Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Keep on rocking


It only took two years or so to earn this check from Google with Google Adsense. You can see it is signed by Sergei Brin, he hand delivered it yesterday.

You, too, can make a living off of being a triathlon/exercise-type blogger if you live in a really, really poor country somewhere.

Monday, June 28, 2010

kure beach weekend report

Bri and I had a nice time in Kure Beach over the weekend. For those of you not familiar with KB, it is a small island town (year round population 3,000) just south of Wilmington. Mostly single family homes, vacation homes, and a few condos. It is a nice quiet beach town.

I rode from Cary to Wilmington on Friday with a couple other guys. I thought it was around 125 but turned out to be 134 miles to downtown Wilmington. My riding partners were consistently holding a pace just a bit too fast for me, so I rode most of it solo. I haven't ridden more than 3.5 hours this year, so I figured if I am going to double the time and distance, I better ease off.

All told we made it without any problems, it was a hot day but there are enough stops along the way to refuel. We left at 10AM and arrived at our destination at 630PM. The guys would have been there earlier but I took my time, stopping for sodas, grilled cheese sandwiches, to take pictures, make phone calls, etcetera. No hurry for me.

On Saturday we ran an open water clinic on the beach. There were some waves so we got to teach people how to deal with entering/exiting and give some bodysurfing lessons. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, eating, and working on training plans.

On Sunday morning we raced in the Kure Beach double sprint tri. This is a great event, lots of fun, and high on the difficulty scale. It was really hot and humid to boot. I had my best run(s) of the year, swam well, and did OK on the bike, finishing 7th overall. Bri took 2nd overall female. A couple years ago I did the race in poor shape so it was nice to be able to 'race' the event again.

This weekend I'm going to run a 4 mile footrace and get some more riding in.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

riding to the beach

Tomorrow morning myself and two other intrepid souls will ride from Cary to Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach. It is 125 to Wilmington or 135 miles to WB, depending on where we stop. I haven't ridden that far in a while but it will be a slow motion get the distance in ride.

On Saturday Bri and I will run an open water clinic on Kure Beach. We are staying in a little hotel for the weekend.

Sunday morning we race in the Kure Beach double sprint triathlon. This is a 400m swim - 1.5 mile run - 12 mile bike - 1.5 mile run - 400m swim. I enjoy the different format and it is always a competitive race.

That is all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Boone training camp recap

We had a great training camp this past weekend in the Boone area of NC. Boone is a mountainous college town, home of App State, and adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The group were mostly local athletes we train with and/or coach. The training plan was not too complicated:

Friday - long ride and mid-distance run later in the day
Saturday - long run + long swim later in the day
Sunday - longish ride

On Friday I covered 45 miles (these are hilly routes) and 5 miles running; Saturday ran 10 and swam 5,000 meters, and Sunday rode another 36 on the Blue Ridge. Some got in a lot more training, a few did less depending on training goals and current fitness.

Pictures say a thousand words so I'll let the pics do the rest of the talking:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Boone training camp

We are off to Boone tomorrow for a 3 day training camp. Boone is a mountainous college town about three hours from the Triangle area of North Carolina. Home of App State. Our itinerary:

Thursday: dinner
Friday: ride 3 to 6 hours (I will do about 4) / run 30 minutes
Saturday: run 8 to 15 miles (I will do about 10) / swim 3000-6000 yards (5000 for me)
Sunday: ride 2 to 5 hours (I will do 3.5) / run 15-20 minutes

I am looking forward to it but will have to keep working through the weekend. On a nice porch in the mountains. Such is life.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It was a big weekend

We had a good weekend of event-related stuff. The open water clinic on Saturday went well, and the Jordan Lake swim came off without any problems. 150 started and finished the swim, compared to 112 last year.

It was a really tight race in both men's and women's fields. We start the men and women separately to reduce congestion at the statr. Kim Rice edging out Erin Cutrell by 4 seconds for the win in the women's race. On the men's side 45 year old Christopher Pittelli beat out 29 year old Kevin Herlihy by 7 seconds.

Everyone who started finished and there were no problems with the course. Thanks to NC Wildlife Officers, Louisberg Rescue, TAC lifeguards, and all other volunteers who helped make it a good and safe event.

