Monday, October 30, 2006

Benny Leaps from the Water at the Front of his Wave

Benny Leaps from the Water at the Front of his Wave
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

I kid you not, there were just a few semi-pro swim champs, and then here comes Iron Benny up out of the water like an aquatic predator.

So, how's about some swim lessons, bro?

Benny in T1

Benny in T1
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

I would have puked my guts out after a swim that fast. Ben just grabs a bike and goes.

Benny Streaks Into T2

Benny Streaks Into T2
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Nytro Exits the Water

Nytro Exits the Water
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Nytro is Hawt in Neoprene

Nytro is Hawt in Neoprene
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

'Nuff Said.

Iron Benny Running Strong

Iron Benny Running Strong
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Little Brotha runs like a deer. Less training than last year and still PRs the course. I train too much and cannot even race.

Where's Nytro?

Where's Nytro
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Don't you see her? She's in the white cap.


Nytro 's Swim Start
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Look at her go! She's the freaking fish in the white cap.

Nytro in T1

Nytro in T1
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

After removing the goo packets from her shoes and throwing a hissy fit over forgetting her sunglasses, Nytro valiantly decides to continue with the race.

Nytro Screams Out of T2

Nytro Screams Out of T2
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

She's so freakin' fast it hurts your neck to try and watch her. (Benny always smiled and waived at us. Nytro . . . not so much.)

Nytro Finishing Strong

Nytro hoofs it in under 3 hours
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Even if I had been healthy, it would have been nip and tuck to win the bet. She had a great race.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Celebrity Celebrex

I am feeling no pain. That is not to say that there is no pain. I am just not feeling it. Mrs. Greyhound and I just finished having dinner and drinks with Nytro and Iron Benny. I had two scotches before they arrived and two afterward. That combined with a prodigious amount of tylenol and ibuprofen means I could walk on broken glass without feeling it.
Even though Nytro failed or refused to wash the race numbers from her body in order to rub in the ignominy of my DNS, it was one of the most authentically enjoyable evenings we have had in a long time. Benny and I were apparently separated at birth because we are kindred spirits. Nytro and Mrs. Greyhound finish each others' sentences and communicate in that freaky, female telepathy that reneders words redundant and frankly scares Benny and I more than we are willing to admit publicly.
Bloggy friends rock.
Both Benny and Nytro had a great race, and I have the pictures to prove it. The course was beautiful, the weather conditions were perfect, and if I had been healthy it would have been a wonderful day of racing. It kills me that I could not toe the line on such a perfect day.
I will get the pictures online in the next day or two, but right now, I am drugged and drunk out of my little canine mind and I aggravated my neck even further by whipping it around trying to follow Nytro's blinding speed as she rocked the course.
Next year she needs to do the half. Right? Give her some blogosphere love, peeps.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I don't know which is killing me more, the pain, the money sunk into a race I cannot do, or the inability to toe the line with Benny and Nytro. Whatever it is, the plain fact of the matter is that I cannot go on Sunday.
I'm here in Tempe with all my stuff. Mrs. Greyhound is arriving later today. She has never seen me race. That isn't going to change this weekend.
I've been medicated to the max, including cortisone and lidocane injections. I road last Saturday and have done nothing strenuous since then. Nevertheless, the pain is now so intense that I cannot lift my head on the bike to see down the road. Doing so causes cramping pain and spasms in my neck, lat, shoulder and tricep. I cannot even ride a 1/4 mile safely, let alone 56. Beyond being physically impossible, it is just not safe.
Benny is calling on Commodore and his knowledge of all things triathlon in Tempe. Perhpas I can get a chriropractic intervention or some cortisone into the offending muscles. But, barring some miracle, I will be watching instead of racing tomorrow.
I hate this.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen--Place Your Bets Please

