Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A multisport of a different sort - fun stuff

Most of my two readers will be like "Who cares?".

Sunday afternoon I was shoveling gravel. I think I moved about 8 or 9 wheelbarrows full ... then immediately dropped the wheelbarrow, changed into my running shoes and hit the trail for a quick 4 mile run. Surprisingly, my transition from wheelbarrow to run was fairly quick and I ran about as well as I ever have on my local trail running loop.

When I got back home, I changed clothes and began mopping the kitchen floor. I guess that was another transition. While I was at it, I vacuumed the carpets too.

So I have now done the landscape, run, floor cleaning event.

What's the point? Being fit provides me with so much more ability to accomplish tasks that I really enjoy it. I am finding that accomplishing tasks is one of my main drivers in life. I may as well take advantage.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So much for which to be Thankful

The Bryonman 2013 Thankful List

  • I have my health. I have a new lifestyle that mostly supports continued health. (I still like sweets - moderation.)
  • Carrie continues to allow me to hang around. She provides the balance and challenges I need in life.
  • I have an awesome nuclear and extended family. As far as familial drama - we genuinely do not have things that we cannot easily overcome.
  • I have a few close friends and other cordial acquaintances that keep me going.
  • I have fitness and I have pretty much maintained a decent level of fitness for nearly 3 years now.
  • I somehow manage to stay solidly employed and employable in an industry that continues to push the envelope on both speed and trajectory of change.
None of the above comes without effort. I guess that is the topic for this entry. Effort. Webster says effort is a "vigrorous or determined attempt".

Effort comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Effort is relative to both the task and the performer. For example: A vigorous effort for me in the water is a lazy day for my friend Shark. Effort evolves from potential energy and releases kinetic energy with the hopes of iterating over that energy cycle in perpetum. In physics, potential energy is the energy of an object or a system due to the position of the body or the arrangement of the particles of the system. The kinetic energy of an object is the energy which it possesses due to its motion.

So this input / output scenario is a metaphor for most things if pondered closely. Consider these two simple quotes.
"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."
Winston Churchill
"For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward."
Jim Rohn

Quit Rambling and Get to the Point

So I guess what I want to say on this topic is simply:
In the absence of effort we really have no cause to expect.

I really want to be able to give the gift of motivation, discipline and effort. I really want the world as a whole to stop expecting without effort. I really WISH that every focused, sustained and concerted effort resulted in the outcome equivalent of PERFECTION. It's just not that way.

Am I saying that I wish that everyone would stress themselves to the max trying to achieve some unnecessary goal? No. If part of a person's goal is to put as little effort into life as possible ... then I say bless them and I wish them luck. What I am saying is that it might be a little more stable orb if people focused on efforts aimed at realistic, beneficial and postive goals.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Really? Wow. Friends and runners - check this out.

So this was an interesting perspective on runners and running ...

WSJ : "OK, You're a Runner. Get Over It."

-- link to Chad Stafko - 'Wall Street Journal' article removed by Bryonman-- Link to Shut Up and Run article replaces.

I understand the loathing of Facebook. I understand and have written about self-centeredness and it's ugly cousin arrogance. Here's where I differ with the author. If the endurance junkies want to go out for a run they are inevitably going to be seen by someone during the process. It's not about a 'parade of one'. It's about the zen we get from the running experience. Darn right it is tough to run ... add in a little speed and it's a great affordable way to avoid a premature dirt nap. I literally could NOT care less about 26.2 or 13.1 stickers on my bumper.

Why do I do it? Fitness. Routine. Goal attainment. Pushing the limit. Moving the limit to a new level, then pushing it again. I am racing myself to improve myself - not to add bumper stickers or Ironman tattoos.

I don't care who is in line at Starbucks getting a Venti Caramel Frappuccino. Do I need to see FLIKR photos of your food at your fifth dining-out experience of the week? No. Do I judge? Only if I am judged first. Otherwise, I am either running, biking, swimming, lifting, walking AND having fun. I have to go now - my race t-shirts are ready to be taken out of the wash.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

... but Twitter is so revolutionary.

This is why Twitter is such a bad idea. And to think ... this company's antiquated technology is going to make five or ten more people billionaires in a few weeks. Oh well, "we" fell for it.

Check this out. Another corporate giant getting bad press by leaving an irresponsible human in charge of their "social media presence". Whether it is cooked up drama or not is irrelevant.


That said, Twitter does expose some trolls from time to time. Proof once again that two wrongs do not make a right.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Glass blowing

How about that for a blog post title?

So I took my first rest week in over two years last week. I genuinely did ZERO cardio-based training. I lifted weights and went for a couple of walks. I am easing back into things this week. I am trying to get my feet and calves a chance to forgive me before I start destroying them again. :-)

So yeah. We took a glass blowing class on Wednesday evening. I love learning. I am happiest when I am learning. Glass blowing is heavy science mixed with art. It has fire, suggestive terminology, danger and suspense. It might be a perfect hobby. Carrie made a couple of pumpkins and I made a pumpkin and a flower.

Circle 6 Studios! A great place.

Visit their web site - http://www.circle6studios.com/

Super geek!

Happy Movember!

Monday, October 28, 2013

City of Mesa Olympic Tri

The Olympic distance is still stacked against me. I put it out there as best I could and finished 3rd in my age group. Truth is, without a fairly fast bike leg ... I would have been out of the medals.

Pre-race, I was focused. I chatted with some folks I hadn't seen in about a year or so. They all thought I had moved away. Funny. I got there pretty early, but transition was already crowded, so I did not like my rack position. Oh well.

The swim. It was about 1700 meters of swimming mixed with 100 meters of running. I started out pretty well. The first 400m went 9 minutes. I did 800 in 19 minutes. Yeah, that is slow, but it was crowded and I am me. Now that I think about it, I guess I stayed pretty consistent - just slow. 40 minutes for the 1700m + 100 meters of running back and hopping into the pool four times. My friend Scott had a PR in the swim with a 30:25 for the same 1700 meters. He was finished when I was at 1200 meters. Sheesh. I was 40th out of 50 in the swim. Typical.

The transitions plus the bike. I say this because these races always put the transitions on to the bike time. My water to bike transition was shaky at best. It was my first triathlon since Thanksgiving of last year, so I hadn't done this transition in a while. As a true newbie who had already gone really slow getting ready ... I forgot my helmet. So I had to run myself and the bike back from the start line to fetch the helmet and then run back. I lost some time there. Conversely, I felt surprisingly strong on the bike the entire 24 miles. I actually did the 24 in 1:04:20. That's about a 22.5 mile per hour average on a course that appears "flat" but it is annoying. It has about 420 feet of climbing in the 24 miles. Not flat. Not challenging, just not flat. I cooled the engines on lap 6 to rest up a bit for the run. The bike to run transistion was not as bad, but I did fumble a bit with my laces. Total bike time with both transitions 1:09. I was 8th out of 50 on the bike.

I've run a bunch this year. I have not raced much. Racing shape is different than fitness shape. There's something about adrenaline management there that I'd like to study. I literally felt sluggish until mile 5 of the run. Then my legs perked up. It was hot (91), but I was hammering the salt tablets and keeping hydrated. I am good with managing the system while competing. I ran a 52 minute 10K. I was 23rd out of 50 on the run and 23rd out of 50 overall. That's an 8:19 pace. The last mile was a 7 something pace. It was odd. I was ready for another 6 miles. Proof that it really is all about the run?


Monday, October 21, 2013

Have you ever been stabbed in the forearm?

Have you ever been stabbed in the forearm?

I have. I remember my first time like it was yesterday. It was actually Saturday.

In the storm of self-centered hubris during the past two + years, this is the last thing I thought I'd do that would hurt.

"Where was I during the stabbing?" In the back yard.

So, if you have seen the following criminal, please contact me as soon as possible.

'Pinky the Oleander'

This scum bucket ran into the back yard - grabbed the dog by the tail and said "Give me all your nutrients or the dog gets it!" I was still amazed that a talking oleander was in the back yard when I realized I should have been more impressed with the fact that he was running that fast with a bucket around his waist.

What really happened?

I was using a Milwaukee Box Blade knife to cut the plastic buckets off the oleanders. We'd already planted three of them but not without a discussion about the box blade deal was a bit spooky considering the thickness of the plastic on the buckets. Yes, I was trying to "cut away" from myself {thanks dad}. Yes, we had used the tin snips on the thicker rim-area plastic. I was cutting up the side of the fourth bucket. I think a root from the plant actually caught the blade, so I applied more pressure.

Then it felt like I had been struck by lightning. Not that I have been struck by lightning, but there was a white flash and then I felt like I was 1000 degrees. The box blade was buried in my arm. I pulled it out and my arm wrinkled up and bubbled prior to blood spurting just like it does in gory horror movies. I'm not one for panic - so I tried to stay as calm as I could. Carrie was yelling some things but I wasn't really paying attention. I rushed to the sink and started washing dirt out of the wound. So, it's about the size of a box blade only MUCH wider where the skin was opening. For some reason my first reaction was to flex my forearm. Good move chief!

