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Training Update

Well it has been a month since the injury at the end of February and as I start the last month before the half marathon I have finally come to the conclusion that I doubt i will be able to run the full half marathon. I am barely back running as it is right now.

It has been a long process for the last month as I kept my brain in check without falling apart again. I have been trying not to just give up entirely and keep pushing forward with the running. I had hoped to be running solidly by now but unfortunately 2km at the moment is the longest stretch I have managed (though I am going for 2.5km tomorrow). The running is slow, but it is definitely happening. Slow is better than not at all right?

So I have finally come to the conclusion that although I won’t be able to run the whole way, I am going to try and run as much as possible. I am already $120 in the hole for this half marathon and I am not going to waste that, so if I have to walk some of it, I have to walk, so be it. I am not giving up! I may not be able to run but I am going to give it a crack anyway.

I also have really decided that maybe a half marathon is a bit far for me. I still love my 5ks, I love doing a 10k as my real challenge, so maybe that is as far as I push it? Is a half marathon just that little bit to far for me? I don’t really know and only time can tell but for the immediate future, I will stick to 5k runs!

Tomorrow I run again (after giving today as a break day in between training) and will go for a 2.5km run with a 500m walk and then another 2km run back. That should hopefully do ok enough that on Saturday I can try for a full 5km. If that works and I don’t feel the pain too much, then I can start adding back in the length to the run. Who knows, maybe I can run at least half of the distance in one stretch? Time will tell.

Fun in a Tube

On Monday I got the great experience of indoor Skydiving down at iFly in Tukwila. It was something I had wanted to do again after experiencing it for the first time in New Zealand and at least once more before my goal of jumping out of a plane later this year. With a lovely discount through HowaboutWe a new website for discounted “dates”, why the hell not (big props to Heidi for finding it!).

We got two 1 minute flights each and it was a different experience compared to the outdoor one I experienced in NZ. The biggest difference other than indoor/outdoor was the fact that in NZ the fan was below you and pushed the air up, where as at iFly the fan was above you and circulated the air down through ducting to then below upwards from there. How it all worked or which one was better, I have no idea. What it meant was that it was not as frightening to think that below this flimsy mesh net was a giant cicrulating blade that would cut me in half at any time. It was still a bit nerve racking the way they had you entering the slip stream and I think that freaked me out a bit more than I thought. If you check out the videos you can see I look pretty nervous. But once in the stream, well judge for yourself

From Life in Seattle 2014

For what we paid ($20 for the two of us after the $50 joining credit came off) it was a pretty decent bargain! Now of course what you really want to see now is the videos.. well here are my two flights and the one the instructor did for us as a demo

Glutton for Punishment

One of my goals for 2014 on the fitness side of things is to run a half marathon. Thinking it would be smart to find one around here (rather than have to travel halfway across the country like I did for the Marine Corp 10K), there was a number of options I could run. The two big ones in Seattle are the Seattle Half Marathon in the first weekend of December and the Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon which is generally around late May/June. Now let’s look at those dates. December in Seattle, freezing cold temperatures, possibility of rain.. let me think for a second…. PASS! May/June the weather would be much better. Looking at the course (since both are exactly the same apparently) it is fairly hilly so if I was going to run it, I would definitely be doing the Rock n Roll since it would be in better weather (I hope).

But The Seattle course has some pretty decent inclines in it, and if I am going to run double the longest distance I have ever done, I would prefer it to be fairly easy. Nice and flat like the Gold Coast Marathon would of been nice, but can’t have that. So I started to ask around and get opinions from others about what a good run was. In the end I took some advice and just ran with it. I decided to do the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. What I didn’t expect to see when I decided to do it was the date.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon & associated events (Half Marathon & 8K) are both on the first weekend of May (may 4th to be exact) so that means I have about 3 months to train for this. It scares the crap out of me that I now have to REALLY start training to get this done. It will not be easy and I should have just enough time to start increasing my runs each week by an extra km up to the 21.1km mark. I can’t believe how soon it is but will have to live with that decision. It will be a much easier course compared to the Seattle courses:

Vancouver Half Marathon Course Map - Image stolen from BMO Vancouver Marathon Site

Vancouver Half Marathon Course Map – Image stolen from BMO Vancouver Marathon Site

I am looking forward to a new challenge but it is going to be not that easy. I need to really get my butt in gear and get training and think smart about this. This is not some little 5k where I can just shrug it off if my time is not so great. This is going to require discipline, dedication and some good old luck to keep myself injury free between now and may as the entry fee is paid for ($130!) and since I am paying for a weekend up in Vancouver as well (though thankfully I can drive up and the accommodation is already booked, but doesn’t need to be prepaid) I kind of need to be smart about it.

