Monday, December 12, 2011


One of the [many] highlights of this past week was getting to watch NBC's annual showing of its edited coverage of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.  The airing is always in December and a little more than two months after the actual race, giving the network lots of time to compile, edit, narrate and come out the other side with what is quite honestly, a very impressive product.  Every year tens of thousands of triathletes (and possibly their families) tune in to watch the 90 minutes (although wasn't it two hours in years' past?) of edited gloriousness.  It's even more special to watch it with someone who was there, as their excitement is usually contagious and awesome.

Now, that being said, it's amazing how many triathletes (and I'm looking at you especially Slowtwitch) say that they are "disappointed" by this coverage.  "They don't show enough of the pros," or "they should showcase the top amateurs, not the 'special interest' stories," and "I'm not even sure who won," among many other complaints have been lodged over the history of the show's airing.  While I agree with some comments, I think it's important to realize that the coverage in and of itself is a blessing.  Triathlon gets very little mainstream network acknowledgement that it even exists, so to have a huge network like NBC take up the gauntlet and show us what we love is awesome.

As an aside, it's interesting to note that in Jannuary NBC will debut its "NBC Sports Network," which is a re-branding of Versus.  Versus has traditionally been one of the only "bigger" channels to showcase endurance sports (primarily the TdF).  Maybe this will begin the process of greater recognition of endurance sports? More details can be found here.

Part of the problem that many so-called "hardcore triathletes" (that is self-branding) have with the Kona coverage is that it highlights some things they preferred were "kept quiet."  People that have done Ironmans like to think that it's so special (it's obviously very special) and it's very rare that someone is capable of doing one.  Unfortunately for them, Ironman likes to show just how not true that is (good for marketing, good for the "everyman" psyche).  Take any reasonably fit (aerobically) person, give them enough time and guidance and they can do an Ironman.  No doubt in my mind about that.  16 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds is a LONG time.  That's more than two workdays for most people.  Just to give some perspective on what that really means, here's a breakdown of a 16:50 Ironman.

Swim 2.4 miles in 2 hours (swim cut off of 2:20), which is 3 minutes and 6 seconds per 100 meters.  Transition 1 of 10 minutes.  Bike 112 miles in 7 hours and 45 minutes (must be off the bike by 5 pm, so at this point it's 4:55 in the afternoon), which is 14.5 mph.  Transition 2 in 25 minutes, which is ample time to collect oneself. Run 26.2 miles in 6 hours and 30 minutes, to finish just before midnight (that's about ~15 minutes/mile; average walking pace is 2.5 - 3mph, which is just over 15 minute pace).

It is no mean feat to be continuously moving for 16+ hours, but given the right preparation just about anyone - if they take their head out of the equation when looking at the distances - can accomplish such a task.  So in one sense it's not as "special" as some would like to believe.  Sure, it's special in the sense that it's an amazing accomplishment but not in the sense that it's something only a handful of people can do, which Ironman proves over and over again in slow motion every December.

This is one of the reasons why triathlons (and endurance sports, more generally) are so awesome.  Everyone has individual goals and expectations, so it doesn't matter what other people think of what you are trying to accomplish.  Everyone can be successful in their own right; you don't have to be a multiple Ironman world champion or a course record holder to experience satisfaction with your accomplishments.  Some want to be competitive in their age group, others want to finish, some want to win; there's room for everyone in this sport.

I love watching NBC's broadcast of Kona.  I love what it represents.  I love the stories it tells (Scott Rigsby is an amazing, amazing dude).  I love how much slow motion they use because it makes you look jacked.  It's a great 90 minutes.  The next step is to turn it into TdF style where they have a live showing on NBC then edit it for time and dramatic effect later in the year.

Now, on a more personal (and less exciting) note, my off-season is over.  Starting today I will begin the process of running my face off in the quest for some serious run splits next year.  Some goals I have include (but are not limited to) running a 16:0X 5k, a sub 35:30 10k (off the bike), a sub 1:20 half ironman half marathon.  Bold, but doable with the right amount of work.  The process begins now.

I'll leave on this last note; it's finally started to get cold here in Charlotte and thankfully I'm headed south and then west for the winter (and spring, and probably summer).  This has been one of my favorite songs since my senior year of college and the timing seems appropriate now that we are fully immersed in December!

Monday, December 5, 2011

More typed word garbage!

Given that I'm still not training very much (although I have been quite consistent for the past month with my 4-5 runs of 30ish minutes, 2 bike rides of an hour-ish, and 2 swims of 1500ish yards a week plan) I think it's important to address some issues.  The main issue being my lack of finishing off my favorite music from a week or so ago.

As an aside, I think it's interesting how much of a lack of creativity I feel like I have lately.  Not saying that I'm normally creative, but the dearth of creative juices that I'm currently experiencing has me at a loss for words.


That was an AMAZING pun.


One of the funniest parts of working for Habitat back in the day (so, about 2-3 years ago) was my supervisor and his accent.  He was born and raised in NC (Hickory, to be specific) and his accent was extremely amusing.  It wasn't over the top but when he figured out that we loved making fun of him for some of the inflections he had with certain words then it quickly escalated into over the top-ness.  One of the words he liked using was "cull."   This word is appropriate for the current story (but you have to wait for it...) because of the way in which it was used; Charles would tell us that when we were "bahyin lumber it's importunt to cuhhhllll the wuhd."  So we made sure to choose the best pieces (straightest and truest) other wise he'd give us sh*t for it.  If you don't really make sure, you can go to Home Depot and Lowe's and buy some wood that's absolutely worthless from a building standpoint.

Anyway, I feel like as you try and write stuff (eloquent, I know) you pick and choose between anecdotes, essays, short stories and/or asides (and other such fancy sounding words to describe fairly mundane things) you must also eliminate the crap stuff.  So, in effect, you're culling your usable database as time goes on until at some point, you're left with nada!  Maybe I've reached that point, so sad.  For everyone :(

Now, more importantly:

I've never been a huge country fan, and by that what I really mean is that I never pirated country music from the internet to add to my collection (nor did I buy it).  That's not because I didn't "like" the music per se, it was more that I never went to the trouble to listen to it and develop any appreciate for it.  Now, that being said, I still don't listen to it all that much but a couple of songs have recently been brought to my attention that make me laugh.  I don't really "train" to this song because I don't really think country music is great "training music" but it's on the "workout playlist" so it comes up every now and then.  Unfortunately for our boy Walker, the rest of his music is a little hit or miss (mostly miss) but this song is great simply because of its refrain and the message it espouses.  "She can wear the pants as long as I can take 'em off her."  Boom.

While many Metallica songs could be on just about anyone's workout list, this one is my favorite simply because of it's intro.  What's NOT to like about an epic combination of bells, distorted electric guitar, drums, and shouting!!  Well, I guess I didn't sell that particularly well but nonetheless, this song rocks my face off.

To continue the heavy metal trend, this is a less well-known song from the German group (singers of such classics as "Du Hast" and "Freur Frie" or something like that) that I think is making fun of American globalization.  I don't really know because the song is in German and I've never taken the time to look it up in Wikipedia.  That's not necessarily a bad thing since ignorance is usually bliss.  I really like the first 5 seconds of this video; it reminds me a little bit of the movie "Matrix" and all the bullet-time slo-mo shots or the "300" sequences where it's slow motion speeding up to normal FPS; it adds up to a cool effect.

This song is just a classic.  The foreshadowing done in this old-school song is nothing short of Nostradamus epic-scale conspiracy scariness.  I'm exaggerating for effect, but you get to do that when you write your own blog.  The song has a slow build up but gradually it becomes a super awesome beat that will really get your blood moving.  No, I am really not kidding.

So there's four more songs to whet your appetites and encourage some good music listening for when one needs to be all kinds of jacked up!