Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Trivantage Rocks

If you've ever wondered what the Greyhound sounds like, especially when he is about to toss the cookies, here is you chance. The fitness testing at Trivantage is on tape and in the can. You'll get an audio tour of the Trivantage facility, and those of you in the Houston area will want to drop into this one stop shop for all your triathlon training, testing, and equipment needs. Brett, of course, lends his unique Zentri Hippie-ness to the experience, and you can hear the result as we flail ourselves into exhaustion for your podcasting pleasure.

Click here to listen to the epic-ous-ity of the whole experience, and stay tuned for the Zentri TV videocast as well as our consult with Dr. Endurance as he explains what all those little numbers mean.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Community of Ones

It's Sunday night. More than that, it is Sunday night after the first full week back to volume triathlon training. Whiskey and chocolates for everyone. Tonight it is McCallan 15 year single malt.
If you look here at the training log, you'll see that I managed about 14.5 hours of training including 4 sessions at the pool for 6900 meters of swimming, my weakest discipline. The best news is not the volume, which would be nothing special to athletes who are stronger and faster than I am. The best news is that (at least for now) my injured neck feels as close to normal has it has felt since mid-October.
What a joy to be tired--tired and healthy from playing hard, not the exhaustion of two months ago when I could only sleep three and a half hours between doses of vicodin.
Of course, the first week back with volume training was not easy. It was hard. Sometimes a good hard, and sometimes a "why am I doing this" kind of hard.
I had one of those moments Saturday morning--the first brick workout of the season. The monotonous trainer ride gave way to 30 minutes of running on wobbly legs in the rain. Chilled to the bone and staring that 1000 yard stare into the steel grey downpour through which I was running, I started wondering what brings me out in the rain when everyone else in the neighborhood was still asleep. What brings me out here alone?
Wait a minute. I'm not alone.
Right as I was slogging through the rain, I knew that all over this country there are other people who shunned the habits of their neighbors. They were out early, in the wet, in the cold, in the snow, in the ice, on the trainers, at the pool . . . ironman finishers, ironman wannabees, newbie sprinters, and masters oly champs, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, kids . . .
We all train when it is hard. We all look in the mirror and refuse to be limited by the way things are. We see what might be. We all are unique among our communities, but we are never, never alone.
I am one, and not even a special one. But I am part of a thrilling community of ones. If our neighbors think of us as a Confederacy of Dunces, I'd rather be the least of the dunces than be thought a genius amongs my "normal" neighbors.
Whiskey and chocolates aren't nearly as sweet for the neighborhood of "normal" folks.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Winter Swim

A Seinfeld Homage In Haiku


Air is near freezing.
Steam rises from the water.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sucking In Seattle

I know that I'll get no sympathy from my bloggy friends living in the frozen north or the mountainous west, but Houston weather sucks donkey balls right now and has for the last three weeks. Rain, cold, fog, more rain, more cold, more fog. It's like living in London or Seattle, only colder and without the stuff like the mountains, the Puget Sound, the castles or the funny accents.
Yeah, this is what my pool in South Texas looks like right now. (That pool is actually full of little kids tearing it up, back and forth in the lanes, but they're going so fast and the exposure is so slow that you can't see them. Note, the immobile grownups are visible and barely even blurred.) I have been devout in my religious devotion to the pool, notwithstanding the cold. Bumblebee wannabees cannot progress without attacking their limiters--and this is one of mine.
Uhm . . . shrinkage? Yeah. I hope it's not permanent.
I've got my results back from the bike test at Trivantage.
I'll give the details after Dr. Endurance goes over them with me, but suffice it to say that the weather is not the only thing in Houston sucking donkey balls right now.
That huge sucking sound that you hear? That's me. Apparently, if I purchase a time machine so as to go backwards in time rather than attempting to maintain any forward velocity, I might achieve a heartrate approriate to base training.
So I did the only logical thing a sucky bike rider can do--I signed up for the Triple Bypass, 120 miles and over 10,000 feet of elevation gain over three Rocky Mountain passes. (Check out this crazy map) GUH! Attacking the limiters? Um yeaaaaah. But I promised Bolder that I'd be on his wheel (at least metaphorically) when he returned to get some revenge on this course. And a bloggy promise is even higher than a pinky swear--at least to a certain person.
So, the run is spiffy, right? Well, not exactly. It probably had something to do with maximal testing on Saturday, maximal testing in Sunday, a hard spin on Monday, a hard spin on Tuesday, a stress test at my physical exam on Tuesday, etc. etc., but I totally could not haul myself around Memorial park. I dragged Coach T out in the pre-dawn rain for a measly 3 miles.
The Runnah Chica saw me crack. Oh, the humanity.
Hey, Einstein. Ever hear of a "recovery day." Try one. You'll like it.
But the good news is that the lab technician doing my stress test actually became bored by my stamina. My heart rate climbed so slowly that after 15 minutes I was still 20 beats shy of the maximum they wanted to achieve. "We have enough data. You can, er, stop now if you want."
At 40 I have a healthy ticker, 160 total cholesterol, 70 good cholesterol, and NO cardiac risk. As the doc said, "most people have to take Lipitor to see numbers like this." This exercise stuff really works.
And, Nytro, I got a whooping cough vaccination. So, we can still be friends.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Faithful Bumble Bee

