Sunday, July 8, 2007

I'm Moving

This blog is being moved to:

We plan to be up soon.

Check in periodically to get triathlon news and information from the perspective of a newbie.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm Off

OK, so I haven't updated all month. What can I say? I've been slacking off. Haven't been feeling all that great, dealing with healing and coming back from vacation to find alot of odds and ends not being attended to ... so I've been picking up the pieces. I missed too many trainings and too many meals to take this race as serious as I intended to.

I know I'll finish ... but I know I could have given more. I didn't come close to my 10k goal or get any of the sponsors I was hoping to get. But I do want to thank IES, ILS, Brookmeade Deli, Home Depot and my friends and family who helped make this happen. Even those that didn't contribute or do the things they said they would. I know who you are ... and I know who I can count on! Thanks.

I'm off to Texas in the morning to face the race that is the Capital of Texas Triathlon.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Nobody told me it would hurt so good!

After almost a week of being sore, we had our final Simulator. For all the newcommers to this blog. A simulator is an attempt to mimic actual race conditions.

This time we are supposed to do the full distance of each event. For those of us who are doing the Olympic distance, that means:

1 mile swim followed by
a 26 mile bike ride followed by
a 6 mile run

For those of us doing the sprint distance ...

Half mile swim followed by
a 12 mile bike ride, followed by
a 3 mile run

I did it, its done and over with and I have to do it all again in 4 weeks. I am sore but it feels good to have accomplished this! Now that I KNOW I can do this event and FINISH ... I can focus on my swim technique and improving my time on the run and the bike.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dealing With the Morning After

Holy crap, I hurt. I'm sore I'm tired and I had to drive an hour and change to do swim drills! Being in the water was soothing but I couldn't keep a steady kicking pace during my swim. We did drills today with 30 or 15 seconds of rest in between. I had to learn to work through the soreness. I'm still not sure how I'm going to put it all together for race day. Next week is the final simulator where we get to do all of the events - full distance. I have this week to get my 6 mile run perfected.

Somebody recommended Chi Running. I'm gonna check out their website.

Oh and speaking of simulator . . . here are some pics from the last simulator.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

How do you put it all together?

I'm able to swim about a mile.
I'm able to bike 27.5 miles.
I'm able to run 4.5 miles.

How do you put all these things together? I've done shorter distances where I would swim then run or bike then run. Today I tried to bike the full distance then run the full distance.

The weather was beautiful but a little windy. I couldn't run for more than a mile before my quadriceps started to "lock up". I would stop and stretch them out but I ended up running less than 2 miles on a 3.5 mile course. I gotta get it together for this event. I only have 5 more weeks!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mother distracts son from his fight with cancer

This is what we are trying to prevent. I got this from, the link can be found below.

Racing barefooted after kicking off her flip-flops, Cyndie pushes her son Derek Madsen, 10, up and down hallways in the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento on June 21, 2005, successfully distracting him during the dreaded wait before his bone marrow extraction. Doctors want to determine whether he is eligible for a blood stem cell transplant, his best hope for beating neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, which was diagnosed in November 2004.

For More Information about this story Click Here

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

FAQ: Why'd you name this site Quest For Dollars?

The name originally came about because I felt it would serve several purposes.

1. I've been running the rat race for many years and felt I needed a change, needed more ... of everything. Time, money, security, toys or at least a way to get those things and being able to enjoy them.

2. The website would provide a place for me to document that change and the journey toward that change. I could have a living, breathing journal that would show me what worked for me and what didn't.

3. My journey or quest to get out of the rat race and acquire what we as a society have defined as the representation of that success .... The Almighty Dollar!

Hence the name Quest for Dollars

Rehab #1 Update

After the last rehab update we were waiting for the electrical inspector to show up. Since then we have pulled the remaining permits including a General permit and a plumbing permit.

The city requires me to get a plumber to make sure everything is up to code even though I haven't done any rough in plumbing. Now that the electrical inspector has approved the electrical work done so far ... we can continue work. Plumbers come in and approve or make changes then the plumbing inspector comes in and ok it. Once he's done we can hang and tape the sheetrock (3 days). The plumbing and electrical inspectors come back and give the ok to finish. Then we can prime the walls (1 day), hang the cabinets (1 day), paint the walls (1 day), install the appliances, finish the floors and clean up (1 day). Somewhere in here the building inspector will come and approve all the work then we can apply for the C.O. (Certificate of Occupancy).

