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Our #Cat is a hedonist…

Lucy lives the good life, she also gets many pets! And yes we watch Law & Order…

 

 

Pat’s Run

Pat’s Run, the race honoring Pat Tillman, was April 26th in Tempe, Az.  This was the 10th year, and like always, they had a huge turnout!  I woke up about 5 and grabbed some coffee as I headed towards downtown Tempe.  Walking to the start area you are in a sea of the yellow race shirts! I found my start corral pretty easily and met up with some friends in the next corral behind me. It was great to have some people to joke around with while we waited to start.

StartThe national anthem, played by a trumpet, really got the attention of the crowd.  Considering we’re honoring someone who gave his life for our freedoms it is a pretty solemn moment. After that the race got going pretty quickly. I was in corral 2, so I didn’t have to wait too long to start running. It was very crowded and bunched up in the first 1/2 mile, it loosened up quite a bit after the first little hill. There were a few turns that it got bunched back up, but not too bad.  I feel like I ran a relativity consistent pace, pretty much cranked out mid to low 7 min miles. I need to work on my speed a little more to sustain this pace, but didn’t really have to start fighting to stay at pace until the last mile. I have enjoyed running lately, hopefully this race will help me keep the motivation going through the long hot summer that is approaching quickly!

 

 

Finish

Once you make the turn back onto the ASU campus you’re almost done.  After that the course goes past that start/expo area and into the final stretch, you get to run past all the cheering spectators, gives you a good kick to the finish.  One of the coolest parts of the race is running down the tunnel, out onto the Sun Devil football field and finishing on the 42 yard line!  Found a nice place in the south endzone to sit and chill for a bit. the grass was soooo nice!

 

 

 

 

RulaAfter the finish I met up with my friend Bill and we cruised over to Rula Bula Irish Pub for a beer or two. The people I had been hanging out with in the corral had scored a patio table and we found a nice seat with them. It was pretty funny to see that bar totally packed by 9am!  We had blast laughing it up with these guys, and then, when the Emerald Society Bagpipe band showed up a friend of my had them right over by our table and got to play the drum!

A good time was had by all, and there was much rejoicing!

 

 

 

 

Great job on the drum @Dvl4life!

Spring San Antonio Trip

We just got back from a visit to Amy’s home town, San Antonio.  The main purpose of the trip was to see Wicked at the Majestic Theater, but we also got to visit with her family and good friend and cruise around the Riverwalk!

We got to the airport 2 hours ahead of our flight time thinking we would have plenty of time to get bags checked/through security.  The place was crazy packed, we made it but not my much.  After a kind of bumpy ride, we arrived in San Antonio.   We got checked into our hotel and cruised around downtown with Amy’s Aunt and Uncle, it’s such a cool city! Everything down there was so crowded, they were getting quite the Spring Break action!

The next day we did some more walking around, went to the Alamo (couldn’t find my bike in the basement), took a carriage ride, and got ready for the matinee showing of Wicked with Amy’s parents.  Fortunately, our hotel was about 200 yards from the theater, so it was a quick walk over.  The play was fantastic, an excellent examination of good and evil, and how it can be interpreted.  The Majestic Theater is beautiful, and they did such a great job casting and performing the play! Afterward, we had a nice dinner on the patio of the Little Rhein Steakhouse with a great view of the riverwalk!

The next day we trekked on over to the San Antonio Zoo. It had been quite a while since I visited a zoo and we had a great time!  We took the bus over (first time on a city’s public bus), it was super easy and super cheap, and had a nice walk through a park to the zoo.  We got to see lions and tigers and bears (oh my), and a bunch of other cool animals. I think the Rhino was the size of my truck!

That night we met up with Amy’s childhood best friend and had a nice night out.  We started out at The Esquire Tavern, a cool bar and restaurant, had some great burgers and  a few drinks. The next place we stopped had a live band to check out,  Amy’s friend knew a band member and they were pretty good!  This place had the coolest entrance, you walk into a 15 x 15 ft room with red painted walls.  The  door girl said cover was $3, but you got $1 off if you hula hooped, I was by far the worst.  After that the door girl hits a button on the wall and a secret door opens up allowing us to enter the bar, it was sweet!  We finished off the night at the local piano bar, it was a fun night!

