


As in biathlon or duathlon, get your minds out of the gutter. Du-day didn't sound any better, so bi it is, was. That said, today was a dual "workout" day.

This morning I got up and walked just under 5-miles. Knees are still aching from last week, so I'm going to put off attempting to run for a while. Nothing really worth noting. Felt good to get out again.

This afternoon I squeezed in a 6-mile ride between work and picking up the kids. Windy as hell out, but I never really had to go straight into it, mostly road north/south, perpendicular to the wind. Despite my best efforts to keep a decent pace. I once again managed (any guesses) just 12 miles an hour on this short ride. Perhaps mountain bikes have a governor of sorts limiting their maximum speed. Or maybe it's just me.

On the bike note, we did stop and look at tri-bikes last week. The particular bike I'm looking for (Felt S32 or S22, whichever is the cheaper of the two) is not to be found in Madison. Milwaukee has several dealers. Going to look there next. I'm curious what differences I'll see between the mountain bike and the road bike. It's been at least 16 years since I've been on a road bike. Should be interesting.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cross Training

G and I had the last week off, and with the nice weather you'd think I would have put a few miles on the bike. But it wasn't to be. Instead I did a lot of cross training. I sided the shed. Not exactly high heart rate activity, but on my feet and outside in the sun all week, it felt like a workout.

With the exception of the garage door, I finished it this morning. It looks nice, and we even managed to move the canoe out and get the tiller, garden tractor, and wheelbarrow out of the garage and into the shed where they belong. With a little more work, we may even get a vehicle in the garage this winter!

Turned into a good recovery week if nothing else. Legs feel good, although the knees are sore from kneeling, climbing, and leaning on the ladder all week. Next week should be back to normal, if the weather holds I hope to get in a longer ride or two.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Review / October Preview

September Review - I'm about three weeks into this training thing now, and with almost 60-miles behind me, the only real noticable change is my appetite. I'm always hungry. Seems like I'm eating constantly. I've started to change my diet. No more relying on fast food for weekday breakfast and/or lunch. I still stop in on occasion, but the frequency is way, way down. Packing my own lunch, trying to actually eat breakfast, and tying to eat healthier in general. It's a start.

As far as results, all things considered, I'm probably where I should expect to be. I am a little nervous about my lack of swimming abiblity. But I have time, a good swim coach (if I ever decide to listen to her), and I just ordered a book that's supposed to teach you how to swim from square one. I read about it through some triathlon website or blog, I don't remember which. All the reviews are very good, we'll see. Not concerned at all about the bike, with time, I'm sure that will come together just fine. My lack of running ability should concern me but it doesn't. If I get off the bike (at the IM) at the last possible moment, I should still be able to pretty much walk a marathon in the 6-1/2 hour allotted time.

October Preview - With winter around the corner, I'm going to attempt to ride as much as possible over the next month. Still going to mix in a walk and/or swim on a weekly basis, but if I can, my preference is going to be the bike. I'll have plenty of time to swim in the winter, and I have no problem walking in the cold either, but the bike will be gone.

The schedule I've been on is Tuesday mornings, Wednesday afternoon/evening, Friday morning, and Sunday afternoon. I'll stick to this schedule for now, as it seems to be working.

Sunday afternoon ride

As promised, I went out for my sunday afternoon ride. Friday's run/walk combined with work that day ( and participating in P's football practice that night) absolutely killed my legs. I don't remember a time when my leg muscles ever hurt like they have for the past couple of days. But the consensus was to do something, so I rode.

As it turns out my legs feel better now than before the ride. They still hurt, just not nearly as bad. Rode just under 11 miles, and managed to ride the second half slightly faster than the first. The wind may have played a part, and the Roby Road hill off Kings Lynn definitely slowed me down on the first half. And although I went out and intended to take it pretty easy, my pace was identical to my first two rides, a whopping 12 miles per hour.

That's all.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Almost Embarrassing

I tried running this morning. It didn't go so well. If I had any sort of an ego or pride in this matter I would be embarrassed to put it down on paper, but here it is.

The plan, I put together a list of songs all between two and three minutes in length. Plan was to walk the first 4 songs, then run/walk on alternating songs for the remainder.

