Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Training buddy John is a member of the Lauderdale Yacht Club. The club has a pool with swim lanes. Its not an Olympic sized pool, but it works for our evening swims. Last evening we had a swim/run brick planned. The pool is in the back of the yacht club which has a bar, food service area, and tables for outdoor seating. As I approach the pool area, I notice that the club is having one of its evening socials. Couples in casual outdoor evening attire are mingling around with drinks in hand, taking offered hors d'oeuvres from waitstaff, and listening to a steel drum reggae band. The crowd has that relaxed look of people that have a drink or two in them and are really enjoying a party. Not New Year's Eve fun, mind you, but a casual mixer type of fun.

I find a table out of the way near the kiddie pool so as not to have my towel, running shoes and car keys get in the way. John is running late as usual, so I get ready, dive in the pool and start my laps. Its a bit of a weird feeling doing your swim workout in the midst of a party. I feel somewhat on display and yet apart from what's going on around me. There is the usual guy who drifts off from the party to have a lengthy personal cell phone conversation. He distractedly walks around the perimeter of the pool as he ignores the party and focuses on his conversation. I can't figure out if he's been dragged to this event by his spouse and is using the call as a party avoidance technique, or if the conversation is actually important. I try to ignore this guy pacing around me and focus on my laps.

John shows up, apologizing for his late arrival. We agree to make the swim a 45 minute swim and to 4 miles afterward. I have a 15 minute lead on him in the pool. Thus, after my 45 minutes of swimming are up, I have a 15 minute wait for Johnny come lately. I shower, dry off and put on my running shoes. I am off to the side of the party, but have nothing better to do than people watch. The crowd is now deeper into their cups and are having a very nice social evening. Then it hits me: but for this ironman training, that would be me at a social gathering enjoying a glass or two of wine on a Wednesday evening.

John and I have discussed how knowing you have a long run or ride the next morning has kept us from accepting a lot of invitations to go out, have a drink or two, or three, and stay out late. No, training for an ironman causes you to think more and more about what you will put in your body, whether wine, a harder drink, or that ever tempting, but not helpful, desert. My weight is down in spite of my increases appetite and calorie consumption. It feels great coming out of the pool, chest a little pumped up from the swim. John & I are probably in the best shape of our lives.

From my vantage point, mid-workout, just outside the party, these party goers look soft. They most likely could not run a half marathon or swim a mile. But they do look like they are having a very good time. I am a bit disdainful and envious of these party goers at the same time. I guess I deserve having other people's good times thrown in my face for doing a swim workout at a yacht club. I vow to continue my Spartan existence until the AZIM. There will be no backsliding at this point. However, once I cross that finish line, I will be imbibing in a drink or two; that is, if I'm not imbibing IV fluids.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Impossible Seems Possible

Three weekends ago, in the midst of Florida's record breaking fall heat wave, my long workouts were killers. I had to cut short my intended 15 mile long run to a 12 miler. My century ride was shortened to a 94 mile ride at the end of which I was risking heat exhaustion and suffered cramping. I had to cut my long open water swim at 1.5 miles do to simply being tired. From that vantage point, the ironman distance looked impossible. I figured I would be able to complete the swim and probably finish the bike portion of the ironman, but I couldn't fathom getting off of a 112 mile ride and running a marathon. I vowed to myself that I would continue training and give the Arizona Ironman a go, but frankly, completing the event seemed impossible.

I kept at the training. Then, last weekend a cold front finally, God blessedly, moved into Florida. The temperatures dropped out of the high 80s and low 90s, down to the 50s. I got a 22 mile long run in last Saturday. I did a long pool swim on Friday morning that buddy John calculated to be a 2.5 mile swim. Yesterday, John & I did very smart steady paced century ride that left me feeling so good that I was able to top it off with a 5K run to make it a brick. This morning, I went to the ocean and did a 2 hour open water swim and ran back the 2.5 miles along the sand.

Suddenly, what previously seemed impossible, seems possible. I felt good enough last Saturday that I felt I could have run a full marathon that day. I felt good enough on the ride yesterday that I believe I could have continued the ride to compete a 112 bike ride. I felt good enough coming off the bike yesterday that I believe I could have run a marathon if it had been the day of the event. From my last 2 swims, I know I can complete the swim portion of the ironman. I'm suddenly coming to the belief and understanding that I will be able to string all of these events together on one day. It will take very smart nutrition and effort management, but I know believe it can be done.

