Thursday, December 25, 2008

2009. What's in store?

What's in store for the new year? I don't know, of course.

I used to make New Year's resolutions, but I don't religiously do that any more. Now, it's more of a "when the time is right, I'll start it" kind of thing.

One of the things I'm going to try to work on (again) is being a member of the "clean plate club". I almost always eat everything on my plate. Doesn't matter how much is on it, it's all going down. Not a good thing to be doing. So, I'm going to try to leave stuff on the plate. Or switch to salads. Sigh. I'm not sure how I'll do there.

I'm going to train hard running this year. I have some things I'm working toward, and as things approach, I'll have to announce them. I'd do it now, but I worry about injury and such, so there's no sense in disappointing everyone. :)

Some other things are coming up this year.. More things I'm not announcing yet.

Yeah, so what the hell am I committing to here? Good question.

I'm starting a marathon training plan. It's a 20 week deal, and the first workout is tonight. (3 miles! Whoo hoo! I can do that one!)

I worry about my body taking the training stress, but I'm going to give it a chance.

I want to work on my core strength as well. This was one of those vague resolutions until I found out that Steve put together a 200 sit-ups plan. I'm doing it, already signed up. I'm stoked.

I also am going to re-try the 100 push-ups plan. Hopefully I won't break my arm in the home stretch this time. I think I'm healed up enough that I can endure it.

Other than that, I'm aiming to drink less this year. Last year was a banner year for drinking, so I should be able to come in under that, without a lot of effort.

I hope everyone has a great new year! Keep on rockin'!

Year in review

I'm a bit late to the 'year in review' party, but I figured I should get there before the end of the year at least.

Fitness-wise, I ran more than last year. I got 567 miles in thus far, with 4 more if the roads get plowed today. I started biking a little, buying my friend's bike. I also swam some too. I've whimped out this winter, but I did run outside last winter. At least I'm running in the gym. I focused more on just running and not trying to push too hard, so I have many many less long runs this year.

In the spring and summer, my running buddy and I got together a bunch and went running. That was a lot of fun. We ran our first real race, a 5K. We only ran it for fun and didn't push hard, but it was a good time.

Injury-wise, I didn't do too too bad. I spent the first few months battling some ITBS issues, which seem better now. Not 100%, but not terrible, either.
The biggest injury was my broken elbow due to some careless biking. Sigh. There was a broken toe in there and that's really about it.

Professionally, it wasn't a banner year. A large amount of job dis-satisfaction, but I suppose it was that which led me to start blogging. Sorry, boss. I think I'm close to coming to terms with it, but I've been away for a few weeks, so that will probably change about 15 minutes after I get back to it. It pays well, and is as stable as things can be in this economy and our small town.

My running buddy's husband deployed, so that was a eye-opener.

As far as other things go, various things happened. I joined the dice baseball league, and made it to the World Series in my first season.

I went to 10-12 minor league baseball games, and had an awesome time there.

I went to 3 different beer festivals, and of course had some great times. I bought and drank a whole bunch of different (new to me) bottles of gin and scotch (And vodka. And cognac.). Damn, I sure drank a lot this year.

I bought a PS3, and my wife bought me a few games which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I 'got' a new nephew this year. Not that I had anything to do with it, but it was cool.

I'm very fortunate, and I try to remember that every day. Here's to the upcoming year, and I hope everyone can be as fortunate as I was this year. I'll throw together a post of what I hope to do this new year in the coming days.

Keep on rockin'.. Have a great (and safe) new year's celebration, and a great new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve, to all!

Should be a quiet day, followed by a family get together. I'm planning to hit the gym if the roads de-ice in time.

My wife was asking about the gym's schedule, and I mentioned they were closed tomorrow. She said "Oh, that's good that it's on a Thursday." I asked her why, and she said "Well, your days off are Thursday and Sunday".

I was flabbergasted. She's on board and paying attention. :)

I hope all of you and your families have a safe and happy holiday. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bootie Results, Halfway

I read about the halfway prize after my previous post, so I went and totaled up points.

The result is 59 points.. how's everyone else doing?

Deep Tissue

Welp, I went out today and got a 'Deep Tissue' massage. Holy cow. Total awesomeness. It's been 3 months since I last had a massage, and I was really glad I went. I'd never had a deep tissue one before, either, so I thought it might help out my calves and such.

The therapist worked on my calves for quite a bit, and then remarked that I could withstand quite a bit of pressure. *chuckle*

I also went and took my bike to the bike shop to have it tuned up. With all of the snow on the ground, I'm not going to be riding it any time soon, most likely.

Evidently, it's a slow time at the bike shop. I got a call a couple of hours later talking about all of the items they had done (things repaired with electrical tape? Really? That's what I get for buying a bike from a friend. :) ), along with concern over the wear on my front rim. So, I'm getting a new front rim. Why not?

The Bootie Busting continues to go well. I have no idea how many points I have, nor do I know what others have. Ah well, I'll have to total it up at some point. We've got about 2 weeks to go, I reckon.

So yeah, I think I'll just keep staying on vacation (retire?) and working out most days. It's pretty enjoyable. Wonder what my wife will say. hah!

Keep on rockin'. Have a good holiday, too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Greetz Peepz!

Hey everyone!

Yeah, this sabbatical thing is just awesome. I could SO get used to it. Alas, I need a job, so the vacay will run out, and I'll be back to it.

I've been doing well going to the gym 5x a week. My schedule has been (starting on a Monday), 3-4-4, off, 3-6, off. Not a bad 20 miles. I have noticed that my legs are a bit creaky, but I can get through the miles, one way or another.

Been keeping up on the whole Bootie Buster Challenge. I haven't totalled up the points, but I've only missed contributing points on a day or maybe two.

I noticed today that I have developed a blister near the ball of my foot, towards the arch. TMI? Nahh... Probably a result of my new kicks. I scored some New Balance 1011's. Literally the last store in the area that had some wide running shoes. I went all over and came up empty handed. Hopefully it's nothing serious.

So the foam roller has been getting easier. I don't know if my ITBS has been mended or is better at all, but I think so. The running of the 6 miles is mainly just hard on me overall, rather than being focused on the IT band. (Not that it's too hard, but it's not the smoothest thing.)

So, I got a Christmas card from a blog follower the other day, saying that he wished he was as active and such. My advice to him and everyone else is, the hardest part is the first step out the door. After that, it's not too bad. Sure, you don't want to go exercise and blow a whole hour out of the day or whatever, but you'll feel much better afterward.

We're getting snow tonight.. Guess I'll be shoveling or something tomorrow. :)

Alright.. I'll be around to make some sort of insignificant posts on all y'all's blogs. Keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Greetings

I'm taking a break from being a man of leisure, and getting back on my blogging. Wow, my reader is just packed full of goodness.

Friday I did my 3 miles, and Saturday I knocked down 6. That put me at a little over 20 for the week. Awesome.

I signed up to be in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, even though I don't use the term 'bootie' too often. I decided to rip off Denise, and put my results in a blog as well. I've often seen people engage in these contests.. I figured, why not?




I went to Dick's and bought a foam roller to work on my IT band. Never used one before. Holy smokes. Wow. That puppy hurt. I think it's a good pain, but holy shit. I've been doing that a couple of days now, and I think my IT band is a bit looser, but my leg sure as hell feels sore deep down inside.

For those that may care, it's a 6" diameter, and it's 36" long. And it's one hell of an expensive piece of foam. Chuckle.

Monday, I did 3 miles at the gym. I also went out and bought new running sneakers. I'm totally stoked ready to try them out. They're my first pairs of real running sneaks. Before, I was just running in some cross trainers. I'll let you know how it goes.

Alright all.. Keep on rockin!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Repeal Day

BTW, happy Repeal Day, everyone!

Friday, Friday, Happy Friday

Greetings, all!

Today is a wonderful day!


Before I get to that, I'll say that I did do 4 miles last night. 2 on the treadmill, 2 on the track. My endurance is coming back slowly after giving blood a couple of weeks ago, but I felt really pretty decent during the run. I thought about going further, but decided against it. I'm going to stick to my plan, more or less. The plan for tonight is 3 miles, followed by 6 on Saturday.

As far as today goes....

Today is my last day of the year. Oh yea! You read that right. A mini-sabbatical. I come back to work on the 5th of January. So, that's a month away. I'm just stoked!

