I'm always tweaking my life. Habits. Hobbies. What I'm reading. What I'm watching. Activities. Obsessions. Supplements. Diet. My latest personal experiment? Paleo. I've been doing some (SOME!) of the basics for a while. Avoiding carbs. Avoiding sugars. Paleo kicks it up a few more notches. Plenty of literature out there. Plenty of testimonials Websites galore. And recipes. So I decided to try a couple of them.
My first foray included: Lion's Head Meatballs and Bacon Basil Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. Both were absolutely delicious. Easily the best tasting dishes I've fixed since we moved back to MS. Possibly the best dishes I've EVER made. Cindy confirmed as much. And I think she liked them even more than I did.
I should have compressed the meatballs a little more. They were very light and therefore very fragile. Wonderful flavor and a very subtle kick to them.
I should have cooked the sweat potatoes longer. Didn't get them out of the skins correctly, so the aesthetic was off. And I didn't get the consistency right on the pesto. But it was still delicious.
Cindy and I thoroughly enjoyed this first attempt. There will be others. Many others.
I don't like flying solo. But it was perfect weather. Perfect temperature. And Ol Jon needs to train, train, train. So I did what needed to be done: hit the course by myself.
Good swim. More strength. Better breathing. Much more accurate course control. Only stopped once, about midway. And finished strong. Real happy with my continued progress in the lake. Certainly shaping up for a nice swim on Saturday.
Hit the bike route. Thought I did well the first half. Good aero. Good pacing. Managed the hills correctly. Averaged over 19MPH. But gassed out on the long uphill as I returned. Should have stood up sooner. Powered through to the top. Mis-timed it. Mis-geared it. Slowed down far too much. And the second half of my ride dragged my average down to 17.75MPH. Better than my time last year, but not the 18MPH I wanted.
Didn't run. Saving my shins for Saturday. If I did 2 miles on Sunday without any woe, 3 miles on Saturday is doable.
Doubt I do any additional training between now and Saturday. Mostly going to recover, stretch, and hydrate. Should be a good first race. And a good season to follow.
I loathe depending on other people. Suppose it is a trust issue. Mostly related to my elevated sense of urgency on my projects. Prime example from today: I've been waiting on my cohorts in corporate to make two small firewall changes. It has taken them six weeks. How long did it take to wrap up the configuration changes I needed to make on my side? 15 minutes. Six weeks of pressuring them so I could do 15 minutes of work? Yeah, I got trust issues.
Second round of training. Much better than the first. Of course I didn't have four pints of beer clinging to my lungs, unlike last week. And I made sure to hydrate ahead of time, while taking on less water during the event.
So the swim went well. More comfortable. Paced myself. Focused on my breathing. Paid more attention to my location. Keeping closer to the course. And finished stronger than last week. Should have put in an additional lap. Had the energy. But didn't want to over do it. And I ended the swim on a positive note.
The ride was great. I was the only one who knew the actual course, so I lead most of the way. Had plenty of strength. No trouble keeping my pace. Timed my fuel well. Felt strong tackling the long hill as well as the final two hills as we returned to the course. And I think I finished it right at 50 minutes. (Which would be record for me!) I had to stop twice to give directions, so I didn't time it perfectly. Much like the swim, I was very happy and glad to end on a positive note.
Did two a two mile run afterwards. Not my best run. Not my worst, either. Twice the distance of last week. And I only slowed briefly. Once I had my rhythm and my breathing set, I was able to find a reasonable gear and focus on positive self-reinforcement. Took it 100 meters at a time and finished well enough, by my standards. Had one more mile in me, for sure.
All in all, very happy with my overall performance. Had plenty of energy. High spirits. Good mood. I'll do it again once (maybe twice?) this week and dial in my game a little better for Saturday. I'll certainly keep off the beer until AFTER the race!
Rains finally stopped. Thought about hitting the gym. But wanted to have plenty of strength for tomorrow. So I took the kids out for some wandering. Rolled to the eyeglass shop, which seems like a near-weekly event, to straighten Meg's spectacles. Next door, Office Depot. Kids checked out some technology. I picked up a 16GB USB stick. Some experimentation with that later. Over to Academy Sports. Helmets for the kids. A battery for my bike computer. And the kids check out the Airsoft / Paintball guns. Finally over to Cracker Barrel for some aimless browsing. Liam spots an accordion. And, of course, within seconds of picking it up he figures out the notes and starts playing songs on it. So I eyeballed the old fashioned Candy. Liam played the accordion. And Meg found a Happy Cow.
When we looked up, three hours had passed. Thought it was a good time. Hope the kids did, too.
Much more relaxed celebration this year. Just me, Cindy, and eventually Jason. Headed to Kilted Kelly's for drinks and what-I-thought-would-be-a-meal. Nice, clean, open place. Lovely bar. Nice selection of beer. Including my absolute favorite beverage on tap: Woodchuck Cider! Not only do they have Amber, but they also have the Spring Seasonal on tap. And both came in a cool Woodchuck glass. Never seen that until tonight. Very nice touch, Kelly. I like the cut of your jib!
Spring was interesting. Main ingredient: maple syrup. Tasted kinda like brown sugar if you didn't know what was in there. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't Amber. So I ended up having one Spring and three Ambers.
