Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RR: NJ State Triathlon (Olympic)

This past Sunday was my first triathlon since IMAZ back in November.  In years past I have done the LavaMan Triathlon down in Lavallette, NJ in late June as a gauge to see where my fitness is and as a bit of a motivator to get ready for the July and August races that I normally do.  Well, this year I didn't do LavaMan because my daughter had a soccer game that day (family comes first), so I went into the NJ State Triathlon (Olympic) a bit unprepared or rather unsure of where my fitness was.  I suspected that I would be slower than I was last year this time, but I still thought I would be able to put in a decent time.  Well, let's just say, the day was all over the place....here is my weekend recap and race report:

My wife and kids went to my in-laws for the weekend, so I was left to pretty much do whatever I wanted.  I slept a little late (7:20AM), ate some breakfast and then watched the Tour de France Time Trial (Cadel Evans rocks!).  It was around 11:15AM when I decided to head over to Mercer County Park to pick up my race packet....it was brutally hot out.  easily over 99F.  I didn't spend a whole lot of time there, pretty much got my number, t-shirt (way too big) and looked at a couple of tri tops that were on sale but of course not the right size (damn!).  On my way back to my car I ran in to fellow Blogger Theia who had made the trip up from Delaware for the race.  We talked for a few minutes before we went our separate ways (translation:  we both needed to get into air conditioning and drink large amounts of water). 

Once home I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade and headed over to our pool to relax for a little bit, and of course put in a short swim (500 yds) just to loosen up a bit.  It was so hot out and I realized that laying in the sun was probably not the best idea the day before a race.  I headed home to relax in the air conditioning.

I was up and out of the house by 5:20AM, I little later than I would have liked, but not terrible late (I arrived at my transition by 6:10AM).  The time in transition kind of flew by, having to set up my spot, then getting to talk to Theia again, and then it was time to exit and head down to the lake.  It was already 80F+.   The bad part of this race is that they send off each wave in 5 minute intervals and I was in the second to last wave which meant I had to wait around for 45 minutes before my start....ugh!

The Swim - 1,500m
At last it was time to get in the water, the piss warm water of Mercer County Lake.  The horn blew and the normal amount of kicking and slapping occurred.  I tried to find the cleanest water possible and around 200m in I was in a rhythm and swimming OK.  The first 900m seemed like forever and my shoulders were starting to feel it a bit, but at least I wasn't dealing with a whole lot of contact along the way.  Finally the turn buoy and then a few more strokes and the other buoy for the second to last straight away.  This is where I really started to hurt; my lack of swimming over the past few months really affected me and I slowed considerably.  I continued to push forward, hoping to see that last buoy which would signal the end to the swim.  Finally I made the turn and cruised smoothing to the end and up the ramp.  My shoulders were sore but my breathing was really all that labored; I felt good considering.  I saw my family:  My wife, two daughters (high-fived them all), my Dad, and my Mother- & Father-in-Law....always great to have people cheering you on.
Swim stats:  35:30 (2:09/100m), 503 Rank Overall

Apparently I was a little more tired than I initially thought.  I was out of it and had trouble figuring out what the heck I was doing.  After some fumbling I got my glasses, helmet and watch on and jogged out of transition....slowly.  1:49, 166 Rank Overall

The Bike - 25.5 miles
It took me a bit longer than I expected to get my feet into my shoes (I was doing this on the fly on the bike), but around the 1st mile marker I was going.  The course is two loops, flat for the most part, with some good opportunities to really open it up and fly.  The first loop was a blur, I was feeling good, my legs felt fresh and my breathing was spot on.  Every mile was right around 2:45 (21.8MPH) and I didn't feel like I was pushing all that hard.  The second lap started off the same as the first and I was just cruising along passing all of the waves that started before me in the swim.  I think there were five guys that passed me the entire ride and they were geared up (race wheels, aero helmets, etc.).  Around mile 21 I started to feel it a bit, maybe I as riding a bit faster than I should have.  I had to put in a little extra effort to keep my speed up and I wasn't feeling all that great; my quads were sore and I was running out of fluids.