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
---Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bike Test 2
Lately, I've been running on faith. As the recovery waxes and wanes, feeling a little different every day, I've been putting in the time without assurance that the results would necessarily follow. Funny thing about faith--you can grasp at the concrete and the certain all you want, but at some point, you still have to leap.
I'll write more on the testing at the wonderful Trivantage facility when I get the numbers back along with the analysis by Alex, the Lab Director, also known as Dr. Endurance. I had thought of those numbers as something concrete to grasp onto, something that would give me assurance that I am a very fit 40 year old, that I can get from here to the start line in Wisconsin, and that I can move my frame through the water and over land for 140.6 miles to the finish. The numbers, I found, are not something to be grasped. At most, they are an arrow to the next hand and foothold. At some point, you still have to leap.
In Ironman, I guess, you're not permitted to see the whole staircase. You have to start climbing. I guess that is probably the way it is with anything worthwhile. So, I am engaged in a somewhat educated leap of faith. When I train, I not only exercise the body that I was given, but I exercise that faith that this body will make the adaptations that training is designed to create. I train exercising faith that my injury will behave itself. Why worry about the injury? I could just as easily hurt myself slipping at the pool or getting ironed out by a Metro bus while crossing the street. Mostly, I train because training is my play, and I have faith that play is good.
In his book about Bill Bowerman, Kenny Moore recounts a proverb of sorts the great track coach told to his athletes. It ran along the lines of:
"Men of Oregon. Scientists and engineers will tell you that it is impossible for a bumble bee to fly. Its wings are much too small and its body is much too large and heavy. It cannot be done. It violates the laws of physics and aerodynamics.
"Gentlemen. No one told the bumble bee."

Bike Test

One of Bowerman's "bumble bees" was Kenny Moore. Another was Alberto Salazar. I have no aspiration to strive after those lofty achievements. But I can take a leap of faith and be my own bumble bee.
I think I can.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Think where man's glory most begins and ends,
And say my glory was I had such friends.
--William Butler Yeats
I have mentioned before that I belong to the Best Health Club On The Planet. I even (tee hee) "model" for the club on its website. To say that I enjoy my health club would be woefully incomplete. Sure, it has great equipment and luxurious locker rooms. But, there's a club run by the same company that is two blocks away in another building that has even more space, even better equipment, and even more luxurious locker rooms.

I never go there.

Then why this weird attachment to the Best Health Club On The Planet? It's the people.

