Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bike Ride FAIL

For the first time in a while, biking is testing my motivation and drive. The problem is that while I love to bike, I have a much harder time to get myself out of bed and get-to-peddling than I do with running. I'll find any excuse to bag it for the morning. This morning's excuse was that I slept like shit. Over the last week or two reasons have included:
  • Oh, I'll do it in the afternoon (never happens)
  • The dingo ate my baby (not even a reason, this is a Seinfeld quote)
  • I had too much to drink the night before and my head feels like there is a little coal miner inside chiseling away (Suck it up wussy)
  • mmmrrrmmmm (I assume this is me mumbling away while sleeping)
  • I slept like crap (I don't even have kids!!)

For the record, today I did sleep like shit. It was even one of those that even now at noon my neck / jaw are a bit sore. But that said, I know in my heart that if I had 6 miles of running on the agenda I would have sucked it up and got out there.

Oh, don't worry - I'm going to continue to try to keep cranking out the miles. Besides, if I don't, the clothes that I set out the night before just mock me all day long:
Can't you tell that they are judging me?

If I can sneak away long enough this weekend I want to get a 50 mile bike ride in - even if only to be able to say that I've done one. The problem is that we're having Easter at my house with a 30+ person invite list and my wife has this crazy idea that we need to clean before. I promised that I'd pick up my socks!


Does everyone else have trouble with other non-running sports? (Stretching I feel like is a popular one.) How do you push through when you just don't have the drive to do it?

I'm thinking that my solution may be to put some electrodes on my nipples that connect to my alarm clock... That'd get me outta bed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday MRI odds and ends

Nitmos commented on my alliteration posts so I thought that I would continue the trend here. I'm a sheep like that. MRI Monday it is. But, before I get into my normal random posts, go check out Ulyana's blog. She is really in a tough spot (read: surgury and 4 YEARS of rehab...YEARS PEOPLE!!) and could use all sorts of encouragement.

  • As I tweet'ed (twoot?) earlier today: While having an MRI today, I couldn't help but think during each of the 45 min it took: "How F'ing much is THIS going to cost?"
  • Unfortunately, no super powers after all of the magnetic forces of the MRI - yet. Also, no diagnosis. I have to schedule a follow up to have the doc read the films. I keep getting the overwhelming feeling that this whole foot thing is like trying to remodel a bathroom. Just as soon as I get the electrician out the door I have to bring in the crack bearing plumber**.
  • I had hernia surgery ~6 years ago at which time they implanted a metal screen into my abs. I couldn't help but think that during the MRI the magnets would kick in and I'd have some sort of Aliens type experience where this thing comes ripping out of my torso.
  • My buddy Nick asked if I threw my foot in the MRI machine while someone was in it like Michael Scott did on the office when he burnt his foot on a George Foreman Grill. My response? "If I thought that it would have made the Co-Pay cheaper I would have given it a shot."
  • As much as I bitch about the cost of the MRI, it certainly takes skill to read those things. I looked at mine and they basically all look like gobblegy-gook. Either that, or I am pregnant with a boy who has 5 dingles. Which, could happen - I did get a lot of magnetic forces running through me.
  • Still biking. This morning did 21 miles in 1:15 - which is funny because it is slower than 1/2 of the contestants on biggest loser did 26 miles last week.

**No disrespect to anyone who performs any of these vital professions (I've thought about becoming a certified electrician). Just pull up your pants.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Doctor Visit

As promised, I went to the doctor on Friday morning. I am certainly the stereotypical guy and crush beer cans on my head... ummmm ....try to mask farts by coughing don't like going to the doctor - at all. I'll normally try to "wait things out" as much as possible before I go. Yes, I know shame on me. The really crappy part is that I have to put up with the doctor rolling his eyes when I answer the question: "How long ago did your injury occur?" "Uhh, three and a half weeks" FML

When did Doogie Howser get buff? I remember him being the nerdy kid doctor - if he can get buff, there is still hope for me! While at the appointment, the doctor had me do all sorts of bends, stretches, and jumps; ultimately deciding to grab some x-rays. Initially when I was describing my symptoms (pain after my run, bruising on my foot, pain that is now nonexistent while walking) he thought that it was a severe case of tendinitis. However, when he looked at the x-rays there was a bit of stress fx healing present - which may have been a blur on the film. So, I have an appt to get an MRI on Monday to confirm or deny a stress fx.