The next day was a little more family time. I went with Amy’s dad while he got some new speakers from his friend’s home theater store, Bjorn’s.  Got the nickel tour from the sales manager and it was pretty impressive.  The highlight was the home theater demo,  comfy chairs in a room with 165″ front projection screen 9 speakers and 6 sub-woofers.  To top it all off, the chairs move and vibrate with the movie. We watched the open scene of Quantum of Solace, it was impressive!   After that we had some lunch and headed to the airport. It was a great trip, but as always it was nice to get back home!

Pics from the trip:

AlamoChurchElephantRhinoMajestic

The Ironman Hangover

Sadly, there has been almost no Tri training this year.  I almost always  have trouble keeping the motivation to training going after an IM race, but I had hoped to do better than this. There have been a few rides and a few runs but nothing that could be considered real training.  As it heats up here in Arizona it’s time for me to get back at it!

Newton 2013I just got a new pair of Newton running shoes, and would really like to get back to some serious running. I just have to make it part of my daily life again! My cycling endurance has fallen off terribly. My recipe to fix this, lots of hill repeats.  In my neighborhood there is a great hill loop than should get me back at it pretty quickly, as long as I’m able to stay committed to it! I have been through this before and I know that once I’m back on the horse I love it, just have to make it a habit again and that is the challenge.  Feel free to visit my training blog and give me some grief if I’m not getting in 3 or 4 training days a week!

So that’s the goal – get back to Tri shape and PR this fall’s SOMA 1/2 Iron!

And now I’ll leave you with a video of Jumpy, the aptly named dog!

Ironman Arizona Race Report

This was a great overall experience,  I got to train for the race with two really good fiends, we had nice weather and the IM people put on another great race!  I headed down on Friday to get checked in and hang out at my friend’s booth at the expo.  It was fun to just be down there and soak up the scene.  We cruised around Tempe Beach Park, grabbed some food and hung out, a pretty good day.  On Saturday I made it down about 10:15 to check my bike in and jump in the lake for a bit.  When I got there the bike check in line was huge, I wrestled the wetsuit on and went for a 15 minute swim, it was nice to get a feel for the water.  When I got finished swimming there was almost no line to check in the bike!  After a getting the transition bags checked in I headed for home.  Amy and I went out for a quick bite to eat and made it to bed around 9:30. I slept pretty well and woke up about 4 am, had a bagel with peanut butter, got dressed, grabbed my gear and headed out.

Found a good parking spot pretty easily, I had to put some food in my T1 bag and filled up the water bottle on the bike. After getting body marked, I met up with my friends for a bit and we all went over our plans for the race. Had a little extra time so Amy and I laid down in the grass for a bit. She brought her sleeping bag and I had my big red WKU Diving parka, made for a nice little nap!

Swim  1:15:34

The start of an IM race is always a cool experience, the helicopter flying overhead, the national anthem playing, the excitement of what’s to come! The gun went off and the day began! I settled into a pretty good rhythm and tried to keep calm. It seemed like there was a lot of contact in the water, I bumped into some girl a couple times and she must have gotten mad because she kicked me in the side pretty hard. If you get mad about people running into while swimming in the murkiness of Tempe Town Lake you’re probably going to be mad most of the swim.  I set a good pace and felt solid the whole way. Got kicked in the goggle about 200 yards from the finish, fortunately it didn’t hurt too bad or knock my goggles off! Swam to the stairs and I was out of the water!  Good IM effort swim, about 1 minute faster than my previous races.

Swim to Bike Transition 8:08

The strippers did great, got me out of my wetsuit quickly and I ran off to get my T1 bag. I usually just change in the grass outside the tent, it’s too hot and crowded in there and since I wear the same thing the whole time it’s just easier and nicer this way. Grabbed my bike and away I went!

Bike 6:02:13

Felt great leaving transition and had a solid first lap, during the second lap the wind picked up a little. I tried to keep my heart rate down and spin my way up the hill and then roll down at a good clip.  On the third lap I backed it off a little to ensure my legs were ready for the run.  I could have pushed it a little more but I feel like I rode a smart ride.  I did a good job taking in calories and ate 3 bananas from the aid stations.  It’s a great feeling to get to Shea Blvd on your 3rd lap, all you have to do is roll on back into Tempe and you’re done with the bike ride!

Bike to Run Transition 5:54

Handed off the bike to the volunteers and headed into the changing tent to get a little break from the sun.  Ate some pretzels they were handing out in the tent, got the shoes on and got slathered up with sun screen!

