Sunday, April 5, 2020

Social Distancing

We're all handling this pandemic pretty well. The girls are getting a break from school just like they used to get with a track out. I can easily work from home, and my grad school has always been online so absolutely nothing has changed for me. Stay home! Practice social distancing!

This is not a problem for us. We can't even get the kids to socialize with us in person. What is hard for us is not going shopping regularly; the grocery store shelves are empty, I can't just go to Lowe's for supplies, that's all crazy.

I will share a couple of pictures from before the pandemic took over.

I'm standing on top of a quad bunk bed setup that I built. I was taller than the power line into the house!

Got a night out at the coast with the family

It was a really fun trip

I had a sunset picture featured on the local news!

proper social distancing

Lena had her teeth pulled

then got braces!

They both have braces right there!

Got everybody hanging out on the porch

then Lena got blue hair!? what is that?

I had a gray beard

And then there was none. I never realized how much I touch my face. This was instant regret, I started growing it back 3 days later

Ella's smile

Now with less metal! Her braces are off!
 So Lena got her braces put on, then went with blue hair, then Ella got her braces off. Crazy! I've been doing a ton of woodworking. And we're starting to landscape the front yard. I want to get the hardscape in before it gets too hot, we've already had a few 90* days and I am not mentally prepared for another super hot summer.

Stay safe out there. There's a lot of scary stuff with the coronavirus right now. Controlling the spread is the key. How long do you think it will last? The hardest part for me is not being able to plan or travel. Here's an idea. I finish grad school on Oct 4, and there is a marathon in Kona, HI on Nov 7. Since the airline industry is in the toilet right now flights are actually affordable - around $400 compared to the $1400 flights that I usually find. I think a week in Hawaii and a marathon is a fantastic way to celebrate finishing the MBA than with a week in paradise. Does this seem rational at all?

Saturday, February 1, 2020

A Running Decade

Yes I'm writing a New Year's post on the last day of January. 2019 is in the past, it had some ups, and some downs (literally, falling), and while it wasn't the best year, it certainly wasn't the worst. I'm just glad it's in the books and over now. And with this being the end of a decade, and since I've been blogging and running and triathloning the entire decade, I thought it would be a good time to recap the whole decade.

This was a pre-ironman year where the main focus was to cover each distance to prepare for an actual ironman year. I finished another full marathon, my first century ride, and a handful of other triathlons & shorter stuff. 10 races all together.
Swim: 72,676 yards
Bike: 1779.4 miles
Run: 524.65 miles
This was also the year that I finished my 2nd half iron, we moved to Raleigh and bought the house that we still live in, and Ella started kindergarten. Quite a fun and pivotal year.

This was the year I turned iron. Because I was in Ironman training for the first time, I took an "anything goes" approach to racing while still following a strict training plan for Ironman Florida.
Swim: 143,585 yards
Bike: 3135.9 miles
Run: 1100.01 miles

The training plan produced a massive amount of miles. I ran a half marathon every month and got faster most of the time including a 1:37 PR in December. I finished 17 races total from a 23:43 5k to the 13:06:24 ironman finish. This was a pivotal year!

Post-Ironman, this year was anything goes. I ran my first ultramarathon, a 40 miler in Georgia.
Swim: 138,450 yards
Bike: 1591.5 miles
Run: 765.3 miles

I finished 27 races this year. After making it through Ironman I figured I could do anything, so I did. Kelley and I both qualified for the Marathon Maniacs doing 3 fulls in 65 days, we also both did a Grand Prix series with a bunch of 5k's, some tri's, it was a great year.

After the ultra, I was ready to get back to Ironman. This year I was really focused on getting faster on the bike. Spoiler alert: it didn't work, I still sucked at biking. But I put in almost 4000 miles trying to get there, and totally ruined my desire to ride.
Swim: 210,220 yards
Bike: 3869 miles
Run: 847.8 miles

This year I did the Cast Iron club, where training & racing miles totaled more than 30 ironman triathlon distances on the year. B2B was the ironman of choice, also did the first Ironman Raleigh on a really hot day. This was a pivotal year with lots of ups and downs, I really thought I could get faster on the bike. I still finished 12 races.

