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Archive for the 'Sports' Category

New Beginnings

Posted in P90X, Sports, Triathlons on May 23, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

Like sand in an hourglass…

…if you break it, it gets EVERYWHERE.

So, too, are the days of our lives.

As you might notice, I’m having a bit of a metaphor-mixing crisis. Such is the time.

A lot is going on around the District. Today is the last day of school for students in most schools. But for us, the journey continues. We have the formidable task of switching out a great many old computers with new machines in various schools throughout the District.

This starts tomorrow, and on this occasion, we’ve hired an additional 10 employees to help with the festivities. Things should get interesting. Meanwhile, the year-end frenzy is in full swing, so people are scrambling like mad to complete everything required to have a guilt-free summer of relaxation.

I’ve been adamantly keeping up with triathlon training, nearly to the point of meltdown last week. The week began with P90X on Monday morning, then running hill repeats in Soldotna in the evening. This was tough, but over the weekend, I had gone to Los Anchorage and picked up some new running shoes. I was very pleased that my entire body didn’t have that “I’m about to rattle into a bazillion pieces” feeling during OR after the run.

For Tuesday after work, my normally-scheduled Master Swimming was not active thanks to scheduled maintenance at the Skyview Pool. Therefore, instead of Skyview I opted to meet a group going up Skyline. Skyline is a mountain about 40 minutes out of town. It’s steep. Think a two mile stretch of muddy stairs. Straight. Up. I got there as quickly as I could (No, Officer, I didn’t speed. Not even a little). I saw several other cars in the lot, and sure that my group was already summit-bound, I made haste to catch them. I didn’t. It was not because of a lack of speed. It was a temporal problem. In that they managed to start after me. So all the way to the summit I climbed. Upon my descent, I encountered my group, still intent on a summit bid. I was ready to go again, so I did. My enthusiasm was somewhat diminished the second go around, but I had a great time, and came back down the hill on less-than-top-shape legs.

Bright and early the next morning, I had a P90X Legs & Back workout that left my Skyline-crippled legs hardly able to support my bodyweight. The evening’s workout was more hill repeats, this time via bicycle. Thankfully, Celeste is an aggressive hill-climber, and despite my reluctance to do meaningful exercise, she took up the slack. She’s awesome, that way.

My legs sufficiently impinged-upon, I took it upon myself to go to the Tsalteshi Trails and try to do the first “Real” mountain biking of the season. I failed rather miserably, as the trails were a mucky quagmire. Apologies to the groomers for being too eager to go biking. But I do love a good mud biking episode.

Friday’s Tri Class consisted of transition training, where speed is of the essence as one switches between sport disciplines, such as swimming to biking and biking to running. This means doffing and donning helmets, goggles, spandex, bowling shoes, wafflemakers, and assorted triathlon paraphernalia. Having stayed late to get some last minute details up on the website at work, I actually ended up skipping this workout, but observed the hardworking athletes of my tri class, many of whom were heading up to Anchorage for the Golden Nugget Triathlon. They crushed it, and I couldn’t be more proud of all of them.

On Saturday, I did nothing. I didn’t even leave the house. I did nothing and it was everything I thought it would be. It was glorious.

By Sunday, I was eager to get out again, so drove to Resurrection Trail and rode my mountain bike as far as I could. I got a bit over three miles in before the increasing amounts of snow and mud and fallen trees forced my turnaround. Oh, and the new bike, with full-suspension, was an absolute dream on the downhill sections. Just brilliant. After Resurrection I hit the Russian Lakes Trails, and managed all the way into the Falls, but the Upper Russian Trail and path around Lower Russian Lake to the cabin was well-blocked by a rather large avalanche. But the path to the Falls was perfection.

This week has seen hill repeats on Goat at lower Tsalteshi, the reopening of the pool, and even some mountain biking planned for tonight.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be picking up grains of sand.

Turns out that when an hourglass breaks, it gets EVERYWHERE.


A loop to loop the Loop.

Posted in Sports, Triathlons on May 15, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

A loop is a quasigroup with an identity element e such that:

  • x * e = x = e * x for all x in Q.

It follows that the identity element e is unique, and that every element of Q has a unique left and right inverse.

