Marty Gaal's Update Archive - 2007

Dec 29 - PokerStars Tournament #71071650, No Limit Hold'em

Buy-In: $0.25
4148 players
$100.00 added to the prize pool by
Total Prize Pool: $1137.00
Tournament started - 2007/12/28 - 22:00:00 (ET)

Dear tassie12,

You finished the tournament in 108th place.
A $1.37 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Dec 28 - Yack yack yack. I recently bumped my swims from the 3-3.5k range to 4-4.5k. Doing them all by my lonesome these days. Boooo-rrrrring. Made it into the money of a no-limit hold-em online poker tournament last night. That was my third tournament. Very exciting. Finished 578th out of 4008 starters. Won $0.56! More than doubled my buy in of $0.25. I am so freaking money.

Dec 27 - Results of weekly survey #3:

1. Please pick the best answer:
46% - All of the above
17% - None of the above
8.3% - TIE: A, C, A and B, C and D
4.2% - D
0% - B.
The correct answer was C. Duh.

2. I know Marty from:
67% - Triathlon/run training & competition
21% - Only through the internet
12.5% - He speaks to me in my dreams
0% - TIE: Miami/High school, FSU, UCF, The Jersey Shore
Apparently I'm not very interesting to my old friends, but I'm still a dreamweaver on the astral planes baby, yeah baby yeah!

3. Who do you think write's Tassie's blog?
29.2% - Tassie, Stupid!
29.2% - Marty
16.7% - Bri
16.7% - Marty and Bri
8.3% - Stephen Hawking
The correct answer is Stephen Hawking.

4. If I won one million dollars in a lottery (after tax), I would:
33.3% - Not much different - save it and maybe spend a little on friends/kids/family
25% - Retire and do more with family / hobbies
16.7% - Be rich
8% - Quit my job and start a business
4% - TIE: Move into a nicer home, Take a dream vacation, Buy you a monkey, or an emu
4% - Go to Vegas, get loaded, and bet it all on black
The correct answer is to buy a basket of foreign currencies and resource/commodity funds.

5. My favorite alcoholic beverage is:
42% - Beer (reading this site, you'd think so, huh)
21% - Wine
17% - Some other spirit
8% - Moonshine
4% - TIE: I don't drink, Tequila, Double malt scotch
The correct answer ish blurry and inilegible

6. My favorite thing to do during the holidays is:
29% - Give presents
25% - Spend time with my extended family
17% - open presents
13% - Tell everyone how much I hate the friggin' holidays
8% - Get drunk on eggnog and insult relatives I haven't seen in a while
8% - It involves guns, drugs, and bad elves
The correct answer is the last one, obviously.

Dec 24 - Merry Christmas eve! I hope you're having a good one. We're here in VA hanging out with family. I've been glued to the Xbox and Call of Duty 4. My wife isn't so happy about that but it keeps me out of trouble.

Dec 22 - Today I'm going to ride four hours. It'll be interesting. It's cloudy and chilly out. Might go see I am Legend sometime this weekend. Off to VA tomorrow for family fun. I got a present for Bri that I hope she likes. I didn't get anything for anybody else, if you get something from us, Bri gave it to you. And I wasn't kidding about the christmas cards, either. Sorry!

Dec 21 - Results of weekly survey #2:

1. Marty most reminds me of:
31% - A good friend of mine (you obviously have good taste in friends)
24% - The kid down the street I used to beat up in grade school (try it now, YOU BIG JERK)
17% - My mildly retarded cousin (just picking this answer is politically incorrect and means you can never run for public office)
14% have great taste and said I remind you of George Clooney
7% of you get the chills every time you visit since I remind you of an ex-boyfriend.

2. Bri most reminds me of:
45% - A good friend of mine
42% - She is unique, Marty is a lucky SOB
7% - My sister
3.5% TIE - A swimsuit model, and an ex-girlfriend

3. My favorite meal of the day is:
31% - Breakfast
28% - I am a pig dog and eat all day. There is mustard on my shirt right now
21% - Lunch
17% - Dinner
3.5% - Food is for weaklings

4. I know Bri from:
65% - Triathlon/run training & competition
25% - Only through the internet
10% - St. Petersburg / High school
0% - Auburn and UCF

5. I am (pick the most applicable one):
52% - An age group triathlete
24% - A stalker. I told you that!
10% TIE - Freaky deaky baby!, and A random person who enjoys your viewpoint on life

Margin of error +/- 100%. Thanks for playing, the next survey is posted above. Have a nice weekend!

Dec 19 - So today to change things up, I'm working downstairs instead of upstairs. Gettin' crazy. I even turned on the Fox Business channel for some comforting human background noise. It's like a house full of strangers I don't really like, but have to put up with anyway. Maybe if I listen to everyone yapping something will soak in. You'd think someone died the way they ooze disappointment when the wide market dropped into the negative for the day. I sold off a couple positions yesterday to take the capital loss on taxes this year. Big numbers, me. 80 stocks x 3 bucks. Lost about $200 there. Market mover in action. I was fortunate enough to pick up a China ETF before it quadrupled, then sold it near its recent peak. Now I gotta pay taxes on that. And this was a decent year for OSB believe it or not. I ran out of ways to write things off as expenses. Bah. Tax man! Fie on you!

Dec 18 - Hey everybody. Merry Christmas. We love you all. But you're probably not going to get a card from us. Don't feel bad. It's not that we don't want to send you a card. We do. Really. But it's just not the right time. It's not you, OK? It's us. I hope this christmas card break-up doesn't get you down. I'm sure you'll have plenty of others. You deserve them. You're a good person, you know? You should believe that about yourself. We just need this christmas card time to ourselves this year. Don't give up hope. We'll come back to you next season. Don't forget us.

Dec 16 - In addition to my career as an online comic, I do real work. I got an honorable mention on the worlds best tri coaches thread on Slowtwitch. This is the equivalent of being nominated for an MTV music award.

Dec 15 - Bri and I had a nice run this morning on the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail here in Chesapeake, VA. How can you go wrong with a name like Dismal Swamp? Tomorrow we're going to go run in the Melancholy Forest then have breakfast at the Forlorn Widow Restaurant.

Dec 14 - Results of weekly survey #1:

1. How many different blogs do you read each week?
66% - 1-5, I'm sort of normal
21% - Yours is the only one, it is so awesome, golly gee (Well thanks!)
10% - 6-15, I'm a bit freaky

2. In an eight hour workday, I actually work about:
48% - Close to 8 hours
24% - About 4 hours
14% - I work more than eight hours

3. My immediate family's net worth is:
41% - Between $100 to 500,000
21% - Less than $100,000
14% TIE - I don't even know what net worth is (net worth is your total assets minus your total liabilities.)
14% TIE - Whatever it is, more than you, nyah nyah! (Oh, how mature.)
10% - over 1 million buckaroos

4. When no one is looking, I like to:
45% - Commit random acts of kindness
31% - Sing silly love songs
25% - It ryhymes with binternet worn
Only a couple of you admit to stealing from retirees and children.

5. If you were granted one wish, it would be:
24% TIE - Go back in time and do something different - and - Show me the money, 1 billion dollars
20% - Climb the highest mountain, cross the biggest sea, etc
14% - Write a bestselling novel, screenplay, etc or other creative work

Total respondents: 29. Have a nice weekend, the next survey is posted above!

Dec 13 - Results of the original "about this site" survey:
1. Why do you visit Please pick your top reason.
They are funny - 32%
I am a stalker - 26%
The interesting comments - 26%

2. Why do you visit Pick your second top reason.
The interesting comments - 35%
I am bored at work - 26%

3. How did you find this website?
Marty or Bri told me about it - 36%
A link on another site - 32%

4. What would you like to see more of? Top pick.
More funny time wasting stuff - 50%
Serious commentary on triathlon related stuff - 24%

5. What would you like to see more of? Second pick.
Serious commentary on triathlon related stuff - 27%
Next 3 evenly split among Tassie commentary, political commentary, and time wasting stuff. Most of you aren't voyeurs.

6. If you could say one thing to Marty & Bri, what would it be?
Thanks bunches for the entertainment - 68%
6% or 2 people hate (presumably my) guts
6% or 2 people have secret crushes
6% or 2 people think we are type-A ego freaks
6% or 2 people think ha ha ha we're so funny
9% or 3 people knew one of us a long time ago

Total respondents: 34. Thanks for playing!

Dec 12 - Rode outside for three hours today. Ramping back up. Ironman Arizona is just around the corner. Weather was unseasonably warm the past couple of days. In the 70s here. Going to Virginia for the weekend. Niece's birthday. Party. Back for Christmas. Might go on a surf trip in June. Costa Rica. Would be fun. Gonna sell everything and grow bananas. Live in a hammock. Keep on rocking in the real world.

Dec 10 - The masters group is doing well, growing faster than I had predicted. 15 people showed up this morning. We will probably need to expand lanes in January. I am psyched about this, running a good masters group has been something I've wanted to do for a while. Writing the practices is the easy part. In Orlando I had a great group but access was limited since we ran it from a YMCA.

Dec 9 - So the survey below has proven popular enough that I've come up with some new infotainment for you. Every Sunday or Monday I'll post a new five question survey. On Friday of each week I'll post the results. Most of you are looking for time wasting funny stuff. No problem. I'll post full results from the survey below this Friday as well.

I'd talk about training here but most of ya ain't interested! :P

Dec 7 - Want to waste some time? Click Here to take a survey about this website.

Happy Five year engagement anniversary to Bri! Exactly five years ago today, I trapped her in a giant swan in the middle of Lake Eola in downtown Orlando and forced a ring onto her finger. She's never been the same.

Dec 6 - I occasionally catch grief for my total lack of interest in most team sports. I make an effort to follow what's going on with the Seminoles and the college football scene in very general terms, but beyond that couldn't tell you who is doing what out there. No clue. Don't care. Can't even make myself care. Tough because when sports come up in a discussion, I just have to nod my head and keep my eyes from glazing over. The thought of spending eight hours on the couch on a Sunday watching NFL makes me squirm. I got into basketball for a while, watching the Orlando Magic, but you've got to be a real fan of either the team or particular players since the players change allegiance regularly. With ticket prices and beverages for a game for a couple running near a Ben Franklin, I can't get into any of it. My apathy on this subject has lately been leaking over to the noise of every day politics and world happenings. It's all the same nonsense, repeated ad nauseum. Peace in the Middle East. Taxpayer bailouts. He said, she said. Strife in Africa. Market up, market down. Famous people doing weird things. Violence in the inner city. Nothing changes. A hundred years from now the only difference will be the medium of delivery.

Dec 5 pt 2 - My slowtwitch wisdom from today:

My three steps to simplification:

Dec 5 - I've started taking a razor to my scalp. Going for the pure cueball look. Sort of like Vin Deisel meets Screech.

Dec 4 - I don't have anything to say but figured you'd want an update by now. Not much going on. We bought some headlamps for nighttime running in Umstead park. We saw a deer's eyes shining back at us from the shadows of the trees. A young buck ran in front of Bri's car as she exited the park. It is getting cold in the Triangle. The leaves have fallen and the skies are cold and gray. Winter is upon us. It's christmas time! Bri gets presents! Yay!

Dec 2 - Having a nice time here in Orlando. My niece Cate is about six weeks old, she's very cute. Sleep eat cry poop repeat. Everyone should have one. The races went well yesterday, Bri took second in the 5k and I paced one of my athletes in for a PR under 1:33 for the half.

Nov 29 - Bri and I are headed down to Orlando to visit our peeps, see our new niece, and run in the OUC half-marathon (me) or 5k (Bri). It'll be good to catch up with everyone. I am not planning to break any records out there, just going to enjoy the run as much as is possible.

In other news, since I would like to do pretty well at Ironman Arizona next April, I've hired a coach to help me out. Kevin Purcell has developed a specialty in coaching competitive long distance athletes. I don't have a bunch of experience setting up 25 hour training weeks (I usually top myself out around 20) so decided to hire someone who does. The goal is to get on stage and break 3:30 on the run. I ran a 3:37 in my first IM in 2001 but haven't gotten back there since.

Nov 28 - So you enjoy writing a blog?

