Friday, October 25, 2002

The mist rose from the ground and for a moment, place wasn't. Gertrude Stein said 'there is no here, here' but this moment was the antithesis to that. 'here is everywhere, here'. And for that one moment, as the lights bounced off of that rising mist, and the trails of cars streamed in and out of the parking lot, things were right. very right.

'saying i love you makes me think it through and grab the words, check them in my head, make sure they mean what I think they mean. They reinforce. They tell me what I need to here. I. Love. You. I don't love anyone else, I mean I do. I love my mom. I love my sister. I'm even pretty sure that I love my Aunt Grace, though she's a bit off.'

'shh. i know'

they continued to walk and his finger stroked the keys in his pocket, wrapping the lariat around his fingers in preperation of unlocking the car door. For whatever reason, instead of unlocking his door (which unlocks all of the doors in the car) he prolonged the moment and unlocked the door for her. She stepped in and he did a little dance. Just a couple of steps, but enough to express his feelings. Reaching his door, he saw that it was already being opened for him.

'that's not the way it works!'

She giggled at this, and he entered. His attempt at chivalry foiled in a way. There were still bits of rain coming down and the streams coming down the windshield made the light from parking cars dance and leap magically across the window.

the car started, music was chosen (very carefully, of course) and slowly he started to back out, stopping two times for cars darting down the parking aisles.

'wonder what Gina is up to. Is it ok to call? I mean, when does our date end?'

'no, it's fine! I wonder if her hair extensions worked out ok.'

'really only one way to find out. hmm, her cell phone keeps ringing. better try the house.'

'there you are! Why didn't you answer your cell? Anyway, Paul and I were on our way back from a movie...'

'you wouldn't like it Gina!'

conversation always intertwined. Sometimes it turned into a bit of a dance, tripping over each others words, finishing sentences, interjecting with new comments. Tumultuousness doesn't really begin to describe it, but somehow it worked as a viable way of communication.

'yeah, it's probably not the type of thing you'd enjoy but it was interesting, um...'

'It's a non Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler movie. he's a very angry guy'

'will you let me talk?'

He shut up and let her talk, but while driving, he realized that he felt a bit like Willie Lohman in Death of a Salesman, and it scared him.

'I don't want to be Willie Lohman.'

'what dear?'

'I feel like Willie Lohman right now, and as good as it feels, I know that I don't want to be him. If anything I don't want to be him.'

'who's Willie Lohman?'

'he's the main character in Death of a Salesman, Al Pacino, no, Robert... um... Dustin Hoffman played him in the tv movie.'

this seemed to passify Julie and she went back to talking with Gina, but it was still bouncing around his head.

'In the play, he was happy at these little moments that to him seemed like it summed life up. His life wasn't ok, and things were actually pretty horrible, but these little moments made things happy for a while. That's not the way things are. I mean, life is good. Life at the moment is pretty great.'

As they drove, he came to the conclusion that he needed to spend the rest of his life with this girl, and he tried to figure out a way to say it. Flowers? nah. Food? no. In a way, he wanted to stop at a convenience store without saying anything and come back with something he could tie into a ring. He feared that she wouldn't quite understand, though up to this point she had dealt with his idiosyncracies pretty well. She did make it through Ironman.

He decided, quite suddenly that with 20 minutes to go, he could stop at Target.

'where are we sweetie?'

'Ok. This is going to sound really crazy. I don't even quite understand it myself. This isn't a proposal. Not yet. But on the way back just now it hit me that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I need to buy you a ring. You can't wear it on THAT finger, but I want you to know I'm commited no matter where I end up.'

to be continued...

Sunday, October 20, 2002

OK, I think that this is the real start of the novel, or at least it will be as soon as I finish this little mini journal. Settling into weekends without long training has been a little difficult, and waking up with snow on Oct 20 is even more difficult. In any case, it just seems like there's nothing to do without multihour bike rides and runs during the weekends. I start a new weight program tomorrow, something I found on TriNewbie Online. I'll try it for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. Anyway, that's the update on this side of town. Only other thing worth mentioning is that I'm still trying to learn more about sports nutrition and just what I do and don't need. I saw my weight pushing levels go down a little as the week went on last week, and I'm not totally sure what to pin that on. Sleep schedules are still whacked, so that's got to be part of it, but I'm also a little leery of the food in my system. I just dont' know how to get food into my system quick enough after a workout, or, anyway. I don't know. I'm just not sure how to get food into my system faster after my workouts, that's all. Anyway, without further adieu, here's the new opening, i think. Maybe....

If I had access to Instant Messanger as I sit in the water right now, the conversation would probably go something like this.

Me: OK, what am I going to do, I have absolutely no idea why I’m in this mess at the moment and I feel a bit like a newly unbeached whale trying to get used to his body again.

Julie: It’ll be fine, just think about all of the time you HAVE trained for this, you know that you’re ready.

Me: But I’m not ready! I haven’t trained nearly enough! I’m going to die in five minutes.

Julie: Suck it up.

Me: Suck it up?

Julie: Yeah, suck it up. What else can you do?

At this point, I realize that this imaginary conversation isn’t going in the direction that I’d like it to and I think that maybe I should really start to pay attention to what’s going on. All around me, brightly colored latex heads float up and down in the water. Looking from the parking ramp above, it’s got to look something like 1800 rubber duckies undulating behind this makeshift startline. Unfortunately, I’m not above looking down, I’m right in the middle of this brightly colored mess and I’m about 5 minutes from what could be 17 hours of effort to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then run a full marathon, 26.2 miles to end the day.

“What did I get myself into? Am I insane?” This floats through my mind and as I turn around for a second…


I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but there are arms flying everywhere and I’m moving forward not by my own will, but by hundreds of rubber clad people, bumping into me and pushing forward. My arms come forward and I try to start to swim, but arms are landing on rubber people completely surrounding me. This is not right, I’m afraid. Where’s my mother! Get me out of this mess!

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Ironman Kona is here and running, and I'm here in my Graphic Design computer lab looking at photos from the race and trying to sort through my thoughts as I work on my book. I think the most difficult part of this little documentary, is trying to figure out where to start. My quest to finish an Ironman started way before I decided to do the race, and which is the most important part of that? In the meantime, every extra thought about the book throws me off my game.

Opening scene? If this were a movie, we'd do the Tarantino thing and start sitting in the water. Picture this, the screen comes up from black and we see a bunch of out of focus purple and blue and green blobs floating up and down. That sits there for a second, and we realize that things come back into focus when we realize what we're looking at is foggy swim goggles and he's just taken them off to clean them.

Voiceover: These are the thoughts I'm thinking right now. Or at least some semblance of the thoughts I was thinking at this moment. "I'm scared. What the heck did I get myself into? Can I even do this? At least I don't need to pee. Thank GOD I don't have to pee. I wonder how far up I should move up in this pile of bodies.
I could back out now, it's not too late. I'm glad I don't have to pee. Alden is probably doing much better at this point than I am, at least he knows he can swim. I'm so glad I don't have to pee. EEK." In a moment, I'm going to look behind me and the cannon's going to go off and I won't be able to back out. This is a little hard to look at, I'm going to get swamped in a second.

Boom. Split screen shows cannon going off and the swimmers taking off. In a little corner of the screen, you see Brian looking away from the start when everyone lurches forward. That scene freezes and the other slide off the screen.

On the right side of the screen:
Name: Brian Behm
Age: 22 years, 7months, 8 days
State of Mind: Absolutely and completely freaked out.

Cut back to sometime in the past.

That's how things would open, if this were a movie, but this is a book and I don't know how that translates. Guess I'll just need to learn.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Oops. almost forgot. Zen-like moment of the day? The swimming pool was mostly devoted to a women's water aerobics class. It was kind of frightening to see these very large but fairly graceful senior citizen ladies soaring through the water to my right as I swam up and down the pool. There's a certain grace to hearing so much less in the water. I think if there's anything I was surprised about during the Ironman, it was how quiet the swim became after the start. I mean, it wasn't silent, but it wasn't the flurry of noise I thought it would be once people spread out. I could hear music every so often when I came up to site, but it was mostly an hour and fifty-eight minutes of gurgling water sounds.

Maybe the swim would have been different if I had been able to look to my side and see the graceful senior citizens launching through the water. Ballerinas of the mind in their own aquatic play. eloquent underwater, yet so much less so when you come up for air and hear them sweatin' to the oldies aerobics beat style. Lord let me stay underwater!
more running today. The way things are right now, I do a heavy lift on Monday and Friday, a supplementary lift on Wednesdays and windsprint type running on the treadmills Tuesday and Thursday. I think the running is actually the most painful part of this whole thing. Pushing anaerobic threshold for as long as you can is a little painful. Then back off and do it again and again and again. Varying the pitch a little bit each time to make it harder or easier. At the peak I was doing a 10mph sprint at a 10 degree pitch. It hurt. A lot. Afterwards it was off to the pool again. It's become a sort of Zen-like thing to head down to the pool after my workouts. Just swimming a few laps working on form and then soaking in the hot tub for a few minutes can completely make my day.

I ran home afterwards to get ready for the bible study I lead. We moved from the church we usually do it at since it's not a big Young Adult group anymore and this was the first week at Casa Behm. I've come to the realization that there are no copy machines at all on the route between the fitness club and home. Oh well, we made do. Made up a protein shake with flaxseed oil for the first time. (I was happy that the flaxseed oil was fairly taste and odorless) and drank the protein shake as quickly as I could. Though, let it be said that GNCs Mega Whey Berry Extraordinary is miles beyond the MegaWhey vanilla.

