Sunday, September 25, 2005


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sneak Preview

People like telling us that it doesn't matter what our time is, but it does matter. As a "non-competitive" participant, I'm not going to worry too much about how my time compares with others, but I do think it's important to have some sort of personal goal, or a prediction of what my final time will be. And it's really tough to guess. I think the excitement of the day will make me go faster, but stress of the crowds in the water will slow me down. Still, I'm trying to come up with an estimate.

The amount of time doing the triathlon should be comparable to seeing a movie. So I'm hoping that I will finish somewhere between Jaws and Forrest Gump, probably around Waterworld.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why Must You Torment Me, Jon Cryer?!

I have Jon Cryer issues. Nothing personal against the guy, it's just that some of the obsessive, compulsive, nerdy character traits he portrays hit a little too close to home. (The definitive example is this clip from Two and a Half Men where Alan has a "plan" to get good movie seats. I am totally That Guy. I am Jon Cryer.)

Anyway, I found out that Jon Cryer did the triathlon last year and is doing it again. This means something, although I'm not sure what. Should it be my goal to finish with a quicker time than him, and in a sense, beat myself? Would I feel badly if Jon Cryer beat me? Is there a chance we could cross the finish line together?

Jon Cryer's presence opens up the possiblity for a surreal experience, and I find the Surreal World far more interesting than the one you live in.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A tisket, a tasket, my carb-loading basket

My dear friend Diana (who will be competing in the Lake Tahoe Kayakathon, or at least should) sent me a wicked awesome Triathlon Gift Basket. It has everything for the big day: Energy drinks, Power Bars, pasta, sports tape... Plus it has everything for AFTER the event: bandages, Tylenol, Epsom salts. Even band-aids with attitude ( radical strips with scorpions and spiders on them.) I am SO good to go.

Diana ordered the basket from a mutual friend of ours, Karri, who runs Baskets by Karri. That's Baskets by Karri, for all your Triathlon Basket needs. Or pretty much any basket needs.

God doesn't want me training

I was in the pool this morning when I looked up and saw a huge flash of light in the sky, then 2 seconds later KAPOW! Giant thunder crash- it was setting off car alarms everywhere. I got out of the pool, just as I was trained to do since I was kid. But then I started thinking: the reason we always got out of the water as kids was because we swam in lakes, and lightning likes to hit the tallest object in an area (not exactly true, but go with it.) In a lake, that object is your head. The pool I was in this morning is only 1 lane wide. It has a row of trees on one side, and a 20-story building on the other. There's no way the lightning would pass those targets and hit me. I hadn't finished my laps, so I got back in the pool. 20 seconds later, KAPOW! Another strike. I got out.

I can take a hint.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Where are my toes?

There was a big surf advisory this weekend. Apparently there was some storm in Tahiti, and that meant big waves in California. I dunno, sounds like some sort of government cover-up to me. I mean, like Tahiti is totally like over a hundred miles away and stuff. Whatever. I went to Santa Monica on Saturday, and sure enough the waves were pretty big. Not Poseiden Adventure big, but enough to get your attention. There were lots of surfers in the water, but no swimmers. I then went down to Venice, thinking there might be people in the water there. Nope, just more surfers. I don't mind swimming by myself, as long as there are lots of people around me. (Surfers don't count.) There's "being dedicated", and there's "being stupid", so I just stayed out of the water.

Today I went up to Malibu for a swim clinic. Woah it was cold. By 4:00pm, the official ocean temperature was 59 degrees; I was there at 8:00 am. Because it was a "clinic" we spent a lot of time just floating in the water getting lectures on technique, which made it even colder. Our instructor was an Australian no less, and you know how I feel about Aussies and wetsuits.

We then did the bike ride, but I started feeling a bit sick to my stomach so I skipped the run afterwards. I learned the importance of diet. Typically, the night before a dress rehearsal or big workout I eat a plain steak, dry pasta, and a dinner roll. And that seems to work well for me. Last night however, I went to a barbeque and had spicey marinated chicken, potato chips, pretzels, Halloween Double Stuff Oreos, Peanut Butter Cups, and some more Halloween Double Stuff Oreos. Oh, and a couple of beers. (It was light beer, which is what I thought all the athletes drank before competitions.) The sad thing is that I KNEW this stuff would make me sick, but I can't help it. I am weak. If there are Halloween Double Stuff Oreos around, I'm going to eat Halloween Double Stuff Oreos.

(Oh, and before you ask: yes, I was the one who brought the Halloween Double Stuff Oreos. Shut up.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Malibu, We Have a Problem

I keep a training log. Basically, I keep records of date, time, distance, and brief notes if anything unusual happened. Here are some of my notes from last year in the weeks leading up to me pulling my achilles tendon:

"Bad owie on right foot"
"Foot hurt after 3.5 miles, had to stop"
"Right foot hurt after 6"
"Right foot hurt like a mofo for at least a week after"

The purpose of a training log is to look for trends and adjust your workouts accordingly. You think maybe my body was trying to tell me something? My last run was October 31 (ominous?) then I tried again a month later, and it wasn't until mid January that I tried starting up again. You can really hurt yourself if you're not careful, and last year I was stupid.

So fast forward to my run tonight, after about 1 mile my foot started hurting. Not as bad as those other runs, but the warning signs were all there. Only THIS time, I actually stopped running. Walked it out a bit, jogged a bit. I'm not exactly panicked about this, but it is making me nervous; the triathlon is only 10 days away. I don't care if my foot tears off from my leg at the finish line, but I can't injure myself now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Water Water Everywhere

Just 2 days ago I was complaining about all the clothes hanging in my bathroom. The dripping clothes is the least of my worries. Last night, I put my shirt in the sink to rinse it out. I was going to let it soak a bit and put the faucet on low flow, trusting the emergency drain. Well it seems that the shirt floated over and clogged the drain while I was in another room for a half hour, having completely forgotten that I was in the middle of washing a shirt. When I came back, water was cascading on to the floor. The carpet is DRENCHED and it already has that moldy smell. I may have to replace the carpet or at least the padding underneath.

This triathlon just keeps getting more and more expensive every day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

In Over My Head

I swam myself sick last night. I went to a group swim lesson in Pasadena. It started off fine. We had to do some freestyle laps and I was basically keeping pace with the group which I haven't been able to do in the past, so that was good. Then we had to grab swim boards and do some flutter-kicking exercises. (I was told previously I'm a bad kicker; I keep reminding myself that Coach Gareth told us that kicking is less important in the ocean so I don't worry about it much. I know, that's a terrible attitude but it gets me across the pool.) So things were going OK, then the coach tells us to do the backstroke to the other side.

The whojawhat now?

I've seen people do the backstroke on TV, but I have no clue how to do it. I watched everyone else kick off and then just gave it a whirl. Horrible. Even though I was on my back, my face was underwater half the time. Everyone else made it across, then about 20 seconds later I come flailing to the end and started coughing and hacking over the side of the pool like a drunken sailor. Then we had to go back. Then we had to do it just using just the left arm. Then just the right arm. I couldn't do any of them properly.

The pool level must have dropped 2 inches from all the water I swallowed or inhaled. I survived the actual swimming, but I felt sick. Like, really sick. All last night my stomach was doing flutter kicks.

Swimming is hard.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hitchcock lives

The triathlon has an odd side-effect: My guest bathroom is now a permanent laundry room. It is constantly filled with dripping clothes. After each workout I hand-wash all my clothes and hang them in the shower to dry, and it is a never-ending cycle of rotating out dry clothes with new wet ones. Shorts, shirts, socks, even hats and gloves sometimes. The tub has a layer of sand in it from each time I rinse out the wetsuit (or as my friends call it, "the dead body hanging in the shower.")

Friday, September 09, 2005

Dodged a Bullet

Somebody I work with as well as a few people on the Tri Team were talking about doing the "Big Rock Triathlon" in November. It's a 1-mile swim, a 52 mile bike ride, and a 9-mile run. And I started thinking about doing it. In 2 months, I think I could work up to doing the swim, could probably do the run, but the bike would be really tough. Still, I started planning on how I could train for it to be ready in time.

Fortunately, for some unknown reason the county needs to drain Lake Perris (the site of the triathlon) and so the event has been cancelled. Do you think the drainage has anything to do with the anonymous tip I phoned in about the bodies I dumped there? I'll never tell... all I know is I'm off the hook for training!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Wearing Neoprene After Labor Day

I did an ocean swim by myself yesterday. Well, me and 50,000 of my closest Labor Day friends. I didn't swim out far, I just wanted to practice my ins and outs.

I've had my wetsuit a few months now, and I no longer feel silly in it. (I may LOOK silly, but I don't FEEL silly. At least not as much.) But yesterday, I went to Venice Beach for a change of pace and of course I was the only one wearing a wetsuit. Everyone else was just frolicking in the waves in regular swimsuits, then I come walking by dressed like a sea lion. What's worse was walking back to my car along the boardwalk in the wetsuit- I really stuck out like a sore toe there.

I had to overcome a bit of my over-analyzing nature. It was difficult for me to just start running into the water, because I found myself waiting for the waves. On race day, we're not going to have any choice when we start, so I was trying to pick a "random" time to go in. Impossible. I kept second-guessing myself: "am I choosing to start now because the water is calm? Am I overcompensating and intentionally trying to start when the water is rough?" To solve this (non-existant-to-you) dilema, for every run I literally turned away from the water and timed 1 minute on my watch. Then I'd turn around and just run in.

Some people worry about stretching or nutrition; I have a whole other level of concerns.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ready for Prime Time

We had a full dress-rehearsal this weekend and it went much better than the run-through I tried last month. For starters, I actually finished it this time, so that was a big deal. Yay. I also managed to find a good balance with drinking fluids. You want to drink enough to stay hydrated and keep energy in your system, but not so much that you have to... well, you know... go make tinkle.

I had heard many times that you're going to feel light-headed running out of the ocean, so I was very careful not to move too quickly back to the transition area. I walked a brisk pace - didn't jog - thinking all the time "OK, head feels good... not dizzy... just keep an easy pace." I made it to my home base, relieved that "a-ha! I've beaten the dizziness!" Until I bent down to pick up my sneakers. Woah. All of a sudden the parking lot started spinning like crazy. I had to just plop down on my butt and sit there for a few seconds to get my bearings again. What a rush.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Word of the Day

Odocreep noun. A symptom whereby the planned distance of a workout is extended during the actual workout. For example, planning on riding 10 miles, then at mile 5 deciding to do 12 miles, then at mile 8 to do 16, etc.

"Where have you been?! I expected you back a half hour ago!"
"Sorry, got a bad case of odocreep."