Friday, September 7, 2012

Obama Math: Less Bad > More Bad

Thanks to Larry David for the day's skewering:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Assorted Triathlon Pics

I (thankfully) have done too many triathlons this summer to give each one their own race report.  Rather, I should say 20+ hours a week of Ironman training doesn't allow for elaborate blogging.  I've done 3 more races since my last write-up; Vincentown Sprint, HITS Half Ironman, and the New Jersey State Olympic Triathlon.

Fortuitously, we've had really dry (read: rain free) this spring/summer - which is not great for crops, but is ideal for triathlon races and all-day training rides.

Here's a smattering of pictures from the last 2 months.

HITS Half Ironman (Catskill Mountains, Upstate New York)

Clear, clean, and cold mountain lake.  1.2 mile swim.

Double watches?  Double watches.

Vincentown Sprint Triathlon

 New Jersey State Triathlon - Olympic Distance

Actual finishing time: 2:37:33.  26:00 minutes faster than 2011

Featuring: New buzzed head for Ironman Tough-Guy Image

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grandma's Teeth

The 25 page 'Ironman Athlete Guide' came out this week, detailing all the minutiae that go into the Ironman race.  In that guide was an elevation profile for the bike course.  Observe:

Just shy of 4,000 feet of climbing.  For comparison, Mt. Everest is 30,000 feet.  So, my course isn't totally killer - if you consider that 4,000 feet of climbing is spread out along 112 miles.  The good news is that my legs are as strong as ever.

The bike course is a '2 Loop' bike course, so you ride up from sea level at the Hudson River, ride north through New Jersey and up into New York.  Then back.  Then do it again.

6+ hours later I will be ready to start a marathon  - which usually when I start out for a marathon, that's the only thing I'll be doing that day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hoo Boy, Here Come The Olympics

I read today that Durex shipped 150,000 condoms to the Olympic Village for the Athletes to use.  That's an average of 15 condoms per athlete, for a competition that lasts 17 days.  I should also note that McDonalds has built their largest restaurant ever in the Olympic Village.

Note to self: The Olympic Village sounds like my version of heaven.  Sex and Fries....not neccessarily in that order.

Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke helps us kick things off...


I wonder how she'd do in the Pole Vault?

Monday, July 9, 2012

One Month and One Day

32 days until my first Ironman, at the US Championships in NYC.

A few fun facts as we approach race day:

  • I'm hoping to finish while it's still light out.  Race starts from a floating barge in the Hudson river at 7:00am.  With sunset somewhere around 8:30pm, that would give me around 13.5 hours.  The actual cutoff to finish is Midnight, 17 hours in.
  • One of the unique race logistics of this Ironman is the use of river ferries to shuttle back and forth between parking, transition, and the race finish.  As such, I'm required to be on a ferry at 4:00am.  If you miss that ferry, you don't race.  2:00am wake-up it sounds like?
  • I had my first 100 mile training ride on the 4th of July.  Took me just over 6 hours.  On race day, we'll be doing 112 miles - so if all goes as planned, I expect the bike leg to be somewhere between 6 and 6.5 hours.  Sub-6 hours is kind of a badge of honor for first timers.
  • In this last month I'm planning for two to three more 100 mile rides, and long runs of 14, 16, and 18 miles.  Weekly mileage should be around 200 miles on the bike, and 30 miles of running.
  • Around mile 16 of the run, you cross the George Washington Bridge.  Getting up to the bridge involves climbing 100+ stairs to get your from ground level up to the bridge overhead.  How does one train for stair climbing after 11 or so hours of exercise?
3 sets of these on each side of the bridge.

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it.  Impossible is not a fact.  It's an opinion.  Impossible is not a declaration.  It's a dare.  Impossible is potential.  Impossible is temporary.  Impossible is nothing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Machine

Here's my machine for 2012, outfitted with a new set of Flo Aero Wheels.  This is my race setup, with 2 bottles on the frame, and one aero drink bottle between the aero bars.  *Not pictured - me crouched on it for 112 miles.

Why is it a machine?  At some point you come to a point where there is so much carbon fiber in and on the bike, that it can no longer be classified as a 'bicycle' that you might ride up to the park for an ice cream cone on Sunday.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jersey Genesis Triathlon - 2012 Edition

June in the Mid Atlantic welcomes the return of cocky Yankees Fans, outdoor drinking, and of course triathlon season.  June 2nd was my first official race of the season - the 'Jersey Genesis'.  This was a Sprint Distance Triathlon; .5 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 4 mile run.

It's best to start off small, as I'm building toward the motherload in early August.

I'd ran this same race last year, and came in this year with the goal of beating my 2011 time.  All signs in training showed that I could, just needed to execute.

