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Friday, September 21, 2007

Everything Must Go!

It's sort of like a store closing, everything must go, fire sale. Except it's much easier to pack.

While I'll still be keeping the details up to date, you'll find the day to day excitement has moved.

You can now find me...

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Call of the Wild

When I was in elementary school, I read "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London. It's a wonderful novel for young readers, and it led me to many other works by the same author. But what I remember most from the book is the London's biographical information. Jack London held a lot of jobs prior to becoming an author.
Among a variety of hard labor jobs, London's resume included oyster pirate, seaman on a sealing ship, hobo (though I doubt this made his resume), and "law enforcement" on a patrol boat to capture poachers. He pursued writing as a means to escape a life of hard labor in the factories. In his autobiographical writings, he treats his work history like any other topic, adding his literary flourish. In other words, he makes it sound even worse than it may have been.
At the time, I couldn't believe that one man held so many different jobs. When you consider that London was only 40 years old when he passed away, it was even more remarkable. My point of reference was my father, who spent 21 years in the Navy and then worked for a civilian company until he retired.
And now, I look back at my own life. Using myself as the "standard," London doesn't look so odd. Not yet 40, I've held a similarly long list of jobs. Before college, I was a camp counselor for two summers. When I first went to college, I worked as a mover with a furniture company. When college funds ran out, I moved home and gained employment as a nursing assistant in a nursing home. After a year or so of that, I enlisted in the Navy for ten years, traveling around the country as orders dictated. Upon leaving the Navy, I completed the circle and gained employment with a "big box" furniture sales store, where I also put my prior experience to use by helping out as the delivery driver. Then, with a degree in Finance, I moved into an accounting position, where I have been for the past several years.
I have the same kind of history when it comes to extracurricular activities. Early in my life, I played baseball. When we moved to Wisconsin, soccer somehow became the main summer sport. I also played junior-high and high school football, and dabbled in archery and riflery. I spent four years on the debate team, did a year of forensics, and acted in at least two plays every year. Though I only excelled at a few things, I gained experience in many things.
Fast forward 20 years, and I find myself right in the middle of a sport that is perfect for just such a person. In addition to welcoming people of varying abilities, it is well suited for the disciplined person with "middle of the road" skills in the different disciplines. Swim specialists tend to get passed on the bike. Bike specialists often have too much ground to make up on the swim, or find themselves unable to hold onto a lead once they start running. And though run specialists can make up a lot of time, it is often insufficient to garner victory.
Individuals with the ability to improve in all three areas and the discipline to pursue those improvements have the potential to excel in triathlon. At the extreme is Chris Sweet, who qualified for the Ironman World Championships through amazing dedication to improving both the physical and mental aspects of his race. At the other extreme is the first time Ironman who sees opportunity for improving their overall time.
My journey through careers is likely incomplete. I enjoy my job, and work for an amazing company. But, like Jack London, there is probably at least one more job out there, for me. If I ever find the "perfect job," I'll let you know.
On the other hand, I believe my wanderings through various active lifestyles (or not-so-active lifestyles) have ended. Triathlon offers the variety and opportunity that nothing else does. From the vast number of race options to the ability to interact with top-level triathletes to the opportunity to continually improve in all three disciplines, triathlon is the "perfect" sport. While I will continue to explore other endurance type events, triathlon is the one that will remain a fixture in my race season. Whether sprint, intermediate, or Ironman distance, swim/bike/run has rapidly become a way of life.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Geeking Out!

With the limited exception of running with Iron Wil on part of the IMWI marathon course, I've been taking the "off season" following my own Ironman pretty seriously. My wetsuit and The Pol-R Express have remained at the house, and my running shoes are sitting under the bed. I've been enjoying some of the foods that I passed on during the height of training. And I've been trying to tackle a few tasks that have been sitting and waiting for "the right time."

Today, I resolved a couple of big hitters, and they fall squarely into the "geek" category. And that got me thinking. And I figured it was high time I had a post that was unrelated to triathlon. It's good for the soul (and the sole). So, here are a few sure signs you are an uber-computer geek.

