Monday, December 14, 2009

Motorized barstool sells for $1,125 on eBay

Finally, an end to the bar stool saga: Motorized barstool sells for $1,125 on eBay

Vonn "Skeeter" Watson stands by one of the
motorized barstools he built. The motorized barstool
that launched Newark into national headlines
sold on eBay Sunday evening for $1,125
- Eric George

I remember seeing this on the national news a few months ago, shortly after my old boss sent me a link to it. He always thought I was from a hill-jack town and this story sealed the deal for him (I'm sure). Anyway, I forgot all about it and it was rather funny to see the image of the guy with his creation smiling in front of a 'Skeeters' sign on my Google News feed this morning. :)

Enjoy Issam...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Meaning of Kay

Jennifer and I were putting our girls to bed tonight and the house always get goofy around this time of night. It's always fun to just let the girls say and do crazy things before going to sleep. I've had Lizzie jump on my back while I was kissing Jazzy goodnight before, and they always seem to try and trick us by making us guess what side of the bed their head is on. Of course, they think it's hilarious when we try to kiss their feet.

Anyway, tonight as we were having a goofy conversation with Jazzy, and we were telling her how we came up with her full name. At one point, Jennifer said: "Do you know how you got your middle name?"

Jazzy just laughed and said: "Because, every kiss begins with Kay!" :)

Maybe our kids watch too much TV?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Coffee Fail

Jen and I use those big jugs of water for our drinking water, because our well water is... how you say?... not so good.

This morning we had just enough for one more pot of coffee (maybe two). I was so excited to have fresh coffee this morning that I cleaned out the coffee pot, filled it with the last bit of water and poured into the trusty Bunn. I closed the lid and waited patiently for 3 full minutes as my masterpiece was filling in the glass pot... Oddly, it looked like lightweight tea and had very little aroma to it.

I forgot the key ingredient: The Coffee.

Luckily I had enough water for one more pot. It's brewing now...

Trees for a Change

A friend sent me a cool gift idea. Her friend started a company to replenish the number of trees that have been devastated by wildfires. Here is a link if you can't think of that special gift for your loved one: http://www.treesforachange.com/index.html

  • Trees for a Change gift trees are planted in U.S. National Forests to replace trees destroyed by wildfire, disease or insects.
  • Since 2004, the U.S. has seen an extreme number of wildfires, leaving record numbers of acres devastated.
  • The Forest Service has recently identified over one million acres of National Forest land that is in desperate need of reforestation.
  • Our trees are planted and cared for by Forest Service tree experts who specialize in reforestation. They choose which National Forests can benefit the most from our program.
  • Planting only tree species that are native to the surrounding area optimizes growing conditions and ensures that each tree has a healthy beginning.
  • Your tree gift will grow to restore habitat and food for wildlife, provide clean air, prevent soil erosion and add beauty to our National Forests for many future generations.
  • Trees are the earth's longest-living organisms. The average tree in one year is able to absorb ten pounds of pollutants from the air and convert 330 pounds of carbon dioxide into oxygen.
  • Trees for a Change Tree Gifts are a wonderful and generous way to celebrate or memorialize someone special. A tree planted right now will benefit all the inhabitants of our planet for years and years to come. One Tree Gift really can change the world!
I could definitely see the value in this and would LOVE IT if you got me one. :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Newark Bully Hits Girl for Not Listening to ICP

Some girl gets punched in the face because she doesn't like ICP. I think the video speaks for itself:



All of the kids in this video need to be dealt with. Not just the kid that hit the girl.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Global Warming in Your Face

It amazes me how unseasonably warm it is these days. I've only had my wood burner working about 5 times this year. Yesterday, I wore a t-shirt outside to visit a friend, and today I was just outside and it's 50*F. It's late November!!?? I remember playing in the snow as a kid around this time with layers of clothes on.

I think I'm going to break down and put Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth on my Netflix queue so that I can really understand the severity of these temperatures.

I guess what I'm trying to say is "Get outside and enjoy the weather before the blizzard sets in." I'm getting ready to take my run in shorts and a hooded sweatshirt... again, it's late November.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Busy Times

Have you ever been so busy that you just have to shut off all non-productive outlets... I am.

I haven't checked my blog roll in over a month. I've only written one blog entry, and I even had to force myself to do that. I just upload a month's worth of workouts, and pummeled my twitter followers with status updates. Last night I sat around with Jennifer and watched a quick 30 minute show about OSU vs. Michigan. The entire time I was watching it, I felt like I should have been working and I just wanted to get back to it. I've stood up some of my friends with plans that we'd made due to my busy schedule as well. I'm actually very anxious to be un-busy at the end of this year. I think I'll even take a short vacation and just stare at a wall for a few days to relax.

All of this coding has given me a bionic pinky finger. As a programmer and a ReSharper user, I find that my left pinky finger gets used A LOT with all of the [Shift] key combination's and [CTRL] key combination's.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2009 Bobcat Trail Marathon Race Report

This was the first year for the Bobcat Trail Marathon, at Burr Oak State Park. The weather was a perfect low 50's for a race start and hovered around 60 all day. The course was pretty tough with hills around every corner and some really cool technical spots. The aid stations were packed with extremely friendly and enthusiastic volunteers who cheered me on like I was winning the race at each stop. Even weeks before the race, the race directors kept all runners up to date with the latest information via emails. and they couldn't have picked a more beautiful place to have it. Everything about this race was top notch, and it was great to be part of the inaugural race day for such a great event. I will be back.