I got beat up a bit on the swim, as I decided I'd dive right into the main pack and make a go of it.  Bit of a mistake, as I gassed myself pretty quick - and took two or three swift kicks to the face.  Better to stick to my usual strategy which is to lay back 10 seconds, and have clear water to race my own race.

Bike I hammered hard, averaging 22.6 mph.  I had the 37th fastest bike split out of 233 competitors.

Run I also hit pretty quick (for me), averaging 8:46 per mile over the 4 miles.

That gimp looking guy behind me, running barefoot, would eventually pass me.

Embrace the suck.

In the end, I finished with a time of 1:35:14, which topped my 2011 time of 1:39:09.

For the most part, this race was remarkable for how unremarkable it was.  Everything went well, no hiccups, nothing to fret about, and a good early (albeit short) test of where my fitness is at.

Next up:  HITS Half Ironman Hunter Mountain on June 10th...about 4 times longer distance.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More Of This Please

Sirius XM has already beat this song to a bloody repetitive pulp, but the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders get a pass in my book.  

Highlights include:
1.) Cheerleader ballpit (!)
2.) The cheerleader at the :40 mark pantomiming "baby" by cradling her breasts and rocking them to sleep.
3.) My personal favorite; the blonde at the 1:07 mark with the innocent white bikini, but slutty smile.
4.) 1:44, verbatim recreation of that dream I keep having where I'm the Sultan of some oil-rich kingdom, and this is my herem.

Adrian Peterson with one knee is still twice the back Reggie Bush is.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lance Armstrong - Back in Triathlon

7-time Tour de France Champ Lance Armstrong has quietly (or not so quietly) taken his 40-year old body and gotten into competitive triathlons this year. Truthfully, he's 'back' in triathlon - as that's where he started some 20+ years ago - before dedicating himself full time to cycling.

Lance is gearing up for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii - in October of this year. In the last two weeks he's won two 70.3 Events, and has seriously put the triathlon world on notice that he's for real.  Pro triathletes who've spent their whole career working at triathlon are getting put to shame by Lance and his other-wordly cardiovascular system.

This morning he won the 70.3 Honu Half Ironman, breaking the course record by 7 minutes. Respect.


 I also had my first triathlon of the year this morning, and beat my 2011 time on the same course by 5 minutes. Pictures and details of the effort will follow later in the week.

Ironman NYC US Championships (I like to use the full name because it sounds more badass) taining is in full effect for me these days. Training is 7 days as week, 2-4 hours a day.  Currently I'm trying for 100+ miles a week on the bike, 30+ miles of running, and 3 pool sessions of an hour+ a week.  I occasionally also mix in weight lifting, yoga, and a full time job.

Next weekend is my first Half Ironman of the season, in upstate New York.

Weight loss:  Down 17 pounds since January.

UPDATE:  Video from the Honu 70.3.  Add going to Hawaii to my bucket list.

Monday, April 2, 2012

So I Guess This Movie Is Happening. "Ted"

Fuck You Thunder!

Do I have to be on drugs in order to go see this movie? Also, Mahhhk Waahlberg has gotta be 40. Mila is what, 27?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Zou Bisou Bisou (1962)

Roger:  Why can't you sing like her?
Jane:  Why can't you look like him?

Megan > Betty.   Time to clean the rug.

Glad to have you back Mad Men.

Update:  Here is a look at Megan Draper's version from last night's episode of Mad Men.  Why is French so sexy?

Monday, March 12, 2012

We Stopped Dreaming - Neil deGrasse Tyson

One of the more cerebral shows I avidly follow is 'Nova'; PBS's all-things-science documentary program.  One of the hosts of Nova is Neil deGrasse Tyson, who as of lately has become one of the leading go-to talking heads for all things related to science, education, and funding. He's also an Astrophysicist.

Lately, he's been doing a lot of talking about continuing to fund NASA and the space program. Have a look:


It also dawned on me that if one of our Presidential candidates were to put out an ad similar to this - it would be a game changer.

Lastly, I read a statement recently regarding Facebook and Google - which essentially said, 'The brightest minds of this generation are spending all their time thinking about how to get people to click on Ads.'

Sunday, March 11, 2012

2011 Atlantic City Marathon: One for the Thumb, and the Tale of the Phantom Pacer

Editor's Note:  I wrote most of this about 5 months ago, but for one reason or another didn't get around to publishing it until today.

For the past 4 years, our annual marathon has been the Twin Cities Marathon in early October.  It so happened that in 2011 I had a conflicting Half Ironman event on the same day, and thus couldn't be at the TCM.  Additionally, my running group was interested in trying out a different Marathon for 2011 - just for a change of pace.  After some back-and-forth debate over a few different events - we finally decided upon the Atlantic City Marathon.

This was to be the fifth marathon for Josh and I, and the third for B. 

