Sometimes you just have to Make the Call!

This week has been a biatch!  Not in a bad way mind you, but flat-out exhausting!

I work in the training department at the Mighty P, a Seattle-based insurance company.  I’ve been there now for just under 90 days.  On July 1st, if all goes well and the creeks don’t rise we will be hiring new claims adjusters and I will be teaching them.  This is all good, I like the Mighty P and I like to teach.  I particularly like teaching claims people, as I was one!

HOWEVER, the material for new hire training was woefully out of date.  The computer system we used went through a major overhaul.  The material didn’t.  So for the last 2 months I have been updating around 15 modules….  This was the easy part.

This week I had to step it up a notch. The company recently went paperless.  There is a whole new way to handle claim folders (in essence, there AINT no folders!) it’s all done on the computer.  I have not only had to learn the new system this week, but also revamp 2 elearns.  (I don’t know nuthin about building no eLearns!  (well at least I didn’t last week…)  Got one done, and one will be done Monday.  But it has been brain draining!  But to paraphrase the Bandit (Burt Reynolds) “I aint never not made it before!”  It will all be done and I will be ready for class on the 1st!

But damn I am tired today.  I have resorted to coffee, lattes and Diet Mountain Dew (Plus one BAD cinnamon roll) this week to keep going.

I did get two bike commutes in, Tuesday and Thursday.  And as I sit and write this, the plan was to bike in tomorrow.

This is where “Making the call” comes in.  To ride in, I need to get up 40 minutes early.  (Did I mention I was tired?)  Then I get there, and instead of my normal relax morning, eating breakfast and surfing the web or reading, I have to get a quick shower, and scarf down food.

I also miss out on our commute into work together.  We always stop at Starbucks, and sometimes we talk on the way in, or just quietly watch the road, but its our peaceful time together.

Add to it, my lovely bride is taking me away for a staycation this weekend.  We are going to the Willows Lodge for good food, room service, good wine, and relaxing.  If I took of on the bike, she would have to load the suitcase after she was done getting ready.  That’s kinda my job.

The plan is Sunday I will ride a 50.  Well, I will be coming back sometime Saturday to feed and water the cats.  (Its only 20 minutes away) So I can grab the bike then.

So I am making the call! No bike commute in the morning.  I am going to mosey and help do the last-minute things we need to do and pack before we leave.  I will pack work out clothes and hit the gym with her on Saturday, and our together time will just start in the tomorrow morning1

It aint easy being a cyclists wife (and it REALLY aint easy being my wife I am sure.)  So if doing something little like this helps, I am all over it!

PLUS an extra 40 minutes of sleep!

Woodinville’s Willows Lodge

When it comes to hotels, I am not picky!  When my youngest and I did the Zombie Run last year, we stayed in the cheapest, tackiest hotel in Chehalis (Nothing moved and I never saw any bugs….).  When I biked the Or Coast, I just wanted walls and a bed.  So again I am not picky

However, when my wife and I go somewhere for a special occasion, it is ok to go all out.  This was the plan Friday night.  It was our 3rd anniversary last week.  Last year for our anniversary (or close to it anyway) we went to Key West.  This wasn’t an option this year, so Friday night we spent the night at the Willows Lodge.

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This is in the middle of Woodinville’s best area for wine tasting, right next door to the Redhook Brewery and right off my favorite bike path!

Just to let you know they are all about nature, this is next to the front door

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And you walk through this to get to the restaurant across the parting lot

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When you go in, your first see this look through fire-place:

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On the other side is the fire side lounge, our favorite date night place!  The staff welcomes you with a glass of either red or white wine as you check in, and they are there for your every need for as long as you stay!

My wife loves the spa, she has had messauges , the best facials ever, and manicures there.  Not being s spa boy I can’t give you first hand knowledge, but I have seen her come out of there relaxed and ready for a nap, which I hear is a good thing!

The grounds are gorgeous!  image

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With walking paths, ponds and gas fire pits to help you stay comfy.

Then there are the rooms……

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King sized, VERY comfy beds…

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Gas Fireplaces and sitting areas (we brought the wine!)

