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:

This is awesomeness!

San Antonio Trip

As I had mentioned earlier, Amy had gone to San Antonio before me and I caught up on Tuesday.   While it was a super quick trip, we had a real nice time.  I worked all day Monday, came home and did some laundry, did  a little cleaning up around the house.  Oh yes, I also had to pack (good thing I’m a guy and don’t need that much stuff for a 60 hour trip) .  By the time I was done with these tasks it was around 1am, set the alarm for 5:30 and crashed out.  Woke up late when my dad, who gave me a ride to airport, rang the doorbell!  Jumped out of bed, got dressed, fed and medicated the cats, grabbed the bag and out the door I went.  Fortunately the entire rest of the trip was much more relaxing…

Slept most of the flight (best way to travel) and  Amy and her Mom picked me up.  After that we went to a really cool, super hole in the wall Mexican restaurant.  The place was packed with a wide mix of people, from business men to construction workers to families.  It was the kind of place where you have to ask for a menu, I think most people have been coming there for years and years.  Tacos seemed like the choice and the Puffy Tacos were awesome, a light airy tortilla with shredded beef and a spicy salsa. I added a little of the guacamole to it as well, made for a nice lunch.  Amy and her parents know of a bunch of these places in San Antonio, it makes for great eats whenever we go there!  We ate really well at quite a diverse selection of restaurants while we were there.

After that it was nap time, while sleeping on the plane makes the trip go faster the sleep is not that great.  Slept for over 2 hours, much longer than planned, to help get going again Amy, her dad and I took their dog for a nice stroll to get the blood flowing.  There is a nice green belt area being developed in San Antonio right now. Phil Hardberger park is an open space area with nice running/walking trails, it’s being developed at about 20% per year and they’ve got a nice thing going there.  We went on about a mile and a half walk, saw probably 20 deer and 20 or 30 people running.  When cities make the major commitments to open space projects that are needed to make them happen it’s great to see the public take advantage of them!

After that it was off to dinner. We went to what seemed to be another San Antonio staple, Josephine Street Cafe  , this place oozed Texas and was packed on a random Tuesday night.  The place has a tree growing in the middle of it and the floor is wavy because of the roots growing underneath.  While the steaks were not the best I’ve ever had the atmosphere combined with the “Austin Hoffbrau” Style Lemon butter each steak was topped with and the mashed potatoes with gravy made for a really enjoyable experience.  You can tell Amy’s parent really love San Antonio, after dinner they took us on a cool driving tour of the downtown area. We saw the riverwalk all lit up for the holiday’s, the hotel and theater we’d be at the next night and of course, The Alamo (they wouldn’t let me get out and look for my bike in the basement).

The next day we chilled out until it was time to check in to our hotel for the night, Hotel Valencia.  We really didn’t have enough time to fully appreciate this place, but it had really cool rooms and a neat vibe.   We went for a little stroll along the riverwalk, always a good time!  We cruised around for about 1/2 and hour and wandered to Crazy Sam’s for a drink, Amy had a Sangria Margarita that was super good!  The funny thing about this place was the servers out on the edge of their patio enticing people to step up to the bar and grab a drink. While we sat at the outdoor bar I noticed that their “grab a margarita to drink while you walk around the riverwalk” sales pitch worked quite well!

Back to the hotel to get ready for the show…

Took a shower, got dressed and headed to The Palm to meet Amy’s parents, Ashley (Amy’s best friend and Maid of Honor in our wedding) and her husband .  This place was also pretty cool, while it is a chain they do good work here.  The restaurant was started in Manhattan and the walls are covered with the caricatures of the many famous people that have dined in the different restaurants. We enjoyed a Woodford Reserve at the bar while we waited for everyone else to arrive, that 2 minute walk from our hotel was an easy commute. I had a great, rare filet and the creamed spinach was awesome.  They definitely have established a culture of service there, as the entire staff was excellent.  I finished things off with a little port, my favorite end to a nice meal!  It was a very nice experience, but their mark up on bottled wine was ridiculous.  I completely understand wanting to achieve a good  wine cost and want them to make money on it, but I am also familiar with the cost of many of the bottles on their list and it seemed excessive (Regular Caymus Cab was well over $200 and Flora Springs “Trilogy” was $139).  Overall very nice nice meal with the new in-laws and friends though!

