Monday, February 27, 2012

The Human Race

Saturday was the NC State TorchRun 5k benefiting the special olympics and the NC State University Police dept.  It was a cold windy day, the race started at 8:30 and took us around the NC State Centennial Campus on a very hilly course.  It reminded me a lot of why I don't do the TOA sprint triathlon anymore.  Mostly it just reminded me of human fallacy, that we all have ups and downs and this race was certainly a low point. 

I sort of figured it would be a low point since it is the only race I'm doing this year that is a week after a full marathon.  I took last week to recover, the soreness was all gone and it felt like all of the kinks were worked out.  I also knew coming into it that the course was going to be on the difficult side.  And I weigh more now than I ever did in 2011.

Didn't Einstein say that "if you expect to fail you probably will"?  So yea, I expected to fail and that's exactly what happened.  No surprises here.  It was cold.  It was very windy.  There were no flat spots on the course, and more uphill than downhill.  My last four 5k's and my last 2 marathons have all had progressively slower times.  This one, finishing at 23:57, lived up to all of those trends.  But really the bad part is how I felt at the end.  I really wanted to just curl up and melt into a ball of mush this time.  In the past, I've run faster and felt better at the finish.  I didn't get that sense of accomplishment, that feeling that you really did something to be proud of today.  Instead I felt like I got beat up by a bunch of nerds.

The fact is that anytime you can run a 5k under 26 minutes (my plateau from 2009) it's a good day.  Officially I finished 13 / 36 in my age group and 116 / 572 overall, so both of those are in the top third.  I mean you can only do so bad and still beat 2/3 of the field, right?

So I know it's all mental.  One of the principals of Ashtanga Yoga is that the body is actually quite flexible, but the mind applies perceived limitations that we have to bust through.  It takes a consistent practice to loosen the mind and allow the body to achieve the desired results.  Right now I feel like I'm at the bottom of the sine wave.  I know it has to go up from here.  I know that now is the right time to take control back.  I can control my nutrition and get back down to the 175 lb ideal weight (for maintenance, not racing weight), and losing 13 lbs shouldn't be that hard.  So today's 188 is my starting point.  Today is the day to start building my base miles on a scheduled triathlon training plan.  Two swims, two bikes, and three or four runs every week will build my speed back up.  Increase the tempo runs and actually do some speedwork.

Now is the time to start the process to fix this.  My next race is the Run for the Oaks 5k on March 10th.  It is supposed to be the fastest course in all of the 5k's for this Second Empire Grand Prix series of races, so let's see what I can make happen in the next two weeks to run a nice fast 5k.  It also might be the last 5k I'm going to run in that series, as my other three races are a half marathon and two 10k's.  Let's make it count.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Saturday I've got the Torch Run 5k benefiting the special olympics.  Also we're putting the kids in a weekend Bible school at the church, and there's a polar bear swim with Bigun's Indian Princess tribe.  So it's going to be busy and fun.

2. I feel really good today, no more soreness from the marathon.  Kelley and I both had a great yoga class last night. I'm going to knock out some easy running miles today just to see how it feels.  I was initially cautious about scheduling a 5k the weekend after a marathon, and this could become my worst performance of the year.  I'm ok with that.  The plan is to just go out, run hard, and see what happens.

3. This is still a recovery week.  Next week it's time to get back to business.  I'm still gaining weight very fast, losing too much speed, and putting up with the winter blues.  Today is supposed to be sunny and 75* here in Raleigh, so it's time to get outside.  I've been feeling the urge to ride the bike again, which is a sign of spring.  If I could only start paying attention to what goes into my mouth.....  Well it's time for tri training to begin in earnest so here goes a plan:

Monday: bike
Tuesday: run and swim
Wednesday: bike
Thursday: run and swim
Friday: rest
Saturday: bike/run brick
Sunday: rest

Swimming with the RAM team tuesday and thursday nights works out very well.  It lets me get in some two-a-days without going all ironman training crazy again.  I can still vary the bike and run distances to allow for speed weeks, volume weeks, and recovery weeks.  And hopefully increasing the activity level that much will bring this weight back under control.  I'm now about 15 lbs heavier than I like to be, which is going to slow me down.

