Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Purpose, proper prior planning, passion, patience, persistence and perseverance prevent piss poor performance.

Is, I guess, all I really need to plagiarize today. It pretty much sums it up. Are we missing one, or more of these crucial Ps? Let's take a quick inventory, and be brutally honest with our wimpy selves, shall we?

Purpose: Why are we doing this? To get fitter and faster.

Proper prior planning: Do we have structure and a workable game plan?

Passion: This is like a paddle, without passion you are up the creek. Additionally, I think one can improve, refine and upgrade passion levels simply by the devotion of time, energy and attention. When we REALLY examine sometime, it radiates with energy. You wanna be passionate about something or someone? Invest the energy to learn all you can about it/them.

Patience: Some things you can have right now. A Lexus, big screen TV, trip to Rio, a cheese pizza. Fitness and advanced racing form take time, as does weight loss or BMI change. It's about the journey to get there, not the destination. Enjoy the ride. Smell the roses along the way and help those around you who might be struggling up the same hill you have already conquered.

Persistence: Wanna accomplish ANYTHING? Here is the recipe: Start RIGHT NOW, and keep going. Persistence means getting off the floor, out of bed, and out of your comfort zone, every day.

Perseverance: We all like endurance sports. We endure. Life lasts. The sustainability our fitness depends on the depth of our base. A solid foundation will get you through the rough spots like nothing else. We default to the solidarity of the core. We persevere where others crumble. In a race situation this is known as winning.

Prevents piss poor performance: And performance is key. Doesn't have to be a race, can be everyday life, but sometime today you will be asked to perform, to step to the plate. It might come when you least expect it. It will be challenging and will test you to see if your are ready for the next level. If you uncork a piss poor performance the outline for improvement lies in the above, simply turn them upside down and get back to work.

Piss poor performance?

Persevere (stay with it), persist (do it again), be patient, toss some passion at it (embrace your weakness), revisit you plan (tweak as necessary - remember change is good), review your purpose (why are we doing this again?)

There ya go pal, a perfect peck of pickled peppers, peas in pod. Please positively proceed provocatively.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Every once in a while I feel the need to vent. Things just get so balled up that I gotta scream. Or worse. To a great degree this is one of the many reasons why I ride and run, the management of accumulated stress. The physical release and continuous movement provides a wonderful outlet for anxieties of many types, on several levels. I seem to recall Forrest Gump being a pioneer in this area. Here are a few things, all recently visited, that get me out the door and down the road:

Hypocrisy. Nothing exemplifies this more than US politics.

Slime: Hypocrisy mixed with greed.

Greed: Slime mixed with money.

Money: Or lack thereof. What it can buy and what it can't.

Safety: The illusion of thinking money is the answer.

Security: The illusion of safety.

Pretentiousness: The thinking that we can't see past the outer layer.

Lying: Not as in resting horizontally, but as passing off opinion as fact.

Spin: Passing bias as truth.

CYA: Justifying something stupid and wasteful as green and helpful.

War: The fight for democracy. Right.

Entry fees: Makes me want to scream, or worse.

I am so happy that I have the opportunity to exercise my freedoms in a positive and supporting environment with like minded others from whom I draw continual inspiration. I truly believe that one's search for happiness and purpose begins and ends here. Stay fit and in optimum working order, manage stress, help others. How can that do anything but put a smile on your face and a song in your heart?

If that doesn't up your daily happiness quotient, you may punch a hole in the wall.


Pix: Hole in wall. Forrest on the go (with nice form)

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Stuff

The first thing I notice is the familiar. Interestingly, it occurs to me that this might be due to my experience in watching and waiting for the anticipated - instead of running with a clean plate, the half-marathon empty cup. I think: Why wait for the old, the norm, the same. Why not take each step, every mile, all subsequent breaths as miracles unto themselves? Why feel any pain before it knocks? Why fear what might never happen? Why drag the dark cloud of the unknown across this blue sunny sky?

Still, I wait. If I go hard enough and long enough, it will eventually show up like a gate crasher, seeking free admittance to the show. And as chief of security it is my job to allow entry to those with a ticket and deny those without. The concert is about time and effort. I want to run fast today for 13 miles, to run just one minute faster than I ran last year on this same course. I am a year older. I should be slowing down, losing range of motion and core strength. I should be watching football on TV or golfing. Yet here I am at mile 5, already purging the rhythmic exhales that signify output, on pace to get that minute back. Prove to myself that it doesn't have to be the way it always has been, it doesn't have to be about pain and suffering and guts and courage. It can just as easily be about grace, and efficiency, and presence and joy. I can run just as fast happy as I can fearful. Varriations on a theme by gratitude.

