Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Arizona Spectator report part 1: Dinner Hats

I need to catch up on some old posts, especially from Ironman Arizona. I had been doing a lot of bike training with Stephanie, but this was also Jill's first Ironman and veterans Teresa and Gary were there as well and there are many stories to tell.

Let's start with dinner. Dinner the night before Ironman is an important part of the race. You have a bad dinner, it can ruin the race for you. When we did Coeur d'Alene, Stephanie made sure that the pre-race-dinner was all about me. Well, me and Rich (my Ironbrother, her Ironhusband.) Now that it was her turn to do an Ironman, the dinner was all about... well, it was still about us.

Rich's father has a house about 20 minutes from the race site, and he hosted a dinner for Stephanie's huge entourage. Parents and sisters and nephews and paperboys and just about everyone else came out to Arizona supposedly to see Stephanie, but it may have been just for the food. For starters, on our way over to dinner Stephanie "made" us stop by the store to pick up all the fixings for an ice cream sundae bar. We were forced to buy ice cream and m&ms and gummi bears and Magic Chocolate Shell and sprinkles and... you get the idea.

When we got to the house, there was a cooler filled with Mountain Dew waiting for me- Rich and Stephanie certainly made sure I was taken care of. I don't even know what Stephanie ate, but she watched us scarf down pasta and bread with tons of butter, washed down with Mountain Dew followed by cups of ice cream with tons of toppings. Best. Carb Load. Ever.

At the dinner, we handed out our Steph swag. I don't know whose idea it was originally, but pretty much from the day Stephanie signed up for Ironman we knew we were going to make up some kind of chef hats for her. She's a great chef, and we played around with lots of punny taglines for her: The Ironman Chef. The Iron Steph. I said I would take care of the hats, and ultimately went with "Swim. Bake. Run." I thought it was clever.

I made up a logo which could be used for a banner and also scale down for the hats. I found some inexpensive fabric/paper chef hats online which were sturdy enough to handle iron-on transfers; I ordered a batch and printed out a bunch of logos on special iron-on paper.

Here's the problem: the hats shipped flat. So I just took my logos and ironed them on to the flat part of the hats, with the creases on either side. But when I tried them on, they just looked silly. (that is, more than a swim-bake-run chef hat should look.) I tried poofing and pinching them every which way, but basically they just looked like Pope hats.

So the hats didn't really work, but I wore mine all day during the race. If nothing else, it made Pope Wedgie easy to find in the crowds.

Fast forward a couple weeks after the race, and I got an email from IronmAnnie. She was in the studio commissary and saw one of the cooks wearing our same hats (sans logo) and apparently it looked great. Turns out, I put the logo on the SIDE of the hat; the crease was supposed to go in the front. Sure enough, I went back and tried on the hat, spun it 90 degrees and suddenly it looked great.

Sorry Stephanie, when you do your next Ironman I'll get it right!

Monday, March 29, 2010


As it turns out, I have an issue with the Hawaii 70.3 race I'm doing in June. It's hard to explain, but I will try.

This is the race I did last year:

We call it "Ironman Wisconsin", although technically the event name is "The Ford Ironman Wisconsin." And I'm fine with that. I understand corporate sponsorship; I work for a large company myself and I recognize all the joy and wonders that big corporations bring to the world. It's OK if Ford adds their name to the event, and I'm fine with them incorporating their logo into the event logo.

This is the event I'm doing in June:

The first thing I thought when I saw this logo was "what the hell is 'rhoto'?" The next thing I thought was "wow, that's a dumb company logo... they can't even align all the letters in their name." But the big issue I have is that they had to include the tag "cooling eye drops" in the event logo.

There isn't a logo that says "Ford: Quality is job one Ironman Wisconsin." They don't say "GE: We bring good things to life Ironman Schenectady". So why do we have to brand ourselves with "Rhoto cooling eye drops Ironman 70.3 Hawaii?" It ruins the look of the logo and it's just stupid.

