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.