Thursday, April 30, 2009

Big news..

So, I've been sitting on this for a bit. Even a few months ago, this was in my mind.

Yeah.. Big news. Life as I know it is turning upside down, inside out, and going every which-way. Consider it a glimpse into my personal life. :)

Ladies and gentlemen, here it is..

I'm having a baby. Well, not me, really. I offered to my wife, but yeah, no. She's having the baby.

There will be a mini-Raul on the Earth in a couple of months. Brace yourselves. :P

This will be my first child, and yes, I really have no idea what I'm in for.
(I verified with my wife that we checked off the box for 'already potty trained' and such, so I'm sure we'll be good to go.) I have a sneaky suspicion that my days of lounging in bed on the weekends until 9:30 or 10:00 are coming to an end.

So, we've been doing all of the various 'new parent' things- building a nursery, taking some classes, etc. We've got most of the stuff we need (or think we need, at least).

We're fortunate to have a lot of family in the area, and there's a lot of wisdom and experience to lean on there.

And, with that, I'm off to an ultrasound. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pi and Pi+1


Partial weekend recap is this..

Went for a run Saturday morning.. (9:30ish). It was already hot. Hot. It's April. WTF? I went and ran a nice casual pace.. When I stopped my watch after my run, it read: 3.14. I said "oo! It's never stopped on that before! Pi!" Yes, I am a geek.

I also got to see an old bud from high school (and earlier) on Saturday.. it was good to see him. Been a couple of years, so it's always good to catch up.

Sunday, it was slightly cooler. I wound up doing 4.14 (on purpose). That was too far. ITB cranked up and I wasn't doing well the rest of the day until I slugged down some Advil that night. Oh well.

I took Monday off, even though I wanted to run, just to heal up. Gotta figure this thing out.

Oh, so here's a question for all y'all: Do you have Facebook pages? I've never gotten on this bandwagon. Just curious.. an informal poll, if you will

To swipe a page from Shannon, I've got some posts coming up about:
- Shoes
- Beers
- Scotch
- Travel
- Big news

In the meantime, I'll get back to work listening to some mashups and doing my real (but certainly not as fun as blogging) job. Keep on rockin'!

PS, check out a guy down a pitcher of beer in 5 seconds: video.

New Balance 992s

A while back, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be sponsored by New Balance of Harrisburg. The deal was, a free pair of shoes, provided I post a review of the shoes (and a link to them, of course).

Today's that day!

I wound up picking out the 992 shoes.

So, what do I think?

The first thing that hit me was the styling. The first thing that came to mind was the early to mid 80s and the Kangaroo sneaks I used to have. You know, the shoes with pockets? (I think mine were even velcro. Oh yeah!)

It's the whole suede thing, really. But, I'm not the go-to guy on being up to date on fashion matters, anyway. Plus, I knew they had suede on them when I ordered them.

(One last side note.. Did you know that KangaROOS are still going strong? I had absolutely no idea.)

So, the shoe. I picked this shoe because I believe I have a pronation issue, and I'm looking to find something to help out with that. In general, the outside of my heel and the inside of the toebox are worn out first. I have a moderate to high arch, and wide ass ugly feet. Anything that can help my running, I'm willing to give it a shot.

I haven't been able to take these on a run longer than 3 or 4 miles, due to my ITBS issues, so I can't really go into detail on how these perform on a long run.

The first thing I noticed after putting the shoes on is that they have a lot of cushion. I'm all about the cushion. Even while running, you can feel cushioned.

The shoes are sturdy. They look like they'll hold up longer than some. No 300 miles and they're done. They really look solid and well built (and feel it too).

So, after doing runs in them, what do I think? The cushioning is still there. Lovin' that. I think they've helped somewhat with my pronation. The heel area is worn down, but definitely not as much as with other shoes. To that end, when I run in these shoes, the insides of my ankles feel somewhat strained. I'm guessing that has to do with my pronation being slightly different, and I'm just not used to it. That's purely a guess though.

Practically speaking, these shoes have ultra wide laces, and, as a result, don't seem to become untied magically mid-run. I like that. (I always double knot, but still..)

End result, I like the shoes. I'll probably hold off picking up another pair, until I've tried a bunch of other types of shoes. (This is my "playing the field" time with my shoes.) But, if someone was thinking about the shoes, I certainly would give them positive press.

Thanks to NB of Harrisburg for this opportunity!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nice weather is here

I woke up today, it was 34 degrees. It's been dorking around the 30s and 40s most of the week.

