Saturday, October 31, 2009

False Confidence in Kilometers

I was once riding with a cyclist who had not been riding for long and had just acquired a speedometer. I've never had a speedometer on my bike. I asked him how fast we were going and he said "35." I knew that was way way way too fast at the moment (flat land and not max effort). I told him that his speedometer must be reading in kilometers. Kind of ruined his day. He thought he was pretty fast before I ruined it for him.

Some people like to have their speedometers in kilometers because the race distances are measured in kilometers. Just watch out before you tell your friends that you went on a ride this weekend and averaged 35mph when you mean 35km/ could be an interesting material to make fun of you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pick #161

Trapt - "Headstrong"

Maybe a bit too popular to make a good POTW, but I saw it on a TV commercial for some mix cd they're trying to sell for $20 and it reminded me that it's good when you're in the mood.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vista at McKee Botanical Gardens

Can you see the ugly spot? It used to be red but it's not as noticeable after making the pic b/w.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Multi-Use Trails' Yield Patterns

I've been troubled in the past by whoever decided to design the yield pattern on multi use trails. For those who don't know, it works like this: horses always have the right of way. That makes sense since they spook easier than walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists. Cyclists are supposed to yield to everyone and walkers (and presumably everyone else on foot or wheels attached to their feet) has right of way over cyclists but not horses.

Pedestrians should totally have to yield to cyclists. Especially on off-road uphill trails. Pedestrians can stop and start more easily plus they're more agile. Why should a cyclist have to go out of his/her way to give a walker the path? The walker should sidestep onto the grass and allow the cyclist to pass. In practice this is what happens a lot. If I'm walking/running on a multiuse trail, I will concede the right of way to a cyclist (and of course horses, but that rarely happens). That approach is way more efficient and practical. Why didn't the people in charge of designing the yield pattern see it this way?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Welch's Harvest of Help

Welch's has a thing kicking up until December 21, 2009 where anyone can go to and click the "Donate Now" button. For every click, they will donate eight-8 oz. servings, up to 1 million servings to Americans who are "at risk of hunger." No purchase necessary.

Welch's is also donating a minimum of $100,000 to Feeding America. You can only click once per day (per IP) would be kinda cool to make a robot do it for you every day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Great Floridian Ironman Experience

Official results: age group overall I got 61st or 63rd overall out of 227 finishers. There were about 325 people signed up for the race and at least 265 of them started. I got 4th out of 11 (only 9 finishers) in my age group.

My unofficial time / (and official times)
swim: 1:12:56
T1: 6:05
Bike: 6:19:37
T2: 7:33 (should be 8:27 because I accidentally stopped my watch!)
Run: 5:17:09 (they have as 5:37:08 which means I spent 20 minutes in the medical tent)
overall 13:03:22 (they have as 13:24:08)


Pre-race - got up at 5am and ate a good breakfast. all that other good pre-race stuff (better left unsaid). This is the first race where I had bags. I got out of bed a couple times Friday night to make sure I had the right stuff in the right bags. I had about 4-5 hours sleep (and 10 the night before thanks to Erica and her nice family).
Left the hotel just after 6am. Got to park. Remembered to wait to apply sunscreen until after body marking. Got body marked (first time I had my hands drawn on) and went to pick up my chip...Becky Richter was handing out chips. She was just there and decided to volunteer! How cool. (Not a total surprise to see her b/c I knew she'd be spectating). I got my bags and everything set up. Then I had to go put the water bottles on my bike.
Grabbed the wetsuit and headed for the lake.

Race -

Swim: I started back in the pack so I wouldn't get swam on top of. Ended up running faster than people through the shallows and was near the front and didn't like the way it was looking with a water churning machine right behind me. I dropped into a fairly comfortable rhythm and stayed on course pretty well the first lap. Some dude scratched the outside of my right ankle and drew blood. I guess that's better than goggles getting knocked off or a kick in the mouth. After the first lap, I took the gel out of my wetsuit sleeve, downed it on the beach with a cup of water, and headed back in. I think my first lap split was around 35 minutes. I swam a little bit off course but not much on the second lap. Had a little trouble spotting buoys with the sun right behind them. Definitely ahead of my goal pace of 1:20-1:30.

T1: Becky was my wetsuit stripper. Pic can be seen on with the caption "Is this a merman?" {edit 10-26: site keeps being updated...I don't see that pic anymore} The wetsuit got stuck on my right foot and it took 2 of them to get it off! The rest of T1 went fairly fast.