Turns out, I can't make it through an entire song. So the plan was quickly altered to 1/2 song running, 1-1/2 songs walking. I can only imagine what the dog was thinking:

"What's going on, we're running?"
"Dad never runs."
"Someone chasing us?"
"Is it my birthday, Christmas?"
"Oh who gives a shit, woo hoo, we're running!"
"What the hell, why'd we start walking again?"
"This sucks, get me all excited then stop running already."
"Rather be sleeping"
"Is that something dead I should be eating or rolling in"
"Running again, woo hoo, let's go!"

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

And so it went for just over an hour. Covered 5.1 miles in about an hour and 10 minutes. I roughly figure I ran 13-1/2 minutes and 1.4 miles, walked the rest. Legs are dead tired, brush your teeth sitting down tired. To top it off, what I thought was going to be an easy day at work, turned into an on your feet and moving all day type of day. Very much looking forward to an easy weekend. May go for an easy ride to loosen up the legs sunday afternoon, so if anyone would like to ride along, let me know.

On a side note, it was an absolutely beautiful morning to be out. Moon was close to full and the sky was clear, could easily see what was in front of me. Temperatures were cold enough to make you want to keep moving, but no where near uncomfortable. Wonderful fall weather.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Today was bike day, and I really wasn't looking forward to it. Legs were sore from yesterday's walk/swim and my knee was bothering me more than usual. But the weather was nice and I probably shouldn't start slacking already, so off I went.

It took a while for the legs to loosen up, but eventually they did and I managed to put in 14 miles. Knee never really became an issue. Same pace as the first ride, which I'm ok with. I'm happy that I managed just 1-mph slower on the last 5 miles than I did on the first 9. Sunday I barely crawled home. Today I felt like I could have managed other couple miles at a fairly reasonable pace. I may not walk tomorrow, but I feel pretty good now.

The cold weather is going to require some biking pants and gloves. Looks like I'll be upping the dork factor (coincidentally, I didn't wear my running shoes to school yesterday, it was light out, and people were out and about). Today I rode in shorts and a pullover. Legs were cold, upper body was very warm.

On a side note, my ass and groin area in general is sore from riding. But on the bright side, at least I don't have a rash.........

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some things just don't feel right... walking into St. Ann's while listening to Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio on the Ipod. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start from the beginning.

I intended to get up early this morning and swim, but I overslept and didn't make it. Pulled up the Monona Grove pool schedule and formulated a new plan, swim at noon over lunch. MG pool is open 11:30 - 1:30 weekdays. I have a pretty flexible work schedule, so I should be able to swim here when other plans go awry.

MG pool is nice. Water was warm, only two or three others there. Still can't swim on my stomach. Managed 40 lengths (1,000 yards) in just under the hour I was there. Mostly backstroke, mostly in 4-8 length increments. Legs felt pretty good. Swam with goggles for the first time. I don't know that it helped any. I feel the biggest issue on my stomach is breathing.
On my back I can breathe at my leisure, on my stomach it's timing and taking quick breathes. Anyone know a good swim coach?

So this afternoon I decided to walk to school to pick up Patrick from after school care. He's been wanting to walk home ever since I tricked him into thinking we were walking home from Kayser a month or so ago. Made it to the park when I first realized this was going to be a mistake. Swimming was harder on the legs than I had thought. But I covered the 2 miles without issue, and just as I'm coming up to school, on comes Coolio...

Patrick enjoyed the walk home, got a little tired towards the end, but overall it was good. The leisurely pace was easier on my legs. Surprisingly it only took 15-minutes longer on the return trip, including a brief stop at the church on the corner to look at the cranes on the lawn.

Tomorrow afternoon should be a return to the bike.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


It's probably been a good four years since I've been on a bike. The car needed something or another done, so I put the bike on it, dropped it off somewhere on the beltline, and rode into work. Maybe five miles max. When the car was done in the afternoon, I got a ride back and left the bike at the office. I did not enjoy the morning ride.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Kids had swimming lessons, and I just got the bike road worthy the previous day. It was like I had a new present just waiting to be used. I had to go for a ride.

