Monday, December 31, 2007

Iron Week 25

Merry Christmas - that about sums up Week 25 on the countdown to Ironman. Pools were closed, Mrs. Bigun was off of work, excuses, excuses. But, we all get Christmas Bye's this week - hope everyone had a gluttonous week like me. Now I'm ready to throw away all the cakes, brownies (no! not the brownies!) banana breads and other most excellent treats and get back to eating healthy.

My short term swim goal is to do a 4 x 500 meter set (in a 50m pool) with each 500 under 11 min. I came close this week, coming a total of 57 seconds over the 4 intervals from getting it. The swim coach at my pool offered to film me a little on Monday to see what form tweaks we can make. Only swam a total of 4100 meters this week, but with the pool closures, I can't hardly complain.

I actually got 2 bike workouts in this week for a total of 100 miles. My long ride of 62 miles was the longest I'd been on a bike since October, but at 17.5mph average, it was a nice ride. Well, I made it a little bit challenging by staying in my 12 gear for the whole ride, even when the wind picked up. I stayed in the 'base' heart rate range for over 3 hrs, so the ride really was a complete success.

Running this week was not as good as prior weeks. I felt slow and heavy all week, my longest run being a 10 miler. I bricked on Sunday trying to make up for my lack of mileage, and tacked on 8 miles to the long bike...but my total of 23.5 miles is short of my "over 30" goal.

One more hard week in the cycle, then a welcome easy week coming up. I'm gonna make sure I get my running in - only 6 weeks until the Marathon!

Friday, December 28, 2007


So I bail out of Tax Class early last night, at 7pm, to get a nice hour swim in, since the pool closes at 9pm. Right. I show up, all the lights are off outside in the pool area. The receptionist there is nearly asleep on the couch. "oh, they left at 6:30 one was using the pool...I thought it was should call next time".


I was in the holiday spirit, so no rant in front of the hapless receptionist. I guess I just have to chalk it up to the holidays. Of course, the pool was closed for 3 days around Christmas. So here it is, Friday, and I'm still without a swim for the week. Thanks, BSAC (Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center). For $37 a month, I guess I get what I pay for, right?

I flatted twice on my return to biking yesterday. Welcome back, Bigun! Both were punctures, not pinch flats...and fortunately I had 2 CO2s, and a tube patch kit.

The new 305 Garmin works flawlessly! HR works all.the.time. No adjusting mid ride to get the strap to pick up the beat again. No disconnections. No signal losses. Hassle-free HR training. Who would have thought?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Iron Week 26

Yee Ha! Hope everyone had a great least as great as the Bigun! You may remember that my Garmin 301 was giving me fits. It wouldn't take a full charge anymore, the HR strap no longer worked, even with a new battery, it wouldn't take splits for a while, then it wouldn't even stay on - I reloaded the software and tried to breath life into the old dog, but it shut off 3 times on my last 13m run...I was getting very tired of it!

Santa to the rescue! Got's me a nifty new Garmin 305 - I couldn't be more excited. No, it won't make me run any faster, but it will take the hassle factor down immensely!

Speaking of base bar broke last week, and by the time I got the new one installed it was late on Sunday, and I failed to get in a single bike ride. Booo. But,'s the holidays, and I've enjoyed spending a bit of time with my favorite Sherpa. So sue me.

I felt like a runner last week with 30 miles of running, capped with a 13m long run at a 9:32 per mile average pace. That's more like it for the Bigun. I swam pretty decent too...upping my long swim to 3k, with a 3 by 1000 meter workout, and a total of 7k in the pool last week. A little under 8 hrs total training time for the week - it was not a bad a week for not biking.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas - and have a great training week!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My weight? Right! I wish. No, this is my 200th post. Soon, my weight will match the number of posts I've done...but that's a couple months out, unfortunately.

This would be the perfect time to wish all of you a most excellent holiday! Enjoy your time with family and friends over the coming weeks, eat heartily, drink merrily, and be safe.

I hope you get what you wish for in your stockings come Christmas morning! Many, if not all of you will have started your official training programs for the '08 Season this coming week, or next. A little time off from work to get back in the training groove. Awesome! Best of luck with that!

Just so you know, when I'm tipping back a brew or sipping on some adult Christmas concoction of Di's making, I'll be thinking of ya'll and wishing you the best.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

TB'nB Products, Inc.

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" better than that sickly sound of your bike falling over on to the pavement. We've all heard it before - the sound of aluminum, or worse yet, carbon fiber hitting black tar can spoil any one's day within earshot (note, if your bike's made of steel, really, who gives a rat's ass?).

All manner of attachments can easily be destroyed by the zero mile-per-hour plummet - pedals, crank arms, bike computers, seat posts, and yes, even the occasional base bar can crack like Everyman on an Ironman run.

