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Monthly Archives: March 2012

A New Recipe – And A Full Dinner – From Mrs. Bgddy Jim

My wife just started working with the Broiler a couple of weeks ago and she absolutely hit one out of the park – by accident.  Be prepared to save this one, it’s simple and as good as any chicken I’ve ever had at a restaurant.

Prepare 2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts by fileting them, butterfly style – watch your fingers.

Pour 1/8 cup of Olive Oil into a plastic freezer bag

Add 1 Packet of McCormick’s Grill Mates Zesty Herb Marinade to the Olive Oil.  Close the bag and mix the ingredients.

Drop in the chicken breast and coat them in the mixture.

Place a cookie cooling rack on a cookie sheet (the metal thing you bake cookies on) and place the chicken on the rack and set aside.

Prepare a salad (our favorite is mixed greens, spinach, carrots, celery and cucumbers).

Prepare 1 box of Lundberg Farms Creamy Parmesan Risotto according to the instructions – after you add the water and mix, preheat the oven to Broil (525 degrees).  After the Risotto’s come to a boil and been simmering for a few minutes, Broil that chicken.  The wife says 4-6 minutes a side, depending on the thickness of the filets ‘0 chicken.

The risotto and chicken should be done just about the same time.


This is one of the quickest, easiest dinners my wife makes, and I’m telling you, it’s unbelievable!  Even my two ultra picky “can’t we just have hot dogs” daughters love it – and all you hear from my end of the table is Nom, nom, nom, nom…

Some Days Are Just Made For A Day Off…

I’ll be taking the day off from training today.  It’s going to be cold and miserable all day long before turning around tonight, ending the week out with sunny skies and fair temperatures.  Tomorrow and Sunday are going to be fun though.  25 miles on the bike and a 5 mile run tomorrow and another 18 miles on Sunday (I’d do the 35.5 but I’ve got league bowling Sunday evening and I don’t want to suck).

I’ll probably take some time and tinker with my bike a little bit just for fun, to see if I can’t get everything dialed in to where I like it.  I’ll post more on that later.  In the meantime, I’ve got a busy day today with work…  And I’m working on a massively funny post for tomorrow or Sunday, depending on when I can get to everything on it.

Where Are My Manners?

I just realized I haven’t posted in quite a while about how the training is going!

My riding is still well out of hand – I’ve only missed going out 4 days this month.  My speed is still good, around 20 mph, though I’ve had to slog through some pretty ugly wind so I’ve used that opportunity to slow the pace down and get in some recovery rides.  My ride today it appears as though I may actually have some happy time – the wind has died down considerably so I’ll be hitting this one hard.  I’ve begun to tinker with my bike set up a little bit here and there to see if I can improve on what I had, maybe eek a little more power out or make some gains aerodynamically – I’ll keep the progress on that posted.  For now, I’ve raised up the seat another 1/8 of an inch or so, dropped the stem about 1/2″ and tilted my bars up a bit to present the hoods at a more comfortable angle (my wrists are starting to fatigue from the angle they were required to be at to get to the hoods).

Running is going quite well after that tough run three weeks ago or so.  Even though I had a tough time on that run three weeks ago, that 8:06 pace for almost 7 miles was nearing a personal best time for me as well.  Last Saturday I rode down to the running club for the first time this season and put out a personal best paced 5k.  I’ll be bumping that distance up to 5 miles this week and then 7 next week where I’ll level out for a few before bumping up to 9’s in June where I’ll stay the rest of the summer until the Crim.

Over the last two and a half weeks I’ve gotten my mileage up to mid season distances – 102 miles two weeks ago, 118 last week and I should be able to top 100 again this week.

I’ve found myself eating a lot more as a result so I’m interested to see where I’m at when I weigh in at the running club on Saturday.  I’ll be sure to post the results, I’m going purely by listening to my gut – no counting calories.

Oh, my buddy Steve called the other day to ask if I would be interested in doing a Sprint or an Olympic once a month with him – that’s great news, and we’ll be able to throw in an off-road tri from time to time as well.

How To Be Awesome… Specifically

I got my toes wet in “Well That Depends On Your Definition of Is“.  Let’s go for a swim.

First of all, it’s hard to be humble when you’re great so this is probably going to read as though I might be a little arrogant.  This is not the case at all, but it may seem so because you won’t know if I’m full of it or actually telling the truth – just giving the fair warning.  It also must be stated that I have my moments of doubt, my character flaws and problems just like anyone else.  I stink when I exercise and I put my pants on one leg at a time.  There are a few things that separate me from the crowd, though they don’t place me above that crowd.

I know I’m awesome – or great, special, whatever you want to call it.  I know it down to my baby toes.  So how could that be, that one knows that he’s awesome down to his baby toes, whilst not being terribly wealthy, getting angry like everyone else from time to time, and generally doing a lot of the same things others do, and often not terribly well?

First of all, awesomeness – truly believing that you’re awesome has a lot to do with the definition of awesome.  This is not a static thing, it’s going to change from person to person, depending on one’s life experience.  My definition of awesome might raise or lower the bar when contrasted with another person’s (and I’ll get to that in a minute).  Let’s look at the dictionary definition of Awesome:


  1. Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
  2. Extremely good; excellent.

When it comes to that definition of awesome, I meet or exceed that in a lot of ways.  I’m an extremely good or excellent dad.  There’s no doubt about it.  My dad was an excellent dad, and I’m way better at this than he was.  That’s not an arrogant statement, it’s just a fact.  My dad did most of the things a dad should do for a family and he was one hell of a provider.  I don’t make quite what he did in terms of money, but I’m a substantially better father and husband than he ever hoped to be, mainly because I’m stubbornly flexible, while he’s just stubborn.  That’s just the way it is.  I’m a decent business man, by all measures I’ve met all of the definition of exceptional.  Sure I make mistakes from time to time, everyone does – the word perfect is never used in the definition of awesome though.  I’m in awesome shape – of that there’s no doubt, so it can easily be said that my fitness is indeed awesome – does that mean that I’m the best or fastest?  Of course not the word “best” never appears in the definition either.  My writing skills?  Well, you can have your way with that.  I’ll survive.

Now, when one is content in their awesomeness, others will attempt to knock them down to size by pointing out flaws or defects in character, such as claiming one is arrogant for the sole, egregious act of being happy with who they are and accepting said awesomeness.  This is purely projection:  “I don’t feel that I’m awesome, therefore you can’t be either – and here’s why”.  Think on that for a minute, the self-help industry – a multi-billion dollar industry – makes a living trying to get people to feel awesome about themselves…  Someone finally makes it, and the rest that don’t, revolt.  Most people can’t accept someone else being visibly happy with their awesomeness – at least not anyone close to them – and simply being happy with who you are is awesome in and of itself (if you back it up with what you do).  Those who are removed by distance, emotional or physical, can be looked up to as examples of how it’s done, but only until someone finds a weakness in the armor and figures out how to tear them down, then the masses rejoice, for their mediocrity is then justified.  Those who are immediate, on the other hand, are attacked vociferously for their contentedness from the beginning.  Where this affects my awesomeness is if I believe the attacks.  Being secure in one’s awesomeness is crucial.

There is a large factor that plays in one’s actually being awesome.  Talkers are very rarely awesome – they are the arrogant folks that the normal folks will associate the truly awesome with.  Sure the talker has a shot at greatness, but they’re usually too busy talking about how they’re going to get there, or how others got there, to actually do anything about it.  No, if you’re going to make the attempt at being exceptional, you have a better shot if you’re a doer.  When a “doer” does, he or she will run into a problems from time to time, but they begin by doing what it takes to achieve a desired result while others are still making a collage of what that success looks like for someone else.  Off course, at some point during the journey, if trouble rears its ugly head, an assessment is made of the situation and the doer with then decides whether to continue on, try some other way, or move on to doing something else.  If you were paying attention, you saw that right here on this blog.  I began to work toward a goal of running a half Ironman.  After a few weeks of training, I discovered that I couldn’t train the way I like to train, and I couldn’t meet my obligations (real and imagined) to my wife and children by continuing toward that goal.  So I dropped the goal.  The other-than-awesome associate this assessment of awesomeness with “quitting”.  Usually because they’re ignorant of the surrounding issues, the less enlightened will drone on about how a person quit – this is almost always done as a defense mechanism to justify their own medi0crity.  “After all, Jim can’t fit a half Ironman into his schedule so it’s no wonder I can’t get off the couch – I’m a lot busier than he is…  Nom, nom, nom, nom”.  Well, that’s all well and good, because there is a secret to awesomeness that makes all of that nonsensical chatter fade into the background:

