Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Getting the blood pumping

Triathletes supposedly have good cardio-vascular systems. Or at least they're supposed to. But you see, I'm a little... high-strung. Last night I wetn to a Poker Tournament at Brad's house. I was forced All-In and I had a Jack-high Flush; not a bad hand. But the other guy had the King. Kinda stressful.

I had my blood pressure monitor with me (doesn't everybody carry them around?) and took a reading:

162 over 116. That's probably not good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dear Joe The Trainer

Thank you for the confidence you've shown in me by making me work out on my own. However, if we have a session scheduled I would appreciate it if you would... what's the words? Oh yeah, "show up". I understand that there can be last minute conflicts, but when I try to reschedule it would be helpful if you would reply, let's say, in less than a week.



ADDENDUM: Sorry that your iPhone was stolen and you weren't getting my messages. All is forgiven.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Turkey: The other dark meat

I've been trying to improve my diet. Specifically, eating more protein. For breakfast, I have a little bit of turkey every morning. You should know that am a very fussy... um... "particular" eater and I do eat turkey. But it must be plain. White meat. No gravy. No butter, no seasoning. My food is boring and that's the way I like it.

I have a standard routine: I buy a package of ground turkey, split it into small portions and freeze them in tin foil. I take a portion out every night to defrost. When I get up in the morning I turn on the oven and throw in the turkey (don't bother pre-heating.) By the time I am showered and dressed and ready to go to work the turkey is cooked. I bring it in the car with me and eat it right off of the tin foil. Most people would not consider this a tasty meal, but it works for me.

This morning I did my regular routine, but when I took the turkey out of the oven it looked funny, almost burnt. It didn't have that pasty-white, tasteless look that I strive for. I didn't think I took a long shower or anything like that so I couldn't figure out what went wrong. Then I realized: it was DARK meat turkey. I must have picked up the wrong package on my last trip to the store. What I don't understand is how can you tell if turkey is dark meat or white meat uncooked? Because it looked completely normal to me going in to the oven.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Miracle! (not)

I've needed new running shoes pretty much since my Ironman in June. But of course the shoes I were running in have been discontinued and nobody has my size any more (even online). I've tried the "new and improved model" and it's just not the same. I've purchased 3 other pairs of shoes since then, all have caused great pain in my shins or ankles or elsewhere, and I've returned 2 pairs. (The third pair is OK for walking in.) So basically my best pair of running shoes are my worn-out Ironman shoes.

I was Christmas shopping tonight and swung into Nordstrom's of all places and there on the shelf I saw it:

My shoe! The Asics Kayona 14 Gel. It was a beautiful sight. I wasn't even worried about trying on a pair; I just told the guy "get me pair of these!" and I'll buy them.

He came back and told me "we don't have in in blue, only orange". Not a problem at all. But this is what he gave me:

Oh sure, it says "Asics Kayona 14 Gel" on it but it's not the same shoe. All of the support straps and cushioning points are in different places. The guy tried to tell me "well it's the same shoe, only newer." I have been down this road many times, and I know that 'this is the same shoe' is a euphemism for 'this will break your ankle'.

No new shoes for Wedgie this Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ladies Night?

I am in major Christmas Shopping Stress Mode so I went to the gym very late, basically after the stores started closing. I was the only person in the gym which was a little strange but I wasn't complaining. It was 11:15 or so when I left; as I was walking out I asked the girl at the counter, "the fact that I'm the only one here, does that mean I'm really dedicated, or is it just sad that I have no better place to be on a Friday night?" She thought for a moment and said "I think it means you're dedicated." I didn't really hear the conviction in her voice. She then added "And another guy just walked in a few minutes ago." I said "great, someone else who doesn't get invited to any Christmas parties."

I had an interesting revelation while I was there. At the end of each workout with Joe The Trainer, he takes me into a side room for ab work. That's usually when I start threatening him. The room has a lot of strange benches and chairs with poles poking out at all sorts of strange angles; they look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book. I can't imagine what kind of bizarre workouts are done with these devices and I don't want to know; Joe The Trainer just has me working on a mat. Normally, the gym has a lot of people moving around so the door to the room is propped open and I never really noticed it. But tonight, the door was closed so I couldn't help but see the sign on it: "Women's Circuit Training". So Joe The Trainer is having me work out in the ladies section. Great, thanks a lot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kona Koverage

This weekend NBC aired their coverage of the 2008 World Ironman Championships from Kona. Here's some advice: don't watch Ironman specials right before bed when you're already nervous about doing an upcoming Ironman (even if it's still 9 months away). I had not one but two endurance-sport nightmares that night. More on that later.

Was it just me, or did the coverage seem a little bit... off? I bought the Ironman On NBC DVD Boxset so I've seen them all, but there was something strange about this one. I think it may have been the music; it kept fading in and out with lots of different themes going and it just never flowed together very well. There was certainly tons of drama to make use of (several top contenders DNF'd) but I didn't really feel as emotionally involved. As far as the "every man" angle, I didn't care about the Pro Baseball player, I didn't care about the Navy Seal, and at the finish line they introduced us to a guy who I guess lost his father that year and wanted to do the race in his honor. Maybe I would have cared had they told us about him at the BEGINNING of the race, but since I already knew he finished, who cares? The token wheelchair guy seemed like a nice enough kid, but even his story lacked the emotional punch it should have. Perhaps I'm just jaded because after doing an Ironman, I feel more pity for these people than awe.

