Thursday, May 26, 2016

I been lifting, bro

Tonight's workout was worthy of documentation. My goal is to get my bench press 1 rep max up to 225 lbs. Monday and Thursday are chest days, but really Thursday is supposed to be an upper body circuit. Yesterday turned into a basketball and church day, and tomorrow is a holiday weekend friday, so it's time to drink beer. So that meant I went ahead and combined shoulders, upper body, and leg day tonight.

So this was my Thursday night strength training workout. Exercise - weight x sets x reps

Incline dumbbell press (chest) 40 x 4 x 8
Military press (shoulders) 25 x 3 x 8
Dumbbell hammer bicep curl 25 x 3 x 10
Flat dumbbell press (chest) 55 x 6 x 8
Deadlift (back/legs) 185 x 3 x 10
Squat 185 x 4 x 10
Calf raise 135 x 3 x 15
Barbell curl 50 x 3 x 10
Lateral dumbbell shoulder raise 15 x 3 x 10
Leg press 395 x 3 x 10

I've already worked abs several times this week, but I think this workout was worth skipping swim practice. Usually I can only get in 5 or 6 exercises. Getting 10 done in almost 2 hours is kind of insane.
My favorite day is chest day

The good news is that it's working! My first test for 1RM had my bench at 185. Last monday I got 195 up twice, so really less than 30 lbs to go. This Monday, I tried to work out with 185 on the bar and only got it up about 5 times. That still feels like some serious personal growth.

So officially I'm trying to lift 3 to 5 days a week, and still get in some yoga in the mornings, swim/bike/run twice a week (well, bike once a month) to get ready for summertime triathlon season. We'll just have to see how that all plays out.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Quite the Mothers Day

I don't know why they would schedule an open water swim race on Mothers day, but they did it last year too. The race organizers are all parents, there's only 3 open water races in the series, how about don't put the first one on Mothers day.

It was an absolutely beautiful day for an open water swim race. The Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge is a fun race with a 1.2 mile or 2.4 mile (2 laps) options for this year. I'm taking the short distances for the rest of the year, so I signed up for the one lapper. Given the fact that I've only made it to TWO swim practices all year long, this became the right choice come race day. Air temps were in the mid 60's, water temp was officially 71*, but it felt like 65* easily. Quite fun.

Some of the RAM team swimmers competing
I felt great when the starting gun went off so I took off way too fast. It's a triangle course so there are 2 right hand turns then the finish. Seemed like the first side of the triangle went by pretty quick. On the back end of the triangle, it seemed like there was some kind of wind, or something pushing me to the outside. Usually between the two turn buoys goes by pretty quickly but this time it seemed to take forever. I think I turned the triangle course into more of an ice cream cone shape. But eventually I did start heading back to the finish.

Once the finish came in sight I had a nice sprint kick to the line. Get out of the water, run across the timing mat, finishing in 39:15 for a 1:51 per hundred yards pace. That's good enough for 7/22 in my age group and 99/363 overall. I'm really pleased with it, a nice pace and top third placement. But with any luck this will be a before picture. With some actual swimming practice over the summer, hopefully the other two races will be faster than this one.

Beautiful day at the lake


Hanging with some RAM teammates.
After the race I had to book it back home. I still actually made it to church on time! There was a big tenor part in the choir anthem that day, and we had an incredibly sweet Mothers day tribute song where the children's choir sang with the adult choir. It turned out great, and I know someone got a video but I can't find it. And of course my children did not want to participate.

After church I came home and finally got to have some mothers day fun with Kelley and the kids. For about 20 minutes. We had a 1 pm brunch reservation at the NC State golf course clubhouse with Kelley's dad and his wife's family. These brunch buffets are always fun, loaded with good food. I didn't want to make a complete ass of myself, but when I go to a buffet after a swim race that's kind of a challenge. I stopped myself at 4 plates.

Ella loves that hat

Lots of family fun

Even got my mother in law into a shot
Finally by 4 pm we made it home and I was able to crash for a pretty good nap. Of course, while I was asleep inside, this was happening outside

this is absurd
So overall, this was a pretty crazy mother's day. Just as a sunday, that's a lot going on. When you lump in a greeting card holiday with it, then wow.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bathroom Disaster part 2

I realize nobody reading my triathlon and family blog will really care about progress on the bathroom remodel, so feel free to skip this one.

This thing took forever. It started with a rotten floor and turned into a complete remodel. The plaster came down, drywall went up, they screwed up a wall placement and we ended up moving the toilet.