With the beauty being that there is no additional charge for testing this theory. We tweak the training, re tweak the structure, we tweak the combinations of distance, speed, intensity and amplitude. We up our games. Try new stuff, looking to the future for the secrets of the past. How does THIS affect THAT?

By mile10 the rain, wind and cold has rendered my feet to feeling like popsicles. I am numbly aware of my connection to the course, the road, running past hillside mansions and over a million gold maple leaves. If I am going to achieve my primary objective today this last 5K is going to be interesting. I hit the gas and am a touch surprised by the quick response, there remains some octane in the tank. Use it, I hear. Leave it here, you can't take it with you. Burn this clean energy fast and hot.

You can have this if you are willing to pay the price. Down the final hill, unhinged, toes jammed against toe box, hips afire. Sidewinds at gale force, sideway rain pelting my ears, heart in the drum corps. One mile to go, an uphill and out. There isn't much left but everything. You can do it NOW, or never have another chance. Faster. Harder. Best. Now.

And then over. Done. Mission accomplished. The cool-down leaves some residual stiffness, but no injury or major damage. Heart rate is already back to acceptable range. Wow, that was fun, what a great experience. All those thoughts, the moments. Responding to the circumstances. The people, the faces, the sounds, the energy. All the familiar stimuli played out once again.

But it was different this time. It was fresh. New. Thrilling and challenging. Complete. Validating.

Was it the high-intensity taper, all the added spins, the recovery runs, the diet, yoga?

Yes. All of that, but most important it was about running happy.

And I can't wait to get out there again any try some more new stuff.

Pix: It was a wild couple of days. We keep the cup, RG goes to 79 among the fun.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I will once again take a stab at this. As I have failed so many times prior. Today is the Apple Cup, the 104th football clash of our state's two highest institutions of learning, the University of Washington (yea) and Washington State (boo-hiss). I think by now you know that I stand with the purple and gold. Part of the buy-in for that (at least football wise) is that all things crimson and gray must be subsequently seen as somehow substandard. In college football terms this is known as a rivalry game. USC vs UCLA, Alabama vs Auburn, Oregon vs Oregon State, Army vs Navy, Michigan vs MSU. Big games. Big money games. Lot's on the line. Bragging rights. Recruiting. Alumni on parade. And in our case, The Cup.

It means a lot to keep it in Seattle for the third year in a row. But it won be easy. For this game you can throw all the prior games out the window. Anything can happen. And probably will. This game has had so many incredible moments, defining plays and spectacular finishes that it is a highlight reel unto itself.

But that is not my point.

Since the first day of spring ball I have been following this group of Husky kids. To watch them grow and mature. To gauge their character both as individuals and as a team. To see if the coaching staff can mold them into something greater than 'the mediocre'. I watch them to see the spark. I love to feel a change in momentum, to witness a green mistake-prone freshman morph into a solid team player. I cheer for the overachievers and the little guys, the third string bench-warmers who when called upon when the chips are down, get their moment in the sun (or rain) to demonstrate what they have learned and to show the depth of their off-field efforts, live, on-stage in front of 70,000 fans and a huge TV audience. Not to mention their peers and coaches.

Calls for some presense. And courage, and focus. You have to play fast as you relax. Try it at home sometime.

So this afternoon, I go to watch my lads with great interest. This is the last game of the regular season. We have already qualified for a bowl. But we are reeling have been beaten senseless each of the last four weeks. Our character will be tested today on what is essentially a neutral field, Century Link. It will be cold and rainy. I don't care. Same for both teams. They play for pride and respect. They play to win.

Character under fire is what I watch for.

Today I hope to see plenty. Show me that lads, and I don't care about the score.


Pic: Gov Chris Gregoire last year prepares to hand The Cup to the Huskies. We like it here. My pic: UW 38 Wazzu 21

Friday, November 25, 2011

Go Run

OK, I loaded up. It was only one plate, but it successfully held "average" portions of sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, my artichoke and crimini risotto, a garden salad. I asked my nephew for help with the apple pie cobbler and two scoops of Bryers vanilla. Afterwards sipping an ice-cold Red Hook ESB by fireside I felt like a beached beluga, bloated, stuffed and incapable of much movement. I could actually feel my digestive enzymes reel in horror at the reality of their task at hand. The thought crossed that maybe this is what the difference feels like between a defensive lineman and a marathoner.

