Sunday, February 24, 2008

Getting There

Today was absolutely gorgeous here in Austin.  The high was above 80 degrees.  I'm not sure how much above, but does it really matter?  If it's 80-anything in February, it's a gorgeous day.  
Amanda and I had a really nice run this morning.  One of the blessings of having gotten so sick is that, while I am getting back in the groove of things, I have been able to join Amanda with her training.  Today she was doing her first long run back after her bout with the flu, so she's a few days ahead of me with the recovery.  Lucky her!   

Anyway, I opted to join Amanda for a twenty-minute tempo block on the track midway through her run.  Terra joined in, as she had some pace work to do as well.  I love acting as Amanda's rabbit, because it inspires and impresses me how well she can push herself when she's got that carrot out front.  It turns out her tempo and track paces are just right for me to run without taxing myself too terribly much.  I am hoping to keep doing this with her fairly regularly even once I'm back to full training.  It's satisfying for me to help Amanda, and it's great for her to have the motivation to move a bit more quickly.  It's not going to be long, though, before her fitness is at the point where it will be taxing for me to serve as her rabbit!  She's getting stronger and stronger.

After the run we returned to the track to keep Terra honest on her second tempo block.  She did amazingly well, and her times indicate to me that her fitness is right on track to have a great IM over in Tempe in seven weeks.  She's just got to carry some of that hard work out onto the race course, and she's going to surprise a few of her competitors.

The rest of the day was pretty mellow.  We had a great swim at Stacy pool; we stopped by Jack's shop; and we made it over to the World's Greatest Whole Foods to pick up some groceries.  We love that place, and sure wish our Boulder store would upgrade to follow suit.

On another note, I've finally committed to "un-commit" to doing California 70.3.  I have done this  race five year's in a row, and it's become a favorite stop of mine on the early-season race calendar.  I really enjoy the venue, and it's become a great way to assess my strengths and weaknesses.  However, having lost two consecutive weeks in my training, and without even being back to full-speed yet, I just don't think I could give an honest race effort in just a few weeks.  My new plan is to build back up next week, then to implement a nice little base-building block before we leave Austin.  (Fred permitting, we might be in Austin until the end of March; we're loving it her!)   

The first triathlon of the year will now be St. Croix 70.3.  We have a good friend getting married the day after the race, and our World's Best Home Stay family lives down there... and we miss them!   After STX, I'll probably race at Disney again, then power up for another go at Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

So getting sick hasn't been that bad: I get to train more with Amanda, and I even set a race schedule!

Thanks for checking in... I really am getting there!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Almost Strong

I have gotten to the point where I'm almost strong. I am not quite strong, but I'm almost there. And by strong I mean strong enough to go back to a normal routine of swimming, biking, running, walking the dogs, hanging out with my wife, eating, and, of course, climbing the stairs.

I'm almost strong. But I'm not quite there yet.

Since getting the flu, I have found new meaning in the term: I've fallen and I can't get up. Although I did not trip and fall; nor did I crash my bike and fall; nor did I even fall off the top bunk; I fell, and I fell hard! I fell flat on my back and I have been worthless ever since. I feel like I got flattened. Like a pancake.

The past couple days, I've been getting back out there for some exercise. Amanda has been kind enough to ride and run with me a few times, right up to the point when she dropped me. And she's been kind enough to come back for me... so she can drop me again. She better watch out. I'm almost strong again.

The other day I realized just how weak I had become when I couldn't even finish a proper meal. I was just too tired to do so. I seemed to have a decent enough appetite, but I just couldn't make myself keep chewing. I was worn out.

I have finally gotten somewhat used to making it up the stairs without needing a couch break at the top. Now that I have conquered that task, I'm setting my sights on putting together a good combo workout. My plan tomorrow is to wake up, climb the stairs without a break at the top, eat a full breakfast, then to ride my bike without getting dropped by Amanda. I am almost strong today, so I think I can do it tomorrow.

Once I'm back to being strong, I'll focus on getting back in shape. Just before I fell flat on my back, I felt like I had actually begun to get in shape. Almost in shape.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Home Is Where the Heart Is

We've been in Austin for just over a month now, and we've really been enjoying our time here. The weather has been incredible. The training has been great. And catching up with all the great folks in town has been amazing.

Amanda and I have established a great routine, and we're starting to feel like we're finally getting in shape! If Fred doesn't get tired of us inhabiting Casa Coogan, we just might be here until mid-March.

Last week I traveled to Nashville to participate in the USAT Southeast Regional Expo. It was a really great event hosted by Kathleen Johnston, a studly age group triathlete, amongst other things. I loved seeing a new city; I had an absolute blast with Shelby and the rest of my new Nashville buddies; and I thoroughly enjoyed giving a talk at the expo.

Just after the event, I flew back to Boulder to check in on things.

While being back in Boulder I had the time to think about our visit to Austin. I was only there for four full days, but I packed a lot in that time. By the end of the last day, I was on the phone talking to Amanda. I had really been missing her and the dogs, especially being in our empty house without them. As we were getting off the phone, I told Amanda that I could not wait to go home. I caught myself, then corrected: I couldn't wait to get back to Austin, I meant.

After living in Austin for over nine years, and after establishing the great friendships that I did, I will always think of Austin as a second home, no matter where I am living. But at that very moment in time I was at home... in Boulder... where my house is and where many of my possessions are. But I had the distinct feeling that I as about to be going home to Austin.

At that moment, it became very evident to me why people say that home is where the heart is. As much as I like Boulder, and as much as I like Austin, it became clear that for me, home is where Amanda and Luna and Blue are waiting for me. I really just don't feel at home unless I am with my wife and doggies.

And it's good to be home.