Thursday, November 26, 2009

156 Days and Counting!

Happy Thanksgiving Faithful Readers!

I've been out the last few days, and picked up a cold along the way... Not much for training this week, save for 60 minutes of running on the dreadmill. Other than that, it has been light eating (soup, crackers, and OJ), and relaxing.

That is about it for triathlon today; in the cheesy spirit of the holiday, I'll simply list the things that I am thankful for, in no particular order. As is my style, I am mixing the sincere with the silly, but I truly am thankful for all of this, and more.

-Smokin Hot Wife (SHW).

-The fact that SHW graciously allows me to refer to her as SHW all over the inter-web.

-The fact that SHW makes me smile whenever I think of her, how she knows what I like to eat for dinner, that she appreciates all my weird habits (including triathlon), her absolute honesty about everything, and what a fantastic mother she is to our munchkin.

-Cutest munckin ever, who always looks up and smiles in a way that makes you almost want to cry.

-A wonderful home, when so many go without even a roof over their head.

-The new roof we put on our house this past year, so now it doesn't rain inside on my family, like it did last year (we are in Seattle).

-Really good friends, new and old.

-Facebook. Seriously, it has helped find many of those Friends, new and old. It also lets me shamelessly brag about my baby girl to the world, complete with video evidence of her cuteness.

-The fact that some people actually read my blog. This is a labor of love, and not that pretty most days. I know, a stupid countdown in the title of my posts is NOT creative, but I am trapped by my habit.

-Smokin Hot Wife.

-Buffalo Chicken. Did you really think I would leave that out?!

-My parents. Taught me a LOT about being a good person, and continue to make sure that I remember you never STOP trying to be a good person.

-Every one of my sisters (there are 4).

-The fact that I never had a brother; I wouldn't appreciate my sisters as much.

-Smokin Hot Wife.

-Okay, maybe a brother would have been cool.

-Education, and the opportunity to make my life what I want it to be. I am not a victim of circumstance.

-Ironman. It saved me from myself.

-Treadmills and indoor bike trainers. Seattle is awesome, but it sucks for outdoor sports 6 months out of the year.

-The History Channel.

-Our Military, Police, EMS, and Teachers. All of them allow weenies like me to do things like blog about my hobby, with the type of safety and security that most of the world only dreams about.

-Awesome In-Laws.

-Crossing guards. Likely wouldn't have made it through puberty without them.

-Smokin Hot Wife.

-A country where we can argue, bitch and complain about politics, religion, health care, race, gender, sexuality, taxes, morality, technology, and anything else under the sun we feel like picking a fight over.... but still realize at the end of the day we wouldn't want to be anywhere else. And despite what the rest of the world thinks of us, they still keep showing up here!

-Canada. Also a great place!! I'm serious, I love it there. America should do less Canada bashing, and learn a few things.

-Did I mention Smokin Hot Wife?

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

161 Days and Counting...

Quick post today... I am TIRED! I have no reason for posting a picture of a 747, it was just the first picture I came across in my files. I took it at the Anchorage, AK airport last year. I like airplanes, what can I say?

I did manage to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes today while the munchkin took a nap... She has a bit of a cold this weekend, and so has been a good napper. Two 2-hour naps today!

I ate fine today (an unnamed sandwich, WAS part of my diet), but added a couple beers. Smokin Hot Wife went out for girls night, so a buddy came over to watch some football this evening. For dinner, he and I had... Beef and Bean Burritos. They were awesome.

I am hoping to get the bike set up next week, and start getting some indoor "mileage" on the trainer. It is time to start riding!

Also, I took some advice, and I flushed the last of my chicken down the toilet. :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

163 Days and Counting....


30 minutes swimming, continuous.


2 nutri-grain bars, 1 can of ensure, 2 packets of fruit snacks, 2 peices of buffalo chicken pizza, 1 buffalo chicken sandwich, 2 chocolate chip cookies.


Maybe a better question is, why am I still enjoying the leftovers? I am totally NOT sick of my creation, so can't emphasize enough that it is a winner.... If you like chicken, buffalo, and sandwiches.

I think tomorrow I am going to try a buffalo chicken omelette.

