I’ve Made it a Week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Well I’ve just completed a week worth of training for my “may never happen triathlon” and I have come to a couple conclusions:

1)   All of my bikes are trying to kill me.  The road bike just doesn’t seem like it should hold my “beautimous” body.  But it does!  I still feel like I’m going to topple over and crash into a car resulting in my painful death.  My cruiser bike, on the other hand, is going to kill me via heart attack. Seriously, after riding the road bike for a year, the cruiser takes so much more effort. It only has 7 gears and I am constantly struggling to make it go.  How in the world did I go 15+ miles on this thing before the road bike? I must have been in better shape. The route I biked last night is one of my favorites (7.5 miles through town) and I can normally do it in 35 minutes. I took me 50 minutes last night…and I had to pedal…the…whole…time. I seriously want my road bike back from DJ.  (She is borrowing it for a road race she is doing in a couple weeks…she called me Monday to ask how to shift…LOL I guess I forgot to tell her. Oops!).  And my mountain bike is in desperate need of a tune up…the brakes still don’t work well. I wouldn’t even consider taking it out.  I can see it now…going doing the hill by Lion’s Park and my brakes fail and I run into a car…died.

2)   Running is really overrated. I don’t understand why some people are so happy when they run. They are strange or mental, or both.  How could you like it?  I dread it every time I go out and I’m still stuck on walk 5 minutes, run 1 minute.  It is more like a shuffle than a run but I’m moving faster than walking and according to Eric that is running. I feel good afterwards but getting there isn’t fun.  I managed to walk/run for 3.25 miles.  That is 3.25 miles further than I did last week so yay for me.  But last night I started to get pains in my shins again…ARGH my stupid shins.

3)   Why isn’t the swimming longer. I love swimming. I could swimming for an hour and still get out of the pool and go for a bike ride.  It is by far my favorite sport.  I’m not fast but I could hold my own in a race. It is probably my fastest event out of the three sports.   

So if I were to plan my own triathlon it would be ½ mile swim, 10 mile ride and 2 mile run.  I would walk of course with a little jog…or shuffle thrown in there.

Last night I did my first, what we in the triathlon racing world (LOL!), call a “Brick” work out.  I biked for 7.5 miles and immediately ran (walked and shuffled) 2 miles. My “transition time” was 2 minutes.  I basically dumped my bike in the garage, grabbed the iPod, slapped on my GPS running watch and out the door I went.  There are two transitions in triathlons.  Swim to Bike and Bike to Run.  The bike to run, I have been told, is the most difficult.  I believe it. After dismounting my bike my legs are like Jell-O and to immediately start running is hard.  But I did it.

I wonder if I keep blogging about this training if I would be more inclined to keep it up…probably not.  You have been warned you 4-5 loyal readers…whoever you are (and thank you for reading) that I’ll probably be yammering on about my training.

Training Update:
Week 1: Swim = 1600 yards; Bike = 16.8 miles; Run/Walk/Shuffle = 6 miles

Triathlon Training Day 4

Saturday, September 21, 2013

So I have this crazy idea that I want to complete a sprint triathlon by myself.  A sprint triathlon is usually ¼ mile to ½ mile swim, 10-15 mile bike ride and a 5K (3.1 miles) run.  Swim…not a problem. I swim that regularly, a couple times a week.  Next is the biking.  Well I just did that at the triathlon on Sunday so that doesn’t scare me too much…I just have to make sure it isn’t an extremely hilly course…or I just have to train harder.  Finally is the part I dread the most…the run.  Can I do all three?  Yes!  Can I do them one after another in a short period of time?  That remains to be seen.

So I have started training.  Now I’ll probably stick to this training for a couple weeks. But inevitably I’ll fall off the bandwagon and in no time at all, I’ll probably be sitting on the couch eating cookies and watching TV. I hope not but I’m not very good at this training thing. All I had to train for the last triathlon was biking and I didn’t do a very good job at that. With any training program, there is a tapering period at a week or two before the race where you do less miles.  My tapering period was like 6 weeks before the race and I never got on my bike until race day.  So I’m not good at committing to this but we will see.

