Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Workout Game



For me, the name of the game is fast workouts. I should say fast, effective workouts (who wants a fast workout that doesn't do crap, right?). So I am always looking for creative ways to craft superior workouts that are quick, effective and have the power to boost the metabolism for 24-48 hours.

As an added bonus I love it when they are portable (I can do it anywhere).

So here's my latest...

I call it "100 Rep Workout: The Game", and I use it when I need a very fast, very effective, and very entertaining workout.

This is actually a 300 rep workout, thus it is a semi-advanced workout, but can be modified easily by cutting the reps in half. It only uses bodyweight so you do not need any equipment.

Here is the workout:

A1) Bodyweight Squats x 100
A2) Push Ups x 50 (on your knees if you have to)
A3) Alternating Lunges x 50 (each leg)
A4) Mountain Climbers x 50
A5) Full Sit Up x 50

But that's not the game- it's just the sequence. The game is that if you have to stop for more than 1 second (a count of 1 Mississippi) or your form breaks in the slightest during any exercise you have to jump rope for 30 seconds. No jump rope? Jumping jacks with 3-5lb weights in each hand. No hand weights? Burpees for 30 seconds. Then resume the count where you left off.

You can rest 30 seconds between moves but that's it.

The best part about this entire workout is that if you do it right you'll be done with it in under 17 minutes.
That's the game - ready to play?

It's time to get your game on.

I got this idea from a really cool book called "The 100 Rep Workout". Check it out by clicking here. It features a bunch of so-called "man friendly" workouts designed to get you into shape in record time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dear American Airlines...


We have finally made it back to Spokane.

I couldn't have imagined it to be possible, but the trip back was even worse than the trip there (which you can read about here).

I wrote a letter to American Airlines. It's too long to post, but if you really want a taste of the nightmarish hell that the airlines put us through, just click here to download and read (Microsoft Word document format).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So what do you do after a South American triathlon?


BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE END OF THIS BLOG FOR SOME HOT VOLCANIC ACTION.

Step 1: Eat a man-sized Chilean hamburger at Rap's in Pucon, Chile. Order the Italiana, which turns out to be nothing whatsoever resembling an Italian sandwich, but instead instead the entire butt of a cow served up on a huge bun, with some kind of spicy avocado sauce. BEST SERVED WITH A PISCO SOUR, OR TWO.

Step 2: Eat home-made gelato at Cassis on Fresia St. in Pucon. Also, eat a huge slice of their caramel cake (not pictured).


Step 3: Go to thermal springs. Es muy caliente...


...feed baby (note glass of wine, no self-neglect here)...


...get babies to fall asleep...


...snuggle with wife in hot springs (note sleeping babies in background)...



Step 4: Climb an active volcano via a 5 hour ascent at 4am, before flight leaves for Spokane. Check out these sweet videos:



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Well, folks, so that's a wrap of the Pucon, Chile trip! Next stop: New Orleans Half-Ironman Triathlon in April. Until then, check back occasionally for training snippets and triathlon related updates. Or maybe even family pictures! Also, if you haven't gotten around to it, be sure to subscribe to the FREE nutrition, performance, fitness and wellness information at http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Race Update!

Having raced what is supposedly one of the hardest Half-Ironman triathlons in the States (Wildflower), I can confidently say that this race makes the Wildflower run course look like child's play.

I'm going to make this quick, because I'm exhausted and I need to nap (post race party will go until 4am en la manana).

Jessa snapped a pic of me as I headed out to pump up the bike in transition...got to sleep in for this race with a 9am "late" start. My pre-race night's sleep is hugely enhanced by this stuff I've been taking called "Somnidren" made by a company called Millennium Sports. Breakfast was Bumblebar and banana.



The Specialized steed awaits...



I did a quick 400m warm-up in the water. It was nice to have the hotel so close to transition, as I was able to get my wetsuit on back at the hotel, and still have time to hang out with the kids...

Dad is strange:



Swim warm-up:



My swim was executed as planned, at about 29 minutes even. Halfway through the swim, you have to get out of the water and sprint for about a football field down the beach, then dive back into the water. This was in interesting twist. As usual the Blue Seventy Helix felt like a freakin' GLOVE!

There is a buoy line in the swim that you can basically follow if you stay close enough to the buoys, so I kept my head down most of the time and made good progress following a white cable. At one point, I was so focused on the cable that I swam over another competitor, literally driving my elbow into the back of his neck and forcing him under the water as I crawled over his body. Sorry dude.

The pro swim start:



The amateur swim start:



The transition chute, as expected, was exhausting, with about a 300 meter run while pushing the bike. Here I am transitioning - haven't seen results yet, but I think I came out of the water around the top 20...



The bike course was incredibly difficult. The roads are very rough, and the wind rivaled Hawaii. I was not ready for that. It was my understanding that the bike course was non-technical and a bit understated, while the run course was the real kicker. As mentioned in an earlier post, I was using a combination of GU Gel and GU Roctane, and the stomach felt very solid. But my legs were pretty smoked by the time we finished the second loop of the bike.

I really flew, however, and from what I can tell, I was 2nd place age-grouper coming off the bike with the second fastest bike split on the day...I hit about 2:23-ish on the bike by my clock, and this was with a ferocious wind coming back.

I made the mistake of ditching a pack on the last 20K of the bike and riding off the front. In retrospect, this was a mistake, because I rode solo into the toughest wind, and it really took alot out of my legs. But despite massive sweat and decent heat, zero cramping (from both bike and run) using Hammer Gel E-Caps, exactly per the recommendations from Steve Born, their supplement guru.

The run:



I headed out of transition area feeling strong. You get about 200 meters, then you run straight up the side of the hill and onto the "Peninsula" which is a series of 10-20% grades that keep coming, and coming, and coming.

Knowing that these would be a problem, I tried to conserve energy, but felt the life sucked out of me by the time I finished the first loop of the peninsula. Feeling as I did at this point, I knew accomplishing a 1:30 would be very hard.

Throughout the run, I ate the equivalent of about half a banana, and 4 electrolyte pills. My stomach felt fine, but my legs were *dead*. Running on a treadmill in snowy Spokane, WA just did not get me strong enough for this run. I must say that the Avia Bolt racing flats I was using felt VERY good, and I love these kicks for this distance or anything shorter.



I literally crawled through the last bit of the Peninsula and struggled through town to the finish line. Despite coming off the bike 1-2 minutes ahead of schedule, I ended up almost 10 minutes off my goal finish time, taking what I think was about 1:39 to run the half-marathon. Again, I have yet to see official results, but I think I finished at about a 4:36.

The run really kicked my ass. I took an entire bag of IV fluid and could barely walk back to my hotel afterwards. I'll be walking funny tomorrow, for sure.

But good news - I CLINCHED A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SLOT WITH A 2ND PLACE DIVISION FINISH!

So despite feeling like I've been run over by a train, I'm pretty happy.

This was one of the hardest races I have *ever* done, and by far, the hardest Half-Ironman on the planet. No doubt.

I've got 48 hours to recover, then it's off to climb a volcano. I've supplementing with "Recoverease" by Wicked Fast and it massively speeds up healing, so I'm not too nervous...that plus the IV and post-race massage and I should be OK.

Off to party with Pisco sours. Ciao.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Benny "Hinkley" Greenfield

Somehow they've managed to change my name. Hinkley is not my middle name. It is my mother's maiden name. But my official race title is "Benny Hinkley Greenfield".

Frankly, I think this sounds more like an African-American jazz pianist, but whatever. Check out the race number. Bacardi, baby. Bacardi Benny.


And this transition video is INSANE.

video

No post would be complete without a couple family shots. Here we are eating a pre-race meal of fresh lake trout and quinoa at Ecola. Highly recommend it, all organic, local stuff. Ecole.cl. Also a great hostel. I'll take the boys back here someday when they're older for a guy's trip. Incidentally, I'm climbing the active Volcano Villarca on Tuesday (the one you can see out our hotel window). I've hired a guide to take me up at 4am.



