Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Accidental Ironweek

All this happened:

The recovery week after Ironman Raleigh I only worked out once a week.  Thanks to sunday's 1 mile long run the numbers didn't turn out that great.  I was actually headed out for my 10 mile capital loop on the run, when I dropped my water bottle about half a mile in.  It hit at just the right angle, so the top smashed into itself and all of the Heed ended up on the side of the road.  It's too bad, I was feeling pretty good for the first time all week and looking forward to reclaiming some dignity over the Ironman run course.

Totals for the week were 3.8 miles swimming, 65 miles on the bike, and 4 miles of running.  Added up to over 6 hours of workouts.

This week included the 3 little pigs sprint triathlon.  I got busy doing a few other things this week too, so it kind of got away from me.  Total was just over 2.5 miles of swimming, 34 miles on the bike, and 13.1 miles of running.  Pitiful, but the race was fantastic.  Total time was just over 4.5 hours of training.  Now that adds up to only about 11 hours of training over these two weeks. So what do you think happened this past week?

Finally a normal, solid week of Ironman training.  This was the first Ironweek I've had in a while.  Lisa came for a visit so all day Saturday was hanging out with her, pics to come.  So instead of a Saturday long ride I did an extra 25 mile ride on Friday morning and pushed off the rest day.  This stuff added up to 5200 m swimming, 115 miles on the bike, and 26.2 miles running.  Covering all of the Ironman distances (or more) in a week's time makes this an Ironweek.  I think Ironweeks should be a regular part of my ironman training, but my legs are starting to disagree.  Total time this week was almost 11 hours and 45 minutes.  10 to 12 hours are normal now, and that should be enough to let me climb into the 20 hour range for the build period.

This week in the training plan is when the weekday morning bike rides go from 20 to 25 miles.  During the build phase that starts July 20, they will go to 30 miles, so this is a landmark that I've been waiting to hit and dreading all at the same time.  Also this week I got my tuesday and wednesday evening workouts criss-crossed.  I don't like to same-sport it on back to back nights, running Monday and Tuesday, and swimming Wednesday and Thursday.  But we had a big tropical storm thing move through here on Tuesday night that cancelled the swim so I ran instead, and then I ended up skipping choir practice on Wednesday anyway so I swam instead.

I think I will be able to get my swim meters done now with only 2 swims a week as I will need that extra time on Saturday for the longer bike rides.  And now is when they start to really get longer.  By the build phase I need to be in shape for 80 to 100 miles each week. So muscular endurance has got to be there.  Swimming hard and long does wonders for your aerobic endurance, so 3 swims a week has been very helpful in keeping my heart rate down for longer periods of time while biking, but now is the right time to switch the focus.  Base build muscular endurance for cycling now will lead to faster bike rides in the build phase, and this should be the difference between a 7 hour bike split and a 5.5 hour bike split on race day.

For the Cast Iron Club update, this ironweek puts me at 25.55 iron swims, 16.1 iron bikes, and 13.65 marathons on the year. This is week 20 of the 38 week Ironman training plan, so I've got 18 weeks to go.  Looks like I'm setup to clear the 30 iron distances on the calendar year no problem.

It was sooooooo cool having Lisa come visit this weekend!  We don't get visitors very often and we really do enjoy having friends come stay for a  night or weekend.  This time we got to show off our really cool city to a really cool girl and we all had a lot of fun.  The highlights included getting to go play in the Rose Garden some, and letting the kids run around.
Smelling the roses always makes me miss my mother's roses.  They were beautiful this summer!

Kelley, Lisa and me watching the girls put on a play in the amphitheater
We mostly just hung out and talked, saw the sights, drank coffee, and played with the kids.  Kaileigh actually kept the kids at night while we went downtown for dinner at Natty Greene's, then hit the bars downtown for a while.
after dinner at Natty Greene's brewpub

I tried to get some other local friends to come out and drink with us but nobody could.  This is what happens when you are old and married and in Ironman training, you alienate everyone else.  However, we did still see the strangest thing I've ever seen in a bar before.  This one bar downtown that I wanted to go to was way too crowded.  So we stopped into another place that was less crowded.  It was really weird, just a bar with some benches on the wall opposite the bar (no tables).  At the very back of the bar was a pit bull chained up to a table (ok the only one), and on our way out there was an old black man who had fallen asleep with his hand in a bag of Cheetos.  I mean, he was the only one sitting on the benches but it was still pretty loud in there.  Too loud for me to fall asleep, that's for sure.  But the hand in the bag of Cheetos, that was really unexpected.  I wish I had been able to get a picture of that.

