Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Would someone please go to work for me today? I just don't feel like it.

Oh, and I am in desperate need of a Vet with madd surgical skills. We have a very vocal cat. The bastard. I really can't see any reason, any more, for this indoor cat to have need to make sounds. At night. All friggen night. Kitty vocal chords...gotta go. Sorry Brisco. NOT!

I have a podcast that I've been listening to - besides the Tb'nB show - called Tri Talk. He's got 14k listeners or so, yes, I'm pretty late to jump on that bandwagon, but he's got some really good stuff on there. And he's not funny, so we don't have to worry about losing any "market share". And he does talk a lot about triathlon. And give tips. Basically, his show is the Anti-Tb'nB show.

So his (David Warden's) 61'st episode talks about a method to tell if you are ready to leave base training and go to the build or speed phase of your train-up to a particular event. It's called decoupling. Studies indicated that if you could maintain your output for certain periods over varying durations based on the upcoming event, you could determine the quality of your personal base. For Ironman, he recommends a 4 hr bike. He also recommends that a power meter be used, as HR and speed have too many variables like wind and grade - fortunately I train on a 12 mile circular loop, so the variables get canceled as I go in circles. Granted, I only went 50 miles, or 2.5 hrs, but the results were very positive.

Tri Talk recommends transitioning to the next training phase (based on coaching advise from Joe Friel) only if the first half of your training ride is different from the second half by less than 5%. Oh, and for shorter distance events, the test ride is shorter too - so if you are not training for IM, you can still use this test!

On yesterday's ride, I did the first 24.82 miles at a 20.3 mph avg. speed and 138 avg HR. The speed to HR ratio is 6.8. The second half went 19.9 mph at 143 avg HR, or 7.2 - for a difference of .55% decoupling - not too shabby. The true IM test would be over another hour and a half, and I'd certainly start out slower, but still these results were positive....I've almost got a good base.

edit: oops, that should read 5.5%, not .55% ... and this test is designed to be done in Zone 2, btw....

Monday, April 28, 2008

St. Anthony's 2008 "race" report.

Everything about St. Anthony's Olympic Triathlon this year was awesome. With very low expectations going into the race, it was nice and laid back, low key, and non-stressful from check-in to the post-race Coronas. SA really does a good job with everything...this year was no exception.

Luke and I headed over on Saturday morning to check our bikes in (that's Luke standing next to the Bigun - he's the "normal" sized triathlete). Just prior to that...I have to finally give props...I took my bike over to the LBS...the DREADED LBS...for a brake lever plug. The owner was a one-man-show in there, and I waited, patiently, for all his customers to leave before I hit him up for some help with the plug. He got right on it! He crafted a plug that worked, and then I told him I probably needed a new rear derailleur hanger, thinking mine was bent, and could he order one? He put it up on the rack, did a couple of adjustments, and it worked fine. All for no charge. My faith hath been restorethed!

So we only saw Matt Reed getting out of the water as we were going in for a warm-up swim. Man, that guy is nothing but skin, muscle and bone! We didn't spend any time at the expo - ogling stuff you can't afford is getting less and less fun for either of us, so we probably missed our chance to see any other famous triathletes. On our wetsuit-less 400 meter swim, we both left the water sweating - the local water buoy said it was 79 degrees - so we made the decision to bag the wetsuits. There were spots of cooler water and spots of really warm water - I had a feeling it would be wetsuit-legal, but I'd done the 78 degree wetsuit thing before and I know I just hate it.

Sure enough...almost everyone was wearing their wetsuits. The wind had picked up a little from the day before, so I'm sure the RD was taking no chances as the SA swim is notoriously hard (due to waves). My first 500 meters went surprisingly well - I was right on track, with a pack of swimmers and staying in line with the buoys. Making the first turn, I think I forgot how ocean swim currents effect you - and before I knew it, a kayaker inside of the buoys was shooing me back out. I tried to sight a couple of times but every time I'd look up, a wave was blocking my view of the I just kept swimming. Not the best plan. I had two major corrections like that until I rounded the final buoy and headed for home. The last leg cuts further back on itself, with the current pushing us away from the buoy line. I'm still clueless about the current, wondering why I keep having to do major corrections and still am not even close to the line of buoys. I finally get to the exit stairs where my college buddy Rob is volunteering to pull us all out of the water (Rob is a fantastic swimmer...I was wondering where he was today). While I swam "strong" the whole 1500m, I had the worst SA time I've ever had - 37:25. I know, I know.