I have tried not to dwell too much on my own condition the last three months. If you think I have, I apologize. No one wants to read a constant, self-absorbed pity party. But (like most people who get injured) I have been depressed and very challenged to motivate myself. This was compounded with not running as fast or as hard as I wanted in the marathon. In times past, this would have led to more than a year of inactivity and unused gym memberships. Eventually, I would have to "become" a runner all over again. This time, hard as it was, I never stopped. I never stopped because I knew there were friends that wanted me to keep going.
Some of the best friends were the people who work at the club. When I first joined, I was always greeted with a very respectful "good morning Mr. [Real Name]" when I came in and a "have a good day, Mr. [Real Name]" when I left. Over time that changed.
I attended the first spin class that Coach T taught, and Coach T paced me in the last 3 miles of my best marathon to date, and suffered my slow rehabilitative pace in this last go round. Maria Gratia was my first personal trainer, and is now one of the closest friends my family has. Dr. J, the anatomical genius trainer and future chiro, has encouraged me through my injury and is as committed to my Ironman Wisconsin effort. All of these people, and everyone at the club, now greets me by my first name, and they all care if I succeed.
This is the final added touch. At the Best Health Club On The Planet, many of us have personal lockers with our names engraved on the locker door. This is mine:
Greyhound. How sweet is that? Gather around yourself friends like that. If you do, you can never truly fail.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Living here in H-town, the fourth largest city in the country, you would think that local news would have something more newsworthy to discuss than the weather.
Not really.
Every time there's a big rain, we are treated to news reporters standing in really big puddles talking about street and bayou flooding.
Yeah, that does kind of happen when your whole city is only a few feet above sea level. Duh.
Last night, it was wall-to-wall "end is near" reporting about the big ice storm that was coming. The coverage included bullet points about how to drive on the stuff (uh, slow down, no sudden moves, er, stay home?) like that's going to help. We were treated to file footage and eyewitness interviews of persons who "braved" the last "winter" storm in the city several years ago. This morning we've got . . . . Nuthin'
Dry pavement and cold temps--along with a warning that the weather boogie man may get us tonight instead.
Oooooooh. Scary.
For someone who grew up in Columbus, Ohio and went to college in Madison, Wisconsin it's all a bit embarassing--especially when I have friends en-Bare-Assing themselves in real snow drifts and swimming in frozen lakes.
Nevertheless, Superpounce was counting on the intervention of the weather gods. She's been to school a grand total of two days this year between the marathon trip and being sick last week. She knows from math class how percentages work, so when the weather forecaster predicted an 80% chance of Armagedon she went to sleep last night pumping her fist and rejoicing because it was a lead pipe cinch that school would be cancelled.
Bad bet, Superpounce. The house always wins in the end.

Monday, January 15, 2007


OK. So it is time to start.

Marathoning is over. Recovery is nearly over. The Crazy Beyotch pain in the neck is behaving herself and I think it is time to start easing back into the multisport way of life. Time to put the training plan back in the side bar and time to start logging workouts again. So, . . . . yeah, I logged some Yoga this morning. But it's a start.
It's also time to start updating the links to all you cool bloggers out there who are kind enough to give me some comment love. I've gone back through and culled some of you to put links to your blogs into the team mates section. If you're a regular or semi-regular that would like to be included, just leave me a comment and I'll put you in lights.
Get busy.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Book Nerd


The Dread Pirate tagged me. Arrrrrrrrrrr.

1. Pick up the nearest book.

Little did she know that asking me to grab the nearest book and turn to page 123 would leave me so many options. The computer is in the Greyhound study, which probably has 150 or more books more or less equidistant. I'm a total book nerd. If I ever declare bankruptcy, it will be because of one too many buying sprees at Borders, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I'll pick up the book I'm currently reading, which has my highest recommendation if you like Biographies.

2. Name the book & the author.

"Bowerman and the Men of Oregon--The Story of Oregon's Legendary Coach and Nike's Cofounder" by Kenny Moore, one of Bowerman's athletes who now regularly writes for Runner's World and Sports Illustrated. Follow the link here if you want to see what Amazon has to say about it or if you think you might purchase one online.

Bowerman is one of the Great Generation, a literal war hero who served in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II before returning to teach school and coach track at Oregon and for the U.S. Olympic Teams. Bowerman coached numerous olympic athletes, includin Steve Prefontaine, who at one time held every American record at ever distance from 1500 meters to the 10K. Bowerman is responsible for America's first running boom. You would probably not be doing triathlon if not for Bowerman changing the culture such that endurance sport was acceptable beyond college athletics. Much of what goes into the design of your training plans in terms of stress and recovery is a result of Bowerman's pioneering work. He and Phil Knight, one of his athletes, founded Nike which became a mega-company on the strength of the ripples from Bowerman's original running boom. The book is a gem, written by an eye witness who wa sable to interview other eye witnesses to the Bowerman legend.

