Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

We are having a relaxing weekend at Casa de Gaal. Good party with some friends last night to celebrate Bri's birthday and the Doughman race. Today was a relaxing bike ride and some household chores. Tomorrow I will coach a 7AM masters swim practice and then we will continue with household chores and perhaps a run or ride. I'd like to go to the beach but there are a lot of things around the house that need house-things doing.

Take a moment to remember our fallen veterans tomorrow. Regardless what you think of our various military conflicts, the average soldier is simply doing his or her duty and many have paid the ultimate price for the foibles of our insulated political class.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How much do I work?

You might wonder how much work does a job like mine entail. After all, I am 'just' a triathlon coach, right? I have been at it for nearly a decade and have a reasonable athlete/client base. This is an average weekly breakdown from January through October, when things quiet down a bit.

In no particular order:

Athlete schedule writing: 20 hours
Phone consulting with athletes: 3 hours
Swim practice and lessons: 6 hours
General office work (check writing, deposits, supplies): 2 hours
Personal training with athletes: 3 hours
Marketing (email blasts, materials, etc): 2 hours
Accounting: 2 hours
Email support & schedule adjustments for athletes: 8 hours
Continuing education (reading articles, books): 2 hours
Business development: 2 hours
Travel time: 2 hours

I have the long term goal of getting to the point where I do very little work on the weekends, but that has not happened yet. My work is spread around the clock, seven days a week. This past Tuesday when I drove to the beach to surf and then came home to celebrate Bri's birthday was the first time in a couple of months where I did zero to barely any work - I answered a few emails on my crackberry.

This is a comfortable workload for me; there are uncomfortably busy periods (like January & February of this year) where I may work up to 50% more than this, and uncomfortable un-busy periods (like the late 2008 to mid 2009 recession) where I work less.

So next time you imagine that all I do is sit home and go train, check your presumptions. I do enjoy most of what I do but it is still work on some levels.

That is your thought for the day.

Now I am off to play with Tassie in the backyard and go for a run-swim-run. Ha!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Battle at Buckhorn triathlon 2010

For the most part I am of the opinion that if you manage to win an event, you should return the following year to defend your title. It's not always possible, but it's good sportsmanship and adds a bit of extra spice to your race. I was able to do that this year at the Battle of Buckhorn Triathlon out in Sims, NC. Sims is about 1 hour away from Cary and the Buckhorn reservoir is a good place to have a triathlon.

On that note, I would go back to Wood Lake Triathlon coming up on May 29, but Bri and her team are doing the Doughman Quadrathlon relay in Durham, NC, and I need to be there to provide team support and take pictures of the ladies in their provocative outfits (their name is Team Victorious Secret and they will be running around in some eye-popping clothes). The Doughman is a fun exercise/food event that raises money for charity.

I have been feeling pretty good in training and planned to do my darndest to defend the title from 2009. The prize is a custom made belt buckle, which is a cool award as far as these things go (besides a bag of gold krugerrands, or diamonds, or a priceless work of art).

I won't bore you with all the details but I did have a solid race across the board, coming in first in the 1000 meter swim with a two minute lead, holding onto the lead on the 17 mile bike by about a minute, and then held it together on the 5k run with a 19:56 and the win by 30 seconds. I had to keep reminding myself that no one would give me the race; I had to work hard as heck today to win it. I improved my time from last year by 3.5 minutes all told, 2:00 on the bike (less wind and in better shape), 1:20 on the swim (it was wetsuit legal and slightly shorter this year) and 10 seconds on the run (not quite as pudgy ;) ).

There were a ton of NC based young guns aiming after the prize, as well as a couple other veterans (USAT 39, 39 and 37 year olds here) who rounded out top 3.

But wait there's more!

Here is a picture of one of the walls in Bri's high school gymnasium.

Any time you think you're bad, just remember someone in your house is probably better than you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Woodlake Sprint

In order to redeem my DNS at the Surf and Turf Tri, I signed up for the WoodLake sprint triathlon next Saturday morning. It's only an hour away and the entry was $40 which isn't bad in triathlon world. I need to put some races into my new Cervelo.

6th anniversary photo tour

Since I have a memory like an elephant that can't remember where it is or that it is even an elephant, it is good to have this web diary thing to remind me of the fun places we have gone and the fun things we have done.

On Friday we started our ride just outside Maggie Valley, and rode up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The ride to the parkway was way tougher than the parkway itself.

Maggie Valley is around 3,000 feet, and this sign is at 6,000 feet, and we didn't catch a cab.

After the ride we spent some time in Jonathan Creek, chilling out. Tassie did not like the rock you can just make out on the right side of this picture.

Later that evening we headed to downtown Waynesville to have an early dinner at Nick and Nate's pizzeria. Bri and I have a very similar picture, I believe it might even be the same booth, from our 1st year anniversary, but I would have to dig that out of the archives.

Anytime we went anywhere without our little Tassie, she let us know she wasn't happy about it.

But she got some 1-1 Bri time later that evening.

On Saturday we did a short run then had breakfast at Joey's Pancake House in Maggie Valley. Joey's is good food. Tassie was tired and slept in the sun later.

We also did some fishing throughout the weekend. I had one real bite but was not able to catch anything.

Tassie said I should throw it "over there."

On Sunday morning we did one more ride, a nice hilly short route from the house.

After the loop we rode into town for some snacks at the Grizzly Grill. If you ever need ride nutrition information, I am your man.