Fortunately, there is a solution. TB&B Products Inc in conjunction with NASA and the super-secret branch of the government that Tri-Dummy works for have developed a fall-proof anti-bike-tipping devise that we like to call "Alessandra (TM)".

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TB'nB is not responsible for broken heels or any additional bike seat wear that may occur from the use of our product. Minimum of 1 hr, all additional time billed by the half hour. Alessandras will not ride bike, have no mechanical training and frankly, you'll be lucky if she can form a complete sentence. Should the need arise, we do have our companion product, "Alfonzo" available at half price in limited supply. We say limited, 'cause Tri-Dummy just won't stop calling for the dude.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Amaising Adventures of Taconite Boy

Episode 18:

The region around the city of Coeur d'Alene is a mountainous one, full of thick, dense forest and hidden terrain. Once inhabited by Native Americans, it is dotted with ancient burial grounds - most long forgotten and untended by their worldly makers.

The dead, however, are still there. The grounds are still hallowed and spiritual, no matter how overgrown. This fact was realized far too late by a simple family settling in the CdA region at the turn of the century. A growing city, bustling with new development and endless opportunity, made no amends with the historical nuances and "color" of the surrounding countryside. A certain uneasiness was felt immediately by the woman of the house; even the children complained of bad dreams and bumps in the night. These feelings were ignored by the man seeking new wealth in this golden land - even though he sometimes did feel them himself.

A generation lived, grew old, and died in that house, leaving children and grandchildren to play in the streams and woods nearby. One such grandchild, a large kid at an early age, took pleasure at taking trips of discovery into the woods. He left no rock unturned as he searched for, and found, interesting objects. Old bowls, tools and the occasional arrowhead were all stored in his treasure chest, and soon it filled to capacity and was put away, as the attentions of a young boy often change with the seasons. As the boy turned into a man, having used his size to win battles on the football field and woo the local prom queen, he came across the chest and fondly remembered his days of discovery.

One last trip into the woods before leaving CdA for his own fortunes; one last trip for old times sake. This one would take him down a barely recognizable path, past a stream and over a draw that was familiar, yet never before seen by this young man. And then, at once, it laid before him, a large mound dotted with oddly growing trees and scrub brush, the original ornaments and decorations long since weathered away. It called him closer, and he went willingly, until he had climbed to the mound's peak. Had someone been watching, it would have been as if a sledgehammer had hit him in the forehead, dropping him like a sack of bricks - yet hardly a sound was made, save for the blowing of the wind and rustling of the leaves...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iron Week 27

Ahhhhhh. Deep Breath. Big Sigh. This was an easy week. Recovery. And it felt great. I cut my volume in half, only working out a total of 5 hrs. In the beginning of the week, the workouts felt heavy...I was in serious need of some rest. On Sunday, I did a "base Brick" - an easy 37 mile bike (18.3 mph average) and a really easy 4 mile run (10:45 pace), and it felt great! All the heaviness was gone, and I had to hold back a few times as bikers on "o" bikes zoomed passed me for some ungodly reason.

Isn't it funny, kind of off- topic, how someone will pass you, and then about 15 seconds later, when they are a few hundred yards up the road, they settle in to just about the same pace you're doing? Must be something about a big, fat guy on a bike that makes folks want to pass me. Not that I was going that fast. But it was a silent, secret victory to hear these dudes breathing heavy as they passed, while I was in my "barely breathing, hardly sweating keeping it conversational" zone.

So here we go headlong into a bike-focus week. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to maintain the run volume achieved in the previous training block (at least 30 miles per week) and add 3 bike sessions to it, steadily increasing the volume during the 3 week training block. The first week will be a "feeler" - I'll do two 40's and my long bike on Saturday will be 80. We can re-assess from there, seeing how I feel next Monday!

I've re-vamped my training outline for CdA - I've decided to keep in my 16m runs, since I feel like I can actually recover from them in my off weeks; that will be my longest run, but if there are any signs of injury, of course, I'll back off of that distance, and only run that far before a recovery week.

I've added a couple of things. There's a 10k in January that a local run club sponsors. I'm feeling the need for speed, and possibly a 10k PR....

I also put the 12hrs of Sebring on the calendar. Excel Man is going down to hit that race, and I think that Moonpie had hinted of it at some time as well. I'm concerned that it's a week after the we'll see, but since IM is all about the Bike, I may just have to HTFU.

You also may notice a difference in my weeks leading up to CdA - the newest issue of Triathlete Mag has training phase advise, and stresses a 4 week taper, done in 15% increments. I'm an absolutely horrible taperer, so any taper plan will look good to me. I tend to not start tapering early enough, so this will force me into a taper in what looks to be the "right" sort of way, with a gradual recovery to the big show. I like it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another Amaising Adventure of Taconite Boy

We bring you now to our handsome Hero, still glistening from his IMWoo finish...

TacBoy: What is it? Jennifer? Oh, no, I'm sorry, I can't sign those...

