This is my life. Sometimes shown through the eye of my camera phone, and sometimes not. I'll talk running, gadgets, music, and whatever else I stumble on to

Monday, December 31, 2007

Farewell 2007. It's been nice.

So another year is done.

I credit 2007 for introducing me to new adventures, new people, new challenges, and for giving me insight as to what 2008 will bring. On the other side of that, in some ways I'd like to wish a farewell to 2007 and hope it never comes back.

As some of you close to me know, the relationship I was in ended this year. I wouldn't trade those four years for anything in the world. I knew that I was finally happy, and thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with her, but it wasn't meant to be. God has other plans for me, and I leave it to Him to lead the way, just as He has always done.

Ending that chapter in my life has been one of the most difficult things I've ever had endure, and the wounds have yet to completely heal. Still, in the end, I know I will be happy if I keep a good heart.

On a lighter note, here are some of the goals I'd like to reach in 2008:

- In case you haven't noticed, I'd like to run and finish the entire 26.2 miles of the Chicago Marathon in 2008. This blog will tell of my journey as I complete that goal.

- A dedication to a healthy lifestyle. I'm already on my way, and hope to keep it up.

- Travel to a foreign country.

- Learn how to ride a mountain bike - extreme style!

- Fishing, and more fishing. I just don't do enough of it.

- See California again someway, somehow.

- Swim in the ocean.

- Do as much outdoorsy stuff as possible and try new adventures.

To my beautiful sisters: It was wonderful that we got to spend some quality time together doing cool things like Cubs games, Bulls games, and partying! I look forward to doing more. Those are very precious moments to me. I love you!

To my JstreetRadio family: You don't know how lucky I feel to know such amazing people. I feel blessed to be working with such a wonderful group of friends. You are like family to me, and dear to my heart. You make me laugh, you inspire me, you keep my spirits up. Thank you so much for all that you have done to keep the Jstreet spirit alive. I know we'll be rockin' in 2008!

And to you: I hope you've gotten to know me a little better, even though I have no idea who some of you are, but I know that you visit. I'm not one to reveal many things about myself in a public forum such as this one, but it helps me to open myself up a little more. Thank you for your interest in my life, and I hope you continue to see my world through my eyes.

Much love and see you on the flipside.

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Special Delivery

Nice! My technical long sleeve shirt that I was supposed to get at this years Turkey Trot 8K arrived in the mail today (they had run out).

I love it.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Ice Ice Baby

water bottle ice

I was wondering why I was having trouble getting water from my bottle during my six mile run Saturday - it froze!

Distance: 6 miles
Time: 1:06:06
Date: Saturday, 12/29
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Temp: 23 deg.

I don't remember feeling as strong on my other long runs as I did on this one. I could of run forever the way I was feeling. Looking at the numbers, I find it hard to believe I ran for over one hour straight. The temperature was the lowest I've run in to date, which would explain my water bottle freezing up. As long as I was comfortable, I was good.

I have absolutely loved my outdoor runs this winter. Everything is so peaceful. Nothing moves at 23 degrees except the pavement beneath my feet and the occasional barking dog. My focus is so intense that I forget all of my troubles, and when I'm done, everything seems right with the world, at least for that moment. I wouldn't trade that for the world.

I also noticed that this makes 100 miles run since I started recording them in October! That's an incredible number, and a nice goal to wrap up 2007.

Some other running goals I've reached:

- Ran my first 5K race in September after not having run a competitive race since high school.

- Beat my first 5K's time by 1 minute, 34 seconds at my 2nd 5K in October.

- Finished my first 8K in 00:53:54.

- Reached 6 miles after thinking I'd never get past 3.

- Registered for my first 13.1 mile Half-Marathon in 2008.

- 100 miles, baby!

My 2008 goals, running and otherwise, soon...

