Signs

OK, so this isn’t a Race Report.

But Karl McCraken posted something that struck me so much that I just had to share:

Simply beautiful.

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Learn to read the water!

In about 60 hours the gun will go off and I’ll start splashing my way through my first 1/2 IM-distance race. I’m definitely looking forward to it, I know I’m ready and I know I’m capable. So it’s just a matter of putting everything together at the right time in the right way. Easy, eh?

With this race week, the workouts have been short with bursts up to race pace, just to keep the muscles aware of what I’ll be expecting of them.

Since the water at the race will still likely be cool, I rented a wetsuit from, are you ready for this? WetsuitRental.com. What a deal. For $35, they Fed-Ex out a wetsuit about 10 days prior to your race, which is enough time to give it a few tries. So that’s what I’ve been doing this week, giving the Orca Evo a try. Quite a nice wetsuit, much different from the wetsuits I’ve worn in the past for surfing and bodyboarding.

Based on my height and weight, I ordered the Medium Large, which actually turned out to be a bit small in the shoulders. I can definitely feel my shoulders after a few minutes of freestyle. Now I find that tri-shops like All3Sports recommend sizing up since the suits run a touch tight. Like the best line in The Wedding Singer – “Gee, you know that information…really would’ve been more useful to me YESTERDAY!”.

Hehe. No worries. The added resistance isn’t that big of a deal.

Anyway, in order to make sure it was comfortable to swim in, my lovely bride and I drove out Monday morning to the site where my IM-distance race will be held in September. But wouldn’t you know it, the beach is closed for the season, waiting for warmer weather and tourists. So I had to poach a swim by hiking through the woods down to the water and then swimming across an inlet. The water was warm, almost too warm for the wetsuit.

Since I didn’t want to drive the 75 minutes out there again today, I decided to drive downtown and jump in the Cumberland River, which feeds the lake that I swam in on Monday. I planned on swimming upstream, against the current for a while, then turning around and cruising back to my start point.

Waking up this morning, I knew the river would be a bit more entertaining that usual, since we had a few hours of torrential rain last night. Somewhere between 1.5″ and 2.25″ during that time. I didn’t know how high that would push the river and what sort of stuff would be floating in it, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me.

After some morning errands, we got out there just before lunchtime, stopped in the City Park and immediately saw the “No Swimming” signs. Ah well. I’ll just walk down outside of the park and jump in. I definitely got some odd looks as we walked past the playground, me with the wetsuit pulled up around my waist.

We sat and watched the water for a bit and what we saw confirmed that my planned route would take me upstream for the out leg, which would be north. Everything on the surface was moving south and at not too quick of a clip, so I was good to go.

I jumped in and gasped since the water was cold. Not as cold as that first rush of cold water down the back of the wetsuit after duck-diving under that first wave during a January dawn patrol in California, but it was cold, thanks to the rain last night. I started swimming along the bank, making sure to stay out of the middle of the river, since it’s a working river full of barges and tugs.

I got down to my turnaround point fairly quickly, thanks to a couple of surges to race pace along the way. I then started my swim back. That’s when I realized I’d made a mistake. The northerly wind was blowing everything on the surface towards the south, disguising the fact that I was now destined to swim upstream for the return leg.

Immediately the “Oh, shit” portion of my mind got to work, but luckily I soon realized that I was making headway against the current. At least I was getting a good workout. Time to make the best of it. The return leg took about 5 minutes longer than the out leg. Not too bad. But I’m sure glad that the current wasn’t any stronger.

That made me realize that I can’t read big rivers. I can drive up to a beach that I’ve never seen before, sit for 10 minutes, watch the water and have a darn good understanding of the currents, the contour of the bottom and the way the waves are breaking. I can walk up to a river in the Rockies or the Sierras, stand for a few minutes and see exactly what seams I need to cast my fly into or which rocks to drift the fly past.

But big, wide, slow-moving rivers? Apparently I’ve got a bit to learn…

Next post – Race Report.