My race report starts on the Saturday afternoon before the race. As I mentioned in my last race report, Dan Brown was running this race with me again. It's his second marathon in 3 weeks... No I mean his second marathon... in 3 weeks. He ran his first marathon 3 weeks ago at the 30th Annual Columbus Marathon. Somehow, I suckered him into doing Bobcat with me 3 weeks later. I figured since he would have already been trained, he might as well... :) It worked and he ended up beating me by 20 some seconds. :) Way to go Dan!

He arrived at my house around 3pm on Saturday and I had my bags packed, ready to go. We had almost 2 hours of driving time ahead of us, so we didn't waste time. We put all of our stuff in the car, talked to Jen and the girls for a few minutes, and then we were headed south to Glouster, Ohio. The drive was very pretty and we just jammed to music with the windows down having a great time.

We arrived around 5:30 or so and got checked in. As soon as we checked in, we went down to get our race numbers and pick up our race packets. Packets were real good; we all got a nice technical t-shirt, some peanut butter granola samples and some power bars. Vertical Runner had a booth setup and I got a few things from them and purchased two big bags of the Crazy Monkey Baking stand (very good stuff).

Now it was time to figure out what to do for dinner. We headed back to the room and I checked my cell phone. Jennifer had called me and informed me that I left my RUNNING SHOES AT HOME ON THE TABLE!! I was wearing some cheap black crocks when she told me this...

Before panic was able to set in I remembered that Vertical Runner was setting up a shoe display to sell shoes for $20 a pair. What are the chances? :) I went down and bought a pair of New Balance 747's (glowing white) road shoes before we headed out for dinner. I was gonna look like the noob tomorrow morning, and I didn't care.

After I bought the shoes, Dan and I headed into Glouster to get some pizza at a local pizza parlor, named Little Italy and it was waaaay good. We watched the Buckeyes football game on the TV and chowed down on some pizza. After dinner we headed back, hung out for a while, got a quick beer at the bar, and then headed back to the room to crash.

Alarm
We woke up and got checked out before heading to the starting line. I saw Kim, and another local Dillon runner named Mike McCune (a good buddy to my good buddy, Mark). We were all just standing around waiting for the race to start. I was looking like a noob in my shiny new shoes. :) The RD's were talking to the crowd and explaining the course a bit and then the siren sounded for the race to begin at 8am sharp. We started running!

Mile 0 - 5
The race started out with a quick road section where we all run up a short hill, turn around, back down, and then we dipped into the woods for a quick trail loop. We then cam out of the woods onto a short road section again, and then dive into the woods where we stayed for most of the race. Upon entering the final entrance to the trail, there was a nice little farewell crowd that sent us on our way. From then on, it was just the sounds of crunching leaves below our feet...

Once into the woods we were welcomed with our scenery for the next few hours. It was a large calm lake with a few fishermen floating out on their bass boats. The sun was perfectly placed and it made for a perfect race morning.

Miles 5 - 10
These were more beautiful miles through the rolling hills. Right around here, Dan and I took a little detour into a swamp. We were just talking between ourselves as we came off of a trail at one point and were running along a short road section. As we were headed back towards another trail into the woods, our feet began to sink into the earth. After a few strides, our shoes had been totally engulved in sludgy mud up to our shins. We were running into a swamp. We knew that the trail was just ahead of us because we saw some runners up on the trails. However, we were apparently off course somehow and we needed to back track.

As we turned, we saw a spectator yelling that we had gone the wrong way. Oddly, she saw us turn down this way and she said nothing. We laughed it off, and made our way back to the road where we had to run up a few hundred yards before we could turn in. My white shoes looked were masked now and I looked like I knew what I was doing now. :)

After the mud incident, we got back into the woods and came to a nice aid station where we filled up on some PBJ's and fig bars. From the aid station we ran down a cool little dock area right next to the lake and it looked very tempting to just dive in. I didn't though... From the dock, we headed back into the woods. There were some cool hills through here with an area that opened up and looked like an old canal or something. We chugged along and eventually came out to a big Dam area with a very friendly aid station there to greet us. The sun was shining brightly and the views were awesome everywhere today. We stocked up on some calories and headed back into the woods.


Miles 10 - 15
These miles were very scenic. We stayed close to the lake most of the time. At one point we cam upon an incredible aid station. Dan had run ahead cause he had to refill on water and stuff, and when he got there, he told them my name. As I exited the woods, I heard everybody yelling "GO LUC!! WAY TO GO!!" It was a great welcome after hearing so much quietness in the woods. I could do nothing but smile and thank them all. They were great! We stocked up and moved along. From this aid station, we took a nice winding road around a bend and then were faced with a hill that went strait up. At the top of the hill, we crossed a road section and scaled down a very steep decline to another trail. We followed this trail for about a mile and then we headed up a another pretty steep incline to yet another aid station. I remembered how great it felt to have people chanting my name at the last aid station, so Dan and I told this aid station too look for Kimba in her bright orange t shirt and cheer her on. This aid station was great and then we headed on back down the hill and into the trees where we would stay for the remainder of the race.

Miles 15 - 20
In through this section, my feet were really starting to hurt. I had some nasty blisters on my right foot from these new shoes and my left knee was a bit tight when going down some of the steep hills. I didn't let either of them get to me, and I just focused on right foot, left foot. Dan and I separated out a bit and we listened to our iPods for a while. There were some really crazy hills through here. It seemed worse in my road shoes, because as I tried to position my feet on each a leaf covered rock, my feet would slip just enough to freak me out. Lesson learned.

