This Summer’s Adventures

Working in the restaurant industry in Phoenix necessitates taking vacations during the summer. While it can be a little warm in Phoenix, I’m still able to do a decent amount of outdoor activities and get away for some cool backpacking.

One of the first escapes should be a few days car camping with my wife. I just recently got us a 6 man tent, for excellent comfort in the campgrounds. While I enjoy the backpacking experience immensely, some comfy car camping is fun as well!

Only place in the yard I could try to set up the tent

After that comes the Colorado backpacking trip, usually the highlight of the year for outdoor adventures. The past few years, for various reasons (impressive volumes of rain and wind or serious lack of precipitations), we haven’t been able to have a campfire. Really hoping for a few small campfires to sit around this time. Heading to an area around the continental divide, moving between some lakes. After a long hectic season of work the simplicity of backpacking and the beauty of the mountains help recharge the spirit. I feel like I can live pretty comfortably while backpacking, the REI Co-op Double Shot Press Mug doesn’t hurt (apparently it’s not available anymore, but I bet you can something similar). A real cup of coffee sure makes mornings in the mountains exceedingly nice.

This was my view for 12 hours 2 years ago waiting out a torrential downpour

Then in early September it’s back to the Grand Canyon! There will be four of us this time, should be a fun group. We’re going about two weeks later than last year, but it’s early September so it will probably still be pretty hot! As usual, i’m sure we’ll challenge ourselves. So we’ve got that goin’ for us , which is fun. The canyon is such an amazing place, around every turn is another incredible picture!

If I mix in some SUPing out at the lakes around Phoenix, it should be a good summer.

Who else has some sweet summer adventure plans?

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!

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!

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!

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!