Weighty barrier...

Wow!  I woke up this morning and did my morning weigh in to see the scale dip down to 180.2!!!   Sweet!  That means the barrier to enter the 170's is looming and I am excited about that.

I knocked out last night's 60 minute spin with three sets of 3 x 8 Zone 6 spin ups without any problems.  Then I made a nice spinach salad with veggies and white tuna.  Tara brought home two fine samples of chicken liver from her food fair committee meeting and Zack and I went to town spreading it on sesame crackers.  One of the samples tasted really flavorful and won both of our votes as the one to choose.

I had my best night of sleep since getting sick thanks to the cough subsiding enough for me to sleep.  Zack went back to school today, but his voice is still down and out with his cold.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that it turns around tomorrow....

Speaking of cold as I took the dogs out this morning.

This cartoon sums up how I feel about now every time I step out into the polar vortex....


Good question for all of us who can relate!  March will arrive this weekend, but no sign of Spring yet.  Maybe in a few weeks...


Wheezing my way back to work...

I have coughed so much that the muscles near the lower side of my left ribs have been pulled and are really sore.  Ditto on the lower back.  In spite of that, I have turned the corner and am getting better. 

I was able to maintain my weight lifting sessions last week in spite of being sick.  I lifted on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  After the 5 days of ick, I did manage to attend the auditions at Simpson on Saturday morning and was feeling better by afternoon.  Enough so that I did a 30 minute recovery spin on the LeMond to see how it felt.  The legs were fine, the increased breathing did as expected - set off a few coughing spells.  However, I felt really good after the ride.  Zack woke up with a sore throat and laryngitis - so it appears he caught my bug.  Rats!  Not good during the week of the opera.  More on that later...

While Zack slept it off Saturday night, Tara and I went up to Des Moines for a nice dinner and visit.  She without her right hand, and me being sick - somebody else needed to cook!

Sunday, I upped the recovery spin to 60 minutes and felt fine. 


Or I should say at least I felt good enough to consider working my way back into training this week as scheduled.  I have the option of repeating the week I missed, or moving forward.  Either way, my health is improving day by day.  Yet, I must be careful to ease back into the structured training.  There is a great article about surviving the cold and flu season and easing back into training available here.

After the 60 minute recovery ride, Tara and I went shoe shopping as both my winter boots and my hiking boots seemed to have cracked and developed leaks in them at the same time.  So I got a nice durable pair of weather proof hiking books that will be perfect to take to Germany next year as well.  We split an oatmeal cookie (mega calories even for 1/2 of one!!!) and got a coffee before coming back home to make dinner.

When it rains, it pours...

So goes the saying.  Me sick.  Zack is sick.  His car is making a terrible noise and needs to be repaired.  And for some strange reason, I stuck my head in the closet that houses the hot water heater late Sunday night as I was hunting for some DVD's I've used in the classroom before and couldn't locate.  Imagine my surprise when I found water all over the floor and a leaking hot water heater!!!!  Great!

I made a call to the plumber early Monday morning and they came right over to make a diagnosis.  A new one was ordered and installed by noon - so that was one problem solved.  I ran fans on the floor for 2 days to dry out any wetness and things should be fine.

I took Zack to the Doctor on Monday morning after the plumbers made their diagnosis.  Zack's bug will have to run its course, but they gave him medicine to nip his illness in the bud and hopefully have him back in shape for the weekend.  We shall see how that develops as he is pretty knocked out.  His did not settle in his lungs as mine did, so that's good news.  The Doctor and nurse said they are literally seeing hundreds by the day come into the office with these viral and bacterial bugs. 

I worked the full day on Monday and was careful not to expend too much energy and pace myself throughout the day.  The cold air when I breathe it in sets off my lungs and a coughing spell, so I am being careful not to take gulps of cold air.  I am wearing a face mask to help warm the air as I breathe it - especially now that the polar vortex has arrived again taking temperatures about 40 degrees below normal for this time of year.  I did take a nap after dinner before I did my leg weights later in the evening to round out my Monday.

Riding outside at the moment would be like this...


...as we have about 2 inches of fresh snow and the temperatures are -2 to 4.  So I will continue on my merry way in the basement with today's scheduled ride to see how I do.  If I cannot sustain the higher power, I'll back off and bag it until I am healthier.

The good news is that I have continued to trim weight and have made it down to 181.  The 170's seem so close now it should just be a matter of time as I continue to run a slight caloric deficit and actually feel pretty full with all of the good things I am eating.  I have been forcing myself to track my calories so that I can learn and see the honest truth of what I am eating and get the proper balance of carbs/fat/protein dialed in for my racing weight.   

Well, it's time to shovel the walks and take the dogs out for their morning walk.  I'm not looking forward to the cold air which will kick up a nasty cough, but I am looking forward to getting better day by day.


The Week that Wasn't....

That is what I am going to call this week - the week that wasn't.

I got hit pretty hard on Monday with illness that included fever, body ache, and chest congestion.  I had to go home from work on Tuesday afternoon and it just got worse from there.  The coughing at night was so bad while trying to sleep Thursday night that I took myself into urgent care this morning.

Today's Diagnosis:  Influenza

So much for the flu shot that I got this year.  

I have fever, swollen lungs, plugged ears, plugged nose and the next thing I knew I was getting steroid shots in my backside from the nurse to combat the swelling in my lungs (a short term and a long term shot).

The Doc put me on a Nebulizer 3 times a day for a month, a daily Sudafed, and some cough medicine with codeine so I can sleep at night.  He asked if I had been exercising and I said not since I came down with the illness on Monday.  He said good and asked when the next time I was going to get on the bike would be and I said "not until this is gone" and he said good.  So, pretty much three days of work missed, and I will not be performing tonight at our Faculty/Student concert considering my voice is about an octave lower than normal.  I will try to make it in for the day of auditions tomorrow, but I don't want to infect anybody else.

Here I am breathing through the Nebulizer for treatment #1...


Ah....the week that wasn't and I don't want to repeat for a long, long time.  If I bounce back, I am hoping on picking up with week 7 of my base plan (that I skipped this week) on Monday.  Time will tell if I will be ready by then or not for that.  The main thing is to lick this thing as nasty as it all feels at the moment.

Knocked down and out for the moment...


Nutritional Adjustment...

I'm most of the way through Matt Fitzgerald's excellent book Racing Weight.


The obvious thing I have discovered in reading his book will involve a major adustment for me to the amount of carbs I get on a daily basis to fuel quality training on the bike.  The structured training plan I am undertaking is simply more hours than I have done before and getting fueled properly needs tweaking.  This might address what I highlighted in yesterday's post about why I really didn't think my FTP test was going to show much change from January 6th...

#2 - My nutrition during the first 6 weeks of the base period has been focused on dropping weight and getting leaner in the mid-section while weight lifting to tone up the rest of the body. 

The suggested amount of carbs in grams I need to eat per day to support the amount of cardio work I am doing on the bike is a lot more than I have been eating the past 6 weeks.  The book suggests for the amount of hours I am doing to shoot for 3.25g - 3.75g per pound of intended "race weight" each day to fuel my workouts.  Less on days where I am not doing cardio (the weight lifting days).  I have been short on the carb intake, but will experiment with adjusting the balance and still keeping my daily caloric intake at a slight deficit to reach my weight goals.

It's a fascinating book and in spite of doing many things right nutrition wise, I have plenty of room for improvement that I will be tweaking going forward.  I actually started that process yesterday.


1/2 way through the 12 week base training phase...

Today marks the end of the first 1/2 of my 12 week base training phase for 2014.  It's almost hard to believe that 6 weeks have gone by, but they have.  And the majority of the training has been in the basement on the LeMond trainer since the winter has kept me from doing the rides outside. 

The end of this 6 week segment called for a repeat of the 20 minute FTP test yesterday.  It was timed to come at the end of the recovery week.  So I felt rested and ready to grind it out in the middle of all the snow and winter that will be melting away this week with warmer temperatures.  I had auditions at Simpson from 9 to noon for prospective students, so I had to wait for lunch to settle a couple of hours to do the test.

I'm not sure I was expecting too much going into this FTP test for 2 reasons.

#1 - I started out with a very good result on January 6th with my opening FTP test as my fitness level had not really dropped all that much due to the riding I did in November and December to maintain my weight (which included some good intensity).

#2 - My nutrition during the first 6 weeks of the base period has been focused on dropping weight and getting leaner in the mid-section while weight lifting to tone up the rest of the body.

In light of #2, there was a study done that was outlined in the excellent book Racing Weight by Matt  Fitzgerald which used 4 groups of cyclists to conduct a purpose study on weight loss.  It was something like group 1 worked only on improving their power output for 4 weeks and did not try to cut weight, group 2 worked on power output while also trying to cut weight at the same time, group 3 worked only on cutting weight, and group 4 trained and ate as usual.

