6 to 8 Weeks

That's what the doctor said before my surgery. "You'll be back full training in 6-8 weeks."  Tomorrow will be 13 weeks, so I guess that was way off the mark. Of course, that was before she got in there and saw how #*@*ed my knee was. "I don't know how you functioned with it that bad." Well, you suck it up and go. Plus, it never did hurt to ride the bike. In fact, riding made it feel better. But honestly, right now I'm not so happy about the whole thing and I wish I'd never had the surgery. It doesn't hurt now to ride or with basic walking around, but the physical therapists (yes, more than one as I am frustrated and got a second and third opinion) are counseling a very conservative rehab. Those who know me know that patience is definitely not my best feature.

So there's really not a lot new to tell. I've only ridden outdoors a handful of times and nothing over 90 minutes. One time on the track for about 30 minutes in a small, warm-up gear. That felt great! The rest of the time it's been trainer or roller riding, no more than 30-40 minutes, plus some upper body weights and some quad exercises with the muscle electrical stim machine that the second PT has me doing. I can feel my fitness sailing away and it's especially frustrating when everyone else is out riding 3, 4, 5 hours or racing cyclocross and I'm not. But I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. And I've been working on cadence on the bike. I've been able to get up to 135-139 a few times for a few seconds. Now I just need to hold that longer. 

But, in the past 10 days, I've decided that I need to get walking more and since I was in Arizona for IM AZ last weekend, a lot of walking was necessary. That was a fun short vacation as I got to watch friends race and I ended up working one of the penalty tents which was a fun and sometimes frenzied way to watch the bike part of the race. Being there rekindled that Ironman bug and like Kenny and Scott both told me, never say never. 

I've also been traveling a lot for work. Usually we spread out the travel over the year, but due to the surgery, some of the trips got postponed and in October I was in Los Angeles twice and in November it was Orange County (1 day), Silicon Valley (1 day), Houston (2 days), Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia (4 days), Arizona (5 days) and finally New York (4 days). In fact, I'm writing this on United #5, wireless internet in the air! It makes the JFK-SFO trip so much more fun. I'll have been gone 17 days in November. I'm ready to stick around SF for awhile!

Here are a few photos from NYC. Thanksgiving is a great time to go as everything is so festive. I went and saw the show "Burn the Floor"....really good, very high energy, full of dancing and music. And Maks and Kym from "Dancing With the Stars" were in it. Really fun time. My co-worker Germán and I went out to a Brasilian restaurant and the food was great! Impanema Restaurant on 46th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue. Very highly recommended and not expensive.


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Washington, D.C.

Here for work for a few days. This trip I'm staying in Georgetown and I've never really spent much time in this neighborhood. It's pretty nice! Decent hotel (Hotel Monticello), walking distance to our office (about 10 minutes), running along the canal a half block away, restaurants, shops. Nice. The flight here was packed and the lady next to me was drinking wine at 8AM. Fun times! She was coming here for a realtors convention. Between that and graduation at Georgetown U. and the normal tourist crowd, there's a lot going on here.

Quality of photos isn't the best since it's from the cell phone.


051308_1743feedSuite at Hotel Monticello


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Canal near the hotel


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Free wine, cheese and fruit happy hour at the hotel!

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Alamo Cafe


Crazy Weather!

Yesterday was a long day of travel, SFO to Washington, D.C. Plus, I made it here just in time as it opened up raining like hell on the drive from Dulles into DC and there was wind and lightning and I guess that they shut down all flights for a couple of hours. I didn't get to the hotel until nearly 7PM EDT and I eventually found the workout room and ran 20 minutes on the treadmill. There is a pool here at the hotel (Hotel Palomar) but it's only about 15 yards long and doesn't open until 10AM!!! Even the Starbucks next door doesn't open until 6AM! They open at 5-something in SF.

After a very short night of sleep (gotta hate going east) I went to the workout room and did a 20 minute run again. Felt better tonight than last night. I was running and looking out in the dark at the pool and I was wondering if they had a Jacuzzi on since the water was "boiling" and then I realized that it was pouring rain! And lightning and thunder. And it still was when it was time to go to dinner so I ate at the hotel and not down the street.

Plus, there was another huge, quick storm this afternoon. We were up on the 14th floor in a big conference room out in Virginia and we watched it roll in. It got really dark then started sheeting down rain and lightning lit up the sky followed by thunder. I've not seen weather like that in a long time!


Last Night In Brasil....

I'm not ready to leave......