While away, I will do my best to follow your blogs and post some of my own entries, but... I may be bad at it. I do like to 'unplug' while on vacay, or on the weekend, so no promises.

No real plans, either. Just kind of hang out and unwind. I'm going to try to exercise Mon-Wed, Friday, and Saturday, and get into a routine of 5x a week. Assuming my legs are up for it, I'm up for it.

I'm also using the time to tone down my alcoholism habits. The time away from work seems like a good time to start. I haven't bought any beer for inside the house in a couple of weeks, and I've been finishing off open bottles of wine/margarita mix/etc in the fridge to remove temptation (and to make space, of course). I'm not going to give up beer or anything crazy like that, I'm just only going to have it while out, or at a friend's place, or whatever like that. That's my goal. It will cut me back, and it will be a healthier lifestyle anyway.

I should weigh myself and see if anything changes, too.

But yeah, not much planned. Some small small projects around the house. Maybe work on digitizing my music library some more. Going to drop my bike off for a tune up. Change the oil in the car. Nothing major. I'm supposed to do some painting, too, but I don't know if that will be occurring.

So.. I'll be checking in periodically, or at least try. If I don't talk to you, have a happy holiday(s) of your choosing, and keep on rockin!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TIART - Running Dreams and Wishes

Today's TIaRT topic is about running dreams and wishes.

I could take this in many many directions.

Personally, I wish that I could run every day, and be pain/injury free. I wish I was ready to run a marathon. I wish I was trained to be an iron man.
Those items, well, 2 of the 3, I can control myself, more or less. If I work at it, I can hopefully get there.

I wish I had extra hours in the day to run. I wish it was always the perfect running temperature out. I wish I could run every day with my running buddy.
These, well, they're just wishes. Fun to dream.

I wish that drivers were always considerate to runners. I wish the same that bikers, other pedestrians, dog owners, and others were considerate to runners.
These, again, just wishes. I'll do my part, and hopefully others will too.

I wish I had an iPod to run in the gym with. I wish I had tons of awesome running clothes.
These, they're just material things. They aren't important.


But, I could think about others, as well. I wish that others were able to run injury free. I wish that others could achieve their goals. These, the first one is a wish. The second, if people are putting in the time, most of their goals can be achieved


I guess my big wish would be that people can run. Run injury free. Run if they weren't able to run before. After that, I'm a firm believer that you can do most anything you put your mind to.

My big personal dream is to run a marathon. It would be a huge mark indicating how far I've come. From being un-athletic in general to running a marathon would be amazing.

Sigh. And right now, I guess my little wish would be that I didn't have things to do at work, and I could read blogs and write stuff all day. *chuckle*

Who's the best plumber now?

Tuesday I banged out 4 miles at the gym. 2 on the treadmill, 2 on the track. Pretty uneventful.

Wednesday was an off day, as I was installing this:



It's a condensation pump for a furnace. Very exciting. The old one was acting up, and I ordered a new one. I was a bit worried, as the exact model I had wasn't made any more. I made an educated guess, ordered a pump, and waited.

It arrived yesterday, and I wasted no time in installing it.

Attached it, hooked it up, fired up some tests with a full tank of water and.....

nothing.

Well, it ran, but the tank didn't empty.


Arghsighgruntbitchgroan.

After some more examination, I guessed that this was the problem:



It's part of the drainage hose, and it looked a bit crumpled.

Of course, the damn thing used to work.

So, I made the trip to Home Depot (thankfully, I only live just over a mile away), and got some new hose, put it in, and..



Who's the best cop now?!

All up and running.


Noticed a little bit of leakage around the hose this morning, but nothing substantial. I'll investigate that at some point.

OK. Keep on rockin'.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hrms.. a schedule, perhaps?

In regards to my last post...


Found this schedule over at CoolRunning..

Looks like it would work for a Pocono marathon, and might actually be do-able.

Hrms...

I'm all re-upped

Went to the gym last night, and my month long membership had expired. Turns out they had a 'buy 1 month, get the next for half price' deal, so I'm all re-upped for 2 months, until Feb. 1st.

I ran 4.5 miles last night.. 3 on the treadmill, 1.5 on the track. Did some hip adduction/abduction, as well. I feel good today, and plan to go back tonight.



So, I fired up the ol' running log and saw that I have 483.36 miles in for the year. 125 runs. That's more mileage than last year, but I started in June of last year. I guess I'm disappointed. I know, what a turd I am.

The big difference that I see is that I cut out the long run. I did very few runs over 5 miles this year. I suppose this comes from my ITBS issues that I was battling primarily through May.

I was doing really well over the summer, bumping up the quantity of runs. I see in October and November I got a little lax.

I have mixed in some cross training, so it's not all lost. I've added some swimming and biking, but that really doesn't make up all of it. I've just become complacent.

I commented on someone's blog that I should really set some goals, or I'll be 'base building' forever.

My IT band has been better, but I'm not sure it's 100%. That being said, I'd still like to run a marathon.

I think from a personal schedule, I'll have the best chance of doing the training now and running a marathon in late May. But, I don't know that I'm at the mileage now to really do a marathon. I'm not doing 25-30 miles a week. I'm just not. Most weeks, I get between 16-20.

If I could choose an ideal schedule, I think I'd shoot for the Pocono marathon in May. If all goes well, and I keep up the training, I could do the Wineglass marathon in the fall. (isn't it great, not even one down, and I'm planning a second?)

There's also a sprint triathalon locally around July 4th, which should fit into the schedule. I'd like to try it, and should be able to grind through it, regardless of the marathon.

So, yeah. I need to figure out a plan. Is the marathon in May attainable? I can run 8-10 miles with no problems, typically, but I usually have to rest a day or two afterward. After a few weeks, the short runs cause my legs to tire as well. But, I can usually run short runs (3-4 miles) often (5x a week) if I don't do a long run.

In addition, I have the treadmill variable. Is running on the treadmill through March going to produce enough training for a marathon in May? Will switching to road running be too much of a shock to my body? (Especially the Pocono, as there are a lot of downhills).

Have to figure out a plan.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Long weekend is almost over

Well, I was fortunate enough to have Friday off, so I netted a 4 day weekend. Superb!

I didn't do so well running this past week, though.

I did run Monday (with a swim there too). Tuesday, I gave blood (5:22 time, not a PR, but respectable), so no running that day. (I did get a gallon marker pin though. whoo!)

Wednesday, I don't remember where that went.

Thursday was full of family obligations, of course. I did some reflection during the time and was genuinely thankful of many things.

Friday, I did get out and ran *outside*. Amazing. So much more fun. It was nice being off so that I could run in the daylight. I put in 5 miles there, with a decent hill in the middle. Plus, my gym month's membership was up, so I delayed paying the next month's coin for a bit.

Saturday, I was the ultimate lazy bum, and didn't do much of anything but play video games. Hah. Oh, wait, no. I did get caught up on 'Prison Break'. They could have ended it. They could have had everything wrapped up, and people would have been happy. But nooooooooooooo. The writers/producers/TV people/whomever had to be greedy to make this show go on and on. Sigh.

Today was more family things. My newest nephew was baptized, so we went to the ceremony and the family get-together afterward.

And that was my week. What a blur. A good one, though.


So yeah, I was a lazy bum for exercise. But, my legs were really bothering me early in the week. I hope with the amount of rest I got, that I'll be ready to go this week. We'll see tomorrow......

Keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tiring work out

Well, I tried something different yesterday. I wanted to run 5 miles, but my legs were sort of not up for it. I did 3 on the treadmill, and probably could have continued, but decided to play it safe (which is good, because my legs are really creaky today).

I think it was 'The Transporter 2' on TV.. seen it before, but amusing enough to pass the time.

I finished my 3, and then went in the pool.

I did 18 laps, a half mile.


Let me tell you something. I was just out of gas by the end. I wasn't out of breath, but I was struggling with the swim. Do a lap, take a pause. Repeat.

I can see why they do the swim first in a triathlon. Chuckle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday at the gym

Went to the gym Saturday, and battled through 8 miles. It went like this.

- 3 miles on the treadmill.

At about 2.5 miles in, some guy came onto the treadmill immediately to my right and turned the TV on. With the volume all the way up. Thanks.

I said, "OK, this is getting dull", and went upstairs to the indoor track.

- 1 mile there.

So there, a mother decided that the indoor track was the perfect place to let her kids run around. Super.

Having had enough of that, I ventured back downstairs to a different treadmill.

