Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Evil Princess

Our little Evil Genius turned 8 last week. In the last year, she has really grown into her own person. Yes she's still the picky eater and strong personality. But now she's discovered what she really does like, and not just developed a list of things she doesn't like (that's evil). Turns out, Frozen and Elsa are at the top of that list. So for her birthday party we told her she could have a few friends over to spend the night, and we found an Elsa to come over for a while!

She read them a story

brought a craft for the kids

Painted their faces

She also painted their fingernails

then stuck around for cupcakes and ice cream

What a fun Elsa!
The birthday party happened to be the night before I had to get up at 3:45 AM for Ironman Raleigh. Talk about a scheduling conflict.  We also had pizza and got to watch movies, and everyone had a really fun time.

Some of this

led directly to this

But there was a lot more of this

and everyone had a good time.

Kelley and I are both so proud of the girl our EG is growing into. Smart, funny, and passionate are the kinds of things that make us worry about this one, and make us happy.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Doesn't feel like

Well, it does feel like summertime now. Totally doesn't feel like the year is almost half over. The kids are out of school now, done with the 4th and 2nd grade. They both ended the school year with really good grades and are looking forward to a nice summer break. The end of May also shows a few numbers that surprised me:

Swim: 58,460 yards, 18 swims, 2 races
Bike: 54 miles, 4 rides
Run: 52 miles, 8 runs, 1 race
Strength: 4 times
Yoga: 14 times

The only running race was the Beer Mile. Swim races had the 2.4 mile Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge and the swim relay for Ironman Raleigh. But typically I will put 20k in the pool, maybe 30k in a really strong month. But over 58,000 yards? that is completely insane! You can tell I'm getting ready for that 12 mile Swim Around Charleston coming up in september. I'm trying to get in 4-6 RAM team practices per week, whereas 2 masters practices is all you really need for Ironman training. The biggest 7 day week I had in May started on memorial day where I put 5k in the pool, and finished with Ironman Raleigh on sunday as a 1.6 mile swim race. That week had a total of 21,960 yards and I was completely dead by the end of it. Funny part is, a 12 mile swim race is 21,120 yards. So my challenge through the summer is to take my biggest week of swimming ever and turn it into a one day event. This is going to be fun.

I got to run a bit more in May as well. Not the 100+ mile months that I so enjoyed last year, but that's the tradeoff for all of that pool time. I've tried to get at least a long run each weekend, and trying to get one other weekday run done as well. It's getting too hot to run much now, and I'm having shoe trouble to deal with too.

Things I'm loving has to include strength training! I've been hitting the gym hard, if not very often. But I'm doing heavy squats (finally got back to 315 lbs the other day!) and bench pressing numbers I haven't seen in a long time. Lifting heavy things has proven to be quite rewarding over the last few months.

May also contained the birthday of an Evil Genius (pics tomorrow) and visits from many people including my mother! Like I said, it was a great month all around.

Amazing fritatta with enough ghost peppers to choke a heat seeker

Ella in the trees

The only picture I got of Mom's visit

Memorial day goodness

Too cool for school

Last day of school pic!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ironman Raleigh 2015 Relay

Everybody loves hanging out with friends. Hanging out with new friends, doing something they've never done before is even better! Eric and Susan found me through a mutual friend. Originally Eric had another couple lined up to be the relay team, but they got called out on a cruise. So his wife Susan stepped up to run, and they recruited my friend Chelsea to swim. After Chelsea was sidelined by an injury this spring, she asked me to step up and take her place on the team. Of course I'll jump on any excuse to get into open water this year, so I eagerly started guiding the newbies into the wild world of multisport. Eric and Susan had never done a triathlon of any distance before, so Ironman Raleigh 70.3 was going to be their introduction!

Race morning started early. My alarm went off at 3:45, and before you know it I was sitting outside at 0:dark-thirty for them to come pick me up.
streetlights in the driveway
Around 4:30 Eric and Susan, along with Susan's parents Bob and Wendy came to pick me up and we headed downtown. Turns out, Susan's parents are absolutely fascinating people! I truly enjoyed getting to spend the entire day with them. The 5 of us made our way downtown, parked, and found the shuttle bus to get out to Vista Point. The sun came up during the bus ride, it was a beautiful sight.

Me, coffee, Susan, Eric in front

the dark crowded bus

Once we got there, it was a glorious sight. The lake was calm and beautiful, the sky was blue, the air was warm.

In the port-a-john line

Swim start is laid out.  Beautiful day.

Team 4 Cats is ready to go

We're all body marked but you can't see my digits
So after getting picked up at 4:30 am, the pro's hit the water at 7 am. Relay's go in the last swim wave at 8:24 am. I had to warm up a bit, put the sunscreen on, and wait through the line. That's when Eric snapped this piece of magic

It looks like I'm nude instead of swimming in a speedo. Also, Eric actually encouraged me to flex a bit for the camera. That should never happen. haa! Also they called the water at 79*, so no legal wetsuits.

I did hit the water eventually, and the entire swim was crowded. My goal time was to get under 32 minutes. I wore the garmin. At the start, I swam with my head up water-polo style to avoid getting kicked, and eventually settled into my stroke when I found some open water on the left side of the pack. I think the waves went off every 4 minutes, and by the time I hit the first turn I was passing people with other colored caps on.

The course was a broken rectangle. Go out, turn right, go for a long way, turn right again and get to shore. When I was on the top of the rectangle, the water was very choppy in that stretch. Don't really know why, the wind wasn't notably strong, maybe there was boat traffic. There was certainly a lot of human traffic! This stretch was really crowded. Lots of people stopping to sight even though we were still on course. Quite a few breast strokers out there. These were the slower swimmers from the earlier waves, and I noticed I was passing them like they were standing still. Plenty of people took an hour to get out of the water, more power to them, but I was grateful to the ones that stayed out of my way.

After I made the last turn the crowds opened up a bit more. Easier time finding clean water, and before I knew it I was tasting boat gas - the swim exit was in sight. Ran up the boat ramp and planted my foot in front of that Relay tent, but Eric was nowhere to be found! I called out for him, turned out that tent got really crowded and he was trapped in the back.

Eric eventually knifed his way through the other teams, grabbed the chip from my ankle and sprinted after his steed. I caught up with Susan's parents who were holding my swim bag and eventually caught my breath and got dressed again. Checking the garmin, it said I swam in 37:25, which was initially a disappointing time, but then it also said I swam 1.6 miles. Several other swimmers said the course felt long to them, and I thought my effort was good enough to get my sub-32 goal.  Turns out, 37:25 for a 1.2 mile course is a 1:58 pace per hundred meters (official race split stat), but for a 1.6 mile course it's only a 1:20 pace per hundred yards (my sprint goal time in the pool during regular practice). I was the 15th relay swimmer out of the water, out of 73 teams.

Post swim, somebody took all of these bikes out of T1

Holy crap I can't believe I was able to actually really hold that pace for that distance! Yes I've been crushing it in swim practice lately, and really putting the work in. But that still exceeds my expectations. What an amazing day! Even my swim coach told me in practice a few months ago that I could hold that pace for a mile in open water, but I didn't believe her. Lesson learned, trust your coach.

Logistically, now we had 4 people at Vista Point and one cyclist rapidly approaching downtown. Logistically, the buses couldn't take spectators down the road (closed to traffic) until the last biker turned onto hwy 64. So there was about 2000 people standing in the hot sun waiting to get on buses until about 10 am. Then we made the drive back downtown and arrived at 11 am. Eric's goal was to hit 18 mph and get into T2 right around noon.

Susan and I waiting in T2. She's ready to run!
Eric absolutely destroyed that bike course. The first 20 miles were fast, then the hills and heat hit him so he slowed down a bit. Still, in the end, this guy ended up with a 19.6 mph average, finishing in 2:52. Amazing speed for such a hard course on such a hot day. He really exceeded his own expectations as well. His was only the 6th bike to arrive in T2!

that is one dehydrated cyclist desperately seeking shade
So now Susan was out on the run course, and Eric and I eventually found her parents, got the bike loaded up into the car, and got some lunch. That pizza was incredible. Eric and I were tracking Susan on our phones, and she finished the first lap when we were still eating. But soon enough we timed it out and found our place at the finish line, waiting to see her come in.

Susan wrapped up our day with a 2:17 half marathon, and we finished 17th out of 73 relay teams.

Susan finishing up

post race eats

Eric, Susan and me with our finishers medals!
Overall, it was a wonderful and hot day to be around the Ironman event. These two got a nice introduction, and I think Susan is hooked now! She signed up for a Ramblin Rose the next day. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know such good friends, and we all ended up with some great race stories. I was very appreciative to be included in their race day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Ella loved my new android phone - me, not so much. Can't rotate these pictures!

Evil Genius is loving my new running shoes that came in!

EG had a fun play date before a birthday party for another mutual friend

It was a roller skating party!

After all of these kid pics, I did get in a few great date nights with Kelley!

Monday, May 25, 2015

The drunken mile

Raleigh has now hosted a beer mile! I was very excited to get in on this when they first announced it and jumped into registration. I've wanted to do one of these races for a long time now and it did not disappoint. The Beer Mile started with drunks sneaking into a public track after hours. 4 laps around the track is a mile, so you chug a beer before running each lap, and time the whole thing. 4 beers, 4 laps, for time. This race was hosted at Natty Greene's brewery, one of my favorite local breweries, so that only sweetened the deal for me. Kelley hasn't been to a race with me in a while, and my friend Allison wanted to come out as well so we all had a blast.

Funny thing was we had to get there for packet pickup between 4-6 pm, and my wave didn't start until 8 pm. So we got there in time and had dinner inside before getting into the race environment. I figured it would be safe enough to have a pint with the meal since I had 2+ hours until I had to run. Eventually we made our way outside for the race festivities and got to watch the other waves go for it.

The crowd bearing down on the starting line

Me, Kelley, and Allison looks pissed.

And they're off!
Eventually wave 4 was up and it was my turn to take off. I was well trained for this event, and had been looking forward to it for a long time.

And we're off! I totally got chicked in the first beer.

Ready to rock
You had to get behind that line to drink, then throw the empty cup away as you take off for a quarter mile lap. Repeat that 3 more times. That video is the start of the race, so I got the first beer down in 8 seconds. That's considerably faster than the 1 minute it usually took at home, but the cups were a bit small, I think. Even at 8 seconds you could still tell who the drinkers were and who the runners were! ha! I hit the road and hit a road block. These faster drinkers were really clogging up the roadway!

Beer 2 went down pretty smooth, but I really crushed the run part of lap 1 so I had to take some time to get my heart rate back down some. Lap 2 wasn't nearly as crowded either, so that was certainly more pleasant. I did pass this one girl on lap 2, then again on lap 3 so I had to make a joke about that. She caught up with me after the race and admitted to puking, so that was good. At least she knew she was drinking too fast.

After beer 3, ready to barf
I love that pic, the t-shirt and my face are the only things in focus. The key to running fast with that much carbonation loaded up in your stomach is to keep a smooth gait. In any running form, the upper body should glide forward, any energy spent moving the upper body up and down is wasted. And when you're full of beer, the up and down movement generates an explosion of epic proportions. We were looking for pukers, and didn't see as many as we were expecting. I just kept going out with lap 3 trying to keep it all down.

heading to the finish
Beer 4 went down pretty burpy, but I still ran pretty strong in the last lap. I hit the finish line in 8:34, and counted 4 other people out there. So I felt really good about that. Official results showed me placing 77 out of 179 guys, so I'm pretty amped about that. There were 2 guys that went under 6 minutes! insane.

After the finish line I got to hang out with some friends old and new, and they handed out door prizes. I won some anti-chafing stuff, and Allison thought it was hilarious that I won something labeled "for her"! The rest of those cups of beer were still up for grabs, so I had a couple more of those. Hey, they were small.

Overall this was a really fun event and we all had a blast. I did end up a bit tipsy, but I didn't puke like I expected. So winning all around. Check this one off of the bucket list.