Bike: At the awards ceremony, they said that the bike course was the toughest it's been in the 19 year history of this race. The bike course was fairly sparsely populated with cyclists. Not like Gulf Coast. We did a 2-loop course (not identical loops). I climbed pretty well without too much effort, trying to keep in mind that I'd need my legs to run. I passed people all over the hills. The only people who passed me were on really expensive bikes. I saw plenty of people get flats but I was lucky enough not to. The course was really well marked and the law enforcement handled intersections very well. Volunteers at the aid stations made it easy to get some water. I drank at least 130 fl. oz. on the bike, probably more. I took at least 6 Hammer Endurolytes capsules, 5 fl. oz. of Hammer Gel, 2 PB sandwiches, one and a half water bottles full of protein/FRS/Hammer HEED/agave nectar, half a banana, 24 fl. oz. of coke, 2 granola bars, and I can't remember what else.
I finished the first lap of the course right on time, had a "special needs" break just as I had planned. Something got in my left shoe and was irritating me. I couldn't get it out while still riding, so I had to stop for that. It ended up breaking the skin, whatever it was.

The second lap took us out of the hills to flatter country where I started to cramp up. First it was the inside of my thighs. I stopped, dismounted the bike, and stretched while a few people passed me. After riding some more, the cramping didn't go away for long. Around mile 100 my bottom quads started spasming. It got to the point where I couldn't stand up on my bike (even if it was only to give my butt a rest from the seat and not to push hard) without cramping my entire quads. I couldn't stretch my hamstrings or calves while clipped in b/c that would make my quads cramp. It sucked climbing hills without being able to stand up at all. Good thing I have that small chain ring. I was really not looking forward to hills after mile 100. I still outclimbed people during those last 12 miles. I ended up finishing about 10 minutes slower overall (20 minutes slower on the bike) than I had planned.

T2: Almost didn't dismount in time! There was no line. Got my run bag and tried to stretch in the changing tent. Ended up laying on the ground. Changed then tried stretching again. Ouch! Stretching any muscled made the opposite muscles cramp. I put on some sunscreen and took off. Luckily neither the swim nor bike irritated spots on my foot were bothered by the running shoes.

Run: 3 lap course. I thought my legs would feel better after I started running. WRONG! The good news is that my achilles didn't flare up on me. Anyway, I'd be running then both calves would cramp at once and my quads would lock up and I'd stumble along. Walking hurt worse than running since I had to straighten my legs more. I didn't get any better after a couple miles into the run. My goal pace had changed from 4:30 before the race started to 4:00 in order to break 12 hours. I ran/walked the first 8 miles at an average of 10:03 pace, including stops for stretching. I decided about 4 miles into lap 1 that I would take advantage of the next medical aid opportunity I had. That came at the finish line.
I checked myself into the med tent and they weighed me at 148.8 when I had checked in on Thursday at 159.2 (but that was with street clothes & stuff in my pockets). I still probably lost at least 8-9 pounds since then. My blood pressure was about 120/78 and my pulse was at 96. The medical people told me I was dehydrated. I hear that the road temperature on the bike was 105°F. It was also not as humid as I'm used to so my sweat evaporated really fast...but I'm pretty sure I drank just as much as I should have. One guy didn't want to let me finish and I told him that wasn't an option. They made me drink a 24 fl.oz. Gatorade Endurance Formula and said I could go when I finished it...but then they changed their minds and said I needed to drink a half liter of water. I could hardly drink any more. I had about 5 fl. oz. and asked if I could walk with the bottle and make progress on the course. They said yes.
Starting lap 2, I saw my parents and told them I was in bad shape. My dad told me that I didn't have to finish and I gave him a look which said I was going to. He said not to worry about the 12 hour mark because the course closes at 1am (I ended up finishing around 9pm). I also got about 1/2 mile past the special needs station before realizing that I forgot to get my stuff! Later on I think I heard a rock cover band playing Black Lab's "Sleeps with Angels" and I'm pretty sure I wasn't auditorily hallucinating. I took a water, coke, and gatorade at just about every aid station and had to go pee a lot. I had to stop and stretch a lot. I was getting demoralized. I felt like I didn't deserve to beat anyone in this race.
At the beginning of lap 3, I was feeling better than the beginning of lap 2...especially since Becky called Carmen and I talked to her for about a minute while on course (don't tell the officials). It was starting to get dark. I put my visor and sunglasses back in the special needs bag and grabbed my PB M&Ms. I got to my parents and told them I was feeling relatively better and I'd see them at the finish line. I also mentioned that I'd like a beer. My dad said he drank them all. Immediately after that I felt pretty good and ran a little over a mile non-stop. I got to one of the aid stations and a volunteer told me that I looked better than the last lap. They gave us glow-necklaces for safety. I said something about it feeling like a party. It was really nice to see the mile markers start with the number 2. My mind cleared up a little and my body felt better after starting to drink chicken broth at the aid stations. It sucked that I was still in agonizing pain. It was hard to drop down to the ground to stretch. I was doing better than the first 2 laps. I ended up being able to run the last 2.5 miles or so to the finish. I decided that I would take water on the run at the last aid station because I didn't know if I could start again after stopping. My run was a good pace, probably around 8:00 miles. After the last aid station, I saw Erica & Buddy. They ran with me to the finish (in flip-flops). Buddy called my dad to tell him to get ready. They were impressed with my finish. I feel like I could have ran the entire thing nearly that fast if my stupid legs would have cooperated. Finishing was a relief.

