Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012 IMLP- The Run

I've had a decent Ironman swim. I've had a decent Ironman bike. Just for the record, I have never had a good Ironman run. Ever. Period. End of story.

In the past, I have known going in to the run that it was going to be a challenge. Sort of like a preemptive excuse. The first year was, well, my first year. Or I knew I was under trained. One year I hurt my quad playing softball before the race. I no longer play softball. Then it was a knee problem. Or I pushed too hard on the 2nd loop of the bike. It was always something.

This year, I had no real excuses. I did my training. I had no injuries. When I got done with the ride, my legs felt great. My spirit was high. I am ready for this run. I am a moron.

For those of you who don't know, the run leg is 26.2 miles. The distance alone is a feat. To say that it becomes a challenge after a 112 mile bike ride is an understatement. The ideal way to handle the run is slowly. Like, tortoise slow.

I have gone out too hard in the past. In Lake Placid, running too hard early on is incredibly easy. There are a couple of nice downhills right at the beginning. Running downhill is a cakewalk but it can wreak havoc on your quads. I needed my quads. So, I kept it slow. As I was starting my run, I had a mantra, "Control, control. You must learn control." (I even used my best Yoda voice.)

About 0.25 miles into the run, I got passed by a pro on his 2nd lap. It was Pete Jacobs, who was sitting comfortably in 2nd place. I read about pro triathletes and I see their pics (Pete is on the left). The media coverage doesn't really do them justice. Pete is a big guy. I stand at 5'10 and he towered over me. He was a lean, muscular man and I was envious as to the ease of his gait. Quick, I had to say something. Now, I'm kind of a tool. Perhaps I was low on blood sugar (completely plausible after that bike ride). All I could think of was, and this is a direct quote I promise, "GO GET 'EM, DAWG!"

I assumed that he was in a zone and immune to the nonsensical gibberish being spewed from fans, even if they are in the race. Nope. Pete actually responded to me. And what came out was just as much of a surprise as his stature. "Naw. He's way to far ahead," said Pete with a dismissal smile and a wave of his hand. Holy crap. I just had a mini conversation with a pro. He addressed me personally, after I called him 'Dawg." His thick Aussie accent only deepened the surprise of the moment.

In seconds he was gone and I was left with, "Control, control. You must learn control." I trudged on down the hill at about 1/10th the speed of the mighty Pete. After the gradual decline, we turned right and hit the real downhill. Called Mill Hill, it's rather steep and hurts going both up and down. We rolled through the small villa. Then hit the second big hill, which is unnamed to the best of my knowledge (although I'm sure that some of the athletes have given it plenty of names, most of which aren't PG enough for this blog). In the pic at the right, you can see a bridge at the end of the hill, this marks a left hand turn and the 2 mile mark. This far, my mantra is working. I am still feeling great.

There's something about an Ironman that removes you from the reality in which the rest of the world lives. You are so focused and intent on reaching your goals that you miss out on some of the real wonderful things in life. Lake Placid is a stunning place. Running technique has you focused on the ground roughly 20 feet or so in front of you. Once you make that left hand turn, all you have to do is point your head up and you are graced with this:

On your left is a farm that rescues horses and nurtures them back to health. Out in the distance is some breathtaking views of the Adirondack Mountains. They are dotted with the beautiful blue sky and fluffy white clouds. It really is a shame that many people miss this, including myself.

Shortly after entering this section of the road, I had another pro encounter. This time is was with the 3rd place bloke, named Romain Guillaume. He snuck up behind me just like any competitor. And, just like the tool I am, I ran with him. I was running with a pro. He is the human photo negative of Pete. Romain is small, light, almost elven in his silent way of running. He was clipping nicely at around a 7:15 minute mile pace. This is certainly within my skill set, at least in the short term. I decided to hang out with Romain for about 1/10th of a mile or so. The reason, the Finisher Pix guy was just up ahead. You can spot him easily as he's the dude sitting in the middle of the road with a camera. I was about to get my mug taken with a legit athlete.

