Halfway to the Plantation

I’m into my 5th week of training, I have just over 3 weeks left until my 1/2 marathon.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks. with last week being spring break for the boys, and the Easter Holiday.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and was able to spend some quality time with family and friends.  I had to work last week for during the boys’ spring break, but I was able to get Friday off for company holiday.  We spent the day at the beach, with the boys and some of their friends.  It was a good time. I haven’t been to the beach in several months, so it was really nice to get back to it.

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Relaxing at the beach during the holiday….wife and pup in the distance.

As for the running, well my wife and I went to a local WRRC Thursday night Pub Run, and rocked out a short 3.8 mile run.  I thought we were cruising along on the run at a good sub-9 pace.  Well, we were, 8:07 average for the 3.8.  Wow!  I wasn’t expecting that.  It did help that there was a group that run 1/2 the run just in front of us, and with the competitive nature my wife and I both have, we opted to make it a goal to pass them and make sure they didn’t pass us back.  They didn’t.  The last mile was the fastest paced mile.  Got my tempo run in!  And thanks for pushing me Kelli.

We spent the rest of the weekend goofing off with the kids, doing games and chores around the house and such.  I had a few runs over the weekend, the last one being a 12 miler set for Sunday morning.  The WRRC Sunday morning group that I normally run with was very limited to people, probably due to the Easter holiday.  Those that did show up usually averaged an 8 minute mile or faster pace.  So, I knew I was in for it.  We did a 3 mile warm up at an 8:30 pace, if that says anything.   And then we headed out for a 10 miler.  My schedule only called for a 12 miler, at a conversation pace.  We were averaging 8:30 for approximately the entire 10 miles. I ran with a multi-Boston marathoner, and he is going back in 2 weeks.  He is aiming at a 3:35:00 marathon time, and this 8:30 pace we were cruising at was a “slow” run for him.  Not for me. Conversation from me was limited.  Him, not so much.  But it was very good, made the miles tick away faster.  I finished my Sunday run at 13.1 miles, at a time of 1:57:20.  Well, let’s hope I can do that at the PBC 1/2 Marathon in a few weeks, and I’ll be very happy.

We turn now into this week’s schedule.  Boys are back in school.  Training is kicking into higher gear for myself and my wife.  And the boys’ sports schedules are really firing up as well.  Baseball games, home run derby’s, soccer games, tournaments, and make-up soccer games have filled just about every night of this week up.  That’s good though, keeps us moving and from getting into any trouble.  StatMan had a baseball scrimmage Tuesday night, and a homerun derby Thursday night.  Then StatMan has opening ceremonies for baseball and an opening weekend tournament on Saturday/Sunday.  Bookworm had soccer practice Tuesday night, soccer practice Thursday night, church youth group Wednesday night, and then soccer games on Friday night and Saturday morning.  Throw in 2 longer runs for me on Saturday and Sunday, and my wife has some running, biking and more running to do, and it’s a full weekend.

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And baseball has moved into the regular season.  My RED SOX opened up the season with a great game against the Phillies on Monday afternoon.  I’m hoping for a strong season, although there is a weakness in the pitching rotation that I think might really hurt the SOX in the long run.  We shall see. Only 160 more games to go until playoffs.  And with baseball season comes an acceptable reason to lay on the couch and rest our weary legs from lots of training and running around with the boys, and watching some games (plus it helps that my wife asked me to “teach” her all about the SOX and baseball and watch more games this year).  BONUS!!

What does your spring bring?   What are your goals?  Any other RED SOX fans out there?