Post-Race: I got my finisher's medal & t-shirt. I went to the medical tent for a final checkout. Somebody kind of massaged my quads & calves. I didn't know that there were "real" massages only a hundred feet away so I missed them. Did I mention that it hurt to walk? Instead of being mad about it, I was glad that I got to go to dinner with Erica & Buddy (and my parents). We walked back to transition to pick up my stuff. When we got to the van, my dad presented me with a beer...he hadn't drank all of them! So good. Dinner at Ay! Jalisco V. I ate almost a whole flauta de pollo. Not too hungry. Tired. We talked about if I should take an ice bath (using ice from the hotel's ice machine!) and thought it would be good if I didn't think I'd cramp up. Instead I decided to go the hot tub route. I massaged my legs and stretched while in the hot tub & that made a difference. I was in bed by 1am after checking the preliminary results online.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Going to Clermont

I'm leaving tomorrow to go to Clermont for the Great Floridian iron distance triathlon (Ironman is a brand name). I think I'm ready to go physically and mentally. I still need to pack, though. I'm going to meet up with Becky Richter and Andrea Gaga/Case. I'm staying tomorrow night with Erica from the FSU tri team and I should see Buddy from Vero. My parents are coming on Friday (which happens to be their anniversary). I'll have lots of support out there.

I don't often get the impression that something will be a milestone in my life. I think the Tallahassee Marathon back in February was the last one and before that maybe college graduation. I know that getting my PhD will be one, but this race will mark an accomplishment in my life. I'm looking forward to having it under my belt. Hopefully the process will be enjoyable too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fresh Music & Picks of the Week

So, my pick of the week thing has been going on for quite some time now. Over 3 years on my blog alone. A couple years before that in undergrad. I'd like to have this continue for quite some time. Who knows when I'll quit blogging. Maybe my blog will just become a pick of the week machine.

In order for that to happen without repeating artists, I'll have to keep being introduced to new music. That's pretty cool. I find that sometimes you have to set a goal with the intent for it to generate secondary effects. For instance it seems easier to try to keep doing the pick of the week thing which forces me to try to find new music than to just look for new music for the sake of finding it.

I think that kind of thing can help people stay in shape...if you want to get in shape, sign up for a race. That way the race will push you to train for it. Otherwise there's no carrot/stick to your plan to get fit. School kinda does the same thing. The goal is to learn, but they make you take tests along the way as a means of keeping you on track. I like to keep my car running smoothly, but it's probably the threat of breaking down on the highway that actually keeps the maintenance at a higher level.

Do you do stuff like that? Set one goal in order to achieve another?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Personal Credit Card Reader

Engadget posted a sweet article on a new device that will allow users to take credit card payments through an iPhone. Imagine how that could improve the way you pay could just about eliminate checks. I could get my roommates' and tutorees payments via credit card.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Boost Your Faith In Humanity

On Tuesday, I went to the bike shop before school, then hunting for plaster of paris, then to my office to do some work and eat lunch, then swimming, back to the office, then stupid hazing presentation. Well, I forgot to lock my bike on the rack behind Bellamy around noon after hunting for plaster. I came out maybe an hour, hour and a half later and nobody had messed with it. Amazing. It's a pretty sweet bike...not top of the line or anything, but totally worth stealing. I'm sure some people saw the opportunity. It made me feel better about society knowing that nobody capitalized on that golden opportunity.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tri the Rez Discount

Hey, to all of my blog readers: Here's a code for $5 off of entry at Tri the Rez... ProMoFoSho ...just enter it in the Coupon Code box during checkout at or write it on the bottom of the hard copy entry form!!

