Saturday, December 29, 2007

Out of Competition

I slept way in this morning, and by way in, I mean until 10:30AM. Amanda graciously allowed me to continue my slumber well past her early hour wake-up time of 7:00AM. Well past it. In fact, she was on her way back from a run when she decided to call me at home to see if I wanted a coffee from Spruce. (I love Spruce.) It was that call that woke me up at 10:30. I might have slept until 11:00 otherwise! Did I forget to mention that I'm part bear?

After a fairly slow start to the day (I opted out of the coffee offer), I found myself outside for the first time around 1:15PM. The dogs asked me to take them for a neighborhood walk, since they, too, chose to skip this morning's run with Amanda. We're a smart bunch.

We did one of our regular loops through the 'hood, stopping a few times to dive our heads into deep snow drifts (Luna), to shiver (Blue), and to pick-up some animalpoop (me). The fact that I was enjoying the 31-degree warmth indicates that I've officially made the mental switch that is key to cold weather adaptation. Temps in the forties seem balmy to me now.

Upon return to the house, I spotted a strange vehicle in the driveway. At first I thought some solicitors were too cold to walk door-to-door, and had chosen to drive door-to-door. Then the car's occupants hopped out and introduced themselves to me as USADA doping control agents. Once again, I was being tested Out of Competition.

This marks the fifth time USADA has come to my house (or to Flatiron Athletic Club) to test me outside of an event in 2007. My grand total for tests this year is eight, once you add the three tests I passed at Ironmans.

The agents told a funny story about how an athlete out in California ducked a test they had targeted him for, and he did so by hiding under the blanket on the couch. The agent testing him could actually see him pull the blanket over his head, after she knocked on his door. I laughed at how silly one must be to think this is an effective method of hiding.

However, it's not funny that he is intentionally skipping his test. I do not think he was a triathlete, but nonetheless, he's an athlete who chooses not to follow the testing protocol. He is, therefore, choosing not to play by the rules. This makes him a cheater, and I don't like hearing about other athletes cheating. I know they are out there, in all sports, taking advantage in one way or another; it just makes me sad to hear about it firsthand.

All I can do is to continue providing samples to the doping control agents; to keep submitting my quarterly schedule to USADA; and to hope that more of these cheaters get caught, and are brought out from under their blankets.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We're Heading to Austin!

We have officially made plans to make our trip out of the winter wonderland of Boulder, Colorado. While we will be very sad to leave our newly formed Friday Run Group, and we'll also miss other great things here at home, we are very excited to get going on some warm weather training!

It's been on the horizon for a while now, but the planning has finally gelled a bit, and we're planning to depart Boulder on the 2nd, 3rd, or/and 5th. Hmm... does that sound like a plan that has gelled? I hope to depart on the 2nd, but if I cannot get myself and the car organized, the dogs and I will pull out of here on the 3rd. We bought Amanda a super cheap one-way ticket departing on the 5th, but there is a chance she'll decide to join the three of us for the road trip. Either way, by the weekend after this one, we'll be in Austin!

I will actually be heading out to Nashville on January 25th, to partake of the Southeast Multi-Sport Expo on the 26th. Anyone in the area on the 26th, stop by for a visit:
From there I'll head back to Boulder for four or five days to check in with NA Sports and everything at the home front, including Frisco. We'll have some folks staying here at our house while we are gone, so Frisco won't be lonely.

On the 31st I'll head back on down to Austin to join back up with Amanda, Luna, Blue, and all the Austin crew. It feels good to have a plan!

And for the next week, I had better bundle up! (But not too much!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cannot Get Up

Can. Not. Get. Up.

In spite of my better efforts to drag myself out of bed this afternoon, I was just unable to do so.

Amanda and I had returned home after a chilly early morning run at the club. We opted out of the AM swim practice following the run, in favor of a dip in the hot tub and a nice breakfast. It was one of those decisions that just made sense. We were tired. We were hungry. We were cold.

