Monday, October 29, 2007

I should be sleeping.

My daughter has been awake until 4:00 am the last two nights. Today around 5:00 pm I thought I was going to melt down I was so tired. But as is too often the case with me - I reach a state of restfulness, but lack the ability to sleep. For now I'll attribute it to her - I'm just too interested in every cackle and whimper and sigh that transmits over the wireless monitors connecting her room to ours. Not worried (there was that, the first night home especially) or concerned or paranoid, just interested. So I stay awake, and I wait for her to need me, so that I have the excuse to go spend wakeful time with her again.

Admittedly, this is a poor strategy. I'm going to have to get some friggin' sleep over here.

But for now: I am enthralled. She is fantastic.

I have been running just once since she was born, though I swore today I'd be out there. Last week was an allowed week off - today I was just too damn tired. Tomorrow, then. I promise. As it is - she's been asleep 4 solid hours right now. All of which I could have been asleep for.


More soon. Life is good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I had a dream...

...last night that I think was me in the middle of IMWI 09' but I'm not certain. I remember being in the middle of the marathon and couldn't feel a thing from my neck down. It was like I was floating on air. I distinctly remember how strong and confident I felt. But then my damn alarm went off and reality set in. This is when I realized I can't even run a 5K right now sadly enough and was out of breath at the top of the stairs. Ugh.

On a side note, I foolishly signed up for an indoor triathlon yesterday. It's not until late February so what's that, like 15 weeks out or something? I better get it together soon if I plan on not DNF'ing for the third race in a row.

At least the sun is out and it's not raining...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Greatest of These

Dakota Dawn Bintliff was born on Thursday night, October 18, at 9:04. Her story is a remarkable of revolutions. I'm excited to share it with you when I can.

She was born 6 lbs 13 oz, 19 inches long. She is as beautiful, courageous, and determined as her mother - who is nothing less than a super hero. All are doing very well.

Much more to come. What a wonderful world.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Revolutions: Preface

My father's Dad - my Grandpa of "pick it up and set it down" Ironman fame, he who braved the day with me, he is well, strong as an ox, all is as it should be. Important you know who I mean when I say "grandpa".

My mother's Dad - Grandpa Wally, who I think I've mentioned only once in this blog and don't have time or energy right now to find the link (but that once does not indicate a somehow lesser meaning to my life, obviously, but by nature of our relationship and proximity, I have not had cause to mention him in context of triathlon) - I haven't told you but he's been battling for his life since July 23rd. Friday I got the call: come home. I drove all night. 15 hours, back to the western-most edge of Dakota. I stopped for a few hours sleep. I crossed 3 states to be among his family, who he adored ("I'm proud of you Christopher") at his bedside. He has been unresponsive since Thursday. Still, I told him my girl's name. I brought him a coin from the collection he and my Dad used to enjoy together. I brought him the medal from my last race, which I ran in his honor. I told him what I needed to say, and I hoped in the ether he heard me. He passed away Sunday afternoon. The universe cracked, and another star in my constellation faded away. Even knowing he was going, even feeling its inevitability, it still hit me like a car wreck. I shook, I wept so hard.

Monday, we sit in the stupid throes of grief, so familiar and sickening from when my Dad died, in the same town, also on a Sunday. Then: Amy calls after a doctor's appointment. She's over 4cm dilated. Almost completely effaced. This is pregnant-speak for "the time is nigh". "Tell Chris he'd better come home," her doctor said. So the coin flips, and with shuddering suddenness it is time to tend to the living. To my mother and grandmother and aunts and uncles and brother and sister and cousins - I have to go now, I love you all, and they almost cheer me out the door as I swim in this surreality of emotions, on a pilgrimage now to the opposite end of the funereal. "Dad and Grandpa go with you," mother said.

And I drive all night. 15 hours. I stopped for a few hours sleep. The second time in days that I'm flying across the interstate, hoping I get there in time. Please God let me get there in time.

I did. Get here in time, I mean. Amy's beginning to have some significant contractions, but there is still time, and we're trying to get some rest (mostly for my sake) before we start walking around, seeing if we can't unlock the gates a bit. I'm so weary I feel sick, but I have this damned caffeine buzz from the Caribou stimulants that kept me behind the wheel. So I'm waiting for it to subside, and have this moment to tell you: life is underway over here. We don't know if it's days, or more days than that, or what kind of timeline baby has us on. Only that things are in motion, whatever that means.

I will, of course, keep you posted.

And then: my friends got engaged.

Revolutions indeed. What a sublime life.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Today's Moment of Zen

Often enough, I come across something on the web that is usually totally random, and makes me laugh, or weep, or quake, or run away into another room and peer around my doorway cautiously. I've decided rather than experience this frivolity in a vaccum, I'm going to start sharing them with you, as randomly as they come into my atmosphere. Almost always, these will have nothing to do with anything whatsoever. So.

