Saturday, April 09, 2005

Announcing the first Carnival of the Tri-Alliance!

In the next few days, I'd like to collect 'intriguing entries' from the various members of our fair alliance for inclusion in a "Carnival of the Tri-Alliance" to build some publicity for our sites. I'll take submissions of anything you've written in the past month or so for the next week and we'll assemble one and try to wrangle some attention.

Off to bed, I'm falling asleep at my keyboard as it starts to snow in the Springs. There's a chance for up to a foot by tomorrow evening. BLAH.

Avert your eyes, you readers of little fortitude!

Within these words are images that the weak of mind might not want to imagine.

Anyone who says that they're not scared before an Ironman race (and isn't a pro or someone who's done it 38 times) has got to be lying. I thought I was going to be fine, and two weeks before the race it kicked in. Oh crap! I'm actually doing this! There was the psychological issues of trying to comprehend the race and beating yourself up for not training more, but the problem that bugged me the most was one that was in ways a little easier to see and in other ways not easy to see at all.

About a week before the race I woke up and started my daily prep... something a friend referred to as 'the three S's' once upon a time (S***, Shower and a Shave) and when I went for that first function I noticed searing pain. Five days before the race and I had developed a giant hemorrhoid!

Now see, here's the thing, I'd never had one before. I've never had one since. I can only attribute it to how freaked out I was about the race. Lending credence to this were the other gastrointestinal issues that started to make themselves apparent as soon as I hit Madison.

Friday of the race weekend, after going down to the race area for our last little swim, bike and run brick before the race (at might I add, a VERY gentle pace) we stopped at Fazoli's to grab some spaghetti. Never try something new for lunch before something important. I made the mistake of ordering 'healthy'... a plate of spaghetti with chicken and peppers. A decision I would rue from the first bite.

About 10 or 20 minutes after we drove the few minutes back to the hotel I felt my stomach begin to churn and undulate. A thousand pygmies were choosing now to begin their dance ritual and I sprinted for the bathroom. To say what occured next hurt would be an understatement. Bright yellow EXTREMELY spicy diarrhea like stool exploded out of my body ticking off the preexisting hemorrhoid. I hoped and prayed that this would be the end of the weekends woes, and they were in the sense that nothing that followed hurt nearly as much, but as soon as the physical stresses calmed down, the psychological stress flared back up.

I've never been one to have panic attacks, but that night I began to completely panic about the swim.

Before we go into that, let's review the symptoms of a panic attack and check off the ones that I had, thanks to Panic

More Common Symptoms of panic attacks
1. Rapid heart beat, pounding heart or palpitations
2. Sweating
3. Shaking visibly or inside
4. Choking sensations or lump in throat 
5. Smothering or shortness of breath sensations
6. Chest pain or discomfort
7. Nausea, bloating, indigestion or abdominal discomfort
8. Dizziness or unsteadiness
9. Feeling light-headed
10. Derealisation (feeling unreal or dreamy)
11. Depersonalisation (feeling outside yourself or like you don't exist)
12. Fear of losing control or going crazy
13. Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) in face, extremities or body
14. Chills or hot flushes
15. Skin losing colour
16. Blushing or skin blotches
17. Urgently needing to urinate or defecate

All night, the nightmares rolled in one after the other about drowning in the lake. My longest swims had been short of 2 miles, so I hadn't done the whole distance. Fears were irrational because I knew the wetsuit was like God's hand in the water, plucking you up and out of it, but that was the part I felt least prepared for and so that was where my nightmares focused.

When I woke up on race morning, my normally placid heart rate at 50-60 was well over 130. Angela had gotten in late the night before so we decided to get together for breakfast. Not wanting to upset my stomach after the 'yellow spicy pepper softserve' of the day before, I had a banana and some toast. Even this wasn't enough to quell the intestines and soon I found myself repeating yesterday in the Denny's bathroom.

An hour later as I walked down to the swim start from the transition area, I felt resigned to my fate... like marching off to war. I had my aqua seal mask on so you couldn't tell that I was crying vociferously.

As soon as I got into the water, things started to calm down and I was able to focus in on the task at hand, but I sincerely hope that the pre-race day jitters never come back in that sort of fashion. I think there's a good chance that they won't. Having done the distance makes for quite a salve. When you know that you've done something in the past, at least in my case, it seems to make it easier in the future. The first time I climbed Gold Camp Road this season, I was a little freaked because I had given up the previous time I had attempted to climb it. The second time, I knew what to expect and could anticipate what was coming... a much easier situation to be in.

what's the moral of the story? I don't know that there is one besides acknowledging that it's perfectly normal to flip out before an absurdly long race... and also the realization on my part that this probably wasn't as graphic as it could have been. Not as graphic as when I drove a pitchfork through my big toe as a kid, or drove a sewing machine needle through my thumb in 7th Grade Home Ec, or belt sanded off part of my thumb the same year in shop... no this was just a hemorrhoid and some diarrhea. Just the very painful variety.

