Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Plan B (and C, and D, and E, and...)

Not the smoothest of trips we've ever had. But at least we weren't at the mercy of the airlines for 12 hours again.

Okay - the getting there part. We left a little later than planned (noon-ish) and ended up dropping off Roxy around 3 or 4-ish. Not good with 8+ hours and dinner staring us in the face. But, we had XM radio and a movie to keep us rolling and it was going well.

PLAN B - Stop short of Durham
We stop off to get gas in Wytheville, VA around 10pm or so and make the realization that we've still got almost 3 hours to go. Neither of us *really* wanted to be in a car for that much longer, so we made the decision to pull out the map and find a good place another hour or so down the road. Solution - Winston-Salem, NC, home of Wake Forest University (and this really nice looking lake to run around).
After wrapping around all of Winston-Salem to the soutwestern side, we arrive at our hotel and get ready for the next day. Beth's eyes are starting to bug her a little, but we go to bed and see how they are in the morning.
PLAN C - Someone find me an eye doctor!!!!
So, we wake up and Beth's eyes are REALLY bugging her. So bad that she could barely open and she said it felt like there was glass in her eyes. So, we don't run and sleep in a little more (she didn't sleep much because of the eyes) and we call our eye doctor place (which isn't the friendliest of places to begin with) and explain our situation and was wondering if he could call in a prescription to the local CVS so we could get some relief for Beth's eyes. After going back and forth calling with them for half an hour, it turns out the doctor cannot prescribe the steroids for the eyes across state lines without seeing her first. Ugh!
So, what does he do? Prescribes this NON-GENERIC antibiotic without the steroids. We were desperate and ordered it up at the local CVS (which actually had a pharmacist from Plum HS and Pitt --small world!) and paid the HUGE non-generic price for the eyedrops that didn't even have the good stuff in them. Ugh!
Beth puts in the eye drops, but it's not helping much. We pack up the car and get on the road to Durham, but we're only about two exits down the road where Beth can't manage the pain anymore. We pull off and enlist bro-in-law to help us find a place in Durham for Beth to be seen. He gets on that and we get back on the road. 10 minutes later it's too much, so we use our Blackberries (what did we do before them) and find a Lenscrafters in Greensboro (next city over).
The people at Lenscrafters were the type of people that I think personify the south. Friendly, helpful, willing to spend time with you, willing to help out. They were awesome. They saw Beth very quickly (even though she didn't have an appointment), the doctor answered all their questions, and this nice lady sitting beside us told us there was a Rite-Aid just down the street. How great!
We drop off the prescription and the nice people (notice a trend?) at Rite-Aid pointed us in the direction of some good choices for lunch. We eat at Qdoba, pick up the steroids, and get back on the road. We make it finally to Durham by 3pm or so Friday (after planning on getting there late Thursday night. Oh well).
B & D were great and helped us settle right in and cooked a great meal (Martha Stewart-like) and we ate it all. Yum!
PLAN D - Vision-optional training
So now that we knew that Beth's eyes weren't going to rot and fall out, we needed to reassess the training plan for the weekend. Beth was out for the Big Deuce/Little Uno swim at Jordan Lake because not having contacts in would make sighting in open water a little bit tricky. So, the next option was to still go to have me swim. But, I weighed the options of getting up at 4:30am to eek out a finish ahead of granny (yet still get experience in open water swimming) versus sleeping in and making this trip seem more like a vacation instead of another travelling race weekend.
Sleep won out (and many naps over the weekend, too).
Instead, on Saturday, we did a 2-hour run in Umstead Park (Beth could see the crushed limestone path). While the trails were awesome and very shady it was NAS-TY weather. Humidity so thick us northerners could barely breathe. But, we survived. Then, to compensate for the swimming we went to our second home for the weekend:

We were there Saturday, Sunday, and again on Monday before we left town. In fact, on Monday I had a yardage PR of 3100yds. So, very effective swimming weekend for me in spite of passing up on the open-water opportunity.

