Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

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Who has two thumbs…

April 18, 2009

… and a new J-O-B!

Two Thumbs

That is right people.BIG NEWS this week. The days of this unemployed triathlete eating PB&J and training just about as much as my body can handle between interviewing and applying to every half decent job out there are OVER.

After this weekend of celebrating the job and volunteering at the Boston Marathon clothing return, I’ll be returning to the working world. The last three months since I was laid off have definitely been an interesting adventure, but I’m COMPLETELY looking forward to returning to a more stable and predictable lifestyle. Granted, I’ll miss being able to long workouts in the middle of the day but I’m sure I’ll get over it.

The first month I had a pretty good series of job interviews, but there was a huge drop off in the last few weeks. Momentum was zapped, motivation was sucked from my being. Then this brand new opportunity came along out of left field, the CEO and I instantly clicked, and before I knew it I had a job offer in my inbox. It is a really cool job doing digital media marketing and PR for this boutique agency outside of the city. Strange how timing works for things like this, right?

The crazy part is that once another agency that I had been talking to (who had been ignorming my phone calls) heard that I was getting other offers, they quickly perked back up and my phone was buzzing. The first opportunity was a much better fit for me, but the timing allowed me to actually turn down the other agency! My career opportunities were pretty barren for three months, the economy has been in the tank, then all of a sudden I’m offered this great position with tons of extra responsibility and get to turn down a second opportunity?

I celebrated with a nice hard 48 mile bike by myself this afternoon and am now heading out to enjoy some adult beverages with friends.

Coincidentally (again) my first week at work comes on a rest week. Perfect timing to keep a good work/tri balance, right?

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A Window Into The Past

February 28, 2009

While I like to think I’m pretty spur of the moment and don’t make strict race plans for myself very often, I realized tonight that I may just be fooling myself.

Now that all of my siblings have moved out of the house to branch of their own lives or move away to college, Momma Bull clearly has a little case of empty nest syndrome. She must have been digging through some old piles of my stuff this week because she sent me an old race plan from just before a high school cross country meet. It was even written on the back of a page per day calendar so I figured out that I wrote it in 1998, when I was a Sophomore in High School. More then 10 years ago now. DAY-UM!

I was prepping for for the JV race of the South West Connecticut Conference cross country meet in Bethel, CT. Reading through the notes I made to myself brings me back instantly to that day. Coach Abraham had us focus on visualizing the race throughout the day to keep us focused. I knew the course really well and broke it down into about 200 meter sections and had specific goals for each. I can even remember sitting in the middle of my biology class that afternoon, pulling this scrap of paper out of my pocket for the hundredth time and just reading it to myself over and over again, imagining myself on the course and tearing it up.

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This cartoon is extra funny to me now since when I wrote this, I was about 40 lbs lighter, you could see every one of my ribs and had tiny little stick legs. I guess that’s what happens when you are a 15 year old long distance runner

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My detailed notes for visualizing the race. Please excuse my disgusting handwriting and spelling… Hey. I was only 15.

This was one of my last big races of the year so I remember planning to take it pretty aggressively and focusing more on my place than overall time to score some points for the team. Even now after reading this I can visualize the course so clearly. If I was there today, I think I could map out the course all by myself.

I really like having a solid visualization plan on race day and may have to start doing that again, 10 years later. It was helpful to have my pace grid at Hyannis, but I think (especially if I know the course pretty well) having psychological cues at each point in the race probably have a lot more value to them in terms of keeping my race on track and staying focused. I may have to even use some of the same notes I wrote to myself in 1998 at Rev 3 in a few months.

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Snowboarding and muscle memory

February 8, 2009

Because Seasonal Affective Disorder is just for people that are afraid to go out and have fun in the cold, I decided to break my +8 year hiatus from snowboarding and take a trip up to New Hampshire to hit the slopes. A guy can only take so many swim/bike/run workouts before he needs to break it up and try something different.

It had been at least eight years since the last time I went snowboarding, some time when back in high school, so I was just a little nervous about actually remembering now to snowboard and not go flying off into the woods. Scratch that. I really didn’t have much faith in my ability to remember how  to snowboard at all.

After heading up the lift to the top of the mountain and a sketchy dismount from the chair lift, I sucked it up, took a deep breath and pointed my board down hill and hoped for the best. The first half of the run was a little rough, but I was surprised how quickly I remembered how to turn and especially how to stop! By the second run I was back in the game, a WHOLE lot more comfortable, and was actually really impressed about how quickly I got back into a nice carving rhythm. Muscle memory is an amazing thing and I was completely surprised about how quickly my confidence on the slopes came back. I was still a little cautious around other skiiers so that I didn’t take anyone out, but I was actually able to relax and have fun with it.

