Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Double MMNW

If you're keeping score (and nobody is), the last MMNW update posted had my weight at 179 lbs even. Totally missed posting last week's update, but it was 178.2 lbs and 20.2% bodyfat. This week's update is 178 lbs and 18.1% bodyfat, causing me to think that monday morning is by far the worst time to weigh in. See this kind of thing happens on the weekends around here

And that brownie in a mug is fantastic. The weekends are my weakness. Friday morning I weighed in at 175 even, which was fantastic. that's typically my training weight, so yay! Then I swelled up 3 lbs over the weekend. So frustrating - but it's really not. Weight always goes up and down, friday is usually the low point in the week. Seeing the pattern without being able to change it is what's frustrating.

This past weekend, we went to visit Kelley's old college roommate and I love getting to hang out with them. They live on the coast and we always have a good time together. This time it also included tons of beers, a 5k race (where I took 3rd place overall - yay!), all you can eat sushi, pizza, and breakfast buffet. All were wonderful. That's putting life into living. This week I've got to pay back that weight debt, and hopefully break through that 175 plateau I've been stuck on for years.

My long runs for the last couple of weeks has been pretty good. 2 weeks ago I got in 9 miles Saturday and 11 on Sunday for a 20 mile weekend. Then this weekend had the 5k race saturday, then another 10 miles after we got back home on Sunday. My next race is a 50k in Maryland coming up in 4 weeks. I need to get the endurance base up there so hopefully I will be a bit more comfortable than I was at the end of the Harbison 50k a few weeks ago.

Those long runs were fueled by SaltStick! Those are a great way to get all of the electrolytes I need without having to take in all of the sugar and calories in Gatorade. Really digging it right now.

January has flown by! The end of Jan makes 9 weeks on this weight loss phase, and brings with it the Super Bowl. Time for some fun. Discipline is fun, right?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fraternal Fun Times

I love getting together with the boys.  We always have a blast. This time it was just for one evening, but we totally surprised Pat this time and that made it even better. This was actually last Friday night, I'm about a week behind in posting but that happens. MLK weekend was the fraternity's state convention. Pat is stepping down as the head officer of the state so this is going to be his last convention, and some of the other brothers put together a surprise for him.

Pat and I at dinner
First we all met up at the Hooters near UNC-Greensboro for dinner. I don't normally care anything about going to Hooters but when you're in Greensboro already, might as well. We used to eat there at the conventions anyway. We ended up getting about 14 people from Pat's active days to come back and meet him there. It was a complete surprise, and we got him pretty good.

Eventually we made our way over to the School of Music where I found this little gem

It looks like a trumpet

yes that really is the trumpet that Miles Davis used on Kind of Blue - one of the most popular jazz albums of all time. I don't know how it ended up at UNCG but that is unbelievably cool.

We didn't end up doing our planned convention activities, but we did get all of the alumni and current ASU brothers together for a young and old picture that turned out to be really cool. My view of the front line:

And the final product

I can say I'm proud to know both the men I met that night as I am the ones I've known for over 20 years now.  We had a blast. And we definitely gave Pat the great sendoff. Fun times all around.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Semi-wordless wednesday

Evil Genius got to go bowling with her Indian Princess tribe. All the cutes.

Riding the ball return. That's what scares me.

Patiently waiting for a chance to roll ya

Roll on

Selfie at the lanes with my little one!

The whole tribe - we got 4 lanes

Finally found a ball she could handle

Chillin on a trash can

The PBR was mine

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MMNW update

Yep, it's not exactly that extreme now, but I am glad to say that the 4 lbs I put on over the holidays is gone. Today's MMNW came in at 179 lbs and 19.7% body fat. But Brian with abs and nipples makes me laugh.

I am very pleased with this. Jan 12 and the holiday weight is gone? That is faster than I was expecting. It took a lot of discipline and a lot of recovery this week from the 50k.  Here's how the workouts went down:

Mon - rest & recovery from the 50k
Tues - 45 minutes on the bike. yes, I actually rode the bike! Easy spin to flush some lactic acid from the legs
Wed - Yoga
Thurs - abs & 7 mile run
Fri - total rest
Sat - 8.5 mile run
Sun - 80 minute hot yoga class at Firefly

Seriously, I'm addicted to hot yoga now. By Wednesday, my legs felt pretty cleared of all of the race funk and I was able to walk down stairs again. So the bad decision was to run a bit faster than I should for those 7 miles. This meant my hamstrings were really sore the next day (ok they are still sore). So when it came time to long run on Saturday, I took it really easy then ran out of time (ok and had to poop) after only 8.5 miles. But Sunday. Sunday I got to go to Hot Yoga. and it rocked. The top of my left foot was really hurting from that basketball thing which is why I only got on the mat once at home. In the hot room, the first child's pose really put the pressure on that same spot, but after that it has felt fine! so amazing. The teacher was kind of wild, the room was 105* (which I like) but she said she likes to keep it around 85*. Also she gave lots of instruction, which was nice, I got a lot of adjustments.