I've never had an MRI, so I am really hoping for some sort of super powers after all of the magnetic energy coursing through my body. I mean, even just a little x-ray vision would be appreciated, help pass the time while I am not running.

Either way, it sounds like I am going to be a non-runner for at least two more weeks. All the more reason to continue to hit the bike hard. So, on Saturday I did my best to do a little speed work on the bike. I biked 15 miles overall, but every other mile I would essentially go hard and fast. My "slow" miles were ~15 mph and my fast averaged 21 mph. Not sure if that speed is 100% good, but it sure kicked my ass, so that is nice.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Funny Foto Friday: Sperm Rocket Shoes

While on the plane home yesterday, my wife was flipping through the SkyMall magazine and noticed something with a shoe ad seemed a bit "off".

Can you see what is wrong with this picture?


If you guessed that not only do the shoes make you rocket through the sky in your business suit but they also must make you more fertile because they seem to have sperm on the side, then you are correct!! Ha!!


Hope everyone is having a great Friday! I plan on getting caught up with everyone this afternoon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brick!

Sometimes you are a sheep and sometimes you are the sheppard. Up until this morning, I was neither. I was neither leading nor following the triathlon herd. However, there are few moments in life where I am able to try something new that I have never been done before that is done so frequently by others (how can paternity tests on Maury seem so wrong but be so right?!).

This morning in the hotel I did my first brick workout. (Get it, Kool-aid Man jumping through bricks?? Brick workout?? Seemed funny when I inserted the picture...ohhh yeahhh.)

I'm honestly not sure if it was an 'official' brick workout. I biked for 10 miles on the spin bike and then ran for half a mile. Does that count? I'm thinking that if chef Boyardee gets to wear the funny looking white chef hat and call that red stuff 'food' then I get to count this one as my first attempt as a brick. I had honestly planned on running 2 miles but my foot was not feeling it. So, instead of trying to pushing through the pain I bagged it. No harm, no foul. Hopefully sports med doc will give me a solid pat on the back, a that-a-boy, followed by a chest bump for my restraint.

It was, in a word - HARD. I pushed it pretty hard on the bike so my legs were already starting to burn when I hopped on the treadmill. I felt really choppy while running the first minute or two, almost like I was not able to bend my knees the way that they should be bent. However, after 1/4 of a mile or so things smoothed out just enough for me to get my stride back before my foot started to hurt.

Overall, I think that the first brick workout was a success. It passed my usual barometer: I didn't die. Success. However, it seems that meeting my 2010 goal of completing a triathlon is going to be a bit harder than I first thought.

What a week! I am finally back home in Phoenix and am hoping to get back to a normal routine very soon. Doctors appt tomorrow - fingers crossed that I get good news.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Try it Tues: Power Gel Blasts


I like to try new things. Remember Mt Dew Code Red? I loved that stuff. What about Pepsi Blue? Yup, tried that too. Peanut butter on Oreo Cookies? Amazing. So, it should come to no surprise that the last time I was in a running store I decided to try a few packages of PowerGel's Blast Energy Gel Bites.

Disclaimer: I am a huge PowerGel fan. I use their gel more than anything else. So, it was pretty easy to pony up $5 for a few packages.

I decided to try the Blasts during my last long run of 13 miles with Jeff and RunningLaur. When eating a gel, I normally eat it every 45 minutes. But, one of the benefits of individual bites is that you can spread them out over the course of an entire run. This way you don't get the sugar 'crash' that feels very similar to running in molasses. So, while running, I tried my best to eat one every 15 minutes or so. However to be honest I usually ended up eating 3 of them or so every 30 minutes.

The flavor was very good. I tried the Strawberry Banana and was very impressed. I later tried the pineapple which wasn't bad either. BUT, the things were like chewing on a piece of rubber. I wasn't too horribly out of breath and it was all I could do to chew them 5-6 times and then just swallow whatever was left. I can only imagine what they would have been had I been pushing hard or towards the last half of a race. I possibly thought that it was just the package that I had (stale, or something), so I tried a few other packages while biking with very similar results.