The forecast for today: 73
Tomorrow: 84
Sunday: 79

Etc. I'm stoked.

Should be a surprise to the body while running, though. lol.

And, the nice weather brings out the shorts.. aw yea! I'm fortunate enough to be able to push the envelope a bit here at work. For the next 6-7 months, I'll pretty much always be sporting a pair of shorts at work.
Not running shorts or the basketball shorts I'm lounging around in at the homestead, mind you, but they're still shorts. Cargo shorts and the like.

You know what I like about cargo shorts? Lots of pockets. I've been informed by people in the fashion-know (read: my wife), that you really aren't supposed to use all of the pockets. As she pointed out, though, they really shouldn't put all those pockets on clothing for men if they don't want them to be used.

(And yes, in the case of cargo pants, with like 20 pockets, I've "lost" things, not knowing which pocket something is in.)

So yeah, it's relatively relaxed here at work, dress-wise. I can't do sandals, though. That is strictly verboten. If I deal with a customer or an executive or something like that, I need to shape up for the day. Otherwise.. I'm good to go.

I've been lax on working out this week. This weekend, game is back on. At least one of the days.

I'm going to get back to work, in an effort to slide on out a bit early and enjoy the weather and some sort of tasty beverage.

Keep on rockin'! Have a great weekend, everyone

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

So, just random miscellany today..

Went out for a run yesterday. My calves were pretty achy, my shins were pretty achy. The weather was great, though. I wound up stopping to stretch a couple of times, but managed 3.5 miles. I'm taking today off, or just doing the elliptical or something.

The weather. Holy cow. It was downright cold on Monday, in the high 30s. Looking at the weekend, they're predicting 83 the last I looked. What the hell?

I'm getting old. Unlike some people, it appears I no longer need ID to buy stuff in a liquor store. I went in the other day and made a decent purchase and was thoroughly disappointed that I wasn't carded. While I do go to liquor stores a lot, I'm not really monogamous in my store- I tend to hit different ones for different things. So, the hope that "oh, they know you" doesn't really apply.

I'll throw my first entry in for Literary Wednesday (wow, two tfh link loves in today's post).

This book isn't one that moved me or anything like that, it's just the book I just finished reading the other day. It is:

The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells. This book has been on my 'to read' list for quite a long time. Actually, a sort of funny story about that. When I was younger, I went to the library and grabbed 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison. That book is certainly an excellent book, being deep and thought provoking. So, yeah, I was kind of caught off guard, and "The Invisible Man" remained unread for many years after.

So, I busted it out recently (along with a whole slew of H.G. Wells entries for LW for weeks to come), and finished it. Nice easy read, fun little book.

That's all I've got for today.. keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long weekend!

Well, I did make it back from my trip. Thoughts from the road are as follows:

I got an EZ pass for the trip. Not that I really needed it, but I thought it would be fun and cool. It was.

I know my wife doesn't want to hear this, but I really had a blast. I fought the trip tooth and nail before I went. Once I got there, I really didn't want to leave. I could go out and do my own thing at night, and that was that. No real schedule after work, so I could just go work out at the hotel, and then go out and about.

Plus, I wound up sleeping diagonally in the bed, so that was pretty cool too. And no one stole the sheets. :)

And that's the end of my trip report..

So, Saturday was a 4 miler in absolutely beautiful weather. Sunday was a 3.5 hill run, with weather that was slightly not as good, but it was still pretty awesome. My ITB felt pretty good, which is really nice. I'm going to try to keep upping the quantity of runs I do for a while, and then work on lengthening one of them.

I've got to say, having nicer weather to run in is just so awesome. I love it.

Monday was a self-prescribed day off. A couple of us from work went up to Cooperstown for the day. Here's a photo montage..

This is outside of the baseball hall of fame, our main destination for the day:

This is a shot of some of the plaques in the hall of fame:

My wife views this room with the plaques (the actual hall) as her own personal hell. It is analogous to me being confined in 'Jo-Ann Fabrics'. She was absolutely thrilled that I found people to go with, so she never has to step foot in here again. (Now, I think that's a bit extreme, but what can you do?)

This is where we went for lunch, a place called 'The Pit':

After the hall of fame, we went to Brewery Ommegang. This is their building:

After an informative tour, we sampled all of their beers, plus a couple of special ones. The 'Hennepin' was my favorite, until they got to this 'cave-aged Abbey Ale', which is a bottle of their 'Abbey Ale', which had been stuck in a cave for 11 months. I'm thinking of telling my wife I need to dig a cave. That beer was phenomenal.

The ending note of the beer sampling was this:

It was a special beer, not ever bottled, made for the inauguration. They dubbed it 'Obamagang'. I thought that was pretty funny.

Today, I'm back to the grind. Keep on rockin', everyone!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Heading back

On my way back home.. got side tracked at the 'Gilded Otter' brewpub. Didn't do too much in blogland this week.. I'll try to swing around over the weekend. I did work out 3 for 3 of the days. First day was 3 miles of running, 25 min of biking. Second day was a 3 mile progression run. Last day was a 30 minute bike ride. The hotel's workout room wasn't too bad,really.

Have a good weekend everyone, and keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strange Sleep Patterns

Well, this weekend was full of odd sleep patterns for me. I stayed up late on Friday, which generally doesn't lead to good things. Saturday, I woke up, not nearly rested enough. Tired and cranky was I.

Shortly after, I was called in to work and spent the day there. I came home and caught a quick 20 minute nap, also out of the norm. I usually only nap if I'm sick. After that, I went out for a run, my first in 6 days. Did 3 miles.

After the nap and the run, I felt immensely better. I napped and ran the crankiness out of my system.

So, Sunday, I wound up waking up early. Also, well out of the norm. Now, 7:30 isn't early for a lot of people, but for me on a weekend, that's at least 2 hours earlier than normal. LOL.

Strange thing is, when you get up earlier, there's more hours in the day to work with. hah.

So yeah, I went for a run that morning, and it was kind of nice, having it out of the way by 10:30. Another 3 miles in the books.

This week, I'm rolling downstate for a business trip.. Yee-haw! I'm hoping that I can hop on the treadmill in the hotel and work off the extraordinary free breakfast that the Holiday Inn Express serves.. (seriously, it's good)

I'm also hoping I can get caught up on my blogging at night and get a couple of posts out.

Keep on rockin', everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

TIART: Running Technology Tips

Today's TIaRT post is about technology and running.

I started out running by just throwing on my sneakers and heading out the door. That's what running was (or so I thought).

One of the first signs of technology creep was the web site I could go to the site, plot my route, and get all sorts of cool information, from mileage to elevation charts.

Another site I use is Google Docs. I keep my running log there, obsessively tracking every mile, how many miles per pair of sneakers, pace information, etc.

I also started running with an iPod. A little musical boost. My silver one died, so I was running with my wife's pink one. (Yes, I'm comfortable enough to do that).

After doing that a few months and obsessively plotting each turn and corner in MapMyRun, I opted to buy a Garmin Forerunner 305. That is the bomb. I really turned into a running geek then. Real time pace information, mileage, all that stuff. I still don't even use all of the features of it, but I love it.

You can then offload the data to your computer using various software. Garmin has some, and I also like this SportTracks software, which integrates a nice sexy map to show you where you've been.

Along with the Forerunner, I got a heart rate monitor. That was something I didn't know much about (and admittedly still don't).

Oh, and a cell phone. On long runs. Just in case. (Plus, it doubles as a camera to take pictures for later posting)

After a while, I looked at myself, and I felt like some sort of bionic creature. All sorts of crap strapped on, just to go out and run a couple of miles. And so, the shedding began..

The first thing to go was the heart rate monitor. It was strapped against my chest, and I couldn't get used to it. My male mind felt like I had some sort of bra on or something (although I'm told that would be a completely different feeling).

Next up was dropping my iPod. I would just go out and run, and let myself get immersed in my thoughts and enjoy the outdoors.

Occasionally, I'll go out now without my Garmin, and just run. (I still wind up going back to MapMyRun, just for OCD's sake and keeping my running log up to date.)

Now, I'm back to using my iPod occasionally (my wife bought me a new one, so I'm back to a manly color). It's not one that does the Nike+, another potential technological running obsession, so that's both good and bad. :)

Technology is a double edged sword, in my mind. It does help to some degree. It makes running more enjoyable and trackable.

...But in the end, it's still all about putting your shoes on and getting out the door.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Workin' it.

Well, work has still been kicking the shizzz out of me lately. I swear, I'll get back to blogging on a regular basis.

Maybe I'll even get back to running on a regular basis, too. LOL.
I did go out for a 3.5 miler, a big ass hill run yesterday. ITB felt good, calves & hammys, not so much. They said "What the hell are you doing?". But, all was said and done, reasonably successfully.

Just a side note on that run.. Eating Denny's, oh, say, 45 minutes prior.. not a good idea. No puking occurred, but it was not the most pleasant feeling. (Why Denny's? I totally blame the Runner's Lounge podcast from a few weeks ago where they were making fun of the Denny's free breakfast giveaway. I was just like "Damn, I haven't been there in years!")

I'm also going to pick up running with my iPod again. I've been having motivational issues, so I'm hoping some kickazz tunes will help me out there.

So, with work beating me silly, what else would a raging alcoholic quasi-responsible adult do? Drink!

(Yes, I know. My body is a temple. A temple for what, I have absolutely no idea. Between the alcohol and Denny's, my fate is decided).

I really do applaud all of you for drinking the green smoothies and such. I'm just not that kind of guy. :)

So.. the drinks.. You are about to see something rarely seen from me. A lackluster beer.

Before you laugh, I said I had to try this once. For those that know me, I'll try anything once. You never know until you try, after all.

So, beer #1..

Budweiser American Ale. No link love here, either.

I'll start out by saying "meh".

That's over.. I'm glad I tried it. For those unfamiliar, it's Bud's way of busting into the 'micro brew' realm. They realize some people like finer beers, so they're trying to accommodate.

I give them props for trying. And, it is better than a standard Budweiser. A little maltier, I'd say. Still, it's a Bud. Not that there's anything wrong with it. It works for them. Just not as much for me.

So, if you're going to try a micro-brew or a craft brew for the first time, don't go here.

Beer #2, I give much higher ratings to. It is Druid Fluid by Middle Ages Brewing (Syracuse). This is a barleywine style ale, and I like it much better than the Monster Ale I had of the same style.

You couldn't taste the overwhelming alcohol taste, like you could in the Monster Ale. That being said, it still packs a nice hearty punch. It's got a pleasant amber color with some good malt flavor to it.. Not overpowering, by any means, though. I really liked this one.

More beers to come, folks. Many more have been tried, just need to get them posted.

Keep on rockin'!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Running and Chimays

I got out for a 3 miler last night. Opted to do this one at around an 8:30 pace, which is a little faster than my standard running speed that I can settle into easily. Due to exhaustion and my lack of running lately As a precautionary measure, I stopped and stretched at not only the halfway mark, but the 3/4 mark. Still, got it done. Knee feels OK today. This 3 mile cap may be the way to go for now. (I am SO jonesin' for going on a long run.. this just kills me!). I was supposed to do W2D3 of the pushup challenege last night. I'll do that tonight soon. LOL

On to the Chimay..

Chimay beers are Belgian style beers. They're made by Trappist monks, and that's as authentic as you can get.
For full disclosure, I'm not big into Belgians.. But, I can differentiate good from bad, don't get me wrong.

Most of my favorite Belgian beer comes from Ommegang, one place I'm going to have to visit in the near future. (It's not that far from me, I really have no good excuse why I haven't gone.) The glass I'm showing here is actually an Ommegang glass. hehe

I've heard good things about Chimay, so I thought I'd give them a go. Both of these came in a "big" bottle, so it was a good excuse to drink more sample the beers as they warmed up.

The Premiere Ale (red bottle) was the first one I had one night. Had a bit of a nutty flavor, I thought. Also had some yeast mixed in, which I really like. I know not everyone likes the extra "character" of having yeast in their beer, but I do. (So take that!)

The Cinq Cents (white bottle) was one I had last week. It was drier and far more hoppy than the other. Not IPA hoppy, mind you, but there were hops in it. It was a more golden color, and also had some yeast in it (I thought the red had more yeast, though)

Both of these beers are premium. There's a lot of character and tastes in them that I just don't have the palette depth to figure out. Both are incredibly smooth, and good tasting. For Belgians, they're top grade (even better than some of Ommegang's). Probably not good beers for the beginner, though.

I think I preferred the spiciness and hops of the Cinq Cents. Of course, those beers seem to match up well with me in the springtime, where as the other may match up well in the late fall and early winter.

Would I drink them again? Of course. They're delicious. (There's very little I wouldn't drink, sadly). I'll even recommend them, for someone looking for a Belgian. They probably won't make the standard rotation, though, just due to my preferences.

Keep on rockin', everyone! Happy April Fool's Day, too!!