Friday, August 31, 2007

I AM NOT A NUMBER!!

Ok, so maybe I am a number. Ironman Wisconsin numbers are up, and I'm number 1257, Greyhound, from Spring, Texas.

But notwithstanding the number, I've spen the last 24 hours wondering whether I'm a hardass or a wuss. I took Carmen to the LBS for Tri Bike Transport, but had trouble getting the pedals to loosen and come off. So, the girl at the bike shop took them off for me.

a.girl.

She had a tatoo, and undoubtedly was a rockin' biker chick, but she was still a girl.

Then, I had to change a flat this morning. (Long story). I couldn't get the lug nuts to loosen, and I wasn't about to rupture myself or shred my back changing a tire about 8 days from Ironman. So I asked for help.

The big beefy building guys also couldn't move the lug nuts with my tire tool. They had to get this huge tool to get them loosened. My tool was inadequate.

I guess size does matter. :(

But after they were loosened, the three enginees stood around and watched me change the tire. Something tells me if I had boobs, hips, and wore a skirt, I would not have been changing my own tire. One guy would have changed the tire while the others stood around oggling.

But apparently my a$$ is hard. Mistress Arlene, massage therapist to the stars, had to make a housecall last night, and she found it necessary to spend a lot . . . I mean A.LOT. of time on two very ripped masses of muscle.

Owie.

The draping became somewhat of an afterthought. I think Arlene is now almost as familiar with my untanned landscape as Mrs. Greyhound.

Almost. But not quite.

So I've got that going for me, which is good.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vaya Con Dios, Mi Amante

O, Carmen. Mi amante. My treasured one. We must part. But it is only for a little while.

You are ready. With loving hands I have pampered you, loved you, traced your smootheness, cleaning, caressing you with the oils that make you purr.

You are strong. So powerful, limbs taut with energey. I am drawn like moth to flame.

I want you to stay, but it is time, mi amor.

We shall meet again . . . in Wisconsin.

Mrs. Greyhound knows. She must know. She sees the way I look at you. The way I linger when we touch. Yes, we shall not be parted long.

In but a few days, in Madison, we shall again be joined to move as one, making our rhythm, and me breathing like a predator on the prowl. Breathing deeply and moving, always moving, with rivers of sweat poring down my arms and torso as I look at you beneath me . . . rolling up and down, . . . how long? How far can I go?

I cannot wait until we are reunited, when . . .













100_0568

the guys take you off the Tri Bike Transport truck and fill your tires with air so I can ride my bike again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hump Day Inspiration

So, yeah. This is the taper. Then why am I so tired? And why do I hurt? Where did that knee pain come from? And that twinge in my neck and shoulder? Are they even real? Are they psychosomatic? Am I psycho?

Two weeks ago in the throes of peak mileage, I was pushing through it all. This morning, I could hardly get going. An ez recovery run was almost insurmountable. It's as if my brain has shut down and subconciously believes that these workouts don't "count." My body can't be bothered to put in a true effort. Is this normal

I need inspiration. But, if you don't want to cry, don't scroll down any further.









Don't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why?

It is now officially taper time. Sitting here drinking an Avalanche Ale, brewed in Breckenridge, Colorado and sold in our fancy pants grocery store, I am reminded of summer, which has ebbed away.

I am also reminded that two weeks from this very moment, I hope to be two or so hours' run away from the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin.

Tell me that eight years ago before I ran (read jogged, hobbled and walked) my first road race, and I would never have believed it could be true.

Tell me that three years ago when triathlon was only a pipe dream (in large part because I couldn't swim more thant 25 meters), and I would never have believed it could be true.

After finishing my first 70.3 race last year, I started to wonder . . . maybe . . .

But then, less than one year ago, when I was witnessing the swim start where I knew that Trisaratops and Iron Wil were in the midst of the washing machine, and I would have told you that it would never happen.

But then . . . it started to change. As I saw people, real people like me, some faster and stronger and bigger, but some smaller, and slower, and less athletic, emerging from the water and finishing. . . I started to wonder . . . is it possible.

IMWI Finish

But why even wonder such a thing? Why, when neither your wife nor your child love you any less 30 pounds heavier and completely sedentary?
Greyhound and Superpounce
Why, when your 50+ hour per week job does nothing to encourage 15 to 20 hours of training? Why, when your parents continually ask you when you're going to quit doing all that "crazy stuff," and make a point of telling you every time some endurance athlete dies of a heart attack or drowns?