I took a short video from the hill. It is a little sketchy in some parts, but I figured you might enjoying my fall on my butt about half way through. 🙂 In my defense, it was only my second run, and this other guy came flying dangerously close behind me while on a patch of ice. I decided bailing and landing on my butt was the best option.


The only real fall that I managed all day was while I was passing Sam on a flat section, rubbing it in her face, then immediately biting it hard. Thankfully I hopped up pretty quickly and I managed not to get injured, so it was a pretty sweet day.

Here is the view of Lake Winnipesaukee from the top of the mountain. This is where I’ll be racing my “A” race. The Timberman  70.3 in August. Thankfully this scene should be a lot more green and blue by then instead of gray and white.


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Playing with HD Video

January 6, 2009

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with triathlon. I’m not even going to attempt to draw some connection. It does have fun HD videos of my dog. So if you don’t like dogs or cool new tech toys, come back in a few days. I’ll have some triathlon related posts then. 🙂

For Christmas, Santa brought me a sick new toy. A super tiny HD camera. The thing is awesome and I’ve been playing around with it the last few days and I love it. It is smaller than my regular digital still camera, and takes amazing videos. I may have to pack it along in my jersey pocket once I’m able to do long rides outside this spring to share random stuff that I find on the road.

Flip mino-hd

While the videos look amazing on my desktop, the files are huge and get a little clumsy when trying to move them online or export them to smaller files without losing all the quality.

When I was at home in Connecticut for Chrismas, I was playing around in the yard with my (parent’s) golden retriever, Tucker. Since a few different online video sites now allow you to upload HD videos (YouTube and Vimeo) I decided to play around and see what looks best so I know what makes the most sense for posting little video snapshots while training this year.

In the past, I’ve almost always used Blip.tv because they make it really easy to turn my videos into a podcast, but I’m curious to see how the other players stack up and if it makes sense using a different one, or maybe mix and match.

YouTube:

Click through and hit “Watch in HD” for full quality.

Vimeo:

Click through for full HD

Blip.TV

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1644761&dest=-1]

Click through for Quicktime HD version in Blip.

Click through for larger (non HD) flash version in Blip.

If for whatever reason you can’t see any of the three videos above, let me know. I’m also curious how this post looks in people’s RSS readers, since it doesn’t always look the same as it does on WordPress, but I’m still trying to work out some kinks.

Let me know what you think.

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Homework From Coach Brett

December 28, 2008

Today was sixty two degrees in Boston. In December. 62! We just had two big snow storms last week!

Needless to say, despite it being a recovery week, I had to take advantage of the weather and knock off a nice easy 12 miler. And just because it was 60 degrees in December, and I could, I had to wear the shortest shorts that I own. I did of course cover up my calves with compression sleeves. I at least have a LITTLE modesty! 🙂

Classy, right?

December Running Shorts

I was even able to pull off the same 12 mile route, at the same heart rate, 12 minutes faster than than I did last week. I guess running in a foot of snow does actually slow you down. Who knew?

Coach Brett did give me some homework this week. With a decrease in training volume and some extra rest and time spent with the family, I had some questions to think about to keep my training focused.

  • What am I doing to make sure I don’t get injured with new injuries or old ones?

I’m trying to use the foam roller and stretch as much as possible, and make sure I tend to any pain that is beyond the normal aches and muscle soreness. I’ve also been especially focused on stretching before, not just after, workouts after I’ve done a little to let my muscles warm up. Stretching out warm muscles makes a huge difference.

Getting semi-regular massages is also part of the plan. My goal is at least every 2-3 months or whenever I start to get any issues that can’t be taken care of by stretching, yoga or the foam roller.

I’m also working on a lot of core work and squats/lunges that should hopefully take care of any muscle imbalances that caused my IT band issues the last two years.

  • Am I getting enough sleep? (Sleep is when your body rebuilds)

Yes. I’m a PRO sleeper. Other than staying up late to go to midnight mass on Christmas eve with the family and then “play Santa” to deliver presents under the tree, I got pretty good sleep all week. In less than two minutes after my head hits the pillow, I am out and off to dream land.

  • What are my real goals this year?

I want to be strong enough to confidently race and compete in 70.3’s, not just survive them and cross the line in under 6 hours, and by more the better. I don’t expect to have a blast doing every single workout, but I want to make sure that overall, triathlon is having a positive impact on my life and I’m having fun doing it. And I need to make sure that I can pull it all off while still having a semi-normal social life (see the next question).

