Saturday, August 18, 2012

Still can't believe what I'm doing

Last night I knocked out a 600 yard swim.  And I could have done more.  Until Wednesday of this week, I had really been struggling with my swim.  I've been  doing 25 and 50 yard intervals with 10-15 seconds rest and I hadn't finished one properly, yet.  I would get a couple done then have to take a longer break to catch my breath.

How I felt before last night.

Wednesday I finally quit trying to finish so quickly, relaxed and all of a sudden swimming was easy.  On every previous swim, my arms were pretty much dead after 200 yards or so.  Now I really feel like I can handle my triathlon swim.

How I feel now.
I've been meaning to post this link about lap swimming etiquette forever.  It really helped me get up the courage to get in the lap lane for the first time and I hope it helps someone else get over their newbie fear and hop in.  I've met so many cool people during my swims and I promise you they don't care if your stroke sucks.  Be polite, follow these simple etiquette techniques and they welcome you into their group.  I've even had people help me with my stroke just to be friendly.

Today I have a 40 minute run/walk and tomorrow a 12 mile ride.  I'm almost covering the full distance of each discipline for my sprint tri.  I've done my first brick and it was awesome.  Things are going really well (knock wood) and I can't wait til race day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

So Far Behind... (Travelogue Edition)

Last weekend we took my wife's mom down to Asheville, NC to hang out with her sister and her family.  Best little vacation we've had in a while.  My wife's cousins are so much fun and so easy to get along with, every minute down there was fun.  Plus we ate like kings.

The first night we had some excellent Italian food at a place called Nona Mia.  Get there early if you go.  They said they took reservations but we waited for an hour to get a table.  On the bright side, the owners kept bringing fresh cheese pizzas to people waiting in a valiant attempt to keep the angry mobs at bay.  I got the Cavatapi Melanzane and nearly cried through my whole meal it was so good.  Everyone at the table was happy and the prices were incredible.  Great sorbettos and gelatos as well.  Highly recommended.

My wife Carolyn and her cousin Peter with Peter's wife Susan staring longingly at her menu.
The next morning we got up to watch Susan compete in the Lake Logan Olympic Triathlon.  This was my first chance to witness a triathlon in person and it was a treat.

Susan is a beast.  Literally.  She kind of scared me.  My pictures of her competing are complete crap but I'm posting them anyway because I asked her permission and I'd feel like a moron if I didn't post something.

Heading out for the bike.

Waiting for Susan.

Susan made it back!!!

While we waited for Susan to finish her 10K I worked on how I'd cross the finish line at Lenoir City:


The "Chariots of Fire"
The "Moon Walk"... as if.

The "Heisman"
Just realized I'm wearing the same shirt I had on in Taiwan in the Buddha pic.  Embarrassing.

Fortunately, Susan finally found her way back to camp.

Finishing third in her age group.

It was truly inspiring to watch her finish and say, "That was fun!"

Following the race we imposed our own special form of torture on Susan by touring the Biltmore Estate.  Big house, old stuff, paintings, yada, yada.  Wine tasting?  Wut?!?!?

Me likey.
The next morning, Carolyn and I went for our first trail run ever.  I need to move somewhere with trails because I've fallen in love.  We went to the Bent Creek Experimental Forest.  It was packed with mountain bikers, runners and dogs.  Everyone was so friendly.  Just a perfect way to start a Sunday morning.

We followed that with shopping downtown and a great lunch at Havana Restaurant.  I'm not an aficionado of Cuban cuisine but everything I put in my mouth at Havana made me happy.  Including the rocking Highland Gaelic Ale I had everywhere I went.

For the afternoon we met back up with the cousins at the best book store in the world:  the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar.  Used books, leather couches, dogs and wine.  I could have stayed there all night but then I would have had to stay there all night.

Dinner that night was at the Laughing Seed, the best vegetarian/vegan food I have ever had.  We go there on every trip to Asheville.  If I could cook vegan like they do, I could live without meat.  Seriously, it's that good.  I was kind of lit by the time I was done eating so I have nothing special to say about it except I tasted everyone's food and would order everyone dish again.  Mine was the Indian Thali Plate and I'm pretty sure I won dinner that night.  They make a vegan carrot cake that would make you slap your granny.  You'd never know it didn't have eggs or any other good stuff I generally can't live without.

The next morning we stopped at the Corner Kitchen on the way out of town and topped ourselves off for the trip.  Homemade corn beef hash with poached eggs and homemade raspberry jam with locally grown raspberries.  I'm tearing up just thinking about it.  The people at the Corner Kitchen rock, too.  Their menu says order what you want, if it's in their kitchen, they'll make it for you.

Wow, I think I've caught up.  Way long post but a full weekend.  Bob, Hilary, Peter and Susan: you guys are the best.  Can't wait to hang out again.  And Eli and Hannah (Peter and Susan's kids) are a blast.  Looking forward to seeing them again, too.

If you made it this far I should send you money.  The End.

Friday, August 10, 2012


My daughter plays for her high school volleyball team.  A couple of weeks ago they played in a weekend long tournament.  While we were at one venue with her team, the varsity were playing elsewhere and apparently things did not go well.

This is all grapevine stuff but apparently, girls started yelling at other girls they deemed weren't playing well enough.  Then parents got into it.

This got me thinking about how we view playing sports here in America (I'm limiting this to America because I have no clue how other countries view sports).  We seem to put way too much emphasis on winning at too young an age.  I'm not one of those people that thinks we shouldn't keep score.  If the game's rules say to keep score, keep score.  But, when teammates are yelling at each other because they're losing, something's wrong.

I wish we could get people to focus more on doing your best.  If you've been watching the Olympics the last few weeks, you've seen what I'm talking about.  How many of all the athletes competing at the Olympics will get a medal?  Only some very small percentage.  All those people 'losing', though, are thrilled if they've hit some personal best in their event.  You hear it from them over and over again.

I'm not advocating not trying to win.  I just think that if everyone on a team tries to play their best and that's their focus, they will win and when they don't, they can go home knowing they did their best and maybe learned something to make them better next game.

Those of us doing or training for triathlons live this every day.  I used to be one of those guys that would bitch because I made a perfect pass in soccer and someone less skilled flubbed the shot.  I like to think I've grown beyond that kind of behavior.

I'm trying to compete in a sport now where I will probably never win, even in my age group.  But I know if I've done the training I can be happy with an all-out effort and hopefully learn something new about myself or my sport.  I believe that making that the goal in all sports will make us better sportsmen and women and happier athletes and make the actual wins that much sweeter.