Saturday, March 19, 2005

Workout disc - Spartan by Five Iron Frenzy

This is a repost back from August of 2002. It's funny that in ways I keep repeating myself, even heading towards three years later. There's things I wrote this week that echo this article. I think they still hold up for the most part. There'll be new music soon, but for now, a repeat...

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 an 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.

The rest was just about training, I don't think I've changed that much... I do remember the music not staying in my head for very long when I was racing. Mostly life on the bike was just about staying focused on what I needed to be doing... leg do this, foot do that. I've been meaning to post this song for a few days, but seeing that Commodore and White Salamander were talking about the Spartans over at White Salamander's blog, I thought it apropo.

Download Spartan by Five Iron Frenzy

on the wisdom of 99cent Spicy McChickens

I promised on Flatman's blog the other day that I would tell at least one of my gastronomic cycling stories... but as I was cleaning up in the tub today, my mind wandered over to the gastronomic incidences that occured before Ironman Wisconsin. I think, though, that I'll begin with the more normal incident, since the other story is more than a bit visual. (to say the least)

Back in Minnesota, I used to ride with the Twin Cities Bicycle Club. It was great riding with them because they had multiple rides all over town most days. There was a ride on Monday nights that met somewhere near my parents house heading east towards the Wisconsin border.

At the time, the office was in transition before leaving for Colorado and I was working out of my bosses house in the far Northern suburbs heading towards St. Cloud... this inevitably didn't leave me much time to race across town for the Monday evening ride. Not having much money on me this specific day, I decided to be smart and stop at the McDonald's closest to the ride.

Two dollars and some odd change later, I was the proud owner of two 99cent Spicy McChicken sandwiches. MMMMMMM. For some reason, I completely wolfed both of them down in the course of about a mile. I also need to mention that this was one of the first truly hot days of the spring.

I got to the ride as they were getting ready to pull out and quickly raced to get my bike assembled (I didn't own a rack at the time and so my bike fit easily into my back seat if the wheels were off) and my cleats on. I still didn't make it before they left the parking lot, so I immediately had to sprint out of the parking lot to catch them. I caught them and everything seemed fine for a while... the problem was that it was early in the season and I was riding a bit past my ability. When your heart rate goes up, systems start shutting down like your stomach and all of a sudden I had one giant McRock sitting in my now unhappy stomach.

For some reason I didn't spew, but I did proceed to bonk in ways unimaginable to me prior to this event. I slowed down as I watched the other riders pedal off into the distance and unmounted my steed. Standing in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere, I clutched my stomach and waited for my heart to slow down. I also tried to sip some water.

It took a few minutes, but my body started to get back to normal and function again. I think I actually only came in about five minutes after everyone else, but I will never down a McChicken, let alone a spicy McChicken before a ride again. Wisdom comes with age (or experience) I guess.

I don't feel quite so bad now...

that I've been outside and realized that it's just not very pleasent at all out there. We still have to go out to have dinner with the guy who does all our printing tonight, but standing out on the porch futzing with my rear water bottle cage (Ang accidentally tipped over my road bike a couple weeks ago and one of my behind the seat water bottle cages shattered.) today nearly froze my bare feet. I know what you're saying... "WHY WERE YOU OUT THERE IN YOUR BARE FEET!?" and the simple answer to that question is that I inherited the bad habit from my Grandpa. He'd always be walking outside in the snow to get the mail barefoot and it kind of got absorbed into me.

Back when I lived in Minnesota, my neighbor saw me go get the mail barefoot one day and decided to see how long he could get me to stand there talking to him. After 10 minutes in the snowcovered drive way, he gave up and hustled back to his warm house.

I have a habit of picking things up with my feet that I inherited from Grandpa Gilbertson too, but it's mostly the walking barefoot thing that carried over.

The nice thing I discovered about the shattered water bottle cage is that it's a standard mount. In theory I should be able to order a replacement Profile cage for under $10 and be back up and running. I've got one of my old cages on the mount now and it just doesn't look right.

Off to the shower to perform the weekly shave... then put away some clothes and find something warm.


I can't get motivated. I'm sitting here at the computer reading the news and goofing off and I can't pull myself out of the chair to do something productive. Something must be done.

