Triathlon, thy name is – I’m not happy until I’m unhappy

Swimming has never been my friend. Despite at least 10 triathlons of varying distances I’ve never considered myself a swimmer. I still don’t, but I have this soft goal of accomplishing an open water swim of 2.4 miles in 1 hour and 30 minutes. But that isn’t going to happen at the my current rate.

Today was the first day of the Spring 2013 52DC and I was prepared to start off strong. An early lifting session went well, I completed Day 9/40 of my plan.  I even did  extra pullups and pushups to bank against a trip next week.

Off to the pool at lunch for 1600 meters, not today though. My arms were tired and my legs just sank. I realize I’m faster with a pull buoy (swim aid) than without, thus  I suspect my kick is  taking me the wrong way. Time for a technique lesson or three. Can I swim the way I do now and get it done?  Perhaps but I can do better.

Not to be discouraged I planned an easy 50-60 bike with some fast intervals mid ride. The change to daylight saving is a great benefit, but not today. I came downstairs, fully dressed in my serious road cyclist gear and was greeted by my wife saying, “did you look outside?” “Not a chance I’m riding or maybe not” I say as I watch 30 mph winds drive snow across the yard.


I grabbed my tri bike, put it on the trainer in the basement and proceeded to do a warmup followed by 4x4minute hard intervals. 36 minutes later I was soaked, tired and miserable. And that makes makes me happy.

Thus ends the first day of this Challenge.


It has occurred to me that I should establish a few rules for the upcoming Spring 52DC. Rules, boundaries, or guidelines, whatever you call them, I need to define how I’m going to stay on the road to the land of change. These are appropriate for me, and I will make changes if progress is stalled.

Clean Eating – I lose a CE if I have more than one beer a day, or eat more than a 1/4 cup of ice cream.  I’m not into deprivation, but I’ve learned what I can do  or not to lose fat. Any candy, chips or baked goods will be considered a cheat. A cheat is fine but I only have 9 in 52 days. The only exceptions to the above are Wednesdays and Easter!


Wednesday has turned into a monster workout day, so if I’m to indulge, let it be on a day when the fire is really burning.

Workouts – All pushups will be either blast strap, elevated BOSU or incorporated into a Renegade Row. My tactical plan is to average 25 pushups and pullups a day. Some of the pullups will be weighted, today I’m using 10 lbs.

My typical CT workout is 30 minutes or greater so there will be no problem meeting the commonly accepted standard.  I check the RT box when I do a whole body program, a pushup/pullup day is simply doing good work.

The road ahead has been marked with freshly painted lines. The Challenge starts in 5 days.

40 Days to the Land of Promise

If not the promised land, perhaps I’ll discover a new version of me. I’ve been intrigued by Dan John’s workout programming. Several years ago he wrote a program titled ” 40 Days Workout” wherein he suggests doing short strength workouts every day for 40 days. I like the the free form nature, as Mr John encourages you to increase the weight when it feels right (and “you’ll know this” he writes.) The repetitive nature is appealing yet there are enough options to suit my style.

I did my first of 40 today. Dan John calls for 2×5 of the following : Dead lift, Pull, and push. You follow the big 3 with a hinged movement and some ab work.

Here’s today’s scheme: Warmup followed by – 2×5 of Trap Bar DL (190), Pullups with 10lb DB, Staggered Stance Land Mine Push Press (45) , 20 KB (50) swings, and 5 of the Dragon Flag ab movement.

It should work. There is adequate tension but the workout takes only 25 minutes with warmup.

Give me something simple to do everyday and I’m likely to do it. But not forever! Let’s see what I learn in next 40-50 days, (you are allowed  breaks for life’s stuff).

Spring 2013 52DC – Finding the limits

I’ve been away from this opportunity for too long, maybe not. When it’s time, you know. We start the Spring 2013 edition of the 52DC in 11 days.  Over the past 5-6-7 years, not sure when, I’ve consumed a fair amount of time working on just the right goals.

Not today though, these came to me in a moment, because I have a sense of urgency I’ve never felt before. Good or bad, win or lose, this challenge will help me find the new limits.

My Goals –


PG1: Triple Terror Redux – 1200pullups – 1200 pushups – 40 hours CT/RT
PG2: Swim 40Km
PG3: 5% WLC 9lbs
PG4: 14 Consecutive pullups

The campaign is waiting, and I am prepared.

