Archive for September, 2010

Between working at Cisco, running DELTA Triathlon and the IOSDT Team, and checking out facebook, and Twitter,  I am always connected to the grid.

The problem is that I am ALWAYS connected to the grid and have a very difficult time letting it go.    My habits with my Blackberry are the worst.  This thing is never out of my reach.  I mean never.

Before actually opening my eyes each morning, I reach for the Blackberry to check work email and see what happened, if anything, overnight.

Pardon the imagery, but I really dig a hot bath before bed.  My Blackberry sits right next to me and I often check email or facebook as I “relax”.

For me, it is almost painful to visit Beamanland.  OMG, AT&T does not have coverage at the lake.  I could be off the grid from 4 to 48 hours there.  Yeah, I do look forward to the ride out the valley so that my email and text will sync up and I can check it at 25 mph while chasing the other triathletes.

However, I am starting to recognize that I have a problem.  My plan, currently under consideration, is to have a “put the damn phone down time” each evening for 1-2 hours.  The test went really well.  My record is now 6 minutes.

Autumn or Autumn?

Posted: September 23, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

Autumn

n.

1.  The season of the year between summer and winter, lasting from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice and from September to December in the Northern Hemisphere; fall.

2.  A period of maturity verging on decline.

Clearly what I am experiencing is not a change of seasons.  It was nearly 100 again today.  Ergo, I must be experiencing definition #2.  This could explain why my back is killing me from working on my car a little bit this past weekend.  Perhaps I really have passed the tipping point and am beginning the tumble into the abyss.

I am certain that I am tired of it being so friggin’ hot.  Hot flashes perhaps?

OMG!  It was so very close to a near death experience.

Picture this…  The Sunday ride is happening.  Three guys have “broken away” from the main pack and are hauling tail down Big Woods.  (OK, really Max is pulling and I am sucking wheel and a Rich Jones is behind me)

But, regardless, the three of us are alone at about 26 mph.  Coming towards us is an amateurish flat bed pick up truck stacked with about 40 hay bales.

When….yeah, you guessed it, a bale drops off and tumbles right toward us.  It couldn’t have missed me by more than a foot, but it grazes Rich.

My life flashed before my eyes.  (It was more of a comedy than a tragedy)  Truthfully, I was certain that we had all bought it.  One false twist of fate or a millisecond difference in timing and we would have all been toast.

The amateur farmers who stacked this truck stopped behind us and picked up the remnants, while we collected ourselves a bit up the road.  I am serious, this was friggin’ close to a disaster.

I wish I could tell you that I had some cerebral moment of clarity, found the meaning of life, or experienced singularity with karma.  The hay bail just missed me and my buddies – I could have died, but I didn’t.  I didn’t learn anything or feel anything special other than contempt for the buffoons who stacked the hay, so poorly, on that truck.  This was yet another near miss while on my bike.

It sounds like I am getting used to this… How sad is that?

Coach Said Do 50

Posted: September 20, 2010 in Bike Stories

The usual Sunday ride heads out at 9 am and does a nice figure eight around Big Woods and back home.  We have been doing this loop for several months and call it 50ish miles.

This Sunday had the same route, but with a perfect cast of characters.  We had even numbers and a lot of folks who were interested it really burning some fat.  Translation – they wanted to go slow.  This really works for me, as I am in serious need of some fat burning time on the bike.

After all the caveats about pace and distance and such, Lisa W. set off with us for her first 50 miler.  Lisa has really become a cyclist in a short period of time.  She just has that look on the bike like she is going to be great some day.  She also had the coolest matching kit I have ever seen.  We are talking about seriously matching pink and light purple.

Of course, we had to go fast for a bit on Big Woods and then again on 64.  The near death experience will be told tomorrow.  Most of us are either new or were seriously depleted from day after day of training.  So, the last few miles were very slow.  We were all equally trashed.

Pulling back into the shop, of course the OCD mileage managers were looking at their computers.  they saw and called out 47.8 miles…not 50.  Is this a tragedy? Well, apparently to Lisa it was.  Her coach – that would be Stacey Richardson – had scheduled 50 for her this day.

She had to ride the extra 2.2 miles.  Sadly, everyone in the group felt compelled to go with her.  We rode up the steep hill then back down again, and still had to do an extra loop before chucking the bikes at the cars.  All of us discussed how silly it was, yet we all did it.

Funnier still is that three guys got separated from us and finished early.  When we returned we discovered that at least one had ridden loops in the parking lot until he also hit 50 miles.

This is a compulsion.  Is there really a training difference between 47.8 and 50?  I doubt it.  But, it matters.  It matters because the coach said do 50.

Earlier this week I was on a DELTA flight to Detroit in one of the small 20-seater planes.  Somehow I managed to draw seat 1C, which is the perfect vantage point to watch the flight attendant in the galley.  On this occasion, she was a young, and larger than Barbie, African American woman.

From the moment I walked on, it was clear that this young lady was respectful, pleasant and completely in charge of her plane.  She managed traffic on board, patiently reloaded carry-on luggage, and exchanged direct eye contact with passengers.

As we were preparing for take off, she took a moment to herself, reviewed her internal checklists, readjusted her uniform back to perfection and buckled herself into her jump seat – all in a very crisp and purposeful manner.

This young lady exudes pride in what she does.  And, it shows, in every aspect.  As I watched, I was so proud of her and for her.  I asked myself if I would trust her in the most dire emergency … I would.

