Friday, March 29, 2013

Tuesday's Gone

Tuesday sucked.  Seriously.  I only have one or two days every year that are truly horrible, and this was one of them.  I had to work a solid 12 hours, and under more pressure than usual.  The kind of day that left you feeling screwed from both sides.  I had a really crappy run in the morning, and totally missed the RAM swim team practice in the evening.  Kelley made a wonderful dinner, but I had to eat it at my desk so I could stay online with my coworkers while we fixed a few problems.  Deadlines really stink.  And at the end of the day my brain was so melted I couldn't relax and had a hard time falling asleep.  Being able to work from home has its benefits.  But not being able to turn off the work valve and enjoy time with your family is too much.  I'm too old for this shit.

Then of course Wednesday I had to go back into the office to face the wrath of Tuesday.  It actually wasn't that bad.  We pulled together and made it all happen.  I got out of there at a reasonable time, and some people were almost happy. almost. I felt like this guy:

Then, all was right with the world again.  After a crappy run Tuesday morning and being completely exhausted mentally, there was no way I was getting up for the morning bike ride. I did some yoga and core work to try and relax. And Wednesday night I made up for it by getting in a 15 mile ride (39 minutes) and 5 mile run (38 minutes) brick! It felt light, fast, and fun.  And all of the stress of the week just melted away.

I am so ready for spring.  Raleigh has seen high temps in the 40's and 50's recently and I'm sick of it!  I love the colder weather, we got too hot summer for about 8 months out of the year here. But this might mean no spring at all.  The 2 weeks of spring we normally get are blown out now!  Don't take away the tiny window of pleasant weather we get here.  please. If I don't get some time on the roads soon there will be hell to pay people.

Last week?

Last week was week 7 of Ironman training, base phase week 5.  It seems odd to be posting about last week on friday of this week, but that's just how hectic this week has been.  Week weak wiik werk.

Monday's 9 miler was in recovery response to the wedding in DC, since I didn't get my normal long run in on sunday.  Wednesday night we had a 2 hour choir rehearsal at church, so I skipped the workout then.  Other than that I was able to follow the plan on par.  Got all three swims done, they were pretty long. Nailed my bike milage.  This volume approach to the bike is starting to pay off.  The rides that were finishing in the 18 or 19 mph range last month are coming in the 21 mph area now.  That extra speed is the goal of a volume based training plan.  I swam 9296 yards, biked 96 miles, and ran 21 miles with the double long run style.  Total time was 10:49. That's a solid week in any book. and 10+ hours a week will turn into 20+ soon enough.  I'm already knocking down almost 1 full iron distance a week for the Cast Iron Club.

Between the swim and bike ride saturday, we took the kids to the Raleigh Art Museum.  It was really fun to walk around there.  The cutest thing ever was seeing the kids snicker at every statue that showed a butt.  Even other patrons gave an "awwwww" when they caught the girls pointing and giggling.  Turns out, we have a lot of Rodan statues and Rodan used a lot of nude models.  Even had a 2' cast of The Thinker.  Of course, all I could say was "damn it Rodan, three drinks and I'm nude" (name that movie?). 

Last sunday's brick came after we sang the Easter cantata at church.  This was a very moving piece called The Power of the Cross by Mark Hayes.  Since our minister of music has been called up to another church, this was his last Sunday with us.  It was quite moving, and I'm going to really miss having Doug at the helm of our church music.

After the brick Sunday, my legs were totally spent.  They just didn't want to clear the lactic acid out as quickly as I really hoped.  So all sunday evening and all day monday I was barely walking on those sore legs.  Monday night I got in an easy bike ride just because I couldn't imagine running then.  By tuesday morning the legs felt better, so I tried running again.  DOMS is quite the bitch. So that's why it was so rough.

I'm a winner!
Thanks to the luck of a random number generator, I won a box of powerbar stuff from Alisa recently!  I like it when I win. Really, it's better for everyone. And I enjoy Powerbar products when I can get them.

I'm still digging pretty good on the new Lemon flavor of Gu Chomps on the bike.  Something about having those chewy sour goodness drops is so tasty after a big hill or when I need a little more electrolytes.  The Gu Brew is growing on me pretty good too.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Wedding

CJ: Hey Chad, what have you been up to?
Chad: Oh, you know.  Sucking dick for tacos.  You?
CJ: Sometimes I get extra cheese if I play with the balls.