Pros:
Good flavor
Higher sodium & Vit C content
Larger calorie count than PowerGel (200 vs 100)
Not sticky

Cons:
Chewier than 8 hour old chewed gum
If you are running hard, severe choking hazard


In summary, with all of the great options out there for nutrition, I'm going to have to give the PowerGel Blasts a pass. They get the job done but the risk of breaking a tooth isn't worth it. I really hope that it was just the packages that I bought that were a little harder than normal and others are much softer and easier to eat. It is with a heavy heart, I set free my fail (killer)whale eating my seal of approval.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Napa, CA - In Pictures!

Foot Update: Since I am all sorts of frustrated, typing this section in fragments. My english teacher would be so proud of the fragment identification. Not good. Scheduled appt with sports med doc. Noticible pain after 2 weeks of rest followed by a 3 miler. Tried yelling at it and spitting on it which didn't work. The doc hopefully will have a secret ointment that will make it all better. Will yell and spit at him if he doesn't.

Now, on to the wine. Lots of pictures, probably should have split it into two posts. :)

Like I posted earlier, my wife and I spent the last two days tasting wine in Napa, CA trying to pretend like we both knew what we were talking about. We visited 7 vineyards over the two days and tasted at 6 of them. Here is my non-holistic photo journal play-by-play of our experience.


The trip actually started out a little frustrating. As it turns out, the San Fran airport engineers decided to take people renting a car on a (seemingly) 4 hour monorail tour of South San Fran. Of course, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but I was sure ready to get my drink on after the ride:



Once we finally got there I stopped the sobriety induced shakes by doing a little tasting "pre-gaming" with Boone's Farm we headed to Silver Oak Vineyards. I've always wanted to taste their wine but have had a hard time spending the money to do so. $100 a bottle is a tough pill to swallow - literally. My wife and I took the obligatory photo in front of their carved tasting room backdrop and I did end up with a bottle to take home.



The best part about Silver Oak was that in between the rows of vines, they had wild flowers planted. Pretty, but not tasty.



While we did have incredible weather for the time of year, the one thing that was sort of a bummer was that none of the vines had any grapes on them....or leaves...or anything that made them look like they were alive. I guess that just means that a trip back is a must during the summer/fall.



The next stop was to Opus One - a very small, very boutique vineyard whose wines cost $200 / bottle. Let me tell you, if something costs $200 a bottle it had better make certain parts of my body VERY large*. I will likely never buy a bottle, so it was fun to spend "only" $30 to taste. Unfortunately, it was incredibly good. I was hoping that it would taste like crap and I wouldn't ever want to buy it.



On Sunday, my wife "the concierge" had us scheduled to take a number of tours. The first was to the Sterling Vineyard. The best part about this one is that you ride a small gondola up to the main building. My wife is pretty terrified of heights, so I had a good time freaking her out by swaying the gondola car/box/thing. Once she got a little wine in her she was fine (aren't we all?):



Unfortunately though, wine makes me sleepy:



Probably the most fun experience was the tour of the Castello Di Amorosa castle. This is the same castle where the Bachelor was filmed. I don't pretend to watch the show, so I have no idea how many seasons ago it was, but I feel like it was pretty recent**. Hopefully that little Jeff Probst host got to drink some wine while everyone else was sucking face***.



We got the 'extended' tour and toured all 4 levels above and 4 levels below ground. I was continuously on the lookout for vampires, however all that I found were some high school kids wearing white powder makeup. Strange.



Do I even need to caption this one? I think not.



One of the most fun things (for the wine dork in me....and really for ALL of the dorks in me) was being able to do some barrel tasting. As you can see, barrel tasting requires sucking out the wine with some sort of wiener shaped device. Gross.



Castello Di Amorosa holds back a number of bottles of their wine each year. They have them stacked up all over the place - very cool but very dangerous for someone who was named 'most similar to a bull in a china shop' in high school****. I'm thinking of having this one blown up poster size.



