Thursday, May 29, 2008

I AM READY or not!

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” — The archbishop of Malines-Brussels

I registered for Honu — the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii — today. I'm officially checked in. I have my official race numbers for my shirt, bike and helmet. I've turned in my bike-to-run gear (shoes, socks, hat and misc. stuff) and have my bag for the swim-to-bike transition ready to turn in tomorrow. I've been banded (see photo) and have my swim cap. I am ready to pay the price for my dream — to be half an Ironman. Well, honestly that's not my dream, but it is a step toward my dream of becoming an Ironman.
But what makes me feel even more ready is I actually ran today. I haven't ran since late last week because of a bad calf muscle. But today I climbed onto the treadmill and ran one mile. It's only one mile but there was no pain and my legs felt fresh. The only bad thing is I ran right after eating a big plate of pasta, a cupcake and some ice cream (hey, I'm carbo loading ...) Not a good idea to run on such a full stomach, but it still felt great.

After registering at the Mauna Lani Hotel, I drove the nearly five miles to Hapuna where the swim course is and where the bike portion of the race starts. It's very beautiful there. Even from the parking lot you can see the palm trees framing the gorgeous ocean.
I went for a short swim, about half the race course. The water is very warm there. It was windy today with lots of heavy chop and swells. Basically, a typical day at the pier, but this was Hapuna. Anyhow, I felt pretty much at home in all the chop since I learned to swim in this kind of water. You just have to get the feel for the energy of the ocean. It was rough swimming south, since I breathe on my right side. The chop was right in my face. But as soon as I turned north it was pretty easy.

The nice thing with Hapuna is it is all sand on the bottom and the water movement creates ripples in the sand that parallel the shore pretty much. What that means is you don't need to sight as often because you can generally follow the ridges in the sandy bottom and go straight. That's presuming the race course will parallel the shore.

So, I am ready for Saturday. I'm nervous, excited, scared, confident, doubtful and so many other emotions on this roller coaster ride. The distances seem overwhelming at times. And at other times, well, they still seem overwhelming. But here's to paying the price for my dream of becoming a full-fledged Ironman some day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” So wrote an American novelist and poet.

The summer between my sixth and seventh year in school, my mom, my sisters and my brother and I, along with my aunt, uncle and cousin, crammed into a car and headed from Oregon to Indiana to visit our relatives. It was hot, smelly, cramped and long. But the funny thing is, I don't remember too much about who we went to see, what we did there or what it looked like. But I do remember the journey. The states we drove through, the sights, the sounds. And even though it was uncomfortable and tiring, it was fun. It was an adventure.

As race day approaches, I was reflecting on the past seven months of training. From couch potato to triathlete. All the miles of biking, swimming and running. In the past couple of weeks alone I've biked 203 miles, ran 56 miles and swam 33,000 yards. Not a lot for a lot of athletes, but for me I'm amazed and proud.

I'm sure as time goes by, I'm going to forget all the details of the Honu this Saturday. The scenery, how I felt, how hard it was. But you know what? I think I'll always remember my first ride to Hawi, that great run to Paul's Place up Hualalai, seeing that manta ray at Hapuna and thinking it was a shark at first (and how fast I really can swim when scared). And especially all the wonderful people I've met this year through training.

So, forgive my pity party yesterday. I temporarily lost sight of what this is all about. “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

Take care, have a great race, but remember to enjoy the journey. Well, gotta go. It's swim time.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Yes, I'm throwing a pity party, so if you've had one recently bring your violins and lets party! Karen and I have been throwing a few pity parties together for the past couple of days. I know I don't have a right to complain after what Karen has been through, but like the song says, "it's my party and I'll cry if I want too ..."

What a roller coaster ride. When you have an injury, that's what it feels like you are on. At least emotionally. There are days I feel like I'm healing fast and I'm eager for Saturday to get here. Then there are the other days (and sometimes it's just a matter of hours) when I feel like I'm not healing at all and I dread that race day is so close. It gets very frustrating knowing that I am finally in pretty good shape, but can't walk without a limp or without it hurting, let alone try to run. And on top of all that, I have a brand new pair of running shoes that my work bought me that I haven't even been able to try out.

