Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Metal Room

No, not Bolder's Medal Room - this is the Bigun Metal Room. The BMR. Sounds like a Soviet Cold War Era tank of sorts. Wait...Bolder's room is the BMR too...Metal Room will have to suffice...no fancy schmancy acronyms. I had some time on Sunday, what with no workouts, to clean up the room and rid it of all things not Iron. Well, not all things, as we still have to have a place to iron our clothes. Technically, it's still a room of all things Iron.

As cool as that weight set is, it's hard to even fathom that I haven't' hardly touched it since we bought it (from Costco...the uber-mecca store of great buys) a few years ago. Well, last night, I touched it - and it confirmed my fears - I'm a 250lb weakling. Everything took an inordinate amount of effort. This will be a long road, my friends...

Fortunately I took it easy, and my tendons are not screaming at me today...but I can definitely feel the effects of pushing weight. Can't wait to hit the legs...aught to make the 30-30-30 (henceforth the 30-cubed) that much more interesting. Good grief...Sweet Baboo went 5:31 at SOMA...I need to put that up on the wall somewhere as additional motivation....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boredom Strikes

Crap I'm bored. Taking time off from training is good and bad. Good, 'cause I need the break, bad, 'cause I don't know what to do with myself. Yea, yea, it's only a few days until the 1st, and the start of the '08 Season; I guess I should just leave well enough alone.

Reflect. Regroup. Revitalize. Revamp. Review.

I'm still really excited about CdA. I'll get another motivation shot in the arm next weekend when Mrs. Bigun and I travel to Panama City Beach and watch a host of bloggers race in IMFL. We'll meet and drink with Trimama and Iron superhero at large Taconite Boy. They'll try and try to get me to sign up for IMFL'08 with them, to no avail. We'll enjoy a couple of wetsuited ocean swims and some running (sorry Trimama) and ring the cowbells 'till the wee hours of the evening. Oh, and drink a few beers...did I mention that yet? Excel Man and GEL will be joining us later on Saturday to help with the cheering.

I'm also excited about this new block of training I have scheduled - the 30.30.30.. I'll be attempting (bad word usage...I'll be executing!) 30 days of 30 swims and 30 runs, ie., swimming and running every day in November. I'll keep the swims and the runs short, to keep from getting hurt, but the ultimate goal is to become a better swimmer and runner, obviously, and get in a better swim/run habit. This will culminate in a half mary on Dec 2nd, so there will be a solid test of the method to my madness.

Broken record time: weight loss. I've a feeling that after this week, I'll be starting the '08 season at a solid (well, not so solid) 250lbs even. About the same place as last season - so, I busted my ass for a year, got in better shape, but didn't lose a single lb. Maybe I added some muscle mass...yea, right. I've got to get to 230lbs for Cda...got to (why? hills - lower weight = better time in hills and faster runner, and I've got to be able to keep up with Mr. 203 - Sweet Baboo)! So this week, I'm happy to report, my Mantra of "No Coke, No Pizza, No Chocolate and No Donuts!" has been successful in keeping said items out of the Bigun 100%. I've been told that I gotta keep it fun...well, notice that my mantra does not include the words "no" and "beer" in it anywhere. Speaking of which...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007 - a really cool year

I'm not sure if we'll ever have a triathlon year like this past one again. The year was sculpted, and probably like a sculptor, this new triathlete didn't really appreciate the process; looking back, I can certainly appreciate the journey.

We started back in February with a half mary PR at Gasperilla of 1:57. It was fun including our friend Hope in the race, as she lives above the finish line. It was a cold day, and Di still talks of how luckily she and Hope emerged from the Condo building just in time to see me run in front of them to the finish line.

A St. Patty's day 10k with our friends Greg and Dominique saw another run PR of 51:42, and the Bigun was on his way to a big tri-season. Or so he thought.

Crushing downpours met Jetpack, Luke and I as we gave the new 3k/60k/15k format a try in Clermont back in early April. This was my first meet-up with the Jet, and a successful race by any standard. My St. Anthony top 10 goal seemed to be within my grasp.

But, 2:48:31 later, my St. Anthony 07 hopes were smashed to bits with a nasty cramp and, in hindsight, some residual fatigue from racing hard and long just 2 weeks prior. Ah, the mistakes of a newbee triathlete. Yes, it was a PR, but even my goal of 2:36 wouldn't have been enough to break into the top 10 this past year. This was our first race with Excel Man and GEL - first of many. Luke raced with us too, and even Jetpack was there to spectate.

A week later Di and I traveled the hour down to Bradenton for what would the first and ONLY One-O-One Triathlon (1.86m/80.6m/18.6m) where a tired Bigun finished 3/4's of an Ironman. The race was well-organized and supported...too bad it folded. Nevertheless, we are part of history, and hold the world record for the 40+, 225+ Category at 10:09:37.

Finishing up 4 races in 5 weeks, the Bigun and crew head over to Madeira Beach for the favorite sprint of the season - the Mad Dog Tri, where the highlight is the beer truck and band, and what turns out to be a pretty fast course, year after year. At 1:28:03, I'm calling that race my Sprint PR - and the whole crew had a blast: Lil' Clyde who came down for his first Tri, Excel Man, GEL, Luke and family, Jetpack as a spectator again, my college classmate Rob, Di and the Bigun finally found an open restaurant and finished up an awesome race day. It wasn't until later that we found out Luke popped a hernia carrying Boo across the sand-laden finish line, and was TKO'd for the rest of the season.

With the help of Di's brother's Sky Miles and Tri-Bike Transport, Di and I took an early June vacation and visited San Fransisco after a Lottery slot found me lucky and willing to tackle the Escape to Alcatraz. The race was epic, and although we both got seriously ill from the drop in temps to 50 degrees and overcast skys (it was already in the 90's in Tampa), I'm sure we'd both do it again. Someday.

A huge milestone in all this was the decision to hit the "registration" button for IMCdA'08, and in June, our Ironman journey began.

Needing a break, the Bigun just played around during the summer, doing some open water one mile swims at Clearwater beach with Excel Man, and a nasty little bike time trial - well, the time trial did cause a little stir. GEL posted the now-infamous "Beat Bigun" poster on my trailer, merely spurring me on to crush her husband (Excel Man) in 15k of time-trial fury, averaging a respectable 23.9mph and beating the venerable Excel Man by a solid minute. To be continued.

We raced the Morton Plant Meese sprint in July, leading up to the big meet-up in August - the Chicago Olympic Tri. Di and I drove...yes drove the Mini in a 3-day family and friend meet-up prelude to racing in the largest triathlon in the world. It was as exhausting then, as it is now just thinking about it! We met up with some great bloggie peeps - Roman, Mike and J-Wimm, and Tim, plus some old friends Andy and Brittany, and of course, new friend Dr. Dave (...pinch to pass...). The sheer size of the race, coupled with a HORRIFICALLY painful bike course and a RD with no concept of integrity will keep us from competing there again any time soon.

Fitness slipped away over the summer, slowly but surely as the transition from RV salesman to Lawn Maintenance Entrepreneur took hold, and 7hr days in the sun left nothing in the tank for the necessary swim, ride or run. Life happens. We watched, and Diana volunteered as kayak support, at Curt aka Excel Man's Sand Key Tri. That was fun, watching a race and helping out.

The '07 Triathlon season culminated, as it traditionally has for the Bigun, with an epic race - epic for me at least - the Florida Challenge Half. A horribly claustrophobic swim followed by a hilly bike regrouping lead to a minute per mile run PR and a salvaged race. Overall, a phenomenal weekend, set in a beautiful lakeside cabin, surrounded by good friends and family - it was the perfect season ender.

