Saturday, December 29, 2012

X-Cells!

There is hope! I just read an article about how there are researches in Philadelphia who have figured out how to use an altered H.I.V. virus to reprogram the T-Cells in a patient with leukemia, so that those mutant T-cells will seek out and destroy the cancerous B-cells in the body.

This is why I’m running! This is why I’m training, and running in freezing temps! It is just this kind of “out of the box” off the wall thinking that we need to be funding. I mean… who thinks like that? “Oh, let’s take an AIDS virus and reprogram it to save people.”



These guys are making X-Men T-Cells… we should call them X-Cells! Ok, I’m kind of making light of this extraordinary finding, but I’m so excited to hear about this.

Simply amazing!

I also found out today that a childhood friend of mine has been battling this very same disease, and seems to be winning. Her latest blood work shows that she is still in remission… That’s great news!

Oh… and I run today… and it was cold… but still better than chemo.

I know I ask a lot from my readers... but if you can, please donate, Thanks!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Musical Fun

Being a makeup artist, I totally love musical theatre... but this is funny!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

TnT Ugly Sweater Run

Saturday’s used to be my day to sleep in… and then I joined Team in Training. This morning I was up at 7am so that I could drop my wife off at work before heading up to Sugarhouse Park for the TnT ugly sweater run. Fortunately, I was not the only person who couldn’t find an ugly sweater to run in.

 View of my Dash Board temp display
just before I opened the door and got out.

The temp was a frigid 23 degrees when I got out of my car and joined my team. Despite the cold, I ran really well this morning. In fact, I’ve been doing really, really well on all of the team runs so far. I’m not used to being in the lead pack when I run… so I’m just waiting for something to happen. IT band… something… knock on wood…

That is one ugly sweater
 
Also, I’m really thinking that I’m going to change my registration to the full marathon… but the idea scares the crap out of me.

One of the LLS employees that runs with us is Gemma. She’s in her early 20s and just qualified for Boston. I swear this girl weighs 85 pounds… soaking wet. So, we’re running along this morning and get to a stop light. The Don’t Walk is flashing, and we can see that we only have a few seconds to get across, so all of us stop, except for Gemma. She bounds across the street, yelling, “come on, you can make it!” We all laugh, and one of our coaches, Mary, says, “Ya we could make it if we weighed 85 pounds like Gemma!” It was funny.

TnT is really a good group of people with this full on passion for finding a cure for leukemia. It’s amazing. Several of our team members are patients themselves. My captain, is a lymphoma survivor. It’s inspiring to be around people who have seen success in fighting these cancers, when I have only seen tragedy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trying to Keep the Magic... For One More Year.

My youngest daughter is 9 years old, and is starting to figure out Santa.  While putting her blankets on the other night she asked me, “Dad, are you Santa?”

“No.” I answered… after all, I’m not overweight, I have an aversion to reindeer, and I really don’t look good in red.  “Why do you ask?”
“Well,” she said, “Nichol says that our parents are Santa.  Is Santa real?”

Wow, I don’t want to outright lie to her so I say, “Santa is as real as you believe him to be.  I believe in Santa.”
“You do?” she asks, all wide eyed.  It’s true, I believe in Santa as the ideal of charity that he is meant to represent.  That’s hard to explain to a 9-year-old, so I just left my comment as it was.
Then, Saturday night came, and with it, our family party.  It’s been a tradition at this party, since I was a little kid, to have Santa show up.  My family even owns a Santa suit and beard.  This year we got a friend of mine to play Santa, and my daughter saw right through the beard and knew who he was.  He has a distinctive voice.

So, while Santa was handing out presents, my daughter walked over to me, “Dad?” she says, “Is that Boyd?”
“What makes you think that?” I asked… a little horrified.

“Because, that’s Boyd.” She says.
You can kind of see her wheels turning, can't you.
 
So I walked her away from the rest of the kids, and told her that, Yes, Santa was Boyd.  I went on to tell her that Santa was a bit too busy to come to every little family party, and so parents need to fake it a little bit.  But she was not to tell any of the other kids.  That she now had to be able to keep a big person secret.  She said that she could do that.

I’m afraid that this is the last year for us to be able to pull off the Santa thing with our youngest, and that kind of makes me sad.  There is far too little magic in this world.  The sense of wonder is being replaced by Apps and I’m afraid that there is no app for wonder.
If you have little ones, cherish the wonder that flashes in their eyes when everything is new to them.  That time is such a short one.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cause Murph additional pain… for charity

Just how sadistic are you? And how much do you want to make me hurt?

As many of you know I have signed up to run the Ogden Valley Half Marathon with Team in Training, and I’ve been waffling back and forth on whether I should go for it and run the 26.2 mile Full Marathon instead of the 13.1 mile Half Marathon.

I’ve run a half marathon, and 13.1 miles just doesn’t scare me any more, I know that I can make that mileage. 26.2 miles is a whole different story, and it scares the living Bat-Crap out of me to even contemplate that kind of mileage.

So, I’m going to leave my decision up to you. Yep, I’m throwing out a challenge.

I have to recommit, and declare my race on February 15th. So, between today 12/12/12 and 02/15/13 if I have 26 donations of $26.20 or more on my donation site, I will commit to do the Full 26.2 miles of pain, and you can all have a good laugh at my 44 year old body falling apart.

Up for the challenge? Up to see me die in the streets of Ogden? Want to support a great organization while laughing at my blood soaked Brooks? Donate HERE.

I’m hoping that you won’t… ‘cause I don’t think you got the guts!

And if causing me pain is not enough for you... here's one of the reasons I'm running:



 
Leslee was 28 years old when Leukemia took her from us.  Let's find a cure.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Puppy Love


My wife and I play this “I love you more” game… usually when we’re both sleep deprived because of one of the kids… but anyway… so the other night we were doing this “I love you more” thing, and at some point the words “Puppy Love” came up, which made us both giggle like we were still in Junior High, which is somewhat appropriate, since it’s kind of a Junior High game.