After bible study we headed over to Buffalo Wild Wings and they had Fox Sports Channel on. Jim Rome's show comes on and who's on it? LANCE ARMSTRONG! And no sound or closed captioning! It was so frustrating seeing the show and not being able to hear what they were talking about. Did anyone happen to tape it for some odd reason? I really want to hear what Charles Barkley and Johnny Bench had to say about Lance.

I'm still alive! I know, I'm horrible for not having updated this yet, and I AM working on my race report. In the meantime, I thought I'd give a quick update. Training has kind of started again. I've really dived deep into some weight training and sprint workouts for hte first part of this next phase. I just realized that I'm not strong enough and that the extra layers of stuff that isn't fat that I have aren't going to go away with just cardio work. Thus, off to the weight room for moi.

went and did my weight workout today only to run into two people doing the one thing that drives me up the wall: sitting on the machines between sets. First things first I hve to wait for the leg press machine because some high school kid is sitting on the machine, then this guy who I see on the Tricep pull machine isn't leaving. The guy sits there for two minutes, does a set. Sits there again, gets up changes the grip and does another set. Reapt ad nauseum for 20 minutes. I finish the rest of my workout (reluctantly because I like to do it in the same order) and he's still sitting on the tricep machine. After several glances from me, he asks if I need to use it. I kind of nod and he lets me know... "yeah, slip in, but know I'm not done yet"

now that I'm here I want to get my two extended sets in and two unextended sets in. I do them back to back with dropped weight between the first and second sets and he comes up in the middle asking if I'm done... very impatiently... telling me that he DID let me squeeze in and that I should squeeze out just as fast. I grunt that I'm almost done and he leaves me alone, pacing around the weight room. ERGH.

anyway, that was today. I did however meet a really nice old guy in the locker-room that I talked to about IronMoo for a couple minutes. Turns out Dick Beardsley used to run a farm for him that he owned. Kinda cool.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Back from a moviefest with Ang and a couple friends tonight. The lineup? The Sum of All Fears which was absolutely AMAZING and Scooby Doo which was, well.... less so.

As I was out running yesterday night, I was really kind of thinking about why I'm doing this. Why am I doing the Ironman and is it for the right reasons? Unrequited love is a powerful thing. It can be a hard thing to get over, and even after you meet the most amazing person in the world, who changes everything about you for the better, there are those nagging things that you want revenge over. Part of Ironman at first for me was to shove athleticism down the throat of the girl that told me I would never be an athlete. I thought, what could be the most extreme thing I could ever do that would prove once and for all that I won't live up to that comment. That, as much as anything else was fuel.

I came to the realization though, and brought it up to myself again just now, that those words wouldn't even be in her mind anymore. She spoke them without even thinking and they floated off into the distance. She could have no idea how they scarred me. I've already proven to myself that I can be athletic, and Angela has been really supportive in letting me know what I am in her eyes. That itself means more than I could even say. Still, that wound is there. I pray it'll go away. In fact, until yesterday on my run, I was assuming it had gone away. I thought about elementary school and David Wilke's 7 minute mile... being so envious of his speed. I thought about the years of taunting and teasing, crater face, fatboy and I ran from that.

Y'know, maybe what I'm aiming for in Ironman is just sheer running away from my past. But maybe it's not entirely running away from my past. Maybe it's putting a seal on it. That putting myself in that situation and burning off that chaff and struggling through that event is going to put an endcap on it. Finish it off for good.
Music as catharthis in one event, running as catharthis in the next event. It's not that never the twain shall meet, it's that they rely on each other and propel me to finish this thing. We'll see how it goes.
Billie Holiday on the radio, my sluggish heart is beating seven beats too slow
another sad song and another shot of blue, cold and unconcerned are anything but new.
He said “Love endures all things”, and it hurts to think He’s right.
If I mark the span of failure, is his burden just as light?
from Spartan by Five Iron Frenzy

Before I was ever an athlete, I was music-obsessed. I think that that could be the easiest way to put it. Music has always been one of those things that held infinitely different meaning for me than it did to most of my friends (well, actually make that acquaintences. During high school, it often wasn't much more than that) I dove into the music and let it envelop me. To a food connoiseur, relishing in a dish from a restaraunt with all of the flavors mesmerizing your mouth is often as close to nirvana as they can get. For me, music was similar, but it went a step further. In the movie Strange Days, the conscious reality experiences of people are recorded onto chips that people can play back, rexperiencing things that happened to them or to other people in the past. It's kind of the ultimate drug, and at one point the drug dealer gives a paraplegic a chip that features a guy running down a beach with the water gently lapping over his feet. Sand caking on his feet and calves. It was a joyous moment for this paralyzed guy to experience that. Music in ways does the same thing for me.

What we arrive at is music as Catharsis. A song encapsulates emotions, images, hopes, fears, dreams, desires... it's all there, and listening to it brings everything encapsulated in it to the front. I can still remember listening to REM's Out of Time as I rode across the Nebraska plains the summer of my 8th grade year on a West Coast choir trip. All of the hurt at being a bit of an outcast and beauty of the wheat fields flying past the bus window can fly forward through that music.

As I drove down to Winona a couple of weeks ago, I had the new Five Iron Frenzy album as I drove through the darkness and I stumbled upon this Spartan song. When I heard it, I knew there was somethine special and that I needed to go back and listen to it again.

When I'm in the depths of a bike ride the thing that often keeps me going is just a riff or a chorus or just a little bit of lyric. It doesn't have to be much, but it's something that I end up meditating on using to channel my efforts. Sports Psychology for Cyclists by Dr. Saul Miller and Peggy Maass Hill kind of reinforces that. One of the concepts they really hammer in is that your mind is a TV set...

"The first idea or principle is that hte mind is like a TV set. You control the switch on that mental TV. You are in charge. If what you're watching doesn't give you power or pleaure, change the channel... if what you put on your mental TV causes you to feel tense, anxious or depressed, then staying tuned in to those thoughts and feeling will generate a greater sense of negativity and diesease - and gives you more things to worry about in your life.
In contrast, if what you focus on is something that inspires you and gives you energy, you are more likely to create success and enjoyment in life. So, it's important that we tune into positive "power" programs on the TV."

Great, so what does it mean to me? These songs, these snippets, these guitar riffs, these lyrics are my programs. Plug them in, turn them on and they give me energy.

The angels are singing over the plains/
the shepherds are quaking, echoing refrains/
And all of our slogans designed to take away the pain/
meant nothing to the Son of God that night in Bethlehem/

I have a feeling this bridge from the same Five Iron Frenzy will be playing as I'm in the middle of my cycling portion. I'm really going to focus on trying to conceptualize myself being part of something bigger.

In my head, this will be the program playing during the cycling portion.

I have this concept of angels around me putting me in a drafting bubble. I'm here, but I'm a force. I'm being pushed along and pain is not part of the picture. It's there, but it doesn't affect me. Breathing in and out, I feel the pain lifting up out of me. The sun beats down, but it only reminds me that God is up above and he's bigger than anything I could ever do on my own. I'm a wind now, and I'm chasing after the other riders. The wind can't be seen, but can be felt. I feel the invisible wind pulling me along with it and I'm telling myself that it's exhilirating.

Limping through the world/
there’s a knowing look or two/
is it just the cripples here/
who understand the truth?/

I'll be crippled during the run I'm sure. Feeling my sodden, tired legs underneath me, I push on. Walking, jogging, crawling.

I am, Spartan, close my heart so tight.
Jesus, Save me, from myself tonight.

I keep coming back to what Elizabeth Johnson wrote in Becoming and Ironman , "One of the things an athlete must do before attempting an ironman is to strengthen the body core. This won't take a membership to a gym. You can't get it in the weight room. I'm talking body core. You've got to get right with God because you're going to pray out there."

Jesus save me! What did I get myself into thinking that I could finish something that is so far above and beyond me! That will be my prayer I think. That song chorus running around my head.

I don't want to be preachy. The reason I write what I do is because it's a part of who I am. I think that Ironman or anything extreme burns you down to exactly who you are, and I think that that's what I'm looking for when I'm out there. I want to be burned down to my basics because it will show me who I am. I want to see what's left at the end of the day. I want the process. I want the pain, I want the joy.

I don't know what the other songs that play back in my head during Ironman will be. I'm still really thinking about it and trying to choose wisely because I think they mean a lot.

heading to Madison and Winona the past couple of weeks was the tempering process. I think that I'm psychologically prepared for what I need to do now. What comes next is just the finishing physical preperation.

Cycling goes well. I have my bike back and am putting miles on it. Stu at Rice St. Bike restrung my rear wheel with DP spokes instead of the Ritchey aero spokes I was using and it's helped a LOT. Brian doesn't want ANY more broken spokes. I was supposed to do a century this morning, but it didn't happen. My body, I've found HAS to have 10 hours of sleep. When it doesn't get it, it won't respond... or will incapacitate me until I get 10 hours of sleep. I'm heading to the lake in a few minutes to do a swim instead. I think I'll end up doing a side stroke during Ironman, so I want to go practice doing a sidestroke continuously for an hour and a half which is what I'm thinking the swim portion will take.

More once I get back from the afternoon swim.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Roll 64 - 40

Ok, second attempt at this after accidently closing the window I was typing in. I headed off to Madison this weekend. There's something really therapeutic that I've been finding in these weekend adventures. Maybe it's the (sort of ) solitude, maybe it's just the change in surroundings. I'm feeling better than I ever have. I think that the anti-depressants have washed their way out of my system now. The only thing that I've noticed lately is that my head just doesn't like caffeine. I suppose this is probably a good thing.

Downtown Madison is going to be so much fun to run through. I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but Sunday my my friends Gina, Kari and I went walking around the IronMOO run course. Compared to the bike course, there'll be lots of stuff to look at. The bike course on the other hand, could be really painful.