This past weekend my old fraternity brother Shawn got married up in Quantico, VA.  Of course the bride was the shining star.  I've met her several times and consider her a good friend.  Shawn I've known for almost 20 years.  Their wedding is a blessed event and I was grateful to be there as they start their lives together.

But the most fun part of the weekend has to be Chad.  Most weekends with Chad, he ends up being the most fun part of it.  But this time it was all the pure, uncut Chad you could handle.  I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time.  My face hurt.  Now I'm left with a middle ground somewhere between what I can actually remember, what I'm willing to admit in public, and what I wish I could forget.  If you ever meet up with me for a long run, I tend to tell Chad stories.  I mean, they are the best. And Chad is also the best high school marching band director in NC.  yep, he's shaping the future.

Friday night we drove up to DC after work.  Got into the hotel about 11, and ran into a couple of the guys in the lobby. Of course that led straight into 2 am crashing after drinking beer and hanging with the 10 or so of us brothers that made it out, and our wifes.  I can't tell you the last time I stayed up until 2, or hung out with the guys, or drank that much beer.

Saturday morning breakfast was at IHOP. Quite fantastic.  I ate like crap all weekend.  Ate anything I could get down my throat and drank every beer I could find.   So of course after the IHOP I found the hotel treadmill (they only had 1) and got in a 5k run.  It was supposed to be 10 miles, but I had limited time and unlimited beer.  I felt like shit on the treadmill and even worse afterwards.

The ceremony started at 1 pm, and I felt ok then.  Still a bit achy after the run.  The ceremony was at the base chapel at the Quantico Marine military base.  It was beautiful, the ceremony was very catholic, and being around that many Irish Catholics the day before St Patrick's day, there was a lot of green.  It took about an hour.  By the end of it I could barely stand up.  We had an hour to kill between the ceremony and the reception, and we could not get the GPS to pick up an address for the reception location - a winery.  Turns out there is no satelite communication available while you are on the military base, a pretty scary control point.  I didn't realize this at first, so we went back to the hotel where I grabbed a 5 minute power nap while Kelley googled directions to the winery.  I thought that was all I needed. I did feel much better by the time we got there.

Some pictures:
My boy Leon lives in Romania now.  Totally incredible that he came back to the States for the wedding!  Got to meet his girlfriend too.

The smokin hot wives - all of their husbands are fraternity brothers

The happy couple enjoying their first dance

Shawn and I

Bridget and I
As the reception went on I took a downward spiral.  Dinner was wonderful. The cake was absolutely incredible. The DJ had more energy than was really necessary.  There was music, and dancing, and lots and lots of drinking.  Since we are a music fraternity (not a social greek organization), we have a tradition to serenade the bride at weddings.  It started by serenading our waitresses when we all went out to dinner after meetings.  So this happened too of course:

The serenade is always one of my favorite parts.  Of course Bridget had no idea we do that, so we really got her surprised.  It was fantastic!  She loved it.  And it's tough to surprise the bride with something they love. 

After we sang my stomach started to turn.  I started feeling feverish, achy, and slightly nauseated.  Switching to coffee almost helped.  It did give me a good excuse not to dance.  I usually like dancing at weddings and used to be pretty good at it.  But lately I've been to a bunch of weddings and haven't felt much like dancing at any of them.  Usually I'm not feeling sick though, so this was rough. More pictures.
Fun people dancing

Chad is dancing while holding a beer

On our way out the door we realized that we didn't get a picture of the two of us together
Oh the shenanigans.  Chad rode with us to the wedding and reception since he didn't have a GPS.  After following our GPS to get back to the hotel after the reception, I the he was convinced not to buy one.  It actually took us down a small dirt road.  How do you find a small dirt road going through the woods near a military base outside of DC?  There are no dirt roads that close to DC.  That was the strangest drive ever.  Of course Chad was telling stories the whole time.  I can't remember any of them now.  We stopped at a gas station, got some champagne and gatorade and snacks.  That gatorade made me really feel much better.