So anyway, ever since, I’ve had the stupid, yet sappy, song “Puppy Love” as sung by Donny Osmond running in an endless loop through my head… So I thought that I’d share.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

November Update

What can I say, November was a good month for me.

November Miles: 60 miles

Races: Ragnar Las Vegas

Next Race: 2013 New Years Revolution (January 1)

Reading: The Book of Mormon (Trying to do a cover to cover thing before the end of the year)

Listening: The Associate, By John Grisham. It’s pretty much a cross between Pelican Brief and The Firm.

Latest Obsession: Team in Training (Please Donate by clicking HERE… ya, I’m going to be doing this a lot between today and April… I figure that if it works for NPR, it may work for me… Right?)

Netflix Habit: Sherlock. It’s a BBC mini-series. It’s an updated Sherlock Holmes, but very true to the original books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Blessing: My Family… this will never change.

Irk: Utah Transit Authority. My bus seems to be always late, and always driven by some brand new trainee who doesn’t know the route. Twice in November, the bus either never showed up, or drove right past my stop. Ugh!

Whoo Hoo!: My daughter, Tay, out-shot me at archery. It was awesome! Even though I took a bit of ribbing from some of the other archers.

Oooo Ahhh: Mizuno Breath Thermo Wool Mock Turtleneck, Oh… those would be so warm this winter.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Please Help!

I need to tell you a couple of stories.

When I was a college student, I used to go up to the University Hospital to give blood.  I’d go as often as I could, but there came a time that I got my dates messed up and went up there about a week to early, so they wouldn’t let me give, but they had asked if I wouldn’t mind joining the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).  My first answer was “No” but when I found out that the chances of me actually matching with a patient was, something like, 1/100,000. I thought that I could take those odds, after all I never win anything, not even a flip of the coin, where my odds are 1/2.  So, I joined.
Two years later, I had just moved into an apartment, and was getting married in a couple of weeks, when the phone rang.  It was the NMDP and I had a preliminary match to a patient.  “Really?”  They asked if I would go up to LDS Hospital to give more blood for final matching.  I did, and to make a long story short, on April 2nd 1993 (my 24th birthday) I gave several milliliters of bone marrow from my hip to a 6-year-old little boy named Christian who had Leukemia.

The first reports we got of his progress were positive, the marrow had implanted, that he was home and cancer free, a healthy & happy little boy who liked to ride his brand new bike.  Then, in August, I got a call from Mark, my contact at the Intermountain Marrow Donor Program, telling me that Christian’s cancer had returned and that he had passed away.  I remember feeling angry, helpless, like somehow I or the doctors or someone had let this little boy down.  That was almost 20 years ago, he would have been 25 this year.  I still have his picture in my nightstand.
Then, in 2005, my wife’s cousin Leslee, was pregnant with her second boy and just wasn’t feeling right.  She went to her doctor who drew some blood to test for one of the many blood related things expectant mothers can come down with.  Well, she had come down with leukemia.

They immediately put her on steroids and other drugs to help ready the baby for an early delivery.  And not long after that, she delivered a very small baby boy, and then quickly began chemotherapy.  We, her family, began to organize a bone marrow drive.  We knew that the chances of finding a marrow donor for Leslee were astronomical, but we had to do something and our hope was that if we could not help Leslee, well, maybe we could help someone.  While we were in the organizing phase of the marrow drive, we were informed that they had found a marrow donor for her.  We went forward with the drive, and were able to sign up 32 new donors.
Leslee’s health, however, continued to decline, and on April 12, 2006 she passed away at her home, with her husband and the two little boys who will never know her smile or her laugh.  She never became healthy enough for the marrow donation.  She was 28 years old.

Last Fall, I walked into a local restaurant and found a pamphlet for Team in Training, a program of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The program consists of helping me to train to meet some endurance goal of mine, and in return, I would help raise money to fund research into fighting blood cancers.  Since there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about ways I could help fight this disease, let’s just say that I was interested.
Last night I joined.  My personal goals are insignificant when compared to the hell that victims of blood cancer go through every day and I ask for your help.  I’m not going to bore you with statistics or other nonsense… because I think that the stories I’ve given you speak for themselves.  Please consider donating to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Help me to help them find a cure for this devastating disease by clicking HERE.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two-Things-Tuesday


I know that it’s been a while since I wrote one of these… but I figured that it was time I got back to it.

In a Weird Place
I think that when it comes to running… I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, I’ve turned the corner, I’ve gone over the edge… (Insert cliché here)

I realized this yesterday morning on my way to the bus stop.  I have to get up mighty early in the morning in order to walk the (almost) one mile to the bus stop so that I can be to work on time.  At the end of my street, there is a church, and I’m in the practice of cutting through the church’s parking lot so that I can save about 30 seconds of walking time.


So yesterday, in the predawn darkness, while trudging through said parking lot, I looked toward the main street in our neighborhood and spied a runner.  I live in a younger neighborhood and there are a lot of runners.  As I watched her run down the road, I felt… jealous.  Can you imagine?  I wasn’t jealous of her youth or speed, but that she had time to run, while I had to get on a bus, and sit on my butt, behind a desk, for the next 11 (or so) hours before I could go running.  And I’m not even a morning runner!  Weird Hu?


