Friday, June 26, 2015

Downtime

   It's June and normally this time of year, I'd be neck-deep in training.  The past several years, I've had late-season "A" races and my weekends would primarily consist of four, five or six hour bike rides and runs that felt like they lasted that long.  However, this year, my "A" triathlon of the season, Chatty 70.3, is already behind me. I only have Sprint or Olympic-distance races on the calendar for the rest of my tri season (yes, I have a couple of marathons on the Fall, but that's a different topic).
   Now, rather than spending my entire weekend training, eating and recovering, I actually have time to do other things. And while it's taking a bit of getting used to, I have to say - it's kind of fun. It's nice to only have a two-hour Zone 2 long ride, especially when the temperatures get into the upper 90s. And I love to be done with my long run by 8:30 in the morning and have an ENTIRE DAY to do something other than train. Don't get me wrong, I'm a freak and love training, but it's good to revisit some of my other interests. Here's a little rundown of what I've been doing with some of my downtime:

Reading:
   Most of you know, I'm a avid reader. Always have been. When I was a kid, my mom would try to get me to go out and play with other kids, but I'd frequently say no because I was completely engrossed in some book. I actually brought "War and Peace" to Beach Week when I was a Junior in high school, not because it was an assignment, but because I felt like I was something I needed to read. Yes, I'm kind of a lit geek and I'm totally OK with that. I have a goal of reading 52 books every year, and I've hit this goal the past two years. I'm a little behind for 2015, but am trying to catch up. Here's a sampling of what I've read this year:

  •  "Deep Down Dark" by Hector Tobar:  The true story of the 33 Chilean miners who were buried underground for 69 days after the San Jose mine collapsed. Fascinating book and I absolutely recommend it.
  • "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins:  A psychological thriller that has been compared to Hitchcock. Have you ever made up a back-story about a stranger you've seen passing by? And then had the opportunity to actually MEET that person and find out what their reality is? "The Girl on the Train" is that, but with alcoholic blackouts and murder.  Easy read - I read it in a day.
  • "As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride" by Cary Elwes: If you liked "The Princess Bride" (and who didn't, really), you'll like this book. 'Nuff said.
Gardening:
   Dudley and I moved to a new house last Fall. Well, it's a 50-year old house, so it's not "new," however, it's new to us. Unfortunately, the previous owners didn't give it the attention it deserved so we've spent the past few months trying to clean it up / repairing things. While Dudley has been doing a lot of clearing of larger trees, my main project has been the side yard. Here are a few "before" photos. Note: I've already cleared a lot before taking these photos. Some weeds were three-feet high in both areas. 

The previous owner loved her Monkey Grass!  

 

   Both of these areas have been cleared, and are now full of various shrubs, annuals and perennials. There have also been a lot of trips to Lowe's for mulch. Yes, I know that "after" photos are necessary, but I don't have any since I'm not done yet with the entire side yard yet (it's much bigger than these photos show). I'll do a "big reveal" at some point, though I might need some professional help since I'm pretty clueless as to what to plant where.  I've had a few plants die on me already. Sigh. I never said I was "good" at gardening, just that I enjoy doing it.

TV:
   I'm not a huge TV watcher - generally news and sports (Tour de France starts on July 4th!). However, I'm absolutely guilty of being sucked into a TV series on Netflix / Hulu and binge-watching every episode. After years of watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" here and there while on the trainer, I finally started just streaming the episodes and am almost finished with the series. I know I'm stating what almost every person on the planet knows, but Joss Whedon is a freakin' genius. The writing on the show is brilliant and I'm annoyed I didn't pay more attention to the show when it was on originally. I also just finished the first season of "Outlander," which probably has the best casting I've seen for any show. Man, do I hate Jack Randall. He's the WORST! 
   Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions on other shows that I've missed, which is most of them. Something less vampy / sci-fi. "Parenthood" maybe?  I tried "Mad Men" but couldn't get into it. Maybe I should try again?

What do you all do on your down time? Recommendations are appreciated!