Tagged

Although you can’t see it, I’m shaking my fist at Brad, who tagged me with his questions. What’s really interesting is seeing the similarities between his answers and what some of mine will be.

Jobs I’ve held-

  • Paperboy (2x)
  • US Air Force (past 20+ years) as a “professional liar”. The real job is weather forecasting, but you all wouldn’t believe me, since you wouldn’t believe my forecasts. 😉

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over-

  • Bicentennial Man. Excellent story of life, love and optimism.
  • Koyaanisqatsi. I first saw it at PBS soon after it was released back in 1982. The music and imagery floored me. Just this past year I finally got to see Philip Glass perform live, which was amazing.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha. I love the story, but really love the scenes, since I’ve been lucky enough to have visit many of them.
  • Blazing Saddles. Actually, anything Mel Brooks has done. I love the double entendre’s and wry twists on words. Madenline Kahn was pure genius as Lili Von Shtupp, the Teutonic Temptress.

I will have to tip my hat to Brad’s choice of Repo Man. What a great movie for the time, with the soundtrack of my youth. That and Suburbia.

My Guilty Pleasures-

I’m not guilty. Not one bit. They are my pleasures and I apologize to no one.

  • My lovely bride.
  • Beer. The darker the better.
  • Chocolate. Just like beer, the darker the better. Gimme a block of baker’s chocolate and a cup of coffee and I’m in heaven.
  • Bourbon. Which explains why I’m a Maker’s Mark Ambassador.
  • A good cigar. Especially with a good bourbon. They complement each other so well.
  • Books. I continue to buy them and am currently reading about seven, although I don’t have time to read. I have no idea how many I have in shelves and piles that I haven’t read yet.
  • Karaoke. Not the bastardized American version, but the real Japanese version. Forget standing up on stage and being the center of attention, because that’s not what it’s about. Instead, you’re packed into a small bar with 20 of your closest friends, passing the microphone around, drinking, singing and having a great time. Some of my repertoire: Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People”, Green Day’s “Basket Case”, CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising”, John Denver’s “Country Roads”, etc.

Places I Have Lived-

  • S. Bay, San Fransisco
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Reno, NV
  • Yokohama, Japan
  • Ridgecrest, CA
  • Coronado, CA
  • Chula Vista, CA
  • Marysville, CA
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Mountain Home, ID
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Exmouth, Northwest Cape, Western Australia
  • Fort Walton Beach, FL
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Clarksville, TN

Shows I Enjoy-

Places I have Been on Vacation-

  • Venice, Italy
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Oahu, Hawaii
  • Perth, Western Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Sapporo, Japan

Favorite Foods-

  • Japanese
  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Greek
  • Whatever doesn’t get to me first. My Aussie friends thought I was nuts because I carried a tube of wasabi in the glove compartment of my ute (pickup). Whenever we’d go fishing, I’d eat the mackerel as we cleaned them. Octopus too, although I gained a respect for occy’s and refused to hunt them any more.

Websites I visit Daily-

  • My my.yahoo page. News, cartoons, stories and e-mail.
  • My DeviantArt page. Just to see what sorts of comments I’m still getting on my photography, although I’m nowhere near as active as I was a couple of years ago.
  • My Google Reader page, which is a repository for all of my blog feeds.
  • And the myriad pages I need for work.

Body Parts I have injured-

  • My tongue. As a teenager, while surfing, I hit a bit of chop and it knocked the nose of my board up, hitting me in the chin. I then bit the corner of my tongue almost clean off; it was hanging by a thread. I should’ve got stitches, but that would have meant visiting the doctor, but I wouldn’t have any of that. It eventually healed.
  • My ankle. Rolled it so hard going off a diving board that the grip tape on the board scraped the top of my foot off. Again, should’ve gone to the doctor, but wasn’t having any of that. It eventually healed.
  • I’ve never broken a bone or got stitches due to an accident (knockin’ on serious wood here). My total stitch count is still under 10, and those were all for elective procedures.

