Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Word for a Special Occasion

I know you probably can't tell it from reading the blog, but I write for a living. In pursuing that craft, I have come to firmly believe that there is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting. Careful planning and throrough editing (which never occurs here) are key.

The same is true for speaking. Winston Churchill, a great writer in his own right, overcame a speech impediment to become one of the greatest orators in our common language--one who was known in fact for his witty and seemingly extemporaneous remarks during question time in the Commons. The truth, however, is that each of his speeches was carefully written and then set down in what he called "psalm form"--large print with pauses coming at the end of the line and markings to show emphasis for how it should be delivered. He even planned ahead for question time, anticipating who in the opposition was likely to question him and planning a witty barb or parry for the occasion that, when delivered, would seem both spontaneous and effortless.

I say all that to say this. We, as a group, need to plan some words for a special occasion so that when we need to deliver them, we are not caught speechless. "What occasion?" you ask. Well, it is an occasion that we will all have if we ride long enough: that time when the idiot motorist who isn't paying attention or who is disobeying the traffic laws nearly maims or kills you through their own carelessness, ignorance, or stupidity.

Bolder had such an occasion recently, when a pickup failing to yield at a stop sign rolled out in front of him. He went with the tried and true "HEEYYYYYYYY!" and "STUPID FUCKER!"

Nytro also had such an occasion and went for the non-verbal communication approach: the patented: "What the fuck, dude? You coulda killed me! A plague on your house!" look, followed up by a "You're lucky your son is with you, or it would so. be. oneth. Fucker." look.

As charming as each of these are in their own way, it would behoove us to plan ahead so that we can make the most of these "teachable moments" with motorists. We need a statement to memorize and recall under stress that communicates that anyone who "didn't see" a cyclist clad in dayglo spandex in broad daylight is a loathesome waste of carbon and a disgrace to vertibrates everywhere who should lose their license and their right to walk around freely until they show proper contrition and mend their ways.

So, enter your suggestions in the comments and we'll collaborate on an appropriate statement to carry in our hip pockets. It needs to be something that fits nearly every occasion, that retorts to the "I didn't see you" excuse offered expressly or silently for each near miss, and might also include actions such as having the Sherrif's department on speed dial or casting a brass CO2 canister at the offending windshield. (OK, I doubt I would do that, but I have wanted to on several occasions.) While I generally try to keep it clean, sometimes nothing will suffice quite like a bit of profanity or a good old fashioned F-Bomb.

I leave it to you and can't wait to read the suggestions.

Friday, October 26, 2007

St. Greyhound's Day--Ode to a Cold Master's Swim Practice

**Editor's Note: It is a little known aspect of Christian history that St. Greyhound, who was martryed in an open water swim, is the patron saint of masters swimmers. This Ode is written in praise of the cold, thinly attended masters swim workout this morning. 44 degrees and steam billowing off the water in the outdoor pool at the Woodlands Atheltic Center. Brrrr.**

. . . O, do not wish one more.
Rather proclaim it presently through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this swim,
Let him depart. His passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not swim in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to freeze with us.

This day is called the Feast of Greyhound:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Greyhound.
He that shall see this day and live t'old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Greyhound":
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his m-dot
And say "These wounds I had on Greyhound's day."
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Greyound the swimmer, Tac Boy and Trimama,
Bigun and TriDummy, Bolder and Kahuna,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Greyhound Greyhoundian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his swim parka with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And office workers in cubicles now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That swam with us upon Saint Greyhound's day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Visual Race Report

Well, I couldn't get Superpounce to sit still long enough to let me type a race report for her. So rather than press the issue and clog up her weekend, I thought I'd give you a little sumpin' sumpin'

After all, it's all about you.

This was the first kid's triathlon I've ever spectated. As any good teacher will tell you, you can't fail to learn something if you look at the world through the eyes of a kid.

"I'm a little bit scared." That's what she told me the night before the race. She found out, from me and from the experience, that we all feel that way. Maybe that's the one thing that makes triathlon really work. We all face that fear, we toe the line, we overcome it, we have fun, and we want to do it again.


Of course when she had to get up early and ride an hour to the race site before dawn, she was not quite so sure this was going to be a good experience.

Love this--just like Ironman, except there are bikes for 5 year olds, reflectors, no aero bars, and the comptitors are playing tag in the dark instead of shuffling to body marking with a 1000 yard stare of impending doom.