 

An Axe, Soccer and Globie

I’m into week 3 of my shortened 1/2 marathon training.  Last week was tough.  I had Friday off from running, resting up for a cold weekend of running. My wife and I went out for a short 5 mile run.  She is coming off a marathon (last weekend), and I’m gearing up.  She has done my training plan for this half marathon, and we ran together.   We averaged an 8:27 pace for the 5 mile run.  This was fast for me.  This was slower than normal pace for her.    As she said, she pushed my pace, and I kept her from getting crazy.  It was a good run.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday afternoon brought about BookWorm’s rec soccer game.  He is on a 12 yr old rec league team.  They have had a total of 5 practices (one we missed) since the season started February 22.  His team had some trouble in game 2 of the season.  BookWorm played goalie, the entire game.   They lost 6-1.  Shots on Goal: BookWorm’s team: 3 – Opponent: 30+.  And BookWorm being the sensitive one he is, he felt it was his fault they lost.  He is his own toughest critic.  We explained to him that when you are outshot 10-1, the odds are against the goalkeeper, especially when 3 of the goals were 1 on 1 or worse.  The odds are against the goalie.  So, this game BookWorm was hesitant before the game, expecting a bad performance and many goals to be scored.   Well, not so much. He played awesome.  It helped the other team was not as good as the week before’s opponent, and they won 4-0.  He had a great game.  Several stops, good punts.  And after this game, several of his teammates congratulated him on a great game…..when last week he was being crucified and they were lining up to stone him for his effort.  But as my wife says, you’re the hero or the scapegoat….similar to the kicker in football.

goalie

We ended Saturday night watching the Elite Eight games and cheering Kentucky on to a very close win.  StatMan wanted it DVR’d so he could watch it on Sunday.  He settled for me writing the score on his chalkboard so he knew the score as soon as he woke up.

Sunday morning brought 29 degree sunny morning, and a 10 mile run was looming.  My wife stayed in and did a hard 90 minute bike ride on the trainer.  I pushed myself out the door for my run.   IT DID NOT FEEL GOOD!  I don’t know what the deal is.  After mile 4 my legs were tired and sore, similar to mile 23 of a marathon.   Maybe it’s to the harder workouts I’ve put them through the rest of the week with speed work, maybe it was the cold, maybe it was the beer and potato chips the night before.   Whatever it was, it did not feel good.  But, I got it finished. 10 miles in 1:38:52.  Just under a 10 minute mile pace.  I’m okay with that.

After we all got cleaned up, we decided to head outside and begin some yardwork.  We have an area in the front yard that has lots of roots and  undergrowth from a pine tree and cedar tree that were previously removed by our neighbors…well, the trees were..they left the roots. And now they are moving, and planted a 2′ bush….and nothing more.  So, we get to clean is all up.  I spent an hour and a half digging up roots and tearing them out with my axe.  I am sore today. Shoulders and triceps.  I haven’t done much strength work, and it shows.

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So we got our little flower/planting bed finished, changed clothes and headed out to see the Harlem Globetrotters.   What a good experience that is.  We saw them on tv a few weeks ago, and then happened to hear by chance that they were coming to Wilmington.  We had to see them.  That is some of the best basketball ball handling, shooting and skills I have ever seen.  Those guys are amazing.   And entertaining.  Besides having to wait 30 minutes in line to get into the Coliseum, all went well.  The boys both got Globetrotter basketballs, and have proceeded to try and imitate every trick they saw yesterday.   If you have never seen the Globetrotters, I highly recommend it. I remember when I went to see them when I was growing up, somewhere in the same age range my boys are.

This week will bring some more speedwork, and Spring Break…and April Fools Day.  Boys are home, so we will be planning some good pranks on them for the day.  We also plan to attend a local “Pub Run” Thursday night, sort of a night out/date night for the wife and I.  I look forward to it.   This will be one of a few chances we have in the next several months with sporting events, training and school activities.

What will your week bring?  Have you seen the Globetrotters?  What childhood memories have you experienced that you have passed on to your kids?

 

 

Week 6 ….running, aid stations and a tiger

I’m in week 2 of half marathon training for the PBC Half Marathon on May 3. This will be my second time running the fairly flat double loop course. I’ve started training with a plan developed by and amazing coach, my wife. She is newly RRCA certified, adding to her USATF certification. I’m the guinea pig in her new training plan development. I will be moving on to marathon training in the summer after this half is done.