Game on!

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon

A.K.A. Holy crap that hurts

Friday night we got down to Myrtle Beach without much fanfare.  I woke up at 4:30 am so I could start work at 6, be done by 1, and get on the road at a decent hour.  It all went really well.  We got the packets at the expo, they used a really pretty shirt design this year, then we went over to Joe and Gina's place for dinner.  She made a great pasta/chicken/veg thing that was perfect.

Race morning was ok.  The alarm had the am/pm thing screwed up so it never went off, but the neighbors slammed their door 5 minutes before that was supposed to happen so it all worked out in the end.  Usually on race morning my nerves wake me up in plenty of time anyway, so I really wasn't worried.  Ate a nice big breakfast in the hotel and we walked on down to the start.
Me in the hotel room before the start - only pic we got before the race.

We made it to the start line while someone was singing the national anthem, so that was nice.  Actually arriving before the gun went off is a plus to marathoning that we did not get to enjoy in Charleston, so I'm glad we got it right this time.  I found the 4 hour pace group marker, then ended up kind of behind that as the crowd shifted forward around us.  weird.  My plan was to keep around an 8:30 pace for the first half, then see how I felt to go faster or slower for the second half.  I wanted to take a gel every 4 miles, so that's about when I hit the lap button on the garmin to get my split times.

Miles 1 - 4.4: 38:05, 8:40 pace

The first mile was pretty standard.  Crowded, but I didn't have to pass a ton of people.  Pretty well seeded.  the start was at 6:30 AM and it was kind of chilly out there, maybe in the low 50's.  Nothing like Charleston cold last month.  It was really nice to be able to run without sleeves again, and I knew it was going to warm up some going into the day.

In mile 3, right before we turned into the airport, and not long after the sunrise, it suddenly got really cold for just a few minutes.  All of a sudden you could see the breath of everyone in front of you.  That was really cool. Then we turned into the airport and it started warming up again.  Hit the first gel point right on time.  I felt good, energized, not out of breath, heart rate still nice and low, and felt like I could go all day at that pace.

Miles 4.4 - 8: 31:24, 8:42 pace

Second verse, same as the first.  The course comes around through the airport and this little market square, then onto Ocean Blvd.  The course this year stays on Ocean Blvd for NINE miles.  They all look exactly the same.  Sometimes you could see the ocean, but for the most part it was the back of the giant high rise tacky hotels and condo buildings that litter that coast line.

The one bright spot in this section was running past the IHOP. It made the whole road smell like bacon.  Fantastic.

Miles 8 - 12.3: 39:03. 8:57 pace

We ran with the halfers for the first part of the course, at mile 11.5 they split off.  I ended up leaving my mp3 player at home accidentally, so I was talking with a lot of people out there.  Turns out halfers are quite a talkative bunch.    There was a LOT of other people from Raleigh there.  I saw tons of NC State gear represented, and tons of people in Marathon Maniacs gear.  But in these miles I ended up talking to a few girls who were into triathlons about the B2B and OBX triathlons, other running races around Raleigh, cool stuff.  You meet the most interesting people out there.

The reason this split is a touch slower is because I had to stop and poop at mile 10.  They had good port-a-lets at each of the aide stations, and aide stations were every 2 miles out there.  There was no line but they were all in use when I got there, so I got in, got out, and got right back on the course.  Still feeling good here, glad to be a bit lighter, legs felt good, heart rate still low, I'm holding around an 8:30 to 8:45 pace every time I look down at the Garmin, and the sun is out and warm now.

At mile 11.5 the halfer split off and the crowds seriously thinned out.  I ended up next to this kid going to UNC-Wilmington who was on their triathlon team.  He's planning to run the B2B full this year as his first full Iron race and spotted my Ironman tattoo.  This was also his first full marathon so we paced and talked together until mile 21.  Helluva nice guy, and it was nice of him to keep me going for that long.

