Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is an interesting point in my life. Or at least staring at it from my point of view is. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it's insignificant and maybe to others it's a non-issue altogether. However, these few things are weighing on my mind and I can't seem to shake them.


I'm ready to give my 2-week notice without anything lined up. It's a horrible position to be in and this is now the second job I've had where I feel this way. I won't get into particulars because that's entirely inappropriate -- arguably bringing this up in a blog is inappropriate but I'm an emotional kind of guy and that's where I'm at right now.

We're using excruciatingly inefficient tools on third rate hardware on a system that should have been laid to rest back in 1985. Plus, I'm put into a position where I'm living a hypocritical life. It's very frustrating. What's even more frustrating is when you point out all the inadequacies, show them a cost effective solution that will benefit the company 10 fold, and they just sit on their laurels and do nothing. It's like watching someone smash their head into a brick wall repeatedly.


I love this group. I love what they stand for, I love what they do, and I love the friends I've met through the organization. I've got nothing bad to say about it at all. It's really great. Which brings me to my point. I've got two concerns with TNT but one I think has an obvious solution.

The first concern is whether or not to mentor a 2009 summer event. This essentially means I would help individuals reach their fundraising and fitness goals. But I think the answer to this is an obvious no for me. To start with I'm far too selfish with my time. That definitely doesn't work right off the bat. But aside from that I was reading their list of qualifications and of the four I barely meet one of them.

I'm not committed to attend a majority of the trainings and meetings. I'm also not at all knowledgeable in the area of fundraising. My commitment to the society goes as far as skin deep. Like I said, I love who they are and what they do. But I don't have that emotional or spiritual attachment that someone who's been personally touched by this disease does. That creates a whole new level of appreciation and respect for the work being done. I [thankfully] don't have that.

Think of it this way. We all have an appreciation on one level or another to the Great Wall of China. It's a magnificent creation and one of the great wonders of the world. But if you've never been there all you have to go on is the self generated amazement you get from postcards, pictures, and television. But if you've been there and seen it in all its glory. If you've touched it and run your hand along it. If you've walked the wall then you develop an intimate relationship with it. It is now not a self generated amazement so much as it is a pure and deep respect for something that is simply amazing and mind boggling.

Now, if someone comes up to you and says "Hey, let's raise money to restore the Great Wall of China!" and you've never been there yourself you'd probably say "Sounds like a swell idea. Where do I sign up?" However, if you've been there. If The Wall has personal meaning to you and someone approaches you with the same question, your answer would be more like "Damn straight mother fscker! That's an amazing idea! What did you have in mind? How much should we get? Should I try to contact the mayor? Let's do some recruiting! How about we sponsor a local marathon as a charity event to raise money?!"

That's the difference. I have the former, not the latter. Because of that I wouldn't make a good mentor.

The second concern with TNT for 2009 is with the fundraising. It took me a significant amount of time and energy to raise the $2,100 minimum for the LTF Triathlon this year. And it took me right to the end to get there.

The event I'm considering for 2009 is the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival Half Ironman. The fundraising goal minimum for this is $5,300. That's just over two and a half times more than my previous goal. And in case you haven't been keeping score with current events, the economy isn't exactly booming (read: it's going to be harder this time around to get funds than last time).


I've honestly got to do whatever I can to NOT repeat 2008. Right now I'm so burned out I can barely tolerate even thinking about exercising. I've not exercised since my failed swimming attempt on Tuesday and have no idea in mind for when I'm going to get back into the game.

My problem is I don't know when to say when until I physically cannot do it anymore. Anyone who knows me well knows I have a slight issue with a thing I like to refer to as "moderation." By that I mean I am utterly incapable of it. Everything I do is in excess: eat, drink, exercise, work (not time-wise but intensity-wise), complain, and sleep just to name a few. This is a genetic thing too. I've looked into it. I am what I am and there's nothing to be done about it.

But I don't want to train like that this time around. I really need to find a way to train and not train like tomorrow is never going to happen.

Any suggestions or comments about anything above is more than welcome. I have other concerns but it's late and I can't think anymore.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Burnout at the Pool

I woke up today knowing something as off. It didn't make sense what it was because most mornings I wake up and everything feels off anyway. But this was different than most mornings.

I brushed it off and went to swim practice anyway.

Maybe that was a mistake.

I was doing my warm-up laps and my heart was racing. In fact, I was flat out exhausted. I thought this was just a fluke, brushed it off, and kept right on with the days activities.

Then we worked on 9 x 100 (50 kick, 50 drill). The kicks were nothing short of torture. In fact I couldn't even do them. The drills felt good and actually were a welcome reprieve from the kicks and typical swimming drills.

After the 9 x 100 we had to work on 3 x 200's at a descending (faster) pace. I got done with the first one, the easiest one, and called it a day. By this point it was clear I had no energy to keep going and I was just wasting my and everyone's time.

Some days we have it and some days we don't. Today I don't have it. This, I think, is a combination of not taking vitamins for 2 weeks, the pulled IT band, all the massaging I'm doing to work out the toxins from my body, and a hard 2008 sporting season.

I'm not sure what I have to be doing to get back into the swing of things. I did order some new multivitamins and have already (begrudgingly) conceded to not run for a month or two.

Maybe it's time to go grocery shopping. Anyone know where I can get cheap quality groceries? If housing is the number one rip off of this country then paying for food is a close second.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rearranging the Room

Fall is deepening its grip on the upper midwest which means my outdoor biking season is coming to an end. Not that I have a huge problem with being outside in the cold but something odd happens to me when I get cold. Strangely enough I saw a doctor last year and was diagnosed with cold urticaria. Long story short, I'm allergic to the cold. It's really strange but all it means is I don't do a lot outside in the winter in Minnesota. Still, I'm going to try to to do some cross country skiing as recommended by my TNT coach as a different winter activity. Life's an adventure. Live it up!