I don’t know what times or anything to aim for and frankly I will be happy with just finishing. This won’t be an easy challenge, but I guess there is no turning back right now, at least i know I am a glutton for punishment!

Still Alive

It has been a busy week back at work so not much to say really. Long hours, stress & the usual commute hassles really means life is back to normal.

I have already started working on one of my goals for the year but will keep details under my hat for the moment. I did get a fss comments and emails about one of the goals and all I will say is I don’t want to be a Batchelor forever.

Might have an interesting tale soon about dealing with the US health insurance system, last time was a hassle, could be happening again. Will wait & see.

Pretty much life is back to boring normality. YAY?

Looking Back & Looking Forward – Goals in 2013 & 2014

Each year I set myself goals for the year ahead. These are not “resolutions” as that is just a way of saying “i should do this” where as a goal to me has an end and feels more like an achievement. I tend to set two different kinds of goals, I have my fitness goals and I have my travel goals. In 2013 my travel goals and my fitness goals were fairly ambitious (at least to me). Some people may not think so but well, they are my goals anyway.

So for 2013 I set my goals and to be honest I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. I didn’t complete all my travel goals but i did complete everything else.

So for my Travel Goals I did requalify for Virgin Australia gold, and managed to do that after 2 mileage runs and a trip back to Australia. I did get to spend a good amount of time at OshKosh and I am extremely happy with that week off in July. A truly happy and amazing experience.

Then there was the goal to explore more of my own new home state. I did this in two parts with a trip out to Yakima with Dan & Shawna to go cherry picking and also the last minute (like on Monday) trip on the ferry to the Kitsap Peninsula. I did also drive down to Portland for a weekend back in May but that doesn’t count cause it is technically another state :P But it was fun none the less. The only Travel goal I didn’t complete was to use up the remainder of my Qantas points. I had been banking them for something I have planned this year hopefully but time will tell.

I did however complete all my fitness goals for 2014. I had set myself the goals of competing in two 5ks here in Seattle, the 10k at the Marine Corp Marathon and also the Triathlon. All were completed successfully and I was impressed with my times for each and every single one of them.

My two 5ks in Seattle:

Then there is the Triathlon

And the 10K for the Marine Corp Marathon

But what about my goals for 2014? Well that is pretty simple, but I am going to break it down to 3 parts this year Personal, Fitness & Travel.

My Travel goals for 2014 are:

* Return to Japan
* Visit Maho Beach
* Singapore Suites
* Lufthansa First Class

Ambitious for the last one, but I have enough points to do it, it is just going to be a matter of timing.

My Fitness Goals for 2014 is just one:

* Half Marathon

It’s a big one, and I am sure I can do it, but anything else will just pail in comparison. Essentially doubling my longest ever run and more will be nuts, it is going to take a lot of preparation for it, but I am in for a challenge. Not sure which one I am going to do yet (depends where I am I guess) but I will do it!

My Personal goals for 2014 are where what would normally been mixed into one of the other two categories I want to do this to challenge myself some more I guess. These goals are also something that I think if I put them out there it makes me more accountable. So my personal goals for 2014 are:

* Jump out of a plane
* Go on at least 1 date
* Get my weight back to pre USA levels and keep it there!

The first one is pretty crazy but I have been working towards it. I don’t really want to do it as a tandem but I will do what I have to do. I would rather do it as a Free Fall and deploy my own chute (my friend Dan has done it that way) but I will take it anyway I can. The other two are definately something I wouldn’t normally put out there but I need to make myself accountable for it!

So there you have it my goals for this year are out there, I can’t go back on it now!

Looking Back at 2013 – Fun & Memories – Part 2

I ran through my fun memories of the first half of 2013 in this post and here are the last half:

July

In July I had a chance to go tripping in summer with my friends Shawna & Dan as they showed me a little bit of their home. I had a blast as we went Cherry picking and I got to see parts of Washington I had not seen. I got to use the Truck for its intended purpose of hauling stuff around. I Also had another dream fulfilled when I got to step foot in OshKosh for the EAA Airventure.

From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From AirVenture 2013

August

In August while I was in OshKosh I got the chance to accompany a group of Vietnam Veterans on an Honor Flight to Washington DC. Words can not express exactly how amazing this day was and how many memories I have from it. Being the month of my Birthday there was lots of celebrations and a few friends came to visit. Another memorable experience was getting to see my parents as they were stopping in Vancouver for a brief visit. It was a great weekend (though only brief) and getting to spend more than 3 hours with my family was a memory I will not forget.

From EAA Honor Flight
From EAA Honor Flight
From Fiona's Visit
From Fiona's Visit
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver

September

September saw my friend Yena come over to visit, (though she was here for the last couple of days of August as well but he, it counts) and getting to spend Labor Day weekend with a great friend and showing her my new home town and having some old school shenanigans like old times was great (like licking a GE90 to win a $20 bet). A memory I will not soon forget. September was also the month I had trained long and hard for. I competed in my first Triathlon, a Super Sprint distance event in Woodinville for the “Cottage Lake Tri” and I did so much better than I expected.

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

October

Work got really busy towards the end of September but for most of October I actually spent my time in New Zealand, a good portion of the month actually. I was down there for training and the AOT Megafamil. I probably had what I think was my best famil ever and I enjoyed every minute of it. I met some amazing people, had a blast of a time and truly made friends who I hope to keep in touch with for quite some time. I also did some pretty stupid things, like Jump off a building or go on a giant canyon swing (without the canyon though) all to combat a fear. After getting back from New Zealand I jetted back east for a couple of days to Run my 2nd 10K race ever. I ran the Marine Corp Marathon 10K, something I had wanted to do for quite some time. If and when I ever get up to a full marathon, I want that race to be there as it felt like one of most amazing events I have seen.

From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From Marine Corp Marathon 10K
From Marine Corp Marathon 10K

November & December

November was a tough month, No real travel, nothing happening really. There was thanksgiving which I spent at home but it was all work. I needed to get back to work after spending so much time off. I did manage to skip out to Kansas City for the start of December for my $100 challenge which I won and then the snowpocalypse happened as well towards the end of month. A pretty cool thing to experience for the second time in a year

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

It has been a year of ups and downs, both good and bad, but I have had a blast and have some memories that will last a life time. To my friends old & new who I have shared moments with this year, Thank you for making this year truly special.

Happy Happy!!!!

A week full of hard training and sacrifice paid off really well. I was super nervous last night when I showed up at Cottage Lake to pick up my race packet, and I explored a little to scope out the scene for this morning. I was especially nervous about the swim but when I saw the buoys out in the water, I calmed down a little because it didn’t look to far. I signed my life away, picked up my stuff and headed on home to set up my gear and get myself some sleep.

From Seattle Life 2013

Fast forward to this morning after I barely slept and in the end, I just packed it all up and headed on out to Cottage Lake. It wasn’t the best weather, definitely the usual Seattle grey, however I wasn’t to worried, as long as it didn’t pour down, I would be fine. I spent most of the time setting up my gear, walking around scoping things out and trying to adjust to the cold cold water. The lake was DAMN cold and even a pre race quick dunk didn’t help, I think it just made me even more colder.

From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

I had scored a pretty good space for transition, my race number was 24 and I wondered what it meant from the start. However what it meant was that I was in the first Wave behind the elites (aka crazy people who do two tris back to back), so my race number had me on the first rack for the transition area inside the entry!! However I didn’t quite score the ideal spot that was nabbed by someone else but I was still pretty happy with what I had. Race time came about and the nerves kicked in. When the elites hit the water, we were less than 60 seconds behind them. Nervous as hell when they gave the 10 second warning, I had a little bit of a thought of “what the hell am I doing” and then “Bang” off we go. I waited back a few seconds to let the rest of my wave hit the water ahead of me, and then I hit the water, starting my first ever Triathlon.

The swim was just wierd. I had to stop at one point because the water was really cold. But i sucked it up and kept pushing. The sensation of swimming in the lake was really weird as at times I had fish swimming against me, or some seaweed below me. Just random. When I turned the second buoy heading into the final portion back to the start I was passed by the lead elements of the wave behind me. O dear! I got out of the water when I reached the end and got moving quickly. Focusing on transition and as soon as I got my stuff, I threw my stuff on and got on that bike. The swim went well and I figured I had done about 12 mins or so and my transition though slower than I had trained for (if you call it training) was not to bad.

