Friday, December 31, 2010

Taurus in 2011

Those who know me well are very aware there is one aspect of my life that I must change in 2011. Could this be the year that I make that happen? I know friends and the Well Kept Wife™ are getting tired of me talking about this singular aspect that keeps me from smiling broadly all day, every day. It was the WKW that found and sent me my 2011 horoscope reading:

Finding the End of the Rainbow

If you're in a rut, Taurus, you can break out of it in 2011. Pluto conjunct the Sun promises you a year of positive transformation - that is, if you take advantage of the energy it provides and make smart choices. If something isn't working the way you want it to, it's time to scrap it. Are there passions that used to fuel your days, and now they are on the back burner? You need to put them back on your list of top priorities. Stagnation could lead to shattered dreams. Don't let that happen!

This should prove interesting. What will await me at the end of the rainbow? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Product Review: Carbo-Pro

The Well Kept Wife™ made some very good Xmas gift selections for me once again this year. I make it easy for her being a tri-geek. She just heads to Gear West and she says it like walking into Cheers...."where everyone knows your name."

This year her personal shopping assistant was owner Kevin O'Connor, national duathlete of the year for 2009. Among many products he recommended to her was a energy source product called Carbo-Pro. This is what Kevin uses, which means it is a pretty solid recommendation. A 2-lb bag was $18.95.

Carbo-Pro contains 100% Complex Carbs (3.0 lbs) and is a non sweet (neutral flavor) glucose polymer, derived through a patented process that consists of D-glucose units linked primarily by alpha-1-4 bonds, having a Dextrose Equivalency of less than 16 (high molecular weight). It is low on the Glycemic Index (20) in comparison to table sugar. Carbo-Pro is a white powder prepared by hydrolysis of grains (corn/barley/rice). It's highly safe for direct human consumption.

This is the best carbohydrate replacement drink I have ever tried. When I first mixed it up I thought, "where did it go", as the powder simply dissolves into a clear liquid so you are looking at a bottle of what appears to be plain water. And with the neutral flavor, you aren't sure there is anything actually in the mix. You start to think of snake oil and other products where your money is simply poured down the drain. But that perception is quickly changed at the end of your first work out.

Packed with pure complex carbs, it can be mixed with any flavor of your choice. I experimented with Montana Huckleberry gel from Hammer. Second, you get pure calories, which is great for endurance athletes. Very easy on the stomach, loads of energy, easy for carboloading. Sustained energy throughout the ride or race. I was pretty blown away. And I am very skeptical about new things.

Truly a good product without all the gimmicks of advertising. This product works. I can sustain an energy level that I could never before for intense long workouts. I get a constant flow of high energy rather than others that spike for only 15 minutes.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Race Preview: Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon

Event: Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon
Date: Sunday, January 23, 2011
Location: Bear Creek Park, Houston, TX. Course maps.
Previous Results: 28th overall (252 total); 5th in 25-29 age group on January 29, 1989

This year, I'm going to try and post my race previews 4 weeks in advance of the actual race day. Just in case something peaks your interest and you want to give 'er a whirl. You can also reference my race calendar on the right hand navigation area.

This will be my second Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon. The first one? That was back a mere twenty-two years ago when the race was held in College Station, Texas. My splits for what was a 5K-30K-5K race were:

5K Run - 17:24.30 (5:36 per mile pace)
T1 - 1:55
30K Bike - 53:17.62 (21.0 MPH average)
T2 - 1:42
5K Run - 19:03.53 (6:07 per mile pace)

What I recall about the event was that the temperatures had been in the 70's the day before but dropped drastically overnight and we were greeted with temperatures in the 40's, winds at 25-30 MPH, and rain. Yeah, yucky. I even bought my very first Thinsulate outer wear, which I still own and wear to this day! Here are some clippings from the event.

This time around, the event will be in Houston. The 3 mile run-15 mile bike-2 mile run course is suppose to be flat and fast. This duathlon is co-produced by Outloud! Productions and Bicycle World & Fitness, and sponsored by the SouthMidwest Region of USAT.

