Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ups and Downs

I like roller coasters. They frighten me, but that's part of the fun. Sometimes when you go on a coaster for the first time, it's the unknown which you fear most. And then after the ride you realize "that wasn't as scary as it looked" and you go again for the fun of it. But sometimes, you get off the ride and say "that's WORSE than it looked!" Then, when you go on it again another day (because a different friend is with you who has never been on it) you are even more frightened because you know what to expect.

That's how I feel about the upcoming Marathon this weekend. Last time, I knew it would be physically painful but I had no idea how mentally and emotionally numbing it would be. Now I do. This time, I really do know how much it's gonna suck.

As for Brad, who will be doing his first marathon on Sunday, "it'll be great! you'll love it!"

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Today was our long bike ride to help IronAnnie in her Ironman training. The full ride was 60 miles; my longest previous ride was about 30 miles and I was worried about being on my marathon taper, so I was only going to do half of it. Well that plan went out the window (peer pressure) and I did the whole thing. I don't think it cost me too much, but we'll see.

We followed the San Gabriel River Trail, which I have never been on before. There are a lot of switchbacks and I had no idea which direction we were heading. We started at point "A" on the map- I assumed we were riding along the foothills and as we approached the turn-around point after about 2 hours I thought we were at point "B" in South Pasadena. Turns out we were at point "C".

Long Beach.

If you asked me to DRIVE to Long Beach, I'd tell you to forget it. That's like another part of the state as far as I'm concerned. Yet there we were. (FYI: Never ask me for directions.)

You can see photos of the trail here. I especially like the notes where it lists hazards of "gang activity, particularily in the middle trail segment. Broken glass from the drunks." Lovely.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

San Francisco Treat

I think I may have hurt something during last week's hill run. No, not my ankle or knee or anything like that. But something is wrong with my head because now I think I want to do the "Cable Car Chase". You get to chase Cable Cars! It's a 5.67 mile run (don't ask) through the streets of hilly San Francisco. The elevation gain only seems to be about half of what I did in Griffith Park, so how tough could it be? And did I mention there will be Cable Cars?

I'll have to look into it more. If they don't have real Cable Cars pacing the course which we get to run alongside, then forget it. But if they're an integral part of the race, it will rock. And you KNOW they'll have great T-shirts.

Cable Cars are cool.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Savings! Savings! Savings!

The long-awaited Triathlon documentary "What it Takes" is available on DVD. I saw a screening of it this summer.Read my review. Basically, if you do triathlons you need to see this film.

There is a special promotional code you can use to save $5 off the DVD. Such a deal! Just type in !RONMAN96 when ordering online (there will be a field for it). And yes, the "I" is really an exclamation point. Oh, and when you place the order, put in "NeopreneWedgie.com" in the "who referred you" box; I need to recover all the Karma Points I can get.

Order Now

The movie is also being screened in cities throughout the U.S. You can find out when & where here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Resistance is Futile

In the Star Trek Universe, the Borg are dangerous aliens far more advanced than humans. Humanity is nearly defenseless against them and avoid confrontation at all costs. You would think that the Borg fear nothing, yet even they are completely overpowered by Species 8274. Last night I engaged the Borg and Species 8274 in battle.

Yes I, a human, went running with Tri Team Teacher Gerald (Borg) and Tri Team Jon (Species 8274). (Gerald fears Jon workouts the way I fear Gerald workouts. Well, maybe he doesn't quiver in terror the way I do.) IronAndre was there (some sort of Klingon Hybrid) as was Tri Team Tim, a Vulcan. During the run the Vulcan said "it is illogical to continue running with these people" and turned around. Smart move.

This was my very first hill run in Griffith Park. As the Borg explained it to me, "remember when we visited Mr. Griffith on our bikes? Tonight we're going to see his evil, ugly, red-headed step-son." We climbed the same hill we do on our bike rides, but we ran on much-steeper trails and my sneakers don't have a granny gear. This is the 7-mile course elevation (vertical scale may be slightly exaggerated):

The Borg promised me that there would be great views from the top of the hill. Oh, let's call it what it is: from the top of the MOUNTAIN. And maybe he was right. The thing is, I think nice views should be appreciated in a lounge chair while sipping a Pina Colada. Not quite the same when wheezing from oxygen deprivation.

It was tough, no question. But I confess I feel pretty good about it. Maybe being assimilated won't be so bad after all.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Changing the Rules

The Rule of Thumb I was taught is that if you're running for more than an hour or so, you should use nip guards and/or body glide. Less than an hour, you don't need to worry about it. Well, after tonight I'm going to lower that threshold to around 45 minutes. I'm just saying.


After a screening of the new Triathlon documentary "What It Takes" (now available on DVD!) my friend Annie signed up to do Ironman Arizona. I was very excited because I think it would be a lot of fun to cheer someone on during an Ironman and Arizona isn't too far away. I told her I would support her any way I could. I immediately came up with a premilnary T-shirt design. I booked my hotel in Tempe. I'll drive people or gear out to Arizona with me. Yessiree, I completely support this adventure of hers 100%. Whatever she needs. Well, today she invited me along on an upcoming 60-mile training ride.