We also started a milestone Dave Ramsey year from March 2013 to March 2014, paying off $140k in debts over that time. We're still debt free, but I was ready to travel again. So this years Ironman was Rev3 Cedar Point in Ohio, we went to a Cleveland Indians game the day after the race, it was an amazing trip.
Swim: 231,500 yards
Bike: 2170 miles
Run: 1227 miles

Done with Ironmans
It was amazing to get back over 1000 miles running on the year, and I used that fitness to carry me through ironman. I knew that was going to be my last one, people who really love Ironman tend to stop after 3 for some reason but I knew I would. I was totally burned out on the bike after 2013. I still got in 3 marathons and 2 ultras, plus a few shorter races only 11 in total.

This was the beginning of the end, really. I turned 40 and my body started falling apart. Hey, that's what is supposed to happen right? Running Ironmans really made me want to grow a beard and run more trail ultras. So I did.
Swim: 376,810 yards
Bike: 292 miles
Run: 1057.8 miles

Yeah only 292 miles on the bike? After almost 4000 miles a couple of years earlier? That sounds right. 13 races, one sprint triathlon, I decided to go for the "marathon in all 50 states" goal and knocked out marathons in Minnesota and Maryland, ran a beer mile, you name it. And I turned 40.

Generally, this was one of the worst years ever. Athletically, it had ups and downs. I finished my first 50 miler in San Diego and had a wonderful time in California. I competed in the Umstead 100 after volunteering and pacing there for several years and bailed after 75 miles.
Swim: 199,150 yards
Bike: 82 miles
Run: 1179 miles

10 races including the Umstead, I turned 41, finished the year with a 50k and 2 marathons in october and destroyed my foot in the process. Some people are still upset that I didn't go back and swim the last 850 yards to hit an even 200k. I did one sprint tri, and took the job that I still have at LexisNexis.

This was a tough year, coming off of the injury. I planned on doing 12 marathons in 12 months starting with the last 3 races last year so I was pretty bummed about missing my spring marathons. I actually had no marathons this year, first time since I started running that I didn't marathon at all.
Swim: 276,505 yards
Bike: 240 miles
Run: 237.4 miles

I did 7 races total, a half marathon, a 10k, and 5 open water swim races. Going from 1147 miles of running to 237 miles this year was really tough. there were lots of giant beers, and I also gained a lot of weight. None of that helped. But I did really love all of that time in the water.

Really, I was back into woodworking and not doing much this year. I started building boats in 2017, and finished 2018 by starting an MBA program. So...
Swim: 65,926 yards
Bike: 57.5 miles
Run: 471 miles

I only did 3 races. Arthritis forced me to drop my beloved masters swim team. I was able to run some, I took 4th place overall in a 5k and did full marathons in Delaware and Colorado. the beard got more gray, and I got my last tattoo (probably). Starting grad school and a heavy work load both took a toll mentally.

This really was a decent year. All I was really committed to was to be a good student, and I finished 5 classes in grad school.
Swim: 4000 yards
Bike: 33.5 miles
Run: 425 miles

I finished 2 races and DNS'd 4 more. Grew my hair out pretty long and then cut it off again. My goals for the year:
Grad School - pass my classes. Success! I had 4 A's and a B
Oregon - fail. Had a wonderful trip, did not marathon
Tennessee - fail. Didn't even make the trip
Run 800 miles - fail. 425 and I'm pretty happy about that.
Finish the porch - Success! I did finish building my front porch and it turned out fantastic.

Also, I established a running streak of 2 miles a day for 75 days in a row. pretty happy about that. This was also the only year that I didn't shave the beard over the summer.

Goals for 2020? I'm having a tough time coming up with anything real.
500 miles running?
Marathon in 2 more states?
Finish grad school. Classes wrap up Oct 4

So far the only race I'm registered for is a 24 hour ultra at the end of october, it felt like a good way to celebrate finishing grad school. No trips planned yet, but I think Idaho and Kentucky should be the next states I shoot for.

Cheers to a great decade!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2019 Turkey Trot

And now, in "hey, I'm super late" news, I'm finally writing up the turkey trot, and it will be brief. The Inside-Out Sports 8k Turkey Trot is a thanksgiving day race that's been going on for several years. I ran it in 2012, finishing in 36:11 and setting a 5 mile PR. This year was going to be a bit slower to say the least...

Thanksgiving turned out to be a fantastic holiday this year. We stayed in Raleigh instead of going to SC and decided to have a laid back approach. So Kelley and I both signed up for this race to kick things off. Actually she got rather upset with me because she forgot it was an 8k instead of a 5k and she's only been training for around 3 miles, oops.