Nov 27 - So you want to be a writer?

Nov 22 - Happy Thanksgiving! Bri and I ran the Inside-Out Sports Turkey Trot 8k this morning. I took it out a bit faster than planned in the first couple miles then decided to wait up for Bri, who was running a more sensible pace. We crossed the finish line together at just over 34 minutes. Since our families are both scattered all over the place, we decided to spend this Thanksgiving chilling out around town with our dog. We're going to go online shopping for a clothes dryer. Exciting times here in the Gaal household.

Nov 21 - I've had a few requests for OSB gear and finally got around to setting things up on Cafe Press. So if you'd like a logo t-shirt or cap, check out our new One Step Beyond Cafe Press store. I used to have to buy the t-shirts then have them screened and printed separately. Cafe Press has drastically reduced my overhead and effort. As well as knocked a bunch of people out of business, but that's a different story.

Nov 19 - A few years ago I told a buddy that eventually I'd like to be able to run my own business from home. He had spent a couple years mostly telecommuting and he told me I'd hate it, get bored, go stir crazy, etcetera. I told him it'd never happen. Well. Here we are. When we were traveling Bri was home to keep me entertained and engaged with humanity. Now I'm a virtual slave, an inadvertant and accidental prisoner to the magical electronic kingdom. Most of my communication with the outside world is limited to email and the occasional semaphore to the other telecommuters in my cul-de-sac. We have our own language. Orange means happy. Green means the mailman is coming, hide! These and other hallucinatory objects in my life are a sure sign of impending madness. Going stir crazy. Loco. Cabin fever. I. must. get. out. of. the. house. Period. I walk the dog. She is a good companion, but her vocabulary is limited. Squirrel! Rabbit! Run! I require slightly more stimulation. So I am at a crossroads. Do I hire on at my local supermarket as a grocery bagger, for the pure simple pleasure of another human's smile? Do I wander down to the corner Starbucks, like all the other rubes and squares, order a grande double skinny latte and plonk down listening to pseudo reggae cool jazz while I type furiously on my shinynew laptop, proving to all the fellow javaheads I do in fact have a - real - job? Is the price of six to ten hours a week making donkey wages and getting pooped on by snotty desperate housewives worth delaying the onset of wall-bouncing, gibbering insanity? I am having a furious Hunter S Thompson moment here.

Nov 18 - We had a really nice time over in Waynesville yesterday and today. We ate way too much good food and wandered around the General store. Uncle Tommy beat me at six games of pool. Today we took Tassie for a hike up into mountains. The leaves are still changing so we had some really great scenery. Going to buckle down a bit and start my "training to train" regimen this week.

Nov 17 - Bri has tagged me to tell everyone five things about myself that most people don't know. My first list dredged up some of the really dark things I've seen or done in my life, and you don't want to read that, so here is my happier, sunnier version.

I'm not sure who I'll tag next just yet.

Nov 15 - Happy Birthday to my Mom and sister-in-law Heather!

This weekend I am off for a couple of days with my guy in-laws and some of their friends/associates for "Man Fest 07." We're going up to a hunting cabin outside of North Wilkesboro to sit around, drink beer, shoot guns, and play cards. My father-in-law, uncle-in-law, and brother-in-law will all be going. My plan is to drink a bunch of beer, say embarassing things, and take everyone's money in poker. On Saturday, f-i-l, u-i-l, and I will take off to meet up with Bri & Tassie outside of Waynesville. We'll spend the night at the cabin that Bri and I spent our first anniversary at. We'll probably wander around town a bit then tell stories in front of a fireplace. On Sunday Bri and I will check out some of the national park trails then return home. I am enjoying this time of year without the dead serious comittment to triathlon training. I've managed to keep my weight steady by -gasp- not eating as much.

Nov 13 - My buddy Bill Payne of Bill Payne Design is in the process of redesigning the One Step Beyond website. We've had it in a flash format for the past three years and figured it was time to update things based on what we know about the search capabilities of flash, timeliness, utility, etcetera. We're never going to do more than change the pictures and the font size with, there are waaaay to many separate pages for me to go back through to edit and update. Basically we'll keep this as a basic html site until timelike infinity.

I occasionally visit other athlete's blogs and see that a few coaches also have ongoing blogs. It is nice to see some folks letting it all hang out. I don't write much about coaching or the coaching business on this particular page as this is essentially my personal (yet public) diary, and I prefer to keep things separate. I also notice that some of my blogging brethren express much deeper and cogent thoughts than I appear to be able to. In general I just don't penetrate very far into my psyche often enough to offer up tidbits of highly insightful info. As for analyses of current events, ongoing geopolitical changes, my local governance happenings, forget about it. I can barely read and am more concerned with the rise in the price of hops, which is going to be directly passed along to the consumer of craft brews.

Nov 12 - Bri and I both had good runs yesterday. She cruised in around 19:30 in the 5k and I negative split the 10k around 20:20 and 20:00 flat. Pretty sore today. Not bad for having spent most of the last month lounging around our living room, eating bon bons and playing with the dog. The future looks bright, I gotta wear shades.

Nov 11 - We're off to run in the Old Reliable 5k (Bri) or 10k (muah) this afternoon. This was the first race we did together as new residents of the Triangle area last year. Weather last year was cold, misty, and windy as heck. Today is going to be high 50s and sunny with no wind. Neither of us are feeling particularly spunky, especially after a two hour ride yesterday (long by our current standards) and a birthday beer weekend for me. We're both looking to go sub-8s. By the way, I'd like to thank Bri for putting up with me recently, I've been all sorts of grumbly.

Nov 8 - Happy birthday to me. Took it easy today, did a bit of housework and homework. We're going to celebrate tomorrow since we've got to get up at the buttcrack of dawn for masters practice.

Nov 7 - I'm just a few hours away from turning 36. Time flies when you're having fun. Hard to believe I've made it this far.

Nov 5 - You should all check out this site. Chad Rucks lost fifty-seven pounds over the past year and beat his goal time by more than an hour. Not a bad day.

Nov 4 - Had a bunch of fun watching everyone hammer the course here in Panama City Beach. OSB had a good showing, with everyone meeting or beating their goal time. I carbo loaded all day and found some inspiration in the race.

Nov 2 - Here in Panama City Beach to cheer on athletes at Ironman Florida tomorrow. The air is thick with anticipation. Sculpted bodies mill about, gazing competitively at each other. Determined faces run down the street at full speed. Cyclists weave in and out of traffic. Smiles are few and far between. A select few show no nerves. They are the essence of pre-race cool. For everyone else, you could cut the tension with a knife, if tension was a meat-like substance, and the knife was very sharp.

Oct 30 - Had six folks show up for the first OSB masters practice yesterday. I think it has the potential to turn into a nice big group over time. In all probability we'll take a loss on it for a couple months, but hope to break even by Jan or Feb. The facility is fantastic. If you live in the Triangle area, or are visiting, definitely check it out.

I'm off to Panama City Beach via Tallahassee on Thursday to cheer on some athletes at Ironman Florida. Always great to watch one of these. Unfortunately Bri can't go because it's crunch time at her job. Travel is always a bit more fun with my honeybun around.

Oct 26 - I have gotten to the point with my balding/hair loss that I'd appreciate it if it would just accelerate and leave me with a nice clean scalp. Have a nice weekend, we're going to laze around town and get some easy riding and running in.

Oct 24 - Not a whole bunch going on in Marty world right now. I signed up for Facebook and Myspace a couple weeks ago and have been wasting a lot of time on those sites. We have this but it's all one way communication, the networking sites are easier ways to stay in touch. Bri and I are in an unofficial competition to see who has more 'friends.' So if you're on either site feel ping me, befriend me, or whatever it is. I reckon Bri has the upper hand since she comes from a younger, cooler, hipper generation. A lot of my friends can barely turn on a computer. The off season is great for wasting time on silly stuff. I think I like Facebook a bit more.

Oct 22 - Welcome little Catherine Looney into the world! A happy 7 pounder born at 7:20 AM this morning. You can call me Uncle Marty. Mother and daughter are both fine.

Oct 20 - I am back home with my two favorite girls. We've got the NCTS awards ceremony tonight then will check out the Spotted Dog Restaurant in Carrboro. It is a vegetarian place that serves microbrews. Had a nice visit with my family this week. My sister is pregnant and is having a c-section on Monday. It's a precautionary move and she and the baby will be fine. I've got a couple nieces on Bri's side of the family but am about to be a proud uncle. I'm sure it will be interesting. Bri and I are still a long walk away from children. They are cute and do nice things but cost a fortune and also poop and puke a lot. I would ramble on about meaningful things here but am just not that deep or sincere. I'm still amazed that one hundred people a day (+/-) take a peek at what we're thinking. Drop a line and say "hi" for Pete's sake, who the heck are ya?!? Have I not bored you yet? ;) Anyway, hope you have a nice weekend.

Oct 18 - I've found my new calling. After years of watching Texas Hold 'em on TV, I finally played in a couple games. 2-4 limit, which means the bets are limited to 2 dollars in the first couple rounds (with 2 dollar raises) and 4 in the last 2 (with 2 re-raises possible each round). On Tuesday night I won a couple hands but misplayed a few others and was down forty bucks. But last night I read the cards a bit better, played for 3 hours, and finished up 11 dollars. My dad played in a $60 no limit tournament with 9 others and won that. We came out slightly ahead for the two days. So much for triathlon. :) Off to see my very pregnant sis in a few hours.

Just kidding, due to market forces I've already planned my 2008 season.

Oct 16 - I am down in Miami for a couple days visiting my Dad. We're going to play some Texas Hold'em tonight, then go fishing in Biscayne Bay tomorrow. He recently moved into a condo that has all sorts of amenities and he's really happy with it. About to go run a couple miles on a treadmill.

In other news, I have been sleeping very poorly lately, due I think in part at least to my low training volume. I have too much energy to burn.

Oct 13 - So last night we showed John n Bron around downtown Raleigh a bit. They were thoroughly impressed with the Flying Saucer, which I've hyped endlessly on this website and in emails. I'm a beer geek and Bri loves the pretzels they serve. It's a good match. We saw them off this morning, they'll be doing a Florida tour before heading back down under. Very fun people. I forgot to mention that John and I went to the FSU-Wake Forest game on the way home from Asheville. The reffing was a bit crazy but the game was fun.

Oct 12 - Wow, Tassie had some harsh words for Camp Canine!

We had a nice time in Asheville with John n Bron. Wanted to check out the Biltmore Estate but it costs an arm and a leg to walk on the property. Instead we went to downtown and did some shopping. Had a couple very nice runs on the Mountains to Sea trail which was just off the back of the property we stayed on. Also went and checked out Chimney Rock, which was really nice. Gonna take them downtown tonight and show off some of the Raleigh nightlife.

Oct 10 - We're taking a mini-vacation with our friends John and Bron for a couple days. Gonna check out the Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Mountains to Sea trail, and a couple local breweries. Might run. Might not!

Oct 8 - My last elite triangle team race report for the year.

Oct 7 - In our continuing efforts to be barfgaggingly cute, Bri and I managed to exactly tie our run times at this past weekend's triathlon. Yes, we are one, like the Borg. Except Bri doesn't know what the Borg are and thinks I'm a dork.

Oct 6 - Well, I had a great swim and bike today, but I think three weeks of low mileage training has left me without a bunch of go-juice leftover for the run. Finished seventh overall in a respectable 2:03.33 nonetheless. Fast group of athletes racing today, Kevin Lisska was second and clinched the series. I'll wind up second in the series, which ain't too shabby. Hanging my bike on the wall for a while and won't be doing anything requiring an elevated heart rate for several months. This includes walking up stairs and cleaning the house. Off to the Beer Fest!

Oct 5 - Sometimes I exist in a vacuum. This week I barely left the house, except on Wednesday when Bri and I went out for some dinner. Basically all I did was work on things related to coaching and triathlon. My only connection to the rest of the world was through Jon Stewart, the Colbert Report, and our local newspaper. Of course, I have started talking to the dog. Normally I get out of the house more. That's OK though. We'll rectify my temporary agoraphobia with a challenging Saturday morning triathlon, followed by a trip to the World Beer Festival in Durham on Saturday night. I am really fired up...for one of them.