Awards You’ve Won-

  • A few job-related ones (yeah, I’m cheating here).

Nicknames you’ve been called-

  • Bill
  • Billy-jo-bob-bob-a-looie (by a good Aussie friend).
  • And I’m sure quite a few R-rated ones.

Pick 4 Other Bloggers…

A tough one. There are quite a few that I’d like to know more about, but know that folks like their privacy. So…

Well, that’s about it. Off to bed early tonight. Tomorrow’s my race simulation brick, which means 112 miles on the bike followed by a run of unknown distance. The run ends when I hit 8 hours total time, so it could be anywhere from 4 miles to 10 miles. The beauty is that I get to drive out to the location for my September IM-distance race, so I’ll get a good feel for the ride and run courses.

Catching Up

Rain, rain, go away.

Well, not that I mind the rain, especially since the corn needs it. And I don’t mind the rain during runs and rides. It’s the lightning that’s a bitch. And the rest of this week doesn’t look any better.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, but that’s life.

So what’s been going on?

Music-wise, we drove up to Evansville a week ago Sunday to see Tool in concert. Excellent show.

The warmup band was a Japanese noise band called Melt Banana. The best way to describe them is that you’ll have to imagine a band that combines the best of Discharge and Einsturzende Neubauten, fronted by Kate Bush on speed. Although you’d have to imagine that Kate would actually deign to let out dog yelps on occasion. Definitely too esoteric for the Midwest US crowd.

Tool played for right at two hours. Nice to see, given ticket prices. Now, I find the ticket prices to be reasonable; it’s the t-shirt prices that have gone insane. I guess it’s been 10 years since I’ve gone to a large arena show, but $38-$43 for a t-shirt is starting to gouge the fans a bit much. Anway, the music was solid and filled the arena well. We had general admission tickets for the floor, so for the first half of the show we weren’t but 20 feet away from the stage. After a while, we got tired of standing on the concrete floor, as well as having smoke (both legal and otherwise) blown in our face by the considerate ones that decided that the no smoking regulations of the venue didn’t apply to them, so we bought some sodas and grabbed some seats way up in the nosebleed section. Actually it was a much better view of the entire show and the sound was better. Imagine that. Definitely a worthwhile move.

Next concert on the schedule will be Alison Kraus and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas. My lovely bride and I are definitely looking forward to this show, although the 16 year old boy has opted out. We were about to pounce on tickets for the following weekend to go see Linkin Park‘s Projekt Revolution 2007 up in Indianapolis, but then realized that although the ticket prices were good for an all-day festival, we had no desire to see any of the supporting bands. Too emo for my taste.

I’m going to have to get a second job to support my music habit. On top of my other second job to support my tri habit. On top of my other job to support my (fill in the blank) habit. Ad nauseam.

Training’s going well. I’ve shifted my focus more to getting in time on the bike and on the run and cutting back on the swim. I can swim like a fish, so I really don’t need to grind out a gazillion yards. That won’t help my race. But higher bike and run volume will. So that’s where I’m headed.

But it’s been so bloody humid here lately. This morning’s 10.5 mile run was good, except it was 70F and 100% humidity at sunrise this morning. It was bad enough that I actually carried water for the first time on a run and drained the 20 oz bottle by the 7 mile point. And the bad part about my sweating out every ounce of moisture in my body is that the shirt gets soaked. That’s when I realize that I forgot to put bandaids on; now the pink stain on the shirt looks real yummy! Perhaps it’s time to buy some Nippits.

On top of all that, I had a 1000-1500 word essay due yesterday. And in fine Bill form, I started researching on Saturday night and wrote on Sunday while watching the four different Ironman-branded races. Got it done with time to spare. The worst part about it was doing the research on Physical Education classes in the US. Do you realize that on a daily basis, only 18% of all students actually partake in a PE class? And only about half of those actually participate? Is it any wonder that we’re getting so fat as a nation?

