Doing More With Less Since 1972

Tag: rugby (Page 2 of 4)

Daily Reading List — September 11th

Ten amazing why-didn’t-I-think-of-that organization solutions – Looking for organization ideas? Here are some dang good 'uns.

Of Men and Manhood: A Virile Collection of Quotes – I almost…almost…wish I had at least one son so I could do something about this. It would be nice for my girls to grow up in a world with more manly men around. Maybe those of us with daughters should start a club dedicated to masulinifying (is that a word? It should be) as many as we can.

Ben Tameifuna and Jamie Mackintosh banned for old school rucking – The business side of the boots kept the game safe and moving along at one point in time. When you knew you had skin in the game, literally, for killing the play, you thought twice about it.

Warms my heart to see a guy get what he deserves. Counting down the days to uncontested scrums.

Banned from Theme Parks – Going down a water slide head first at Whitewater Atlanta may get you escorted out. That's what my, um, friend told me.

To my daughter’s high school programming teacher – With three daughters myself, I'd just like to say, "Visual Basic?! Seriously?!"

Daily Reading List — January 8th

What Will Netflix’s New User Profiles Look Like? – Can't wait for this. Top recommendations for me should not be Dinosaur Train and Word World.

8 Excellent Tech Habits to Adopt Right Now – I do all of these about halfway. So it's sort of like I've done four of them solidly.

Free Download: Dave’s Guide to Budgeting – via @couponkatie I think the most important factor in winning financially is having a budget that doesn't budge agreed upon by you and your partner. Your partner can be anyone…before I was married a friend and I used to hold each other accountable with our cost-down measures. This resulted in many electric bills lower than $20, and many more nights completely zipped up inside a sleeping bag.

Having a chance to hear Dave Ramsey's advice at 18 was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me financially.

Kenyan runner tackled by spectator, still wins marathon – Prime example of why Brazil excel at soccer and not rugby. You have to tackle low. Had this race been held in Argentina, Rotich would have been brought to the ground and promptly had his shoes kicked away.

How To Break Your Smartphone Addiction – Yes please.

I Need A Pissing Contest – Why I’m Going To Get Coaching


I’m pulling the trigger and getting some coaching this year.

I’ve been quasi-diagnosed with ODD by some lesser-known psychologists, but I’m actually pretty coachable. The way I look at it, if I’m paying someone (or committing my time even) for coaching, I’m going to be all-in and do what they ask of me. Even if that’s at odds with the way I’m used to doing things.

People who know me may read that and think I’m delusional for saying it, but I’m a slave to a training schedule. I do what it says. Most of the time anyway. And I trust it–sometimes to a fault. That’s what it means to be coachable–trusting the coach and doing what they say to do. No questions.

But I can read the research and follow a schedule on my own. That’s part of the reason I’ve never sought out any coaching for triathlon. Well, that, and I’m cheap.

I don’t need a coach to motivate me to do something I love, right? And I’m pretty hard on myself during training. I know how to dig down deep and get more from my body than it wants to give.

I’m a “pusher”.

At least I thought I was before last year. But 2012’s results have me a little worried that is no longer the case.

Let me back up…

When I first started training to run distance in 2003, I’d been playing rugby pretty much continually for 10 years. A lot of rugby training translates to endurance sports, so it was really easy transition for me. I already had pretty good endurance and strength base, with an especially strong core.

Yes,there are muscles under there.

In that 10 years, I’d never let my fitness go either, and I was used to a rigorous training schedule. There were off-seasons in rugby, but that was a lot like recovery periods for endurance training, and I always kept up my maintenance training during those times as well.

I’m not claiming I was ever the fittest guy on the team, but I was often the fittest guy over 200 pounds.

But more importantly, I had built up a gritty mentality. All of our squad training and most of my training outside was done with the same group of guys or a subset of them. That meant you always had someone watching, even if there wasn’t a coach around. There was always someone there to see you quit. There was always someone who would know if you were bagging it during a sprint. There was always a guy in the weight room who could lift more and would push you to lift more. Everyone had little injuries and hurts at all times, and there was always someone hurt worse than you who was still playing.