3. Turn to page 123.

4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.

This passage is about how, dissatisfied with heavy and inflexible American shoes of the time, Bowerman started to make his own track shoes. It is a conversation he had with a cobbler upon picking up a pair of his wife's shoes that had been in for repair:

"You cannot make your own shoes!" erupted the repairman. "Trust me. You cannot make shoes without a factory."

(Typical, the surest way to get something done was to tell Bowerman that he couldn't do it.)

5. Tag three more folks.

I'm tagging three who I want to jumpstart because I love to read them more. Nytro, Benny and Taconite Boy.

You're it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Man Space

I am the only one at this dog pound with a y chomosome. Wife, daughter, cat, two dogs . . . all female. All from the double x gender. There is no Monday Night Football (not that I could stay awake that late). There is no John Wayne. It is 24/7 HGTV. Although his mancard has been suspended more than once, at least Taconite Boy was able to bring his half of the tribe numerically even (if still undermanned) with the advent of Urp and Chopper. I am completely and utterly outnumbered.
So, while injured, I have spent some time this off-season getting in touch with my guy-ness and renewing my man card. Bolder has his "man couch," but even us domesticated married fellas need a little space to call our own. So I have started making my multisport paradise in our garage.
It is . . . . . the "Man Space."
Note the bike box, the road bike on trainer, the tri-bike hanging from the ceiling, the rubberized flooring for core workouts, the equipment rack for helmets, shoes, wetsuits, goggles, the workbench for repair projects, and the large locker filled with nutrition, equipment and clothing for swim, bike and run. Ooooooooooooh. Pretty. Let's take a closer look.
Look at the size of that locker. In triathlon, size does matter.
Inside the locker are shelves and baskets for swim bike and run apparel, towels, bike maintenance accessories, TYR transition bag, etc. Note the official U of H track jacket given to me by Coach T. Even I look fast in those threads.
Then there's the equipment rack with the running shoes, cycling shoes, wetsuit, all the helmets . . .
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey, wait a minute. Where did all those pink helmets comer from?
And a verticle bike rack to hold the . . . . hang on. Those are girly mountain bikes.
Ah, the triathlete stud's garage in still life: pedal wrench, hammer, binder's twine, short wave radio, copy of "Going Long," Triathlete mag, Amino Vital, bottle of fine scotch, all held up with .308 machine gun ammunition. No Kelly Clarkson in here. Brings a tear to my eye. I'm all verklempt. **sniff** It's a beautiful thing.
And of course, NO GIRLS ALLOWED, . . . except the pack leader, . . . . and superpounce, . . . and
Gumbo the dog, . . . . and Cocoa the dog, . . . and Alyssa the Cat . . .
But other than that. NO GIRLS ALLOWED. Except if you pass the Bolder Rule of Biker Chick Hawtedness.
Oh look! There's one now!!
Curly-Su Rides Again
I wonder. Was this all just a ploy by the pack leader to get the garage cleaned and to get all my triathlon gear out of the closet?????
I've been snookered.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Disney Does Greyhound

Greyhound Before:


Greyhound During: Mile 25-ish, doing the survival shuffle after extended sneak walking behind the building.


Greyhound After: with Superpounce.


Greyhound After: with the pack leader. (Note, the pack leader is not forced to wear silly rodent ears.)


Superpounce with Mr. Incredible??????


Superpounce with Mr. Incredible (a title I hope to hold until she's at least 14):


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

!!! I'm A Winner !!!

This just in from the new Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcast: Brett, the Triscoop Zenmaster has picked lil' ol' me to receive free lactate and VO2 max testing from Trivantage Fitness Loft.
Trivantage is a great, local multi-sport gym and a great source of know-how and coaching. It is where I learned to swim two years ago, it's where I'm getting my new bike fit, and it's a likely source of coaching for my IM MOO '07 effort.
Brett was persuaded by my Princess-Leia-inspired voice mail on his 512-CRY-DELI hotline. Apparently he's a huge Star Wars geek. Who knew?
Give Brett a listen, here. He's the bomb.

