July 23, 2009


You've heard it already, Lance Armstrong and RadioShack have joined forces to create a new team: Team RadioShack. They'll be whoring out Lance's celebrity to raise money for the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

I think that's great for the cancer kids. Lance is doing wonders in the world of cancer research and, despite his ego, he should be knighted for his efforts, or whatever the heck we do here in the United States that is equal to knighting. Medal of Valor? Nobel Prize? Purple Heart? Free Fries With Big Mac?

But seriously... RadioShack?! Since his bout with cancer, Lance has actually been portrayed as somewhat of a classy guy. I mean, aside from the whole cheating on his wife and acting holier than thou, he's been a fairly respectable person who seems to be trying to do something good in this world.

RadioShack is not a brand I associate with "classy" or "respectable" - or even "trying to do something good". In fact, I don't really associate RadioShack with anything but rundown, overpriced and lame. (Which, I guess are probably adjectives others would use to describe Lance but that's a whole different blog post.)

Didn't we all expect the announcement to be about Team Nike LIVESTRONG? Isn't that the no-brainer? I mean, does it take more than Lance making a phone call to Nike? If Lance Armstrong dials 1-800-IAM-NIKE and says, "Give me $30 million, let's start a team," isn't the obvious answer, "OK".

30 million is nothing for Nike. I'm guessing they pay more than that on sweatshop lawsuits every year. They probably have 30 mill in petty cash for lunch.

So why RadioShack? Why does one of the most recognized athletes in the world partner with one of the worst retail brands in the United States? Here's my theory....

We all know Lance has a big ego. To accomplish what he's done, you almost kind of have to. It would be naive of us to think that his ego wasn't involved in the negotiations for this. My bet is that Lance and his team approached every big, sexy brand they could think of - from Nike to REI, FedEx to Ben & Jerrys.

I'm also thinking that he walked in with a pretty hefty idea of what should happen. Like maybe Lance gets to pocket a few tens of millions in sponsorship dollars every year. And perhaps the partner probably has to donate a big chunk of their yearly sales to the LIVESTRONG Foundation. And what if Lance and his team have creative control and decision making powers of what they do and where they go and how they accomplish their initiatives.

That all seems like things he would ask for. Which means, here's the pitch:

Lance Armstrong wears your company name on his back. In exchange, you give him millions, you donate most of your revenue to his foundation, and you do what he says you should do.

I can't imagine that any of the aforementioned big sexy brands would think that's a good deal. It's a ridiculous deal. The only one who would go for a deal like that is a company in very dire straits who needs all the help they can get.

Which leads us right to RadioShack. RadioShack's stock price over the past ten years is like a black diamond ski slope. There's a whole lotta down.

The company is hemorrhaging. And Best Buy is beating them up and stealing their milk money on a daily basis.

It doesn't help that RadioShack has limited product and what they do have they overcharge for - like the $3 cable I needed that cost $35 dollars (and that I ended up buying on eBay for 49 cents). And it probably doesn't help when members of the Board of Directors are found guilty of child pornography.

My girlfriend and I have had bets on when we thought RadioShack would go out of business. But, alas, they now are going to sleepaway at Camp Lance.

And it all makes sense. Because, really, what else are they going to do? Everything they've tried over the past 10 years hasn't worked. (As far as I can tell, the only things they've tried are changing the CEO, changing the logo and using a vacuum cleaner on the store carpets). Hell, if they gave away 90 cents out of every dollar for this Armstrong deal at least they'd still be making 10 extra cents - and for a company that is in the crapper as much as RadioShack, 10 cents ain't so bad.

In actuality, it's kind of a smart move for RadioShack. They have such a terrible brand image and they are losing customers on a daily basis, they need something to make them cooler. And what better arbiter of cool than Lance Armstrong, Mr. Cool himself.

After all, look what he did for the US Postal Service. Since they tore it up at the Tour, I've looked at my mail in an entirely different way.

My question is whether and how this will work again. RadioShack, in one word, sucks. Lance has dug the bottom of the barrel for this partner. I'll continue to cheer for him at races, I'll continue to support LIVESTRONG, but there's no way in hell I'm paying 35 dollars for a 3 dollar cable - even if it is painted yellow.

June 19, 2009

My Generic Race Report

Let's face facts folks, I labor over race reports more than I do over the races. The fact of the matter is that I say the same basic thing in all of the reports because I have just about the same basic experience in all of the races. So to save us all a heckuva lot of time and heartache, I present to you J's Official All-Encompassing Industry Approved Generic Race Report For All Races Past And Hence.

Oh, and it's in graphic form because we all like pretty pictures and they're much quicker to read. (click the image to see it bigger)

June 14, 2009

My Second Favorite Photo of Catherine

A few months ago I had posted my favorite photo of Catherine. Here's my second favorite...

June 12, 2009

Sign My Tushy Petition

Today in America athletes across the country are being tortured. We are forced to race in unsavory conditions. We are commanded to relieve ourselves in unnatural environments that breed disease and discomfort. We are plagued with itchy bottoms and rash-laden undersides. We must put an end to this.

You know what I'm talking about people - I'm talking about 1-ply toilet paper.

Countless Port-a-Potties at thousands of races across the country are stocked with millions of these useless rolls of flimsy fabric. These despicable spools of sandpaper. We are forced to towel our tushies with this trash. To scrape our backsides to smithereens. To give ourselves a faux cleaning and pretend it feels fine.

And then to compete with that post 1-ply feeling?! To run? To bike with a tortured tussy?

We must stand up to this persecution. We must fight together. We must not take this any longer!!

The suffering of the athletes asses must come to an end! Our butts have had enough!

Help us stop this barbaric trade of 1-ply toilet tissue. Please sign the below petition and help set our tushies free.

We the undersigned petition that race directors and port-a-john providers ban the use of 1-ply toilet tissue. We demand that paper product companies cease production of all 1-ply tissue effective immediately. We demand comfort. Our asses can't take one more wipe.

Live 2-ply or die!

Who's with me?!

sign your name on the x:






June 09, 2009

Bonelli Olympic Distance Race Report - or - The Hamster Wheel

There’s something I really like about racing. I mean, there must be something I really like about racing, right? I’ve been racing triathlon for 17 years now and if there isn’t something I really like about racing then, well, I’d probably need to reevaluate my entire life. And I just can’t bear the thought of having spent 17 years doing something I don’t like, so let’s just assume that I really like racing. Now all I need to do is figure out why.