1. You happen to know exactly what a Dell PowerEdge Server does. Bonus points if you are sitting anywhere within 10 feet of one or more.

2. The term RAID array means something besides an arsenal of bug spray.

3. Scuzzy (SCSI) isn't used to refer to a person.

4. Your friends call you to fix their computer after three years of not updating it. Bonus points if you consider that a "boring" day.

5. You can rattle off the IP addresses of computers and/or servers in your home, as well as your friends' homes.

6. You actually have a server in your home (see item 1).

7. Any piece of computer equipment in your possession has a "hot-swappable" anything.

8. You have more than one computer sitting in your garage because it's "obsolete" but you figure it might come in handy, some day.

9. Challenging new software (say Adobe Photoshop and ImageReady) is a weekend learning opportunity.

10. You have more than two office suites on your computer. Bonus points if you have the trifecta (all three major suites, Corel, Microsoft Office, and Lotus).

11. You have more servers/storage capacity at home than at work.

12. You consider it a reasonable swap to give up phone service (or small children) to pay for ultra high speed Internet service.

13. Your storage devices come in terabytes.

I spent most the day getting one of my servers back on-line. Yes, I said ONE of my servers. The other is at my feet just begging for the same attention. I have to get it straightened out quickly, as Mrs. Pol has a paper to write, and she will be less accomodating than I to the rather large computer sitting in front of our desk.

I also need to get them all running as it is almost time for training to come back on line. I figure October will be dedicated to fairly light training to get back into the swing of things. November, like last year, will be a swim focused month, and I will once again focus my efforts on daily swims. That turned out so well for this season that it is worth another shot.

I also have some major blog related irons in the fire, and there will be some huge announcements coming in the near future. In the hopes of major traffic numbers in the next few weeks, I'll leave it at that.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Yesterday was an amazing day for raceAthlete and other bloggers at Ironman Wisconsin. Throughout the day, we tracked more than 25 different athletes. There were even several people is raceAthlete gear with whom I was completely unfamiliar. Regardless, they all received the same cheering and we got pictures of everyone we could. I'll post those, later.

In no particular order, CONGRATULATIONS to the following:

TriBoomer - 14:40 - He looked awesome in his raceAthlete tri-suit.

George Schweitzer - 10:36 - Amazing job, 126th overall.

Andy Sweet - 11:34 - Proving that Chris isn't the only fast one in the family.

Brent Buckner - 14:18 - I saw a lot of Orca outfits, one of them was probably him.

Walchka - 14:56 - I didn't get to meet him, but look at that awesome time.

Tri Dummy - 14:38 - I saw Jay on the swim, and he proved he's no dummy on this course.

Taconite Boy - 13:59 - Our blog hero rocked the course, and always had a smile on his face.

Rural Girl - 12:33 - Our paths crossed several times as she rocked the course, and beat my IMKY time by nearly 45 minutes.

Jetpack - 13:08 - Jetpack proved his strength on the run with a 4 1/2 hour marathon after the tough hills on the bike.

Roland - 15:04 - Try as I did, I never found the USCG outfit, and failed to get any pictures of Roland as he ran what I believe was an IM PR.

Micampers - 13:16 - Another one I missed all day long. He did an awesome job on that bike course.

Gavnunns - 10:22 - I don't know if this made the Kona qualifier time, but it was good enough for 88th overall, and he looked great doing it.

Iron Dave - Another I was unable to locate in person, Dave crossed the finish in 14:47.

Running2Far - 13:18 - I believe I saw Running2Far and didn't even know it. Looking back at the day, I kept seeing Hayes, which I figured was a last name. I'm betting it was him.

Chris Sweet - I spent the whole day going, "Hey, I think that was... Too late, he's gone," whenever Chris was anywhere near me. Chris lit the course on fire, finishing in 9:55. I truly hope that qualifies him for Kona, because he was awesome out there.