I've learned a lot this year about racing and training.
  • Diana (Mrs Bigun) is the best fan a man could have. And partner. And wife. etc. etc. etc.
  • Don't expect to perform well over and over and over again - great performances only come once or twice a season, and rarely back to back.
  • Pizza, Coke and Chocolate (oh, and Donuts) do not a skinny Bigun make. Get serious.
  • I'm a good biker...time to shift focus and get better at swimming and running.
  • Electrolytes = no cramps = fun race.
  • Eat on the bike, dammit
  • Racing with friends is better than racing alone. Way better.
  • The days of end-of-summer "A" races are gone...anything after June, for now on, are for fun only (the Bigun's outdoor business nature just makes serious summer training impractical).
  • Keep talking smack with Excel Man...he races better mad.
So we'll put this year behind us, and start gearing up for next year. Ironman is calling, and there is no busy signal. Looking back, it was a pretty cool year after all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Florida Challenge Half Iron-Distance

Well folks, I broke the first rule of triathlon - "never, ever, take your bike to the shop the week before a race". Rule two - "see rule number one". Long story short, the day before the race was a stressful one of the shop opening late, no call to explain extra work needed, and a simple chain replacement turned into cables and drilling out broken/corroded gimble-thingies - instead of leaving at 10am for Clermont, we left at 3pm.

Excel Man and GEL had set us up with a cabin on Lake Louisa - this was the bomb! Beautiful location, 10 miles from the race - serene, quiet, better than any hotel option or driving the hour and a half on race morning from the house. I'm sure Di will post some of her awesome pictures of the area and cabin. After checking in, we all went out to Bruno's for some awesome Italian cuisine (highly recommended if you are at Disney or racing in Clermont) where Curt had a balloon-Kenny of South-Park fame made for him. No one killed Kenny as he was tied to Excel Man's rack and made the absolute best Transition Marker ever, in the history of T-markers.

I had decided to go with gels (Accelerade) instead of the fig newtons as planned. I would be wearing my new Inside Triathlon Age Group Team tri-top, and it's pocket was not conducive to a sleeve of Fig Newtons. So I taped, with Duct Tape (electrical tape, when warm, stretches, and sometimes won't tear off the top of a gel...lesson learned race past), 6 gels to my top tube - plan for 1 every ten miles. I filled a Nuun container with Endourolytes - it held 18 of them - for the max recommended dosage of 3 per hour in a planned 6 hr event.

They announced that the swim would be wetsuit legal about an hour before the race (it was all of 78 degrees) - so I went and got some body glide, about which time it began to pour down rain. I was under a expo tent, and happy to be there, but as people started to head to the beach in their wetsuits, I decided to leave the comfort of the tent and get wet. It was no-holds-barred time with the body glide and the sunscreen - and I'll say this, I had no chaffing or welts from the wetsuit for the first time - lesson learned; lather up! The full distance folks were heading out first, with 10 min between waves, and we were wave #4, so we hung out for a while and watched them all go way off course - first clue that it was hard to see out there. Folks without wetsuits on were shivering at the shoreline - the rain made it pretty nasty at the start. You've probably read my Swim Thoughts post, so you know how my swim went. Ug.

As a race just slips though your fingers in the opening 10 minutes you can easily get disheartened about the whole thing. I know I did. But fortunately it is a 3 event race, and the swim is far from my best event, so I chugged through it, for a 48:28. The strippers did an awesome job, as did every volunteer. This race, and I know that years past it got some heat for it, was excellently staffed, organized and aid-stationed. Great Job SummerSports! T1 went ok, but a bit slow, as I was probably licking my swim wounds for 4:06 - but, I was on my way.

Now I knew this would be a hilly bike ride. Hills and 250lbs of Bigun do not a great combination make. But, since the bike is my one "fun" event, I wasn't going to let a little thing like weight stop me from cranking out some bike. 2,700 ft of elevation change. Sugarloaf at mile 23 or so - 300 ft up to nearly the tallest point in Florida - fun stuff. The rain had stopped, there was just a light breeze, and still there was cloud cover....perfect biking conditions. I went back and forth with the same folks pretty much the whole way - I'd pass on the downhills, and they'd pass me going up. It was fun. It was relentless. I clocked the 3rd best over 40 Clyde bike split of 18.3mph - number 2 and 1 were at 19.3mph. I'd love to say I was saving something for the run, but in reality, I pushed pretty hard, going for an 18.5 goal pace. Sugarloaf had dropped me to about 17mph, so I worked hard in the back half of the 58 mile bike. T2 was better at 2:48 - and that with putting socks on even...my business socks.

The run was painful at best. My left Achilles was tight for the whole deal - on the verge of cramping if you can imagine that. I had kept with the nutrition plan on the bike better than any race I'd ever done - I had 5 gels, every 10 miles I popped a couple Endourolytes, and drank Gatorade and water like it was going out of style....at least 150 oz of Gatorade and another 32 oz of water.

The run course is pretty flat - about 450 feet of elevation change is all. That trip around the lake is a long one though. Again, the aid stations were great - all the goodies and liquids you could want. I stuck to my plan, which was to run the whole course - but I just had to stop at a port-o-potty for a little relief at mile 6. I didn't take in any gels or other nutrition during the run, which I regret a bit, as I ran out of steam with 2 miles to go. I was having some serious stomach issues though; every time I'd take in some Endourolytes, my insides would rebel for a while, then the pains would go away and I'd be fine. I was so afraid of that Achilles cramping, however, that the stomach pain was worth it to get down some sodium.

As I started the run around the lake, I ran into Di and the cheering crew of my Mom, Sister, GEL and Excel Man's folks. I was glad they found such a good spot - on that note, if you are looking for a race with lots of spectator support and such, this one is not it. Out on the bike and run course, it's pretty much just you and your fellow competitors except for the aid stations. Of course, I had to ham it up a bit for the camera...

I finally ran into Trifeist at the last aid station - she was volunteering with the Mad Dog Tri Club's aid station. She was full of encouragement, and after a quick high and bye, it was on to the finish. That last mile and a half or so hurt the most - but I kept on running, trying to keep my pace to an average under 12. Diana and the family cheering crew were right there at the turn to the finish, and Di actually ran behind me as I crossed the line at 6:40:48 for a run pace of 11:51 and 6th overall for the old Clydesdales. The first place guy came in at 5:59:43 - I kinda figured it would take an "under 6hr" time to win it for the big guys.

Excel Man (who finished his first half at 5:50:36 - awesome) and I both got some hardware the next day at the awards ceremony (not enough seating, btw). This race was off the charts harder than the Miami Man half I did a year ago - the hilly bike puts the race into a whole different category. Still, I ran 1:04 per mile faster in this race, at about the same weight, so there's a positive to come out of it after all. That's it for my 2007 Tri-Season - I'm cooked. Stick a fork in me.

Edit: you know, Sugarloaf wasn't that bad, really - it took me 4:37 to climb 210 feet, according to Motion Based. It's about .42 miles of climbing, for an average of 9.5% grade. According to a bike power calculator, I averaged 306 watts on that climb.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Swim Thoughts

Well, it's raining...jeesh I can barely see the first turn! What color is that, orange? Ok... shoot - from down at the water line, I can't see shit! These tinted goggles don't help much. Well, that tree line across the lake stops just to the right of the buoy...ok, I'll use that. Here we go! This lake is pretty shallow - I'm still walking; hey, there goes Curt swimming...still walking, ok, lets go! Wow, this is one BLACK lake!

Find your rhythm now...I can't breath. This wetsuit must have shrank two sizes, or I've gotten huge...feels so tight. C'mon, find your rhythm...you're gonna have to slow down, your breathing too hard. Can't breath in...this suit is so tight...

Ow! What was that? Damn, that's gonna leave a mark - kicked me right in the lip, not two hundred meters off shore. Well, keep going...sight, you're still ok, damn wetsuit - you should have not worn it. Can't breathe. What is going on? Ok, side stroke for a few, catch your breath. There go a few more past me. Turn over, slow down. Crap, if I slow down any more, I'll be swimming backwards! Just swim within yourself, and find that rhythm. Sight. Don't worry, you'll fall into a rhythm soon.

Sight....and there they go. All those green caps, I can hardly see them now. So much for a good swim today. A little bit farther to the first turn. What was that? Where's she going?

Hey....Hey! It's that way! Jeesh, now I'm swimming with all the crazies! What the...?

Hey (point and gesture with arm) - that way! Crap, she swam across me again!

Great, the turn, finally! Lots of yellow caps now - could the full distance guys be passing me, really? These waves are pushing me in, crap, I'm going the wrong way again, turn right! Sight. Again with the swimming left - c'mon man! Ok, past another buoy. Here's another yellow buoy - what...is this the turn...guess so, thanks for the punch, there, fella - that's weird, one turn orange, the next yellow.

Ahhh, waves pushing us in now, still every one's passing me. I can see the shore. Just keep moving forward. You never did find a rhythm did you? Every one's way ahead of you - I'll bet this took an hour. Sight - what was that? Another green cap?!? NO WAY! Well, I'm not the only one, I guess. I can't wait for this swim to be done, just a little farther. Was that...yes, fingers on sand - now stand up...ugh! Man I'm off balance....run...ok, walk fast. Hey, there's Diana...what? Yea, I'm ok. - jeesh, was I that slow? I guess Curt's way ahead of me...maybe you can catch him on the bike. Strippers....ah....love the strippers. Thank you very much! Now get on that bike and salvage this race.

This was the start of this weekends' Florida Challenge Half IM Distance Tri, held here in Clermont, Florida. My swim time was 48:28 on a 40 min goal. 9th Clyde out of the water - the Clyde who finished the race first was 6 min ahead of me. Out of 246 men that finished the race...my swim put me at 206th. It was a rough one for the Bigun.

edit: Never fear - this is not a "three event, three report race report - just got that all out before I forgot...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Too much fun

Man, I love these new Jib Jab movies. I have to thank (or curse) Tea for hooking me up with this - since then I've created a bunch of heads, and find a new one or two (why haven't I gotten even with Tea yet?) to add every day. I should be doing other things. I'm addicted.

It all started with Diana and the Bigun doing some disco dancing. We got that one from Tea and couldn't stop laughing.

A couple days later, I went to the Jib Jab site, and cooked up a movie trailer starring Excel Man as the Maniac, and a bunch of extras getting sliced up. I then couldn't figure out why I hadn't had Tri-Dummy as an extra, so I added him in as a late entry.

That wasn't enough. I then had Nytro using too much force. I just thought she was perfect for the roll. Benny does a great chief, his JibJab head is just too perfect.

I tried, then, to put Trimama in a starring roll (is it roll, or role?) but I'll tell you what, finding a higher definition pic of Trimama is almost as hard as finding a suitable shot of Nytro.

Today, my friends over at Jib Jab added two more movies into the mix...so I got Blink to star in one, and Taconite Boy in the other. Those crazy kids.

I hope you got enough computer and band width to really enjoy these.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Iron Weak 36

Well, I've played on your sympathy for too long now, that shot of my back burn got way too much mileage - but thanks for your comments and well wishes. I did not spell "week" incorrectly - it was a weak week.

Highlights: One swim for all of 2296 yards. Two runs, one 6 miler, and one 4 miler as a brick run. NOT a great run week. Two bikes, both 50 miles, and both over 20mph in windy conditions. That would be the highlight - the bikes, and even though one was the cause of my wicked new back scar-to-be, at least for one out of three events next Saturday, I'll be ready.

So what are we in store for at the Florida Challenge? Well, I'll be lucky to pull out a 2:00/100 yd swim pace, which will net me around 38 min. The bike will have around 2,500 feet of elevation, so I'm hoping to go about 18.5mph average for the 58 miles, giving me a bike split of 3:08 (yes, you read that right - the bike is an extra 2 miles due to some course changes). The the run...my long shot hope is to run 10:30's - for a 2:17 half. So that's a 6:04 plus transitions...not where I'd like to be, which is under 6 hrs. Those extra 2 miles on the bike will account for about 6.5 minutes, so I can take that into consideration.

The main goal is to run the half marathon, and get that 10:30 pace nailed. But since starting this lawn business, I've really not had the energy to train much - mentally or physically. So lets call this race a fun day, and use it as a benchmark for my train up for IMCdA.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


No, Tri-Dummy, it's not a broken red thong. Wow, that sure is ugly! Before I did my 50 mile bike ride on Tuesday, I lathered up good with sunscreen - I started the ride at about 11am, so I knew it would be a dangerous ride sun-wise. Temps got to 90 degrees in the shade, with a really strong, steady wind - the kind of wind that cools you off and makes you forget it's 90. And still kicks your ass.

Obviously I forgot an area. That there's the result of exactly 2.5 hrs of aero riding in the Florida sun. In October. Good grief. It's funny, you see folks riding all the time with that part of their back exposed and you just know they forgot to lather up. I've even warned what looked to be newbe's that they should be careful. This time, the funny's on me. No where else on my body is there even a hint of sunburn. I cut out some of the really white area south of the burn to save Tri-Dummy's eyes, but what was really surprising was to see as much hair on my back. I'm not really a hairy guy, but pictures don't normally lie.

Well, it hurts like a mo-fo, any time I'm sitting with my back on something, or wearing a belt. I had on my raceAthlete bike shirt, which normally doesn't creep at all. What I remember now, however, is that I usually have on a bib short for a longish ride, but this time I went with tri-shorts to get the "boys" ready for the race coming up. Dagum shorts have a draw string too, and still I got a little sun-smile. Ok, there's nothing little about it. Ha, Ha, I get it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Writer's Block

Usually I'd have put up an Iron Week 30-something by now, but, well, shoot - the past couple weeks have been nearly embarrassingly crappy training wise. So I've been neglectful in my reporting on the training front.

Works been busy, but now that it's October, the grass here is starting to finally go dormant, which means half as much cutting. Now if it would only get cooler. 93 degrees today.

On that note, Florida Challenge Half coming up soon - and no break in the weather thus far. Warm water...may actually be non-wetsuit swim for 1.2 miles. And here I am logging all those swim miles...not.

I am working up an "Intent", and will have a race report coming up soon, so there are some posts on the horizon. Yay.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


So what the heck has been going on in the Bigun house, you ask? Crazy insaneness, I tell ya! Last weekend we held a Birthday party for Diana...she's over 30 and waaay under 50...it was a success! We had cake, presents, and loads of local friends to party the night away. No, Di didn't make mojitos...I think she made some sort of Pineapple Martini - I didn't hear too many complaints. All the Corona's got drunk, and even some of the canned Bud Light, which always amazes me.

As is customary with parties, the house is clean. Yea! We now have a Gold Room. One of the guest bathrooms is now gold. It looks pretty cool - I take notice from time to time when I look up from the latest Inside Tri magazine. I think the spare bedroom is also done now, save some parts we are still waiting on for the bed. Headboard stuff - the details are complicated girly things. Bottom line - we can have friends over, and things are getting done at the Bigun house. I'll let Di, aka Mrs. Bigun blog about all her doings on the home front.

It's officially "Save the Tata's" month! I make light...I tend to do that with important, sensitive subjects - sorry if I offend. Doesn't mean I don't take breast cancer seriously. It could be argued that it's always Tata month here at the house of Bigun...and I like it that way.

Week 38 was NOT an Iron week by any means. In fact, I took the week off. Just wasn't into it last week. I feel fat now. I'm afraid to step on the scale. Week 37 will be an epic training week for me. It's actually already started. Nice 50 miler today; pedaled hard for just under 2 and half hours, then ran for 40 minutes. Good Brick. Gotta love it.

Bolder is still unpublished. We all wait patiently for his manifesto. His Declaration of Intent. That gets me thinking. Should the Bigun have a Declaration of Intent too? Iron Benny did one. What about me? It's easy, I guess. Ironman Coeur d'Alene....finish!


Because it's hard. Doing hard things, succeeding at hard things, changes people. Usually for the better. I'm all for becoming better, and it's been a while since I've done something really hard. Ironman is perspective altering. Even if you've done one before, your perspective changes over time based on recent memories and events. You can be Iron-fit. You can also have an Iron-perspective. Both need to be maintained with time, sweat and attitude.

Wish me luck on this epic training week. The Florida Challenge Half Iron-Distance is right around the corner, and I'd like to have the last race of the season be a good one. Mrs Bigun and I are heading out to Panama City Beach in a month to cheer for bloggy peeps in IMFL. It will be awesome to meet up with Taconite Man and Trimama, Moonpie is heading up that way, plus Iron Jenny may still be racing, as well as our resident Trifeist! Excel Man and GEL will be up to sign up for '08 - I'm just looking forward to a day of cowbells and cameras (and a beer or three) with good friends.