We passed through another supportive aid station and stocked up on some food and drinks. There was a little river crossing where I dipped my feet into the cold water. It felt good on the blisters, and was a nice relief. This section we were heading towards was the low and flat section of the course. The scenery was totally different than the first half of the race, and it was very marshy. At one point we actually ran along a little wood plank for a few hundred yards. I snapped some pictures, but had to be careful because I was running as I was trying to snap them. I didn't want to slosh through the mud through here...


Miles 20 - 25
Through this section, I was pretty nauseous. I had kept up with my fuel and my water intake up to this point, but through here I was having a hard time thinking about putting anything else into my stomach. Every time I thought about taking a drink, it made my stomach even more sour. It reminded me of my later miles at the Mohican 50 Miler, and that wasn't a good feeling. I poured some water over my neck and that helped a bit... I struggled with it throughout the remainder of the race.

We had taken our time during this race, but it was to a point now that we were going to be missing the cut off to get our hooded sweatshirt. There was a 7 hour limit in order to get a free Bobcat Trail Marathon sweatshirt. I was getting pretty bummed about it and was about ready to give up and just shuffle / walk the rest of the way. I was spent anyway, and the trail just kept going and going. It didn't seem like the finish was anywhere near. We'd been in the woods for a long time at this point.

Miles 25 & 26.2
This is when the second wind came. We came around a corner and saw a sign that said "1 Mile To Go!". I looked at my watch and it was 2:45 pm. We had 15 minutes to finish this thing and get our sweatshirt. We got this!! I told Dan that I was ready to pick it up and finish this thing. We started running again. We gave it all we had for about a full minute and then we ran face first into a hill that went strait up. What little energy we had summoned had now been spent on this monstor of a hill.

I almost puked at the top, but was able to get get my breath and bring my heart rate back down. I poured 1/2 of what was left in my water bottle over my head and it helped too. We were now back onto the final road section down to the finish. It was downhill the rest of the way. We ran all the way to the finish! I crossed the finish line at 2:59:49. My official race time was:
  • 6:59:50
I beat the clock by 11 seconds. :) It was a very slow marathon for me (my slowest), but it ended with a perfect finish!!

Here is an overhead view of today's run:


Post Race Meal
The post race meal was great, I'm sure. However my stomach just wasn't in it, so I donated my meal to Dan and he ate his and mine while I looked on. :) The race experience was simply amazing. I will remember this race for a long time and it felt great to finish strong. Even though I felt nauseous for the last 6 or so miles, I was happy that I ran the last mile as hard as I could and left nothing on the trail.

Oh and, congratulations Dan! Way to go on 2 successful marathons back to back. You are a machine, sir. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good Bye Radio Shack

Update: Friday - November 6, 2009
My blog was read by someone and it got back to the employees working that day. This is good. I honestly looked for a place to provide feedback on their site, but couldn't find the location. The power of blogging came through in this case, and I'm grateful.

Around 4:30 pm today, I received a call today from the Manager of the store who was working that day. She deeply apologized for the service I received, and was extremely sincere. It was a great welcome to such a bad experience. She admitted that she put her trust in the Assistant Manager to be polite and treat the customer (c'est moi) with due respect. She was busy at the time and didn't notice how I was being treated. I don't fault her. Thank you for the call!

The Rant:
Some days I just want to scream and let the world know that it's heading down the wrong path. Why is society so rude anymore. I don't know if it's because I live out in the sticks now and don't deal with people as much, or if the world is really getting ruder each day. I'm leaning more towards the latter...

I took my little girl, Daizi, with me to town this evening and needed to visited our local Radio Shack inside the Indian Mound Mall in Heath, Ohio. An Assistant Manager really fired me up, and I've may never step foot back in this particular store again. I'm still very upset about the whole ordeal, and instead of letting it fester inside of me all night, I decided it was best to just vent my frustrations here on my blog. If you're in the mood for a good rant, keep reading. If you're not, then look away and wait for my next post. I'm sure it will be a happier post and have a meaningless subject (like most of my other posts).

Ok, so let me first start by saying that Diazi saved the day and let me keep my dignity in this unbelievable situation. Let us pause for a moment of country girl cuteness. :)

Thanks for your help today, Daizi!

Now onto my rant... Before heading to Radio Shack, I looked online for the number and I'd read that it was a rude location, but I decided to try it with an open mind. Once I'm done with this entry, I may write my own review in hopes that somebody else reads it and avoids public ridicule and rude service like I received today. I was extremely insulted, but left with a fake smile and very red face. If Daizi wasn't there to keep me cooled down, I really think I would have yelled at the guy and stormed out of there. I say this because at one point, I truly considered snatching my equipment from the guys hands, telling him off, and walking out with my opinion being well known. However, I decided to cool down and just focus on how cute and well behaved Daizi (my 3 year old) was being the whole time.

Here's a quick overview of what happened (mostly for me): I walked in to the store with a mission to ship my laptop back to the manufacturer for repair. As I walked in, 3 employees were standing around laughing about something. Nobody else was in the store, and I had clearly broken up their fun time. The moment I walked in the store with my laptop and my little cow girl, the faces all turned somber and serious. The one girl said "Hello, how can I help you?" and I greeted her back and began to tell her what I was there for...

