Friday, October 31, 2014

Funny Friday Ramblings

Pretty much, since Rev3 Cedar Point, I've been all like

seriously. The motivation was kind of there. I was sort of one day looking forward to maybe getting in to a regular workout routine again one day. But it's also important to really enjoy the offseason. If you enjoy the offseason too much, it gets harder to get back to training weight or get an endurance base back.

In the meantime, regular strength training and yoga really help keep the stress level down. I've been running when I can but not focused on 50+ mile weeks anymore. Yoga is everywhere

At EG's fall outing in the middle of the woods. I am a tree among the trees
I even needed a little help getting my forehead to the floor
I swear that's actually a really difficult pose. It looks like my back is a bit too rounded though. Other Evil Genius involved activities included another tribe meeting at Moe's this time, where the kids learned how to roll burrito's!  The kids loved it, and some of them really kept their rolling nice and tight.  Great future for these kids in fast food, and all of the jokes that come with it.

Learning to Roll

love: she only put cheese on her burrito
The beard is back, and my hair is starting to grow out. Every year when this happens I'm amazed at how much gray I have, and how much more has come in since last year. The beard has a ton of gray in it this year too! That's quite a surprise.

I am starting to get back into the swing of things again though. Swimming especially is rocking right now. The city pool that's close to my house has been closed all summer for air conditioning repairs, and it opened back up again this week! woo hoo!! Next week our team is supposed to start offering noon practices as well, and that is going to be freaking amazing. If I can actually swim 5 days a week by going Monday Wednesday and Friday at noon, and Tuesday Thursday at night, that's going to seriously rock.  Of course the way this offseason has been going

This is more like a before and after to the team. Before the Ironman I felt like the guy on the left, now I look more like the guy on the right, all fat and hairy. At least I got to swim twice this week, and that's only the 3rd and 4th times since the Ironman on sept 7. I keep hitting the wall around 2000 yards, but at least last night I was able to complete the entire workout. And I know that swim endurance base is going to come back quickly, my form feels good and the speed is almost there.

The most important part is that I am truly happy in this moment. Kelley and the girls are all really happy, I'm starting to think about some goals for next year, and revisit the ones I set for this year to see what I have left. I love not knowing what's coming next, because I know it's going to be spectacular. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Again with the Wednesday

The state fair has been going on, and thank goodness it finished last Sunday. Kelley and the kids love the fair, but I am just not fair people. Mostly because the fair brings a crap ton of actual fair people very close to my house. Like parking on my street close. The only saving grace is that we can see the fireworks from the backyard. The view gets even better if we drive down the (now crowded) street a bit, then Evil Genius decided she wanted to go out through the sunroof of my car for a better view! adorable.

EG Also wanted to make us a play-doh breakfast complete with ice cream sunday

Pulling some serious hot peppers from the garden now. That's a ghost and a jalepeno and a ton of beautiful habs

Ella and I in a Waffle House after mommy didn't think we looked exactly alike. I think we proved her wrong.

Ella is casting a Harry Potter spell. That hoodie is too cute.

Monday, October 27, 2014

B2B Redux

Last year my full iron distance race was Beach 2 Battleship, and it was a blast. This years B2B was this past saturday, and I thought I would drive down there since I had several friends doing the race. Some morning delays got me on the road a couple of hours later than expected, but I still had plenty of time in Wilmington.  I got out of the house about 12:45 and arrived in Wilmington around 3 pm. Unfortunately my old fraternity brother Scott's relay team (his wife was running) finished around 2:50 and they headed straight out of the finish line, so I just missed them! Dang. They live in DC and I was really looking forward to hanging out some.

At the finish line, the first person I did find was my friend Chelsea, who swam in a relay team. She and her biker were still waiting on their runner to finish. She also recently got married, so I really enjoyed getting to hang out some with her! Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture together, but eventually I did get a good view of the battleship.

