Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Interesting Reading

2006 WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibition list

Yeah, we all know about steroids and hormones...I was more interested in the more common items. e.g. Would aspirin in certain dosages be on the list? So far the most interesting (intriguing) limitation is for Alcohol. The three most lenient "sports" are:

Billiards (naturally, actually maybe the level is a minimum, not a maximum)

My god, you can be too drunk to play Boules (the french version of bocce or lawn bowling), but you're fine to fly or drive an Unlimited Hydroplane.

(oh yes, and only men are prohibited from taking Gonadotrophins; "A hormone that stimulates the growth and activity of the gonads, especially any of several pituitary hormones that stimulate the function of the ovaries and testes." This is known as the East German Compromise.)

May I mombo-dogface to the banana patch?

v. to start many things and finish none.

And which math major calculated the cost "savings" from partially staffing projects in Asia? .25 times the salary, 10 times the time. Hmmm, not a real bargain is it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

And now back to our regular programming...

I have bad days running. Yes, my bad days are as bad as your bad days. I might be a little faster than you most times, but I ache and struggle and sometimes consider stopping. The biggest edge my experience gives me is knowing how to adjust my goals for the workout, and the workout itself, in order to still find something of value. Sunday was just such a day. I started out fine, but within a couple of miles "the wheels started falling off." I had planned to run 11 miles at 1/2 marathon pace (currently about 6:45 per mile), but that wasn't happening. At mile 3 I started walking.

I wasn't throwing in the towel, however, but rather than try again to run long and somewhat quickly, I changed to a shorter run, focusing on leg turnover instead of speed, and attempted to find a rhythm. I did so because my experience has taught me that if it isn't there by three miles, it's not showing up today. I threw in two more walk breaks during the run and covered 8.5 miles. By the end I had found my rhythm, and was feeling better than I had a when I started.

What's the lesson here?

When things aren't going as planned, just re-evaluate your situation. Instead of continuing to try and do something that isn't working (beating a dead horse, the definition of insanity, etc...), even if it has worked in the past, adjust your goals and try to make something out of your situation, even if it isn't the something you had originally planned.

Making something out of nothing can be very rewarding, possibly more rewarding than achieving your original goal.

Points system?

Here's one for the Political Science majors out there.

The U.S. seems to spend so much time trying to show other people the "right" way of democracy, also known as our way, that we miss the flaws in our own system. I think there is enough of a body of evidence concerning our electoral process to determine that public office is more often than not won by the biggest suck-up douche bag. This is not a Republican bash, actually far from it. Both parties are guilty. Think back to our last election: Bush or Kerry. Now how in the hell did we get stuck with that choice? The Sh-t Sandwich or the Turd Burger.

I think the problem lies in the basic premise that the founding fathers really had a clue what they were doing. When was the last time you belonged to any club or organization, which when tasked with defining it's own leadership structure, didn't bung the whole thing up?

Thus I propose a system similar to professional cycling, tennis, golf or NASCAR, any number of sports really; a points system. You earn so many points for actions towards the greater good, and lose points for, well being a douche bag. Every four years the leader in the points ranking becomes President. Okay, so many details need to be worked out, but hey it's a start. It puts the emphasis on deeds and spreads the selection process out over an extended period eliminating the "impulse purchase" of a President.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Is man evolving?

We've made unthinkable strides in technology since my birth almost 40 years ago. Billions of dollars can now be made or lost in milliseconds. Instead of nightly or weekly updates on the war in Vietnam ("in the News"), I can get real-time streaming video from the battle fields. Can the "bomber" cam be far behind?

Evolution takes a lot of time apparently, because in my lifetime I haven't seen any. Repeating a behavior over and over allows one to become more proficient. Learning new things takes time and may take longer. All the emphasis is put on the speed one completes a task, not in how the task is completed. We are not evolving, we are just getting better at our flawed behavior. Evolution is about moving towards a "higher" existence. Think back on your last twenty years. As a species, have we improved our state or merely made lateral moves; circumstances are different but not really better.

Man's current behavior seems pointed towards extinction. With the emphasis on speed, are we not encouraging the imminence of our end? Perhaps we need to encourage creativity and free thought, even if in the short term things take a little longer or cost a little more or result in a little less profit. Let's focus on moving up, even slowly, instead of moving down quickly.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Training summary: week of Sept. 24

Sunday: ~18 miles (max. effort for that distance), 2:07:59
Monday: Rest day (quads feeling sore, a result of form breakdown at end of Sunday run)
Tues: 5.5 mile run, short intervals (5 x 45 sec at 5K pace/15 sec light jog x 2), focus on turnover
Weds: Pool (250 yd warm-up, 15 x 50 yds on 50 sec., 250 yd warm-down), first pool workout in a while so this was tough
Thurs: Rest day (still a little sore and tired, I knew I'd pay for Sunday)
Fri: 7.5 mile steady/easy, focus on form (One big climb).
Sat: Walking (Apple picking) with Alexandra in backpack. Left hamstring a little sore, but quads finally recovering

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Flabberwalky...