I shook off the bad feelings and knew I only had around 12 minutes of riding left.  On the way into the park I took my feet out of my shoes way too early (like a mile too early).  Such a rookie mistake which would come back and bite me on the run.  The ride was ending, I did a flying dismount and started my run through transition.
Bike Stats:  1:11:32 (21.4MPH), 171 Rank Overall

The trip to my rack was a rough one, I stepped on a rock that left the bottom of my left foot a bit bruised.  I was not feeling all that great.  I racked my bike, slipped my shoes on (no socks), grabbed my visor and race belt/number and off I went.  1:27, 176 Rank Overall

The Death March....err Run - 6.2 miles
I knew the first mile would be a little rough, but I figured once I got my legs moving that things would settle down and I could hold an easy 8 - 8:30/mile pace.  Well, the first mile was around 8:50 and I was OK with that.  What I wasn't OK with was the pain I was feeling in my legs.  Perhaps I pushed it a little hard on the bike, eh?  Maybe I didn't take in enough fluids?  I was about to find out.  At the first turn around I grabbed two cups of water and a wet towel and walked through the aid station....the temp was easily 95F, it was HOT!!!  Around 1.5 miles into the run I dropped my Clif Shot Bloks and had to pick them up....cramp in my right hamstring.  WTF?  This was not a good sign at all. 

What was to ensue was the worst run I have ever had in a race ever.  The 10K run was a combination of running, shuffling, and walking.  Thank God for the numerous fire hydrants and fire hoses at various points along the course.  Honestly the high light of the run was seeing my family at the midpoint and getting to do another round of high fives as I went by.

I am not going to give a mile by mile description of the run since it would seem as though each mile was a carbon copy of the prior mile.  I will say that my pace slowed with each passing mile, and around the 5.5 mile mark I really wanted to try and finish strong but my body just wouldn't let me.  I was starting to get a mild head ache and despite my best efforts I just couldn't run like I wanted to.  I think I finally picked up the pace for the last 1/4 mile, high-fived my wife and daughters as I went down the finishers chute and was ecstatic that I was finally done with that damn run. 
Run Stats:  1:01:08, (9:51/mile), 508 Rank Overall
Final Time:  2:51:26, 345/976 Overall, 56/138 AG

Final Thoughts
Of course I am disappointed with my overall time and especially with my run as a whole, but I think I got what I deserved.  I haven't been able to train as well as I would like; swimming is tough because of family commitments, biking is OK, and running is tough because of the weather and the breathing issues I am dealing with (heat and humidity kill me).  My swim was exactly where I thought it would be considering the training I had put in.  The bike was slightly better than I expected, but I think that ended up hurting my run.  The run was horrible, but as I just stated, I rode a little too strong on the bike and didn't take in enough fluids, thus affecting my performance running.  It was a hot day and I didn't take care of my body like I should have.  I learned my lesson today and will be ready to do well next time.

I have another race in two weeks, a sprint tri down in Asbury Park, NJ, Born to Tri.  It is a much shorter race, flat as a pancake, and an ocean swim.  Hopefully the weather will be a bit cooler and I can post a much more competitive time.  As for right now, I need to get ride of the soreness in my legs, the pain behind my right knee and get back to training. 

Cheers everyone!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Day Before the Day

I just finished watching the Tour de France Time Trial and I am inspired.  Cadel Evans absolutely ROCKED IT!  It was amazing to see him dig down and absolutely crush the Schleck brothers to take his first Tour de France title (he will ride to Paris in yellow tomorrow).  So glad that Alberto Cheat-ador won't end up on the podium this year and that the first Australian ever will win the Tour.