This was actually the first time this year I've made it to a running race. It felt great to be among peers again, and I was surprised I didn't see more friends - there were plenty of familiar pictures showing up on facebook later

Big crowd!

We're ready to roll!
Something about this course is fantastic. I don't know what it is, but I end up turning up great times here. My training has been churning out 10 minute miles all year long. Somehow I finished this one in only 46:32, finishing 32nd in my age group out of 47, 278/473 men and 416/958 overall. This is a pretty big crowd for a 5 mile race.

Kelley finished just a couple of minutes behind me, 51:45, good enough for 34/57 age group, 251/485 women, and 596/958 overall. She had a blast too

at the finish line!

With the giant turkey
After the race we got to watch football all day, and the parade. Then we hosted dinner in the evening with lots of family.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Break and the Streak

Yeah, but the break and the steak would have rhymed

I took one class session off from grad school to do other stuff and totally blew all of the athletic endeavors. Literally, registered for four races - a marathon, a 12 hour ultra, a swim race, and a 4 mile octoberfest run - and competed in exactly zero of them.Yes it is frustrating, the marathons were my chance to knock out the new states this year. I really should have gone to the swim race, I think I'm just done with those. I had several friends there who told me it was a great day to be in the water, but I had to be up working until about 1 am the day before and just didn't want to get up at 6 to make it to the race on time.

So it takes a reset. There has been other stuff going on. I opened an Etsy store and put out a Craigslist ad to sell the beds, and that's going really well. So far I've sold 2 sets of bunk beds and a loft from CL.

Also I started a running streak - as of today (11/18) it's at 40 days and exactly 100 miles. I'm doing at least 2 miles a day, every day. No idea how long it will last - my original goal was 10 days, then a month. Next goal may be the first of the year? It's getting hard to figure out how I'm going to get everything done.

Grad school is back with a Business Law class. Not only is it really boring, but it takes a lot of time. Really this class gives me a whole new respect for people who went to law school. Every day I learn a new way to get sued or break the law. The only way to stay safe is to never do anything, ever. As an empath, I totally sympathize with people who need lawyers. When I worked in PC repair the jobs would be pretty quiet until somebody else was having the worst day of their week (or month, or year). Everybody that needs a lawyer for any reason is scared, or protective, or otherwise having their worst day. Totally could not do it.

The family is staying busy too. Evil Genius got her ears pierced, overcoming a fear that she's had for a long time:

Ella WON a poetry contest at the high school. For all grades, as a freshman, a 50 word poem contest, and she took the grand prize of the whole thing. Unreal. I mean, the grand prize was a $10 gift card but it's still an amazing accomplishment.

The State Fair came and went. This year we had the unreal luck of having huge traffic problems. It was so bad this year that both Saturday's we were able to charge people to park in our yard! 10 years at this house and that has never happened before.

That's a full yard
Also I finally finished installing these shelves in EG's room, and she got bangs, then green hair, now it's pink!
Cool floating shelves I built for her

Green hair with some old friends. We didn't know the boy had green hair too when we met up

EG is now pink haired
I also got to speak at Ella's school. The high school brings in STEM speakers periodically, and I volunteered to come talk tech, education, how I got into the IT industry, and how we do so much cool shit at the company I work for now. It was a blast!
me with Ella at the high school

So I really don't know how I'm going to get everything done, and it's pretty stressful. I have been running early in the mornings, but now it's in the 30's here and/or raining every morning so that's out. I'm going to come home some over lunch this week for woodworking. Mother Nature's worst joke is that the one time of year it's actually pleasant to be outside now, it gets dark at 5:30. I have to build these beds & stuff outside, built a new deck for it and everything. I'm going to try going to work early, building beds over lunch, leaving early, run as soon as I get home then woodwork until dark, then dinner and 4 hours of grad school. And that's every day until thanksgiving. I'm grateful for being busy, but this is getting hectic.

I'll leave you with some of the cool projects I've been building.

