Marty Gaal's Update Archive - 2004

Dec 30 - Painting is done, the place now looks like something a four year old Pablo Picasso might have produced while recovering from an absinthe-induced hangover. We're off to Ft Lauderdale to meet up with some buddies for New Years. Y'all be safe out there and we'll see you in '05.

Dec 26 - Back home to paint. Christmas was nice but Santa brought me a 24-hour virus that cleaned out my large intestine, if you know what I'm sayin'. Spent a lot of time in the office, if ya get what I'm talkin' about. Yeah. Nothing like a little pottie humor to bring in the new year.

Dec 23 - The holidays are here! No work for a few days, I get to see some friends and family, do a bit of home improvement, and have some fun. Hope y'all have a good time out there.

Dec 19 - So I managed a decent 5k last night - 19:28. I don't have a lot of natural running speed and it takes me a while to get my turnover back. Should be back to 17's by February if all goes well.

Dec 18 revisited - so after I limped home with a flat front, I went across the street to get a movie for some entertainment while on the trainer. Got I, Robot. Not bad at all! The reviews I read on this one were all "it sucks, etc." Spun a bit more than an hour, so the morning wasn't a total loss.

Dec 18 - I took the two flats on the way to the group ride this morning as a sign I should just ride the trainer. Arrgh.

Dec 17 - Fast week at work. Running a 5k this weekend. Going to do a group ride. Not much else to report.

Dec 13 - So I cobbled together a new critical essay and made it through the teacher from heck. Good to know I wasn't alone in my opinion.

Dec 11 - So for those of you who've been anxiously awaiting my next speculative stock pick, here it is: Winn-Dixie. The stock is very close to its all time low and they've just hired Peter Lynch, formerly of Albertson's, to take things over. Now understand that this is another one that probably has about a 50% chance of going into bankruptcy or selling out before they get their shinola together, if ever, but look at K-Mart for an example of emerging for the better. Winn-Dixie needs to modernize both its image and its stores and get with the times; the one across the street from me is a dump. Remember when you buy stock you're really buying an interest in the business, if the business is good the stock will reflect that. This one is a bet on a) one guy being able to turn the ship around, and b) people believing some advertising campaign like "the beef people." Remember that one? IOW, don't mortgage your house just yet. In fact, don't put any more on it than you'd be willing to drop on a casino boat.

In other news, I am back on the bike and "training to train" for IM AZ.

Dec 6 - Finished up my final paper for Dr. Evil. It took about 24 hours. I worked on it all weekend. The saving grace was that I did it on the craft (micro) brewing industry and learned some interesting things. If you are a real geek, you can read it here.

Dec 4 - You can check out my slowtwitch day in the life assignment.

Dec 2 - For your amusement, below is the response I received from my terrible management teacher regarding a couple questions I had on the last test. Enjoy.

Dear Mr. Gaal,

It is evident that you did not use relative market share in your placement of the divisions. What you wrote on the preceding page was all of the facts given to you in the scenario, but nothing identifying relative market share was inlcuded (you did convert sales dollars to market share for the industrial products division). The portion of the textbook that you are quoting on page 90 was incorrectly placed (should be on page 92) and actually applies to the GE Business Screen (apparent from the construction of the circles and shaded areas in Figure 6-2 on page 93) and is consistent with the explanation I gave in class (GE Business Screen in your text is also referred to as the GE McKinsey Business Screen). If you read the first paragraph at the top of page 91 in your textbook, you will see comments about the labeling of the horizontal and vertical axes. May I also point out that the book is only one source of information for the course. The instructor, class discussion and other material not in the textbook are also sources of information. Specific information was given relative to this issue in power point slides and specifically demonstrated in class.

As for your question 6 comment, I refer you to the power point slides and discussion concerning matches betwee international competitive strategies and international structures.

As I mentioned in class last night, all components of your grade (except for the individual paper which is due not later than 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7) will be posted not later than Friday.

Dr. -EVIL-

Nov 30 - Good lord, my strategic management teacher is terrible. His method revolves around listening to you for a bit, then telling you you're wrong, or saying just plain "no," also known as the usuckatit method, then talking for ten minutes about some obscure point of minutiae that you'll never use in real life. Yeah, I think I spelled minutae wrong. Stupid word.

Nov 29 - It was a nice 4 day weekend. The type of holiday that helps you realize just how nice it is to set your own schedule. Walk around the house in your Superman Underoos at 2pm on a Friday afternoon. That's the life for me.

Nov 24 - Happy Thanksgiving. We wound up staying in Orlando this morning and ran the Orlando Turkey Trot. Big turnout. Bri improved her 05 season 5k time while I stumbled through a few miles. Good stuff.

Nov 23 - So about a month ago Howard Stern announced he'd be leaving FM radio for Satellite Radio. He'd signed a contract with Sirius Satellite (SIRI). I'm a listener/fan and checked out the stock price. 3.30 or so when he announced. Hmm, I thought, how about the fundamentals. Nothing, big time cash losers, no EPS etc. I decided I would buy in mid 2005, a few months before Howard stepped on board and then we might see some profit. I keep an eye on the thing. It is slowly creeping up but I'm not in a hurry and my piddly amounts of speculative investments would make most of you laugh. Lo and behold, they hire a hotshot to be CEO - he buys up 1 million shares himself. I 'pulled the trigger' and bought a few shares yesterday (at 6 bucks already). big time baby. So I wonder - will the institutional buyers sell off soon, creating a slump, will people wake up and see EPS of -.50 or -P/E, or will Sirius implement a great business plan and make me loads of cash. I figure it's 2-3 years before they really are profitable, but that won't stop the stock from going nuts. Hell, you could make money just timing this thing if you know what you're doing.

Nov 21 - Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can turn things around. This weekend I skipped a 5k, watched my alma mater lose to the Gators at home, drank cupious amounts of beer, and ate an entire box of fried chicken. I think I'm ready to start training again.

Nov 20 - Christian Sadowski is a tough hombre. No grimacing at the finish line, no crying, just a bonafide smartass comment to the cameras at the end. Classic.

Nov 17 - Had a GFT race report published on the always entertaining Xtri.com website. And you might also want to check out winner Chris Martin's report.

Nov 16 - Man, I am pretty happy to be almost done with this whole "higher education" thing. Had to memorize a slew of business BS for the MBA capstone class I am taking a bit early with my wife (I have 3 classes left, she is finishing). Give me the simulation, which required developing and applying a strategic plan while tracking and managing fundamentals and making adjustments as appropriate, we get 95%. Give me this stack of functional or geographic or polycentric or geocentric or penetration strategies or BCG matrixes and I'll give you a bunch of crappola filler with maybe 4 solid ideas. Did you know people make a living out of hawking these multi-functional cross-linear mis-appropriated complimentarious bulleted and hierarchically organized gooberbean ideas. WTF? Wait until next year, it's seven sigma, it's ISO 9002, it's 9 bolded items that don't really apply to your workplace but we'll somehow shove them in there. Bah.

Nov 16 - Happy Birthday Mom! Love ya.

Nov 15 - Fun weekend, went down to Busch Gardens with our six year old niece. I might have had more fun than her.

Nov 11 - So, after seeing how much it was costing Brianne to drive to school, I determined how much it costs me to drive to work. The analysis revealed I should just quit.

Nov 8 - Embrace the future.

Nov 7 - And congrats to Marc Bonnet-Eymard and Jim Shea who both finished their first IM races at Florida. Good to get all that training in with you guys and have a nice break! You deserve it.

Nov 7 - October training log is up along with my 15-week averages going into the GFT. We made it over to Richard's Run in Tampa despite me being a grouch about the drive. Glad we went, it was a good turnout and I was able to turn in a decent 18:55 with some very tight legs. I need to stretch 30 minutes a day nowadays or I can barely tie my shoes.

In other news, my birthday is on Monday, turning 33. Can you believe it? I can't believe it. Value your time, my friends, life is fleeting and quick. Best make the most of it.

Nov 4 - Did my first Pilates class tonight. Good stuff. Going to try to make it part of the routine.

Nov 4 - And as I sign off on all this political hoo-haa, I leave you with the words of some deeper thinkers than I:

"Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free."
Bertrand Russell

"The first opinion that occurs to us when we are suddenly asked about something is usually not our own but only the current one pertaining to our class, position, or parentage; our own opinions seldom swim on the surface."
Friedrich Nietzsche

"There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued."
Thomas H Huxley

"I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine."
Bertrand Russell

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."
Marcus Aurelius

"One must correct oneself before correcting others."
Chinese Proverb

"We must continually remind students in the classroom that expression of different opinions and dissenting ideas affirms the intellectual process. We should forcefully explain that our role is not to teach them to think as we do but rather to teach them, by example, the importance of taking a stance that is rooted in rigorous engagement with the full range of ideas about a topic."
Bell Hooks.

"No two men see the world exactly alike, and different temperaments will apply in different ways a principle that they both acknowledge. The same man will, indeed, often see and judge the same things differently on different occasions: early convictions must give way to more mature ones. Nevertheless, may not the opinions that a man holds and expresses withstand all trials, if he only remains true to himself and others?"
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

"Opinions have vested interests just as men have."
Samuel Butler

"Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in (the US) at any rate, thought is not catching. Our splendid physique as a people is entirely due to our national stupidity."
Oscar Wilde

"Every man finds a sanction for his simplest claims and deeds, in decisions of his own mind, which he calls Truth and Holiness."
Raplh Waldo Emerson

"Maturity involves being honest and true to oneself, making decisions based on a conscious internal process, assuming responsibility for oneís decisions, having healthy relationships with others and developing oneís own true gifts. It involves thinking about oneís environment and deciding what one will and wonít accept."
Mary Pipher

"If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together."
Malcolm S. Forbes

Nov 3 -"Think globally, act locally" is the old saying. On the Florida ballot were a number of state constitutional amendments. 7 out of 8 passed. As a group, we voted to: cap lawyer fees (to 10% for anything past 250k), open up doctor's records to the public, kick out any doctor with 3 malpractice judgements against them, get rid of the proposed high speed rail between Orlando and Tampa, make it tougher to put amendments on the ballot (through a review, essentially), require parental notification of teenage abortion, and raise the minimum wage. I'm a socialist bastard, right, so I only voted yes on the last one. Watch our state descend into a steaming pile of shinola with no qualified doctors in high risk occupations and no pursuit of medical malpractice suits against these losers, since it won't be worth the lawyer's time, while young girls croak from illegal back-alley abortions, congestion increases in the I-4 corridor, and a few poor folk spend an extra $20/week on McDonald's. Meanwhile, the big bad insurance companies continue to go without reform and stuff cash away (invest now). Ain't democracy grand?

On the flipside, at least my taxes won't go up.

Nov 2- I'm sure you were as surprised as I to discover that Ralph Nader swept the polls, winning 412 electoral votes despite only 2% of the popular vote. We'll all have to adjust to this ruthless businessman's edicts in the Brave New World.

Nov 1 - Post deleted by the thought police

Oct 31 - Happy Halloween everyone. I was going to write a political rant earlier today but just didn't have the time. While I respect everyone's right to have and exercise their opinion, I would ask you all to do a little bit of research into the relevant issues behind your upcoming choices and make an educated decision that is neither based on emotional appeal nor party affiliation.

The three overriding issues that made my choice clear were 1) outrageous deficit spending, and 2) US removal of the moratorium on nuclear bomb-tipped bunker busters coupled with 3) a doctrine of pre-emptive warfare.

For what it's worth, I was an independent until this year when I registered with the Democratic party so that I could vote for Gen. Wesley Clark in the primaries. Obviously, he did not have the necessary resources & special interests behind him. While I'm not thrilled with the choices being offered, I did cast my vote last week, and it wasn't for Bush/Cheney. That is all I'll say on the subject (until after the election, of course, or perhaps later tonight when I have a few drinks in me and decide to expound. But maybe not).

In other news, I ran for 20 minutes today. I totally kick ass.

Oct 27 - Well, I wouldn't have thought it possible but I don't feel bad at all. I may even go for a short run tonight. Since I wasn't able to push the marathon, there was no extreme digging (other than to keep going). Still going to enforce a few weeks of laziness but might start some informal training for a few half-marathons throughout the winter. I am signed up for IMAZ, which is early April. Good times.

Oct 23 - Post race update: Ouch, today was what we call a character builder. I finished 9th in 10:38 and am very happy to have done that. I had a good swim, and led off the bike. Per "the plan," I started the ride easy, and then picked it up once we went over Sugarloaf for the first time (mile 40). My heart rate was a bit higher than I wanted the entire time, was unable to get it below 145 anywhere and the average was more like 157, and the conditions were pretty horrific. Major headwinds and the heat index wasn't very friendly. Anyway, I got off the bike a couple minutes up on the next guy, Chris Martin - who went on to win. The abdominal cramps hit me in a big way and folks passed me throughout the loop run. Funny, one of my goals in this race was to not suffer on the run! Ha ha! Had to struggle with the internal dialogue about whether or not to quit. Fortunately, I didn't. Run time 4:24, 10:05/mile pace. Hung on, lots of slow running, and was able to accomplish 2 of my goals: Finish the race, and a top ten. Lessons learned - next race I'm riding in the small ring ;-), and never, never quit.

Oct 22 - Time flies, eh? Tomorrow I'm racing in the Great Floridian Triathlon. You can check their website for intermediate updates throughout the day. I'm planning to race smart, enjoy myself, and dig deep when the time comes. Seeya on the road.

Oct 20 - Well, just a couple more days until my big race of the year. Not much to do at this point. Got a final massage and feel pretty good. The field is pretty competitive with 2002 champ Peter Kotland, Henry Sacre of CA, and a number of other folks on the rise. Can't do anything about what other people do or don't do; can only control my own race. Plan is to cruise the swim, start the bike easy, and let the training take over from there. Would like to run a decent marathon. Weather looks good. Whatever happens, I'm going to enjoy the day. Don't forget, you can help raise funds for cancer research (click the link above)!

Oct 18 - Robert's last ESPN.com article is up, check it out. He had a great race. I had a decent weekend, ran the first part of GFT the course yesterday. Hospital Hill isn't terrible but don't try to sprint up it.

Oct 16 - Ironman Hawaii is about to start and Robert Alfert is representin' OSB. He's been writing a series of articles for ESPN.com on the leadup to the race. The first four are:
Obsession: The fragrance of the Ironman
Every waking minute is about performance
Ironman deserves your vote
Triathlete stars are still ordinary people

Not much going on with me, I'm in taper mode and laying low.

Oct 11 - So I got out and previewed the GFT bike course in its entirety. It includes some tough hills and sections of crosswinds. Those of you who might be thinking, "It's Florida, how bad could it be?" are in for a real eye opener down here.

Oct 9 - Posted some new pictures from various going ons the last couple months. Got in a nice 3 x (1hr ride, 20-30min run) this morning. It's cooled off slightly but here's hoping for a wintry cold front in a couple weeks. Good luck to all the folks running in the Chicago Marathon tomorrow.

Oct 6 - 2 hour 10 minute run tonight on the dirt roads of Windermere. Was going to swim after but then I realized that would be insane.

Oct 6 - September training is up.

Oct 3 - Check it out, Dev Paul from Canada wrote a Duke race report for Xtri.com.

Oct 3 - Man, do you think I could complain much more? The heat index today here in Sunny Florida was about 96 degrees. We put in a six hour bike ride in this stinking, fetid humid wet stifling muggy oppressive im dyin ovah here environment. I'm so burned out on the heat and humidity. I want to have to put gloves and booties on when I ride. I wanna have snot frozen on my cheek. Please send us a five month long coldfront.

Oct 2 - Competed in the Downtown Orlando Tri this morning, very nicely done for a first year race. I stayed with ubertriathlete Marc Bonnet-Eymard through the swim and bike, but then saw nothing but heels on the run. A slight cold and massive humidity just didn't agree with my running ability this morn. (Not that I could have stayed with him, it just would have hurt less!) But, I came in for a strong second place and mostly enjoyed it. ;-) Did a decent warm down and may jump on the trainer or run some more this evening as I make my last minute attempts to load up before tapering for the GFT.

The Dowtown YMCA track group took home about 40 pieces of hardware as well, so it's always cool to see the local contingent sweeping things up. OSB clients in attendance and some of my stroke clinic swimmers also reported solid results. Good job, y'all!

Last night I gave a presentation to about 15 athletes on preparing for and racing in a sprint triathlon. I enjoyed it, and as no one ran out screaming or staring at me funny (-ier than usual), they must have as well.

Sep 29 - It just occurred to me that two years ago today my good friend Scott Mundell passed away. Here's to you, Scott. See you again someday.

Sep 29 - The week is going ok. Got in a ~14 mile run with 6 x 1 mile repeats at 6:25 or so (8min sendoff). Sort of a broken tempo workout. Racing in the OUC Downtown Orlando Triathlon on Saturday, should be a good time. The race finishes in Downtown and promises to be an enjoyable event. Check it out.

I've been slightly off my target hourly goals week to week but the hurricanes have given me a good excuse. All in all, I feel like I'll be in 9:30 shape give or take some for the Great Floridian if it is a normal day. There are a few pretty decent racers on the entry sheet so it's no cake walk (like any Iron-event is?). But, I've enjoyed the training process and look forward to racing on what has become home turf.

Sep 26 - What a wonderful Sunday this turned out to be. The height of my productivity was getting off the couch to cook some potatoes. We hunkered down. Hunker down hunker down hunker down. The next TV guy/girl standing outside in howling winds who tells me I need to hunker down is getting a shoe to the face.

Sep 25 - Got in a good ride this morning, about 125 with the last 30 into the first signs of Hurricane Jeanne. We call her the bitch. She shows up unwanted on your doorstep like a bad one night stand from years ago. She's saved up all that bitterness and repressed anger and will unleash it all on you in a flash of spit and fury. Something like that. What the hell am I talking about? I don't know.

But seriously, the latest track has this momma going right over our house. That makes for 2 out of 3 direct hits on Casa de Gaal. What sort of cosmic joke is it that each of these Hurricanes would show up on the weekend? Forget about the odds of 4 hurricanes in one season, how about 3 out of 4 hurricanes in one season that all landed on the weekend?

Sep 22 - So, I've done a bit of analysis. It turns out that if I worked 50-60 hour weeks and got my 3% raise, I'd have X as a raise. Instead I've been using that extra 10-20 hours to run my own coaching business. The result is actually around 5X for the year. The risk I run is that I'll get laid off and what I'll have is 5X and lose my X/.03 . But, with the extra time after layoff I could grow 5X into 15X in a relatively short period of time (a survivable income but tight), and then progressively increase my market presence. So, all in all, it's not ideal but I can live with it. No worries, right?

Sep 20 - I don't talk about work too much on this site, but today I got to experience first-hand the effects of management cost cutting strategies. As a vested stockholder of my fine institution, I applaud the caretakers / executive level decision makers for keeping expenses low. As an employee of said fine company, I suppose all I can really say is &(*%%^@(&.

Here is the equation used to determine my worth to Lockheed Martin in 2005:

(Lousy HR edicts x arbitrary performance review structure) +
(Low profile position / position expendability) +
2 x (feelgood rhetoric about contributory status) =
No yearly raise for Marty.
aka, BOHICA.

So seriously, can anyone in the greater Orlando area hook a brother up with a decent gig? I have 1.85 master's degrees, speak 14 languages, and can see the future. It ain't where I am now, that's for damn sure.

Sep 19 - Went to see Sky Captain And the World of Can I have My Eleven Dollars Back today. I'm putting in a request to Hollywood - just send a bill to my house every year and save me the agony of actually watching this horse manure.

Sep 18 - Taking it a bit easy today, it was a tough week (Just busy). Swim classes at the Y are going well. Would like to see a few more people sign up to help cure cancer (click the link above, I know you can do it.) In other news, here's my Duke half race report.

Sep 13 - Well, we are back in town. Fun trip. Good to see some family and friends as well as have a great day in nice weather. Managed to put together a well balanced race, almost broke 1:30 on the run, and took the overall win at the Duke Liver Center Half-Ironman. I'm very happy to win since it's always tough to do, as well as have a good run since that's historically my achilles heel. Hoping to keep it rolling as we approach the Great Floridian in October.

Big congrats to my wife for taking 13th overall in her first half-IM, as well as Tampa phenom Christina Noordstar who took the overall as well, making it a Florida sweep!

Also had a few clients racing in IMW this weekend, and a big congrats to all of them for their achievements in that venue.

Sep 10 - Off to NC for the Duke Liver Cancer Center half IM. Might be staying up there for an impromptu vacation depending on what Hurricane Ivontbelieveit decides to do. Have fun, be safe.

Sep 8 - Things are getting back to normal. By that I mean, pretty busy and not enough sleep. Had a nice ride out of UCF today, about 50 miles with a 12min run off the bike. Feeling pretty good about the Duke 1/2 IM coming up on Sunday. Get to see some friends and family as well, always a bonus.

Sep 6 - We made it through the debacle that was Frances. Now I know how all you northerners feel when you're stuck inside during a blizzard. A few weeks of that and I'd probably flush myself down the toilet.

Sep 3 - We're off to St Pete. Everyone stay safe. Should be able to access email.

Sep 1 - Well, what can you say. We can all act blase about these storms but on the chance occasion that two of them are headed directly to your doorstep within the span of three weeks, you might start to get a little upset. By upset, I mean, WTF upset. Had all sorts of big plans this weekend - going to do a 15k race on Saturday, monster bike on Sunday, follow it up with an easy something or other on Monday. Not to mention the social aspect of Labor Day weekend and Bri's sister coming into town for some fun. Instead, it's looking like "flee the mammoth hurricane," batten down the hatches, pray for deliverance from evil, and various other idolatry.

In other news, The only reaons I'm putting up the following link is because I am disturbed. We all know, more or less, that the press has an agenda. But, where is the line in the sand between freedom of the press and protection of the free market most of us have an interest in? To get to the point, a reputable person I know (not the guy who wrote the link included here) was in Punta Gorda after Hurricane Charley, and saw many more bodybags than have been reported in the popular press. Illegal immigrants, older folks without ties, etc. Unclaimed. If you want to do some searching on the subject, try keywords "bodycount, punta gorda, charley." Not gonna launch into a rant on this page but you can expect me to verbally barf all over the subject later.