(a pearl of Wisdom by Tim)

Beware the Flabberwalk, my son!
The jaws that bite,
the claws that snack!
Beware the supersize chicken nugget,
and shun The frumious babyback!

El Nino

Another Nantucket story that lives on today. At the children's park was a little spanish boy and his nanny. He liked Alexandra. His nanny told him that she is a girl, "la nina." Thus we referred to him as "El Nino." Well I noticed el nino had lots of little scabs on his body. Unfortunately, I noticed after he and Alexandra had been playing ball.

Well Alexandra now has the chicken pox. She was immunized so they are pretty mild, but we've had to cancel some plans to visit her baby home friend Peter because she's in quarantine.

Maybe I should call the little boy "Paco".

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I hate crappy Customer Service

My friend Austin (White Noise) had a bad experience with Discover. I've had enough poor experiences with other companies (just ask Ocean Coffee Roasters!), that I like to see the word spread. We can't sit still and be the patsies for bad businesses.

Power to the people!

Cross training in Nantucket! Posted by Picasa

"Sometimes you gotta say 'What the f---, make your move.'"

"Joel, every now and then, saying 'What the F---', brings freedom."

That's was the theme of today's workout, and I know I'm going to pay for it. The schedule called for my long steady run, 18 miles or so around Ocean Drive. I hadn't slept too well because Leanna had been up sick, and despite the reasonable air temperature there was not a cloud in the sky which can make the drive, and it's limited cover, quite a death march. For whatever reason, though, I started off at a pretty good clip covering the first 5 miles about a minute faster than my previous fastest time. I forced myself to relax and at the next timecheck found I was still accelerating. I was on a good day with a P.R. a distinct possibility, so despite the schedule's call for moderation, I thought "What the f---." I can count on one hand the number of really good days training I've had this year, and I'd still have a couple of fingers leftover.

I rounded the 1/2 way 1:45 ahead of my P.R. The second 1/2 started to hurt though, and with 5 miles to go I was stuggling to keep my fast turnover. However, though the wheels wobbled, they didn't fall off and I came in at 2:07:59, a P.R. by 1:30. Sure I dropped 15 seconds on the second 1/2, but I knew I would and I'll take the P.R. anyday.

Tomorrow I'm going to be sore. Looks like a day for the Pool.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Alexandra's first bike ride. It didn't start so well, but by the end she loved it (just like Daddy does)! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Family Posted by Picasa

There are some who call me... 'Tim'?

"You seek the Holy Grail! You wish to free yourselves from 'Assus Rotundus.'"

"That is our quest. You know much that is hidden, O Tim."


I have decided I must do something for my fellow man that is more meaningful than marshalling electrons. Therefore in the spirit of volunteerism I have dedicated my services to aiding the quest of the Knights of the Round Bottom (and anyone else who has similar questions pertaining to health, fitness, how to make an exercise schedule, when to change running shoes, what kind to buy, etc...) . I will likely start a second blog to handle this topic, but for now you may contact me by commenting on this posting or send an e-mail.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jump little monkeys!

As promised, another Nantucket story:

Everyday following breakfast Leanna, Alexandra and I went to Children's beach playground for a little fun time with all the kiddies, nannies, and parents. At playground there is a little stage where a daily class for children was held by a woman. At 9:40 everyday, just before class ended, all the fathers could be seen moving towards the stage, ostensibly to gather their children when class ended. Now normally this would not be noteworthy except for the fact that this woman seemed to like wearing tight tank tops and going "au naturel" underneath and at exactly 9:40 AM everyday, she closed out class with "5 Little Monkeys Jump'n on the bed." Well I don't know about 5, but there were definitely two little monkey's jumping.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Joel's Book Club

As per usual, when I go on vacation I rediscover reading (actually I started a few weeks before vacation this year). This year the select was "Lance Armstrong's War" by Daniel Coyle. If you follow professional cycling at all, even just the Tour de France, read this book. It's a fascinating study of the culture and the cyclists involved. He profiles Armstrong's major rivals as well as one of his more colorful (now ex-) teammates, Floyd Landis. The theme of doping plays throughout, though it is not a book about doping. In the end I found something very interesting. Given the inside look we get a Armstrong, it's actually far easier for me to separate Armstrong the activist from Armstrong the cyclist (who really seems to be kind of an a-hole). If at some future date he was proven to have used EPO or steroids for performance gain, it would not affect my opinion of him as the activist. I'd continue to donate to his foundation.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Just returned from an alternate Universe

Orange Izods, collars upturned.
Pink Pants.
A shade of green named...Kelly.
A shade of red which is anything but...
Biffs, Tads, Buffys and Hillarys.
...and lots and lots of Nannys.

Yes folks, I've returned from Nantucket. Leanna, Alexandra and I spent 6 days and nights on the little island off Cape Cod. It was the first vacation with just the three of us. No family allowed. We left the car on the mainland. We celebrated the one year anniversary of our first trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. We went to the beach. We walked, and walked and walked. The food is pretty average and pretty expensive, but we still ate a lot and often. It was a good week.

I actually have a lot of stories from the trip and will write more later. However I want to tell one now. It's the story of the "Jittery Lady." (aka "Tweek" from "South Park")

I was in line at a coffee shop called "The Bean." I noticed a woman in line ahead of me. At first she just seemed impatient, but it was more than that. She couldn't hold still. She went to pick up a paper from a pile, and knocked 1/2 the pile over. She was shaking like a crack head looking for a hit. She ordered a large ice coffee, and a large hot coffee with a shot of espresso added.

They were both for her.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Just too funny!

I bought some "travel wipes" (which turned out to be "training wipes") for our trip to Nantucket.

Check out the promotional website. It's a hoot!

And now a word about coffee.

If you find yourself traveling the globe or traveling Rhode Island, here are a couple of pointers I've picked up along the way.

When overseas I found that the Russians made some darn good coffee, but be warned, it's STRONG! The German's don't know what good coffee is. Stick to the beer. The italians are excellent with espresso based drinks. Avoid "American coffee." (The Lite Beer of coffee)

In Rhode Island it's gotten much harder to find a consistently good coffee or espresso based drink. I've had to resort to learning the work schedules of different skilled baristas around the state. Hands down the finest is Maureen at Dave's in Charlestown. Consistently the best latte I've had since Florence. Two notes: Maureen does not work weekends, and she's not super speedy. It's really worth the wait. You don't rush excellence. Dave's uses beans from Majik Coffee in N. Kingstown, which gets great reviews but honestly I've never been there.

Last night I had a very good double Cappuccino in Newport. I got it at a new place, Robe Dolce, which in general has been very disappointing. I just go there because of the atmosphere. Anyway, the girl who prepared my Cappuccino did an excellent job. It was a treat. By the way she had an eastern European accent, Russian maybe?!

Finding art in Florence. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Good Day

Okay, I don't right too much about my specific workouts in this blog (I know, "Yeah right!"), but I am going to add a few lines about today. I did my loop around the Ocean Drive in Newport. All in all it's about 18 miles, give our take a little. The last time I ran it was early July, and the last time I ran it without riding 35 - 50 miles on a bike first was sometime in May. My target time was 2 hours and 15 minutes. My July run was 2:18 (following a ~50 mile bike). My best time was about 2:12 .

It's been six weeks since Ironman, and I was curious if I was past the residual fatigue. I figured I was in the clear based on last week's race, but this run would tell me for sure. Something about hitting the hard concrete at mile 11 (Bellevue Ave. in Newport) that keeps things honest. If you've weakened at all, the wheels can just fall right off, so to speak, because the surface is noticeably harder than even asphalt.

To make a long story short: The wheels stayed on. I finished in 2:09:30, my new fastest time, and I proceeded to fulfill my role as Daddy for the rest of the day (no naps).

This was a good day.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happy Anniversary!!

Okay, so technically the anniversary of our first trip to Russia isn't for a couple of days, but I'm writing tonight because the family's taking a little vacation next week. It's hard to believe a year has passed. It's gone by so quickly. Daddihood has been nothing short of the most fulfilling experience of my life. Alexandra is the greatest.

I'll stop short of rehashing all the Russia stories, but I will close this entry with one factoid. From where I'm sitting in our family room I can see the lion rattle we presented to Alexandra on the first day we saw her. Fearing it would become "community property" in the baby home between our visits, I kept it with me in the breast pocket of my jacket the entire time between visits, including during our stay in Florence, Italy.

Our very first introduction to Alexandra. Sept. 7, 2004. Posted by Picasa