Monday, December 28, 2015

brief training update

But at least it's an actual training update. We wrapped up all of the holiday stuff yesterday with great fanfare and returned home to Raleigh. The highlight was after stopping for dinner at Cracker Barrel on the drive home, Ella finished her meal with the announcement that "I'm full" and threw a biscuit randomly. Then in the car, before we even got back on the highway, she asked for a snack! You just finished dinner 30 seconds ago child. I don't think so.

I had today off of work as well though, so it was really nice to have the day to regroup, clean up some, and get in a nice run. Umstead 100 training is going pretty well. I took some rest time this month but I'm still getting plenty of miles in. My left hip and right knee are still inflamed and problematic, this is the same problem that sidelined me in the spring so I think I need to seek some help with my running mechanics to fix that. Got any recommendations? I think I also need a referral for a nutritionist. Carrying way too much body fat, even for the offseason.

Today I got out on the roads for an easy 10 miler to the Capital and back. It was smooth, felt great, and had pretty good conditions. It was raining all morning so I needed to stick to the roads. There was some construction going on downtown so traffic was problematic and I had to go a few blocks out of the way. So the graphic above isn't quite accurate, it was coffee run beer. But overall this was a quality day of training and I feel ready to go for it again tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holidays Approacheth

Believe it or not, I do still have some actual health/nutrition/training content rolling around in my head. Eventually it will make it out of there. But until then it's only pictures of my family and our strange and holiday activities.

First came thanksgiving! That's how far behind I am, haven't even posted thanksgiving pictures yet. We had a fun but whirlwind road trip, first to Neena's house at the lake then to Saluda for turkey with Kelley's family. Then off to Greenville for a few nights with my folks, and I didn't get any pictures there. Then we made it back to Raleigh in time to get together for more turkey with Kelley's dad's family on that Sunday afternoon.  Roll 'em!

The rare Kaileigh and Matt sighting

K photobombing us

Shirley said she hates seeing her picture show up online, so....
We also had the Holiday Express again this year already at Pullen Park. This time, it was quite obvious that our kids were the oldest ones there. They still had a good time, and we got some good shots, but I thought it was hilarious that nobody else was even close to their age.

Evil Genius meets Reindeer

So glad to have a beard again, it was cold out there

On the trail with Ella

All four of us riding the train

love this one

they are my idiots
So with all of that holiday fun, how could we not be ready for a great exciting Christmas season? We're ready. This is going to be great.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November Rain

Actually November was a lot of fun this year! Here's the breakdown

Swim: 4400 yards, 2 swims
Bike: nada, goose egg
Run: 162.2 miles, 18 runs, 1 Marathon
Strength: 4 times
Yoga: 10 times

Actually, I thought I swam more than twice. Hard swim or triathlon training is not as important right now, as the 100 miler training plan is in full swing. In fact, I think 162 miles is a new record for me! One of my goals for the year is to get in a 170 mile month, and it looks like that's going to be December. So close this time! I did enjoy a great week in the hot yoga studio as well as plenty of time on the mat at home, but I could always use more yoga time.

I really stuck with the 100 training plan very closely until the weekend before thanksgiving. A cold hit my sinuses pretty hard, and the planned 14 miler that sunday turned into only 2 miles. Then over the holiday I missed two more runs. But overall the plan is working out really well, I feel great now, and knocking down the plan feels like I'm really actually going to be prepared for the Umstead 100.

The one marathon I did in November was the Lower Potomac River Run in Maryland. Great race, tons of fun, nice trail. Lots of other good stuff going on too. The kids took a karate class and loved it, we got to visit my family in SC and had a wonderful time (Thanksgiving post still to come).

The bad is still with my weight. I'm still about 10 lbs heavier than I should be for this much training and it is going to catch up to me eventually. But after turning 40 the pounds just don't shake off like they used to. ugh.  I'll figure it out eventually.

Spike playing video games on Ella's head

silly bearded dragon

Ready to chop stuff

Family picture with Santa

They got balloon animals! A princess crown and a pirate sword that looks like a brown penis
And for the record, we did get a ton of rain this November in NC.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Maryland at Last!

Turns out the 2nd time is the charm for finishing a marathon in Maryland. Sunday 11/15 was the Lower Potomac River Run Marathon held just on the MD side of D.C. and I finished in 4:16:05, knocking that state off of the list. My first attempt was a DNF in a trail 50k where there was a foot of snow covering the single track. I have a cousin who lives on the MD side of D.C., so I got to go visit with her the night before and had a wonderful time. Her husband recently lost 180 lbs so Matt was doing fantastic and Anna is pregnant with their first kid. Hope I didn't scare them too much.

Me, Anna, Matt at MatchBox for dinner
One of my favorite parts of the 50 state journey is finding local beers. Dogfish Head is a local brew there, and I also discovered Evolution Brewery - so yummy. And we got to hang out watching college football all night long, something my family has always enjoyed.  It was great getting to hang out with my cousin again! Makes me look forward to Christmas even more.

This race has options to start at 7, 8, or 9 am so I picked the 9 am competitive start. That means I got to sleep in until 7 am with plenty of time to eat breakfast, drive over to the park, go through packet pickup and wait around in the cold for the race to start. It seemed like the kind of morning where everything was going to go right!

Everything did go right. Packet pickup was smooth, there was nice swag, this had everything you'd expect to have at a small, no-frills trail race. The course was only 6.55 miles of wide gravel trail, making this a 2 loop out and back race. It's easiest to break it down into those 4 sections, and if they are under an hour each, I can break 4 hours!

Pre-race shot
Out 1: 1:00:11

At the start, I ended up talking to Rob Krar's sister in law! She was really nice but had to name drop when I started talking about Umstead. They also had a half marathon going at the same time, so the 2nd loop was going to be much less crowded than the first.  The start was otherwise uneventful.