I would have thought that the group cutting weight and working on increasing their power at the same time would have had the best results.  Instead - they saw no improvement. Ouch!!!  The group that worked on improving their power only saw a 10% increase, and the group that worked on cutting weight only, saw a 9.3% increase.

I guess I am in the group that is working on power output as well as cutting weight which means my results were bound to be flat if that study holds any credence.  However, the good news with regard to the study is that the weight cutting should take place in the first 4-8 weeks of base period (where I am).  That affords me a couple more weeks to the end of base to reach as close to my goal weight as possible before it gets critical to focus on power output.  Sounds like it would be pointless for me to be cutting weight beyond that, although I'm sure my body will settle in a bit more as the season gets closer.  In just 6-7 weeks time, I will be rotating into the build, peak, and race 12 week training plan where I will focus on improving my power output only - and not dropping weight.

All that being said, yesterday's 20 mintue FTP test didn't go so poorly.  I got an accurate reading to compare and contrast to the January 6th test.

Mediacom was knocked out in the state of Iowa due to a cut in a Fiber Optics line, so I had no visual entertainment to take my mind off of the test or the warm up.  The warm up is a pretty eye opening experience to get ready for this test and awakened me at the end of a R&R week.  I spent about 40 minutes doing a proper warm up that hit Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, and some efforts in Zone 4.  Then I did the 20 minute test.

Grinding, grueling, out of the comfort zone, etc... all apply and are usual.  I was in much better mental spirits the last time around I did this test, and this time the mind seemed to be a bit "skeptical" for lack of a better description.  Regardless, the results were very similar to January 6th.  However my average heart rate for the 20 minutes was 4-5 beats lower at the same average power which may or may not show improved performance due to adaptation.  Maximum HR hit 186 (was very brief) and maximum wattage hit 321 (for the same brief period before I reigned it back in) - so I was able to complete the test without pushing out of the intended FTP and my averages were nearly identical with the January 6th test. 

It's sort of an odd test where you are supposed to go all out, but if you really do go all out - you won't complete the 20 minutes.  It's more of a controlled all out that requires experience in conducting the test.  I think I prefer the RAMP MAP test protocol which is shorter in duration (usually 9 - 15 minutes) and is pretty accurate and allows one to set their training zones in a very similar fashion to the FTP test.  In that test, you are allowed to push to your max and go all out by the end of it with failure not being a question.  The 20 minute FTP has a narrow window of what could lead to failure. 

I should be happy that I didn't sink in performance considering the 2 reasons I mention above.  Following the test, I finished up with 30 more minutes in a high Zone 2 to burn some calories and log a full 90 minute training session.  After the session, I ate a hand full of nuts, took a bite of leftover salmon and rice - then got bundled up to go outside and fire up the snow blower to tackle the 3-4" of fresh snow we got Saturday.  Then I took the dogs for a 20 minute walk before coming inside to shower.

We were headed to a wine tasting over at Dave and Jillian Camwell's house where I knew I would be consuming some calories to replenish what I had burned off.  The tasting was conducted by a company called WineShop at Home.  We had a good time tasting 6 different wines, eating cheese, crackers, fruit, chocolate and socializing.  Thanks Dave and Jillian for hosting!!!!  It was a blast!

Today only calls for a recovery spin before launching into the next 2 week build.  I will attend a student recital this afternoon, a guest recital, teach a sample lesson for a prospective student, then go to another round of prospective student auditions before coming home for dinner.

Looks like another winter storm hitting tonight with rain, snow, sleet, ice before this week gives way to warmer weather and a melt off as temperatures reach the 40's and 50's.  Fingers crossed that things allow some riding to take place outside once everything is melted....


Resting and Recovering...

The two week training block I just completed worked its magic again, as Monday and Tuesday has left me in a humbled recovery mode.  Yesterday was to be a simple weight lifting sesssion after work, and I typically come home from work on Monday, eat dinner, and then do the weights later in the evening to allow my body to recover as much as possible from the weekend endurance rides.