Shameless selfie with the ship
I was hoping to find Raleigh triathlete and friend Mariah coming into the finish, but ended up missing her (that's 2 misses and 1 find if you're keeping score). In a vain attempt to find her, I started walking the run course backwards. Cheering athletes through downtown Wilmington is a lot of fun. The whole town comes out to keep everybody motivated!

Runners on the boardwalk
After walking about a mile and a half of the course, I finally came upon a bar that I remembered. Outside of downtown, the roads get very industrial, then there's a bit of a lone bar section of town before it goes into this state park. At that bar, I actually found another fraternity brother and his wife! Jon and Kim are close friends of ours, we see them at the Myrtle Beach Marathon every year as well as on my boy's weekends with the whole gang of us. It was really great just getting to hang out with Jon for a while.

Me, Jon, Kim
After a while I started to get hungry so Jon gave me a ride back into downtown. I ended up at the Dock St Oyster Bar at his recommendation, and it did not disappoint. I had half a dozen oysters and a blackened shrimp sandwich that was all incredibly fresh. Then it was time to get back to that finish line!

Another shot of the battleship at dusk
Watching it get dark at the finish line of an ironman is always an interesting and fun experience. You get to see people heading back out for their second lap of the run course knowing it's already getting really cold and they still have about 3 hours of running left to go... it's intense. The determination and dedication becomes visible from everyone. Seeing the crying finishers, and the exuberant finishers, and just soaking up the energy of that environment is electrifying.

The athletes finishing area after dark
I was hanging out waiting on two more friends to finish, and I left about 11:24 into the race. I couldn't find the live athlete tracker on my phone, so I had no idea where they were. if I had known...  Kristin finished her first Ironman in 11:40. Welcome to the club! That was pretty amazing. I saw her husband once while I was hanging out with Jon at that bar, but didn't say anything to him. If I had known she was that close I would have stuck around for a while. Then Karen finished in 12:40 after only doing the swim and bike in Chattanooga, she got her ironman redemption for the year with a nice strong finish. I was looking for her out on the run course, she had bib #666 which I thought was pretty hilarious.

I made it back to Raleigh about 9:15, caught the fireworks at the state fair (from the kitchen window) at 9:45, then at 10 pm we had a software deployment at work so I had to hop on the google hangout and test my software.  All in all, I saw 2 friends and missed 4, but that didn't really matter. B2B is an electric environment, and anytime you can get down to Wilmington on race day for any reason you're going to have fun. I sure did. So glad I went down.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Outing Time!

This was an interesting time for the Fall Outing. It is a fun day at Camp Kanata in North Raleigh with the rest of the Indian Princess tribe with Evil Genius. It was a beautiful fall day, perfectly cool, couldn't ask for better circumstances. We rode up there with another pair that lives nearby right after church and got heavy into the campy fun times!

Soccer first

then playing with the other kids in my jacket

Some lakeside fun time

Ready for launch!

Big landing! She can fly!

Now she's in a tire swing

Walking the stumps

Taming a ropes course

Sniper in training

Archery too! EG's a natural

Proud Papa
Once all of the camp activities closed down we ate some dinner with the rest of the tribe, then went back to the car to get the vests and our torches. I really love the way this tribe has come together. I truly enjoy spending time with the other dads, and all of the girls seem to get along really well too. It always seems to be so much fun!

EG carrying the big torch

Then she got to practice her engineering skills building a bridge with some other kids

pretending to be asleep when I want to get a nice picture together.....
This is our second year as a tribe. The big focus of the Fall Outing is for the first year tribes. All of the second years make torches (we made ours during the recent camping trip), then you have a few hundred flaming rolls of toilet paper lighting the way for you to walk down to an amphitheater. It is a really incredible sight, and has a huge effect on the first year dads and kids. This time it was our turn to hold the flame.

Our Flaming Bucket

Two rows of illumination

My favorite pic - you can see the smoke from our torch and EG's hoodie is on point

The members of our tribe on the other line
We all ended up wrapping our torches with christmas lights and a battery pack. It was a nice touch. By the end of the night the kids are completely worn out and you know they has as much fun as possible.  EG was still EG, she cried the entire time we weren't doing an activity, and wanted to go home constantly thanks to her aversion to being outdoors. But in the end she was glad we stayed as long as we did and she had a wonderful time.