I get nervous before races. I think I always have. Hell, I get nervous before workouts. But maybe that’s what I’m drawn to. Maybe the part of racing that I really like is facing my fears and conquering them time and again. Then again, maybe it’s the pain. Maybe I’m addicted to the pain of pushing myself to the limits. Pain will set you free. With all this pain, I should be eligible for parole any race now. Maybe, though, the reason I really like racing is just about the competition. I’m a competitive sort who likes doing challenging things and doing them well. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m just trying to be the best that I can be and racing let’s me do it.

Whatever the reason, I clearly haven’t figured it out yet. Yet as I grow older, it seems my racing centers on a mission to better understand myself. As if there were hidden meaning in triathlon. As if triathlon were an ancient scripture written in some kind of archaic language and I’ve been spending the past 17 years of my life trying to translate the darn thing into words I can understand.

After finishing Ironman Arizona last year, I purposely took time off from triathlon. I had 6 glorious months of doing practically no exercise. I realized that it’s so gosh darn easy to be sedentary. There’s even something fairly comforting about it. You should try it sometime. Seriously, it’s fun. I wrote a lot, I read, worked, ate, cooked and became intimately familiar with the feel of the couch and the tactile intricacies of the remote control. I learned to read 0-9, pause, play and power in Braille.

Then, alas, I got the bug. It starts with a bike ride, maybe a run. That leads to a dip in the pool and a sudden realization that the physical condition you’ve associated yourself with over the past year has morphed from Ironman shape into more of a Squishyman. So you make a commitment to exercise more. Then you figure you should get a coach to get you on track. And now that you have a coach, doesn’t it make sense to select a race to train for? And next thing you know….The hamster is back on the wheel and it’s like you’ve become reacquainted with a long lost friend.

Catherine just registered me for the Bonelli Olympic Distance triathlon. Or the BOD, for short. It was this past Sunday. It’s an Olympic distance race, but you probably figured that out already. It’s the first race I’ve done in 14 months and it’s probably my only multi-sport race en route to my main event of the year: SOS (Survival of the Shawangunks).

I wasn’t really nervous for the days that fed into Bonelli. I like to think that I’ve gotten over the nervousness of racing but that’s bull-hocky. The truth is it’s all about avoidance. I've realized that method kinda works well for me. I don’t think about the race until I actually get there. As a result, I don't start caring until I show up on race site at which point I start caring quite a bit, whether I want to or not.

A couple of days before the race, my coach had me set out my goals. All in all, I just wanted to focus on having a good day. My last racing experience was arguably the most physically challenging day of my life, and I wanted to exorcise those demons.

My goal at the BOD was to go not too fast on the swim, not too hard on the bike, not too crazy for the first half of the run and save it all for the last few miles so I could push beyond my limits, grab pain by the throat and punch him to a pulp. I hadn’t expected any PR at this race – I’m not in great shape and didn’t want to disappoint myself. I set the over/under at 2:45 and silently bet that I’d come under.


There was nothing unusual about the pre-race activities at Bonelli. Cat and I got there early, we set up our transition areas, picked up our chips and race numbers, went for a warm-up run and did all the things we needed to do. We looked for our friend Josh (aka Super Fast Runner), saw our friend Jen (aka Super Fast Swimmer) and saw our friend Kevin (aka Super Fast period). Soon enough, it was time to get in the water for the pre-race pee and be on our way.

Incidentally, after nearly 2 decades of this nonsense, I finally figured out that you don’t actually have to get into the water to pee. The pee doesn’t soak through your wetsuit at all. I can just stand there on the beachfront and pee my pants silly without a damn person knowing. That's the great thing about this sport, you never stop learning.

SWIM (1500 meters)

The day’s challenges:
* Masses and masses of flailing limbs flailing in my way

* A couple of fear-inducing gulps of water

Our Super Fast friend Kevin is racing Ironman Couer d’Alene in two weeks. The BOD was his last hurrah before that race. I’m going to start in front, he said to me before our wave went off. I want to get in the middle of the mess and try to replicate an Ironman start.

Good on ya, I responded in my best Australian.

Of the many things that I really like about racing triathlon (none of which immediately come to mind), one of them is definitely NOT getting punched in the face while swimming. So you can imagine my surprise as I found myself standing next to Kevin at the water’s edge while we awaited the starting scream (I don’t think they could afford a gun).

In hindsight, I’m not quite sure why I started up front. I suppose there was a part of me that thought I could just hold on to Kevin’s feet and get a free-ride throughout the swim. That didn’t workout, I lost him within the first 15 seconds. Maybe I thought I was a decent swimmer and I didn’t want to get caught in the hullabaloo of the hullabalooers who usually zig-zag their way around the course. Some day I will learn to accept the fact that I’m actually one of those zig-zagging hullabalooers. But until then…

The scream went off and we ran into the water. One can argue that the feet went into my face as I entered the water while another can say that my face made a beeline for the feet. Either way, feet met face from stroke one. Welcome back to racing.

I tried to keep my cool and get into my groove but in reality I was pushing a little harder than my groove. I desperately wanted to get beyond the mauling masses and find some clear water.

Here’s the good news, sometime over the past couple of years I’ve gotten much better at swimming in a straight-ish line toward the buoys. Here’s the bad news, most people already swim in a straight-ish line. That means there are a whole lot of arms and legs in the straight-ish line from buoy to buoy. It makes it really tough to escape from the violence if I wanted to stay on track. Punch, kick – I tried to relax and focus on my body rotation – push, slap – every time I had to change course I tried not to lose my mental momentum – smack, smack, smack. I looked up and saw I was at the first buoy.

It began to thin out a little as we made our way through the remaining 1000 meters. I tried to draft off others feet but I kept choosing people that were much faster than me. After a few attempts I decided not to waste any more energy and continue on steadily at my pace.

About 500 meters before the finish I saw three women zip by me like I was swimming still. I knew one of those was Jen, our Super Fast Swimmer friend. Go Jen!

A few minutes later I reached the beach. I looked down at my watch: 25:25. OK, not close to a PR but better than I expected. Not too shabby. I struggled up the sand – which, may I say, was a much harder struggle than I expected - and went into transition.

Transition #1

You’d think by now I’d be able to take off a wetsuit. Something about my arms, it just doesn’t work. As I was running to transition I started to pull the top of my wetsuit down but inevitably it got stuck on my forearms like it always does. I couldn’t get loose. So there I was, running through transition, my swim cap and goggles hanging from my mouth and my arms firmly locked in the wetsuit like a manacled escape convict from the Open Water Swim Penitentiary.

