Monday, October 24, 2011

Hello Taper

The last weekend of the Ironman build phase was totally epic. Huge, nonstop, no time to rest at all weekend. I loved it. but seriously, I need a vacation from the weekend. So glad the IMFL taper starts today.

It actually started on Thursday. Evil Genius had been fighting a strep infection for a while, and after 8 straight days of getting antibiotics through injections, the pediatrician decided that it wasn't working. So they checked her into the hospital and hooked in an IV port. She called it her Special Straw (so cute!). Kelley stayed with her thursday night, her dad, Bigun, and I all went to visit and of course we didn't get home until after midnight.

Of course, EG loved being in the hospital. She could make the bed move up and down, and control her own tv. This hospital was really nice too, it had wifi, every room had flat screen tv's with internet connections and dvd players, so we hooked the room's tv into Netflix and started watching her movies. Amazing!

The IV antibiotics knocked out the infection cold, but left her with a yeast infection as a side effect. More drugs knocked that out and she came home happy and healthy after lunch friday. So of course that's when Bigun starts puking. She started fighting a sinus thing that still has her out of school today. I don't think it's a huge deal, but I really hate cleaning up puke.

Saturday I got up extra early so I could make it to the morning swim practice to make up for what I missed on thursday night being at the hospital. I then decided that it was only about 40 degrees outside, and the pool was an "indoor" pool, meaning it just has a plastic dome covering a former outdoor pool. So it was going to be way to cold to swim. Turns out I was wrong, the water was warm and I should have gone. I knew the last long bike ride of the build phase was also on tap for the day so I got in there and knocked it out early instead.

It's a good thing I did. I went to the gym and hit the stationary bike for 80 miles in the random hill setting at an 11 resistance. This is easier but longer than my typical ride in there. I was still quite drenched by the end of it, took almost 4 hours, and I could barely stand at the end long enough to walk out of there. It was a great ride, I nailed my nutrition plan down, and I wanted to get an 70+ mile ride in before taper anyway so this fit perfectly.

I got home at 12:30. Ate, showered, ate again, then went to the grocery store. Saturday night I knew was going to be Bigun's first time camping. The Indian Princess tribe was supposed to meet between 3:30 and 4 at the campsite on Jordan Lake which is on my typical outdoor bike route, so I knew it was going to be a fun trip. But, thanks to Ironman training, I had not found anything yet except the tent, and had only left myself 3 hours to shower, eat, prepare everything for the trip, and drive out there. Wow, so much for the lazy afternoon recovering from my ride and watching college football.

I volunteered to provide/prep/cook all the veggies/sides for the dinner saturday night. So I got a bunch of stuff from the store and started chopping when I got home. The whole princess thing is supposed to be daddy/daughter driven, so I really try not to ask Kelley to help me with princess stuff unless I'm really running out of time. So she went looking for sleeping bags while I chopped. After it was painfully obvious that I was in over my head she did end up cutting some potatoes while I packed up the car and gave the kids a shower before we left. We never did find the sleeping bags.

We got to the campsite a little after 4 and started unpacking. Our tent was about 20 feet from the car, so we didn't have to carry the gear 5 miles in to reach campsite Thank SBJ. Bigun helped me setup the tent before getting sucked into the group of girls and playing in the woods with her friends.

We all walked down to the lake and the girls had a lot of fun hanging out on the shore. Somebody found a dead fish in the water, so of course my daughter is the first one to reach in and pick it up, making all of the other girls squeal in horror. She has no fear in the outdoors, just like me. crazy.

We had a campfire going, so a handful of us came on back and I threw the veg on. I love cooking on a campfire. You get such a completely different flavor than cooking on anything else. Usually you can just throw the foil packs right in the coals (the girls kept calling the hot coals "lava" - ha!) and the stuff just melts in there. It's beautiful.

That's a lotta veg, y'all.

We had burgers, dogs, toppings, everybody loved it. I had one of those foil packs with banana peppers and fresh jalapeno peppers as a burger topping, and that was the big hit of the meal. The girls ran around and played for a while longer, then after it got dark we all made s'mores. Perfect. Bigun loved it. Then the strangest thing happened.

About 8:30 she told me she was ready to go to bed. Usually it's "no daddy, I want to stay up with you..." but tonight she was worn out. So we stayed in the tent telling ghost stories for a while until she told me I should leave so she could get to sleep. So strange. What an amazing kid.

Of course, 10 minutes later she came back to the campfire where the dads were starting to indulge in some firewater and watching football on some iPhones. She was walking through the woods in the dark with no flashlight or shoes. Again, no fear. that's my kid. crazy. She's hang out for a while, then go back to the tent by herself (at her insistence), then come back to the campfire, she stayed up with us just watching the dad's talk until almost 11. She was sound asleep when I made it back to the tent. It was into the low 40's already and so cold. But she kept right on snoring until just before sunrise. I didn't sleep well at all. Cold, uncomfortable, I don't think the ground was really level where I put the tent and the air mattress wasn't fully inflated anyway. So I wouldn't say I woke up "refreshed". But hey, that's camping in October.

Sunday morning had a great big breakfast. The kids were all really excited to be up and still in the woods. They all instantly went into scream and play mode.

After the breakfast I packed up our car and we all went out for a hike. The hike was about an hour, we went about 2 and half miles. That's a long hike for 6 year old legs. So of course there was a lot of "daddy can you carry me" talk, but we wouldn't have any of that. The purpose of the long hike is to earn a feather for the Indian Princesses vest, so the kids all had to walk the entire way. We got to teach them a good lesson about perseverance and finishing what you start.

And of course once we got back to the campsite and the hike was over it was "run through the woods and play with your friends" time again. Suddenly the energy that they didn't have to finish the hike came roaring back. We had lunch and came on home.

She would not. stop. playing. with the campfire. But I guess how often do you get the chance to play with fire?

Bigun's first time camping in the woods overnight was a smashing success. She absolutely loved it, felt right at home in the woods and in nature, loved getting to see the stars in the sky at night and the fish in the water by day. Raleigh's city lights are too bright to see stars at night from home.

This is Tom and his kid right before we left the campsite Sunday. In the fall of 1993, Tom and I were hanging out in the school of music after an Industry meeting when he casually mentioned "You should think about joining this fraternity" to me. The next semester I pledged, and we've been as close as brothers can be ever since. In the spring when we were away at a guys weekend with a bunch of other fraternity brothers, Tom and another Raleigh area brother were telling me about this cool Indian Princess thing, and I knew I had to get in on it. If you had told me 18 years ago that our kids were going to grow up together I would have laughed. But here we are! It's absolutely amazing how some people can stay with you for such a long time.

Driving home sunday it really started to sink in. The body aches, the pains of sleeping outside, the strange eating, it all just started wearing me down. Time for a shower and a nap and some football.

I got some advil and a shower, unpacked the car and put everything away from the trip. Got Bigun in the bath as well. We both smelled like campfire smoke and onions. Then I got dressed and ready to head out. I still had to run 20 miles.

Sunday long runs can easily turn into long bricks if saturday's bike ride is shorter than it's supposed to be. They can also feel like a brick run if you ride 80 miles on saturday, camp out saturday night, and hike 2.5 miles sunday morning. I was completely exhausted. I knew this was the last weekend of the Ironman build phase. The last chance I would have to get a 20 mile run in before IMFL.

I figured I was no more exhausted than I would be on race day, so I might as well go for it. If I only made it 5 miles and passed out then at least I gave it a shot.

I really wanted a safe environment here to allow me to bail out at any time. And I really wanted to watch some football too. So I went to the gym and grabbed a treadmill that let me watch both games on tv, and the World Cup Rugby game on NBC at the same time. I broke the run down into 5 mile segments, did all 4 of them, took a gu and refilled the Accellerade bottle between every segment.

The treadmill really likes that 7.5 mph speed. I covered the entire 20 miles at a flat 8:00 pace. Needless to say, that's the longest I've ever run that fast. I took the gels, drank the stuff, threw in some Endurolytes for good measure, and held pace throughout. No walking. Only one poo stop. By the end I thought I was going to cry as I waved goodbye to the build phase and said hello to the taper. I am fit, fast, finished and ready for the race.

I then proceeded to go home and stuff myself on chinese food and recovery drinks. Watched a movie and loaded up on Advil. I even busted out the compression socks. I did not get enough sleep last night. But it was still an amazing weekend. I need a vacation from my weekend. But that's what the taper is for.


Wes said...

Congratulations on both reaching taper AND spending quality time with the kiddos and wife! TRI-DADDY OF THE YEAR!

awesome that Evil Genius will be back to torturing you with her usual flair!

Enjoy your taper!!

Theresa @ActiveEggplant said...

That's quite a weekend! I can't imagine running 3 miles after camping, let alone 20! You're really an inspiration - if you can fit in IM training while still being a good father and holding down a full time job, I can certainly make my training a priority too!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

That looks like a super fun weekend!! Bigun is so cute. Love how she has no fear!

You are SO speedy. I commented on Facebook, but I'm wondering if you're going for a BQ as your next big goal!? Looks like it would be achievable for you! Or maybe you have no interest in that ;)

Hugh Jass said...

That is quite a weekend. I really want to go camping now.

"Only one poo stop" There are usually more?

Kim said...

i give you so much credit for biking 4 hours on a stationary bike at a gym. i would go nuts! enjoy the taper!

Katie said...

Sounds like a fabulous weekend! Welcome to taper!

Sophie @ threetimesf said...

Wow, I hope I'm still that close with some of my uni friends in 15 years!

I used to love camping with my Dad - looks like you had a great weekend :)

Happy Taper-ing!

RockStarTri said...

Let the madness begin! You. Are. Ready!

Calyx Meredith said...

I'm with Wes - you are totally Tri Daddy of the Year! You sound exhausted but joyful - which I predict is how you're gonna feel one evening in florida in the not too distant future so yay you for getting in early practice. :)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Gosh, what a fun filled weekend! I love camping, but didn't realize until I was older that if you have the right gear, you can actually be...comfortable? I remember many a night of freezing uncomfortable sleeps! Hurray for taper! I still have a few weeks until mine...which means I still have that (scary) 20 mile run ahead of me! Enjoy your rest period!

joyRuN said...

Daaang, CJ! I'd have been passed out oblivious with only 1/3 of what you did over the weekend. IMFL ain't got nothing on THAT weekend.

Enjoy the taper - you've certainly earned it.

Glad to hear EG is on the mend :)