Friday, February 27, 2009

Moving Targets

I don't understand why people even bother registering for events in L.A.; they keep changing. The Pasadena Marathon was cancelled the day of the event because of wildfires. It will now be held in March. The L.A. Marathon was scheduled for March, they moved it to May. And now the Nautica Malibu Triathlon has move up one week to September 13th.

September 13th, 2009.

Why does that date seem important? Oh! Now I remember! September 13th, 2009 marks the 10-year anniversary of when a massive explosion near Moon Base Alpha tore the moon out of Earth's orbit in Space: 1999. Yes, it is a significant date indeed.

That, and it's the same day as Ironman Wisconsin.

So I can't do Malibu this year. The is the BIG event for my Tri Team. It's why we exist. I can't go to the big Tri Team Rally the Friday before. I can't cover my car in "Go Disney" signs and park it along the race route. I can't wear my mouse ears on my bike helmet. I won't have my ass handed to me by Jon Cryer. Kind of bummed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Student Becomes the Older Student

I've done some scary things being on my tri team: My first ocean swim. My first triathlon. My first time showing up for a workout in stretchy shorts. (ok, that might have been more scary for the other people.) But this season it seems like I'll be doing something more terrifying than anything else.

Our tri team is setting up a Mentor program this year. The Old Fogies will be paired up with newbies to help them understand everything that is going. We have several hundred people on the team, so it can be easy for people to get lost in the shuffle. Mentors will help give training advice, support, and just generally be a personal point-of-contact for a newbie. Sounds like a wonderful program but I'm already freaking out about my future Mentoree.

What if they decide that triathlon isn't for them and they drop out of the team? Won't that be my fault? What if I get a triathlon prodigy who winds up kicking my butt at the workouts? Won't they wish they had someone more hardcore? What if they just don't like me? Are we going to set up secret bets on our Mentorees and put them against eachother Michael Vick style?

And here's the other problem. I need to get it through my thick head that this isn't a Big Brother program. The Mentorees are all grownups, yet I already feel like I want to take mine for ice cream. Which isn't exactly setting a good nutritional example.

We should be pairing up at our kick-off meeting this Thursday. I don't know how long it will be before they discover my blog, but when they do find it I have a message for him/her: Your Mentor is insane. Sorry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tiring Day

A bunch of us met Sunday to do some short rides through Griffith Park. It was not a good day for tires.

We split up into two groups. Sara was in my group, but she headed back to the cars a little bit early. Apparently she was complaining that "her bike was slow." Uh huh. Sure. We've all heard THAT one before. Yes, your bike was out late partying the night before and was riding a little sluggish today. When she got back to the car, Gerald suggested she check her tire pressure: 70 psi. Which basically means it must have felt like riding through mud. Well what do you know, the problem WAS the bike! Next time I'm feeling winded, when I'm done I'm going to secretly let some of the air out of my tires and then check the pressure in front of everybody. It will provide a good excuse.

Steve had it worse: he had an actual flat tire. He discovered it right after he got back to his car. The sad part is that it took five us to figure out how to take the wheel off. In our defense we didn't have the right tools with us, but still, it was kind of embarrassing for all us. We did manage to collectively change the tire. Eventually.

Click here for a photo of brilliant mechanics trying to figure out what to do.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tour of Lance

I went to see the Tour of California bike race come through Pasadena. It's pretty cool; they do 5 laps around the Rose Bowl so you get to see the cyclists a lot. It's not like you have to sit around for an hour for a 10-second glimpse.

Now I have to say I like Lance Armstrong. Or more correctly, I like the idea of Lance Armstrong. He gives America a reason to be interested in Cycling. And the whole cancer thing only makes him MORE of a hero. I'm OK with that. But I have to feel sorry for the other guys. At the TOC expo, there were Lance posters everywhere. And T-shirts. And buttons. Even boxes of chalk (which came in handy). But where was the Levi love? (Levi Leipheimer, the guy who actually won the Tour). If you go to any other sporting event, there is obviously a home team bias but you can still see plenty of support for other teams/players. At the Tour, it was just overwhelmingly Lance.

The Breakaway: (with cheap self-promotion)

The Peleton:

Better shot of Lance:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Longing for celery

If you live above, say, 35 degrees latitude do not read further.

This weekend we did a bike ride. A COLD bike ride. Me and Steve and MAC and Stuart met at our usual place and it was oh-so-cold. I think it was in the low 40s when we started. I was so cold just driving over ("How cold were you?!") that I stopped by CVS and bought an extra pair of socks to wear over my existing socks. Unfortunately, the new socks were kind of thick so my feet were really squished in my bike shoes. They hurt, but at least my toes were numb from pain and not from the cold.

