Friday, February 29, 2008

Tagged Twice

Man, both PlanetT3rry and Jade Lady have tagged me! I need to work on getting harder to catch ;-)

OK, here are 7 more random/weird things about myself. I'm not tagging anyone else this time since nearly everyone seems to have been tagged recently already. If you wanna play, consider yourself tagged.

1. I remember countless useful numbers largely by muscle memory, e.g., how my fingers move on a keyboard, the same way I remembered music when playing piano.

2. On average, I watch probably no more than an hour of TV shows a week. For many years, I never even plugged my TV in.

3. It took me nearly 2 years to get used to the idea of having a cell phone. If I remembered to bring it, I often forgot I had one and wondered whose phone was ringing. Doh!

4. Despite being a math major in college and a Type-A person, I find it a chore to keep track of my workouts and have little desire to analyze day-to-day performance data.

5. The heaviest I've ever weighed is 130# C&S (clothes & shoes on) at a doctor's office. At my 1/2 iron events, I've weighed in at 120-125# C&S. I can fluctuate +/- 5# pretty easily and don't usually weigh myself at home unless I feel unwell.

6. I've never eaten a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

7. The only diapers I've ever changed are those of my dad when he was dying of cancer. He passed away at age 64 and perhaps the most valuable lesson he ever taught me was that life is short.

Happy Leap Day Everyone!!

PS - Today is the last day to vote for one of the 4 final contestants in the Evotri contest. If you haven't yet done so, please vote by 11:59pm PST.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Back in Kona now where I've managed to do my first workouts since the bike crash. 15 min upright exercise bike (no weight on upper body = no pain), 15 min elliptical and 20(!) minutes on the treadmill. I kept the intensity level low but did indeed break a sweat -- YAAAAAAY!!!

Then I put on my bathing suit to go for a short swim -- ICK! The big ugly bruise on the side that got slammed onto the asphalt was glaring at me (my right side, the photo is a mirror reflection). And with parts of it still swollen and puffy, it not only still hurts like hell, it makes my thigh look HUGE :-(

I managed about 20 min swimming with a pull buoy before I had to stop due to rib pain. Breast stroking actually hurt worse.

But, I've done more today than I did all last week. Time to enjoy the sunset :-)

Aloha! (Second photo added)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Evotri Blooper Reel!

My lovable Sis, Jade Lady, has gone dumpster diving on her Mac and created a blooper reel of my Evotri video. Enjoy a laugh on me. It's quite painful!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Well, it's been a week since my bike crash and my road rash has been healing up pretty well. The knee boo-boos are now just itchy scabs waiting for me to pick off and the stuff on my arm, while still nasty in appearance (so I'll spare you photos), really does not feel that bad. Unless someone or thing rubs against it. Yowza!

Darn it, though, my ribs feel only slightly better than last week. Breathing deeply, coughing, laughing, sitting up from bed and the worst, sneezing, still hurts, a lot. I mowed my lawn today much like an old lady would with my elbows tucked in close to my body (as opposed to outstretched) to minimize using my chest, back & abs. How nice it would have been to have a self-propelled mower!

But that was downright pleasant compared to riding my bike yesterday. Yes, indeed, having to support my upper body weight on my arms hit all those major muscle groups and I went a whopping 3 miles before I decided to head back. Felt like I was breathing through a little straw while someone was punching me in the ribs and forcing me to pedal. Not good.

So, I've decided to take my first ever DNS (Did Not Start) at tomorrow's bike time trial event. IMO, there is nothing to be gained by doing it when I'm injured. I'm better off resting and continuing to recover. I've already volunteered to be the person who marks the turnaround to help Dave and others who missed the turn last time trial. My bike is now in the shop, too, because I found out that it has a bent dérailleur hanger (thing that holds the thing that controls where the chain goes on the rear things -- make sense?). Nothing serious but it needs fixing in order to be in tiptop shape for when I'll be in tiptop shape, which will hopefully be soon!

On a completely different topic, I am ecstatic to announce that my sister, Jade Lady, has started her own blog, finally! She has run a few marathons and done a couple tris but needs help staying motivated, especially having just had shoulder surgery last Thursday. If you get some free time, please drop by her blog and say Hi!