Why dream dreams and see visions? And why this one?

Do I even know?

Becuase I thought I might win a cool bike from BMC?


Confederacy of Dunces
Because I was there in Madison for sign up, and all the cool kids were doing it?

Because some of the best and most interesting people I've ever made will be there participating and spectating.

Seeing you seeing me

IMG_0218

Trimama and Tac Boy

Iron Wil


Because I admire these people and want to be like them.

Because to me, training really is like recess, and I love to play.

Because at age 40, play is not a luxury, it is a lifesaver. It is a reason to be.

Because it is hard, and in it's difficulty I've found an ease in the rest of life that cannot be explained or duplicated.

Because I'm not ready to stop, I'm not ready to decay, I'm not satisfied with being a middle-aged, suburban statistic.

Because I hate average.

Because the friends who have coached and encouraged me, run with me and swum with me are watching.

Because you are watching.

Because I am alive, and I know those who are not.

Because I want every breath to count

Because thanksgiving in breathing is a hymn, a prayer, an act of worship.

Because wasting your health and your life on average is profane; Because the wasted time of television and junk food I wore around my middle was blasphemy.

Because I may not know until I struggle through it.

Because I may never know.

Why?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Missing The Bus

Well, I had it coming. Like one of my first and oldest bloggy friends, "the bus" leaves at 0400 every morning to get the training, working, and parenting day started. Today, I missed it.

It's not because my alarm did not go off. I almost never set an alarm, and yet my eyes always pop open on their own at or before the appropriate, ungodly hour that the day begins. Today the eyeballs were one hour and forty minutes late.

Yep, I "slept in" until 0540--actually, once I knew I had "missed the bus" I rolled over and slept until 0600. Positively decadent. The disorganization caused by the change in schedule, however, has created a wardrobe emergency. I forgot my belt, and now the pants from the suit that fit just fine 18 months ago threaten to slip down over a body reshaped by all this effort.

My eyes' failure to pop open on their own should be no surprise. It is really as if my mind got me past the last long weekend of training and then took a breather. Now, my body has told me in no uncertain terms that it has had E-NUFF. It seems absurd given the Cambodia-like climate in which I've been training the last month, but I've had a cold since last Thursday.

It probably started as some kind of sinus infection before that. The night after a big swim, I would roll over in my sleep and what seemed like a gallon of lake or pool water would tumble out of the empty spaces in my head, which are apparently much larger than I had previously known. The snuffy nose turned into a sore throat after the last Iron Distance Weekend, which migrated to a dry, hacking, unproductive cough. Yesterday I ran with Coach T, and some of it was relatively quick, but I ran out of gas before we were completely done. I bagged yesterday's swim rather than aggravate my sinuses and respiratory tract, and since my symptoms were migrating "below the neck," it was probably an act of mercy that my body bagged this morning's bike ride in favor of a couple hours' extra sleep.

No worries. My bike is probably the least worrisome of the three disciplines at this point, and a couple days off at this point will make no difference in my ability to finish or not finish IMWI. Finishing is my only goal. Moreover, that unproductive cough has turned productive and I feel loads better. I might even get my run in this afternoon or this evening, depending upon how I feel.

Chicken soup and Vicks VapoRub -- on the house.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

In The Barn?

Last fall, I would not have believed I would ever be where I am now. 20 days before an Ironman with the big miles completed and healthy.

Well, if not healthy, then at least uninjured.

Recall: After signing up for Ironman Wisconsin in September, I severely injured my neck in October, and through equal parts ignorance and stubborness, did not know for several weeks that I had ruptured a disc between C6 and C7. All through November and December I was unable to swim or bike or lift weights.

Much of that time, I could not sleep more than four hours at a stretch, because that is how long the pain medication would last. Probably I was just being a drama queen, but I wondered whether I would ever be able to train again.

The surgeon was sure that he would be removing the pulverized remainder of the disc and fusing my vertibrae together. He was wrong.

Here I am. The story of how I got from there to here involves input from lots of folks, about whom I will write as I move toward and past Ironman. Right now, I just can hardly be happier that I am here.

I have done training rides of over 100 miles 4 times in the past 8 weeks.

