Thursday, December 31, 2009

Team OSB at American Triple T NC

The American Triple T is a 3 day, 4 race triathlon that adds up to an Ironman distance. HFP Racing has run a version of this in Ohio since 2002, and launched a version at White Lake NC for 2010.

You can race this as an individual or as a member of a 2-person team. If you go as a team, then the first two races (Friday sprint, Saturday morning Olympic) are done as individuals, and the next 2 (Saturday afternoon Olympic, Sunday Half) must be completed together. Your times are added together for the final score.

I mentioned to Bri that I was thinking about finding a teammate, to make it more interesting, generate some team spirit, and have team fun. She said she might be interested. I said, well, if you are interested, let's do it, since they have a coed division.

So we're going! Having Bri as a training partner for this will be great, and we should get into solid shape for USAT Nationals in September.

Now we need to figure out if we're going to be Team Gaal, Team One Step Beyond, or Team Tassie.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Terminator: Salvation review

This movie sucked. If it sucked any worse it would create a time-dilation vortex and suck both the future and the past into it, eradicating all existence. While I was watching I stabbed myself in the leg three times to convince myself I hadn't died and gone to hell. Don't see this movie unless you hate yourself and deserve to suffer.

Bri has been telling me to write a review, so there you go. I was sorely disappointed.

Anyway we had a nice time in Virginia. Bri posted some pictures which you can check out here.

Next up is New Years, and then we start riding outside in 30 degree weather. I mentioned running in one of the New Years Day 5k runs around here, but Bri pushed me out of the car into oncoming traffic, so I took that as a "No."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Avatar review - Spoiler alert

We went to see the movie Avatar last night, in 3D, no less. Read no more if you have not seen the movie and don't want the plot or storyline blown for you.


OK, so the movie is about an enlisted injured US Marine, Jake, who is drafted to go to a distant planet and mingle with the native alien people via an Avatar - a living breathing alien body engineered for his (brother's) specific use. Jake's twin brother was originally going to go but he got mugged and killed 1 week prior, so Jake is sent because they share the same genetic code. The alien people are about 12 feet tall, blue skinned, and have a distinctive American Indian, one with nature culture.

In short, the planet is being mined by Humans for some highly valued metal, and the biggest deposit of this metal sits directly under the local native alien village.

Or unwitting hero stumbles into the village after getting himself lost & meeting a fine Indian maiden. The village elders decide to accept him and teach him their ways. PS: Jake knows that in 3 months the humans are going to take by force the village if he can't convince the elders to leave. This is part of his mission!

Commence action scenes, beautiful scenery, bold and fun clean adventure. 3 months go by. JAKE NEVER MENTIONS THAT THE VILLAGE WILL BE RAZED. WTF? The villagers eventually accept him as one of "The People" and he sleeps with his fine maiden, aka the daughter of the chief.

Next day: Invasion! Jake says, "Oh yeah, I meant to tell you that the humans are going to invade and you should leave." Fair maiden feels betrayed. Villagers choose to fight bad American people. Village is razed, many innocents are killed. Chief dies. Bad juju.

Jake & team escape, he takes over a big red bird reminiscent of a Phoenix, and convinces the people to follow him and unite under one banner. The planet is actually a network living thing and eventually realizes it must fight the humans. Good people of the planet triumph after significant losses. Jake becomes one of The People forever.

That is a short summary. Now I will give you my cynical view.

Jake is in a wheelchair in his human body. He is essentially a nobody, a grunt, having lived in 'the shadow' of his brilliant brother. In his alien body he is strong, uninjured. He eventually realizes his alien life is better than his human life. He diabolically plots a method to a) win the beautiful chieftain daughter, b) eliminate all his rivals both human and alien, c) take over the entire alien world.

JAKE WINS! He is actually so evil, so clever, so ruthless and cunning that no one realizes he is the baddest of the bad. A wolf in sheep's clothing.

You get the point.

This report brought to you by

Sunday, December 20, 2009

holiday update

We had a nice weekend here in NC consisting of multiple holiday parties, cold sleeting rain, and capped it off with a great long run on the American Tobacco Trail today. A recap:

Tequila shots bestowed upon me at the FS Series Holiday party on Thursday night
Fun Secret Santa gifting at Nas' party
12.5 mile run Sunday morning while Bri covered 14.1 (I am slower than her if you haven't figured that out)

This week brings Christmas and some quality time with our family in Virginia. They have an Xbox, which I plan to comandeer in order to wipe out entire militias on one of them shoot-em-up games. We might also open presents.

I have posted all the 2009 OSB Newsletters on the newsletter page if you want to kill some time reading short training articles and athlete updates.

There is not a whole lot else going on. We're going to go see the Kill The Smurfs movie sometime soon, and I am going to buy some Edward the Vampire stuff for Bri, who is a driving force behind the Team Edward movement.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Worst morning runner ever

Today Bri was not able to run at any other time than early AM. We are going to the FS Series holiday party tonight at 6, and she is stuck in meetings from 10AM to 5PM at work. The pain of being in meetings for 7 hours aside, she can be a tough cookie when need be. I told her I would go with her for solidarity and safety.

I am the worst morning runner ever and this was the worst morning run in several years.

Last night I played in a local poker game until about 12:30. Right to bed when I got home. Alarm goes off at 6AM. I say to Bri, "Can we run at lunch?"

"No, I have meetings from 10 until 5, I have to go now."

I moan and groan but get out of bed. Stumble around looking for my clothes.

"Oh, you're going to go with me?" She says, with a twinkle in her eye.

"Yes, I told you I was going to go."

Out the door by 6:20. No coffee. No food. No water. Just the two of us and the open road.

Did I mention that it was 28 degrees?

Bri was able to include 2 x 10 minutes of tempo, while I limped along behind her and tried not to poop myself along the busiest road in Cary.

It was six ugly miles. Going to run 30 minutes later today and try and run fast for 15 of them.

Ug. Just thinking about it is ugly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heading into 2010

It has been a quiet few weeks here at OSB central, as many of our athletes take a well needed break from regular training plans and emails telling them to get out of bed and go work out. We are looking forward to 2010 as another great year both personally and athletically. Some highlights with our 2009 athletes:

- 5 first-time IMers
- 2 70.3 World Champ qualifiers
- 1 Boston Marathon qualifier
- 1 Hawaii Ironman finisher
- 3rd age group Duathlon Worlds
- Several NCTS and FS Series top 3 age group / masters overall

Bri has been fortunate to work with a small group of really motivated athletes and has had a lot of fun coaching them. It is nice watching her become more confident in her ability to coach people successfully.

We're going to run several Powerstroke clinics again throughout the season (every 2-3 months) and will be hosting our Winter training camp in late February (there is currently 1 open bedroom in the shared beach house) and another weekend training camp in Raleigh in August.

We signed back on as series coaching sponsor for the North Carolina Triathlon Series and will be racing / attending a number of these events throughout the season. There are 25 total racing days, which is a bunch, so you won't see us at all of them. I am planning to race 6 of them - Belews Lake, White Lake Sprint 2, Kure Beach, Stumpy Creek, Lake Norman, and Jordan Lake Sprint.

We've been selling a few Powerstroke DVDs each week since making them available for sale. I hope to keep this up indefinitely. There will be a couple of production upgrades to the material coming soon, but if you buy one now you're receiving the same content. Basically we have a chance to re-shoot the lecture in a professional studio with better lighting and equipment in January. It will be a prettier presentation.

My goals for 2010:
low 18 5k
Host 8 to 10 Powerstroke and open water clinics throughout the year
3 or 4 top 5 overall local sprint triathlon results
Low 2 hour olympic distance at St Anthonys Tri in April
Top 5 Triple T NC individual
Save money / pay off all debt except mortgage & car payment
Put together a 100 +/- page training manual I can give to new athletes as a guide and-or sell as a standalone book.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Unemployed? No problem!

If you're unemployed or fearing you're about to be, don't worry - Mama government is here to help you. Now you can be on unemployment for up to 99 weeks. Isn't that swell? You could take the time to clean the backyard, go on a staycation, or just stay up all night watching Nickelodeon. Who cares?

When I was a young man without much in the way of money, fame, good looks, friends, fame, money, family support, money, people that liked me, a useful degree, good looks, fame, or money, you know what I did when I got fired or layed-off from one of my non-unionized, uninsured, abusive-boss jobs?

