Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Two men -- each of importance to this blog -- were born on this day, though there were 79 years between them.

Happy Birthday, Walt.



Happy Birthday, Craig.

Kristin, this picture is for you!
I know you love it.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Mine is shaping up to be full of fun, food, friends, and family.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm a big slacker

I can't believe I haven't posted in a month. It just keeps getting pushed aside...and now here I am with a full month of no posts. I'm not too proud of myself right now.

A lot of things have happened in the last month. Kristin and I have both been doing well with two short runs and one long run each week. I set a personal best with 70 miles last month. Our map now has us in Florida. We have just about 100 miles left to go. We should not have any problems reaching by the end of the month.

We both purchased new shoes a couple weeks ago. We went to Fleet Feet and they measured us up and we both ended up with Nike's. For both of us, it is our first departure from Asics for running shoes. I'm not quite used to them yet, but they have been doing well. These have more arch support than I am used to, and they hug my feet a bit more than the Asics did. But overall they are rather comfortable.

I went back to Boston a few weeks ago with three of my buddies...the "mancation." We stayed three nights downtown. It was a blast. We did two brewery tours -- Harpoon and Sam Adams. We did a historic pub crawl visiting Bell in Hand, Green Dragon, and a few others all near Faneuil Hall. Did a tour. Went to a Celtics game (they lost to the Nuggets! which is good for the Cavs). And found some good restaurants. I'm in love with Boston. I could do an annual trip there.

We've had some changes in our Disney travel plans, though nothing major. As we get closer to departure, I'll post some details. Hopefully all the other Team Voicers do the same so we'll all have an idea of where/when we might run into each other. I know some of us are down for just a couple days while others are staying 10+ nights.

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving went well and that you are having fun with all the holiday preparation and gift shopping. We got our outside decorations up last weekend and our tree and inside stuff done on Monday. Shopping, however, still has a lot left to be done.

Before I depart, I have a trivia question...
Whose birthday will we be celebrating on Friday? Think hard and post your answer in the comments. Be honest and don't change your answer if you see someone else has answered differently. I'll answer the question in a post on Friday. Until then, I bid you adieu.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Did you hear?

So I must ask you all to take a listen to The WDW Radio Show episode #91. Lou has a very special guest this week.

I did my long run for the week last night. I had planned to be at the recreation center by 8:00 and run 8 miles. Plans went awry...but not in a bad way. I didn't get out the door until 8:00. Then I ran my 8 miles and felt great, so I plussed the plan and did a 10 mile run. It took about 103 minutes. I am hoping to be under a 10 minute pace for the half marathon, and this was about 10:18. I was pacing rather slow (for me) from the start, though. I typically pace between 8:30 and 9:10 for most of my runs. But I was pacing between 9:40 and 10:00 for most laps in the first 8 miles. Miles 9 and 10 were better with most laps pacing under 9:30. I walked 6 of the 100 laps around the track during the course of the evening (which is how my average got pushed above 10 minutes). I actually considered trying to leg out a full 13.1 miles, but two things held me back. 1) It was already after 10:00 pm when I finished the 10 miles and 2) I don't want to overstress my body and hurt myself.

Overall I felt great. No leg pain, breathing was fine through the whole thing. I was, however, very stiff when I finished, and am still a bit stiff today. And I got chafed...bad. It has never happened to me before. My inner thighs and underarms are on fire. I wore the same clothing as normal. I have run several 8-9 miles runs and never had even slight chafing...so I don't know what made this 10 mile run so bad. Plan is to do a shorter run tomorrow, but I may push it back if the chafing hasn't healed some.

Kristin has been on a short break. Knee pain has kept her off the road for the past five or six days. I think she plans to get back out today and test it out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Georgia (and a trip update)

Hello Georgia. Sixty-five more miles and we are in Florida!

Thought I'd put up some of the details for our trip.

We arrive on Saturday, January 3, staying at Caribbean Beach for 11 nights. Plan for the first day is to stop at the Magic Kingdom and visit Splash Mountain. It goes into refurb on the 4th. Sunday morning is breakfast at Kona. Can't wait to try the Tonga Toast! The only other definite park plan we have for the first couple days is to see the Osbourne Lights -- last day is Sunday the 4th.

Tuesday is our anniversary, and we will be having dinner at Jiko. Thursday my friends Kyle and Carly are getting married at the wedding pavillion at noon, with reception to follow at the Grand Floridian. I think they were planning a bridal party get together after the reception, so we will probably be partying all day.

Friday is relax day. Likely do some resort hopping and just taking it easy. Also have packet pick up that day.

Saturday morning, up bright (um...dark???) and early for the race. We have a 2:50 reservation at Le Cellier for an early dinner. And later on we will be meeting up with Team Voice for Illuminations. Saturday we will be at the Team Voice Dole Whip gathering. Maybe we can do Dole Runners???

Monday we have Yak & Yeti ressies. Tuesday will be our last day in the parks. We fly home Wednesday.

Sixty-seven days and counting!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lonesome Ghosts

I just finished the October virtual race -- Disney's Lonesome Ghosts. My time 1:14:45 for a 13k run. It was a very rough race. I was tight through the whole thing, likely because I haven't run since last weekend, aside from frisbee last night. Kristin's work schedule prevents her from running today. She'll put a time up early next week.

I was in New Orleans for work this past week. I've never been there before. It was a lot of fun. There was tons to do in the evening (dining, Bourbon St., music, casino), so I kept staying out late and then didn't have the motivation to get up early to run. Monday night was watching the Browns stick it to the Giants on Monday Night Football, followed by the casino. Tuesday was dinner on Bourbon St. then just wandering around the tourist shops and poking our head in some bars. Wednesday was dinner at Emeril's then out to a bar with a 70's and 80's band playing.

So now I've got to make up my miles this weekend. Having the 13k scheduled this weekend worked out well since I needed to get a long run in anyway. Four more miles left tomorrow, and I will have reached my goal for the week.

Where we are at now, we need to finish out the year with Kristin averaging about 13 miles per week and myself averaging about 14 miles per week. That will get us to our goal of Running to Disney!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Three Months Left

So we are down to three months of training left before the race. Kristin and I are less than one mile away from 700 total. Our hotel and airfare are booked. And I am getting excited for the trip.

I just got back from Cincinnati today. I had to go down for work. It turned out that Sarah Palin was at our hotel. We caught a quick glimpse of her last night as she exited to get on the campaign bus. It is the first time I have randomly seen a celebrity. The place was crawling with secret service guys with their little earbuds. And I've never seen so many police and state troopers in a single block.

I leave Monday to go to New Orleans (another work trip), and I will be back late Thursday night. So it looks like more treadmill miles next week. The last time I was on a treadmill was back in April and it killed my knee. I did it today and yesterday without issue, though. Hopefully nothing springs up next week.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Akron Marathon

Yesterday was the Akron Marathon. Kristin ran on a 5 person relay team. She had the finishing 12.2k leg. She finished her leg in 1:28:54. The team time was 4:36:39.

I must give a shoutout to a couple other friends. My buddy Flash (yes that is his real name...one of his three middle names) finished the marathon in 4:53:15. It was his first marathon. His girlfriend Kelly, who will be running the full marathon at Disney World in January, finished the half in 2:00:16. There were also at least three teams from Smucker's that ran, but I don't know their team names and can't look up their times. Great job goes out to all the runners!

Today was Kristin's rest day. I went out planning for a nine mile run. I ended up at 7.5 miles. I had some pain in my left shin that wouldn't go away, so I stopped a bit short. I'll be icing it as soon as dinner is done.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sore

I typed up my last post right after running my longest run ever - 15k. As soon as I stood up, I realized that I had blisters on the arches of both my feet. I was fatigued the rest of the day, but not too bad.

I got a call that evening about an ultimate frisbee tournament at the university on Sunday, and I had to join. We got the best players from our Friday game for our team, and named ourselves The Elderly 7. Most of us were in the 25-30 year old range, and we were playing against a bunch of college kids. Needless to say, most of our opponents were in better shape than us. But we held our own and got third place out of six teams. Not too shabby.

After frisbee, it was off to the bar to watch the Browns game. The Steelers were playing at the same time, but were not televised in the area, so there ended up being more Steelers fans at the bar than Browns fans so that they could watch their game on satellite. Browns got blown out, but it was still fun: the Steelers lost!

