Archive for January, 2009

The Economy Hit Home

Posted in Random Stuff on January 28, 2009 by brianestover

We had a lovely, cozy, heart to heart company wide conference call today to announce layoffs at my company.  It’s a year to the week since I found out that I was able to transfer down to Tucson. What a year it’s been with lots of changes to my life, bad and good or good and bad, depends upon my point of view, and some are both bad and good at the same time.  In retrospect this evening, some of the financial decisions that I made last year, right now are looking like a stroke of brilliance.

The layoffs are only going to effect about 225 people across the nation in my division, but the chances that it could be me are there.  This is the second time with this company that I’ll have gone through this, at least they aren’t making us wait 3-4 months before figuring it out.  In 15 days counting today I’ll know.  The  industry I’m in is rapidly shrinking the outside sales reps. In some respects that is good, it was an over bloated industry with way to many people, in some respects it bad as I’ve known people that have gotten laid off and now I might face that reality and a much tighter job market to boot.

So now the process  of planning begins.  How much cash on hand do I have, what recurring liabilities, other liabilities, assets both long and short term, essentials needed, essentials that I already have, what assets do I have that could be put towards better use generating a higher ROI then they do, which are expendable and which are depreciating or are sum zero assets if I keep them, secondary revenue streams, am I willing to relocate, if so where and on and on. Overall there isn’t much fat to trim, actually because of some of the reimbursements I’m allowed, my actual cost of living would increase.  I don’t have cable, forgo other things that many people consider essentials like a HDTV, game system, fancy phone or eating out all the time.  Some of my friends call me cheap, really though I’m just fairly frugal, careful where and on what I spend and firmly believe in living well below my means.  There are college students that live better (and by better I mean more stuff) then I do, except I don’t have a dorm room, my place is furnished slightly better. 

So for now the waiting and planning game begins.

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I Should Have Played the Lottery Yesterday

Posted in Random Stuff on January 25, 2009 by brianestover

Because today after about an 80 minutes of riding  Billy informs me has has to do intervals today on the bike. Billy I’ve got one word for you:  Jackass.

Why the lottery yesterday?  Yesterday was a day of running into old friends I’ve not seen in 3-7 years.  Meet up with Joe, who I have seen once in the last year, for a ride.  We’ve been trying to get together for about 3 months to ride, but he starts way to early for me in the winter.  I cave and agree to meet him at 7:30am.  We were going to climb Mt. Lemmon but the base of the road was so fogged in you could not see across the road at the bottom of the climb.  It didn’t seem like a good day to die so we decide to ride west where the sun is shining.  Just as we are about to go beyond the point of no return, he wants to ride north.  As we are heading back to Tucson to finish we come across a group of riders changing a flat.  As we ride past I recognize my old training partner Kelly.  I’ve not seen Kelly since some race somewhere where neither of us lived back in 2005.  Kelly and I used to beat the shit out of eat other in duathlons.  I can’t count how many times that dude ran me down in the last 100 feet of the race.  At least 3 times and there are at least 4-5 more races where we finished within :10 of each other.  All the races follow the he out runs me, I catch him on the bike and get as big of a lead as possible and he tries to run me down pattern.  About half the time I didn’t survive out in front until the finish line.  We probably raced 20 times and are fairly evenly split with all but 3-4 of those races decided by less then :30. Turns out Kelly and Joe had met before as well.

 

I actually go swim yesterday.  There are, I guess about 10 lanes in the pool. Yeah yeah, I should know how many lanes are in the pool I swim in since I’ve been there probably 300 times over the last decade, but that just seems like a hassle to count lanes.  Every lane but one has 2-4 people in it.  One guy had pulled into the parking lot just before me.  I get onto the pool deck and he isn’t there yet. Guess who got a lane?

Last night we were heading out for Indian food and at the last minute, maybe about :20 too late even, we made a decision to go Italian.  Near the end of the meal, I recognize someone I have not seen in ~ 7 years.  I used to work with Steve a long time ago. 

What a crazy day, running into three old friends whom I’ve not seen in quite a bit, only one planned.

The Catch

Posted in Swimming, Triathlon with tags , , , on January 12, 2009 by brianestover

Often the most misunderstood part about swimming is the initial part, The Catch.  The catch is important to setting up the rest of your stroke.  Important because a poor catch makes swimming harder and increases the odds of going nowhere fast.  When I coached swimmers, this was the hardest part of the stroke to teach someone, it depends upon feel of the water, kinesthetic awareness and a bit of knowledge of what the initial part of your propulsive phase does and where it should begin. The Catch is subtle and happens before most can think about what they are doing to catch the water.

To catch the water, you need to get the entry correct.  The hand should enter the water well in front of the head, more or less inline with the shoulder and extend a bit.  Your elbow should be rotated towards the wall and there should be a small bend in the elbow.  Contrary to popular belief you do not have to reach as far forward as you can.  Reaching that far forward will cause your elbow to rotate down towards the bottom making the catch a bit more difficult if not nearly impossible to do properly.  Entering properly will help you avoid injury and set up the next part of the swim stroke – The Catch. 

 The correct way to catch the water is to enter the water, extend your arm and leave a small bend in the elbow. Remember, full extension will cause the elbow to drop and dropped elbows are not conducive to swimming fast.  Your elbow should be rotated towards the wall, palm facing down or rotated slightly toward the midline of your body.  Extend from your shoulder allowing your hand to drop just a bit, an inch or two at most. You are not pushing your hand down or back, but allowing the hand to drift down.  Your elbow will float up so that it is higher than your hand.  It should still be rotated out.  Once your elbow is above your hand you can press the hand down by flexing the wrist slightly.  If you flex too much you will actually catch more water initially but you will not be able to hold as much water throughout the rest of your stroke.  Once you have flexed the wrist slightly, keep the elbow up and the shoulder pushed forward then start moving the forearm and hand down and back towards the wall behind you.  You have caught the water and are transitioning into the next phase of your swim stroke.

Mt. Lemmon

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , on January 3, 2009 by brianestover

Last night was a house full of people drinking beer in preparation for the assualt on Mt. Lemmon.  Time to eat some breakfast, clear out the cobwebs and maybe get a short run in.  Sounds like we are having a snowball fight at the top once every one gets to the top.  

Pics when we get back, but for now it’s smacktalk, a run and food while I get ready.

 

We are back.  To sum it up, it was cold.  So cold we bailed at mile post 22 and came back down, which was colder then climbing up.  It was in the low 30’s, someone should have checked the forecast b/c the descent was freezing cold.  I hate high speed wobbles, more so when they come from shivering while descending.  Just what everyone wants when they are doing 38+ mph, the shivering shakes. Here are some pics of the festivities.

Rolling through the hood

Rolling through the hood

 

Mike letting us know how he really feels

Mike letting us know how he really feels

 

F*ck it's cold up here.

F*ck it's cold up here.

About to freeze our ass off on the descent

About to freeze our ass off on the descent

 

Looking across to the Rincons.

Looking across to the Rincons.

Foiled

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on January 2, 2009 by brianestover

By a dead battery in my car from going to the pool.  I do have one day of round two completed and am heading back into the pool today after a 3 day layoff.   (Big props to PepBoys for getting me in and taken care of less then a hour before they closed)

But that battery hasn’t foiled my other training.  Over the last 10 days I’m averaging 58-60 miles per rolling 7 days for running and about 2.5hrs cycling.  Yesterday’s ride was a leg crusher, an easy 15 miles rolling from the house up the climbs on Ajo then crushing it along Ajo until Sandario.  Tempo for the next 20 miles including several climbs that range in lenght from .5 miles to 2.5 miles and lots of rollers. Cruised the last 8 miles home.  4:06 for 80 and my average watts climbed from 120 at the top of Ajo up to 185 when I hit the river path some 40 miles later.

Yesterday was a bit surprising for the ride, my wattages where around mid last season watts.  Amazing what happens to your fitness when you only for once take 2 weeks off of riding then two more weeks with only a couple of hours total compared to 2.5 months off the bike.  Typically I start riding again sometime in January after not touching my bike from late October after I finish racing. 

This is the first season since 2002 that I haven’t taken 2-3 months off the bike and 3-4 months out of the water.  I have noticed that my run frequency and volume are down by 1.5x per week and about 8-10 miles per week consistenly over the past month and a half.  In the long run though, staying on my bike and in the pool should bode well overall in triathlon. I’m willing to lose 1 minute on the run to gain 1 minute on the swim and 3-4 minutes on the bike in early season half races.

I love running, especially here in Tucson where we have so many great trails to run.  Just this week I’ve run Starr Pass Loop, Phone line trail out and back,  and one of my favorite runs Pima Community College XC trail loops.  Pima is a 3.25 mile rolling loop with 4 major climbs on it and numerous false flat uphills.  You can run it in either direction but running it in the harder direction takes about 23:XX minutes and running in the opposite direction takes about 21:XX miutes. Amazing what some really long uphill sections will do.

In the past few weeks running we’ve seen numerous deer, some Javelina, road runners, mountain bikers,  rabbits, hikers, hawks, dudes walking around with bows and arrows wearing camo and orange hats (hunting season is bow and arrow only here), and heard a pack of coyotes howling after catching what I’d guess is a rabbit.  It didn’t seem prudent to go chase them down and ask what was for breaskfast. 

Happy New Year everyone!