I got to my bike, spat out the swim gear and pried my arms from the damn wetsuit. I began to pull it off my legs but got in a whole world of kerfuddle with the left leg. The wetsuit got stuck on my left calf and just wouldn’t budge. I pulled, pried and pushed but nothing was working. I stood on one foot in my best killer cobra stance and jimmied, and jimmied again, then jimmied some more and soon all the jimmying set me free.

Well that sure wasted a lot of valuable energy.

I strapped on the bike shoes, plopped on the helmet and I was on my way. Let’s go for a ride, shall we?

BIKE (24.8 miles)

The day’s challenges:
* Deflated ego

* Hungry like the wolf. Actually, so hungry I could eat the wolf

The bike ride at the BOD starts with a hill. Not a big hill or a dramatically steep hill, just a little piddly thing. Maybe 50 meters long and 4 or 5% grade. But when your legs are tired, your heart rate is spiking, your adrenalin is pumping and you’re really embarrassingly inept at getting your feet clipped in, that little anthill seems like Everest.

I threw one leg over the bike, clipped in my right pedal and pushed off. I tried to get my left foot clipped in, tried tried tried…. No good. I stopped.

People were passing me like it was no big thing. Jumping on their bikes and flying up the hill.

OK, big breath. Focus.
One more time.
I pushed off with my right foot and aimed my left foot for the clips.
Clip, clip, clip.
C’mon c’mon!
All I wanted was to clip in.

My bike started slowing down as I was rolling towards the hill. People were zipping by me. I couldn’t get my foot in. I was getting frustrated. I was beginning to fall over. Starting to fall. I'm going to fall. Going to crash. I put my foot down and caught myself. Screw this, I said. I climbed off the bike and ran to the top of the hill.

As I got to the top, I moved to the side of the road and began to mount my bike. As I was lifting my leg up, an 11 year old on a hybrid bike came flying by me. Good job! he yelled.

Really? Has it all come down to this? An 11 year old on a hybrid is encouraging me to continue? I wanted to scream at him. FUCK YOU YOU LITTLE PUNK I wanted to say. But I didn't. I just glared at the back of his helmet as he rode on by. That oughta show him.

I mounted my bike, clipped myself in and pushed forward. Within seconds I caught the 11 year old. I was feeling pretty good and needed to make a point so I passed him without worry. That’ll teach him, the little whipper snapper.

In another ¼ mile we hit the first hill. I’m not much of a hill climber. Before we got halfway up, the 11 year old on the hybrid passed me by. He didn’t say a word, he didn’t need to. By the top of the hill he was out of my sight. I never saw him again.

11 year old: 1
Old guy: 0

The Bonelli bike course is three loops. It’s a fairly hilly course. There’s one really big downhill in the beginning of the loop and another towards the end, but the rest of the loop is a whole lot of up. As I said, I’m not much of a hill climber. Within the first mile, it seemed like half the race passed me by. It’s demoralizing. People on mountain bikes wearing sneakers and pedal cages were dusting me. There were points where I was embarrassed to be on my bike.

But it’s ok, I told myself. I haven’t raced in 14 months. I haven’t really ridden my bike that much over the past 14 months. Things can only get better.

My goal was to do the first loop slowly and pick it up for each loop. I tried to stick with my plan and stay slow. I got through the first loop without incident and cranked just a little harder as I began round number two. I was starting to feel better. The road had stretched out and I was no longer in a bunch of riders. I wasn’t really passing anybody but at least not as many people were passing me.

At about 3 miles into the second loop I looked behind me and saw a guy on a hybrid approaching. I kept my pace, kept focused. Within a minute he passed me by. He was wearing sneakers. Pedals with cages. That’s ok, I told myself. He’s clearly a strong rider. At the next downhill I passed him but seconds later, as we hit another uphill, I looked behind me and he was right there. Right behind me. Drafting.

Uh, excuse me… drafting is illegal.

As I was nearing the end of the second loop, I heard somebody yelling behind me. Something about “love of my life.” Something about “there he is.” I turned around and it was Catherine! Catherine!! Hello Catherine!! She was looking mighty strong, mighty good, mighty inspiring. She was sailing up the hill like it ain’t no thang. We exchanged a few words and then she was off into the distance.

I got back into my game with renewed effort. I began the third loop and tried to pick up the pace just a wee bit more. I didn’t want to go all out – I wanted to save at least some energy for the run – but my plan was to push a bit harder this time around and I was going to stick with the plan. So I pushed. And I pushed. And a few miles in I looked behind me again. The guy on the hybrid was still there.

Oh, for godsakes. LEAVE ME ALONE!

For the next 5 miles, I went mano a mano with Mr. Hybrid. He’d pass me, I’d pass him. I’d push harder and he’d be right there. I wanted to drop him, I wanted to be free. I wanted my ego back. I couldn’t beat him on the hills but I knew I could get him on the straight away. So on the last flat area I dipped down into my aero position, tucked in my head, rounded my shoulders and pushed with all my might. I didn’t look back, and I didn’t see him again.

I finished the third loop feeling tired but ready to run.

Transition #2

As I rode into transition I saw Catherine just running out. OK, she’s only about 2 minutes ahead of me. Not a problem. I might be able to catch her.

It’s not really the running that I find the hardest in a triathlon, it’s the starting to run. Starting to run requires a whole heap load of mental effort.

I got off the bike and was just plain tired. I put on my socks and slipped on my shoes. I took a deep breath, said something sarcastic to the person next to me (which happens to be part of my ritual to overcome the mental drain), and began to waddle out of transition. It didn’t take me long – maybe 20 steps – to realize something didn’t feel right. My socks. Damn. I got to the timing mat and pulled to the side of transition. Removed the shoes, removed the socks, put on the socks, put on the shoes, ok, enough stalling. Nobody's gonna save me. Let’s get this over with.

RUN (6.2 miles)

The day’s challenges:
* Pain.
* So much pain.

* No strength in the quads whatsoever

The Bonelli run is a lollipop course, as they say. It’s basically a loop but with a short little out and back in the middle. About ¼ of the run is off-road on trails through forests and even over a creek. The rest is on roads or sidewalk as we wind through the state park.

