Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Doing (Page 25 of 25)

Chick Delay – Another Big Money Maker


Feel free to implement this business idea. I only work in the abstract.

Ever notice how you always want Chick-fil-A on Sundays? I mean you crave it on Sundays, right? You do anything for a Chick-fil-A to be open on a Sunday, right?

The concept of Chick Delay is simple:

  • Every Saturday night, put in a catering order for a bunch of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. Keep it simple–just order the basic sandwich.
  • People will be desperate for these sandwiches on Sundays, so there’s really no need to invest in processes like flash freezing or warmers, just throw them into a box, pile them up on your sofa, whatever.
  • Set up your stand sometime around 10 or 11 am on Sunday morning and start selling the stale sandwiches at a 20% markup. Don’t get greedy with the price–people are going to have unrealistic quality expectations if they are paying too much.
  • You may even want to look into using the Chick-Fil-A parking lot since they aren’t using it. See how many sandwiches you can sell before the police shut you down.

You’re welcomed.

Drop That Zero, You Need a Hero

htc-heroI picked up the HTC Hero for my Sprint account yesterday. So far, I love it. Of course, my last phone was the free one I got five years ago and hasn’t worked for a couple of weeks, so just about anything would have been an upgrade. You can read real a real review of the ins and outs at Gizmodo.

Me, I’ve installed Pandora and a compass app. Once I get my Exchange account to sync I will be complete. I do like the fact that you can run multiple apps at once and can expand the memory with a standard card. Other phones *cough*iPhone*cough* don’t do that.

I Play Rugby

I play rugby because it’s the greatest game in the world.

I play rugby because somebody has to.

I play rugby because I want to be a participant, not a spectator.

I play rugby because it makes me feel alive.

I play rugby because it makes me smile.

I play rugby because so many people built and maintain clubs to give me the opportunity.

I play rugby because refereeing rugby is way too hard.

I play rugby to learn life lessons about hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, and loyalty.

I play rugby for my teammates–past, present, and future.

I play rugby for the funny stories from road trips.

I play rugby because it makes beer taste better.

I play rugby because it’s too late to turn back now.

I play rugby because it’s given me so many great memories and friendships.

I play rugby to spite the bodies that govern the game. 😛

My Ghetto Gym


I’m not really too keen on paying for a gym membership every month, and at this point I’m not really interested in building new muscle or bulking up either. I really just want to do some core workouts and focus on toning and endurance to supplement triathlon training. So I was looking around the web and found some stuff on the Bulgarian training bag–pricey. I also found Matt Wichlinski, who has a great video on making your own, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The only thing I did different was to use a kid’s inflatable ring pool toy instead of a tire inner tube. I needed it to be lighter because The Missus wants to use it too. It seems to be working pretty well (I’m sore).The bag I made weighs 16.5 pounds. It cost me $2 for the ring, about $4 in duct tape, and the sand was free at the beach. I’m going to make a bigger one, hopefully around 35 lbs for some other exercises.

While I was at it, I bought a basketball from Walmart for $4, cut a small hole in it and filled it with sand too. I used Gorilla Glue to seal the opening, duct taped it shut, wrapped the whole ball in a garbage bag, and duct taped it more. I ended up with a 23lb medicine ball! Here’s a photo of the finished ball.


Yammer Outlook Plugin – Don’t Tease

I meant to write this post a couple of days ago, but lost track of time when I got distracted trying to find a way to visit links posted in Yammer through their new Outlook plugin. </sarcasm>

Right off the bat, let me say I’m pretty fond of Yammer so far. It’s a very convenient communication tool for work, and the more people use it the more powerful it becomes. So I was pretty excited when they announced a plugin for Outlook (which I’m not a huge fan of). My initial thinking was that the plugin would remind people who were about to send an email that they could just as easily send out a Yam, increasing the use of Yammer and making it more powerful in our organizataion.

The problem is we use Yammer for sharing links a lot at work, both internally and externally. With the Outlook plugin, you can’t click (or even copy) links. MAJOR FAIL!

Hopefully they’ll get this issue resolved in the next release. It seems like a pretty important feature to me.