Last week was getting some base miles in, and this week is a little bit more intense with some speed work. I did about 24 miles last week, and I’m on pace for 29 miles this week.  I didn’t do any speed work in my Savannah marathon training last year. So this is new to me, and so far been pretty good, but I’m only into day 2. I did 4×800’s at marathon pace this morning.  They weren’t too bad, but I do feel it as the day passes.  I’m off tomorrow before doing some longer distance this weekend.  I’m feeling good, and hoping it continues this way. I’m sure I’ll be more tired and more sore, as the speed work increases, but I’m trying to improve and do a sub-2:00 half in May.

This past weekend was the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach marathon and half marathon weekend.  Stat man ran the 1 mile fun run on Saturday night. He finished it in 6:21. He rocked it.

 Stat Man finishing the 1  mile Fun Run strong!!

Stat Man finishing the 1 mile Fun Run strong!!

And yes, that is The Tiger from Clemson University at the finish line. We (the race volunteer coordinator arranged it, I just escorted him around) had him participate at the mile fun run and the 5k on Saturday night, and then he hung out and cheered all the runners on at the aid station I was managing. My local alumni group runs an aid station for this race.  This was my 2nd year doing the station with the boys, and we absolutely love it.  I don’t get to see many of the runners during the first loop of the course, as there are about 3000 runners that pass the aid station at mile 2. And they pass the station ALL AT ONCE. I got to spend more time cheering on runners during loop 2 (only 800 full marathon runners), and even got a chance to cheer on my wife and hand her a goodie bag.  If you’ve never been on this side of a marathon, I recommend it.  It was a great experience.

Cape Fear Clemson Club volunteers at marathon aid station

Cape Fear Clemson Club volunteers at marathon aid station

The Tiger supporting runners

The Tiger supporting runners

And now back into training. More running to come, maybe some pool workouts, and I intend to throw in some weights.  Early morning runs will rule the weekdays, and then who knows what time the runs will happen on the weekends.  My wife is rolling into Full IM training after she completed her marathon this past weekend, and the IM training is much more time consuming with swimming, long bike rides, and even some Bricks.  So we will spend time reviewing the calendar every week to coordinate long runs and training schedules.   And with Stat Man playing baseball and Book Worm playing soccer, the schedule coordination will be extremely difficult.  But it will be worth it!

And as long as I get to see faces like this every morning, I’m good with whatever difficult workouts and schedule conflicts we must work through.

Breakfast Buddies.  Love this guy!!

Breakfast Buddies. Love this guy!!

What will you be doing this spring?  Any big races? What is your training schedule like?

 

Well that was Short Lived!

This is how I feel like the past 2 months have been..grey and dreary...

This is how I feel like the past 2 months have been..grey and dreary…

I’m not sure what everyone else’s weather this Winter has been like, but here in Wilmington, NC, it has been extra cold, wet, grey, somewhat icy, and downright crappy.  It’s been low temps in the lower 30’s to upper 20’s at nights, and highs in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s much more recently than I can remember NC ever having for extended periods of time.  I know, I know, all you northerners laugh at me and think we are big woosies because of the cooler weather we are complaining about.  I lived in Iowa for 7 years, experiencing blizzards, 5 months of snow covered, less than 20 degree temperatures, and sub -20 temperatures.  So yes, I truly understand what cold is. But having been in NC for the past year and half, and having lived in Texas for 2 years prior to NC, I’ve kind of acclimated to warmer weather.  So I get cold easier.

So what do you do when the temperature hits 70?  You spend as much time outside in the daylight hours as you can, even if it is just for one day.  Yesterday was 70+ degrees, and it was GREAT.  We had the STRIDE program at Stat Man’s elementary school yesterday afternoon.  That was a great 1 1/2 hours of fun running 20 3rd to 5th grade boys around.  Then we headed home and immediately raced outside for playtime.  We shot baskets, threw the football, jumped on the trampoline, walked the dog….whatever we could to stretch one warm day into a week.

And tonight the temperatures plummet from the 70’s to the upper 20’s, with forecasted possible sleet and freezing rain.  Friday’s high: 34.    This weather sucks.  That groundhog is a POS.

