Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Season 2010

So this is the time of year when the typical triathlete (or person in general) gets excited and makes plans for 2010. Training schedules need to be made, goals for the year dreampt up, and friends and family talked into competing with us.

2009 was a bust for me triathlon-wise. I did get out and get one done though - make that two. Nothing like a couple of sprints to keep the interest up. Got a couple of Centuries under my belt as well, and even snuck in a half marathon before the year closed out. Nice.

So what's in store for 2010? I'm looking at a Oly to start - one up in Gainsville, FL - just a few weeks away, and glutton for punishment that I am, I know up front it's gonna be cold as all get-out. But my boy Lee hasn't ever done an Olympic Tri, and this one is more of a confidence builder than anything else. For sure a "C" race.

Gasparilla is next, in late February. Just planning on doing the half marathon - even though this is the last running of the full Marathon here in Tampa, I just don't see myself recovering fast enough for my next race 3-weeks later. I know me. But one thing I'm shooting for is at least getting back down to my Ironman weight by then, and being able to match my PR at that distance of 1:57. You should "reach" for goals, right?

So after that, in March, I plan on doing the Gator Half Marathon down in Sarasota - signing up before New Years Day keeps the price down to $155 - a bargain considering St. Anthony's Oly was that exact same price! Krimeny! The Gator Half has my eye as an early "A" race. My boys Curt and Lee are already planning on coming down with, and I'd like to put in a good showing. PR time. It will be cool, flat as a pancake, and cheap - all of my favorite race-type things.

Next is the typical triathlon season opener - St. Anthony's Olympic. I plan on being in great shape by then - having just PR'd in a Half IM a month earlier (the power of positive thinking at work here). I have a full 4-week training cycle to get some serious speed work in at the OLY distances, and for once I plan on having a great St. Antony. So that's April.

St. Anthony's marks the end of my "regular season", and the beginning of the MNB2B train-up. Yes, you've heard it all before, but this year is going to be different. We are, according to our President and all his Czars, screaming headlong out of this Recession, and what are the first industries to leave the recession? The luxury, big-ticket sales industries - like the RV industry, where I have suffered for the last 12 months, and am ready for the whirlwind of commissions that await me. By March (the deadline for the less-expensive entry fee for MNB2B) I'll need to have saved a benchmark amount of cashola to qualify for the ever-so-trendy "trigger-pull", but I'm pretty confident for this year's economic rebound in the Bigun household.

What's so irregular about the MNB2B you ask? The mighty CANOE! I'll have about 12 weeks to go from zero to hero in the shadow of a 50-mile 2-man canoe jaunt planned for the end of the MNB2B race. I also have to figure out the training specifics for the crazy distances and relay-induced time-trial sets that this race calls for. Fun stuff ahead.

So the MNB2B is at the end of June. 12 weeks away, or so, from the illustrious Beach to Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon. I can't see how that will happen, but if the stars align and the injuries all stay away, the money doesn't run out and we can fit a MUCH NEEDED week long absolutely nothing to do with triathlon or training VACATION (like a cruise or whatnot) in before-hand, like in the summer, around July or August - then there's a chance of signing up for the B2B, if on the off chance that registration hasn't filled up yet. Phew. See that, I committed to a VACATION and was totally uncommitted to the prospect of an Ironman in 2010. But I want to do one.

But I (we, as in Tri-Sherpa Di and I) really, really need a vacation.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scared of a 'lil bike ride...

So Sunday is the Horrible Hundred. I don't think it got it's name by being a walk in the park. I've ridden on part of it in the past, and it's no joke. The area around Clairmont, FL has some decent hills, and they wind this course around to make sure you climb most of them. I took the day off work so that I could enjoy the day and not worry about making it back in. Get-her-done.

Gasparilla is right around the corner. Feb 28th. It marks the last running of the Marathon for that day - it seems the Mary has been decreasing in number of participants, while the Half-Mary, run the same day, is the preferred venue, and has seen growth. I'd like to say I'm running the full, but two things - getting the training in (which, so far, so good), and only having 4 weeks until a nice half-Iron-distance race down here in Sarasota - the Gator Half. Now some of you sprite, skinny runners may be able to recover from a marathon in a month, but me - Herr Bigun - I'm not built that way. So we'll see.

I'm also staying psyched for the '10 Minnesota Border to Border. I'm thinking of a 2 person relay with Blink - and of course it would be cool for other teams of friends to compete with and against - but that's still a little ways off for next year. Lots of "life" between now and then, and life sure is complicated these days!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hilly Hundred

So much for the Hundred! Disclaimer up front - I only managed 87 miles - so I did more then the 100k, but not the whole 100 miles. I feel like giving the t-shirt back! I've never done that before - cut a race short like that. Oh yea, its not a race, it's an organized ride. Right...

The cold front went through the day before, so it was kinda freaky waking up to temps in the 50's! I got in the truck after loading everything up and while it was calm outside, it was 53 degrees. Well below my previously stated limit of 60 degrees for bike ride low temps. Driving north to the start of this event, the thermometer crept steadily downward. By the time I got to the college where we were to head out, it was 48 degrees! Now I'm really breaking the Bigun's rules.

Of course I've got nothing extra special for this ride. No arm warmers, no leg warmers, no toe warmers or hat thingy. I did bring a long-sleeve shirt which I kept on for the whole ride - it was the only thing good about being the biggest guy there - everyone else was shivering, while I was ok. I met John and Lee there; I think if John would have brought a winter parka, he'd have worn it. He had everything else on - you have to keep in mind - last Sunday, we started our ride at 77 degrees and finished at 93. Today's ride would not even get up to 77. Our blood is a bit thin this time of year...

Just what I thought would happen - did. The Bigun, at 280lbs, was dropped at the third big hill, about 5 miles in. I watched the peloton ride away, and I settled in to my pace and my alone-time. The course was essentially a North-South out and back, with a couple of East-West loops thrown in for good measure. The East-West's on this day were welcome, as out of the north came a staunch headwind steady at 5-6 mph, gusting 10-15mph. For drama's sake, I'll say it was mostly gusting.

