Saturday, July 29, 2006

One More Time, From The Top

It started today, the beginning of the new season. This year it started correctly, long and sloooooooooooooow, healed up from last year's efforts and a proper beginning to "Base 1," three weeks of long, aerobic efforts to build a foundation. Today was running with my heartrate in Zone 2 - 3 for 9 miles until the heartrate would not stay down any longer. Tomorrow it is two hours on the trainer at that low heartrate then a pool workout with the tri-club.

This is going to be a great year. In a little over a month, my friends that I have never met will meet their Ironman destiny in Wisconsin. I have watched the training (online) and I get to be there to shout myself hoarse and share the joy.

Coach T has been admitted to her graduate program, and her changed circumstance means she is going to run. She's going to run FAST because that is her gift. She will run the Houston half-marathon in January and I predict she will be one of (if not THE) first non-pro female finisher. I get to watch the training, and I get to shout myself hoarse and share the joy.

Oh, and me. This year is no longer about surviving and wondering whether I am a triathlete. This year is about potential. How light, fast, lean and powerful can I make this 5'4" frame? How much heart is in there? It's not yet time for full iron. I don't have "buy in" from Mrs. Greyhound or my puppy daddy self. But this year will have masters swim classes, strength training from a coach trained in the Eastern Block, a marathon, century rides, and half-irons.

Most importantly, it will have old friends and new friends, for whom I have a humble suggestion. Long about September 23 of next year, there is a triathlon festival in Vegas. It has the sprint. It has the Olympic distance. It has the half-iron. Something for everyone. Moreover, nearly everyone can get to Vegas without undue expense. Even non-triathlon spouses like Vegas. Sounds like the perfect place for a TBC convocation. What do you say?

Come along. Shout yourself hoarse. Share the joy.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dream a Little Dream

It is time. Although I am a little depressed about it, it is time to return from the mountains to normal life. Beyond depressing, there is the worrisome prospect of returning to normal training conditions and wondering whether I still have the necessary motivation. For me, motivation requires goals, and that is where you, the Tri-Blogger Community ("TBC"), come in.

What events should I train for in the next year? I have some ideas, but I want my goal races to be events where I can go out to meet TBC members or they can come out and meet me. We can race, share war stories over food and drink, and hold each other accountable while training. I have some ideas about some good events that might make that possible, but I am going to leave this post up for several days so you can weigh in. I will be working on the pathetically out-of-date sidebar of this blog--and occasionally doing my job as well.

Who out there might be in for these events, and what other events should I consider placing on the calendar, either alongside or in lieu of these:

October 29, Montgomery, Texas: Iron Star-- a half-iron distance triathlon with open water swim in Lake Conroe. Has the advantage of being near my house and on a course where I typically train. Y'all come for the event or for massive training weekends.

January 6-7, Orlando Florida: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I am considering doing the marathon while Mrs. Greyhound and the puppy are along for vacation. There is also a half marathon if that suits you better. Who's in?

January 14, Houston, Texas: Houston Marathon. (There is also a half marathon and a 5k). I will not be racing if I go to Florida, but I plan on being out there on the course supporting my local friends, and I can support you too. I train on the course all the time, and I'd be glad to give you the personal tour. If you are looking for a large, well run marathon with a great expo and great volunteers in a great city, this is the one for you. Who's in?

Early April, Galveston, Texas: (traditionally held first weekend in April) This is an event that has HUGE potential. There is a sprint distance event, an olympic distance, and a half-iron. Moreover, problems associated with the event are probably a thing of the past. The new race director does Timberman and knows what he is doing. No matter if you're a newbie or working toward an ironman, this early season event with open water ocean swim will get you going. And it is a mere hop skip and a jump away from Chez Greyhound. You like?

April 21-22, 2007, Houston to Austin: BP MS 150--the biggest and best in the nation. Ride with me from Houston to Austin, either over two days with the peloton of 13,000 people who will raise more than $11 million to fight multiple sclerosis or with the crazy triathletes (probably me included) who will attempt the 180 miles in one day. I can hook you up with the best training ride series and the best team in the city. AND I will defray the cost of all post-event, adult recovery beverages for whichever TBC members ride with me and raise more than $1000 to fight Mrs. Greyhound's condition.

