Category Archives: Ironman

2014 Resolutions and 2013 Wrap-up before it’s so late it’s irrelevant

Today, we took down our adorable tiny Christmas tree and all the wonderful cards we received. The last day of Christmas is always bittersweet. We have also managed to eat every last bit of Christmas cookies, candy, and cake that was left in the house, so it’s well and truly over until next year.

One batch of the roughly 1000 pounds of fudge we made for the holidays. Sadly, all of it has been given away and/or consumed.

One batch of the roughly 1000 pounds of fudge we made for the holidays. Sadly, all of it has been given away and/or consumed.

And now for the important parts of this post. What we did and what we’re going to do.

What we did last year:

Short version – last year I did an Ironman. Which I shall never tire of saying, sorry (not really. Ironpeople are never sorry for bringing it up. Again. Maybe this year I’ll actually finish last year’s race report.). I was going to run up a mountain this year, but instead, I’ve decided to qualify for the Boston Marathon and just like that, another obsession is born. The Wife has decided to do her first 70.3 triathlon this year, so we have some fun training times ahead of us.

Long version – here’s my season recap for this year which basically says that I did an Ironman (did I mention that already?) and got a bunch of PR’s along the way, which was nice. Here’s last year’s resolutions post where go into stupefying detail about how to write resolutions and then give a laundry list a mile long of all the things I wanted to do or work on during 2013. Here’s the (hopefully less painful) summary of last year:

  • Ironman (see above.)
  • 4:00 marathon – cancelled because I was too tuckered out from Ironman (see above) to do anything meaningful with the rest of the fall. Poor, poor, pitiful me.
  • Flossing. Yep, still flossing. Like a boss.
  • Basic medical care, cats + humans. Behaving mostly like an adult and doing this stuff when we’re supposed to. Except the dentist. I never did go back to have the ancient cavities replaced. They still don’t bother me at all, giving me zero incentive to actually have things done.
  • Being a Scientist. Working on it. Was harder than I’d imagined. But there’s still hope.
  • Being a German speaker. Passed the B2 German exam and the civics exam for residency in May!
  • Being a home handyperson. Not really. Something had to fall off the (overly ambitious) list and this was it. Not that things are in bad shape, but I still want to reorg the bathroom and living room the way I did with the kitchen in 2012.
  • Getting wedding rings and having the accompanying wedding. Yeah, that one worked out pretty well. In case you were wondering, yes, we are legally in a Lebenspartnership here, but that’s like a civil union and not like a marriage. For US Immigration purposes, we needed a wedding and a marriage, so we had (another) one. It was beautiful and we had so much fun with it and that’s the one perk of same-sex unions. We get to (in fewer than half of the US states, though) have a lot of weddings. To the same person. (Because we have to in order to satisfy different states and countries patchwork and not wholly equal laws and regulations. So to counteract the lack of equality in a lot of places, we express our joy in those places that do consider us equal under the law by having more parties there.) OK, same-sex equality rant over. This is supposed to be a tri-blog, after all.

What we’re going to do this year:

I’ve decided against running up a mountain this September as it interferes with both our vacation plans and my BQ plans.

My A Races:

  • Mainz Marathon (May)
  • Frankfurt Marathon (October)

My B Races:

  • Frankfurt 1/2 Marathon (March)
  • Wiesbaden 70.3 (August)

My C Races:

  • Platte, Fertig, Los (only 450 meters of climbing in 5 miles up Plattestraße in Wiesbaden) (March) (Yes, I’m doing this one just for fun. For some definition of fun.)
  • Frankfurt City Tri (As usual, the week before Wiesbaden. I’ll probably do the sprint distance again. Maybe I’ll get first woman on the bike again this year.)
  • Lauf für Mehr Zeit – Frankfurt’s AIDS charity run. (September) If we’re not on the beach in Crete.
  • Cologne Triathlon Weekend (September) I may do the Oly here for fun since the swim is so beautiful and I’ll be there anyway, sherpa-ing for the Wife at her first half-iron distance triathlon. (Go Wife!)