Mile 12.3 - 20.1: 1:11:34, 9:03 pace

My half split at 13.1 miles in was 1:54:xx, so I was about 2 minutes slower than my charleston time.  That's ok, I was trying to save more for the back end.  I did take gels at 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 miles, and just forgot to hit the lap button on the garmin to get my mile 16 split.  I wish I had done that, because that's where the distance finally started to show itself.  The first 4 miles on that one looks very consistent on the graph, holding steady around an 8:45 pace.  So really miles 12 to 16 were ok.

Actually they were better than ok.  Somewhere in mile 13 Ryan caught up with me.  He was out on his bike riding the course encouraging people, so he rode by me and we got to catch up for a few minutes.  It wasn't long enough of course, and it never is when you're hanging out with a guy like that.  This is actually his last weekend in the states, as they moved to Italy today. I wanted to spend more time with him and the Commander later Saturday but it just didn't work out.  Still, the encouragement meant a lot to me right then.  He's one in a million.

Really mile 15 is where my quads started to fatigue. At that point in the day it was getting warm.  The sun was out in full force and there wasn't much shade.  I could feel a little dehydration starting to set in, and the lactic acid wasn't flushing out of my legs the way I really wanted it to.  Again, more water early on would have taken care of this problem.  I took 2 cups at each aide station, both water where I was taking a gel or one water and one Gatorade otherwise.  Needed more water.

By mile 18 the lactic acid buildup was really setting in hard.  The UNCW kid was pushing me to keep going with him.  We both stopped to poop and there was no waiting this time.  It felt so good just to sit down for a minute.  Didn't think I was going to be able to stand back up.  Still no problems aerobically, heart rate was low(ish), no heavy breathing, I could still carry on a conversation, however I was quickly losing the ability to remain upright.  Mile 20 I took a Roctane and was ready to blast through to the end.

Mile 20.1 - 23.2: 32:49, 10:40 pace

That blast?  Got me as far as the mile 21 marker.  On the marker, I told the UNCW kid that I was toast and for him to keep going without me, then I did something for the first time that day:  an unscheduled walk break.  21 miles is a new PDR for continual running.  Yes, exclude the couple of steps I took at the aide stations to keep from spilling the water.  And don't count the two poop stops.  I still think that's incredibly cool.  21 miles is a long way not to have to throw in some walking.

So really I was well trained to race that pace for about 18 miles, and I made it 3 extra miles on overheated, lactic acid filled legs. That's still ok, but doesn't make for a full marathon.  Thanks to the Garmin I can tell I took 11 walk breaks over that remaining 2.3 miles.  I really walked just as much distance as I ran.  And a 10:40 pace still isn't too bad of an average.

Mile 23.2 - 26.4: 33:23, 10:41 pace

The last 5k contained 10 walk breaks, and they were longer each time.  My legs were completely shredded.  There was nothing left in the tank.  I cried a few times.  Since we were getting closer to Broadway at the Beach there were more spectators now, so that was encouraging.  Once I started seeing people with finishers medals on I knew the finish line was getting closer.  I also (for a while) knew there was still a chance I could break 4 hours.  Then when I looked down one time and saw 4:03 as my overall time I realized there was nothing left to do but finish it out.  I ran the last 0.6 miles in without walking at or below a 9 minute pace for a strong finish.  I don't think I have ever been so happy to see a finish line.

This is kind of like the leg fatigue I always get in the half iron distance tri's, where you just want to disconnect your legs from the rest of your body for a bit to separate yourself from the pain.  It's amazingly uncomfortable.  I can't really describe it any better than that, but if you've ever felt that kind of pain then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Myrtle Beach has the longest finishers chute in the world.  I swear there's a few road turns thrown in, it just goes on forever.  I was in there with some young girl (maybe early 20's young), who had her arms flailing like Phoebe even though she was clearly too young to have ever seen Friends, just bawling her eyes out crying when she crossed the finish line.  When I offered congratulations she said it was her first full, which means she put up an amazing time for her first full marathon.  I remembered exactly how emotional it was when I crossed my first marathon finish line in West Virginia, so I told her again how fantastic that time was for her first 'thon.  Some things like that you never forget.

Finish:  26.37 miles, 4:05:18, 9:38 pace
Official Chip time: 4:05:18, 102/189 M35-39, 706/1767 overall

Easily 10 minutes slower than my PR set in Charleston last month, but I like this strategy a lot better.  I just ran into some muscle fatigue.  That's what happens when the longest run in between these marathons was only 5 miles.  If I had put up some 15 or 18 mile runs in there I wouldn't have fatigued and come in closer to 3:45.  Better luck next time, legs.

Kelley, however, did rock a 29 minute PR.  She finished in 5:10:46, crushing the hell out of that 5:39 she put up in Charleston and the 5:56 she ran in Myrtle Beach back in 2009.  Rock on woman.

So now we are 2/3 of the way done with our quest to Maniac!  Only Tobacco Road next month is left to be conquered.

At the finish line I was greeted by Jon Jessup, one of my fraternity brothers.  Jon and his wife both ran the half, him in 1:44 and her in 2:03, both had a great day out there.  The weather was perfect for a half, as it was cool enough at the start to be fast, but warmed up enough by 8:30 am to be quite comfortable just standing around outside drinking free beer.  Needless to say, they were a little loopy by the time we finished.  So I hung out with Jon and Kim for a while, got my recovery on with the magic 3 bottles of water, some chocolate milk, a bagel, granola, doughnut, and muffin.  Then I went back to the hotel to grab the camera so I could catch Kelley's finish.  I thought I would have about an hour and a half like I did in Charleston until she finished.  Boy was I wrong!

I was actually at the hotel when she called me from the finish line all excited about her PR.  That was really cool, but I wish I would have been back there to see it.  Surely our other friends running the full would still be out there.

Gina ran Charleston with us finishing in 6:2x, and she turned around and beat that time by over an hour at MB!  So of course we missed her.  Our friend Charlotte ran with the 5 hour pace group this time and finished in 4:59:42, leaving a scant 18 seconds.  show off.

Even Debbie (who talked us into running Myrtle Beach the first time back in 2009) beat her previous 8:06 time with a blazing fast 5:38:50!  So it was a good day to be fast.  We didn't get a picture with Debbie, but that totally rocks.  How often do you see a 2 hour PR?  Never!
Kelley, Charlotte, Me, Gina.  Yes Gina actually has two beers there.  And it's still before noon.

Me, Jon, Kim, Kelley showing off the finishers medals.

After the race we cleaned up and hit the outlet stores and I showed restraint only picking up two Kenneth Cole shirts.  We grabbed some lunch out there too.  Then got in a quick nap before the social meetup at Mellow Mushroom.  It ended up just being us, Joe and Gina, and Jon and Kim. Everyone had a great time with lots of pizza and beer.  I mean really how can you go wrong there.  Then we crashed pretty hard as the toils of the day set in.

Sunday was a quick up and out as some bad weather was rolling in, and we drove home in the rain.  Lots of pain and lots of rain.  I was really still just waiting for the lactic acid to go away from my quads.  Gallons of water and stretching and yoga finally made it all start feeling better.  The foot problem I had from Charleston did NOT show up again this time, thank God.  Everything is good there.  It's just normal muscle fatigue now.  Kelley's having some trouble getting up and down stairs still, and we're both pretty chafed. 

Overall this was a great race, a beautiful day, and a fantastic fast course.  There are plenty of other stories I should tell about this one.  Such a great race.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

MB preview

Work has been totally nuts the last few days.  Like 14 hour days this week.  Luckily, tomorrow I'm knocking off around noon to head to Myrtle Beach and run the marathon. You know you're having a rough week when the shortest task is running a marathon.  Especially one that you're barely prepared for.