I was a big supporter of turning around after 10 miles, and 15 miles, but we did the standard 20 miles out, 20 back. And the wind picked up. It was not a very happy ride. Steve happened to think it was great riding weather and told me "Remember this ride in August when it's 115 degrees and you're riding through celery fields!

So I need to remember this ride in August.

Crimefighter Wedgie

Thanks to Brian for passing this along:

Woman Uses Wedgie to Capture Suspected Thief

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- It took a wedgie and a headlock to pin down a man suspected of breaking into a car. Yvonne Morris, a technician at the Brickyard Animal Hospital, said she chased a man who broke into a co-worker's car, but he kept squirming away from her.

Morris eventually grabbed the man's boxer shorts and pulled. Salt Lake City police said she then she put a headlock on the man until help could arrive.

The man was booked into the Salt Lake County jail on suspicion of vehicle burglary, possession of stolen property and outstanding warrants.

New York Times

Monday, February 09, 2009

Resolution Intrusion

We all know the routine. Every January 1st, millions of people resolve to get in shape. They go on diets, they join gyms... And they're pretty good for a few weeks, maybe a month. But people, it's the second week of February; it's time to abandon your resolutions and just stay home.

The gym was packed tonight. To warm up, I couldn't get on a treadmill, or a bike, or a stairmaster. I had to use some weird split-steppy thing which I never quite got the hang of. As I jiggled my feet up and down I became convinced I was hooked up to some machine in the basement churning butter.

It was hard to find any open machines to use, and people were wandering around everywhere. The worst moment was when I was doing Back Extensions. Normally, this is the only exercise that is actually pleasant: You sit down, lean back, and stretch out. Very nice. Only this time I leaned back and banged my head against the shoulder of the biggest trainer in the gym. Like hitting a freakin brick wall, not to mention embarrassing.

To top it all off, I saw Joe The Trainer working with another client. That two-timing-somna-bitch. It wouldn't have bothered me so much if SHE wasn't lifting more weight than I was. (I don't think that's really true.)

So crowded gyms are bad. I'm not saying you have to give up ALL of your resolutions; you can still diet. And how about trying to save money in the new year? Canceling your gym membership is a great way to start. And remember when you resolved to spend more time with your kids? Well little Jackie & Janey sure are missing Mommy & Daddy while they're hogging up the equipment at the gym.

Be good to yourself in 2009. Stay away from the gym.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

By the Numbers

I knew this day would come, and it finally happened.

At the gym, there is an area downstairs set aside for free weights. I don't go there, because Thar Dwell Monsters. But upstairs, there is a small stretching area with a few shelves of small dumbbells. They come in pairs, ranging from 3 pounds to 30 pounds. And they are all arranged nice and neatly in order from lightest to heaviest.


There have been times with Joe the Trainer when I've noticed a pair or two swapped and I've just let it slide. But last night was total anarchy. The 8s were where the 20s should be and the 15s were in the 12 spot and everything was out of whack. How could I stand by and do nothing? (The 30s were in the right place- I don't think they have ever moved because if you're gonna use the 30s, you're gonna be downstairs.)

It was kind of crowded, so there was never a time when I could straighten them out unnoticed. (Yes, I was slightly self-conscious about organizing it.) So I waited until there was only one other person over there and started swapping things around. It's harder than it sounds; it was kind of like one of those sliding-numbered-tile games, only heavier. But it's important.

Bringing order to the universe. It's my random act of kindness for the week.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Brief Encounter

I went with the group on a fairly hilly trail run in Griffith Park tonight. I showed up for the run, wearing my standard stretchy tri shorts, and was asked:

"Do you have underwear in your car?"
"Put them on over your shorts."
"We're making fun of someone."

Well that's good enough reason for me. Other people on the run knew in advance to bring silly underwear so there were various stripes and even Christmas dog boxers. Unfortunately, I had my tighty-whiteys with me (technically they are grey) so I had to wear them.

I never quite figured out WHY we were wearing our undies over our shorts, but Mike, the guy we were teasing, really laughed at it. Maybe he wears underwear under his running shorts or maybe his shorts LOOK like underwear. I don't know. But if I can do something stupid for a gag count me in.

And of course, since we were doing something silly and embarrassing, it had to be the night that Iron Monica joined us for the run. Good to see her again.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Next Challenge (NOT)

Triathletes are wimps. Now HERE are some badasses. They have to run through freakin' fire during the race:

Tough Guy Challenge