We are less than a week from SOMA, and it is time for all readers, commenters and lurkers alike, to come out of the woodwork and take sides in the most epic battle of the sexes in triathlon history. Um . . . . yeah.
Place your bets in support of the racer and the medical charity for which they are racing.
Notwithstanding Nytro's willingness to sink to the level of black magic, voodoo dolls, stabbing me in the neck, and . . . um . . . like working out and stuff, I think I still have it in my carcass to go sub-Nytro for twice the distance she races. I am estimating that if I go under 6 hours, I've got her beaten. That is the bet. Can an injured, 40 year old chiuaua class male who is tapering in Las Vegas finish in less than twice the time of a healthy, athletic, strapping, really really tall, and did I say strapping, big and strong, strapping, enourmous, very very large 29 year old female jock and all-around hawt biker chick? Will she fold under the glare of a triathlon spotlight even more intense than what Michellie Jones and Norman Stadler experienced? Will I be able to complete the swim after Nytro rips my arms off and the 70 year old females starting 3 minutes behind me pummel me into submission like ao many granny dominatrixes (dominatrixi? dominatrixae?) ?
Again, this is for charity (and all in fun). I am racing for the Lone Star Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and you will know me by the lone star Texas Flag on my racing kit and on my black cycling socks. (Don't Mess with Texas, Baby). This is actually a personal cause for both families involved in this event. Both Benny and I have family members who have the condition--in my family it is Mrs. Greyhound.
I have two Ben Franklins that I will donate to the MS Society if I win, and will likewise donate to Nytro's charity of choice, the MSUD Foundation, if I am unable to beat her after having been attacked by her partisans on the course. (Read more about MSUD here.) If you bet on Nytro and lose (and you will lose), you can pay the bet, in any amount no matter how small, to the MS Foundation here, in support of my MS150 fundraising effort. If you bet on me and I win, I'll make another donation to the MS foundation on behalf of each person who supported my race.
I forgot and left this out in the original post. People who pick the winning side will also receive autographed Greyhound and Nytro Schwag, and if you guess closest to our finishing times you wil receive other, unannounced prizes suitable to a Scientific Wild Ass Guess (SWAG).
Bolder wanted course info, which you can find here. Think flat and fast.
So basically, everyone wins . . . except for Nytro. Getting whipped by a middle aged, injured office worker after once performing on the level of a scholarship athlete? Signs of the appocalypse! Twilight of the Gods!

Friday, October 20, 2006


In our last episode, of course, Nytro was taking the most widely published, lycra-clad bootay on the internet and sitting it on my dome while she jammed an ice pick into my neck, my right shoulder, oh and my right elbow and then my right forearm.

She's deperate that way--win at all costs--you know the type--older jock trying to recapture the long lost glory days. Anyway, I digress.

Yesterday and today, I went to the greatest intergalactice team of sports therapists and chiros in the known universe for help. The intergalactic chiros work on lots of the pro athletes in town, and even fly out to help their former patients who have gone on to other teams. But this is what sold me. They had a shadowbox on the wall with a patient's Ironman Arizona race number, finisher's medal, finishing photo and finisher's t-shrt on the wall. If an Ironman gives up that kind of bling to his chiro, sign me up.
So apparently I'm completely out of balance, bound up inside myself, and more tightly wound than a superconducting supercollider. Type A lawyer? Summa Cum Laude Law Nerd? Whodathunkit? It was the first ever time I have ever had "work done," and it was pretty strenuous. I was drenched in sweat, completely flushed, and wrung out. I had all sorts of freaky tensions and knots and imbalances from 40 years of extreme nerdiness and 5 years of middle aged endurance sport. But I gotta say . . .
In fact, I don't believe how much better I feel. I'm not 100%, but I think I can deal. I am going back Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get as fixed as I can get before I have to leave town. And the good news is that my x-rays show nothing that puts me on the sideline for Ironman Wisconsin--which makes even Nytro seem a bit insignificant--if that is possible.
So, Nytro . . . .
SOOOOOOOOOO . . . . . . . . . .
Live in fear, sistah.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Say Hello To My Little Friend"

Nytro is a pain in the neck. I know some of you might have chosen a different part of the anatomy, but my neck hurts and I blame Nytro.
Why blame Nytro, a rapidly aging champion? Because why should I take the blame for potential overtraining? She made me work this hard.
I am reluctant to complain with so many real ironmen getting ready to to the line. Even so, whether it is too much swimming, too much heavy lifting, a bad bike fit, or too much being 40, my neck feels like it has a pinched nerve that radiates pain around my shoulder blade into my right shoulder. It caused me to abort my swim workout last night for fear that I was tearing up my shoulder. It caused me to abort a moderate brick this morning after only 1 mile on the bike. Basically, when I put my weight on my elbows in the aero position, it felt as if all of Nytro's 169 Poundaroos (pardon me, I mean 167 poundaroos) were sitting on my bike helmet while she stabbed me in the neck and shoulder with an ice pick.
So, I went to THE BEST GYM ON THE PLANET, and found my little friend, the foam roller. I listened to podcasts to try and block out the pain, put the roller under my neck and shoulder blades and rolled until the pain was tolerable. Ice, rest, yaddah yaddah yaddah.
Question: is it bad form when using the foam roller to fail to stifle sounds roughly equivalent to Meg Ryan in the deli scene from When Harry Met Sally? Just wondering.
* * * Begin False Bravado* * *
But don't get cocky, o thou lycra clad daughter of the west. The hay is already in the barn, and notwithstanding my diminutive stature--in comparison to my competition for example--I have a really really big . . . er . . . barn. It's not the amount of dog in the fight, it's the amount of fight in the dog. I will have my satisfaction if I must swim 1.2 miles of one arm drills, bike upright on an Xterra reject, and chase you down in a potato sack.
* * * End False Bravado* * *
Have a really really super day.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