However, I feel the need to post something triathlon related today, so I am going to pry myself away from the crock pot for a few minutes

I am getting the urge to race. We got handful of silly race fliers in the mail yesterday; they weren't even addressed to my wife and I, but rather to the someone with the odd name of "Current Resident." I don't know who "Current Resident" is (I don't even know if its a he or a she), but we get lots of his/her mail. The race fliers were for some Thanksgiving Day races in Seattle, and for a "Marathon Maniacs" club. As my Smokin Hot Wife was getting ready to throw them in the recycle bin... I asked her to save them. :-)

So, maybe a few intermediate races to keep the winter interesting! Seattle Half Marathon is in a week and a half, 12k's of Christmas in Kirkland, Mercer Island Half Marathon in March... I'll need to add a few race sites under my A and B links!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

164 Days and Counting... And a Recipe?

Today is the Better Homes & Gardens edition of HappyIronman... As a foil to the usual workout/food babbling, I'll share the much-hyped Buffalo Chicken recipe. I am fantasizing that I'm publishing it "due to overwhelming demand," so thanks to both of you who asked for it! :-)

First, today's stats...


30 minutes on the treadmill, 6mph, 3% incline. I didn't have a long day today or yesterday, but I fancied this a bit of a "recovery" run. Nice and easy, and just getting back into the habit of punching the clock every day.


2 nutri-grain bars, 1 can of ensure, 3 packets of fruit snacks, 2 peanut butter granola bars, 1 handful of wheat thins, 2 chocolate chip cookies, buffalo chicken sandwich, 1 bottle of gatorade (16.9 oz), 1 can of sprite.

Now to channel my inner Rachel Ray...


-2-3lbs of boneless chicken breasts (I used 3 lbs, and it was too much for 2 adults; we still have leftovers)

-1 packet of powdered ranch dressing mix (.5 or .59 oz size)

-One 12oz bottle of Frank's Wing sauce (really, any wing sauce will do, but I found this at Fred Meyer, and Buffalo medium worked great; next time it's HOT!)

-Hoagie buns

-Crumbled blue cheese

Toss the bottle of wing sauce into the crock pot, and stir in the ranch dressing mix.

Drop in the chicken, and cook on low for ~6 hours (I did 7 for 3lbs.).

After ~6 hours, shred the chicken with 2 forks, and cook for an addition 1.5-2 hours on low.

When ready to scoop chicken onto buns, be prepared for not much liquid left in the pot; most of mine absorbed/evaporated, but it was NOT dry. We hit the sweet spot with timing.

Top with blue cheese crumbles.

Enjoy leftovers for approximately 2-3 weeks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

165 Days and... Buffalo Chicken

You read that title right.... Buffalo chicken. I will explain in a moment, but first the stats.


31 minutes swimming; 2 minute warmup, and 29 minutes continuous, RPE 4 (rate of perceived exertion, for the new readers).


2 nutri-grain bars, 2 peanut butter granola bars, 4 packages of fruit snacks, 2 handfuls of trail mix (cashews, almonds, peanuts, raisins, M&M's), 2 pieces of buffalo chicken pizza.

Okay, so now about the chicken... A few days ago I wrote about SHW and I are growing our curiosity with cooking, and doing much more at home. I am currently infatuated with the slow-cooker, aka CROCK POT. Part of that infatuation is that there is a laziness factor with the crock pot, and I think that appeals to my Manly side. Basically, I can put some BBQ sauce and some raw meat in the crock pot, turn it on, and in 8 hours I have a main dish for dinner. AWESOME!!

I actually put more effort into making something GOOD when I use my current tool of choice, but it isn't a complicated proposition. This last Saturday, I hit the absolute JACKPOT with my crock pot creativity. In several posts, I've mentioned the Wing Dome, a great wings & beer joint 1 mile from our house. Quite literally, a place where the wait staff knows us and our friends by name, and where our kids (the ones who can talk) also know the wait staff by name (it is pretty awesome to walk into a bar and have a 3 year old wave at the bartender and yell "Hi Jill!").

As you would imagine, we like wings. So, I tried a recipe for buffalo chicken sandwiches on Saturday, and it turned out AMAZING. Great flavor, not too spicy, and an awesome sandwich (also 578 calories per very generous serving, if you were interested).

