Sunday, October 10, 2010

Staying small in big world

First, I wish to claim that "I'm back." Not that I really went anywhere, but my dedication to this blog has not been what I had hoped it would be. Nonetheless, as I do about this time every year, I am going to try again.

Although there are many things I am hoping to blog about--like an iron-distance triathlon next September--I am going to start (or restart) with two shout outs:

Our world is getting so big these days that the individual gets lost in the minutiae; I even felt this way this past week when there was a clerical error with my pay check--rather than being an affected human being, the situation was handled rather mechanically. We seem to be forgetting the faces of our fellows.

So I am doubly impressed when a company creates a human-like face in the way it does business; I have two examples:

First, ( As I've been getting into the sport of triathlons, I am always on the look out for good deals on gear and apparel. PowerTri has had for the last couple of seasons a killer deal on its team kit and a goody bag of accessories to go with it at a really decent price. I thought, "That's a good deal...I'd wear that!" But for the longest time they didn't have my size--it seemed to be end-of-season left overs. So I waited, but eventually sent an email of query expressing my interest, frustration, and waning (or whining) patience. I did get an empathetic reply, with a request to hold on because they are coming. As the triathlon season neared, still no changes. I emailed again; this time the reply said that the reorder was coming soon and that they would contact me when the new kits arrived. They did; I actually spoke to their main salesmen/triathletes on the phone; and I wore their kit all season. So if you need triathlon stuff (of anything associated with those three disciplines), look them up...especially get on their email list because they have "Fabulous Friday Specials" which are killer.

The second goes to ( Yesterday, I spent most of the day in front of my computer grading "easy" stuff and following the streaming coverage of the Kona Ironman World Championship race. Yurbuds was one of the sponsors of the broadcast. They had a deal that for yesterday only for a free tech shirt and no shipping and handling with the purchase of their product--these snug ear buds. So I went to their sight, but couldn't get on due to volume; I waited a while and finally got on, but found no place to enter this code. Then I thought, "Maybe it is a coupon code at the end of purchase." I tried that, saw a place for a code, but it didn't work. I tried numerous times, in numerous ways (like caps, no caps, spaces, etc.), and none worked. So I said "Screw it" (actually, it was something else) and went back to IM Kona coverage...and grading,of course. Shortly after dinner I got a phone call from Yurbuds--late, on a Saturday--from the "tech guy" from Yurbuds. Apparently, their website wasn't prepared to take half a million hits at once...but it did and eventually crashed! I asked if he had to call half a million people, but he said "no," only the ones that were mid-transaction and didn't complete an order (the number was, like, five). Nonetheless, this guy gave me a call to make things right...even gave me a better deal. Plus, we had a nice chat about being a small fish in a big pond--which I appreciated--and that he had a new customer. Check them out.

Keep checking in; I will try to do better this time around.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

One in the bank...


After my horrid, painful week with a bulging disc, I feel I bounced back really well.

I did front-load the last week pretty well and tapered toward the end--or skipped workouts again, depending on how you interpret the trends. I only swam once--Tuesday--but it was the best swim all year--and this was still with tingling fingertips from the bulging disc (what an odd sensation). I was hoping to add one more swim, but things got in the way and didn't get it in. Also, hanging out with the Moxies Friday night made my Saturday miserable--my own fault, really.

Nonetheless, Sunday rolled around and the Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon was priority one. Here's the play-by-play:

I was in the second wave.

My goal for the swim was to maintain my cool and keep a good pace. Still, even in my warm-up, I felt my heart was starting to race--HR was up to 142 after just casually swimming a lap or two. I was glad to be sharing a lane for once--last year I was lucky enough to have an absent lane partner. So, in preparation for the open-water swims, I had another in the lane, the rope, and a friend swimming in the next lane. So having those visual and proximal distractions every once in a while was good to get used to. About two thirds of the way through, felt the HR racing again, so I tried to back down a little to stay steady through the entire 10 minutes. I was credited with 21 lengths--10.5 laps, 525 meters...a 30:39 mile pace. I was content with that.

The bike was frustrating, but I didn't let it get to me. I walked in and found that there was only one bike left that had Look-style pedals available. As I'm starting my set up, the guy next to it said that the computer on it was reading well. I quickly moved to another bike to remove the toe clips, couldn't, so I stuck with the first bike. The computer was sporadic; and though I held it at a consistent level MOST of the time, it was jumping around. But I didn't complain, just figured that mine wasn't the only bike to do that--it was what it was.

The run, I felt is where I unexpectedly shone. My running has been coming along, but I hadn't done any true speedwork in a couple weeks. So I wasn't planning to surpass three miles in 20 minutes. So I started by setting it up to 8.5 mph, but saw that a runner in the row ahead of me had set his at 9.3--trying to hit a 5k pace. Well, I quickly set it up to that pace as well. By looking over his shoulder, I felt like I was letting him pace me. Ten minutes into it, I was feeling a little fatigued, so I dropped back to 8.5 for five minutes, and finished at 9.3. The last five minutes was filled with "Just X more minutes/seconds to go" thoughts, and when I was done, I felt I had nothing left--perfect. Finished with 3.02 miles--good for me.

I haven't seen the final standings yet, but feel really good with the result especially with the speed bumps of the last couple of weeks.

I told Darci that after this week, I really need to keep things disciplined for about the next five weeks--thinking that I want to continue to build to Bluff Creek (May 23) and taper to IM KS 70.3 (June 6). I still want to do that, but I'm seriously considering adding the Papillion Half Marathon on May 16 as a last "long" run before KS.

One is done. I'm feeling good about it and that it is done. Now to look ahead to the rest.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Training has been sporadic for the last month...especially in the pool. First, it is hard to get motivated to do it; second, my training partner often sleeps in rather than getting there early in the morning--even when he sends an invite through Facebook, the host shows 45 minutes late. Cycling has taken an upswing with the weather--I've ridden the new bike three times, with two of those rides maintaining a 19+ mph average (CT, you didn't slow me down). Running is there, but I haven't as much as I've wanted.

Last week I wanted to make a BIG week--10 or so hours of training. However, in the first half of the week, life got in the way--too many family, etc., events took precedence over the training. I was okay with that and even finding ways to make them up.

Wednesday, though, the unexpected happened. I was eating breakfast...leftover pancakes--probably too quickly--my esophagus cramped up (which is nothing new--not choking because I can still breathe, just food won't swallow...uncomfortably stuck), and one of my body's attempts to clear that is sneezing. Because I had food in my mouth, I stifled the sneeze rather than letting it go. About 10 minutes later things went south.

Another strange thing that happens "once in a blue moon" is a sensation through my arms that feels like they've turned to lead and are being pulled out of their sockets. Usually it passes in five to ten minutes.

Nonetheless, 10 minutes after the sneeze, my arms turned to lead. The bad thing was that I was driving at the time--which I don't think mattered, I just had to handle heavy machinery at the same time. I get to school, still in pain. This persists ALL DAY!

Fortunately, I've got good friends! Stephanie--my personal PA--thought that it was a bulged disc; and the next day, when I told her my fingertips were tingling, she felt that confirmed her theory. She told me to consistently take IBU.

So, Wednesday...miserable; I still taught Centergy (hoping that will make it feel better). Thursday, still struggling; and Friday, too. Saturday, went for a bike ride, and suffered for the rest of the day, but felt better in the evening. Sunday, felt tons better! I had one intense stinger in the morning, but the rest of the day felt good--skipped swimming (Paul was playing Easter bunny anyway), went to church, went for a 21.35 mile ride and averaged 19.4! Then walked to the in-laws' for Easter lunch. Even walked with Darci and the dog yesterday evening. A good day.

Today, I feel like I did yesterday. Still some tingling in my fingertips, but I feel I can resume all parts of my training. Planning to swim tomorrow.

So now I feel like I need to front-load this week and taper toward Saturday since I have my first event of the season on Sunday--the indoor triathlon.

Injuries suck.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For a good cause...

Hey, all.
Let me just take a few moments of your time:

Most of you know that I am into cycling and endurance events. Usually, it is for my own self satisfaction; but this summer I am going to participate in an event that will benefit others, but I cannot do it without a little help from you.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to moving us towards a world free of MS. They fund research into effective MS therapies and also help people with MS to live powerful, meaningful lives. I believe in the work they do. Currently, there is no cure for MS, money they raise goes toward continued research, advanced treatments, and the hope for an eventual cure.

One way the society raises funds and spreads awareness is with annual bicycle rides throughout various states. Nebraska’s ride is on July 10 & 11—my hope is to ride 200+ miles in one weekend…something, believe it or not, I have not done yet. If you are a cyclist, you too can join the cause!