Bathtime. I have to make sure this blog stays a bit edgy.



11 hour countdown to the race!

The Day Before the Race and the Race Strategy

Today will be a day full of mandatory athlete meetings, bike check-in, pre-race massage, carbohydrate loading, and the ultimate question - to shave or not to shave? To anyone who has seen my face, I can basically grow the facial hair equivalent of a waxed cat, so this question is obviously about the legs.

Lastnight was the pre-race awards ceremony! The entire thing was in Spanish, and included live entertainment that featured Chilean traditional dancing, a magic show, some stand-up comedy, and a traditional South American baby bird beheading. Haha, no just kidding. But that would have been very cultural.

Here's a pic:


And a high-quality video...

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River and Terran and I assemble my bicycle for the race. Terran is inspecting my shoe, of course, for any last minute defects. They're a good pit crew.


Ah yes, no small South American village would be complete without a firefighting station. This one features the heartwarming image of a fireman carrying a limp child from burning flames. It makes you wonder if this happens alot.



Jessa snapped this picture as I was typing this blog. Thank you spell checker.


My new habit is to walk into a cool-looking restaurant and order the most popular item on the menu. When I asked the waitress, "Que ensalada es mas popular?", I expected some kind of salad. I instead received a plate of cream and cheese with little salmon bits floating in it. It was almost like spraying Cheese Whiz onto a can of tuna. Jessa captured me on camera dutifully eating the entire plate. She did not, fortunately, capture the giant crap that emerged 2 hours later.


Meanwhile, Jessa fed the kids mashed up sweet potatoes and avocados, which in retrospect I should have ordered.


Remember the makeshift bed that we made the kids, out of a couch and a suitcase? Behold.



So, like I said, the race is tomorrow. 

You can visit the official race website at http://triatlon.canal13.cl.

I know this is going to be a very difficult run course, and I'm still nervous about the run since I was not able to get as much training as I would have liked under my belt, due to the IT Band injury. I'm injury-free now, but not "fit as a fiddle" for the half. I'll be happy if I can pull off a 1:27-1:29.

That being said, my plan is to swim the two lap course at a steady pace and try not to mount my bike with too much lactic acid in the system. I'm be looking for something in the 28:00-29:00 range, and would like to negative split for the second loop. 

Since I could potentially be a sitting duck on the run, if I can come out top ten age groupers in the swim, I'm pretty confident I can get off the bike in the top three to five, if not higher. I'd like to qualify for World Championships at this race, and based on last year's times, will need to bike somewhere close to a 2:20 in order to do so.

Then it's just a matter of holding a good lead off the bike. I'll probably need a good 4-5 minute lead on the next age grouper back to confidently get a division win.

Overall goal time: 4:25:00.

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Nutrition will be a couple Bumblebars and bananas (both "safe" foods, wrapped and skinned!) at around 6:30am, giving 2 and 1/2 hours for gastric emptying prior the 9am start. This will come out to about 500 calories. I'll also take 6 Enerprime, which will give me the nutrient boost of about 10 salads.

30 minutes before the race, I'll take 2 Delta-E's, a mega-dose of vitamin B, taurine, and some caffeine. 

Prior to the swim, I'll take in 100 calories of GU sport gel to boost the blood sugar.

Coming out of the water, another 100 calories of gel that will be waiting on the transition towel, along with 4-6oz water.

On the bike, I'll sport my downtube Profile Design water bottle that I've modified with a hacksaw to allow me to carry 9 gels and a tube of electrolyte capsules. I'll be taking in 1 GU gel every 20 minutes for 300 calories per hour, and will also take in 1 electrolyte cap every 20 minutes. For the gels, I'll be alternating between a carbohydrate-only gel, and a carbohydrate-branched chain amino acid/protein gel with 30mg caffeine (GU Roctane). I'll also have one CeeGees water bottle with 28oz of water for each of the 2 bike out-and-backs.

