21 December 2011

Lazer Helmet Give Away: And The Winner Is...

Congratulations to some chick named Laura Wheatley. She is the proud new owner of a Lazer Tardiz helmet. The rest of you should be green with envy.

Thank you to everyone who signed up to participate in the giveaway. I appreciate your PATIENCE more than you know.

I started getting some messages on "the" Facebook from followers asking if they had won. Thank you for stalking me. The last couple of weeks have been crazy. I just got all of my grades in yesterday. As much as I love spending time adding and subtracting numbers, grading is the last glamorous part of a college professor's job. Plus, my ass has been busy training once again. I am really getting back into the swing of things after a month and a half of relative laziness. Know how that feels? Yeah. Like you've been hit by a truck. Around ten o'clock at night, my energy level resembles that of a tree sloth.

Congratulations Laura. Send me an email to let me know which Lazer helmet you would like.

A BIG THANK YOU to Lazer for allowing me to have this super-awesome giveaway on my blog.

For anyone who did not win, have no fear! Contact me about how you can receive a 20% discount on a new Lazer helmet!

More soon. Train Smart!

16 December 2011

The Friday Top Five: The Top Five Greatest Tunes About Rock n' Roll

The Friday Top Five: The Top Five Greatest Tunes About Rock n' Roll

As someone who actually teaches a course titled "The History of Rock and Roll," I feel a unique sense of entitlement with all things rock& roll. In fact, I have self-appointed myself the absolute authority on all things rock and roll. I mean, after all, Michael Jackson dubbed himself "The King of Pop," and Howard Stern declared he was "The King of All Media," why should I not be Dr. Rock and Roll? I mean let's face it, I even have the official name plate on my door.

I know I will receive some comments and other suggestions for this list... I'm looking at you Jeff and Rock Star.

Picking the five best songs ever written about rock and roll is a lot like picking my favorite dish containing lobster. I mean, does it matter? I heard a comedian once talk about how lobsters completely got the short end of the stick. He went on to say, "...when God was creating all the animals, he said, "Okay, lobster. I'm going to make you red, and give you these little claw things on the front. Yeah, that's it. (muffled voice) Oh, yeah, and the most intelligent creatures on the planet are going to find you absolutely delicious."

I decided to base my list on songs that really celebrate rock and roll for what it is; a subversive, ass-kicking, stick-it-to-the-man, in-your-face, "My amplifier goes to eleven," form of musical expression.
I had to eliminate tunes with "Rock and Roll" in the title that were played by fringe rock and roll bands at best, like The Velvet Underground. I love the Velvet Underground, but they are about as rock & roll to me as say, The Cure, or Elvis Costello.

So, I had to rule out tunes like "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band" by the Moody Blues, and "So You Want to Be A Rock and Roll Star" by Tom Petty. While peripherally tunes about rock and roll, they do not speak to the true nature of what it means to bang your head and feel the power of guitar distortion. 

5) For Those About to Rock, AC/DC: How cool is it that those of us who have never served in the armed forces can still be saluted? This tune from the 1981 album of the same name features starts with lead singer, Brian Johnson, engaged with a little antiphonal (call and response) between himself and the band. The music is raw, heavy, heavily influenced by R& B guitar licks that are predictable, but tasty.

4) I Love Rock and Roll, Joan Jett: This tune feels nostalgic because her lyrics "I love rock and roll, so put another dime in the jukebox baby. I love rock n' roll, so come an' and take your time an' and dance with me" harkens back to a time when you could actually pay for tunes on the jukebox without having to take out your ATM card and take money out.

3) Rock and Roll MusicChuck Berry, Look, Chuck Berry is unequivocally the architect of rock and roll. There would be no rock guitar if it were not for Chuck Berry. Who would the Beatles cover, and Brian Wilson—of the Beach Boys—rip off if were not for Chuck Berry? He explains in the song how rock&roll has a backbeat, and if you want to dance with him, it has to be rock& roll music that you're listening to.

2) Long Live Rock, The Who: A tribute to rock and roll artists dead or alive, this tune mixes some honkey tonk, with good ole' fashion ass-kickin' rock and roll to reaffirm that rock and roll is here to stay.