Aug 29 - Had a good race in Deland this morning, felt solid on the swim and run. It took a while to feel like I was turning over decently on the bike (after riding 120 yesterday). Bri and I also scored our first official husband-wife first place combo, always a neat thing to do. Short warm down, breakfast at the camp, and big nap.

If anyone knows the fool who pulled the lead Olympic marathoner into the crowd today, give him a serious *ss-whoopin'. I suppose interfering with the run is less cruel than busting a cap into somebody, but what the f***? Take your protests somewhere else, jack***. And *%*& %$^*(( @$^^(!!!.

Aug 28 - Got in a solid 6 hr ride with Jim Shea today. The weather gods smiled upon us and kept things temperate for the first 5 hours. And gave us a tailwind on the way back home! Looking forward to getting in some speed tomorrow at the Deland Triathlon.

Aug 27 - Forgot to congratulate all our US Olympic athletes for their efforts at the games. Seldom hyped Susan Williams scored the first US medal in the sport. Congrats, Susan, and everyone else. We know how hard you work to get there.

Aug 26 - But back to being a stickler for the facts. Rewriting history - the Swiftboat saga. Oh, also got in a good run yesterday and a 2:20 ride this evening in balmy weather.

Aug 26 - Some of you might think my opinions are a bit left of center, but that's hardly the reality in many cases. Read in the paper this morning that Mr. Chavez in Venezuela is making a push to expropriate privately held investment real estate. There's a good idea. Let's take the revenue-generating property that people have worked for (for the most part) and give it to the poor folks who haven't been given the opportunity to get ahead (instead of just taking our pound of flesh in the form of taxes). The rich folks will invest their money outside of Venezuela in the future, thus creating a backlash of even less stability/prosperity within the nation itself. But the poor will have some nice real estate to destroy, so it all works out. Sounds like the same thing that happened in an African country a few years ago. There's a model of national prosperity for you.

Aug 24 - Back to school.

Aug 22 - Just back in from Chicago and a weekend of big city fun with Dan Traver. What a cool town. It's my kind of town...Chicago, is. Had a great run on the Lakeshore path with a couple of the natives. 17 miles at about 7:10 average.

Also, have you seen this Will Ferrell spoof yet? (long download).

Aug 18 - Loggerhead Triathlon results are up. Linda Neary only outran me by 20 seconds or so, I did well!

Aug 17 - So I went down to the International Drive (I-Drive) YMCA to get in a swim in this evening as all my local pools are shut down. It's a nice facility and a great pool. As I was driving out I thought to myself, "Hey, I should swim here once in a while, what a great pool." Then I realized why I don't go there. I was on I-Drive, which, for those of you unfamiliar with the Orlando/Disney area, is a 5 mile long tourist trap. It took me 20 minutes to move 1.5 miles, and I was surrounded by overweight, pale tourists who all also happened to be lost, confused, drunk, or just plain stupid. Bah.

Aug 15 - We made it through Charley. It's going this way, it's going that way, it's coming right at us, run! Would be a good way to describe the media and their message. Charley has put a hurting on metropolitan Orlando, especially in our neck of the woods. Lots of downed trees and power lines. 50% of the stoplights are still out. We did get our power back earlier today and the Gaal household & OSB Multisport World HQ remain in operation. Thanks to the Bonnet-Eymards who put us up last night and then to Marc for motivating me for a 100+ ride today in the searing heat. Got to preview the GFT course - bring a climbing gear!

Oh yeah, and I raced in a sprint triathlon for the first time in 2 months.

Aug 12- Check out the new Deland Triathlon being held on August 29th, Bri and I will be racing in the sprint. This is a "funny format" race, as in a swim-run-bike. You get to finish like a cyclist!

Tomorrow morning I'm supposed to go down to Jupiter for the Loggerhead Triathlon. It'll be a 3am departure. They might have to convert it to a duathlon. Good times.

Aug 11 - OH MY GOLLY THERE'S A HURRICANE UH COMIN THIS WAY!! PANIC PANIC PANIC SELL CRAP TO SCHMUCKS PANIC PANIC PANIC!

Aug 10 - I discovered something today that is bound to make me rich. It is a new process, which I am going to patent, and it will revolutionize the dieting industry. Forget Atkins, forget South Beach, hell, forget Weight Watchers and there whole "balanced approach," BS. I got the real deal.

It's called Eight Steps to Losing Eight Pounds in Eight Hours, (The 3 8s, how catchy) and for the first time on national television, I'm going to reveal these super duper secret steps to success to you:

Step 1 - Move to Florida in August.
Step 2 - Get up, go to work, drink a cup of coffee, 30 oz water, eat 1 cup yogurt, 1 BPJ sandwich (wheat), and 1 cup fruit.
Step 3 - Very important! Weigh yourself.
Step 4 - Ride your bike at lunch for 1 hr 10min at aerobic (easy) pace. Drink 20 oz water.
Step 5 - Clean up, go back to work. Over the next 6 hrs drink 80 oz water, 10 oz coffee, eat 1 hamburger (homemade on wheat), 1 PBJ, 2 servings veggies, 4 more fruit cups, 1 oatmeal bar, and 2 jolly ranchers (I'm weak)
Step 6 - Run 8 miles at 6:45pm, drink 20 oz water during, include 12 x 400 at LT pace.
Step 7 - Now this one's important!: Swim 3500 yds in 87 degree water. Drink ~15 oz water during.
Step 8 - Here it is, the moment of truth: weigh yourself.

Somehow, despite eating and drinking all day, almost piglike, really, if you ask me, you will be a svelt smooth beast when you finish Step 8. I will accept paypal donations for revealing these ancient zen buddhist martian secrets to you here today on the TNT Superstation at 3am. Or whatever.

Aug 9 - I would like to express my extreme displeasure with the service we've received at Classic Nissan on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando, Florida. My wife has taken her Xterra into their shop for warranty service 3 times in the past 3 weeks. She had a problem starting the car. She asked them to check the battery and told them the problem...was starting the car. They said the battery was fine and replaced some imaginary parts. Upon her second return (after the car died, and I jumped it) we emphasized that point. They replaced another imaginary part and said, really, the battery, really, it's fine.

Today, after her car died in the AM, thus making her late for work, and forcing me to leave work to go get her, they determined the car needed a new battery. Imagine my surprise! Classic Nissan on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando, Florida will never again receive our business or any sort of recommendation.

Aug 8 - Good cycling this weekend. About 60 yesterday and a short swim followed by 95 today with a short brick run. I was able to hang with the big dogs through the hills out at the Windermere ride, which is a good indication of fitness. Bike mileage on the week was around 260.

In other news, my car stopped squeaking. Manna from Heaven.

Aug 6 (again) - While plonking through some of my old floppy disks, I discovered a hypertext essay I wrote for one of my first M.A. Tech writing classes. It was in the Fall of 1998. I hope you enjoy it.

Aug 6 - Bri and I have been living in Automobile Hell for the past couple of weeks. My car has been in need of its 30,000 mile checkup...for 2000 miles. Was going to take it in last week but her car started going sputter cough wheeze. We got her car back, and guess what? It died again, just before I was going to take mine in. So we delayed mine again. We got her car back again, and guess what? It barely starts. But we did finally get mine in for its checkup. No problem! All clear! Here's your car back! Hey, where'd the crickets come from? What's that horribly annoying squeak I hear? Is it my timing belt? Is it the pack of screws they left when they put things back together? I don't know, but I'll find out when I take another 2-3 hours of my already completely booked up life and drive through shitty traffic to get it taken care of. All this simply proves that there is a God, and he's got a demented sense of humor. Sure, it could be worse, I could have a nailgun stuck to the side of my head, but man, give a brother a break.