So, tomorrow is my first triathlon since IMAZ, the New Jersey State Triathlon (Olympic), and I am feeling OK about it.  I picked up my race packet earlier today (I am number 984 for anyone wanting to know).  I dont' expect to set any records (personal that is), but do hope to put in a respectable effort despite the excruciatingly hot temperatures we are experiencing on the East Coast.  My goals for tomorrow are as follows:

  • Swim (1,500m):  35:00 - I haven't been swimming nearly enough and frankly it wasn't until about two weeks ago that I started to feel comfortable in the water again.  Of course sub-30 minutes would be nice but I am realistic
  • T1 & T2:  ~1:30 - I really hope to be faster than that at each transition, but I am realistic about the heat and how delirious I may be after the swim and bike.
  • Bike (25.5 miles):  1:15:00 - That would put me around 20.4 MPH, a realistic goal, but I also think I can go around 1:12 (21 MPH).  We'll see.
  • Run (10K): 50:00 - Around 8:00/mile pace. Again, I think I can go faster, but I know it is going to be a brutally hot day tomorrow and I think the 50 minutes is doable.
  • Final:  2:43:00 - I should be able to go under 2:45:00, which would be just an OK race, but good considering the past seven months of training and not really focus on racing.  Family and job has taken priority over training, and I am realistic about what I should expect tomorrow.  Let's just go out and have a good race. Of course I do have a "what if everything goes right" goal:  2:32:00.  
Look for the race report early next week.  Cheers!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally....A Good Training Day!

It was a long time coming, and it finally happened. 

Was it on Saturday during my 7.1 mile run down along the boardwalks of Lavallette, Ortley Beach and Seaside Heights?  No, Saturday's run was not the day, although it was a better run than I have had on previous weekends.  I hit the boards at 6:45AM and was feeling OK at the start.  I stopped to check out the ocean, possibly surfing would be on docket for later on in the day (fingers were crossed).  Then it was go time and south I went, starting off around 8:20/mile pace.  I stayed around that pace for the first three miles or so, but then I started to get a tired and my breathing was really labored.  I have to figure out what the heck is going on with me.  I am taking Singulair every day and using Ventolin (inhaler) before every run.  Maybe it is just the heat and humidity, or maybe it is something more than that.

At 3.55 miles, just passed Midway Cheese Steaks I turned around and headed back home, definitely feeling it a bit but determined to negative split the second half of my run.  I did look around for Snooki, The Situation and the rest of the Jersey Shore crew but I couldn't find them.  I was visually bummed (see picture to the right).  The next half mile was rough, but soldiered through it and finally started to up my pace by mile 5.  The last stretch along the Lavallette boardwalk I was able to push it and finish strong with a 7:45 last mile!  I wasn't happy about the run overall, but I was encouraged by the last mile.

After my run it was time to head up to the beach with the family and we actually brought our ocean kayak up with us. My thinking was that my father could paddle along side me while I swam (it didn't happen though).  Instead I took my oldest daughter out for a ride in the ocean, her first time out in the kayak.  We had a really good time and she was so psyched to be out there with me.

So since my good training day wasn't on Saturday....was it on Sunday during my 28+ mile bike and 3 mile run (BRICK)?  YES, yes it was.  I was up early, around 5:30AM, and out the door around 6:15AM for my hour and a half ride.  I decided to go south since the wind was blowing from the WSW, meaning my ride back north might have a touch of a tail wind.  The ride in itself was pretty uneventful, I rode south into Island Beach State Park, a very flat, straight and pretty ride.  I maintained a solid 90 - 95 RPMs for my cadence, averaging around 18.5 MPH for the first 14 miles.  At the end of the park (see picture on the right), I swore I would pick up the pace and finish above 20 MPH average for the ride.  The ride back I was hauling, mile 15 was around 21 MPH, then each mile afterwards was a bit faster, 21.5, 22.6, 22.8, 23.0....with my last mile coming in at 24.6MPH.  I stopped my Garmin at my 'rents and it read:  28.32 miles, 1:24.31, 20.1MPH average.  Whew, thank God, I managed to do it.  I probably should have put in another 1.68 miles to make it an even 30 miles and hour and 30 minutes, but I really wanted to get my workout done and spend the day with my family. 

So immediately after my ride, I switched into my running shoes and headed out for a 3 mile run on the Lavallette boardwalk.  I felt a bit sluggish on the 1/4 mile up to the boards, but then managed to settle into a nice pace with the first mile done in 8:08.  Wow, that was a surprise, I didn't feel like I was really running all that fast.  The second mile went a bit faster - 7:55 - , again I didn't feel like I was struggling to keep a quick pace.  The last mile I definitely picked up the pace because I wanted my average below 8:00/mile pace.  I finished mile 3 in 7:45.  Total run stats:  3 miles, 23:48, 7:56/mile pace.

