BYOP 2008- Bring Your Own Pumpkin

This year was my first BYOP Party hosted by the Byrd’s. They were breaking in their new house in style, beer and pumpkins. What could be better? In true fashion, there is a contest to see who can crave the most creative pumpkin. I really can’t remember the last time I carved a pumpkin so I was actually pretty excited to get back in the game.

A few weeks ago, Tiffany made a comment that Jessi was sure I was going to come up with something good and win. At this point in time I had put no thought into it and the pressure began to build. Now I had to show up and represent in true A+ style.

Enjoying a little bit of pumpkin guts. I had to be one with the pumpkin.

I came up with one idea about a week before the competition was to begin but had yet to find the pumpkin to execute my plan. So after the long search for the perfect pumpkin, a whole 3 minutes at the Fred Meyer boxes, I found my pumpkin palette.

The craving began not with a knife but with a green marker and after about 15 minutes of drawing out my design before I began to carve my pumpkin. After many confused glances by my fellow competitors my design began to take shape. Slow removing piece after piece, my pumpkin was “actually” turning into a success.

After a few additions (or was it subtractions) here and there my masterpiece was complete and I walked away with first place, and that never happens when I am around other triathletes:)

Thanks again to the Byrd’s for hosting an awesome party and already looking forward to next year.

PS: Hopefully you can see what it is and if not, think triathlete.

My First 5K: Tri-Fusion Style

I am now in my third year of triathlons but had yet to actually race a 5K. I have ran Bloomsday a few times but nothing that short. Since my running is just now coming back to me I really didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to see how the knee would do but at the same time it still needs to stay together for two more weeks.

The Tri-Fusion 5K was held on the Mead cross-country course. I have run on trails before but never raced cross-country. Running from dirt to sand to a track surface and grass was going to really test how I was feeling. After running a couple of test laps earlier in the week I was ready to go. I wasn’t sure how to attack the race and after a brief conversation with J-Deere (formally known as J-Dogg), Jessi Thompson, there is only one way to race.

I knew there was no way I would win this thing or even be in the top 10. The only goal I had set was to try and finish under 20 minutes. I wanted to go out and test my endurance.


Me and my trusty knee strap.


The first mile started out fast, like 5:57/mile fast. The only way I was going to keep up this pace was if I had wings and a little jet pack, but I did feel good and the goal was to test the limits. The second mile was quite a bit slower as I could feel my legs begin to slow and hit Mile 2 at 12:45 running 6:48/mile.

At this point I was almost home and did my best to push until the end. I ran the last 1.1 miles in 7:15 which was good for a 6:35/mile pace. I finished the race in 20th place with a time of 20:00. Sounds like I have a new favorite number. Maybe next time when I am running down the finish shoot and can barely breath I will look at the clock and just push that much harder.


Finishing strong, just not strong enough!


I seem to always set my goals just out of reach. I guess I am have a better understanding of my fitness but I also need to push myself just a bit farther out of my comfort zone to attain those goals. They are close but just out of reach.

Overall it was a fun race and the knee felt great. I am getting ever more optimistic to see what happens in Clearwater.


12 Hours!!

There is a lot you can do in 12 hours. You can watch about 8 movies, you can drive to Portland and back and you can even finish an Ironman if you are fast enough. Well what did I do for 12 hours last night, I slept. Yep, I crawled in bed at 6:30 pm to take a quick nap before I headed to swimming and didn't get out of bed until 6:30 am this morning. WHO DOES THAT? Who actually has the time to sleep that long. Apparently I do, well did at least last night.
There was actual time I spent laying there thinking I should get out of bed before I forget how. There were the brief moments at 3:00 am when I was considering getting up because I felt like I had my usual nights rest. There was also the time around 5 am when I thought about getting up and doing some workout and soon decided it was to cold and my bed was much warmer.

Then came the alarm around 6 am and this was when I really didn't want to get out of bed. After all that sleep it was still tough to pull myself out of my little home inside my home. Finally throwing off the blankets I forced myself to get up and get the day started at 6:30 am.

So I ask you, what is the longest you have slept? It doesn't count if you were sick and on the brink of your death bed. Just an average ole night.


My Weekend Triathlon

Optimism: an outlook on life such that one maintains a view of the world as a positive place.

My life is relatively simple, work, train, sleep and play. I don’t have the stresses that many of my friends have to deal with in their every day lives. There are times that I get down with all the small things that add up but this weekend I might have turned over that heavy stone that was holding my training down for the past few months.