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A balcony with a great view, and my favorite part

imageA Giant bathtub!  Two people can soak in this with room to spare, and hell if you want you can even watch a movie while soaking!  The shower (which I am sorry I forgot to take a picture) is huge as well.  I seldom rave about a bathroom in a hotel, but this is VERY cool!

Now I am not a gourmet person at all.  But for those who are, the Barking Frog, the restaurant at the lodge is award-winning.  I find the dinners there too fancy, but the room service menu has “real” food.  Mac and Cheese, a pizzette (basically a damn good cheese pizza!) a burger and other simpler food (for simple people like me!)  The breakfast menu is stellar though!  We take her mom there a lot as a special treat.  They always pamper her (almost 80 year olds deserve it!)

I was still fried from recent workouts, so Michelle and I ordered room service for both dinner and breakfast,  She fell asleep early in the giant bed, and I sat in front of the fire, with a last glass of wine, the balcony door open, listening to the frogs croak.  it was nice, it was relaxing, and it was what we needed.

We slept in the next day and took our time heading out into the real world…  We always hate leaving.

Now folks it AINT cheap.  But the service is impeccable.  If you want to taste wine I can name off 4 fantastic wineries (Dusted Valley, Ross Andrew, Alexandra Nicole, and William Church) and another 10 + ok ones within walking distance.  Have a pet?  They are welcome at the lodge.  The bike path goes along the river and there are always birds signing and eagles soaring.  After eating there, you will have to get back on the bike to work it off.  So no, it aint cheap, but it’s worth it.

If you want to pamper your significant other, surprise him or her with a night there.  You won’t be disappointed!  Michelle and I will be back, hell maybe for our 4th anniversary, maybe before just because she deserves it for putting up with me!

Enjoy!

Yep, Sometimes you just have to Listen to your Body

Anyone who read my post on Friday knows that I did my first round trip bike commute Thursday.  (In the pouring rain I might add).  Work is only 17 miles away, which isn’t far at all really, and a good distance for a work out.

However, I didn’t plan extraordinarily well before selecting my day to do this.  First, on Wednesday night, I stopped on the way home from dinner with the 15-year-old (Taco Del Mar, YUM!) to do my workout on the stairs.  I don’t run the stairs, but I keep a steady pace going up the 293 steps, and hurry back down, trying for a 5.5 minute round trip pace.  I do 7 reps of these.  I was done about 830 PM, and home by 9.  Not too late, but then I had to get things ready to go.

I hadn’t had a chance to get the panniers on the bike, or pack what I needed for the day (work clothes, lunch, work badge etc) so getting all this ready kept me up until about 1030.  I was up and on the road at 530 AM!  This meant a little less than 6.5 hours of sleep.

The morning was nice, but I pushed it hard to avoid the rain.  So it was a hard but good  work out.  It took about 75 minutes to get to work.

Then as, I pointed it, it was POURING on the way home!  What I didn’t know till I got home was that my back tire was at only half its normal pressure.  I am not sure if REI, while hurrying to replace my rim didn’t air it all the way up, or I have a leak.  Either way, this meant that when I pushing it to maintain a decent clip, so I could get out of the rain, I was having to work even harder than usual.  I could tell something just wasn’t right, but I was chalking it up to the hard rain.  Even with the tire, it still only took 75 minutes to get home.

Now do the math, adding all three workouts together, that is 3 hard workouts in less than 20 hours.  Time wise, it only adds up to just over 3 hours, which in the grand scheme of things is nothing!  I do, and have done this year, many rides over 3 hours long.  However, these longer rides are not done “flat-out”.  I pace myself to make sure I make it.  These three hours there was no pacing.  I asked my body to give a lot!

Yesterday, my body told me exactly how much I asked of it!  I was one dogbutt tired cowboy.  The legs were fried!  Just waking down two flights of stairs to the lunch room and back for tea or water wore me out. ( I refuse to use an elevator for 2 flights).

