Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A YEAR IN REVIEW

A lot has happened with our family this year. Some I've blogged about, some I've FaceBooked about and some I did neither. The big highlight this year was our granddaughter, Maddie, was born and our son, Daniel, returning safely from Afghanistan.

Below are a few of the highlights from 2010: Happy New Year everyone!

JANUARY
Daniel is in Afghanistan and has been since November. We get an occasional phone call from him, which most of the time keeps getting disconnected. A devastating earthquake in Haiti. The heartbreaking photos touched most of us.

To celebrate a new triathlon training season I even tried my hand at poetry in honor of triathlon

IT'S A LOVE HATE THING
You o triathlon,
builder of egos and breaker of hearts ...

I hate it when you raise me up
I hate it more when you tear me down.

I hate it when you promise me glory
then throw me to the ground.

I hate your 5 a.m. wake up calls
and swimming in the dark.

I hate your freezing cold swimming pools
and when I see a shark.

I hate it when its time to ride
and ride and ride some more.

How your gale-force wind is always there
that ain’t no Kona lore.

I hate the way you make me run
I hate it but it’s cool.

I hate the way you challenge me
like I was back in school.

I hate the fact we cannot draft
Bike refs make sure of that.

I hate those cards of yellow and red
that whole penalty tent format.

I hate it when you make me laugh,
even worse when you make me cry.

But love that you made me an Ironman
then branded me till I die.

I hate it when you’re not around
after Kona’s race in the fall.

But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you,
not even close
not even a little bit
not even at all.
(Inspired from the poem, "10 Things I Hate About You")

January was the start to a very long 10-month triathlon training season.

FEBRUARY
Daniel turned 20 years old in Afghanistan while patrolling, getting shot at and generally being miserable. Another tragic drunken driver fatality happened here in Kona. This time killing a high school girl on Queen K.


The big news for me in February is I met Lance Armstrong and had the chance to see him race against triathlon pro Chris Lieto.

A lot of Kona swimmers were riled up about the heat being turned off at the pool (it still is off. Plus they started closing the pool twice a month for furlough days.)

MARCH
My first triathlon race of the year, Lavaman took place. I actually made the podium with a third place finish. Something I never imagined would ever happen. Karen competed in her second Lavaman and did excellent.


Daniel is still in Afghanistan but healthy.

Lots of swimming, biking and running going on in Kona.

APRIL
A very busy month for our family. Three birthdays, Karen, our son, Jon (who turned 27), and mine. And our wedding anniversary - 31 years. You can go here: A BUSY MONTH to watch the video I made in honor of our anniversary.

MAY
May was a great month. Our first granddaughter, Madison Lynn Permenter, was born.


And here's a photo of Maddie at about 6 and a half months.


When Maddie was born I even had an urge to write some grunge poetry. While our daughter, Rachael, was in labor on Oahu I was on the Big Island running 10 miles training for Honu. Karen kept me up-to-date via cell phone. Poor cell reception from the hospital caused me to only get cryptic messages on what was happening. Thus the following was created:

LABOR OF LOVE
Water leaking, water gushing;
2 centimeters, 4 centimeters;

Dilation, balloon inflation;
IV fluid, amniotic fluid;

Stretching, tearing, new mom forbearing;
contraction, distraction, uterine inaction;

Tears of pain, tears of joy;
soon we'll say "it's a girl, not a boy."

Waiting, waiting our breath abating ...
a gift of God, new life creating.

Well, as I said, grunge poetry. That's what running 10 miles in the heat, combined with static-filled, staccato cell phone conversations yields I guess.

JUNE
Honu, the Hawaii Half Ironman was this month. The worst race of my tri career. But even so, I qualified for Ironman World Championship.


As you can see in this photo at the finish of Honu, I wasn't a happy camper. I thought I had lost my slot for Ironman but fortunately they gave us two slots in my age group.

Daniel is finally back from war safe and sound and came home for a visit. He was able to watch me race at Honu.

JULY
There were several fun races in July. The King's Swim (a 1.2-mile ocean swim) in which I got a PR and the Peaman Kaloko Run. A very steep 6 mile run. How steep? check this out ...


OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but when you run it that's how steep it feels.

Also in July, Ironman announced the end of big Island and State "earned" slots for the world championship. From now on Big Island and state triathletes hoping to make it to the big show will be entered into a lottery. No more "May the best athlete win ..." Now it's "May the luckiest athlete win" So I made this shirt in honor of next years lucky athletes:


Go Team Lotto!!!