I've been enjoying the taper this week, getting my yoga done and some strength training.  I did have a nice time on the stationary bike on monday, and got in a good treadmill run on tuesday.  But since the Charleston marathon there really hasn't been that much activity.  First I had that foot problem that required 10 days off.  And there was only about 4 weeks in between marathons here.  So with 2 weeks to recover and 2 weeks to taper, it doesn't leave much time for a build.  Still, the longest run I've had since Charleston has been 5 miles. That can't be good.

My plan is to enjoy the weekend.  We're going to go down there, visit with friends, run long, and have a good time.  I'm going to start out somewhere around an 8:30 or 9:00 pace, and then try and pick it up a bit in the second half if there is anything left. No official time goals, just finish, don't die, and don't get injured.   It's supposed to be nice weather down there, so just enjoy the beach and visit with friends.  If you're down there, we're having a meetup at Mellow Mushroom saturday night at 6 pm.  Come say hi!
Last year before the start of the MB half.  Great race!

Last year we had a blast. Set a nice PR in the half, broke 2 hours for the first time, and had a great weekend overall.  I think Kelley is sharing my goals as well.  Finish, don't die, don't get injured.  She also hasn't been long since Charleston. 

Good luck if you're racing this weekend too!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Run for the Roses

The 5k Run for the Roses race was in Raleigh yesterday, Kelley and I both ran it in spectacular fashion.  Well, at least she did great.  I was a little disappointed.  But we were entered in the Couples Competition so it all worked out well.

It was only about 36 degrees out there at the race start, which was at 2 pm.  At least we were running in the warmest part of the day.  It didn't feel that cold once we got moving a bit.  My strategy going out was to stay just under a 7 m/m pace for the first half, then drop it down closer to a 6:30 pace for the second half.  We drove the course the night before, and I knew there were two big hills in the second half.  So I knew that was a bad strategy.
self portrait before the race while still in the car

The gun goes off and I take off too fast, as usual.  Kelley remembered to give me the garmin since I've forgotten it the last few races.  The first time I look down to get a pace it said 5:45.  oops.  At least I knew this time.  So I slow it down a bit.  I was actually really well placed at the starting line, I didn't have to pass a ton of people right after the gun went off, and nobody passed me at the start.

We take the first few turns and this part of the course is mostly flat/downhill as I was expecting.  I was coasting along pretty good, not pushing it too hard in the first mile but not slouching off either.  Strategy is working so far, but my abs start to fatigue about a mile in.

At the halfway point they had an aide station, and the guy right in front of me was the first person to take water.  I took some too because I was really thirsty, and walked 3 steps to chug the juice.  Now it's time to drop the hammer for the second half of the race.

Of course right after that halfway point there is a slight uphill, followed by a steep uphill.  I'm kind of cruising those, knowing I can push the pace back down when it flattens out again.  And I know it will.  There is one little out and back spur on Marshall St right after the mile 2 marker, I know the out is slightly uphill, and the back is the best place on the second half of the course to really fly.  So I turn it loose coming back down Marshall, and fly as much as I still can.  There's a bit of a side stitch creeping in now, and my abs are really fatigued.  But there's less than a mile left, tough it out.

At 2.6 miles the last tough uphill hits me like a ton of bricks.  It starts really steep into a turn, and once you make the turn it goes straight up for two more blocks.  And we turned right into a headwind.  So I walked the curve and took an easy jog up the rest of the hill.  It flattened out for about 5 steps then went back to uphill grade, and I had to walk again.  The core just had nothing left, and I had to find something else for a strong finish.  That hill cost me somewhere between 45 seconds and about 1:15 off of my finish time.

The last turn went into a parking lot then back onto a street heading to the finish line.  It feels good to know you're giving the race everything you've got even if you did miss a goal.  Put it all out there, kick it hard, and see what happens.  If you puke, that's something that happens.  Luckily, I did not.  I did finish in 23:04, which is considerably slower than the 21:50 I was shooting for. 

