Numbers!

More postage! I am just trying to satisfy ALL of the pent-up demand for Dan Miller. I know that the people, they speak, and they are loud in their needing of Dan Miller. So, here we go.

If you know my oldest daughter, you know she is all about numbers. In the recent months, I have been playing Madden NFL 06 (which I got for Christmas). I’ve been playing the Browns as a franchise, and occasionally, my 2 oldest kids will watch with me as I play. It has been determined that all our family were different players. I actually made myself as a custom player, with #58. Kid #1 is 60 (I’m not sure why she chose to be an offensive lineman but ya know). Kid #2 is 34 (Rebuen Droughns, a running back). Kid #3 is 4 (the kicker). Kid #4 and Carolyn also have numbers but I can’t remember what they are off the top of my head.

The teachers and such at school found out about this a few weeks ago and were amazed by it, because A. had given everyone there numbers too. They actually thought this was some kind of break-through or something how they were all referred to by numbers and were trying to find out patterns or something like that. I think they were a little bummed when I told them where it came from :-)

In any case, I have been “58″ around the house for a few months now. So this morning as I’m getting ready for church, I decide to reach back into the back of the closet for a tie I haven’t worn for awhile. I have probably had this tie for 15 years (since I was a kid). It wasn’t until I was at church an hour or so later that I looked down at the tie and noticed that it only had one number on it.


58! How crazy is that?!?!? I hope you enjoyed my mad closeup / crop skeelz there – I am a MS Paint wizard.

More exercis-y goodness

So I’ve been exercising like a champ lately. I decided my workout pattern will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So that’s off Sunday and Wednesday, with the option of if I go play basketball on Wed. night then I will count that as Thursday morning exercise.

So this week I was able to do it. I ran my particular course (1.85 miles) around the block on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and Thursday I went to the Y and worked out on the bike. My long-term running goal is to do a sub-20 minute 5K by the end of the year. It’s an aggressive goal but I think it’s doable. My plan is to continue to run this 1.85 mile course until I can consistently do it without stopping (last time I only had to stop once), and then gradually work longer distances on my way to 5K and beyond.

Today after Carolyn got back from getting her hair cut, I went down to the bike trail. Rather than ride my way over there, I decided to put the bike on the rack and drive over to Miamiville. I was going to go to Camp Dennison but a) I wasn’t sure if there was anywhere to park and b) that wasn’t going to give me the amount of mileage I was shooting for.

Miamiville has a nice little parking lot right by the fire station, and going south to the new end of the trail (Little Miami Golf Center) is just about 16 miles (about 15.90 as far as I could tell).

Soooo, off I went. I could tell things were going well – I really enjoyed the relative lack of hills on the trail. That’s something that you don’t get a whole lot of when doing road biking (which is what I usually am doing). Since my cycle computer broke a bit ago, I don’t have a very accurate way of telling my distance or speed, but by using a stopwatch and calculating my intervals between the 1/2 mile markers painted on the trail, I could tell I was going around 16-17 mph.

I actually was not passed by anyone the whole time I was out. While some of this could certainly be attributed to my speed, a lot of it was just coincidental – I did pass several groups / individuals going what appeared to be faster than me – they were just going the other way.

I passed a fair number of people. The best part was when I passed 4 people right in a row. It felt cool to just belt out “On your left. On your left. On your left. On your left” like I was some sort of rock-star cyclist. Okay, 2 of them were kids and one of them was walking a dog, but still!! :-)

They extended the bike trail south from Milford a year or two ago, but I had never been on the new section, so this was a nice opportunity. I wasn’t quite sure where the trail ended, but I just kept riding till there was just a parking lot. I took a little break and then headed back.

It was a bit harder. The wind seemed to be coming from the east, so that was a headwind to me on the way back (though it got a bit better once I turned north at Milford). Plus, following the river upstream did give me a gradual uphill through most of it. I had finished the first leg in 29:29, and so I was aiming to get back to Miamiville in under an hour. As I calculated my speed / distance, I knew it was going to be close. Where I parked was just shy of the 47.5 mile marker (maybe 47.3?), and each time I would hit one of the 1/2 mile markers, I gave myself 2 minutes to hit the next one (that’s 16 mph). I figured if I hit the 47.5 marker by 59:00, I could probably make it.