After work on Friday, I headed off to the wilds of Madison. I really wanted to check the course out and make sure that Ihad a better idea of what was there than when I drove through in June. The drive down was pretty uneventful, just lots of people speeding down I-94. I did stumble upon this surreal radio show where people were buying discount gift certificates though. The two DJs seemed like they were straight out of Drop Dead Gorgeous .
I got down to Madison, checked into my Motel 6 Roach Motel (it wasn't THAT bad, but it certainly wasn't a four star type place... but it IS cheap) and ran to get some food. I will never be thin because I just love things like Chicken Enchilada soup TOO much. Having a Chiles' right next to the motel could be a bad thing sometimes. Not always though. I also stumbled upon a Borders that was pretty close. Sometimes there's nothing more comforting than a Borders and a Chilis. I don't always love suburbs, but I don't hate them either. One of the nice things about them is that sometimes I can feel like I'm at home when I'm elsewhere. It's not always the greatest thing, but sometimes just knowing what I'm going to be eating before hand is nice. <-- Not super original, mind you. Just nice and reassuring.

Saturday morning came too early, and I ended up rising to an upright position later than I would have desired. i didn't want to wait for breakfast to digest, so instead of going to the Denny's next door, I slammed a couple of granola bars and headed out to the bike course. It probably wasn't a good thing to do.

I got to the Monona Terrace convention center and realized that my maps were sitting at home. Everything should be fine right? The course is well marked? You'd think, but then you'd be wrong. I got all my bike stuff ready and rode up to teh top of the ramp where I saw this...

Lake Monona from the Parking Ramp

Frank Lloyd Wright can design a pretty dang good looking parking ramp, but the more important thing is that body of water that takes up most of the picture. That's where the swim takes place. I didn't get a chance to swim in it because there were boats EVERYWHERE, but in really thinking about it and breaking the swim down into pieces, i think I'll be able to do it. If you figure that the swim is 2.5 miles and you've got two loops,each of those loops is 1.25 miles. If you then break that down, you figure that if it's a rectangle, you've sides that are .3 .4 miles long. Thinking of things that way, makes it a little easier for me. Take it piece by piece. My dad asked me yesterday if the Ironman swim was 4.5 miles. Eek! 2.5 suddenly felt much better.

I biked out of the parking lot and tried to decipher the mess of heiroglyphics that I found spray painted all over the street. I don't think I found one spraypaint mark that made sense in my first 20 minutes of riding. I stumbled upon a bike shop right on the lake and they hooked me up with a map. hallelujah! (they shall continue to rawk until further notice)

The Ironman bike course is made up of a leg that heads out to a double loop and then the same leg back to the start. The leg out and back just does NOT seem like it's marked inside Madison proper. I put an extra 12 miles on at the beginning just trying to find my way out of town. Race day itself won't be that bad, but with the heat and the 25 mph headwind, I wasn't a happy camper riding my old steel bike. I finally found where I was supposed to be riding and really hunkered down. I don't know if it was a sign, but every cyclist I saw on teh course was going the opposite way. I should have listened. I really should have. I made it to the 35 mile mark for the day and realized I wasn't going to do the loop. Everything suddenly caught up to me. Wind, sunburn, heat exhaustion, sickness, dehydration - I couldn't go any farther. Moaning to Angela over the cell-phone as I was pulled over on the side of the road, I realized I needed to turn back. I think the only thing that got me back to my car was the tail wind I suddenly had. I just really didn't want to push things knowing that I was the only one I knew for 200 miles around me.

I guzzled as much liquid as I could when I got back to the car and sat down in Max A/C as I drove back to the hotel. After a quick food stop, I went back to the hotel to bask in more air conditioning. I had a couple hours to kill before my friends Kari and Gina came, so some Triathlon related reading and thinking transpired... that, and a trip to Old Navy. Can I just say how much I love Old Navy? Well, i do. That is all.

Kari and Gina came down and we hung out in downtown Madison Saturday night. Had some decent italian food and went back to the motel for episodes of Trading Spaces.

sunday we looked at the run course. It is SOOOO gorgeous. I'm really looking forward to that part. There really isn't much to look at on the bike course. Corn and more corn tends to be the order of the day. The run on the other hand will mostly be right inside the UW Madison campus. Pretty cool stuff.

Roll 64 - 40

Thanks to Kari and Gina for keeping me company on Sunday. I like traveling by myself, but sometimes its nice to have company. Its even nicer sometimes when those people are some of your best friends.

We stopped at the "Cow McDonalds" on the way home. An ENTIRE McDonalds decorated in cowspots. its quite the site to behold, but they've also got a lifesize Mac Tonight playing "piano". There can be nothing cooler... and I'll leave it at that.

Mac Tonight!

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

So Saturday evening comes to an end, some roadies sitting out on the steps of Winona College playing bluegrass music and crickets echoing off into the distance. Some times there are moments that you'd just like to freeze and replay over and over again. There was a subplot in one of the last Star Trek movies that was like that. This alien race was able to pause time and just suck up a moment and really relish in it. They used it to save lives in a cave that had collapsed, but I think that if I could bottle it up for my own use I'd be a really happy camper.

When I got back from Target on Saturday evening (I needed an Alarm clock, and heck, it's target... you don't need a reason to go to Target) I sat down with my couple bottles of Dr. Pepper Red Fusion, a nice pencil and those composition journals that look so cool and just sat down and wrote. It was really kind of therapeutic. You don't always get a chance to just sit down and spill with no one bothering you at all. After a while, I went out to get some water or something, and got directed out to the front steps where there some roadies playing guitar. Earlier, I had seen a guy wearing an Iroman cap, but I didn't get a chance to talk to him. He was out on the steps, so I kind of saddled up to him so that I could ask him about his cap. He gave me good fodder for cud chewing, I guess. He'd done three Ironman Tris (Canada twice and Florida) and reassured me that I wouldn't need to worry about the swim. "Keep telling yourself it's the smallest part of the race" he kept saying. I believe him, and I really want to think that way, but there are still pieces that wonder.

Tonight after an extra long day at work, I drove down to the beach because I REALLY needed to destress a little bit and get some form of a workout in. After about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to zip myself up in my wetsuit, I finally ventured out into the water. Tonight the water had a bit of a chill to it. I'm not sure why. I headed out, and it still felt extremely nice to float with the wetsuit. I didn't stay long though. By the time I got into the water, the sun was setting and I had very little daylight left. I just don't know about my stroke. Anytime I try to really focus on swimming freestyle, I get dizzy. I just wonder how off it's going to look if I'm swimming sidestroke during competition.

Back to Sunday though. Sunday morning brought with it an alarm that went off 15 minutes earlier than I thought it was. (I set the clock as best I could). I ambled up and got over to the cafeteria to get some food into my system.

I was kind of happy with my bike after getting it back in one piece on Saturday. I was even thinking, "y'know, maybe we have this spoke issue licked." I slowly mounted up, checking everything and headed out by myself. At the first light, I was a little confused by the directions and some riders from the Gopher Wheelmen came up to me. They didn't say anything, but I kind of dropped in behind them since we were all with the same group, and kind of had this little smile on my face. I've always thought the Gopher Wheelmen were pretty cool, even though I didn't know much about them besides they ride really hard. These guys did. I kept up as best I could, but we averaged close to 20mph over the first hour. When it comes to the hills, I guess I just have a bit much weight, and not a small enough gearing. Someday, someday. Anyway, I watched them vanish off into the distance, and kept chugging along.

Roll 63 - 55

I saw this guy somewhere on the other side of the first rest stop. I hit the first hill as hard as I could and got to the top in some semblance of one piece. I wasn't built for hills, and I struggled with them all weekend. I'm hoping Madison hills are shorter. I'll find out this weekend. I might go 200 miles on them this weekend. At least that's how I'm leaning. I missed my double century this year, and I don't think it would be bad to do one on the area I'll be racing on. We'll see.

Anyway, when we got to the top of the hill (there was a guy on recumbent who I rode along with for awhile) a Russian lady on a motorcycle pulled up asking where the nearest gas station was. It was such a hoot. You just don't expect to see what turned into an entire group of motorcyclist russians in the middle of southern minnesota. We gave them directions as best we could and got going again. About 5 miles up the road, we found the truckstup we only hypothesized existed and there were about 100 bikers outside. It was rather humorous looking at the dichotomy between the spandex clad road-bikers on their aluminum and steel liteweight bikes, and the leather-clothed greasy bikers jabbering away amongst themselves.

Somewhere on the way back to Winona, at the top of an extra long hill (about 2 miles) I hit rumble strips. Rumble strips should just be completely outlawed. I don't think it was the sole cause, but I'm sure that the highway slowing devices aided in what happened next. I paused for a second to catch my breath and swig some gatorade and I heard the familiar "Clink" that I've learned to dred. I look, and sure enough i've broken another spoke. I start to walk my bike for a little while and ask anyone I see bike by if they have a spoke-wrench. No one does until this black-guy I met the day before ambles up.

When I pulled into the lunch rest-stop on Saturday, there was this guy sitting and having his sandwich. There weren't many people around and there was a spot near the table so I went and had a seat. He was talking about folding bicycles and I sat and listened, kinda interested in what he had to say. I asked a couple questions and just kind of kept munching away at my lunch. I couldn't understand it, but this guy started taking little potshots at me being somewhat lesser of an athlete than he was because I had a little extra weight. I think I may have brought it on myself because I talked about going out for another workout after we got back from the ride (he was heading for a nap) and it started a trend all weekend where he'd find little things to nitpick about.