My legs were screaming at me on Monday for running Sunday after the long one Saturday. I took it easy yesterday, but had to run tonight because I will be in Cincinnati the next to days and likely won't have time to run. Today's run didn't go so well. My calf muscles have never been so tight. They never loosened up through the 4.5 miles. Oh well...two days of rest ahead. It is definitely needed.

I'll be up bright and early tomorrow. Wheels up on the jet at 6:30...so I'll probably leave home around 5:45. The forecast calls for two long days of meetings, learning about Folger's current business processes so we can begin to develop plans to get them up on our processes and systems.

My next update likely won't be until the weekend. At that time, we'll have results of Kristin's relay team.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Michigan Apple Fun Run

Today was the Michigan Apple Fun Run virtual race organized by Deb from Michigan. I ran the 15k, and Kristin opted for the non-advertised 12k course.

I finished my run at 1:29:51. Kristin ran hers in 1:17:00.

She chose 12k because it is about the distance she will be running next Saturday in the Akron Marathon relay. The relay is a five person team - two 5k, two 10k, and one 12.5k. She was chosen by her team for the long leg since she was the most experienced runner.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quick Update

Kristin has done great with miles so far this month. It is the 18th, and she is past 30. She will most likely set a personal best.

We both ran tonight, and we were stopped by the dark. My run was the best I've had lately as far as stamina, breathing, and just plain feeling good. Had darkness not set in, I probably would have gone another mile or two beyond the five I had planned.

Michigan Apple Fun Run is this Saturday. I plan to attempt the 15k. I've never gone past 7 miles, so I don't know if I'll be able to run the whole thing. But I will go as far as I can. I believe Kristin plans to do the 10k.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Race for the Cure

Kristin and I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure today. It was not great weather for a race, but we made it through. It was pouring on the drive up to Cleveland, and there was a steady sprinkle/rain the whole time pre-, during-, and post-race. The course was largely the same as last year, but they modified it slightly and made the end even worse than last year. Last year, the last couple tenths were a fairly steep uphill. This year, they routed it so that you had an even steeper uphill just before the one we had last year. I think it was almost a full half-mile of uphill to end the race. The one thing better this year is that they had a water stop half way through. But still no mile markers or people yelling times.

For the most part it went well. I had a bit less stamina than normal, but I think I paced a touch too fast at the start. I typically start fast to get past the crowd, then get into my pace. I think I took longer than normal before settling in to a steady run today. I was able to maintain a decent pace for the rest of the race, but it took a lot of mental toughness to keep going. At about two miles, I really wanted to take a quick walk break...but I didn't give in. With less than a mile left, I had to stop to tie my shoe. Makes me mad, because I could have come in under 26 minutes had I not done that...instead, I finished at 26:01.

Kristin said she was not feeling well through the whole race. She went and immediately sat down when she was done, which is not characteristic of her...especially since she had some friends waiting toward the finish line that she wanted to go meet. She crossed the finish right at 36 minutes.

Last year was cold; this year was rain. We'll have to wait and see what Race for the Cure has in store for us next year.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On the road again

Running recommenced on Friday at ultimate frisbee. I ran about 3/4 mile before the game and it felt really good. Then frisbee for about 2 hours. I felt great through most of it. There was some stiffness in my right hip, but never any pain or anything that slowed me down.

I ran three miles yesterday. Overall the run went well. It was obvious, however, that I had lost some of my stamina during my two week hiatus. I had more stiffness in the right hip during and after the run. As of this point, it is nothing I would consider pain but I'm definitely concerned that there is a hitch in the hip that was causing problems before. We'll ride it out for a few more runs and see if it stays or goes. At this point, I'm a bit concerned that this will turn back into pain and I'll be visiting the doctor soon. We'll just have to wait and see.

We are scheduled for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5k in Cleveland this Saturday. It was a great event last year, and should be again this year. Assuming we can avoid rain, the weather should be great for a race.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bring in the third string...

I am currently out of commission. I have been complaining of pain since late July and it got worse last week. I could usually run through it, but my stride would be totally off and the stiffness and pain wouldn't ease until about two miles into my runs.

Two clues it wasn't just something little... 1) I was limping while walking and didn't realize it. Two people at work noticed and asked about it, which is how I found out. 2) I quit half way through ultimate frisbee last Friday. I wasn't willing to run for a game that I love to play.

Kristin and I had a chat about this Saturday and determined I need to see a doctor. My thought, though, is that I don't want to go the doctor route until I have properly tried to rest it. So I have decided to take two weeks off. I took off one when this pain first started, and it obviously wasn't enough. So I'm taking two, and if there is any pain at all when I try to start back up then I am going to the doctor.

This is totally going to throw off my mileage. I am going to be struggling to hit my mileage goal for the year after this hiatus. It will be a steeper hill to climb, but definitely not impossible. If I can stay healthy, then I can do it. I will just have to work harder than I thought I would.

To make matters worse, Kristin was out on a run Friday and ended at the frisbee field. By this time, I was already sitting out, so we stayed and watched everyone finish their games. We started to walk home afterwards, but a friend that was meeting us at our house drove by. So I hopped in the car, and Kristin elected to run the rest of the way home. Just before she got home, she ended up stepping on a rock that was in the middle of the road and she slipped and hit the pavement. She hurt her foot in the process.

She was limping around that day and for the next couple days, but decided not to go to the doctor. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I would diagnose her as having a mild sprain.

She wanted to try a run on Tuesday, and she did well. But her foot was hurting worse on Wednesday. I'm not sure at this point what her plans are to rest it further. I haven't updated our mileage on the site recently, but when I put it up you will see that she has been doing great lately. I hope her injury doesn't slow her down too far.

We are both signed up for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k in Cleveland on September 13. And Kristin is signed up for the 12.5k leg of the Akron Marathon relay on September 27.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Plan

The burn is getting better. There is still a bit of pain at times, but it never got as bad as I had expected. After Sunday's post, I realized that even the tops of my feet were burnt. The only other time this happened was at Nassau when I was on a Disney Cruise. Too bad I wasn't in the Bahamas this past weekend. That would have been much more fun than swimming in Ohio.

I devised a plan to get to 60 miles this month. I needed about 34 miles and I had between Aug 19 and Aug 31 to complete them. This is more than I have ever run in this short a time frame, and I figured it would be less stress on my body to keep the runs shorter and throw in a couple extras than to just make all of my runs longer. I realize I should be increasing mileage, but to meet my goal this month, I am going to hold mileage increases for September.

I have 13 days available, two of which I know I won't "run" because we'll be playing ultimate frisbee. That game is constant sprints mostly ranging from 10-30 yards. I usually credit myself with 1-1.5 miles for a full evening of play (I won't bore you with that calculation unless someone asks) plus the .5 mile round trip run to the field. So let's say that ends up being three miles for the two nights. That leaves me needing 31 miles in 11 days.

The rest of the plan involves eight 4-mile runs and three days of rest. It is a busier schedule than I am accustomed to with only three rest days mixed with 10 running days, but it's what I need to do. Also, if I mess up somewhere, I can always make one of the runs longer.

The plan was to start last night, but that didn't go to plan (I know what you're thinking...but don't worry). We got our last delivery of dirt, so we spent about two hours after dinner shoveling and moving four yards of top soil. It was nearly dark when we finished and I was very tired from the work. I was ready to get in for the night, but decided that I could manage a short run. So I went out for a quick 1.5 mile spin around the block.

I think rather than losing a rest day, I will just up some of my runs to 4.5 miles to make up for the couple miles I missed last night. So with that in mind, I've still got three days I can rest until the end of the month. Tonight will not be one of them.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If it isn't one thing...

I'm still on my goal of reaching 60 miles this month, but it's not going well. I feel like I'm entering excuse mode, but I'm trying to avoid it. I got through the major leg pain, though I am still having minor problems with pain. Mostly better, though, and usually eases after I get warmed up.

I ran 14.7 miles through the 9th, so I would need to average just over 15 miles per week for the balance of the month to meet my goal. This week started good. The plan was runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Tuesday's run went well. I planned 6 miles, but went off of my regular courses. I realized that I ended up at 5.65 after I got home and mapped my path. Thursday's run didn't happen. I had a buddy over helping set up for a party this weekend...and long story short he needed someone to talk to. Not wanting to kick him out, he ended up not leaving until it was nearly my bed time. So no run. I couldn't make up the miles Friday because of existing plans right after work that didn't get me home until about 11:00.

