Race: Race for Hope 5K

Posted on May 11, 2017 in Running | 0 comments

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I can still do it! After a walk at last year’s race due to a cycling injury (was lucky to not have another this year… instead I was just missing a bit of skin off my nose – mountain biking is hard), I made it a point to race this year. My preparation was a short run a week for about a month and a half. It proved enough.

This was the 7th Race For Hope we have attended and our 3rd without Mom. Due to a scheduling conflict she’d have fully approved of, I was the only family member able to make it. Having dealt with my own share of stuff lately I didn’t do a great job recruiting and only gathered a handful of teammates, but we still managed to raise $1910 for brain cancer research. This year was also the 20th running of the race, which I believe has now brought in something close to $30 million? So amazing. Couple the great cause with a course that any race director would lose their mind over getting, and you’ve got what I’ll defend as one of the best races in the US that nobody knows about.

Unfortunately with my very abbreviated training plan (20 miles), I did not get a chance to do any speed-work or even a mile at pace to figure out what would be reasonable. The strategy I settled on was to go out at the pace I ran previously (you know, when I used to run five years ago) and see how long I could hold it.

Nz-uOOL5Lt39tsWO6amXB5MIqudwrxWgX2jlGucjZiQ-2048x2046That pace would be six minutes per mile and not only would I hold it, I ended up beating it and feeling like I could have gone faster. I ended up running 18:28 (5:58/mi) for the measured 5k (19:12 by the course, which was made .1mi long in 2014) – good for 12th place of the 1300 runners. I’m kicking myself a bit as I allowed two younger fellows sprint past me at the line without putting up any fight – Top 10 was so close! They didn’t break things down by age group, but after some e-stalking I figured out I was 3rd in the 30-39/old man age group. Lots of youngsters out there! In previous years there has been a survivor who beats me handily, but he didn’t this year… Sad thoughts, but hopefully he had something else going on and continues to be in relatively good health; while all the survivors present are a huge inspiration, seeing someone go through what they’re going through and managing to maintain peak fitness is something extra special.

So… I can still run and that’s sweet. Lacking the supporting muscles I ended up hurting badly for a few days, but… yeah, sweet. I’m halfway tempted to see how many miles my body can handle and get to racing again, but the other half of me knows that’s playing with fire. What I do think is clear is I likely have more potential on foot than pedal. Things that make you go “hrmmm.”

A huge thank you to our team donors and participants, and a fist raised to the sky for Mom.

Mark your calendars for May 6, 2018 and I’ll see you just down the street from the White House!

Posts from previous years: 20142013

Book: The Oregon Trail

Posted on Apr 28, 2017 in Books | 0 comments

highway_36_maryville_ksMany men purchase a Corvette to satisfy their midlife crisis. Rinker Buck? Well, he chose to purchase a team of mules, a covered wagon, and began a many month journey to become the first person to drive the entirety of the Oregon Trail by those means in over a century.

This turned out to be decent reading for an Oregonian, but like the trail itself, it dragged on much longer than comfortable. As such, despite having no job, it took me far too long to finish.

The book teaches quite a bit about wagon travel (it sucked), mules (they’re awesome), Mormons (they’re trying to take over the trail), Indians (they were done wrong), locations on the trail, and the immense hardships faced by those making the great emigration, but unless the subject really fascinates you, you should probably skip this one. Not a bad read by any means, but there are likely better books in the subject and I already have a few hopefuls lined up.

Race: Barton Park Road Race

Posted on Apr 26, 2017 in Cycling | 0 comments

18057845_1775096625850424_8187806973124088326_nDouble the number of road races as last year and we’re just getting started!

I hadn’t planned on doing this one, but my legs were feeling good after a light week of travel/not riding, and two friends/teammates would be in my group (pictured) so I went for it. The weather was more of the same with temperatures in the 50s and rain. At this point I’m used to it.

The race was to be seven laps of a seven mile loop with a significant climb near the end of each lap. We ended up doing eight laps due to an officiating mixup that apparently also happened last year, but them’s the breaks.