At dinner that night, I bumped into him again. Not entirely on purpose. They were doing some giveaways and I walked over to the side of the park building so I could hear if my name was called. "jerry" was came up to the side just after I did, and the next round of belittlement kind of started. We were talking about swimming and he talked about how he was a 'non floater'. that swimming wasn't worth it because he just had to exert too much effort to float. I tried to mention the Total Immersion stuff that I've been soaking up, but it didn't work. I mentioned that I had trouble floating and that it had taken a lot of work, and he asked why someone like me would have trouble floating. I'm just not that FAT! Most floating in the water has nothing to do with Fat. It has everything to do with form, and it really sucked that I was kind of singled out and told that A) I'm fat. and B) You're too young to know anything of use

I just don't like not having my opinions heard. I especially don't like them getting smacked down, so it was with reluctance that I asked Jerry for a spoke wrench. Asking for the spoke wrench got us off into this entirely seperate tangent about why I was just too heavy to buy any liteweight racing gear and that I just hadn't worked hard enough to lose weight and that not having lost weight was most definitely my fault. No excuses from Jerry. Everything is always my fault. ERGH! I was so frustrated. He even went off on me about being mad that my bike was breaking down again, telling me that Spokes break. Spokes however DON'T break 4 times in 300 miles (or at least they shouldn't) When we got to the next rest stop I ditched this guy as best as I could.

Roll 63 - 55

Looking over to the side after having snapped this cute 9 day old baby cow picture (below)

Roll 63 - 55

I noticed that there was a mechanic. Rawk! I can get my bike fixed! He loads my bike up and gets working on replacing the spoke. He also figured out what was going wrong with my front tire. None of the nipples in front were lubed, so the spokes through tension were unscrewing themselves. Kind of an unexpected and frustrating thing. He tightens eveything up and I'm able to get back on the road.

Roll 63 - 55

I thought that I'd have a lot more energy for the last 7 miles, but I misjudged. No energy for me!
I was able to hit 45 mph on the hill coming out of the rest stop, but I was really dead for the rest of the ride... AND my cycle computer broke again. Muy Muy Muy Frustrating.

Anyway, I finally made it back to Winona State, got checked out as quickly as I could and headed back to the cities. I got a bunch of people together on Sunday night, partially for the morale boost (That Jerry guys comments stuck a little too much) and they helpd quite a bit. It's nice to have friends that will tell you what you need to hear sometimes.

More later.


Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Life throws interesting curveballs at you sometimes. The trick is to know when they're coming so you can get out of the way. In between all of the mechanicals I've had with my bike and the vagaries of work (which aren't that bad, but the time adds up) I tend to think that I'm farther away from the Ironman than I've ever been. This past weekend, I headed out with the club I ride with (Twin Cities Bike Club) to Winona for a couple days of riding. In ways, it was really good to be out of the city for some serious focusing and riding, but in other ways, it was just another one of those curve balls.

from my journal over that weekend....

Musings from a marooned cyclist

I feel a bit stranded out here in Winona. I also feel incredibly young. I'm easily ten years the junior of anyone here, and htere are lots of social connections that on a trip like this become much more apparent that I'mnot a part of. I mean, it's alright, it just makes me wish that Angela and Gina were here. I think I spent most of the day thinking about Ang. Exploring new places without her these just isn't the same experience. Ang isn't a cyclist, and she'll never do an Ironman (though she's probably more psychologically sound for that) but having her around is really nice.

For it being a college campus, the silence is pretty deafening. With no radio , and not really hanging out iwth anyone, there's more than adequate time to be alone with thoughts. There's been a whole cornucopia of stuff that I've needed to write, and I'm not sure where to begin.

I was actually "Up and at em" right away this morning, which is a little different I guess, but when there's some build in excitement, it's probably easier to wake up. I was actually out the door by about 5:14, nervously checking my bikes in the rear view mirror, thinking that I'm going to see my new bike rack fly off my car with my bikes splattering behind it. Luckily, such was not the case today. It's SO cool being able to just hook the bike right up. No fuss, no muss.

As soon as I drove into Winona, I was thinking about an acquaintance that had gone to school for a semester at the college we were staying at and had areally bad experience there. I guess the question mulling around in my brain all weekend was, "Why was this place so bad?" Frankly, it looks nice than the Augsburg campus, and if you really wanted to devote yourself to school, the atmosphere seems accomodating. Anyway, the jury is still out. Point in my friend's favor? The dormmer I'm in is kind of scuzzy. Then again, it IS a dorm.

When I got down to Winona this morning, the first thing on my mind was to find the ride start so that I could get things put together. I really wanted to do the 100 mile route on Saturday and that meant getting on the road early. Because I got on the road right away, there wasn't any chance to get my dorm room for the weekend. After I got back, the office wasn't open. I finally did get my room, but it was kind of annoying not knowing where to go to get a room. I didn't want to have to sleep in my car.

Heading out from Winona, as soon as I hit the first overtly large hill I realized the gearing on my Team just isn't low enough. I think my biggest gearing on the back is a 23 and when you have to bike up a mile/2 mile hill it just doesn't work. My heartrate was peaking almost right away. If there's one thing that sucks about being big, it's that it's that much harder to climb up a hill. Oh, but the benefits of being big and going down a hill? That's another story.

The weather today turned out to be really hot and sweaty, and since I'm doing 65 tomorrow, I took the 65 mile route today too. I was still really concerned about my bike. The front tire was making noise and I had no idea where it was coming from. going the extra 35 miles, I THOUGHT could have broken the wheel again. Luckily, the bike made it through in one piece. I was especially concerned about it though.

Oh, the downhills. Heading into a town called "Rollingstone" there was this completely amazing hill. Picture this. Off to the right side is a 200-300 foot drop that looks down into a really amazing farm in a valley. To the left is forest that climbs for anothe 150 feet. In front of you? Just a LONG and curvy drop. I think that I've found there's no better drug than flying down a hill. I've been over 40 mph on my other bike, but I've never been over 50 mph. I actually hit 52 on the downhill into rollingstone. It is SOOOO intense. Knowing that you have to be in complete control or you're going to crash is kind of a rush. I think it's definitely one of the things that makes cycling worth it as a sport. I wouldn't really want to take any other kind of equipment down a hill at that speed. Not rollerblades or a scooter at least.

Roll 63 - 55

This isn't the hill I was talking about, but you can get an idea of how high things are. I'll post about Sunday when I get home tonight, but it's a start. Sorry for the sparse posting!

Roll 63 - 55

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

OK, part two because I didn't remember to post this..

after I got back from GearWest, I hustled down to Lake Gearvis to try out my new suit. I still don't understand why they're not illegal in Triathlons. Wetsuits are so completely wonderful. Oh my gosh. I don't I've ever swam the way I swam tonight in my life. It kind of felt like a giant hand was pulling you up and out of the water. I didn't do a whole lot in it, but I adapted to the suit right away. I didn't think it was extra hard to breath in it or anything. It IS hard to get it zippered, but I have 45 some days to figure that out.


Tuesday, July 30, 2002

OK, things have been goofy the past week. Sometimes work just decides to jump up and consume you and that's what happened this past week. From last Monday to this past Monday I worked just a shade over 84 hours. It was a loooooooong week. I didn't get much of a workout in and I was getting a little frustrated. My bike was still in the shop, not entirely sure what is happening with it, and I'm just completely working my tail off trying to finish everything that I need to finish. I'm hopefully taking a half day tomorrow and taking ALL of Thursday and Friday off, so those will be workout days. I'm thinking of doing back to back long bricks on Thursday and Friday. I'm going on a retreat Friday evening and that will necessitate not doing anything on Saturday, and I won't be back until Sunday evening, so once I get back on Sunday evening I'll have to head out for a 3 hour run as quick as I can.

Anyway, on to today.

Things at work were really lacse today with everyone just kind of being relieved that the projects we were working on went of well and we had a little bit of slacker time to goof off. Once I decided it was time to take off, I decided that I should head out to Gear West, a little Triathlon shop that's on the other side of the city from where I habitate. The reason for heading 45 minutes away? Quite frankly, they're the only place that really sells wetsuits in the Twin Cities area that I've found. The bike shop near my house only sells one brand. I wanted more options.

I head out there and right away there's someone helping me pick out a suit. Rawk on. He (Jono (thanks man!)) was pretty cool and had me into a specced out into a Quintana Roo Hydro John Surprisingly, we found one that fit right away. I happened to have gotten my bike back from the shop this morning and had it in my car, so I got myself fitted on it too and ended up buying a new seatpost and seat (the other two things on my list) When I'm in my aerobars, I'm stretched just a little long and the new seat post helps that a LOT. Though after I've ridden it a little while, I'll know for sure.

Anyway, the GearWest guy is doing IronMOO too and had just recently ridden the course. I really need to head out there and do that in a couple weeks. Maybe make a day of it and head out early in the morning. He kind of made it sound like IronMOO was going to be a really difficult bike ride. We'll see. He says it's more than just a little hilly. EEK.

I'm heading to bed. I'll see if I can get a photo of me in my wetsuit in the next day or so... and I still need to do that bibliography thing. I think it'll be kind of interesting.


Thursday, July 25, 2002

I promise there's an update coming later tonight. Things are still completely crazy around the office.

More later, after tonight's bike ride.

Hello to whoever checked out the site from WKOW TV. I'd love to work at a station with those call letters. :-)
(or something like that)

anyway, more later.


Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Quick work break. Things have completely busted loose at work this week and I'm feelin' the pain. We're getting ready to air a series on a national satellite network in a couple weeks and have to get everything into order so that we can ship it out on Monday. What it means, of course, is that I'm completely busy. Talked to the bike shop today and my bike is supposed to be back soon. The shop-owner SWEARS that the wheel is REALLY true, and thinks that the reason this spoke broke was from damage that was incurred during the first spoke breakage. I'm going to trust him on this ONCE more. If it happens again though...