1) Rock and Roll, Led Zepplin: Proof that when you spend enough time away from rock n' roll, you really need it. I feel this way every morning when I need my jazz fix. I have to sit down at the piano in the a.m. and unleash some demons. I spend and hour and a half playing tunes, improvising, and getting my daily therapy before I go out there and face the ever-increasing sarcasm of la vie quotidienne.


Hey, guess what? My ass is IN gear and I am training hard again. This year, it does not appear that I will be facing some of the same kinds of stresses as previous seasons. Let me recap the last two seasons for you:

2009: My father passes away a day before his 81'st birthday. It came unexpectedly. This put a bit of a damper in my training. I ran the Musselman HIM less than two weeks later.

2010: Left a steady academic position I was in for ten years after completing my doctorate to take a one year position and pray that it would turn into something more permanent. It did. The stress of applying for gigs, and reapplying for my position left me spent and struggling to find time last season. Had an injury that kept me from running for about eight weeks. Oh, I decided to coach my son's baseball team last summer. What the hell was I thinking?

2011: Have some major writing to do this year. I have a couple of huge commissions on the burner that I have to get done. Unfortunately, I prefer writing and training in the morning. Finding balance is going to be difficult.

Coach Kelly has me hitting it pretty hard already. I like that. There is something to be said for ramping up slowly, but I really dislike waiting until, say, April to start having any significant long runs.

I did a 2800 yard swim yesterday, followed by an hour of interval work on the bike. I have also been doing some weight training this pre-season. I use to be a strength athlete and I trained pretty hard. I miss pumping iron, but it has been a really long time since I've bench pressed, or did dumbbell flys and my chest is absolutely killing me.

I think I am going to run a 5K this weekend. It will be fun to go out there and really test myself early. I have not run a 5K in years. Isn't that crazy? I have been more interested in running 10K's. Something about going out there and running fast enough to elicit vomiting really scares the hell out of me. A little vomiting never hurt anyone.

I was pretty excited about my recent heart rate test. After warming up for 15 minutes and doing 3 short 30-second intervals, I ran hard for twenty minutes. I remember reading something years ago that someone wrote about how to run faster. This coach once said, "in order to run faster, you need to run faster," and that is exactly what I did.

I have to admit, I don't envy all of you who live in warm-weathered locales who have to deal with heat and humidity all year round, but I am not excited about having to sit my ass on a trainer in my basement during the winter. Ugh!

More soon. Train Smart!

Training is going swimmingly. Pun intended.

04 December 2011

The Friday Top Five: The Top Five Things You Give Up When You Become A Parent

5) Being Cool: Although some parents try desperately to remain cool by declaring to all the world that  they would "would never be caught dead in a minivan," having an infant pee, poop, and vomit on you makes what type of ride you're rolling in the least of your problems. You have to worry about whether anyone at work can smell that vomit on your clothes because you were too tired to change them on account of staying up all night wondering why how your child will cry all evening for you then manage to sleep all afternoon when you need to run errands.

4) Listening to your music in the Car: I have tried desperately to indoctrinate my children to my musical aesthetic. It has worked for the most part. Sometimes, it is a little embarrassing. I mean, I remember my boys singing "Brass Monkey" at some pretty inopportune times as well. Now, my youngest wants to hear her Suzuki violin CD and everyone in the car will sing Lightly Row, Twinkle Little Star (to the rhythm of "Mississippi hotdog"—a personal favorite of mine). I have also listened to enough Disney tunes in the car with the kids that I have temporarily "misplaced" the CD... perhaps forever.

3) Reasoning: It is nearly impossible to try to reason with five year old. Their brains—although amazing sponges—do not function quite the same way as a fairly well-adjusted adult. I use "fairly adjusted" here, because, let's just face it, all of us are still recovering from the trauma of are dysfunctional childhoods. Children believe that are at the center of the universe and that everyone and everything should revolve around them. Forget trying to speak sensibly to a screaming toddler. What I have learned is that inconsolable screaming over
not having the right dinner fork or wrong socks to wear with their school clothes is usually a result of on of two things:

                        1) child is hungry
                        2) child is tired

Here is a diagram of how the average child thinks:

2) Sanity: Yeah, wifey and I left this at the turnstile long ago. (I am not even sure what that means). All I can attest to is that having young, fragile lives to take care of every second of the day is a daunting task. There are times when I have been so crazed trying to get the kids ready to do something that I leave the house without remembering to bring my computer, or lunch, or brain to work with me.

