Here’s the sign outside of the men’s locker room at the Park City Aquatic Center:

opposite genderI can’t help but wonder – why did they say “children of the opposite gender”? Why didn’t they just say GIRLS? Are they afraid of being gender-specific? (Park City is, without a doubt, the most Californicated town in Utah). I hope that that’s not it – the existence of men’s and women’s locker rooms is already pretty gender specific.

I’m not even going to bother asking about the rest of the sign;  if there is a family dressing room, then there must be some reason why “children of the opposite gender” can’t change in there with their parents. I’m sure that that all makes sense somehow.

(For some reason, my spell checker doesn’t like “men’s” but is okay with “women’s”. Is THAT gender specific?)

Don’t ask me; I have no dog under this porch. I no longer have any children of any opposite gender; Ethel and I have been empty-nesting it for a few years now. I think that Silas has been gone for three years now; what a strange thing to say. I went through two iterations of kids, and they are all gone. My eldest granddaughter should have her learner’s permit by now.

I’ve been going to the Park City Aquatic Center once a week for a Friday long swim. I’ve been working from home on Fridays, and it’s cheaper, quicker and easier to pay the four bucks and swim up here than it would be to drive the 18 miles to swim for free at my gym. Fact is, though, I’ll still be driving to the valley today – I have a 5:30 meeting down on Foothill Drive.

And I’ve been driving to the valley on Saturdays, as well, to run and bike; this weekend, I’m going down there to ride with a friend, but I’ll be doing a Sunday long run alone up here. Herr Doktor Hersey has me doing three long workouts this week, with no doubling up – my 90 minutes/3500 yards in the pool this morning, then a three-hour mountain ride tomorrow, then 90 minutes of canyon running on Sunday.

Two weeks from now, I’ll be in St. George, getting ready to race the next day. I’m supposed to do a short, easy open water swim in the reservoir there to get used to the idea of open water swimming.

I hope that they have a place for me to change, free of observation by any genders that might be opposite.

 

 

Here was the scene in front of my house this morning :

mytwovehiclesI had to bring the bike to town to get the cables and linkages tightened up. I’ve put 1700 miles or so on this bike in the last few months, so things had gotten pretty stretched out.

Isn’t that a pretty sight? My two vehicles! (If you look in the background, you’ll see our other vehicle - the Santa Fe. It’s been there for a while now. I still don’t feel good about that). I’m very happy with the Audi – much happier than I thought I would ever be with whatever vehicle replaced the Beemer. And I have gotten very attached to my bike. Something well over a hundred hours in the saddle will do that, I suppose. You either grow to love the bike, or get rid of it : )

Speaking of time in the saddle, this week I passed 100,000 yards in the pool training for this thing – 101,150, actually, with another 3500 coming tomorrow. That’s 57.1818 miles of swimming. Never thought that I would swim that far; I’m not much faster now than when I started, and I still swim more than 30 strokes to a length, but I can go a lot longer : )

Still not running very well. This morning, I had a cardiac stress test; first they did about a half-hour of ultrasound on my heart, then they put me on a treadmill and shot it up to a steep incline and had me running most riki-tiki. There were no preliminary indications of any problem, which means that there’s nothing yet that they can fix. And if they can’t fix anything, then I can’t get faster. And if I can’t get faster, then I can’t get faster. And that’s an intolerable situation. But I’ll have to learn to tolerate it, won’t I?

 

Since Ethel got her new car, she’s taken to parking at angles, taking up two spaces.

The idea here is that then nobody park right beside her, and thus she’s less likely to get a ding or a scratch.

That is the sort of thing to which I do not react well; even though she does do this further out in the lots (rather than parking in close) it’s the simple presumption of “Yes, I have a fancy car, and so I get two parking spaces” that ties my tummy up in knots.

Of course, sometimes, it’s just a little too late to keep from getting the odd scratch or ding…

TooLateI see this guy parking his car like this, and I want to say “Hey Ethel! See? It doesn’t work!”

I took this pic last Thursday; this morning, as I drove in, he was parked just like this again, but strangely enough there was another white Alero that looked to be the same year and trim parked beside him (in the slot just past where you see him here – between him and the “2″) that seems to be in much better shape, but he only takes up one slot.

It’s strange -when I see cars parked like this – taking up two slots so that they won’t get scratched – then I want to scratch them. I have an atavistic impulse to scratch my key along the side of the car and leave a note that says “Hey, dude! You think you get to take up two parking spaces because you are so special and your car is so nice? Well, NANNER-NANNER-BOO-BOO!” Yep, that gremlin exists inside of me.