First In, Last Out--Mrs. Greyhound Style

I rarely do two posts in a day, but this incident was totally blogworthy.

So, I was completely going to skive off my steady swim workout tonight. I was completely ragged out, fell asleep as soon as a sat down, and did not think I had it in me. Not exactly "first in, last out" kind of stuff.

But Mrs. Greyhound breaks out with, "you know, I didn't do what I had planned for this evening so you could swim."

There has got to be a word stronger than "guilt" for when the iron widow shoos you out of the house to complete your training, but I don't know what it is.
Off to the pool. Did not find any kind of rhythm until 1200 meters and only swam the last 400 to 500 with any kind of intensity, but still managed less than 2:00 per 100 yards.
Maybe I'm not setting my sights high enough, but given where I started, if I complete an Ironman swim in less than 2:00 per 100 yards, I'm declaring myself swim champ of the universe.
That is all.


My bloggy friends from the midwest might not want to read any further. I've read the posts from Trimama, Iron Wil and Trasaratops about snow before Halloween. We Houstonians, in contrast, just had the best cycling Saturday in six months. I used the weather to go on a blogger celebrity ride with Ironman Royalty.
The subtitle of this post is taken from my Texas homie, MisheleK, whose blog bears the name, "Dude, I Am Freaking Out." Like me, Mishele is a member of the greatest tri club on the planet. Unlike me, Mishele is Ironman Royalty. She has finished the Great Floridian long course event, Ironman Arizona and Ironman Wisconsin. I have yet to start in iron distance event. If you like Nytro and a. maria (a/k/a Little Miss Runner Pants), you will also enjoy reading Mishele. Check her out and leave her some comment love.
Mishele is one of those amazing, young 20 somethings, like Cara, Elizabeth, Curly Su, A. Maria, et al. who are taking to endurance sport and blogging about it. Nytro does not make this list only because she is getting much older, long in the tooth, and hopefully very slow. Not to get all old and fatherly, but it is fascinating and encouraging for a father of a daughter, like me, to see young and powerful women who take on challenges and accomplish great things for themselves. I see qualities in all these little sisters that I hope for my own daughter to have as a young adult. Typical of the sisterhood, as well, Mishele does not give herself near enough credit for what she's done, what she has overcome, and who she is as a result. Las hermanitas de hierro (the little iron sisters) are top drawer.
OK, enough mush. Our day was the perfect match of weather, terrain, and company. It was cool and overcast when the sun came up, with a freshening breeze that was never stiff enough to qualify as a headwind, but just strong enough to cool us off. We went to my hills in Montgomery County and rode probably longer than Mishele had planned on. I always gave her the choice of route, but she is an Ironman, after all. She would never choose the short way home even if her legs fell off and she was bleeding from her ears. We saw cows, a smattering of roadies and triathletes, beautiful meadows, and the first hints of fall color.
The only sour note was Mishele's refusal to declare who will hold her allegience in the wager of all wagers. SOMA: Greyhound v. Nytro. Even after knowing me in real life, she refused to unreservedly join Team Greyhound. She is an every day favorite reader of Nytro's blog, and chick loyalty is apparently some mystic bond that the y chromosome crowd just cannot comprehend. Am I going to need to hire security to guard my transition area from Chick Ninjas of Team Estrogen?
Fortunately, nobody lost any limbs and no blood was spilled. But we did make 70 miles through the rolling hills and pine forests followed by a little transition run. The Iron Sister found her post-race legs and we picked each others' brains and experience. She is applying to law school and wants to enter my profession, while I want to toe the iron distance line that she has already crossed three times. We both helped each other out . . . at least she helped me quite a bit. She can speak for herself about whether I had anything to bring to the table. To me, that is one of the coolest things about the endurance sport community. People who, under other circumstances, might never have even met because of differences in age or gender or experience share the cameraderie of a long bike, encourage each other, and broaden the horizon of their friendships.
Post ride O'Doul's from the cooler for perfect recovery and a good stretch. It was a very very good day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wet Dog