Lessons learned:
1. Pull all permits day 1 and set up inspection dates. Your contractors need to finish their rough ins and preliminary work before the first inspection date. This will make work easier for your contractors as it will allow a more continuous workflow.

2. Know what you want ahead of time. Unfortunately I only had an idea of what I wanted. Had I spent a day or so doing research, I would have found out that only 1 vendor carries pre-assembled cabinets in stock. With this information I would have planned accordingly and ordered exactly what I needed instead of running back and forth several times.

3. Have all your materials/appliances/etc. delivered by the time your contractors start. This way they can work straight through until the job is done.

How do You Increase Your Endurance?

Update: Sunday I did 3/4 of a mile in 48 minutes. Although my swim consisted of mostly 50 yard and 100 yard sets ... I did manage to do a 200 yard set (8 lengths) during my workout.

So I didn't make a mile yet and I have to the whole open water thing to get over, BUT I'm that much closer. The next few weeks I will be focusing on distance and being able to complete that distance in a short time as possible.

The weather has been terrible so I only managed to get outside once this week and did a 19 mile bike ride immediately followed by a 14 minute run. Its the middle of April which only gives me 5 weeks to train.

Even if I was able to complete all of my distances there are a bunch of other things to consider:
Transitions - A transition is the time you take to move from completing one event to starting the next event.

Transition 1 or T1 - is the transition from the first event or the swim to the bike. You have to be able to get out of your swim gear, throw on a shirt and bike shoes, then walk your bike over to the starting area and ride.

Transition 2 or T2 - is the transition from the second event, the bike to the run. You have to be able to park your bike, kick off your bike shoes and put on your running shoes quickly and head to the finish line.

The other things to consider during:
The swim - Let's face it, its gonna similar to that youtube video towards I posted below. It's gonna be crowded and all the pros are gonna do WHATEVER it takes to lead the pack even if that means diving in on top you, kicking and punching you as they swim if they have to.

The Bike - by the time the swim is done you will have gone between 30 minutes to an hour without any meal or fluid replacement. The bike is where you have to make that up. Not only do you have to keep your pace, you have to find the time to suck down a gel, eat a banana and drink some liquid fuel/water mix. They've been pushing us to get accustomed to taking in water/fuel mix every 5 - 10 minutes.

The run - There will be water/fuel stations everywhere. So it'll be easy to get water as you need it. They'll also be handing out fruit for energy during the run.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

IRS and Taxes be Damned

So every year, you get all of your paperwork together, stress yourself out looking for social security numbers, paystubs, proof of donations, proof of contributions, etc. You get it all together, put it all in a spreadsheet, pray you didn't miss anything then take your behind to the tax man. If you're lucky you get a refund. If you're really lucky you get a tiny refund or owe a tiny payment.

Most of us have been conditioned to think that if we get a big refund we did great. Well ... all you did was give the government an interest free loan for 12 months or so. It's bad enough that the income made during the first 4 months of the year are roughly what we pay in taxes. Now we wanna give Uncle Sam an interest free loan too? Try waiting 12 months to pay any taxes you owe and see if you don't get charged any additional penalties, fees or interest.

Anyways the taxes are done and I am happy with the results. I owed a little here and got back a little there. I still hate the process, the fact that we have to account for what we make (as if I need to be reminded how little that is) and the stress of the second week of April. For all of this I damned the IRS.

Funny cause you damn anyone you wish! George Bush, Ann Coulter and many other have been damned. Pretty funny.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

FAQ: What's your training Diet like?

It's difficult to watch what you eat under normal circumstances. It's especially difficult during training. For the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, I try to stick to the basics during my training. Many times it gets tough and I always crave french fries or a chicken and eggplant parmesan sandwich or an occasional eggplant melt but I've been staying away from all of that as much as I can. I try to treat myself to anything I feel like eating on Fridays if I've been good all week.

When it comes to food, I've cut out just about anything white (flour, sugar, milk/diary, white rice, white pasta and potatoes).
Cut out or minimize processed or prepared foods.
Cut out fried foods.
Increased water intake up to a gallon a day.
Increased intake of raw foods.