Immediately the Assistant Manager took over my request because he's trained in this sort of thing (or something). However, he did so in a manner that proved to me that I was being a nuisance and wasting his time. As soon as I explained my case, he said "Well, I'm going to need your tracking number...", and I said "Absolutely." as I began to open up my planner to read it to him. He was surprised that I had it with me because he sighed and began punching keys on his computer while he literally ignored me for the next 2 minutes. Everything I said from this point on seemed like a rant to this guy. He treated me like I was being an unreasonable customer. I wasn't!

The thing that burns me the most is that I was actually in a very good mood up to this point and was cooperating with everything he was asking me to do as politely as possible. After standing there for almost 3 full minutes, he interrupted his extended silence stating that he couldn't send my power supply back to the manufacturer. I very politely corrected him saying "Actually, the support tech said that I would need to send everything back in order for it to be serviced...". The guy LITERALLY lifted his eye brows and said "Okaaaaay" as he turned around to get something. I almost spoke up and yelled at him and his boss. Amazingly, his boss, (ie. the manager of the store), did nothing! She just kept on about her business and ignored the fact that this guy was treating me like crap. I almost asked for my power strip back and bid them both a good day. However, I just stood there in shock and let him ignore me for the next 5 minutes while he navigated his computer system some more.

The entire time I was there, I never got a smile, a thank you, or anything else. I left there feeling like I had just done something wrong. From Radio Shack, I took Daizi down to the bathroom and on our way back I looked in the store. The 3 employees were all standing around smiling again... with no customers... again. I'm sure they were talking about something funny. (?) They will soon be out of a job at this rate. I know that not all employees of Radio Shack are this way, but this guy ruined it for me today.

Thank you for letting me rant. I do feel better now. See - :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2009 Columbus Marathon

This race could also be known as the 2009 Dan Brown Marathon. I ran this race with an old buddy from high school... you guessed it, Dan Brown. It was his first marathon and I told him I'd run it with him. He offered me his basement to stay in the night before so that I didn't have to drive to the starting line from all the way out here the next morning. Awesome!

The night before the race, Dan and I hung out at BW3's and had a drink with his brother and a few of his close friends. We were celebrating Dan's journey to get to where he was today; he trained hard for this race and overcame a lot of other things during his training for this marathon. It was great to hang out and catch up with him and meet his family. From the bar, we went back to Dan's and crashed. We had an early morning to wake up and head to the starting line.

The alarm went off at 6am and I was ready by the time Dan yelled down to wake me up. We made a quick stop at McDonalds and got ourselves some McGriddle sandwiches and coffee. The traffic near the starting line wasn't as bad as I remembered it from last year or even the year before. However, the foot traffic was INSANE. It was just a sea of people everywhere you looked. Turning into the parking garage was quite an adventure; I basically had to inch my way through a crowd of people ignoring the traffic signals. We parked the car and headed to the starting line.

We got to the staring line around 7 am and stood around trying to stay warm and stretching out our legs until the gun went off. The race started at exactly 7:30 am, but we didn't start moving until about 5 minutes later due to the mass amounts of runners in front of us. We crossed the starting line at 7:38 am and were off and running.


Miles 1 - 5
The first 5 miles were very easy. We were doing 11 minute miles and keeping the pace pretty steady through here. It was very cold this morning and neither of us had gloves. We were just chugging along and laughing hysterically at times along this stretch. At one point I realized that all this laughing was going to catch up to us as the day went on, but we couldn't help it. Everything was funny. :)

Miles 5 - 10
Around mile 5 or 6 our hands were freezing. This section of the race actually ran us through the same section that we already ran through, so there were a lot of clothes laying on the ground from runners shedding layers the first few miles. I actually found a pair of gloves on the ground and put them on. Instant relief!

Dan on the other hand found a pretty pair of pink gloves. :) However, his gloves actually had some heat packets in them and they were warm. He totally lucked out on that find. Each of his gloves had one of these heat bags in them, so he gave me one and he kept one. I couldn't believe how good it felt to let my hands thaw out with real (hand held) warmth. I would switch hands every so many miles and it was an amazing change to the race. Warm hands made all the difference.

Miles 10 - 15
We were still rocking through here. We were laughing a lot and I could actually feel my stomach muscles getting sore by this point from all of the laughing we'd been doing the last 2 hours. Around mile 12, the 1/2 marathoners split from the full marathoners and it was a welcome change of pace because it really thinned out the crowd. It was also nice through here because the spectators were everywhere and they really boost you up. Dan even admitted that he considered walking at one point, but someone said some words of encouragement and he kept up his pace. This shows the power of crowd support. It was here that we ran up on Nick and his buddy Bret too. I heard "LUC!" and looked around to see Nick standing there with a camera in his face snapping a picture of us. I knew Nick was going to be out on the course, but wasn't sure where. We traded some high fives and kept on moving. Good luck in Javalina, man!!

Miles 15 - 20
Through here, we were still kicking butt. We had been running the entire time and hadn't walked at all up to this point. At mile 18, Dan pointed out that this was his longest run ever. He had done an 18 mile long run 3X in his training for this race, and every step from the 18 mile marker was his longest distance. We had 8 more miles to go to finish this race, and it was obvious that we were gonna do it with flying colors.

Miles 20 - 25
We were still kicking butt through here. Dan was really feeling the pain through here, and I was feeling the stomach muscles burning. Yes, we were still laughing even after all these miles. The entertainment along the course needs a mentioned at this point. There were still bands every so many miles, and it was great to hear the different varieties of music. We heard "She talks to Angels" by the Black Crowes a few times on the course, not sure why this particular song, but we did. We also heard Hang On Sloopy a few times, the OSU fight song and many other songs. It never got old and as a musician, I totally appreciate the effort that went in to bringing out the amps, generators, setting up, and actually playing through the cold. This is a great race, and the volunteers, musicians, and spectators have so much to do with it.