After getting back to the hotel I did have a little "upset stomach", and felt fine again after that.  The whole gang met up in the hotel bar where I got to show off the tattoos and hang out with some old friends that I hadn't seen in a couple of years.  It was really great to see everyone again.  One guy had lost 75 lbs since the last time I had seen him.  His wife dropped a bunch of weight too, they are doing weight watchers together.  There was a lot of runners in the group now.  So we talked a lot about running, triathlons, first half marathons, great races and approaches to long distance & speed. It was pretty fantastic, since I'm used to doing that with my triathlon friends and now get to share with this group too.  The guys get together pretty regularly, at least some of us do.  But it was a treat to get to hang out with the wives too.

Chad was telling stories that started with "the cab driver was scared to go into this part of New Orleans but I..." and the always normal start "I wanted to go to Colorado, so I started driving and ended up in Canda. Then..." yea, and he doesn't need a GPS.  My favorite still has to be "Well I was fucking this albino mule when..." oh my.  if you want to hear the rest of that one you'll have to get me on some trails for a long run.  It cannot be repeated around other people.  Chad stories are the best.

Sunday the drive home was uneventful.  We got up and out of there early, and made it back to Raleigh around 1:30.  By the time I left work monday I felt normal again.  Normal being not hungover, or sick, or tired.  Actually I never drank enough to get really hungover.  And I'm sure that by mentioning that, the next time we get together I will end up with quite the hangover.  oy.  What a weekend.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Week Before

Last week had some pretty cool spots.  This weekend we were in DC for a wedding, but the pics from that deserve it's own post.  This is about the week before.  The week after the recovery week.

I got in a quick 5k run saturday but the rest of the weekend was in the wedding mode.  Monday nights swim was almost 3000 yards and it was just fun.  I was flying through the water.  The t/w/th grind was regular and uneventful. But that swim...

Flying. When you go through the water repeatedly, you learn how to detect the smallest changes in your stroke.  Just like a good golfer can control hip rotation or something.  Monday I could tell the stroke was on point.  If you go fast enough you can actually feel the surface of the water on the top of your head.  If you can feel it on your forehead or hairline then you are looking too far up, which means the bottom half of the body is too far under the water surface, which creates a ton of drag.  Feeling that water surface line closer to the back of the head means you've got the right amount of submersion.  Then the body has to rock back and forth to a very specific angle.  Breathing should be done asyncronously to the shoulder rotation, and if the head stays in a proper angle it creates a nice pocket to breath in.  Don't look up.  Control the rotation with your hips and shoulders, and use the big muscles in the back and shoulders to pull through.  When you put it all together it creates a rhythm like a clock and creates an efficiency that means you can go on forever, just cruising really fast down the lane.  It's an incredibly beautiful thing.

Thursday's swim..... I couldn't really get the muscles working right.  My form started breaking down towards the end.  I was tired.  This is not a bad thing, after that 4 day block I should have been tired.  So that was expected, but not as much fun as Monday's swim.  Man when it all comes together like that it gets fun.  Like a golfer that beats his best round by 4 strokes.

Check out the size of that mug!  The kids love to throw pottery when they stay with Kelley's mom.  Gene has a few potters wheels and lots of clay.  This mug and a few other pieces came through the kiln last week and we got them back.  So cool.  The kids got to sculpt and glaze all of the pieces.

Evil Genius made this tremendous coffee mug.  It is so freaking big it's wonderful!  This thing holds more than 4 cups of coffee.  You can fill it up twice and empty the pot.  And since I've been trying to cut back to only 2 mugs of coffee in the mornings, this is really helping me achieve the goal.  EG claims that she wanted to make one that big so that we wouldn't have to get up and go into the kitchen as much for refills.  Helping us be lazy is a good thing.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

WDW in Pictures

Last week Kelley and the kids were in Walt Disney World in Florida.  They had a wonderful time, and the story is best told in pictures.  I stayed in Raleigh to work, and Kelley's mom went down with them.

First day in the gardens

Cinderella's Castle!

With the mouse man!

Robinson Crusoe?

Goofy was always my favorite



Evil Genius is doing "the thinker pose" with Tigger.  It became a recurring theme

Buzz Lightyear is seriously EG's favorite.  But she calls him Buzz Likeyear

wait wait wait mommy!  I have to get into my pose first

Hanging with Neena in San Fransisco

aaaaand back to the thinker pose

Inappropriately grabbing Donald's crotch

and back to the Thinker Pose

Gaston's Tavern!  Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorites

The Sword in the Stone

Teana is one of Bigun's favorites

EG wants to grow her hair as long as Rapunzel's.  But she just calls her Tangled.