My being awesome has nothing to do with anyone else.  My being awesome doesn’t have anything to do with what someone else thinks of me either.  It doesn’t rely on my comparing or contrasting myself -personally- with anyone else, other than my father (because other than God, he’s my only close example of what a father should be).  My being awesome has to do with my being right with who I am and doing what needs to be done to excel. Period.  The reason people like me are scorned as arrogant is because those who happen to be un-awesome simply don’t believe there’s anything they can do to be better than they are – so if I am happier with who I am than they may be with themselves, it therefore must be that I have an exaggerated opinion of myself because they won’t shed what it is that is holding them back:  Actually doing.

I follow 71 blogs.  I would bet that half of them have authors who are truly awesome people, of those 36, half might believe they’ve got some awesome in there somewhere and another half that might know it, but wouldn’t admit it to anyone else for fear of scorn, while only a handful are truly content in their awesomeness.  Being awesome is good…and it’s not all that hard – I just have to show up and do my best.  In business, there’s a saying:  If you just show up you’ve beaten half of the population.  If you work hard, you’ve beaten another 40%.  The rest is just a dog-fight at the top.  There’s a wealth of truth to that…  So what’s it gonna be?

My decision to refrain from completing the half Ironman filtered like this:  Can I still be awesome at being a father and a husband if I have to miss up to one more hour per day to get ready for the event?  The answer was no.  Can I still be an awesome provider for my family, thereby awesome at my job, if I have to miss time to train?  The answer was no.  Is there a reason that I must cross that finish line to maintain my awesomeness?  The answer is no.  Next…

Quitting is stopping because you “can’t” when you’re just not willing to apply yourself.  Awesome is moving on to something else because you simply can’t shoe-horn in one more awesome thing into your already awesome life.

I should know, I used to be a quitter.


A Difference In Choice…

I’ve been quite open about my path to fitness. My starting to run was based on a decision that I made in which I decided to allow myself to get fat. I was so disgusted with the notion that I started running almost immediately thereafter (within 24 hours).

My best friend made a different decision, and that decision is coming back to haunt him – he’s one year older than I am. In addition to multiple serious medical conditions, including heart problems and high blood pressure, he’s got kidney stones and several other problems – including becoming winded on climbing a single flight of stairs.

My friend called me last night and we spoke at great length about his condition and how he plans on changing his situation – to get back to his younger self through a better diet and actual exercise – both exceedingly recommended by his doctor to fix his medical issues in terms a lot harsher than I’ll use here.  Imagine a doctor laying down an f-bomb or two and you’ll get the idea.

Now, I’m sure there are folks out there who would complain that I use words like “choice” and “fix”.  I’m alright with that, they’ll get over it.  Besides, those are my friend’s words, not mine and he’s got a chance now that he recognizes that getting fat was a choice all along…  All he has to do now is make a plan and stick to that plan to change, which we talked about at length last night and will deal with further this evening as we actually sit down and commence to making plans and goals.

Interestingly enough, I’ve been inviting him out to the running club for going on two years running (without pressing of course), though he’s never actually shown up, towards the end of last fall we did go out on a mt. bike ride together – nothing too crazy, seven miles at a pace of around 12 mph.  Unfortunately it was just the one ride as he often found reason to be too busy for a ride at 6 in the evening (another choice that he acknowledged last night).

If he continues down this path, he’ll die.  It may not be tomorrow, but sooner or later, it’ll catch up.

That said, in our conversation last night, for the first time in the two years we’ve been bandying back and forth his weight issue, he started using substantive words concerning his desire to become fit again.  We have a saying in recovery, “you can’t bullshit a bullshitter”, well my BS detector siren during last night’s conversation actually quieted down to a shallow “beep” before it faded out completely in the last 45 minutes – my brother from another mother has a chance, albeit a slim one (30%) to fix what ails him.  I’ve written before, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly – but he wasn’t going to pick up what I was laying down till he was ready.  I’m hoping that he became so over the last week.