Let's back up for a minute. For the past few weeks I've been having a pain in my right calf area whenever I run. Late last week just when I was about finished with my run my calf decided to amp up the pain a few notches. I'm not sure if I pulled something, all I know is I can't put too much weight on my toes without my calf feeling like I'm being hit with a baseball bat. For a few days I couldn't even pedal my bike. (HEAR THOSE VIOLINS YET????)

At least now I can pedal without any pain. I rode the indoor trainer for 30 minutes today with no problem. Progress? I hope so. But that's how my days/hours have been. I get all excited because the pains about gone and I can put some weight on my toes, then a little later, I can barely walk. Depressing to say the least. I AM NOT A PATIENT PERSON.

I've been spending a lot of time in the pool swimming and aqua jogging. I'm finding out that aqua jogging is pretty hard. Strike that, It's very hard. I'm breathing harder just doing one lap in the pool than I do when I'm out on the road. Even when I heal up, I'm adding aqua jogging to my training. Today I swam for 30 minutes, then "jogged" in the pool for 30 min., then rode the indoor trainer for 30 min. And my legs were beat.

I'm determined to finish Honu no matter what my leg is feeling like (CUE VIOLINS AGAIN). As long as I can hit the bike hard I should be able to make the time limit on the run, even if I have to walk the whole thing. I'm still optimistic that my leg will be pretty strong by Saturday. I'm icing it, wrapping it, elevating it and having lots of water therapy. Who knows, maybe once I get warmed up on the run it'll loosen up and be just fine. That's what I'm hoping for. Expect the worst, hope for the best ... or something like that.

OK, party's over. Let me know if anyone needs a few violins ... Hey Honey, where's my Rocky theme song CD at?

Friday, May 23, 2008


Today I was going to write about the transforming shark/manta ray I saw while swimming at Hapuna yesterday. It was going to be a whopper of a tale, too. About a creature that changed from a hammerhead shark to a giant angel fish into a very close manta ray. But sometimes life happens and everything falls apart.

Karen was coming home from work yesterday (Thursday) just after 4 p.m. It was pouring down rain and she was on her moped. Then, just a block from our house, it happened. Her moped slipped out from under her on a corner and down she went. Fortunately, she was only going between 5 and 10 miles per hour, so she didn't get much road rash. She did get banged on the head (not wearing a helmet!) a skinned knee and cut up her right hand pretty bad.

She called me at my work while she was still on the ground.
Of course I panicked because she was crying and saying she was bleeding. So I rushed home as fast as I could during rush hour. I panicked even more when I saw her. She had a huge knot just above her right eye brow with blood dripping down. Her hand looked mangled and her knee was bloody.

One look at her and I knew we needed to get her to the hospital. By the time we got to the hospital (it took about 40 minutes because of traffic) Her lump on her head was starting to go down a little. Her hand was still bleeding though. After X-rays and a CAT scan and a thorough exam nothing was broken or out of place. Just some chunks of skin missing on her hand, knee and forehead. No stitches required.

By the way, it was her idea for me to take pictures of her so I could send them to our daughter, Rebecca, to let her know her mom was OK. Last night Karen slept OK. As today goes on she is starting to feel the effects more and more. She slept for quite a while this afternoon. We are keeping an eye on her, but she seems to be her normal self.
No running or swimming until her wounds heal — doctor's orders.

Oh, about that shark to manta ray thing, I'm still shaking ...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I learned something today. Or maybe I should say I remembered something. Something I had long since forgotten. It took the punishment of "The Wall" to make me remember. The Wall is what I call Hualalai Road. Proper pronunciation is something like "who-ALL-a-lie" but most people pronounce it "who-WALL-a-lie" I just call it The Wall. Try running or biking up it and you'll see what I mean.