Swam in Turtle Lake yesterday since it was near work and I only had a little bit of time. I think all of the lakes in Shoreview (which is the town that neighbors little canada) are shallow and weedy. I like Lake Gearvis more and more. I was tentatively going to meet up with some other IronMooers from the Mile141 board this morning, but after getting home yesterday night and not actually getting to bed until 1:30, getting up at 5 to drive to Excelsior which is on the complete opposite side of the Twin Cities wasn't probably going to happen. It didn't.

Going to call up Now Bike in a couple minutes to check and see what's up with the group ride I'm supposed to lead tomorrow and find out if I need to have maps or not. if I do, it's one more thing that I need to add to my list of things to accomplish.

more news later. I promise.


Sunday, July 21, 2002

Back to the loooooooooong weekends.

Now that I'm not sick and I'm back from vacation, I'm finally starting to get back into the swing of training. Or at least, I'm TRYING to get back into the swing of training. Friday was another off day, so no workouts for me, but Saturday had me doing 3 hours on the bike at E2 and an 1:15 in the water at E2. Sunday? Well, Sunday was a 2:15 hour run at E3. <-- which I mistakenly thought was 2:30 at E2... oh well. I was at race pace anyway (for a slow guy) so I'm not especially concerned.

Saturday started off with quite a bit of rain. It's just not great riding in the rain, so if I don't have to, I don't. Plus it meant I got to sleep in. For whatever reason, my body has CRAVED sleep lately. 10 hours feels REALLY good. The problem with this is that I'm just NO good at going to bed early. I'm going to be working on it though, because I don't want to deprive my body. I need it in one piece. Anyway, I was finally off on my bike ride by 1. I'm always perplexed that no matter how I go about planning a route, my feet always take me a different way than I'd think they would. I swear they have a mind of their own. This happens driving to. Some days I'll just be driving out somewhere and it's as if my body is subconsciously driving for me. It's not that I'm COMPLETELY out of control, but it seems as if direction is by intuition vs. a concrete decision. In any case, that was what happened on Saturday. I meandered my way over towards the Gateway trail, trying to keep my heart rate in the 150-160 zone, which for me just doesn't happen very easily. I need to work really hard at not working very hard sometimes. My body just wants to go a certain speed, maybe it's connected to the direction thing somehow.

Anyway, I eventually made it onto the Gateway and headed out towards Stillwater. I really haven't had a chance to do the route that leads down to Stillwater this year. It's so much fun heading out there because it's the part of the eastern suburbs where the hills REALLY start. Heading into Stillwater, there's a mile downhill that's really fun to coast down. I think I hit somewhere above 40 on the way down this time, but you can never reach maximum speed because there's a stop sign almost immediately at the bottom of the hill. I was just going over the 20 mile mark when I got to my gas station/checkpoint.

Here's a shot of downtown that I found.

and the park that I hung out at for a while after I got down there.

The neat thing about Stillwater is that it's one of the only outlying "suburbs" that actually retained a bit of its identity. There's an actual main street, which is kind of unique around here. In Chicago, a lot of the outlying suburbs have their own identity or downtown, for whatever reason, that just didn't happen around the Twin Cities. Oh well, enough sociology.

After a few minutes, I headed out of Stillwater to continue my ride. I made the mistake of choosing to hit the hills first, so I immediately started chugging up one of the main roads that leads out of downtown. I hope the Ironman Madison course isn't as steep as this because I almost immediately went into my anaerobic threshold zone. From 120bpm to over 180 in just a few strokes of the pedal. It's been a long time since I've had to stop on a hill. This hill made me stop twice. i felt so out of shape... which of course makes me think that Lance Armstrong is even more amazing than he already was. After heading out of Stillwater I was on some back country roads underneath the now HOT sun and I heard a "CLANK!"
I cringed when I heard it, and kind of thought, "No! It can't be. I really hope that's not what I think it is." I pull off to the side of the road and sure enough my back wheel has a spoke fluttering in the wind, kinda like a kid laughing about getting a tooth knocked out. Being 20 miles from home and not having my cell phone, I started limping back towards civilization. Basically, put the bike in an easy gear and spin, spin, spin at 11mph until you reach home. With about 5 miles left on my ride home I pulled up to a stop sign. Accelerating on the other side, all I heard was a "Ker-unk!" and my pedals stopped moving. THIS IS NOT GOOD. I get off my bike figuring my chain has just come loose and I see something quite a bit more shocking. Yes, my chain is off, but on top of that, my entire rear derailleur has completely split off my bike and is swinging gracefully in the air, suspended in mid air with the bike chain threaded through it. Not much to do besides start walking with the bike, so off I go. Almost immediately I notice that there's a problem with this. Because of the wheel going out of true when the spoke broke, and there not being any weight on the bike seat, it's almost impossibly to push the bike. Pushing it along, ever time the rear wheel revolves it gets stuck against the frame and I have to drag the bike for a few feet until the wheel decides to rotate once more. Rine, Repeat.

Thankfully I finally made it to a Park and Ride a couple miles up the road that had a payphone. Ang was gracious enough to come and pick me and my bruised ego up. Because of all the bike problems, I never actually made it to the lake. On top of that though, I'm aware of something new now... these anti-depressants I'm on make it almost impossible to get mad. It's an interesting phenomenon in any case, and probably something that's not all bad. When I brought the bike to the shop today, it allowed me to get the bike taken back a little easier. Besides, it's not something the bike shop did. They're not out maliciously sabotaging my bike. There's got to be some sort of a problem with the rear wheel, that's all there is to it. There isn't any reason that 3 spokes should break within the first 500 miles of a bike's life. I haven't ridden it hard at all. No gravel, no potholes, nothing. Anyway, they took it back and I need to call the bike shop owner tomorrow to see what Fuji has to say. The bike is under warranty, so I'm not going to pay for anything, but I really didn't want to go back to riding my old bike while this is in the shop AGAIN.

Today was carved out for a 2 1/2 hour run. In my wildest dreams would I never have thought that I'd become a runner. Yet, for some reason, here I am. Pushing myself past where I've been before and learning about what's really buried deep down inside of me. My dad was a cross country runner growing up. He was on the varsity team in high school and college and I guess I thought that that would just be something that I'd never do. I think I originally got into cycling because it was a way to approach just a little bit of what my dad had done. I moved past the biking though, and now I'm off and running. The biking is still at the top of my list in the fun categories, but I think there's somethign to be said for running. My brain turns off when I run. I don't think about how my body is moving for the most part. I do watch my hear rate monitor religiously, but there's something primitive about running... and there's also something that's pretty personal. Each step I make for me, is sort of in my dads footsteps. That's what I was mostly thinking about when I finished my run in the rain. The phrase that kept running through my head was "Dad, thanks for giving me your running genes. They were buried, but I think I've finally found them." I haven't had a chance to say that phrase yet, but sometime over the next couple days, I will. I'll finish up in a second with a quote from the Introduction of Becoming an Ironman , but before that just a couple more notes.

My toes hurt. I'm not sure why. I'll probably go to a running store sometime this week to see if they have any ideas. Also, I ordered some stuff from Total Immersion today. They have a package you can get that has a book on Tri-swimming and a DVD all about Freestyle. I'm kind of anxious to watch them and grab some stuff from them.

In the meantime, I close with this from the Intro of Becoming an Ironman:First Encounters with The Ultimate Endurance Event by Kara Douglas Thom

"As varied as our athletic histories are, so too are our personal backgrounds. And while hte least common denominator of all ironman-distance triathlons is 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running, every race experience is unique. What athletes bring to the starting line in terms of who they were before they begain training for this beast-family history, work pressures, aspirations, and fears- combine to make each ironman race as dynamic and distinct as their DNA. Sure, there are places in this book where ironman finishers will say "Aha!" from the knowing, the empathy of a common feeling or shared experience in training or racing. But it's the peoplebehind every finisher's meda; that make the story compelling beyond the enormity of covering the distance on human power. "

I guess that's what I'm trying to do. Tell my story. We'll see what happens. I hope you stay along for the ride.

Deus Te Amat, and I do too.

Friday, July 19, 2002

I went off in search of MOO people today but ran out of luck. I suppose it makes sense, since i didn't exactly know where I was going before I left. I had a vague idea, but I wasn't sure which Caribou on Nicollet Ave. I was supposed to be at, so I traipsed up and down nicollet looking for my fellow Tri-geeks. Alas, it was not to be.

Things didn't turn out all bad though. I got back to work and had a check sitting there for me, which means... off to the bank and the bike store! I wanted to take a look at saddles. The Selle Italia that came on my Fuji is alright (especially in the width department) I like the narrowness better than my Serfas RX that's on the Trek, but it's just a little hard on "the boys". I also wanted to look at shoes. Ever since I bought my Diadora Cosmos last year I've regretted it. They're just not comfortable!

The bike shop I frequent is almost completely like something out of High Fidelity. There's the pretty normal manager, the quiet shopworker, the eccentric hyper shopworker, etc... all of them ride, all of them talk smack to each other about their riding. All of them follow "The Tour". It's really funny. I go in today and dig through the clothes for a little while, seeing if they have any bib versions of their store shorts. I fell in love with bibs before the Paul Bunyan, but the store shorts match my TCBC club jersey... if only the two could meet!

Anyway, I'm gabbing with the shop guys about Lance's win today (which hopefully one of these climbs' will be Roberto Herras' win) and we get back to talking about the Ironman. One of the shopguys, Bob's niece is competing at Madison, so we've talked about it a bit whenever I'm in. Conversation also swings towards my Fuji Team. The store just became a Fuji dealer so every time I go in I have to pull my Team out of the car so they can have a look at it. Today though we started digging in to what I needed to do before Madison. We settled on a couple things.

1. I HAVE to get a better seat.
2. I really need a Stem that will jut me out a little bit more. I'm sitting too far back right now.