The conversation took a lively in the last 20 minutes or so when he started talking about having to run tri’s with me – and to beat me, if you can believe the nerve on him…  The comment he made that really struck me was that he wants to be excited like I am about being in good shape.  I’m finally returning the favor he did me, 18 years ago when he took me in as a roommate/stray, simply by being a good example and showing up.  I’ve never given up hope on him, never quit calling to see how he was doing.  I also didn’t hide my love of finally being in shape and leading by example – and that’s finally starting to rub of (oh, how I hope), just like he did for me.

Life Proof – Initial Thoughts

The Life Proof case that I wrote about the other day showed up last night so I was able to get everything put together and installed for use. I have some initial thoughts, all but one are good.

First, we’ll deal with my one complaint – you have to tap the screen just a bit harder… It’s a little difficult to get used to. This is to be expected, of course, there’s a plastic layer over the screen… After all. It’s WATERPROOF!!! Only six feet of course.

The bike stem holder is great and comes with several shims so it will fit on just about any stem or handlebar. Very simple construction and exceedingly easy to install.

The swimming/running arm-band is exquisite and far exceeds my expectation. Some of the coolest features include a gel pad between the case and the arm that is absolutely wonderful and conforms somewhat to the triceps so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a big, flat board on my arm. Another neat little feature is the new tight loop Velcro closure. It seems like this should last a lot longer and attach more securely than standard Velcro while being less destructive to the system every time you pull the two apart. The arm band is very special and is actually a bargain IMAO. As expensive as it is, it’s so innovative and comfortable, it’s worth more than the price they charge for it – now that’s rare indeed, though I truly believe the market wouldn’t bear a price point higher than what they already charge.

Finally, I’ll never have to worry about having my phone on me in the rain again – riding running, or even… swimming! (Snicker).

My initial impression is that being able to breathe more freely about the safety of my phone is going to be nice, the case and accessories will be worth every penny.

UPDATE:  I missed one item that I wanted to include in this post…  Even though my iPhone is now sealed and waterproof, the sound quality is better!  I’m sure it has to do with some amplification of sound wave deflection and/or something or other that I don’t know how to describe because I ride bikes and run, rather than spend time being an audiophile.  Either way, the bass is a lot better.

The Black Bike

I just learned how to bunny-hop a manhole on my road bike yesterday…

I’ve got a ways to go.

BDJ’s Self Evident Truth #6

I haven’t posted a self evident truth in quite some time, so I figured I’d share one today – partly because I want to, mostly because I need the reminder.

Bgddy Jim’s Self Evident Truth #6:  Happiness Is A Matter Of Perspective

This covers a lot of cliches – chief among them, “happiness is an inside job”.  All too often we judge our “insides” or emotional ties to life, by other’s outsides – or their shell existence – what they have, where they live, what they do.  Rarely does jealousy allow one to understand what someone else must sacrifice to achieve that shell because the information isn’t readily available.

As an example, I will be leaving the office some time around 2 this afternoon so I can head home and get my ride in before my wife heads out to a chick party of some sort (jewelry or something of that nature).  It would be very easy, if my guys were to find this out, for one or more of them to become upset, thinking life is somehow unfair that they have to work later than I do.  Of course, they wouldn’t be taking into account that I was sitting at my desk at 5:oo this morning (after a 40 minute commute) working on quotes to keep them working – and that I woke up at 3 am to do it.

A very close friend of mine once dropped the best line I’d ever heard that relates.  He and I are polar opposites on the political spectrum.  One beautiful winter’s day we were out on a small pond ice fishing and smoking cigars – more of one than the other.  We started talking about some political hot button topic of the day and the conversation grew quite animated.  I listened to his talking points and he to mine.  After we boiled everything down to the lowest common denominator, still on opposite sides, we ended up with the mutual “well, I understand your point, but it certainly doesn’t work that way in what I see”.  He said, “you know, we’re both looking at the same dollar bill, just from different sides”.

This is a perfect metaphor if you change the dollar bill out for just about anything else.  I’m looking at Bob, he and his wife are very successful, have a lot of money, he is able to train a lot longer than I can (he regularly rides 50+ miles), they’ve got a big house and family membership at the nicest gym in the surrounding four counties – they’ve got it going on.  Now, if that’s all I knew of Bob and contrasted my life to his, I could become jealous.  Fortunately for me, I know better – Bob’s got an out of town job so he only sees his daughter twice a month, the daughter is stuck going to day care after kindergarten because mom doesn’t get out of work till 5:00.  Bob can go on 50 mile rides because he can’t be with his wife and daughter.  Once I add the proper perspective, my life is awesome – even if I don’t have the disposable income – my daughters have a dad who is home every night and a mom who takes great care of them, my wife has a husband to keep her warm and still makes all of the bills – without the use of credit cards.

It’s all a trade off, a matter of perspective.  If I’m not focused on making my “insides” look like someone’s “outside”, then I have the ability to maintain my own health – heretofore referred to as happiness.

GPS Workout Tracking – Motivation On Steroids… Without The Nasty Side Effects

I’ve been using Endomondo, a smart phone GPS workout tracker, for coming up on a year now.  While I’m a social exerciser on Saturdays, throughout the week I’m on my own…it would be impossible to find someone who would ride as much as I do and be available when I want to head out – I keep a crazy schedule. The lack of a riding buddy exposes weak points in the motivational armor that will need to be filled from time to time.  My tracking program filled that need admirably several times last summer.  I’ll dig into the “how” after a brief summary.

There are a lot of different programs out there but I’ve only used the one – for good reason.  It’s a great program, or at least I think so, but that’s only because I don’t know any better.  This has nothing to do with why I only use Endomondo though.  I use that tracker exclusively because I have everything I’ve done over the last year laid out right in front of me.  On my home page, I’ve got my personal best times and distances for every sport I’ve tracked:

Personal Bests
  • Cycling, sport

    • One hour 19.97 mi
    • 10 miles 26m:13s
    • 20 km 33m:49s
    • 50 km 1h:39m:51s
  • Mountain biking

    • One hour 16.44 mi
    • 10 miles 33m:41s
    • 20 km 44m:32s
    • 50 km 1h:55m:08s

I’ve also got an overall summary of every workout I’ve completed over the year:

Total workouts: 288
Total duration: 8d:00h:55m
Total distance: 2733.34 mi

  • Trips around the world: 0.11
  • Trips to the Moon: 0.011
Average speed: 14.17 mph
Average pace: 4m:14s

Calories burned: 169488 kcal

Burgers burned: 313

On my Workoutspage I’ve got a monthly calendar that has a box for each specific workout and a picture representation of the type of activity, along with a map that appears below the calendar to show the route for a highlighted workout.  On the Statistics page I can track calories burned, distances, times – all on a graph so I can see if I’m slacking with the click of a mouse button.

Here’s The How: (more…)

Saddle – Sore La Tercera Parte

This, I’m assuming will be the final installment on my new competition road saddle contrasted with my old gel road saddle.

Being a noob, there are certain things that you can look at on a bike and take from the internet that just don’t make sense. We could definitely use manscaping the legs as a good example – at the ether’s request, one should immediately commence to shaving on purchasing a worthy road bike. Reality is a little more forgiving though. The saddle is the same way. You look at a gel saddle contrasted with a rigid competition saddle and the gel saddle should be the epitome of comfort according to common sense. Reality in this case is a little less forgiving. I went for a nice, very fast 16 mile ride today in some fairly windy conditions. As windy as it was, there’s no way I should have been able to average 20 mph but I did that easily – with energy to sprint up all of the major hills, previously unheard of for me at that pace.

First of all, the gel saddle that came on my bike is a very nice saddle. It’s real leather and very comfortable – if I happened to ride very upright and on the hoods or bars most of the time at a more leisurely pace. That’s not how I ride though. I wanted to be in the drops as much as possible into the wind and low on the hoods to maximize aerodynamics because I like to go fast. That simply wasn’t possible without a lot of pain and an impossible time breathing on the gel saddle. The best I could manage in the drops was maybe 3/4 of a mile before I’d have to move up to the hoods for a rest – and I thought it was me.

Today, on my new rigid road saddle, I was able ride the entire time into the wind in the drops – seven miles. Instead of times around 3:45 a mile, I was down around 3:15.

The strange thing – at least to me – is that the saddle is right on the comfort. I didn’t miss the gel a bit, in fact, on the hoods the only difference I noticed was that my right sit bone and hamstring don’t hurt. In the drops, though, the comfort increase was profound. I was able to get my hip angle right which allowed me to breathe easier. In addition, because I have the hip angle right, the width of the seat right (so I could sit in the right part of the saddle), I didn’t get sore or tire out quickly.

I didn’t miss the extra padding once. On the contrary, I’m glad it’s gone – go figure.