Thursday, April 30, 2009

M@x1mum r3sults! Sat1sfact1on Guarant33d!

The gym had their second "Member Appreciation Day" today. They had pizza samples and sub sandwiches; maybe not the healthiest food choices but they're trying to promote other local Burbank businesses so that's fine. They had a local spa burning incense and giving massages; not really my thing, but great. They had a table set up with big guys talking about big buckets of protein powders- more power to them. Then they had a table for "Viamax - Ultimate Sexual Enhancement."

Really? No, seriously, I mean, REALLY?!

It wasn't that I was offended by the table, it was more like I was embarrassed for them. It cheapened the entire event. It was like a real-world Spam email. There was just something... weird about having it there.

And no, I did not sign up for free samples.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today is an odd milestone; it was 5 years ago that Brad and I did our very first 5k. I can still remember being exhausted around mile 2 and thinking "I'm really glad I did this, but I'm done. No more races for me, it hurts too much."

Who knew?

Here's my original recap of the race.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Hills are Alive

I went running with the Wednesday night crew. This guy "Mike" was there, who works for a competing entertainment company. (I won't mention any names, but the initials are WB.) Mike was one of those crazy people who ran a 50-mile race a few weeks ago, and he was wearing a T-shirt that I absolutely love/hate:

"50 is the new 26.2"

I love it because it's clever; I hate it because of all of this growing pressure that marathons and Ironmans aren't extreme enough anymore. It's getting scary!

I hadn't run in a few weeks, so I was going to do a slow, flat, 3-mile run around the golf course just to get the legs going. There were two groups running last night; Heather took the beginners out, and then shortly after Jon and Gerald took the advanced group out. I went with the advanced group for the first 1.5 miles, and then planned on doing my own thing when they turned right to head up into the hills. I definitely wanted to stay flat.

We caught up with the beginner group who were taking a brief break, so I figured I would just continue with them around the golf course. The advanced group headed up into the hills; good riddance.

Heather got the beginners moving again, but instead of going around the golf course, what does she do? She heads up into the hills! Ouch I really didn't want that. When will I learn, our Tri Team doesn't pander to newbies. They push and push (and people make great progress as a result.) That doesn't make Heather any less evil.

Other quick updates:

I added two more hooks in the showers. People are using them. Excellent.

Joe the Trainer dropped a plate on his foot in our last session. Serves him right; if I'm in pain, so should he be. (He's fine.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Other Joe

Joe Friel is giving a presentation in Phase IV in Santa Monica. As a reminder, this is the guy who wrote The Triathlete Training Bible, the must-have book for all triathletes. This is a rare chance to see THE triathlon training guru in person, in a small setting. I bet he would sign my copy of his book.

The problem is, I hate Joe Friel. He's a crazy person and I don't understand how any normal human being can follow his training methods. For example: if you want to set up an Ironman training schedule, Mr. Friel asks you to figure out how many hours you want to spend training during the year, then go to a chart to see what the weekly breakdown should be. Isn't that bass-ackwards? Can ANYONE tell me how many free hours they have in a year? Here's a better idea: figure out the maximum number of hours you can train in a single week, lock that in as your peak training week, and then read the chart from there. No-brainer. And there are all sorts of weird stuff like that in Mr. Friel's book. The book is just hard to read and it makes my head hurt.

So am I gonna drive completely across Los Angeles to listen to a guy talk about things that will make absolutely no sense to me? You're probably thinking I'm going to say "yes" because hey, I'm a sell-out and Triathlon Royalty is Triathlon Royalty. And this DOES sound like something I would do. But I'm going to give this one a pass. Sorry Joe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two Degrees of Wedgie

I had a session with Joe the Trainer last night, and was wearing my usual Disney Tri-Team shirt. This guy "Rhoi" saw the Mickey logos, came up to me and asked if I was on the Disney Tri Team. I told him I was. He asked if I knew a lot of people on the team. Well, I like to think that I'm pretty well-connected so I told him I knew a fair amount. Turns out, he works with Ben. Road Rash Ben. One of the guys I'm doing Wisconsin with this year. Small world.

