near death – training update

I'm closing in on another Ironman season so doing some reflection.  Training for an Ironman isn't the most safe thing in the world.

  • Every time I get in the water, I think about drowning and potential for drowning whether it's at the pool or at Aquatic Park or at an event.  When I swallow some water sometimes I remember that and when I first get in, I remember it.
  • The bike is probably the most dangerous because at any time I can get hit by a car for no good reason.  I could also just fall off my bike and I do reach 50+ mph on descents.  My biggest fear is descending 30-40 mph on my bike and a car swerving to avoid a bicyclist on the other side of the road comes into my lane and we both hit each other.
  • The run, well, I've almost lost my legs a couple times.  People don't stop at stop signs when they drive, they do what's called the California rolling stop.

Oh, and I could also die from over exertion, hyponatremia (basically drink too much water and drown my lungs), or just pop my heart from getting my heart rate up to redline (I get pretty close sometimes).

I'm not so cavalier about these things.  I'm careful and get pretty scared and do get into some close calls.  But, if I'm going to be alive I'm going to be alive and not half-ass or sleep through life.  Because for all those near death experiences:

  • Being able to swim in the Caribbean (Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos) and swim and snorkel in Hawaii…pretty cool.
  • Doing a 100 mile bike ride with friends in Marin where Levi Leipheimer trains and enjoy the sights, Tomales Bay, Redwood trees, as well as enjoying the Berkeley Hills and other beautiful places in the Bay Area bike…pretty cool.
  • And to run through the streets of Oakland and Berkeley and Alameda and wherever and discovering new places to eat, places to shop, enjoying the sights, and just seeing people on the street…pretty cool.

So, I'm actually nearer to death when I don't swim, bike, run, take risks, and live life.

Ironman Canada training update

I'm basically done with Ironman training for Ironman Canada that's coming up in August.  The rest of the month is called "taper" where we get to work out like normal people and rest up our bodies from the last 9 months of wear and tear.

Last weekend was intense but I've gotten used to it over the years, a 2 hour run and 1 hour bike ride (indoors) on Friday, a 4 hour bike ride up in the hills on Saturday, and then a 8-9 hour workout on Sunday which was 2 hours on the bike and 50 minutes of running times 3 in the heat.

I basically need to watch my weight and nutrition, stretch, stay injury free, and maintain my muscle memory.  The best part of taper and for the next couple months, I'm just a big ball of energy so *everything* else becomes so intense it's pretty sweet.  There's a reason why people keep doing Ironmans.  You can kinda guess why.

Wildcat Canyon,etc.

Here's a view from top of Wildcat Canyon in the Oakland Hills. Didn't notice the writing on the log until after coming home because it was dark when I took the photo and the flash unlocked the hidden message.

So anyway, Wildcat Canyon is a nice place to go to watch fireworks. I ride my bike up here too a bunch (like today) via Claremont ave.

I mentioned I don't like to put photos up of people (friends/family/etc) but Joe (left) and Ferdinand (right) are cool. Plus I'm usually on the other end of the camera taking the pictures and I don't photograph well. This is in Danville a couple weeks ago; we put in some good mileage — Morgan Territory plus Mt Diablo. About another six weeks of some hard training and then Ironman Canada in August, and then I'm done. Last Saturday, we did a 100 mile bike ride. That was fun too.

Garmin Edge 305


The hottest toy on IronTeam of late is the Garmin Edge 305.  It's a pretty wicked bike computer/heart monitor/GPS device.  It's about $275 at Amazon.

For runners, the hot item from Garmin is the Forerunner 305, which is more or less the same product but you wear the device on your wrist.  It's about $215 at Amazon.

Anyway, I don't actually want either of these.  I really don't care about bike stats, kinda takes the fun out of riding a bike.  I do have a bike computer, which has ended up being a very expensive clock (not totally true since I do use it for knowing total distance but close enough).

Some people love bike stats and many bike computers are able to hook up to laptops and you can monitor a workout by distance, time, elevation, etc.  Pretty comprehensive.  Here's an example.

2008 Madone 5.2 Pro

Just when I thought there was nothing left to buy…here comes the 2008 model of the Trek Madone 5.2. I can get this in a frameset woohoo if I'm a good boy. Trek's color choices lately haven't been great (the top of the line bike is black and orange, WTF?) but luckily they make a blue.

I had a 2004 Trek 5200 that had a frame issue due to chain suck. My current Madone 5.2 '05 bike has been through three Ironman seasons and will go through it's fourth Ironman in August. I don't even know how much mileage that is. I'm sure it has a few more seasons left, so maybe next year for a new bike. Maybe?

Usually when I set my mind to liking something I go get it. I need to start doing that with stocks and stuff more.

wax on, wax off

Things I do for IronTeam (sigh). I will be a participant in a "waxing" fundraiser where people can bid to wax different parts of my body, clearly to inflict much pain. I have my chest, arms, and legs for sale? Brazilian wax is off limits.

I've never had a body wax before, it's a very metrosexual/gay kinda thing to do. Athletes like swimmers and cyclists do shave their legs though and I've done that before (for cyclists it's basically when you fall, wounds heal a little more cleanly).

Anyway, here are the details – Saturday, June 23rd, Crissy Field in San Francisco at 12:30pm. There will be lots of food and lots of hair flying around. And lots of men crying.

Escape from Alcatraz triathlon

I've never had an interest in doing the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, but lots of my friends have and many of them are doing it today, Sunday, June 3rd 2007. I think it's kinda crazy — it starts off jumping off a boat into the San Francisco bay waters.  Here's the story.

Anyway, the t-shirts and the cycle jerseys are nice. I would do it for that but overall not really interested. There's another Alcatraz triathlon but Escape from Alcatraz is supposed to be the better one.

I'm also in what they call the "no ironman zone". After four of these damn Ironman races I'm just not interested in training for this next one in Canada. I'm really not interested in doing much of anything right now.

Ironman Arizona wrap-up

Here's the wrap-up:

  • This was my fourth Ironman. Finished.  I was surprised at the end, because it felt easy and I crossed the finish line feeling unsatisfied.  Scary…
  • I finished in 14:39. IMAZ was my practice race for Ironman Canada 25th Anniversary so took it easy but there was a lot of things that went wrong.
  • Some of those things include forgetting my wetsuit, bad nutrition (consumed like 800+ calories on the bike in the first hour and a half I only consume 200 calories an hour). I almost threw up.
  • The wind was 30mph so 56 miles of 30mph winds was not fun.
  • I would not do Ironman Arizona again. The 3 loops on the bike course was boring and depressing. Plus it was like doing a 7 hour spin class the course was way too flat. Suffice to say, my balls hurt. Also, the water was dirty but the run was nice and the volunteers were great.
  • Staying at my friend's place in Scottsdale was great. High speed wireless and all.

That's about it. I was 1432 place. I was like 1755 on the swim and passed like 300 people on the bike and got passed by only 10 people on the run. That was kinda cool.