I haven't posted about training lately because there are so many of my friends on the cusp of their Ironman tapers that my own tale of woe pretty unimpressive. I am sure that Kahuna, Trimama, Commodore, Triboomer, Bolder and the crew make me look like I'm skiving off my duties. Nevertheless, I am SPENT.
Yeah, this is me. No longer fleeling like a superhero. That was last week, recovery week. Now I'm a wet dog. Smell and all, I'm told. This is the peak week before the Date with Destiny, the Clash of the Titans, the bloggy version of the "Challenge of the Sexes," yes, I am speaking of SOMA: Nytro v. Greyhound. Mano a Mano . . . no disrespect intended to my non-manly opponent.
Training is still "recess," as I like to say, but right now it is a recess that goes on and on and on like the Energizer Bunny with an amphetemine problem until you start clock-watching for the bell and pining for Social Studies. The long stuff is really long, but now the fast stuff is also really fast, often twice a day. In between, wakefulness and lucid thought are intermittent.
It was kind of funny the other night. My second workout of the day was an evening swim at the Woodlands Athletic Center while swim team practice was going on. At such times, there is only one lane open for adult lap swim, and the rest are filled with 0% body fat 8 year old water bugs ripping through their workout. I was doing my version of fast 100 meter repeats, huffing and puffing at the wall after each one. The little water urchins were kind of looking at me like, "what's wrong with that guy? Do we need to call an ambulance?"
Brain: I've got albums older than you, kid.
Kid Brain: What's an album?
If the weather holds, tonight it is Coach T at the track--run fast until medical intervention is necessary. Miki and his wife, the Olympian, will be there too. If the rain comes, it is treadmill intervals until the thing squirts me off the back. Tomorrow, masters swim and Miki's house of pain. Saturday, long ride and runoff. Sunday, long run and long swim.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Citius, Altius, Fortius

The last time I posted, I made the bold claim that I am a “better person” than I was because of my increasing fitness. I begged you, the reader, not to jump to conclusions about what I meant, because I don’t think that skinny, fit people are necessarily “better” than average, sedentary people. I personally believe I am under a moral imperative to be a good steward of the physical body I have been given, whatever its merits or limitations. At the same time, there are plenty of fit, skinny people who are vain and self-absorbed, making them morally stunted as compared to an obese person who is devoted to serving others.
So what did I mean by fitness making me a “better person?” On this post particularly, I speak only for myself. I was never a football player, a basketball player, or a baseball player. Let’s face it, the middle school and high school economy does not hold pep rallies for the band and the National Honor Society. For someone who was already inclined to be an introvert, the lack of athletic affirmation tended to increase an inward focus, and color it negative. Discovering endurance sport has given me physical confidence and made me comfortable in my own skin.
By gaining some physical or athletic confidence, there is a very real sense in which I am now more able to love my neighbor as I love myself. I am citius, altius and fortius; but the adaptations brought on by my training are more than physical, and I would have it no other way.
Citius: I am swifter and faster to connect with the people around me. I want to be swift to smile, laugh, encourage, cheer, help, and rejoice.
Altius: I am higher in my aspirations for myself and for others. I want to be less concerned with I, mine and me, and more inclined to boost my friends to aim high and achieve.
Fortius: I am stronger in bearing the risk of holding out a hand to someone new. I want to be stronger to bear one another’s burdens, stronger to go the extra mile.
I guess that’s a long way of saying I’m happier.
Grandma Greyhound called yesterday while I was out training. When she found out from Mrs. Greyhound that I was doing a brick workout (again) and that I was signed up for Ironman Wisconsin, she told Mrs. Greyhound she needed to put her foot down on all this crazy stuff.
Mrs. Greyhound doesn’t want to. Not in a million years.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Miki y Ja: The Birthday Present