It made for a very testosterone driven atmosphere. That was a good thing. I’m not saying that it motivated everyone to push themselves to their limits, and I’m not claiming I always did either. I had my share of lazy days. But that atmosphere and the fact that not everyone was lazy on the same days kept the bar set at a pretty high level at all times. You knew the days you didn’t reach that expectation, just like you knew which guys didn’t care if they ever reached it.

And some of us never wanted to be “that guy”.

So you pushed. You didn’t have a choice.

That was the mentality I had when I started training for endurance sports, and for the next 3 years. Even when I went through periods of what I like to call “taper-training“, where I was really lazy, I could always show up on race day and find some push.

Fast-forward to January 2012. I decided to get back into training for long distances. I decided to kick it off with a 70.3, but I wasn’t really happy with those results. So I decided to do a marathon to try to fix what was ailing my run. And I wasn’t happy with those results either.

I stuck with the schedule for both of these events, and I was really happy with my effort level during training. So why didn’t I get the results I wanted?

I’m not one to beat myself up over that kind of stuff for long. But I have realized there’s a problem that goes beyond the fact that I’m getting older. Injuries and heat aren’t going to cut it for long term excuses either–those are just a fact of racing that everyone has to deal with. So the last few weeks I’ve been doing some reflection, and I think I know what may have happened. It all began at the beginning.

Here’s what my starting point looked like in 2012:

I hadn’t done anything more than an Olympic distance tri since 2006. 10k was the furthest I’d run. I was living in a house with 4 women. Granted, three of them were under 5 years old, but still, it’s pretty much a testosterone-free zone.

I was living in a new town, not actively playing rugby. So I didn’t have an expectation there to meet, and I didn’t even have the peer pressure of being around guys I used to train with and the pissing contests that were involved in everything they do (rugby, running, lifting, eating, drinking, skirt-chasing, etc.).

That, I think, is the real problem in a nutshell...I haven’t been living in a perpetual pissing contest.

And I like pissing contests. I need pissing contests.

I wasn’t coming into training in couch-potato shape or anything like that. I don’t think fitness is the problem at all. I think I may have forgotten what it’s like to push. I mean really push. I think it’s something I may have unlearned. I mean, I think I’m pushing during training, but how can I tell if I really am?

So that’s where coaching comes in. A coach can see what you’re doing from the outside and test you, make you run that one extra interval. A coach can throw you a surprise workout that an 18 week schedule can’t. A coach can disrupt everything. A good coach will do all of these things.

Hopefully, a coach can help me reset my definition of what “push” means.

So I’m starting a triathlon specific swim clinic at the gym on Tuesday. I’m hoping everything about my swim gets torn apart and rebuilt. I’m in a good situation to do that–my cardio is fine, so I can handle long workouts, but I haven’t been swimming enough lately to have my horrible habits burned into my muscle memory in the way they would have been if I was coming off a training plan.

I’m planning on a running coach for February and beyond too. I’m hoping to maybe fix some mechanics, and definitely fix my head.

If I’m completely wrong, and I don’t get pushed that much, at least I’ll get some information I didn’t have before, meet some training partners, get some new workouts, and a new source of accountability.

But I’m pretty sure I’m right about the pushing thing.

My Hatred Of The Marathon

If I had a DeLorean equipped with a flux capacitor, I’d rev that thang up to 88 mph, take it back to ancient Greece, and wait behind a tree for Phidippides about 10 miles outside of Athens. I’d tackle him and make sure he never completed his 26.2 mile journey. But I’d be sure to spread the story of his valiant effort and encourage everyone to run 16 miles as the gold standard race distance to commemorate his failed quest.

Sixteen miles is far enough.

Ok, that’s a little extreme, but I really don’t like the marathon. I don’t think it has fond feelings for me either. My life’s plan was to run one marathon, run it under 4 hours, and never even consider that kind of distance again (Ironman aside). I achieved the first two goals.

Inexplicably, I’ve now run 2 more marathons than I ever wanted to run.

I just don’t enjoy these races the way other people do. That’s not the marathon’s fault. I know some people really love them. To each his own, right? But as I told The Missus just a couple of hours after my most recent experience at this distance, “I think I’ve realized that rugby is my sport–and I’m 5 years past playing that one.”

