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!