Bus Troubles
While I’m on the topic of the Bus.  I really don’t mind taking public transportation.  I know that’s strange for someone to say when they live in the west, but I really don’t mind… what I do mind, however, is the bus driving right past my stop while I’m waiting for it… in the cold… at 6:15 in the morning.  Ya, it’s happened twice now.  Kinda ticks me off... and they wonder why nobody likes to take the bus.  Hummmm...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Starting off 2013

 
I've decided that next year I'm going to run (at least) 3 half marathons, and so, to get 2013 off to a great start I signed up for a "race" on the very first day of the year.  The New Years Revolution Run takes place at the Olympic Oval at 8am January 1st.
The idea kind of intrigued me.  At 8am, you start running and have 5 hours to run as many laps as you can.  47.7 laps is a half marathon, and 95.5 laps is a full marathon distance.  Here's the thing for me... I finished my first half marathon in 2:16.  Which means that I SHOULD be able to finish 95 laps in 5 hours.  But, I probably won't have the strength to do that in the time allotted.
My goal is to complete the 5 hours... with as many laps as I can pump out.  I'm thinking that I'll probably be in the 70's.
The only thing that I'm really not looking forward to is the endless circles.  When I do training runs at the oval, I wear a watch and carry a clicker, so that I don't have to worry about remembering what lap I'm on... for this one I'm going to go naked... so to speak... which means no watch and no clicker.  I'm going to rely on the timing chip to count my laps.  My Garmin won't work inside anyway.
My wife is still wondering how I'm going to run after staying up half the night for New Years festivities... my answer... I never sleep the night before a race anyway... so... no big deal.  I ran my last two Ragnar's on less that two hours of sleep anyway.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


I just wanted to wish everyone a great thanksgiving.  And for my running friends out there… I hope you’ve planned a run in order to outpace the turkey induced tryptophan coma.

Have a safe one!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Microwave

I found this picture on my daughter’s facebook this morning, and it made me laugh.  Only a group of girls would write love notes to their broken microwave oven.  And so, with this in mind, I decided to write, the microwave’s lament.

 

Dear, dear girls.
I am just a humble microwave, hanging on the wall,

Above your stove, which you never use.
I look down, and can see the pain in its range top eyes and I see the loneliness,

The desire,
The envy.

I have seen the stove below me cry great tears as you so cavalierly fill me with bags of popcorn,
When it longs for a simple tin of Jiffy Pop.

Frozen dinners, frozen burritos, chicken pot pies,
All have gone into my cavity, where I spin it around, like a ride at Disneyland…

Or so I’ve heard, for I have never been there.
And I make your food hot for you, so that you can eat and drip your drippings on your text book pages.

But the oven below,
The poor, poor oven below, cries for the chance,

To heat you some water… simple water.
In a pan, a pot, or a cauldron.

And so, dear friends,
I must leave you, to save my oven friend below me.

To give it a chance to cook your food, to boil you water,
To pop your corn.

But I shall return some day,
After I find out what this Disneyland is all about.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3am Van Laughter

One thing that I’ve learned from running relay races is that sometimes you get so tired that the most trivial thing will set you all to laughing, and will then become a laughter catch phrase.  During the Wasatch Back in June it was “What the Hell, Becky”

That one actually had staying power because it was used quite a bit during the Vegas run last weekend as well.
What really was used a lot was: “Because it will be fun” from the YouTube video that was played a lot on iPhones.


The other one was a song… which I now hate.  But the video is kind of strange. "Heeeey, Sexy Lady."


 
Is it just me or is this guy a bit like a Korean Falco (If you remember the 80s... at all...)

So what has made you laugh at 3am on a Relay?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Race Recap - Ragnar Las Vegas

I love Ragnar Relays, I really do. My experience is that they are so organized, so on the ball, and so stinkin’ fun that it takes a month for me to wipe the smile off my face after the finish.

This Vegas Ragnar… well… it suffered. I don’t know if they had a new organizer, or that Ragnar was stretched to thin because of Tennessee occurring on the same weekend… I don’t know, but this one didn’t seem to be on the ball.

Geez… I hate to talk bad about Ragnar, but maybe if I do… they’ll pull it together a little better the next time.

Here’s the thing. I’ve run 4 Ragnars now and my experience is that their routes are very well signed, routes for the support vans are also very well planned. (Van 1 parks here, Van 2, parks here and takes this route out of the parking lot… et cetera.) This one… not so much. I think that the problems will emerge as the report goes on.

Leg 1 - 7.1 miles, Hard
1:05:52





We got into Vegas just as the sun was going down on Thursday night. We were staying at a time share that Nicole (Van 2’s captain) has on the strip. It was totally nice, with three different pool areas, full kitchen, the whole enchilada… so to speak. At about 7 we headed over to this Irish Pub that was doing a free pasta dinner for the runners. I know… Irish… pasta… it doesn’t quite scan, but we went, the food was great, the place was totally crowded, and it was fun!

Bed time came pretty early because Van 1 had to be out the door by 4:30am in order to get up to Mt. Charleston for our 6:30 start time. So after carb-loading a bit more on oatmeal and toaster waffles (My favorite pre-race food) we headed off into the cold wind.

You can't see it in this picture, but it's snowing.
And I LOVE the whole Tron vibe we've got going here
 
The temp was a brisk 30 degrees when we got out of the car, did a short freezing safety briefing, checked in, and at 6:30 I was finally running, and finally started to feel my blood begin to defrost.

This was a long downhill run, but it was beautiful, and with the wind at my back, not a bad run. My only problem came at about the 4th mile when I moved over to the shoulder a bit to let a faster runner pass me at the same time a couple of vans were coming up the road toward us. The road has kind of a hard shoulder, and while I was moving over, my foot hit that shoulder, my ankle rolled and down I went. It’s a strange thing when your legs are so tired that they are unable to stop your forward, downward momentum. So I have a small scrape on my knee, but no blood, nothing bad. My thanks to the runner who stopped to help me up and to see if I was ok. I don’t know his name or his team number, but a good guy non-the-less.

Leg 13 - 6.4 miles, Moderate
1:19:45


The starting point for this leg was at a Marriot Resort… Very Posh… Very Vegas. When we got there, we were all starving, so we grabbed the best Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches ever. On cold days, this is my comfort food. I did feel a little strange walking through this very nice resort in my sweaty running shorts and jacket. Oh, well.

