Friday, May 4, 2012

Catching Up

A not-so-quick update on what has been going on.

Spraying to all fields to use a baseball term.

Dad Update:
My father had a stroke that was deemed “minor” (anything medical is minor if it isn’t you). So, I did not go to swim Masters State in Wisconsin as planned. Kinda bummed about that. I haven’t done a swim meet in 10 years. Since, he has had brain swelling, a brain biopsy, MERCA, the left side of his body is “busted” as dad told me and his voice/language is barely decipherable from Portuguese. Dad can still throw a ball with his right hand and enjoys messing with medical technicians, nurses and my mother. Doing things such as humming in the same pattern as the CAT scan or MRI machine, deliberately trying to confuse my mother and printing his cardiac strip in the nurses station to “keep them on their toes and get my money’s worth”. I asked my dad if I should cancel my vacation and stay with him. His response (as only my dad can say it), “You gonna hold my hand? Don’t be ridiculous. Go on vacation. I’ll still be here when you get back.” Dad has been in the hospital going on six weeks now. In and out of ICU and rehabilitation. The doctor in my humble opinion sucks rotten eggs. He woke my dad up at 3:15am when he started his rounds to ask him how he was doing. That doc would have been junk punched if I was sleeping in the hospital that night. He has a long way to go in order to get back to “normal”, but in the grand scheme of strokes – he hasn’t been bad. My wife’s uncle Lon and my friend Gina’s brother have literally been to hell and back – (maybe more than once). We are still feeling lucky at this point, but “luck” isn’t what I’d call it.
Who goes on a 12 day cruise vacation and doesn’t gain weight? Me! Didn’t gain 0.1 of a pound. How? I ate off the “spa menu”; plenty of water, fish, fruit, vegetables. No added salt and prepared fresh daily. Nothing processed or preserved.

My in-laws and Lorrie and I are celebrating wedding anniversaries, my fathter-in-law and I are celebrating birthdays.  Should I go on a cruise 28 days before a half Ironman?  No.  Did I?  Yes.  Will I survive?  Yes.  Perspective is firmly in place.  Go on trips when everyone is healthy - not for the ideal moment in your "schedule".  Screw the schedule.  Live.

Workouts were water running, running, 5x 1 hour or so at aerobic pace in the spin classes on board, swimming – 10 days at about 30 minutes of strong intervals after a 5 minute warm up, two open water ocean swims and one 1 hour SUP (stand up paddleboard) session. I really enjoyed the SUP. What a fun workout! I didn’t “dump” myself off the board until I got really hot. Even paddled through some large waves from the ship’s tenders. I’m sure that’s a “mundane sports achievement”, but it was pretty cool. I saw a H-U-G-E barracuda eating smaller fish. This fish had to be 4’ long and REALLY REALLY FAST. Holy crap was this fish fast. I went to get my waterproof camera and proceeded to dump myself right on top of him/her. Boom! Gone like it was shot out of a rifle. I worked extremely hard from October up to this cruise and weathered the physical challenge fairly well. I felt that 12 days of “easy” workouts would be great before my last training push before the Florida 70.3 (my ninth race in a row there). It’s a new location and course. I’m not sure what to expect. I heard Simon Whitfield express this very well recently. I’m going to Florida to “express” my fitness. Nothing more. My fitness is “better”. It is not “good”. Considering what is going on with dad… I’ll be happy just to finish and catch a few rays of sun with my mind off of dad’s situation.

Emerald Princess docked in lovely Grenada. Princess has always treated me like a king.
 The one thing that “training” in the Caribbean on the Emerald Princess (and islands we visited) did for me… it reminded me in no uncertain terms how heat can make a 9:00/mile pace a 9:30 pace very quickly. Before the rest on the cruise, my heel and knee were really bugging me. I think I really needed the rest and massage. Random thought… running with a GPS on a ship – try it and then UPLOAD the course. Enjoy the circles you ran over the ocean. I stopped at x00 laps of the ship – 13 times around is a mile and I ran for a “normal” run week for me (mostly on the running track). 3x around on the Promenade Deck is 1 mile, but I didn’t do a lot there because people were sleeping just below that deck. While I was up at 5:30am running – I’m pretty sure most folks didn’t want to be up then.  xx miles later - cruise running accomplished. Too bad folks didn't get up early! They missed seeing pilot whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and spectacular at sea sunrises which have no equivalent on land. (Readers note: I only saw one sunset. We opted for the early dinner and it was setting when we were eating.) Once we rounded Cuba and were “officially” in the Caribbean and not the North Atlantic I grabbed a rum drink and all I could think about is Johnny Depp saying, “Welcome to the Caribbean!”

Welcome to the Caribbean! Rum?

Princess Cruises
Speaking of… this was my seventh cruise with Princess Cruises (52 days at sea with Princess). Princess has always been really good to me; great food, service, fun and a diverse crowd. I think we only had 18 kids (18 and under) on a 2,800-person passenger load ship. Our service was exceptional – even for Princess. Cannot wait to go on my next cruise! I love the ocean and being out on my balcony just listening to the ship part the ocean at 18 knots (19.1 mph) and starring up at the sky.

The Ocean
I can watch these every morning and evening.  Awesome.

How do you commute?

Avg flower...
 The ocean gives new meaning to daily life for me. It reminds me of how small we are and how unimportant stressors in life really are. The ocean doesn’t care what is on TV or who said what on Facebook or Twitter. While those medium are important for human communication, they are only important to a point that we place on them (which shouldn’t be much in my opinion.)

The other thing I learned on the cruise… women in their 50s really are proud of their breast enhancements. We (Lorrie and I) had a great laugh when a woman around 50 was walking around the market in Bonaire with a TIGHT and SMALL white bikini top and TIGHT and SMALL shorts. Next to her was a 30-40 year old woman and let’s just say parts moved as they should. The 50 year old woman… nothing moved, bounced or shifted. Whatever makes you feel good I guess. Her breasts looked ridiculously hard. Ladies – imagine shoving D sized rocks in your chest that rise up to your collarbone. Like I said, ridiculous. I should point out that its not like I went looking for these. This woman practically ran me over headed for a bar and bruised my back with her fake breastesess. They must be new, because she wore inappropriate attire all week and it looks like they are still “sitting high” on her chest. Like walking around downtown Chicago today… all the 40-55 year old women were wearing short skits, animal prints, snake skin dresses, high heels. Is there something I missed? Age and size inappropriate clothing is great for another blog topic. Ladies… I know that the media says your should be thin like Paris Hilton (no thanks) or slutty like Kim Kardashian (pass), however, the sexiest woman is one who is happy in her own skin and personality. Someone who is confident in her own style and someone who is intelligent.

Speaking of intelligent…

Once you use this product you will never use a different one.
KINeSYS Sunscreen took the BEATING that is the Caribbean sun and did just fine. Matter of fact… I wore KINeSYS 30 spf (from the spray bottle) and didn’t get burned at all and my skin is exceptional. I wore the sunscreen everyday and was one of only a handful of people not to look like a cooked lobster.
Gretski the Great Golden Retriever
When we returned home, we went from airport to Indiana (Macintosh Goldens) where Greta spent her “spring break” being a dog with her sisters. They ran around the farm chasing birds. Got muddy. Sniffed each other’s butts and crap. Slept in a dog pile. Greta even got to see her mom for the first time since she was 8 weeks old. I have no idea if she recognized her relatives, but I’d like to think that they have some kind of familiarity sense there. On the last day Greta got a full “show treatment” – fur and nails. She looks great. When we got there she RAN to us and practically fell down wiggling with excitement. Since returning home she cannot get enough walking, retrieving and dog piling Lorrie and I.
A show ready golden retriever.
See you at the gym or on the road... I'll be the one gasping for air.

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