Tapering, Pouring and Tix

Well, the taper continues. After last Saturday’s meltdown, I took Sunday off, which is my normally scheduled rest day.

Monday started with an easy run and then a swim at lunch. Both were very poor, at best. I just didn’t have anything in me, even though they were both recovery sessions. Tuesday morning I sat on the stationary cycle and spun for about 30 minutes, which was poor as well. After that, I decided to take time off completely. Glad I did.

Thursday I joined an organized workout session that was mostly strength and plyometrics. But between 10 minute focus sessions, we ran 1/2 mile. The first 1/2 felt good, the second 10 minutes later felt better, then I was able to smoke the last two 1/2 miles. Back on track for the remainder of this recovery week/taper.

Friday night we drove down to Nashville to enjoy some music and food at the “First Annual” Riverfront Park Crawfish Boil. Which brings up a point – how can something be the “First Annual”, since there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually have it every year after the first? Shouldn’t “Annual” be reserved for the second and subsequent events?

The scheduled music lineup was good, with Soul Asylum opening at 5pm, followed by Fuel, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach and finally Hinder. Not that I’m a huge fan of any of those bands, but each is good enough to get the toe tapping and the head bobbing. And for $25 at the gate, plus the promise of a huge mess of crawdads to eat while drinking beer and listening to live music, how could I refuse?

And for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of a crawfish boil, here’s what a huge mess of crawdads should look like, complete with potato and corn-on-the-cob:

Definitely some good, good stuff.

So we got down there just a few minutes after Soul Asylum took the stage, found an area on the hill to spread our our blanket, got some beers and sat back to enjoy the show. Soul Asylum gave what I would consider to be a pretty pedestrian show – good but nothing I haven’t seen out of a good bar band.

During their set, I was looking across the river at LP Stadium, which is where the Tennessee Titans play, snickering and telling my 15-year-old son that when I was his age, I saw Cheap Trick in San Diego’s Jack Murphy (later to become Qualcomm) Stadium, which was about the same size as the stadium we were looking at. He was trying to make the connection between going from playing stadiums to small venues like the one we were sitting in. As a budding bassist, he at least understood continuing to play because one loves it, regardless of the size of the crowd or venue.

And the stadium got me thinking back to all of the shows I saw there. 101KGB always put on good summer concerts, where we got to see acts like Motley Crue (long before their rapid downward spiral with the release of “Theater of Pain”), Def Leppard, Chuck Berry and The Who (after which I actually met Roger Daltrey). Good times.

But enough reminiscing. Fuel took the stage. That was more like it. Energetic, loud and electric. Literally.

As they continued to play their set, the sky kept getting darker. And darker. And then tinges of green in the clouds. And for those of you who have lived here in the Midwest, green in the storm clouds means only one thing – hail. Fuel kept playing, the rain started and a few rumbles were heard. Nothing to worry about. Yet.

Then the downpour, followed by dime-sized hail, which never feels good on the noggin. That’s when everyone broke for cover. By the time we got under cover, we were all soaked completely to the bone. Ah well, it’s all part of the experience.

As the rain continued, the drunk and otherwise influenced crowd decided to keep themselves entertained by sliding down the wet grassy hill. The only problem with that was that after a few grassy ledges and drops, the grass gives way to concrete steps. A few bodies went launching over the concrete, but I don’t think any of them could feel what they were doing to themselves. I suspect this morning is a different story.

Of course, the downside to being soaking wet as the sun goes down is that you can get cold. And with my newer, slimmer physique thanks to all of this tri training, I don’t have the insulation that I did just four months ago. Shivering became my newest physical activity as we waited for the rain to stop. Even taking my shirt off was warmer, but didn’t help much. Others had the same idea, and for some of them we wish they hadn’t.