It's our swan song at Camp Kanata. We only do the Fall Outing the first two years, so Ella's first year and second year are long gone. Last year I took EG the evening after we were camping as a new tribe, so the following weekend I took both kids back up there just for the activities, not the after-dark action. So this being my youngest kid's second year, it was the 5th and final time I got to go up there. Ella and I might go back sometime to volunteer but this may be the end.  We sure went out with a bang.

Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Things Friday

1. This
true.  all true.
2. During the 50k last weekend my left knee got a sharp pain that of course cleared up during recovery. As soon as I felt it, I checked the garmin and found that the pain started at 26.66 miles exactly. So now that will be known as the demonic knee.

3. This week has been all recovery with a slight hint of mania. Lots of yoga and I got to swim last night. 2100 yards nearly made my arms fall off. I can't wait to get my swim volume back up. It felt great last night. Give me moar!

4. I'm not signed up for any more races right now. How long do you think that will last?

5. Evil Genius broke my lotus yesterday after finishing my yoga practice. Really, we are both wearing shorts here.

Kids really do watch everything we do

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Stuff Wednesday

I made an incredible new salsa the other day, I'm calling it the One-of-everything salsa. The garden tomatoes have dried up, so I had to use the last of them plus a couple of store bought tomatoes and an onion. Everything else came straight from the garden.

All the hot peppers

Everything else

Finished product
I started with 1 of each of the following hot peppers - ghost, Carib red, habanero, jalepeno - all fresh from the garden (top pic). Then I threw in half an onion, a few small tomatoes, a banana pepper from a friend's garden, and some lime juice (middle picture). Then I took the stick blender to it, and everything liquified nicely.  Pretty amazing, actually. Most of my salsas get hot, but not really "make you cry" hot. This time I had tears.  it was so good. Wouldn't be a bad idea to throw some herbs in there too.

Actually smiling for a picture!

New Skirt
Kelley really got her handy on this weekend and churned out 3 skirts, including this maxi skirt for the Evil Genius. Sewing with knit is not easy, and sewing horizontal stripes isn't easy either but this really turned out to be adorable.  Now Kelley wants to make an adult-sized one!

New Hoka's!
A new pair of Hoka One-One's came in today! I found these Stinson Tarmac's on sale at LeftLane for under a hundred bucks, and they actually ended up cheaper than the other pair of Mizuno's I was thinking about buying.  These might actually be more comfortable than the Mafate's I just used for the 50k.  These are road shoes, and the Mafate's are trail shoes. Since you can put about 700 miles on these things, and I've got 2 pairs now I should be good for about another 1300 miles, or another year. Kind of comforting knowing I won't have to buy new running shoes until next fall.

Monday, October 13, 2014

New River Trail 50k Done!

Virginia ended up being state #7 on my 50 state list, and a trail ultra seemed like a good way to go here. Turns out I was right, this race was a blast! I found the New River Trail 50k online, the race site was about 3 hours outside of Raleigh so it looked like an easy drive, and the time of year and course description seemed perfect.  Go for it. I got nothing else going on October 11.

Friday night I headed up to Galax Va, hit some pretty bad traffic around Winston, so it took almost 4 hours to get there. Still the crappy cheap hotel I found turned out to be pretty decent for the price. Saturday I got up about 6:30, got some breakfast and headed out to the race site. Both friday night and saturday morning it was pouring down rain.  And driving up there, you had no doubts about being in the Virginia mountains! Suddenly I was doubting the course description of "flat".

Saturday morning at the Rodeway Inn in Galax. Pouring rain.
Pouring rain is perfect marathon weather right? The trails should be nice and muddy. The race start was at 8 am, and since the course was a rail-to-trail conversion route it was actually really flat. But that rain meant that I wasn't going to carry my phone on the course, so I have very few pictures for the recap.