Peter and I went out last night after the race and I had half a chicken sandwich and some fries and a beer at 1:00 AM. Woke up around 6:30 AM, so not a lot of sleep last night. We had breakfast, then ventured down to the expo area to buy pictures (finisher pic is good!) and check out the finishers' gear. Very disappointed in it. Just a couple of shirts, one of which I got last night since they'd run out of the official finishers' shirt in the size I wanted and they will send me that later, but gave me one of the ones for sale so I would have something to take with me. Very nice gesture! Thanks Carlos and Latin Sports!

After that, I had to take my bike over to the other side of the island to have it packed up. Yeah, I could do it myself, but my case and all that was over there. Plus, Peter came with me and got to do a little sightseeing. We took the scenic route back, so he got to see even more. After that, it was sit around and check email, write race report and then since we were getting hungry, we went down the street for lunch. One more chance to have Brazilian buffet! In the afternoon, Sergio came up to my room to check his email and I read my book and then at 4:00, I had to go pick up the bike, so Sergio came with me.

Tonight, Peter, Sergio and I went with Andrea and her group into the Centre to a churriscarria--the meat palace! We went to Atibila, the same place that Fernando, Andy, Geoff and Shea and I went last year after the race. The churriscarria usually has a salad-type bar (this one had salads and oysters on the half shell and various potato dishes, among other things), then as you are at the table, the waiters walk around with the various cuts of meat on skewers and if you want a slice, you tell them, "yes, please" and if not, then "no". It's all you can eat for one price and we had multiple Caipirinhas, multple chopps (beer) and after
dinner port and other drinks and coffee. Oh yeah, a sobremesso (dessert) bar too! And they had PASSIONFRUIT MOUSSE!!!

What was even better is that tonight was "ele sim; ela nao", which means the MEN pay and the WOMEN do not. So for 8 people (4 men/4 women)--it was 300 reals, which is about $150US, or less than $20US for all you could eat and drink. Amazing.

Here are some pictures from the evening.

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Tomorrow Is Going To Be A Great Day

Well, bike and bags are checked in, we've had dinner, bottles made for the morning and everything laid out. I was going to hit the bed and read and try to get to sleep early but CRAP! Sergio knocked on the door about an hour ago to get the car keys. Max from Kona Bikes had called and he had a different Cervelo (a new P3C) for Sergio! So Sergio headed off to the TA to swap out bikes. He just got back and is set up on a brand new Cervelo P3C w/disk and Olaf's Xentis front wheel. THANK YOU SO MUCH CID SR. AND INSIDE-OUT SPORTS!!!! AND MAX AND KONA BIKES BRASIL!!!! You guys totally rock.

Photos from today are at:

http://web.mac.com/ironclm/iWeb/Site/2007%202.html

Wind is blowing big time tonight (flags straight out). Hope it dies down over night.

Sergio, Andrea and I swam this morning at 7:45 and the wind was already blowing then and there were white caps and waves coming in. That didn't make me very happy, but I got in and swim for 15:00 (not that far since there was a lot of stopping). After the swim, I went and ran 15:00. Felt good on the run. After the swim and run, it was a shower and breakfast, then about an hour later, Sergio and I rode down to the expo to make a little adjustment to the loaner bike then we headed out on the first out/back. I rode about 34 minutes and again, felt really good. That was all the training for the day for me.

Sergio still had a run to do, so after packing our bags, Peter and I headed off in the car and went two beaches over to Ingeles and had lunch, sitting on the beach. After lunch, we drove over to the next beach, Praia Santinho, where the waves were a lot larger. It was then time to drive back and put our feet up. At 5PM, the four of us (Andrea too) all rode our bikes down to the TA and got the bikes and bags checked in. Sergio got an on camera interview and then we made a last minute stop at the Power Bar booth, then it was a long walk along the beach in the moonlight to the hotel. Well, we did stop and have dinner, then to the hotel.

Last Monday night after dinner here, I walked down to the beach and wrote a time in the sand. I'll find out tomorrow night if I was close.


sexta-feira (aka friday)

Oy, what a day! Crisis averted.

First of all....thanks thanks thanks to everyone who called, emailed, PMed, texted....you all know who you are.

Second, a HUGE shout out of thanks to Max and Kona Bikes (Cervelo dealer for Brasil) and to Inside-Out Sports. You guys really came through.

http://www.insideoutsports.com/

Rua Jacarezinho 45
Mercês
Curitiba - PR
max@konabikes.com.br

(41) 3022.83.24

www.konabikes.com.br


And thanks to my coach for writing my plan with today as OFF (or easy swim). I was looking through the emails that Scott and I had traded last year before the race and the schedule was very different. The day off today was pretty much a blessing in disguise. I again slept great last night and woke up before 6AM and read some email and thought about going swimming around 7AM, but it was cold, so I got back in bed under the blankets and stayed there until nearly 9AM! I wasn't really sleeping, but went through the race in my mind and kept dozing off, but not falling sound asleep. Went down to breakfast and Sergio and Peter were there and an hour later we had eaten and were still drinking coffee. Mmmmm, coffee.