I WENT OUT AND GOT ANOTHER ONE. WHATEVER JOB I COULD FIND. I have never been on unemployment, food stamps, handouts, or whatever. I did stay at my father's house for a year while down on my luck in my mid-20s (and was thankful to stay there for the time), but even then I worked two jobs to save up and get back on my feet. He paid me about $6 an hour for warehousing & deliveries, and my other jobs paid between 8 and 10 bucks per hour.

NOTHING LIKE THE FEAR OF BEING PENNILESS AND ON THE STREET ON YOUR OWN TO GET SOME PEOPLE INTO THE WORKFORCE. Go to any mall, fast food joint, restaurant, call center, or other places that don't require much in the way of technical skill. Think you can find a job? I bet you a million dollars there is a job in your town you could walk into tomorrow! Want to take me up on the bet? Send your gold equivalent to my house and I'll hold onto it while you look for work! Ha! Fooled you! I will take your gold and run away!

Ha! Fooled you again! I wouldn't do that because it would be unethical!

I realize it might be unbecoming for a former exec or technical expert of a now defunct start-up to work at Burger King or Road House as a prep cook, but my man, since you blew all your income on high priced dance clubs, vacation condos, and Ferraris when life was good, whose fault is this when you get down to it?

Do you feel demeaned, marginalized, or embarrassed to be a college-educated 40-50 year old, working next to 18-year old stoner kids who think foreign policy is something you can catch a venereal disease from? Does it bother you when they laugh at the old guy? Are you too good for this sort of thing?

Tales of your exploits sailing to the Galapagos Islands to poach baby seals are not going to put food on your table.

Are you going to have to downsize your life? Is that dream of owning your own home, and a vacation home, and one for your mistress over? It sure is!


Wake up to the new world my friends. Want to hold out for that super-duper executive position you're highly qualified for? Go for it! I'll see you in the Soup Kitchen line!

My sympathy is running dry. Get a job. Get any job. Ideally a high paying government job (they can pay more, since they can also make the money, and the rules, and then change them, and then take your stuff, and then change the rules again). Make a new job for yourself. Do something besides sit around and think you deserve better than this.

You don't deserve anything but what you make or do for yourself.

Stop the insanity! Our expected Federal deficit next year is 1.2 trillion. $98 billion of that is going to unemployment extensions.

A trillion dollars is 1,000 billion. A billion dollars is 1,000 million.

That is 1,200,000 million. Or 1.2 million million dollars.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Broken pensions

Here is an interesting article about the New Jersey State employee's pension system. It is totally busted, state and local governments haven't been contributing, and the average payout is $60,000 a year. 1 in 3 pensioners move out of the state when they retire (because taxes are onerous...because of the pensions...?).

Brutal. Imagine you're now 40-something, having banked on a comfortable pension when you retire, ie not banking your salary to a retirement account, and voila, the carpet is going to be ripped out from under you.

Save your dough.

Monday, December 7, 2009

2010 race plans (again)

Jan-Feb: random running races
March 21 - Wrightsville Beach or Tobacco Trail half-marathon
March 27 - Smithfield Sprint Triathlon (Virginia)
April 17 - Belews Lake Triathlon
April 18 - Triangle Ortho Centennial Sprint Triathlon
April 25 - St Anthonys Olympic Triathlon
May 9 - White Lake Sprint 2
May 22 or 23 - Low Country 2.4 mile swim (Charleston)
June 6 - Breezy Point Triathlon
June 27 - Kure Beach Double Sprint Triathlon
July 11-16 - Erie Canal Bike Tour
July 18 - John T Carey Ocean City Master Swim
August 7 - Stumpy Creek International
August 22 - Lake Norman Sprint
September 25 - USAT Nationals
October 2 - Jordan Lake sprint
October 8-10: Triple T North Carolina

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Running in the cold rain

I was going to get a 10 mile run in today, rain or shine, squall or sun. The weather wound up being in the low 50s and drizzly, which is not too bad. Steffen met me and we trudged out a 10 miler in Umstead. There were only a handful of other intrepid souls in the park.

Tomorrow I'll meet an OSB athlete for 9 more miles, then get an easy ride in the afternoon.

I'm pretty motivated for 2010 racing if you haven't picked up on that, and am going to do the NC Triple T as my season finale next year. The Triple T is a weekend of racing - 4 races that add up to the Ironman distance. Sprint on Friday, 2 international distance races on Saturday, and a half-Iron distance on Sunday.

The plan will be to stick to mostly sprint style training & 1 long ride per week through July, then bang out 2 months of dedicated long course training in August and September.

Our summer vacation next year is going to be the Erie Canal Bike Tour the week of July 11-18.

Don't forget about the Florida Winter training camp in late February.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

OSB athlete in the news

Check out this article on Karen Crews, who recently raced in the Beach 2 Battleship Iron distance triathlon. It has been a pleasure working with Karen over the past couple of years.

I am leaning towards the October Triple T in NC as a season finale in 2010.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sustainable Wealth

I finished reading Sustainable Wealth: Achieving financial security in volatile world of debt and consumption by investment dude Axel Merk. It is a good read and I recommend it to anyone interested in saving and making money.

The key tenants:

Spend less than you make
Create concrete savings goals
Avoid or pay down debt
Keep abreast of economic trends and diversify your risk
Invest only what you can afford to lose
Don't trust the government to save you
Work for yourself if possible and realistic

Some specific ideas he included:
pick up foreign currency instead of all US dollars
real estate / rental property
Don't count on the stock or bond market for all your returns

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Dexter weekend

Bri and I decided to stay local this Thanksgiving and keep it simple. Yesterday we had a nice run in the AM at the Inside Out Turkey Trot then we relaxed, napped, watched several episodes of Dexter, did a bit of coaching work, then headed to our favorite downtown pub, The Flying Saucer.

Dexter is a Showtime series about a psychopath who was taught to control and hide his antisocial ways by his adoptive father growing up. He likes to kill people, but he only kills bad people. Very entertaining, because though you know he is supposed to be a bad guy, he really is a good guy.

Bri had a good run, finishing 4th in the 8k in 32:14. I opted to do the 1 mile fun run, but ran as fast as I could and did a 5:25 or thereabouts.

My new rule with road races is that if there are multiple options I will always take the shortest distance that an adult is allowed to run. My competitors in the mile were mostly kids, but they needed to be owned, so I owned them.

But seriously, I am working on my short speed and the mile all out runs are great. I am sore as heck today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life is good

I just read that nearly 25% of mortgage holders in the US are underwater, owing more on the mortgage than the house is worth. That is bad news. Next year a bunch of 3/1 ARMs will reset. This is usually not a problem, in general the rate would roll over to the prime + whatever markup you signed up for, except if the home is 10% or more underwater the mortgage company can turn it into a fixed rate mortage. If you've been paying an interest only rate for 3 years and one of you lost your job, it will be doubly tough to pay a fixed rate 30 year on a home that is worth less than what you're paying for it. Watch for more empty houses near you.

Bri and I sold our small Florida condo in March of 2006 and relocated to Cary, which has not lost value. I'd like to tell you that I saw the writing on the wall, and I did to the extent that I knew the houses around us in Orlando were selling for much more than they were worth, but if I really did then I would have sold the REITS short in late 06. The truth is we just got lucky with the timing. We might step up in the next year or two (no garage at our place), and one of my personal finance goals is to pay the mortgage off as quickly as possible. I don't care about the opportunity cost of the cash or the possible amplified return we could get from using leverage to play the Forex or commodities markets, a house you own is a house that can't be taken away, unless the government seizes it, in which case you'll find us arming up with all the other militias that will hopefully fight for the Constitution, booya.

If you have not seen them, Delta Triathlon has put up several videos we filmed a few months ago discussing various aspects of triathlon training. I am the dude doing the lecturing.

Just got back from a visit to the studio at Rival Health. The owners are going to let us reshoot the lecture portion of the Powerstroke DVD video there in exchange for use of the film in their site and some developmental content from One Step Beyond. Not a bad deal at all.

Our next Powerstroke clinic dates are January 24 in Huntersville and January 30-31 for a 2 day clinic in Cary.

Don't forget about the February 2010 Winter Training Camp in Florida.

Running the Inside Out Sports Turkey Trot 1 mile this Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interesting links

$98 billion in improper payments in 2009. That's about $650 per taxpayer.

Now's probably not the time to jump back into the market.

What are the odds of recovery?

Don't forget we're still paying for two wars.

Tomorrow I am off for the "North Carolina Mountain Bubba Buddies," what our womenfolk call "Man Fest." A weekend retreat with the guys, an annual tradition that's been going on for 30 years among my father-in-law's friends. He has some venerable colleagues and over the years the next generation have made our way to the retreat. We gather at an old, uninsulated cabin in the woods of North Wilkesboro. We play cards, drink too much, tell stories, and shoot guns. I figure this will be good practice for the post-apocalyptic days not too far hence.