Last year I bought a Kurt Kinetic Rock 'n' Roll Bike Trainer so I could bike in the winter. It's a great tool but the problem is my living situation doesn't exactly lend itself to the space needed to stationary cycle. For those who don't know, I choose to live modestly. Mostly because I simply don't need a lot but partly because I find paying for shelter is one of the most impressive rip offs on the planet and sadly everyone seems inclined to buy into it. Where I live I have exactly one room: my bedroom. That's it. My housemate has so much sh*t that he takes up all the rest of the space (kitchen, restroom, living room, sun room, and a few other rooms). It's unbelievable. I don't even have friends over because I'm so embarrassed of his crazy lifestyle.

Anyway, getting back to the point at hand, I have incredibly limited space and need to fit a stationary cycle in my room. So, after much space negotiation I got my room re-arranged and ready for the cycle. It's not my ideal arrangement but it'll work for the long winter months. Plus, it should be more accommodating than last years arrangement.

Sorry. I'm in a really bad mood apparently.

UPDATE: It barely works. I need to move or force my housemate to sell his shit so I can have a fair amount of room. Then again, we're talking about a guy who freaked out because I mistakenly ate a pack of his [$2.00] hotdogs. Some people just have no clue do they?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

IMT Des Moines Marathon 2008


Today was my second marathon in as many weeks. Last week was the Whistlestop Marathon in Ashland, WI and this week I ran the Des Moines Marathon.

Last week I strained my IT band near mile 16 and was forced to run the rest of the marathon much slower than I would have liked. But it was only for fun anyway. The rest of the week I took easy in my training. I used my Compex Fitness Trainer to massage my IT band, swam and cycled for exercise, and had a professional massage. Coming into the race today my leg felt wonderful and strong.

I pulled of another sleep-in-my-car event which worked out well. I wasn't as well rested as I would be had I stayed in a hotel but it cost MUCH less than a hotel so I didn't complain.

The run itself was good too. I started off strong and held it through the half marathon mark. By the time I got to the 13.1 mile marker the time was 1:45. I was easily on track to finishing in 3:30, especially since by that point we've already run all the hills on the course. But, as my dumb luck would have it, my IT band acted up again. It hurt so bad I had to do a run/walk combination for the last half of the race. I was really looking forward to a PR today but was just glad I didn't destroy myself. Here are my official results if you'd like to see. Race photos will be available as I get them.

Because of this injury though I'm going to cut my running season short this year and focus on recovery. I won't be doing any running events until I'm confident my leg is healed. Until then I guess it's all swimming and cycling.

The course map along with my stats from the run are here.

UPDATE: I just got the most recent newsletter and instead of deleting it I decided to read through. One company did a really cool analysis of my crappy run. It's impressive enough to share. Check it out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whistlestop Marathon Weekend


This weekend I ran one of my favorite fall races: Whistlestop in Ashland, WI. This is a great vacation run for me and at a time when a vacation is really needed. The drive north offers a beautiful display of colors in wilderness that hasn't been disturbed by man. It's simply breathtaking. And this year the colors were - for the most part - at their peak. The reds were deep and dark in color and the yellows were at their splendor as well.

The run itself is on an old rail bed that's been converted to a limestone trail. It's a run through the woods. All except for about 1.5 miles in the city of Ashland we're completely covered by trees and nature. And the route itself is almost entirely downhill. How can anyone argue with that? It's amazing and has an almost magical impact on the soul. I had no idea how much I needed to get away but this definitely came at the right time.

The run was fun. I took a bunch of pictures so it was definitely not about time. This run was about being around friends, making new ones, and doing nothing related to work.

I'm working on getting the course map up but Garmin isn't cooperating. I just bought the Forerunner 405 and, despite my prior critique of it, am warming up to it. The unfortunate part is it's not compatable with the Mac (boo to you Garmin) and so I'm trying to understand why it's not working in Windows. I'll update this post when I get the map up.

UPDATE: This is the best map I'm going to get. Garmin is changing their online service and I'm still learning all the ins and outs of it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Your silly fact for the day and some swimming news

I was reading this morning and couldn't help but notice this story about our national debt and how the National Debt Clock at Times Square in New York City ran out of digits.

Just for the sake of silliness I decided to take that snapshot in time - exact time not reported on the site but I'm sure can easily be extrapolated from the rate at which the debt is growing - and do some math. I'm a verified nerd and have two university degrees to prove it so I reserve my right to do this.

According to this website, the thickness of a standard US dollar bill is 0.010922 cm. If our country was to pay off the national debt in one dollar bills, the briefcase containing those dollar bills would have to be 110,854,422,000 cm long or 688,817.44 miles long.

As fate would have it, the circumference of our planet (that'd be Earth for most of us) is roughly 24,901.55 miles along the equator. This would mean the stack of one dollar bills needed to pay the national debt, if lined along the equator, would transverse our planet 27.66 times.

Keep in mind that number's growing constantly so it's going to be a much larger number as time marches on.

Aren't you proud to be an American?

In more exciting news I got bumped up to Lane 2 in swimming. Apparently this whole Total Immersion Swimming is really working out well!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

MTC Marathon 2008


Is this not the coolest damn medal you've ever seen? Now I'm jealous of all the finishers. Maybe I should have ran this year's race.

Friday, October 3, 2008

2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon

I want to wish all my friends the best of luck in this year's marathon. It's looking so far to be a fantastic improvement over last year's run.

Don't forget to Runner's World is going to be there. Wear your smile for their camera.

And according to a friend my unofficial girlfriend is at the expo.

Sounds like a great time is going to be had by all! But the most important piece of advice I can give: HAVE FUN!!!