Everyone checked email again for any last minute messages and we checked with Iberia Air again (#*@&@&#&#*@* airline--still NOTHING on where the bike freaking is!) Then Sedi texted my phone and then called and so he got to work on calling Iberia Air from Portugal. The guys at the hotel got on the phone to the local bike shops and to a guy they know who used to be a pro rider and works with a team here. Sergio started saying he didn't want us (me/Peter) to mess up our day and we stopped him and told him that we didn't have anything that we had to do and this would keep our minds off of dwelling about the race. Plus, how much can you really sit in the room and stare at the TV or computer???? Crap, I can do that at home!! Peter said he's a problem solver at work and I get things done at work, so let's go! Off we went in the car to the bike shop. They had a Brasilian bike that was a road bike in the right size. Deposit needed for the full value of the bike. OK. We may be back. Obrigado.

On to the next spot. Team dude didn't answer the phone. Back to the hotel to check email/messages again. Respond to everyone (again, thank you all). Off to the expo to see if Adriano (bike mechanic) was there. No. Bike shop dude at the expo who yesterday they said maybe had a bike he would rent was there. Yes, he had a bike. Again a road bike. Deposit for full value, yada yada. OK. Obrigado and we'll get back to you. Oh, they have internet at expo! Thank you Brasil Telecom!! Check emails. Nada. What the hell, let's get the word out to as many people as possible...email Shawn at IMlive.com, who is already aware of the story. Walk around. Sergio getting very frustrated. clm getting sad for Sergio. Peter mulling over things in major problem-solving mode.

DING DING DING--clm has an idea---Let's ask bike mechanic dudes at tents outside of expo. This tent has many Cervelos. Meet Max, Cervelo dealer-Brasil. Tell Max and Lawrence from Inside-Out the story. THEY HAVE A BIKE!!!!!!!!!!! A CERVELO!!! Yea Max and Kona Bikes Brasil!! Yea Inside Out Sports!! Check out the bike. This just might work.

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Go back to the hotel. Give Sergio a little time alone to vent and think this through. OK, this really might work. Go back to expo since he needs shoes, pedals. Max has a helmet he can use. Buy pedals, buy shoes, clm buys very cute jacket. Go to set up bike. By this time it's 3PM or so and Peter and I haven't had lunch. I go to find the press area to talk to Shawn and Peter gets something to eat. No Shawn at IMlive, so I go to get something to eat. Did you know that they put CORN and PEAS and shoestring potato things INSIDE the hamburger in Brasil???? Interesting. but it was pretty good. I like to think of it as getting all your nutrients at once--protein, starch and veggies.

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Bike gets set up. Yea Lawrence (aka Tractor) and Bob (aka B.O.B.) and Max! Sit around shooting the shit with Tractor and B.O.B. (How about that up-dog smell? What's up-dog? Yes, you had to be there.) Bike is ready to test. Sergio rides bike to hotel and we drive car. Sergio changes and takes my helmet and goes out for a ride. clm lays on couch crossing fingers that bike will work. It doesn't feel like his bike and the set up isn't exactly the same, but hopefully it will work.

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When he rode off back to the hotel, Peter and I both breathed a big sigh of relief. We did all we could, so I'd call it a good day. Also met some very, very nice people, which makes it an even better day.

Tonight the three of us met Olaf for dinner and Olaf is loaning him a front race wheel. Olaf is such a nice guy. It was great to get to spend some time with him.
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So, that's about it for today! Isn't that enough??? ;-)


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Terca-feira (Thursday)

Well, we have a bit of a crisis in paradise. Sergio Marques' (pro triathlete from Portugal whom I've know for about 2.5 years) bike ~still~ has not arrived (he arrived Tuesday) and there aren't a lot of options (short of buying a new one, which isn't really a viable option). There may be a road bike available to loan, but he had very big goals for this race (like top 5). I feel really bad for him. They can't even tell him where the damned thing is! Never fly Iberia airlines. He checked it in in Lisbon and I have a feeling it's still sitting on the tarmac in Madrid, along with an entire trolley of bags, since I guess many people arrived in Sao Paulo missing at least one bag off that flight.

