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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Weekend Update

One Adam 12, One Adam 12, see the man...that's right, folks, we have a new MAN. Don't hate the man. You know you wanna be the MAN. Our ever-racing Clydesdale stud Sweet Baboo has his striped shirt on and rule book in hand, heading to a USAT-sanctioned triathlon near you as an official USAT...Official! What I don't get is the whole male-on-male motorcycle riding thing. I mean, spending a morning with your best bud on the back of his bike just screams GAY! Maybe it's just me. (and no, that's not Roman on the back of that bike, either..but it kinda looks like him...hmmm)

Ironman Wisconsin has come and gone, with no lack of race reportage and plenty of photo documentation of the event. Awesome job everyone. Some things are now more clear than they were before the race.

Greyhound's wife loves his ass.

Texafornia looks a whole lot like Steve Buscemi. Old Crazy Eyes! Oh, we here at Bigun Studios could have went another using the pics of Jetpack and Tex frolicking on the ground on top of each other...but kids watch this show....

Ironman Official are on the lookout for whomever casued the deflation of a very valuable piece of merchandizing. In this photo obtained by Weekend Update, we think it was IronWil's freshly manicured Guido-like nails that did the trick. Or not.

As hard as Roman tries, he's just not going to fly
- he forgot his cape.

And speaking of capes, we have the venerable caped crusader Taconite Boy in the studio with us today. Welcome Taconite Boy to Weekend Update!

TB: It's Taconite Man.

Bigun: Excuse me?

TM: It's Taconite Man. I finished IMMOO, I saved the whole town of Madison from impending doom and almost certain certain power outage - now I'm Taconite Man.

Bigun: Sorry, it says here on the card Taconite Boy, I didn't mean anything by it.

TM: Good, 'cause if Trimama hears...

Trimama: What did he call you? That son-of-a-bitch Bigun - can't you get anything right?

Bigun: Really, I'm sorry - hey, tell us about those capes - you did a great job with those!

Trimama: Dont' be changing the subject with me, ya Ape. This man went 140.6 miles - no "boy's" gonna do that - it's "Man" for now on, you got it, or do I have to come over there?

TM: Thanks, dearest...I think he's got it..

Trimama: Don't "dearest" me, we still got to pay for all those cow print M-dot shirts you bought!

TM: Sorry.

Bigun: Ok, Taconite Man - great job. Trimama - please don't hurt me! Lets have a round of applause for the Superhero Iron-family...two Ironman, one pair of Iron Pants. Ehem...

In a related story, TriDummy raced across the IM finish line to be nary heard from again for weeks on end. He finally surfaced after a drunken, 10-state hell ride to be completely covered in fresh tattoos and hair. We now know that Tri-Dummy is Greek. Or he at least likes Greeks. Which explains a LOT. Check out this un-retouched IM tattoo - this is a Weekend Update scoop, folks, you'll see it first here! What is that? What? Copyright laws?!?! You guys get me a clear photo of that tattoo ASAP...uh, sorry folks, we seem to be having technical difficulties.

And in a final, heartwarming story, Blink, the Blinkster, Mr. Blink or Papa Blink, as his kids, the Blinkettes call him, finished his 52-mile ultra distance run last week was uber-fast (almost let a fact slip in there). On the advise of the Bigun, Blink set out his journey with a pre-race banquet of donuts, kit-cats and a Coke (standard Clydesdale pre-race nutrition). His one-day Clydesdale card was in jeopardy of being revoked, however, his 170lb manliness bellied up to the table and did what was necessary to take the Clydesdale win and forever hold the Clydesdale world record at the Bohemian Alps Run. I'm so proud.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Iron Week 40

Short update on the training front this morning, this Monday morning - in a word...mediocre. Work got in the way of any significant biking. My long run on Sunday was preempted by being a little hungover from the Jetpack's IM Wisconsin celebration Saturday night. Swimming was ok, really, nothing great.

This is the 3rd week in my current three week training cycle...somehow I need to make it a good one. I made some decisions last week: first, to run the Gasparilla Marathon instead of the half. Lets face it, I need to do it. Second, I purged my schedule of some ancillary races that I can just do on my own. Bike time trials, 10k races, and even Bike Across Florida - at $125 - don't help the Coeur d'Alene "fun fund".