Miles 25 - 26.2
This last mile and a quarter was very tough for Dan. He had been kicking royal butt through this whole race, much better than I did at my race. Our pace went from consecutive 11 minute miles down to 13 minute miles. The beauty of this was that we were STILL RUNNING! His kids came out and pumped him up a bit and I could tell that it helped big time. He was hitting the wall, but took it very well. My job at this point was to just keep him moving and our motto was "Don't walk when you want to, but when you have to". I had honestly never heard it before, but when I said it to him earlier, he remembered it and recited it to me, so it was our "motivation" now. :)

I had called Jennifer and coordinated with her what time we were going to be crossing, as she had brought the girls out to the race. I couldn't wait to see them all! Jennifer came last year with the girls, but they weren't able to see me cross the finish line. This year, they had gotten there in plenty of time and were anxiously awaiting our arrival. As we inched toward the finish line, I saw them along the side and ran over to slap some high fives and told them all how happy I was to see them. I then jumped back into the race so that I could finish and go give them all big hugs.

Dan and I pushed hard through the finish line and crossed it with arms raised high in the sky


Purchase your picture at MarathonFoto.com :)

Our times were as follows:
  • Dan - 5:27:25
  • Luc - 5:27:26
After the race, Jennifer and I took the girls to the Spaghetti Warehouse for some carbo loading. The girls were all there with metals from my previous races. I loved it!! When I finished, we all had our metals on and actually wore them into the restaurant like a bunch of marathon runners.


What an amazing day this was. Before I started this race, I considered it being my last Columbus Marathon, but after todays experience with Dan, I remembered all the great things about it and may just be back next year if my health permits it.

Thanks for a great time Dan and congratulations man!! You're a marathoner, now let's get training for the Bobcat Trail Marathon... in 2 weeks!! Yer an animal man!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ten Things That May Surprise You About Trail Running

I found this on Teva.com in the Trail Running section and thought it was worth sharing.

Ten things that may surprise you about trail running.

  • 1) Not all trail runs are ultra adventures. Trail runs can be short in both time and distance.
  • 2) It's OK to walk. Not every step has to be at "race pace."
  • 3) Trails look different if you run them in the opposite direction. Honestly. You enjoy different vistas, notice rocks in different places, forget that hills that were downhill one way are uphill from the other direction.
  • 4) Trails look different with the change of season. A bare dust-strewn trail can look very different under a fresh coat of snow, or covered in piles of freshly fallen leaves.
  • 5) If you take your eyes off the trail, you often find yourself on the ground. Stay focused on the trail underfoot unless you stop to take in the vistas.
  • 6) Trails aren't all uphill. Sure, there can be some ups and downs, but there are some relatively flat, gentle trails. Especially prevalent along rivers, or canals.
  • 7) Uphill running can be challenging. Who says going out for a 30 minute explosive, uphill, gut-busting trail run isn't fun...after you're done gasping for air! Throw in some hill runs or repeats during the winter months to mix up your training.
  • 8) A good pair of trail shoes enhances your experience on the trails. Road shoes are primarily built for sustained foot plants not for the constant pace changes on the trails - there's variation in footing, in gradient, in obstacles encountered.
  • 9) Apparel is important too. Run in clothing appropriate for the conditions - what they are and what they may become. Winter temps can be fickle!
  • 10) Softer surfaces have much less stress on your joints.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Jazzy Kay

Everytime I run across this picture I laugh out loud. She made this mask when we were camping a few months ago. She just put it on without saying anything while we were all sitting around the fire. She does these types of things all the time just to make us laugh. If you knew Jazzy, you would realize that this is just "everyday Jazz".
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Back at Mohican

Reality set in this week when I was getting back into my daily routines around the farm. I realized that the Columbus Marathon is in 2 weeks and I'm not trained at all. It's cram time.

Luca, Bret, Me, Nick

Today I met up with some friends @ Mohican for my first real long run in a long time. At 8:30 am, I met up with Nick and his buddy Bret, who will be pacing him at the Javalina Jundred in a few weeks. We waited around for a while and eventually another runner by the name of Luca showed up and was going to be joining us. Luca ran the inaugural Mohican Forget the PR 50k earlier this year. We all took off around 8:45 and we were going to be doing a modified version of the Red / Green loop. I was here for an 18 mile run today.


We started very slowly up the red loop and did mostly walking through here because it was all uphill. From there, it was just smooth running all day. No problems at all, all day. I felt very strong out there today. It was great to be back at Mohican. I hadn't been there since June, when I DNF'ed at the 50 miler. I forgot how great it was to run real trails; not Blackhand Gorge trails, or Dillon Trails, but Mohican Trails. There's just something about Mohican... When running Mohican, you don't didn't count miles or hours, you just put one foot in front of the other. We all just jogged and talked all morning. Great times!

Around mile 10 I realized that I ate my last gel pack and I was officially out of fuel. I showed up today wanting to get in 18 miles, and I was pretty sure that I could do the remaining 8 miles with just my water bottle. Around mile 14, I realized that I was back on empty though and I was running on empty for the last 3 miles out there today. Bret was battling some old knee pains, and I must say that my knees were a little sore as well because I was really letting gravity pull me down the downhills as fast as possible. It felt great, but my knees were paying the price. The last mile was pretty slow going. I was out of fuel and Bret was in some pretty bad pain, so we just walked the last few hundred yards very slowly since it was mostly downhill anyway.

Nothing too exciting happened today actually. We had a few river crossings and they were pretty cold. We ran past a couple of horseback trail riders, and we even helped an old couple find their way back to the covered bridge. Other than that, it was just a fun run at Mohican.

Nicks friend, Bret did a great job out there today. He does most of his running on the treadmill and he kept right up with us the whole time. A few times, I would forget that it was his first trail run here at Mohican. I could so see him joining us in the future. It was fun playing word games with Nick and him out there today. For example: Je was juffing and puffing up those jills. We jad a jell of a good time jelping jim prepare for Javalina Jundred. Jilarious! :) Good luck Nick and Bret!

Luca was a funny, funny dude too. He moved here from Italy a few years ago and he's very new to running, like me. He started in late 2007, a few months after I started running, and he's running marathons now too. We had a lot in common and not just the name. :) He's actually running Columbus in 2 weeks as well, and I hope to see him there. He's pretty tall so I should have no problem finding him.

We all ended around 1 pm with a nice 17 Mohican miles in the bag. I'm already looking forward to next weekend. I plan to be bringing an old friend with me and introduce him to trail running on the Orange loop. ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paris, France - Day 18

This morning, I woke up at 8am sharp and got my running clothes on. Today I was on a mission to run around the Disneyland Park loop. Where my village is located, I'm about 1 - 2 miles from le Parcs Disneyland. The cool thing is that there is this HUGE loop that goes around the entire park and I've been dying to run around it since I got here ~3 weeks ago. I saw it from Google Maps while uploading my other runs around here. I could tell that it wasn't too big, but big enough to take a little over an hour or so to do. As it turns out, I put it off until the very last day I'm here, but it made for a great run and if I come back, you can bet I'll be doing it again.


I headed out the door around 8:30 am and was loving the morning sunrise over Montevrain. About 2 miles into my run, I saw another runner (who had passed me earlier) pushing a broken down car down the road. I ran up on them and began to help push. We pushed the car for about 100 meters or so and then went on with our morning run. We introduced ourselves to one another and then that was it... We talked for the next 5 miles. This guy's name was Sebastian, and he is one of the nicest guys I've met over here. He and I talked about all kinds of stuff, from marathon times, to French strikes, to the health insurance crisis in the U.S. He kept me company from about mile 2 to mile 7 and it made the morning run to go very quick. I gave him my email address, but I forgot to get his. Hopefully, he is able to find that I have a domain attached to my email address and then stumble upon this blog. :) He and his friend Gregory travel all over the world and I told him that when they come to the states to email me and maybe we could meet up for some coffee and more conversation. Thank you for a wonderful morning Sebastian! Enchanté! :)


After my run, I cleaned up and then headed over to Bob's apartment for a bowl of cereal and some coffee. Immediately after that, he and I came back here and we've been in my apartment all day, working. We worked from about 11am until about 10pm. We had a few breaks here and there, but we really stayed focused since it was my last day here in France.

I must say that my time here in Europe has been more than amazing. How often are people asked to travel to Paris, France for 3 weeks simply to work on a laptop computer in a very safe and rather plush "all expense paid" apartment complex? I know the answer, and it's "not often". Honestly, I couldn't ask for a better job than the one I have now.

One of my major highlights was being able to spend 3 days with Dariush in Paris, France just hanging out. We simply walked everywhere and got to see all the sites around the city. We haven't got to hang out like that since 1995 when he was in the states living with my family. Here we were almost 15 years older having just as much fun together as we always did back then. Thanks for a great time crazy man! We should definitely do this again, but next time with our wives and children. :)


Then to make this trip even MORE amazing, I was able to fly over to Bucharest, Romania and visit Volli and Yiorgo for 3 days. It was great to finally meet Volli's beautiful wife, Stefanie and get to know her a bit. And, Henry was awesome!! I love that kid. I went over there knowing very little about Romania, let alone Bucharest... Ok, I went over there knowing NOTHING about Romania or Bucharest. Therefore, it was great to get to experience such a different place with my two other brothers. The next time we all meet up, we're going to be taking Larissa, Greece by storm. Right, Yiorgos!? Thanks for a great time last weekend brotha's!! I had a blast and will never forget it! For as long as I live.


Most of all, it was very cool to get to spend time here in Montevrain with Bob. All of our communication is typically done over Skype and through emails. Believe it or not, Bob and I knew each other for almost 4 years before we ever actually met face to face! I had no idea what he looked like, and he only knew what I looked like from my MSN instant messenger picture. The thing that I like most about our relationship is that he doesn't act like a boss toward me, but rather treats me like a peer. He maxe me fele like I yam akshully smarte tue. We're both big geeks, so it was very easy to just sit around and talk about geek stuff with him when we're not talking about... well, geek stuff. :)

Bob, Jennifer and I appreciate everything you've done for the family. Not only for this silly little trip to Europe, mais pour tout. Also, thanks for allowing me to spend time with my close friends on your watch while over here. We both knew that were fighting a tight deadline with this project, but you were very understanding and actually helped us make it happen. That said a lot to me and meant a lot to both me and them. I hope to see you again soon... outside of Skype, of course. :)

Luc & Bob @ the Louvre on Sept 26th, 2009
Thanks, Bob!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Paris, France - Day 17

Wow, today was a great day! However, before I get into the events of the day, I have to share my experience from last night.

