Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just Do It!

I feel like such a slacker lately. I have been super consumed with work and am having difficulty keeping up with my normal routine of things. I keep having Beth’s influence run through my head with “Shut up and…” run, blog, get living and stop complaining.

Enough of the excuses and I will try to get back to normal ASAP. Running has been going well and I am getting exited for my first ½ marathon in about 3 weeks. I am feeling good about the distance but concerned of my time. I know this is my first one and I should be more focused on completing this and getting it under my belt, but I would love to be close to the 2 hour mark. I guess I should just “ shut up” and focus on having fun and enjoying the race.

My wife and I went out this past Saturday for our long run. Unfortunately the weather was a little iffy. We had hoped to get 11 miles in, but it started raining after 8 ½ and I was concerned because I had my cell and mp3 that I did not want to ruin. It turns out it only was a drizzle, so we could have kept going, but my paranoia made us stop. On our way back, I broke my hydration belt and ended up carrying it for the last mile.

We have had so much rain here lately, my grass needed to be cut badly. I figured I would get the grass cut and go for a run last night. Unfortunately, my plans were foiled by a non-cooperative weed trimmer and blower. After sitting in the shed for a year, it took a little coaxing for everything to start up. After putting in new gas and taking 100 pulls to start, all the equipment was up and running, except for me. After all that I was a little tired and did not make my run. Now that I have that chore out of the way, I will be out there running tonight and the dog won’t get lost in the jungle of a back yard anymore.

To quote Andy Dufresne from one of my favorite movies, the Shaw Shank Redemption: I need to Get busy living, or get busy dying”.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A little Surprise Visit

I have been having trouble finding time to get all my stuff done lately. Work is getting a little hectic and thus requiring more of my time than ever. I feel so behind. Anyway, last week at poker, we did the inaugural beer tasting. We started with Mexico and the samplings ended up being Sol, Dos Equis Amber Ale, Modelo and Chili-Beer. The beer actually had a chili pepper in it. Someone got confused and brought Murphy’s Irish Stout, they thought we were doing beers from around the world and that Mexican beer was being covered . I even broke out a bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila I had been saving for a special occasion. Normally we have around 5 or 6 people show up, which is normally good enough for a game. We had a great turnout with 10 people for this night. The table only can hold 10 so we were pushing maximum capacity. You may say ten people, no big deal, but this is on a Thursday night and most had to work the next day. The thought of the tasting going on without me got the better of me and I was easily persuaded to postpone my blood test to another day. I know I ‘m weak, what can I say. All in all everyone had a good time. I think we may try to continue this once a month and see how it goes.

Well Friday morning I wasn’t feeling the best and actually felt guilty that I postponed my blood work for such a silly thing. Anyway I dragged my ass out of bed and mustered up enough strength to get dressed into my running gear. It was a beautiful day (sunny and 70’) and I had no excuses not to go. I stumbled walked out the door and commenced my run. I have to say it was a difficult 4 ½ miles, but I needed it. I was able to rid my body of any leftover toxins from the night before.

After school let out, my wife and I picked up our son and headed north to Wisconsin. We left early enough to avoid any traffic and were at our destination in no time at all. I unlocked the door, not knowing what to expect, since we hadn’t been there for 6 months. Everything appeared to be fine and we began to clean everything. I turned the water, gas and electricity on and my wife started to vacuum and wipe everything down. I filled the dog’s food and water bowl up and went on my way. We were outside for a while cleaning the yard up and went back inside and I noticed the dogs food was gone. This is unusual as my dog can go for three or four days before finishing the bowl. I thought she must have been hungry and filled it halfway this time. We proceeded to unpack and had everything put away and soon it was bedtime. I was awoken at 3:00 am to the sound of something eating. My dog was sleeping next to me in the bed, so it wasn’t her. I guess we had a mouse in the house. Gross! The mouse had stolen the food and hid it under the couch for later

The next morning, I had a run planned with my buddy and we hit the trails while my wife and son went to the store to get mouse traps. I did a nice five miler at 7:30 in the morning and when I got back my wife had just arrived before me with about 10 traps. She bought a brand of trap that you don’t see the mouse after it is caught. The trap has a sensor to tell you if it is full or empty. We put some peanut butter in one of the traps and set it. I loaded up the bikes and we went back to the trail and my son and I rode while my wife ran. Since this was a new trail to us, my wife was not so comfortable running on it by herself, so we accompanied her for her six miler.

When we returned home, I checked the trap the second I walked in and sure enough we got it. What a relief. I am not so keen on sleeping with a mouse in the house. We had to tell our son that mice can’t climb stairs and that he would be safe sleeping upstairs the night before. Thank goodness he is still young enough to believe that.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

3 Day Weekend

The weekend is starting early for me, I decided to take Friday off for a long weekend. The weather today in Chicago is what we have been waiting for all winter (60’s and sunny). As I went for a walk at lunch today, the masses were leaving their offices and doing the same as. As you can see in the photos, the sky is blue and the Chicago River is a lovely shade of green.

Running has been good so far this week.