I've got a couple of more songs for the workout disc to post but I'm just feeling very fried and am kind of vegging out right now. I was at work designing this leave-behind book that had to be done for Monday and I was having issues with our printer... (though of course it looks nothing like a printer, it's a rather large digital copier with a fiery box strapped to the side of it so that 'I' can use it as a printer and everyone else can use it as a copier)

Anyway, I was running the job and you have to make a temperature adjustment when you're running heavy paper. The problem with this is that when you raise the temperature of the fuser, you're likely to overheat it which requires you to take the fuser assembly apart and click a reset button. Somehow when the copier overheated I couldn't find my screwdriver so it added an extra half hour of running around the office trying to find what I needed. UGH. Eventually a coworker walked me through over the phone where he had last seen a screwdriver and I was back up and running.

I finally got home around 10 yesterday night. Eight Thirty to Nine-something days aren't the type of thing I enjoy, but we're a startup... that's what you do <-- or at least that's what the creative staff (me) has to do to get things done... everyone else goes home (but that's another story)

What that all boils down to though is that I'm beyond fried. I should go out and ride, but the apartment is a pit, I have another project I promised I'd help a friend with.

Add in film society next Friday (which I stupidly haven't even sent an announcement about yet) and Easter... ugh.

Things will be fine. Just take things step by step.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

i'm still bored... I think I'll title this "nalgene Jerry looking bored" The tape ended... the meeting is done!

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

This is the neighborhood donkey. It lives at a mining museum down the hill from our apartment. I'm not sure whether this Oro or Nugget, but it's one of the two.

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

Water for me... pop for everyone else. Sitting listenin to a boring tape in a lunch meeting.

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

attack Of The Giant Shoe

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Someday he'll find us... the Hugh Hewitt connection...

Reading Hugh Hewitt's site before going to bed, I noticed that he mentioned Trigeekdreams again.

This is what he had to say...
Finally, read Henry Copeland of Blogads on who is reading the blogosphere. (HT: Glenn.)  The really good news for the young bloggers is they can make a living at this, and if the growth continues and they are talented, a very satisfactory living.  If you are a bike manufacturer, you are going to want to advertise on TrigeekDreams. (I wonder if Speedo has already offered TriGeek a buyout and a contract?  It should.) If you are interested in hitting the eyes of the opinion class, you are going to have to buy the poliblogs.  If you want to launch a new Christian author, you will want to send a review copy to John Mark Reynolds and EvangelicalOutpost.  The information delivery system has changed.  It is, as they say, "all good."

Share the love Hugh!
Brian (trying to build the Northern Alliance of the geeky weblogging triathlon world)

Creative Bankruptcy and Mental Application

Hey everybody, try to get through the first part of this if you can because even though it doesn't seem to be multi-sport related, everything ties together at the end.

I've got a term for when I'm stalled on a project. I say, in those times, that I'm Creatively Bankrupt. I think one of the keys in design and writing and even sport is to find a way to perform despite the creative bankruptcy.

I like the thought of creative bankruptcy more than say, Writer's block. To me, writers block really doesn't tell you anything. When I picture writer's block there's almost an image that pops into my head of a brooklyn street block in summer with the humidity in the air causing the inhabitants to swim to their cars and stoops. Somewhere above all of it, with the window cracked and World War II era desk fan tepidly blowing air into the stagnating room sits a stringy man in BVDs and a wifebeater typing with two fingers onto an empty white sheet. Ok, maybe that was a bit too descriptive. Scratch the man, the fan, the humidity and the people and just open up the scene on a fall day with the camera rising up from a low shot of the street to the street sign, which oddly enough says, "Writer's block?".

Creative bankruptcy, on the other hand strikes me as more visceral. I remember the first time I heard the word visceral. I was in high school and my friend Lance had made me a cassette copy of an album called Fathom by Mortal. I'd never heard industrial music before. Somehow, the combination of metal guitars and dance beats was infectious. I think the music was something I needed at the time. I was an angry kid and they let me be angry but have some hope in the anger.

Anyway, back to visceral. The first track on fathom is called Alive and Awake.