So I began thinking of warm weather.  I hate the winter cold.   I like the winter season, mainly for the seasons (Christmas) that comes with it, but do not like the cold.  As I’ve said before, I dislike working out in the cold.  I don’t do well getting out of a warm bed to put on tights, layers, hats and gloves and go running in 30 degree weather.  40 degree weather is still a stretch for me.   So, I’m dreaming of warmer weather, but realizing (thanks to my wife for re-emphasizing it) that I need to get back on the exercise routine.  I was swimming at the pool two to three times a week at the local YWCA, but since the YMCA burned down and is not open for swimming, all the YMCA members now swim at the YWCA, and they all go the same time I used to go.  So my 5:30am swim in my own lane, maybe share a lane with one other person, has gone to standing in line outside the locked door at 5:20 behind 10 other people, and then standing on the deck waiting to get a spot in the lane to swim with 3 other people.   Not fun, so I’ve held off exercising.  And as I said, I have not gone running outside…it’s cold.   But since I know I need to begin working out again, I signed up for a half marathon in 8 weeks.  This will motivate me to get outside and begin working out again.  My wife will be doing my training plan, and then I will roll into my marathon training for the B2B Triathlon we are doing together.  If it takes a race to get me going, so be it.

PBC half medal

What have you been up to?  Grey, cold weather got you down?  What motivates you to get out and exercise when it’s sub-cold temperatures outside?

Oh How I love Vegas!!

Imagine laying in bed, warm and cozy under the covers, dreaming away…when suddenly you are awoken, lights come on, a suitcase dropped next to the bed..and your wife standing next to you saying “Pack your Shit!  We’re leaving in an hour and we won’t be back until Monday”.  That is how my birthday weekend started.   See my wife’s reveal here.

Thursday morning, Feb 5, was a great way to wake up.  My 40th Birthday was on Feb 6, and my wife had planned an EPIC secret.  She put me in the car, drove me around the corner to collect her sister and her husband, and then began to drive towards the airport.  At the airport, I was not allowed to go to the ticket counter. My wife handled it, checking my bags and collecting my boarding passes. I knew from Wilmington we were going to Atlanta, but that was it.  Once we hit Atlanta, my wife went ahead and confirmed the gate we were departing from and then revealed it to me: LAS VEGAS!  What a great surprise!   What an EPIC way to start my 40th birthday weekend.  Little did I know, my wife had been planning this since last June, and had choreographed my parents coming to visit to watch the boys, my boys keeping me unaware of anything, and arranging friends and other family to meet us in Vegas.  I didn’t think she could keep secrets from me, but she did a great job.

Welcome to VEGAS!

Welcome to VEGAS!

So we had a 3 1/2 hour flight to Vegas.  Arrived around lunchtime, and proceeded to have an AWESOME weekend.  Had a 45 minute wait to check in at Harrah’s, but proceeded to find our beers in the adjacent market, and checked in.  We spent the majority of the first day just wandering around casinos and playing some penny slots.  We had to watch the show in front of Bellagio.  My boys like Oceans 11, so do we, so we had to watch.

Bellagio

Bellagio

Friday, the day of my 40th Birthday, started out beautifully.  Considering we were still working on Eastern Standard Time, we were both awake at 5:30am.

View from the room

View from the room

I felt guilty if I didn’t take a run, considering I knew the day would be spent consuming alcohol…possibly large amounts.  So we took a 4 mile jog up the strip.  What a beautiful morning.

My Awesome running partner in VEGAS!

My Awesome running partner in VEGAS!

We cleaned up and then wandered over to the dollar beer casino, grabbed a drink, and then hit the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian.  We walked, and mosied thru the shops and ended up at the Sin City Brewing tap room.  Great beer.  Good memories of our last visit to Vegas.   A friend from Wilmington that came out to party with us showed up, and we proceeded to Margaritaville for lunch.  The day was an amazing day, ended at Toby Keith’s Bar & Grille, and an early bedtime for us (with pizza).