Sergio, Peter, me and my clubmate Andrea went swimming this morning. The water is 20-21C (70F) and was a little wavy, but not bad. We swam about 25 minutes. I felt OK, but my left arm/shoulder feels "weak", like I have no power. At least it didn't hurt which wasn't the case a week to ten days ago. The swim will be what it will be.

Right after the swim, Peter and I went and ran out on the run course up the first hill and down and to the base of the "wall", then back. Just over 21 minutes and I felt stiff most of the way. After that it was breakfast, a shower and lounge around a bit, then Andrea and I went and rode. And boy, did I feel FANTASTIC. We rode out on the first out/back and we ride up on these two guys riding along fairly easy and they start chatting us up--they were Brasilianos from Brasilia (the capital city in the middle of the country where there is a 70.3 race in September). The one riding next to me is doing his first IM. They turned off to go back to town and we headed out a little further. Fun to talk to them. We ended up riding just over an hour.

Then it was time for lunch, and we (me, Sergio, Peter) were walking around looking for somewhere to eat when this guy asked us if we were looking for a restaurant for lunch. Seems he's an American who lives in Floripa for 2-3 months at time, going back and forth between the US and Floripa. My dream!!! He sent us down the road to the restaurant "above the gas station". He said he knew it sounded strange, but it was a very good restaurant. And it was! It was one of the buffets where they have some salad items, meat, rice, beans, batatas (potatoes), etc. Quite the good meal.

It was then time to drop Sergio off at the pro meeting and went to the expo to try to find Adriano about a loaner bike for Sergio and then looked around. Didn't buy anything this time. We also got registered and #143 is ready to go!

The pros got out of their meeting and we talked to Hilary Biscay for awhile. She looks good. I hope she has a great race! After a cafe' and a pais de queso (mini cheese bread bite), we went to the English-speaking athletes' meeting and I walked in and Cathy and Bill said, "You are in last year's video!" Well, I am...twice!! So of course, I had to run downstairs and buy it!!! There is a shot of me getting body marked in the morning and then at the very end when they are showing a lot of people finish, they show my finish and overlay the pro men's results. Very exciting!

After the meeting we came back to the hotel to find Sergio. No good news. No bike; no loaner bike. We have Fernando iworking on it from SF via Skype phone calls to Adriano's cell phone here, speaking in Portuguese; and ShawnF is following up w/Iberia via the internet). THANK YOU AL GORE FOR THE INTERNET!

Once we figured we'd done all we could for today, we headed off to dinner. We went to this restaurant that the boys and I had gone to last year that is on the run course. We were the only ones there, so we had a FEAST! Grilled tahina (local fish) that was caught that day--the entire fish we had; salada mixte; some appetizer things (pastries filled with cheese in one and shrimp in the other); crab cakes; rice; some shrimp paste thing; one beer for me and the ENTIRE bill was 67 reis for 3 people. That is so cheap--about $45US and we had a lot of food.

Tomorrow it's maybe a short swim, then it's more digging for a bike. Anyone got a 51 or 53 bike to lend?


Oh Yeah, Dinner....

We thought about driving to the Centre to a churriscarria (the Brazilian meat palace), but instead stayed local.

We started with a huge salad for the three of us to share--greens and water cress (!!!!), pickle, cucumber, olives. Excellent.

Then all three of us had picanha (a cut of beef that we don't have in the US)--it's from the shoulder area and is grilled so the juices don't drip out. Very flavorful and so delicious. That came with some batatas fritas (french fries) and rice.

Sobremessa (dessert)--I dream about passionfruit and you can't easily get it in San Francisco. There is one place that does make pastries with it in the little pastry, so it's available SOMEWHERE. I haven't been able to find it. The restaurant had passionfruit mousse, so Sergio and I had one. Monica had mousse de chocolat. The taste of passionfruit is hard to describe--very different and sort of tangy. The mousse softens out the tang just a bit. Passionfruit mousse and a cafe' preto. A terrific way to end the meal.


Tuesday in Jurere

First of all, wrong link for the photos yesterday. The correct link is:

http://web.mac.com/ironclm/iWeb/Site/2007%20Brasil%20%281%29.html

Speaking of pictures...sorry, no pictures today. I did take some, but somewhere along the way, lost the battery to my camera! Don't ride with the camera dangling over your wrist.

Ran this AM on the beach and saw pro Olaf Schabatus (sp) and a couple other guys as they were finishing their swim. Olaf said the water was nice and about 21C. He looks great and I'm very glad to see him here racing. Another one of the real nice people in the sport.