Finally, we finished off the trip with a little bubbly, a nice sunset, and a case of dehydration that Dean Karnasas would be proud of.




*Ears
**Asked my wife, it was this past season w/ Vienna & Gia
***Or getting herps vaccines
****No, not really

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3 Miles in American Canyon

I ran!!


Julie at Julie's Running Blog wanted me to take some pictures of running in Napa because she is going to be running the Napa half marathon this summer. Well, unfortunately because I am a tight ass there were no Marriott hotels in Napa that were open, we actually stayed in American Canyon, CA. Let me tell you, it was a TREAT.

Before I dazzle you with the sights of the run, a few hard facts: 3 miles, 22:30 (7:30 pace), foot pain 4 out of 10. I wish that I could say that I had a 100% pain free run, but I didn't. The first mile clicked by fine (in fact, it clicked by waaayyyy too fast) at about 7:20. I had some mild discomfort during miles 2 and 3 which subsided mostly with ice and completely with two Advil.

If Napa is the crown jewel if the American wine world, American Canyon, CA is certainly the part between the nipple and the arm pit. Not stinky, but not fun either.

What American Canyon lacks in Vineyards, it makes up for in Panda Express.

Obviously, the T-Rex heritage in this area of the flea market/strip mall that I ran around is very strong

A random bear statue in front of the flea market

Me trying to scare away the bear


Sarcasm aside, I had one of the best two days in a VERY long time. Stay tuned for a post that promises everything you could ever want: Drinking, a full suit of armor, and me spending most of my future kid's college education.

Friday, March 19, 2010

FFF: San Diego vs Seattle

Unfortunately this post is not going to be arguing the merits of 75 degree sunny weather vs the merits of 50 degrees and rainy (but I'm not biased...at all). I leau of a Funny Photo Friday post, I thought that since I am not running, I'd try to squeak in a running post where ever I could.

After all, when life gives you lemons (Bum foot), you throw them as hard as you can at the person who has whatever you want and steal it from them when they drop it. (I'm going to make a GREAT father some day) Thats how I got my wife, so why mess with a good process?

You see, with my ~2-3 weeks off from running, I have a bit of an issue - at least internally in my head. In 11 weeks I have the Rock and Roll San Diego Marathon - and three weeks after that I have the Rock and Roll Seattle Marathon. *slaps forehead* Obviously I got caught up in the hype of the RnR series medals and bit off a little more pavement than my legs could chew.

The issue is that I was originally targeting San Diego for a run at a new PR. (Note: What the PR is doesn't matter, I could just as easily be targeting for 5:30 or trying to beat the sweeper) Since I took some time off, I am seriously considering making San Diego a training run and pushing hard at Seattle.

So, the question is, which race looks "harder"? Whichever one looks harder I'll likely make a training run / fun run and push harder than a woman delivering a 12 pound baby on the easier one. Because, I want a PR, but I want to work as little as possible at it. Here are the stats:

San Diego:
  • 26.2 miles
  • 300 Ft Net Downhill
  • One large 300 ft hill at mile 10
  • Two small 100 ft hills at mile 13 and 16


Seattle:
  • 26.2 miles
  • 0 ft Net Downhill (start/finish at sea level)
  • Two small 125 ft hills
  • One and a half 200 ft hills at mile 16 and 18


My gut says that the rollers of Seattle will actually be a bit harder and the fact that San Diego is net downhill and most of its hills are up front should make it easier, right?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bike total cost of ownership

I've had a pretty interesting week of bike rides. Of course, just like anyone else, when I say "interesting" I mean bang your head against the wall frustrating.

First, an update on my foot. The good news is that I am 100% pain free while walking. *cue the heavenly music* While I am no doctor, even though I drink as much Dr Pepper as humanly possible, even I know that no pain while WALKING has to be a good sign. I'm going to give it a few more days and a few drinks bottles of wine and see how I am on Sunday. I'll probably try to do a quick 3 or 5 miler in Napa to test it out. Hopefully I'll be sober, but if not at least I will feel no pain.

So, on to the biking. Like I said before, biking has been fun, but just a we bit of frustrating. The reason? 110 pounds per square inch. That is how much air I must put in my bike tires. I am pretty sure that this is just shy of the amount of hot air in one episode of Jerry Springer.