After a couple days of this he and I will head to Maggie Valley to meet Bri & Tassie for some civilization and warm food.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah Palin

"Terribly inappropriate quote involving kielbasa"

"If these fingers were guns, I'd be popping caps in your head like the Russkies I can see from my house, you betcha!"

"My daughter thinks this much is a meter! If she was any dumber, we'd have to chain her up in the backyard! Golly!"

"And so I says to Mr. McCain, I said to him, hey, there, little fella! If you could handle five years in one of them Vietnamese thingies, you can handle a little bit of the Palinator, dontcha think?"

"My book was gonna be this big, but they said no one would want to see my drawings about aliens, so I should just do more of that writing stuff!"

"I'm totally like a hot librarian, you betcha! I'll make such a great President too, because I know where Washington is!"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good clinic

We had another Powerstroke clinic yesterday, with 15 people in attendance. Everyone seemed to enjoy the practice and presentations and gave us positive feedback afterwards. Over the past few years I have become comfortable speaking in front of a classroom or crowd, provided I know what I'm talking about. I am pretty drained after speaking and being "on" for five hours + though. Bri has been taking over one of the presentations which gives me a chance to gnosh on some lunch.

Our next clinic date is in the Charlotte/Huntersville area:
January 24 at the Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatic Center.

We'll have another one in Cary in early February and I am working on one in Florida in March.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Jordan Lake 2 mile OW swim race

We have been working on bringing a 4th race date to the Triangle Open Water Swim Series, and we just received the approval from the Superintendent. We'll be hosting a new 2 mile and 1 mile on July 24 from the Vista Point recreation area on the west side of Jordan Lake. The new race names, courtesy of a brainstorming session between Bri and myself involving a lot of sleep deprivation, oxygen debt, and chanting:

Little Uno and The Big Deuce

The logo process should be interesting.

Onto Tassie running mileage...
Tassie is a fall and winter running machine. She doesn't like to go too far in the heat of the summer, but once the temperature drops she is ready to rock and roll. This week she ran with both Bri and I on Tuesday. This morning in the lousy sleety rain we went for a solid hour of morning Marty tempo (which is slow as molasses). She is getting close to 20 miles per week.

After her post-run bath and massage, she likes to take a nap.

This weekend we're hosting a Powerstroke clinic on Saturday and racing in the Old Reliable 5k on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

oil scam?

I don't know enough about the futures market to agree or disagree with this article on oil futures manipulation at Seeking Alpha, but it sure is some interesting reading.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lessons I've learned by 38

My top ten lessons to living a happy and fulfilling life:

Find a spouse who is supportive, caring, loving, honest, and faithful. Someone who you can share your goals and dreams with.

Give to your family, friends, and community. Be generous with your time and your skills.

Pursue your goals and dreams. Do your best not to tread on others along the way. You don't need to beat other people to accomplish things; you just need to be your best self.

Take time out to relax, smell the roses, tell stories around a campfire.

Eliminate from your life people who are negative, who criticize, who belittle your ideas, goals and dreams, in other words, avoid people who perceive it as their job to bring you down. Learn to defend yourself from the tyranny of evil men.

Build up your friends and family. Expect the best from them and they will often live up to your expectations.

Avoid debt slavery.

Pursue your passions and success / money will follow.

Learn a foreign language or two.

Accumulate friends and good memories; these are more valuable than any material wealth you might gain.

Travel. See the world, other cultures, and you realize most of us are just doing our best to make a living, have a life and family, and have a little fun.

Learn to count.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Beach 2 Battleship

Bri and I will head down to Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach to watch the Beach 2 Battleship triathlons this weekend. There is a full and a half (Iron-distance). We have a few athletes racing so it will be fun to go in full cheer / support mode. I enjoy the beach if you didn't already know that, and Wilmington is a nice town to hang out in.

If you previously ordered the Powerstroke DVD, it shipped yesterday. Everything is good to go. I am working on a few avenues to have it distributed & promoted, we shall see how that endeavor goes.

This week was a tough one for running. On Tuesday we did a short AM 1.7m run (the Tassie loop, named after you know who), and followed it up with a PM 7 miler with 8 x 2 minute fast / 2 min easy. My legs were lead and Bri dusted me on the intervals. The last 3 were OK which is good. On Wednesday we did an easy 3 miler (the Big Tassie loop). Thursday we did a 7.6 miler with 4 miles up-tempo. I felt solid here and was able to keep Bri from breaking away, until the final uphill in Umstead State Park.

Tomorrow we'll do an easy 3 miler on "The Loop" in Wrightsville, then a long run on Sunday morning. That would be 30+ which is not too shabby for this kid.

Monday, November 2, 2009

2010 goals

I have been thinking about my 2010 racing goals. This year went very well - three 1st places is not too shabby! My motivation at this point is also much better than it was at the beginning of 2009. To some extent I was stressed about making the Powerstroke freestyle technique DVD all spring and summer, and having that particular project done and looking good frees me up to focus my intellect or lack thereof on other things. So I am debating goals for '10:

Sub 2-hour olympic distance
Sub 4:20 half IM
Top 5 finish in the NCTS series
Serious competition in 2 or 3 standalone open water events.

The open water events will be fun to get back into. I will hit up some of the other masters teams to train since I coach most of the TAC-OSB sessions and doing hard swim workouts by myself is not my bag.

My current selection:

March: Wrightsville Beach half-marathon
April: St Anthonys Triathlon
May: Low Country Splash 2.4 mile swim
June: Kure Beach

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's a brother got to do to get ahead?

Just when I thought the muppets and clowns up in Washington were going to kick some dollars our way, we get to the fine print. Word on the street has been that the wise and powerful senators are going to extend the homebuyer tax credit to include current homeowners! Yay, free money for me (from you and me and our kids and their kids)!

But wait...there's more!

You have to have lived in your current home for at least 5 years
The credit is the lesser of 10% or $7,290

Sensible buyers like Bri and myself, who happened to purchase in the last 3 years, get nothing for nothing. No credit, no free money, just more debt slavery, rewarding the imprudent, the foolish, the wasteful, and the schemers at the top.

Get this, if some ****head and his foulmouthed freeloading wife have lived in their $600,000 home for at least 5 years, they can trade up ...and TAKE MONEY OUT OF OUR POCKETS to buy their new 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom colonial...but people like you and I get squa-doodly.

Granted, some of the folks who can take advantage of this are hard working honest citizens. But seriously? We need to give more tax breaks now, with 11 trillion deficit and 1.4 current year? A trillion is a million million, you know? A billion is 1000 million. Let's just give free money out for everything. Want a puppy? Tax break! Want a pet zebra? Tax break!

Want a new diamond necklace for your girlfriend to support De Beers and corrupt import exporters in NYC?


To folks who can buy an $750,000 home AS IS to 'stimulate the economy'?



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Powerstroke lecture preview

Regarding the three main types of freestyle mechanics:
Weakest: elbow slip
Better: straight arm
Best: high elbow catch / early vertical foream

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

finance and investments

I continue to read daily on finance, investments, broad based global macro economics, and sector specific stuff. Here is a summary:

-Buy stocks, they only go up
-Sell stocks, they are overvalued and earnings are inflated, accounting is fraudulent
-Japan is going to have all sorts of problems
-The US is going to default
-The US will lead the world out of the economic doldrums
-Buy gold it is a hedge on inflation/deflation/systemic failure
-Don't buy gold, it has no yield or inherent value
-Buy commodities, the world will be starving soon because of taking various production offline
-Don't buy commodities, they are manipulated by the shadow empire
-Diversify to smooth out your risk
-Diversification is for idiots and fools
-Real estate is expecting a new wave of bankruptcy and defaults
-Now is the time to buy a new home!

There you go. You're ready to take on the world of high finance.

I just sent out our Q3 checks to the IRS and NCDOR. Here is a visual display.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

fast week

I didn't have much to write about this week so decided to skip the inanities. I still don't have much to say today. The Powerstroke DVD is at the shop getting some technical menu bugs worked out and hopefully they finish it tomorrow and then we can send it to the production shop for production and fulfillment. It looks really good and I'm happy with how it all turned out.

In December we've been given the opportunity to reshoot the lecture portion at a professional studio with $$$ cameras and mics. Our current lecture presents great information but we had some mic interference that we weren't able to engineer out of the movie. This is what you get when you use an inexpensive wireless system.