My training so far has been 2 swim sessions where I did 700 yards and 900 yards.  And a 9 mile bike ride.  So that is pretty good for the first 4 days of training.  You notice there was no running or even walking yet…right.  Yep.  Running ugh. I need to do that but in due time.  I need to ease into it.  Hopefully I keep it up.  But right now I want cookie dough…So I’m sitting on the couch and possibly will be eating cookie dough soon.  This isn’t a good sign. LOL!

Survival of the Unfittest

Monday, September 16, 2013

Well, well, well.  Yesterday was the One Last Tri triathlon in White Bear Lake.  It was a very early morning as it is almost an hour away from home.  We got there with time to spare.  We ditched the bike in the transition area and walked around the lake. The water was freezing and the outside temp was around 60 degrees. I really feel for Carrie. She didn’t have a wetsuit. She wasn’t the only one but she was definitely in the minority.  They started the long course swimmers first and then the short course.  I had to hurry back to the bike area to get ready for the ride.  By the time I got back to the transition area, some of the long course participants were already on the bike.  That is crazy fast!  Carrie came in just over 13 minutes and we exchanged the timing clip and off I went on my ride.

I was really nervous that I wouldn’t finish or I’d be really slow.  It started out sort of flat but the first hill was a beast.  And it really was hilly and the first 9 miles was mostly up.

It really sucked and I wasn’t prepared.  I was cursing myself for not training more during that first 9 miles. The road was not the best but that is no excuse.  I only passed two people…one was fixing something on the bike and the other was changing a flat.  I was passed by a bunch of people.  When the long course bikers caught up to me at my mile marker 8 (their mile 24) it was a bit discouraging.  Oh and the 68 year old guy that passed me too.  I was on my bike just over an hour.  I got back to dismount area and ran into the transition area on wobbly legs. I gave Eric the timing chip and he was off on his run.  Carrie took some pictures of me with my bike, the missed getting me on it. 

We had some bananas and water and went over to the finish line.  Eric shocked me when he crossed the finish line 31 minutes later. 

He was saying he wasn’t going to make it and he would be dragging his ass over the finish line.  He is such a liar!  So here is our picture after we finished.  We survived!  Our times weren’t the fastest but we did it and we weren’t last! :)  Our overall time was 1:52…I’d like it noted that I did most of the 1:52! LOL! 
Survival of the Unfittest
After the race we headed to Caribou Coffee for some warm drinks…I was so cold!

We got home and left right away for Mankato for a picnic with DJ and kids.  We stopped at Emma Krumbees for raspberry picking.  Overall it was a good day…I’m a little sore now.

2014 MLB Schedule Released...the planning has begun!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So the 2014 MLB baseball schedule was released yesterday at 1pm.  And the planning started at 1:01pm.  It seems crazy to be excited about 2014 but let’s face it the Twins suck this year so interest is waning but hey next year is a new year and they will be better…right?  I hope!  So the schedule has the usually suspects but the thing that interests me the most is the interleague games.  These games happen very rarely and there is a 50/50 chance the games will be played at their ball park.  That means road trip!  So this year was DC and the two Texas stadiums (the two Texas games were not interleague.) 2014 is the year we play the NL West.  I have not been to a baseball stadium out west…the closest I came was Arlington, TX and that is barely over the Mississippi River. Ok so it is 369 miles away but you get what I mean, right? LOL!