Other than that, my bike is just about ready for Ironman. I think once I get the new stem things will be a lot more comfortable. I haven't completely decided what stem I'm going to buy yet, but maybe I'll buy some really cool bladed thing. :-)

Before I left, conversation swung around to talk about the ride they do out of the shop every thursday night. All of the guys live on the other side of the city, so none of them really know the local roads very well. I got recruited to lead the ride somehow. Best part? I got a discount on the shoes I bought. Oh, Shoes! I was going to talk about that.

I looked at shoes today. I don't know if the ones I ended up buying are going to be THE ones, but I think they're pretty close. i ended up buying Nike Cipressas. I have to admit I was swayed by the color, but they're much wider than my Cosmos, so I think they're going to work better. I'm still a little concerned about length, but they ARE supposed to be tight. I'm going to try them out tomorrow, and if they don't work, I'm going to trade them up to the next half size. (an 11 vs. a 10 1/2) The color though, they match my bike! Whee. Tey're kind of a cool grey and blue. Best yet? I got them for like $30 off! Cheaper than my Cosmos' and more comfortable. Can't beat that.

I'm thinking that I'm going to reformulate my Ironman training plan. I kind of want to crank it up from teh 13 weeks to a 13 hour ironman plan. I feel like I'm not working hard enough. There were three official rest days this week. This weekend IS going to be harder, but it just seems like the weeks are way too easy. I also really need to start examining my strength training and augment it a little bit. I need more than some nightly pushups. I think that's about all that's going on in this corner of the world tonight. Tomorrow a nice long bike ride and an 1:15 swim at E2. Sunday calls for a 2.25 run. Lots of work!


Thursday, July 18, 2002

A horse is a horse of course of course....or, I find my calling?

Yesterday? Not much at all... for some odd reason, even though last week seemed like a rest week, this week seems like it truly is a rest week. Tomorrow I have yet another day off. I might be a bad boy and just bike to work though. If there's anything that I don't like about this plan, it's that this summer my cycling has been down lower than it would normally be... obviously my swimming and running are higher than they'd normally be, but my cycling (which is my main sport, and will continue to be my main sport into the future more than likely) has taken a bit of a dive. It's all right. I'm not super paranoid or anything like that; it's just that I'm not on the bike as much.

I've been spending more time on this mile141 website. It's kind of cool to have a place where some other IMMOO people hang out so that I might actually have a chance of knowing someone once I get to Madison. I also got my first piece of e-mail from someone that read the journal. Kinda cool... another Minneapolis Clydesdale.

What's a Clydesdale, you ask? Basically, a Clydesdale is a triathlete that's umm... large. I don't think that I'll ever be under 200lbs. it's just not something that's going to happen. Even if I lose my gut, I'm still going to be over the Clydesdale classification at 170. So, I'll celebrate my Clydesdale-ness. I think there's something noble about it. I like the idea that I can still do big things, just not as fast... and when it comes to the Ironman, I'm sure that I probably won't be fast.

Tonight was supposed to be an hour of riding at Form. I can't ride at Form. It's SOOOOO difficult for me to do heart rate zone training. I like to ride fast and hard. Plus, since I hadn't ridden with TCBC in a while (Twin Cities Bike Club) I thought I should get a group ride in. I hustled home from work, grabbed my clothes and a bottle of Accelerade and ran back out the door. There were a couple of rides rescheduled to tonight so riders were spread out a bit more. I saw the group and thought... "Oh cool, I should find some people that I can ride pace with" Let me always cherish the fact that there will forever be old guys kicking my ass... it's the sort of thing that makes me feel better about growing up. That there are 50 and 60 year old club riders that can keep a 25mph pace makes me hope that I can do that at their age (or even NOW for that matter). I was thinking about doing the A/B version of the ride which was a 39 mile route, but right off the bat on the first hill I got completely dropped... so I settled in with these older guys that were doing the shorter route, technically a "B" pace... which, to quote the TCBC website is...

Ride Type-B / Avg Speed(Min.)-12mph / Rest Stops every 15-20miles / Leader rides at the rear

I don't think I've ever been on such a fast paced B-ride. My cycle computer says that we averaged 17mph, but that includes stops. As far as I could tell from looking at the computer during the ride, we maintained something closer to 20 and above. I'm healthy again, but three weeks off the bike have left me weaker than I should be, so I was working pretty hard to keep up. Luckily, I have my secret weapon. Aerobars! The greatest thing about them is that as soon as I drop into them, I get about a 2mph increase with no extra effort. With the seat I have at the moment, I put a little bit of pressure on my testicles, but the increase is worth it. When we hit the gateway trail on the way back, I did an extended jaunt in the aerobars and was maintaining around 26mph. I felt like I was flying. What's scary about pace? The Tour de France riders can do 20 mph in the MOUNTAINS... that kind of thing just makes me feel like quitting. ;-)

After the ride I headed back home and got my tri-shorts on. I guess that they're technically running short-tights, but I've found they work really well in the water. The best part is that they're tight like a Speedo, but they cover a lot more. There was no one on the lake tonight, and it was so peaceful swimming in the lake while the sun set. There was this orange glow that covered most of the lake... it was really beautiful. I was only supposed to do a half hour in the lake at E1 (which for some odd reason I thought was my racing pace, I look now though and realize that it's a calm swim. Oh well) I guess I did the workout at a higher intensity than I might otherwise have. I think when I get my next check I'm going to look into a decent pair of non-dark swim goggles. I hate the ones I have now, and I think it would help me with my freestyle form. Part of the reason I think the goggles might help is that I would be able to look up a bit more often. I think one of the things I don't like about freestyle is not knowing where I'm going when my head is looking down in the water. In the pool, I can see... in the lake? Well, it's just murky.

It's still SOOOO much easier for me to divert to a side stroke/scissor kick. When I can't see in the water, diverting to a side stroke lets me look out of the water with one eye and still keep a little bit of aerodynamic form. Not as much as freestyle, but better than the breaststroke.

Since I only had a half hour, I was going to do a different route in the water. I was ESPECIALLY going to swim a different route since there wasn't any traffic on the lake. I set off east across the lake

Actually... here, check this out
If you open that up in a new window, the big blob of blue is Lake Gervais <-- named after the founder of Little Canada! heh. Anyways, there's a beach that's towards the southern part of Gervais. I swam East, to the other side, than about 3/5 of the way to the peninsula jutting out on the east side, and then back and across to the beach. I had a really good pace going during the first fifteen minutes and I couldn't completely figure out why... THEN, I turned around and realized why.. There wasn't a HUGE current, but there was enough of one that it impeded my progress for a little while until I could get my bearings. I've been really good in my lake swimming so far to not freak out... tonight I had to fight it a little bit. When I realized I wasn't swimming forward nearly as fast, and my leg was cramping up a little bit, there were a few seconds where I thought, ACK! But, I buckled down and thought that I can do this. At the very worst you can float for a LONG time. You'll get there. Don't worry about it. I made it, but there were those few little moments. I haven't swum THAT far out into the middle of the lake before. I'll probably do it again, but only when there isn't any traffic around.

Tomorrow? A rest day. I'll try to do that book article I was talking about the other day. I don't have much planned, so hopefully I can squeeze that in.

More later,

P.S. - let me know what you think! Please! E-mail me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I can't sleep, therefore I journal... or something like that.

Today was basically an easy hour in the lake and a half hour run. I managed to get up after my alarm clock went off, almost right away.... this could be considered a minor miracle. I was actually able to be out of my house and at the lake by around 9:00, and in the water by 9:10. I definitely think it's easier swimming in the lake in the early morning. At the very least you don't have any boat traffic to bother you. The concern in the water today was that I was getting a little dizzy whenever I started doing freestyle. I couldn't understand it. For whatever reason, I'd feel very disoriented when I'd put my head down in the water and start to stroke. It was aggravated even more when I would do a body roll as part of the stroke. I ended up sidestroking as best I could.

For some reason, the waves also seemed to be moving much quicker in parallax than they usually do, and that aided again in the feeling of disorientation. Just switching to some sort of breast stroke seemed to be the best that I could do. At the very least, I'm getting better at working continuously for an hour-two hours at a time. When I get my next check, I really need to look into buying the Total Immersion triathlon DVD. I think it would help my swimming quite a bit to sit and watch proper swimming over and over again.

My swim to run transition went really well. I took probably a few seconds too long to dry off, but I'm not going to do breakneck transitions during IMMoo, so I'm not going to stress about the tran times too much. My legs were fresher today than they were on Sunday. I ran out of the beach parking lot and climbed a hill right away. A little painful, but nothing horrible. It was supposed to be a relatively easy run, and I forgot my Heart Rate Monitor, so i didn't push it incredibly hard, but I did a little over 3.3 miles in around 30 minutes, so if I can get to the run during Ironman Madison, I think I'll have a decent chance of finishing.

Anyway, I'll write more when I get a chance tomorrow. Things are incredibly hectic at work this week and tomorrow I need to dig out of what I didn't get done today.


Monday, July 15, 2002

Subterranean Post Cornerstone Blues...

It's been a rough july training wise so far. After a Cornerstone that was just relentless, I find myself in the position of just not quite knowing how I'm going to make it to the finish line come September. After not being able to bring my bike to Cornerstone, I was going to really press on getting swim and run workouts in. Waking up to 90degree weather while you're outside though, covered in sweat, just doesn't lend itself to being workout conducive. Aside from being sweaty and hot when you woke up, swimming in the lake without earplugs got my ears really irritated and painful, and after the first day or so, I also had a really bad sunburn all over my back, which just made me not want to live even more. I could have probably worked out in the evening, but in the evening, you'd much rather go to a concert and see friends you only see once a year than run back and go jump in the lake for a 2 hour swim.

