Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Much has changed.

My last post on this blog was in 2009. So it's been a while. My last post was my first triathlon, the Quakerman.

Since then, I did ...
2009: Summer Sizzler F1 (double-sprint distance)
2010: Summer Sizzler F1 (single sprint), Cazenovia Triathlon (Olympic)
2011: Quakerman (again), Rhode Island 70.3 (half-Ironman)

Then on October 4, I became a dad.

It's been a busy couple of years.

I'm going to try to use this blog to document my rise from the depths of post-baby larditude.

Current weight: 253.9 lbs
Current mini-goal: Under 250
Exercise this week: 20 minutes
Goal for the week: 1 hour.
Goal for next week: 90 minutes.

Sunday, June 28, 2009



It's been ages, folks; sorry for the radio silence here, been busy. Some of you may know that I've been training for a triathlon; I just finished it. The QuakerMan Triathlon (http://www.quakermantri.com) is a 600m swim, 22 mile bike, and a 4.5 mile run.

I did the whole thing in a bit over 2:11, and I'm very very pleased with that. Here's the full report:

The race went well.

I overprepared and overthought and overworried, all of which probably stressed me more than it should have, but meant that I had more than everything I needed, and I think I was more prepared for this than ... actually the race organizers. More on that in a bit.

The alarm came early -- really early. Getting up at 5:25 to get going and go work out is a bit disgusting, but this was the first of many times that training really prepared me. After all those early morning trips to the pool, and those 6 AM runs, it didn't feel any better to get up at 5:30, but it didn't feel unusual, either. Got coffee, drove to the event.

Arrived, set up my bike in the transition area. I was prepared for the swim to look insanely far, but the distance from the beach to the TA surprised me. http://tinyurl.com/lmfjqf is good perspective -- we came out of the water towards the right side of the beach, near those white squares, then ran up the path, across the parking lot, and the transition area is almost exactly where the "A" is on the map. So I got the transition area sorted, went to the bathroom, checked out the beach, and asked a few people about the race meeting. There...wasn't...really...one. Everything was a bit disjointed; they were painfully understaffed, and the meeting was going to be at 7:30...then 7:50...Around 7:55, people were ready on the beach. I'd stripped down to my tri shorts and had my swim cap and goggles (as did most other participants). We were all sort of milling around, when the race organizer yelled to us that someone had walked off with their bullhorn, so we'd do the race meeting at the pavilion. Same map, follow Bank St. back up and it's about across from home plate of the baseball diamond. So 400 swim-capped triathletes do the bare-foot ouchy-walk up to the pavilion, and we get briefed about the course, rules, etc.

Then back to the beach, and we started. I was in the second wave. We watched the first one go, then filed into the water. I started swimming, and after about a minute, thought "It's over. There's no way. I can barely breathe. This is horrible." Fortunately, I knew from the pool that this would pass ... and it did, about the time I rounded the first buoy...and everyone else passed me. OK, not everyone, but it felt like there was a steady stream of people flying by. Four and a half years went by [ok, not really, but time did some very strange things during the race], then I came to the second buoy. I was thrilled to make the turn and head back for the beach. Soon I could see people getting out of the water, and then I was out. I did the "Triathlete shuffle", half-run-half-walking to the transition area. I'd had the foresight to get a spot right next to a flagpole, so I beelined for my bike. I picked up my shirt and tried to put it on fast...and two of the safety pins holding my number on popped off. Now ... I'd been warned (thanks, Tommy!) that T1 is like trying to function after several drinks, so there I was, trying to re-attach my safety pins with hands that refused to work. Two days later, I got it sorted, got my bike shoes and helmet on, and got on the bike without drama.

The bike was GREAT. I was off like a shot and didn't really slow down. I passed a lot of the people who had passed me during the swim, some of whom were on triathlon bikes. THAT made me feel pretty good. Once I'd settled into a good pace, I had one of my gels. The weather had been holding to this point, but about 30 minutes into the ride, we got some sprinkles. Lap 1 was uneventful; I had a good push near the lap-1/lap-2 marker, and then again on some hills about 2/3 the way through the second lap. Towards the end, though, I backed off, wanting to save my legs for the run. T2 was much smoother. I had my shoes undone as I approached the dismount line. I don't really remember getting off my bike, but somehow managed to do it and leave my shoes on, which worked well. Back in the TA; put on my running shoes and was off ... slowly.

It took some time for me to hit my pace on the run, but evenutally, I did. Around the first mile, I thought, "I might be able to do this without walking". By the second mile, I was pretty sure. By the third mile, I was confident. With about 300 yards to go, I started to open up (I didn't realize that there was one last loop through some woods)... I eased off, and then when I saw the finish, I ran HARD, sprinting across the line in about 2:11. All in all, I feel good. I didn't push too hard, I trained well, I ate well, and I did it. Could I do it again right now? No. Can I walk upstairs right now? Yes. So... all in all, a success.