We walk the walls in this freak of flesh
Along the twists of our visceral mesh
Against the powerflow of motionless flood
It's an experience of flesh and blood

I face the wave of this gravity
I face the Beauty in the things I can't see
I face the Weakness that has rendered me strong
I face the fate of my existence head on

Ready to Bleed
Ready to Feel
Ready to Love
Without fear

I, I'm alive, am Alive, I'm alive and Awake!

I pray for wisdom in the days of my Youth
I pray for courage in the presence of Truth
I pray for Grace at each approach of the sun
I pray for peace and for the Kingdom to come

I walk the world in this vessel of flesh
Inside the twists of this visceral mesh
Caught in the powerflow of motionless flood
It's an experience of the flesh and the blood

For all that lives and dies
Entails a sacrifice of love
Though the earth, the surf, the skies
Are gilded with good-byes
Be sure - God is in Control

And when the dead leaves fall
For time will fail us all
Never fail to remember
The One in whom we move and breathe
And have our being
Is the God who's in Control!

How do we die?

How do we sleep?

When we're ready to be human
- without fear

I think the most humorous thing about Mortal is that one of the two guys in the band, Jerome Fontamillas, is now in semi-Christian teeny bopper alt-rock band Switchfoot. Skinny-Puppy inspired industrial music to Switchfoot, that's not something you see every day.

The first time I saw mortal was one of the first major God experiences in my life. In Minneapolis, one of the places Christian high school music geeks hung out was called The New Union (now Club 3 Degrees). I'd go hang out there whenever I could because I thought there'd be a chance to find people who actually liked me for me (a very rare thing at that point in time).

I had just gotten the Mortal tape from Lance when we found out they were coming in concert. The night of the show I was exuberantly excited. I tried to look scary, wearing my only black t-shirt (A D.C. Talk Free At Last shirt) and some dark pants (I didn't actually own any jeans at the time.)

The New Union wasn't a huge club and people were squeezed in elbow to elbow in the darkly lit room. Mortal was here! Tonight! I don't know if it was high school emotion or genuine spirituality, but it felt like amid the crunching guitars and layered distortion, the presence of the Holy Spirit entered the room. Dozens of people fell to their knees in the most pit with their hands raised while the moshing continued around them. Somehow none of us got injured.

But back to Creative Bankruptcy. That story was in ways an answer to how to deal with creative bankruptcy... free form writing. I knew I needed to write and that I wasn't feeling it. I started and things began to pour out.

Training is like that. The other day I didn't want to ride. I rode anyway because I felt I had to. Because I made the decision to ride, I was able to push through it. Long distance racing, I think, is 90% mental. You can train your body to function for 16 hours, but it takes a focused and centered mind to keep going after your body decides it would really like a couch and a beer thank you very much.

Do we spend enough time doing mental training before a race? I don't see it often addressed in the training plans I look at. Most often, the focus of these plans is to grind out the miles and drills. The programs mention that like in weight training, quality is important, but I think they need to have instruction in thought as well.

There's a really excellent book I picked up a couple years ago called Sports Psychology for Cyclists By Dr Saul Miller and Peggy Maass Hill. The book begins to address some of these specific things.

From chapter 1, Managing Mind and Emotions...

Most athletes and coaches would agree that success in their sport is at least 50% "Mental" and the result of their mind and body working well together. Indeed excellence in any sport is the result of the successful integration of physical, technical and mental factors. However, in reality this idea of integration of mind and body is under-practiced in preparing athletes for most sports, and there is a disproportional focus on the physical and technical aspects of training. Mental training is ignored.

This essay shows a good application of mental exercise. Writing and thinking to write and think. Free flowing thought got me to what is really the meat of the article and would normally be trimmed out. I'm leaving in the first part of this writing because I want to show the process.

Think of the brain in this article as warming up. By the time we get to training in the article, my body has decided that what it's actually thinking about now that the brain has booted up.

If I were riding, the first part of the article is my junk thought. "I think I locked the door. Hmm the wind is cold, maybe I should have worn heavier gloves. Blah, blah, blah." By mile three my boot up is finished and I can focus on the "programs" that later chapters of Sports Psychology for Cyclists touches on. Refer back to my first soundtrack article for some thoughts on a couple of the brain programs I use.

