Friday, June 27, 2014

Another Birthday!

This week my sweet Ella turned 9 years old. This scares the shit out of me, because I know 10 is going to start that tween attitude. And right now she's just 'honey dripping onto birthday cake' sweet and loves nothing more than spending time with her Daddy. And that's how I like it. She's grown into an easy going, laid back gal that is always up for anything that comes her way. She got my good looks and sense of humor, and her sarcasm and joke phrasing skills are really starting to develop. It is so much fun to watch her grow, and scary to think that it's only going to be another 9 years before she's off to college.

My shot with the birthday girl

Evil Genius had to get some of that action too

EG also got a birthday card

She loved this card! it played music and danced.

yes, she opened presents in roller skates.
She got monster movies, a Sims game, some Wii Infinity characters. it's a far cry from the barbie dolls she used to get! After that we went to Golden Corral to strap on a feed bag, then had more birthday cake at home! I'm not going to need to eat again until Sunday. Good thing I've got all of that ironman training to metabolize all of that processed crap food.

I am very happy that my little girl is not so little anymore, and very proud of the young person she is growing into. We are looking forward to having many adventures together this year!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Green beans from the garden!

Ah, the harvest is plentiful so far this year. Lots and lots of beans.

Last week I had a "drink straight from the blender" kind of morning. Smoothies rock!

We went to Costco for 3 things. that was it, just 3. At least now I have watermelon for smoothies.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cancer Sucks

As much as I love breasts, I'm getting sick of breast cancer. It's really running rampant right now. I know they have something like an 85% 5 year survival rate now so it's not the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. But it still pretty horrible. There's usually one or more surgeries, then chemo or radiation treatments to follow. Nasty, nasty stuff.

I don't tend to publish problems but this is really driving me nuts and I'm sick of it. Last year my aunt Angie had breast cancer, she was treated, had a double mastectomy anyway, and after chemo treatments she's now cancer free. Then my sister-in-law got breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy and is technically cancer-free now, but still undergoing radiation treatments. Now our friend & fellow triathlete Gina has breast cancer, and she's in stage 2 with some lymph node involvement. She started chemo last friday after having a double mastectomy a couple of weeks ago. This is too much!  It's just too much.

Gina wanted to have a head shaving party. She's going to lose her hair during chemo, so she wanted to shave it off anyway. In 2012, she shaved her head for a St Baldrick's event so her and the kids were used to it. So we agreed to come on by and participate.  Gina, her husband Joe, and one of their kids shaved their heads, and so did I to show support.  I have to admit, it's a decent look for me but I don't think I can keep it shaved for the entire time she's in chemo.


She took me down

Joe finished the job

My hair is so thick we couldn't get a razor blade to shave it and had to go to an old electric razor

Not a bad look! I gots a decent dome.

Joe went cue ball too

Me and Gina

Me and Joe

Threw some earrings in to complete the Mr Clean look
I need to do something else. I don't know what yet, but this is too rampant. I know I'm getting older, but I'm not so old that my peers should be getting cancer. Something isn't right here. I want to get to the bottom of it, or help someone who is currently trying to get to the bottom of it. I don't know how yet, and my head is kind of swimming right now with build phase training stuff and work stuff and nutrition stuff, but I'm going to figure something out eventually and would appreciate any suggestions.  Please keep my family and friends in your prayers.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bring on the Build!

There are 11 weeks left before Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6.  I've got 4 weeks in Build 1, 4 weeks in Build 2, a 2 week taper, and race week. That means that the build phase starts today! Bring it on.

Last week was a recovery week, and that wraps up the base phase. I took 4 weeks each for a base 1, 2, and 3 style with each one getting a little bit more focused on race intensity and distance. I played it pretty loose on the weekends since I had to go out of town so much. But I have been able to get in some long stuff. Sunday got an easy 16 mile run, and I did an hour and a half on the bike trainer Saturday. Last week I got 3.5 hours on the bike trainer.  So it's getting there. 