Run 4:36:18

Pretty happy with my run.  In the past it has been my undoing in IM Races and this year I was determined not to let that happen.  I started out a little fast, but settled into a comfortable, sustainable pace.  The first lap was probably the toughest for me, the end seems so far away and it’s been a long day already.  About 1/2 way through that 1st lap my right foot was feeling numb, this worried me because I didn’t want to have to start walking.  I sat down and took off my calf compression sleeves and this totally fixed things, from here on out I just started feeling better and better!  I walked through the aid stations and ran to the next one, these little respites from running gave me just enough rest to keep cranking out some good miles.  I wanted to finish under 12 hours and knew it would be close, I picked up the pace about 4 miles out from the finish but just couldn’t make it happen.  I was bummed I wasn’t coming in under my goal but dug deep to get as close as possible, while I was hurting pretty good those last few miles it felt great to be pushing that hard. It’s awesome to make the last turn on to the lake path and run past all the cheering people, really helps you keep going!  I made the turn towards the finish and the feeling, like usual, makes all those hours of training worthwhile!

This is my best IM run by far, and I’m pretty happy with it!

Total Time – 12:08:07

Post race

Found Amy and my parents, grabbed a few sodas and sat down…
Had some time to kill while I waited for my friends to finish, actually had a post race cocktail (something I’ve always tried and failed to do post IM), it didn’t taste that good.  Met up with our cheering section and watched my friends finish!

Could have been a little stronger on the bike.

While I didn’t come in under 12 hours it was still a 31 minute PR, I’m happy with that.

They always put on a great show and this race was no different.  I think this will be my last IM for awhile, it just takes up so much of your life, but the whole thing was a great experience.  I was lucky to have some of my best friends to train with and my wife to support me during the long summer of endless bike rides and runs.  Like usual the AZ Tri Clubs folks were great out there, they had an awesome cheering section that kept me going! The support from the volunteers and fans really pushes this race over the top, the energy out on the run course is awesome!
Most importantly the 3 other people I signed up for the race with  all finished, so it was a successful day and 2 first time ironman finishers got to hear their name called by Mike Reilly!

…and another great race in my @XtenexUSA laces!

SOMA Race, Las Vegas and Life Lately

Been awhile since I’ve posted, IMAZ training and life in general has been keeping me overly occupied.  Training with the friends has been going well, we’ve gotten 3 100 mile + rides in and almost always run for a bit afterwards.  I has been great having two of my very good friends to train with, I feel the most prepared I ever have for a race!

At the end of September, Amy had a conference in Las Vegas so I met her there for a few days after it was over.  We stayed at the Luxor for the first time, ended up being pretty nice.  The past few times we’ve stayed at Mandalay Bay and the Palazzo, so the room wasn’t quite as nice but much more affordable!

The highlight of the trip was going to Exotics Racing!

Out by the Las Vegas Speedway this place has an awesome collection of cars that you can rip around their track.  After a 2 laps familiarization ride in a Porsche Cayenne, they put you in the car of your choice with a professional driver in the right seat to help you get the  most out of the cars!  I got to drive an Audi R8 V10, it was pretty sweet. Amy got to ride with a professional driver in a Lamborghini Gallardo, this guy could really tear it up out there!

Other than thank we spent some time hanging out at the pool and took an nice stroll down the strip people watching and stopping for a drink or two as we wandered!

Soma 1/2 Iron Race   5:30:03

Woke up about 4:15, ate a bagel and chilled for a bit to awake up. After that I grabbed the gear and headed down to Tempe Town Lake.  Got my transition area all set up, a little air in the tires,  body marked and went to find my friends.

After wishing Bill, Len and Jody good luck, I wrestled myself into my wetsuit and lined up to get in the water. It was  a decent swim, and I felt pretty good the whole way.  Did a good job sighting and swam straight at the buoys.  I could have dug in and swam a little quicker, but I was happy with the way I felt coming out of the water.  38:16
Up the stairs and to the strippers!  The volunteers were great and got me out of my wetsuit quickly, hemelt on, grabbed my bike and it was time to pedal!  Overall I rode pretty well, if I repeat this effort for IMAZ I’ll be pretty happy.  I felt like I was setting a good solid pace, while still keeping my heart rate in check.  I got a flat 2 miles into the bike, fortunately all it took was a quick hit with the C02 to fix, just  a minute or so!  As I passed Mill Ave on my 3rd lap I hit the bump in the road pretty hard and snapped off my right areobar armpad.  I tried to kind of hop over the bump, apparently I didn’t do a very good job. Not being able to get into aero messed with me a bit, but didn’t really slow me down too much. 2:44:35

