Marty Gaal's Update Archive - 2006

Dec 29 - Bri and I will be heading down to Fl for a week. I'm going to run in the Deleon Springs Half-Marathon on Jan 7. The excesses of the holidays have added a couple extra pounds to my svelte frame, so I'm on a bit of a crash diet. I promised myself a few years ago I'd never tip 170 and was getting close. That means eating lots of fruit and chicken breast and going light on the beer and pizza while maintaining normal training volumes.

Dec 28 - Back home. Had a nice time up in VA with my sis and bro-in-law and their two cute kids. Everyone had a nice visit from Santa. This week is turning into a big running week, the next couple will be a bit more bike heavy. Have a lot of work as people are getting started for the 2007 season. Not much else going on.

Dec 24 - Yay, I got presents!

Dec 22 - When I was a kid I didn't think a thing of wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Nowadays I get paranoid about saying Merry Christmas, or writing it in a card, or assaulting a stranger on the street with my unwelcome holiday greeting. We've gotten way to off the reservation on this one, folks! Reading through some threads on the subject, I saw a very salient point - December 25 is a federal holiday called Christmas Day. This is the USA, baby! So take as much offense as you want from the roots of the word - Merry Christmas, everybody.

Dec 21 - I took an unplanned easy day today. Originally was going to do a long ride but it was cold and misting here. Ran 40 minutes easy and then sat on the couch. Gonna have the day to myself tomorrow so will swim AM then head out for a few hours on the bike. Bri's Mom is in town and we're showing her around.

Dec 20 - Today we got in a nice run with Alicia and Alisha from the Tri Team in Umstead. Afterwards Bri and I swam for a bit. I'm buckling down on work (January start ups) and studying. I signed up to take the NSCA CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) test on Feb 3. The test is comprehensive, so I need to get brushed up on anatomy, physiology (muscle cell function etc), and other-sports-related exercises (e.g., what sort of strength training would you recommend for an athlete in an overhead throwing sport?). Other than that, weather has cooled down again but is pleasant. The puppy is getting bigger and bigger. She may be part horse.

Dec 18 - I'm starting to come alive again on the training front. We put in 3.5 hours yesterday with a few of our fellow members on the Triangle Tri Team. I got dropped in the hills, as is usual for my early season self. Today I managed to crack 3k on a swim. I'm moving away from my participant mindset of 2006 into a "it'd be nice to take home some hardware" mindset for 2007. The local scene is actually quite competitive, there are a number of very tough age groupers and up and coming pros living in NC.

Dec 16 - Nice weekend, 60s and 70s in the afternoon. Here's my latest training article - mental training.

Dec 13 - I've updated our tentative race schedule for 2007. Bri probably won't do the Xterra events. Tonight we're going to a Christmas party at Inside-Out Sports. Should be a good time.

Dec 12 - Ouch, today I caught the full effect of being self-employed and medically self-insured (with a high deductible program). Since I started keeping score in my mid-20s I always had borderline high blood pressure - primary (hereditary) hypertension. Long story short, I started taking Benazaprel a couple years ago, but it wasn't really getting it down into normal levels and it has crept up over the past few. So my new doc suggested a bp med that is a mix of two medications. Only one of which is a generic (Benazaprel and Norvasc). Re - pay the full fee, sucka! Now I'm one of the 87 million looking to Canada to solve my woes. Two things give me solace - the expense is going to be pre-tax, and I was able to finish my ride at 2pm and then play with my dog in the backyard.

Dec 11 - Not much new to report. My Mom was in town for a few days and we got to show her around town. Weather was pleasant but cool. Went out and watched Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. Who would have known that the Jews destroyed the Mayan Civilization? I kid. Just a joke. It was the Mayans who did it to themselves. The movie was actually very good. Am I allowed to make bad jokes like that? Please don't be offended. I'm sorry. I do wish the Mayans would learn English, though. This is America!

We got in a couple rides over the weekend and are getting used to the biting cold in the AM. You just bundle up like an eskimo then ignore it when your feet go numb. I might have cracked 12 hours of training last week. Huge! Today I visited the doc and got a new prescription for my hypertension. Sitting around your house all day is very stressful.

Dec 8 - Bit of a cold spell, today the local high is 40. It's nice and sunny though. I put up my November training if you're interested.

Dec 5 - Things are going nicely here in Cary. The puppy has figured out how to update her page, you can read all about it by clicking on the Tassie Puppy link to the left. She slobbers on the keyboard but other than that it's no problem. Bri and I are enjoying the crisp weather, running midday is very pleasant though it is chilly in the evenings and early mornings. I don't have much else to update you on. We hosted my Pop last weekend and my Mom is coming up tomorrow.

Dec 2 - WINNER - NC Gaal matchup, round 3. St. Michael's Jingle Bell 5k. Slipped in under 19 minutes at our local 5k in Bond Metro Park this morning. Regained the title of fastest Gaal. It was a nice change of pace - we train in this park quite a bit so the off-road terrain was familiar to us. I'm not sure if the course was short or if we've gotten faster (it's possible). Definitely feeling better on the short stuff than I have in a long while.

My Dad is in town visiting, so we've been showing him around our area. I'm not one for showing off but it's good to show the people we love that we're happy and doing well.

Tassie's Update: "Hi I'm a puppy! Gosh I like the backyard! I can run! I like to play fetch! What is the ball for?! I pooped today! On the carpet! My Marty didn't like that! I'm a puppy!"