Yes, I did steal the discount code from the name of a promotional CD by The Summer Obsession.


Ayer estaba montado en bicicleta durante la vuelta de FSU a mi casa cuando no pude recordar la palabra española para "arm." ¡Ay! Tengo que practicar más. Al principio fije en "hombro," pero sepía que no lo es. Siguiente, "brazo" que parece que tiene razón pero no fue seguro. Después pensé sobre la palabra "abrazar" y decidí que sí, es "brazo" que significa "arm" porque "abrazar" a alguien es como ponerle entre los brazos.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sigma = S, not E

I've seen it a lot, but mostly in the word Greek...Sigmas used as the letter E: GRΣΣK...I guess it looks like an E, but it's really an S. It doesn't really bother me. In fact, it's kind of creative. I just wonder if they know it's wrong.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scheduled Maintenance

I just hit 150,000 miles on my odometer on the way to Carmen's place this past trip. I wanted to look in my owner's manual and see what kind of maintenance I'm supposed to perform at this point. Unfortunately, my owner's manual only goes up to 120,000 miles. All I've been able to find is that I should change the transmission filter. D says that I should just take it in to a shop and pay for them to do it. He takes his truck in for transmission filters. That'd probably be better than me messing it up anyway.

I wonder why the manual's maintenance recommendations stop at 120,000 they not expect the car to last longer than that? I hope not...that's a bad signal. If I made a car, I'd schedule maintenance all the way through 300,000 miles...that way you'd know when you got the car that the manufacturer thought (or wanted you to think that he thought) the car would last that long.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rape Tunnel

Some artist has built a "rape tunnel" installation where he promises to attempt to rape anyone who dares crawl through it. See a more complete article here. I don't think I "get" art.

Friday, October 9, 2009

DeSoto Penis Pad

I just got a pair of DeSoto "400 Mile" bike shorts. I don't know when I'll have a chance to take them on a really long ride, but for now I'll be amused with the shape of the chamois. Looks like a cock-n-balls. Wouldn't you agree? Sack, shaft, and head. Giggle.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pick #157

Global Warming Extravaganza - "A Capella Metal" (available at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First Bite of Ostrich

For Carmen's birthday, we went to her parents' house in her home town of Rensselear, IN. We got in late on the night of the 3rd and we went to the Trail Tree Diner which is the only place open 24 hours around here. I had a specialty sandwich with mashed taters & gravy with probably an extra 1200 calories. In the morning, we had breakfast then Carmen, her dad, and I bagged about 50 pounds of acorns for her to use in her research (trying to get voles to eat them). After that, I rode her dad's comfort hybrid bike for a little 10 mile jaunt. It had a speedometer and I was able to push it up to 32.21 mph. Maybe a slight downhill, definitely some wind at my back, but it was a comfort hybrid...I'm impressed.

Next, we went to Valparaiso for lunch. Ate at Maria Elenas. I had lasagna and everyone else had ostrich. Naturally, I had to try the flightless bird. Tasted kind of like beef. It was served like a steak would be. You don't want to cook it much more than medium rare or it will get really tough. It was still a little tough prepared as suggested.

We were going to go to the great lakes shore or something to see sandhill cranes or sand dunes or something. We didn't. We came back home then C, Mr. B., & I went through the woods looking for animal tracks so that we could make plaster casts. We stayed out until dark and got two deer prints and a cool double-raccoon-paw mold. She's got to do those for class.

I'm going to wake up in the morning and get breakfast out, have a tour of the town, then head back to Bloomington to watch a lecture on invasive grass.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Buffalo Burger & Local Beer

Last time I came to visit Carmen in Bloomington, we went to the Upland Brewery almost every day (just a couple blocks from her house). They have a restaurant attached to their brewery and AMAZING beer. I've never been a beer snob, but I've got to say that beer's been ruined for me for the past month without Upland.

I've been wanting to try a buffalo burger for quite some time now. When we first went to the Upland, I was debating over a few menu items until I saw the bison burger and I ordered it. Tasty. I need to eat more of these guys. I mean, eating cows is alright because I don't like them. Cows are jerks. I've never met a buffalo, but they definitely look cooler. They're supposed to be better for you. And they go well with local beer.

I'm in Bloomington now and I'll surely have a bison/beer meal at the Upland before leaving.