Posts Tagged ‘ThatsLife’

I haven’t done a goals post since the beginning of 2012! That one was focused almost entirely on home brewing. This one will be a bit more broad. Our little family has been through lots of changes since then- many of which I could never have predicted.  Though life is never predictable, it’s a nice excercise to lay out your expectations. It’s always interesting to look back and see where you are, vs where you thought you’d be.  Let’s start, shall we? I started this post with an overwhelmingly positive attitude and a whole sheaf full of goals for running, outdoors activity, homebrewing, and family life in the new year.  Then I strained a calf muscle running, and I’m forced to re-evaluate.  I suppose this is healthy.  Prior to my injury, running goals were at the top of my list of priorities. Perhaps now is a good time to step back and figure out where some other things fit it.

Lets break it down for 2014:

Family Life

The wifelette and I are expecting a new addition to the family around the end of March! We will get to refresh ourselves on the joys of raising a new baby and all the sleep deprivation that goes with it.  We are a little nervous, and a lot excited. That change will drive the rest of our priorities for the year. At this point, a swing and a bassinet have been purchased, and the crib is assembled.  The room is painted a lovely shade of lavender.  I’m working to repaint Wifelette’s old dresser sparkling white, and then we’ll be ready (as we can be) for the little one to show up! Anyone have a good story on how adding a second kid changed things? We’ve been practicing man-to-man defense.

Home Brewing

So… I made two beers in all of 2013.  Running ended up taking precedence over all of my brewing, especially once I started dedicating myself to long runs on the weekends.  This year I’m looking for more balance.  We have nearly settled completely into the new house, so it’s time to get the equipment out and make some beer! Goals for 2014:

1. Replace all of my tubing and cold-side plastic gear. I’m blaming old tubing and plastic for fouling my last beer, a hefeweizen that never tasted right. Replacements are on the way!

2. Brew a beer for the new baby’s arrival.  Not for the baby, of course, but for mom and dad! Perhaps a repeat of the B^4 Baby Bailey Belgian Blonde?

3. Brew at least once a quarter.  That should help me stay in practice, and have something nice to drink regularly. I missed homebrew a lot last year.

4. Enter a local contest. I had good luck with contests back in North Carolina, and It would give me something to shoot for.

5. Stretch goals- improve my mash tun to achieve 10-gallon capacity, and start kegging.

Any advice on work-life-brewing balance?


Lets not tie this up with the injury discussion; you can read all of my whining about my bum leg on twitter. I am hopeful that I can still accomplish my major running goals.  If this injury is truly a grade one calf strain, I should be back in business in 2-4 weeks. Strikethroughs used to show what’s being dropped or moved.

1. April 19th. Run The Race To Robie Creek, the toughest race in the northwest. There. It’s in writing.  If I can get in, I’m running up and over Aldape summit in April. I understand that registration can be tough because so many want to enter, but I’m hopeful.

2. January 18th. Run the Wilson Creek Frozen 10.8 mi Trail Race. Seems like a nutty fun thing to brag about, and a good way to stay in shape for Robie Creek. Cancelled due to injury. Sigh.

3. March 1st. The Les Bois 10k Trail Run. This was my first race in Idaho last year, and my first sub-1hr 10k. It’s a tough course, but if I get back on the training horse in February, I could come close to my personal record for the distance. It will be my checkpoint to see how ready I am for Robie.

4. Train seriously for Robie during the 7 weeks between March 1 and April 19th.

5. May 24th. Take revenge on the High Desert Trail Run Half Marathon.

6. Run something fun and new. Perhaps the Sun Valley Half Marathon on June 7th, or the River of No Return 25k on June 21st?

7. August 31st. Actually make it to the Payette Lake Run 30k. I cancelled last year due to lack of training from an extended fire season. Perhaps I can make it this year. If I do, it will be my first race longer than half-marathon distance.

8. October 5th. Barber to Boise.  This should be a great, fun 10k that I can walk to from the house. I didn’t do it last year because I was aiming at the City of Trees half-marathon.

9. Ski for cross-training. I have moved to a place with a real winter climate and big mountains that catch plenty of snow. On to of that, wifelette got me Nordic skiing lessons for Christmas! I’m going to take advantage and enjoy the winter outdoor sports.

10. DON’T GET INJURED (again). Enough said.

That’s enough running to get me back around to the holiday season. I will probably also work in some things that don’t have dates yet, like the Ash Dash 10k, once they get scheduled. How far in advance do you plan your running and racing schedule?

After reading through all this, I’m excited. Also, I may be certifiably insane. But I figure, as long as I’m focused on living a full life, instead of focused on being “busy”- things will work out right. Happy New Year, friends.  May you be happy, and full!