I've done rides in excess of 100 miles 7 times since January.

Last year 60 miles was a full ride; now I don't even wonder how long I've been riding until it ticks past 80.

I am in marathon shape. More, it seems like I can run tired as long as needs be.

I swam 5000 yards on Friday and suffered more from boredom than from effort. Little more than two years ago, 500 yards was unthinkable.

The only thing between me and the start line are some average workouts and a taper.

My first two marathons killed me with plantar fascitis and other injuries. Today, with all this volume, I am completely uninjured.

The only discomfort I have is some stiff quads and a bit of a cold.

I am almost 41 years old, and I'm not the second coming of Dave Scott, but I tell you one thing for sure. I could kick my own 25 year old ass.

Here.
I.
Am.

Friday, August 17, 2007

No Wonder I Feel Slow

I feel slow because, apparently, my masters swim group are the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. I just got an e-mail this morning to the effect that:

"Woodlands Masters Swim Team made history last weekend by winning the USMS Long Course National Championship Meet in all three categories (combined, men and women)."

**Blink**

It might be awhile before I get out of the slow lane with these speed demons.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy V-J Day

August 15 in Japan, August 14 North American time, the long war and all the national sacrifice that went with it was over.

Passion and life ensued.

Exercise your passion and life today.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Shiny Things

You know, something odd about Ironman training in South Texas in August. It's kind of a solitary exercise. No one is exactly signing up to ride 112 miles on the Highway to Hell when you can fry an egg on said highway. THAT is why this is the single best training toy I've ever purchased:

10186_57_3

It is the Ihome Cycler. Rather than increase your risk of death or mutilation by riding with earbuds, you dock your ipod in this water-bottle-shaped speaker (all dockable ipods will fit) and you can Get Your Geek On or sing along to Highway to Hell while you're riding on it.

10186_56_2

The speaker on top of the device plays the music so your riding companions can sing along too, or at least you'll look slightly less odd than you do belting out AC/DC when you're the only one who can hear the music.

10186_61_3

The Ihome Cycler includes a control device that you mount on your handlebars so you can increase or decrease the volume or skip songs without having to take your hnads off the handlebars or eyes off the road. The device itself plays loudly enough to provide a good listening experience over traffic noice with all but quieter, instrumental or orchestral scores.

Like maybe the opening to the first movement to Copland, Symphony No. 3, expecially that nice transparent quality that Bernstein gets in the recording on Deutsche Grammophone with the New York Philharmonic.

. . . uhm, yeah. I've kind of let some geekiness out of the bag. It's not all head banging metal music on my Ipod.

I got my unit at a local sporting goods store (Academy) for slight less than $100. It was worth every penny. I used the Ihome Cycler on my ride last Saturday when the heat index was well over 100 degrees. It performed flawlessly. My ride was only a 4:30 brick with only a 3:30 ride (ONLY??!!), so I don't know if the battery life will last for a full century, but that's why they have convenience stores with double a batteries.

The device comes with a special "bottle cage" that attaches just like ordinary bottle cages and held my device securely in place on the downtube even on rough shoulders and over railroad tracks. The makers of the Ihome Cycler tout the device as being "water resistant." We'll see if if stands up if and when the rains return, but for now, if you train like you race (i.e., pee the bike) you just might want to exercise additional care in how you do that.

In short, it made a ride that could have been a death march a lot of fun--sort of like a three hour and thirty minute spin class . . . in a 100 degree room with cars trying to crowd you, exhaust choking you, and no hawt spin instructor. Oh, well.

Can't wait until next weekend. Seventh ride since January of 100 miles or more, but this time with tunes!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Iron Advisory

The dogs and I are indoors with the lights off and the shades pulled and the AC cranked on. Why? Because outside, you might as well be walking on the sun, and I'm still cooling down from a workout that ended two hours ago.

I was warned: stay indoors. The government said:

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAKE CHARLES LA
528 AM CDT SAT AUG 11 2007

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LAKE CHARLES HAS ISSUED A HEAT
ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING TO 9 PM CDT
THIS EVENING.

HEAT INDEX VALUES UP TO 115 DEGREES CAN BE EXPECTED...MAINLY
DURING THE AFTERNOON. HEAT INDICES ARE NOT EXPECTED TO FALL BELOW
108 DEGREES UNTIL AFTER 9 PM THIS EVENING.

DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS...STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED
ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUN...AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND
NEIGHBORS.

One Hundred Fifteen Degrees???!!!

**blink** **blink**

But Coach Book said I needed to do a brick with 3:30 on the bike and 60 minutes on the run. On a recovery week.

Uhm. Yeah. Recovery.

Only poetry can capture the inner drama of training in such conditions; but, everyone knows that men cannot express their emotions as well as women. So, rather than wax poetic myself, I refer you to a lovely, lyric poeme about summertime authored by Texas' own, the very lovely, Allez.

Wasn't that nice? She said it way better than I could have.

Well, I did my brick anyway, not because I'm a disciplined training animal. Nope. The long and the short of it is that I'm more scared of Ironman Wisconsin than I am of 115 degree heat index--more afraid of the four week Iron Advisory in my sidebar than the heat advisory from the government.

They say that Iron training changes you. What do you think?

Before--sunscreen slimied, bedecked in my "shrug," happy and ready to go:

Before Face


After--a lean, mean, (and yet shattered) triathlon machine:

After Face



I'm a shell of my former self. I need a walk in freezer and in inexhaustable supply of Power Bar Recovery Drink, . . . .

. . . so I can do it again tomorrow. Four weeks to go.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tagged

Jobs I've Had (uhm, yeah. I've worked a bit)
Paper Boy (age 10 - 15)
Warehouseman (age 13 - 18)
Lawnboy
Retail
Busboy
Plasma Donor
Stage Manager (work study)
Professional Musician (orchestral French horn player)
Intern/Summer Associate (as a law student)
Judicial Law Clerk
Trial Lawyer
Appellate Lawyer (Board Certified Muckety Muck Specialist)

Movies I Can Watch Repeatedly (if I can stay awake)
Lord of the Rings
Field of Dreams
The Princess Bride (IN-CON-CEIVABLE)

Guilty Pleasures
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (almost better than sex)
Others are even better, but given that proviso, they are way too guilty to reveal (!!)

Places I've Lived
Jackson, Mississippi
Upper Arlington, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Madison, Wisconsin
Miami Beach, Florida
Waco, Texas
Houston, Texas

TV Shows I Enjoy
Extreme Makeover (Home Edition)
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
The Dog Whisperer

Places I Have Vacationed
Mississippi and Oklahoma (to see family)
Mammoth Cave
White Sands, NM
Yellowstone
Colorado
Scandanavia
Maui
Oahu
Key West
Cozumel
Galveston
Walt Disney World
Lake San Antonio, California
Tempe, AZ

Favorite Foods
Right now? Anything with carbs, preferably rice.

Daily Websites
All of your blogs
triscoop.com
Houstonracing.com

Body Parts I Have Injured
Jaw (hit by batted pitch)
Ruptured Disc (c6-c7)
Scoped Knee (left)
Runner's Knee (right)
Reconstructed Ankle Ligaments (right)

Awards
Uber Geeky Academic Awards from the age of 5 onwards
Uber Geeky Musical Awards and scores of medals from the age of 5 onwards

Nicknames
Outside the blogosphere, none. Even my mom calls my by my full, formal, first name.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I NEED MORE COWBELL!

OK, I've heard the proximity of one's Ironman debut (or deflowering, depending upon how one looks at it) can make you do strange things. I've been stalking the websites lusting after race wheels I don't need and probably should not spend the money on. I've seriously contemplated buying a pointy, aero helmet (though if I do, I will have the word "POSER" prominently stenciled on the front, sides and back). Given that aberrant behaviour (notice the Canadian spelling BOLDAH), my latest purchase does not seem completly outrageous.

I just spent (more or less) $100 on cowbells.

COW.BELLS.

http://www.cowbell.com/ was advertised in the back of Inside Triathlon, and I could not resist. When I swim, bike or run by my peeps on the big day, I want to hear them making noise like I'm the second coming of Dave Scott, even if I look and move like I'm something Dave Scott's dog left in the back garden.

So, I purchased four cowbells in an assortment of sizes. (Yes, there are different sizes, because size does matter. I did not buy the magnum size huge bells because . . . uhm, . . . never mind.) I bought one for Mrs. Greyhound, one for Superpounce, and two for them to give to members of Trimama's tribe if needs be.