Anyway, we sat and waited out the storm. And waited. And waited. And waited. The promoters had done the right thing and cut the power to the stage. The downside to that is that the crowd was pretty restless after a while. Some guys up on stage worked hard to keep the crowd in front of the stage entertained by doing silly things like spraying them with water. Methinks they were wet enough.

After two hours and me continuing to shiver, we decided to bag the rest of the night. It was already halfway through the time that Papa Roach would have been on stage. That meant we had missed out on half of Fuel’s set, all of Cheap Trick’s set and it looked like all of Papa Roach’s set. And with me being concerned about getting sick just a week out from my 1/2 IM, heading home was the best thing to do.

Not 10 miles up the road, everything was as dry as a bone. But even after driving the hour home, I checked the radar and it was still raining down over downtown Nashville. So I don’t think the crowd even got to see Hinder. That wasn’t a big loss for us, since we were going to leave right after they started playing anyway.

So after the crawdads and beer, this cartoon this morning made me laugh:

And it’s all not a loss. I got home, checked my e-mail and got my daily music update. Thanks to that, we just scored tickets to see Tool up in Evansville next month, coinciding with my beautiful bride’s birthday.

Hope all is well with you.

Overreaching Taper

What’s that? Exactly…

The taper has begun. R-13. It’ll be interesting to get through the next two weeks with my sanity. 😉

Overreaching was achieved this week. It took some suffering spread over the past couple of days to come to that realization. Not that I significantly increased my volume, but a slight increase in volume and overall intensity did it for me. Plus, the way I’ve had the last two weeks scheduled out, I put in my 10.5 mile runs in the morning and then a pretty intense swim workout at lunch just a few hours later.

And with the humidity this week, I pretty much ran myself right into the ground. That’s what I get for leaving my Fuel Belt at home and not taking any fluids with me for the 10.5 miles. Pretty stupid move. That’s what pushed me over the edge.

I was able to get in a decent swim that lunch hour, but that was the last decent workout of the week. And it was only Wednesday. An easy run Thursday morning, then having to reschedule my Thursday afternoon ride due to thunderstorms. Friday morning’s run was easy, but not comfortable. The heavy rain felt good, but the legs just weren’t there. And that feeling continued into the swim that afternoon. Matter of fact, even though I was plugging along at my normal pace, I just couldn’t finish the workout. And it wasn’t anything overly strenuous. My wife and I figured it was either my sinuses (long story there) or lack of caffeine, since I hadn’t had my normal pot of coffee that morning. So we chalked it up to caffeine deprivation and I did my best to rectify that “problem”.

Saturday scheduled workout was a 5-hour brick. No problem. Done plenty of them. But for the first 30 minutes, my quads felt as if I had done a 40K TT the day before. They weren’t sore, just that deep-down tiredness. I figured that it would work itself out, but even an hour into it and the legs still felt the same.

Two hours into it and they still felt the same. I kept pushing the legs as hard as they would go, but my HR hovered right around 120, even on the climbs, while my speed kept dropping. When I was struggling to maintain 14.5 mph on the flats with a quartering 10mph tailwind, it finally dawned on me what was going on.

At this point I was three hours into my ride. So after some quick calculations on how far I had to get back home and whether or not it was worth it to dig myself deeper in the hole, I called my wife to meet me at the intersection of two nearby highways.

While pedaling toward the intersection, the skies opened up. And I actually started feeling better, but knew it wouldn’t last (the showers or me).  The rain dropped the visibility down to a couple of hundred yards, which made me a bit nervous since I was on a two-lane highway with no shoulder.  But the cars weren’t the problem, it was the constant stream of water off the front of my helmet and into my eyes.

Sitting at the intersection, under the edge of a tree to give some shelter from the rain, I waited for my wife. The shelter didn’t matter, since I was beyond soaked. And the rain felt good. But I had a good laugh at the carload of way-overweight teenagers that rode by, pointing and laughing at me. I laughed because no matter what my legs felt like, they wouldn’t know, nor understand, that feeling. And even though I had to bag the session, I was still doing better than they could imagine.