- 2 miles there.

Nothing exciting to report, but I was really bored. I had been watching college football (no team preference, sorry), but everything was in halftime at that point.

Went back up to the track.

- 1 mile

The panter was there. Pant pant pant. Run run run. Pant pant pant. I could hear this guy 10 lengths in front or behind him. OK.. he's out there at least. But, he's in the same category as the grunter in the weight room, if you ask me.

After finishing that 15 laps, also mind numbing, I went to do my hip adduction/abduction.


Went back out to the track, and did

- my last mile.

Ugh. The cellphone guy was there. Yack yack yack. Loud loud loud.


They were all out at the gym that day. Oh well. Got through the 8, in not the most contiguous fashion, but they were completed.

Sunday was a rest day, and I'm debating what to do tonight. I wanted to run 5, but I'm feeling a bit creaky, so maybe it will be 3 and a swim or something.. We'll see.

Keep on rockin' everyone.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Various Miscellany

I worked out Wednesday, but it was a struggle. I did 2 miles on the treadmill and was just dying.. My legs felt awful and abused. I went and did the bike for 20 minutes, and wound up with 5.74 miles done.

Afterward, I hopped on the treadmill and did another mile, and called it a day. I wanted to do 5, but this seemed like a good compromise.

I also opted to take Thursday off, just to rest. Friday is a rest day by default, as tonight is the last night of dice baseball. The world series, baby! We'll see how it goes. Should be fun, at least.

I tried out a couple of new (to me) gins last night. Found these little bottle at the liquor store, and decided to give them a go.

First up is Tanqueray Rangpur. Tanqueray makes a very good gin to start, and the No. 10 is in my top 3 of gins. I decided to give the Rangpur a go, just for something different. It claims to have some extra citrus type things mixed in the flavor, so I said, "hey, why not?".



You'll note in the picture that I didn't put any limes in the gin. If it had extra citrus, I wanted to be able to taste it purely. Taking a sip, you definitely could taste extra things. It was as if lime juice had been mixed into the gin. The usual taste of juniper was heavily masked. Even the scent of it was very faint.

That being said, it was still very smooth. There was no need to add any limes to the gin & tonic, though.

I'd say it was good, but more of a gin for non gin drinkers. The usual bouquet that I look for was highly masked. I wouldn't turn it down, but I wouldn't hunt for it, either.


The next gin I tried was New Amsterdam.



I also started this one off without limes, just to get a taste for it. Looking at their website, it states "so smooth you can drink it straight."

Uhm, no.

Not so much.

It had more of a classic gin scent to it, but it had a fair amount of bite and it felt like a high amount of alcohol (it doesn't.. just a standard 40% ABV).

I added some limes to cut the bite, and it was better.

That being said, no, I wouldn't buy this one again. But, it certainly wasn't the worst I ever had.


I've tried a fair number of gins, and the ones I really like are:


I also don't mind Beefeater, as it's a decent gin for a budget price. The newfangled Beefeater "Wet", however.. that stuff is absolutely disgusting. Tastes like paint thinner. Expensive paint thinner, too. That stuff was by far the worst tasting gin I've ever had. Mr. Boston tasted like sweet nectar compared to this stuff.

Alright, that's enough gin for now.

I really should get to work.. keep on rockin' everyone. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

TIART - Thank Goodness for Running



Today's theme for Take It and Run Thursday is sharing reasons why you are thankful for running.

I'll do that, but also head in a slightly different direction.

Certainly, I am thankful for running. It's an escape. A chance to unwind. A chance to collect my thoughts. A chance to improve myself on a number of levels.

I also am thankful that I am able to run. That my health is such that I can, and can do so often.

What I really need to work on is that there is so much in my life to be thankful for, yet I sometimes get hung up on small pieces that didn't go quite right.

Sure, we've all got some legitimate bitch and gripe about something serious that has happened which is unfair. An unexpected medical condition. An untimely death in the family. Etc.

But to gripe because my Garmin didn't sync up with the satellites fast enough, or I only did 6 miles instead of 8, or other things like that.. those aren't real complaints. They're not really even worth voicing.

I have shoes on my feet that are under 300 miles old. I have clothes on my back that are in good condition. I can run to and from a roof over my head. I can eat & drink when I get back. All of those things right there are plenty to be thankful for.

Never mind the luxuries like the couple of nice wicking running shirts I have. Or the Garmin watch to track my mileage. Or the fact that I can sit down at a computer and blog about a run.

I have a wonderful family, a great group of friends, and I have all of the necessities of life, and more.

There's a lot to be thankful for, and it's important not to lose sight of that. Not only in running, but in life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why is Treat Williams in the pool?



Last night I went swimming. Wanted to give my legs a bit of a break, but still get a workout in.

There's 3 lanes in the pool, and you can fit 2 people per lane comfortably. Small pool, I know.

So, I took the middle lane. There was a guy in the left lane. The right lane was open.


So, I had finished about 3 laps, and a guy yells down, "Mind if I share your lane?"

Uhmm.. okaaaay... What about that wide open lane next to me?

So, I'm going back and forth, and back and forth. After I'd done a half a mile, the guy stops me. Looking at him, he looked a lot like Treat Williams. Granted, I have to wear glasses to see anything past a book I'm reading. And I have a bit of chlorine in my eyes. But, it really did look like him.

He proceeded to give me some swimming tips, indicating that my head was too far up while swimming, that my butt needed to be higher. I was also breathing improperly, as I wasn't rolling very smoothly.

Yeah.. Well, I'll give him that.

So, I did a couple of more laps, trying to keep my head down.. I think it helped, but my butt just doesn't float like that. I dunno. Probably a good thing, but still.

After a couple of laps, he stopped me for an update on how it felt. Better, I suppose. He then went into all of the things he *used* to do, but doesn't now. He just swims. Easier on the body.

I told him I was using swimming to cross train instead of running. That's when his credibility dropped.

He proceeded to inform me of how bad running was for you, and that you should just walk fast instead. Yadda yadda.

I didn't really want to get into a lively debate with him, plus I didn't need him turning into The Substitute and whoopin' me, so I just let him go on.

In the end, I finished up with 27 laps, just over 3/4 of a mile.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Big glasses and such



Found this glass at a closeout sale. My kind of size. Of course, I couldn't buy it as it was still a lot of dough.

Went to the gym last night.. Like most of the day, it was a battle. I started off with a 'hill workout' on the treadmill. It occurred to me that a hill workout on the treadmill is more of a series of uphills and plateaus, as opposed to up and down. Oh well.

It was the hill that never ended. Geez.

I did 20 minutes of that insanity, and then felt a sharp pain in my knee. I stopped that and switch to a flat workout, and finished off at a total of 3 miles. I went up to the indoor track and did 15 laps (one mile). Did my hip adduction/abduction and then did another mile. Called it a day.


I felt immensely better afterward. Glad I went to work out. I feel a bit funny in my knee today, so I may take the day off, or I may just swim.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wow.. Monday is flying by

Yeah, I just got done flying through my RSS reader. Sorry to all that I didn't get a chance to read and make an insightful comment.

The plumber came Friday and spent almost 2 hours fixing the valves. I'm glad I didn't bother trying to do that myself, because that would have been a whole weekend just *gone*.

Dice baseball was a success.. We played the 'divisional' and 'league' championship series. I survived both and will be playing in the world series on Friday. Whoo hoo!. Not bad, first time player, getting to the W.S.

For those that missed the original short, non-descriptive text about what dice baseball is, it's this. A bunch of guys sitting around, drinking beer, managing a team of baseball players, where the game is pretty much decided by rolls of the dice, with a tad bit of baseball strategy mixed in.

It's actually kind of fun, but some guys get waaaaay too serious about it. I just like to kick back and talk baseball and such.

On Saturday, I did get out to the gym to try again on my 8 miler. It was a smashing success. I set up the treadmill at a constant 5.7 mph and plugged away. Only annoying part was that the treadmill went into 'cool down' mode after an hour. I thought about continuing, but decided against it after 8.

Sunday, I felt pretty good.. muscles were a little tired, but nothing crippling. I obviously had some rubbing between my toes, so there's a little bit of rawness going on down there, unfortunately.

I'm going to the gym tonight to do another running workout, hopefully.


OK, all.. Sorry this is short.. more tomorrow.. Keep on rockin'.