I was on pace to do it, but then I got stopped trying to cross OH-126 (again), and that 30 seconds or so stopped waiting for an opening to cross proved to be the difference as the final clock was 1:00:13. Still, all in all, I was very pleased with my workout. Gooooo me!

Negotiating / Piano / Puns

So I don’t know why negotiating is so hard. Let me tell a little story. We have been wanting to get a piano for some time now. Unfortunately, because of the lifestyle decisions we have made (i.e being SITCOMs (or actually SIFCOMs at this point instead of DINKs), we aren’t really in the position to drop a couple of grand on a new piano, pardon the pun.

As a side note (again pardon the piano-related pun), one of my pet peeves is when people use “no pun intended” when writing something. YOU’RE WRITING SOMETHING! IF YOU DIDN’T INTEND TO MAKE A PUN, THEN JUST WRITE IT A DIFFERENT WAY!!! In speech, I have no problem with the phrase, since there are times when you could be talking and make a pun without realizing it. But in writing, you have no excuses. As you can see above, I much prefer “pardon the pun”

Annnnnnyways…. So, I have been monitoring Craigslist for pianos for quite some time now (several months). We’ve wanted to get a piano for the daughteral-unit who is taking piano lessons. Currently we have an organ that was given to us for free (like the majority of the things in our house). And that works out okay, but really a piano is definitely called for. The reason I’ve been monitoring for so long is that most of the things I see on Craigslist are either a) way too expensive, b) way too crappy or c) things like baby toys that get triggered by my “piano” search.

So back to negotiation. I found one a few weeks ago and emailed them for info. It’s a Baldwin spinet piano, and was listed for $400. I emailed them to confirm that it was still for sale, then I pulled out a classic negotiating line that I’ve read about. Let me see if I can drag up the exact quote. “If I could pick it up from your house and pay all cash, what’s the least you’d accept for it?” She wrote back and said $200.

So we made plans for me to come by and see it, which I just did today on my lunch break. So I get there and I’m checking it out and things look good, except a few of the very low keys are sticking. I’m sitting there trying to think if I want to buy this with these keys sticking. I ask the guy there if that stuff can be fixed, and he says that he’s pretty sure it can, but then he looks in there, feels around a bit, and pulls out a little kid toy that had fallen in there. After that, all the keys worked fine :-D .

So, the whole time I’ve been there, I’m trying to get up the nerve to try and negotiate the price lower. This is what I’m talking about it being so hard. I had taken $200 with me, but spread out – $150 in one pocket and $25 in each of 2 others. My plan had been to ask if they would take $150. But sitting there, for whatever reason it was hard to get the nerve to say it. I mean I know the worst they could say is “no”, but I don’t know if it was because they had already come down $200 or what – it was weird.

I wasn’t trying to spread any “sob stories” or anything (and I’ve got ‘em baby!) and I didn’t try to blatantly point out all the flaws (except for the aforementioned sticky keys which got fixed anyways). I did mention how my daughter was taking lessons and how we have an organ and how there are some songs that she can’t play because she runs out of keys (true).

Anyway, I asked them if they would take $150 and they said yes. So, unless these folks are hucksters and skip town with my $150, we will soon be the owners of a “new” piano! Annoyingly enough, after calling a few piano movers, it will take more to actually MOVE the piano then I actually paid for it…

It’s GO time!

So, as I mentioned back last post, I have been practicing for an upcoming triathlon. As the date got closer and closer, I got a bit nervous about the event. I did my practice triathlon on Tuesday, and completing that did give me a fair bit of confidence that I could do it, but still, I was filled with excitement crossed with dread as the weekend loomed closer.