Here is where it gets really murky. Do I do another half-iron from the 70.3 series? Do I do some big olympic events out of town? The answer might depend upon who toes the line with me. Here are some thoughts.

Early July: The Triple Bypass--120 miles over three massive climbs in the Rocky Mountains. I told Bold I would do it, so who's going with us? Kahuna? Benny? Nytro? Commodore? Anyone? Anyone?

Mid-July: Lifetime Fitness Triathlon: A super olympic event. Plus, if Trimama and the tribe are out in force, who am I to understimate the power of the force?

Late August: The Accenture Chicago Triathlon--the biggest olympic distance event on the planet. If Iron Wil and the Kahuna show up, how could I not, if only to carry their gear? Who else?

Ironman 70.3 Events: This is the big big question. One of these is likley to be the A event of the season. Buffalo Springs Lake again? Vineman? Timberman? Steelhead? Cancun? Clearwater? What to do, what to do? Who's going where?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Trail Run Proverbs

I ran today, for the first time since BSLT 70.3. Hey, its called an offseason. I ran a little under 3 miles. Big whoop, you say. Yeah, I know; but, I did run it at 9600 feet above sea level. Maybe it was the altitude, maybe it was the scenery, but I had all sorts of thoughts that were a revelation to me.

1. If you run the trails looking at your feet, you'll keep your footing, but miss the mountains and starve your soul. If you run the trails looking at the mountains, your soul will be satisfied . . . until you fall on your ass. Find balance. Know the foundation under your feet as well as the cathedral over your head.

2. You can numb some of the discomfort of running with an i-pod, but if you do, you'll miss the sound of the Blue River falling over rocks. Funny, you also won't be able to smell the wildflowers, spruce and pine floating in the breeze. Falling water and wildflowers are not mere background; they are food for the spirit.

3. Don't judge your run going uphill. Don't judge your run flying down with gravity. Mountaintops and valleys are both deceptive. The true quality of your efforts is average of the daily grind. 80% of that is just showing up.

4. People see you when you swim, bike or run. Some say, "I could never do that." Others, "I wish I could do that." Some of those will eventually say, "why not? I can do that." You never know who you're inspiring--if you show up.

5. 80% of inspring someone else is showing up.

6. Kids swim. Kids bike. Kids run. They do it for fun. Be a kid.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bold And Gracious Celebrity Ride

People, my fine, fine people. This has truly been like a vacation with the stars. First, mere coincidence puts me on the same mountain as the Kahuna. And if I sound a little like Bold this evening, it is because I had an epic celebrity ride with a most gracious and excellent triblogger. Yah. I'll tell yah abooot it.

Bolder from Boulder made the trek to the Greyhounds' summer spread on top of the world in Breck--that's Breckenridge to the unwashed SLP masses back in sweaty Texas. (Don't get the wrong idea. We only rent a place for bit.) Not only was he cool enough to make quite a trek up from Boulder, he was completely gracious and never once complained on our ride about my SLP pace and inability to slip the gravitational pull of earth on our epic climbs.

I seriously doubt that Bold ever exceeded a comfortable zone 2, while my own heart rate was well into the redline, especially on the climbs. I may or may not have requested a pink Vespa once or twice. Prince to the core, Bold merely entertained and enjoyed a beautiful day in the mountains.

We did the only climb on the Triple Bypass that Bold had not yet accomplished. We screamed down from Breck to Frisco, hung a left, climbed to Copper Mountain, and then really started to work. It was well rewarded. A view like this is 10 times as special if you work for it.