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Navy Pier

Spent the day at Navy Pier with family from out of town.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Days

Wow, I've been neglecting my blog the past few days. To be honest, I haven't been online to fiddle around on the Internet much. I've been a bit busy with the Christmas holiday, and to top things off, we had a bit of a problem at the office over the holiday weekend and I spent one day there, and at home babysitting a very sick IBM machine.

Christmas was a nice time with the family. I got some cool running gear, and I did manage to squeeze in a little relaxing over the long weekend. Of course myself, and what seems like the rest of the planet, were doing some last minute shopping up until Christmas eve! What can I say? I enjoy the pressure.

My running has been going really well, and I've been good at sticking with my training schedule. I've clocked about fifteen miles since last Saturday, and I'll cap the coming weekend with another 6 miles this coming Saturday. I'm getting a bit bored with the scenery near my home, and will have to go looking for some new running routes pretty soon! I'm really enjoying running outside in the cold weather, believe it or not. It sure beats running in circles on that indoor running track.

It's also nice to see the weight training finally paying off, and I've been feeling really well, and healthy.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday, and I promise to keep writing more. I'm looking forward to another four day weekend for the New Year holiday!

I'll have to think about what to write for my last post of the year. It's amazing the end of 2007 is already here.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Office fun?

Ahem... was this against company policy?


Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ouch, that hurt!

As I move forward with my half-marathon training, it's always interesting to experience what my body goes through when I do something out of the ordinary that affects my running.

Like yesterdays 5... er... 3 miler, for example:

My schedule called for a total of 5 miles with an easy jog to start and end the run. Since Tuesday morning, and through most of the day Wednesday (run day), I didn't eat as well as I should have. My meals were sort of small, and not the usual menu I use to prepare for longer runs. A lot of this had to do with a hectic schedule at work early this week, and then some "extra-curricular" activities after work leading up to Wednesday.

Well, as I started my evening run, my legs started to feel like lead weights around mile 2! I was really struggling to make it past 3 miles, and ended up making a last minute turn for home for a total of only 3 miles. I was a bit disappointed and spent the next few minutes going over in my head what may have gone wrong. Three miles for me has gotten easy, but I was having a REALLY hard time:

1. Fuel!: Although I wasn't completely hungry before my run, I realized afterwards that I hadn't eaten as well as I normally do. I think I was starved for energy.

2. Rushing through my warm up: I had to leave for a meeting shortly after my run, so I think I was in a rush and may not have warmed up enough considering I was running outside in chilly temps.

3. Lack of fluids: Just wasn't drinking enough water and was dehydraded. Period.

It's amazing how much discipline is needed to keep all of this up. It's good for me, no doubt, but if I stray just for a bit, my training suffers.

Ah well, lesson learned. I'll make it up on my six mile run Saturday!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bulls VS Lakers

At the United Center, Chicago for Bulls vs. Lakers

My first ever pro basketball game!

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Christmas is coming early

I'm awaiting the arrival any day now of my new toy- a Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS-enabled trainer for runners!

I'm off and "running" on my six week conditioning schedule starting with a light 2-mile run this past Monday. This GPS device that you wear on your wrist will accompany me on my runs keeping track of these things and more:

* Track satellites even near trees or tall buildings with Forerunner's high-sensitivity GPS receiver.

* Mark a new lap at a preset distance or time.

* Use AutoPause® to stop the timer automatically when you slow down or stop during your run.

* Transition seamlessly between sports without resetting the unit using the Multi-Sport™ feature, so you can use it for multiple-sport events.

* Set a pace or distance alarm to sound an alert when you reach or exceed your target pace or distance.

* Mark specific locations, and then look up and navigate to these points using an electronic map.

* Retrace your steps to a starting point (Back to Start feature) or reverse your normal route for routine variation.

* Track and calculate calories burned over the course of a workout.

This year has been mostly good to me, so I thought I'd reward myself with a little treat to help me stay motivated doing what I love through 2008.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Running Log 12-15-07

Miles: 6.3
Total Time: 1h:07m
Avg. Pace: 10:40 /mile
Start Time: 11:00 a.m.
Temp: 27 degrees. Light snow.