Nov 29 - Tassie and I are bonding beautifully. While I sit pecking away at the keyboard she lies peacefully at my feet. She's a very calm puppy. Slightly timid but very friendly. She's still getting her feet under her, those big puppy paws have her tripping over herself half the time. In other news, I ran in Umstead yesterday and did 10 x 1 minute fast. Feeling it today. Hip / ITB problems have abated to a great degree, one or two yoga classes and two strength sessions each week are making the difference.

Nov 27 - So as you can see from the pics, we are the proud new parents of a Goldendoodle puppy. While Bri is hard at work I take on all dog whisperer duties.

Tassie's update: "Hi! I'm a puppy! I like my new house! Today we jumped through the back screen door! Whoops!! What was my Marty thinking?! Then I showed Marty how bad my farts stink! Oh boy, do they ever! Gosh, I like dirt! What's that?! Is that a squirrel?! I like it here! I'm sleepy!"

Nov 25 - I've set up a better message board / discussion forum, please feel free to sign up and join in.

Today Bri and I tackled the yard. I bought a leaf blower a couple days ago and managed to turn it on without blowing anything up or setting myself on fire. We also bagged a bunch of leaves in the backyard. And I mowed the front lawn again! Amazing. Next I'll be chasing a puppy around and cleaning up poo. Oh, wait...

Nov 23 - Happy Thanksgiving. Had a nice 8k run out at Inside-Out Sports this morning. Ran 32:10, not bad at all for me with no speed training. Bri was able to put in a big kick and has regained the coveted title of fastest Gaal. All Hail The Queen! Only by two seconds though. I get another shot at the crown at an off-road 5k next weekend. This is fun.

Nov 22 - Christmas is coming early at our house. The doggie pictured above will be arriving on Monday the 27th. She is a Goldendoodle, also known as an expensive mutt. We're going to name her Tassie in honor of our Australian adventures earlier this year. I'm looking forward to having a second best friend. Bri has gotten tired of me drooling on her shoes, anyway.

Nov 21 - Wow, today here in Cary is grey and miserable. We went to the park to run on the bridle trails and get out of the worst of the wind. It started raining afterwards. I hear January looks a lot like this. Been getting very regular about my yoga again. I'm typically the only guy in the class at the local YMCA. I guess the NC'ers aren't as enlightened as the metrosexuals in CFL.

Nov 18 - We went for a nice run this morning in Umstead State Park. Now I'm going to eat some homemade buffalo hamburgers. Bri says I should post here more often. If you visit the pictures page, we put up a couple pics of our new place.

Nov 15 - So Bri and I are happy to be part of the Elite Triangle Tri Team for 2007! We put our applications in a few months ago and were recently informed we made the grade. We've met a number of the team members and everyone had been very kind and welcomed us to the community. The team is made up of a solid group of athletes who I look forward to training and racing with.

We've been pretty good about working out, getting back into regular strength training and yoga classes is making me feel physically strong again. My strength/stretching routine all year has been a 15 to 30 minute floor exercise I would do at home. Not bad for short trips but after ten months I was definitely going soft.

Nov 12 - We ran in the Old Reliable Run 5k today. The race started at 1pm, which was a pleasant change from the usual 7AM nonsense we all have to deal with. I was able to drink my coffee, read the paper, lounge around, do my hair, drink more coffee, "visit the office", and stretch. It was cold, windy, and slightly rainy here in Raleigh. About 45 degrees. We caught a break and the rain cleared out for our race. Bri and I lined up together. We were thinking anything under 7 minutes on the first mile would be good as we've done no speedwork since July. Somehow we pulled out a 6:09 first mile. I felt pretty strong and was able to hold onto the pace despite the gradual hills. I think all the trail running we've been doing made a big difference. Finished in a 19:18 which is my best standalone 5k since late 2004 as far as I know. Bri finished in 19:27, and has to call me King Marty until the next showdown.

Nov 11 - Much has happened in the past few days. I turned 35 and found several more gray hairs. We straightened out the mailman. I cooked breakfast today. Read a book. Raked the leaves. It's very pretty around here right now, all the leaves are changing color. The flipside is that you have to clean them up at some point. Today we rode with a couple of the Inside Out sports guys and cruised around Lake Jordan. Very nice riding. After two hours I was pretty tired, definitely need to work on my endurance base for a couple months. I have nothing exciting, funny, or insightful to say today.

Nov 7 - So like any normal business guy, I updated all my athletes and various business contacts with my new street address. A client let me know yesterday that mail sent to my company name at my house address had been returned with the note, unable to forward. No kidding, because it's going to the right address! After a visit to my local post office and a phone call or two, I discovered that for some mysterious reason my mail carrier decided that my business mail didn't belong to me and has sent several pieces back. How did this guy come to this particular conclusion? What if we had a large family with five different last names, would he reject all these as well? What if I get fan mail addressed to "The Greatest Triathlete Ever"? Would he send these back, breaking hearts worldwide? Does he work for the Department of Homeland Security and decided that One Step Beyond is too nefarious a name? Somebody explain the logic to me. When did the post office start making critical thinking decisions? This guy has cost me at least a box of Clifbars and two dollars in interest.

Nov 5 - We're on the road back from Ironman Florida where we watched 4 of my athletes have great races. It was interesting being on the other side of an Ironman for virtually the entire day. Just spectating was exhausting. I'd love to do another one of these one day, but it won't be in 2007. I'm going to stick with sprint to half IM distance and work on my short speed. Although I did find a 20 mile trail run that I'm interested in, but I have to get spousal approval (Spouse: No approval yet).

Bri and I have no plans to go out of town for the next several weeks. You all can come and visit us now. We're really looking forward to getting into a normal routine around our new town. By the way, I turn 35 on Wednesday, you can make check or money order payable to: martygaal.com. I also accept visa, mastercard, and paypal. Overseas accounts must send a certified check. Gold only if it is 18k or higher.