Packet pickup was listed as from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. I had originally planned to set my alarm for 6 am and then go out the door up to Oxford (about an hour drive). But then Friday night I heard through the grapevine that my friend PJ was getting up at 5. I couldn’t stand for that so I decided to split the difference, eventually getting up at about 5:30. Then came the most important question of the day, at least for a road geek such as myself – should I take 275 or Cross County over to US-27? The last time I was in Oxford was probably 3 or 4 years ago, and one thing I noticed is that there were a lot more stoplights on the way now than there were then.

I got into Oxford at about 6:45. I parked over on a side street (paying for a parking garage? for suckers.) and made my way to where all the people were. I figured (correctly) that if there were a large group of people congregating on a college campus at 6:45 on a Saturday morning, the odds were pretty good that it was for the triathlon. I left my stuff in the car and just took my bike off of the car rack and wheeled it across the street into the transition area. At first, I didn’t realize there was an order to things, so I was going to just stick my bike up at the front (hey anything to get a better transition time!) but then I was told that I had to go in and register first, and based on my “bib” number, that would tell me what rack to put my bike in.

I left my bike there and went inside to the rec center. It was kind of intimidating with all the stuff going on. PJ was there already and he showed me where to start the registration process. There had been some problems with my registration. I had mailed in my registration before my first trip to Chicago, but I had emailed the registration committee a few times to verify that I was in. Because the registration and signup is handled by a separate company, there had been some confusion as to whether or not I was actually registered. When the first list of participants came out on Thursday, I was not on the list. I ended up talking to Rachel, the lady in charge, and she took down my information and told me not to worry, that I would participate. Still, I was a bit worried as I went up to the registration desk that my name wouldn’t be there. But, it was – Racer #342.

Also at the table, I picked up my free swim cap, my T-shirt, a “goodie bag” and my timing chip. A few notes on these: Naturally I have never worn a swim cap before. The swim cap was not mandatory, but we figured out it was also useful for keeping your hair dry so it wasn’t so cold when you made it outside (it was still kind of cold this early in the day). And of course it probably helps your swim time, but, as you will see later on, there’s not a whole lot that can really help MY swim time anyways…. The timing chip was on a velcro strap that went around your ankle. That’s so no matter when you actually start, your time doesn’t start counting down until you hit the water. It’s also handy in calculating your various split times (bike/run/swim/transition)

So after I registered, I went back outside and found I was in rack “Red I”. Upon further review, it actually didn’t matter which rack you were on, since because you are exiting and entering the transition area from different sides. For instance, after the swim you come in the south side of the transition area and you go out the north (and the same between the bike and the run). Since you’re not allowed to ride your bike inside the TA, it’s pretty much the same, since if you’re at the front of the transition area, it is true that you will have a short trip after you get your bike, you have a longer way to actually GET to your bike. The one thing you can do is put your bike as close to the middle aisle as possible, and because I was there fairly early, I did snake the 2nd-closest spot.

PJ and I at the transition area
Overview of the transition area. My “Red I” bike is off behind some people. You see the Red D, E and F. My bike is (*counts on fingers*) 3 racks further down.

It took us awhile to realize this, but you have to put all your stuff with your bike. Meaning there is no locker room or anything, so no place to change out of your swimsuit. When I did my practice triathlon, I just changed into some shorts at the locker room at the Y. But here, unless I wanted to seriously waste some time trying to find a locker room, or just drop trou out in the parking lot, there was not going to be an opportunity to do that. Luckily, I didn’t really have a problem with doing the bike and run in my swim trunks.

Sometime around here I called my co-worker Jason and told him “you BETTER be already on the road!” He was, and I met up with him and my other co-worker Lawson a bit later. Neither of them had brought a bicycle helmet, and luckily they were able to borrow some from the race committee (otherwise it would have been a disqualification). They both claimed that I was just trying to improve my own times by disqualifying them (by not telling them that they would need to bring a helmet) but frankly I figured it was obvious. Who doesn’t wear a bike helmet when riding?!!? At about 7:30, I took off my shoes, socks and shirt, and made my way across the gravel parking lot into the rec center building. They should really put padded carpet on the way in. PJ pointed out that next time, sandals would definitely be a thing to bring, but later we both agreed that really, there would be nowhere to put them.

