Time Off?

4:38am.   I am supposed to be going to the pool.  But, instead I am going to be sitting here working on a paper that is due at the end of the month that hasn’t yet been started.  Well, parts of it exist here and there, but no draft.  I have a new course to prep for, a two day training to prepare for, some data that needs to be analyzed, and scads of other work-related stuff to do.  Welcome to “time off” for me.  Just ’cause I ain’t teaching doesn’t mean I ain’t working.  Hard to explain to people what it is that ‘academics’ do.

End of cross season.  Last race of the year I took third in another Cat 3/4 35+ race.   Seems all I was good for this year was third.  And that was after some faster guys upgraded.  Didn’t have that extra step or two this year for some reason.  Power was lacking to really put in hard efforts.   I then did the 1/2/3 race for laughs on the same day.  Thankfully, the 4 beer hand-ups saved the day because I was going backward fast.  Two races in one day when it is 20F isn’t such a good idea.  Just heard there is another race added for January.  We’ll have to see.  I am supposed to be out running at the moment, but the 2 feet of snow has kind of put a damper on that. Need to get back to the gym and the treadmill.  Did get out and XC skate ski once.  Awesome.  Did about 90 minutes without falling on my arse.  Yeah!  Going out again today.

Coffee is done, so we’ll leave you with one of the most underrated acts of the 80s, Adam Ant.

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Good Result, Bad Race

Bay State 2008 – Sterling, MA. Great cross race as part of the New England Verge Series. Pretty cold morning, but sunny which meant the ground was frozen but would warm up. And, as it warmed up it would get sloppy. And as it got sloppy, things would get dicey. I was in the second race of the dadsc_0196y – Cat 3/4 35+. I was figuring this would be my last race as a Cat 3, so I wanted to do something with my first row line up. I was able to put up some kind of fight, be with the lead group, be as high as second, then slip back to fifth. After separating out the 35+ from the 45+, I ended up third in my race (just behind teammate Rich Person). Good result, but should have/could have been better. Too many little mistakes that compiled to take time away that was vital. Plus, we lost a lap due to a bad injury at the start of the 55+ race just in front of us. Needed a couple of ambulances to clean up things. Luckily people kept all their pieces. So, on the plus side I got third, had a pretty decent start, and worked hard.  On the negative side, made mistakes (again) that might have cost me some places.

The course was as expected, with some new twists and turns.  Overall, Tom Stevens and Spin Arts/Gear Works do a bang-up job.  img_01441Hard to complain too much when you have sunshine, cold temps, and about thirty or forty teammates racing throughout the day, with a lot of success.  Many new triathletes join the party in the Cat 4 race.  The women’s team continues to dominate in the 3/4 field.  The Gougen family was in as usual.  A good time was had by all (except the guy in the ambulance).  Todd, Rob, and Mike all have great photo galleries of the race.

Now, onward and upward to the next race – NBX weekend in Rhode Island.  I’m in for the 1/2/3 35+ and 2/3 races on Saturday and Sunday (respectively).  No podiums here.  These guys are lightening fast.  I just want to have a good race and finish in a respectable position.  It would be ideal to be in a position to score some Verge points in the 2/3 race, but that would require a lot.  The legs are feeling okay, but it has been a long season of racing and training.

Also going to be in for Ice Weasels in Wrentham. New race and too close to pass up.  Looking to do the 1/2/3 35+ race that is 1 hour long.  Ouch.  That’s going to leave a mark.  Might do Natz Schmatz as well just for kicks.  Been meaning to get down to Dayville to check that out.  We’ll see what’s happening with the family and maybe make a game day decision.  Soon enough, I’ll be running 20+ miles on Sunday mornings getting ready for Boston and Lake Placid.  Today though, I slept in, had breakfast with the family, and put in new facets in the kitchen.  I love days off.

How Best to Simulate Drowning

Been hitting the pool a lot with the West Side Swim group. Always an adventure that most often simulates what it might be like in the early stages of drowning. Wikipedia says that 44% of drowning incidents are related to swimming.  I can see that.  Breathing every 5 or 7 strokes. No breathing in the ‘red zone’ (from flags to the wall and back for the uninitiated). Underwater flip turns (again no breathing in the red zone). No breathing from center of the pool to the wall. Or just plain no breathing. All great fun. Holding one’s breath is not a problem. But for some reason, immerse your face in water and try it, and the game changes. Something primal where your brain goes, “Hey dumba$$, get your head out of the water and breath.” To which you say, “No brain, we are not going to breath. We are going to not breath for LONGER!” In case people are in need of being revived, there is always the crack team of lifeguards ready to apply the newest methods is rescue (see right).

Easthampton Cross was an adventure.  Technical course in below freezing conditions.  Fun stuff given that it had an old school feel.  Of course, not that I know what old school is given that I have only been doing this for about three years. But, this is what I imagine old school would be like if I myself was old school.  I raced okay.  Should have been a few spots up, but that’s alright. Got to work on some things I need work on, pushed myself to try things I wouldn’t normally (with the expected results), and had a good time. This is definitely a race to check out in the future.  Too bad it is a bit of a trek to Western Mass.

