Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Because I do not like doing this at the last minute, I usually start to pile things in a corner to be sure I do not forget anything.
This time, the pile is already quite big.

Organizing, Thinking, ...

As always, I am taking way too much stuff. But, well, better safe than sorry.
Without specific order.

Laptop - Routing, Grib files, blog, coding if I really get bored.
Android tablet  - Movies and kindle, and GPS.
Speakers  - Music in the cabin.
Bluetooth boomer  - Music in the cockpit.
Kitchen timer  - This one is mechanical. it cannot fail !
Screwdrivers      - Lost a couple last time in the marina's water.
Italian coffee machine - we might get bored of lyophilized coffee .
Running flats - light and sticky, perfects for boating.
Camera  - In case we meet dolphins on the bow.
Rain Jacket and pants  - It might be raining.
Wind Jacket - It might be windy.
Running T-shirts    - Those are light and dry fast.
Hat  - Just another one, just in case.
Sunglasses  - A pair, in case I loose one.
Medication - All kind, with antibiotics, pain killers and lighter stuff. This time, I am ready.
Couple of sailing magazines  - I saved those , easy to read while under way.
Eric Tabarly's reference book copies - In case we decide to race it.
Usb head light - Easy to charge on the boat 12v.
usb cables, all format and plugs - Because of all the usb stuff I carry.
usb GPS for the laptop - Like more usb stuff.
Sailing gloves  - We might be sailing.
Working gloves - In case I want to moan the lawn on the boat.
Diesel filters 10microns  - We never have enough of those.
Chai Tea - Not sure I will find that in Mexico.
Outboard carburator - I did a cleaning here , hoping to get it working again there.
Sweaters and pull-over(3)   - Last time I was a little cold. But it was November.
Flashlights and batteries - Pack of 4. Should be enough.
Mexican coins - Because I had some leftover of last time.

Add some food, water and diesel, and we are ready to go !

Boat Rational : Now the boring part.

Maybe you have been wondering why we decided to put us in debt for the next 5 years or ten with a damn old boat. Well, it was meant to be shorter than that, but boats are boats, and, no surprises, any sailor will tell you, they always end up to cost twice as much as you could have imagined in your worst nightmare. Actually, they always cost twice as much as you are ready to pay for. You set the limit, on their side,  they are a bottom less sink for dollars bill.
Then you would think, why ? There are plenty of options nowadays if you want to sail. You don't have to own a boat. Except if ...

First, we love sailboats. And sailing.
And I like to live light (paradoxically, but that's another story).

But there is a rational behind it. And this is - surprisingly - about money.
From some perspective, owning a boat could be  good deal.
There is only one catch : You need to live on your boat.

Typical american middle class retirement plan.

Rule of thumb establish to 8x time your revenue as a minimum to have on your 401k (retirement plan) before retire. Which usually come close to 1 million (120k$/year). Add the inflation, and you hit the 2.5 millions.
The above graph assume (again, a typical number for american retirement practices) 80% of your income after your retirement.
If I apply those numbers to my case, I have to save way more (twice actually), which means I could not own a boat, and with luck - if there was no market crash and what ever - I might be able to retire at 66 years old - and this is if I play the rat race by the rules and keep a incredible progression in my company. Well, not gonna happen.
I am working remote from Maui, I am out, by definition.

You live now with 40% of your actual monthly income,
let's say 30K$.
Now, let's consider other option than the american dream retirement plan.
Imagine you can live on a boat that you paid for already, and you get rid of your landlubber possessions, your 2 cars, and 2000 feet house. Now, 3000$ a month seems a lot of money - if you are lucky enough your kids leaved the house before 30 :) - Even tied to a marina pier.

If you travel the world, live on your fishing skills (well, I might have to get better at that), and just sail, surf and sleep, them you are the king. Now, add a little trade here and there, maybe some lazy computer programming for fun, and you have an option to go out of the rat race in your fifties.
Now, we are talking....

Some people manage to cut the lines way before that, even with a family and kids. In our case, this does not seems realistic. And we managed to establish ourselves in a pretty good spot already.
No hurry.
But there is a plan. A Master Plan.
As every plan, this is a good plan on paper. Who cares.
I like plans. And need goals. And dreams.
Specially, when that mean getting a damn old sailboat, getting it ready and sailing it across the pacific. This is a bombproof plan, in fair objectivity :)
Don't you think ?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sailing times

Well, actually, some people refers to kitesurfing as sailing, kite or sail, we are still glidind on the water pulled by the a big sheet of cloth. I guess that works.