I think we can all agree on this.

Well, on the topic of loops, I’ve been doing a great deal of them lately. And not just quasigroups, either; full, red-blooded loops.

Last weekend started with the Seward Triathlon, and ended with a non loop (not even a quasigroup) bike ride to Homer. I had never done the ride before, and there was a great group of people going, so I decided to try it out. We began at the early hour of 7:30 from Soldotna. The forecast was for scattered showers, and we had support vehicles with some people choosing to take turns driving for some parts of the journey.

Nearly 77 hilly miles and four hours later, we rolled into Homer, gorged on excellent pizza, and drove back just as the rains hit. Timing is everything.

The next day, a Monday, the tri group braved the wilds of lower Tsalteshi to experience the wonder of loops firsthand. We ran around the whole Wolverine Trail, then did repeats on the shorter loop. The trails were still quite muddy. Our homework assignment then featured a hill repeat on the Old Bear Trail, which happened to be an absolute quagmire of mud. Seeing something incrementally less saturated, we went to New Bear Trail (also called “Bear Trail”) and started up. I wondered why my compatriots were stopped beneath me on the hill and pointing until I saw I had run right past a moose, who seemed content enough with grazing to not give me the stomping of a lifetime. We crept back into the spaghetti bowl where the trails meet, and tried another hill. This, too, was moosey. We ended up jogging back with a new respect for woodland creatures.

Wednesday found us again aloop. This time the loop in question had specific icthyological roots. Our planned rendezvous was at the parking lot by Cohoe Loop, in Kasilof. We met and the wind decided to join us, blowing hard out of the East. We started riding South on the highway, the wind doing its best to blow us into the ditch. When we made the turn East, we flew. The gorgeous rolling hills flew by underneath Celeste, and there was nary a car in sight. After making the turn to make our way Westward, progress slowed to a crawl with the fierce headwinds. Progress was further diminshed by the road conditions, which, though paved, were remniscent of the surface of the Moon. Downshifting radically, I tried to keep my cadence up and shoulders low. It was great streamlining practice.

My goal was an hour for the 18.2 mile loop. I made it in just under that, so that wasn’t too bad.

Friday saw us being hit with a brick. A swim / bike brick, the same distances and route as the first two disciplines of the Tri the Kenai; a 500 yard swim and 10.1 mile bike. This would be a great time on testing my times to see if I was in the ballpark of my goals. Such was not the case, as I suffered from Hitting-the-Wrong-Stopwatch-Button-itis, and screwed up my swim time. It felt good, though, and I had a quickish transition outside to my bike, where I began recording (correctly, I might add) the course from Skyview to Echo Lake Road. This was another road I had never explored, but was fun, hilly, challenging, and thankfully not crowded. The hills at the beginning forced me to a nearly crawling speed, but the later long downhills made up for it. I finished in a respectable 32 minutes. My race day goal is under 30, which should be achievable. I did do some lightweight jogging after the brick, just to simulate (briefly) raceday fun.

So, I’m happy to report that x * e = x = e * x for all x in Q.


Tri, tri again.

Posted in Sports, Triathlons on May 8, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

What an eventful weekend. True to its etymological roots, my weekend was full of events.

The end of the week began in Seward, where the weather was behaving in a decidedly Alaskan Springlike fashion.

It was snowing. Luckily (?) the snow quickly turned to rain, so my first ever triathlon – the 21st Annual Seward Pink Cheeks Triathlon – got underway.

I had signed up in advance for a morning swim, before the other events, the idea being that I could get it out of the way, and not have to wait for the pool to clear out after the run and bike.

When my lane cleared of the previous swimmer, I took a quick warm up lap, then asked the volunteer counting laps to notify me (by putting a bright orange board down into my lane) when it was my last lap, so I could really turn it on. Yes, I know it’s only 18 laps, but I have a hard time counting above the number 3.

I felt pretty good in the water, but was sharing the lane with someone slower, so was constantly on the lookout for collisions. Toward the end of the swim, I kept looking for the orange board, but it never came. Then I was being yelled at by the volunteers to stop swimming. They didn’t put the board down, so I kept going for an extra lap. Oh well. I appreciate the volunteers – they have a lot to do. I was hoping to be under 13 minutes for the 900, but I ended up at 13:32. Decidedly not my best.