Intense BQ-based navel-gazing ahead

(with a side-order of Maffetone nattering)

First, about navel-gazing. That refers to omphaloskepsis, or the act of meditative belly-button contemplation. Which is different from naval-gazing, which involves looking excessively at pretty boats, er ships. So, originally I’d hoped to BQ this May in Mainz, but then I realized that Mainz would only count towards 2015 when I will still only be 44 and the BQ time is 3:45 which is 17 minutes faster than my current marathon PR. However, Frankfurt, in October will count towards 2016, when I’ll be 45 and only need to pull off a 3:55, a mere 7 minutes faster than my PR. A majority of the predictors imply that based on my 1/2 marathon and 10k times in 2013, I should be able to swing a 3:53. I’m going to try for that at both Mainz and Frankfurt with some fun triathlon in the middle along with a couple of cool holidays.

Maffetone. Still not sure I believe in him. I’ve started HR training this month and seriously, keeping the HR below 180-43 (+5 for good behavior the last 4 or 5 years) is making me into one angry runner. I was reduced to almost 13 minute miles in the middle of Sunday’s long run. People were walking faster than I was running. I snapped at the Wife. It was miserable all around. I think I may have had a HRM malfunction in the middle of the run or something. Or the constriction around the chest (which triggers my claustrophobia) started to bother me. Or I have no aerobic fitness or something. I don’t know. But I cannot wait until March when I can get one of these fancy optical HRM that I get to wear around my wrist instead of my chest. I will stick with the Maffetone method at least until the end of February, but if my paces aren’t improving by then, I’m going back to the usual. In case you were wondering, all this started because the Wife has gotten so fast that I can no longer rely on running with her to keep my long run pace slow enough anymore and since I’m wearing the hated strap, I thought I might as well go all the way and see what happens.

So here’s my marathon training plan for the next few month in graphical format:

My weekly total mileage and long run length up to and including the Mainz Marathon this May. Races are marked as red dots on the long run (blue) line.

My weekly total mileage and long run length up to and including the Mainz Marathon this May. Races are marked as red dots on the long run (blue) line.

That’s the quick version of what I’m up to for the next year. Oh, and blogging. I resolve to blog no fewer than 52 times this year (that’s once a week at a minimum).


Captain Dukie was a bit traumatized by our being away for almost two weeks at Christmas. So now, all of my seated activities involve peering over a cat. For example, breakfast.

Captain Dukie was a bit traumatized by our being away for almost two weeks at Christmas. So now, all of my seated activities involve peering over a cat. For example, breakfast.


Season recap 2013

Well, it’s been most of the season and I haven’t managed to finish a blog post all summer or this first half of fall. Which is a shame because it has actually been a banner year for me. Let me explain; No it will take to long. Let me sum up:

So far this year to date I have achieved a PR in every race I entered. Every single one. Every distance, every race. It appears that Ironman training has been good for me on the whole. I escaped major injury (or rather, I trained well and listened to my body) and I finally got my iron levels to something approaching normal. I have no idea how long I’d been training and racing before this while being iron deficient. So thanks to my doctor for making me get blood drawn every three months and take iron supplements regularly.

Me doing my best impression of Daniel Craig as 007

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The week in Tri: Mondegreens, Roland, and the Frankfurt Ironman bike course

Yesterday Thursday was (another) (somewhat) long bike ride. Here’s how that went down:

In the morning, I said we were going for a nice three hour ride (like a three hour tour but no Gilligan) then changed tack midway through (see what I did there with the nautical reference?) and decided we should do my 5 hour long ride instead because mostly cloudy is still partly sunny (look, another pop culture reference, but without boats. Well, there was one boat. And shrieking eels.) and that was the best the weather would have for us for the next three days. I had cleverly and sneakily packed extra gels and a spare Powerbar for just such a possibility.  Luckily, my wife is not only patient and kind, she is also a hell of a bike rider and even with a slightly sprained ankle was game for it.

We rode the Frankfurt Ironman bike course which has the advantage of being clearly marked all year around with permanent signage. Still managed to miss a sign in the middle and ended up doing a bit as an out and back instead of a loop, but whatever. This is the third time this year that I’ve ridden part of the Ironman course. I’m trying to convince myself that an average speed of around 15 mph over that course on a weekday with traffic and stoplights will really translate to more like an 18 mph pace or so during the real thing. Yes. I’m certain of it.

Pretty road bikes are pretty

This picture of our road bikes is not from Thursday, but the ride we did last month of the course, but I forgot to take a picture last time.