At 8:00, the announcer guy made a big deal of announcing about how they were starting on time and how most races don’t start on time but by golly they were. Of course, the first person didn’t actually hit the water till at least 5-7 after, leading me to comment that it’s not so much the saying you’re starting at 8:00 as the actual starting at 8:00 that’s important, at least in my book… The way that the swim worked was that there were 8 lanes of a 50-meter pool. You swim up one lane, down the next, and so on until you finish all 8 lanes for 400 meters total. Upon registration, you were supposed to put in your swim time, with the theory being that they would start the faster swimmers first, to try and minimize passing. Then they gave you your number based on that time. I put in 13 minutes, and got number 342. PJ apparently didn’t see that part of the registration form, so he didn’t put in anything, and thus got number 23.

At “8:00″ they called down racers 1-50 to start the swim. It didn’t really matter when you actually went down, but for the most part, that’s how it went. For instance, PJ didn’t want to go down with all the super fast swimmers, so he went down with us in the 300 group. It took till about 8:45 before they called our group and we went down from the stands to the pool level. We made our way to the front and it was almost exactly 9:00 by the time the 3 of us got to the front of the line (Jason was further back). You were not allowed to run in the pool area, nor dive into the pool, but your time started as soon as you crossed the brown mat right by the entrance to the water. We were intrigued by the carefree attitudes some of the people had towards getting in the area. Our thought was “Hey your time is running, get a move on!” When I got up there I just went right in. I did decide that if I do this next year or ever again, I’m totally doing a cannonball into the pool.

The swim was hard. I found that my biggest problem was changing strokes mid-lap. I’m not good enough to be able to do the crawl stroke for very long, and have to swap to a sort of poor-mans backstroke. At the Y, since it’s a 25 meter pool, I was able to just swap mostly at the ends of each lane. At Miami though, as a 50 meter pool, I found myself wanting / needing to swap strokes more often than at the end of each lane. It was tiring, but I was able to finish it. I almost passed PJ a few times during the swim, but mostly I just stayed on the right sides of the lanes and got passed by people. I did pass 1 person at the end of the 7th lap as he was resting / holding on to the end of the lane, and a 2nd person right at the very end of the swim.

I noticed that some people had put out towels on the bleachers nearby – I think that would have been a good idea, just to cut down on the transition time by drying off as you make your way to the bike area. Next time…. I was not able to make good time out of the swim; I’m sure I was staggering. I didn’t feel that great. I passed PJ who was getting his bike ready (his rack was on the way to mine) and quickly dried off, put on my socks and shoes and shirt, took a swig of water and headed out on the bike course.

I had gotten out faster than PJ, but he passed me on the bike within the first mile or so. As a matter of fact, a LOT of people passed me. The first part of the course (through Oxford) was fairly flat, so I was able to get into my routine fairly easily. That would be the routine of having everyone pass me, of course. I did pass one lady on the way out, and out on Bonham Road I passed another lady. She then passed me, but then I passed her again. Coming up out of the creekbed from 4 Mile Creek there was a nice hill. I was able to make it up to the top, and then downhill for most of Harris Road. A slight uphill on OH-177 and then a left on to Oxford-Middletown Road. This was the most brutal part of the bike course – a windy, steep hill. I actually felt decent going up these hills – I passed my 3rd person on this hill like she was standing still. I don’t mean that as a brag as plenty of people were passing me (both here and in every other part of the course). I made my way back through Oxford and as I was returning to Bonham Road, I *thought* I saw Jason coming the other way, but I couldn’t be sure. After I finished the course, I caught up with him and found that the course officials had convinced him to stop racing at just about that point. But you will find nowhere in here me making fun of him – I admire him for having the courage to show up for the race and give his best effort. So unlike the 5k when he just didn’t show up, there will be no “Scarlet N”s (for Nancy) affixed to his cube.

Another note was that they had cop cars out at the intersections of the course directing the traffic. Car traffic was allowed on the course, but the cops did make it yield to any race traffic. It wasn’t ever really an issue, probably due to the relatively sparse traffic out in the middle of nowhere early on a Saturday morning.

Finally making it back to the transition area, I dismounted and walked (jogged?) my bike back to the rack. Since most people were already back from the bike, I didn’t feel like my bike would be in the way if I didn’t put it back up on to the rack, so I just dropped the kickstand and set it more or less in its place. When I was explaining this afterwards to PJ, I realized that most “real” bikes don’t even HAVE kickstands! :-) . So that’s one thing I have going for me.

Transitioning out of the bike to the run was difficult. If I felt like I was staggering after the swim, I was definitely staggering now. The run was pretty difficult as you could imagine. I had to slow down and walk several times. Still, I felt good – whereas I passed 2 and 5 people respectively on the swim and bike, on the run I passed quite a few. It’s hard to tell the exact number since when I would stop and walk some (but usually not all) of the people would re-pass me, but I feel like net I passed about 20-30 people on the run. Including Lawson – twice during my run segments I got up almost to him, only to drop back a bit when I had to walk. Eventually I was able to pass him and I kept him behind me for the rest of the race.

I’m really not sure how people manage to drink those cups of water that they hand out to you during the runs at the aid stations, but I’m just grateful that nobody pulled a Kramer on me and handed me hot chocolate. I did feel liberated by throwing my used cup on the ground though, in true racer fashion :-) .

I was really impressed with the quality and organization of the race by the race staff. It was just very well done and I definitely had a great time. As I mentioned to several people yesterday, this is something that I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I used to watch the Ironman triathlon on ABC’s Wide World of Sports when I was a kid. In fact, I would say that I got a fair share of crap from friends growing up about how I was never going to do this. Soooo.. now that I have done this as well as EFC they can all officially bite me. So afterwards, it felt really great to have done this – extremely satisfying.

After the race, PJ and I hung around for a few hours eating free food and just kind of hanging out. We joked about how we needed to stay for the awards ceremony “just in case” we won (we didn’t). As we left, I took a slightly detoured route home. Why is that, you might ask!?!

COUNTIES BABY! Actually in this case just county. There are 2 counties in Eastern Indiana (Union and Fayette) that aren’t traversed by either I-74 or I-70. Research had shown me that while geocaching I had been in Union county some time a few years ago (while visiting this cache. Okay, it was December 26, 2002 at about 8:30 in the morning. Anyways, as far as I could tell, I had never been in Fayette. What doubly annoyed me (see the Law of Conservation of Counties) is that I had been probably no more than 5 minutes from Fayette county when I had made that trip back in 2002. Fayette county was, until yesterday, the geographically closest county to my home that I had not visited. Now it’s either Harrison or Robertson county, Kentucky, depending on how you define “closest”.

So… how did I do, you might ask? Well, since HFP made ME wait a day before posting the results, I figured I could make you wait too. Here are the overall results, and the results by age group.

Swim time was 13:50.52 (369th out of 396 finishers), bike was 54:44.19 (313rd) and run was 27:22 (265th). Overall I came in at 1:38:45.38, in 306th place. My goal had been 100 minutes, so I was glad to see that I beat that (by a minute and change). After the participant list came out on Thursday I joked with my co-workers that the only 2 people I wanted to beat were the 56 year old woman and the 13 year old girl. I beat neither. Though had I known I would end up only 26 seconds behind 13 year old Mandi Sosnowski, maybe I would have kicked it up a notch :-) . Since everyone started at a different time, you couldn’t really tell people’s time based on when they crossed the finish line. Speaking of close finishes though, I did manage to beat the oldest guy in the race (77 year old David Staley) by (*cough, cough*) 15 seconds. The thing about the old people is that sure they are older. But the older you get, the more the fact that you are in a triathlon says that you are in some serious shape. In your 20s and even somewhat in your 30s, if you want to just run a triathlon, you can definitely do it if you apply yourself. When you’re 77, it’s a lot harder to just say “You know what, I think I’m going to run a triathlon in a few months”

One thing I did notice from reviewing the results was that my transition times were pretty good. As I mentioned before, I was able to pass PJ out of the pool on the bike leg by just being quicker in the TA. My 2 transition times took me a total of 2:47, which was 93rd (out of the 396 finishers). And really it was 81st, since you can’t really count the 12 “teams”, since of course they were going to be faster since they had a different person for each leg. The lesson to be learned, of course, is that even though I can’t swim, bike or run very fast, at least I can do nothing faster than most people :-) .