Saturday afternoon was spent napping, watching the TdF time trial day, snacking, eating, more napping, and playing Settlers of Catan. Really cool board game sort of (but not really) like monopoly. What I like about it is that the board setup is random so it's a new game and a new strategy each time you play. Also, the game's all about probability which is a math teacher's dream.

PLAN E - Slightly longer run than planned
Sunday morning consisted of another run Beth was shooting for just 30-minute run, but I wanted to do a little more. The original plan was to run over to Duke's campus and I would just do a little more (like 45 minutes total) there as Beth went back. But, I got this idea to go from the East part of campus down to the west part because I took the camera with me.

This tunnel is the one that cuts under a main road and some railroad tracks to get you from East Campus to West Campus. Over there, I snapped some more shots of the entrance to the Duke Gardens and Duke Medical Center.

Next thing I know, I look at my watch and I'm at 33 minutes. Oops! I was just enjoying the scenery so much. Duke's a great campus. So, a slightly longer run than planned, but that's okay.

On the way back to the house, I snapped a shot of the OLD Durham Bulls stadium. This is where the movie Bull Durham was filmed.

PLAN F - Due to extreme temperatures...
We were scheduled to go to the 5:05 Sunday evening Durham Bulls game. However, after the temperature forecasts were near 100 degrees for the weekend, they pushed back the game to 7:00...and thank goodness! It was STILL really hot for the first few innings until the sun went down.

Before the game, we met up with my good high school and PSU buddy Karl (we all call him Shaq, short for ShaqKarl - long story from 10th grade gym class). He's doing post-doc work at UNC and told us about how he works with mice and stuff. Pretty cool. Shaq, his wife and two boys met up with us at the Mellow Mushroom for some GREAT pizza. Highly recommend it. By the way, that's his son's dinosaur in the picture.

Then off to the game. The stadium is neat. It has a high wall in left field called the Blue Monster (like its green counterpart in Boston) and has a Bull on top of the wall that lights up with red eyes and breathes smoke when a Bulls player hits a home run. We witnessed with the 2nd Bulls batter of the game drilled one over the fence in right center. Pretty exciting.

A good time had by all at the game.

There was even a J.J. Furmaniak sighting. He was a former Pirates minor leaguer that didn't do too much when he call called up to the Bucs in 2005. According to the stats, he only played 30 games and hit .192 in 26 AB's, but you've got to love the name!

PLAN G - Big, red blob heading our way!
So, we're enjoying the game and we see some dark skies (albeit it was dark already) and then some lightning off in the distance. Becky checks the radar on her phone and we see a big red blob coming our way. We ride it out into the bottom of the 8th inning when Syracuse made a pitching change with the Bulls up 3-0. We figured we better get moving before the storm comes. We exit the stadium and then WHOOSH, it starts raining cats and dogs (not the one pictured below)! We rush back to the car soaked, but make it in one piece.

Monday morning we pack up our stuff and say our goodbyes. We get in our swim and weights at the Y and head back to western PA. Great trip and thanks to much to B & D for the hospitality!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Preparations for the UNO

This weekend, I will compete in my first ever swim race, the Little Uno. It's a 1-mile open water race down near Durham, NC. Originally, Beth was going to be the only one doing the swim (the Big Deuce 2 miler) and I was going to do a sprint triathlon in Chapel Hill as a tuneup for Morgantown, but that got cancelled due to road construction. So, open water mile swim it is. I suppose that's a tuneup also--just have to do the biking and running on my own. The big goal for the race--not to finish last. That's right, with all of these swimmers in a swim race I just want to be somebody, even if it's a 70-year-old granny. Even if her goggles fall off, I'm going to be like Alberto Contador and not wait up for her--it's all about the end result. Also, with the two-milers out there I SHOULD finish before at least some of them come in.....I hope.

I'm excited for the weekend. We're going to get to see B&D and hang out with them. We're going to a Durham Bulls game (of course we are, being the baseball fan that I am). We'll play some Settler's of Catan. We'll run around Duke Forest. It should be a good time.

