Thursday, April 26, 2012

Catching up

Why is it that as soon as I sit down to write my brain goes completely blank, but every other hour of the day is filled with interesting blog content?  I should take better notes.

Work has been kind of nuts.  I'm in the middle of three different projects right now, which is fun and exciting.  But it is also keeping me very busy.  That's a good thing.

Workouts have been pretty regular this week.  The swim team has a meet in Greensboro this weekend, so the swim practices have been light, which is also good.  We'll see how tonight's practice goes.  I hit the hill workout on the bike monday, which is the first type of progressive or strength style bike workout I've done in a long time.  Everything else has been flat recovery miles to just spin the legs out.  It feels good to finally feel like I'm making some progress on the bike.

Conversely, today is the first day I can run again, and there's still a little niggle in my left foot.  10 days since my last run and I don't want to push it.  I'm taking tomorrow as a vacation day and will have the morning free, so I'm thinking about doing a brick workout at White Oak.  I'm really getting anxious about putting Roberta on the road, as the weather is finally looking ok enough to ride.  So maybe a few hours in the saddle on the roads and I can follow that by running a few miles on the American Tobacco Trail.  Surely the soft trail surface will be easier on the foot than anything else.  Surely only running 2 or 3 miles will be a nice easy test.

The offseason weight is starting to come off slowly, just like I hoped.  Next week I'll try getting in some 2-a-day workouts and maybe it will ramp the metabolism properly.  The biggest difference I think has been hitting the weights again regularly.  I'm still doing the yoga 6 days a week and I'm getting into more of the challenging poses of the Ashtanga Primary Series.  Mon, Wed, & Fri I"m also doing a strength training circuit at the gym.  That's been going long enough now to where I'm actually seeing some progress, lifting heavier weights than I was when I started doing that circuit.  So far I'm down about 4 lbs in about 2 weeks.  I like it.

My first triathlon of the season is a 50 miler on May 19th.  It looks like it's going to be a small field so I like my chances for a decent placement.  I think I'm starting to make some gains on my swim and bike volume and speed and I'm ready to hit the race.  It's less than a month away, and yet it still feels odd to wait this late in the spring to get the first triathlon out of the way.

Speaking of races, Bigun had her final mile with the Marathon Maniacs kids marathon yesterday.  She really enjoyed the race and loves her medal.  Of course we got some good pics.

And of course the Evil Genius had to get her playground on...

My girl has pretty good form!

Loves the new bling!  I'm so proud of her.
They run one mile each week for 26 weeks over the school year covering the marathon distance 8 laps around the school track at a time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Still Sore

  • This is getting stupid.  My quads are still sore from the half marathon on Sunday. 
  • I'm really loving Ashtanga Yoga right now.  I'm starting to move into the rest of the standing poses in the Primary Series and it's getting much more difficult.
  • This strange pain in my left foot has turned into something similar to what I had in my right foot after the Charleston Marathon.  That took 10 days of no running to heal up, as I still think it was a torn or bruised tendon.  So that's the plan with this foot as well.
  • That means lots of biking and swimming in the meantime.
  • I'm digging on the bike right now anyway, and the weather is becoming favorable for some nice rides.  Can't wait to get out there this weekend!
  • One of my favorite coaches on the RAM team had to leave this week as they have ramped up her duties at NC State.  Total downer but I'm happy for her.
  • I won an award at work last week.  Twice a year the regional managers select a technician for "outstanding service achievements" which includes verifying everything through the corporate office in Detroit and the clients for their satisfaction level.  This year they picked me.for my technical expertise and leadership skills; which are both things that my last employer constantly complained about saying that I was severely deficient in both.  My last employer was severely deficient in retaining good employees.  It's nice to be appreciated again.
  • Kelley has a 5k on saturday that's a part of the Grand Prix series.  I'm skipping that one to stay home with the kids while she runs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Holy Hills Batman!

Yesterday was the RunRaleigh Half Marathon, my fifth race in the Grand Prix series.  I finished in 1:50:26, not quite the 1:45 I was looking for but still a faster time than the half split from any of the full marathons I've run this year.  Overall that is a great time, and for an inaugural race it was a great event.  Those hills, though, left nothing to the imagination.  They even left some people in the hospital.