After finding the roughest and most unsanitary towel in our collection and grabbing the insurance information we headed off to urgent care. It was bad enough that I knew instantly that it needed to be sewed up.

"Would have been cheaper to pay somebody to plant them now." Carrie joked.

"It's not funny." I said.

She was laughing.

The truck revs in the garage ... but we aren't moving. I tell her that I believe the truck is in drive rather than reverse. It was actually in neutral. Then I began telling her how to drive. She did not like that. Then I began to get hot and light-headed. I am famous for passing out at times that don't really call for it. Although, I had lost a fair amount of blood in a short time.

At the same exit on the freeway there is an Emergency Room and an Urgent Care. I opted for the Urgent Care. It turned out to be a good decision. Virlana Johnson-Silva was the PA-C that did my care. She was informative, professional and entertaining.

Within thirty minutes of the stabbing I was sewn up. One internal stitch and three of those fancy horizontal mattress stitches on the outside. I am on a course of antibiotics AND I can still do the rowing race on the 26th and the surprise Olympic triathlon I chose to make up for Bartlett being permanently cancelled.

Tune in later to find out how much the stabbing costs after the "insurance" pitches in ... sheesh. Yes, it could be MUCH worse. I am lucky. Another eighth of an inch and I would have sunk into the main artery in my arm. That would have been an entirely different and less entertaining story.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bartlett Lake Olympic -

The race is postponed until October 20th.


The government "shutdown" closed the National Forest ... which is where the race is located.

What good is this shutdown doing anyone? Really?

I am not downplaying the importance of the health care legislation - but is it worth sending the country back into a recession by shutting things down? There has to be a better way. Stop being greedy. Stop being big babies. Woman/Man up and do your jobs congress. Apply some damn logic. Listen to your constituents that make sense. Throw out of the opinions of the whack jobs at the extremes of the bell curve and do what's logical and right for the majority. Throw out the opinion of the giant lobby that is called "insurance" - which generally speaking is the cause of all this crap anyway. This posturing crap just hurts the good people that are trying to make an honest life and stay out of people's business.

I generally do NOT talk politics ... but if I hear one more jerk face comment from either faction I may just have to speak my mind. If you are picking sides in this "battle" then my fear is that you too have it all wrong. Neither side is correct. The real solutions are available. Smarter people than me KNOW what needs to be done. Get them in place and put their ideas into action.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Hunt for Red October

In a departure from my normal self-centeredness, I decided to do a bit of research on one of my LEAST favorite topics.

Politics. The Government "shutdown".

In the hours before the United States faces a government shutdown, many people wonder what that will mean for individuals in this country. A government shutdown is defined as a situation in which the government stops providing all but essential services. This does not include our emergency responders, National Weather Service, postal service, armed forces or air traffic control. Also, groups that do not require government appropriations, like Medicare and Social Security, will continue to stay open. What this does mean, however, is that many federal employees will be furloughed or not paid on time. It is estimated that some 800,000 federal civilian workers will be furloughed for the length of the impending shutdown; this does not include any of the players in Congress, however. They are protected.

Any other federal agencies that will be closed during a government shutdown are not known until the Office of Management and Budget reviews and determines the course. In the past, passport offices, national parks, museums, and Washington D.C. Municipal District were shut down, the latter causing the public schools and many utilities to be closed.

Since 1976, the United States Government has been shutdown 17 times, the longest consecutive days was September 30 to October 18, 1978, when it stayed closed for 18 days. Based on the statistics, however, if the government does close, it is estimated to be very short-lived. Congress has the task of raising the debt ceiling so that this country can thrive. This task has been done since 1917 with a mere 17 closures, so it shouldn’t really be such a daunting task.


Political Party?

I don't really have a political party. It does not mean I do not care. I was raised in a Democrat household and for that I believe I am thankful. For the most part, my parents are very open-minded. Again, for that I am thankful. Dad was in a union. I think there were times in our young country's history that the labor union landscape was necessary to protect workers from RIDICULOUS working conditions.

Just like many great ideas across time ... the stalwart of the Democratic party (the good of the people) has been abused, bastardized and finally morphed into something unrecognizable. Is it communism? No. If you have any people around you spewing bile about communism ... look up the history of communism and you will see for yourself that there are very little resemblance between our current state and "mother Russia". Get a grip on reality people.

From a person that grew up in Lithuania during the height of communism:

- Even though jobs were easy to find, but buying power of the most people was very low. There were not enough goods to buy at the stores. Some areas of the U.S.S.R. experienced food shortages.
- One could not just go and buy a car. Permits to buy a personal vehicle were distributed by the government.
- Housing was an issue for many people. Some families were forced to share apartments/houses with several other families.

etc. etc.

I would vote for a party called the Logic Party. There are ways to make decisions. There are whole disciplines dedicated to decision tree 'construction and travel'.

The Power Bandwagon

We, as a country, have become FAR too reliant on emotion when it comes to "band-wagoning". We choose the exact WRONG things on which to build a platform. Gun control, abortion, social security and welfare are certainly sexy topics that illicit a guttural response ... but these are questions/concerns that don't really have satisfying answers. I believe this is just our basal brains longing for competition and drama. All for the sake of what? Power? Control? Come on. How has that much power wielding ever ended well? Do the research. Too much power in one place is generally the beginning of the end of that place. Are we truly doomed to repeat history? I suppose so. At this rate the United States might just be a blip on the radar of human history.

Less Government - but within reason

If we decentralized the Federal Government and KEPT capitalism as the economical "soup de jour"; the majority of the people would be S C R E W E D. I cannot seriously believe that a capitalistic society could rely on "donations" from those with wealth to rebuild roads, pay for schools, pay for hospitals ... and forget about open-spaces and recreation. That National Park thing would be history VERY quickly. The earthy-crunchy in me shutters to think about a world without ANY of our National Parks and National Recreation Areas.

On the flip side - the current Government is absolutely bloated. It has been bloated for years. I am thinking the bloat started in the post WWII era - on the heels of the Great Depression. Sure, it has gotten super-bloated over the past 10 years or so - but this is a result of poor, short-sighted decisions made by a group of individuals that cannot possibly understand and analyze the data presented to them AND what that data and their decisions mean for the country ten or twenty years into the future. Our "Now!, Now!, Now!" attitude is getting us into trouble.

Think about this: (Triathlon geek analogy)

So let's pretend I am doing a "Double Ironman" These exist. A 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, 52.4 mile run. You might think, short-sightedly, that I can go out and do that distance in 23 hours. You just take your 140.6 time and double it, right? This does not compute. There are so many variables to consider. 1) How am I possibly going to replenish the calories expended. A Bento-Box full of Hammer Gel is NOT going to suffice for this distance. I must see the entire race and plan for what will probably be a 40+ hour event. Running 53 miles after 224 miles on the bike will probably be less running and more walking. What about blisters? What about sleep? What about equipment failure? What about race support? You see my point? I do have to be able to think on my feet and react to unforeseen events - but if I go into this race with ZERO forethought and just "seize the day" I am much less likely to succeed.

My Final Rambling Thoughts

A country means we have some semblance of centralized unity. I like being able to say that I am American. I also like saying that I am a Kentuckian (banjo jokes go here). If we are part of the same country and we like that identity - then shouldn't we work to preserve that ideal? Should government control everything? No. Should we have only "state-level" government? No. Should we have ZERO government? Heavens to Betsy ... no way would this ever work. I have met people. Some of them would really frighten me in the absence of rules and prisons.

We should use government to provide a framework. We should use government to upkeep the infrastructure (yes, this does mean taxes in my head ... because the "donation" model will not work - pretend as we might). We should then put targeted and growth-controlled programs into place that contain people that are passionate about causes ... and use the governmental framework AND LOGIC to make change. There is no room in these causes for special interest. There is no room in these causes for big business. We have the concept of "church or state" ... which doesn't really work ... but the concept is admirable. It's like a security system that has "exceptions". The minute you introduce an exception to the security system you no longer have TRUE security. The minute you introduce a controlling variable (usually power or money (which is just paper-based power)) to influence a program decision ... that program then only works for that controlling variable.

Good thing I am not a politician. I don't play politics very well at all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New job - new commute - new opportunities - new challenges

Life is interesting.

I started a new job back in August ... three days after Pikes Peak and two days before I turned 40.

It is a contract job and I am back doing straight web development in the C#, ASP.NET, CSS, HTML, JavaScript world. At my previous job I was a design architect focused on the usability of the website(s) we ran. I think I was burned out as a developer and the break from it has proven outstanding. I am renewed. I am doing things with technology for which I previously had mental roadblocks.