They had breakfast in Cinderella's castle in Cinderella and Snow White costumes that my mom made!  How cool was that?

Cinderella, Cinderealla, and Ella!

Cinderella, Snow White, and Snow White



I thought Kelley was going to puke on the teacups

Ran into Buzz again, while EG was wearing the LGM hat.  Too cute!

They got to be in a play of beauty and the beast with the characters.  Bigun here is playing Maurice shivering in the basement

And EG got to play the Beast because she had the best roar!
This was one of those trips that we hope to be able to do again.  They drove down there and back, and the kids were actually behaved in the car for that long.  I can't believe it. Amazing!

Monday, March 11, 2013

All the Crazy

This week was totally filled with insanity.  Kelley and the kids were in Disney World for the entire week, and that's a whole post by itself.  I had to stay in Raleigh, couldn't make the trip because I had to work.  Work turned out to be the most normal part of my week here by myself.

First peep the crazy ironman training

I had to move my swim from tuesday up to monday for a meeting.  So after work I had a chiropractor appointment at 5, swim practice at 6:45, and a meeting about the team web site afterwards.  I'm starting to work on the team's site some just to volunteer.  It feels so good to be back in with the RAM team again!  got in 3 practices this week.  It was a recovery week for the bike & run distances, so I kind of backed off a bit on those. 

Tuesday was as close to normal as the week got.  I biked before work, ran after work, and that was it.  Wednesday had a bike before work, sushi lunch with a friend, and after work a church meeting, then choir practice, then a 5 mile run.  Thursday had a bike before work, then afterwards a swim practice followed by a social event with the team.

A cool thing happened at the social event.  It was at a brewpub, one of my favorite breweries that is close to the pool.  I was the first to get there, but only 2 other people showed up.  Even the organizer bailed on us.  So when I get there, I hit the bar and order an IPA.  The bartender pours it, then comes back and asks for my ID.  When I tell him I'm old enough for that to be a compliment, he kind of laughs.  Then he sees my drivers license and actually says "Holy shit man, good for you! wow" and I bust out laughing.  Yes I really am 37 years old.  Yes I really look 23.  I blame the vegan and multisport lifestyle.

Then Friday.  Thank God for a rest day.  Even on the recovery weeks I'm incredibly glad for a rest day.  This guy at the office puts together a social lunch, and there's about 7 of us in this restaurant.  I happen to be sitting next to these two 24 year old girls retelling that story from the bar last night with the caveat that they may be too young to fully appreciate it.  I get the obligatory chuckle and a "yea, that's cute" from one of them.  And they really are nice friendly people.  So I have to tell them that I'm actually 37 and make jokes about how when I was graduating from college they were graduating up to using the big girl potty.  I got a serious double take on that one.  Turns out they actually believed that I was still in my early 20's as well. "my boyfriend is 25 and you totally look younger than him" and all that goodness. It came as quite a shock to them.

Seriously people.  I've always had a bit of a baby face.  If I let my hair grow to the length that most adult men keep it there is a lot of gray in there.  But I've only been vegan for 3 months and I swear it's gotten the wrinkles out of my face and kept my skin clear.  I didn't look this young when I actually was as young as I look now.  this is insane.

On the flip side of all that ego-boosting goodness, I think I may be overtrained a bit.  Yes with Kelley out of town I didn't have her incredible kitchen skills put to good use so I ate like crap all week. I was a really bad vegan. So I'm going to blame my poor eating choices for the way I felt during some of those workouts.  In fact I still feel like crap tonight compared to last sunday night.  Wednesday and thursday I woke up with an elevated heart rate.  Your resting heart rate when you wake is supposed to be the lowest point of the day.  And when I was singing in the choir both wednesday night and sunday morning in the service I had a tough time controlling my breath when singing.  Then the long run on Sunday (only 8 miles - nice recovery week) was incredibly rough.  It started out good but by 6 miles in my legs felt like lead, I had trouble keeping a steady breathing pattern and my form started to break down.  I don't know if this is because of eating take-out all week or the extra swim distance or just my body adjusting to the extra mileage of the ironman base phase.  Whatever it is I don't like it.  That's why I skipped sunday's bike ride too.  Welcome to BPD (bipolar posting disorder), where everything is wonderful one minute and horrible the next.  I am so incredibly looking forward to some clean home cooking this week and just hope that everything gets straightened out.