As with the duathlon I did in November at the Texas Motor Speedway, I expect a very deep and fast field. And even though I will be racing in a new age group in 2011 (50-54), my competition will remain at a very high national caliber.

Take for instance Dana Lyons. In 2009, Lyons ranked 7th nationally (All American) in the 50-54 AG in du's. Currently has a Du par score of 96.66953 and ranked 6th in the nation in the unofficial 2010 USAT male 50-54 rankings. Lyons, if racing, will win the masters category.

I'd like to go down and get a solid par score in the area of 85. It will all depend on what kind of shape I can be in, given the pitfalls of living and training in the Tundra. So what do I think I could do? Here's pure speculation:

3mi Run - 18:18 (6:06 per mile pace)
T1 - 1:40
15mi Bike - 40:10 (22.4 MPH average)
T2 - 1:30
2mi Run - 12:40 (6:20 per mile pace)
Total Time - 1:14.18

I fly into Houston on Friday where I will meet up with my former Texas training partner, Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll. Tim and I were able to race together last season in Arkansas in April. And again at Bronda's Du at the Texas Motor Speedway in November.  I'd shipped my bike direct to Tim ahead of time prior to the November race in Texas and there it has stayed. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wetsuits and the 5150 Events: Follow-up

This is follow-up to my earlier post on this subject on the new offering from the WTC called 5150, the highly sought after new Olympic distance race series in 2011. I was holding back on registering for any races until I knew if my wetsuit was race legal or not.

Specifically, I use the De Soto T1 Water Rover wetsuit and I was making darn certain it would be race legal for the 5150 events. Per USAT, these suits are race legal until 2013, but I wanted to make sure of that with the WTC so I sent them a note. My initial reply back from the WTC was:

Hello Brian,

Thank you for your email. We are currently working with USAT to determine which wetsuit rules we will be abiding by. More information will be posted online at before the end of the year. Thank you in advance for your patience.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. Thank you,

Athlete Services Coordinator
Ironman World Headquarters
2701 North Rocky Point Drive
Suite 1250
Tampa, FL 33607
So, I waited and I can now share with you other lovers of 10mm neoprene that the wetsuit will be legal. I received this reply on December 21:
Hi Brian-

We are following USAT rules for all 5150 events. We are working on the 5150 site and expect it's launch will take place early January.
Very good news! Now I just have to dive into my 2011 calendar and see what I want to do and then pull the trigger. I have my eye on the Hy-Vee Triathlon/5150 U.S. Championship (Des Moines, Iowa) and 5150 Galveston (Galveston, Texas). I'm sure I will finalize within the next one to two weeks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

That Was Really Freakin' Scary: One Man's Winter Horror Story

On Tuesday I would hit the office, but due to the recent snowfall I opted to work from home. Temps nearing 30 which means ‘things’ start to thaw. What I mean by 'thaw' is the snow on the roof starts to run and if you are truly a unlucky person (such as moi), any ice dams in the attic. Anyway, I hear a ‘pop-pop-pop-sizzle’ and think, ‘what are my dogs into now.’

I locate the sound from my master bedroom. Sparks are flying out of one outlet. Pop-sizzle-pop. I cut power, remove the outlet and also run across the street to a neighbor who is a handyman. He is able to cut away the wall and cap the wiring so at least fire hazard is nullified. We get up in the attic. No ice dams but outside wall is wet. Just not enough ventilation up there. Heat is getting into the attic from below, even though we both agree the insulation seems adequate. But there doesn't seem to be enough cool air getting in to that particular space.

So come spring we’ll add in more vents, probably add in more insulation and see if there are any plugged up soffits. For now, all I can do is shovel the roof to keep it as clear as I can.

Had I not been home, pretty sure a fire would have started. So I got my Xmas present early in that regard. And that was my fun day on Tuesday. How was yours?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy First Day of Spring!

