Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WTF is up with hotel hot tubs?

Have you ever stayed in a hotel?   Ok stupid question... everyone has stayed in a hotel.
Have you ever stayed in a hotel with a pool?  Ok, probably you have done that too.
Have you ever stayed in a hotel with a pool and a hot tub?

Welcome to the topic of this post.

Hotel hot tubs are NEVER what your imagination makes them out to be.  I picture mountain lodge with a steaming tub of pristine bubbling water.  Maybe it's a little optimistic, but whatever, it's my imagination and I can do what I want!

My wonderful imagination only sets me up to fall even further when I am faced with reality. 

My reality has shown me time and time again, that the hot tub in the advertisement picture for the hotel is an absolute farce.  On top of that some of them show pretty girls sitting in the tub wearing a bikini.  This is BS!

In reality, the hotel hot tub looks something like this.

Trust me, you are fortunate if it is this clean.  Most of them are so full of urine from 5 year old little boys that you can't see the bottom.

Also, when you find out the hotel has a pool and a hot tub, the first thing you do is go check it out.  But you don't get all suited up to do it, you go in your street cloths right.  You are just being casual. 

So you walk into the pool area and stick your head around the corner... what do you see?

You see this guy, hopefully minus the horse sitting all by himself in the hot tub.  If you are lucky, there is no eye contact that takes place.  If you aren't lucky, he sees you checking things out and the wierd factor goes through the roof.

Either way you are totally screwed and will never, ever step foot in the room ever again!  You know that the odds are low that he will be there, but is it really worth that chance? 

Think about it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Calling all Angels

You know that feeling, when you have a goal and you are committed to reaching it?

For about 10 months I was totally focused on completing a half ironman distance triathlon. (1.2mile swim, 56mile bike, 13.1mile run) When I say totally committed, that is probably an understatement, it was obsessive.  The people around me suffered worse than me.  I was typically spending over 10 hours / week training, and racing once a month.  I was going to complete this 6 hour battle no matter what!

Because I'm relatively new to this whole Tri thing, I am still building my endurance and resistance to the fatigue caused by training and racing.  Since I have a tendency to over do things, I enlisted the help of a great trainer and coach.  http://www.dynamic-training.net/ She got me in the best cardio shape of my life without allowing me to overtrain and get injured. 

I did about half a dozen smaller races, where I was able to cut minutes off last years times, my speed was up and I could go farther than ever.  Things were right on track coming into the final stretch known as the "taper".  Basically all I had to do was stay healthy and show up.

In the final two weeks, a life changing event happened. 

We lost a very dear family member who had battled cancer for years.  I say we, because it was a loss felt by the entire region, not just family and close friends.  At the wake, lines stretched down the street.  At the funeral, empty seats could not be found.  Newspapers wrote stories about her life and battle.  The city dropped flags to half mast and held moments of silence.  Small children sang songs in her memory.

I never did show up to that big race, I did something much more important. 

Rest in peace Marsha, you made the world a better place.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bodybuilder vs. Triathlete

When I was in High School I got into lifting weights and "bodybuilding".  I did that for about 10 years, and it was a great way to relieve stress, make friends, stay in shape.  Now I have moved away from bodybuilding and am totally immersed in the sport of triathlon.  This gives me a unique perspective on the two cultures.  They both have a lot in common, which I think warrants a close comparison.

Alright so there are multiple comparisons we can make here, but both can be pretty intense "sports".  Triathlon is a little more of a type A personality sport and attracts a little more mature crowd of folks.  Many people who compete in Triathlons may refer to themselves as "Triathletes".  They say this as if it helps define who they are and what their purpose is.  For example someone may say "I'm a father, husband, engineer, catholic, and a Triathlete"  That doesn't happen so often with bodybuilders.  I think they prefer to let their bodies do the talking.  Sometimes this can be assisted by puffing your chest out or acting like you can't get your arms all the way down to your sides because your lats are too big.

Who is the most vain? 
I gotta give this one to the bodybuilders, they basically only can flex their muscles if they have a mirror or if they are lucky enough, a crowd of people.  All exercises are conducted looking in a mirror.  However, it is extremely bold to just start hitting poses in a crowded gym, although, many folks really want to.  Typically they wait until they get home from the gym, but they have to do it before they lose "the pump".  If you don't know what the "pump" is then this should help. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMjG2s6UOaw
Triathletes like to look good at races, but when they are working out they typically aren't thinking about how they look or how they will look.  It is all about going fast, and they will do almost anything to go faster.  If someone proved that rubbing mayonnaise on your feet made you faster, I guarantee you would see jars of it at races.  Many racers see appearance as a competitive advantage, if you look fast, you will psych out your opponents and they will not challenge you.

Who is more dedicated?
Ok so this is a really close one, but I have to give it to the Triathletes.  It is not uncommon to eat, breath, and sleep this sport.  People get divorces due to triathlon training.  Now THAT is dedication!  Well, it is also totally screwed up, but I'm not comparing mental wellness here.
It is pretty rare to see a bodybuilder train more than 10 hours per week, but there are times during the triathlon training season that it is necessary to push much beyond that level.