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Its been a while, so, lets run through the list of shutdown activities:

  1. Spend time with my boy and my best girl! –  CHECK! I have spent a ton of time with my little man.  Last weekend we took a trip up to Hailey, ID for the “Trailing of the Sheep” festival, and he got to watch sheep-shearing, see traditional music performers, and enjoy a mid-fall drive through the foothills.  Daniel turned two this past week, and he is inquisitive, active, and very, very physical.  We are working with him to teach him that he has to control his body, even when he’s upset. Striking other people is not allowed, no matter how he feels.  He seems to have moved past the idea of climbing up everything, but each day brings new boundaries to be tested, new ways to treat old toys, and ever-longer sentences.  Being home to listen to his post-nap monologues has been awesome!
  2. Complete my half-marathon training plan- CHECK! I finished out my training program strong, had a nice “taper”, or reduction in mileage and intensity, during the last week, and then CRUSHED my half-marathon.  I will get a post up on the City of Trees Half-Marathon soon, but for now I’ll note that I improved my half-marathon personal best by ~25 minutes and finished in under two hours. Score!
  3. Finish my folding, rolling, workbench. CHECK! My workbench is finished, except for a set of clips to hold the legs in place when the side panels are folded up. Now I have a place to work on the other household projects.
  4. Brew a fall/winter beer. Fail. Despite the epic selection of great beer names, I haven’t set aside a block of 4-6 hours to brew.  If Congress can get in gear and get me back to work, I would gladly move my beer-making to a weekend.
  5. Build a laundry room pedestal. Fail. This couldn’t start until the workbench was complete.  I am currently weighing the expenditure for materials for this project  against the prospect that today’s half-paycheck may be the last one for a while.
  6. Organize the garage (this is on pretty much everyone’s furlough to-do list, I bet). CHECK! While this is an ongoing project and will never be fully complete, there is more free space in the garage than there has been since we moved in.  My wife’s car is back in its rightful place.
  7. Put some focus on professional development: Fail. Other than keeping up with blogs in my reader, I haven’t spent much time on professional dev the last two weeks.  Each time I think about work-related info, I get annoyed about the lack of progress in Congress regarding returning us to work, so, I’ve focused on more positive tasks.
  8. Fight the never-ending battle on my photo collection. Fail. The number of unsorted, untagged photos remains at 1327.
  9. Blog! (CHECK (2x!)

While the final score may look like 5/9, the 2 of the 5 that are complete are pretty time consuming endeavors, and I will never regret a second I spend with my son, so I’m giving myself a B+.  Now, off to tag some photos, research beer recipes, and read a few journals!

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Shutdown Productivity

So I find myself furloughed while Congress is stalemated over government funding, and our two dueling political parties try to out-posture each other in the media. This leaves me with way more free time than I am used to on weekday mornings and afternoons. I’m not going to mope, though! Here is the list that will get me through a week or so:

  1. Spend time with my boy and my best girl!DSC_7136
  2. Complete my half-marathon training plan. I’m in week 11 of 12. Almost there!
  3. Finish sanding, staining, and final assembly for my folding, rolling, workbench. Currently, the main box and the shelves are assembled and the hardwood edging has been attached. All that’s left is sanding and staining everything, and attaching the side panels.
  4. Brew a fall/winter beer: Shutdown Stout, Standoff Schwarzbier, Political Prisoner Porter, Budget Brawl Brown, Legislated Layoff Lambic, or Furloughed Framboise anyone?
  5. Build a functional and stylish laundry room pedestal.
  6. Organize the garage (this is on pretty much everyone’s furlough to-do list, I bet).
  7. Put some focus on professional development: Read 1 scientific journal a day until I finish my stack, get familiar with the newest versions of the OpenGeo, tools and read a book about decision-making in high-stakes situations.
  8. Fight the never-ending battle on my photo collection: tag, rate, and adjust/edit the 1327 photos I took this summer.LightroomStatus20131002
  9. Blog! (check)

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Wow, my first half-marathon! This insanity began with a text message from a friend. His goal is a half-ironman triathlon, and he was looking for a nice easy training run with a t-shirt and a medal. His easy training pace was about where I hoped my race pace would be, and he figured he’d keep me company if he could convince me to do a half marathon. He assured me that the course was flat and easy. I had already run a 9-mile long run, and had 4 weeks to get ready, so I agreed.

I didn’t really change my training much. I attempted to step up my regular Tuesday and Thursday easy distance weekly from 3, to 4, to 5 miles while maintaining my Wednesday interval workouts. I planned to leave Monday core workouts, Friday stretching/rest, weekend long run/rest days alone. I wanted to lengthen my long runs by a mile each weekend, until I had run 14 miles the weekend before race day. In reality, I got plenty of good training done, but not as good as I had hoped. Sickness and soreness knocked me back by about a week, and my long run the week before the race was an enjoyable eight miles rather than 14. My longest run prior to the half was a 10 miler shortened by exhaustion and heat two weeks before the race. Ah well. Best laid plans, right? At least the eight miler had me in a good mood before the race.