Next week our friends from the land Down Under, John and Bron (featured often in the first part of our trippin06 diaries), will be visiting us for the week. We're gonna take them over to Asheville for some mountain fun, then hit the FSU-Wake Forest game on the way home.

Oct 3 - So the NCTS wraps up this weekend with the Pinehurst Triathlon in Pinehurst. Apparently that's a famous place for golf. It's about an hour from our house. If you've been anxiously checking the NCTS overall standings all season, you've probably seen my name at the top for a while now. It helps that I'll have done 12 of the 15 series races. Yes, I agree, that's crazy. Next year we're checking out and doing random races. The overall standings will be decided this weekend, I have a small shot at holding onto 1st and a pretty good lock on 2nd. I'd like to be able to go out and win with some sort of phenomenal race, but at this point the odds on that are pretty long. It's been a good season, certainly my best since 2003.

Oct 1 - If you're local to the Triangle area and looking for a solid group of swimmers to train with, we've got good news. The Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary is opening on October 28, and on October 29th we're kicking off OSB Cary Masters. Triangle legend Greg Sanchez will also be joining us. Practices will be held M, W, and F from 6-7AM. I'll be on deck.

Sep 29 - Had a nice time at the Wilmington YMCA tri this morning. Bri and I woke up at 2:20 AM to load up the puppy and drive down. We listened to some Howard Stern and arrived at 5, plenty of time to pick up our packets and get settled in. I felt good on the swim and pushed hard. Wasn't able to stay with Matt W this time though. Had a bit of trouble sighting the 3rd buoy and lost a few seconds there. Was 2nd out of the swim with teammates Aaron K and Paul M just behind. On the bike I felt like I haven't ridden much in the past couple weeks. Just couldn't put it into the big gears. I felt good on the run but everyone else did as well. Was in 3rd place with just 1/2 mile to go when three fellers passed me. Ah well. My only regret is that they were handing out mugs as awards, you know I would make good use out of something like that. ;-). Matt Wisthoff ran strong to win, Paul McCall took 2nd just a bit back, and then teammate Douglas Liming took 3rd in a dead out sprint between him, Dan Young, and Lance Panigutti from Boulder. Going to train a little more this week and hope I can sharpen up for Pinehurst, the series finale.

Today Bri and I will nap a bit then enjoy the FSU-Alabama game somewhere. Bri did very well, taking 2nd and probably beating me by 30 seconds on the run. Tassie also did very well, no tantrums and she refrained from pooping in the transition area.

Sep 27 - I have worked through my buyer's remorse issues and have moved on. This weekend we're racing in the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon, which gets more than 1,000 athletes. It's a long swim sprint race. This would normally be good for me, but after laying around for two weeks eating doughnuts, I am not taking any bets. Will definitely push the pace as is possible, and we'll see what happens.

Sep 25 - So yesterday I had to learn more about water heating systems than I want to know. On Friday I opened our utility closet to discover an inch of water on the ground. This isn't good. I spoke with a plumber, who identified our system as a direct vent, then informed me that if the unit is leaking internally it is SOL, since the tank welds themselves are cracked. He then quoted me a R&R price which popped my eyes out of my head. I said thanks, maybe you can walk me through shutting off the water on this thing while I get it sorted out. Then we take off for the wedding. Deal with it on our return. Monday I head to Lowe's to check into getting a heater/install here, sure it will be less expensive than my plumber friend. Ah, but wait, Lowe's won't do direct vent installation due to liability. So much for that. Sears? Same story. Call up Fergusons, a specialty plumbing store. They don't do installation but give me a couple recommendations. Call them up. Guess what? The eye popping price is what it's going to cost us to replace this thing. I could go buy a different unit, but because of the venting system would need to have someone adjust the fittings and so on. Or we could get an electric unit, and then pay an electrician to install breakers etc, then a plumber to install the unit. Any way you slice it, lots of cash goes out the door. Fortunately, we do have some emergency reserves. Unfortunately, I dwell on our savings rate incessantly.

I'm sure someone will offer me a lower cost option (you should have done this! you got ripped off!) several weeks after it's all said and done. I will take a deep breath and go back to talking about my 5k splits later this week. ;)

Sep 24 pt 2 - Awesome, more home improvement repairs! This time it's our direct vent natural gas water heater. No christmas vacation this year.

Sep 24 - I try to keep this pretty topical but occasionally I get in the mood to post something else. One of the first pieces of the paper I read in my morning ritual is the comics. I like the comics, they make me laugh and go ha ha, like my little puppy. Some of the comics are tired and old and lame, like Garfield and Blondie, some of them are new and witty and interesting, like Bizzaro World, Liu, Pearls Before Swine, and Frazz. Dilbert is still enjoyable but gets a bit old now, how many jokes can you make about the water cooler dialogue, right? But I wanna talk about Funky Winkerbean. I never read this comic until recently since it wasn't in our local paper. Man, the story lately is just friggin depressing. One of the main characters is dying of cancer. And she's not going to win the battle. She's on her deathbed now. I tend to skip over it for most of the week but occasionally check it out and she's still dying. Jesus wept. I'm sure many of you have had family members and friends die from cancer. I had a good buddy die from brain cancer a few years ago. It sucks. So this made me wonder what the f*ck is going on in our world, when our government (and the people they represent, supposedly) is willing to spend a billion freaking dollars a day on a war that arguably was unnecessary, but underfunds cancer research and puts a shitload of roadblocks in the way of approval for drugs and methods that might help people with cancer. It's not like cancer is an old age disease, hitting you at 90 or so; it can nab anyone, anytime. I try not to think too deeply about things like this because the reality is just sad; people are greedy SOBs and the world isn't fair. I support the Armed Forces whole heartedly, in fact I am a proponent of two years of mandatory government service (not necessarily armed forces), I feel that's the least we could do as a society to continue to live in the best (or one of the best) countries in the world, but I do not trust my government at any level to do what's best for US. There's no confusion there.

But, say what you will about him, Lance Armstrong is doing his part to speak up about things like this. I'm not a die hard Lance fan, but it is great to see someone who has the profile and muscle to make some noise, make good noise. Maybe we all should.

Sep 22 - We attended a beautiful wedding ceremony this morning at the UGA Botanical Gardens here in Athens. It was great to see our friends Melissa (OSB coach) and Dave tie the knot. It only took seven years, not bad. :). After the ceremony Bri and I hurried back to our hotel to grab our running gear and go back to the Gardens for a really nice trail run. Check it out if you get a chance. Now I'm enjoying a local brew from Sweetwater Brewery (out of Atlanta). Gonna go check out the downtown in a bit.

Sep 21 - Believe it or not, I actually made it off the couch for a few hours of easy training this week. Been dragging a bit but starting to feel better the past couple of days. We're off to Athens GA for a wedding this weekend. I've never been there, they tell me it's nice. I would say some more witty and insightful things here, but I have to work on my newsletter.

Sep 18 pt 2 - Wow, I must be a genius. Our retirement portfolio went up three percent today. All we need are a few hundred more days like this, and Bri and I are living on a sixty foot yacht in the Aegean Sea. We'll also need to Mcupgrade to a McMansion before rates start going back up in two or three years. Lock in those one year CD rates baby, Mcanalyze your Mcrisk tolerance, times is tough in la-la land.

Sep 18 - Here's a link to an expanded Duke Half race report.

Sep 17 - I had a good race this weekend, PR'ing the course by more than five minutes and took third overall. Went out hard to stay with Matt Wisthoff, our local phenom swimmer. The lake was pretty choppy and I excel in rougher conditions, so this helped me. Came out about 15 seconds down on Matt. Had a great bike ride. In 2004 I split 1:05 for the first 25 miles, this time I did it in about 1 hour, and that's with a water bottle ejection & retrieval. Around mile 17 when we go over Old US 1, there was traffic backed up at the stop sign and the cops were sleeping. I had to yell at everyone that I was coming through and wound up drilling into the railroad tracks just after US 1 since I was looking for traffic instead of watching the road. Only lost a few seconds retrieving the bottle and stayed highly motivated. Kept the pace up throughout and felt really good. I knew I was working it, but my intention at this race was to ride just below my red line and see how it played out, I knew the run might be painful but sometimes you've gotta go for gold.

I came in first off the bike, and Alex M-M, a pro from Vermont, came off the bike about one minute down on me. He passed me around mile four of the run. I ran fluid and relaxed and was holding about seven minute miles for most of the race. It was painful at times and I underdid my calorie intake a bit early on, which led to a minor bonk for miles 8 and 9. Then I started hollering for coke (which the volunteers were not volunteering - you had to ask for it). That gave me the kick I needed and I ran hard for the final three miles. I thought I finished second, but my new and official arch-enemy Steve Riddle from Georgia raced in the age-group wave and beat me by 40 seconds, so I wound up third in a time of 4:23.37. Steve beat me by 1 minute 16 sec at the White Lake Half and by 10 minutes at Eagleman 70.3, so I suppose I'm getting better. :). Alex M-M won by almost ten minutes, and Richard Armstrong ran strong to finish less than two minutes behind me.

Sep 14 - I'm slowly restoring a lot of old website stuff from a backup disk, which fortunately pastenseMarty was smart enough to make. I know the picture pages are missing a lot, but if you happen to be wandering through the site and notice any other broken links, feel free to let me know about it and I'll see if there's a backup.

In other news, the weather is going to be nice for the Duke half on Sunday. I am feeling pretty good and looking forward to it. It's definitely the most competitive the race has been in a while, there are 3 or 4 pros and a handful of really strong amateurs racing. I'm going in with the attitude of pushing hard and being happy with how the chips may fall. It's been a good season and I've enjoyed being healthy and pretty fit.

Sep 12 - Owning a home is a great thing, but there's a lot of work that goes into it. I gave up on trying to fertilize our front lawn, so we've outsourced that duty. I'm still in charge of mowing, raking, and watering though. We also have to get the side of our house painted. Cash in, cash out. The drought has been so bad that a lot of trees are experiencing an early fall - they're packing it in. So I'm out back running around with a hose trying to make sure our old growth trees don't croak on us. We've got around 50 trees on our property, more than half of them pines. So add to this either a weekly bagging of pine needles, or a monthly super bagging. Funny enough, I enjoy doing most of it, except when I don't.

Sep 9 - Whoops, I waited a little too long and the final race in the NCTS - Pinehurst - filled up without me in it. I've got mixed feelings about that. On one hand I'd like to call it a season after Duke. On the other I should race for some final series points. Made it onto the waitlist so we'll see. There's money on the line but I've been training hard and mostly nonstop since last November and am mentally whipped. If I don't get in I'll be out cheering Bri on with a smile on my face.

Sep 8 - Bri and I had a nice ride reviewing the Duke half course this morning. We finished with a trip to Biscuitville, a local fast food joint. I'd like to make this my final race of the season, but the NCTS has two more in it so I'll probably slug those out on fumes. We're going to meet up with the FSU Triangle Alumni association tonight for the FSU game vs UAB. Listening to the Grateful Dead channel on Sirius. I'm flashing back, baby. Do you think this post could get any more disjointed?

Sep 5 - Arrgh! My website host decided to go out of business over Labor Day with no warning to their customers. We're going to have to rebuild some of the site and pictures.

Sep 3 - As you may have guessed from reading Bri's blog, training took a hit this weekend. I did great by normal person standards, OK by trigeek standards. Ran 1:20 on Saturday, rode 1:20 on Sunday, and surfed/bodysurfed every day. I haven't been surfing in a year so that was a lot of fun, there were some decent little ankle swells. Fun to catch on a longboard. We had a good time.

Aug 31 - Off to New Smyrna / Ponce Inlet in a few hours. The five day training totals: 11.5 hours riding, 3:20 running, 3.5 swimming, .5 lifting.

Aug 29 - Longtime OSB athlete Steve Vaughn and I are in the midst of an unofficial training camp in prep for the Duke half. Already pretty tired but staying tough. By Friday we will have logged 12 hours riding, 3.5 hours running, and 4-4.5 hours swimming. Bri and I are headed to the beach to meet up with some buds for Labor Day weekend, but I'll keep things going with a 2 hour beach run and a 3 hour Sunday ride. Swim or surf every day. The ten day goal is to get over 20 hours riding, 7-8 hours running, and 7 hours swimming. I'd run more but don't want to get hurt. There's no other reason for this other than that I haven't done a focused big period this year, and there's no time like the present. Duke is going to be a competitive race with a handful of new pros and a bunch of experienced racers in the mix.

Aug 27 - Whoo hoo! I passed both sections of the National Strength and Conditioning Association CSCS exam. 84% on the scientific portion and 77% on the practical/applied portion. Not the greatest score in the world there, but a pass is a pass. This means two things: 1) I'm officially a NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist. 2) My rates are going up. ;)

Aug 25 - Took 2nd this morning to Lance Leo, who dropped me like a bad habit on the final leg. I had a strong swim and bike, then one of my decent but nothing special runs. Was first out of the swim and held the lead until around mile 1 of the run. My goal had been to hammer the bike and that part worked out well. The run was getting hot and humid and you know how I feel about that - barf time. It was a very competitive field, so I'm really happy with the second place.

Bri did very well and won the race. I'm sure she'll tell you all about it. Tassie also did very well, only barking a couple times during the night and she never pawed my face while I was fast asleep, like I was expecting. I've got Bri for that. :)

Aug 24 - Bri, Tassie, and I are headed to Lake Norman for the Lake Norman triathlon tomorrow morning. It's another race I've never done and the water temp is currently 89. Tassie is very excited about staying with us in a hotel room. It should be an experience.

Aug 21 - Went for a three hour ride earlier today. It's bloody hot right now. The Triangle area, along with most of NC, is going through a pretty bad drought. The lake levels are down and a lot of trees are under stress from the lack of rain. I finished the ride at 1230 down five pounds. I would say some more interesting things but there's nothing in the chamber.

Aug 19 - I am sitting at Orlando International at the moment, waiting to get on a big jet plane. Had a nice time seeing my family and a bunch of friends over the weekend. We don't miss the traffic and the humidity but we do miss the people. Good thing a plane flight down here doesn't break the bank.

I took 2nd in the Moss Park Sprint tri to Evan Evans, who has won the Clyde world champs a couple times. He nailed the bike and can swim and run as well. I had a good run and my hangover was not too bad. Water was hot. No amoebas. Looking forward to getting home and seeing my Bri.

Aug 16 - I'm off to central Florida to see my family and meet up with my friends and athletes. My Mother had hip surgery a few weeks ago and wound up with one of those highly resistant staph infections (MRSA). So right now she's in the hospital, having had the incision re-cleaned and is on an IV antibiotic drip. Everything should be fine, it's just a colossal stress for her after having had two major surgeries recently. My sister also lives in CFL and is 6 months pregnant, so I get to check out her big belly. :). My Dad is supposed to drive up from Miami to see us, but just moved into a new condo and might bag out. I also have a number of good friends in the area so it will be a non-stop weekend.

For the heck of it I'm jumping into a sprint triathlon at Moss Park on Saturday morning, put on by If you haven't been keeping up with the CFL news, an 11 year old recently died from an amoeba infection as a result of swimming in warm lake water. This is a really rare thing, but what happens is that the amoebas become more active/productive in warm conditions in the silty sediment of stagnant lakes. If you suck some up your nose you're SOL. While Moss Park lake is a pretty clean one, I'll be wearing my noseclip and earplugs just in case.

Aug 13 - My totally awesome Bandits Triathlon race report is up.

Aug 11 - Wow, Bandits lived up to its name as the toughest olympic distance race you'll ever do. My body is so-ore! Rode down with Mike Beaman and Gary Bolton this morning. Had a good time telling of which was about getting to race sites late. You can fill in the rest. We arrived with 25 minutes to spare and got things moving! The water was 91 (yes, 91) to start the day. The bike was pretty tough, not as terrible as I thought it could be but certainly filled with unrelenting rollers. Run was OK except for this really steep downhill / uphill combo we had to do twice. My first loop I held good pace but on the second loop the combo of rising heat/humidity and fatigue starting to hit. Came in 3rd overall. Was out of the swim with Kevin Lisska but then out of T1 had to stop to reseat my rear wheel, which was rubbing against the frame (twice). Lost a few seconds here as an an unfortunate side effect of not having time to test ride the bike! (I dunno if it's the skewer, the bike, or just pure bad luck, but I'm getting a new bike at the end of this season.) Kevin rode & ran in 1st for the rest of the day. Got off the bike just behind Lance Leo in 3rd, but had a fast transition and ran out in 2nd. Held that for most of the run but got caught by masters elite athlete Chuck Dumke from Boone in the last mile. Very tired at finish. My 41:30 10k doesn't sound so fast but on this course and with my indisposition to humidity, was very good. Great post race food from a local BBQ joint!

Aug 8 - Since Bri and I have been racing a lot this summer, we've been doing what we can to minimize extra expenses. Inside-Out Sports has been very helpful with some comp entries into several of the NCTS series. We've also expanded our "morning driving circle." If you've been racing long enough I'm sure you have one, too. Mine used to be one hour. Anything more than that and we'd drive down the night before. A couple years ago it expanded to two hours. This summer I've upped the morning driving circle to three hours. This isn't too bad when the race starts at 8AM. You can hop up at 4 and be out the door 15 minutes later. Get to the race with an hour to spare if it's a 2.5 hour drive. But a 7AM buy ugly people in the ugAM. Bandits this weekend starts at 7AM. I'll be getting up at 3:00, hop in the car at 3:10, and hope to get there by 6:00. Given the choice between a $75 dollar hotel room and a shortened warm up, this year I'm opting for the latter.

If you ever wonder why we're racing a lot this summer - simple - we're in good shape and we like to use it. Most of 05 and 06 I was pudgy and unremarkable. I've lost it before, and you know the old saying.

-Nudge nudge- (The old saying is, "Use it, or lose it!")

Aug 5 - We went for a nice leisurely spin this AM then swam a couple k at Pullen. Might go run later. It's a bit hot around here for the next few days, but the mornings and evenings are still pretty nice.

This Saturday I'm racing in the Bandits Challenge Triathlon. Check out this bike course profile.

Bandit's Challeng Triathlon

Aug 4 - Looong day today. Got up at 4AM and drove to Richmond for the CSCS tests. Just got back home. I won't know my scores for a few weeks, but if you demand a guess, I'd say I have an 80% chance of passing the science portion (80 scored questions), and a 50% chance of passing the applied/practical portion (110 scored questions). You need a 70% correct rate to pass. I had to make a lot more "educated guesstimations" on the latter. We'll see how it turns out. The test wasn't easy, you've really got to know your stuff for these. My friggin brain hurts. Open chain, multi-joint, t-test, resisted sprint, sarcomere, myosin, myofibril, rectus femoris, box jump, prepatory, etcetera.

Going to spend the rest of the evening vegging out big time.

Aug 2 - I've been cramming for the CSCS exam this Saturday. Just took the applied/practical practice exam. A passing score is 26, I got a 26. It's going to be very close for both sections. Ideally I'll pass both, but if I can pass one or the other then it'll justify retaking the failed section sometime next year. I'm strong in aerobic training principles and nutrition (surprise) but not as strong in some of the anatomy / physiology stuff. I should have studied more but there was this whole coaching all-the-time thing going on. C'est la vie.

Jul 29 - You know that saying, it's better to be lucky than smart? That's what I'm thinking today. I finally got around to checking into a lithography I won at the F1 Hurley sprint last weekend. By Bob Timberlake. Ever hear of him? Well, I'm a cultureless rube so I'll admit I hadn't. Now we're going to have one of his limited edition prints hanging on our wall. Who knew?

Jul 28 - We're having a nice weekend around home. Went for a 62m ride that leaves from Cycling Spoken Here just up the street from our house. 20% of the ETTT was there. Then we swam 3k at Pullen Aquatic. Just finished walking Tassie around our lake. Now we're gonna head down to the Flying Saucer and sample beer. Tomorrow will be more of the same. Kudos to Levi for taking down a stage of the tour.

Jul 26 - Blah blah tour is bad. Blah blah stock market down. Blah blah don't care. Blah blah this lady is out of her gourd.

Jul 23 - After racing three weekends in a row I've gone into decompression mode. Bri loves this mode. I sit around in my underwear drinking beer and yell at Le Tour (even if I already saw the stage). Tassie is really entertained. My next big event is the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) CSCS exam on August 4 in Richmond. I have had absolutely zero time or dersire to do any studying for it. This exam is the "certified strength and conditioning specialist" which is a well respected cert in the fitness industry. There are two parts to it - scientific and practical. I took the science practice exam a couple weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised to see that I passed (barely). It'll be interesting to see if I pass one or both sections. The exam is all multiple choice which is good for a test-taker like myself - I know enough to use process of elimination and context clues to determine some right answers. I'm not going to move the exam date again as I am already booked for the fall and don't want this thing hanging over my head. A CSCS could easily be the head team trainer of a professional football team, so there are lots of ball-sports related strength questions, an area in which I'm not so strong (ha ha).

I take that first part back, I've actually never left decompression mode.

Jul 21 - Bri and I drove up this morning to do the Hurley F1 Triathlon in Salisbury. It was another swim-run-bike-run-swim format, which is a fun way to do a sprint triathlon. I felt really solid and won by a good bit. My runs may have actually qualified as fast today! A lot of the usual suspects weren't around, but it's nice to get a win under my belt this season. The weather was amazing. It was around 70 degrees and dry at 8AM. Just wonderful. None of this dying from heatstoke nonsense. Tonight we're going to wander down to Fayetteville street in Downtown Raleigh and check out some bands. Eddie Money is the headliner. Bri is sooooo excited.

Jul 20 - Me and twelve of my new best friends have been living in tents outside Barnes and Noble for the past three days, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the final Harry Potter book. My iPhone kept me in touch.

So it occurs to me that some folks out there might wonder why Bri and I would forego our World 2008 spots. It comes down to economic utility. It breaks down like this. Given a limited set of resources (R), in this case being time (T) and money (M), we undertake actions that will maximize our happiness return. This level of happiness is referred to as utility (a unit of utility is called the util). Given their own control, people seek utility maximizing behavior.

It's implicit that people value things differently. For instance. A trip to Vancouver in June would be fun. I give this 100 utils. Racing in triathlon worlds would be pretty cool. This gets another 100 utils. So a trip to World's gets about 200 utils. Your value may be very different. You might value the competition at 1,000 utils. You might really want to see Vancouver and assign the visit 1,000 utils. This is why people make different choices in the same circumstances.

T for this trip might be 5 days. M would run about $1,500. We convert T into M by arbitrarily assigning 1 hour a value of $10. So 5 days = 120 hours = $1,200. T (1,200) + M (1,500) = 2,700 R to 200 utils.

So then we step back and take a look at other applications of those resources. Within an 8 hour drive we have access to at least 15 competitive regional triathlons and 100s of smaller local races. I might assign 75 utils to a big race, and 20-100 utils depending on what city it's in. Let's call it 125 utils per. A local race gets somewhere between 30-40 utils for the competition/format and 20-50 utils for location. Let's call it 50 utils per.

A large regional triathlon of some sort would use about 3 days and perhaps $500. A smaller local race will use 1 day and about $150.

Worlds: 1,200 (T) + 1,500 (M) to 200 utils = 13.5 R per util.

Regional: 720 (T) + 500 (M) to 125 utils = 9.76 R per util.

Local: 240 (T) + 150 (M) to 50 utils = 7.8 R per util.

It's important to see here that 1 util = 1 util, wherever it's applied. It's a happiness point! So we want to undertake behavior that is going to give us the most happiness points. We want to burn the least amount of R for each util, so we can get as many utils as possible. Another way to look at this - 4 local races = 200 utils and costs a total of 390 R per race or 1,560. Whereas Worlds yields the same 200 utils but costs 2,700 R. In other words, I can do 4 local races, get my 200 utils, and still have 1,140 R leftover to apply towards something else. And this analysis doesn't examine applications of R outside triathlon - like the utility of a weeklong bike tour in Colorado. :)

If you've never thought about things this way, it's one useful method of determining your priorities, making decisions, and not second guessing yourself.

