Friday, June 29, 2007

Through A Spy Glass, Darkly

Maybe it's goals week 'round the triblogosphere (see all the IMCDA folks and my sister's post).

It's funny. If one wants to do an Ironman (TM) then one ought to decide upon it more than one year in advance (otherwise one pays the community fund fee if there's even a slot available, or works the "qualify" tactics, or perhaps does some worthy TNT fundraising). Apparently what this means in my life is that now I have to set firmly in mind what I'd rather do than an Ironman, because otherwise I'll get swept up in the emotion and register. I do better picking the next goal before achieving the current one (saves a languishing period), but this is getting silly.

Post-IMMoo 2007, I want to rebuild some strength and improve body composition. My major performance goal is to run my BQ (Boston Qualifying) time.

A complicating factor is that I'm committed to running a marathon on a very slow course in either February 2008 or February 2009.

Backstory: almost two years ago I agreed to do a couple of marathons with friend JK. He wants to be in the Seven Continents Club; I said that I'd run with him in Europe (done - Berlin Marathon 2006 Race Report) and Antarctica. We're on the waitlist for Antarctica 2008 - if we don't make it off the waitlist, we get guaranteed entry for Antarctica 2009.

Upshot: pick a fall 2008 marathon for attempt at BQ.

Additional notes:
- could do early-season 70.3 in 2008 (still hearing the call of Disney)!
- could do more local events!
- just heard that the Cayman Brac Turtle Tri is back April 6, 2008 - Olympic distance race on the smaller island - that should work!


Yes, I'm talking to *you*, IMCDA.

All the best to the bloggy peeps who have signed up. You're killin' me, but no-how no-way am I going to join. Final answer.

IMCDA 2008 is now closed to general entry. Muster of bloggy peeps tracked here by Bigun.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Friend and occasional commenter Nigel sent me a link:
As competitive amateur athletics explode, a new form of gamesmanship is emerging. Millions of people can now say they've run a marathon or a triathlon, but how many people can say they've won one? In the past, that hasn't been easy for weekend warriors who work long hours at the office and lack six-pack abs. Now, some are trying to gain an edge by finding where the fast racers aren't. Instead of training harder, they're spending hours online to scout out the field, and they're driving hundreds of miles to race against thin competition in out-of-the-way places.
Hey, if it encourages these folks in living an active and healthy lifestyle, great!

I'll stick with selecting events based upon things like rendezvousing with friends and possibilities for playing tourist. Oh, and ideally lack of hills!

[ObEcon: Choosing the Right Pond: Human Behavior and the Quest for Status by Robert Frank]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Minor Swim Notes

Morning lane swimming at the pool is now over for the summer. If I'm going to schedule two swim sessions within three days then one must be a sea swim.

I threw in some swim golf at last night's Masters session.
Average time per 50m: 45 seconds
Average stroke count per 50m: 36
Hence an average score of 81.

Better than my last rounds at the end of January and the beginning of February, when I posted average scores of 86 and 87.

Trying to work with increased amount of body rotation; must be mindful of timing of right arm action. Considering bumping myself up a lane at Masters.

Monday, June 25, 2007

When Blog Worlds Collide

After an absence of months, friend David Rotor returned to blogging about procurement and supply chains.

His welcome back post:
the supply squeeze in carbonfibre

Zoicks! Forget about airplanes and F1 cars, what does this mean for bikes?!?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Prioper Proprioception

Pretty much everything about swimming (especially front crawl) is unnatural for humans. As Thomas M. Griener puts it:
For us, swimming involves the use of all four limbs in a way that is completely different to how they are used during walking. None of our walking and running skills translate well to swimming. In addition, our mouth and nose faces in the same direction as our belly, so that the mouth and nose are in the water when we swim. Without taking special actions (such as turning our head to the side) we cannot breath and swim at the same time. This means that for humans, swimming is basically a learned activity. It is not a natural extension of our normal behavior.
There's a massive amount of stuff to get right about body position and motion. Working on a swim stroke is an outrageous exercise in prioper proprioception.

Some of the work we can break down. We can start with relatively simple skills and build upon them. We can use drills to help us isolate specific stroke elements. Nonetheless, there's a massive flood of sensory input to interpret and react to.

Back in January I was experimenting with a Christmas present from my sister, the pool toy known as a Tech Toc. The Tech Toc is an enhanced version of a ball-bearing in a tube. Strapped to my back, when I roll to the side the ball-bearing falls in the tube and "clacks" against the bottom. This gives me an auditory (and tactile!) augment to prioper proprioception - I don't just feel my body position in the water, I get additional feedback!

On Monday I rediscovered another mechanism for enhancing prioper proprioception. Effects from my Saturday participation in the one mile sea swim were still with me - some lingering muscle tightness. Muscles that I use and misuse in swimming were registering almost every stretch, flex, and contraction. Several things that I know go wrong with my stroke I would feel going wrong, with no additional concentration required - bonus!

Amongst other considerations in a workout week, perhaps I should try putting two swim workouts two days apart.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Personal Race Report: Flowers One Mile Sea Swim (June 16, 2007)

It was an awful lot of fun and the weather was extemely cooperative.

Results (from here): finished in 29:59, 129/540 finishers

FINA open water swimming rules don't allow drafting, so it wasn't a day for practicing finding a pair of feet and holding on. Even though I'm back in the pack and so the officials wouldn't see it let alone call it (and if they did a DQ wouldn't matter), it just wouldn't have been sporting.

The course is straight out, from the beach at the Westin Casuarina (at F4 on this map) to public beach across from the Courtyard Mariott, formerly the Holiday Inn (at G10 on this map, just north of the previous map).

