Sunday, April 29, 2007
THIS TIME, IT'S FOR REALSManbearpig
Sorry, I just had to get that out.
Last year, I thought I wanted to compete in a triathlon. But I didn't get much passed the thinking stage of it, and the summer went by without me really even training. I ran a couple miles, twice I think, and decided I was not cut out for any racing. Just because I am pretty good on a bike, the thinking went, did not mean I could swim or run.
But this winter was pretty mild, and I got a dog, so I started running. All winter long, three times a week. And really, I was pretty bad at it. It was cold, I was out of shape, and I never ran very far (probably an average of 1.5 miles per time out).
Still, it gave me a good base, and when the weather got better, I was running farther. I still was not going very fast, but I was getting out longer and longer. I even sprinkled some 3+ mile runs in there (I am sure I blogged about them, as they were major triumphs for me).
And the thought crept back in my head. So I made a promise. Not really to myself, because I am about the only person I don't keep promises to. I made a promise to my childhood friend, and brother, Mike.
Anyone who reads this knows Mike is both a badass
AND a Marine. He has competed in a few triathlons, and always wanted me to do one with him. And I kept putting it off. I stay in relative shape (relative to most people I have met, anyway) and thought I could just pick it up and in a few weeks join him. And, I probably was afraid that was not true, and I would actually try hard and not be able to do it. Letting Mike down is on my short list of things I hate most in this world.
But, if you will allow me to get serious for a bit, things are different this time. Having a friend in the war really does make you think about the finite nature of time. Just this winter we were having a great dinner at my house, laughing and drinking and nothing was changed. Now he is in a desert hell with the real danger of losing his life. That last sentence is really not easy to type.
We just don't get enough time on this earth for me to squander so much away procrastinating. And I don't get too many opportunities to make the people around me proud. Or make myself proud.
So in earnest, I started training for the Castaway Club Triathlon
in Detroit Lakes, MN. As of now, I am signed up for the sprint. That is 1/3 mile swim, 10 miles bike, and 3 miles run. It really doesn't seem like that far to me, but I have not put those distances together in a day yet.
I have about 15 weeks to train, with one very good one under my belt. The two weeks prior
to that I had been mostly running, trying to build up the base in what I thought was my weakest event.
As it turns out, I probably should have been swimming all winter long. Swimming a few laps here and there at summer camp does not prepare you for the rigors of swimming 600 meters as fast as you can. And my form is about as lousy as if I had never swam before. My head is up, my shoulders are rotating my trunk, my legs kick when they feel like it. All in all, I stink at swimming.
Running, it turns out, I am actually pretty competitive
in. And biking is, as suspected, my strong suit.
Here is how I stack up against last years numbers:
Now, honestly, as good as that looks, those are my best times in the last week, and they are individual times, not the times back to back, like race day. Still, it is a good start, and a nice jumping off point for training. If I add 3 minutes for transitions, I am currently running 5th
Now, for the meat of things. Triathlon training is HUMBLING. Already not a day goes by where I do not have to force myself to do my two a days. Not a morning goes by where I am not sore from the training of the day before. And not a second goes by where I do not think I could be trying harder.
I honestly thought I would be first in the bike. I have had a few days with wind to train, and I am just under 20mph. Now, I can blame that on the wind, or be honest and blame it on the fatigue from running and swimming. And who's to say race day will be calm?
I need .9mph to be first. I think that is a realistic goal. 15 weeks is a long time to regain some form on sore muscles.
I swim like a clubbed seal. Picture that for a second. Now picture it worse, and bloodier. That's me swimming. I just want to get my swim time under 12 minutes. And be able to swim with my head down, not panicking
halfway through for air. The first day I went to the pool the life guard was actually laughing at me. Almost openly, for awhile. She did, however, manage to give me a few pointers between giggles, and between that and practice, I should be ok
. I am working on one thing at a time, like a golf swing, in the hopes I can put it all together in 15 weeks. The saving grace is the fact that we spend so little time in the water that my time is not that far off. I really need to work on form more than speed, so I can save energy for later in the race.
Running has been my one saving grace. I have improved my three mile time by :50 in the last week alone. And my breathing is becoming much less haggard. Three miles almost seemed pedestrian today. Next week I am adding .5 miles to
my course. I want to get up to 6 miles before race day, to build stamina, and prepare for a full triathlon (later this year or beginning
I am looking forward to posting weekly about this, and I hope to look back and laugh at it all.
And please, if you have no plans for the weekend of August 18th
, come out to my buddies cabin, party with me in celebration of my first triathlon, and cheer me on as I cross the finish line.
Hopefully before at least ONE other person does.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Nope. Not a bad Bond title, or an even worse porn title.I am talking about Alex Rodriguez.
Can we finally get off his case for not being a closer? Please can we stop hating him for being the best, highest paid, athlete? He is leading the league in home runs (again), hitting better, slugging better. And now he has TWO walk off homers to win games. Already, in this short season.
Look, I get it. He makes a ton of money, dates supermodels and stars, lives the life most men dream about. And if that wasn't enough, he plays for the Yankees (don't get me started on the weak ass Boston Fans who pretend they wouldn't love their team to spend Yankee money). Why WOULD we like him?
So we looked at his slumping numbers last year (a year removed from an MVP season) and said he wasn't worth the price. Forget the relentless media and fans of New York, or playing out of position so Jeter (who isn't as good, there I said it) could keep his job. He just wasn't was good, and that year (and the previous years away from Yankee Stadium) was a fluke.
Except now he is leading the league and coming up clutch. Now he is the leader of the clubhouse, and the fan favorite. Now he is the early season MVP, even though it is ridiculous to be talking about it already.
Now we are going to have to stop pretending we hate him for what he does on the field, or what he gets to do off the field, and at the very least start hating him for the real reason: jealousy. We might even have to admit we like watching him. That he is every bit as exciting and athletic as billed. That he might be worth every damned dime he is getting paid. That he is the best player on his team. He might be the best modern day ball player.
Or, we can just make fun of his hair.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
WHO THE FUCK
Is Willa Ford? Anyone? Anyone?
Because she has the GALL to be playing Anna Nicole Smith in a movie that is about to suck because of it.
Understand me here for a second. The first pin-up I EVER had on my walls was Anna Nicole. She was wearing pink. And was on an antique iron bed. And she was full bodied, and beautiful, and everything exotic and right with the opposite sex.
And now they are going to (continue to) drag her name through the mud to make some bucks on some crappy made for TV movie about her life, and we are going to get to know way too much about her, and some nobody named WILLA FUCKING FORD is going to play her.
I have not been this mad since I heard Jennifer NO TALENT Hewitt was playing Holly Golightly
. There is something fundamentally
Her beauty was not that she was some back woods nobody who made it big. Or that she was accessibly
messed-up, and we could all relate to her problems. Or that she was so slow you felt like you could actually pick her up at a bar and have sex with her.
She was beautiful, and stay with me here, because SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL. Why, oh why, do we continue to try to find something beyond that in every quasi-celebrity we encounter? Why do we feel the need to try and find something deeper? Why can't we just lust from afar, and be ok
And now we will dig through the trash left after the wake, and try to find one more shiny penny to put in our pocket, and we will not let Anna Nicole rest, and the world will not be right, until we do.