Rode an hour (and lost the camera battery). The sun finally made an appearance, yea! The rain was getting old (and it rained again over night). Lunch, then Monica from Slowtwich, whom I'd met at the April training camp I did in the desert, and I had planned to meet at the TA/finish to swim. Drove down there and met up with her and it was about 2:45 PM when we went to the beach. Oh no, there were waves. I have "issues" with waves and wasn't sure that I could get in. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We walked onto the beach and this little old Brasilian man came over and started talking to us. "Devagar por favor!", was my reply. So he slowed down and started over. He asked if we were here for the race and wasn't the swim 3,000m. No, 3,800m I told him. Then the bike, 180K, yes? Yes. And the run, 42K. Crazy. I'm a little impressed that I was able to mostly know what he was saying and to tell him that it was Monica's first time in Brasil and second IM and my second time in Brasil and 11th or so IM.

We then waded into the water, but then he shouted at us to come back and started talking about something like maybe we should move down the beach to swim. Or maybe not. We weren't quite sure what he was talking about. Maybe the tainha (local fish) nets were right there. Or not. He finally motiioned to go ahead and we went in the water.

Well, Monica went in the water. I kept moving down the beach to where it might be less wave and eventually I did get in (about hyperventilating myself silly). We ended up swimming about 20 minutes and there was a definitely current coming back. We got near the shore and I got slammed by a wave and coughed up water for a good 10 minutes.

Tonight it was dinner with Monica and THE SERGIO! Yes, THE SERGIO (pro triathlete and my friend and another super nice person, Sergio Marques from Portugal) arrived this afternoon. His bike did not (yet). He looks great--relaxed and ready to race and he's staying at the same pousada that I am. Dinner was fun and quite tasty and we only got lost for a minute trying to find Monica's hotel over in Canasvieras, the next beach village. And I've only once driven the wrong way on a one-way street.

I also got a massage after the swim, which I needed! Tomorrow the expo opens and more people arrive, including my pal Peter from Scotland. Quite a few folks out riding today once the sun came out, but the rain is supposed to return tomorrow. The forecast for race day looks good though....scattered clouds, 69F and light winds. Let's hope so!!


Esta Chuvando!!

Yes, it rained all day long. It started some time during the night and it was pouring when I woke up at 5AM, so I went back to sleep. 7AM still raining. 9AM, still raining. I had breakfast and went and checked email and packed and loaded up the car and headed out about 11:30. Since it was still raining and I was in no rush, I took the scenic way up the island and got to Juerere (race site) about 1:30. Got checked into the pousada here in the same room Shea and I had last year. Perfect. It's upstairs with a balcony, couch, cable TV, wireless internet, microwave, little kitchen area (sink/counter) and refrigerator.

Finally about 4PM it quit raining so I headed out for a short run. Felt really good. I sure hope that I feel that great on race day. A shower, dinner, a beer and now it's internet and watching TV. You haven't lived until you watch Adam Sandler dubbed in Portuguese. Actually, I couldn't take it, so I'm watching the Brasilian SportsCenter. Romario is all the news--1,000 goals. Awesome.

There are pictures from the first four days here: http://web.mac.com/ironclm/iWeb/Site/2007%20Brasil%20%281%29.html

I'm too lazy to post them up here too.


Brasil!

Yes, I'm here and loving it. I left Thursday morning (but got a 4 mile run in first). Gotta love using miles for the ticket--first class to Chicago, then business class to Sao Paulo. I will never want to fly coach again on a long flight. First of all, you get to use the Red Carpet club at the airports (FREE COFFEE!!) which is a bonus, but the best part is the seats in business have decent leg rest extension and recline nearly full, so you can actually sleep! I think I slept at least 5 hours straight. That never happens in coach. I sat next to a Brasilian guy who lives in the U.S. in Boston and he's an opera singer. Very interesting guy.

Got to Sao Paulo, got my bag and bike and then went to the queue for the flight on Gol to Florianopolis. An hour after we took off, we were landing in Floripa. Met a Brasilian couple who live in Macau and were coming to race. She wanted to know what age group I was in. Also talked to a couple of kids from Southern California who are doing a semester in Buenos Aires and came over to Floripa to surf. They were ready to party. I got the rental car and after a couple of attempts, the car rental guy told me how to head out of the airport to Lagoa. And I did it, without getting lost! I figured that there are a limited number of roads and I was on an island (a big one though), so how lost could I get! After a quick reminder of how to drive a clutch, I was off. And got to Lagoa with no problem, but then drove around for about half an hour before I found the pousada.

