Here I Am

Again Nashville…write me a song like this.

Here I Am
On my way
Down another road I have paved
With every good intention I’ve saved
And hearts that I broke
As for me I got scars
For every mile I’ve traveled so far
And some blood
On my hands
Here I am

With a song in my heart
And an attitude from the start
I took everybody apart
To see how they work
I got friends that I owe
I ain’t namin’ names cuz they know
Where they stand
Here I am

Here I am
Here I am
Here I am

If I went back where I’ve been
And I knew what I know now then
Well I’d probably do it again
Cuz I’m just a man
At the end of the day
I ain’t got nothing to say

Here I am
Here I am
Here I am

Here I am
Here I am
Here I am

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A Bone To Pick With Yogis

Yoga whoops me. It whoops me good. I have a healthy respect for yoga. It’s eclipsed only by buffets on the list of things that expose my personal weaknesses.

But I have a hard time dealing with all the spiritual stuff commonly associated with it. I’m not saying it’s not real, and I’m not knocking people who are into for those reasons.

If that makes your day better, improves your experience, helps you deal with buttheads at work, that’s great. More power to you! I’m just saying I roll those little invisible eyes in my head that no one else can see every time I hear that stuff.

Again, I’m not saying those aren’t real and powerful things. I know that feeling is real–I get it from running.

Running is my flow. “Scottyasana”–Sanskrit for “Fat Jesus Lizard”.

Yoga, running, rock climbing, surfing…whatever. I think it’s pretty badass if anyone can get this amazing experience out of any activity that doesn’t involve a Schedule I narcotic. If you can find anything in life that makes you feel this good and is good for you at the same time, DO IT!!!

What I don’t fully understand is the need to talk about it at length.

Let’s say you go to a yoga class at your gym (or watch a video). It may be that the person teaching the class feels a ton of inner awareness or connection/oneness with the universe. I’ll go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt and concede that.

But what about the other thirty people in the class? How many of them are feeling that–really feeling that? How many of them are just faking it because they think they are supposed to be feeling it because you keep talking about it?

I know for a fact that some of them (at least one) are thinking, ”C’mon! I  just wanted to do a tough workout that includes a little mini-nap at the end! And now you’re talking about crystals and soul rainbows during the nap  part!”

Again. I get it. I know that feeling you’re talking about. But do you really have to talk about it (so much)?

And why would you want to?

One of the cool things about running/runners is that they generally don’t talk about this zen experience they have while running.

Don’t get me wrong. They will talk your ear off about running. They will drone on endlessly about their splits, their resting heart rate, and what they felt like 16.37 miles into the race. They will spend so much time at the water cooler telling you about how dehydrated they are from their last workout that you’ll dehydrate yourself just to avoid dealing with them at the water cooler.

I do it (here) all the time.

My poor wife.

But what I won’t talk about often, especially with people who don’t run, is that feeling I get from running. I’m more apt to mention it in passing with a fellow runner. And even then there’s a look in their eye that immediately lets me know whether or not they understand what I’m talking about and if I should carry on.

And when I do talk about it, there’s no way I’m going to divulge the full extent and details. That’s such a personal thing. Really, it’s too personal for me to put into words.

And if I could, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t.

Besides the fact that this feeling is so personal, I also feel like it’s something of a secret about running that I don’t want just anyone to know. I just found it one day. I was never looking for it.

You have to earn it, and it usually happens by chance. Just because you know it’s possible doesn’t mean you always get to have it, even though you walk out the door every day looking for it. At least that’s my experience.

Could it be that everyone doesn’t get a connection to the universe every single time they practice yoga? And can we talk about it a little less?

Maybe, just maybe, people can find it on their own.

Daily Reading List — March 30th

How much pee in a pool would kill you? – Still, going to keep the chlorine numbers lower this year to be safe. #dontstoppeeing

Pets Vs. Cattle: The Rising Value of Cloud Computing Skills – Digits – WSJ – “'Now you shoot servers in the head and leave them in the field,'” said Joshua McKenty, a former technical architect of NASA who co-founded a cloud software company based on his work there called Piston Cloud Computing. 'Eventually enough die and then you swap out the whole rack.'"

Wait…is he talking about servers, or sysadmins?

The Hardest Problem In Baseball – I thought this was going to be about pajama pants being allowed as part of the uniform, or players not wearing stirrups.

Still cool though.

Google And Apple—Take My Fitness Data, Please! – The first one to solve the problem of fragmented fitness data is a huge winner.

"The smartest move for Apple and Google would be to avoid creating their own fitness apps, aside from very simple data-display tools. Instead, they should use their clout with developers—the stick of app-store approval and the carrot of promotion in those stores—to encourage app makers to strive for compatibility with one another."

The Logic of Long Distance: The Running Bum as Sad and Admirable – "The running bum intuits what the rest of us also know: life is short and it will fade for us all. In the end all instrumentalities of life, all the best-made plans, lead us all into the ground. His choice is noble, as it honors the present. He throws himself deeply into it without regard for futures beyond his experience."

Why the Wallabies struggle with the ‘choke tackle’ – Step 1: Change the law to award scrum to defensive side in failed mauls to discourage offenses from mauling and speed up the game.

Step 2: Change the law to give a defender on his feet less right to the ball in the tackle in order to give advantage to the attacking side and speed up the game

Result: Defenses now have TWO incentives to force maul situations, where they now have more rights to the ball than in the tackle, and a better chance at changing possession by forcing a scrum, thus slowing down the game.

Nice move IRB.

Lance Armstrong’s Fuel Guru Reboots. His Quest? Kill Gatorade – For those who want to go faster AND care about their health.

Disney bets big on visitor-tracking technology – The technology is cool, but the scheduling of Fast Passes isn't as nice as it sounds, and may cost them some revenue. For example, it's already less likely that we will wake up and decide to head to a park after lunch on the same day because we know we don't have much of a chance of getting Fast Passes for our favorite rides. As a result, guess where we DON'T end up having dinner and ice cream treats.

Races–Gotta Get Something On The Schedule

I’ve hit a rut.

I’m working out consistently…well, running at least, somewhat consistently…but not having an immediate purpose if starting to take its toll.

My spring so far has sort of been built around rugby. I’ve already played one March tournament in Savannah, and I have another one coming up in NOLA in April. The plan was to make it out to rugby training with The Red Eyes once a week, maybe make a B-side match to help fill out numbers here and there, and get all my other fitness through running and some cycling on the off days.

The problem is that even rugby training jacks my back up. Bad. And the tournament I played a couple of weeks ago left me unable to run for about a week. I’m still going to make it to the NOLA tournament, but nothing in between now and then rugby-wise.

But I’m not amping up my SBR for some reason. I’m chalking up some of that to work travel and spring tasks around the house, but I’m running out of excuses.

Luckily, my Fall schedule is loaded with races–a couple of big Oly distance tris and a couple of 13.1 races right after that. So I’m going to have to start buckling down soon whether I like it or not.

Did I mention I’d like to come into serious tri training this season with a 5k PR?

Yeah…I’d better get on that.

Daily Reading List — March 10th

What Parenting and Running Have in Common – There's more here than just "People who don't run/parent aren't very interested in hearing about your running/parenting."

Is College for Everyone? An Introduction and Timeline of College in America – This questions is being asked more and more. That's a good thing. Nice short review of how we got to where we are.

2014 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival FULL Food Booth Menus – Awwwwww Yeah!

Houston Issues ‘Cease-And-Desist’ To Uber To Stop Houston Residents From Communicating With Their Government | Techdirt Lite – If you think uber ISN'T going to come to your city, you got another thing coming. In looking at you Vegas.

Framers and polishers – I'm pretty confident I know where I am here.

Disney park prices to jump again Sunday – Was there over the weekend, and by the looks of it the extra few bucks wasn't keeping anyone away.

How to Make a Drinking Glass From a Bottle – Maybe I'll skill up good on this, then start an ETSY.

12 Of The Coolest Offices In The World – We've been sharing photos of our work spaces on our yammer network. Haven't seen any that look like this.

Startup Quanttus Makes a Wristband That Tracks Several Vital Signs – HRM on the wrist!!! Faster please, also please sample my blood periodically to give me an idea about glucose levels. Thanks.

excalibur_10_miler

2014 Excalibur 10 Miler Race Report

As always, another tremendous event put on by The Running Zone. A really nice course, great volunteer support, and incredible food and atmosphere after the event. RZ has set the bar pretty high over and over…I wouldn’t expect any less.


This was the inaugural running of this event, and I’ll go ahead and make the prediction that it will blow up next year (get in early). It’s a medieval themed race, complete with a sword fight at the start line and crowns instead of medals for all finishers. They did a great job of keeping the race in character from start to finish.

But enough about the race…let’s talk about the race.

The Missus was registered to run this event with her sister–her first race past 5k, but she suffered a calf heart attack (ouch) a couple of weeks ago and had to make a tough game-time decision on whether or not to race. It came down to walk/jog and risk more injury, walk and (hopefully) not get injured, or donate her bib to someone (me) who had a long run scheduled for that day anyway.

Needless to say, nobody wants to walk 10 miles, and the injury risk for someone who runs to augment other fitness wasn’t worth it. So I lucked out!

This course rocks, rocks, rocks. It’s crazy fast, has a nice long section on a private road, water stops every two miles, but not much shade. Heat became a factor.

ExcaliburCourseMap_110813

My planned long run would have been at about 10 minute pace, 8 miles or so, and I hadn’t planned on racing this distance, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself. I was going in with a 10 mile PR of 1:18:32 from 10 years ago on a much tougher course. But I’ve been running intervals and tempos at a decent clip lately, so I was going to go for it and see what happened.

Realistic goals were 1:21:xx, but I thought I could crack 1:20:00 if I played it right. I’ve been doing a really good job of race management lately, and I knew the recent speed work would help me feel out my pace.

I guessed if I started somewhere between 8:05 and 8:15 pace I’d have plenty of information after 2 miles to figure out the rest of the race.

I’m very happy with the way I split this race!

8:09, 8:02, 7:56, 7:58, 7:53, 7:50, :7:47, 7:54, 7:42, 7:30

I started right around the 9:00 pace group, thinking that would give me a chance to get some momentum by passing people early, but not too quickly. After the first two miles, I was pretty sure I’d be able to sneak in under 8:00 pace. I was feeling really good, and I’d positioned myself between the 8:30 and 8:00 groups, so there was lots of space.

Running tempo runs in the heat of the day in training paid off big. I was in a pace I knew I could hold for several miles with temperatures in the high 70s, and it was cooler than that. I knew it was going to get hotter, but once I could smell the finish line I thought I’d be able to hang on. My plan was to run two mile segments and bump the pace up a little for each one.

I took a splash of Gatorade at mile 4 and committed to hanging without any more liquid to squeeze time.

I started sipping a Gu at mile 5. Between that and the Gatorade, I was amped. Training without sugar really pays off when you get into a race and allow yourself to have it. It’s like rocket fuel…borderline PED.

Around mile 6 it started to heat up and I noticed a lot of people around me fading a little. I was passing more people, and I wasn’t getting passed by anyone. That’s good on one hand, but also a little scary…did they know something I didn’t? I was doubting my plan just a little.

That accounts for the little pullback for the 8th mile. Just after the 7 mile mark I caught the 8:00 pacer, and he was all alone. I asked if I could hang with him until the 8 mile mark. I wanted to settle down by a few seconds pace and make sure I was going to able to go at it for the last two.

I pretty well emptied the tank on the last two, trying to accelerate the whole way–finished with a 1:19:02, 30 seconds off the PR. Forgot to stop my watch at the finish line, which accounts for the difference in times. A good thing–that means I was so spent I wasn’t thinking clearly. Woohoo!


I was extremely happy with that result. I won’t lie, for a flash I thought, “Ugh….just 31 seconds faster for a PR?!?!” but I quickly realized that would have meant every one of those splits would have been 3 seconds faster, or I would have had to come up with an extra 30 seconds on the last mile. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have done either of those.

Besides, my goal for the year is to get faster. And if this is my starting point, things are looking good!

Welcome To The Cuonzone!

I’m not much of a sports fan anymore. I like to play sports, but I’m not that big on watching. I had an epiphany about sports as I celebrated Tennessee’s 1998 National Championship win and realized that I still had to go to work the next day.

I decided then and there that I would not get emotionally invested in something I have no control over.

But…I LOVE sports radio. Especially when Tennessee is getting ready to axe one of their coaches a question. There’s nothing like a coaching change to rile up the fan base and drive some high quality entertainment on the Knoxville ariwaves. Thankfully, I can still hear Tony Basilio over the internet.

With that, I give you the latest creation  inspired by the trials and tribulations of the 2013-2014 basketball team.

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I Know How To Make Bowling Better Too!

In the past, I’ve proposed some ideas on how triathlon could be much more exciting and engaging to more people. Nobody has listened yet, but that’s ok…I’ve moved on to making another sport activity better.

Bowling.

For various reasons, I don’t consider bowling to be a sport. I’ve always had two big issues with it that have disqualified it. First of all, you can win a world bowling championship with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth the entire time. Secondly, I don’t see how your opponent’s skills or performance impact yours. I mean, I’m sure they do somehow…I just don’t see it. It seems like to me the object is just to get the highest score you can every time out you sling the ball.