Do what now?

See, I kind of thought that supporting an Ironman contender was all about making posters & t-shirts, attending carb-load dinners, and sending out positive emails. And I'm very good at all of those things. But now I realize I may actually have to do work and stuff.

I'll be in my marathon-tapering zone for the ride, so I got Coach Gerald's blessing to do only half the distance. For the next ride, I assume I'll be in the marathon-recovery zone, so I can milk that a bit. But then I'll be out of excuses.

Why couldn't she simply say she was going to be in a play in April and invite me to attend that?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Today was the last long run of the marathon training program: 20 miles. It started raining as I was driving over to Griffith Park but I just sucked it up and by the time I was ready to run it had stopped. It was pretty exciting trying to stay on pace; at times I was 3-4 minutes behind, up to 4 minutes ahead, and back again. When it was all over, I was in pain. A lot of pain. I am not one to complain - scratch that. I LOVE to complain, but only when other people are around because I want the attention. Yet I was moaning out loud driving home because my legs were so sore. I don't want to know what my neighbors must think (I'm in condo) after hearing me still moaning as I lowered myself into an ice bath when I got home. In three weeks, I'll have to go through this again, and then add another hour.

However, I have to say it was a good day. 20.6 miles, 3:23:27. Those are 9.8 minute miles. And 9.8 is less than 10.

Suck it, Achilles.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Great Motivator

I am not a fast runner. I'm not really a slow runner either; I guess you could say I'm a half-fast runner. (sorry)

When I do runs of about 9 miles or longer, I struggle breaking through that psychological 10-minute-mile barrier. Over the past few months, these have been my paces for runs greater than 9 miles: 9.7, 10.1, 10.1, 10.0, 11.0, 10.7, 9.6, 10.8, 10.3, 10.5. (yes, the 9.6 was just 9 miles.)

Tri Team Teacher Gerald saw my post a few days ago about wanting to speed up my runs a bit, and he offered to run with me as a "rabbit": someone to keep up a good pace. Well, last night I ran 10.3 miles doing 9.0-minute-miles. That's huge for me. I often do 5 and 6 mile runs at paces slower than that.

Now you're probably thinking "golly, that was mighty nice of Gerald to go out running with Mister P. to help him along." That's because you're assuming I took him up on his offer. You think I'm crazy enough to go running with him? Oh hell no.

Here's some dangerous insight into the way Mister P. thinks: See, when I said I wanted to break 10-minute-miles, I meant I wanted to do 9.9's. And I knew that for my own good Gerald would push me harder than that. But I don't want what's good for me. I want what's easy. And I also knew that if I wasn't able to pick up the pace on my own, I'd have to get outside help. So out of fear of having to run 9.5 minute miles with Gerald, I wound up doing 9.0s. Imagine a kid being told "if you don't get a B average this semester you're going to military school". And the kid gets an A.

Now that I know a 9-minute pace won't kill me, I feel a lot safer going out with Gerald sometime. What's that? Did he say 8-minute? Forget it. Now I'm hoping he'll offer to help me with my half-ironman training. I don't want the actual help, but the fear of the workouts should really whip me into shape.

Monday, October 09, 2006

10 Events I Want To Do

10. Liberty to Liberty Triathlon
Swim from the Statue of Liberty, bike across New Jersey, run to the Liberty Bell.

9. Stair Climb to the Top
Los Angeles is probably the only major city in the world without a true public observation deck. The only way to get a birds-eye view of downtown L.A. is to climb the 75 stories of steps during this YMCA fundraiser. (Of course, New York's Empire State Building Stair Climb is the King of these events.)

8. Rosarito Ensenada Bike Ride
50-miles of Margaritas.

7. Escape from Alcatraz
There are sharks in the water. No, that's just a myth. No, it's true. Swimming from Alcatraz Island to shore with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop in what may-or-may-not be shark-infested waters: how cool is that?!

6. Lavaman
It's an Olympic Distance Triathlon in Hawaii. Coolest...Name...Evar...

5. Wildflower
It's the Woodstock of Triathlons. I don't like Woodstock, I don't like camping, I don't like big dirty crowds. Yet this is the hippest triathlon around and with the right group of people could be a lot of fun.

4. Walt Disney World Marathon
This one you do for the medal- it's shaped like Mickey Mouse Ears.

3. Barcelona Marathon
I think it would be a lot of fun to be the foreigner at a race, and I love Barcelona. It's a great way to see the city.

2. Running With The Bulls in Pamplona
It may only be a 1/2 mile race, but it's potentially the most dangerous and exciting of them all.

1. Kona
This is one of the things I LOVE about triathlon. I'll never qualify for the world championships, but some year I may get lucky and get one of the few lottery slots reserved for average people (not that anyone who attempts an Ironman is average.) Starting next year, I will throw my name into the hat. I will let The Island decide when I should come.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Who wears short shorts?