We ran in the March of Dimes Run for Babies 5k over in Morrisville this morning - Bri stomped the heck out of me with an 18:45. I felt OK but suffered on the uphills and ran a 19:50. Going to be a good challenge to get back to low 18 or high 17 by March, but consistent speedwork, tempo runs, and long runs should make it a reality.

Next weekend we're off to Jacksonville FL to hang with sis in law and her fella for Halloween and some sort of football game.

Order the Powerstroke DVD. Tell your friends. The Powerstroke: Speed through force and form DVD loves you and wants to live in your home with you and your wonderful family. How can you reject the Powerstroke DVD? It just wants to be your friend.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I may come across as a smart guy, but it is more the intelligence of a dog that kept doing tricks over and over until he got them right. It is super pigheadedness. It takes me a long time to figure certain things out, and some things will always be beyond me (like the mind of an emotional woman, and most higher math, probably because they are the same thing).

But I just don't get Twitter. What is the use of this thing? If you're following a bunch of people, you have to check your Twitter page every day to see what they're up to, or you miss the updates. If you're having the tweets sent to your mobile phone then the thing would be beeping all the time, which seems to me to be a colossal waste of time and energy for what often amounts to something like "I picked some lint out of my bellybutton." Some people stick to a specific industry, which is good. But they tend to send a message every hour or two. I don't want to hear from you every hour or two. You are boring. Stop updating.

As an advertisement, I can see some value, but you have to be a zombiefied self promotion machine to keep cranking the stuff out. By the way, the Powerstroke: Speed through force and form freestyle technique DVD is done, mass production starts next week. you should buy one, now now now now now.

If you follow only one person, then you're a stalker, or a technology idiot, and that doesn't seem right either.

Facebook I get. Blogger I get. There are picture pages, a nice layout, and super cutsie stuff for kids who want to play with stuff on the internet.

Twitter is like the ADD generation on crack. I don't get the utility of it.

I would put a good joke here, but it is early in the morning and I haven't gotten the blood flowing yet.

Off to New Orleans this weekend for some quality time with my father and brother-in-law. We will be at Harrah's Casino, mostly the poker room, if you want to stop by.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

winter training camp 2010

I have been looking at vacation rental sites for the past few weeks trying to nail down a house for our base of operations for the annual triathlon training camp in Florida. We held it at St Pete Beach last year and I would like to do that again, but I have been having trouble getting folks to reply to me in a timely manner about their homes. Just spread out the search to Tierra Verde and downtown St Petersburg, both of which are good locations as well, just not right on the beach.

Anyway, if you are considering a 2010 winter training camp think about us - February 22 through March 1 in St Pete Beach (or downtown St Pete, or Tierra Verde/Fort Desoto). We strike a balance between serious training and some fun social stuff.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

nice weekend

Bri and I had a nice weekend. On Saturday morning we loaded up the car to set up at the Pinehurst triathlon and cheer on our friends/athletes/blood-feud enemies. The Pinehurst triathlon is a very challenging olympic-plus distance race that you'll never see me racing in because of the run terrain. There are too many hills for this intrepid adventurer. The morning was warm and humid, making me even happier that all I had to do was sit there and yell at people.

After the race we came home and kept an eye on Ironman world champs going on out in Hawaii. I had one athlete out there competing - congrats Emily!

This morning was a lot cooler, and we did a run/ ride in Umstead. Then I took a big nap.

This must be one of the most banal posts I've put up in a while. Yakk yakk yakk.

The point is I enjoy hanging out with Bri. She rocks. The end.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Powerstroke-ing it

I have gone into crunch mode here at Powerstroke headquarters, shutting myself up in the office and only emerging for food and other human bodily functions. Just when you thought you had everything figured out, you noticed the excessive pixelation in your Livetype fonts when they were imported into Final Cut Express and then exported as a movie file? Why is that? Ah because you were using the rendered movie files from Livetype when all you need to do is import the livetype file itself. DUH! Anyone could have told you that!

Good thing you only have to re-enter the livetype files where appropriate and then re-export the movies. The movie exports can take a while because these things are huge. I bought a terabyte hard drive a few months ago to handle it all.

Waiting to hear when my local DVD guru and editor can take everything off my hands and turn into a finished product.

That is all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

winter weekly training plan

Trigeek data:
Monday: PM run 30-40 minutes, Kung Fu, swim 1500 yards easy
Tuesday AM run 15-20 minutes with Tassie, PM run track workout
Wednesday AM swim 3,000 masters, PM ride 1 hour easy, Kung Fu
Thursday AM run 40min to 1 hour with tempo
Friday AM swim 1,000 easy, run 15-20 minutes easy with Tassie, PM San Shou (Sparring)
Saturday long run - 8 to 12 miles
Sunday easy ride - 1 to 2 hours, optional easy run

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lake Royale Triathlon

I felt really good this morning and had a great race, finishing first overall. The bike and run courses were both hilly. The first and last section of the bike go through the Lake Royale subdivision which is all twisting, turning, up, down, very technical. The middle section was a nice straight(ish) out and back and flat. The run was like the first part of the bike - not a flat spot in there.

I jumped to a lead on the swim and held it from there. This is the way I need to compete in order to win, since my strategy (if feeling good and in shape) is to get far ahead on the swim and bike, then limit damage on the run.

Night and day between how I felt at the Wilmington YMCA and today. Funny how a couple adjustments can make such a difference.

Here are a couple pictures of me from this morning. Notice the good running form. Working out with the The Athlete's Foot track group on Tuesday nights has helped me quite a bit lately.

Earlier this week I gave a presentation at Lenovo on "Improving your 5k Training" - a lecture for intermediate runners looking to drop their 5k running times. Here's the presentation if that's you. It's a Powerpoint.

In a couple hours we are off to totally kick some more ass at the Durham Beer Festival. I am so psyched for this once a year event. I rested and tapered for it and everything.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ken Lewis payday

In case you're keeping track, our boy Ken Lewis from BoA did OK for himself. $125 million payout when he leaves in December.

That is twenty-five hundred $50,000 jobs for one year, or two hundred fifty $50,000 jobs for ten years. I dunno about you but it sounds pretty good. I am sure he will put it to good use though.

Oh, wow, the govnmint got some job loss numbers wrong, too. Oops.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

homeward bound

Today Tassie and I spent all day inside the house. I take that back. I spent all day inside the house, Tassie went in the backyard to hunt birds and squirrels periodically.

I was glued to the editing for our Powerstroke: Speed through force and form DVD. I am actually nearly done with everything at this point - just a couple more edits and voiceovers for stroke analysis, then we send it to a local production company to put a nice DVD menu together and perhaps fancy a couple things up. My chum Bill Payne has already designed the DVD cover and labeling. It will rock.

You should buy at least one of these most excellent DVDs, if not one for you and every member of your family.

Here is a preview of what the DVD includes:

Part 1) 30 minute lecture and Q&A: What is Powerstroke?

Part 2) 27 minute analysis - the Three Types of Swim Strokes for Freestyle and how to improve:
Type 1: Elbow slip
Type 2) Straight arm pull
Type 3) High elbow catch / early vertical forearm

Part 3) 15 minute explanation & analysis - Powerstroke as a drill, stroke form, and way of swimming

Part 4) Additional drills & voice over explanation analysis (1 hour):
- Catch up drill
- 1-arm drill
- Fist drill
- Techpaddle (drill)
- Sculling
- 6-kick on side rotation drill
- Doggy paddle drill

Part 5) Dryland stretches and supplementary exercises

It is more than two hours, part of the reason it has taken me a couple years from conception to completion to get it done. I did not want to outsource production and distribution, so we could call it our baby.

If you work in the triathlon or swim fitness industry and would like to stock it, let me know. Please help spread the word.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lake Royale Triathlon

I am looking forward to the Lake Royale sprint triathlon this Saturday. It is the final race in the Triangle Orthopaedic / FS Series. I basically missed a taper at Wilmington so adjusted things this week in order to feel fresher on race day. My cycling has become weaker here in the late season but the run is better on paper, so we'll see how that plays out. There is potential to ride home from the race site with a training buddy. And then...

WORLD BEER FEST!! Our annual pilgrimage to the Durham Athletic Park for 4 hours of unadulterated frothy beer consumption. We have recruited a strong group of fellow beer consumers to join us and we're all looking forward to it.

