Sunday, December 30, 2007


I am thinking about my goals for the 2008 triathlon season, and I was reviewing my 2007 goals. Straight away, I don't think I had especially good goals for 2007. I didn't think about the 2007 goals much during the year. I sure didn't make a special effort to meet them other than simply showing up at races and doing the best that I could. The 2007 "goals" were more of a wish list.

In 2007, I wanted to finish IMAZ and the Half-Silverman. Well, I showed up and I finished the races, and I enjoyed myself. I had "icing on the cake" goals to finish in less than 13:30/6:00 respectively. Flat tires in Arizona and too many hills and too much wind in Nevada (combined with minimal training) kept me from coming close to either of those times.

I wanted to finish in the Top Three in my age group in the SWCS. Although there are at least three people in my age group who are way faster than me, they didn't do eight races. I ended up winning my age group. Things would have been different if these other guys had been at more races, but I felt good about my season which included six wins, four seconds, and a third place in my eleven races.

I also wanted to set a PR in at least one race. This was not a good goal, given the variables in every race from year to year (wind, heat, where the turn-around buoy is placed at Bottomless, etc.) However, I did have two PR's. One was at Levelland, where the wind wasn't blowing for the first time in six years, and the other was at the Milkman, which actually is a pretty consistent course year to year.

Finally, I wanted to complete a 5K run in less than 21 minutes. I did the 5K run at Levelland in 21:37 and at Odessa it took me 21:45, but that is as close as I could get. I never did any training for this, and I'm sure not getting any younger, so I don't know why I should have ever expected to meet this goal.

So, what about 2008? I've never really worried about having an "A-race" to plan around, but I really want to concentrate on two races this year. I've done the BSLT 70.3 before, but mostly I just wanted to finish the race. Given the level of competition there, I won't ever finish on the podium (top half of my age group is possible), but I'm going to shoot to finish in under 5:45. (The winner of my age group will be about one hour in ahead of this.) I did the Half-Silverman in 2007, and I'm moving up to the Full Silverman this year. OK, just finishing is my goal, but if I train the way I plan to train, I should be able to finish in under 15:00. (The winner of my age group will be about three hours ahead of this.)

There you are. Two races. Two goals. Everything else will be icing on the cake.

Have a great 2008!


Monday, December 24, 2007


How do I dislike swimming, let me count the ways..........

The Outlaws are entered as a team in the USAT National Challenge Competition. It's a pretty informal competition between teams to see who can log the most training miles per month. December is supposed to be the "Swim Session" month.

Straight away, it's always difficult for me to motivate myself to go for a swim. First off, I have to go to "the pool". (I can start a bike or run from my own driveway.) And I can only go to "the pool" during their scheduled "open swim sessions" when I'm not at work. For me, this means early in the morning (lose an hour of sleep) or in the evening (loss of family time and time to grade papers). "The pool" is used by a lot of people, but not many of them are "swimming". Senior citizens do a lot of water walking, and other folks like to float on their backs in a lane with a lifebelt to hold them up. (I'm sure they are telling their heart surgeons that they are getting in their "X"-hours of cardio per week.) Most times I can get at least half a lane to swim some laps, but there are days when I have to wait in order to start a workout. And then there is the smell of chlorine. I always shower with soap after a swim, but I can smell the chlorine afterwards, my wife always mentions how she smells it, and even my students in class said I smelled like chlorine.

Regardless, I figured I would do my bit for the team and try to log 20 miles of swimming this month. I know this is not a lot of miles for some triathletes, and if you look at the standings there are already people on some other teams with more than 50 swim miles this month. However, I normally only get in about 8-12 miles of swimming per month, and I've never in my life done more than 16 miles in one month. Throw in the limited days that the local pool is even open because of their "holiday schedule" along with the end of semester workload at school, and 20 miles of swimming was always going to be a challenge.

As of today, (Christmas Eve), I've been to the pool seventeen times and logged 18.65 miles. I'd like to say that it has been worth the time and effort and that I am now a much faster swimmer. However, although I might be a leetle faster (and I'm certainly no slower), it has not made a huge difference. Mostly, I just smelled like chlorine a lot of the time.

Where I did see a difference was in my bike and run fitness. In order to get in this amount of swimming (while keeping up with work, paying the bills, Christmas shopping, etc.) I spent almost no time on my bike or running. I've often thought that if I never raced a triathlon I would still ride my bike and run, but I probably wouldn't bother swimming. I don't swim hard enough to get in much of a cardio workout, and I could feel the difference after two weeks. I did some biking and running this weekend, and it sure felt good to be back on the road.

January is supposed to be the "Bike Session". I'm personally looking forward to getting out and logging some bike miles. Can't imagine what the teams in Michigan are going to do?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Five Easy Pieces (Interesting Facts?)

If I was an interesting person, I'd write a biography that would sell a million copies and then I could really retire. However, since skoshi asked, here you are......

1. My mom's side of my family was a lot more interesting than my dad's. She had two sisters, Lulu (actual name) and Wilma. Everyone called Wilma "Bumpy", but I don't know why. They left the farm when they were young, moved to the big city (Rochester, NY), and married Italian men, Lou DiFazio and Guy Borelli. City dwelling, Italian, Roman Catholics. Wow, they and their families were pretty exotic to me. THEY could write a biography that would sell a million copies.

2. I have a twin brother. We wore matching clothes every day of the week through sixth grade. We were both pretty good students, but starting in the sixth grade I went off the boil while he continued to excel. He scored 1600 on his SAT's, went to med school, and is now a well-to-do physician in California. I wish I had kept up with him.

3. I was the first chair trombone in the 1972 Stueben County (NY) "Wind Ensemble". This was as high as you could get for a public school band student from my school in NY State. However, I really wasn't that good. That was my senior year in high school. Because I had scored an "A-Rating" on my audition (Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", I shudder now just thinking how it sounded as a trombone solo), I ended up ahead of the juniors and sophomores in the county who were actually better than me.

4. I voted for George McGovern for president in 1972. Nixon won easily, and there weren't very many people in the USAF who voted for McGovern. However, I felt I'd made the best choice in 1972, and I felt even better about my choice two years later.

5. I was a fighter pilot in the USAF for twenty years, ending up with about 4000 flying hours in the F-4, A-10, and F-111. Most of the flying was pretty tame stuff, training for WW III versus the Ruskies. I flew some "combat sorties" over Iraq in 1991, but these weren't very dangerous either. It was just after the First War With Iraq, and the Kurds were running from Iraq into Turkey. The Turks didn't want them either, so the Kurds were freezing and starving in the mountains along the border between the two countries. We flew escort and recon missions for the transport aircraft carrying tents, food, and water to the Kurds. We generally stooged around northern Iraq keeping an eye on the Iraqis. The Iraqis had just gotten their butts whipped in Kuwait, so they would just wave at us and we would wave back. I did fly some missions over Iraq with Chad Hennings Shortly after this, he got out of the Air Force and went on to play with the Super Bowl Dallas Cowboys of the 1990's.