Off to see a screening of the new Jim Caviezel movie Madison. I'll report back on it later this weekend.

A workout disc song dedicated to Wil...

Wil at Throughthewall made mention the other day that she was listening to Modest Mouse's Float On while out on a Sunday morning run. While I like the original version of the song, I think this version is vastly better for working out.

I was first tipped off about this version at Teaching the Indie Kids to Dance Again where they had fallen in love with the sheer jubilant wrongness of the chorus of Kidz Bop kids shouting YEAH! to backing cars into cop cars and fake jamaicans taking every last dime.

have a listen

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Return of the Workout Disc

Milky-Just the Way You Are

On my ride downtown yesterday I slipped a CD into the CD player marked Another Reception Disk a disk I made almost 2 years ago now preparing for Ang and my wedding reception. I remembered most of the things I had put on there, but as I was listening I stumbled on a track that I didn't recognize.

One of the good and bad things about my iTunes library is that it's so large there are songs that will bubble up from the ether and disappear almost as quickly. It's fun because I'm able to be surprised by something every now and again, but when a song isn't labeled properly in your catalogue and you go back to find it, it can be nigh on impossible to discover which of the 16373 songs it is.

Anyway, the song that came over my headphones had a nice casual yet sort of driving beat and a female singer singing do doo doooo do do do do dooo. do doo doooo do do do do do... and when she began regular singing some kind of a middle eastern/european accent I couldn't peg. It wasn't just the voice though, with the sound turned all the way up and my focus on the music and the trail in front of me, the words were therapeutic...

The way you walk
The way you understand me
The way you move
The way you just whisper me
The way you touch
The way you used to kiss me
I want you just
Just the way you are

I hear that from Anguite often... most of the time it's when I'm complaining about my belly. In my head I'm often svelte and athletic and the mirror doesn't reflect it. I hear her words and they DO mean something, but sometimes they don't sink in. Absorbed in the ride with the music absorbing the rest of my attention in a more visceral way these lyrics seemed to seep in a bit more, at least for the moment. My mind was on Angela anyway since I'd put in a 'reception disk'. I'm lucky to have an encouraging wife in these pursuits... now if I can get her onto a bike. :-) I do have to say though that she seems to be looking forward to the Col Springs Bike Club Monday Night Dinner Ride (that's a mouthful), though I'm nto sure which bike she'll end up riding. Probably the Mtn just because it's more of her size.

Anyway, here's the song. After digging for about twenty minutes in iTunes this evening, and then googling the album it was on (it was labeled 'track 7') I discovered that it's a song by an Italian DJ team called Milky and featured an Egyptian/German singer named Sabrina Elahl. Give it a listen, I think you'll like it almost as much as I did.

not on yet...

I was supposed to be on, but haven't yet. We'll see if it happens in the last hour of the show.


I'll be on Michael Medved in a few minutes. More to follow. Go listen!

Happy trails to you...

Celebrating the arrival of $2.21/gallon gas in Monument, CO yesterday... I made the first ride into work of the season. Riding into work is one of those things that I cherish that I can do. There's something about the hour of immediate riding in the morning that charges up the rest of my day. But, depending on which way you go, the trip to work is almost ALWAYS a pain. Ang and I live at around 6300', give or take... and my office is closer to 7000' or a little above. In between that is a trail that traverses the Air Force Academy that slowly and steadily climbs up that elevation difference.

The trail is a joy to ride down and a pain to ride up. Combine that with muscles that aren't awake yet and temperatures that are generally still considered cold and sometimes what should be a joyous ride is a pain in the ass. Now, whenever the trail is wet, you also greatly increase your rolling resistance making every stroke it's own. There's no sharing of power among the strokes... with the remainder of the coast from one stroke playing into the start of the second stroke. No, there's solidarity amongst the strokes, making each upward propulsion just a little harder.

At one point in the adventure northward, the trail tempts you with a slight downhill grade as it torments you with a jaunt a mile to the west, making the trail longer and the freeway disappear in the distance. You're happy because of the speed increase and sad that this trail is longer than you thought it would be. Even after riding the trail many times, it never ceases to disappoint you when you make that turn to the left. The other thing that disappoints you is the fact that you can see some of your landmark goals in the distance but because you're on a plain you can't quite tell how far away they are.