Nov 2 - We're on our way to Panama City Beach to watch Ironman Florida. Crashing at a hotel in Brunswick, Georgia. Had dinner at Applebees. Reading a book. Very exciting.

Nov 1 - Yesterday we did some more exploratory riding and found the American Tobacco Trail in West Cary. This is part of a system that should one day link most of Wake County with our neighbors through extensive greeneways. The Trail is very hard packed dirt that we could ride our road bikes on. Excellent for the future long runs. The trees are all changing color and it was very pretty. The roads are really great and I'm going to have to re-learn how to climb.

Today we stood in line at the DMV for 2 hours, then had to go to another location to get our license plates & NC registration. Note to future N'Carolinians: they will nail you with a one-time registration charge on the spot and then some property fees down the road. Any insurance break you got is coming right back out.

After all this fun stuff we went for a run in Umstead State Park, very pretty right now. We met a nice guy named Arnie who ran with us and we all talked the entire way. People are friendly here.

Oct 30 - We had a great weekend out in Phoenix. My buddy Lance Muzslay got married to his wonderful girlfriend Lynne. Caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. It was a very quick trip, we were in Phoenix for less than two days. Had to catch a 7AM flight this morning. We're off to Ironman Florida on Thursday. After that trip we don't go nowhere for a few weeks which me's is lookin forwards to.

Oct 25 - We finally had our cable system hooked up. Originally was going with Direct TV but the satellite couldn't get a line of sight; too many trees. Not that I'm complaining (about the trees). We bought ourselves a big-ole flat screen TV to hang on the wall over our fireplace. I'm really happy with our house and new neighborhood; Cary is a beautiful little town. People here in NC are also pretty friendly. It was freezing last night but should turn nice again for the next few days. We're going to hook ourselves up with some cold weather riding gear as I'm training straight through winter except for ice storms. Also got to get the mountain bike refurbished and ready to go, lots of trails to access nearby. Life is good, as the t-shirt says.

Oct 22 - I ran a 1:49 half-marathon in record breaking heat (92 and humid) down in Clermont yesterday. I started running at 12:30pm with not a cloud in the sky. Legs felt fine but just gotta slow down or have heat stroke. Need to shrink some fat cells. Bri faired better at a 10k put on here in Cary by Inside-Out Sports; she took second place. I'm looking forward to racing in cooler temperatures for my forseeable future career.

Oct 20 - Down here in Florida for a relay at the Florida Challenge (GFT half). It's going to be 93 and humid. I'm doing the run. should be a good time, if you consider melting fun.

Oct 19 - Today, for the first time in nearly twenty years, I mowed the grass.

Oct 16 - Nothing breaks your body down quite as much as lifting lots of awkward pieces of furniture and heavy boxes. My right QL (lower back) is a wreck. My soft belly isn't helping matters. But today we joined the local Y and I'm going to start hitting the weights, swimming 5k at a shot, and running through forests like Forrest. I was runnninnn!

Oct 9 - Our clinic went well yesterday, thanks to everyone who attended.

Oct 4 - This is very big news.

Oct 3 - So the journey is almost over and I'm running out of excuses to not train. I've managed to keep a reasonable amount of running fitness and am happy to report that I didn't pack on a bunch of pounds on our last leg. I just turned a bit soft. October is still going to be pretty crazy but after that it's buckle down time. Swam yesterday and it felt good. Rode an hour yesterday and today and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sep 28 - We had a good run break going in Hohentengen. I did two 11k days and finished with a 22k day. So 44k or 27 miles in 3 days. We followed this excellent period up with two days of lousy food and high quality beer. Today (Thurs) and tomorrow we will get in a couple runs around the small medieval town of Bruges here in Belgium. I haven't swam all month and the last bike ride was Sep 7 or thereabouts. This is definitely one of the longest breaks I've taken from at least halfway decent training in quite a while. Already planning out my race schedule for next year. My next event is the run portion of the GFT half out in Clermont. We'll see how I hold together.

Sep 21 - Oktoberfest!

Sep 18 - I am on a new plan: eat for two days, then run for two days. Sort of like a Dean Karnazian across Europe.

We almost accidentally got to see the UCI World Champs here in Salzburg, Austria. They're starting on Wednesday, but we leave tomorrow (Tuesday) for Munchen (Munich). That's my A event of the season if you haven't checked the race calendar recently.

Sep 13 - I am stuffed full and weigh fifteen pounds over my race weight.

Sep 8 - The week has been pleasant, got in a couple good runs on the beach and our rides have been pretty challenging due to bike weight and rolling terrain. Swam off the coast for a half hour as well. Good stuff.

Sep 1 - Happy Labor Day. Had a nice week of training, very low key but got in a couple rides and a few runs. Our month in Europe will consist of some easy riding on our tour of Spain then some running around the rest.

Aug 29 - This morning I had one of those runs that makes me glad to still be at it. I carp about it on here once in a while - usually the heat and humidity really get to me. Today despite the warm temperatures and high humidity, I felt pretty good and ran at a nice pace (for me). Yesterday I visited Rich Wills running store in Lakeland and picked up a pair of lightweight trainers with some support in them. They had a running gait camera set up and we could see the difference between my neutral shoes and these - my left foot (the leg with all the issues over the years) pronates (rolls in) a bit. Got Brooks Adrenalines so maybe that helped. The only other variable was that I drank Smithwicks (pronounced Smiddicks) with the Skaggs' and Paul M last night. So anyway, there's hope for the future.