I was pretty excited on race day. I had gotten good sleep the two nights before; I thought that I had eaten well, and I felt great. The group I rode with had been through this race before and had a good strategy to get us dropped off prior to the start without so much as getting stuck in traffic once. Once let out in the parking lot, I found the bag drop and hung out trying to stay loose before the gun. Finally, the gun sounded and we were off! We basically walked to the start line because of the sheer number of runners, but by the end of mile one I was cruising along. The course is a major highway with plenty of room for runners for the first three miles, and then heads onto flat asphalt greenbelt trails for the rest of the course. My friend ran along with me, and we chatted while keeping a really good pace- miles between 9:15 and 9:30. This was above my goal pace but i felt great so we kept it up. It wasn’t until we reached the second water station, at mile 4, that I got the feeling that this might not be my day. It was at this point that my lower intestines began to protest.

I really didn’t want a gastro issue to cost me my goal time, but by mile 7 I was in a full on panic and stopped at the first available port-o-let. The wait plus the visit cost me eight minutes, and my buddy went on without me. Alas, it was not the end of my distress. I was forced to stop again, at mile 8, to visit a park restroom, which cost me another 12 minutes and basically ended any hopes of achieving my goal time. I was pretty crushed, but leaving the restroom I saw my wife and my little son cheering for me, which improved my spirits, and I ran on.

The rest of the race was kind of a blur. The gastro issues never returned, and I kept running sub-10 minute miles. I remember mile 11 as being tough, but not long afterwards I almost laughed as I passed the zoo, with the Giraffes sticking their heads up over the fence as I ran by.  My last mile was actually my fastest, at 9:06, which is something I am pretty proud of. I was excited to cross the finish line strongly. The post-race fiesta was great, including plenty of free Power Bar samples, fruits and veggies, potatoes, and even chocolate milk. After hanging out for a while, stretching, and eating, I headed home to take a shower and a nice long nap.

Race Swag:


My official chip time was 2h:21m:48s, which was disappointing since my goal was 2h:15m. Even more disappointing, was that without the time in the bathrooms and bathroom lines, I would have finished in 2h:04m:47s. I will probably have mixed feelings about this race for a long time. Disappointment because of what could have been, and satisfaction from successfully finishing what would have been unthinkable for me only a year before.

What I learned:
1. GI issues are really common among racers. I have read quite a few supportive and explanatory blog posts since completing my race. I wish I had read some of them before!

2. I may have sabotaged myself in the days before the race by trying to eat healthy. I actually upped my fiber and fresh veggie intake. Oops. Those foods tend to speed up digestive action in unhelpful ways.  From now on, carrots, broccoli, and oatmeal will not be a part of my diet in the 48 hours leading up to a race! Rice, white bread, and fruit are more stable.

3. The race organizers really should have had bathrooms set up before mile 7. That is simply too far into the race considering how common GI issues are among racers. There is really nothing that can be done about the lines, but you just have to have bathrooms at an event like this.

4. I am capable of a much faster time than 2:15! Especially on a flat course like this one. At a bare minimum, I will be aiming for an under 2:00 Famous Idaho Potato half marathon next year… If I can’t get one this year at the Fit For Life half in July, or the City of Trees half in October.

Chip Time: 02:21:48 (Half Marathon PR)
Age Group (30-34 M) 74/88
Gender Place: 519/592
Overall Place: 1,054/1,364

Event page: http://www.ymcatvidaho.org/famousidahopotatomarathon

Course map: http://www.ymcatvidaho.org/sites/default/files/imce/Races/Famous_Potato/2013/Half_Marathon_Course_2013.pdf

2013 race results: http://results.bazumedia.com/event/results/event/event-3202

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Idaho Update!

So, we’ve been in Idaho for 4 weeks! We’re settling into our routines and getting situated in the townhouse. Most of our boxes are unpacked and we can cook meals, etc. The dogs have a nice-sized grassy backyard, and they occasionally feel compelled to run laps, or “zoomies”, at greyhound speed through the fallen leaves.  Speaking of falling leaves, we are definitely at peak color here in the valley. With the mountains as a backdrop of ever-changing shadows and browns, tans, greens, and purples(!!!), it is a gorgeous time of year here. The daylight savings time change, today, probably signifies the beginning of the end for leaf season. (more…)

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Briefly, I just wanted to record our upcoming move to Boise, Idaho! Tonight will be our last night in our house in Raleigh, NC, before we begin the move. I’ll continue brewing and blogging it, but I also hope to add some family updates and info about our new home.

Welcome to our new adventure!

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A few days ago, Kathy and I came across an article on baking bacon in the oven rather than frying it.  Yesterday we got tempted by one of the vendors at the farmers market and ended up buying some locally produced bacon (thanks, Mae Farms!).  We baked it up this morning- yum!  Crispy like Kathy likes it but juicy and meaty, it was delicious.  Less mess, too.  I’d show you some pictures but we ate it all before I had a chance to take any.  I highly recommend that you try it.  We followed directions from this Food.com page.

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