At least I totally froze my cherries off.

Kelley, however, finished in 30:05 smashing her PR of 30:11 set back in 2010.  She did really well, negative split the course, and got a rose at the finish line!
With the rose after the race

We finished 12th among 24 couples in the couples competition based on our combined gun times.  The winner finished in 16:07, my 23:05 time put me in 95th place overall, and Kelley's time placed her in 277 out of 485 runners.  Being in the couples competition, we didn't get an age group placement, but I would have been 11/26 and Kelley would have been 9/29 in her age group. 

Any day we can walk away from a race with a rose and PR is a good day to be running.  I'm just glad we were able to get out there.  Now it's time to taper for the Myrtle Beach Marathon next weekend.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Old and New

I've been quickly filling up the "2012 race list" on the left there.  I knew it was going to be a busy year, but this is getting out of hand.  Actually it's just getting condensed, like I'm prepping for a big offseason next year.  Mostly because I can't come up with anything that I really want to do into the fall.  But lately I've been biting the bullet and paying the registration fees for more stuff.

One of my goals for the year is to race in the 2012 USAT Oly Age Group National Championships in Burlington Vermont in August.  USAT still hasn't actually announced the 2012 regional championships and special qualifiers for all of the regions yet, but I did find the Mid-Atlantic region list was up.  You can only race nationals if you qualify, and it's tough to get in.  The regional championship is the Nations Triathlon, and as much as I want to race in DC this year, I'm not going to pay $200 and two nights in a DC hotel to race an oly.  Just not going to happen.  The special qualifier this year is the Lake Logan International, which I raced in 2:33 last year and missed qualifying for nationals by only 3 minutes.  The tricky part is that Lake Logan is on August 4th, and Nationals is August 18th.  So if I qualify there I'll have to register, line up hotel and travel and childcare arrangements, and recover/train for the race all in a couple of weeks.  Still it will be worth it if I can qualify, that's sure to be an experience of a lifetime to be out there competing against the best in the country.  I bit down and signed up for Lake Logan as soon as I saw the list.

Goal abandonment:  The long course nationals is in Oklahoma this year, and I set the goal to qualify but not race.  The long course qualifier is the Patriot's Half, which I ran in 2010 and did enjoy overall even though the swim was tough and it was my worst half ever.  This year the OBX half is the same day and I'd rather go back to OBX.  My mom wants to come with us too, and we're going to take the kids and stay a few extra days this time.  I haven't paid this registration fee yet, but I will.  Still trying to find the place to stay first.

Side note:  When you Google "OBX Half Iron" the registration page from FSseries is the first link, and my race report from last year is the second link.  I didn't expect to be that noticeable.

I'm competing in (and I think Kelley also wants in) the Second Empire Grand Prix series for the spring.  It's a series of 10 running races in 5k, 10k, and 13.1 mile distances.  They take the best 6 overall finishes and add up points.  So you only have to race in 6 of the 10 races to get points into the series.  The top 5 overall point getters, as well as the top 5 point getters in each 5 year age group get awards and get into a banquet.  The Run for Young 5k I did in January was the first race in the series.  Picking out the other 5 races is not proving to be difficult.

Kelley and I are both registered for the Run for the Roses 5k on Sunday.  It's unique because we entered as a couples competition.  The female finishers get roses at the finish line, and it's just a couple of days before Valentines day.  In the couples competition, the combined time for the couple gets registered for awards, but the overall male and female standings still get computed for the series points. 

The next weekend is the Myrtle Beach marathon, and the weekend after that is the Torch Run 5k from the Second Empire series.  So we're going to be racing three weekends in a row.  I'm already signed up for the Torch Run, Kelley is not (yet). 

Anytime you start a year with three full marathons to Maniac and 6 - 10 running races in a Grand Prix series, add on three Aquathons and you've got 12 races already.  And we haven't even gotten into triathlon season yet!

