Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Said Tie Returneth

After much fan fair, the Bigun's tie has been returned to it's rightful owner. Surprisingly, Jr has come through as agreed to in prior negotiations, and the exchange took place at 9am. The siege is over - no one was injured in the process. Call off Mrs. Bigun - put your weapons on "safe".

I say "exchange" - actually we are experiencing a snafu in the process. Jr wants his tie back cleaned and pressed - have you ever? Never! "Ugly" will remain here, in my office, until such time as either it is removed by it's owner or it just gets lost somehow. There's a very good chance that some harm may come to this tie - I'm not saying what or when, it's just, well, you know, things happen...

Saga of the Tie

Now take a look at this tie. While it's not a bad tie, there's nothing remarkable about it. I could wear this tie, but it's not one I'd go out and buy. Jr. is holding my tie hostage until he gets his back. He claims that we "swapped" ties; my awesome tie for his mediocre, catchup stained one.

So today, at 10am, we are slated for a tie exchange. Negotiations have been successful, pressure was put to bear, and the Bigun will get his tie back. M. Bigun is happy - since the tie was a present (Mrs. Bigun buys most of the big guy's ties...) and has nearly resorted to violence in order to secure the release of said tie. Let these pictures represent proof of life - we've already seen the Tie d'Bigun, and I've been accused of no longer having this damaged, ugly, wrinkled, tired, stained tie.

Of course, if the tie exchange goes anything like my shoe brush and polish return, borrowed by the same individual and his roommate, I'll have to keep this crappy tie in my office (bound and gagged) for the next couple of weeks. Lets hope not - M. Bigun's prepared to take the next step - full breach.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Better Judgement

I decided to not compete in a race - the Florida Challenge Half Marathon - for a couple of reasons. First, it's an off-road race, and I would have just been setting myself up for injury. It's REALLY off road - cross country in fact. Second, it rained the night before the race - so it would have been extra hazardous.

So, I did the Bigun Neighborhood Half Mary instead. Only about 250' of elevation with 3 little hills, it was a great course, if you like running mostly on sidewalks. I won't bore everyone with a detailed race report, just make a note that it was an awesome running day for the big guy. It should have been, for Pete's sake - I did squat all week nursing my left hamstring. Something about that hard bike effort on Tuesday laid me up all week. A crappy work schedule had a little to do with it too...

I stopped the Garmin right at 13 miles (yea, I missed the point one...I just wasn't thinking straight!) in 1:59:35 for a 9:10 pace. My last Half Mary was the Brandon Half in December that I did in 2:12 - so I'm pretty psyched about the improvement. Chalk it up to BASE training - that stuff works like a charm. My average HR for this effort was 162 - and I rarely was close to 170 - huge difference in effort from December. I only stopped for water once at a water fountain in a park at about mile 8.5 - a few sips and I was on my way. No gels. No running partners, just me against the clock.

I'm looking forward to the Gasperilla Half now on Feb 28th - I'll be going for an official PR that day - really - finish under a 9 min pace. Lose a little weight (should be down to 240lbs by then) and put in a few good training weeks, buy some new shoes (546 miles on these now - what the hell is my problem?!?!) and get some competition out there and I'll be all over it - 1:57 flat puts me under 9:00/mile. That will be huge for me.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


So...enough about all that. Guess the Bigun's got MMAMD - Married Male Adult Memory Disorder. Yep, I can't remember jack shit. Go ahead, ask me about any movie - great f'n movie.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Awesome Day

Tuesday was an awesome day.

I guess it started with going to bed at 1am - not the best way to get ready for a big workout day, but a start non-the-less. The 6am alarm (this was a day off work, after all) begged me to hit the snooze, but I relented. We had spent the prior evening painting our front dining room - a huge process (Mrs. Bigun is a designer, so there's no such thing as "merely" painting a wall) - but it's really coming together nicely - I'll put some pics in a future blog. I stole some time to do some work on the bike - I had to put the new Look cleats on the shoes and I put my e-bay acquired DA brakes on - still need new cables BADLY! So that kept me up 'till 1.

I'm "wheels up" right at 6:30 and feeling pretty good, actually. Got a couple of gels in the Bento and nothing but water in the bottles, but I'm thinking about pushing pretty hard for the first 25 since my riding partner, Bacon, isn't showing up until then and he's a bit slower, even with the draft. A couple of riders in a two person draft were just ahead cooking along at 21.5 - so I keep them just ahead of me for a couple miles, until they turn off in another direction. I hit the 12.5 mile mark feeling just about warmed up and averaging around 20.6 - the second loop went better, and I upped the average to 20.8mph. But, no Bacon.

It was still an awesome day, and I was feeling my oats, so I head out again and blasted back in after 37 miles keeping it steady at 20.8 average. A thought enters my almost-tired brain - try and do 50 at 21. The next 6 miles were amazing! With a purpose and the motivation of a man on a mission, I watched that average mph LED move to 20.9 - with just 7 miles to go. Of course, I forgot my HR strap, but I'm breathing heavy and loudly now, cranking along, pushing my new Looks with everything I had. I wish this story had a happy ending to it - but I just could not nudge that .9 over the top. I headed out for another lap to cool off after what was a monster effort for me, and wound up doing 62 @20.5mph - it's funny how quickly the tenths drop off compared to how hard they are to roll up. Bigun's new biking short term speed goal: 62 miles at 21mph.

But the day wasn't even close to being over. After my legs stopped screaming at me, I got the mop on my head cut - I was getting pretty shaggy. I got such a good flat top that I tipped the barber all of $8 on a $12 haircut - yes, I was caught up in the awesomeness of it, but I had just spent a month with a cut I would characterize as the worst I had ever gotten, so I was pretty stoked.

After lunch (yes, I waited entirely too long to eat after the bike) I went to most men's and some women's favorite shopping store - Lowes - and picked up a few items to help with my chores for the day. Mrs. Bigun came with, picked up some flowers and some mulch (nice not being covered up with snow) and home we went to commence with the chores.

I gotta tell ya, right around sunset, Mrs. Bigun had the front yard "stand-up" looking good! My job was inside - I had put a wood floor down in the living room and back hallway, I'm ashamed to say, over a year ago (probably 2...) and had yet to finish with the baseboards and quarter-round. Ta-da...still not finished, still have to caulk and paint - but damn near done and it looks 1000% better than it did. I know why I waited so long, however - with the big guy's knees and back, all that work low to the ground is painful at times.

So that was my day off - I would have liked to get a swim in too - but the house took priority. I could use another day off, just to relax from yesterday's "day off"! Oh well, no rest for the weary.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Calling Out Myself

I can totally empathize with Bolder - life gets in the way. Perhaps it is even more than that, sometimes training gets in the way of life. This month, I'm tripping all over work and the house to try and get a few hours of training in. But, you have to have a roof over your head, and a nice yard, and paint on the walls - and - somehow you have to pay for all of that.

Of course there's also things like family and career that have their place in the priorities of life. Ten or more hours of training (or 7 or 8 as of late) is that many hours away from Mrs. Bigun - for some reason she still likes having me around. This time of the year, working 7:30am - 6pm with only 1 day off a week - it puts a strain on everything. I really shouldn't complain about getting in only 7 or 8 hrs of training. This work schedule lasts through March - so I have got to find a better way to get it all done!

I tried again to get up this morning to run with little success (actually, no success). I was still feeling last night's run - so I probably could use the recovery time. Juggling all this gets a bit stressful at times - I can see where a person trying to fit in 15 hrs a week, training for an Ironman, could use some time away from all this.

Once it becomes too stressful from a time-management standpoint, then it starts to loose it's fun-factor. That we just can't let happen. While this is my venue for stress-relief, weight reduction, health and fitness (and my work performance is better for it as well), it still needs to remain fun. So, I'll take what I can get (and figure out a way to get more) - and I'll understand when my blog-buddies take a week or month or two to shift focus as needed.

This is my good friend Hunter (well, he is an awesome dude and triathlete-ambassador...) and my buddy and college classmate Gerry from Nebraska who came down last year to race St. Anthony's with me (I'm the guy with the flat-top). See - we were having fun!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Super Show

So this is it - RV SuperShow week - one more day left of this madhouse we have once a year. Extended hours. Tons of people, customers and shoppers. Make loads of sales. Well, not loads. Turns out the RV Super Show was less than super. Really, more like a show.

The "season" isn't over, by any means. All the "snowbirds" come down from up north and stay until around March. Unfortunately, this year it's been a bit warm up north, so fewer folks have left or are leaving from places afar. I'm sure things will pick up, I just think this year it will be spread out a bit more than in years' past.

So now we are open at 9am on Sunday. Totally blows my Sunday 50-miler. Too bad - I just replaced my bearing-seized Speedplays with some Look Classics, and I'm looking forward to trying them out. Looks like I'll be run-focused for yet another weekend. My dogs are barking already....

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Ahhh, a new training phase - the Build Phase! A welcome change in the Bigun's training. All base and no build makes Marc a dull boy. A couple of really good things came out of the past 4 days of "build" -

1) Ran a 8:29 pace for 6 miles - really cool - puts 8 even in my sights

2) Ran under 11:00 pace for 6 at 138 (high base) average HR - first time for under 11:00 pace in base - means my fitness has improved.

3) Knocked out a 3000m swim at a 2:00/meter pace - granted, with a couple of 1 min breaks, but still, getting there.

One thing thats getting me down is that my bike is falling apart - not my bike performance, but literally my bike! Got some brake issues, pedal issues, need some retaping of the aerobars - nasty - had both the front and rear tires slow leak on me (finished Tuesday's 50-miler with 40lbs of pressure in there - I was wondering why I was going so damn slow...) I've been sorely neglecting the beast. Time for some bike TLC.

This is my busiest time of the year work-wise, so my blog will likely suffer for it. I'm doing all that I can to get the miles in, but with my lunch swim done for a while, and working late, it gets hard. Small hill for a climber, right?

On a cool note - the routes for the Bradenton 101 are finally posted on the 101 site - something about actually seeing a route makes it all the more real to me. It's really cool that the transition area is only 40 miles from my front door.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Jr. (who's understandably unhappy about his outing on the blog) came up with a good one today - heading into a late breakfast (around 10am) he said he was going to do a lunch brick . Jr's ok, for a "little person".

Friday, January 12, 2007


You know, I'm a pretty patient guy. I consider myself to be fairly laid back most of the time, but here's the deal - months ago my friend here, lets call him Junior, gets ketsup on his tie and is SOL. I just happen to have a tie in my truck, so I loan it to him, nice guy that I am. I think that this happened nearly a year ago now. Do I get my tie back - noooooo. Today, Jr. rubs it in my face by wearing said tie to work, and then alleging that we traded ties. Traded ties?!?! What would I want with a ketsup-stained tie? I'm not sure that Blog-land is the place for inter-work spats, but hey, if not here, than where? Little Jr. here is actually the guy who started a group of us down the path of triathlon. He participated in our first race - a duathlon - and then, well, fell off the map. He even went so far as to buy an awesome Cervelo P2K - the black one with the special finish - which has about 2 miles on it, in case any one's looking for a barely used Cervelo with 650 wheels. Look at this tie - it's a nice tie - I miss this tie - I could have worn this tie today. Jr. was also a culprit in the "borrow Bigun's black shoe polish and brush for a month" scam. I like to leave my polish and brush here at work and take care of my shoes as needed - today, finally, after weeks of hounding these guys (it was borrowed for our company Christmas party back in December) I've got my stuff back. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

St. Anthony's Preview

I've got a pretty big score to settle with St. Anthony's Olympic this year. It's my first of 2 "A" races - and my goal is to finish in the top 10. Last year I did horribly; I got sick 2 weeks before hand, and was run down for the race - midway through the bike I fell into cruise mode and limped the rest of the way. This year's going to be a different story!

There are 131 Clydesdales in the 40-49AG this year - up from 67 last year! The Clydesdale competition is huge in 2007, with 56 guys returning from last year's race. Of last year's top 10, 7 are returning, of the top 20, 17 are returning. It will be a hard group to break into. Of the returning Clydes, 2:36:41 gets you 10th place.

It will be interesting to see how USAT scores will reflect on predicting the results for SA. The scores seem to be pretty consistent at the Olympic level - although I'm only looking at a few scores. Using our Clyde champ Roman's 2:39:26 Chicago Oly time - that time earned him a score of 71.7359. The corresponding SA guy with the same time (2:39:20) scored 72.1494 points. On the other hand, our RaceAthlete buddy Myles out in NM ran the Grady Williams Memorial Freedom Days Olympic in 2:56:10 and scored 73.7115 - must have been a tuff race!

I bring up USAT scores because I looked up guys' scores that did not do the SA tri last year in an effort to see what their Olymic-distance times at other events looked like. Since the USAT score seems to reflect the difficulty of the race, the #10 spot of last year's SA finishers has a USAT rating of 72.48 - one fellow actually raced better with a lower score for the year of 69.88. So it would be reasonable to assume that to break into the top ten, a guy would have to have a rating of at least 72 - racing other distances - and of course, not counting for improvement over the year or off season.

Only one guy who did not race SA last year and who had a score on the USAT web site had a USAT rating that did - 73.77 - and he did the Montauk Oly in 2:28:22 - a top 5 SA time for sure. So we should definitely look for Peter Helling from Brooklyn, NY to finish strong. Another group to look out for are the 70+ scorers that did 1/2 and full IM's last year - there were 3; Rudd, Hale and Snodgrass - all guys to look for.

What does this mean for the Bigun? 2:34 is probably going to be worth about 6th place, and I'm guessing that most of 6 through 10 will be coming in in that minute. To go that fast, I'm going to have to be reasonable - my weakness is my run, and I'll be lucky to do a 9:00/mile pace. My swim is coming along nicely, and with a wetsuit I'd have to swim a 1:42/100yd pace to swim in 27 min - something to shoot for. The bike is probably a strength - I'm going for a 22.2 mph average to get it done in 67 min. With a total of 4 mins for transitions, I could come in under 2:35 - each leg is possible, but putting them all together.....hell yea!

The trick will be to get down to 230lbs - that will be huge! Keeping my run volume high, and doing these intervals to get faster is key #2. Swim 3x per week minimum is key #3. And finally, well, it's all about the bike, right? This is all pretty OCD, but I've got phone duty here at work - fielding sales calls that are coming in at about 1 per I've got time on my hands. I wish I was out on the bike right now!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On my Period

Its supposed to be important to take a break from time to time - so I'm using a 3 week on, one week off cycle - periodization - to keep from burning out and to make sure I recover. Its hard not to just completely take the week off in this scenario - but so far so good. The planets are coming back into alignment - I think I know what caused me to tailspin last week. I was a bit miffed about gaining all that weight over the holidays. 258 - that's just ridiculous, gaining 14 lbs like that.

I've been on the "Stay Hungry" plan for 11 days now, and this morning I was right at 250. Still no sodas, and I'm taking Roman's dessert rule to heart and only allowing one dessert-type food a day down my gullet. And not every day, either. I'm working on snapping out of it.

My short, 1500 meter swim yesterday actually felt good, for a change. I did a 500x3 with about a minute between sets, on the short sides. Flip turns are becoming natural now, few mistakes and getting quicker through the turn. Because the pool didn't open until 10am, and I was there at 9am, I went on a little 3-miler before the swim. After the swim, I met Bacon for a snappy little 25 mile bike at around 18.7 mph pace - nice and aerobic. I remember when a tri like that would have left me spent all day - but now, its pretty refreshing at those shorter distances and slow paces. Neat stuff.

So we got an even 20 lbs to go, with only 12 weeks before my first race. 2 lbs a week is very doable, especially with the intensity on the steady rise from now until then. ONLY 12 WEEKS UNTIL THE SEASON STARTS AGAIN!!!!! I'm itching to get out of this "base phase" - I'm going to mix it up during the next cycle - do long rides and runs at base pace, and do the shorter stuff at a higher intensity.

On a somber note - Luke didn't get his prized new QR Seduza Tuesday as planned - it just was not in the cards (yet) - I think we all should give Luke a moment of silence.....thanks.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Run Focus

The month of January, and probably February for that matter, will be run focused - I'm such a crappy runner, that its going to take a lot of focus. In celebration of that fact, and in the knowledge of an easy week next week, I had an interesting weekend.

In the RaceAthlete Forum, I've made mention of my problems with my speedplay pedals. Well, they done left me again! The right pedal locked up on me, and spun completely off the crank arm, fortunately right at the beginning of the ride. Obviously I have not been keeping up with the greasing of my pedals - I really would like a set of pedals that require less maintenance! I was poised and ready for 62 miles this morning, so I had to do something...

Still clad in my bib shorts and riding shirt, I threw on a pair of sneaks and headed out on the loop. Planning on a ride today, I had run last night a good ways - 8.5 miles - so I started out good and sore. That didn't change much. For whatever reason, probably because the full loop is 11 miles, I decided to follow up my longish 8.5'er with a pretty long, slow run of 11. And slow it was - 2:24 later, I was on my way home.

I got a few goofy looks out here amongst the runners in my bibs - but they were really not that uncomfortable to run in. Running in bike shirts, I'd already learned, is no fun for me - the back of the shirt wants to hook under my ass and pull backward all the time, choking me. I had no choice though, I was goofy looking enough as I was, running in just the bibs would have been way too much.

Overall it was a crappy workout week. I could not get into a groove in the swim - hence my short 2 swim workouts. The biking was totally screwed - all that water from Tuesday's short ride was what probably caused the pedal to completely lock up. I guess the highlight of this week was the running - a 25 mile week is pretty good for me, especially with the 24 mile week the week before. I've got an Easy Week to snap out of it, and that's what I'm going to do.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stay Hungry

I've been seeing a lot of posting about goals for '07 and many of them revolve around weight. How to lose weight. What happens if I lose the weight. Why it's so hard to lose weight. Folks, it's time to embrace the weight. Relish in it. Be the weight. Feel the weight.

OK, not! I want to lose this inner tube as much as the next guy and gal. I ran my first 1/2 at 244 in November, and on Monday I tipped the scales at 258 - good grief!!!! I've been putting in these 10 hr weeks and still put on 14 lbs over the silly season. What is up with that? I'll tell you - cookies, brownies, chocolate, sweets, coke, beer, repeat. Add to all that ginormous portions at every meal, and I can truly say that I let myself go.

I have a skinny friend and athlete that told me a long time ago that the key for him was to "stay hungry". Stay hungry. Not an easy thing to do - but it's a feeling you can get used to. I'm not talking about Ethiopia hungry - it's just a mild hunger. Persistent - it almost gets satisfied at a meal. I started down this path again on Monday - and I'm embracing the hunger - it's going to become comforting. I'll know that when I'm feeling a little hungry, I'm probably burning off a few fat cells. I was hungry when I started my run last night, and was even hungrier when I sat down to dinner afterward. Good stuff.

Yea, I need to stop with the sweets. I've been soda and sweet-tea free since the 1st. No candy bars since the 1st. I've stopped going in for seconds ("he's going in!!!"). The mental key with the physical chaser is the reminder - the Mantra - to "Stay Hungry". Of course the adage works for many things in life. We can become complacent with work, family, friends, house, and even our physical performance or levels of success. We can become complacent with life. We get comfortable - its like that constant feeling of being full - having a full belly. It's a great feeling, but it really doesn't lead to anything good.

Staying Hungry always meant to me to be constantly looking to improve - even if you were doing good to start with. I'm going to stay hungry this season - this year. I'm going to be uncomfortable for a while - I'll work harder, train harder and live harder than I have in the past ("living harder" is my way of not getting sappy about relationships...). I'll be looking for that feeling - that hungry feeling - and when I don't feel it, than I'll know I'm not trying hard enough - I'm getting too comfortable again - and it's time, then to start up the mantra, "Stay Hungry"...."Stay Hungry".

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year's Eve Festivities

I, um, deleted the pictures of Aunt Edna and Cousin Lucinda - while funny, they should probably be left in the realm of "save as draft" blogs - to be used if necessary at a later date.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Breakfast

You set these resolutions and then first thing 2007 you are all hung over and have to go out to breakfast. There on the menu are all those awesome things - pancakes, sausages, strawberry toppings, whipped cream - right out of the shoot they tempt you.

I opted for a ham and cheese omelet. Not the worst choice and not the best - but I did opt out of the coffee (which I load up with cream and sugar) and "pushed away" from another slice of banana bread. I've got to substantially decrease the amount of sugar that goes into me. No more soda, no more coffee, no more chocolate. I almost grabbed a chocolate covered raisin left over from last night's festivities - almost.

So I'm back on the wagon - water and juice is about it for me, except for Gatorade on training rides. No more trips to the snack machine for a pop-tart or a 3-musketeer's bar. No more cookies with lunch. No, NO NOOOOO! Time to start sculpting the new me. The Svelte Clydesdale. Right....