Friday, November 14, 2008

TGIF

Made it to Friday.. Big stuff today. Called in the big guns to finish up my plumbing work. I decided I wasn't going to replace the shutoff valves on my own, so I'll be paying someone for their services. *shrug*

Hit the gym last night.. I had wanted to do 8, but didn't make it there in time. Plus, the treadmill I was on wasn't as cushion-y as some of the others, and my leg (with the ITBS issues) was bothering me some. And, I ran out of beverage at mile 5. All of the factors together added up, and I abandoned the plan.
So, I did 5 there, and 1 on the track. 6 miles, not too bad.

I'm going to take today off, and try again tomorrow for the 8.

Tonight is dice baseball.. playoff version. Last week I officially made it into the playoffs, but barely. I really backed into it, going 1 and 5 (against the bottom 2 teams). But, it was enough to get me in.

First series is against my friend that brought me into the league... heh.

Alright everyone.. keep on rockin'!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

TIART - Running Green



So, the theme today for TIART is Running Green.

Not to rip off tfh, but I'm going to throw myself as somewhere "in the middle".


I buy new running sneaks every 300 miles or so, but I do try to use my old ones as "every day" shoes.

I have bought running shirts & shorts, but I also use my old t-shirts and shorts (those certainly aren't as nice to run in).

I do refill water bottles from the tap, but I also go and drink new bottles of Gatorade style stuff.

I'm certainly more willing to go walking a long distance to get somewhere, but there really isn't much around to walk to.


So yeah, I'm in the middle. I'm all for doing things that are green, but it just doesn't always happen, for any number of reasons.

I think that running has made my healthier, hopefully cutting down on medical costs & equipment, which should be a green thing. I do things like lots of recycling, using a programmable thermostat, etc.

But really, I think there's probably more things I could do, like buying packets of Gatorade mix & making my own. Trying to bike to more places. The list goes on.

We should all try to be a little greener.

Look out Michael Phelps

.. Here I come!


Yeah, OK. Maybe not.

The other day I picked up some swim goggles, and I was itching to try them out.

Furthermore, I went out on the web and was searching around for "swimming tips". I figured, hey, I learned a heck of a lot about running by going around and reading advice, blogs, etc.. I suspect there is probably a swimming community out there.

So, after a good, oh, 2 or 3 minutes, I found this video out on YouTube. It goes over 4 common swimming mistakes. I'm sitting there watching the video and thinking to myself.. "uh oh". I suspected I made all 4 mistakes.

So, I hopped in the pool last night and did a quick half lap of normal freestyle swimming. Yep. I made all 4.

Super.

But, the goggles worked great. I spent the time at the pool working on my form, doing about half of my laps freestyle, the rest doing different strokes. It really is surprisingly more efficient to swim as the video instructs.. Not over-reaching, not reaching across the body, keeping your head down. I was tired, but nothing like before.

I wound up doing 25 laps, putting me a little under 3/4 of a mile.

I suspect Michael Phelps doesn't need to go to YouTube for training tips. *chuckle*

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Coffee




See, you're excited.. Free coffee! What's not to like?

Yes, I received an e-mail at 11:30AM, Monday morning, with the subject line of "Free Coffee This Week!"

(Normally, I'm not a fan of the exclamation point in the subject, but "free coffee" warrants an exception.)

So, yes, we did indeed have free coffee. We're trying out this new coffee brewing system from Keurig. It has these "K cups", which are little plastic (more on that later) cups, containing enough grounds for a single cup of coffee.

You put your K cup in the machine, put your mug in underneath, hit the button, wait 30 seconds, and your coffee is done.

Unlike our little pod coffee maker at home, this is pretty hot coffee when it comes out, too.

The flavor of the coffee was really good. Most of our samples were 'Green Mountain Coffee', and were quite tasty. Far better than the swill that you can get from the vending machine or from the "cafeteria".

Plus, the water sometimes runs funny colors here. Yellow.. brown.. Makes you second guess about drinking.


The only downside to the K cups is that they seem to be very non-green. They're all individual plastic containers with tinfoil over the top, and you throw them into the garbage. Not green.. I'm not too big of a fan of that. (At least with the pods, I think they'd biodegrade pretty easily)

So yeah.. I was stoked. It was like having free drugs here.

So, at 2:30PM on Wednesday afternoon, I go over for another cup. All gone. I'm sad.


I guess we'll see how well the trial went over, and if people will pay for this.

1 mile

Yep.. Did one mile on the treadmill last night.

Of course, that was after doing 10.8 miles on the bike. In half an hour.

Now, I don't kid myself to think that I was really going ~21 mph for 30 minutes yesterday. I figure the bike calculations are a bit off.. But, I was going like hell.

Just wanted to work a different set of muscles from the usual running set. Plus, I had an hour until the pool opened for lap/adult swim.. so, on the bike I went!

And, just for giggles, I did a mile at 6.25mph on the treadmill, to see what that would feel like. Let me tell you, the first third of a mile, it really didn't feel good at all.



Later that night, I went and picked up these.. a pair of swim goggles. I'm hoping to try them out tonight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Treadmill & new beer




I went to the gym and banged out 4.21 miles on the treadmill over 40 minutes. Averaged 6.2/6.3 per mile until the last mile, where I kept knocking the pace up every tenth of a mile. All in all, not too bad.

I felt a little bad while there.. there was a woman who got on the treadmill next to me.. I saw that she had some intricate ink on her back/shoulders/arm.. I'm hoping she didn't think I was a lecherous man.. I was just trying to see what her tattoos were of. Oh well.

I did my hip adduction/abduction machine while there, too. Of course, as par for the course, the grunter was there working out in the weight room. You know, the guy that tries to lift more than he should and is grunting after every rep. Seems that some incarnation of him always is there in the weight room.

That was it.. short workout.

Afterward, I went to my brother-in-law's place and tried out Yuengling's Porter. Not a bad porter at all. Dark chocolate flavors with some malt taste, but not really heavy. It complemented the pile of wings we had very well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The ol' pump faucet



Pretty quiet weekend, really.

We've had this faucet sitting in a box for a couple of months that I've been meaning to install. Of course, I just haven't gotten to it.

Saturday, I had the brilliant idea of putting it in.

So, I shut the shutoff valves off, proceeded to unplumb the old one, and then ran into a snag. I couldn't get the old one off. The stupid plastic nuts on the bottom didn't have anything to hold on to, and I couldn't get one of them unscrewed.

Yeah, ok. Big deal.

Of course, one of the shutoff valves then started to really not be shut off. And it just got worse from there. I shut the water off completely to all sinks, toilets, and everything plumbing related, and proceeded to fight with the old faucet for an hour. Eventually, I got it off, after resorting to drills, chisels, and other tools not normally found in a plumber's toolbox.

Joe the plumber I am not.

So, I put the new one in (it does look like the one in the picture). Started installing a new trap.. yep. Forgot to get an extension tube. This sink is stupid and wasn't really put together right. Super. One trip down to Home Depot later (where Christmas is apparently in full season, thank you very much)...

Got the trap/drain all done, turn the water supplies back on.. and......

No hot water. Super.

I figure that shutting off the valve got it stuck in the 'almost off' position. Not quite "off", as it can still leak water at a decent rate all over.

Totally fricken awesome. So, we have cold water. It's going old school, back to the pump, ala this faucet style.

I wasn't about to fart around with putting in a new shutoff valve after this fiasco. Plumber is coming Friday.


So, Saturday was wrecked after all of that, and I didn't get out to swim, run, bike, do jumping jacks, or anything like that. I did make about 800 trips up and down stairs, though, so that's got to count for something.

Sunday I did get out and do 21 laps in the pool, so that was nice. I am humbled by the other swimmers though.. I'm struggling to do a whole lap with freestyle crawl, and they go back and forth and back and forth. Sigh. I mix it up with different strokes so I can work different muscles. Yeah, that's it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Favicons Downloader - 0.30

In case anyone cares, I created a new version of my Firefox plugin - Favicons Downloader. (Info on the old version is here.)

You can find it in the Experimental Sandbox or at SourceForge.

New exciting features are:
- Background downloading support
- Updates bookmark icons in the 'Bookmarks Toolbar', as well as the standard bookmarks menu

There's a few bug fixes and minor items.


It's a 'Use at your own risk' sort of piece of software.. :) Seems to work OK for me and for others, but it is just a side project.

I actually nominated it for public usage, but I was turned down because no external website had reviewed it. I guess I understand that, but it stinks. Chuckle.