The mileage in my commute tripled with my new job. It has been an adjustment to say the least. My training is different. My routine is different. Change can be good.

The rowing team is geling nicely. It's a fun group. Rowing is right down my alley as far as discipline and endurance.

The new challenge is to maintain the fitness I have earned over the past three years. So far, so good.

Get out and change something. A little fear and unknown is stimulating.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's official. Rowing is a workout.

So we are still VERY remedial crew members but I can already tell that this sport is a heck of a workout. It's both mentally and physically a challenge. It reminds me a lot of swimming. Not from the physical part. It's the mental part that makes me work extra hard. Even bits of the terminology are similar. There is a catch in rowing just like in swimming. Last night was our second night on the water and it was much better than the first night.

Speaking of swimming, I had a really good swim (for me) on Monday morning. I managed to eek out 1.85 miles in 56 minutes. Last year, that same distance took me about 1:08 in the same pool.

Last week was a very strong week of training. I had more time on the bike than I have had all year. It is hilarious to think that I might be faster in the shorter distances than ever before. It goes to show how unique and specific it is to train for 112+ miles on the bike versus a normal 25 - 30 miler.

Bartlett Lake Olympic is a little over two weeks away. I did this race in 2011. It was my first Olympic distance race. I have still only done one other Olympic (Marquee - 2hr. 36m). Bartlett is a whale of a course with 12 of the 24 miles on the bike being well over 6% grade and over 2 miles of the run being over 8% uphill.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A valuable lesson in exercise: The Brick Workout

I have learned so many things in my life that I get stoked when I think of how little I know. There's so much more to be had.

One thing that I have found valuable in my training is the concept of brick workouts. I had flirted with this concept before ... way back in 2007 when I took my first ever spin class. I began going from spin and immediately going into a core class. I didn't think anything about how much benefit that was to my fitness and endurance.

A brick workout refers to the stacking of two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal to no interruption in between. As you switch modes of exercise, your body needs to effectively and efficiently prepare for the next demand while recovering from the previous exercise demand. Your heart rate increases significantly as your body tries to shift the blood flow from the muscles of the first exercise to the demands of the muscles of the next. Brick workouts help your body handle the aerobic, anaerobic, and muscular demands of a triathlon event.

source: http://breakingmuscle.com

In the above article, they go on to talk more about traithlon / multi-sport.

I don't think brick workouts are just for multi-sport athletes. Brick workouts will benefit anyone!

I have done some very strange brick combinations over the past few years. I have simulated full triathlons as part of a single workout (which most people think is overkill). Nowadays, I rarely do a workout with a single focus - unless it is a long run. Even after a long bike or swim, I like to walk or run.

My favorite combo workouts are:

Spin / Yoga
Spin / Run
Run / Swim (that one is tough)
Swim / Run (also tough)
Weights / Run
Run / Weights
Weights / Swim (can be a burner)

I cannot recommend the Yoga / Run brick. I really did a number on my achilles (both) upon doing a run immediately following Yoga.

So whatever sport / exercise you are into - consider combining it with another discipline.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I'm now old, but I have something new ... stoked!

Carrie and I are now the "2 Live Crew" on the "Axl Rows" squad.

Or are we Milli Vanilli?

I grew up in the 80s. Shut up.

That's right - we are going to learn how to "crew" or "row". Whatever they call it.

Starting September 9th and 10th through October 26th, Tempe Town Lake will host a 7-week rowing league that introduces rowing to new participants, teaches the basics of the sport, and allows rowers to show off their skills in a league championship regatta (on October 26th).

It's two nights per week for the seven weeks. It will be a good shift in the workout routine. This is another one of those things that I've always wanted to try -- so here we go.

The recovery from the Pikes Peak Ascent went well. I also turned 40 years old on the 23rd. The recovery from my 40th birthday "calorie fest" was a little tougher than the Pikes recovery. I now remember EXACTLY why I changed my diet habits. I hadn't really pigged out like that in a couple of years. Sure, I have not made ALL the best diet choices along the way ... but this was near gorging. Mass quantities of nachos and cookies do not make for a fun 24 hours.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blog: Pikes Peak Ascent 2013

I am happy I finished. This race is such a challenge that I now know about where my upper limits of performance lie. I predicted a 3:30 finish time. I finished in 4:40. Since this was my 40th birthday present to me - I am reading my time as "For Forty." To say this was "fun" is a stretch. It was interesting.

Mile 1: This mile is mostly road running. The herd left Manitou Springs at exactly 7am. We took up the entire street but there was plenty of room. I felt good through this mile. (300 feet of climbing)

Mile 2: This is where it got interesting. I guess I was naive to the lore of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. There was very little running in this mile. It was hiking / waiting in line. (629 feet of climbing)

Mile 3: This is the second steepest mile on the trail. I felt fine. It was still like stop-n-go driving. There were jerks on the trail just like on the road. Shoving, nudging, trash talking. I had to rub my eyes a little to make sure I was on the trail rather than on the set of some fake wrestling TV program. Picture this: two dudes in their mid-40s weighing no more than 145 pounds each slap-fighting their way up the trail. I actually laughed aloud. (740 feet of climbing)

Mile 4: This was more of the same ... but this was the first mile where I did run a bit since Mile 1. It was more toward the end of the mile. (663 feet of climbing)

Mile 5: I ran even more in mile 5 and I remember feeling strong. The trail was narrow and rocky in this section. It was interesting. (585 feet of climbing)

Mile 6: This mile was fun and I won myself some space from the others. It was a much more reasonable elevation gain. This was the mile where the crew I was in formed and most of the people in this little bunch would finish fairly close together. (308 feet of climbing)

Mile 7: Another fun mile. I was passing people and pretty much ran the whole mile except when the trail narrowed and a small waiting line would form. Most of the climbing in this mile was near the end - and it got steep. (295 feet of climbing).

Mile 8: Mile 8 got real very quickly. I tripped on a root and did the whole awkward catch myself thing. I have done this several times during training. Sometimes this quick reaction causes my back to twinge a bit. It didn't in this case and I was thankful. (657 feet of climbing)

Mile 9: I guess I did mess with my back a bit - because in mile 9 is where I started feeling extreme tightness in my mid back. The trail was good in this mile. (711 feet of climbing)

Mile 10: There was more walking in mile 10 than running. It was the steepest mile and was also above tree line. My back was not cooperating at all. (750 feet of climbing)

Mile 11: The loose gravel got annoying. This was the first mile I could discern between fatigue and altitude. I usually do pretty well at altitude. Today was no different. If not for a decent ability to handle the lack of oxygen - my back pain would not have allowed me to consistently move forward. (687 feet of climbing)

Mile 12: The views from here were fun. The view down to Colorado Springs and Manitou was awesome. The view up the trail was impressive because it was a continuous line of brightly colored shirts and shoes traversing ... holy cow how many switchbacks are there on this thing? I was scrambling with hand-checks on boulders at times to climb the trail. This was the last mile in which I ran. (674 feet of climbing)

Mile 13: Yes, this was the end. It was more of a scramble and a traffic jam than a run. For a bit during this mile I thought I might actually take 5 full hours to ascend. It was very slow going. Even after the finish there was MORE climbing to get to the actual summit. Literally as soon as I crossed under the finish marker it started to snow. That was like a nature-made ticker-tape parade. It was neat. I was ready to stretch my back. (715 feet of climbing + 120 more in the last two-tenths)

If I look more closely at this from a different perspective, I am happy. I was in Ascent - Wave 1. All of the people on the trail for the Pikes Peak Ascent are hard workers and gifted runners. I am glad they have the qualification restrictions - if nothing else for some measure of crowd control.

Ascent - Wave 1 - 750 spots
Qualifications needed to register for the 1st Wave of the Pikes Peak Ascent®:
Peak Veteran of the last 3 years:
- Have run the Pikes Peak Ascent® in under 4:15:00 or
- Have run the ascent portion of the Pikes Peak Marathon® in under 4:15:00
Peak Newbie or those who have not run the Peak in the last 3 years:
- Have run a half-marathon in under 1:40:00 or
- Have run a marathon in under 3:45:00. 

It is crowded the entire time. I passed people. People passed me. In places the trail allows it ... in others you have to make it work. I guess I had envisioned sections where I would be alone in my speed or slowness.

Split Times by Camps
  • No Name:  1:07:29
  • Barr Camp: 2:01:12
  • A-Frame Camp: 3:03:06
  • Summit: 4:40:33
My moving time was 4:29:24 -- I stopped twice on the trail on purpose. The other stopping was waiting on the trail due to traffic.

I was 102nd in my age group. I think there were 130 finishers. So that is the difference of being with a bunch of speed demons. I was 940th overall -which I think puts me somewhere near the middle of the pack.

I can cross this one off my list. It was too crowded and a little stressful to call it fun. I am proud to say I finished the Pikes Peak Ascent 2013.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The cooling of the heels

So as hot as August is I am cooling the jets for a bit.

I'll still be training - just not with as much intensity as I have for the majority of the year.

12 days from right now I will be about 50 minutes into the biggest running race of my 2+ year endurance journey. The Pike's Peak Ascent. Yeah, I know I have written about it all year. It's a big deal. It's a big deal physically as running uphill at altitude is about as challenging of an endurance endeavor as you will find. It's a big deal mentally. It's a big deal metaphorically. It's a big deal spiritually. After the race, I am sure I will have to write some lengthy mile-by-mile account that will only be for my therapy.

Some PPA Basics

13.32 miles.

Elevation gain (start to summit) is 7,815' (2,382 meters); the start is at 6,300' (1,920m) and the summit is 14,115' (4,302m). The Ascent finish/Marathon turnaround is at approximately 14,050'. The Ascent (and ascent leg of the Marathon) has very few stretches which are not going uphill with the average percent grade being 11%.  (You know those signs on the Interstate that warn you about 6% grade ... yeah, double that steepness.)

The footing, or surface, of the trail does vary. In the forested sections it is primarily decomposed rock with a mixture of dirt and loose gravel on the surface with the occasional root or rock protrusion. Above treeline (that is, above the A-frame shelter) the trail is primarily loose gravel with one short section of broken rock (generally referred to as rubble) and the section known as the 16 Golden Stairs being gravel with frequent step-ups of some 10 to 15 inches (the Golden Stairs refers to the 32 switch-backs remaining to the summit). In general, the condition of Barr Trail is excellent thanks primarily to the Friends of the Peak and the Pikes Peak Trail Dogs led by Gail Allen.

Running tally for the year for me:

1090 running miles - with a mix of Stairmaster, Trail Running & Treadmill. I have done very little "flat" or "street" running this year.

I have run these 1090 miles with about 125,000 vertical feet of gain. I believe that calculates out to a 6 or 7 percent incline average on my runs. Is it enough? I hope it is.

Okay. I am done talking about it until I finish it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

So Bryonman, how's the training going?

Oh yeah. I forgot this was initally a training blog. Recently it has become a life blog. As I deal with random and senseless B.S. at work I use this as an outlet for my frustration. Believe me, I have spared my good audience with a ton of baggage on the work front in 2013. I know that everyone has the same issues or similar ones ... so why air redundant grievances?

Training is going quite well. I am still improving on all three disciplines. I've made MARKED improvement in my running and cycling in 2013. The time away from racing has allowed me to get smarter about getting stronger and faster.

I have a marginally busy fall with a few big races. Granted, I purposely do not have a schedule anything like 2011 or 2012.

In 2012 I ran about 800 miles - total. In 6 months of 2013 I ran 800 miles. I am already over 900 miles for the year. What I love the most is that the same run paths that worked me over last fall are not nearly as tough this year. I owe so much to my durability. I just keep on going. I suppose I am being smart about recovery ... but I know a ton of smart runners that have injuries stacked against them. I do not take this for granted.

Running is my favorite and I suppose it always was ... but I am still at my best on the bike. Riding on the streets has not been my theme this year. There's just too much risk involved with not riding on a closed and controlled course. Plus, it is a mental victory to sit on that spin bike for hours and keep the RPMs above 90 and the wattage over 200. Endurance is 90% mental and 90% fuel. I typed what I wanted there.

I swam last night and swam well. I felt like I had speed and power - which is rare for me. I am still a turtle compared to the speed demons but if I needed to swim for my life I have that capability now.

The Pikes Peak Ascent 2013 is August 17th. Only 20,000 or so people have ever finished that course. It could be that this winds up as my crowning event in endurance related activities. It is 8000 feet of elevation gain in 13.5 miles. It starts at 6000 feet of altitude and goes to 14,200 feet. I've trained all year for it. I have about 10 more training days to prepare before I back off and rest up.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oregon road trip

Greetings and salutations ... the three of you reading this blog might have forgotten about it.

From the 5th until the 14th we were on the road. Seeing the sights and hiking some trails. Baron the dog went for his first road trip. He traveled very well and hiked all 60 miles or so that we hiked. He was tired when we got back to Phoenix. So were we.

We basically spent a week or so driving around the perimeter of Nevada (HA HA).

Day #1 - Phoenix to Fresno, CA. Mostly driving that day. Someone tell LA that their city is the definition of urban sprawl. They may know that already, but please feel free to tell them again.

Day #2 - Redding, Weed and Mt. Shasta!

Redding seems like a very nice town and a very manageable population. Shasta! That is a fantastic mountain. We hiked and explored many areas. There is a nice little community college in Weed that has a degree in snow sports. That's awesome.

Day #3 - Ashland, Medford and Eugene, Oregon.
  • Ashland has a nice downtown area and we explored the Shakespeare Festival setting. It is impressive.
  • Medford has some cool hiking in and around the town.
  • Eugene was the highlight city of the trip. We saw the track where history often happens. OU is an impressive campus.
Day #4 - The Oregon Coast - Florence, OR to Tillamook, OR

We found a covered bridge across Wildcat Creek on our way to Mapleton, OR. We hiked around there quite a bit. We were all alone. In Florence, we found some tourist pamphlets. Florence seemed nice and that's where we saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time on this trip. Cool and windy!

Day #5 - Tillamook Cheese, The Goonies House over to Portland

We toured the Tillamook Cheese factory. I sometimes miss factory/assembly line work. We saw some Sea Lions, some Light Houses, hiked amongst the old-growth forests and hiked all alone on a trail up to Bloom Lake. The lake was not the highlight of the trail -- the trail was the highlight.

Day #6 - Portland, Vancouver, WA to The Dalles, OR

Portland has always been interesting to us. I think I hyped it up too much in my head. It is scenic BUT it is still a giant city with traffic snarls. We visited Sauive Island, the Arboretum (we saw Ranier from there) We then crossed over into Washington and hiked all over the Fort Vancouver National Site. Portland to The Dalles was super scenic. We stopped off in Hood River to watch the kite boarders. I now want to try kite boarding.

Day #7 - The Dalles, Mt Hood!  and  Bend, OR

We saw quite a bit of The Dalles. That is a nice city. The Columbia River provides great scenery. The Tamanawas Falls  hike in Mt Hood  is a busy trail, but for good reason. That is what I would draw if someone asked me to draw a picture of a waterfall. Amazing. What a great hike to have on the anniversary! We saw Bend. Bend is also a nice city. It is also fairly isolated if you are trying to go to the east.

Day #8 - Bend to Boise, ID

It's a little less scenic and a lot more dangerous driving from Bend to Boise, ID. Twisting, hilly, two lane roads with very few passing lanes were the flavor of the day. At one point we were behind a motorcycle with two people pulling their little trailer and the semi in front of them blew out a tire and nearly knocked them off the bike. They went into a skid and I slowed way down trying to figure out which ditch to take if it dumped them. They recovered before the bike threw them. Spooky. We were happy to be off that road and back to the freeway.  Boise is a larger city - but it has appeal. It lacks trees for the most part.

Day #9 - Boise to Salt Lake City, UT

After an oil change in Boise we blasted down the freeway to Salt Lake City. By this day we were all SPENT! When we arrived in SLC, we took a nap. After the nap we found some parks and hiked around the city quite a bit. Again, the city is too big for our liking but the mountains are scenic.

Day #10 - Salt Lake to Phoenix

Driving. Then we got to within an hour of the house on the I-17 and there was an RV rollover that blocked both southbound lanes. Traffic backed up for over 30 miles. We U-turned and went up through Payson and down to Phoenix on 87. We arrived home safely - just 3 hours after we could have ... oh well.

3600 miles of driving. 60 miles of hiking. Fun times!

Monday, July 1, 2013

New month: New goals: Welcome to July

I've done a decent job of balancing my endurance life with the remainder of life throughout 2013. I have still managed to keep my fitness levels where they were and even get a bit better in most cases. Now it is time for some new goals as I head into the rest of 2013.

1) Eat more "whole" foods. The nutrient difference is obvious when I eat like humans are supposed to eat.

2) Get more swimming in. I have been swimming, but there needs to be more. Those swim sessions need to be drill oriented rather than straight swims.

3) Hydrate smarter. Timing is everthing.

4) Take the run to the next next level. I said next twice. I have already achieved a new level this year. There's more to be achieved.

With coffee gone from my diet I should start seeing things level out as far as acidity. I will probably start supplementing some B-12 tablets to keep the energy levels higher.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Scorpions (not the band)

So that's scorpion number two since we had to do the "big dig" in the back yard. Both critters were 'controlled' by Carrie. It seems they are stalking her.

So I did some research to refresh my knowledge:

" Another desert scorpion that dwells in North America is the giant desert hairy scorpion. It can grow to lengths of 14 cm, and is a brown color with yellowish pincers and legs. Its name was derived from the brown hairs that cover the whole body. This scorpion also has a long tail that is tipped with a bulb-like poison gland and stinger. An interesting fact is that the hairs are used to detect ground and air vibrations. Through the vibration, the scorpion can determine the direction of its prey.
This scorpion also possesses venom, like any other scorpion. Although some people keep the hairy scorpion as a pet, it is also known for its aggressive nature and will use its sting frequently. Its sting is painful, but the venom is not as dangerous as the venom of other desert scorpion species. The sting is mild and has little effect on most humans.

One thing you should remember: if you are stung by either of these scorpions, it doesn’t matter how dangerous or mild the sting is. You should always seek medical attention immediately afterwards, or as soon as you can."

Source: ORKIN

Fun times!

My guess is that the sod roller I used to pack in the Bermuda Grass seeds on Sunday stirred them up again. They don't much care for vibration and that beast made some noise I am sure.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Common questions to me about endurance

I am far from an endurance expert. I guess I have done more training than some folks. I have found that people are genuinely curious. Here are some of the top questions I've gotten over the past couple of years ... along with my long-winded responses.


What made you want to start doing endurance events?


I got some really disturbing results from a rather routine physical. I knew something needed to change. I needed to exercise and change my eating habits. I have always enjoyed running. I suppose I have always been decent at running for distance. I grew up riding bicycles, so that was an easy thing to resume. I'm still working on the swimming ... but I do enjoy it.


How much do you workout? I mean, how many hours per week?


This is a loaded question. It depends on where I am in the schedule of events. In my base fitness with no events on the horizon, it appears I have settled in on about 10 hours of targeted training per week. During the throws of Ironman training I went up to 30 hours in one week last March.


What do you eat?


My food intake is in constant review. I mostly eat veggies, eggs, fruit, nuts and granola bars. A couple of times per week I do have chicken or turkey. I've not been eating as much red meat and I once did. I have found an importance to food timing and food mixing as my training evolves. I have sugar cravings. When I do need sugar I either do semi-sweet chocolate chips or other forms of dark chocolate.


You can eat whatever you want, right?


No way! I still have to watch everything every day. I have maintained my Ironman weight. I mess up my intake from time to time. When I do, I just hop right back on the horse. I used to have a bad habit of giving up after one 'poor diet choices' day. I do know some of my Ironman finisher peers have struggled with putting weight on post the big day.


You did the Ironman on TV? The one in Hawaii?


No, I did not do the Ironman World Championships. Those are the fastest of the fastest people on the planet. (OR - the wealthiest or most famous). There are over 70 Ironman brand races all across the globe.


Why don't you go do the one in Hawaii?


To get to Kona, you must qualify in your age group at one of the sanctioned Ironman events. It is usually the top 1 or 2 racers per age group, per race that qualify for Kona. With my 11:57 finish at Ironman Arizona I was probably over two hours behind the Kona qualifier from my age group.

Monday, June 17, 2013

More lawn fun than you can shake a rake at

Training-wise, last week was pretty solid. 4 times on the spin bike, 4 times on the treadmill, several weightlifting sessions and some pool laps makes for a strong week.

Then the real work began.

At 0 600 I was at Home Depot at the tool rental counter. I don't own a tiller. Don't take my 'man card'. A suspension I could see, but a revocation is over the line. I'll get a tiller eventually. I promise. At least I have a truck now.

Anyway, I rented a Honda mid-tine tiller. I have to say the Honda engine was consistent and powerful. In some areas of the lawn the tines did magic on the "Great Horseweed Infestation of 2013". In other places, the clack of the metal against the ground literally sounded like I was tilling up my sidewalk.

To say this was "good cross training" is selling it short. It was a lot of work. Five hours of tilling in 3 stints throughout the day was quite enough. I did get most of it tilled up to my satisfaction. The growth we did miss was either dug up by hand, burnt or viciously severed in a fit of gardening bliss.

We had a layer of dirt on us most of the weekend. The heat was also a factor. We took the heat of the day off each day.

We are running three experiments on the eradication of horseweed.

1) Full on removal. We took this approach on half the yard. I guess it is about 1800 square feet. We did recondition the soil and sow new bermuda grass seed. Speaking of that, I built a custom top-soil screen using mesh wire and some 2 x 6 scraps I had from the trim project. It works nicely and fits atop the wheelbarrow like a glove.

2) Till and tarp. I basically tilled the infested area and then covered the tilled area with white plastic. The theory is that the sun and the plastic will work together to scorch the earth. This way we dont have to use total vegetation kill. We did this on 1/3 of the yard (and on the worst outbreak areas).

3) Till and spray. This method was used on the areas that had newly been infested. I tilled up two 8 x 4 sections and sprayed vegetation kill on them.

We'll see which one works best. I am leaning toward better on the full removal. What we will be measuring is recurrence of the weed.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Good and The Bad

The Good: Healthy and happy.

The Bad: Hot and Crowded.

What am I getting at? This heat is weighing on me already. It's only June. We have been flirting with record heat for the past week or so. Also, it seems to be awfully crowded on the streets lately. This is typically the time of year that shuns the snowbirds and most schools are wrapping up for the summer. Still, my commute traffic increases.


I had an aggressive week of training last week which led to a mental and physical coma of sorts over the weekend. I still accomplished things but I was fatigued. I should have been because last week was solid. The Friday morning run up to Tom's Thumb was the icing on the cake. I am getting closer to solving my foot issues. If I get this nagging stuff worked out I will be fine and dandy for the fall.

I also received an invite to the Duathlon National Championships last week. This was a surprise to me. It was because of my 6th place (Age Group) finish at the Desert Classic Duathlon in March.

Just. Make. It. Through. The. Summer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

112 degrees of dehydration

It's that time of year in Phoenix where people retreat indoors.

Squids galore taking up space at the gym. Even my friend Sharky has noticed the shift.

So I am taking it to the streets. Fight the crowds at the gym by being a real Ironman and training in and through the 110 plus heat. Couple that rebellion with a 21 day old beard and you have a recipe for sweat.

I know I am always complaining about the gym. I really should be more supportive. It's just frustrating to see people taking up space that could be utilized for those of us who are serious about the workout and not the socio-politico scuttle/regurgitation.

For example: There's this lady that is always on the elliptical machine moving at a dainty snail's pace watching whatever it is on the TV. Last week, they were upgrading the TVs at the gym. She literally threw a screaming fit at the manager about the TV's being gone during the install. I guess it shows where the priorities lie.

Here's the deal: Being fit means whatever it means to you. If you do not like the elliptical machine at the gym then find some other way to get and stay fit. It can be any activity coupled with a smart and maintainable diet. It really is about the diet. The fitness routine is not going to make you trim alone. The fitness routine is about your body system and not your pant size. The pant size is controlled by what you put in to your body as fuel.

So do us fitness fanatics a favor; If you are not really utilizing the equipment at the gym, cancel your membership, find some neighbors that share your political views and go walk around your neighborhood in the evening. Just don't start picking on the other neighbors or putting out door hangers proclaiming your opinionated greatness.

Happy June!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Trail 100 - fun times 13.2

Running is a joy. I lept out of bed on Sunday at 5:00 got ready and hit the trail.

<- Sidebar - >

I dropped coffee from the diet completely 11 days ago. I had a "withdrawal day" about four days into the cold-turkey attempt. It was weird just being about to get up, get dressed, hydrate and stretch prior to heading out on the run.

< - End Sidebar - >

I managed to pace myself going up the hill to get on the trail. I've burned myself out early on that hill too many times. Not this day. I ran 13.2 with 1300 feet of elevation gain in 2 hours. It's one of the better runs I have put together in my two years of endurmadness. The kicker is, I was in control of the run. I only had two miles in the 10s -- the rest were 8s and 9s. I took in only two gels and 48 ounces of water. Pretty darn happy with the progress. It's no Pike's Peak but this run means I am getting there.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Digging in the desert soil

Fun times this week! It's all good in the grand scheme of things though.

Wednesday morning the shower woke us at 3 am. How? It was gurgling and spewing sewage out of the drain. Yummy, right? It is what it is. Stuff happens. It is a bit frustrating at times.

My first step was to wait on Home Depot to open so that I could get a longer pipe snake. I did that. There is no ground-level clean-out on our house so I donned my red suit and hopped on my roof with a bag of coiled wire.

Having bought a snake 50 feet in length I thought I could get some of the gunk out of the system. I worked and worked this wire down the vent tube until I hit something I could not work past. It was clogged about 30 feet into the back yard under 4 feet of dirt and tree roots galore.

After the city shirked any help or responsibility, the plumbers showed up quickly. I was impressed by that. They confirmed what I already knew. There was a clog about 30 feet into the back yard and it was a full clog. There are roots in the pipe. Those fiberoptic cameras they use are fun! We all decided that it was best if we installed a couple of clean-outs for the house. One clean-out to go into and under the foundation and another to go out to the city main sewer.

Wednesday evening Carrie and I dug. We dug a gash (8 feet long, 2 feet wide and 4 feet deep) in the back yard looking for the EXACT location of the pipe. We had a general idea but not an exact one. Four hours and two pickup truck loads of dirt later ... still no sign of the main.

On Thursday afternoon the digging resumed. The plumbers re-located the line. We were about 12 inches to the left of where the line ran with our original hole. A new hole was started and the pipe was finally found at about 7pm that evening.

Aside from work, teaching class, some impromptu shovel operation, two strong running workouts, a spin workout, a swimming workout and some weightlifting it's been a pretty slow week. :-)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Different activities expand the knowledgebase

So we just spent 3 days at Reevis Mountain with Peter Bigfoot. Bigfoot is probably most famous for his 15 day summertime trek across the Sonoran desert without food or water. Now, at 71, I think he could probably still do the same walk today.

We spent the weekend learning about his lifestyle, off-grid living, some herbal remedies and his theories on life in general. He and his wife Patricia are very down-to-earth and thoughtful. Peter was off-grid and self-sufficient before it was a buzzword of Ted Talks. Truthfully, his way of life reminds me of the way my Grandpa Virgil lived up through the early 1990s. While Grandpa's house DID have running water and electricity; he refused to use it. He kept chickens, hogs and had a garden until he wasn't capabable.

When did we get so "soft" as a species? Did it start with the spoils brought on in the post World War II era? Was it in the 60s? I could blame disco and the 70s, but that's too cliche'. Was it the 80s? I guess it doesn't matter when it started. It's just nice for me to know that I am getting back in touch with not only my upbringing but also the real human race.

After a 50-mile running week in the previous week; I did the wise thing and took a rest week. Any ailments I had are now in the rearview ... and I am ready to continue the upward slope :-).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Inspired Motion

Embrace it! The ability to love, live, breathe, eat and train.

Yesterday was a good day. Over an hour of uphill running ... over an hour on the spin bike ... over an hour of yoga. All good things.

Today will be a good day.

They are all good days if you have your priorities right. Sure, there are sad moments. Every great baseball player in history went through a batting slump in his career. It's a matter of refocusing. A slump brings on a chance to change. Do something different and you will benefit.

I know this sounds like "puppy dogs and rainbows" type stuff. I could sit and grumble most of the time. There's no doubt I'd have a ton of material about which to complain.

The title of this blog post is inspired motion. What was I really thinking when I typed that?

I guess I am aiming this at people that need inspiration. Those people that are languishing through life consumed by the overall lack of humanity around them. Negativity breeds negativity. Natural human motion brings inspiration. It's hard to be angry after a nice hike through a pine forest. Even if you are training but you do very similar workouts each week you will benefit from a change. Go out and get some inspired motion. Today: Do the thing that you find the most physically challenging. Why? 1) It will improve your overall confidence. 2) If it is difficult your body craves it (within reason).

Go, do, be.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

One year ago ... already?

Ironman St. George was one year ago this weekend!

The past year has been a blur in some respects and a slow-motion, multi-colored dream in other ways. Perhaps that is dehydration or lack of nutrients ... I'm not sure. What I am quite certain of is that I am motivated, fortunate and ready for most any challenge. I sort of like that.

As far as physical health; one year later I can honestly say I am better off now that I was last May. I am the same exact weight as I was going in to last year's race. I am not nearly as sore and over-trained. I am a much better runner than I was at this point last year. My cycling is as strong as it was even though I am not out doing 100 milers every weekend.

As far as mental health; it's a no brainer ... I am nowhere near as crazed and dazed as last year. In fact, most of the time what little brain I have functions very well.

There's much to do on the house. We are moving on to some of the outdoor projects. We have painting, maintenance and landscaping projects to do.

There's always something for which to train. I like that. My main focus right now is getting Carrie back to running. The Havasu 70.3 is in November and we've made great progress with her knees over the past 6 months or so. Before Havasu there's the Pike's Peak Ascent weekend on August 17th. I've been running uphill most of the year and that will remain the same. I will come in to that run both lighter and stronger than ever before. I look forward to it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A little break - had to fight the urge to blog

So we were in Kentucky for two weeks. Carrie's uncle has cancer. It is bad. We wanted to spend as much time with him as we could. Luckily her job allows remote work by default. I had to get my two weeks approved from my employer but they did allow it. We worked the whole time while still having time to visit.

I am glad to have that luxury. I am glad to have so many things.

I found myself longing to blog. Am I weird? Is this so much a part of me that I MUST do it? I guess it is digital therapy. Who knows.



We used to live in Houston. I have never been to West, TX. I have been on the western side of Texas. My heart goes out to this town that is still dealing with this major explosion. It is a terrible thing that happened and we, as a country, need to care MORE for these people and this situation than any of the terrorist news and happenings. If you want to show you are an American, donate your time and efforts to helping this town heal.


I have to weigh in on the Boston Marathon situation. Several friends of ours were in Boston and one friend was REALLY close to the carnage. This act of cowardice is absurd. To me it matters not the religion, race, socioeconomic status, or color of these assholes.

What matters to me is:

1) That we no longer respond to this type of situation with jubilation in the streets when the perpetrators are captured. This over-celebratory reaction illustrates why these radicals try and damage our country. We've fought off much larger enemies ... let's act like we've been there before.

2) That we help these people that are injured. As an endurance junky ... my heart and soul goes out to any of the injured that are runners. I cannot imagine.

3) That our country becomes a single well-oiled machine without a hint of any division. We are seen as a weakened entity the world over due to our political polarization. Until we fix this we are destined to suffer attacks like these and WORSE.

4) That we not play the "if" and "I woulda" game. No one was going to prevent this attack. Sure, the FBI interviewed this person but one of the reasons we love this country is the freedoms that our constitution allows. These people are clever. There wasn't enough evidence to detain him. Looking back and pointing fingers only insults the bombing victims. Stop it.

This whole situation is awful. I despise people that allow themselves to hurt others in the name of some ideology that has ZERO validity in the real human world.


Training -

Yeah, I had two 30-mile running weeks while we were in Kentucky. I dealt with some hotspots on a few runs and then I figured out that my shoes were causing the problem. I originally thought it was the insoles. I switched to my NB trail runners and my feet recovered after two runs.

I ran a 1:45 13.2 while I was in Kentucky. I controlled the run. It was a confidence builder. I wish I'd had time to run the full 26.2 that day. I think I could have maintained the same pace through the whole marathon. Someday soon I will get a chance to see what I can do in the full 26.2 WITHOUT swimming 2.4 and biking 112 first.

Running is my favorite but now that we are back in town I get to ride and swim again. I actually started missing swimming last week. I never ever thought I would type that.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Training Haps ... The day I should have stayed home

I left for a trail run around 6am on Sunday morning. The goal was a 2 hour run with as much incline as I could handle.

Right out of the driveway I knew I should have stayed in the bed. I ocassionally have one of these adventures but Sunday tops them all. It was a true test of my mental fortitude. It was one of those days that the old Bryan would have called for a rescue chopper. Keep reading.

The run to get to the trail system is about a half a mile and goes up about 150 feet, so it's not flat but not a giant incline either. It's enough to get your attention. I have run up this hill about 30 times since September of 2012. I started feeling a little better as I got out on to the trail and proceeded to set a couple of PRs on some segments of the trail. "Okay, now we are ready to rock", I said aloud because no one was around.

I stopped of at the bathroom at Dreamy Draw and forgot to restart my Garmin. I was mad. That irritates me when I do that. I should just let it run. I think I will from now on.

I ran up a nice steep section of trail that was short. Maybe a quarter mile. That felt good. I wanted to get more elevation. I headed up a new section of trail that I haven't used yet. Then, I found a little used off-shoot that had some fresh footprints on it. It looked long and steep. I was all in.

Well. That was the beginning of the adventure. Yes, there were footprints which in my mind makes it a trail. Carrie pointed this out to me. "So because two other idiots like you have gone up this ravine, then it qualifies as a trail?" I love my wife. She makes me laugh. She's right. This isn't a trail. It's a drainage with some footprints. 8 tenths of a mile and 1200 feet of elevation later I stood atop a knife edge. The "way down" was just as steep as the way up. I carefully slogged my way through cactus, brittlebush and scree while keeping tabs on those infamous footprints.

Then the pain sat in. My stomach swelled and felt like it was about to explode. I hid off to the side of the trail and let it go. I still don't know why I hid. I was not on a trail and no one was around.

Two more episodes like that happened before I could get back to the house. That was the longest 7 miles of my life. Walking hurt, jogging hurt, all out running was not an option. Suffer fest for sure.

What did I learn?

