Friday, January 27, 2012

An unqualified opinion on the economy.

This might be a little after the peak commenting time, but various parts of this have been coming up in conversation from time to time and I figured I would write about them to no one. 

I have never been a huge fan of the Occupy protestors.  It is in many ways everything that is wrong with liberal protests – no clear leader, and a bunch of people that don’t exactly make for great interviews.  But, I like what the Occupiers are trying to say.  I think.

The two things I think I think are that:

1.       Capitalism has not grown as fast as transportation.
2.       Profit margin expectations are unrealistic, and hurtful to the overall economy.

Capitalism is a good thing.  It keeps prices in check, it keeps competition going.  But now that you can get products from countries with economies that nowhere near similar to ours.  And you can charge prices in one part of the world that not in line with that area’s economy – such as charging Western European rates in rural Africa while paying the local staff, local wages.

My proposition is that capitalism works well in small geographic areas.  But once you bring in different economic regions is where the problems begin.  This, might bring a mild increase in the local economy, but it creates an inflated profit margin in the home economy.  Once these economies become accustomed to these inflated profit margins – it creates an environment where economies become less diverse and ultimately a top heavy society with a diminishing middle class.

Look at our economy.  Thirty years ago, a factory worker could support their family and have a decent house.  Today this is a near minimum wage job and does not provide near enough to provide what it once did.  This is in part because of the profit margins that shareholders have started to expect and that in most cases, you could do this work for much cheaper in other countries, so a company can only pay their workers slightly more than their savings on shipping.

If capitalism were to move to more of a fair trade model, it makes moving business abroad based on resource availability, and not solely on cost.  Additionally, if shareholders started valuing long-term sustainability and not immediate windfall profits, then there is a greater chance that the profits would be invested back into the company’s employees. 

OK, am I am idiot for thinking this?  Sound off

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I have made it!  The trip was for the most part uneventful, only my flight from Honolulu to Hilo was delayed.  But even that was only by 20 minutes.  Apparently I have not yet adjusted to my new found time zone as I woke up at 4 a.m. local time this morning.  It has been raining nearly 2 inches a day here, so the sky is staying mostly cloudy.  Not sure what is on the agenda for today, but think it will be a fairly calm day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Crawling Back

Today I finally got back out and took a little ride on the bike. As I hadn’t a clue as to how my body would respond, I decided I would just go down to The Veloway to do some loops. (Yeah, hoping on the trainer would have been easier, but I have spent enough time in front of my TV lately.) I was actually very surprised how I felt on the bike! It went great and I actually felt like I could manage speeds close to what I had been riding before the pericarditis flared up - the hard part was not pushing it hard or heading out on MoPac for a little more of a real ride. Well, I did really push the fifth lap. But, it felt great and my heart responded just like it should. In the end I did nine loops and with the little ride to and from my car, managed nineteen miles in a little over an hour. Hopefully this means that I am back. Tomorrow I am going to ride with my friend Rob and perhaps even do a little run afterwards. We shall see.

After my bike ride, I made it home just in time to catch the start of the Ironman World Championship, Kona. One would think that watching the live web broadcast of an entire Ironman race would be something that you might check in on every once in a while, but certainly not a “just plop your ass down on the couch and hardly budge” type of event. Nope. I was enthralled. I watched it for nine hours. Now I want to qualify for the race more than ever. Watching the pros rip through one hundred twelve miles on the bike in four and a half hours and then set off at sub six minute mile pace for the marathon is just insane! I know that I will never be able to post those type of numbers…

Now for a little non-triathlon soap boxing – politics have become absurd! It is not my intention to make this a political blog or even discuss it here, but after a really good conversation with Claire earlier this week, I feel obliged to share this with you all. Chances are that you are amused or annoyed by some political sub-party that is making the news these days. Perhaps it is the new Occupy (place your location here) rallies going on or the Tea Party, but you probably have some strong reaction to them both. Everyone wishes that their politicians listened to them and would stop pandering to lobbyists and special interest groups (except for the ones we agree with, of course). The solution is really quite simple – vote! Voter turnout in federal elections over is low. Politicians cater to the people that actually vote, and by and large, the moderate middle is not very reliable at making it to the polls. But the overly vocal minority shows up in droves if you poke them the right way. I started this blog in part to focus on the things that we share. I truly believe that most people want largely similar things in life, and that we are not as polarly opposed to each other as the political environment would suggest. Typically only half of registered voters vote in presidential elections and even less in other national elections. If we all showed up to vote, I think we would find that the world at large, is not as extreme as it seems now.

OK. That is all for now. Run friendly! -T

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can I get some cheese with this?