Awesome! Great! Wonderful! Rad! Intense!

The last time I attempted a six-mile run I failed miserably due to a nagging knee problem at the time. Days of rehabbing the knee led up to a great, but careful, 5 mile run on Nov. 10.

Over a month later, the knee feels great, and I was elated to complete my 2nd attempt at 6 miles in about an hours time today. What makes it extra special is that I ran the WHOLE way through except for two one-minute walks for a drink. My pace the whole way through was 9 to 10 minutes per mile.

The outside temperature was about 27 degrees with a light snow. The streets were mostly wet with a snowy patch here and there. There was a light wind and a slight wind chill. What makes these runs in my neighborhood interesting is that there are a couple looong, gradual uphills which really make you work. It's hard to tell when I'm going up them until my breathing starts to get harder, and I have to make adjustments to get over the top without breaking pace.

The fun part was seeing the faces of people driving by me thinking I was wacko for running in this winter weather, and under a snow advisory.

Yea... it makes me happy to know that I can.

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Sometimes it takes all of the strength in the world.

At times I don't think I have enough.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reality really does bite!

So I booked my first half-marathon race last week, and although I'm quite aware of the 13.1 mile distance required to finish it, it didn't begin to sink in until I started measuring just how long that distance really is.

If I ran a straight line from my home in Round Lake, IL to any of these familiar locations in Lake County, I would reach the distance of the half-marathon- give or take a mile or two:

-To the western shore of Lake Michigan on Waukegan's north beach (yes- this one).

-To Old School Forest Preserve in Libertyville, IL.- home of my annual picnic.

-To the Best Buy in Vernon Hills, IL. across from Hawthorn Mall.

-To my boyhood home in Wauconda, IL. and then running one and a half times around the entire perimeter of Bangs Lake.

-A straight line north to the Wisconsin/Illinois border and back home.

Perhaps I'll use one of these for a practice run? I'll take the Best Buy one as long as I can fit my checkbook in my running pants.

Next week I'll be starting my "maintenance" training which will take me six weeks to complete. My schedule consists of keeping my running mileage up around 11-15 miles per week, with my longer weekly run going no longer than six miles through winter.

This will prepare me for my tougher 16 week schedule come February where I build up to 11 mile runs leading up to half-marathon day on May 18, 2008.

I can't wait to get started!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Last day of class

1. Books- check.
2. Coffee- check.
3. Homemade cookies (thanks sis!)- check.
4. Stress- check.
5. Xbox 360 for break time- check.

Tomorrow is the last day of class for the year. Thank goodness.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Weekend wrap up

It's Sunday night and I've been studying for my last week of class and the dreaded final exam. I'm ready to get this over with!

Friday- I went for my first night time run after work in my subdivision. Running in the dark is a completely different experience all together! One good thing about the upcoming first day of winter is that the days start to get longer, and I'll have more light to run as the days go on. I put on my reflective vest, headlamp, and flashing armbands and headed out for a 4 mile run- I'm sure people thought I was a run away Christmas tree! It turned out to be a nice run away from the track.

Saturday- I went to my 8 year-old nephews birthday party in Lake Zurich and did a little cosmic bowling with the family. Then I zoomed out to meet up with friends for Kelly's birthday party for some good food and some awesome cosmic mini-golf. Good times for sure!

Sunday- Well, I had originally planned to run the Rudolph Ramble in Chicago this morning, but considering the ice and snowy mix that fell over night and into the morning, I decided to play it safe and stay away. I'm just getting over a fussy knee and didn't want to risk injuring myself by falling on my face! I instead ran a strong three miles at the running track (with zero knee pain to my relief!).

The week's going to be dominated by some more studying for my final week of class, and then no classes until January!