Lisa recently moved from Minneapolis to Charlotte, and is vivaciously exploring her new surroundings and trying to embrace the southern lifestyle.  We were proud to show her around Raleigh for the weekend and had a wonderful time.  The kids absolutely fell in love with her too.  It was great and I can't wait to get her back up here for a race!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy birthday Bigun!

Today my eldest daughter turns 8 years old.  This past year (age 7) has been full of learning opportunities for her.  It has held challenges and accomplishments and changes that will continue through the next several years for her. She has lost teeth and gained friends.  She has grown inches taller and found adventures everywhere.  My little girl isn't so little anymore!

Age 7 saw her getting used to a new challenge at school dealing with new classmates and a more demanding schedule and workload there.  We learned how to fuel her properly to curb the adhd tendencies, and she learned how to stay focused enough to get her work done.  She got a taste of real travel going to Disney World, and really likes it.  We're going to have a lot of fun going places together as she gets older.

Age 8 is going to present a whole new set of challenges as she is about to start 3rd grade and face those dreaded EOG's at the end of the year.  We're going to get her swimming more, and maybe get her on a swim team too.  She's about to lose another tooth, and will continue to develop her sense of style, as evidenced by today's pictures:

She picked out that dress for today.  Very cute!

She loves the cards with music and dancing people inside

Evil Genius picked out that Dale hat when they were at Disney World and actually kept it a secret until today!

She got to pick out her birthday dinner destination, and chose Golden Corral.  The kid did pick a place with all you can eat wings & ribs tonight, so no complaints there.

My goodness she's grown. This is from her 7th birthday last year.
My sweet little girl isn't so little anymore.  She's got less teeth and more to say than ever before.  I'm so proud of the lady she's growing into.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


This weekend was the 3 Little Pigs sprint triathlon.  It's the first sprint I've done in a while, and the short course felt great!  The race is in Smithfield, NC about 40 minutes east of Raleigh.  Since it's closer to the coast, the course was much more flat than the Ironman Raleigh course from a few weeks ago.

The day started early, with a 5:15 alarm clock. I hit the road after breakfast and coffee and got onsite by about 6 am.  The timing turned out to be perfect, I didn't have to wait around for very long at all before getting on with the race! I got my packet, timing chip, and bodymarking then rolled into TA and setup the bike.
Ready to Rock
I knew it was going to be a good day when I struck gold.  I got my stuff setup, and there was no line at the port-a-toilets.  There was only 2 out there, and I walked right in without being rushed.  That's when I knew it was going to be my day.  On my way out my RAM swim teammate Jay was standing in the line, so it was good to give him some encouragement.
Busy TA!
I added some suntan lotion, cleaned up my area and got inside to chill before the start.  Initially I thought I had entered a bad 100 m pace for my swim time because I got seeded #58 out of almost 500 people.  There is no way I was going to be that fast.

250 m pool swim: 3:55, 1:34/100 pace, 6/42 age group
The guy in front of me said he was seeded pretty accurately, but I could pass him if I needed to.  The girl 2 people ahead of him was worried that I was going pass her, and I have no idea why.  This was a 25 meter pool, so we had to hit 10 laps. We started one at a time, which was really fantastic, about 7 seconds apart.  I passed the tool in front of me before the second wall, and ended up finishing almost 20 minutes faster than he did.  On the 10th lap, I passed one more person just before  getting out of the pool.  So that ended up being a really good swim.

T1: 1:17 18/42 age group
FINALLY!!  A swim-to-bike transition under 90 seconds!  That was fantastic.

Bike 14 miles: 42:01, 20.0 mph, 16/42 age group
This bike course was flat and amazingly fast.  Most of the serious cyclists hit 24 mph, which is how I went from 6th place in my age group to 18th without really being passed very often.  Since the swim was a timed start, people who put in a slower estimated swim time than me started after me then put up lightning fast bike splits.  I got passed twice pretty soon into the bike.  But the format of the swim start lead to a fairly open course!

The first few miles were a false flat with a few rolling hills thrown in but no real climbs.  It took about 5 miles for my legs to really warm up.  and by that time it was really flat until you got into the last 5 miles, which were slightly downhill so I was able to push a bigger gear.