A few minutes later, my lovely bride “rescued” me just as the rain quit.

And like any good experience, I learned a lot after looking back at the past few weeks.  And that’s the whole idea.

Catching up…

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve updated. Not on purpose, but it just worked that way.

My recovery week went well. Almost too well. I had a three day business trip during the last half of the week. I even took my running shoes to be good. But too many old friends and co-workers were there, so I did my best to eat my weight in hot wings and beer. So it wasn’t a total loss. But it meant too many days off from any exercise. Which burnt me in the end.

At the start of this week, my first workout was a simple 4.5 mile run. Nothing hard. But my legs hurt afterwards as if I had gone a hard 10. And they hurt that way for two days. That was my payback for the wings and beer. Karma’s a bitch.

Otherwise a good training week. Lots of hours, ramping up to my peak before my 1/2 Iron on May 19th.

In other news, we’ve got our hummingbird feeders up. They are a never-ending source of entertainment in our house. We never realized how territorial they were until we hung the feeders up in front of the window last year. Nothing like watching them dance around each other like something out of the Matrix movies. Something like this:

Last night we had up to seven flitting about the two feeders on the front porch at one time. Quite a sight.

Sixteen hours this coming week, including a looooooooooong brick, then it’s time for the taper. Definitely time to get the affairs in order and trust in the training.

R&R and it’s about time

The recovery week is finally here. How do I celebrate it? By being wide awake half the night. Not on purpose, mind you. I actually fell asleep, but was wide awake 20 minutes later. A perfect nap. Too bad it was at 10pm.

After Friday’s adventures, I took it easier today. 4800 yds in the pool, 8×600 sets. Nice and easy. And that finished off the week.

Now it’s time to recover. And for me, the process looks something like this:

The beginning is me right now. At the end, that’s how I am at the end of the recovery week. Just as it should be.

Cujo, Bewildered Moos and Ft13

What a day.

Looking at Saturday’s weather, with a 100% chance of rain/thunderstorms, I decided to move my 5 hour brick to today. I have a very understanding boss, who allowed me to take the day off. He’s very understanding, but he doesn’t understand why I like to do what I do; he just knows I like to do it and that I’m “crazy”. That and the fact that I have plenty of vacation time built up helps.

The downside to moving it to today was that I had a breakthrough bike session scheduled for Thursday evening, which went on as scheduled. Instead of the long hills that the workout called for (few of them to be had here in southern Kentucky), it was a overgeared slog-fest into the 15-20mph headwinds. It did its job – I was knackered by the time I got home. Absolutely thrashed.

So I fueled and slept to get ready for today’s brick.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was raining (lightly) when I woke up. And I still felt beat up. After putting the brick off long enough, I got rolling at 9am. The rain was light and luckily ended after about 15 minutes, while the temp remained anchored in the low 40’s. But my legs were gone. Absolutely gone.

Is it possible to bonk before even starting?

I thought long and hard about that for the first hour. At the end of the first hour, I seriously thought about turning around, calling it a two hour ride and then trying the brick again on Sunday.

But Sunday is family day. So far this year, I’ve always kept Sunday as my rest day. One of the things that I must do to keep balanced. The “downside” is that I must get my hours in during the week, with Saturday being my only long day. But the time spent with family is priceless and I won’t change that.

So I kept the pedals turning. Some times they felt like squares, some times they actually felt like circles. Grinding into the 10-15mph headwind that we weren’t supposed to have today (just like the rain). And I slowly felt the energy returning. But I still wasn’t feeling the run.

So I started making deals with myself. You know the drill.

“Since my brick is scheduled for 5 hours, if I ride 4:45, the 15 minute run is more than sufficient to get me ready for the transition and pain of a 1/2 Iron”, which turns into “You know, if I ride for the full 5 hours, then I can tack on extra time to my run tomorrow”.

I turned around at 2:20. Now that’s not cheating, trying to get in only a 20 minute run. That’s my analytical mind, realizing that if I turned around any earlier (e.g. 2 hours), with the new tailwind, I’d make it home at about 3:45, which would give me a 1:15 run. And I didn’t think the legs had that kind of run in them.

So with the tailwind, increasing energy and a slight downhill, I discovered that I can go from fully tucked in the aero position at 35 mph to a dead stop in about 50 feet.

That’s when Cujo appeared.

I’m glad I missed him the first time around, when I was headed into the wind and going up the hill, although stopping would have been easier. And I’m glad that he barked as he was sprinting across the yard, which gave me enough time to un-tuck, brake and unclip. He crossed the yard and the highway, stopping right in front of me. I would have T-boned him at 35 mph. That would’ve been ugly.

He wasn’t going to let me get by without extracting a pound of my flesh. “Lucky” for me, I had an encounter with a few other dogs earlier in the ride, so I had a few extra rocks in my Bento Box. The first one bounced off his head and didn’t phase him. This was going to be fun. Luckily there was a steady supply right at my feet. A shot to the haunch got him moving back across the street, which is where I wanted him. Then I started pedaling. So he came after me, then thought the better of it when he heard the car coming (I heard it.  Tthat’s why I started pedaling). After the car passed, he started after me.

You know how hard it is to sprint, shift and hurl a rock on a tri bike?

He kept up for a good quarter mile. Cujo had some legs. But I had gears.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with dogs barking and chasing after me; most time’s it’s fun. But once they cross their owner’s property line, the dog transitions from defending territory to attacking. And I’ll protect myself accordingly.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I was pleased to see that my fueling strategy was working and that I was feeling much better than I was at the start. I was actually starting to look forward to the run.

The tough part of the fueling strategy is that I’m choking down the rest of my can of Perpeteum Vanilla-Orange, which to me is about as unpalatable as a drink can get. But it works. In the 75 miles of today’s ride, the three bottles of Perpeteum, along with six servings of the Espresso Hammer Gel and two Endurolyte capsules every hour and I was raring for the run.

So you think I like Hammer products? I have since I got my first order of Hammer Gel back in 1996. This is the first year I’ve used their other products in conjunction with the Gel. I am impressed. But they gotta do something about that Perpeteum “Dreamsicle” flavor.

So after covering the 75 miles in 4:14, that meant that I had a 46 minute run to round out the five hours. Having fueled heavily the last hour of the ride, I popped a Nuun in a water bottle and got going. Turned out I’d need more than that.

Right off the bat, the run felt great. I started off at a 9 minute pace and was able to ramp it up throughout the run. As I approached the 20 minute point, I decided I was going to go for another 10 and make it a full hour run. Right after that, the bewildered moos appeared.

Ever run past a dairy farm? Along a field with 60-80 cows all watching you as you go by? It made me think that I was being watched by 60-80 Nancy Pelosi‘s.

I turned around at 30 minutes and kept focusing on form. Right about when I got back to the cows, the whole road shifted. Not really, it was just my eyes. If you’ve ever worked the graveyard shift, you know the feeling; right about 3am when everything in sight shifts really fast, even though nothing has moved.

What was that about bonk? That’s when I realized I should’ve brought some fuel.

I made it home with no problems, save the occasional shift. And I was able to maintain my pace. Luckily I was just in the first stages of a bonk. It had been quite a while since I felt that sensation. Not something I want to experience again.

But it was another good experience, to let myself drift just inside the dark cavern and then work through it.

Back home and refueling, I hooked my Suunto T6 up to the computer to download my files. That’s when Friday the 13th came into play. Not that I’m a superstitious person, but it fit in this instance.

For my entire ride, all four hours and 14 minutes of it, I was apparently dead and going nowhere. Flat lines for both fields. So no useful data at all for the entire time, even though the display showed my heart rate and speed as I was riding. At least I keep a bike computer mounted as a backup.