Walk Towards The Light: A Race Report

January 7, 2007--the morning of the Walt Disney World Marathon--dawned perfectly . . . if you're a tropical fish. I'm pretty sure that I found Nemo in corral A with me, and he found the 90% humidity much to his liking. You could actually see the air under the glare of the arc lights. I kid you not. Nemo's gills were working just fine thank you. We humans, however, might have preferred 55 and dry.
The day actually dawned about four and a half hours after I did. To do the Disney Marathon, with thousands upon thousands of your closest friends, you have to hop a bus to the start area before 0400, so that you can eat, wait, pee, wait, walk approximately 1k to the start corral, wait some more . . . .
Unfortunately, I had a Nytro-like moment before the start. In the "transition" area, one could find untold hundreds of those little blue houses. I have a well trained body that ordinarily knows that when I rise early and eat, I expect it to . . . er . . . "transition" approximately 60 minutes later. This morning, however, I got nuthin'
So I joined the herd of humanity down to the actual start line. About half-way there, the road forks. To the left went most of the party-goers, first-timers and just-finishers. I'm not putting them down at all. They were loud and jovial and having a great time. They belong on the roads every bit as much as the lanky run machines who can break three hours. To the right, however, went the non-virgins and those running for times into start corrals organized by proven finishing times. They were quieter, more grim, and more than a little worried because they were well aware of what the conditions meant. In the end, I think most of us turned into "just-finishers."
I went to the right with my group and went to "Corral A" which was designated for those who had finished a marathon under four hours. It was a grim lot those Corral A-ers. Lots of skinniness and softball calves and fleet looking dudes, but most wearing that 1000 yard stare of a jump veteran who knows what is about to happen when the door opens on the airplane. The Disneyfied big screen MC shouted out, "WHO'S DOING THEIR FIRST MARATHON TODAY!!!!" A cheer went up across the road. Corral A, not so much.
After an interval of time, a Disney National Anthem in which there were actually rockets that glared red and bombs bursting in air. Then the start gun with a huge conflagration of fireworks. Time to go.
I knew the humidity would be a factor, but I had no idea the magnitude of the handicap it would pose. Within the first two miles, it became very clear that survival was going to be the order of the day. My first mile was very comfortable, very easy and slightly under 9 minutes, which is what I averaged for my last marathon pace. My heartrate, however, told another tale. Although my perceived effort was very low, my legs were very fresh, and my breathing was easy as you please, the heartrate was well over 150, which I cannot sustain for a 3+ hour effort. Through the first 3 miles it became clear that in the conditions that prevailed, I physically could not run slow enough to bring my heartrate down sufficiently below my lactate threshold to complete a marathon.
Plan B: there are 22 aid stations on this course. Permission granted to walk the aid stations in order to lower the heartrate and clear lactate buildup so that, while running, I can go at least fast enough to maintain somewhat efficient form.
This worked fairly well though the first half of the race. I was relaxed, fresh, and unlabored while running, but the heart rates were consistently 155 through 160, which I would ordinarily not expect to see unless I were doing an interval session. A walk interval generally reduced the heartrate to the 140s, and I was able to maintain splits of about 9:15 or so through the first 10-11 miles.
There is a long stretch from Mile 3 to Mile 10 where you are outside any of the Disney parks running on a dark Florida highway. I thought this would be the worst or most discouraging part of the race. Strangely, it was the most fun. I felt good. I was relaxed. It was calm and dark along the roads. I was maintaining low 9 minute splits with no perceived effort. The only worry was the heartrate. How long could this go on?
Mile 10 brings one into the side entrance of the Magic Kingdom for a run down "Main Street USA." It is a little surreal and makes you feel a little dirty to enter "the happiest place on earth" and run by the likes of Wendy, Jasmine and Alice while Buckcherry is blaring "Crazy B*tch" in your ears. Similarly, running past a line of Disney furry characters in Disney MGM studios while Nine Inch Nails screams "I wanna [bleep] you like an animal" is more than a little disturbing. Whaddayagonnado?
Thankfully, my own Crazy Beyotch pain in the neck was largely quiet during the race. I only paused at the medical tent at mile 14 to slather on some Bio-Freeze, mostly as a preventative. There was no need to resort to Greyhound's Little Helper.
After the Magic Kingdom is a long stretch of no parks while you run to the Animal Kingdom. I passed the half-marathon mark feeling OK given the circumstances, but the sun was rising, and the effort was starting to show. The heartrates had risen from 155-ish to 160-ish while running, the pace was starting to come down, and the recovery walks were less effective. Instead of 140 for recovery, I could only manage 150 or so while walking.
"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming."
The Animal Kingdom bit between miles 15 and 17 seemed particularly brutal. The concrete surface is rutted and pock marked with elevation changes to mimic a dirt road without the dirt. It totally tears up your legs, joints and stride. Exiting the park, however, is no improvement. It just dumps you from relative shade to open parking lot and highway in the now-fully-risen-sun. By this point, the course was littered with pace bands that had been discarded in digust.
From there, obviously, the splits continued to deteriorate and the heartrates continued to climb. Polar tells me I reached 178, which is higher than I have ever seen in a track workout and is only two beats shy of my theoretical, untested max heartrate. In fact, based upon that untested maximum, Polar tells me I did an entire marathon in and above zone 5. No surprise that my time deteriortate to well slower than 4 hours.
The last four miles I vascilated between wanting to do as well as I could under the conditions, finishing as close to 4 hours as possible, and just wanting to manage the effort to finish without injury or a debt of exertion that would delay a resumption of training. The last mile was especially long. Two hundred yards of very slow running by that point caused my hands to tingle from oxygen debt and the little black dots appeared in my tunnel vision.
In the words of Bill Bowerman, describing his first "jog" with Arthur Lydiard, "The only thing that kept me going was the hope that I might die."
For all that, I think I'm as proud of this race as I am of the Houston Marathon where I first broke 4 hours and changed my whole concept of what was possible for me. In this race, my mind raced better even if my body raced slower. I overcame the negative head talk. I was able to largely stay in the moment without worrying too much about what was coming up. I was able to solve problems, surmount hills and tactically work through challenges as they occurred. I focused on my own body and its feelings rather than being overcome by the power of suggestion from other racers who were dropping out or having their own problems.
I'm sure things are different when you have that little 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike to warm up for the marathon; but, all-in-all, I'm encouraged. If my body will hold together through the training, I think my mind might have the resources to carry me over the course.
I'll have some more pics when I get to the other camera in Mrs. Greyhound's purse, so check back later. For now I'll leave you with the Disney Bling:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Are You A Runner?