Pousada Casa da Lagoa. What a great place. No phone, no internet. Fabulous sleeping, good breakfast and a 5 minute walk to the village where they have phones and internet (and shops and bars and restaurants and bars). It's pretty busy at many of the places here and it's the off-season. I'll bet it totally crazy here in the summer. I got settled in to the room and Adriano, the bike mechanic, came and picked up my bike and said he'd have it ready the next morning. Walked down to the village and had dinner and was asleep before 11PM.

Saturday morning I got a late start, but slept great and stayed in bed until almost 9:00. Picked up my bike around 10:30 and then had to drive across the island (over the morro/hill) and up to Juerere. Parked at the transition/finish and rode from there and did a bunch of laps. Too much traffic and WIND! Esta ventando! It was even windy at 9:00 AM, so I knew it was going to be a hard day. I ended up doing 3 hours out of the 4 I was supposed to do, but at the end of the 3 hours it was 4PM and I was hungry. On the ride, I met a guy (Eduardo from Port Alegre) who is here to do his first IM. He was coming back from swimming and said the water was 24C and flat, but supposed to get colder. Post-ride was a cafe preto and lanches (snack). I took the scenic way back to Lagoa and ended up getting lost in the village/town of Ingeles. I finally got back to Lagoa, showered and headed out about 8PM to get dinner. The thing here is that the restaurants don't open until 7PM and even then, are empty until at least 8PM, if not later. Takes some getting used to!

Today was pretty much a perfect day. Slept great again and my shoulder has hardly been bothering me at all. Go figure. Again, I drove over to Juerere (where the race is) to ride, since around here it's definitely NOT conducive to riding a road bike on the very narrow, busy roads with no shoulders. I headed out by 8:15 which means I was riding by a little after 9:00. I rode a little shorter today, but at a higher intensity and rode an hour, fifteen.
I had planned to swim, but there was no one else swimming and I really didn't want to swim by myself. Plus, the tainha (local fish--very tasty!) are running so they had the nets out where the swim is and I got to see them bring in a big catch. So instead of swimming, I drove back to Lagoa and dropped the bike off and got my running shoes and went to the beach to run. I did 50 minutes of run, hike the sand dunes and rock climb. What a lot of fun! Probably 30 minutes of running and the rest adventure. Those sand dunes are CRAZY! You start hiking up them and they look like a gradual incline, but then you find they bank straight up and had a lip, so you have to climb. Then, at the end of the beach (Pria Joaquina), there are the really cool, large rocks (reminded me of the Pancake Rocks on the West Coast of New Zealand, sort of) and you can climb your way up into them. So I did.
After the run, I changed shoes and had a very late lunch at one of the restaurants on the beach. Mixed salad with hearts of palm, carrots, peas, tomatoes, olives, red/green peppers, onions, corn, with vinegar and olive oil. And a Skol (local beer).
I could get used to this life--run on the beach, learn to surf (about 50 surfers out in the water this afternoon), beers on the beach, fall sleep to the sound of birds and the water. Life is good.
Took a lot of pictures today, but will have to wait until I can download them.
Tomorrow it will be to triathlon=world, but today was really nice.
Later.

Hot Time in the City

Woo it's hot here! 93-94F as the high today and I ran 11.2 miles!!!

I'd planned to get an earlier start, but with the 3 hour time difference, I didn't get out to run until 10:00 AM. I'm staying a block from Central Park just for the reason that I am so close to the Park. The Hudson Hotel is fine--a little pretentious in the bar and lobby and the rooms are small (but that's NYC). It's fine and a great location, with multiple Starbucks close.

I ran one loop of the entire park (~10K) and ran the entire way except when I needed to drink (I was carrying a bottle of water), and walked then. The second, shorter loop started out good, but there was one section where there was no shade and it was just HOT. Then, on the run up Cat Hill the second time, I faded. It's a fairly steep hill and I ended up walking a little, then ran again. Instead of doing another full loop, I cut across and later looking at the map, I calculated that I did 11.2 miles total. A little over the time that I was supposed to run, but I felt pretty good for the most part. I did stop after I cut across and downed a cold Coke as I'd run out of water. Luckily in the summer, the guys with the carts are there all over the park selling drinks.

Legs felt pretty good, just the heat got to me since I really haven't had a chance to run in the heat. Coming back from dinner tonight it was still 87F at 9:00 PM! I LOVE IT!

I also did a little shopping today. There is a great Borders bookstore in the new Time Warner center that seemed to be calling my name.

"Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes (This is GOOD!!! I've read 1/3 of it already. He talks about his first 50 miler. I'm scared now!!!)