News flash: Just heard that the bike time trial event has been cancelled due to bad weather. No DNS after all -- woo hoo!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008


I'll never forget the first time I went skydiving. This was way back in grad school with some friends of mine who were a lot more adventurous than I. But I went along with them. We went through something like 4 hours of ground school learning what to do, what not to do, what to expect, etc. At its conclusion, just before we went up into the airplane, we were given 2-way radios so we could ask for help or advice from the instructor if we needed it. Then were told the radios only worked 50% of the time!


Fortunately, I was one of the last to jump since I was one of the lighter ones in our group. Seeing fear in the eyes of my guy friends who went before me actually made me laugh and gave me courage. Hey, if they could do it, so could I and if we all die together, that's cool. God, was I stupid back then.

It was a static line jump, meaning the chute was pulled for you when you left the plane. All we had to do was guide ourselves down some 3,000 feet, find the skydiving school and then the gravel pit where we'd practiced how to fall while in ground school. Wait a minute, where the hell did the school go?

But once out of the plane I had something more pressing to worry about. My lines were twisted and my chute hadn't deployed completely. This often happens too, we were told, and the usual solution is to just kick out your legs and try to untwist the lines, which I did as calmly as I could in a state of near panic. I tried once, nothing happened. Holy sh*t.

I knew if I couldn't get the chute fully deployed I could try flying it as is with a couple closed end cells, if SSS (S-S-Say what? I'd forgotten the acronym). Or, cut away and use the emergency chute, which was a round chute that would drop me faster and produce a much harder landing. At least I probably wouldn't die.

I tried kicking out again, much harder this time, and the second time, thank goodness, it worked. WHEW!!

My colorful ram-air chute filled as it should and I began gliding downwards gracefully with a near-max heartrate. I could see others going back and forth and spiraling below me. It was a gorgeous blue sky day and the wind was tickling my face. Never have I felt more alive in my life.

This is cool! This is so totally cool!! THIS IS SO TOTALLY F*CKING COOL!!!

I floated for a lot longer than some of my friends who I could now see were already on the ground. I could also see the gravel landing pit, which looked a lot smaller from the air than it did on the ground. I clicked the radio on to get some last minute encouragement from the instructor.

Static. Of course.

OK, it was all up to me now. I'd gone through the motions in ground school and knew what to do, but had I ever come close to doing anything like this before, say, from even just 30 feet? Nope. GULP.

Carefully, I steered myself in for the approach. If I was too high, I'd have to come around and attempt the landing again, if possible, or land elsewhere guaranteed to be harder. And if I was too low, well, prepare for some hurt too.

It looked like I was coming in at about the right angle and at the right height but hard to tell being my first time. I pushed aside thoughts of how I sucked at things involving alignment and aim, like bowling, golf, basketball ... What have they got to do with skydiving anyway?

Steady, steady ... I seemed to be going in slow motion though I knew I had to be moving quite fast. Really weird disconnect. Maybe because my heart was about to explode?

Then about 10 feet from the gravel pit, I flared my chute which slowed me down and allowed me to land right in it with a near perfect tip-toe landing.

I'd done it!

But even with this experience, and many more that I've made some analogies with to this, I still have difficulty going outside my comfort zone. It's a constant battle, I must admit, and sometimes it can seem there are just too many obstacles or too many fears. But with each step I take, I become the person I want to be.

Thank you, RunningGeezer26.2, for the T.S. Eliot quote: "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Round Two Results

Firstly, thank you very much to all of you who voted for me and sent me encouraging comments. Unfortunately, I did not make it to round two of the Evotri contest. There are, however, two other team slots and two new contests that I will mostly likely shoot for, depending on what's involved and how much extra time I have available. Truly, just putting oneself out there and giving it your best shot, no matter the odds, is what it's all about. And now I've even got a cool video that I can post alongside my Profile which describes me much better than words can ever do!

In the meantime, I've already got some exciting ideas bubbling in my head for my next short fun videos. Who knows, maybe some other group will OFFER a sponsorship to me? Yeah, right, keep dreaming ...

Anyway, congrats to the 7 Evotri contestants who made it to round two. If you voted for me, please vote for one of them to keep the community input coming. Details on how to do so can be found here.

PS: The second Evotri contest (total of 3) is supposed to be announced when they announce the winner of the first contest on 3/1/08, I believe. Hope some of you will consider applying too!

