A week and a half later and I'm back. It's funny--I'll begin to compose blogs in my head when I'm out and about, but never get around to writing them. Oh well.
Last weekend, we were out in Meeeeeee-shigan for Beth's race (as the race director described it): The Whirlpool Steelhead Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Presented by Pizza Hut. The trip out Thursday was pretty uneventful. We made it out in about 6.5 hours. Highlights of the trip out included some weird characters in the Boston Market outside of Cleveland, investigating the rank of various country's and state's area and population (who knew Canada was the #2 in the world in area?) and a lively debate on the pronunciation of the "Eau" in 'Eau Claire.' I said it as a long 'o' while Beth was insisting it was more like 'ew' or 'you.' Thanks to the help Facebook's mobile application on our phones and her friends on facebook, we find out I was right within minutes!
We did the standard weekend: drive the course, pre-race swim/bike/run/packet pick-up, and then early rise on race morning. With my marathon training started, my plan was to sneak in my 17 mile long run while Beth did the bike portion of the race. It worked out pretty well, but I sure was tuckered out as I cheered her on during the run. Part of the run is up on the Whirlpool campus (about 3 mi from the finish), so I had to move on back to the finish area after she started her 2nd loop on the run. As I'm running down the back road, I see this oasis of a store called something to the effect of Bob's wine & spirits & groceries. I was just hoping they had something cold as I had exhausted all of my liquids already. Thank goodness they did and I finished off the 32 oz of powerade between there and the finish line (and felt that in my stomach the rest of the afternoon but well worth it!!).
The trip home was a little rougher. We went to go swim in the lake on Sunday, but it was very choppy (in fact, I saw a rip tide warning on the weather channel when we got back to the room). Then, we start our travel towards South Bend, IN and figure we'll get lunch there. College town--lots of eateries. Well, somehow we missed all of them except for some local places that looked shady. So, back on the road and of course (with there being nothing in Eastern Indiana) don't eat for another two hours. Oops. Then, we almost run out of gas (my bad on estimating) as we crossed the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. But, all was good after dinner in Cranberry (Boston Market, DQ, and Krispy Kreme).
This week's been more running for my marathon training and running with the XC team. My big highlight was a 3x1600 day where I went 6:26, 6:10, and 5:50. We start doubles Monday. This should be interesting to see how this fits with my training. Also, I did a swim and long bike with Beth today, so my 18-miler tomorrow should be interesting.
The men's group at our church is singing a 4-part gospel endeavor during the offering tomorrow morning. I'm hoping my legs don't give out on stage after all this training. :)
The other potential disaster this week for me may come in the form of a softball game on Tuesday. I know that I may be pulling a Brett Favre of sorts after declaring my retirement last August, but there's more to the situation than meets the eye. The softball league is down to three teams, so they merged with the Scottdale league to play regular season games. But, our playoffs is just the three teams from Greensburg. Well, FBC made it to the best of three finals. For Tuesday, their #1 pitcher has been in New York for the past two weeks, the #2 pitcher is going to be in Missouri, the #3 pitcher has an injured shoulder, and the #4 pitcher is........I guess me since this is a small church league in western PA.
So, my dad sought permission from the other team to have me come in and pitch on Tuesday in an attempt to be somewhat respectable. The other team probably laughed and said, 'Sure. He hasn't pitched all year. We'd love to do some raking (lots of hitting for non-baseball folks) off of his rusty pitching.'
I don't know what to think. Part of me is excited to give it a try since I really enjoy softball and I've missed it since I haven't played since last August. Another part of me sees this as turning out like John Smoltz with the Red Sox this year (terribly ineffective). Yet another thought is how well my teacher vs. intramural basketball team went back in February (severely twisted ankle). So, maybe it would be best if there is rain on Tuesday. All I know is that my arm will be fresh (maybe not the legs after this weekend) and we'll see what happens. I'll be sure to update on the details and take any pictures of any injured limbs like I did back in February.
The Pirates......ugh. Not going well now at the major league level. But, lots of good parts for the future. 26-year-old Kevin Hart (from the Cubs in the Grabow/Gorzo trade) looked good last night for the Buccos hitting 95 mph. 21-year-old Jose Tabata (from the Yankees in the Nady/Marte trade last year) got promoted to AAA and is raking (.407 AB and 1.022 OPS) in his first two weeks there. 20-year-old Tim Alderson (from the Giants in the Freddy Sanchez trade) pitched six innings of no-hit ball in Altoona last night. 2011 here we come!!!!
The last note on the Pirates is that their much-criticized draft strategy looks like it's working out. First round pick catcher Tony Sanchez is said to have, according to scouts, major-league ready defense right now and is being compared to Yadier Molina. Oh by the way, his bat is playing, too, as he's hitting .321 with a .920 OPS albeit at low A. And, the Pirates were able to sign three young high school arms (and hopefully a fourth) in later rounds, pulling them away from their big-time college commitments. Maybe one of these guys can be the Pirates much-needed anchor of the rotation (like a Tim Lincecum) to complement some of their soft-tossing lefties.