My goal was to start off easy, pick it up by mile 3 and then kick it on home in the last 2 miles. I definitely started off on goal. I was going easy. Super easy. I used to actually like the feeling of getting off the bike and starting to run. I used to be able to start the run at a pretty rapid pace. The rubber legs seemed natural. Well, those days are long gone. My legs felt like concrete blocks. Each step was a strenuous effort. 6.2 miles seemed like an eternity.

But there was no turning back so I tried to stay centered and focused on where I was not where I was going.

The funny thing about not enjoying a run is that in any given second that can change. After about one mile in, I noticed that I had picked up the pace. Maybe by mistake, maybe just to get the darn thing over with. I was passing people and very few people were passing me. My legs weren’t feeling great but my heart rate wasn’t redlining. By two miles in I suddenly realized that I went too fast too soon. Yes I could probably keep this pace until the end, but I had no more gears, this was it.

I made the commitment to not slow down. I told myself that if I could just hold this pace I’d be fine. I kept going. I kept passing people.

Three miles in my quads started getting really weak. I started wishing I actually had leg muscles. I started making promises to somebody that I'd get into the gym and lift. I held the pace and kept going.

At four miles in I got to the out and back. As I neared the turn-around I saw Catherine. She was less than 30 seconds in front of me. Catch me honey! she screamed. You can do it!

Screw you, I thought. You want me to catch you?! How about you slow down and wait for me, whattaya think of that idea?! I have no leg strength anymore. I can’t go a single second faster. I’m not going to catch you, it’s not physically possible.

And somewhere amidst all this angry rambling, I noticed that I had picked up the pace dramatically. Super-dramatically. If I was doing 9:15s or 9:30s in the beginning, I was probably at a 7:15 or 7:30 pace now. It hurt. A lot. My heart was working so hard I think I started smelling smoke. I couldn’t talk, gasping for breath. Legs were about to collapse. I wanted to stop on the side of the road. I wanted to stop. But I kept pushing harder. Up the hills, down the hills. I pushed.

I saw Catherine. And then she was closer. And closer. And by mile five I caught up to her.

My plan was to catch her and run in together but just as I came by her side she pushed me further. Keep going honey, she said. Push it in, push it hard. You can do it.

And so I did. Somewhere, somehow, I found another gear. I didn’t want that gear, it hurt too much to be in that gear. I didn’t have the strength to get to that gear, there were no leg muscles. But it was beyond me at this point. So I picked up the pace, went into the goddam gear and dealt with it.

The last mile hurt a lot. You know that pain that hurts so much you think you’re going to pass out? This wasn’t quite there but it was really really close. And the only thing to do at that point is dig within yourself and ignore the pain. The only thing to do is focus on one thing. So I focused on the finish – each step got me closer. Each step brought me past another person. And just as the pain was approaching it’s maximum threshold… I finished.

I'm done. Over.

* * *

I don’t want to say this was an overwhelmingly enjoyable race, mostly because it wasn’t. But at the same time it wasn't that bad.

I don’t want to say I was really happy to get back to racing because there was a lot of frustration and demoralization. But at the same time it wasn't that bad.

In a really weird way it was good. It was good to be back, good to give it my best shot. And the further away I get the better it seems.

And here I sit, suddenly finding myself thinking about what race I should do next.

The hamster is back on the wheel.

I suppose this is just what happens when you really like racing.

May 15, 2009


The swimming oxymoron of the day:

Easy backstroke

May 13, 2009

How Cool Is This?!

Last year this time I emailed you regarding your "Buy A Bigger Bowl" inspiring me. I thought you would take pleasure in knowing that I completed my first half ironman distance triathlon this past Saturday at Panama City Beach.

I kept your article in my closet, and read it at least once a month to help keep me motivated. I was thrilled with my time... I read lots of articles telling me how to physically train, but few that help with the mental side of training.

Thanks again,
Alpharetta, GA

April 15, 2009

Here's what I learned today...

1. My life is a comedy.

2. I'm supposed to be a psychologist.

3. I was Cleopatra in my previous life.

4. I have a 24% chance of getting a tapeworm

April 12, 2009

The Short Bike

Just as I was finishing up my bike ride today I came to a stop light and saw another bike rider waiting for the light to change. She was wearing a Specialized biking helmet. It was white and clean and everything looked good. Everything except for the logo. The "I" and the "Z" were fading away.

Nothing like a good laugh to end a grueling ride.

April 01, 2009

Trouble in Toasterville

Just when you think everything is going along nice and fine - all smooth and such forth - one day you find out that you really don't know your girlfriend at all. That day happened to be tonight, while Cat and I were driving back from the grocery store.

In one of our regular type of normal conversations, I asked Cat what type of Pop Tart she'd be, given the opportunity to actually turn oneself into a Pop Tart. Strawberry, she replied without hesitation. No frosting. Toasted, well done.

Strawberry?! NO frosting? Who is this woman?!!!! Somebody please return my girlfriend.

There was stunned silence. I didn't know how to respond. I felt awkward. Like when you are on a first date and you think it's going really really well so you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and a few minutes later you walk out of the bathroom completely buck naked, feeling all sexy and the like, only to find out in a surprising and humiliating sort of way that the date isn't going that well after all.

Well what kind of Pop Tart would you be? she asked me.

Blueberry, of course, I replied. With frosting. Straight outta the box.

Again, stunned silence.

BLOOO-BERRY?! she exclaimed in quasi-horror, quasi-shock and quasi-disbelief, like quasi-modo.

Yes, blueberry, I responded in my most calm Pop Tart type of voice. Us blueberry Pop Tarts, we're a very calm breed.

Oh, and by the way, I continued, I'll be eaten around the edges first, completely removing, chewing and swallowing all edges before eating the middle part.

As if the conversation hadn't reached it's bottom point already, the eating tactic didn't help.

That's not how a Pop Tart is eaten, Cat informed me. I take a bite of the crust, then a bite of the inside, then a bite of the crust... and on and on.

Sometimes in a relationship you get into these uncomfortable conversations where you recognize that anything either person says is just going to make matters worse. However, you don't want to abruptly change the subject for fear of coming across as insensitive, uncaring and just plain shallow. It's somewhat of a Catch 22. We'll call this one a Pop Tart 22.

Ummm....how about those cinnamon Pop Tarts? Cat asked me in what was clearly a filler question. A segue to less stressful, non-relationship-killer conversation.

Cinnamon?! That's not a Pop Tart. Even if the Pop Tart people made a Cinnamon Pop Tart, they're wrong. Pop Tarts don't come in Cinnamon. I refuse to answer that question.