For the run, I'm not taking ANYTHING. I'll be loaded up enough from the bike that I'll be able to get by grabbing half a banana from an aid station for each 7K loop of the run. I know I'll have to put the hurt down on the run and would rather risk bonking than overloading. I will be carrying a tube of electrolytes in one hand just in case I cramp.

So that's the plan! 

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I'll blog with the official results tomorrow night.

Oh yeah, one more thing: MY PRE-RACE SONG!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life from our Tiny Camera

By the way, the official triathlon website is at http://triatlon.canal13.cl/...

Other than Grandma's walker, there is nothing more fun than an empty bike case.

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We decided to take a foray into the world of Chilean cuisine, which took us down this back alley...

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Part II of the back alley restaurant...

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And in part III, the camera battery died. What I ordered actually amounted to be 4 enormous, cast-iron bowls of Chilean grease with eggs, chicken, and beans floating around. It could have fed an entire construction crew. We knew we were in trouble when she brought 4 salads our prior to the meal. You fat American pigs...

However, we did manage to capture some video of the Chilean sunset, complete with my flawless "Spanglish"...

video

More later...

Chili Update and Pictures




NOTE: COOL VIDEOS TO COME TOMORROW!

We're here.

Whew. The final nail in the travel nightmare coffin was when the bus dropped us off at our hotel (Hotel Huincahue) and we discovered that they had no cribs. In a miscommunication, they had instead intended for our children to sleep in twin beds, which I think would blow the mind of a 9 month old boy.

So we were upgraded to a suite, where we designed a kind of makeshift cage from a couch and our big suitcase. It works perfectly, and I must brag that it was my idea and my memories of building forts as a kid served me well.

After spending most of Thursday sleeping (AKA passed out cold), we decided to get up and explore el ciudad de Pucon. It is a very quaint, kind of Bavarian-themed town - which seems somewhat wrong when you arrive at most restaurants to discover dark-eyed Hispanic-built waitresses dressed in Swedish attire that was intended for buxomy blondes. It's like a genetically altered St. Pauli beer girl is bringing your enchilada.

But enough about fashion faux pas. Here's some pics and videos...

Our trip, of course, began in Miami, with Grandma (feeding kids breakfast in this photo). My favorite part was when I walked into the kitchen and she's mashing up vegetables for River and Terran, and gourmet chef style, takes basically a whole stick of butter and stirs it into a tiny little vegetable cup "for flavor". I'm sure the boys thought they died and went to heaven.



We pushed them around Grandma's condo in her walker and they loved it. Next Christmas, we're going to buy our 1 year old boys some old people walkers.



Jessa patiently waiting me fight ticket agents in Lima, Peru for 10 hours...



Jessa feeds the kids in Santiago, Chile airport, where I paid more ticket agents cash in what amounted to be a series of ticket purchases at EVERY airport for River and Terran.



I'm walking up the stairs to the plane in Osorno, Chile. Like every flight of our ENTIRE trip, this one also was a fiasco, where I observed all our bags sitting on a truck on the tarmac as our flight was leaving, and had to run out waving my arms and telling them not to leave our bags behind. Oops. Sorry senor. Note that River likes to hang upside down, making it appear as if I am carrying a limp, spineless child onto the plane.



After a couple days, we're starting to get exhausted with jetting around South America.



But note the sign from the window of the bus...just 26km left to Pucon, Chile. Hooray!



Our little South American hotel, complete with aformentioned Bavarian twist.




View from the hotel room. Yes, that's a volcano on the right.



We discovered some woman from Connecticut selling gelato street-side. People here don't actually speak English very well, so I was glad for my 64 Spanish lessons (delivered in 15 minute podcast segments). Highly recommended. Thanks to the American public school system, the Connecticut lady was OK with her English.



And the prominent volcano makes another appearance as I push the stroller outside our hotel...



The lake and beach where the Sunday race will take place. The beach is more like gravel than sand, and the lake is about 70 degrees. This photo was taken at about 12pm. By 3pm, this beach was completely packed with umbrellas, sunbathers, and suprisingly, no little boys selling Chiclets.



Watching a Chilean sunset.