Today I ran up The Wall to Paul's Place in Holualoa. From my house it's about 8 miles round trip. Four miles up hill, four miles down hill. And it seems to get steeper the farther up you go. Today I did pole sprints while trudging up The Wall. I would sprint from one power pole to the next, then jog to the next, then sprint to the next and so on. It's brutal. And trust me, my sprinting up hill isn't much different from my jogging up hill. But it's the perceived effort that counts.

Because of my leg injuries (and because I'm just plain old) I can't run all out on level ground and still be expected to have full use of my legs, so running hard up hill is the best I can simulate an all-out sprint.

So today as I was running The Wall, I started remembering back to when I was "a runner." When I went my whole senior year undefeated in cross country and track (the mile and two mile.) But it wasn't that year that I was thinking about so much as it was what it took to get there. It actually started four years earlier, when I was a freshman.

I was at my first big cross country meet in Portland, Ore. It was called the Champoeg (pronounced shampooey) Invitational. There must have been 300 to 400 runners. We were lined up by teams along the starting line. The fastest runner had his toe on the line, the second fastest was right behind him and so on. And there I was. A freshman and the fifth fastest on our team of seven.

I remember it was cold and sunny. I was scared to death. I was positive I was going to get trampled. The gun went off. Elbows and knees flew as the pack took off across the huge field. It took several hundred yards before we spread out enough so you could take a full stride. (Sounds a lot like a triathlon swim start huh?) When the race was over I was still shaking. I promised myself that one day I would win that meet.

Fast forward to the last day of my junior year. Those of us who were returning to the cross country team the next year made a pact. We would run 10 miles a day for the next 100 days (every day during the summer and then some). We called it the 1,000 mile club. And out of the seven varsity runners, five of us held to that commitment and ran 1,000 miles in 100 days. If we missed a day, we made it the next day.

It was during that time that I discovered a place deep inside myself that if I went there mentally, I could run as hard as I could, for as long as I wanted. The pain was still there, but it didn't matter. It was like the mind was disconnected from the body. I would hit my stride and fly. It was wonderful. Magical.

That year our cross country team went undefeated and I fulfilled a promise I made to myself four years earlier and won that meet that I had once been terrified in.

Today's run for some reason reminded me of my home town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range. The rural feel of The wall. The cows, the climb, the curves, opened a flood of memories for me today. And for a brief moment, I was a runner again.

"Nature has been for me, for as long as I remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion." — Lorraine Anderson

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Emerson once wrote, "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Today was a beautiful day. I was on my bike riding hills in the wind and sunshine. What is not beautiful about that. When I left my house this morning with my bike loaded up in my Bronco, it was raining. But I was heading north, to the land of perpetual sunshine.

I reached Hapuna State Park around 7:30 and was on the road by 7:40. Right around the time I'll be hitting the bike on race day I figure. A nice little breeze was blowing south, so once I made my way down to Mauna Lani for the turn around I had a good head wind. I was trying my hardest to pretend I was racing in Honu. Trying to see if I could hold an easy pace for the first 10 miles or so until I hit the real hills. I was trying to use the time on Queen K as a warm up and to just get settled onto the bike. I figure enough riders will go too hard on this part and suffer on the climb to Hawi.
Once I got climbing I couldn't believe how blue the ocean was and how clean the air looked. No vog up here today. Everything was fine until I hit the turn around and I got a flat. Since I was pretending I was racing, I decided to see just how fast I could change a flat. I'm not fast I discovered! Once I got the new tube on I grabbed an air cartridge and put it in the handy-dandy handle so I could inflate my tire. As soon as I screwed in the head of the handle my cartridge nearly exploded in my hand, emptying all of its very cold air in an instant. GREAT! I only had one tube, two cartridges and one Pit Stop (a fix-a-flat for bikes). So now I'm down to one cartridge. So I grab it, screw it gingerly into the handle and place it onto the valve stem. Presto! my tire inflated instantly. I hop on my bike, crossing my fingers I don't get another flat.