Alright.. I'm out.

Thursday night and other goodies

I went to the gym Thursday night and did a treadmill workout. I wound up doing 5 miles on the hamster wheel. The first 4 were at 6mph. The last one was gradually increased up to 6.6mph.

After a couple of weeks of doing treadmill workouts, I do find that they are easier on my legs than the sidewalk, without a doubt. The other benefit of being in the gym is that I can use the hip abduction/adduction machine. I'm hoping that doing that will help with my ITBS issues.

The only downside with the gym is that it's sauna hot in there. My t-shirt was completely soaked all the way through. Disgusting, I know. Sorry for the imagery. I'd like to work up to doing long runs there, but man. Wow. I went through my water bottle in 5 miles. The gear needed for something like a 15 mile run.. Blah. I can't imagine. Well, I can. But, I dread it. Running back to the locker room for a new bottle every 4 miles. Or, I could keep a cooler by the treadmill. ;)

I also did some real pushups last night. I wound up doing 50 real pushups (in a row). First time I tried since I broke my elbow. I'm really happy I didn't revert all the way back to 0. I'll probably not jump right back onto the 100 pushups thing, but maybe in a month or so.

On an exciting note, I mailed off my last bill payment for my broken elbow this morning. I'm glad to have that all behind me. A hell of an expensive mistake, but what can you do?

Alright everyone.. keep on rockin'!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Minor update

Lots of rinky-dink posts today.. why not.

In an update to the house demolition, the grass has been seeded, and hay is being put down now. Incredible.

TIART - Running Transitions



This is the first week I've participated in Take It and Run Thursday over at Runner's Lounge. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I suppose transitions were what brought me to running. A couple of years ago, I went through a terrible loss, and was going through internal discussion with myself, self-discovery, etc.

I had been friends with my current running buddy for a few years and was somewhat envious of her running ability. At the time, my past experiences with running had been, well, awful. I ran cross country in middle school for one season and hated it. I ran track for a part of a season until some irreconcilable differences came up between myself and a "team" mate.

Looking back to that time years and years ago, I realize I just wasn't at a point where I mentally could do the running.

In my self discovery time, something came over me that yes, I would like to give it a go. Part of it was just so I could go running with my running buddy and hang out with her. Part of it was so that I could improve my health & fitness.

I "ran" for the first time in years, and realized all that it could do for me. I was mentally at a point where I understood it all, and realized all that running could do for me, and I've kept with it since.

So, transitions brought me to running. New transitions that come along don't really pull me away. In fact, running helps me. If something is really bothering me, I go out and run. I can run off some of the stress and am better off for it. (Now, if only I could run an hour and a half every day!)

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November



Sigh. It was November 5th yesterday.

I usually make a point of watching V for Vendetta on 11/5. It is Guy Fawkes Day after all.

Of course, I'm not from the U.K., so it really doesn't have significance to me, any more than, say, Cinco de Mayo.

But, I always liked 'V for Vendetta'

But.. I forgot. Didn't watch it. Didn't do much of anything after work, honestly. I played 'Pain' on the PS3, and my wife and I went through a couple of levels on 'Lego Star Wars'. Nothing too noteworthy...

Blog spam!

Very exciting stuff.. real live blog spam. Here, on my blog. I've arrived.

While I really do enjoy lingerie of all types, the blatant ad just isn't doing much for me. It's all text based, too. C'mon.. give me something to tease me. It does claim to hold 'sexy' and 'hot' lingerie at the web site, so that's something.

In addition, not only does the website have 'costumes', it has 'sexy costumes'. I'd love to see the differentiation there.

The other noteworthy category is 'fantasy lingerie'. I suspect the store has no grasp on what my fantasies are, but you never know.

Updated to remove the link

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Demolition

I've been watching a house near where I work be torn down today. It was up in its entirety this morning (even around 9:30am). Here it is, not quite 4:30, and it's been completely removed. Foundation and all.

Amazing.

Election Day Workout

On the way home, I picked up my wife and we went and voted. The polling place was more crowded than I'd ever seen it, but I only had a wait of 6 people ahead of me in my district. Not bad.

I went to the gym and did a workout.. Wound up doing 2 miles on the treadmill, followed by a mile on the track. I also did a few weight machines (hips, abs, lower back).

On the way out, I ran into my running buddy, and I proceeded to do 15 on the stairmaster.

(Of course, during all of this, I was glued to the election coverage).

Anyway, I went home, got cleaned up, and got ready for the main event.. the real election coverage.

My running buddy came over, and her and my wife watched some soaps and then watched their wedding videos together.. I checked in periodically, doing double duty between the two TVs.

I can't say that I ever really got into election coverage as much as I did yesterday.

Wow.. it was historic, that's for sure.

I watched McCain's speech, and figured that I may as well stay up to watch Obama's.

The election "season" is finally closed, and I'm really looking forward to what will happen over the next four years. For those of you who went out and voted, awesome. For those of you who didn't.. tsk tsk.


I'm kind of whipped today from staying up late and watching the TV. Hopefully I'll get a swim in tonight, but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gym workout

Long day at work yesterday. I went to the gym and worked off the stress.. Wound up doing 3.5 miles on the treadmill.. (one mile @ 6mph, 1 @ 6.1, 1 @ 6.2). Then, did a little over a mile on the indoor track, ending with a sprint lap.

Finally ended on the stairmaster for 10 minutes of hell. I ran into my running buddy there, also on the stairmasters, so at least I had someone to chat with.

I'm hoping to hit the pool tonight, after going out to vote, of course.

Election Day



It's election day here in the U.S. It's been coming a long long time. I'll be glad to see it over.

I haven't felt as charged up as I am ever in a presidential election (or any election for that matter).

I must say though, this whole electoral college thing seems crazy to me. I understand, back in the day, people weren't as well informed, etc etc. Any more now, though, we have 24/7 news coverage on everything - from politics to what celebrity wore what while dating whom.

I think it would be neat if everyone got a vote, you tallied up the numbers, and that was it. I live in a non swing state, so we get very little attention paid to us. Not that I'd go to a political rally, but.. it's the concept. It seems so strange that in New York or in California, if the vote was 51%/49%, all of those electoral votes would go towards one candidate. The 49% would have more votes that some entire states.

I also realize that both major political parties try to use the electoral college system to their advantage. The work different angles to get the votes. So, the odds of it changing are slim. Doesn't mean I like it.


Anyway, if you're eligible to vote, and you're informed, get out there and vote. Doesn't matter who you vote for, just go and vote.

As I told someone who wasn't planning to vote.. if you don't vote, you can't complain about who was voted in.

Alright folks.. keep on rockin' the vote..

Monday, November 3, 2008

New beers from the weekend



My brother in law was kind enough to hook me up this weekend. I spent a good amount of time there, just hanging out, and he did me a solid.

First up was Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. Sorry for the bad pic.

It's labeled as a brown ale.. I'm going to say it's much closer to a stout or porter. There's a lot of similar flavor to a Guinness, but it's not as dark. There's a lot of malt & molasses flavor. It's got a decent kick, too, at 7.2% ABV.

Turns out there's a whoop of calories per beer there. I enjoyed it, but wouldn't have it every time.



The other beer I was hooked up with from him was the 60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head. This was an excellent hoppy IPA. I like the 90 minute version slightly better, but 60 minute was quite good. This beer had a citrus scent too it, but you'd have a hard time picking it out from the hop smell and taste.

My wife had me smell a few things this weekend (candles and such). My sniffer just isn't very good. Many scents seemed familiar, but I just couldn't nail them down. Sigh. I probably won't ever be able to be an expert beer reviewer as a result.



Last beer I tried was something I picked up at the grocery store. This was Post Road Pumpkin Ale. Post Road is part of the Brooklyn brewery, which produces some really good beer. It's late to the Pumpkin Roundup, but I figured.. "why not?" :)

The Post Road is similar to the Saranac pumpkin. Interesting flavor, and a decent head to it. The color is a bit more orange, and the finish is a bit nicer. I really enjoyed this beer.

Weekend workout

My great goals for working out this weekend were just squashed due to logistics. Oh well. Even with an extra hour, I couldn't get everything in.

I had originally planned to go to the gym Saturday morning and work out. I stepped outside, realized how warm it was, and proceeded to do my run outside. I managed 4.25 miles at an 8:58 pace. Not too shabby.