On a good note, even hung over on Sunday my 6 mile run felt decent at a 10 min "easy" pace. I even stepped it up a notch for a mile and although that was my real signal that I wasn't doing 12 miles today, I felt fast without screaming my HR up to max (fast being around 8 min pace for me).

Ok! Enough of all that! Lets put a great week of training together this week! Spartans! (yea, I saw "300" last week...good movie!)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jelly Donuts

A weird thing happened to the Bigun today. 2200 meters into a...longer swim...I developed an intestinal urgency, unlike any I've had on previous swims. Making matters worse, I was still 50m away from the side of the pool where the bathroom was. That was a long 50 meters.

The break took the wind out of my sails. I finished out the 2500m, did an extra lap for the heck of it and then ran back home. Maybe it was the run to the pool that did me in? My goal was to do that run-swim-run workout twice this week, and I did it. That was a long 3 mile run home.

If you are still with me, I have a question for you. Andra Sue has a thing for donuts, like, who doesn't, right? I mean, donuts are still good when you leave them in the box three days after you bought them! They come with thier own handles. Someone even made earrings out of them (I wonder if they are edible?)Stale donuts are better than, say, broccoli any day and twice on Sunday. Off topic, but at Dunkin Donuts, not only can you get the best treat known to man, but you can wash it down with the best coffe known to man.

So, my question for you is, when it comes to filled donuts, like jelly donuts or Boston Cremes, are you a "from the hole" or a "to the hole" donut eater?

I can see the rational for either. I'm a "from the hole" donut eater - I like to spin that bad boy around until I find the entry point of all that sweet, gooey wonderfulness and it's from there I take my first bite. If you start from the exact opposite end, well, sure you get a giant heaping first bite of jelly, but you also run the risk of said jelly shooting out of the hole and all over your hand, or skirt, or tie, or running shoes in the case of most of us.

You can tell a lot about the quality of a jelly donut from the first bite when it's "from the hole". If that first bite is sans jelly...that donut gets a big red slash from the judges. It's sorely lacking the amounts of jelly necessary to qualify as a standard jelly donut by Judge Bigun. Take that first bite, and the back side splits open with a bulge of raspberry jelly now in the palm of your hand...another red slash across the donut race number! Another jelly donut manufacturing faux-paux. Poor quality. Sub-standard. If you eat "to the hole", you can never really tell these things about the luscious delectable you grasp in your sugar and caffeine-induced quivering hands.

Or, you could be the kind of weirdo that just picks up the alleged aforementioned jelly donut and simply digs in, care free and unbeknownst to the whereabouts of the hole. You, my friend, have a lot to learn.

From the hole, baby...from the hole.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lawn Bonk

That sun got to me today! It didn't help matters much that I was up at 4:30am to run and swim, but those 6 lawns afterward really did me in. I even tried some Orange Gatorade, in honor of IM, and while it gave me the boost necessary to finish that last one up, it did not give me the strength to motivate me to do that bike I had scheduled for today. Oh well.

It's actually been hard to post lately...I've been doing so much surfing and reading of other's blogs - you folks that spectated, sherpa'd and ran IMWOO have got all my attention these days. The stories and pictures have been great. It's hard to imagine that at some point we will have read enough about the experience. Really. When will enough be enough? I'll bet it will be just like the little kid in bed getting a story read to will be the story teller who decides they've had enough.

Tell me the story of IMMOO again, please? Just one more time....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Iron Week 41

The Bigun was busy all day Sunday watching peeps perform. IM Wisconson. Fantastic! I needed to watch I spent all day just watching (not entirely true - I got my long run in before the swim start, as I had never watched one, and HAD to be watching for that...) what I could on IMLive. I saw just about everyone finish - I just couldn't get to the camera on time for some of you. Sorry about that. My sincere and emphatic congratulations goes to everyone who toed the line and gave it their all on Sunday. It was an inspiration watching you do your thing! One of the folks I was watching was an old college roomate of mine, TA or Todd. He's in the video too, but he's not a blogger (don't be hate'n).

Iron Week 41 was a step in the right direction. The right direction for me could be many places, as long as I'm running to get there. The run is my Achilles. By June '08, it will not be.