What's worse than getting one flat, when you are nearly 25 miles from your vehicle? Getting another flat and only having fixin's for one. Yep. About 8 or 9 miles down the road, the same tire fizzles. I pull over. I'm getting really nervous now. If Pit Stop doesn't work I'm walking nearly 15 miles. So I pull out the Pit Stop, say a quick prayer, and push it on to the valve. NOTHING. I pull it off and look at the end. Looking always seems to fix things doesn't it?

I Don't see anything wrong so I put it back on and push. Nothing again. I wiggle it around. VIOLA! It begins to inflate my tire. But just as soon as my hopes begin to rise, all of that white foamy stuff begins to shoot out of the wheels valve stem hole. And that nice head wind I was trying to make friends with on the bike blows it all over me. I'm standing there covered in white foam, looking like the Michelin Man holding my flat bike tire. A car passes and honks. No doubt laughing at the sight.

I guess the Pit Stop people didn't think it was important to put on the directions not to stand downwind just in case it doesn't work. So with only the prospect of walking 15 miles, I pack up, put my wheel back on my bike and start pushing.

Saturday I wrote about how little traffic there is along this road, now I was cursing it. Yes, I did try to hitch a ride from the five or so vehicles that passed me, but with no luck. After a bit I gave up and decided that if I couldn't bike then I would run.

I found out bike shoes don't make good running shoes. But on the positive side, I'm a forefoot runner in bike shoes. After a couple of miles of running, walking and hitching, a cyclist came along and had mercy on me. She gave me a tube and a couple of air canisters. I'm always amazed at the friendliness and generosity of triathletes. She's doing Honu, too. So I sat down and went through the whole process again. This time I made sure I took my time and did things right. And wouldn't you know it. As I sat there changing my tube, no less than three cars stopped to see if I needed help. Where were they when I was hitching?

1) Carry more tubes/air
2) Don't rush a flat repair
3) Be prepared to hand over your spare tube and air if you come across a cyclist down on his/her luck
4) If you need to resort to hitching a ride, Don't use your thumb, just sit down and pull off a wheel.

So, as Emerson wrote, "Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

I look forward to what new adventure awaits me tomorrow. I'm swimming and running hills. Now what possible blunders could happen with that???

Monday, May 19, 2008


The plan for today was to swim 2,500 yards, then run 11 miles, all the while testing a new nutrition/hydration plan. Since I'm reading a book about athletes and diet, I'm trying some new things, such as adding more protein to my breakfast and workout nutrition. The book recommends a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Not that I'm getting that exact, but I was only pushing protein after workouts in my recovery food.

The book recommends eating breakfast two to three hours before exercise/race. That usually isn't possible for me since I train as soon as I wake up. But today I pushed it a little too close. I ate breakfast then hit the pool about 20 minutes later.

My plan was to do 4x500s, then a 500 cool down. But during my cool down I became pretty nauseous, so I got out after 2,150 yards. It's funny how I managed to do my workout fine and then get nauseous on the cool down.

I was really dreading having to run 11 miles on a queazy stomach, but this is no time to be a crybaby about it. Just get it down. Times running out.

On top of that, 11 miles would be a record for me, distance-wise. So I put on my running shoes and took off. Not feeling well at all. But then I thought, how often do we get the chance to practice dealing with nausea? All though that didn't make me feel any better, it gave me a goal — see if I could stick with my nutrition/hydration plan while feeling nauseous.

For the past three weeks I haven't seem to get past running any farther than 9 miles at a time. But today I was determined to reach 11 miles, nausea or not. I did fall behind on my hydration plan. I just couldn't take in more than a swallow of liquid for the first few miles. After that however, my stomach settled down and I was able to keep hydrated.

My time wasn't any good, but I finally broke through that barrier and hit 11 miles. My goal is 15 miles by the end of this week. If I can do 15 miles, then I'll feel a little more confident that I can do 13.1 at Honu. Today I accomplished an unplanned training session and discovered how my body reacts to liquids, gels and a banana while being nauseous on a long, hot run. Of course, it's a lesson I would have preferred not to have to learn ...