Right about this time we arrived home, which was a perfect excuse to change the subject.
Hopefully tomorrow all this Pop Tart talk can be swept under the toaster.

March 03, 2009

Being Friendly

Years ago I used to go running in the mornings with my buddy Jay. Both Jay and I are from small-ish towns on the east coast; towns big enough that you don't know everybody who passes you by on the street but small enough to feel like you do. So when somebody does pass you by on the street, you tend to say something to them. Like "hello."

Jay and I both live in Los Angeles now and, as I said, we used to go running in the mornings. We live in Santa Monica which is about as small town-ish as you can get in Los Angeles. There are tree-lined residential streets and kids and families and local shops and people who you think would be friendly in that small town type of way. And when we'd run in the morning, Jay and I, we'd often see other people out on the street. Maybe they were running, or walking, or taking their dog out for a stroll. As we passed them by, we'd both tend to say something to them. Something like "hello." Or sometimes even "good morning" (though it usually came out as "mornin'" which is a much more Andy Griffith way of saying things)

The odd thing about the Los Angeles crowd is that, more times than not, we never got a response. Sometimes we'd get a murmured "mornin'" in return (though in less of an Andy Griffith tone and more of a Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino tone). But more often it was either a blank stare or just plain completely ignoring us. It baffled me. It baffled both of us. It baffled us so much that we decided to make a game out of it. We called it "Being Friendly."

I'm sure you can probably guess how the game went, given the name. But just in case, here's what happened... whenever I (or Jay) went out for a morning run and saw somebody else on the street, I'd blurt out a very happy "Hello!" or "How are you!?" or even "Good Morning!!" And then I'd wait for a response. I'd wait to see if there was a smile, a nod... even a chhat-ptewie in my general direction.

But, alas, there was nothing.

Maybe they think I'm crazy for being so nice, I thought. So I tried to tame down my greeting. But still, no response. I tried different words, different tones, different intonations. I tried saying hello far before I approached and tried it just as we were passing. I tried wearing lighter colored clothing, then darker colored clothing. I ran faster, then slower. I shaved, showered and combed my hair. Still, I rarely ever got a response.

After about a year of this, Jay and I had enough data to file our conclusion: people in LA are not friendly. And this "Being Friendly" game was just that... a game.

19 years later, or more specifically, last week, I was forced to question this hypothesis. You see, I was out on my Saturday bike ride and got six waves.

There's this unspoken rule among cyclists - actually, it's not quite a rule, more of a recommendation... There's this unspoken recommendation amongst cyclists that when passing by another cyclist you acknowledge them in some way. Even if you're riding in different directions on the opposite sides of a four lane thoroughfare, you still acknowledge.

Everybody has their own form of cycling acknowledgments but there are three major categories we all fall into: Nodders, Finger Lifters and Wavers

The Nodders
This is arguably the most popular form of cycling acknowledgment, probably because it's so gosh dang easy. It's also, arguably, the safest form of acknowledgment, primarily because you don't have to risk smashing your face into the ground by lifting your hands off the handlebars. Basically, it entails meeting eyes with the approaching cyclist and nodding your head at them, like you're in a James Bond movie and giving some sort of secret code to the card shark before you pull up to the poker table and win all the money from the bad guys.

The Finger Lifters
Finger lifting is not a highly popular form of cycling acknowledgment, primarily because it's tough to notice. Then again, maybe it is popular and I haven't noticed. Either way, it's kind of like a wave but without lifting your hands off the handlebars. The finger lifting only occurs with one hand. If you lift fingers from both hands at the same time, it's less a form of acknowledgment and more like a pathetic version of the Macarena. Proper Finger Lifting is most often accomplished by using the hand closest to the opposing rider (usually the left hand). Finger Lifting can be done in a number of different ways. It may be only one finger that is raised - this is usually the pointer finger, hence the name "Pointers" for those that utilize this method. You can also give the two finger salute ("Peacemakers"), three fingers ("Treys" or "W's"), four fingers ("Thumb Hiders") or all five fingers. Either way you do it is fine. Most likely the other person won't see you acknowledging them anyway, so whatever makes you happy.

The Wavers
The Waving method of cycling acknowledgment is pretty straightforward. Basically, you lift one hand off the handlebar and wave. This is, by far, the least common form of acknowledgment, especially in LA. Getting a Wave is the cycling equivalent of meeting a stranger for coffee and having them hug you when you walk up. It's warm, personal, friendly and oftentimes a bit off-putting.

Like the many forms of hugging, there are different types of Wavers. On the one side are the slightly subtle folks, who lift their hands only a few inches above the handlebars and send over a cold, heartless salute. On the other hand, there are the overly excited folks who throw their arm high up in the air and wave their hand frantically as if they'd been waiting their entire lives just to see you ride by on your bike.

I usually don't pay too much attention to how people acknowledge me when I'm out there on the bike. I tend to mix and match the different forms of intra-cycling communication depending on my mood and don't really give a hoot one way or another what other people do. In fact, it's so varied out there on the road, that I rarely pay attention to how people acknowledge me unless something weird happens.

Last week something weird happened. It started with the first person waving at me. The way they were smiling and throwing their arm about, even though they were four lanes over, well, I figured they must've known me personally. So I started giving that wave and smile that you give to people you're friends with. I started to yell "How are you?!" over the sound of traffic in the way you do when you're happy to see them. And just as I got out the "How ah..." and just as I was mid arm shake, I realized I had no clue who that person was. I mumbled the rest out in a bit of shame. I wanted to wave and acknowledge, but I didn't want to look like a fool in the process.

A few minutes later I got another wave. Then another. Soon enough there was even another.

What the hell is going on?!

I normally don't count the waves of acknowledgment that I receive on a ride, but by the time it got to four I knew something was crazy. Maybe the planets have gone kerflooey. You know, maybe Mars is in Uranus or something like that.

And when I got to the fifth wave of the ride, I figured I was being punk'd. I looked around for Ashton Kutcher but couldn't find him. (actually, I was looking for Demi Moore, specifically, I was looking for Demi Moore in "Striptease", but I didn't find her either.)

When the sixth rider to wave at me went by, I knew it was a special day. I knew that times had changed. Los Angeles had suddenly became nice and pleasant. And after 19 years in this place, I realized I can finally stop playing the game "Being Friendly" and I can just live it.

