Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Sunday I christened my new bike, Frankenstein, by riding from my parents' house in Red Bank to my aunt and uncle's house in Toms River.  The Parkway, of course, yields the shortest distance at around 40 miles, but taking the backroads, and a few scenic routes, bumped the ride to over 50.  For the first time this year, it was legitimately warm, with temps in the upper, upper 80s and a powerful sun shining down.  Frankenstein is a 2010 Cervelo P3, and I was very excited to take him home.  I used what I could from my old bike - which wasn't much - hence the name, Frankenstein.  I wish I could have made it all black, but maybe I'll add some skulls and crossbones at some point. 

My last post was on Wednesday, following my string of a few good workouts, and last Thursday I kept the juice rolling.  I wasn't sure how my legs would respond to the back-to-back Wednesday/Thursday hard group rides, but I felt pretty awesome and decided to give it a go at Thursday Night Ride.  My 6th summer of riding with them now, and it's always fun to see them.  Unfortunately, since my POS road bike is dying, I had to ride entirely in the big ring.  This was particularly challenging up Piney Grove, and at the end going up Caves.  But I had a great ride, really good group of us got rolling.  We didn't do the summertime long version, for time considerations, but did the 35 mile route and it was a good one.  A little chillier than I was hoping for, had to wear arm warmers, but at least it wasn't raining. 

Friday I got into the pool, and again, thanks to The Band, had a better-than-good workout for myself.  Did 800m of warmup, then jumped into a 2000m straight swim.  I like to do this workout on Fridays, and this was the 3rd one I've done in the last month.  The first week I swam a negative split 34:40, but started out pretty slow.  The second week I swam a 33:15, which was also negative split, and I felt good about that.  This week, I started out much quicker, but felt a little tired.  I swam 1:40/100m for each hundred through the 1000, then "picked it up" to 1:39/100m for the next 500 (1500 = 24:55).  I was looking for 1:35s or better on the last 500 but I was not feeling it, and finished with an 8:02 for 32:57 (31:20ish through 1.9km).  I was still pretty pleased, as I swam about that in the fall (granted it was the second of 2x1900) and was in 29 minute half-iron swim shape. 

Then it was off to NJ for the weekend.  I got home and it was time to go to dinner, so I didn't run.  It wasn't very nice out, so I didn't really care.  I housed an obscene amount of food at dinner, including one of my mom's soft shell crabs.  Never having eaten one before, I was a little curious about the whole "eating the shell and claws and stuff".  It was alright, but afterwards I didn't feel so hot.  Could have been that or just all of the food, who knows. 

Saturday's plan was to ride, originally, but upon waking up to a downpour, it looked like Sunday's run was going to replace the bike.  I called up Pat (it's totally awesome when one of the people you train with every day in Baltimore also happens to originate from your hometown) and he and his brother Tommy met me and my brother at Hartshorne.  The goal was a 90 minute run, and we hit all the trails with maybe only a mile of repeats.  The rain wasn't too bad in the woods, and the fog was epic.  I haven't been on trails since January, and my foot held up pretty well.  It just felt good to be back in there, as it's one of my favorite places to run in the world. 

Run done, and I wasn't going to ride (even though later in the day, like after 4, it cleared up and the temp picked up) so I relished in not having to do anything for the rest of the day.  Sunday I woke up and it was much nicer already.  We were instructed we'd be going to breakfast at 7:30 so my sister could join us before going to work.  The waitress was totally vapid and a few jokes went way over her head, but the food came out and all seemed good - until my sister let out a sigh of disgust.  There was an enormous (dead) carpenter ant on her plate.  Now, we don't have proof, but we think it may have been INSIDE her sausage and came out when she cut it open.  Either way, it was totally gross.  I felt bad for her; the rest of us could have brushed it off, but she doesn't deal very well with things like that. 

Now it had turned out to be a nicer than nice day.  My brother wanted to join for the journey down to Toms River, and I was okay with it, but needed to remind him of a few things: 1) this was only his third ride of the year, and at 50+ miles, a pretty long one; 2) it was really quite warm, and he is not fond of the heat; 3) I would be on an aerodynamic machine intended to be ridden fast.  We went out via 520 through Marlboro, into the wind, and he was right on my wheel.  We crossed 33 and found one of our roads was closed, so we had to detour slightly out of the way (in the end, about 3 miles).  When we went right on 524 and then Sweetman's Lane, we hit a few rollers, and he began to fall off a little.  I would ride up, then wait up.  Ride up, wait up.  We finally got onto 571, which would be our home for the last 22 miles or so, and came around with the wind a little bit.  Combined with the flat roads, it was beautiful.  We just don't have easy roads like that around Baltimore.  It felt good to be on a time trial bike again, it had been too long.  By a little over 40 miles my brother was about out of water and with nowhere to stop, I gave him mine (I had only consumed maybe a quarter of the bottle).  As we got closer to the beach, the winds shifted and the temp dropped just slightly, and we ultimately came in at about 55 miles and just over 3 hours - a really solid ride for my brother.  I was contemplating going for a short run real quick, but we were already late for eating so scrapped it.  On the way home we put the bikes on my dad's car, and made it to within a mile of the house before the skies opened up and my bike got drenched.  Go figure, I should have expected it would get wet the first day out.

For the week I ended up with just two swims (good ones, at least) and 3 really solid days on the bike (130 miles).  Only ran 3 times for a total of just over 32 miles.  But feeling good doing it, so that's a plus.

Yesterday I got back to Baltimore in time to run down to Fed Hill for the run.  It was warm again, and it always takes a few runs in the heat to get the legs used to it.  Pat and I ran down at a fairly reasonable pace, and the group run started off pretty chill, but heated up towards the end.  We then had to run back.  A long 12.5 miles, but the run did bring my total for the year up to 666 miles.  Thought that was pretty interesting. 

Now is the time of the year when you've got to be careful - there is finally some better weather, and the legs feel good so you go out every day and just want to crush.  But, you pay for those efforts quickly enough.  This week, I'm hitting up track tonight, and then tomorrow night will be an easy ride, and Thursday I think I'll head back up to TNR.  Friday and Saturday will be light and then Sunday, back out to Frederick for trip #4 on the year. 

I killed a spider in my house this morning, and within a very short while, ants sprang from virtually nowhere and began to pick apart it's body.  It was kind of awesome to watch, so I almost felt bad when I had to kill them all. 

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