Yes, you read that right. It's been a big serving of green eggs and gym this past week. That, and our 20th Wedding Anniversary. We went to Django last night up in Des Moines for some French Bistro cuisine to celebrate.
Back to the egg....
I spent three days staining and applying coats of spar urethane on the cypress wooden table that houses Tara's new extra large Big Green Egg smoker/grill/oven. The goal was to protect the wood to withstand the outside elements on our back deck. That's a tall task for the temperature range of -15 to 100+ degrees here in Iowa, but we'll see how it does. I chose a cherry chestnut stain and I took the table apart to get every inch of the wood stained and coated with the spar urethane before assembling it all back together. The house developed quite a smell from all of those chemicals and even with the windows open and the ceiling fans going - I developed a sore throat for two days from inhaling the stuff. Was it all worth it?
Well - here is the finished product which will enjoy its maiden smoke tomorrow to kick of the New Year. I think we'll do brisket and pork butt for round one.
After Zack and I lifted the 225 lb. egg into the hole in the table:
I'm really happy with the staining color choice as it offsets the dark green ceramic of the Big Green Egg quite well.
Here's Tara showing off her new present:
Here's the Egg outside on the deck and ready for use (not to worry, we have a cover for it):
Hopefully the food will taste yummy.
Now on to the gym rat part of the post...
I spent the past 2 off seasons at the gym doing my weights, but the cost of gym membership is just getting too high and the Simpson gym is always full of athletes using all the weights and machines I need at the times I can go to the gym. So I have slowly developed my own gym in the basement and can workout whenever I want without having to share the weights. Well, except when my son comes down in the basement to show off and bench press every plate we own. And my daughter is doing squats and dead lifts for her sprinting. She did very well this week at Iowa State Track Camp where she was the only freshmen sprinter there. She learned a lot about technique and they focused on coming out of the blocks to get the most powerful acceleration.
I'm in the Hypertrophy phase right now which calls for 6 sets of 10-12 reps at time. At the gym, tying up the squat rack for 6 sets with 1 1/2 - 2 minutes of rest between sets to get in the full 60 - 72 reps was usually a frustrating experience for either me or the person(s) waiting for what I was using. I do miss have the leg press, rowing machine and lat pull from the gym - but I'll have to make do by doing other core and leg exercises that target the same thing.
Here's the new bench with squat rack that Tara and the kids got me for Christmas:
And here is where most of my weekly cycle training is during the winter:
I have been getting out on the snow quite a bit with the RIP 9 this winter. I'm not a big fan of riding gravel roads in general, but now that they are snow and ice covered, I get in some outdoor time nearly every day thanks to taking the dogs for a walk. The colder it is, the better in terms of traction and speed. It's a great way to work on balance on the bike because the front and rear tires will - on occasion - slide out, forcing one to balance and counter to stay upright. I did it last year as well and it really helped my control when sliding out on the dirt during races. I have not fallen yet this winter, but I can already tell my balance skills are improving even more this year which should pay off come race season.
But the majority of the training is happening inside with the weights and exercise bikes. I've got a goal to shave some minutes off of my finish times this coming season. That's a tall order, but I'm shooting for it.
I timed the all-important hypertrophy phase to take place while I was on vacation from teaching because it is the most draining phase due to the amount of lifting. I did a little longer adaptation phase this fall because I really stopped maintenance weights during the season this year (for whatever reason). So it took time to get everything going again and avoid any injury. My right elbow area does feel sore and has a bit of strain as all the snow shoveling has tweaked it a bit.
In fact, with all the hypertrophy lifting I'm doing (4 days a week), this is what I feel like even after a 30 minute recovery ride:
December now officially ranks as the 2nd month with the most snow in history here in the Des Moines area as we topped 28 inches yesterday. Worries of flooding, roof damange/leaking abound as we all wait to see what will happen once the temperatures climb back up to the 36 degree area and all this white stuff goes somewhere as it melts.
Back down to the basement to set it up for my daughters New Year's Eve Party. She has invivted eleven 14 year old girls to spend the night and some boys will be there until just shortly after midnight. That ought to keep my wife and I busy and sleepless all night...