Only interesting (and frightening) thing I saw was this.. While running downtown, I saw a guy in a motorized power chair/scooter thing. He was driving it down the street. A busy street. Main Street, in fact. He was riding with traffic.
On my way back, I wound up passing him. I'm running on foot at my ~6.5 mph pace on the sidewalk. If I was running in the street, I'd be running against traffic.

I dunno.. I felt worried about him, that he should be up on the sidewalk.


Sunday, I had planned to go swimming, but it just didn't happen. Oh well. I did pick up a copy of 'Lego Star Wars' for $20, though. :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

And now for something completely different



Last night, I went to the gym. And......


I went swimming.

I wound up doing laps like this:

  • A lap of crawl swimming, which literally crawled along
  • A lap of breaststroke
  • A lap of elementary backstroke
  • A lap of sidestroke, half lap on each side.


And repeat.

All in all, 16 laps. I got a terrible cramp in my calf on lap 13, so I stretched it out, finished up my course of 4 and got out. It's still slightly cramped this morning. My recently broken elbow was starting to feel it too, so it was good to call it quits.

Looking at the length of the pool, it's 25yards, so that's just short of a half mile @ 800 yards.

Not terrible for not having swam in a couple of years.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doctor Who?




Sigh. Just read an article that the Doctor is leaving. No more David Tennant.

It took me a bit to get used to him, but I really like him. I always tell my wife that you shouldn't get attached to the characters, because they come and go, but it always throws me when The Doctor goes.

Argh!

Trophies



So, I got a PS3 a few months back.. One of the big reasons why was to play GTA IV. One thing led to another, and I didn't get fully immersed into that game until recently.

So, I'm playing GTA, and I've got about ~40% completion. (I'm shooting for the full hundred. For those that aren't familiar with this sort of thing, you have to do all sorts of silly mundane things, as well as some harder things, in order to get to 100%. You can finish the game around 60%).

The PS3 also has new support for "trophies", which are tied to your account. If you do more challenging things within certain games, you get trophies. The harder it is, the more valuable the trophy (bronze/silver/gold/platinum).

Where's this going, you may ask? On Monday, a patch was released to add trophy support to GTA. Awesome. I can finally get some trophies.

Yeah. As soon as I fired up the game and loaded my saved game, I get a message to the effect of: You're going to have to start over to get any trophies.

Are you freakin' kidding me?

Apparently, this is to combat people exchanging saved games with each other and gaining trophies they didn't rightfully earn. Really? People are that lame?

Sigh. I don't particularly care about the trophies, but I do like do get all of the little things that can be obtained when going for a 100% completion.

I guess I'm just not the target demographic anymore. My few hours a week doesn't compare to the folks that put in 50+ a week. In my defense, I do have to work to buy crap like this, Sony.


In other PS3 news, I downloaded the BioShock demo, and it seemed pretty sweet. Pretty much identical to the XBox version, from the 30 minutes I spent playing/watching it on the XBox.. I may have to get that as my next game, after I figure out what I'm going to do about GTA. (Finish it without trophies, or start over? Grrrrr)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winter weather




So, last night, it was flurries in the air and dark. That was the tipping point.

I went and did it. I signed up to go to the gym. The gym is about a mile away from me, so the distance thing can't be an excuse. It's pretty nice, really. Lots of cardio machines, weight rooms, a pool (albeit, a bit small), etc. I only bought in for a month, due to not wanting to part with 700 clams right up front.

So, day 1 of the gym experiment (version 2008) was a success. I did 3 miles on the treadmill, followed by 1 mile on the indoor track.

The indoor track is something. It's pretty small, in that 15 laps on the running lane is a mile (or 16 on the walking lane). I had trouble keeping count. You wouldn't think it would be hard, but yeah, I had trouble. Pretty nice though, compared to the sidewalk. Nice and cushiony.

The treadmill miles were awkward for me. I never have run on a treadmill, and I kept worrying I was going to go flying off the back and wind up as a youtube video. There are TVs in front of the treadmills.. I'm not a big TV person, and didn't want to lose my concentration, so I didn't worry too much about that yesterday.

The track mile was untimed.. I did a couple of fast laps, mixed in with my regular pace. The treadmill miles were 10 min, 9:20, and 9 min.

All in all, it was 4 miles, and I felt pretty good today. The running surface really does play into your leg health, I suspect.

I wrapped up the night with 5 minutes on the stair stepper. Good workout, but while doing it, it's like trying to step your way out of hell. You keep going, but never get out. And, it sucks while doing it.

My running buddy re-upped at the gym, and she was there too, owning the stair stepper. 35 minutes! Props to her.


Keep on rockin'.. I guess I'm rockin' indoors for a while..

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First 5K

So, there's a local 5K that my running buddy and I have talked about running in the past.

This weekend, we actually did it.


It's my first official 5K. Whoo hoo! Finally got around to just doing it.

So, to set the scene, my running buddy hadn't run for 2 weeks. She's been having trouble with all that's happened lately. I've been battling some various physical issues.

So, yeah, we're not at our prime. Not that our prime is all that prime, either.

We drive up to the area the race is being held, and see some real pros. Guys and gals running faster than I can on a sprint, just to warm up. I casually mentioned that unless we start throwing a few elbows, we sure aren't going to win this thing.

We did the registration, got our shirts, and proceeded to do our warmups. Our warmups consist of absolutely nothing. They certainly pale in comparison to what was going on there.

The race eventually was getting underway, and we lined up. In the street. I don't know what I was expecting.. a crowd of 150 to run down the sidewalk? I dunno. I thought that was pretty cool, though. A decent police presence to prevent bozos from driving near us. If they'd do that every time I want to run, I'd really appreciate it.

Anyway, the starter pistol fired (barely.. really wimpy pistol, if you ask me), and we were off. It took about 6-7 seconds to get up to the starting line, and that's when I started my Garmin. We kept it at an easy pace, and ran the race just to run it.

(The nice thing about it being your first is that it's an instant PR).

The course was mostly flat, with a small downhill and a small uphill. It was 2 loops around some city streets, and there were crossing guards at each intersection.

A few locals came out to watch.. some were even cheering a bit.

The first quarter mile was really congested. There were 141 runners and a whole bunch of walkers. We slowly picked people off and moved past them. After about a half mile, it had spread apart pretty decently, and we could move at our desired pace.

I think our first mile was about 9:14.. (Don't have the splits in front of me. I know.. what kind of race report is this?)

After the first mile was the uphill, which was pretty taxing on a lot of folks. We kept up our pace, more or less, and kept on trucking. At the 2 mile mark (my Garmin said 2.03.. either it was measured wrong, or I turned a bit wide, or both. Probably me, though), we were doing pretty well. We wound up passing one of the walkers we knew, and said "hi". She proceeded to mention that she knew we could run faster.

probably, but not today.

The second loop's hill was pretty taxing on my buddy, so we slowed it down a bit. All through the race, she said I could go ahead, but I'd have nothing of that. I wouldn't be running at all without her, and I was going to run my first race with her, no matter what speed we were going.

We finished up the final push and arrived with a clock time of 29:24. So, actual time was ~29:17. Of course, nimrod here didn't actually hit the stop button until a minute later when he realized that the Garmin was still going.. Smooth move, ex-lax!

We grabbed some water and headed out.. Figured, there was no need to stay for the post-race ceremonies.

Turns out in this field, we both wound up second for our age groups. I was quite fortunate in that there were many many age groups, and my group only had two people in it. I'll still take it, though. Our friend we passed walking picked up our winner's hats, and I'll have to pick that up from her at some point this week.

The whole racing thing was a lot of fun. At some point, I'll try really racing it, rather than just running it, just to see how it goes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cleaning out my phone pix

I've had a bunch of pictures on my phone that I didn't post directly here, mainly due to wanting to add weblinks and such. I think this is the last of them.

While out and about, we stopped at Moe's to eat. While there, I saw this:



It's a Negra Modelo dark beer. Never had one. Hmm.. Why not? For the research, of course!

It's OK. Something different, but not terribly exciting. It started out OK, and midway through my nachos (pictured), the taste sort of soured. The taste came back near the end of the meal, but.. eh. Reminded me of a Michelob Dark I had 14-15 years ago at Busch Gardens. Alas, that was quite a while ago, so I'm going on vague recollections there. Very vague.

It's a darker beer, not a lot of carbonation. But, not very potent/strong like dark beers often are. Had a bit of a sweet taste to it, even.

