Monday, February 23, 2009

And the Winner Is. . .

Ray Burleson, whoever that is.

After a grueling two day wait for results, ole Ray was crowned winner of the men's triathlon. I finished 35th of 43 finishers. Swim was 41 of 43. No surprise there. Bike was 7th. Gotta be happy with that. Run was 33rd. Congrats to my buddy Bryan, finishing 25th.

In the last couple of days, I've been feeling better and better about the event. I will most definitely be in line for another helping of indoor tri.

My body is not taking quite as well. I'm sore everywhere. Today is worse than yesterday. The alarm went off for boot camp this morning and I could barely move enough to shut the thing up. Everything feels like just normal muscle usage except my right calf. Hoping I didn't pull something there, though it does feel better this afternoon than it did this morning.

Tomorrow, we're off to Tampa. The kids still don't know and I'm totally amazed that we've been able to keep it from them. We'll pick them up from school then directly to the airport for five days of sun, beach, amusements and a Yankees spring training game. Oh yeah, their dad's running a half marathon on Sunday, too.

I've finally downloaded the pictures Deb and my trip to Ocean City last week. Here are a few:

I'm not sure this picture does adequate justice to the temps and the wind. We took this at Rehobeth Beach, DE.

That would be me running on the boards. I swear, I'm really running!

Post run relaxation. Nice, huh. Thanks, Deb!

That's about it from here. Lots to talk about after Tampa, I'm sure.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Swimming Sucks. . . The Rest, Not So Much

Saturday started like most Saturday's, meeting at Centennial Park for the weekly Team In Training run. I planned on just four miles with the indoor triathlon on the schedule for later in the day. It was a chilly day, for sure with temps in the low 20's. Another great turnout for the group, especially considering the chill in the air.

After the run I headed home to get prepped for the tri. As I packed my bag, the first thing I realized is how much crap I was taking. Well, not really crap, I guess, all important stuff. My inventory: tri shorts for the swim, a rash guard shirt for the swim (you know, to help me glide through the water, Michael Phelps style,) goggles, pool sandals, cycling shorts, shoes and socks for the cycle, tech t-shirt, running shorts and shoes, a couple of sweat bands. Okay, that's a lot of crap.

Bryan picked me up at 11:30, plenty of time to get there and check out the layout for our 12:40 post time. The format of this event is a 10 minute swim, 10 minute transition, 30 minute stationary bike ride, 5 minute transition, finishing with a 20 minute treadmill run. Terry met us there a bit before the start and served as our official photographer and cheerleader.

As for the swim, well I really wasn't looking forward to it. I wouldn't say I was stressing about it, more just looking forward to it being done. I spent absolutely no time in a pool since last summer and I haven't had a lesson since summer camp. . . in 1979! I probably should have at least done some research, but I went in cold, so the sooner it would be over, the better. I was also concerned that pushing the swim could hurt the bike. Not to mention the impact of the 4 miler in the morning on the day's events.

At precisely 12:40, the head judge blew the whistle and we were off. The first two laps felt pretty good. I wouldn't say fast, but not too slow. Since I was sharing a lane, I could judge how I was doing by the other guy in my lane. We started at opposite ends of the pool and by the second time down, we seemed pretty close. That was pretty short lived. On my third lap, I was feeling my heart rate going up and struggled a bit on that breathing thing. From then on, I felt like I was swimming in quicksand. After an hour, I heard the judge yell out "4 minutes to go." Are you kidding me! Another hour passed and finally, mercifully, I had completed 14 laps and could get out of the pool. Not a second too soon. Two friggin hours to swim 10 minutes. Bryan was in one of the middle lanes and belted out 21 laps. Kicked my ass.

That's me -- not sinking!

After a quick dry off and change, we were on to the spin bikes. Bryan and I had spots in the middle of the group of seven for our wave. The official explained what to do and what not to do and we were off. It was wierd to actually see speeds on a spin bike, since they are not usually outfitted with speedometers or odometers. I quickly got into a 24-25 mph range, which was comfortable, but I didn't know how long I could sustain it. There was virtually no tension on the bike, which is pretty unusual. This was a totally different experience than a spin class where you're in and out of the saddle and tension is pretty important. At 10 minutes, I was just over 4 miles. As a group, we started sharing our progress and I was pretty well ahead of the pack. I was able to keep the pace and with a few minutes to go, pushed it even harder. When the whistle blew, the odometer read 12.58 miles. Seemed like most of the others reported 6-9 miles. Wow, after the ass kicking I felt in the pool, it was good to kick some ass on the bike.

Me, right, Bryan, left, enjoying our ride to nowhere.

5 minute transition. This is quick. Run to the locker room, shorts and shoes off, shorts and shoes on, get to the treadmill. But there's that walking part. OMG, my legs felt like Jell-O! Would I be walking for 20 minutes on the treadmill?
They were waiting for me when I got there. I pushed that transition to the limit. Put the treadmill on 1% incline and go! I was hoping to get in 2 miles. I knew the fast paced bike would hurt here, and it did. Starting out at 5.7 mph, I'd need to get strong to make up lost time in the second mile. Normally I don't have a problem pushing the last mile of a run, but this would be a test. I struggled just to get to 6.0, the pace I'd need to average to get in 2 miles, but I did and really pushed the second mile, checking my heart rate in at 160+. At the end, I was credited with 2.10 miles and was officially whooped.

How about them calves (and ass, too!)