Simply Stu - 12:47 - Stu did an awesome job, and looked to be taking the day in and enjoying it as HIS day.

Roman - 13:47 - Roman balanced racing with time with friends with ensuring everyone had what they needed (including your's truly and everyone in blogland, as he made sure raceAthlete would get updated). In the process, he ran an awesome race, and every time I saw him he was thanking volunteers on the course.

Bold - 12:56 - I saw Bold on his way to T1, and a couple of times on the run. On his way to a great finish, it was confirmed that Wisconsin hills can, in fact, be a challenge. He never let them stand in his way.

Texafornia - 12:59 - Using all his zen tricks, Texafornia squeaked out a victory in his competition with Jetpack (it should be noted that Jetpack carved Texafornia's one hour lead off the bike to 9 minutes by the finish). There were signs all over the run course taunting Jetpack (in good fun).

TriGreyhound - 14:42 - Grey proved his triathlon/blogger fame as people on the run course called out to him. By his blog name! He made a plan and stuck to it. And he looked very stylish with his blinky lights.

Iron Wil - 16:20 - Title earned. Dragons slain. Wil came out of the water after a tough swim day with a smile on her face. She came off the bike after a long ride with a smile on her face. And she ran a marathon. She wasn't ALWAYS smiling there, but she kept plugging along. She took joy in little things, like crossing timing mats, walk breaks, and passing the final cut-off way ahead of the time limits.

And it would be remiss to leave out the people I didn't even know were on the course (mostly because I didn't even know them).

Chris - 12:54 - I kept seeing a raceAthlete jersey attaced to bib 954. Each time, I would take a picture and check my list. Though Chris wasn't on that list, we got some good photos and it was great to see him supporting the team.

John - 14:47 - Somewhere around mile 15 of the run, I saw a raceAthlete jersey and bib 1922. Another I hadn't seen prior to that. I snapped a picture, cheered him on, and later checked on John.

Finally, IM-Able ran into some issues on the swim. I'm unsure if she was injured or faced other challenges. She has a swim time of 1:44, and nothing for T1. She toed the line and put in a good effort on the swim. As more information becomes available, we'll see what she chooses as her next steps.

*Update - IM-Able DID finish the swim (another great job, Athlete Tracker). She made it through transition in about 13 minutes. Stomach issues forced her off the bike somewhere during the second half of the bike. And anyone who might want to question her "iron" level, she apparently got physically sick DURING the swim, and still finished. Me, I'd have drowned on the spot.

There you have it. Twenty-four team mates all pursuing their Ironman dreams. And I'm sure I've missed a few others. If you know of a blogger missing from the list, please let me know. They deserve all the recognition they can get.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

IM MOO Tracking

Alright, as we head into IM Wisconsin weekend, here are a few details that might assist in tracking everyone.

First, we will have not one, but two websites dedicated to tracking everyone out on the course. One will be fairly rough, and is open to quite a few individuals for posting. That site is IMMOO07. Keep an eye out here for race updates, pictures, etc.

The second site to watch is raceAthlete itself. We will have plenty of editorial staff on site keeping the raceAthlete blog up to date with appropriate posts. We hope to have at least one editor stationed at the finish with the ability to upload times and pictures in near real time as team members cross the finish line.

So, between IronmanLive, raceAthlete, and IMMOO07, there should be plenty to keep everyone busy and up to date on the status of the dozens of bloggers on the course.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Little Help

Okay, I'm looking for one or more Widget gurus who can help me sort out the XML on this page. Namely, I'm trying to figure out how to add links to my "Training Partners" graphics. The Blogger Widgets are fine for adding a link list OR a picture. So far, I've been unable to figure out how to add a link TO the picture.

So, anyone who has a bit more knowledge and skill than I, your help would be appreciated. Oddly enough, I have the custom Widget for the raceAthlete sponsors, which happen to be linked graphics, but the HTML page on blogger doesn't show the details of how it is structured.

I will greatly appreciate any help that can be provided.