Good news was that we had a wonderful evening, mostly devoid of chaos and stress, the biggest challenge trying to quickly recall the specific facts involving The Watergate Tapes, Lumpy Rutherfort, Paul Allen's CFO, Gene Hackman's best roles and free range, local, organic turkey. My sole contribution being a decade's old story about fixing frozen pipes for Frankie as he served a traditional Thanksgiving diver to a housefly of guests. It was great having two nephews, one brother, a sister in law, Dad and his wife peacefully enjoying a special meal.

And now it's Black Friday. Gimme a break. Could we please come up with something a touch lighter for this annual celebration of commercialism? Halmark? Let's just all go out and buy a bunch of shit and call it a stimulus package. I can hear the BoA brass chortling as we crawl further into the debt of their compounded slimy interest on purchase rates. Help Mr. Wizard, the capitalist model is out of control and chasing our souls. The hunter has been captured by the game. The Super Committee has spoken!

You know my solution. Yep. Go run. Today's 10K appears as if it might be in a hazy semblance of clear sky. At least the rains have stopped temporarily.

Over indulgence, guilt, fear, anxiety, media exploitation, debt, hopelessness. Faced by so many Americas today, Black Friday. Go shopping?

No, go running.

Pix: In Michael and Kim's kitchen: The Bird and the risotto trinity.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Patent Pending

There is plenty of debate. A Rule of Thumb exists. You can find enough charts and graphs to fill a library. There is the status-quo and even conventional wisdom. Here is what I say to all of that:


Go ahead and do the safe and conventional, the tried and true, the expected.


And exactly what I don't want. I want better. I want more. I want exceptional. I want faster. I want a personal best, a record, all I can be and then some. I am greedy in this regard as my approach is not to simply finish, but to challenge, test and visit a place not many will go, a place where lungs scream and heart pounds, where spirit is tested and output maximized. That place pain calls home. That place light years away from the comfort zone. That place where every foot strike feels like it may be your last.

This for a measly 13.1 miles. It ain't a full monty. We have done the distance many times, we know what it takes to go easy, go with intervals, add some hills, gut it out. What we don't know is what might happen if we try something radically different.

Like a high intensity taper. Prepping the muscles, the cells, mitochondria, telomearse, and the usual cast of supporting characters for a high output hour and forty minutes. Instead of laying around worrying about the quality (or quantity) of our training to date. We are not pros. This is not an Olympic Trial. There will be no purse. We do this for fun and for something else…..

….to see who we have become. And I am willing to test a new protocol to see if I can push this old jalopy up another hill a little faster that I pushed it a year ago. To me that is everything. Another candle on my birthday cake, another minute off my half-monty time.

Here are four op-eds on the 'art of the taper' and more:

Runners World

Running Times

Runners World II

Runners Resource

One more strategy note. I hope it rains cats, dogs and elephants Sunday. I hope the wind blows at gale force. We are all out there on the same course under the same conditions. How I deal with the circumstance creates another opportunity. Some will crumble. Some will quit. Some will slow. Some won't show up at all. Two other crucial items: Breathing and fuel. Control the former and ensure the latter.

For some, this is everything. For some there is no debate. Anything but best is not an option. Yes, there is risk going there, but far riskier not to try at all.

This is not for everyone. It is not for beginners or the faint of heart. A miraculous set of circumstance has brought me to this door. I have trained with diligence. This morning after class, my fourth in 24 hours, racing weight was at target. The knee is OK. I feel great. There should be no problem getting enough carbs and protein tomorrow. The biggest challenge will be keeping out of Fado after the Huskies Apple Cup romp. Here is the (patent pending) RCVman Seattle Half HIT taper:

Today: 0530 Spin, 1830 Spin

Thanksgiving: 8-0930 Spin, 5K recovery run

Friday: easy 10K

Saturday: 7-8:30 Spin FAST 5K & Apple Cup

Sunday: Race. Target time 1:38. Last years time: 1:41

Pre would go.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stay Dry

It is not only Thanksgiving week, but also Apple Cup week and Seattle Marathon (and Half) week. WOW. We had a nice little rainfall last night with the official overnight count finishing as a four bucket squall. Not bad, but but a record either. By my calculations it would have to rain like that for 40 days and 40 nights to flood the cabin up to the loft, so I am safe and dry, for now, thanks for asking. I am sure that my Holiday guests who start arriving today, will appreciate my sense of humor as we collect rainwater via my intricate indoor guttering system. I am sure that it suggests something subliminally subversive about my character quirks that I would choose to build a new deck and pizza oven instead of fixing the roof, but I don't care. I would rather run than roof, spin than shim, ride than side and race than case. Simple, really. There are only so many hours in each day, and my health and fitness is more important to me than the stack of sticks in which I hang my caps. As an editorial footnote, I suppose it isn't a secret that I live alone. I mean, really could you imagine?