I am optimistic that my race will go better with each day that passes. This weekend I did my first triathlon since August. This was not your typical triathlon, the one where you swim, bike and run in that order and you are done once you cross that finish line. My finish line was making it back to Wandermere after a 40 mile ride Sunday morning.

The race began on Saturday when D-Tib and I decided to go for a short run. I really had no idea how this would go or how long this run was going to last. I was going to run completely on feel. It could have lasted 5 minutes or 5 miles. I am happy to say that it was the later. We by no means were breaking any pace records but it really did feel good to get out and put some miles under my feet. I used a patella tendon strap and I really think this might be the trick to finishing at Worlds but only time will tell.

Saturday afternoon I entered my first ever swim meet. This was put on by the Spokane Waves, a master’s swim group I joined at the beginning of the summer. I had actually never even been to a swim meet to watch let alone compete.

I started off signed up for the 50y, 100y, 200y freestyle relay and the 400y freestyle relay. As soon as I arrived I had a feeling this was going to be interesting. Besides the group I usually swim with throughout the week, the other participants were definitely more “masters” than I was. The majority of the other competitors were masters on how to survive the last economic depression we had, the one in the 1930’s. We were by far the youngest of all the swimmers by decades.
Throughout the meet I was pretty excited by some of the times I posted. There was the 26.09 in the 50y freestyle which included one of my best flip turns I have ever done. We also won the both the relays and I almost broke 1 minute in my 100y freestyle with a time of 1:01.25.

Overall it was definitely fun to be part of and it was great to see all my masters teammates get out there and compete. Also, special props to all those swimmers who were out there swimming in the 70’s and 80’s. If I can get out of my recliner when I am their age I will be ecstatic.

To finish off my trifecta of training this weekend I woke up Sunday morning to head out for a 2 hour ride. After dragging myself out of bed I began to feel this might not have been such a great idea. My knee was still sore from running and I wasn’t really feeling to motivated. Slowing getting “almost” all my gear together we headed out to Starbucks to meet up and ride the famous Greenbluff loop. I have to thank the Thompson’s for the helmet rental, since mine was still sitting in my closet at home. Rookie mistake:)
The ride was tough and it took awhile to get warmed up but once we started going my knee was pain free. I still rode with the patella strap and I really think this is helping. Each time we stopped the discomfort came back but once we were moving I was good to go. And since you are not supposed to stop in a race, I might just be able to keep going. Next weekend might actually include a brick workout.


Countdown Begins!!

Well tomorrow will begin the official 3 week countdown until the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, FL. Back in July when I signed up for this race I was pretty excited about what the future could hold. Like I mentioned in the race report there are plenty of people more qualified but this is a great opportunity and I was going to really enjoy.

I was excited about how my training was going to change for the better and I was going to race this race like I could win, even though I think I might need a motorcycle and that still might not guarantee me victory.

Fast forward to now and I really don’t think I could be less prepared. I have been swimming like a fish lately and I really think that will be the only part that I am ready to race. I have been fighting a patella tracking and tendon issue for almost 2 months and still am not healthy. I haven’t run for over 3 weeks and my biking is hit and miss. The only positive is that I have been on a few rides over 40 miles but my knee is still extremely sore upon completion. And brick workouts. The only brick workouts I have been doing our the ones that are left in my pants everytime I think about this race.

So as the days tick away and I am getting ready to head to my biggest race so far, I just wish I was physically in the place I expected to be. I am going to do this race, whether I have to peddle with one leg and walk a half-marathon, I am going to cross that finish line. The race itself could be extremely slow but I really can’t wait to get out there and give it all I have. Some of the greatest athletes in the world will be in Clearwater on that day and it is going to be fun to see how it unfolds.

Ohh yeah and if that wasn't enough I am participating in my first EVER swim meet. Our master's swim team is putting on a local race and I must have been in one of those early morning fogs when I agreed. But after all the training I am actually excited to see how it goes.

I need to give a quick shout out to the Cougs. They are taking on the #6 USC Trojans and I am hoping we can bet the spread since it is only 42 points:(


Rule 76: No Excuses. Play like a Champion!

We are the Champions!!

Well I wish I was talking about my Cougars and how they smashed the OSU Beavers but that just isn’t the case. Plain and simple we got our butts kicked up and down the field and we are just not good. To boot our third string quarterback is now out for the season. Since they were having open tryouts for students last week maybe this week it will be open to former students. Better watch out:)

On a brighter side, TEAM Ramrod, aka D-League Champions kicked some serious softball ass on Sunday. Let me breakdown our season real quick. We sucked! We won a total of 3games out of 11 games and the majority of the time the games were stopped short because we were down by so many runs.