But what if that changed? What if bowling was a heads up game of 20 frames, with rollers alternating who gets first shot at a fresh frame?

Example: for the first frame, Player A tries to roll a strike. If he gets the strike, Player B will get to roll the fresh second frame. Ah…but he already knows that Player A gets his next two balls added to his score. So Player B goes for the  strike on the second frame, but if he rolls and only gets 9 pins, there’s only 1 pin on that second frame, but the full third frame for his second bonus ball. But Player A also gets the spare opportunity there. And…they get to go first on the third frame.

But wouldn’t it be great if, late in the round, guys tried to purposely leave splits they know are difficult for their opponents individual weaknesses? Lower scores for sure, but at least there’d be some strategery involved.

In other words, bowling commentators would have something interesting to talk about.

I may go out and collect some test data on this. I think it would be a pretty cool way to encourage people to stay sober at the bowling alley. Wait…bowling alleys may reject this scoring system entirely.

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I’ve Been Gilloolied!

My theory is that a conspiracy took place to have someone hit me in the back with a pipe while I was skating training sleeping.

Either that, or I’m just getting older. This is the way my back used to feel for a couple of days after playing 80 minutes of rugby at 2nd row. That was one of the major factors in stopping–mostly because I was not much value to any team at any place other than 2nd row.

Now this is the way my back feels for 5 days after playing rugby in general.

The Missus says I need to focus on engaging my core and pushing my hips forward before coming into contact. So…a head’s up…

The next time we are about to collide, don’t be surprised if I ask you to hold up a second while I transition from tree, to down dog, then slowly roll my spine into the correct position and get centered.

Then you can run over me and it won’t hurt quite as bad.

Daily Reading List — February 18th

Helmets not even in top 10 of things that keep cycling safe – Have to agree with this. My biggest fear on the bike is that it will somehow come dislodged from the trainer in the middle of an interval and I'll go slamming into my desk.

Dispelling Lactic Acid Myths – Gyah! I learned a ton reading this article!

"The takeaway? Concentrate on exhaling."

5 Myths About Running That Are Ready to Be Retired – "Chocolate milk as a recovery drink" needs to be added to every list like this.

Calf Heart Attacks – Ouch! Glad I've never had this. You'll never believe what the number one thing you can do to help this running injury get better. Yep…stop running.

Tour of Sufferlandria recap – Best. Haiku. Every

Angels Haiku
Pain pain pain pain pain
Pain pain pain pain pain pain pain
There were no Angels

The Pleasant Places to Live – Cool map! Take into account the sea breeze, and I'd argue that our June and July on the East Coast of Florida is pretty dang nice. Boost our numbers!

Cycling ‘much safer than playing rugby’ – Well, now that's finally answered.

Google Releases Chromecast SDK To Developers – Avalanche of game updates coming in 3,2,1…

Old Boys Rugby

A Different Kind Of Schedule For Me

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was going to focus on fast instead of far for this year. I took some time off after the Tour of Sufferlandria (a whole week off the bike) to recharge and get ready for some new stuff.

Lots of new stuff actually.

This spring I’m committed to (gasp) rugby for the for first time in a long time. Well…not too committed, I’m only going to practice once a week. But there’s an Old Boys tournament in NOLA this April, and I want to show up not only fit, but also with at least some of the strength and rugby mobility I’ve lost over the past couple of years.

It also helps to have held a ball recently.

This actually fits in pretty well with my efforts to try and get a little faster. I’m focusing a lot more on fast twitch in my non-rugby days with intervals. You could make the case that I’m more committed than the average rugby player because I’m going to training once a week and actually doing something on the other days. ;)

And then there’s that mobility issue–back to yoga.

The Missus has a YogaGlo subscription, and when I started checking out their offerings for endurance athletes, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m getting in a couple of short sessions each week focusing on hammies and hips, but also getting some arm and shoulder work in.

The missing piece to my whole plan is swimming. I’m not going to get in nearly enough. Saturday morning Masters is one tough workout a week, but that’s my only access to a pool. I’m hoping I’ll be able to squeeze in at least one day of OWS, but that sort of depends on the availability of partners.

The hope is I can make it to the end of April without any injuries, a little more speed, a little more strength, a little more mobility, and ready to switch things up a little.

Here’s the general schedule:

  • Mondays: moderate bike + stretch yoga
  • Tuesdays: run intervals + stretch yoga
  • Wednesdays: easy bike + long yoga
  • Thursdays: tempo run + rugby
  • Fridays: long slow bike + stretch yoga
  • Saturdays: masters swim + hard run
  • Sundays: long run

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Faster First, Then Farther

I just thought of something while wandering around the grocery store aisles. This is changing my not-so-well-put-together plan for 2014.

