Monday, November 29, 2010

Gorilla Feets and Bare Foots

Run Day

time- 46 minutes
distance- eh, probably about five miles.*

my phone/gps/coffee maker/leash/web browser/text machine/illegal immigrant/SOSMS documenter's battery died.

After Thanksgiving, three airplane rides, and then an all day meeting at school, Dirtbag needed a run. Also, I just bought myself a brand spankin' new pair of Vibram FiveFingers TrekSports and my feet couldn't wait to try them out. The verdict? They are a little bit tight still, which is good and too be expected. They fit better than my other pair I think. The tops have some give and they will stretch into a perfect fit. The grippy on the bottoms will be great for all the off-roading the wife and I will be doing in New Zealand. They aren't as great for plain old road running as my KSOs, but they sure beat the hell out of a fancy pair of Nikes. I wish I'd had them during the Haleiwa Tri earlier this month. Would have been great on the trail run course. I've very happy with them and look forward to many miles.
To close out my run today I decided to continue my bare experiment. I waited until the end of the run instead of starting off bare because the side of the road I run back on has sidewalk and the side I run out on does not. So instead of spending nearly all of the ten minutes going, "Ow. Ow. Eep. Oh. Ow," and dodging pointy, evil rocks I got to run fairly smoothly for most of the eleven minutes with very little ouching. Much the better that way. Hopefully I avoided another blister too.
You'd be shocked how good it feels to run barefoot. Free is a cliche, but only because it's true. I felt like a little kid. Especially on the sidewalk or on grass. Its very neat. Without preaching, I think everyone should do two things. a) go try on a pair of FiveFingers and b) go walk around outside barefoot. Trust me, try it.
Tomorrow will either be a day off or a swim, I haven't decided yet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Brilliant Plan, Getting My Ass Kicked, & Shopping Bonus

Super Quick Vacation Dirtbag Update

I'm in Seattle, WA visiting the wife's family for Thanksgiving, but does that prevent the Dirtbag from getting some sweat going? Hell no! First, I had a brilliant plan. That plan? To swim the morning of our flight to Seattle. You see, my friends, We flew from Hawaii Wednesday night, red-eye, to Utah. From Utah we flew to Seattle. This is because Delta thinks Salt Lake is on the way to SeaTac. So I woke up early to get a swim in, had a good swim, the details of which I am not disclosing because I don't have my sheet with me and I can't remember exactly what my set was. I do remember that it was pretty hard, about 2050yds (maybe a little more), and I felt positive about it afterwards. My thinking was that getting up early, swimming, then teaching all day would help me sleep on the overnight flight.
OR it would just make me really, really, really sleepy but still unable to sleep because I am unable to get any real sleep on planes. So that was a small fail. But the flight was good at least.
Stitches' father, my father-in-law (how long before that stops sounding strange?), had been very excited we were coming not only because it meant he got to see his daughter (and favorite son-in-law), but also because said son-in-law is athletic and is willing to play raquetball with him. He's been playing for a while, I played a few times in college. And by played I mean Dirtbag Best Friend and I would go to the courts, make up what we were pretty sure were the rules, and then smack the crap out of the ball and sometimes eachother. Experience goes to the father-in-law. So does skill. And all three games we played. But by the end I at least was kind of keeping up. And I beat my brother-in-law a bunch of times solidly. It was fun. Wish 24HR Fitness had courts. Would be a fun off day training thing. I did manage to accidently tag him with the ball twice. So there's that...
And lastly today we got to go to one of my favorite places in the world. REI! This store is the awesome. It has everything. If we had one in Hawaii I'd be so happy. I'd also be so broke. We went specifically so I could get a new pair of Vibram FiveFingers. My KSOs are fine, I want another pair. I wanted to try on the TrekSports and the Bilikas. They did not have Bilikas, but the TrekSports were in stock and in black (Dirtbag Tough Guy Happy Dance + Batman Moment "Does it come in black?"). I met a guy at my last tri wearing the TrekSports who said he loved them. They have a little grip on the bottom, different from the KSO, and would have been great for the off-road course of the Haleiwa tri's run. They will also be great for hiking in New Zealand next month. Very exciting!
As an added bonus I got lucky wandering through the clearance section of the men's athletic gear. There, sitting quietly on the rack next to marked down tri tops, was a tri suit. I've been looking at these but haven't bought because a)they are more expensive and b)its easier to pee in a two piece. But I want one because they look cool and I'm a sucker like that. The price on the tage was $120, marked down to $35!!! That's right, that gets three exclamation points! Score. Mine. Thank you.
So now I have new tri gear for the new year. Next step, fixing Kratos up. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Think About the Future, Jack!

