Thursday, April 30, 2009

Purple Power and other thoughts

It seems I raised the hackles of a few people by referring to Team in Training as the purple menace, so I apologize for that. How does Purple Power People (Triple P) sound instead? It is a happy connotation, evoking thoughts of Barney the Dinosaur and Wizard of Oz like characters who dance around in circles. Whereas purple menace is more like the Phantom Menace, and Dark Sith overlords who lop the heads off of puppies. That's not what we want.

In other news, I have started putting some long term dough into TIP, a treasury-inflation protected ETF. Also loading up on more commodities. The bank stress test results are supposed to come out next week, the question is how transparent will everything be?

Had to go ahead and buy another camera to be able to use our underwater camera for videotaping, the expensive one is having menu issues and I can't wait for it to be repaired.

You can now pre-purchase the Powerstroke DVD for a $9 discount at

I think Bri gave me the swine flu, I am really not feeling well and have a half-Ironman in less than 48 hours.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Some info on the charity LLS can be found here. 75% of their funds raised go to research/education which is a good percentage.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poop. No swim. St Anthonys first annual duathlon.

The big cheezes at St Anthonys Triathlon decided to cancel the swim this morning.  The water was pretty choppy and they were having trouble launching the kayak safety patrol.  In the old days they would have put a couple people on surfboards and had at it.  But that was when there were only 1,500 competitors and there was no purple menace.  After having a fatality during the swim a couple years ago, they are rightly erring on the side of caution.   With 4,000 competitors, probably 20% of whom are barely able to complete a 1,500 in the pool, it was a good decision.

That being said, what a bummer.  I was looking forward to the swim since I have been training pretty well.  The bike and run are not bad but the swim would have launched me into a top ten finish and a cool St Anthonys award.  So it goes.

The swim, oops, I mean bike went well.  It was windy as heck and I am not quite to the point of churning over a big gear, but I put in a respectable 1.02 at 24.1 mph.  My times here have been between 59-1.01 in past years.

On the run - I somehow launched off to a 6:10 first mile and a 6:20 second mile, which is faster than I've run off the bike all season.  I slowed down a bit from there but it gives me hope and courage and smiley happy faces for the upcoming sprints throughout North Carolina.  Total finish was 41:39 on the run.

I finished 16th in the M35-39 category in 1:46 something.  

After puttering out the last couple of miles I decided that racing the White Lake half is more than I want to suffer through just now.  If they will switch me to the sprint I'll compete in that, otherwise I'm just going to shout at peeps.

Here is a picture of what the chop looked like to someone who has never seen the ocean or bay.

Here is what it looked like to me.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

automatic savings plans

Today's topic is automatic savings.  Besides paying off your debt - credit card, mortgage, and student loans being the top 3 forms - automating your saving is one of the easier ways to build a  bundle without having to stress about it.  At the moment, Bri and I have several going on:

10% extra to the mortgage (the invest it in the stock market argument has been debunked by...the stock market)

A few bucks to the Duke Energy Corp Direct Investment Plan (DRIP)

A few bucks to Vanguard Wellington fund (60/40 stock-bonds)

A few bucks to North Carolina's 529 plan

Every month, our dollars transfer automatically from our bank account to these above.  The monthly amount is relatively small, but a few years of this = hefty cash put away that we didn't have to think about.  

I am thinking about this today because while the economy and the stock market are both in the ***er at the moment, it isn't the end of the world just yet for most of us.  (Ponzi dupee's might be bagging groceries). 

The stress test results are supposed to be released next Monday (5.4), it should be interesting to see if there is a bunch of inside selling in the banking sector this week.

Looking forward to St Anthonys tomorrow, it is going to be warm but it's always good to see our Florida posse.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

St Anthonys

We are both in St Pete for St Anthonys Triathlon on Sunday.  I've done the race 5 or 6 times now, and Bri grew up with the Meek and Mighty Tri.  Last year I skipped it as my motivation level was at about 2.  Bri is racing age group elite while I am racing age-group M35-39.  

Tassie and I had a nice 10 and a half hour drive down today.  Tassie did most of it while I listened to Bloomberg Radio, Howard Stern, and talked to myself in the mirror.  Tassie doesn't mind pulling down major road miles as long as she gets her kibbles and bits at the end of the road.

 Bri flew down in the PM after work, since my poor Bri has to work in an office with people who expect her to do office things.  We are working on that but that is a tale for another time.  So she flew in this evening.

Tomorrow is the Meek and Mighty Triathlon which is a bunch of newbies and kiddies checking out their wings on the same course as St Anthonys.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The SAS ride

If you live in the Triangle and ride a bike you may have heard of the Wednesday lunchtime SAS group ride. SAS (pronounced Sass) is a local tech company that is privately owned and has done very well over the past 30 years - they produce business analytic software & services - everyone who works there is smart or good at faking it. You have to marry or kill someone to get a job there these days. And SAS treats their employees well, so taking a long lunch to go for a 30 mile bike ride is not a problem.


Anyway, the SAS ride is one of the fastest rides in town on any given day. There are a few other tech companies in the area, so other rides join in on the fun for a 5 mile warm up - 20 mile sprint - 5 mile cooldown. Today was my first SAS ride of the year. I managed to hang on which is a noteworthy event. Also I wanted you to see my totally awesome logo creating skills.

In other news, I signed up for an EMT-B summer course at Wake Tech Community College. This is a step towards getting Bri out of the cube and ourselves to the beach in the summers. Most beach patrols pay a supplement for having an EMT certification. Now I just need to win the lottery, create a bestselling DVD, invent something, or get a teaching job.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Triangle Orthopaedic Triathlon

I raced in the Triangle Orthopaedic sprint tri this morning on NC State's Centennial campus. They have a fairly sizable lake on campus there - Lake Raleigh. Probably around 250 people, it looked like a lot of college students and a bunch of local athletes.