If they have their own bells, you can borrow the extras, so long as an appropriate amount of cacophony ensues whenever I pass by. In fact, if you've got a $20 to spare, and if you'll be spectating at IMMoo, get a bell and support the triblogger alliance.

Come on peeps! BUY SOME BELLS! I NEED MORE COWBELL!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Superpounce

100_0669

sk8tr gurl

Where did the last 10 years go?

Failure Pile

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not as if I never cook when the wife is around. If any non-microwave cooking is being done chez Greyhound, it is better than even money that I'm the one doing it.

HOWEVAH, when it's only me around the house, one just looks around and wonders, "why go to all that trouble?" As a result, my nutrition has been slipping. I've gone from vacation food to eating last-minute-already-prepared-crap at home, drinking a leetle bit too much alcohol, and becoming way too friendly with the erstwhile gallon of vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer. Add to that the feeling of being entitled to eat ANYTHING I D*MN WELL PLEASE after finishing a century in the mouth of the dragon, and you have the perfect storm of a nutritional melt-down.

Notwithstanding iron-distance training, I have even discovered an extra layer of filth starting to gather just above my waist band. This will not stand.

I am in the process of changing that, utilizing trips to the farmer's market and whole foods to get yummy good stuff to fill that black hole formerly known as my stomach. However, if you ever have that post-training feeling of entitlement to fast food, I offer the following video as a public service. This should put you off American cuisine for awhile.

(Parental Advisory: the language is coarse, but it is funny as hellllllo, . . . well it's really funny).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I Have A Gleam

You all know about the gleam--that uber whiteness that by which my Canadian Iron Hero is seen from deep space. His influence is undoubtedly the source for the pasty fashionistas now sweeping the country. Pale is the new tan. (All rights reserved 2007 by Greyhound Enterprises. Absolutlely no use without the express written consent of Greyound Enterprises LLC). It's going to be a thing.

And while he is notable west of the Mississippi for some intense gleamage, he does not have the Western United States monopoly on the gleam. I, too, have some mighty fine gleam action. Notwithstanding a smidge of Cherokee heritage that colors in the sun, I gleam on the inside. To wit:

I am a professionally trained musician, but I can't improvise.

I have rhythm, but only if the music was written in the Western European, classical tradition.

My hips don't lie. In fact, they don't move at all.

I'm so inhibited, that my inhibitions have inhibitions.

With inhibitions on inhibitions, and hips that are always ramrod straight, I can't dance. Not even a little. (Mrs. Greyhound has never been dancing in 18 years of marriage. She is a local object of pity.)

I am: White.And.Nerdy. WASP to the core.

But when you work out in South Texas, you need artificial help to keep the gleam on the outside as lilly white as the gleam on the inside. This week, I employed two new pieces of equipment that I HIGHLY recommend on my mega 112 mile ride in the South Texas heat. This equipment is so remakable that I hereby nominate them for Graig's List. BEHOLD:

FTJ7-2
The De Soto Forza Skin Tri Jersey. And, to cover those muscly and yet pasty arms:



DSCWG_X
De Soto Cool Wings.

These remarkable, space age fabrics not only block out damaging UV rays, they are actually cooler than going naked on the bike.

Not that I've ever . . . but I digress.

These devices promote such efficient evaporation that even when you ride your bike in the mouth of the dragon like I do, it was downright chilly.

OK, that's a lie. It was incredibily hot, but I did ride 112 miles where the heat off the pavement reached 100 degrees, averaged 17.5 mph while moving, kept my heartrate average at 124, and was totally ready to run when I finished. If it is hot in Wisconsin, THIS is how I'll roll.

This equipment will revolutionize triathlon in the South. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a gleam. It is a gleam deeply rooted in the American gleam.

I have a gleam that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "Use your sunblock."

I have a gleam that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former Canadians and the sons of former Texans will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a gleam that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of . . . uhm, heat, sweltering with the heat of really hot heat, will be transformed into an oasis of cool winds.

I have a gleam that my little daughter will one day live in a nation where she will not be judged by the spf of her sun screen but by the brightness of her gleam.

I have a gleam today.

Let's see the gleam, from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let's see the gleam, from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let's see the gleam from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let's see the gleam from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let's see the gleam from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let's see the gleam.

Thursday, August 02, 2007