No, I did not hit my head. I am just fine, thank-you-very-much. On my personal calendar, this is one of the most anticipated days of the year. That being the Winter Solstice which occurred yesterday (December 21, 2010 at 5:38 PM CT) marking the shortest day on sunlight in the northern hemisphere. That now means the days are getting longer. It won't be very long before I'll be biking outside well past 8 PM!

So in my mind, the term solstice is used in a wider sense, as the date (day) that such a passage happens. Even though I know the days will still be cold, the days are getting longer and a new racing season in the Tundra is drawing near. And that alone puts a spring (ahem) in my step.

So, be sure and wish everyone a very happy first day of spring today. With a wink and a nudge.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What the Hell?

Pictures speak louder than words.

Keep in mind the Boy is 55" tall.

Circus Maasimus for the whippets in the backyard

Did someone say, "Snowzilla"?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Porter's Lotion

Note - This is a reprint of a blog entry from June 25. I figure most people living in the Tundra are now experiencing some dry skin, cracked hands and feet, etc. So I wanted to resurface this for your benefit.

We all know about Hammer Nutrition and their fine line of products that help triathletes keep their mojo. There is another line of products from Montana that I have used for over a decade that I wanted to share with you as well. The product is Porter's Lotion which is made in Bozeman.

If you shower multiple times during the day because we are, after all, multi-talented athletes specializing in three disciplines you need something to restore moisture to dry skin. Especially during the cold, dark & dry months of winter.

I use Original Porter's Hand and Body Lotion which comes in 8.45 ounce bottle. It is a grease free dry skin tonic that combines the restorative and healing properties of Rosemary, Camphor, Witch Hazel, and Green soap. It combats the elements and helps heal cracked, dry and peeling skin. It has a "cooling" effect on the skin and a distinct scent that disappears upon evaporation. Intelligently packaged in an unbreakable bottle and like all of their products, it is not tested on animals.

At first you will think it is not lotion as it has the basic consistency of water. However I think you will come to love this product as much as I do. If nothing else, get it for your poor feet. This product will repair cracked heels. It moisturizes skin from too much chlorine from swimming pools. I keep it in the shower and just apply after toweling off.

At one time, I would need to contact my brother-in-law who lives in Missoula to venture out and buy a case and ship it to me. That was the only way I could get my hands on the stuff. Jump ahead fifteen years and you can buy direct from Porters or even pick it up from Amazon.

It has an interesting story. The precursor to Porter's Original Lotion began in Montana in 1915 with Dr. C. E. Whitehead who compounded a similar formula with camphor, alcohol, glycerin, ammonia and water to be used for workers at a local cement plant to treat dry skin. He passed his formula on to Heber Porter, a Bozeman pharmacist, who started Porter's Pharmacy in the newly constructed Baxter Hotel in 1931. He began to compound the original formula for Porter's Lotion, as we know it today. Although Heber Porter died in 1955, the same lotion continued to be compounded in a barrel in various local Bozeman pharmacies until 1994, when the Bungalow Drug, the last to make it, was closing its doors.
Fearing an end of the Porter's era, Michael Anderson, a fourth generation Porter's user, and Con and Daphne Gillam of Bozeman purchased the rights and formula to Porter's Lotion, started Gallatin River Products, and took Porter's nationwide and to four continents. So the product stayed alive.

Let me know what you think if you try it. I'm pretty sure you will give it two thumbs up.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Totals: Month Ending November 2010

Yeah, I'm a little late on this. Busy, busy month is December. This is the first chance I have had to review my numbers from November and post that month's summary.

Highlight of the month, definitely Bronda's Du (USAT) which was held in Fort Worth, TX. I even got in an unexpected 10K race the day before. It was a very nice way to officially close the door on the 2010 season. The du garnered me my best par score of the year with a 87.94644. It has me wondering what could be in store for 2011 as I move into the 50-54 age group.

Total miles started to drop on the back half of November. I took some time off as a matter of fact. I'm now just trying to maintain my conditioning so I won't have to work so hard to ramp up for 2011.