I'm not sure, but I think I prefer running in my tri-shorts over my baggy jogging shorts. I don't know why. They are a bit warmer, but you never see marathoners wearing spandex. It may be purely psychological; maybe in my subconcious I associate the shorts with the brick workouts on the tri-team and I feel like I'm taking my workouts more seriously when I put on the uniform.

I asked three hardcore-tri teammates if they knew of any physiological advantages of wearing one type of short over the other. They all said the same thing:

"Don't worry about fashion. Go with whatever is more comfortable."
"I don't care how I look. I just go with what feels right."
"Ignore fashion. Wear your personal preference."

I wasn't thinking at all about how I would look in the marathon next month. But the fact that all 3 of them told me not to worry about it, now I'm suddenly worried. I've only been doing triathlons for a year; have I already forgotten how ridiculous we look in our shorts? I know that after 3 hours or so, I'll be so miserable that I won't care if I'm wearing bell-bottoms. I just need to figure out how I want to look in the race photos.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The first time is special

I've done 10 running races and 5 triathlons of varying distances. I don't remember what my final time was for the tri I did 2 weeks ago. I don't know what my marathon time was. (I can come close.) I can only guess at what my Olympic Tris, half-marathons and 10k times were. Yet I know I finished my first triathlon last year in 1:53:04. To the second.

Why has that number stuck with me and none of the others?

Close Call

Did a mid-length evening run tonight, and again the last 30 minutes was in the dark. I was prepared this time with my running light. I was running along the horse trail in Griffith Park and I saw something in the middle of the trail. Now you have to understand that Mister P. is old. Maybe not numerically, but his eyesight is pretty bad. It was dark, all I had was a cheap bulb lighting up the trail. From a distance of 100 feet I thought maybe it was a fallen tree branch. At 50 feet, I realized that it was more vertical; like a stump or something 3 feet tall. At 20 feet, I realized it was an animal. My mind went racing: I see a lot of rabbits along the path, but this was way too big. I see a lot of coyotes, but this was too slender. What IS that thing? 10 feet and closing - it's very bushy, black fur, white stripe.... it's a skunk! His tail was standing tall, locked and loaded. I came within 5 feet of him when he finally chickened out and scurried off to the side. Phew.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Judge Not *hic*

With a name like Neoprene Wedgie, you wouldn't expect this to be a serious blog. But an anonymous poster said something about my drunken night out without knowing the facts, and it kind of upset me. Anonymous accused me of driving under the influence because I was plastered and only slept for 2 hours in my car. That's not the full story. For starters, anybody who has ever been out with me knows that I get wasted after only 3 or 4 drinks. And that's all I had all night. I never puked, I never fell down, I never even spilled anything. Yes, at 2:00 in the morning I felt I was not fit to drive. But by that point I had already stopped drinking for TWO HOURS. I was plastered at midnight. I was drunk at 1:00. At 2:00, I was, at worst, under the influence. And so I didn't drive. Instead, I waited ANOTHER TWO HOURS and slept. I walked to a 7-Eleven 2 blocks away and got something to eat. I went home. I believe my behavior that night was EXTREMELY responsible.

Anonymous says that their opinion of me has "fallen so dramatically" that they won't be back to my blog. That's a shame, because they should know the real story before judging me. This whole thing has me very stressed; I need a drink.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

18 Again

By Monday night I was sober enough to do my 18-mile run. I left work early to catch more of the daylight, but I still didn't quite make it; the last 40-minutes or so was pretty much in comlpete darkness, other than the faint glow of the moon and the reflections in the eyes of the hungry wolves stalking the trail.

It was during my 18-mile-run training for the L.A. Marathon that I had my epiphany that I would be writhing in pain by the time I crossed the finish line of a marathon. While that didn't exactly happen, it was still a pretty miserable experience. And last night, I felt a glimpse of the pain to come during those last 2 miles. They were pretty rough. However, back in February I ran 18 miles in 3:39. Last night I did it in 3:06. I still can't break that elusive 10-minute-mile barrier on my long runs but at least there's some improvement.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Best laid plans

I was supposed to run 18 miles this morning. That's pretty far and requires a bit of preparation. Last night I laid out the clothes I would need. I put out my Body Glide, my Nip Guards, and my Band-Aids (to wrap around toes to prevent blisters.) I filled up some water bottles, and took out some gel packs. Everything was set for me to get up in the morning and go.

Last night, a friend was celebrating his birthday at a bar. My plan was that I would meet him around 9, have a drink and leave by 11. I'd wake up at 8 the next morning, get dressed, and be running by 9. Perfect.

Well, I had more than one drink. Actually, I got wasted. Plastered. Shit-faced. To the point that when the bar closed at 2am, I fell asleep in my car for nearly 2 hours before driving home.

Needless to say I was in no condition to climb out of bed this morning, let alone run 18 miles. I may try to run later tonight if my head stops pounding by then, but my training schedule is completely messed up now.

How many carbs are in a Vodka Cranberry?