14 March 2011

Bustling, Bullfights, Beer And The Friday Top Five

First, let me apologize to all of my animal loving friends and bullfighters for this frightful picture. It has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Well, almost nothing. 

The past week has been pretty awesome as far as training goes. After my marathon interview last Thursday, I felt like I had the weight of the world off my shoulders. 

I started up again on Saturday morning with mile repeats:

15 minute warmup followed by:

4x1 mile repeats with 3:00 minutes rest in between. I finished up in zone 2. 
My repeats were a good minute slower than wereI ended at the end of last season (8:00, 7:54, 7:48, and 7:42). Of course, I had not started my  mile repeats until later in the season, so I am hoping that will benefit me as well. 

Sunday:  45 minute bike in zone 2-3 at 90 RPM

Monday: 3000 yards in the pool with a 1500 yard straight main set followed by a half hour of functional strength.

Tuesday: 45 minute tempo run/60 minute bike

Wednesday: Same swim as Monday. Felt more awesome today than Monday. 

Thursday: Was SUPPOSE to do a 60 minute run, but my body completely rebelled. I ended up doing 20 minutes and shut it down. It just was not there. I think I know why my run suffered today. First, I did not have a great eating day. All I ate all day was some seven seed bread that I picked up in the morning before getting to my office. Not enough fuel. Secondly, I did not drink enough during the day... as in zero, zilch, nada. Why? Because I am an idiot. Yup. 

Friday: Was SUPPOSE to do my Thursday bike. Got home late and put time in the bank instead. It will pay greater dividends in the end. Of course, Ironman does not care that I could not get to my mid-week bike. 

Saturday: I ran the Johnny's Runnin' On The Green. This is the local St. Patty's week race  in which you have everyone from kick-ass competitive runners to guys and gals dressed up in all sorts of leprechaun-esque accoutrement with shamrocks on their heads. Usually, they are taking a break from drinking Guinness at 10:30 in the morning to go for a five mile scamper through downtown Rochester. I had a whole bunch of college coeds pass me early on who I saw grabbing the sides of their stomachs and puking about a mile and a half into their run.

Here are the numbers:

38:53 (7:47 M)
AG: 35/105 
Overall 358/1655
38:53 (7:47 M)

The race was okay, but I never really felt like I got in a good groove. I think I may have started out slightly too fast and just not got in a good running rhythm. I looked down on my watch after the first mile and saw that I was running 7:20's. I did not think I was going to be able to keep this pace up at this point in the season and I was right. I even tried slowing down so that I would be running an 8:00 M pace for a quarter mile, but it felt like I was walking. 

Speaking of walking—what the hell is up with walker guy people passing me as I am running? There was this older cat running, er walking like he was in the finals for Olympic speed-walking. How does walker guy pass me? Seriously. I was pissed. With about a quarter mile left I just said to myself "Oh no you didn't," and passed him. 

Sunday: 1:15 trainer ride. (It was suppose to be 1:30). I did 60 minute in zone 2 and 15 minute in zone 3. Then I ate a pound of my wife's lasagna. 

Today (Monday): I had a physical this morning. You know, that yearly thing you have to do. I learned two things: 

1)My resting heart rate is 47
2) Apparently I have a healthy prostate. I know this, well... I think it does not need to be said. There is something SO wrong about that. At least buy me a couple of drinks first doc. Followed it up with a totally kick-ass swim workout:

6x100 F
100 K
200 Pull with paddles and buoy 
10x25 HARD
8x25 K hard with fins
10x25 HARD
2x400 Pull
4x100 Kick with fins

I managed to get this done in 57:00 minutes. We all know I am not blazing fast in the water. However, I think I have seen some steady improvement despite the fact that I am only swimming twice a week right now. I am not sure if Coach Mary will ramp up the yards (I pray not), or add another swim workout during the week, but I am digging my workouts once they get under way.

The Friday Top Five: The five funniest things my kids said/did this week:

#5:  Upon finishing the fourth Harry Potter book, Luca came downstairs and said "Mom, just so you know, I never want to go to boarding school."

