Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dropped the Duece

I must admit that one of the benefits of working from home was that you rarely ended up in an office. This prevents a lot of bacterial contact from other people in an office. So I came down with a sinus thing and ended up flat on my ass friday instead of going to work. This turned out to be a 48 hour bug, so it started around 4 pm thursday and stuck with me until around 4 pm saturday.

Saturday at 7 am was supposed to be The Big Deuce 2 mile open water swim race. I did not end up being able to attend. I did go get the packet/t-shirt. And since I was feeling better on sunday I ended up heading to the gym and put my 2 miles in the pool. That's 144 laps in a 25 meter pool if you are counting at home. I timed it out in 1 hour 17 minutes. That would have put me finishing 100th out of 108 people. I'm just glad I covered the distance. It's an ironman prep thing to build my swim capacity to a 2 mile status. So I got my miles in the pool instead of the lake, big whup.

In other news, Bigun got into the school we wanted after all! I'm very excited. It's a year round school, so it started July 9th with a huge waiting list. By last week a spot opened up and she got in! So she's officially in the Wake county school system now, in 5 year old kindergarten. Here's a picture of her first day at school:

Being in a year round school she goes for 9 weeks and gets 3 weeks off instead of a traditional 12 week summer break. That means she'll have most of september, december, march and june off. We're all really looking forward to trying this new schedule out. I prefer to take vacations in the fall/winter/spring, so I think it will be fantastic.

And now I have to tell an Evil Genius True Story. We're working on potty training her, and it's going pretty good I think. Until Sunday. She did put a nice dookey in the potty, and that's great. But she did not wipe or flush. Instead, she came and sat down on my foot. Because daddy makes the best toilet paper? wtf? She just stood up and there was shit on my foot. Then I found some more on the floor of the bathroom. Wow, the hits just keep on coming. That child is special.

I also got a tattoo yesterday! It's my first, and such an odd thing for a 35 year old to do. Couple of pics:

I got the word "Balance" on my chest. The irony is not lost of putting the word balance on one side of my body instead of in the middle, thereby throwing me out of balance. But I can totally understand why tat's are addictive. I knew that I couldn't swim for a few weeks after getting one, and with that 2 mile swim behind me I knew I could take a few weeks out of the pool. I'm pretty sure I will end up getting more in time, including the m-dot on my right leg after finishing ironman florida next year.
I've been debating tattoos for several months now. What to get, and where, it's just an urge that wouldn't go away. This one is meaningful because I wanted something small enough to where I couldn't abandon when they were halfway through if it hurt too much. It didn't hurt that bad, so I'm planning the next (larger) one.
Balance is a goal for me. I've preached for years on here about the benefits of balanced training. We also have to watch for work/family balance, family vs personal time, balancing your friends with your commitments, even beer vs..... well ok you really can only drink beer and be ok (as opposed to wine or liquor - Coffee, water, and sports drinks are still staples).
But the fact remains that everything you do and every choice you make has a balanced offset sometimes called an opportunity cost. The opportunity cost of taking the wife and kids to dinner could be having beers after work with your cube-mates. Finding that balance can be tricky. Taking time to train takes time away from your (and my) kids, and that can be a tough balance. Going out to lunch with a group from the office often enough might mean you won't have the cash for a race entry fee (a cost cost?). So balance has been on the brain a lot for a long time. I'm hoping this ink will be a reminder to keep everything balanced.

Up next is a metric century bike ride august 7th. It's a local charity ride, and I'm using it mostly as a training race to get a time established for the half ironman in september. Should be a hot blast, I'm really looking forward to it!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Triangle Sprint race report

The Triangle Sprint Triathlon was an absolutely amazing race! I had heard that it was a tougher course than what I was used to racing. I knew it was going to be hot. It turned out to be completely incredible.

In transition, getting setup before the start.

We got up at 5:30, out the door by 6. Had no idea where the race site was, but I knew it was only a few miles away from the house. The web site said parking was kind of tight. We ended up parking 2 miles away from the race site, and had to walk in carrying the transition bag and my bike, Roberta. Even at that hour, it was incredibly hot and humid. Kelley and I were both drenched by the time we got to the transition area.

At the first of the year when I laid out my 2010 goals, this one was in there:

12. Take the 6 pack out of the fridge. Hopefully my 14 workouts a week will bring out the abs. Related goal: Run one of my summer sprint triathlons without wearing a shirt. I got these great SUGOi Velocity tri shorts & singlet, but I'm too tall for the singlet to fit right. So I want to run topless without being embarrassed.

Well, the outfit in the picture above was the entire race kit. All I needed. It was incredibly freeing. I LOVED riding the bike without a shirt on. The sun, the breeze, the freedom, it all felt amazing. However, I did not bring the 6 pack out of the fridge. It is still comfortably insulated. I was starting to see more definition before we moved into the new house. So I wasn't the picture of HTFU that I was expecting, but I certainly was not embarrassed out there.

This race was at Harris Lake. The water in Harris Lake is pulled into the nuclear power plant, used to cool off the nuclear reactors, and returned into Harris Lake. The running joke with the kids was that daddy was going to be used as their nightlite last night, and for me to keep an eye out for any three-eyed fish. The water temperature at the swim start was 90 degrees.

Lining up to get in the lake before the swim start

I've been trying to gear up for the 2 mile OWS in a few weeks, and this was the only time I was going to be in a lake before that race. So I wanted to kick some tail in the water. It went so much better than I expected.

That's me with my whole head out of the water and shoulders out of position. Kelley is an incredible photographer to be able to keep up with my position in the washing machine like that.

We had an in-water start about waist deep. I found my stroke and held it. Just like what happens every time in the pool, the lungs tightened up a bit once my breathing got taxed, then loosened up and I was in my groove. The swim was 750 meters, and I held my stroke the entire time! Normally in OWS I have to throw in a couple of breast strokes to get my head above water and catch my breath up every so often. But at this race I just kept on stroking. It felt incredible.

Heading into T1

There was a long run coming out of the water back into the transition area, and I felt so great after the swim it didn't bother me at all. I dried off my feet, put on socks, bike shoes, helmet, and took off with Roberta.

Roberta has been having some saddle problems lately. So guess what happened as soon as I sat down? Shtoink! The seat went immediately loose, back, and pointing straight up. I had just tightened everything down the night before! So there I was riding out of the state park, less than a hundred yards into a 17.5 mile bike ride with a seat playing divide and conquer with my nutsack. I immediately abandoned any time goals on the bike.

Fortunately, at the park exit there was a sag guy. You don't normally see those in sprint tri's. He didn't have an alan wrench to tighten the seat back down, but did at least get it pointed in the right direction. The dangerous part about a carbon fiber seatpost is that you can tighten the saddle down too tight and actually crack the post. If you do that it's just a matter of time before the seat comes off in the middle of a ride. So now I just wanted to finish. I'll deal with replacing the seatpost later if I need to. I knew I couldn't sit on the back half of the saddle for the rest of the ride, and when I go aero I typically move back on the saddle. So this would be your basic nightmare.

Still, the bike leg in it's entirety was really good. The course had lots of rolling hills, two pretty good climbs, and no traffic. It took me about 12 miles to really get my cycling legs warmed up, but once it felt good it felt GREAT! Mechanical difficulties aside, I tackled those hills with precision and power. It felt like I was back at the transition area much faster than I was expecting. I did take a gel as soon as the bike came back into the state park so I'd be fueled up for the run.

T2 felt very fast. Ran with Roberta back to my rack, switched out the bike shoes for the run shoes (with Yanx, no tying), and traded the bike helmet for a headsweats visor and I was off and running.

The run course was a loop with an out and back, all in the state park, and mostly on trails. The trails threw me off mentally, there were tons of roots and loose dirt that I wasn't expecting. The hills on the trails were tough! I wanted a harder course though. and I got it. There were plenty of aid stations with water. It was so hot I walked through them and drank as much as I could take down. Pouring with sweat, it was so freaking humid you could feel the air move around you while running. I kept a good pace, held good form, and ran my race. It ended up being the slowest 5k I've turned in over the last several months, but it still fit. Coming back into the finish line:

Check out the muscle definition in those gams!

I hit the finish line happy to be done. Through all the ups and downs, this has got to be one of my favorite races ever.

Final stats:
Swim: 16:55
T1: 3:24
Bike 59:33
T2: 1:51
Run: 29:28

Overall: 382/481 men
AG: 71/72 35-39 age men

In the swim I was 57th AG, and 69th AG in the bike and run. so it must have been the transition times that pushed me next to last in the age group. I knew I did pretty good in the swim, I passed a bunch of people in the water. And a bunch of people passed me on the bike and run. The strange thing is that in SC I would have been much closer to middle of the pack. Raleigh is so much more competitive! So overall this was a fantastic race and I can't wait to do it again next year. I can see why it's so popular.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This week

This week is nuts. and tons of fun. It all started last thursday.

I love a long holiday weekend. Gives me the time to do whatever needs to be done. Thursday I got to put in a fun brick after work. 15 miles on the bike followed by a hard, fast and fun 6.5 mile run. I feel like I'm starting to plateau my speed and conditioning, especially on the bike and run. So that was a well earned brick workout. and it was FUN.

Friday I rested. it was glorious. We went out to dinner with some friends to kick off the holiday.

By Saturday, I knew it was time to swim. I hit the pool and left 100 laps in there. That's 1.55 miles, and a personal distance record. I hit it in 1:03, which is also a pretty fast time to go that long. No stops, rests, catching my breath between sets..... Just start swimming and keep on freaking swimming. I'm trying to get ready for The Big Deuce 2 mile open water swim on July 24th, and this has me feeling great. I feel like I could have gone longer if I needed to. This is like the 20 mile run before the marathon; it gives you confidence going into the event. and that's fantastic.

Sunday I went outside for a run. I tried Lake Johnson after hearing there was a good trail around the lake. You may remember how much I loved running around the lake at Furman University. It was a 1.1 mile loop around the lake with some shade and some sun. There were water fountains and rest rooms on both sides of the lake. and there was a hill at furman, or a cutoff to keep from having to run it.

Lake Johnson = hill work. I had no idea, and started out on the flat side of the path. Then hit the hills just before coming to the closing of the loop at the parking lot/boathouse. I discovered that it was easier if you ran the route the other way. So the total path was 2.9 miles. There were no bathroom or water fountains along the way, but there were trash cans. and did I mention I got surprised by the hills? It looks like a fun place to take the family, but not the Furman lake replacement trail that I was hoping for. Still, a long run outside on a hot day can only be so bad. I covered 7 miles total.

The funny part was that my mp3 player battery died less than 2 miles in. Then about 5.5 miles in the Garmin battery died off. So I was left with just me and the mile markers. and the heat. yes it was about 98 out there.

Sunday night we had a fantastic cookout with the Pattersons (Chris ran the B2B with me last year), and then watched fireworks from the backyard. The new backyard is very close to the state fairgrounds, so we had the best fireworks show in raleigh from the comfort of our own backyard. Bigun called it "the best appendix day fireworks show ever" and absolutely loved it. In the past she's been scared of the loud sounds and bright explosions. It was so much fun to see her enjoy it.

Monday was reserved for a bike ride with the Raleigh Gyros. It turned out to be about 100 degrees, so I opted out of that and instead went to the gym for a couple of hours. I hit abs and lower back first, then an hour and a half on the bike. My legs were pretty sore after the hill run, so it felt great to spin them out. Again, I'm still feeling plateau'd on the bike so it's crazy. I've got to find a way to push the bounds more. To make matters worse, the gym plays cardio cinema, where they put a different movie every day on a big projection screen. There's no treadmills in the theater, but there is a good bike. so the movie (Surrogates with Bruce Willis) was playing monday, and I watched it.

Today I got in some good yoga before work, and a hard and fast 1000 yds in the pool over lunch. I'm feeling good in the water these days.

Tomorrow's going to be fun. For starter's, it's my 35th birthday! Mentally I'm having kind of a midlife thing. But it's still going to be a good day. A lot of people took this week off from work, so it's an easy week in the office. And I'm hitting up another brick after work tomorrow. Going to be a long one, maybe an hour on the bike and an hour running. maybe even a longer bike ride.

It's also the last workout of the week. Saturday I've got the Triangle Sprint triathlon and I am ready to taper! if you can call 3 days a taper. This promises to be a tough course. I'm ready for it. The 750 m swim is in Lake Harris, which I'm not familiar with. It's a local race though, not far away from the house. The bike is 17.5 miles of rollers, and the run is a 5k in rolling trails. It's going to be hot. I'm going to go fast. I'm not setting official time goals, but I want to cover the bike in under an hour and the run in under 30 minutes.

The real goal for this triathlon was set back in January with my First of the Year Goal post. Specifically, this particularly gay goal was set to run a summer triathlon without a shirt, and look like I belong there. Since this is my only summer triathlon, I'm going topless. and I'll let fate (and the gentle interweb pictures) tell if I deserved to be running with the hardbodies. That means I've been watching the fuel really closely this week, trying to make myself as lean as possible. I hope I can pull it off. Kelley's coming to take pics, so sometime over the weekend I'll post a race report.

Then saturday night we're having some peeps over for beers and fun to celebrate my birthday. should be a blast! have a great week!

Also, happy birthday to Amanda, who turned 30 yesterday. Welcome to the new age group! She's still way faster than me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Totals

This might be embarassing:

Swim: 3.85 miles, 5 swims, 1 almost race?
Bike: 130 miles, 6 rides
Run: 16 miles, 4 runs
Strength: 1 hour, 3 workouts
Yoga: 30 minutes, 1 workout

yep. pitiful. Just like my recent posting habits. 16 miles running should be 1 run, not 1 month. 130 miles on the bike is pretty good. and almost 4 miles of swimming isn't that bad. But I've got to run more.

The one race I had planned for june I missed thanks to a thunderstorm. It was just a 1 mile open water swim, and I didn't feel like a lake swim when it was lightning outside. of course the lightning went away before the swim actually started, but I was fast asleep and had no idea.

July's going to be a fun month for racing. I have a sprint tri coming up July 10th, and a 2 mile OWS July 24. Coolio!