With a title like Bathroom Disaster it's a safe bet that I've been trail running again, but no. This, instead:

Drywall is up!

That wall looks a bit close to the toilet drain, huh? NOT COOL

Moved the toilet and hit a joist

So much tile in my living room

SO MUCH tile in my living room

Seriously, SO MUCH TILE IN MY LIVING ROOM

Wall and toilet are moved

Shower liner goes in - 500 lbs of concrete on there

And finally the first set of floor tiles goes down!

And eventually some wall tiles go up!

toilet is going behind the shower now


You can guess where it goes from there. More tile, then fixtures, then decorating. This has gone on long enough. One more post to get to the finished product!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Cute kid pictures

I have a backlog of cute kid pics from April. Enjoy.

Picture day at school

Evil Genius got her artwork hung in the mall!


Ella and I cruising with the top down

We were stopped at a red light

EG watering the garden after planting

The muscadines are leafed out and the Rhoda's are in bloom! must be spring in NC




We got the garden planted - only direct seeds this year since I didn't have the chance to get any plants from Mom. We finished at sunset, so that picture of EG watering in the seeds is not a filter; it was just that dark in the front yard. I still think it's a cool shot.

The kids are getting so big! the school year is about to wrap up. Kelley and I are more excited about it than the kids are. They are ready to track out, but nervous about starting the new grades in a few months.

Got a bathroom remodel update to publish soon and a fantastic Mother's day report to come soon!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ciao May Fun

April turned out to be completely insane. We had this work on the bathroom remodel going all. month. long. It had the entire house turned upside down, and Kelley got super stressed about it. Also her mother made the move up to NC, finally. She closed on a condo about 4 miles from us so we spent a lot of our weekends getting her setup over there. I am so glad she's in town now! But I'm also glad that April is behind me.

Neena getting settled in


Swim: 4800 yards, 2 swims
Bike: 10 miles, 1 ride
Run: 97 miles, 4 runs, 1 race
Strength: 9 times
Yoga: 4 times

Obviously clearing 75 miles in the Umstead 100 was the athletic highlight for the month of April. It was also my primary goal for the year. The most shocking thing was that I ran 3 other times on the month. The recovery time was exaggerated by a sinus flare-up which has finally started to die down but is still sometimes problematic, even in early May. 13 days after the race I did some bodyweight strength stuff, then on the 16th got on the bike to spin my legs out. My feet took a for the swelling to go down, but using those muscles again really took a while.

My next goal is to get my bench press up to 225 lbs. That's two 45 lb plates on each side of the bar. I'll call it a win when I just get it up once, but I've got a way to go. The plan I'm using for this started on 4/18 in earnest. I'm trying to focus on chest days on Mondays and Thursdays, but supposed to be lifting 5 days a week. So far it's going really well. My initial test for my 1 rep max came in at 185 lbs, that's a 45 and a 25 lb plate per side. So I've got 40 lbs to go.

I'm also starting to get ready for triathlon season, trying to swim/bike/run twice per sport per week. So far, I've only been able to hit the Tuesday evening swim practice. Turns out North Carolina's most idiotic regulation ever (HB2 or the Bathroom Bill) is keeping jobs away and existing hiring managers are going dark. That means I'm still driving to Durham every day and unable to make my favorite noon swim practices. That stupid, discriminatory law is really messing me up - it's not who we are in NC and it is costing us big time.

4/4 was a beautiful day

4/15 hey it was cooler but I had to help my MIL get moved in
I got a few good chances for driving with the top down. That bottom pic I had to haul a ladder over to MIL's new condo - not an easy feat in a 2 seater. You'll also notice the beard is gone, it didn't last long after the Umstead.

Also obvious after seeing those pictures, Ciao May Fun is a reference to my favorite chinese food Chow Mei Fun. Recovery eating has led straight into weightlifting bulk eating and it has not been kind to my waistline. Usually this time of year I'm either going through a weight loss phase or base building into a training plan for something big, not chugging my way into the offseason. About time to get beach ready?

Ciao May Fun is also a clever way to say hello to a new month where it's not summertime hot yet, but there is a pending return to normal life. The bathroom remodel is wrapping up, Neena is getting settled in, and my first open water swim race of the summer is coming up this Sunday. Can't ask for much more!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The what what

We've had a problem. We've been dealing with it, but it's still a problem. I tried to put off dealing with it until after the Umstead 100, but it wouldn't wait. So Easter weekend I had a day off from work, and Kelley and I decided to go for it. We had a toilet that was sinking into the floor. I thought it would be an easy 3 day project, just pop out the toilet, replace half a sheet of plywood under those tiles and get to grouting. What we found was quite shocking.