It would have been interesting to see how slow I was for the first hour, what my heart rate reached when Cujo charged and how I was able to pick up the pace through the latter half of the ride. Gotta hate glitches. But they are very rare with the Suunto.
Luckily I stopped the watch and started a new session for the run, so at least that data was there.

In hindsight, I realized about a mile into my ride that I hadn’t “connected” my HR belt. With Suunto, for some reason you have to “connect” each of the sensors in order for it to register the signal. When I realized that I hadn’t “connected” the belt, I did so immediately and it showed. But apparently if it’s not “connected” before the session starts, it doesn’t record the data. Another lesson learned.

Ah well, enough rambling. Good luck to those racing in IM Arizona and the Boston Marathon this weekend.

And if you aren’t racing, hopefully the weather cooperates with whatever you have scheduled.

Winter Begone!

We’ve had enough of you. Especially after the summer tease over the past few weeks. The first few days of this cold snap weren’t too bad, needing just knickers for the ride. But yesterday and today was enough.

Friday saw flurries during my late afternoon run. A run that showed me signs that I was overreaching. I couldn’t buy a Zone 3 heart rate to save my life, no matter how much I ramped up the pace. I’d get right to the ceiling of Zone 2 and that would be it. So I made sure I rested 24 hours before I worked out Saturday.

The cold continued on Saturday, although luckily there were no flurries. Instead, there was a 25 mph headwind no matter what direction I turned (well, OK, I did have a tailwind for about five minutes of the 2:40 ride). It was one of those days. And the overreaching reared its ugly head throughout the ride. Same issue as yesterday. I seriously considered bagging the run portion of today’s brick, but figured I’d see how that went.

I’m glad I did.

Even though I was spinning squares on the ride, my feet were flying on the run. I couldn’t figure that out. I still had some issues with being able to force my heart rate to rise, but I was at least able to bust into Zone 3. And after 45 miles of spinning squares, I was still able to hold a very comfortable 7:35 pace for 40 minutes. Certainly not speedy, but still much quicker than my planned 10:00 pace during my Iron-distance race later this year.

Go figure.

And now for something completely different.

Now, I’m not a huge Alanis Morissette fan. But she made this crap song sound good. And the video really makes it!

Catching Up & Tallies

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last update, but that’s OK. One of my overarching annual goals is to remain balanced between family, training and work. Some things have to give.

It’s spring break here. And spring sprung with a vengeance. After being spoiled the last couple of weeks with lows of 60 and highs of 80, it’s now 30/45. Just in time for me to take some time off and enjoy myself. But instead of waking up early to get my rides, runs and swims in, I’m now sleeping in to let it warm up. Seems like a fair trade to me; I’m done with winter.

One thing I’ve been enjoying is that I’m noticeably getting stronger. That’s the idea, right? Faster is another story, but I’m not worried about that. After doing a bit of research and discussion with other folks, I rebuilt my training plan for the year to take out my build periods and focus on more base.

Last week was my first week of my build phase toward my first 1/2 Iron-distance race, but the switch from endurance to speed work was taking a toll. And not necessarily in a good way. For the second time this year (let’s not talk about the first), I was concerned about hurting myself. Even with that, I was enjoying the change in workout types; the speed pain felt good! But speed isn’t my focus for my two big races this year, finishing is. And that’s where the base training comes in to play. So back to base it is.

After a solid run through the hills yesterday, I was feeling great about where I am. Out of curiousity I looked back at what I’ve done in the past month and so far this year. The numbers look something like this:

March

Swim= 35,227 yards (20.02 miles) / 16 hours, 55 minutes
Bike = 270.35 miles / 18 hours
Run = 104.96 miles / 15 hours, 45 minutes
Strength = 3 hours (typically one session a week)

2007

Swim= 59,993 yards (34.09 miles) / 32 hours, 20 minutes
Bike = 515 miles / 37 hours
Run = 191.99 miles / 32 hours, 35 minutes
Strength = 13 hours, 20 minutes (early on it was two sessions a week)

For me, the most interesting thing is realizing that March’s volume for each discipline (except strength) is more than the volume for January and February combined.

