Thursday, July 31, 2014

Doing the Deuce!

This past Sunday morning was the 3rd time I raced the Big Deuce, a two mile open water swim race in local Jordan Lake. It was an interesting swim race, and I did pretty good.  This year I have really been enjoying the open water, and the Rev3 Cedar Point is only 6 weeks away so this race is a perfect fit.

Sunday morning I had no trouble getting out the door and over to the lake bright and early. Found the bathroom, packet pickup was a breeze, and before you know it I was hanging out with friends talking about strategy and training.

Packet pickup and the lake

Started off of this boat ramp in the water
I got in a nice warmup, then found some friends of mine from church that were swimming with their daughter. Everybody was ready for some fun!

There was a bit of treading water, then a countdown and we were off!  All of the 2 milers were in the first wave, followed by the 1 mile men, then the 1 mile women.  The crowd looked thin, but there were actually plenty of people racing!

I started off with a hard effort, and hung in drafting off of the leaders for the first 200 yards or so. The first two sighting buoys came up pretty quickly, and I felt good about my effort and results.  Then there was a turn buoy that seemed like it was spaced a lot farther apart than the sighting buoys.  This was a triangle course, so after the first turn was another turn buoy, then head back towards the starting line. The 1 milers only did 1 lap, but I had to turn around and go back for a second lap.

And that's where things started to get interesting. Some woman decided to start breaststroking as soon as we got to turn and start the second lap! You know those turns are always crowded.  You don't need to keep your head above water to sight right then. That kick came back and hit my left hand and jammed my index finger really bad.  So starting out on lap 2 and I've got to deal with a busted wing! ouch!  I mean, there's always other people getting in the way and I get kicked in all sorts of places, but this may be the first time I've gotten kicked in the finger!

So I kind of took it easy getting back out to turn buoy #1.  By the time I had cleared turn buoy #2 on lap 2 the finger finally stopped hurting.  With 3 buoys left I kicked it up a notch, then did it again with 2 left, then finally started a sprint to the finish line when I hit the last buoy.

I finished in 1:04:34, good enough for 38/86 men and 5/9 in my age group. Overall, not a bad way to spend a sunday morning. I feel pleased with my effort and performance.

Now, the excuses.

A couple of years ago I did this race in 58:04. Why so much slower this year? Well on saturday I did a 4 hour bike ride.  And I kind of ate like crap for the last part of that week. So I kind of feel like I was a bit tired in the legs.  I knew I had to run sunday afternoon as well, but I tried not to save anything for that. When you're racing, put all you can into the race. I still thought I could break an hour.

I had some friends racing too. In the 1 mile race had a couple of swimmers from the RAM team, Billy finished 6th place overall and Tom finished 10th, they both won their age groups. There was also a couple that sings in the church choir that did the 2 mile race with their daughter. The kid finished about a minute behind me, and Kenn and Betty a few minutes behind her.  So I definitely held onto the choir room bragging rights. And let me tell you something else. It takes a special kind of confidence for this almost-40-year-old man to be hanging out with church friends in only a speedo. But, you know, I rocked it.

So here's the real story of Sunday:
First Breakfast
swim 2 miles
Second breakfast
sing in church choir
lunch and only lunch
run 15 miles
first dinner
second dinner
third breakfast

Of course I did plenty of stuff with Kelley and the kids too. but there was seriously a lot of nice clean eating. and some rewarding snacking in between. and the gu's and honey stinger waffles during the run.

Overall it was a great weekend, but this week has left me feeling a bit overtrained. Next week is the biggest week of the entire year, and the kids have been sick. I'm fighting so hard not to catch it. This weekend has the Lake Logan half iron, my time test for Rev3 CP. So I cannot go into that or the heavy week sick or overtrained.  I'm sure I could have swam faster if I was well rested, so I'm sleeping in for the rest of the mornings this week and taking Friday as a complete rest day.  Let's hope that works!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Catchup

Birthday cake at my Parent's house

Evil Genius lost her other front tooth!

I got one pair of really small shoes and one pair of really big shoes delivered on the same day

EG has some school artwork hung up on display at the local Library! So proud.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Life sized Jenga! The guy with the mustache made that set out of 2 x 4's.

Accidentally let a zucchini get bigger than my head!

Ella took selfies in the car while we were driving back from Greenville

That's a mini cinnamon roll

My girl is so pretty! Even with a nose full of glaze.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh recovery week, I've missed you so

Last week was pretty glorious. After such a big week before that, it was nice to recover and get in some easier workouts.  I did yoga every morning (finally), and got plenty of s/b/r in the evenings. By about Wednesday I felt normal again.  Rest and recover.  Then for the weekend we went down to visit my parents in SC.  It rained the entire time we were in Greenville, but we still had a blast. And of course, the rain didn't keep the kids out of the pool!

Evil Genius insisted on going swimming in the rain

Do we really need an umbrella in the pool? Yes, yes we did.