I knew in savasana that was going to be the warmest I got all day. It was so peaceful, so relaxing, so destressing just having all of the stresses melt away like that. Even in NC, it has been cold as balls here this week. Not much sunshine, lots of rain, even some thunder! And the wives tail is that winter thunder means snow is 10 days away. and we don't get real snow in NC, so that's pretty scary.

And now, some other seemingly random pictures from this week

She was embarrassed to be seen with my hair straight up like that. I think it's pimpin.

Las Juice! The juicer I got for Christmas has been a big part of losing this holiday weight.
I am absolutely loving the juicer! Staying hydrated and pumped full of vitamins and minerals really helps me feel good this flu season.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Two, long and hard

Well 2015 has started out with a bang! It's a double race report, kind of.

I got a surprise in the pool on New Years Day. My buddy Tom from the RAM team suggested we do a 10k swim in the pool. Eventually the RAM coaches got involved, and it turned into a 2 hour masters practice starting at noon. Anyone who wanted to keep going to 10k could go for it after practice. Our normal practices are only 75 minutes, so going for 2 hours was already a stretch.

10k is an interesting goal to chase. it takes a lot of technique and endurance to keep going that far. To do it in the pool takes a special mental fortitude as well. I wore my Garmin to the RAM practice, and we went pretty hard for the first 2 hours. I stopped the garmin timer when we were resting between intervals. At the end of the workout the garmin the garmin was sitting on 4.01 miles at 1:35 movement time.

Everybody else got out, but Tom and I both ended up sticking around for another hour. It was a lot of tired arms and staring at that black line. I counted hundreds, drank and ate when I needed to, and before you know it I was done.

The pool water does strange things to my hair and really brings out the red in my beard. ha! Still doesn't lie, that's 6.26 miles in 2:25:24. 10k swim done. That was an amazing way to start out the new year. I'm still hoping to get in an open water marathon swim this summer, and this was a great way to test myself for that. 

However, it might not have been the best activity to taper for a trail 50k. The following Saturday, Jan 3 was the Harbison 50k. Our little Christmas secret was that we left the kids in SC with grandparents for the whole week! Sunday we left  them with my parents and Kelley and I headed back to Raleigh. Then on Tuesday they met up with Kelley's mom for a handoff, and they stayed at the lake for the rest of the week! The kids had a really fun time at both locations. Friday we went down to the lake. Once this plan looked like it might work out, I went ahead and registered for the 50k.   We hit the packet pickup on the way to the lake friday, and saturday morning was cold and rainy as I headed back into Columbia.

In the dark after parking in the middle of the park
Harbison State Forest is very close to downtown Columbia, so it was about an hour's drive from the lake. It was a 2 loop course of 15.5 miles each, mostly single track but all trails. I figured this one could be a doozy but had no idea what I was really in for.

I got there just in time, then blew right past the parking area. Half a mile later I figured it out when someone told me to turn around. Then I saw someone else who got their car stuck on the side of the little dirt access road! So I got a bit muddy trying to help this guy to no avail, eventually I had to leave him stuck to get to the starting line on time. I tried! He wasn't running today so he had plenty of time to figure it out.

The race started right after I got checked in, so there was almost no time for me to stand around freezing. That was good! The entire first loop was actually pretty non-descript. And this would have been a perfect 1 loop race. It starts out on a gravel road big enough for a car for the first half mile or so, then goes onto single track for the remaining 15 miles. That much single track presents new challenges for me. Lots of climbing, rocks, roots, leaves to deal with. Fun times. It was a pretty rainy week before race day, so there was lots of mud on the course. But there was only a 5% chance of rain before noon, so the entire first loop was dry, and the biggest thing to note was that they had bacon at the aide stations! It was a nice little salty protein to keep you going.

It ends with the 0.8 mile Eagle trail, which starts out going straight downhill, then briefly comes up at the end to finish the loop. This was quite a pleasant surprise, and the RD was waiting to greet us at the end of the first loop. Like I said, this would have been a great place to stop. Right at 3 hours to finish that loop makes for a solid day of racing.