This blog has managed to accomplish what was hitherto thought impossible. Nytro has been rendered speechless. My professionally trained uber-smack-talking spherical chicken rant has been online for a week, and still the promised rejoinder is not.
She's got nuthin. (Actually, I've been waiting in the fetal position for a week for Nytro's other size 14 shoe to drop, and am somewhat thankful that she and Iron Benny have been so busy.)
But, I digress.
If I could take a photograph of my self-image leaving the gym this morning, it would have looked exactly like the Ironman superhero pictured here. All that is missing is a leeeeeetle tiny picture of a certain Athena warrior, far in the background, having been buffeted by the mighty Greyhound's slipstrem.
I came out of the locker room after my testing session with Miki, and he hands me some papers.
**Begin understated slavic accent here**
"So, . . . . today . . . . I haf your birthday present. **grin pause** Verrrrry goot jop."
The papers compared my test results from the beginning of August with my test results from today, only hours away from my 40th birthday. Sorry Nytro. I am cituis, altius and fortius than I was before.
Weight Before: 146.4 lbs. Weight After: 144.2 lbs. (Two pounds lighter)
Waist Before: 33.5" Waist After: 32" (1.5 inches off the waist)
Hips Before: 37 " Hips After: 35" (2 inches off the hips)
Bicep Flex Before: 11.5" After: 11.75" (.25 inches more in the bicep)
Calf Before: 14" After: 14.5" (.5 inches more in the calf)
Shoulders Before: 41.5" After42.5" (1 inch more in the shoulders)
Body Fat Percentage Before: 9.6% After: 9.09% (Even lower body fat percentage)
Bike V02 Before: 46.5 (97th percentile) After: 53.6 (99th percentile)
Max Pushups Before: 50 (93rd percentile) After: 65 (99th percentile)
Max Leg Press Before: 260 lbs (178% of body weight/ 60th Percentile) After: 320 lbs. (222% of body weight/ 99th Percentile) 60 MORE POUNDAROOS!
Max Bench Press Before: 145 lbs (100% of body weight/60th Percentile) After: 160 (111% of body weight/91st Percentile) 15 MORE POUNDAROOS!
And the changes in appearance. You won't believe it. Click here to see, but be forewarned, it involves full, frontal, male nudity.
Seriously, Miki and my gym/triathlon friends have given me a HUGE birthday present. At the age of 40, this is the first time in my life that my physical tests are scoring anywhere near the same percentiles that I could always manage on an academic test. That makes me a better person----BUT NOT for the reasons you might think. (More on this to come later. Don't jump to conclusions and leave bitter comments.)
But back to reality. All these scores in the 99th percentile of my age group probably only place me in the bottom third of iron distance triathletes.
AND I'm being chased by an angry Athena with a knife. *yelp*

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I officially turn 40 later this week, and it's weird. Mrs. Greyhound and her "family of origin" make a big deal out of birthdays. Mine, not so much. There were so many in the extended family near by that we saved up birthdays, and mine usually got lumped together with a cousin, my dad, and a grandma.
So Mrs. Greyhound is completely nonplussed and frusrated when she asks me what I want or what I want to do, and all she gets is the shrug. This, after 17 years of marriage and 19 birthdays in which she has gotten basically the same reaction.
At this point in my life I have a lot of "things." I don't need any more "things" and if I see some shiny "thing" that I just can't live without, it tends to get bought. I've bought enough things to predict that they only excite for awhile anyway.
There are some non-material "things" that I would like; the problem, however, is that they are harder to come by than the shiny stuff. It's not the kind of stuff you can request for a birthday present. But I really, really want them.

I want to discover triathlon when I'm 25. I want the friendships I have at 40, only 15 years earlier.
I want to do my 30s over again, with just a little confidence this time.
I want my wife to be healthy enough to swim, bike and run with me.
I want to laugh more often, to love more recklessly, and live like there is no tomorrow.
I want to be known for random acts of kindness, not as the smart, quiet guy.
I want to do and enjoy this sport until I run out of age groups, and die in an endorphinated sleep after my last finish line beer.

I want a 45 degree evening where the air is dry, the mountains are still, and all of my friends are gathered around an outdoor fireplace after an epic training ride, laughing and sharing stories. Our group includes not only my close friends like Maria Gratia, Ubergreyhound, Coach T, Scuba Steve, but also the bloggers I have met in real life like Kahuna, Iron Wil, Stu, Trisaratops, Bolder, Trimama, Taconite Boy, Mishele . . . . It even includes the close friends I have never met, like Triboomer, Brett, A.J., Nytro, Iron Benny, . . . . Besides our laughter, all you can hear is the wind in the pines, and the Blue River gurgling down the valley. None of us has to leave, none has to go back to work, none wants to . . .

Well, it's what I want. **shrug**