I don't know all of the mental training exercises I'd recommend, but I think that journalling/blogging is high up in the list. Talking in written words about your training is a bit like the football team watching film analysis. It's a way for the brain to look at what went right and wrong. If you spend enough time doing it, hopefully your brain will get a boost from a program that enforces the good actions and general cognizance from training the brain to be analytical. If the brain gets good at analysis while you're writing, hopefully it will translate to making real time analysis on the course.

I'll think about more mental exercises and write them up as they come to me.

Other articles that might be a bit of a help
Mental Focus for the Ironman by Rich Strauss
Tapering for Ironman: 12 Tips
Mental Training Part 2: Concentration

I like this paragraph from the Mental Training Part 2 article...

Practice switching focus

The good news is that a great deal of these skills are practiced everyday in training: while swimming you need to be aware of the other swimmers in your lane, on the bike and run you are constantly aware of vehicles, stop signs, traffic lights and changes in road conditions. Trying to get meaningful training in while facing these distractions will help hone your ability to switch between narrow and broad focus. However, there are drills you can do in order to help improve these skills even further. The first is to read while sitting in front of the television (this works best if you are not especially interested in the reading material but you are interested in the show) and read for as long as you can without becoming distracted. After reading a given amount, maybe a page, switch your focus to the television show for a minute and then go back to reading. Once you become proficient at this, you can up the stakes by reading smaller amounts (paragraphs or even sentences), watch T.V. for a few seconds and then try to go back to reading at the exact spot you left off. Another exercise that I have found to work well with my athletes is to have them watch a sporting event (the sport is not really important but it should be something relatively fast – basketball, hockey, volleyball, etc) and have them vary focus between narrow (the athlete controlling the play) and broad (what all the athletes are doing). Although I have mainly used this to help athletes read and react to what other players are doing on the floor, it has also helped them with their ability to focus. The best thing about these drills is that they will not take you away from your family, increase your chance of injury or be cancelled due to weather conditions.

one last article and a link to more articles
Mental Toughness in Triathlon Training
Stories related to mental training

Tip of my Tongue

I wish I was in the right frame of mind to type. It's been a long day and I'm looking forward to the week itself to be done.

Pastor Mike drove down from from Denver for church on Tuesday night and afterwards we were talking about music and the conversation steered towards our love of Pierce Pettis and Mark Heard. You probably haven't heard of either of these guys, though you've a better chance of knowing some of Pierce's music. He wrote a song called You Move Me that was recorded by Garth Brooks.

In any case, Mark Heard was a great man. He died early, but the musical work that he left is a legacy that will be treasured by the small community of die-hard fans that were exposed to his work.

Pierce Pettis, a singer-songwriter who was good friends with Mark made it a point to record a cover of one of his songs on each of his albums. This song is one of those covers. It sums up the mood I'm in, it's been a bit of a nasty day. I'm around 30 years younger than everyone else on staff here at work. We moved 1000 miles away from Minneapolis to work here two years ago and when 10 people move that far together they end up bound together for better or worse into something like a family. The hard thing is that because I'm 30 years younger a lot of times I'm not an equal... I'm 'the kid'.

Like a family, there are all of the usual spats. Everything eventually comes around, but when the spats happen, it's not the most fun of times. In any case, I was buried in a project yesterday and today that I just crawled out of. I was buried in it, partially because of one of those spats. It'll be nice when we're larger and some of the familialness starts to fade away.

But the song I'm going to post is called Tip of the Tongue and I think I'll let the lyrics speak for themselves

Tip Of My Tongue

There's an oasis in the heat of the day
There's a fire in the chill of night
A turnabout in circumstance makes each a hell in its own right

I've been boxed-in in the lowlands, in the canyons that think
I've been pushed to the brink of the precipice and dared not to blink
I've been confounded in the whirlwind of what-if's and dreams
I've been burned by the turning of the wind back upon my own flames

Knock the scales from my eyes
Knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out
It's on the tip of my tongue

I've seen through the walls of this kingdom of dust
Felt the crucial revelation
But the broad streets of the heart and the day-to-day meet
at a blind intersection

I don't want to be lonely, I don't want to feel pain
I don't want to draw straws with the sons of Cain
You can take it as a prayer if you'll remember my name
You can take it as the penance of a profane saint

Knock the scales from my eyes
Knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out
It's on the tip of my tongue

There's an oasis in the heat of the day
There's fire in the chill of night
And when I know them both, I'll know your love -
I will feel it in the twilight

As circumstance comes crashing through my walls like a train
Or like a chorus from the mountains of the ocean floor
Like the wind-burst of birdwings taking flight in a hard rain
Or like a mad dog on the far side of Dante's Door

Knock the scales from my eyes
Knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out
It's on the tip of my tongue

Written by Mark Heard © 1992 Ideola Music/ASCAP


I'm here! I swear I am!

