Monday, November 30, 2009

Fleshing out 2010

Continuing to pick and choose my races and events for next year:

February 6 - Winston Salem Short Course Duathlon
March 21 - Wrightsville Beach half-marathon
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)
May 30 - Over the Mountain Olympic (regional champs)
June 27 - Kure Beach Double Sprint Triathlon
July 11-16 - Erie Canal Bike Tour
July 18 - Ocean City Master's Swim
August ? - Lake Norman Triathlon
September ? - Wilmington YMCA Triathlon or USAT Nationals
season finale:
September & October: Either the Patriot's Half in Virginia or the newly announced Triple T North Carolina

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