As for the nightmares: In the first one I was running a marathon and about 3 miles into the race I realized I was wearing regular shoes (not running shoes). The way the course looped around, when I hit mile 4 I would be about a quarter mile from the starting line so I could run back to my car and change shoes and get back on the course. Clint Eastwood was a spectator on the sidelines pushing a baby carriage. No idea what that means.

The second dream was only half-nightmare. I was finishing the run in an Ironman, and that was it. But it was unusual because that's all I was dreaming about. Just running and running and feeling very tired and sore, and the dream seemed to go on for a long time. But I was thinking to myself that at least I had managed to run the entire marathon without any walking breaks, So that part was good.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Joe the Trainer

Remember when I did a trial workout at the gym and broke the treadmill Well, I went back a few weeks later and joined. I even signed up with a personal trainer, "Joe".

From the looks of him, Joe the Trainer would not be first choice for a trainer: he's young. I want coaches, trainers, and doctors to be old so that I'll feel young in comparison. Find me the guy who placed third in the Boston Marathon in 1978 and THAT'S who I want for a trainer. (Apparently it is "Esa Tikkanen" from Finland, 2:11:15, but I don't think he's available.) I was nervous about joining a gym but Joe the Trainer put me at ease and gave me a low-pressure tour so I said what-the-heck, he can be my trainer. Poor guy.

To his credit, Joe the Trainer is very good with dealing with my... idiosyncrasies. When we first started he said "OK, will get you on some machines, do some free weights..." and I was like "Um, no, we're not doing that." I don't want to be standing next to some moose lifting a Volkswagen while I struggle with an empty bar. So it's all machines and self-body-weight stuff.

Now, the good thing about machines is that they can help you with your form; you lock yourself into the contraption and do the motions. But I think Joe the Trainer underestimates just how uncoordinated I am. He'll bring me to a new machine and say "OK, this is an easy one" and show me what to do and then I just spaz out when I try it. I've worked with bad swim coaches who would watch me massacre a stroke with no chance of doing it right and they just tell me "oh, just keep going." Joe the Trainer will stop me before I embarrass myself too much and just say "OK, let's move on to something else." And then we never speak of the machine again.

And you'd think someone who does triathlons would be good at doing something called "bicycles": not so much.

So once a week Joe the Trainer beats me down and as a result so far I have threatened him with strangulation and running him over with my car. Luckily for him I'm too tired and sore after a workout to go through with it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Ironman Arizona

I went to Ironman Arizona as a cheerleader last week. This was Heather's first IM, and Jon was also racing with his minions Gil, Jesus, Mike, and Franco. As an added bonus, my Ironbrother Rich and Arizona '09 racer Stephanie came out as volunteers.

I spent most of race day with Heather's mom and coworker Jen. Which was fun, but I have to say that Heather made the race kind of boring. We were phoning and texting updates back to L.A. all day long, and it was always the same thing:

"Heather is out of the water, grinning ear to ear"
"Lap 2 of the bike, all smiles"
"Starting 3rd run loop, still smiling"

Where was the drama? The pain and suffering? She hid it well.

Before I left Los Angeles, I asked Gerald if he had any ideas for making signs for Heather. He suggested "Aero bitch, aero!", which I guess was sort of a battle cry during their training. I thought it was a little offensive and completely inappropriate, especially since I was going to be spending the day with her mother. In other words, perfect. I found a picture of an angry Bolt (from Disney's movie) and made the sign. Gerald later told me he was only joking, but the damage was done.

Well I am proud to say the sign was a big hit. We had people laughing at it all day long and taking photos of it. And even though Heather was smiling all day already, I think she smiled a little wider when she saw it. Success.

I had a little more trouble with Jon's sign. I didn't make one for him at first, but then when I saw him the day before the race I thought "that evil man has been very good to me. He deserves a sign." Jon takes great pride in his heritage so I figured I would make him a flag. The flag of Denmark (don't jump ahead) is easy to make; it's a white cross on a red background. So the night before the race I drove to the nearby CVS and picked up some red and white posterboard.

When I got back to hotel I said to myself "Denmark? DENMARK?! Where did I get that from? Jon isn't from Denmark, he's from-". Total brain freeze. Sweden? Scandinavia? I had to phone IronmAnnie and ask where Jon was from.


Duh! Fortunately the Norwegian flag looks like a Denmark flag with an extra blue stripe. So I drove back out to CVS to pick up some blue posterboard. Even when we're not training, Jon causes me grief. But he finished in 10:42 and obviously my sign had something to do with it.

I ran into FORMER blogger IronMonica (hint hint) in the finishing bleachers and we cheered everyone in up until midnight. As we were leaving, she was telling her friends about my blog and pointed out my tattoo. Lesley (yes, I spelled it right) said "oh, you have a dolphin!" I snapped back at her "you just made the blog!" (My first dolphin indignity)

For the record, again, it's a killer whale, the fiercest predator of the ocean! (and cute squeeky horn as well.)

I went to Ironman Arizona and Lake Placid before I did my own Ironman. Both times, I watched the runners turn into joggers, the joggers became walkers, and the walkers became staggerers. And I envied all of them. I envied their journey, both that day's 140.6 miles and the months of training that led up to it.

Well now I've done an Ironman. And this time when I saw the joggers, and walkers, and staggerers, my thoughts were "you poor bastards. What the hell were you thinking?"