So Stinkin' Cold!
 
After that, we camped on the lawn for a couple of hours, You’ll notice in the picture that everyone was sleeping in the sun because it was so cold.

While waiting for Nicole to come in, I was standing by the exchange and spied a group of people speaking ASL to each other. Wouldn’t you know, one of them was my ASL teacher from college. So I talked (in sign) with him for a bit, and he was very disappointed to find out that I’ve lost much of my vocabulary… oh well.

Long story short… Nicole came in, and I went out, and ran 6.4 miles, uphill, mostly into the wind. It sucked, and it took me about 15 minutes longer than it should have. I had asked the van to check on me at about the 2 mile mark, they didn’t catch up to me until about the 3.5 mile mark because they were stuck in the parking lot at the Marriot. Here’s also where Ragnar kind of slipped up. I had looked at the map, and had a basic idea of the route’s shape, but I didn’t worry about it to much, because Ragnar always has tons of signs. Well, not so much on this one, at just about every cross street, I (and other runners) had to think, “well if there’s no sign… I must go straight.” So there were a few times that I thought, “Geez, am I in the right place?”

After the run, I went into a Dunkin Doughnuts, and got a cup of hot chocolate. Oh my gosh I miss Dunkin Doughnuts… we don’t have them in Salt Lake any more.

Leg 25 - 5.6 miles, Moderate
1:12:35

It was about midnight when we all finished our legs, and the temp had dropped into the basement. We were only a few miles from the condo at this point, so we hopped into the van, cruised over to the condo, and slept the sleep of the dead.

At about 4am we got a call that van 2 was about an hour out, so we loaded up, choked down some breakfast and headed out. The exchange was at the same place we had been 4 hours earlier. Van 2 had to do a “Crap Miles” out and back. Which kind of ticked us all off, because you’re doing miles… but you aren’t advancing to anywhere.

At first, I was feeling pretty sick to my stomach, but in an effort to get something in my stomach, I downed a GU, and surprisingly started to feel better. They had a Hot Chocolate station at the exchange, but were out of hot water and didn’t know when they would be getting more… which was a disappointment since… I was literally freezing.

The route was kind of fun, since it started out going down St. Rose Ave. which is the same road I ran up on the last leg of my first Ragnar Relay in 2009… so it was cool! Then the leg turned up hill and just kept on going up.

You know there are times that you’re running up a hill, and your thinking… “It’s gotta stop going up eventually… Right?” This one didn’t. The last mile was so steep, it reminded me of the Suck Hill I went up on the Wasatch Back.

Well, the leg ended at a Starbucks, so I went in and got the best Hot Chocolate I have EVER had in my life. It was like drinking a Three Musketeers bar.

So, again… my pace totally sucked… but I was done.

One of the pool areas at the Condo... You'd never know it was 50 degrees out... Huh?
 
After finishing our 3rd legs, we went back to the condo, sat in the hot tub (probably not the best idea since an Ice bath would have been better) but we were so cold, and just wanted to be warm again. Then we headed off to the finish line at Lake Las Vegas. We followed the signs to the parking lot… after that, there were no signs… so we wandered. We wandered though crowds of non-running folk at a beer tasting thing, and then we wandered into a wedding party, and then we caught a glimpse of Orange tents… on the other side of the freaking lake. “How the hell do we get over there?” was some of the things we heard from other lost runners.

I'm not swimming!  Medal be damned!
 
So we found the bridge, got to the party and waited for van 2.

We got the call that Nicole had started, and since her last leg was 5.2 miles we knew that we had some time, so we got into the really long line to pick up our Saints and Sinners medals, we wandered the gear tent, and took phone calls from Van 2, who were also lost trying to find the finish line.

We kept looking at our watches so that we would be over at the finish line when Nicole came in so that we could all run in together… but suddenly, with about 20 minutes to go… here’s Nicole… finished. Van 2 hadn’t even shown up yet… we didn’t hear our number called… nothing… suddenly we were done. Someone asked Nicole “Did you sprint your 5 miles?” Her reply was “I only ran, like, 3 miles.”

The full team... together at last!
 
So ya, good feeling gone… we got our medals, took some pics and were off to find a good steak dinner and celebrate our own selves.

Van 1, at the end... still freezing.
 
No… really… all-in-all it was a good race, and we totally had fun despite the cold. I just think that Ragnar kind-of screwed the pooch on the organization of this one, and I really didn’t like the new route, it was way to urban (or sub-urban) and not enough pretty Red Rock. They should really rethink Las Vegas.

Here are some more pictures from the race:

A shout out to our sponsor... Because they rock!

The wind was so strong, it was blowing over the Honey Buckets... onto the doors...
I hope no one was in them at the time.

I just thought that this was such a cool picture.
 
One more shout-out to FatBoy Ice Cream, because they were so good to us.
 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Vote for "The Other Guy"

Today, I have to get a little political… so forgive me.

Tomorrow is Election Day (Glory Halleluiah! Praise the cosmic muffin!) And people in the battle ground states will hit their local election stations to decide who we get to blame for the next 4 years of bad stuff.  For the rest of us… we may as well stay at home.

See… maybe I’m just a little bitter because I live in a state that… really, just doesn’t matter with its measly 6 electoral votes and strong Republican leaning.  If I were to watch the results on Tuesday night… which I won’t… I would most likely see the State of Utah fall to Romney the second the polls closed, with 0% of the precincts reporting in.  Now, I won’t see that because I don’t have TV, I would much prefer to go for a late night run, and frankly, I don’t think that it matters one way or the other who wins.
The thing is, Washington is broken.  Whoever becomes president is going to have to deal with a very dysfunctional congress that is going to stonewall every idea the president has… even if they agree with the ideas.

