Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 2014 update

It has been many moons since we have last spoken.  Things have been going on.  Running races.  Birthdays.  Oil prices.  CIA reports.  Many things. 

I ran in the Skinny Turkey half-marathon on Thanksgiving morning.  It was cold and drizzling.  But I perservered.  Here is a game day race face selfie I sent to Bri.  I told her I was awesome.  Positive self-talk, you dig?

Here are my splits.

3 mile - 22:19
6 mile - 21:21 (43:40)
9 mile - 22:10 (1:05.51)
12 mile - 21:24 (1:27:16)
1.1 - 8:13 (1:35.29)

Here is a picture of my watch, which TOTALLY PROVES that I hit the buttons on my watch.

Not sure about the measurement on that last 1.1 but you can see I held it pretty even in the 700-720 range.  The course is rolling with virtually no flat spots - it is all up and down.  My time goal was to break 1:40 and my competitive goal was sub 1:36, so this time made me happy.  Yay for me!  I also finished 2nd in my age group but didn't stick around for awards as it was Thanksgiving and we had guests in town.  I was able to walk and talk without any issues for the remainder of the day, which was also a goal.

We then had Thanksgiving dinner with our friends, who also don't have family in town. 

We followed this fun weekend up with a team battle royal at the Pittsboro Reindeer Run 5k.  Bri and I had some strong words for each other before the race.

"I shall crush you," she said.

"I will not be crushed," I replied.

"You shall be completely crushed.  Look, I'm crushing your head." She then crushed my head with her fingers.

We fielded 2 teams of 5 each, with family members on opposite teams so there would be maximum trash talk before and after.  It was a lot of fun and our runners did well.  Bri took family honors with a resounding 10 second margin of victory.  She is a really gracious winner, as you can see from the email she sent me once results were posted online.

Our teams did great, taking 2nd and 3rd teams out of over 50 entered.  Bri was also the overall female champion.  Here we are with our medals:

Grandma was also in town and got to celebrate Junior Awesome's Most Awesome Third Birthday with us.  He is this many!

 3 peas y uno perro.

 I love you, Ama.

 Open presents?

 So much cake.

I want a fast car!

There's sooo much more to tell you, but you'll have to call me for the details.  See you soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

running race update

Some of the guys and I went and ran the Raven Rock Rumble trail runs a couple of weeks ago.  The 10 mile course included about 2400 feet of elevation gain.  There was a lot of up and down and the trail was pretty choppy.  I enjoyed myself and finished 16th out of 83 or so in 1:26.45 which is just under 9 minute per mile pace and I was working fairly hard.  The overall winner was 19 minutes ahead of me.  Yikes.  We finished with a pit stop at the Aviator Brewing Company smokehouse in Fuquay Varina.

Last weekend we took part in the Apex Turkey Trot 5k.  I had registered in the non-competitive division as I expected to be pushing Junior Awesome.  But a family visit allowed me to run full force.  I had a good run and finished just ahead of my lovely, wonderful, beautiful, smart, awesome wife Bri.  She was not feeling well and I was feeling terrific.  Otherwise I would have no chance against this force of nature.  I did an unofficial 20:17 which would have been good for 1st in my age group.   But as Bri notes, I don't count.

Tomorrow morning (Thanksgiving morning) I am running in the Skinny Turkey half-marathon in Wake Forest.  It sounded like a good idea at the time.  My goal is to run under 1:40 and not feel like dog-doodie.  It will be 28 degrees at the start.  Brrr!

Happy Thanksgiving and all that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Holy Pumpkin Patch Batman!

We have many fun things going on since we last chatted. 

My dad came up and we spent a morning fishing just off shore in Wrightsville Beach.  The mackerel were running and we caught a number of Spanish mackerel and a few others.  I hooked a king but it chomped through the line.

 My old man and the sea

 Not bad

False albacore

Un beun dia

I can cook.

I participated in the Swim the Loop 3.5 mile swim at Wrightsville Beach.  This was another beautiful day and is a really fun event if you like swimming in salt water and all that.  In the preceding weeks I upped my swim workouts to 3x a week and got in a handful of 4,000-4,500 yard workouts.  This extreme devotion to hard work (it's all relative) paid off and I finished 5th overall in the race.   This is not bad and I was happy.  I was also 5th in 2013.  I only have a couple pictures, since swimming with a phone or camera is really not all that easy to do.  I suppose I could bring an underwater disposable type next time and document this journey a bit better next year.  Yes, plan on that. 