Ah well, time to knock out the homework for this week. Business travel at week’s end up to St Louis. Luckily it’s close enough that I can drive, so the family can go with me. What a deal.

Hope all’s well with you.

Broken Bolts, Bonking and Papers

Not much of a tri update this time around.

As I mentioned in my last post, my parents were driving up from Florida; my dad was to help me rebuild the rear suspension on my 1964 Chevy Fleetside truck. And that’s what we did.

The front end of the trailing arms broke free pretty easily. Almost every other bolt had to be cut off, which took quite a bit of time on Saturday. Luckily I foresaw this situation and had ordered all new bolts and nuts, which were on hand before we started this project. By the end of Saturday, the only thing attaching my rear axle to the truck was one bolt on the rear torsion bar.

Good thing we did this job too. Once we had things off, I found that one spring was broken and both U-bolts holding the trailing arms to the axle were badly worn and that one was cracked about 75% of the way through. What does that mean? If the bolt broke, especially at freeway speeds, the rear axle could have swung wildly and I would have had zero chance of controlling the beast. Not a good thing.

It was quite a bit of hard work. Trying to torque off rusted, frozen bolts that have been in place some 43 years tested my tri-shaped muscles in ways they weren’t used to. By Monday, I was completely knackered, almost worse than after some of my long bricks.

As with any vehicle work, injuries come and go. Luckily we both got out with minor scrapes and a few bruises. Although on Sunday it was touch and go for a minute as I was wedged up under the frame, sitting up with my back and shoulders pressed against the frame. I reached out for a tool and my left arm popped out of its socket, which happens from time to time with me. Unfortunately, it was stuck straight out and I couldn’t move it by myself to let it slide back into place; I was wedged in well enough that I couldn’t slide my butt forward to get the pressure off of my shoulder. Luckily, my lovely bride and mom (who went to nursing school way back when) were able to rush over, stabilize my arm and slowly rotate it forward enough for it to settle back into place. Just a few minutes later I was back under the truck pushing and pulling.

After two weekends with two different sets of parents, today was the beginning of my serious training for my Iron-distance race in September. And I started off in fine form. After a long run this morning and a small lunch, I was up to my old tricks of not fueling enough. Needless to say I bonked on my ride this afternoon. So I’ve been spending my evening trying to make up the deficit.

On top of all of that, I had to submit three topics to write on for my online English class. The topics were due yesterday, but I finally decided on three topics while on my ride today. Oh well, 24 hours late is better than not at all. The bad thing is that of the three topics, we’ll have to pick only one and then write our three papers this term on the same topic, writing from different perspectives. The exercises will be interesting, but like most of my classes, I’ll be bored with it only eight weeks into the 12-week course. Luckily the course will be done in mid-August, a full month before my race.

Twelve+ hours of training this week, my lovely bride’s birthday, and a Tool concert to end the week. All-in-all, good days ahead.

Tapering, Pouring and Tix

Well, the taper continues. After last Saturday’s meltdown, I took Sunday off, which is my normally scheduled rest day.

Monday started with an easy run and then a swim at lunch. Both were very poor, at best. I just didn’t have anything in me, even though they were both recovery sessions. Tuesday morning I sat on the stationary cycle and spun for about 30 minutes, which was poor as well. After that, I decided to take time off completely. Glad I did.

Thursday I joined an organized workout session that was mostly strength and plyometrics. But between 10 minute focus sessions, we ran 1/2 mile. The first 1/2 felt good, the second 10 minutes later felt better, then I was able to smoke the last two 1/2 miles. Back on track for the remainder of this recovery week/taper.

Friday night we drove down to Nashville to enjoy some music and food at the “First Annual” Riverfront Park Crawfish Boil. Which brings up a point – how can something be the “First Annual”, since there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually have it every year after the first? Shouldn’t “Annual” be reserved for the second and subsequent events?