1) If you cross train by digging holes and building things outside in the desert for 9 hours ... don't go out the next morning on a huge trail run and expect to be fresh.

2) Just do hill repeats on trails that have been used. Don't try and be a hero and get hurt or killed doing something ignorant.

-------- Follow Up -------------

I ran a mile the following day and felt fine even though eating was still not too appealing.

On Tuesday at lunch I had one of the coolest workouts I've had in a while. 6.6 miles and 320 floors on the StairMaster in one hour. I guess I'm going to be okay.

GardenPool.org - Bryonman volunteering?

Causes. Missions. Humanitarianism.

A cause is a cause and somebody out there spends a ton of time on a cause that garners any attention.

This cause appeals to me. GardenPool.org.

The GP (short for Garden Pool) was a one of a kind creation invented by Dennis McClung in October of 2009. It is truly a miniature self-sufficient ecosystem. Rather than keeping our creation to ourselves, we have decided to share it with others. Garden Pools are being built all over the world offering an easy and sustainable solution to current food production challenges.

Garden Pool is dedicated to research and education of sustainable ways to grow food. Our mission as a non-profit is to develop better ways to grow food and help others do the same. Our operations are based in Mesa, Arizona at the home of the original Garden Pool.

Carrie and I have spent 18 hours of the past two Saturdays volunteering at Garden Pool builds. We've worked side-by-side with Dennis and his wife Danielle. These two are WORKERS. They are also TEACHERS.

Now that I care about what I consume in my diet - the potential of growing my own food is something for me to persue.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

10,000 miles of self-propelled goodness

My odomoter rolled over to 10,000 miles yesterday afternoon!

That's right - I have biked, run or swam 10,000 miles in the last 18 months. I started officially tracking my daily output on September 1, 2011.

Some interesting numbers here:

  • 10,000 miles has taken me 1100 hours. That is about a 9 mile per hour average.
  • I have burned approximately 180 pounds of tissue during that time. My thought here is this ... would I weigh 370 if I had just eaten and not moved?
  • I've done 1093 workouts for an average of 9.14 miles per workout.
  • My shortest 'workout' is probably a 300m swim ... and the longest was the 15 hours at Ironman St. George in 2012.
  • I have traveled 0.4 times around the globe. Almost half way around the planet.
  • I have generated enough energy to power 14,783 televisions.
  • I have saved 528 gallons of gas. I should really ride to work more often to see this into a reality rather than just a stat.
  • Last but not least ... I have burned a whopping 3,408 donuts. Perhaps I should have been eating more donuts along the way.

All of this while maintaining a full-time job and two part-time jobs. Idle hands I suppose. I have set up my life such that I do have it easier than some. No complaints there. Rest assured this lifestyle is not without planning and effort. It exists by design - not luck.

Statistics are great. All numbers, racing and timing aside ... I am forever changed for the good. While I still grumble a bit about certain things I am nowhere near as "doom and gloom" as I once was. Besides, my blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat and blood sugar are all 100%+ normal. Those are the real numbers that matter AND that will really matter in 2073 when I will reflect back on all this madness and smile.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2013 -- three months in review.

2013 has been a pretty cool year so far.

I am definitely not as training obsessed as I was a year ago right now. That said, I am probably more equipped, both physically and mentally, to handle Ironman today. Part of that is because I have now been there. Experience does matter in endurance sports. The other part is that I am figuring out how to temper my ambitious training schedule with more intense and less frequent work ... which gives me time to rest between efforts.

I've been focused on trail running and hiking for 2013. I've already gained over 50,000 feet of vertical on my training runs in 2013. I have run a little over 400 miles this year. This math tells me that my average mile has 125 feet of elevation gain. This is about a 6% grade on average ... and well above any run training I did in 2012. These are intense runs ranging from 5 to 13 miles depending on the amount of time I have to complete them. For my genetics, run fitness is unparalleled when it comes to cardiovascular training. As I run with more strength my bike and swim output rises. At the end of the year last year I was focused more on cycling and my run suffered.

More remarkable to me than anything is my durability. Sure I get sore. Sure I have inflexible hips. These are par for the course. The only real issue that I can say that "nags" me are my feet. I switched from a heel striker to a toe striker. This happened in my attempt to be a mid-foot striker. I battle with sesamoiditis from time-to-time. Yes, I have tried many types of insoles. Yes, I have tried many types of shoes. I'm working on it.

In January and February we walked. It was like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. We walked for hours and hours. This was by design. We were preparing for the 6-day Grand Canyon adventure. It was a tremendous success. Roughly 70 miles in 6 days ... most of which were with a 30 pound pack.

I did race the Desert Classic Duathlon on March 3rd and did pretty well. I didn't scorch the second of the two runs like I had planned, but my first run and bike were solid.

We've also worked on the house quite a bit during the cooler days. As summer approaches - it is time to move life more indoors.

I feel relaxed and comfortable with myself for the first time in perhaps my entire life.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy SchNewBalance

I wasn't wearing Nikes today so it didn't feel appropriate to title it Holy Schnikes.

I figured out a SMALL thing that relates back to the bigger picture.

Cliche' warning:

Time doesn't stand still for anyone. Time flies when you are having fun. I call bunk on that noise!

While time doesn't stand still ... we all know that clocks and calendars are man-made concepts that have basically limited and paralyzed our abilities to live freely. So I am now going to do what I can to limit those concepts control over my LIFE.

Here's my new theory.

Time can stand still. It's a matter of what you are doing to make meaningful memories. Meaningful memories are persistent ... and they are always in the moment in which they occur. Even better ... you can use those memories however you choose. You can relate them to other moments in history ... to deal with your current "scheduling challenges" ... and to plan what you are going to accomplish in the future.

There it is. I just invented my own version of time travel.

I just use this blog to remind myself of what is truly important. Don't be limited by arbitrary constraints. Decide. Do. Live.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pick a hill and run up it

Let's pretend it's a metaphor for life. Better yet, let's pretend it's a prompting to take on challenges life presents.

I went out and picked a hill to run up yesterday.

As a matter of fact I planned on running up it twice. I added one to grow on. Three times up this "trail" that averages a 19.6 % grade for 0.4 miles. There are portions of this little gem that go 33% grade. Basically 1400 feet of vertical in under 2 miles. I guess Pike's Peak training officially started last week.

There is sort of a trail there but I think only a few folks make it up there compared to the hundreds that hike the connecting trail below.

After the third repeat I headed over to a section of trail of which I am vastly more familiar. I did some good speed work on another section. One thing I find interesting about Strava is the "grade adjusted pace" feature. It's funny to watch power ebb and flow during effort.

Next week ... I'll repeat it four or six times.

Here's the output from the run. Coming down this "gully" is a little more challenging than going up in places.


Thursday, March 21, 2013


You heard it here last.

Cardiobsession. Is it possible? I suppose so. I think I get such an endorphine high that it might not be a good idea for me to drive following a workout. DUI-Cardio.

I ran a 10K, biked 24 miles, swam 1500m and then walked 2.5 to cool the jets. That was just yesterday. Plus, I graded student papers AND worked a full eight hours. To think that some days I complain about not having enough time to do "X". Really what it boils down to is that some days are just better than others. Yesterday was a good day.

My friend Sharky is the only person reading this blog and he called me out today. "Your blog is turning into a rant." I could not read his comment due to the fact that I am happy that somebody is reading my drivel. What was it he typed in that email again? Something about him being obsessed with working out too -- I think.

Daily rant.

Don't RUDELY panhandle me in front of the grocery store at 7 in the morning. It might not end well for you.

That is all.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What happened to respect?

I am becoming "Grumpy Old Man".

In an age of "I'll do whatever I want to do." I should not be surprised that respect and common decency are falling by the wayside.

It happens at the office. It happens at the grocery store. It happens in traffic (and this one costs some people their lives).

Here's my issue. If we don't get this poor attitude toward one another in check we will be doomed to ultimately live in chaos and anarchy. Sadly, I believe there are some folks in our country / world that WANT this to happen. I find it hard to believe that it is the basis of the human condition to be 100% egocentric.

I still care about the plight of my fellow humans. This statement comes from one of the most self-absorbed people that I know ... me.

This is not to suggest that a person cannot fall out of my good graces ... but it takes quite a bit for this to occur. I've met far too many people in this life to make the assumption that we are evil by default.

What I don't like to see is a person that has fallen prey to this attitude and it is obvious that their regurgitated views cause a bunch of internal conflict. Internal conflict within a person CAUSES major problems for that person (both mentally and physically). It also causes major problems for the people around that person.

It is easier to respect people that have certain careers. I've not done an actual survey, but I suspect people find it much easier to respect police officers and firefighters than say their garbage collector. My question is why? Who cares what the profession is ... why can't we just be respectful?

Diving down an additional level, how do you behave in your online world? Do you make hateful remarks on discussion boards because of your anonymity? If you do I think this is a modern form of pure cowardice. Try this: If you would not say what you are typing in front of your mom or grandma -- you better not hit the enter key on that comment.

So do yourself a huge favor; try and add some respect back to your "eExistence".

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saulready Hot

We literally went from snow showers to 90 degree heat in a matter of 4 days.

Dear Weather,

It's March. Reality check please.



I complain too much.

I managed to get spoiled on the weather for a month or so. 65 during the day ... 35 at night. This is perfect for me. Why do I live in the desert?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Modesty Police - Providing wardrobe judgement for all.

I must be super-modest about some things.

In late 2012, I posted some things about basic gym etiquette.

So let me sum this up as best as I can - because I am sure this is MY issue rather than other people's problem to solve.

These "rules" are for NORMAL public life. Not a special event, a photo shoot or the bedroom.

For women:

Rule #1) There is a time for a two piece bikini: At the pool or the beach.

Rule #2) Shorts that ride UP your thighs and shirts that ride up your midsection are so time consuming that they generally aren't worth it. It annoys us with all the "fake" modesty attempts of tugging them back into where you THINK they should go. Seriously, to the outsider it looks like your clothes are running away from your smelly feet.

Rule #3) You have a back or oblique tattoo. We get it. Good job. When its 27 degrees outside and you wear a midriff to show of your art - it's sad. We can tell you are freezing. Why suffer?

Rule #4) Get a mirror.

Rule #5) Ask yourself this question: Would your dad want to see the teenage version of yourself leave on a date wearing those clothes? If the answer is yes, then obviously none of the rules here apply. You have your own set of issues without me judging you.

For men:

Rule #1) Was that shirt sleeveless when it left the store?

Rule #2) Speaking of shirt ... put one on. 99% of men should not go into public with their shirt off. I am included in that 99%. Save the proof of the "hair migration theory" for the beach or the pool.

Rule #3) You don't wear a size 32 waist in your jorts anymore. Quit it.

Rule #4) Get a mirror OR ask the significant other.

Rule #5) Flip flops are not everyday attire. Put those rhino toes away Barney Rubble.

"Oh Bryonman, this sounds like an envious rant." Trust me, that's not it.

"What brought this on?"

A spin session gone wild.

There is a lady in spin class that insists on the following:

1) Super-tight halter top.
2) Super-short underwear for bottoms.
3) Sets up her bike at the very front of the class.
4) Shadow-boxes during spin to draw attention.
5) Exits class before the end so that everyone can "watch her leave".

Is it too much to ask for folks to put on some clothes and go to the gym without being a douche nugget?

OH! -- While I am here: update --

Skinny jeans have to stop. I am yet to see anyone that looks better in skinny jeans than they do in regular cut jeans. It's not a flattering look.

Cover Up with This!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Celebrating two years of multi-sport. Is "racing" over?

The Desert Classic Duathlon. I have competed in this race three times - 2011, 2012 & yesterday. This is a tough course that always brings only the toughest competition. This year the numbers were down but the racers were out in force. This was my first race in the 40-44 age group. I was probably the youngest guy in that group.

During pre-race I felt okay. Not great. Just okay.

At the gun I felt pretty good except for the fact that I had no Garmin to start. I left it at home. It didn't matter. I just decided to try and pace Christian Bailey until I could not keep up. I know about where he is (faster) and where I tend to be as far as pace. It worked. I settled in pretty well on the first trail run. 3.9 miles in 29:28. Roughly a 7:35 pace. This run course is deceiving. It has lots of up on it. I felt pretty good after the first run. I am glad I didn't have my Garmin. I would have been thrown off by the extra .4 miles.

Transition #1 was slow. Still don't know how it took me 1:42 to get to the bike. Whatever.

I have not been training the bike TOO much since November. I truthfully expected the bike to be my worst effort of the day. It was not. I guess I can just bike. The course was not 24 miles ... but 26.5. It has about 1000 feet of climbing - so it's not flat. I rode pretty well. In typical Bryonman-fashion I actually started feeling strong at mile 19 or so. Bike time 1:17:00 - or about 20.5 miles per hour. I am pleased with that output considering I have been on the bike FAR less than last year.

Transistion #2 was slow - but better. :52 seconds.

Begin run #2. It is the exact same as run #1 - except you have to add about a quarter mile to run from transition to the start line. So we are looking at a 4+ mile run with plenty of annoying up on it. I was toast! Quads fried. Calves fried. Stomach angry. I kept going. No walking for this chump. 4 miles - 37:35 or about a 9:25 mile pace. TOASTED!

Total time: 2:26:45.5

6th of 13 in the Age Group.

45th of 95 finishers.

I gave everything I had. I felt worse after this race than I did after either Ironman. I haven't felt this bad after a race since the half marathon I ran last January.

The question remains. Is it worth it? Racing, I mean. Sure, I love to compete. Sure, I am decent at it. But even for this short event I trained quite a bit and spent the whole weekend doing it.

I think 2011 / 2012 may have burned me out a bit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February zipped on by -- time travel rocks!

We just spent 6 days in the past without having to hide a stolen DeLorean behind a road-side billboard.

Grand Canyon. Not "The Grand Canyon", as I learned in my readings this week, is an outstanding place. It is my third favorite hiking destination behind the Sierras in California and Glacier National Park. I've spent quite a bit of time in "Grand Canyon" and of that time I wish to have none of it back because it is worth every second. It's a step backward in time and a step back from "life on the Rim". No matter how long you think those rocks at the bottom have been here -- they are old. Even more important; Grand Canyon holds so many lessons of the human condition that they are IMPOSSIBLE to ignore. Being there forces ME to think about my current state and what I can do to get more from life and, more importantly, give back to the universe in ways that are beneficial to me and others.

Carrie is getting stronger. Doing the 45 miles with her 30 pound pack - she scampered, across, down and up the trails with only a few issues. Upon walking out of the canyon yesterday she said those three little words that I love so much ... "You were right." I told her after the first day to wait until the end of the trip before she decided that hard-core backpacking was not in her future. We'll get her better one way or another.

I did do one sweet run during the trip. A 13 mile jog with about 5000 feet of climbing -- 1:50:00. Fitness is sweet. I did suffer a bit with the weight of the pack. Sure, my feet got tired and sore. For the most part, this was a challenging yet doable trip that was perfectly timed.

The Desert Classic Duathlon is Sunday. I will take it easy over the next few days prior to one last system check on Saturday. The first race of 2013 is a sweet course. The temperatures are in my favor and there is no swim. Look out!

It's almost March.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh the weather ... love it while it lasts.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. "Winter" in the Arizona desert. Mild, sunny, breezy days and crisp refreshing nights. I wish I could bottle this up and use it from mid-March until mid-November. Yeah, that's right. For me, personally, eight months out of the year here are unbearable in regards to heat. Some of you just read that and went "quit whining". Others read it and said "it's only really hot in July, August and September".

The reality is we chose to live here from 2000 to 2005. Then we escaped. In 2010 we came back and now we own a house again.

That's beside the point. I am going to enjoy this weather while I can.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February already. Sheesh.

Tonight - coming home from the gym - I saw a 1984 white Monte Carlo SS and the gentleman driving it was wearing a 10 gallon cowboy hat. That guy is awesome.

Hiking, running & spinning were the flavors of last week. At 17+ hours last week was the biggest week of training I've had since the week of the RNR Las Vegas half marathon back in December.

The Desert Classic Duathlon is now on the radar. I have one month to train to get ready for that thing.

But first ... the preparation for the Grand Canyon trip at the end of February. Thus, all the hiking.

Hang loose!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Attic Gymnastics Classic 2013

So you want to add 4 or 5 inches to your insulation in your attic? Do ya? Are you sure?

It's totally worth it after the process is complete.

This was a fun but tiring project. It took us about 3 hours to add the extra insulation. I think we used 30 bags of the eco-friendly blown-in insulation. The machine came for free with the purchase of the product. This is actually a good deal.

I am nearly 6 feet tall. I weigh about 190. I do yoga. I lift weights. I do some cardiovascular workouts. This attic work is a challenge. 3 hours in a plastic hazmat suit in a mildly warm attic will dehydrate you fairly well.

The interesting parts were working with the hose to get it out to the edges of the house -- where the rafters are about 6 inches from the ceiling joists. I did more than one parallel-bar-like move and took way too many roofing nails to the top of my head. Carrie ran the hopper like a champ and we devised a good system to allow me to reposition things between rounds.

Atop of wearing our bright-white hazmat suits; we were both wearing bandanas over our face. It was like the band DEVO was robbing a train. Funny.

You will get dirty. Wear the suit.

The next morning we both noticed how consistent the temperature was throughout the house. Problem solved and we kept the budget in-tact to boot. Bring on the 115 degree days. We are ready. Well, we aren't ready, but the house should be more prepared this summer.