Next summer, it is Triple Bypass time for the lot of us. Come on Kahuna. Come correct. You do it too. (And get that picture of the dude off your sidebar.) To the extent we have you, Kahuna, to thank for this triblogger phenomenon, a huge round of thank yous from me. Does it get any better? Not only do we all have a great sport in common, the values and the attributes that bring us to this sport connect us with people all over the country. And they call this an individual sport???? Not in my experience.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Where The Sidewalk Ends

(With apologies to Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess)

This is John, G.I. John.
John can ride bikes on and on.

Ski instructor, E-M-T
John is what I want to be
Riding, free as he can be
he gets social security.

He met me me at the Starrbucks shop
And said, "let's ride, and let's not stop."
He pumped some iron for an hour
then hit the roads and climbed the towers.

Mountains, lakes, epic ascents,
Swan Mountain Road past Keystone then

up and up and up some more
to Montezuma, one little store.
The top of all the roads around,
the pavement ends, the views astound.

Then down we came like birds of prey
What a view, and what a day.

Haven't tried it? Well, you should.
Cause bikes are fun, and fun is good.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Yes, I did actually meet the Trigeek Kahuna today--and his family. They were exactly as pictured, with the exception that the kids kind of looked at me like, "who is this man, and what is a Kahuna?" How cool to meet someone for the first time and have it not feel like meeting a stranger, and then to talk about people we had never met like Wil and TriSaratops as mutual friends.

That said, neither the Kahuna nor I were the superstar of the moment. No, the real star of the show in this part of the country is the background. Just take a look at this cyclist's heaven:

How lucky was I do go cycling in a landscape like this:

There are tons of things you can pay to do in Breck. The best thing of all is just sitting outside, watching this world change with the sun's path across the sky, and seeing your own kid find the facination of playing in a creek--for free and with no batteries.

Life is beautiful.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Greyhounds At Play

Weather much improved. This is the view from the hot spot where I blog, er, I mean work.

Mrs. Greyhound keeps an eye on the puppy at the World's gnarliest skate park in Edwards, Colorado.

Sk8r Gurl busts a move. Note the pink helmet with stickers applied to cover Barbie logos, which are so yesterday.

Sk8r Gurl takes a break. (She looks just like me, only she's really cute.)

Calendar Submissions

Apparently having learned nothing from his leg shaving and ugly foot contest experiences, the Kahuna has suggested a traithlete calendar--with the triblogger alliance sporting substantially less gear than one would typically race in. Notwithstanding a certain amount of added body confidence of late, this (thankfully) is the most skin one is likely to see from Greyhound.

Greyhound Survives The Swim
(I am the hobbit in the white cap, not the cave troll adjusting his goggles. Note iron dude in the pink cap and wheel chair. That guy was nails).

Greyhound climbs out of T1
. Carmen Tequilo did not let me down.

Climbing the spiral staircase--the portion of the bike where I started pining for a pink Vespa scooter, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Going out on the run, apparently after dinner and a movie given my abyssmal T2 time.

Limping home.


So ended my first 70.3 and my first experiment posting photos from Flickr. Thanks to all who helped with both.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Courage, eh?

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Sometimes you blog for the world at large, sometimes for your triathlete friends, sometimes for yourself, and sometimes in the hopes that one reader in particular will take heart.
If you have dropped by da Republic, you will have noted that Bold's Triple Bypass did not go as planned. While acknowledging the difficulty of the course and the supreme difficulty of the conditions on the day, I think he put too much emphasis on the letters DNF.
He need not be troubled by doubts of his ability to finish. The final climb to Vale Pass from the east is something I have done in my pre-triathlete SLP days as the third of three passes. He definitely has the physical resources to have finished on that day or any other. Fortunately, he also had the good judgment to realize that this was not the day to try.
I started down from Breckenridge in a cool drizzle and little wind. I hit Frisco before any of the participants in the Triple Bypass and started the climb up to Copper Mountain, intending to meet Bold and his posse on the slopes to Vale Pass. The weather got progressively colder and progressively more dangerous as time went on. At Copper Mountain, by the time I got the message that Team Bold had abandoned, the very first of the Bypass riders were making the climb in a wind driven rain.
The passes and the tops of the peaks were invisible. It was like something from Tolkien. Misty Mountains from which Saruman's voice of doom is carried on the wind. (Yah, that's how geeky I am). To descend was to take your life in your hands. The risk of hypothermia or a fatal touching of the pavement was very real. In particular, the west side of Vale pass is narrow, crooked, and very steep, right next to I-70, and likely covered with sand and debris washed from the highway. Better cyclists than us die on descents like that. Mother Nature is a Beyotch, and in the mountains, you trifle with her at your peril.

