Sunday, January 27, 2013

Silly Sunday #4

Silly Sunday #4

For this Silly Sunday I would like to introduce you to my little friend, Garmin.  
Training got put on hold yet again with a cold I had that wouldn't go away over the past two weeks.  Thankfully I was able to get back to it this past week and my plan called for a recovery week that made it easy to ease back in.  
Totals for the Week
Swim : 1 hour, 5 minutes
Bike: 2 hours
Running : 1 hour, 40 minutes  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Silly Sunday #3

Silly Sunday #3
For this weeks installment, here is the Portlandia skit that had me laughing and saying "what in the world is this ?" all at the same time.  I shared it with my office and now everyone in our department has a bird in their office.....

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bike Training

How to Turn Your Laundry Room into a Bike Training Center

As most know, triathlons consist of swimming, biking, and running.  This keeps things interesting and also requires you to do multiple types of workouts through out the week.  My current schedule includes 2 swims workouts, 3 bike workouts, and 3 run workouts.   

Balancing family, work, and training is a constant struggle, so anything that allows you to be more efficient with your time is beneficial.  To save some time on my bike workouts, I use a CompuTrainer and my laundry room.  This basically is bike trainer with a computer on it that allows you to program how much resistance is applied to the rear wheel and this determines the intensity of your workout.  This allows me to save time because I am not driving somewhere to ride my bike three times a week.  I just walk to our laundry room/bike training center and start peddling. 

Laundry Room / Bike Training Center

Birdseye View
As you can see the trainer holds the rear wheel stationary and you engage a the resistance device against rear tire and this determines the intensity of the work out based upon watts.  I also have a fan set up to blow against the rear tire since the resistance can build up and cause the tire to warp.  At $50 a pop for a new tire, the fan helps the tire last a little longer by reducing the heat on the tire.  The little yellow box on the handle bars is what controls the resistance.  You can push the plus or minus buttons to increase or decrease the resistance as you are working out. 

The in-the-wall ironing board makes for a nice computer/fan holder.  Glad the previous owners had that installed. 

I also use a web based program called Trainer Road that allows me to create custom workouts and then communicates with the CompuTrainer to adjust the wattage at the specified time.  (ie 150 watts for 10 mins, then 200 watts for 5 mins, etc)  The software also allows me to capture my heartrate, cadence, and distance from my Garmin devices for each workout.  These stay on my bike whether I ride on the trainer or on the road, so this is very nice.  CompuTrainer requires the use of additional equipment to get this data, so Trainer Road makes it much easier and doesn't require anything else to be plugged in or set up on the bike. 

You might be wondering how do you not go stir crazy while sitting on the bike for hours on end.  Well that's the third part of my little set up, Netflix Streaming.  TV series that I didn't catch while they were on TV are great for helping the time pass by.  I got through Firefly, Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy so far.  If you have any suggestions for more, leave a comment below and I will check it out.

Starting up the workout..

Check out that focus..this is how 2/3 of my bike workout are completed.

 Once my bike workout is complete, I shutdown the computer and turn off the CompTrainer and grab a glass of chocolate milk.   I always use the laundry room for my two bike workouts during the week since they are usually run an hour or little more than that.  My long ride on Saturday's are at least two hours and this becomes more of a challenge to stay indoors.  Cold, rainy or the need to ride in non-daylight hours make it easier to stay in, but it takes a lot of focus to get it done.  The longest ride I have done is 3 hours and that was no fun at all.  

The CompuTrainer does provide a better quality workout than riding on the road since you aren't slowing down for traffic lights and you can have a very precise workout thats hard to duplicate while riding on the road.  Not to mention you eliminate the car vs. bike danger, which I have heard one to many of over the past year..  However, I am looking forward to when the weather and our schedule allows me the time to get back on the road.  There is nothing like an early morning bike on country roads..I can't remember the last time on rode on the road.  

Anyways, so there is the glimpse into how I get my bike workouts in during the week and how I am preparing for one third of Ironman Florida. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Silly Sunday #2

Silly Sunday #2 


Second installment of silly Sunday for your enjoyment....Last week was the dream of the 90's, this week its the dream of a different 90's...Try 1890's. 
Training was non-existent this week...picked up cold that is still hanging around and learned that no good deed goes unpunished.  Lets just say that trying to help my previous employer out over 8 months ago has been a mistake I shall not repeat again.  My reward is that I get to spend a day away from my current employer doing a deposition on behalf of my previous employer.
Also skipped the Houston Half Marathon for the first time in seven years :(   See reasons above for my poor excuses.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How to Sign Up for an Ironman

Signing up for Ironman Florida (IMFL)

The place for the race in November 2013

Many ask why do an Ironman in Florida(which is held in Panama City Beach (PCB)) when there is one in your backyard (The Woodlands).  Why add about nine hours to your drive to the race site, not to mention the added cost of hotels, meals, fuel, etc?   Well, I can think of a few.  