My plan for tomorrow: Morning: Ride the Honu bike course again plus a few extra miles. Evening: swim. This is my over distance week. Exceeding Honu distance in all three sports. Hopefully, I can pull them all together on the big day. It's going to be an exciting day. I can't wait.

The drawing above is left over from my cartoonist days, except this one was drawn on the computer ...

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I rode the Honu bike course today. 56 miles of hills. I love this course. It's country, it's challenging and it's quiet.

After turning onto Akoni Pule Highway and riding for a couple of miles I noticed my bike was making a noise I hadn't heard before. Since it's a new bike, I was a little concerned. Then I realized my bike wasn't making noise, it was just so quiet that I could hear my bike. Then it occurred to me: there's no traffic. No traffic noise. Sure, cars would go by, but one or two every 5 minutes or so. Not that constant stream of traffic like on the Queen K. I was back in the country again. A big smile spread across my face as I climbed one of the many quad-busting hills.

For the first time in two and a half years I rode on the road. Not the shoulder, but the actual road. After riding the Queen K and Alii Drive for two and a half years with all the traffic. It was a pleasant surprise.

When we lived near Lake Tahoe, I could ride for hours and never see a car. I'd be riding in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, criss crossing the Nevada/California border, up and down hills. The roads would be lined with pastures full of cattle and there would be wild mustangs grazing along side the roads. That's where I first discovered cycling. The solitude, the peace, the climbing. Since we've moved from there, I haven't had a ride that has been devoid of nearly constant traffic — until today. I love that course!

I love hills, I love wind. So this course is for me. Unfortunately, I didn't get to experience the infamous wind today. It was really calm. I did hit a "little" wind a couple of miles before the turn around, but no problems, except on the way back. A couple of gusts nearly blew me off the road and I had to hit the brakes. But that only lasted a couple of miles.

The photo above is one of the many long straight stretches on the way to Hawi. I don't think there is any level ground. It is either uphill or downhill. As you can see, no traffic. Not sure what it is like on week days, or if this was just an unusually slow day for traffic, but I love this course ...

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Wow! What a ride. Just a few months ago I couldn't swim, I weighed 25 pounds more than I do now and I hadn't run more than a mile in years. In fact, the only exercise I'd really done in the past five years is biking and horseback riding. But come May 31, I'm HIM-ward bound. I'll be participating in the Honu — the Hawaii 70.3 Half Ironman.

WHAT AM I THINKING??? A Half Ironman? Me? This is all happening so fast.

Truth is, every morning when I wake up I wonder if it is all a dream. That I really didn't learn how to swim. That I really haven't lost the weight, gotten that fast on the bike or can run (albeit slowly) 13 miles. Wait a minute. I haven't run 13 miles — YET!

Ah, there's that word I rely on sooo much, "yet!" Exclamation point included. My grammar books say the exclamation point should be used for emphatic expressions; to express a high degree of surprise or other strong emotion. And trust me, I use it with surprisingly strong emotion a lot of the time.

Triathlon is so new to me, that I don't say "I CAN'T" do something. I say I haven't done it "YET!" So, I haven't ran 13.1 miles (half a marathon) YET! But I will. I haven't swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 miles and ran 13.1 miles one after the other, all in one day, YET! But come Saturday, May 31, sometime in the early to mid afternoon, I WILL!

And maybe as I cross the finish line I'll hear ...
"Randy Wrighthouse, you are half an Ironman!"
Do they announce that when you cross the finish line of a HIM? Probably not.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


"Food is an important part of a balanced diet." — Fran Lebowitz

Well, I suppose it was inevitable. After all this work getting into shape, it comes down to the hard choices: Eat what's good, or eat what's good for you.