I published yesterdays post around 2 - 2:30 am and was getting ready for bed when I heard a knock at my back door. I knew it had to be one of my neighbors, so I opened up the door and Michel (one of my neighbors) was inviting me over to his place for some wine.

I said "No, thank you, I'm getting ready for bed." But he insisted that I come over and hang out for a little while. I thought about it real quick and gave in. I mean how often do I get invited to a party at 2:30am in France?

When I walked into his place, it was a cloud of smoke and they had a poker table setup with a few drunk french guys sitting around yelling over the music. Which, by the way was George Strait blaring on the stereo. I loved it! I'd seen some of the people in there from around here, but there were some I'd not met before. Amazingly, one of the guys was from Montana of all places and he was a Blackfoot Indian. He was extremely drunk and I had a harder time understanding him then I did the French people there. I hung out for about 20 minutes, then came back to my apartment with even more wine in my system now. I thought it was very cool that Michel came over to invite me to his place. I had a great time!! I forgot to take my camera, so no pics... I came back and chatted with Jennifer for a while longer, and then fell esleep until around 5am!!

I woke up around 10:30 am and worked at the table with Bob until around 1pm. Then we all headed into downtown Paris for a fun filled evening on the town. We started at St. Michel and the first stop was the Notre Dame. One of the guys that is here on business with Bob's other (full time) job is a Purdue alumni and he was able to "pay his respects" to the beautiful cathedral that shares the same name with his arch rival back in the states. ;) From there we walked past the Hotel de Ville and Pont Neuf over to the Louvre and then we slowly strolled down the Champs Elysees. We snapped lots of pictures and just took our time enjoying the perfect weather. It was about 75 degrees Fahrenheit today and the sun was shining brightly; simply perfect for a relaxing stroll through Paris. I was able to grab a chocolate banana crepe at a little crepe stand and it was absolutely delicious. I wish I had known about these banana ones earlier in my trip, I'd have had one every day. Maybe it's best I didn't know about them actually...


A little further down the Champs Elysees we came upon the Jardin des Tuileries. The weather was so nice that it was very crowded with people today. The whole city seemed to be thriving with tourists and locals. It was so cool to see so many people just lounging around in the grass drinking wine and just having little picnics. I sooo can't wait to bring Jennifer back here and have a day or two to kill here in Paris. This place was just as beautiful (if not more beautiful) today than it was when Dariush and I came here two weeks ago. The leaves were already starting to fall and I bet it is absolutely gorgeous in Paris during the fall season.

From the Tuilerie gardens, we actually made a pit stop at the Haagen Dazs on the Champs Elysees and sat on a bench to enjoy our ice cream and coffee. The sidewalks were still bumping with people and the traffic was chaotic (as usual). After our ice cream, we headed up just a little further to the Arc de Triomphe. It was very cool to see tonight because the sun was on it's way down and it looked more majestic with the lighting hitting it from such a low angle.

After snapping a few photos of the Arc de Triumph, we walked down past Place du Trocadero. This allowed us to see the Eiffel Tower with no obstructions in our way from quite a distance. The Eiffel Tower looks amazing from this angle. It's hard to take a bad picture of the Eiffel Tower, but especially from la Place du Trocadero. The water fountains and beautiful greens leading up to the Eiffel Tower mixed in with the setting sun perfectly and it made for a very nice evening to be killing time in downtown Paris. We didn't go up the tower because the lines were over a 1 hr wait at every corner. Sorry Kathy and Madam Waite, I didn't get to enjoy that glass of wine from the first deck like you suggested. Maybe next time! :)


We hung out around the Eiffel tower for quite a while and actually got to see a really fancy light show around 8pm. I took a movie to show you what it looks like:

video

After killing a lot of time by the Eiffel Tower, we decided to take the metro back to St. Michel so we could do some shopping and drink some wine at a corner restaurant out on the sidewalk. We ended up sitting down at a place called Latin St. Germain. If you go to Paris, you should definitely check this place out. It was exquisite and the prices were hard to match. I had a keash along with the fish and rice. It was amazing!


Day 17 in the bag. T minus 2 days til I see my girls.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paris, France - Day 16

Today started out very boring, but progressively got awesome. I woke up at 9am and decided not to my morning run today. Instead, I ate a quick bite of breakfast and got right to work. While working through the morning, I headed over to the other apartment and stole a 1.5 liter of water, some coffee beans, some filters, and the coffee pot. I brought it all back to my apartment because it didn't make sense for me to go over there to make a pot of coffee and stand around chugging it like an addict. Therefore, I finally decided to just unplug it and bring the whole thing back to my apartment instead. Derr... :P

Around 10:30, I gathered up my pile of laundry and headed across the parking lot to the laundromat. While it was washing, I was able to get some work done. About 2 hours later I brought it back here and strung it out on my balcony to let the sun dry it. The weather was beautiful today, so it didn't take long for my clothes to dry at all. Throughout the day there was a lot of activity going on in my area, so I was able to go out and talk to some of my neighbors. We stood outside and talked for about a half hour at one point and just had a good time trying to communicate with one another. I am starting to feel like a local around here... And "Gosh darnit, people like me!"

I left all of my windows and doors open all day. The breeze just swept through my apartment while I coded at my table. I spoke to Jennifer and the girls before they got on the bus, and we're all very excited about my return home on Monday.

The rest of the afternoon was mostly just me working at my computer until around 7pm.

Around this time, Bob and his coworkers came back and we all headed over to their place to hang out on the back patio and enjoy the nice evening weather. It was a very cool 75 degrees Fahrenheit here in Montevrain today and we sat on the back patio eating bread and sausage, and cheese while enjoying some fine wine. It was the perfect French evening.