Forewarning – This is going to be a whiney entry. Naturally, shortly after I write a post about getting back to serious training, I come down with another bout of pericarditis. Luckily this bout has not come with the large amounts of chest pain that some of the previous ones did. Perhaps the Celebrex that I have been on has kept the pain away. What it has brought is exhaustion and frustration. Though, I have watched a ton of Angel and Psych. The most frustrating part is that if I lie down and not really move around a whole lot, I feel more or less OK. But, if I move around, at all, I quickly start to lose all of my energy. I have been going through this for about a week now and it seems to be getting a little bit better. But, even with that, I was only able to last a little over 4 hours at work today. After I came home and crashed out on the couch for a couple of hours, I feel more or less OK. Then, 30 minutes in the kitchen wipes me out again. Tomorrow morning I’ll see the cardiologist so I’ll hopefully get a better idea of what I need to be doing from here. My plan is to try to bounce back to full blown training faster this time than I have in the past. Before, I would always start back to training very slowly. While that might sound like the most logical approach, it takes me out of training for over a month and, well, it doesn’t seem to be keeping the flare ups from happening again. We shall see. Sorry for the rambling post, just needed to babble on a little bit. Until next time, run friendly!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm back...I hope.

Hello Reader! Well, this has been a crazy year to say the least, but one that I have learned a lot about myself for sure. It is interesting how you usually look back on some of your toughest times as some of the most important of your life. For me, the first half of this year is certainly starting to look like that. I have had two major pericarditis flare-ups, several minor ones, and some possible near flare-ups as well. As a result, I have not done any triathlon races this year and have been forced to just write the year off. But through all of this time off, I have learned how much I truly love triathlon – especially the training. I have not had any health problems since May and have been able to slowly build the training back up and now hope to do a few road and trail races by the end of the year, including my first half marathon! (No, I don’t count my two 70.3 events as a half marathon.) Perhaps it was the heat, and perhaps it was the fear of another pericarditis episode that kept me from really pushing myself this summer, but I am now finally at a point where I am craving those insanely difficult workouts that make you feel like throwing up. (I never claimed to be normal.) So, for the rest of the year I am planning on running the IBM 10k, San Antonio Half, and hopefully the Rogue FatAss Trail series. Next year, I will look to get back into triathlon and working on my ultimate goal of trying to qualify for Kona*. The plan is to race several 70.3 events throughout the year and see where I am at the end of that. That’s about all for now. In the meantime, run friendly! *Just for clarification, I have no idea if qualifying for Kona is a realistic goal or not. I have never done an Ironman and have no idea if I could get close to breaking 10 hours even with diligent training. My goal is to simply go through all the steps and put in the work to see if I can – the goal is the journey.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time to Reevalulate

This past weekend I rode a pretty hard 40+ miles. It felt great to really push hard and try to keep up with Glenda and Nails. Well, they dropped me, but were kind enough to come back for me. And now, a couple of days later, I have what seems to be another flare up of pericarditis.

None of the doctors said that they think there is a correlation between strenuous exercise, but it seems that for me there is a pretty direct correlation. But, I seem to be able to push myself fairly hard while running and it not come back to hurt me. Part of me thinks that it is that I have a much stronger base in running than I do in biking and swimming. But, this is my third year of doing triathlon training and the flare ups have been becoming more frequent. So the denial side of me wants to believe that it is happening independent of my training. Sadly, I think I have been listening to the denial side a bit too much lately.

So, can I try to slowly build up a solid base in the swim and bike and hope that doesn’t cause any more problems? Or will that just lead to more flare ups and more time off from work. Or do I just walk away from training and start doing a little running, biking, and swimming to just stay in shape? Will that even keep the flare ups from happening? And what do I do if the flare ups keep happening even when I stop training? Do I go back to training?

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! -T

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Race Reports and Updates

Since getting the all clear from the doc, I have raced two trail races and slowly ramped up the triathlon training. Well, technically one of the races I didn't truly race and it was a couple of days before the doc cleared me. Oh well.

It has felt great to get back to running and training. My first race back, The Maze, was a 10k trail race held by Rogue Running. I did not race the race as many people might assume. I did push myself though and made it about a 70% effort run. The second race was The Loop, the second part of Rogue's trail series. This one I did race. The first thing I noticed is that I have lost a lot of my speed. I tried to stick with the leaders right off the start line, but I just couldn't run that fast. But, after things settled down and people found their rhythm, I could certainly hang with them. I know the speed will come back before too long, but it is going to take some work.

The tri training is coming along. Well, except that my bike frame got cracked. But Masi is shipping out a new one today or tomorrow! Every sport is a little rusty right now, but I have been surprised that it all seems to be in better shape this year than when I started up again last year. Fingers crossed that it continues on in this pattern.

One of my good friends and fellow vegetarian/vegan athletes has started up his own blog. He will probably be a much more prolific writer than I am. So go check it out. The No Meat Geek. Good stuff.

Until next time, run friendly! -T