I want to be clear (as clear as your eyes will be, once you use Rohto cooling eye drops!) - I know that the announcers will never say "cooling eye drops Ironman". I know they added those words to the logo because nobody ever heard of Rohto and they want to build product recognition. I just feel that if I buy an event jersey, there's a difference between being a walking billboard for a company, and actually promoting a PRODUCT. It sounds subtle, but it's true.

Rohto also sponsored the Oceanside California 70.3 this past weekend, and they do the Miami 70.3 as well. I don't know how many other events they do but I don't like them. (And yes, I'm sure I'll still buy lots of Rhoto cooling eye drops Ironman 70.3 Hawaii merchandise.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekend Bike Ride, plan B... plan C... Plan D...

I've been a little behind with my bike training, so this weekend I wanted to do a long ride. There was a group doing GMR, aka Glendora Mountain Road, aka the Matterhorn; it would have been tough, but a great way to jump-start my training. Then I heard about another group ride, 3-4 hours flat with intervals. I like intervals; if you get tired during an interval, you can slow down. If you get tired during a hill, you can't stop climbing. So I decided I would skip GMR and do the flats. But then Friday night I went to see Hot Tub Time Machine and had a couple beers and a vodka shot and basically wasn't all too keen on getting up Saturday morning.

I figured I would do a solo ride Sunday morning. Get up at 7, hit the streets by 8, finish around 11. I woke up reluctantly at 7, and remember something Gerald told me: "it's going to be hot when we do Hawaii 70.3, so we have to do some rides later in the day when it's warmer." I convinced myself that it would be BETTER for my training to go back to bed for an hour and start at 9:00 instead. I always knew I liked Gerald.

So around 10:00 I finally got out the door. I did the Glendale-Burbank-La Tuna Canyon-La Canada-Rose Bowl-La Canada-Glendale route. It's about 40 miles, not as far as I should have gone but there are some decent climbs in there so I don't feel too guilty. I felt pretty good on the hills, but it was a little bit frustrating dealing with all the traffic lights getting in and out of Glendale.

I did learn a valuable nutrition lesson during the ride. I bought a new tub of CarboPro, the magic elixir I used for Ironman Wisconsin. I made it the usual strength, the level I used for a 6-7 hour bike ride. Of course, since I was only out there for three hours I probably shouldn't have paced myself to finish the entire bottle. I didn't drink it all; I stopped drinking because it was just too thick and heavy. I'll scale it back a bit next time. (But keep the Kool Aid flavoring in for good measure.)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A Brief Lapse of Judgement

- This post contains TOO MUCH INFORMATION. -

It's been a while since I overcame my fear of spandex. Sorry, it's true. Spandex is a natural part of bike riding, but it is my preferred material for running as well. I find it very comfortable. However, I realize there are times when it isn't appropriate to wear spandex; I'm not going to wear my tri shorts to the gym, nor (as I found out the hard way) should I wear them to Leah's run workouts. So I have a few pairs of running shorts for those special occasions.

You can't simply wear cotton tighty-whiteys under your running shorts. Fortunately, there are plenty of styles of sports briefs to keep you comfortable and supported during your workouts. Take a look at one of my newer pairs of undies. Oh, don't be a baby about it, just look:

They're Nike, high-tech, should be a great pair of clothing. But for some reason they always seemed a bit tighter on me than my other sports briefs. I didn't give it too much thought, because some tri shorts fit tighter than others and I just assumed the same was true for briefs. Besides, for better or worse, by now I'm used to wearing clingy clothing.

After several wearings, I happened to notice the back of the briefs and saw the Nike swoosh.

I thought that was an odd location for the company logo, and then it hit me: I had been wearing the briefs backwards. Now before you judge me too quickly, you need to know that there are certain "rules" for underwear: If the tag is sewn on the inside of the waistband, it goes in the back. If it's sewn on the outside of the waistband, it goes in the front. I don't know why, that's just the way it is and all of my other shorts/briefs follow that rule. I spun the Nikes around and sure enough, they are more comfortable that way.

To the best of my knowledge, I have been wearing my bike shorts/wetsuits/speedos correctly, but I may have to try flipping them all around once just to be sure.