My solution… vote for “the other guy.” Don’t vote for either of the two major party candidates.  There are other people running.  Now, I had to do some serious looking to find out who they are but here you go.
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party

Virgil Goode, Constitutional Party
Jill Stein, Green Party

Rocky Anderson, Justice Party
There are probably others, but I have no idea who they are.  Now, everyone says, “If you vote for a third party you’re just throwing away your vote.”  I don’t agree.  With the way the system is set up, anyone I vote for is a throw away vote.  People are so brain washed that they think that “Well, I live in a blue state, so I better vote of Obama if I want my vote to count.”  Thing is, my vote will not count.

I have a dream.  That one of these days, California or one of the other big states, will go to the green party or one of the other parties.  Wouldn’t that just wig out the Reps and the Dems?  It would be awesome!  CNN  fould crap themselves.
So… my advice for this year is not to be a sheep.  Don’t vote for either of the two major parties.  Vote for the other guy, not just for president, but for the congressional people as well.  If you only have a choice between the two parties… then vote out the incumbent. 

Let’s shake things up my friends and remind Washington that they work for us.

-Paid for by me-
But I’m open to donations ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

20 Years


Twenty years ago today, I married my best friend.  And ever since that cold, rainy, windy day in October, we’ve laughed together, cried together, joys and sorrows.  We’ve made four of the greatest children in the world.  How could they be otherwise… they are mostly their mother.
Although we’ve struggled though these twenty years, trying to keep the realities of this world at bay, I am so blessed to have had her by my side, fighting along with me.

I know that I was not what she expected when she thought of the perfect husband.  When she could have had any tall, dark, and handsome man in the world, she took me… tall, red, and pasty.
I am so blessed that she chose me.

I look back on our last 20 years.  From a tiny one-room basement apartment (with extraordinarily loud neighbors above us) to a tiny home in Taylorsville, to our final home in Oquirrh.  From, our first Christmas together with our little tree, and empty apartment to later Christmases with our growing family and the joyful screams of our little children… from times of financial struggle to those times when we weren’t struggling quite so much.  Through the years, we’ve always found ways to have fun.  Silly String on Christmas morning, super soakers down the hall, flour fights in the kitchen, geocaching in the van, or kilts and bad Scottish accents in the summer.  Those times, and many others, will always be worth their weight in gold in my mind.  Like the song says… “If Good times were dollars, I’d be… a millionaire.”
And so, I look forward to the next 20 years.  I look forward to growing old with my own true love, to becoming grandparents, to the time when our house will once again be filled with the laughter of little voices, and to the joy that that will bring to us.

As I told her on the day I first placed the simple ring on her finger, we will never be rich in money; to the world, we will always be poor, but we will always be wealthy in love and the good things that God has blessed us with and I am so looking forward to these next 20 years, and the 20 beyond that, for they will be the richest that two people will ever have or hope to have.
I love her more than yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow.

Happy Anniversary, My Love.

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Volunteering with a Bonus


I tried my hand at volunteering an event, which turned out to be a blast.  The event was the “Running Scared” 10k in Herriman, Utah.

So here I am, on one of the few Saturdays where I could have slept in, getting up at 5:30 am, so that I could drive to Herriman in the 30 degree chill of the morning.  But it was fun, they had me sort shirts, put up sun shades, have runners sign waivers, then I was taken out to an aid station where I held water out to the runners.  (I’ll never miss a trash can again with my cup… every runner should have to work an aid station at least once.) Then, after cleaning up 300+ cups, and taking down the station, we went back to the start/finish line to clean up and take off.  The bonus was that just before I left, Cheri, one of the organizers, told me that if I emailed her they would give me a free entry into their Half Crazy Half Marathon next summer (Score!).
It was so much fun to work with and get to know other runners in the area on a more social basis, rather than just huffing a “Good Job” to them as they pass me in a race.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What a friggin’ busy week!


I didn’t get a Two Things Tuesday written because my world at work exploded, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces.  For those of you who don’t know, I’m a CAD draftsman for a small engineering company that primarily does telecom placements (towers, ugly fake trees, roof tops… that kind of thing)  we’ve had so many jobs come on line in the last few days, that our poor little company can hardly keep up.  It’s been… crazy.  But, you know how it is; I’d rather be overworked than looking for work.
So, here’s a little overview of the last few days that don’t have anything to do with work.

Panel

Saturday I wanted to go to a panel discussion up at the Salt Lake City Library.  It was on the topic of a new book about Brigham Young, and had the author and a couple of other people there.  But, my oldest (BB) is at University & the 2nd oldest (Tay) was spending the night and all of Saturday at BB’s apartment, my son was at a scout camp, and my wife was working, so that left me and my youngest together all day.  Now, I was pretty sure that a panel discussion was not going to be very fun for my 9 year old… but… I took her anyway.  So we jumped on the train and scooted up to Salt Lake.  She’s always jazzed to take the train anywhere, especially since she’s found out that she’s tall enough to reach the straps (sort of).  In reality she grabs the strap on tip-toe and then kind of swings around with the movement of the train… pretty funny.
 
The Salt Lake City Library is amazing!  Huge open spaces, fun reading rooms for the little ones, and lots to see.   We got there about an hour early, so we spent some time riding the glass elevators up and down, up and down, over and over until I was ready to hurl; especially since I’m afraid of heights.  I know… there’s no way I can fall out of an elevator (glass or otherwise) but hey… I don’t make fun of your irrational fears.
We then spent some time in “the attic” (one of the kid’s reading rooms), and then went to my “Boring” (so the 9 year old said) panel discussion.


It was fascinating… I bought the book… we went home…
 
Dinner Theater



Later that night my wife and I went to a local dinner theater, “The Desert Star Playhouse,” to see “Wicked-er.”  The Desert Star is one of those places where they do parodies of anything popular.  It was funny.  If you’re in Utah, you should check them out.  I’m really looking forward to next season when they do “The Hungry Games.”
 
