Training Update—8/17-8/30

8/17 M-AG T-AG W-AG R-AG F-AG SA to Oly SU Total
S 4,000

w/ A



4,000 √-
C 44 18.7


26 18.7 70 √
R 8

1:08  600’

9.5 hills







3 32 √+
8/24 M T W R F SA SU Total
S 4,000








500’s :15

8,000 √+


C 32 18.2 (low back tire)



40 20.6



35 18.6



42 19.8



149 √+


R 5 39:41 5.3 5.3 10.4 26 √+


(monthly totals)

S—Only 3 sessions, but each was 4,000 meters. Fun swimming outdoors in CA although I got burned. Also nice to catch A before her season begins.

C—Six days in a row is a p.r. I will feel the benefits the next time I head out. I better feel great, because Lance is killin’ it on two wheels.

R—Central CA was hilly. Lance dropped the hammer at the end of Saturday’s run. The swim only accounts for between 1/8th and 1/10th of Cutter Battle Royale. I guess that explains why two-thirds of Positive Momentum’s readers are going with Youthful Lance.

In Defense of Eavesdropping

I can’t help myself.

If I’m waiting for an airplane, eating at a restaurant, walking out of a movie, setting up at a triathlon, I tend to listen in to other people’s conversations going on around me. Awhile ago, when eating out, my better half “caught me” smiling at someone else’s conversation and shot me her elementary teacher “disappointed in you” look. I suspect she would prefer it if I focused lovingly on her eyes all the time, waiting patiently for whenever whatever is communicated. 

But her disapproval is misguided because eavesdropping is a form of curiosity, a positive attribute. 

Admittedly, one’s curiosity in the form of eavesdropping can take publicly acceptable and unacceptable forms. I don’t sneak onto the phone as family members are taking calls, I don’t sneak into their email accounts, and I don’t move closer to you at the airport or in the restaurant so that I can hear your conversation. 

One reason I don’t do those things is I don’t have to. To generalize, relative to many other people around the world, Americans are loud, so a lot of times people consciously make their conversations public. I trust you’ve met Loud Cellphone Person once or twice. “I’M DOWN AT THE GATE! Pause. WHEAT! ONION! GREEN PEPPER! BUT NOT TOASTED!” I’m not as fond of eavesdropping on LCP because 1) the content is usually inane and 2) I don’t like having to imagine what LCP’s friend is contributing to the conversation. It’s like watching Serena hit the ball without Venus on the other side.

Listening to talk radio is a form of eavesdropping. Reading is a form of eavesdropping on other people in other places and other times. When we go to a theater, pay $10 to see a film, we sit down with a hundred other people and in essence say, “Let’s all eavesdrop together, shall we?” Why is listening to the radio, reading and watching film, all windows of sorts into other people’s lives, perfectly okay, but listening into a conversation in the chairs, booth, lobby, or bike rack next to me is not? I don’t think all the people on the radio, in print, and on film have given their implied consent.

When I listen in to what other people are saying, and by extension thinking, I’m expanding my perspective on the different ways people interpret their surrounding and make sense of the world. It’s a natural activity of a social being. 

All of us do it, in different forms and to different degrees.

I’m okay, you’re okay.

Whither Fitness Friday?

Here’s the “Fitness Friday” dilemma. Of course I love the alliteration, but dislike the five day delay it requires. And yes, I HAVE to start the week with Monday. So I’m planning on posting updates of the previous week on Mondays thus necessitating a name change. If I call it “The Week that Was” can I get half alliteration credit? Twelve day update on Monday. 


In the meantime, let me provide a more qualitative update on the September 12th Cutter Battle Royale. Most people mistakenly think the sport of triathlon involves three race segments, but in actually there are six: 1) the swim leg; 2) the swim to bike transition; 3) the bike leg; 4) the bike to run transition; 5) the run leg; and 6) the trash talking. 

I’ve been neglecting the sixth segment.

Here’s Lance’s view of me at the finish line.


I've fallen and I can't get up

"Ron, I'm sorry I called you old. Please take your foot off my chest. You da' man."