I went ahead and registered for the Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge, a one mile open water swim.  At the same time I got into the Big Duece two mile OWS and the Battle at Buckhorn Sprint triathlon.  Last year I almost finished in 6th place (if I hadn't missed a turn on the run) overall, so this year I'm going back to win that sucker. I did all three of those races last year.
Me after one of the Aquathons last year.  Brutal, but so much fun.

So far I've actually paid for seven running events (and still need to register for at least three more in the grand prix series), three Aquathons (swim + run), two open water swims, and two triathlons.  14 races already plus three more running races, the fall half iron, and hopefully the age group nationals.  I still want to run the Beaverdam oly again to get an april triathlon as well, but I'm having trouble making that commitment.  And maybe another oly in the summer to give me three chances to hit that 2:15 oly finish time goal instead of just at Lake Logan.

This is shaping up to be a busy year.  Especially if it's all going to climax at the half iron in OBX September 8th.  Fun times!  I'm just glad it's all starting to come together.

Monday, February 6, 2012

SC Visit

It's always fun to head back to Greenville for a weekend to visit with the family when you have a weekend free.  Friday after work we went down to SC.  We didn't get to see as many people as I'd hoped, but it was still a lot of fun.  Mom made some really cute dresses for the girls out of some scrap material she had laying around.
What an adorable princess!

How cute is that!  Bigun got an all white dress that she refused to put on.  little stinker.

Speaking of little stinkers, After last sunday's poo drama I fully expected a repeat this sunday.  It wasn't quite as bad, thank goodness she did it while we were at Grandma's house and not on the highway somewhere.  And it didn't take any begging pleading or phone calls this time, but still made quite a mess and caused quite a stir.

That young'un ain't right, as we say here in the deep south.

Saturday night my brother Morgan and his girlfriend came over, as did one of my grandmothers who wanted to see the girls.  We had a fun dinner hanging out with them.

Sunday was a bit of an adventure.  We are hosting Bigun's Indian Princess meeting here at our house tuesday night, so we had to start making the invitations in the morning.  we didn't get very far.  I wanted to leave between 1:30 and 2 pm to head back to Raleigh, and it ended up being closer to 2:30.  Not too bad.  The best part of sunday, by far, was this:

Getting to meet Lisa!  She was in Charlotte for work and her flight happened to come in early enough on Sunday that she was there while we were driving through Charlotte on our way back home, so we got to stop and visit for about an hour or so.  We've been blog friends for years but since she lives in MN I never thought we would get to meet in person.  Turns out, she's just as incredible in real life as she appears on her blog.  Exactly the same!

Of course after leaving Charlotte, the kids started getting sick.  We think Bigun has an ear infection, and that must have kicked in some motion sickness or something.  Maybe it's viral, who knows.  but I think we did get to spot a clear difference between the two kids.  We were circling a parking lot after picking up some dinner when Evil Genius tries furiously to open the car door and get out while the car is still moving so she doesn't puke in the car.  Of course the doors were locked and she still had her seat belt on so she couldn't go anywhere.  We stopped and got her out, and she spit out some mucus but didn't puke.   All prep, no puke.  Then about an hour later we stopped to get some more tissues at a drug store, and while we were waiting in the parking lot  Bigun puked all over the back seat.  We were stopped, she was unbuckled and the door was unlocked and it would have been perfectly safe for her to puke outside the car.  But no, that wouldn't be challenging enough.  So she covers the back seat with kid vomit.  Bigun's all puke no prep, and EG's all prep and no puke.  If we were in Texas I'd make a joke about cattle and a hat.

But I can promise you that cleaning up that much puke after we got home was no joke, and it was all daddy.  And it was disgusting.  We finally made it home about 8:30 (really?  6 hours to make a 4 hour drive?) and they went straight into the shower, then to bed.  It took almost an hour for me to get the car cleaned up after that.  So nasty.  I really felt bad for Bigun having to ride the last 90 minutes of the drive with all of that bile around her and under her car seat.  It couldn't have smelled good.  We cleaned up as best we could onsite and rushed home without stopping again.