The scheduled music lineup was good, with Soul Asylum opening at 5pm, followed by Fuel, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach and finally Hinder. Not that I’m a huge fan of any of those bands, but each is good enough to get the toe tapping and the head bobbing. And for $25 at the gate, plus the promise of a huge mess of crawdads to eat while drinking beer and listening to live music, how could I refuse?

And for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of a crawfish boil, here’s what a huge mess of crawdads should look like, complete with potato and corn-on-the-cob:

Definitely some good, good stuff.

So we got down there just a few minutes after Soul Asylum took the stage, found an area on the hill to spread our our blanket, got some beers and sat back to enjoy the show. Soul Asylum gave what I would consider to be a pretty pedestrian show – good but nothing I haven’t seen out of a good bar band.

During their set, I was looking across the river at LP Stadium, which is where the Tennessee Titans play, snickering and telling my 15-year-old son that when I was his age, I saw Cheap Trick in San Diego’s Jack Murphy (later to become Qualcomm) Stadium, which was about the same size as the stadium we were looking at. He was trying to make the connection between going from playing stadiums to small venues like the one we were sitting in. As a budding bassist, he at least understood continuing to play because one loves it, regardless of the size of the crowd or venue.

And the stadium got me thinking back to all of the shows I saw there. 101KGB always put on good summer concerts, where we got to see acts like Motley Crue (long before their rapid downward spiral with the release of “Theater of Pain”), Def Leppard, Chuck Berry and The Who (after which I actually met Roger Daltrey). Good times.

But enough reminiscing. Fuel took the stage. That was more like it. Energetic, loud and electric. Literally.

As they continued to play their set, the sky kept getting darker. And darker. And then tinges of green in the clouds. And for those of you who have lived here in the Midwest, green in the storm clouds means only one thing – hail. Fuel kept playing, the rain started and a few rumbles were heard. Nothing to worry about. Yet.

Then the downpour, followed by dime-sized hail, which never feels good on the noggin. That’s when everyone broke for cover. By the time we got under cover, we were all soaked completely to the bone. Ah well, it’s all part of the experience.

As the rain continued, the drunk and otherwise influenced crowd decided to keep themselves entertained by sliding down the wet grassy hill. The only problem with that was that after a few grassy ledges and drops, the grass gives way to concrete steps. A few bodies went launching over the concrete, but I don’t think any of them could feel what they were doing to themselves. I suspect this morning is a different story.

Of course, the downside to being soaking wet as the sun goes down is that you can get cold. And with my newer, slimmer physique thanks to all of this tri training, I don’t have the insulation that I did just four months ago. Shivering became my newest physical activity as we waited for the rain to stop. Even taking my shirt off was warmer, but didn’t help much. Others had the same idea, and for some of them we wish they hadn’t.

Anyway, we sat and waited out the storm. And waited. And waited. And waited. The promoters had done the right thing and cut the power to the stage. The downside to that is that the crowd was pretty restless after a while. Some guys up on stage worked hard to keep the crowd in front of the stage entertained by doing silly things like spraying them with water. Methinks they were wet enough.

After two hours and me continuing to shiver, we decided to bag the rest of the night. It was already halfway through the time that Papa Roach would have been on stage. That meant we had missed out on half of Fuel’s set, all of Cheap Trick’s set and it looked like all of Papa Roach’s set. And with me being concerned about getting sick just a week out from my 1/2 IM, heading home was the best thing to do.

Not 10 miles up the road, everything was as dry as a bone. But even after driving the hour home, I checked the radar and it was still raining down over downtown Nashville. So I don’t think the crowd even got to see Hinder. That wasn’t a big loss for us, since we were going to leave right after they started playing anyway.

So after the crawdads and beer, this cartoon this morning made me laugh:

And it’s all not a loss. I got home, checked my e-mail and got my daily music update. Thanks to that, we just scored tickets to see Tool up in Evansville next month, coinciding with my beautiful bride’s birthday.

Hope all is well with you.

Winter Begone!

We’ve had enough of you. Especially after the summer tease over the past few weeks. The first few days of this cold snap weren’t too bad, needing just knickers for the ride. But yesterday and today was enough.

