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!

Psyched on the @Strava App

Not sure how many triathlon people out there have been using the Strava App for biking and running, I love it!  It uses your phone’s GPS to track rides or runs and uploads them to their website.  The website is really cool, it shows your ride on a map and compares your time to others riding/running the same course.  It also keeps track of PR’s for numerous distances, showing your “achievements” for  different routes.  I have found it to be super motivating and that it adds interest to my standard routes.

The “Segments”  are small sections of a ride that you or any user can set-up.  After it is set-up any user that rides the segment is judged against the others, the goal being to become the “King of the Mountain”.  It keeps you cranking it out on every hill to get a PR or move up a spot in the rankings.

While sometimes I feel like I do a little too much logging of training, I enjoy seeing all the data.  It might be a little anal, but oh well.  I log stuff on the Garmin Connect website that is downloaded from my 405, the Beginner Triathlete website, and Strava!  Each one has it’s positives, it doesn’t take too long, and being able to see my time spent training reassures me that I’m getting in the time to get across the finish line respectably!

Here’s a screen shot of the segments from one of my standard rides:

If you’re on Strava feel free to follow me: Travis Moore

Swimming

I’ve been back in the pool lately!  Until mid-April I hadn’t been in the pool at all this year,  somehow I forget how much I enjoy it.  It’s the main thing I use my Lifetime Fitness membership for.  I have always been in the water, as a young kid I was on our country club swim team, from 9th grade to my freshman year in college I was a diver, I love the water.  I’m not a fast swimmer, the swim team days were 30 years ago, but I enjoy it so much.  It is both relaxing and invigorating at the same time, having my head buried in the water is great for spacing out and getting some thinking done.   Many Thursdays and Fridays our GM lets me leave for a bit between lunch and dinner, great time to hit the pool.  Those two days are my long ones, 11 or 12 hours, so to be able to escape for a swim is awesome.  Something about a good swim gives me such the endorphin rush, I come back to work feeling so good!

My main goal lately has been to work on my overall fitness/technique in all 3 disciplines, achieving the 2012 goal of a sub 12 hour IMAZ.   I mainly use swimming as an overall fitness tool, while I always try to pull hard while swimming and get the most out of every workout, I’m relatively happy with my swim pace.  I feel I can improve my IM time the most on the run.  If I knock 4 or 5 minutes off my past two 1:16:XX  IM swims I’ll be more than happy.  I usually use triathlon swims as a nice warm-up, getting ready for the work ahead.  Getting out of the water feeling even better than when you jumped in is a nice way to start the day.  It has been great to be back at it!

One Month In!

So it’s been about a month now that I’ve been back at the committed triathlon training.  So far everything has been going pretty well, there have been a few bumps in the road, but that always seems to happen!  I feel like I have made training a habit again,  missing my workouts if I don’t get them in.  I have been getting in 6 training days a week, resting on Tuesday.  My job in the restaurant industry will always make the early mornings a challenge, so far I’ve been doing pretty good, getting up and getting the runs in!  This will be more challenging the hotter it gets and the earlier I have to get up.  Beside making the training possible, it also allows me to spend a little time with Amy in the morning before she goes to work.  We usually don’t get to spend a lot of time together during the week, so anything helps!

Basically the training schedule has been:

Monday: Morning Run, Afternoon Swim

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Bike

Thursday: Morning Run, Afternoon Swim

Friday: Morning Run, Afternoon Swim

Saturday: Long Bike or Long Run

Sunday: Long Bike or Long Run

I thought about racing this weekend at Tempe International, but decided to just keep at the training.  Race days are really cool but I need to just concentrate on the main goal this year, IMAZ!  My biggest concern is to be fit enough to have a solid sub 6 hour bike ride and get off the bike for a no hobbling, calf cramping free marathon.  My past two IM races have been severely effected by calf cramping issues on the run. In 2008, after a wind tortured bike ride I couldn’t even point my toes to run the cramping was so bad.  In 2009 I battled slightly better cramps and was able to get rid of them after 2 laps of eating just about every banana I could find!   The third lap was just about the most enjoyable running I  have had in a triathlon.  That feeling is what I want to replicate for the entire run.  This means being in even better shape than last time, and being smart about taking in enough of the right nutrition during the race.  And running, a lot.

If I can keep this up all summer I can have a great race come November 18th!