One other thing that I'm finding out this week is that training for longer triathlons is HARD! I don't know how people do it with full-time jobs. My only thing I have to do in the summer is a couple hours at XC practice and I still feel like training takes up the whole day. Whew!

Okay, off to watch the Pirates. They put up 9 in the first inning. Let's see if they can hold off the Brewers the rest of the night.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The UN-friendly Skies

Yeah, that trip home from Providence did not go quite as smooth as the trip up. Going up it was: board plane at 7am, 1 hour to Baltimore, 30 minute layover, 1 hour to Providence, get luggage and rental car and on the road by 10:30 in Providence. Bingo, bango, bongo. Tic, tac, toe.

Via Facebook posts, I'll relive the trip home to Pittsburgh (mostly thanks to a big thunderstorm along the east coast--not really an airline issue).

Flight leaves Providence at 3:00. Thanks to, I can show you the route we took.

Here's the Facebook post thread:

Oscar Shutt our flight home to PIT was to stop at BWI. Because of storms, they rerouted us to Hartford, CT and we're sitting here instead. Hopefully this won't become too long of a day. Monday at 4:32pm

That's right, 1.5 hours to get from Providence to Hartford (with a couple of loops along the way). I just checked on the Google directions and it would have taken 1:50 to drive between the two airports. The pilot said that BWI was CLOSED due to the storms. Originally we were going to park at Long Island (ISLIP--I thought at first he was saying Iceland. I was really confused), but then ended up in Hartford. Beth and I were thinking the plane should've just flown straight to Pittsburgh and then went back to Baltimore--wishful thinking.

Cary Craig Ugh! I made it home without incident. The only plus to early AM departures is missing the afternoon t-storms. Monday at 4:37pm

Indeed, Cary!

Beth Buchheit Shutt Hey, we didn't get too far. Monday at 4:42pm

Sleepyhead missed most of our circuitous route to Hartford. We were able to get off the plane and we decided to eat dinner because we weren't supposed to get off the plane at BWI--just pick up passengers. It was a good call based on how the timing worked out.

Oscar Shutt Just landed in Baltimore. Hopefully Pittsburgh's right around the corner! Monday at 7:40pm
If only that was to be the case!! We sat by the runway for almost an hour because there weren't any open gates due to BWI trying to catch up on sending flights out.

Oscar Shutt Finally leaving Baltimore! Rumor has it Pittsburgh may be in our near future....once we get some pilots to fly the plane. Monday at 9:28pm

This was classic. I had the first part (before the ...) in my phone ready to send as soon as they said to turn off all electronic devices. The way the day was going I wasn't going to send it until it was certain. I noticed there was no one in the cockpit while the new people were loading on. Beth said I should just send it, but I held out...then the pilot comes on to the plane and says that he had reached his FAA max hours for the day and couldn't fly to Pittsburgh. So, they were efforting to find new pilots. So I add the ... extension to the FB update.

Oscar Shutt Ah the highs and lows of airline travel. After getting off the plane, we're now reboarding (with pilots this time) and we'll see if we take off--a thunderstorm is currently passing through. Monday at 11:21pm

At least we were able to get off the plane and wait in the terminal and stretch the legs. I grabbed a 6" Quizno's sub right before they closed at 10pm and it sure hit the spot.

Oscar Shutt And we're off! Pittsburgh, here we come...albeit on Tuesday now. Monday at 11:30pm

Again, not hitting 'send' until we were actually moving!!!

Oscar Shutt Touchdown in Pittsburgh! Tuesday at 12:33am

Got home right around 2am. I skipped XC practice Tuesday morning.

Cary Craig Wow, I think it was faster flying to CA, even with a 2 hour layover at ORD. Glad you got home! Tuesday at 12:12pm

Indeed, Cary, Indeed.

Fortunately, we haven't had many trips like that. There was the ill-fated trip to Portland a few years back, but other than that we haven't had many issues (other than my plane having to wait for President Obama to take off and almost missing a connection because of it).