Quiet Halloween

So, some of you know that I’m a part time makeup artist, and in past years, the weekend before Halloween has been pretty busy for me, with people wanting makeup for parties and such.  I don’t charge much, pretty much just enough to cover the cost of the makeup, but this year… not so much.  Maybe it’s because Halloween is on a Wednesday or something... or maybe... no it can't be because I suck!

Snow!?!


Ugh! I'm just not ready.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Prayer on a Sunday

Thought that... being Sunday and all, I'd post a prayer...


To whoever wrote this... I thank you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What is that at the top of your blog?


A question was asked about the picture I have at the top of my blog… well, maybe I should explain it and why I use it for both my blog and facebook sites.

The picture comes from the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. An earthquake that devastated San Francisco and lead to the development of many of the seismic codes we have today.

During the earthquake, Stanford University was rocked so much that a ledge on the Zoology Building which held a marble statue of Louis Agassiz broke away sending the statue tumbling to the concrete courtyard below. The statue hit head first and buried itself up to the shoulders. The students, even though shocked by the devastation of the earth quake, could not help but laugh when they found the statue with his feet in the air.

I find the picture fascinating to look at, and a little funny since I know that Louis Agassiz was a naturalist and a paleontologist who was also a staunch Creationist and a major critic of Darwin and his theory of Natural Selection.  And since I believe in Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, and evolution in general (even though I’m a Mormon and a Christian) I thought that it was kind of appropriate for Agassiz to have his head in the sand.  I know that's kind of dumb, but it works for me.

More information on the earthquake of 1906 can be found Here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two-Things-Tues… er… Wednesday?


Ok, so I didn’t get Two-Things-Tuesday done yesterday.  I tried, but every time I sat down at my word processor yesterday, I had nothing.  I’m not sure I have anything today, but… here goes.

Reading
I have a goal of reading 100 books this year; I even put it on Goodreads as a challenge for myself.  Now, I usually read 2 books at a time, one at home and one at work.  And so far I’ve done pretty well, been on track, and at one time I was even ahead by a book or two.  But this month I fell behind, and I’ll tell you why.  So far this year, I’ve been reading quite a few Terry Pratchett’s Disk World books.  Which are great by the way, and I can read them in a couple of days, and that has kept me on track, but I’ve been feeling that I need to read something with substance.  And so, when I finished my last book, and having no money to buy a new one, I went to my book shelves… I have wonderful bookshelves, overflowing with books.  I call the room my library and it’s my favorite room… I should take some pictures and put them up on the blog… but I digress.  So not having money to buy a new book, I went to the bookshelves and pulled out Herman Melville, yep, that ponderous volume… Moby Dick.  It’s been a lot of years since I’ve read it, so I thought that it was time to hit it again.  Then, while walking through the stacks at the county library, I came upon Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  Well it’s an election year, and every 4 years I tend to get a little Marxist in my thinking and need to be pulled a little right so that I can maintain my moderate political stance, so I thought that a good dose of Rand would be just what the doctor ordered to bring my thinking back to center.

But the consequence of reading two behemoth books is that I’ve fallen behind of my 100 book goal for the year.  Oh well, 2013…

Heebie-jeebies
I don’t know if it’s the fall weather or all of the Halloween decorations, or just my over imagination but I have had a serious case of the heebie-jeebies as of late.  Monday night I was out on my normal run around the neighborhood, and I found myself seriously freaked.  I swear that one of the inflatable yard decorations turned its head and looked at me as I passed the house he was in front of.  It’s not like I’ve been watching a bunch of horror flicks or anything…

Maybe I just need to put happier, bouncy music in my iPod.

Do you ever get the heebie-jeebies?  How do you get rid of them?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

10 Running Tidbits

Meredith over at This Runner’s World had this up on her Blog (I even think that she stoll it from someone else)… But after reading what she wrote, I thought that I might give the questions a try. So... Here goes…

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

I’ve tried a couple of these things. Stinger Waffles are awesome, but I don’t think that they work as well for me as GU or Shot Bloks. I do like Shot Bloks pre race because they are a little hard for me to get down on the run, for that I like GU.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

I do like little 5k’s from time to time, but since my training runs are usually longer than 3.1 miles they really are no longer a challenge and I hate paying for them. I just ran my first ½ marathon this summer and I’m hooked. My Goal for next summer is to fun 3 of them. My big vice… the race I will sacrifice and train for to no end... Ragnar Relays. Oh, how I love me some Ragnar!

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

I’m a guy and so Skirts & Capris… well that’s just not going to happen. I like longer shorts, and wind pants in the winter. I’m thinking that I’ll wear a Kilt for the Wasatch Back Relay next summer though.

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

I used to be a water guy. Gatorade, Powerade, and all those other sports drinks are so sugary, I just can’t use them on the run. They make my mouth so gummy that I just can’t stand it. Lately I have discovered NUUN, and I fell in love. The fact that it has a light taste and provides electrolytes, well I’m sold!

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

I hate heat! I don’t know what it is, but when it’s hot I just can’t run. The temp right now (I love fall in Utah) is right around 50 to 60 which is perfect. When it gets bitter cold in the depth of winter… forget about it. I’ll head over to the Olympic Oval and do endless circles.

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

Brooks! I started out in a pair of Adidas, and hated every one of the 400 miles I put on them. I could hardy wait for them to wear out so that I could justify to my wife that I needed a new pair of running shoes. I then took a couple of hours at our local running store, and probably drove the sales guy crazy trying different shoes over and over again until I found my perfect shoe… the Brooks Adrenaline.

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

Toaster waffles with butter and maple syrup. I know, I was surprised too. On the morning of my first half marathon, I got up a little late and had to shove some carbs down my throat, so I opened up the freezer, found my kid’s box of Eggos, and thought “Why not?” They worked great!