What was missing from this weekend?  We had tons of family and friends, and lots of puke.  Running.  There was no running of any kind.  We've got races the next three weekends in a row with a local 5k next sunday, then the Myrtle Beach Marathon on the 18th, then another small 5k the weekend after that.  I think we're going to organize a meetup in myrtle beach, so let me know if you want to get in on that and I'll be sure to send you the facebook invite.  And now more cute kid pics from this weekend when they weren't feeling sick....

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Evil Genius Story

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Welcome to February

It's supposed to hit 70 degrees in Raleigh today.  I don't know what this is but I kind of like it.  Actually I'm hoping for a good hard freeze this month so it will kill off all of the insect larvae before they can hatch and we get overrun by mosquitos this summer.  And if it's 70* today, it's going to get up to about 170* in August.  So, pleasant as it may be, it could be more destructive long term.

That doesn't mean I won't put the top down when I drive out to lunch with some friends today.

So what happened in January?  Well, there was a marathon and lots of yoga.

Swim: 10,400 yards, 4 swims
Bike: 82 miles, 4 rides
Run: 61.8 miles, 9 rides, 2 races
Strength: 5 workouts
Yoga: 26 sessions

Yes, I'm well on my way to the 300 yoga sessions on the year.  I've really gotten the beginning Ashtanga poses down and can see some real progress in my flexibility, comfort and strength for those particular poses.  That's really cool.  The Charleston Marathon was great overall, but it should have been called the "North Charleston Marathon" because the majority of the course was outside of Charleston on rough unkempt roads that destroyed many body parts of the runners.  It was great having that much time with our friends Joe and Gina, and we loved getting to hang out with my brother Michael and Summer, but I came home with a torn up foot, Gina tore up a foot too, and Kelley's knee is still trashed.  Not Cool.

My other race was the Run for Young 5k that was also kind of a disaster, but still fun.  The hills got me, and I missed the sub-20 goal by a long shot.

Overall I have to be pleased with the mileage for last month.  It's not huge, but I don't need to put up 100+ mile months of running during the off season.  February marks the time to start training for the spring tri's, so it's time to make some decisions, pay some entrance fees, and get back to work. Lots of short, fast runs, and getting back on the bike.  Februaray's targets need to be 15,000 yards in the pool, 200+ miles of biking, and 80+ miles of running.  And I still have to work the Myrtle Beach marathon in there and recover from it.

I'm starting to think that sub-20 5k and 3:30 marathon may not happen.  I ran 5 miles on sunday in just under 41 minutes, and it felt ok.  It had been 10 days since my last run.  The foot was fine during the run, then started the inflammation again about an hour after I finished.  My legs hit muscle fatigue really early, and my breathing was more labored than it has been at that pace in a long time.  When you do marathons and ironman your overall muscular and aerobic capacity builds like you are climbing to the top of a mountain, and now it feels like I'm coming down the other side and losing all of that speed again.  And that feels like a good thing.  You take the time off to heal and recover, then come back and start climbing that hill again.  Like you have to get slow to get faster.  So if getting slow now means no sub-20 5k or 3:30 marathon (at least for the spring), then I'm ok with that.  I have to be.

It should also mean a fast triathlon season in the summer.  Maybe I'll crush some run splits there.  The swimming is starting to feel really comfortable and fast this year.  I'm still mentally having trouble getting back on the bike, but I'm sure that will pass in this warm weather.  And I'm pretty sure this foot thing will heal up ok too in short order.  Here's hoping that your January was that good!  Now get on the mat!

p.s.  I forgot to mention the new header image.  Evil Genius came up to me while I was working the other day and showed me an MDot that she made out of play-doh.  She was very proud that she made it, and I didn't prompt her for the idea or anything.  It was so sweet I took a picture of it and turned that pic into an awkward blog header image.  I wish I had zoomed out more, and made the image shorter and wider.  Alas, my photoshop skills are not that good.