Thing is, I think I made too much. Our meals this week:

Saturday: Buffalo chicken sandwiches

Sunday: Buffalo chicken sandwich for lunch, Buffalo chicken Pizza for dinner

Monday: Buffalo chicken sandwich for dinner

Tuesday: Buffalo chicken pizza for dinner

After all that, I still have more chicken in the fridge. I only started with a total of 3lbs., but I am starting to feel a little like I turned 7 fish and 2 loaves of bread into.... Buffalo chicken for 3,000 (I realize that may be blasphemous, but I say it in fear of how I managed to do this, not with pride).

I will again have sandwiches tomorrow for dinner, and probably Thursday and Friday as well. A normal person would be sick from lack of variety, but I am actually enjoying it. How many times at the Dome have I wished I could just eat wings for every meal?!

But if I get into next week, and I STILL have chicken left, I am going to be in serious need of religious guidance.

Or my own reality TV show...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

167 Days and Counting....

After our early start yesterday, we did manage to get on the treadmill... So, stats for yesterday and today.


30 minutes on the treadmill, 6mph, 2.5% incline yesterday.

35 minutes on the treadmill today, 6.6 mph, 3% incline.

We are both a little frazzled (Smokin Hot Wife and me) with our latest chapter in child rearing. We are trying to get the munchkin to put herself to sleep at night, and get used to waking up, then putting herself BACK to sleep. She has been a champ in every new stage she's entered, and this has been no exception. But, last night and tonight were a litte rougher than normal!

The Bug isn't much of a crier (she's pretty happy all the time), so when she does cut lose and cry, it absolutely breaks your heart! She is actually able to put herself to sleep, it is just a rough 10 or so minutes for mom and dad until she does....

In other news, I was trying to nominate myself for Housewife of the Year today. While SHW was at work today, I cleaed the kitchen, did 3 loads of laundry, cooked dinner, got my treadmill session knocked out, baked chocolate chip cookies, and did some grocery shopping.

I, haz mad skillz.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

168 Days and Counting...

With the weekend arriving, I thought I would be able to get up early today, and get in some treadmill time before the rest of the family got up! I am not regularly a "morning person" when it comes to training, but I am finding it easier recently to get some mileage in in the morning... Having a baby girl whose body clock that in no way resembles that of an adult with a career may have something to do with that! :-) But the odd hours practice has been good for me, and I've been able to capitalize on it.

But today, I only got half of the equation... I just got up early! She fell asleep at 6pm yesterday (2 hours before bedtime), and slept straight through til about 415 this morning. Momma fed her breakfast, and then went back to sleep (she works today), so Daddy took over! And in true baby fashion, once I had 2 cups of coffee to wake up 100%.... The little bug fell back asleep!

So instead of treadmill time this morning I am using the uninterrupted quiet to catch up on all sorts of important things..... Like 7 episodes of SportsCenter, playing games on Facebook, blogging, and shopping for my dream triathlon bike (which only costs $13,987, but is more advanced, and faster than the space shuttle).

I also started doing something to prepare for training season that I realized would be odd to the uninitiated... I started shopping for my running shoes. Not that I don't HAVE running shoes (see recent posts for base fitness training on the treadmill). I do have 2 pairs. But there something that runners and triathletes do that borders on hoarding. Once we find a running shoe that works for us, we buy them in unreasonable quantities, and store them. Why?


What if Adidias stops making the AdiFusion Polar edition? What if Brooks discontinues the Forza Distance? What if K-Swiss stops manufacturing the K-Ona? What if another runner purchases all available colors and sizes of the Asics that I MUST HAVE TO BE SUCCESSFUL?!

We put in a lot of miles for training, and for those of us that love running and hate cycling, we put in even MORE running miles. We are super finnicky about the shoes that "work" for us, and are comfortable for our running style. When you find that ONE SHOE that works, you absolutely go a bit psycho to make sure you can get your hands on as many pairs as is financially feasible, without showing friends and family that you are mentally ill.