So not only did I lose the draft-pack, but now I had to fight the wind and the hills all by my lonesome. Sucked to be me. I made it to the 3rd SAG stop before stopping, and that was at 62 miles or so. By then my average speed had dropped to below 16mph, and with the stop, I was firmly in the 15's. I knew my buddies in the draft would be averaging 18 at least, so to keep them from having to wait an hour for me at the finish, and since I had to work and was already late, I hatched a plan to cut the ride short. I knew one of the loops was a 6 mile out and back, and as I struggled to keep my average above 15.5mph, I cut that "Trilby Loop" and rode to the finish. It wasn't an easy decision, but looking back, I'm glad I did - we all finished within 10 minutes of each other, and I saved them some worrying and an extra hour of lateness at work.

Packing this extra 30 lbs is a bear. I'm hoping that adding the running now will start to whittle away at it - I sure do miss the spryness of 250lbs! Ha! That even sounds funny to me.

Four weeks until the Clairmont ride - the Horrible Hundred. I've got the day off from work, so I can ride slow and guilt free that day. It's got at least a thousand more feet of elevation change in it; upwards of 8k feet in climbing, as opposed to this Hilly Hundred that is about 6.5k feet. Maybe I'll get lucky and it will be a calm day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


So the Bike Across Florida is out. The website for the ride is disabled, although it still shows up in Active.com - I'm even more suspect about this ride then ever, and glad I made the decision with our "team" of work bikers to not do this ride.

Looking forward to the big weather change that is supposed to happen this weekend - on Sunday, for the Hilly Hundred Century here in the San Antonio area of Florida, we are supposed to wake up to 58-degree weather! I'm used to starting my rides in the high 70's, and finishing in the 90's, so this will be oh-so-nice!

I've put together a tentative schedule for next year - now all I have to do is FUND it! MRS Lana wants us to come up and do the Gulf Coast Half IM in May, which is cool, but of course it's not super cheap. That's after the early season Gator Half Ironman in March, a race that Excel Man turned me on to. Looking for tune up races to get back into the swing of things, I found two inexpensive lake-swim Olympics just outside Gainsville in January and February - so I'm excited about that.

No, I'm not doing the full Marathon at Gasparilla - just gonna do the Half. Three weeks later is that Gator Half Ironman, and I'd like to do well at that, which would be impossible on barely-recovered marathon legs.

If all goes well (and Tri-Sherpa Di agrees) May will bring the beginning of the trainup for '10 Minnesota Border to Border. I know, I know, you've heard that one before! I'd really, really like to do that race - spend a week riding and running hard, and the cool thing, really, is that the whole race is spent with your SHERPAs! I mean, how often do you get to do a big race and see your spouse the entire time? Usually a long-course race is a pretty lonely affair, even with the hundreds of other racers. B2B is a sprint relay, and the Sherpas are more vital than ever to the success of the racers.

The B2B is at the end of July - then the summer is firmly entrenched in the year-round-outdoor-training-center. I'm kinda intrigued by the Beach to Battleship race in Wilmington - and will be interested to see weather reports from this year's race. Last year the whole deal got mixed reviews from folks I know, but that's pretty normal for most races. Half? Full? We'll have to see...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Yet another Podcast

If you'll notice to your right, in case you can't get it in I-Tunes yet, you can listen to Episode 19 on the player in the sidebar. Enjoy!

Friday, October 02, 2009

cough, cough

Cough, cough - the dust is bad in here! Sorry folks, it's been a while. I've been putting in some long hours at work, and I think it's paying off. There are indicators that we are at the bottom of whatever economic crisis we are in right now, and heading up. Good news for RV salesmen. Seems that we are the first to dive into the recession, and the first to get our noses up. The season for RV sales is the winter time - folks from the barren tundra you call the Northern States head south to escape the snow. These folks who still have money, hopefully will let some of it out of their bank accounts this winter and trickle it's way into my bill collector's hands. Bypassing me completely. Funny how that works.

A little success in that regard goes a long way toward motivating me to shed some weight and get back in shape. I'm 20 weeks away from the Gasparilla Marathon - this will be the last year the city of Tampa runs this race, and I think I'll run it. Two weeks later is the Gator Half Ironman down here in Sarasota in early March. It bills itself as the fastest half Ironman in the country - so I'm guessing it will be pretty flat.

Coming up soon will be the Hilly Hundred (Oct 18th) and Horrible Hundred (Nov 15th). Nothing like a hilly century or two to get the legs pumped up. The trick after those will be to balance the run volume with some bike maintenance so that the Gator can be a good race, and I can PR the Marathon.

Next May will bring the Cross Florida Bike ride - this one run by a bike club, and better organized and less greedy. I've got a good feeling about the organization, and feel like it would be important to tackle that event.

This is way premature, but the Minnesota B2B - abandoned this year due completely to finances - could be back on the table for the end of July '10. It's early to say if this RV season will be a good one, but if it is, I'd really like to try and convince a couple of wack'os like me to hit it.

Then what? Who knows? Firmly entrenched in summer, any training after July I've come to learn, is pretty much torture. This week marks the first break in days above 90 degrees since they started at the beginning of the summer. I won't plan any further out. I'm not signed up for any Ironman races for '10, although my buddy Lee seems to want to put IMFL10 on the schedule. But that's just not going to happen.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The long bike

It's still all about the bike. Our dear friend Bolder said it a long time ago, and it holds true today. Folks, you HAVE to be able to bike, my triathlon brothers and sisters. If you can't hardly swim, you can breast stroke, back stroke and side stroke your way through just about any distance swim. If you can't run, you can walk. But you have to be able to bike, no if's and's or butt's.

Regardless, I'm training guilt-free for the Bike Across Florida, and if I get some running and swimming in, well, that's a bonus. I have been getting some swims in. Do you realize how much fun it is going to the pool for a 20 - 30 min swim??? 1000 meters (yawn) and you're done. Read, "sprint triathlon, baby". 'Cause really, what's worse than staring down the lane looking at a 3k or a 4k swim session? Root canal?

Today was the long bike day. Funny how plans get thrown out the window - even training plans I make myself! Today was supposed to be an easy 50 to 60 mile bike ride. 78 miles later, there was nothing easy about the day. Oh sure, you can scroll back to the days of yore, when the M-Dot Bigun would laugh at a 78 miles. Today, I missed those days.