So to recap – lots of fun. As of now, I’m definitely interested in doing this again next year. Though we’ll see how I feel when it actually IS next year.

Practice triathlon

With the date of my triathlon coming up (this Saturday!) I have been wanting to run a practice one for quite some time. Various circumstances have conspired against me, but last night I was finally able to get it done. Since it was kind of late, I opted for the fully indoor practice version. I do recognize that this has some differences between a triathlon that’s done out of doors (at least in the bike and run departments). I’ll cover that later on – for now, here is how it went.

I got to the Y about 7:30. Luckily all 6 lanes of the pool were open for adult lap swim, so I had a lane all to myself. That’s a shoutout to my co-worker Jason, who is also running the same triathlon and is a “lane snob”. In my rush to get off to the Y, I had forgotten a few things. Among them were my goggles for swimming as well as my watch for timing. Of course, there were clocks all over the Y, and I think that I was able to synchronize them pretty well, so the times you see before you should be at least “mostly” accurate.

The lane closest to the lockers was open so I chose that one to shave some transition time. I hit the water at 7:36:30. The swimming went okay I guess. I was able to alternate about 50-50 between the crawl-stroke and my crazy rest stroke which is some sort of hybrid between the backstroke and geez I don’t know how to describe it. I’m sure that I look like quite the idiot doing it, but it allows me to rest the crawl muscles while still maintaining a decent clip. I finished the 16 laps and was out of the water at 7:47:54, so swim time of 11:24.

As I got my towel and dried off, in my haze I walked right past the men’s locker room and nearly went into the women’s before I figured out what I was doing. Instead of my “normal” locker that I choose when at the Y (which is back in the front corner opposite from the pool exit), I had picked one right on the main row. Again, trying to shave off a few seconds. However, when I got there, this big dude was in the locker right next to mine and had spread out his stuff all over the bench about 5 lockers wide. I took a deep breath and just plunged in to my locker. He gave me a semi “eat death” look as I dripped all over his stuff, but eventually we were able to separate ourselves. I had given some thought to just doing the run and bike in my swimsuit, but decided to change into athletic shorts. Obviously I don’t own any biker shorts or spandex or anything “professional” like that. It didn’t take me long to change and I hurried down the hall to the gym with a transition time (#1) of 2:36

There was actually only one stand-up bike left, so I snagged it. I wanted to ride a “normal” bike rather than a recumbent since I felt like that would be more accurate to what it would be like on Saturday. I hopped on and started pedaling. About a minute in I realized wait a minute my seat is way low. Apparently some sort of midget was riding the bike before me, so I had to take some time to adjust that. That won’t be a problem on Saturday, but I mention it just to kind of reinforce my crazy hurried-up mindset. A few minutes in, I realized that another thing that I forgot was some water. I hadn’t remembered to bring any, and in my hurry to get on my bike, I hadn’t taken the time to drink any from the fountain(s) I passed. Gotta remember that on Saturday. As I biked, I was sweating hard-core. I mean, I like to refer to myself as “the world’s sweatiest human” anyways, but this was pretty crazy. We’re talking arms covered in beads of sweat from every pore. It was kind of weird (and gross, of course). I tried to maintain focus as I pedaled, and ended up with a bike time of 40:51.