So there you have it, my first GOOD training day in a long while, where my pace is closer to where I would like it to be and more importantly my feeling good and not like I was on the very of an asthma attack.

The rest of the day was more kayaking (this time with both of my daughters), playing in the ocean with my oldest and trying to cram a little rest in there as well.  I did try to swim a bit but my arms were killing me from kayaking.  I really did want to get in a good open water swim, but it just wasn't in the cards.

Time to get some work done.  Cheers!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Early Friday

Quick update....I wasn't able to get in my planned swim last night, but I did head to the pool with my family when I got home from work.  I had the privilege of playing with my two daughters in the pool and having them show me everything that they are learning in their daily swim lessons.  My youngest who we had to bribe just to go under water last summer is now a full on fish, swimming underwater with a vengeance.  My oldest already knows more strokes than I do (she is learning butterfly now....I can not do butterfly) and is learning a flip turn.  I too am trying to learn how to do a flip turn...I am sure she will learn how quicker than I can.  It is really awesome to see my girls learning how to swim at such a young age.  I am hoping that next year my 8 yr old (and maybe 6 yr old) will join the swim team, something I wish I had done as a youngster.

The rest of night, at least after eating dinner, was spent kicking the soccer ball around our back yard.  It is something that my Dad and I used to do when I was young and it really helped me to become a good player.  I hope that I can help my girls out the same way that he helped me.  I was trying to show my oldest some skill moves which she started to pick up pretty quickly.  It is so cool to be able to do things with my kids that my parents used to do with me.

So, I didn't get my planned ride in last night, there was just too much to do after the girls fell asleep (at 10PM....my wife and I are bad parents).  I had to do laundry and then pack for the beach weekend.  I wasn't going to be getting on my bike to ride at 10:30/11:00PM, that's just too late.  Instead I got up at 5:10AM this morning and put in 45 minutes on the trainer before anyone was awake in my house (even my dog).  I do kind of miss getting my training done before most everyone I know is awake.  It was great to have a solid ride under my belt and be out of the house on my way to work by 6:40AM.

Tonight I am hoping, after arriving at my 'rents place down in Lavallette, to get in the ocean and swim a bit.  I haven't done an open water swim since November and I have my first triathlon coming up in a week.  I think it is a good idea for me to get at least one open water swim in, right? 

That's it for now.  Have a great weekend everyone!  I am going to try and take some picture during my rides/runs this weekend and post here.  I haven't been so good with pictures lately.  Cheer!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Love/Hate Summer

I love Summer because:
  • It is warm and the weather is usually good for training outside
  • It is so much fun riding my bike down at the Jersey Shore
  • I get to spend the occasional weekend with my family at my 'rents in Lavallette
  • Can go to our local pool with my kids, who are growing up very fast
  • I get to do my swim workouts outside
  • It is race season for those of us on the East Coast
  • I love to surf (even if I am atrocious)
  • My birthday is in August (I love ice cream cake)
I hate Summer because:
  • It can get really friggin' hot
  • II can not run when it is over 85F, my performance goes to crap
  • My exercise-induced asthma is at is peak and I can't breathe properly
  • I just don't want to go to work
  • My birthday is in August (I am moving up an a higher Age Group)
Training this week:
  • Monday - Rest day; I should have gone for a bike ride after work, but my daughter had basketball and I just didn't have time to do it.
  • Tuesday - I wanted to for a ride outside but it just didn't happen, so I did it in the basement and watch "Falling Skies" (which I DVR'd).  It was one of my better rides on the trainer, I was really happy with myself.
  • Wednesday - After work I hustled off to the pool to get in as many laps as possible before my daughters soccer practice.  I think I got in around 1,600 yds (I was hoping for 2,000+), and they were very rough yards.  On a positive note, I did my first 100yds in 1:33 (YEA!!!).  After my swim I had to pick up my daughter and take her to soccer; while there I did a very slow 30 minute run around the soccer complex (4 laps).  I just couldn't get my breathing right and my legs were really sore.  I am going to chalk it up to the head/humidity (thank you Theia).
  • Tonight - I am planning on heading to the pool to swim again if my wife lets me and then riding my bike when the kids are asleep.  We'll see what happens.
  • This weekend - Heading to the shore!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just Like Jerry Seinfeld