Needless to say, I have a whole new set of sore leg muscles. Muscles that feel like they must have been in hibernation since that last ride. Managed 12 miles in about an hour. This is on a mountain bike with fat tires and all, not exactly a speed machine on the road under any circumstances. I'm half heartedly looking for a road bike, but I'll probably train on this until at least next year, perhaps even spring 2009. If I can find a good end of season deal I'll jump on it, but I'll probably still train on this one for the most part.

All things considered, I'm pretty happy with the ride. The hills kicked my ass, but I set out with the goal to keep my legs moving and the bike going forward. With the exception of one quick break at the base of a hill, I did just that.

Hoping to get in all three aspects of the tri this week. See how the legs feel in the morning.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Nice easy walk today ended up being about 4-miles. Up to the river and back, with a detour through the Ross subdivision on the return trip. Felt good, no need for a head lamp, as I could see from the shine coming off the new shoes.

I believe I now have an "official" song for the program as well. Yesterday afternoon I started to listen to a Kinks album I've had forever but have not listened too in ages. Ipod died half way through the first song so it didn't go far. Fast forward to this morning, same album was stilled cued up so I figured it was as good as anything. Third song in is Superman. For those not familiar, it starts off like this:

Woke up this morning, started to sneeze
I had a cigarette and a cup of tea
I looked in the mirror what did I see
A nine stone weakling with knobbly knees
I did my knees bend press ups touch my toes
I had another sneeze and I blew my nose
I looked in the mirror at my pigeon chest
I had to put on my clothes because it made me depressed

Surely there must be a way
For me to change the shape I'm in
Dissatisfied is what I am
I want to be a better man
Superman Superman wish I could fly like Superman
Superman Superman I want to be like Superman
I want to be like Superman
Superman Superman wish I could fly like Superman

And winds down with:

I'd really like to change the world
And save it from the mess it's in
I'm too weak, I'm so thin
I'd like to fly but I can't even swim

Have a good weekend, no training plans for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Swim n Shoes

Back to the pool tonight. Still can't swim. Managed ~800 yards total in 50-100 yard increments. Mostly backstroke or backfloat. Legs and knees are definitely feeling the effects of the last week. In the middle I did maybe 200 yards without kicking, was really starting to feel it in my arms too. Overall, not a workout that left me with that warm fuzzy feeling. The ice cream on the way home didn't help either.

I did pick up a pair of running shoes this afternoon after work. Mizunos. They are white, blue, and yellow; and I feel like a complete dork in them. Not sure exactly why, but I sort of liken it to going out and buying a really expensive triathlon bike or something of that nature. I have no idea how to ride it or get the most out of it. But I'll go out with my shiny new shoes and try and look like I know what I'm doing. That's as best as I know how to explain it.

I should probably take a few days and let my legs rest some, but I'm actually anxious to try out the new shoes. Friday morning seems like a good time for a short walk. Hopefully before the sun comes up, so nobody sees me and my dorky shoes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Program

I found a training program at It's a 20-week program designed to get you into ironman shape. Well, it's designed more to get you to a point where you can finish the thing, which is the whole goal anyway. I don't really have any illusions as to what time I'd like to finish in. I've kicked around a lot of numbers in my head, and I think 14-hours is doable (2 swim, 6+ bike, 5+ run), but I'm not setting a goal, at least not at this point.

Twenty weeks of about 10 workouts per week. The average workout to start is about an hour in length. So in the next 80 some weeks, I need to get into that kind of shape.

First, what I'm not going to do. Not going to walk/run on a treadmill or ride on a stationary bike. If I can't do it outside or in the pool, it's just not going to get done. Walking/running/biking for hours on end is boring enough, doing it in place is just plain stupid. I'm also not going to join a gym, lift weights, etc. The only thing I may consider doing (outside of strictly endurance work) is take some sort of pilates or related class to improve flexibility (If I attempt to stretch, I can easily get past my knee, but the toes are out of the question).

For the present, I'm going to work out 2-4 times per week, trying to average 1 - 1.5 hours each. Swimming and walking will be the main initial components. I'll eventually transition into running, but with my knees, I'm really not in any hurry. I'll also start biking soon, need to do a few repairs to the bike before I can ride. Once winter comes, I'll continue to walk and swim, but I'll ski as well provided we get enough snow.