My body has made the adjustments and is ready to do the ironman. I still have a long run and long ride to complete, but my body has made the adjustment. My training is at the peak of the training hill. The next couple of weeks are coasting at the this peak before easing off in taper and resting the body for the event day. This is good, because I now am ready for the final level of training: mental training. Belief is the first step in being able to complete. I now believe this thing is realistically doable. Its clearly possible. Now, I simply need to start thinking about my game day nutrition and strategies. Its time to plan to make the possible a reality.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Do You Feel Like I Do?

Do you I do? Do you feel.... like I do? Do You Feel Like We Do - Peter Frampton

Way, way back in 1976, Frampton Comes Alive was released. I was a junior in high school and "Do You Feel Like We Do" was the hit single off the album. The first 2 short verses of the song were kind of irrelevant to the jazz like extended jam. In the later part of the song, Peter Frampton first hushes the live audience, then brings it to a cheering frenzy with his call and response of "Do You Feel Like We Do?" during an extended "talkbox" solo, an effects pedal which redirects a guitar's sound through a tube into the performer's mouth, allowing the guitar to mimic human speech. It was a marathon of a song, clocking in at about 14 minutes. Not what you would consider radio friendly. Thus, for the first month or so of the album's release, you would listen to this cool, jazzy song on your home stereo and really enjoy this extended jam. People heard about it through word of mouth and the album became a huge seller.

Unfortunately, the song and album got so popular that pop radio couldn't leave it alone. Soon you couldn't drive in your car with the radio on without the song coming up in quick rotation. Like many popular things in our culture, the more popular something becomes, the quicker commercial interests will force it down our throats so often that we want to throw up. Too much of a good thing. What had been cool and cutting edge very quickly became hackneyed and uncool through overexposure. "Do You Feel Like We Do" became the poster child for this phenomena. "Do You Feel Like We Do" would come on the radio and my automatic response was to change the station. Fast! I'd come to resent a song I used to love. To this day, my conditioned response to this song is revulsion.

Other than showing how F-ing old I am, why do I bring this up? Because at some point in training for a full ironman event, the sheer volumn of training starts to wear on you. While you have to enjoy training to do a half or full ironman, at some point the long swim, long bike ride, and long run start getting old. I've noticed this phenomena in other triathlon bloggers. Luckily, the sense of "this shit is getting old" seems to kick in just before taper time. It may be the body's and mind's way of telling you that its OK to cut back. It may be the mind's way of letting you know that you'll want to rest up a bit before the big event. Either that or the mind simply gets tired of routine.

These thoughts entered my mind last evening while doing an hour pool swim solo. If you've read my prior blog entries, you probably know that I prefer open water swimming to pool swims. The up and back of a pool just gets monotonous for me. I like seeing the shore go by on a long swim. It makes me feel like I'm making progress. I guess I'd say the same thing about running and biking. I'll use a treadmill to run if its just too hot or too wet to run outside. I simply can not get myself to ride on a trainer. I tried it for a while, but just can't bring myself to use one. My mind needs the changing scenery to keep it interesting.

In any event, I have no doubt that I'll get through these last couple of weeks of long training before tapering down to race day. I also know that after some time off post event, I will come to love the training again. In fact, I somehow have "Do You Feel Like We Do" on my iPod. I play my music in random play mode to keep things interesting. This morning, "Do You Feel Like We Do" cued up on the iPod. I almost hit the skip button on my car music system, but resisted the automatic urge to not listen to this song. After 33 years of not listening to this song, it actually sounded pretty good again. Hopefully, it will not take that long to get back into training after Arizona.

So, I must ask in closing, do you feel like I do?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Going Back to Gainesville

Yes, I'm Goin' Down to Florida, Where The Sun Shines Damn Near Every Day. Well I'm Goin' Down In Florida, Where The Sun Shines Damn Near Every Day. Yeah, I'll Take My Woman Out On The Beach, And Sit Down On The Sand And Play.