You may have heard that obesity is socially "contagious" -- i.e., we eat like our friends and cut ourselves slack if we're not as fat and sloppy as Herb in the next cubicle. Well, maybe triathlon and fitness can be contagious too. When 'Pounce signed up for the triathlon, two of her friends heard about it and wanted to race too. This is Beach Girl with 'Pounce, showing off their body-marked guns.

Beach Girl ready to race.

Here's 'Pounce waiting her turn in the water. Her other friend, Mini-TriShannon, is to her left in the blue suit.

Superpounce takes a running leap into the water. Like most kids (and adult first-timers) she went out hard with each discipline and kinda figured out later that maybe pacing was a good idea.

Superpounce in T1. She apparently thought the race was being held in Minnesota, because she could not be talked out of bundling up in a sweatshirt for after the swim. We also suspect she had dinner and a movie in T1. But I kinda felt a little bit sorry for the kids with the Kona parents. No one needs a dad critiquing their pre-race warmup, their transition plan, or showing a kid how to use Yanks. I wore my IM MOO garb (of course) but I tried really hard to let the kids run and have fun. I think I succeeded.

'Pounce hammers out of T1 and is off on the bike.

Mini-TriShannon motoring back into transition.

Beach Girl bringing it home.

Superounce in supercool shades and sweatshirt.

Beach Girl running in the home stretch with her finishing kick.

Superpounce motors for home.

The three champions and their medals.

Their own podium.


Post race nutrition with Mrs. Greyhound and Grampa Greyhound.

One little five year old boy finished his mini-sprint race and immediately asked his mom, "CAN I GO AGAIN!!??" -- like it was Splash Mountain at Disneyworld or something. Another turned to her mom and said, "OK, Mom! Now it's YOUR TURN to do a triathlon!"

'Pounce wants to do it again, and I wouldn't be surprised if this fitness thing infects some more moms and dads. So I consider the whole event an unbridled success.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


So, after racing 140.6 miles (if you really want to call what I do "racing"), I have destroyed myself with the following:

1. One 5k race in 23:47.

2. One "speed" workout three days later consisting of 8x400 in about 1:40 ea.

3. One 5 mile fartlek run yesterday (7 days after the "speed") when I thought I was feeling better.

I know. Not terribly impressive. Lots of people can go way faster. But it was fun, and felt good . . . mostly. . . .

Now, my biceps femoris, (aka the my hamstring) is in complete rebellion. I groan when I bend over or need help getting up from a chair. I even woke in my sleep because it hurt last night.

In short, I am now 82 years old and have somehow skipped the 41 years between my post-Ironman birthday and the rest home.


I really had been enjoying running, my first love, and I REALLY wanted to try to run fast. I had signed up for a February marathon and I was going to give my all to achieve a PR. Now? All is in doubt. If I'm going to run fast in February, I need to be putting in time on my feet now.

Anybody have any magical cures for the bad hamstring that don't involve giving up speed work?

Maybe this is my body's way of telling me it's time to do that swim block or get on the bike trainer.


Saturday, October 13, 2007


So, you see, I made it through all my Ironman training and the race itself without missing even a day due to injury. Now, I've tweaked my hammy running a 5k and some 400 repeats.

Seriously. 5 whole K's did me in.

Now, just a little PSA, FYI. If you apply Icy Hot on your high hamstring, . . . say . . . WAY up high at the junction of legs, hindquarters and naughty bits, your medicinal salve of choice may migrate to said adjacent areas creating more heat than you anticipated or even wanted.

I'm just sayin'

Consider yourself warned.

Friday, October 12, 2007


That's the question I had occasion to ask myself last night. "What would Nytro do?"

Memo to self: if you find yourself asking that question, be afraid. Be very afraid.

You see, because of the nature of the type of law that I practice, I don't have occasion to travel that much or to engage in client/business-related boondoggles. In fact, I am pretty much confined to my office where I wear an ankle bracelet and am rarely permitted any human contact.

But, this week, the firm had a retreat for the group of partners of which I am a part, involving two days at a resort with free food of the decadent and heavy variety, free drinks of the premium alcohol variety, and a hospitality suite.




Don't get me wrong; it wasn't all debauchery. I rolled out for a hilly six mile run yesterday morning, and rode a very hilly 30 mile ride with colleagues in the afternoon heat. I was also in bed by 11 o'clock.