February 19, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Accents

I know you've been wondering about this and it's probably been keeping you up at night. I really don't like you staying up so late, you need your beauty rest. I mean, you're beautiful just like you are, but a little more sleep will do you good. What I'm trying to say is..... oh, fuddy duddy. Never mind. Let's just get on with it.

J's Official Top 10 Favorite Accents of All-Time

10. An Italian person speaking English when they really don't know how to speak English, but they sure try their darndest, don't they

9. A true, hard-core Brooklyn or Bronx accent that can only truly be spoken by somebody who has never left Brooklyn or the Bronx and has no plans to

8. Elmer Fudd

7. A southern drawl on a supermodel. This is a tough one because the same southern drawl can be quite a turn-off when emanating from the wrong person. There's a visual element that is very important in southern drawl appreciation.

6. Tweety Bird

5. Canadian and/or Minnesota accent, but only when they say words like "aboot" and "eh"

4. A British accent on any child, boy or girl, between the ages of 4 and 8. The younger the better.

3. An Australian accent on any super beautiful woman (and sometimes a super-cool man)

2. A true Red Sox loving, Yankee hating, Patriots adoring, Celtics fanatical Boston accent, with a specific appreciation for the Southie. Wicked cool.

and the #1 accent of all time....

1. Two words: The Proclaimers

February 15, 2009

What's Up Doc

Some bodies are made for endurance athletics, yours isn't.

That's what the doctor told me last week. Thirty years of endurance sports later, and I'm finally informed that my body isn't made for this crap. Thanks for the short notice, Doc. Had I had this information earlier, I probably could've saved myself about $50,000 over the past years in coaching expenses, entry fees, travel and doctor bills. Had I been informed of this tidbit of knowledge, maybe I would've spent the last thirty years of my life sitting on a couch eating pizza and drinking beer rather than chafing my ass on an uncomfortable saddle. Perhaps I could've been sleeping in every morning. Maybe I would even have stopped reading all of these silly magazines.

And maybe had I had this knowledge, I wouldn't have spent 18 months straight training for long distance races. Maybe I wouldn't have tweaked my body in unnatural ways. Maybe I would've actually not been an idiot.

The body has a great way of telling you that it's had enough, the good Doctor informed me. When you start hurting, consider it a message from your body.

When I start hurting?! I hate to break the news to you doc, but I started hurting 20 years ago. Just about the time my eyes open in the morning, that's when I start hurting. The hurting begins the moment I step out of bed. It happens when I walk. When I sit. Thanks to me mistakenly shoving my fingers into my spinning gears, it even hurts when I type. Hurting and endurance training are the same thing, Doc. There is no difference. Ironically, the only time the hurting dissipates is when I'm exercising. The only way to stop the hurting is to continue moving. Ah, don't you love Ironman irony!?

Your MRIs show tendinitis in both calves, he says. This is from overuse. You should take a rest from running, he tells me. Cut down at least 50%.

Let's see, 50% of a three block run is 1 1/2 blocks of running. That oughta be fun. Can I just do it in my pajamas and then climb back into bed?

But seriously doc, you don't have to be concerned about my running, because earlier this week I mistakenly walked into my coffee table and broke two toes. There'll be no running, there's barely walking. It hurts to put on shoes. Oh, also, I nearly forgot to tell you. Since my toes were broken I went on the elliptical machine instead of pounding the pavement. Something about the elliptical messed up my right calf. There's a big ole knot right there in the middle of the leg that feels like somebody took a hunting knife, wrapped it in barbed wire, sprinkled it with Tabasco and jammed it into my leg. And every day they sprinkle a little salt into the wound.

I'm limping on both legs. No road running, no elliptical. So I tried to go pool jogging. But, again, no need to worry doc because the pain in my calf and the two broken toes make even pool jogging a torturous activity.

Yes, I could give up running, Doctor. But how would you feel if I suggested you give up medicine? Running keeps me alive. It's my lifeblood. Cycling and swimming? They're just a way for me to try and not get injured while running. Lot of good that did.

How about we compromise. Maybe I'll just go really really slowly and let's see what happens.

Wait a minute... I owe you HOW much?!

January 29, 2009

The Road To Hell Is Paved With White Bread

There are two things I love: salt and empty carbs.

Actually, there are three things I love: salt, empty carbs and Catherine. The order of which is directly related to my blood sugar level at any given time.

I've been thinking a lot about the Beatles lately and, all these years later, I've finally come to realize that they were wrong: love is not all you need. Sure, love is important, love is good. When you're laying on your death bed, you do realize that the love you take is equal to the love you make (ok, I'll give them that one). But if love were all you needed in this life, there would be no such thing as food. And that is why, on my list of loves, Catherines position fluctuates from time to time, sometimes before salt and empty carbs, sometimes after.

I come from a family that has it's fair share of obsessive qualities. For goodness sakes, of the 16 of us, there are about 12 of us who run, bike and/or race triathlon. We are a whole gaggle of Type A's wrapped in a Type B family photo album. As for the remaining non-running/biking/swimming family members, most of them are under the age of five years old so they probably don't count in this tally anyway.

We're obsessive and I'm no different. I like to think I'm different, but I'm wrong. I'm not. When I find something I'm passionate about, I dive in with all my limbs and learn learn learn until I know as much as I possibly can on that topic. Combine this insatiable appetite with an unhealthy addiction to salt and empty carbs, and what you've got is one freak of nature. Which brings us to pretzels.

Let's face facts, when it comes to salt and empty carbs there is no food that better represents perfection than the pretzel. There is absolutely nothing nutritious about pretzels, hence the "empty carb" moniker. However, those little twisted wonders sure can fill the emptiness inside. I love me the pretzels. And the pizza. And the crackers. And the popcorn. Especially the popcorn. But it's the pretzels that hold the near and dear place in my heart - and in my blood pressure.

If pretzels were a woman, I'd be getting a restraining order. That's the type of love I have for them. I've been studying pretzels for most of my adult life. (And when I say "studying," I mean "eating.") If empty carbs were a university, I'd have a PhD in Pretzel. I am a Master of Pretzel. A Pretzellier, if you will. I can give you detailed analysis of the different products, the different manufacturers, different brands, different consistencies, colors, shapes and tastes. I can tell you a good pretzel from a bad pretzel without even having to put it in my mouth. Hell, I don't even have to pop open the bag. I will tell you the subtle tastes, the weighting of salt, the chewability and the crunch-factor. I will tell you if the pretzel is better with cheese or mustard - dijon or French's. I will recommend to you whether the pretzel will be better complimented with peanut butter or with ice cream. Yes. Ice cream.

Like a true connoisseur, I no longer buy my pretzels from the supermarket where all the common folk shop. I turn my nose on those pretzelite neophytes. P-shaw. No, no, I mail order my pretzels from a small independent factory in Pennsylvania. I imagine it's run by a mother, father and their three children. They're probably Amish. They travel in a horse buggy and don't own a phone. All they do is make pretzels - it's their life calling. They have perfected the pretzel after generations of trial and error. They have studied and refined their art and through pounds of yeast and seas of salt, they have figured out how to make the perfect pretzel.

There is love in those pretzels, you can taset it from the first bite. And that is why I have my pretzels shipped to me from 3,000 miles away.

Of course, sometimes I just can't wait for them to arrive. Like a true addict, I sometimes just need a fix. I need my fill. I rush out of my place in a frenzy. I must get to the store. I need to feed this beast inside of me. I storm into the market, sneak out a box of Hanover's and hide away in a dark corner eating furiously, monstrously. I may even get bags of Nutzels and devour them like a rabid squirrel. More, I'll say as crumbs fall from the corner of my mouth. MORE, I'll demand as I shove handfuls of crunchy-heaven into my face. I WANT MORE! GIVE ME MORE! MORE! MORE! MORE!!

* * *

I'm trying to eat healthy these days. I haven't had a pretzel in 24 days, 8 hours and 3 minutes.

....4 minutes....

I'm trying to take it one day at a time but it's really difficult. It mocks me. It taunts me. I don't want more vegetables. I don't want another goddam salad. I DON'T WANT ANY TOFU FOR GOODNESS SAKES AND GET THOSE GODFORSAKEN SOYBEANS OUT OF MY FACE!!!

Seriously, I think I need some help.

January 22, 2009

My Crazy Neighbor

There's an old lady that lives in the building behind me. Actually, she's probably not that old, maybe late 60s, but she looks old, and that's kinda all that counts right now.

Regardless of her age, she's what people would commonly call "that old crazy coot." She's one of those people that walks around outside in her nightgown and slippers mumbling silly nothings to herself. She picks through the trash and pulls random stuff out all the while hemming and hawing in her old crazy coot-ness.

I'm not sure what she's pulling out of the trash, I usually don't stick around to find out, but I can only imagine she's one of those people that collects random stuff nobody else wants. Like the guy at the YMCA who drives the battered and beaten Buick. It's packed, seat to ceiling, with newspapers and clothes and knick-knacks up the wahoozit. I've never seen my neighbors car, don't even know if she owns one, but I would reckon it's just like that Buick.

I've seen her garage though, and trust me, you can't even step a foot into it. Her garage is piled high with miscellanea that have probably been sitting there for decades. For all I know, there might be some hidden treasures in the garage. Maybe underneath that wreck she's got a copy of the Dallas Observer issue the day after Kennedy was shot. Or a first edition copy of Moby Dick. But most likely it's all crap. Regardless, it'd be really tough to even get to the garage because you probably don't even want to walk down her driveway. She puts out stale bread for birds every morning. Her driveway is a panoply of pigeon poop.

I've never been inside her home but I always imagine it is a big mess - the kind of mess where, when the owner dies, it takes the EMT's a long time just to find them underneath the garbage. And while they're looking, they discover a few remains that finally solve some long-standing Cold Case files.

I imagine she's got piles of old magazines that stretch from floor to ceiling and back to the floor again. Probably clippings from newspapers and WalMart circulars that mean absolutely nothing to anybody but her.

She's got a husband, but I can't imagine they sleep in the same bed or the same room. I can't imagine he's anything but numb when looking at the old rotten food that must be in their refrigerator. All the peanut butter that can practically run out on it's own. The milk so sour it has actually turned into cream and then into cheese and then back into milk again.

He probably doesn't even mind the thousands of ugly little figurines that are most likely littering the dusty glass shelves of her walls.

A few years ago I was out in back of my place cleaning up my garage. The garage door was open. I was sweeping the floor when she walked in and started looking at all of my stuff that I had neatly piled in the back of the space. She shuffled in the same way old people wearing nightgowns and slippers shuffle. It's like their feet always need to be touching the ground. When she shuffled on in, she kicked around the dirt and dust I'd been sweeping. It was odd. I didn't know her.

She started looking around as if it were a garage sale. I stood there feeling more than a little uncomfortable.

Hello, I said in that way you say things to somebody who is overstepping their bounds.

Hello how are you? she replied in a friendlier and livelier tone than I expected from the old crazy coot.

Fine thanks, I said. I was confused, but I wanted to be nice. I wanted to see where this was headed.

How much are you selling the golf clubs for? she asked me pointing to my new set of clubs.

I stood with my arm on my broom. I'm not selling the golf clubs, I told her.

I'll give you twenty dollars for the clubs, she offered.

I'm not selling the golf clubs, I repeated.

Oh, she paused. Are you selling anything?

I stood there in stunned silence. Then, figuring I should play along, I pointed to an old shelving unit and said, I'll sell this.

Oh, she mumbled as if heartbroken. She walked over and started scanning the dusty wooden shelves. Hmmm... how much? she asked.

Um... ten dollars, I told her.

I'll give you three.

How about five?

She looked at the shelves again. Leaned in closer. She wiped her finger across a shelf and looked at the dirt on her finger. She mumbled something about scratched, about old, about dusty. No, she said. I'll give you three.

Three it is, I said.

She reached into her nightgown and handed me the money. I gave her my old, dusty shelving unit. Not only did I save myself a trip to the Salvation Army, but I just made three bucks off of it.

Are you selling anything else? she asked me.

No, that's it. You just bought everything I'm selling.

OK, she replied. If you decide to sell the golf clubs let me know.

I sure will, I said stuffing the three old bills into the pocket of my jeans.

She took my book shelf and shuffled out of the garage, her slippers again kicking up the dust as she walked like a miserly version of Pig Pen's grandmother. She stopped at the trash can next to the garage, put the shelving unit down and started sifting through the can. Nothing. She picked up the shelves again and shuffled home.

Since that transaction, the old lady is always nice to me when I see her on the street. Hello, how are you? she'll say with a big smile. Are you selling anything? she might even ask.

Just this morning I saw her out with her dogs. She has three dogs. She was walking them. Or as close to "walking" as they all get. In reality, there's very little walking involved. She takes the dogs out to the front yard, about 15 steps from her door, and they just stand there, coughing and wheezing with their legs shaking. All four of them, the three dogs and her, coughing and wheezing together. I feel bad for the dogs - they look like death. The look like her. I almost wish the dogs would die so they don't have to continue living in that mess.

I imagine their lives consist of relieving themselves there on the front lawn, then going back inside and crying themselves to sleep in the misery of their trash-filled prison.

I recently learned that the old crazy lady owns the entire building where she lives. It's about a 10 unit structure. She owns it all. Keep in mind, this is not a cheap part of town. She's been living there for awhile which means she probably bought it for close to nothing. Now, even in this market, it must be worth at least $3 million, if not more.

She's doing alright, the crazy lady with my three dollar shelving unit. I can only hope that when she passes away that maybe she's left her dogs a little bone. Maybe they'll even get a better home. I hope they see that life is more than an army of ugly little porcelain figurines.

January 14, 2009

The Drug

I love being in shape. As it turns out, I also love getting out of shape. Ah, the pizza. The wine. The turkey reuben sandwiches with extra coleslaw and large dollops of thousand island dressing. Yum-ME.

The problem is that I despise getting back in shape. Big problem. It's kinda like the person who loves climbing up Everest but hates climbing down. Eventually you've gotta do it or you're going to become really unhappy pretty darn quickly.

The flip side of the joy of getting out of shape is the annoyance of having to get back in shape. The process sucks. Mentally and physically, it hurts. It's uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing, squeezing back into a bathing suit and not being able to swim 400 yards without needing oxygen. It's annoying running for only 5 minutes at a 13 minute per mile pace when I was running marathons earlier in the year.

Here's my ideal - I want to be able to sit around all year eating pizza and watching TV, with one six pack on the table and another six pack on my abs, then one day on a whim get up and go run a sub 3 hour marathon like it ain't no thang. I want to be that guy. I want it to be natural. No work. No effort. No pain.

But those aren't the cards life dealt us - we all know the pain-gain life lesson there and we've heard it ad infinitum. So after nearly two decades of this silly sport and another decade of running, I've finally come to realize that there is pain and there always will be. Pain is part of life and it's surely a part of training. Regardless of your fitness level, whether you are a weekend warrior or a professional racer, progress and pain are identical twins.

The past couple of weeks in my "getting back in shape" mode, I've been doing some short rides, shorter swims and even shorter runs. Most of the effort is focused on form, with quick bursts of power sprinkled in every now and then. There's lots of drills and stretching and stuff that has no forward movement. It's monotonous. It's everything I hate about getting back in shape. If my year of training were that picture of the ascent of man, I'm still in the monkey phase. Once again, I am learning to crawl, knowing full well it will lead to a walk, a jog, a run. Problem is, I don't like crawling.

But I push because I know there will be progress. Though I struggle today, it will make me a better tomorrow.

And every once in a random while I get that feeling. You know what I'm talking about, it's the drug. For a brief nano-second in time, as I push through these beginner workouts while wearing far too much Ironman clothing for anybody who has even a modicum of pride, everything just clicks. It's that feeling... when you are pushing yourself to your limit, completely focused on the moment, on every single action of every single muscle in your body; when the carrot is dangling right there, just a millimeter out of reach and you are determined, with every cell in every part of your being, to grab it. To achieve. To progress. You can actually feel the adrenaline seeping into your blood stream, drop by drop by drop. It flows into your system like one of those IV packets. And you thrive on it. If you are Popeye, you've got your spinach.

Even though it's just a nanosecond, your entire life has led to that one feeling. And there comes a point when you're not sure if you're smiling, crying or if your cheek muscles have just started to tighten. Whatever it is you want to hold on. Tighter. You want more. You always want more.

It's the drug.
And suddenly I remember why I love this sport.

January 11, 2009

The History Of Thinking

The last thing I remember is Ironman Arizona.

April 13th, 2008.
8:41 pm.

It was mile 140. It was my best mile of the day – the most effortless, the most free. By mile 140 I had transcended. I had risen above the day’s mental destruction; I had conquered my defeat. Like a baby chick finally breaking from the confines of its egg to bathe in the glory of life, I was free. Pushed out of the nest, I flew.

It’s like my feet didn’t touch the ground. I kept running faster and faster as if the quicker I went, the easier it got.

The lights of the finishers chute burned a memory in my brain. As if in that instant there was a flash of a camera that forever burned the image into my memory. I see the faces of every single spectator. I feel the sounds of every single cheer. I hear Mike Reilly calling my name. I am screaming. I am on the verge of tears. I am free. I am there.

And then it all stopped.

In the blink of an eye, life passes you by. You grow so accustomed to the monotony of minutiae that defines Ironman training. The thousands of endless pedal strokes on yet another five hour training ride. The lap upon lap in the pool. The step after step after step on another run on another day on the same roads as before and before and before that. Every movement different but excruciatingly the same.

And when all of that suddenly disappears, when there is no more “next race” to prepare for, you are left with a gaping hole in your life. It is a hole of both freedom and emptiness.

I, like most triathletes, am used to filling holes. That emptiness from lack of training, quickly got filled with the freedom of all those things I’d missed. The little things. Books and movies and work and eating. And one day bled into another until here I am, nine months later severely out of shape.

In my mind, being in Ironman shape seems like just yesterday. Over nine months my body has transformed. My endurance and strength are nine months weaker. I can barely run for 15 minutes. A 1000 yard swim is overwhelming.

My body can barely even stretch but in my mind I am still in Ironman shape. The clock of mind is still stuck on April 13th.

This is the problem with thinking. Our ability to think let’s us ponder a past and a future at the expense of the present. It let’s us obsess over the “what was” and the “what might be” and makes it too easy to forget the “what is”.

I watch the runners on Sunday mornings as they float down the street with such ease. I look at them and can’t wait to go out and feel that myself. But its not the same. My run lasts 5 minutes. Maybe 10. I do not float, I lumber. It is not effortless but laborious.

I just started training again. New coach, new season, new goals. I have only one race on the books for this year: SOS (Survival of the Shawangunks). 30 miles of biking, 19 miles of running, 2 miles of swimming.

In my mind I am swimming like Phelps, biking like Armstrong and running like… me. Like the person in my mind in the history of my thinking.

Time to get back in shape and make history a reality.
Here we go again.