I told Rhoi my name was Mike, but that most people on the Tri Team know me as "Wedgie". Well that was a mistake. Joe the Trainer was right there and he laughed: "Wedgie? WEDGIE?! I'm gonna start calling you 'Wedgie' form now on." Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to explain the story behind the nickname so I can't imagine what he's thinking.

And for the record, this is the second time in one week that a strange guy has come up to talk to me at the gym. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's not really what I was looking for.

Oh, and then after the workout I stopped by CVS to buy a bunch of discounted Easter candy. I don't think Joe the Trainer will be too happy about that.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Butter Off Dead

So I think I need to find a new trainer. This one isn't working out.

Joe the Trainer has been telling me that if you want to get in shape, you have to watch something which he calls "your diet". Now we all know exercise involves DOING things, not simply WATCHING things so right off the bat you know he's talking crazy. But I've given him the benefit of the doubt.

I used to have a bagel slathered in peanut butter for breakfast. Joe the Trainer said that was bad. Fine. Now I have turkey. After every workout, I used to stop by the gas station and pick up a Mountain Dew, a bag of pretzels and occasionally some peanut butter cups. Joe the Trainer said that was bad. Fine. Now I have a protein bar.

But get this: every day for lunch, I have a ham sandwich on white bread with butter. Joe the Trainer says that's bad and that I'm eating too much butter.


"Too much butter"? I don't even know what that means. Isn't that like having "too much money" or playing "too much Guitar Hero?" It makes no sense to me. He gave me some speech about saturated fat blah blah blah, but I think I have a really strong counter-argument: butter is yummy. Q.E.D.

Joe the Trainer suggested that I switch to "Smart Balance" spread. I gave it a shot, but it doesn't really taste like butter. It tastes more like jelly. Petroleum jelly. If you want to put Vaseline on your bread, knock yourself out but I think I'm gonna stick to my Land-O-Lakes, saturated fat and all.

Too much butter. Pshaw.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Off The Hook

I rarely shower at the gym. It's easier to just drive home and wash up. But there are times when I have to shower at the gym- like if I have a workout right before an evening of wild partying in downtown Burbank. The problem is that there are no hooks in the locker room. It's bizarre, but there is no place to hang anything. You can try to drape your towel over the curtain rod of the stall next to you, but that can be awkward if somebody happens to be using the stall at the time. So you can put your towel on the floor or try to balance it on top of the paper towel dispenser. It's been like this for at least 6 months.

Well enough is enough. I went to Home Depot, spent two bucks on a stick-um hook and secretly stuck it to the wall. This thing won't hold up a fully-loaded gym bag, but it will certainly hold a towel. If it survives another week, I'll pick up a few more and hang them by the other stalls.

And yes, it is awkward when you think you're alone and someone walks in on you taking pictures of a shower stall with your cel phone.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Respecting your elders

Hope you don't mind me sharing a little ego boost I got today...

There's a young punk I see all the time at the gym. He's definitely not one of the bigger guys, but is in good enough shape that I've hated him for a while. I've never spoken with him. But today, he came up to me and asked about my tattoo. So I told him I did an Ironman triathlon last year and it's kind of a tradition to get a tattoo afterwards (I didn't bother explaining that the whale was a squeaky horn). He said "yeah, I do triathlons and would love to do an Ironman someday but I can't imagine how much training it takes. I want to to do when when I'm older and I have the time." I guess he assumes that old people lead empty boring lives and have all the time in the world to train.

He said that doing an Ironman would be one of those "lifelong goals". I told him that I understood what he meant, and that I did mine right before my 40th birthday. He wants to do his before 30. Which could be in 5 years or 15 years for all I know. But he seemed genuinely impressed and made this middle-aged Ironman feel pretty good. I felt bad for putting itching powder in his jock.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

One Fine Sign

The California Ironman 70.3 was Robert's first Half-Iron race, so I wanted to support him with some form of banner. But I've never had so much trouble creating a sign.

I came up with an idea for the sign pretty quickly; there is a huge honkin' dam along our regular bike route on the San Gabriel River Trail. It's about 4 miles from the parking lot, and on the way back you can see it from a mile away if not more. Robert and I call it "the Emerald City", because when you see it in the distance you know that your journey is almost over. When we catch a glimpse of it, we start to sing the song from "Wicked" about visiting the Emerald City (hey, after 50 or 60 miles YOU come up with something better to do). We'll sing "One fine day... in the Em-er-ald City..." (more on that later.)