Jul 17 - I wrote up a Chattanooga Tri race report.

Jul 16 - I made it onto the Chattanooga Times Free Press internet TV.

Our drive back went nicely, we stopped in Maggie Valley to go to Joey's Pancake house. I finished off our weekend of travel with a cheese omelette (made with eggbeaters, naturally). Going to get back into some healthy routine eating this week. Body is pretty sore today, the hills took some zap out of me.

Jul 15 - So we did the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon this morning. It was a tough course! The swim went down a river that's supposed to be current-assisted, but there wasn't a current today. The bike went up a highway that had four long climbs out and then the same ones backwards on the way back. Whoo! The run was along the Riverwalk and not too hilly except for a couple spots. I came in about 9th overall in 2:06.12. The first part of my run felt pretty good, but the second half hurt. I pushed hard and didn't slow down too much but boy, it wasn't easy to keep the legs turning over. Total run time was 40:40. Not great but not bad. More importantly, I beat Bri. That's two weeks in a row! :) But Bri has the last laugh, she took second overall female and is bringing home the bacon. I worship Bri. She is the bestest ever.

Jul 13 - Hi there. We're staying the evening in Asheville, NC, which is halfway between Cary and Chattanooga. Tonight we're going to explore the downtown area and see if we can russle up a Brewpub. It's a pretty place, that's for sure. Tomorrow we'll head over to Chatt and get ready for the Waterfront Triathlon on Sunday. I don't know if the locals call it Chatt, but I do because Chattanooga is too many syllables for my tiny little monkeybrain.

Jul 10 - Nothing like a relaxing afternoon hanging out in your lawn chair.

Jul 9 - Happy Birthday, Anna!

I had a good race at the Triangle Triathlon yesterday. Strong swim and bike and a decent run. But with a stacked field, a decent run doesn't hold up - fell from 3rd to 8th with a 18:30 or so (short) 5k. Gotta be on your game out here! Bri had a good race and came in 2nd. Afterwards I put in a couple hours of easy running and riding. Then we hosted a team BBQ, which was a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who showed up! We had plenty of kids running around and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Up next weekend is the Chattanooga Waterfront triathlon, which I'll rest for. They have a bit of prize money and I might be able to squeak into the top five.

Jul 6 - Had a nice swim-lift-run this morning and am enjoying spending some time with my in-laws. The race this weekend should be pretty competitive, just about all the strong NC athletes will be here. It's the Triangle Tri, which will draw around 1200 athletes. Not bad for a sprint! We're hosting a BBQ at our house afterwards which should be a lot of fun. I'm going to give an award to whoever stays the latest. Unless they become annoying, in which case I'll just sic Tassie on them.

Jul 3 - Happy July 4 in advance. To celebrate this fine holiday and enable the American dream, I'd like to commute everyone's sentence to time served. Nyuck nyuck nyuck. Tomorrow we're riding in the Firecracker 100k, which starts at a bike shop about three miles from our house. When Bri and I visited the area last year to check out possible homes, it happened to be July 4 and we saw all sorts of cyclists on the road near our future house. We took it as a good sign.

Jul 1 - I trained 21 hours this week. I have less of a life than you do! Nyah nyah!

Jun 29 - So I've been living in a tent in front of Best Buy for the last three days. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of the iPhone. I want to be the first kid on my block with one of these! The iPhone is sure to enhance my so called iLife by a factor of four or more. That's the iFactor. I'm planning to have a iChip implanted in my iBrain when they release that in ten or fifteen years. Don't want to get left behind by technology, you know. I'm no iDiot.

Jun 26 - My in-depth Kure Beach triathlon race report.

Jun 24 - We got up today at the buttcrack of dawn's brother's late night snack dinner time. Brutally early. 3:30 AM. Bri and I took teammate Aaron Keifer down to the Kure Beach double sprint triathlon (near Wilmington). It was a bit warm and humid out. I battled with Aaron and Dan Young from the Raleigh area for the 2-4 spots throughout the race. In the end Aaron beat me by about 15 seconds and I was able to catch Dan on the final swim for 3rd place. Both these guys are running strong. Matt Wisthoff, 22yr old superstud, beat us all by several minutes by breaking away on the first swim and never looking back. Bri did great and won the women's race by several minutes. It was a very tough event, I was nearly puking all morning.

Jun 21 - Coffee. Paper. Eat eggs. Short run. Computer. Computer. Pizza. Housework. Used drill. Difficult. Coffee. Play with puppy. Yardwork. Short nap. Computer. Coffee. Bike ride. Cook buffalo. Eat buffalo. Computer. Beer. TV. Britime. TV. Beer. Computer. Oblivion.

Jun 20 - Coffee. One hour swim. Breakfast. Three hour bike ride in the rain. Lunch. Coffee & computers. Coffee & computers. More coffee. One hour run. Errands. Dinner. Beer.

Jun 18 - Been all over the state of Florida the past few days. Our Lakeland clinic went well and we had a good time putting it on. Then I took off to Miami to play the ponys with my pops for father's day. Back to Orlando on Sunday afternoon for an evening of relaxing with buddies, and now Monday AM I'll get a swim at the Y then drive back to NC. Managed to go the entire week without a single bike ride. So to make up for this sin against all things triathlon I'll do something like ride 1 hour tonight, 2 hours tomorrow, 4 hours on Wednesday, then 3 on Friday. We have a swim-run-bike-run-swim triathlon on Sunday that should be a lot of fun.

Jun 14 - Do you ever wake up screaming, "Die, yuppie scum!", only to realize that you're wide awake, staring in the mirror, and brushing your teeth? Yeah, me neither.

This week is going to be disastrously low on training, but I'm probably overdue for a few days off. At the moment I'm sitting at Starbucks at the airport, waiting for Bri to arrive. She should be here any moment. Tomorrow we're going to play vacation from reality and go hang out with the whole clan at Disney World. The day after that is our clinic in Lakeland. Then I drop Bri off somewhere in O-town and head down to Miami to spend Father's day with my Pop, step-mom, sis and bro-in-law. I also had lunch with Mom today. After this I don't need to put in any family face time for a few months. ;P. Just kidding, I love both our families.

Jun 12 - Delayed fatigue. I am feeling really whipped today. Whoof.

I read this con-man's articles just for the user comments now. Funny stuff!

Jun 11 - Here's my Eagleman race report.

Jun 10 pt 2 - So I made it home in time to watch the last 30 minutes of the finale of The Sopranos. We had been discussing possible endings at dinner before the race, but I bet this one took us all by surprise. I thought everyone around Tony would get killed and he'd be left alone. Instead, they left the ending as a complete blank - you can use your imagination as to the future of our anti-hero Tony and his family. The director had a good laugh by blacking out the screen before the show seemed to be over - probably his way of saying goodbye and goodnight. I liked it but I also don't have much invested in Tv shows. Oh, who am I kidding. I weep.

Jun 10 - I had a good race at Eagleman, despite a couple of rookie maneuvers. I didn't triple check my rear wheel and during the pumping process or transport to the race it came out of alignment and was sitting against the frame. So after having a great swim I ran out of T1 and couldn't move. Jumped off and tried to fix it but thought it was my brake locking up. Ran back into T1, found the mechanics, had them loosen brakes and reset the wheel. Off and running. Then about 2 miles in I launch a water bottle. It goes skidding into a ditch (I thought). So I dismount and go looking for it. Where is it? Can't find it. Don't want to abandon my equipment, and it had most of my calories in it. There it is...on the other side of the road. OK, all set. We're off.

The rest was uneventful. Jammed along and had a good run to finish. Total splits were 21:21, 2:22.20 (with 3-4 minutes of being a dingleberry), and I finally broke 1:30 on a half-run with a 1:29.59, go figure. 7th ag in 4:17.53, a new PR. I'll take it!

Jun 8 - As someone who has recently been investing in fish tanks and rock formations instead of my IRA, I rejoice with every drop in the market.

Jun 5 - This weekend I'll be racing in the Eagleman 70.3 Half-Ironman. An athlete of mine is also racing. Originally I was going up to be strictly in the cheering section. But then I asked myself, if you're going to be there, and you're in good shape, why not race? So I called in some favors from the five families and voila, I'm in. I'd like to crack 4:20 just for self-edification. What would really float my boat would be running under 1:30 but that depends on it staying relatively cool. Either way, I'm looking forward to racing in this famous event. If I accidentally find myself with a Hawaii or Clearwater slot I'll be passing it on, my season ends October 6th. With IM Arizona looming next spring I'll need a mental break.

A few days ago I bought a 29 gallon fish tank. I did an analysis and realized that the deferred gratification I might receive from banking the money in a retirement account couldn't equal the current gratification I'll receive from watching little fishies swim in circles. It looks good. I continue to wake up amazed that a bank lent us enough money to buy the palatial estate we call home. Ten years ago I wouldn't have lent me 10 dollars, and I'm me.

Jun 3 - Today we rose yet again at the buttcrack of dawn. This time it was to help staff a kid's triathlon our team was hosting up in Chapel Hill. Bri and I manned the bike course. A little rainy out there but all the wee ones were troopers and had a good time. Afterwards we had a quick breakfast at the Carolina Bakery. I am bagging training for the day unless I get a nap.

The results from yesterday's race are up. Bri continues to own me on the run, she managed to put 2 seconds into me. I won't mention the 10 minutes I got on her on the bike. :P. I did have a really good run, first time I've broken 40 on an Olympic distance triathlon 10k run since 2003! I ran 38:51 which is @ss-kicking in my book these days.

Jun 2 - Technology is an amazing thing. We're on our way back from the race so I have my laptop working off the sprint pcs cellphone card. Just so I could update this page, of course. It was a nice race with a tough course! Bri and I both took 2nd place in pretty strong fields. But more importantly, we stopped at Cookout for shakes and burgers on the way home. Later on we're gonna have beers and probably stay up late and play the radio loud.

Jun 1 - Bri and I are headed to King's Mountain, NC to race in the Over the Mountain triathlon tomorrow morning. This is a 1.5k, 45k, 10k. The bike is supposed to be fairly challenging and everything is point to point, so it should be a good time. Looking forward to visiting this part of our new home state.

May 31 - Blast! We moved to soon!

May 29 - The horror. Rosie left the View. Lindsay is in trouble. What next?

May 27 - Raced in Xterra Smith Lake this morning, what fun. But boy, did my body take a beating! The swim was uneventful. The 18 mile bike course was not too technical but had heaps of sugarsand and tight turns with sugarsand as the base. A fair amount of roots to make it bumpy. I held the lead until near the end of lap 1, then had 8 guys pass me throughout lap 2. My mountain bike is 12 years old and has no suspension, and you can definitely see the difference in technical gear on a race like this. My lower back really started to hurt during the second lap, which took some of the pleasure out of the ride and the power out of my legs. On the 4.5 mile run, my back took about 4 miles to loosen up, and thankfully by that time the race was nearly over. ;-). Came home with 9th place and a assortment of cuts, bruises and scrapes. I went in with no expectations and really had a blast. Bri thinks I'm crazy but I'm planning to do another one in August. Heck, I only fell down twice.

The winner's time (Brandon Jessup) was 2:14 something, I came in at 2:24 something.

May 24 - I didn't have the wherewithal to drive down to Fort Bragg-Smith Lake to review the Xterra course today. Got up early but then after a morning swim decided my priorities were elsewhere. So I worked and then tackled a project I've been meaning to for a while. We have a backyard. The backyard has a deck. The deck was clearly built by a hobbyist and in sections, but it is functional and sizeable. It definitely hasn't been treated in several years judging from the condition of the wood. So today, I cleaned it. Tomorrow, I'm gonna stain it (walnut, thanks for asking). A day or two after that, I'll seal it. Then hopefully it'll last for a while and look good when we have folks over. I do enjoy sitting outside listening to the birds chirp and watching Tassie chase squirrels. These might seem like gargantuan tasks, but when you have the IQ of a Walrus, the flexible schedule of a housemench, and the motivation level of a spelling bee nerd, it's not a problem.

