THE MChine – TUNED UP

The past 2 weeks have been a great whirlwind of management both of time and of the stressors attached. It seems a given that there will be most weeks where I am going to work the store (even from home on days off) at least 6 days a week. There is plenty going on and with the extended sunshine hours (oh how I love the close to 6am sunrises) and the pool being open, it is now sunup to sundown – move around.  This makes for some serious deep sleep which has resulted in many a night, and of course the welcomed Sundays where Gina and I simply chill, unplanned, even if its just resting up and catching up on errands or reading on the couch. One event that I had the opportunity to take part in was a dodgeball tournament to raise funds for Community Matters Charlotte. Sherri from my Saturday run group and her employer – McGladrey – fielded a team of 7 and together we raised almost $2000! I was a bit nervous about playing since I intended to do my normal Friday workout brick, then ride to the event, play, and ride back. With a sprint tri on that Sunday, it was purely a balance of intensity and recovery this whole weekend.

So an hour after finishing training, I hopped on my bike and took the nice rolling ride to the event. It was about 45 minutes, but I continued to sip on a recovery drink, stay hydrated, and nibble on my Metrx bar. There were 40 teams involved and I was a bit relieved too see that the courts were small and the ball was like a nerf volleyball. It would be 4 minute rounds and each team was certain to play 2 games. I got to meet my teammates and these guys were all young, excited, and eager to knock some people out. We had the ability to watch a few rounds before our turn came and I tell you, this was going to be fun. We got to practice a bit and the ball could fling. You could forget about catching this ball and the best strategy was to throw hard and low. You HAD to stay in the court box. Even practicing, your arm was sore with a few tosses. Get the footwork down. Bobb and Weave.

So our turn comes and we play a team from Snyders-Lance. I’m talking uniforms and everything. Everyone lines up and waits for the whistle to charge for the balls. 4 minutes never seemed so long. In the first few seconds, it was a given 2-3 people got knocked out as a result of the initial rush. We held our own, and it wasn’t until 2 minutes that I missed a jump and got hit in the foot. Out. We lost pretty good, but man, what a rush. A few sips of water and soon enough we were up for game 2. We had a good chance against this team, who oddly enough was located in the same building as McGladrey. I got 3 people out and we won pretty easily as we had more than half our team still standing. Yo! Now we were all hyped up. But we didn’t advance since you had to win BOTH games and in an hour, our fun was done. I thank Sherri for giving me the chance to come aboard and play as it was real fun. I am glad the event organizers had a successful first time event fundraiser and they scored big. Now it was off for the ride back home. I took it smooth as I still haven’t had breakfast and was simply hydrating with my drink mix. I got home, had a chance to rewind, did some work, then took a walk to the store to finish on some projects. Gina picked me up close to 6 and that was the end of Friday. Man, it was good to just share a nice dinner and relax with G. Was going to be a wacky weekend, but we got to slow it down just a bit.

Saturday was usual mix of group run, work all day, head to church, and then back home for dinner, finally getting ready for the race and trying to get to bed at a decent time. The event was the Huntersville Sprint Tri which was the same course as the Cool Breeze event I did on April 1st, but with an extended swim from 250 yards to 500 yards. I had a huge week and had the left butt cheek a bit sore, but I was ready to test having the ability to compare the bike/run course times from a month ago, after Racefest Half Marathon, and all that was going on this week. The night before, I felt ready, had a good game plan. I fell asleep with a good imagery of performing well. Hour of power type blasting no matter how I felt. I knew the course, knew what to expect. We got up early – Gina up an hour before me – and headed out to Huntersville. No issues, we knew the game. Got there, parked, checked in (thanks AAA for the gift card – and the gear should be arriving soon!!) and set things up. Donny from CRC South was there – he won last year – and we gave each other props. Saw a few regulars and when I was setting up the Black Widow, I realized I didn’t put my racebelt in there. Gina promptly made me buy a new one, and we now have a secondary tri bag stash in the XT. Listen to the IronSherpa. Loosened up and it was nice and warm. This should be fun. I was number 58 and had a good 18 minutes from the start before I went off. Saw a few TeamUSA skinsuits out there which was cool. What was REALLY cool was the water once you jumped in. But it was soon time to go. Every 15 second intervals. I lined up. Three deep breaths. Spark the plug.

After a few laps, I had a good rhythm and slowly made up ground on the guy in front of me. Smooth. Smooth, Breathe. Yo. I saw the guy BEHIND me was close, but at least half a length back, but by the next to last lap, I had to swim hard and overtake in order to avoid a toggle getting out of the pool. No issues, easy pass, hit the wall, nothing spectacular. Up and out, head to the BW. Swim time – 7:43ish.

Out on the bike and had a much better transition. I skipped the shades for the bike and rolled along. Once I got churning, I had eyes on a nice rider in front and made my time. Hilly climb coming out and my right glute was noticeable, but manageable. I got in a good churn at 140-150 bmp and pushed the climbs. I overtook my marker and took 2 scheduled sips of my drink every 15 minutes. Great volunteers and I will say the traffic was WAY less this time around. Maybe it helped, but I took good lines and sure enough came in with a slightly better time – 34:45. Yes. Quick transition again and now I was ready to hammer. Legs felt fine, saw G out of transition (she got great pics in the Photos section), and took off. Knowing the course, I used my arms a plenty on the slight climb out. Then just hammer down. At the turnaround, all balls to the wall. My heart rate was near 170. But stable. Mind focused. Coming into the end, I knocked one last runner off in my age group and came through in a run time of 16:14!! Total time was 1:00:38, good for 2nd in my age group and 9th overall!!! WHOA!!!!! Right into the arms of Gina and hugs and kisses. Holy lactic acid. I did a 5-10 minute cool down to flush and was not sore at all afterwards. What a difference from a month ago and a pleasant result test race. Even better- Donny came in 3rd overall, won his age category!! CRC well represented today! We didn’t hang around much. Racers still were going on through probably 11am, but after walking a bit, stretching, talking to some folks – and congratulating the several young kids who tackled the race too - we were heading home by 10am. Got home by 10:30, unpacked, made a great breakfast and Gina and I slooowwwed it down. She took a nice nap in the afternoon and we did some errands, but just recovery day. We had a nice big glass of sangria with dinner and that was all we needed. Sangria Sundays (and a nice Rita’s ice to finish off), Moscato Mondays? Yo.

All is good a well as now May is in bloom. I don’t plan to race in May given that each weekend I will be working the store, and Gina has a 5K Walk event on May 12th that we will do with the Thursday night crew. So it will be a continued phase of fine-tuning the MChine with some speed sessions, staying race ready just in case I can jump into some 5K, but I see the Bandits Challenge Olympic Distance Triathlon in June as my next event. Road trip! The weather is getting warmer, the engine ready.

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