The ride was much better than I expected and although there was a hill at the back of the course and had me in the lowest of low gears on my bike, at a couple of points I was in the highest gears struggling to get more speed had it been possible. I was FLYING at a couple of points. The two laps just flew by and before I knew it I was pulling off. During the ride I was passed several times by lots of different people. I was lapped by an elite rider about 1km out of transition, he was on his 2nd lap of his bike while I had barely started. Those guys are freaking NUTSO! I passed a number of people and they passed me back a few seconds later. I was contending with an older guy from the wave behind me who had saddle bags on the side of his bike. That was shameful I swear, getting beaten by a guy on a commuting bike!

When I was out riding my first lap I rode past a checkpoint and thought I heard someone say my name. Not really sure if I saw anyone or anything really, I just kept on riding and put it out of my mind. When I got off the bike though and hit the run, I saw Shanwa so I knew I had friends around! My Bike to Run transition wasn’t as smooth as it could of been but I shoved my wet feet in my shoes and kept on moving, knowing that now was my time to move. Move I DID! I started passing people left and right and knew I had it in the bag. When I looked at my watch (which I hadn’t till tht point), I was SHOCKED. I was WAY ahead of the time I expected and pushed even harder, knowing I could possibly make a really good time.

The run went flawless and as I turned the final corner to the end I saw my friends, threw them a wave and focused again. It was then over the line and done!!!

From Seattle Life 2013

The post race set up was great, and whoever’s idea it was to have Peanut Butter and Honey sandwhiches for the recovery food choices deserves a freaking medal. It was epic and just what I needed. Caught up with my friends for a bit and packed up my stuff and headed off, medal and some swag in hand.

From Seattle Life 2013

Looking back at the Tri Now, I am ecstatic with my time and when I got my Final Results this afternoon I was even more happy. I ranked 115th out of 220 overall. Pretty good if you ask me for my first Triathlon. Considering just over 2 years ago I had never even ridden a bike, I couldn’t be happier. But breaking down the stats is where you see some goodness. Although my swim was nothing special, my Bike was 35 minutes, a solid 10 minutes FASTER than anything I had done before. Next up the Run stat just made me happy. I placed 46th overall in the Run Leg, 4th in my Age group! With a time a few seconds shy of 13 minutes, that puts me in 5k race pace.

Would I do a try again? Right now… no. I am going to rest up and slack off before I pass out. Next year? well, time will tell. I think a mixture of adrenalin, stupidity and just downright force of will got me through this race, as I almost gave up in the swim. Part of me thinks that I could definitely do it again, just not sure if I will.

Almost there….

The final training for the Triathlon is completed!!! I did my final swim session tonight after solid daily swims since Monday. My arms are killing me but meh.. the things you do. The funny thing is I have had less people in the Gym pool (a real pool mind you) than at the apartment pool. Not having to dodge children, having marked lanes and everything was like shear bliss. It was even heated to a reasonable temperature. What is this world coming to!! Funny thing was even though there was a lifeguard on duty, they had no idea. I asked a few different staff how long the pool was and none of them had any idea. One of them said and I quote “It’s a pool”. Wow… smart! With tonight though that ends my time of ripping off Golds Gym in Woodinville. thanks guys.. its been grand! The gym was good, had great equipment and facilities but it was just a factory for workouts really. To big, filled with meatheads and didn’t at all feel personal, add on the fact that it wasn’t 24 hours. Not my kind of gym.

With the big day now approaching, tomorrow i taper with only a 10k ride on the exercise bikes at the apartment gym in the morning and tomorrow night is packet pick up ready for race day. I will get a chance to scope out the transition area and also scope out the ride course (as I forgot to do that on Monday). For anyone wanting to come support me on Saturday or to just come laugh heres some information for you all.

The Triathlon is based at Cottage Lake in Woodinville which is here. Transition is located in the park, while the swim will be in the lake itself. The ride and run in the local area based out of the park. The race maps can all be found here.

On Saturday morning the transition area opens up at 630am and I should be there between 630am and 7am but only competitors are allowed in there. I won’t have my phone on me more than likely (As theres no secure facilities) but the whole area should be open enough if you want to see me. I should be at the swim starting area around 745am and my wave hits the water at exactly 8:01am. I will be marked with my race number (24) so if you need to see me, just look for the number. I expect to take about 90 mins all up for all 3 legs and transitions so should finish somewhere between 8 and 9am I hope. where in that time I have no idea. The only thing I ask is if you come see me… Take heaps of photos for me!!

If you want to try and spot me easily just look for me in my tri suit which looks exactly like the one I mentioned in a previous post. It won’t look pretty but it will do the job, during the run though I will have on a white tank top but you should be able to see my race number pretty easily then. Right now it’s time to start to rest a little, get at least SOME sleep before the big day Saturday. After the race on Saturday, I swear I am not getting in the water to do laps again for at LEAST a good 12 months… hopefully.

Labor Day Weekend 2013 – Part 2: Training

Since Yena left me on Saturday afternoon, it was time to get back to the grind. The goal for the weekend was to get in a number of training sessions prior to next weeks triathlon. Pretty much the rest of my weekend after all of the shenanigans was just going to be boring. So other than the training for the triathlon I was intending on catching up with all the missed work from Friday (and there was quite a bit) and doing the usual weekend chores along with a few extras.

First though let’s look at all my “training”. The pool was still closed unfortunately so that just got me really pissed off. Sunday morning was another Bike & Run training session with a Bike to Run transition thrown in for good measure. The ride went well and the servicing done was a smart idea because I knocked a good 15 minutes off my time. Ahh the benefits of actually having a working bike! I have the transition narrowed down now and things are looking good. On Monday morning I did the same two sessions BUT this time I added a pre bike transition. Normally this would be a Swim to Bike transition, but without a swim I just tried to replicate what it would be like. Running barefoot across the car park to my truck and getting going from there was the idea and although my transitions aren’t exactly perfect, they are good enough to get me through it without taking forever.

Without a pool though, what was I meant to do? I need to get some swimming in before next Saturday or things are not going to go well at all! So after a friend gave me a little push to check things out, I found a local gym (about a 10 minute drive away) that has a pool, along with a free week trial. Sorry to say but I am just going to use them for their pool for 4 days. I took my first swim at the pool on Monday and man it felt weird swimming in a proper pool, with lap lanes and everything. Totally not something I am used to at all, but I only have 3 more days of swimming left.

My training plans for the rest of the week are pretty much to focus on a run in the morning on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, with swims every evening. Then Friday I will go into hold back with just some time on the exercise bike Friday morning and then nothing Friday night other than picking up my race packet. Final week of training planned!

The rest of my weekend was spent cleaning up the house after I tried to unclog my bathroom sink (it hadn’t been draining properly for a week or two now) and with lots of frustration, a boat load of baking soda & vinegar, a bottle of draino (that didn’t do much at all), a little bit of elbow grease and a whole lot of disgusting crap, I got it cleaned in two hours. I also spent a good portion of Sunday working from home and some time on Monday in the office working as well. The things you do to stay employed!

A big week ahead, I don’t expect to get much sleep this week, so Will head to bed early tonight (hopefully) to try and get a least one night of half decent sleep. The rest of the week is going to be full on!

Breakfast Chronicles: Hudson

Well the big day finally arrived yesterday morning. The culmination of all the Breakfast “research”. I gave my friend Yena all the options with one Extra one, another recommendation for something new to try that apparently has the best Biscuits & Gravy. Yena had no real idea what that was, so we went with it. Something a little bit different right? Hudson is down in the Georgetown area of Seattle which is near the Port/Boeing Field area. Pretty much its all industrial and it is fairly basic. Absolutely dive bar location and in the middle of no where, bring it on! Funnily enough its located next door to a Haunted House.

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013

We took a seat at the Bar (not a counter, a real bar) and the menu was left for us and some water. The Menu was fairly basic really, but there was a good range of Booze options. This is more a bar than a restaurant so that is understandable.

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013

I took the biscuits & Gravy and a side of hash while Yena went with something that was just crazy++ a Monte Cristo sandwhich made with French toast! Seriously! Sounded pretty awesome. Food was quick and I was barely into my first cup of coffee when it came out (ps they use Umbria coffee, so the coffee is gooooood).

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013

The food was good, the biscuits were light and fluffy and the gravy was nice (though it has been a while since I have had country gravy). Prices were really reasonable and the portions not overly huge but not tiny tiny rip off. I would say that it was a good score.

Was it the best breakfast in Seattle? Probably not… however the reason I was there wasn’t all about the food, but the company. Keeping alive a tradition that the two of us have had for many years. The Brunch buddies were back in action and I made the agreement (and hopefully Yena will continue it as well) that I will keep having brunches out even if it is on my own. Going to keep trying to find the best Breakfast/Brunch in Seattle.. even if I have to do it on my own… without my buddy.