Here's a typical diet on the days I swim (Tues & Thurs).
4:30 - 5am cup of oatmeal, a banana and water or OJ/grapefruit juice
8am 2 egg whites, slice of turkey, whole wheat bagel, water or OJ
10am Yogurt with coffee or tea or water
12 - 12:30 Tossed Salad sometimes with a chicken breast or with soup
Sometimes a turkey/tuna or Grilled Chicken Sandwich whole toast L & T
or any combination of soup, salad, sandwich depending on how hungry I am.
3:00pm Nuts/trail mix or peanut butter on a rice cake or a protein bar
5:00pm Nuts/trail mix or peanut butter on a rice cake or a protein bar
Dinner Fish or Chicken, brown Rice, sweet potato or Yams

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I met the Total Immersion Founder

I renewed my lessons at Total Immersion and met the founder and owner Terry Laughlin (hope I spelled it right).  He just got back from a trip and came in for a swim during my lesson. It was great to meet him and pick his brain. He shared some advice for a first triathlon as well as running! I'll have to talk about it another time.

Here's a quote from Coach Morse ... "Your struggles to get your workouts into your daily hectic lives resembles the daily trials that cancer patients go through . . . . Their struggles, however, are life or death struggles.... Ours are a choice. Choose daily to make a difference in the lives of these cancer patients."

I'm training for the Capital of Texas Triathlon - check out my website at

How is your Fundraising Going?

How is your fundraising going? What I'm really trying to get at is what types of events have you guys planned and how many people have shown up? How effective have they been?

So far I've implemented a letter campaign and an email campaign. These 2 campaigns have gotten me close to the halfway mark. Follow up calls and emails were made a few weeks later and that generated some revenue too.

My company has also donated about $1500 so far. So I'm close but not quite there yet.

Some ideas that have popped up to raise the rest of the funds are a bowling event, a party at a club and a concert. At this late stage in the game ... can it be pulled off?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Who needs a Coach?

Coach T is probably my favorite coach. He's really tough and doesn't let up. He wakes me up really early in the morning to swim or hit the road and will keep me up late at night to do my sit-ups. During the swim, he runs along side the pool yelling at me to keep going.

When I'm running he's right in front of me in his jogging stroller.

When I'm biking (on nice days only) he's behind me in the trailer.

He's my main coach and keeps me going from day to day.

The head coach for Team in Training is Coach Bonnie and she does the training on Sundays. She's done a million triathlons and has been a professional swim coach for a long time. I get to train with the group and it feels great to get the constant encouragement from the athletes who were in my position when they first started.

Monday nights I was taking lessons from Total Immersion and had my last lesson last week. The classes are great the teachers are patient and work great with beginners. I didn't tell them I was training for a tri right away so there would be no pressure. I wanted to use TI to focus on the techniques and form without the imminent deadline.

Tues and Thurs mornings I train with coach Jaime at a local HS. She's been swimming since she came out of the womb and competed in her first tri at 10! She's been doing alot of work preparing me for the tri. She pushes me to go the distance and makes sure my form is tight no matter how tired I am.

I've been meeting with Coach Wilson to get my long bikes in followed by an immediate run. He's another one who has competed or participated in a million triathlons. He's done the IRONMAN and competes in 4 or 5 events a year. I think he's nuts for doing all the stuff he's doing but I'm not gonna tell him that.

I definitely appreciate the time and effort all of the trainers, coaches and volunteers put in to help me compete this goal.

Triathlon Training Week 9: Simulator

We're 9 weeks into the training schedule and things are really progressing. We had our third simulator today and it was pretty tough. For a guy that couldn't swim 9 weeks ago ... I did pretty decent. I swam 24 lengths in 45 minutes, jumped on the bike for 45 minutes, and ran 3 miles in 35 minutes.

I've been in the pool 4 days a week:

Mondays at Total Immersion
Tues and Thursdays at a local High School
Sundays with the TNT (Team in Training) group.

I'm finally running and biking outside. It's totally different from the treadmill and stationary bike but I'm getting used to it. During the week my short runs are 45 minutes or a little more than 3 miles now that my pace is improving. My short bikes have been about 6 miles. On the weekends, when I'm doing a simulator the long runs have been 4 miles and the long bikes have been 14 miles.

I'm on schedule to finishing the Olympic tri and if I can add a few more focused runs and bikes I might do really well.

FAQ: Why a Triathlon ... WTF were you thinking?

One of the questions Ive been getting is ... why? Why a triathlon? Why now?

In January, I realized that my grandmother's birthday was approaching. Then it hit me like an anvil that 2007 would be 10 years since she passed. In the past I kicked around a bunch of ideas to do something in her honor. I never did it. Life always got in the way. Either I was working too many hours or two jobs or I was in school or I had to take care of my son. Either way, even if none of those things were going on ... there would be another excuse.

I'm just an average dude. Working a 9-5, couple mortgages, credit cards, family to raise, friends you don't keep in touch with enough, don't spend enough time with extended family or even my immediate family. You know the routine, most of you reading this are in a similar situation. I'm comfortable making moves in my robotic state going through the same day to day motions. I needed to find a way to do something big, positive and get me out of this routine.

It's been 10 years since she passed of cancer and I wanted to do something to honor her memory and help others at the same time. I want to break out of the average dude routine. Shake my world up ... wake my ass up. An Olympic triathlon isn't out of reach if I do the things I'm supposed to do. Train right, eat right, sleep right, and raise some funds and create awareness for the Lukemia Society.

My grandmother provided the motivation and the why, the Lukemia Society would provide the how and all I had to do was provide the perseverance, persistance and determination to make it happen. Here I am!!!!!!!!!!!!

For more details click here.

Back From The Dead

So I haven't been posting for a minute. But I've been getting a bunch of emails and will be posting more often in an attempt to answer all your questions. I want to thank everyone who wished me luck. I even want to thank those that made fun or had mean things to say. We'll address some of that in a future post.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Misery Loves Company

None of us remember what its like to be a baby. Now I know why ... teething! I'll let Theo tell you his story in his own words.

I'm teaching Daddy to play the drums. He's terrible and he doesn't know how to hold the sticks. At 4 months old I was really happy minding my business banging on the drums!

See ... before I had those bony things in my mouth. I was really happy at 6 months old.

This was me about 6 months later .... UNHAPPY!!! Growing teeth must be the most painful experience I've gone through so far next to childbirth of course. Plus they put me in this stupid costume! Do I look like a horse to you? Horse have teeth ... I'm a baby!

Now I have 4 teeth coming in at the same time. AAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! I just wanna scream! All the time. Daddy keeps saying that misery loves company, so when I'm sleeping and my teeth bother me ... I want some company durnnit. I wake EVERYBODY up! My mouth hurts!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Snowed in!

Yesterday we got 18 inches of snow so I guess I'm trapped in the house. What better excuse to catch up on this blog.

I got to the pool late last Sunday! It was daylight savings time, I didn't sleep well the night before but I made it and I was ready to swim. Coach had a present for me - an Orca wetsuit provided by Team in Training! I don't have to worry about drowning or staying on top of the water now. I can focus on form, technique and endurance.

Trying out the wetsuit in the pool.

How many of you can say you're training with Olympians and Superwomen?

I'm still running at a slow pace but at this point the distance is more important than the time.

Did I mention that I am sore in body parts that I long ago forgot existed? After last weekend's swim and run my shoulder started bothering me. The next morning it was KILLING me. Not sure why but at the very top of my shoulder it felt like someone hit me with a hammer! So I gave up any weights this week and focused on my swimming. I worked abs 3 days, ran 2 days and of course I hit the pool 4 times this week.

A Glimpse of what it's really like

If this is what it's really like ... I quit!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What a Week

It's bedtime but I promised to give a quick update. I went to FL last week on business and even though I got to the airport over an hour early, my plane never took off. Due to mechanical problems and not being cleaned the night before ... all the passengers were bussed to the nearest airport 2 hours away! Peter Pan bus lines did the right thing and got us there in one piece safe and sound. We got the New York's JFK and had to fight for meal vouchers. It was the least they could do. I felt like Tom Hanks in the movie "The Terminal". I helped a woman who didn't speak any english. I made sure all of the passengers from my flight knew about the meal vouchers even though we got split up across different flights. I didn't find an outlet and wireless in the same area until it was almost time to board the plane, so I charged my phone and read my book. Once we got on the plane ... the Jet Blue flight was great. I was supposed to arrive in FL around 11am and ended getting there by 6pm.