As if that wasn’t enough of a confidence builder, my brick this past weekend really did it for me. After a very comfortable 58 mile ride in just under three hours, I felt great on my 5 mile run. That bodes well for my 1/2 Iron-distance race that’s coming in just six short weeks.

On another note, I cannot praise Pearl Izumi’s Ultrasensor Race Lid enough. For me, there’s only two states of being – completely dry and dripping sweat. 100 yards into a brisk walk and I’m already sweating. Nothing I can do about it. I’ve inherited the condition.

On rides and runs, sunglasses are completely useless to me after about 15 minutes. So I suffer with the bugs and sun in my eyes.

I picked up the hat at my local running shop this past weekend. My lovely bride balked at the price ($22 for a hat you’ll only wear while running?) but she knows of my sweat issues.

Anyway, yesterday, at about the 5 mile point, I noticed that I hadn’t had to wipe the sweat from my eyes not a single time. I grabbed the bill of the cap and it was sopping wet. It had done a great job of wicking the sweat away from my head. Another mile or so into the run and I turned so that the wind was a quartering head wind. At that point, the hat became a hydration-recycle system, with the sweat dripping off of the bill and straight on to my lips.

I got home and told my lovely bride that I’m going back to buy more!

Anyway, enough of the update. Time to turn some laps in the water. Water that’s a good 40 degrees warmer than the air outside.

Rest, Recovery and Relaxation

It’s been a busy week. Busy enough that the first chance I’ve had to update this is at 3am on Monday morning. Apparently I don’t need any more sleep tonight.

Funny how a recovery week can be so busy. But work was quite a handful last week. And the realization that I hadn’t had a day off from work (travel days count) in almost three weeks, I told the boss it was time for a day off. So I was lucky enough to make this a three day weekend. And I’ve been able to rest.

After my unscheduled hiatus from training last weekend while being stuck in Washington, D.C. due to weather, I was quite frustrated with the impact on my schedule. It took a couple of days of realization that although the time was key, it wasn’t critical and that I needed to keep my eye on the long term goals, which are the half- and full-Ironman distance races this year. Missing out on eight hours of training was not going to break me. If anything, it leaves me well-rested to start my first Build week today.

Everything I’ve done up to now has been laying the foundation for the coming year. That time is called the “Base” period, which is low-medium intensity, but high in volume. That work is now done (for now). In the coming two months leading up to my half-Ironman distance race, I’ll be building the intensity while maintaning a reasonable amount of volume.

But enough of that.

One of my overarching goals for this year of training and racing is to remain balanced. Easier said than done, since it’s something that I haven’t been able to do in the past. But I’ve worked my training schedule so that by the time I’m done with my Saturday morning workout (my longest of the week), I’m done with training for the week. That gives me the rest of the weekend to spend with my family and doing other things.

This weekend we made a quick visit to the local winery and sampled a few from their selection. Who would have thought that good wine could be made in northern Tennessee? I always thought whiskey, but the wine will do too.

And with the weather so good, I was able to spend the day yesterday smoking a couple of chickens while I resumed work on my 1964 Chevy 1/2-ton truck. Hopefully before next winter I’ll have the entire rear frame and then the bed redone. I’m patient, since this is the goal:

OK, maybe not that clean, since I still intend on using my truck as a truck, but that’s the idea.

And I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this:

That which calls to my inner ocean, having been a surf rat for many decades (getting to be a bit more than I would like to think about). That footage of Laird Hamilton being towed-in to Teahupoo always floors me. I remember standing on the beach in Western Australia with my Aussie surf buddies, staring at that cover of Surfer magazine and being completely dumbfounded. Slack-jawed, in fact. That’s one sick wave. And it takes balls of steel to get into it.

And finally, here are two ladies that have bigger balls than them all. No words can follow…