I ran with him step by step. I tried to enlist him in conversation. Alas, he no speak English. See, he's from France. Had I done my research ahead of time, I would have known this and spoken to him in French. Even if I had picked the correct language, I doubt I'd have gotten much chatter out of him. He was focused on his race, probably missing the scenery, and definitely annoyed that some doofus refused to back off. Luckily for him, the picture guy was just up ahead and there was another runner on the course. Since pic guy was in the middle of the road, the 3rd guy (left side of the pic on the right) had to move out of the way. He moved right into my running path and forced me to slow. Dammit. He photo bombed my shot with Romain.

That move was a blessing in disguise. I needed to reduce my speed. "Control, control. You must learn control." Yoda was still displeased with my decision. I slowed from a near 7 minute mile to my pre-planned 8:30. Life was good.

At one point during the run, I was trudging along and I was passed by another runner. This is/ was/ will not be anything new. In the spirit of triathlon, running is easily my weakest link and therefore I will get passed. I was diligently running the tangents on the curves of the road and some dude ran by. For the most part, triathletes are the greatest people on Earth (just under the volunteers). This guy was no different. He shouted out words of encouragement as he flashed by. Actually he said, and I quote verbatim as his words are forever emblazoned on my mind, "Wow, it looks like you are out for just another Sunday stroll."

And ya know what, he was right. I was 5 miles into the run, had 21 miles left and repeating the mantra "Control, control. You must learn control" thinking that I had solved the problem. I was just out for a Sunday stroll. My pace was slower than normal. My spirits were high. I was still feeling great. I was enjoying the scenery. We were on a road. Near a river. Hence "River Road". Get it. I did. It really is a good place to run.

The turn around is near mile 6. I got to undo all of the doing I had just done. No problem. I was following my hydration and nutrition plan. I was controlling the pace. Everything was in place until mile 9. Here's where the fun started...

Most muscles in your body do work by contraction. The opposite of work is called relaxation. Should a muscle contract on its own, viola, muscle cramp. Every now and then, my quads would cramp up. Then, I would yell at them. Cramps would go away. We continued this for a mile or 2. I was now at mile 9 on the run.

While the striated muscle that lined either side of my femur was trying to decide how they felt about my continued forward progression, my sphincter muscles were making decisions of their own. The human body has several sphincter muscles, mostly associated with your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When contracted, a sphincter muscle closes a tube. When relaxed, it opens a tube. The most famous of these sphincters, the anal sphincter, is a really great insult. And, starting at mile 9, it started insulting me.

"Control, control. You must learn control" started to take on completely new meanings for this run. My comfortable pace had slowed to an uncomfortable squeeze. There are aid stations at every mile on the run. I successfully hit the porta potty at mile 9, mile 10, and mile 11. Stopping in the middle of a run for a bathroom break wreaks havoc on your average pace time. My chance for a PR was starting to slip into blue sanitary liquid.

Not to be outdone, my esophageal sphincter joined the fun. This is the muscle that keeps the stomach closed off from the esophagus. Translation: I now wanted to hurl. My body was looking for an excuse to halt my forward progress. When the leg muscles failed, the body sent the army from behind. When that failed, it sent the forces from within. My spirits were down. Way down.

Despite my discomfort, I kept going. However, I needed a new mantra. "Control, control. You must learn control," was not as inspiring as it once was. I changed to, "Running, even slowly, is better than walking." My 8:30-9:00 minute pace had gone to 10:30-11:00 pace. I was happy. Why? Because, "Running, even slowly, is better than walking." (I'm starting to buy into this positive thinking thing.)

I ran- slowly- for most of the way up. Sure, the stomach was rebelling. The bowels completed the GI pressure. The Ironman is more than just a swim, bike, run. It is an obstacle in which many small decisions add up to enormous success. Or enormous failure. I was still hopeful for success. Granted, I was sweating profusely as compared to my effort. But, I was making forward progress, which at this point was all that mattered.