Those shelves laid out on the 8' x 12' deck I built just to assemble & finish furniture

The state fair

I ran by the state fair - this is always one of my favorite runs of the year

Got a visit from my good friend Alison as she walked over to the fair

This is a charcuterie board currently for sale in the Etsy shop

Bottom of the board. It's cherry & walnut

A twin over full size bunk bed

I made this cool table for the front porch from a slab of stump I cut off from my front yard

Super nice cherry box I made for a client's wedding present. The finger joints are a nice touch

Slides! Used a boat epoxy on the surface of the slides for 2 of the bunk beds

oh yeah, we had our anniversary! 21 years of marriage

This picture deserves its own post. I commissioned a local artist to draw Kelley as an anime superhero

Also built a trundle to go under EG's bed since we're going to have company this year for the holidays
crap I can't believe I didn't lead with "it's our 21st wedding anniversary" - you can tell I'm slipping.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

No Marathons

Well big surprise, it looks like I'm not going to get in any marathons this year. Getting old sucks. Since my first marathon in 2009, I've done at least one each year except for the injury-ridden 2017. Grad school takes up a shitload of time, and since I fell off of my roof back in June I really didn't have time to train much for these. The 2019 marathons were supposed to include the Boring Marathon in Boring, Oregon and the Dirt Circuit 12 hour just north of Knoxville, Tennessee. Not even trying to run anything local this year with all of the grad school and woodworking stuff going on, just knock out the fly-to and drive-to states and keep studying. I have logged a grand total of 18 miles in July, August, and September in training.

I still made the trip to Oregon anyway with Ella and my Mom so I'll picture dump about that. Still bailed on the Tennessee trip though. We flew to Oregon on a thursday, and the flight got in about 1 pm so we decided to do downtown then. Luckily, we found a Duck Store so I could get Kelley her hoodie and it was pretty easy to walk around downtown. We hit Voodoo doughnuts too, and Powell's City of Books. Downtown was actually pretty dirty and there was lots of homeless people, it was by far the least impressive part of the trip. We did get to have dinner with Amy Cissell that night at a wonderful brewery. Meeting her finally was amazing, we've been friends for over a decade.

Friday we went hiking east of Portland, saw all of the massive waterfalls and even went across the Columbia river to Washington State, just to say we were there. Went to the packet pickup anyway, I've paid for 2 registrations for this same race, I was getting the t-shirt anyway. Saturday we went to the coast. Oswald West state park was really cool, hiked past a mountain stream that leads to a cool cove beach, it was Ella's first time seeing the pacific ocean. Cannon Beach was the next town up, that was really fun. I would love to get a week there with friends. Then we finished the coast trip at Seaside, but it was just as tacky as Myrtle Beach. Very disappointing. The drive to the coast was a big surprise, we had to get through some serious mountains with beautiful forest.

Sunday was supposed to be race day, but it was supposed to rain. My choice became to walk for 7 hours in the rain or go to the zoo. If it wasn't supposed to rain all day I would have walked the marathon, but the weather and my already tired feet made the decision for me. After the zoo we drove through the suburbs some and found more ice cream. Portland is a really cool place if you can avoid downtown. It was in the high 90's the whole time in Raleigh, but temps were barely above 70* the whole time in the PNW. And it didn't feel like there was any humidity. So comfortable! We flew back on Monday and that was all.

Ella's first flight!

In the Phoenix airport. That is some serious sunshine

the grand canyon from the plane - first time I've seen it

The Duck Store!

I love U of Oregon football so this place was a dream

Voodoo Doughnuts!

Powell's City of Books!


Friday, looking over the Columbia River

That's a big tree!

And that's a 200 foot waterfall!

Ella is king of the rock

another quite large waterfall

Multnomah Falls is 620 feet of pure amazement

We hiked up to the bridge in the first Multnomah falls picture

Ready to throw Ella into the falls
Columbia river from the Washington side of that bridge

The Boring Brewery! Packet pickup for the marathon included a free beer

Ella's first time seeing the pacific ocean - it's back there

Now that's a big tree!

Oswald West State Park hike to the beach

All of our feet in the pacific ocean

It's a screw & brew!They put a beer garden inside of a hardware store in Cannon Beach. amazing

Ella in this tidal pool

I was the only guy on the beach without a shirt on

Mom got in the tidal pool too

Ice cream. yes.

Seaside. I think these people were all drunk.

Ella did not want to leave Seaside

At the zoo, she got into an eagle's nest

I got to pet a cougar (it's behind glass)

She rode a horse

and I got eaten by a lion

Then she got a german pancake as big as her head

flying home past Mount Hood
This really was a fantastic trip, even if I was bummed about not running the marathon. I wanted to meet friends, see the waterfalls, hike some trails, see the big trees, and hang at the coast. I got to see the cool side of the pacific northwest.