Just to tie up some loose ends:

*Beth ended up 1st in her age group and 3rd amateur overall at the race--great job!!

*Fun dinner with Cary, Beth, Lindsay, James, and Mom B (and fun seeing Maija, Adam, Coopy, and Frito)

*I'm sad to see the World Cup end. Pretty exciting games. Hopefully the US can go further next time. Now time for following the Tour de France.

*The All-Star game was pretty exciting. It's amazing how much good, young pitching there is right now. Hopefully the Pirates can develop some with their drafts the last three years.

*Today is Ju-ly Four-teenth! (See the movie Con-Air with Nicholas Cage to get it).

*My triathlon is less than a month away. I'm doing the Morgantown half. No big goals, just finish and check off doing a half IM off my list. I'm planning on running the Philly Marathon again this fall and hoping to avenge all of my missteps from last year.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

From Rhode Island

Let's see. Where did we leave off...

Ah, yes. The softball double header on Tuesday. All told, it didn't go too bad. We split the two games. Based on our personnel, I ended up in the outfield for most of the night. I came in for one inning of mopup duty at the end of the first game. It wasn't too pretty of a line: 1IP, 2R, 3H, 3BB, 1K. Yuck! I managed to get on base a few times, too, so I was rounding the bases a few times.

Bottom line, I didn't get hurt (however my dad broke a bone in his hand off a line drive--bummer!).....although REALLY sore for the next, oh, still today! Thursday at the summer program I was pitching whiffleball to the kids. There was a comebacker that rolled S-L-O-W-L-Y past me that I STILL didn't get down to bend over and pick up the ball. Let's just say I got a little bit of "old foggie" harassment from the 5th graders.

Friday we embarked off to Providence via BWI. Things went really smooth and Providence is great!
The beach where the swim will be was a little choppy, but Beth seemed to navigate it well (as I stood and watched from the shoreline!!)
T2 is downtown by the captial building. One of the things I really enjoy about New England cities is the mix of old and new architecture.

When we went to pick up Beth's packet at the Providence Convention Center, it was connected to the Dunkin Donuts Center. I could sure get into seeing sports and events at a place that serves donuts. Yum!
Off to bed and good luck to all participating in the race!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July = More Training

Happy 4th of July! This is (not) Roxy's favorite holiday with all the loud fireworks going off in the neighbors' yards. We know where to find her (hiding underneath the bed or in the bath tub).

With school not ending until the teens of June, the training is just getting going now. However, the weekend in Deep Creek sure kickstarted the training efforts. Just to recap since last Saturday (again, triathletes, feel free to laugh at how weak this is):

Saturday - 50 mile really hilly bike, 25 min open water swim
Sunday - 2:15 trail run, 20 min open water swim
Monday - 100's in the swimming pool
Tuesday - run
Wednesday - 100's for an hour at the pool
Thursday - 45 min run and 2 hour bike
Friday - am swim workout, pm 12 mile run
Saturday - 50 mile bike

Whew! As I've stated before, no way I could consistently keep this up. Ironman-training athletes, enjoy. Definitely not for me.

This coming Tuesday I'll have a slight variation to my training. The softball team from my church I grew up in has a double header Tuesday and they're a little light on players. So, I'm going to head down and help out. The one catch is that it's fastpitch and the timing of that doesn't come back all that quickly. Hoping to avoid the Golden Sombrero (aka many strikeouts). I may be pitching potentially also. If so, hoping to a similar line as last year's playoff cameo appearance.

Next weekend we're off to the next race. Beth's racing a half up in Providence. That should be fun, especially because her mom's making the trip and meeting us up there. We were originally going to drive, but after we cancelled to trip out to Oceanside we transferred those tickets to flights for Providence (thanks Southwest for the hassle-free and fee-free change!). We passed through Providence on our way up to Boston and Cape Cod on the honeymoon, but I've never stayed in the city. The travel packet is prepared and we'll see how things go.

The World Cup's been fun...and it's going to lead right into the Tour de France. I'm set for the summer!