The Answer Is... Blog
Notes on the training, trials, and tribulations of two 42-year-olds

6-17-08  By 5:00 p.m., we had lifted 4,008 pounds to reach our goal of 4.2 tons, and completed the rest of the pushups and crunches to reach 420 of each.  WE ARE FINISHED!!!  As you saw on the home page, we raised  $2,792.95 and 30 pounds of travel size toiletries for Mobile Loaves & Fishes at Lake Hills Church.  (We will update with the final number before we take the donations to the church at the end of the week.)  We could not have done any of this without your support (financial & emotional), your confidence in us, your encouragement, and your prayers.  Together we have made a difference!  Thank you for valuing this endeavor and being part of it. 

It's almost 3:00 and we are home from the swim.  That was 2100 yards -- a little faster than yesterday  -- for a total of 4200 yards.  The end is in sight!

11:55 We just finished 105 crunches and 105 pushups! 

Well, that was a slow 21 miles, but it's done.  That's a total of 42 miles biked!!! 

We made it back!  That's 42k total running!!!!!!  Sunny today -- glad we started a few minutes early.  The breeze is stronger too.  That should make for an interesting bike.  Our quads are very tired.  Our wonderful angel of a friend and her husband were waiting for us around mile 8.  They had bright smiles, encouraging cheers, inspiring words, awesome Bible verses, and promises of continued prayers.  They were just what we needed to lift our spirits.  I know she is reading this blog, so we send her a very special thank you for taking the time to make such a difference to us!!!  We sincerely thank all of you who are reading this and praying for us or sending us your good wishes!  We definitely feel it as we continue on this crazy adventure.

Good morning!  It's 5:45, and we're about to go run.  We woke up with sore quads and backs.  Kristi says yesterday was a series of events; today is the challenge.

6-16-08  Just to be safe, we did a stretch routine before going to bed.

By 6:05 we were done for the day.  We finished with another 105 crunches and 105 pushups.  Halfway there!!!

Weights are done for today.   By 5:30 we had lifted 4412 lbs. 

At 4:30, we finished 105 crunches and 105 pushups and began our weights.

At 3:30 we were back from the pool.  We took it nice and easy.  We completed 2100 yards.

12:30 p.m. Today's bike is done!  21 miles down, 21 to go.  The start was a little rough because our legs had tightened up going to get the new tubes.  It was hotter than expected due to the time, but the wind had started gusting.

The tire couldn't be patched after all, so Todd used our last new tube, and the valve blew as he was taking the pump off, so we made a trip to the bike shop.  He is now outside replacing the tube.  We will leave when he gets done.  It's nearly 10:50.  Oh, well, we'll just regroup after the bike ride is done and rearrange our plan.  It's still all good.  :)  (BTW, you probably figured out that I [Kristi] took over the blogging for the past two paragraphs -- that would be due to my complete inability to change a bike tire.)

We went out at 9:30 to start the bike ride, but Todd's front tire was flat.  He checked everything last night, but he thinks a near problem became a real problem when he put air in that tire.  They resurfaced a street in a bike route a couple of weeks ago, and we think that's where we picked up all these tire problems.  We avoided that route last week, and we will today -- after Todd gets his tire repaired.  He's going to try to patch it so that we still have a spare tube; a trip to the bike shop is probably in the cards at the end of this day. 

And we're back before 8:30!  21,000 meters (21k (13.1 miles)) down!!  Feels like I torqued my left knee a little worse than I thought yesterday.   I guess I will have a little something in common with Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods today -- a bum knee and over forty.  The humidity is bad today, but we are grateful for the breeze.  We were struggling because of the humidity when we stopped at mile 10 for fuel (a second packet of Gu). I asked Kristi if she needed anything else, and she said, "Wings for my feet." I said, "I'll pray for that," and at that very moment a friend (who does Danskin triathlons and the Breast Cancer 3 day walks) drove up with a huge smile, a check, and a cheer!  We took off on the last 3.1 miles with renewed energy and spirit!  She was certainly an angel at that moment!

We hit the road at 6:00 a.m. 

6-15-08  Got the lawn mowed and watered today.  Trying to stay cool and hydrated.   It was pleasant outside this morning, but by afternoon it was crazy-hot.  We put our kids on a bus for church camp in Colorado.  We will sure miss them.  While at the church, I jumped off a rock to clear a flower bed between walkways and tweaked my left leg.  I thought, "Stupid."  Believe it or not, I iced my big toe out of an abundance of caution; it was the only thing still bothering me when we got home.  Tomorrow's the big day.  It shouldn't be too bad;  Tuesday will require some resolve.  Watch the blog for updates throughout each day.