As we watched the sunset at 9:09pm and River and Terran "ooed" and "awed", I had a feeling wash over me that we really did make the right decision to press on and complete our trip to Pucon, Chile. The boys were very happy today and we simply relaxed and unwound.

Perhaps we've fooled them into the think they're in the Swiss Alps.

Until tomorrow...

Ben

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pucon

We have arrived at our hotel in Pucon, Chile. I will surely write with more detail later, but let me say that this has been a nightmare for Jessa and I. We've never heard of anything like this and in all our years of international travel, have never experienced something like this. I pride myself on bulletproof vacation planning, and this was nowhere near.

However, our boys have been studs through it all. They're completely chill, possibly because they don't understand enough English to understand what a scam operation the airlines are now running.

The basic issue is that the American Airlines agent in Miami A) did not use our record locator to see that we had already pre-paid for the children's flights; B) issued the children new, more expensive tickets that basically took them on a one way trip to Lima, Peru, with nowhere else to go. Because I dropped Jessa off at the ticket counter and returned the rental car, I wasn't present to remedy the situation and didn't observe the major problem on the tickets until we stood in Lima, Peru watching our plane leave with all our bags, bound for Pucon, Chile.

I have not slept in 39 hours and it may have been stupid to continue, but we made the decision together and here we are. Our final decision was to hunt down our bags, bring the kids with us, and what will be, will be.

I am eternally grateful to the family member who replaced the money in our checking account until we can get the Visa situation sorted out. You know who you are. Thank you.

Ben

Your Friendly Skies

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE...January 7, 4am, Spokane, WA: We screeched to a halt in 48 inches of dirty slush, and I opened the door of our SUV to reveal my wife, two screaming babies, 5 pieces of luggage, and a bike case.

The friendly United Airlines porter took one look at us and shook his head, "You'll have to take it all inside if that's a bike." With that, he turned around and walked away, offering us no hand with a fold-up stroller, duffel bag, two baby seats, two car-bases for the baby seats, a giant black suitcase, a backpack and a briefcase.

I'm sure he had something important to do. I'll have to get him a Karma t-shirt when I get back into town.

Ten minutes later, we had finally hauled everything inside the airport. For those of you who haven't flown lately, most airlines are now charging for *every* additional checked bag. Although we had four carry-ons, they proposed to charge us an additional $250 for A) a bike case that was 16lbs over; B) the black suitcase that was 12lbs over.

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MATH WHIZ...January 7, 5:45am, Spokane, WA: Using a big plastic bag, we transferred 28lbs of random shoes, energy bars, and books and saved ourselves $90. The entire United airline staff graciously offered no hand or advice with this endeavor, and when I turned in the stuffed plastic bag, the lady at the ticket counter kindly said, "You know TSA is going to be ripping into this, right?"

"*Ripping* into it?"

"Yes, sir, they need to inspect the bag."

"OK," I continued, disregarding her violent verbage, "So just to verify, this is going to be $125 for the bike and $15 for the suitcase?"

"No, sir, it is going to be $140."

"Yes, $125 for the bike and $15 for the bag, right?"

"No, the total is $140, sir."

Are you kidding me? And this is why it takes so long to get through an airport...

She then proceeded to hand me two separate receipts. One for $125 and one for $15. Brilliant.

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THIRTY-TWO STEPS TO SUCCESS...6am, Spokane, WA: After the re-packing fiasco, we raced through security to catch our flight, which was scheduled to leave at 6am. Procedure is as follows:

1) Park stroller next to security bins.

2) Remove shoes, laptop, ziplock bag of fluids, place in bins. HERE'S WHERE IT GETS DIFFERENT.

3) Remove one baby from carseat.

4) Hand baby to wife.

5) Remove carseat from stroller.

6) Attach to carseat to carseat base.

7) Remove second baby from carseat.

8) Hand second baby to wife.

9) Remove second carseat from stroller.

10) Attach second carseat to second carseat base.

11) Fold up stroller.

12) Take one baby from wife.

13) Walk through security holding baby.

14) Hand baby back to wife.

15) Re-assemble stroller.

16) Remove carseats from carseat bases.

17) Re-attach carseats to stroller.

18) Take first baby from wife, place into carseat.

19) Take second baby from wife, place into carseat.

20) Put on shoes, re-stow laptop, ziplock bag of fluids.

Following this scenario, we rushed to our gate to discover that the flight had been DELAYED 30 MINUTES, giving us time to plan Phase II, which was:

21) Get tags for stroller, carseat, carseat bases.

22) Push stroller down boarding tunnel.

23) Remove first baby, hand to wife.

24) Remove first carseat from stroller, attach to carseat base.

25) Remove second baby, hand to wife.

26) Remove second carseat from stroller, attach to second carseat base.

27) Pick up briefcase, backpack, duffel bag and take 1 baby from wife.

28) Board plane.

29) Hand baby back to wife.

30) Stow all bags.

31) Take baby back from wife.

32) Sit with baby and wait for take-off.

And we're off.

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LAME BIRD: January 7, 4pm, Washington, DC: After landing in Denver (and reversing steps 21-32 prior to de-boarding the aircraft), we re-boarded another aircraft after initiating steps 21-32 and headed for Washington, DC.

By the way, Itz-a-wrap/Itz-a-bowl offers the healthiest, tastiest meal in Denver. Get the "Colorado Sunshine", with feta cheese. If, after reading the rest of this post, you trust anything I ever have to say again about healthy nutrition.

Unfortunately, after we boarded our plane in Washington, DC, we were informed by the pilot that it had blown a fuse minutes earlier (his exact words were more along the delicate lines of "electrical issues"). With no air conditioning or air circulation on board, the only thing missing from the stifling cabin was mosquitoes and snakes. The pilot said 45 minutes. Sixty minutes later, we were still waiting, comforting two screaming, sweating babies.

Finally, they allowed us to de-board the plane, since apparently replacing a fuse is quite a process. So we reversed steps 21-32 and went to find a bite to eat.

We ordered a $9.99 mini-salad from a Mexican joint, and just at that exact moment a voice came over the terminal loudspeaker ordering us back to the plane. You just can't leave a ten dollar salad behind. You never know, maybe there's a gold nugget hidden inside the tiny, solo tomato wedge. So Jessa rushed back to the plane with the babies while I waited for our precious salad.

In was in this way that we discovered another protocol: The steps to successfully sharing a salad on an airplane while juggling twins:

1) Get one baby to fall asleep. Make it snort Baby Benadryl if that helps. One parent eats half the salad quickly (the kids only sleep in 10-15 minute segments on the plane, even with the help of drugs).

2) Realize that the second baby is not going to sleep. Husband hand-feeds wife salad with bite-by-bite fork handoffs across the aisle of the plane while she comforts struggling baby.

Via this method, we actually managed to eat the entire salad, and while no gold nuggets were found, it was a truly bonding experience that I'm certain must have warmed the hearts of those around us ("Hey, look, that man is stabbing his wife with a fork while she tries to care for his child.")

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LOST BAGS: January 7, 10:30pm, Miami: We had been scheduled to arrive at 8pm, but due to headwinds and a 2 hour flight delay, we rolled in an hour-and-a-half prior to midnight. The plan was to leave Jessa with the babies and bags at baggage claim while I caught a shuttle 3 miles down the road to the Thrifty car rental.

Thirty minutes later, my phone rang as I was driving the Thrifty rental car back to the airport. Over the screaming babies, Jessa informed me that they had lost our duffel bag with all the baby formula, food, diapers, and clothes.

About this time, I started to become mildly frustrated with United Airlines. When I arrived back at the airport, I left Jessa with the rental car and stormed into the United Airlines office, exhausted from 18 hours of travel.

I pulled aside the nearest agent, shoved our claim ticket into his hand, and hissed, "I've got TWO screaming babies, you've got us to our destination almost THREE hours behind schedule, AND YOU'VE LOST OUR MOST IMPORTANT BAG. I want that bag NOW."