By the way, tomorrow (May 25) is Bri's birthday, so if you want to be a nice stranger - email Bri a happy birthday note here!!!

May 22 - Had a nice run with the SAS gang earlier today and then swam 1600 easy. Going to hit the Inside-Out ride tonight to make it another full day of trigeekiness. Tomorrow I'm planning to head down to Smith Lake to review the Xterra mountain bike course - coming up this weekend. Racing a lot is not a problem when you can do your longer training sessions in the middle of the week.

May 20 - I had a good time at the Surf and Turf supersprint triathlon. We got down to the beach late and then had to get up early to set up our team tent. After Bri and I got most of it together I went over and got ready to race. This is a swim-bike-run-bike-run that is basically all out the entire way. I felt good and finished in 3rd place. Had solid splits across the board, caught a wave on the way in from the swim, mashed the heck out of the bike with some old style toeclip pedals, but got outgunned a bit on the run! The race was a lot of fun and I'd recommend checking it out sometime. I really enjoy these strange format races, they make things interesting.

After the race we repacked all the team gear and headed back to Cary. My buddy Bill is in town from Florida, so we're showing him around (read: going to the bars and drinking plenty of beer). Before we do that today (Sunday), we're going to catch a flight on a small plane - Bill is a licensed pilot so we're going to do an aerial tour of the triangle.

May 18 - Wow, Bri's latest update makes me want to go watch sad movies and drink Jack out of the bottle. What she should have mentioned is that they gave her a hard enough time at work on Tuesday that instead of going out for our third anniversary dinner, she sat at home and emailed resumes. Everyone that was capable of training her for the position has left the company or been downsized. So she's trying to figure out how to do things with no help from anyone, and the main boss guy is a real do***bag. On top of that, they dumped the workload of another employee who left onto her desk as well.

In other news, we're off to have some fun at the Surf and Turf Triathlon in Surf City, NC. This is a 750m swim, 4 mile bike, 2 mile run, 4 mile bike, 1 mile run. I'm going to help get our team tent set up then jump in the race. Our buddy Bill gets into town later on Saturday so we get to show him around. Our house is nowhere near as dirty as Bri made it out to be - I vacuumed twice this week and have been washing all the dishes. Heck I even did some laundry.

May 15 part 2 - So today was a good day in the life of a dedicated trigeek. I got up at the butt crack of dawn with Bri (since the poor girl has a real job at the moment) to go lift before we swam. We got into the pool at 6:45 - air temp about 55, water temp about 73. Chilly. Swam 2,600 then stood in the shower for a while. After taking care of the groceries, since I'm the housemensch, did a bit of work and cleaned up after our messy puppy. Hopped on the bike at 10:50 to ride to the Cary Academy track. Ran with the SAS gang (4 x 1200) and did a few strides after. Back on the bike by 12:20 and off to cruise around western Wake county for some easy miles. Home at 2, showered and lunched by 3, out buying flowers for Bri by 3:15. Now I'm sitting outside on our deck, having a beer, listening to the birds chirp and watching Tassie eat sticks. It's a beautiful day.

May 15 - Today marks three years that Bri has put up with me as a husband, and approaches seven that she's put up with me as a significant something-or-other. Time goes by so fast when you're with the one you love. We've had some great times and have plans for many more. Bri, I love you. Marry me over and over and my life is full of joy.

May 13 - We came down to Orlando for Carey Kosson's wedding, then met some of our buds out in Winter Park afterwards. Had a lot of fun. Today we waited 1.5 hours to get a table at First Watch for breakfast with my Mom, Sis, and bro-in-law. There was a table of 12 that sat there for two hours picking their noses after they ate. Yesterday I jumped into a 5k that was going on in Winter park, I figured since we're here might as well do it. Was happy to hold fairly even splits (6:08, 6:02, 6:10) and run an 18:56. Always fun to pass people and feel strong at the end. We ran through some road/park that is closed except for this day, it's like a partridge sanctuary or something. We'll be back into the swing of things tomorrow, gonna have a lot of last minute races added to the schedule.

May 10 - So do you see this picture and think to yourself, hey, that guy should get a penalty, or do you think, geez, I wish I had a time-elapsed photo that made my wheels all cool and blurry.

May 8 - Take a guess how many beers I've worked my way through since Saturday. Go on, I dare ya. I like easy weeks.

May 7 - I've posted a more comprehensive White Lake Half report on the Elite Triangle Triathlon Team's website here.

May 6 - Today Bri and I worked the Elite Triangle Triathlon Team tent (isn't that a mouthful) at the White Lake Sprint. The conditions were much windier and nastier than our race yesterday. Still had a lot of fun. Now we're back home playing with our doggy. I'm going to take it easy for a couple days but plan to keep the fitness rolling. We're both sore but not wrecked, which is a good thing about being in shape!

May 5 - The race went very well today. My clock finishing time was 4:19.55, a PR by almost 10 minutes at the half-IM distance, and good for second overall, first elite. Unfortunately I was assessed a four minute position penalty. Apparently at some point near a waterstop I wasn't riding close enough to the white line on the right side of the road for whoever was making official 'judgement' calls. There was no one around me so good thing they are ship shape with the rules, never mind the draft packs that were sucking along back in the field. The good news was that this didn't drop me any places. The bad news is that it affects my score for the NCTS series because of the way that score is calculated. Bah humbug. I suppose I could ride on the white line, or even the grass, since we're supposed to stay "as far to the right as possible". I just wasn't right enough, even though I have the right stuff. Har har.

I felt really solid across the board and was very happy with the race. The fella who won went in a different wave but it wouldn't have made a difference for me, I was maxed out. Bri also got a penalty to keep things interesting. I think there was an official who was looking to meet his quota. My splits were something like 25:20, 2:00, 2:20, 1:00, 1:30. (4:00 wah wah).

May 4 - Tomorrow we race in the White Lake Half. The lake, appropriately called White Lake, is a perfect oval, spring-fed, and apparently very nice. The weather forecast is calling for fairly mild conditions with a chance of showers. I feel pretty good. Did not do a whole lot this week. Would like to break 4:20, so we'll see how that goes. The course is mostly flat so it is supposed to be pretty fast. I'm in much better condition than I was for the Steelhead 70.3 back in August 06, that's for sure. Will try and update over the weekend but it depends on cell coverage. Have a good one. I can feel it, coming in the air tonight. Take a look at me now. Think twice. It's just another day for you and me in paradise. You know, 'coz I don't remember, take, take me home. She reaches in and grabs right hold of your heart. Hold on, Bri.

May 1 - It would be easy to get down about not totally kicking butt at St Anthonys, but then I walk outside and play with my dog in my nice shady backyard, and I don't give a hoot. Life is good.

Apr 29 - Here's my brief St. Anthony's report: Good swim and bike, definitely off on the run. Splits were something like 18:20, 1:00, 42:30, and 1+ in each transition - time 2:03.04. I was 4th out of T1, but fumbled a bit coming out and wasn't able to keep the first guys in sight. Took about 5 miles for my legs to loosen up, and from there I pushed hard to try and make up ground. Rode strong but the fellas in front were really hammering. Overdid it a bit and had some cramping and heavy leg syndrome out onto the run. Starting feeling better half way through but wasn't able to run any faster than 6:45, which could be decent for a half-IM but not in a national caliber olympic distance race. Finished 18th in the elite amateur division, and about 22nd amateur overall (Jeff Cuddeback and Rob Skaggs went 1:59 and 2:00 respectively). I'm happy with the swim and bike, and really not too frustrated about the run - sometimes a calculated risk on working the bike hard pays off, sometimes it doesn't.

Bri did great and took 8th in the open division with a huge PR of 2:08.50, which is awesome.

Apr 26 - I made it here in time to join the Downtown YMCA track club for a solid running workout. Bri and I have done virtually all of our tempo and interval sessions in the hills of Umstead State Park, so I haven't had much of an idea what sort of pace I'd been doing. Last night we did 6 x 800 and I was able to average 2:45s without killing myself, which I'm very happy about. Holding 6 minute pace or just around there for the 10k on Sunday should be possible. I'm interested to see how my wave plays out - I haven't bothered to research anyone I'm racing against so I figure there will be a couple good swimmers off the front, a couple strong cyclists blitzing through from the rear, and then a couple good runners who pull of 34:somethings. I'm just going to hammer and see what happens.

Tomorrow I'm going to join some old friends for a lake swim at Lucky's Lake. Just for the heck of it.

Apr 24 - We're looking forward to St. Anthonys Triathlon on Sunday morning. I'm glad race director Philip LaHaye has embraced the 'elite amateur' idea. Makes things more interesting, and arguably safer for a number of people. I haven't raced since 2003 so it will be nice to be back out on the field rather than the sidelines. I'm also going to make it to the Mad Dog party on Friday night, finally. Heading down to Orlando to meet up with a few folks prior to the race. Not much else to report.

Apr 22 - I've embraced the beautiful bald guy within. Zapped my scalp. I'm declaring victory over the Hair Terrorists. No longer do I have to suffer the torture of poor service at the Hair Cuttery; be held ransom by the long lines of Great Clips; Frightened, always, of the looming threat of Minoxidil from Eckerd Drugs; And damn those Nioxin-laced advertisements in the mall. I win. Mission Accomplished. You won't get another penny out of me, Axis of Follicle. Bald is beautiful. Down with hair terrorism!

Apr 20 - Friday, I'm feeling better but still nowhere near 100%. This has been one of the most wasted weeks of my life in recent years. It was great to see my Dad, who was out of the country for four months, but I was so run down I could barely function. I wasn't able to concentrate long enough to get any work done, and the only training I managed was a 30 minute, 2 mile run yesterday morning out on Biscayne Bay. On Wednesday, I had big plans of getting a nice swim-run in at Ft. Lauderdale Beach, which is a nice place for open water swimming and decent for running in South FL. Instead, I slept about 18 hours and broke my Dad's toilet. Ah well. Today should be better, going to swim, bike and run - all very easy. The muscle aches have finally gone away and I'm left with some residual poopies. I'll have to view it as enforced rest for the next two race weekends.

On a side note, I also had to give up coffee over the past few days, boy that didn't help my disposition one bit. I would fall asleep mid-sentence. The only golden lining, I'm now below my goal race weight. Couldn't eat for two days.

Apr 18 - There's nothing like a bout of food poisoning to knock you off your feet. I've spent most of the past couple days in a lot of discomfort, and no exercise. My Dad and I still managed to get to a Omaha Hi-Low Poker tournament last night. We started with 70 players and I was about #45 to go. Not bad for my debut in my new profession as Professional Poker Player and Ammodium AD spokesmen.

I am hoping to feel better tomorrow, as this really sucks.

Apr 16 - Finished off yesterday with a nice 2 hour mountain bike/off-road ride in Umstead. Today I signed up for Ironman Arizona in 2008. Only in this sport do you have to know what you're doing a year in advance. Congrats to OSB Athlete Alex Jones, who is coming home from IM AZ 07 with a world championship qualifier spot and some Ironman hardware.

Apr 15 - Had a nice clinic at Impact Athletics and Inside-Out yesterday, the weather cooperated and didn't rain on us. This morning we ran Umstead and got dumped on at the finish. I am feeling a little tired at the moment. A few more hard days then we rest up for St. Anthonys and the White Lake Half on May 5. Should be a good time.

Flying down to Miami to visit my father and play some Omaha high-low limit poker on Tuesday. I've found my new profession.

Apr 10 - On occasion this website will get over a hundred individual visitors in a day. Who the hell are you people? Are you judging me? Do I make this webpage look fat?!?

Apr 8 - I broke 20 hours of triathlon training for the first time this year. I've approached that limit but it's pretty tough to get over unless you spend a buttload of time on the bike, pun intended. I rode a bit over 12 hours this week. No yoga or strength training - gotta get back into that next week. This morning we did a 'broken' brick, 3 x ~1 hour ride, 20 minute run. This is one of my personal favorite key workouts, great for switching things around and getting a good bit of running in without trashing the legs. It was 30-something when we started. Bri is in great shape.

Apr 6 - Rode a metric century with the Spin City Cycling group then ran 20 minutes then swam 3,200 yards this morning. I feel good except for the friggin allergies. My eyes are swollen and my ear canals have clogged up. I suffer. Oh, I suffer.