#4: Julian, Luca, wifey and I were all playing the game Catch Phrase this weekend. Have you ever played Catch Phrase with a seven and nine year old? You pass around a round "clicker"  that magnifies a word that you want your teammate to say. I dig playing it with the kids because it gets them to describe things using other words. They are usually pretty simple words or compound words like "astronaut," or "black eye," or "London." Sometimes wifey and I are really surprised at the the language they use. For instance. Julian gets his clue and says:

"Stella's favorite color is..." Wifey says "green." Then Julian says, "right, and we live in a...?" Wifey says "house." To which Julian replies "and put them together..." "Greenhouse!"

Love it!

Anyway, the teams were Luca and Dad against Mom and Julian. Julian begins by explaining a word, saying, "Okay... you and daddy drink this beer. It is like... a color and then a thing that you turn on"  Wifey and I look at each other with puzzled looks on our face. What the hell is this kid talking about. Time expires and he give the clicker to wifey and says "Blue light! You know how you and daddy are always drinking that blue beer." 

Okay, that is funny enough. First of all, we don't drink anything with the word 'lite' in front of it. I usually drink stout, or a porter, and wifey like a good hefe-weizen.  

The best part was after going back to look at the word....

"Bull Fight" Wifey and I were rolling on the floor laughing. 

He did not read it that carefully apparently. 

#3: After coming home one day last week, Amalia came up to me and gave me a hug and a kiss and said "Ahhh... I'm in love!"

#2: Luca and I were sitting around the dinner table one night discussing Harry Potter when Stella says "Daddy, I read all the Harry Potter books too."  "You did Stella? When did you read them?" Stella replies, "Well, not yet, but I am going to read them all when I am older. I will read them to my little sister."   Stella is the youngest of five. I can assure you, there are no more on the way. Perhaps, ever. 

#1: This is by FAR the funniest thing I think ANY of my children have ever said to me. I was building the Lego X-Wing Fighter with my son Julian. He was having a little trouble with part of the directions. So, I said "Julian, can I help you with that? I don't think you are putting that together properly." Julian looks at me and says "No, dad. What? Do you think you have a Ph.D. in Legos or something?"

Okay, March is upon us which means the NCAA tournament is almost underway. I shall be posting my official pics, as I feel it important to absolutely humiliate myself. Last year, my son Julian picked all the teams by the Mascots names and colors of their uniforms and had a much better bracket than me. He had Butler winning it all, and they almost did!  My wife also chooses the teams by mascot names. She usually asks something like, "Who's playing, Bears and Gophers? C'mon, the bears are going to eat those things. I'll pick the bears." 

Okay,  more soon. Happy Training!

06 March 2011

Exhaling, The Friday Top Five, And Where Have I Been?!

This picture pretty much defines my life. These are my absolutely wonderful five children—all of which with personalities so different that one would think there is no possible way they could all be related. We were on our way to go sledding a couple of weeks ago when I thought I should take a picture of the Fab Five. My daughter, Janina, is the quiet one in the purple. My son Julian, is the one in back who resembles Kenny from the television series South Park. 

So, I know what you might be thinking. Where has this guy been? I love writing my blog. Even when I am really busy, I still manage to write a post at least once a week. The last  month was probably the busiest month that I can remember in my life. Even while preparing my dissertation defense and getting ready to defend, I was still not as stressed as I was the past week. 

I started a position at a new institution after being Composer In Residence at another institution for ten years. It has been a welcome change. I have amazing colleagues, wonderful students, and a very collaborative academic environment. I am a strong believer of collaboration within academia. What do I mean by that? For instance, one of my colleagues has spoken to me about the possibility of co-teaching a course on music and poetry—looking at the way composers treat text in regard to compositional devices: form, rhythm, meter, articulations, harmony, dynamics, phrasing. I work at a place where interdisciplinary projects are the norm—and people get really creative. For instance, I had a conversation with a colleague in mathematics about taking a course on the math of Darmstadt era composers. You see, some composers write with very specific processes. How cool is my job? I am teaching an independent study to a student this semester who is learning improvisation with me. Once a week he puts it into practice by walking over to the dance department with his guitar and accompanying modern classes. 

Anyway, the last two weeks I had been preparing a class to teach and an prepping my evening talk as part of the interview process. My father use to say to us that it was okay to fail as long as we gave it everything we had. His viewpoint was that we learn from those experiences. We put our best foot forward, prepare the hell out of something, and hope that we have our best performance on that day. In a lot of ways, it is kind of like triathlon. 