Most shoes are good for about 350-550 miles before the cushioning is shot, and the shoes are then ready for retirement as the pair you wear to mow the lawn. In my experience, I'll use two pairs of shoes for training/racing per season. I'm not acutally putting in 1000 miles, but I stagger the use of the two pairs so I have a pair of shoes that are "broken in" and sprung for the races. Nobody wants to wear a brand new pair of shoes to run 26.2 miles!!

So as I was watching my beautiful baby sleep through the 8th episode of SportsCenter, I was shopping on for my current shoe of choice. I say current, because to validate every paranoid runner's fear, Adidias DID stop making the AdiFusion Polar edition. I used up the last pair available on the internet in Lake Stevens this past August.... But I did find a replacement! So, I am currently buying 4 pairs of shoes. Two pairs of K-swiss Keahou, and two pairs of K-swiss Ultra Natural Run. Oddly, the description of the Ultra says it is "ideal for world class triathletes."

That begs another question.... Is this HappyIronman a victim of predatory shoe marketing, filled with delusions of grandeur that he can become said "world class triathlete," or is he just a simple old-fashioned Brand Whore?

Brand Whore. Totally.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

170 Days and Counting....

I rarely have any method to the madness for my photos anymore (I used to have them at least make sense), but I was flipping through our Honeymoon photos, and was feeling nostalgic... So, today it's surfing in Hawaii!

Today's Training:

50 minutes on the treadmill, 2.5% incline, 5.5 miles.


2 nutri-grain bars, one can of ensure, one granola bar, 2 packages of fruit snacks, a handful of wheat thins, and a can of vegetable beef soup with goldfish crackers, and a chocolate chip cookie.

I was thinking about what to write today (I know, as bad as this is, I actually put some forethought into it!), and was feeling a bit stumped... And then, after my run, I was absolutely CRAVING wheat thins and cheese. Weird, huh? Not for me!

I have a friend who blogs, and he is an EXCELLENT writer... He is deep, meaningful, intellectual, and fluid. He is also super organized, and when he wants to reference a previoius post, he hyper-links that post into his current writing. I wish I was that organized! I tend to be more of a writewhateverpopsintomyheadandtrytobefunny kind of blogger.

I know I have written about food before, and how an Average Joe like me approaches the diet; if I had a hyper link I would put it here, but I don't (there's only 107 previous posts to filter through). My point is though, I am a creature of habit when it comes to food, and I have a pretty limited repertoire. Oddly, wheat thins and cheese are part of that routine, and since I was craving them today, I felt like I was REALLY getting ready for Ironman!! As I was scanning last year's blog, and my training diary for the previous 2 years, there was a TON of canned soup, and wheat thins and cheese. Literally, if I added up quantities, it would have come to just about 2000 lbs of cheese and crackers.

Having said that though, I think my nutrition this year will be better than it has been in the past. As a general rule, I have eaten well, but there is always room for improvement. Like a lot of people, Smokin Hot Wife and I used to eat out a lot; cooking was something we (she) did on Christmas. That grew into a slightly more respectable routine this past year, when I got fairly savvy on the grill outside. Burgers, steaks, chicken, etc., but with different marinades, sides, and seasonings. There was actually a pretty good variety.

Now, we have elevated our game! We've started getting about 99% of our food from the grocery store, and eating out rarely (I think that 1% comes from the Wing Dome). We still have some packaged stuff, soups, chips, and a few frozen foods, but there is a lot of home cooking going on. Even more fun, we're both getting into the game, and sharing chef duties a few nights a week.

Nutrtition to an athlete is similar to the gas you put in a car; the higher quality fuel, the higher quality the performance. So while that statement makes it sound like I live on organic herbs and tofu products, and will win every race I enter from this point forward, I am actually just excited to be eating more foods WE cooked, and less stuff processed in an industrial oven then scraped into a freezer box to be sold at Costco.

Will it make me faster? Seriously, it would take all the organic herbs and tofu in the WORLD to make me faster. I am one slow racer. But it will help us teach our daughter that more often than not, dinner comes from the kitchen.

And sometimes from the Wing Dome.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

171 days and Counting...

Yesterday's information, today....


31 minutes on the treadmill, 6.3 mph, 3% incline.


2 nutri-grain bars, 1 can of ensure, 2 BBQ beef sandwiches, Anniversary Chicken and Vegetables (creadted by Smokin Hot Wife, and delicious- mix of ranch, teriyaki, bacon, and cheese).