It's a mass start. Those gunning for sub-20 are supposed to seed at the front, followed by those gunning for sub-30, followed by everyone else. I looked to put myself immediately behind those gunning for sub-30. Apparently, I seeded myself behind optimists. They bottled me up for what felt like five minutes - maybe only two in reality!

I don't have an established gear for swimming at or just above lactate threshold, but I did crank things up a bit, and I kicked harder than I would in a tri. Being in salt water and unused to unleashing my legs, my kick broke way above the surface - oops.

The sea was calm and my sighting was good. I stayed a ways out from the shore until the three-quarter marker buoy and then angled in; the shallow closer to the beach adds too much to the wave action (and the beach itself bows, so following it would add distance). I'd say wave action was in our favour (again, it's a straight-out course).

The finish is through an archway just off the beach. Since I was in a tight part of the pack, it was a bit of a "free for all" (hah!) coming in. Folks around me wanted to give a final push, so I responded in kind but not to a full-blown sprint. I just couldn't justify bouncing along for 1710 yards and sprinting for 50 - if I cared that much I should have been working harder for the previous 29 minutes!

Looking over the results, I was ahead of those who usually swim in my lane, ahead of a couple of folks who usually swim one lane up, and within a minute of someone who often leads one lane up. About right - on a distance swim I should rank higher than I do in our pool workouts.

Afterward I drank free water, ate free pizza, buzzed around chatting with folks, and then collected my !SWAG! and walked back along the beach 1.5 miles to where I'd parked my car.

Goodness, the women Masters swimmers all look fabulous hanging around on the beach in their swimsuits!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Saturday was the 15th annual Flowers One Mile Sea Swim

This year it served as a fundraiser for young driver education. However, thanks to sponsors, our twenty Cayman Island dollar (approx. $25USD) entry fees still reaped swag:
Above: top row - Cayman National Bank key chain, packet of Hawaiian Tropic sunblock, 2 bottles of Visine, pen labelled "BenGay"; bottom row - Flowers Bottled Water water bottle, Glaceau VitaminWater, swim cap

Above: T-shirt, hat, zippered beach tote bag (personal fave)

Report to follow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

About Those Aero Helmets....

Some folks commented about the aero helmets (and carbon bikes) of the Torontonians in my photos from Florida 70.3

Here's how I replied to Winz via e-mail:

Yeah, but they put up the numbers that keep people from rolling their eyes; cherrypicked results from the Toronto crew follow.
Seanna - WPRO - time 5:00:25
Jason - top Clydesdale in AG M39 and under - time 5:17:30
Rob - AG M40-44 - DNF'd due to running injury - bike split 2:34:19
James - AG M35-39 - time 4:58:08
Blair - AG M30-34 - time 5:01:51
Mike - AG M35-39 - time 4:56:24
Matt - AG M25-29 - time 4:54:48
Cara - AG W30-34 - time 5:15:23

OK, others in the gang aren't as fast (and I'm sure not), but they (we) aren't the ones with aero helmets!

Oh yeah, and another one:
Dave - AG M25-29 - time 4:45:16

The core of the crew are members of the triathlon club at the Toronto Athletic Club; two are personal trainers at TAC and coach the tri club. TAC is high-end; it has a 25 yard indoor pool on the top floor of a class A office tower in the financial district, and the work-out area commands a great view out over the city and Lake Ontario. Unsurprisingly, a lot of members have type-A personalities and are in the habit of setting and achieving stretch goals -- and if they can afford the TAC membership fees they can likely afford carbon bikes and aero helmets!

I'm fortunate to know them. They're a supportive and fun bunch.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hitting the Road

Yet another local cyclist hits the road.


Let's be safe out there!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Old Happenings

Bold tells us:
no pic = didn't happen

So I'll dig out Florida 70.3 2007 meet-up pics. Evidence.

First, brief morning ride on Saturday the 19th with TriJack and multiple Minnesotans - Iron Nick, Iron Girl Nyhaus, Tim, Steve (who said hello as he blew past me on the bike course on race day), and I believe Greg joined later. The Minnesota crew along with other of their peeps are heading to IM Switzerland, and they're going to Rock Zurich!

The ride included a stop at the kids race:

I didn't snap a pic of Major Dave Rozelle accompanying a challenged athlete but TriJack did - scroll down through his post.

Never did get a good photo of this gang, but I had their backs:

The ride went on to the cabin of the Minnesotans in Disney's Fort Wilderness. Coincidentally, they were just about next door to the Toronto crew. So, I switched off and rode for a bit with some of the Torontonians:

Saturday afternoon was an hour sit-down with ShirleyPerly (with husband Dave in tow) and IronEric:

Sunday evening was dinner with the Toronto crew. They had so many folks there was another tableful, but here's the one at which I was seated (my head is turned sideways, poking out on the left, far down the table). Photo credit to Sarah (HalfIronSherpa for David, who was seated across from me).

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Frog Blog

My sister often blogs about her visitors (frequently of the feline persuasion).

When I got home from work yesterday, I saw something like a lump of putty by my front door:

Closer inspection showed it to be a visiting tree frog (or by its scientific name, "climbey frog"):

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Traditional 99 Days Post

When their countdown clocks drop to 99 days people often post.

About 5 months ago, I did just that pre-IMAZ. The assessment that time:
I'll get through IMAZ, but it won't be pretty. Which reflects my priorities reasonably well, I suppose. And that's the way it went.

To summarize my situation this time, I'm:
  • a bit behind on muscular endurance in type IIa muscle fibers;
  • carrying significant excess bodyfat; and
  • limited in capacity to tackle hills.
However, I believe I have the opportunity and motivation to do a bit more than just get through IMMoo. I'll keep you posted!