I like riding through treed or even built up areas because you get a sense of motion. You can tell that you've made progress. When you're riding through an open field, even though your computer tells you you've made progress, you can't necessarily tell... it all looks the same. Parallax scrolling changes the angle of things in the distance, but you're still not quite sure how fast or how far you're actually going. The trail to Monument is almost ALL open field.

I eventually did make it to work and after work headed south to attend a ride planning meeting for the cycling club. There are some exciting ideas this year for one off events on top of the regular rides. The one that I'm most excited about is one I'm hoping to coordinate. I want to put together a "Ride In Movie" with the Col Springs Film Society of Breaking Away. Hopefully I can find a business in the area that would let me turn the side of their building into a mobile theater.

The pain with riding to the meeting was that the trail south on a good day is a really fun ride. Today was not a good day. Today was a day with a wind I shall name "El Suckiento". El Suckiento doesn't want me to have any fun. El Suckiento would rather I just go home and drive. El Suckiento sucks! You always know it's going to be something other than a good ride when the wind is so strong that you can't hear anything else. When it's so strong that your headphones are drowned out. The wind on the ride down made it almost seem like you were climbing again. To make things worse I was on the mountain bike which is just not aerodynamic at all and thus the flabby ironman's upper torso was acting like a sail and making everything all the worse. What should have been a 45-50 minute ride was almost an hour and a half. I'd be lying if I said it was fun. My muscles, which are generally fairly resilient... just ACHED when I got off the bike at the coffee shop.

Just looked at the time. Off to work. I'll try to post some workout songs at lunch. I've found four or five more that I think really work quite nicely.

The Ballad of the Battling Bowels

Ah the joys of wiring. On top of being the creative director at the (very small) creative firm I work for, I'm also the technician who 'gets' to wire our edit and production equipment. This week has been focused on getting our mobile production studio back together which has kept me from blogging. The reason our mobile studio was in pieces is that up until September of last year the equipment lived at the church we did production at in West Palm Beach, FL. The week before we were going down to do a conference last fall,Hurricane Ivan swooped into Florida (with our General Manager burrowed up at the company owners house). The church where the equipment was, we thought would be safe since it was a heavy duty old machine shop with steel roof joints, but no. The roof was peeled up like a sardine can and tossed into the parking lot leaving the churches property and our equipment open to the rain.

Somehow, all of our equipment was fine... even in some cases pristine. But all of it had to be shipped back to Colorado Springs and inspected. Now that it's been pulled apart and inspected we've been rearranging the layout and beginning the process of rewiring.

Wednesday night, after getting ICBINB! (I Can't Believe It's Not Buttah!) home I went out for a short ride to see how she was handling. With the sun going down and not really having anywhere better to go with the remaining light I had, I rode across the street to the preparatory high school just to do a couple laps through the parking lot. I hadn't been down there lately and so hadn't seen the brand new running track they had just installed... I decided to see where my running was. I've been doing quite a bit of riding lately but hardly any running so getting out on the track and running a couple of laps I thought would be a good test.

Being made of some sort of rubber/cork material, I was fine running in cycling socks and as I started my first lap I felt alright. I was above where I should have been with my heart rate, but I was surviving. Then, about halfway around the 1/4 mile track it hit me. Somewhere deep inside my gut, my bowels started to wake up and let me know that they wanted some relief. There's nothing around AT ALL that would provide such relief to this bodily function and so I had to stop and wait for them to calm down. After they did I started back up and made it to the 3/4 mark before... BAM! Again my body wants relief. Is there anything more frustrating than running less than a lap before ones body wants to release the escape hatch?

Slowing down, I made another start/stop lap around the track and got on my bike to hustle home. It must be the position on the bike, but I'm almost never struck with gastrointestinal issues while on the bike. Even after eating a veritable smorgasboard of nutritionally questionable items on rides I've for the most part been just fine. There IS an Ironman story that I could tell in this, but you can give me feedback on whether I should tell it because it's not super graphic, but more graphic than most Flabbyironman stories.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Evening update...

Angela has to work on some muscle anatomy homework for school so I'll be off writing entries longhand that will be posted in the morning. Sleep tight!

And I shall call it...

, originally uploaded by bthemn.

I never really thought my bike needed a name. She performed really well and that was all I thought I could hope for. That all changed today...