Things that were memorable about this ride:

1. Mondegreens

Mondegreen the first:  At the horrifying cross street downtown where we have the choice of a really baffling and bizarre bicycle cloverleaf or a straightforward car lane with no shoulder and lots of honking trucks. “Did you just ask me if I wanted Apartheid Chocolate?”

“What the heck is apartheid chocolate?”

“I have no idea. The stuff you don’t eat when you ain’t gonna play Sun City ?” Or maybe this?

Mondegreen the second: When passing the McDonalds just past the horrifying cross street, necessary because of the urgent need to pee, probably resulting from the truck-honking choice at the intersection that does not actually, in fact, support segregated sweets. “Goggles!” “What do you need your goggles for? We’re biking not swimming.” “No, not goggles, McDonalds!” “McDonalds? Are you hungry already?” With legs crossed in desperation,”Please, will you just watch the bikes?”

2. As mentioned above: “Honey, how do you feel about 80 miles instead of the planned on 40?” “I’m ok with that, the weather’s nice and I feel pretty good.” I totally win at Wife!

3. Roland. When riding the ridiculously well marked Frankfurt Ironman course, there is a lot of left over road art from the previous year. Roland was apparently going for a sub-11 hour race last year. He had fans. I hope he made it. I immediately and irrevocably had Warren Zevon’s Thompson Gunner inhabiting all my auditory circuits  until the Wife started reciting German doggerel at me: Roland der Riese, Am Rathaus zu Bremen, Steht er ein Standbild, stetig und stark. (Actually, I just looked it up and the last line appears to actually be: standhaft und wacht.) It translates to: Roland the giant, by the Bremen town hall, A statue he stands, steady and strong. (Or steady and watchful) Anyway, they’re talking about this statue of Roland, who is now on my list of things to see in Germany this year.

4. The wrong turn (also as mentioned above). Yes, on a clearly sign-posted route that I had just biked 3 days previously, I managed to miss a sign and get us partially lost. Or in the explatoray portion of the ride, as I like to say. Luckily, I recognized the Elvis intersection (which can be seen here) From behind and we managed to get back on the right road after only a small hill.

Only an idiot can miss these.

One of the very clearly marked signs for the Ironman bike route. Clearly, this is not the sign that I failed to spot. This one happens to be just past the delightful half mile of uphill cobblestones on the course. See the picture of our bikes for an idea of the road surface.

5. On bike saddles and my girl bits. So, the new tri bike I got about a month and a half ago came with this really nice Fizik Arione 2 because my bike shop guy likes me and happened to have one laying around the shop. He said that it should be very comfortable and most of the serious triathletes are riding them. He’s probably not wrong about either of those things, but the truth is, it was making my girl bits hurt so much that I was becoming scarily adept at shoving a hand down my bike shorts during rides to try to alleviate some of the stress and pain. I was also losing the ability to focus on anything but the pain after about 40 miles or so. After 5 weeks of trying to make myself adapt to this saddle that clearly wasn’t working for me despite the fact that it is a good saddle and ought to have worked, I remembered the first rule of riding: If the saddle is uncomfortable, get a new one. Now. So I changed out my road bike saddle (a Specialized Ruby Pro with a very strategically placed cutout) onto my tri bike. Wow, what a difference. The birds sang more melodically, the flowers smelled more sweetly, the colors around me were more vibrant, and finally, finally I was able to concentrate on something other tha5800n the pain in my crotch. Damn you bike guy for having me convinced that there was something wrong with me for not being comfortable on the saddle, instead of just finding me a new saddle at the time of bike fitting when I said I didn’t thing it was going to work. Damn me for forgetting that listening to my body is more important than listening to other people tell me what my body should want. Anyway, problem very thankfully solved.

During the ride, I consumed two bottles of water (one with a NUUN tab in it), 4 Powerbar gels, and 3/4 of a Powerbar only three months past the expiry date. It was just about enough for the ride, but would need to be about doubled for Ironman.

I’ve spent the rest of the week biking, running, and swimming:

Bike rides: Total number: 4, Total miles: 212

Runs: Total number: 5, Total miles: 33

Swims: Total number: 2, Total meters: 5800

Note that for the second week in a row, swim night at the lake has been cancelled because it’s too fucking cold to swim in it and that’s why there are only two swims on the board, third one was cancelled and I failed to reschedule.