Yeah, I Think I'll Go Down Gainesville, Just To See An Old Friend Of Mine.
Well, I Believe I'll Cut Down to Gainesville, Just To See An' Old Buddy Of Mine. Well, You Know If We're Not Too Busy, I Believe We'll Drop Over to Newberry Sometime. Deep Down In Florida - Muddy Waters

Well, for me it was more "Going Up to Gainesville," but I have to quot Muddy Waters accurately. In any event, this past weekend was Homecoming at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. With my son John a Freshman at UF and a trombone player in the "Pride of the Sunshine State" (the Florida Gator Marching Band), Salome & I decided to take young son Alex and go visit some an old buddy of mine. My buddy Jeff Dollinger, who I attended both undergraduate and law school with, had returned to Gainesville after a couple of years in Fort Lauderdale and had lived deep down in Florida ever since. If its at all possible to imagine, Gainesville is philosophically "Deep Down in Florida," while South Florida is more northern, at least in feel. Gainesville has more in common with Southern Georgia than South Florida. Spanish moss, smaller town feel; yes, Gainesville is the South. Its also a great college town.

Prior to leaving for the five hour drive north from Ft. Lauderdale, I was able to get in a 1.5 mile swim on Thursday morning. I had my doubts as to whether I'd get that swim in last week. The open water had been rough all week. I had contingency plans to do a 25 mile ride, but when I woke up Thursday morning and looked out my window at the inter-coastal waterway, I knew the water was calling. It was finally calm enough to swim with the fishes. While I did get a pool swim in earlier in the week, there is nothing like a long open water swim. I love getting into a rhythm undisturbed by turns required in a pool. Thus, I headed north feeling like my workouts were once again in balance.

We got into Gainesville pretty late, so it was off to my Aunt's house and off to bed. Friday morning, I had breakfast with Salome & Alex, before running 3 miles through downtown, past the University and out the law school to meet Jeff and his son Brian. Brian is a senior in high school and was going to race the Gator Gallop, a 2 mile run that starts off the homecoming parade. I ran it easy with Jeff who hadn't run regularly in a couple of years. He had switched over to swimming as his main exercise, but agreed to run with the Gallop. It's primarily a true "fun run." We treated it as such. All in all, I got in 5 easy miles between the 2 runs. After the run, I worked my way back to the parade route to meet up with Salome & Alex in front of John's fraternity house, Delta Upsilon. Another good buddy of ours, John Neukamm, a former DU President, was also in front of the house watching the parade.

That night, it was off to Gator Growl, billed as the largest pep rally in the country. Growl is largely student skits, introduction of the senior class of the football team, followed by a comedian and some music. The comedian this year was Dana Carvey, who was pretty good. The music was by O.A.R., also pretty good. However, young Alex got tired and we left before O.A.R. finished playing. We picked up older son John and went out to eat at "The Original Pizza Place."

Saturday was all about the football game between the Gators and the Arkansas Razorbacks. We met up with son John and the band and marched with them to the stadium. Jeff had set us up with great seats 16 rows up in the northwestern corner of the end-zone. We could watch Tim Tebow warm up with his receivers, and were surrounded by a charged up crowd. You could probably say that about the whole stadium. "The Swamp" gets loud and is a twelfth man on defense. If you saw the game, you know it was a nail biter. The Gators keep losing the ball in the first half and went into half-time trailing for the first time this year. It was a back and forth second half, with the Gators breaking a tie by a field goal with seconds left on the clock. We all went nuts cheering and singing the Alma Mater at game's end. Afterward, we marched back out of the stadium with the band back to their start area, where they played some more. We again met up with John for anther dinner together as a family.

A cold front had moved in the area during the day Saturday, but it wasn't too cold; however, overnight the temperatures dropped into the low 50s. Ah, yes, the cold front I'd been dreaming of had finally arrived in full. The record breaking heat wave of the last couple of weeks was finally broken. Buddy Jeff had given me directions to a "Rails to Trails" course about a mile west of where we were staying. I found the trail, but went in the opposite direction from what Jeff had intended I take. No matter. The temperatures we ideal for a long run and I had a 20 miler on the schedule. It was sweet. However, I was in unfamiliar territory, so that the end of the run that I planned to run through the UF campus ended up extending my run to a 22 and 1/4 mile run. It was OK by me. I figured I was running in temperatures about 35 degrees cooler than my previous runs and I was going to take advantage of the conditions. The conditions were so runner friendly, I probably could have run a complete marathon. Meanwhile, up in NYC, training buddy John ran his 20 miler in Central Park with temperature in the 30s. Perhaps a little too cold, but he got it done.

So, we are down to a century ride this weekend and our "13.1 + 7 = 20" race in South Beach on Halloween morning. After that, it's time to start the taper down to 11/22/09 go time. Plenty left to do, particularly in the swim department. At least for me. I'd like to get some long swims in with the full wet suit on. It's been too warm in the water to do that prior to now. Hopefully, the cool weather will continue for a while.