Who watches their diet closer?
I gotta give this one to the bodybuilders.  Any serious lifter knows (to the gram) what their carb, protein, and fat intake is on every day of every week.  They are willing to get up in the middle of the night to eat cold chicken breasts from the fridge.  They can recite the different types of proteins and when you should eat each during the day. 
Triathletes are serious too, but just not at the same level.  The focus typically revolves around "fueling" during races or workouts, or "recovery" immediately thereafter.  Hydration is a concern, but tends to be more of a habit.

Which is more supportive?
This one goes to the triathletes.  There are groups, forums, communities, fans, etc. that revolve around the sport.  During races athletes encourage each other.  After races they congratulate each other.  There seems to be a trend for folks to point out their own weakness if it is your strength.  The do that just to make you feel good about yourself. 
In lifting, the support consists of spotting someone during a lift if they need it.

Which is more painful?
This is hard but it goes to the triathletes.  The reason is a little more complex than the other comparisons in this post. 
I find that many people who are competitive in endurance sports like triathlons do it because of the pain.  They have something in their personal history that really hurts, and somehow the pain of a workout makes it feel better.  On top of that you have the blisters, muscle aches, inflamed joints, black toenails, etc. that go with the sport.  The pain of a workout lasts for hours. 
Sure bodybuilding makes you sore and the workouts are intense, but it isn't as bad as triathlon. 

Which is more dangerous?
Ok, so neither is extremely dangerous, but again this one goes to triathlon.  This is mainly due to the fact that you could be hit by a car any second and get killed. 
Bodybuilders, don't seem to have that fatal aspect to their sport.  Probably the typical situation involves muscle pulls or dropping the weights on yourself somehow.

Which is more ridiculous to the "normal" person?
I'm not a very good judge of this, but I'm gonna go with triathlons being more ridiculous.  Normal people regard triathlon workouts as "crazy" and ask why in the world would you do that?  I just seems too odd to them to do a 3 hour bike-run brick workout.  Although, running, biking, and swimming on their own are seen as quite normal activities.  It is the desire to cram them all together and up the mileage to crazy levels, that's not normal.
Lifting weights is seen as a relatively standard way to get in shape.  Bodybuilders just take that one thing to the extreme.

Which is more expensive?
Triathlon is clearly the winner here.  Bodybuilding has the expense of food, supplements, gym membership, clothes, and training gear.  None of that stuff is too bad on it's own or even added up. 
Triathletes can and will spend 10's of thousands of dollars in a year to compete in their sport.  For example, just a set of race wheels for a bike could be $2000.  Sure, you could train and compete on a very small budget, but it seems pretty rare to have that happen.

Who shaves more?
The bodybuilders have this one.  Bodybuilders will shave their entire body, whereas triathletes only shave their legs.  Both athletes pretend the shaving is for different reasons, but in reality they are both doing it to show off their muscles.

In summary, I really enjoy both bodybuilding and triathlons.  Now that the tri season is practically over, I'll be getting back into the gym.  Just yesterday, I had a rather funny experience at the gym.  Maybe that could be my next post...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Giving Back

I like to think that I live a pretty fortunate life.  I have great people around me, I'm healthy, I have a warm place to sleep, things are good.  As I look out at the world, there are people who aren't so fortunate.  They may be homeless, or sick, or maybe their job was sent to Mexico.

As I look back over the past year, one thing I regret is not doing much caritable work.  I want to change that in 2011.  I want to do something to help someone, somewhere, who deserves it.

If you know me, you know I like to do my research on things I participate in.  (since I only have 3 followers, I'll assume the people reading this know me)  So now I'm researching charities.  One great tool that I found is a site called http://www.charitynavigator.org/ that basically rates all the different organizations and how efficient they are.

One thing really grabbed me when I looked at the different groups.  Take American Cancer Society for instance.  They generate over a BILLION dollars in revenue each year, that is just a crap load of money.  I can't even picture what a billion dollars looks like.  The thing is... they spend $282 million just in fundraising and administrative expenses.  That seems a little screwed up to me, so I dug a little deeper.  Their CEO makes $685,000 / year which ain't so bad, not until you read that their Deputy CEO makes $1.02 million / year.  What the heck is up with THAT?  Since when does Barney Fife make more than Andy Griffith, and they are both WICKED RICH! 

So clearly I'm in the wrong racket here.  I'm gonna go strait to Barnes and Noble and pick up some reading material.

But seriously, I need to find a charity that will do something good with the money and won't give it all to some fat cat who rides around in a chauffeured Bentley.

So the options are small and local, or big and not so local.  I think I have already decided that my cause will be focused around Cancer.  After seeing multiple times how this disease has affected so many people around me, I just have to do what I can to help. 