Dual purpose blog today, sports fans. Swim Workout first, then planning the future of Dirtbag Fitness.

Swim Day

1 x 200 Warm-up
5 x 100 1:20*
3 x 200 pull 3:15
2 x 300 4:30
1 x 150 Cool down

total yards- 2050

Decent 5am swim. I marked the 100s set because the time is obviously much too fast. I did that on purpose. Right now in my training is called building my base. My swim already has a solid base. The run and the bike need a lot of miles because that's how you get better. Swimming works the same for most people, but my swim is pretty solid. Its not super-fast, but we can build on this. So instead of stacking yards on top of yards, I'll do that when the next tri cycle starts up, I'm working on dropping my base hundred time. No triathlon swim is a sprint, but the faster I can get my pace, the better the swim time. So my plan for base training is doing 100s on the 1:20 until I can make all five. Then up it to seven. Then ten. Hopefully I can get it to 15 100s on the 1:20. If I can do that I'll be a happy Dirtbag. On this particular set I made the first two (ok, and then barely), then spent the next three hitting the wall, checking the watch, and cursing under my breath as I did what amounted to an open turn. Gotta get that average down. The rest of the time standards actually felt slow comparatively though. So I've got that going for me.

Thinking About The Future

I am not done with the triathlon thing. I'm just getting in to it. The Haleiwa tri was the last of the year and that gives me plenty of time to prepare for my next one. I have two triathlons planned right now, one A race (races will be leveled from A-C, A being very important, B being a training race, not going for a Personal Best, C being just for fun) and one B race, as well as a C with the wife (kinda).
My big goal and my A race for the next six months is the Honolulu Triathlon on May 15th. This will be two things: first, it will be my biggest race in terms of number of participants. Second, it will be my longest race. They do a Sprint and an Olympic distance of this event and I plan on signing up for the Olympic. Where as a sprint is a 500yd swim, a 12-ish mile ride, and a 3 mile run, and Olympic is a 1500yd swim, a 20 mile ride, and a 6 mile run. So basically twice as far as what I've done so far. Training will be intense. I'm still looking for a good training plan to use and modify. Pretty sure its going to kick off right when we get back from New Zealand. Registration opens in December I think, and I'll need to be paying attention. I bet it fills up quick.
A month before the Honolulu Tri, though, will be the Lanikai Sprint Tri on April 17th. This will be a B race. I'm going to use it as a tune-up for the Honolulu race the following month. So I'll be pushing it but mostly it will be used as a measure for how training is progressing. Registration has opened for this race and I'm hoping it doesn't fill. Neither of the ones I've done so far have, so I'm not too worried, but I should sign up sooner rather than later.
And my last planned race is also the soonest. That is the Great Aloha Run, an eight mile run from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium on February 21st. This wasn't actually my idea. This was Stitches' suggestion. She wants to walk it and I'm all for that. But I don't want to walk eight miles. It will be better for me to run it. This is a total C race. Its going to be in the middle of the start of my training cycle, its two miles longer than my race run will be, and I'm going have fun with it. It'll be good for me. I know I can run that far, I haven't yet though. Stitches is hunting down people to walk with so I don't feel guilty not walking it with her. Should be a good time.
So that's the future of Dirtbag Fitness friends. I haven't mentioned this in a while and this seems like a good time, donations are still welcome and accepted. They will be put immediately towards registration for the Honolulu and Lanikai Tris.
I have another morning swim planned tomorrow before school and getting on a plane to Seattle for Thanksgiving. Happy Birthday Swim to me!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fixing Flats & Running Naked

*Fair Warning: This is long because we are covering two eventful workouts in one blog*