Trail races are very low key. I opted to register without paying for the shirt, so the only swag was a sponsors water bottle. I got that and my bib and that was it.  No finishers medal or other finishers gear either. I showed up with some Hoka One-One's, and I left with dirty Hoka's and a water bottle.  I did see my fried Tammie Massey at the start, and there was plenty of other friendly people to talk to as well. The regional trail ultra community is small and tight-knit, so you are always going to find a friendly face at these races.

The New River is actually very old

Registration tents behind the parking lot

Trail beard is starting to show up

totally skeptical face about the conditions for the day
Found out that the rain was supposed to stop about 8 am, which was also the race start time. Sure enough, there was a downpour during the pre-race instructions and it stopped just in time for the countdown to the race start.  10 seconds of dry was all it took and we were off and running!

I don't have all of my mile splits pulled off of the Garmin yet, but I knocked out that first mile in only 8:06.  My plan was to keep around a 9 minute to 9:30 pace for as long as I could, so I knew I was going to pay for that one later. I tried to slow down, but the course was absolutely beautiful, and I was just casually going along and talking with other runners, and kept losing track of the pace.  The first 5 miles were all under 9 minutes. One guy was doing this as his first ultra after doing 4 road marathons recently, and I told him to plan on taking 1 minute per mile slower than his road pace. So here I was breaking my own rules. Eventually we did hit that first aide station (they were every 5 miles) and I got down to a more comfortable pace after that.

Does a bear shit in the woods? I had to step off of the trail for a bit at mile 12, and every trail runner knows exactly what that means.  Small trail races mean you can look around and see nobody running in front of you, and nobody behind you, and you've got the entire trail to yourself.  So of course, while I was "off the trail", 3 runners came by without spotting me but as soon as I emerged onto the trail again there was a very attractive girl running by. Totally busted. She had a good laugh at my expense.  Hey, it happens.  We ended up talking a while later and she was really nice.

I hit the 13.1 split at almost exactly 2 hours, right on pace. At 16.3 miles there was an aide station at the turnaround point, then we just had to get back to the start/finish line. (there was a spur after the mile 5 aide station so the main turnaround point was more than halfway through the total race distance. No spur on the way back). Around mile 18 I had some nipple chafing issues that were starting to get painful, so I took off my shirt.  Since the bib was pinned to my shirt I tucked it into the bottle holder belt I was also wearing and kept on going. Mind you, it was only about 60* and sometimes kind of raining, so that was barely more comfortable than bleeding nipples.

I hit the 4 hour mark at exactly the 24 mile marker. Then put my marathon split at 4:27:22, almost exactly 1 minute per mile slower than the 4 hour marathon speed I felt trained for, which was perfect. And at this point most of the miles were around 11 to 13 minutes each, so it was kind of a shuffle for up to a quarter mile between walks. I felt as good as I expected to feel (which was pretty rough), and still holding my own. Those last 5 miles were really tough though.

Hitting the finish line was very special. It started raining in earnest again while I was in mile 30. I was ready to collapse by the time I hit the finish line.  It was quite a beautiful sight.

The course was amazingly beautiful. Fall has come to the mountains of Virginia. The changing leaves, the big New River, there was even about a 10' waterfall in sight. It was a flat and very fast course, but the rains left it really muddy. Most of it was double track with packed screenings, making for a very soft surface.  Almost too soft, like running in black packed sand. I tend to not repeat destination races, but this is one that I would certainly consider doing again. It was truly well organized and just beautiful. Hats off to the race directors and all of the volunteers and other racers.

Dirt on the one leg

31.13 miles in 5:28:19. pretty sweet.

Rep'd the AAA team

how I hit the finish: shirtless and cold

That river water was a nice ice bath

had to wash off my legs and let the feet heal

The other leg - black sandy dirty

Selfie in a river

Beautiful day, beautiful river!
If you're in the mood for some mountain trail running, put this race on your list. It was a big hit from this end.