Aug 6 - The truth is revealed.

Aug 5 - Things are proceeding well. Had a nice ride last night in the rain, got in a solid swim tonight, and am running long tomorrow. The weekend will be ride focused, going for 60 on Saturday and 80-100 on Sunday depending on how I'm feeling. I am starting to feel like a competitive triathlete again!

It's sort of been a weird summer for me. Over the past few seasons I raced about every 2 weeks on average. This season, I've only done 3 triathlons to date! I've been living vicariously through the athletes I'm coaching, and frankly, it's just as satisfying. However, since the season is running out and I'm starting to feel good, I'll be popping into a couple local sprints to enjoy the scene myself.

Aug 3 - If you're looking for information about the Downtown YMCA swim sessions I'll be running, please click here.

Aug 2 - OK, we had a few technical glitches but things are back to normal, such as it is. Had a nice weekend in Iowa City, where we saw Anne and Brad McConville marrried. Training was on the backburner but I did get in a 2hr run along the way. Lots of fun hanging out with Bri's old UCF cross teammates.

For those of you wondering about the swim classes/practices being offered at the Downtown YMCA, I'll have a short explanation up by tomorrow.

July 27 - Yow, I was a bit tired yesterday and took the day off. To make up for it, today I worked out 14 times and ate 2 pieces of celery.

Just kidding. Feeling a bit silly. On that note, I will work for 2/3 of whatever this guy wants. I'm only 10 years behind him in knowledge, come on, give a guy a break, would ya?

July 25 - Good weekend of training. Ran 2 hrs yesterday and rode 5hrs today. Drank a lot of caffeine along the way, I may be slow, but I'm awake!

July 23 - Breaking News!!! Bri and I are severely technology challenged (I hired an illegal immigrant to do all these updates years ago), and we managed to screw up our recordings of the last two stages. Did anyone tape those, and can we borrow your tape? You'll get it back...we swear.

July 22 - Wow. That's all I can say about today's stage of the Tour de France. I don't pretend to be a real cyclist, but I've been riding with pretty good guys since the early 90s. Lance tried to get Landis into a winning position twice, but when he saw it wasn't going to stick he went for it for his teammate. Anything anyone else says is BS. Maybe he would have sat up if Ullrich went since they go back so far. What loyalty does LA have to Kloden?

July 21 - Had another good mid-week ride. 70 or so miles on a Wed. Also been getting some massage therapy from a joint called Allied Therapeutic Protocols in Winter Park. They specialize in athletes and myofascial release. It is painful, but hurts so good.

Speaking of hurting, I wrote a poem at work today:

The Cubicle from Hell

I'm dying a slow death
Oxygen deprived
Like a forgotten plant
In a locked house
With the shades drawn.

I gasp -

But there's no one to hear.
A wall away,
The music of the forest calls,
But my roots are stuck
In this damn plant.

(that's a pun, I work in a plant, get it? Ha. ha. ha.)

July 19 - Back in town, had a fun time in NJ. Saturday we got in a good AM long run and concluded with a rough 1 mile open water race in the PM. I managed 5th overall, not too shabby! (except the 4 guys ahead me swam sans wetsuit, but that's another story.)

July 14 - Check out this cool article about Doug Campbell, an Ironman athlete I've been coaching for the past year.

Got in a long weekday ride with some of the gang, departing from Glory Cycles, run by one of Orlando's regular riders, Clive de Sousa. We put in about 70, the last 35 of which I was praying for a second wind. Ouch.

Off to South Jersey tomorrow so Bri and I can hang out with some of my old buds from down the Shore. Seeya next week. We will get some nice beach/boardwalk runs and an open water race in while we vacation. Signing off till week.

July 13 - My latest article is on race day nutrition.

July 12 - It was a big training weekend for me. Rode 84 miles Saturday morning, then swam 1.5 in the afternoon. Sunday I did manage to wake up at 5am and go run 14 miles in the dirt. Drove over to Clermont for Sprint #2, handed out water and cheered for people, then came home and slept for 4 hrs. Had dinner, saw Spider Man 2 (pretty good), came home and rode the trainer for 50minutes. I'm a bit tired today!

The ITband, hip tensor, etc seem to be holding up. Lots of regular stretching and I'm up to a massage every 3 weeks. Preventive medicine.

July 8 - Happy birthday to my wonderful sister Anna. You've turned out to be quite a successful woman and are one of my favorite people around.

In other news, I'll be spectating out at Clermont this weekend. Going to do a long run (~15) out at the loop prior to the race if anyone is interested. Average pace about 7:15. Start time around 6am!

July 7 - got to my first Wed. group ride of the summer - been locked into school at nights until now. I felt better than expected, pulled through a few times without blowing to bits and being shoved out the back like Bob Roll at a Seventies disco club.

How about that Postal team? I was originally a bit of a naysayer but after the prologue, the teamwork on Stage 3, and the TTT showing, I think Lance may well be the best cyclist with the best team, yet again. My gut says Tyler will be the main threat this year, though Jan has proven he has mettle. Entertaining, however you look at it.

July 6 - It's that time of year in Central FL. Do we think positive and plan on afternoon workouts, or get caught in a major lightning storm? Decisions, decisions.

July 4 - Happy Independence day. Just got back from a short visit to Miami to catch up with my pop, who has run into a couple health problems in recent weeks. The latest was what he thought was sun poisoning, actually turned out to be the bite of a brown recluse spider. He's all right but has some nasty swelling on his leg. My mercy for Charlotte has just ended.

Good training, yesterday AM we got in a 60 mile ride with Lee of Bodyzen, took some roads we didn't know about towards Florida City, got rained on, good stuff. Today we swam before lunch, then drove straight to Clermont for the 10 mile loop, which went well. I set a personal best for the hilly, sandy, muddy course. I won't tell you what it is, since most of you have probably bested it. ;-)

June 30 - I didn't like the hot dogs.

June 29 - Well, I do realize that my occasional political rant or unprovoked commentary will get under some of your skins once in a while. But that's ok, because we can all respect each other's opinions and we have this wonderful sport in common, right? Good. I'm glad you feel that way.

In sporting news, I am happily getting back into shape. Today, my lovely wife and I rode 35 miles in the AM, then ran to our pool, swam, and ran home in the PM. Tomorrow, I'm going to leap several tall buildings, solve the Pythagorean theorem, and eat two hundred hot dogs in the blink of an eye.

June 28 - My buddy Kung Pow Pig put up a link to an article in the Orlando Weekly that made me feel sad, ill, and damn frustrated. On a related note, this Iraq handover is all well and good, but you do know we're building permanent bases there, right? That's not just an internet rumor, go do your homework.

June 27 - Not a bad weekend. Rode 80 yesterday, but damn was it hot. Took an 8 hour CPR for the Professional Rescuer class today, remind me to test out of that sh*t next year, I want my Sunday back. Managed a short lunchtime swim and a 14 mile run afterwards, so the weekend gets a B on the trigeekness scale.

June 25 - What can I say, it was a low update week. Not much to report, really. Almost done with my Marketing class, I still have a job, training is progressing along at a reasonable pace, and I still like donuts.

June 20 - I did not have much oomph on the Oomph-o-meter. Time to throw all my sorry excuses out and log some miles.