He took out a piece of paper and began to scribble on it. I snatched it out of his hand.

"GO LOOK FOR OUR BAG NOW."

Ten minutes later, he came back. No dice.

I gave him my cell phone number and told him we needed to see the bag by the morning or I would have to take my kids to the hospital for their medication. Yes, I made that last part up. Nonetheless, 30 minutes later, as we drove to Ft. Lauderdale, he called me on the phone, informing me that our bag had been found and a delivery truck would have it to our address in Ft. Lauderdale within 4 hours.

And so, we continued down the expressway to Ft. Lauderdale in our shiny, white Chrysler, which was stuffed to the gills with all the aforementioned luggage, including an oversized bike case hanging out of an open trunk.

January 8, 1am, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: We finally arrived at our Florida destination: Will Smith's champagne buffet, where thirty bikini-clad women on a yacht off South Beach warmly greeted us.

Or maybe that was a song.

Actually, it was Grandma's house, where we had a midnight feast of chicken, baby potatoes, baked vegetables, and chocolate chip cookies. Bien venido a Miami.

MIAMI: January 9-11, Sun, pool, R&R, and accidentally swam with and destroyed my Motorola Razr. That's OK. Just pushing my date with an iPhone a little bit closer...

YUM: January 11, 2pm, Two days before our departure for Chili, and it's time to enjoy the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles playoff game! After a 50 mile morning bike ride up and down the giant hilly overpasses of Florida, I rummaged through Grandma's kitchen, famished for some tasty hoeur d' oeuvres to enjoy during the televised game. I creatively assembled a tasty plate of:

-Garlic Stuffed Olives

-Goat Cheese

-Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil

-Avocado with Black Pepper

-Mango Slices

Oh yeah, baby. Buffalo wings are for un-sophisticated brutes. I licked the platter clean.

YUK: January 11, 7pm, Five hours later, I was curled into a fetal position on our bed. I spent the next ten hours rushing from the bed to the toilet, hurling my guts out and crapping with both legs up in the air just like Dumb and Dumber. Somewhere, Jim Carrey was laughing.

At one point, I even passed out on the bathroom floor, with my cheek gently nestled into the fluffly toilet mat.

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THE AFTERMATH: January 12: 10am. I woke. I felt like a little grape that someone had sucked all the water and sugar and salt out of with a giant syringe, and turned into an shriveled, dry, tiny insty-raisin.

That was me, Raisin-man.

I couldn't move.

My stomach hurt.

My breath smelled like dog.

And the though of sundried tomatoes made me want to hurl, which I would've done if anything had been left inside me. But you can't squeeze much out of a raisin.

AND I HAD TO FLY TO CHILE THE NEXT DAY AND RACE IN JUST 5 DAYS!

That night, after I lay in bed moaning and groaning for hours, Jessa and I had a very serious discussion about not even going to South America. If I felt like this, there was no way I would have the strength for steps 1-32. We decided to wait it out until the morning.

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GOODBYE AMERICA: January 13, 1pm. I felt about 75%. Good enough, even if I ended up needing a diaper on the flight. We decided to head out for our 4:30pm departure.

So why did we arrive, OJ Simpson Style, at the airplane as they were *closing the doors* to the plane (not the White Bronco/murder OJ...the TV commercial OJ)?

-"Road Closed" on the official Google Directions route. I thought Google knew everything and I was very proud of my "Avoid All Tolls" back-roads route, which figured on the map to be only an additional 3 minutes. Make that 30 minutes.

-Stopped at the gas station to fill up the rental car, and decided to snag $100.00 from the ATM. It spit out...$60.00, and a receipt for $101.50. After our previous frustrations with travel, I was not about to take any crap. I brought the receipt and the three twenty-dollar bills to the clerk. He fumbled with his phone for nearly 10 minutes in an attempt to call the ATM company. Finally, I slammed my fist on his counter,

"I HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT THAT LEAVES IN 60 MINUTES. I WANT MY MONEY NOW OR I AM CALLING THE POLICE."

Not knowing that my cell phone was floating in a pool back at Grandma's house, he immediately took $40 from his cash register and handed it over.