Bryan and I got packed up and headed out to the car. . . slowly. This was the first tri for both of us and it was a great experience. The Tri to Help folks were great, the club was great and we felt like this was a good intro to multi-sport.
Has the bug bit me? Well, no, not yet at least. I really liked the indoor experience. As much as I hated the swim, reading about others talk about the open water swims, getting kicked in the face, etc, just doesn't do anything for me. For this day, though, I truly enjoyed the experience.

Friday, February 20, 2009

13 Blissful

Deb and I celebrated our 13th anniversary this week by spending four quiet days in Ocean City, MD. In season, May through September, OC is inundated by a couple hundred thousand beach goers. Mid-winter, it's more like a couple of hundred. Pure bliss!

We hung around our ocean front room watching the crappy weather out our sliding glass door, had some nice meals, watched some movies (The Visitor, W., and half of Swing Vote, if you must know) and mostly enjoyed being together. (Thanks to mom and dad for hanging with the kids.)

I got in a couple of crappy weather runs on the boardwalk -- mid-30's, high winds, rainy. I've concluded that it's far faster to run with the 15 mph wind at my back rather than in my face. (This may seem somewhat silly but since treadmills have no wind factor and I've temporarily suppressed my allergy to cold weather, this was truly a monumental moment.)

Now that we're home, it's time to prepare for tomorrow's indoor triathlon. Oh yeah, that little thing I signed up for with all intentions of getting in at least one swim. Well, no time for that. I'm getting in the water cold. Hope I won't sink! Looking forward to. . . well, finishing! Will give a report on that over the weekend. Have a great one!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Future

Okay, peeps, no more sad guy. (But thank you all for your support and encouragement.) It's Saturday. It's Valentines Day! It's time for a run.

Team in Training group run is at 8 and I'll be there for a chilly 6. After a week of great temps, mother nature remembered that it is mid-February and we're back into the low 30's.

Deb and I are off to the beach for a few days of quiet rest and relaxation this week. Looking forward to just hanging out, running on the board walk, enjoying our anniversary and talking about the future. No laptops, no blackberrys. Will be strange. . . very strange.

Alrighty, then, time to go. Have a great Valentines Day!


Friday, February 13, 2009

The End. . .

. . . The Beginning.

When one door closes, another one opens.

After 18 years, 11 months and one day at Clean Harbors, today is my last day. I leave with heavy heart, after all, I was just 25 when I started here. The work was tough but the good times were many. Mostly, it was the friends that I made. I'll miss the people.

I'm a sentimental guy. I've held up pretty well for the past month as I've tied up loose ends, but today is tough.

The future begins tomorrow. . .


Saturday, February 7, 2009


Not much going on this week in so many ways. It's been 6 days since my 14 miler on Sunday and I have yet to exercise. Hard to believe I've done nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a mile, not a kilometer, not even an inch of athletic activity.

I spent a couple of days at my corporate office wrapping up business. Pretty much two days of letting people take me out for lunch and dinner, including a bang up "moving on" soiree. After 19 years, it comes down to the people. The work is okay, but it's the people I'll miss. Some I've worked with for my whole career there.

Today started out with the Team in Training breakfast. All of the participants in MD brought together for some rah rah at the Hard Rock Cafe in Baltimore. There was plenty of rah rah. Don't know how anyone could have left that event and not start to ask people to give.

Then the day got better. . . had to be pushing 60 degrees. Just fabulous. Perfect for a run or a ride. Just not for me. Having trouble getting my mo jo-ing. Just feeling ambivalent. I'm trying to feel bad about it, but I can't even get self guilt going.

Tomorrow is the first Team in Training group run and I can't wait. Just a four miler, but I really can't wait to get out there. I need to go further, but I feel like I'm starting fresh, even though Tampa is just 3 weeks away.

Oh, and then there's the scale. I'm not even giving details here. Not hard to figure out what a week of no exercise, heavy meals and more than a couple of cocktails will do.

So there it is. . . full disclosure. Effective tomorrow, hiatus over, back on track. 5 days of work 'till "vacation", 21 days till Tampa. Lot's of work to be done. Time to get started.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Back on the Team

I couldn't have been more honored and excited to be asked to serve as a Howard County, Maryland Team in Training mentor for the Summer 2009 season.

Saturday was one of the info meetings at the library where new recruits come to check out the program. I was there with the two other local mentors and coaches for the run/walk, bike, tri and hike programs. As a mentor, I'll be helping others meet their fundraising goals. (Don't worry, I won't be asking for any money. . . yet!) Every seat was filled and the sign ups were coming in fast and furious. Can't wait to get my list of mentees. (Is that a word? Well, I'll be darned, it is a word!)

There are some great events on the calendar including the new Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon. I'll be running the Frederick Half, the only local running event.

Let the running begin!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bad News, Good News

So the Steelers won the Superbowl. I don't like the Steelers. Since they play in the same division as the Ravens, I just can't like them. I don't hate them -- they're not the Yankees. Just don't like them.

However. . .

Every year I play in one or a couple of block pools. I last won around 1986 -- true -- In 1986, I won 3 of 4 quarters in my dad's company pool. Nothing since. Usually, I'm good for 5's and 2's -- almost impossible numbers. I got a couple of those, BUT. . .there was that promising 7 and 3. The final? Steelers 27, Cardinals 23. WINNER!

So what will I do with my windfall? I'm going to the National Half Marathon! Not quite Disney, but hey, it's another event close to home. Once upon a time, it would be a big fancy fatty expensive dinner. How times have changed. Still, I don't like the Steelers.