Here’s a pic from 2009, just starting my 3rd running loop.

The goal is to feel like this the whole run!

Doin’ Good Getting Back to Training

We’re at the 6 months out mark from IMAZ so it was time to jump back into the training with both feet.  My friends, Len and Bill, and I had been getting in some good, base building rides over the past few months.  Now it is time to really start the committed training, and I feel like I’m off the a good start the past few weeks.

I use a website, BeginnerTriathlete.com, to track all my training.  It helps me see my progress and keep myself accountable for missed training days.  The calendar and total time graph give a good visual representation of your month.

This April

The pink days are tri sport training days, the yellow days are when I wrote on the training blog, and the white days are nothing. The Time Graph is in minutes.  Obviously, since the 12th I have been getting in some good days in a row.  I had been able to string a number of days together in a while, always letting life get in the way of training.  I think one of the most important things during ironman training is still living a life and being with your loved ones, but still getting in the training.  I think I’m over the hump and have made training a habit again!

Last Sunday we had an awesome ride. From McDowell Rd and the Beeline to Bush Highway to Saguaro lake Marina.  Bill’s brother picked us up in his boat, we cruised around the lake for a bit,  got to jump in a few times to cool off!

Here’s that ride:

Other than that, it has been training around the house, really makes me love where we live.  I can be running on single track in .25 miles from the house and have a great area for riding right around me!  Hopefully this keeps me motivated for another 6 months!

Long Overdue Ragnar del Sol Post

Yep, took me forever to write about this super fun experience, don’t know why.  This is a race I had wanted to do for a long time, when a spot opened up on one of Amy’s co-worker’s team I jumped at the chance.  I was a little skeptical about not knowing the people I would be trapped in a vehicle with for 30 hours or so, but the group could not have been better!  All five other people were totally cool and fun to be around, being up all night in a truck with a whiner would suck so this was very important!

Ragnar del Sol Relay is a 12 person relay race from Wickenburg, Az to Tempe, Az.  You are divided into 2 vehicles of 6 people, as the “on” vehicle each runner completes their leg and passes the baton (wristband) to the next runner at the exchange.  The major exchanges (where one van takes over from the previous one) are quite big and have a lot of cool energy!

We met up at Tempe Marketplace about 4:30 am and loaded up for the trek to Wickenburg.  We had to put some of the bags on top of our vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe.  The limited access to our bags was about the only negative of the whole experience.  During the early morning drive we talked and got to know each other, all 3 guys were Ironman finishers and all 3 girls were Crossfit buffs, seemed like we had a pretty solid van.  After getting to the start area we went through the safety briefings and waited to start, trying to stay warm.

The Start Line:

The first leg was pretty tough, 9 hilly miles first thing in the morning! Our first runner, Crysti banged it out like a champ. After that we were rolling along with our runners, stopping every mile or so to cheer and support them!  We’d throw the frisbee and ring the cow bell to pass the time. Cow bells are popular motivators at many races, one guy that ran past our cow belling had a perfect Christopher Walken impression!

At the runner exchanges we’d get our next runner ready and talk to the other teams while we waited.  It’s fun to see how creative people were with their team name/themes.  Also, on our first legs we saw 3 guys doing the race by themselves! I ran about 16 miles totally, each of these guys ran around 65-70 miles!

A random exchange:

As a safety precaution you have to wear a reflective vest between 5pm-9am, the runner must have headlamp and red butt lamp as well. When it’s dark people bust out glow sticks and all kinds of lighted vehicle decorations, makes for a pretty cool scene.  I totally understand and support the reason for the vest and headlamp, but  the 9am time seemed a little too long (it had been light for and hour and a half at that point).  Here’s me sporting mine the first morning:

Here’s a few pics of my first running leg, started to get a little warm.  Overall it was a nice, easy first leg for me.

After our first legs we grabbed some food and chilled out in a park for a while. We all took a nap in the grass and then had a pretty solid frisbee session.  Our other van had to deal with a few injuries and some heat, so they came in a little later than planned.  After a some hanging out at the major exchange, our van was back on the road.  I think our night runs were all our favorite. I had a cool leg, running from about 1am to 2 am.  The leg went along New River Road and into Anthem, felt great running and finished strong!