I think I just hatched an idea for a really good scam operation.

-Pulled up to the Miami departure gate. Where I unloaded my bicycle, which I had plastered with "MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS FRAGILE" home-made stickers. I slipped the porter 20 bucks and he...let the bike through as a non-oversized ($150 savings), musical instrument ($125 savings) and gave us a $50 break on the black suitcase with weighed in over fifty pounds. Twenty bucks well spent, but this took nearly twenty minutes to work out...

-Drove quickly to return the rental car, as my stomach rumbled. The 24 hour diarrhea fun-fest the day prior had left me walking like I had a quarter squeezed between my butt cheeks. This muscle-clinch turned out to be necessary in order to hold back the floodgates. It was either that, or the little Dutch boy with the finger trick. Didn't have enough twenties left to hire any Dutch boys.

-For time efficiency, Jessa took care of getting us checked-in while I returned the rental car. When I got back, I found out that despite me paying $750 in international kid-taxes 48 hours prior, they decided to bill Jessa another $800 at the gate because she did not have a receipt, which was in my bag. I had no time to resolve the situation, and we made a mad-dash through steps 1-32 in a final attempt to catch our flight, which I was sure we had missed.

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME? January 13, 4:30pm. We hadn't put this much into getting to the airport to miss our first flight to Lima, Peru. We raced through the airport, jumping into shuttles and trains towards the far-reaches of International Terminal E. We arrived breathless at the boarding gate to find only a single, narrow escalator leading down into the plane entrance. I grabbed a carseat, baby, duffel bag, and briefcase and squeezed onto the escalator. With Jessa close behind, I ran, peering over my full arms and literally leaping into the airplane as the doors were closing.

But at this very same last minute, someone became very ill on the plane and decided not to fly. In this situation, it is policy for the airlines, in their infinite wisdom, to empty all bags from the belly of the plane, remove this person's bags, and reload all the bags. I suppose this is maybe because someone could take a bomb into the plane, fake-sick, and then get off. Which I think ruins the whole purpose of Jihad, but maybe people were trying to play the system.

Or maybe they just ate some sundried tomatoes.

So during our ensuing 60 minute delay, with the help of Baby-Benadryl, I wrote this first blog article of our trip to Pucon, Chile to race in a Half-Ironman Triathlon. The baby's metabolism eats up Benadryl like a high-speed motorcyle, and he's already stirring, so I promise another blog post before the race...

So far it has been just another big adventure. Just remember, when life throws you lemons, make lemon-aid. Or I'm thinking in my case, maybe a lemon enema.

Over and out.

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UPDATE: I JUST POSTED THIS. WE ARE CURRENTLY STRANDED IN LIMA PERU WITH NO BAGS (BAGS WERE SENT TO CHILE). THEY WILL NOT LET US ONTO THE FLIGHT WITH INFANTS, DESPITE US HAVING EMPTIED OUR BANK ACCOUNT TO TRY TO PAY FOR THE KIDS TO GET ON THE FLIGHT. THEY HAVE INFORMED US THAT THE KIDS WERE SOMEHOW ISSUED PAPER TICKETS WHILE WE WERE ISSUED ELECTRONIC TICKETS, BUT THE AIRLINE DID NOT REALIZE THE MISTAKE UNTIL AFTER SHIPPING ALL OF US TO PERU. I AM TRYING TO DO BANK TRANSFERS RIGHTNOW BUT HAVE NO CASH LEFT IN THE ACCOUNT TO GET TO MIAMI OR TO CHILE. THEY ARE NOT TAKING VISA CREDIT CARD. PLEASE PRAY FOR US.

BEN

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yum.



Ben Greenfield is very sick rightnow due to food poisoning from consumption of sundried tomatoes during the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles playoff game.

This happened following an 18 hour trip to Miami that included 2 delayed flights, 2 hours sitting on an airplane on the tarmac, and a lost bag with all the essential baby clothes, food and formula.

More details when he has any energy to type...most of it is currently being spent puking.