Apr 5 - Don't you worry. All is well with the world. A CNN finance calculator told me that as long as Social Security doesn't fall apart, we'll be rich and healthy in our old age. Yay, Social Security!

Took today off from training. Rode with the SAS group again yesterday, it was gut-wrenchingly fast. A couple Cat 1,2 guys showed up and muscled the hell out of every hill. Cid Jr and ETTT member Douglas Liming were also out there smashing away at every opportunity. I'm going to be in sick shape and/or suffering from ripped abdominals by mid-summer.

This weekend will be great for training. Bri is off tomorrow so we're doing a swim-bike-run brick. Saturday will be a long run short ride, followed by a bike-run-bike-run-bike-run on Sunday. I chew rocks and shit asphalt.

Apr 3 - Wow, the pollen around here is out of control. Worst it's been in two hundred years. Everyone is covered in yellow powder. I woke up this morning hacking up lung goobers the size of golf balls. Disgusting, huh? A few nights ago I had a coughing fit that lasted for an hour. I wake up every morning feeling like someone took a sheet of sandpaper to my throat. Two more weeks of this and then it turns into grass spore season. It's beautiful out, but I'm suffocating anyway.

While I'm in a complaining mood - holy smokes. I had big dreams of turning off the $$ fountain after we finished traveling. But when it rains, it pours. I figured by January the cash flow would change from red to black, but here it is, April, and we're still hemmorhaging greenbacks like the sub-prime mortgage industry. Nothing planned, mind you, just unexpected expenses that came up unexpectedly to make things more expensive. And then, the friggin IRS sent us a letter letting me know that my 2005 IRA contributions weren't deductible, so sorry, Charlie. My CPA missed it, no wonder since the rule is so buried. I worked for Lockheed at the beginning of 05 and contributed to a 401k; thus there was an AGI limit to what I could consider a deductible contribution to an IRA for the year. Bang!

Fortunately, Bri is back to work and is now my Sugar Momma. We're not gonna go broke, but my timetable for millionaire status has definitely been pushed back a few months. So, was that too much non-triathlon information for you? More than you wanted to know? Boo-yahh! Send your checks to the Marty Gaal Waah Waah fund. March training is up, fellow anal-retentive geekwad.

Apr 1 - Bri and I had a nice spin on Wrightsville Beach this morning before heading home. We picked up our Tassie from boarding school, she got an A. Feeling a little tired today but that's probably from the Miller Lite.

Mar 31 - Had a good race this morning, pretty solid across the board. Great swim, and felt pretty strong on the bike, though it was a bit chilly out there. Bri did great and won her first NCTS race. ETT Teammate Paul McCall was also looking sharp, taking his 2nd NCTS victory. I had a good run (18:45 5k or so, maybe a bit short) but made a bit of a booboo - one of the rules of the race was to stay on the sidewalk system, and another rule was to go straight if you didn't see an arrow. Got to a point out near the turnaround where the sidewalk stayed contiguous to my left, and also continued across a parking lot entrance straight ahead. I was in front, and there were no arrows or people to say "go this way." I chose option #1 and went left, which wasn't correct. Lost 10 seconds or so. That normally wouldn't be a big deal but my total time put me in fifth place, 5 seconds behind 3rd place! Ah well. Just another good reason to go review the entire course, not just the bike. Also good to get these sorts of kinks out of the way in the early season.

After a satisfying Golden Corral breakfast, I cheered up and all was right with the world again. We're going on the awards cruise tonight, which sounds like it should be a good time.

Mar 30 - We're off to Wilmington for the Azalea Festival Triathlon tomorrow morning. It's a pool swim & time trial start, which makes it two firsts for me. I erred on the side of seeding myself fast and am going off second. Would rather do that then have to pass people while snaking through the lanes. The race takes place on the streets and sidewalks around the UNC Wilmington campus. We're staying over on Saturday to go out on a cruise / dinner awards ceremony, which I thought was a neat way to keep people in town, and fun.

Mar 27 - I've come down with either a bad case of hay fever or a cold. Either way, I'm going to knock it out of my system tonight with a bunch of high calorie microbrewed beer. My weight has bottomed out and I'm getting worried about being too light. Wouldn't be fair to the competition. But seriously, like many folks I run into colds very easily if I'm too skinny.

Mar 24 - I drove up to DC for a very quick tour of the Capital at the Wirefly National Half-Marathon. Longtime OSB athlete Kathy Larkin and her family hosted me for the day, showing me some nice restaurants and making great coffee. This morning we ran the half-marathon, Kathy PRd and I ran with OSB athlete Mark Procheska, who also PR'd. Either the mile splits were off a bit from the getgo or the run was 400 meters long (either is frustrating when you're counting on correct mile marks to pace things). Anyway, other than that little bubble it was a nice trip. After the run we walked around town in our space blankets and got lots of positive comments. The local news media was also a sponsor and the DC mayor ran the full marathon, so it was a big event.

Mar 21 - I read that the federal spending is about 23,000 per household this year. As I was sitting on my throne reading the paper, I thought about what this would mean for me. If we could get that handed out in cash. Let's say I walked down my cul-de-sac, and convinced the 12 houses here to pool our 23k per household, we'd have 256,000 bucks. We could hire 1 security guy for 40k. Or 2 for 80k. We could get a lawnscaping company to come in 1x per week for around 15k a year. We could have a street maintenance crew repair our road for a pretty negligble amount. Heck, we could donate 20k to our city pool for road maintenance. That leaves about 130k (with 2 guards with AK-47 machine guns). What else do we need? We could get a full time PR guy for 30k, or a good one for 60k. Then our house values would go up. That leaves 70k. SO we could hire a dog walker. Or a massage therapist. Or a psychologist. Hell, we could buy a piece of land out in the woods and hire a farmer. Or two soldiers to go attack the cul-de-sac across the street. And I'd still get at least 10k in cul-de-sac management fees. And to think I hated math when I was a kid.

Mar 17 - Bri knocked out another great run, holding 5:50 pace for about 18:08 and 2nd female at the Run for the Oaks this morning. I also felt good and ran about 18:22. Bri had a lot more kick then I did headed down the finishing straight. I'm going to have to head out to the track for 400 and 800 repeats if I want to have any chance of regaining the crown in this house. She has me scrubbing floors and sealing the deck now. I'm also required to respond positively to "chump-sucka."

Mar 15 - A couple weeks ago we sucked it up and bought some deck furniture. The past 2 days have been really nice and I've been working on the laptop outside. Really pleasant.

Mar 12 - We made it back to NC safe and sound. Nothing like a 9 hour drive and fast food to ruin your diet! I'm glad to be home and looking forward to having a normal schedule for a few weeks. Checked up on the guys in front of me (and a few behind) at the race and they were all some serious athletes, pros or top amateurs from around North America. Makes me feel a little better about losing 2.5 minutes to the leader on the bike. We had a great week down in FL. The camps are a lot of work but when you enjoy your job it's a non-issue. Going to go for an easy MTB ride tomorrow and otherwise chill out. Tassie gets back on Thursday from her vacation in VA.

Mar 11 - Finally have a chance to update. Had a good time with the camp and a good race today at the Florida's Great Escape Tri. Camp was busy as Bri already told you, but we enjoy it and everyone got in some solid training and had fun doing it. Today's race went well for me, I stuck with the leaders on the swim, was a bit slow in T1, felt good on the bike, pulled some ITU Canadian around on the 2nd lap as he stuck to my wheel like a mosquito on a baby in a swamp, then broke 18 for the almost 5k, which makes me happy. Had to sprint the last 400 yards to hold onto my 6th position, was able to dig in and hang on. So it looks like I'm in good shape heading into the season. Ok, enough, back to work - still lots to do.

March 3 pt 2 - You know, blah blah blah blah blah.

March 3 - We had another fun filled athletic focused day today. Started off with a 10k run just down the street from our house. Bri had a really good one, taking 1st woman and PRing by several seconds. Our goal going in was to break 40, but after cruising through the first mile at sub-6 pace, it looked like we had underestimated our own fitness. We ran together until the 5k where Bri laid down the smack and cruised away. I was very happy to finish in 38:52, which is my fastest 10k in about 3 years. Bri says I have to call her "the exalted one" for the next week.

Afterwards we had lunch with some friends, then went for an easy ride with some more friends. Now I'm sitting outside on our recently acquired deck furniture, enjoying the beautiful day and telling my athletes via their training plans & email to go run or ride some more (in some cases, less). Life is good. Can I trademark that?

March 2 - It may not officially be spring but it is sure feeling that way. Yesterday I had a nice solo run in Umstead State Park. Ran the Company Mill and Sycamore loops which works out to be somewhere in the 9 mile range. It's a great park and running here 1 or 2 times per week is just totally excellent (to quote Bill and Ted).

After the run I went for my first mountain bike ride in a few years. My buddy Dave is a expert class mtb-er and was kind enough to clean up my 12 year old Gary Fisher (hard nose, hard tail) and lend me a pair of shoes. I bought new SPD cleats at Inside-Out but my pedals were so old the standard design had changed! So Dave had to give me pedals as well. We rode out from central Cary on various Greenways to Crabtree Lake Park. Really great trail riding. Only fell once and didn't break anything. I'm going to be doing a lot more of this in prep for a couple Xterra triathlons this season.

Boy, I haven't ridden a blog post this long in quite a while. ;-)

March 1 - Yesterday was a great day to be outside. Temps were in the high 40s/low 50s, it was sunny, and no wind. I joined up with the SAS group ride and it was a hammerfest. Spring is in the air and everyone is coming out of the woodwork. Cid Cardoso, Jr, the owner of Inside-Out Sports, was out after a few months off due to foot surgery. Some other cyclist with monster quads was also working us over. There are four fairly tough little climbs between 10-20 miles of the ride and there was no recovery coming off the backside. It felt like someone hit me in the gut with a bag of rocks. After the sprint (mile 22 or so) I cruised in then soft pedaled around the Preston neighborhoods. This is a golf community with 500K homes and bike lanes everywhere. Managed a short run later in the PM though 'run' is being kind. Very good training day.

Feb 25 - I let Bri guilt me into a three hour ride in this:

It wasn't too bad until my feet were soaked.

Feb 24 - Ran in Coach Bubba's 20k this morning up in Durham. I need to do some better course recon as the first 5 miles was painfully hilly. Both my 2nd toes are throbbing. Goal was to hold 6:30-6:45 pace and I came in at 6:45.6. Not too shabby. Have had the trots since. Gotta love training.

Bri is in some great shape and held 6:03 pace for the 4 miler. That is jamming. We get to go head to head again next week at a 10k here in Cary. Even odds this time around I think.

Feb 21 pt 2 - Today I received my first bonus, ever!

Feb 21 - Went out to ride with the SAS group at lunch today. Broke a spoke and decided to cruise home rather than risk a failed wheel at 30mph. Came home and did a 20 min TT on the computrainer. Average watts were 272 or so. That seems pretty good to me at this point in the season. According to this tool, it would put me at 25.1mph on a flat road which is pretty much in line with my historic splits. My goal will be to get it up by 25 watts in the next couple months. Ouch.

Feb 18 - I love our cute doggie Tassie, but I'm going to have to get a second job to support her.

Had a nice time in Wilmington hanging out with my Looney in-laws. Came back here for a 2:45 ride in the wind with Bri and Alisha. Getting fit!

Feb 15 - My sister Anna is coming up to visit our new home tomorrow. I think she'll be happy to see our new cozy house and cute puppy and big backyard. We'll show her around town Friday then she and I head down to Wilmington to meet up with her husband Tim's family. Tim has a bunch of brothers and sisters and there's a concentration of them in the Wilmington area. Big party on Saturday night. I'm going to take my bike and do a beach ride on Sunday, haven't checked the weather yet but I hope it's nice.

Training this week has gone well. Been taking it easy on the efforts but still get some miles in. My fitness is leaps and bounds ahead of where I was going into the 06 season. In 05 I was religiously focused on doing well at Ironman Arizona but after that race went completely off the reservation with getting super busy. Feeling like I have a shot at churning out some fast splits this year. Should be fun.