Needless to say, it was also too hot to run. After my attempt on Monday to run and another swim on Tuesday, I ended up with a really bad case of Heatstroke on Wednesday. Ang and I headed off to town Wednesday night to get away from the noise and get some fluids in to me. I'm glad we did, because I could have gotten quite a bit sicker than I was. Heat stroke just isn't very fun. Anyway, Wednesday ended most of my workouts for the rest of the week. I just never felt well enough again to make another attempt at anything very physical.

After I got back from Cornerstone, sickness crept upon me. BLERGH. If there's one thing I didn't need, it was to get sick. I was anxious to get back to working out and this cold hit me that literally knocked me off my feet. All my energy felt completely sapped from my body.

Tuesday, I made an attempt to get back into the swing of things. Before heading off to my young-adult bible study, I drove over to a local lake to get a swim in. I was aiming for what I thought was the lake a local triathlon takes place at, but the lake I thought was Turtle lake, turned out to be another lake. The thing that bothered me was that this lake turns out to be what must be the shallowest lake in the local area. It being incredibly shallow and incredibly clear, I had to swim through really thick weeds almost the entire time. Plus it was really disconcerting seeing the weeds come up at you because of the clear water. I cut my swim off short because of a lack of energy and ran up to where my car was parked. Running to my car is where I really realized that there was something wrong. I just didn't have any energy at all. I couldn't figure out why I was incredibly out of breath by the time I got to my car. The next day, the cold hit me full force, and I had my answer.

The cold kept me out of commission until Sunday... or at least I was bound and determined to get at least ONE long workout in this past weekend. I woke up feeling better on Sunday, so I decided that that would have to be the day. I looked up the 13 week training plan and found out that this weekend was supposed to be the first long brick workout. Basically a brick is this... you do your first sport, then immediately transition as quickly as you can to the next sport. For me, this meant a long bike ride followed by a shorter run.

I was really anxious to get back into the swing of things. After the Paul Bunyan fiasco, I didn't get to ride my bike the entire week before Cornerstone. I get my bike back the day before LEAVING for Cornerstone, and end up not being able to bring it with me because of packing space. THEN, I come back and get sick which leaves me no energy to ride if I WANTED to ride, so the reality is that I hadn't been on my bike in nearly three weeks. That's just way too long. I got everything ready and headed off on what was supposed to be a 1hr30min ride. Almost right of the bat I could tell that the cold wasn't completely gone and that I had lost some fitness. The other thing I learned was that I think my planned route hit every piece of construction in the northern suburbs. My planned route went from an hour and 30 minutes to a painful 30 mile hour and 50 minute route in weather that just happened to also be in the mid 90s. Why oh why can't i just have one variable to analyze so that I can at least do a little bit of analysis and figure out what's going on?

If it's hot and I don't perform as well, GREAT!
If I'm sick and I don't perform as well, GREAT!
If I'm undertrained and don't perform as well, GREAT!

But don't throw all three variables at me at once because it makes it hard to figure out which one has more weight. ERGH.

I finally got off the bike after running out of water and almost running out of my tepid bland accelerade (which happens to be palatable cold, but once semi-warm becomes almost undrinkable) Stumbling into the house, I got some water and changed into my US Postal Team cap (GO LANCE!) and Running Shoes... ran out the door and BAM! My legs told me that they didn't want to run. OUCH! I kept moving though and started to walk down the street. Just walking had my heart rate at 160. Running a few steps bumped it up to 180. Up and down my heart rate went as I toddled down the street. Somehow I managed to keep going, I'm not entirely sure how. Eventually, I even picked up a little bit of steam. I had a little bit of incentive in that I wanted to get home in order to watch a little bit of CBS Tour de France (or Tour de Lance, take your pick) coverage. Coming around my block, I turned on the engines as best I could and musted up some energy. I decided that I'd push it as hard as I could go and for the first time in quite a while, I went anaerobic. I think I remember seeing my heart rate peak somewhere around 193 BPM. I tried to push through the lactic acid building up as best I could and ran into the house a big heaving, sweating, sloppy mess. I think it's so funny that my mom has become used to this. Without missing a beat she just asks if I had a good run and goes back to her movie.

After I got into the house my heart rate for whatever reason kept going up. I went from 193 to 196 for a little while before finally coming down.
When I went to bed yesterday night, my legs were so drained that I couldn't fall asleep. They weren't in pain, they just felt like they were more tired than they had ever been in their lives... I was worried that they were going to be extra painful today... suprisingly though, they felt pretty ok.

Tomorrow's workout?
1 hour of swimming at FORM
and a 1/2 hour run at E2.
Actually one of my favorite workouts! :-)

Also tomorrow? A bibliography of all the books I've ended up buying in this year long process. Training for an Ironman has been more of a learning experience than I ever thought it would be, and I've got a bookshelf to prove it.

Deus te Amat, and I do to.

Posts from the road… June 30, 2002

Well, at the very least, I know that my computer is working as I ride along in the back of Ang’s Parents minivan. We managed to get on the road about 9:00 this morning and things never seem to go off without a hitch. Ang had to run home after she left so that she could get her Health Insurance card and then when she got to my house we realized there was no way in God’s good heaven that we were going to get my road bike into the car. Strike one against being able to go about a regular training week this week.

I had no conceptions of everything going off without a hitch workout wise since I’m going to be in the middle of Illinois corn country camping out with 40,000 other people, but I was hoping to get some miles in on my bike now that it’s back from the shop.

I’m still not too sad about bagging the quintuple century ride. I think I hit a little spot of overtraining. I kind of lost the short term desire to do longdistance stuff. I think next season I’ll focus almost predominantly on long-distance stuff. Maybe I’ll even get a Randonneur (Randonnay) thing going with the Twin Cities Bike Club. It’s a long distance type thing where you go through a circuit of Kilometer rides… in order to ride Paris-Brest-Paris or Boston-Montreal-Boston, you need to do a 200,400,800,1000,1200 km set of rides. Boston-Montreal-Boston is this year and it won’t be for another 4 years? So I’ll have time to be able to set my sites on that possibly.

Before that though, I need to focus on Ironman Madison. Not bringing my bike could be a good thing because it will allow me to focus on running and swimming this week which are probably what I need to be focusing on anyway. The bike is the given in the race for me. Albeit, I want to still train to make a decent split on the 112, but if I’m riding it and not necessarily racing it, I know that I can do 112. It’s the 2.5 and the 26.2 that boggle me a little bit and so I’ll focus on that this week. There’s a lake on the Cornerstone farm that I hope I’ll be able to swim in. I know there’s a swim area, but I don’t know how they feel about people that decide to swim the lake… maybe if I do it early or late.

There’s a little film festival going on at Cornerstone this year, and one of the things that they’re going to be doing is a “Make Your own Film at Cornerstone” thing. I don’t have a digital camera with me so what I think I’m going to do is this… I have my minidisk recorder and digital camera, so what I think I’ll do is to create a Cornerstone cartoon. I’ll tape all my audio there and cut together something like Waking Life. I think it could be an interesting experiment.

Anyway, that’s all from the road for the moment. We stopped at Wendy’s for lunch and I didn’t eat healthily at all. It’s going to be hard nutritionally this week. I brought a bunch of applesauce and granola bars for breakfast so that should be fine, but it’s the rest of the day that I’m a little more concerned about. We’ll see how it goes.

To all the ships that sailed the sea
Monday and Tuesday, July 1&2, 2002

There are a couple things about Cornerstone that never change, the heat and the dust. This
year, there’s plenty of both. Yesterday and today have both been in the mid nineties with
humidity that’s almost as high. I didn’t get a chance to bring my bike down, and Monday
as I was reading through the Cornerstone program, I noticed that there was a big page about
the lake and how there wasn’t any swimming allowed outside of the designated swimming
areas… and absolutely NO swimming across the lake. I was more than seriously bummed
that yet another part of my training wouldn’t be able to done this week. After reading that,
there being all this refrigerator noise from a truck next to our tent all night and being
severely sticky with sweat, it just wasn’t a good morning.

There was absolutely nothing going on Monday as well. None of our friends were here yet
and sitting around in the heat with nothing to do just isn’t much fun. We holed up in the
van with the A/C on watching movies for the most part. Sunday night was a "Return of the
Killer Tomatoes" Feature, and Monday had showings of both High Fidelity and

Ang, Gina and I went for a walk Monday afternoon and ended up down by the Cornerstone
lake. Lo and Behold there are people ALL over the lake, mostly on air mattresses. We walk
down to the water to put our feet in and I realize I actually have a suit on. It’s supposed to
be a day off, but Saturday and Sunday didn’t have anything happening during them (I was a
bad training boy getting ready for Cornerstone) so I figured that I could do well by going
for a swim.

I was really impressed with the fact that there are almost no weeds in this lake. I’m not sure
why, but I’m sure a big part of it is the type of soil that’s at the bottom of the lake… there’s
so much sediment that I’m sure there isn’t much light down there at all. I found that one of
the most refreshing things in the Cornerstone world was/is to dive down into the water
where the temperature drops dramatically… the top water is probably close to 80 degrees,
and about 3 feet down, due to water visibility, the temperature drops precipitously. All of a
sudden you’re feeling water that’s in the sixties right on down to absolutely frigid water at
the very bottom. It felt so good diving under the water and floating up through the
temperature layers. I was also really happy that I found out I’d be able to complete my

Tuesday called for an 1:15 of swimming and :45 of running. The day started off better with
a full night of sleep thanks to a handy dandy pair of ear plugs, but the temperature today
surely wasn’t cooperating. It just isn’t good when the temperature is already almost 90
degrees when you wake up. I lunked around the campsite for a little while and eventually
convinced myself to get on with things for the day. As soon as I started running, I knew it
was going to be a long workout (or at least the run part) 5 minutes of easy running had my
heart rate in the stratosphere (around 180) just because of the heat. The swim makes things
easier, just because the water keeps you cool, but there was a problem there too. The
sunblock I used today isn’t waterproof, so I have nice big sunburns across the top of my
back. OUCH! Maybe that tells me that I need to work on my form so that my sunburn is
more even across my back. _

The swim other than the sunburn was pretty uneventful. Since I don’t have my bike here
with me, I think that I’m going to do a swim workout everyday this week with the runs in
the same position, so it’ll be

Monday: Swim
Tuesday: Swim, Run
Wednesday: Swim
Thursday: Swim, Run
Friday: Swim
Saturday: Swim, Run (instead of Bike)
Sunday: Home-LONG bike.