We start the Zen with Miss Douglas. Where to begin with this. The sparkly arm bands? How 'bout the spooky tentative glances at the surrounding lazer beam sound effects? Perhaps the weird Dick Van Dyke-penguin-dance-from-Mary-Poppins dance she does later on? Or when she again pops in and out of character to look up at the sky, in case that really is a Tie Fighter cruising by? No, I think in the end it all has to come back to the tone deaf trumpet playing.

File this one under:



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And It's Official

Well, if you don't have any plans on July 20th, 2008, why not head out to Racine, WI and get your cheer on? Team Two has just registered for the 2008 Spirit of Racine Half Ironman. Locked and loaded baby! Let's hope I don't back out of this race like my previous two. I'm off to a grand daddy of a start though, two for two so far this week with training.

Back on the wagon...Jageshmash!

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Age Group?

I was just thinking, as I was lying in bed last night, that this year will be my last year racing in this age group, and that by IMWI '09 I'll be in the 35-39 AG. I was thinking, "Damn. I'm old."

Then today, I get THIS!

That's right, it's my very own AARP card! "As a member, you'll have the resources and information you need to get the most out of life over 50." Awesome. The world continues to laugh its ass off in my general direction.

I think I look pretty good for 50. The ol' prostate's in solid form, I hardly ever have to use my Rascal Scooter, and I'm yet to Viva Viagra. Who knows, maybe I'll finally hit the podium after all!

Friday, October 05, 2007



Time to get back to work.

Technically, we're still in the offseason, and we'll stay there until mid-November, when base training really begins. But on Monday Team Two embarks on the Next Great Adventure as we start structured training again.

This season is divided into 3 essential phases. Phase 1, starting Monday, is a sort-of build phase, and lasts about 5 weeks. We'll train similarly to how we'd train for a Sprint triathlon, with short distances and workouts, mostly to blow out any cobwebs and get our systems ready to go for training again, so that we don't start base training with too much a lack of fitness. We cap this phase off with a 5k to keep as a goal and assess our progress.

Mid-Novemberish, we start actual base training. This is 16 weeks long, and will be all about strength and endurance. We'll be training our bodies to ride at high watts, developing the strength to get faster on the bike. We'll be incorporating lots of strength and speed workouts on the run as well - we want to condition ourselves, over the next 2 years, to not just survive the Ironman distance, but thrive in it. This phase is capped off with an an early sprint half marathon, sometime in late March/early April. The goal of that race is to P.R. the distance, or if not P.R. than to have a quality race, true to the fitness developed, and with a clear understanding of why a P.R. wasn't possible.

Finally, we take 2 weeks off and in Mid-March start training for Spirit of Racine, our July 20 Half Ironman. While Ironman is the prize we eye all the time, this season is all about executing the right training and fitness to race - not just endure - a half Ironman. I've never actually raced the distance, just had my ass kicked by it 3 times.

Our training program is generally a concoction of everything I've learned in the last 4 years, and a hybrid of training plans from Gale Bernhardt to Rich Strauss and lots of players in between. 'Zilla's crazy enough to trust me, so we'll see how it goes. Generally, though, there are a few philosophies. First is: flexibility. Workouts can be moved around, and entire weeks taken off here and there to stay fresh, not get overwhelmed, overtrained, or fatigued. Another is: modularization. Is that a word? We're breaking up what is otherwise a reallllly long 9 months (a year if you consider the marathon we both intend to run next October) into manageable chunks, with a race of some distance always on the forseeable horizon to keep our heads wrapped around. This should keep us focused, and hopefully keeps us from getting bored or into a rut. Third: Strategery. We have a series of road races and triathlons on the agenda that are all purposeful - we're running them for a reason, with a strategy and goal in mind. Maybe it's to P.R., maybe it's to rehearse, maybe it's to experiment. Any additional races we do are just "fun" - fun runs, an occasional sprint or olympic distance, maybe. But those are optional to the essential races that will keep us driving forward. Fourth: Sensibility. We're not even getting into the pool until March. This is 3-6 hours a week that we'll NOT be training. Until then, we're focusing on getting strong on the bike and run, and building endurance. When we do hit the water, we should have the lungs to get efficient workouts in, and we should build towards peaking at the right time. We also have lots of days off or x-training days built in, so that we don't run ourselves raw with the grind. Finally: Perspective. We're talking about an end goal that's 23 months away, and it's kind of dumb to even plan that far ahead for anything. A missed workout here and there, a shortened run, a rearranged long bike ride, a few days off - that's not going to kill us. The object is to avoid burnout, get to the starting line healthy, and train smart to race. The rest are just details.

This is my second Ironman, and 'Zilla's first. For me, the objectives are so totally different this time around. I'm much more interested in the training, in the work involved. So much of the personal discovery was taken care of last time, and while I certainly always hope there's more of that to come at every turn, I'm looking forward to not being overwhelmed with it like I was last time. For 'Zilla, I hope he engages in the same crazy awareness of self that I developed for IMWI '06 - the experience made me a changed person.

I also want to do it smarter. If training quantity suffers for the new family developing around here, then the quality has to ratchet up. If I'll be tired and exhausted from real life, then the training has to be a catalyst for invigoration, not further exhaustion. How all of that will manage is yet to be seen, and is part of the fun.