After the race Bri, Kari and I got in a good ride on a hot day, then I toughed out a short run.

Later in the evening we met up at the Flying Saucer for some brews and good times.

I am completely wiped out today. Organizing the swims takes a good bit of mental energy. I really enjoy it but now I just want to sit and watch TV.

This weekend is going to be awesome - we have rented a nice house in the Boone area with several of our favorite training partners for a long weekend of riding and full on tri-geek training. Going to do some more Blue Ridge Parkway riding and enjoy a visit to the Boone area.

My triathlon training is still going well and last week was pretty big for me these days. Geek data:
Monday: 3,000 yard swim
Tuesday: 20 minute AM run, 1 hour PM run with 8 x 800s on track.
Wednesday: 5000m AM swim, PM Kung fu, and just sore as hell
Thursday: 1 hour easy trail run, 2.5 hour ride with fast group
Friday: ride 1 hour fast - swim 1,800 yards at the lake - ride 1 hour easy
Saturday: 1.5 hour run midday heat
Sunday: ride 42 miles - run 2 miles.

Total: 4 hours running, 4 hours swimming, 6.75 riding, 1 hour kung fu = ~16 hours

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Swimming weekend

This weekend will be full of swimming related events. On Saturday, Bri and I are hosting an open water swim clinic from 8 till 11 at Jordan Lake. From 1230-200 I will meet a couple guys for a swim lesson at TAC.

At 5PM I'll be running packet pickup for the Jordan lake Open Water Challenge on Sunday morning. I am hoping to fit in a 10 mile run between 2 and 5 pm which should be awesomely super hot.

On Sunday we'll be out at New Hope Overlook for the 2nd annual Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge 1 mile swim. There should be 150-200 swimmers this year.

I am recruiting folks to volunteer as water safety craft, so if you have a surfboard or kayak and would like to paddle around on Sunday morning, come on out. Race start is 730AM.

After the swim and awards we will get in a 50+ mile ride. Then I will go to sleep.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Breezy Point 2010 finish videos

These are from finishcam.com

Bri finishing - the guy in front of her was having chest pains and had to get an ambulance ride:

My bro-in-law Sean and his daughter:

Yours truly:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Breezy Point tri 2010 report

Bri and I had a nice time in Virginia this weekend, visiting with my sis-in-law and family. The Breezy Point triathlon is in nearby Norfolk so it gives us a good reason or excuse to go up and hang out with them for a while. My bro-in-law, who is a Navy search and rescue diver, also did the race.

The triathlon takes place on Norfolk NAS, aka Breezy Point. The finish line is right on the water near some of the aircraft.

Last year I was 3rd out of the swim by just a bit, then took the bike lead a few minutes into it, and held the run until 2.5 miles, when 2 guys passed me.

This year played out differently. There were 3 high school guys in the swim that stomped all of us by 1-2 minutes (no wetsuits). It was a wake up call that 6 to 8,000 yards swimming per week is not going to mean jack when racing against talented swimmers who cover 40,000+ per week. I exited the swim in 4th, first among the adult population and 2 minutes down on the lead kid!

The first part of the bike course is really choppy, and I caught 2 of the 3 young'uns in the first couple miles. I then blew past a left turn and had to backtrack a bit, losing a few seconds. It was coned off but there were cones all over and the volunteers had trouble pointing me in the right direction. A bit after this another cyclist caught me, and I did my best to keep pace with him through the rest of the race. We eventually passed the fastest swimmer (all the youths sans aerobars), and towards the end of the ride another cyclist passed me. We then took another left near the finish with a cop car in the middle of the road, and I wound up riding into the grass on the right hand side, but stayed upright and got back on course. I don't know what was going on there but it was messy. I did not feel super strong on the bike but I didn't feel weak, either. Summer will bring some bigger ride weeks which will help with the fall races.

In T2 I had a fast transition and ran out with both of the riders who were in front of me. One guy took off lickety split, while myself and the other fellow ran closer pace. I slowly pulled away focusing on fast turnover, high knees, relaxed upper body. It was hot as hell. My first mile was my fastest but I did not get the split. Halfway through the run another fast runner passed me and I saw I had about 20 seconds on #4 and 1 minute+ on #5. I pushed as well as possible and was able to finish before falling apart completely. My run time was 19:44 which is good at the moment, I still plan to get a sub-19 before the end of the year but it is not easy to do. All told I finished 3rd overall.