I’m rounding in to good swimming, cycling, and running shape, but I’m worried about one substantive psychological hurdle. Lance has three of the cutest, nicest kids in todo del mundo and I know he’s going to position them along the last miles of the 35 mile course. It’s one thing to ignore that wimp ass voice that says, “You can’t keep running this fast. Your heart rate is too high. Slow down.” But it’s another thing altogether to ignore this one, “How can you break these kids hearts? How can you knock Lance off the pedestal his kids have him on. You’re the lowest form of life.” 

So my mental imaging recently has focused on his son and daughters in tears as I do my Usain Bolt-imitation over the last mile. As a result, I’m slowly getting comfortable with the reality that they will never look at their daddy with the same innocent awe.

Also, since Lance is a trooper, I feel I should make it known that I will be packing heat as well. Here’s my weapon of choice.

When I pass you the picture will be much more blurry

When I pass you the picture will be much more blurry










I know what you’re thinking. That bike isn’t set up for triathlon. Where are the aero-bars, the disk wheel, the bling? My admittedly low-tech approach is my way of leveling the field and making the race more fair.

Here are some of my tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade










If I didn’t have a few syllabi to finish, I’d continue going Gary Payton on Lance, but I don’t want to run the risk of Lance deciding not to show up at the show down.

No Human is an Island

Updating John Donne a bit. I’ve always been interested in social psychology. More specifically, I’ve been intrigued by how we’re influenced by those around us. One of the myths the right loves to perpetuate is that of the “self-made” man or woman. Admittedly, we have much more of an individualist ethic than more collectivist oriented societies, but the “self-made” man/woman idea almost always breaks down when examined closely. Typically, with whatever we accomplish in life, we have lots of other people to thank for their contributions. It’s just that some, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, are loathe to admit that.

Rather than explore that idea more deeply, today I’m most interested in what might be thought of as “interpersonal interdependence.” Here are a few short, specific illustrations of how my life is impacted by others decisions that are seemingly out of my control.

Example one. Cycling this morning on Old Hwy 99. Absolute center of the bike lane. Older guy in a van blasts his horn as he passes me. An admittedly subtle example, but imagine if he had been not just irrational, but drunk.

Example two. Now, almost everyday on my commute I see someone texting while driving. Studies suggest 55% of teen drivers text while driving. Nothing, I repeat nothing, makes me more angry more quickly. I’m very tempted to get a personal bumper sticker made up that will read “We Have a F*&%ing Social Contract.” Whatever happened to the “responsibility” portion of the “rights-responsibilities” continuum?! My commute is on the I-5 and traffic flows at 60-65mph. Guy yesterday was typical. Looks down, up, down, up, down, up, on and on and on.

The related problem is that when you’re driving on the I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia and you’re texting you slow WAY down which greatly increases the risk of an accident.

Could a law fix the problem? Not entirely because people ignore the WA state no hands cell phone law (which you can’t be arrested for unless you’ve been pulled over for something else), but it would help immensely and I will find some way to stuff the ballot when it becomes an initiative. Think too of the impact on others of the traffic miscue that leads to an accident that backs up the freeway for miles and hours.

Example three. I dislike shopping, but forced myself to do a bit while on vacation last week. Somewhat embarrassing to admit, but usually I swing through the clothes section at Costco and pick up a few things now and then. I noticed a trend at Costco awhile ago that was confirmed in other clothes stores last week. I can’t buy pants anymore because my inseam is longer than the circumference of my waist. I assume the clothes “powers- that-be” have decided there aren’t enough 32-34’s like me left to make it worth their while to offer them. So because people are getting larger over time, I have a much harder time finding pants. 

Example four. . . a leap from the interpersonal to the national/international. Sticking with the transportation theme, the cars my fellow citizens choose to buy and drive increase my country’s demand for foreign oil, thus impacting my country’s foreign policy. In addition, those same cars contribute to greenhouse gasses and global warming. 

There are at least two aspects of this abbreviated discussion that are sorely lacking—additional examples, and most importantly, synthesis or an explanation of how the sum of the specific examples create a more substantive impact on me than the individual parts. 

Another post in the next few days. . . In Defense of Eavesdropping.

CA Vacation by the Numbers

Pac Northwesterners Loading Up on Vitamin D

Pac Northwesterners Loading Up on Vitamin D

9:  Chickens in Dave’s and Joy’s Santa Barbara backyard.

500: Days of Summer from the film we saw.

50: Meters of the San Luis Obispo (or SLO if you’re cool) outdoor pool we swam in.

25: Yards across said Olympic pool since it was set up for short course.

35: Times I used my new tiny neoprene camera case with a velcro belt loop as a pretend cell phone.

35: Times I embarrassed my daughters talking really loudly into new “cell phone”.

125: Times I said “tru dat” to emphasize the absolute veracity of something.

9: Hours slept per day.

-1: My score relative to par for six holes on Wednesday (a bird and five pars).

Horsing Around the Pismo Beach Dunes

Horsing Around the Pismo Beach Dunes

1: Time 17 showed me around Facebook.

4: Extra miles run (and walked) in the hills after missing a turn.

5: Pieces of fruit eaten per day.

1: Time I stole a Harry Potter novel from 17 while staging a Pothead intervention.

164: Feet of elevation in about .25 miles on Equestrian Drive.

0: Times sleeping daughters requested a follow up guitar-based wake up song.

Lance's Worst Dream—Swimming on Vacation. . . Tru Dat!

Lance's Worst Dream—Swimming on Vacation. . . Tru Dat!

Fitness Friday—8/21

8/10 M T W R F SA SU to AG Total


  3,100 14:45 1k 



third IM



15:21 1k


      6,000 √


  49 hills 

el gato



30 Paradise 



    112 √


6.75   6.25 47     10.2 1:18   23 √

S: Build continues, but will probably stall on vacation next week. Nothing spectacular, just two standard sessions. Swimming alone, so not pushing quite as hard. Meanwhile Lance deserves props for swimming in a small hotel pool. The guy is training with a little more focus than one would expect from a Washington Husky.

C: Fell of twice T near the top of two climbs and got back on both times thanks to assists from a couple of people. Feel good, but not sure why I’m not climbing a bit better. Friday’s climb up Mount Rainier was supposed to be a 75-80 mile effort with considerable elevation, but it was socked in. Foggy, high 40’s at the top, and wet. Not a good combo. Two different rides. The climb up was great. I went hard, set the pace for large parts, and finished second by 30 meters. I was definitely on the edge, pouring sweat despite temps in the 40’s. The descent was miserable. I was cold and because I sweated through my base layer, the additional two didn’t help as much as normal. Plus, since we were riding through clouds, I couldn’t see out of my glasses, my gloves were soaked through, and I was shivering so badly I was wobbling pretty bad. Add in the occasional car and some sketchy pavement and I simply endured the return journey. Strange working so hard to build up all that elevation and then not getting to cash it in. All in all, not enough mileage, but really excellent quality, thus the √.

R: Basic week. Appreciate Dano pushing the pace a bit. In my post-Black Hills victory speech I have to remember to thank him for helping me hold Lance off. Here’s an excerpt from today’s dialogue. Dano is 52, I’m 47. Me, “In five years I don’t think I’ll be running this fast, pause, but then again, you won’t either.” Dano, “Right, I’ll be faster!”

Who Are You?

Social gathering with ten people, eight know one another, two don’t. You’re one of the eight. Do you 1) talk exclusively with the other seven “insiders” without even really recognizing the two new people? 2) talk exclusively with the other seven insiders while conscious of the two disconnected people (who haven’t found each other)? 3) socialize mostly with the other seven outsiders, but at some point, briefly introduce yourself to one or both of the newbies? 4) realize early on that two people are new and consciously choose to spend the bulk of the time getting to know one or both.

I believe most people are predisposed to be 1’s or 2’s. I’m a 2 sometimes and a 3 others. My better half is a full-on 4 and that’s one of the things that I love about her.