I took the time to get a long drink of water from the fountain after I was done biking, and of course I had to go wipe off my bike, so I had a transition time (#2) of 1:20

Then it was on to the treadmill. I had some trouble there. While biking, I had felt a bit of a twinge in what I believe was my right hamstring? Bottom of the upper thigh, whatever muscle that is. It didn’t really affect me too badly, but I was (of course) awful tired. I was watching the Reds and Brewers up on the “devil’s box” and I tried to use that to motivate myself. Stuff like “okay, I will keep running until Ken Griffey Jr. is done at-bat, then I’ll take a break to walk”, or “I can run through the commercial”, etc. Of course that led to several humorous silent epithets – “What are you DOING swinging at that – it would have been Ball 4?!!?” – stuff like that. I had to stop and walk several (probably 5 or 6 at least) times, and ended up with a run time of 32:59

So, if you’re scoring at home that’s:

  • Swim 11:24
  • Transition 2:36
  • Bike 40:51
  • Transition 1:20
  • Run 32:59
  • Total 1:29:10

I was very happy with my times. My goal has been 100 minutes, or 1:40, and the results from last night seem to indicate that the goal is within reach. As I mentioned earlier though, it is obvious that an indoor practice run does not really compare with the actual conditions, so let’s take a look at that:

Swim: I think this will be fairly close. Maybe a bit slower on Saturday since because the pool length is twice as long, I’ll have half as many long kick-offs from the pool edge. Still, I was quite happy with my time here

Transitions: Again, I think this is reasonable. A lot depends on how close the pool is to the transition area. I’ve got a map of the course and they are right next to each other, so it shouldn’t be too far off from the practice results. I got a copy of some race results for a similarly-distanced triathlon and the top guys are transitioning in under a minute and almost nobody is taking more than 2 or 3.

Bike: This is going to be the biggest difference. Biking indoors on an exercise bike is VERY different from biking outside, because you don’t have to deal with wind resistance, which can be fairly significant on a bike. Plus there aren’t any hills indoors. My friend PJ has done 6 practice triathlons over the past few weeks, and he’s been averaging about an hour. He’s probably a bit better biker than me and he certainly has a better bike, so even considering the fact that the route he’s been doing is slightly longer (about 3-4 minutes) than the 20K of Saturday’s race, I think it’s fairly clear that there’s no way I’m going to be coming close to 40 minutes on Saturday. I’ll be happy if I can get it under an hour – maybe 50-55 minutes is a good goal.

Run: I’m not sure what to think about the run. On the one hand, a treadmill is nice because it kind of forces you into a particular speed (or you fall off the back and hurt yourself). But it’s a lot harder to calibrate how fast you want to run. On a treadmill, you have to try going faster or slower to figure out how fast you want to run, whereas outside, you just do it. In my last (and only) 5K race, I ran a 25:39. Granted, that wasn’t after a swim and a bike, but I think that the nearly 33 minutes of last night is a worst-case scenario for Saturday. I think it’s not unreasonable that I could do it sub-30.

All in all, I was very happy with my times, and very happy that I was actually able to finish the whole thing. I will write again after the race on Saturday.

For your convenience

I have a post started with some trip details, but in the meantime, here’s a little rant for you:

I am getting a little sick of people (mostly businesses) asking me to do things “for [my] convenience” when they really mean for their own convenience.

This morning as I checked out of the hotel, the automated voice told me that I could leave my room key in my room “for [my] convenience”. Now this one I didn’t mind AS much, since I guess that’s as good a place as any, though you could certainly make the argument leaving it there is definitely more for the hotel’s convenience, rather than just taking it home with you, as certain people I know are wont to do.

But the one that really cracked me up happened as I was checking in on Sunday. It was later in the day (5:30-ish) as I came up to the front desk. Off on the other side of the lobby, there was a smaller desk that advertised itself as being checkout / checkin for HHonors patrons (their rewards program) . This smaller checkout was closed, I suppose due to the lateness, but on the desk was a sign that said “For your convenience, please use the main check-in desk”. So, I’m trying to figure out which of the following are true:

  • The Palmer House Hilton thinks that it is more convenient for me to wait in line to check-in rather than check-in with no line
  • They think that I’m stupid enough to just sit there all night waiting for someone to check me in, or that if they just put a “Closed” sign or something like that I wouldn’t be able to figure out.
  • Something else.

So, for your convenience, please leave me a comment with any good examples of people using this.

Wikipedia weirdness

So…. I’m not sure which I find more strange.

The fact that Wikipedia has a category called Educational institutions formed in 1978, or the fact that there are 43 entries in it….