I motored through T1, blissfully unaware of my horrid swim (of course, my lonely bike was a major reality check), in 2:30 and off I went on my bike. As you can imagine, with that swim, I was passing EVERYONE - which I guess was pretty cool. Until, of course, all the really fast 50+ dudes came zooming by, one by one. It was weird; I felt like I had no "top end". I was hammering along at 21 just fine...but I just don't have the 22+ speed I did a year ago. On the flip side, in the last 4 miles of the bike, I kept my pace and felt I still had plenty of pedaling on tap - verses last year where the last 4 miles were a suffer fest and my average MPH dropped from 22.3 to 20.9 - yea, it was bad. So, I averaged 20.9 mph (1:11:17) and was happy not to have crashed, cramped or otherwise did any damage to myself or others.

T2 was also speedy, for me, at 2:08 - but it was there I met with my first challenge; a cramp. Usually I get my cramps in the calves...but this was a side-stitch. Jetpack was running out with me for a quarter mile or so (thanks to the Jet for some of these photos), and in that amount of time I did some deep breathing and hard exhales which worked like a charm - the cramp went away and never came back. I went out very easy on the run - at the 3 mile turnaround I was averaging over 9:30 on the Garmin. I kicked it into gear, hunting down Clydesdales and trying to keep my pace under 9 in the process. That lasted about a mile. I still passed a few Clydes, and coming down the shoot I heard TriSherpaDi and my Dad (along with Luke's wife and young-in) cheering me on to a final pace of 9:26 (58:32) - an Olympic distance PR for me.

My takeaway's from the race -

  1. Just use the damn wetsuit like everyone else. I'm sure part of that 5 minute swim PW was due to swimming nekked.

  2. Remember the effects of tides and currents when in the quicker to adjust.

  3. Make sure the front laces on your shoes are at the right tension. I "installed" my quick-laces and while they are great for slipping the shoe on and going, they leave a bit to be desired for constant tension across all the laces. I've got the blisters to show for it.
  4. Get a timing chip ankle "belt". This year SA issued a very new, very hard Velcro strip which did a great job of securing the chip but cut right through the back of my ankle. This is not the first race where the timing chip had a crappy attachment strap. They can't be that expensive, right?
  5. If I want to bike fast, I have to train fast. If I want to run fast, I have to run fast in training too. I've got gobs more training volume on the bike prior to this SA race, with the same bike set up and fairly similar wind and heat conditions, and still rode the same speed - actually, could not ride nearly as fast (albeit for a sorter duration) than last year. Fartleks are the ticket.
With the take-away's, I'm not really complaining about the race. It might have well had been a "C" race, that I raced hard but did not train specifically for. I'm convinced that IM type training totally changes your physique in such a way as to make you (me) slower, but able to go longer and recover quicker. Either that, or I'm just getting old. You can see from the chart above, I had a 4 second PR on the bike, 9 second PR in T2, and 2:19 PR on the run. Not really a bad day after all. Interestingly, the number of 40+ Clydesdales finishing the race is up to 95 - 28 more than when I started doing tri's. And while I'm getting slower, the Top 10 are getting faster - 6:12 faster to get into the Top 10 this year compared to '06. Well, enough about St. Anthony's for one year. One more short sprint race left (and a self-run Half IM sometime in the next couple weeks...) and it's on to CdA...

Oh, and the really insane, crazy thing about this race....look at my race numbers in the last running picture. Click on it so it enlarges for you. YES! The same woman applied all of my numbers. The "4"s and the "5"s are different on either side, but same arm to leg. Maybe Sweet Baboo knows what psychological disorder causes Sybil-like number writing by a Volunteer Body Marker. I'm still a bit shook up over it. Fortunately I didn't even notice until Corona #5 in the hot tub....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Episode 8 - Estro-Dials

The Tacboy and Bigun Podcast has finally done it. Surprise, surprise, we interview ACTUAL PEOPLE for a change. We somehow got TriSaraTops, MOMO and Lana all to agree to talk with us...and to be recorded...go figure?

As a publisher's note - again we have the MP3 and M4A versions up for you guys without I-Tunes or I-pods. The M4A is neat...lots of pics of our interviewees, and links to their blogs.

Anyway, thanks for listening and enjoy the show! And a special thanks to the ladies who made Episode 8 happen this week. Oh, and TriSherpDi tells me that Estradiol is something that all the ladies will know about and "get" the play on words. You women crack me up with all those hormones and what-not.

Edit: Estradiol is a sex hormone found in both men and women and is actually a pretty important hormone. I've linked the Wikipedia description.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I sit here sunburned and bleary-eyed, baked from a day in the beautiful Florida sun, and read my delicious comments from friends afar. And chuckle.

An off-comment about our short Spring, true, was a complaint about the lack of temperate temperatures. I know some of you are still digging out of the effects of Mr. White Christmas. Posting pictures of your POV covered in whiteness other than pollen garners sympathy from The Dot Bigun and other bloggers living below the arctic circle. Throwing snowballs in April, instead of beach balls, just makes me shake my tanned melon as I dive headlong into my not-quite-warm 70 degree pool to cool off after a run in the heat of the day.

While I don't feel your pain, well, I can certainly laugh at, I mean, with you! Where it's OK to gripe about the barely visible mercury, untoward comments visa-vie the Heat Miser bring scorn and contempt. The mere mention of the activation of a sweat gland at low heart rates triggers showers of hate mail and the resentment of the owners of not-quite-thawed bones.

I'm sorry, people!

If you didn't hear it, that was a heart-felt, sincere apology from the.bigun. I'm sorry you have to live in such conditions. To endure the hardships of the pilgrims and the first settlers of this great nation, suffering whilst they cuddled next to open fires. Braving howling winds and biting cold just to get in another lap at the local high school track...well, um, I mean, that's you...not them.

Soon you, too will have high humidity and double-digit UV forecasts! Your lakes will thaw. Flowers will bloom. Browns and greys will be replaced with greens and the colors of daffodils and honey blossoms. And when your thick, gooey red-blood-cell-rich frozen tundra blood does it's first run through warm, moisture laden air with the hot sun beating down your pasty-white skin - you too will bitch about the heat.

And I'll be right here laughing.
Editorial Commentation: Please, oh please take this seriously and comment back about what a heartless bastard I am. Get good and mad I wrote this - the anger might just warm you up a bit...bwahahahaha! (oh, and POV - Privately Owned Vehicle - one of those military vernaculars...)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big Olympic Coming up!

St. Anthony's Olympic Triathlon is on Sunday. Just like my training before Clermont's Olympic, I'm pretty much full of long, slow distance, and very little "fast". The reality of the much as I'd have liked to make this race an early "A" race, I really didn't. I'm totally looking past it for IMCdA - as I should be.

I did time it right to put a recovery week in the week before this race however.

So I will be racing on fresh legs. That aught to be fun. Last year I went 2:48 at this race. I'm certainly wanting to go faster, but I'm doubting I've got the speed to break into the top 10 of Clydesdales this year. I'm sure it will take 2:32 to get 10th place this year. I'm just hoping to get into the 2:30' 2:39:59 even.

After getting up and stretching this morning, "fresh" legs seems to be a far off fantasy. After 2 days of no training, but a lot of walking around, they still feel sore. Maybe that's due to hefting around 300lbs of metal shelving and moving storage boxes on to them in our garage. It's spring time, and like most folks, I get the urge to get stuff organized and cleaned up around this time of year. Well, I take that back. It's summer time here - spring was last Tuesday for about 2 seconds.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekend Warrior

Cripes! This is why I know I won't be doing a fall endurance event. I'm barely into the "cutting" season and already I'm smoked. We got an early spring here in Tampa, compared to last year, with lots of rain and heat making the grass and hedges grow like crazy. Good for business....bad for training. So...we got a big weekend on tap, with plenty of swimming and biking and running to make up for a lackluster training week.

Great reports and photos out of Arizona everyone. I'm glad that Commadore is out of the hospital and back to contemplating another attempt at life without functioning kidneys. Bolder seems recovered from his being chicked - his chart, however, doesn't show the point where he had to beg the ladies to slow down. Duane's on his way to naming his shiny new bike - someone mentioned "Killer" or "Wasp" - I'm sorry, but Duane's a big teddy bear of a man - granted, the wild game in his sights might not agree, but he doesn't fit the killer profile to me. Not that I came up with anything better. Benny's glowing from his fantastic IM finish - and his first hand knowledge that Big J is a great kisser; luckily we have the prose of Nytro to paint a picture of a booze-filled day of debauchery - congratulations to him and to everyone who toed the line that day - from all accounts, it was a brutal race!

Note: I should link the stories of all these references so that you know where I'm getting this from - but I won't.

So, it's ON for this weekend. Starting now. Still have a few to cut today, then a long swim-medium bike-short run brick. Good luck to JT and TriDogMom and Sweet Baboo - oh yea, and Momo too - at Rage this weekend. Have a great race!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ironweek 11

You know what that means? Only 10 weeks until CdA! Can I get a big HOLY CRAP? A giant WTF? Where did all that time go? The 30 week plan is now down to a measly 10 weeks, and of course, I don't feel even close to ready. These next 10 weeks will be insanely fun as I ramp up to all new levels of misery and exhaustion in an effort to do the impossible: feel ready for your first Ironman.

And, from the spreadsheet (for anyone still paying attention) you can see my crazy hard 10 hr week (note: sarcasm) that I punctuated with a hilly Century ride yesterday. Yea. So the majority of that 10 hrs was on the bike, which is important because it is ALL ABOUT THE BIKE. Hence my 3rd Century in 4 weeks. And you know what? I'm feeling better and better after mile 80, which is the goal: be strong after 80.

Unfortunately, the "hilly" ride was only about 3k feet of elevation gain - half of CDA - but it made for some good training. Which I needed since I barely swam and hardly ran. Gosh it was a crazy hard work week last week. We've been getting crazy rain and really warm weather for Tampa this time of year, so the grass is growing, and I've been very busy with my biz. A good problem to have, but it takes away time and energy from training.

In case you didn't know, we published Episode 7 of the TacBoy and Bigun Show. We talk to some influential people in the world of blogs and podcasts in this episode...well, actually, we don't. We leave messages on their answering machines. Episode 8 will be out pretty quickly, since we have some great interviews with TriSaraTops, Momo and Lana already done and ready to go.

You also may have noticed repeat files for each episode in I-tunes. In an effort to allow folks with MP3 players and who don't have I-whatevers, we publish a copy in MP3 format and a M4A format - Tac still likes to play around with pictures and the M4A is the only format that supports the chapter building and pictures with his...hush...Mac. Unfortunately, I cannot "block" the mp3 version from I-tunes. So us I-Tunes users must select one, delete it, and enjoy the other. Sorry for the trouble, and just so you know, we do have quite a few folks who download the mp3 version and also listen on the streaming video from the website (that's another reason for the MP3 - the "Audio Player" only supports MP3's).

So enough of all that technomumblejumbo - enjoy the show, again,


Thursday, April 10, 2008


Note: The picture is now the "purchased" copy with better clarity. It was too good not to own.

I don't know...I feel like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Me 'n 23 year old Gator Girl here traded places for the first half of the bike, until she got tuckered out with all the hills. Yea, I kicked her ass. She passed me Mile 1 on the run, of course....

TriSherpaDi takes so many good pictures, normally, that I don't need to and I don't like to do a lot of copying of photographer's photos....this one is so funny, I should probably buy it.

I'm also guilty of not doing enough work on editing the podcast. Blame me - Tacboy and I have already got enough material recorded for Episode 7 and for most of Episode 8. We'll be checking in with Ironman Arizona Correspondents and will include that in Ep 8, so I'd better get on the stick and knock out 7.

I'll tell ya, when I get home at night after cutting grass all day, then doing some training, then perhaps, doing a tax return or two, I'm not much for anything else except watching TV until I fall asleep in my Chair. Ok, pity party for the Bigun is over.

Edit: the guilt is not, I repeat, NOT from drafting - she is in the process of passing me in this shot. Just FYI....

Monday, April 07, 2008

Race Report: Great Clermont Olympic

There's a lot to say for specificity of training. Leading up to this race, I've trained more than I ever have in my triathlon career. The vast majority of my training, however, has been at Ironman pace - long and slow. Emphasis on the slow - I am The.Bigun. Which brings me to the race.
First of all, we stayed in an awesome hotel! The Fairfield Inn in Clermont, minutes from the race - for 89 clams we had a suite, with a couch and flat screen TV separate from the "bedroom" area. Good stuff. Excel Man still doesn't believe me that our room was WAAAAAY nicer than theirs, but if it makes him feel better, than fine.

Pre-race mistakes. You'd think I'd done this enough to not make many mistakes anymore...and you are right. I forgot nothing. Drank plenty. Salt tablets. Body Glide. Oh yea, breakfast...turns out we rarely do stay in a hotel, and since we had to be the first one's at the race (Excel Man's MO...we are late if we are NOT there at least 2 hrs prior to the start of a race - I kid you not), I totally forgot about eating prior to this race. Behold...what do we see? Yes! The Golden Arches of diet defilement. Two, count'em two Egg McMuffins and a large OJ later, I had my pre-race nourishment IN MY BELLY! Excel Man wisely opted out of the Arch d' Golden plan. His big pre-race mistake...leaving his bike on the back of his car all night. Did anyone else at the motel leave their bike on the rack all night? NOooooo! Did we know it was going to pour down rain all night? YESsssss! Guess who's bike computer didn't work until mile 25. That's right. Excel Man. His bike computer started working just after I was fighting off the urge to release Egg McMuffin #2.

Conditions were perfect for racing. Water temp was 74.5 - and it was still wetsuit legal. Morning temps were a little chilly, but once the sun came up, it was T-shirt weather. A slight breeze kicked up just prior to the start of the race. No biggie. After 2 hrs of setting up, stretching, warming up, stretching some more, meeting Moonpie and Cindy Jo, writing my thesis, watching the entire LOTR trilogy (ok, just being obnoxious about getting the race a little bit early), we lined up at water's edge and waited for the start.

I was psyched for a race. I had my race plan in my head - go hard as long as I can. That starts at the water's edge. I did something I rarely do. I ran out into the water. I did 2 - yes 2 dolphin water kickie things and started swimming hard. I quickly tried, successfully, the "two-right, two-left" Blink-approved breathing plan. I really thought I was swimming fast. I was around other yellow cap'ers at the first turn, and then, well, old habits reared their ugly head. I found myself swimming out to the middle of the lake, all alone - CRAP! After triangulating back to the 2nd (last) turn, I don't know how much time I lost - but I didn't gain any, that's for sure. I made an awesome line coming back in, scraping my left arm on TWO water buoys on the way in. All that effort got me a 35:30 swim. Disappointing, but interestingly, I was not waisted as usual leaving the H2O.

3:47 later, I was heading out on the bike. Good grief. I've had it! I'm cutting the legs completely off my wet suit. Ok, not totally off, but I'm gonna take a good 4 to 6 inches off the ankle, and see if I can get my big feet out of there any easier. I got pinned, yet again, by my Ironman wetsuit. Tacboy might have something to do with this....hmmm.....

The bike course is a crazy steep, up and down, crappy surface 24.8 miles. 1800' of elevation gain does not make for a course suited for this 249 lb'er. I didn't' get my wheel covers as I'd hoped, which would have added 1lb to my total bike/rider weight - after those 2 Egg McMuffins, however, I'd have hardly noticed. My average speed for this little jaunt was dead-on 19mph. So I guess I've gotten faster in the past 2 years - 1.5 mph faster over 40k - but for some reason I thought I could do 20. Interestingly, after the bike was over, I wasn't totally baked like I usually am after a 40k and a 1.5k swim.

1:27 in T2 - I had to go back a couple steps for my Garmin - thinking back, other than maybe rushing a bit more, it was a successful, stress-free transition. At least I didn't have to wrestle anything.

I got to running at a 9:30 pace, and fluctuated with the hills and my attention span. I should have worn the HR monitor - I made a conscious decision not to wear it, as it was just "one more thing, right -" but it would have probably told me that I didn't work hard enough on the run. It was a hilly run - a good 850' of elevation in to go 58:30, or a 9:37 pace probably wasn't that bad. I had some knee issue at the 2.5 mile mark - took a couple of walking steps and did a quick stretch - it still worked, but just a little twinge of pain. Other than the water at the aid stations being ICE cold - crimeny! Pouring a cup over my head at every station - my common practice - was absolutely frightful after the first one.

Good grief, if the only thing I can complain about for this race was water at aid stations being TOO cold, well, I can tell you - this was a spectacularly well-run race. I'm getting to really enjoy Sommersports' races - think Great Floridian Iron Distance - someday....

Overall, a lackluster 2:57:44 put me 5th of 6 Clydesdales over 40. Certainly this was a "C" race, and I will not change my Iron Focus over the upcoming weeks to try and get ready for St. Anthony's (SA) Olympic - it's just kind of weird getting done with a race I used to get smoked at, and still not even come close to a PR. I've got a big 2-week training block between now and SA's...then another recovery week before the race. SA is a flat bike and very flat run - and my wheel covers have arrived - things will be different in 3 weeks.

Post Race - Outback. Mmmmmmm. After Excel Man and Green Eyed Lady had enough of Trisherpa Di and me, we hung around another hour for the arrival of Cindy Jo and Moonpie, who waited at the race for a friend's trophy. I don't know what it is right now, but I don't have a taste for beer. I mean, I tried a bunch of different ones, and finished them to "give them a chance" - but I just didn't like a one of them. We had an awesome time getting to know both of them, and look forward to seeing them again in 3 weeks when we all do SA together. Coolness!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Great Clermont Pre-race

I feel kinda guilty, only making a 6 word post and getting so many well-wishings. Thanks everyone!

The Olympic tomorrow is the Great Clermont Triathlon Olympic and it happens to be a USAT National Qualifier. Excel Man chose this race specifically for that reason - he even opted out of our back-yard race, St. Anthony's, to focus on qualifying. Here's wishing him a kick ass day.

The bike course is the same as the one they used two years ago under the name of the Tri-America Series. I wasn't blogging then, so I have no old race report. From my Motion Based account, I see that I rode an average of 17.5mph, with 1100' of elevation gain. That aught not be too hard to beat. The run is also the same from '06, where I ran about an 11 min pace with almost 1,000 ft of elevation gain. It's a pretty hilly run course, but barring any catastrophic cramps I should have no problems bettering that run.

It will be neat to meet Cindy Jo and possibly Moonpie out there. The temps are supposed to be mid 60's to low 70's; perfect race conditions, as long as the rain holds off until the afternoon, winds are only supposed to be 4 - 6 mph. No excuses tomorrow!

Tonight we are actually going to stay in a hotel close to the race - even though its only an hour and a half away. There's an awesome Italian restaurant close by - Bruno's - that is becoming a pre-Clermont-race tradition.

So...remember...go out hard, hold it as long as I can. That's the plan. Early season "A" race is coming up fast (St. Anthony's) - this race will be a great indicator of my top 10 Clydesdale possibilities for late April.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Racing on Sunday. Olympic. Good times!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Century Graphs

Nothing like a little "chartage" to start off the day: