Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 Running Plans

My running goal for the year: Finish another 100 mile race, at least 0:51:10 faster than last year, with ~5500 feet more elevation gain and loss than last year's run. Time to get busy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year

Long time, no blog...

I've been on vacation from work the last two weeks, and we've managed to squeeze in lots of fun and adventure over the holidays.

On the Friday before X-mas, Avery's school was closed due to snow, but by noon the roads were fine, so we headed out on our trip to Victoria, Canada. One thing about Canada I learned is that it's a cold, snowy, frozen wasteland kind of place. At least, it was while we were there. On the TV news the anchor said that 100% of Canada was covered in snow, say it in the same matter-of-fact tone that a Phoenix weatherman would mention it's "sunny in the desert". Despite the fact that Canada is a frozen tundra, we had a good time. Avery got to go ice skating for the first time. At the famous Butchart gardens, they had the whole place decked out in x-mas lights, and had an outdoor ice rink set up. We all rented skates, and enjoyed an hour of skating, while heavy snow began to fall. It was quite the Norman Rockwell occasion. Less Rockwell-esque was trying to drive back into town in the developing blizzard. Nothing says holiday cheer less than freezing one's fingers while trying to attach tire chains, after getting stuck trying to ascend a Canadian hill.

But Victoria was nice. And the food was good. And the drive back to Oregon was easy, except for the six hours or so that it took us to travel the 30 miles or so from Portland to Salem (again with the tire chains). By about 9:00 pm we were starved and needed a potty break, and finally came across an open place - a meat intensive fast-food chain restaurant (not our typical style, being plant and dairy types). Avery enjoyed cheese nachos and a chocolate chip cookie. I had some sort of allegedly bean based burrito. My insides paid for it over the next several days.

But we made it home for x-mas. It was nice. Santa came and did his thing. Avery got lots of books, some toys, a pretty dress, and her most played with gift: a hula hoop. Christmas day was entertaining as we all took turns trying, and failing, to match Avery's hula huping skills.
After Christmas, "the boys" (as Jasmine calls any sub-assembled group of my friends) and I took an ill-advised over-night ski trip up Mary's Peak, bringing critical essentials for a winter overnight adventure, including dura flame logs, a stinky wet dog, and an over-supply of adult beverages. We skied in for four hours or so and set up "camp". Our camp consisted of a hastily and sloppily dug "flat" spot in the snow, one tent, two bivy sacks, and a sheet of plastic. Naturally, being winter in Oregon, it poured down rain all night long. Our elevation was just high enough to ensure the rain was as cold as physically possible before turning to snow. Outstanding misery!

We returned to town the next day (New Year's Eve). I managed to stay up until about 9:00 pm on New Year's eve - several minutes longer than Avery, at least.

Other than that, I've been doing lots of bike riding, and am, FINALLY, starting to run semi-regularly again. I decided a few weeks ago to take a break and let various injuries heal up, as one injury kept seeming to lead to another (IT Band, calf pain, shin splint... whine whine whine!). Today I had a good 6 or 7 miles of wonderful trail running, followed by an hour or so of mountain biking. For some reason, my calves always get super sore after a bit of a running layoff, so I'm trying not to push the mileage back up too soon, and still substituting biking for riding quite a bit. My IT Band feels great though, and my shin feels pretty close to normal. Yahoo!

Oh yeah, and we finally got the new car we ordered about four months ago - a metallic blue Nissan Versa hatchback, which nicely combines fuel efficiency and my innate cheapness. But it's a nice little car, with a big inside and plenty of headroom for me, and a good size back seat for passengers. No complaints at all. Though, when watching the Rose Bowl, we noticed two Nissan commercials: one for the car called the "Z", which had a soundtrack that went "VROOOOOOMMMM... VROOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!", and another for the Versa, that featured light, airy, plinkity-plink type music that suggested somewhat less in the manliness department than did the "Z". Oh well. On the bright side, my Versa has a rear spoiler, for extra downforce on those high speed driving maneuvers I do while hearing "plinkity-plink" music in my head. I didn't actually order the rear spoiler, but I did order ABS brakes. It turns out Nissan insists on packaging the spoiler and ABS brakes together. Which makes sense; to someone, somewhere, I hope. But not to me.

Happy New Year!