That will wrap up the tri season. We will most likely keep riding a couple times a week easy thru January, then get back into a more serious routine. I'm looking forward to focusing on just improving the run for a handful of months.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A strange correlation

I have been studying the Dow and some principle variable involved over the weekend. Here is a chart of the DJIA adjusted for inflation for the last several decades.

Here we can see my 2009 triathlon results. 0 = overall win, anything below that is a drop in 1 place.

It should be blindingly clear that the bull market of the 1960s topped out with my overall win at the Battle of Buckhorn Triathlon in June, 2009 (point 6).

Equally clearly, the famous stock market peak of 2007 DIRECTLY COINCIDES with my 3rd place at Lake Norman in August. The subsequent market crash is ALSO EQUALLY CLEARLY PREDICTED by my dismal performance at the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon in September, 2009 (point 9).

These are the facts, and these facts are INDISPUTABLE, since they have been published here on the internet.

I have one more triathlon left in 2009. It is this Saturday. If my analysis here is correct, a triathlon win this weekend should sustain a bull market rally through 2012. A loss predicts a stunning and swift downturn in the stock market. YOU SHOULD BASE ALL OF YOUR FUTURE STOCK MARKET DECISIONS ON THIS COMPLETELY REASONABLE AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.

It is amazing how my one year of triathlon racing can predict 80 years of stock market inflation adjusted gains.


Friday, September 25, 2009

random weekend update

I've decided to capitalize on the popularity of teen angst fantasy vampire dramas along with my own penchant for dark humor. I'm going to write a book about a group of teenage vampire little people (called vabbits) from a boarding school that find a portal to another world called Smarmia. The young vabbits are mostly good but there is a lot of teenage angst and the occasional violent outburst towards a loved one or mortal enemy.

The main character is a lovable little guy called Eddie Fango who comes from a poor family but they all have huge fangs if you know what I mean. His love interest is Baby Bessa a rich vabbit with a heart of gold but the occasional character flaw leads her to flip flop love interests like a cheap date in Las Vegas or any woman of questionable morality you may or may not happen to know.

The foil is a dark vabbit from the bad side of town named Wolfie Bloodbane the Third. Wolfie is not really a bad guy but his circumstances give you pause for consideration. His father, Lord Vampiremort, was killed in a great battle for possession of the portal to Smarmia and no one is sure if he was really good or evil except for his wife who perished in a skysurfing accident (or did she).

The vabbits all live on animal blood except for two of them who are hippy stoner vabbits that live on cactus juice and bugs and one other one who loves to kill people at random thus ensuring that at least one lovable main character will die in a painful and dramatic fashion designed to bring tears to your eyes and then scribble your own alternative ending to the story.

Each book will be divided into ten chapters, and each chapter ending drive home the point that these characters are really nothing but rascally vabbits.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Flat as a pancake

Wilmington and Wrightsville are pretty flat, being coastal. This week I took it easy, got good sleep, rested up, and cut back on the beer. Today I was also completely flat. Felt like I did not have much glycogen in my system if you want to be detailed. Could not turn the pedals on the bike or the legs on the run. Probably finished top twenty when you count everyone. I was shooting for top five.

My sweet Bri took me down by a minute, and won overall as well. At least she refrained from slapping my butt and telling me to pick it up, Sally, or something along these lines.

I am a bit disappointed but having done a bunch of racing over the years, realize that sometimes despite your best intentions your body is just not in league with your mind. That is OK. That is racing. You come back and do it again another time.

We're going to enjoy the rest of the day here on the beach, meet up with some friends for dinner/drinks tonight, and then run our open water clinic tomorrow morning.

Tassie had a lot of fun meeting everyone at the race awards.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

upcoming races and events

We're hosting an open water swim clinic this Sunday morning down at Johnny Mercer Pier in Wrightsville Beach 8-11AM.

Our next Powerstroke clinic is on November 14 in Cary, NC.

My final two triathlons of the year:
September 19 - Wilmington YMCA Triathlon
October 3 - Lake Royale Triathlon

Fall and winter running races:
October 25 - March of Dimes 5k in RTP
November 26 - Turkey Trot 8k in Cary
December 12 - Jolly Elf Trail 5k, Bond Park, Cary
January 9 (2010) - Run for Young 5k, Raleigh
February 7 - Run for the Roses 5k, Raleigh
March 6 - Cary Distance Festival 5k, Cary

Notice a theme? They're all 5ks. :) I might jump in a half marathon somewhere but the goal is to drop the 5k time down to mid 17s by March 2010.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

partial employment in the recession era

I am thankful to current/past OSB athletes and local swimmers who have kept me in business over the last year. Without them I would officially be a statistic on a government chart.

I have been sending out resumes left and right (at least 50) since January for a variety of full-time and part-time contract positions in finance, education, health & fitness, and of course, technical writing.

Zero interviews later, I am still at square one. Bri and I have some financial goals together and part of those goals require that I earn my keep rather than just sit around the house and stay buff. At the moment we're not meeting those goals.

From a long-term perspective I am looking at teaching as something I could do for the next twenty or twenty five years, while maintaining the coaching business at its current level. Teachers are government employees with pensions (invested in Goldman Sachs, hopefully) and job security. I do enjoy educating people on stuff so actually enjoying the job to some extent isn't an issue.

Their is a curriculum for business and marketing in North Carolina middle and high schools that I think would be very interesting to teach.

Our local community college Wake Tech and NC State have a joint licensure only program that I can take to eventually become licensed to teach here in North Carolina.

The other alternative licensure program is much shorter, but requires you land a teaching job first, which is not easy at the moment.

The long term goal would be to balance the relative stability of a government education job with the flexibility / variability of personal triathlon coaching.

When times are flush again then I will get Bri to quit her most excellent job and take her on wild adventures through the forests, beaches and mountains every summer and winter.

If you are fully and gainfully employed at the moment, count your blessings.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

9-13-09 Weekend update

I had a good time this weekend despite my favorite lady off on her own adventures. On Saturday morning Tassie and I got up at the buttcrack of dawn to drive down to Wrightsville Beach for the Pier 2 Pier swim. Tassie decided it was too early and went back to bed, so it was up to me to do the two hour drive. I brought my surfboard just in case there were some waves worth catching.

The conditions were nice and I got off to a good start on the swim, held pace for about 1k, then pooped out and just enjoyed the ocean for the remainder. UNC W and a few kids from the Wolfpack were in the hizzzzzouusse and they are fast.

I had done San Shou (sparring) on Friday night for the first time and my arms were pretty tired from punching (attempting to punch, one could say) the 15 year olds from the Kung Fu center.

Not that I need an excuse to go slow. ;)

After the swim I picked up some breakfast, got a new rashguard, and then caught a few waves while they did the awards. I keep telling Bri we should buy a place on the beach, but she keeps telling me things like "how are you going to pay for it, smart guy?" to which I don't have a pithy answer just yet.

Maybe I can sell 10,000 Powerstroke DVDs.

Night time saw me head off to meet Jimmy, Alsyia's husband (Bri is hanging with Alysia this weekend), at Tyler's Tap Room for brews and conversation. He is a well-rounded guy and we had a good time.

Today I slept in, which I rarely get to do, puttered around the house in my slippers for a couple of hours, then road my mountain bike to downtown Raleigh to race in the Magnificent Mile. I was pleased to gut out a 5:25 which is totally jamming for me at this moment and bodes well for a return to sub-18 5ks during the winter.

Now I am going to finish work for the week, open a beer, and stare blankly at the wall until Bri gets home.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Economics 101 in the USA September 2009

Ultra rich: "We bought an island off the coast of the Bahamas and have moved 50% of our holdings overseas. We have no idea how much a gallon of milk costs as our servants do everything. We are unfazed and actually profiting off the current volatility in the market and the world. I frequently hunt the most dangerous game on my private reserve in Texas. " Top Wealthy .01% of the population hold 6% of all US wealth.

Upper upper class: "How shall I reallocate my assets now that our dividend payments on ultra conservative bonds and CDs has dropped 2 points? Can I keep my sweet Muffy Princess happy on two million in dividends per year? Should we rent out our family property in the Hamptons for a few weeks a year? Oh dear. I had to temporarily shutter one of our factories in China, but our personal wealth is secure. I am so glad Mumsy and Popsy had us put several hundred thousand dollars in precious metals three years ago." Next top 1% of population hold about 30% of all US wealth.

Upper class: "We had to sell one of our vacation homes at a small loss, but better that then continue to eat the mortgage payment. Our other two homes are just fine since we inherited them debt free several years ago. My $600,000 salary is safe as we are partial owners in the business, but maybe it's time to spend a little less and put more away for a rainy day. Our portfolio lost 20% over the last two years, but it's not the end of the world." Next top 4% hold about 25% of all US wealth.

Upper middle class: "We are not quite as comfy as we used to be. My salary has been frozen and our stock portfolio is down 30%. This jumbo mortgage is about to reset and our primary home is underwater. My wife is concerned she will have to go back to work as an accountant teacher psychologist lawyer nurse but I would rather she stay home with our three children. I hope I don't lose my job because then we would be screwed. My father is about to move into our guest room since his retirement account was blown away and the union had to settle the pension dispute at 60% of what he was supposed to get." Next top 10% hold about 15% of all US wealth.

The top 15% wealthy own about 75% of all US wealth. If you need to ask, you're not in this category.

Middle class: "My house is underwater and I am not sure if it is worth it to pay the mortgage. My brother and his wife just got divorced, he had to move back in with my parents. I lost my job in tech retail health finance whatever and had to take a part time job at Starbucks to help pay the bills until I can find a full-time position in my field. Thank God for Starbucks, did you know they will give health care to part timers? My wife found a job as a teacher nurse secretary but we had to put our youngest in day care. We also had to pull the oldest out of his private Catholic school, he wasn't happy but he understands, we're not able to save anything for retirement or college tuition. We have a bit saved for a rainy day but it has been raining for a while. I hope neither of us gets ill." Next 15% own about 20% of all US wealth.

Lower middle class: "We lost the house last year, I guess we really couldn't afford it anyway, damn real estate agent was a liar, and have been living in a one-bedroom apartment since then. We have no savings left and there is a lot of tension in the house. My attempt to go into business with my friend brother relative didn't work out and am back at work at the factory garage restaurant but it is not full-time and there are no benefits. The wife picked up part time work but we are taking on credit card debt to pay bills and I don't know how long we can keep it together."
Next 30% own about 15% of all US wealth.

Lower class: "We are dead broke, declared bankruptcy, my spouse left me, I am having substance abuse problems, lost my job a while ago, stopped looking for work last month, and my buddy is going to kick me out of his house next week. I am going to stay at the shelter and see if they can help me find a job, but it doesn't look good. I am socially alienated." Bottom 40% of the population own close to 0% of all US wealth.

Don't worry though, the recession is over! Everything will be fine! Economists everywhere are saying it, so it must be true. Or not.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Bri posted a nice update about our weekend with my family so you can read her stuff to cover that. I enjoyed the 5k on Sunday morning; it was humid but not scorching at 7AM. Splits were 6:15, 6:25, 6:30 and then a klick into the finish. I crossed the line 8th or 9th, but my bib number somehow got reversed or left out, and so I didn't get a top ten overall award.

We debated having me run up to the young race director and cause a big scene (YOU MESSED UP THE AWARDS MY WHOLE DAY IS RUINED YOU WHIPPERSNAPPER YOU WAAAHHH), perhaps knocking over a high school runner to take MY PLAQUE IT'S MINE YOU CAN'T HAVE IT I WON IT GIVE IT TO ME LOSER!!! that I duly deserved, but decided against this in order to go have a nice quiet breakfast.

Tassie was happy to see us when we got home so that is nice.

The Wrightsville Beach Pier 2 Pier swim is this Saturday morning, followed by the Magnificent Mile on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor day weekend

We have another fun weekend of fun stuff for the sake of awesome fun-ness this weekend. Off to Miami/Hollywood to spend some time with my Dad, step-mom, sis, bro in law, and niece to celebrate my father's 75th birthday. He is sharp as a tack, tough as nails, and will take my money without remorse in a poker game.

We rented a studio on the beach in Hollywood, so will enjoy morning ocean swims and runs along the 2.5 mile pedestrian walk along the beach. Hollywood Beach is a nice place to hang out for a weekend.

On Sunday morning at 7AM at Birch State Park, Ft Lauderdale, I found a 5k where I will attempt to outrun the slim and wily Brianne "I own you" Gaal. It will be terribly hot and humid but that is OK since I am also terribly hot and humid on Sunday mornings. The race is put on by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Road Runners club. Afterwards we'll go for a dip at the beach then get a nice breakfast. Join us if you're in the area.

We will get home on Monday and probably get a bike ride in, then watch the Seminoles take on the Hurricanes to kick off Monday night football season.

A few weeks ago I did some interview format questions regarding triathlon training for Delta Triathlon - the videos are making their way to the video page on Delta Tri now.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Raleigh Weekend Camp and the Nuclear Swim

We had a busy three days here in North Carolina.

On Wednesday, the Nuclear Swim at Harris Lake reached max capacity.

On Friday, we started our three day Raleigh weekend training camp. Friday consisted of:
-master's swim practice
-31 or 56 mile bike ride
-lunch & lecture
-2.5 hour break
-40 minute or 1 hour run

-7AM long run 8 to 10 miles
-2 hour easy bike ride
-run packet pick up for the Nuclear swim
-swim practice
-lecture on nutrition

-Logistics/race direction for the Nuclear Swim. 250 folks signed up and most showed up on race day. We had 9 watercraft and 3 boat patrols in the water to make sure there were no problems. I ran a short clinic/demo and then set up on my 7'6 surfboard in the water as a starting point for an in water start. The race went well, everyone finished safely or exited safely. There are a few things we will fix for next year but no major issues.
-Run awards while Bri ran with campers
-Brunch with campers

I would post a couple pictures but left my camera at the race site.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

National EMT-Basic

This morning I took the national registry EMT-Basic exam, which basically makes you eligible for state licensing (with a few hoops) in most states. It was one of those interactive computer tests which adjusts the level of difficulty of the questions based on your previous answers. You can't go back and change an answer - so you can't use clues from future questions to winnow down the answers on previous questions. I wanted to stab the computer screen a few times with my keys, but they took my keys before I sat down.

The last question was regarding a nucal cord birth, but in my haze I answered as if it was a prolapsed cord. The screen went blank and it told me I was done. I came home and looked up 'nucal,' and to my disappointment saw it meant "wrapped around the neck." Damn! Fie! Rat farts! Of course I knew the right answer, my memory for new vocabulary has shrunken (gotten more shrinky?) in the past few years, since when you get older your brain shrinks.

I was convinced I failed, since the test had kicked me off on a blatantly incorrect answer. Bah! Poop! Fink!

Anyway, I checked the results a while ago and saw I passed. Won't know the exact score until they snail mail it to me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Nuclear Swim

If you were thinking about signing up for The Nuclear Swim at Harris Lake, best to do so soon. We capped the entries at 250 for the first year and we're approaching max capacity.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

a good weekend

I had a good weekend, as is evidenced by the title of this post.

The Lake Norman YMCA sprint tri went well. Like Bri said, it was sad AND inspiring to hear the gentlemen with ALS speak to us. A lot of the crowd in the back was talking as they didn't realize the seriousness of the moment but we had a front row seat - this was probably this man's final goodbye to most of us, and his words were deep, meaningful, and inspirational. I apologize that I don't recall his name at the moment - someone email me if you know him - in summary he stated that life is a beautiful gift and we should all do our best to live a life filled with purpose, in the grace of a higher power, and a good heart. He had been doing triathlons for 20+ years, last year he raced Lake Norman and this year he could not move without a wheelchair.

As my man Ferris Bueller said:

"Life comes at you fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

I had a good race and finished 4th (3rd after Rob F got a penalty for equipment or something), with a solid 20:00 run which is great for me at the moment - I have had too many 22 minute 5ks lately and this was a hilly, longish 5k.

Today (Sunday August 23 2009) me and two buddies left Cary at 6AM to head to Topsail Island for Surf City and an all day surf session. It was a blast, sets of waves were head high and breaking fairly clean (meaning fun and not too much work to get on them for you non-surfers), and we had good guy talk about life, the universe, and everything. We missed the really big waves set off by Hurricane Bill, but these were good for us.

Then I came home and had dinner with my two favorite ladies.

A good weekend.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Garbage in Garbage Out

Today I'm listening to Bloomberg radio, and you would think that it is all sunshine and rainbows out on the street from the spin. The housing numbers were better than expected so everyone says things like this:

"The housing market has decisively turned for the better," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "A combination of first-time buyers taking advantage of the housing stimulus tax credit and greatly improved affordability conditions are contributing to higher sales."

"Home sales certainly beat expectations and obviously the market like that very much -- it's just further confirmation that the economy is out of a recession, and of course, that the housing market is certainly on the mend," says Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners. "The big debate is how strong of a rebound are we looking at."

Stocks are up 1-2% today on the news.