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

I try to run every other day (M, W, F) and then a long run on Saturday. Let me reiterate, I TRY to do that. More often than not I squeeze in a late run on Tuesday after my Boy Scouts meeting because Monday didn’t work out for me, then I’m playing catch up the rest of the week and usually have to shorten my Saturday run… Life just gets in the way sometimes.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

I’m no purest… Music all the way, I mean, why would I want to listen to my own thoughts? When I run at night, I usually turn the music way down, and then run with only one ear bud… for safety reasons only. There was a time during my first Vegas Ragnar, where at 2am, I found myself alone in the middle of the desert. It was so peaceful that I took out my ear buds and ran to the sound of the desert… I’ll never forget that night. It was awesome.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

Wow, good question… Back in 2008 I had a physical, and after taking my family’s health history (Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, on and on) my doctor looked at me and said “They didn’t give you a lot to work with.” I’ll never forget that. So I took up running… and failed.  You could say that I gave up. Then My boss decided that it would be a great team building experience if we formed a Ragnar Wasatch Back Team. Well that was the motivation I needed to keep going, to work hard, and to build miles. I worked myself so hard that I got a serious case of Shin Splints. So I missed the 2009 Wasatch Back due to injury, but I did take one of the volunteer slots, which was great motivation to get healthy. I did, and went on to run Ragnar Las Vegas later that same year. So, I missed out on the Saints and Sinners Medal, and have been Jonesin’ for it ever since. I think that I’ll get it this year. So reason for running… Mostly so that I won't die... Secondly, For the Fun!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seeking Advice for Winter Running


The seasons are changing and the weather is getting cooler.  This isn’t something I’m entirely sad about, since I hate running in the heat, and this summer was especially nasty with the heat and the smoke from wild fires… ya, clean crisp air is what I want for a change.  But I also fear the winter, just a little bit.
I’m in Utah, and we can have some pretty nasty winters.  And while I have, in the past, resorted to going to the Utah Olympic Oval in order to avoid running in the cold, I just don’t think that I can really do that much this year.  The endless, mindless, never changing circles are worse than anything “Old Jack Frost” can throw at me.  But then, two winters ago, I took a spill on the ice which turned my ankle into something that looked like a big, purple grapefruit and sidelined me for the better part of a year.  (That’s one reason why I missed the 2010 Ragnar Wasatch Back.)
I also can’t take the winter off, I’m in such good shape right now, and I have a goal of running a minimum of 3 half-marathons (including Disneyland), on top of the Wasatch Back again.  For me, that’s a hefty goal, but also very doable, if (and this is a big IF) if I continue to run consistently throughout the winter.
But if I’m to do that, how do I stay warm in the sometimes frigid subfreezing weather?
I read in Runner’s World that layering is best, and that I should have a long sleeve base layer on top, with a short sleeve shirt over that, and then a jacket that zips open over both of those (and that all of those layers should be made of some sort of tech fabric in order to wick away moisture, thus keeping me from turning entirely into some kind of strange redheaded meatsicle).  Now, I have run enough races to have a plethora of different tech shirts, one of which is long sleeve that I use as a base layer… but is there something better out there?  I do have a great jacket.  Last year I asked my wife for a running jacket, and she got me a wonderful fitted jacket from Ragnar… I love this jacket!  It keeps me warm and pulls the wet from my body so well.  It’s way better than the fleece hoody that I used to wear.  Man, that thing held water better than a camel.
In really cold weather, I do put wind pants over my normal running shorts and long compression socks.  I’m not a great fan of these pants since they’re a little too short for me, but they were the longest pair I could find and were not really expensive.  They were made by Nordic Track, and have this… kind of… 1970’s look about them…I don’t know if that matters much… and they also have this “Zip Zop” (to quote Calvin and Hobbes) sound to them when I run.  Which I guess is pretty common to wind pants.  Is there anything else out there that may work better and not be so expensive that I’ll need to sell a child in order to afford them?

Runner’s World suggested getting trail shoes, or something with more of a Gore-Tex type upper that will better keep water and slush out of my shoes.  Well, there’s really nothing I can do about shoes.  The shoes I have will have to be the shoes I have for at least another 300 miles.
Is there anything else I should be looking at doing?  Suggestions?  Changes?

How do you stay warm while running in the winter?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

5 dollar 5k (in Utah?)


So, yesterday, I was reading over at Shut Up and Run about what happened to an overweight news person…  I’m not sure where she lives.  Anyway, then this morning I found out that Portland, Oregon has a program in their Parks and Recreation they call “5 dollar 5k” where they organize a bunch of 5k’s in city parks throughout the summer.  So, my mind starts going at this point.  I love to run; I would love to get my wife, kids, and friends to join me in running.  But… running can be drudgery unless you have a specific goal in mind.  I mean, most people (unlike me) need to do baby steps so starting with a 5k is perfect!  I mean, who wants to jump right into a Ragnar, Right?  I mean, that would be crazy!  (FYI... I did that... Ya, I know...)
But even little 5k races are so danged expensive anymore, who really wants to dish out $25 to $35 for your first 5k anyway?  It’s easier just to sit on the couch with the xBox… right?
So why couldn’t we, here in Utah, have a “5 dollar 5k” program of our own?  Yes, we’d be blatantly ripping off Portland, but I don’t think that they’d mind to much… would they?

Ok, I guess I have some phone calls to make… what is the number for Salt Lake County Parks and Rec.?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Two Things Tuesday

NUUN


Oh My Gosh!  Nectar of the Gods! Where have you been all my (running) life?  So after reading about NUUN over at RicoleRuns (Sometimes) I headed over to my local running shop to see if I could pick up a tube.  I figured that if it made me want to puke, well my kids would probably drink it.  The taste is light and not sugary, which is why I just can’t run with traditional sports drinks; they just gum up my mouth.  And since NUUN comes in a little tablet, I can carry a bunch of them in our (generally) overloaded Ragnar van without adding to the clutter.
I run with a Camelbak Quick Grip bottle… which I love… by the way.  It has a nice little valve so I can close off the mouth piece, and since it’s strapped to my hand instead of on a belt it’s not slamming against my butt while I’m trying to run.  Here’s the only problem I have with NUUN… since it’s an effervescent tablet, it makes the water slightly fizzy.  This is fine because it’s not overly fizzy, but pressure tends to build up in my bottle, and for the first couple of miles or so, every time I open the valve a small jet of NUUN water shoots out onto the street, my hand, or the runner next to me.  I’ve tried several things to keep this from happening, but it’s always the same thing.  So, I live with it.
 
Looking Back.


I was thinking this morning while walking in to work, I’ve been in the Boy Scouts, as a Scout Master for 12 years, longer if you count my years as a merit badge councilor.  And in that time I’ve mentored, I don’t know… Hundreds of Boys in learning what it means to be a boy scout.  I’ve seen them come in from the Cub Scouts, all full of fun and fire for the activities, I’ve seen them drop out, move away, go on to become Eagle Scouts, some to join the military, serve LDS missions, get married, and in one case, even to go to their grave far too early.  And in almost every case, I’ve hoped that I had a small hand in helping them to become who they are today.
This month a strange thing happened, my entire patrol of 11-year-old scouts moved up to the older patrols, and 3 brand new Scouts, fresh from Webelos came into the patrol.  I’ve never, in 12 years, been able to start entirely fresh with a brand new group of boys.  Usually they trickle in and trickle out at different stages, which can become a challenge for us as Scout Masters.  But these guys are new, blank sheets, and I am excited to begin teaching these new scouts.  And as I teach, and carry on traditions, and to make new ones, I wonder what the next 12 years will bring.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Two-Things-Tuesday


Strange…
We have a semi-professional theatre here in town that does some really incredible productions.  We just love to go to their performances, because it’s such a small, intimate theater, and their production quality is so high.  But anyway, when they close a show, it is our honor to go help them “strike” the show.  Which, in Theatre speak, means we help take apart sets, put props back in storage… that kind of thing.  There are several of us that go and do it, I’d say about 20 volunteers and another 10 theater staff.  So, last Saturday night, we showed up to strike their last show, and were able to work with the set designer packing up pillows, and sheets, blankets, bed skirts… Funny, I went to see this play, and I didn’t remember that many beds… strange.  Anyway, to my point… Much of this stuff is packed into big plastic totes and then stored in the basement.  While walking through the shelves, my eye was caught by one particular tote, and it made me laugh.  Only in the theatre would I ever see this box, and not have it be tied to some kind of police investigation.


I love the theatre!

 

Been Kinda Ticked-off Lately
It’s fall, and I’m involved in the Boy Scout’s which means that it’s time for “Friends of Scouting.”  Oh, yes, that one time of year when we get to go door to door in order to solicit funds for our local councils.  I hate… I’m using the word “Hate” here… Hate friends of scouting because it means that I get to go door to door with my son, and hear how Scout Executives make too much money and other kinds of bull crap from every pseudointellectual dough-head who really just doesn’t want to pull out his check book because it would cut into his beer money.

So, while we were out we come upon the home of a young couple from our church, and I’m thinking, “cool, a friendly face.”  Boy was I wrong.  Now, I know the guy, he and his wife attend the same congregation that my family does, he teaches in one of the classes I attend(ed).  And I know that he’s an Eagle Scout.  So I knock on the door, he answers all high and mighty and proceed to make me out to be some kind of groveling worm in front of my son.
Ya, that was nice…

Look, I don’t really care if people want to give to the BSA or don’t want to give… its cool either way, I’m no sales person… I couldn’t sell a free hamburger to a starving child… so I just flat out ask, “would you like to give?” if the answer’s “no,” I’m all, “have a nice day” and on to the next door.  I don’t need to know all of the reasons you hate the boy scouts, the uniform, the camps or anything else.  And I really, really don’t need to hear it from an Eagle Scout, and a member of my same church.  Ya know…
And so, to this particular pseudointellectual dough-head, “Have a nice day.”



Friday, September 28, 2012

Not a Great Taste Test... For Me.

When I ran my first (and so far, only) half marathon, I was given the mandatory "Goody Bag" full of coupons and trial sized products, among which was a package of Achiva.  Mango Flavor.  Not being a fan of Mango anything, I gave it ti my wife, and it sat on her nightstand for several weeks, until one night, just before a run, I was feeling a little under fueled and was out of Gu, so I took back the Achiva.
Now, I had read about Chia seeds when I read "Born to Run" and did want to try it... someday, but not necessarily that night.  Plus, the packet said that it was a "chia seed & dehydrated coconut water drink mix."  Drink Mix means... Cool-Aid right?  Achiva is not Cool-Aid.

 
So when I poured the drink mix into a bottle of water, what came out of the package was not the vaguely orange mango colored drink mix I was expecting, but a white powder with black specks.  Which, of course, are the chia seeds.
The instructions said to wait 15 minutes before drinking... which I did. Then, after letting the kids and my wife try a little bit, I sucked down the bottle as fast as I could choke it down.  I have to admit, it was allot like drinking snot... snot with a slight mango aftertaste.  Then after waiting and warming up for about 20 minutes, I started my run.
The first two miles were like running with a heavy rock in my belly... a rock that kept threatening to come back up, so I did a fair bit of walking, heavy breathing, and swallowing.  But after a while, the nausea kind of subsided and I was able to pull off a fairly decent training run.
Now, It sounds like I'm just slamming Achiva, and that really isn't the case.  It was not a happy experience for me, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't work for you.
I love that the product is billed as being all natural, and that every part of the product is added and designed for their natural benefits to your body while you're putting it through the stress of a run.  I just don't think that it was for me.
Maybe I'll give it another try... someday... if I get another packet in another race goody bag.
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