Honey, the roof is leaking again.


Maybe you could, like, fix it.

I can't find where it is getting in, and we have a recovery run scheduled in twenty minutes, so maybe in the spring when it stops raining.

You said that last year.

Yeah, well.

Maybe another tarp?

Have you checked out tarp prices lately, they are through the, ahem, roof.

You have a plan then?

A couple more buckets outta do for now. You like the white ones from Ace or the orange from Home Depot?


You got it, thanks for your decorating imput darling.

Don't mention it, go run.

And speaking of running……..Following is our Thanksgiving/Apple Cup/Marathon (Half) sometimes irreverent, sometimes serious look at running shoe commercials. Please be advised that the K-Swiss spot, although hilarious, is rated R. All others you can watch with your Keds, er KIds.





New Balance


Vibram Five Fingers


Have a great day gang, stay dry.

Pic is from out on the Queen K in Kona. Ya wanna be a runner or a roofer?

Monday, November 21, 2011


"Having the time of my life."

He was famous for his wit as well as his ways. Dubbed the Mayor of Venice by his loyal neighbors, his reign and stewardship stretched over the forested community that once housed the vacation cabins of Seattle's earliest rich and famous. Making their way up the Fairydell from the Mosquito Fleet landing, past the Billy Taft tree and finally to high ground, this was his backyard, playground and sanctuary. He knew by name every species, flora and fauna, inviting many of the latter to dine on his deck. It was not uncommon to shoe a dozen raccoons on the way to his door, the quaint and cozy cabin he named Summerie.

I first met my neighbor in 1984. I was doing a remodel up the road and he wandered by, said hello and left with a smile. My first impression was thinking what a nice man he was, rare even for these peaceful parts. I ended up buying one of those cabins a year later and we became friends. I remember him coming over for Saturday morning coffee in his bathrobe and slippers. I fixed their frozen water pipes one Thanksgiving as he toiled in his kitchen building another of his legendary holiday meals. I didn't think it anything big, but he felt it was a show of character and chivalry and the game was on. For the next 25 years we tried to out-do each other in random acts of kindness. We recognized in each other a special bond and connection that, even while unfolding, was unique. We appreciated our time together, every time, and all the time. I retrieved their mail when they visited family in Oregon or traveled to France or Montana, also keeping an eye on the cabin. When I worked overseas, he became property manager of my meager estate, a nine iron chip shot from his. We were pals. If I needed to borrow his pickup he would fill it up first with gas.

Looking back I truly believe that he knew some of the secrets many of us chase. He was a kind, gentle, educated, sensitive and caring neighbor, friend, father and husband. I am confident that he never said a harsh word about anybody. He had his opinions, he knew what he liked and he lived a simple, quite life in the country surrounded by the things that he loved. I have always maintained that if a person knows how to live fully, the end will come peacefully. I can safely say that he had no regrets.

And I think it is for those reasons that I feel at ease with his passing Saturday night. He had a charming humor and he loved to laugh aloud and play the snob responding with a highbrow, "what did you expect?" whenever a guest would extend a compliment on one of his fabulous dinners.

I miss Frankie. But I am not sad, rather thankful that we had so many good times together. He taught me a lot, leading by example, following his heart and spirit. I think we both knew that someday it would have to end, thereby appreciating our time together as a chance to celebrate whatever we happened to be doing.

Frankie and I laughed a lot.

He was 84. I had had the chance to visit with the family and hospice doctor earlier in the day and made a clumsy speech at bedside in an attempt at saying good-by and expressing my thanks. His wonderful wife Patricia told me yesterday some of the details of his final moments. It was 1:11 Saturday night. Pat told me he woke briefly, gurgled and gasped for air. She was camped on the couch next to the hospital bed and got up to investigate. Bending to his ear she asked how he was doing. Never one to miss an opportunity for the dramatic, he smiled and said, in closing,

"I am having the time of my life."

God Bless You Frank Peabody.

Pic: In between radiation and chemo treatments, Frankie would get a little frisky, here showing off with my maul as if he had just split all that firewood. OK, now I'm sad. Gonna miss you my friend, rest in peace.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Run

Reporting back as promised.

This morning we did our final long steady distance run in prep for next week's Seattle Half. There was frost on the pumpkin, ice on the road and a nip in the air. Crisp, beautiful and invigorating. We had non-environmental issues to tend to as well, Stephanie and her painful piriformis and me with the knee. I chose compression socks, ACL/patella tape and neoprene wrap and she opted for three ibuprofen and oatmeal. From this strategic training intel, can you guess who is the conservative and who is the liberal? We have this in common: We are both most grateful for the opportunity to enjoy our good health and fitness in such beautiful surroundings. This despite the periodic reminders from hips and knees to stretch, rest, recover, train smart and avoid black ice.