Today's information, Today:

REST DAY. I slept weird on my back, and it's bugging me today... Smokin Hot Wife got me a heating pad, though! I love this woman. Seriously.


1 nutri-grain bar, one can of ensure, steak quesadilla, taco, bowl of granola, and a couple starburst (yup, halloween candy).

In the hopes of being slightly more interesting than the usual menu and treadmill routine, I got some inspiration for material today... I get Triathlete magazine in the mail (SHOCKER!!!), and I have seen a couple articles in the last few months on training for an Ironman. If you haven't seen an issue of Triathlete, it's honestly a lot like Cosmopolitan. While Cosmo is a monthly digest of CRAZY SEX THAT WILL ROCK YOUR WORLD and HOW TO LOSE 483 DRESS SIZES IN 12 MINUTES, Triathlete is just a bunch of ways to train for Ironman. But, I like it.... There are just enough differences in the articles every month to keep it pretty interesting, just like crazy sex and weight loss. :-)

Anyhow, back to Cosmo... I am not a pro triathlete. If you didn't know that, please see my lunch for today (quesadilla and a taco). So, I don't have 40 hours a week to train. Now that I am a daddy, and balance that with being a husband and an employee, time for swimbikerun is not quite as plentiful as when I started this stuff.

So the articles that jumped to the front of my mind were about training for an Ironman in LESS time than is considered customary... In general, that is about 20 hours a week for upwards of 4 months in advance of the race. For me, it has maxed out around 18 hours a week, but for 6 months. In a focus on quality over quantity, some plans advocate around 10 hours a week.

Now, I don't know that I can only do 10 hours a week, as I certainly don't possess the same physical gifts as other athletes... But it got me thinking. What if I scaled back the training volume, and did more short/intense efforts? That would be a BIG change, as I really enjoy the endurance work (swim and run, I tolerate the bike).

I am no stranger to mixing up training, as I've done it the last 3 years. My first race, I focused almost exclusively on swimming for 2 months. On my 2nd race, I added in a 70.3 in Florida as a warm-up, and did 100% of my bike training indoors (I didn't ride outside until I showed up to the race). Last year, I did about 90% of my training on bike/treadmill, and almost all of that was indoors (Seattle sucks for winter riding outside).

So, do we scale back some of the endurance effort? Honestly, I don't know... I do this because I enjoy the process, and frankly, the 3 hour training runs, the 75 minute swims, and even the 6 hour century rides, are theraputic. Working them in, along with all the other training sessions, is a fun challenge. It makes me squeeze the most out of every day, and I like how that has worked out, and the perspective that it brings.

But if you look at my race times... Well, maybe a little speed work is warranted. :-) I can't think of anything you can do athletically where 14 hours is considered "fast," and Ironman is no exception!

Monday, November 9, 2009

173 Days and Counting....

It sure doesn't seem like very long til race day when I do this countdown thing... It feels like it was about 2 weeks ago that we were in Coeur d'Alene, worrying about the weather! I do have to admit though, that it is nice to have the race on the calendar this far out. It certainly helps with motivation, and having something to look forward to. And frankly, to have something to think about running indoors on the treadmill... Yuck.

Stats for today:


51 minutes on the treadmill, 6mph, 2.5% incline, 5.1 miles.


2 nutri-grain bars, one can of ensure, 2 granola bars, 2 packages of fruit snacks, baked chicken fetticini, and one each fun size skittles/starburst candy (Still on the halloween leftovers).

I updated the links to the right for the A and B races for 2010, but after 2009, I am seriously re-thinking which one is going to be my A race. I REALLY enjoy the process of preparing for and racing the full Ironman. It is such an emotional and exciting process, and the culmination of all 6 months of effort NEVER disappoints. Race week is a blast, and the race itself is an amazing thing. But...

I found last year that as much as I enjoy Ironman, I am better at the 70.3 (half Ironman) distance. It is easier on the body, and though still painful, is a challenge that doesn't leave me limping gingerly for 4 days afterward. :-) My fastest IM time is 14 hours 31 minutes, and my 70.3 in August, on a tough bike course, was 6 hours 9 minutes. I was proud of both finish times, but in the 70.3 I felt like I had more in the tank, and could have pushed it a little more!