Bike Day

time- 36 minutes
distance- 11.45mi

Today I went in a new direction. You see, this was my last ride on Sandra B., the bike Obi Tri Kenobi lent me oh so many months ago. So I headed left when I normally veer right. This takes me through Wahiawa and down Kam highway. I've never gone this way before. Call it an experiment ride to see how far/long it is to the gym. If it seems easy enough then I will consider taking my talents to 24 Hour Fitness on the bike for swim days sometimes. And it seems easy enough. The gym is only five miles from home, if that, and aside from a smallish climb its an easy ride. The only thing preventing me from riding to swim days now is fear of disappearing bike.
I went straight past the gym and down where I would run early in my tri training all the way to where the road ends at a nice little cul de sac community I could never afford to live in. So I turned around came headed home thinking about how slow I felt and how I need to build a bunch of base miles before I start my next training cycle and wondering how I'm going to do that will all the traveling we have coming up.
Next thing I know the front tire is going woosha woosha wobble and I'm realizing that after many month of riding I finally got a flat. And on a day when I need to be home soon so we can head to the beach for my birthday bbq (Happy birthday to Dirtbag in three days!). So I call in the Dirtbag Pit Crew (aka Stitches aka Team Dirtbag Sexy Wife, Nutritionist, Cheer Team, and Team Photographer) to come get me. I fiddle with the tire on the sidewalk for a while but I've never done this before and I've only seen it done once so I'm not trying all that hard. Plus not only is the front flat but so is the back. WTF, road? W.T.F. Soon Sexy Wife picks me up and home we go.
Later, being of the YouTube generation, I use the internets to find some very helpful videos of people changing a tire, study them, rewatch them, take copious notes, and then fake my way through both. I had a little trouble with the first, I don't think it was seated properly, but got it on. So now I know how to change a flat in a blazing fast really slow but I could get it done. I'm glad it didn't happen during either race. That would have ruined my day.

Run Day

time- 30.40 minutes
distance- 3.31mi

This was an experimental run day. I ran naked.
Not completely naked, obviously. Society isn't ready for that. Plus I might trip myself (hahahahha, get it? hahahahahooooo...anyway).
I've been doing quite a but of reading about barefoot running and I've written about it in this space a few times. Well, being between races and training cycles and building base miles right now I decided now was a good time to give it a go. I tucked my VFFs into my shorts, flexed my bare feet, and set off.
Ouch, ouchie, ooo, ow. The road is literally covered in little sharp rocks. Its practically paved with them! And those bastards kind of hurt. So my feet got tender quickly. But I had decided before I left that I would give it an honest effort for ten minutes and then I would put on my shoes. Those ten minutes went fast, and some of the time was very pleasant. Barefoot running on grass or on a smooth piece of concrete is a new and connecting experience. Your body feeds back to you all the information you miss out on in big Nikes or even my barely there VFFs. My form tightened up and my stride became what I ask it to become when I normally run. Its impossible to over-run or over stride barefoot. Your body won't let you. It hurts too much. I spent some time running along the white line on the side of the road to keep off the sharpest of the sharp and developed an eye for planning ahead.
At the ten minute mark (ok, at 11.40, I was trying to get to the end of the road) I stopped and put on my shoes to finish the run. If there's one thing I've learned from going minimalist its everything in small steps. Do little for a while, let the body adjust and strengthen, then do a little more. Rush it and you'll get hurt. So I stuck to a short time bare.
Putting on the VFFs felt great! My form, which I loved barefoot, stayed strong. I got my cadence up to a good aerobic pace and tried to put in a solid 20 minutes, which I think I did. It took me eleven and a half minutes to get to the end of the road and when I'm running normally it takes about nine, and I made that time up over the rest of the run.
If I've learned anything from the Mythbusters beside, "If it doesn't work, add more explosives," its that one result does not equal a sample size. This will not be my last barefoot run. I think I'll do somewhere between five and ten before I make up my mind about it one way or another. Right now I'm working on a nice blister at the tip of one toe and my soles feel tenderized but those should both work themselves out as my feet get used to this new punishment. We shall see where this takes your favorite Dirtbag.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haleiwa Sprint Tri 2010 Race Report