Cruised into T2, had a pretty good dismount and headed for the racks.  It took me a second to find my rack spot, but no big deal. Got the shoes on and headed out…

I was hoping to get in under 2 hours.  I was setting an OK pace but just couldn’t get it going faster.  I was worried about staying cool so I think I drank too much water from the aid stations.  By the end of the run I was feeling pretty sloshy! I at least felt that I mentally kept fighting and easily ran the whole time. 2:01:57

Most importantly this race was a tuned up for IMAZ, I didn’t really rest up, just taking Saturday off before the race, so I’ve still been feeling a little tired from the past few weeks.  I was happy overall with this effort, if I can recreate this next month it gives me an hour to play with to get in under my 12 hour goal.

After the race we enjoyed a few post race beers at the Tavern on Mill and headed home to relax!

High Altitude Training Days

While I had planned to go on RAGBRAI for vacation this year, I just couldn’t make it happen.  Since I had already scheduled my vacation time and wanted to get some good miles on the bike, my friend Len and I headed up to Flagstaff.   It’s a great place to go for some riding in nice weather and the altitude.

We headed out Wednesday morning, the drive wasn’t too bad just a little rain on the way up.  We made the turn out Lake Mary Road and settled on the Dairy Springs Campground.  It’s a few miles in on the Mormon Lake Rd.  After choosing a campsite towards the back we got the trucks unloaded and started to move in!

Here’s a pic of the campsite all set-up:

Knowing that we would get rained on during our stay, we set ourselves up pretty well.  We had a tarp over the picnic table and an easy-up to give us a dry area for the bikes.  The first few days the campground was completely empty, it was great to have the whole area!  One great bonus, as I was looking around for a suitable fire poking stick I found the Arizona Trail not but 100 ft from our campsite.  Trail  running all taken care of!

Around 2:30 we were all moved in and it was time to ride!  We just rode a quick loop around Mormon Lake and a little more, about 18 miles.  I really felt the altitude on the hills climbs, it was nice to do a short ride to help with the acclimatization.  After that we got in a nice 4 miles on the Arizona Trail, some really nice single track running.  While there were a few places that were kind of rocky, most of it was nice soft dirt in a beautiful ponderosa pine forest!

That night we built a nice fire cooked up some food and had a few beers.  When car camping I’m a fan of living well, after we entertained ourselves with the fire for a bit we busted out Len’s laptop and watched a movie.  Better Off Dead was the night’s movie, a classic with the best skiing advice ever: “Go that way really fast, if something gets in your way – TURN!”

The next morning we woke up to clear skies, but they wouldn’t last all day.  We started the day with another 4 miles on the Arizona Trail, cooked breakfast and chilled for a bit.  After some nice campsite relaxing we headed out for a ride down Lake Mary Rd.

Lake Mary Rd is a great ride rolling hills and an excellent bike lane.  Especially headed back towards camp there are some quality climbs!  That night we went to the Mormon Lake Saloon for a couple of drinks then back to the campsite.

Friday we woke up to a pretty good thunderstorm and just hunkered down in the tents until it passed.  After that is was back out on Lake Mary road for another 50 or so miles, got rained on pretty good but it didn’t bother me at all!  Later that afternoon we headed in to Flag, met up with some friends of Len’s for a drink.  It was nice to cruise around the town, I really like Flagstaff!

Saturday was our last day, after cooking some breakfast we tore down camp and loaded up the trucks.  The last ride of the trip was a fun one, the climb up to Arizona Snowbowl Ski Area!
We drove into town, parked the trucks at Len’s friends house and hopped on the bikes.  It was 5 miles of rolling hills out to the ski area road and then 7 miles and over 2400 ft of climbing to the ski area.  The road isn’t that steep, it just doesn’t let up the whole way!  I was feeling the past few days of riding and my heart rate was pretty high but I just kept on pedaling until I finally saw the Snowbowl sign.  Unfortunately, Len popped a spoke on his back wheel half way up, so he chilled by the side of the road while i finished the climb.  After I got to the top and caught my breath, it was back down the hill to the truck and back out to pick Len up.  It ended up being a great trip, I had hoped to get a few more miles in but all in all it worked out well and I had fun!

Had to take a bike pic up there:

And a nice pic of the road we got to ride:

After grabbing a bite to eat in Flag, it was back down the hill to spend my last few vacation days with Amy!

