Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tweetsie Photo Dump

This year instead of having birthday parties the kids wanted to go to Tweetsie Railroad for their birthday. We gladly obliged! A fun weekend in Boone with the whole family? Yes please. Here's how it went down:

family selfie at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

EG trying on a train hat, Kelley photoboms from the mirror

Kids where they belong most of the time

Kelley's the one who should be terrified


my face! She loved those horses

fat man on a tiny horse


The horse bench

Ella driving by herself!

Evil Genius behind the wheel


sometimes we rode with them

all 4 of us in cars


switcharoo


Got them on some of the big rides this year!

Riding the train

On the chairlift, she was terrified

They loved the baby goats




A fun day of adventure

In Boone Sunday morning

my woooo girl
We got to do downtown Blowing Rock friday night, then a full day at Tweetsie Railroad amusement park Saturday, the some Boone time Sunday morning before heading back to Raleigh. This was the kind of trip that they will remember for a long time, and Kelley and I will too.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Looking Back at May

Let's recap the weekends bullet stye just to see what's been going on around here:
  • 3/25 Tybee Island vacation, DNS Skidaway Island Marathon
  • 4/1 Umstead 100 weekend, DNS pacing
  • 4/8 Masters golf
  • 4/16 Easter
  • 4/23 Trap Pond 50k DNS
  • 4/29 Boone fraternity weekend
  • 5/7 Jordan Lake OWS
  • 5/13 Mothers Day
  • 5/21 solo in the church choir
  • 5/27 Boone for memorial day weekend
  • 6/2 Chattanooga OWS
  • 6/10 The Lion King in Greenville with all the family
  • 6/18 Fathers Day
That makes 13 weekends in a row with something major going on. 6 of those require travel out of town for the weekend, more if I had gone to Delaware for the Trap Pond 50k or visited our mothers for Mothers Day. Kind of a crazy schedule. I don't like to do much for the greeting card holidays, so even Fathers Day next weekend is hopefully going to be really low key.

May Totals:
Swim: 41,450 yards, 13 swims, 1 race
Bike: 13.8 miles, 2 rides
Run: 2 miles, 1 run
Strength: 2 times
Yoga: 2 times

20 workouts total, the 1 race I actually made was the Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge 1.2 mile swim. 41k in the water is a pretty strong month, my strongest in a while. I've really been enjoying swimming too, the coaches are really doing me right and I'm getting fast-ish again.

I was feeling good at the beginning of May, so I actually went out on a test run! 2 miles was all the physical therapist would allow. I tried to go out again a few days later but only made it to the end of the block before limping home. I'm going to try again for another 2 miler in June sometime. Pretty sure my fall marathons are all wrecked too at this point. I should have started training (with a 5 mile long run) back on 5/4. Foot still hurts consistently most days. I might get anywhere from an hour to a day of relief, but that's not enough for consistent marathon training.

I thought I was lifting more than that? oh well. Therapist wants me to do more yoga too.

Here's some pictures from May that tell the real story of the month:

The garden is planted! Tomatoes and peppers, oh my

Strength training pays off, check out that mad tricept

Evil Genius played Dr Seuss in a school function

Ghost pepper plant is getting big

The Garden is growing! But what is that project on the left?


I had a solo with the church choir one Sunday

Muscadines starting to grow

Family trip to Boone

and the month included somebody's birthday
 May was a fantastic month. There was a lot going on both athletically and with family stuff. Each one of those bullets I started with deserves its own post, so there's a few more coming. But this May was one for the books. So much fun stuff going on.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jordan Lake OWS

The 2017 edition of the Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge really happened a few weeks ago. These Jordan Lake swim races are usually some of my favorite events of the year. This year these will likely be my only races, so I should enjoy them more. This year I was signed up for the 1.2 mile race, there was also a 2.4 going that only had one guy in my age group. Se la vie

It was a beautiful day to swim open water. A bit chilly for the drive out, what you would expect for May. Water was wet suit legal, around 70* and the air temp was much colder than that.

Nice calm water & sunshine

Had a good crowd

ready to swim, I guess
I felt prepared coming into this race. It is the only time this year I get to break out the wetsuit, which is still fairly uncomfortable. I got the wetsuit on just in time to head over to the start area for the prerace meetings.

The 2.4 milers took off first, then the 1.2 mile men started 4 minutes later. I was kind of in the middle of the width, near the front of the crowd. Before I knew it we were swimming!

I took off too fast. Lately I've been working on keeping a wide stroke, it's very efficient for moving water, but my arms aren't used to the workload yet. I looked around and was actually leading the race at one point, then saw some other people pass me to the left. So I must have started out like a mad sprinter.

It totally caught up to me quickly. There are two sighting buoys before the first turn, and by the time the first sighting buoy got there, I was getting dizzy and felt my throat closing up like I was having trouble catching my breath. For the first time in years, I had to turn over and backstroke for a bit just to get my heartrate down. THIS WAS NOT COOL. Mentally it sent me into a downward spiral. I'm hanging onto my "athlete" card by a thread anyway since I haven't been able to run this year. The way I felt in the first part of this race made me want to cut up that card and move on entirely.