 The start.

The pre-race carb loading secret watering hole.

The first leg of the swim.

I was tired for a couple days after but feel fine now.  The next amazing event I'll participate in is the Apex Turkey Trot 5k, where I shall push his majesty Junior Awesome.  A few days after that I'll run in the Skinny Turkey Half Marathon, where I would like to break 1:37.  We shall see.

Then we went to many pumpkin patches.  And dancing with The Wiggles. And had friends in town.

 Magic time

You Just Point Your Finger And Do The Twist.
 Feeding the goats

 Jumpy jumpy

 The bike tractor!

 No pictures Mommy

 OK this popsicle made me happy and I will smile for you now OK

 Riding the home made traincardozer

 Running down a hill at full speed is awesome

 Where my friends Mommy?

 Pumpkin patch #2

 Los Amigos!

Havin' some real cotton pickin fun

That's all I got for you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Wilmington YMCA triathlon race report

We made it down for another round of the Wilmington YMCA tri aka the Wrighstville Beach sprint.  Bri and I have done this one a number of times since moving to NC.  It is a fun weekend and we enjoy the flat and fast course.  Bri had first dibs on the race but ceded the rights to me as her training was hit and miss through the second half of the summer.  My training was a consistent OK to mediocre and I don't mind racing when not at peak shape (ominous foreshadowing and built in excuses commence). 

We arrived a bit past 9PM and got Junior situated in his travel bed.  It looks like an inflatable boat and raft combination.  He slept well in it.  We all shared a bedroom and our bed was super duper soft and small, so Bri and I were not quite as comfortable but we made it work.  The house is just across the street from the beach. I would like to buy it, but alas, we do not have beach house dollars, or much time to go to the beach, at the present moment.  Blah de blah.

Got to bed around 11 and up at 515 to chug coffee and clean out the pipes. Rode easy to the race site with one of my athletes and got my packet by 6AM.  She forgot her ID and had to make a mad dash back to the house to get it, but got back on time and everything.  I set up my transition area and said hello to other peoples I knew. It was dark. And a little chilly.  But not freezing. Like lukewarm cold soup. So it was all good.  I ate a PBJ for breakfast.  I drank water and had coffee in one of my water bottles.  Then I had a half a banana.  The other half is still in my transition bag, growing mold and smelling rather banana-y.  Speaking of bananas, have you heard the Banana song?  Singing this song is one of our family pastimes.  The rest of the channel is pretty bizarre.

Pre-swim warm up.

I digress. The water. The people. The wetsuit. I swim.  I swam through the channel with my buds.  They're not really my buds but for a moment we are all together.  Introspective life moments and confused ramblings about flowers ensue.

Getting psyched for the elite wave.

The transition run is long and I am not super duper lickity split there.  But I don't totally suck either. We bike.  People pass me and I cannot keep up with them, for they are more powerful at least on a watts to kilogram scale or perhaps more aerodynamic and equally powerful, and I am slightly less powerful or not as aerodynamic in this present iteration of myself.  Yay, though I do forethwith enjoy the ride, but as the ride progresses I grow thusly tired. Wheels keep on turning and winds keep on blowing. Rah rah rah.

Transition to the run. The first elite woman was close behind.

The run begins. I spot my honey and my sonny awaiting me at the run exit.  I get a high five and a smooch. Then we begin to run.  We don't feel tremendous and do feel just basically tired, but we also don't feel terrible either neither.  We hold even miles of about 7:00 or under pace. This is Our default no-intervals recently type of pace. People pass me.  We curse them profoundly for being faster and/or in better shape than the me who races. Two more pass Us close to the end and they are the victims of hateful stares at the back of their backs.  We finish.  The race is over but Our journey to the next race begins. Just a few hundred more sunrises until then. We shall meet on the beach, rub the sand in our toenail fungus and pee in our wetsuits.

Post race stretching.

In the end, I finished 12th overall and 3rd in the master's division. This is not shabby and I'm pleased to not be shabby in my athletic dotage.  Next up is time to refocus on some running - signed up for the Skinny Turkey half marathon on Thanksgiving and will do the Umstead Trail Marathon in March 2015.

Au revoir.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New digs

Hello, my children.  How are you?

