Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's becoming a trend.

There is the distinct possibility that in twelve hours or so I'll be the owner of a new car. I'm pretty excited. Any guesses on what I might be getting?

It's becoming a trend. The Frog went down for the fourth time in a row last night. I'll check in later, hopefully with more great news.

Monday, May 29, 2006

It feels good.

I have to work today which sucks because no one ever wants to work on a holiday, but it's not so bad because I'll be getting time and a half and I have an extra day off later in the week.

We went to the state capital go race this weekend. We had a great turnout from our local running club. I raced well. The course was fairly hilly and I didn't run it was very hot. I was slightly disappointed in my time but I did come in ninth of two hundred and seventy six so I was pleased with that result. I also beat the Frog by nine seconds. It's the third time in a row that I've beaten him. It feels good.

N is coming over this Memorial Day. We are planning to take some brews down to the pool and hit the sun for a while. After that, we'll come back up to the house and grill hamburgers. Something we haven't done in a while. It's been so long since I've grilled that I can't even remember the last time.

I'd rather not go to work tonight but it's just another day and another dollar.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

For the first time in months.

It felt like I spent the majority of my weekend on the interstate but it was well worth it. After work Friday brother graciously drove down to drop off a bunch of my stuff that had been sent home in the fall. It was already unloaded from the van when I got home. We made sandwiches and were off to the moutain house. It was a long hot ride without airconditioning and the Beagle was annoying and bouncing around most of the time.

We arrived at the mountain house just after eleven better time than I'd anticipated that we'd make. Saturday we pretty much a lazy day, Mom, brother, sister and I rode into town to pick up my race packet and hit the mall for a bit but after that, we just hung out enjoying the company of having the whole family at home for the first time in months.

We watched the Preakness and Barbaro's fall then got wrapped up in a Deadliest Catch marathon before heading to bed.

I was up at four thirty to be at the race by six thirty. I didn't really know what to expect because the website was very vague and didn't even include a course map. The only thing I knew was that the course was a loop style course and it included 'two challenging hills'. The first hill was fairly steep at the end after running from mile one to one and a half. Nothing too bad though. The second hill ran from just after mile three until well into mile four. I put it at about a mile and a half long. It wasn't as steep as the first, just a long gradual climb up towards the mansion.

I didn't run as fast as I wanted to. I was hoping to break an hour. I now realize that that was probably a bit of an ambitious goal. I came in at 1:02:03. I was fourteenth out of four hundred and ten and finished second in my age group. I was pleased. I felt pretty strong and ran the last few miles in just better than six minutes and ten seconds each. I know I can break an hour on a flat course. It'll happen.

We went back home on Sunday afternoon and Dad drove me home on Monday. It sure was nice of both he and brother to drive twelve hours to pick me up and drop me off. It was a long weekend with sixteen plus hours spent on the road for each of us but it was well worth it.

Now, it's back to the grind. As repayment for having the long weekend off, I'm staring down the barrel of a nine day in a row stretch. I'll get through it though. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the end is getting near.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Any problems viewing Backside 180?

I went in my roommates room to print some forms out this morning. Since I use Firefox, I don't really have any use for the Google Toolbar. He still runs Internet Explorer and has the Google Toolbar installed. I came to Backside 180 just to see what my PageRank is. A measly two.

Something I noticed though was that the page didn't render correctly. The sidebars were where they were supposed to be but the main body of text had ben dropped way down. I'm wondering if it's due to the changes I've instituted recently. You may or may not have noticed but I put my listening habits on the sidebar from that shows in near real time the last ten songs I've listened to in iTunes. It's a pretty nifty little widget but I'm concerned it's affecting the speed at which the page loads and possibly the formatting.

So the big question is, Are you having any problems viewing Backside 180? It renders correctly in Firefox but not in IE as far as I can tell. I'd hate to get rid of my listening habits but I may have to.

Let me know. Your feedback is appreciated.

Off for the mountain house.

I think I have transportation to North Carolina. Back in the fall, my folks took a bunch of my stuff home because it looked like I would be moving home for a while after school. I need that stuff back here so it will be packed with the rest of my things when the movers come.

It's the perfect opportunity to bring those things down this weekend as well as for me to send some things home that I don't want moved. It sounds like brother will drive down on Friday, we'll unload and reload the van and take off for the mountain house. We'll stay the weekend, I'll race Sunday morning and then Sunday afternoon, we'll head back to Charlotte. Sometime Monday someone will bring me back here so I can be at work at five on Tuesday.