The strangest thing about this leg was that nobody would talk to me. I have the trail beard in full effect now. Sure there are more grays in there than I wanted, but I was making jokes with the other runners and getting nothing back from these people. I hit the first turnaround almost in silence, then checked my watch to see that I had missed the 1 hour goal by 11 seconds. Not too bad.

Back 1: 1:02:05 (2:02:16 total)

I made it back to the start/finish area still in relative silence, but did manage to get a few laughs out of these people. I slowed down some miles, and pushed it some other miles. For this being the "uphill" direction it still felt a bit faster than going "downhill". The use of quotes is appropriate here because you're only dropping down 40 feet. There's no turns, it's a straight, wide, gravel path with a 40 foot drop. That is about the best kind of trail I could hope for.

Out 2: 1:08:04 (3:10:20 total)

Miles 13 to 20 were pretty interesting. I had to pull off of the trail for a poop in mile 18, then in 19 I caught up with Tammy Massie, a well known ultra runner and good friend. We ran together at her pace for quite some time as well and talked about my training and strategy for Umstead (she's done it about 8 times) and that's always valuable advice. Overall this leg just had a lot of dragging though. My legs got heavy and didn't want to turn over as fast, and I was just trying to run comfortably.

Back 2: 1:05:54 (4:16:05 finish time)

Coming back uphill to the finish line, I wouldn't say that my legs felt fresh anymore, but they felt exactly like I expected to feel when I'm over 20 miles into a marathon. My glutes fatigued first, then my hamstrings. Knees, ankles, feet, hips, all felt ok the entire time. I don't think my heart rate got much out of zone 2 at any time over the race. Considering that my longest run between the WC-50 marathon and this (about 4 weeks) was only 12 miles, I figured these miles would feel a lot worse than they did.

And I finally found someone else to talk to! A fellow Marathon Maniac and 50-stater who was in town from Memphis. Her goal was to break 4:15, and she missed it by about 20 seconds. Still it was nice to be able to chat for a while, and since I was ahead of her most of the race she kept saying that I was helping her keep a quick pace.

Finish 4:16:05

I don't really have any kind of placement information, but I know I was kind of near the bottom. The average time for this marathon is about 3:38, I think I saw my age group award go to a 3:12 marathoner or something absurd like that. The course is just that nice! Flat, fast, soft, exactly the best race I could hope for. I love these small no-frills events.

And it was actually a pretty nice way for me to see Maryland! I got to visit with family, enjoy fine cuisine, see some urban nature, and drive around the city with the worst traffic in the entire U.S. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Halloween 2015!

yea, so I'm about half a month late on these. But it's been kind of a crazy month. Now that the kids are in 5th and 3rd grades, we're nearing the end of the trick-or-treating era. Ella got invited to go out with a friend for her birthday so now that whole pre-teen thing is starting. and that's terrifying.

First up we had the Trunk or Treat at the church, and that was a blast. Getting candy out of trunks is always safe, right?

on our way to the church!

Parking lot full of Candy

We also had a fun night of pumpkin carving over at Kelley's Dad's house. He had 6 pumpkins to carve, and we ended up getting 4 more at our house.

Everyone loves to make a mess in the garage


It's not easy to get a picture of lit pumpkins at night
Finally the big day was here. Got pictures of both of their costumes before they went out on separate paths.

Captain Jack Sparrow, at your service

Cinderella, ready for the ball
The haul was a little light this year, but there was still enough candy for us to claim a decent parent tax. Hey, I gave you life, you give me Reece's. that's the way it works.

Every good Halloween ends by cuddling with Daddy
This was another fun time for all. Kelley's mom was up staying with us, so she ended up walking with Evil Genius up to too many houses. We ended up with a nice night in Raleigh to be out and about. Everyone had fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How to Finish a Shed

I think we did it! After 5 months of weekends, evenings, and lots of hard work it looks like the shed is finally done. Sure, there are always more little tweaks. We could use a little more pegboard on the interior walls or something. But now we feel comfortable moving all of the tools and shelving in there to call it done.  Here's how we finished it off. This is a ton of pictures

Kelley built a potting bench beside the back door! no dirt in the shed.

Exterior walls are all built out, now we just need doors and an interior

Electrical is all done, we even got a 220v outlet for the kiln

Front side has the underside of the gable finished off

Then I built ramps to get in. This is the front ramp

And the back ramp
I didn't exactly get the stepping stones propping up those ramps evenly spaced. And I did add more stones in front of those later. But now we have a completed shell and everything else is finishing touches.

There is a project management theory that the first 90% of a project takes as much time as the last 10% of a project. Starting with those ramps, I think, we're into the 10% side of the project. I'm just glad to cross over that milestone and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I started with a plan to build the doors out of the same siding and molding used for the rest of the exterior.

First door is finished and hung!

Having both doors done really makes the front look finished

Tough to get a picture of the exterior siding, but this is the left side

and this is the right

I look confused

that's better!

We got some luan up on the walls and nailed up a pallet to hold the yard tools

we put up some pegboard as well, and you can see some detail of the inside of the doors

Back doors are built and hung!

Very excited to be done building doors. The back doors didn't fit as well as the front doors did.
Got knobs? Back doors are finished!

I added hook-and-eye catches to hold the back doors open

Under the gable is finished too. We are some happy carpenters!

Finished product from the back

The plywood floor wasn't sturdy so we used leftover hardwood & bamboo to cover it

Final finished interior floor
Sure we could use some more luan & pegboard on that right side but the doors are locked and we feel comfortable moving our stuff inside. We started this project during the June trackout and finally finished it in October! So glad it's all done. Now for some organization...