Tomorrow I’ll post a pictorial of how all my favorite runs are flooded out because in addition to it being too fucking cold for June, it’s also been raining in ark-building quantities for most of the four day weekend.

And have some bonus cat pictures. This is Captain Dukie’s secret identity as the Hairball Avenger, who saves us regularly from the evil machinations of zipties, bed sheets, and his own tail. You’ll have to ask him why his cape is pink.

captaindukieisunimpressed catsigh ihearthecatsignal

Driving up to a new 10k PR

Oh dear, it’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post that I’ve forgotten how. It’s not like riding a bike, apparently. Which, by the way, meet Bernd das Bike, the latest addition to our growing collection. There should be an entire post about him and how I came to purchase him. Suffice it to say, the owner of my local bike shop is the worst salesman ever, I was utterly convinced that this bike was too big, and it took about a week longer than it should have. But it turns out that Bernd is ridiculously stable while I am hanging onto the aerobars for dear life and he’s remarkably fast for a somewhat heavy aluminum-framed tri bike. He’s entirely custom made (probably for someone a tiny bit bigger than me) has a very nice Ultegra group and really nice aerobars. He and I will be spending a lot more time together in the next eight weeks.

Cat on bicycles

Here’s Captain Dukie surveying the new addition to Bike Parking (TM); Bernd das Bike

Also, I failed to post my Shamrock Half Marathon race report, which is a damn shame, because that race was really fun, PR’s all around, I ran the last 3 km at about my 5k race pace, passed people left and right and finally broke my 1/2 marathon curse*, the Wife ran a 1:58 (smashing her previous half marathon PR by 6 minutes!) and we got the best finisher swag ever – Fleece finisher blankets! They were completely necessary as it was close to freezing, windy, and rainy when we finished. Then we had 10 days of vacation in the states and I forgot to write up any sort of race report. Did I mention the PR smash? I did? Good.

* My first half marathon was in 2009 in Virginia Beach at the Shamrock and I ran it in 1:55:56 and until this year’s Shamrock, I hadn’t managed to get close to that. But now I have a new self-generated carrot to chase! 1:51:44 a four minute PR and I ran a nicely negatively split race.

Note that the following paragraphs were actually written on race day and are therefore written in the present tense even though I didn’t manage to post it until three weeks later. Wow. Three weeks. Time, please stop moving so fast, I can’t keep up.

*Begin day of race report here*

OK so now that’s out of the way, today’s post is really about today’s race. Today’s race was a local point-to-point 10K from another town to ours. It started in the hills and ended by the river, which means one important thing: NET DOWNHILL run! Another important thing about this one: it ended only a few blocks from our apartment so we could very quickly and easily run home at the end if need be (cue dramatic low strings of foreshadowing now). A race at ten in the morning on a Thursday would be weird, except that today was a public holiday. It was Ascension or as the Germans call it Christihimmelfahrt which translates literally to Christ driving up to heaven. Since this was a one-way race that ended at home, we had to take the train to get there, but it was only a ten minute ride or so and there was a good number of other runners on it.

but the muth was busted so obviously He got there some other way. Batsuit? Flying pony?

Christihimmelfahrt which I have handily illustrated on our kitchen whiteboard for you. By the way, the new season of Mythbusters is excellent so far and they did their third and definitive busting of the JATO-on-a-car myth that started off the Darwin awards

Today’s race really started yesterday. Actually, even earlier, so let’s bring it on back to last Sunday. On the Ironman plan, last week was supposed to be a tune-up race, but sadly I couldn’t find any other than a mountain bike duathlon and since none of our seven bikes is currently a mountain bike, that was right out. I then staged my own one person Olympic triathlon complete with two separate transition zones (the first by the local pool and the second in the hallway of our apartment), an out-and-back bike course with 1500 feet of climbing, a 10K loop, and a spectator to cheer me on (the ever wonderful Wife). The swim was unfortunately cancelled due to some high school competition or something. I go into the door to that pool two to three times a week and somehow the posted flyer announcing the weekend closure never registered at all. The bike was a bit slow – average 17.8 mph (but the last two training rides on the same route were 15 and 15.8 mph, respectively, so clearly I was moving) and the run I did faster than the runs in the last two official Olympic triathlons I competed in. So it was a good hard effort. Then Monday was rest day except that it wasn’t really as it involved a 12 hour fast (not even water) and then a three hour doctor’s appointment where it was determined unequivocally and with much borborygmous that I am lactose intolerant (I’ve had serious bowel problems for almost 20 years and it took until now for someone to check for that? WTF medical profession, WTF?), Tuesday was 3300 meters of swimming, a short bike, and three hours of aikido. Wednesday. Yesterday. Yeah, yesterday was the kicker. An 11.5 mile long run in the morning followed by 3 hours of errands by bicycle (only about an hour and forty minutes or so of actual riding) and a 2300 meter swim.