Once we got back to the house, we thought we'd get changed and head right back down to the pool for a swim on our own. However, we got stalled out by a few distractions: Amanda had to pet her Fluff Friends on Facebook; I read the paper and checked email; and we played around with the dogs a bit. Then, just as we were contemplating the move back to FAC, we got sidetracked... by the bed.

The bed was calling us, and who were we to ignore it!? We jumped in, got under the covers, and before you knew it, two and a half hours had gone by. And we were so groggy when we awoke that we just could not get up. Finally we managed to drag ourselves from the bedroom.

After a short dog walk, we headed down to the club. We did a nice swim, and followed that up with some quality hot tub time. It was a good day, with plenty of relaxing and a few good workouts!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and we're looking forward to laying low once again... after a couple good workouts!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

400 IM

Well, after ten days of soreness, tightness, and general weakness from my push-up pyramid, I have finally returned to normal. Well, I may not be normal, but my pecks are normal again. I actually did a 100 straight of butterfly, without breaking stroke, en route to a 400m IM in the pool this evening. Completing this challenge has proven to me that I'm finally over my last challenge!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Number Three

While typically I am a big fan of the number three, this morning I came across my first reason to dislike it. Three has been my lucky number for quite a while now, and I am normally glad to see its random appearance: on my race number; on my locker number; in my age; in the number of apples, oranges, and plums in my lunch box; and in pretty much everything else. I even used to be number three on my soccer team in high school.

This morning, however, I found a good reason to wish for a different number. As Amanda and I pulled up to the Rez for a short run with the dogs, all four of us were faced with the number three as an indicator of how many degrees Fahrenheit the air temperature was outside. Three! Now that is cold. It's very awful-damn cold, in fact. Sure, it's warmer than two, and it's warmer than -23, but it's still pretty damn cold. This morning I did not like the number three.

Amanda took off with our snow dog, Luna; and I headed off in a different direction with the Blue Dog. We busted out their coats for the occasion, so we were hoping for the best. The Blue Dog is a pretty lean, mostly hairless whippet, so he's not too good in three degrees. Luna, on the other hand, is a furry wire-hair Jack Russel Terrier; one that loves to dive her head into the snow. She is pretty hardy.

Blue and I made it for just about thirty minutes before he, in his dog way, with dog manners and dog tact, told me he was not enjoying himself anymore. We cuddled up in the sheepskin seat covers, and waited for our girls with the car heater blasting.

Impressively, about twenty minutes later, I spotted Amanda and little icicle Luna trotting up to the car. Somehow, after fifty minutes, the sun had not warmed the air up above three degrees. And somehow, these two endured fifty minutes in that three degrees. Impressive.

Watch out, folks: Amanda is motivated, and I am predicting some great races for her in the upcoming season! Even if she did chose to wear running shoes with Yaktrax, while Luna went shoeless.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snow Day

Amanda and I called a snow day today. It was not very nice weather, and we did not really feel like doing another run on the treadmill, so we called a snow day. Just like back in school, we called off all scheduled activities. I was too sore to do much of anything anyway, so it worked out pretty well. Plus, it was nice to just hang out with Amanda for the day. We stayed in our pajamas for most of the day.

I did manage to get an hour of alternative exercising in, however. With all this snow, the dogs had no way to get out the back door, across the deck and into the backyard. I decided it was time to shovel some snow. I stared in the back, and worked my way to the driveway and front sidewalk.

After clearing a nice path for the dogs, for the mailman, for our car, and for the passers-by, I had logged an hour of challenging work. I was sweating, my heart rate was up, and I had tired muscles. It is amazing how much better it is to shovel snow with an ipod!

And I'm logging the hour.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Push Ups

Today started out pretty early in Casa Lovato. Amanda and I headed into the gym to do a 7:00AM strength and injury prevention class set up by Dave Scott. He's taking a break from teaching the class, but he's shown the full routine to a few folks, and they carry on without him. Although there is no substitute for the suffering inflicted by Dave himself in one of his sessions, this group puts up a good effort.

We joined with three others to do an hour+ of exercises cooked up by Dave's masochistic mind. Amanda and I have been hitting the gym, and even doing some yoga, so most of the session was moderately manageable. Just barely manageable, I should say.

However, near the end of the class, the group suggested we do Mel's push up pyramid. My pecks will never be the same. Thansk, Mel. And thanks to the rest of you for egging me on.

Here is the drill, for those of you who would like to play along at home:
1. Do one push up.
2. Stand up, turn 180 degrees to face the other direction.
3. Drop down and do two push ups.
4. Stand up, turn 180 degrees to face the original direction.
5. Drop down and do three push ups.
6. Stand up, turn 180 degrees, to face the other direction.
7. Drop down and do four push ups.

At this point, you have done ten push ups. Continue this pattern, adding one push up per change in directions... until you fail: push ups to failure. My pecks will never be the same.

At the start of the pyramid, the others said getting up to 12 (1-12) would be 78 total push ups. They said that was the max they'd done. They then challenged me to go up to 15 (1-15), which would be 120 push ups. This would earn a free ice cream. (From whom?)

I can never resist a good challenge or dare. My pecks will never be the same. I did all 120 of them; I quivered and shook at the end; I pushed up past my limits, past my comfort; and I did win the ice cream.

Now I'm too sore to move.

Tag Guidelines

Evidently I forgot to say what the guidelines are for being tagged. This means that each person must list five facts about himself (or herself). They can be any five things, thus my strange list of facts.

Have fun.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Yoga, Tornadoes, Marshmallows, and a Game of Tag

It would appear that I've fallen off the wagon... again. I always think I'm going to have more time in the off season to write on my blog, but that never seems to happen. Nonetheless, I'm back.

Yoga is always a part of my off season. I love the classes, I love how my body feels after a good class, and I love to slow it down for an hour or ninety minutes. My friend LT invited me to a Sunday afternoon class, because it's her favorite one. I've invited Amanda and our friend Fee to attend, and now we have a little Sunday afternoon yoga party. I love it. And my tight muscles love it. I only wish I would make time to do this during the race season.

Tornadoes? What do I mean by Tornadoes? Sure, there are a few twisters in Colorado, but not this time of year. Now is the time for blizzards and freezing temps. In fact, it's about 18 degrees right now, and there's about eight inches of snow on the ground. Sucky pants.

There is only one Tornado I am dealing with, and it's called Tornado Amanda. Lately she's been whipping through the house with a whole bunch of inspiration and motivation. She's more driven to get in shape than I've seen her in a long time. Realizing that she needs a more focused December to set herself up for January 1st training has her going, going, going. And having her going has got me going!

I love the fact that she's got me fired up to get out of bed early (we did so all week!); she's got me sticking to a schedule of runs and rides, as well as swims, weights, and yoga; and she's even got us off the holiday food indulgence plan, so we're eating better. People always want to know what it's like for two professional triathletes to be married. Well, it's great: Amanda inspires me to be a better athlete every day.

Marshmallows might not appear to fit in very well here, but they do. They are a topic that needs addressing. Last night at the grocery store, Amanda and I bought some hot chocolate (her idea). Along with that we picked up some marshmallows (also her idea). Since we were on a roll, we bought some Hershey's bars and a box of graham crackers. Pretty sure those were her ideas also. Anyway, in spite of all the good training and good eating we're doing, we still have room for treats. Amanda just made me the most delicious s'mores treat. I love it.

And as for the game of tag, well, I'm late to the party. Surprise. Seems I've been tagged to list five things about me. Then I tag someone else? Five more people? Hmmm.

1. Playing soccer in high school, I was best known for my ability to do a flip throw (front handspring while throwing the ball in bounds).
2. When I was about three years old, while riding in an elevator with my Grandma, I pulled my pants down in front of some women and proclaimed, "I am a boy... see!"
3. I went to school for one semester in Sevilla, Spain; it was there I learned how to make a tortilla de patatas.
4. When I was thirteen years old, a ski shop sales person asked me if I was a Libra, because I could not chose between florescent green and florescent pink. I've been indecisive ever since.
5. I went streaking in five national parks in five days... back in college... with some friends.

Now I'd like to tag Terra, Karen, Cody, Duane, and Zane.