EG was doing cannonballs with a huge splash!

Ella's version of a cannonball
 This week is back on the Build 2 phase. These workouts are the most intense and race-like of the entire training plan. This is it, the race is 7 weeks away.  3 weeks of build, another recovery week, then a 2 week taper + race week. I've got to be very careful with my recovery strategy in these next 3 weeks. Volume and speed have to come together perfectly for me to get the most out of this very important time. Build 2, week 1 here I come!

(it started Monday with two separate 90 minute bouts on the stationary bike)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Firecracker of a ride!

So I was chatting with a local friend about some activities over July 4th weekend when she mentioned doing the Firecracker 100k bike ride. It seemed worth a google search, and it turns out the course looked amazing and the weather would match! Here in Raleigh, we didn't see much from Hurricane Arther. But when the storm moved through, what came in behind it was dry and cool. So it seemed pretty perfect. I left it up to a game time decision since I wasn't registered yet.

Friday morning July 4th I woke up in time, checked outside and it was sunny and dry with temps in the high 60's. Perfect! Oh man that was really perfect. I threw the bike in the rack, cycling gear on, drove into Cary, paid my $30 and waited for the start.

It was a great crowd of about 700 riders total between the 50k and 100k rides. I needed to do the 100k, and I should have ridden my bike to and from the starting line - only 6 miles each way. The route came out to 65 miles, so that would have made my day 77 miles which is more like what my training plan called for.

The ride ended up being all that I hoped it would be. We started off going through downtown Cary, then got into some country roads where the hills opened up some. I rode with no Garmin, just a cue sheet.  The aide stations came and went, they were stocked by Whole Foods so there were lots of cookies.

Rolling selfie!

This guy had the setup going on. Multiple bottle filling stations with water and Skratch.

The last rest stop was at 52 miles, and I had a tough time getting my right foot unclipped! I mean, I didn't fall over like I've done in the past. Finally I did get out of the pedal, but when I clipped back in to finish the ride it felt strange.  Turns out, I broke a shoe! The hard plastic bottom of the shoe cracked right below the cleat. Gah! 8 weeks until ironman and now I have to spring for some new shoes! that uncomfortable feeling was the cleat being shoved up into the bottom of my foot. argh.

The finish line was quite a party.  It was at a local restaurant called the Hibernian Pub, and that's one of my favorites anyway. They also had free ice cream from the shop next door.

Outside of the Hibernian Pub

Giant tender cheeseburger, might be my first one this year?
 The finish line party was quite lively. I saw some friends and RAM teammates. Everyone had a good day on the roads it seems. I ran into my friend Andrea, she did 24 miles before hitting the 100k, so she got an English century in on the day! And she's got Ironman Canada coming up in a couple of weeks.

The rest of July 4th was wonderful. I spent most of the day resting and stuffing my face, then we headed out to the Lonnie Poole Golf Course for dinner and fireworks. Lonnie Poole is the golf course on NC State's campus, and the clubhouse enjoys this view of downtown Raleigh, where the fireworks were!

It made for very good viewing of the fireworks! Kelley's dad did some engineering work on this building, and it was really good to be able to spend that much time with him and the whole family.

Over my right shoulder Ella is just getting off of the bouncy castle, and over the other shoulder Evil Genius is making her way back to the table

She got her face painted!
Dinner was wonderful, and the fireworks were amazing.  Overall this was one of the better holidays we've had here! Such a blessing to be in this area with so many fun activities going on!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gardening Wednesday

Well we got about a foot of rain Tuesday night, so the garden is "well watered" now. And we've got lots of stuff starting to ripen! Check this out

Habanero plants are loaded!

Lots of jalepenos starting to get large

We have already picked plenty of red ripe and delish tomatoes! These green ones are huge.

Yes this basil plant is waist high! And those are roma tomatoes growing next to it. Can you say salsa?
We've also got plenty of muscadines that are actually starting to ripen and get larger. We've got our first canteloupe on the vine now! it's still tiny and I don't even have a picture yet. but it's cool. And all of these tomatoes.  wow. The roma's are at least twice as big as anything you can find in a store, and have 10 times as much flavor! they are ripening quickly and we're going to be overrun with salsa and marinara sauce soon.  We've got a few vines of yellow salad tomatoes growing too, and we're picking those by the dozen practically. But the big fellas are taking their time turning red.

Happy gardening!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First big week done!

Guess what happens when the training plan calls for a big week? Swim, bike, and run and lots of it. Guess what else happens?  Absolutely nothing. I worked, played with the kids, and s/b/r. No yoga, no blogging, we did manage to swing a little hanging with friends on Saturday and Sunday night, but that was it.

Monday was my birthday, I turned 39 for the first time. I really wanted to run my age this year, but forgot and ran 18 miles on Sunday. So Monday had a 90 minute ride before work, then went to dinner for my birthday with the family and got some great presents before heading to swim practice for 3000 meters.  Still a helluva good way to celebrate my birthday!

39 is kind of messing with my head a little bit. I may just be delusional from heavy training, but something just doesn't feel right up there. While the volume is certainly there, I'm training a lot slower than I was last year. Time will tell how that will affect me on Ironman race day, but I think the old age is messing me up.

Tuesday saw a 10 mile run AM, and another RAM Masters practice 3000 meters long course PM.  Great, solid day, still feeling good.

Wednesday I got back on the bike for 90 minutes before work, then had choir practice at church in the evening, followed by my 3rd and final RAM practice. Got 3100 meters this time! 9100 m (6+ miles) in the water.

Thursday took another 10 mile run in the morning, and I only did an hour on the bike in the evening. This was nice, since by this point I'm getting pretty tired.

Friday is normally my rest day, so all I did was a 10 mile run in the morning.

Saturday got long, going 5 hours on the bike. That last hour I was really feeling fatigued. It's been inhospitable outside here, so I've done all of these hours on the stationary bike at the gym. Saturday morning I was looking around thinking that these were all the people that were going to laugh when I started crying.

A couple of the RAM swimmers also have birthdays this week, so they put together a party at a brewery in downtown Raleigh, so we did get out there for a bit. It is always fun to see swim friends socially, and in a brewery like Crank Arm you know some trouble is going to unfold!

Sunday I got in a nice 10 mile run before church, then sang in the choir. It was a rollicking service indeed! Then I got out after lunch for another hour on the bike and another 10 mile run. 

So my totals on the week:
Swim 6+ miles
Bike 200 miles
Run 50 miles
21+ hours total time
and nothing else.

That makes this week a recovery week thank God.  After this week, I have 3 more weeks of build, and the last week of that will actually be a bit bigger than this. But after that it's another recovery week, then the taper.  8 weeks to go until Ironman! And this kind of big week is what gives me the confidence that I'll be able to go up to Ohio and turn in something decent.  This big week is in the books!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Firsts

Kelley's first time frying green tomatoes

First time picking RED tomatoes from the garden, also picked the first jalepenos of the year!

First time without that big tree in front of the door!

First time I called this a "petting zoo" at the Farmers Market

First time buying in bulk this year? peaches and blueberries cheap to freeze will keep us in smoothies all winter long!

First day of school! Yes they started july 7

Evil Genius lost her first big front tooth! Now she can't whistle.

It has been a big week of firsts for us. We love the year round school schedule, they started back on Monday into 2nd and 4th grade. We got 2 big trees cut down from the front yard last week. Ironman build phase is in such heavy demand right now I have no time at all to post about it. Monday was also my birthday, I turned 39 for the first time (there will be others - I have issues), and I feel like I am absolutely destroying the really tough workouts this week.  I also still have an unexpected race (ride) report to put up! Cheers!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Well last weekend was kind of nuts. Certainly sleep deprived. I may still be recovering.

Friday night we had a server migration at work that started at 11 pm and around 2 am I finally ducked out of the hangout. it went pretty smooth, but that makes for a long day. Good thing I didn't have to get up saturday and run or anything.

So Saturday morning I got up and ran the 10 mile route to the capital building and back. Not as early as I should have gotten up, and not as fast as I would normally run, but I got the miles in. Then it was time to decorate for the party.

Evil Genius had a painting party to go to. Of course they found some fun when we were picking up birthday presents for that....

At the painting party there was a Lord of the Rings theme. I found this to be particularly fantastic, and EG painted an amazing rainbow beard on Gandalf.  The birthday party was for her BFF Tristan, and I hadn't seen Tristan's mom in quite some time, so that worked out for everyone.

Evil Genius the Artist

EG & T
It was a really cool format. There was an art teacher that led all of the kids through the painting while the parents drank wine. They started out with a basic outline provided by the teacher, yet every painting turned out completely unique.  How neat!

We got back from that just in time to have an electrical outage at the house blowing up the air conditioner for the upstairs bedroom where all of the kids for Ella's party were going to be spending the night. Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and I was able to fix the power problem just before the other kids got there. The room would not be too hot!   We only had an hour between parties to finish off all of those decorations and preparations. 

Blowing out 9 candles
We ended up with 7 girls total over to spend the night, and I love how Ella has gotten such a kind and diverse group of friends!

The girls were all very sweet, if a bit loud.  They kept us up until about 1 am, so what's another sleepless night. Everybody ended up having a good time. Sunday morning I made pancakes and we spent the rest of the day recovering. I may have taken 2 naps.  I also got in a few hours on the bike. Overall the weekend was marked with parties and lots of fun.  Good times!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wordless Thursday

Because I missed wordless Wednesday!

selfie in the office

The garden is busting open! Quite flush right now.

Tomatoes are starting to ripen

3 jalepenos already starting to grow

Green tomatoes the size of my fist!

and tons and tons of muscadines! Oh I hope we get a good crop this year.