I can't wait until I can get a few days off during Christmas and New Year's- I'm ready for a break.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Rockford Half-Marathon signed, sealed, and delivered

Well, it took me all of 24 hours to think about and finally commit to running the 13.1 miles of the Rockford, IL half-marathon on May 18, 2008. So, yes! I sent in my registration this morning.

That leaves me at little over 20 weeks to train, and then another 20 or so weeks after the half-marathon to prepare for Chicago's 26.2 miles in October.

At this point I'm feeling a little scared, anxious, excited, impatient, and optimistic all at the same time. The road to 26.2 miles is a long one (literally!). Will I make it? Fail miserably? Get injured? lose my motivation? I've never, ever done anything remotely like this before, but I'm ready to take on the challenge and the pain that comes along with it.

The days after Thanksgiving have been quite busy for me. I'm juggling around four different projects at the office, all involving some recent acquisitions my company has made. I'm also catching up on a lot of Jstreet stuff involving the radio show and website! Oh yea, and there's school... thank goodness classes are almost done, for now anyway.

Oh, almost forgot I've got to squeeze in Christmas shopping in there somewhere!

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Top 10 ways to save money

# 7. Don’t Spend When You’re Drunk

The sight of an empty wallet is frequently accompanied by a pounding headache and blurred memories of acting like a jackass. The bottle can make a person do foolish things: like picking fights with strangers over their haircuts or buying rounds of shots for the table you met ten minutes earlier.

So take out some insurance, bring a reasonable amount of cash with you to the bar, and leave your bank and credit cards at home. Once you’re broke, it’s probably time to crash anyway.

Cash saved: If you’re prone to buying the crew a round of $3 shots at the end of the night, that’s an additional $30 spent per weekend. The amount hinges, of course, on how popular one is.


HA! hilarious...


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chicago Marathon here I come

I got the news today that the Lasalle Bank Chicago Marathon (yes, the one where one person died and 100's injured) is scheduled for Sunday, October 12, 2008. This is my goal race and it will be set in stone once registration opens and I've "signed on the dotted line" to run.

So I will continue to condition myself to run until then. As of now, I plan to run a 13 mile half-marathon in the spring- probably Cincinnati, OH or Rockford, IL. Rockford is top on my list considering it is close to home and five months out.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Playing with big toys

My new toy arrived at the office last week. A rack mountable IBM System x3650, 3.0 Xeon processor, 5gb's of RAM, 450GB worth of drives in Raid 5, and looking pretty in black.

Part of a network infrustructure upgrade.

Life is good.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Turkey Trot photos and random thoughts


(click photo to visit the photo gallery)

I've posted some photos of my run at the 5-mile Turkey Trot in Chicago's Lincoln Park on November 22, 2007. I had such a good time despite the cold temperatures and the falling snow. This is up there as one of the craziest things I've done to date!

The only problem I had was running into a lot of walkers on some of the smaller trails. The trails themselves, at least the gravel ones, were so soaked and muddy that I had to be careful not to do a faceplant while going over them. I was mostly taking care of my knee by doing 5-minute run/1-minute walks all the way through. No records here.

So hop on over to my Flickr site and check out the photos!

I ran 4 miles today in a heavy drizzle, and was done in about 50 minutes, just before a downpour! The $34,203,030 dollars I spent on my winter running gear really came through for me and kept me comfortable all the way through- it was bliss.

My knee has been feeling wonderful during my longer runs. For a while there, I was going crazy with only putting in a light run or two a week while babysitting it. So far so good! I've clocked close to 60 miles since I started recording my runs in early October (!) I really want to run the 5-mile Rudolph Ramble on December 9, and perhaps beat my previous 5-mile time.

Running has kept me happy. I've had many reasons to be unhappy as of late, and don't laugh as much as I used to. It has helped me answer questions I've had about myself. Truthfully, I think I am becoming a better person because of it.

Most of all, it has kept my spirits up when I stoop down to questioning if I matter at all. It is an emotion I try to avoid at all costs... all costs.

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