One final note, with two thank-yous. First, to Sonya. She's put up with countless 5am wakeups as I dragged out of bed to head out to a workout, and hours and hours of me disappearing to run, bike, and swim. Through it, she's supported me as I did this crazy thing. Thank you, love. Second, to Tommy. I know that, for the past month, I've bugged you with every little last question, from sock choice to passing strategy. Thank you for your answers and your patience.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Go James Go!

In three Tours de Cure, I've now ridden 265 miles. (Actually a little more, but we'll go with the official numbers). That's impressive.

So. Another century yesterday. Not to put too fine a point on it ... I. Kicked. Ass.

I'd been watching the weather for a while, and the outlook was glum about a week ago, and got glummer. Rain, wind, more rain, chance of thunderstorms. By this morning the forecast was for WSW winds of 9-15 mph, rain, and a high of 68. I started the day wearing shorts, tights, a long-sleeved base shirt, and a jersey over that. I considered a jacket -- with the wind and the rain, I was chilly -- but I decided to tough it out, hoping that I'd warm up.

The ride started at about 7:05, and we set off under light rain. I was in the lead group, going fast -- for the first 7 miles or so, we were averaging about 21. Then, as I came around a corner fast, the bike slid out from under me. It happened here -- coming up Harlod, turning left on Pletcher. The road was smooth, and with the water on it, it was slick. I went down hard, landing on my left hip. I was pretty close to the front of the pack, so I immediately had about 30 cyclists speed by, saying, "You OK? You OK? Hey, you OK? You alright?"


I retrieved my lost waterbottle, put my chain back on, got my bearings, straightened my handlebars, and got back on the bike. My thumb was bleeding (I still don't know how that happened), and I'd lost the lead pack. Not "lost", exactly -- I could see them -- but they remained about a minute ahead of me. I tried to catch up. For about ten minutes, I tried to catch up, but they remained tantalizingly out of reach. Eventually, I gave up and resigned myself to a slower pace. I slogged on to the next rest stop, where I got my thumb patched up and met some guys who were riding at a good pace. We set off. The wind was at our backs, the sun had come out, and it had turned into a nice morning. The 50 mile mark came quickly... and then we turned into the wind.

The wind was BRUTAL. Sometimes a headwind, sometimes a crosswind, but pretty constant for the second half of the ride. At the last rest stop, I set off with a guy who had also been in the lead group and seen me go down ... he'd been waiting on a repair and was eager to get going. I did the last 9 miles FAST, really putting the hammer down. I arrived back at Niagara County Community College at 1:45 PM.

Final stats:
Total time: 6 hours, 40 minutes.
Ride time: 5 hours, 32 minutes.
Miles: 101.8
Average speed: 18.3
Max speed: 38
Average HR: 159
Max HR: 188

After a good night's sleep, the thumb is doing well; the hip is still a little swollen, but (oddly) not bruised yet. Plans for today? Not much. Resting, recuperating, sitting quietly on my right side. Hey, and I don't know how much longer, but my Tour de Cure site is still open for donations...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Update: Miscellany

First and foremost,
In less than a month, I'm riding in the Buffalo Tour de Cure! Click here to sponsor me. Or just click the link to see an amusingly larger, spandex-clad version of me on my bike, about to set off. I really should put up a new picture. Anyway, it's a great cause -- I'm trying to raise $1000 for the American Diabetes Association. I'm busting my butt with the training -- 100 miles is a long way to go -- so if you can, drop a few bucks in the virtual pot. Thanks!!

Spring has (finally) arrived in Buffalo. Last weekend, Sonya and I did a massive yard clean-up and spruce-up; our curb is now much more appealing! We finally ditched our rusty old mailbox (literally rusty. Who makes a mailbox out of non-galvanized steel? Serously.) and replaced it with a plastic one.

Work continues to go well; the international drive can be a chore, and can be a pleasure. This past week, I had a bit of both - the former, where I had a half-hour wait at the border, and the latter, a lovely meander through the Niagara Escarpment region. There's a video of that at the bottom of this entry.

Volunteering at Hawk Creek continues to be great. We have a couple of interesting rehab visitors to the center -- a still-fuzzy juvenile Great Horned Owl, and a magnificent Red-Tailed Hawk. Cross your fingers for a speedy release for both of them! In other nature-related news, we put up a nest box last weekend, and already we have some Tree Swallows battling for it in our backyard. I hope they settle in -- they're a lot of fun to watch!

Finally, here's a time-lapse video of me driving from near work to near home. I took the scenic route (which is a little slower, but a lot prettier). Hooray for old blues music being in the public domain.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Come on, Spring. You can do it!