I'm buried in projects and paperwork, office politics and drama. UGH. I'll be back soon, I promise.

I need my therapeutic and cathartic blogging.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

scrawlings before bed

I'll post something longer in the morning. I'm a bit tired.

To channel Wil...

Mind: Hey, it's sunny and not warm, but not cold either! Maybe I could ride?

Body: No. It snowed this morning, the trail is going to be nasty, you really don't want to ride.

Mind: But it'll be fun! It's a ride!

at the same time the mind is having an argument with itself...

I should ride...

but I don't want to ride, it could be nastily cold...

but you haven't exercised today and you like those chocolate chip cookies you made a bit much...

yeah, I know.. plus I had a Sausage McMuffin for breakfast. But I only had a can of soup the rest of the day!

It doesn't matter, you should get out and do it anyway, you'll feel better if you do...

but it's cold and I'd rather blog!

Body: I feel ok, if you guys want to go I'll go

Minds and Body: Fine.

It wasn't the worst ride in the world. There were only two places I needed to stop because there was snow or ice on a hill that I didn't have enough momentum to get up, plus I stopped to take that picture of the Peak and once more to chip snow out of my shoes so I could clip in again.

But it was a bit cooler than I like to ride, and because I didn't have my booties, my cycling shoes had my toes FREEZING. My feet were fine, but my toes couldn't move for the first few minutes of being out of the shoes. (Ok, they could move, but not very well).

The annoying thing was the driver that gave me my first epithet of the year. I was turning left and in the left hand turn lane downtown, no traffic around at all except for this truck across the intersection. The light turned green and for whatever reason, he didn't go. Since he wasn't moving, I went. That's when he decided to let me know that "I wasn't an F-ing Car". It's nice to know because I wasn't aware that I was anything other than a car. Maybe I need to start making engine revving noises at the intersections I'm forced to stop at.

There he goes, there goes Speedracer!

Anyway, I'm falling asleep at the keyboard but wanted to check in. I had 34 hits today, that might be the most I've ever logged in a day here. Thanks so much for reading me. I'm far, far away from Trigeeks 10000 hits, but I'll get there eventually. Heck, I'm going to declare that EVERYONE in the Triathlete Alliance will hit that mark, though my guess is that Wil might hit it before everyone else if only because she'd win the Triathlete Alliance beauty pageant. Can I get Mr. Congeniality?

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

photo blogging from church. E.J. seems to be giving some sort of announcement.

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

You're right I'm not a F'ing car. The first epithet of the season... Of course it was some teen punk in a giant truck.

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

Brought To You By The Letters P I K And E

In the same vein..

The White Salamander is getting ready for his first triathlon this season. Plus, he's a graphic designer, a bit of a geek and on top of that a Christian all things that the Flabby Ironman heartily approves of, himself being a Christian Graphic Designer Triathlete Geek.

I'll update the blogroll later on this evening.

The first Triathlete Alliance inspired blog!

Flatman posted this over at Wil's site


This is a great site you have and you really keep me laughing. I have hopped on board the "triathlete alliance" you guys have going. Drop by my site sometime when you get a chance.

so I followed his profile to his webpage and discovered to my happiness and bemusement that Flatman dove into the blogosphere-laplane just today. So, I'm happy to welcome Flatman from the fatman. How does one join the Triathlete Alliance? Right now it's easy, have a blog that gets updated on a regular basis and have an interest in multi-sport. It helps if you actually ARE a triathlete, but fanboys and fangirls if they're obsessive about the sport are welcome too. We're a pretty accomodating group.

Next goal? We need to get Hugh Hewitt to lavish some attention on us in his blogroll. Right now Tri-Geek is the only one listed under his fitness blogs.

I neglected to actually link to Flatman's blog. My bad. In any case, it's here

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

Ah, cleaning the lens did the trick. I thought the last photo didn't look very good, so I took a can of compressed air to my cell phone lens. My Nalgene looks suspiciously empty. I should go fill it (and while I'm at it, squirt a shot of RealLime and a shot of RealLemon, it gives the water some flavor and makes me more apt to drink it)

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

I know it doesn't look like much, but this is going to save a lot of time at work. I rewired this rack this morning so that A) I'd be able to get rid of the giant rack that used to occupy a signifigant chunk of my office, and B) I'd be able to put a rack together that could be easier to move around if I needed to. The old rack didn't have wheels, the new one does. Not only that, but the current rack slides under my counter giving me more room to work.

We're trying to make the production area more client friendly now that we're doing outside work. Hopefully, this will be the first step towards attaining that.

Monday, March 14, 2005

My mood on Sunday...

could be summed up in a song. Sunday, that song was Blink off of Rick Elias' album of the same name. Rick Elias, formerly of the Ragamuffins (Rich Mullins' band) and cowriter of some of the songs in the movie That Thing You Do (Which, BTW is how I can connect myself to Kevin Bacon in less than six steps) wrote an amazing song. I don't know that it's something to put on the training disc, but I thought I'd put it up here anyway.

Written by R.Elias, R. Hamm, S. Rogness

Relentless stirring memories I'll only visit in my dreams
Beneath a bed of virgin snow A sheet of ice on fallen leaves
I found the man behind the face
And I prayed he wasn't me
But I was wrong

Do you lie alone and silent
Question just where you belong
Have you traced it to a place A time a thought To anyone,
You seize the golden moment Only to hold on for too long
Then it's gone

In the blink of an eye It all changes
With a kiss and sigh Love whispers your name
It's here and gone Then life goes on
Passing like a ghost on the water
And if I could I'd stand against the tide
Turn your tears into wine
In the blink of an eye

Too much of the future baby Too much of the past
You find yourself obsessing over things that never last
The odds were all against us And the die's already cast
Something's wrong

In the blink of an eye It all changes
With a kiss and a sigh Love whispers your name
It's here and gone Then life goes on
Passing like a ghost on the water
And if I could I'd stand against the tide
Turn your tears into wine
In the blink of an eye

I have followed my convictions I have stood behind my nerve
At least as I recall
I've embraced the contradictions have faced at every turn
If I've learned anything at all
It's that it all changes In the blink of an eye

It's true, I think. Everything CAN change in the blink of an eye. Angela and I watched Life As A House Saturday evening. Kevin Kline stars as a cancer stricken man broken free of the moorings that have held him down when he's fired from his job and given four months to live. Knowing that he only has a limited amount of time, he decides to do the thing he's dreamed of, reach for the apple that's been stuck like a glint in his eye the 25 years he's lived in his shack. His soul resembles that shack and it's trapped him since his dad left it to him all those years ago. But the change that happened in the blink of an eye set him free. He takes his son home for the summer to try and redeem his relationship. At first there's no change, but at the tipping point he corners his son and tells him this... "Change can be so constant, you don't even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don't even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away. Make you something different in an instant."

I like what he's saying. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the same thing in The Tipping Point. Everything's the same until it's different. In a blink, the processes that were unseen suddenly become seeable... and it's the small changes that make the difference. Crime goes down in the subway when graffiti is arduously painted or washed away any time it's seen. The graffiti artists frustrated that their multi-night works move on. The subway cars begin to look better and people have a sense of pride of ownership again. Criminals begin to wash away with the fading graffiti and seemingly in a blink the crime rate drops precipitously.

I was trying to find the moral of this article and it just dawned on me that it comes from something I read over at NutBolt today.

3. Don't wait until you are married, have kids, retire, have time, or any thing else. Start now! Something else I kind of already knew, but hadn't put in practice. The kind of actions and habits you have now determine the kind of man you will be. For me this means I need to consistently pray everyday and be more courteous.