I’m going to take a year to forget about going far, and just focus on getting faster.

I’ve heard this idea discussed on the ZenTriathlon podcast pretty often, and it ran through my mind while doing the Tour of Sufferlandria also. It always seemed right, but just not what I wanted to do, so I kind of ignored it.

I like going far.

And fast hurts.

Over the last year, I’ve proven to myself that long isn’t a problem for me. True, still no 140.6 on my resume, but I’ve done the long swim thing, the long run thing, and the ride-the-bike-hard a lot thing.

What I haven’t done (ever) is the fast thing.

And here’s what I realized today…

My ability to go long is not going to be limited by my age. But my ability to go fast is a place where age has probably already caught up with me a bit.

I can always go farther, but I won’t always be able to go faster. So I’m going to go faster this year and keep everything relatively short. That means nothing longer than a half-marathon for runs, nothing longer than an Olympic distance tri, and a lot of time swimming intervals with a masters group.

And more yoga. And more lifting. And more weight loss.

Daily Reading List — February 3rd

Pre-Season Weaknesses: Become A Faster Runner – "The Fit, But Slow Runner" caught my attention right out of the gates. 10k training may be in full effect. After rest.

Amazon looks at boosting Prime fee – Not happy about this, but I feel like our family makes money on Prime as it is, so can't complain too loudly.

Trainer Road Will Make You Stronger – Trainerraod: Best. Value. In. Cycling

Effective as hell too.

Finally, A Digital DJ That Knows Its Stuff – This is my biggest complaint with Google Music. I don't understand how a company so good at meta-data processing can offer up a product so bad at DJing radio stations. Pandora was way better at this in 2008 than Google is right now.

Reading between the lines of the latest Facebook usage data – “We’ve asked about Google+ in the past and were worried when we heard respondents being interviewed that they weren’t sure if we were asking about the social networking platform or more broadly about use of any Google product. That was a while ago and we will likely be including Google+ the next time we ask people about social networking platforms.”

Well…yeah. I'm pretty sure that's exactly where Google is going with Plus. It's not as much of a destination as it is a layer that connects all Google products and services. Sure, there's a site there you can use as a "red Facebook", but the scope is way past status updates, likes, and shares.

I think Google is perfectly content to sit back and play possum with this for now.

What Should a 4 Year Old Know? – Yes. Yes. Yes.

7 Tools That Let You Control Your Own Data – OpenPDS is very interesting especially. I don't mind the idea of sharing data so much if I have more control over the precision of that data.

Google Launches AdSense Direct, A New Tool For Direct Ad Sales – I'm open for bizniss.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_9_violator_sprint_countdown

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 9 Report

Stage 9 - Violator

  • Duration: 1:08:31
  • Power: 303 watts
  • Average Cadence: 80
  • TSS: 89.4
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  1:47 pm on Sunday, February 2

Ugh…I purposefully never did this ride before today because I wanted it to be a surprise to me. And because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.

Violator starts off with the typical warm up. Then you do some sprints, followed by a few sprints, then ending up with a nice little set of sprints.

Violated–64 sprints in all.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_9_violator

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. Granted, I didn’t get to watch the video because when I went to download it my link was expired. Luckily, the fine folks at Trainerroad still let you pull up the profile and do the ride, you just don’t get to see the cool cycling footage and read the sadistic jokes.

I watched a documentary about Bo Jackson instead. It’s all good. I’ve contacted The Sufferfest, and they’ve already gotten back to me with a link for the download. And I’m probably happier not having seen the video and knowing I’d missed all the cadence queues. Again.

So this ride was probably easier than it should have been, but my legs are scattered, covered, smothered, topped, chunked, diced, broiled, charred, and toasted.

And I did it all for this:

tos_badge

A little badge on my Trainerroad profile that says, “I really WILL beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow.”

This Tour was a lot of fun. I think they did a great job keeping the pressure on everyone, and these rides weren’t just suggestions–do them or get dropped!

Also, it’s great that they raised so much money (over $57k at posting) for the Davis Phinney foundation for Parkinsons.

One of my former rugby teammates has Parkinsons, and it’s something I’ve talked about before. It’s especially viscous to see the disease attack people like Pat and Davis Phinney–people who are active and healthy. This is the part where I ask you to click on the link for the Davis Phinney foundation and make a donation.

Can’t wait to do this ride next year!!!

Previous Stage Reports:

Doing More With Less Since 1972