The overload principle I stuck with for most of the base phase had mixed success. It was nice to only have to take on a heavy bike load once every 4 weeks, but the effect of that is that I have no endurance on the bike right now. I didn't overload the bike weeks properly. I am still really digging lots of swimming and running right now, and yoga is going really well on the recovery weeks.

Friday morning was interesting. I took my first ever Ashtanga Yoga class. Turns out, there is an ashtanga teacher in Cary who is 500 hour certified and has been practicing for 18 years.  Last Tuesday night I was going through primary series and kept falling on my face, which was just as painful as it was embarrassing. I was trying to learn some of the hand balances and the next moves in Primary Series with no luck.  So I decided to seek professional help.  The class was a mysore style class, so students could arrive any time, and go through the sequence at their own pace with corrections and assistance from the instructor. I got there about 6 am, and she threw a bunch of form corrections at me. It was amazing. It takes about 5 years to learn the entire sequence, and now that I'm about 3 years into it I'm getting pretty far into the sequence. Into the tough meat of it. So the class on Friday went for about 2 hours and I got farther into the sequence than I ever got on my own. Backbends happened.  Backbends! ah yea. That was incredible.

Before lunchtime I was incredibly sore and could barely stand up.  How is it that I've been doing those same movements in almost the same sequence and suddenly I got sore? Well I was finally doing them correctly, for starters, and the class took 2 hours where I normally only practice for about 45 minutes. So that must have been it, but it was an unexpected twist to my weekend!

Later friday, of course, we went to Costco. I got Evil Genius pretty cracked up making funny faces, so I'll end with the pic that put her in stitches. 

Bottom lip down, tongue folded up to form the giant upper lip.
Also, I realized later that I was wearing the t-shirt from EG's Indian Princess camp a few months ago, and the hat that Ella gave me for Father's Day this year! That's a dad mode level up if I've ever seen one.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More 3 Little Pigs!

Last year I did the 3 Little Pigs sprint triathlon in Smithfield, NC about 45 minutes away from Raleigh. It quickly became my favorite local sprint. The 2014 race did not disappoint! I came into the day with a plan, and I executed the plan perfectly.

In 2013, I pulled a 1:34 pace in the swim, a 20.0 mph speed on the bike, and a 22:48 5k run (7:21 pace) for a 1:10:54 overall, 15/42 in my age group.

I barely had enough time before the race to get all of my stuff setup, get my pre-race poop done, and talk to all of the friends that I ran into. I still missed a few people. I did get some warmup done, but it wasn't really as much as I wanted to do to get ready. I was bib #37, and they swim start one person at a time based on an estimated swim time.

Ted found me in TA, we're both racing with the AAA Car Care Triathlon Team this year

feels just like home in a crowded TA

Swim 250 yards pool: 3:39, 1:27 pace, 4th place age group

With a pool swim, you swim across the pool, duck under the lane rope and swim back. We had to do 10 lengths like that, this pool is pretty fast to begin with but this was a great time.  We lined up according to an estimated swim pace, that's how they seeded the bib #'s. Jason the race organizer is a friend of mine, and his coach was bib 36 so she started right in front of me. That's when I knew I had estimated my swim time wrong. Actually I estimated a 1:26 pace and swam a 1:27 so I was dead on, but she has finished Kona 3 times and finished 4th overall female, so I knew I was fighting out of my weight class.

They sent people off every 10 seconds, I started with a sprint. The guy behind me looked pretty fit too, so I thought he would be chasing me. After the sprint first lap, I settled into a strong pace and just tried not to get passed. In the end, the coach got out of the water 2 seconds before I did! I still can't really believe that I made up 8 seconds on her. Insane! My plan was to hit the last wall and push myself out of it so I could get a quick run to transition. That ended up with me stumbling my way up the ladder trying not to barf or fall over.

T1: 1:23

You know how they say never to try anything new on race day? I was trying not to use socks to save the transition time. It worked, kind of. The first bike shoe went on, but I fell down flat trying to get the second shoe on.  Oh well, I still broke 90 seconds, so that's a win in TA.

Bike 14 miles: 41:56, 20.0 mph, 14th age group

Rolling with both shoes on

This ride is kind of a false flat uphill going out for a ways, then when you come back you can feel the speed of a slight downhill with a tailwind.  The garmin gave me mile splits in the 3:20 to 3:45 range going out, and 2:30 to 2:50 coming back. Thank goodness the average was still 20.0 mph (that's an exact 3 minute mile if you're counting at home) because this bike course was fun, kind of challenging, and really allows you to push the limits pretty hard when you want to. I took my only gel around mile 11 on the ride, and it kept me fueled through the run too.

Ready for T2, shoes off

T2: 56 seconds

This is a win every time. I got my feet out of my shoes before getting back to the TA so I was able to speed dismount and run into the rack. Then throw on the Zoot running shoes, grab the other stuff and take off.

Run 5k: 23:03, 7:26 pace, 7th age group

The run course goes out kind of hot, but quickly gets shaded. You run around a baseball field and through a park, so it's mostly cool out. I tried to establish a nice pace and hold it, and I did that pretty well for the first 2 miles. The last mile really started to fall apart, my pace slowed a bit and it got harder to keep my heart rate at a reasonable level. But in the end I still had a strong finish. And a 23:03 time in a standalone 5k run is pretty respectable, but doing it in a triathlon is quite pleasing.

Finish 1:10:59, 50/321 overall, 9/29 age group

So I got a few seconds slower than last year. This race showed me how this year is going, and that's exactly what I expected would happen. My bike speed just isn't there. My legs don't have the comfort level pushing the pedals around that I got from riding so much last year. That's expected, and I made peace with it.  All of those miles last year still didn't get me under a 7 hour bike split in the ironman, so I'm not pushing it so hard this year. The run felt good but my threshold speeds aren't there, and that's a bit disappointing.  I have to accept that more zone 1 and 2 miles make for faster marathon times, not faster 5k times. 

Overall I had a plan and executed it. I got the results I wanted and I'm proud of the performance I was able to give on that day. The best part about being a fast swimmer is the early start time. When I hit the finish line and was done with the race, over half of the TA was still empty with bikers on the course! So I missed racing on the hottest part of the day, which is also a valid plan. This was quite a fun sprint, and reminded me why I called it my favorite last year.

Cool shot after the race was over

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Huma Gel Flavors

A while ago (as evidenced in the pictures) I was contacted by Huma Gels to review some of their new flavors. They sent a few packets over for me to try, and once again I was not dissapointed!

Ready to go!
I didn't get the chance to do a workout long enough to need a gel for a while, but I have consumed both gels with the same reaction. The consistency is very liquid, so they are easy to take. The flavor is a bit strong, but it's not so overpowering like you're going to make a squishy face while on the bike. The packaging opens surprisingly easy, so they would be great taped to the top bar of your bike. Overall, these new flavors are a great compliment to the rest of the product line.

I do wish that they were a bit weaker though. You get a bit of a shock from the liquidity; it's so much thinner than a Gu or Hammer Gel, it's more like a Powerbar Gel feeling. And that kind of surprise combined with the strong flavor can be a bit shocking.

Huma gels are made from chia seeds and are totally vegan.  The recipe was developed by a US Army soldier during his tour in Iraq to keep him fighting strong. They come in strawberry, apple cinnamon, mango, and blueberry flavors. I got the mango and blueberry this time, and there is a review of the apple cinnamon and strawberry flavors on the blog as well.

Seriously, you can order online or find a store. Their distribution is growing all the time. And these are gels that you want to try out for yourself. Find some! Get some! Do work!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Kaileigh the Graduate as a tiny baby, Kelley is holding her and I'm in the back with long hair

Our first harvest from the garden! Nice plump juicy green beans.
Fried Green Tomatoes are going to happen this weekend. This garden is seriously filling out.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Happy Graduation!

She actually did it! My niece Kaileigh has finally done graduated from high school. I'm very proud of her, she pulled decent grades and enjoyed the marching band and other extra curricular activities. And now she's out in the adult world with the rest of us, God help us all.

Large graduating class!

She's the last one in line

Ready to walk

Getting the diploma

The ceremony went pretty smooth, I was looking for people to trip up or anything. But everything came out clean. We had good seats, and we all got to sit together.

Me with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law

me, Kelley, and her dad

Kelley's mom and stepdad with the Evil Genius
After the ceremony, we all finally met up outside of the Winthrop Colosseum for some pictures

K with the stepdad

EG didn't want to get her picture taken or wait around outside

I look cool with my shades on

K with her summertime family
Afterwards we all went to Outback (her choice) for lunch. This all started about 8:30 am so we were hungry. It was her first decision made as an adult.

Kaileigh is planning on staying with us again this summer, and I'm quite happy about that. What's funny is the kickoff. She's supposed to drive to Raleigh to drop off some stuff before heading up to Richmond VA the next day for a weekend of concerts with her boyfriend. This is funny because she has no drivers license, no running car, and has never met this boyfriend except through the internet. She's been an adult for 2 days so she actually expects this will happen and is safe. ha! and again I say ha! teenagers are so funny.

So it was a good quick trip down there, she's glad to be done with the SC public school system, and I'm glad she graduated without a pregnancy scare. Greenville Tech is actually a community college with dorms, so she's planning on going there and living on campus in the fall. But there are still some loose ends to tie up so we're hoping that she can get it all worked out over the summer.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cray Cray May May

Wow, May was totally insane. April was as well. I'm going to explain it all, but first we should start with the numbers.

Swim: 30,050 m, 7 swims, 1 race
Bike: 181 miles, 9 rides
Run: 86 miles, 12 runs
Strength: only once
Yoga: 13 sessions

So there was a lot of swimming, but most of that is logged in the 5 mile race. 181 miles is not bad, but I know that will eventually go to the 200 mile weeks (well, eventually is like next month). and 86 miles of running is a bit of a surprise. I thought for sure that was going to come in about 110 miles. It sure felt like I got to run a lot.

So why, in the middle of Ironman training, and the summer heat blazing down, are the numbers so low? Well let me tell you why. It's been totally insane up in here.

It really started April 12 weekend with a visit to the parents in SC
Then Easter Weekend
Boy's Weekend up in Boone NC
Morgan's Wedding weekend was May 3
Next weekend Evil Genius Goes To Camp
The first work trip up to Virginia on May 14
Then Ella's Epic Mountain Adventure May 17
Another work trip to Cincinnati May 19
Memorial Day had the Lowcountry Splash 5 mile swim race in Charleston SC with Kelley
Then the final work trip - Florida
Then Evil Genius had a great birthday party

I haven't had a 5 day work week since March. All of these long weekend workouts? Not happening. I have been going and going and going and going. The midweek stuff has been carrying me through so far, but I can only get by on 2 a days for so long.  I have to get my weekends back now!

May saw the end of Base 2. Base 3, week 9, started 5/26. I don't think this overload plan is actually working so I'm going back to the steady pattern of increasing times. It was really nice to only have to bike heavy mileage one out of every 4 weeks, but the speed wasn't coming and the muscular endurance wasn't there. Running overload weeks were great fun, but I wasn't getting the monthly mileage in to generate any speed. And the swim overload week of Base 3 had me in Florida for 3 days, so I didn't actually get to swim at all.

I still have one more thing. Today (Friday) my wonderful niece is graduating from high school. So we're going down for the graduation ceremony but coming back to Raleigh this afternoon. My weekends come back to my long workouts now. Saturday and Sunday will be in Raleigh with no other plans but long workouts. June, July, August - all with no plans. Settling in for a hot summer with time on the bike trainer & treadmill when the weather doesn't cooperate.

Memorial Day held the only long workout so far. I got 2 hours on the bike and a 10 mile run all bricked up. It felt great, but I could really tell that the bike endurance wasn't there. My legs could just barely hold up for 2 hours. This is not how I need to prepare for a 7 hour bike split in Rev3 Cedar Point! Running after that bike ride felt great, so I do have confidence in my running off of the bike. But I have to do something about this bike endurance, and 1 hour rides before work are not going to cut it. Time to get steady.

Travelling and brooding about missing my long runs aren't the only things that have been going on. There is this stuff too:

EG FINALLY wanted to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels!

Big sis was so sweet giving her tips and demonstrations of her bike skills

Peer pressure works! Evil Genius came home from Indian Princess camp and wanted to take the training wheels off of her Barbie Bling-it bike. It takes several sessions to really get the hang of it, but she will eventually get her balance up there. We've had a few sessions with more to come. She was scared of falling down until I told stories of me falling down when I couldn't unclip from my pedals in time. Then when she did fall down and didn't get hurt, it all made more sense.  She'll get it soon enough. This is very exciting for me.

Last day of 3rd grade!
 School is out! We are done with first and third grade, and ready to have a great summer trackout. They start back sometime in July. Of course, EG refused to pose for a "last day" picture.

Facing towards downtown - aide station

Facing away from downtown - Mile 3 marker sign

This past weekend was Ironman Raleigh 70.3 on Sunday morning. Since Kelley's mom was in town for the birthday party, they occupied themselves for a while and I walked down to spectate the run course for a bit after church. This was my view. I saw several friends run by, a few people on the RAM swim team, and it was a beautiful day to be racing. It was about 20* cooler than it was last year so it was nice to spectate as well.  I haven't done a triathlon yet this year, so being in that environment was really exciting. I was determined to sign up for at least 3 races after that, but only got in a couple.

Me and Ashley after the ride
My dirty little secret is that Sunday afternoon I finally put my bike on the road for the first time since Beach 2 Battleship last October. Being pretty paranoid about safety, weather, and pooping availability means that I use the trainer or stationary bike at the gym almost exclusively. Ashley is one of my AAA Triathlon Team teammates, and she was in Raleigh for a work thing on Monday. Sunday afternoon she wanted to meetup for a brick workout, so we met at the White Oak parking lot for the American Tobacco Trail. First we rode about 18 miles on the roads around Jordan Lake, coming very close to the Ironman Raleigh bike course. Then after taking a quick selfie, we ran 4 miles on the trail at about a 9 minute pace. It was a great workout, and a great day to be training outside. She hasn't trained much around Raleigh (lives about 2 hours west), and I think she really enjoyed the roads, the lake, and the trail. I had a blast too, and I hope we get to brick it again sometime.

My final rant about May is about getting it all in. Yes I have a full time job, a loving wife and two great kids - and I still get to train and race Ironman and marathons. If you've ever wanted to know how I make it all work this is it. I train before the kids get up for school and again after they go to bed at night. Next week the RAM team switches evening practices to long course (50 meter pool) and they move to 8 pm. This will make things a lot easier for me. I hope to be done with work travel for a while. I've been at this job for 1 year (on June 10) and these 3 work trips in May are the only time I've had to travel for business since 2012 - 2 jobs ago. I like having events and things lined up that I can look forward to, so I planned a few things and then had a few other things skip in there. I have the word Balance tattoo'd on my chest for a reason - I have to balance everything that comes my way and still do whatever I can to accomplish my goals. I don't fall asleep at my desk at work or ignore the kids. I don't spend every waking moment working out. I get it all done.  And now, I'm just glad that May is done.