I found myself pulling the pack through the entire first lap, which I never want to do, but with speeds as pedestrian as we were going (18ish) it really made no difference. That lap we would call a scenic one. It gave me a casual look at the hill. It wasn’t too long and wasn’t too steep, but changed grades a few times and would require me to use my front derailleur, which has been finicky ever since I got my bike (yes, I’ve tried everything short of getting a new drivetrain). I’d have to be extra careful at the crest of the hill to not drop my chain as things leveled out and hit high gear, where the race would ultimately be decided.

Round and round we went with the lead group dwindling every time we came to the hill. What started out as 25 riders was down to 12 or 13 when we hit the hill the final time. I felt pretty fresh and hit the incline pretty well, but ran out of gas just as it hit its final grade increase, gapped from the lead five, which then became four for a sprint finish that I was not present for. All in all I’m pleased with a 6th.

My GPS seems to not like calculating elevation properly anymore (it’s about a year old and cost $400 so why would I expect it to?), but the proper race distance was around 55 miles and 3300ft of climbing.

I’m currently sitting in 2nd of the Cat 4 BAR (Best All-Around Rider) standings, which I can’t really make sense of other than I’ve done a time trial and most others haven’t. It’s a moot point because I’m Cat 3 in cross, I don’t know what in mountain bike, and a beginner at track (I really hope to try it this year if the rain ever abates) so those results won’t count towards it. What it does mean is I’m knocking on the door of Cat 3, which is probably where I’ll live forever unless I have a lot of trouble finding a job and put in a gross number of hours; age isn’t exactly on my side at this point unless I go to Master’s racing, which I’m going to avoid until I truly feel myself slowing.

Some weekdays in Boulder

Posted on Apr 24, 2017 in General, Vacation | 0 comments

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Dating back to before my time at the company, there was a tradition to eat at Ted’s Montana Grill following the departure of a coworker (I was there ten years – long standing tradition). When the final bunch of development was laid off last month including the last of the founders, we were not about to let the tradition die so the planning began in earnest. What was not tradition was that the parting soul attends their own wake, but it has been known to occur and besides, was Brian going to go eat a burger by himself?

Fortunately for us, the Ted’s we used to go to in Arlington had closed. Fortunate because only one of the four who were attending lived in Virginia anymore and that place was awful so we broadened our search. My vote was for Bozeman since “Montana” Grill, but that proved more costly than folks wanted so we settled on Boulder. We’d be traveling from the four sides of the US – Virginia, Minnesota, Texas, and Oregon.

The trip involved a burger that was surprisingly better than expected, beers at Mountain Sun (great place – good beer and outstanding service), beers at Avery, ice cream at Sweet Cow MULTIPLE TIMES over a roughly one day trip, random fried and heavy food, a new board game to add to my collection, shouting matches over a ridiculous mobile party game, and a pretty outstanding hike. A great couple of days.

I’m glad I finally got a chance to see Boulder, the 4th place finisher in my “Where Should I Move?” contest. It was a nice place with lots of outside to offer, but it felt very small town, too white, very ticky tacky suburban, and, well, not a place I’d really want to live. I know there are great jobs there and more are flocking, but that also means housing prices are astronomical. No thanks.

RIP to the company and hurray for the friendships and experience to cherish forever.

Note: Brian still has a job. When he goes, we’re doing Bozeman and we will be renting mountain bikes.

Squeaky floor remediation

Posted on Apr 11, 2017 in House | 2 comments

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These holes are about the diameter of the shaft of a q-tip

My new place has old floors. Some are 70 years old and others look to only be half that, but suffice to say, they’re old and they squeaked like crazy. It was so bad that I was self-conscious about walking around late at night. At times I’d even choose to wet the bed rather than risk waking my neighbor. NO MORE. With about an hour of effort and a $15 investment with the Squeeeek No More (that’s four ‘e’s) kit I have no more major squeaks. I could spend more time to eliminate them all, but some squeaks add character and I’ve only left the most minor of them.