I upped my run mileage for the week to 25 - a personal best for a week in a really long time. Also, I upped my long run distance to 11 miles. Time and pace...well, no matter really. Not yet. Put in the distance now, and those things will take care of themselves. It was not an "Iron run week"...but it's getting there. Once I'm over 30 weekly miles, I'll start to feel like it's worthy of the Iron Week label. Along those lines, I'm considering changing my Gasperilla Half Mary in February to the full deal. I'm shaking my head as I type this.

"The only Marathon I'll ever run again will be at the end of an Ironman" - Bigun

The bike proved to be problematic for me this past week. Only one ride of 58 miles early in the week. Had to work Saturday morning, and by the time I got done swimming, I just, well, was done for the day. I just added the Horrible Hundred to my event list for this's a killer, hilly bike ride up in Clermont, and any time "hills" and "bike" come up in the same sentence describing a local bike event, I'm in. I also just found the website for last years Bike Across Florida - 165 miles - that was held last April. Two months before IMCdA...sounds like a great deposit.

I finally did the "4:15am, run 3 miles to the pool, swim for an hour and then run home" workout I've been threatening myself with for a while now. It's got the makings for regular, at least 3x per week occurrence. I'll go for 2x this week, and if I get 3x, well, that will just be gravy. My 5k of swimming consisted of all 500m sets. I'm getting locked into that distance, and while that's not bad, I should mix it up a bit more. I'm really just happy to get in the pool these days.

Overall I got in a little over 9hrs of training in. Not a bad week really. One more bike, and I'd have had a good week. Oh well, put that one behind us.

Watching the swim to bike transition of IMWOO was an eye opener. The early folks all ran bare footed and stuck their feet in their bike shoes at the mount line. I will work more on that in the coming weeks, and put it to the test in the Florida Challenge Half.

Jetpack and Texafornia have a new website - 140dot6 - there's a link in my sidebar. The concept has me intrigued, so much so that I'm constantly on the alert for a place to do a self-supported full distance swim, bike and run. I think I found a great spot, save for the pool swim, which is ok. My sick mind has me looking for a date to put myself through this bit of torture, the earlier the better so that I can continue with training for the big show. Jan 6th sticks out of the calendar for me. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bigun's New Lawn Nemisis

Bigun got some speed work in today. Yep, full on sprint work. It wasn't planned, of course. There I was, minding my own business, when right in front of me was my dear friend, the WASP. No, not the White Anglo Saxon Princess kind either (although I'm not sure which is worse...).

I was happily, if not sweatily (if that's a word) cutting the hedges of customer #1 for the day, when I must have disturbed a nest of wasps - now I've cut these particular hedges before, and no occupants existed during my previous visits. They gave away the attack with WASP #1 - he flew straight for my face, and with my cat-like reflexes, I backed up a couple steps and it was then I spotted the main attack. 15 to 20 of the flying stingers pointed my way, pissed off that I had so boldly tried to cut up their home.

Spying their main effort I quickly (in a nano-second) deduced that a hasty retreat was in order. Emphasis on HASTY. With no time for a warm-up, I dropped my still running hedger (safety first - Mom always said never run with scissors, especially the kind with horse power) spun on my right foot and launched with the left, straight down a little hill. Screaming might have come into play - if a tree falls in the forest - but I don't remember. In my ever-so-quick beat-feet-ed-ness I, of course, stumbled and barrel rolled a good 25 t0 50 yards from my point of launch.

Worried that my obstacle entanglement may have cost me a clean get-a-way, I counterattacked with my trusty, yet sweaty, baseball cap. Flailing in earnest around my head and shoulders, I swatted with random patterns to be sure to thwart their Kamikaze-like attack flights. Taking a quick inventory, I realized that I had no burning holes in my appendages; I had escaped Scot-free! The Wasp Commander must have known whom he was dealing with and sounded the recall of his attack squadron - I missed all that. I'm sure the little buggers got a good laugh...but when the owners bring in the heavy guns tomorrow - Raid or Raid-like products - I'll be the one with the last laugh!

No sooner had I packed my lawn equipment into the trailer when I noticed a bit of stiffness in my right quad...sure enough - I pulled something! Crimeny - now I have to stretch every morning before cutting grass on the off chance I have another fight-or-flight encounter with the Florida wildlife. This business just gets more and more interesting every day.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Luke's Back

Hip Hip - Hurray! Our Tri-buddy Luke (left) is back from his hernia surgery - back to training that is! Luke met me for a ride this morning early and rode 25 miles at a nice, easy 18 mph pace. The great thing about Flatwoods is that with the loop, when he was done, he could stop, and I could just keep on trucking. Luke and his family have done just about every local Tri that the Bigun family has done, except recently he's been relegated to spectator duty. It's a relief to know that he's back in the saddle and looking forward to racing again.

Speaking of racing. Luke is actually talking of registering for the IMFL70.3 in Orlando, held on May 18th '07. Excel Man, a more recent addition to our Tri-racing network (and also good friends - he and Green Eyed Lady went to see the latest Bourne movie last night with Team Bigun, preceded with a stop at MOE'S for burritos...) is also signing up for the race. Now I've been waved off of this Half Ironman due to it's proximity to IMCdA, just 5 weeks later - but with Luke running in his first Half, well, who knows? They'll both need more cowbell - and I got's plenty o' dat!

I'm starting the week out strong with a 8 mile run and a 58 mile bike so far. Gotta get in the pool today sometime, and keep the ball rolling. Only a 3 week training cycle then a 2 week cycle before tapering for the Florida Challenge half, and they need to be big weeks. Excel Man (right) cracks me up...he's out running 19-mile runs and pulling off 120-mile bike rides and still clings to the notion that he's going to finish in 5:45. Nostrabigus has him coming in long before then - I'm figuring around 5:30 or so, but then again, I'm a pretty poor predictor of race times. He, of course, has spread-sheets and computer aided race time extrapolators that can take Oly times and Sprints and predict other distances. At some point in the race, I'll be providing him with a huge boost of motivation - whatever time it is when he blows by me (hopefully not until the run)!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Chief Black Cloud

I feel like I've taken a hand full of downers, like I'd really know how that would feel (I'm such a boy scout when it comes to drugs...nope, not even a toke of pot - Di, stop your giggling...), where was I? Oh, the Chicago Triathlon experience has just left me...down. I hate this feeling. I hate losing faith in people. Roman races hard, does everything right, and the RD questions his integrity and "out of the goodness of her heart" makes the decision to award him the division first place. I can't stand that - people carelessly questioning someones honor. That immediately tells me all I need to know about that person - they themselves have no idea what honor is, what it means, and given the choice will always take the easy way. Not the right way. The easy way. So there's that.

101 gets cancelled. Still find it incredulous that people in the business of putting on races would spend all that time, money and effort and two months before an event just cancel an entire series. Of course, therein lies the problem - triathlon is a business on one side, the RD side, and anything but business to the athletes. But now my season's ending a month earlier. The bright side is that I've longer to train specifically for Coeur d'Alene. Yea.

Business has been HELL. Trying to fit 10lbs of sh#$ into a 8lb bag has been exhausting. I'm finally caught up, but I've got zero, nada, nichivo-niet, nill, nein - nothing in the way of training done for an entire week. What a slug. I didn't do a darn thing before last week's race either. 2 weeks and alll I've done is race once. Yuck! I feel like a large, round pile of crap. Is this a preview of Ironman tapers to come? Good grief, I'm addicted to training! There is light at the end of this tunnel called Florida Summer. I think the grass starts to go dormant in October, needing to be cut only half as much. Yea.

It's time to snap out of it. "this town needs an enema!". I'm setting the alarm for 4am on Monday. I'm getting up, running to the pool, swimming, and then running home. That's all there is to it. I will do well at the Florida Challenge Half. I will train hard these next three weeks. I am going to eat right. Sleep right. Repeat. Next Sunday, instead of feeling shitty like I do know, I'll be on a 12 mile long-run, thinking of my brothers and sisters in Madison going much, much longer. The energy will have been transferred from negative to positive. Then I'll sit down in front of the TV which will be cabled to my PC and we'll watch IMLive and cheer and beam and probably cry a little for our friends. Good tears. Yea.