Biggest change:  After Ironman Raleigh I knew I needed to change something on the bike. It was really uncomfortable, and that had not been the case before.  So on the Monday before the race I went to Inside-Out Sports and got a bike fit with adjustments for comfort.  Mark ended up moving my saddle forward, and putting on a shorter stem and new aerobars that were more adjustable.  As soon as I started riding on Saturday the comfort level was incredible.  I was blown away at the difference.

I tried to push it pretty hard the whole time but keep my heart rate kind of low so I'd have something left for the run.  I think the speed was pretty spot on for a sustainable ride of that distance.  I did end up making one mistake, though.  The web site said the bike course was 14 miles, so I taped one gel onto the bike so I could take it around 12 miles, that way it would be digested and fuel me up for the run.  I did actually take it at the 12 mile sign, but then at the 13 mile sign we were back at the TA?  What?  What happened to that last mile?  Totally took me by surprise, I could barely get my feet out of the shoes before hitting the dismount line.
I was racing naked, so I had no garmin or other distance gauge or timer.  I was going on perceived heart rate alone.  Since the course was a lollipop, I could see the later starters heading out on the bike as I was coming in.  pretty cool.

T2: 51 seconds
Yea baby.  Rack the bike, running shoes on, grab everything else and off we go.

Run 5k: 22:48, 7:21 pace
The run course was very shaded, which I was really glad for.  I heard last year it got really hot, and a recent storm had left a cool front out today, so it was still in the low 70's.  The course again was really flat, and mostly went through a park.  It was an out and back course mostly, really a small loop with a large spur on it. At the 1 & 2 mile markers they had an aide station set up, and they were really only about 200 yards apart.  I started out by pushing the pace a bit, then once my muscles started to fatigue I slowed down into a steady pace that I could hold for the rest of the race.  After pushing hard for almost an hour, I don't really remember much of the run.  My mind went into the pain cave, I never slowed down to a walk, and just kept pushing one foot in front of the other until I saw that finish line.  It was quite a sweet relief to be done, as it was really starting to get hot out there.

Finish: 1:10:54, 15/42 age group, 73/260 men, 82/421 overall
Top third in my age group, top third overall, and a sprint triathlon PR?  Thank you, I'll take it.  This was a fantastic race. The best part about starting out with such a quick estimated swim time is that it got me out in front of the main field.  No pesky other people getting in my way.  Also, I was finished before it really started getting hot.

After I hit the finish line, my buddy Jay was there with a cold beer.  Sure it was only 9 am, but that was pretty fantastic.  And it was foreshadowing of the rest of the day. 

I went back to the TA to gather up my gear, and noticed over half of the bikes were still out riding!  That's because in an hour race, it took over 45 minutes to get all of the swimmers in the water.  There was a heavy beginner crowd, and beginner-friendly races are great.  This would have been a fantastic first triathlon to choose.
Snapped a couple of shots from the phone after the race back in TA

They had the splash pool open for the kids to play in!  Made me wish my kids were there.
Overall this was a fantastic race.  Great course, great volunteers, and really well organized.  This was a dream race for me.  Everything went exactly right.  This is the kind of day that reminds me why I love this sport.  It's tough to say you PR'd a sprint triathlon because the distances are always different.  This was also the shortest course I've done, but it beat my previous sprint times by over 20 minutes.  and that's really cool too.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ironman Raleigh 70.3 Race Report

The inagural Ironman Raleigh 70.3 was on June 2nd 2013. I fought the good fight out there, finishing in 6:09:41.  Not my fastest half iron by a long shot, but not my slowest either. Here's how it went down.

The thing I love most about the Ironman Expo is that I'm not the only crazy one in there.  Everyone is my kind of crazy!! ah, it's good to be among your own kind. The biggest thing I got from the Athlete meeting was learning the length of the bus ride.  40 minutes to drive from the finish line to T1? Come on man. They said the athletes should leave downtown no later than 5:30 am, the same time I was planning on waking up.  Time to change my plans.
The Ironman store at the expo
Saturday I did the athlete checkin downtown and the bike checkin in T1 out in Jordan Lake.  Split transition areas is a logistical nightmare, and the WTC people handled it flawlessly.  I started in T2 by finding my bike spot, then headed down to T1 at Jordan Lake to checkin my bike.  No checkin saturday, no race on sunday.  Checked and done.