That brings us to Sunday and the D-League tournament. The format goes, you win and move on, you lose and go home. This was my debut at first base and I even made a since snag on one hit towards me.

We started the first game like we did many throughout the year giving up a ton of runs. We fought our way back and won the game on a 2 run single in the bottom of the seventh, by yours truly, not to brag or anything:) The second was much of the same but this time we had to come back from 12 runs down and we won the game by one run.

The final game was a bit of a blowout as our offense came alive and we mercy ruled the other team 24-5 in the 3rd or 4th inning. I really didn’t plan to have the majority of my Sunday taken up by softball since we had been so bad but it was definitely a ton of fun winning each game and coming home with the championship.

I am not sure if or when I will get my shot at having the trophy for week but when it happens be sure there will be a party. I don't think we will be able to drink out of it like they do with the Stanley Cup but who cares.


Making Progress!!

I have been consistently going to the master's swims 2-3 times a week and really feel I am getting better each day. For anyone who has witnessed me in the pool throughout the summer and this fall are well aware of how much I hate doing kick board drills and how slow I am. The only other person I know who feels my pain is Nate D.

Well this Friday I think I have made the turn:) and I am starting to get this kicking thing down. As our new instructor informed us that we had to do 10x50 yard sets with the kick board my jaw hit the bottom of the pool. After spitting out all the water, I quickly explain to him that there is not enough time in this workout or even the day (our workouts do start at 8:30pm) and that he might have to come back tomorrow morning to watch me finish.

I am extremely slow at this. Like is he just floating or is he actually trying to move slow.

I knew this was not going to be easy but at the same time I really want to see how far I could actually go. I know how important kicking is to being a strong swimmer. I started off pretty strong and was only down a few yards after the first set. Throughout out the entire set I slowly fell more and more behind but I was not going to stop. I was passed by everyone at least once and after a few words to the instructor, I was going to finish this set. Even if everyone else had to wait while I finished the last 50.

I was able to finish my first 500 yards EVER of kicking and am pretty excited. At the beginning of the summer I would have been lucky to kick 50 without cheating and using my arms to get to the end. I know plenty of people who will probably laugh at this but when you were as bad as I was this is almost a miracle.


Cougar Football Saturday!! Well....Sorta

Saturday morning I tackled yet another repair on my car. By no means am I a mechanic but I am a guy and I think I have just enough understanding to really get me in trouble. The tasks this time included replacing the valve cover gasket, spark plug wires and spark plugs. Since our makeup softball game was canceled I was able to get a pretty early start.

Valve Cover Off :

About halfway through the fun and having my car all torn apart my buddy, Joe calls me one last time to see if I wanted to go down to Pullman with his wife and friends for the Coug game. We were playing the University of Oregon and after watching Oregon State pull off the huge upset on Thursday, I just thought this might me our day.

All Back Together :)

So after finally putting my car back together and even though Joe had already left I decided it would be fun to get down for a game. I was able to talk my buddy Chris into driving down since I wasn’t that confident in my mechanic skills. We left Spokane around noon and made it down in time to say hi to a few old friends and check out all the work that has been done on the stadium. I am not sure how many of you go to Cougar games but the new stadium renovations are pretty freaking cool. They even put in new bathrooms which might be the best part.

Checking out the New Renovations

For those of you who don’t know I was a football equipment manager for the Washington State while I was getting my degree in Landscape Architecture. I was fortunate enough to travel to many road games and three consecutive bowl games. In hindsight I was actually extremely spoiled with all the success we had because lately we are just plain not good. I really hope Paul Wulff can turn things around but is definitely a work in progress.

I had a great time seeing old friends, I just wish I could say the same for watching the game. On the second play of the game we fumbled and Oregon scored shortly after. On the ensuing kickoff we fumbled again and before the drunken alumni could stumbled across the street into the stadium we were already down by 14.

After THREE straight Oregon Touchdowns

It was 21-0 when the Cougs finally scored a touchdown and just maybe the day was going to turn around. Not so much. We did no score again until late in the forth quarter when the game was already over. I am a die hard Coug but this season is going to be difficult to watch and I hopefully soon we start to be competitive. Is it bad when the best part of the game was the cheerleaders?

After watching the majority of the game and dreading the long car ride back to Spokompton we left a bit early to miss the slow line of cars up 195. I got back just in time to get a call from Natalie and Greg who were going to a improv comedy show at the Blue Wall. A friend of theirs kid was in the final round of a competition and they had an extra ticket. The groups were hilarious and it is definitely something I would recommend checking out.