Aug 26 - Had a nice ride with the 7:00AM St. Pete group this morning. The group consisted of six of us but that suited me well. We're off to watch the Hammerhead Olympic distance tri in Stark tomorrrow. Originally about six of my athletes were going to be competing but now we're down to two. Life has gotten in the way for some of them recently. That's how it goes sometimes.

Aug 21 - In case you're wondering, my personal tri season is most definitely over. Had a lot of fun but the last part of our trip has made training very infrequent. We're in good physical shape in the grand scheme of things but not in tri-shape. I'll be running the half-marathon on a relay at the GFT half in October and may jump into a couple other road races here and there. No tris until March 2007.

Aug 14 - If they ever make getting out of shape an Olympic sport, I'm totally making the team. Traveling is great fun and an excellent way to detrain and repudge.

Aug 10 - Easy stuff the past few days. We went for a run on the Ventnor boardwalk last night. My plan is to run six days a week and muck around with everything else from now until I retire. That should keep me in running form.

Aug 5 Part 2 - I had a great race until mile 5.5 of the run today. I've decided not to do any more of these so-called "Olympic distance" and "Half-Ironman" or "70.3" races until I'm back into pretty good running shape. I can fake a 3 miler in a sprint but not this 13.1 stuff in the heat. Anyway, enough of me carping. Bri did great and held 22.9 average for her relay (2:27). And before he rubs it in any, Andrew Hodges didn't just beat me by the spread but by more than 30 minutes. Nice job.

Aug 5 - In a few hours I'll be racing in the Steelhead 70.3. weather is looking pretty good, should be done by the time it hits the mid-80s. A little humid. Gave the seminar without any gaffs yesterday. This week has been pretty light on training but that's what we needed after the big bike week.

July 29 - My faith in truth, justice, and the American way has been irrevocably tarnished by the cycling mishaps of some of our brightest stars. Tyler wins gold then turns up positive. Landis wins yellow then turns up positive. For those of you interested in these sorts of things, a normal male has a 1:1 testosterone:epis(whatever)orone ratio. The measurement the test uses is that anything over 4:1 is scored as high. So the test is already jacked up to accomodate excessively high numbers and (doctor prescriptions, backroom deals, shady maneuvering). It would seem that someone, somewhere, miscalculated (maybe a team doctor?) and now Landis is going to have to do the same thing Tyler's been doing - deny, deny, deny. It'd be great if he's innocent but when so many people are turning out as dopers, and anyone with a bit of effort can find all sorts of hormones on the street, it's tough to be confident. All future races I'm going to view as a battle of those who can outwit the testers and still race well.

In personal news, this week I'll have logged about 19 hours riding, 1.5hrs swimming, and 2.4 hrs running. Not bad. Today I stuggled on an easy run and have that puffy-eyed-I'm-really-tired feeling.

July 27 - Up to 325 in 5 days. Ouch. My butt is sore. Legs feling good. We're going to pick it up a bit tomorrow in an attempt to throw some tempo into the mix. I managed to get in a 34 minute run off the bike today and about 40 minutes on Tuesday. Amazing how a dry 100 degree atmosphere is not as bad as 90s and humid like it is in Florida.

July 25 - 200 miles in 3 days. Nice-n-hilly. Good stuff. Hasn't been too hot.

Bri is riding like a champ. Though we're starting early by our standards (7:20, 7:15, 7:40), we're still one of the last groups to head out. Yesterday out of 140 we were the 135th to start. Would you be surprised to know we were the 4th and 5th to finish (the longest day and toughest climbs). Not that we're competitive or anything.

July 22 - We're about to start a six day bike tour with Adventure Cycling, called Cycle Montana. Here's our agenda:
Day 1 - Missoula to Darby, 66 miles
Day 2 - Darby to Jackson, 75 miles (5500 ft climbing)
Day 3 - Jackson to Dillon, 54 miles
Day 4 - Dillon to Ennis, 70 miles
Day 5 - Ennis to Three Forks, 60 miles
Day 6 - Three Forks to Bozeman Hot Springs, 62 miles

We're camping in Jackson but the rest of the time we're staying in hotels so we can keep you, the faithful reader, up to date on the minutae of our triathlon livestyles. ;-) (I prefer a soft bed and AC instead of bugs and tents.) I plan to run about 15 miles and swim once (in a river or lake) during all this. I'll either be in great shape or completely beat for Steelhead on August 5th.

July 21 - We've been training our way across Wyoming the past couple days. Our bike tour starts on Sunday. We'll be riding from Missoula, Montana to Bozeman, Montana the long way. About 320 miles in 6 days of riding. Should be fun.

July 14 - I felt good at the Stroke and Stride last night. The run started off pretty slow but my last mile was my fastest, which gives me hope for the future. Lots of triathlon stars were out. This series is a return to old fashioned races - no transition area, just drop your stuff wherever - no awards - no t-shirts - just lots of pizza and a slap on the back. Good stuff.

July 11 - Everybody should read this guy.

July 10 - In my continuing effort to look on the positive side of things - had the 10th fastest swim split of the day which is excellent given that I really don't swim much. And as you can see from the new picture above, I also look fast, which these days is almost as important as actually being fast. ;-)

I'm going to jump in the Boulder Stroke and Stride race on Thursday, and Bri will race in the Denver Danksin tri this weekend. I've also got to do a bit of preparation for the Steelhead half which is coming up in just a few weeks. Suppose it's time for some long runs!