To the starting line yet again

We start the Classic 52Dc, 2011 edition tomorrow. Despite a strange interlude of  an earthquake, hurricane and flooding during the last one, causing some interruption, I’m excited to continue what I started last time.

Here are my goals:

CE: 95
RT: 20
CT: 35

PG1: Triple Terror: 40 hours CT, 1200 pullups, 1200 pushups.
PG2: 5% WLC 9lbs
PG3: swim 1 mile continuous
PG4: D&L Half Marathon 10/23 <2:15
PG5: 50 days of PLP starting at 30 reps

I think I have it, a balance of all the things I want and need to do. Everyday I do the PLP combo of  pullups, lunges, and pushups. I vary the lunges with kettlebell swings, pushups are usually on a BOSU ball or with blast straps.  Knowing I have to get up and do pullups is strangely satisfying. I use the lunges for stretching. I’m starting at 30 so at the end of challenge I  will doing each exercise for 82 reps, of course not all in one set. Let’s hope my upper body cooperates.

The Triple Terror is new, I’ve been challenged by Baseball Mom and testpilotgg, to develop a program to push each other in some similar but not identical fashion. I believe the 40 hour CT goal will accomplish our goals but not lock each person into identical modes. I for one will cut running back to 2x weekly in November and replace it with swimming and biking. How much of each I can’t say but I’ll strive for 40 hours of heart pounding, sweat infused activity.  The 1200 pullups and pushups is a stretch too and we may be reaching a terminal amount here but we won’t know till we try.

As for swimming, it remains the the great unconquered piece for me. I have swam 1 mile in the open water several times while participating in triathlon but I need to do it without the extreme effort that has been required. Swimming is key to my Half Ironman Triathlon goal, I can cycle and run the distance but not if I’m in the water all morning. I’m swimming Wednesday, if nothing else but to prove to myself that I’m serious about this goal.

What else, oh yes, the D&L Half Marathon on Sunday. I’ll do a post in the another category on this but let me say it’s my 6th HM and I’m running with my son John, it’s his first. So how cool is this? We’re not fast but we do have fun.

As for the WLC of 9 lbs, I almost completed this last time but gave it all back in the last 3 weeks of the challenge.  I’m expecting to do better but I always do. I gave away all my clothes that fit at the beginning of the last challenge, replaced them with smaller sizes and now am at the point of muffinesque. No, I’m not re-buying the last size so I have no choice but to make a concerted effort to accomplish this goal.

So there it is, plenty of activity, exciting goals, and an opportunity  to redefine myself yet again. The story begins tomorrow.

I meet the beast

Last week I had the bright idea to buy a larger kettlebell. Pricing and availability was better on the 80 lb  vs the 72 lb bell. Picked it up at my local Walmart (another story in itself) and dropped it in the garage for another day.

It’s heavy.  I walk past it for two days and it mocks me. No way I say, “I’ll stay with my friend the 50lb bell. We fit each other, and swing merrily back and forth in sets of 20.” The 80 bell growls and I hear, ” you know you want to do this”.

I stall until 10:00 PM, and finally as I turn to close the garage doors for the night, I know it’s time.  Two hands around the handle and away we go. I gasp at the effort required to swing this beast. At the 6th swing I get it, the energy flows, my hips snap, hamstrings quiver and we stop exhausted at 10. Gingerly I lower the beast and carefully stand up so as not to totally black out.

It’s not likely the beast will ever be like my 50lb kbell friend but we will meet again and again in  furious moments of unrestrained bravado.

Could this be the one?

It’s time. Time to pursue the next set of goals, time for the chance to define the physical being I could be, or not. 52 days from now I’ll know.

Here are the standards:

CE: 95
RT: 20
CT: 30

PG1: 4MAX – run 75 miles – ride 225 miles – 1000 pullups – 1000 pushups

PG2: 20 consecutive pullups – 7 weeks to 50 pullups Workout – Phase 1

PG3: 5% WLC 9lbs

These are similar to the last challenge but with a change in the pullup routine to multiple consecutive sets 3 times weekly. Everyday pullups were very good for me last time so of course I’m obligated to change to another routine.

I’m excited but not quite prepared having struggled with a massive dose of poison sumac that began a week ago. I’m not even close to being done, yet I need to begin and today is the day.

Rejuvenating this blog should help me keep pressing, if nothing else I’ll be able to laugh at my hubris in 52 days.

Pullups await.