Again, it's been far too long since I last wrote, and even the wife has been on me asking questions like, "are you ever going to blog again!??!" But c'mon, cut us some slack, we've had a lot going on. I still owe some folks out there a "race report" for the ultramarathon that was our wedding and honeymoon, but that's on the "to-do" list still and I'll get that one going in a little bit. This entry will be more focused on the transition to life in Columbus, OH and just training in general. (Disclaimer - this post is lengthy and there will be no fun photos)
I've always wanted to live somewhere other than NY. I've been lucky enough to travel to almost all of the 50 states within our Union. I think at last count I was at 45 out of 50 states that I've been to. Still have (Alaska, N+S Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska) a few to hit, but I've had a good opportunity to travel a lot and see a variety of places in the states. To friends in my past growing up, I've said that I've always had this allure to the West and after travelling out there on several different occassions, I'd come up with a few places that seemed pretty neat to visit (Sedona, AZ...Moab, UT...Portland, OR) All of these places looked pretty cool in theory to my young and feeble mind and in my wildest dreams I never thought I'd be relocating to the very middle of a state only a few short hour drive away in Ohio. But you know what? It's been a good transition and I'm really glad we didn't get picked up and moved halfway across the US.
Ohio, like any other large move where you transport all of your belongings and relocate yourself, was a big undertaking. Hell, we're still getting our arms around a lot of the things that need to be done before we're finally "settled". The main thing being that we're closing on our new home in just a few weeks, so that should be a big hurdle in the process of normalcy in Ohio.
I'm not a big fan of change, but I'm slowly getting accoustomed to things out here in Buckeye county. As normal, when you move and jump in feet first - you tend to grab onto anything that remotely resembles the life that you've grown up with over the last 30 years. (I'm not 30 yet...but getting dangerously close!) Anyone who knows me understands my penchant for learning new directions is quite SUB par. So, throw me into a new state with ALL unfamiliar roads, and a job that I normally don't leave the house with, leads to some incredibly confusing and meandering rides/runs/drives around town. I'm not shy enough to say that I've never gotten lost in the month that we've been here, I've had my share of rides and runs where I've gotten turned around, but I've yet to have that moment where ABSOLUTELY nothing looks familiar and I'm COMPLETELY and utterly lost. Although I'm sure that's soon to come!
In regards to training and racing, I've been trying to jump into the tri-scene here by doing my own thing and looking around for races that fit into my schedule, but nothing has come about yet. With training for another full iron distance race, it's hard to find people willing to hop along with you. I'm what some might refer to as a lone wolf when it comes to running or biking and if you're not going my HR or wattage, then I'm just gonna keep on doing my own thing and you can run away from me. I don't mean that to be rude, hell I'd LOVE for people to come train with me, I just know my tendency is to run or ride with you and I often find myself going above and beyond to keep up or to start a mini-"race within a training session." Long story short, my ego gets in the way. So I train solo for the most part. No big deal, that's the life of an endurance athlete. Not many folks will be chomping at the bit to go and ride a hard 6 hour ride with you...it's the life we choose and I'm totally cool with it, just makes finding like minded people a tad bit harder.
Swimming wise - Kim and I have found a really solid group of folks in the New Albany Masters Swimming team here in Columbus. I was REALLY nervous about finding the right swim team. The team we left in Rochester was like a second family to us. They were friends in and out of the pool and a lot of people whom I truly miss. But the solace is knowing that since I'm coming back to Rochester about once a month for work, I can get to see them if they allow me back for a practice or two during that time. So Kim and I heard of this crew in New Albany and let me tell you - Ohio swimming is INTENSE!!! Even down to high schools and colleges, their swimming is way faster than what we normally do in NY.
For example, the first practice we did (and Kim and I thought they were trying to haze us, but I guess this was a normal practice) was 8x200's on 2:30...that's a base 1:15/100yd!! But we're finding a few triathletes in the mix and even though their practices are only an hour instead of 1.5, it's a good crew and they've accepted us like a swimming family always does. We've been invited to swim and bike with them on several occassions and they've even shown us some good spots to open water swim and some key places to ride which is awesome!
Speaking of which, in Rochester, we got REALLY spoiled by the amount of shoulder that was on the roads there. I've ridden down route 65 in and around Mendon Ponds Park and there's been 6' across to the right of the white line and we've been 3 bikes accross in that section yacking away and still relatively safe from traffic. Here in Ohio (almost all of Ohio) the white line has about a 3 inch section of shoulder before the road stops and falls off into gravel or sand. I'm not gonna lie, this scares the be-jeebus out of me!!! I literally am white knuckled on the handlebars whenever I ride outside in traffic and I'm slowly getting used to it. The nice thing is that the majority of the drivers will wait until it is safe to pass and will give you ample amount of room on the roads. There are no bike lanes here, so that makes some travel by bike a little difficult. One ef the other little oddities is the fact that there are an overabundance of yellow cars here in Ohio...and that makes me smile.
But anyway, we've found a really solid 23 mile loop around the Hoover Dam that is marked and it's the Westervill Bike Club's route. They have a 16 and a 23 mile loop with markings on the roadway and it's really nice. It's kind of on back country roads and not many cars travel them. On the 4th of July I did about 5 loops during a 123 mile/6 hour ride and learned the route pretty well so that I could almost do it in my sleep! But it's nice and from our house will be only about a 5 minute bike over to that area, which will be really convenient. Running wise - I haven't found any trails to run on yet, but I've found a bike path that was good enough for a 12 miler the other day (6 out and 6 back) and I've been using that for most of my runs because its secluded and I don't have to worry about traffic.
Training wise, I've been getting in some really good focused training, recovery and some intense sessions. I was 8 minutes shy of hitting the 27 hour barrier last week and have 2 more weeks to go in this block before a well earned rest week. I'm hoping to top out close to that 30 hour barrier. Things are going well and I'm getting geared up for Rev3. I have a lot to prove there and I just want to finally be able to execute a race where I am proud of the pacing and subsequent marathon time in an ironman. I know it'll happen, I just have to be patient and put in these hard weeks now.
Other than that, it's been the normal things like finding the right grocery stores (PLEASE never take Wegmans for granted!) sampling and finding new places to eat (I don't think any sushi restaurant will live up to "the spot" in Rochester) what the new TV and radio channels are, etc. I'm sure we'll have to get new doctors/dentists and all that jazz when the time comes but for now we're making do :o) I've gotten my family set up on Skype so that's been a really neat treat too. It is SO much better to see someone and chat with them via video than it is to just speak with them over the phone. I mean, yesterday Kim and I got treated to a light saber battle by my nephews who were both in the underwear! You can't beat that, haha! (they are 5 and BIG Star Wars fans...)
So Ohio isn't turning out that bad :o) I mean, how could it? I'm here with my best friend and wife and we're starting our lives together, we have an amazing house being built and we're slowly acclimating to the groove of life here. Yes, I miss family and friends in Rochester, but I know we're going to see them often as we've not moved to Alaska or clear across the country. It just makes the time that we do see them all that more special. But with that I'm going to wrap up this entry and leave the wedding and honeymoon post for another day. To give you a little hint, there was "blood sweat and tears" on our wedding day, but I'll leave that story until the post for you to wonder about. Until then friends, stay cool in this hot weather, keep the rubber side down, stay safe and I'll be out on the crazy roads of Ohio, training my arse off! Cheers.