"Running Through the Wall--Personal Encounters With the Ultramarathon" complied by Neal Jamison

"Running With the Buffaloes--A Season Inside With Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men's Cross Country Team" by Chris Lear (highly recommended by everyone)

"Chasing Lance--The 2005 Tour de France and Lance Armstrong's Ride of a Lifetime" by Martin Dugard (Very highly recommended by the Dutchie and he doesn't even LIKE Lance)

AND GO BRASIL!!!!!!!! I ended up at a Brasilian restaurant/bar (after the match) and had a couple of beers. And, scored a Brasil bracelet (like a LIVESTRONG bracelet) from the bartender.

Pretty fun day.


Last Night in Brazil...

Our last night here, so it was out to dinner with Fernando and Geoff. Pizza, salad, a few Chopp and passionfruit mousse. Bike is being packed up tomorrow morning and the shuttle picks us up at 4:00 PM.

Today was a sleep in since last night was just a little late (nearly 3AM!) Cimg0138


Breakfast, then laid on the beach, then a late lunch and some walking around doing last minute shopping. Organized the packing, then it was off to dinner. Very mellow day. Legs feel better, but quads are still sore.

Can't wait to come back here.


Crisis Averted!

We got back to the room tonight and the maid had THROWN AWAY MY RACE BAGS!!!!!!! (For those of you who don't know....you get 6 bags, all in different colors, labeled with your race number and what the bag is for--pre-swim bag; swim bag; T1/bike bag; T2/run bag; special needs bike bag; special needs run bag.) I almost had a heart attack as the T1 and T2 bags must be turned in tomorrow. Luckily, the dude at the front desk was able to go find them. NO TIP FOR THE MAID! And thank goodness for the Brazilian guy who is racing too and was in there on the computer since the gal at the desk speaks no English and I speak very little Portuguese.

The bags are now sitting in the corner, half filled, and tomorrow when we leave the room at any time before tomorrow afternoon when we check everything in, they will be taped in the corner with the electrical tape. I knew I threw that tape in for some reason.

Carbo dinner tonight. Not quite the same production as an IMNA, NZ or Kona event. Very Brazilian--go with the flow and start on Brazilian time. Samba dancers and lots of drums. We'd eaten a big lunch at 4PM, so we didn't eat much, but we did enjoy the music and the dancing.

We also drove the bike course today and the run course. And, I ran 20 minutes this morning and rode 50 minutes. Got a last minute tweak on my bike and bought a Brazil jersey. We also went back to the expo this afternoon to do a little shopping (dri-fit shirt and very cool jacket).

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Ah, Brazil

I love it here! Great food, excellent beer, the beach, wonderful people, very handsome men. What's not to love!

Arrived Tuesday afternoon after a good flight from DC. Got to chat with some folks on the layover in Sao Paulo, and got to meet a guy I knew from online. Tuesday night Fernando and his brother came over and met us for dinner. Cimg0034_3 I did get a little jog in prior to dinner. We are about a block from the beach.
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Wednesday was a sleep in and the mechanic brought the bike here around 9:45. We then rushed to get breakfast before 10:00 AM, then decided to walk to the swim start to swim. Well, I didn't know that the tranistion/expo/start is more than a mile from the hotel! We got down the road to the host hotel and ran into AussieDrew and two friends of his and he said to come with them in the Ken Glah van, so we did. We all got to the beach and then I was the only one who swam! Water is pretty nice--about 68-69F, bit of a current one way. After I swam, we walked around the expo a bit, then caught the van back.

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I got out to ride about 1:00 PM and did the 90 minutes that was on the schedule, out and back on the course some. It was a bit windy heading down, but that became mostly a tailwind coming back. Lots of speed bumps though! Felt pretty good on the ride.

Also got out to run and did 25:00, including over to the big hill on the run course. Not bad. I was expecting a lot worse. Felt pretty good running.

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Dinner out with Fernando again and our clubmate Geoff arrived Wednesday afternoon so he came with us.

Thursday: I am officially registered. #615

Got up today and had breakfast with KP. Then, I ran about 26 minutes and again felt really good. Went again up the hill and found the OTHER hill (the walking one--short, but steep). Glad I went and checked it out.

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After I ran, I got on the bike and headed out. This time I went further down the course towards the Centre, on the freeway a ways even. These two other guys did, and then it was too late to turn around until a break in the barrier. Not too windy this morning (11:00 AM), so at times I was flying pretty good. Got back to town and found KP and rode the last 30 minutes with him. I was able to stick on his wheel, but a little over IM pace for me. I did my 90 minutes.

Got back to the room and Shea and I walked over to the beach right here and I got in and swam out, back, into the current, and with the current, about 15-20:00 total. Went directly to lunch since yesterday we missed lunch due to me riding and the restaurants closing! Had to got to the grocery store and buy stuff to make a sandwich.

Our hotel:
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At 4:00 PM was the briefing, so Andy, Geoff, Fernando and I went to that. After the briefing, we picked up Shea and we drove to the Centre to have dinner at a churssixxxx? The grilled meat place where they bring it around like dim sum? Good stuff and lots of laughing.


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Back Home

Yeah, I'm back home and a full day at work today. I wish I were still in Lisbon. People at work said this must have been a fabulous vacation because I was just glowing. Maybe it's just jetlag. HAHA.

Time to get serious with the Ironman NZ training. I ran today for about 50 minutes and will go to swim squad tomorrow morning. Definitely time to ramp it up.


Rain, Rain Go Away

The nice sunny weather came to an end yesterday. It was grey and cold when I went out for a short run and started to rain when I got back. Paulo had to do some testing on some of his athletes, so I got to meet some more Portuguese triathletes, including one of the women on the team. They have very few women in the sport here which is a big difference from the US and especially the Bay Area. My club is about half women.

After a late lunch, we drove south if Lisbon to the peninsula to an old monastery set at the end of the cape on a cliff. Got some great photos, even with the bad weather. It was then to a castle ruin on a nearby hilltop, then down to the beach where the only beachgoers were seagulls. We then drove through the hills (which reminded me somewhat of the Marin Headlands and the area around Mt. Tam). More photos and then it was time to head back to Lisbon, with a stop on the way for coffee.

After a short nap, we headed over to Paulo's sister and brother-in-law's house for dinner. It was the best meal I've had in a long time--roast pork stuffed with plums, chestnuts, rice, veggies and bread with pumpkin jam. Lots of laughing, some wine, dessert and coffee, and then Fred started playing the guitar. Around midnight Paulo, his sister, her friend and I went out to the Irish pub where there was live music. All in all, a great day.

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Most excellent tour guides

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Yesterday morning Paulo and I went down to the river and did a little sightseeing and went for coffee and pastries. Every area has their own special pastry and they are all delicious. Luckily they are all fairly small, so eating just one with a bica (espresso) is OK. No "Supersize Me" portions (though they do have a lot of McDonalds here.) After that we drove out to the beach to see where their tri club does its open water swims. It was then to the bike shop to check it out.

Around noon Sergio and Klep picked me up and we drove up the coast to the marina at Cascais. We sat outside in the sun and enjoyed a very leisurely lunch of grilled fish, veggies and potatoes. We left Cascais and drove up to Sintra and stopped at the palace-Palacio Nacional de Pena. Built in the 1800s on the site of the ruins of a 16th century monastery, the rooms have been left as is after the royal family fled in the 1910 revolution. Pretty cool place and we also had a great view of the Castelo dos Mouros, which was built by the Moors.

On the drive back to Lisbon we again had another spectacular sunset. It was then time to have a coffee and do a little shopping before dinner. Post-dinner we went to the university to get on the internet. Can't do without that!


Greetings from Portugal

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I couldn't think of any better way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday. I left Tuesday afternoon, flying SF to Frankfurt and Levi Leipheimer was on my flight! Gerolsteiner must be having a camp. After a three hour layover, it was on to Lisbon where Paulo picked me up Wednesday afternoon.

After a quick shower, we headed to the coast where we saw the most spectacular sunset. The sun was a big red ball that dropped into the ocean. We stopped at the westernmost point in Europe and drove up to Sintra for coffee. It was then back to Lisbon for dinner and then home. I slept really well that night.

Yesterday we got up early and I went to their squad workout. I did 1,500 meters, some drills. Paulo gave me some tips on my stroke and things are not hopeless. Good, since I hope to be a little faster in the water in New Zealand in March. After the swim, we had coffee with Sergio and Klep (whom I knew from Slowtwitch) and it was great to finally put names and faces together.

It was just a beautiful sunny day here yesterday. We went into downtown Lisbon and went sightseeing. Lots of walking (like 10K worth) with hills and stairs and cobblestone streets. We sat outside for lunch and watched the world go by. It doesn't get any better. And yes, I've been taking lots of pictures though it may take until I get home to upload them.

Last night was dinner at home then Sergio and Klep came over to watch the 2004 Ironman Hawaii tape that I brought with me. I was so tired by the end of the evening.

Swim squad was even earlier today and they had a swim test to do, so I slept in. Today is more sightseeing, so I'd better get going.