So, while I am much more proud of the full IM finishes (the distance, even when you've done it, is mind numbing to think about), I think I am a better RACER in the shorter distance.

And lets be honest, they are both still VERY challenging!

So, while this is the "off" season for most athletes, I am getting started thinking about how summer 2010 will shape up, and starting the "Iron Journey." St. George is May 1st, the first IM race of the year! That leaves June through September for me to evaluate where I really want to RACE!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

175 Days and Counting....

I skipped posting yesterday, though I did get in some training time... It was an interesting day as I swam for the first time in 3 months! We joined a brand new YMCA by our house, and said goodbye to the disgusting LA Fitness... The Y actually has some neat programs for Little Miss Cara, including daycare and a kid's only pool, in addition to the lap pool. SCORE!

5 minutes warm up (300 meters), and then 25 minutes straight at an RPE 7 (rate of perceived exertion, scale of 1-10 if you are new to following). The effort was MUCH harder than it should have been (I wasn't going that fast), but I guess that is the price of 3 months of cookies, beer, and candy. :-)

Diet was okay yesterday:
2 Blueberry nutri-grain bars, one can of ensure, one bowl of granola, and a bunch of chicken wings with 2 Bud Lights (GO WINGDOME!!).

Today was a light/recovery day. My arms were definitely sore from swimming, though overall I felt good. I have been feeling twinges of what MIGHT be planar fascitis in both my feet (switched the shoes I wear to work, and that seems to have helped), and tendinitis in my left knee? Take those "diagnosis" with a grain of salt. I am not a hypochondriac, but the Smokin Hot Wife is a physical therapist, and is intimidating smart. She concurs with the possibility of both, so I am sensitive to going too heavy too fast with training. Nice and slow, just like my races!

31 minutes on the treadmill, 6mph throughout, and 3% incline.

1 nutri-grain bar, one bowl of granola, 2 bbq beef sandwiches and a small handful of potato chips, and vegetable beef soup with goldfish crackers. I also tossed in a handful of Tootsie Rolls left over from Halloween.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

177 Days and Counting....

I am finding it VERY hard to get off the couch these days! But, I did a little better today on the diet... I was pretty inspired, and not by the regular stuff (good music on the radio, or an ironman clip on YouTube).

I have a great friend who has taken on a HUGE lifestyle change in the last 12 months, and is currently working on getting ready for a 70.3 race next summer. He has lost 87 lbs. in the las 12 months, and posted some before/after photos of his effots. Needless to say, it was impressive!

So, today's stats:


50 minutes on the treadmill, 5.2 miles, 2.5% incline.


2 blueberry nutri-grain bars, one can of Ensure, one can of vegetable beef soup with goldfish crackers, a bowl of granola, a handful of pistachios, and a few Doritos, and a packet of skittles.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lazy Ironman!! 6 months and counting...

WOW!! It has been almost 3 months since I last posted... What happened?! New job, new baby, more travel, and less racing.

But today, with the change for daylight savings time, my internal clock also changed. Instead of it being November 1st when the sun rose today, my thought waking up this morning was verbalized by the Smokin Hot Wife.

"6 months exactly until Ironman St. George!"

I was super excited, but also a little nervous. I've eaten WAY more candy/ice cream/beer in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 years. I took my "off season" a little to the extreme, and am coming in with a bit less fitness than the last couple years. But, I've been working on the dreadmill the last few weeks here and there, and in my first training session today, I was pleasantly surprised.

I have a few updates to make to this blog page to get it up to date, but all in all, the sentiment remains the same. I am a proud back of the pack athlete, and going for IM finish #4. I'll keep track of training and nutrition here, and make every attempt to not bore the snot out of those of you following. With that said, here we go!


45 minutes on the treadmill, 2.5% incline, 4.7 miles (about 9:30 per mile).


Nutri-grain bar, granola bar, 2 cups of coffee, baked cheese tortellini with red sauce, BBQ pork sandwiches with some potato chips, and a bucket of leftover Halloween candy.

See what I mean about bad habits since Lake Stevens?! Ugh... I have some work to do.