We outgrew our previous home with the arrival of Junior Awesome.  I work from home and while my work is all about sports and fitness, it is still a job and I need some space to get things done.  With our new house I have my own office (with a keep out sign on the door) rather than a shared guest room office.  We also have some space for Junior to play instead of having toys scattered all over the living room.  And a place for our bikes.  And so on. 

 Lightning McQueen and Mater are right at home

 Junior took this pic.  He is still working on framing.

 I moved all this stuff.

Welcome home, caped crusaders.

I moved a bunch of boxes on day one, then we had two movers come help on day two with the heavy lifting.  I also did some lifting.  Packing and moving was exhausting but we got it done.  Bri's Mom came into town and we toughed it out and went to see a Beatles cover band on Saturday night.

 The Revolvers and Bri at The Cary Theatre.

Lots more has been going on but there is only so much time in the day.  We are still unpacking boxes and all that.  Training for both of us took a major nose dive for several weeks but we're getting back on track.  Bri plans to race the Wrightsville Beach half-marathon and I will be giving the Umstead Trail Marathon a go, both in March.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mayo Lake tri

I did the Mayo Lake triathlon a couple of weeks ago.  Would have written a bit up before this but we have been in the process of moving to a new home in the area and that took precedence on my race reporting habits.  That'll be a separate entry.

Mayo Lake is a lake up near the border with Virginia.  The race is held at Roxboro community park, which is 3 miles from the border.  There are some kick ass off road running trails here.  A few years ago my cross country team had a meet with a local school.  The fastest kid on the team came back from the warm up, looked at me and said "I think our team will have some problems out there."  He was right.  That's another story as well.

The water is much clearer than our local lakes, you can almost see bottom.  It was raining most of the morning and we were delayed about 15 minutes.  Then it was time to go.  My training was up and down but I felt good that morning, which is sometimes the most important thing.  A couple younger guys took off at the swim start and I attempted to stay with the slower one, but they were both too fast.  Did my thing and got out of the ~750 meter swim around 10:45, which is not bad, until you know that my supposed 800 meter pool time 20+ years ago was the equivalent of 8:40 (1000 yard 9:40).  Of course, then I was swimming 50,000+ yards per week and now I swim about 6,000 in a good week.  Blah de blah.  factoids. hints. feints and parries.

I ran to transition and moved quickly.  Lo and behold I left T1 before both of the young fast guys.  I don't like to brag (sure I do) but I rock muddy transitions.  The end.

I would post pictures here but there are no pictures.  Only dirt. Rain. Mud. More rain. I rode as hard as I could as safely as I could for I am not just me; I am Daddy, and Daddy is more important than the Royal We.  We were first off the bike, as We had a good ride despite the safety concerns.

Then we ran into the trails.  It was awesome.  It rained but the leaves and trees subdued the raindrops fall from the heavens. We felt good.  We hopped and jumped instead of stumbling and taking hesitant little chicken steps.  We cavorted quickly rather than slogging sluggishly.  We enjoyed the moment and wished the moment could last, but alas, all moments end for that is what they are. Quick breaths in a long day. Something or other.  I need to work on that last analogy. Mudda Fuddas!

We crossed the finish line first, triumphant in our return to #championships.  It was a good race and We were happy to win.  Then We drove home to Señor Junior Awesome and the Lady Bri for more entertainment and rollicking good times.

Pictures schmictures.  This is not a graphic novel!

The end.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Battle at Buckhorn triathlon 2014 recap

It has been a couple of years since I made it to the Battle at Buckhorn triathlon in Wilson.  It is a great venue and course, not too far away from Cary/Raleigh, and they award the overall winners with a kick ass belt buckle each year.  I was fortunate/in-shape/lucky no one had better races for 3 seasons and won the race in 2009, 10, and 11.  A former athlete of mine built a terrific wooden box for the belt buckles and they are on permanent display at Casa de Gaal.

This year was a little different.  I had some really good fitness going into the early season and Raleigh half, but it has slowly dissipated as my life has been consumed by the endless tasks that come along with buying a new house, financing a new house, getting an old house ready for sale, and so on.  Sort of the straw that breaks the camels back when you're already at maximum capacity on work/life/family/training balance, so training for me is the one that takes a backseat these days.

We were on vacation for a week at the Jersey shore with family as well, so what do you expect, 2 hr 5AM tempo rides before the family is up?  Yes, definitely a good idea - once upon a time, but not right now.

STFU and give us the race report, right?