Near the halfway point, there is a special needs bag drop. What seemed like 85 hours earlier (really it was only 8 at this point), I dropped off a medium-sized white bag labeled with my race number and stuffed with 3 gels and a pair of socks. My feet were sloshed in my own perspiring excrement. I was feeling miserable. I wasn't hungry. I thought I would get salvation in some dry footwear.

There are a bunch of volunteers manning the special needs area and 2 of such (maybe I looked desperate) coddled my every need. They reached into my bag and removed my items while I sat down on the ground. Please understand that sitting during an Ironman is a very bad idea. Very bad. I had 127 miles on my legs. You can only imagine how sweet the sit felt, even if it were on rough asphalt. I instantly felt like getting up was not an option. Luckily the volunteers were as motivating as they were helpful.

I removed my left sock. Much to my amazement, the lady volunteer stuck out her hand as if I were going to hand my disgusting remnant of a foot covering to her. I couldn't do it. No matter how much she insisted that it was no bother to her, I refused to allow her to handle this item. Human decency must have its limits. I placed my stinky in the bag myself, donned my left sock and reapplied my shoe. It was time to do the right. As I removed my right shoe, I started crying.

Remember when I told you about involuntary muscle contraction? Well, my right leg decided to prove science correct. The entire gastrocnemius muscle, AKA the calf, decided that super-extra, involuntary contraction was the best route, while I'm sitting on the ground. I stretched my leg. I rubbed my calf. It felt like a solid brick. I still refused to give my dirty sock to the volunteer despite my pain. I pocketed my gels and tried to stand. Nope. Back down for another round of "Rub out my pain". The volunteers, bless their hearts, had no idea what to do with me. I didn't know either. I tried to stand one more time, with the assistance of my 2 newest best friends, this time successful. I tried to put weight on my right leg with much less success. I limped on.

For the third time during the race, I needed a new mantra. "Running, even slowly, is better than walking," didn't seem to apply anymore. I couldn't run if you paid me. I had 13 miles left to go. I couldn't walk. I couldn't eat. I had a constant urge to poop. I had to make a decision whether or not to continue. I was in the most convenient place to stop, roughly 3/4 of a mile away from transition. There I could find medical assistance. There I could find comfort. There I could find an end to my misery. Dropping out was a real consideration at this time.

Then, I looked about 10 feet to the north. Between the place where I limped and Mirror Lake was the incoming bike lane. I had traveled this path on my bike roughly 2 hours ago. There were still people biking in from the course. Not just a couple of people, but many of people. They were smiling as if they were happy to be done with the hills, which is probably really close to reality. They weren't giving up. Neither was I. I made the decision right there that I was going to finish this, no matter what my body told me.

I started walking. I mean hobbling. As a science guy, I know how to conduct an experiment. My goal was to answer this question: How can I orient my legs most efficiently whilst experiencing the least pain? I tested several different hypotheses until I found the one that worked the best. This process took a couple of miles. I didn't mind as I was heading back downhill for round 2 on the run course. My right calf, once every 100th step or so, felt kinda alright.

It was also during this time that I experimented with different food stuffs on the course. The Ironman aid stations are a catered buffet. They have water, gels, ice, fruit, pretzels, cola, cookies and probably more stuff that I can't remember. I was looking for something that didn't make my tummy hurt so that I can get some calories in me. I tried some pretzels. Failed. I tried some oranges. Failed. I tried some Perform. Failed. I tried some grapes. Failed. I tried just plain water. Success- until you realize that h-2-o has no calories. By this time, it was getting later in the race and they were ready to pass out the chicken broth. Success- until you realize that chicken broth has little to no calories.

Now that I had something in my stomach that didn't make me want to puke, I was able to look around and start appreciating the race again. My body had mostly become numb to the discomfort. Running still seemed to be out of the question but walking seemed manageable. I noticed that there were several others with similar race strategies. Meaning, I was surrounded by many other walkers. And almost all of them were faster than me. Even in the world of the walkers I am pokey. I didn't care. I had a new mantra, "I'm going to enjoy myself."