It was a 7 am start and I ended up getting the packets for everyone, so our friend Gina came by to pick us up about 6 am since I had her bib.  We all three wore our new yellow Marathon Maniac shirts just to provide a little intimidation to the other halfers.  We got plenty of glances of amazement while milling around the start/finish area, so that was pretty cool.

The start/finish line was in Cameron Village, a part of Raleigh that we know very well.  The course started out just tooling around west Raleigh for a bit with an out-and-back spur, so I got to see Gina and Kelley in mile three.  I was also starting to fight a familiar grumble by then.  When will I see a port-a-let on the course?

I have a new favorite aspect to being fast.  After coming around a corner and finding a big downhill, I can see the course turns at the bottom of the hill.  Garmin says it's mile 4, when I'm supposed to take a gel anyway.  Finally I see some crappers next to the aide station!  My favorite part about being fast is that I made it to the crapper before there was any line!  I slammed it down the hill, took a gel with one cup of water, then ducked into the port-a-let with no waiting. Ah, that's better.  Then I grabbed another cup of water and got back out on the course.  There was a line by the time I got out of there.

My plan was to keep about an 8:00 pace for the first half, then pick it up a bit in the second half which was supposed to be less hilly, and finish under 1:45.  I hit 5 miles in 39:xx which was right on pace.  Dead on 8 minute miles, even with a poop stop.  We were running up Martin Luther King Jr Blvd at that point, and it was getting really hot.  No clouds and the sun was up  and we were running east, which meant we were running directly into the sun.  Not cool.

We stayed on MLK getting blinded for way too long.  When it finally turned onto the greenway in mile 8 I was at 1:03:xx, still dead on my 8 minute pace.  On the greenway it is supposed to be pretty flat, and for the most part it was, so I was able to hammer miles 8 through 11.  The only strange part was in mile 10, The greenway came back out to a road where we had to go west to get around a divided median in the road, make a really sharp u-turn around the median, then back onto more greenway.  Something about the way I took that turn left me really lightheaded, and I thought I was going to faint for a minute there.  By the time Kelley and Gina got through that stretch, there was a girl sitting in a pool of her own vomit getting medical attention.  That's some serious dehydration.

I got back on the trail and at mile 10.5 they had another aide station, so I took my second gel.  I got the second wind for a bit, but by about mile 11.5 we were back on the roads for the final stretch and my legs were totally gone.  The kills absolutely killed it.

Then I'll give you a guess as to what we saw at mile 12.5?  It was the same long hill we came down leading to the mile 4 aide station.  Turns out it goes right past Pullen Park, where I swim with the RAM practices.  This hill was long and steep.  very long, very steep.  Mentally it was a ball buster.  Mile 10 came right at 1:18, so the speed came in at the right time.  But after the lightheadedness and aide station at 10.5, I hit mile 11 at 1:23, back to an even 8 minute pace.  Since that's when the wheels started coming off, mile 12 came at 1:36 and I finished at 1:50:26.  After crawling up that hill at 12.5 there was nothing left in the tank for a fast finish.  I still jogged it in.  But I really thought I could still hit 1:45 until mile 11.  Throw that last huge curveball in and I was toast.

This was a tough course on a hot day.  But that's the stuff legends are made of.  I'll take it and be proud of my finish time.  I ended up being 15th out of 53 men age 35-39 and I'm always glad to be in the top third of my age group.

Gina finished next around 2:24, and Kelley was around 2:26.  Both thought it was harder than they expected.  Today I feel like I ran a full marathon, not a half.  There are so many sore muscles.  My quads are killing me, left foot has a horrible sharp pain, and my calfs are really tight.  This actually might hurt worse than the last full marathon.  Stupid hills. Kelley's pretty sore too, but Gina feels ok.  Either she's more used to the hills or just took it easy.

Back it up a little bit.

We got no pictures from the race, and I really wanted one with all three of us in the Marathon Maniacs shirts.  but Saturday, now that's where we got some pictures.  We met up with our friend Kayte and her kids for a picnic in the Rose Garden, then took them all to the playground out there for some fun play time including rock climbing.  Then we all came back to our house to let the kids play in the yard and sprinkler for a while.

Of course the Evil Genius is going to step on our lunch. L-R, me, Son, Kayte, EG, Daughter, and bigun.

