Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Ramblings / Flight of the Conchords

For no apparent reason, in no apparent order.......

* I couldn't tell you the last time I used a phone book to look up a phone number - I have several on my desk, but I use them to prop up my computer moniter.

* The Western States 100 mile race over the weekend was something to admire - found myself several times throughout Saturday on various websites following it.  I can't fully fathom the 100 miles, the 40 thousand feet of climbing up and down, the hours and hours and in many cases full day or more of time on the race course.  On one level I am inspired, on another feeling totally inadequate and incapable.  I have so much admiration and respect to those who have done it in years past, did it this weekend and will do it in the future.

* I have never watched an episode of "The Simpsons", nor have I ever watched "The Wizard of Oz".  Should I be fired from being human?

* My family watched the US v Mexico soccer match on Saturday night - the better team won.  Apparently we don't get the channel that broadcast it in English - but my wife found it on a Spanish channel.  Was humurous to us all listen to commentary that we had no idea what was being said.

* We bought a (fairly big) swimming pool last Summer - my kids are now apparently the coolest kids in the neighborhood.  Everyone wants to be their friends.

* My Brother-in-Law introduced me (online) to "Flight of the Conchords" a year or so ago. Hiphopopotamus vs Rhymenoceros is entertaining (it's there on U-tube).  But I think this one is classic:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Knee Deep

Been over 24 hrs since it was determined surgery was needed on the knee.  Not got any better in my mind.  Several thoughts have been rattling around since.

1) My knee doesn't feel right, but I really feel as though I could get out and run right now.  I won't.  But I want to.  I might.  But probably shouldn't.  If I run carefully, it can't get much worse.
2) Along that line - knowing surgery is coming, option of running between now & then is tempting, surgery will fix what's broke, so if I feel okay - why not run?
3) I am smart enough (barely) to know when to back off, I will never win anything, nothing between now & surgery is a goal race - but I have paid for some races, so want to at least finish them, even if it takes me longer than it should if healthier.
4) For example, family trip to TN in 1 1/2 weeks to meet my Sister's new baby, 10K the day after I get there, on flat land.  My kid and I already signed up a few weeks ago.  If I wake up that morning feeling okay, I might just try it.
5) Summer Roundup 12K is a couple of days before surgery.  Not an easy, nor flat course.  Again, it is paid for, kid is doing it.  It is part of the Triple Crown series (GOG and the Ascent are the other 2).  Even if I finish last, still eligible for the Triple Crown.
6) Speaking of the Ascent - it's 5 1/2 weeks after surgery.  "Typical" recovery time is 4 to 6 weeks.  Again, it is not an easy course, nor flat.  Cut off time to complete is 6 1/2 hrs.  Maybe possible?  Unlikely - but I'll never know unless I try.
7) The other line of thought has been when did the thing tear?  Doc doesn't know, I don't know.  It may have been torn months or even years ago - and somewhat recently tore some more.  Training for the marathon 6 weeks ago I trained hard (for me), but knees ached at times before training, during and after - not really any noticeable or predictable time when one run hurt more than another.
8) GOG 10 miler - 2 weeks ago - my knee barely hurt at all, I ran quite hard.  Didn't hurt for the days that followed.  But then I woke up Friday last week, after not having run in 5 days and it was swollen like a watermelon.
9) Apparently the meniscus, when torn - can inflame anytime, but sometimes there is no inflammation or pain anytime at all.  Of course running, especially pounding downhill, is not going to help it at all.  The option to just rest it for an indefinite amount of time is not going to heal it, surgery is necessary
10) Getting old sucks, missing out on doing things with my kids is really not fun at all - especially running with my son.  He and I are really bummed about not being able to do the BTMR together.  Sure there is next year.  But we wanted to do it together this year.  He will still do it, will (hopefully) probably do okay, but to miss out on the effort of seeing him try, w/ a potentially good result - that is not a feeling I am looking forward to.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hi Dr Jones, I'm your new patient

I took a visit last week to my family doc, she then referred me to an orthopedic surgeon - regarding my right knee.

X-rays and scans this morning, diagnosis: torn medial meniscus.

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery in 3 weeks.

Lets review the race schedule for the rest of the year....

* Summer Roundup 12K
* Barr Trail Mtn Race
* Pikes Peak Ascent - highly unlikely - 5 weeks after the scope.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Running with Sheep - tails of New Zealand misadventures

This is barely a running story, although if I was living back in New Zealand it is likely that I would rename my blog to the title of this post.   For those sick and twisted individuals - go somewhere else, this ain't that kind of story.

The purpose of this (true) story is twofold:
1) I was looking back over my blog posts, this is supposed to be a blog about my running, however, it seems that I don't really post a lot about running, plus I have been resting up my knees for a few days and as a result have not run.  So, this is one post that involves running, somewhat.  I realized the other day that I missed out on doing a lot of trail running growing up in New Zealand - not on purpose, but moreso by ignorance.  So, the times that I did run on trails - are some that I now reflect back on and enjoy - aside from this one......
2) Sheep are stupid, keep reading.....

I grew up in New Zealand, my family owned a farm that also had a camp at it - a small camp used for conferences, family getaways, vacations, hikers.  The farm had various animals including sheep and horses.  Each year we would need to bring all the sheep in to vacinate and shear them.  The wool would be sold.

One year, when I was about 19 - we rounded up the 80 or so sheep we had and put them in a pen.  We would vaccinate and shear them at the same time.  The pen enclosure was a wooden fence, had a ramp in which we would get the sheep into single file so we could get them all vacinated, then into a building to shear the wool off.  It was important to vaccinate first (stick a plastic syringe down their throat , squeeze out a toothpaste like substance that they would swallow - resulting in healthier sheep).  Then they would move down the line to be shorn. 

FYI - after the wool is shorn off, the sheep are slicker than snot - hence the need to vaccinate first - so you can hold onto them better.

This one day, the big bad Ram got out of order and got his woolly self shorn first, somehow we missed his vaccination.  He also managed to be the last one in the pen.  It was up to me to catch the thing and vaccinate him.  I think he realized that it was down to him and me.  I could see the look in his eyes, he was not about to let me do this easy.

I had played Rugby a lot in High School, I was used to tackling people running right at me with (their) intent to run me over.  This Sheep was possibly my first attempt at tackling livestock. 

(Cue the gunfight at the OK Corral music).  He looked at me, I looked at him, realizing that he was going to be a more difficult catch due to him having no wool.  He didn't seem to care, nor was he about to volunteer to be vaccinated easy, nor was he about to take it easy on me.

He charged me, in a split second, on instinct I squatted down to his level as he approached, in order to get better leverage to catch / tackle him.  As I squatted, he leaped, using my head, shoulders and back as a ramp to clear the wooden fence.  The ramp (me) was pushed to the ground, he was free, I was face down in the Sheep stall.

Convict Sheep on the loose.  Rogue.  Bully.  Son of a motherless goat. 

The race to recapture him was on - he had a good head start, but I was not about to be stomped on, humiliated by this stupid Sheep. 

At this stage of a normal race report I would probably insert my race pace, race goals, mile splits, average mile pace, heart rate etc - well, for this race those records were not kept.  We will just say the course was muddy, grassy, through rolling terrain, single track trails, wide open grassy fields, over fences, under fences, through fences, through creeks, over and under bridges.  There were no aid stations, no porta potty breaks, no chip timing involved.  There were no medals given out or fancy technical race T-Shirts.

There were only 2 in the race.  Mr Ram and me.  He was winning early, every time I closed the gap, every time I attempted to tackle him, he literally slipped out of my grasp, grunted, kicked me while I was down - then extended his lead on me again.  No crowds to encourage, unless you count other livestock, probably laughing or whatever they do when one of there own is winning a race to the death against one who is not their own.

After almost an hour, the race having clearly taken it's toll on me  - I was about to give up.  We had run over every possible place on the farm, past the camp buildings, into and out of neighboring properties, the ram had displayed annoyingly amazing stamina and resistance to being caught.  His escapability looking back is something to be admired, but at the time was fuel to rage, anger and frustration.

As we approached the sheep pens, where all this started about an hour earlier - he slowed, turned around and looked at me.  I looked at him from some 30 feet behind.  It looked back away from me, then he sat down, rolled onto his side. 

And he Died.