I’m not a natural runner. I’m not built to be a runner. But I do enjoy running. And I really like training for marathons. But the next time I think of signing up for one I need to be reminded of the deflated feeling I had after the very first one when I realized there was nothing on the schedule for the next Tuesday.

For some reason, I have a mental deficiency that forces me to put an actual race out there to train for instead of just training for training’s sake.

I need to fix that.

The money I pay to enter one of these races would be better spent on a few months at Masters’ Swimming. Or some Sufferfest videos to watch on the bike. Or a bike tune up.

Or some chicken wings.

Never again. For real this time.

Fix For Stinky Running Shoes

I stink. Seriously, I’m really stinky.

And I sweat a lot. Any run over 8 miles usually results in my feet making squishing sounds with each step. So once I’m deep into a training program, my shoes are in a perpetual cycle:

  • Soaked with my stinky sweat
  • Set out to dry for a couple of days while I fill a second pair of shoes with my stinky sweat during the next workout
  • Rinse and repeat

I usually don’t actually rinse them though. So they build up a dried out, soaked in stinky smell. I try sprinkling them with Gold Bond and baking soda every now and then if I remember, but they usually just end up stinking to high heaven.

The other day I Googled this problem and found a great solution–cat litter.

I filled some old rugby socks with cat litter and stuffed them down into my shoes and left them overnight. This removed about 90% of the smell in the shoes.

I’m very proud to share this little trick with you, and when I find out how to get the cat litter smell out of my shoes I will be sure to post the solution.


Zumba Studio Prostitution Den

You never hear these kinds of allegations against Jazzercise.

Investigators allege Wright ran a prostitution operation out of her Zumba studio in Kennebunk and taped her encounters on video equipment set up by Mark Strong, an insurance agent from Thomaston.

As an insurance agent, Mr. Strong clearly has a firm grasp on the concept of risk management.

Hookers–they aren’t just for rugby any more.

HT PacePerMile

Heart-Throb Rob Fundraising

The whole fam made it out on Saturday for the inaugural Surf Your Heart Out fundraiser for my buddy Rob “Munch” Munchbach who is awaiting a heart transplant. The turnout was great, and it was the perfect morning for a run on the beach and the waves were tasty for everyone who brought a board.

There are more events scheduled for the year, including a “Stroke Your Heart Out” Paddling Challenge and a rugby tournament some time in November. In keeping with rugby traditions, details of that event are still sketchy.

Even if you can’t make it out to participate, please consider helping Rob out in any way you can and like his Facebook page. He needs help pre-transplant with medication and health care costs.

I didn’t race the run, which is probably a good thing since it was perfectly situated on a rest day, so I won’t report any times. I rushed through a 5 mile tempo workout on Friday and needed to loosen up though, so it was great to jog out the first mile and a half.

At that point I picked up a couple of squirmy bodies, one of which was not at all interested in running and stopped several times to clean the sand off her feet. The other was wrapped around my neck until the finish.

But the oldest got to “finish” her first race and was super excited! Kids tri coming up on September 30, and she’s pretty amped about the prospects of placing in her age group!

If You’re Healthy And You Know It, Give Munch Money!

Ok, hope that got your attention…

My buddy Munch is in need of a heart transplant, and right now he’s in desperate need of assistance paying for the drugs to help him survive until a new heart comes through.

His condition was caused by a virus, not lifestyle–definitely not the kind of guy who got here because he wasn’t taking care of himself if that’s what you are wondering. He’s a rugby player, surfer, and sometimes professional fisherman who was still showing up for training wearing a pacemaker when I met him. He just made sure we knew he wasn’t available for tackling. Plus, the guy already gave ass cancer a beat down, so you know he’s a real fighter.

I know many people who land on this site appreciate their own health and live active lifestyles. Let’s show our appreciation by helping a guy like us get back to doing what he loves!

In The Best Shape Of My Life (Again)

I’m thinking that on May 20th, barring any unforeseen injuries or mishaps, I’m going to start the Ironman 70.3 race in Haines City in the best shape of my life. At least, it will be a new version of “best shape of my life”.

Being in shape is a very relative thing.

I’ve been (much) stronger than I am now in the weight room.

I’ve been able to run faster at every distance from 100 meters to marathon at one point or another than I can now.