This weekend is Sterling, which is a heck-of-a-time.  But, not before the Stow Turkey Trot tomorrow, which should be mildly amusing given I haven’t been doing much running.  Just going to go out and have some fun.  I have decided to enjoy my downtime from running and not fret about it.  Soon enough I’ll be doing tempo runs in pitch black and long runs in snow squals.  All in good time.  I’ll just enjoy cross season now that we are in our last month of it and get primed for the holidays when I can start to build that run base again, as well as continue my adventures in near death in the pool three times a week (hopefully to increase to four at some point).

Mission Postponed

Wife was not feeling good Saturday night, so plans for Lowell got pulled Sunday morning.  Spent the day taking care of the kids and doing yard work.  Very very sad.  By the end of the day I started feeling punky, but kept my cookies.  Skipped swimming Monday and back into the pool on Tuesday, a few pounds lighter from my involuntary fast.

Speaking of swimming, I have no idea if I am getting faster, but I am having a good time.  Nothing like continuously holding your breath while your brain is screaming “BREATHE DAMN YOU!!!!”  I have been put into enough uncomfortable situations in the water that tri starts are going to seem boring.  Never know what Coach N8 is going to throw at you in the morning, and you definitely don’t want to be subjected to a disapproving look.  It’s pretty funny to see a lot of middle age folk cowering in the pool.  Ah, to be young again.  Go West Side!!

Mission is now switched to Easthampton.  I really didn’t want to drive across state again, but gotta do it. Two weeks in a row without a race is not an option.  More good news: an academic paper got rejected for a conference in Paris, which means I can extend my cross race another week in December.  Honestly, I’d rather race cross in the cold and snow than hang at a conference in Paris for a couple of days.  Going to a conference in Paris is not the same as going to Paris.  It is largely hanging around a hotel, and in this case a French hotel.  I guess I am a little world weary and busy to be enticed by baguettes and berets.  Cross racing more fun.  If the conference was in Belgium, that would be another story altogether.

Another Race, Another 4th

Good times at Plymouth South.  New course from last year due to a BIG football game.  Some old features.  Either way, it was a great time.  Average start (yes, that’s right, I said AVERAGE) meant some catch up.  I was able to barrel past a lot of people, but couldn’t quite get to third place who finished just ahead of me.  One more lap, and he was mine!!!!  Oh well.  I had good legs and good power.  That is something to carry forward into the remaining parts of the season.  I am starting to get that creeping sadness as the end of cross season approaches.  Missing the races is one thing; missing the people is another.  I really like the names and faces associated with the cross crowd.  The community is the biggest plus to doing cross.  I haven’t come across anyone I would consider complete tools.  Road racing has its fair share, tri people tend to be supportive but also narcicistic and self-absorbed.  Cross people fit the “salt of the earth” variety.  As it grows, it is going to be important to keep that vibe.

I watched the latest UCI race in Piljnacker.  What a great race between Boom and Albert.  Niels Albert is my new hero, until I find out he is a jerk, is doping, or kicks puppies, or some other thing.  He was getting slapped around, hung in there, and gave it a go at the end.  Well done by him.  Nys looked a little older, especially running up the stairs.  Hope he can turn things around, if you call third in a World Cup race a failure.

I am going to make a new committment to my blog: blog about the family more.  Female blogger typically talk about family, male bloggers not so much.  So, if you want to check out the family during Halloween, look at the video

Speaking of which, Hailey finally figured out how to stand on her own without pulling up on anything.  That is a big accomplishment for the little girl who continues to defy original expectations.  She is really putting sentences together now, and is a bit advanced for her age.  That’s pretty awesome.

And speaking of continuing to defy expectations, good friend Michael Hennessey continues to raise awareness for children with Trisomies, and did another Ironman in Florida.  That makes 14 in one (calendar) year, and right now on a hurt wheel.   If you have some extra cash kicking around, send it Michael’s way for his quest to break the World Record for Trisomy awareness.  Check him out at www.ironmanforkids.com.

Peace out.

Noho!!!

Yes, finally a podium after a lackluster season.  I’ve been able to manage some top tens, and even a couple top fives (not reflected in results, thanks scoring officials!!).  Thankfully I was able to string one together.

Racing with the big boys, such as the 1/2/3 race at Wrentham and suffering in the 1/2/3 35+ has definitely helped.  The first lap felt very tame in the 3/4 35+ race.  Got a good start from the fourth row, which put me in decent shape.  But, the people in front of me were still slow in the corners and on the straights, causing me to lose about 30 seconds on the first lap compared to my other lap times.  Raced hard with Eric from BRC for a bunch of laps, until he kicked my butt at the finish.  Hopefully I’ll get some photos of the race from someone.  There were podium pictures taken, but don’t know by whom.

Other pictures of this season’s festivities can be found at picasaweb.google.com/thedavidsma.  Plus some very cute pictures of the kiddies around Halloween.  I need to upload some trick or treat video as well.

Rest of the is rapidly approaching, with the end in sight.  Plymouth, Lowell, Sterling, Rhode Island, Natz Schmatz.  I am hoping to have one or two more results, and just get the Cat 2 upgrade.  I am planning on doing RI as a 2 in the 1/2/3 35+ slugfest or the 2/3 race.  For Natz Schmatz, Pro 1/2/3 for sure!  All the heavy hitters will be in KC.  Might as well race for an hour.

End of October means the end of swimming with running shoes!  Tomorrow we’ll see how much faster I’ve become!  Onward!