Tracking Diet AND Fitness

lance_armstrong_livestrongIf you haven’t checked out Livestrong, it’s the best site I’ve seen so far for tracking everything. They even have sports (like rugby) listed so that you can just pop in the amount of time you spent playing it will throw it into your calorie track. Lots of foods are already logged there, so just type in what you ate and it will more than likely show up. It also lets you group together common meals you eat and recommends healthier food choices.

There’s an active community there, and they also have really cool programs called “Dares” set up that allow you to join in and participate.

Success is much easier when you are quantifying everything. They have Facebook integration and an iPhone app, and I hope there’s an Android app coming out soon.

Other cool features–a water tracker in the sidebar that lets you hit a button and claim hydration. It’s actually a great motivator to drink more water.

More on Running Barefoot

I’ve read a lot of stuff about the benefits of barefoot running. I went for my first barefoot run of any real distance (3m) yesterday on the beach. It was definitely more work on the calves, but I’m not sure if that was from being barefoot or from the sand, which I’m not used to running in. One thing that’s really nice about beach running (at least here) are the multiple parks spaced out that allow you to stop for water and a cool shower.

I’m still debating the Nike Free and also the Vibram FiveFingers. I’m going to give it a few more chances completely bare, but the sand is rough on the toes.

Running and The Economy

Cameron Stracher begins by talking about how running will become more popular during the down economy, but the article gets better as he drifts into talking about the blood and guts of running.

Every runner has a tale about a port-a-potty just missed, a coffee that wouldn’t stay down, a blister that burst and filled a sock with blood. We tell the stories with pride, metaphors for our own indomitability.

I’m so happy I’m (slowly) getting back into running. I’ve missed it.

Triathlon Training–How to Finish a Half Ironman MY Way

NOTE (2.7.2014): I get lots of traffic on this post, but please remember it was written in 2009. I’ve learned a lot since this was written, and have gained some valuable race experience along the way. There’s much more sound advice in the articles listed here.

For example, I talk a lot about bricks in this article, but have since developed the opinion that traditional bricks aren’t that valuable for long distance triathlon training, at least for me.

Most of the text below is probably a lesson in what not to do, so read at your own risk. I leave it posted for two reasons–to give me a way to remember how much I’ve grown and improved, and because it’s probably good for a laugh here and there.

What’s “my” way? The fat and lazy way.

My buddy “Dirty Matt” is training for a half iron distance triathlon in May and was asking me for some advice. Why would he ask me instead of his other friend who does full iron distance races on a whim? Because I’m going to let him off easy. See, my training regimen relies heavily on rest and tapering. In fact, I like to start my taper a couple of months before the actual race. You definitely don’t want to show up tired on race day, right?

I did a half iron distance race in 2006, and I learned quite a bit about training for regular people who are short on time and long on injuries. It doesn’t hurt to be a little lazy and have a propensity for sleeping late either. I used this training guide as my base, but after a few weeks I tweaked it to fit my lifestyle body shape laziness schedule.

I’m making a couple of assumptions here about the person who wants to train my way:

1. You aren’t trying to win the race, but you want to finish with a respectable time
2. You can already run 8-10 miles at an easy pace without much trouble
3. You’re an ok swimmer. My method will NOT improve your swimming much. You don’t have to be fast, just comfortable with swimming 1000 yards.
4. You are fat or lazy by triathlete standards–it helps to be both

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If you’re like me, when you first hear “1.2 mile swim”, it’s very intimidating. I promise you that when you finish training it will seem like nothing. In fact, my whole training philosophy is based on the premise that the swim is nothing.

Here’s the thing–if you didn’t grow up swimming, chances are you will probably never be great at it. In order to get fast you have to swim A LOT. I’m not really interested in that because (a) it’s boring and (b) planning for a 6 hour 1/2 ironman means you’ll be swimming from 30 to 40 minutes on race day. It’s just a warm up for the rest of the race. Losing or gaining 2 minutes or so in the swim is pretty negligible, and I want to get the maximum race time reduction for each minute spent training.

I went to a master swim class for a few weeks when I first started swimming, and the coach helped me work on stroke efficiency. The first day I swam one lap, and she counted 23 strokes for a length of the pool (25 yards). She stopped me, told me two things to change, and I was immediately down to 19 strokes per length. I kept going back until I was down to 15 strokes, then left with her tips and eventually got down to 12-13 on my own. All the while, my speed was improving. Makes sense, because I was not tiring out as fast.

I also started noticing that swimming “harder” didn’t gain me much time. It gained me a little, but not a lot. But swimming hard was jacking my heart rate up to ~160, while I could swim easy and keep it at ~120. All this work and training for, at best, a 5 minute gain on race day? No thanks. I worked my way up to 2,200 yard (1.2 mile) nonstop swims, and then did one swim a week of the full distance, making sure I kept my heart rate down. This was basically to keep myself mentally prepared to do it.


The bike is where you can gain the most time. Again, I was aiming for a six hour race, and that was going to mean around three hours to cover the 56 mile bike ride. Ride your bike! Ride it some more! If I could change one thing about my training, I’d have spent more time on the bike. It’s not just that the bike is the longest leg of the race either. The bike doesn’t tear up your body like the run does, and it isn’t as boring as the swim, so the training is much more enjoyable, at least for me.

I also know that Dirty Matt is coming from the same place I was coming from as well, which is a pretty solid running base, and I think cycling is a great way to build on that. For me, the bike takes weight off too, which helps a lot with the injury issues I can have with training for the run.

I worked on controlling my heart rate on the bike too, due to the way I trained for the run.


I love to run, but it tears me up, mostly because of my weight. And to be honest, these triathlon schedules take up a ton of time. Again, I’m just looking for a way to minimize my time on race day. Instead of doing separate run and bike workouts, I decided to just brick the mid-week bike rides with a 10% run immediately after. So a 30 mile bike ride would be followed by a 3 mile run, a 40 mile bike would be followed by a 4 mile run. It’s actually one thing I’m glad I changed from the training program, I’d done a few sprint tris and thought that those short runs would be no problem after a short bike ride.

I was wrong. Bricking the runs not only help your legs get used to the transition, but they give you a feel for how far into the run you will be before you legs feel normal again, which is a nice thing to have mentally.

Another change I made was to swap the weekend runs and bikes–doing the long bike on Saturday and the long run on Sunday. Sort of a “rested” brick. Maybe not a super smart move, but I was fighting off some injuries the whole time, and they didn’t get any worse, so maybe there’s something to it.

Other Considerations

I didn’t do ANY quality workouts. I think that’s something I would consider if I was going in to training fit enough to do the race, but I was building fitness for the entire duration of training and didn’t want to overdo it.

I don’t go back and pick up missed workouts unless they are the long ones. Missing a short bike ride or a short run isn’t that big of a deal to me, but the long ones have to be done. I probably would have been ok with even less swimming, but it helped mentally to do it at least once a week.

I did a few open water swims, just to practice spotting and going the right direction, which is tough for me. I still probably lost a couple of minutes in the race zigzagging. Dirty Matt lives on Maui, so open water swims are probably more convenient (and fun) for him than pool swims are.

Sorry this was so long. You could have probably already completed the whole damn race along with the training it the time it took you to read this.

Passing a Cyclist

Passing a cyclistPatrick Beeson has a nice article with some tips for drivers. It’s a good, quick list of pointers, but I’m assuming this will be of interest only to the drivers who don’t make a habit of yelling “Git off da roa-ohd!” or throwing stuff at cyclists.

I was riding a lot on the roads a couple of years ago when I was training for longer triathlons. I decided it just wasn’t worth the risk of getting hit by some a-hole after a guy was killed on one of the routes I rode often. I started riding on Cherokee Boulevard exclusively–plenty of space, and people are aware and considerate of cyclists there for the most part. That kind of sucks for longer rides, but the monotony built up my mental fitness and it paid off in races.

Sure, a cyclist has just as much right to be on the road as a motorist, but I’m still not comfortable putting my life in the hands of someone who doesn’t know or care about that fact. Drivers should actually be happy that more people will be on bikes. The decreased demand for gasoline will have prices falling in no time.

Chicago Marathon 2003 Race Report

This is a post-dated race report, but it’s all I’ve got. Funny that back when I wrote this I was so focused on the miles themselves and not the actual event. I didn’t even think at the time to make notes about the huge expo, crowds, and all the great support I got. 😉

Finish time was 3:57:22. Very happy with this for a first marathon effort. Four hours was the goal, and I hit it. Having used the Hal Higdon beginner training program, it comes highly recommended!!! The furthest I’d ever run before I began training for this race was a 10k.