PSS: Check out Ellie's incredible Austin Marathon story. If you've ever been afraid to do something, ever considered quitting, you've got to read it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Giving Back

I've been thinking a lot about this since creating my video entry for Team Evotri. Specifically, how can I reach out and make an impact on folks who don't know me, don't read blogs, aren't located near me or don't travel in the same circles as I do? What if they're like the old me who'd spend hours on a computer and never go to races, gyms, or join clubs and training groups? Is there a way to reach them?

The answer, I believe, is the amazing internet and YouTube.

The fact is my Evotri video got over 30 comments (more than any blog post I've ever written, that's for sure) and many of them came from people who are not in the endurance sports community as far as I can tell. There have been over 700 views so far and someone even posted a pirated copy which, at first, I wasn't happy about but then realized the more people that see it, the better. Obviously, there's a huge number of folks who look at YouTube videos for various reasons and with good video producing and smart tagging, I'm thinking perhaps that's the way to reach more people than just via my blog and what I could do in person.

So, I'm considering creating more videos, whether or not I win the sponsorship. Funny thing is if you'd have asked me a month ago whether I'd ever create a YouTube video, I would have said, No way! Not only am I an introvert by nature, I'm also quite camera shy, believe it or not. But, I was the same way about so many things (public speaking, teaching classes, TV interviews, you name it) so I just had to do it and, in fact, I had a blast. There's actually a creative side of me that doesn't get to come out and play very often and it felt great to release it along with my passion for endurance sports/tris and knack for computers.

My question to you then is this: Would you be interested in seeing more short, fun videos like the one I created? Now, before you respond, know that I'm thinking of including photos and video footage from others, either folks I meet up with in person (remember, I travel a fair amount and may be coming to your home town :-), stuff people send me, or perhaps just some stuff that I come across that's uncopyrighted, of course. It would not be just about me, me, me. The purpose of these videos would be to inspire, motivate, educate, provide humor and hopefully do all at once.

Let me know what you think!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

I made it to Round One!

Friends, the list of top 10 videos for Team Evotri has been posted and mine is one of them!

To vote for me, you must send an email to and simply put my name in the subject line. The body of the message will NOT be read. Clicking will launch your mail program (if you have one designated in your web browser preferences) with the subject line pre-filled out with my name. Only one vote per person, multiple votes from the same email address will not be counted. All 10 videos in round one, along with voting criteria, may be found here. I encourage you to take a look and decide for yourself whether you think I deserve your vote.

Note that there are actually 3 rounds of voting for the Team Evotri contest. Round one voting will run from today, Monday, 2/18/08 to Wednesday, 2/20/08 (11:59PM PST), and will determine the top 7 videos. Round two voting begins Thursday, 2/21/08 and runs through Saturday, 2/23/08, to determine the final 4. Next week, the final 4 will go head to head in the final round of voting from Monday, 2/25/08 to Friday, 2/29/08.

Could they have made it any more complex?

Well, I guess it's fitting. We wouldn't want this to be a quicky popularity contest, would we? No, we want someone who can not only create cool videos but can get people motivated to vote up to 3 times. Either that or someone who knows how to spam well ;-)

Thank you for your support and stay tuned for Thursday!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Scratch That

I'm still falling off my bike ...

This time I rounded a corner too fast and my bike slid from underneath me. The bike is fine and I'm OK, just some road rash and bruises, the worst of which is along my right rib cage where my right arm jammed into it upon hitting the pavement. It hurts to breathe but I'm pretty sure I have no cracked ribs (the pain is not sharp enough). Got a nice crack in my bike helmet, though. I'd be a good ad for bike helmets and Neosporin right now.

On a brighter note, I had a great time in Austin. Didn't get to do much else other than create my Evotri video, meet up with fellow blogger Ellie for lunch and spend time with my sister and her family. My little niece, who's now 3 1/2 years old and full of energy, gave me quite the workout playing balloon volleyball and made sure there was never a dull moment for Auntie Shirley.

Me & my niece.

Brother-in-law, niece & me.

My sister, Ellie & Me.

It was supposed to be step-back week in training anyway and, well, this week may be light as well depending on how I feel, we'll see. My next big race, Ocean Drive Marathon, is end of March so plenty of time to heal up and get back into training.

