Monday, October 21, 2013


Now that we are in the off-season for triathlon, I've started obsessing about what the next on-season should look like. Inevitably, I start to think about efficiency and problems like overheating while racing. This invariably brings me around to a sad truth: my body fat level is too high. Excess body fat means that you're wearing a snuggy while racing. A 10-15 lb snuggy. Made out of space-age materials that make you really, really warm.

So, bright idea time! I want to trim up my carbohydrates just a wee bit so that when I race, I'll carry less weight and hopefully run a bit cooler too.

There's only one, tiny problem. I love the fix I get from ultra-processed carbohydrates. The more synthetic, the better. Sure, they're hell on your body, but they taste so darned good!

After having a pretty good day watching my dietary intake of calories and macro-nutrients, I got the jones this evening. Having sworn off (ran out of) carbohydrate-laden beer, I couldn't stop thinking about the bread I baked last weekend. Once I'd mentally given in to the idea of eating the bread, I mentally upped the ante and decided to go for the gold: melt-in-your-mouth super-ultra-mega-refined fried goodness Bugles. I try to stay away from them because after the first one, there is a good chance I'll wake up naked in a ditch in a couple of days.

My mouth started watering before I even had the bag open. I felt like a salivating dog in a lab experiment. I dumped a generous helping onto a plate.

Afterwards, as I sat thoughtfully munching on almonds and beef jerky, I wondered where my clothes went before I fell asleep in the ditch. I also realized that it is going to be a really tough off-season if I don't find a way to tame my cravings. Or at least indulge without suffering hypothermia.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Race with me!

Imagine if you got into your car and drove 55MPH for an hour and 17 minutes (1:17) without stopping. After 77 minutes you stop your car and decide to leave your car where it is an make your way back home by swimming, biking, and running. That’s a half ironman distance race. The race is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Long Run is not for sprinters

When I started running in the fall, I just ran the way that I intuitively ran. This worked out really well until I started running 7+ miles. It was then that I discovered that I ran like a sprinter, springing about on the balls of my feet.

As I started getting close to running a half marathon, my knees hurt and my calves were constantly in excruciating pain. I started reflecting and realized that I had developed bad habits that would hamper my distance running efforts. In a short run, you can get away with sloppy form. In a long run, your muscles will eventually become exhausted. At this point you are very likely to develop an injury.

One of the things I realized I was doing is swaying side to side and bouncing up and down. This was tiring my muscles faster because it took more work, and it was putting a lot of lateral stress on my knees. So, I started looking ahead to a stationary object in front of me. If I could keep that object from bouncing around, I knew that I was directing more of my effort into moving me forward.

At work, I’ve been exhausted lately. I have found it challenging to do the right things quickly enough. It is high time that I look ahead, find a landmark, and do my best to keep it in the center of my field of vision. I’ve moved away from the sprinter’s race, and it’s time that I start using techniques that lead to success in the Long Run.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Litter Box Miscalculation

IMG_1722We have two dogs. One is quite large, and the other is very small. You can see them in the picture below. You can tell which is which because the small one is on the left. That’s Abby. The black one is “A Boy Named Sue”.


IMG_1724Abby does not have accidents in the house, however when we crate trained her she had a difficult time holding her bladder all day. So, we did the only logical thing we could do. We litter trained her. The litter box on the left is Abby’s. You can tell that it’s hers because it is much smaller than the cat’s litter box. This makes sense because our cat is approximately four times the size of our little dog.

Litter training Abby has worked out really, really well. Of course, it was logical to litter train Sue when we got him. So that’s what did! When he was little, we taught him to go potty on command and then we transitioned him to the litter box. When we started leaving him in a large pen in the garage, we got him a large litter box since he had gotten so big. Everything generally seemed to work out ok.

We may have miscalculated something just a wee bit. To Sue, any litter box is a litter box. If you really have to pee, the litter box can save you. This works great when it’s the huge litter box out in the garage. The other night we heard the telltale sound of running water. Gushing, really. So we raced into the laundry room and found Sue making a valiant attempt to use the litter box, but failing miserably all over the floor.

Next time maybe we’ll reconsider the whole litter training thing when the dog is going to develop a gallon sized bladder.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Something yesterday reminded me of one of the greatest football players ever. What I remembered is his resilience. Even if you aren’t a football fan, I think you’ll find the following inspirational.
“Genetically, he seemed to be just like a rubber ball,” said Larry Ely, a linebacker. “When he got tackled, four . . . five . . . six people would have his legs, his neck, his arms, and he’d bounce back like a rubber ball to the huddle. How in the world did his ligaments and muscles take the pounding and bounce right back? You looked at him and wondered how any human being could be blessed with such a body.”
It wasn’t just genetics, he was sending a message. Walter Payton didn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction of having “gotten” to him. In an interview he once described taking a punishing hit. No matter how badly it hurt, he made a point not of just getting up, but of springing up. He wanted to make it clear that he could take whatever his opponents could dish out, and then some. He was indomitable by choice, regardless of circumstance.
Walter’s tips on making it for the long haul apply to us almost as certainly as they applied to him:

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I've done a terrible job adhering to my fitness goals over the last couple of weeks. In reflecting upon this, although I'm disappointed with myself, the primary goal is to get back on track. First, a quick recap of where I fell off the wagon.

Over the holidays I did two things that brought back an old, familiar friend-injury. First, the weather forced me to run on a treadmill. Instead of reading up on treadmill running first, I hopped on and assumed that it would be just like running outdoors. It turns out that it isn't quite. It is a lot more repetitive, which leads to repetitive strain injuries. Also, the treadmill that I used was a bit on the small side-which caused me to alter my stride. Between the two I started to experience some mild knee soreness. This would have been acceptable if I hadn't compounded the issue by swimming too much.

After swimming 73 laps over the holiday break, my knee soreness became knee pain. It felt like hyperextension. At first, I thought that it was strictly a result of the treadmill. Only after cutting a later swim short did I realize that I've done even less swimming over the last several years (um, about 25 years) than I have running.

Dedication, it appears, it about exercising exactly the right amount. I've been overdoing it again. I'll slow it down. After some reading and working with a heart rate monitor I've decided to alter my approach to training a bit. I'm going to broaden my cross-training, and cut back on my swimming distance for now. I'll also do only one long run per week, with two 45 minute runs during the week to run high intensity intervals. My aim is to reduce the risk of a repetitive strain injury while building up the muscles that I need in order to complete long endurance races. In short, I'll do less at a much higher intensity. I am also going to beef up my weight lifting and running specific exercises (clam shells and side lifts mostly).

Getting back on the fitness wagon should be relatively straightforward. I just have to convince myself that less is more when it comes to working out. The other problem, though, is that it will burn fewer calories. Watching my diet closely enough will be the next hurdle.