My legs were pretty fatigued going back out for loop 2, no bones about it. Lots more walking once I got back onto the single track. The middle part of the loop was the SpiderWoman II trail, and after going through it once it made me appreciate how runnable the first section of the loop was. I'm a fairly big dude, about 6'1" & 180 lbs, and there was several parts where the trail was only as large as I was. Pine needles dripping with dew were brushing my hat and arms from different trees. it was like running through a cocoon. Crazy, but incredibly cool. So cool, in fact, that I noticed my thumbs turning purple several times. Really hating that I forgot those gloves now!

By mile 21 I was back on the SpiderWoman II trail, and it rained for the entire mile (about 18 minutes - yea that slow) so that really upped the mud factor. It drizzled for about another hour after that, but luckily that was the only solid rain. Did I mention temps were in the 30's the entire race?

In mile 24, The Bear had to make a return appearance. This wasn't a particularly dense forest, so I couldn't just find a curve in the trail and duck behind a thicket. I had to get off of the trail by a good 20 or 30 paces, find a tree that fell down, then just pray that nobody came by.  Sure enough, I got out there, did my business, cleaned the cage, made it back out to the trail and started running again. You could see forever on these trails, and I couldn't see another runner in front of me, nobody passed while I was off the trail, and I couldn't see anybody behind me when I started running again. Got to love a small race. A girl did catch up with me about a minute after I started running again though, so my timing was on point.

The just before the mile 26 marker, about 5 and a half hours into the run (by far my slowest marathon split ever) I was running on a path that was about a foot wide and carved into the side of a hill. 20' up was the top of the hill, and 200' down was a huge river. I thought, "at least if I fell down into the river and died I wouldn't have to finish the race", then I slipped and fell down, but only about four feet. Still got a rear end full of gray mud. Tried to clean off some before the next aide station at mile 26.3 but there's only so much you can do.

The last 4.7 miles meant that I was off of the Spiderwoman trail, and that made it the best part of the day. I got back on the Eagle trail, and the downhills hurt just as much as the uphills did before. But at the end, I got a medal and some black bean & quinoa soup. I finished in 6:54:49, good enough for 80th place of 132 finishers.

Lots of mud on the legs and shoes

Garmin, medal, smile
My intention for this race was to just go out there and have fun. I talked to everyone, made a lot of jokes. This was the first in my quest to run 6-10 marathon or longer races this year, and 14th overall marathon+ race. I wasn't trying to hit a specific speed or grab an age group award. Just count the miles and have fun in the woods. Next up is another trail 50k that will also knock Maryland off of my 50 state list.

So how did you start out the year?

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Goals

I had a tough time writing this goals post, mostly because I've had a tough time coming up with any good goals for this year. For the past several years the goals haven't changed: Ironman. Everything else was sort of built up around getting an 11 hour Ironman finish. That's off of the radar now. Goals are hard to come by.

Mantra: 2015 - Eat Clean & Train Mean

This year needs to be a foundational year for health and fitness. A solid base of clean eating will lead to workouts that are more effective. Make it happen.

Short term goals:
  • Marathon swim - race or practice something 10k or longer of solid swimming. Currently the longest I've gone is 5 miles in the water and that was in the Cooper River with the current.
  • Distance PR - Currently the farthest I've been able to run was the Pine Mountain 40 in 2012 - 40 miles. Let's exceed that.
  • Single 70 mile running week
Long Term Goals:
  • Knock 2 more states off of the 50 state list, at least 1 drive to state and one fly-to state
  • Run 180 miles in one month
  • 6 to 10 marathon or longer races on the year
Running and swimming is clearly going to be the focus on the year, not multisport or speed. I'm not setting a total distance target, whatever I can get is what I get. The basic plan is to do 3 or 4 marathon or longer races in the spring, then some open water swim racing over the summer, and more marathons in the fall. The actual race schedule will appear as I can actually get registered for some of these, but so far I've got two 50k's in Jan & Feb (and the second one will knock Maryland off of the 50 state list), and the Umstead 100 volunteering again March 28.

The target for Umstead is to get 50 miles in the pacer pool. If I can do that, then I'll try to register for the 2016 Umstead 100 as a runner and finally knock the hundo off of the bucket list! I've also got my eye on four different 50 mile races in November, but I am only going to register for 1 of them. In order to train for a 100 mile ultramarathon, you have to respect the distance and that means knocking out "some" 180 mile months. If I get into Umstead 100 that will turn into more than 1, but just to see how my body holds up I'm only setting the goal for 1 month at 180 miles. 