Spring is here, and wind is blowing. We had a 5k all together this morning, and the girls did great. Myself, I was limping behind. Yesterday, I thought I was ready and I did a mid-length run, and I had to stop and walk after 1h20, with a left knee crying for help. This morning, I was paying the full price. Who said I learned my lessons ?
But with this last race, I closed **officially** the running season.
Time for the sailing season.

Busy Kanaha. Beautiful Sunday afternoon, good wind,
barely no waves. But this winter was almost without wind,
and people were all out.
It has been so long I did not kitesurf, between bad conditions and marathon training, it looked like 3 months or so. Which is is insane for Maui. But this winter was good for surf, with a lot of offshore winds. If you do both, you can rarely be disappointed here.

Toe side, decently powered on my 6m.
Session was short, I was worried to injure myself even more.
There were few waves to play with, but good a dozen of them still. Mostly wind swell. They were calling for some 3-5 foot ground swell, and I suppose it was out there, but totally wiped out by the 25 knots of wind. But it was pleasant, after all that time.

Little girl wants to fly.
Yes, it is that windy on the beach.
I am leaving in a couple of days for California, and Mexico afterward, then it is likely that will be my last session before a while. But if there is one thing on Maui I am not too worried about, it is the kiting days. For May to November, it is likely to blow every day now. I might try to head for Baldwind beach now, because in Kanaha, the summer waves are really small, and I cry for better surf. In any case, I have other things on my mind now.
I have to pack my bag, and I am super stoke about what s coming in a less than 10 days.
A life changing experience.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring is here ... Time to sail !

Now that this running shenanigan is over, I can focus on my next challenge for the year, and not a small one, at least for me.
Bringing our sailboat, Traces, from Ensenada, Mexico to Maui.
We scheduled a departure date around the 4/9, i.e. a little more than one week from now. I am getting some help with an old friend from France, Gilles, must be like 15 years I did not see him. He has serious sea legs, compared to me, having done a 2 year long cruise in the Atlantic, on his own sailboat.
I would be really surprised if he was to let me down 2 days before the crossing :), but I am ready anyway. I promised myself to cross this time, and even Solo if needed. With the small autopilot and the medication, I am better equipped than last time. And psychologically ready.

The Pacific High took her place for summer...
Stay there ! It is perfect.

At this time of the year - just before the official cyclonic season, the only risk is the lack of wind for a couple of days. It is still early in the season, and sometime the High is not well placed yet. Leaving from Mexico could  be an issue too, as the winds could very lights - or inexistent - at that time of the year. But at the moment, the Grib files - not to be trusted , 10 days in advance, show a very stable High and a great wind pattern for the crossing.

2233 nautical miles.
Between 15 and 20 days at sea.
For such a long distance, the straight line is not the shortest route, but we are talking about 2200 nautical miles, or 4000 kilometers. That's a long way to be done at a speed of a turtle with wings. The typical cruiser sailboat can hit between 6 or 7 knots per hour, with good winds, and cover 150 to 180 nautical miles per day. We do not stop at night :)

It sounds surrealistic that in 10 days,  I will leave on our sailboat and bring her home.
So long we have been prepared for this.
Years in the making, if you account for our first boat in the Bay Area.
After the failed attempt of last November, now we are so close !
So close to untie the lines ...
And follow the trade winds.
A dream is coming true .. soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Valley to the Sea : Lesson #2 : Know your limits

"Which limits ? "
Considering that I did very well those past couple of years on the running front, I built some confidence, to a point it could be considered as arrogance. I thought I could power through the pain and the tiredness , by the strength of the will. After all, I never walked and I run more than a thousand of miles in a lot of bad setup. Some part of me must have thought I was invincible.
Maybe not fast. But unstoppable.
Well. This time I have been proven wrong.

2 Miles from the end. Hitting heel first, body unbalanced.
Pain grin. Not pretty.

One thing is certain. If I have been more careful and keep some strength, I would have finish with a better time. Certainly under my goal. And that would have changed everything. Arriving in such pain stole all benefits of the accomplishment. I was ashamed to have put myself in such physical disgrace. To have pushed myself to the point I could not walk. That was not my plan. I still want it to be enjoyable. Compete a bit, for fun, why not. But who cares ? Never I thought I was gonna push it that far.

I think Randy told me : "You look strong".
I could not stop myself to laugh.
Half a mile later, I would walk.

Half a week after the race, I am back in shape. I can walk, jog for one hour and more, swim. If the wind comes back, I might try some kitesurf. Has been a while. Heard stories about people hurting themselves so bad, they were broken for life. I am lucky my body handled it that well. But it has to be written down, and remembered.
Pain - in such scale - is not fun.
And running is all about fun.

Next marathon, I promised myself, I will train better and run slower.
And I will end up to go faster.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Valley to the Sea : Lesson #1 : Save the calves

Stick to the plan.

Corollary: Listen to your body.

I knew my preparation have been cut short and it would be really tricky to hold off the pace all the race. Result, I decided to go even faster. It sounds now pretty dumb, but in the heat of the moment I had certainly good reasons.
Unsurprisingly,  it is pretty typical to hold the pace for 3/4 of the race, and hit the bottom at the end of the race. A beginner mistake. What is weird, is that I was smart enough to avoid this trap on the first marathon, and did it this time. Well, plan was to stick under a reasonable heart beat , save energy until the end. Next time, I think I am gonna stick to it.
Learned my lesson.

Massage Therapist on site.
That helps the fool.

Recovery went actually pretty well. With the help of my on-site-specialist, and two 2 hours long deep tissue massages, I can now walk normally.
Almost normally.
The calves were so tense they were contracting by themselves, even relaxed, like there was an alien ramping under the skin. 
It took 3 hours to get rid of most of the knots hidden in the muscles, and the process was so painful, I promised to not run anymore ever or do any kind of physical activity.
To prove my point, I indulged myself with a beer that night.
Feeling guilty, the day after, I went for one hour swim at the pool.
If I could have run, I would have.
I am sick.
I am an addict.

ps: I found a good trick to handle super long stretches session. I cannot call that Yoga anymore, because the focus is not there, would argue my on-site-yoga-teacher. I am looking at the TV. Say what you want, this is pretty new to me. And as you do not have the TV, I can only recommend this:


 A step by step documentary about how to waste your life on fixing an old boat and hope to travel the world. Amazingly so close of my next blog subject :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Valley to the Sea : The results

This race was kind of an adventure, and I might need several blog post to explore the implications :)
Still, globally, I finished the marathon. Which is good.
2 minutes short from my goal. Which is less good, but not that bad.
4 hours 02 minutes.
Which is a good 15 minutes faster than last year, even if not as fast as I wanted it to be.

The context : this race was a b**tch.  First, we started late on an already late time line, i.e. 6:45AM, which means that coming back around 10AM in Kihei was hot. More than 80F, 27 degrees.
There was a really mean climb at the middle, 1000 feet, on 3 miles. The kind of climb that burn all your reserves, if you had any.

The story: Started quite fast, around 8:30 to the mile, faster than I wanted originally. I was feeling well and the others were dragging me forward. Felt really good for the climb, where I actually pass most of my nearest runners. Around 3hours, things got a little more hairy. It was getting hot, and I was getting tired.
You remember, this final elusive final hour ? But I was maintaining a good 9 to 9:30 pace, and I was targeting a 3:45 time, which was kind of surprising, as I was not happy with my training overall.

I could have cried.
I was totally burnt out.

I should have expected it, it was too good to be true. At 3:20 I hit "the wall" pretty hard. Technically speaking, the wall happens when you burned all your 'easy' resources (carbs) and need to rely on the slow ones (fat..). It usually means pain, slow pace and struggling. Some people stops there.
I drop the pace and push it until 3:40, maybe 2 miles from the line. I was ready to collapse, and for the first time in two years, I slow down to a walk for a couple of minutes. I needed my heart to drop a bit. After that, I continue to  crawl at 12 minute pace, and my dreams to beat 4 hours disappeared.
I was actually relieved to see I was just behind that.

It could have been way worst.
During that last hour, several cramps came to my thighs and calf, without stopping me. Past the finishing line, They actually forced me to lay down for a while pretty bad. One almost made me cry.
Could not get rid of it.

Grimacing in pain

Nevertheless , I got a 3nd place trophy. It feels good, even if that was very few participants, and maybe only a dozen in my age category.
But there is no small reward.

Such pain for such reward :)
A beautiful Maui Honu.

In short:
I did finish.
The first 3 hours were -certainly- my best official running hours ever.
The last hour was -for sure- the most painful one.
I ended to walk a bit, and that open a door I did not want to open.
I ended up 2 minutes shy of my goal.

Frankly, I would not have signed for the Honolulu Marathon today, even for free :), or forced.
Unfortunately, I already signed up couple of months ago.
Well, back n the road in November then :(

Race Day

Or close enough. The evening just before.
I like this moment where I prepare my stuff the night before the race. The calm before the storm. A short meditative practice where you rehearse in your mind the first steps in the morning, the ultimate preparation and the morning drive.

Your typical running gear. Vaseline ? checked.
GPS ? checked. Shoes ? Checked.