Fitness Friday—August 14th

8/3 M T W R F SA SU Total


  2,500   2,500 




      5,000 √



no Garmin



no Garmin




143 √


  6+   rested 10.7   23 √ 


Don’t you think, given the increasing intensity of the Cutter Battle Royale (CBR), I should probably curtail FF until after race day, September 12th? Why let Lance know what he’s up against? Right now, kid you not, Lance is hanging with two ex-presidents of the U.S. in Kennebunkport, Maine. Between cycling and fishing expeditions, I suspect he’s firing up his Crackberry to keep tabs on the old man. If this favorite feature of yours goes dark sometime soon, you’ll know why.

S: Gradually building. I should probably swim three days a week, but I should probably floss every day too. Two days works pretty well. I maintain a decent attitude and probably swim 90% as well as if I doubled my volume. I dislike my work commute, but it’s much more tolerable after a good swim. It also helps to suckle the nectar of the gods, 24 ounces of half dairygold chocolate milk mixed with half skim during the drive. I feel pretty good shortly after a good run or bike ride, but I feel great after a solid swim workout. Times are still off a bit. 2-4 seconds/100.

C: The Garmin broke during RAMROD when I hit a rumble strip and it popped off the bracket. I looped back and found it, but it was scratched to hell and wouldn’t take a charge. I’m getting it replaced and it should arrive any day. The T/R team training rides were both very hard efforts. Consequently, it would have been very easy to have bagged W’s run. Sunday’s 38 miler was a relatively easy small group effort. Lance was going long on Mount Saint Helens, so I definitely lost ground despite a solid week. Felt good, not great.

R: Lying in bed W morn, I thought Lance is probably running right now so I gutted it out. Friday though, I listened to my body which said, “Alert. Fatigued. Danger Zone. Take the morning off. In fact take the whole day off.” I obeyed my body. It was nice to have Double S back in the fold on Saturday’s 10-miler. He blamed his new yellow lab puppy for his poor attendance lately. Sad really, blaming a cute, defenseless animal for his lack of commitment to the team. Trails, hills, Ward Lake finish. Notice I left the time off. Don’t want to scare Lance. Bahahahahaha.

Now You’ve Really Gone Too Far Chavez

What’s the world coming to? Tonight on the NYT website a headline reads “Chávez Loyalists Push to Close the Golf Courses.” Reminds me of a poignant George Carlin riff on taking over golf courses and building housing for the homeless on them. Chavez probably caught Carlin’s riff on YouTube and misinterpreted it as a revolutionary documentary instead of hard hitting satire. Chavez needs to go hit a large bucket of balls.

Cutter Battle Royale. . . update

The sports world is abuzz over the pending cutter olympic triathlon battle royale on September 12th in and around Olympia, WA between Lance and the “old man”. What’s a cutter? If you’ve never watched Breaking Away, stop reading RIGHT NOW and rent/watch it before going to sleep tonight.

Lance and I train with a racing team that wears matching kits. Even worse, they ride the same Scott carbon fiber bikes. We roll in with our funky, non-matching jerseys and steeds and embrace our second class citizenship. So far no one has stuck a pump in our spokes although they’re no doubt tempted when we hang with them over hill and dale.

Lance scored a major pre-race victory yesterday, but I turned the tables today. In case you’re heading to Vegas and intend on betting on the cutter battle royale, Lance’s victory was a bit more substantive.

Sunday morning we had planned on climbing Mount St. Helen’s, but the weather was iffy. Lance nutted up and rode it solo, 74+ miles, 7,000′ of climbing, and get this, he NEVER unclipped. What type of person doesn’t water up and regroup at the top? A focused person on a mission that’s what type! Meanwhile, back on the flats, I rode half that distance with the benefit of a group.

My victory today consisted of a fake email missive. It’s raining in our corner of the world for the first time since anyone can remember. So I fired off this message. Subject heading: It’s ugly outside.. .  Body: . . so I’m going for a ride.

Lance fell for it hook, line, and sinker and wrote back: Nice one. Really? 

I had no idea it would be that easy to get inside his head. Over the next five weeks I plan on taking up permanent residence there.