So, on top of that, I got to the start line with the intent to run the race as a hard tempo effort. By all rights, I should have been cooked. And for the first kilometer that’s how I felt. Then about halfway up the first hill, everything suddenly woke up and I kissed the Wife goodbye and took off. By take off, I mean that my pace increased by almost a minute per mile. Despite that, the beer wagon passed me somewhere around kilometer 3. I didn’t let it get me too down, though as the beer wagon guys are a bunch of fit and fast triathletes and did I mention that we were all heading downhill at this point?

I had a throwaway water bottle with me at the start that I intended to ditch before the running began, but at the last minute I decided to hang on to it as I had absolutely no idea if or how many water stops there were and the sun was actually out for once. Both the Wife and I misremembered there being no water stops and on Sunday’s fake duathlon I didn’t bring any water with me for the 10k run portion and I was so dehydrated that I was daydreaming about the Wife riding up and bringing me water from km 7 to the end. So I held onto my water bottle of safety and I was so happy to be able to take a sip whenever I wanted that I might do this at more races from now on.

Anyway, so I was running possibly faster than I should have been, but I felt good, so I kept going with that and it worked pretty well. Just before we ran through the train station at the chemical plant around km 8, I passed the beer truck going downhill and knew my victory was assured. The chemical plant is always fun to run through as it’s closed to visitors most of the time. I kept checking the Garmin to see if I was somehow counting things wrong, but I wasn’t. I really was going an entire 10k at about an 8:10 minute pace, with around a 7:45 pace for the middle mile where the most downhill was. And my legs felt ok throughout.

The race ends at the old castle wall (like a thousand years old) and you go under this arched gate then up a steep little cobblestone hill for the last 0.2 mi. As I sprinted towards the finish, there was a guy wearing the same race shirt as I was also sprinting up the little hill and for some idiotic reason it was important for me to beat him up the hill. So I did. Then promptly puked. But still. Another PR! 51:07! Go me. Ironman training certainly is special if it’s giving me the power to do stuff like this.

The Wife came dashing up only a few minutes later for a PR of her own (by about 20 seconds) despite her being sick for about half this training cycle, but then she also promptly puked. At this point, I’m blaming last night’s sushi. But really, when they talk about blood, sweat, and tears they never mention the vomit. Why is that? So we walked home, got showered and changed and then headed back to the big party where it started to rain, the lines for the sausages were really long and they didn’t do the awards ceremony until after we finally gave up and left to go home and write a race report. They only go 3 deep and I was 6 in my age group so we hopefully didn’t miss much.

*End Day of reporting here*

I have so many things that I keep thinking I should blog about and then never do. Blogging regularly is hard and I have tons of respect for those that manage it along with training and jobs and such. But right now I’m five and a half weeks out from Ironman so I’ll try to be more mindful and keep track of what’s going on with training and life here. It’s exciting and scary and I don’t feel ready. I wonder if anyone ever feels ready for their first Ironman? Also, how on earth does anyone do this without a supportive spouse to cook food, pick up the pieces, and generally make life run smoothly when all I manage to think about or do is swim-bike-run?

triathlong meringues

My incredible and wonderful Wife made me these adorable meringues the other day 🙂

New Years Resolutions 2013: Really this is my goal post for the year

This is my New Year Resolution post for 2013.  I’ve started it off with some rules for making resolutions that I learned at my last job. Feel free to use these rules to make a set of goals for yourself, or to just think about how to write goals (without constantly moving the goal posts ans I am wont to do) that are achievable and reasonable.  There are a lot of things on my list because I have a lot of things that I want to remember to do and think about in the coming year and I plan to use this list to keep track of them and to refer to regularly throughout the year.