But you're left with a few things to consider:
Home prices are still falling (just not as fast), reducing people's wealth and feelings of wealth, and prompting some with the ability to pay to leave the keys with the bank

Unemployment was still increasing as of last month, meaning people do not have jobs and for most without jobs, no income (not the Kennedys).

Mortgage default and delinquency rates are spreading and rising

70% of GDP is consumer spending - and roughly 16% of our population currently does not work (the real unemployment rate)

And of course, you've got that whole $1 trillion deficit spending thing going on and projected to go on indefinitely.

What is my point? Stash your cash. A 50% total gain in 5 months is crazy money.

of course, the market could shoot through 15,000 at this pace, what do I know.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Off to Lake Norman

Bri and I are racing the Lake Norman Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, part of the North Carolina Triathlon Series. This is a nice race out by Davidson College, a small but powerful school in both basketball and academics. Lake Norman is a reservoir lake that serves as a water source and recreation source for the greater Charlotte area.

A couple of years ago I was in fantastic shape and took 2nd overall in a competitive field. This year I am hoping for more in the top ten range. My swim and bike are still solid, but the run is not up to snuff in comparison to the other local amateur elite racers. That is OK though, I am at peace with where I am at this moment in time. (No, I'm not, who am I kidding, I want to win win win but don't always have the drive to train train train.)

In other news, we will get to catch up with a couple of my Sigma Chi fraternity brothers from Florida State, guys I haven't seen in ten years or so. We have all migrated to North Carolina over the past few years for personal or professional reasons.

In other, other news, mark your calendars for the 2010 OSB St Pete Beach training camp - February 23-28 2010. We've set the date and will be securing a 3 or 4 bedroom house shortly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

continuing education price inflation

I am a member of USA Triathlon, American Swim Coaches Association, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. All of these organizations offer me continuing education courses on various subjects all the time. Some of the subject matter looks pretty interesting and I would like to sign up. There have been some good speakers/presenters, real SMEs (subject matter experts).

But then I look at the price tag. For instance. USAT offers a lot of continuing education courses online, from some of the bright stars in our little industry. But these are online courses and they charge $34.99 per class for 1 CEU. The value of the CEU is meaningless for purposes of this discussion, there is great value in continuing education. What they are doing is gouging out more profit from us folks that find it beneficial to be certified through this agency. $35 bucks for an online webinar? How about you send me an autographed book with that?

Not to be undone, the NSCA, which has been around longer, has an even better and more insidious business model. They contract with skilled independent speakers who set up clinics around the country. Most of these speakers are blessed to offer CEUs for several different agencies (PTs, athletic trainers, strength coaches, etc etc etc), thus multiplying their target audience.

My most recent offering: "Evaluation, Rehabilitation, and Performance Enhancement of Runners." Sounds good, right? It's even going to be here in Raleigh, my new hometown. I would like to go. Opened the brochure and everything. Clinic lasts from 8:30 to 3PM.

COST IS $189 if you register 10 days, out, $209 otherwise.


So they want me to pay $200 for a 6 hour clinic, and they're not even gonna feed me? AT LEAST I FEED MY PEEPS AT OSB CAMPS AND CLINICS, WINK WINK WINK.

The ASCA has a similar racket working. They have 5 levels of "coaching certification," the highest 2 which you have to be in the swimming world for about 25 years, have a $100,000 program (not to mention, fast swimmers) under your belt, and shake all the right hands. These guys charge $500+ for weekend clinics, room and board not included. I've stopped looking at their offerings because it is too specific to age group swimming.

There are plenty of work places that cover these continuing education classes, which is how the organizations get away with charging high fees, but OSB Headquarters has to pick and choose when and where we deploy our limited resources.

That is my rant for the day. I wish these were cheaper so I could take more of them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend update

Bri and I had a nice weekend together. She is a fun, happy, uncomplicated woman and I am a lucky guy. But if you're reading this, you already know that!

On Saturday we hosted one of our Powerstroke swim/triathlon clinics. We usually have 8-15 people, but this time we had 20, 8 of whom signed up in the last week. This is a relatively large group for a swimming instruction clinic, but it worked out well. I tried to bring in a third coach to help us out for the day, but no one was available at the last minute. Things went smooth and I spoke for 5 hours straight, which is a bit of a challenge for a natural introvert. After hosting 15 of these clinics though, I have entirely overcome any trepidation of public speaking, at least on subject matters where I am fairly knowledgeable.

After the clinic, we shot home to feed and pet our dog Tassie, and then headed up to watch the Durham Bulls. We were able to gather a group of our friends for this, and it was an absolute blast. The stadium is top notch, the crowd is family friendly, it was a beautiful night, and the beer was not too overpriced. After the game a few of us went to Tyler's Tap Room for a nightcap, then we headed home.

Today we got up late, drank a bunch of coffee, then headed out for a very leisurely bike ride. Watched the movie Twilight after that, which I thought would be overdone with teen angst, but was actually not bad. I might be a total geek and read the books. I can add them to my Harry Potter collection, and put them next to my framed poster of Gandalf the White, while I play Dungeons & Dragons online.


Training this week was not bad:
swim 6,500 with a 3,500m workout
ride 3 x for 5 hours total
run: 27 miles which is getting better, 5 days I think
1 kung fu session
100+ pushups and situps
total 12-13 hours

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Durham Bulls

Bri and I have been talking about going to a Durham Bulls game since we've moved up here. But much like my day surf trips to the beach, they never happen. But this weekend we're going to catch the Bulls take on Scranton! Yeah! We conned a few of our friends into going with us on the premise that it will be fun and exciting.

But seriously, it should be fun. I haven't been to a ball game since I watched the 1997 Miami / Florida Marlins in one of the World Series games from the nosebleed section.

We have a good turnout for our Powerstroke clinic this Saturday. If you can't make this one, we will hold our next one in mid November.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blogging more about triathlon

If you read my blog you know the posts tend to be somewhat short, are generally not very serious, and occasionally include triathlon training/racing information. Bri and I have talked about me making it a bit more focused on triathlon discussion, so I'm going to include at least one post per week that has something meaningful to say about triathlon/running/swimming/cycling. So...

Since moving to NC I have been vacillating on finding a regular track running group. In Orlando the Downtown YMCA club had 40+ people at every track workout, which was great as you had a variety of people to run with on any given occasion. The local group that runs at SAS has a bunch of guys that generally run faster than me unless I am in peak condition (and you know by now I don't stay there), so intervals with them are more frustrating then encouraging.

I recently heard about a group that goes on Tuesday night from the Athlete's Foot in Cameron Village, so we'll be heading out there starting tomorrow. My goal of getting back into sub 18 5k shape needs some consistent speedwork, and while running with Bri in Umstead is great for fitness and fun, I need a track and a stopwatch.

Also, if you don't subscribe to our Newsletter, here is the latest month's training tip Planning a Season:

Around this time of year, you are targeting a final race or two, and then looking forward to next season, wondering which ones you should target, what you want to accomplish, and how high you want to fly. It's never a bad time to take a few minutes to script out a seasonal plan. Here's how you do it:

Step 1) Clearly define your goal.

Pick your key race(s). This is paramount if you are a competitive athlete.

A generalized goal like "I want to lose ten pounds and improve my run times," is a healthy athletic goal if you are active but not competitive.

Step 2) Develop an overview of how to get there.

Coaches call this the annual training plan. It is a framework of weeks and months (cycles) that target specific adaptive responses from the body.

You can call this your monthly goal chart. Each month or every few weeks you should have some sort of marker that shows your improvement (weight loss, dropped 10 seconds in a mile, etcetera).

Step 3) Develop specific milestones.

Examples: 5k in XX:XX time at the end of February. 10k in XX:XX time at the end of March.

Step 4) Develop backup milestones.

If you are knocked off track by time constraints, illness, or other personal issues, have some realistic back up milestones you can target that will help keep you motivated and on track.

Step 5) Develop your general weekly training plan.

It is best to figure out a weekly regimen you can stick to over time rather than shuffle things around every week. We are all creatures of routine and habit.

Step 6) Develop your specific weekly training plans for each cycle.

It's best to do this as you approach each month, based upon what you were able to achieve in the months prior and what you hope to accomplish in the coming month or training cycle.

Step 7) Do it.