Saturday started with a nice 6 mile jog. Another beautiful morning.  Weather was upper 50’s for the run.  Mid to upper 70’s for high temperatures.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.  We spent some time gambling with the penny slots, met some more friends, found lunch somewhere, and then proceeded to belly up to the Carnival Bar at Harrah’s.   I thought we’d spend an hour or so there.  Well, 5+ hours later, we left.  The bartenders there are amazing.  If you ‘ve never seen this and have been to Vegas, you must go.  The bartenders are crazy. Throwing bottles, pouring drinks from 5’ above the bar, dancing, singing, just crazy.  We had a blast.   Another early night was upon us, which we were happy about the next morning, as we felt much better than the majority of Vegas.  No hangovers for us.

Carnival Bar

Carnival Bar

We started Sunday with a large breakfast.  Much needed huge breakfast.  Needed to put some food in our systems. We played some more penny slots. I lost more.  Not too much more, this time.  After all the people in our party finally awoke and joined us, we took a limo to Old Downtown, where Golden Nugget and Fremont Street Experience is.

downtown

This was my first REAL visit to the old downtown area.  I made it there a few years ago, but was only there about 30 minutes (ask my wife the story of that one).  We walked around some, taking in the sights.  We found $3 blackjack and decided to play some.   Well, my wife bowed out after about 10 minutes due to the cards not going her way. I stayed, won back our initial investment, and then wham.  The dealer got hot. And I mean hot.  Scalding hot.   $100 gone in like 2 minutes.  4 hands.  OUCH!  So, I took my $100 beer and left the table.  We spent the rest of the day just wandering the area, sightseeing, having drinks.   If you have never been to Vegas, you see just about every thing.  Crazy people, I mean, you can see anything.

Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget

Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience

Crazy people

Crazy people

My wife and I ventured to Container Park, just north     (I think north) of the downtown area.   What a cool little area.  This is a park, with small shops and restaurants around a large courtyard and playground area.  All the shops are made out of old shipping containers, stacked on top of each other.  What a great concept.  The outdoor courtyard had a lawn, kids running around, live music.  Great atmosphere. We visited Banger Brewing, had a nice tour, then headed back to Harrah’s.  We ended that night with a good seafood dinner in the hotel.

Container Park

Container Park

Well, most of our group went to bed. We hit the Carnival Bar again, and the Piano Bar pianobar  in the hotel, and had to force ourselves to get to bed at a reasonable hour for our return trip to NC.

Monday was our day to depart Vegas.  We were ready to go. Missed our kids.  Needed to get home to stop the bleeding of the bank account.  We had a great time. I had a great time. I was SOOOO surprised.  My wife did a great job surprising me.   She is amazing and I love her so very much!  I can’t think of a better way to spend my 40th birthday.  And just one of many events to make this year the EPIC-est year.

What did you do for your 40th?  Have you been to VEGAS?  Favorite thing in VEGAS?

friday morning view 2PS.  It was mentioned on the flight home that this was our last trip to VEGAS.  A week removed from the trip…..We Are Going Back!!

EPIC Update…..

What an EPIC beginning to 2015.  I mean, to be waken up at 4am the day before your birthday (see the revealing of the surprise here), rushed off to the airport by your wife, and end up in Vegas with friends and family, not knowing any of it until you see the departure gate at our 2nd airport….that is an EPIC beginning to a GREAT 40th Birthday weekend.   We saw so much, drank a few, slept some, drank some, gambled and lost money, we exercised some, played slots and lost money, drank some, missed some sleep, and had an all out fun vacation.

It ended last night by returning to Wilmington, NC (without our luggage). It was time to be home, we were ready to be home, and it was great to see the boys again.  There will be a much bigger recap , similar to the race recaps everyone is familiar with, to come soon, but this time it will be the VEGAS Recap.  Thanks for reading.

View from our window in Vegas!!

View from our window in Vegas!!

EPIC has just begun!

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Many of you may already know, but today I was awoken at 4am by my wife with a suitcase in her hand and the words coming from her mouth “pack your shit”. Well, the most epic-est year has begun with a surprise trip for my 40th birthday to VEGAS! Much more to come on this adventure.