Part 2 of the Story will come another day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Ramblings / Fathers Day

For no apparent reason, in no apparent order.....

* Did my kid get on my Blog again?

* Last day of Spring today, woke up to 40 degrees, driving rain.  I love Colorado.  Seriously hope it rains all day.

* Scary quote of the day, weekend, longest I can remember: "Mommy, what the Hell are you doing?"  From my 5 year old daughter.  I don't think she got that from the Disney Channel.

* US (Golf) open course and players to Rory McIlroy: "Uncle".

* Enjoyed Fathers Day yesterday.....

* And finally, congrats to my Sister and her husband for the birth of their first baby over the weekend. A Beautiful, baby girl. Very proud of you and happy for you both.  We are looking forward to meeting her in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rapids vs Galaxy

Went to Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy Soccer game last night.
For those who do more running and less following of professional soccer (me included) - the main man on the Galaxy team is David Beckham, married to Posh Spice - no, I don't have any Spice Girls songs on the iPod.  Found out when we arrived he didn't make the trip, back spasms.  Whatever.  Kids were a little sad.  Next most popular player on their team = Landon Donovan.  He didn't make the trip either, w/ the national Soccer team.  Kids a little sad about that too.

However, the Overachieving Soccer Mom that I am married too had organized a group of 32 people to go to the game, amongst a few freebies that we got for that was a chance for all of us to carry the (Rapids) team banner onto the field at the start of the game for the National Anthem and Player introductions.  Kids are still smiling today - so are the parents, it was kind of cool. 

Got there 1 1/2 hrs before the game - got to walk around some, watched player warm ups etc, then we took the field.  Pics of that, plus a few of the game (the referees Galaxy won 3-1, for what it is worth).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dear Mr Barr (trail)

Hi Mr Barr, I'm not sure if you will get the chance to read this but I have some questions and a few problems with you.

First - did the thought ever occur to you that it might have been more fun for people if your trail went from Manitou Springs to Colorado Springs?  Instead you made it go from Manitou Springs to the top of Pikes Peak.

Next - did you come up with the idea of the W's?  Did you ever think that some people would prefer a period.  Meaning - stay in the same spot.

Why is your Camp over 6 miles away and 50 thousand feet higher than the Cog Railway station.  And who in their right mind thought it would be fun to have a race up to there and back - in the middle of July when it is so hot.

I tried to run up your trail last night - but it took me over 30 minutes just to get to the top of the W's, my feet hurt, my back hurt, not to mention that my lungs felt like they were wrapped around my ears.

I know a lot of my friends spend lots of their days just hanging out on the couch, playing on the Wii, eating junk food and not doing any exercise.  I would like to think that I am kind of in better shape than them.  But when it comes to running 3 miles and it takes me almost an hour - maybe I am not in good shape.

I'm not complaining though, my Dad did it with me and he was hurting just as much as I was.  By the way - don't tell him that I got on his blog to write this letter to you.

I'll see your trail again in a few days - between now and then - how about making it a little easier for me (and everyone else), I am 12 years old you know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shiny Happy People

So, I was going to post the REM song "Shiny Happy People" off You-Tube here but upon watching it, wasn't really all that great.  But through the distracting magic of You-Tube other songs that came up included REM singing the same song w/ the Muppets, after watching that - I noticed the Muppet "Beaker" did the Coldplay song "Yellow".  Watched that - then saw this.

Way to use my time well. Muppets are timeless.

Back to the "Shiny Happy People" thing. I got home last night and noticed on our kitchen counter some time sheets. My wife had been overachieving again - she has a lot going on and in an effort to clean up the house, recruited help from the 3 kiddos. Hence the timesheets. Employee #3, Employee #4, Employee #5 each earned $10 yesterday - Five bucks an hour. The house really was shiny and clean.

A more clean and shiny house makes for a happier house, or at least a less stressed out, more happier Mommy (Employee #2).

So, when Employee #1 came home last night and asked where his time sheet was, in hopes that I could earn a few extra bucks, I was presented w/ my very own, very long, Honey-Do list.

Employee #1 will not be getting paid for completing the list.

Of course the question was posed - "how come they get paid and I don't?" Answer - Because Employee #2 is actually the Boss.