Finally, I attach a picture of the new ride. This is for Jen, who has repeatedly requested that I do my civic duty and post a picture. Perhaps she will want a closer look and join in for the northern portion of our century ride this Saturday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mo' Money

I never saw the 1992 Damon Wayans' comedy "Mo' Money" but I remember the commercial with Mr. Wayans repeating the tag line "Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money." That's how I'm starting to feel about this whole ironman thing. It seems that every time I turn around, I'm shelling out mo' money to feed this monster.

Let's step back to about a year ago when we signed up for this thing. Five Hundred and Fifty smackers for the privilege of getting to beat the crap out of myself in a full ironman. Wow! I remember when the New York Road Runners Club upped the registration fee to run the NYC Marathon to $135.00. I was outraged. Most marathon registration fees were in the $90 to $100 range. How dare they jack up the NYC fees to $135.00, I protested. What a naive pre-triathlete I was then. How darling, how cute, how cheap! Now, I feel like its a bargain when I'm only paying $200 to $300 for an Olympic or HIM distance event. Marathon registration fees? What a deal!

OK, enough of registration fee bashing. I'm sure there are a lot of costs associated with putting on an Ironman event. Permits, safety boats, transition area set up equipment, support tables along the course, costs of hiring off duty cops to keep the course open and safe. I can see where it gets expensive to run these events. Besides, they have to raise money for to give those cash prizes to the professionals. OK, I have to admit it. It still seems like a boatload of money. If I was an investor, I'd be looking for an audit. Where the heck is all this money going?

But I labor the point. I look at the registration fee as money spent long ago. Its the money I keep shelling out recently that bring to mind Mr. Wayans' "Mo' money" refrain. I have a perfectly good sleeveless wet suit that I intended to use for IMAZ. When buddy John got the report back for his buddy Carl Rosen about just how cold the water was in Tempe, I decided I better pony up the extra bucks for a full sleeved wet suit. While I was at the tri store, I decided to replace my old bike helmet for a new one. OK, so $300 later, I feel I'm ready to roll.

The next weekend I did roll...over the top of a 89 year old lady's Cadillac. My bike was totalled. As I'm sitting on the ground, I realize I need to buy a new bike. I must say, I love my new Cervelo P2 tri bike. With assorted water bottle holders, lights and another new helmet, I'm out around $3,700. Fortunately, I should get this back from my old lady's insurance company. (I never thought I would ever be able to use the term "My Old Lady" and not feel like it was sexist.) Again, I'm shelling out money, but its not bothering me yet. $250 round trip flight booked and paid for: check. Hotel reservations: check. Oh, the family wants to come out to Arizona too. That's 3 more flights. OK, we should be done.

Nope. After confirming that the Miami bike shop that will act as the drop off store for Tri Bike Transport is still up and running, John & I book our bike shipping fees. Cost of shipping: $275. Cost of transporting your gear bag: another $25. After insurance and processing fees, I'm into for about $320.00. Ouch! It cheaper to send me out to Arizona than to send my bike and gear bag. Well, maybe about the same after the airlines hit me up with those baggage fees; however, those charges are not on my radar yet. Baggage fees, car, hotel and meal costs are off in the future.

I decide to get some new nutrition supplies, some goos and an upgraded set of swim goggles. Mo' money. John was coaxed into signing up for a half marathon at the end of the month in Miami Beach by an woman runner friend. We have a 20 miler scheduled for that day, but John figures we can run the half and add 7 miles to our run after crossing the finish line. John signed up and kind of pushes me into signing onto his somewhat goofy "13.1 + 7 = 20" plan. I give in, sign up, and fork over another $92 bucks to Mo' money!

Oh, I almost forgot, The Clermont HIM was done as preparation for the full IM. That was another $175. The hotel stay in Clermont: $135. The organized ride and hotel in Clermont 2 week before the HIM: $25 and $90. Mo' money, mo' money, mo money! This doesn't even get into the occasional new tri shirt or shorts, new tri bike shoes, goos and assorted nutrition purchases over the year building up to this event.

I now know why people try to get better and turn professional at this sport. Its not for the glory of winning or placing in these events. Its not to show who is the most fit, can log the most training, or can endure the most pain. Its to get a sponsor who will pay your entry fees, hotels, and various equipment and transportation costs. Its either go pro or go broke.