Two down, sports fans. Two triathlons in under a month, how does that sounds, huh? Sounds to me like going from zero to a lot pretty quick. And I'm happy I did it like that. There's no better way to learn something than to do it over and over. And now, it being November and all, the triathlon season has ended. This gives me time to start building a more solid base going into next year (and I do have plans for next year, which I will get to later).
This tri started different from the last. And I mean right away. My stomach, which was near perfect for Ko'Olina, was not happy at 4am Sunday. I'm sure it was a combination of nerves and eating a little too much of the veggie pasta the night before. Either way, it was not a happy morning for the Dirtbag tummy. This is something that sometimes must be suffered through. It always goes away once the event starts. It's the waiting that sucks.
The swim was a 400m open water mass start. I'm going to say that last part again for those of you who need things repeated. Mass start. Every single athlete competing started at the same time. All 153 of us sprinting towards that first buoy. It was a madhouse. Arms and elbows and feet and hands everywhere. Splashing, kicking, pulling and sometimes grabbing. I'm pretty sure I elbowed someone in that opening sprint. Not on purpose, they just got too close to my stroke and got to feel the power of the Tattooed Wake as a result. (That's right, my nickname has a swimming-specific nickname. What?)
The swim course was a triangle from one point on the beach, right turn around a buoy, straight to another buoy, right turn, back to the beach. A lot of people started near the exit, which didn't make sense to me because Mr. Pythagorean says that means they are swimming further. So I joined the clever people down the beach. I had a straight shot at the first buoy. This helped me be in the front third of the people making the turn. I got a little off track from buoy two to the beach and swam slightly further than I should have. Have to keep popping the head up to sight on the cones at the beach and that slows you down. But the swim was still pretty good.
As you might be able to tell from the picture, there was quite a run from the swim exit to the transition area. My T1 went alright. I could be faster. Practice practice.
I got out on the bike and got to getting. It felt better than Ko'Olina almost immediately. Factors contributing to this are the lack of swim-run-swim-run tired and experience. I set off in the front third of the cyclists and, just like last time, was promptly passed by slower swimmers but much better cyclists. This was expected. What was not expected was that I managed to hold my own in a small group that eventually formed around me.
The ride was three laps through Haleiwa town, with the roads blocked to traffic. It's not a difficult route by any means and I rode it a few times prior to the race to familiarize myself with it. I would get passed but I passed plenty of people as well. Sure, a lot of them were Cruiser division guys on their single speeds, but still. What ended up happening by lap three was a group of three or four guys, myself included gathered. We started doing the I pass you, you pass me back, we both pass a slower guy, etc...thing. It was kind of fun and I'm sure it made me faster. I've never ridden in a group before. So I'd say a race is a good time to start. Yeah?
T2 was also just ok. Slower again than I would have liked.
I set off on the run feeling like my pace was not where it should be. I just felt like my quick feet weren't all that quick. Nothing from there on out happened to change my mind. The entire run was off road and nearly the entire run was on a trail of sticks, rocks, and sand. Normally this would not be any problem. I run in Vibram Fivefinger KSOs. There is very little between me and the ground. Not that I'm complaining. I love my shoes and wouldn't trade them for anything. It's just that a few times I thought to myself, "Oh, going to remember that rock tomorrow." And I did.
The last mile of the race was on the sand coming back to the park. I'd like you to go to the beach and go for a run. I'll wait...
Back? Ok, good. Hard, innit it? Yeah, sure is. Screws with your stride, your cadence, and your head. Running in soft sand will suck your will to live if you let it. I'm happy to say I never stopped running. I criss-crossed the beach looking for more solid lines and running on rock slabs and fighting through that. This whole time I was passing one or two people and being passed by one or two (or three or maybe four) people.
Like Ko'Olina, I finished as hard as I could. I really didn't feel as muscle tired as I would have liked though. I think if the run had been on solid ground or a more traditional track I would have done better and felt it more. Not to say I didn't feel it. I just think it could have been harder. Or maybe I should have dug deeper during the run...could be it too.
I finished 71st overall, 13th in my division of 23, with better cycle and run pace times than last time. I'm not complaining about anything. I'm very happy with the outcome and can't wait to tri again. (Get it? Ha, I'm so funny!)
Tomorrow or the next day I'll post my thus far plans for next year and will continue to track my workouts. I'll probably get back on the bike some time this week, unless Obi Tri wants it back tomorrow. Then I won't ride until I get Kratos all sorted out. A run is also forthcoming.
Thanks for reading, thanks for all your support!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haleiwa Sprint Tri- Race Results

Just like last time, I'm tired right now and don't feel like writing a race report. That will get done some time in the next few days along with the pictures from the race getting posted. Not as many of those as last time so it might be a Double Bonus Pictures/Race Report just for you! I know, super-awesome, right?
Anyway, the race was fun, it went well, and running on the beach is hard. Results are here. That link takes you directly to the page with my time right at the top.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tri Again