June 19 - Bri and I are doing tomorrow's Clermont sprint, CFT #1. No goals whatsoever, just going to push it and see what I can do with zero speedwork to date.

June 18 - I don't know what came over me, but I just signed up for Ironman Arizona on April 9, 2005.

June 17 - Had some 'net connection problems, not sure of the culprit just yet but think a McAfee Firewall patch may have dorked my PC out. Not the sort of shizznet a fella wants to deal with when he has about 8 spare seconds in a dizzle. I've been snoopified, if you can't tell.

June 14 - My opinion of myself has improved by 2 minutes! I actually ran a 1:36 yesterday. Man, there were some fast dudes there. I am one hurting puppy.

Since I'm pushing the boundaries of Uber-trigeek, I figured I'd go ahead and calculate my weekly training averages for comparison purposes. If you check this site regularly, then you know training hasn't been the biggest focus in recent months. Here's the stats for the period from Jan 12 through yesterday (including the race week):

hours/week 12.55
swim k/week 8.89
run m/week 23.26
bike m/week 102.73
strength/wk 1.23

I think I'll try to double these numbers in the weeks leading up to the Great Floridian. One of my philosophies is "hurt in training, make racing easy."

June 13 - It was a good weekend. Bri and I traveled up to the race site with fellow Central Floridian Spencer Phelps and enjoyed the conversation and comraderie. I also was able to meet Bert and Ashley H from NC, nice to meet you two! The race course was difficult. It was hilly (about 1400 feet bike and 600 run total climbing), it was humid (rained until 6:45 am), and it got pretty hot (the heat index finished in the 100s). I probably had the best race I could have had at the present moment in time, finishing 7th overall in 4:36.42. Biked about 2:30 and ran about 1:38. Things were good until about mile 9, when I just had to suffer through it. Was forced to dig deep over the final mile to hold one more guy off. That really hurt, and all my ouches below were right on target.

A brief race review - Well done. Nice course. Tough. Well stocked. Not an easy venue. Scenic, rural, only a few cars and a couple dogs. Good food post-race. Will recommend this one, nicely done Georgia Multisports and Set-Up, Inc.

June 12 - Off to the races. Here are a few preemptive ouches. Ouch, ouch ouch ouch ouchouchouchouchouch.

June 9 - My luck is changing! I won the Holland lottery, according to this email I just received!! Yayyy!

SPARKLE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY.
FROM:THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
INTERNATIONAL WINNERS/PRIZE AWARD DEPT.
Ref. Number:SIL/1027/33
Batch Number: 22/3638/NL

ATTENTION.
Sir/Ma/Miss,

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the
Winners of the SPARKLE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY (SIL).
Lottery programs held on the 7th of June 2004.
Your E-mail address attached to ticket number
5647--42419763--568 with serial
Number 2163--05 drew lucky numbers 24-5267-577 which consequently won in the
3rd category. This promotional program takes place every three years in
Different developed countries, the lottery was promoted
And sponsored by all the Presidents of the World Largest software companies,
To increase the awareness of Microsoft software packages.

All participants were selected through a computer
Ballot system drawn from over 20,000
Company and 30,000,000 individual email addresses and
Names from all over the world.
You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay
Of Ä750,000.00(Seven hundred and fifty thousand euros )
in cash, credited to your file with the REF No:SIL/1027/33 and
Batch No: 22/3638/NL.
This is from a total cash prize of US
$5,250.000.00(Five million two hundred and fifty thousand Euros)
Shared among the seven(7) international winners in this category.

Due to mix up of some numbers and names we ask that
You keep your winning information confidential until your claims
Have been processed and your money remitted to you. This is part of
Our security protocol in order to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants.

We hope with part of your winning you will take part in our next year 50 million euro international lottery.
To file for your claims please contact our financial
Agent with your contact telephone or fax number:

MR STEPHEN PIERRE,
Foreign Operations Manager,
Of the Firstlinks Securities,Holland.
TEL: 0031-625 141 079
Email :(firstlinks_sec@muchomail.com)

June 5 - Getting in a few more decent days before the Georgia 1/2 next weekend. Judging from a couple tempo runs and a fast ride today, I'm in good to decent shape but nothing spectacular. My goal at the half is going to be hold it steady, don't slow down. Course is supposed to be difficult and hot on the run. Time goal is tough to call on a new course, but I'll go out on a limb and say between 4:30 and 4:40. As long as my training wheels don't fall off.

June 2 - Only two days until the weekend. A day in the life: Wake up, pack lunch, drink coffee, eat, work, eat, school, train, eat, post meaningless updates, sleep.

May 31 - Happy Memorial Day and thanks to all the vets out there who've done the things I never wanted to do.

May 29 - My friend and competitor Rob Skaggs has been screwed out of his honestly earned Kona slot at Disney by small-minded IMNA assclowns. Hey Graham Frasier, your guys should pony up a spot, plain and simple. Even with the questionable four minute penalty for not having a shirt on the bike, he would've retained 2nd place in 35-39. Your race staff screwed up.

In other news, the current administration is quietly getting ready to draft you, your children, or your grandchildren for some fun preemptive warfare. You might be surprised to hear this, but in a general sense, I would support mandatory 2-year service to the US in civilian or military capacity. I think it would be a good way to train, guide, and educate many of the 18-22 year old group who don't have a clue about what they want to do with life. However, that's in a general sense. In a specific sense, with the bloodthirsty flock of vultures and vampires currently in charge of the show, I'd sooner shoot my foot off, or suggest you do the same.

May 26 - I'm going on a diet. It's called Wake up and smell the coffee and the lovely, lovely doughnuts.

May 24 - Well, after the final tally, Brianne and I have decided to get married every year. So, mark your calendars, every 2nd week of May, we'll be getting married.

In all seriousness, thanks to everyone for your generosity and kind thoughts and words. It was great to have so many friends and family in attendance. Hope to see you again sooner instead of later.

May 23 - Just back in from our training vacation in Aspen. I mean, our honeymoon. :) Talk about living in paradise. The views were spectacular. We did get in a couple runs (including one up the Aspen mountain access roads, about 1500 feet of climbing in 2 miles), a white-water rafting outing, a hike up through the Maroon Bells trails, and a ride down the Rio Grande scenic trail. Unbeknownst to us, there was a pretty big bike ride on Saturday morning as well as a criterium on Sunday. Needless to say, equipped as we were, we did neither.

Check out Vietnam Veteran Thomas R Mott, running for the public defender's office in Volusia County. He needs your signatures to get on the ballot (if you live there, all my Aussie readers can just send a good vibe, oy!).

May 13 - early in the AM. Had to pack up for our little trip. Should be a good time. Looking forward to seeing friends and family gathered together for our big day. The honeymoon in Colorado is going to be very relaxing. I'm scoping out active.com for a weekend road race, but shhhh, don't tell Bri! Will talk at ya in a few days. Good luck to everyone doing the Disney half.

May 10 - The world continues to amaze me. Ethnic cleansing is going on in the Sudan, but the local paper couldn't tell you where that is, outside of the page 14 In the World paragraph. Man, ignorance is bliss.

May 8 - Had a good time down in St Pete. The swim was pleasant, but my 8-10k weeks of splashing around in the pool have not done much for my speed. Will need to start working the swim again if I want to call myself a swim specialist. Maybe I don't, would rather do well on the other portions. Afterwards, went for a spin out to Ft Desoto and back with my fiancee and future dad-in-law. Came home and slept for about 3 hours, no PM run as planned for me. Ah, bah humbug.