6-14-08  No workout today.   We attended a birthday party in Yoakum for our nephew.  Came home and watched Tiger Wood's heroics at the U.S. open.  I'm no golfer, but I marvel at how he could do all that on a bum left knee.  How could he do that in perfect condition?   

6-13-08  We had a day off from exercise of any kind.  I expect more of the same going into Monday.  We are very saddened by the death of Tim Russert who we viewed as one of the true giants in broadcast journalism. 

6-12-08  This taper has become a boycott.  I slept in, and Kristi tried to pull off a workout, but found herself struggling with a very sore foot.  We agreed that overtaining was probably a factor for her, and we have to remain hopeful that her foot holds through Tuesday.

6-11-08  A swim just wasn't in the cards yesterday.  I did go this a.m. and did 2100 yards.  Kristi stayed home and did well over an hour of cardio and weights; later she finished 2400 yards in the pool.  Everyone in the family is facing a long list of stressors, and we're trying hard not to wish time away.  But it's easy to say we'll all be very relieved by this time next week.

6-10-08  The front page says only six days left until the challenge.  Can that be right?  We were up at five this morning to get in a leg weight workout.  We will try to swim this p.m.  It's hard to stay just fit enough and not wear yourself out.

6-9-08  I had to be up early today to fly to Big D.  Kristi and I were both surprised that our legs weren't more sore.  Once home, Kristi and I did a back, shoulders, and biceps workout and a killer abs routine.  It was hard to do any workout at all, but we are just one week away now.  This may be a light week on the workout front, but the anxiety level will start to peak soon.

6-8-08  We got off to a good start and had a good 12 mile run, but  it was much slower than yesterday.  The second day in a row is simply much tougher.  We did see a deer near the elementary school for the second time; she seems to be expecting us now.  A good breeze and some clouds made the temperature just fine, but we were still soaking wet once we were done.  The breeze made it cooler but tough work on the bike.  Still, we got through the 20 mile bike without too much trouble.  I finally feel like we have adequately trained for this -- good thing.  We got in 100 pushups and 100 crunches before we had to run the girls to a commitment at church.  Kristi and the girls will be at Vacation Bible School all week.  We were also able to squeeze in 1800 yards in the pool and finished with another 100 pushups and 100 crunches.

birthday cake6-7-08  Today is my birthday!!  We started our 12 mile run a little late because we had to sign up for our Mobile Loaves and Fishes stops online.  I'm anxious every time we start a day filled with activities because you just never know how you are going to feel.  Also, we're in the last 10 days, and I worry about an injury stopping us short.  The run went well.  I felt surprisingly strong throughout.  The bike went a little differently.  We were about halfway done with our scheduled 20 mile ride when it started to sprinkle.   At the halfway point of our ride, it was raining.  I love the rain, but not on the bike please.  Kristi and I were complaining of the circumstances, and the time it takes just to do the necessary training, and lot of other nonsense when we heard the POP!  Kristi road back to the house for the car as I looked for the hole in my tire by dipping the tube in the water running next to the curb.  I noticed the tube already had two patches, so it was simply time for a new tube.  The sun was shining gloriously by the time Kristi returned.  Kristi got in about 17 miles; I road about 13.  We could not swim because we realized that we were overdue in getting new tubes and a bike mounted pump, and we also had to get ready for our MLF run.  We went to Lake Hills Church and prepared 100 sandwiches, loaded fruit ,drinks, chips, cookies, and clothes.  We went into east Austin and served everything we had in the truck to people who needed it.  Kristi and I learned a good lesson about complaining.  When I went in the garage to get the bikes ready for tomorrow, I found Kristi's tire flat too.  She was lucky to make it home.  Good Birthday.  There is a little more video of our training posted at

6-6-08  Today we did a very intense Cathe circuit training video with weight, core, and cardio elements, but we didn't use weights on the leg exercises.  We didn't want to jeopardize our very intense leg activities tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I will turn 42 and start a weekend that will look a lot like our official challenge days.  It's very hard to believe it's so close.  Our eliptical needs a new motor.  We were stronger than the machine I guess!