Saturday, I ran as long as I could given what still needed to be done with the party. 4.5 miles. Not too bad. That left me needing about five miles for the week. The plan was to just throw in the extra run today.

After we cleaned up from the party this morning, we went swimming. I had promised Kristin about a month ago that I would take her swimming one weekend, and this is the one that worked out. We spent about three hours at a local watering hole. I burn easy, so I sunscreened twice. But after I got home, it was obvious that we missed a couple spots. First was the back of my arms. My back and shoulders are fine, but the tricep area is burnt. And my legs are burnt for about six inches above my knee caps. I didn't put sunscreen there as it is covered by the swim shorts, but when we were sitting out of the water, apparently the shorts pulled up a bit and exposed that skin.

I tried to run today, but the sunburn is killing me. I was fine to start, but the further I got, the more the clothes rubbing on the burnt skin was causing the pain to intensify. I just couldn't go any further. This may have been a willpower issue that I could have worked through, but all I kept thinking was how this was probably just going to make things hurt worse tomorrow.

So now here I am needing to average about 17 miles each week through the end of the month. I don't plan to run again until Tuesday. Hopefully at that point the sunburn pain is manageable during a run. If not, then I will cancel my golf plans for Wednesday and get a good run in then. I missed my mileage goal last month, I really don't want that to happen again this month.

Kristin is out running as we speak. She said her plans were for six miles. I wish her well. It is insanely humid out compared to what we have had the past few weeks.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cornfest!

Jeff from the Snowy Tundra had the brilliant idea of having a virtual race today, Cornfest...both 5k and 10k distances. I celebrated the event by signing up for the Green YMCA Caribbean 10k. This was my first 10k and I am glad to say that I did a bit better than I expected.

The course was mostly flat. It was a 2.5k out and back track. The 5k racers ran it once, and the 10k racers did it twice. My only complaint about the whole thing is that they didn't do a good job of yelling times through the course. The only time I heard was at mile 1 -- 8:32.

I did a great job pacing myself from the start. I ran past the 5k finish line at about 26:30. After that, I thought I felt myself slowing down. At approx mile 4 and mile 5 I slowed to a walk for about 30 seconds as I grabbed water, but that was the only slow down I had. Final time: 53:37 -- a pace of 8:38 per mile.

I was hoping for under an hour, and expected my final time to be closer to 56 minutes based on my time for the first half and that I thought my pace was slowing. I feel great knowing that I was able to maintain a very steady pace through the whole race.

Weather was great. It was in the upper 60s at race time with partly cloudy skies. The course was almost completely flat. I heard someone say that they didn't like the course because you went through the same scenery four times. I think it helped for pacing. Mile 1 was marked, and then on the second time through the course, mile 5 had been marked. In the few races I have been in, it has been rare to see mile markers. So knowing where that single marker was on the first lap and then being familiar with the course really helped you to know approximately how far you were at any point in time.

I have been having leg issues the last couple weeks. I am mostly better, but still have some pain in my hip. I was dying to play ultimate frisbee last night since I didn't play last week and won't be able to next week. But I erred on the side of caution and only played three games...we normally play 8-10. My hip was hurting when I finished playing, so I was worried about today, but it felt great through the whole race.

Also, with my run today, we are past 500 miles on the year, into South Carolina, and only a couple miles away from the half-way point to WDW!

Congratulations to everyone who has finished Cornfest, and good luck to those of you still waiting for your time to start.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Better...

But not great.

My leg is much better now, though I do have some stiffness/mild pain in my hip while I run. It was not as bad yesterday as it had been on Sunday. I think I am going to sign up for a 10k for this Saturday.

Painting is moving along. The den is done. We need one more coat in the dining room. The hallway still isn't started, but it won't be nearly as big of a project.

Kristin has put in two 6 mile runs so far this week. She is off to a great start to the month. My goal this month is 60 miles. I plan a short run tomorrow if I finish painting in time and then the 10k on Saturday. That will put me at 15 miles in nine days...which is a 50 mile pace for the month. I'll need to make sure I get at least one long run in per week moving forward. And hope that my leg doesn't act up again.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Timeline of the last week...
Sunday: 4 mile run. Felt great.
Monday: General pain/soreness in my right leg from my hip to my calf. Definitely different from the left joint pain I had had in the past.
Tuesday: Blog post complaining about pain, though it wasn't as bad as Monday. Tried to run, but I was hobbling after only going about two blocks. I stopped to stretch some more, then picked it back up. The pain just got worse. I ended with only 2/3 of a mile for the day.
Wednesday: Limping all day. Very bad pain.
Thursday: Still a decent amount of pain; limping gone.
Friday: Just a bit of tightness.
Saturday: Leg felt great.
Sunday: Leg felt great. Ran 2.9 miles. Leg feels good in general, though a lot of tightness in that hip and in my lower back on that side. We'll see how tomorrow feels.

I'm tired of my body playing games with me. It makes me feel old.

On the home front, we've started painting. We are doing our den, dining room, and a hallway. I've never done actual painting like this before. It amazed me how long all the prep work took...moving things out, taking everything off the walls, taping, etc. We did the prep and bought paint yesterday. Today we worked on the den. Two coats on the ceiling, the primer, and we got as far as doing trim work with the paint. We couldn't devote all day because Kristin had a bridal shower to go to and I had to do some office work at home in order to meet deadlines we have at right now at Smucker's. It has been terribly busy at work, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The old days are new again

My body has been playing games with me lately. I feel like I have been transported to last summer when we just started running after years of sitting around on our butts. It seems lately that every time I run I am very sore for at least one day after, if not two. It doesn't matter how far I run, and I always make sure to stretch. It started about three weeks ago. I was hoping it was just a bit of fatigue and that it would pass.

But here were are now with the same problem. I ran four miles on Sunday, and I still have some soreness in my right thigh today. Every time I stand up, it takes a couple steps before I can find a comfortable stride. It is not soreness in the same spot every time which doesn't lead me to believe that something specific is wrong. It seems like general muscle fatigue.

Oh well...better than the terrible pain I was having in my knee.

I am a bit behind where I wanted to be this month. I wanted to finish over 50 miles for the month, but I will need two good runs today and Thursday in order to pull that off. I am at just under 40 now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Did you play?

We are back from Magic Meets and back to the grind with work...well, almost. The meet was great. I met everyone I had hoped, plus many more great people. I will post some more details later when I can get to the pictures (my camera battery is dead).

Did anyone play the Adventureland Challenge over at WDW radio? I logged on to play right at 8:00 on Monday, but the web servers couldn't handle the load they were getting. It was after 10:30 before I could get the pages to load in order to answer all the questions. I submitted at about 10:45.

We are headed to Cedar Point tomorrow...taking my niece and nephew for their birthdays. Weather looks great. I'm excited to go back.

I ran yesterday and today. I haven't done two in a row in a while. My legs were incredible tight. I just couldn't keep them moving. It was a rough three miles. Kristin is still out on the streets somewhere.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dream Team Update

Just a quick update from Magic Meets. The Disney World Trivia Dream Team raised $20,000 today. Approximately $13,000 from the auction, $3,000 from Mousefan Travel (who had been collecting part of their profits for two months), and $3,000 in total from various other sources such as a WDW Today collecting donations online during the meet today. Totals came in at over $19,000 and Lou put the rest in out of his own pocket to make it an even $20,000.

Seeing everyone in tears over the donations does help that motivation thing I was talking about yesterday...

Friday, July 18, 2008

I ain't got no...

MOTIVATION!

Where has motivation gone? Lately I have become very lax with everything...updating blogs, remembering birthdays, RUNNING!?!?!?

I'm not sure what's going on. Part of it I think is that I haven't been able to sleep well the last few weeks. I either get busy with something and don't go to bed on time or I go to bed on time then lay there for hours (sometimes more than three) trying to fall asleep. So I've been dragging lately. I just crashed last night while practicing piano. I literally just quit mid-song and put my head down on the keyboard.

Blogging...As you've noticed, this site hasn't been updated much lately. I haven't really done anything except for a couple a Boston posts in the last three weeks. Earning My Ears is at a standstill. I don't quite like what I've done with it, so I am on a hiatus as I try to figure out how to change the direction into something that I can write more naturally about. I just can't seem to find a comfortable voice with the posts I've done so far.

Birthdays...I have three friends that have July 16 birthdays. I never even gave it a thought that day. I even exchanged e-mails with one of them. Then early on the 17th it hit me, and I made three apologetic calls that day.

Running...Other than July 4, I haven't had any motivation. That day I did six miles, was feeling great and planned to run further, but didn't have time before our family picnic. I was already running late. Since then, I have had to really push myself to get out. And while I'm out, I have to push hard not to take a bunch of walk breaks. We are going away this weekend, and most likely won't be running. So by the time we get back, I will be about 10 miles short for the first three weeks of the month. I need at least 12 miles per week for the rest of the year in order to meet our goal, and I am only at 26 miles so far in July.

We leave tonight for Magic Meets. We were going to go the appetizer party this evening, but someone volunteered Kristin for a committee at work that had a mandatory meeting today. So we can't leave until after she gets off at 4:00, and it is a five hour drive. So hopefully we'll make it by 10:00. Maybe some of the guys will be down in the bar so we can at least hang out a bit tonight. Saturday is the main meet, then Sunday is Hershey Park day. Weather is calling for 96 degrees on Saturday and 93 on Sunday. It looks like we'll have Orlando weather in PA. We plan to drive home on Monday.

We've never been to Hershey, so I am looking forward to it. I really enjoy going to new amusement parks. I'll update when we get back.

And to Jeff and family, our thoughts are with you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Boston: Days 3 & 4

Our goal Monday was to see the small portion of the Freedom Trail that we had missed the day before, see Newbury Street, and watch the Red Sox game.

We started off with the Freedom Trail, visiting the old city hall, King's Chapel, and the burial ground next door. Again, I was amazed by the old cemetery. This one was a bit more eerie as there were several trees that kept the most of the grounds in shade.



Next we headed for Newbury Street, which is Boston's version of Fifth Avenue. There were tons of boutiques and big name-brand stores. We always like walking around these areas, but never seem to find our way into the Armani or Saks Fifth Avenue stores. We always just feel out of place.

Lunch was at a restaurant called Uno. It is a small chain that was founded in Chicago. It was kind of like a TGI Fridays. But it didn't seem quite as commercial.

We spent part of the afternoon back at the hotel to relax, then headed to Fenway. We stopped at a bar and grille called Cask n Flagon. It was directly across from the stadium. We arrived nearly three hours before the game and the place was packed. Kristin had the chili which was awesome, and I had a swordfish sandwich. It was great food for the type of restaurant.

After dinner, we walked a lap around Fenway, then headed in. The only other old stadium I have been in is Yankee stadium. This one felt much, much older than Yankee, but by no means did that take away from the charm. When we got out into the stands, it felt very intimate...much smaller than it really is.

The Diamondbacks were in town. The matchup was Josh Beckett vs. Dan Haren. The game was actually a bit boring for being there in person. I don't mind watching a pitchers duel on TV, but in person I like a lot of action. There were only three hits through the first six innings. Final score was 2-1, Arizona. There were no double plays, no home runs, no big break-out hits. There were a couple good defensive plays though -- a quick-reflex catch of a liner by third-baseman Mike Lowell and a diving, full lay-out catch of a Coco Crisp bunt by one of the Diamondback pitchers. (Honestly, who names their kid Coco Crisp??? Actually, Cleveland sports at one time had Coco Crisp, Milton Bradley, and Ben Gay. Talk about free advertising during the games!)

If you click the first picture, you can see that I marked the approximate location of our seats in right field with red. The second picture is the view we had during the game.



Tuesday was our last day. We got up and checked out of the hotel. Then headed out to the Samuel Adams plant for a tour. It was interesting, but not what I expected. I work for a food manufacturer, so I was anxious to see their brewing and bottling facilities. But the tour simply took us to an area where they had smaller equipment set up to run small batches to test recipes. We did get to learn about the whole brewing process and history of the company, so it was enjoyable. It also included a tasting (at 10:30 in the morning) of Boston Lager, Boston Ale, and Summer Ale. You can't beat free beer!


We headed back into town, then went to a little Chilean sandwich shop called Chacarero. I had discovered this place when I was in Boston a few years ago for work. The sandwich has steak and/or chicken, green beans, cheese, tomato, avocado spread, and a spicy sauce on a round loaf bun. They are very different than anything you can get in my neck of the woods. We then stopped at the Omni Parker House hotel for some Boston Cream Pie for dessert. One of the Parker House's claims to fame is that it invented the Boston Cream Pie. I must say that they do a fine job with it.

Next, we headed back to Fanuil Hall as we had never had a chance to walk through the shops there. When we were finished, we realized that we still had a few hours to kill. So we made the trek back across the river and up to the Bunker Hill Monument. The 294-step climb to the top was not too difficult, but it was terribly hot and humid inside. When we reached the top, the six or so people already up there were dripping with sweat just as we were. But the view from the top was a fabulous panorama of the Boston and some of the small towns north of the city. It was well worth the effort.




After making our way back down, we walked back across the river and into Little Italy, where we stopped again at Mike's Pastry. This time we shared a cannoli.

Sadly, that was the last highlight of the trip. We finished our pastry as we walked back to the hotel to retrieve our luggage and head home.

I must say that I love Boston. There is so much to see and do, so much history, and overall a very friendly crowd. We could have easily slowed down our pace and stayed at least one, if not two, more days. There was still a lot to see. I would definitely like to go back occasionally for weekend trips.

The only city I've been to that is as big or bigger would be New York, so I constantly found myself comparing the two. Both are rich with history. But Boston seems to embrace the history and use it as definition of the city, whereas in New York they seem to just acknowledge the history but look more toward the present and future. Both are pedestrian cities, but Bostonians are much more friendly to pedestrians that are New Yorkers. Boston also does not feel like it has as much hustle and bustle, nor as much crime, as New York. In New York, around every corner is a Duane Reade drug store. In Boston, it is Dunkin' Donuts. I like both cities for different reasons, but I'm not sure which I prefer. I can say, however, that if the Broadway theater district were in Boston rather than New York, then I would have no problem declaring Boston as a favorite.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Boston: Day 2

We started off Sunday with a Freedom Trail tour. There were two main options. One was the guides that dress up like people from the revolutionary time period and lead you around a big chunk of the trail ($12 per person). The second was the national park service which offered free tours of nearly the same pieces of the Freedom Trail for free (OK...they asked for a small donation, but it wasn't required).

Ranger Smith was our guide. It was obvious that he was passionate about the history of the city and the role it and its people played in the birth of our nation. He led us around Fanuil Hall, the Old State House, the Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere's House, the Old North Church (one if by land, two if by sea), and several other sites. He was a great guide. Very informative. I would recommend this tour.

Ranger Smith



Fanuil Hall (and Samuel Adams)



Paul Revere's House



The tour ended in Little Italy, so we stopped at a local restaurant and had lunch. We split lobster ravioli and a chicken panini sandwich. Very good eats. Then we stopped by the famous Mike's Pastry for dessert. So many choices, but we ended up with the Tiramisu.



The tour just took us by Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church. So went back and toured the house, then walked up to the church and strolled inside. Then up Copp's hill to the burial ground. Markers in the cemetery went back into the 1600s. It was amazing how well all the stones were preserved.

Old North Church



Headstone at Copp's Hill



Storm clouds started to roll in, but we trekked on. Across the Charles River to visit the USS Constitution, or "Old Ironsides." This ship is the oldest commissioned war ship that is still afloat and seaworthy. It was built in the late 1700s and won many battles. It was a true treasure touring the ship and hearing about what naval life was like 200 years ago. It was full of cannons and the lower deck ceilings were so low that you had to bend over while you walked.





