Slumping and feeling ‘meh’ – time to rally

So I very well know that nobody wants to read a “sad sack” post – “Woe is me” thing…

It’s true though – I traveled most of the last week and aside from two awesome runs (one in Baton Rouge and another around the lake in Austin) I was completely buried with travel and work-related stress.  Things are moving into the springtime “insane” period at work, and my schedule will become more and more difficult as we come closer to summertime. Additionally, without going into details the subtle dynamics of my job are becoming more complex and that is bringing about more stress than is typical.  All I can do is put my head down and plow through doing my best work and know that everything should fall into place.

I haven’t been in the pool since last weekend (4/6), and aside from a quick 30 minute spin over the weekend I haven’t been on the bike at all.  The worst part – I haven’t felt that burning, that crushing desire to get out there and move!  That bothers me.  Actually it pisses me off, as I know I’m just settling for bleh-excuses and meh-laziness.

Now this Boston-thing on top of it all – I’m incredibly angry and saddened.  They say that if you want to see humanity at its most positive, visit the finish line at a marathon.  Watching the coverage is heart-breaking, but also uplifting at the same time.

This must become my catalyst today.  I have to move things forward in a positive way.

First Ride on the New Ride

So yesterday I started work early and hung in there late – I work from home so this is easy for me to accomplish.  I try to be extremely disciplined with my to-do lists and covering all my bases, however having that work-from-home flexibility is key when you have to sneak in a workout to stay on schedule.

I still can't believe that I own this thing.

I still can’t believe that I own this thing.

I took a longer-than-usual lunch and swung down to take delivery of the new bike.  They were in the process of setting up the geometry of the seat and stem to my Guru measurements.  A couple of minor corrections had to be made for aerobar pad height and the Cannondale saddle – I tested on very generic components on the Guru system.  I thought about getting into an Adamo or a Fizik saddle, but it turns out that the stock standard saddle that comes with the Slice is actually pretty darn awesome all by itself, so I figured I’d keep it to get started.

They set the bike up on a trainer and I began to spin.  The setup needed minor tweaks but otherwise it was EXACTLY like we left it after the Guru-Fit session.  I was told that the position I naturally gravitated to was quite a bit more “aero-aggressive” than most riders that come in for a first time fit, so I must be doing something right in terms of flexibility training.

Last night I set up my Garmin mount, my Cadence/Speed sensors, and the Profile Design AeroDrink bottle between the bars.  I decided I’d get up early and give it a go.

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Notice the pastel-blue furniture? My “PainCave” rents space from my daughters’ Barbie and American Girl Dolls….

First Impressions:

  1. The bike gives the feeling of being a whole lot lower to the ground.  I know this is the entire point, right?
  2. I feel like my position might need to be made a little more comfortable – the saddle feels good, but it’s feeling pretty extreme.
  3. I’m hoping I can get used to this new truer aero position – it’s all new to me since my old bike was way to big and poorly fit.
  4. My bike layoff has hurt my overall fitness – I need to build back.
  5. I can’t wait to see how it rolls on the street – getting the bike into the house from the driveway it hit me how doggone LIGHT this carbon frame is.  I know there are still some weight trimming that can be done, as it is by no means in its lightest form (carbon bars, better group set, wheels, etc).

Fun at the race expo – t-minus 24 hours…

So this time tomorrow I’ll probably be about halfway through the race.  I am equal parts excited, terrified, and confident – I know that makes zero sense, but not much about any of this exercise does!

Seriously though, my business week here in San Antonio wrapped up really well yesterday, and as soon as I was free from obligations I shot on over to the convention center to hit the race expo.  The only other large race I’ve participated in (Broad Street Run in Philly was over 40,000) I skipped the expo and just grabbed my number.

Publicly, “Rock-and-Roll” events seem to carry a pretty positive opinion of their race operations, and if the race is supported as efficiently as the expo then I think I’m in for a good time.  It was a big event with tons of vendors and exhibitors, some running workshops, and something for everybody.

I did a little shopping for myself:

  • I grabbed some GU gels since I didn’t want to chance taking them through TSA
  • I grabbed some Nuun tablets for my hydration – I’ve been accustomed to Gatorade with a little BLOX silk amino acids added, but my system seems to function fine with either.  The Nuun is easier to transport home through TSA.
  • Shades – I grabbed a cheap pair of sunglasses – I forgot mine.
  • Fuel Belt pouch – I normally leave my cell at home, but I want to grab some photos.  Additionally it’s just a good idea while away from home.
  • CEP sleeves – I’ve work some inexpensive compression socks post-workouts, but I’ve never actually run in them.  I went for a short treadmill run yesterday and they felt nice, kind of like my shins and calfs are getting a nice hug!  I’m going to wear my full socks home on the plane tomorrow, but I’m going to give them a shot in the race.
  • I grabbed the 13.1 finisher shirt in addition to the freebie they gave away (which is a bit crappy in my opinion).  The finisher shirt is much nicer.

 

I grabbed some other freebies as I cruised through the expo.  I really wish my wife and kids were here with me, but there’s a ton going on at home and it just wasn’t feasible.  The one thing you don’t notice when travelling for business is that there is generally something ELSE to do next, and clients or colleagues to do it with.  Out here I’m solo this weekend, and dinner all by myself really sucked last night.

I’m working from the hotel room this morning, and then I’ll go for a walk to loosen up the legs a little later.  I’ll get a good stretch in, then apply some BioFreeze to help with some last minute recovery.  Lots of carbs and water today is the name of the game!

Touchdown in Texas

My flight miraculously took off on time from Philly and I landed in San Antonio without incident.  This pleasantly shocks me seeing as the East Coast and the Philly area once again had the scourge of inclement weather to deal with.  Thankfully despite the sleet falling I managed to get out ahead of the bad stuff.

I’m here in Texas for work.   A big part of my job is managing the relationships my company has with professional associations, especially those in healthcare human resources and recruitment.  I actually don’t present until Friday morning, but there are some meetings and social things going on this morning (Thursday) so I need to be here.

Of course that’s all well and good, but the presentation is one I’ve given about 25 times this year.  What’s really on my mind is my first half marathon on Sunday – also my 40th birthday.

I really starting running with purpose last fall, gearing up for a 5K in early December of 2011.  It took a lot of work to run for 30 minutes without stopping, and my goal for that first race was to not throw up, walk, or cry (and I was successful!).  Even before I warmed down from that 5K, I decided to find a race on or about my 40th and run 13.1 as a “stretch goal”.  Along the way I ended up falling into a bike purchase in June and I became completely obsessed with triathlon.  This was mainly at the inspiration provided by a buddy of mine who, as a cancer survivor and hart transplant recipient, is tearing up 70.3s, marathons, and is scheduled to do two 140.6 events in 2013!

I wouldn’t say I’m totally prepared for this race on Sunday.  I pushed it on the treadmill on Tuesday evening and ran some hard intervals for 30 minutes and the result is that I feel a little “twingy” in my shins.  It’ll be ice and friction massage later in my room, for sure.  I do feel that I can monitor my HR zones well enough to get through in about 2:15, so that’s the time I’m shooting for if all goes well.  We’ll have to see about that, but I really just want to have fun, suffer a little bit, and then head home to Delaware for cake and ice cream!

So I plan to blog a bit on my downtime – I’ve got lots to keep me busy (like a late expense report from October a mile long) but I’ll be here Friday night and Saturday for the race expo flying solo, so I’ll be bored and filling the time no doubt.

3 days to go before my first Triathlon…

So it’s Wednesday night.  I flew to Chicago yesterday to represent my company at TaleoWorld – a user conference for Taleo’s suite of Talent Management software.  My company has built a web application to facilitate online reference checking, and we bolt-onto their applicant tracking recruitment software.  It’s a neat space to be in, and my company is largely recognized as the leader of a very shot line of capable providers in this line of work.

So I’m in Chicago, and it’s your typical tradeshow environment.  Unhealthy food, lots of alcohol, late nights, and on the whole not a very positive-pre-race environment!

I moseyed-on down to the fitness center in my hotel, thinking I would get some upper body weight training in this evening, followed by a nice long run tomorrow AM (done easy) with a full rest day Friday and an easy Saturday AM bike spin…

The fitness center – which looks completely pimped out by the way – costs $15 for guests to use daily!  I was floored!  I know it’s great looking equipment, and I’m sure it’s not cheap, but having worked in the health club industry for a time, I know that most of that equipment is on lease and business unit profitability shouldn’t make a daily fee necessary.  I was so pissed!  Needless to say, I said no thanks and proceeded back to my room for some bodyweight exercises and stretching.

I am beyond excited for Sunday.  I want to keep this about having a fun race, but the part of my brain that is wired for approval-via-achievement wants to put the pedal down and go nuts.  I’m going to plan on swimming hard, maintaining a consistent cadence on the bike (trending to the lower intensity/higher RPM), and then push the last mile of the run.  The out-n-back run course is very uphill for the first half until the turnabout, so I’ll put the hammer down there.  I’m not going to make any goal times, just go by feel.

So here I sit in my hotel room in Chicago, just getting more and more AMPED up for Sunday!

Big Week Behind Me

I had an unbelievable week last week.

On Tuesday 1/10, I began Invisalign.  If you’re not familiar, they are clear corrective orthodontic trays which “snap” over your teeth.  There are 11 little “buttons” cemented onto the surface of key teeth to help torque and move certain teeth.  New traps come every 2 weeks, and  you need to wear your aligners about 22 hours per day for maximum effectiveness.  The first couple of days were uncomfortable, as the teeth move about a millimeter every 2 weeks (which is a lot).

On that same afternoon, my wife and I made some very critical decisions on the future of our kitchen project.  We are both very excited about the kitchen design we are creating with the help of A&C Kitchens in Chester.

That evening, I traveled to Philly for a 2 day company event “Kickoff”.  Since I am new to the organization and much of our staff if virtual all across the country, it was my first opportunity to meet and get to know many of them.

Part of my Goal Set for 2012 includes trying new and different things outside my comfort zone.  I managed to hit several last week:

  • Tried Artichokes
  • Sang Karaoke
  • Greek yogurt – twice the protein
  • Bowled and looked “stupid” in front of the work crowd

Overall, a very productive week.  I tried to run at the Philly Marriott fitness center, but the 90 degree heat and humidity at 5:30 in the AM was too much for me.  Instead I did a nice outdoor run yesterday in 19 degree weather 🙂

Musings on the beginning of the New Year

Had some very interesting things occur at work.

I’m fairly new to the company, and we are going through some transition.  The role I play is a vital one, but it was decided that I should be attached to our marketing team rather than our sales team, as more of my work flow resides within marketing integration than sales.  It means I get a new boss but one I like a whole heck of a lot.  The team is growing and the company is positioned for some incredible growth.  I’m completely excited.

A couple things I’m psyched about coming up this week:

– Invisalign begins on Tuesday!  No more broken-fence teeth (maybe that’s too harsh, but you get the idea)

– Big team kickoff meetings in Philly this week – really looking forward to meeting the folks I haven’t met yet

– Ordering cabinets for our big kitchen renovation