Welcome aboard Becoming Ironman everybody. We'll be leaving the parking lot shortly.


Please put your chairs in their upright positions and fasten your seat belts as we prepare for takeoff folks.

Yep, this is it, this is the big one. Or something like that. Basically all I can say, in a nutshell, is that I'm a giant ball of clay for XT4 to mold. I'm with him and agree 100% on the above. He says bike a 40K at such and such watts...I'll drink a case of beer. He says run a race pace 10K...I'll eat two pints of Ben & Jerry's. He says swim 1600 meters with a pull buoy...I'll float down the lazy river on my inner tube. In actuality, I plan on doing the EXACT opposite of what he tells me in hopes to hit 300 pounds by 2008!

Wow, the creative well of mine, although never that full, is completely empty right now. I'z got nothin. It's been a long week, bare with me.

On a serious note though, I'm getting antsy, anxious and excited as all hell. For the first time in a long long time, I'm basically pain free. I've had some nagging, not so much injuries as they are/were nuisances, in my left foot, hammy and glute. Miraculously and inexplicably, all three went away yesterday. So I'm stoked and feel pretty well rested and ready to go physically. My main goal other than having the most fun I can possibly have is to not over do things and burnout like I did this year for the how every many time in a row this is. 23 months is a LONG time for anything. It's going to be a slow, grueling process and I'm looking forward to the challenge and all the unknowns it's gonna bring my way.

If you're reading this, thanks for tuning in. No doubt, I'll be enjoying the ride one step at a time. 70.3 here we come!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Spark

So, I'm still hanging on by a thread here 6 weeks and counting into this hiatus of mine, dangling near rock bottom and all. Anywho, last week I went on a little spending spree and bought a trainer on shipped today. I just opened er' up and she's ready to roll! This actually has me fired up to workout for the first time I can remember in a while! So that's something. Let's see if I can drag my butt to the gym tomorrow morning for a workout instead of snoozing the alarm for 2 hours.

Baby steps...

Bits & Pieces...

• It's apparently game day for one of my favorite people in the blog-o-verse; TriSaraTops is being induced into labor today, if all goes as she's been expecting (no pun intended! Ha!). She's been an awesome friend and resource to me since before we both did IMWI '06, and is one of those people it's hard to believe I've only "met" once. We've compared many notes in emails back & forth through the whole "'bout-to-have-a-baby" thing. Much love, prayers, and positivity headed in her general direction...

• Iron Wil has a pretty amazing story.

• Shout out to everybody racing the Twin Cities Marathon and Chicago Marathon this year - Bubba's in Chi-town, and our own TZilla's racing the TC10 miler as part of the marathon festivities. 'Zilla, care to chime in with a little race week rundown? Shout out too to Brazo, who's doing a mountain bike race this weekend (sweet!), and CoS, who killed a duathlon in Green Bay last weekend.

• Here's a general topic that's been floating about my brain waves lately - what happens now? The blog-o-sphere gets pretty quiet after Ironman, which is very understandable as everybody gets back to their other lives, away from the game a bit. But as far as I & 'Zilla are the only ones out here rocking IMWI '09! Brazo's rolling to Louisville for '08...otherwise, there's an eerie quiet over the Ironscape. That's definitely weird for me, as I came into this part of it all in '06, when a whole crew of us were getting ready. And not that people won't emerge who are doing '08 or '09, or that there aren't a whole lot of people out there that I'm just not yet familiar with, or even that Ironman is the only thing interesting to talk about...but of the core crew that I've, y'know, grown up with...tumbleweed city, baby. Anyway. Just an observation. Feels a little like the halls of high school are empty.

• Oh, and if you ARE doing Ironman '08 or '09, please introduce yourself!

• Hand report: It's kind of a big purply mess right now (actually, improved this morning over last night, so that's good.) The impact point is easily marked because the skin broke there too, so radiating outward from there is this weird purply blob. That part is swollen, too, and also the creases in my hand - you know, those life line thingies or whatever palm readers look at - the top one is much darker, as I guess blood maybe collects in there or something? A la Steve, I tried to snap a picture for you this morning. Alas, it didn't really translate, so that would just be boring. Should've taken it last night!

• Fun things to say to other people when one hand is largely out of commission:

Can you give me a hand?
I think I deserve a hand for that.
You've gotta hand it to me...
On the other hand...

And follow any opportunity to say these things with "no pun intended". I first enjoyed this with my doctor, when he was telling me how he wanted to stitch up the smashed up skin part (which was a total over-reaction), but I said nah, I wasn't worried about that, then he said, "on the other hand, we could actually superglue it with medical grade superglue." Only he got as far as "On the other hand we could -" before I enthusiastically interrupted "No pun intended! Ha!" with a shit eating grin on my face, and he just paused and looked at me sideways a moment before politely chuckling and continuing on. So. Amy loves the jokes though. LOVES 'em!

Happy Tuesday everybody -