Our next stop was the Bunker Hill Monument. But just as we arrived, the thunder and lightening started, so the monument was closed and we were unable to climb the 294 steps to the top. We caught the T back into town. At that point it had stopped storming, so we walked through Boston Common, then to a little restaurant called Fajitas & Ritas. Kristin had fajitas, and I the BBQ beef brisket. The food was fabulous, as were the raspberry and papaya margaritas.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Boston: Day 1

We left for Boston on Saturday morning, June 21. After checking in to our hotel, the Intercontinental Boston, we immediately headed towards Chinatown to catch some lunch. We landed at the Grand Chau Chow restaurant. They saw two white folk walk in, and made it a point to bring forks out, even though we hadn't asked and chopsticks were already on the table. Mere hours into our trip and we were already be racially profiled. Thankfully that was a trend that didn't continue.

Our hotel: Intercontinental Boston

A statue in Chinatown

After some lo-mein and a chicken hot pot, we hopped on to the Old Town Trolley for a tour of the city. The trolleys went all over the city -- historic sites, shopping district, Fenway area. The drivers were all friendly and had a lot of great history tidbits. You could hop off and on the trolleys at any stop to do some further sightseeing. We did this once, to see the Christian Science church (sadly no Tom Cruise on that day). We then discovered that they were swamped that day and it was near impossible to get back on another trolly -- they were all full when they came to the stop. So when we finally got on one, we just finished the tour loop. We knew we'd get to see all the other stuff later in the trip anyway.

The Christian Science church

Our next stop was the Old State House Museum. This had some great history about Boston in general, but also of the various political leaders before the revolution and after. On our way beck to the hotel, we say a movie shoot going on. Apparently it was for a new Bruce Willis film called The Surrogates.

Filming The Surrogates

Dinner on Saturday was split between the sushi restaurant at our hotel (where Kristin had her first raw sushi ever) and Durgin Park, a seafood restaurant at Fanuil Hall. We split fish and chips and a bowl of clam chowder. I've never had fried fish that tasted so good and fresh. I didn't know it was possible for it to taste that way.

Outside the hotel after sushi

That evening we took a bus to MIT then walked from there to Harvard. It was a much longer walk than we had expected. By the time we made it to Harvard Square, everything was closing. But we did take some time to walk around the campus and quickly into a couple of shops.

John Harvard Statue

Sunday, June 29, 2008

North Carolina!

We are home from our trip and right back to forgetting to blog. OK, OK. I didn't forget. Things have just been hectic since we returned...but I won't bore you with the details.

Our trip was a blast. I will do a trip report in a few days with some pictures of the things we did.

We have officially exited Virginia, and we are now in NC. Running this week has not been that great due to the excessive business I referred to earlier. We also didn't have time to run in Boston...but we definitely burned a lot of calories with all the walking we did and the 294 step climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument. I wish we'd have had one more day there to get in everything we wanted to do.

I've had some knee problems since the last day of Boston. It was starting to act up, and then the big stair climb was the end of it. That slowed me down for the rest of the day. I also had some pain after my run yesterday. I am really beginning to worry about the race in January. We will be at Disney World a full week before the race, and we all know how much walking goes on there. The last two big mileage walking outings I have done (Cedar Point and Boston) have taken a toll on my knee. I'm afraid to see what a week at Disney will do. We are planning a slow day on Friday before the race...maybe do a tour that day. And Thursday is wedding day, so there won't be much going walking then. So hopefully having two low mileage walking days before the race will help. But I'm still worried.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Update

It hit me when I went to bed last night that I forgot to mention something in my last post. While I set a personal best 12.4 miles in four days, Kristin actually put in 11 miles in three days earlier this week. I figured I had better throw that out there before she overlooked my omission. :) It won't be long before we leave Virginia!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Park the Car in Harvard Yard


This will be my last post for about a week. Tomorrow is booked with work, packing, and a cookout at a coworker's house who will be moving to Michigan. Then off to Boston Saturday morning, returning Tuesday night.

I've run 12.4 miles in four days. That is definitely a new record for me. My body was not enjoying the run too much tonight. But I got through it. The knee is still a little sore, but is better than it was earlier in the week.

See you all later. I'll tell my buddy Samuel Adams that y'all said hi.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home for a few days

This past weekend was great. The weather was really good for an amusement park visit. It was upper-70s and mostly sunny. Cedar point had the shortest lines I can remember for a Saturday in the summer. We waited an hour four two rides. Everything else was 45 minutes or less. It was a low-stress day with lots of rides. We hit all of the major coasters, a few smaller rides, ate two meals, and left before the park closed. We had a suite at a nearby hotel for Friday and Saturday nights, so we went and hopped in the hot tub after the long day. That was so much better than our normal day: leave home at 7:30, arrive at 9:30, gates open at 10:00, rides until 11:00 or later, then two hour drive home. We may have to do the hotel thing again next time.

Back to the street today for another run. It went really, really well today. The weather was great in the mid-60s...the best running weather I've seen in a couple weeks. 5.2 miles in 45 minutes. No walk breaks. It is the longest run I've ever done without any breaks. The only problem is my knee was hurting. I noticed some tightness after being on my feet all day Saturday. Not terrible pain today, but noticeable especially since the knee has been perfect for a few weeks now. Kristin did a 3-miler today.

We leave for Boston on Saturday, returning on Tuesday. I'm hoping we can get at least one run in while we are out there. We've got tickets to the Red Sox Monday night. They play the Diamondbacks. I'm not really sure what else we will be doing. But I'm sure it will be fun.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quick Update

We are off to Cedar Point this weekend. Tomorrow is my company picnic there, and we got a suite with some friends for Friday and Saturday nights. It should be a good time. This park is by far the best amusement park I have ever been to. There are two sections in the back where they attempted theming, but it really isn't all that great. There is an old fort area, and a western area. But the roller coasters are great. Many of my favorites are in this one park. Weather looks great for the park tomorrow -- mid-70s with mostly sunny skies.

My planned run last night was pushed of to today. My friend had asked for help with a good old-fashioned barn raising. He had torn down his old garage and used sections of the sides (with the siding shingles still attached) to build a smaller shed. We got the sides up last night, but the roof still needs to go on. It was a clever way to recycle the old wood.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 9, 2008

FUNdraising

I got into poker back in 2003...just before it took off. At the time I had trouble getting a group of six people together for a game. But then it hit television and everyone was playing. In 2005/2006 our monthly game was averaging about 16 people, and several times we were in the 20s. Now it has settled back down, and my usual poker nights run about 10-12 people.

This past Saturday, we did a fundraising event. We ended up with 12 players, and played a $10 game with one rebuy allowed. Half the pot went into our Dream Team collection. We also sold several raffle tickets and gave away a couple Papa John's gift certificates. Total money raised: $109 dollars. We put the fun in fundraising! (I know, I know...that was really bad.)

Friday's frisbee game was insane. It was in the high 80s when the game started at 6:30 and was well into the 80s still when we quit just before 9:00. What a workout. I was through a full bottle of water in the first half hour. Saturday was rest, and then Sunday I just couldn't bring myself to go out in the heat and humidity. So I put off my run until today. It was in the low 80s with about 65% humidity when I got back from my 3-miler at about 9:00. I was just under half an hour to stretch, run half way, stretch again, then run the rest. Not too bad.

I ran my normal 3-mile course, but I did it backwards. It seemed to go really fast since it was a "new" course. No anticipation that you get with the familiar courses. The downside... When I mapped this course I wasn't thinking about elevation, but the first time I ran it I realized there was a steep uphill about half-way through then a lot of downhill after that. Running the course backwards, there is a lot of slow, steady inclines in the first half, then the steep decline, then flat. I'm not used to early hills, so it was quite the workout today. I will put in a longer run on Wednesday or Thursday, and another shorter run Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Welcome to Virginia

Another state down, and now on to the quickest one. It will only take a little over 70 miles to get through Virginia. So this will be a breeze to get through in June.

Summer suddenly hit here in Ohio. I'm not sure what the high was today, but it is currently 82 degrees at about 8:30 in the evening. Forecast tomorrow calls for 92. This is rare for early June.

The heat definitely got me on my run today. I had to slow down to a walk four times in my three mile run today. But still finished in about 27 minutes. It is going to take some time to get used to this heat. It is supposed to last through the majority of next week.

Yesterday's run was difficult for another reason. But I did learn something. Apparently eating spaghetti for dinner leads to upset stomach during runs. I just realized the pattern that every time I have a tomato sauce on pasta for dinner, the runs that night never go well. Lesson learned.