July 8 - The handoff of athletic prowess in the Gaal family is complete. Bri took down a 2nd AG finish here at nationals, while 'Coach Marty aka the World's Best Husband, Ever' staggered in for an 11th AG finish. I had a good swim-bike but felt like someone took a hammer to me in the run. At mile 4 there were thoughts of just going and sitting down under a tree. But that's not the way of the peaceful warrior! So I perservered. It was ugly. 45:00 or thereabouts, not exactly record pace. I gave it what I had for the day, that's all that counts. Well, my wife told me I looked really hot, so that's even more important.

July 7 - Freak out! Le chic, say freak! Freak out! That's the theme song for USAT nationals here in Kansas City. Take the most tanned, ripped hard-working athlete in your local pond and bring him on down. Everyone looks like a magazine cover. Someone even asked me to sign something! Admittedly it was just the check at the restaurant, but hey, talk about stroking my ego! Whoo-hoo!

But seriously folks, I'll be here all week. We bought a Hed Alps wheel off Ebay a little while ago. I gave it a cursory once over and thought it looked good. Turns out the hub has got some issues that would make it pretty sketchy for an A race. Rather than take a chance on this unknown I'll be riding my bomb proof Mavic Cosmic Elites, which are low-end racing wheels with bladed spokes. As a worshipper of Bri and all things Bri, she gets our lone race wheel, a front 1999 Cosmic Carbone. The rear carbone went to wheel heaven last year and my disc is buried in storage somewhere. Now we're gonna go out and pass as many people as possible.

The weather here is very benign, I thought it would be hot and horrible but it's cool by our standards. The course is very much rolling hills, not much flat stuff. Should be a good time.

July 5 - We're currently somewhere in Kentucky, making our way out to Nationals in Kansas City. Managed to get in some short AM workouts this week while house hunting in Cary and Raleigh. We took it as a good sign when we saw several hundred cyclists riding the roads in Cary, just down the street from where we bought a house.

Looking forward to the competition this weekend. I'm not in the killer shape of a few years ago but should still pull off a respectable time. I'd like to know why the race is starting at 8AM when the sun rises at 6. KS is hot and humid in the summer. Who made that decision?

June 30 - Had a couple good sessions this week. Did 4 x 1 mile on 1:00 rest on Tuesday and felt good with respectable times. Joined the UCF group ride on Wednesday and felt strong out there. Hope I can have a solid race at Nationals next weekend in Kansas City. It'll be fun either way but it'd be more fun to race really well.

June 26 - I had to put the picture above up. This is how everyone should look at the finish! Sweaty and about to puke. ;-)

June 25 - Bri and I had another good one here in Miami at Key Biscayne. Bri continued her impressive domination with a 3rd overall win, I came through with a good run (for me in present day) and 3rd overall. Weather was overcast, so not too hot, but definitely humid. Boris Fernandez won, looking to be in very good shape as USAT nationals approaches.

June 18 - My wife has morphed from a delicate princess into an ungodly beast human on the bike over the past few months. Gone are the days of me blithely riding away from her during our training sessions. Now she smells blood. Bri took down another tough field at the Mad Beach Triathlon today, and in doing so was only 1:30 off my bike split. Then she outran me by 30+ seconds. I know, you're thinking maybe it's time for coach Marty to retire, right? But I also did pretty well and took 2nd overall (R. Skaggs took the win). The only thing I have left on her is my swimming background. Soon she'll chew through that and I'll just be another dirty old gray fart pedaling around in my speedos. Ah well. I'm so proud.

June 17 - Leg 1 of the weekend double went well. I took 3rd elite at the Coca Cola Sarasota sprint, which may have been 4th overall as the quick Kevin Collington raced in the under-23 category. Rob Skaggs caught me around mile 3 on the bike and I rode well outside my comfort zone to stay with him (legal distance drafting and all that). We caught young phenom Dustin McClarty near the end of the bike. I managed to keep pace with Skaggs on the 2.5mile run (or 1.9? who knows how far it was), but only because he is currently partially hobbled. McClarty beat us by a bit. That lad is talented, but noisy! John Reback was off a bit on the swim and came in fourth. Eddie Branigan was 5th. It was good to get out there and race with the old gang.

Tomorrow we take on Madeira Beach, which is a 1k-13m-3m beach run. I'm "defending champion" and a 3 time winner of the event. Can you believe it? I hope the chicken wings and burger I had for lunch make me strong like the brochure promised.

Jun 14 - No one is allowed to give me grief about drinking lots of coffee again, ever.

So I apparently missed a secret scene at the end of the X-men credits. Professor X may be alive! I smell X-Men 4! That director still sucked!

Going to pull a double this weekend and race in the Sarasota Coca Cola race on Saturday, then follow it up with the Mad Beach triathlon on Sunday. Been a while since I've done something like this. I will take my glucosamine.

Jun 12 - We went to see the X-Men 3 today. I was a little disappointed. While they brought in a vision of the future Sentinels from Rachel Summers world which we see a lot of in comic books #150-200, they completely diverged from the whole Phoenix/Jean Grey episode of 132-137. And hey, for those of you who haven't seen it yet: Professor X gets whacked. By Jean Grey, no less. Bullshit, man! Oh, did I ruin your movie moment. Sorry. Write me a letter. Come on, the X Men don't exist without Professor X. What, did Jean Luc Picard have other committments he had to get to? Let's set the record straight. Cyclops shouldn't be dead. Professor X shouldn't be dead. Phoenix, as noted in comic book #137, should be dead. I'll have to check my books, but I'll tell you what, I have them! These are unacceptable diversions from the original. I protest, and protest strongly. Fie on thee! Bring back Professor X! And we let Magneto stay on? Christ. I'm going to go online and yell at someone in a chat room.