By 1 PM it got so bad, I had to break out desperate measures!  I fell back back on superior firepower and higher intelligence.  Yep, I cranked on the iPod to listen to AC/DC (Thunderstuck, Highway to Hell, TNT etc) and drank a Diet Mountain Dew (DMD Baby!)   I could finally feel my blood pumping, and for the first time all day I wasn’t worried about nodding off at my desk!

My stomach was also making demands.  I needed a chocolate chip cookie.  Not “it sounded good”, or “hmm maybe I will get one”  it was “Pal, if we are chained to this desk much longer, I am going to chew your arm off and go get it myself!  Yep, a trip to Starbucks was a remedy for that!  I finished it and wanted another, but I held firm!

What my body was saying was “Son, it is time for a break!”  Luckily, last night, my wife and I had planned a night away The Willows Lodge in Woodinville!.  We had planned to go out for dinner, have some wine and relax.  Instead we stopped and got wine at Ross Andrew Winery, and then, after checking in,  ordered room-service.  We then sat around the gas fire, with the rain coming down, resting, sipping great wine, and had fantastic food.

We had talked about getting up early and hitting the work out room there.  Nope, slept in, ordered room service again, and used the giant tub to soak tired legs.  Even now, the rain has stopped, (though hella-windy out there) and I should ride, but it is feeling good to sit!

I am the first to admit, that I don’t listen to this body like I should.  I had a sprained ankle last 2 months longer than it should because I wouldn’t stop playing softball.  I have done 5 and 10 Ks with a fever, and bitten off more than I can chew while hiking and biking more than once.  However, sometimes even someone as ornery as I am has to listen to the body.  HOWEVER, if its nice tomorrow I will get a long ride outside, and if not, a hard one on the rollers.  Next week, at least twice I will commute to work on the bike or bike after work!  (Not to mention stairs as well!)

It’s all well and good to listen to your body sometimes, but I am damn sure not going to let it start thinking its in charge!

Sometimes you just need to take time for Wine!

Anyone who has read a post or two on this blog knows I am focused on staying healthy. I am damn near 50 years old (half a century), and I can do more now than when I was 25. To do this requires eating right, riding regularly, taking my vitamins and basically doing everything I can to be healthy.

Now, that being said, there are other things in life aside from cycling! (Yes, it’s true! I know it is shocking o many of us to hear me say it, but cycling and exercise is NOT the be all end all of life!)

Sometimes, you just want to spend a nice evening with the person you love sipping some good red wine! Tonight was one of those nights! My wife Michelle and I met out friend Kaye for our monthly dinner together (well almost monthly, actually this was our Christmas dinner, we got busy the last few months!). We met at the Fireside Cellars at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA.

English: map of selected points of interest in...
English: map of selected points of interest in the Woodinville, Washington tourist district (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

for happy hour snacks and drinks. Kaye is a Grey Goose martini lady, while Michelle and I sipped on a red blend from William Church Winery (Damn its good! That’s why we are wine club members!)

Let me do an aside here.  If you ever want to treat the love of your life to something special, the Willows Lodge is the place.  Room service, giant tub, gas fire-place, room service, excellent food and the best wine tasting area in Western Washington!  It’s a little spendy, but damn well worth it!

Afterwards, Michelle and I came home to sit in our favorite part of the house and sipped our Christmas present wine together, and just chatted and giggled and played our favorite iPad word game together. (yep we are geeks!) No worries about working out, getting old, or getting fat (OK that’s me!).  It was time for two people who love each other to spend quality time together.  Time with each other is much more important than getting my butt in the saddle!

There’s plenty of other nights to ride, but there aren’t always quiet times together!  Maybe its time she and I take a Willows, Wine, Weekend!  It’s great being with and married to someone you love with all your heart!  I am a lucky man!

Sharing Wine with my gorgeous wife at Dusted Valley our favorite winery!
Sharing Wine with my gorgeous wife at Dusted Valley our favorite winery!

Don’t get me wrong, I know how important it is to work out and get some miles under your butt!  I ride whenever I can.  Just make sure you don’t forget what’s, and who is most important in your life while doing so, because I am telling you, sometimes you really do need to take some time for wine!