When it's all said and done I put up 8600 meters in the pool, 80.75 miles on the bike, and 18 miles running for a total of ~9:40 in workout time for just s/b/r.  Great recovery week, lots of social activity, really missed the wife and kids while they were gone.  It's not a bad week for them to be gone however, since it was difficult for me to get home before 10 pm.  That's the way it happens sometimes. 

This week is already off to a roaring start.  Wild and busy times coming up around here!  And I'll be posting tons of pics and stories from the Disney trip as soon as I can get organized.

Monday, March 4, 2013

ready to sleep

Let's start out in February:

Swim: 6400 meters, 4 swims
Bike: 314 miles, 19 rides
Run: 60.5 miles, 12 runs
Strength: 19 workouts
Yoga: 10 times

Ah, it was so nice to get back in the pool for reals this month.  I love Ironman training.  It's such a comfortable routine.  February saw the start of the training plan and it all kicked off with a bang.  That's a loooooooot of time on the bike.  March has seen me join the RAM team again, and the first practice put up half of the total swim distance from February.  I had 19 strength workouts thanks to the habits I built up during the 30 day challenge group on Facebook, which I finished off after getting a bit less consistent towards the end.  10 times on the yoga mat feels pitiful but I know it's really not that bad.

Then there was this week (week 4, base week 2).

Saturday I got back in the pool with the RAM team!!!  3200 meters in an hour and a half practice.  First team practice since September.  Even finished things off with some relays for a little sprint work.  I was completely wiped out for the rest of the day.  The midweek stuff was fine, but Sat & Sun deserve an explanation.

Saturday afternoon we had planned to go to the Marbles kids museum to get the kids playing with the sights in there, and a veterinarian was supposed to bring some animals.  The vet never showed, the kids got completely worn out, but the cool part was going on outside the museum.  There was an 8k kilt race going on with the expo right outside on Moore Square.  So when we walked up there was a parade of bagpipers and drummers going on, which was incredibly cool.  The organizers were trying to set a guiness book of world records attempt for the most racers wearing a kilt.  They did a run around the square 15 minutes before the race.  Then the race went off of course, and downtown Raleigh was filled with men in kilts. 

There's also something called the Oaks & Spokes festival going on.  Really it's all downtown rides and stuff going on, kind of a cool thing.  Saturday afternoon was the Triangle Tweed Ride, so there were a few hundred people riding like it was 1899 (their slogan) in tweed jackets and corduroy pants and total hipster costumes.  It was pretty hilarious.    And as you can imagine that made for quite a site.  A bagpipe parade, thousands of runners in kilts, and bikers in 1800's costumes?  I wish I could say that was a typical day here, but it's pretty wild even for Raleigh standards. 

Sunday was another wild ride.  The kids got so incredibly worked up at the museum saturday that all I wanted to do was take a nap.  They wore me out too.  So my swim/bike brick turned into a swim/lunch/museum/nap day, and I hit the bike trainer for an hour and a half  Sunday morning before church to make up for saturday's missed workout. 

Kelley and the kids actually headed out of town this morning, and I'm not going to share those details but they are in for a wild time!  And I'm getting to be a batchelor for a week, so happy days to me too!  They hit the road right before I left for church this morning, and we had another good time in the choir (it always is).  So after lunch I got on with the business of today's workout.  A simple 45 minute bike before the 12 mile long run.  By the end of it, I was completely wiped, again.  Time to crash and eat.

For the Cast Iron Club, I'm up to 3.62 iron swims, 4.62 iron bikes, and 3.89 iron runs on the year.  For this week I got 2 miles of swimming, 90 miles on the bike, and 21 miles of running in.  For time, that's 1:30 swimming, 4:24 on the bike, and 2:45 running, for a total of 8:39.  Compared to last week's 7:20 i'd say that's a pretty good week.

I've begun hoarding Gu products for the duration of the ironman training plan. The Clymb recently had a good Gu sale, and I picked up a 50 pack of mint gels and some peanut butter/chocolate gels too.  Really I've been digging on some of the new flavors this year.  Lemon Chomps while into a long bike ride are really fantastic.  I've been digging the Gu Brew this year too.  The Tri-Berry flavor is pretty great.  Go Gu!