family

Summer

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Summer.
Summer officially begins for my family today. The kids had summer camp for the 4 weeks after school was out so it was not really summer yet. Even though they only went for 3 hours a day for 4 weeks, it was still school. Tomorrow we go to the LEGO Movie at the summer movies. We have not seen it yet. We bought the Blu-Ray but we wanted the kids to have something to look forward to so we held off watching it at home. They are still reluctant to go to the theater at times so seeing a movie they have not seen yet might be motivation as well.

Summer projects.

Education. We are continuing their education over the summer but we make it as fun as we can. Dictator is getting good at reading and can even sit and read some material by himself. Her Majesty wants desperately to do the same activities as her brother but still struggles. This is a point of contention for him because he wants to do his work by himself. We bought membership to the science museum so we will be going there many times over the month before school starts again. Fortunately, they are now going to the same school so they start and end not only at the same time but in the same location. This saves a lot of travel time.

Garage.
I am slowly getting the garage not only straightened but also cleared of a lot of garbage we have collected over the years. This task is getting slower as the kids get older because 4 people generate more junk than 2. Stuff that goes in the garage tends to disappear, though if it not remembered within a couple weeks. The real difficulty is getting rid of things that we ‘might’ need in the future. I have noticed that a lot of the time things we dispose of tend to become useful shortly after they are gone. We also need to have both springs on the garage door replaced. A few months ago I remember the door slamming down harder than normal but I did not think much of it. Right after, the door would not open on its own anymore. I noticed that a couple wires were loose and I have spent a few months problem-solving the door from time to time. It occurred to me that the spring might be broken but thinking back, one of the springs was always broken and it never occurred to me that it was running on one spring until it was pointed out by my mother-in-law. I realize now that one of the springs has always been broken.

Vacation.
We are looking at possibly going to Sea World this summer, if we can swing it. I spent a lot of summer vacations in my youth in San Diego because my uncle lived/lives there. For awhile my grandmother was there as well. Those were fun times. My kids want to go to a beach and I really want them to experience all the fun of Sea World. We would also get to see family.

Employment.
This has become a travesty. Applying for a cashier job and I do not even get a ‘Thank you for applying’ letter. I believe I have said this before, applying for a job online is a ridiculous and soul-sucking endeavor. Not being able to contact a real person for a job that requires less skill than it takes to walk and breathe at the same time is silly. Want to know what is even more ridiculous? I will tell you. The jobs I apply for have been open since I first applied a year ago. Even a job like a baker that does require some knowledge and skill could involve training and am fairly sure I could have become a proficient baker in an entire year of on-the-job training.
5c9
I may just look into one of these at-home businesses. Maybe I can sell people vitamins or something. I am past doing jobs I can’t believe in, though. I have to do some research. I have seen a few that might work but most of the products are just soulless, manufactured crap aimed at making a buck. Of course, this is the majority of what it seems people do these days anyway. Maybe I am just aiming for a standard too high for the workplace today.

Running.
I run when I can. I am focusing on mountain running. We are running in the Solemates Tryptophun Run this fall. Fortunately, this is local and we can actually practice/train on the course we will be racing on. It is also a 7 mile loop so, even if someone gets lost, someone can still be easily be found. I need to work because the races I want to race in are beginning to cost a lot more money. The three races I want to race in this winter will cost over $500 just for race fees. This does not include time to train, nutrition, and equipment.
Alta. I have a pair of Alta shoes that I have only used a few times. The sole is coming away from the upper. I am sad about this because I thought these were well made shoes. I might try another model but I think I will try for a pair of Skora or Vibrams for the 100 mile race. Fortunately, the loop is only 7 miles, So I can test different shoes for distance on the day of the race.

Namaste

Old Pueblo 50

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I ran in the Old Pueblo 50 Ultramarathon this last weekend. It was an experience. This post will take some time to write so I am not sure when it will finally get posted. There are pictures and a long story to go with it all. I am just organizing my thoughts around this whole thing and will get it all written down, it will just take a little time.
I was ready for this race. I trained and I felt great. I had the gear and the nutrition. I was primed and ready to knock this out and make this race my bitch. The weather was going to be cool with a high in the 60s with a chance of rain. Ideal running conditions. A large part of this run was in rocky terrain which I have done before so was not really an issue. The only issue was finances. I have not been working for awhile so the cost was a major issue. I as contemplating cancelling but for some reason, I did not.
I was excited and looking forward to the challenge. My friend and I left Friday afternoon headed toward Tucson. We had to pick up race packets by 6 and we made it with time enough to make it to the hotel and a dinner his team RaceLab, was having that night. I have met and trained with some members of the team before and we had a nice dinner. There was some advice given which boiled down to: enjoy the run and trust your training. We got to bed about 9-3:30.