Obviously I have a problem with people believing that they deserve special treatment; inherent in that problem is the certainty that that means that I must have that very same belief in my own right to special privileges, and that I am ashamed of it. I can’t – right now, sitting here typing this – bring to consciousness exactly how this motive is poisoning my soul….nope, nothing comes to mind. But it’s there, and it had best be dug out before it causes me a collision with somebody else.

N.B. – I wrecked my Audi the other day; you can’t actually tell unless you look at the rear bumper very closely. We are not yet sure whether or not we are going to let Allstate pay for the other person’s car, or if we are going to pay for it out of pocket.

When I tossed some trash into the dumpster at Liberty Park on Saturday, I saw that somebody must have gone on a sudden diet -

DumpsterDonuts

This was after a 90 minute run, and before an ill-advised bike ride up to (and over) Emigration Pass. Those donuts could have helped to fuel this silliness, but I figured that folks’d freak out if’n I reached into a dumpster and pulled out God’s Own Energy Food.

The 90 minute run – most of which was with BillyBob – was pleasant enough; the ride up Emigration Canyon, however, (btw – that last bit there was a link. In WordPress, links don’t show up very well, but if you want to see the maps and graphs for that ride, just click the “Emigration Canyon” phrase) was, although easy enough, very uncomfortable.

Now, it wasn’t riding uphill for an hour and fifteen minutes before getting a break that was “uncomfortable”. In fact, the climb went so well that, rather than turn around at the top, I dropped down into the Little Dell side and picked up another thousand feet of climb. The “uncomfortable” part started as I got near the top on the way back; the wind stiffened, and then it started snowing, and then it REALLY started snowing…

..then, at the top, I dropped down into a headwind, and the snow went crazy. As I came down Emigration, I had a brief respite from the wind during the big switchback at the top, but then I got eleven miles of headwind all the way back to Liberty Park. Now, a headwind on a downhill isn’t a bad thing – it’s not like you’re working hard or anything – unless, of course, that headwind is showing snow into your face and dropping the apparent temperature twenty or thirty degrees.

Then the snow turned into rain, which was worse than the snow – the snow was colder, but dryer.

Then, as I came out of the canyon, all of the windbreaks disappeared, and I got to experience the real wind – just as it starting hailing.

Strangely enough, as I got back to Liberty Park, to my car and comfort, the wind stopped, the rain stopped, and the sun came out.

But it was too late – I was already hypothermic. I managed to get the bike on top of the car, and drive up to the house, but thank goodness Ethel had a hot bath waiting for me; it took a while for the shivers to completely stop.

And I forgot to grab the donuts : )

 

Some years back – more years than I care to think about right now – I was talking with my sponsor about buying a new treadmill.

I had worn out my last treadmill, and wanted to get a new one, but didn’t think I should spend the money, and he said “Well, it’s not like you use your treadmill to hang laundry on. You really use it.”

Here’s my treadmill right now, here in the Office of Ouch:

Laundry

Now, to be fair, all of the laundry hanging on the treadmill is workout laundry; even the towel is the towel from my gym bag.

However, I haven’t used the treadmill much lately, because when I’ve been running on a ‘mill, it’s been down in the valley, right before swimming. That’s part and parcel of triathlon training, I suppose (editor’s note: I type “triathlon”, but I say – and hear others say “triath-a-lon”. I just checked – there are many uses of Triathalon, but none of them seem to be official – and the only visible first-Google-page definition using that spelling is in the Free Online Dictionary, so I reckon you get what you pay for) – I am training more hours but much less of that is running. Dagnabbit.

This is a short week – supposed to be 8 hours – after last week’s long week (turned out to be just over 14 hours, with a good bit of that at reasonable intensity) of which I already have 4.5 hours in the bag – 1 hour of running, 1.5 of swimming, and 2 hours on the bike. It looks like rain and snow this weekend, but I need more running and biking. Billy Bob seems willing to meet tomorrow to run in the cold and rain, so I reckon that that is, indeed, what I will do. That would be a great time to run on this treadmill, though : )

Yesterday I got roof racks installed on the Audi, and bike racks on top of that – two bike racks, with one for Ethel. Ethel is going to get a bike. She was only thinking about buying a bike, but then she told me to buy the extra bike rack, so now Ethel is by-jingo gonna be getting a bike. That bike rack cost more than any bicycle I ever bought (until, of course, the bike I’m on now, which cost as much as a two-week vacation in Costa Rica, not counting tips). I suspect that what I will do in the morning is mount my bike on the rack and take my cycling kit, and then run w/BillyBob in Liberty Park. If the weather is good, then I’ll ride afterwards, either in one of the parks or over in Emigration Canyon. If the weather is bad, then I’ll just bring the bike home and put it on the trainer.

