Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I am not going to the gym on Christmas day or Christmas Eve or the day before Christmas Eve and probably not on the day after Christmas, either. Ha!

I am talking to various people I know about triathlons, though, people who have competed in them before in the past. I suppose I'm looking for a general consensus as to whether or not they are fun or just a goal that you suffer through and once done, never want to do again. This is probably the wrong way to look at it, but that's how I'm currently viewing it. I guess it's because I look at marathons that way. So many people just want to do one to say they did it and I'm like, "I had 2 knee surgeries. Why don't you have a knee surgery just to say you did it?" And yes, this is totally the wrong attitude.

I'm pretty sure if triathlons involved leaping through fire, like the Warrior Dash did, and climbing obstacles and steep hills and swimming far out to grab some brass ring and mountain biking through a motorcross trail instead of racing street bicycles and all that then I would look at it as a challenge that I really thought was worthwhile. And mostly this would be because to me that sort of race sounds like fun.

I know I'll never set a new Personal Record in any race, whether running or cycling or swimming ... Well, that's not entirely true. I've never competed in a bicycle race or swim meet, so any time I set is my new PR. Still, I'll always know that whatever time that is won't be as good or as fast as I could've done back when I was young and skinny and strong like some teenaged vampire.

I guess I'm being a jerk about it, but I want a race as long as a triathlon to entertain me. I saw a film of an Australian triathlon where the entire group of participants ended up swimming through a nasty group of blue bottles, a horrible jellyfish that can send you screaming to the hospital. Not that I'm wishing for something like that, but certainly all those racers will say "that's a race I'll never forget." I'm looking for something novel and unique. You'd think that an ordinary triathlon would already do that for me as I've never competed in one before. But somehow, no.

One good thing is that I've only recently learned that there are different types of triathlons, different distances that you have to complete depending on which type of triathlon it is. Naturally I'm inclined to feel drawn towards the shortest ones, or 'Sprint Distance' triathlons, which involve a 750 meter swim, 20 km bike, and 5 km run. Hell, I could complete one of these with minimal training even now.

After the 'Sprint Distance' triathlon, there is the 'Standard Distance' or 'Olympic Distance' triathlon, which is a 1.5 km swim, 40 km ride, and a 10 km run. I think with this the only thing I'd be worried about is the 1.5 km swim. I haven't trained for swimming in a very long time. I have no idea how I'd do in that part of the race, but if it were in choppy waters or there were any sort of undertow I think I'd most likely drown. So, before I try anything like this I believe I'd better make some time to get into the pool and do some laps. A lot of laps, actually. I might even want to hire a coach to watch me do those laps and tell me how awful my form is before helping me correct it in order to maximize my efficiency and speed and minimize my chances of dying.

Dying in a triathlon means you don't get to finish. Actually, this is true of most races.

After the 'Standard Distance' triathlon, there is the 'Long Course' or 'Half Ironman.' Yes, only a HALF Ironman, which involves a 1.9 km swim, 90 km ride, and a 21.1 km run. If I do somehow 'get into' this whole triathlon thing, I suspect this will be the longest race I ever do. And afterwards I'd be bitching about it for months. So fair warning.

Finally, there is the real deal, the 'men from the boys', the 'Ultra Distance', the 'Ironman' itself, which involves a 3.8 km swim, 180 km ride, and a marathon: 42.2 km run. Yeah, fat chance of me attempting one of these. I don't like running that far and I'd be the most surprised person in the room if I ever managed to swim that distance. As for the biking part, I think I'd have me a big fat spring-loaded comfy seat and a whole lot of gears. My bike would look nothing like everyone else's racer. I'd look more like Mary Poppins out of a long ride and a picnic with all the water bottles and accessories I'd be sporting on that thing, especially after that long swim. Hell, I might even try to slip a moped in there and see if anyone noticed.

So, this was supposed to be about Christmas, the day of Christ's birth, except it isn't the day of Christ's birth because at some point they say the Catholic Church moved it for various reasons and that Jesus was actually born in April or thereabouts. I don't know all the details. I don't know if God gets upset about it or just wants us to recognize without getting uptight about the exact date. But I know that Christmas is important. Wikipedia seems to indicate that December 25th actually could be the correct day. But then how much faith do you place in something like Wikipedia? In years past I've made edits to various incorrect Wikipedia entries, only to have all my edits be disallowed. Apparently political correctness is the goal there rather than factual accuracy. So the amount of faith I place in Wikipedia is inversely proportional to the extent to which I believe it adheres to a PC dogma.