I should have known better.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Ramblings / Bagpipes

For no apparent reason, in no apparent order.....
* Bagpipes are the most funny looking, yet oddly cool thing.
* After spending almost 9 hours in the Sun on Saturday watching 9 and 10 year old girls playing Soccer - I wondered when Soccer became a full contact sport?
* A couple of Mondays ago (Memorial Day) - the kids and I planted a Flower garden.  Essentially - tilled up an area, added some fertilizer, threw down packets of flower seeds - I've been out every evening watering since, growth is happening.  The coolest things though - Colorado sunsets are awesome.
* The Barr Trail Mountain Race is now Full.  Time to start scoping out the competition - for the 10 to 14 yr old Boys age group, of which my son is part of.
* I was thinking the other day what Mr Henry T. Ford would say about a Smart Car
* Little girls - mine especially - love Bubble Baths.  Photos will not be posted, but will be saved for future family reunions.
* With Summer looking like it is finally here to stay - beware of what you leave in the car that may melt.  Latest example (from Saturday) was Chapstick - new name: Chapsyrup.
* Congrats to all who ran this weekend.  Two notable results from the Garden of the Gods 10 miler - 1st Master Finisher (10th overall) was 40 year old Nuta Olaru, Female, from Longmont CO - beat all the Master males - wonder how often that happens in races.  The other notable result I saw was 14 yr Zachary Alhamra, 1:04:58 and finished 23rd overall.  Well done.
* Did I mention my wierd fascination w/ bagpipes?  One more photo....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Garden of the Gods 10 mile Race Report

In a word..... Success. 

In a nutshell..... 3 mins, 24 secs better than last year's time.

In specific...... Official time 1:19:00, 215 / 1564 overall finisher.  28 / 128 age group.

In detail......Several factors prior to starting the race contributed to the outcome.

* The day before was a 3 v 3 Soccer tournament for our oldest (10 yr) daughter.  The team ended up playing 6 games, making it all the way to the final - where they ran out of gas, plus got beat by a better team.  Still, a great effort.  Almost 9 hours though in the sun, much of it standing - left us all a little weary.

* I had not run in 5 days - was a necessary thing to do in order to get my knee to a place where I would be able to run on it.  The tradeoff of not running was going to be interesting.  Little chance to be race ready shape, but hoping to be at least physically able run effectively - still hoping to do better than last year.

* 3 weeks prior to today's race I had run a marathon (Ogden, UT) - I would call myself fully recovered from it and hoping the effort put forth in training for it had banked some endurance and stamina in the tanks.

Race day..... cut it a little close to get to the start, stopped to get some shot blocks on the way.  Then parked about a mile away from the start.  I wasn't rushing too much to get there, made it w/ 6 minutes to spare after a comfortable warm up jog, during which I was feeling okay.  No noticeable aches.  A good sign.  About 50 degrees at the start w/ just a few clouds and no wind.  (Was about 60ish by the time I was done = fantastic running weather).

I started much nearer the front today - last year I wasn't thinking and was about 2/3rds back in the pack, today it only took about 8 or 9 seconds to get to the start line from the gun.  Settled in to a fairly comfortable 7:40ish pace to get started.  The plan was - if the body held up - to keep under 8 min avg for the first 5 miles - which was the more hillier half.  Then if able, to try and improve on the second half.  To achieve this I wanted to push some on the uphills, to be careful on the downs to not pound on the knees too much and maintain on the level sections.

So, for the first 5 miles I passed people frequently on the ups, was then passed frequently on the downs.  I had a mental note of where I was on the course last year when the runners in the lead came past me on their way back.  That came and went and I was about 2 minutes ahead of that spot when (eventual winner by 3 1/2 + minutes) Mario Macias came by all alone.  At the North parking lot where the out traffic meets the coming back traffic (after a lap through the center of the rocks) - only about 6 or 7 runners coming back had passed me.  So, I knew I had improved on my last years race to this point.

By this stage it was 4 1/2 miles or so in to the race and the legs / knees seemed to being doing good - this was nearing the highest point of the course.  The lungs were being worked and I was feeling fatigued somewhat - I think the day before was most influential there.  But I had been taking the fluids well and a couple of shot blocks to this point.  At the time I crested the high point I looked at the watch and I was at an 8:02 avg.  Was happy with that, even took a moment to enjoy the view overlooking the garden - full of runners, great sight.