Some people may notice that I wear a LIVESTRONG hat and wrist band and may dismiss it as just being a fanboy for Lance Armstrong.  Well, honestly I am a fan, but not of his bike racing.  He has managed to improve peoples awareness of a disease and offer resources to people who need them.  I'm a fan of THAT. 

So what am I gonna do?

A lemon aid stand is a good idea, but may not be up my alley.  I'll have to find a way that fits in with my personality and interests.  Like I said in the beginning, I have lots of good people around me and I know they will help. 

I'm fairly sure I would like to help Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a charitable cause and I a couple wacky ideas on how to do it.  Since we have already established that you all know me, you also know that sometimes I can be a little untraditional. 

The first question I've been asked is "what is your goal?" Well I'm not sure yet, but it's bigger than a breadbox and smaller than a house.

So stay tuned, maybe I'll post about some of my wacky ideas.

Monday, September 6, 2010


What the hell is a Manovation?  It is an innovation that is decidedly manly, may put property at risk, and probably will result in bodily injury.  It is not required to actually be successful as long as it entertains as it fails.

To provide a hint at todays manovation, I offer you this picture.
Yes, this is not your average leaf blower.  It can create a focused blast of air over 200 mph.  It is a serious tool for serious jobs.  Proper personal protective equipment is mandatory.

Now this device can be extremely useful in the yard to help clean up leaves or sweep your driveway.  If you are adventurous you will climb a ladder and use it to clean your gutters.  Overall, a very handy device.

Today, the job of the jet pack leaf blower from hell is to clean the garage.  Over the past 12 months the garage has filled with sand and leaves and cobwebs and mouse crap.  It would take forever to sweep around all the stuff in there to do a thorough cleaning.  This is clearly a job for a 200 mph blast of air.

I am pretty sure that I ended up wearing 95% of the dirt that was in the garage when I started, but overall I think it did a pretty good job.  I have to go take another shower and clean the grit out of my mouth but I'd say it was worth it.  Good for another 12 months and I bet the mice will appreciate it too.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Please pay attention

Because I race triathlons I train, or is it because I train I race?  Either way, I spend many hours each week running and biking the mean streets of Btown. 

Btown doesn't believe in bike lanes or even putting wide shoulders on roads.  That leaves me running and riding down a skinny white line.  If running, I go against traffic so I can see the cars headed my way.  If biking, I ride with traffic and follow the same rules that cars would have.

Being out in the open air and traveling at relatively low speeds means you can make lots of observations about people in general, their houses, yards, cars, etc.  Recently when riding through Bondsville, I realized that many of them like to have their exhaust system drag behind their car.  Also a car missing a wheel is considered a nice lawn ornament. 

One thing I notice, everywhere I run or ride is that many people don't pay attention.  They are too busy on their cell phone, eating a donut, adjusting the radio, and picking their nose.  For me it means that I almost get hit at intersections where they only look one way and pull out right in front of me.  I routinely have to dive off the road when an oncoming car veers off toward my skinny white line.  People must think I like it when they buzz me at 50 mph with just a couple inches to spare. 

This is me dressed in a squirrel suit

So if everyone would just watch where they are going, look both ways, hang up their cell phone, don't drink and drive, stop for people in crosswalks, put down the donut, and give me more than 8 inches of room I would appreciate it.  Plus then I could stop calling you all nasty names when you almost hit me.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How many is too many?

I have a problem.  There I've said it.

I don't know when is the right time to throw away shoes.  Is it when you get a similar pair?  When they haven't been worn in a year?  When you can't tell what color they are because of the dust? 
When you combine this problem with a compusion to buy running shoes this makes for a crowded closet.

Today I entered my closet on a mission.  It was hard, but I needed to vote some shoes out of the collection. 

This is the problem

So I managed to eliminate 6 pairs of shoes and one that didn't even have a match.  I don't even know how that happens.  I've lost plenty of socks, but how exactly do you lose an entire shoe?

With all my "keepers" back in a freshly vacuumed closet, I feel so much better.  My day will no longer start by stumbling over and kicking shoes in the morning darkness. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nothing to do... Everything to do

I spent some time wondering if a first post on a blog should be some special topic.  I couldn't figure out why it needed to be special so I'll go with random instead.
Sampson providing nap support, and yes that is the tip of his tongue hanging out.

I happen to be in the middle of changing jobs currently and that means I need to hand over all the information to the folks who will be assuming responsibility at my old job.  Well, my only meeting today got cancelled.  So I have "nothing to do".   On the way home I had to drop off my passport because I've been scheduled for a trip to Asia in a couple weeks.  As I continued to drive home I was thinking of all the things I could do with my free day.  Change the oil... Clean the kitchen... Mow the lawn...
Sampson (our shiba inu) convinced me that a 1 hour nap on the couch would be better.  Thanks Sammy.

With my nap complete and I feel GGGRRREEAAATTT just like Tony the Tiger, I'm off to do the oil changes that were due a month ago, then time for a bike ride before the crap weather shows up.

I guess the lawn, kitchen, etc will have to wait for another day.  Procrastination at its finest.