Ready to roll!  The swag had a great bag, and I got a few shirts and stuff from the Ironman Store, and a coffee cup that I got to show off around the office later.  Time to race.

Race Day Start
I got up at 4:30 am (not 5:30 as planned) ate breakfast and headed downtown with a big cup of coffee. I actually found the parking garage and made my way to the Ironman Village, and snapped these pics of T2 from the car. 
T2 at 5:10 AM from a moving car
then I left my phone in the car, found my T2 spot to drop off the run bag, and got on the bus.  That was a really long bus ride, but at least we got to see the sun rise.

The first major fail from WTC was in T1.  We got off of the bus at 6:15 am.  I got bodymarked and went to my bike to drop off the bike bag, then ran to get in the port-a-let line.  They needed at least twice as many toilets in T1 as were actually there.  Transition area closed at 6:45.  I was still standing in the damn line with my legs crossed when I heard "transition is closing in 5 minutes" come over the loudspeakers.  you have got to be kidding me.  25 minutes to get through the crapper line?

I had to run back to get into T1 to grab my timing chip, throw on some suntan lotion and do the final checks to be sure everything was there.  Grab the goggles etc, then get out of there before it closes at 6:45.

Fail #2 was the wave swim start.  There was 2500 people in this race, and the logistics at Vista Point don't allow for the mass beach start.  The pros started first at 7 am, men then women.  Then it was the waves in an age group breakdown.  They started with Men 55+, then worked back to the men over 40.  Then women age 55+ working back down to 40+.  Then my age group, men 35-39 working back to the 20 year olds, then women 39 to 20.  So the fail is that wave starts without typical speed rankings for the age groups make for a real cluster.  A real cluster.

Swim: 41:01, 84/218
My wave started at 7:50. Yes that means I had to stand around for over an hour after transition closed after already standing in line for 25 minutes to take a crap.  While I'm in line, I did get to talk to some nice fellow insane people.  When it was time, my wave got in the water and I positioned myself  near the front on the right hand side where I normally try to get.  When our time came I took off swimming.

200 yards later, I was having a full blown panic attack.  I was getting kicked in the face repeatedly while other people were coming down on my back and legs, and finally I started to assess the situation so I got outside and threw in a few breast strokes to keep my head above water.  My heart was racing and I couldn't catch my breath.  I didn't expect to get passed by so many people that fast.  I started near the front, not in the front.

There were two turns we had to make in the water.  By the time I hit the first turn buoy, I had passed people that started 12 minutes ahead of me, gotten the panic attack under control, and gotten my heart rate back down.  the waves started every 3 minutes, so I was already passing people that started 4 waves ahead of me.  Planning fail.

After making that first turn, it was still incredibly crowded.  I started to get my confidence back again by that point, but it could only help so much.  The water is so murky you can't see the foot rising up through the water until it is a couple of inches from your face.  So I got kicked in the face a lot.  But I would make a move to one side (which is not an efficient move) to get around, and find someone else on my hip.  I started throwing hip checks in the water to these people.  Again the point of swimming fast is that you should glide through the water with as little resistance as possible.  Creating resistance by throwing a hip out to the side is bad, but it did keep the idiots from swimming over me.

After making the second turn, however, it got incredibly crowded.  yes i know it was incredibly crowded before as well.  I swam back to shore shoving other people out of my way.  How much were other people in my way?  Typically I make that swim in 32 to 35 minutes.  So there was well over 6 minutes of drag created by the crowds.  I felt just awful getting out of the water, like I had really screwed something up there.  But finishing so high in my age group tells me that I actually had a pretty decent day in the water.

T1: 3:46
I ran up the hill into transition and found my bike no problems there.  Stuffed the swim cap and goggles into the bike bag, threw on socks, shoes, and helmet and got out of there.

Bike: 3:06:18, 18.04 mph, 146/218 age group place
Oh the bike course.  the route of unending climbs. 
This was the hardest bike course I've ever seen in a race in my entire life.  I've done a bunch of these things now people. Nothing comes anywhere close in degree of difficulty.

When I first got out on the bike it took 3 miles just to get out of Vista Point park and onto highway 64.  They were all uphill. Once we got on 64 it was mostly rollers, and some of the roads were the same ones I train on regularly including Pea Ridge Road and Old Hwy 1. Apparently they planned the route backwards from the direction I usually ride. Then it got into unfamiliar territory.

I was absolutely blown away by how many people passed me on the bike.  Overall, I went from 605 place overall out of the water to 929th place overall after the bike leg.  Insane.  There were lots of serious cyclists out there.

About 35 miles into the ride the sun came out, and it started really bearing down.  When it got hot, it got really hot.  Then the hills went from tough to unbearable.  We went through Apex and Holly Springs, then into downtown.  The coolest part was that around mile 54, right as we were coming into downtown one of my swim coaches was volunteering and yelled some words of encouragement.  That was really cool.  Around mile 45 my neck and upper back started to get really sore, so I was hurting pretty bad by the time I was done riding.  It is time for a new bike fit and maybe some new aerobars.

T2: 3:04
I had a loooong run through the TA to my spot on the bike rack.  Bike stuff off, run stuff on, and get out of there. 

Run: 2:15:32, 122/218 age group, 799 overall
The run course headed up to the capital building, then down Hillsborough street.  I was quite happy to see my family hanging out on the capital grounds.

Check out the closeup on that calf muscle!  That's decent definition
It was well over 90* at this point.  My legs were completely toasted after the bike.  There was very little gas left in the tank.  Plus the route was backwards, again.  Typically, I run from my house to the capital at around a 7:30 pace, then back up to the house at around an 8:20 pace.  So I knew this route really well, and knew what to expect.

Except I knew absolutely nothing about how to handle it after such a punishing bike ride.  This way, going out was the hard part so it would be easy going back.  I was averaging about a 10:30 pace going out, and about a 10:20 pace coming back into the capital.  I have to admit, it was certainly easier in the second half but the heat was a killer.  Most of my half marathons come in around 1:45, so to be 30 minutes slower is really hard to believe.  That's how tough it was out there. 

The family made it to Snoopy's, a local hot dog joint for some lunch.  That was on the course, so I got to see them again.
Yay!  I'm going down hard here!

Keep going down Hillsborough street

This corner is the entrance to a greenway and right next to Meredith College.  The course turns in at the main entrance to Meredith, and follows the greenway up to the art museum.  After two loops around the museum, it's time to head back into downtown.  and it's all downhill from here.

It was hovering around 100* by this point, and I was taking ice every chance I could get.  Dumping ice down the shirt really helped keep me cool, and I'd drink a water and a powerade at every aide station.  They had some sponges in icewater as well that were quite nice.  You can see there is no shade on that road.  I ended up with quite a nasty sunburn.  The heat tends to melt my will to survive, screw the strength to keep moving forward.  The heat made it incredibly tough out there.

Coming into downtown and heading to the finish line felt great, even if I was a big pile of melted ice cream.  I was more than ready to have this race done!

Almost there!  I had no sprint left in me.
Finish: 6:09:41, 122/218 age group, 799/2500 overall
I was so glad to be done with this race.  I hit the finish line and sat down while the volunteer grabbed my chip.  I stayed sitting down until I had 2 bottles of water in me.  Then I wandered around the finish area trying to find Kelley and the kids.  I ended up asking a stranger to text her because I couldn't find her anywhere.  Eventually we met up at the finish line.
Remember I started 50 minutes after that clock started running, and then it took a while after I finished to find her and get the pic
We found a spot in the shade and I got some extra water and eventually got some food.  The coolest part of the race was hanging in the food line and hearing how much other people liked Raleigh.  People that had never been here before thought it was beautiful and had a great time at the race.  That makes me very happy.
EG stole one of my cookies
That was some really good food too.  Pizza, pasta, salad, cookies, you name it.  Kelley grabbed my stuff after that and we headed on home.  This was a pretty incredible day.

What could have gone better?
  • More toilets at the swim start
  • Don't clusterfuck the swim waves
  • Move the date back to October when it's not 100* out here
  • More shade around the finishers area
  • There are roads with less hills to bike on
So I don't think that I will be doing this one again next year.  It was great to get in on the inaugural event, and it was incredibly well organized.  Split transitions are never ideal, but they handled it really well.  This race really showcased my city on a national level, and that is wonderful.  The city really showed up too, spectator support was fantastic.  I'll probably volunteer next year, all of the volunteers out there were great.  Don't hesitate to come to Raleigh and do this one once, you will not be dissapointed.  I certainly wasn't. 