Cindy didn't like the menu. Pub grub. She wanted much more. Nachos didn't come with beef. She didn't want chili. But we tried the jalapeno poppers. By "pop" they mean "scald your mouth and make you contemplate a trip to the ER." Not my favorite. But Cindy ate a couple. And fortunately we were next door to Lookout Steakhouse. So I was sniffing distance from a delicious burger.
Jason showed up. In his kilt. I could hear him approaching before I saw him. Everyone in the crowd was hooping and hollering. I think he was high fiving. And some people were trying to place orders with him. Beautiful kilt. Great big boots. And our server lass loved it. Ain't they a sweet couple? He had a beer. Cindy had another margarita. I played some tunes on the jukebox. The Amber cooled my jets.
Eventually went to the-aforementioned-Lookout. Cool seats upstairs. And we weren't far from a Rick Santorum impersonator. Seriously. This guy was a dead ringer. I was tempted to get a picture with HIM and Jason. Anyway. Burgers for the McDougal Lads. And a portobello sammich for Lady McD. Delicious, as usual, and we finished every bite.
Headed home around 10P. Cindy, drunk off two drinks, wanted to stay and dance and drink and thensome. But one of us had to be reasonable. She wouldn't have lasted much longer and in the morning she would be on death's doorstep. So I bullied her into the car to conclude my birthday festivities. And that's birthday bash #41. A little more mature. A little more reserved.
Started my adventure of turning 41 with a couple of super cool cards from the kids. Liam reminded me I'm old, but not crusty. And Meg made a card from the future, whereupon I would have my head placed atop a robot's body. That, I said, should help with my triathlons! Great sentiments from everyone, and a pair of compression socks for training purposes as my gift.
Later that evening, I cruised with Ye Ol Hodge to The Filling Station. Nothing helps a man accept his age like beer, friends, and sugar. Got all three today. Server lass Tiffany sang. Server lass Courtney brought a slice of Snickers pie to ease my pain. And the Woodchuck kept me warm. Good times. Just what the doctor ordered.
Other notable events included: a surprise serenade from Mary Cracchiolo Spain, a song from my niece Morgan, nearly 50 comments on Facebook, a call from Kim Hall, a call from John G, and a complete lack of any training other than 20oz curls.
I said it numerous times today, but I'll immortalize it in writing: carbon dating puts me at 41, but I feel closer to 31. And that is an excellent present for any man!
Toe is much better today. Maybe it is just a sprain. Fortunately, it didn't appear to affect my running. Not yet.
Went down to the beach after lunch. (Chinese food with Mom!) Sixty five degrees. Slight wind from the west. Not a cloud in the sky. Made for a great day, despite the ugliness of my run.
Managed 5 miles in an hour. Cardio sucked. Focus sucked. Not nearly as good as I wanted. But I didn't die. Or puke, And I actually thought I was going to be sick, once. Still coming off a cold. My lungs not clear. So I was coughing up some funk.
Should get better from here. (Certainly much better than I was doing last year!) Four more weekends to train. Then Traditions. Would be great to tackle the 5K portion in less than 30min. First triathlon of the year, though. I'll keep making improvements. Maybe eyeball that half Ironman? Maybe not.
Should have sensed it coming. Didn't sleep well last night. Horrible insomnia. Maybe four hours. Maybe. Then something of a disagreement with Cindy. Resulted in a broken toe. My toe. The pinky. Left foot. Of course I didn't discover that particular affliction until after the adrenaline wore off. After spinning. After an hour of lifting. Odd pain, though. Only hurt when I was on sitting flat, not doing anything active. Biked sixteen miles on it. So I got that going for me. Eventually I confessed the wound to Nurse Cindy. And she taped it up. Which made it hurt even worse. But that's medicine. And the pain helped clear my head. A nap helped, too.
Later, we took the kids to The Hard Rock for a pretty cool special event. The Southern Chamber Orchestra played with Flash Cadillac. So we had an old, 60s band playing rock with backup performed by a 62-piece orchestra. Beach Boys. Elvis. Beatles. And lots of others I couldn't identify. Kids enjoyed it. Cindy and I enjoyed it. Good time for the whole family. Great way to end the night with a minimum of woe and drama.
Liam & Cindy made a return trip to Mobile, AL. To visit the pediatric gastrointestinal specialist who cured Liam three years ago. Things have been slowly improving, but not resolved. The doctor is making a couple of changes: Zantec at night. A full dose of Prevacid in the morning. No more Tums. No liquid meds during the weekend, when Liam's less stressed.
Hopefully, we'll see continued improvements. And we can all get back to our particular brand of normalcy.
Me & Tolar don't remember signing up for this. An eighteen hour day for me. Missing prime cartoon time for Tolar. It's cold. It's windy. We're both tired. Meanwhile, my daughter (Meg) and Tolar's sister (Alex) are having softball practice. Cindy's supposed to be studying. I'm supposed to be noncontributing rather than being a deadbeat. Of course freezing on an uncomfortable metal bleacher isn't contributing much of anything to Meg's quality of life. But some points in my karmic account and the pleasure of watching Meg cover third base are worth it. At least for me. Not sure how Tolar scores it.