Read the Churchill quotes above. Bold has stated that he and his posse have unfinished business with the Triple Bypass. That statement alone means that this year is no failure; it is merely delayed success. I hope I get to share it.
Rock on Bold. Ironman awaits.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Greyhound Gets High

Duuuuuuuuuuude. This is, like, totally awesome. Sersly.

No, don't fret, Wil. It's not that kind of high. It's not that kind of high. It's the 9000+ feet above sea level kind of high.


I made my escape yesterday from the HELL that is Houston in July for some time away with the family and invited friends in Colorado while the housesitter watches our palacial suburban McEstate and the actual canines left behind. It was in the 40s this morning in Breckenridge. In dog temps, that is totally bliss me out cool. Mrs. Greyhound and the puppy are here for the whole month, me somewhat less, because someone has to pay for this junket.

And today I kick off the grand adventure with a mini celebrity ride of sorts. Later today, I mount Jessie "Go Jessie" Cannondale, my faithful roadie steed, and make my way down from Breck, hang a left at Frisco and climb part way up Vail Pass to cheer for the participants in the Triple Bypass. In particular, I will be meeting up with Bold. I will be his SLP domestique to the top of the pass. Actually, I'll probably be the pathetic lantern rouge because there is NO OXYGEN up here. Hopefully the six party talks between Boulderites and Ogdenites will proceed some time later in the summer.

I have a new digital snapshot camera and have absolutely no idea what I'm doing to get some pics on the blog, so with any luck I'll learn something and have some pics later.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Triathletes Gone Wild

I know it may be hard to believe, but with triathlon, as with most things, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. There are some signs of profound triathlon addiction that very clearly signal that you need some balance in your life. Primarily, they are behaviors that are meant to signal, "if you ain't a triathlete, you ain't [expletive deleted}." These behaviors are thought to be particularly prevalent at Ironman events, and some were actually observed by me and members of my group at the Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3 race.

If you notice any of these behaviors, you might consider taking up some additional hobbies, maybe scrap booking or stamp collecting.

1. Wearing spandex around the hotel and the expo, just because you look good in tight fitting clothing.

2. Vanity plates that say "IRNMN" or "140.6" or some such iteration.

3. Standing on your hotel balcony after the race in your tri shorts for purposes of baring your shaved torso to the adoring public. (Note, said tri shorts showed no salt stains and it is believed that the perpetrators involved showered and changed into fresh gear solely for purposes of the shaved-torso-strut.

Other warning signs would be:

Having the M-dot monogrammed on your business attire.

Wearing Ironman race t-shirt almost anywhere other than to do household chores or maybe to a triathlon club meeting

Wearing your Ironman finisher's medal at any time after taking your race gear off--especially in lieu of a tie. (Sersly, give it to your kids to play with or put it in a shadow box or something.)

Seriously considering having an M-dot tatooed somewhere that would be visible while wearing business attire (back of hand, both cheeks, center of forehead, etc.)

Insisting that your business colleagues call you "Iron Mike" or "Tri-Dude" etc.

M-dot bumper stickers

This sport and its positive self-image are potentially dangerous and addicting. Men. Women. Don't let this happen to you.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Read the stories of age grouper triathletes and you will start to notice something that many of them have in common. They declared that they would no longer be bound by whatever impediment quashed their spirit. The impediments need not be the same. For some it is weight, or shyness, or fear, or lack of fitness, or grief. But the declartions are remarkably the same. As Wil put it on one of the GYGO episodes:

"This has got to change and it starts right now."

