Posts Tagged ‘Fun’

July Happenings

Aug
2015
02

posted by on Fun

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The last few weeks have brought some much welcomed changes in my life.  I don’t talk about my career on the blog, but I am going to make a slight exception here.  I had been with my job for almost two years (and that was after being at my previous position for 7.5 years and that job being relocated to another city after a corporate merger).  It had been clear for quite some time, that I was at a place that was not a good fit for me.  Since I truly believe that life is short and you should do all that is within your power to make your world as happy and as healthy as possible, I found a new job opportunity.  I am still working in the finance realm, but it is at a company that I am excited to join and welcome the new possibilities that I feel are in my path.  I started the new job on July 13.

With a bit of time before starting my new job, we decided to take advantage and get out of town for a few days.  After much deliberation, we headed south to Charleston for four days/three nights.  I had been there a few years ago with my college sorority sisters, but Tony and I had not been together.  I found a super cute boutique hotel downtown that was in a great location that allowed us to walk to restaurants, shopping and other sites.  We only used the car once, when we drove out to Folly Beach to get our feet in the sand and feel the ocean breezes.  We had great fun and I wanted to share some of the highlights via photos.    

Morning runs at Waterfront Park

Charleston 1

Charleston 3

 Adventures on beach cruiser bikes borrowed from the hotel

Charleston 2

Beach Time

Charleston 4

So the week of my new job, I worked three days, as I had a previously planned vacation with my college sorority sisters (the same group I visited Charleston with a few years ago).  We go out of town for a girls’ trip once a year.  This year we headed to Asheville, NC for a long weekend of great times!

Biltmore

Asheville

To top of the month of July that seemed to be full of travels, Tony and I headed down to the NC coast a couple of Saturdays ago for the afternoon.    It was a fun impromptu trip on a beautiful day!

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With Ironman Lake Placid 2015 happening last Sunday, my mind was full of memories from the day that was the most challenging yet most rewarding days I have had. Congratulations to all of this year’s finishers!

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July was a great month complete with fun and positive change.  So now looking forward to later in the summer….

I have decided on two more triathlons to put on the calendar.  I am planning a sprint at the end of August and an Olympic in early September.  While I have still been active and training regularly, my workouts have not had the structure and focus that they typically have when training for specific race.  I am glad to have some races to focus on and get some goals in mind.  More on that to come!

This ‘n That

Apr
2015
13

posted by on This 'n That

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This 'n That

I decided to share “this ‘n that” which is random stuff that I have found useful/insightful/interesting/funny/etc from various sources.  I think I will pull together these type posts from time to time as I enjoy reading and learning new things.

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Chrissie Wellington on…Beating body confidence issues

One of the Queens of Kona shares some insightful and poignant words in this article that will ring true to many.  I especially liked this excerpt…”We must celebrate our individuality, and be grateful for the opportunity to do this sport, to be healthy, to race, to be with friends, visit new places and challenge ourselves. ”

SONY DSC

Flashback to when I met Chrissie Wellington in Kona in 2013

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Don’t give up until you cross the finish line!

I saw this video for the first time a few weeks ago and I did not realize that this happened ten years ago until I was searching for it again to share here.  This video captures an unbelievably exciting sprint finish that you won’t forget!  Check it out!

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Tempo Runs

Tempo runs have been a big part of my training plan for the past several weeks.  Since one of my goals for Raleigh 70.3 is to better my time in all three disciples, I have been incorporating the weekly tempo run as a means for improvement.  There are many different perspectives on tempo running, but I found this article as one that describes the tempo run in a way that I have learned over the past several years.  This quote sums it up well…”It’s what I call ‘comfortably hard,'” says Pierce. “You know you’re working, but you’re not racing. At the same time, you’d be happy if you could slow down.”

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Glute Strength

I have been seeing a Physical Therapist for a few months now.  I think I have been a challenge to him since initially he thought some basic stretching and strengthening exercises would improve the achiness I felt in my right glute and hip.  So, over the course of time, he has me try several different exercises.  While my issue has not (YET) been fully resolved, I feel he has a real good idea of what is really the issue and and has prescribed the therapy that will make me stronger.  I am keeping my fingers crossed as I continue to perform my exercises routinely.