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Here’s the breakdown of what happened mile by mile:

  • Mile 1–9:24, Sort of what I expected at the start, made a mental note to NOT try to make all that time up early
  • Mile 2–9:00, About what I wanted to run for the first few miles, so I was really happy and comfortable
  • Mile 3–9:09, Some bottleneck slowed us down, but still no problem. Chris was nursing a hamstring injury. On this mile he tripped, got up and said, “Not my day” and stepped off the course. I felt really bad for him.
  • Mile 4–9:10, Same as above, but starting to worry a little about the pace–Inexperience.
  • Mile 5–8:29, Probably pressing too soon to make up time…I know that now anyway.
  • Mile 6–9:41, Jon stopped to use the restroom. I decided to take as much fluid as I could and wait on him. Hurt timewise, but I figured the extra fluid would pay off. If I’d only known!
  • Mile 7–8:20, Stupidly evened out the last mile to 9:00. Starting to worry a little because my splits are all over the place. I need to settle into a comfortable pace.
  • Mile 8–8:30, Didn’t slow down as much as I’d have liked, but at least I slowed down
  • Mile 9–8:42, THIS is the pace I want
  • Mile 10–8:22, What happened here? I don’t remember, but I think we spent a big part of this mile jumping ahead to try to find space to run.
  • Mile 11–8:45, Got it back.
  • Mile 12–8:56, Long water stop, so that was okay.
  • Mile 13–8:32, Settle down!!!
  • Halfway–1:56, On pace for 3:50, can run a couple of minutes faster on the 2nd half and make it perfectly.
  • Mile 14–8:35, Don’t pick it all up at once! Turned around to look for Jon. He was about 10 yards back, and when we caught eyes he pointed for me to go forward without him. Realized that I’d been the one doing all the talking  or the last few miles. I felt bad leaving him, but we’d decided before the race to meet at the beer if we got seperated…he had all my stuff in his car.
  • Mile 15–8:33, Okay, this is faster than I wanted to go, but I feel fine, right? Take your time with water at the next stop and keep it up!
  • Mile 16–8:59, No idea what was going on!
  • Mile 17–8:44, Settle down, you are going to RACE the last 10k.
  • Mile 18–8:59, Race starts in 2 miles. Eat a Gu, settle down.
  • Mile 19–8:57, Am I just resting for the final 10k, or am I slowing down? I can’t even tell.
  • Mile 20–9:10, Uh…I AM slowing down. Change of plans…I’ll race the last 5k instead of the last 10k.
  • Mile 21–9:22, Losing 10 seconds a mile. It’s going to hurt tomorrow whether you go or not, so GO, GO, GO!!!
  • Mile 22–9:10, See, you can do this!
  • Mile 23–9:30, Uh-oh…change of plans again…that’s okay, just race the last 1.2m instead of the last 5K.
  • Mile 24–10:08, Right calf wants to cramp really bad. I know I can go faster than this, but every time I speed up it gets right to the verge of cramp and I have to slow back down. Got lots of fluid and bananas and try to get this  fixed, but knew I didn’t have much time to go. Just then I saw a guy collapse and smack his head on the pavement. Don’t panic!
  • Mile 25–10:18, Bonified cramp…that’s what I get for pushing harder than I needed to. Ended up costing me more time because I had to stop and rub it out. Change of plans again–race the last .2 instead of the last 1.2…oh well.
  • Mile 26.2–11:47, I DID race the last .2m, and I’ve never hurt and felt so good at the same time in my life.

Made my way through the finisher area through the food and to the started circling around the beer looking for Jon/Sandra/Collin/Shawn. Saw Jon about 5 beers later as he finished about 30 minutes behind me. He grabbed a  beer, and we had to leave immediately so he could meet his family and give me my stuff since they were having lunch.

The Day I Began To Love Running

Of course, I’m writing this almost 10 years after it happened, but I peg everything to this day because it was the first time I’d ever run double digit miles.

July 12, 2003. I ran with Van Dyke and Diane from Cherokee Blvd. to Downtown Knoxville and back. I remember how excited Shawn and I were that we’d actually done this–we ran 10 miles!

Honestly, I was probably liking running a lot well before this, but this is the day that really stands out for me. this is probably the day that I began to think about maybe considering myself to be a runner.


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