So far this week, I've rode my bike on Monday and Thursday. (I know, not every day like I said, I'll put on the cone of shame.) How many flat tires have I had? Two. That, my bloggie friends, is batting 1000. Good when you are trying to run and not shart yourself, bad when you are biking and don't want a flat tire. An example:

This morning I went for a pretty long bike ride (for me). I pedaled my way through 25 miles of suburban Phoenix. The bike ride itself was actually quite fun - except for all of the snot that CONSTANTLY dripped out of my nose. Luckily, I have no shame and I was a snot rocketing, sleeve wiping, and sniffing more than a coke addict should ever sniff. All was well while I was cruising along at my normal 15.5ish MPH pace (including stop lights) when at mile 21 (of 25) I got another flat tire. 11 minutes and an indescribable number of swears later, I had a new tire and all was right with the world. I ended up finishing with an overall pace of 14.0 MPH. This is especially frustrating because my "biking" time was somewhere around 17.5 MPH average (not including stop lights).

Having yet another flat got me thinking about the total cost of ownership of biking vs running. With both you certainly have to buy food. That is a given. And no matter how hard I try I can't go naked for either because my wife won't let me. So, that is basically a wash. And, since the bike is a pretty hefty investment itself, for my purposes I'll ignore it. (my game, my rules) Here are the two cost lists that I came up with:

Running:
  • Shoes: $90
  • ??? Is that it???

Biking:
  • Tubes: $7
  • Air canisters for road flats: $2
  • Tires: ??
  • Frustration of changing tire while looking like a dork wearing a bike helmet: priceless
So, while it seems like running is way cheaper, it turns out that you just spend your money in different installments. As long as I only go through 9 tubes over a 3 or 4 month period (fat chance), I'll basically break even. Believe me, I'm surprised too. I honestly didn't think about it in those terms, so I guess I should give biking a break and suck up the embarrassment of changing a flat on the side of the road. Besides, it isn't like I don't already look like a tool with running shorts on and a bike helmet, right?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Clampetts go to Napa

While I don't talk about it much on my blog, I like wine. I'm not a full on wine dork - I can't really "smell" fruit, dirt, or even manure (trust me - people claim to smell "gamey" flavors)...I just always smell "wine". But what I lack in skill I make up for in quantity. I like to have a well stocked supply (older photo):



So, after nearly three months of working in San Jose, CA I am finally doing something that I have waited years to do: going to Napa. This weekend, my wife and I will head to San Jose early and will instead hit Napa/Sonoma on Saturday and Sunday. She is on spring break so the timing worked out perfectly. While it isn't the best time of year to go because it is their 'rainy' season, I can only assume that I'll keep myself warm by thinning out my blood to the tune of about 75 octane.

Rubbing elbows with the holy grail of wine makers will be fun, but I can't help but think that I might be in a little over my head with all of the verbiage that they use. So, I'm going to try to drop a few knowledge bombs where I think I can and will use the statement "very fruit forward" as my fall-back option. Wow, this merlot sure tastes gamy. It is like a cow shat in my mouth! *knowledge bomb!!* Again, always using my quantity over quality mantra, I plan on plowing through so many wines that they taste like a fruit party in my mouth.

So, for those of you that have been - do you have any recommendations for good wineries to hit? And, of course by 'hit' I mean get loaded off of 2oz pours of wine and scream at the top of my lungs "It is just farming people!!! You are just growing grapes!!! Gahhhhhhhh!!!"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Busy Weekend - And a ride

I've been told that "this is the time of the year you wait for in Phoenix". While I am not sure of that, all that I do know is that it sure as hell isn't the 115 degrees that are lurking around the corner that you wait for. (E.g. Last summer, on the suggestion of Pat, I had a under 20 (minutes) over 90 (degrees) 5K challenge - success. Gun time was 6:00am - and it was 92 degrees.) Never the less, this weekend was gorgeous and I think that I have the next week to look forward to as well:

While I don't mean to brag**...feel free to ask me how the 6:00am
90 degree temps are in 90 days

This weekend I tried to take advantage of as much of the sun as I could. I know that it will soon be bearing down - turning my skin more leathery than Mick Jagger's face...and certainly more leathery than his pants - so I want to get out there as much as I can.