Upon returning, I had occasion to run into Sheri Spivey.  Sheri and Shannon Carlson just completed Ironman Wisconsin this past weekend.

Sheri was smiling broadly, as always, and taking care of business.  In the same manner as the flight attendant, she so clearly represents herself in a prideful way.  Her stories were modest – yet she told them standing tall and composed.  She proclaimed that, “this will be the last one!”  Which I feel in my heart is not true – she probably will race another Ironman some day.  However, if she doesn’t, she has this, and her many other accomplishments, in the bank for the rest of her life.

Daren Marceau once told that racing Ironman is the most humbling experience he has ever had.  This sounded absurd until I experienced it myself.  It is humbling because the value comes from and is felt so distinctly within.  Sheri Spivey and most, but not all, triathletes I know, emote this feeling with their actions, not their words.

I am so very proud of Sheri.  She worked very hard for and had a great Ironman Wisconsin.  She deserves those feelings inside and represents them outwardly so incredibly well.

Congratulations Ms. Spivey!

This is the classic real-life, balanced with triathlon, dilemma… Who has good advice?

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were hard days with long swim, long run and a decent ride.  Typically Monday is my day off as a full recovery day.  And, since I am old now, I really need this.

However, I am traveling Tuesday through Thursday and will miss a bike, run and a swim.  Traveling isn’t exactly the best recovery, and there is little chance to train while gone.

My legs are feeling about as heavy as the guy in the photo.  So, here is my plan.  I am going to do an easy swim today and entertain an easy ride tonight after work and then do a short run after a hard ride on Thursday night.

This plan is based upon the principal that my legs really need the recovery and my aerobic system can recover a bit during the week.

What the heck would you do?

The most supreme goodness begins with these babies.  But, not all limes are the same.  A special friend dropped of the best batch I have ever had, and they are seriously good.

I would really like to take a moment to set the record straight about martinis.  Let’s be clear.  Real men can drink pink martinis.  Cranberry juice is as legitimate as any other to mix with the best vodka.  Now personally, I prefer Citroen Absolut with my pink martinis.  This is what I settle for when out at a bar.

However, when I am at home I will only drink Ironmantinis.  These bad boys are as manly as any concoction you can fathom.  In fact, almost all of my blog articles are inspired by Ironmantinis.  Somehow, after one or two of these the words come streaming to my brain faster than my 110 words per minute can manage to translate to HTML.

I highly recommend this recipe for relaxed, creative, seriously focused late night activities – whatever they may be.

Todd’s most amazing Ironmantini Martini Recipe can be found here.

Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can? – Sun Tzu

Are you coming close to your full capability?  Are you giving your family, your job and your passion for sport everything that you can?

I certainly agree that time goofing off is important.  Relaxing, unplugging and chilling out has a very important benefit.  I really want to make sure that when I am off, I am off, in order to get the full value.

But, I could certainly give everything else a bit more.  This is the difference between mediocre and good or between good and great.

I am going to give this a bit more emphasis and see what happens.

“Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the other half may reach you” – Khalil Gilbran

Television, the web, blogs, facebook and more continually bombard our sense and sensibilities.   At least half of all that input is meaningless and probably much more.

Most nuggets are parsimoniously devoid of value.  Yet, we diligently cram them into our brains as fact or feature; neatly filed, coded, categorized and tucked away for potential future retrieval.

Each of these has an opportunity cost.  Memory space is finite and our ability to retrieve is not tireless.  The opportunity potentially lost is that something useful or possibly even clever may have been dislodged or otherwise lost forever.

Ever considered an “information diet?”  Have we become rotund and bloated with useless data fat?  Supersize me and add cheese please!

I Blame Tony Adams

Posted: September 7, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

We all know seriously talented athletes, and there are only a very limited few,  for whom a sub-nine hour Ironman is a breeze. These are the guys for whom it all comes so easily.  I hate those guys.

Tony Adams has talent, but his impressive resume comes from extremely hard work and dedication.  He is the example of what relatively ordinary people can accomplish by working their asses off and grinding it out.  Tony flat outworks everyone else.

That being said, being his friend requires a bit of a caveat.

Many years ago, Tony was a new cyclist and I was a good cyclist.  I used to be better than him.  When he started triathlon, I actually made fun of him.  I would say, “if you can’t be great at a single sport, be good at three.”  The day came when we rode and he was getting as good as me, but was also running and swimming fast.  I was still unimpressed.

Then the guys goes off and races an Ironman and comes back to our coffee shop and tells me the story about the race.  I was incredibly intrigued.  Ironman is freakin’ hard.  He made it sound so approachable, yet so damn impossible at the same time.  Which of course it is.

At that point, he started working on me.  Teeing up impossibly difficult decisions.  One day we were recounting the story of how I used to be faster and with very steeled eyes he looked at me and said, “you don’t want to try to take me on now.”  It wasn’t arrogant.  It was a fact.  He had also gotten fast on the bike.

I had fallen behind.  He was way ahead of me.  So, I had no choice, I started racing triathlon.  I have been at this for several years now, but I realize that I will never catch Tony.  He has qualified for Kona and represented himself and all of us very well.  He has paid me the ultimate honor.  He has been my friend and allowed me to be his.  He has also joined my triathlon team.  My goal was to make IOSDT so attractive that we would one day attract Tony and he would race in our jersey.  He has done so.  My pleasure from seeing this is overwhelming.

He is my dear friend, but I blame Tony Adams for getting me in way over my head on a daily basis.  It ain’t easy being Tony’s friend.