Having said all this, I want to finally just say, MERRY CHRISTMAS and I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Am Not Dead Yet

I realize it has been over a week since I last posted. Things have really gotten out of control the past few weeks. My workouts are a bit chaotic lately. I've been seriously considering trying to prepare for a triathlon. My job is on the line here at end-of-year and nothing is certain as far as next year is concerned. My home situation is a bit tentative. I'm not getting enough sleep. And my subscriptions to about a million publications apparently all run out at the exact same time, Christmastime, when I am flat broke. Yay me and FML.

Anyway, I'm not going to bitch about all of this in any detail. Right now I'm watching a Led Zeppelin concert on the TV from about 1973. It's a bit strange. This is from an age when people went up onstage and just played and did whatever they thought of at the time, as opposed to the later years when bands hired choreographers to script and rehearse every onstage movement to assure no one looked foolish. I'm not sure, but I think Jimmy Page and Robert Plant may both be stoned while up there. It's hard to tell because Jimmy Page has eyes that always look sort of stoned.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Am Not Ironman

Iron Man
I haven't been able to get to the gym all week long. Things aren't going well at work. I worked all week and Saturday, too.

I read a quote the other day, and I can't remember how it went exactly, but it was from a big successful CEO, I think it was Steve Jobs. He said that he considered the ability to encourage employees to be the most important management skill of all, and would pay top price for those who had it because it is so very important. Judging from my experience I must be the only person who ever heard of this.

Encouragement? What a novel concept.

I am exhausted. Even so, I plan to try to hit the gym tomorrow. I met with a group of triathletes and ironman competitors again this weekend. They always encourage me to compete. And encouragement, as I said above, motivates me.

I feel encouraged
I was reading up on what constitutes a full-on Ironman triathlon. There is no way I am doing this. Perhaps a half Ironman. Perhaps. But never a full Ironman. I just can't see ever wanting to do this, especially at this point in my life.

I am in pain
I also can't see my knee, which has endured 2 surgeries already, surviving a full Ironman. It's just the marathon part. I used to have the ability to run 26 miles and even try to go a reasonably good pace while doing it. But not now. My knee talks to me after 8 or 9 miles and lets me know that I should not go much further than that. I think a half-marathon would be about my limit before I had some serious swelling and possibly damage in that knee. Add to this the fact that I have never felt the desire to actually run a full marathon and you have a good understanding of why I don't plan to.

If I fart, they all suffer!
Still, they tell me that once you've done a half-Ironman you always find yourself planning to do a full one. It's a bit like tattoos that way. Once you get one you find yourself already planning the next. That's what they say, anyway.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Fun Weekly Wrap Up

Well, the week is over and I did one whole workout the entire week. At least it was a leg workout. But my lack of soreness suggests that I didn't push it hard enough. I've had a bit of a crisis-filled week and that interfered with workout time.

Seems simple enough
I took my car in for an oil change. I have spent years underneath my own cars, as well as family-members and hot girls' cars, and I'm a bit tired of changing my own oil. So I took it to a quick-change shop to do it for me. I pulled with with my car doing fine, but in need of fresh oil and maybe a filter. I left with my "Check Engine" lot gleaming at me.

Yay, so excited.
I shot a quick U-turn and went back to the shop. I asked them about the "Check Engine" light, seeing as this light had never before turned on that I ever saw and certainly wasn't on when I arrived for my oil change.

"Huh, I dunno" the mechanic said, as he poked his head into my car to look at the dash. Then he indicated that he assumed it was on when I arrived. No, it wasn't.

They have no idea what they could have done to cause this very alarming and disturbing light to come on, and they have no idea what needs to be done to turn it off. I'm thinking I'm going to go home this weekend and disconnect my battery and then see if the light comes back again. If it does, I've got a problem. If it doesn't, I'll be doing my own oil changes in the future.

Git'er done!
Aside from this, there hasn't been much excitement. I mean, politically there has. I swear, some days I think the news media is going to drag Herman Cain out into the street and nail him to a cross as a crowd of prostitutes all chant "that's him! That's the man he deflowered me!" But aside from that, nothing of significance has been reported in our news this week.

Is that him? Get him! Oh wait, wrong guy. Sorry.
In the UK news, though, it was reported that Britain very nearly collapsed and only a quick infusion of American cash saved them. I don't know about you, but to me that is an important enough story that we here in America should have been told about it. Instead we're hearing about fashion faux paus at the latest celebrity award shows that no one watched.

Oh, I did watch the 1-hour long Victoria's Secret fashion show on television. Where else can you see so many beautiful women walking around in fancy underwear for a solid hour while reclining in the comfort of your own home? It was awesome.

Yay underwear!
So, how was your week? Any excitement?