6-5-08  In lieu of the usual swim, I was going to get up early and hop on the eliptical.  But, I went to bed too late again and got up too late again.  As I left for work, Kristi discovered our eliptical machine was acting up, so that just wasn't in the cards at all.  So much for the idea of fitting in one last vigorous week before we taper toward the challenge.  Kristi is certainly getting in her training hours.

6-4-08  p.m.  When I arrived home, Kristi asked if I wanted to go to the pool before it closed to knock out tomorrow's 5:30 swim.  I immediately agreed.  (Kristi had already done about 3 hours of weights and cardio).  Because I had just been sitting at a desk all day, I felt strong in the pool and was happy to be making up for the lazy morning.  About 1975 yards into a 2100 yard swim that had otherwise been perfect, my right calf cramped up.  So I stood in the lane trying to loosen it.  No luck.  I walked back to the side to stretch it against the wall.  Finally I was able to do the last five lengths without any kick at all in the five minutes before the pool closed.  Boy, you just never know.  I intend to stay fully hydrated from now through June 18.

a.m.  Weights are on the schedule today.  Didn't get up in time this a.m.  Neck is feeling a little tweaky.  We'll see what happens this p.m.  As our request for donations extends to a larger group, it's strange to realize how uncomfortable I am with attention while constantly seeking a broader audience.  As I am adding MLF links to the site, I am getting excited to spend my birthday Saturday in hard training for the big event and going out on the MLF mission itself.

6-3-08  It was windy and weird feeling outside this morning.  We opted for a 1600 yard swim.  Kristi did a lower body weight workout, and I spent 40 minutes on the eliptical.

6-2-08  It's a quarter after 10 p.m.  That means I am up going to be up a little late to make a 5:30 swim come easily tomorrow morning.  Kristi and I did upper body weights and abs this evening.  We are gaining confidence that the weights will not present as big a challenge as we first thought.  It's hard to say how it will feel once all the events are stacked up.

6-1-08  Today, for the first 5 miles of our run, my legs were in denial.  Then at about mile 9 Kristi had to encourage me to "Dig deep."  I compared the heat we faced to the plight of the homeless on cold winter nights and decided I could certainly push through 1 more mile.  Then we biked 17.7 miles.  The veloway was less crazy today.  I did nearly hit a small garden snake, which is more the norm out there.  We then went to the pool for 1500 yards.   You can watch the start of that swim at our new youtube destination  We also did 150 crunches and 150 pushups, followed by a nice stretch.

5-31-08  This is difficult; I don't mind telling you.  But, our legs were fresh this morning as we embarked on a ten mile run.   We followed with a 15 mile bike.  We went to the veloway because we noticed on our run that the city was resurfacing the road we usually ride, routing traffic into the bike lane.  You can actually see a video of the whole 3.17 veloway mile loop here:  veloway video.  Apparently, it was bizarro day at the veloway.   Just as we arrived, a woman rushed up on her bike, cutting between Kristi and me, and she paused only long enough to let me turn ahead of her into the parking lot as though she had been surprised by where these two other bikers could be headed.  We were only on our second lap, when I heard Kristi from behind me say, "Snake!"  I looked back and saw her pass a snake that was easily 6 feet long in the lane I had just come through.  How I hadn't seen it, I don't know.  It was enormous!  Next came the unmistakable odor of cigar smoke.  I figured it was someone banished to the patio of a nearby home, but it persisted.  Then we passed an older gentleman and a younger woman, and he was indeed smoking a cigar.  At one point, we encountered a biker in full regalia whom we were surprised to be passing.  Then we saw why he was so slow.  He was also wearing boat shoes!  Finally, we were about to conclude our laps when we spotted a bike parked in the grass beside the pavement.  Next to the bike, and seated under a rather inconsequential tree, was a woman in white who was doing her best Buddha impersonation.  It was definitely a circus out there today.  We hadn't really planned on it, but we also went for a 1000 yard swim.  Finally, and perhaps best of all, Kristi and the girls spent several hours doing a Mobile Loaves and Fishes prep and truck run.

5-30-08  This morning, sleep was the victor.  It wasn't restful sleep, though, and I think we learned our lesson.  Kristi and I have both had a tinge of a shoulder pain that we didn't think another weight workout would benefit.  Kristi overcame this later in the day, however, and completed 3 hours of kickboxing, abs, and weights.  Well, one of us will be ready.  I am actually excited to run in the morning. 