I'm glad I'm getting to go.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Take a poop in his yard.

I love my Dad but he is a pretty uptight, straight laced kind of character. I liken him to Pat Robertson a lot of the time. He's that conservative.

Last night we were trying to make plans on how I can get to the mountain house this weekend to race. We were commiserating on how that kids decision to change lanes without looking has royally fucked us and caused a lot of stress in many many ways.

This is a direct quote - 'I'm so upset at this that I wish I could go over to that boys house and take a poop in his yard.'

I never thought I'd hear my Dad say anything like that. All I could do was chuckle and agree. My sentiments exactly except I'd be more likely to poop in the kids yard and then take a bag full of Beagle poo, light it and toss it at the door.

That's why I'm a little more liberal than my Dad.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Based more on effort than mileage,

Not having a vehicle is really becoming quite bothersome. I was supposed to go home and head to the Outer Banks with my family this weekend but without transportation to North Carolina, the trip had to be called off.

I still had Thursday through Saturday off. Being off was nice but it will cut into the next paycheck so I have to be more frugal this paycheck. It's cutting into my fun money.

N decided to go home for a week between semesters. I went down with her on Friday and came back on Saturday afternoon so I could be at work on Sunday at five. Although it was a quick trip and I certainly didn't want to come back it was nice to get out of town and see her family again. Her boyfriend is meeting her down there today through Wednesday, it will be interesting to see how the family reacts to him. I feel bad for any other guy (I take that back, I don't really feel bad) she brings home because they love me so much. Maybe one day she'll figure it out.

On Friday before we left, I headed down to Bartram's Trail with the Orater and another running friend. While certainly not as rugged at the AT, it's a nice trail with plenty of small hills and dips and turns. We did out nine mile out and back run in just over an hour and eighteen minutes. It was a very challenging nine miles. On the trail I discovered and used muscles I never use on the road. Although it was challenging and I ended up with raw nipples from not taping, it was certainly worth it. Based more on effort than mileage, I counted it as my long run of the week.

I'm supposed to be racing this weekend in Asheville, NC. N has to work and let me know last night that I wouldn't be able to borrow her car. I'm not sure how I'm getting there. The budget is tight and a rental seems to be out of the question. I'm trying to talk my folks into making the twelve hour round trip twice to pick me up. That'd be a lot to ask and require a lot of dedication on their part but I'm sure they are up to the challenge.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Review of the iHome iH5.

Here we go. This is going to be the oft promised and slightly anticipated review of the iHome iH5.

To start, I got my first one at work. When I brought it home it was pretty good although there were some glaring problems. It makes you wonder if these things actually get tested and if the engineers take the prototypes home for a few nights.

As many others have noted. The display was really, really bright even on the lowest setting. The alarm also has a slow wake feature where the music will start out at a quiet level and slowly level up. I would have expected this process to take anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute to slowly rouse me out of deep slumber and back to life. SDI Technologies, the maker of the iHome had a different idea. The music went from quiet to too loud in the span of about eight seconds. The increase wasn't gradual enough and the non conrollable max level for the alarm was just too high.

Other than these things I considered annoyances more than deal breakers, the device was really quite nice. It's attractive and small enough to sit on my nightstand. There are also some other neat features that warrant it's hundred dollar price tag. Overall I was satisfied and would have graded it a B.

I discovered that there is a Rev B of the product that reportedly started appearing in the supply chain back in December. It sounded like many of the annoyances had been fixed and reworked to be a little less obtrusive. It was my intent to find one when I recieved more at my store and swap it out with the first one I purchased.

Then the display failed. It really wasn't too big a deal but it was strange. I came home one day to find about a third of the LCDs that form the numbers to be non functional. Nothing happened to the device while I was at work. I guess it was just a faulty unit. I boxed it up and took it to Mobile with N when we went down for Easter.

The revised version that I picked up earns an A in my gradebook. All the issues that I mentioned above have been fixed including the gentle wake feature as well as the super bright display light. I've been using it consistently for several weeks now and am very satisfied with the purchase.

For anyone who hates the beep of the alarm in the morning and who is looking for a change as I was, I would recommend the iHome. It's nice to wake up to whatever music I'd like. At this point, I don't really have any complaints about the device.

I know this wasn't so much a review as much as a description of my experience with the device. I'd like to point you to several full length, in depth reviews that I found helpful incase you want to learn more.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I might have but probably not.

Fresh off my big win last Saturday, I was pretty stoked heading into this weekends races. Friday I was let off work early and dropped the rental truck off. I was able to rest and do a few things at home before having to go to the race site. After registering, I met up with the Frog and we ran the one mile fun run as a warmup. Then it was time to start out race, the 5k.

There were two high school guys in the field that I remember being pretty fast from last summer. In fact one of them is really fast, as in can compete on a regional level and kick ass fast. For now, we'll refer to him as the Mexican.

As we started, the Frog and I went out together much as we always do in races. The miles weren't marked but seven and a half minutes in I looked at my watch. The pace was quick and we had already hit several small hills even though the longer ones were yet to come, I was feeling good.

At the first big climb during mile two, I put some distance on the Frog. He'd gotten talked into running the night before, even though he wasn't planning on it. He was toast. I then concentrated on keeping the Mexican within striking distance. I didn't think I'd catch him but I wanted to at least stay close.

Just after the two mile mark, he made a mistake as I was gaining on him and I was able to slide by him. I put several meters of distance on him and felt pretty good about my finishing kick.

When I made the turn for the climb home, I knew I had it. I crossed in eighteen forty three. Not a PR, but definitely impressive.

I went to the race for the prizes and wasn't disappointed. For winning, I got a thirty dollar gift card to Red Lobster and a free month to a nice local gym. About a hundred dollars in prize value. Not bad I'd say. Plus my second victory ever and in a row!

I declined to go have pizza with the Frog and a few other runners. I wanted to eat a small meal and get a good nights rest for the race today. The 10.5K.

I didn't think I'd win the race this morning but my goal was forty two minutes. That is a forty minute 10k and then the same pace for the last half kilometer.

The Frog ran the 5k just before the 10.5k plus the race last night, I knew his legs would be toast.

The other friend we dragged up there was another problem though. I'd beath him for the first time last weekend and I knew he wasn't going down without a fight.

Sure enough, at the start, the Frog, the Orater, I and two others broke away to form the lead pack. The course started on a road, led into the stadium completing one lap of the track, then went cross country style to another road and was road the rest of the way.

They said the miles were marked but I never saw a mark for mile one. I did however see a mark for mile two. We crossed it in eleven forty. Way too fast if that was an accurate measure of two miles. That's my PR 5k pace.

Coming off the lake, the Orater started a break away and I went with. He later told me it was to 'separate the men from the boys'. We never looked back. The Frog held us for a bit but dropped off and we dropped the other two runners quickly into the breakaway.

The next few miles sailed by even though it seemed to me we were going awfully fast. There were several points where I felt the Orater was trying to drop me. Trying to test me to see if I had it.

I stayed with him and even put some distance on him up until mile five and a half. I really wish they had had the miles marked a little better, it sure would have helped me in knowing where we were and what pace we were running. I really need to invest in a Garmin.

About mile five and a half the pace got to me and I got a stitch in my side. I tried to work it out by varying my breathing and stretching but it remained. It was at the point that I became mentally defeated feeling I couldn't catch him.

I conceded defeat saying, 'It's yours.' I later found out that at that point the Orater was feeling it and wasn't sure he could hold on. I should have never said anything. Turning down the home straight away he had put about ten seconds on me. I found a little something deep inside but since I'd already conceaded I didn't tap as deep as I probably could/should have.

Had I said nothing, I don't know if I'd caught him, I might have but probably not. He crossed in forty one fifty two and I crossed in forty two even.

My watch read forty two o six but I'll go by the official time of forty two even. For second overall and winning my age group I got a nice trophy. I ran my goal time. I had fun, the company was great and to me that's all that matters.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bring back Brosnan.

That's double O seven. I don't buy it. Bring back Brosnan.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I minimize my accomplishment

I won my very first race this weekend. I met the group at six and ran the course with a few friends before the race. It was good to get an idea of the course because it was fairly hilly. Once I had an idea of what I was up against, I knew sub forty was out of the question. Especially after already putting six miles in before the race.

The race went well. I ran strong and am proud that I won. When it gets brought up, I minimize my accomplishment by saying, 'yeah but the frog wasn't there and it wasn't an elite field.' I don't know why I do that. I know if others who didn't show had I might/probably wouldn't have won but they didn't show and I did win. Why can't I just enjoy it rather than minimizing what I did.

I'm fairly proud of myself. Here's the photographic evidence:

I have two races this weekend. An in town 5k Friday night. I hear they have good prizes. The Frog and I are travelling to Georgia on Saturday morning for a ten and a half K. I'll write more about them in a bit.