Tomorrow is ultimate frisbee again. Then hopefully a four-five mile run on Sunday. We'll see how I hold out in the heat the next couple days.

Big news at work...Smucker's is acquiring Folger's. This brand will increase our net sales by about 80%. It is going to be a huge project to get them on board, and we are already busy integrating two other recent acquisitions -- Europe's Best frozen fruits and Knott's Berry Farms spreads. Sadly, the Knott's theme park didn't come along with our new brand. I would have definitely requested a transfer if that was the case.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm Not Dead Yet

I can't believe it has been 10 days since I last updated. Where has the time gone? I have been very, very busy with work, and our social life has been active lately. It seems I've not had much time for anything else. But I can't believe it has been 10 days!

Since my last post a lot has gone on. We began our old college-days tradition of Friday evening Ultimate Frisbee. We started last week and played again yesterday. So much fun. It was interesting to see how everyone has gotten out of shape in the past few years. There were only two players (counting myself; Kristin didn't play) that exercise regularly. Any observer could definitely have picked out a few that don't. I thought it would be a breeze -- I run all the time. But this was different. Many short sprints rather than just a long, paced run. After the hour and a half of play, my feet were killing me and I was exhausted. We played for closer to two and a half hours this past week. It was very warm and humid, but I still held up better than the prior week. Kristin played this time, too.

After frisbee last week, we checked out the new brewery in downtown Akron, Ohio Brewing. Not too bad a place. This week we went to On Tap, a local bar that does karaoke on the weekends. It is tradition to go there for my friend Brandon's birthday. We used to go regularly -- maybe every four to six weeks. But we haven't been there in months. It was a great time. There was a big-boned guy there who reminded us all of Billy Bob from Varsity Blues. He didn't get beer by the glass, he got it by the pitcher and he drank straight from said serving ware. His giant hand holding that pitcher looked like my hand holding a regular glass. We chatted with him and cheered him on, and he ended up picking up the tab for our whole table -- thirteen of us! What a guy.

Work has been terribly busy. Our intern started this week, and I have been assigned as his mentor. I haven't done any sort of training since I left McDonald's back in 2002. It has been incredibly time consuming, and I still have a lot of non-intern stuff that I need to be working on. I only took a lunch break once this week. But at least it was a short week with the holiday and the days went super fast.

This past week hasn't been the greatest for mileage for me. But Kristin did well. We both posted our best month so far.

June is now upon us and will be a busy month. Hopefully we can keep up with everything (including this blog).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Running Gear

I have been thinking about running gear off and on for a while now. I am curious to know what you all out there have invested in. Kristin and I have both taken a liking to Asics shoes. And we went to a local running store that confirmed that the brand is a good choice for both of us. I also bought some moisture-wicking socks when I got my newest pair of shoes. I find them to be rather comfortable before and after the run, but don't really notice a difference while running. I have also been thinking about buying some new shorts. The ones I have been running in are a bit thick and not really a material that would have been designed for running. They never gave me problems until Monday's long run, which did start to produce some friction. I am also beginning to think about longer runs and water. I hate the idea of carrying a bottle for over an hour.

So what does everyone else have? Have you found good shoes? Do you wear special socks, shorts, or shirts? How do you handle water on the longer runs?

As far as running today, Kristin ran a five-miler. That is a personal best for her this year. She has been doing a great job in picking up distance in the last month or so.

I ran three miles today, and I was very stiff through the whole thing. I have to assume it is hold-over from Monday's seven miles. It was not a fun run, but I got through it without slowing down. About 26 minutes.

This brings me to another thought. I pace faster outside. This was a crappy day for the muscles, but I ran in under a nine-minute pace. When I run on the indoor track, I have to push hard to run 50-second laps -- which equates to a 8:20 pace. I never feel like I am pushing for speed on the roads, but my natural pace is faster than what I typically run indoors -- usually between 8:00 and 8:40. I think this all goes back to my theory on watching your time/mileage too closely. You have to count laps on the indoor track, so you are constantly aware of your exact progress...which is a mental drain and makes it hard to get your physical momentum going. Outside, you just run. You know where start and finish are, and where the turns are, but (unless you carry a GPS and watch it constantly) you really don't know your exact mileage at any given moment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Half Way There

I had planned to run six miles on Saturday. I had a really good one-mile warm up. Then my plan was to run my three-mile course then the two-mile course. I got about a mile into the three-mile course and crashed. I just couldn't keep myself moving. I pushed through it, though, and finished the three, but I didn't even attempt the last two miles that I had planned.

Later that afternoon, I had my first round of golf for the year. It wasn't too terrible a round for me (61), but it wasn't my best, either. I was hoping for mid-50s (we're talking 9 holes here, not 18). I couldn't do a thing off the tee. The only decent tee shot I had was on a 180-yard par-3. I dropped it on the green, but then three-putted in to give me a bogey. I'm still working on getting my second par. This will be my fourth year golfing and I still have only ever made par once (three-putted several bogeys, but still only one par). So needless, to say, I'm not very good at the game.

We had poker night afterwards. I decided that next month's poker night will be a charity event. A couple years ago we did one for Relay for Life. Half the pot went to the charity, and it ended up being over $100. This year we'll earmark the money for the Dream Team (big surprise!).

The big news for me happened tonight. Kristin wanted to run outside, but I wanted to go to the rec center so we could do weights after the run. But things were feeling good...and kept feeling good. Long story short, I ran seven miles this evening. My legs were like jelly afterwards. And I was starving. So I ended up not doing weights. I feel a lot better now, but the real test will be seeing how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully not too fatigued.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Progress Check

Here we are approximately four months into our year of training and about eight months away from the big race. We have run a quarter of the miles in about one third of the time. This is not a concern to me. I expected from the start that we would get behind to start and then make up the miles later in the year as our training gets more intense. If my calculations are correct there are 231 days left in the year.

I have put in 133.85 miles. I have 375.15 left in my journey. Through the end of the year, I need to average 11.37 miles per week.

Kristin has put in 121.2 miles. She has 387.8 left for the year. Through the end of the year, she has go average 11.75 miles per week.

We do need to start picking up the pace. Neither of us is up to 11 miles per week. In the two weeks so far this month, I averaged 9.3 miles and Kristin averaged 9.05 miles.

We have a lot of work left to reach our goals. I am still confident that we will do it. We are on target to raise over $500.

234 days left until we see this:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Running Wild


Yesterday, Kristin and I ran the Run Wild for a Cure 5k at the Cleveland Zoo. If anyone has been to that zoo, then you know it is very hilly. If you look towards the left of the map and see the Koala symbol, from there to the Gorilla exhibit is about an 80 foot elevation change -- which means a steep hill.

This was the most challenging 5k run I have ever done. Almost none of it was flat. And it was the first time I've done much steep downhill running. It is more challenging than I would have thought.

The map doesn't do the course justice. Basically start by the front gate. Run to the top right of the map -- through the inner and outer loops. Then cross the zoo and run up the big, steep hill to the gorilla area (the hill started just past the one-mile mark). Then immediately downhill on the opposite side of the gorillas. Around the elephants, then back to that top-right corner and around just the outer loop. Then back to the entrance area.

This was the first race I have done where I was not near the start line when the gun sounded. It was a big pain in the butt running around people. We were at least a quarter of a mile in before I could get any sort of rhythm going. I'm sure the Disney race will be much worse than this, though.

It was fun running through the zoo and seeing the animals. It was a nice distraction during the run. Although, the tigers saw all the people running by and they were eying us like they wanted to chase us down and eat us. They reminded me of house cats when they play...how you can wave a string in front of them and they'll act disinterested...but they're really following the toy with their eyes until they finally pounce. That's exactly what the tigers were doing, right up at the front of their enclosure.

I was a bit worried going into the race because I was having a fairly decent amount of knee pain on Friday. It wasn't bad during the race, but was acting up a bit after. I feel I did pretty well considering the difficulty and the crowds at the beginning. I plan to rest a few days now so I don't get me knee acting up again.

We walked around the zoo for a few hours after the race. Then we met up with some friends for dinner and went to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This was a funny show. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, or what the creative team really wanted the audience to get from it. But the actors did well and overall it was a good show.