Feb 12 pt 2 - I totally went and swam 3.6k then lifted huge weights. Fear me.

Feb 12 - Another solid weekend of training in the bank. I'm managing to hold 18+ per week. This week is some planned recovery time. Debating going for a swim but I may skip it and read the paper.

Feb 9 - So in an effort to expand my mind and trick myself into believing we could have a million or two dollars, I read a few articles on finance, investing, macroeconomics, or small business just about every day. Yahoo Finance has some decent articles linked once in a while. There is a fellow named Robert Kiyosaki who has written a number of books in the "Rich Dad Poor Dad" series and his articles are listed under "Why the Rich Get Richer" on Yahoo. A few days ago they posted a new one of his, called "Mutual Funds Get Greedy."

I normally enjoy reading his articles because they take a contrarian approach to conventional investing and can make me stop and think about something I hadn't thought of before. In summary he is short on stocks, the US dollar, and long on commodities, entrepreneurship, and real estate. But - this last article has a couple of glaring omissions that make me cringe. He quotes John Bogle, founder of Vanguard (low cost mutual funds in general):

""With today's dividend yields on stocks at about 1.8 percent, a typical equity funds expense ratio consumes fully 80 percent of a fund's income."

To illustrate his point, Bogle writes that "while $10,000 invested in the stock market [in 1985] earned a profit of $109,800 [over 20 years], the average mutual fund investor earned a profit of just $29,700. Together, the cost penalty, the timing penalty, and the selection penalty consumed an amazing 73 percent of the profit available simply by buying and holding the stock market itself, leaving the average fund stockholder with a mere 27 percent of the total."

What Kiyosaki neglects to mention is the much larger capital rate of return on the stocks (and hence the mutual funds that hold them). Check the link - it shows that over the past 10 years alone Vanguard's 500 index fund has a cumulative return of 112%, while the SP500 itself is 114%. That's a difference in return of 2%, not 80%.

I haven't read Bogle's book yet but have to believe he discusses this within. Thus, a reader without a fair bit of financial savvy may be led to believe that: a) mutual funds will destroy your returns, and it's safer to invest in stocks directly, or b) real estate is safer than stocks, or c) he should buy Kiyosaki's books to learn how to make money. What Kiyosaki fails to mention is that like any investment, there are bad mutual fund choices out there with high expense ratios, high portfolio turnover, bad managers, upfront and backend loads, etcetera, but not all are bad. For most of middle America a few decent mutual funds or ETFs left on automatic pilot are the safest way to build long-term wealth.

Any way you slice it, it left me thinking that Kiyosaki is more interested in building his wealth than yours.

That's my deep thought for the week.

Feb 8 - Business as usual. Weather remains cool but we're adjusting. Getting some nice runs in. I have nothing witty to say and no astute observations to make at the moment. Down with -insert any politician's name.- Support -righteous cause here.-

Feb 5 - I bet you're just dying to read my January training log.

Feb 3 - Feeling better today after an impromptu rest day on Friday. There's a 10 mile hilly loop in Umstead called the Turkey Creek loop. I haven't done much (any) tempo running until recently and today I gave it some effort. Last time I ran it - 1:28. Today - 1:12. Felt good to run like a runner. Was going to swim but the kids had taken over the local Y. Rode 1 50 in sunny but cool weather. That's all for now.

Jan 31 pt 2 - Oh, man, I am exhausted. Bri and I swam this AM for 3.5k with a 2.4k pyramid set. Then we rode through North Raleigh with Alisha Lion for 3.25 hours. Then they made me do a run off the bike. We have a little lake/pond in our subdivision so I did one loop while they did two. I'm beat. My eyes have that puffy exhausted feeling. 4 and a half hours training today. It was cold out there. Running 10 in the AM. No rest for the weary.

Jan 31 - The local forecast says it's 33, feels like 26. Sunny and clear skies. We're going to bundle up and put in 3 hours saddle time.

Jan 29 - We had a great weekend skiing in Snowshoe, WVA. Drove up with Aaron Kiefer and his girlfriend Casey, nice folks. Aaron is one of the fast guys on the Elite Triangle team. I had a great time, didn't fall and tackled my first black diamond run. Something finally clicked in my skiing ability (or lack thereof). The slopes were really pretty long and it was good skiing weather. We stayed in a cabin with 9 other strangers who turned out to be nice folks as well, so it was a good time.

Jan 25 - Very pretty here in Cary today. It's in the 40s but clear skies. Perfect for an easy run in Umstead Park. We're off to West Virginia tomorrow to do some skiing at Snowshoe Mountain. I've never been there so am looking forward to it. Bri and I are in much better shape than the same time last year. I've been in the 17+ hour range the past 2 weeks. Hard to believe I used to knock out 20+ with a 9-5 job and night classes. There's a local group ride on Wednesdays that I'm using to kick start my anaerobic fitness. Just hanging off the back for the moment. Will probably do a 5k on Valentine's Day and then a 20k on Feb 24. After that it's back into the triathlon season.

I also finally got back into some harder swimming. My MO the past couple years when swimming solo is to go splash around for 2-3k. On Monday, we met up with an informal group led by Greg Sanchez at Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh. The main set was 30 x 100s and my lane did them on 1:10. My usual 'test' set pre-season is 10-15 on that sendoff! I sucked it up and made 20 before retiring. I may wind up back into real swimming shape if we keep this up.

Jan 23 - Here's my latest on developing a training plan.

Jan 22 - Had a good time at the party on Saturday. Yesterday was a bit dismal outside so I rode 2hrs on the trainer and watched Superman Returns. Not bad. Last couple weeks have been good for training and I'm feeling pretty decent on the bike again. Blah blah blah, me me me.

Jan 20 - The Nigerian scam artists are becoming a bit more precise. I don't know how I got targeted for this but I assume from a coaching referral service somewhere. Check this out:

"Hi Coach Marty Gaal,

This is Lisa Jean, a Native of Durham, NC. Am 21years old and am a studying Theatre Art and French Languages at The American University of Paris, Rue du Colonel Combes-75007 Paris, France. At holidays, I do Fitness Modelling and Acting jobs as Part-time in Europe.

I was just contracted for a Movie by a US Movie Producer based in London, England; and the Shooting of this Movie will commence by March, 2007. My Major role in the Movie involves some Swimming Strokes and freestyles. Based on this, am contacting you as someone who has experience in the Swimming Sport to put me through on some Basic Tips, Techniques and Skills involved for a period of 2 weeks as am ready to come to your Location for this personal training with you in the States.

I live with my Daddy, Mr McAleavey Jean, who works as a Foreign Diplomatic Officer with the United States Embassey in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria; and we have been living in Nigeria for about 2 years now. I got your reference from a friend, Jasmine, who lives in california, she is a Great fan of Swimming. Jasmine is my Course-Mate at The American University of Paris, she is presently on holiday with her boyfriend in Corsica, South of France.

The Producer has informed me to get a Trainer and make Inquiry on availability in the Month of February, 2007; and also the fees for 1 hour daily training session for a time-frame of 2 weeks.

Thanking you in anticipation as I look forward to hearing from you soonest.


SUITE #101

On the 4% chance that this was a legitimate inquiry I replied:

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for the note. I live in NC and at this point in time should be in town throughout February. My rate for ongoing swimming lessons like this would be $60 per hour. You have friends or family in Durham you could stay with during your time here? What sort of athletic and swimming background do you have?

It was early in the morning and I hadn't yet opened the attached 'modeling photos.' (First I scanned them). Athletic skin shots or 'almost nude' would be the sort of modeling. Bri was impressed. ;-)

The follow up emails, to which we decided not to reply, for reasons you'll see.

"Hi Coach Marty,

Thank you for your e-mail, I have informed the Movie Production Manager about you and your availabilty, so am awaiting instructions from him on my Travelling arrangement. I will get back to you as soon as i hear from him.

Once again, i thank you as am wishing you a Happy NewYear.........

Lisa Jean"


"Hi Coach Marty,

I just heard from the Movie Production Manager in London, UK. He said that you should design a Training Session for the Fees of $1000 to cover the Time Frame of 2 weeks, and a Total sum of $3800 has been budgeted for the General expenses while am in the States. These includes: Your Training fees, my flight fares, hotel accomodation and Meals.

The Manager said he is out of cash at the moment as he is presently financing other project in respect to the Movie Production. But since he has some Funds in the US, he will entrust and send to you US Money Order/Check of $3800 payable through his Account. So when you receive the Fund, you deposit and cash the fund from your Bank, then you retain the sum of $1000 for the Training Fees and subsequently forward the balance of $2800 to me, so that arrangement can be facilitated on my flight, Hotel accomodation and Meals.

I would have done this whole financial transaction myself but unfortunately, i do not have a Bank Account in Nigeria as am not permanently based here, am just here for the Xmas Holiday with my Father, who works with the US Embassy, here in Nigeria. I have a Bank Account with the "Banque Populaire de Lorraine" in Paris, France, and unfortunately am not in Paris at the Moment.

So please send your full Names and Postal Address to my e-mail, so that the Manager can forward the Fund to you.

Thanking you in anticipation as i look forward to seeing you in the First week of February, 2007.

Lisa Jean"

And you thought coaching wasn't exciting!

Jan 18 - It's snowing here in Cary. No outdoor riding today.

Jan 17 - Today we did a nice ride in the cold. Temperature was in the 30s but with several layers of clothing and the carcass of a walrus wrapped around me, no problem. Got 2.5 hours in. Toes went numb. Balaclava not good to wear around the mouth. Got wet. Legs tired now. Short sentences easy on cold brain. Good times.

Jan 15 - Back in NC. Got our puppy. Servers have been crashing, nothing quite as frustrating as trying to work around your normal email.

Jan 14 - Long and fast week. We ran all over the state and caught up with a lot of friends. The unofficial JS 5 Run for Beers last night was great. I took 4th about 1.30 off the winning pace. I can't drink as quickly as some of these guys. Ran well though, very sore today! Making this update from the road. Our websites were down for half the day today, pretty aggravating when your email server goes down. And it's your job.

Jan 11 - My minicamp is going well. We'll get about 14 hours riding and some running/swimming this week. Weather was nice today as we cruised down the Pinellas Trail. I'm looking forward to our clinic on Saturday morning. Every time presenting helps me grow more comfortable with both the presentation and the material. I'm sure a lot of you know what I mean. Really looking forward to the 1st annual unofficial and unregulated JS 5 Run 4 Beers on Saturday evening. Life is good.

Jan 9 - Busy times. Lots to do. No time to talk.

Jan 5 - Off to Orlando tomorrow morning. Today was a bit of a training wash. We drove to VA to meet Bri's sister and do the puppy exchange. We figured the ten hour car ride might not be good for her but now the dog appears to have gotten over the car sickness. Ah, well. I'm completely domesticated, you know. Soon I'll be talking about the best place to get discounts on home furnishings, blathering on about my neighbors social inadequacies, and sneaking away to play video games in the attic.

Looking forward to seeing the gang in FL. It'll be a whirlwind tour.

Jan 4 - Back into some harder sessions. Rode with the Wednesday SAS ride for the first time, those fellas are lean and mean. It's a 30 mile loop leaving from a local company called SAS (4000 local employees). The warm up is about 3 miles then hard to bloody gut busting hard the remainder. Then today we met a few of the Trailhead runners at Umstead for a loop on the Company Mill trail. Bri and I have done this in 58 at our best, today we did it in 53 and a bit. I wasn't leading! Did some yoga as well. Racing in the Deleon Springs half this weekend, should be fun.

Jan 2 - Here's a good article from David Bach, author of "The Automatic Millionaire". Good read - if you've found saving for your future tough (or haven't thought about it), tis one to check out.

Jan 1 - Happy New Year! Bri and I did the 2006 Gaal Pub Crawl last night - started at the Flying Saucer in downtown Raleigh, then made our way back to Harrison's Pub down the street from our house. We finished about 10:30 last night and hit the sack. Almost saw in the new year. Had a nice 2.5 hour ride yesterday and right now we're debating going to a 5k on the NC state campus. It's raining though so in the immortal words of the magic 8 ball - outlook is cloudy, try again later.