1.  Swimming in Lake Woodlands for over an hour doesn't appeal to me.  Murky water and finishing the swim in a canal thats about 3 feet deep isn't cool.  I much prefer the ocean even if that includes the risk of some waves and jellyfish. 

2.  Running a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles in May in Texas is not something I want to attempt for my first Ironman.  I will take running a flat course in November. 

3.  The Woodlands (the town) seems to be developing an attitude against the event there.  After the second Ironman there in 2012, there was lots of press about how the businesses around the race and residents were complaining about the race.

Signing Up for the Race

There are 13 Ironman races in North America and 4 of those races are not in the United States and one of them requires qualifying.(A little race referred to as "Kona").  That makes eight races..factor the ones inside of driving distance from Houston and you are left with Ironman Florida if you don't want to do Ironman Texas.  (Ironman Louisville is in August and was not considered.  See #2 above.  Not to mention that tacks were thrown on the bike course this year by the locals, see #3 above)  

Ironman Florida is a popular race for beginners since its a flat course for the bike and run. Add that its in November and its one of the most popular races to sign up for.  This makes getting registered for it a little bit of a challenge.  Sign up for the race happens fours ways.  

1.  On the day before the race, current year participants can sign up for next year's race onsite before anyone else.  

2.  On the day after the race, current year volunteers can sign up for next year's race onsite.  

3.  On the day after the race and after all volunteers have signed up that want to, anyone can sign up onsite. 

4.  If spots still remain, online registration starts at 12pm on the day after the race.  (Online registration sold out in 2 minutes this year)

Online registration lasted about 15 minutes for signing up for 2012 IMFL, so knowing that I wanted to do the race in 2013 (the boss had signed off on an ironman race for 2013, to be discussed in another blog on its own) I knew that I had to go volunteer at the 2102 IMFL to be able to sign up for the 2013 IMFL.  

Thankfully I was able to talk a couple of good friends of mine in doing this with me, so I wouldn't be doing this alone.  One friend lives in Houston with me and the other is in Colorado.  So me and my Houston buddy drove across four states on Friday to Florida, volunteered at the event on Saturday, and then signed up for 2013 event on Sunday.  My Colorado buddy had to be a little more creative in getting to PCB.  He was at disney world the week before, so after getting his family on the plane on Saturday (race day) he drove from Orlando to PCB, volunteered Saturday night, signed up Sunday morning, and then drove back to Orlando to fly back to Colorado on Sunday evening.  

Panama City Beach 

I was curious on what the city was going to be like when we arrived their on Friday evening since I had never been there before.  Upon arrival I immediately thought back to my spring break trip in high school to Myrtle Beach, S.C.  
Did someone say spring break ?  
There are lots of miniature golf course in really a lot.

One of the many....
There is also a Ripley's Believe or Not that makes for a cool sight...

The other attraction...not sure if its a part of Ripleys or not  

So with that you know what PCB has to offer you should you choose to go their on vacation.  That and some pretty awesome beaches.  Too bad all the high rise condo buildings put a damper on its beauty.  

The Volunteer Experience 

Since we were kind of late getting to sign up for volunteer spots, we didn't have a lot of duties to choose from.  The one place that had room for three volunteers was the medical tent shift from 5:30pm to 11pm.  I thought this would be a somewhat easy job with little hassle.  

However, upon the start of our shift I was a little shell shocked when I walked into the tent.  

Inside the medical tent
Our shift started at the time when the "fit" athletes were finishing.  This is were the folks that really push it and put themselves in some serious danger when things don't go right.  I saw one dude being rolled in that was just shaking uncontrollably and several others hunched over a waste basket throwing up.  My first thought after seeing all of this was "what have I got myself into"... 

The hurt

We were quickly put to work.  Cave got to sit behind a desk the whole night and surf the internet while he checked participants in.  Lance and I were assigned the duty of security.  Security for the medical tent means that you are placed at the exit of the medical tent and get to tell worried family and friends of the participants in the medical tent that they just have to wait till their loved one comes out and they are to remain on the other side until they do.  The porta-johns were also in the back, so in addition to the pleasant smell that developed over the evening we had to tell several participants that just finished twelve hours or more of exercise that they couldn't use these porta-johns since they were for the medical tent only.  This was hard since several folks literally hobbled away to the other restrooms across the parking lot.  All in all it wasn't too bad and I got to speak with several participants to get tips for 2013.  

