START THE PRESSURE COOKER

So July is coming to an end and with that a great 4 week block of 17 hr training weeks adjusting to the heat, more speedwork, bricks, and staying upright. Really solid stuff. The sweat rate is a daily grind and hosing myself down in the back patio is also a daily ritual I look forward too. I just soak my head, shirt and for 10 seconds, the heat goes away.

I’m use to it now and I don’t mind – in fact I am having great improvements within the conditions but after 4 straight weeks of it – well I am getting a bit heavy legged, drained, and some days pooped. But that’s a good thing because I have been able to regulate it with my Polar Optimizer testing, Ironsherpa’s keenful eye (I have been under 125 lbs each week), and the nailed down hydration protocol that I’ve developed as a result. Gina and I both now make extra cold dishes during the weekend and just eat them as leftovers during the week. No cooking required.

She too has been walking a lot but a back sprain on her hip has been on/off in which she has been able to handle but very cautiously. Some days she’s in bad pain though and I am more than happy to reverse the role of Sherpa. I get a kick out of it since she’s often reluctant to get pampered. But I make her go through the daily stretching, walking, and massage each day (which I enjoy). I handle the chores if need be. She is getting better as she is learning to listen. We even agreed to share Holmes duty walking at 4am. Some days she does it, some days I do.

So with a daily, often multiple dose of Nuun, BioFreeze, Odwalla, and the constant monitoring with my Polar moniotors, I come out of July solid and ready to add to the Pressure Cooker. The next 8 weeks will now be specifically geared towards the Nationals Half-Ironman on Oct 2nd. In between I have 2 events scheduled – a short triathlon on August 13th in Harriman State Park, and at the end of August I travel to Oregon for the Hood To Coast Relay which I am part of a 12 man team each of us racing 18 miles in 24 hours. It is one of those “have to do” races and one I am proud to be asked to be a part of. Team Big Kahunas is the name of the group – www.hoodtocoast.com

This will give me a chance to fine tune my run training and then it’s a month of solid focus on the Nationals. I will begin to pressurize my chamber.

Of course – we also have made huge progress towards our wedding plans. We met with Fr. Hughes to plan our Mass and got some more advice. This weekend we completed our Pre-Cana and had a blast. It was also a hot, humid, weekend, so we weren’t complaining that we had to spend most of Saturday indoors for the class. We were with 46 other couples and it was very informative and taught by a great husband/wife team. Gina and I excelled as we were more than comfortable with the material covered and if this was The Wedding Game, we would have won hands down. Gina had fun seeing the other brides size each other up and tried to make sure her back didn’t go out from all the prolonged sitting.

We have started making the final arrangements and intend to spend next weekend away from it all to have our meetings to discuss it further. We desperately need a getaway. One part of the Pre-Cana we enjoyed to note – we composed love letters to ourselves which they made us hand to each other at the end. We intend to frame them.

Today we got up and headed to Long Beach for the Warriors 5K. I was using this race as a final 5K to see how my tired legs can handle a max effort in this heat (and is my usual Sunday “day off”) but we were suppose to be joined by her sisters and nephews for another family fun run. The weather has been too hot for them so it was only us. We got there and walked around, enjoying the small breeze on the broadwalk. I think we’ll head out here next weekend since it is nice and quiet on a Sunday and the race didn’t start till 9am so no crowds formed yet.

The Wounded Warriors Project has been a theme at most of the races we have done locally so far – actually 4 of the races we did benefitted the program. It was a weekend of events in Long Beach where they provided family and serviceman with a fun time at the beach. It was a first time event and the American flags were flying. They got almost 400 runners show up too! Though an out and around course along the boardwalk, half of it was into a headwind. We lined up and I went through the similar motions. Oddly, no National Anthem was played. Feeling within, I knew I was due for a relax day but I looked forward to ripping it a bit and took 3 deep breaths.

Off we went and I ran behind a kid who was flying. I knew we had a tailwind so I figured I would wait as we were to turn around in a half mile and have a headwind for the next 2 miles. He was clearly a 5K stud as he had the stride and slowly pulled away. As we passed the first mile in 5:10 I knew if I didn’t want to get hurt, I wouldn’t try to chase. Wasn’t worth it. I was moving solid and near max, felt good and no pursuit from behind. As we made the turn and with a tailwind again, I churned it and made sure I hit a good time. I was more than pleased when I crossed the line in 16:54 and under 5:25 pace. Clearly I am nailing what I need to do and under the conditions and training, I am smiling wide.

Gina was walking it regardless of her back and actually was crossing the mile mark as I was finishing and got a great photo. I posted on the site. I turned right around and cooled down as I caught back up to her, took the camera and finished the loop again to cool down. Actually, on this day “cooling down” wasn’t happening. I ran for another 2 miles and then grabbed some water to pour over my head, went back to the finish and waited for Gina. I was gleaming when I saw her come in and finish at 49 minutes!!!!!! Walking! We sprayed water over each other and started to have some fun. Gina went over and started hoarding the Kids Strong drink which she loves and we walked to the car to dump our stuff, walked BACK to the race, and got some more photos while hanging out.

I lost by over 40 seconds and finished 2nd overall – BUT I did win my age group – so another trophy for the case!  We’re on a roll. The last 4 races – win, win, second, second. Full results of this event are on www.flrrt.com under Long Beach Warriors 5K.

We would have stayed at the beach and go in the water, but with her back, we just went home to just relax the rest of the day (she’s actually sleeping as I write this). After a good breakfast, it was all we did. Chill. Watch some 3 Tenors. We handled some chores. We both needed some downtime and on this Sunday afternoon it opened up nicely for us. After a weekend like this and the fun this morning, it was worth it. Maybe some sangria too.

Next up is the SBR triathlon on August 14th, but for the first time Polar is participating in the Long Island Marcum Corporate Challenge. It is at Jones Beach on August 3rd and it should be a fun company picnic and we have a team that can win the 3.5 mile competition of which almost 100 companies on Long Island are a part of. I also got asked to coach the St Joseph’s College Cross Country team’s in September/October and look forward to working with those athletes again.

Thanks all and stay cool.

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