May 5 - So I'm going to race in the Hurricane Man 2.4 mile swim on Saturday morning over in St. Pete. I'd provide a link to it but it ain't easy to find and I'm low on time. Should be fun. Sunday looks like a 100-mile tempo ride. Trying to get in shape, quick! I need to fit into my tux.

Check out this political site for some interesting reading.

May 3 - We had a nice homebody weekend and did a lot of training together. Bri is getting back into some tri-shape, so watch out. Right now we're gearing up for the big occasion in 12 days. We're looking forward to having a bunch of our friends and family in from all over the world. Most of the organizing is done, we're finishing up our personal vows, and all my hair fell out yesterday. Good times.

April 31 - So Donna Skaggs sponsored us for the May Day 5k charity run in Tampa, held today. But this past Monday, I decided to jump into the St Augustine Coca Cola race (also held today) for the heck of it. Then, on Wednesday, I decided I didn't want to do anything but sit home and roll out for some local training rides this weekend. Sorry everyone! I am turning into an old, lame guy with weekend chores and deadlines.

But we did have a nice ride this morning.

April 28 - Had a good ride at one of the mid-week hammerfests available in Central Fl. Rode in a break with one of the top female triathletes in the US. Anyone who thinks the ITU athletes can "sit in" on the ride and then work the run are really, really off-base. The level of athleticism required to sit in with this group is somewhere in the vicinity of Cat 1-2. Men's 1-2, that is. She kicked my ass. Imagine how strong the men must be.

In other news, congrats to my regular competitors Rob Skaggs, Marc Bonnet-Eymard, and Bill Picciano for rounding out the top three amateurs at St. Anthony's Triathlon.

April 22 - Just when you think youíve become used to the unusual, life takes the quick right-hand exit ramp into Bizarro-land. Some of you regular readers of this site might be aware that one of my goals in life is to eventually make a living by writing books - particularly contemporary crime fiction, science fiction, or cheap historical romance. This hasnít taken off just yet since Iím a) not quite there yet and b) quite a busy cat Ė at this point in the game Iím happy enough just living and writing the odd training article or rant. Writing a good book-length story takes more than just imagination, character development, and plot; it requires research, which can be extremely time-consuming, and I donít have the dough to outsource the details. So, in a grand Douglas Adams-like gesture from the beyond signifying the fundamental ironic nature of the Universe, Iíve been forever immortalized on the cover of Triathlete Magazineís latest Complete Triathlon Book on training, written by Matt Fitzgerald.

Perhaps Iíll be able to leverage this into a career as a vapid, overpriced, self-absorbed cover model?

I didnít think so.

April 21 - I took an accounting final exam today. It was a great class, taught by a former Exxon executive who was straight up with the ins and outs of the corporate world. Tomorrow I get to find out how I did in my finance class. The final grade will be based, in part, off of 2 financial modeling simulations (capital budgeting, debt/equity financing, growth rates, sales points, etc) that we teamed up to tackle. I was forced to drop my teammate after she failed to respond to 7 emails and 2 phone calls early on. I've gone on to be 1st or 2nd in most of the simulations. Does that surprise you? Now give me a gulddamn job that I can make some respectable money on while beating your bottom line estimates.

April 17 - I don't mean to blow my own horn (well, sure I do, after all, that's what this whole website is about, really), but I continue to surprise myself with astounding feats of fitness off of piss-poor training. This morning I ran a 19:02 5k on a hilly, dirt road and am very happy about it. Both my ITband/tensor fascia and my endurance held out. Next stop: 18:30.

April 16 - I'll be racing in the Windermere Run Among the Lakes tomorrow morning. After a Vegas weekend and a couple days of stomach flu, I don't expect much but a bagel at the finish line.

April 12 - Vegas was a good time. Thanks to best man Tom Ferner for setting it up and all of my buddies who made it out there. I managed to leave the tables in the black. The first machine I sat in front of was a nickel slot machine with several options. On the second spin I hit some weird combination that paid 50 bucks on about 20 cents. No kidding. From there I won another $20 on a quarter slot, then $50 on a blackjack table, then $10 more on dollar video poker. I lost about 20 back all told. What I didn't lose back I spent on beer, food, and taxis.

The place is truly the city of sin. One on hand you have all the glitz and glamour of the casinos, big stars, and the shows. On the other you have prematurely aged women of ill repute loitering in the hotel lobby, offering to "tuck you in" at 3:00am in the morning. I showed them a picture of Bri and asked if they had yet found true love. (I had several other smartass endings to this little update, but wanted to make sure I'm getting my point across.)

April 8 - I'm off to Las Vegas tomorrow for my bachelor party, organized by my best man Tom Ferner, a long-time bud from high school. I'm planning to bet it all on black. No, seriously. The return on black with compounded interest over a period of not less than four years is like a million percent. And they give you free drinks.

April 6 - I suppose it's a milestone of sorts. Since I started tracking site visitors and page views at the end of 2002, MG.com has had 56,000 page views and just over 20,000 visitors. That's without double-counting all my fans at the NSA.

April 3 - Ran 10 miles this morning. I rock.

April 2 - Check out the May Day 5k over in Tampa on May 1, goes for a good cause.

Mar 30 - I just had to say my piece about this one.

Mar 28 - I had an amazingly good race for what I've been doing at the Winona Classic triathlon this morning, taking second place to Rob Skaggs. Hip and calf felt healthy on the run, just not much turnover. I'm also switching back to light beer, that imported sh*& is just way too heavy...kind of like me.

Mar 26 - Added some new pics from Whistler, Bahamas, etc. Finally got a decent photo editor on my main PC.

Mar 25 - So for those of you who've always wanted to tell your friends and loved ones, "You know that self-absorbed ass clown Marty Gaal? I beat him in a triathlon!", this Sunday is your big chance. I've been bamboozled into doing the Winona Classic Triathlon. I am so far off my game right now that I wouldn't really call it a game; more like Deathrace 3000. See you at the swim start.

Mar 22 - Fun weekend, the Pacific Northwest is where I want to move. Skiing, hiking, training, all at a moderate temperature and a few bears.

March 17 - We are off to Whistler, Canada via Seattle tomorrow. I ain't never been there, they tell me it's nice. Read the song lyrics, people. That was subliminal man coming at you in full on glory. It'll be a lot of fun, I could use a short vacation, and I'm going to enjoy my two hours of skiing a day. Thanks to all of you who've requested I don't break both my arms, tear an ACL, or shatter my skull. Don't you remember the old saying, "if you've got nothing nice to say, don't say anything?" Work it. Seeya in a couple.

March 14 - An eventful weekend. Yesterday was the 10k in the AM, followed by an easy spin in the afternoon. Last night was the awesome spectacle, Festival of Speed, a huge bike race in downtown Orlando. The event is organized by Zahid Buttar, who also hosts this website. I believe this was the third year, and included a pretty solid pro field and guest speaker Frankie Andreau. Entertaining guy! At the training ride this morning I felt like I'd been run over by a herd of Atkins dieters and was quickly dropped from the group.

March 13 - Ran the Winter Park 10k this morning. Getting better, slowly but surely. Slowly being the operative word.

March 11 - So I'm checking out Kerry's records. He's catching a lot of heat on his (lack of) defense voting. Here's an interesting link explaining the story behind some of his votes.

March 10 - Today I took an unscheduled day off work and played hooky, or in PC terms, took a mental health day. I pretended I was a full-time triathlete - lifted, swam, had breakfast, then drove to Clermont for a 2hr hilly, windy ride. After that I came home and took a nap. Now we're going to go run a few miles and swim a bit more. Tomorrow I go back to being employee #627412.