And, sadly, the "Grin & Bear Eats" eatery was closed at the zoo...so we couldn't stop for lunch. Gotta love that name!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spring is Here

Weather in Ohio has fabulous since I've been back from Canada. Rainy a couple days, but that's typical Ohio. It has been in the 60's and generally sunny out. I'm lovin' it.

Since the last post, Kristin and I put in a 3.5 mile run outside on Monday. We ran a good three-mile course that I mapped out a few weeks ago. Some good hills -- up and down -- plus flat sections. I really like the course, Kristin was convinced it was longer than three miles until I proved otherwise. So I don't think she liked it much. And I must say that like the drink, the street named Beverly sucks. It is a very short part of the course, but there's hardly a flat spot to put your foot down with all of the holes and rough patches on it. I should try to map around it, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

It was raining this evening, so I went to the gym to use the indoor track. I was trying to decide whether to do two or three miles today -- I planned to run tomorrow, so I didn't want to overdo it. I finally decided on three. So I ran a warm up mile and then stretched. As I was finishing mile two, I decided I could do four miles. As I finished mile three, I decided that I could do five. So great job goes out to Heath at basilsspyglass.blogspot.com for putting in his five-miler yesterday, and thanks for the inspiration. I haven't had a long run (which I would define as past four miles for me) in a while, and reading about his longer outing helped jog my memory (no pun intended) that I needed to get some longer runs in. I spent just over an hour on the track. That included five running miles, stretching, and about half a mile of walking mixed in to everything.

We have a 5k coming up on Saturday, so I will probably take it easy tomorrow since I put in a longer run today.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Back in Ohio

Just a quick post today. I am back in Ohio. It was pouring yesterday so we went to the rec center to run. We each put in about 3 miles.

The numbers on the side board are up to date. Kristin edged past me by a few miles in April. Way to go. She has picked up the distance lately and we are pretty close in total mileage.

We plan to run tomorrow. I haven't worked out a schedule for the week yet, but I need to plan around Saturday's race.

One other thing of note. I have started another blog. For a while now I have been thinking about jumping on the bandwagon with an actual Disney blog in addition to this training-focus blog. I should still be updating this blog with the same regularity as I have been. The new blog can be found at www.EarningMyEars.com. The first post should be up for tomorrow. I am going to start with a series about officially released WDW theme park music -- records, CDs, even an 8-track thrown in the mix.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Quick Update

I am back in the Toronto area again this week for work. It has been cold in the mornings -- just around freezing -- so I haven't been running outside. I went down to the fitness center yesterday morning to hit the treadmill. It was the first time I've been on a machine since early March. It was killing my knee...discomfort with every step. As I partially blame treadmills for the bad knee pain I had in March, I decided not to run too long. So I only put in one mile. I finished out my planned workout time on the bike.

It is only supposed to dip into the forties tonight, but looks like rain in the morning. So I don't know what I'm going to do at this point. I don't mind running in the forties...but forties and rain is a different story. At this point, I don't think I'm going to get all of my miles in this week. I'll try for two runs this weekend.

I don't know all of Kristin's numbers for the week yet, but I do know that she had a four-mile run earlier in the week. Great job!

I'll get all the mileage and dollar totals updated after I get home.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Race Results

Kristin and I ran the Wildcat 5k this morning. There are results and pictures if you follow the link. There are no good pictures of either of us, but I did spot us in the background of a few. They had nice pictures of the guy the finished directly ahead of me (you can see me in the background) and the woman behind me. But they left me out :(

Kristin originally didn't plan to run the race. She had to work a twelve hour shift last night (7pm - 7am); her third twelve hour shift in as many nights. But when I signed up on Thursday, she told me to go ahead and add her. She'd tough it out.

It was a fabulous day to run. It was in the sixties and the sun was shining. It could have been a few degrees cooler to be ideal, but I won't complain.

The course was generally flat. Just a couple short uphills and downhills, but nothing major. It wound around the streets near the Canton South high school, then into the stadium and halfway around the track.

As I suspected I would do, I started too quick. My first mile was just under seven minutes. I slowed and ran the second in about nine minutes. Then finished out the remainder of the race in another eight minutes. My time was 24:15 (7:49 pace). I was definitely worn out at the end. When I entered the stadium and saw the time, I thought I might be able to sneak in under 24 if I pushed it out hard. But at that point my stomach wasn't doing too well. So I just maintained my pace. Kristin came in at 34:10 (11:00 pace). I was hoping she would beat her previous time, but I know she was already exhausted by the time the race started. I'm sure she'll do better at our next race.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ready to Run

My theory stands. Watching your mileage closely while you run does no good. You start anticipating every little milestone -- down to the tenth of a mile -- and eventually you've hit so many milestones that your brain tells you that you have run far enough.

Tuesday we went to the gym. Knowing we had a race coming up on Saturday, I decided to try to run at race speed and see how things went. I got through the first mile in about eight minutes. I couldn't keep the pace so I slowed down a bit for the second mile. But at about a mile and a half, my body crashed. I walked a bit, then ran only another half mile at my normal 9:30 pace. This was all on the 1/10 mile indoor track. You have to count laps, which means that you count every tenth of a mile. That means you are tracking 31 milestones to run 5k. That much mental work fools the body.

Today I mapped out a three-mile course through the neighborhood. I chose a path that I knew had a steep uphill in the middle, and a nice uphill grade toward the end -- and also some general ups and downs and flat stretches. I set out, just me and the road. No headphones today. No watch. I was thinking through something that I haven't been able to make a decision on, and I still didn't come up with anything during the run (but more to come on that later).

The first two miles went incredibly smooth. I hit a wall at about two and half, but pushed through it. Even doing a couple short tempo runs during the last half mile. As I got home, I ran to the window and peered in to see the clock. To my surprise, I finished in 24 minutes. That's the fastest three miles I've ever run. The pace that killed me in 1.5 miles on the track I was able to keep up for three miles on the road -- even with some good inclines to tackle. My milestones were the turns, rather than laps. Twelve turns total, but only twice could I see the next turn as I was making one. On the track, you always know exactly where the start line is, so it is always the anticipation game.

I am definitely ready for the race on Saturday. I am confident that I can beat my last 5k time. I just need to make sure not to be too overzealous about beating the time, or I may start out too quickly and burn myself out. I bought a ChampionChip when we signed up for the half marathon. I put it on my shoe before the run today. I had to try a couple different ways before I could get the laces as tight as I need them (I have skinny feet). I'm really not in the business of traipsing around the neighborhood showing off my chip, I just wanted to make sure it didn't bother me at all. As expected, I didn't even notice it.

We both put in miles today and hit a milestone. Two hundred miles total. At this point we both need to average over 11 miles per week for the remainder of the year to meet our goal. We are about where I expected us to be. We needed to average 10 miles a week over the year. I knew we'd start out below that and end above that. Right now we are right at a 10 mile per week pace. So I am still confident at this point that we will be knocking on the gate to Cinderella Castle prior to the big race.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Still Good After All These Years

I got a little more Smucker's history a few weeks ago. We have a company store a couple miles down the street from the corporate headquarters. Last year they added on to it and completely remodeled it. I just managed to go check it out for the first time.

Part of the new addition was a walk-through that included a timeline of the company. There were two Disney-related notes and pictures. Please forgive the poor photo quality. I took these pictures with my phone.


The first picture shows Smucker's as a founding sponsor of Disney World.

The second shows Paul Smucker at the opening of the Smucker store at Disney World.

Paul Smucker is the third-generation of the Smucker family to run the company. His sons, Tim and Richard, are heading the company today. Tim's son Mark and the brothers' nephew, Paul Smucker Wagstaff, appear to be next in line when the current generation retires.

I am not 100% sure on the reference to the Smucker store. I know Smucker products had a decent presence in the Market House on Main Street for many years. The 1982 Birnbaum guide describes the shop as "an old-fashioned spot, with displays of Smucker's jams and jellies in more varieties than supermarket shoppers would have imagined even existed." I don't have any official material older than that.

Another reference is Widen Your World which mentions that there was a Smucker's Day in 1971 at the Market House. It also lists Smucker's as the sponsor of the Market House from 1971. Although this site looks like it might not have been updated. It shows the company's sponsorship of The Yankee Trader ending in 1993. Smucker's still has a presence in the store (including our logo on the signage) to this day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Home Again


I'm back home from Denver. It was a fun city. Not somewhere I think I would take a vacation, but it was nice to experience it for a few days. 16th Street (left) was a nice shopping and restaurant area. We spent a lot of time there.

The view from the hotel was great. The picture above was taken from the pool deck. I had a similar view (though more obstructed by buildings) from my room.

They had little cards with running maps on them. I ran the three mile course one day. It took you down 16th Street, then around the capital building (right), then by some other historic buildings, past the mint, then down to jogging trails by the creek (below), then back up and through a few downtown blocks back to the hotel. It was a great scenic view of that portion of the city and had great views of the mountains in the distance.

Since I've been home, running has gone great. I ran four miles Saturday and four and a half on Sunday. Kristin put in over 10 miles again this week.

Before leaving for Denver, I got some new shoes. The guy at the running store said I had a low arch and I pronate when I run. I tried on four different pairs of shoes and ended up with Asics again. They are very comfortable. I also got some moisture-wicking socks. I don't notice a huge difference, but my feet do stay a bit cooler on the longer runs. I'm sure they'll be great when I get to the longer runs.

Looks like I will be running the Wildcat 5k Run this Saturday. And we are both signed up for the Run Wild for a Cure 5k at the Cleveland Zoo on May 10. More details to follow.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Home for Now

I am now home from Canada. No more goose attacks. And no more running. We got up early Friday and planned to run, but it was about 35 degrees and raining hard. So we opted to stay in. Two of my coworkers had the treadmills claimed, so I didn't have an opportunity to run.

I made up for it today, though, with a five mile run. I am tired and sore now, but it went very well. Half mile run, stretch, 1.5 mile run, .1 walk, 1 mile run, .1 walk, 1 mile run, .1 walk, 1 mile run. Every mile was under 10 minutes, with the last being right about 9:30. Kristin has been doing the similar routine on track. Alternating between one-tenth walks and half-mile runs.

I also got caught up with Kristin's activity over the last week. She has put in 10.85 miles this week, including two 3-milers.

I plan to go to the running store (Second Sole) tomorrow to see about getting a new pair of shoes. I've not been to a running store before. The shoes I'm in now are $50 Asics that I got at Famous Footwear. The long run today definitely proved to me that I need a new pair.

At this point I am planning to run a 5k on April 26. Kristin's work schedule doesn't work out at all for her to get to one of these early runs. So it looks like she won't get a race in during April. We'll see what we can do moving forward.

I leave for Denver tomorrow and I won't have internet access. So this blog won't get updated until next weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't Goose Me, Bro

This Canada trip has been rather busy so far. We are in Markham, Ontario, which I would consider to be part of the Toronto metropolis area. Toronto is not very far at all down the highway. We are staying just a couple miles from the Smucker Foods of Canada office. It is a very busy area. The main road we use to get to the office is seven lanes wide, with stop lights at every second or third road. And there are tons of big technology companies with offices in the area -- like AMD and Avaya.

We also discovered that all-you-can-eat sushi is big around here. None of the sushi places in my area offer all-you-can-eat...so this seemed a novel idea to all of us. The place we chose was about $21 per person. They had several appetizers like edamame, miso soup, and sea weed salad. They had about 20 types of ngiri and probably 40 choices of rolls. Flip the menu over and you find more treats. Several types of tempura, many choices of other fried goodies (the octopus balls were great), rices, noodles, and teppanyaki dishes. Drink and ice cream were also included. I would guess that there were well over 100 items available on the menu...all of which were made to order, and all-you-can-eat (90 minute time limit). I wish there were places like this around home.

There is nowhere really good to run since our hotel is in the busy area. Linda and I went out Tuesday morning and found that most of the roads had sidewalks. So we ran through the one non-busy street by the hotel. Then down one of the main raods until we thought we had gone a mile. It was downhill the whole way out. We turned around and made our way back up the hill. Not steep. But literally all uphill. Turns out we were pretty close. It had been .95 mi when we turned around. Temperature was about 45 degrees.

We went out again today. It was about 35 degrees. We set out on the same path. I bought The Little Mermaind Broadway cast recording this weekend, and I was listening to that on my mp3 player. I was on Part of Your World and I heard a bird sound. I was picturing Ariel coming on the surface of the water as she sang; birds flying overhead. I heard the bird again and realized that it wasn't in the music. There was a giant goose just to the left of the road ahead of us (we were still on the non-busy street). I noticed that there was another goose about 10 feet behind it off the road. Linda and I looked at each other and realized that he didn't look friendly (we already had a hissing goose run toward our group as we walked to dinner a couple nights before). We headed for the other side of the street to keep our distance, but the goose came running at us at full speed. Linda turned and went into the grass and towards a parking lot that was across the street from the geese. I turned and started going back down the road. After I got several steps, I heard Linda scream and turned around just in time to see the goose fly low over her head. It landed just past her. I tried to collect my thoughts, but now the goose (who was probably forty feet away) started coming toward me.

I saw a big company sign not too far past me. It was probably four or five feet tall, one foot thick, and six or eight feet long. I thought I could get behind it so the goose couldn't fly at me, but the goose took off earlier than I expected. I couldn't see the goose because I was sprinting away from it, but Linda said it swooped down nearly low enough to hit me as it flew over. It landed several feet past me just as I was getting to the sign. So I stood by the sign. I was at the far end of the sign, and the goose at the other. I kept peering around either side of the sign to see where the goose was going to go. Whichever way he came around, I was going to go the other. But it just did the same thing, looking around to see what I was going to do. Linda had walked up to me at this point, and I suddenly realized that we were directly between the angry goose and the other goose. All I could think of was the danger that ensues if you stand between a mother bear and her cubs.

After dancing around the sign to watch the goose, it finally just stood still. We decided to continue on our planned route -- which would take us just past the other goose -- since that was the direction that would get us away from the mean goose. We kept our distance from the other one as we ran by, and luckily the attacker stayed where he was and didn't come at us again. It should be no surprise that we took a different route back to the hotel.

The run today was WINDY! It was cold and the wind just cut right through clothing. We were running directly into it as we came up the hill. At times it felt like I wasn't even moving forward. Linda hadn't planned to run outside, so she only had shorts. Her legs were bright red after 20 minutes out in the wind. I am typically an evening runner...so I packed for evening weather which is usually a bit warmer. So all I had on top were a t-shirt and a long-sleeve t-shirt. BRRR.

I ran 1.9 miles yesterday and 1.95 miles today. The extra .05 was well worth it to avoid the goose on the way back. I haven't talked to Kristin about running this week, so I'm not sure what she has done.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Off to Neverland

I don't know how much I will be posting in the next couple weeks. I will be in Markham, Ontario, next week for work. Then I am home Saturday. Then leave for a conference in Denver on Sunday. I will try to keep my three-day-a-week running plan throughout this time. But I don't know if I'll be able to post. I don't even know at this point if I will have internet access in Denver.

Today's run went well. I planned four miles and made it! But my plan of attack was different than last time. I ran the first three at just over 7 mph. Then the fourth at about 6 mph. I took two 1/10 mile walk breaks mixed in there. So the route was .5 mile run, stretch, 1.2 mi run, walk .1 mi, 1.3 mi run, walk .1 mi, 1.0 mile run. It worked well. I was definitely sweaty and tired at the end, but not completely worn out. Kristin was on a run two laps, walk one lap, routine and put in 2 miles on the running side. We did some weights after the run.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

That's what the doctor says I have. Basically, the knee cap isn't moving around in its designated groove, so it is rubbing against other stuff in the knee and causing pain. You can read about it here. Likely cause is having the inner or outer quadricep stronger than the other side. He recommends I do quad strengthening workouts as it should even out the muscles. Funny he recommnds it, considering that when the pain started I quit doing weights with my legs. But I was back to them last night after my usual 5k run. He also said I could see a physical therapist to get strengthening exercises. Kristin's sister is dating one, so I will see if I can get something from him.

I ran under normal pace yesterday, planning to go four miles. But just past the two mile mark, the burger I had for dinner was not agreeing with me. My legs, breathing, stamina, everything felt really good through the first two and well into the third mile, but my stomach was not doing well. I pushed through for the 5k, but did not go further. I finished it right at 31 minutes...so 6.0 mph pace. Hopefully next time I can increase my mileage.