Eventually I did settle down into a more consistent rhythm, but all the way into the first turn I would still have to backstroke every now and then just to keep my calm. After the first turn everything went smoothly. No trouble sighting, never had any kind of body traffic getting kicked around or anything. I just tried to be consistent and finished strong.

Finish 1.2 miles: 39:02, 74/196 overall, 47/146 men, 5/15 M40-44

My goal time in 1.2 miles is always under 30 minutes. New year, new water, new conditions, new competition. Based on the overall results I am relatively pleased with my time. Four minutes faster and I was into an age group award, that's usually the secondary goal. Anytime I finish in the top third of the field there's no reason to complain. Well, my wetsuit has a hole in the crotch, I can still complain about that. My breathing problems and shaken mental state, sure. But I feel good about the end result.

Recently, I convinced one of my friends from work to join my Masters team. She joined a relay team for Ironman Raleigh as a swimmer and wanted some open water practice races, so this was her first race in open water. Jennifer did really good. There were lots of other RAM members out there, but I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted.

Me and Jennifer, she's only 5'2"

The finish line scene

Pretty open water

KC always has her eyes closed when we face the sun for a picture
Overall this ended up being a good day. I put the top down in the convertible for the drive home, then looked down and the car said it was only 55*. Oh well, I was still comfortable. Super proud of Jennifer for finishing her first open water race, she had some wetsuit trouble as well. KC finished 2nd overall in the 2.4 mile, plenty of other RAM teammates won overall and age group awards. Since I did not take an award, I skipped out in time to make it to church to sing. Put this one in the books, I'll try to start out slower next time.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

April was fast!

I mean, it went by fast. There was a lot going on.

Swim: 28,550 y, 10 swims
Bike: 23.2 miles, 2 rides
Run: 0
Strength: 5 times
Yoga: once

It was a pretty good month in the pool. Still no running. Got a bit of cross training on the bike, but it's a small step towards getting back. Makes the knee and foot feel stronger.

One cool thing happened on the strength training front! In 2003 during my crazy weightlifting phase my bench press maxed out at 205 lbs. I only got it pressed once, testing my one rep max, never heavier and never again. A couple of weekends ago, I put 205 on the bar and got it up twice!  New bench press PR! So cool. Last year I totally blew a goal to increase my bench to 225 lbs, but now it's starting to look like that goal is in sight again! Very exciting. Maybe not as exciting as the 50k I was supposed to be running in Delaware that day, but still very exciting.

At the end of the month Kelley and I had a nice getaway to Boone. It was the 50th anniversary reunion gala for the App State chapter of my fraternity. Phi Mu Alpha is a professional music fraternity, and we got to meet some of the charter members and hear stories about how they got the ball rolling. The coolest part was getting to hang out with my boys, some of whom I haven't seen in over 20 years!

Me, Neal, Shawn in Boone together for the first time since around 1995

Kelley in front of the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis listening to live bluegrass

Bridget (Shawn's wife) and I enjoying a pint of guiness with lunch

On the blue ridge parkway

With Neal and his wife Lorena at Cone Manor

Suprise selfie

Dressing for the gala

a real player only needs half a grey head to work a table

Kelley, me, Jon, Bridget, Shawn, Lorena, Neal

Chad was there under an assumed name
The whole weekend was incredible. We all went out drinking after the gala and it got a little nuts. Again, it's just good to see everybody and their wives, and get to share the common bonds we created so many years ago. This was a time that I will really treasure.

bunch of drunks


LOTS of other stuff happened in April.

Evil Genius and her best friend shared a necklace

Ella has fun with props

EG tries to use the selfie stick as a prop

it was hot as shit out there. EG's school had a carnival fundraiser. I absolutely hate large crowds of people on a hot day where people yell at you for money. Nobody yelled at me this time, but it was the most uncomfortable I think I have ever been at an elementary school. And we still won tickets to Tweetsie Railroad in a silent auction.

European Invasion side 1

European Invasion side 2
We had visitors in the office last week, a crew of 4 came over from Europe - 3 from London and one guy from Amsterdam. It was incredible having them onsite all week. We've been working closely together for most of the year. And we were able to negotiate us going to Amsterdam for the product launch if we make it on time! These pictures are from a dinner we hosted to show off the local brewery & pizza house, Trophy Brewing. I literally ordered the entire menu, there was 14 of us so we got all 8 specialty pizzas listed on that board on the wall. Nobody went home sober or hungry (well, the drivers were sober).

So overall April was a great month. Like I mentioned in the last post, I got to go to the Masters, the beach, had the Umstead 100 day volunteering, and got a bench press pr instead of a trip to delaware. Top it off with an amazing reunion in the mountains, nothing could be better.