Process:

  1. Locate a squeak.
  2. Locate a joist (my stud finder was broken so technically I spent more on this project to replace that, but it’s something I needed anyway – a deep scan was necessary for this too and my old one couldn’t do that).
  3. Drill a small hole.
  4. Put template/snapper over hole.
  5. Hand thread screw in a touch.
  6. Sink screw with a power tool and the included bit.
  7. If you have hardwoods, the template can self-snap. If you have softwoods, you snap them off manually (I had a mix so it was a bit of trial and error – may have ended up with an extra hole or two).
  8. Fill hole (I’ll get around to putting some wood filler in there, but for now I swept and pressed the drillings back in).

Most of my squeaks took 2-3 screws to fully resolve, but I only used about half the kit anyway. They also sell a kit for carpeted floors. A+ would recommend. Great product, good price, great fix.

Race: Kings Valley Road Race

Posted on Apr 10, 2017 in Cycling | 0 comments

It’s not often that I preregister for a race many days in advance. It’s never that I preregister for a race given a grim forecast. It’s 100% of the time I do both that a grim forecast turns into some of the most miserable weather a human being can endure. This weekend made me one for one. Sub-40 degree temps, downpours, constant spray from wet roads and no fenders, sleet, etc. Finishing was a moral victory and that’s what I did. As you can see in the results, upwards of half of some fields did not finish.

This was a 56-mile and relatively flat race. Given my talents (diesel engine) it should have been a day for me to excel. I ended the race with the lead group, but when asked to answer the sprint call, the legs did not answer. Following the race and the day afterward my legs felt perfectly strong so I think this was more of a survival mechanism shutting them down rather than a training/muscle/cardio failure. Regardless, I could really stand to do more long riding rather than the daily 1-2 hour sessions I’ve been getting in all winter. Road season will benefit from it and Leadville, the big goal, will too.

I finished 10th of 25 in my category, but we rode with the “faster” category too (I actually beat a larger percentage of them than my “slower” category) so you could say roughly 25th of 60. Nothing to write home about, but I’m pleased for my first road race in a long while (I dehydrated/bonked in my one and only last year so this is a clear improvement).

Following the race a few of us went back to the local watering hole for some drinks and burgers. Sometimes cycling makes you question your sanity, but those questions are answered when you treat yourself to some suds, massive piles of beef and fried potatoes, and don’t feel an inkling of guilt for it.

Nothing cooking this week or weekend so it’ll be a big week for training as long as I can escape the rain  that’s forecast for every damn day. Next week starts the two weekly weekday circuit races and the weekend brings another road race, all of which I’ve penciled into the calendar.

[GPS]

Paso Robles / San Fran wine getaway

Posted on Apr 5, 2017 in Vacation | 0 comments

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I just spent the past few days in warm and sunny Central Coast California and have the tan to prove it. The trip was a collection of a friend’s friends (#mollysfriends) and as seems to be typical of such trips, everyone got along great and had a blast.

For the first few days we stayed in an idyllic doublewide (yes, they exist) just south of Paso Robles in Templeton, CA. Horseshoes, corn hole, a little bit of drinking, a touch of eating, wine tastings at a couple of places (Justin – bleh, Oso Libre – yay!), and some running (I’m exercising 365 days this year so I had to dust the shoes off – the dog pictured, AJ, met me at the end of our driveway and proceeded to do my entire run with me).

Following our stay in wine country we spent a long afternoon in San Luis Obispo. The weather was as perfect as weather gets and the town was quaint as all get out.

From San Luis Obispo we made our way back up the highway to two evenings and a day in San Fran. More running, ferries, Sausalito, even more food and drink, and a night spent dancing. So much fun. Too much fun. I desperately need to be making my way down there more than the once a year I’m currently averaging.

This ends my roughly four weekends in a row away from home. It’s been fun, but I’m looking forward to some laziness, time to myself, loads of biking, perhaps some home/yard modification, getting to know my cat again, and job searching.