This was one of those races where I didn't feel great in anything but not bad in anything, either. I also don't like being a weight weenie but I've shed a bit of my beer gut and that makes a huge difference in the run, especially in a hot run. The heat index was near 100 when we were running.

Bri took 2nd to a fast girl who won collegiate nationals in April of this year. On the men's side only one of the top five was in his 20's, the rest of us were old farts with lots of races under our belts.

We took home some prize money as well, which is always nice.

Next up is Kure Beach double sprint on June 27. I am probably going to ride my bike down to Wilmington on Friday as a warm up. Bri and Tassie will pick me up that afternoon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Savings and taxes and bills

Do you ever sit down and do the math on what you save, how much you pay in tax, and what your real costs of living are? I will first rant on taxes. You have a job with a big company. Your company ships 35% corporate tax on earnings to the federal government, and in most states, another 7% to the state tax authority for corporate earnings, and let's say another 1-2% to local municipalities. That is 42% of income (revenue - cost of sales, operating expenses including your salary and of course in a circular argument, tax). That is just part of the deal if you want to run a business.

Any income left over to the corporation they then bank as retained earnings or send out to you and various stockholders in the form of dividends and capital gains. You, end user, are taxed again on this income now as personal income at 15% more or less at the moment.

The company when determining your pay scale has to factor in the cost of social security, medicare tax and FICA = 7.7% of your salary, just to hire you and give you a job.

You then pay another 7.7% of your salary to the Fed for the above, as well as somewhere in the 5-30% range for federal income tax depending on how much you make.

You will then pay state income tax somewhere between 0 and 11% (Hawaii).

After you paid all your taxes you can take your money and attempt to pay your bills. You can buy a house. You will pay property tax on the house, tax on the water heater bill, tax on the energy bill, tax on most of your supplies, a huge tax on any gasoline you buy, another huge tax on alcohol and tobacco if you are so inclined, tax on airline fees, safety inspection fees, and so on...and sales or service tax on virtually everything else you might purchase.

After all that is done you might have a few dollars left over. So you take it to a bank, or a mutual fund, or a company as a direct stock reinvestment, because you want to save your pennies for some day, like your parents taught you long ago. The bank will in all probability give you a rate of interest that does not exceed inflation, and the government will charge you tax on any interest gains, regardless if that rate exceeds inflation or not. The mutual fund will charge you 1-2% of your investment for operating costs and so on, and then the government will charge you tax on any gains you earn, even if they are deferred for 40 years, when you finally decide to take some money out. And the direct stock reinvestment will fluctuate wildly in price, hopefully not cutting your dividend stream - but don't worry, the government will also tax you on those dividends and capital gains, regardless if you directly reinvested them and never see a penny.

If you are savvy enough to invest in a municipal bond offering, you might avoid taxes but take on the added risk of a government entity (city, water plant, so on) default. It is sort of like loaning your reliable Uncle Carl money. He has always been there solid as a rock but sometimes he talks about remote desert islands and stuff. You just don't know.

While you are attempting to squirrel away these small dollars, governments around the world including yours, will enact unrealistic fiscal and economic policies that favor short term elections over long term solutions, resulting in the erosion of your existing capital, high volatility in any savings you have managed to squirrel away, and price inflation for things you need while your real wages either in inflation adjusted terms or relative to the price of various services like health care and education do not keep pace.

Now imagine you manage to deal with all this without totally flipping out man!, and put away somewhere in the 10-20% range of your gross income, which is admirable considering you are probably underpaid and overworked as it is, and the various governments took about 40% of your wages away before they were ever paid to you (at the corporate level), and then another 20% after they were paid to you (at the personal income level), and another 10% after you put all those dollars to work in the economy (at the sales tax/usage tax level). That means, if you follow the math here, that you are living on about 30% of your total value contribution (via the work you performed for the corporation, which is double taxed before you are ever paid) to society, and after 20% savings, 24% of your total value contribution.

Basically whatever you think you're worth, chop it into 4 parts and take an aspirin.

That is your thought for the day.