Outside, I tried to keep warm enough in the drizzle for the 5k run. A giant crowd gathered around the start line, and before I could dwell too much about my dislike for running, I was chasing the fast people down the first hill. Somehow, I managed to incorrectly set my watch, so I had no idea of my time or speed, but it kept its promise as an accurate heart rate monitor. It remained firmly into the high 170s to mid 180s the entire run. I tried to keep up with the fast kids, but that didn’t last long, and I fell into a fast (for me) pace.

I kept my place after the first few minutes, and was proud of my breath control. I heard someone trying to catch me before the last hill up into the school, breathing hard. By the top of the hill I couldn’t hear him at all. Thanks, Coach Angie, for all the hill repeats.

I crossed the line somewhere around 15th or so, and made a wobbly transition to my beautiful bike. I had a terrible mount, but luckily no one was right behind me. I shot down the first hill, and noticed that the rain had increased. I passed the guy in front of me on the bike path through town, and passed another person before turning up to the very steep hill around the pond. I felt my front tire slide out a bit on the turn, but luckily held on. That particular shot of adrenaline helped boost me up the hill, and I managed to pass one more person back on the pavement. The interesting thing about this triathlon is that the biking is a mixture of on and off-road. I opted for the road bike, which is risky, in light of tire blowouts, which would end my race. Fortunately, Celeste did great, and I managed to pick off a couple more people on the hill up into the high school. Toward the end, I had a great drag race with a guy who had passed me earlier. I caught him on the downhill and used the momentum to keep in front of him to the school to finish a mere four seconds ahead.

I finished the run/bike part of the race somewhere around the #10 mark. My final placing would depend on my swim time. Before the race, I had really hoped for a top ten finish, and I thought I might have gotten that.

Unfortunately, I had to wait an excruciatingly long time for the results to get posted. Then, late last night, they got it figured, and the results were in!

I knew my swim time, but was surprised to learn that I had a decent run time – 21:16, which translates to an average of  6:50 minute/mile – way better than I had hoped.

My total time was 57:23 – good enough for 6th place in the Men’s Overall. Oddly enough, the guy just behind me on the bike had a swim time of 4 seconds faster than I did, so we had the same time, but I finished a split second ahead. Oddly, he finished first in the 20-29 year old age group, and I got 5th in the ultra-competitive 30-39 group.

So, I was very pleased with my result in my first ever triathlon.

The next day I biked from Soldotna to Homer. More on that soon.

Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement – it really means a great deal to me.


Dawn Breaks over Brickhead.

Posted in Sports, Triathlons on May 2, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

Training update: One month in.

My class has been doing extremely well, even if its main features are to expose exactly what I need to work on most. “Everything” comes to mind…

Navigation in particular. Last update I spoke of my aspirations to cycle the Loop in under an hour. This was not the case, not because of lack of speed on the bicycle – that seemed fine. It took longer than an hour because I ended up riding a few extra miles.


This time in Kenai. We left the Sports Center bound for Kenai. Across the Bridge Access Road, conditions were blustery. It was blowing dogs off chains. A headwind, naturally. I had been advised that the main streets in Kenai hadn’t been swept, and with the 5:30 traffic, to duck behind the high school and then connect up to the bike paths later. Things were going well until I got onto Lawton Street. I rocketed past the school, helped by a little tailwind. I could see a long, straight road ahead. What I didn’t realize was the road changed from pavement to gravel a few miles past the school. So, I backtracked, and tried my best to find a path that found its way to the highway and associated bike paths.

In the interim, a few of the others had passed me, and I knew my chances of beating an hour were fantastically reduced, unless I could somehow conjure an average speed of nearly 30 mph. I did happen to go over 10 miles in just over a half hour, with the wind against me, so I at least know that an hour loop is theoretically possible.

This past weekend saw a definite ramp-up in our training, as we participated in a Miniature Triathlon on Saturday. With our last planned indoor swimming slot, we maximized our pool time by swimming for a full hour before transitioning outside to the bikes. I tried to simulate race day fun by swimming an additional 200 yards at race speed after the workout. I ran outside to the bike transition area and found out something important.