1) Sleeping In: Yeah, forget this completely. Sleeping in when you have small children means waking up past 7 a.m. I remember the first time we had to set a mandatory "sleep in" time with my oldest son. He came into our bedroom and climbed into bed with me and asked if we could go downstairs and play. It was 6:30. I said "No, buddy. We have to sleep until seven o'clock." He nestled in right next to me and went back to sleep.... or so I thought. As soon as the clock hit 7 a.m., he turned around with his
eyes wide open and said "Okay!  It's seven o'clock daddy, let's go downstairs!" Ugh!

Training: Training is going pretty well, as in I am finally training and not just cobbling together a bunch of half-assed workouts and feeling good about myself. Guilt has a way of turning the screw and

My recent delve back into the world of training/self-flaggalation has been directly linked to a few different factors:

1) I was tired feeling like out-of shape. If I intend on keeping my ridiculous Ironman like diet (which I have absolutely no intention of departing with), then I thought that perhaps I should start training more consistently. I am self-motivated, but I needed some time off to regroup after Rev3 Full Cedar Point to reassess what I wanted to focus on this season.

2) I have a coach. I am now trained by Coach Kelly over at T2Multisport. The cool part about training with Kelly is that I have known her for a long time. We went to graduate school together some.... hmm, 12 years ago!

3) Work: This semester has been incredibly crazy, not to mention the fact that we moved twice in the span of two months. We are settled now, but it made training insane.

I have some lower back pain that I have been wrestling with. I could not figure out where it was coming from. I thought that perhaps it was a result of bumping up the training again. Wifey's back has also been hurting her. We have been giving each other nightly massages. Bonus.

Last night I finally figured out where all my pain is coming from. I knew that is must be some movement that I have been doing because it is really localized. While I sit in my office, I often throw my feet up on top of a chair—as I am sometimes sitting in front of my computer for hours out of my day—and write. Last evening, I noticed that my torso was having to twist around to put my feet up and that the numerous hours I have spent in that position have caused a great deal of pain. It reminded me of when I was a graduate student at the Ithaca Conservatory and I spent the summer painting houses. I was young then (with more hair), and I spent hours on a ladder painting trim with my arm stretched over my head. I didn't notice anything at the time until the next morning when I got up and my neck was absolutely killing me.

The Rest:

My youngest has graduated to her first real violin after spending a few weeks on the noodle-roni box. So awesome! Watch out, Vanessa Mae!

01 December 2011

Lazer Awesomness! Tardiz Helmet Giveaway!

Friends! (Triathlon nerds and their supporters)

Amazing news. 

The fine folks over at Lazer have once again allowed me to giveaway another one of their super fast—and fashion conscious—Lazer Tardiz aero helmets. 

In case you missed my review of the Lazer Tardiz helmet you can find it here.

ontzagwekkend! (Dutch for awesome, at least according to Google)

I find this funny, given that the Dutch word for "Awesomeness" according to Google, is "awesomeness." But I digress. 

I decided that I wanted to do another giveaway via my blog because on any given day, about a quarter to half of the hits are from people going to the review of the Lazer helmet that I wrote. Surprisingly, I am unbelievably popular in Laos and Senegal. Who knew. 

I love my Lazer helmet. It is zeer comfortabel! 

So, here is the skinny:

1. Go to the Lazer website and then come back and leave a comment
telling me which Lazer Tardiz helmet design you like most AND when you would wear it. (1 entry)

2. Be a follower of my blog, leave a separate comment letting me know
who you are. (1 entry)

3. Become a fan of Lazer Helmets on Facebook. Leave a seperate
comment letting me know. (1 entry)

4. Post this contest on your blog, leave a separate comment letting me
know you've done so. (1 entry)

I will do a random drawing next Sunday, December 11th. 

Good luck!