I did happen to slowly pass exactly 1 person- Tony. He was from the New England area and was a slower walker than me. He told me, during our time spent together, that he had a knee problem and didn't want to push it.  We hung out for the next 6 miles. I slowed to his walking pace and couldn't have been happier.

We worked the crowd. Shared some laughs. Thanked the volunteers. We walked slowly. I had completely forgotten how much I hurt. Funny how sharing your misery will do that for you. Only, I wasn't miserable. "I'm going to enjoy myself," held true for me.

Tony had some great ideas which never came to fruition. All of them involved running. For example, he would say, "Let's try running at _____." (Insert sign/ special needs/ turn around cone.) We never did. We kept on walking, joking, and enjoying.

After starting the run in 228th place, I dropped down to 1212th. That means nearly 1000 people passed me on the run. Ouch had a second meaning. My finish time was a Banter slowest 13:38.

I had learned a new appreciation for the people who walk long distances. It is HARD. I would much rather run the marathon than walk it any day. I did walk the mile in someone else's shoes and I didn't like it. But, I did finish the race. I did enjoy myself. I am once again, and always, an Ironman.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WW- Slow Motion

This is the last official week of summer, according to the school calendar. While most of America has been in school for several weeks now, New York has a different idea. Let's start after Labor Day. Which is next week. Meaning this is the last week of freedom.

According to regression theory, the longer one is removed from from a skill the lower one's skill set becomes. Triathlon is a skill. I doubt I would ever take 3 full months off of training. Learning is also a skill. Now matches the longest period of a learning free environment that the students and I will experience. Translation: we are borderline idiots. (I may be a complete idiot. The jury's still out on the kids.)

Therefore, things are moving a little bit slower for me. Training is slower. Life is slower. You may not know this, but my typing is a little bit slower. So, just in case you have learning regression, the slow typing may actually be an advantage. Lucky you.

My specific learning regression my help explain my lapse in posts. (Okay, there's a completely different reason for that, which I'll explain in my second post after this one.)

Just in case you are suffering from slow motion in spirit, mind and body, I've got the thing for you. This is what awesomeness looks like in slow motion. This is what life is like for me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012 IMLP- The Bike

After getting passed by fellow Rochestarian (seriously, that's what they call people from here) turned Pro Jennie Hansen, I ran towards transition. In enter the chute and find my bag.

Here's the bag system: Your "bike bag" has all of the stuff you need on the ride. In my bag, I have a helmet, sunglasses, race belt (complete with race number firmly attached), cycling gloves, and shoes. All gear were placed in my helmet which was placed on top of my shoes. Plastered to the bottom of the bag was my chamois butter, AKA crotch cream. I, of course, needed to know none of this. In the changing tent, they have hired the most wonderful valets to help dress/ undress/ redress you. I refer to these people as "The Most Awesome People on Earth" but officially they are called volunteers. I basically reclined on my plastic, rental fold-up chair and let Mr. Awesome do most of the work. He dumped out my bag, placed the helmet on my head, handed me my glasses and gloves.

Much to my disappointment, he refused to apply the chamois butter. In his defense, he did accept the task of taking all of my swim gear and placing it in the bike bag. Further, he did this as I ran out of the changing tent with my hand down my pants.

Once in a while, a different Awesome Person will have your bike waiting for you as you run by. No such luck for me. I was stuck finding my own bike. Luckily, it was racked near the end cap making it a rather benign experience. By the time I got to my bike I was well lubed, had my helmet chin strap buckled, and had donned my gloves. My bike nutrition was already on the bike. My water was filled up. I was ready to ride.

The initial part of the course it treacherous. It is very downhill with sharp turns giving you a slalom-like feel. The first year I did this (wow, back in 2007), I did this stretch in my aerobars. Either I am smarter or more of a coward, but I just won't do that now. I stayed firmly on the pursuit bars until I made my way into calmer waters.