Compression shirts are difficult and hilarious to put on when you’ve just exited the pool.

I probably looked like the shirt was eating me alive, as I thrashed and fought to don it properly. I wasted a good deal of time with that bit of fun. The good thing is I learned some helpful strategies to expedite this process. Once on the bike, I did my best to catch the people in front of me. It was a short ride, just from Skyview High School to Echo Lake Road and back. It is a short ride, but ever-so-hilly. I felt cold and stiff by the time I came back into the transition area. This one was markedly improved from the first, as I slipped out of my cycling shoes and into my trail running shoes with relative ease. I even remembered to remove my helmet. It’s the little things, really.

The running was worse than I had anticipated. The brick feeling was back to stay. It wasn’t my heart or lungs that were having the most difficult time of it, it was purely the act of moving my feet one in front of the other.

Limping back to the finish, I had done my first swim-bike-run brick ever. Final thoughts? It didn’t kill me.


200 yard swim: 2:40 minutes
18.7 mph average bike – 4.8 miles
7:17 min/mile pace run average – 1.7 miles

So, aside from the dead legs and shirt-related trauma we’ll just refer to as a “wardrobe malfunction,” I am pretty pleased. I hope I can boost my time averages by a little bit before a real triathlon, but that’s not so likely, as my first is THIS VERY WEEKEND. It’s in Seward. I’m excited.

I think it will go well, provided I don’t get lost. But there’s no chance of that, right?



Swim like a Brick

Posted in P90X, Sports, Triathlons on April 25, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

Tired of being bored? Thinking of trying something new? Want to suffer like you’ve never suffered before?

Try a Brick Workout.

Coach Angie appears to subscribe to the Nietzsche School of Workouts; to wit, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

We should be plenty strong by now. Last week’s brick workout saw sufficient bouts of near-death that we might be expected to be invincible now. After a rather exciting and involved swim, where we tried to compress 90 minutes of workout into a mere hour, we quickly changed and met outside to run. And run we did. On Ski Hill Road. I’m going to stress the Hill part. There are many hills on Ski HILL Road. Hill, yes. We were to meet by the blue sign, which happened to be about a mile down the road from the starting point.

You might find this astonishing, but I got lost again.

I blew right by the sign and managed to find the Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. It wasn’t open. Back I ran and caught up to the group, which were enjoying an exciting round of hill repeats. Hill repeats feature a brutal sprint up said hill, and then a “recovery” period on the way down. We did this many, many times, then staggered back to the starting point. That night I ran over 4 miles, and my time for the first mile was around 7:30. Not great, but not bad for hilly conditions.

Wednesday we biked again. We were to do a race-pace loop to the College and back. We did, and finished with a decent time. Then we were told we were to do it again, this time faster than the first loop. I did it, but barely. It actually helped to be warmed up from the first go-round.

I was out of town, so missed the remaining workouts for the week, but managed to get a good bit of biking in.

Monday saw more running. On Ski HILL Road, naturally. Of course, this was after a big time P90X Chest and Back and Abs morning workout. We met at the High School again. This time I knew where the one mile mark was, but we didn’t use it. Instead, we blew past all the way to the other side, and then regrouped to do more Hill Repeats. And these were devastating. Repeat after repeat. It’s like the infinite loop I’ve been caught in when I try to follow exactly the instructions on a shampoo bottle.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Lather. Rinse…

I ended up running over six miles. That’s way farther than I have ever run in my life. And much of it was sprinting. Oh, and my time for the first mile was 6:30 – so I’m improving.

The next morning, I was so sore I could barely move. Luckily, I had Masters swimming to look forward to. After two miles of “Broken 500s,” I was feeling the Broken aspect all too well.

This morning I taught P90X Plyometrics, also called Jump Training or “Cry-o-metrics.” It wasn’t easy, as my legs weren’t enthusiastic about having me repeatedly leave the planet.

So now, tonight, we bike the Loop. I have done some tweaks to my lovely borrowed bike (She’s named Celeste.) We’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed, but I hope to do the entire Loop in under an hour. This of course depends on whether my legs will speak to me.

I think they’re still upset from Cry-o-metrics.


Brick by Brick

Posted in P90X, Sports, Triathlons on April 16, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

Bricks are heavy. Most people know this, regardless of if they listened to L7. For last Wednesday’s Tri Class, I was informed we’d be doing a “brick workout.” Not being familiar with the term, I had fleeting thoughts of bricklaying – maybe we could build a foundation for a new edifice! I showed up ready for bike class – indoors again. Coach Angie told us that we were to leave immediately after cycling, change shoes, and go running. This training method – two or more disciplines back-to-back, is called a Brick Workout. Fortunately, it has many other bricklike features, as I was to soon find out. As our hour on the bikes rolled to a close, we jumped off and gathered our gear. This wasn’t easy, as my legs refused to cooperate well, and I looked like a three-sheets-to-the-wind sailor staggering off a ship.

Phase 1 of a Brick Workout: Your legs and feet – they feel like bricks.

Switching into running shoes, we began running. I might add that my gait had not deviated from that of the abovementioned sailor. To wit, I staggered. My calves felt insanely tight, but this moderated after a bit. We ended up running up Water Tower Hill, which has the charming feature of being at an extreme level of elevation compared to the surrounding city – gravity fed water and all that. Not only did we run up it once, we did sprint drills on that hill.

“Recover on the way down!” Coach would yell. Easier said than done.

Phase 2 of a Brick Workout: Your brain has to be over 80% brick to agree to do a brick workout.

We worked on form and psychological aspects of the run segment, which was good, since my body had given up halfway through the first hill climb. The good thing was that it was a gorgeous day, and it was nice to be outside, despite having a brain and legs made out of bricks. Another nice feature: according to my heart rate monitor, my heart still believes I’m in my 20s.

Phase 3 of a Brick Workout: Afterward, you feel like you’ve been pummeled by a great many bricks.

Friday found us cycling indoors as coach gave us important pointers on nutrition necessary for training and competing for events like triathlons. This was in anticipation of Saturday, where we had a fast but brutal swim workout. After a brief hiatus, a group of us got together for a bicycle ride around the Loop – the path/road system between Kenai and Soldotna.

This was the first time I had taken my gorgeous borrowed bicycle outside, so I had no idea what to expect. I had ridden plenty on the trainer, but that’s completely different than actually hurling along outside. I realized that this was the first time I had EVER ridden a true road bike. I had ridden some hybrid mountain/road bikes some two decades ago, but that was it.

I was excited.

We ended up going over 26 miles, with an average speed of 17.5 mph. I think that’s a pretty good starting point. It was way faster than any mountain bike. My borrowed bicycle did brilliantly – smooth and fast and easy to get going. Climbing, in particular, was very fun. Also of note: I hit 36 mph on the downhill from Skyview High School. Good times.

The next day, I did a very less-intensive mountain bike ride between Kenai and Soldotna. I noted how interesting the scenery was – something I had missed completely when road biking.

So, things are rolling (snort) right along with the tri training. I’m going to go for a run tonight before tomorrow’s Swim / Run Brick.

I’ll be the one with the brain and legs made of bricks.


Running shoes, hiking boots, biking shoes, work shoes, ski boots, dress shoes, trail running shoes…

Since when did I become Imelda Marcos?

Posted in Sports, Thought of the Day, Triathlons on April 11, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

Confessions of a Dangerously-Confused Mind

Posted in P90X, Sports, Triathlons on April 3, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

With Triathlon training well underway, I have been dabbling in the various disciplines involved. The most serious, thanks to the Masters class, is swimming, which I have been doing twice a week, and enjoying it very much. I haven’t been training as hard as I would like at cycling, thanks to late meetings or CPR evening classes. My running has been nearly nonexistent – mostly stumbling about on the Dreadmill for a while on mornings when I’m not doing P90X.