For me, I don't want to add up these costs for a total. It would scare me. What I do know is that if I had any inkling of what this whole venture would end up costing me, I don't think I would have signed up for it in the first place. I also know there are no money back guarantees on an ironman event. I'm all in. I vow to keep diligently working on the training. Its the only way I've got a chance to finish and get a return on my investment.

In training news, I did a 25 mile/5K bike/run brick this morning. I needed it to re-establish my self respect after Tuesday's anemic 30 minute open water semi-synchronized bobbing routine. I need calmer seas for a proper long swim. Choppy open water does not allow me to focus on my technique. This weekend, I'll be in Gainesville for UF's homecoming. A cold front is supposed to come through the area, bringing lows into the low 50s/upper 40s. I'm bringing my running gear and plan on getting in a 20 mile training run.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And the Heat Just Keeps on Coming!

When John & I signed up for the Arizona Ironman last November, we figured that we would get to do our long runs and rides during the month of October. We expected the Summer heat to have dissipated and cool mornings greeting us as we logged our longest runs and rides. We figured the water temperatures would cool enough to allow us to start practicing our open water swims with the full wetsuits we know we will need for the cold river water in Tempe in November. The weather gods have not cooperated.

We hear from our friends getting ready to run the Chicago Marathon how its literally freezing in Chicago. Meanwhile, we continue with a solid week of record breaking hot days the entire week. I end up cutting my long run Thursday morning somewhat short to a 12 miler due to the heat and my dehydration. Saturday morning, I go to the beach for a planned 2 hours open what swim, but am greeted with rough seas. I return home, do a 10K on the treadmill and go watch my son's soccer game at 10:30 AM in a heat that wilts the young soccer players.

Saturday afternoon, John & I travel to Miami to verify that the local bike shop that Tri Bike Transport uses is still in existence. The shop has changed hands, their web site is not active and the phone number is disconnected. When we get finally get to the shop located in Coral Gables, we are pleased to find the shop indeed is still in business and the staff well informed about the whole bike transport situation. We are not so lucky at the triathlon store, Tri Village, located even further south. John wants a new full wetsuit, but we show up just at the 5 PM closing time. While I'm able to buy some new goggles and some nutrition supplies, the clerk is unwilling to spend the time it would take for John to try on a wet suit. The guy must of had a hot date planned, because he is unwilling to give us the extra time it would take to try and buy a wetsuit. John is not pleased with this lack of customer service. He will not be purchasing a wet suit from Tri Village. Given that we drove down from Fort Lauderdale to southern Maimi-Dade County, I concur with his decision.

As I scope out the Sunday morning weather, I see it will be another in the string of hot days reaching into the mid to upper 90s by 10 AM. I make several calls to fellow riders, but get no takers to my offer to join me in my century ride. John decides he will do his 2 hour swim Sunday morning and his long ride on Columbus Day. Having my own business, I don't feel I can kill half a day on Monday and stick to my plan to ride Sunday.

I start off with 3 other riders, but they all decide to cut the ride short. At about the 20 mile mark, 2 of our group turns back. At mile 25, Tony turns. He is in taper mode for his half ironman in Austin in 2 weeks. I can't blame him. I find a group of 3 other aerobarred tri riders and get a little more of a group ride. But by mile 35, no one is going further north to Palm Beach. I'm on my own. As Tony said before he turned at 25: "Trianing for a full ironman is a lonely pursuit."

I had never made the ride all the way up A1a from Fort Lauderdale to the end of Palm Beach. Its actually a very pretty ride along the Ocean in Palm Beach with patches of shade trees along the way. However, there are also long stretches of open exposed roadway with the sun beating hotter and hotter as the morning progresses. I miss the Texaco gas station my trainer Penn told me about. Fortunately, I have a third water bottle on board and can make it back to another refueling stop. As I work me way back south, I note that there are fewer and fewer bicyclist on the road. Its just too hot to be doing a very long ride and all the smart riders are near the end of their rides or already home. Only an idiot would go on a century ride on a record breaking hot day. That would be me.

I keep working the fluids and nutrition and think that perhaps this is good training for Arizona. Who knows, it might be this hot in Tempe during my the ride portion during the middle of the day. As the miles progress and the temperatures continue to rise, I decide that this is not such a great concept. With every traffic light I have to stop at, I squirt my helmet and head with some water. I'm no longer concerned about heat conditioning as I am about heat exhaustion. I get toward the end of my ride and start to think that I could possibly pass out from this heat. Its near high noon. I decide to cut me ride a bit short and shave 6 miles from the century mark. I finish up at 94 miles and pull into my garage. I go directly upstairs into my bathroom, peal off my riding jersey and shorts and turn on the shower, making sure to keep the water cold. The rest of the day, I keep drinking water. I take a leak once.

Meanwhile, John did his 2 hours open water swim that morning starting about 7 AM. He reports back that the water felt warm. It was clearly too warm to even think about trying out a wet suit. As he planned, this morning he did his century and found it to be similarly hot, hot, hot. At one stop light on his return portion of his ride, he tapped on a drivers window. When the guy opened his window, John asked, "Can you share some of that air conditioning, buddy. Its really hot out here."

The seas were too rough again for me to attempt my 2 hours swim. I also feel like I needed a day to recover from the body slam the heat delivered to me on Sunday. I'll watch the conditions and give it a go in the next day or so.

Speaking of the Chicago Marathon, friend Miranda Jamieson ran a 3:33:42 in Chicago on Sunday in 30 degree temperatures. That's a Boston Qualifier. Way to go, Miranda! By the way, if you could bring some of that cold weather back with you, I'd really appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Your Current Weather

Partly Cloudy
Feels Like

As I check the local forecast on the Weather Channel web site, this is the reading with which I'm greeted. I'm checking to see what it will look like for a long evening run. Let's just say, it does not look promising.

Its October, the time of year that things start to cool off.
As David Letterman said last night, "I was walking through Central Park this morning. Its getting kind of cool out. It was so cool, I noticed a squirrel had frost on his nuts." Well, down here in sunny Fort Lauderdale, I can assure you there is no frost. We are in the midst of an early Indian Summer or late Dog Days of summer. Its hot! I'm not looking forward to a long run in this sauna. I'm training for Arizona in November, not the Badwater Ultra-marathon in July.

When I check the hour by hour forecast for the early morning, it gets all the way down to 79 at 6 AM. It will feel like 86, but it will at least technically be below 80. Yeah! While I can manage bike rides in these conditions with a bit of a self generated breeze, running is another story. Not that I look forward to my weekend century ride that will take me near the noon hour. Last night, buddy John & I got together for a night pool swim at 9:15 PM. It was still fairly hot and humid at that hour. The water was the only escape from the mug. When your choice is between 78% humidity and 100% humidity (the pool), you choose 100%.

John has a trip to New York City planned for next weekend. He plans to run a 20 miler in Central Park. Earlier, I was critical of his planning a trip out of town during this peak training period. Now, he's looking like a genius. Enjoy the run in the cool northeastern weather John, but watch out for those squirrels.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Running Out of Time

The new fall television lineup has been playing for a few weeks now. I have no idea what new shows are worth watching or what is happening on shows I used to watch. With the constant demand that ironman training puts on me and the need to turn in somewhat early for bed to get enough recovery sleep, I have no time for regular television viewing. I tried to use TiVo to keep up with late night shows I tried to keep up with, like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but after a while, I realized I was just filling up the hard drive and not getting a chance to watch much of these programs during the summer months. I was able to keep up with Rescue Me and Entourage on a delayed viewing basis, but that was during the summer when the ironman deadline was further away...and scheduling that viewing time was a bit of a chore.

Now that we are into the fall, with youth soccer and college and pro football, there is just no time for downtime. I've got several good books I'm in the midst of reading, but reading time is hard to find. By the way, even though I'm not even half through it, I can recommend Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It the story of a reporter who travels to Mexico’s Copper Canyon region to explore the running habits of the Tarahumara Indians, arguably the greatest distance runners in the world. My stack of unread books gets larger as I tend to only consult triathlon training books and get a glimpse of the morning paper. My Wall Street Journals and Barron's issues go largely unread. I image time to do blog entries will get harder to find.

Getting out to see a movie? Dream on. I'd love to see Matt Damon's new film, "The Informant," or Ricky Gervais' "The Invention of Lying," but the best I can manage was to take my young son Alex to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." Kids movies are always good for a little recovery nap. I do manage to squeeze in a college or pro football game, but its usually background noise to doing other home tasks. No sitting down and actually watching a full game. Who has the time?