For me lately things (training in particular) are going in all different directions.  I can't explain it really, maybe it is a different mindset on some (swim), or a lack of fitness (run), or being in a rut (bike).  Whatever the case I am trying to stay positive and realistic about where I am with triathlon at the present moment.  I kind of feel like Jerry Seinfeld, specifically from "The Opposite" episode.  My run lately has been horrible, I just can't breathe well, can't get my legs to turn over, it is just bad.  On the other hand, my swim last night was tremendous for me.  Every 100yd I swam was at or around 1:40, easily 10 seconds faster than it has been for the past few weeks.  I even managed to get into the 1:37/100yd range.  Lastly my bike has been steady and consistent.  I would like it to be better, but I know that I need to lose around 10 lbs in order for me to get faster and be a better climber....I am just carrying too much weight.  So there you have it:  Run - DOWN; Swim - UP; Bike - SAME.

Reality Check:  I am nine months removed from doing IM Arizona and have finally come to grips that I am kind of starting out at square one.  I dealt with a bunch of bothersome injuries from December 2010 through March 2011 and despite my delusions, I know that I am kind of starting again.  Gone are my days of heading out and running an easy 5 mile run at 7:45/mile pace...now it is more like 8:20 or slower.  My swim stroke made a surprise appearance last night, on a night that I almost didn't even head to the pool.  I have a race in two weeks and my expectation have been tempered by this "revelation".  I am going to be racing for fun, not for a PR.

Weekend Wrap Up
  • Friday - 1:15 ride on my bike trainer in the basement.  My in-laws were over, so I wasn't able to do my ride outside, no worries I did it after everyone went to bed. 
  • Saturday - I was able to get out for a 45 minute run prior to breakfast and the pool.  Again, not a stellar effort but I did manage to pick up the past for the last two miles or so.  My heart rate has been through the roof lately.  I think a visit to my doctor is in order.  Around 10:45 I went to the pool with my father-in-law and two daughters.  We spent the entire day there, not leaving until after 5:00PM.  I can not even tell you how many times I went of the diving boards at that pool.  I must point out that I did conquer one giant fear....I DOVE off of the the high dive (3 meter spring board).  I'm not saying that I "jumped" off of the high dive, I actually did a "dive", hands first into the water dive.  Yee haw!!!
  • Sunday - I had every intention of getting up and going for a bike ride at 6:00AM but I was just too tired and ended up sleeping in until 7:30AM.  After a breakfast I got the OK from my wife to go and play soccer with a bunch of "old" guys like myself at our local park.  It was a lot of fun, but I was hurting afterwards.  The rest of the day I thought was going to be a full on training day, but it didn't happen.  My wife had planned to take both of my daughters to a birthday party, but at the last minute she decided not to take my youngest.  No worries, after I cut the lawn, the two of us headed over to the pool.  We had fun splashing around in the water together, something I can't really do when my oldest is there.  It was nice to spend the day with her.

    The training highlight of the day was during my swim session at 8:00PM that night.  I had to force myself over to the pool to get a much needed swim in.  A quick note, on the numerous swims in the diving pool on Saturday I noticed that I was swimming very "choppy".  Also, before getting in the pool, I saw a friend of mine swimming and his stroke was looking really inefficient.  So I decided to try and lengthen my stroke and swim easier.  Well, it worked.  I completed my 300 yd warm-up in five minutes flat (1:40/100yd).  For my main set I did 5 x 100s followed by 6 x 50s.  For each of the 100s I was at or under 1:41/100 and for the 50s I was right at :47/50.  Again, for many a good swimmer that would be slow, but for me I felt great and know that I am capable of improving.
So there was my weekend, notice that there was no bike ride in there.  Sometimes you have to do things that make you happy (play soccer) or with people that make you happy (six year old daughter) or for people to make them happy (chores around the house for my wife).  I'll try and get the ride in tonight, but I am not going to fret if I can't get it in.  It is going to be a busy night and my family comes first.  Peace out!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Being a Dad

Two reasons for my post today:
  1. Last nights training
  2. Learning to be a Dad
Number 1 is the easy one, so I will start with that.  After work yesterday I was not in the best of moods, I don't know why, maybe it was the traffic coming home, maybe it was my frustration with myself and my inability to do my job well.  Whatever it was, I was not in the best of spirits.  When I got home I was happy to see my family, but I still wasn't feeling great.  My wife made a great dinner, the girls were good.  I had asked my wife if she would be able to drop me off at the pool around 7:00PM tonight so that I could get a swim in and then just run home afterwards; thankfully she agreed. 

So after filling my stomach with spaghetti, sausage and bread....oh, and also hanging a canopy over my younger daughters bed, it was off to the pool to get my swim on.  I was really tired (and still am) and my swim reflected it.  I did a solid 300yd warm up, followed by 4x100yd of drills and then 4x200yds w/45 sec rest.  I had hoped to get in around 2,000yds, but only managed 1,500yds.  Unfortunately I just ran out of time and needed to be heading home by 8:15PM.  The run home started slow, really slow!  It is a little over 4 mostly uphill miles to run from the pool back to my house.  My pace reflected that: Mile 1 - 8:51, Mile 2 - 8:41, Mile 3 - 8:33, Mile 4 - 8:15.  I had some issues with my breathing for the first two miles or so which made the run harder than it should have been.  I have exercise-induced asthma which hits me really hard when it is hot and humid out, thus why I had problems last night.  The fact that I forgot to take some shots off my inhaler didn't help either, nor the fact that I haven't taken my allergy medicine for five days.  STUPID!

All in all it was a pretty good day of training, not the long swim that I wanted, but it will have to do.

Now for Number 2 - Learning to be a Dad, something that I struggle with every day.  For the most part I think I am a pretty good Dad, not great, but good.  I like to think that I am very involved in my daughters lives, whether it be sports (soccer, lacrosse, etc.), dance (my daughters recitals), or just every day life (coaching their teams, playing with them in the pool/beach).  I am there biggest fan/cheerleader (although my wife would argue that she is, not that I would disagree) and want nothing but the greatest successes for them in whatever they do.  Now with all of that said, I am failing at a number of other things, primarily just general communication with my oldest daughter.  She is a great kid, she really is.  She can be the most thoughtful and caring child, she can be the best helper, she wants nothing more than to make everyone happy and to laugh.  She is so much like my wife and I that it is scary - she is stubborn like we are and also very strong willed.  Both traits are good to have, but can be a curse as well.

Now with the good sometimes come there bad.  There are times when she does things that just don't make sense to me.  For example, last night at dinner, while trying to eat spaghetti, she used her fork to move the pasta to her mouth then proceeded to use her other hand to shove it all in.  It was a bit gross watching her shovel the pasta down her gullet like an infant eating solid food for the first time.  I told her that we don't eat food like that, we use forks, and that is that (the tone I used was too stern for the infraction).  But it isn't just that, there are just things that she does that drive me nuts, like not cleaning up toys when done playing with them, then hemming and hawing when asked to; chewing with her mouth open like a cow; talking back to my wife and I in a very "fresh" manner, etc.  I guess what I have described is pretty much every eight year old child, right?

Here is where I am failing "Daddy 101", I don't know how to communicate with her effectively so that we can correct these things.  It is obvious that what I am doing/saying is not right because it just isn't working and I am kind of pushing her away.  My wife has told me that I need to change the way I talk to her so that she doesn't "tune me out".  That is easier said than done, especially when I think about how my parents dealt with me when I was her age (or at least how I recall they dealt with me...a hand to my bottom was always looming).  What I know about my daughter is that she thrives on positive feedback and praise.  Knowing that, how should I correct a bad habit/manner when it is happening?  How does the praise come into play?  I guess I have to be more mindful of how I talk to her, in the tone that I speak and not nit pick every little thing (like I know I do....and am told by others).

It is said that when you want to get a drives license you need to take classes and pass a test, but the same can not be said for raising a child.  There are no classes and not test to pass.  "Congrats on your new baby....good luck over the next 18 years, I hope you figure it all out."  I know that every child is different (my two are very different), so it is important to treat them as unique individuals.  That also means that they need to be taught, corrected, disciplined and rewarded differently as well.  I don't know where I am going with this at this point, I guess I just needed to put it out there for me to read over and contemplate.  With triathlon or any sport for that matter, It is easy to become better by training harder/smarter/faster.  But to become a better father, well, it isn't so easy.  I guess admitting that you have faults and trying to correct them is the first step.  I better figure it out sooner otherwise the potential divide between my daugher and I will only get bigger.  Ciao.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July - Good Stuff

Well, it is Tuesday and the long 4th of July weekend has come and gone.  It was a fun weekend if not an exhausting weekend.  It all started on Friday for me as I had off from work; however, that didn't mean that I wasn't busy.  It was actually an action packed day as I tried to cram as much into the day as possible before heading to the beach for the long weekend.  Here is what I had:
  • 8:15AM Doctors appointment with my wife (didn't get in until 8:45AM)
  • Grab breakfast and then drop her off at her office (10:15AM)
  • Swing by Brooks Brother to try and buy some dress pants (unsuccessful)
  • Put my daughters rooms back together (painted them last week)
  • One hour bike - solid ride, around 19 miles
  • One hour swim - ended up being 25 minutes
  • Pack for the shore
  • Pick up my wife by 4:00PM (arrived at 4:02PM)
We finally got to my parents house around 6:00PM, thanks to a ton of traffic on the way down (just getting over the Mantaloking Bridge).  Once there we ate dinner and then had to head out to see my old college roommate from my Freshman year at Rutgers.  I hadn't seen him since we graduated way back in 1993, but he still looked the same.  We had a great time catching up and also meeting each others respective families.  I do hope that we manage to keep in touch a bit more.

Saturday was a beautiful day that started out with my going for an hour run on the various Jersey Shore boardwalks (Lavallette, Ortley Beach, & Seaside Heights).  It was a my standard seven mile run from my 'rents house down to Midway Cheese Steak and back.  I forgot to look for Snookie and The Situation while I was down there, but I doubt they would have been up at 8:00AM.  As usual, my pace was slow, but I didn't manage to run a solid last mile at 8:00 pace.  After the run it was all about going up to the beach and hanging out with my daughters who I hadn't seen all week.  I was kept very busy by my oldest daughter who wanted to go into the ocean constantly.  I really had a great time with her....and also my youngest daughter (see picture to the right) who helped decorate a pyramid that I build for the girls.  I don't think we left to head back to the house until around 4:00PM.

Sunday started early for me as I had to get in a 2.5 hour bike ride.  I was out of bed by 5:10AM and on the road by 5:35AM.  I was around 20 miles out (around Belmar) when the rain hit and stayed with me for the remainder of the ride.  It really sucks riding in the rain, but then again you never know when you will have to race in weather like that.  I headed north all the way up to Deal before turning around and heading for home.  All in all it was a good ride, aside from the headwind I had to deal with on the way home, and I logged around 46 miles.  I was happy to get in such a good workout.  What about the rest of my day?  It consisted of eating four glazed donuts, two naps on the couch and then a walk up to the beach with my wife, mother and daughters (we just had to get out of the house).  It was a lazy rain day at the shore.

We made sure we were up at the beach early on Monday since we were going to be heading home by 1:30PM.  I think we were at the beach by 9:00AM and it included a lot of going in the water with my oldest.  We were definitely busy for the three hours or so that we were there, knowing that we were going to be leaving soon.

So there you have it, my busy weekend down the shore....although having read it again, it doesn't seem all that busy.  I guess when I was living it it seemed to be awfully chaotic.  Anyway, I am looking forward to a good week of training coming up.  I have an short run on tap for tonight that I am going to try and run hard as well as a swim session that I have to fit in.  The rest of the week is pretty much the same...SWIM, BIKE, RUN.  Cheers!