Nice action shot

The boy running forward while staring at me taking the picture.  Watch where you're going!

These two lovebirds are going to drive me to the crazy house

Bigun jumping off of the lower ledge.

Bigun actually took this shot.  She thinks she zoomed in too close.  I think it's perfect.

Climbing up the climbing rock. I was able to scare the kids on top.

Family portrait on top of the rock.

The kids has a blast playing in the yard too. They were completely worn out by the end of the day.

And of course we're gong to use the sprinkler to water the grape vines too.

Overall it was a pretty incredible weekend.  Lots of time outside.  Then today is the boston marathon.  Good times all around.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. This week's workouts have been fantastic.  I hit the pool Tuesday night for 2600 yards and it felt easy and fast.  Yesterday I hit the gym over lunch and hit the weights first, then rode 14 miles on the bike and ran 2.5 miles in about 18 minutes for a decent brick. Not super fast, but very comfortable.  Then Kelley and I hit the yoga class at the gym last night.  It turned out to be a very large and fun class.

The front row of the yoga class was pretty full when we got there so I put our mats out on the second row behind these two guys.  I've seen them here before, but never like this.  Turns out, the one guy wore a speedo to yoga class.  I didn't know this until it was already too late.  We saw parts of that man that only his boyfriend should have access to.  I seriously thought he was going to lose a plum.  And the hairy legs that just..... wait, sorry I just threw up in my mouth a little bit thinking about it.

2. I am finally shaved!  After Monday's Debbie Downer post about being ungroomed I put my razor through the business and am now proudly sporting smooth face, chest, and legs.  That's always been my sign that triathlon training is back in full swing.  Shaved legs put me mentally back into badass mode.  So I feel much more positive now and I'm ready to tackle some tougher workouts.

3.  After this weekend.  Sunday is the RunRaleigh half marathon, it's the 5th of 6 races for me in the Grand Prix series, with the final one being a 10k in May.  It's my only race in April.  I'm going to try and break 1:45 by turning on the gas for the second half of the course.  The course starts out kind of hilly, but not really bad.  Then it goes through the ghetto where we've been assured there will be cops on horses, bikes, and walking to be sure nobody gets shot.  12 cops in a 5 mile stretch of the course.  I plan to just run really fast for those miles.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

(semi) Wordless Wednesday

It doesn't happen often, but that's the reason why you have them.

Monday, April 9, 2012


It was a whole weekend of ungrooming with some hilarious parts and some not so funny parts.  First, the bad.

Right now in particular I feel very ungroomed.  I really wanted to get on a sponsored triathlon team this winter and have been unable to find one that wanted me. Or, at least, had room for me.  Like no team was willing to take a chance to push this motivated top third age grouper into podium speeds by providing some coaching, equipment, and team motivation when I could also help push the other members as well.  I know my limitations and I know what it takes to push through them.  I'm taking suggestions here people.  Anything you can send me about a sponsored triathlon team would be very helpful.

Also I'm feeling literally very ungroomed.  I haven't shaved my legs since IMFL, and that's practically a crime.  And after this weekend my hair's the longest it's been in months and I need to shave my face and trim the claws too.  I totally skipped the Monday Morning Naked Weight today by just penciling in "Unacceptable - Easter Candy" and leaving it at that.  Maybe a good shave will be exactly what it takes to get my act in gear.  There's nothing like an extra 15 lbs glistening on a freshly hairless body to create some motivation.

Also my mom took a bad spill in the garden a couple of weeks ago.  Now that she's through the worst of it I feel comfortable mentioning the story, but she fell backwards trying to get a rock out of the ground and broke her right arm near the elbow trying to brace herself from the fall.  The break was so close to the elbow that it affected movement in the socket, so after a 2 hour surgery on thursday she now has a third of an artificial elbow installed to replace the bone that broke off.  She starts physical therapy on Monday to rehab the joint, and while it has all been incredibly painful so far, the PT is supposed to be the beginning of the end.  It's only going to get better from here.  Mom was a runner for many years so her bones are much stronger than many other women her age who never did regular exercise.  Still this is when it is really tough for me to be four hours away.  I want to be there to drive her to the PT appointments if needed, and help her plant the rest of the garden.  What a good supportive son should be able to do.  It's tough.