After dinner it was off to the Majestic Theater for my first time seeing Les Miserables.  This theater is awesome, and the performance was unbelievable!  The pics to the left are of the sides of the theater, it is a really cool place!  Some of the special effects they used really added to the realism, my favorite was the way they projected the city streets and sewers on to the back wall and moved it  to give the appearance of them walking through the city.  The front row seats we had didn’t hurt at all either…

After the play we found an Irish bar on the riverwalk where I enjoyed a couple Guinness and then headed back to the room.  The next day we chilled out with Amy’s  family, visited with her grandfather for a while (he had a bunch of cool stories about  his many adventures), and then headed to the airport.  It was a really fun trip but it’s always nice to get back home!

In with the new!

2011 is gone and now it’s time to enjoy 2012! It was a relatively good year for us, we had a great wedding with close friends and family, got in a nice trip to Vegas, and I signed up for IMAZ 2012! We’re going to start 2012 off with a quick trip to San Antonio to see Amy’s parents. Among the highlights are: staying down on the riverwalk and seeing Les Misérables at the Majestic Theater. Hopefully the trip with produce some nice times worthy of a blog post.

Sweet 360 degree view of the theater just move your mouse around on the pic.

Amy has been in San Antonio for a week and I’m headed there for just a few days. As my job requires me to be here on New Year’s Eve, I had to celebrate the new year with out her. I’m not really a huge New Year’s Eve partier, too crowded out and cabs are almost impossible to get, so I just chilled out at home.

Here’s how I rang in the New Year:

Here’s to a year of fitness and fun!

IMAZ and the past week

After a great trip to Vegas, things are settling back down for us!  Everything went very smoothly for our wedding and honeymoon trip but it’s nice things are finally getting back to normal.  We don’t have an event to plan or worry about contacting vendors, such a relief!

This past weekend was Ironman Arizona, always a fun weekend.  Myself and my friends Len and Bill volunteered at a run aid station to guarantee a spot for next year. We got a great shift, 10am-1pm.  Mainly we set up the aid station: unloaded the truck, set up tables, hauled ice and things like that. Then we hung out for about 2 hours before the first of the pros came through on the run. We handed out water to about 20 of the front runners and then we were done, pretty easy compared to the 1000’s of people coming through for the later shifts!

The pic to the left is our Aid Station almost ready to go! After our shift we biked over to the Draw 10 for a couple beers, then headed out for a little Ironman spectating.  Had a great spot to see the winner come in at a amazing 7:59! The guy ran a Boston Qualifying Marathon after a 112 mile bike ride, always impressive. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see any of my friends finish, but was glad to hear that everyone I knew that was racing crossed the finish line.

The next morning I woke up and headed down to register for IMAZ 2012.  While I expected to stand in line for a while the over 3 hours I spent waiting to register was crazy!  But, after a long wait and kicking down $682 I had my spot for next year. I’m excited for the year for fitness I have ahead of myself. I’m also stoked that I have 2 good friends to train with for this race, it helps so much!

A few relatively easy days at  work and it was Thanksgiving time! We went over to our freinds, Brandy and Panos’s house and had a great time.  After some fine apps and a few mimosas it was time to fire up the turkey deep fryer.  A few rousing games of bags (or cornhole as it is called sometimes) later, we sat down to a great meal with good friends! After dinner we had a few more games of bags, and Amy had a little nap on the couch! All in all it was a great Thanksgiving, now looking forward to a nice weekend with a little bike riding and hanging out at home!

Vegas Honeymoon

We drove up to Vegas for a couple days for a honeymoon! Pretty fun trip that allowed us to still have a few relaxing days at home before we both have to go back to work. Headed out Wednesday morning in Amy’s car, stopped at Hoover dam on the way up. Quick overview: got upgraded to a sweet suite at the Palazzo, went to Fremont St, got numerous drinks bought for us because we were on our honeymoon, saw dolphins, lions, and tigers, had dinner at Zeffirino at the Venetian, went to the Cirque du Soleil show “Love”(totally awesome), didn’t win a dime, and had a great time with each other!

