Sunday, August 27, 2017

Going ePostal

My friend KC first put the idea of doing the ePostal 5k into my head. Between her and Jennifer wanting to do this thing it got interesting quickly. You actually swim the ePostal races before you register for them, so the format (put on by US Masters swimming) is very unique. The 5k and 10k races have to be done in a 50 meter pool before September 14th. You have to have someone time for you, they write down your split and cumulative time every 100 meters. After 50 laps, you get your time. Jennifer and I decided to meet up on Saturday morning 8/12 to get the job done. I ended up swimming first while she timed me, and then I timed her and ate recovery food.

So I started swimming. I got in some long course time once earlier in the summer, but that was my first time in at least 2 years. Long course feels totally different. It goes much slower, here I averaged around 1:53 per 100 meters, as opposed to around 1:25 per 100 yards in regular practice. My first four laps were 1:43, 1:50, 1:55, 1:55. It takes a while to get used to that, you really have to check your expectations at the gate.

My strategy was to stop and drink some sports drink every 5 laps, and I stuck to that plan pretty well. Eventually I couldn't count to 5 anymore so I stopped whenever I felt like it. Eventually around lap 33 I started drinking every 3 laps, that was easy enough to count. And I needed the extra shots of energy then!

I finished the 5000 meters in 1:34:16. This is an outstanding baseline to compare against open water 5k swims. I tend to do the longer open water swims in rivers or the ocean where I can get help from the current, so having this pool time can give me an accurate comparison for the conditions.

Jennifer swam next. The pool was only setup for long course until 12:30, or so we thought. As she got in and started swimming, I was surprised how fast the laps seemed to go by. Then the lifeguards started pulling the laneropes out, so I had to ask. Some quick math told me that she was going to finish around 12:05, and the lifeguards said they had to switch back to short course at 12:00, not 12:30. So she was screwed.

Jennifer could actually count to 5, so she stopped to drink on a regular schedule. When she got to 3k I was already doing the math. Her splits were incredibly consistent, so I told her to go ahead and pick it up. By the time she got into the last K the ropes were in the way and she had to finish in an obstacle course, swimming on strange diagonals. She still finished in only 1:38, an amazing time since she had never gone the distance before.

The ePostal races were a great way to set a goal and get a race time in while accommodating our schedules. We're going to log the splits into the USMS site and pay the registration fee, then in the end will see how we ranked against every other swimmer in the country who completed the same distance in the same length pool. This is going to be a blast!

Such a fun day in the pool! And check out those lane ropes behind us.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Greens

My new favorite kids book
The other day I was listening to the Fit2Fat2Fit podcast at work. I stay about a month behind on my podcast list, it's awful. But on this one Drew interviewed the CEO of Organifi, a company that makes powders you can mix into water or juice. This post is not sponsored in any way and I did not use Organifi products, although they do seem wonderful.

My current list of complaints begins by still hovering around 210 lbs and being unable to run thanks to a persistent foot pain. The new pain that has been racking up this year is (I think) arthritis in my elbows, wrists, and hands. Joint pain doesn't play games - it sucks. Also I've been waking up with lower back pain.

Then you can imagine my surprise when this podcast guest said that he had been drinking greens every morning, and after 7 days did not wake up with lower back pain anymore. That did get my attention. Then the rest of his joint pain cleared up shortly after the 7 day mark. I immediately had to investigate this product line.

Organifi offers a line of green (and now red) juice powders. The green juice is mostly vitamins and superfoods, totally organic. The ingredient list is very robust with stuff that I know has been good for me in the past. The red juice is a powder of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods that looks amazing. Seriously amazing. I can't wait to get my hands on some of this stuff.

Fortunately, I already had some greens. I bought a jar of vitamins & greens from the clearance section at a GNC a few months ago. And since I already start each day with a full bike bottle of water (24oz) I figured I could go ahead and throw the greens in there for a week and see how it felt. The greens are a complete vitamin, mineral, superfood, and energy supplement.