AUGUST
The dog days of training for the world championship. LOng rides, long runs and long swims. I got back in touch with my artistic side and created a few computer drawings from the Tour de France.


Of course my best drawing, Alberto Contador, is pretty much worthless now ...


SEPTEMBER
Ironman is only a month away and I'm hating those 6 and 7 hour bike rides. I have an ankle injury that hurts with every pedal stroke and riding a hundred-plus miles at a time is a real killer. I also rode over the Kohala mountains for the first (and last) time. The scariest ride I've ever had. Super windy. Nearly got blown off the bike and the road.

Ironman athletes are arriving in town. The dog days of training are over and the excitement of the nearing race is building.

OCTOBER
Ironman time!!! I met so many great people/athletes this year. If you click on October on the right side of my blog you'll see photos of many of them.


This was my second Ironman. I beat last year's time by about 9 minutes. But more importantly I finished and that's what counts for me.

I did another computer drawing in honor of our local professional triathlete, Bree Wee.


NOVEMBER
After five years of living in the same house, we had to move so we spent most of November searching for a house and moving. I kept up my running and had a couple of races. I also got hit by a car while running on Alii Drive. No major damage but I did suffer from a stiff neck and some damage to my spine that showed up a couple of days afterward. I learned to ALWAYS get information from a driver even if you don't feel like you are injured.

I also started writing my book. November is National Novel Writing Month, also called NaNo Wri. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days and although I wasn't writing a novel I gave it my best try. But with moving to a new house consuming most of my free time I only managed just under 11,000 words. But at least it's a start and I worked out some issues with the subject I'm writing about and progressed further emotionally than I thought I would. It's a tough subject to talk/write about and hopefully one day I'll get worked out and all down on paper.

DECEMBER
Our daughter, Rachael, and granddaughter, Madison, came for a visit before they move to Georgia.


I started turning some of my photos into computer paintings to decorate our new house. I kind of like the results. Once printed on canvas I'm filling in highlights with oil paint to give it that freshly painted smell and texture. I may try to sell some at some local markets as well.


Well, that was my year. If you managed to read it all, thank you. If you just browsed it thanks as well.

PLANS FOR 2011
I don't have a lot of plans for 2011. So far I'm not planning on doing triathlons this year. My ankle is pretty messed up and riding a bike is just too painful. I go to the doctor next week who will probably refer me to a surgeon and who knows how long all of that will take. My athletic plans are focusing on running (for some reason running is the least painful activity for my ankle. Walking and biking are the most painful.) I'll also continue to swim. I'm hoping to run in a few marathon and swim as many ocean races as I can.

A new hobby I just picked up, thanks to Karen's Christmas gift, is learning to play the drums. Karen got me a small electric drum set that is really just a toy but while trying to get down the coordination of moving your foot, and each hand at different speeds and times reminded me of learning to swim, I couldn't resist the challenge of it. Plus I love music with lots of heavy drums in it. So I'm hoping to overcome my lack of coordination and be able to at least play some basic drum beats.

I don't know, do you think 51 years old is too old to become a rock star?

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe and thanks for stopping by throughout the year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM HAWAII

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas. Thanks for stopping by my blog and hope you all have a fantastic new year.

Oh, and if you are reading this Christmas Eve and wondering where Santa is check this out:

"NORAD Tracks Santa now has a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Youtube channel and apps for mobile phones, along with a website, noradsanta.org, and the phone line, 877-HI NORAD.
More than 13 million unique visitors went to the website last December. NORAD Tracks Santa more than 625,000 “likes” on Facebook by Friday and more than 49,000 followers on Twitter.
The phone line is still at the core of NORAD Tracks Santa. Volunteers answer calls in two-hour shifts from 2 a.m. Mountain Time on Christmas Eve until 3 a.m. Christmas Day."

So stop by noradsanta.org to track santa or give them a call. Michelle Obama is also answering Santa's calls from Hawaii.

Santa's stop in Hawaii.

Our house this year.


MERRY CHRISTMAS

Friday, December 10, 2010

'PAINTING IS JUST ANOTHER WAY OF KEEPING A DIARY' - Pablo Picasso



Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” If so, below is a glimpse of my own nature, or maybe my soul.

My pictures began with a camera, a lens and natural lighting that made its way to a computer, mixed in with filters, electronic brushes and adjusted pixels and finally printed on canvas and added oil and acrylic paints. A true mixed media of art forms and of ages (traditional and computerized painting). This is my hobby while I decide if I will continue in triathlon or on to something else. Maybe art, maybe writing or maybe back to triathlon.



Somewhere along the way before Ironman I lost my enthusiasm for the sport, especially the bike portion. Mostly because of an ankle injury that made biking extremely painful for the months leading up to Ironman. I was hoping taking some time off after ironman would allow my ankle to get better but it is still bothering me and is forcing me to go to the doctor and possibly have surgery.

So in the meantime, this is what's filling my spare time. It's hard to see the texture of the prints on the computer but I hope you like them. Who knows, they may be for sale one day.








Tuesday, December 7, 2010

JUST GRAND

Our daughter, Rachael and our granddaughter, Madison, are visiting us from Oahu this week. Next month they are moving to Georgia so it'll be a long while before we see them again. Rachael's husband, Josh, is in the Army and is being stationed at Fort Benning.
Here are some photos from this week:

Maddie at 6 months old

Who's the little princess?

Curiouser and curiouser

Mommy and baby sleeping

Proud grandma

Play time

Tasting grandpa's hat. Teething time

Santa's little elf

Friday, December 3, 2010

LIFE IS BUSY

It's been a long and busy past few weeks. We are still in the process of moving. Well, mostly we are finished except for a yard sale tomorrow and then getting rid of everything at the old house that doesn't sell. Then cleaning and finally we'll be finished.

One thing I've learned over the past month is that training for Ironman is easy compared to moving. I'm beat up, banged up and plain tired of the whole process.


(Maddie learning to sit up by herself.)

On a brighter note, Rachael and Madison are coming to visit tomorrow for a week. Tomorrow is also Aaron's birthday.


(Aaron the bell ringer.)

Life is pretty busy this time of year for us especially with the move. By January things should be slowing down I hope. I hope you all are staying warm. I've been having snow envy as I do every year at this time. Our temps are in the 80s for the highs and 70s for the lows.

When I get to really craving the cold I go out to Costco and jump into their walk-in refrigerator. That seems to do the trick for a while.


(A cool 32 degrees. Just what the soul needs in December in Hawaii.)

Well, take care and Merry Christmas. I'll post again soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

BUSY MOVING

Sorry I haven't posted anything for a while. I have lots to write about but with Karen still recovering from a broken collarbone and us in the middle of moving I haven't even had time to run or swim or blog. I'll post again soon. Happy Thanksgiving almost. Have a safe week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

GET THE INFO

Well, it finally happened to me.

I was running along Alii Drive last Monday minding my own business and listening to my tunes. ( I have headphones that allow me to hear ambient sound while listening to music. for all you safety-minded folks) I was only out for a one hour run and was pushing my pace pretty hard. I had just checked my time to see how I was doing. I was at about mile 4 and a half heading back to Coconut Grove where I started from.

I usually run with traffic because my left ankle is injured and the slope of the road is such that I need to run on the side that slopes to the right. Otherwise it is just too painful. More on all this in another post later.

Like I said, I was just minding my own business when out of nowhere I heard a loud "THUMP," felt a pain in the back of my left arm and at the same time my upper body twisted violently to the right as a gray-brown blur flew by me just inches away. Instantly my left arm went numb. I looked up and saw a Suburban-like truck cruising half in the shoulder and half on the road. It's passenger side mirror now smashed flat against the door.

My first thought was, "Holy crap, I just got hit. Am I alive?" My second thought was, "Hey, this guy's not going to stop." So I strained my eyes to get a glimpse of his license plate. "HVM something, something, 8." I don't know if he didn't know he hit me or it took it a little time to register with him what to do or maybe the fact that he just passed someone walking toward me who could be a possible witness, but after about a block and a half the guy pulled over.

I was walking by then, holding my arm and trying to assess if it felt broken or what. With every step I took toward that vehicle I was getting more upset. The driver didn't get out, didn't back up. He just set there. When the person who was walking got to me I asked him if he had seen that guy hit me, he said no. So much for a good witness.

Just before I got to the vehicle the driver got out. It was a young man in his 20s. Maybe even his teens. He looked scared and I'm sure I looked mad. As I approached him he asked, "What happened, brah?" Still holding my arm I said angrily, "You hit me, cuz." "I was just driving," he said too defensively I thought. "On the shoulder?!?" I said even more angrily. "I'm sorry," he said, a little shakiness in his voice now.

Then for some reason I felt like I was giving one of my kids a lecture about safe driving and started tell him he needs to be careful. That there are a lot of runners along Alii and to give them plenty of room.

He finally asked me if I was Ok which I told him I thought I was. I kept walking and he got back into his vehicle. Then I turned around walked back to him looked him in the eyes, I'm sure he thought I was going to lay into him again, and told him "thank you for stopping. A lot of people don't stop." Then I turned around and headed back to Coconut Grove. After he passed me a second time I started running, angry with myself for not getting any contact info and for not calling the police. I figure the more auto verses runner/bike accidents that are reported the likely we are to get funding for safer pathways. And I blew it by not getting any info.

My arm stayed numb the rest of my run and for a little while after that but otherwise as far as I could tell nothing else hurt. My biggest concern was how much the whole affair was going to affect my average pace for my run and if I should deduct a couple of minutes for being hit by a car.

The next morning taught me a lesson. Never assume you are OK if you get in an accident. When I got out of bed the next day I could not turn my head to the left at all and I could barely turn it to the right. And I couldn't look down without causing serious pain in my spine that made it hard to breathe. Nonetheless though, I went for another run on Alii Drive. I figured I needed to face my fear, you know, do what scares you. And I knew I had a confidence problem now. So I ran for only 40 minutes but with my neck/spine feeling the way they were it made it difficult to breathe and to run.

By that night I could barely move my head and hardly slept. Wednesday night I went to Masters swimming to see if maybe swimming would loosen it up. I managed to swim 2,000 yards but it was too painful so I stopped. By then I was getting pretty worried that maybe something serious was going on. By Thursday morning I was feeling a little better and by early afternoon I was feeling even better. By the time I went to bed that night I was nearly pain-free. And today, Friday, There's just a hint of pain in my spine between my shoulder blades when I turn my head.

So, here's the moral to this story. You get hit, you get the info, call the cops to report it and never assume you are OK just because you don't feel any pain. Or you could just never leave the house again. Your choice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

IRONMAN 2

I don't remember my first Ironman, which I did last year, hurting as much as this one did. But now I feel that the race was a nice warm up and today I'm ready to do Ironman for real. The nervousness is gone, the confidence is back and now that I know I can do it, I'm ready to give it a try, only faster. Well, maybe I'll wait a while. The spirit might be willing but the body hasn't quite recovered.

That being said here's my Ironman experience:
PRERACE MORNING
I woke at 4 am with no butterflies or nervousness at all. I was actually calm. I ate a good breakfast - eggs and waffles -- and drank gatorade. Everything was going smoothly until it was time to head out to the King Kam for body marking. Then the butterflies hit full force. We headed down and I turned in my food bags and got my number stamped on my arms. Then Karen and I went inside the King Kam where I just tried to stay calm and finish getting ready for the race.

With about 45 minutes to go I started heading out to the pier. It was so crowded with age group athletes on the way to the pier I missed the Pro start and was starting to wonder if we were going to make it to the water in time for our start, which was 30 minutes later. I made sure I took time at the top of the steps leading into the water to pause and take in the scene.

Thousands of people lined the seawall. Hundreds of swimmers were reluctantly making their way into the water. Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, was coaxing us into the water with promises of glory at the end of the day. I hope I was calm enough to smile as I took it all in ( I was on the inside).

Just as I took my first step down toward the water a wave swept over most of us catching us off guard. So much for romanticizing my walk into the sublime sea, I thought. No Shakespeare came to mind this year. Just thoughts of a long, hard day.



THE SWIM
I weaved my way through all the swimmers wading and waiting. I had no idea what time it was so I didn't know if we had five minutes or 15 minutes. I headed out to the left of the starting line. After a while Reilly said we had about 10 minutes until the start.

Ten minutes and it was already getting packed in my spot. I moved forward and more people showed up. I floated into Laura Sophia - someone who lives here part time, and is a much better swimmer than I am. She looked nervous and said it was crazy out there. I agreed and tried to back up a little but there were swimmers everywhere. By the way, Laura ended up becoming world champion in her age group.

Panic started setting in. Too many people. Ironman packed us in tight this year. Fear was in a lot of swimmers' eyes, including mine. Athletes were shivering, not so much from the water but from nerves. the final minutes before the start seemed to take an eternity.

I thought about swimming for shore and just waiting unitl after the cannon fired but there were too many swimmers blocking me in. Then I figured I can either be submissive or aggressive. Submissiveness is going to get me hurt, I thought. Aggressiveness is going to get me into open water. So I set my focus on the front row of swimmers and waited. Don't forget, I just learned to swim a few years ago so I'm still nervous in the water.

Four minutes, three minutes, two minutes, one. BOOM!
Feet, arms, legs, torsos are everywhere. The spray churned up by the athletes is blinding. The roar of the crowd deafening. Hitting. Getting hit, kicked and hit again. So much fun, fear and adrenaline you think you are going to explode with excitement, or die. Maybe both.

People have asked me if the swim start is as violent as it looks on TV. I answer them like this:
Pick any room in your house. Fill it with people until they are touching front and back and shoulder to shoulder. Then add a few more people. Let them stand there for a few minutes to get them really hot, nervous and panicky. Turn off the lights. Now count down 3,2,1, go and have them start doing jumping jacks as fast as they can. Get the picture? That's how my swim start was.

If I put my face in the water I got kicked and hit. If I swam with my head up I got clobbered from swimmers hands and elbows. But I was focused on just plowing through to open water. In the thick of it I think I got hit in the head every stroke for at least 10 strokes. BAM! BAM! BAM! Nonetheless, I made it to fairly clear water, drafting when I could and passing when I had room. Always trying to stay the aggressor, which is a change for me. Normally I'm pretty timid in the water. But I made it. I had a few cramping problems after the turn for home. That, combined with no speed suit this year I think is why my swim was about a minute slower than last year. But I felt stronger and was way more aggressive this year. TIME: 1:15

T1
I tripped getting out of the water again this year. But as with last year, there were people there to help me up and get me on my way. The volunteers in the changing tent were super helpful in getting us on our way to the bike.



THE BIKE
The bike was a lot faster than I planned it to be but I felt strong and rested so I just went with. I kept up on salt and hydration and hoped I wouldn't cramp up in my legs like last year. That was short lived however. By mile 50 my left quad started cramping. I was determined not to stop this year because of it though. So I just tried to pedal as best I could until the spasms subsided.

I pushed the last 25 miles pretty much as hard as I could trying to break 6 hours. My time ended up at 6:06, nearly 30 minutes faster than last year even with the cramps and some scary crosswind.

T2
I'm not sure why my transition times were so slow, 8 minutes and 7 minutes. I didn't think I stayed that long but it is quite a run from the tent to the timing mat.




THE RUN
I knew the run was going to hurt because I pushed the last 25 miles of the bike pretty hard. And sure enough, I wasn't disappointed. It hurt. By mile 4 or so I was beginning to slow down. By mile 8 I was a minute off my goal pace time and things just got worse from there. At mile 14 my legs began to cramp forcing me to stop. I couldn't even walk. For a moment I was afraid my race was over. Someone ran by me and offered me some Ibuprofen but I knew that wouldn't help. I had been downing salt tabs and magnesium all day so all I could was wait it out. After a few minutes I tried walking, then jogging and finally the cramps subsided.

My goal this year was to get out of the Energy Lab before dark. Fortunately I met up with a guy who was running about the same speed as me and we both helped each other to keep going. We actually made it a mile or so down Queen K before it was completely dark. We ran and chatted like two old friends the rest of the race. I'm so thankful that I had someone to run with the final miles. I would probably still be out there if not.

THE FINISH
The finish for me this year was in fast motion. I saw a lot of people I knew cheering me on as I was entering the chute and before I knew it I was through it and my second Ironman was complete.

COMPARISONS
It's hard not to compare this year's Ironman with last year's. All I can say is last years race was a perfect race for me. Maybe not physically. I had problems last year, too. But emotionally and, yes, even spiritually, last year's race was a dream. In a word, perfect. And honestly, I had TV cameras there to help motivate me last year. That combined with the newspaper stories all helped to make it a unique, once in a lifetime experience.

So this year's race, for me, was to prove to myself that I could do an Ironman without the extra help. Well, I did it but it hurt so much more than last year.

Karen, Rebecca and Aaron took lots of photos and I'll post them as I get a chance.









Giving Karen a kiss after 10 miles on the run.

That's me in the shadows at the beginning of the finishing chute.

The End!


This is a drawing I did for Bree Wee before Ironman. I meant to get it made into a poster for her but ran out of time. If you can enlarge the photo you should read the quote. If you know Bree, you'll know that this sounds just like her.

OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO - ONE POINT PERSPECTIVE

Sketching the Junipero Serra Museum arches from a photo. The final result. Sketched on Stillman & Birn Beta Series hardbound A5 ske...