Monday, February 23, 2009

Balancing Act

So another week has passed and I have failed to post anything at all in my blog. I truly must rectify this or I shall never have loyal readers!
Not that I would expect anyone to be a loyal reader of my musings. I think I post more myself than anyone else, and mostly as a way to keep my family informed of the more crazy things I do in life. Though, I am grateful for those of you that do stop in here to peek in on the red-head.

This past week was an interesting a sense I don't have a physical "home" anymore. Well, a place I call "home." After nearly 20 years my parents sold their house in Katy, TX (W. Houston) and then hopped on a plane to Buffalo, NY. I told you that this blog had crazy things in it! Who moves from warm TX to freezing Buffalo?? Well, when it's a good job to be had, my parents do! My Mom made a great observation when she said that if they could adapt to 120 degrees and the Arab culture of the UAE (where we lived from '82-'89) they could adapt to cold temperatures/snow and Yankees! They arrived in Buffalo on Saturday. So, now the question is, where do I call home? You're probably wondering why I don't call where I am now home? I guess being military it's a little odd because we move around so much In fact, the end of March will mark the longest I've been in any one location at one time since I graduated and was commissioned in 2002, and that recording breaking time is 16 months. The previous winner for that record was Baghdad, Iraq for 15 months! That being said, in the past 11 years I have lived in NY, MO, Germany, Iraq, and TX. I claim the state of Texas, and always will, but where I live in TX now may have my house, but I don't claim the city! That "home" in Katy was always home. At the same time, the home in Katy was also just a house. I was there with my folks last week when the movers were packing them out, and the only time it felt a little weird was when I was driving off, and I think that was more that they would be so much further away (for now--if they stay in NY till 2012, then I'll be close to them again). So, I have no sentimental place for which to call my home. Yet, the old saying of "home is where the heart is" does ring my TX house with my dogs, my parents in Buffalo, my sister and nephew in California, my brother at West Point, and my other brother at Univ. of Arkansas, those place hold my I guess I'm from all over, but with the Lone Star State as my hub!

I did have a couple of rest/easy days this past week following the 1/2 Marathon and then it was jumping right back into training. The Lonestar Half-Ironman is only 41 days away and Boston is only 56 days away!! Part of me wonders how ready I will be for both of those events, and another side of me wonders why I'm not freaking out about either one (yet!)!! I think it's because, ultimately, Ironman Florida is the prize. While I would definitely like to "shine" at every race I do, I also must understand that if I am going to race in an Ironman year that I must keep that as the focus and use everything as preparation for that. I should be pretty solid at Lonestar for the bike and the run, but I will admit that the time I've spent in the pool lately hasn't been enough or that stellar. A wetsuit and the salt water swim will help because my kick is so terrible and my pull so good, that the buoyancy both the suit and salt provide will assist my form and speed.

This past weekend my workouts were fairly solid. I had a 70 mile ride planned for Saturday...well, actually the schedule called for 40, but I had some friends from the Austin T3 crew that were riding 70 and I wanted to ride with them. I got there and we had an awesome first 30 miles (despite my attempt to play NASA at two points when I launched a water bottle off the back of my bike)...then it rained on us and we got wet and cold...and then one of the T3 coaches had a bike crash and hurt his shoulder (I haven't heard how he is, but I hope he is okay)...and then God flipped the wind switch and I think miles 33-40 were some of the most miserable miles of my life. I have never worked so hard on the bike and gone SO SLOW. Previously we were averaging 19-20mph on the bike easy. Blythe was kicking my butt and I was having to put out some good effort to stay with her, and it was great! She was truly making me a better cyclists. But, when that wind turned on (30-40mph winds), it took everything I had just to a.) stay anchored to the ground and b.) to go around 10/11 mph! We finished the first 43 miles and they entire crew decided that the next 28 mile planned loop wasn't worth it. These T3'ers are pretty hard core athletes and are training for Ironman CdA in June, so when they opted not to go out, I knew my decision to not do the second loop with them was not wimping out!! We did make it into a "brick" (bike/run) and I just ran with Blythe at a nice easy pace. My feet were cold and felt like bricks for the first couple of miles. We ended up running for about 40 minutes or so. Overall, a good workout, but it's amazing how something like insane winds at the end of the ride can make the whole ride feel like it was so hard! But, the best part was training with PEOPLE. REAL PEOPLE. It was just nice to train with others. I'll admit it, I'm insanely jealous of the social aspect of triathlon that my friends in Austin get and that I don't get here in Killeen. The silver lining is, if I get my wish and end up at UT for grad school, I know a tri team I plan on joining! Sunday I had a 10 mile run and 1 hour swim on tap. I went to church in the morning, and instead of opting to go to eat with the Sunday School class (which I seldom do anyways as I just don't eat out much) I headed home to go run.
The weather was GORGEOUS. I mean it was in the 50's/60's with some wind (but nothing like Saturda) and SUNNY. I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I could've worn a short sleeve, but I knew when I was running in the wind and sweaty that sleeves would be comfortable. I guess I should've put sun lotion on as well as I have a light red tint and my first running short lines of the year! I wasn't pushing too hard on pace and was keeping a good eye on my heart rate, and I was feeling so good that 10 turned to 14...yeah, that usually doesn't happen. Usually workouts get shortened, not lengthened! Then, about an hour later I was in the pool and knocking out a good 3000m swim (with some sets). I think the swim did wonders for keeping me to the lowest amount of soreness I've had in a LONG time after a long run. It's usually not bad, but it is noticeable. Today, it isn't really! Yay!

I do wish I had more time to sleep. My sleep isn't nearly what it should be, but there isn't too much I can do about it. I do not have a choice but to be at work at 0630, it's part of my job. Sometimes, I must be there earlier if we have certain mandatory things to accomplish (fun things, like urinalysis, health and welfares), and sometimes I am up late for important things (like greeting some of my Military Working Dog handlers after they redeploy from Iraq). So, I just have to roll with it, get what I can get, try to eat well, hydrate well, and pace myself during workouts with the appropriate effort. That is easier said than done though! Some days I'm successful, some days I am not. I do not want to burn out, that is for sure...thankfully, I have some good friends that keep an eye on me and help talk me down when I'm pushing my days to fast and hard. I just try my best to roll with the punches, know that my job as a commander is important and I am grateful to have the privilege to serve in the position. It would be harder if I didn't know that I had a respite just a little over a year away. Grad school will be challenging, but I think I may actually enjoy having my studies and my furry canine kids, Davey and Annie, be my primary responsibilities. It will be odd, yes, but I do am so looking forward to it!