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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ok, back to triathlon

It's not that I've been sitting on my couch every night eating potato chips while watching the Biggest Loser (actually one of my favorite past times...but popcorn or ice cream, not chips) - but it was pointed out to me by a friend this evening at Master's swimming that my blog is not only about triathlon.  She mentioned the prior name of my blog "The Triathlon Saga" (only because better versions of that were taken by people who haven't blogged since like 2006 - I mean, seriously, let someone else have it...and while I'm ranting, domain squatting is bad enough, but blog squatting?  Come on.  Check out  It's not been touched since 2005 and looks like a 6-year old created it but lost interest after 3 minutes.) and it didn't occur to me at the time that I'd actually changed the title.

So, training.  What have I been doing?

After last year's less than stellar Ironman Coeur d'Alene performance and 4 successive years of faster running times, but significantly slower cycling times I'm only doing Olympic distance races and shorter this year.  So far, I'm registered for 3 races but hope to pick up one or two more local races in August and September.  Training-wise, I dropped my coach after the Ironman and when I started training again last fall, I simply never signed back up.  It's not that I didn't think the coaching was good or it was worth what I paid - It's just that I thought for a rebuilding season, I could do it mostly on my own with some slight guidance here and there.

I can tell you without hesitation that it is MUCH harder not having a coach to provide you with a training schedule than to provide you one for yourself.  Problem #1?  I never actually sat down and mapped out my weekly training schedule.  It wouldn't have been hard, I have over 7 years of data from which to glean workouts and a training regimen.  It's just that I never made time to sit down and actually do it - which, admittedly was pretty lazy on my part.

So, now I'm training.  I'm not winging it, but I don't really have any set workouts save for Master's swimming and then, it's really only the days in which I go swimming, not the actual workout contents.  That's reserved for our hairless (he showed us today) German Master's coach, Wolfgang.

I kind of want to see where my races actually go before panicking, but two of them are on back to back weekends and are less than a month away now so there's not a ton I can do at this point to perform magically.  I do know my running is not where I want it to be, i.e., it's slower than last year.  Not by a huge amount, but it's noticeable.  I'd like to think my cycling has improved dramatically but without really any benchmarks other than a TT in which I averaged almost 26mph but still managed to place 31/39 I have no idea where it's really at.

Additionally, when I started running again, I switched to using only the Vibram 5-Fingers for almost 6 months before my distances got too high and I wanted to get some racing flats to give me a little more cushion.  So, I don't know if that's got something to do with the slower speed.

All that said, I find it interesting that as I focus more on one sport, the other two lapse noticeably.  I'm not talking about going from swimming 1:30/100m to barely making 2:00/100m or running 7:00/miles to not being able to run 8's, but I do find that it's harder to hit those 1:30s without paddles, or to sustain that 7-minute pace for more than a few miles.  Also, as I'm doing a lot more speed work, I notice that my body is more fatigued on a day-to-day basis than I can ever recall before.

Monday is the Bolder Boulder.  I'm in wave B (the 4th wave, I think) and while I know my running isn't where I want it to be, it will be an interesting test of where I'm at.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Um, Excuse me? What's your motivation?

Given the number of political careers that have been helped ruined by scandalous affairs and the typical answer by politicians to promptly disappear and enter rehab for months so as to avoid talking about it, I figured I'd wade into the debate to offer some of my own insight - especially in the light of the most recent incident (at the time of this writing) with Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN).

Souder, being interviewed by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, in providing some insight as to how depressing it can be to be a public figure and have a story like this break is quoted as saying "...I'm not a suicidal guy for religious reasons..."

To me, this represents a HUGE problem with specific branches of organized religion, but don't worry, I'm not naming names.  Here's my rationale:

I would argue that people should do good deeds because it's the right thing do to, not because they expect to be rewarded for it (either now or after they die).  Conversely, people shouldn't refrain from doing bad things because they fear not being rewarded (or of being caught for that matter).

Motivation by reward in this particular context strikes me as fairly greedy and selfish.  So, does taking Souder's comment at face value imply that were he not religious he would more seriously consider suicide?

My belief is that people shouldn't be slaves to their religion.  It's supposed to be a choice (although most people don't act this way) and people should make their religions work for them instead of the other way around.  I don't believe religion is supposed to be a pain in the ass.  Sure, there's something to say (and gain) for overcoming difficulty, but this doesn't apply here - the man's motivation for not killing himself is because of his religion.