Nothing happens without you taking action. All the steps prior to this are talk. Talk is cheap. Back it up with action.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stock update

I have been trying to catch a levitating knife by buying short ETFs and putting in a tight stop just about every day this week. Against all rhyme and reason the stock market has kept going up, which looks nice but seems to be pretty detached from reality. The pace of job loss has slowed, not reversed, so we celebrate. Earnings were bad, but not as bad as they could have been, so we celebrate. The 3rd wave of mortgage defaults are on the way, but it's OK, don't sweat it. I expect a big pullback at some point in the relatively near future. Anyway I have caught a few nicks with ETFs like DXD and SRS, but kept the stops tight.

My new motto is to make lots of money and save even more (through the power of thievery and graft). Or be a banker.

My expectation is that the domestic market will experience another 15-25% pullback and then hover there for a few months to digest the new reality. Less employment & greater government debt = less $ for investing & discretionary purchases + higher taxes = less buyers = less demand = lower sales = less gross revenue = overvalued P/E ratios = an ultimate adjustment.

But I also don't know what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back to the grind

Back to work this week, finishing up a few swim video analyses and it is time to make the final push on our Powerstroke video. I have been pushing this off in favor of work that earns me a few bucks today rather than down the road. We also want to make the final product at least good quality, so rushing it would be bad for everyone.

Training last week while on vacation went well, but my beer and food intake were greater, thus yielding a net credit to my calorie storage department.

I think Bri enjoyed the week 'on the shore'. Ocean City has grown a lot since I worked there - the year round population has tripled from 5,000 to 15,000 and the summer population is up from 100,000 or so to 150,000 (it is a seven mile long island).

Only 2 more triathlons this season - Lake Norman August 22, and Wilmington YMCA September 19, then I am going to focus on improving my run speed back to sub-18 5k shape over the winter. I will need to run 40+ miles a week to make this happen, as running does not come naturally to me.

We are staying local the next couple of weekends, which is always nice. We are also hosting a Powerstroke swim clinic on August 15 if anyone would like some group swim instruction.

After the swim DVD is complete I am going to take on some substitute teaching (if Wake County is accepting any - our county is on a hiring freeze with budget issues), and apply as a volunteer fireman for the town of Morrisville.

Our next beach trip is not too far away - a weekend in Miami/Hollywood to see my dad and sis for his 75th bday. We rented a condo on Hollywood Beach.

Friday, July 31, 2009

shore vacation

We have had a nice time here at the shore in New Jersey. It gets crowded at times but there is always something fun to do. I got in some fun surf sessions, two nice bike rides, 4 or 5 runs, and we visited several of my old haunts - The Anchorage, Tuckahoe Inn, Maynard's (Bri was impressed), Bikini Beach Bar, the Inlet (formerly the Waterfront), and the Green something in Margate.

We also got to see some of the Monmouth county beach area with our buds Jamie and Judy in Ocean Grove, which is a nice vacation spot as well.

We had planned to watch the Dutch Hoffmann Lifeguard races in Wildwood tonight, but they were cancelled because of a big storm rolling in from the south. Bri got to see a bit of the Wildwood boardwalk, which is always a sight.

Tomorrow we'll race in a local sprint triathlon in Brigantine, then hang out with some of my old buddies at the Trump Marina.

I would post pictures, but that takes time and I'm on vacation.

Monday, July 27, 2009

relaxing on the shore

We are here in Ocean City, relaxing in our efficiency unit on the bayfront. It is a pleasant morning and evening view. Today we're off to ride our bikes to Cape May, the southernmost town in NJ. It is a straight shot down the beach. Yesterday was date night - we went to see Harry Potter, then had dinner at the bar at one of the local watering holes. Not sure where I will take my lovely bride tonight. Maybe the casinos.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

goin to jersey

Tomorrow we are off for a week long vacation in and around Ocean City, New Jersey. I have a tentative itinerary planned for Bri and I;

Friday - drive and crash at a friend's house; couple of beers somewhere.

Saturday - Ocean City boardwalk run, ocean swim; check into condo, Night in Venice Boat Parade (we can watch it from our condo on the bay)

Sunday - boardwalk run, surf / beach day and quiet dinner at the Waterfront in Somers Point

Monday - bike ride to Cape May, lunch, and return (60 miles total)

Tuesday - ocean swim, boardwalk run, visit friends in N Jersey, watch a lifeguard competition

Wednesday - bike ride, breakfast on Ocean City boardwalk, dinner in Stone Harbor (another South Jersey vacation spot)

Thursday - casino night in Atlantic City

Friday - goof around Ocean City, watch a lifeguard competition in Wildwood

Saturday - Brigantine island triathlon and hang out at Trump Marina

Sunday - ocean swim and drive home

Should be fun and Bri will get to see some of the summer Shore life sans old drunk dirty guys.

Friday, July 17, 2009

rest of the season

We are keeping the race schedule pretty light, which is fine with me.

August 1 - Brigantine Island Tri
August 22 - Lake Norman Tri
August 30 - The Nuclear Swim
September 12 - Pier to Pier swim
September 13 - Magnificent Mile Run
September 19 - Wilmington YMCA Triathlon

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Upcoming events update

More promotional stuff for you to consider:

Open Water Clinic July 19 at Jordan Lake.

Our next Powerstroke swim clinic is scheduled for August 15 here in Cary.

We are running a weekend training camp August 28-30 here in the Triangle area.

The Nuclear Swim at Harris Lake on August 30 (camp finishes with this).

In other news:
I rode with the SAS group and got dropped about halfway through, it is time for me to add back in a few 50 mile weekend rides.

Bri and I are both registered for the Brigantine Island triathlon on August 1. I am looking forward to a week on the beach in South Jersey.

3 more EMT classes and then I am done except for the state and national exam.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Triangle Tri & weekly training

This week's training:
swim 8,000 meters -2.5 hours
run 21 miles -3.2 hours
bike 60 miles - 3 hours
kung fu 2 hours

It was a low week for cycling just due to time issues throughout the week. This morning at the Triangle Triathlon I decided to ride my bike to the race for a few extra miles - immediately I could tell that they were not feeling up to snuff and it would be a tough day on the course (dancing at a wedding and martial arts the day before will do that to you). I had a great swim and put 30+ seconds into everyone, but it was all backwards from there and finished 8-9 minutes down on the overall winner.

The new venue is great and if you are ever in the area you should check this race out.

The next race I am targeting is the Brigantine Island triathlon in New Jersey, just north of Atlantic City. This was probably the 4th or 5th triathlon I competed in back in 1993 so it will be good to revisit.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kung Fu update

Last year I did a self-actualization survey, basically where you look at where you are and where you want to go in life - what do you want to accomplish or do to bring meaning and joy into your world? I wrote down a list of about ten things I'd like to accomplish in life that would bring me purpose and meaning.

One of the items on my list was to get really good at a martial art. To get good at one of these, you have to start at ground level and work your way up, and it doesn't happen very quickly. I would have studied a Japanese art called Shorinji Kempo, but there is no school for that here in Raleigh. But I did find a really good Shaolin Kung Fu instructor just down the road from my house, so in October of last year I started studying Kung Fu at the Kung Fu Center with Master Chen.

He is a really good teacher and I have been enjoying the classes. Bri remembers that I used to always talk about going to the Wah Lum school in Orlando (a big temple type place), but I never got around to it for one reason or another. I've missed a week here and there due to other committments or simple fatigue from every day life, but have stuck with it. My classmates are all at least 15 years younger than me, in some cases 28 years younger than me. But that is OK. We are all grasshoppers at one thing or another in time.

Today I passed the Copper Eagle test and moved up to Silver Eagle. We don't have a belt system, but animals and colors - copper silver gold / eagle tiger dragon. Copper Eagle - beginner, Gold Dragon - expert.

It's never to late to learn a new skill.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

busy times

I have been running on all cylinders for the past few weeks, between the coaching, the regular training sessions with my athletes, the EMT course, and travel to/from a handful of races. I prefer this sort of life over sitting in a chair and staring at a wall for hours at a time.

This Friday my sister in law Shana and her fellow Scott are getting hitched, so that will be a grand affair.

On Saturday, I will officially test out of the Copper Eagle level at Kung Fu and, if I pass, move to Silver Eagle. This means I can totally kick ass as long as the opponent is tied to a chair and is no older than 10.

On Sunday Bri and I are racing the Triangle Triathlon. It is being held at a new venue this year and virtually all my competitors have gone out to review the course. I will be checking it out on Sunday morning.

I would make a smart aleck remark but I am all tapped out at the moment.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Sarah Palin is certifiably koo koo! I am going to run for Governor of Alaska, it seems like any buffoon with a bad attitude and a few shotguns can handle that job.

We posted a new running drills video on youtube.

Happy 4th of July