As luck would have it, I got an invitation to join a friend’s free cycling class over the weekend. The class was whimsically titled “The Sufferfest” and featured two (!) hours of intense cycling training. Her facility has a great many stationary bikes, a sound system, and giant televisions. The first Hour of Suffering was her own program – interval training mixed with long, long climbs for endurance. THEN, we got to the Extra Special Bonus Suffering. The next hour was a video program that we followed along with – from the perspective of a biker in various races. It was great. And difficult. I’m happy to report that I pushed it hard – as hard as I could. My posterior was not thrilled with the saddle time, but I managed to walk away from the class. Angie, our instructor, was not only pushing harder than anyone else, but encouraging and very helpful.

After the Sufferfest concluded, I decided that it was in my best interest to join her Triathlon-specific training program, which was to begin Monday.

After work yesterday, I rolled up to the SoHi parking lot and met my fellow triathlon enthusiasts. There were a bunch of us. I was apprehensive, as I had that day learned that the day’s lesson was a time trial. For RUNNING.

Yes, my most dreaded form of transportation, aside from moon walking.

“What’s your mile time?” Coach Angie asked. I had no idea. I thought about running in high school (nearly two decades previous).

“Um, seven, eight minutes?” I guessed.

“Okay, you’ll run four miles today, then. I have to see your average heart rate for at least a 30 minute run.”

“Oh…kay?” I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I was reasonably sure I could do three miles, especially if I could walk for a minute or so between miles, but four? I was dubious.

After some warmups, we set out to run.

I began with what I thought was a good seven or eight minute per mile pace, and monitored my heart rate. After a few minutes, I was steadily into the 160s, which is perfect for me, as I felt that I could maintain that pace for a good while. My legs weren’t really used to running, but they were in good shape from P90X and skiing. One mile rolled into two, and I felt surprisingly good. Coming in on the home stretch to mile three, Coach yelled me my three mile time and asked if I wanted to keep going so I could complete my four. Astonishingly, I did, and kept rolling.

This is where things went haywire.

I managed to get lost (in SOLDOTNA!). But I kept running, eventually found my way, and ran all the way back to the SoHi parking lot. I even put on a little extra speed at the end, pushing my heart rate up into the high 170s.

And I felt great! I ran for over 37 minutes straight, and could still do things like speak in complete sentences and not die.

I was blown away. My three mile (5k or thereabouts) time was 22:40 – so there is room for improvement, but that amounts to about a 7:33 minute per mile pace. That I held onto that (and even sped up) for 37 minutes means that I ran for nearly five miles, WITHOUT STOPPING. I’m pretty sure I’ve never done that in my life. My average heart rate during the run was 164, max 177.

So, I was able to run. I am a runner. Gads, I might even be enjoying it.

It seems my most-feared event might be not-so-terrible, so who knows? They might make a runner out of me yet.

Now I just need to stop getting lost.


Fit to be Tried.

Posted in P90X, Sports, Triathlons on March 21, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

Well, I’m halfway through the first official week of triathlon training. Why official? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of someone officiating it. Or perhaps because I’m writing from an office. That’s probably it.

Random digressions aside, I have a schedule and everything:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Morning P90X Run P90X Run P90X    
Work           Run/ Bike/ Ski Resties!
Evening Bike Swim Ski or rest Swim Bike    

So, I have many opportunities to rest if I need, notably Wednesday night and Sundays.

But let me back up, like I so often do when I Moonwalk on the treadmill. On Thursday, I went swimming for the first time in a great many years. Like 18 years. The instructor is very serious, and she emails workouts the day of training, which feature an inspirational phrase followed by a soul-crushing workout.

“If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.” Said last night’s workout, followed by over 4000 yards of laps. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s over 2.3 MILES of swimming.

So, I survived Thursday, and in all honesty, it felt good to be back in the water. There were plenty of things I needed to correct, but I was overwhelmed at how much I had changed since high school. I was stronger, probably faster, and my lungs were really good thanks to the ski season. Also: I didn’t die. Silver lining and all that.

This past weekend saw me running hither and yon (have you been to yon lately?) to get my gorgeous borrowed bicyle up to riding shape. First, I stripped off all the unnecessary components (rack, water holders, barbeque) and then found some aero bars, which allow the rider to lean way forward in a most aerodynamic of postures whilst riding, and got a new rear tire tube, because the old one had suffered miserably.