I figured I'd find a picture of the dam online, print it out as a big poster and put the words "One Fine Day... For Robert!" on it. Well, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a picture of this thing. The dam is gi-normous, but apparently no one along the river trail stops to take pictures. So then I just decided I would go with a general Emerald City theme. I bought some green sparkly fabric for the background and some special glitter felt for the letters. Because let's face it, if you're starting out with a Broadway theme you might as well go all out.

There are a few problems with sparkles and glitter. For one thing, it doesn't shine very well when it's dark. Like during an early-dawn race start. Or if it's cloudy. Or if there are any shadows on it whatsoever. So the sign never had the big flashy look I was going for. But the bigger problem is that glitter...gets...everywhere. I started on the sign Monday, and Tuesday I went in to work, had to meet some people for work and they just stared at me. One of them finally asked, "are you wearing... glitter under your eyes?" It's a tough question to answer.

Another problem with the sign: when you use Elmer's glue to fasten felt to fabric, the glue will seep through the fabric and you will wind up glueing the sign to your living room carpet.

Driving down Friday, I was about 5 miles from Oceanside and I decided I would get psyched up for the weekend and put in the Wicked CD. The song started up, "One short day... in the Em-er-ald City..." What? One SHORT day? How did I get that wrong?! I started freaking out. I was wondering if I could find a craft store to pick up some more felt to fix the sign. But I would be sharing a room with Steve and I didn't want to get him caught up in all of my stress the night before his race. So I let it be.

Fortunately, as it turns out Robert also remembered the song as "One Fine Day..." So to HIM, the sign made perfect sense. It may not have been the sign I originally wanted, but all-in-all it turned out OK.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ironman California 70.3 Spectator Report

Trish took this photo of me. I love it. I look like I'm back in my 30s. (OK, so I'm only 40 now, but when YOU hit 40 you'll understand.) I just think that I have some kind of cool "I-sold-out-to-the-man-but-I'm-still-a-hippie-slacker-photo-artist" kinda vibe going on.

This weekend a bunch of people from my Tri Team did the Cali Half-Ironman. I was registered for the race, but then realized "hey, this race is gonna be hard" and decided not to do it. Smart decision. No regrets. However, I DID pay for the stupid thing, so I drove down Friday Night and picked up my race packet. I wanted to make sure I had the wristband to get access to the Transition Area. I admit I did feel like a bit of a poser with all of the volunteers wishing me "good luck" while I was hiding my dirty secret, but so be it.

Turns out I didn't need the wristband because Trish, Annie and I scored Media Credentials. Which meant we had full access to the Transition area and the race course. Which is even better than being an actual racer; I could hang out in the Pro Transition area all I wanted and nobody cared. VIP treatment is the way to go.

Friday night I shared a hotel room with Steve. It was mostly uneventful, aside from listening to the people upstairs run laps all night long. I mean, seriously, the room is only 10 feet wide; what were they POSSIBLY doing up there that they had to be tramping back and forth the entire time?

Race morning was cold. Oh, so very cold. The entire time I just kept thinking "I can't even comprehend jumping in the ocean for a race". I can never remember why we do this stupid sport. I did run into Iron Monica while she was waiting for the swim start, so that was pretty cool. I tried convincing her that since the water was warmer than the air everyone will warm up once the race started. Of course thermodynamics is a little more complicated than that, and doesn't take into account that they have to get OUT of the water to ride their bike, dripping wet, in the wind. Details.

The 3 of us on the media crew struggled to keep track of where everyone was along the course - Robert and Michael and Ben and Steve and Dan and Mac and Teresa and Monica - it made my head hurt. The Cali Half isn't particularly spectator-friendly in terms of seeing people in multiple locations along the course, so we mostly just stayed in Transition. Which was still pretty cool because we saw most of our people and got to watch the pros coming in and out of Transition. Note to self: If you want to catch Michael Lovato heading out for the run, you can't decide "hmmm, I think I'll go over and watch his transition." By the time you've seen him, he's already gone.

Our team had a few struggles along the way but had high spirits all around and it was a good day. They all rock.

More to come.