Thursday, December 25, 2014

Family Christmas Card

I sent a handful of these out via paper copy, but since I'm always one to save mother earth, he is the electronic copy as well!

After a few years’ hiatus, [My Son] and I are back sending out Christmas cards!  This holiday season it seems that [My Son] and I are settling into a nice routine. Either that..... or we both finally have something to brag to friends & family about! What better method to spread holiday cheer than the often-boastful holiday letter!?

[My Son] just turned 4 and loves racecars, trucks, trains, motorcycles and anything that makes noise, goes fast, or burns fossil fuels.  He is certainly a boy’s boy with a kind and tender side that shines through when he is at school. He is quick to hug the other kids and loves telling everyone "bye" when it is time to go.  [My Son]'s hobbies include coloring, waking up at 5:20am, and buying iPad games while I am in the shower. His dislikes are any food that is not in lollipop or French fry form.

This fall, [My Son] started Preschool.  He loves the teachers and his classmates and always has wonderful stories to tell about what he did at school such as "I don't know" and "I can't remember". I am also settling into some nice parenting guilt as I have no idea what to do with the seemingly daily 30 paintings / projects he brings home. I'm thinking about starting an abstract art Etsy store to help offset the preschool cost.

When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, his response is usually either a police man or garbage man. Of the reasons why he wants to be a policeman, "driving really fast" and "going through red lights" top the list and a garbage man to drive the big truck with the robot arm.  Of course, after answering for himself, [My Son] asks me what I want to be when I grow up.  Unfortunately, "working with computers" isn't the right answer and is greeted with a "No daddy, when you GROW UP".  Wiser than his years, even my 4 year old knows that I refuse to grow up. If anyone is interested I am going to be a doctor when I grow up.

Things in my world are chugging along. After 11 years and seemingly thousands of hotel stays, I left [my old work] in February, started working for [my NEW work!], and bought a new house. [my NEW work!] is a cable company [details removed here because of reasons]. To answer the obvious questions: 1) No I can’t get you free cable 2) I have no idea why there are so many dancing / singing shows on TV 3) Usually the reason your internet goes down is because someone cut a cord in the ground somewhere. The change was for the better as I no longer have to worry about traveling or working 70 hours a week.

I'm still running like a fool and completed marathons in New Jersey and Detroit this year. With the addition of those two, I've ran marathons in 21 states which nearly puts me half way towards my goal of one in each state. I'm slower than I once was, but still putting foot to pavement.  The highlight of the running year wasn't either of those but instead was a 1 mile Komen race with [My Son]. He ran the entire thing and was VERY proud of himself when he finished.

This year, I think that I can speak for [My Son] and agree that we are both very fortunate and thankful:  Fortunate for many blessings throughout the last year and thankful for continued health. We had a lot of fun in 2014, here is to hoping that 2015 will be just as exciting!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from [My Son] and Adam!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Fiesta Bowl Half Race Report!

Editors note: I'm about 4 race reports behind. I'm going to try really hard to get these all completed and posted by the end of the year. These are almost literally the only posts that I go back and read so in spite of my blog inactivity I want to record them down!

I love this race. I love that it is flat. I love that it has only a handful of turns. I love that it is in swanky Scottsdale where all the UGG boots and yoga pants live.

Time: 1:27:32
Pace: 6:40
Place: 41/1,117 (top 4% whaaaaaat!?)
AG Pace: 7/39 (Top 18% - BLARG. How can 20% of the people in front of me be in my age group!?)

My 2014 running year is best described like my Saturday nights: a lot of work all year long but the real fireworks were in the first 2 minutes. I set a massive half marathon PR in January but got out of a groove for the rest of the year. Fortunately, I rallied and finished strong with a solid "pace" effort in December.

The Fiesta Bowl half marathon is one of the larger half marathons in the phoenix area put on by one of the oldest running stores in town.  It is simple in design (basically a big square) and flawless in execution (sort of).  As I know you remember, last year I paced the 1:40 pace group in a leopard print pimp hat.  Haterz gotta hate. I always know a handful of people running it and usually try to keep it on my radar if the timing is right.

As of Tuesday race week I didn't even know that I was going to race.  I had my son and unfortunately he is way too big to sit still in the running stroller for a full 13 miles.  Not that I wouldn't love to try, but reminding him that "it is daddy's turn to run" and "no, you can not get out" every 30 seconds for 90 minutes does not seem like fun. Long story short, my schedule changed a bit and I was fancy free for the day!

So, I threw already maxed out Christmas inspired credit cards to the wind and signed up to race on race day.  Over the last 2 years or so, I've found that waiting until the very last minute to race is much better. That is mostly because not being able to race because of scheduling issues quickly eats up saving $10 on doing it early.

Heel strike for the win! 
(Actually, GOOD GOD, what am I doing?! Digging in for tug of war!?)

I am a pretty realistic runner.  I won't run a pace that I don't think I can hold. So, in spite of tapering (read: not running) during race week, I knew that I would not be running all out.  I haven't been training for a half marathon and really didn't want the soul crushing death march from miles 10-13.  Let's be honest, my ego needed a bit of a boost. So, I settled on running somewhere between 6:40 and 6:50 pace.  This is a bit slower than half marathon pace at 6:25 but slightly faster than marathon pace which is likely around 7:00.

 Rockfist?  Maybe. More heel strike? YES!!

I had actually planned to run a few slower miles to warm up and then ease into the faster pace, but my Garmin has been a bit wonky showing paces all over the place until it settles in. So, even though I thought that I was running slower, I was actually running pretty fast. So, I started out running 6:40s.

My ONLY complaint with this race is the mile markers.  They are off. I don't mean "uncle Frank likes to have conversations with the dog during Christmas dinner" off, I am talking more "uncle Frank has tearful conversations with the dog about how he wishes all women were loving and caring like she is" followed with admissions about how he wishes it were legal to marry dogs.  So the 2 mile marker was at least a tenth of a mile off and the 3 mile marker was a quarter mile off. Not a HUGE deal, but obviously not Garmin errors either. It was that way last year too, so I think that it might have been because the markers were supposed to be in the middle of open intersections..... lest the Scottsdale people can't get to Yoga.

Why why why do they put camera people on (tiny) uphills at mile 11?!

Overall, I continued to click off (what my watch said were) 6:40 min miles - with surprising accuracy.  I'd waiver a few seconds here or there, but was pretty spot on w/out looking at my watch much at all.

I hit the 10k mark running 6:39ish pace and felt good.  I slightly considered seeing if I could hold 6:20s, but frankly the miles were making my legs tired and I was quite comfortable running where I was. So, basically I was lazy. That is, until I hit a few of the 'uphills'. Around mile 11, the race goes on a bike path which dips under roads. the resulting 10 ft drop / rise were just enough to be annoying. Yes, you heard me right, I'm complaining about a 10 foot "hill".

Never the less, I did drop a few seconds with a few 180 degree turns and just plain old slowing down, but still managed to hold on at the finish for almost exactly a 6:40 pace finish. Hooray!

I honest to god NEVER throw up peace signs or rockfists while not racing....

Race tested, Santa approved.

Post Race Thoughts:
I really like this race. It was the ego boost that I needed after a string of sub par races to let me know that I still can throw down a somewhat speedy time with minimal race effort. How minimal the race effort was I"m still trying to process.  I think that I could have likely held 6:30s for the second half and gotten right around 1:26.  Fast, yes. But still 2 minutes slower than my PR from 12 months ago.  So, I have some work to do over the next few months to get back to my younger (obviously handsomer) glory!