I've started to look at prep races. I'm sure I'll alter the plan to meet the demands of any prep races I'll have to train for. Some things I'm considering include:

1/2 ironman - possibly fall 2008
shorter ironman - ??
berkiebeiner - feb 2009 (I skied a lot in high school, and this was one race I always wanted to do back then.
syttende mai - may 2009 (just because it's local)
chequamegon fat tire festival - Sept 2008 (cool mountain bike race up north)

This blog

Since the wife has already outed me, and she's now wanting to out the blog as well. I may as well explain why I'm keeping it.

First, it's primary purpose is to keep a light hearted record of this little adventure. Before I even started, wife was on me to keep a training record, she even bought me a notebook. I read several blogs on a regular basis, and this seemed like a much better way to get everything down.
Hopefully, I'll be able to look back at this and laugh at just how out of shape I actually was (am).

Second, it's a way to share this trip with others. As most of you know, I'm not much of a talker. It's very unlikely you'll get any level of detail out of me on how training is actually going. Hopefully, I'll be much better at getting things down on this blog. If you want to know how training is going, go ahead and ask. If you want the details, this is the place.

Last, I'll probably use it to call out some of you to join me, if not for all of it, at least for a portion of the trip. Wife would like to, but logistically, the training in the months before the race is just too time consuming for both of us to accomplish at once (with the kids and all). I view this very much as a personal quest, but at the same time, having someone else to suffer through it with may not be all bad.

Feel free to comment, critique, even criticize if you must. The only thing I won't tolerate is you getting sappy or emotional about it. Don't make me come and kick your ass (it's not part of the program).

On that note, since she is so excited about this, I will also allow wife to cohost this blog and post her viewpoints on my training as well. If her name is in ( ) in the title, the post is hers. G, thanks for your support, and remember, I'll yank your posting privledges quicker than.........well, pretty damn quick.

Yet to come..

Training Program/Schedule

Walking Shoes

That's right, waking shoes, I don't run. I tried it once, but about 1/2 way to first base I fell down, so I quit. The extent of my workouts, aside from the previously mentioned swim, have been three walks. About two weeks ago, dog and I went 2.3 miles in a nighttime walk, last tuesday morning, we went on a 4 mile excursion, then last night, a 5.2 mile outing. Last night dog was actually tired when we were finished, so I felt like I accomplished something anyway.

I don't own walking / running shoes. My choices right now are two pair of sandals, my retired softball cleats, one pair of slip on shoes, various dress shoes, my steel toed work boots, or one of various pairs of winter or hunting boots. Seeing as I wear them all day, I'm used to them, and they are comfortable, I've been walking in the steel toes.

This wasn't much of an issue until today. The long walk last night, combined with work today, has was a little hard. I had a chance to sit down in the truck for 1/2 hour this morning and the first thing I did was take the shoes off. Heaven it was. Apparently it is time for a stop at the shoe store for a decent pair of walking / running shoes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First day in the pool

Wisconsin Ironman 2009 is two years minus one week out. Original plan was to shoot for 2010, but three years out is two much. I think two years is long enough to go from couch potato to ironman.

My training began a week ago, I've put off starting this traing blog, so I'll have to backtrack to discuss this first week as well as my background and motivations. For now we'll discuss swimming.

I'm not a swimmer, never have been. I don't dislike swimming, it's just not one of my favorite things (although neither is biking, running, or exercise in general). So with a lot of prodding from the wife (an avid swimmer, and one who is more excited by this challenge than I) we headed down to the stoughton pool for a swim.

I can't swim, that's really what I feel like. I managed to swim about 14 lengths of the 25-yard pool, with a 1-2 minute break between lengths to catch my breath. In the middle of the swim I grabbed a kickboard or two and kicked about 600-yards with just one break. I pushed through this without a problem, but when I went back to the crawl, I needed a break every 40 yards or so (we were swimming across the pool at this point). I feel as though I'm fighting to keep from sinking the whole time.

Hopefully this will pass and I'll get more comfortable in the water. For the record, outside of grade school age swim lessons, this may be the first time I have ever swam a lap or attemped to swim any distance at all. I feel fine. Showered, came home had a snack and took a nap watching Michigan crush Notre Dame. Legs are a little tired, but nothing unusual.