I’ve probably been able to do a 40k time trial on the bike faster than I can now.

I’ve definitely been able to get knocked down and get back up faster and more times…rugby has a fitness nothing else can emulate.

As far as triathlon goes, I’ve probably been in better “sprint” shape than I am right now too. My best 5k fitness level probably correlates with that.

But I’m definitely approaching a new level of fitness for triathlon distances Oly and up. Not that I’m anywhere close to fit enough for 140.6 right now…I know my place in the hierarchy. But it doesn’t seem like an insane distance now. Definitely seems matter-of-fact-doable.

May 21st, or maybe a day or two after that, I’m going to have some thinking to do. I’ll worry about it then, but it seems like a shame to miss the opportunity to start at this point and build into something bigger.

Circle of Death Workout

This is a dang good ‘un. Also known as “The Vicious Cycle”, I learned this one back in the late 90s from a sadistic South African rugby coach. For any former teammates who are reading this, let me apologize in advance for the nightmares you’ll have tonight. I know you’ve done your best to repress any memory of being put through this.

The only equipment you need is a place to do pull-ups and a little bit of space. Think of your pull-up station as the backstop of a baseball diamond. That’s where you start. The rest of the stations are arranged just like the bases on the baseball diamond. Home plate = push-ups, First base = sit-ups, Second base = burpees, Third base = jackknives*. Here’s a diagram if you’re confused. I like to arrange the distance between the “bases” at about the distance between bases on a t-ball field. You can make them further apart if you want…that distance isn’t the key to this workout.

Start by doing a single pull-up. Then you run the bases, stopping at each one to do one repetition of the exercise at that station (1 push-up, 1 sit-up, 1 burpee, 1 jackknife). Then it’s back to the pull-up station for the second round. This time, you do two reps of everything. The next lap is 3 reps, and so on. Starting with one rep and ending with six reps is a good way to start. I did it that way yesterday at the halfway point of a four mile run, and it absolutely destroyed my pace and heart rate on the 2nd half of the run. As my fitness improves, I work my way up to ten laps/reps.

And that’s when things start to get really interesting.

Once you can comfortably do the ten lap incarnation of this exercise, try doing it in reverse instead…starting with ten reps and working your way down to one. It sounds like it would take the same effort level to do go in reverse, but it’s actually much harder for a couple of reasons. First of all, unless you are a pull-up machine, the quality of your pull-ups will probably tend to decrease the more reps you have to do. There’s no shame in using a spotter or “self-spotting” by flailing your legs to get pull-ups in, but if you have to do 10 pull-ups on your first set instead of your last, you’ll probably do those 10 better. And at the end, it’s easy to do 3 good pull-ups, so you’ll make the extra effort.

Secondly, you’ll probably find that the sit-ups and jackknives almost feel like a rest in this workout since they give you the opportunity to lie down on the ground. The only problem is, you have to get up off the ground. Starting with ten reps and working your way down to one means that at the end of the workout, when you want to rest the most, you get less and less rest. As soon as you get on the ground to do 3 sit ups, you have to pick yourself back up and run to do burpees.

I consider this a “toughness” workout as much as it is a fitness workout. There really isn’t much of a reprieve at any point of this workout. It’s one that makes you feel like you can’t wait to get to the next thing, only to detest where you are as soon as you get there. You’ll have to hunker down mentally to push to the end.

Then finish it up with a 2-3 mile run and see if you can ever regain control of your heart rate.

* If you aren’t familiar with jackknives, you lie flat on your back with your arms stretched out above your head, then you simultaneously raise your hands and feet, basically folding yourself in half, and (attempt to) touch your toes.

Link Dump From Stuff I’ve Been Reading

Denso (and others) Plea Guilty To Price Fixing – Coming soon, “Shame on Denso” signs in front of Alcoa Highway Wal-Mart.

Has the Higher-Ed Revolution Begun? – I’ll take advantage of the CS courses, but I’d really love to see a business school offer this type of program. We may have to wait all the way until next year for something like that.

What’s Wrong With the Teenage Mind? – In summary (I think), they need to be taught responsibility and experience in addition to facts.

A future President

It’s time for us to get to work. To get busy. My advisors and cabinet members are going to sit down to find ways to help get out of your way. To encourage you.

