A training plan, personal and triathlon? Shh, don't tell me that!

THE PLAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a plan. A triathlete in-training plan. Well, it has the makings of a plan. There are days of the week, numbers, writing and fun Hello Kitty stickers. Plus, there are black lines scratching out writing and then penciled in changes. This would the life of Brian: triathlete-to-be, husband and father.

I have never really been one to stick with a plan, except for Marine Corps Marathon training (sort of). This is why the picture above is such a change from the norm. I need to have my training plans written down. This is for myself and also to help with planning out the week for the family. If you notice the black ink scratchings, those are when something has needed to be changed. That could be for a variety of reasons, such as work schedule changes, Merrill schedule changes or child schedule changes.

The large black scribble on Monday, Jan. 16 was not planned or wanted. It was needed. Since the beginning of the year, I have tried being very intentional about my training plan. In order to accomplish what I want to do this year, I needed to get myself going. Starting Jan. 10, I did that. As you can tell by the Hello Kitty stickers, I did something every day. That is a major accomplishment for me. Yay Me!

This all leads me to this past weekend. I was able to get an early start on the weekend when I got out of the office at 2 p.m., instead of my usual time of 4 p.m. or a little later. I discovered a world at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center that I had only heard about from Merrill when she came here during the summer. There are very few swimmers at that time and I could pick almost any lane I wanted! On top of that, the sun was shining into the Aquatic Center and it was like summer. I think the heavens open up and sang in majesty while I was swimming. What a great moment. Swimming was on the plan for that day and I did it.
The pool is empty and the sun is shining.
Saturday was the official start to a three day weekend thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the United States. It was also  the beginning of what I called, the "Homeymoon" (a stay-at-home vacation with honeymoon-type enjoyment). Merrill and I had been planning on a weekend with no children because one of the girls was to be gone on a church retreat, but that fell through. The other two girls were going to be at their mom's. After the initial disappointment, we decided to make the best of the plans and do what we could.

Merrill had a long-run planned for Saturday morning and I was going to do some riding, even though run was on the plan. See, the plan changes. Fortunately, I had planned for cool weather. Unfortunately, I hadn't planned on how it would feel to ride in what I was wearing in the cool weather. I learned the lesson that a rider should plan for the temperature feeling 10-degrees F cooler than what it really is. This meant my upper chest, shoulders and upper arms were cold. I had to stop, load my bike back up in the van and figure out what to do next. Disappointed didn't even come close to how I was feeling.
"What do I do next?!?!"
"Go to the Aquatic Center!" Those were the words from Merrill as she was out on her run. I did that, but not to swim. I was heading there to run the treadmill. Then on the drive I realized running on the treadmill would be silly. I could have run outside like Merrill was doing, so why run inside? I decided to do something I kept saying I should do. I used the gym equipment to start strengthening my core. I hadn't taken the time to do that before and now was that chance. It felt good! I finished and drove back to the park where Merrill started her run.
JJ's Red Hots - a hot dog joint
After Merrill's run, my upper body workout, getting cleaned up and taking the middle girl to church for a get together with the you, it was date time. We went our favorite hot dog joint, JJ's Red Hots. I am a big fan of a delicious hot dog. When you are in Charlotte do not go anywhere else. This is the place. I could it all the time, but my body would show the impact of doing that. JJ's is so good that Guy Fieri from the Food Network show "Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives" filmed an episode here recently. The creations begin with GRILLED Sahlen's Smokehouse Dogs. Then the imagination takes over. There is a basic menu, but then there are daily specials. Make sure you get the housemade chips to go with your order. I always go away full and never dissatisfied. Having some sort of sponsorship/relationship with JJ's would be wonderful.
His and Hers
Next stop on the "homeymoon?" Run For Your Life (RFYL), a local running store. RFYL also sponsors a lot of race in the Charlotte are, including the recently renamed Charlotte Marathon. A running store while out on a date, you ask? Yes, why wouldn't we go there is my answer. I am triathlon training and Merrill is marathon training. We both needed shoes. Well, full disclosure...we went there for fuel and to only look at shoes. Getting fuel was accomplished and we got our shoes. I need to taste test a variety of Tailwind Fuel Drink mixes to find the right one for me. Merrill is looking for on-course fuel. I think both of us are happy with our shoes. They sure are colorful.
Birdsong Brewing Company
After shoe buying, we wanted to do something. Originally, we had talked about going to see a movie. There was an Elvis impersonator performing at one of the many local breweries. That sounded like fun, because who doesn't like an Elvis impersonator. This turned out to be one of those moments where you walk into somewhere and feel out of place. So, we made a great choice and went to Birdsong Brewing Company. It is one of the larger breweries in the area. I drink one of their beers, Jalapeno Pale Ale, when I can. They also had someone performing. What a perfect choice we made. The atmosphere was lowkey and we fit in with the others that were there. I got a glass of the Honey Pie IPA. It was good. Then I got Little Room (Blonde). I enjoyed this one. We ate peanuts, listened to music, enjoyed the atmosphere and each other. Birdsong would be another great sponsor/supporter.
One of my favorite pre-race couple selfies before the Frosty 5K.
Sunday was slow to start. I went to church with the middle child. Once we got back home, Merrill and I dressed for a fun little race in Albemarle, NC. The race was the Frosty 5K. It is organized by one of the most eclectic store you will ever hear about, Vac and Dash. It is a vacuum repair and running store with a little biking and swimming thrown in. Peter, who runs the races, is a great guy and down to earth. The fee was low, but you needed to bring canned goods to donate to a food pantry. The best part of the race? It was one of my fastest in a long time.
Monday, Jan. 16 was supposed to be a swim day, changed to a bike day and then ultimately a REST DAY. Why? What happened? My body told me it needed a rest. It was worn out and ached. So, I took a rest day. Runner and triathletes have a hard time accepting the fact that a rest is needed. I have learned that when my body is done, I need to stop.

That is my story about training plans, rearranged training plans, rest days and a "homeymoon" with my beautiful wife!
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