Friday saw flurries during my late afternoon run. A run that showed me signs that I was overreaching. I couldn’t buy a Zone 3 heart rate to save my life, no matter how much I ramped up the pace. I’d get right to the ceiling of Zone 2 and that would be it. So I made sure I rested 24 hours before I worked out Saturday.

The cold continued on Saturday, although luckily there were no flurries. Instead, there was a 25 mph headwind no matter what direction I turned (well, OK, I did have a tailwind for about five minutes of the 2:40 ride). It was one of those days. And the overreaching reared its ugly head throughout the ride. Same issue as yesterday. I seriously considered bagging the run portion of today’s brick, but figured I’d see how that went.

I’m glad I did.

Even though I was spinning squares on the ride, my feet were flying on the run. I couldn’t figure that out. I still had some issues with being able to force my heart rate to rise, but I was at least able to bust into Zone 3. And after 45 miles of spinning squares, I was still able to hold a very comfortable 7:35 pace for 40 minutes. Certainly not speedy, but still much quicker than my planned 10:00 pace during my Iron-distance race later this year.

Go figure.

And now for something completely different.

Now, I’m not a huge Alanis Morissette fan. But she made this crap song sound good. And the video really makes it!

Catching Up & Tallies

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last update, but that’s OK. One of my overarching annual goals is to remain balanced between family, training and work. Some things have to give.

It’s spring break here. And spring sprung with a vengeance. After being spoiled the last couple of weeks with lows of 60 and highs of 80, it’s now 30/45. Just in time for me to take some time off and enjoy myself. But instead of waking up early to get my rides, runs and swims in, I’m now sleeping in to let it warm up. Seems like a fair trade to me; I’m done with winter.

One thing I’ve been enjoying is that I’m noticeably getting stronger. That’s the idea, right? Faster is another story, but I’m not worried about that. After doing a bit of research and discussion with other folks, I rebuilt my training plan for the year to take out my build periods and focus on more base.

Last week was my first week of my build phase toward my first 1/2 Iron-distance race, but the switch from endurance to speed work was taking a toll. And not necessarily in a good way. For the second time this year (let’s not talk about the first), I was concerned about hurting myself. Even with that, I was enjoying the change in workout types; the speed pain felt good! But speed isn’t my focus for my two big races this year, finishing is. And that’s where the base training comes in to play. So back to base it is.

After a solid run through the hills yesterday, I was feeling great about where I am. Out of curiousity I looked back at what I’ve done in the past month and so far this year. The numbers look something like this:

March

Swim= 35,227 yards (20.02 miles) / 16 hours, 55 minutes
Bike = 270.35 miles / 18 hours
Run = 104.96 miles / 15 hours, 45 minutes
Strength = 3 hours (typically one session a week)

2007

Swim= 59,993 yards (34.09 miles) / 32 hours, 20 minutes
Bike = 515 miles / 37 hours
Run = 191.99 miles / 32 hours, 35 minutes
Strength = 13 hours, 20 minutes (early on it was two sessions a week)

For me, the most interesting thing is realizing that March’s volume for each discipline (except strength) is more than the volume for January and February combined.

As if that wasn’t enough of a confidence builder, my brick this past weekend really did it for me. After a very comfortable 58 mile ride in just under three hours, I felt great on my 5 mile run. That bodes well for my 1/2 Iron-distance race that’s coming in just six short weeks.

On another note, I cannot praise Pearl Izumi’s Ultrasensor Race Lid enough. For me, there’s only two states of being – completely dry and dripping sweat. 100 yards into a brisk walk and I’m already sweating. Nothing I can do about it. I’ve inherited the condition.

On rides and runs, sunglasses are completely useless to me after about 15 minutes. So I suffer with the bugs and sun in my eyes.

I picked up the hat at my local running shop this past weekend. My lovely bride balked at the price ($22 for a hat you’ll only wear while running?) but she knows of my sweat issues.

Anyway, yesterday, at about the 5 mile point, I noticed that I hadn’t had to wipe the sweat from my eyes not a single time. I grabbed the bill of the cap and it was sopping wet. It had done a great job of wicking the sweat away from my head. Another mile or so into the run and I turned so that the wind was a quartering head wind. At that point, the hat became a hydration-recycle system, with the sweat dripping off of the bill and straight on to my lips.

I got home and told my lovely bride that I’m going back to buy more!

Anyway, enough of the update. Time to turn some laps in the water. Water that’s a good 40 degrees warmer than the air outside.

Srick, Snow, Brick, Glass

What’s with the title? Well, that’s my weekend boiled down to four words.

What’s Srick? Well, it sounds much better than Sick and more accurately represents what I did. Srick is a swim and run combination workout. Friday made for a 3500 yard interval/pyramid speed workout, a quick liquid lunch (no, not the alcoholic kind) and then a 5.6 mile run. Learned quite a bit about timing my food that day. Luckily it was minor gastro-intenstinal (GI) gurgling, not anything involving backflow.

Saturday was a planned Brick, which is a bike and run combination workout. A brick is the normal transition during a triathlon of any length, running right after the bike. The purpose of a brick is to get the legs used to the quick change in types of leg muscle used between the two activities. Well, the weather changed that plan, with an inch or so of snow on the ground when I woke up, more coming in and icy roads. No sense in getting out with the stupid people.

Forget trainers or rollers. Those are a last resort. I can’t stand riding inside for much more than one hour and even that’s a stretch. Same thing with running. Boring. You can stick forks in my eyes and I’d find that more entertaining and worthwhile than riding or running inside.

So I flip-flopped my weekend workouts and Saturday became a rest day. Which I was ready for.

Sunday was the Brick. Nothing like slogging into a stiff, cold headwind for an hour with snotcicles freezing on your cheeks. But the beauty of that is turning around and getting that stiff, warm tailwind. Flying through the sunny countryside with a strong tailwind really makes for an enjoyable ride, except for dodging the ice patches that are hidden in the shade while flying through a curve at 25 mph.

That covers the first three words. The fourth was a very pleasant surprise, sprung on me by my lovely bride.

We had the immense pleasure of 9th row seats, front and slightly off-center, for a wonderful retrospective performance by the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE). For those of you who don’t know who Philip Glass is, you’ll likely be familiar with his works. I was first introduced to him, as a teenager, when I saw a screening of the first of Godfrey Reggio‘s “-qatsi” movies, Koyaanisqatsi.

For those of you that know me well, you’ll know that Koyaanisqatsi is one of my all-time favorite movies and consequently, Philip Glass has been my all-time favorite musician/composer. So it was definitely a great thrill to be able to see him in person, playing his selections of music through his 40-year career. We were even amazed at how good he looks at 70 years old. I can only wish I’m doing half as good.

The performance was held in Nashville’s beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which is home to the (of all things) Nashville Symphony Orchestra. You can read the Wikipedia page on the center, which is quite amazing in and of itself. But musically, one of the more interesting aspects of this beautiful hall is that it’s across from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, two blocks from the Ryman Auditorium and right around the corner from Broadway Avenue, home to many of classic country bars and music shops, including Ernest Tubb‘s Record Store.

The audience at PGE performance was quite eclectic, to say the least. From typical symphony-goer attire as dress suits and gowns to flannel pants, sweatshirts and knit beanies. In other words, a few folks didn’t get the word that Bonnaroo isn’t for a few more months.

Speaking of Bonnaroo, we’re disappointed that we won’t be going this year. It’s being held just 90 minutes down the road, but it falls right in the middle of recovering from my 1/2 Ironman and building my base for my full Ironman later in the year. That, and with tickets running $200 each for the weekend, the family/race budget would take quite a hit. So it fell off the priority plate pretty quick.

But with acts such as The Police, Tool, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, The String Cheese Incident, etc., it’ll definitely be quite a show.

I just hope someone takes some soap.