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.