I had an interesting week working in FL, I learned much and pray that the customers don't misuse the new features they are about to get. I'll be giving presentations next week to all of the employees ... let's hope I retained all the information.

I was able to swim everyday once I checked into the hotel, did the stairmaster one morning and ran another morning. I took today off and its back to serious hardcore training in the morning.

I came back to find that the electrical work on kitchen rehab 1 is complete. We are waiting for an inspection. The wall and base cabinets have been purchased and delivered! I talk to the contractor tomorrow so we can plan for this week.

Oh yeah, I'm about halfway through the Wealthy Pauper and will be doing a book review soon.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Triathlon Simulator 1

OK so today was the simulator! This is what everyone was dreading. We are supposed to swim, bike and run back to back with no rest in between except to change. Almost like a real race except everyone took their time changing. Each event is performed for 30 minutes and the coach records your progress and gives you tips.

It seems that although we are 5 weeks into the training schedule everyone's only focus has been swimming.


OK so if this were a real race I would've drowned but I did 16 lengths or 8 laps in 30 minutes. My breathing was labored and I stopped to rest but I completed 16 lengths! Not bad for someone who can barely tread water and couldn't swim 5 weeks ago!!!!!!

The bike 30 minutes, indoors on a trainer - no problem. But the run was outdoors and it was about 30 degrees today. Even bundled up I was freezing but toughed it out. I must have walked about a third of the way. I reaaaaally shouldn't have run yesterday.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Kitchen Rehab #2 underway

The kitchen for rental unit number 2 is as gutted as its gonna get. Finally all the wallpaper is removed and most of the demo is done.

The layout is completed and the cabinets have been picked out. I went with the in-stock Oak model at Lowe's although I liked the maple a little better. Its a rental unit and the Oak looks good enough for people who only want to stay 1 or 2 years then transition to a bigger rental or purchase. Plus I didn't want to spend the extra money.

The electrician was in here and started the wiring for the new range and microwave. Now that we figured the layout, he can complete the job. I have to clean up tomorrow and we're done for week 1.

I'm in Florida next week so I'm trying to work out the actual purchase of the cabinets since Lowe's can't guarantee they will have the items in stock when I pick them up even if they are in stock when I buy them. Strange policy but hey.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Triathlon Training - Week 5

5 weeks ago I couldn't swim. I could float face down and flop around looking like a fish out of water . . . except I was in water! As of yesterday I can do a lap. I ran 2 days this week, but today was the first time outdoors . After 45 minutes I realized that I needed to spend more time outdoors. There were definitely different muscles at play here.

After the first couple weeks of attending group swim coaching, I realized that I wasn't going to cut it on my own during the week and group sessions on weekends. The head coach hooked me up with her daughter who agreed to coach me 1 on 1 Tues and Thurs at 5am. This was great news!

Obstacle 1:
I have a 17 month old son and his daycare center doesn't open until 6:30am . So what do I do? I wake up at 4am, get him ready and get to the pool by 5:15 or so. After I change, he follows me alongside the pool screaming dada!!!!!! while holding coach's hand. Of course this takes away from the coaching experience but some improvement is better than no improvement.

After swim I usually drop the baby off at school and hit the weights at the local gym. Tuesday = lower body and Thursday upper.
Mon, Wed, Fri I usually run and stretch in the mornings followed by whatever bodypart I missed on my weight day.
I haven't touched the bike yet ... at least not consistently.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


My next step is to edit the layout of this blog so it's a little more appealing.

Today I started reading "The Wealthy Pauper". It's a pretty good book and the author is quote heavy on many other motivational authors and speakers. He tends to interject many of their ideas into the text as he sees fit and he definitely give credit, so its not like he's stealing.

It's not necessarily a bad thing and you will come across many things you've heard before which will refresh your memory.

"Repetition is the mother of skill"
- I don't know who said that one
In my quest for dollars I will attempt to document my action plans and experiences as they happen. The main focus will be to discuss my financial journey but there are so many other things that play into that journey that I can't leave them out.