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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

Well, I'm writing this about five hours before we say goodbye to 2008 and ring in the new year. I went for my last run of the year this morning- a glorious easy run of five miles at Independence Grove. It was bone chilling cold, but the scenery was breathtaking. I turned off my iPod for a few minutes during my run just to enjoy the silence.

Had to do a little dancing around this kind of stuff:

Running route obstacles

This past year treated me really well. I can't complain. I'm happy and healthy, which are two things that matter most.

Last January I made one, and only one, resolution for 2008- to run and finish the Chicago Marathon, which I did. Everything else revolved around that goal- from eating well, having a positive outlook in life, meeting new people, and getting healthy- all of which I accomplished. For this, I am happy.

I'm very much looking forward to 2009. I don't know what to expect, which I guess adds to the mystery of it all. I'd like to travel more- see places I've never seen before. Perhaps run at Grand Canyon National Park, see the aurora in Alaska, or join a tornado chasing tour! Either way, I'm super excited and can't wait to see what's in store.

Oh, and one last thing: I've decided to run marathon #1 for '09 in St. Louis, Mo. on April 19. This will be a nice compliment to the Chicago Marathon I plan on running again in October. That's two full marathons for 2009 (for now)! Bring it on.

So this is my last post for 2008. Happy New Year to all and I wish you all the best in 2009.

See you all on the flip side!

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pleasant surprises are always welcome!

I woke up this Saturday morning pretty early for my long run, but not soon after my alarm rang, I got an email from my running group that our run was canceled due to the storms and heavy rain in the area. Wha? Sure enough, it was pouring outside and the radar was all lit up with rain. Well, the storms never really materialized, but the rain came down all. day. long. The snow was melting since it was close to 55F at 5:30 a.m.! I figured I'd be better off rescheduling my run for Sunday. Anything to stay away from the treadmill.

I've been stressing lately about booking my flight for my half-marathon in Florida this coming February. With my hotel and race registration fee taken care of, I was gambling to see if the price of the flight would go down after the holiday's. A month after I initially checked on it, it had gone up in price by about $50. Should I wait until January? Book now?

Well, after going through my credit card charges after all of the holiday hoopla, I accidentally stumbled upon the website listing my reward points for my card. On a whim, and in a why-the-hell-not sort of manner, I checked to see if it was enough to pay for a plane ticket.

Lo and behold it was! What a pleasant surprise.

Enough for a round trip fare anywhere in the inner 48 states!

So it is done. Half marathon registration: check. Hotel: check. Flight: check. Am I ready?: to be determined :)

I'll be leaving early Friday, Feb. 6th. I'll enjoy the expo and relax at the hotel on Saturday, and then race on Sunday! Fortunately, I'm staying at the host hotel, and the race is a shuttle ride away- no need for a car. With the race starting at 6:45 a.m., I should be good to fly out around the noon hour.

If anything, this serves as a little more motivation to get out there and train to get ready for sunny Florida come February 8.

Anything helps at this point!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Days of Rest like it or not

I knew that getting some running in during the winter would be tough, but not this tough. I swear we've had a winter storm almost every other day here in the northern burbs of Chicago. It's really frustrating.

I had no real trouble getting outside to run during last winter, but this one's different. I really haven't felt safe enough to get out and run in my subdivision, but I'm just going to suck it up and get out there. The treadmill running has gotten pretty stale, and my left knee isn't agreeing with it at all. I have that familiar pain in the knee that's telling me it'd rather be pounding the pavement.

I think I'm going to invest in some YakTrax to put on my shoes to get a better hold of the road. I hadn't really felt the need to use them, but this year is different.

Right now I'm making sure I don't have more than three days in between my runs, that I'm eating well, and am getting my stretching in. In taking care of my knee, I've been doing more with weights at the gym. I've lost about three pounds since early December, which is really kind of ass backwards without much running. I figure I eat more the more miles I run, and it just balances itself out, I guess.

So Christmas is here! I'm going to get a run or two in before Saturday's 15 mile run. I'm not sure at this point if I'll do the entire 15, but I'd like to get in something above 10 miles depending on how I feel.

Happy Holidays for now!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

My favorite toy comes in black

I wish I would of had time to do a little of this in the FJ this morning in our first big snow storm:

And someday I would LOVE to do this:


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not another one?!

And here we are again suffering through yet another considerable snow fall in mid-December- and it's still not officially winter yet. I remember last winter as being one of the snowy-est that I can remember. I bet this one's going to match it.

Several of my co-workers and I took a trip to my company's Indiana facility this morning for meetings, and ended up coming home in the middle of this big mess. It started snowing far earlier than we thought, and even though we left for home around 1 p.m. Chicago time, we ended up getting the brunt of the storm. The drive home ended up being close to six hours when it normally takes only three. What a mess.

I ended up skipping my run on Monday, but plan on running about 70 minutes on Wednesday. Saturday I have a fun 10K race with my CES group in Chicago as part of our training schedule. I've narrowed down my choices for doing a full marathon to either St. Louis on April 19 or the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, OH. on May 3rd.

Either way I'm all for taking on a full marathon in the spring as a warm up to running Chicago again in October.

I think that sounds just about right.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Congrats Lindsay!

Lindsay running in Chicago 2008

You all remember my friend Lindsay from this post?

Well, she ran and finished her first full marathon on Dec. 6th (St. Judes Memphis Marathon).

Congrats Lindsay!!

All of that hard work finally paid off!

It was nice to have shared one of her training runs with her. You can check out her race report here.

So, Lindsay- when's the next 26.2? ;)

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Still alive and kickin'

It has been far too long since I've posted, my friends. Things are good and lots has been happening. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of winter and finding motivation to do things has been a challenge to say the least. It's a good time for me to do things I put off during the busy summer months- especially since most of it was spent training for a marathon.

Alas, I've been busy with life. Things at the office have been ridiculously hectic as of late, sometimes juggling up to three projects at a time. I'm not complaining at all, and thank god that I am as busy as I am in these tough times. We're in the early stages of planning a major email system upgrade which will take me into the new year.

I've been picking up the guitar quite a bit lately, and at times practicing with a dear friend of mine who is just learning to play. She wants to be a rock star, and doing a fine job at it if I may say :) Honestly, it's a passion of mine to write music, but my ability to do that has lay dormant for a long time and I'm constantly searching for the spark to get the pen moving again. I suppose dusting off the old Gibson Les Paul is a good start.

As for the running? It's become such a part of my lifestyle now that I can't imagine myself NOT running. I'm still training for the Melbourne and Beaches Half Marathon in Florida this coming February, and have a 13 mile run planned for this Saturday. For whatever reason, I found it particularly hard to get motivated to run last week. The winter here in the Chicago area has been brutal, and it isn't even OFFICIALLY winter yet!

It has snowed on my scheduled run days, and I have not felt comfortable running on the snowy roads. It hasn't helped that the area communities are being stingy with their salt reserves and only plowing the major roads. I've kept from going completely insane running on the treadmill by throwing in some speed and hill workouts, sometimes raising the incline 6 to 8 ticks at a time!

I've been feeling incredibly strong during my runs- more than I've ever felt before. I've started my strength workouts this week, which can only make me stronger leading into 2009, I hope.

As I mentioned before, I'll be doing my longest training run yet since October this Saturday at 13 miles. I keep having to remember what I need to prepare for a big run such as this one!

I have a feeling I'm going to love it.

Until next time!

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