It is surprising how meticulous I am in those moments. Same with the boat preparation before a trip. Usually, I am the messy kind, and my "office"  living space and work area is well disorganized.
But this is another matter, somehow.
A small oversight can cost you 4 hours of pain. 
Or a DNF. 
I am still wondering why did I sign for this thing...
Or for the next one, in December, in Honolulu.
Well, one step at a time.
Now, the focus is to get up a 5AM, eat properly, get dressed and ride to town.
And after that, I am gonna run.  And run more. And a little more.
One step at a time ...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

D-Day -2 : Doubts

Marathon is two days from now, and it looks unachievable right now.
The fact I did one last year actually do not help at all. You would think it will bring confidence, but it seems, this is the same story over and over again.
Pain in the hip. Cold last week. Tired. Not feeling ready, with cutting the training short.
Well, there is no stepping back.

Well, he said it.

Did not run for a half a week, barely did anything. Which is to be expected, this is taper week - the calm before the storm. Unfortunately, I do not deal very well with inactivity. And there is so much things going on, as I am flying in less than two weeks to California, and this time to come back by boat.
Just have to survive this damn run.
It is obvious at this point, I gave up on my less than 4 hours run. Let s just keep that for the Honolulu marathon at the end of the year. One thing at the time.
Again, history repeats itself, and I will be happy to finish it.
Just finish it without walking.
Let's hope in this case, history will repeat itself too :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hip Hop

Between 90 minutes of runs and 60 minutes of yoga session, I am not sure where I find the time to work. I have to hand pick my surfing days too. Certainly worth it though.
Hip misalignment can be treated at home, it seems. Maybe I am gonna spare few bucks from my chiropractor, who knows. As the sailing days are upon us, the always growing sailboat budget is waiting. 

A simple video for complicated back issues.

This video is interesting because it shows the 3 majors steps in the healing process.
Unblock. Which can be done by your Chiro, or physical therapy, slower.
Release. Pain killers, electric shots, or physical therapy.
Healing. Massage therapy or tennis balls.

They do not talk about maintenance, and this is where Yoga shine, IMHO.

I like to say that the body is a wonderful adapting machine. The pitfall of this, is, obviously, when the body adapted for 20 years to bad habits, you are not gonna see a change in a few weeks.
Patience is not really my strong suit. However, daily yoga practice and targeted stretches seems to help at the moment.
Let's touch some wood, we have a marathon to run in less than two weeks.
At this point, no more long runs planned.
The one I did have to be enough.
And next week is taper week, i.e. no running.
Hey, who knows, maybe there will be some surf !

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tail Bone Down

I was not kidding when I said I was going to refocus on my yoga practice. On top of my sun salutation in the morning, I try to add one half- to one hour of practice every day.
That is a lot, actually.

Puppy pose. Is it a sexual reference for grown up puppies?

It always have been difficult for me to focus on such long practices or stretching, which sound paradoxical when I can run 3 hours almost in circle. I suppose it all comes down to the ability to cut yourself from the actual action and go into the flow.
But easy or not, I have to stick to it, at least until the race. We are so close now than any injury at this point would be really a concern.

Pigeon Pose.
Let's say it is aspirational.

The good news is it seems to bring fruits already. Between the week of rest, the re-organization of my backbone and the daily stretches and yoga I was able to - slowly- run again. Today, I even went for a easy one hour and half run. I felt surprisingly well and barely did not feel my right hip.
The times between today and one month ago, for the same course, are identical. And I did not have the feeling of forcing at all.

Even if it is pouring outside, it is shining inside, and the moral is going up.
Who knows, I might even be able to run this damn thing at my full capacities.
I am starting to dream again of going under 4 hours.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This is now official, some people have magics hands.
I went through -again- the ones from my chiropractor, two days ago.
No surprises there. Hip were off, one inch and half, one leg shorter than the other one.
Symptoms are by now, very well isolated. Limping on the right, pain in the psoas, sudden nerve pain.
I should have n=known better and rush over there as the first signs showed off.
Good to know: Listen to your body, it knows better.

Lois's practice is very welcoming, at her image.
But more important, she can really help.

After a quick check-up, my back was "locked up", and overall extremely tense. No surprises either. I have been training a lot, certainly too much, and not stretching enough. But is there such thing as stretching enough ? Craaaaaack. Back in place. But for how long ?

Morale: Back on the yoga mat, sun salutations in the morning and one hour of practice every day. I even took an official yoga teacher and I am paying for it. Well, I had a good deal, we are family after all.

Now, I have been running a dozen miles and a couple of hours those last days, and everything seems as usual. Light pain, but nothing blocking. At three weeks of the marathon, this is reassuring, even if my training plan have been shot.
Anyway, nothing really matters... I am running again :)
Thank you, Lois !