Run/Gear Prep Day

time- 10 minutes

Nice easy run today. Felt good, smooth, easy. The pieces are there for a good race tomorrow. Lets hope I can put it together.
The race plan is pretty similar to last time. I have a better idea of what I'm in for, so that helps. I need to work the swim right away and create some separation from the main pack as quickly as possible. This will give me smoother, calmer water to stretch my stroke in, which in turn will help me go faster. Also, it will give me a chance to have a clear view of the buoys I should be aiming for and turning at. Last time it felt natural to hit the water racing. Guess doing it for so long helps. I expect to be able to use that to my advantage. With the swim so short, only 400m, and with the two turns making it a triangle, I'm not positive how its going to go, and how able I will be to create that gap, but I hope for good things. Just have to hit it hard.
Getting out in front some will help me going into T1 as well. I've been a bad triathlete and haven't worked my transitions at all since the last race. So they will probably be slow, but not awful. Like last time, the point is to have fun and get some more experience. I don't see myself looking at my post-race time and thinking, "Damn, if only T1 and T2 were a few seconds quicker!" That's what I'll be thinking after the ride.
A big, huge eye-opening happened last time during the ride as I watched racer after racer fly by. I knew, and still know, that I don't have the miles yet to expect much from the bike leg, but it's still hard to watch people pass. At least I know this course. It's three laps in my backyard, a road that I've ridden a couple of times. There are some spots where the highway connects to the bridge and there is a bump which hurts, and I know where those are and where to be to avoid the bump. And there's a short, but kind of steep climb at the back half of each lap. It's probably no more than a quarter mile, but it feels steep to my newbie legs. I'm going to try getting up in the saddle and stomping up this portion, which I've been working on. That is faster for sure, but it burns more energy. So we'll see how it goes. I also plan on spending the bike portion down in the drops. It feels faster, and feel goes a long way mentally for me. Three laps. 12 miles.
T2 should be quick and easy. This I have gone over during my brick workouts the last two weeks. As long as my piggies find their sockets I should be just fine. Also, I need to remember to hydrate coming in to T2 on the bike so I'm good for the run.
The run should be an adventure mostly because the last mile is along the beach. I expect this to burn. Hopefully the sand will be firmed up some by all the people who passed me during the ride. Ha, suckers! That was my plan all along. They're working for me now.
My run goal is a quick cadence, good pace. I feel more and more confident every run and I'm going to try to set off with quick feet right away. I can hold a fast pace for three miles. I am mentally tough and I have its measure physically. *insert other tough guy pump-up mind games here*
I'm looking forward to this race. It will be good for me to have two tris under my belt going in to the off season. Goal #1: Push Hard All the Way. Goal #2: Have Fun.*
Early morning tomorrow. Let's get some again.

*stated goal order may not reflect goal importance

Friday, November 12, 2010

Early Bird Brick and BIKE NEWS!!!

Brick 500yds/30min

500yds- approx 7:30

30 minutes stationary

Easy morning workout today to get the muscles moving for any length of time once more before Sunday's race. Tomorrow is a simple 10 minute run and gear check. My swim felt nice, strong and smooth. This is good because I basically got in, swam 500 yards, and got out. So the swim was the warm-up. I don't know how much warm-up time there will be Sunday morning so its good to know I can swim that far that well cold. And I was cruising, could have pushed much harder. An easy 500 averaging 1:30/100yds isn't anything to crow about, but it does make Dirtbag happy about his swim.
The bike was a get out of the pool, throw on shorts, get on a stationary bike, watch SportsCenter and try to care about college football for 30 minutes. I don't know how far I went. I tried to keep my cadence around 80-90rpm, but that's all. Easy 'nuff.
On to bigger news.
I bought a bike today! Hooray! A Felt F1x, which is technically a cyclecross bike but it'll do. All that means is the tires are a little wider than ideal (not a biggie, they work and I can always buy new tires), and it has brake levers on the tops as well as on the drops as part of the shifter (the pictures will explain, and its something I'll get fixed right away).
I've look at a lot of bikes up to this point and this was the first one my instincts didn't run from. To be clear, I don't know much about bikes and that made me nervous about buying used. But used = affordable and all I really needed are a pair of wheels. But sitting on this one, having Stitches hold up the back tire while I push the pedals around and shift through the gears, play with the bells and whistles, it all felt pretty all right. Not perfect, but good.
It has a short list of fixes before its ridable. The brake pads are worn to nothing, so those need to be replaced, which shouldn't be much. And it needs the right kind of pedals. But Cycle Dirtbag is the man and is putting a pair of his in the mail soon, along with the corresponding clips. So I should be solid there. So, when the pedals come in I'll take it to my local bike shop, have them remove the extra brake levers, retape the bars (this will need to be done after removing the brake levers), put the new pedals on, and get me all sized up and fitted to it. If money comes in for Christmas and/or birthday I'll also buy myself a pair of clip-on aerobars that Island Tri & Bike can attach as well. This sounds like a lot but its really not and its all easy stuff.
I think I did well. I hope I did. Here are some pictures:

See what I mean about the extra brake levers in the center? Those will go bye-bye.

Cyclecross pedals are no good to me. Go Cycle Dirtbag!

Mmmm, comfy.

Yeah, that's a tail light. That'll go.