After relaxing out back on the patio, Bob and I talked a bit about some work related things. And he actually got me good tonight. I'm usually pretty quick with things. It's just how I was raised. But, he got me.

We were all hanging out in the kitchen after a few glasses of wine talking about something. I don't even remember what, now... (?) However, at some point Bob says "Oh man, that sounds like an 'ID 10-T issue to me'...

I said "A what?"

He said "An 'ID 10-T' issue...".

"What's that?", I said.

He says, "Write it down!"

So I grabbed my pen and wrote it down. I took a loooong look at it, and said: "I have no idea what this is."

Then he says: "Well, that's gotta stand for something!"

Immediately I knew the answer was in the text, so I read it with a different set of eyes and saw: idiot

Damn.

Hook, line, and sinker!

Around 1am Jennifer hit me on Skype and I was able to talk to my girls for about 30 minutes or so while she was cooking dinner. They showed me all the cool stuff that Jennifer got them at the 3 Bags Full sale. I just sat here and enjoyed hearing them talk to me. It's the simple things like this that I miss the most from home. I realized tonight that there are times when I let my girls talk to me at home and I simply don't "listen" to them like I should. Tonight, I made sure that I listened to them and stayed very focused on what they were telling me, rather than drifting off into my own little thoughts while they talked. They were soooo excited about the toys that Jennifer got them and they were destined to get me excited too. I really can't wait to get home and enjoy all of these everyday "kid conversations" again.

Jennifer also told me that her insurance claim on her foot is finally settled! Best of all, it was settled in a civil manner. It sounds like this "Todd guy" is in big trouble for the way he treated her on the phone a few weeks ago. Good! Nobody should be treated that way, especially my wife. I'm not happy because he got in trouble (although, he did deserve it), but I am happy that Jennifer can finally stop worrying about the bills that have been piling up because of it after all these months. Thank you to whoever escalated her case!

Look how happy Jennifer was about telling me the outcome:


Here it is going on 2am and I'm really tired. Tomorrow, we are heading back in to Paris for one last day of fun before I head back to les Etats Unit. Rumor has it that we will be going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and walking down the Champs Elysees. I can't wait! I'll be sure to take pictures of the world from the top of the Eiffel Tower and post them on here.

Check out this picture of the beautiful sunset we saw over the French countryside while chilling on the back patio tonight:


<3

Paris, France - Day 15

Today was another great day in France. I woke up at 8:30 and headed out the door for a run to town. The plan was to run into town, get some groceries and then take the bus back here to my (suite) village.

It was sprinkling a little bit, but not enough to worry about getting soaked. I was hoping that it didn't start raining too bad though because I had my camera with me and it doesn't play well with water (duh). Instead of running directly to the city center of Montevrain, I decided to venture off to the east a little bit so that I could get some new scenery this time. It turned out to be a great little course, and I tallied up about 1.5 miles.

When I got into town, I was able to get my shopping done at the grocery store. I ended up with two apples and two banana's (this time I weighed them), a box of apple juice, a liter of Pepsi, a box of pain au chocolats, and a couple of pre-made deli sandwiches. I was much more confident in the super market this time now that I knew how to handle the whole 'check out' situation, and I even knew were everything was at this time. By the time I got out of there, it was 10:35am, which was the same time that the bus left from town back to my village. I thought, that I would just kill a little time and wait for the next bus @ 11:10am. However, but the time I got back to the bus stop, it was 10:50am and I knew that I had about another 20 minutes til it came, so I just decided to walk. It made for a good little morning adventure to town.


When I got back to my apartment, it was just work really. While I sit here in my apartment, I see a lot of activity in my back window. A few times I've had my french doors open and have started conversations with some of my neighbors. I'm actually getting to know some of them. For example, the neighbor who lives two doors down is a very young fellow named "Jonathon". Mind you, it sounds totally different with a French accent; like "Jhean au teh". I only know this because I had him say it about 5 times before I realized he was saying "Jonathon". :) He and his girl friend live in the apartment and they have a lot of pets: 2 cats, 2 dogs, & 1 rabbit. The rabbit actually chases the cats, it's pretty funny. I took a small video the other day, but the rabbit didn't attack the cat like I hoped it would in the video, so it's not worth uploading really...

Of course, he always has some friends over, so I met a couple of his buddies too. His one buddy's name is Michel and he's from Holland. He actually speaks very good English and has been to the states a few times. His other buddy's name is Clement, and he's from Rome, Italy. They are all in their early twenties and they couldn't believe it when I told them that I was 31. Apparently they thought I was their age, and were blown away when I told them I lived on a farm with a wife and 3 daughters. I kind of felt old for the first time in my life after the shock factor settled. :) I must say that it's kind of cool to know some of the locals here in the village now. I see them out and about and can actually greet them by name now.

As the day progressed, the weather got really cool, not "weather cool", but "neat, cool". The clouds were still hovering over our village, but there were patches of sunshine and it turned out to be a beautiful night actually. Around 8pm Bob and his team had come back from their day jobs and I headed over there for dinner. Tonight we had chinese food; that's "french-chinese" food. After dinner, Bob and I hung out at the table and capped off a bottle of wine and talked about work until around 1:30 am. After our little meeting, I headed back to my apartment and literally crashed. I remember stumbling up the stairs and laying in bed. Day 15 was in the bag... 4 more days til I can see my girls.