I am starting my personal fundraising campaign now because March is MS Awareness Month and next week (8-14) is MS Awareness Week. My strategy is going to be simple: I am only asking that you give as much as you feel comfortable giving—there is no minimum donation amount. I am also asking that, if at all possible, that all donations be made through my MS page (see link below); if there are some of you who do prefer writing a check, I can accommodate that as well. Here’s an incentive to donate sooner than later: I plan on sending this same reminder on the first of every month until the event; once you donate through my page, “thank you” ahead of time and I take you off my list for future requests. Here is the link:

There are many good causes out there and this is equally so. I hope you find it in yourselves to donate a little or a lot, and I will keep you in mind as I ride in July.


Michael J. Davis

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When life gets in the way...

Overall, I think that I was lazy this last week and it is trickling into this week already; however, it wasn't all my fault.

At work, just been lazy...with a student teacher, I shouldn't have so many ungraded assignments haunting me, but I do.

This has been a very social week, which has made the mornings sluggish. Chili feed at Olympia and date night with Darci last night have made me tired this morning--I should be swimming right now. Friday, FAC and then pizza for dinner, so I didn't workout in the afternoon (another swim missed) and tired yesterday morning.

There are 91 days left before Kansas--I need to get on the stick.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

With 14 weeks to go...

The KS 1/2 Ironman is 14 weeks away.

I started the "serious" training two weeks ago, but with a bit of a head cold, am four workouts behind. As I was explaining to Paul, my training partner, if I miss running or cycling, those will be skipped and the next workout will be done; with swimming, though, I feel I need to make those up to complete the plan. In actuality, then, I have only missed three of the swim workouts out of six--I know it sounds bad so far--which should be made up in the next few weeks (if I just try to add one additional swim in a week to get back on pace).

Yesterday, did my first run outside for the season--did 8.5 miles on country highways. My ankles felt beat up, but it was good to get, had the best breakfast that I've had in a long time at the Heartland Cafe in Elkhorn.

This week I am going to try to fulfill every scheduled workout despite other life events on the calendar. Last week I finished with about seven hours of training time--had I been healthy, probably would have been close to nine or more. So far--mentally--feeling good and charged up about the process.

Other insight: it is looking like I WILL NOT be going to Europe this June which opens the door for a couple of other events to tackle...Cornhusker State Games triathlon or time trial and possibly the Mayor's triathlon in Papillion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Try this...

I while back I saw a regular participant from one of my fitness classes chllin' in the locker room in a towel watching TV. I told him that my class was starting soon but he said that he just finished the "executive workout." Once he described what it was, I was determined to try it soon after.

A couple of weeks later I had made arrangements with my training partner to swim one Sunday morning. I was there on time, but Paul was not; so I sat in the jacuzzi hoping he would arrive soon. After 10 minutes, I was sure that he was not coming; and since it is always hard to be motivated about swimming for me, I decided to create my own "executive workout."

This week, Paul and I are a little under the weather. Yesterday, I skipped the morning workout (see yesterday's post); I had thought of making it up after swimming yesterday afternoon, but the congestion was just not going away. Knowing Paul was in a similar way, I suggested we do the "executive workout" to try to flush things out. He agreed to try it.

Here's what we did (approximately): 10 minutes in the hot tub; 10 minutes in the sauna; 10 minutes in the steam room; another 10 minutes in the sauna; and finishing with 10 in the hot tub.

It is a lot of sitting, but I felt spent afterward. This morning, I feel much better than I did yesterday. I still skipped this morning's workout, but feel a lot clearer in the head.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Time flies...

For the last three weeks or so, my wife has been battling through a sinus infection that has produced the most horrendous coughing that I have heard in a long time. She's a saint, though; at its worst she would choose to sleep on a couch in the basement to allow me the best night's sleep I could get. During this whole time, I've been knocking on wood as I have stayed ailment-free.

Well, the inevitable finally happened.

Last Thursday it started with a slight sore throat which turned into congestion over the weekend. So far, it hasn't really slowed me down. Today, though, it called my bluff.

Last night I taught a spin class and felt the clearest I had all day; but I knew that as soon as the class ended, my head would refill and it would be back to the box of Kleenex. Last night I was pretty wiped out. I went to bed at 9:00; but when the alarm went off at the usual time, it was hard to get up. I got dressed and ready to go, but before I knew it, the time was later than what I like to take off. It is like that this head congestion has slowed me enough that time goes by faster. I thought that I was getting ready at a pretty good pace, but I was definitely wrong.

So I made a choice this morning: take a morning off. I still hope to get a swim workout in this afternoon, and I thought that I may do a modified running workout to recover what I didn't do this morning.

So I feel I'm making that choice on my terms...not that I'm lazy which is typically the case. I have a pretty good opportunity to workout tonight since the rest of the family is busy with other things. So, hopefully, I'll make up the lost time, sit in the sauna and/or steam room, hit the whirpool, and be ready for tomorrow's weigh-in.

Tomorrow will be here before I know it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Good and bad...

To keep a long story short--and to avoid getting upset--I had to sell our John Mayer tickets in favor of a middle school choir concert. I'll stop there.

Trainingwise, things went really well. Despite a busy schedule at school, I maintained the schedule well. Couldn't swim on Tuesday due to conferences and missed Centergy on Wednesday for the same reason, but kept everything else well. In fact, picked up a spin class Thursday afternoon for another instructor who took an impromptu trip, so I moved my planned core workout to this morning (Saturday) before covering Heather's spin class. I also ran afterward. I'm actually thinking about getting on the trainer when I get home from the shop, even though I admitted earlier today that I'm tiring of cycling this week.

Yesterday I swam for 30 minutes straight and felt pretty good. Did the same thing last Sunday, and thought then that I could have worked harder. So yesterday, I tried to pull harder and stronger through the latter laps and finished 30 laps in just over 30 minutes; so I held a one-minute per lap average consistently.

Tomorrow is 16 weeks out from Kansas--112 days! It really begins tomorrow!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And so it begins...

I've had a pretty good week, and a really nice swim this morning; plus, I was juiced to help out with LTF's Indoor Triathlon this year which put me in the mood to kick in the training for the season coming up. This coming week I am going to try to follow the schedule as best I can with conferences at school, but have no specified training plan per day. The rigorously structured workouts will begin next week.

To the right there is a general calendar of the nature of my workouts each week...mostly for Paul's info. There are more regimented workouts at those times, but those will vary from week to week, so I thought keep the information general as to not having to frequently update the information.

As the weeks go on, I hope to be better about keeping my blog up to date.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Busy week: First week of the spring semesters and trying to learn the new Body Traning Systems programming to get ready for the launch this morning. All went well and smooth, it just stresses me out.

With Group Ride I always feel that once I learn a season set, then it is just a matter of presenting it in an entertaining way; I forget the coaching element. The feedback I got Thursday was a good reminder of that, so I thought this morning went much better.

With Centergy, I still feel out of my element, but much better than two years ago. Yesterday we went through a practice launch and I, again, I thought today went much better. The difference today was working through yesterday's soreness-- I woke up this morning with a sore back and didn't really connect why until we started the workout today.

To get ready for the launch this week, I eliminated the swim workouts for Tuesday and Thursday and running and the strengthh workouts I wanted to build in. Next week.

I'm getting back into the swing with new students again, but by the time i finally get to know the names of the sophomores, my student teacher will take over and I won't know any of them. Cest la vie.

Saw Avatar last night.

Keep the wheels on the road; until next week.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gettin' serious...

I told my wife today that since I finished the last piece of birthday cake today that the holiday season was officially over and it was time to get serious. We both need to make a mindful commitment to being smarter about what to eat and how much.

As for training, things have been going well though the snow days seem to put a damper on things. I actually have plenty at my house that I could easily log a lot of training time in my basement, but there is something in my head that wants to keep home and the training field separate.

So let's recap some simple, but challenging goals:
1. Blog every week--I didn't go into the shop today, but I did remember to blog (here I am).
2. Don't procrastinate.
3. Quit making excuses--like trying to separate home with the training field...just shut up, get on the trainer and ride!

Talking with my training partner Paul, I think I have my event calendar more solidified than before. Here it is...
1. I was going to do the February 7 Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon, though I was thinking that this was a bit early. However, I did think it would be a good benchmark to then check progress at the next one on April 11. But I think that I am only going to do the April IT...falling back on the thought that February is too soon, but also with timing of other upcoming events.
2. Paul and I were looking at the Siouxperman Tri in Sioux Center, IA, on May 1--sprint distance but a pool swim, and the price was right. Paul found the date for the Bluff Creek Tri in Boone, IA, on May 23. There is a choice of sprint or Olympic distance and we'll probably do the latter. I think this would be a better one for the sole reason that it is an open-water swim. This will also be a little over a month after the LTFIT, and two weeks before KS. This is a USAT event.
3. Boys Town Memorial Day Run. This has become a family tradition, but it may just be a training run for me with one week to go before KS.
4. KS Half Ironman. This is what the whole season is for. This is also the week before my possible trip to what better way to recover than cavorting through Europe. USAT event.
5. MS Ride with team Moxie. This is a fun ride, but wouldn't it be fun to do back-to-back 100s?
6. Mayor's Triathlon? Haven't decided on this one...I don't like the bike route so much on the trail; but Paul mentioned doing this as a team.
7. First Annual Omaha Triathlon. Olympic distance, so not as intense as KS. USAT event.
8. Black Squirrel would be fun to FINISH this year.

And after that, mostly tapering down with some fun things like CCRun, a Omaha Marathon race (10k or half-m), BNB, and who knows what else. The big things will be done before September. I think that may be busy enough.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Naming bikes...

First, happy new year. As 2010 moves in, one of my few resolutions is to be better with consistently posting on this blog. I think I will make it a Saturday, at the shop thing to do. So here is my first post for the new year:
My friend Stephanie recently purchased a bike thru ebay (which she eventually sent back) and she was pondering what to name the new bike. I scoffed at this practice as I was rewrapping the bars on her old bike--Barbie.
So I started thinking of my bikes and realized that they all--but one--already have names. So here they are:

The first two are not very exciting, but I think they are fitting. The first is my Raleigh One-Way. I just think that One-Way is an apt name. It is a one-speed commuter with a flip-flop rear wheel. I like the color and look of it with the Brooks features and fenders. The name also reminds me of the character name Rerun from the old TV show What's Happening.

The second is my Gunnar Roadie. Gunnar is the name of Richard Schwinn's dog and a characiture of him is the logo of the company and it is on the front of the headtube. We always refer to it as the Gunnar, so it kinda stuck. Like man's best friend, it is the truest bike I have--smooth ride. I just wish I rode it more...I should, but that is the way it goes sometimes.

The third is probably the most unique bike I have because of its origins. The frame--we believe--is an old Shogun from the late 70's. A friend had it repainted and realized it was too big for him and offered it to me, but at the time I didn't need a new bike. Three years later, he claimed he got rid of his bikes and said I could have the frame. So I started piecing it together with old parts of mine, old and NOS parts from Olympia, and a few new items. I always referred to it as "the Frankenstein bike," and EdBiLLy coined the moniker FraNkEnBiLLy--perfect. Had I known I was going to build this one up, I probably would have not invested in One-Way. However, this bike is not comfortable past 10 or so miles, whereas One-Way can go quite a distance.

FraNkEnBiLLy is unique when one first sees it, the next is one that needs a closer look. There was the remains of an old, 1989 Bianchi Campione hanging upstairs at the shop and I had once entertained the thought of putting new components on it as a new bike. Ed talked me into investing in a Gunnar instead--so I did. But I couldn't get this one off my mind. One day I was riding my old mountain bike around Lake Zorinsky and I realized I was using only two gears: the front middle or big chain rings and one gear in back. I thought that this would be a neat way to recreate this Bianchi: as a double-single. Knowing that I would need a chain tensioner in the rear, I found the one I ordered in the catalog--the description said it was perfect for a "dingle" set...just as I was doing. So "Dingle" seemed to be a prime way to refer to this ride. We discovered something else about this bike: in the fork there is some metal shaving, so when one tips the bike up a jingle is heard. Thus, it is the "dingle with a jingle."

Here's the story on the last named bike (for now). Last summer I sold my mountain bike; last winter I won a spot in the Leadville Trail 100-mile mountain bike race. I needed a bike. I really didn't want to buy a new bike for one event and probably not ride it much again, but I still needed a bike. I was wandering the shop and saw this IronHorse hanging in the back. "Can I have that one?" and Ed said "Sure." The story is that a "customer" rode in and this mavhine looking to test ride one of our bikes. We usually do not hold on to a license or credit card for test rides, but Ed did ask this guy for one (he just had a bad feeling). But the guy said, "You've got my bike right there"; so Ed let him go and he was never seen again. He stole one of ours and we assume he had stole this one as well and now i was going to ride it in onne of the most grueling bike races ever (which I never did). I think that there is only one name for this bike: Rob.

The last bike pictured is my Trek 2300. It is the bike that I have had the longest, and I can think of no name for it. Any suggestions?
The new Kestrel does have a name, but I am waiting for the big reveal to disclose its label...but I think you'll like it.