I slept a few hours that night but when 4 am rolled around, I was awake and felt quite rested. Even so, I felt off. Something did not feel right. I did not put too much into it and got ready. We followed other team members to the start/finish location at Kentucky Camp where we dropped off our drop bags and got ready to go. We had five locations where we could have our own supplies for nutrition and clothing. Miles 7/29, 25, 33, and 40 were drop bag locations and there were aid stations every 3-5 miles through the course as well. I had nutrition and Heed-filled water bottles in each bag. The first drop would be where we were to leave our headlamps and warm gear. This was a good place because we could also pick any of it up again because it was the same station at mile 29. We had to have a change of shoes at mile 40 (and possibly mile 33) because there is a river crossing after the mile 33 drop. I actually put shoes, a hat, a shirt, shorts, socks, and EFS in each drops as well. My mile 40 bag also had warm weather clothing and another headlamp.
This would have all worked out well but for the weather. At the start, we had 20-30 mile/hour winds. This was not so bad but I think this contributed to my own problems as the race went on. I was a little fatigued as we went on but this is not abnormal. The altitude as well as the fact that it was 4 in the morning. We also stated with a fair amount of uphill which is difficult when you are just warming up. I think I would have been fine but I still felt odd.
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At mile 1.5 a first happened for me, my bib came off. It is not like it was not secured. I had it pinned to my fanny pack and it tore off through the pins. Weird. Would have been more of a problem in a bigger race but, with only 144 people running, I just had to tell the stations my number and we were good. Uphill for several miles really was taxing for me. I was not tired nor fatigued, I was affected by the altitude but I think it was also the wind. When we went downhill, the wind had stopped, and it was effortless for me. We made it through the 3 mile station and went on to the 7 mile station. I felt good but it was going to be our first long trip without a station. It was only 6 miles but my weird feelings did not cease. My friend was keeping a steady pace and I was keeping up with him. Somewhere around mile 10, I started to realize I might not be able to make the cutoff time to reach mile 25. I was making progress but it was not fast enough. I decided to let him go ahead and try to make it without me. I did not want him to miss finishing the race because of me. I started to take my pulse so I could gauge what was going on with me. My pulse was running at about 90% of max and that was too high. At the mile 13 aid station, I sat for a bit and I told him to go ahead so he could finish the race. I continued on with the hope that I could find a way to make it to mile 25 before the cutoff time. I started walking more on the uphills and a little on the flats so I could recover and my HR came down and my pace picked up a bit. This next section was thorough a lot of rocky, mountainous terrain but I navigated it, albeit slowly.
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I should note here that right before mile 13 we started to notice missing markers and almost got lost. After we left mile 13, we started to have a lot of problems. As I mentioned, this part of the course is through the mountain and there are a lot of trails passing through the area. We had to guess and rely on our maps to find our way through. My friend and a few others who were lost eventually left me behind at about mile 15. Right around now is when the rain started. It was cloudy the whole day but we did not expect that it would rain for the rest of the race. Literally, it rained from about 11 am until 9 pm (the final race cutoff time). I had to go slow from about mile 15 to 19 because I had no trail markers to follow and I played tracker at times to figure out which direction to go. (There were several events going on in the area that day and, apparently, the horse riders pull down the ribbons maliciously.)
There is a beautiful canyon I had to go through just before heading to mile 19.
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Beautiful, unless you have to run down it because the thing is all rocks. That played havoc with my toes but I made it fine. I arrived at station 19 with 25 minutes to get to mile 25. 6 miles in 25 minutes was not going to happen. I dropped out and waited for someone to drive me back to the start. It was at this point that I realized that I was without transportation or dry clothing. It is one thing to be running and know you are going to be wet, tired, and cold. It is something else entirely when you are going to have to stand around for 7 hours waiting for warm, dry clothing. I asked the person driving me if we could stop and get my bag at station 25 since I had dry clothing in there. I was wrong. I did not put anything but the shirt, shorts, socks, and shoes in there. I did not even have another base layer in there. It would not have mattered because they left our bags sitting out and they were all drenched by the time I got there. I was still contemplating the issue of no transportation as we drove. turned out that the path we took was a road, the same road the runners were on. I was hoping we might run across my friend and I could get his keys. I saw him running between mile 25 and 29 and offered him some of my supplies and some dry gloves got his keys, and we left. I think we got back to Kentucky Camp around 2-2:30. I did not go into the camp because I was freezing, so I went back to the hotel. I took a shower and got a little food. I rested a bit and planned on returning by about 5. I got back to the camp at about 4:30 (I was going to go get pizza before I returned but I forgot). I am glad I did not delay my return much longer because things were afoot…