5-29-08  We completed 2100 yards in the pool and shaved 3 minutes off our time.  We achieved that primarily by increasing the number of laps in our intervals.  Nothing changes the fact that humans are terrestrial creatures!

5-28-08  Today was weights.  I fear that while this is easy to do on its own, it will be a nightmare after two full days of intensive activity in the heat.  I have also come to a disturbing realization:  I am addicted to milk-shakes.  Thankfully I have realized this after only three.  Whataburger chocolate malts are the best.   Being on the road so much lately, I have been getting a lot of fast food.  Healthy options are hard to come by, but until recently I limited my beverage to a Diet Coke.  What with the need for extra fuel these days, and with a somewhat false sense that I am really burning through the calories, I have been giving in to this idulgence.  Now that I have considered the effect this may have on the pushups I must do (and haven't been practicing much), from now on, I will opt out of the 1460 calorie drink option.  Don't doubt the number:  whata-nutri-facts.

5-27-08  Cramp free swim today.  I am still nobody's idea of a smooth swimmer, but I feel a little less like a disaster each time.

American5-26-08  Today we took it pretty easy in observance of Memorial Day.  We had a good upper body weight and abs workout.  Tomorrow I go back to reality with a few hundred more miles in the car.  Still, we hope to get in 2100 yards in the pool at dark thirty.


5-25-08  More of the same.  Hot and humid.  I was really out of steam by the end.  I don't mind telling you this is difficult.  To really start getting the feel for what we will be doing in three weeks we also swam 500 yards in addition to the 8 mile run and 13 mile bike.  Later we had a much deserved stretch session.

5-24-08  It was wretched hot and humid at 6 a.m. this morning as we hit the streets.  It took 3 miles for my legs to loosen up from the weight workout yesterday.  We ran 8 pretty comfortably, despite the heat, and rode 13 afterward.  My legs were still tight after mowing the lawn.  Kristi had no residual soreness.  That woman is made of steel.

5-23-08  We swam 2100 yards today.  I was cramp free, but it was always lurking.  Kristi briefly had a cramp which was probably caused by my incessant worrying and complaining over cramps.  We also did a great weight workout.

5-22-08  Most of my workouts this week focused on my driving muscles.  I also practiced staying awake.  Kristi and I both got in independent swims under less than ideal circumstances that involved lots of kids in swimming lessons.  Early morning swims are the way to go by far.  We did a nice stretch routine this evening.  Here's a great article on why we get cramps swimming, which I still am.   :(      swimming leg cramps

5-18-08  Ran 6.  Biked 10.  100 crunches.  100 pushups.  Cathe Stretch Max 1.  Tommorrow:  9 hours in the car.  Ughh!

5-17-08  Today, instead of the 15 mile run we originally planned, we went with the new multidiscipline approach.  I am so glad.  At no point did I think a 15 mile run would be good for me.  We ran 6 and biked 10.  On my sore calves, I felt like I was in constant jeopardy of a relapse, but we finished without incident.  Tomorrow we do it all over again.  Want to avoid cramps?  Here's a page with every imaginable suggestion:  Cramps!

Cartoon illustration of a man with a leg cramp.

5-16-08  CRAMPS!  Why did it have to be CRAMPS?  About half-way through our 1800 meter swim this morning I had to flip to my back when I felt a cramp coming.  I resumed the crawl, but steadily felt things changing from my calves to my toes as we finished the distance. Technically, Kristi swam 1800, and I swam 1798 and walked 2.  I thought I could keep from seizing up completely by walking over to the steps instead of hopping out.  I got about a step out of the pool, and my calves turned to cinder blocks, sending me to the deck.  The weather was quite cool, so I am hoping this is a one time thing, though I have always been prone to cramps.  Needless to say, I am more than a little anxious about dealing with this on "gameday."

5-15-08  Rain and hail knocked out power all over Austin last night, and a little leftover shower this a.m kept us away from the pool.  I can't say I minded too much. 

5-14-08  Weights today.  I am still puny, but I realize that this task ts just a matter of lifting a little weight a large number of times.  I also completed four sets of 20 push-ups for the first time in years.  I don't think the Marine recruiter is coming by any time soon, but maybe I can be seen at the pool in the daylight hours now.

5-13-08  1500 yards in the pool was not easy, but it wasn't as bad as I expected either.  Kristi's cardio training serves her well.  I look good for about 50 yards, and then I think the lifeguard is on edge after that.  That's okay.  At 5:30 in the morning, I am sure he needs something to wake him up.