I had been asked to share some of these exercises and I had planned to.  However, I have learned (from my PT) and lots of reading/research online, that many basic exercises can be slightly modified and the intent changes greatly.  My therpaist has tweaked the way I perform several of the prescribed exercises, so I am following his direction.  I did not really feel comfortable sharing the exact exercise since they are targeted at MY specific weaknesses/issues.  However, I did find a couple of resources that I think are great and are very related to what I am experiencing and trying to do to improve.  It seems they give good general advice which can be used by many.

This article on glute strength talks about a potential issue of “glutes aren’t as active as other running muscles during routine activities, which can make your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves disproportionately stronger. Another issue is that most strength-training routines don’t isolate the glutes. If an exercise requires several muscles to perform the movement, the majority of the work will be done by the strongest of those muscles. Also, tight muscles, specifically the hip flexors, can inhibit the glutes and prevent their muscle fibers from firing.”

This second article on glute strength talks about “the muscular imbalances most common among runners: weak glutes, tight hip flexors and hamstrings, sub-par posture.”  It provides four variations on the bridge exercise.  I currently include a version that my therapist recommends for me and it has made me realize how weak my glutes are and therefore how much I need to perform this exercise!

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I will end on a funny…I laughed out loud when I read this one…

Competing

Have a great week!!!

posted by on Fun

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If you have ever read Runner’s World list of their favorite crazy races, then you might have heard of the Krispy Kreme Challenge. It has also been included as #85 on the “102 More Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate” by Sports Illustrated. So, what is the Krispy Kreme Challenge?

(The following race description is from the event website). Participants begin the Challenge at the Memorial Belltower on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Runners then travel 2.5 miles through historic downtown Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme located at the intersection of Peace and Person Streets, where they attempt to consume one dozen original glazed doughnuts. The hardest part of the Challenge awaits them as they run 2.5 miles back to the Memorial Belltower. This is the Krispy Kreme Challenge.

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Belltower at NC State

The Krispy Kreme Challenge started in December 2004 as a dare between a few NC State undergraduate students. Organizers decided to publicize the Krispy Kreme Challenge and turn it into something that would not only be an event to bring together people from all over the country but also to benefit an important cause along the way. This event is held annually, with 2015 marking the 11th running of the event.

With this craziness being held in our city, Tony and I have always talked about participating one year. We decided that this year would be the year. With it falling on Valentine’s Day, we figured it would be a fun way to start the day:) This year they included a new “race” category, called the Dynamic Doughnut Duo. This is in addition to the challenger category (the category for runners who are truly taking the challenge and can claim victory by eating all twelve doughnuts and completing the race in under one hour) and the casual category (for runners who are taking a less serious approach to the event and eat as many or as few doughnuts as they wish). The Dynamic Doughnut Duo is for a couple to register together and share one dozen. We never intended to eat a full dozen, we just wanted to go out a have fun and support a great cause, the NC Children’s Hospital.

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Pre-run photo

It was a cold, but sunny morning, so we layered up for the 8:30 am start.  As always, there was a great turn out for the event.  I was not as cold as I anticipated having to wait around for the start.  It was definitely brisk, with temperatures in the low 20s, but we stood in the sun as much as possible.

Tony and I ran together, with him matching my pace. I wanted the first half to be at a decent tempo pace for me, since I was not sure what to expect post-doughnuts. We made it to the Krispy Kreme around 8:53 (I know this due to the time stamp from the first photo I took there). There were people everywhere with their doughnuts…some eating leisurely and some tackling the dozen.

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The masses eat the doughnuts!!! (Photo from WRAL.com)

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Krispy Kreme, a NC tradition (Photo from WRAL.com)

We knew that we would never try to eat the dozen…I love KK doughnuts too much to never want to eat them again. I had decided I would eat two.  I wanted to eat some, to take part in the fun nature of the event, and thought anything more than that would make for a hugely miserable 2.5 miles to the finish line.

Our dozen!

It has been ages since I have had a KK doughnut, so they really tasted great! (For anyone that knows KK doughnuts…they are absolutely perfect when the “hot now” sign is on…nothing like that today, but always good to me).

Tony devises his plan!

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No way we are eating all those!!

My two doughnuts!!

While Tony’s picture shows a very strong start, he ate about 1.5 total.

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His eyes were bigger than his stomach!

We started back and quickly passed a spectator offering bacon to the runners (something “salty to cut the sweet”). Since bacon is one of Tony’s favorite foods, he sampled and really enjoyed it!

I started to feel my sweet treats about 1/2 mile later. My stomach was definitely wondering what the heck was I doing…this was not typical run nutrition that I had taken! There was one particular hill that really did not support the combo of doughnuts and running, but it seemed that after I got passed that, the worst was over. After we crossed the finish line we quickly saw evidence of what happens to some with this brutal combination (hint: watch where you step!!). Luckily, Tony and I were feeling ok.

Our official race time was 48:28 which includes us stopping to have the doughnuts and photo fun. My Garmin showed a total of 43:56 and 4.86 miles. My mile paces were as follows: 8:44 / 8:41 / 9:23 / 9:07 / 9:22.  We actually finished in the Dynamic Doughnut Duo category in 44 and 45th places out of 1134 finishers in the category!  There were 2256 finishers in the challenger category and 2597 in the casual category.

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smileMy scientific conclusion is that there is definitely an impact to one’s running pace after the consumption of doughnuts!!!

This was one race that I don’t plan to repeat, but I am glad that we participated once and got to experience a bit of the craziness that is the Krispy Kreme Challenge! More importantly, this year’s event resulted in a donation of $195,000 to the NC Children’s Hospital bringing the eleven year total to $953,000. Having fun a supporting a great cause! Good job NC State!!

KK

R ‘n R in the DR

Feb
2015
03

posted by on Fun

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Lately my life has gone from one extreme to another. This post focuses on the one that I enjoyed the most!! In mid-January, we headed down to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for some fun in the sun! We had a super relaxing trip. The flip side to the story was that after arriving back for vacation, life became incredibly busy, especially on the work front, due to a pressing deadline.  However, I made it through all the craziness! Life should be a bit more “normal” for the foreseeable future.

So back to vacation talk…we traveled with one of our closest couple friends, Kelly and Sean, for our week long get-away. We selected an all-inclusive resort where we could focus on extreme down time or select activities if we chose to leave our lounge chairs. We did not plan any off resort activities before we traveled. We went with the mind set that if we decided to try something, we would…otherwise, resort time was the plan! I wanted to share a few of the highlights through some fun photos!

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Our home for seven days!

Waiting for an evening show to begin!

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Enjoyed the view!

The swaying palm trees

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We enjoyed lots of beach time!

And lounging at the pool!

Tony enjoying some time in the shade!

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Sean with some raft time! Rafts were a fun past time during the week.

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Enjoying another post-dinner evening show. We had lots of beautiful nights!

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An evening stroll on the beach.

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More beach time!

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This never got old!!

Frozen drinks in pineapples!!!

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Creme Brulee!

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Great friends on an awesome vacation!

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Looking at this and remembering the cold weather that is at home!

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The palm trees are so relaxing to look at.

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A nice afternoon walk on the beach.

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Our last evening and finally enjoyed the swings at one of the pool bars. Fun!

Apart from a short shopping trip a few blocks away from the resort, we ended up not choosing any off property activities during our stay. We did however, begin each day with quality time at the on-site gym. I was able to get in a good workout each day, which was needed to offset (albeit only a little) the eating and drinking we were enjoying at the all-inclusive! It was a great trip and I thoroughly enjoyed all the rest, relaxation and great times spent with my hubby and good friends! The sun and warm temperatures were a dream and a welcome treat since leaving icy and cold conditions at home. This was the first winter tropical vacation we have taken and I highly recommend it!

As I mentioned earlier, life is back to normal. Actually, I start my official training plan for Raleigh 70.3 yesterday. It has been months since I have had a plan to follow and while I have enjoyed my “no plan” training, it will be nice to get back to that structure.  Stay tuned for updates!

Life After Ironman

Sep
2014
10

posted by on Fun, Ironman

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Life after Ironman has been great. August was a really fun month!! Don’t get me wrong…life before Ironman was great too…just super busy! The first several days after we got home from Lake Placid were easy. I was only back home and at work for two days before I headed off to the Outer Banks of NC for a get-away with two college sorority sisters.

Girls Beach

Girl Time!!!

The timing was really perfect. No training to think about. Just enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation. It rained almost the entire weekend (yes, I thought I already had my fair share of rain), but we had a good time none the less.

Beach

Enjoying a very short peak of the sun just in time for sunset!

Upon returning home, I had a surprise awaiting me. Tony had gone on a bit of a mission while I was out of town. This is what he had done with my race bib and medal. I love it!!!

Medal

So, after the beach trip, it was back to work. Only a four day work week, but I believe in easing back into things :). It is so very nice to have my morning start at 6:10-6:15am. There were no 4:45am – 5:00am alarms to think about!! I also continued to enjoy my evenings off from training. I did not have a set number of days in mind for recovery…I just wanted to take it easy for while and ease back into activity. Well, so I thought!!

That next weekend we had plans each day of the weekend! The Friday night outing was a cookout with a group of friends…it was a bit of a pre-party for the next evening’s 40th birthday celebration for a good friend of ours.

Lee and Tony

At the Birthday Celebration!!

Sunday was a dinner out with a couple friend.  She wanted to hear all about the race, so we had a nice afternoon catching up and chatting!

Rewind a bit to Friday…As we were leaving the cookout, I was talking with two girls that are currently training for their first half-iron distance and iron distance races about the training they were doing the following morning. They had a long run planned and I agreed to tag along. So, my first REAL activity after IM was a 10-mile run…IN THE RAIN!! And yes, AGAIN, I had experienced my fair share of the wet weather, but I wanted to go. I did not necessarily think my first run back would be 10 miles, but I knocked it out, with some achiness.

The following week was another short work week because I took a bit more time off work. That Tuesday afternoon we headed out after lunch for Charlotte. We attended the Linkin Park concert that evening.

Linkin Park 2

Linkin Park Concert with Great Friends!!

Well, the concert was an absolute blast!!! They are my favorite band and I had an awesome night at their concert. My favorite concert to date!

LP Concert

Such a Fun Night!!

The following day, we spent time at the White Water Training Center. (The Center’s 500+ acres offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for all ages and skill levels. Guests can enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lines, ropes courses, a canopy tour, and mountain biking on our 25+ mile trail system. (Description from their web site.)) We had heard a lot of positive things about the White Water Training Center and it was fun! Our favorite part was the whitewater rafting. Our guide really showed us a great time!!

The next weekend included more fun dinners. Friday evening included a “thank you” dinner. Tony had the idea to show our appreciation to the people that had helped me with my training by having them over for a dinner party. It was a great night with lots of triathlon talk! The following night was a dinner get together with a friend that we had not seen in over a year. It was great to re-connect and catch up on the latest happenings! The Sunday was a dinner with my family. My brother planned the dinner as a congratulations on my Ironman! It is always nice to spend time with family and to snap some fun pics with my niece and nephews!

Family Collage

The next two weekends included attending a surprise party for (another) friend’s 40th birthday, dinner out to celebrate our friends’ (Tim & Nicole…part of the crew from Lake Placid) recent marathon finish, attending the football season opener for NC State and a dinner out to a local “special occasion” steak house to celebrate our good friends’ anniversary.

State Game Field

Go Wolfpack!!

State Game LandT

NC State Football!

Angus Barn Collage

Amongst all our activities, we have enjoyed some down time, watching some new movies and  I actually started reading my first book of the year!  I finally treated myself to my first pedicure of the summer.  I waited until after the race because I was spending so much time in running shoes.  Four days after my pedicure, I lost a toe nail!!  Unbelievable!!  So much for waiting!!

As far as training, I have enjoyed flexibility and doing whatever activity I want to do! There is a group bike ride that leaves from a local Tri store on Tuesdays and Thursdays and due to my IM training, I had been unable to check it out, until recently. We have enjoyed this ride multiple times over the past several weeks in addition to some Saturday rides from our house. I have also tried to start more regular yoga and stretching. I have run a few times here and there. I also took my mountain bike out on a local path for a different kind of ride. All in all, I have been staying busy and enjoying different levels of activity from the endurance training I have focused on for the past months. [I guess it is good that I have maintained some regular level of activity…as I write this recap, I am really noticing that our August included lots of eating!!!]

I think it is only natural to think about what’s next? I do not have any races planned for the remainder of the year. I plan to keep active, like I have been the past several weeks since IM recovery, but eventually add some strength training into the regiment. I will get back into the pool soon and try to get in swims, with (SOME) frequency. I have a few races in mind for next year, but am still pondering. I will say that the longest race on the agenda will be a half IM. I plan to have a completely different focus for next year and set some new goals. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy the flexibility and keep having fun with the activities I choose!

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This past Sunday was the second running of Raleigh Ironman 70.3. With the inaugural year being in 2013, there was tremendous excitement and hype amongst our local triathlon community that first year. Both Tony and I participated then and it was a great event. I was proud of the support the community showed the inaugural year and the volunteers were excellent!

70.3 Banner

This year, of course all my focus is on IM Lake Placid, and I did not sign up early on for Raleigh. At some point after I had selected my training plan, we decided that with the timing of Raleigh versus the timing of Lake Placid, Raleigh would be a good event for my training. However, my actual signing up came too late, as it sold out before I could register! So, we decided to volunteer…we selected two different volunteer options. One was an aide station on the run course and the second was a homestay.

Our aide station experience was crazy! We had volunteered at a local sprint tri before, but never a race this large! After spending the first hour helping get the station set up (moving boxes, cutting up oranges, pouring drinks, etc), Tony and I were on “cold sponge” duty during the race. We passed out sponges soaked in iced water to any athlete that wanted one. These were super popular. It was not as hot as the prior year, but with full sun on the run course, they were welcomed refreshment to the athletes. Our shift ran from 8:30 to 1:00 and this time really flew by. It was great supporting the race, our friends racing and seeing it all from a different perspective.

Volunteering on the Run Course

Volunteering on the Run Course

The homestay program is something we stumbled upon on the volunteer website. Essentially, we would be hosting a pro triathlete in our home as they visited Raleigh to participate in the race. We thought this would be an interesting experience, so we signed up. After communication with a volunteer coordinator and an Ironman representative, we were initially paired up with a pro. We were then asked if we could accommodate two athletes as this particular pro was traveling from California with a friend that was an elite age grouper. We agreed and were excited about meeting two great female triathletes.

One of our visitors came in Thursday evening and the second Friday evening. Of course, they were busy preparing for and coordinating the logistics of race day.  However, we were very fortunate to spend time with them over meals and during some down time to  get to know them. They are both dedicated and experienced athletes and it was a treat to have them in our home. They both had great races and we were happy to cheer for them as they passed our aide station. They each achieved personal goals during this race and I was super impressed with their athletic ability. They seemed to both enjoy their experience here in Raleigh!

I am happy that Raleigh has hosted two successful Ironman 70.3 events. It is great for so many people that travel from around the world to this event to see the city that I love and experience some southern hospitality. If anyone is looking for a new race to experience, I urge you to give Raleigh Ironman 70.3 a go!

posted by on Fun, Ironman

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Saturday was a full day with a swim and run on the training plan, as well as, a stop at Trader Joe’s and other errands/chores to get done.   The day flew by and before I realized, it was time for dinner out with friends!  For about a year, we have discussed trying this ”new to us” restaurant in Durham.  The restaurant is called Dame’s Chicken & Waffles and I have read lots of good things about it.  From the name of the restaurant, you can already tell that it was definitely a splurge dinner!

Growing up in the South, there are lots of dishes that I love, but I have to enjoy on rare occasions/in moderation.  One of my favorites has always been my mom’s fried chicken, which I actually have not had in a very long time!  I had never tried chicken and waffles, but I knew it would be a delicious pairing! 

We rode to Durham with our friends and even though there was a long wait for a table, we were fortunate enough to grab seats immediately at the bar, where they also served dinner.  Nicole and I had a delicious version of a strawberry mimosa while we all chatted. 

Enjoying a cocktail before dinner

Enjoying a cocktail before dinner

The order was chicken and waffles all around, just different versions/flavors for each of us.  I had the classic waffle with chicken cutlets and a strawberry “shmear “ on the side (whipped butter combined with strawberries).  My meal was quite tasty and you can see from the portion size that it was generous…even so, I still ate every bite (I guess the swim and run from earlier in the day really worked up my appetite)! 

Yummy Chicken and Waffles!!

Yummy Chicken and Waffles!!

The group thoroughly enjoyed dinner and we all left with full bellies.  We headed back to our friends’ house and hung out there a while until Tony and I called it a night.  We had a bike ride on the plan for the following morning while our friends were hitting a long trail run. 

For Sunday, Tony and I decided to attend a group ride that Inside Out Triathlon Club was hosting.  The ride started in downtown Raleigh and covered part of the Raleigh 70.3 course.  Since we are very familiar with the course and know that it has its fair share of challenges, we thought it would be a good ride.   The ride was a 40-mile ride, which was a bit shorter than the scheduled time on my training plan.  However, we figured it would be a solid pace ride and that would result in a good day of training.

After we headed out of downtown to start the ride, Tony and I worked our way up to try to hang with the front of the pack.  It is hard to stick with the group when the course has stoplights and lots of people that have to get through.  We hung with the front of the pack for the first hour and then we fell into a smaller group of 5-7 that really ended up being a good move.  The ride with the front of the pack had a lot of “rubber-banding”…quick starts/stops which make it harder to fall into a steady pace.  After we formed our smaller group, we were able to maintain a good, steady pace that seemed to work for the small group.  The ride totaled just over 40 miles and our average pace was 18.1.  I was pleased with that for this early season ride. 

All in all it was a good ride and we were glad we decided to join the group for the day.   The morning started a bit cool, but it was sunny and so it really was a pretty day!  I plan to watch out for more group rides that may pair up with some of my training.  It is a good way to meet new people and check out different scenery.  However, I still love being able to walk out of my house and jump on my bike! 

 

posted by on Fun, Ironman

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After a Saturday morning of training followed by an afternoon of “stuff”, ideas for dinner were being driven by my growling stomach!  When I got home a bit after 5:00, Tony and I were discussing dinner ideas which turned into an impromptu sushi night out with our neighbors.  I want to explain a bit about our neighbors.  Usually, neighbors are people that you end up moving in next door to or vice versa.  That happened with this family, initially, but we ended up leaving the neighborhood where we met and moved together to our current neighborhood.  We are so fortunate to have people living next door that you can count on for just about anything…a cup of milk, a dog sitter or someone that you can turn to in the case of an emergency.  We are very lucky to have neighbors that are true friends!

I suggested a restaurant called Shaba Shabu and everyone was game!  We had been there several times and I love sushi with the BOGO option!  Service was slow, but that gave us plenty of time to chat, catch up and share some laughs!

Sushi Night Out - Tony & Lee with 1/4 of the Neighbor Family!

Sushi Night Out – Tony & Lee with 1/4 of the Neighbor Family!

It is funny how someone can live next door and you can go for weeks with just a passing wave while coming and going or a quick chat in the driveway to check in.  It had been too long since we spent some QT with them.  We had a great evening and I was glad all our schedules allowed for this impromptu dinner out!  Plus the sushi was tasty and really hit the spot!!

The plan for Sunday was a bike ride in the forecasted 67 degree weather!  Most of our riding peeps were out of town or unavailable, so Tony and I hit the road together.  We planned to leave for our ride around 11:00, but ended up heading out around 11:45.

Getting ready to ride!

Getting ready to ride!

It felt nice outside, but we quickly realized that it was rather windy.  We had a headwind that was not too fun, but the couple of times we had the tail wind, it was great!  This training ride was planned for 2 hours and 45 minutes and my goal was getting time on the legs and in the saddle, without a real concern for speed.  It has been a couple of months since I have ridden on the road, so I was glad to have the weather cooperate to allow us to get outside without wearing 2-3 layers!  The course is one we have done many times before, but not exactly this way.  It contains some rollers which keeps things interesting.  Despite a few areas with bad pavement, this course is really a good one.  Tony planned the route to estimate a ride time of 2:45 and I will say that he did a great job planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014 - our goal was 2:45.  Pretty good planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014 – our goal was 2:45. Pretty good planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014

I was happy to have had a warm February day to get in the first outdoor ride of 2014.  I was even happier that Tony rode with me and plans to support me on many rides to come!