I ate dinner, and literally was so tired from the work day and training that I took about an hour nap.  I felt better after the nap (I needed one all afternoon), and cleaned up the kitchen and dishes.  Zack had made a wonderful dinner of pasta, meatballs and roasted asparagus (Tara guided and instructed him) - so I felt nourished.  I usually warm up on the bike for 5 - 10 minutes before lifting.  Last night with NBC showing me the Olympics, I laughed at how I struggled to pedal the bike for 10 minutes at a wattage below 100!!!  The laughing was because the entire weekend featured nearly 4 hours of non-stop wattages in the 154-220 range.  Struggling to eek out 10 minutes of warm-up to get the blood flowing seemed comical to me, but it speaks to the training load of the past 2 weeks having left me me in the desired condition of needing a recovery week.

I managed to get all of my lifts in while watching the Olympics and thought about doing a 5 - 10 minute cool down on the bike to end the session.  I gazed at the bike, weighed how my legs felt and made the decision to skip that considering how I felt.  I went up to bed and slept soundly for 8+ hours.  I felt it on this morning's dog walk, but will recover throughout the day in time to do an hour Zone 2 spin after work tonight. 

The week tapers into a scheduled power test on Saturday and I will need to be recovered for that.  We have a big music audition weekend at Simpson on Saturday and on Sunday, so scheduling everything I want to do this weekend will require careful planning to get it all done.  I will take Tara on Friday to the doctor to have them remove the cast, take x-rays, and then put a new cast on her arm.  She will wear that cast for another 2 weeks before they remove the pin in her hand that is holding her broken bone together.

Off to work I go...


5 Weeks of Base Training in the BAG!!!

It almost seems hard to believe that tomorrow begins the 6th week of my 12 week base training plan, but it's true as today was the end of the 5th week.  On tap was a big 3 hour Zone 2/Zone 3 ride which would have been nice had I been doing it outside.  However, there is simply too much snow and ice to ride outside and temps were only in the single digits.  I was a bit zapped from Saturday's workout and calorie deficit...

So, it was one of these days today...


Due to me spending 40 minutes doing dog walks today as well as shoveling the walks and driveway, I decided 2 hours of Zone 2/3 was plenty for today.  I wasn't in the mood to eat enough food to cover the calorie burn of another hour.  Nor did I really have time as I needed to prepare for tomorrow's Study Abroad Fair with some literature and photographs. 

I finished up, then headed over to campus to see the Simpson Faculty Group Sonoroso present a recital later in the afternoon.  It was a very enjoyable program!!

I made a nice arugula salad, and baked a pizza for dinner as Tara and I watched coverage of the Olympics on NBC. 

The weekend came and went, over and out...


Weekend kick off of Sochi...

Wow!  This week seemed to fly by.  I am happy to report that after cooking all of the meals, I've been informed I earned a night out tonight.  Whew!  That's good - although I was all set to make some pasta to get ready for tomorrow's 3 hour bike ride. 

I just did some core work on Friday after work (got home at 6:30).  We ate leftovers while watching the Opening Ceremony for the Sochi Olympic Games.  Loved the Russian choral sound!!!!

We woke up on Saturday morning and saw that we got some nice snow to start the weekend.  I took the dogs for their morning walk and found the new snow to be really light and fluffy.  So it was easily removed with a scoop.

I am happy to say that on Thursday evening's L4 session - I made my numbers on all five of the 6 minute L4 intervals.  And I used all sorts of cadences to see if that was the culprit in prior weeks (nope).  And my heart rate remained lower on those intervals than it averaged for my FTP - just as it should be.  Better nutrition, two floor fans blowing me silly, and it all worked out just fine.  Hmmmm....it makes me wonder what was so off the week before.  Me?  Nutrition?  Sleep?  Still recovering from a cold?  Too warm in the basement?  Too stressed?

Regardless, Thursday was successful and I can move on and forward.  I've spent the week using all sorts of cadences to the point that everything is working.


Today was a 90 minute Zone 2 ride, but I goofed around here and there getting out of saddle for some efforts to keep it interesting as we watched the Olympics on NBC's Saturday morning/afternoon coverage.


I will do another FTP test next weekend, but think between the January FTP, a MAP Ramp Test, and next week's FTP - I will have a pretty good handle on my training zones.

It's not too easy to improve my FTP while also using this base period to cut weight and lift weights.  I am determined to cut some weight without being ridiculous about it.  If money was at stake, well - we've seen pros do what they needed to do to cut weight.

Be it for a prima ballerina role...


To try and win a yellow jersey...


To win a marathon...


Or to win the $250K as The Biggest Loser...


You can see the similar tactic of trimming the upper body to keep weight down in the photos above.  That's dedication for their profession - or contest they are participating in that involves $$$.  Once the fat is trimmed away, the body feeds on the muscle.  Look at all of their arms.  Slim and trim.

I carry about 10 pounds of weight on my upper body that is totally not necessary.  I know, because for most of the time between age 20 and 36, I weighed in the 170's.  Running a caloric deficit during this 12 week base period hopefully will continue to chip away at those 10 pounds that are not necessary.  Could this be the year I go sub 180 and actually keep it there for the entire season?  It would be 10 extra pounds that I wouldn't have to haul up the hills and around the course that are not providing any benefit to me now, so here's to my 2014 trim!


February Training Week 1...

This first work week in February seems to be flying by as I have been busy, and having great fun at work with doing what I do.  My training plan has me in the 2nd consecutive week of a hard week, yet I feel my recovery and nutrition has me on schedule a bit better and not exhausted this week like I have felt in the past.  My morning resting heartrate confirms that and I feel energetic.  I did feel a slight end of the day slump after work last night as I sat in the barber's chair getting a haircut.  Either that, or the constant chatter of the gal cutting my hair simply lulled me into a trance.  :-)  I also had spent a good hour cleaning the driveway and walks in the morning before going to work, so I can't forget how much extra energy that zaps from my daily routine.  Temperatures in the single digits and with it being -8 this morning (plus windchill) burns a few calories out on the dog walks!!! 

Tonight's L4 intervals (5 x 6 minutes) will be the true test to see if I can knock them out with the short 2 minute recovery slots between them.  I have struggled on the prior Thursday sessions that were 4 x 6.  The last interval on both occasions was way too difficult for what it should be.  I have been trying to figure it out as something sure seemed off during the 3rd and especially 4th intervals.  Tonight, I will do them with better nutrition as adding that 5th interval ups the ante.  The last two Thursday sessions were done after not eating for 5 hours (today I must have a snack between lunch and my pre-dinner workout session) as well as keeping both fans blowing on me and drinking a mix in my water bottle that includes some HEED for the 90 minute session so I don't run out of my glycogen stores.  It's possible that was my problem on the prior Thursday sessions, or something else - so we shall see tonight...  

Toss into the mix of it being my turn as over-functioner with cooking/cleaning while Tara's arm is healing in the cast - and well, there is not much time to spare.  In fact, she and I were up late last night filling out insurance workman's comp forms for her accident.  I hate forms that ask you a question or want a full address and the space they provide for you to write it in is about 1/3 the size that it really needs to be to input the information!!!!  Who makes these dang forms?!

I will manage to watch the opening of the Olympics tonight.  Luckily we have leftovers from my pork butt, beans and veggie crockpot dish I made yesterday - so cooking will simply involve reheating that dish and making a side salad tonight.  Easy and quick for me!

Training Week Thus Far...

Monday:  60 minutes of lower leg work with weights
Tuesday:  60 minutes of a L2 Ride on the trainer
Wednesday:  60 minutes of upper body work with weights/30 minutes recovery spin

The rest of the training week wraps up with a big L2 ride on Saturday and a 3 hour L2/3 ride on Sunday to take me over the edge training wise.  That leads into next week being a rest and recovery week which will culminate with another FTP test on Saturday.


February is here and winter is 1/2 done!!! Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, Football, and Miles on the Bike...

The glass is 1/2 full - or is it 1/2 empty?

Today is the 45th day of Winter.  Counting today, we have 45 more days of winter to go.  1/2 way there!!!  This Winter officially began on December 21st, 2013 and officially ends on March 19th, 2014. 

February was ushered in this weekend with about 3" of snow during the night.  And we needed it.  We need more in fact.  The drought has zapped this part of Iowa and we fear a poor growing season this year.  I got up on Saturday morning and shoveled the driveway and walks before taking the dogs for their morning walk.  Coffee and a bowl of cereal with yogurt got my pump primed for what was to come...

We had tickets to the 2014 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival being held at the Iowa State Fair Grounds.


The event was to be from 10 AM to 5 PM and we decided getting there at 11-12 would be about right and fit with our hunger plans.  The roads were in good shape and we arrived at the fairgrounds about 11:45 to snag a parking spot way out on the northern edge of the parking lot.  The line to get in was about a mile long, but moved pretty quickly.  Luckily the wind was non-existant and the sun was shining, so the 30 minute stand in line was not too bad considering we left our coats in the car.  We went through the check-in area and got our Blue Ribbon gift bags which contained a t-shirt, 2 drink tickets, 5 food tickets, a beer koozie, a jar opener, and some coupons.

Entering the Hy-Vee Hall it was clear that not only was the line outside long, but the 9000 of us that did manage to score tickets for this event meant it was a large, and crowded stand around...


Wow!  Even at my height, I found it difficult to see things and figure out where to go for the food booths.  Not the sort of event anybody that is claustrophobic should be attending for sure!!!  Tara, with her broken hand, tucked in behind me and allowed me to "block" as we cut a path from section to section of the event.

Our first line was for a bacon slider.  Finally, as we approached the table, the lady said they had to send the last pan back to cook longer and it would be about 10 minutes.  Great - 15 minutes wasted standing in line.  We moved on for a free sample of bacon.  Then on to a wonderful treat from La Mie Bakery in Des Moines:  croissant filled with bacon, and a chocolate covered coconut macaroon with bacon!!!  Yum.  Next was a beer from one of the drink stations.  Then, we had some bacon wrapped jalapenos.  Yum.

Since the theme for the event was "Viva Las Bacon", no surprise there were quite a few spottings of Elvis.  We ran into this trio and they were lubed up pretty good from beer and posing for photos with all takers.  So Tara jumped in...


Then they decided to do a pre-Superbowl football formation hiking something to Tara which turned into a twerking move!!!


We ate, drank and made our way to the other building where we snagged a pair of seats to sit and listen to some music and view the huge crowd...


We saw fellow BikeIowa.com team member Sam Auen's food stand selling his famous taco and nacho delights.  No bacon - just his normal delicious goods.  So we said hello and grabbed a generous portion of nachos.  Sam - you had the best food at the event this year that we ate!!!


Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival 2014

It was loud.  Crowded.  Overwhelming.  And by 1:30 PM, a lot of things we wanted to buy to take home were already long sold out.  No more macaroons.  Cookies were gone.  Food booths were sold out.  WTF?  Did they plan their day so incorrectly to run out of food 2 1/2 hours into the event with 3 1/2 hours to go?  Hmmm....so we scrounged around for a few more things to finish up spending our food tickets and decided at 2 PM to bag it and head home.

It was fun, but we can now say "been there, done that".  It's simply too crowded, not enough food was available, and what was there was all more on the "junk food" side of using bacon.  It's too loud and oversold in terms of tickets and the sheer number of people in such a tight and crowded space means the only way through the crowd was literally to push and part the people like Moses.  If they expanded it to at least 4 buildings for the same amount of people, had some interesting food items that really utilized bacon with more items outside of the junk food realm, provided more seating, and lowered the ticket price a bit - we might reconsider.  I guess that sounds like I'm knocking it, but I'm just saying it would take some changes to get me to attend again.

We stopped by Whole Foods on the way home to stock up for dinner and my Superbowl salad ingredients.  We came home, took a bit of a nap, and then I dialed in 90 minutes averaging a calm 165 watts to burn off some of the eats and drinks.  We ate some baked halibut and fresh vegetables for dinner to counteract the bacon festival treats.

Sunday was a house cleaning day as it needed it.  Zack was having students over to watch the football game after their opera rehearsal, so we cleaned and set up the basement for that.  Tara and I were headed over to join our usual group for the annual Superbowl potluck.  Before that, there was a lot of laundry to take care of, floors to clean, and general things to do before the big game.  I think I was at it non-stop from about 6:45 AM until we left at 4:45 PM.  Including, burning off a lot of calories doing a big Zone 2 ride with some Zone 3 segments of 3 minutes each thrown in here and there for a 2 1/2 hour grind.  It felt good and the calorie burn was needed.  I made a big spinach salad, with dry cherries, bacon, blue cheese, baked walnuts, red onion, red bell pepper, and a raspberry vinagrette dressing to take to the potluck.  Then I hopped in the shower and got ready for the big game.

Fun was had by all at the party with the food, the beer, watching the game and commercials, etc... .  Too bad the game was a total blowout.  C'est la vie.  In spite of all the food consumed on Saturday and Sunday, I managed to come out on this side of the weekend with enough of a calorie deficit from the training to shed 1/2 a pound through it all.  I'll take that!!!

Looks like a winter storm is headed our way for Tuesday/Wednesday bringing enough snow that will require me to fire up the snow blower for only the 2nd time this winter.  Tara, with her new cast, decided to try and drive herself to work today since it is sunny and the roads are dry.  Starting the car, shifting, and everything with her left hand only.