I have to admit to loving the color scheme. It's pretty badass looking. I think I may name it Kratos. Why? Because he's the God of War. Kratos will strike fear into the hearts of the other triathletes (in my head):
No one is angrier than Kratos.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Shall Call It...Mini Brick

Brick Day 35/25

time- 35 minutes
distance- 9.6mi

time- 25 minutes
distance- 2.45

time- 1 hour
distance- 12.05mi

Nice and easy brick today. The race is this week so this is a stretch it out, work on kinks brick. It felt good. I didn't work too hard, heart rate never got very high. The run was a super cruise, but having a super cruise run and still covering two and a half miles is happy Dirtbag.
Now, on a super-serious personal note, the Team Dirtbag family would like to send our thoughts across the ocean to Dirtbag Best Friend's Dirtbag Wife (obviously she needs a new nickname) and her family. We're all here for you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wherein I Almost Get Hit By a Car

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
5 x 100 50-5,7,9; 50- fingertip drag- 1:45
4 x 200 - 3:00
1 x 150 Cool down

Total yards- 1600

My swim felt strong today, which is nice going into the week of the race. I made all the sets solid and even got faster as the 200 set went on. Body position felt right for the most part, pull felt strong.
Course, that could be from the adrenaline shooting through my system because some douche nearly killed me in the gym parking lot. I was crossing the street in the crosswalk, which has a stop sign. I was watching this guy ripping through the parking lot way faster than he should have been. But I'm the the crosswalk, behind a stop sign. It'll be fine.
I keep an eye on him as he fast approaches. Dude is not even thinking about his brakes. He flies flies FLIES through the stop and the crosswalk. The only reason he didn't hit me was because I realized at the last minute, "Nope, he ain't stopping or swerving," and jumped out of the way. Literally. I literally had to leap from where I was walking to the curb, spinning a quarter turn in the air. If I had not leapt he would have hit me. If I hadn't spun he would have still clipped me. Guy on the sidewalk saw the whole thing and was yelling at the driver/attempted killer while I was still in the air. Dude never slowed down, didn't turn around, nothing. Probably has no idea what he almost did today.
So, while my swim was good, I'm kinda just happy I was able to swim today. Almost hit by a car on a SWIM DAY. What kinda shit is that?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Transition Day Deep Thought

I'm not really writing anything today. Instead I'm going to hand it over to the amazing Malcolm Gladwell and quote a discussion he had with Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy from's Page 2) back in March of '06. I read this portion of their chat and it really affected me. I think its a point that can be carried through every facet of life as it explains thoughts that float through the head during an especially difficult workout (or any trying time) and felt the urge to share.

Gladwell: This is actually a question I'm obsessed with: Why don't people work hard when it's in their best interest to do so? Why does Eddy Curry come to camp every year overweight?

The (short) answer is that it's really risky to work hard, because then if you fail you can no longer say that you failed because you didn't work hard. It's a form of self-protection. I swear that's why Mickelson has that almost absurdly calm demeanor. If he loses, he can always say: Well, I could have practiced more, and maybe next year I will and I'll win then. When Tiger loses, what does he tell himself? He worked as hard as he possibly could. He prepared like no one else in the game and he still lost. That has to be devastating, and dealing with that kind of conclusion takes a very special and rare kind of resilience. Most of the psychological research on this is focused on why some kids don't study for tests -- which is a much more serious version of the same problem. If you get drunk the night before an exam instead of studying and you fail, then the problem is that you got drunk. If you do study and you fail, the problem is that you're stupid -- and stupid, for a student, is a death sentence. The point is that it is far more psychologically dangerous and difficult to prepare for a task than not to prepare. People think that Tiger is tougher than Mickelson because he works harder. Wrong: Tiger is tougher than Mickelson and because of that he works harder.

To me, this is what Peyton Manning's problem is. He has the work habits and dedication and obsessiveness of Jordan and Tiger Woods. But he can't deal with the accompanying preparation anxiety. The Manning face is the look of someone who has just faced up to a sobering fact: I am in complete control of this offense. I prepare for games like no other quarterback in the NFL. I am in the best shape of my life. I have done everything I can to succeed -- and I'm losing. Ohmigod. I'm not that good. (Under the same circumstances, Ben Roethlisberger is thinking: maybe next time I stop after five beers). I don't know if I've ever felt sorrier for someone than I did for Manning at the end of that Pittsburgh playoff game.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You Call That a Sprint?

Run Day

Time- 45 minutes
Distance- 4.79mi
Intervals- 5min run, 5min sprint, 5min jog

Not a great run today. Not awful, but not great. My first cycle of intervals always feels good, and then it gets harder and harder to get the speed up for the next run and sprint, and then the third cycle feels so much slower than the first. Sprinting is hard. Its also hugely in my head, I know. There's a barrier there for me. I think part of it is still being run shy. I hurt my foot trying to run too fast. It doesn't hurt at all now, but I know in my head I'm thinking about how I might hurt it again. And I'm running much better than I was then. My stride is smoother, cleaner. So it was an ok run.
Also, this was the last really challenging workout of my abbreviated training cycle. Next week starts the taper and seven days from this moment I'll have completed my second triathlon. Yay!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Very Muddy Dirtbag

Ride Day

time- 1hr 41mi
distance- 26.48mi

So it stopped raining for long enough for me to set out this morning, but it had been raining hard since last night. We all know what that means, right campers? That's right, MUD! Road bikes have no fenders so all that spray goes right up my front and back. I didn't realize how much so until I stopped at a red light and pulled my handkerchief out (I get sniffly when I'm riding sometimes and its a choice between having a handkerchief or sniffing for 90 minutes. I choose nose rag. Moving on.) and blow my nose. When I take the rag away its got mud on it. Which means either a) GAAAA! I'M BLEEDING MUD FROM MY NOSE!! or b) I'm covered in mud spatter. Going with b.
I felt strong for the first three fourths of today's ride. Pretty good cadence, nice speed, all that jazz. Before I started back up Pineapple Hill (I just realized a few days ago that's what cyclists call the road from Dole Plantation to Haleiwa. Makes sense. It's also a pretty famous climb on Oahu. Right in my backyard. Go figure.) I took the route through Haleiwa that I think is how the race goes next Sunday. It's three laps and should be ok. There are some short climbs which might hurt some in a race setting, but its no biggie. I'm trying to be positive here. If you look on the jogtracker map above the race course is that narrow oval that shoots north.
Climbing Pineapple Hill kinda always sucks, and today was no exception. I went away in my head a little bit, which doesn't help the speed, but made it up ok. That climb, for me, is a mental workout as much as it is physical. I also know that when I have time for a real training cycle I'll be trying to get two and three scoops of Pineapple Hill in on one ride. These thoughts do not help during a climb.
Like I said at the beginning, it poured on the way home. I hoped this would wash some of the mud off the bike but so such luck. Mega-wipe down under cover of carport. Run tomorrow, then I'm back into the pre-race taper week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cap Fail

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
3 x 200 Pull 3:15
4 x 300 4:30
1 x 150 Cool down

Cap fail at 5am today. I went to pull my cap on next to the pool and riiip. Damn. Damn damn. I threw a micro-tantrum (3-5 seconds, soundless, kicking the air and stomping my foot) then checked my ponytail in its double rubber bands and got in the water anyway. I used to pack a spare in my bag but stopped bringing it a few weeks ago. Guess I won't be doing that again. The hair really wasn't a problem. There was no swim, breathe, choke on hair, drown. It was more that I had to tighten my goggles to fit better and that's pretty much it. Dirtbag encounters minor controversy and perseveres!
The swim actually felt good this morning. Made all the times with very little trouble, was able to push at a decent level, felt strong. My stroke still isn't great. I'm not finishing past my hip like I should be, but it's kind of late to fix that before the race. Its something I'm making a note of, trying to stay on it, and will focus more on later.
Feeling good. The foot didn't hurt at all during the run, didn't hurt during my rest day...and now its sore. D'oh! Guess that's what I get for not icing post-run. Looking forward to my next race and starting to look ahead. And wishing a bike would show up on craigslist.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mud Brick

Brick Day- 65/30

time- 65 minutes
distance- 18.17mi*

time- 30.23 minutes
distance- 3.44mi

time- 1:35.23
distance- 21.61

*I'm guessing this is right. I rode the same course as the last time I did this brick, so it should be right. I just didn't check the jogtracker at the transition today.

Great brick today. Rode the same course as the last time I had it, it felt ok, not super fast but not too slow. I got up Kolekole in 15 minutes, which is a minute slower than the last time. Pretty good considering I haven't done it in a while. Like Monday, I tried to spend a bunch of time down on the drops. Its less comfortable, but should be some tenths of a second faster. But when I sit up on the top of the bars I feel bigger and slower. So I guess I'll be spending more time trying to be low, and that will be my race position. We'll see how that works out.
Also, it was kind of rainy today but it never rain- rained. Just enough to cool me off and get the road kind of muddy. I finished with mud up my front and up my back. I'm a dirty, dirty triathlete. Oh no.
And the run felt great! That's right, in italics! Nice and smooth, good cadence, never really felt too tired, and I picked it up a little at the end. Check my distance against the last time I did this brick. It's actually a little over a tenth of a mile further. Not much, I grant you, but some. SOme is good. Especially since I haven't run since the race and haven't run really hard for a week prior to the race.
This was a good brick. I feel pretty strong. I'm fairly sure I'm going to have a good swim, get lit up on the ride, and have a good-for-me run. And that works. My time is going to kind of screwy to compare to the first one because the last mile of this run is on the sand, and the swim and ride portions are shorter, but we'll be able to look at my splits and pacing and see how I did in comparison.
Dirtbag tired now. Sushi was a yummy dinner.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trying to Get IT Back

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
4 x 150 Pull- 2:30
1 x 200 3:00
1 x 300 4:30
1 x 400 6:00
1 x 300 4:30
1 x 200 3:00
1 x 150 Cool down

Total yardage- 2150

Not a great swim today. Didn't have any feelings of swimming downhill, when the body position feels right and the stroke feels fast and effortless. I also barely made my time standards. I was hitting the wall, checking my watch, and going again. This is annoying because I was lighting up sets like this a few weeks ago. Guess that super-light week followed by a week off knocked me down some.
I also think something else is at play here. Post-race comedown. I'm not as amped about this next one as I was about the first. That makes sense, I spent three months getting ready to race. Now I'm trying to turn it around in two weeks. Probably not going to happen like it just did. And thats ok. I signed up for the next one to get another rep under my belt, and to have fun. It should be fun.
AND my ego is a little messed up as far as the swim goes. I was 10th overall in that race, 6th in my wave getting out of the water. That's pretty kick ass. It draws a line where on one side I want to get better and increase my advantage coming out of the water and on the other I feel too good and it makes it hard to focus on that discipline when there is so much I need to improve in my bike and run.
I have to get my eye back. But its only two days in to my new training cycle, as abbreviated as it will be. No time to panic. But I do need to get pumping.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Bike Day

Time- 1hr 20min
Distance- 21.05mi

Back on the bike again today after school. Down to Haleiwa, around town, then back up the hill. I had to get back on the bike. Why? you ask. Simple, my curious reader: I have registered for another tri. And this one is in two weeks. That's right, I had so much fun at my last one I decided to get one more in before the season ends. I'll be doing the Haleiwa Triathlon on Nov. 14th. It is overall a shorter race than the last one, with a 400m swim, a 12mi ride, and a 3.1mi run. So not much shorter, but shorter. I decided to buy another $80 shirt because I want to get as much experience as I can doing these. That way I can get better faster. I'm already in shape from the last race, I took a full week off afterwards to be sick, recover, and spend time with the family that was on island. And now I'm back at it for an abbreviated training cycle. Pretty much, not counting today, I'll be rewinding my training plan two weeks and going from there. Today was supposed to be T2 according to the plan, but I thought I would be better served getting out and getting some miles back on my legs. This was a good idea.
The first workout back after any kind of break is always the toughest and even though it was a short break I'm still not 100% over the cold I let overtake me Monday. So the ride was kind of rough. It felt ok, not fantastic, but not all that fast either. I actually think I pulled pretty well up the hill. I'm trying to get comfortable down on the drops rather than up on the top of the bars. That makes me a little more aerodynamic and puts me in more of a race position. Nearly everyone who passed me Sunday was down on aerobars. I don't have those, so I'm making due. But getting used to riding on the drops will, I think, help me make the transition to aerobars when I find my own bike.
Funny story, on the way up the hill today I passed a guy on another bicycle. He pulled up on my wheel and we got to talking. My first on-bike conversation. Check. He called up to me, "Hey, you borrow that bike?"
"Uhh, yeah."
"From a guy named Obi Tri Kenobi?"
"Holy crap, yeah. How'd you know?"
"I borrowed that bike from him back in August for a century. Thought it looked familiar."
Dude turned out to be a sailor from Florida who knew Obi Tri through friends. He was back on island doing a lap on a rental. Part of our conversation was, "Man, I hate this hill after 86 miles." And I thought, "Dude, I'm not a fan of this hill after 12 miles." He told me he's ridden a century (that's 100 miles straight through, one day) once a month since '07. And sometimes its hard for him because he has to use leave time to do it. Another crazy person! Nice guy though. He dropped back after a mile or so to conserve energy and I surged ahead. My first pass! Check.
So I'm back at it for another two weeks. After this I'm looking at a tri in April for number three unless something shows up on the calendar later. I may sign up for a 10k or a cycle race or a swim to get some more racing under my belt between now and then. Almost forgot how much I love racing. Also need to find myself a ride. Craigslist is less than helpful, but a huge tease. This tri should be fun though. If you check out the course description you'll see that the final mile of the run is on the beach. Ohhh, sand running after a 400m swim, a 12mi ride, and 2mi of running! Yay! This might feel like burning. But in a good way.
I'm worried I'm hooked on this whole triathlon thing. Here we go again.