Something different, probably won't bother with it again, though.

Speaking of beer, I'm hoping to head up to Cooperstown and hit one or two breweries up there, in addition to the baseball Hall Of Fame. A similar trip to what Viper just went on, I believe.

I was giving some thought to cutting back on the whole alcohol consumption thing. Not quitting, because that just wouldn't work. Not at all. But, come December, I've got a good long sabbatical amount of time off of work. I figure, with that stress out of life for a bit, it may be a good opportunity to ease up. Factor in the extra time that I'll have to be exercising, maybe I can wean down some.

Honestly, if I stopped drinking, I'd lose mad weight. Not that I need to lose a lot, but it's my thing which puts it on.. Not the dessert. Not the fried foods. I keep all of that in balance. Just the booze. Sigh.

Jury is out. We'll see.

Ooo.. It's a lady!



Anyone like The Ladies Man? Funny flick. My brother in law mentioned I should watch it. Hilarious, in a not-very-advanced-comedy sense. I recently watched it, and truly enjoyed it. It's so stupid, it's funny.

The drink of choice for Leon Phelps is Courvoisier. I had some once after a serious set of 18 holes of golf, so I was well on the way to not really caring what was going down.. Even then, I enjoyed it.

So, I decided after watching the movie.. why not. Went down and picked up a bottle.



I'm not a cognac expert. Not by a long shot. But this stuff is pretty darn good. It's Courvoisier VS, the entry level. Very smooth, and has an excellent underlying fruit/grapey smell.

Besides, if you drink it, you'll be as refined as Leon is!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

last.fm

I just signed up for last.fm. Yeah, I know. Late to the party. Not the first time.

Feel free to friend me up.. 'raulgonemobile'.

Same with FriendFeed. 'raulgonemobile' there too. Damn, I could have written that app. That would have been my ticket out! Makes perfect sense!

It's getting cold

Went for a run yesterday, and it was cold. I put on my long sleeve running shirt and left the sleeves down, even. Yuck. I may have to visit the gym and look into a membership. I used to go to the Y nearby my place, but it was really expensive. The gym is reportedly cheaper.. hrms.

I just worry about having another membership I'll use for a while and then stop. (Of course, with my Y one, I used it faithfully for a year, and after re-upping, stopped using it. Super.)

But yeah, it was damn cold. I'm just used to the nice weather, I suppose. So, in order to stay warm, I went fast. At least, that was my goal. I banged out a 5K. The first mile was a 7:40 pace, not too shabby. I decided to back it down for the second mile, yielding ~9:40 pace. For the last mile, I said "let's turn it on" (the "'s" being me talking to my body, as no one else was around. Perhaps I should look at that issue of me talking to myself at some point).

Well, not much left to turn on, it turns out. I netted about a 9:00 pace. It was partly uphill, and I'll stick to that being my story.


Other than that, nothing doing. I didn't get to my RSS reader until this afternoon, so I'm just way far behind. Way way far. I'm over-subscribed, too. Between the e-mail, twitter, the news.. how does one stay on top of this stuff?

I did figure out what was wrong with my phone and listening to music. The headphones have to use this adapter to get down to the ultra-mini-headphone-jack size.. That adapter wire wound up being the bad part.. Too bad.. It's not terribly convenient, either, since the damn thing bounces around while running. I need to find a solution if I'm going to become a hamster at the gym...

Keep on rockin'. I will, especially if I can figure out a music listening thing..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hill workout

I was debating what to run last night.. The weather was perfect, around 55 and clear. I had an hour's worth of daylight to run in.

I opted for a portion of one of my favorite runs.. It starts out going uphill from our place, more or less slowly and gradually. There's some steeper spots, but nothing too crazy.

Here's an elevation chart of it:



The hill itself is 3.5 miles up, but I figured my calves weren't healed enough for that. So, I capped it at 2 miles up, yielding a 4 mile run.

It went fairly smoothly.. Just about a 10:00/mile pace on the way up, and a 9:00/mile pace on the way back. Nice and easy. Today, the calves are tight, but not painful.

Keep on rockin'...

Monday, October 20, 2008

More strange cucumbers

To follow up on a previous cucumber photo, here's a new one:




This strange critter grew around the grill and became mis-shapen as a result. Looks like it was impaled, even.

Not a bad weekend

Went out for dice baseball on Friday. I started out the evening by going 3-1. Sweet. Of course, I dropped the next four. So, 3-5 on the night. Not stellar.

Saturday morning we decided to break out a new gadget. A couple of years ago, I got my wife one of those 'pod' coffee makers.. The idea being you could make a cup or two of coffee quick & easy. I was thinking she could take it to work, and I got a stellar deal on it.. The maker and a couple of bags of pods for $10.
Yeah, it sat in a box. For a long time.

But, we busted it open Saturday morning and gave it a shot. My review of the 'Home Cafe' is this.. (granted, ours is a few years old now.. so, maybe this has all been fixed) Neat idea, ok execution. The maker tended to spit coffee in little bits around the cup. Not a lot, but a bit messy. More noticeably, the coffee was warm, but not hot. My wife likes a bit of milk in hers, so once you do that, it really needs to be warmed up. Furthermore, I felt the coffee was a bit oily (I had the Columbian Supremo of Folgers).. Neat toy, though. Easy enough to wipe up the counter and throw the cup of coffee in the microwave.

It was easier than making a whole pot or the like. For instance, I got up before my wife on Sunday, felt like a cup of coffee and went to the pod, rather than farting around with the pot, filter, measuring, etc.

Back to Saturday, I logged 3.6 miles running. Pretty non-eventful, but I felt reasonably good. Sunday, my feet hurt a bit, probably that tendonitis hasn't gone completely away, but it wasn't terrible. I wanted to do 4-5, but we were supposed to be heading out.

I also got cleared by the doctor to resume doing pushups. Although, I can't do too much too fast (who, me?), or I'll develop some tendonitis there. So, I did some bent knee pushups. Midway through, I realized that I had no idea how to do bent knee pushups, and spent some time working out the proper position. It wound up being a success, but I kept it pretty light. I'll try some more tonight.

On Sunday, I met a friend of mine out, and we watched the Jets game. Damn Jets. They were supposed to win! I suppose it's my fault.. I had told someone that this week was "a lock". Sigh.

At least the Red Sox aren't in the World Series.. :)

Better than the weekend Joba Chamberlain had. C'mon.. what are you thinking?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Midweek workouts

I took Monday off.. no running, no work.. just goodness. My wife and I hit some of the wineries on Cayuga lake. The usual assortment of wines, except we stopped at Six Mile Creek Vineyard as well. (We usually don't hit this one, because it's out of the way of the others.)

The most awesome thing there was that they had some real spirits there. Woot! So, I threw my dollar on the bar and asked for a sample of their vodka. Very excellent. They kept it chilled (in a fridge, not a freezer). The vodka was made from Seyval Blanc, and was very very smooth. Went down nice, no bite. It did have a bit of a pleasant scent to it, as well. Not quite grapey, but you could sense something. The taste of that smell wasn't too strong, no doubt partly from it being chilled. It's pretty expensive, ~$25 for a small bottle. But, worth a buck for a sample.

I also saw that they'll have some gin soon.. I'll have to venture back. I do love a good gin. Some time after Thanksgiving, I was told.


Anyways, Tuesday I did a run after a rest day, and banged out 3.2 miles. It was pretty non-eventful.

Wednesday, I did 20 minutes on an elliptical. I wound up having to change the batteries midway through the workout, and never really got into a rhythm. I decided to try different cadences, different foot positions, and alternating between going forward and backward, just to mix the workout up a little. It worked, my legs felt really worked out, and that's good. (Certainly seems to use more of the 'cycling' muscles than the 'running' ones, though)

Thursday, I hit the pavement again. Wound up doing 3.5 miles, and I felt really good. I thought my IT band might be acting up, but I made it through without any severe issues. Calves felt good. Honestly, it was one of the better runs I've had in a while. Too bad it was so short.

No running tonight, but I'm hoping to do 4-5 on Saturday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin roundup



This is probably my last photo of pumpkin beer for the season. I saw that Smuttynose Brewing had a pumpkin, but my fridge runneth over in beer currently.

So, this is the Saranac Pumpkin Ale. It's got a pleasant brown color to it, and is medium to full bodied. I didn't find the carbonation overwhelming. Smelling it and tasting it led to a sense of vanilla, mixed in with the pumpkin. Very well balanced.