I wanted to keep eating what's good, and if it happens to be good for me then all the better. But Karen talked me into changing our diet by convincing me it would improve my racing. So we went to Border's and bought a nutrition book and a book on diet and nutrition for athletes. GOODBYE SPAM COOKBOOK! SO LONG SPAMCHOWDER — WE HAD MANY A ROMANTIC DINNERS ... YOU WILL BE MISSED!

After reading the first chapter of the athletes diet book, it's a wonder I can last past my warm up. I've been eating everything wrong. And at the wrong times apparently, too. There's a lot of thought that needs to go into choosing what foods to eat and when. What happened to the simple days. When I was a kid my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. Now there's things like carbohydrates, proteins, branched chain amino acids, glycemic indexes, and acidosis to consider. Not to mention when you should eat.

Hopefully, I'll catch on to this healthy eating thing. After all, I can use all the help I can get when it comes to racing.

Honestly, my diet isn't that bad. I don't really eat SPAM. But I do have a SPAM cookbook. So if you want the recipe for Fifty-Year Meatballs or SPAM-stuffed Washington Apples, let me know.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Today was a good day. I finally got back on the bike — and it felt good.

For nearly the past 11 months I've been riding a bike three or four days a week. And frankly, I was burned out and tired. Three weeks ago I was riding 30 to 50 miles a day to see if I could scrape up enough strength to do Honu (which I decided I'm not ready for). By the time we had our 15 mile time trial I was beat. And mentally I agreed whole-heartedly with Butch Cassidy when he said "the future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

So I put up my bike and worked on swimming and running for the past couple of weeks.

But today I thought it was time to get back out there. And what a good day. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and there was very little vog — you could actually see the horizon. I took it easy and just enjoyed the ride, listened to music and took pictures. I made my way out to the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery and felt so good that I rode the hill three times.

The first photo is Cemetery Hill. It doesn't look steep, but it is. It's probably so steep it doesn't do anything for you except build determination. See, you can actually see the horizon. Since the volcano blew a few weeks ago, there's been so much vog— volcanic fog — that it looks like we live in LA.

So, feeling pretty good, I cranked it pretty hard coming back, even into the head wind. I think the slowest I went up hill on the way back was just under 20 mph. I past a poor cyclist struggling up airport hill and felt sorry for them. I've been there. Tired and heading into a strong head wind and some show off zips by like he's going down hill. But my legs were fresh and I felt good.

The second photo is of a tree near the top of cemetery hill. By the way, why do cemeteries always have the best hills? When I was in high school, our cross country course was next to a cemetery. I hated that course. My father was buried there and I never could run well there. Fortunately, by my senior year they moved the course.

The last photo proves I can ride and take a photo, although it's probably not the safest thing to do. Yes, I was trying to take a photo of my shadow.

Lance Armstrong's book, "It's Not About the Bike, My Journey Back To Life," is one of my favorite books. In it Lance says, "What makes a great endurance athlete is the ability to absorb potenial embarrassment, and to suffer without complaint. I was discovering that if it was a matter of gritting my teeth, not caring how it looked, and outlasting everybody else, I won. It didn't seem to matter what sport it was--in a straight-ahead, long-distant race, I could beat anybody.
If it was a suffer-fest, I was good at it."

That's what I want to be able to say. "If it's a suffer-fest, I'm good at it." I'm just not there, yet. So, maybe Lance is right. Today wasn't about the bike, but about just getting out there and suffer without complaint.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren

"As if being just 'Mom' isn't hard enough," that's what the headline read. It was exactly 12 years ago today, May 11, 1996. I was a photographer for the Ashland Daily Tidings and Karen and our five kids were the featured photograph on Page 1. I took the photo myself a few days before.

Karen was selected as the newspaper's mom of the year feature. Not because I worked at the paper. Actually we broke a big rule. We NEVER use family members as stories. Karen won that honor on her own merit. We had recently adopted Rachael and Daniel, who were 6 and 5 at the time. So being a mother of five plus running a full-time daycare business, not to mention two of our kids were deaf and hard of hearing and disabled, she earned the honor (and still does).