More in the next post.
Namaste

Mondays 2013

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No, I do not mean 2013 Mondays (I counted, roughly, and it has been more than that at my age). I mean Mondays in the year 2013. Mondays have been a lot like Fridays but I have run a lot more on Mondays. This day has been my day after a two day rest so I would be restless and want to run. The hard part in the last couple months is that, after two days with the family at home, I needed to get things done around the house that I could not do with the family around. With the holidays, I had to do a lot of cleaning and reorganizing the piles of stuff so the house would look presentable for family guests. We have not had many guests but, next month is my daughters’ birthday and we will have people over for that. Score! I look, relatively, organized. It seems that Mondays at home have mirrored Mondays when I was working. Not uber productive but far more than Fridays. We will have to explore this with other days of the week.
Namaste

Are you hurt or are you injured?

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Just hurt. Not much working out today. I fell while running yesterday and hurt my toe. Planks were difficult. Did not feel it much until I got up this morning. I started to run but after a mile I was not able to run on it without feeling like there was a nail in my foot. Went home and put it in compression. It is a little stiff now but does not hurt. I was able to walk/run about 2 miles today. Unfortunately, my legs are stiff after not being able to run again today. We will see what tomorrow holds. The rest should help both my legs and toe immensely. I know my complete recovery time will be longer because I am not juicing but I think it will still be lower than in the past because I am not taking in animal protein like I once did.
Watched

    Turbo

tonight with the kids. It was very good. That one will be a purchase. We already got

    The Croods

. We watched

    Planes

and we were not impressed. The movie seems a little too ‘talky’ and dry for little ones.
I have to say that I am not really training directly for the marathon anymore. I will probably not be running in the marathon next month so I will focus my attention on the Ultramarathon in March. It is a fun run with an elevation change of 8k feet in southern Arizona. I have been working on increasing my speed and I will be increasing my longer runs to help my brain wrap around the idea of running for such a long period. I have taken 6 hours to finish a marathon before but this is a different animal altogether.
My son has had a rough couple of weeks at school. He has been getting marked down for behavior. Yesterday the teacher marked him down for cutting his hair. I understand her point of view that he was not using class supplies appropriately, but this is a case of natural consequence. He cut his hair, and will have to live with the goofy look he has. Perhaps she has a problem with the fact that he did this in class and is afraid of how it will look on her as a teacher. I don’t know, but to mark him down through the class behavior system seems a bit ridiculous to me. Calling the parents might be appropriate but not marking him down on the behavior record. I can see the traditional thought pattern running here. The teacher is responsible for the student at school and if they do anything ‘abnormal’ the teacher is held accountable. That is the ‘legal’ aspect. It is also the old way of looking at behavior. My perspective is, you do not need to punish for something that already has a natural consequence attached. Is her marking him down for cutting his hair somehow going to deter him or others from doing this in the future? Doubt it. Did she teach him anything by marking him down for cutting his hair? Un-friggin-likely. My only conclusion is that she had some anxiety about the act and could not resolve the issue in her mind or heart unless she did something about it. The only thing she felt she could, mark him down. Not, use it as a teaching moment. Not use a creative way to discuss it with him or come up with a consequence related to the action. No, use the limited punishment/reward system she has in her classroom to deal with it. Teacher? FAIL. Harsh? Perhaps. Teachers often do not perceive their role in teaching more than academics. We now include socialization in academics because of the rise is awareness about bullying but the fail comes as a result of the system and she is just the end result. The education system is set up to get kids off the streets and out of our hair while we go to work. The recent evolution of this system is to get kids to learn how to think well enough to get into college. Now it is becoming more and more a system for getting kids a trade so they are not as much of a burden on society. Sadly, they are often not taught directly the resons for why they need to learn the rules, they are just taught to obey the rules (I do not remember ever seeing a rule posted about cutting your hair in the classroom. I will have to look closer next time I am in there). All they are going to learn from this type of system is how to get around the rules they do not agree with or get in the way of having fun. I fault the teacher for not using her clever teacher mind to change how the system deals with situations that stray from the normal misbehaviors (not following directions, hitting, etc.) and fall in the range of creative and perhaps weird (cutting one’s hair in class, peeing in the corner, or standing on the table waving around unclothed body parts while singing ‘God Save the Queen’ to the tune of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’). I understand the teacher has limits for handling behavior in the classroom but how we handle the normal is testament to the system and how we handle the bizarre is a reflection of who we are. When a person responds to behavior that is clearly outside the box by trying to put it back in the box, a disservice is done to both the boxer and the boxee. What woud I have done? Take a picture and text it to the parent. At the very least, have the child call and talk to mom and/or dad. Is this on par with hitting someone (for which the same level is assigned according to the classroom behavior system) I would not say it is. I just pray for whoever gets my daughter because my son is a pice of cake compared to that little spitfire.

Good night folks,
Namaste.

Sunday’ smusings

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Not a typo. I was just being clever and creative in my alliteration.
Watching football today I was jealous of Philly and Pittsburgh fans who got to sit through that awesome weather to see those games. No this is not sarcasm. Football was intended to be played in this type of weather. In fact, the Steelers usually play better in this type of weather. No, I am not happy with the result of the Steelers game so this weekend was a letdown for football all around (ASU is in the Holiday Bowl and they have not won that bowl in 3 tries).
Spent the day cleaning while my kids tore up the house like a couple of animals children are wont to do.
Went to the grocery store and saved 40% of my bill. Not exactly extreme couponing but I will take the win.
Tomorrow will involve: 30 minutes of weights and core training, 2 hours of running, mopping, and moving furniture, followed by removing more sealant from my counter to prepare for re-grouting my crappy tiled kitchen countertop.

Until tomorrow,
Namaste

Saturday snippets

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So I missed posting yesterday. I should be able to make that up.
continuing the streak and also some core workout yesterday. I did not do much yesterday. Been feeling very lazy lately. Part of this is probably having no stressors and lots of time to get things done that I feel I have nothing pushing me to do work around the house. Or I am just lazy. Whatever it is, I have a lot to do especially since winter break is in 2 weeks and everyone will be home for 2 weeks straight. If I do not change my behavior now, I will not only get nothing done during that time, I will also not get in any training then either.
Arizona State lost in the PAC 12 Championship game last night. Not too surprising. Not to say I was not hopeful, but every time ASU gets in the national spotlight, they crap out and fail miserably.
Hanukkah is over and the presents are all given out. That is nice not having to search for presents and stand in obscenely long lines. Well, not feeling the stress of those lines anyway. I went to Costco Friday to return some Craisins I bought that went on sale the day after I bought them. I went inside to get some snack items for Y’ school snacks. As I went to check out, it looked like I was approaching an airport terminal on Thanksgiving weekend. A 15 minute shopping trip turned into an hour of waiting in line to get some apple mashups and graham crackers.

Goals for this next week.
1. 15 miles of running each day. I will divide this into 2 workouts each day with the tempo in the morning and the intervals at night. The intervals will be running intervals speeding up for each interval.
2. Hourly planks. I will do a 3 minute plank each hour at the top of the hour (yes, even while I am running).
3. One room a day. At minimum, I will clean up and do everything I need to get done in one room of the house each day. (The garage does not count :P)

The yard and the garage are for the following week.

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and running….oh my!

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Thanksgiving was last week. It was nice. We actually had Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving this year. I use the empirical ‘we’ because I was out getting a laptop at a good price for my wife so she can work from home. I did not miss much other than my wife trying to get the kids to sit still and eat in the midst of the kids’ cousins being rambunctious and doing things the little ones cannot do yet. So when I say ‘miss’ I mean in the same spirit as I ‘miss’ diarrhea or I ‘miss’ the chance of getting a venereal disease from an ex-girlfriend (i.e. not so much). I got back in time to play with them and watch them open presents (then start to melt down because it was 9:00 and their bedtime is 6:30).
Thanksgiving was also the second night of Hanukkah (thus the reference to opening presents). Hanukkah has been fun this year. The kids have been able to get a lot of things they want plus some gift cards will allow them to get a few more things that pop up. No latkes but they have been able to have Thanksgiving dinner on Hanukkah which will not happen again until the sun burns out or something like that.
I am continuing the streak of running at least a mile a day. I even ran a mile while we were at a friend’s child’s birthday party and the kids ran it with me (we were at a park with a couple of soccer fields).
I am going to try increasing my posts by doing at least one 5 minute quickie post each day. I will only write for 5 minutes and if I am motivated to write later I will (particularly if I do not finish my post).

That is all for now.
Namaste