We were supposed to go back to Greenville for Easter, but she did not need a house full of kids while she was trying to recover from the surgery.  So soon enough we'll get back down there.  Instead we went down to the Lake to visit Kelley's mom in SC. They live on Lake Murray in Prosperity SC.  I had Friday as a client holiday at work, so we went down Thursday night.  Friday the fun started.

 I brought some running gear but didn't actually do anything.  We slept in, played around the lake, put a fire in the fire pit and made s'mores, and just had a great relaxing time playing around the lake.

Evil Genius around a fire is generally not a good idea.

Bigun is a girl gone fishin'.  She's so natural around the lake.

Kelley around the campfire making a s'more

What's better than eating a S'More with your grandfather?  Sunday was Gene's 70th birthday

I got in on some of the action too.

The paddleboat.  Let me tell you about the paddleboat. First, the name on the side of the thing actually calls it a "Pedal Boat", so something is screwy there.

Bigun and I getting my workout in

There's an island out in the middle of the lake off of the point where the house is.  The kids love the paddleboat because they get out in the middle of the water with some safety.  Of course they can't reach the pedals yet, so the adult that gets them out there has to do all of the work.  I always want to swim around the island because it looks like a good distance for an open water swim when the water is warm enough and I need to OWS training.  This time boating around the island would have to do. 

They don't usually take the paddleboat into that stretch of water.  I was feeling brave. Apparently, so was someone else.  Bigun and I paddle out to the island, and as we are coming around it looks like someone is actually on the island.  Then I see plaid and blue fabric flying around.  Paddleboats are very quiet, so apparently we had disturbed them when we came into sight.  And apparently, um, well, they had been "spring breaking" on the island.  Looked like a nice setup too, blanket, wine, picnic, etc.  But the guy was only wearing plaid shorts and the girl was only wearing a blue shirt.  She didn't have time to get any pants on by the time we turned the corner.  I kept telling Bigun not to stare, and she kept ignoring me.  Nothing says "outdoor loving" like a man with his 6 year old daughter paddleboating by in the afterglow.  On the other side of the island there was his boat.  We finished the circle and made it back to shore where Kelley and I had a good laugh about that one.  Hilarious!  Never expected to find that on the other side of the island!

Friday night the kids dyed the easter eggs and everyone had fun.

The Grand Decorators

better lighting.  Great shot!

The girls got to throw some bowls at Gene's pottery shed too

Bigun wore my headlamp from the Umstead 100 race all weekend and loved it.  Here it's covered in mud from the pottery.

Do you think these kids enjoy hanging out around the lake?  Yea, I think they do.

Saturday I had to take off and head to the mountains for the day.  Our tenants had moved out of the Banner Elk mountain house, so I needed to go inspect it and meet with the realtor to sign the listing agreement.  Also since I hadn't been up there in several years it should have been nice to just get into the mountains.  What I found was a complete disaster.

I mean, we should have some good rental karma.  When we were tenants the worst thing we ever did was plant a few new trees in the yard.  We always paid the rent on time.  I don't understand the mentality where these people think this kind of behavior is acceptable.  Our house was well trashed. Literally, the garage was full of trash.  So was the deck.  But beyond that, the guy had left ceiling fans sitting on the floor.  Light fixtures and switches had been removed leaving exposed electrical wires hanging out of the walls.  Fan blades are usually reversible, and some were installed with mismatched colors.  I mean, when these people moved in three years ago I had completely redone the electrical and installed new switches, fans, and fixtures.  This was not anything that needed to be changed.  There was two exterior doors, each with a deadbolt and handle that were keyed the same.  Lots of doorknobs were missing, including a deadbolt and handle from one of the exterior doors!  One of the bedroom doors had been smashed open.  Closet doors were missing entirely.  Even if the place was cleaned, it is still trashed.

Trash everywhere.  They killed the deck.

This new window was never trimmed out.

This screen door used to be attached

The prick neighbor put up a fence with a terminal post that overlaps our garage door by 2 feet.  What a dick!

I really like the realtor I found.  She knows exactly how to handle this "special" property and has a plan to get it sold.  I'm going to follow her advice and hope for a quick sale.  Seriously, they say the two best days to own a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.  The 2nd happiest day we own this house will be the day it sells.

That view never gets old.  I'm always happy to be there.

Street view of the house behind those apple trees

Me and the view from the church across the street.

After dealing with that house crap I headed over to Boone for a bit, these cars we got last year still don't have ASU stickers.  And I had to hit up my favorite restaurant Macado's.

Can you see the face on Grandfather Mountain there?

Few things can beat a three day weekend.  Sunday was the Easter holiday, Gene's 70th birthday, and Bigun lost her second tooth.

The easter baskets were filled with toys and candy

And, of course, ASU t-shirts.  EG was a bit less excited about her t-shirt.

Her adult tooth on the bottom has already come in so it doesn't look like there's much of a gap there.  But she's lost 2 bottom teeth now.
Sunday of course we started up a campfire out by the lake and made some more s'mores.  This time Evil Genius wanted to go on the paddleboat around the island, so I had to take her out there.  The difference between the two kids?  When I took Bigun in the paddleboat around the island we saw naked co-eds.  With EG?  Duck dookie.  There's a flock of black and wood ducks that roost on the island, so there were maybe 30 ducks in the trees.  As we came around the back side of the island I saw several of them make droppings into the lake.  It's still cool to watch the ducks fly and dive for fish.  but the crap was just funny.

We drove back to Raleigh after lunch and got here just in time to bathe the kids and get them to bed.  A few more hours of weekend would have been nice.  I missed the Masters entirely and I really enjoy watching it every year.  It was a great tourney too.  Go Bubba! 

All in all, it was an incredible weekend filled with family, fun, mountains, lake, and everything in between.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More Recovery

Goodness, what happened to March?  The first quarter of the year is done already?

Swim: 11,560 yards, 5 swims
Bike: 99 miles, 7 rides
Run: 82.8, 10 runs, 2 marathons (almost)
Strength: 10 sessions
Yoga: hit the mat 24 times

Regular swimming is a beautiful thing.  It should actually be 8 swims each month and over 14k yards.  But for the first month I was really trying to get back into tri training, I can easily accept 11k.  99 miles on the bike, however, is absolutely pitiful.  I actually did one ride that was only 5 miles.  I can also deal with the 82 miles of running, because I know there was a 26.2 and a 25 mile runs in there.   The recovery time from those races has kept me on the couch long enough.  51 out of those 82 miles were in races?  That's a lot of recovery.

And it's not done yet.  This week also has to be easy after the 25 mile trail run from Saturday night.  Taking it easy, and this pollen is kind of forcing me to take it easy.  Pollen has been really bad here this week.  Makes the yoga really difficult - anytime I forward fold it feels like I'm going to fall over.  So this week is still in recovery but next week it's back to base tri training.

There's an interesting trend going through all of these marathons with my weight.  I still log weight every monday morning in the spreadsheet.  Here's the weight after the last round of marathons:

Pre-Ironman Florida: 165 lbs
Post-Ironman: 173
Charleston Marathon: 181
Myrtle Beach Marathon: 188 - this freaked me out enough to cut out all carbs for a week

Tobacco Road Marathon: 187
Umstead 100: 189

So every marathon has been slower than the previous one, and I've been gaining weight the whole time.  I was never over 190 lbs in all of 2011, and don't want to go back there in 2012.  175 to 180 is my comfort zone with a body fat percentage under 20.  This week's 189 with a 22.4% body fat is scary high.  When you run long you have to eat more to recover.  You're burning exponentially more calories so you have to consume more calories over the following week to replenish.  I think it's a natural body response to the stress, it wants to go into fat storage mode in case you have to run like that again.  it wants to store energy.  My problem is that it wants to store that energy in the form of bodyfat around my belly.  I don't like that.  I barely understand it, and I'm ready for the trend to stop.  More weight is more bodyfat in this case, and that's really starting to slow me down, from the 3:54 Charleston Marthon to the 4:08 Tobacco Road, it's a bad trend.

Really I'm glad to be done with the long stuff for the season.  I've got a half marathon next weekend here in Raleigh, then will be ending the season with a half marathon at the OBX half ironman in september and no half marathons or longer in between.  This triathlon season's training plan is designed to get me short and fast. 

Next week is a base week for the tri plan.  The workouts are supposed to be slow and short with low intensity.  This is the same type of base plan I used with calorie restrictions last year before Ironman training when I was trying to lose weight.  It's time to take it slow to get faster.  This time I need to build speed instead of mileage.  Carefully plan the workouts and recovery, and follow the plan to get faster.  It's not an aerobic base that I need to build, it's a speed base.  So this is going to be interesting and hopefully fun.

Happy Easter, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pacer Report

Saturday was a completely different kind of incredible than anything else I've ever been around. It was the 18th installment of the Umstead 100 Ultra Endurance event.  Anyone who would run 100 miles on trails has a completely different mindset and environment than anything I have ever seen before.  These ultra trail junkies are a different breed.  It's fascinating.  Runners at the Umstead 100 complete 8 laps of 12.5 miles each for a total of 100 miles. Since that can get boring, they can pick up pacers at 50 miles for company and motivation.  The race starts at 6 am, I got there about 4:15 pm and met Tammy Massie at 5:30 as she hit the 50 mile mark, I paced her for 2 laps.
Me at home before heading out to Umstead

First I want to address the mentality of people who run these trail hundreds.  They have to be very determined, enjoy pain, and have a high tolerance for sleep deprivation.  You don't have to be fast.  Fast is bad out there.  Nobody attempts to run the entire thing.  It's walk or slow jog the whole way.  There are still fast people out there, but as Tammy says, she "prefers to enjoy life".  The race starts at 6 am, before the sun comes up.  So then while you are racing, the sun comes up, then it goes back down again, then it comes back up again, then you finish the race.  It gets hot, then it gets cold, then when it starts to get hot again, you finish.  This race has a 30 hour time limit, and she's finished it in 24, 25, 27, 28, and 29 hours.  I thought she was going to get her 26 hour finish this time, but it ended up being 28:45 instead.

I can't imagine the mentality of a race taking 2 hours longer than you expect and still being happy with it.  Well, maybe Ironman.  I also can't imagine running in circles for 28 hours straight.

Tammy was still looking and feeling good when she came in at the end of lap four.  She ate some, loaded up some extra clothing, loaded me up to mule stuff for her, and we hit the trail.  I've done plenty of mountain biking on most of these trails at Umstead, so while I didn't know the specifics of the loop I was familiar with the park.  The loop starts out running from a campsite, to an out-and-back spur, then in mile 2 meets up with a circular part that comes back to the main road in mile 11 and back into the campsite start/finish line.

So we take off for the first lap and start telling stories about the kids and other races and we're laughing and having a good time.  The sun is still out.  The trail is cool, but not uncomfortable.  The environment is amazing.  The other people I was hanging out with at the headquarters are now out on the trail with their runners.  There are all kinds of crazy people out there.  We're keeping about a 12 minute pace and taking pictures wherever we can.  Here's one that someone else snapped of us and posted on facebook:

Tammy and I on the trail - maybe mile 4?  It's still daylight.

In mile 6 we hit the secondary aide station.  They had a few other places on the trail that were unmanned tables with water etc hanging out, but this was a serious aide station.  There was about 15 volunteers and tons of real food out there.  I did carry 4 gel's with me, but didn't end up using them.  At this aide station I grabbed a few slices of pizza (from Rudino's - yum!), half a turkey sandwich, some candy, and refilled my bottle with gatorade. Tammy also switched out her headlamps as it was about to get dark.

The second half of the loop had the biggest hills.  Some of those hills I had fallen down on while mountain biking, so of course I had to show off the scars and tell the stories that went with them.  We didn't jog up any of the hills - that would be too ambitious.  Anything that felt like a slight uphill grade made it worthy of walking.  That's how you survive these ultras. 

The first loop took about 3 hours, so it was after dark by the time we made it back to the main campsite.  The HQ had the biggest aide station at the turnaround.  And runners would take plenty of time to eat, change clothes, whatever they needed there.  They had hot dogs, veggie burgers, ribs, chicken, pretzels, candy, you freaking name it. Anything a crazy runner would want.  Tammy said that before the start they had a full breakfast spread with bagels and pancakes.  They want you to go out for each lap with as much fuel as you're going to need to get back there safely.  I was feeling pretty good after the first lap, so we both got some fuel and headed back out there for Lap #2.