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 5 miles

Wednesday - 4 miles

I plan on riding the bike tonight and running with my wife Friday morning. I also have a Saturday run scheduled with a friend of mine who is will also be running the Madison 1/2 marathon with me in May.

Tonight is poker night and we decided to do something a little different. We are going to be picking a country/region each week and doing a sampling of different beers from each area. I know Jamoosh from Das Mixture is always good for suggestions in this area. Each guy will bring a six pack of a different beer and we will have an eclectic sampling. Tonight’s inaugural run will be Mexico. I hope to stay away from more well known stuff and try to explore a more exotic sampling. Anyway, I think it will be fun. Unfortunately, I have to have a blood draw taken in the morning for cholesterol, blood sugar and all that good stuff, so I will not be participating tonight. However, I hope to participate next week with a vengeance.

This weekend we are opening up our summer place in Wisconsin. We have been away for 6 months and I am looking forward to finally getting back up there. The reason we are taking Friday off is so we can get up there and clean everything and make sure the place had not been inhabited by any animals over the winter. My run for Saturday will actually be in Wisconsin since my friend also has a place in the same area.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Recap

Friday night I met up with my old college professors, alums and a few graduate students that they bring to Chicago every year. It was nice to see some of them and reminisce about old times. For economists, they can sure throw the drinks back. In fact, I ended up staying at the hotel in the city Friday instead of making my way home to the burbs. Unfortunately, I missed the 10:30 train on Saturday and had to wait 2 hours for the 12:30. The train schedule is not so good on the weekends. But alas, I made it home around 2:00 Saturday. My wife was not all that pleased with me, as I did not make these arrangements in advance. However she knows the people I was with so it was not too bad.

Saturday evening, we had plans for dinner with another couple, I know from the train so we made arrangements for my son to stay at my sister’s for an adult night out. After dinner, we swung by my sister’s and picked up Dante. Before dinner, we hid his Easter basket and plastic eggs filled with money throughout the house so he could hunt for them in the morning. After the hunt ensued and everything was found, my wife & I headed out for a run. She had run on Saturday, unlike me, so she was only going for 4 or 5 miles. After 2 ¼ miles, she turned around for 4 ½ miles and I continued running, out of guilt. I also was trying to detoxify my body of all the things I consumed on Friday and Saturday. I ran for 9 miles and felt good afterwards. I had worn my new technical shirt from the Run thru the Hills race last weekend and so did every other runner outside Sunday morning. I kept having people run by and say “nice shirt”.

Today the weather is not so nice, cold and wet, so I may take a rest day or the dreaded treadmill. I haven’t had to use it in a while so I am sure it has cobwebs on it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Keeping Pace

Last night I went out for a nice 4.5 mile run. I was able to clear my head and came back feeling mentally refreshed. I went out on Tuesday for a 3 mile run by myself and went back to the house to meet my son for a run, We ended up going an additional 1.5 miles, however he was all over the map from a pace standpoint. I tried to set a pace for him, but anyone with kids can attest, parents are idiots and nine year olds know everything. I just kept quite and ran his erratic pace for the duration. Patience is not one of his virtues at this stage in life. I guess, I probably was the same way at his age.

Things have been a little crazy at work. I have basically been given a new job, with little or no direction on what is to be done, as well as oversee my old responsibilities being done by someone else. I am trying to figure this out as I go along, but am becoming mentally exhausted from it all. Thanks goodness for running to clear my head and keep me grounded.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Run thru the Hills

My wife (Terri) & 9 year old son (Dante) ran a 5k and I did a 10k this Sunday in the town we live in. It was cold (25-30 degrees) and overcast. It appears that spring weather is still quite unpredictable this early in the season. At least it was a little better condition that last weeks Shamrock Shuffle run. Terri and I ran 7 miles on Saturday and I wasn't sure if that was a mistake for me. This race is called Run thru the Hills for a reason. I ran the 5k last year and thought it was a tough course, but for some reason, thought I would challenge myself with the 10K. I figured it would be good training since I don't get enough hill work in anyways. Terri finished the 5k with a time of 27:20 and Dante with a time of 32:15. Dante managed to beat one of my poker buddies who decided to run this year. I finished the 10K with a time of 55:41, not my best, but considering the course conditions, I was pleased.

There was a pancake breakfast after the race at the Village Hall that we attended. We were sitting at a table eating when they started announcing the top finishers in each age group, when we heard them announce Terri's name. She couldn't believe it, but she took second place in her age group and won a medal. She placed 2nd out of 25 people. She still doesn't feel her time warranted a medal, but I am proud of her nonetheless. I am also proud of Dante for getting out there. He was one of two 9 year olds who ran, but was placed in the 19 and under age group.

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This was a pretty tough course for me. The second leg of the run was very challenging with large hills up and down. I ran with my neighbor's 23 year old son for most of the race, up into the last mile. I told him to go and not let me hold him back, with that he took off. I saw him in the distance but couldn't catch up to him.

All in all it was a nice day and I enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to travel very far for a race. I am looking at the lists to find the next race we can do together. I think my wife and son are on their way to becoming addicted to running as I have. Maybe some day I can win a medal, until then I will keep at it anyways.