Making the declaration only once hardly suffices. We make it again and again when we live it out--every time we rise in the dark, conquer our fear of the water or our demons on the long ride or our pain on the run. In the blogosphere, every time we encourage each other, we pledge faith to that declaration.

Our declaration may be apolitical, but it is a close kissing cousin to that declaration of 230 years ago. By the power of that declaration we travel this country without identity papers, freely enter races, freely compete, and even blog without fear that King George X might be offended by our thoughts. Read a little bit of it again. Although the words are different, they declare, "this has got to change and it starts now," and then they pledge their "sacred honor" to their brethren. 230 years later, they would have been posting comments, "You can do it. Hang in there."

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
* * *
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, . . . . — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Triathlete Stud Part Deux

Peoples, my fine peoples. (Oh, wait, I am not going to channel Bolder from Boulder. Benny would understand. He's got a huge heart. But Nytro scares me.)

Popular demand (and my paralyzing need for female approval) has dictated that photos from the Ironman 70.3--Buffalo Springs Lake adventure be shared. Ladies, I am taken, so you will have to restrict your admiring sentiments to these photographs. Yet, I am willing to bear up under commentary that would make a lesser man feel like a piece of triathlete beefcake meat.

No need to thank me. I'm just here to . . . well you know the rest.

This is the swim start. I'm in the white cap. Did you see me? This is the only picture taken of me exiting the water. I'm the hobbit in the white cap behind the cave troll in the foreground. Nevertheless, it is proof positive that I did in fact complete the swim. (Note the physically challenged athlete to the left of the picture that I mentioned in my race reports. Those guys were everywhere and they were totally inspiring.)

Here is Greyhound and Carmen Tequilo climbing out of the transition area, and here is a shot in the aero bars. Here is the run out (gee it looks hot), and here is the return to the park late in the half-marathon (it is hot). HERE IS THE FINISH! WOO HOO! Finally, a picture of me with my lovely parting gifts--the finisher's medal made from some unknown precious metal.

I mentioned some of my team mates and companions in the race reports, so here is M&M on the bike and running through the finish. She will do Ironman Western Australia this year and is probably most responsible for giving me the confidence that I could do this distance. Finally, Robo-Christy at the swim exit (note the smile), on the bike (note the high wattage smile notwithstanding the 7.5% grade) and Robo-Christy on the run (she's still smiling). If you search her photos, you will note that she is also smiling at the finish, and had her medallion photo taken (while smiling) with a lady she undoubtedly chatted up (while running 8:09 pace) on the run course. At least we know of one triathlete wearing the USA gear that is guaranteed to be smiling at the ITU Long Course World Championships.

Finally, Natascha Badmann who finished a leeeeetle bit before I did, and Luke Bell who finished in under four hours. Only a little faster and we could have performed experiments in relativity or time travel or something.

Seriously, the experience has become more and more fun as it gets further in my rear view mirror. I can't wait to get back to training after a little rest and recreation.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Droopy Dog

I am working on a humorous post about triathlete idiosyncracies, and I was thinking of posting it tonight, but I can't do it. It's just not coming together. If you'll allow a little wallowing, I am in a real funk.

This has been a tough week. You all have probably experienced the blues or depression after a big race or when you back off your training. This was the week after my Ironman 70.3 race, and I have been resting and intentionally beginning a period of detraining. Add to this that Mrs. Greyhound and the puppy are away, and you can imagine why I'm a bit down.

Tonight, I was sitting at my desk trying to organize the bills as Pararie Home Companion was ending. I flahsed back, eighteen years ago, to a winter evening when I would have been listening to the same progam in my empty quarters at the University of Wisconsin. Most everyone else was out on State Street. I listened to their voices and watched the snow from my window. My afianced Mrs. Greyhound all the way across the country, just like she is tonight.

I am nearly twice as old as I was then, but I feel the same angst of youthful loneliness. In a sense, it is worse now. The Christian marriage liturgy talks of how man and wife become "one flesh." As a younger man, those words meant something primarily physical to me. As an older man, I know tonight that part of who I am--part of me--is not here tonight.