That's when everything started getting crazy.  It was well dark by then, so we both had headlamps on.  Running through the woods at night is not something I ever expected to do.  I was feeling good enough after the first lap that I thought I might try to pace someone else for a third lap and end up with an accidental ultra putting in 37.5 miles.  Well, by the time Tammy and I hit the big aide station in mile 6 I was starting to rethink that strategy.  I could tell by then that I really did run a full marathon 2 weeks earlier. 

Around 11:30 pm a big thunderstorm rolled in.  Tammy is pretty afraid of lightning, so we got off of the trail under the shelter of separate trees and waited for the storm to blow over.  I started out in a yoga squat, then went into child's pose, then finally just sat down on the wet ground.  I tried to keep my ass dry, but it just didn't happen.  Turns out we were hunkered down for about 30 minutes, just sitting in the woods getting rained on hoping we weren't going to get struck by lightning.  And at that point in the night, I was 23 miles in, and Tammy was 73 miles in. 

You can imagine how you would feel when you're 23 miles into a marathon.  Then try sitting for 30 minutes while the temperature drops so everything gets cold and all the muscles stiffen up. Then try standing up again and running the last 2 miles back tot the HQ.  Or try running another marathon after that.  I could barely stand back up so I knew that the third loop was out of the question.  We walked it back to the HQ without really jogging any more and I went straight into recovery mode.

The volunteers out there were amazing.  There was a ton of them. And pacers get treated just like runners.  One of the volunteers was forcing me to eat more since I was obviously looking pretty rough.  So when I was done, I had another hot dog, a cheeseburger, half a turkey sandwich, some olives, pretzels, chicken noodle soup, and two bottles of water.  We finished the second loop at 1:03 am, and by then the park gates only opened up at the top of the hour, so I had to wait until 2 am before I could drive home.  Gave me plenty of time to recover in the HQ, eat, find my car and find my way back to the gate.  I got home about 2:30 am. 

Honestly I can say that taking 7.5 hours to go through almost marathon distance hurts much worse than running a 4 hour marathon.  However, the recovery is so much easier.  It was slow, with lots of walking, but those hills don't play games and I tend to marathon on flat courses.  So by the time I was done I was really glad to be done.  After resting again in the HQ I was really feeling bad.  I don't see how Tammy went back out there for 2 more laps.  But she did, and she finished in 28 hours and 45 minutes.  It takes a special kind of insanity to do that. 

Also on Saturday night, Kelley took the kids to the local ballet!  They wore some costumes that my mom made a few months ago, and they went to see The Little Mermaid.  We were only able to get three tickets, so I wasn't planning on going with them anyway.  They had a blast!  The entire environment was so much fun.  Check this out:

The costumes are fantastic!  Bigun's even has a cape!

Outside the theater

Inside the theater.  Evil Genius was actually less evil than we expected!

They got their picture taken with one of the actual ballerina's!  Loved it!

The show was outstanding, they did a great job.  And the kids were actually well behaved.  Anytime EG doesn't set the theater on fire is a successful outing.  They were well behaved and had a really fun time.

Getting home at 2:30 am saturday wouldn't be a big deal.... except.  Our friends Joe and Gina (Gina maniac'd with us) were both running the Raleigh Rocks half marathon sunday morning and we agreed to keep their kids while they raced.  So I set that alarm for 6:30, hit the snooze button once before they dropped off their three kids.  Of course, soon after that our kids were up, and the 5 of them had a blast playing together all morning.  They both did really well in the half, and it was Joe's second half in 16 days so he qualified for the Half Fanatics.  Really cool.

Needless to say, I spent sunday afternoon in bed watching Game of Thrones and napping.  and constantly stuffing my face like any good post-marathon party.

Monday turned out to be quite eventful too!  It was my mom's birthday so of course we had the kids call and sing to her. And Bigun lost her first tooth at school.  She was just walking to lunch, it wasn't even really loose, and it just fell out like it was ejected from her head.  So strange.
Missing tooth anyone?

So that was crazy and unexpected!  The tooth next to the one that fell out is quite loose, so we thought that was going to be the first one to fall out.  This is totally bananas.  My girl is growing up so fast!