That said, what is more summertime than baseball!? If you said spring training baseball in minor league stadiums - then you are correct! This past weekend I was fortunate to have a wife that was tired of looking at my ugly mug enough to go to ticketmaster.com and buy some spring training tickets. I believe that while she was doing this I was passed out on the couch in a cold medicine educed coma - so she had free reign of my credit card. I'll be watching the mail for leopard print snuggies. Anyway, we had great (grass) seats that only cost $7 each. That is the only way that a game should be watched - cheaply. We even came within 20 or 30 feet of catching a home run ball. The dork THREW IT BACK!? I still don't understand that tradition. Neither of the teams (Royals and Angels) are even based in Phoenix!? Crazy. Here he is for our online mocking enjoyment:

Keep waiving your hat - dork

My seats, my legs, and my strangely veiny feet. No beer :(

On Sunday, I tackled a bunch of weeds and a stump in my back yard that somehow killed 3 or 4 hours. Since I love to scare all of the neighbor kids at any given chance I have, I didn't wear a shirt. Of course, I didn't even think that my pasty skin would need any sort of sunscreen from the sun. Besides, this early in the season I'm just working on getting a good 'base tan'.

My back SMELLS like "base tan"...which strangely also smells like burnt chicken

Finally, to cap off my busy weekend, this morning I decided to make up for my lack of bike riding with a mid length ride towards the closest "mountain" range near my house (15.5 miles total @ 16 mph). I had hoped to get the entire way there this weekend, but with everything else going on, and the ~40 miles round trip it would have taken, it wasn't meant to be. So, I got up at 5:15 and made it about half way.

The "mountain" I was riding towards
only 6 more miles and I would have made it!

One thing that really struck me was wearing sunglasses in the dark is really not a good idea...but the sun never sets on looking cool everything was really green. Because of El Nino, Arizona has had more rain that normal so all of the little desert spots have really started to sprout a bunch of weeds - my 100% rock front lawn included. You can really tell in the pictures of the sunrise that have a patch of undeveloped land in the foreground:




**Doesn't it always seem that people who say "while I don't mean to brag" always mean to brag?? No exception in my case either I suppose...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Funny Foto Friday: It is Pop

Not funny per-say, but still very interesting in a nerdy kind of a way. Since I am from northwest Iowa, it will always be pop to me. What is it to you? (Poll below)





Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm feeling sick...and am sick of the news

  • I'm sick. I normally don't get sick at all, however over the last 3 months I have been sick twice. (See also my PSA about NyQuil and Wine) Believe me...it.is.annoying. I felt the worst that I have felt all week long last night - and unfortunately that means that I have to put a HUGE fail stamp on my beloved GYAMA. I should have specified, of course, that the only exceptions to GYAMA is if you are sick - and are a wussy like me.
  • I have an interesting development on my foot. It is healing, however it feels... weird. Not weird like the feeling of joy I get when watching the show Cougartown (sooo good) but weird like: When I take a step with it I can feel a ligament rubbing up against something. It feels like a combination of stepping on foam and that feeling that you get when you clench/grit your teeth and they slide against each other. But, it is getting better. If it doesn't pass after a day or two I'll probably have to cough up another copay go get it checked out.
  • If I could figure out a way to bottle the wake-up powers of a phone call in the middle of the night, I could retire immediately. Oh wait, I guess that is just called "cocaine".
  • I like Adam Lambert's new song, "What do you want from me?". Yeah, I said it. Unleash the torrent of laughter. Of course, the eyeliner I could do without - but I don't judge.
  • I may be dating myself as young, and maybe a little inconsiderate, WHY WHY is Corey Haim's death news? I've watched no fewer than 5 newscasts (I watch a lot of news) that had very long segments on him. Haiti can't be doing that good, there are STILL aftershocks in Chile, I still haven't won the lottery, and last night a tornado killed someone in the good old USA. Seriously, the guy from Lost Boys is what we're talking about? I need to watch less news and more Cougartown.