I also had some Shipyard Brewery Pumpkinhead Ale the other day. That reminded me of a Coors light waved near a pumpkin. Really. Didn't do much for me at all- pumpkin taste was pretty weak & the beer was pretty weak.

I think my favorite pumpkin beer was the Southern Tier Pumking. Again, not one you could do a case of in a night, but a very very interesting tasting experience.

As far as Octoberfest beers go, I really liked the Harpoon. Probably my favorite there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some weekend coverage

Yeah, it's Wednesday, and I'm finally getting around to discussing some of the stuff that went on this weekend.

First up was dice baseball.



I had the pleasure of hosting the guys, so I got the necessary supplies. A pic of the beverages is included for your viewing pleasure.. (Yes, I took the time to line them all up, 6 deep, by brand and style). Plus, a whopper of a good sheet pizza was had by all.

The results.. well, I went 3-2 this week, putting me one game under .500. Not terrible, especially for this being my first season.

My wife was really pleased about the hosting experience, surprisingly enough. She said that the guys didn't leave a mess at all. That they were cleaner than the ones that come over when she has PartyLite parties. Hmmmm.


On Saturday, we went for a bike ride. It was my first ride since I broke my elbow while riding.

I decided to take the toe clips off, too. I'm just not ready for them.

And, well, since I haven't been riding, it was a struggle on the hills. Big struggle. Some I won, some I lost. But, at least I was out there. And so was my wife. Props to her for taking the hilly route back home. All in all, it was a little under 6 miles done.

Sunday, I went for a run.. first run since I figured out what the hell was wrong with my feet. The rest did some good, as my feet can be walked on now. I took it easy and did a little under 3 miles. It wasn't stellar, but it was some miles at least.

More topics coming up...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Perspective

Today is a bit of an un-fun post. Did some interesting things over the weekend, but that's not today's topic. We'll save that for another day.

I'm not a big fan of politics. I don't particularly side with either party (although some friends who get my 'shared items' from my RSS reader may beg to differ). As a result, I'll try to keep this non-political.

I just don't understand the war. I don't get it. What the hell is the point? I've never been in favor of it. My take is that we have enough issues here at home, that our resources would be better spent fixing ourselves up before we try to help the world.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, today, my running buddy's husband deploys to Iraq.

They've been married a month. A month. They never get a chance to spend any time together as it is.

The guy is awesome. He can fly helicopters. That right there is awesomeness. I suppose his skills are part of the reason of him going.

But that just sucks.

He's a good guy. I first met him a few years ago. Our place flooded due to some hurricane remnants. He was literally the first one at the door. I had never met him, yet there he was, the first knock. He was in town to visit his future wife, and he spent the day cleaning up our mess.


I may bitch about my ITBS or tendonitis. I may hate my job. Our economy is going to hell. Yet, all of that is just peanuts compared to what he's doing. He's leaving his wife, his family, his friends, just to do his job. His job.

Makes me realize that I need to keep things in perspective.

And yet, he's been lucky. It's his first deployment. The families that do it over and over, 3, 4 times. Wow.

That doesn't make it easier, of course. Just trying to keep it in perspective.

We had a "we'll see you when you get back" dinner for him on Sunday. At the end, he handled it all super well, and was happily consoling those that needed it.

I don't know. The whole thing just totally sucks. I think all of the men and women overseas should come home. Today. Right now.

Perhaps I don't understand the big picture, but I think that area has always been unstable, and will remain to be whenever we get the hell out of there. But, I'm digressing..

Due to logistics and where each of us live, I haven't had the opportunity to get to know him as well as I'd like. I enjoy spending time with him, and I hope I get to spend more with him once he gets back.

So, in summary. This really sucks. He's a great guy, and this really blows.

Sigh. And this isn't even the end of it. There's another deployment coming up that I can't even bring myself to talk about much yet. Another day.


J.K. - Be safe. We'll see you when you get back, and we'll write in the meantime. We're all thinking about you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Still got nothin' doin'

Just a relatively quiet day yesterday. (As quiet as days get, at least)

My previously mentioned foot issues are healing, albeit slowly. My right foot actually feels pretty good.. It's probably at 95% goodness. My left is sitting around 75%. I want to try to do some sort of exercise on Saturday, just to minimize my downtime. Maybe a flat easy run or some time on the elliptical. My left calf certainly feels tight, but that helps me believe that this is a temporary condition.


But, yes, I'm resigned to not doing a half marathon this year. The one I'd want to do is in 3 weeks, and I just haven't done enough prep for it. My ITBS issues earlier this year set me back (not that I'm sure I'm over them), and I just haven't put in the long runs.

I've got a better base in this year, and I hope I can maintain that over the winter by going to the gym. We'll see what happens next year for races. Maybe I'll be able to build up to a marathon in the spring.

There are some local 5k races in a couple of weeks, so maybe I'll hit one of those.

Tonight is dice baseball night. I'm hosting. For better or for worse, I'm not making any food. Just didn't feel up to it. Ordering a pizza, got some chips, calling it a day. And, at least the hosting part of this gig will be done and out of the way.

I do need to leave work early to go clean up the joint, though. Yeah, I got here late too. Have to figure that one out, yet.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Coffee Makers

Speaking of coffee..

We just got a new coffee maker. The old one crapped out after 10 years. I figure that we got our money's worth out of it. 1-4 pots a day for 10 years.. yeah.

The breakdown was quite odd. The power cord wound up melting while plugged into the wall. I suspect that there were too many broken wires overall in the electrical cord, and it eventually overheated, trying to throw the current through the intact paths.

It was sad.. an old friend that was just the way I liked.

So, yes. We got a new one. Wound up with the same brand. We got this pot (Mr. Coffee) from Target.

Absolutely nothing like the old one. I truthfully hate the damn thing.

Where to start? Well, when I went to plug it in, leaving the pot in the same place as the old one, I discovered the extension cord is probably a foot long. That's nice, I can't hang myself with it. It's not very functional though. So, we have to angle it underneath a cupboard to get to the outlet.

Of course, when it's angled, you can't open up the ultra large stupid looking top to fill it or put in the grounds.

So, as you curse the stupid thing and unplug it, you move it to the side and open it up. Of course, opening it up causes all sorts of condensation to drip off the top.

A 'feature' of this coffee pot is listed as follows: "Brewing Pause 'n Serve lets you pour a cup of coffee while the coffee maker is still brewing."

Yeah. My old one had that. It worked really well. There was a lever in the back. With the pot in the machine, the lever was opened, coffee dripped in. Remove the pot, lever closes, no drippage.

This one has this spring-tension knob right above the pot. You pull the pot out, you're getting drippage. Pop-pop sizzle-sizzle right onto the warming element. Consistently. Even after the coffee is done.

Speaking of, I really liked my old one which would beep when the coffee was done. But, that's minor. I can live without it.

So yeah, I'm not a fan of it. Maybe this one will die quicker than 10 years.
I miss my old coffee pot.

Coffee

I love coffee. Lots of it. It was really an issue for me in high school. I was mere steps away from hooking up an IV filled with coffee.

So, one of my brother in laws mentioned a new coffee to me. I hemmed and hawed, and he actually was kind enough to send us a pound of it.

Previously, we'd been drinking Tim Hortons as our everyday morning coffee. Very nice grind, very good flavor, decent price. (As an aside, the Tim's stores absolutely rock. Too bad we don't have one closer than an hour away...) I can say nothing bad about this coffee.

But, what was recommended was Peet's Coffee. I received a bag of Major Dickason's Blend (roasted on 9/10/08). This was billed by my BIL as Starbucks without the acidity.

He was spot on. Props to him. I kept the coffee in the freezer until we finished up some loose coffees and the remainder of our Tim's coffee.

A very strong flavor, but it didn't bite like Starbucks often does. I'm honestly not a huge fan of the Starbucks coffee. Some of their more 'out there' blends are good, but the run of the mill stuff is just 'ok'. Making it strong just because you can isn't really necessary. It's about balance and flavor. But, I digress.

Good flavor, a reasonable grind. Not ultra fine, but far better than you're going to do at home with a $15 coffee grinder. The taste was strong, but smooth. Very very enjoyable.

Anyways, the Peet's stuff rocks. Anyone from Peet's, I'm willing to sample whatever you want to send.

Keep on rockin', just like Peet's.