Four weeks from tomorrow is The Big Silliness. I started training for this in mid October (although I had been doing very limited cycling and swimming before that; this seems to have been the impetus in my friend Ian’s asking me to do the *&^%$#@ triathlon) and as far as I can tell, I was in better shape in November than I am now. I suspect that, for me, running is what gets me in the best shape, and doing other things detract from that.

But I signed up for the Stupidathon, so I’m gonna see it through.

 

…or, at least, a Puckett of my variety.

Woke up this morning and ran, and swam, and lifted. Felt like a good day, a positive day. Dropped the car off at Strong Audi to get base bars and bike racks mounted – we’re gonna get a bike for Ethel, too.

Came into the office, and our stock – which was at $116 a few weeks ago – was down an awful lot.

wdaydown

So I called my broker and had him buy me a mess of it. A feller can do that, when a feller has a broker. I have no concerns over Workday – this place is only going to get better and do better.

(editor’s note: I don’t know at this time that I’ll be a part of that, because I still feel like the dumbest guy in the room. But I’m still buying WDAY every payday through the ESP plan. This company is going places. You heard it here first. Or thirty-first…)

Then I heard some interesting information that I just realized that I can’t post here – dangit. Suffice it to say that it’s the sort of thing that makes a feller go “HUH? Who whaddinaheck? They WHAT? WHO wants to talk to me about WHAT?” (someday I’ll be able to tell you folks about this. But for right now – trust me. Big weirdness).

Then I heard that Go Daddy has filed to go public. And my shares are gone. Butter my butt and call me a biscuit.

Then I found out that the Canyons has offered to buy Park City, and build the chairlift connecting them.

That’s enough for now : ) I am gonna go home and watch the first episode of Firefly. We started to watch it last night, but we were running late, so I stopped it after the opening credits. “You can’t take the sky from me…”

 

Spent the weekend in St. George, attempting to slay the dragon.

Dragon: 1
Jim:        0

 

stgeorgebikemapThe bike, which is supposed to be 56 miles with 4000+ feet of vertical, came out to 54 miles and 3000 feet of vertical per my GPS – I missed some turns in town, but I did what I thought was appropriate backtracking. Oh, well. ‘Tis what it is. I’ve heard that it’s less, and I’ve heard that it’s more, but whatever it is on May 3rd is whatever it will be.

During the last mile or so of the ride, my left leg started cramping, badly enough to cause me to yank the shoe out of the pedal and extend it out to one side, trying to keep it from cramping. This…did not work. Also, my triceps had started cramping a bit, from being bent over the hoods so much; while being over the aero bars is faster, it’s also less stable for steering at speed, and the last 11 miles or so of this ride is downhill, so I was over the hoods with my arms bent – thus the cramping triceps.

I finished up the ride not at the appointed T2 transition (read: at the place where you are supposed to stop riding the bike and start running) but, instead, at our motel, since I wasn’t running that day and saw no need to walk a mile in my click-clack shoes. As I turned into the motel parking lot, I realized that there was a 2 inch lip that I was about to hit, and I was going to hit it at an angle, instead of straight on – so I hit it at the angle, and then (of course) I hit the ground. Pow. Ow. Oh, well, just one more reason not to be a triathlete.

After the ride, I got into a tub of cold water, but the cramps started hitting me again and I was seizing up and splashing the room (and Ethel) and Ethel did not say “Oh, you poor baby – that must hurt!” Instead, she said “Stop splashing water out of the tub!” This kept up for a while, as I transitioned from a cold plunge to a hot bath – the cramps didn’t care. They were agnostic as to water temperature.

When the cramping subsided, Ethel and I did some sightseeing before going to dinner with friends, then I went home and prepped for my Sunday morning run:

stgeorgerunmapThis went much better, as I started out slower (running with a friend, who was kind enough to keep the conversation going on the uphills) and stayed more hydrated. She peeled off at 8 miles, and then I started hammering the downhills (well, “hammering” as much as an out-of-shape 55 year old can “hammer”) all the way back home. It was still slower by 45 minutes than any half marathon that I’d ever done until I left Utah the first time, but “lo how the mighty have fallen”.

I reckon, given the experience of the weekend, I’m still going to try this thing. We reserved a room for the IM/2 Friday and Saturday nights (the race is on a Saturday, but I have no interest in attempting to return that evening – I can just imagine me in the passenger seat of Ethel’s new car, kicking and punching everything as my legs and arms go into seizures. Yeah, that’d make for a fun trip) and I’m getting new electrolyte drink and will be doing some faster runs. We’ll see.

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