I came into the this marathon better trained and stronger physically than any of my previous marathons.  The aggressive triathlon schedule during the summer saw to that.  It's my belief that my swimming 3+ times a week improved my overall cardiovascular strength, breathing, and oxygen transport.  I had new veins popping out in my legs that I'd never seen before (athletes will be impressed with that.  Women, may not).  The increased biking combined with my normal running strengthened new parts of my legs.  And, oddly, the hurricane that blew through in late summer also strengthened me in an unconventional way:

Typically, I do my weekly 'long' training run out on a river trail - which is extremely flat.  When Hurricane Irene blew through in late August, that running trail got mostly washed out - and was out of commission for 3 months.  Therefore, I had to switch my long runs to different courses - all of which had considerably more hills.  This had the unintended (though fortuitous) consequence of making me far better equipped to handle hills, and further strengthened my legs.

The final part of the puzzle was dieting, and I entered race day at about 181 lbs.  I took up eating Greek Yogurt for breakfast, and probably about 20 eggs a week (mostly whites).  It'd take a personal chef and some monk-like dedication for me to get much lower...but I'll give it a shot in 2012.

Once arriving in Atlantic City, we reserved a floor of suites at The Borgata Casino for our base camp, and managed to leave the poker tables long enough to make it to the starting line.

Atlantic City sits right on the ocean shore at sea level, with most of the marathon course along the boardwalk.  Only the first 8 miles were run on the city streets with a few very modest hills.  The rest of the course was very flat - and we knew fast times would be a possibility.  The holy trinity of fast marathon times are cool temps, flat course, and good hydration/nutrition.

At race start, we had clear skies with a temperature of about 56.  Compared to some of our other marathons where we're shivering at the start and wearing multiple layers - this one was pretty mild, and we started in just our normal running shorts and short sleeves.   

The three of us hadn't specifically planned to run together, and we suspected there may be some differences in our pace (Josh admitted he hadn't trained as often as he'd liked).  By the first mile I was 15 seconds ahead of Josh and B, and started to lengthen.  My main goal was to set a PR, with my previous best marathon time being 4:54. I knew I was well trained, so I set 4:45 as my ideal goal time.  I figured that if I started with the 4:30 pace group, and hang on as long as possible, I could fade a bit toward the end - and still set my PR.

As we got into the first mile or two, the 4:30 pacer lady was keeping about 10 steps in front of me - but I could tell by my watch that she was running faster than she should have been.   In any case, by mile 4 I had passed her - which meant I was running ahead of a 4:30 pace.

Pacers carry these big signs, so you can't miss them.

Around mile 8 we left the city streets and hit the boardwalk.  By mile 9 I found myself running and chatting with this guy 'Blaze'.  It turns out he actually spelled it 'Blaise', and was named after Saint Blaise, who was martyred and beheaded in the 3rd Century (these are the things you learn when you have hours on end to idly chit-chat).  This was his first marathon, but we were keeping a 10:00-10:15 per mile pace - and helping to pace each other.  He had one odd quirk in that he wasn't able to take energy gels while still running.  So every few miles he'd have to walk a bit, take his nutrition, and then he'd run and catch back up with me.  We ran together for probably 10 miles, but he eventually pulled away from me when my pace dropped slightly.

Occasionally the course would double back on itself, and I could somewhat keep tabs on where Josh and B were.  It seemed to me that they ran together until about mile 12 or so, and then B eventually pulled ahead of Josh.

I managed to run the first 23 miles nonstop, which was by far my longest non-stop run ever (by probably 9 miles).  As I've mentioned in all my previous marathon write-ups, when I'm out on the course I become a slave to my Nike+ GPS watch.  Constantly calculating where my pace is at, estimated finishing time, etc., etc.  I also knew that I was well ahead of my goal time (4:45) - and realized that beating 4:30 was possible (something that I'd only considered as an absolute miracle best case).

Furthermore, I was ecstatic that the 4:30 pacer woman was still behind me.  The pacers are chosen because they can reliably run a very specific time - and if you stick with them, they'll get you to the finish line about 1 minute ahead of the goal time.  Therefore, by mile 23 when I hit the final boardwalk stretch into the finish line - and she still hadn't passed me, I came up with a very specific strategy to hit that 4:30 time.  Simply, "When she catches me - just latch on, and you'll beat 4:30."  Simple.

Because I was ahead of even my 'miracle' finishing time, I figured by mile 23 I could take a little walk break.   Though, the second I took those first few walking steps, I had an immediate rush of lactic acid and pain strike my right knee.  It was as though my body and adrenaline had been holding the pain at bay, but when I stopped running - BAM.  I did a few limp/gimp kinda steps, and decided I better start up running right away to prevent any further pain.  Nope. Pain stuck.