If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

March 8 - Bri took me to see the Bare Naked Ladies tonight. I did not actually see any bare, naked ladies, but the music and entertainment was outstanding. Bravo, Bare Naked Ladies rock. Ummm, yeah. Eh?

March 7 - Nice weekend down in St. Pete as Bri had her bridal shower. I rode with the St Pete training crew and got dropped coming back from Ft Desoto. Those guys are in shape. Sunday managed an hour run with 20minutes tempo, then a 2hr easy ride. Not a bad weekend of training. Also caught up on some "reading for fun", a book called Evolution by Stephen Baxter. Pretty interesting.

March 3 - Got in a 7 mile run today without abnormal pain/discomfort. wow, feels great. In other news, I did put up my first 2 months of training.

March 2 - My latest rant is so deep I can't even put up a synopsis.

March 1 - So you're probably wondering how I did in the 5k. I negative split that badboy with a 7:02, 6:46, 6:31. I didn't fall over or have my leg start flopping like a landed fish. In other words, a success. It should be painfully obvious that I don't have buttloads of natural running speed.

Feb 28 - Woof, what a nasty ride this morning. The average temp was about 40 and with the windchill it was about 30. Felt a bit beat up and got "taken to the woodshed" by a couple of the boys. Had plans to get a 2k swim in but I subbed that out with a 1.5 hr interval nap. Tomorrow we're doing the Run around the Pines 5k, part of the Trackshack series. My lovely lady is in 4th place. I am in 1200th place but am hoping to climb a few tomorrow with some sub 7 minute speedwork. With my calf still twinging I don't want to push it so am truly going to "enjoy myself," whatever that means.

Feb 25 - My Business Law class ends tomorrow, meaning I will have roughly 4.5 hours per week more with which to either train, sleep, or relax.

Feb 21 - Rode a total of 70 today with a short swim. Had some fun yelling at people running the Outback 12k here in Orlando. Going to have some more fun tomorrow. Weekends are all about having fun.

Feb 21 - Up early, going for a ride. Wonderful.

So General Clark is out of the election and I've been forced to take a closer look at Kerry's stances on things. After a cursory glance, he looks like an OK guy. Haven't had the time to check Edwards out yet. If you're wondering, I'll vote for anybody except the pair of clowns currently in charge.

Feb 19 - I'll be looking at about 22 miles running, 130 cycling, and 12k swimming if all goes well for the remainder of the week. I almost feel like a triathlete again.

Feb 15 - A sad day in the cycling world. Italian Bad boy Marco Pantani died.

Feb 12 - So I had some trouble installing the latest version of McAfee Security Suite. Virus Scan just didn't want to load. I emailed their techs and while my system was on standby and I was sleeping one of them seems to have diagnosed my machine remotely and directed it to download the correct file when I got up this morning. That's great...I think.

Oh yeah, swim bike run. About 45 minutes per day this week (total).

Feb 9 - Check out the latest Inside Triathlon, I have an article on over-distance training in there. Not that I have done anything like that in several months.

Feb 4 - Between financial simulations, legal representations, and existential meditations, I've seen the light.

Buy low, sell high.

Feb 1 - Saw The Big Bounce today. They should call it The Big Bomb. I've seen more better things lying twitching on the side of the road. I have the book by Elmore Leonard and am sure it's better than the crap they pelt us with in the theater.

Training uneventful today. Yesterday I felt like a triathlete, ran 3, swam 3k, ran 3, then rode 10. Yesterday we also picked out our wedding rings. Bri's getting a nice platinum ring with a couple stones. I'm getting a pop-top from Kmart.

Jan 29 - What's new. Managed to run twice this week without pain. You really have no true appreciation for life until something you love is taken away from you - and then given back. The sheer, simple joy of a 30 minute easy run can be amazing. I hope you never have that taken away.

In other news, I'm still in the thick of things with the MBA program. Taking a financial modeling class (firm operation/finance/production), a corporate accounting class taught by a former Exxon Head honcho, and Business Law. Did you know how badly a binding arbitration clause can mess your life up? Check it out sometime...

Jan 24 - Boy, my wife-to-be sure can yak yak when she gets in the mood.

Jan 21 - Not much new. Putting in about 12-14 hours per week, leg is feeling better, might hit 11K in the pool and about 130 m on the bike this week. With my first race in June and getting my run back to 100% a priority, this works out well. No marathons or 10ks or 5ks or 2ks until at least late March.

Jan 15 - But back to sports: Things are improving. With regular stretching and low mileage, my hip is much better and my calf is not far behind. I won't be doing any road races anytime soon, but in the grand scheme of things that is really meaningless. What is not meaningless is our finalized honeymoon plans to Aspen to hang out with B-list movie stars, and how excited I am to register for wedding gifts at various stores tomorrow! Yippee!

Jan 13 - If you've read any of my rants then you're aware that I'm not a big fan of the Bush Cartel. I tend to limit my interest and involvement in politics in general, but as I've gotten older and arguably, more mature (ha!), I do take more than a passing interest in what the hell is going on around me. So, after several years as a registered "no party affiliation" voter, I've gone and signed up as a Democrat. Why? So I can vote for General Wesley Clark in the upcoming primary election.

I truly feel that this man is the moderate that our country needs and I think he has a much better chance than Dean of unseating Herr Bush. I also strongly believe that as a former military man, General Clark is intimately acquainted with the ways of war, and as such, will work harder than the rest to prevent it (both our involvement and between other countries). Check out his site to read up a little bit on this former high school swimmer, Rhodes scholar, Vietnam veteran, and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He is the absolute real deal.

Jan 11 - And you thought I was a burnout, man!

Jan 11 - Central Florida Cyclists: I am very disappointed in you. I deigned to grace you with my illustrious presence on Saturday at the historic Ride of the Way of Cady at 8 am. None of you were there to bask in my glory! Nary a soul! Not giving up hope, I showed up for the legendary Ride of the Windermeres on Sunday morn, and lo, yet again, you let me down! The only folks with gumption were several Team in Training riders (and a dude named Seth), and they, in one sense, are riding for others. You are all weak and pathetic! So it dips a little below 40 degrees. It's called layering up, people! There's a big difference between good and good enough, as you're bound to find out one day.

Jan 10 - Not a bad week all in all. I started my New Years Resolution, which is to avoid having conversations with Mr. Adams, Mr. Heineken, Mr. Anheuser, and all my friends with Hefe-Weisse, during the working week. I did well but heard them crying from the Great Beyond. So it goes.

Good luck to Shana H who is running the Disney half-marathon. Good luck to the rest of you Mickey Mouse suckers as well.

Jan 5 '04 - So, we'll start the New Year with a clean plate. I've decided not to bore you with my moaning and groaning about injuries, illness, IT bands, and idiots. Instead, it'll be nothing but upbeat commentary on the bright side of life in 2004.

I'm going to be a busy cat in the first part, with 7.5 credit hours in the MBA program and 10 clients on my monthly scheduling plan. I'll also be training, searching for pearls from swine, and spreading words of wisdom. I'll be going on a bachelor party in Las Vegas, getting married to my favorite lady, revisiting Einstein's theorems, and writing award-winning poetry. Here is my first of 2004, for your enjoyment:

Swimming is fun.
I'm not a bum,
I like to run,
You think I'm dumb?
But I'm number one!

Jan 2 (2004) - Riding, swimming, pretending to run!