It won’t hurt to spend a lot of time in the water this week. Aside from the fact that it’s the
coolest place on the grounds, it’s also something I really need to work on. I’m still
struggling with continuous form. I can keep form, but I just don’t have the endurance in
Freestyle that I’m going to need. I can move – breast stroke, butterfly, backstroke,
sidestroke, but I just can’t keep doing freestyle for a long period of time. That’ll be
something I work on in the water this week.

When I got out of the water today, I had a sudden sense of what Ironman Hawaii in Kona is
like. Running kind of felt like it might feel in Hell. There’s not the isolation of the Queen K
Highway in Kona, but running on grounds that are completely covered in people, and
drinking lukewarm water made potable with a brita pitcher in the extra humid heat just
wasn’t that much fun. Once again my heartrate raced to probably it’s peak this season (I
accidently left my heart rate strap at home, so I can only estimate, but when I took my pulse,
I was close to 200 beats per minute, in just a jog. It’s totally and completely the heat.
Inhaling the dust didn’t help either. We really need a rain to secure all the dust to the
ground finally. It’s not as bad as it’s ever been, but it’s certainly not the best it’s every been
either. I cut my run short, even though I finally hit my stride toward the end. I was worried
about the heat, and I really wanted to get some fluids into me. I think I’m almost back to
normal hydration wise, I’ve been trying to suck back all the water I can. But I’ve still
generated almost no urine today, so that bothers me a little bit. On the one hand, it means
not having to use the porta-potties (which are clean for the most part, but c’mon they’re
PORTA-POTTIES, they’re not going to be perfectly clean EVER), but I don’t like what it
says physiologically. As soon as I finish this I’m going to grab my water jug so that I can
work on finishing it off.

Tomorrow will just be swimming. I’m going to try and do a 2 1/2 hour swim. At least two
laps across this lake. I don’t know distances at all, but I’d judge that I did over a mile today.
Anyway, more news later.

To all the ships that sailed the seas of dust,
June 27, 2002

80 days until Ironman...

This week has been a mess, workout wise. Starting Sunday night I was busy
working at this conference doing video stuff that was on the other side of
the city, it basically meant doing a 50 minute drive twice daily. Not much
fun, so it really screwed up my training. Aside from that, my bike isn't
back from the shop yet from it's weekend injuries, so I wasn't on teh bike
this week either. The conference ended yesterday night, so back into the
workouts today.

Today's workout? Swim for 1:15 at Endurance Level 3, and run for :45 of

Tuesday, I swam in a lake for the first time and I can honestly say that
it's much easier swimming in a lake than it is swimming laps, at least for
me. I think there's something about swimming or running or biking inside
that really makes it harder for me to do distance. When I'm in the water
and see something off in the distance, it's easier to set my eyes on that
marker than it is for me to say, "Ok I need to swim umpteen laps to do this
distance today."

The only thing that I don't especially like about lake swimming is dealing
with the weeds. Because of the boat traffic on the lake, I tend to not try
and swim out in the middle of the lake. Swimming 50 ft off shore means I
stay out of the way of boats (though not the absolutely annoying jet-skis)
The lake I swim in though (mostly because it's REALLY close to my house)
is pretty weedy, and thus when you get out there, you still have to contend
with the slimy plants. Maybe most disconcerting though was having my eyes
open as I swam freestyle. When I was in a weedy area, I'd see the weeds
coming at me, and even though I knew they were soft and wouldn't hurt me, I
couldn't help but get a little freaked seeing something coming at me. If I
were running or biking I could easily avoid it, but swimming you're
basically stuck with "Augh! Here it comes!" Plus I kept thinking that some
of the weeds were hands reaching up to grab me when I saw them out of the
corner of my eye. Hopefully with all the people at Ironman, by the time I
get to the weeds, a gazillion people will already have swam through them
tearing them into a million pieces.

Another part about lake swimming is not knowing where exactly to jump in.
Whenever I walk past the sign that says "No Swimming past the beach swim
area buoys" I always get a little nervous that some county lake patrol boat
is going to come up and say (with some sort of southern accent) "What the
hell do you think you're doing boy?"

Anyway, Tuesday I got in for the first time and did maybe 1/2-3/4 of a
mile. It felt pretty good for the most part. Though my stroke is still
pretty horrible. I kept giving up on my freestyle because of the weeds. it
was easier to do some sort of awkward breast stroke that pulled the weeds
out of the way before I got there than it was to do a freestyle stroke and
collect weeds with my superman arm position sticking out and gliding me
through the water waiting for my other hand to appear and assume the

Today after I got home from work I grabbed the last two pieces of pizza
that my parents, sister and brother-in-law had for dinner and made myself a
BLT wrap... let that sit for a half hour and then headed down to the

I always feel a bit awkward when I head down to the beach to do a long
swim. Walking barefoot through the beach area in barefeet, a speedo or my
Triathlon-sprint shorts and a T-shirt. People kind of look at you
strangely... especially when you walk past the beach and keep going,
finding a tree to toss your t-shirt into as you stretch and put on your
swim goggles.

After you stretch, you have to kind of search for a little bit of waters
edge that doesn't have too many weeds and just walk out into the water.
When I went down to the lake on Tuesday, I spent quite a few minutes just
standing at the edge of the water, trying to get the chutzpah to actually
head out into the lake. Today, the chutzpah that was needed was quite a bit

I started out with some freestyle but hit the weeds almost right away
again and went back to my horrible breast stroke... I went out a little
further to get away from the surface weeds and kept going with the
freestyle. I still need to do a lot of work with my balance in the water.
Seeing that video at Total Immersion has helped a lot, but I can't keep up
proper form for long distances... my biceps are also quite a bit smaller
than I'd like, because at this point they get tired pretty quickly. There
was more boat traffic today. I had to keep checking for boats whenever I
heard the buzzing in the water. A bunch of teens kept sweeping past me, and
I wasn't quite sure why, except for the fact that there's a freaky
triathlete guy swimming by himself in a pretty-much non-swimming area.
People don't give me weird looks when I'm running or I'm biking, but I
couldn't believe all of the weird looks that I got in the lake today. Every
boat that came by gave me some sort of look.

I ended up swimming for probably a mile/mile and a quarter... and actually
getting a full hour in. Usually I never get a full swim workout in. I
think the lake helps this quite a bit. Whenever a boat did swing by, I'd
end up with the waves coming at me which cut down my progress quite a bit.
I kept pushing though, and on the way back (I turned around when I reached
the 35 minute mark so that I wouldn't go completely over my workout time
and so that I wouldn't tire out and get stranded in the middle of the
lake.) I focused on my freestyle again, which for some reason started
working a lot better right away. My body was twisting the right way, and I
was able to remember to keep my superman arm out until my other arm reached
it so that I could get the maximum glide as a "longer me".

Ok, sidebar time. The "longer me" thing has to do with the way Total
Immersion teaches. The way they teach swimming is to work on form. They try
to teach people to swim as fishlike as possible so that you can maximize
efficiency and save energy. To do this, they teach you to stretch out your
body and twist to a side on each stroke so that you cut through the water
easier <--- a sailboat vs. a barge.

Anyway, I was able to keep a pretty proper freestyle stroke up until I got
back to shore. I feel really fine in the water. Friends of mine have
talked about being nervous when they see all the water around them and the
shore far away. I guess it doesn't' really bother me. It took a little
getting used to to see your horizon so much lower, but it felt pretty
natural to just sit and tread in the water when I needed to take a break. I
think the focusing exercises that were in this cycling psychology book I
read last year, have helped a lot in that area. Just focusing on the hear
and now, what my body is doing stroke by stroke and not thinking about
what's ahead in the next leg of hte race or whatever. Focusing on the here
and now. It just helps a lot. I read in Iron Will about how when you think
about the next leg of the Ironman, you're through... meaning that it just
beats you into the ground to think about the marathon while you're
finishing the bike, or looking ahead to the bike during the swim. You know
you're going to be at some further point in the future, so just focus on
what you're doing now to get you there a little sooner. I suppose that's
easier said than done.

I know I'm performing well when my mind can kind of go into
performance-hypnosis and i can just kind of observe the scenery with a
blank mind as my legs pedal or run along. That kind of happened tonight
during the run. After I got out of the water, I ran for my car so that I
could transition to the run as quickly as I could. I still need to work on
my transitions, but my legs felt pretty fresh when I ran out of hte beach
parking lot and straight up the first hill. When I do more bricks, I think
I'm going to need to keep either my camelbak in my car so i can grab it in
the transition, or some sports drink. You don't think you sweat in teh
water, but you actually sweat quite a bit, and I could feel it during the
run. I really needed something to drink and there wasn't much around. Just
suburbia everywhere I looked... not that I had any money on me to buy
anything anyway. Got my run done feeling pretty well and came home.

I decided that I'm not riding to Illinois this weekend. I haven't gotten
my bike back from teh shop yet, and I'll really focus on getting my regular
workouts in next week, even if I am in some remote Illinois cornfield
listening to music with friends. We'll see how all that works. I think i
can get normal workouts in, but we'll see.

I should run. More later.