Now I was kinda pissed. I'd run this great marathon, and suddenly I had a momentary panic that maybe this odd knee pain was going to sink me with only 3 miles to go.  Luckily, I managed to get my shuffle going again - and while I wasn't pain free, I was able to continue and get back on pace....albeit with the occasional limp and a grimace on my face.  No shame in saying that - I'd run faster and longer non-stop than I ever had in my life; pain is to be expected.

My plan was still in place - wait for the 4:30 pace group to catch me (any minute now), and then just latch on to them and let them pace me to the finish.

Mile 24:  No 4:30 pace group.   Great, still ahead of schedule.

Mile 25:  More walking, still no 4:30 pace group.  I start looking back - thinking I'll see them.  Nothing.

Mile 26:   "Well, I'm still ahead of the 4:30 group - I'll just cruise in, no need to kill it now....

As I crossed the finish line, (at least 20 minutes faster than my old PR), it's a bit hard to tell your exact finishing time right away - as it's all calculated by your computer chip...and not the gun time.  I grab a bottle of water, and decide I'm going to stand at the finish line and watch the 4:30 group come in - mostly because I'm curious how much I beat them by.  Couldn't be long.

5 or 10 minutes later - still no 4:30 group.  Something was up.

I found out the next day that the 4:30 pacer got dehydrated, and had to drop out around mile 16.  She was taken to the hospital by an ambulance....and thus why she never caught me.

My finishing time: 4:30:16    I'd blown away all my goal expectations, and run my best marathon by far - but had failed to beat 4:30 by 16 measly seconds.   I easily left that out on the course, but my strategy of waiting for the pace group meant I hadn't pushed it in those last few miles.  

B also set a Marathon PR: 4:51:08
Josh faded a bit, and finished:  5:15:04

Last thoughts:

  • Took Gu every 4.5 miles
  • Only took 2 Advil on the course.  One of which I tried to take without water (at the time of the knee pain) - and I learned I can't take pills without water.  Lodged it in the back of my throat, and then gagged it back out.  Something to work on.
  • Speed workouts during the summer definitely improved my mileage times
  • Losing that last 5 pounds makes a big difference
  • I did a bit longer taper this year - pretty low mileage that last week (only maybe 6 miles total).  Helped.
  • Carbo-loaded for 2 to 3 days before race day...whereas in the past I really only carbo loaded the night before.  Longer carbo-loading felt like my glycogen stores were really topped off.
  • Wore a visor and sunglasses - a first for both.  I routinely wear both in triathlons, which I think is why I carried it over into this marathon.  Also, on the shore - there's no shade whatsoever.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chris Christie Gets In Shouting Match With "Idiot"

I've mentioned how I'm a big supporter of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and I love the direct way he handles his business...and the occasional hippie who starts bloviating at the oft press conference.

Christie in the White House would be brilliant theater, and I think he'd get a lot done.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


For my money, the best two voices of the past 50 years are Barbara Streisand and Whitney Houston.  I won't gush over either, but I regard Whitney's rendition of the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl as the best of all time. The next time you see some American Idol winner take their a stab at the Anthem, it'll be in pale comparison to Whitney.  Effortless, passionate, inspirational.

In case you're foggy on the details, the Giants won Super Bowl XXV over the Bills by a score of 20-19. Wide right.

Moving right along.

Next, lets hop in the way-back machine, and have a glimpse at 12 year old Christina Aguilera, as she sings Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1992 (Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears singing backup).

XTina Today:
Deuce, Deuce and-a-half.

But, we can remember the good old days....

Still think Madonna should keep doing Halftime shows?  Fuck.

And as foreshadowing, I was lazily lounging in bed this afternoon (post 2 hour spin class, and post-nap), watching 'Coming To America'. Classic in so many ways. So one final tribute by Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate, or, as you may know him - Joe The Policeman, from the 'What's Going Down' episode of That's My Mama....

That boy good.

Friday, February 10, 2012

In Training

My official Ironman NYC training kicked off on February 1st.

My official 'In Training' T-Shirt

Even though it has been a veritable non-winter thus far, it's still too cold and windy to get out on the bike. Thus until spring, I've started taking a couple Real Ryder spinning classes a week. Great workout, and I sweat buckets.  The ability of the bike to tilt and lean does a much better job of simulating a real cycling experience - and also gives an upper body workout at the same time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Your Daily Moment of Zen

Living amongst New York Giants fans is nearly as insufferable as living amongst Yankee fans.  Nonetheless, these geriatric cheerleaders are all the rage.

I'm going to start using that 'mic drop' when I'm done with a business meeting. Just stand up, drop my pen to the floor, and walk out of the room.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

621 / 87,299

I've mentioned I'm a big fan of the Nike+ running products and website. One of the nice things they do at the end of the year is send you a report on your running stats from the year that was.

It'd be frightening to think of my waist size without burning those 87,000 calories.  Excuse me, those 87,299 calories.

I've also got my marathon race report from October, that I'll post soon - I've been delinquent on that front to be sure.