In honor of Mother's Day here are some quotes and poems for and about mothers.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
~George Cooper

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
~William Goldsmith Brown

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own. ~Aristotle

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. ~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Mother - that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. ~T. DeWitt Talmage

A man's work is from sun to sun, but a mother's work is never done. ~Author Unknown

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb

The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. ~Jewish Proverb

Motherhood is priced
Of God, at price no man may dare
To lessen or misunderstand.
~Helen Hunt Jackson


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why are triathletes so friendly?

Something I noticed from the first Peaman event I did back in December and even today on my run, is how friendly other athletes are here. Sure, other places I've lived, cyclists will give a wave and runners will give a nod, but here cyclists will pull up beside you and strike up a conversation, Runners will say "good morning" with a smile as you pass each other.

At the last Peaman race. A 10 miler, I met Jim at the turn around and we started talking about our experiences at Lavaman and figured out that we both had the exact same bike time (1:13). And thanks to Jim pacing me, I got a really good time on the 10 miles that day.

Or like today, I was on mile 7 of a 9 mile run on Alii Drive and heading back to the pool (my starting point) when another runner zipped by me (going in the same direction as I was) and gave me a wave. Of course, being the competitor I am I tried to speed up and stay with him, but uh, well, that nagging groin injury just slowed me down ... yeah right. Really he was bookin' and I couldn't keep up with him, but I'll blame it on injuries ...

Anyhow, when I got back to the pool, there he was cooling down in the parking lot. And immediately he runs over to me and introduces himself and we start chatting about the Kona and Honolulu marathons and that we both plan on doing them and how our workouts are going, How we did in Lavaman, how we are doing on swimming, etc.

And this is almost a daily experience here. I've met more people in the past 6 months since I've started training than in all the time I've lived here before that. Anyhow, I think it is pretty cool.

This photo is a wire photo from the 2004 olympics: Andy Potts of the United States leads the pack in the first leg of the triathlon in the 2004 Olympic Games on Thursday, August 25, 2004.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. So we blossom. Sometimes reluctantly. Sometimes fearfully. But rarely willingly. To blossom means to change. To grow. To stretch. A rebirth of who we are. Who we were.

In the past six months I've lost at least 20 pounds, learned to swim. I've ran farther in one day than I have in all the years combined since I was in school. Was it a painful journey? Physically, yes. Spiritually? You better believe I do a lot of soul searching and praying while swimming in the ocean or flying down a hill at 40 mph on a bicycle.

There is a new person blossoming within me since I started training for triathlons. A stronger, more disciplined version of me. He hasn't blossomed yet, but he is loosening the petals that hold him in. It's a hard thing to let go of the old self. What if I don't like who I become? Maybe I like the couch potato version of me? This new me may want to swim, bike and run all the time. The new version of me may want to eat healthy — all the time — can I handle that?

One day, I'll let go of this old self. The person who grumbles at 5:30 in the morning when it's time to get up and swim. The person who slows down when the legs and lungs starts burning when I'm pushing it. One day I'll take the risk and let go, and through it all, I'll find myself. And then, many days later, I will look back and think, "the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Monday, May 5, 2008


Yesterday was the Cinco de Mayo Splash 1 mile and half-mile swim. It was the same course as the Lavaman Triathlon, although they say it was a mile. Time were pretty fast though, even for the Lavaman course. I beat my Lavaman time by three minutes and I had to stop three times to try to fix my broken goggles. I finally gave up on them and swam with the right eye flooded. I couldn't see a thing.

Karen placed third in her age group in the half-mile race. Yay!!! She also had a great course time. You can see her here holding her "trophy," A beer glass. She also won a T-shirt that is to be mailed to her. So, I've been training for about 7 months and haven't placed in anything and Miss Karen comes along and has just been training for a couple of months and has already placed in a big event. Way to go Karen.

Here are few more photos from the Cinco de Mayo Splash. I'm sure I'm starting my rant about my exploding goggles when Karen took this picture. I was pretty upset until I heard my time, which was only 31 seconds off my goal.