On the waterfront, I've got my eyes on the 12 mile Swim Around Charleston, but there is still a pretty strong set of logistics to work out around that one. There's a few other possibilities as well, but I'm going to find a nice long open water race to get into. There are a few other members on the RAM team that want to get in on the action as well.

On the family front, 2015 holds a lot of promise as well. We're all going to Disney World for a week. Evil Genius has her 2nd year spring outing coming up, and Ella's in for a big year too. I think she's up for a swim team and voice lessons.

I'm very excited that 2015 is finally  here! What are you working on this year?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Goal Review

This is always one of my favorite posts to write. Looking back at all of the accomplishments of a year gone by with all of the promises of advancing into a new year with new goals to chase down. First, let's close out December:

Swim: 18,150y, 6 swims
Bike: goose egg
Run: 126.18 miles, 15 runs
Stretch: 5 times
Yoga: 18 times

Kinda hoping to top 20k in the pool, but the 126 miles of running is pretty nice. Really nice actually. With all of the holiday hoopla those numbers are pretty solid.

And the fun totals for all of 2014:

Swim: 231,500 yards, 131.53 miles, 5 races
Bike: 2170 miles, 4 races
Run: 1227.33 miles, 8 races
Strength: 73 times
Yoga: 184 times

Compared to 2013:
Swim: 210,220 meters, 119.44 miles
Bike: 3,869.25 miles
Run: 847.8 miles
Strength: 81 times
Yoga: 90 times

So 2013 had tons and tons of time on the bike and 2014 had a lot more fun. This was my highest running year ever! By a long shot. Plenty of swimming and plenty of running and a nice even balanced time on the yoga mat.

I finished 11 races in 2014, including setting a marathon PR and knocking down my first two 50k's. 5 marathon or longer races, 3 triathlons including my last Ironman, and 2 open water swim races including my first 5 miler made for a solid race schedule. I also took the overall podium for the first time, finishing 3rd male in a 5k in SC. That's a helluva year by any standards.

2014 Goals:

Mantra: Long and lean in 2014. Success!
I'd say with all of those long races and an average weight of 180.88 lbs this is a winner. My scale was actually stuck with a dead battery for most of the Ironman training plan and that's when I was at my leanest. We'll just call this one a win.

Short term goals:
4 hour revenge: Finish Myrtle Beach Marathon under 4 hours - Success!
Finished in 3:46 for a nice shiny PR
11 hour Ironman: Finish Rev3 Cedar Point in 11:xx - Fail!
Finished in 13:52 with personal worst times in all 3 sports
Maniac Streak: Get another Marathon Maniac star - Success!
Did the Myrtle Beach Marathon and Umstead Trail Marathon only 14 days apart - 1 star
Pick an alternative race - Fail!
Nothing but regular swim/bike/run stuff for me. No obstacle courses or warrior dash for me last year.
A Single 5k swim - Success!
The 5 mile race at the Lowcountry Splash in Charleston took care of this one.
A single 50 mile run week - Success!
I ended up with several 50 mile + weeks, topping out at 56 miles in Ironman training

Long term goals:

Financial: Pay off the rest of our debts and sell this last rental property - Success!
We finished paying off $152k in debts when we sold the last rental property in March 2014. Dave Ramsey's methods worked for us and it has totally changed our lifestyle. Amazing stuff.
Travel: Visit friends in Ohio and make a social trip to Atlanta - Partial Success!
We did get to visit some special people in Ohio but I did not make it down to the dirrrty Atl for a social visit. Maybe next year.
Run 1200 miles: Success!
Averaging 100 miles per month is a seriously huge target. So glad I was actually able to get there!
Run 4 marathons, 6 would be better, knock 2 more states off of the 50 state list: Success!
I ran 5 marathon or longer races, and knocked Ohio and Virginia off of the 50 state list.
Volunteer at more races: Success!
I was a timer at local swim meets and volunteered at the Umstead 100 aide station 2 and in the pacer pool.

Overall, 2014 was an amazing year. The kids kept growing, the family is stronger than ever, and I felt accomplished athletically. The low point of the year was losing Gene before thanksgiving - that was really tough. High points were the MB marathon and being able to spend so much time with so many good friends and fun family members.

I hope your 2014 was amazing too!