Re-elect this guy. If we ever elect him.

Whatever happened to: Rucking?

The key advantage of ‘traditional’ rucking was that it produced quick ball. It also occupied forwards who might otherwise loiter in midfield clogging up the pitch.

The game started changing in this regard as my career was ending, and I remember that feeling (we’ve all had it) just KNOWING that the boots were coming after doing something on the edge of the law in a tackle in order to steal or secure the ball for my team.

And then…nothing would happen. Occasionally someone would curse your actions, but they wouldn’t dream of chucking boot and letting you know that was not acceptable.

I do know of at least one referee who was more than happy to have the game become more about him than the players on the field and welcomed the changes in rucking.

10 Things You Can Do to Raise a Reader – On of the most important things you can do as a parent.

Sweden Plans A New Superhighway For Cyclists – Not going to pretend I wouldn’t like to see this here. Privately funded of course.

Federal government debt site – But it doesn’t track the federal government’s massive debt. Instead, it gives them information on decreasing their own debt. Isn’t that rich?!

So Why Read Anymore? – Damn. Just…damn.

Somehow we must convince this new wired generation that speaking and writing well are not just the DSL lines of modern civilization, but also the keys to self-mastery, a sort of code that one takes on — in addition to others, moral and legal — to uphold standards of culture itself, to keep the work and ideas alive of our long gone betters for one more generation — as if to say, “I did my part according to my time and station.”Nothing more, nothing less.

The Future of Personalized Medicine – Can’t wait for this to be widely available. Can I get a GPS add on?

QUnit – jQuery JavaScript Library – Free, and a time saver down the road.

Spotify Free Unlimited Music Streaming Ends After Six Month Promotion – Sadness. Extreme sadness.

Another Daggum Link Dump!

‘Blue Christmas’ drug bust targets illegal prescription drug sales in Brevard – Big day tomorrow for mugshots!

Tools vs insight – I am Jack’s complete astonishment that Seth Godin can come up with these amazing posts for his blog on a daily basis. I would read it in a box, and I would read it with a fox.

Does Beer Affect Your Training? – I was warned not to read this, but I did anyway. Dammit.

Rethinking the Value of the Brick Run for Long Course Triathlon – And here I was thinking I was bucking the system by doing “rested bricks” on the weekends. Sounds like I may have been on to something.

How to Make a Citizen’s Arrest – Yes!

If Everyone Else is Such an Idiot, How Come You’re Not Rich? – Atlantic Mobile – Great article from someone who is NOT an idiot.

Stop Trying to Coach People Who Shouldn’t Be Coached! – This applies to so many people in so many situations. And I’ve been all four of these people at one time or another as well. I try my best to be coachable though.

Proper Pacing for Your Best Run – I’ve always just used HR control on the bike and tried to build a good run with negative splits with whatever I had left. There are some good ideas here I could definitely use to improve at different distances.

Cuba Libre! – Check out @hungrymother featured in this article!

A Food Label That Actually Teaches You About Food – There should be a “nom nom” graph on there somewhere too.

Homeschooling, Robot IronMen, Unstructured Play, Plus MORE!

Another link dump. I promise I’ll try to include more bloggers and less news stuff in the future.

Here’s How to Stop FB From Tracking You Online – Logging out isn’t enough.

Can We Play? – Feeling guilty because you don’t get to spend enough time on education and they are aimlessly wasting the day? Don’t.

Career Ruin: Homeschooling

I realized that public school is like Social Security. There is no money to do what we are pretending we are aiming to do. We should just grow up and admit that we cannot have effective public schools for everyone. Just like we cannot have Social Security for everyone.

Well there go her Presidential hopes.

Gamers Unlock Protein Mystery That Baffled AIDS Researchers For Years – More of this please.

Woman tries to shoot possum, shoots acquaintance instead – I wasn’t even aware @knoxvillerugby was playing in ATL this weekend.

Dubya and Me – You don’t have to be a fan of his politics (I’m not) to enjoy this great piece on W.

Three Market-Based Solutions To Pull People Out Of Poverty – More of this too!

Robot Triathlete Will Complete An Ironman? – These things don’t have the greatest form, but I’m not one to talk.

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