Our route is shown above, covering a touch over twelve with one decent climbing test and a lot of rolling terrain. Was a great way to start the day and/or end the week.

Tomorrow is the first day of our newly devised Thanksgiving Week festivities. The idea is to have a different theme every day that asks us to remember how lucky and blessed we are to live where we do and, further, to do what we love.

There will come a day folks, when our hips, knees, backs, feet, hearts or lungs can no longer tolerate this pounding and training trauma. A day when it becomes apparent that the hook on the wall is where we hang 'em. The dreaded day when we transition back to spectators.

Please join me in fighting that good fight. Anything we can do to postpone, delay, avert, fend or outright stop the atrophy and decay of the aging process is gold. The clock is running dear VBA, please, please, let us use our brief time together wisely.

We start tomorrow morning at 0530 with Thanksgiving Week, Day One spin in the House of Mirth. You don't want to miss this one (or any other).

This just in: Longtime VBAer and my IMC training pardner Bob P, turned in an outstanding 3:28 today in the Philadelphia Marathon, qualifying for Boston, 2012! Yea, Bob!!!

Pic: 0755 Crystal Springs. Ten ducks head towards the morning sun and Mt. Rainier. Five minutes later we headed towards a faster finish at the Seattle Half.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mighty Mito

Being this the way it is supposed to be, college football starting at 12:30, I am late in posting. Sorry. GREAT session this morning in the re-vamped, rejuvenated and re-configured House of Mirth. Are there any naysayers out there that still want to debate the power of change?


Accordingly, I fully plan on change implementation with my ramp up schedule next week as we move towards the taper for the Seattle Half. This is how it will work:

Instead of the traditional taper, resting up to the event, further review indicates that there are alternative options available. They might not be for everyone. So we'll test.

td Beaves (here we go again)

Due to the important part mitochondria play in powering our muscle cells, a final high-intensity run just prior to the main event primes the pump and prepares the motor for its task at hand. Make sense? As much practice, and some success, as I have had over the years with tapering, this new concept has my interest, and at the cellular level. Further, as your humble guinea pig, I am willing to test this theory out and see how she flies. I will file a report on its merit. Or whatever happens out there in the jungle.

td Beaves (this could get ugly)

The variable is in the race readiness of my left knee. It responded well this week, but that was negotiating only the non-trauma motion of 11 spins. I won't know till our final race-tempo 10 miler tomorrow how it will respond under load. I will report back on that as well ('cause I am sure you are holding your breath).

It's a beautiful crisp day in the Northwest, I would really like to get out and get in a 5K recovery run. I would also like the Huskies to play some defense.

Have a great fall afternoon my friends. I'll report back with the intel.


Pic: Oh yeah, and let's get out of the jungle Seal style. Tears of the Sun shows us how.

Friday, November 18, 2011

BAC TTT Results 11.16.11

Experimental results page.
Please contact me to reserve your next race day and time.
If you are in need of a team member, we have riders who want to ride. is now re-directing here for the interim.
Congratulations to Chris and Stephanie who remain undefeated (and untied).
See you in the HoM tomorrow at 0730, or,
have a great weekend.

Nice Work

We have been talking a lot the past week (month, year?) about all the seemingly separate components that comprise a quality training session. Which in turn forges a solid training block, sometimes alchemically, into racing gold. The latest round of research regarding lactate was especially illuminating, as many of the principals of exercise physiology were inspected, and through this close examination found to be useful. In a number of ways. The most important of which, I believe, is this:


LIke Ralph and Sam each toting a lunch pail, we all need to show up, punch the time clock and go to work. If you don't show up regularly enough, you don't get the benefits, and sometimes the job vanishes altogether. So in this example MORE is better. Overtime oven, if you can get it.

Secondly is the bio-chemistry issue. All that takes place as we are 'at work'. Oxygen ions and mitochondria, glucose and glycogen, pH and hormonal imbalances all in flux, changing rapidly, especially when the heat is raised. This can cause an overload resulting in our default management style taking control; Let's take a break here boys, slow it down - there is a long way to go, or, worse of all, time for a nap. I am a big fan of napping, but not at work. And NEVER on the battlefield. You snooze you lose. Or as The Z-man used to say, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead".