Well it was about 2 miles too far or 15 degrees too hot to go under 4 hours this time, but I did finish and was undeterred by the conditions. 4:20:37. Nothing to crow about, but I'll take it.
True story: as I'm walking through the lobby of the hotel not five minutes ago, an 8 year old boy who was rough housing with his little brother stopped short, looked at me and asked:
"Are you a runner?"
It is cool, and it's a gift.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

No Matter What Pace You Run On Race Day . . . .

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

--Steve Prefontaine

Dress The Greyhound

When, like me, you're not terribly fast or strong, wardrobe is everything. If I think I look tough, I am more confident. Thus, Billy Crystal was right: "It is better to LOOK good than to FEEL good."

I have three potential outfits for the big day, all of them well-tested in training and known not to produce unseemly abrasions in all of my favorite (and most important) places. I'm pretty sure I know which one I want to wear, but lacking anything blogworthy to mention (other than a celebrity mystery blogger small world breakfast yesterday) I throw it out there for your consideration. As for the breakfast, I recommend keeping a safe distance from a hungry athena at all times, with a heavy oaken table betwixt you. I did so, and came away with all my appendages intact. And, though I have almost called her a goddess (as in "Goddess of Kick Ass"), her union with Iron Benny is safe. Notwithstanding her pitiable pleas, I refrained from massaging her feet.
Now, in choosing a suitable outfit, bear in mind that it will be 70 degrees and humid at the start and probably 80 by the finish.
Cast your vote in the comment section. The three options are:
1. Team Kit, in which I have done my triathlons to date:
If worn, the team kit will be modified to include running shorts due to the tendency of those tri shorts to irritate the . . . . uhm . . . "fancy parts" if worn over 15 miles.
2. Nike orange gear in which I ran my best marathon to date and which makes me somewhat easier to pick out from the thousands of mid-packers around me:


And . . .. . . . . .
* * * * * * * Drum Roll Here * * * * * *
3. A replica of the jersey Steve Prefontaine wore as a high school runner:
If you are interested in getting live updates on the carnage tomorrow, go here to create a login, search for the male GrAy hound from Texas and you can do so.
Look for one more, inspirational, one line post before the race, then I'll go dark until I have sufficient energy and broad band access to contact you again.

Friday, January 05, 2007


This post deserves a parental warning, not least because of the new video at right, which comes off my marathon playlist. Even though I am running the Walt Disney World Marathon, there is nothing G-Rated about the way I struggle in the last 6 to 8 miles. I don’t think I can legitimately claim to have experienced speaking in tongues or being slain in the spirit while running, but I am quite positive that I have invented profanities in unknown languages as well as exercised all of the best naughty words in my native tongue.

Did you know that the same four letter words can be strung together as noun, adjective, adverb gerund, subject or predicate with almost no thought or effort? Who knew?

I have heard things like, “mind over matter: if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” But notwithstanding all my fancy book learning, I am a mental midget with a low tolerance for pain and struggle---which immediately explains why I gravitated toward endurance sport as a middle-aged bespectacled bookworm. It also helps explain my “plan” (if you can call I it that) for this race.

I have gone sub-4 before, and I would have liked to PR, and I have a pace band for just such an occasion, but there are a lot of uncontrollable factors that may prevent it. Unlike an intimate little Ironman race, I’ll be doing this behemoth with 30,000 of my closest friends. The course will be crowded, and hostility at newbie marathoners blocking my path will suck the will to live right out of me if I obsess about the time. Likewise, the weather will be in excess of 80 degrees with humidity by finish time. Moreover, my owie is like a box of chocolates--you never know what you’re going to get when you stand upright in the morning. Let’s see, will today be general achiness or debilitating muscle spasms? (For reasons that will become obvious because of my playlist, and because I choose to believe (against all the objective proof) that a voodoo woman from Utah gave me this injury, my Owie shall heretofore be known as the Beyotch, as in “Crazy Beyotch” or “Cold Hard Beyotch” Don't be offended, I heart the voodoo woman and her Iron hubby.)

So, to wrap my mind around this race, I needed a goal that I can control, no matter what the conditions are. That goal is to run faster and smoother in the last 6 miles, with a good turnover and good form, rather than hobble in like I usually do. If that is a PR, super. If not, still super.

Still, the mental midget needs some assistance. I will have “Greyhound’s Little Helper” packed along in the event of a spinal cord incident, but even more important is the musical narcotic, which is designed with the pace goal in mind. Here again, PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Headphones are thankfully not prohibited at Disney, but I will not be listening to Mulan, Ariel or any of the other princesses. The marathon playlist begins with happy, optimistic music, mostly major keys, lots of instrumentals, designed to get me going, but control the pace for the first third or so of the race. The middle portion starts to transition more to the face melting variety, more minor keys, more guitars. The final portion will peel paint and shatter glass, and includes repeats of my favorite head banging, face melting music that Superpounce is not allowed to listen to.

Because I’m always fascinated by what other people listen to, I’ll reprint the playlist here so you can see what I mean. Feel free to comment on your favs whether or not they are on my list:

The Mission Begins (Band of Brothers Soundtrack--just as they are taking off for France, heavy on the French Horns!!)

Stars (Switchfoot)

Beethoven Symph No. 7 (Mvt. 1, Chicago Symphony, Solti cond.)

Beethoven Symph. No. 7 (Mvt. 4)

Where the Streets Have No Name (U2)

Citius, Altius, Fortius (Olympic music by John Williams)

Just the Girl (The Click Five)

Stand Up (Trapt)

Zombie Stomp (Ozzie Osbourne)

Going Under (Evanescence)

Man in the Box (Alice in Chains)

Cold Hard Bitch (Jet)

Dance Dance (Fall Out Boy)

Prefontaine Olympic Theme (John Williams again, used in the movie “Without Limits” about the life of Steve Prefontaine)

R30 Overture (Rush, Canada’s best export other than Bolder from Boulder and Kona Shelley)

Inside of You (Hoobastank--Something tells me this song is not about getting to know her mentally)

Crazy Bitch (Buckcherry--[explicit]--you’ll see this again later)

Without a Fight (Hoobastank)

Enter Sandman (Metallica--another recurring theme)

Animals (Nickelback--it’s getting awfully explicit in here)

Closer (Nine Inch Nails--[explicit]--continuing the animal theme)

Hot for Teacher (Van Halen)

Are you Gonna Be My Girl (Jet)

Lonely Nation (Switchfoot)

Pain (Three Day’s Grace--finalist for the Greyhound Theme Song)

Riot (Three Day’s Grace--another finalist--GREAT rebellious lyrics and perfect turnover rhythm)

Slither (Velvet Revolver--gone are the happy songs now)

Evenflow (Pearl Jam)

Paradise City (Guns N’ Roses--so, no more Beethoven, I take it)

Cowboys from Hell (Pantera)

Battle with the Sith (Star Wars Episode I--constant propulsion)

American Idiot (Green Day)

Enter the Champions (More John Williams Olympic Music)

Welcome To Paradise (Green Day)

Panama (Van Halen)

Meant to Live (Switchfoot)

Closer (Nine Inch Nails--the really nasty songs start to come back)

Cold Hard Bitch (Jet--Again)


Tom Sawyer (Rush)


Crazy Bitch (Buckcherry--Again)

Enter Sandman (Metallica--Again)

Zombie Stomp (Ozzie--Again)

Riot (3DG--Again)

Pain (3DG--Again)

Closer (NIN--Again)

Riot (3DG--Again)

Slither (Velvet Revolver--Again)

Prefontaine Olympic Theme (John Williams--Again)

Cowboys from Hell (Pantera--Again)

I know, I know. You all thought Greyhound was a gentle, middle-aged father, and I am. But this is not exactly Disney princess music. Hopefully I’ll finish on one of my favorite songs, somewhere between Crazy Bitch and Cowboys from Hell.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Had A Dream

I swear I've seen this creature over and over again while in the Land of Mouse, and it's not someone in costume. Walk down Main Street USA, either in the Magic Kingdom or in your town, and you will see this: the archetypal American, so heavy, two or three times what they should weigh if even moderately healthy, unable to walk a normal gait and oftentimes moving around on an electric cart, not because of some illness that destroyed the ability to walk, but from self-inflicted, deadly plenty.
OK, I really did not see Jabba, but the rest of this post is absolutely true. The Disney pre-marathon week involves a discipline somewhat different from that of Boston or Chicago or New York. You've heard of "carbo loading." Well, I feel like I've been LARDO LOADING. At Disney, provided you are willing to wait in line, you can literally eat your way around the world. By all appearances, many of the parks' guests have, and I feel like I've given it the old college try.
Apparently, this psychological trauma all came to a head last night, because something happened that rarely does. I had a dream and I remembered it when I awoke in a cold sweat. You will think I am making this up, but it is the God's Honest Truth.
I dreamed that we started the marathon. I was a little sluggish, but doing OK for the first couple of miles. Then, at mile 2, we pulled off for a food stop.
Not only that, it was a spaghetti buffet in the middle of a marathon in which we all dutifully waited in line. But what is more horrifying?
So, in my dream, I looked at my watch as I exited the food stop at mile 2 and my time was . . . . .
I had this vision that I would make up an hour and a half over the remaining 24 miles, but my legs wouls not turn over! Oh the humanity!
I guess that's what happens when you go to sleep obsessing about not making your time goal and all the food you've been eating and generally hostile to all of humanity that causes you to wait on line to breathe or blink.
The Happiest Place On Earth. Yeah. Not so much.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Moms Know Everything


It is no surprise that moms like Nancy Toby remained unfooled by my cryptic hints. Moms know all--omniscience is a prerequisite for the job.

We are in Florida for the Walt Disney World Marathon, about which more to come. For now, suffice it to say that this hot, humid and crowded race is a very thinly veiled ploy to get me to take my girls somewhere decent.
What about Madison for IMWI?
Lubbock for BSLT 70.3?
Austin for the MS150 and Cap Tex Tri?
Galveston? The Woodlands?
Yeah. Not so much.
Florida. OK.
I am, after all, a very small cog in the complex, female world that I inhabit.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Where in the World is Greyhound?



Hint: we're eating Canadian tonight---cuisine, not people.