November 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 24:49:27
Swim Miles - 4.20
Bike Miles - 206.15
Run Miles - 84.69 (7:30 per mile avg)

Compare to last year -

November 2009 Total Numbers
Swim Miles - 6.25
Bike Miles - 149.9
Run Miles - 75.53

Compare to last month -

October 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 33:53.00
Swim Miles - 4.94
Bike Miles - 219.24
Run Miles - 153.17 (7:33 per mile avg)

Year-To-Date (2010)
Swim Miles - 107.37
Bike Miles - 3084.83
Run Miles - 1085.58

Next Event -
Jan 23 - Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon; Houston, TX (USAT) - 3mi run, 15mi bike, 2mi run

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Boy®'s Swim Meet Day Deux

The Boy® had a good, solid second day at the meet. On the drive in, we talked about his success on Day One and how we couldn't let our guard down as a result. We had to finish the job. As if on cue, BTO came on the car iPod system with "Takin' Care of Business". Classic.

He took the advice and went to work like a pro. So let's go into the recap of the three races he had.

50-Yard Freestyle
C Standard - :44.29
B Standard - :38.19
Previous Best - :42.58
Result - :38.66
With a bit more push off the block and better turn I think he would have gotten a B standard time. He made up ground on the first place swimmer in the last 15-yards and finished very well. As it was, he fell 0.47 secs short. Next meet for sure he'll get the B standard. The Boy® can be seen in lane four (from the left) in the video below:

50-Yard Butterfly
C Standard - :51.49
B Standard - :44.29
Previous Best - :54.48
Result - :49.97

When the the Boy® first started doing butterfly, a difficult and exhausting stroke, he really looked like his dad trying to dance. I don't dance very well. Um, Elaine from Seinfeld kind of dancing. Maybe not quite that bad but you get the idea. So to see him take 4 1/2 secs off his previous best and easily get C standard was perhaps the best result of the entire two-day meet. The Boy® can be seen in the second lane from the right in the video below:

200-Yard Freestyle
C Standard - 03:32.79
B Standard - 03:03.29
Previous Best - 03:50.50
Result - 03:16.10

I told the Boy® to just imagine swimming four consecutive 45-second 50's. He went out a bit fast on the opening 25-yards, but doesn't everyone? His splits came in at (approx):
  • 44.23
  • 47.7
  • 55.07
  • 49.1
His coach told him afterwards the most important leg in the 200-free is the third 50. That really sunk in and resonated with him after I showed him his splits. So next time, I know he'll understand the importance of staying even. But what an improvement from his previous best! Thirty-four seconds off....very, very happy about that! The Boy® can be seen in the second lane from the right in the video below:

Next meet will be January 8-9, 2011.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Boy® Swims Well

A month ago at a swim meet, I ended up benching the Boy®. It was a hard parenteral decision, but one I decided to make. Here's what happened.

I'd been having long conversations with the Boy® about being focused and prepared and such as he'd been dinking around in practice and not fully listening to the coaches. So what did he do at the very first race at the swim meet last month? He missed his heat for the 100 free, the first race. He'd been standing right there at the block and just zoned out. His coach took blame saying he told the Boy® the wrong heat, but like I told the Boy® afterwards, that is his responsibility to know his heats. We even write it on his arm. There was no excuse. Its too bad because I think he was ready to approach a B time.

So, we held him home on day 2 of the meet and did not allow him to swim at the Sunday portion. It was hard for me to do, but I had to set an example somewhere. I had to draw the line. I needed to get his attention.

We had a meet this past weekend (12/4-5) and what a difference. He was focused. I watched him from the upper balcony as he went through the motion of each race, from start to finish, in his mind. Pretending as he started from block, to entry, to stroke, to turn....he was doing it on deck. Those old enough to recall the high jumper Dwight Stones, will recall watching him visualize each high jump before he took his first step. I was happy to see the Boy® doing this as I did not lay this down as a requirement. He was doing it on his own. It told me he was focused.