  • Am I striking a good tri/life balance?

I don’t get it, triathlon IS life! Right?! I’m obviously a little biased, so I had to ask the girlfriend.

Sam says I get an 8 out of 10. Good, but not great. I’ve been giving her a heads up each day about the next day’s workouts so we can coordinate other responsibilities, but there is still room for improvement. She definitely has noticed the increase in time spent working out, but except for a few small occasions, it hasn’t had too much impact on the relationship or our social lives.

  • What is that “one thing” that makes me want to do triathlon?  Am I centering my training around that?

Life long fitness. I want to make triathlon a sustainable lifestyle. I don’t care much about placing in my AG now (although if my training and body bring me to that point, I’m all for it) but I’d much rather sustain a healthy lifestyle well into my old age and break some +70 men’s course records at Kona. Plus, it would be cool to be a hot DILF. : -)

I think striking a good tri/life balance will be a big part of getting there and so far I’m on a pretty good track, but still have some work to do.

  • When is the last time I had my bike cables serviced and cleaned my ride?  A clean bike is 10% faster than a dirty one.

I cleaned it a few times (because just once wasn’t enough) after my last cyclocross race where it was absolutely covered in mud. It took a couple cleanings to get mud out of every little nook and cranny and the chain running smoothly again, but she is nice and speedy again.

  • Who have I helped in the sport lately?  You all are already great athletes.  You have much to offer those who want to learn.

I try to post advice where I can on Triscoop.com whereever I can on topics I’ve  had personal experience with, but probably could do more to schedule group runs/rides with my triathlon team and other local tri buddies. Long runs alone are great to clear my head and stick to my own comfortable pace, but it is always good to share the road with some friendly faces.

Rest up kiddies, there are more training stories to come!

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Top 10 Twitter Triathletes To Follow

December 2, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

I haven’t written about it here before, but I’ve been pretty active on the microblogging platform Twitter over the past few months. At first It was just a lot of tech geeks and public relations peeps like me, but lately a lot of triathlon folk have joined the twitter ranks.

I tweet at twitter.com/jamesonbull

If you haven’t heard of it before, twitter lets you post short messages (140 characters max) and send messages to friends or “followers.” These messages can even get pushed to your cell phone if you want and you can update all your friends on what you are up to via text messages too.  This video explains it better, but Twitter has turned into more than just a tool for sharing “what you are dong.”


This morning I also saw a lot of people creating a bunch of specialized top 10 lists for their favorite dad/mom/ITguy/sewing/cooking/religious twitter users, but no triathletes were getting any love. So I decided to create my own top 10 list of some people that you should follow if you are just getting on to twitter and want to see what is out there and how it works. I follow a lot more than just these guys, but they post pretty frequenty, and almost exclusevliy about tri stuff, so they made the cut.

Okay, well there are 11(technically 12), but screw it. In no particular order..

  1. Bikehugger
  2. texafornia
  3. coachadam
  4. lancearmstrong
  5. jessistensland
  6. konaguyim
  7. staytunedreport / triboomer
  8. usatriathlon
  9. triathletemag
  10. simplystu
  11. tdf_updates (Only really important in July, but still cool)

Who would you add to the list? Am I missing anyone?

UPDATE:

Because she is an attention whore (in the best possible way of course) I’ll add this one to the list. If you need advice on nutrition/holistic health issues, there none better/more awesome.

HolisticGuru – Christine Lynch

UPDATED UPDATE:

As twitter has gotten more popular, more cool endurence athletes joined in on the fun. I’ll be adding more triathletes worth following here as I find them.

Pro Triathletes

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My MOvember Mustache

November 21, 2008

If you feel like you’ve seen a lot of creepy men in mustaches this month, you probably have. This November has been dubbed “Movember” and people all over are growing nose neighbors to help raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Granted it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, but if you are in the mood, please consider donating even just a few dollars (or whatever you just spent at Starbucks this morning) on supporting my mobile tea strainer for a good cause.

I clearly have no shame when I’m supporting a cause that involves getting a finger up your butt and rocking a completely ridiculous mustache.

Behold: Dr. Fuzzenstein.

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Here is a link to my donation page if you are feeling generous:

https://www.movember.com/us/donate/donate-details.php?rego=1934511&country=us

Please don’t force me to rock this ridiculous facial hair for no reason at all. 🙂

Thanks Peeps!