A Sad Day In Our House

Yesterday was a tough day for us. We had to put one of our cats, Ethel, to sleep.  She was 19, Ethel was 8 when Amy adopted her, so she had her most of her adult life.  She was an awesome cat, we’ll miss her a lot.

To quote Forrest ~ That’s all I have to say about that.

A Real Nice Week

The first week of July was pretty good!  The restaurant was closed all week for new coat of paint and some much needed new booths.  While I  had to work a little, it’s been work at a relaxed rate!  Amy  worked from home all week also,  so we got in some great hanging out together time.

On Sunday I had a great ride with my friends, Ironman course to Shea and back.  The whole way back we had cloud cover, really took the bite out of the heat!  After that  I had to do my end of the month inventory and put all the liquor and wine from behind the bar into the liquor closet.  I went in for a few hours on Monday,  knock out a few things and lock up after the booth guys were finished for the day.

On Tuesday we went to the Dbacks game.  While they got their butts kicked by the Padres we had a fun night! We drove up to the Draw 10 to grab some pregame food, then rode the Light Rail down to the game.  I had gotten the tickets from one of my wine purveyors, I new they were good seats but not exactly where they were.

This ended up being our view:

As I said they go worked over pretty good, the highlight of the game was the Dbacks grand slam!  Other than that and a great double play, they played pretty poorly.  We headed out during the top of the 8th, hopped a pretty crowed light rail train back towards the truck.

Got in a great ride on the 4th.  It was cloudy all morning and even rained a bit on us, a nice change from the oppressive heat!  We got in 36 nice miles around the house, the route is  a good mix of hills and flats.  Nice to  have  a quality riding area so close.

The next weekend we had to get the restaurant cleaned up, back together and ready for service.   We had the whole staff in for about 3 hours and got it ready to go, the booths turned out great and the place looks really nice!  After that it was back to normal work, but only for 2 weeks.  My vacation starts on Saturday, High Altitude Tri Training up in Flagstaff!  Four days of camping out, riding, running and swimming up in the mountains.  Maybe we’ll even bag a peak!

Lately in our life…

We’re getting into the heat of the summer here in Phoenix.  While we all know it’s coming, the first few weeks of it being hot all the time are hard to get used to.   Fortunately, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the training.  The serious Ironman training is still about a month away, right now I’m concentrating on building a solid base and regaining cycling speed.  While it has been some work, lately I’ve been feeling much stronger on the bike and seen my average speeds creep back up to an acceptable level.

A few weekends ago we took an nice trip to a mineral water spa in Desert Hot Springs, Ca.  This trip also coincided nicely with Amy’s birthday! We stayed at the Aqua Soleil Spa, it was a nice, small, relaxed place!  We drove over Friday  morning and pretty much just chilled in the pool for a few days.  After almost a month of 6 days a week training the rest did me right.  Amy got  a nice, deep tissue massage and we enjoyed just being out of town together!

The part of Desert Hot Springs where we stayed seemed to be a little ghetto.  I had wanted to go out to a nice dinner, but except for Capri Italian Steakhouse everything was cheap Mexican food.  So, Capri it was.  Overall it wasn’t bad, just not what I was hoping for.  Anytime I see a $17 8 oz filet that comes with a salad and side, I’m skeptical.  As proximity was very important to us, we did eat there both nights.  My steak was correctly cooked both times, but they seem to marinate the steaks in what I’m guessing is a Worcestershire Sauce based marinate.  I’d rather just taste the beef with a dash of salt and pepper.  As is our norm, we enjoyed our dinners at the bar and the bartender took good care of us.  One downside, no Port!  I love to finish off dinner with a nice glass of tawny, but so many places we’ve been to lately don’t have one.  I don’t understand why a place will not have at least one bottle, even once opened it is good for years and I can’t be the only one asking for it!

View from our hotel balcony:

I can’t wait for July to get here, work wise it’s going to be a relatively easy month for me!  The restaurant will be closed July 1st-8th to install new booths and get a fresh coat of paint and I’m taking my vacation the 22nd-29th.  While I had hoped to go to RAGBRAI for vacation this year, it just wasn’t in the cards.  Instead, I’m going head up to Flagstaff for four days of high altitude swimming, biking, and running.  Camping out and training in the cool mountain air will be a nice change from the oppressive heat we deal with here during the summer, should be fun!

That’s what’s been going on with us, now I’m ready for another hot weekend on the bike!