But I don't want that to be the last image you have of us for today.

Our next big bike weekend will be June 18-20 with a whole gang of riders/triathletes in Boone. Vacationing in the mountains with no agenda is nice.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Maggie Valley rocks

We are here in Maggie Valley, NC, which is near Waynesville and about 30 minutes west of Asheville. It is a relatively small mountain hamlet although there was quite a bit of through-traffic today. We're here for our six year anniversary and 9.7 year dating anniversary. We were out this way last year as well.

We never really bothered before, but today we rode our bikes from the cabin to the Maggie Valley entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was one hell of a climb the entire way. I wasn't sure if my bike was having issues, or my back wheel was rubbing, or if I was just a weak piece of garbage. Any way you slice it we climbed for about 1.5 hours before finally getting some descents. We started at about 2,500 ft and finished climbing at nearly 6,000 feet - Water Rock Knob point (we just passed by instead of making the final ascent).

All in all our 45 mile route took about 3.5 hours and I have been pooped for the rest of the day. Pooped is scientific terminology for f*cking wiped out. Tomorrow we're going to do an easier course for 1-2 hours and a short run, then go to Asheville to celebrate our actual anniversary.

This evening after dinner I did some fishing in the backyard stream of our temporary residence. I did have one real trout bite but was not able to land it. I've never fished for stream trout before and it is a different animal - the water is 2-3 feet deep max in most spots so you are searching for a small shadow in the dark. Sort of like the illumination of your soul. I digress. Teach a man to fish...

Tassie is having a ball. She likes fishing but even more she likes eating the bread I accidentally leave behind.

I will amend this with pictures when I feel like it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Uncle Marty x 4

Congratulations to my sister Anna and her husband Tim on the birth of their 2nd daughter, Jamie Nicole Looney. She was born on Thursday May 6 around 5pm (I am not the detail guy here.) Here's a picture of the happy family.

It will be fun to be part of their life as they grow up. I have two nieces on Bri's side, and they are a lot of fun as well. We'll see them in early June.

In other news, we had a fun weekend in St Pete. In at 730PM on Friday and out at 1150AM on Sunday. Bri did a great job giving her speech for the Hall of Fame for Northside Christian. We both did well in the Hurricane Man 2.4 mile open water swim.

And congrats to sis-in-law Shana for officially receiving her doctorate in Doctorology!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hurricane Man swim 2010

I didn't realize that the Hurricane Man 2.4 mile swim is being held this Saturday morning, hosted by St Pete Masters; coincidentally we will be in town for Bri's induction into her high school athletic hall of fame. The Hurricane Man has been around since the mid 1990s, it is a great event in the Gulf of Mexico, finishing at the Hurricane restaurant in Pass-a-Grille (as an aside, the finish is right across the street from where we held our 2009 winter training camp).

I might still have the M25-29 age group record of 48:34 (no wetsuit, either) or somewhere around there, I was swimming quite a bit when I lived in Miami in 1997-1998.

So anyway, I have at least one standalone open water swim I can attend this spring, I am psyched and will go as hard as my fitness will allow. Might be sub-55 if conditions are decent.

The next open water swim we will do is the Ocean City Masters Swim on July 17, then I might make it to the Pier 2 Pier swim in Wrightsville Beach in September.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

White Lake sprint racing 2010

I had a good race this morning at White Lake. There were a bunch of elite men registered but only a couple showed up, so our wave was sparse. I felt good on the swim and took the lead. Jumped on the bike and pushed the pace. I am still not as strong as I would like into a headwind but that should come around as the summer progresses. Came off the bike in first and started running with a minute lead. Young Mason Boyles caught me at 1.2 miles, the kid is fast as the wind.

I held it together reasonably well and ran a 20:27 5k. I have been running about 25 miles a week but am going to bump that up to 30-40 and hope that gets my 5ks consistently into the low-19s (and drop 3-5 lbs of the last bit of flab).

My splits were 10:24, 34:51, 20:27, + transitions for a 1:07.46 total. As the clock goes this put me into 3rd overall as a fellow from an age-group wave beat me.

Here is an action shot.

I am jamming at sprint speed to the finish. You can also notice that my race number is not clearly visible. Unfortunately in the Set Up Events races, if your number is not showing at the finish line you get a 2 (two) minute penalty. I was spaced out and forgot to move it around. This dropped me to fifth place overall.

To quote the great warrior-philosopher Forrest Gump: "It happens." "What, sh*t?" "Sometimes."

Here is a nice picture of three of our masters swimmers who raced in their first triathlon today, and Alysia and Bri, who helped coach the clinic last night:

We had a fun time and got to hang with a couple of my athletes the night before as well.

It was a hot muggy day and I smelled pretty bad on the way home.

The end.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

White Lake sprint racing

Tonight we are putting on a free clinic for participants of the White Lake sprint tomorrow morning. A number of people have responded so it should be a big group.

Tomorrow morning I will race in the sprint. This is one of those races where I have an equal chance of having a great race or of being completely flat. It is impossible to say with how the past few days have gone. I would prefer to feel sharp and run well.

Bri unfortunately is going to be a non-starter, her foot has been giving her trouble all week and we have a full summer of races yet to go.

My paddleboard is now complete, with a custom glass fin from Fins Unlimited. We're going to take it down to White Lake so I can play around a bit tonight/tomorrow.