5-12-08  I was a slug today.  Kristi will, no doubt, get in a workout.  I opted for sleep, knowing the pool will slap me in the face at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow.

5-11-08  Well, it's awfully hard to ride a bike 30 miles in 30 m.p.h. wind.  So we settled for about 19 miles, and thought about revamping our training approach.  While we were going to go on longer and longer runs and bikes, we are leaning toward doing more "bricks" -- shorter distances with the two disciplines back to back.  While the greater distances can condition us for better performances in the challenge itself, they can also increase our risk of injury and burnout.  There is also no way to prepare to do this back to back, to back to back, without doing more interdiscipline routines.  We'll keep you posted.  Happy Mother's Day! 

5-10-08  Today, we took it pretty easy.  Light upper body workout along with an ab routine and stretch session.

5-9-08   Twelve mile run -- done. Have a great weekend!

5-8-08   Kristi and I didn't sleep very well last night -- anxious about our swim.  But things went much better.  We learned a valuable lesson Tuesday.  You must start any exercise program or athletic endeavor with the appropriate respect for the discipline.   Whatever we did Tuesday just didn't feel right, and it left us fearful about today.  I turned back to a few online discussions to re-learn what little I knew about efficient swimming.  The sage advice:  never, ever practice struggle.  While on a bike or in running shoes you can just force through it, this has terrible effects in the water.  After implementing about four core rules about efficiency we knocked out our 1000 yards today feeling much better.  At home Kristi donned her olympic fleece jacket and said, "Today, they should worry."  Running and biking require muscle and endurance; swimming requires mad ninja skills.  If you want some good free tips on swimming go here:

5-7-8  Today was weights.  I'm already fatigued.   It was uninspired, but it's done.  Small victories, right?  Thanks to my new swim guru, Mark Goulet, who is going to teach me the "Goulet Gambit" swim method.  Tomorrow a real 1000 yards.  Ughh!

5-6--08                       p.m.  Double OMG!!  Imagine my dismay when my neighborhood pool employee informed me that the pool is not 50 meters across, but 25 yards!  Looks like 4200 yards, not meters, in June; looks like it's going to be twice as hard as I thought;  and looks like the eliptical is a must this p.m.

a.m.  OMG!  I did not remember swimming was so freakin' hard.  We "enjoyed" 1000m this a.m., and it wasn't pretty.  About five strokes in, I was out of breath.   Kristi reminded me that cardio conditioning is not about doing the same short run three times a week.  We have to find things that push the limit.  It's like doing different circuits, weights, and reps in other workouts to confuse your body and really make it do something it hasn't grown comfortable doing.  Hope to do 40 mins on the eliptical this p.m.; we'll see.  When we returned from the pool, Kristi also reported to our daughters, "Let me just say this, no olympians need to be worried."  At least I get to face all this with my BFF.  Can you tell my kids' texting lingo is catching?

5-5-08  Today was easy.  Other than opening ourselves up to failure by letting the cat out of the bag at my office, we just did Cathe abs and stretching.  We needed that after the weekend.   Now, on to the push-ups I put off this a.m.

5-4-08  Let me first say, I don't blog.  Kristi and I are devoted blognostics; we don't mind if there are other people who want to blog, but we maintain a healthy scepticism about what it's all about, and wonder where others find the time to do it.  We also wonder who is reading the blogs of others.  I mean, unless you are a rock star, cult leader, or a truly inspirational person, who is going to spend their precious on-line time reading your musings, anyway?  Statistics indicate that most blogs have slightly over one regular reader, including the author.  So with that introduction, which undoubtedly burst a bubble for you avid bloggers, let it be known that this blog is solely for those of you who have a lot of free time, or you just have some sadistic interest in watching two people over forty get ready to undertake a crazy physical challenge.

We have been training for a few weeks, but with the announcement of the fundraising effort coming tomorrow, or shortly, our biking and running this weekend had bit more urgency to it.  Kristi did some insane heavy weights workout video Friday from Cathe.  I just drove 500 miles.  Then we rode 23 miles yesterday and ran 10 today.  Everything is going okay, but I'm walking a little like a scarecrow now.  This week, swimming starts a 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.   Yuck.  I wonder if this is the best way to raise $4200 for Mobile Loaves & Fishes, or if it will raise $4.

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