Monday, December 24, 2012

Iguazu Falls - 7 Natural Wonders of the World

Time to trot the globe again!  This time, my parents would come along, too!  Work sent me to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  My parents went straight to Buenos Aires, AR, where they toured by themselves before I met up with them later in the week.

Before the trip, I got in a 7.5 mi run at the park in 1:06:12, 8:50 ave. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, at 5:30am (3:30am Eastern!!!), I did bike sessions as the sun rose, and as I listened to Endurance Planet podcasts... nice.  Gives you energy you didn't realize you were missing when you work out.  Not working out makes you blah without you realizing it.

Got to watch some tango on the pedestrian street in the evening:

On Friday, after we got out of work an hour early, I got in a run at my favorite spot in Buenos Aires - the Ecological reserve.  5.8 in 47:10, 8:08 ave.  I pushed the pace, so that I could cover as much ground as possible before the park closed.  It was 85 degrees, but it felt cooler than that, since it was cloudy.

On Saturday, the fam was off to Iguazu Falls, one of the new 7 wonders of the world.  One of my bucket list items has been to re-visit Niagara Falls.  Many of my co-workers had independently been to Iguazu before, though, and one of the pictures that was shared with me was breath-taking.  I had been wanting to go for a while, but timing and the workload of the trip was always difficult to get right.  It worked out this time, though, since this was a more relaxed trip.

The falls are close to the triple border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.  Here's a shot of the frontier:

We spent 2 days on the Argentina side of the falls, and I spent the third day doing a tour of Brazil + Paraguay.  Travel tip: No need to bother with the Brazil side... the number and quality of the views from the Argentina side outnumber those of Brazil by 50:1, and you won't have to worry about getting a Brazillian visa.

(The Throat of the Devil, from above, from the AR side)

(The Throat of the Devil, from below/downstream, from the BR side)

There were lots of animals, too, like lizards, butterflies, catfish, birds, mole-looking things, and coatis (like a half-racoon / half-anteater).

We also did a speedboat ride that took you under the waterfall!

It was pretty amazing... there were about 4 different trails that took you to the Throat of the Devil (the main attraction), a view of the bulk of the falls from above, a view of the falls from below, and a view from the island in the middle of it all.  The whole day, you'd see one view after another, and each view would be better than the next, even though you wouldn't think that it would be possible after seeing the previous view.  Lots of rainbows, too.

Got back to the States on Wednesday, mid-day.  I had left Iguazu on Tuesday morning, so it was a long day of travel.  Got in a treadmill run that night.  6 mi in 48:26, 8:04 ave.  Started at 1 degree, did 4 mi at 3 degrees, ended at 5 degrees.  Knee did better.  Oh man, during the trip, I loved not running and not feeling pressured to run.  It was a good thing for my body, post-marathon, and especially for the knee. 

Thursday, woke after 3.5 hrs of sleep to prepare another presentation that I had to give.  Gave it, and then I considered myself more or less done for the year.  Still had to work a couple more days, but the big stuff was over. 

Friday, 6.0 in 49:33, 8:15 ave pace, alternating between 1 degree and 3 degrees.  I've been liking running on more incline than normal, since it reduces the forces on your legs when you land.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Nov 22-Dec 7 : Back in the Saddle Again

Thursday, Thanksgiving.  At my sister's apt in ATL.
Tofurkey, mmm....  I wish Trader Joe's had it all year round.

Friday, Nov 23, biked for 45 min.  Wish my fitness room was as well-equipped as this one.  First time in maybe forever that we didn't do Black Friday shopping.

Saturday, Nov 24, first run back... 6 days post-marathon.  6 mi in 50:20, 8:23 ave.  Pas mal!  It felt so good to be running again, since my body's been craving it.  I took it easier on purpose.  Haven't stretched in a while.

Sunday, Nov 25, strength session.

Monday, Nov 26, recumbent bike.  Pushed pretty hard, HR of 171 bpm.  Long day at work.  Joints were tight, and there was no way I could've run, so I biked.

Thursday, Nov 29, 4 mi of treamill hills.  0.5 @ 1 degree in 4:11, [3 degrees, 5 degrees, 7 degrees, 1 degree, 3 degrees, 5 degrees, 7 degrees @ 7.2mph] for 0.5 mi ea.   4 in 33:30, 8:23 ave.  Knee was yoinky from the middle 1 degree portion, and I had to use better form to help it stay more normal.  Legs felt fresh again otherwise. 

Saturday, Dec 1, outside run.  6.1 mi in 51:50, 8:30 ave.  Left knee yoinky, causing me to not push as hard off of that leg.  Tried to push harder on it on purpose to make it even out, but my body just ended up compensating everywhere, making my right back tight.  Sped it way up as I went along.  Loop splits> 7:13, 6:57, 6:48, 6:43, 6:31, 6:05, 6:00, 5:31.  These are approximately 0.75 mi loops. 

Sunday, Dec 2, recumbent bike, 60 min.  Was going to run, but legs immediately said no.

Tuesday, Dec 4, 4 mi in 30:55, 7:43 ave.  Felt speeedy.  Left knee yoinky, even at fast speeds, which had previously helped.  Felt fast and fresh.  Right back tightened up lots as the run progressed.  Felt good to let loose and get my heart pumping, though.  Tired at work, but pushed through.

Thursday, Dec 6, treadhill hills again.  At first, I thought I'd do a longer run at 1 degree, but it felt way too poundy, so I upped the incline, and that felt good.  4.5 in 38:32, 8:34 ave.  Did 1.5 mi @ 8:45 @ 3 degrees, 2.5 mi @ 8:25 @ 5 degrees, 0.5 mi @ 8:25 @ 7 degrees.  Like hills, for the low impact.  I need to improve on my hill climbing, anyway, as proven by Philly.

Friday, Dec 7, strength session.

Summary... work's been exhausting, but getting the job done, and doing a good job of it.  Left knee has gotten worse as I've gotten back into some moderate training... boo.

Doing DC

The day after the marathon... going up stairs is taxing, but going down stairs is really tricky.  I could tell that I was recovering more quickly with each marathon, though.  Normal walking was fine.  Maybe shorter strides and less pep in the step, but it felt more or less normal.   While my friend was at work, I went out to take in the city.  The Capitol and the museums don't let you go in if you have any kind food or water, even packaged and unopened, but I didn't know that in advance, and I didn't want to ditch my day's supply of food and water, so I figured that I'd use today to do all the outdoor sites, and that I'd see the museums and the Capitol the next day.

I feel like I saw everything and didn't realize how far I ended up walking - 9.9 mi!  The last mile was hard and felt like a tame version of the last mile of the marathon... my legs were not firing well anymore.

The next day, I had time for the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and a bit of the Air & Space Museum.

In the evenings, it was Settlers of Catan, movies, catching up, and Thai and Mexican.