A few pics in no particular order:

Amy after the “Love” show

20111112-180338.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying a Vodka Redbull looking out our 43rd floor window

20111112-180357.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room view #1

20111112-180413.jpg

The Palazzo Tower

20111112-180422.jpg

Room View #2

20111112-180437.jpg

Standing on the Hoover Dam

20111112-180450.jpg

Some Dolphin and Tiger Footage

and we’re married!

After months of planning, a few days of some serious errand running and some weather worries, Amy and I were married in a perfect, beautiful ceremony in my parent’s backyard!   It was definitely a sprint getting the backyard all set-up but it really came together well.  The best decision we made in the few days prior was the renting of patio heaters and having a fire, it got pretty chilly for we Arizonans.

While there were some stressful times as we navigated the problems that come up as an event comes together, it was cool as family and friends from out of town started to arrive.  My parents had a small get together on Friday night, everyone seemed to have a good time even though a pretty substantial dust storm blew through that day and evening. It would have been a serious challenge if  the storm had of come through on Sunday, we dodged a bullet there!  On Saturday we got the rental items delivered and set-up and had the rehearsal. While there was some good natured ribbing of Amy for her information folders that everyone got, these proved to be infinitely valuable as the event approached so everyone knew the tasks they had been assigned.

The rehearsal went smoothly and afterwards we adjourned ourselves to The Living Room for the rehearsal dinner.  This place did a great job and we had a really fun night. We wanted to have a nice relaxed atmosphere and be able to just hang out with our wedding party, the two sitting areas with couches worked perfectly!  It was some great noshing on bruschetta, cheese trays, cheese fondues, spinach dip and a chocolate fondue to finish things off.  We all had some wine and great conversations! After that party broke up Amy and her bridesmaids headed to the hotel and I went home looking forward to the big day ahead.

The day of was a whirlwind of activity! We started putting the finishing touches on the yard around 8:30 am, since some tables had to be set up after the ceremony we organized boxes for each table’s items to make it easier for the caterer to set them up.  This was key in making it a smooth transition and Amy’s bridesmaids and the caterer did a great job making it happen.  After we got most of the things set up I was off to run my final errands, this took much longer than planned.  Had to pick up tables from the restaurant, stock the coolers for the bar and get ice, pick up the keg, and get the tables set-up for the buffet. Then get cleaned up at the barber, take shower and make it back to my parents house to get dressed and be ready for our guests to arrive.

The cocktail hour started at 3:30 and we had a great showing! It was a nice way to start things out, seeing everyone and people catching up and enjoying some tasty beverages. The specialty drink, The Kentucky Classic (Maker’s Mark and Ale-8-One) was very popular, so much that the bartender had to run out and get more Maker’s during the ceremony!   That hour flew by and all of a sudden it was time to start the ceremony.  Everyone took their seats or found a spot to stand and we were ready to go!

Sage Gentle-Wing, our musician played a nice guitar rift during the first part of the processional, after our wedding party was set he busted into The Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun” and Amy and her dad walked out, she looked amazing in her dress! Our minister, Phil Waring, did a great job, the ceremony was perfect and not too long. We were announced and Sage busted into “When I’m Sixty Four” as we walked away finally married.

We headed out for some pictures and the guests got to enjoy some appetizers and drinks for a bit. I have really enjoyed working with our photographer, David Orr.  He and his wife have been super easy to work with and we’re excited to see the the pictures they captured!  After that we all enjoyed some great food prepared by Creative Hands Cuisine, Chef Doug and his team did a fantastic job, from the quick table transition to the seamless service it was top notch! Highly recommend these guys!

After we ate we began the rounds to hobnob with everyone, it was so nice to see all of the people who came out to help us celebrate. There were some nice toasts and then some great hanging out, the fire pit has a bench and was a great place for people to talk and stay warm and the patio heaters worked perfectly!

A few other vendors of note: Bloom Events provided some beautiful flowers, and Sugar Lips Cakery cupcakes were amazing!

All and all it was great day, here’s a few pics from family and friends (David Orr photos still to come):

Chair set up for the ceremony                                     Tables and the fire pit

We’re married                                                    Here we are!

The Toasts