HOWEVAH, there was that interval between 6 and 11 in which I consumed more free alcohol in a day than I typically consume in a lightweight, former teetotaller fortnight.

I was having fun, making business connections, and after all, "what would Nytro do?" Nytro would raise the flag high and get her mojito on.

But then this morning I tried to roll out to go to the gym for a strength workout.


Is this what they call an offseason?

I hate everyone.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


One of my studly, Texas team mates (who shall remain nameless) has a problem. Even though her body is a highly tuned triathlon MACHEEN, she has a penchant for filling her nutritional needs with **gasp** fast food and vending machine fare.


Having no shame whatsoever, she even posts photographs of herself ordering death wrapped in paper, eating heart disease on a plate, drinking stroke in a cup.



Recently, she sank to an all-time low. She blogged about getting into a fistfight with a vending machine over snack food.

I could take it no longer. The triathlon gods spoke to me. I had a prophetic mission. Oh sweet baby Jesus of the vending machine, put a hedge between our friend (who shall remain nameless) from the satanic temptation of garbage, processed food.


So, I commented on her blog, and she replied, "Ok, greyhound... pressure's on. What is YOUR advice for fueling before & during a long bike ride? Gels & fruit aren't enough for me!"


Well, when it comes to nutrition, Bolder might be a better source of info. He is the king of all things Paleo as well as the backslider concerning all things Ben & Jerry. Many is the hawt tri-chica who has consulted Sir Abs-a-lot, all with rave reviews.

As for me, I would observe that on matters relating to nutrition, your mileage may vary. Take Perpetuem, for example.



Perpetuem has carbohydrates, protein and a little bit of fat, supposedly to encourage your body to release fat for fuel. All it encouraged my body to do was store a gigantic Perpetuem burrito in my large intestine that released gaseous Perpetuem fumes during and after the race.


The point is, different strokes for different folks. That said, there are some basic principles that work well for most people engaging in a long workout or endurance event.

Before going out for a long training session, fuel up and top off your hydration. This means somewhere between 600 to 900 calories at least a couple hours before go time so that you have time to absorb the nutrients and (hopefully) do your business before you are on the road. What kind of calories? Something that burns clean--high quality carbohydrates with some protein in the mix as well. Complex carbohydrates will cause less of a glycemic reaction and will stick to your ribs better, but if you are racing, you want to avoid excess fiber.

Some things I have eaten to fuel up? Museli and soy milk or yogurt, cottage cheese, toast, waffles with peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, or on race day, Ensure. Just before kicking off, I often will have an energy gell just to top off the tank.

What I take during exercise depends upon whether I am biking or running. On the bike, most people can only absorb about 1 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour (if I am remembering my math correctly). That works out to about 280 to 350 calories per hour. For me that works out to about 300 calories per hour. Running, it is less, because of all the jostling. For me, about 200 calories per hour.

Of course, you expend much more than that if you are using any effort at all, but it does no good to consume more than you can absorb. That just leads to Delayed Gastric Emptying, cramps, stomach aches, barfing and other unpleasantness. You make up the deficit between what you expend and what you take on through muscle glycogen and fat. That's why we do all that moderate intensity training--to train the body to burn fat as fuel efficiently and to push out the threshold at which we will deplete all the muscle glycogen.

But how do you get the 300 calories per hour? Not through anything served under a heat lamp. A lot of folks I know mix up a bottle of carbo pro (or maltodextrin) and add some electrolytes like Nuun. I prefer to have my fuel and my hydration separated. Depending upon the conditions, I might need more hydration or less, more fuel or less, more electrolytes or less. So, I use Powergels for calories and electrolytes, salt tablets if it is hot and additional electrolytes are needed, and good ole plain water for hydration.


Powergels are 100 calories per packet, meaning if I take one every 20 minutes, I get 300 calories per hour and plent of electrolytes in a dose that I take often enough that I don't feel peckish in between hits like I did with my 150 calorie gels.

I know you say gels and fruit aren't enough, but two things. First, fruit sugars like sucrose tend not to mix an absorb well with other sugars and can actually make one ill. It just took one grape at IM Wisconsin and I was done with the fruit. In addition, I would hazard a guess you weren't fueling often enough, probably one gel every half our or even further apart. If you take one every 20 minutes, you can't possibly absorb any more calories.

After the ride, the general rule I have heard is to try for 1.2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour after the ride. The glycogen receptors to replace muscle glycogen are most . . . uhm . . . receptive . . . in the first 30 minutes. And, they absorb carbohydrates better and in higher quantities if they are coupled with protein in a 4:1, carbs to protein ratio.

I love the salty sour goodness of Orange Flavored Powerbar Recovery Drink.


Endurox is also pretty effective, but I don't like the taste as much.

But I also like to eat real food as soon as possible. As far as that goes, nothing has been proved a more effective recovery beverage than Chocolate Milk.

And alas, as much as I like my beer after a ride, alcohol is actually counterproductive. Your body recognizes beverage alcohol as a poison, and it turns its energy to detoxifying the poison at the expense of replacing muscle glycogen and recovering.

So, there you have it. Some general nutritional advice that will keep you well-fueled without having to use the words "Supersize me" or having to answer the question, "Do you want fries with that?"

Monday, October 01, 2007



Gentle reader, should consider this post to be a public service, in more ways than one. First, as remarkable as it may seem, this space you are reading now has been nominated as a top feminist blog by someone who should know her feminism. I was also tagged by a pirate to write on feminism. Because I'm all about the feminism, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month."

Second, don't be fooled by the bow tie and the show tunes. I am ALL guy. I'm feminist in a sort of misogynistic, men are pigs kind of way. Because I have a y chromosome and all the recreational equipment that goes along with that combo, breasts are many splendored things for me. They are a wonder of nature that defy physical laws like gravity and the confound the ability of any man to string together two rational thoughts. I mean, many's the time I have been overcome by . . . . uhm . . .

I'm sorry. What were we talking about?

Thus, you can put me very much in the "pro-boob" camp. Once and for all, I categorically take my stand as a breast supporter.

I come by this honestly and from a very young age.


But long after these amazing and captivating features of female beauty ceased to be a source of nutrition, they continued to be a source of fascination. Indeed as early as the 1970s, I had a heck of a time trying to play GI Joe with my elementary school friend because this was on the wall:


I was focused like a laser beam, but not on her eye, non on her smile and certainly not on GI Joe. Ah, the 1970s.


The 1980s saw no let up in my . . . . er, . . . support of all things boobie.


After all, I was a teenager in the 1980s.

SI cover

Sad to say, not much has changed in my fascination concerning the female form into what is now my fourth decade on the planet. Now, in my defense, any man who tells you he has grown up and is no longer 13-years-old in this regard is simply lying to you.

As I've gotten more athletic, I've been mesmerized by the athletic female who could undoubtedly break me in half.



But I digress. Let us not forget the ostensible purpose behind this post.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with all kinds of events including Races for the Cure all over the country. If you have never done one of these events, you should. The cancer survivors run or walk in pink, and for them, 5k truly is an iron victory.


I daresay, there is not one among us who has escaped being touched by cancer. Many have lost moms or sisters or (God forbid) daughters to breast cancer. An estimated 178,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States during 2007. An estimated 40,460 women will die from breast cancer. It is estimated that 2,030 men will be diagnosed and 450 men will die of breast cancer during 2007. In addition to invasive breast cancer, 62,030 new cases of in situ breast cancer are expected to occur among women in 2007. Of these, approximately 85 percent will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

But if caught early, breast cancer is one of the most treatable of all cancers. So, take charge of your boobies and get informed.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a great place to start in searching for solid information concerning breast cancer. There a great collection of information about the disease, including downloadable cards for questions you should ask your doctor on everything from finding a lump in your breast to receiving a cancer diagnosis. There is a collection of all the recommendations for early detection and screening from various sources. The Komen Foundation's particular recommendations for women without additional risk factors are:

From Age 20: MONTHLY (i.e., every month without fail) Breat Self-Exam

Ages 20-39: Clinical Breast Examination at least every 3 years.

Age 40 and Up: Mammography and Clinical Breast Examination every (EVERY) year.


If you don't know how to do a self-exam, there are downloadable cards with ez-to-follow directions. If it gives you the willies, get over yourself! It's your body, and who should touch it if not you? Certainly not me. Even though I am totally pro-boob, I'm not permitted to offer "hands on" assistance.


So, there you have it. One . . . or two of the most beautiful things on the planet are right there on your body, and you have the power . . . nay, the obligation, to protect beauty wherever you find it. Raise your awareness! Tell your friends! Guys, assist (er . . . . insist) upon a proper breast examination for your partners. Take up the call!



No need to thank me, gentlemen. I'm just here to help.