I thought wouldn’t it be nice if the Twins could play back-to-back series in LA or SF/Oakland.  But of course the schedule wasn’t that nice to us. Here are my complaints:
  • The Twins play at the Rays in April and it is a mid-week series so…can’t go because work is crazy.
  • The Twins play at the Mariners in July and it is a mid-week series so…can’t go because work is crazy.
  • The Twins play at the Rockies in July…we have to be there in May for Matthew’s graduation and I really don’t want to go to Colorado twice in one year…so no.
  • The Twins play at the Padres and Giants when we are going to be in Colorado for the graduation…this may work.
So my travel brain started thinking.  I really don’t care if I see the Twins play the games or not at the stadiums...I really want to see the stadiums. It would be nice but not required. So in May when we are in Colorado we will go see the Rockies play the Padres.  And if Cuddyer is still with the Rockies, I can wear my Twins shirt of his.  So we can check that stadium off the list.  Now after the graduation is when the Twins play two games in San Diego and 3 games in San Francisco.  I thought might as well check out this crazy multi-city flight.  “The Minneapolis-Denver-San Diego-San Francisco-Minneapolis flight.”  I was thinking this was going to be ridiculously high. I mean round trip flight from here to San Fran is over $500 alone.  Well nope, $583….did my eyes deceive me?  Nope $583. Well that really got me going.  But I thought to myself, we have 2 days to get to San Fran from San Diego. We’ve done San Diego so many times; there really isn’t anything left that we HAVE to see.   So I checked out renting a car in San Diego and driving to San Francisco. I have seen pictures of the drive on the Hwy 1 in California and all I can say is yes, Yes, YES! So this is my tentative plan…hopefully this will work out for us.

May 16-20 – Denver (Rockies Stadium)
May 20-22 – San Diego (Petco)
May 22-23 – on our way to San Francisco
May 23-27 – San Francisco/Oakland (AT&T and Coliseum)

4 Ballparks in 11 days!  If you want a map, I created this cute little map of our plan.  See the little baseballs, planes, the car and the graduation hat? I feel so clever.

Back to Work

Monday, September 9, 2013

So our fun in the sun is over. :(  It is so hard to get back to work!

We started the long road home on Friday.  We stopped in Montgomery, AL to see the capitol building.  I pointed out to Eric all the important places from my last unfortunate trip to Montgomery.  It was really emotional for me to go back there after the dump truck incident in 2011.  The capitol is very lovely.  We also so the First White House of the Confederacy.  I think the town has some charm to it.  Here is the two buildings: 
Alabama State Capitol

First White House of the Confederacy
After Montgomery we continued north to Birmingham (which also looks like a cute city) and eventually made our way to Nashville, TN.  Again we drove through the downtown area to see the capitol building, again very nice building.  Downtown Nashville is very charming too. I definitely want to come back here some day and show Eric around.  I was in Nashville when I was younger.  I remember it very vividly.  I won 2 life sized penguin stuffed animals on the milk can toss.  There is a pictures somewhere with me smiling with my two huge penguins and dad in the background with the trunk of the car open and he has his hand on his chin trying to figure out where he was going to put them. LOL!  Memories!  Here is a picture of Tennessee capitol:
Tennessee State Capitol
We drove through Kentucky and made our way to Mount Vernon, IL, a small town with 3 or 4 major interstates intersecting there.  Needless to say there are tons of hotels, gas stations and restaurants off one exit.  It is kind of a crazy place.

Saturday morning we started our last leg of the journey home.  We drove through St. Louis which is a construction nightmare.  I thought the Twin Cities were bad but St. Louis far worse.  Three interstates cross the Mississippi on one bridge and they reduced that bridge to one lane.  Yikes!  Thankfully I had us go around it through downtown St. Louis.  The rest of the journey home was uneventful…except when we ran into the Iowa Hawkeye fans leaving their game.  I never thought I’d run in to traffic in the middle of nowhere in Iowa!

We got home around 8pm. Swirl was very pissed at us.  He wouldn’t come out from under the bed.  And when he did finally make an appearance he meowed and meowed….”how dare you leave me for 10 days, you are going to pay”…is probably what he was saying.  He of course peed next to litter box.  Such a spiteful cat!  He warmed up by Sunday morning and was constantly at our side.  He doesn’t hold a grudge nearly as long as he did in his younger years…he is, after all, a senior citizen!

We spent all day yesterday relaxing. We went out to fill gas and get a car wash. The love bugs are still on there.  Stupid flies!  We also made a quick trip to the apple farm for some apples. Yum! 

It was a good trip but I’m glad to be home.

Planes, Lighthouse and Beach

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We departed the swamps of Louisiana and headed for sunny Florida.  Granted we only went as far as Pensacola but still it is Florida!  We went to the Naval Air Station to see the National Museum of Naval Aviation. It was quite an impressive display of lots of airplanes used by the navy and marines.  Dating back to WWI through Vietnam and probably even sooner than that.  We saw Marine One (the helicopter that the president flies in).  We got to see what the aircraft carrier looks and feels like when running drills.  Pensacola is also home of the Blue Angels so their planes are there and we even got to go inside an old one.  Just a really awesome display. We spent over 2 hours! 

After a light lunch we headed to the Lighthouse. 177 steps were a lot.  It seems like it was harder this time to climb up then the last time.  I guess I’m really out of shape! LOL! It was a lot hotter too.  Unfortunately, they have had a lot of rain so the water wasn’t the beautiful emerald color it was last time…it was brown :( See…

We wound our way back to Orange Beach, AL for the night.  Our room is very nice, balcony with a waterfront view but I wasn’t upgraded like last time.  So we just have standard queen beds with no microwave or fridge.  This is the first hotel on the trip that we didn’t get those and it is the most expensive…go figure!  The beach is great…this is a white sugar sand beach.  We took a dip in the gulf, the water is really warm! We went to a local pizza joint for dinner and of course played some mini golf.  We like our mini golf. We both won free game tokens which we used this evening. 

Today we spent the entire day either on the beach or by the pool.  It was such a beautiful day and the waves were great.  So much fun. I don’t think I got burned, maybe a little on my face. But my freckles really came out!  My face is very brown…not tan…stupid freckles.  We ventured out in the middle of the day to a local cheesecake place, Hope’s Cheesecake Incorporated.  Cheesecake Factory step aside, this place has you beat!  We got the red velvet and Twix.  The red velvet was good but the Twix was beyond delicious.  Best cheesecake ever.  After a day of swimming we went to the Hurricane Grill and Wings.  Meh.  My steak was very peppery…if you know me that means trouble.  My mouth is still tingling.  And it really wasn’t that great.  I wasn’t impressed with this place.  Thankfully, I had a slice of Twix Cheesecake waiting for me at the hotel.  We used our free mini golf games and played the “harder course” and both of us finished under par (we tied, I won rock, paper, scissors so I win!)  

Well I guess this means our vacation is technically over.  Tomorrow we started the 20 hour drive back home.  I’m ready to get home and see what Swirl has been up to.  I’m sure we will be greeted with pee next to the litter box and a pissed off cat who will punish us for a few days.  To the “Vet Specialist” who said that cats are not spiteful obviously never met Swirl or any other normal cat.


The Juice Box and the Swamp

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Yesterday was a great day.  We took Mary Linda to a Twins/Houston Game at Minute Maid Park (aka Juice Box).  One of the nicest features of the Juice Box is AC.  Yes!  It was almost 100 degrees outside but it was really cool inside.  And it didn’t really feel like you were inside because the left/center field wall is all glass.  So cool!  I actually was freezing! Crazy!  The place was dead. There wasn’t anybody really around us and we were sitting in sweet seats!  And it seems like more Twins fans were there than Astros fans.  The Twins played terrible and somehow managed to tie the game at 6.  ON the top of the 9th we hit a home run and that was all she wrote…10-6 final, Twins win!  Mary Linda wasn’t so happy but that’s ok…she was happy for us.  It was a really long game, almost 4 hours! 


After the game, in the parking lot we ran into our South Dakota couple again.  We are both planning a west coast swing next year, hopefully it works out!

For dinner we went to a local Mexican restaurant Chuly’s.  It was delicious. We came home and relaxed the rest of the evening. 

This morning we bid adieu to Mary Linda, Sky and Houston.  It was a great couple of days and it was so nice to see Mary Linda and Sky again.  We headed east on I-10 for Louisiana…my goodness Texas is really a wide state. The last exit was like 880 or something like that.  880 miles across!!!   We entered Louisiana and saw miles of swamp land.  We stopped in Baton Rouge to see the state capitol and LSU campus.  Not impressed with either.  We made our further across the state to Mandeville.  There is a state park here with an awesome board walk with alligators…well Hurricane Isaac took the boardwalk with it so there was no boardwalk…no alligators. :(   We saw a few deer and fawns with spots…aw!!! There is another park close by with a boardwalk. We didn’t see any alligators but we saw plenty of turtles. :)

That is about it from here.  Tomorrow we head to the beach…yay!!!


I’m a Hogg

Monday, September 2, 2013

So today we had two strikes but thankfully not three.  So we started out the morning going to the Bayou Bend Gardens on the Ima Hogg Estate. Yep…Ima Hogg. LOL!  What horrible parents!  Anyways the place was closed until 1pm.  Shucks…strike one!

Next up was the JP Morgan Chase Tower.  Apparently you can go up to the 60th floor observatory…but not on weekends and holidays…are you kidding me?  The nice security guard said that it happens all weekend….then why are you not open???  ARGH…strike two.

Well disappointed we went to the next stop, the Sculpture Garden.  I told Eric to stand next to a horse sculpture and the security guard got all mad at us and yelled at us.  Then he followed us the rest of our time there…seriously he FOLLOWED US!  We are not children…you tell us don’t touch…we don’t touch again! Well that wasn't strike three but it was sure weird.

Next up was Hermann Park.  I really like Hermann Park because there are fountains, flowers and lots of benches under shady trees.  There is a sculpture of Sam Houston on a horse at the beginning of the park.  They really like Sam Houston here, I don’t know why?  There is a reflecting pool with a mini obelisk at the end similar to Washington DC. We walked through the Japanese gardens which were nice even if everything is past bloom.  Here are a few pictures:

It was so stinking hot we went to the Central Market for lunch to cool off. I had a great sandwich, it was delicious.  The Central Market is also a grocery store and I found Malteasers!  Yes!

We made our way back to Ima Hogg’s gardens.  It was beautiful.  It was worth the $5 fee. I really would like to come back in March and April when all the flowers are in bloom.  There really wasn’t many blooming flowers in this heat.  Here are some of the beautiful gardens.

So who was Ima Hogg?  She was born into a somewhat wealthy family. Her father was governor of Texas and had purchased a huge ranch. Did he know that it was on an oil goldmine?  Don’t know but 20 or so years after his death oil was discovered and Ima became instantly rich and instead of spending it foolishly she gave a lot of it the city of Houston.  And the gardens were one of the gifts. She never got married and lived until she was 93.  She did well for herself considering she had a horrible name.

It was a great day even if was so hot.  We did well considering we are cold weather Minnesotans.


Chili on a Hot Summer Day

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Yesterday was kind of an uneventful day.  We drove from Arlington to Houston.  We stopped for gas in Huntsville and this was the sign...

I'm not sure if it is a joke but it was over 100 degrees and I didn't need help warming up.

We got Mary Linda's house around 2:30 and hang out for a while. We went to a local pizza place that was delicious.  And a stop at Trader Joe's.  This one is super cool because they renovated an old theater but they had to keep the theater look.

After Trader Joe's we went to Barnes and Noble for a travel book for me (big surprise) and a DVD for Eric (even a bigger surprise). LOL!  

Not sure what is on the schedule for today.