Trimama: For once you're smarter than you look, Hero...

Reporter: Ehem...TacBoy, what an amazing day you had - finishing an Ironman and saving the city of Madison from yet another arch evil-doer!

TacBoy: Well, you know, that's why they call me a superhero....

Trimama: Oh, hell - I can't listen to another word of this!

Trimama storms off with her arms full of Ironman bags full of IMWoo finishing schwag. She yells back to TacBoy over her shoulder: "make sure you get a book deal or some radio show contract so we can pay for all this crap!" - you can hear the minivan's tires screeching away for miles....

Reporter: What's next for the Taconite Boy?

TB: It's funny you should ask - the good people of the town of Coeur d'Alene have beckoned to me to not only race in their world-class Ironman event, but also, to rid their fair countryside of a scourge so foul, so horrific, so EVIL that I loath to even mention his name.

Reporter: Do you mean....?

TB: Yes, I'm talking about the fearsome, deadly, horrible....

Tune in next time for more of the Amasing Adventures of Taconite Boy!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Iron Week 28

Paradigm shift. Well, not a shift...a remembrance. A while back, I thought hard about the things that make a big Clydesdale different from other triathletes. Then I got to reading about training for a marathon, and in a panic, forgot some of the things I believed in, and made pretend I was a skinny little runner. Ehem....I'm not - I'm a big, un-skinny triathlete. Training for an Ironman, not a marathon.

That being said, Hard The "F" Up, Bigun. Only 27 training weeks to go, and I know, now, that I've a long road to haul.

My long run this week was 16 miles. I ran all of the first 12, at an average of 10:50, then stopped for water and limped on in for the last 4 miles. Those 4 really, really hurt! I had forgotten how much a long run hurts.

I got in 3 weeks in a row over 30 miles and managed NOT to hurt myself, which is a good thing. My hamstrings were screaming at me on this last run, hence all the walking, but I'm sure that's a function of the long run.

I only biked 38 miles this week in one session. I've nailed my training route, it's got some decent rollers in it, and with 3 loops will be a great long ride, with over 2200 ft. of elevation gain. Just like the week before, in week 28 I was making sure my legs could handle the increase in run volume before I tacked on the bike mileage.

I had one good Swim session early in the week, but then tuckered out for session #2, and then bailed on #3. No excuse for not swimming - although I gotta say, I've had some persistent fatigue that I'm hoping to shake next week on my "easy" recovery week.

So now for the paradigm shift. You've got to realize that all this running is a big, albeit necessary step for the Bigun. I'm fine with slower paces and walking here and there, and even the lapse of training on the swim and bike - the goal is to get used to this much running (and then some...over 40 miles per week soon) without getting hurt. The marathon puts a short-term, run specific goal out there for me - quickly forcing me from my comfort zone of bike, bike, bike.

But Ironman is all about the bike. I needed to be reminded of that - thanks Bolder. It's time to get back to the bike. It's in addition to the running that I've gotten used to, but not so much long run as long bike. Will my marathon suffer? Sure...but I'm not training for a marathon, I'm training for an Ironman. So don't think me crazy for not doing that 18 or 20 miler in the next few weeks (I'll need to fix my training spreadsheet). I'll be turning the pedals.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Feel like a runner

I haven't posted any training charts or graphs lately...I just haven't been feeling it. I've been putting in the time, but without losing any weight or seemingly getting any faster.

So on today's 9 mile run, I decided that if I felt decent, I'd blow out the carburetor a little bit. It was a boost to the motivation to get some decent splits in for a change! With the exception of stopping for water in the middle of it, which I didn't really "need" but I just do for safety's sake, I was on track for a pretty nice 15k/9m run. For a 250 lb'er, ie the Bigun, that is.

I'm also posting my 16 mile long run route for this Sunday coming up...without a color printer, it's hard to show my trusty Sherpa where I may be should I have some unforeseen problems along the way. Of course, if someone wishes to join me, I promise to go really slow.

You can probably tell, I try very hard not to cover the same ground twice. And I also try hard not to get too close to the house once I start...too easy to quit that way.

Retraction on the T-shirts

Oops. Turns out Di has been talking with some of the other Sherpas about t-shirt ideas, and I stomped all over that with my last post. Sorry Di, and others working on the idea! Please continue to march on the supporter's gear, and keep in mind that T-shirt guy Jay has offered his help with them as well.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

CdA Kit

I wrote this for the CdA blog, but wasn't sure how many folks get to that site regularly, so I republished it here....

Well, we gots 28 weeks until the incredible gathering of athletes and sherpas at IMCdA'08. Bloggers alone, we have at least 22 racers, and at least 13 Bloggy sherpas; add to that family and friends who are not Bloggers, and we got ourselves one heck of a TEAM (a hearty welcome to Taconite Boy, who just went from "supporter" to "racer")!

TriGreyhound came up with an idea - a CdA Blogger Kit - and thought we should solicit ideas and opinions from the group. Great Idea.

Q1: Should we put together a Kit (shirts, shorts, t-shirts or sweaters for supporters...)?

Q2: Should we go with the Tri-Geek Dreams logo or a special version of it, or come up with a new logo/slogan?

Q3: Can we get some ideas for alternate designs - does someone have the skills in the group, or should we solicit Mr. IronWil or AJ for help?

Q4: Any ideas on where to buy?

As this idea is in it's INFANCY, please please please input your ideas and comments!

For example, it may be cool to have the KIT back to folks early enough to allow for further customizing for the individual racer.

I'm excited by this idea. I feel an allegiance to the folks in this community and a bond that will only get stronger in the coming 28 weeks as only sweat, pain and tears can do. But I also know that folks can get pretty particular about what they race in....

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Iron Week 29

You know there's something special going on when the Bigun's run mileage exceeds his bike mileage 2 weeks in a row! It's called MARATHON, Baby!

I find myself wondering what happened to that guy who ran his PR half Mary in 1:57? Where is that guy?

The big deal for the next 10 weeks (only 10 to go...jeesh) is Run Volume. Since I'm in uncharted territories here, I thought it wise to back off on the bike for a couple more weeks to make sure my wheels get used to the run volume first. I'll do a whole 3 week cycle before getting back on the bike hard again. My knees will thank me.

Weight: 251lbs. I suck at losing weight. I like to eat too much.

I also did some 100 meter sprints in the pool...5 to be exact. That was some shit. I need to do more of that...way more.

Bottom line for Iron Week 29 - good run, bad bike, decent swim. Bad Weight. Turn the bad's into goods, and the goods into greats. That's the ticket.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Army Navy Game

Tomorrow is a big day. Yes, we have the airing of NBC's Ironman World Championships, but guess what? Macca wins it. Sorry to spoil the surprise. Yes, it's in High Def (arrrgh, arrgh, the Bigun loves his big screen HDTV), and yes, I'll be saving it on the DVR.

But tomorrow is also the 108th time Army meets Navy on the football fields of friendly strife. See'ns how I'm a grad of West Point, Mrs. Bigun and I will be going to Raymond James Stadium here in Tampa (where the Bucs play) to watch them with a few hundred other loyal Army (and, yes, Navy...) fans. Excel Man and GEL will be there to eat non-stop barbecue and razz the Navy pukes with us. They'll have the game up on one of the big jumbo screens, and with all the hoopla, it will sort of be like being at the actual game, except warmer. I'm guessing it will be cold in Baltimore tomorrow.

It is a banner weekend for triathlon fans, as the first showing of the Ironman Wisconsin is going to air on Versus Sunday. I've got that set to record as well. Mrs. Bigun understandably gets a bit miffed to have to sit through a TV show about Ironman. It's not enough to have to sherpa at all these tri's. It's not enough to have to listen to me go on, and on, and on about training and racing. So, I watch them when she's not home. Mostly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Five Random Things

I'm it. Greyhound was kind enough to include me in this ever so random of random discovery, isn't he a great guy? I guess I deserved it.

1) I could care less about cleaning my truck. I actually wish I was more anal about it, but it pretty much stays in a see-sawing state of "picked up" to "nasty". My bike enjoys the same care, unfortunately.

2) I don't enjoy yard work. Ha! That's about the funniest thing - me, starting a lawn business, and I don't enjoy the work. Well, I hated automotive sales too, and did that for 8 years....

3) I wish I had played guitar in a band. I'm a closet guitarist.

4) I actually enjoy doing taxes. Maybe this HR Block dealy is a step in the right direction. Bookkeeping, Accounting...who knows?

5) Except for organized boxing, I've never been in a fight. I mean, 4th and 6th grade don't count, really. You know, High School, College, going out to bars all the time, I mean, I was single until I was'd think someone along the way would have really needed thier ass kicked...

So there's 5 things...all true.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Iron Week 30

So here we go! 30 weeks to the big show, and the Bigun is on his way. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, of course. My first bite is the preparation for the marathon, and since the run is my weakest event - put first things first. Week one of my 12 week Marathon training program is done finished, and I'm happy to have completed all my run workouts. Even the long run, which is the most important.

Running over 30 miles in a week has been a challenge. Today, Sunday, is the first day I really feel sore however. Lets hope a good night of sleep fixes that, and the knowledge of only a recovery 3-mile run on Monday, and an off run day on Tuesday is great news.

I still wouldn't consider it an Iron-run Week. But its a great start.

I managed to have a decent swim week as well. 6k yards of swimming in days of yore would have been awesome, but with Iron training comes a unique perspective...and I'm a few yards shy of what will be soon be an Iron-swim week. I'm going to gradually increase the swim yardage weekly over the next 2 months, with an emphasis on volume and a goal of dropping my 500 meter set to below 11 min consistently. I'm swimming 11:30's now, so that is a feasible short term swim goal. One bite at a time.

The focus is on the run for the next 11 weeks, so the bike will take a back seat. Doesn't mean I'm not riding...just means a decrease in volume but an increase in frequency and intensity. I'm thinking hill repeats, fartleks and intervals, working on building strength. My little 20-miler marked the first time I rode in a month. It was good to be back in the saddle, even if there were a bunch of objections from various body parts.

Another similar, but marginally better week will be very cool. 3 quality weeks of training in a, that's something to really look forward to! Now I just need to find the time to get back in the dang-gum Metal Room...

Oh, and the weight...Sunday it was 249.

edit: Good swim on out of three 500's was at 11:00....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bigun History Day

With the discovery of the Sprite Commercial tape I was able to relive some old memories and share them with my peeps. That was cool for me. Moms (Mama Bigun to you) was here and brought another old tape...this one from the late 90's...of some even cooler old Bigun stuff. This is Bigun and Mrs. Bigun (Di to you) history, from way back in '96.

I had just gotten out of Special Forces, and was wondering what to do with myself. I had thought it would be cool to open up a rock climbing gym and guiding business, as I had started climbing pretty heavily with my guys on my SF Team and when I was off-duty up at Ft. Devons, MA. Why not, right?

Sorry about all the dead space in the youtube vid...I'm still not very good at editing and getting youtube to accept what I do.

So, not being the shrewd business man, I decided to open this place in the tiny military town of Columbus, GA...home town of Ft. Benning - the home of the Infantry. This is where things like "Jump School" (Airborne School, or parachuting out of perfectly good airplanes...) and Officer Candidate School, or OCS (think Richard Gere in "An Officer and a Gentleman" without the beach or ocean) are located, plus some Army units like Rangers and what-not.

Turns out the military community, while a fine bunch of individuals, had a difficult time, logistically, supporting The Crux - and with the transient nature of military folks, getting repeat business was hit and miss; mostly miss. Live and learn. We had fun.

The little girl climbing barefoot is Jackie, she's in college now (good grief...) and her dad is belaying for Di - he came out on his nights off and helped me build the walls. We might not have been great (or even good) carpenters, but no part of that structure ever failed, and in the years we were open, no one got hurt climbing. How, I'll never know. Oh, and yes, in the climbing biz, the wall is affectionately known as a "woodie"...

Di and I closed The Crux after about 3 years in business to move on to some other crazy stuff, but not until we had completely expanded the climbing walls with 2 more structures that filled up the entire warehouse. We took groups to Cheahaw State Park in Alabama on climbing tours three or four times a year, and hosted climbing competitions in our tiny gym a couple times as well. I even taught a PE class for the local community college! Professor Bigun. Go figure.

The Bigun got a little skinnier over the course of 3 years of climbing in this gym, and got to where I (and a small group of regular climbers) would do laps up the inverted walls and the overhang wall (that I'm struggling mightily with in the video) for workouts before heading out to the rock on the weekends. Di and I miss our climbing days something fierce! Since closing the gym, we haven't been climbing since. Florida just is not that conducive to vertical endeavors.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Trot 10k

Happy Turkey Day! It's still early today, so none of the normal Turkey Day vittles have yet to be consumed at the Bigun house. We did, however, get up a the crack of dawn to make the hour drive out to Clearwater to run the St. Pete Times Turkey Trot 10K.

This race was a giant mess! The 5k went off at 7:45, then the 1-mile walk/run at 8:30, and then finally our race, the 10k, at 8:45. There were thousands of folks in each race - parking was problematic at best. Granted, it was not a "Marine Corps Marathon" or "PF Changs", but the whole street was blocked off, and it was wall to wall runners across 4 lanes for at least a half a mile.

The plan was to run with Mom - Mama Bigun - for the whole run, and it was a good thing since I needed a recovery day after my 8-mile run yesterday. "The best laid plans..." - It turns out the Chinese Food here in Brandon is high-test...and Mama Bigun is used to putting regular in the tank. About 1.5 miles into the run, General Tso started screaming obscenities, and while I wanted to help, what's a son to do in a situation like that? I was told to go ahead, and while I protested, I was assured I didn't want to be around.

Soooo, my Ego-check valve now fully open, and lots of people ahead of me, I started to up the pace. Right up until that calf cramp, I was feeling really good about myself. I'll never learn.

My 10k splits:

Mile 1: 10:50
Mile 2: 9:59
Mile 3: 9:27
Mile 4: 9:00
Mile 5: 9:00
Mile 6: 8:48
Last .2: 8:06
Total Time: 58:56

The calf cramp worked itself out, and I finished fine, turned around and went searching for Mom. She really wasn't that far back, and we got to finish together as planned, sorta. Mama Bigun came in at around 1:18 - She's on her way to a great Half Mary in February.

Now I'm hungry!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh Crap...

Do you ever look at your race schedule and just go, "oh Crap!"? I did, last week...lying around sick with whatever crud had me laid out for 2 weeks. I took a gander at my Marathon that is scheduled for 2008 - you know, next year. The Marathon that I swore I'd never do again, unless it was at the end of an Ironman. That one. Gasparilla.

Except it's in February of of today, it's only 12 weeks away. Oh Crap. The Bigun better get on the stick.

There aren't a plethora of 12-week Marathon training programs out there. At least free ones. I did find one, and when I looked at it, I had yet another "Oh Crap!" moment. Relentless. Yes, I'm scared...

So, I have that to look forward to. 12 Weeks of running torture. Love it (hold the "L"). If you need me, I'll be either out on the road or crying over in the corner (or crying out on the road). Either way, I'll welcome the interruption.

I also had the distinct pleasure of seeing the weeks tick away until IMCdA'08 - now down to 30. You know, when you say it's over 6 months away, it seems like forever. Somehow 30 weeks seems like nothing. No time. How am I going to get it done in 30 weeks? Oh Crap!

The musings of an Iron Wergin...pretty funny; the panic, the trepidation...isn't it? I know, I know; plenty of time. I also know that that cannon will go off and it will feel like I wrote this yesterday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

All about the bike...

We all know that in Ironman, it's all about the bike.

Interesting...Coeur d'Alene's bike course is anywhere from 6,600 ft of climbing to 8,800 ft of climbing (and just as much descending) from the different sources I've come up with (Motionbased Garmin reads...funny how the same course can come up with such varying Garmin data...). It would be nice if it's "only" 6.6k, but lets just use 8,000 ft of climbing as our assumption.

Now, lets assume that there is just as much descending as there is climbing. So, if that were true, then for 56 miles you are climbing and 56 you are descending. 56 miles, climbing 8,000 ft makes the average slope 2.7%. I've used this power calculator to figure out what kind of watts are required for different speeds and different weights. Check it out:

Now I don't have a power meter, so what does this mean in numbers I can understand? Well, I did the calculations with weight and power on flat roads, so that I could use my speedometer to get a gauge of my watts - after all, most of my training is on flat roads. So that's the last number on the chart. As this winter progresses, and I get my bike mileage in, I can gauge my expectations at CdA based on flatland speeds and the weight I lose.

Take the Florida Challenge as a real world example - at the bottom of the chart. 2700 feet of elevation in 58 miles where I weighed 250 lbs and I had an average speed of 18.1 mph - the average slope was 1.76%, to do it, required 212 watts on average. It's fairly accurate, 'cause I know I can ride fairly hard on a flat course at 20.5 mph for 60 miles.

So, 2 things have to happen - of course...first I need to be able to push more watts, which I'll be able to do, but to save some for a marathon, I think staying in that 210 watt range will be appropriate. In training, however, I'd like to get my century rides up there in the 21 mph average speed range. Second, again obviously, I need to lose weight. Look at the difference between a 170lb person on the hilly course and a 230lb person. Pushing the same watts, the 170lb'er gets done with the bike an HOUR earlier. That's huge. 230lbs would be my minimum weight goal...220lbs would be "OMG" outstanding.

Does all this math sound logical to you "Watt Hounds" out there?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blogs Change Lives!

They do! Oh sure, your buddies all give you weird looks and talk vaguely about your "creepy Internet friends" (TM) but little do they know that Blogs Change Lives!

So there we were, IMFL07 +1 day in a comfortable coffee house when in walks IronTriTim and his lovely bride and twins-to-be (no, Steve in a Speedo, not those twins - the real, people kind....jeesh) and he gives us a rundown of his race:

Makes me want to go get a MA-ssage...

Afterward, Taconite Boy in true superhero fashion, seizes the opportunity to make Blog History and "Coffee Dials" on his I-phone none-other-than the Kahuna himself. Kahuna talks of the experience fondly on his blog, but just for historological purposes, here's as much as I got on video:

Anyone eavesdropping his conversation with the Kahuna would be hard pressed to have a dry eye. Man, you just never know when something you say or do will effect someone else's life, and to do it in such a positive way...well, that puts the Kahuna up into HERO status. Props to IronTriTim for the effort and achievement, and Props to the Kahuna for being the inspiration!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Greyhound in a red Speedo

I think Tri-Greyhound's teased us wayyyy too much with his posturing about the red bikini swim briefs. In an effort to provide "coverage" of this continuing development, we here at Bigun Studios have purchased un-retouched photos of our fearless Tri-Greyhound getting ready for a swim in a nearby pool, or, a modeling gig....check it out:

Many of you will never be the same...Tri-Greyhound has asked that all offers be routed though his agent.

But you caught me...I know, I know - the Greyhounds had a little bit too many calories since becoming an Ironman, and we here at Bigun Studios have had to really shell out the bucks to bring you, well, the REST of the story:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Still sick

I totally missed the weekend's race out at Clearwater Beach with Johnny Tri and his friends that were racing. Crap. I tried to take it easy this weekend, today included, to finally beat this cold, and here it is Sunday morning and I'm still feeling like crapola.

Sorry for the negativity -

If you haven't been there, check out my lovely bride's blog - she's been reporting on our bloggie meet-up in Panama City Beach and posting pictures - all great stuff.

Back to the blankets...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Beer, Beer and more Beer

So it's Wednesday morning, and I'm now moved my status from "sick" to "under the weather" - whatever that means. Well, I guess it means that I'll be working today.

Attempt #1 at compiling photographs was a flop - we tried to copy the pics to a CD without luck - some glitch in the matrix - so we'll have to go to plan B and, well once we figure out what plan B is, we'll let you know.

Everyone's thoughts should be with Commadore and his family today. He took a nasty fall and may have to deal with a concussion (yet another concussion) - hang tough there, Comms!

It's funny - you finish up a great weekend meeting friends and watching great feats of athletic strength and endurance, and you almost don't know where to start. At least with a race recap, you have a logical flow to it. I guess I could start with a Fri-Mon theme, but I'm also wanting to avoid telling other folks stories. I'm sure my mind's still just a bit cloudy from the cold - work should be interesting today.

The one thing I did notice was just how much beer Taconite Boy can consume - man, that guy just put one down after another. Beer, Beer, Beer. That's all he could think about. When superhero's go on vacation, they drink ungodly amounts of beer. Now we know why PCB ran out of beer - Taconite Boy drank it all. Nasty, greasy food and beer. If they sold beer IV's, he'd have been hooked up to one. I got alcohol poisoning just trying to keep up with him, and I outweigh him by 55 lbs! The man needs help. We need an intervention.

Oh, and remember, most of what I write about this PCB IM weekend will not be true, well, not totally true.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Beat up

Wow...what a great time! The Bigun and Di-Licious met up IMFL this weekend. We got tons of pictures and video that need sorting, and all kinds of stories to tell, most are true, some will be, shall we say, exaggerated - or rather - mostly true. You can certainly look forward to some fun stuff here in the coming days. A little Weekend Update. A little Adventures of Taconite Boy. So stick around for that.

Why beat up, you ask? The temps dropped like a rock here in Florida and caught me unawares and I'm sick as a dog after a 7 hr drive knee hurts, probably from running on the beach, and I've now missed a day in my 30^3 challenge, that I will attempt to make up, if possible, with a 2-a-day during the week. Perhaps I should even punish myself for the missed day with two 2-a-days....we'll see.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Time for a Commercial Break

Sprite Football Commercial...circa 1981. Yea, I know that lots of you weren't even born yet...

This was the summer before my senior year of high school. One of the guys on the football teams' mom worked in NYC for an advertising agency, and they were having a tryout for this commercial. So, a bunch of us got to the city and went to the tryout. They had us throw a football back and forth on camera for a minute, and then that was it.

A couple of days later, I got a call telling me that a bunch of guys on the team were going to be extras (players in green) and that I was going to be one of the stars. Cool shit!

So we get to this ball field on the outskirts of NYC and there's a caterer, cameras...all the crap you'd expect for the filming of a commercial. All of the preliminary stuff - the "practice" session was easy....oh, let's back up a minute. Like a week before the shoot, a bunch of us on the team were over at Monclair State College, using their new astro-turf field to run around and catch some passes. I totally blew out my ankle - the thing looked like someone attached a water balloon to my foot! I got a nifty running cast fashioned from some skilled athletic Doc, and was able to run at close to full speed in time for the commercial.

All that sweat in the practice scene....water spritzer. I was totally acting! Downing the Sprite - yea, that's real sprite. We even shot some scenes of me dropping a few passes - yea, I had to "act" like I couldn't catch...but those didn't make the cut.

The "game" sequence was the worst part of the day. Someone said we shot that "diving catch" scene nearly 100 times. The guy just could not put the ball at a diving catch position. I had a bruise on my hip the size of a volleyball. But it was all worth it. A very cool memory.

I did get some royalties and got paid for the day's work. The royalties actually kept me from having to work in my Senior year and I had plenty of dough for dates and such. The last contract I signed was for some air time in Hong Kong, of all places.

Oh, and that's the Bigun long before he was the Bigun. I'm about 205 there, tops. Didn't really start putting on the beef until late sophomore year in College. Good times.

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 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 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 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 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'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 - 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, 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. 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 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 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 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 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.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Amazing Adventures of Taconite Man

We interrupt this swim to bring you another Amazing Adventure of Taconite Man! Tac and the Tribe are casually eating their hearty supper prepared by the ever-so-hot Trimama, when TTK (Tri-Turbo-Kraut - keep up, people...) bursts through the front door...

TTK - Tac Man, its the signal, we got a mission!

TM - To the Tacmobile!

Trimama - Make sure you bring it back with a full tank! I got PTA tomorrow!

TM - Sure thing, shnookums...

Running to the driveway, Taconite Man looks up at the signal and stops.

TM - um, TTk - did you get a good look at that signal?

TTK - Sure goggles are a bit foggy from the 4 X 500 meter main set swim I was on, but I saw it just fine!

TM - that's the new Benny Signal...

TTK - aww, shucks, Taconite Man, you mean there's a new superhero out there?

TM - it's a competitive world, Tri-Turbo-Kraut - we need to work up a business plan and come up with some advertising if we are gonna keep our #1 Superhero status. What do you think of the Yellow Pages? TV is just way too you think Trimama would let us sell the minivan?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bigun's a big jerk

Yea, I'm a bastard. I know it. I live with it. I try not to be, but as I get older...I just get worse. Case in point - I've got little to no tolerance for stupid people anymore. Yes, they are out there. Heck, I may be one of them.

So, last night was the first night of a 7 week, 3 nights a week, 3 hrs a session, class on tax preparation with H&R Block. Yes, the Bigun's going to do taxes this year. Come January, I'm the Tax Man. It's seasonal, it's part time, I can set my own hours, and I find a geeky, unnatural joy in doing taxes.

I get there on time, take a seat and look around...I'm the only dude in the whole class. My inner voice wants to ask if I'm in the right class...then one other dude shows up, and we are two out of about 15. No biggie. No hawties either...I know you were wondering! Up in the front row is Miss Chatty Kathy. Kathy is not her real name, and she has to be a "Miss" cause NO ONE would put up with her on a voluntary basis. This women did not shut up for 3 hrs! One stupid question (yes, oh yes there definitely ARE stupid questions!) after another, off topic questions and comments out the wazzo, and it seemed like every thought she had, she had to verbalize. We all even endured stories of her horrible childhood and miserable relationships - crap you don't talk about in a room full of strangers.

The Bigun kept his cool...and composure. The tax "manual" recommends "study partners" and at the first break, Miss Chatty's already asking around. I had to laugh - the first lady she asks almost said, "not only no but HELL no" but she was nice in her denial, which was surprising, since she seems like a bigger bastard than me. Her excuse was that she's a loner and does things on her own. A rather weak blow off, if you ask me, but effective. I can only hope I don't get the opportunity to give her both barrels. It could get ugly.

And last my favorite bike path...who's there to meet me at mile 37? None other than Mr. Really Needs to Eat a Can Of Shut The Hell Up! And he really flew his true colors on this ride...not only did he talk incessantly (while drafting, of course), but he told of poor sportsmanship habits of his, like when he passes people on a run, he says stuff like, "so, you went out a bit too quickly, eh?" - I can still here his cackle after hearing that story at least twice. I should have told him then that he's an ass, but I just asked him if he thought that was kinda mean-spirited. He said something about making it fun, and I knew any additional comment would be wasted. Ya just don't have a bicycle pump when you need one.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iron Week 39

Well, these weeks are ticking down...under 40 until the big show. The week had it's ups and downs...culminating in being head photographer for Excel Man's sprint tri this morning. Diana volunteered as part of the Kayak support, and I helped a little bit too...but mostly just took pics. It was also Excel Man's 47th birthday, so I loaded him up with pics, ran around the course to shoot easy task in flip flops. It was a great, cool morning...I was wishing I was racing.

Swim: I thought I'd have a better week, but only got in the pool once. I upped my main set to a 3X700m build, with a 500m warm-up and short, 100m cool-down. I found I got used to the longer intervals (I've been used to 500m main set intervals) pretty quickly. But just under 3000yds for the week sucks.

Bike: Got two bike workouts in this week, a 50 miler and a long, long 112 mile bike with Trifeist on Saturday. She was doing her last long bike for IMFL, and needed some company. I was happy to help out. I didn't really need to go 7.5hrs on the bike this weekend, and it totally made for a bad attitude Sunday regarding my planned long run, but the long bike was worth it.

Run: Only 12 miles this week. Crap. Totally blew off the long run on Sunday. Lots of excuses. Lots of fatigue. Better luck next time.

Overall I got in 13 hrs of training in - which is one of my best weeks since '05. Training Peaks is neat in that it has shows how inconsistent I've been over the past couple of years, but also some of the bigger weeks that I'm capable of. This bike graph is in hours, but is just so revealing. My goal is to train at least 5 hrs of bike a week. That equates to around 100 miles a week. I need a nice thick block of red with the end over that 5 hrs line. Something to work on over the winter for sure. The run and swim graphs are even worse...I'll spare you.