A focused Piranha
So let's recap Saturday (12/4) and I will post another entry to recap Sunday. First, let me explain the Minnesota time standards. A swimmer, by virtue of his or her age group, must meet or excel a set time standard to achieve a certain time standard. A swimmer progresses from C to B to A to CH to Zone. For the layman, I sort of equate C with novice, B with wannabe, A with local stud/studette, CH with regional class stud/studette and Zone with national class stud/studette. I'm not sure if that is accurate or not....but works for me!

C Standard - 01:53.69
Previous Best - N/A
Result - 01:57.91

He had it going early with the fly, turned well and had a nice backstroke, turned and.....the hated, dreaded breaststroke was up. He finished up well with the free. He was on target to go well under 1:53 but really slowed in the breast segment. He has been working hard on the stroke, so that light bulb should eventually go off. Until then, we keep plugging along. The Boy® can be seen in lane two (from the left) in the video below:

C Standard - :53.79
B Standard - :46.29
Previous Best - :54.40
Result - :52.96

I knew he had a decent shot to finally achieve his C standard in the 50-yard backstroke. He'd been so near on previous occasions. At the turn, I thought he was going to fall just short but he mustered the strength to finish strong and went under by almost a full second. The Boy® can be seen in the third lane from the right in the video below:

C Standard - :59.19
Previous Best - N/A
Result - 01:12.74

As mentioned earlier, this stroke is the Boy®'s kryptonite. He's got runner's blood, so his feet turn in. For a proper breaststroke kick, the feet need to turn out. But he is trying. And as his coach told him afterwards, he turned in a performance that was light years ahead of where he was at this point last year. The Boy® can be seen in lane two (from the left) in the video below (taken with my cell phone, so lower quality):

C Standard - 01:39.19
B Standard - 01:25.49
Previous Best - 01:32.49
Result - 01:27.57

Hell, yeah! The Boy® smoked this one. He came into his heat seeded fourth. He turned the first 25-yds at about 18-seconds. Hit 50-yds at about 40-41-seconds. At first, I thought he had gone out too fast. But he dug deep, and nearly knocked off a B standard in winning his heat. The Boy® can be seen in the third lane from the right in the video below:

Sunday he will be competing in the 50-free, 50-fly, and 200-free. His first ever B standard could come in the 50-free if he is on his game. B standard is :38.19 and he has done a :42.48. Katie bar the door and hold onto your could be exciting!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wetsuits and the 5150 Events

For those tuned into the new offering from the WTC called 5150, there will be a highly sought after new Olympic distance race series in 2011.

Registration opened on December 1 and I have my eye on the Hy-Vee Triathlon/5150 U.S. Championship (Des Moines, Iowa) and 5150 Galveston (Galveston, Texas). But for now, I'm holding back until I know if my wetsuit will be race legal or not.

Specifically, I use the De Soto T1 Water Rover wetsuit and am making darn certain it will be race legal for the 5150 events. Per USAT, these suits are race legal until 2013, but I wanted to make sure of that with the WTC so I sent them a note. I did get an initial reply back:
Hello Brian,

Thank you for your email. We are currently working with USAT to determine which wetsuit rules we will be abiding by. More information will be posted online at before the end of the year. Thank you in advance for your patience.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. Thank you,

Athlete Services Coordinator
Ironman World Headquarters
2701 North Rocky Point Drive
Suite 1250
Tampa, FL 33607
So for now, I'm waiting. As soon as I have the nitty-gritty details, I will share with you other lovers of 10mm neoprene. Then you will know for certainty if you will be race legal or not.

And for more information than you really need to know.....2011 is the year of the Rabbit. What will the rabbit bring us?
The year of the Rabbit will be a placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.

Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

A time to watch out that we do not become too indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.

Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of somnolence. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible.

Money can be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible for us to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances.
I like that money can be made without too much labor. Because general entry for these events is $150. Man, I better not let the Well Kept Wife™ see this blog entry!