Jun 11 - Had some fun this morning, got to watch my favorite athlete have a great race. Bri won the Subaru Women's sprint this morning, looking good the whole way. I went for a ride out to Fort Desoto afterwards and did some very painful 1minute intervals. On the way home I sprung two flats and called the support wagon. Both my bikes are in desperate need of maintenance.

If you've been anxiously waiting to check my training log, you've waited in vain. May training is up in smoke. I didn't log most of the month. During our travels we got in some runs and a couple swims. Not much riding in the 2nd half.

Jun 9 - We jogged over to the Miami Shores rec pool yesterday from my Dad's place. They wouldn't let us swim since we didn't have a Shores resident with us. What a great community. Wasn't about to have a power struggle with someone making $8.50/hr. Today we went to the FIU Biscayne Bay campus - free to the public. No hassles. Don't need 'em.

Jun 4 - I sucked it up and jumped into the CFT Sprint #1 this morning. Had a pretty good race! The heat is on here in Florida. My averages were all not bad to pretty good. 2nd place to Marc B-E, who is in phenomenal shape. Hoping a few weeks of serious training can get me back into the 38 minute 10k range off the bike.

May 31 - The last few days we haven't done much serious training. Six weeks to go until nationals, going to put in a few good ones and see what I can manage. I will

May 21 - The race this morning went pretty well all in all. I started out feeling tight and not so good, but got it together at the halfway point and negative split by quite a bit. Total time 1:28.05 with a short bathroom break. 5k splits were 21:29 (6.55/m), 21:16 (6.50/m), 20:34 (6.37/m), 24:44 (6.1k @ 6.32/m). I had to overcome some tight legs, sore quads, full bladder, and general frustration but the last 11k made it all worthwhile. The weather was nice. Course was a bit hilly but nothing terrible.

May 19 - Big race coming up. The Sydney Half-Marathon. It'll be my debut on the international running scene but I should represent well. A sub 1:30 is totally within my grasp. The course only has two waterstops. We go through the CBD and old city, which will be neat.

May 15 - I wrote a new short article on training in the heat.

May 14 - A decent week of training here, nothing special. Got in one of my longest runs since last October yesterday. The pools are so cold now that I have to cover myself in vaseline before jumping in. And that doesn't help much.

May 9 - Today we did 2 x 15min at threshold on the bike. The safest place to do it is up on West Head, which is a solid 50minute ride to get there. It's also hilly. These are the days of the "if it doesn't kill ya" sort of workouts that we all love to hate.

May 4 - Yesterday I pulled off 16 x 200 fast (running) without any hip/ITB issues or tearing anything else. Been a very long time since I've attempted anything like that. Felt good. Today is easy stuff, tomorrow we'll tackle another long bike ride with short intervals in the middle.

May 1 - April 06 views by country. Hi everybody. Always a little freaky. Apparently we're very popular in the Northern Mariana Islands. Feel free to say hi!

Apr 29 - My wife is on a mission. She's an animal. Drags me out of bed in the AM for 3k+ swims then shoves me out the door for 2-3hr rides in the hills with intervals. She accepts no excuses, she takes no prisoners. She is unstoppable.

We're enjoying a couple weeks of more serious training, I needed it. The past couple of years I've gotten very used to doing longer steady workouts, which is what's applicable for Ironman training. My short course speed suffered quite a bit as I'm not a natural fast guy, I have to train pretty hard to get moving along. Also had some lingering hip and ITB problems that appear to have been caused primarily from sitting in a cramped cubicle for hours on end. Since freeing myself from wage slavery I haven't had the same issue. I think those ergonomic chairs they sell are designed to keep you trapped in a prison for your mind, Neo. But back to the point - feeling better about running and cycling at a higher effort level. Our next benchmark is the Sydney Half-Marathon. The last open half I ran was the OUC in Orlando in 2003, my hip went sour at 3 miles and I jogged to a finishing time that was 12 minutes off my PR. Hope to get a bit closer this time around.

Apr 26 - We're getting into some harder stuff. Swam 3.5k with 6 x 300 with 100 fast at the end this AM, then ran about 8m tonight with 8 x 1:30 fast, 1:30 easy. Tomorrow we'll do everything easy. Friday some tempo. Saturday we'll drink bull's blood and do more intervals. Grrr!

Apr 21 - So all hope is not lost on the racing front. I wound up 11th in the M30-34 and 69th OA at the National Champs. The age group competition down here is definitely tighter and more competitive at the top of the field than in the States. My swim was fine, definitely need to tweak up the bike and run. We haven't been doing any group rides, just a lot of hills. Gonna have to throw myself against the wall for a few weeks and see what sticks. Would like to pull off a sub-38 10k run at USAT Nationals, have a couple minutes to go there.

Apr 16 - Today Bri and I gave anyone watching a lesson in how not to do a transition. Bri will tell you about hers but apparently she was attacked by her wetsuit. Getting mine off wasn't much better. Because it was a bit chilly and I'm not a bloodthirsty competitor just yet, I decided to put on a Northface flannel in T1. Took longer than expected. Then I put on cotton socks. They got wet. Then I put on my skullcap, shoes, and helmet. Then I was ready to rock n roll - Jerry Garcia style.

Had a good swim and decent bike but still not exactly breaking any records. My legs were very stiff on the run and it turned out my fastest bit was the last 2k. I am strong but not fast right now. Time for some more intense training. Might have made top 10 or 15 in M30-34, which is pretty good down under. I was getting used to racing with the M35-39, where I'm worshipped as a God, but this race decided to throw me back into the dogpit.

Apr 12 - Tomorrow we're off to Geelong for the Triathlon Australia Series finale. Bri has worked out a magical mystery tour of Australia for us on our way there. She has taken over operational logistics. I used to have a title something like that. Ha ha! We're going to compete with the top AGers down under then watch the pros duke it out. Should be a good time.

Apr 8 - I'm not much of one to stump for product, but Bri brought back a pair of Desoto arm coolers for me to wear. I've been in the sun for 25 years and am looking for anything that will help keep me protected. These things work well. I got them for the additional UV benefit but they actually do keep your arms cooler through some radical proprietary nanotechnology. If you spend a lot of time on long rides in the sun I highly recommend them.

Apr 4 pt 2 - A good read for anyone.

Apr 4 - Another lazy day in the triathlon life. Today we did a run-swim in the AM and an easy 1hr ride in the PM. I did a variety of work in between. Before you know it 3 hrs of training are under your belt and you're hungry. My lovely wife is back in town which means I actually get something other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. Life is good.

A big congrats to longtime OSB athlete Doug Campbell, who PR'd with a 3:09.10 at the Martian Marathon over the weekend. That 3:10 barrier is huge.

Apr 3 - If you have absolutely nothing better to do at work today, you can overanalyze my latest block of training.

Apr 1 - It's official. This morning at 7AM my time my sister in acting power of attorney sold our condo in Orlando. We are now stargazing vagabonds, as advertised on the home page of this website.

Mar 30 - Training is going well, you should fear me. I am getting fit and my hip doesn't bother me. I ride 10+ hrs a week and run every day. I swim more than 2k per session. I do strength training in my sleep. I had liposuction on my beer belly. Oh yeah. Oh, yeah.

That's my daily affirmation - anyway, this weekend is another 2.8k ocean swim, the water is still a decent temp. Next big event is the Triathlon Australia National Series Championship, very much like our USAT AG Natls in July. All the big guns will be there, will be interesting to see how I stack up.

Mar 28 - As much as I love Florida and all my peeps, urban sprawl is the main reason Bri and I will be relocating somewhere else on our return to the States. Did you know the population of FL is almost 20 million, while Montana has 800,000. Maybe we'll buy a bunker and hunker down. Realistically everywhere is going to be pretty crowded in the next 30 years, but good ole FLA just lets the concrete run amok.

Mar 26 - This week I put in just around 20 hrs of training, which is around my comfort point. I've got a pretty good little system for myself. Ride long run easy one day, run and swim the next day, repeat with some minor variations. Having the flexibility to walk out the door for a workout just about whenever I want is nice.

One thing I do a lot of in my free time besides train a lot is read articles and message boards on finances/real estate. This site has some good free articles on real estate investing. I am looking to get into some of this in the next couple years, but sometimes think it would be easier to put the equity into a couple REITs and sit back. Then I realize that REITs have people making money off my money, which I'd like to cut out. By the way, we don't really have any money, I pay for everything with your credit card.

Mar 23 pt 2 - News you might not catch a lot of in the US - a few of the Sierra Leone team members have vanished from the athlete village in Melbourne, They've all basically defected for greener pastures. Apparently the same thing happened in Manchester, UK in 2002.

Mar 23 - And justice for all?

Mar 18 - Today it was trigeek central in our house. We watched the women's Commonwealth Games tri, then went for a run. Had lunch, then watched the men's race. Went for a ride. The Aussies racked up 2 golds and a bronze in some exciting racing. The broadcast here carried the race live and virtually uninterrupted. Loretta Harrop and Greg Welch provided color commentary.

Mar 14 - Port Stephens race results are up. I have regained the title of World's Fastest Gaal! Boo-yah! Boo-yah!!

Mar 12 - Race went well, I am definitely in a bit better shape than last round. 3rd in the AG, negative split the run and solid swim-bike. The distances were mostly off so it's tough to compare times.

Mar 11 - Witticism #4: If you can't think of something wise, plagiarize.

Mar 9 - Witticism #3: When opportunity comes knocking, you better be wearing clean socks.

I've found a aquathon on the 25th and a 5k swim on the 26th to keep me entertained at the end of March. We're also going to line up at the Aussie short-course championships in Geelong, Victoria in mid-April. This will be a great opportunity to get schooled by the peaking Aussie contingent. I am feeling a bit more fit, a bit leaner, but still have a way to go until I feel 'fast'.

Mar 5 - continued. I've decided, in homage to Mark Twain and others like him, I'm going to start writing pithy one liners that will be timeless in their wisdom. I make no promises they'll be as witty or insightful as Clements, but so it goes. So - I don't make points, I just make noise. That's my first one. Here's my second one - A man needs only three things in life to be successful: A good woman, a smart lawyer, and clean socks.

Mar 5 - Next up on the Trippin06 triathlon schedule is the Port Stephens International Distance triathlon next Sunday, March 12. This is #4 in the Triathlon Australia National Series. I expect to be in a bit better shape for this one.

I don't babble on much about the coaching side of my life but it is going well. Skype and the internet have allowed me to stay pretty close to home while being on the other side of the world. Pretty cool. Had a few athletes meet some great goals recently. I'm actually looking at building up a schedule for myself and Bri. Imagine that.

Feb 27 - So this past week adds up to my biggest volume week of training. Wound up at just under 29 hours, with 3.5 swimming, 17.5 riding, almost 6 running (or hiking), and 1.5 cross training (kayaking). For the past week I've been riding around with the average power output of a 12 year old girl, though Bri likes to tell me it's a fit 12 year old.