You know what's cool though? I'm training with 4 other guys now for this long bike, and we do these rides together, full on draft. That's right, I said it - FULL ON DRAFT is in effect. You'd think it would be easier, but two flats and a dozen or two pulls at the front at a pace I assure you would not be my long-ride pace, and the group ride thingy takes on a whole new meaning. Marc-y Like-y.

Now if I could just get one of the guys, Markel, to quit taking the gosh-darn pictures! Kriminy! I know I'm fat now. I know, I know! Then he posts my fat pictures on facebook. I hate him. 280 lbs does not look good on me, no matter what angle he shoots from. It looks even worse in spandex. Don't even ask...

Monday, August 03, 2009

A good week...

I had forgotten what it's like to be so tired, physically, that you can't keep your eyes open. Shuttling around like a zombie, ravenous but still too queasy to really eat. Conscious of the diet, drinking water but wanting a coke, or a beer.

Feels good.

I went out with my Lazydays bike team for a 53 miler in the hills of San Antonio. This was not my first time venturing into these parts... I'd ridden once out here for the Hilly Hundred two years ago (it was mercifully the 100k ride) and then I came out with some billy goats to ride one Sunday about a year ago, hammered up one of these hills (I was in Iron Shape then) and blew a spoke on the 2nd or 3rd really steep hill. Had to limp about 20 miles back with a wobbly rear tire. That was a scary ride.

So five of us set out for a Sunday morning jaunt, wheels up at 7am. The meet-up is 40 miles from my home (the things you do to find hills in Florida), so I almost drove farther than the ride was long. It looks pretty certain that the five person "team" for the Bike Across Florida will be myself, Lee, Markle, John and Mark.

We launched out without a hitch, but shortly into the ride, I downshifted into my small chainring for the first little climb and "snap"; the front derailleur cable breaks. Fortunately, the front derailleur's spring pulls the chain to the smaller ring without the cable tension, or else I'm telling you, I would have been walking up a few of those steep hills!

John flatted. Lee flatted. Lee ejected his water bottles twice out of his X-Lab. We stopped for water at mile 36. They stopped - and waited for me. I had just enough time to run in the store, buy up some Gatorade, fill my bottles and hop back on for the last 17 miles. Seemed like a lot of rigor morale for an hour of riding, but at that point, I was really sucking down the fluids. It was after 9am, and it was hot in the Florida sun (and it was longer than an hour...).

We climbed about 3,700 feet in 52 miles. Took us about 3:25 - yea, I was the anchor. I weighed in at 280 when I got home. Dropping at least 20 by the Bike Across Florida is a must. Two weeks into this train-up, I'm confident things will improve. As hard as that ride was, it was an awe full lot of fun. Hearing my back spokes ping and groan with each climb was cool. I was kinda scared to stand up in the pedals; that little bit extra force with the added weight might have been too much for those skinny strands of aluminum to bear!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bike Across Florida 09

This week starts the official (well, my official) 16-week train-up for the Bike Across Florida 2009, forever more referred to as BAF. Think of it as a 16-week bike focus. This does a couple of things for me:

1) Gives me a big event to look forward to and train for - a goal.

2) Allows me to lose weight with physical activity that won't hurt me due to the added weight I put on (what a vicious cycle that is!), like running.

3) Puts another cool feather in my physical achievement cap.

4) Acts as a springboard event for a potential Ironman in '10 !!!!

It's difficult to nail down, but it looks like this is an 11 hr event, max, that is a 171 miles long. Last years' event was 165 miles on a Garmin downloaded to Motionpeaks. So I'd say its a good possibility that the distance is accurate. At one point it was advertised as a 155 mile event. Any way you slice it, it will be a long day in the saddle.

So the intial plan will include a hotel stay on the East Coast, an early wake up call, an all day ride to the Gulf, and an almost 2 hr drive home from Crystal River. So far, a good group of fellows from Lazydays, my workplace, have agreed to train for this bad boy. John, our CEO, is built like Lance Armstrong and is a strong rider already. Mark (with a "k") is our Inventory Manager and will be strong in the flats as he's a hoss, like me. Markle is the young guy, and is really strong on the bike. New to cycling, the distance will be his challenge - managing fluids, calories - stuff like that. Marc - me - the Bigun - well, I've got some challenges myself, but it was my big mouth that suggested this whole thing to begin with!

Some wild-cards will include Chris and Lee - more salesmen at Lazydays who are kinda-sorta "in". They are hooked on Tri's but realize the added commitment to training for a big event like this and may not be able to put the time in. I'm not sure if my buddy Greg will step up, although he's expressed interest. I think I want him to do it more than he does. Tom did his first triathlon 2 weeks ago, and while I'm sure he'll be enthused, I'm not sure he'll have the distance in his legs. It would be cool if he does though! Jason just bought a bike and may give it a go, and Don, well, he seems to just keep on coming up with excuses but still wants to be kept in the loop. You all know that guy, right?

So we have 4 "highly probables" and another 6 that might jump in there. Mark has already volunteered his wife to drive the Suburban as a SAG vehicle, and while it's not required, it will be nice - and save us all the trip back over to the east coast. We might even get some spectators to see us finish...

Of course, any one else wanting to jump in is welcome, and I know sometimes these kinds of events are avoided 'cause you don't know anyone. If you ever had an inkling, you are welcome in our small pace-line.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Terrorists amongst us

Ok, this isn't a Tri-post. And, it's not a rant! Just a FYI to anyone still hanging on to my blog - my good friend of 25 years (Roger Carstens) actually has his own TV show! It's on network TV, no less - NBC - and it's on tonight - Monday. It's called "The Wanted" and it's about accused terrorist living safely in countries who don't care to prosecute them. I'm sure I butchered the description, but it promices to be exciting, factual and a bit controvercial, as these sort of programs tend to be.

I'm not sure of the political swing - here is a writeup from the media:


I'm excited, obviously, for my buddy, doing great things and being successful. Please watch the show if you're not out training tonight. And by all means, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Morton Plant Meese

Just a little update for YOU, the reader - this Morton Plant Meese is quite possibly the hardest sprint Tri I've ever done. Partially because I'm so far out of shape and mostly because of the extra 40 I have around my waist. This race takes the bike up 3 gnarly bridges in the Clearwater area - you know those climbers you see on the Tour De France? Yea, I'm not looking like any of them. Well, maybe two of them.

So I made the mistake of looking at the last time I did this race. The course was identical, and I'll bet it was just as hot in '07 as it was this year.

Swim: 12:03 vs 14:02 this year. Two minutes over 600 yards is 20 seconds per hundred. Yuck.

Bike: 37:04 vs 43:42 this year. That's 20.24 mph vs. 17.15 mph. Losing 3mph is pretty huge on a 12.5 mile course.

Run: 27:46 vs 39:41 this year. Add 12 minutes to 3.1 miles - oh yea, that's like 4 min per mile! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. I walked the first .6 mile of this course - I was really feeling sick when I got off the bike. That Steak the night before was not a great idea, as great as it tasted.

So when you look at it that way, why, there's a ton of room for improvement. Next Tri on the schedule is the Sand Key Tri - the bike is a bit shorter, but still has the bridge work. Run is in the same place. It's about 8 weeks out- so I have 2 good training cycles to improve for it.

The guys at work here are starting to really enjoy doing these races as well. I think we'll have me and 4 others from work here participating in Sand Key. Makes it fun, although I haven't been real sociable after the past two races. When you are out of shape, even these sprints smoke you good for the rest of the day.

Maybe by Sand Key I'll be able to get into my XL Sugoi shorts and top that I got to test out. I hope so... I feel kinda bad, and I see them still sitting there with the tags on, calling me - "Bigun.....Bigun.... lose weight!!!!"

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

a rambling rag -

No, not a new job.

Just a regime change at work. The beast is gone. It's a long time coming. Sales is a hard thing. The stars have to align, it seems, to make a good sale these days. Find the right RV. Get the right price. Hope the customer doesn't have a trade that they owe money on. Hope they have a good credit score. Scratch that - excellent credit score. Hope that the bank is feeling like lending that day. And then, after all that, hope the RV makes it though the shop and on to the delivery site with nothing broken and on time for the delivery. Oh, and through all that....hope the customer doesn't get cold feet or find a different RV somewhere else.

The mechanics of the sale are brutal sometimes. To have to then, on top of all that, deal with an absolute tyrant who is completely engaged in his own agenda which has nothing to do with selling coaches or helping a salesperson sell a coach - the process just became infinitely harder.

So he's gone now. Retired. Or so they say. Whatever, good riddance to the guy. Him and Michael Jackson. Good grief; as long as I'm ranting - this country sure has a short memory. Michael Jackson - they guy who held his baby over a balcony (for publicity - what an ass)? The guy who bribed some kids parents ($20,000,000...that's 20 million dollars, folks) to make that whole "molestation" thingy go away? The freak show guy who is absolutely unrecognizable if you took a picture of him a week ago and one 20 years ago and put them side by side? Yes. He could sing and dance, but there are kids and their parents in the neighborhood surrounding Never Never Land who are sleeping a lot easier tonight, now that he's gone.

So the new boss at work, in my opinion, is a good guy. I trust him. The very cool thing about him is that he's a student of leadership. He reads about management and leadership and sales - and constantly tries to improve himself and his understanding of how people tick. In the sales world - particularly the sales of cars and RVs, since that's all I know, management and leadership development is a rarity....at the peril of the salesperson.

Now if people would just get to buying again. Another rant: Biden. What an ass. I'm sorry, but to have him say that no one thought the economy was THAT bad and that no one could foresee the ill effects of throwing trillions at corporate America is just so asinine. Ok everyone, get in step here...and follow along...Obama is great, yea! He's the best, yea! No matter what, no matter how stupid or wrong, we'll all still love him in the morning, yea! There were plenty of people who thought is was the wrong idea - he just didn't listen. I saw a poll the other day - yes a lovely poll - less than 50% of Americans thought the country was heading in the right direction. Under 40% thought the economy was improving. Obama's approval rating, on the same page - over 60%. I just don't get it. Please, please, please - don't try to explain it to me either. Thanks.

Was it just me, or did anyone else read how the FBI interrogated Saddam Hussein before his neck stretching (just trying to be PC here), and it was revealed that he let on to having WMD's because he was afraid of Iran and needed them to believe he had them. Um. Hello! Everyone! Ok, I can see it coming - "that's just fabricated to make us (the people of the US) try and believe that we were justified into war with Iraq"... Yea, and N. Korea doesn't REALLY have nukes, or a viable long range missile, so we should ignore those little bastards, and we're never really gonna find Bin Laden so why keep messing around in Afghanistan... Taliban - Schmaliban?

I'm not in love with the guy - he's not my "personal hero", and I'm not awestruck with him like the insane 60% of Americans still hypnotized by Obama, but I'm convinced that the real history of Bush's administration is not yet fully written. He's taken it between the eyes...he's taking one for the team - until all the intelligence get cleared, if it ever does, he's the fall guy for the war, the economy, the unfavorable world view of Americans, the shortcomings of the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana, etc, etc. But just like that FBI report, things will eventually come out, and we won't be reading silly comments about Bush being the worst president in American history anymore.

I know, ya'll don't read my blog for my uneducated political ramblings-on. Sorry guys and gals.

I got a nice little sprint tri coming up on Sunday. The Morton Plant Mease Tri, here in Clearwater, FL. I'm sticking to my plan of starting out slow and finishing even slower. Hopefully I can stomach a beer or two this time around...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The draft

I did the unthinkable yesterday - I participated in a draft festivle. I met John and Mark out at Flatwoods after work and tried to hang. Really, I did!

But I couldn't; not without sucking on some back wheel. I feel so guilty!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So what's going on with the biggun? I've actually been training a little. Averaging about 5 hrs a week or so. Next race coming up in 2.5 weeks - Morton Plant Meese Sprint Tri - I should do a bit better than the last one!

I've lost 7 lbs thus far on my way back down to 250. My goal for this race was to be at 275 - there's a chance I'll get there. The bike has been coming back fast, andy swimming feels good too. Carrying around all these lbs makes for some challenging runs, but even those are getting better.

I could have a pretty big bike event coming up in November - I'll write more as that firms up. The more, the merrier...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Mad Beach Tri Race Review

Good grief! What an eye opener. Well, first things first. This race is sponsored and run by the Mad Dog Tri Club - the largest Tri club in the world, so sayeth our lovely and talented race day color commenter.

Now really, do you need someone to fill in the time between 5:00am and 7:00am? I can just hear the Race Director talking to this woman, "so, I need you to talk, non-stop, for the entire race". And she did. At one point she actually used the words, "you know, what us ELITES do with our transition layout....blah blah blah" - oh, yes she did. Nope, not a Pro. An Elite. And now we know.

So other than that strange ringing in my ear and ensuing neck twitch, I got my crap laid out as usual without a hitch - like I've only done it dozens of times before, albeit minus elite status - and went off to check on my new-be compatriots. More or less, they/we got their act together and off we went to the swim start, a half-mile down the beach.

You know, when you walk it off, it sure seems like a long way. Is it bad when you are already breathing heavy just from walking to the swim start? Rhetorical question...

So my wave, the mighty 3rd wave of Clydesdales, kicks off, and within seconds I'm realizing that everyone else is running out to the water, and I'm casually walking. Excel Man says it best, "My race strategy is to start out slow and finish slower...". By the first turn buoy, I was pretty much all alone, except for annoying breast stroke guy swimming to my left. Every time I took a breath to the left, there he was, looking ahead, and I could see his chubby legs frog kicking out and brushing my arm from time to time. Sadly, he was swimming at my pace. If I picked up my pace. The great thing was that with him breast stroking, and doing a bang up job of sighting, I didn't have to. One of the straightest open water swims I ever did.

Finally completing the first straight 800 meters I'd swam since June '08 (yes, this is May 31'st), I run straight at my bike (why follow the lanes, my bike's like the only one still in there...) and in decent transition time, I'm turning my pedals. Slowly. I mean, crap! This is my shtick, right? Folks, it's all gone, I'm sorry to say. I worked it from seeing my first mile averaging around 15mph to finally finishing up at 19.3mph. Seriously. I know!

If you thought that was bad, it gets worse. I'm pretty sure I could have walked darn near as fast as I was shuffling along. It was a slug-fest, and I lost. Well, I didn't stop and "officially" walk. I continued on at what could sorta be construed as a run and without fanfare or major injury I crossed the finish line. Yay.

There was Beer. There was Pizza. There was an Expo with flashy, shiny things to buy. I felt sick after 1 Beer. I tried to feel better with a second beer, but I was having none of it. There was only one thing left to do. Leave. Excel Man and I hopped back in his car and went home. No pictures. At least none I want posted this time around.

Six weeks of training exist between now and Morton Plant Mease Triathlon on Sand Key here in Florida. It's a sprint, with 3 bridge climbs that are actually pretty major. The run is very sandy, making this race a good, tough test of character. I'm looking forward to it. I can safely lose about 12 lbs between now and then, maybe 15 if I push it. That would drop me down to... wait for it.... 275. And what did I race CdA at a year ago? 250. The race after that will be another sprint at Sand Key. I'm hoping to be able to fit into the awesome Sugoi tri gear I was graciously given to test and write about. I'll sure try it out again before Morton Plan Mease to see if it fits...but the prognosis doesn't look too good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

No Pics on this one...


I tried on my new Sugoi Velocity Tri top this morning. The first thing I noticed was how cool the fabric felt in my hand before I slipped it on. I ogled the big rear pocket and ventilation panels sewn in to it.

Then, as I zipped it up I could tell, pretty quickly, that there was no way I was going out in public with it on until I lose at least 20 lbs.

For fear of ruining the shorts, I spared them the agony of trying them on. They look cool as hell, but Sugoi's largest size, the XL - well, it's just ain't XL enough for the M-dot Bigun.

Remember the scene from "A Christmas Story" - when the little guy had been bundled up and was on the ground and couldn't get up? That top was so tight, I felt the same way as I tried to get it back over my head. I almost had to call Di for help.

I really should have brought some of that awesome GU I got with the bundle of goodies on my bike ride this morning. I totally bonked having not eaten any breakfast before the 10am ride. It wasn't 8 miles in when I absolutely knew it was time to pack it up.

The Bigun did not have a great training/triathlon day.

Happy Memorial Day to all my brothers and sisters who have served and are serving this fine country of ours. Thanks to all of you!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sugoi and me

I've got some cool stuff from "My" Sugoi Rep, Devon - you can see what I got to the right:

I'll be trying out his garb and the gu's over the next couple of weeks, and especially at my next tri, coming up in a week, and let you all know what I think.

What I really think.

I'm excited about it.

This past week was kinda crummy training wise. I'll try and make up for it tomorrow on my bike ride - and even try and get in a run afterward some time during the day. It rained and rained every day here, and not just a few drops here and there. Buckets. Lightning. Not good for outdoor training.

Tac's really been wanting some Sugoi stuff - too bad he doesn't blog anymore...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Training Cobwebs

Well, I waited about 11 months to get back in the pool, and of course, it shows. I went to the "Y" close to work, and was pleasantly surprised that the pool was refurbished while I was gone. All new surfaces along the bottom and sides. Brandon Family YMCA - kudos to ya!

But I got yelled at today for diving headfirst into my swim lane. "Soon there will be kids here in the summer, and if you do it, they all will think they can do it". Gotcha, lady. I didn't need the lecture, really - a simple don't dive in would have sufficed. I'd probably dove into that pool 40 times in the past...

I feel the swimming muscles coming back to life. Chest, biceps, lats, core... it's awesome. My crummy 600 yards and die wasn't awesome, but 2 days later getting in 800 yards in the same time was a boost to the swim spirit.

Guys and Gals - ya really don't want to take that much time off. Yes, life gets in the way. But more reality was that laziness and depression got in the way much, much more.

I've gotten word that there's a good chance I'll be testing some Sugoi products for review on my Blog and in our podcast. Tac didn't get the initial invite, because as we all know, Tac doesn't really blog. Yes, there is still the TacBoy and Bigun Podcast - it's just so hard to be funny when so much of your financial life swings in the balance. Things are looking up though, and it will be fun to get back into making our friends laugh with our auditory antics. Don't worry, folks, I'll try to avoid scaring the kids with any pictures of me in Sugoi trunks. Lets just say that I'm coming down off of my post-Ironman-post-market-depression-depression-eating-disorder-weight-gain high of 282 lbs (that's 32lbs over my IM weight...).

I'm racing in a couple of weeks. 15 days from now in fact. I'm of course way too heavy and way too undertrained for anything other than haveing some fun and getting it done. Having a race on the calandar makes the training real. I'm such a goal oriented person... for some reason I can't get myself out of bed just to run. I have to be training. There is a difference.

I've got a few newbee triathletes doing first tri's at this same race. Lee and Chris will be toeing the line for the first time at a tri - I'm trying to help them out as best I can - it's been so long since I've raced, I keep going back to their offices to give them another piece of advice that I all of a sudden remember. You know, like start your swim wave as close to the front and center of the pack as you can.

Yes, I'm still a bastard...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

First Tri of the Year

Oh yea, I did it. Pulled the trigger. Perspective is a funny thing. After non-stop training for 3 years, the big "pull the trigger" event was IMCdA. After an 8 month layoff, the big deal is signing up for the local sprint. And being worried about it!

This is the banner sprint event in the Tampa area for the Triathlon Community. The Mad Beach Triathlon. This will be my 4th running of it. It all boils down to two words. Say it with me now.

Beer Tent.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


You know, it's getting to be about that time.

I've been spreading myself pretty thin lately. Working at the RV place full time, 7:30 - 6:00 nearly every day. Installing blinds. Finding "the" job. Even trying to also do Taxes for a while there. Putting energy into all these things.

Not being very successful at any of them.

So it's time to put some concentrated effort in. The blinds installing thing is done. Kaput. Finneeto. That got to be a $300 a week distraction that caused $1000 a week in stress. Maybe more. Some money, it turns out, is just not worth it.

I've spent hours - yes HOURS - every day for the past 4 months on Careerbuilder.com and TheLadders.com and Monster.com in search of that J.O.B. I've applied, applied and re-applied. All for nothing. I've got no interviews from all those hours in front of the computer, and I have to think that it too, was a distraction from things I should be doing. I still want to find "the JOB" - but I'm not sure that Carrerbuilder is the place to be looking. I'm sure its not.

May is "sell some RV's" month. I've been operating in crisis mode for months now. I'm no rookie salesperson. I know you can't sell effectively in crisis mode. So I'm putting all that other stuff aside and going to do one thing, one piece of work, well.

May is also "start looking good again" month. I've gained 30 lbs since June of last year. 30 lbs! I'm fat. I'm sick all the time. I'm sick of it. I've adjusted my days off schedule (day off - haven't had one in months!) to my old, healthy days of Tuesdays and Thursdays - facilitating a great bike workout week.

I need to join the YMCA again. ASAP - and get back into the pool a few times a week. I used to do it on my lunch break. Instead of just eating that Pizza or Cuban Sandwich.

Maybe if I can get to feeling good - or great - about myself again, that will translate into the other parts of my life. It's worked before - it worked when I first started training for triathlon, back when I was over 300 lbs, short of breath and tired all the time. We can't get back to that. I won't.

I know there are things out there that I've talked of doing or participating in - sales related, things friends have set up, things I'm trying to make fit or work out that really require some time and effort. Even something like the podcast. I'm sorry. I don't have the resources right now. I just need to get the "house" back in order. I need to get back to kicking ass instead of getting my ass kicked.

I'm preaching to the choir here, but training now is more important, with all this stress, than it ever was. The fitness, the energy, the self confidence - the STRESS RELIEF - Little helps me get there like hammering into the wind in a big gear with my head down and a line of scrawny roadies on my back tire.

The Bigun's gonna get his mojo back.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Me at the WTC?

Edit: No, WTC in this instance is not the World Trade Center. In the Triathlon community, it stands for World Triathlon Corporation.

Wouldn't that be interesting! Roman posted about the opening, and good ol' Spokane Al sent me an e-mail (luckily, since I hadn't seen Roman's post yet) with the link in it. Not having a degree in Journalism or any PR experience, it was difficult to fathom having the qualifications necessary for the position.

But I'm an all-round good guy with some time on my hands, and it got me to thinking...I've got plenty of journalism experience. There are people out there who like what I write, right? Of course, I imagine that writing in "blog" style would be different from writing for a magazine or a company PR program, but as far as the content, perhaps not so much.

So I applied -

Interestingly, I applied just a few minutes ago thinking how great it would be to work in the world of fitness, but that I don't have a degree in Journalism nor have I worked in public relations for the specified times set out in the job requirements. Then I remembered http://clydesdaleshavebigbikes.blogspot.com – my blog of nearly 3 years, where I’ve wrote consistently about our great sport of triathlon, and of life in general. I also nearly forgot about the podcast I’ve co-chaired for just over a year, The Tacboy and Bigun Podcast (http://bigun86.podbean.com/ ), in which we also cover topics in the world of fitness and triathlon, albeit with a bit of tongue and cheek. So while my “work” resume hasn’t changed, perhaps my years of relating to the public – my “creepy internet friends” – would act as either an internship or on the job training in the world of journalism and multi-media entertainment.

One of my most read blog postings was a review of the Zipps I rode at IMCdA:

and my second submission is a bit of comedy about flip turns:


Thanks again for considering me for this position. I know I can be an asset to your organization!

Yes, as is customary with the M-dot Bigun, I acted before really thinking, and sent out my resume without so much as a cover letter or the required 2 pieces of material. Duh. It's difficult to go back into your own blog and pick something that you think is good and that others think might be good too. From the other world. The "real" world. We all read each other's crap all the time, and aside from boring dribble that occasionally passes by our fingertips, we find interest because we are FRIENDS with the person writing. It's all "I" and "me" and a lot of "we" - where I doubt that's accepted much in official journalistic prose.

They also asked about salary requirements. How much do you think a PR Coordinator makes these days? After all, I can't pay my car note with free IM entries....although it would be fun to try!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Race is ON

Yep, IMUT10 is the place to be in 2010 - and I would like nothing more than to hop in that lake with 2000 of my best new and creepy Internet friends for IM #2.

So the race is on. Bigun gets a career job before the race sells out, and I'm IN. That's the deal. That's me being responsible.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Human Resources can kiss me right in the middle

What is this country coming to?

"I liked him in the interview, but his psych profile test that he did, well, he really scored low and we just didn't think he'd be a good fit...".

Crimeny! Hows that for a blow to the self esteem? A friggen on-line HR 350 question test that I somehow scored badly on, according to their criteria. But I aced the interview. You gotta be kidding me.

That was the Las Vegas deal. Seems like a big 'oh well' for that one. Now we still have the New Orleans thing going on. I think I did really well in that interview, but I also had to take a quick on-line personality test for that job. I'm scared to even think about it.... It hires by April 6th, so I've got time to agonize over this one too.

Personality tests. Crap! Am I doomed to flip burgers for the rest of my life? I pretty much suck on the grill - as anyone who's been over to the Bigun's for a cookout can attest to. Bad, Bad, very Bad. The only thing left is the guy who holds the stop sign at construction sites. I hope they don't require a personality test for one of those. How I got into West Point and somehow made it into Special Forces... I'll never know.

Friday, March 13, 2009

If you're scared...

(warning, this post has very little to do with Triathlon. I mention the word once, but that's it - oh, and I say, "Ironman" too...)

say you're scared. I'm scared. Not about the economy. I know that's tit's up. Foregone conclusion. I'm scared 'cause I know what I want to do, and it seems reckless. Even for the M-dot Bigun.

I want to go West. The Mountains. The Rock. The weather. Things in my own country I've never seen before. The Grand Canyon. Yosemite. Salt Lake. Deserts and high mountains. Low humidity. Ghost towns. Stuff like that.

Weirdly, at 45 (in a few days) I'm at a reset point in my life. I can go anywhere and do anything without any more (read MORE) negative effect on my career or financial standing. A big giant ditto for my wife's situation. Together, we have little to lose no matter where we go. It's sad and exciting at the same time.

At 45 you'd hope to be in cruise mode. You'd hope to be on the career path with the train having left the station, all the cars lined up in a row. Safe. Not so much. What's even worse is that in a highly specialized world (if you don't believe that it is, just try to look for a job these days) I'm a very un-specialized guy.

It's a bad habit formed from my military days. Every two years or so, sometimes less, in the Army you change jobs. I'm not talking a quick change from, say being the guy making the widgets to being the guy supervising the guy making the widgets. An Army infantry officer could one day be leading a platoon of dudes specialized at firing mortars to the next day being the head Human Resources (S1) honcho of the "Corporation". The next year you could be the maintenance HMFIC (BMO) and then spend a year managing logistics (S4). Just enough time to get good at the job they throw at you, but not long enough to become an expert.

That was cool, back then. I never got sick of a job. Since leaving the Army, my resume is splattered with varying jobs and duty descriptions. My sales career of 7 years is the longest I've ever done anything on a consistent basis - oddly, it's the least favorite job I've ever had. What a dumb ass!

I've been asked, "what do I want to do"? I struggle with that daily. The best job I ever had I gave up 12 years ago, and nothing since has come close to it's coolness. To say, "I miss the Army" is an understatement. But that's all water under the bridge.

I've tried to supplement my lack of satisfaction in my work life with challenges in my free time. Triathlon. Ironman. These things were (are) awesome and were great achievements but unfortunately do not put bread on the table. The fiddler is on the doorstep, and he's got his hand OUT! And you know what, it's not about becoming rich for me. I'm not looking for the crazy huge house or expensive cars or whatnot. I think it boils down to three things: Be challenged, make a difference, and do it honorably with honorable people around me. With that, pay me fairly for what I do.

If I keep looking, something like that will come up. I'm pretty sure of it. Just not here in Tampa. Lets face it, I don't fish. I don't lie on the beach. I don't sunbathe. I'm not a boater. I hate lawn work. Exactly - what in the heck am I doing here? Uggg. As spontaneous and as carefree as Di and I seem to be, I'm still one to have a plan. At least a fall back plan. In the past, I've been places that I was able to stay with family while we regrouped. In the past, Di's expertise was highly sought after - now, it's not. I think that Di's efforts at her career and passion for what she did made just doing the "sales thing" tolerable for me. True, there are lot's of "I's" up there, but it is not all about me. I have a feeling that Di does like it here, and that adds a dimension of suckitude to the moving equation.

Perhaps I'm over thinking all this. "Just do it", right? Can I get a big, "quit 'cher bitchin' Bigun and do something" from the crowd? Gosh, when did I become such a puss?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shots heard round the World

Bullet comments. First you think they are harmless. Trite. Succinct. Not so much. Interestingly enough, I got hood-winked (read...I'm a dumb-ass). Turns out that my work's IT department has a Google search going for any time the company's name is mentioned over the World Wide Web. NICE. In a prior post I had written that I wasn't entirely happy about going back to work with this former employer. If you can imagine, a large and distasteful amount of crow was eaten by the M-Dot Bigun before, during and now after reapplying, re interviewing and then reaffirming my reentry into the world of luxury sales. Oh yea. The CEO of the company read my comments, forwarded them to my manager, and a conversation ensued that was not easy to take part in. So a word to the wise: never mention your company in the same post that you mention a job hunt. For all I know, my CEO now reads my Blog. Voluntarily. Egads.

Did you happen to watch Obama's address the other night? Remember Elkhart, Indiana? RV production capitol of the world. The whole city unemployed. Looting and rioting in the streets. I couldn't have gotten back into selling RV's a moment too soon. I got my brand spanking new Name Badge this morning before going home with a fever, so I guess I'm officially "in" again. Nothing like a name badge to make you feel like you belong. Lovely.

So, do you think they will actually have a 2010 May Ironman in St. George, UTAH? I checked it out on Google Maps, and I could hardly find a body of water big enough to support a 2.4 mile swim. Perhaps at the reservoir north east of the city? It's just too bad it's so far away, way out there near Las Vegas, all the way across the country from where I WORK. You folks out west, like in Phoenix and in Salt Lake and Ogden, ya'll have fun with that one. I'm really, really jealous.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bullet Update

  • Working on Episode 18 of the Tacboy and Bigun Podcast. We got a coaching lab rat. We got Otterbox reviews. We start the new new year with some good 'ol fashioned jib-jab.
  • Still looking ahead to the Minnesota Border to Border. Every other race is crap-shoot as to my participation or not. Actually, so is MN B2B...
  • Which brings me to my next note: Still Job Hunting. If I land a job, particularly the one I want out in Las Vegas, then the race schedule will REALLY be up in the air. Who knows what kind of time I'll have off then, especially for a week-long race.
  • In the mean time, still working the Installation Biz. It's been reduced to part-time since that's about all the business I get from all my sources. Unbelievable, but then I hear of friends in other industries losing 75% of their business, and I guess it makes sense.
  • As a fail safe, I've started working at the RV place again. Selling RV's. 100% Commission. Not at all what I ever wanted to do again, but these are tough times.
  • Training is an afterthought at this point. Getting in about one hour of running a week. Can't really call that training. 4 weeks until the Gasparilla half-marathon.
  • Blink and Christie will be here (gosh, I'm sure I spelled her name wrong... crap...) for Gasparilla, as will my Mom and her husband Bob, and who knows, maybe even the Tac and Trimama. At least I've got the spare bedrooms ready! I'll be mostly concerned with jogging the half mary, and having a great weekend with friends and family. Gosh, maybe my Mom will beat me! I'd better get out there and run a bit more....
  • Still lurve the Facebook.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Episode 17 - 2008 Wrap

Somehow we did it... we wrapped up 2008 on New Years day, and I'm just now getting it edited and published on Itunes. Hope you enjoy our last show of the year - we hope to do more in '09 and keep the laughs coming. Sometimes it's hard to find stuff to laugh about. But when you're good, you're good, right?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

MN B2B is shaping up!

Holy Moley!  The Minnesota Border to Border, or MNB2B, is turning out to be quite the hotspot in the world of Blog-land.  Ok, it's got a few folks coming at least.  The teams are far from confirmed, but organization of the teams is developing.  Tentatively (and please please please read that last word - TENTATIVELY) it looks a bit like this so far:

Girls Team:

Momo (who is still unconfirmed)

Boys Team:

Bigun (that'd be me)

Minnesota Mixed:


So there you have it.  3 teams so far with open spots on each one of them.  I'm sure there will be others wanting "in", and some who may have life get in the way.  It happens.  Some concern of logistics and transportation was mentioned...I'm sure that we'll be able to keep the "Team Vans" or RV grouped - I mean, how far apart will the teams get?  Plus, we'll be staying in the same hotel as each other each night - so the festivities will be very much a group thing.  

I don't know.  TriSherpaDi will undoubtedly be Super Sherpa-ing one team.  Perhaps with help from none-other-than Commodore.  Big J will undoubtedly cater the girls team.  Not sure who will Sherpa the Minnesota crew.  Obviously the names of these teams will need to be determined - they need to make a statement.  They need to be Bold!

Speaking of Bold, wouldn't it be a coup if perhaps the legend.....ary Bolder came out of retirement and joined a team?  I really hope we get enough interest to put more teams together.  Keep in mind, the teams can be 2, 3 or 4 man teams.  Just how big a stud or studette are you?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Base Canoe II

You guys think I'm funny!  This canoe shizzle is some serious stuff.  There are, like, races - marathon and ultra type races - across the country in canoes and kayaks.  There's an event that takes you AROUND FLORIDA....seriously, all around Florida - at the top, you have to do a 40 mile portage.  Portage, btw, is when you carry the boat, not paddle it.  Oh yea, I'm "in the know" now.

Since it turns out that this canoe aspect of my multisport career brings so much hilarity and entertainment to my triathlete brethren, I'll continue to enlighten you with exploits of my dry water exercise.  I think I've found a one stop shop for all my canoe training questions - believe it or not, there is a web site called Fitness Paddling.  I'm just excited to have yet another thing to train on - three just wasn't enough.  Sure, I could have picked darts, or horse shoes - but now that I don't have my lawn business anymore, I need to spend more time outdoors. 

And for those of you just tuning in - what is the need to do this canoe training?  Well I'll tell ya - the Minnesota Border to Border.  At the end of that 4 day relay, we have a 50 mile canoe leg.  And by "we" I mean - Me, Taconite Boy, someone else and someone else.  Yes!  That's right.  It turns out the girls we had on our team had decided to go "ladies only" (I know what your thinking - yes, I'm thinking it too...but stop).  TriMama and Iron Jenny may be teaming up with Momo and some other yet to be unnammed tri-hawtie.  Of course, there is no limit to the number of teams - the more the merrier.  I'm not in charge - I'm just bringing YOU, the interested reader, all the latest and greatest on what is sure to be an epically fun week.

If by fun, you think I mean lots of racing AND drinking / eating - you'd be right!  TriSherpaDi will be showing off her mixology AND driving skills as LEAD Sherpa of one of the teams.  If Momo throws her hat in the ring then Big J would likely bring the RV and head up the Sherpa duties of the all girl squad.  Lucky bastard.  Now I've heard rumblings of other folks that would be heading up and joining the fun (like Blink - who's not joining a team; he's just riding and running with us), but there has to be some semblance of rumor control (by control, I mean the only rumor will be of Momo and Big J's participation so far...) so I'll wait for more rumors before I leak any more possible participants.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Base Canoe

Today's workout:  4 mile Canoe on the Hillsborough River.  Did the same thing last year, but not with the foreboding B2B 25-mile canoe leg on the horizon.  Averaged 2 miles per hour today.  Took it waaaaay easy.  Call it a "base" canoe workout.  

Ol' Excel Man actually took his heart-rate monitor with him on this trip.  Sure, the Garmin is bad enough.  But he actually wore his Polar as well.  I was seriously out-teched today.  I gotta get a carbon-fiber paddle or something....