Monday was the first day on the greens. Tuesday evening I hit swim practice with my team, that ended up being my only workout on the week. It got a little hectic, but by the next monday I did indeed feel great. Seems like the greens worked! It is a fantastic way to start my mornings.

Trader Joe's also has both a green juice powder and a red juice powder. I'm really wanting to try the red stuff now. I also found several options for green and red powders on Amazon. They don't all have the same ingredients but I bet the results will be similar yet still different for every person/powder combination. Still after only one week I am totally hooked on these greens.

This past Monday was IM day at swim practice. I still got in the 1500 yard warmup and 1500 yard IM set. But my joints. My joints did not like the IM set at all. It turned into just a kick set, and tonight (Tuesday evening) my right elbow is still in enough pain for me to skip swim practice tonight. Joint pain sucks. I thought after last week this was going to go away. I'm still having some lower back pain when I wake up too, but that could be the mattress or pillow. It feels like that has eased up some anyway. But the joint pain, that's real today. I'm not quite sure what that means. Maybe I need to give swimming a rest? Still have a couple of open water races coming up.

Have you ever tried adding powdered greens to your morning water? Any red juice tips?

Monday, August 7, 2017

July was hot hot hot

It's hot in North Carolina, and I didn't do much training. Had one swim race that was awesome but that was about it.

Swim: 25,150 yards, 1 race
Bike: 0
Run: 0
Strength: 0
Yoga: once!

Just when I thought I couldn't do less than I did in June, July hits and I swim 6000 yards less. A buddy at work just bought his first tri bike, so I'm actually thinking about riding some again. And soon I think another work friend and I will do the 5k ePostal swim and maybe head down to Wilmington for Swim the Loop, a 3.5 mile open water race.

So what else was I doing instead of flexing any kind of athletic muscle? Well from June's recap, the garden was growing, I finished building my first boat, and we cut a massive hole in the wall and installed a door.

So in July the garden mostly died from the heat and we built a massive deck on the other side of that new door!

The deck! with one wall of a screened in porch

Front view (of the back of the house)

far side angle

stairs from level 2 to level 3

Handrail is up! Lots of design work in there

Happy deck builders

face painting 4th of july

already enjoying the new deck!

The deck we built entirely over the 4th of July holiday. I had a couple of days off from work. The entire build is detailed on my woodworking blog so I'll spare you the gory details here. There's three levels, and asymmetrical design, and it came out better than we drew it on paper. We absolutely love it and are enjoying it despite the heat. 

I had a birthday!

42 is cheesecake, right?

Got the rest of the walls up on the porch

Ella's first day of 7th grade
First day of 5th grade!
We love having the kids in a year-round school. They started back after the July 4th week. We would much rather have them in the air-conditioned school while it's too hot to do anything outside than staying in bed all summer. They get the whole month of september out, so we'll go do some summer fun stuff then.

Tiki guy made the deck and got a Sideshow Bob fern haircut

Ella wanted me to try the Toe of Satan. I couldn't keep this hot candy in my mouth, it was too hot. and nothing is too hot for me.

There's a roof going up!

Happy with the framing and handrail in the porch

Interior trim - top

Interior trim - bottom

Evil Genius got me a mug that looks like beer

Finished the screened in porch! It's so much fun

I did eventually attach the door

adding deck furniture

with my love

First time in 7 years I've been able to grill!

We got a fire pit! Making s'mores - the kids love it.

fun times with the kiddos

App State grill cover

We put a sky chair in the porch! If you've never used a hammock chair you don't know what you're missing

I took a sailing class!

I love the Doctor Who Intoxicate Dalek shirt

Laid some brick pavers to extend a theme

then built some stairs
I am actually going to have to rebuild those stairs, they are cut wrong. But they will get us by for now. The sailing class was awesome, I really want to build a sailboat when I'm ready to step up to something larger. The class was a blast, can't wait to get back on the water now!

Overall, this July didn't suck as much as in past years. Maybe August won't be so bad either.