Back to School, Cycling, Spin Class, Festivals and How Things Get Crazy in September for Stay At Home Dad

Hello Everyone,

This girl loves going to school. I am so happy that she is excited to be at school. Some other kids are not that excited.
This girl loves going to school. I am so happy that she is excited to be at school. Some other kids are not that excited.

I have not been writing as much as I would like recently.  September is always a tough month of the year.  The wife works in the public school system and the beginning of the school year can be quite crazy.  The oldest started kindergarten and the middle child started twice weekly pre-school.  I’m still training on my bike because I love the structure that training provides.  It allows me to plan, execute, observe, and adjust what I do on a day to day and month to month basis.  With that training structure comes a little familiarity from the days I was in the Marine Corps.  Just aimlessly prodding through life is something I cannot do.  I’m always looking for new goals and challenges.  This September has been just as hectic as the last September but I’ve been able to keep my cycling training on track unlike last year.  I also cannot believe how many forms and fundraising activities occur at the beginning of the school year.

I think schools are trying to capitalize on everyone’s excitement with a new school year.  The amount of forms I had to fill out for two kids is near the ridiculous level.  I’m telling you, me and the wife spent an entire day just filling out forms and permission slips.  It was eerily familiar to doing your taxes.  Just as much paperwork to say the same thing over and over again.  I’ve also been hit up with at least 5 fundraising packets and activities over these past 3 weeks.  Wow!  Keeping a schedule is a must with more than one kids in school.  There are always activities, or gym day, or pretzel day, or dress up day, or picture day, or field trip money day.  If you don’t keep all of this organized, you’re in trouble folks.  It’s probably why I’ve received my third notice/email about general guidelines from my daughters Pre-School.  Some of those parents are obviously falling behind with all of the deadlines.

Tomorrow I race my second cyclocross race and I’m pretty excited about it.  I am by no means on form for this event.  My legs are completely hammered but I’ll still try to do well.  Last September my training completely fell apart.  Here is my training chart from July to September last year.  When that blue line is going down, it means my training is falling off.

That fading blue line is good for recover, but if you let it keep sliding you get slower.
That fading blue line is good for recovery, but if you let it keep sliding you get slower.

With the help of my mother-in-law and children that are one year older, I have been able to keep things more consistent this year.  My training has been progressing very well and I don’t feel nearly as stressed as I was last year.  I’ve been making that blue line climb up as I train hard and slide down a bit as I let my legs recover.  After this race on Saturday, I will be taking an easy week to recover and hopefully gain some fitness.

As you can see, everything is trending upwards and my plan is actually working like it's supposed to.
As you can see, everything is trending upwards and my plan is actually working like it’s supposed to.

I’ve made some pretty good observations from last year and implemented them into my training plan for this year.  I will probably write about those when I get further into cyclocross season.  There is no use really talking about it now if my plan doesn’t work!  I do have one graph that is telling me that things are working.

Power Curve for Jul14 to Sept 14 against the last six week of training. FTP "prediction" is higher than last year.
Power Curve for Jul14 to Sept 14 against the last six week of training. FTP “estimation” is higher than last year.

Now I know that the power “estimation” is just that, an “estimation” from a formula, but when rested, I have performed exactly as the “estimation” has said.  So, last year I was at an Functional Threshold Power (FTP) of 284 watts and now the estimate is 312 watts.  That’s quite the improvement over last year.  I believe that number is higher because I spent 2 whole blocks of training dedicated to threshold power, whereas last year I was just riding a ton of miles on my bike.  “Just ride your bike” is a statement I heard all the time when I was looking for cycling advice.  Well, “Just ride your bike” will only get you so far.  Cyclocross is an all out effort at 40 minutes so I decided to target those 40 minutes specifically and will continue to do so on my next block of training.  Holding a higher threshold power is key to cyclocross.  You will never be near the front unless you can hold a high amount of power over the entire race.  I will start doing some interval work next month, but again, that’s just to push up my threshold.

Doing a Dine and Dash as the Hamburger in September. Eat a burger, run a mile, eat a burger, run back a mile.
Doing a Dine and Dash as the Hamburgler in September. Eat a burger, run a mile, eat a burger, run back a mile.

I’m excited that I’ve been so productive in September and the kids are engaged with school and activities.  I’m hoping to hold this momentum through the rest of the year. There are many obstacles when it comes to time management in my future.  I imagine there will be some sort of plague that moves through my house as it gets colder outside.  I’m sure that will throw a wrench in my training plan.  However, at this point I feel successful.  Two kids are in school, we haven’t forgotten anything yet, I’m still able to train for the sport I love, and I’m keeping up with 80% of the house work.  That’s already a win and I’m really hoping I can hold this momentum until January.  I’m looking to peak for an event in January.  Did someone say Cyclocross Nationals?

The kids enjoyed a Fall Festival in September.
The kids enjoyed a Fall Festival in September.
My wife got her exercise carrying kids up a hill at the festival. She pretty strong, she's a Marine also.
My wife got her exercise carrying kids up a hill at the festival. She pretty strong, she’s a Marine also.

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