Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week off ...

I'm running behind on posts right now and will get to the Leesburg Bakers Dozen later this week. But before that, I took a (much needed) week off from work at the beginning of April to get some stuff done, including a little bit of training ...

A few years ago, I passed a milestone year at my job when I suddenly found myself with five additional vacation days. Around the same time, my company instituted a new policy that allowed us to carry up to five days into the subsequent year if we didn't have the opportunity to use them before the Xmas break, under the condition that we use them before the end of the first quarter. That first year, I carried all five over and used them in March for a "training camp" of sorts to get ready for the new season. In essence, I'm still trading on those five days from that first year -- every year now, I use the full number of vacation days but always carry over five days so I'm basically running even. And I always use that carry-over week for a pre-season block of training.

This year I had to wait a few extra weeks to take that time because of workload issues, which didn't bother me too much because of the crappy weather we've had this season. But I was still really excited to get away and a bit burned out by the time the first week of April came around. I started my break with a ride in Middle Run, but as I mentioned in my last post, I banged my hand up a bit. I wasn't too worried about it at the time, but it turns out that it was a bit more serious than I originally thought. I'm pretty sure I fractured one of the bones in my hand because the swelling wouldn't go down and it was really difficult to even grip the bars any time I tried to ride. There was no way I was going to go the whole week without riding, so I had to come up with some workarounds.

But before that, I had some tradition to uphold. Just about every year, my brother and I make the foolishly optimistic journey to Flushing to watch the Mets home opener.

For those not aware, the Mets of the last few years have, well ... sucked. It's not only that they don't play well - they're front office sees to be the most incompetent in the entire league. (How many other team owners have significant ties to the Madoff scandal?) They've been a depressing and underachieving franchise for years and there's really no reason for it beyond incompetence in the front office. It's NY, for god sake! There is no reason to have a team without playoff aspirations here!

Met fans all handle being Met fans the same way ...

Anyway, my brother and I always make the trip every year and have lately been disappointed more often than not. But even before the game started this year, the entire day was a huge win when we got to meet Mookie Wilson outside the stadium. Mookie, of course, is the legendary centerfielder from the '86 squad that won the World Series and the guy who hit the ball that went under Buckner's legs. (If you don't know what that means, it's one of the iconic moments in World Series history. And possibly one of the best moments of my life as a Met fan.) Anyway, we saw Mookie walked across the lot with some handlers after giving an interview and my brother yelled if it would be possible to get a photo. Mook, always a class act, was super nice and let me take a pic of my brother with him (my brother is actually wearing Mookie's jersey in the photo.) It was really cool and probably the highlight of what may be a long season.

My brother and every Met fan's favorite center fielder.

After that, the game was an afterthought, but the Mets won 11-2 and have actually played pretty well so far. I remain unconvinced, but maybe this team will be better than the awful team I was expecting.

After Monday, I did get out for a few good rides during the week. On Tuesday, my hand was still pretty bad, so I wrapped it up in an ace bandage and took the cross bike out for a ride on the Schuylkill Trail from Philly to Phoenixville, a 50 mile round-trip.

It was a pretty cool ride - I started and finished at the Valley Green Inn.

Post-ride - happy and hand still intact ...
The hand felt semi-good after Tuesday's ride, so on Thursday I headed out to Fair Hill for a nice long ride to push my luck. I wrapped my hand extra tight and headed out to ride as much of the Fair Hill 50 course as I could manage.

I haven't been to Fair Hill in a long time, and I'd forgotten how fun the trails there can be. It took a bit of adaptation to keep my hand from really flaring up. But strangely, it actually felt better than it had all week after I was done. Even the swelling was way down.

Finally, my vacation ended with another day off the bike. On Friday, Joanna was off from work and the two of us took a trip to the Philly Art Museum. We hadn't been there in a long while, and I always love just walking through some of the larger exhibits. Joanna loved the modern art, especially Jasper Johns - his "Grey Objects" was her personal favorite. Me? I like the old European works from the middle ages -- not so much the paintings as the architectural features. And we both loved the old world armory exhibits.

So, all in all, a pretty decent week off. One of the best I've had in a long while. Did it prepare me for a long race like Bakers Dozen? Well, I'll get to that next time ...

1 comment:

  1. You forgot the best part of Friday....a trip to Yo Dogs!