After finishing our second legs, we got to crash out for a few hours in a motel room in Cave Creek that our team had rented. It was awesome to not be trying to sleep in a truck!  We all crashed out in the room for about 3 hours until we had get back at it.  The next major exchange was at the Boulders Resort, fortunately right down the street from our motel!  Ours last legs seemed to be our most challenging, but were very beautiful.  My final leg went from McDowell Mountain Park into Fountain Hills.  The last hill into Fountain Hills was tough, but it was a great way to finish the race!

Jason, Me, Candie, and Melissa after our van’s last running leg. Time to head to Four Peaks for beers!

Amy came to meet us at Four Peaks for some food and drinks, after that Amy and I headed home to hang out.  She had a week long work trip coming up and we wanted to spend some time together.  I’m bummed I didn’t get to cross the finish line with my team, but I do love hanging out with the wife!  Amy’s co-worker Candie was nice enough to pick up my medal (which seems to be a beer opener as well):

Stoked for the coming weekend!

This coming weekend is a race I’ve been wanting to do for a while, the Ragnar Del Sol Relay!  It is a relay race from Wickenburg to Tempe that takes a circuitous path to make it 200 miles.  You do it with 11 other people divided up into 2 vans of 6, alternating runners until you get to the finish line at Tempe Marketplace.

We start Friday morning at 6:30 am in Wickenburg, which will make for an extremely early morning to get there from Ahwatukee! I’m the last runner in the first van so my first running leg of 4.6 miles should start around 11 am.  I’m pretty happy with the legs I get to run, I get some quality distance and relatively challenging terrain.  You pretty much are up all night, sleeping when you can as we leap frog through the desert. While I’ll have to conserve my phone battery, I’m going to be tweeting pics and updates through out the race (@thm74).

My running legs are:

#6    4.6 miles      Difficulty: Moderate

#18   6.5 miles     Difficulty: Hard

#30   5.6 miles    Difficulty: Hard

Excited for the race and hope to have some greats pics and stories to share afterwards!

A Beautiful February Ride

I’ll start this blog post out like many other posts I’ve seen: It’s been a little too long since I last posted, but I’m trying to make an effort to do better!

On Sunday it was time to go for a ride away from our normal stomping ground of Pecos Rd, so we headed up to Fountain Hills for the 9 mile hill/N. Scottsdale Loop. We got to the starting spot a little later than planned, but met the owner of the bike shop that is in the plaza as he was showing up to open his shop (this turn out to be a nice thing relatively soon).  Finally we were ready, and off we went!

The start of the ride is a nice little downhill followed by some rolling hills,  about 2 miles in my friend Len gets a flat tire.  Upon examining his tire, it was shredded, there was no way a tube would last in that mess of a tire!  I rode back to the bike shop (the owner was surprised to see one of us back already) got him a new tire and a couple of tubes for good measure.  Headed back down the hill and Len got his bike going again, back to the pedaling.  Cruised along for a ways, there are some cool downhill sections as you head towards the town of Rio Verde.  You can see the river, the Four Peaks and many other mountains, besides the beautiful high dessert in the area!

After a bit we got to the first challenging section of the ride, 9 mile hill.  It’s pretty much what it sounds like – 9 miles of slightly up hill, not super hard but it just doesn’t stop for 9 miles!  Bill and I got to the top and hung out for a bit as Len caught up.  The next section of the ride is by far my favorite,  a fast cruise, slightly down hill on Alma School and Happy Valley Rd.  It takes you past the Four Seasons Resort, Reata Pass, Greasewood Flats, and Desert Highlands. It’s a fun, fast couple of miles!

After that section we cruised through DC Ranch and back towards Fountain Hills.  Len was off the back during this section, quite unhappy and feeling worked. We’d find out why later.  As you come back into Fountain Hills there are 3 short, but steep climbs in the last few miles.  After negotiating these you get a high speed cruise back down to the bike shop.  This is one of my favorite rides in the valley, you get solid up hills, some great downhills, and a lot of beautiful scenery of all kinds!

Back at the truck as we were loading up Len noticed that he didn’t do that great of a job putting his back wheel on his bike after the flat tire, his tire had been rubbing the frame for 50 miles!  Definitely explains why he got so worked! The owner of the bike shop helped him get it straightened out and even gave him a bottle of Hammer Recovery drink.

After loading up we had to drop Len off at his Kickball Game (probably not the most enjoyable game after the ride) and make our way back south. All in all it was a great day, beautiful out and an awesome ride!

Here’s the map of the ride: