Sunday, March 28, 2010

What a weekend!

I got back into the swing of my workouts again. It was nice to have things settle back into a good pattern. El Esposo is off in Chile for work and he has experienced aftershocks from the big earthquake multiple times during each day. I am sure that it is unsettling but at least the plates are not trapping all of that energy for another massive quake. He said that the destruction is incredible. The airport in Santiago is a series of tents set up in the parking lot. That's it, just tents! Roads are out due to collapsed bridges. The sheet rock is falling off the walls in his 4 star hotel and they only have water for one hour a day. There are a lot of the buildings that are in rubble. Sadly, we do not here about any of this on the news. Chile has gone under recognized in the news. The largest and strongest earthquake to be recorded and with many deaths due to collapsed buildings and tsunamis on the coast has left the minds of many Americans as the news and media still focus on Haiti. Please pray for the people of Chile as they work to get their lives and their country back in order.

On Friday after work I picked up the kid from the bus stop and drove him straight to the movie theater. I was in the mood for a movie. He was in the mood to go do something else so he was not super excited. We saw How to Train Your Dragon. I enjoyed it. Is it as good as UP!? Probably not, but it was good without delving into fart jokes that kids enjoy in the Shrek movies. What does surprise me is that I have seen lots of movie merchandising at the stores and I just don't think that it is a good idea to get a toddler a bedspread with menacing dragons on it. Sounds like a good recipe for nightmares.

After raking the front lawn and picking the kid up from swim practice we watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Wow! Are those some stubborn lunch ladies or what? I was appalled that the kids wanted to eat the "nuggets" that Jamie made out of a chicken carcass, fat, and left overs. I am not sure if that was more shocking OR the classroom of kids who could not identify what a tomato was. The amount of good food and untouched fruit that those kids were throwing away was shameful. At least Jamie was allowed to stay on for another week or two to see how his meals work out at the school. I will be watching this show again this week.

Here is a picture of Jamie making those Nasty Nuggets for the kids. He is pushing the gunk through a mesh strainer to separate any bones chips that might still be in the mix. YUCK!

On Saturday morning I took 7 of my TNT tri group out to Chappell Hill, TX for a hilly bike ride. Little did I know, but hundreds of other cyclists were bearing down on tiny little Chappell Hill for an organized MS-150 training ride. I usually do not like riding with these people because they are sketchy on their bike handling skills and they are wheel suckers. We were only set to do 24 miles and I hoped that our route would break off of the huge pack. We divided into two groups of 4 and assigned buddies if things got strung out in the packs. I hung with Matt and kept him challenged up at the front. We were able to get out in front of some of the huge riding packs and we booked it to the first turn 7 miles up the road. This was good because we did not have any wheel suckers and there were some stretches of road where the next person was 100 yds up and we could stay down in the aerobars and jam the hills. We waited at the corner for Lauren and Amy to roll up and then we took the turn that everyone else was taking.

I was over dressed! The leg warmers came off after 7 miles.

At least it was for only 3 miles but there were some big hills and Matt and I got trapped behind some packs that were all over the road. I caught a good look up the road and the hill and saw it was clear and swung around into the oncoming lane to humped it to the front of the pack. I passed some cheezer dude who had music blaring out of speakers somewhere on his bike and the dude grabbed onto my back wheel and stuck like glue. CRAP. NOOOOO! I don't want to hear your Jimmy Buffet music! Get off my back wheel!!! All I could hear the rest of the way up the hill was that damn music. At the top I kicked up the gears and took off and heard the music start to fade away. I took a quick look over my shoulder and saw that Matt was still there. Matt told me the music dork was sticking like glue because he was enjoying the view. Blech! We got to the corner and took the right turn and pulled over to wait for Lauren and Amy while everyone else took the left turn.

Lauren, Amy, and Matt standing in the Texas Bluebonnets.

We had the shoulder all to ourselves to work against the wind and the chip-seal on the road surface as we pushed over some big rollers. 3 miles up the road we saw David, our SAG driver and he gave me an update about where the other group of 4 was. I was comfortable hanging with the first group because the second group was made up of 3 alumni members who have done this route before and only one new TNT participant. Lauren and Amy pulled up and we pedaled on down the road to look for a good patch of bluebonnets to get some photos. As we were finishing photos, Jill and Ana rolled up and we got their picture as well. The bluebonnets were not out last weekend like this and they are only going to get thicker and more colorful in the next week!

We were headed back in to Chappell Hill and headed straight into the wind. We had 4 humbling hills ahead of us and I knew we might spread out. Matt hung with me and I don't think that he ever got more than 100 yards behind me. We worked the hill and the headwinds. The last hill into town in a soul crusher. We had to work to gain speed on the last downhill and then we had speeds in the single digits and the impending feeling that you might just bust a lung before you get to the first intersection at the top of the hill. From the intersection, I spun my way back to the car and Matt was not far behind me. After a bathroom break, Lauren and Amy were rolling up as well. Everyone was back to the cars in less than two hours so in my eyes, the ride was a success.

Jill and Ana with their bikes.

We got back to town and unloaded bikes and headed home to get cleaned up for our TEAM Crawfish Boil put on by Coach Dan who runs the swim workouts for me. The turnout was fantastic! There was 400 lbs. of crawfish and I think it was almost all gone at the end of the event. My kid had fun at the craps table and made out like a bandit. Yes, I am a bad parent and let my 11 year-old gamble. He got raffle tickets for his winnings and then proceeded to win a 2-lap thrill ride in either a BMW or a NASCAR at a local racing track. He was very excited. I ate a big foil roasting pan full of crawfish so eating diner was not high on my list. I proceeded to lounge on the sofa and watch the House Marathon on the Bravo Channel last night.

This morning I was up early again and I met Greyhound at Memorial Park at 6:15 for a long run. My coach had given me a 3-hour run but Greyhound was having none of that. We took off into the dark and the glow of the street lamps at the park on a good warm-up pace. We needed to warm up because the temp was around 55 degrees. Fine for shorts, but there was no way I was leaving my long-sleeve shirt at the car. As we started heading west out of the park we had seen another pair that was on a trail that was merging into our route. We had stayed ahead of them for quite some time but when we pulled over to walk so Greyhound could take his jacket off and tie it around his waist, the pair passed us. We took off again and passed them up but it
seemed that they were hanging with us. It was mildly annoying because the guy was talking his head off. Greyhound and I were keeping our pieholes shut and I could tell that Greyhound was picking up the pace so that we could drop them. Every corner we took, they were not far behind because we could hear his jabbering. We even cut across the street and dodged into a residential area, but before long I could hear Mr. Motormouth. Greyhound was taking it up a notch and I was trailing 5 or 6 strides behind him and wondering when we would be able to stop and get a gel because we were now about 45 minutes into the run. We seemed to loose the pair when we jumped back out of the residential area, raced back across the street and ran into River Oaks. As we took the first left once we got into the neighborhood we checked over our shoulders and we did not see them. It was Hammer Gel time! Greyhound said he put on the surge to loose them. Thankfully, our pace got back to a non-surge pace. We ran past all the big mansions and gated driveways of all the big movers and shakers in Houston and had the streets all to ourselves. We had a group of fast guys pass us around mile 7 but then they pulled up and took a water break near a garden that has a spigot. As we continued out of River Oaks, over the bayou and started to head back to the east end of the park. A little after mile 8, two of the fast guys passed us again and Greyhound said he was going to push the pace for the next mile until we got back to the park. I tried to hang with him at first but then I drifted back about 30 feet and I was fine with that. We ran across the street to get on the trail that led into the park and I watched Greyhound pull away on the last 400 meters before we joined everyone else that was running the trail that goes around the golf course. Once we got on the loop we did a nice easy 3/4 of a mile back to where we had parked and where there was an area to stretch.

We did not wear our heart rate monitors and Greyhound only turned on his Garmin for mileage. We got 10 mile done in just about 90 minutes and that included four walking breaks for gels, jackets, and water. Not bad. The thought of running another 90 minutes on my own was not a happy thought. I was tired so I headed home, took a shower and crawled back into bed and slept for another 90 minutes.

This afternoon, the kid had a 2-hour swim clinic with Olympic medalist, Margaret Hoelzer. He enjoyed it a lot and said that they did relays at the end and Margaret only beat him by half a body length. I did not want to tell him that she probably was not swimming very hard. I cannot wait to unleash this kid on a sprint tri later this year or next year and see what kind of swim time he cracks out. He is faster than me now and mom is pretty proud of that.

We finished up the day by going back to Memorial Park for the Bayou City Arts Festival. There were lots of neat things to see and lots of people watching to be done. There were artists from all over the U.S. with paintings, photography, sculpture, woodwork, blown glass, jewelry, mixed media work, textiles, leather work, and even hand made musical instruments. There were tents for wine tasting and an area that had Asian, Greek, Italian, French, Cajun, Indian, and Mexican food to eat. The only thing that I saw that I would have bought was a beautiful Asian watercolor painting of koi on pale blue silk. However, I did not have $450 on hand so I passed on it.

So, I got some good training in and had some other fun as well this weekend. We are hoping that El Esposo gets to come home from Chile for Easter and so we can celebrate his birthday that took place last week. I am hoping that we can get away after TNT training to go out to Canyon Lake to see my Dad and Val for Easter.

Have a great week!



Christi said...

The bluebonnets look awesome! That is one thing I really miss about Texas. I love to see them in Spring!

Congrats on the great workouts over the weekend! You are an animal.

Congrats to your son! He is a speedy!

Regina said...

OMG, Jimmy Buffet? Kill me now. That would be awful. I can't believe I missed the Jamie Oliver thing, I had wanted to see it. I'll have to catch it next time. I am coveting your TNT race jerseys!

How cool for your son to meet an Olypian!

Rainmaker said...

Wow, the Jamie stuff is pretty interesting - and also good to hear he's trying to make a difference. Hopefully more awareness will do that.