I brought my up until this day nameless bike to the local shop near work this morning to get my wheels trued and the rest of the bike tuned up a bit and when I went back to pick it up this afternoon had an epiphany...

Riding around the parking lot, the bike was performing magnificently and I thought, at the price the bike came at what it's held up through "I can't believe it's not Buttah!" (Tri-Geek Kahuna's new bike) So my bike now has a name...

Ladies and Gentlemen... I announce to you "I Can't Believe it's Not Buttah!". Weighing in somewhere south of 20lbs, this bouncing baby bike has been through one Ironman and lots and lots of regular miles performing flawlessly. She likes long walks on the beach and guys who can cook. (err, wait a minute... wrong entry)

Anyway, thanks for the name Kahuna!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The timesheets are finished!

Thank God!

A piece of the next workout song stuff before I hope in the shower and speed to the office (well as much as one can speed on freezing roads)

Driving home from the dinner we had yesterday night with all of the Squadron/Film Society guys and the missionaries we're doing the youth ministry textbook for I was listening to Relient K's recent MMMhmm album. It had been on rather low while I was driving back to my compadre's house where Angela's car was but after she got out the noise was increased to suitable 'soundtrack' level. (meaning it drowns everything out and I can wallow in it as I drive along)

This song came on and on top of rocking fairly hard, the lyrics spoke to me a bit. The song will be up when I edit this once I get back to work, but here are the lyrics for now

Relient K - More Than Useless
I feel like
I would like
To be somewhere else
Doing something that matters
And I'll admit here
While I sit here
My mind wastes away
And my doubts start to gather

What's the purpose?
It feels worthless
So unwanted like I've lost all my value
I can't find it
Not in the least bit
And I'm just scared
So scared that I'll fail You

Sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why
Why I'm even here at all
But then You assure me
I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

So I say if I can't
Do something significant
I'll opt to leave most opportunities wasted
And nothing trivial
That life can give you will
Measure up to what might have replaced it
Too late, look
My date book
Is packed full of days that were empty and now gone
And I bet
That regret
Will prove to get me to improve in the long run

Sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why
Why I'm even here at all
But then You assure me
I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

I'm a little more than useless
And I never knew I knew this
Was gonna be the day
Gonna be the day that I would do something right
Do something right for once

I noticed
I know this
Week is a symbol of how I use my time
Resent it
I spent it
Convincing myself
The world's doing just fine
Without me (without me)
Doing anything of any consequence
Without me (without me)
Showing any sign of ever making sense
Of my time
It's my life
And my right to use it like I should
Like He would
For the good
Of everything that I would ever know

I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once

I'm a little more than useless
And I never knew I knew this
Was gonna be the day
Gonna be the day that I would do something right
Do something right for once

I'm up through February!

and heading towards 1000 hits as well... only 12000 or so behind Kahuna!


I also promise that as soon as I'm done with this I'll put up a couple of workout mix songs.

I have a bad habit...

Well, actually I have more than one bad habit but we all have to be
working on something, right? My biggest bad habit is on the issue of
timesheets. I'm a worker... I LOVE to work, but when I get focused on
something sometimes my timesheets tend to get pushed to the side and
then once they've been pushed to the side they end up STAYING on the
side. This causes an unmeasurable amount of frustration on the part of
our bookkeeper and I don't like to that to her. Sometimes my
intentions are better than my actions. Ain't that the way things
usually are though?

In any case, I'm here finishing up timesheets so that I can get caught
up on January through March. Red Penguin had it's official first day
Friday (our calender year starts April 1) so now that we're doing
outside work for clients  it's mission critical that I stay up to
date... I just need to train myself to do that.

I suppose it's like anything... it sucks the first time you do it, but
if you stay at it step by step it starts to suck exponentially less.
At least that's the hope. Keep your fingers crossed, this is one bad
habit I DO need to lick.

Back to work!

Monday, April 04, 2005

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

eating at Jack Quinn's... Dave and Cameron my Squadron and Film Society compatriots. The cider was exceptionally good.

Weekend update with your host, the Flabby Ironman

Sometimes you have the writing muse and sometimes you don't. The key is to be able to write when you don't have it. I think that's the difference between art and commercial art. The commercial artist (writer, designer, screenwriter, photographer) has to get out there and problem solve a solution whether they want to or not.

The muse isn't here this morning as I start to write. I know what I want to say, but it isn't pouring out of my fingertips like it usually does.

The weekend was spent dealing with this textbook I'm helping a friend with. It's a cool project that I think will help a lot of people, but it's a bit of a pain because it's all in Spanish and my spanish is rudimentary at best. Saturday as I worked on the textbook, I had a similar kind of lack of muse as I struggled to find a place to dive into the project. Angela had the day off so when it became aware that I wasn't going to accomplish anything significant, we went and saw Sin City. I'll review it soon, but the tasty-bite-sized-morsel version of it is that it's beautiful to look at but I could take or leave the sheer gratuitousness of the flick.

Sunday I was able to chunk out a big piece of the first chapter (it's not the most amazing design I've ever done, but it's clean) and made a phone-meeting with the friend I'm working on the project with. I got off the phone and promptly realized that it was 12:30 and the group ride I was planning to ride with left PROMPTLY at 1:00 a little more than 15 miles away. I also realized at this point that the only thing I'd had sustenance wise for the day was one tiny piece of chocolate and I was still in pajamas. I was out the door (unfortunately without my gloves) at 12:45 and arrived downtown just after 1 to see the last cyclist riding away. I grabbed my bike and pump and started the pursuit with one hand gripping my pump and the other one steadying my bars.

Aerobars, while not something I ride in all the time are my secret weapon. My secret "at least an extra 1 mile an hour" weapon. If I drop into the aerobars it's immeasurably easier to catch someone. I had vague ideas about where the last biker was and so I kept looking down side streets as I flew down Tejon looking for that bright blurry piece of fluorescent yellow (my eyes aren't that bad (20/60 or so?) so I just don't want to spend the money on prescription sunglasses) These first three miles, I'm averaging close to 21/22 mph.. and I'm slowly reeling them in. Now, this ride isn't a FAST ride, but the front definitely rides faster than the rear and is where I generally like to park myself. I finally caught them at the 3.3 mile mark.

Just after reaching them I let them drop me again and secured my pump... thus starting the second shorter sprint of the day.

The bike club uses a posting system. A posting system, for those that don't know posts someone on a corner whenever there's a change in direction. The poster waits until the last riders are through and then sprints back up to the front because they're usually a stronger rider. It works well most of the time because the stronger riders get to wear themselves out chasing from the back to the front over and over again. I am (if I say so myself) a pretty decent poster.

I posted a couple of times late i the ride yesterday. Normally while you have to wait around when you're posting you don't have to wait around TOO long. With new riders on the ride, the wait stretched WAY out. There was close to ten minutes if not more between the front and the back and so one needed to REALLY work hard to push their way to the front.

After the first post finished I dropped into my aerobars and dashed off. The sprint only works if you hit stoplights the right way and I wasn't hitting them at all. I'd get up to 19/20mph and have to stop three block ahead... only to have to climb on the other side of the intersection. I hit a bit of a descent after two miles or so though and was reeling in the group when they stopped at a gas station for a reconnect point.

My sprint was robbed from me! I was just warming up again when I had to stop. Oh well, it could have been worse, and the second actually was.

When we started up again, we began a slow climb back up to a short descent and all of a sudden I'm doing 35 mph (which slows to a consistent 30 as I head towards the mall Angela works in. Once again, another stoplight followed by a turn and a posting. Since there are only three of us turning the corner and the other two are ride leaders, I volunteer to post. With the short light and people riding their breaks on the descent, it was at least fifteen minutes before everyone came through the posting and the last chase of the day began. Once again, stopping before it even got started because of a stoplight. Stoplights are as I've written in the past, the great equalizer. They slow fast people down and allow slow people to catch up. Also, being towards the end of the route, I didn't know if I'd be able to catch the lead pack. I reeled in more than half of the pack before the route ended which made me feel pretty good, but it would have felt better to reel the rest in.

I also now have my first 'cycling tan of the year'. I love cycling tanlines because they're so stark. All of a sudden there's a SHARP line where your jersey sleeve starts.

I ran into another Minnesota cyclist during the ride. She's the club ride coordinator and asked me if I'd be interested in leading a ride... so I'm probably going to start leading a ride on the north side of town once or twice a month. It'll be nice not having to drive to the other side of town to get a group ride in. Plus, I need to get more long ride miles in before the Paul Bunyan double in June. The first centuries of the year are coming up soon as well. My goal is to get 'at least' a thousand miles just in century rides alone this year. But we'll see.

Ang and I stopped by the Bicycle Village giant tent sale on the way home from her work and my ride and picked up a few little things... she got new gloves and a pair of socks and I got new profile design water cages and some gels and energy bars. There was a sweet little hybrid tandem for 999, but as much as I'd like to buy a tandem to ride with Angela, it's just not in the financial cards right now.

Someday though!