Highlights from the evening 

1.  Dude that literally slept in the medical tent for over two hours.  At one point, I asked one of the nursed to check on him to make sure he was alive.  He miraculously awoke around 11pm and walked away with his very worried wife.  

2.  The verbal altercation between two strangers.(PG-13 material below)  Worried mom comes up to us telling us that her daughter was released and she has no idea where she is.  We tell her that we have no information about who comes in or is discharged, we only know that everyone that goes in the medical tent comes out here.  She starts to freak out a little bit when some random dude waiting for someone else looks at her and says, "Whore".  The lady is kinda of startled as are we.  The guys says it again and the lady answers the second insult with, "well, you are a jackass".  She then walks away and Lance and I look at each other and thinking did that just happen.  Needless to say we were shocked and glad it didn't get physical.  

After our shift was over, we saw the final finishers and then we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.  We got up early to get in line for sign up.  We arrived about 2 hours before registration opened and there were about 200 people in front of us.  Thankfully, they opened registration early and we signed up by 9:30am.  

With that Lance picked up some new socks for the ride home and we made it back to Houston.  

Lance's New Socks

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Silly Sunday

Silly Sunday 

I thought I would start the week off with some humor for everyone who reads this blog and couple that with my training stats for the week.  Please don't take this as me bragging about my training.  This is an accountability tool to help me stay focused through out the next ten months.  Besides I am really slow and there ain't no pride in that.:)    

So on with the silly....Since Portlandia's new season just started I thought I would share my favorite segments from the show each week until I run out of favorites or find something else to share..I start with my first exposure to the show and probably one of my favorites.  

Enjoy your moment of zen... 

Training stats of the week :

Swimming : 44min 48sec
Bike: 1 hour 57 min
Run:  2 hour 56 min

This is really light by the way...I gots to do better or I am going to be toast come November.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Private Hunting Club Experience

 So this next post should be considered a companion piece to my previous post about public land hunting.  Its a nice compare and contrast work.
One of the benefits of working at a place where the CEO likes to duck hunt and has a private hunting club is that even lowly accountants get to experience the "posh" hunting experience from time to time.
After Christmas wrapped up Charles(work associate and friend) and I headed down to Rockport for an afternoon hunt, an overnight stay, and a morning hunt before coming back to celebrate New Year's Eve in style at an outlandish party thrown by the most influential people in Houston with the most decadent offerings of food & wine. (read the Boss and I watched Duck Dynasty and was asleep by 11:00pm)
Back to the hunting...Upon our arrival to the dock, we were driven by airboat out to our blind.  The north wind had pushed alot of water out and the water was scarce.  I was glad we had an airboat, otherwise it would have been hard to get to any of the blinds.
Someone forgot to take a picture of the airboat...

Once at the blind all we had to do was set up the mojo duck and get our gear ready from some blasting. 

Mojo ready..notice the dry land between the decoys and the blind courtesy of a strong north wind.
Put some decoys behind us to try and take advantage of the little amount of water we had.
Charles ready....
Charles and I ready to blast...
Jellyfish and marsh grass...this is usually under six inches of water.  The water went out so fast the jellyfish got stranded.  For some reason I think this picture should be called "Hairy Chest". 
After we hunted for a few hours, the airboat came back and picked us up to take us back to the dock.  It was a tough hunt with the birds not really wanting to decoy, but I was able to get my limit of redheads.  
We went back to "The Barn" to get cleaned up and then we were able to dine at the Yacht Club.  It was very good and a nice way to end the evening.  Once back at The Barn, it was a little of football watching(Poor Romo...) and then off to sleep and do the whole thing over again in the morning.
Good crab cakes...
Beats a tent cot....

All in all the conditions didn't lend us a good hunt on either day, but it was nice to get out and try to blast some ducks and enjoy the "posh" hunting experience.  It doesn't take any where close the amount of time & energy to hunt this way compared with public land hunting.  However, my public land hunting experience has produced a lot more dead ducks on the average over the years.   Both experiences are fun and I am glad to be hunting a little more now...
Oh yeah..the whole Ironman thing..I added a countdown clock to this site to keep me in check of the reality that IM Florida is 300 days away.  Training is starting to get much more consistent and the posts will start to turn towards that now that duck season is about to be over :(