I had a good race and finished 2nd overall, which is good for my delicate ego. My uphill biking is still weaker than I'd like but everything else is coming around nicely. The masters swim practices have gotten me back into solid swim shape, I am moving along nicely in the water these days. The run also had some hills but the main stretch was a long downhill I was able to run well. Local Duncan Rougier-Chapman outran me by a minute to win the overall.

Here is a picture of Lake Raleigh:


Saturday, April 18, 2009

5280 swim

We had a good turnout of fifty swimmers for the first annual 5280 Swim at Beaverdam Lake north of Raleigh this morning. Everyone gave it good marks and enjoyed it. Water was about 62 degrees. 3 or 4 people did it without the aid of a wetsuit. Kudos to them.

Kim Rice, of Durham Masters, won the swim overall (no wetsuit either). She is preparing for an English Channel Crossing in 2010, and you can keep track of her progress on her blog. Kim and I swam together on my old age-group swim team when I was living in Miami in 1997-8. Small world!

I would post a few phone pictures here, but I forgot my phone.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Homeward bound

I had a nice visit here in Miami with my Dad over the last couple of days. We did all sorts of fun guy stuff - poker tournaments, bar food and beer, fishing, and staying up late. Next time I'm going to bring Bri since she just loves all this stuff. :)

Tomorrow we're co-running the first annual 5280 swim at Beaverdam Lake. There will probably be about 50 people swimming which is good for a first time event at this time of year. I will be conducting a 15-20 minute pre-race open water clinic as part of the deal.

This morning I got in a nice choppy swim off the beach in Fort Lauderdale, then ran a couple of miles on the sidewalk/boardwalk out there. The beach area in Fort Lauderdale is a nice place to hang out but I wouldn't wanna live there (too much traffic and too crowded for me).

On Sunday I'll be racing in the NC State Centennial Sprint Triathlon - 750meter swim, 10.5m bike, 5k run. After my flat at the last race I thought it might be good to get a continuous race effort before St Anthonys next weekend.

Speaking of St Anthonys, looks like next weekend I'll be driving around a bunch.

I borrowed the Art of War by Sun Tzu from my dad to read and study, after which I will "crush my enemies, see them driven before me; and hear the lamentation of their women."


Sunday, April 12, 2009

In the news

Joe Miller from the News and Observer did a nice write up on the Triangle Open Water Swim Series today. You can read the article here.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

broken brick

Jerry, Bri and I had a good broken brick this morning. Bri was able to play a bit of hooky. We did 3 x 13 mile bike, 2 mile run, faster each round. On the 2nd round Bri and Jerry ran 6:30 pace while I was a more pedestrian 7:15. On the final round we all worked the bike and then ran 1 mile fast - Bri about 5:50, Jerry around 6, and me around 6:20.

It looks like our mini-cold snap is ending which I am pretty happy about.

Look for an article about the Triangle Open Water Swim Series in the News and Observer on Sunday, April 12. Our first race is on April 18. Bring a wetsuit!

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A couple pictures

OSB Athlete Michelle Harwood (Aka Lt. Colonel) racing a triathlon somewhere in the Gulf:

Sign on the side of the road at a triathlon in Florida: Apparently everyone was very quick through this area.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trading stats!

I am sure you are excited to hear my stock trading stats to date. Since taking a more proactive role in the management of a portion of our retirement funds, we have:

5 months active trading
71 positions taken (most are closed)
18% total return on capital used
9% of that eaten by trading fees (Scottrade) - so half the money we "made" got taken by the brokerage.
Biggest loser: -28% after fees
Biggest winner: +79% after fees (on the same stock as above at a different time)
Average trade: + 2.31%
Longest duration held: 4.5 months
Shortest duration: intraday
Average position size: 6% of tradeable cash

Biggest lesson - use stop losses to limit losses and trailing stops to lock in gains while keeping some room for additional upside.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Smithfield Sprint results

Bri and I had a nice time at the race this morning, the wind was howling but it was not as cold as our last race at Azalea. I decided to race without my spare tub bag, telling Bri that if I flatted I would just ride it in. If you can't read the foreshadowing...I flatted at about mile 6 with 4 to go.

The swim went well, not sure if it was meters or yards but I felt strong. The masters sessions are definitely helping with my mojo. I was moving along pretty well on the bike until the rear tire popped. That is frustrating but better here than at a prize money race or big race somewhere. Limped in (wonk wonk wonk wonk goes the wheel) and had a solid run - probably 30-40 seconds faster than at Azalea.

Bri beat me again but this time it was on a technicality. She won the women's race and was only 5 minutes behind the overall winner.

After the race I saw that the sidewall on my tire was completely worn through. So you should probably change your race tire more than once every five or six years. Who knew?


Friday, April 3, 2009

Twitter Facebook Blogger

Twitter Facebook Blogger IMing Texting Sexting

Whatever happened to a good old phone or face to face conversation?
...Hi How are you doing?...



...Oh you know, our 401ks are down 25%...


...and our house had depreciated in value 30%...


...and our three beautiful daughters are doing great in school...


...Uh, yeah, look, I don't think we're on the same page...


Anyway, so can Facebook Twitter Blogger really take the place of any of this real life type conversation?

Here is a picture of Bill Murray as Carl. Because Carl is funny.

We're off to Virginia for a weekend of family fun and the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon.

I hope you enjoyed the scat.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We've also started using youtube to broadcast videos, promos for the DVD (still working on it), and to some extent promote individual swim sessions. You can follow the channel at

Right now we have a few swim lessons and a couple drills explanations up. We're going to post running drills next.

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