Sunday, September 11, 2016

Moving, Vacation, and some training

The best part about being in the military is the opportunity to move every few years. It's also the worst part. Throughout August my family endured our latest move, from downtown Baltimore to Fort Drum, NY. In just two days, a team of packers swept through our place, packed everything, and loaded it out. 99% of our current worldly possessions are sitting in a storage unit somewhere in Syracuse. After a week on a cruise and a week at home in Ohio, I've been inprocessing here at Fort Drum and getting ready for 17 weeks of temporary duty at Fort Benning, GA, and Charlottesville, VA, while K and L split their time among California, Ohio, and Virginia. Here's a quick rundown of how August went:

- Early August: getting ready to move
The first two weeks of August were spent recovering from the bar, trying to stop finding liability in everyday actions, getting more time at the gym, and purging my house of the half empty bags of doritos squirreled away in all my study spots. I also spent some time on the phone trying to confirm my movers, which took entirely too much effort. One would think that after 200 years of this, the Army would know how to move people. But it's still a struggle. Finally, on the last two days we were planning on being in the city, everything got finished, some odds and ends were thrown in our storage unit, and we were able to clear out the apartment.


- Cruise!
We then spent a week onboard the MSC Divina, an awesome cruise ship out of Miami. We flew down out of BWI to Fort Lauderdale, took a shuttle service to the port, and set sail. Now, the big question we get: how was cruising with a baby? Obviously it wasn't as lazy or adventure-filled as if we didn't have Lilly, but it was still plenty of fun. Just having the chance to relax, not have to worry about cooking or cleaning or what is going on tonight was nice. On port days, we spent a few hours just exploring the cruise port areas, visited a few beaches, but didn't get to do any fun excursions. I'll do another post in a little bit about what all we did and what we learned about cruising with a baby.

- Time with family and Lilly's first birthday
After getting back, we spent a week in Ohio with my family. We had quite a list of things to do: wrap up our time in Baltimore with several calls to our landlady, buy a new car, and try to organize what is going where for the next couple months. I took advantage of my mom's treadmill and babysitting to get in a few nice bike rides on the Ohio & Erie canal. For Lilly's first birthday, we had family over for a Minnie-themed party!

- Labor Day onward: Fort Drum
This past week I've been inprocessing at Fort Drum, which is quite time consuming. Lilly and K are staying with me in a hotel, since we decided not to sign a lease and receive our household goods since neither of us will be here again until February. Poor Lilly is probably tired of sleeping in foldable cribs, and wondering where all her fun toys are.

- Training: Incredoubleman Half Aquabike
In addition to just getting back into Army shape, trying to figure out what's going on with my knee, and continuing training for Superfrog 70.3 in two weeks, I decided to look around for any local races I could use to practice my transitions. My last triathlon was two years ago, Nation's Tri 2014, and my summer kind of was full of bar prep, so I was definitely feeling rusty. I found the Incredoubleman, a two day event in Sacket's Harbor, just down the road from Fort Drum. It's one weekend with two half-iron distance races, plus an olympic on Saturday and sprint on Sunday. I originally planned on doing the Olympic, followed by the half aquabike on Sunday, but after some swelling in my knee during a run during the week, I decided to just go for the aquabike on Saturday and see how it went.
Clearly I was more than a little rusty. As I set out my bag the night before, I decided to doublecheck my packing list, and realized I almost forgot to pack my goggles. Whoops. I got my bike there in one piece, though, set up my transition area, shimmied into a wetsuit, and it was go time.
After almost a whole month of no swimming, I should have been more scared before the swim than I was. It was two laps in Lake Ontario; the weather was perfect, right around 75, and the water was very smooth. In the first lap, I jumped right in and started going, then realized I was a little out of shape here. I slowed down, did some back stroking, then got back into it. My sighting was terrible, and apparently I couldn't swim in a straight line to save my life. On the second lap, I took advantage of the shallow part near shore to water jog until it got too deep, which helped me catch my breath and and attack the second lap. I can say that I was NOT the last out of the water, so that's cool.
I slogged up into transition, threw on my shoes, and headed out on the bike. The first five miles felt like the slowest of my life. The wind was pretty strong, there were two huge hills, and probably more incline than I realized. After that, though, it evened out, and I was able to pick up more speed than I expected. I would have appreciated some aero bars, but I've been procrastinating on that particular upgrade all summer. The bike was two loops, and going into the second loop, I felt fine but definitely wished I had just done the Olympic distance. I had that thought again about one thousand times over the next five miles of the second loop, as the wind was much, much worse, I went even slower, and I could definitely feel my energy flagging. I'd only packed one gel and one Picky Bar, and the only water point was at the start of the second loop, so I only had the two bottles on my bike. Definitely going to have to pack more for my next race! By the time I got to the flat parts, and then the fast downhills around mile 52, I was pretty exhausted, but still pushed for some higher cadences to make up for the terrible winds earlier. I ended up finishing the bike in 3:45, right at the upper end of my goal for a training ride. I would have liked to be faster, but I know having 10+ miles of suck made me stronger...here's hoping Superfrog doesn't have high winds and big hills?
The day after that, I actually felt fine. I stretched out and drank a lot of water after the ride, took a cold shower, and scrubbed off all the salt. For my first multisport effort in two years, it wasn't disappointing! I definitely feel like I should have a pretty good confidence boost, having finished two of the distances in training when I usually don't, but I think it's more of a reality check on my goals. With just two weeks left to get my swim stroke back and figure out my ability to run, I'll probably be happy just to not finish dead last.

Sooo, yeah. In two weeks I'll be in California, hopefully, ready to kick some butt, and then on my way to Fort Benning for some good Army training!

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