Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Highlight Reel: 13-19 February


This makes two weeks in a row without scheduled after-hours work commitments.  I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

In case you somehow missed the excessive marketing, Tuesday was Valentine’s Day.  The humor in my having lunch with a male friend that day was apparently not lost on his wife, who told him to “enjoy your date.”  Keith always enjoys District Taco, so I think he did.  Ironically, I had to pass on a free taco bar at the office in order to pay for tacos out, but I enjoyed it all the same.

The evening was similarly low-key.  When presented earlier with the choice of squeezing into a busy restaurant or getting delivery, The Missus didn’t even have to think.  Thus…Pizza Hut, complete with wings and her beloved breadsticks.  Happy wife → Happy life.

On Friday, we traveled back to PA again to visit family.  In the interest of leaving at a reasonable hour, we decided to forego cooking for the second time this week.  The Missus has been seeking a decent cheesesteak close to home since we moved to Virginia over a year ago.  It recently came to my attention that there is a Jersey Mike’s in Merrifield, just ten minutes from home, and I found a half-off coupon.  Fate.  Oh, and the cheesesteaks are legit!

California Chicken Cheesesteak

Saturday night was something of a modified family dinner out.  My mom and I joined forces with The Missus and Little Sis for dinner at my buddy’s BBQ joint, The Lucky Well.  After a delightful meal, we made our way to Lansdale for my cousin’s art show.  She and other local artists were doing exhibiting the Art-a-Day pieces, wherein each artist was supposed to make one piece per day for the month of January.  In reality, some of them had far fewer than 31 pieces, while others included works previously completed.  In my opinion, my cousin’s stuff was the best there.  The Missus liked it enough that she bought one piece.


Weekly Workouts

As you might remember, last week’s attempt at mile repeats left me humbled.  Not so this week.  I knocked out five efforts at ~6:30/mi and came away feeling rosy.

Success continued into Wednesday when I once again hit legs.  Whereas last week I couldn’t even get out a single rep at 275, this time I did four!  Inspired and encouraged, I loaded another 10 pounds onto the bar.  Squat low! Push!  Promptly set the weight down on the safety bars!  A bit too ambitious, I guess

I again expected the hard leg session to leave me drained for my tempo ride.  Again I was pleasantly surprised.  TrainingPeaks has been pegging my FTP at around 295 watts for a while, but I’m reluctant to commit and adjust to any major improvements.  This workout (45 minutes at max effort) confirmed the data.   It also left me feeling pretty hobbled.

With a late-ish breakfast meeting in Tysons on Friday, I got to sleep in a bit.  I gleefully shut off my 05:00 alarm and waited for The Missus to arise at 06:30.  Though still sore from the previous day, I was too fidgety to sit around all morning, so I went for a short, lazy jog.  In retrospect, I think it did neither harm nor good.

Saturday further cemented the progress I’ve made on the bike.  A full hour at max effort led to another new FTP measure: 304 Watts.  That’s a record for me, though probably not in terms of power to weight.  Still, I’ll enjoy it while I can.

Sunday’s weather was beautiful: 65º F, calm, and sunny.  Under no circumstances could I justify running inside.  So off to the path I went, prepared for a long, easy effort.  Unfortunately, the only thing I would enjoy about this run was the weather.

A few minutes in, the little thing on my Fenix 3 that tells me my form said “-11, Deficient.”  A bit further in, I was in total agreement.  It seemed the week’s hard efforts had finally caught up with me.  Still, I wanted to enjoy the day, so I resolved to plod along at a moderate heart rate until I could no longer.

It really was a gorgeous day.  I tried to focus on that.  Still, at various points throughout the run, I stopped and wondered why I was doing this.  How long would it take to walk the remaining five miles home?  Would one of these nice strangers give me a ride to my car?  Would it be wrong to steal that little girl’s bicycle?  And would I even be able to ride it?  Ultimately, I decided to just keep plodding until I had about a mile left, at which point I preferred to run all out and get the damn thing over with.

But it was still a nice day, so I then went to the track and recorded some stupid running videos.  I’m not right in the head.

Run Bike Strength Crosstrain
Mon  Push
Tue Intervals
5 × 1 mi @ 10k pace
1:05 | 8.35 mi
Wed Easy
0:50 | 13.8 mi
Thu  Threshold
0:45 @ 301 W
1:05 | 279 W
Fri Easy
0:32 | 3.59 mi
Sat Threshold
1:00 @ 312 W
1:20 | 294 W
Strolling in the park
(does that count?)
Sun  Long & Ugly
2:08 | 14.50 mi
26.44 mi
61.4 mi


The Highlight Reel: 06-12 February

{The Darker the Berry}Any week without an after-hour commitments is a good week.  This was one such week.  The missus and I actually had multiple opportunities to enjoy each other’s company.  I think we may even have cooked once, but I’ve already forgotten.  Hooray for laziness!

On Friday evening, we headed to PA to visit family.  The missus has about six million cousins, and one of them was having her quinceañera celebration on Saturday.  For the uninitiated, a quinceañera is an overblown Sweet 16 party, one year early.  In another sense, it’s like a vaguely religious Bat Mizvah, only with a frillier dress.  It was…interesting.  When you’re happy about a cash bar, that’s saying something!

Weekly Workouts

After many consecutive weeks of encouraging performances, I was due for a rough workout.  In that respect, my seriously hard, long run this past Sunday amounted to tempting fate, which showed its ugly face on Tuesday morning.

The schedule called for 5 × 1 mi @ 10k pace.  I’d expected to run my workout on the treadmill, but unseasonably warm weather and a lit track at George Mason High School led to a rapid recalibration.  I changed quickly out of my monkey suit suit, jogged slowly to the track, and began to warm up.  My legs still felt heavy, but I thought they might shake out after the first interval.  Nope.

My first hard mile clocked in at 6:45, fully 10 seconds off what I’d planned, and not for lack of trying.  After an easy 400m recovery, I set out on the second repeat, and after one of four laps, I was having doubts.  When I hit the halfway point huffing and puffing at 3:20, I decided to bag it and jog.  Can’t win ’em all…

But when the following February morning is 58º F, one does not ride on the trainer, regardless of the schedule.  So I went back to the track in singlet and shorts, and ran easy for the better part of an hour.  Leg day be damned; this weather was too fine to pass up!

Only leg day was not damned.  Despite some initial stiffness, my squat strength was better than ever.  After easily repping 225 and 235 (setting new PRs in the process), I decided to test my strength.  So I kept loading 10 pounds onto the bar and squatting deep.  245? Check.  255? No problem.  265? Yep.  275? Uh, maybe after fewer sets.  I probably could have gotten in a solid rep, but it would have been ugly, so I wasn’t interested.  Still, hitting 265 a week after breaking a mental barrier is pretty great!

Oh, and despite the heavy leg day, I hit new FTP and threshold pace levels over the weekend.


Run Bike Strength Crosstrain
Mon  Pull
Tue Intervals (aborted)
1.5 × 1 mi @ 10k pace
0:54 | 6.53 mi
Wed  Easy
0:51 | 5.52 mi
Thu  Threshold
1:00 @ 296 W
1:00 | 284 W
Fri  Easy
0:45 | 5.06 mi
Sat Threshold
1:20 @ 306 W
1:20 | 286 W
Sun  Tempo
2 × 6 mi @ 7:00/mi
1:45 | 14.10 mi
31.2 mi
45.7 mi

The Highlight Reel: 30 January – 05 February


What a week!  After a blessedly quiet Monday, it was four packed days of meetings, lunches, conferences, and events. On Tuesday alone, I found myself in Falls Church, Downtown DC, Tysons, Judiciary Square, and finally in Crystal City for the Rising Stars of Real Estate awards presentation.  It’s amazing the number of real estate folks I know in this town, considering I’ve never worked in the field here.  I guess I gravitate towards the familiar.

I spent Thursday morning providing volunteer financial awareness education to a local veterans’ fellowship program.  What a smart, motivated group of folks—they were far more “aware” than I’d been led to believe, so I’m really glad I let them lead most of the conversation.

That evening was the 20th annual presentation of Transwestern’s Trendlines Washington report.  It was a who’s who(m) of commercial real estate in DC, plus this interloper.  I’m pretty sure the entire staff of Transwestern was there, too.  Good times all around.

On Friday, after work and a trip to the gym, the missus and I braved the cold for a trip to Bareburger.  I wish I had worked out more, because we ended up with a metric crapton of food.  The fries and onion rings were troublingly good, and my Wiki Wiki burger (wild boar, gouda, duck bacon, chickpea onions, grilled pineapple, brioche bun) was nothing short of exceptional.  It’s definitely worthy of a second trip.

wiki wiki

After multiple lazy weekends home, Saturday was our day to be productive.  Since rearranging our living room, the gallery wall we’d put up last year was largely hidden behind our TV.  No more!  I also got around to assembling The Missus’ new writing/makeup desk, and she actually put some of her makeup away in the drawers.  It’s a minor miracle.  Oh, and we got a new end table.


We wrapped up the week with a friend’s Super Bowl get-together.  Good times again, despite the result, and no hangover to speak of the following day.  That’s more than I can say for many of my coworkers, one of whom was discussing whether she should go to the bathroom and throw up.  Adulting is hard

Weekly Workouts

I’ve really been putting in the work lately, and the results are beginning to show.  If we believe the results of recent workouts, my Functional Threshold Power is approaching a level last achieved when I was cycling 200 miles per week.  My threshold running pace is not quite where it was before I ruptured my peroneal tendon, but I’m 10+ pounds heavier and running far fewer miles.

Most exciting for me, however, is my squat performance.  Of all the major lifts, my squat has always been pathetic.  Despite my enormous horse legs, I’ve always struggled to squat my own body weight (typically 185 pounds).  Blame long femurs, tight hips, and generally poor flexibility?  I dunno.  Whatever the reason, it’s bugged me for ages, but I was always more focused on running/cycling performance than gym strength.  Now that I’ve learned to balance the two, I’m seeing results across the board.

This week, for the first time ever, I comfortably squatted 225 for sets and reps (2 × 8, specifically).  I’ve squatted two plates before, but it was never for sets, and it was always ugly.  This time, after working up through sets of 185 and 205, it’s enough that I feel comfortable adding weight next week.  Hot damn!

Run Bike Strength Crosstrain
Mon  Push
Tue Intervals
8 × 1k @ 5k pace
1:15 | 9.34 mi
Wed Easy
1:00 | 15.8 mi
Thu  Threshold
2 × 0:20 on 0:03
1:00 | 266 W
Fri  Easy
1:00 | 6.91 mi
Sat Threshold
3 × 0:20 on 0:03
1:25 | 271 W
Sun  Tempo
3 × 4 mi @ HMP
2:00 | 15.84 mi
32.1 mi
60.3 mi