I want to thank all my friends, colleagues, and my Trakkers teammates who sent out a lot of love and support the last week wishing my luck. Oh, and of course I would be remiss if I did not mention my  super-awesome coach who sent me an email reminding me that I have been preparing for the position my whole life. 

So, that is where I have been. In a cave. Well, more like the library, but you get the idea. 

The Friday Top Five

1) Pasta: Yeah, I think it should come as NO surprise that pasta is the favorite food of a guy who actually wrote a post titled "Confessions of a Complex Carboholic". It is probably only within this list that I could actually create a subcategory of my favorite pastas as well. How Italian am I?! First on the list for me would be pasta penne vodka. Seriously, how can you go wrong with a sauce made from proscuitto, cream, and vodka?  Next would be pasta with pesto (pronounced "pay-sto). We grow our own basil in our garden during the summer. My wife collects a kitchen table's worth by the end of the summer and breaks out the parmesan cheese and oil to make fresh pesto. She jars it, and I consume it in ridiculous amounts on my pasta until it has disappeared and I have to wait another summer to get my fix. I don't think a week went by last summer that I did not make pasta salad—a dish consisting of fresh cavatelli, olive oil, tomato's, basil, garlic, mozzarella cheese. After you pour the warm cavatelli in a bowl bringing out the flavor of the garlic and add the other ingredients, I would always drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar to finish. As I am writing this, I am daydreaming about making lunch today. 

2) Pizza: Seriously, I think I could eat pizza everyday of the week if I could eliminate my conscience. I don't like the "healthy" variety of this culinary masterpiece. I prefer thin crust pepperoni pizza, especially the kind made wood fired pizzerias, where the crust gets slightly toasty on the sides. A lot of love in that pizza!

3) Bruschetta: bruschetta \brü-ˈske-tə, -ˈske-\. My memories of bruschetta go back to when I was a small child. My father would cut up pieces of Italian bread from a loaf and put them on a tray in the fireplace to toast. When they got a nice golden brown, he would take a garlic clove and rub it on the bread, followed by a little olive oil and salt. That's it. No tomato's. No cheese, parsley, or citrus like you find at some of these fancy Italian restaurants that claim to be authentic. Nope. Just real good peasant food. He taught me how to make it, and I have taught my children. I don't know why something so simple is so delicious, but it just works. My father would tell me what a wonderful meal it was to have some olives, a couple pieces of cheese, bruschetta, and a glass of wine. Clearly, he was a visionary!

4) Chicken and black bean burrito: I am convinced I am one millionth Mexican, because my hunger for a decent burrito has steadily grown since I first ate one in Ithaca, New York while attending graduate school. It took me nearly 25 years years to eat one, yes. I did eat some authentic mexican food while attending school in Ohio, but I never ordered burritos for some reason. I eat about one a week now. I like them spicy. 

5) Coconut Ice Cream: Bizarre, right? Not every place has coconut ice cream, and it has been my experience that either people love it, or hate it. If it is on an ice cream parlor (do people even call it an "ice cream parlor" anymore?), I have to get it. 

Training: Needless to say, the training was pretty much non-existant this week. I had a recovery week, so my hours were pretty low anyway—I only had bout five hours of training to do. I did a straight 1500 yard swim on Monday in 27:25 (1:50 pace—hey, I'm not fast... yet!), and I ran yesterday for the first time all week. I did 4x1 mile repeats after a ten minute warm up. My splits were:  8:00. 7:53, 7:48, and 7:42. I am a good minute off my pace from the end of the season last year, but I am sure I will get it back down again..... right?!  

Oh!  I ran in my NEW Avia Quest Lite's for the first time and I absolutely DIG them. I ran my mile repeats in them. I thought I was going to need a little time breaking them in and perhaps they were not going to be comfortable right away out of the box. I was wrong. If a shoe feels that good out of the box on your first run, I can not wait to feel what it is going to be like after I put some miles in these puppies! 

Okay, I am officially ready to post my bike porn in my next post. A lot of my teammates ordered their first Kestrels this season. All I can say is that you will not be disappointed. I spoke to a bunch of my friends about how much more comfortable I have been on this bike already. You know what that mean, right? More comfortable = faster!  

Still do not have a name for my new ride. I will need one for the beginning of the season. Perhaps I should have a "Name My New Baby Contest?" 

Coach Mary has me doing 10 hours this week. I am looking forward to the therapy after a pretty stressful week last week. 

More soon. Train Smart!