On Saturday, I drove back to Ft. Lauderdale from a seminar in Tampa to have my wife announce that we were scheduled at the last minute to go to a friend's house for a French themed dinner and a showing of the couple's summer trip to Paris. Since Salome & I are going to Paris in April for the marathon, I wanted to attend to discuss Paris. However, our son John was in town from Gainesville and we wanted to do dinner with him. So, we agreed to attend at 8:30ish and catch the slide show presentation. We arrive to find the dinner party was only on the soup course of a several course French dinner. While I love long dinners with wine, by 10 PM, I realize this party is going on to the wee hours of the morning and I've got a 6AM bike ride scheduled. We excuse ourselves and I get home to bed by 10:45PM.

The 70 mile bike ride Sunday morning was a great ride with a couple of the stronger riders in my circle of riding buddies pushing me through my paces. But the point is that its getting hard to fit in both a social life and triathlon training during this crunch month of October. I just got off the phone with buddy John to try to coordinate some long runs, rides and swims. With both of our busy schedules, its getting harder to do joint workouts. We alternatively refer to our training partner status as "VTB" (Virtual Training Buddy) or "ATB" (Actual Training Buddy). It looks like there will be more VTB workouts in the coming weeks.

As we discussed the need to schedule century rides, 2 hours open water swims and 20 mile training runs, John mentions that he can't wait for Thanksgiving when the AZIM will be behind us. I respond that in December, I plan to do nothing but go to holiday parties and catch up on my reading. I'll think about returning to working out after I recover from New Year's Eve.

So, when it comes to ironman training, there is normal life and ironman life. I feel a bit like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein as he asks Marty Feldman what brain he took for the Frankenstein monster. "Whose brain did you get?" "Abby something." "Abby who?" "Abby Normal." Yes, for these last 2 months before IMAZ, you can call me Abby Normal. I'll be exercising a lot and sleeping when I can. I'll hope to keep up on work and my son's soccer games. Other than that, I'll have little idea what's going on in the news and not a clue about what's hip culturally. Someone take note and send me a nice Christmas letter to get me back up to speed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Impulsive Registrations: Miami 70.3 on 10/30/10

You may be right, I may be crazy.
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for.
Turn out the light, Don't try to save me.
You may be wrong for all I know,
But you may be right
. You May Be Right -Billy Joel

I have always been a proud South Floridian. While I live in Fort Lauderdale, one of my favorite Marathons/Half-Marathons is the Miami Marathon in late January. When the course was announced in the fall of 2002, I signed up for it immediately due primarily to the beauty of the course. Starting off next to the cruise ships along the Macarthur Causeway, a run through South Beach, back through downtown Miami into Coconut Grove, and finally a run back to the finish along palm tree lined Brickle Avenue, I knew this would be the most picturesque marathon in Florida. I've run either the full or the half each year of this race's existence and recommend the race to any of my running friends looking to escape the winter cold and see a beautiful Miami course.

Now the people who choose the locations for the Ford Ironman 70.3 Series have chosen a half ironman course in Miami that takes into account much of the beauty that is the Miami Marathon. So, even though I have yet to complete the AZIM, I've already signed up for a half ironman over a year from now. I suppose its a little crazy or an act of faith, but I don't want to miss this event. I'm in.

Here is a description of the course from the web site for any of you blogging buddies or Facebook friends that might be interested in the event. I love company and have room at the house for some out of town guests. Register now if interested as these events close out fast. First come, first booked at Casa de Paradise. You may click here or on this blog title to take you to the web site.

SWIM- Participants will swim 1.2 miles (1.9 km), which will be held in the protected waters of Miami Florida. Spectators and athletes will have a great view of Watson Island and The Port of Miami at the beginning of this race. Water temperatures are expected to be between 76-78 degrees (24-26° C). The transition between the swim and bike will take place at the beautiful Bicentennial Park.

BIKE- The majority of the 56-mile bike course encompasses the quiet, scenic communities of Miami. The athletes will head north to Watson Island making a loop heading back south to Homestead. During this ride, the athletes will pass great architecture work consisting of classic and modern mansions as well as a mini tour of the Mediterranean Style City of Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, and Pinecrest.

RUN- The running course takes athletes on a 13.1 miles (21 km) run alongside the waters of Miami. As the runners make their way through this course, they will experience one of the most popular and beautiful ports around the world; Port of Miami. This is where most of the cruise lines depart to make their way to their destination points. On the opposite side, there will be the gorgeous Watson and Star Island. The course will consist of a two loops with the U-turn at Macarthur Causeway.