These two share a training commonality. We need the consistency of a forty hour work week as well as some occasional OT when the demand dictates. That demand is intensity. The way to build dense mitochondria, where power, speed and endurance are manufactured, is in not just work, BUT IN HARD WORK. One must show up Monday thru Friday, punch the clock and work on the basics, building base, impeccable form and muscular adaptation. Then, come the weekend, get in some triple time and a half OT, going hard, to max, and sometimes beyond.

That paycheck pays for the recruitment of additional muscle fiber to power your event, increased mitochondria in the cells of those muscles, heightened heart and lung transport systems, increased vascularity and fuel delivery lines and, lastly, the confidence to spend. You have worked hard, you know this and the paycheck validates it.

So go stimulate the economy. Use it. Race it. You have earned it.

Nice work and enjoy every sandwich.

Pix: Sam and Ralph go to work. At IM Texas, Superman as Yell Leader, "Nice Work".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lactic Acid and YOU

Great racing action last night at the
Bainbridge Athletic Club CompuTrainer Multi-Rider Center (BACCTMRC - and there is no way I can come up with an acronymic homophone without an additional vowel or two). Stephanie and Chris remained undefeated despite an intrepidly stellar performance by Clo and Bernie on the ten mile, mostly downhill course. All four riders posted some very impressive wattage and power numbers.

We are firmly ensconced in our fall training, the two person team TTs providing some excellent opportunities for:






We are in the process of updating the site to accommodate all racing info and data, meaning that shortly you will be able to access the registration page, the sign-up page, results and all pertinent news at one place. I wish I had more timing accuracy, but for now let's simply say, "soon".

If you have questions, comments or wish to sign up for individual or team CompuTrainer Multi-Rider testing, training or racing, navigate down to the comments tab and leave me a note. Or if this is easier E me @

I am reworking a section of the Oceanside 70.3 for the next CT RCV and we hope to start the IM Texas video after that. We have been getting calls of inquiry and as you know we hate to disappoint.
With Thanksgiving and the Apple Cup on the horizon, things are hectic, fast and furious. Just the way we like it.
Thank you for all your comments on the relaxation tips. Yes, one day encompassing them all would be a large slice of Heaven. Let us plan accordingly!

*****Lactic acid formation and removal rates increase as you run, bike or swim faster. To improve your capacity to use lactate as a fuel during exercise, you must increase the lactic acid load very high during training. Training with a lot of lactic acid in your system stimulates your body to produce enzymes that speed the use of lactic acid as a fuel. Thomas Fahey, Ed. D.

Pix: The undefeated champions (Stephanie and Chris) rule the back row as Bernie and Clo strategically counter. Nothing works better for building lactic acid than an uphill TT, this one from the 2008 TOC, Fisherman's Wharf to the Coit Tower in SF. Keep your eyes on the target!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Relaxing with the Stars

Guaranteed Ways to Relax

(Ten In alphabetical order)

1) Communicate. Talk with someone close. Express yourself, confide in them. Get it off your chest. Then, reciprocate and practice listening. Be empathetic. Share and exchange.

2) Love. As in make. As in make it last and take it slow. Can be therapeutic, stimulating and relaxing all at the same time. Let go.

3) Meditate. Just sit quite and breathe. Notice the thoughts come, accept them, let them go. Count your breaths. Return to breathing, nonjudgmentally when distracted.

4) Massage. Pay a professional to soothe your muscles and rub tension away. Sometimes just the touch of another is enough, other times we need deep tissue release, either way this is worth every penny.

5) Return to Nature. Talk a walk in the forest, collect sea-glass, hike into the hills, kayak. Listen. Look. Breathe.

6) Shut off the TV. With the exception of 12 Fall Saturdays per year, I watch zero TV. As much as I sometimes feel like an outcast for not knowing what star is dancing with whom, or who has survived what, I get to ride, run and read instead.

7) Steam & Sauna. The Scandinavians know it. They add the snow element, here, we can do dry steam and heat alternating with a shower for similar effect.

8) Swim. Ahhh, water. Do an easy 500 meter freestyle (10 laps) going long and lean in the pool, relax and glide. Then hop in the jacuzzi.

9) Walk. Slow. As walking meditation. Smell. Think. Breathe. See. Hear. Concentrate on every step. Bring some gratitude to your gait.

10) Yoga, Stretch. The downward facing dog wags more. Hold that pose and release into balance. Breathe.

After all our high-intensity cardio work, a session for counter balance is mandatory if we are going to make it for the long haul. It is mid November, the racing season six months away. If, as many of you have commented upon over the last few days, and perhaps even more importantly because of the upcoming Holidays, you are having trouble with down-mode, sleeping and/or relaxing, try one, a few, or a combination of above on for size. Also please notice that breathing deep and slow is a common element of each.

Come to think of it a PERFECT day might be:


An early swim and jacuzzi.

Honeydew, museli and french roast talking with a friend.

A slow meditative walk from the water, through the trees to the mountaintop.


Steam and sauna.



Get all that done and you can watch Dancing with the Stars.

Pix: Walking the marina in Australia, off-load in Mexico and a water break in Alaska. Did I mention vacation?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Daily Fess

The Daily Fess.

Ever since Mr. Sullivan's creative writing class in 1967 I have been enthralled with stringing words together. As a green freshman on the first day of class I was a bit perplexed when he reached into his jacket pocket and withdrew a match, a penny and a walnut and ordered that we write 250 words on the trio. I was awed even more the next day when my paper was returned with a giant crimson A atop.

It was at that exact moment in time that I completely understood motivation and choice. I could sit in algebra all day wearing a tight hypotenuse, or concoct incredible stories rewarded by the sweet ringing sound from the bell shaped curve. I took the easy way out despite all the warnings. I figured if I could determine my bating average, that would get me through long enough to get a baseball scholarship and play MLB, at which time I would simply hire an accountant to handle the truckloads of money delivered on a daily basis. Who needed geometry for that, or history, civics, Spanish, biology or chemistry?

Fast forward 44 years. No trucks. No pension. No Hall of Fame. No accountant. Nada.

Only a deep appreciation of the writers craft. And that is the confessional du jour, the Daily Fess. I write, in the form of the blog, to stay with it. To practice, to hone, to record, and maybe, just maybe, as a result of putting thoughts to page, reinforce good ideas, explore the obscure, detect commonalities, illuminate atrocities, dispel myths, remind, rediscover, reiterate and refresh. Accordingly, this is mostly for me, writing therapy 101. I also do it to share. There might be a few things that inspire. That motivate, educate, cheer or probe. I believe that good health and happiness are important and the ways that I have found to attract them possibly worth sharing. It only takes about an hour a day, and it's free. If there is an entertainment factor in the algorithm, all the cooler.

More: If at times it sounds preachy, I apologize. You already know all this stuff, I am simply bending the strings a little further to escape the fuzz-box. Playing the notes a little faster to test comprehension and life appreciation. It is, as Commander Collins noted, an experiment of one. I am the N-man. Coo-coo-cachoo.

So please VBA, forgive the 90% gibberish, it is just my apocryphal way of trying to make sense of a world in chaotic, dynamic flux, where change is the only constant and paradoxically the only solution. I believe that everything we do to keep ourselves and our neighbors fit, healthy and happy has extraordinary long-term value.

And that is why I do this every day. I may be nuts, but I believe this match has value, maybe even more than it did in 1967.

Thank you Mr. Sullivan.

Doctors don't talk about weight?

THIS is motivational?

Good grief.

Cartoon from here.

Junior prepares to blow out nine candles last night.

Monday, November 14, 2011

This is It

This is it.

IT is not tomorrow, IT was not last week, IT is this. NOW. It isn't Ironman Canada or Boston or the next time good fortune, hard work or luck allow me to dine with a beautiful woman. It is not about the finish line.

It is about the process. It is about the road, the path that takes us to here. Every breath, every heart-beat, every pedal rotation and every foot strike. Here are some excellent tips and techniques from Psychology Today on the subject.

We simply cannot avoid this reality no matter how relentlessly Madison Avenue attempts to distract. We daydream about vacation while working, then fret about work while vacationing. Mind-body displacement. You can only be in one place at one time. And this is it, here.

The "then" will take care of itself once we get consistently efficient in our ability to put maximum awareness and focus into the "this". We even coined a new word for it this morning during the noble attempt, "thisness" (spellcheck override confirms).

The "thisness" of our efforts create a higher, cleaner, more precise and profound practice. Our bodies already know this, all we have to do is, once again, convince our minds to join the party. And this becomes this, a part of that, but not that. Yet.

Today I cannot experience the glory and absolute mind-numbing sense of accomplishment of hitting the carpet for the last fifty meters of IMC. Been there six times prior and there is no other experience in this world quite like it. All I can do here and now is in the preparation, practice, in building and about work. So I tackle a portion of that and call it this. One hour of the bike's five. With a MUCH higher intensity factor. Experience tells me that this will augment that, yet I still do this for this. That race is something I am passionate about. I want to be ready come Aug, 28, 2012. But even if I wasn't racing my this would still contain big thisness, as that would contribute immensely to my health and happiness. And thus the goal on this road to that. Is this. Today. This.

Make no mistake where you are and why you are here. This is it.

Pic: My current RCV project is Muskoka 70.3 shoot in September of 2008. Rained all day, PIA then, as now. Regardless, this is it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


1361 - Edward the Black Prince marries Joan the Fair Maid of Kent.

1507 - Martin Luther ordained a Catholc Priest.

1752 - Ben Franklin flies his famous kite.

1854 - France declares war on Russia.

1963 - JFK assisanated in Dallas.

2011 - Today, the present, now*

Had the distinct pleasure of engaging with the community last night. A wonderful fund-raiser, dinner-auction to provide the Carden Country School with some additional funding. KIds, education, challenge, priorities. All that. The gala was held at Island Wood, a legendary local lazer-beam of light. Beautiful grounds, stunning ambiance and an altogether perfect setting. 75K was raised to support the Carden mission. In the main lobby, under a massive 92 foot reclaimed fir beam, was the pictured cedar round with historic dates accompanying it's annual rings. That always gets me goin'.

This tree was growing here when Black Ed married the Fair Maid in 1361. SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS AGO. A lot has gone down since then. Bringing us to todays theme, impermance.

As in nothing lasts forever. As in your health, as in your wealth. Here today, gone tomorrow. All meaning?

That now is what really matters. This moment. This opportunity to celebrate our community, to build harmony, to shine, to grow. To ace the easy lessons (swimming, biking and running are easy) so that we can avoid the flag. We fail so many ways. Environment, health care, tax codes, diplomacy for starters.

Still we press onward. Some learn the lessons and others profit from our stubborn addiction to the familiar. Because change is hard. Change is painful. Change is scary.

But change is all we have, everything is in a state of flux. Everything is relative and absolutely nothing is stable. We had better adapt and start to flow with all that go. Because things are going real fast.

And that means change. Changes in attitude, changes in diet, changes in habits, change your shirt and get back to work. Do it different.

This morning we talked about the synergy of the three: Cadence (the speed with which we live), resistance (the initiation of challenge) and attitude (how you view and respond to the first two).

If I had the life expectancy of that cedar tree I suppose I wouldn't be so concerned about this. But I am reminded on a regular basis of the impermance factor.

It is later than you think.

* (Later that same day) 2011 - Huskies beat USC for the third time in row, today 33-26.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Day of One

The important, the light, the fascinating, the comical, the sad and the true. Not often that we get the entire, complex dynamic wrapped around full moons. It feels very appropriate here on The Day of the One.

The important: To all who have served, are serving or will serve, thank you. I do not always agree with our policies and interests, but one thing I do agree is that freedom is worth the price that we must pay to keep it. And to date, here on 11.11.11 we have undeniably set the freedom standard. Let it ring!

The fascinating: I suppose you could say that I am a sucker for inspiration. I find it incredible that there are so many daily examples of beauty, courage, hope, wisdom, love and effort available to us. If we look. I know we sometimes get burdened by the weight of society, overwhelmed by the media and numbed by the negatives, but as I sit here this morning and watch the giant yellow and pea-green maple leaves line the road, I am reminded, awed and inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds. I also find this fascinating: A NY TIMES illustrator ran Sunday's NYC Marathon, covering it with sketches which he then shot with is iPhone cam. As a card-carrying member of the working press I know about shooting events, and find this absolutely phenomenal, brilliant and hysterical. And speaking of art…..

The comical: We were talking the other day about Michelangelo and his capolavoro, David. I will never forget the day I first stood gazing up at the young shepard boy in the Academia in Florence. If you haven't read Irving Stone's Agony and Ecstasy, please do. Terrific story about the sculptor and his work, including the patron Saint of Underdogs.

The sad but true. We, the VBA, go to great lengths to ensure our health and fitness. Yesterday I had a rare opportunity to talk on the subject for FOUR HOURS. By my count that was worth 2,000 calories even without turning the pedals. Meaning that once again I might be preaching to the choir, but it is a chance I fell I need to take, as maybe one person in those four hours might connect the dots, get the big picture and pass the word along, play it forward. Look at these sad but true numbers and you'll see why I sing.

Thanks Veterans for your courage and service, thank your Lord for our Garden of Eden. Thanks to all artists, musicians, teachers, authors and underdogs out there, please don't give up. Thanks to the fine folks who keep coming back to my classes knowing full well that the story, as the song, will most likely stay the same.

As I find it important, fascinating, comical and inspirational. Sad but true.

11.11.11 Pix: David (Known now as Big D) after a two year gig in the USofA. The oasis of a mile 22 aid station, you can almost taste it.