That's a lot of rotten subfloor




We started digging a bit deeper (literally) into the subfloor to find rotten joists all the way down. Before you know it I was in over my head. Not literally this time, there's only about 18" of crawl space down there, our house is really old. But I knew enough to know when it was time to call in a professional.

That is insulation and a hole where the toilet was.

After the contractor ripped out the tub and all joists

even the closet had to go

New joists going in


The whole space is open now!
We decided that if we had to rip out the floor we were just going to look at it as a remodel, not just trying to repair what was originally there. The rot went under the tub so it had to come out. The linen closet walls had water damage, and the floor had to come out underneath of those walls anyway.

If it all had to come out, it all had to get rebuilt, so we decided to get what we wanted. Apparently that was a double tub? something really old that shattered. We wanted to go with a walkin shower with glass doors instead. Linen closet is gone entirely, we moved the toilet to the other side of the new shower and will use a piece of furniture to hold the towels.

We picked out tiles

I want these glass doors

These are the floor tiles we picked
The contractor has gotten the bones all figured out, and my next post about it will show some actual forward progress. This easy 3 day project has now been going on for 5 weeks so far, and we've got about 2 weeks left. I'm hoping they can wrap up next week, but Kelley thinks it will be another month before we can actually use the new bathroom. We're trying to make lemonade out of the lemons we've been given here, and that's not even a pee joke. Continual forward progress!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Aftermath

Well now that it's been a couple of weeks since the Umstead 100 things have started to almost get back to normal. There was some normal expected stuff in the recovery time, like blisters and walking with a limp. What I did not expect was a sinus infection. Apparently, the entire body responds to 75 miles of trauma with inflammation and it really blew up behind my nose. A sinus infection was already present before the race (according to the doctor), and the inflammation response blew it up into sinus pressure. The pressure then generalized into a migraine. This got worse every day. Finally on Friday after the race I went to the doctor thinking I needed an antibiotic or something. $300 later I got a shot in the ass that relieved the migraine for about 6 hours before it came raging back. I cannot express how badly our health care system sucks.

Week 2 was more of the same. I sang a solo in the church choir that Sunday, under severe medication. It went ok, but not my best stuff. The antibiotics did nothing. Blisters and muscles felt fine, and I really wanted to start working out again. But this migraine was absolutely debilitating. I haven't had a multi-day headache like this since 2005, and I did not miss it at all. Finally this Friday the 15th was the first day without medication so I thought I would be in the clear. The best combination of meds seemed to be 2 Aleve and 2 Excedrin Migraine at the same time for about 4 hours of relief.

Saturday I ran 10 miles, my basic route to the State Capital. The headache was easing up, it was a beautiful sunny day, and I really wanted to get some miles. I did end up pushing the speed some, and the heat meant that I was a bit under hydrated. But overall it felt amazing just to be out there again. If I go more than about 2 days without a workout of any kind it makes my personality a bit "testy" - not exactly pleasant for me or my family.

So of course tonight (Sunday) the headache is roaring again. I'll medicate up before heading into the office on Monday. This is not an aspect of recovery that I was expecting or was prepared for. In fact, I really wanted to hit the bike today, I'm ready to start triathlon training for this year. Swim practice starts again on Tuesday.
Really looking forward to biking more this year

The big news for this weekend is that my mother-in-law is finally living in Raleigh again! She closed on a condo about 4 miles from our house on friday morning, then we spent the whole weekend getting her moved in. She is very happy with her decision to get back to NC after spending over 25 years in South Carolina. The kids love having her in town. I am thoroughly relieved that she is here too, and will be very glad when she is settled down more and I don't have to lift heavy furniture.

Ladders in a covertible? That's how we roll.

Nana and the Evil Genius
In my goals post for 2016 I left something vague. After the Umstead 100 I wanted to come up with some other kind of challenge for the summer that was not triathlon based. Well it's time to formalize that goal and start working on it! I've decided to try a weightlifting challenge. I've always wanted to be able to bench press 225 lbs - that's two 45 lb plates on each side of the bar. The closest I've ever come is benching 205 during my crazy weightlifting phase in 2003. I think mustering up the testosterone to build my bench after age 40 makes this challenge extra hard and extra fun. I also think working the bench will end up strengthening my swimming as well.

Heavy weightlifting starts on Monday! migraine pending, unfortunately. I'm going to just roll with the punches here and see how it works.