Tomorrow I find out if I've made it to the first round of voting on Team Evotri. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Team Evotri Video

My video has now been posted!

Please click here to view it directly on the YouTube website. If you have a YouTube account, comments and ratings may be left there. If you don't, feel free to comment here. Of course, comments are welcome in both places :-)

The top-10 entries will be announced on Monday, February 18th, on the Team Evotri website along with instructions on how to vote for your favorite contestant. If I'm one of the 10 lucky folks, I'll be sure to let you know.

So for now, thanks for watching and good luck to everyone else who applied. Happy Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Headed to Austin

Whew, what a busy week last week was! I had high hopes of making it to the pool 3 times but only made it twice. But perhaps you couldn't tell from just looking at the yardage -- 6500!

In fact, I think that the D3Multisport advanced winter maintenance training program I've been following is perhaps more for Ironman athletes than half Ironman athletes, at least the swimming part.

But could swimming too much be a bad thing? I mean, it still is my weakest sport by far and so a part of me thinks it'd be good to get used to swimming 3000-5000 yards and then only have to swim about 2200 yards during a race.

Or is this just plain insane?

I have been known to do such things ...

But, this week will be a step-back week. I'm actually going to be in Austin visiting my sister (photo above: me left, sis right) and creating my Team Evotri video application. While there, hopefully, I'll get to meet up with Ellie who's planning to run the Austin Marathon next weekend, if she's feeling better (she's been sick, poor thing), do some swimming at Barton Springs (in the background of the photo), and run around the ever-popular Town Lake. Who knows? Maybe I'll run into Lance Armstrong :-)

PS - Mark your calendars. The SimplyStu Worldwide Triathlon is 3/28-30. No money, stress or hassle -- Just get out and tri!

Friday, February 01, 2008

First Bike Time Trial

It reminded me a lot of the first time I went skydiving. Something I dreaded and looked forward to at the same time. Both scary and exciting. Foolish, yet "necessary."

The guys got to go first, shortly after sunset when there was still a little bit of light out. Who decided that, I don't know, but the fact is I don't see that well at night and that made me more nervous than anything else.

At least we'd ridden the entire 7.3 mile out-and-back course as a warm-up so we could become familiar with it. There were two dips where the road went under overpasses, sewer gratings on the side to avoid, and a little debris on the road but nothing too bad. Before the turnaround, there was a noticeable bend in the road to the right and several cones had been placed on the side to mark the turn. The wind was mostly helping on the way back.

But that was before it got dark. By the time it was my turn, the route was lit only by some streetlights and looked completely different. It was eerily quiet except for my loud breathing and felt similar to riding in a tunnel with nothing much visible on the sides. I had this fear that something would suddenly appear in front of me and cause me to crash.

Each rider had been separated by 30 seconds so I saw no one for about a mile. With no landmarks to give me an indication of how fast I was going and a bike computer that I couldn't see well, I ended up riding mostly by feel. Later though, I started seeing some bike tail lights and turned all my focus towards catching them, good or not. I passed one and, at the turnaround, was about to pass two more but saw some car headlights approaching on the other side. CRAAAP!!!

Knowing the course had no traffic control and my depth perception was screwed in the dark, I decided to slow down and wait until the car had passed. One woman in front of me darted in front of it but the other rider, who turned out to be a teenager, waited like I did. Better safe than sorry, I told the kid.

I caught the Darter soon afterwards, though, and pedaled furiously thinking that she might try to pass me back. With about a mile or so to go, a guy with a disc wheel whirred past me (anyone who didn't pre-register went after everyone else who had) and then a woman on a road bike, who was not the Darter. I tried my best to catch her but settled for not allowing her to get out of my sight.

Final results:

Me - 19:18, avg speed 21.17 mph (4/11 Females, 1/4 F40-49)
Dave - 20:04, avg speed 20.36 mph

Dave, unfortunately, missed seeing the cones on the side during his time trial and ended up going about a 1/2 mile further than he should have (and we'd find out later that he was not the only one). Still, it's the first time he's raced since he blew out his knees in 1988, so a big accomplishment just to get back out there.

Overall, I'm pleased with my first bike time trial performance but thought I should be able to go faster on such a short course. The 3 women who posted faster times than me had done time trials before but were also all in the F50-59 AG, which I find encouraging.

Next time trial is February 26. We're in!