As you can see, the initial downhill portion doesn't last very long. Some of the roughest climbs are placed early on in the ride. Many people have a habit of feeling fresh and excited during this stretch, which ends around the 8 mile mark. I swallowed my ego and let these people pass me. I decided that a good spin would serve me well in the long run. I stuck to my race plan, which was to attempt a 5:45 in the ride. I had lots of time to kill.

If you look at the map, find the word "Olympic" and follow it down to "Keene". Then, look up at the hill profile to the spot where the hill bottoms out. That's an 8 mile stretch of virtually no pedaling and super high speed. I reached a top speed of 48 mph on this stretch. This includes a headwind attempting to slow me down.

At the town of Keene, we take a left hand turn and get back to reality as compared to the average triathlon course. It is mostly flat with a few rolling hills. On race day, this meant a tailwind. There's nothing greater than a sweet tailwind. In regular triathlons/ training rides, I average around 20-22 mph. Between Keene and Jay, I averaged roughly 23.5 mph. I am not that fast. This was further proved by the fact that I was being passed by many, many people.

What helped me out was athlete number 755, Erica. She passed me during this stage but ever so slightly. Now, I'm a stickler for the rules. Triathlon rules strictly forbid drafting and "you must maintain a 3 bike-length distance between you and the hottie in front of you" (verbatim).
Erica was traveling at a pace in which I could handle and I did not mind, ahem, hanging out at 17 feet behind.

Erica was perfect in many ways, however, the Banter was able to pass and out climb her. See, after the town of Jay, you reach a town called Upper Jay. You pass this town, follow the Au Sable River and come back to the town of Upper Jay. I am a firm believer that this town is poorly named. It is at the bottom of the hill. It marks the "ascent". This picture doesn't do the initial climb justice. What you are supposed to see is a 8-10% grade climb that endures for the about the next 2 miles. Everyone on the course, except for maybe the most skilled of climbers, is in their smallest gears and still pedaling hard. I was no exception. Still, I forced myself not to kill the pace and tried to spin at as comfortable of a pace as I could.

Working in my favor, I believe, was my cycling endurance. We, as a group, had already completed about 35 miles at this point and had done a fair bit of climbing. I maintained my patience and refused to hammer. Yes, people were passing me. Yes, there was an entire peloton of riders that I refused to join. Yes, I maintained my regular nutrition and hydration plain. I was, thus far, having a good ride.

At some point between Jay and Upper Jay, I had this though, "I'm riding on borrowed energy." See, I'm a pseudo-science geek. I know that elementary physics has this thing called the "Law of Conservation of Energy". Basically, it states that what goes up must come down. The problem is that I already went down. The down portion was expressed as Kinetic Energy, AKA all of that speed. The Law requires that I must give it back. The climbs are Mother Nature's way of restoring the balance.

Well, the 2 miler from Upper Jay to the town of Wilmington was just the tip of the ice berg. Remember, I had an 8-mile drop at the beginning of the ride. That vertical distance must be restored and I'm six miles in the red.

At the town of Wilmington, the nice profiles of the Adirondack Mountains, should you care to look around. (Here is one of my favorite landscape pics taken from a small bridge in Wilmington.) Seriously, people miss the beauty of the world when they are caught up in the Ironman. Pitty.

Even worse is the fact that this is where the pain starts. From that pic back to downtown Lake Placid is roughly 11 miles. Almost all of them are uphill. On race day, exactly all of them were against the wind. All of that speed I had gained on the downhill and flats was about to cash in on my legs.

To make matters worse, this is also the worst stretch of road for smooth pavement. Not only are we going uphill, but we are in a section of road that I lovingly refer to as the "CrotchiNator". It's sort of like the Terminator but exclusively focused on your perineum. There are obstacles of all kinds. Potholes? Check. Grooves in the pavement? Check. Expansion cracks every 10 yards? Check. Any stretch of road that is smooth for more than 100 yards? Nope. It's figuratively insult to injury. I repeat my cycling mantra and spin on.

There are some cues that the hills are coming to an end. First, there are these hills called the Cheeries and the Bears. I'm not sure why they have those names but they are obvious. There are 2 Cheeries; Big Cheery and Little Cheery. There are 3 Bears: Mamma Bear, Baby Bear, and Papa Bear. Papa Bear marks the last major hill before you hit town. It looks like this.

As you can see, the road is less than could be desired. The hill just keeps going. Worse, the hill doesn't end at your sight limit. There is a sharp right hand turn and the hill continues to go up. On the positive side, the are people. Like real Homo sapiens. Lots of people line the street giving you a Tour de France feel. All of them are singularly rooting for you to make it up over the incline and to complete your journey. It's easy to get lost in the moment.

Lap 2 is where everything calms down. Except for the wind. Meteorology 101- surface winds can be caused by uneven heating of the Earth's surface. As the sun increases in the sky, uneven heating increases. Therefore, more wind. More wind equals slower speeds.

To make matters worse, the winds were in our faces on the downhills. Free speed just got a little less, um, free. The upside- the wind was pushing us on the flats. The flat section is between Keene and Jay. The Au Sable River- East Bank is on our right. This is now the 3rd quarter of the ride. Life is good.

For all practice purposes, Jay is not a good sight. That town marks the ascent. It sucks the first time around. On round 2, the legs are more tired. They are not dead, but the dagger has been inserted. As the course turns around to head back into Placid, the winds smack you in the face. While going uphill. The dagger twists.

Road conditions still suck
I have bonked at this stage in the past. Not today. I'm, oddly feeling great. Granted, I'm not going very fast. At one point, a dude fly fishing on the West Bank, while wearing full blown hip-waders, may have actually walked past me. I didn't mind. I have studied this course and race extensively and I know that there is a marathon to follow these hills and crappy road. Having made numerous mistakes on this portion of the ride, I sat in. Spin spin spin. At no point during the ride did I feel like I was pushing. I kept everything under control, just like I planned.

As I came back into town, I was greeted by all of the crowds. And, for the first time in the day, I got to see the Wife and dogs. I missed her on the first time around. She yelled as she hung out around Mirror Lake. With all the athletes, spectators, and commotion, the dogs were as excited as I've seen them on race day (see photo to the left).

My goal for the ride was a 5:45. I came in at a comfy 5:55. The winds slowed me down that much. The highlight was that I felt better than ever. I had dropped from 143rd place to 228th place, which I find completely unfathomable. There were at least 100 people that passed me in the peloton on on lap 1. Other than Erica, I can't remember passing another person myself. Yet, the data doesn't lie. I was poised for a great race indeed.

Next comes the real challenge- the run.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WW- Coolness

I like that word, "cool". It's one of those multiple meaning words that most people don't understand. For example, as it relates to temperature, cool simple means that an object has less heat than a comparable. An ice berg is teeming with heat but compared to our body temperature, it feels cool. (Consequently, our bodies have significantly less heat than an ice berg. It's a mass thing.) Your air conditioner doesn't really add cool (this is scientifically impossible) as much as it removes heat. But, the house feels cooler and we have yet another excuse to not go outside.

Another meaning of the word cool is the opposite of lame. John Travolta was cool, at least until he made those talking baby movies. Then he was lame. Then, after Pulp Fiction came around, he was cool again.

I, for one, have never actually been cool. I've always been lame (this blog is evidence for those who need convincing). Therefore, I can spot cool people from a mile away. They are simply nothing like me.

For those of you who don't know me too well, I understand that my description of cool (Anti-Banter) is rather vague. Fret not, I've got visuals. Here is a guy who is cool to the core. If you want to be cool, study him. Mimic him. You will never achieve his coolness but at least you know how cool one can be.

The Bar has been set.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WW- Ode to Mo

Note: Blogger is not acting its normal self. I apologize in advance for the crappy formatting in this post. I hope to fix it in the near future...

Okay, I think I have figured out my writing funk. I'll get back to you in a short while as to it's logistics. I suspect that it's a bit more complicated than I had originally intended, but isn't that the way it is with everything?

One reason for my lack of blogging motivation was definitely not the Olympics. I am quite sad to see them go and there was so much happening that would have been fun to write about. I did watch the men's and women's triathlon in their entirety. I clung to pretty much whatever NBC opted to show me. I came to the conclusion that, in order to get air time, the sport needed the USA in a medal round, water, running, or scantily clad women.

It was not completely bad from that perspective, assuming you had the patience to sit through the commercials. One of the great stories of the Olympics 2012 was some of the feats accomplished on the track. Yes, the aptly named Mr. Bolt did his thing. But, I firmly believe one of the great races of the Games came from Great Britain's own Mo Farrah.

 If you don't know Mo, then let me fill you in... The dude can run a 10k fast enough to be considered flying. And, he's had a lot of practice. It seems like Mo has been running his entire life, not all of it for glory. You see, despite his appearance, Mo is constantly getting into trouble. Running is his escape pod. Luckily for us, there has always been a camera on him, capturing his escape.

See, Mo runs away from a lot of things. Most of which are documented here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WW- Great Britan in the Olympics

Like most everyone else in the world, I am glued to the excitement of the Olympics. The US of A is doing quite well in the medal count, rivaled by China. When I'm not rooting for the USA, I look forward to a good performance from the home team. The British, the pleasant hosts of the games, are doing better than expected.

They have already ruled in triathlon (ok, that was expected) and hammered in cycling (ok, that was expected too). Yet, in the overall medal count, that are not the world leader they once were. I think I know why.

See, Great Britain has made some interesting decisions on selecting its athletes. The Brownlees of triathlon and the Wiggins of cycling was a no brainer. However, some of the other competitions were a little more controversial. Here are some of their profiles. It's no wonder they aren't bringing home the hardware.

How much weight?

Poor mobility to his left

He's probably not a fish

Suspended for beta blockers

He stole that medal

Illegal pommel

Really a man with make-up

Saddle sores

Refused to release the baton
Ok Brits, this is how to win. Take a lesson from none other than Lego Michael Phelps. He knows how to get it done.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WW- Writer's Block

I have writer's block. It's partially mental and partially physical.

The mental part is in relation to the number of ideas that I have floating around in the inner space of my mind that's more space than anything else. I currently have no less than 7 posts started and am gaining very little ground in accomplishing what I want to achieve. But, they are off to a good start so I've got that going for me.

The physical blocking starts with the fact that I am teaching a period of summer school (more proof of my lack of intellect). I could be having an all-day's worth of very little moving and no responsibility. Nope. Now, I have to get up and go to work. Plus, I am training again. Hopefully, someday soon, I'll tell you about my up-and-coming races right after I tell you about my last races. Until then, I have been arising at 5:00 am in order to get in a workout. Then another short workout after work. Followed by dinner. Finally, there's currently something going on in London which has captured my attention.

I'm surprised as to how many people have come up to tell me that they watched cycling in the Olympics. Credit NBC for actually showing the cycling events (one of the few things I'll cut them slack in regards to their Olympic decision making). They know I'm a triathlete and therefore ride a bike. It's exactly the same thing.

Spoiler alert: The Americans didn't win any of in the long distance road races. We did nail the ladies time trial. Go Kristen Armstrong. (USA! USA!). The American bloke, Taylor Phinney, took 4th place in both road races. The winners were all European with no measurable upper body strength.

Perhaps it's not Taylor's training that's the problem but his extracurricular activities. The Europeans are know for their total immersion into the bike. The bike dominates their life. They're also pretty good dancers. Taylor, and you, need to learn this dance: