Triathlons, Kayakers, Runners, and 2010

2009 was such an awesome year for my fitness goals. 

I finished three triathlons, half dozen running events, and found inspiration where I never thought I would. 

With my recent completion of the UCSB Triathlon, I am looking toward 2010 with more motivation than ever.  That sense of competition, meeting people and hearing their fitness stories, sharing tips, pushing myself to the next big milestone, and enjoying the wonderful outdoors all make my 2010 fitness goals that much more alluring. 

With one down, what’s next?  Morro Bay triathlon, a very unique race, including a 3 mile kayak of the Morro Bay Harbor.   I have never kayaked before, which makes this that much more challenging.   Time to start kayak lessons! The bike and run will be great as well, but the kayak is the icing on the cake. 

After Morro Bay, let’s PR (personal record) at the Ventura Triathlon Sprint, my first triathlon of my fitness career.  This year they are taking the venue to the harbor, with a challenging swim, an awesome bike, and run around the harbor.  Last year I did well, finishing it in 1:38:00, but this year will be even better!

Of course, the biggest goal this year is the Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course.   This will be the longest triathlon I have ever done to date.  While I may not do it fast, finishing is going to be sweeter than finishing the recent UCSB Triathlon course.

In addition, I plan to carry forward with many running events in 2010, I already have done two, the Boney Mtn Trail Run, the Resolutions 5k.  Coming up in April is my first 10-mile run, the Chardonnay 5k/10 fun run.    I will also be putting my FiveFingers to use and using them in more events, on and off the road. Barefoot running is the wave of the future.

Looking at this brief list, I am amazed at the challenges ahead.  As dauting as they appear, meeting each one head on and putting them into the history books is going to rock!

Cheers!

Visualizing Music Listening Patterns

Ariclastfm

Seems like every time I surf the net, I am always finding new visualizations and info-graphics that someone created to illustrate some obscure part of our lives.  

Recently, I found Last.FM Explorer, a web-based charting tool that will help the Last.FM user analyze their listening behavior.  You can track music tags, artists and tracks in either a stacked area chart or a stacked line chart.  

Attached is the visualization I created using my own Last.FM username.  While I am not surprised to see so much hardstyle, I am surprised to see how much my listening has dropped off in recent weeks.  Sure I have been busy, but usually when I get busy, I listen to music… wrong! 

I also like to see the variation in tags, everything from hardstyle, jazz, classical, hip-hop, to trance and cello, quite an array.  

This is a very cool tool, especially for us geeks! 

if you are a Last.FM user, head over to the Last.FM Explorer website, drop in your username and check out your patterns. If you post your charts to a website, please share a link in a comment below, my readers and I would love to see them. 

Cheers! 

Community Based Traffic Reporting

Traffic congestion is a pain in the you-know-what.  You are already late for work and then you run into a traffic jam only to sit and stare at the beater in front of you.  You didn’t even have time to grab a cup-o-joe before you left and was banking on the stale coffee at work.  Instead, you feel your blood pressure rising as you watch the drivers around you happily sippping their mochas while sitting in the same traffic you are. 

There MUST be a better way! And there is.  Enter Waze, “real-time maps and traffic information based on the wisdom of the crowd.” 

“The wisdom of the crowd?” you ask.  Yes, it seems that those other drivers sipping their mochas are also carrying smart-phones that run the free Waze app. These happy sippers have already reported to the Waze server traffic congestion on the freeway between your house and work. 

If you had it too, you would have known that there is a major traffic jam and Waze would have routed you to work a different, more convenient route given live traffic updates.   Did I mention it is free and works with Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Symbian?

Here is what Waze can do for you:

1) Report slowing and congestion that typically doesn’t make it to your local news’ traffic reports.

2) Are you Speedy Gonzales?  Using Waze, drivers can alert other drivers to speed traps.

3) Automatic routing around congestion, accidents, etc. Waze will calculate a route that gets you where you need to go.

4) much, much more

To check out some more information on Waze, visit their YouTube channel for tutorials, webinars, and demos.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been driving around with Waze on my Motorola Droid.   My impression:  Waze has huge potential, but it has yet to go mainstream.  While I love the features, the automatic, dynamic routing, the cute little bubble icon on wheels, and munching roads like I was pac-man, I have yet to reap the full benefits of the service because I am one of a very few people in my area that use it.  Santa Barbara is a pretty small town, but clearly this service will shine in metropoltian areas like Los Angeles and New York once the community builds.

What fascinates me most about this wonderful service is that it finally gets close to solving one of the biggest pet peaves in regards to traffic reports, congestion.  It seems the traffice reporters only tend to report accidents, not slowing or minor hazards.   While roads look clear according to their reports, the reality is they are not.   Hence a Waze user can warn others faster than it can make it to the traffic reporter. 

Sounds like Twitter you say?  Yes, it does, social media traffic reporting is the wave of the future.  Just like Twitter, Waze has the potential to build an enormous community, save us time and help us all save the environment by not idling our cars stuck in a traffic jam.   That last point, saving the environment is a huge one…  bigger than community based traffic. 

This is huge people, let’s get together and make it even bigger!

 

 

Triathlon Mind Map

Ucsb_triathlon

I have just seven days to pull myself together and get ready for the UCSB Kendra Payne Triathlon.  Ever since I hit burnout a little more than a month ago, getting going again has been a huge struggle.  At one point, I even decided I was not going to participate this year.  Of course, this disappointed everyone, but since everyone is going to be at the LA Marathon, it is not like they will miss seeing me cross the finish line in Santa Barbara.  So….

Anyway, to help get my head around preparation for the event, should I choose to accept it, I created a mind map showing the event, the final week’s training, some visualization focal points, checklist and nutrition. Seeing all of these things laid out on an image, really helps me to gather and visualize the different areas that I need to focus on.

Anyway, if you aren’t doing anything from 8:00am to 12:00pm on March 21st, please come by UCSB and cheer us triathletes on.  Some of us really could use your support!

With just seven days to go…  miracles can happen!

The Start to Today’s Journey

Started the day off with my espresso machine.

Then moved to pushing/pulling/flipping a limp, falic looking punching bag around in my own sweat.

Then it was time to dodge stoplight/stop sign runners while retrieving my long lost phone from home.

Finally, work… where horns honk, lights flicker, and its just me and the Macbook Pro.

Yep, it is the journey that counts… perhaps more so than the end result.