I also acquired a trainer, which allows for indoor riding, because the bike remains in one spot while it spins a magnetically-resisted wheel. It’s pretty fun, and works extremely well. I tried this out Monday night, and spent 35 minutes (I’m building up to more) on the saddle.

Tuesday morning I went to the gym to spend time doing one of Life’s Worst Activities: the treadmill. We should probably rebrand them as Dreadmills. My hiatus time for running is on par with that of swimming – around 18 years. So, I started easy(ish) at 7 mph on some varied inclines. I did this for 10 minutes, then fast walked for one minute. Then I ramped things up to 8 mph on level ground, and put in another 8 minutes, then went to 10 mph for two additional minutes. Then I warmed down for four minutes by brisk walking. I’ll again note that this didn’t kill me, but it did expose some weaknesses. Namely, running. I’m just not that good at it. I think it’s a mechnical thing. My stride rivals that of a drugged giraffe. But, it’s something to work on improving, since it likely can’t get any worse. My legs, lungs and heart are in good shape from skiing and P90X, but my calves and shins were not used to the running motion, so they did protest a bit.

Yesterday’s swimming was great again, even if it was over 2.3 miles of it. My calves did have the tendency to cramp when kicking too much, but I blame this on the morning run. I was able to work with the instructor on improving my technique, such as keeping my face down in the water, as opposed to the old style I learned (during the FIRST Bush Administration – yes, Herbert Walker) of tilting your head slightly up. I also need to glide for a greater distance coming out of turns. And yes, I do flip turns, which is probably a great reason to wear a helmet, but thus far it’s been a moot point.

So tonight, I’m taking a break to let my legs rest up for tomorrow morning’s run, and am happy to report that my training is going swimmingly (snort) and I am eager to continue.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be on the Dreadmill.


Try A Thaw Lawn Thyme.

Posted in Sports, Triathlons on March 12, 2012 by Webmaster Mike

Yes! It’s that time of year again, when a young man’s fancy turns to… athletic endeavors?

Such is the case for me, as I embark, bolstered by a successful Tour of Anchorage ski race finish, into the Summer Triathlon Series here in Alaska.

So, Triathlon – that’s a technical term meaning three athlons. The traditional athlons, predictably, are things I’m not very good at. The first athlon is swimming. Now, I did do some swimming in high school, but it was decidedly something I did not excel at. I did manage to escape drowning, but merited accomplishments beyond this are scarce. I think the most valuable thing I learned from my Swim Team tenure was the proper pronunciation of the word “chamois.” Bear in mind that this was long before the Sham-Wow.

Now, it has been nearly twenty (20!) years since I have swum competitively, or even swum for exercise. Of course, I’m not including years of hot-tubbing, but I think its exclusion is rather justified.

To remedy such a staggering hiatus, I have enrolled in Master’s Swim classes. I start Thursday. I hope my waterwings still fit.

With the swimming aspect being handled (in my mind) adequately, I then turn my sights to the next athlon; biking.

The most difficult aspect of biking, naturally, is that one requires a bicycle to do it. This, I do not have, at least by any meaningful definition. I still have the mountain bike I used in high school, and it happens to be old enough to vote. It’s also heavy enough to disrupt the Earth’s rotation if I went up a hill, which is nearly impossible, re: its weight.

As luck would have it, a wonderful individual offered a bike designed specifically for road use to me, and I plan on using that. I am also hoping to borrow a trainer to allow the bike to be used in a stationery (stationary? Whichever one doesn’t involve paper products) manner.

That solved, I must turn my attention to my least favorite activity; running. As I mentioned ages ago in this very blog, I am not remotely adept at running. Not even to save my life. I’m not exactly sure why this is. Perhaps it’s because running is an activity I absolutely despise. All I can think about is how much my entire body hurts the moment I begin to run. That said, I do plan on running, at least for the duration required by the local triathlons. We’ll see if I can finish in sufficient time to prevent my  body from completely rattling to bits.

So there we have it, my plan of a trifecta of athlonic activities. Which should be doable should I manage to keep my waterwings inflated, bike from voting (or running for Congress), and body from rattling asunder.

I’ll be the one with the chamois.