Feb 20 - Got 5th in the 35-39 AG yesterday with an OD time of 2:15. Didn't have much power on the bike and after a few technical laps I could feel it. 87th overall! The Aussies are all in pretty good form, I have a bit of work until July. I suppose it's worth noting that this morning during an easy swim at the Hobart Aquatic center I wound up sharing a lane with Craig Walton and Emma Snowsill. Emma won the race yesterday with a 34 something 10k run. They were doing a real workout; I splashed around for 1400 in about 45 minutes.

Feb 16 - Not much new here. Yesterday I put in quite a bit of training with a 2.5hr ride, 45min run, and 4k swim. I'm feeling it today. Fortunately I no longer have to get by on 6-7 hrs of sleep.

The initial results for the race last weekend are up, the first couple guys were professionals so I don't feel so bad about being 5.5 minutes off the pace. 14th OA, not too shabby. Bri was 4th, which is great. The Hobart tri this weekend is an Australian qualifier for ITU Worlds. It will be interesting to see how we do.

Feb 12 - I managed a 3rd in the 30-34 AG. I thought this would be the start of my career as an old guy (35-39), but their computer was set up differently. Had a good time, felt pretty good on the swim and bike and held together on the run. Ran about 6:40 pace which is well off where I plan to be for USAT Nationals in July. My hip and ITB have been behaving nicely, though, which means I should be able to do the type of training thats necessary for a faster run split. Next weekend we're off for the Hobart International, it should be cooler there which will help me. Unfortunately, it's also longer.

Feb 8 - So we are entered in the Foreshore Sprint Triathlon in Newport this weekend. Due to the ITU age group rules that Australia has and that USAT adopted this year, I've lost my last year of eligibility in the 30-34 category. Whatever age you are on Dec 31 at the end of the year is the category you race in. I'll be 35 then. I will wap you with my cane if you get in my way.

Going to swim in the Collaroy beach pool in a few minutes. These pools are a great community resource - free and very pleasant scenery. Most of the beaches have them in the Sydney area.

Feb 6 - Still have some training to do...was 100th in the 2k this weekend even while feeling decent. Think the folks down here know how to swim?

Feb 3 part dieux - looks like Bri and I both made USAT All-American for 2005! Not bad for a couple of kids from the wrong side of the tracks...well, one from the wrong side and one lovely angel.

Feb 3 - Our next event is the 2k Cole Classic at Manly. This should be a fun one, there are 3 races going on - a 10k, a 2k, and a 1k. I'm not up for a 10k ocean swim just yet but there are a couple more longish ones in the next couple months. The weekend after that we begin our international triathlon careers with the Foreshore Sprint a couple hours away in Newcastle. Training has been going pretty well, I am running almost every day, the hip/ITB woes seem to have subsided for now, and we are being forced to ride in hills whenever we go. Good stuff.

Jan 30 - The Big Swim was big fun. The Aussies don't play around when it comes to ocean swimming. I was 90th out of 1500. Not bad, I suppose. Gonna have to start doing more laps. We're going out for more at the Cole Classic 2k at Manly next weekend.

Jan 26 - Ran reasonably well in the 8k. Went for a hilly bike ride the day before and felt a bit of that in my calves. My wife is still kicking my butt down the homestretch.

Jan 24 - It is going to be some fun here. We're going to do the Australia Day 8k run on Thursday. Australia Day is the anniversary of the establishment of the first British establishment in 1788. And I just found a 2.7k (The Big Swim) open water race on Sunday.

Jan 24 - Phew, we got back on the bike yesterday. They came through shipping OK but one bike box is near the point of no return. Training here will be excellent, I expect to be lean and mean again in a couple months.

Jan 20 - Got in a decent swim/run this morning. I am looking forward to getting my bike back together and loading up the miles. The foam roller we got has been a great investment, my hip is not bothering me the way it used to. The hill running here has been good for a strength building period.

Jan 18 - I am feeling better, the cold finally seems to have gone away. Our training is still a bit spotty though this morning I got in just under an hour of hilly running. Our first race will be an 8k in Centennial Park in Sydney on Jan 26, which is Australia Day.

Jan 13 - Man, I have another cold. I think it is a mutant variation of SARS-Dengue Fever-Malaria. I have been feeling out of sorts for a couple days, I guess 40 hours of travel in 6 days can do that to a body.

We got in another decent run this AM. 46minutes, there is nothing flat around here. My fat guy routine is quickly wearing thin.

Jan 12 - Today I finally got in a decent open water swim, about forty minutes, in the South China sea. The water was pretty clear but the fish have been fished out. I saw one hand sized fish, everything else is food on someone's table.

Jan 9 - I would really like to get a swim in. That ain't happening for a few more days. Ran 45 min on the treadmill with some free weights after yesterday. Good by 'healthy exercise standards,' I suppose.

Jan 8 - Finally got some exercise in yesterday. 40min of running and some calisthenics. Today we hope to get in a 6-7 miler. Big training.

Jan 6 - We made it to Hong Kong without much fuss. Our ATM cards didn't work at the airport machine so we're currently going without cash, fortunately our hotel had a shuttle service which bills to the room. I'd like to thank all the world traveling geniuses who suggested I wouldn't need to bring US dollars with me, "The ATMs will be just fine." Should get it straightened out shortly.

Jan 4 - It's about 1:30AM our time here in San Fran right now. We got to see the Golden Gate Bridge from about 10 miles away, quite magestic. This airport has got to be one of the nicest in the country. I would say something funny here but I'm a little too tired.

Jan 3 - We spent the last 2 days clearing out the condo in prep for our trip, my back is torqued and my training is non-existent. we leave tomorrow afternoon, bound for Hong Kong. Seeya somewhere!