A calm ocean. This was taken as they were setting up the course. The wind was picking up when we got to A-Bay around 7 a.m., but by the time the race started it was a flat sea. The tide was pretty low though, even out at the far turns we were just about scraping the coral heads. There were a few times when I had to "surf" over the coral so my knees didn't scrape them.

The last photo is coach Steve announcing the winners. Coach was the official announcer for the day and the race starter. Overall, it was a fun day. They even fed us Mexican after the race.

Next up is the Peaman Mother's Day race Sunday at the pier. It's a half-mile swim and a 3.1 mile run.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


"As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment." — John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men)

My eyes clinched tightly, bracing for the pain. Waiting for the nerve endings to alert my brain that pain was on its way.

“May cause blindness.” I’m sure I read that on the package at some point. That was the thought that entered my mind as the burning began. I stood up, my right eye began feeling as if it were on fire.

“I’M BLIND!” I screamed as an inferno began to rage in and around my eyes …

Moments before, it had been a serene morning. I just returned home from my training session at the pool and was getting ready for a run on the treadmill. I have a strained calf muscle so lately I’ve been using an analgesic called IcyHot to help warm up the muscle before I run.

As I was applying the “extra strength” cream to my leg, without thinking, I rubbed my right eye with the hand that I was using to apply the cream. And that’s when my John Steinbeck moment happened. Time stood still as I contemplated the inevitable consequences of what I had just done.

Unable to open either eye by now, tears rolling down my face, I blindly run toward the bedroom and the master bath all the while screaming, “I’m Blind, I’m Blind!” That’s when it hit me, or rather, I hit it — the bedroom door.

CRASH! I smack head on into the closed door at full speed. Still screaming, I recover and feel my way through the doorway and build up speed as I head in the general direction of the bathroom.

CRASH! This time it was something metal.

“MY BIKE!” I scream. I just crashed into my new Kuota tri bike. My bike has never been horizontal since the day I bought it. (Bad luck to lay a bike down, right?) I even drape a towel over it to keep the dust off. Now we both lie in a heap on the floor. Pain wins out over concern for my bike and I toss it aside and crawl to the sink.

On goes the faucet. I stick my face under the cold running water and begin to wash out my eyes. Slowly I crack them open and am relieved that I can see, although my face feels like it has had battery acid thrown on it. Five minutes later I’m on the treadmill as if nothing has happened. Fortunately, the house is empty except for my daughter, who is asleep and deaf so no one witnessed my comedy of errors. Upon checking the label of IcyHot it only reads “avoid contact with eyes.” Good advice.

So, when Karen asked me what I did for training today, I simply told her, "Well, I swam 3000 yards and ran on the treadmill. Oh, I got a little bit of IcyHot on my eye, too. It hurt a little bit."

So, I’m adding “Do not rub eyes” as the second thing on the list of what not to touch while applying IcyHot.

Here's my Amazon affiliate link to some Icy Hot patch. Just so that doesn't happen again. Ha, but knowing me it will.

CALL ME MR. 3,000
I swam my first 3,000 yard workout today.
I didn't plan on it, it just sort of happened. This week is a swim focused week, So I'm trying to put in lots of time in the water. I usually swim 2,000 to 2,600 yards per workout, but today, after my workout (4x50, 3x100, 2x150, 1x200, 2x150, 3x100, 4x50, 4x75) I did a couple hundred yards for a cool down.
By then though I was up to 2,500 yards and still had some time, so I worked on some kicking drills, backstroke, breaststroke, etc. and then another cool down. Now I'm up to 2,800 yards so I figure, "Why not go for 3,000?" So I freestyle another 200 yards. In just about an hour's time I put in my longest pool session to date. So I guess I'm getting a little faster, since most of the time it takes me an hour to do 2,600 yards. And on top of that, I’ve only been swimming for seven months.


What do you do when you don't have time to go out on location to do urban sketching? My time is very limited and I often don't have ...