I felt ok but not great on the swim and came out of the water 2nd about 20 seconds behind eventual winner Dave Williams of Triangle Multisport.  Dave would go on to break my course record by about 20 seconds, which is awesome, because I wasn't aware I had a course record.

On the way out I ran into this guy.

I was not the only one with a dedicated cheering squad: Momma Kasey had some fans in the house.

Out onto the bike I rode.  I don't know about you, but if you don't ride a lot and don't do some harder interval workouts along the way, you may not go as fast as you are otherwise capable of.  This is science-y type stuff and it makes my head wobble. But there you go. Four people people passed me.  I hated at them but they saw my hating and put up their deflector shields.

Fortunately, the bike does not last forever, though it is 17 miles and fairly hilly.  You're eventually allowed to get off and do some running.  Which I did.  I felt all right and held a decent pace and came in at 21:38 on a slightly long 5k course, virtually tying with long time competitor and buddy John Worden.  We wound up 7th and 8th overall (1st and 2nd masters) as a couple of age groupers got us by a handful of seconds.

OSB athletes Kari Mayhew and Kory Gray would podium, with Kari taking the belt buckle and Kory taking 3rd place!

OSBer and T3Tees Chief Architect Doug Cowell would go on to take 11th OA, 3rd master overall.

After the race, Junior snoozed hard in the car, then we all snoozed hard at home.  Battle at Buckhorn Triathlon is a great race and if you're nearby, you should join us in 2015.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

down the shore - summer vacation 2014 in Ocean Grove

We drove north to go down the central Jersey shore a couple of weeks ago. A long story short - my sister's husband is from Avon-by-the-sea and we have some good friends, Jamie and Judy, originally from Ocean Grove who now live just outside town.  They have a son just 2 months older than Junior Awesome and my sis has two young daughters.  We've been trying to coordinate a week vacation with them for a couple of years and finally managed it.

My brother in law has 2 brothers that still live in the area, and each brother has two young kids.  So between my sister, his brothers, and us, there were at least 7 kids running around, not counting Jamie and Judy's son or their other friends with kids.

Vacations with your children are much more enjoyable for everyone if other kids are around, if you didn't know that because you don't have kids.

I spent several summers on the Jersey shore during and post college and it is a great place to be.  I love it and would go back for the summer each year if it ever becomes feasible.  Like everywhere in life there are people and places to avoid.  We stayed in Ocean Grove which is a dry town and has an interesting history as the oldest continuous Methodist camp meeting ground.  I used to work as a lifeguard in Ocean City, which coincidentally is also a dry town.  These are good places for families to stay and there are nice shops, nice beaches, and generally pleasant people around - they don't attract the rowdy party crowds that have given some parts of the Jersey shore a bad rap.

Junior had a great time with his cousins, cousins-in-laws, and buds, and we had a nice time relaxing.  Our beach house was a 109 year old home that was cute, rustic, and only slightly off-center.  I was able to take part in a lifeguard tournament and volunteer-work a half day on the beach.  I also raced in the 34th annual Ocean Grove biathlon - a 2 mile run followed by ~300 meter swim - where I took 5th overall.   I think Bri has some pictures of that on her blog.

We spent a lot of quality time with our family, friends and other little ones.  All in all, what vacations are supposed to be like.


The tents at Ocean Grove.

 Judy watching the boys jump on the couch.

 Cars! Trains!
 Boardwalk.  Running.
!Mucho divertida!

 First steps into the cold NJ waters.

 Here we go

 Mucho frio!


 Rainy day fun times.

 Boardwalk surfing the skateboards.  I would not have thought of this.

 He's a baller!
 Sand cars balls yay!

 Bri: secret agent.


 Lifeguard races!

 Logan works on his ladies.

 Jamie with the boys

Line pull: she is literally pulling a swimmer in to shore

 Our kitchen/sink/bath

 A street

 Beach time

 Notice the slanted door frame?  For realz yo.

 More lifeguard races.

 No, my do it mommy.

 Line pull swim rescue

This event is super tough for everyone involved

 Our only family picture from the week!

 Logan and his crew

 King of the beach!

 Ocean Grove biathlon award winners - I was 5th OA

 My work view for 1/2 a day

 My stand partners

 Asbury Park dinner - last night in town

 The dragon boat ride!

 A picture is worth a thousand words

 So is this one

 Cape May Lewes ferry back home


Sort of sums it up, don't you think?