And now for some kid pics downtown.


The kids were also happy to get out of that heat.  I'm proud of them for coming out like that, and they are proud of me for doing the race.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

To The End

of the month of May, that's all. Here's what happened:

This was the week leading up to Memorial day weekend when we were camping.  I took the normal friday rest day, Saturday and Sunday were at the campsite.  Normal midweek stuff made up the entirety of my training that week.  It's week 16 of ironman training, base week 14 in the plan.  Totalled 1 swim, almost 2 miles, 3 bike rides, 45 miles, and 2 runs, 10.5 miles.  Solid midweek, no long stuff.

Hey, there's the long stuff! Monday was memorial day, I nailed a 50 mile brick (43 mile bike, 7 mile run).  Got in a few things midweek but thursday night I got caught up in some family stuff and skipped the planned swim practice.  Friday and Saturday were all resting up for Ironman Raleigh 70.3!  IM Raleigh was a really tough race, I finished in 6:10:41, and I'm still working on the race report.  Totals for this week are 1 swim for 1.2 miles, 3 bike rides 119 miles, and 3 runs for 25.1 miles.

May Totals:
Swim: 16,600 meters, 5 swims
Bike: 427 miles, 17 rides
Run: 64.5 miles, 11 runs
Strength: 3 workouts
Yoga: 5 times

I really missed a lot of swims.  Nothing after the 21st of the month.  and I missed a bunch in the middle.  Should have been closer to 12 swims.  Hope that doesn't come back to haunt me in the swim at IM Raleigh (hint hint wink wink).  I really nailed the bike miles.  and that's a decent amount of running.  So a pretty good month all around.

Evil Genius turns 6!
The 31st was a special day, as our little EG had her 6th birthday. She's quite the growing child these days, and got a few neat things including this
a fancy dress!

a ton of presents!
She had a big time for her birthday.  We are planning a duel party for the kids this year; one big bash in the middle of both kids birthdays.  Here's the rub.  EG got to pick where she wanted to go for her birthday dinner, and she chose McDonalds.

cool panarama shot.  Obviously TV is winning the influence game on her. No matter how much we try and push the "McDonalds is evil and we don't eat there ever" thing we had to cave in on her birthday.  I had a grilled chicken sandwich, and it was a flat and very fatty chicken breast.  I thought I was going to puke afterwards.  How do you screw up a grilled chicken breast?  awful.  EG gets a kids meal with a cheeseburger that has no meat and no condiments.  so it's just cheese and bread with fries and a toy.  she loves it.  I'm just glad she made it to 6.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Freaky Friday - the Aftermath

Camping was really fun.  Yes I may be the last person to post about Memorial Day weekend, but this was all a whirlwind.  We had 4 adults and 6 kids camping in 1 rv and 2 tents.  Saturday we got up and had a good breakfast.  It was only about 45* when we awoke, so the campfire got to blazin and there was coffee in the RV.  The kids played around and kind of went nuts, but it was all fun.

Enjoying some breakfast
After lunch, this campground has a beach that we went out to visit.  The kids threw the bathing suits on and got in the water, they had a neat little swimming area roped off.  I did not expect to find a sandy beach on the lake like that!

Evil Genius playing in the old swimming hole

Why aren't you watching the dancing child?

We had an interesting time keeping a constant head count and trying not to get sunburned.  Track the kids, don't let them get too deep. 

Bigun really showed me something cool out there.  She has flat got the swimming down.  I mean she still needs some lessons and isn't ready for a kids swim team yet.  But she is a natural breast stroker, and threw in a butterfly arm stroke whenever she wanted to get her head out of the water to take a breath.  I feel very comfortable about her safety in the water now, and that has been a long time coming.  It's an amazing relief for me, and she knows how proud I am of her progress and comfort level.

Saturday night we had a great dinner around the campfire, cooking corn and potatoes, and some burgers and dogs too.  Good stuff all around.

I'm only really game for about 2 nights of camping, so Sunday we headed home and started cleaning.  It took a lot of showers, naps, and movies before we felt normal again.  I had some grand plans for a long run on sunday afternoon, but ended up sleeping through it.  I love camping but it definitely takes a day or so to recover from it.

Around 2 pm on Sunday is when my grandmother died.  She had been unresponsive since Friday, and really before thursday she was feeling ok.  So yes it is sad and difficult to lose someone that you cared so much about.  But she was 92 years old and she went quickly.  I was so relieved that she didn't have to suffer for months or years in a hospital hooked up to machines or anything like that.  We should all be so lucky.  The obituary went into the newspaper, and since she didn't want a funeral we had a Recieving of Friends at the funeral home scheduled for Wednesday.  She used to take me and my brothers out to a local cafeteria for dinner when she would keep us for the weekend as kids, so sunday night we all went out to a local cafeteria in her memory.

While we were camping, the discussion ensued about how our Evil Genius always does exactly what she's not supposed to do.  It's not really wrong as much as it is uncannily annoying.  She was quiet and well behaved all day long at the campsite, getting into no trouble at all.  Couldn't ask for a sweeter child.  But at 9 pm they lock the gates and the campground goes on quiet hours until 8 pm the next morning to prevent anyone from getting too rowdy and disturbing the other campers.  So of course 9 pm is when EG suddenly gets really loud.  At the cafeteria I had to send Gina a pic of this:

All of the empty plates are mine.  Everyone else is completely done, I even made quite the post-camping pig of myself.  And when it's time to go, she'll take the first bite.  It's one thing to get her to pick out something she will actually eat, but then the timing of not eating when the rest of us are just doesn't fly in restaurants.  That's the Evil Genius way.  You got to love it.

Monday was Memorial Day.  I needed a holiday pretty bad. My favorite holiday activity?  Long bike rides.  I felt pretty bad about missing the long run from Sunday too, so I decided to make it a bike/run brick and head out to the American Tobacco Trail for my favorite bike loop and a runoff.  With the new phone, I actually got a self-shot during the ride!
The view from my aerobars

I can't believe how beautiful it was out there.  I rode from White Oak down to Old US-1 around the shortest version of my favorite big loop, then came on back to White Oak.  Total ride was 43 miles.  I decided to make the run a 7 mile out and back to call the brick an even 50 miler.  The ride went great.  I haven't pulled the stats off of the garmin yet, but I was fast (2:17) and some of that ride was on the course for Ironman 70.3 Raleigh the following weekend.  Then when I started running, the first couple of miles was ok, but around the mile 2 marker I totally ran out of gas.  that should have been a sign of things to come.  I mean the legs were totally dead.  gone.  no energy left at all.  That was a slow run, 7 miles in 1:10 ish when it should have been around 2 min/mile faster.  I was so confused by the time I got back in the car I took this:
This face is literally "why did I leave the camera on my phone open", but it looks like a game face.
I was confused and distraught.  Seriously beaten down by the heat on that run and blown away by how great that bike ride was.  Cool workout that left me slammed.

Tuesday I was supposed to have a dentist appointment, but it got postponed at the last minute.  I did end up working half a day anyway.  We picked up the girls from school early and headed to SC for my grandmothers visitation.  Wednesday I got in a nice 5 mile run around the parents 'hood while the kids got in the pool, then it made for a nice ice bath after my run.
That water was still pretty cold.
Before you know it, we were grabbing some lunch and heading to the funeral home.  The kids were pretty well behaved for about the first hour and a half, which is a long time for young kids to actually be well behaved.  As soon as someone started telling me about how nice they were being, I saw one of them actually lying down on the floor and being pulled by the hands by the other one.  dragged around on the floor.  geez.
She was actually rolling up my tie

Bigun holding her baby cousin
There was a really good turnout at the viewing.  She didn't want a big funeral, just a "recieving of friends" so people could come and pay their respects.  There was quite a large turnout.  It was good to see so many of my dad's cousins, and lots of other friends and family that I haven't been able to visit with for a long time.  My grandmother will be greatly missed by many people.

After that, we headed directly back to Raleigh.  It's not easy to go there and back on consecutive days, but that's what you have to do sometimes.  Got home late-ish, and I had to work on thursday, the kids were back in school, and the entire week had just been hectic.  Between the holiday monday, and the travel to the funeral, I had only worked four hours over the past 5 days.  That's the closest thing I've had to a vacation in the last 9 months.

And that is where I have to end this really long freaky friday tale.  Thursday was our niece's birthday, Friday was Evil Genius's birthday, Saturday kicked off June with a bang and Sunday was Ironman Raleigh 70.3!  So I have plenty of writing to do.  You won't believe that race report.