Change, while it may be going on in the background and will surprise you can also be a conscious action. In Life As A House, Kevin Kline paid a price for his change. The love that he won from showing his son love was only experienced for a short time. All of those years he could have done something were lost. What he got back was priceless, but what he could have had would have been immeasurably greater. Of course we wouldn't have had a story, but the point remains.

Choosing to do an Ironman was a tipping point, everything forward in my life was altered by that decision. All kinds of things that wouldn't necessarily be grouped together, changed as a direct result of that action. It was so physically strenuous that it reset my brain chemistry. I had been on antidepressants before the Ironman. My prescription ran out before the race and I decided to see if I could wean myself off of them. I had tried before and it was an ugly withdrawal. For some reason, it never came back after the race. Just that would be an immeasurable change, but there were others like self esteem. I'm not a big fan of unearned self-esteem. I think it cheapens the earned self-esteem. Lance Armstrong hasn't done an Ironman! (He hasn't, but I'm speaking in jest, he'd still kick my flabby hidden from the sun Iron derriere) It also showed me that big things were achievable. Suddenly the company moving to Colorado and me with them wasn't QUITE as scary (ok, it FREAKED me out the first couple days) but it wasn't the worst thing in the world anymore.

I'm blathering on, but it's still a thought to keep in mind. Don't wait for change. Don't fear the prospect of a change. If you think it's going to hurt now, imagine how much more it's going to hurt later... shining light on the darkness is the only way to make it go away. Kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. (Ok, that's an entirely different song, but another that I could probably go on about for a couple thousand words.)

There's more to say I'm sure and this entry is incomplete, but it'll finish itself in time. At the very least, I made the decision to start it and that's sometimes the hardest part of the process.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Posts from the archives...

I was digging around on Echo (The New York based BBS that I'm on) and found this in the Triathlon item of the sports conference... maybe I need to finish that book.

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.

My Mr. Incredible Moment...

I wish it were a heroic moment, but no.. it's just more of a "How Flabby ARE YOU FlabbyIronman?" type moment. Imagine the scene in the Incribles with Mr. Incredible trying to fit into his Superhero costume after all those years, now replace Mr. Incredible with me getting into my wetsuit (Quintana Roo bib-wetsuit with Open Arms). Wetsuits are a pain to get into ANYWAY, but I can't get the zipper closed. Don't ask why I'm doing this right now with any open water swims still two months off, it has everything to do with procrastination from cleaning... So, I'm sitting here writing this in my wetsuit with the zipper open. I might try again in a minute, but it shows that I still probably have to lose a few more pounds. UGH


Just tried again and I'm in! I'm guessing it was mostly the zipper. I'm now feeling like a superhero again. I think one of the reasons people get into cycling is to be able to dress up like a superhero. Maybe one of the reasons they get into Triathlon is being able to take it one step furthure and wear rubber!

A new member of the Alliance!

It's snowing here in Colorado Springs and flabbyironman has succumbed to Common Man Syndrome for the day. In his procrastination from cleaning the apartment, he did what he normally always does with his procrastination time for the day surf the web reading the news and tristuff.

Over at Tri Geek Dreams today there was a comment from Wil in a discussion about whether it's better to dive into Triathlon after you're married. I followed her profile link over to Through The Wall and was pleasently surprised to find some wonderful writing about training.

A Tri-Life lesson from her site...

Tri-Life Lessons

Well, crashing is never fun, and having fallen on my face several times throughout the course of my life, I’ve learned that there’s something to be said for living with a mouth full of dirt…spitting mud is inevitably better than spitting blood, especially when falling in the first place is the result of my own carelessness.

So, I guess that putting up with the grains of sand crunching between my teeth for an eon up the road is just the price I have to pay for the mercy of the trade off. Maybe that’s the real meaning of, “grit your teeth” and bear it - clever, in a kind of kick in the head sort of way…but OK. So just get back on the bike.

I will get where I’m going eventually, and at least it looks like I’m on the right path now. 15, 25, 56, 112...the miles don't go on forever. I just have to slow down a little bit and watch for what’s up ahead. Low branches go for the throat, and hitting them at a fast pace is usually a race ender… to say the least.

Relax, I'll tell myself, covering this kind of ground is always a pain in the ass.

Welcome to the Alliance Wil!