Rules for making resolutions:

  1. It shall be a concrete goal (i.e. no “I want to be a better person” type goals)
  2. It shall be trackable in some way. Progress shall be able to be noted
  3. It shall be achievable and checked by a disinterested party for reasonableness and achievability

Types of resolutions:

  1. Daily (near-daily) items. These are small changes to make in order to form healthy habits. In this context, health can be physical, intellectual, emotional, or social.  Examples of socially healthy habits to form are doing the dishes before bed daily, or folding the laundry when it is dry and not waiting for my wife to fold it.
  2. Weekly items are things that should be considered on a regular basis, again with a goal of healthy habit-forming, but also a goal of self-improvement in any of the above categories.
  3. Long term goals for the year.  Self explanatory.

Resolution assessments:

–       Should be done periodically throughout the year and adjustments made to the goals based on these goal assessment and progress and any changes (life events, etc) that may impact them.

–       Should be honest and reflect both positive progress and stumbling blocks.

My Goals for 2013, summary:

Below are my resolutions in the above categories.  Note that I very much dislike the word resolution and would prefer to call these short and long term goals coupled with ongoing things of which to be more mindful. Note that I did not include any negative goals here. I am focused on what I will do, and positive changes that I can make rather than negative aspects. This list is here to help me, not to make me feel bad about myself. Reassessment and revision is an important step in any big systems engineering project.

Category 1 Near-daily: These are the easiest to write down and should also be the easiest to do.

  1. Floss.  I started this one in October so maybe it no longer counts as a 2013 New Year’s resolution, but I am still flossing almost daily and my teeth and gums feel really nice these days. It also only takes a few minutes, makes me feel that I am doing something good for my health, is actually good for my health, and has no bad aspects as far as I can tell.  In fact, googling “cons of flossing” results only in discussions of which type of floss (or waterpik) is better, rather than any negative aspects of the act of flossing itself.  So this year I will continue to floss on a near-daily basis (missing a day every once in a while is considered to be within the noise and not a reason for self castigation or flagellagion. This goal is physical (for my health) and emotional (makes me feel good).
  2. Fold the laundry when it is dry.  Part of the challenge of living in a small apartment with no balcony and no clothes dryer is that our clean, wet clothes end up on a big rack in the middle of the living room. While I am quite adept at starting loads of laundry and pretty good at taking the damp clothes out of the washer and hanging them up to dry, I often skip this last step entirely. While I would like to be a person who does all the things, I’m not, and I understand that changes must be deliberate and not impossible to effect. That is why I am choosing laundry over dishes. I’m not sure I’d succeed at any goal that stated, “Do all the dishes before going to bed.” That would be setting myself up for failure and that is not the point of this exercise. So, folding the laundry. This goal is emotional and social (makes me feel good and also is something I will do to help the wife as we take care of our home together).
  3. Footwork. This is mainly martial arts, but can also apply to running, biking, and swimming.  Each year, I try to pick one aspect of training and focus on that specific thing for the year.  For example, one year it was posture (I probably need to redo that one sometime soon).  This year the focus will be more mindful and exact footwork as I have a tendency to just let my feet land wherever they happen to be at the end of my legs. In swimming, this will help with kicking, running will also be affected by thinking more about foot strike and turnover and by martial arts, I will work on removing a lot of those extra little steps that I tend to add everywhere. This goal is physical and intellectual (Making me think about the physical a little more but with a specific and directed focus.)
  4. Go to bed. I have been having more difficulty sleeping lately than usual and for some of the big goals for this year and one of my worst habits is falling asleep downstairs on the couch instead of in bed.  So, at night, when the wife brushes her teeth and gets ready for bed, I will also brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I will consider this to be successful if I get ready for bed within 30 minutes of her going to bed.  This does not mean that I won’t watch TV on the iPad in bed, read in bed, take the computer and write blog posts in bed, or engage in other activities to help me fall asleep or quiet my mind when I can’t fall asleep, but I will be in the right place to fall asleep at the right time of day. This goal is physical (better for my health, important for triathlon training), intellectual (brain function is improved by getting enough sleep), emotional (the bed is comfortable and is a soothing place to be, I don’t feel guilty for not joining my spouse that I love and love being near), and social (I will disturb her less with quiet reading in bed than with leaving all the lights on, making noise in the bathroom, and all the other things that happen in the middle of the night when I don’t get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Category 2 Weekly: Some of these are easy, some are difficult, some appear easy but aren’t, some appear difficult, but aren’t. It is left to the reader as an exercise to determine which is which.

  1. Clean weapons. All my wooden weapons that I use regularly shall be checked over and oiled and wiped down once a week. Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday are the best days for this.  Wooden weapons that I don’t use regularly and my iaito should be wiped down and cleaned once a month. (Emotional goal).
  2. Martial arts practice. Three times a week. This can be as simple as 10 minutes of sword cuts in the morning. This goal may move to the daily category when I reassess in a months. 10 minutes a day is barely more than flossing. (Physical goal).
  3. Science. Regardless of other work that I am doing for super secret goal #1, read one science paper a week. This includes reading the paper, and writing a short summary of it. (Intellectual goal).
  4. German. Read 2 articles in German every week. These can be about anything and be of any length.  Listen to 1 radio program a week in German. Write at least 200 words in German every week. These can be emails, notes about the articles, letters, blog posts, anything as long as it is in German. (Intellectual goal).
  5. Writing. Blog, fiction, science writing, whatever. At a minimum, 1000 words a week that isn’t just emails and Facebook updates. (Intellectual, emotional, and social goal).
  6. Marriage. Plan and do something every week together that is not a sporting activity.  This can be cooking together, going out to dinner, going for walks, going to the movies, museums, bike rides (touring, not training), sauna, other, really anything that we enjoy together without the internet and without a training plan. (Emotional and social goal.)

Category 3 Long Term: My major concrete goals for the year. I’ve put a completion month after each. I don’t think this list should be longer than 12 items, one for each month, although it doesn’t have to be that long.

  1. Ironman Frankfurt.  July 7.
  2. Suspended sediment paper. End of January.
  3. Frankfurt Marathon in less than 4 hours. October 27.
  4. Prepare for B2 or C2 German exam. (note that taking the exam is not important, but that getting to the point where taking either of them would not be a problem to pass is the goal. It’s still unclear which, if any, I might need and since they cost a lot to take, I might not actually take either one). March.
  5. Get the cats to the vet for their annual check up. August.
  6. Get myself to the vet for annual check up. September.
  7. Get matching wedding rings. Through some unforeseen events, we currently don’t have matching ones and we would like to. December.
  8. Get the fillings that the dentist says need replacing replaced. April.
  9. Living room and bathroom revision.  I finished the kitchen then lost focus. June.
  10. Super secret goal. More on this later.

That’s it for me.  Happy New Year, I hope that it started well. I’ll post my 2012 reflections in the next few days.

Devil-cat is sad that he has to wait 358 days until Christmas again. His resolution is to get up before dawn every day and convince us that he must be fed before the first rays of light reach the bedroom window.

Devil-cat is sad that he has to wait 358 days until Christmas again. His resolution is to get up before dawn every day and convince us that he must be fed before the first rays of light reach the bedroom window.


So, today is the day that I realize that there are only 30 weeks to go until Ironman and I completely freak out and can’t sleep because I have managed to convince myself that the month I’ve just taken it easy post-marathon was way too long, all my fitness is gone, I’m already behind the 8-ball and all hope is essentially lost.  This is partly because I found one 36 week plan and realized that I can no longer choose that plan as an option. There are literally hundreds of 13 to 28 week plans that I am still clearly capable of following and even Joe Friel himself says 23 is a good number of weeks and that even gives me 7 weeks of base building and strength work at the gym before it even starts. I’m going to have to get over these bouts of training panic because I can’t spend too many nights not sleeping over things like this.  I had a pretty good season that ended on a couple of great races, I’m healthy again, I needed these few weeks of non-plan based recovery and now I need to start off-season basebuilding with a clear heart and calm mind.  If by some miracle, you happen to stumble across this and have already done your first Ironman, feel free to tell me that I’m worrying about nothing and not helping myself at all by doing this.

This weekend I’ll post a recap of the last season (all the races I never wrote or finished the race reports for in one easy post) and the first part of my training plan for the winter and next season – the year of the Ironman. In July, you can help me plan which beach I’ll be sleeping on for a week as reward for whatever happens on that first Sunday. Also because it will be my birthday. To clarify, my birthday is in July, not this weekend.  The IM is also in July. The plan is to be done this weekend.