I'm blogging this morning from my living room. Shadow is curled up on the ottoman by my feet, and the sun is streaming in the window, shining off the thick crust of snow that still covers my back yard. I know that this must be tough for my readers south of the Mason-Dixon line to picture, but there is still snow on the ground here. Not "a smear of snow in a north-facing corner" or "a grubby grey pile of snow and crud that has been slowly melting in the mall parking lot". There's still a real layer of snow on the ground.

COME ON, Mother Nature! It's Spring!

I should point out, though, that when I left for work Monday morning, it was about 25 degrees. This is neither surprising nor unusual -- since December, it's been anywhere from about -2 to 35 when I've left for work on Mondays, and 25 is pretty close to average. But on this past Monday, it felt different. Maybe it was optimism, maybe it was the sun creeping Northward in the sky (up here, in the middle of winter, the sun briefly says "Hello" from the South) ... but SOMETHING in the air made me say, "You know ... it's going to get warmer. The weather has turned the corner."

So ... Other than that, things are going OK. I've fully covered from my weekend of food poisoning and heel slicing. Lots of stuff planned for the weekend, including some cycling. Did my first ride of the season last week (more of this in a later entry), and it was ... actually, pretty good.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Not a good weekend

So... yeah. This past weekend was awful.

Sunday, Sonya and I got hit with a case of food poisoning. It came on pretty quickly-- as we got up in the late morning, it was kind of "ooh. Something's not right", and quickly progressed to "Oh god, I want to die." Around 5pm, Sonya finally felt well enough to drive me to the ER; we spent an entirely fruitless two hours there; eventually, I said, "You know, I'm not going to see a doctor any time soon, I'm not feeling worse ... let's just go." I told them I was leaving. They asked me to sign a form saying I was leaving against medical advice. I asked, "WHAT medical advice? I haven't received any!" After some grumping, they let me sign a "Leaving without being treated" form. Not sure what the difference is, but the latter sounded more accurate.

Yesterday, Sonya and I spent in quiet convalescence. Around 5pm, I really started to perk up - my energy had returned, my mind had pulled out of the fog, and I was generally feeling better. I pottered around the house, feeding the cats, doing the laundry, and generally taking care of everything I needed to do before coming up to Canada today. Around 10pm, I was about to put some dishes in the sink, and I stepped on some broken glass (no, no idea where it came from) in the kitchen. There was a lot of blood.

So here I am today - with slightly-wobbly stomach, slightly-wobbly foot, 130 miles away from Sonya, who is not doing quite as well as me. On the agenda for the evening: A mild supper, a careful drive to the hotel, and then maybe some TV and photo editing

Friday, February 22, 2008

Miscellany; feline affection, winter children, eclipse

Not a lot to report these days. Working hard. Going to see MacHomer tonight; hope that it's good. At the least, a trip to Canada should be fun and exciting.

I'm *finally* back on the weight loss train/wagon/boat/generic transportation analogy. SIX POUNDS. That's it. I just need to lose six pounds, and I can start transitioning to maintenance. Oddly, I've been essentially in maintenance since about November ... but not on purpose; it just kinda happened that way.

In other news, I'm staying at the Walper Terrace hotel in Kitchener. I had to call them today to ask them about something, and noticed that, on their website, they advertise that they will have availability for the Elton John concert on March 3. "Huh," I thought to myself, "You know, self... Elton John, he has some pretty good musical chops. Perhaps I will invite my wife up and we will watch him tinkle some ivories (and ebonies, too. And, for that matter, I'm sure that Sir Elton would never touch actual ivory keys; I'm sure that he would agree that elephants needn't lose their teeth for him to play ... but I digress) ...so I looked into tickets. It's sold out. Which means that not only will I not be going (which isn't a terribly big deal), but that parking is probably going to be hell on earth that night. Yee freaking haw.

Happier stuff:
Today's 3 beautiful things:

Feline Affection. Studies come out fairly regularly that promote pet ownership as being correlated to good health. And if you've ever woken up with a cat smugly purring on your chest, you know why.

Winter Children. Couple of days ago, I was leaving the hotel in the morning, and there was a little girl -- she was three or four -- crossing the street, bundled against the cold. She was wearing a sky-blue down jacket that was a little grubby, and mittens dangled from the ends of her sleeves. She was wearing a jaunty, brightly colored winter cap [1]. Her nose was red from the cold. She was walking with her mom, in that "I'm almost tall enough that my feet can touch the ground and my mom can hold my hand without stooping" way. And she just looked really, really happy to be out stomping around in the snow. Unabashed childhood joy makes me happy.

Eclipse. Coming back to the hotel a couple of days ago, heard about the eclipse on the radio. Dutifully trudged outside to see it at 10pm. And ooooh, it was pretty.

Oh, and one more thing: I'm in the process of putting up wedding pictures -- I think I did a good job.