Maintained a good pace for the next couple of miles - which was more downhill than uphill and I allowed myself longer strides going down as it wasn't appearing to impact negatively the knees.  There are a couple of doozie uphills on the way back.  Coming up to mile 7 is a good long hill, lasting over a 1/2 mile - that felt long and not so good.  Then the one coming up to Balancing Rock is the one that gets me (and it seemed like many others) every time.  But that is just over a mile till the finish, so the effort to crest it is worth it. 

From balanced rock to the end it was a case of trying to hold it together.  The people I had "in my sights" from about the half way point, I had mostly passed.  So, I had settled into another somewhat spread out group of 6 to 10 people.  The last mile doesn't have much to speak of in the way of uphills, but they are enough to keep your attention - I was not able to pass anyone for the next half mile.  The "1/2 mile to go" sign was a welcome sight and from there on I knew what to expect: a slight down, followed by a level section, then a slight rise that brings the finish line into sight, then about 100 yds of flat.   The group I was (barely) hanging onto the back of was now about 6 - 8 and I stayed where I was through the down and the flat section. 

As the uphill hit us I went nuts and lost my mind - in an out of body experience - I started sprinting, rounded that last corner and could see the finish line and clock.  As this was not a chipped race - that was the time that counted - it was 1:18:40 something.  Maybe I could beat 1:19.  Still out of my mind - the sprinting continued and I passed the whole group as well as a couple more people just before the line.  1:19 on the button.  At that point the out of body experience stopped and my lungs, legs and gizzard slapped me upside the head and said enough is enough.

Maybe a little dramatic emphasis was just added - but hey, I was really pleased with what I had just managed to achieve.  I felt like I had run the 10 miles, hills and all had taken their toll - but my knees were actually okay, I had beaten last years time by almost 3 1/2 minutes.  In the hours since the race I seem to be recovering well - with no noticeable issues with the knees.  

There are some thoughts circling of "what might have been" if I had been able to train "race specific" for the race today - maybe next year the goal is 1:15.  In any case, on to (much more enjoyable) trail runs.  Probably will come up with a revised training plan for those, involving some vertical training up, walking down (to protect the knees), maybe some Mtn biking also.  Will figure it all out in the next day or so - and take a few moments to enjoy todays race and results also.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Garden of the Gods 10 miler checklist

1) Pick up race packet today.
2) Check last years results (1:22:24). Briefly remind myself that this was my least favorite races / efforts of last year.
3) Dwell on (for a little) that I should be able to do better this year. Last year I started too near the back of the pack and after finally breaking through the crowds - spent too much effort trying to catch up to where I thought I should be, but instead wheels fell off on one of the never-ending rolling hills.
4) Have a reality check and remind myself that by race day (Sunday) - I would not have run in 5 days, only 4 times in 2 weeks.
5) Justify not running due to trying to rest and recover the knee.
6) Try to bank on having some leftover fitness and endurance from the recent marathon training.
7) Get over not really being able to control circumstances - to wake up Sunday morning, start in a better place and just run.
8) Concentrate a little on coming up w/ a plan for after the race - to back off running somewhat and do more biking, stretching and core work - to hopefully rest, recover and improve the knee. Mid July races lie ahead, including the BTMR w/ my son, the Ascent a month after that.
9) Stop complaining and be greatful that I am not a potential contestant for "the Biggest Loser", that I have 3 great kids, great wife and life really is not that bad.
10) Don't Worry, be Happy

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I know, a very grown up title for this post.  But that is how I feel about my knee.

Tuesday night's jaunt up Barr Trail to the top of the W's with my son was okay - nothing different on the (right) knee than normal.  But on the jog down, despite going real slow and trying not to jar it to much - it really started aching, swelling and I ended up walking the last mile, slowly.

Ice packs, heating pads, elevating it, wrapping it, trying to massage it some - done them all, several times each on and off since that time, but there is only slightly noticeable improvement.  


Garden of the Gods 10 miler on Sunday morning - part of the Triple Crown.  I'm still going to run it, have determined that it is best that I not run till then - hopefully allowing the swelling etc to calm down.  But then I think I probably should shut down the running for a couple of weeks - or more. 

This is slightly wishful thinking - but I don't think any of the _CL's are torn - but what do I know.  Actually, I really don't want to know - for fear of actually having something structurally wrong.  Very grown up of me.  There has never been any one specific time that I can pinpoint where "something" popped, pulled, tore, broke in the knee.

The past 4 to 6 months the knee has had it's moments of giving me pain, swelling and noticeable discomfort - but with the prominent goal of the marathon training - I have run with it and through it.  I run, it hurts, gets somewhat better before I run again, so I have run, it hurts, repeat etc.

The marathon went great, the knee pain was there before, during and certainly after.   Either my tolerance has slipped since the race, or something else has happened - what, I don't know.  In the 2 1/2 weeks since I have run only 4 or 5 times, taking it easy for the most part - but still wanting to clock miles so that I can do better than last year at the GOG race.

Rambling I know.... I took 5 days off running after the marathon, last week I took another 5 day break to see if that will help - did somewhat, but these last 2 days have just been ridiculously annoying, frustrating & uncomfortable / painful.

I am not a fan of drugs, prescription or otherwise.  I do regularly take Fish Oil supplements, as well as eat a decent amount of fish, vege's, fruit - along with Ice Cream which doesn't probably help the knees, but sure helps the mind.

Am I asking for help?  Or sympathy?  Advice?  Not really - I'm just venting my frustration at getting old, getting hurt - when I am really at a point in my life where running is something that I really, really enjoy - but can't do so enjoyably.  So one more time......


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pikes Peak Training and a new race

Looks like a New Race on Pikes Peak - up the Pikes Peak Highway from the Toll Gate to Glen Cove.  11.6 miles, 3675 elevation gain, avg 5 - 8% grade.  Inaugural race this August 28th - same day as the Assault on the Peak - bike ride from Manitou, up to Pikes Peak Summit.  

My idea of a Pikes Peak Triathlon from a month or so ago is starting to get legs / wheels / closer.  The revised (unofficial, unplanned, uncoordinated and very unlikely that I will try it) version:
1) Run from the Toll gate up to Glen Cove, 2) bike from Glen Cove to the Summit, 3) buy a "world famous donut" from the Summit House.

My son and I are entered into the Barr Trail Mountain Race on July 17th.  We are both curious / excited / hoping that he can maybe get close to the age group record (2:42:52) for the 10-14 yrs.  He is 12, by the time he is 14 it may happen, hopefully by him.  We hiked up to Barr Camp a few weeks back a couple of weeks ago - round trip took about 6 hours, so we only need to take off 3 hrs 20 mins or so and the record is his.  We hiked, rested, took a 30 minute stop at Barr Camp.  No rush at all that day - just wanted him to see what he is getting into.

Last night - we started his training for it, so, from the start line up to the top of the W's.  31:03.  Very proud of him.  I had him lead the whole way so he could set the pace.  We stopped a few times for water - (was 89 degrees when we parked to start - although not too bad in the shade), calf stretching and breath catching - never stopping the watch.  According to official race splits - he beat the record by over 50 seconds.  We have a long way to go, where so much can happen and realise there is so much more than the W's to this race.  But this very proud Father is a little giddy about what potentially lies ahead.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Zealand Stuff

I know when I started this Blog it was to focus on (mostly my) running. Been getting a little sidetracked the last few days - today especially.

I was born and raised in New Zealand. Having chosen to move to and live in Colorado over 15 years ago - where I intend on staying - there are certain things that I don't do, see or experience here that I did growing up in New Zealand.

My parents have been visiting for a few weeks - has been good to catch up with them with what is going on back there and bringing back memories.

So, I did some trolling of YouTube earlier and these 4 videos do a decent job of giving a slice of what New Zealand life is like. What they do, watch and experience, as well as just how pretty the country is.

First up - w/ no end to the NFL lockout in sight, maybe we could get our fix watching Rugby instead....

Next, the New Zealand Accent and hard work ethic - best expressed in this commercial (Plus if you listen carefully at the end you'll hear a friendly dig at Aussies)

Then there is the scenary.....

And last - back to the running theme - a video of trail running in the South Island of New Zealand.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Ramblings / Music

Some misc. stuff, for no apparent reason, in no particular order.......
* We need rain, if for no other reason than to clean the air - smoke / dust clouds help to make pretty sunsets and sunrises, but I would like to see more blue sky and pretty mountains more clearly.
* I do a lot of driving - GPS is a great tool, mine has an option to set it for different languages, this morning I set it to an English (Female) one.  Driving along I was told to "take slip road on right and proceed 1.7 miles".  Worked out that a "slip road" is an exit ramp.  Other directions were mostly understandable - but as I was driving couldn't help but think I was in a BBC documentary and the lady navigator was itching to describe a wilderbeast perusing a watering hole, keenly observing for predators.
* Razzleberry Pie is awesome, especially w/ Cookie Dough Ice Cream.  The other good thing is that no-one else in my house likes it (the pie that is - ice cream is a different story).
* My kids are all very cute and we have a ton of photos of them.  The funniest ones we have are when they are sleeping.  My 2 daughters decided to sleepout in our living room over the weekend and pulled the 2 couches together to make a bed - we have photos (probably won't post them) of the youngest using the oldest as a pillow.  The other fun one is the top and tail one - with each of them having their feet no more than an inch from the other's face.
* Sometimes when driving I get so sick of listening to so much crappy music on the radio - regardless of which station I am on - and will choose to listen to commercials instead.
* Spruce Mountain is my favorite place to run - after taking 5 days off running I went there late yesterday and did 11 miles.  Some good climbs, usually only run into a handful of people there.  Mostly single track trails in the woods, some open space and great views.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beware of Attack Soccer Mom

Family life in full effect over the past several days, that and feeling like crap - seemed like a bad eating day was followed by a 24hr+ flu bug.  One more excuse not to run - justifying a need to rest my knees in hopes of being able to run better in the upcoming weeks / months.  By running better I really I am hoping for less discomfort / mild pain in the knees.  So, I haven't run since Wednesday morning - if that poor excuse of a run really counted anyway - won't till probably Monday.

So, a family life experience has unfolded over the week.......
  My kids and I bought this fridge magnet for my wife last year for Mothers Day.  Amongst the many other things she does is / was coach kids Soccer at the Y.  Was: hasn't this past Fall & Spring due to blowing out her right ACL - playing Soccer.

  Last Fall the kiddos didn't play soccer - prior to that it had been about 3 years each at the Y.  Then this (late) Winter & Spring my (12 yr) son got the chance to practice with a local competitive team 2 to 3 nights a week.  My (10 yr) daughter actually joined a non-competitive team.  These 2 teams are actually w/ 2 different organizations / clubs.  Both with their merits / non-merits.

In any case, the Spring season finished, school finished, now we are in Summer mode.  Next fall, amongst other things, Soccer starts up again, both kids want to play again.  To join (more) competitive teams they have to go through tryouts.   Tryouts have been for about 2 hrs each night this past Tues, Wed, Thurs.
As mentioned, 2 different clubs in town, which meant 2 different places for tryouts, 2 different costs, 2 tough choices - where to tryout for the kids.   Got to be responsible here - cost is a factor, possibility of carpooling to games factors in, playing with (kids) friends.  Then there is getting the kids the best opportunities to learn, play, have fun, be coached right - all while they are still young, being school students and us wanting to be the greatest parents ever, because they are after all the greatest kids ever.

In reality, they are not the greatest soccer players - but they can play and like most kids / people - given the right atmosphere - will improve and get better.
So, after a family meeting - was decided they would both try out for the club in which my daughter had played - which amongst other things is a bigger club, w/ more teams (6) and cheaper.  That put my son on the first night with kids he has never met or played with before - most of them had been w/ the club for years.
I was w/ him, my wife w/ our daughter.   Texting back and forth, my wife was pleased / encouraged w/ how our Daughters tryouts proceeded Tuesday, as well as the next 2 nights and as a result - had good expectations of making a decent team, w/ friends, a good coach etc. 

First night for my son the huge group of U-13 boys get split into groups - those who played for the club before, in their various different skill levels.  The rest of the kids - whom the coaches described as "those who have never played for (insert club name here) before".  Well, that was kind of like saying those who had never played soccer before.  They went w/ someone, not a coach and for 2 hrs or so basically got nothing done, played kick around and had no other coaches stop by to watch them.  After scrimmage, I was a little peeved, my kid told me he was bored out of his mind.  I was questioning if we had made the right choice.

Woke up next morning & we had gotten a late night e-mail from the boys coach at the other club he had practiced with for the past 4 months - in essence begging him to come over, almost assuring him a spot on a decent team.  After a few e-mails to the coach & other parents - we decided that was the right thing to do.

So, Wed and Thursday we did the switch, just w/ him.  Our daughter was supposedly doing good and according to my wife and the other soccer Moms - should make a decent team, along w/ her friends.  Good thing happened after the boys Wed tryouts - the kids were all assured a place on a (1 of 2) team.  Thursday morning we got an e-mail and team selection was announced.  So, it seems we had made the right choice and our son looks set for next Fall / Spring. 

Not sure what this will do for his running, which he really enjoys and does well at.  We will cross that bridge a later time.

  So now the drama is building for our daughter.  This is a bigger club, so there are 6 teams to fill at the U-11 age group.  2 for the elite level, 2 for the competitive, 2 at development.  For her tryouts they had her & all her friends / similar ability players slotted in the competitive level.  We thought that was about right.  They were developmental last season.

  Coaches were to fill the 2 elite teams Wed night / Thursday before tryouts.  After Thursday night tryouts the coaches were then going to fill competitive, then by Saturday night fill the 2 development teams.

  This is not easy on the parents - the coaches make phone calls to invite the kids onto the teams.  So, Thursday evening the waiting began.  Soccer Moms are texting back and forth - "did you get a call yet?".  Kids are sound asleep in bed.  Soccer Moms are doing the best to convince themselves, their husbands and their Soccer Mom friends that all will work out great and the kids will be on the same team, a competitive team w/ so and so coach.  Our phone stays quiet.

 11:45 pm - 3 of the 5 girls in the posse - that being the group of 5 girls / friends that my daughter is in trying out together - have gotten the phone call and are in the competitive #1 team.  My daughter and her best friend have not.  Soccer Moms texts are now much shorter and include "WTF"

 So, nothing last night.  An e-mail this morning from the club in essence saying "hang in there ladies - the calls are ongoing".  As I started this post, I got an e-mail from my wife, our daughters best friend has just got the phone call and she is on the competitive #2 team.  I called home - just to see if our phone was working.  No-one else has called. 

Growing up I hated being the last kid picked. 

Now, as a parent - it is worse.  WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE PICK MY KID!!!!!

Beware of the Attack Soccer Mom Dad.

Will update w/ any progress.....waiting......waiting......waiting......

Update...... She got the phone call & was picked, on the #2 competitive team.  Not what she, the Soccer Mom, or I had hoped - nor had been lead to believe.  She is still a kid, will adapt and (hopefully) learn and do well - and because she loves to play soccer, will enjoy it.  The parents may take a while to get over it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I need therapy

Not the type after running - although the achy knees are giving me grief still, some days more than others - today being one of those.

Nor the type of therapy necessary for being on the wrong end of this.....
I eat like crap - I am hoping this will be therapeutic,  releasing,  most likely stupid of me to write down what I ate yesterday - my Mother would not be proud.  Not just because of what I ate - which is more expected of my 12 year son.  But because I ate all the following all on the same day.
  * Marshmellow Mateys (generic Lucky Charms) for breakfast.
  * 2 cups of coffee (my kids won't drink this - yet)
  * A dozen or so Triscuits - probably not too bad, but it's all downhill from here......
  * Chinese Food for lunch - Beef and vegetables.
  * A full bag of Jelly Beans - took about 1/2 hr at most
  * 'Bout an hour later had a Oats-n-Honey bar - I had to try and stop the sugar wobblies going on.
  * Later that day / evening was at the kids soccer tryouts (more on that another time).  That finished at 8 pm.  Needed to feed a kid after - so Wal-Mart was closest.  I'm not the smartest I know.
  * Some potato fries and fried chicken, washed down w/ a bottle of Coke.  I know - WalMart food, likely was sitting out all day under a heat lamp.

Woke up this morning and felt like crap.  Usually I can run and sweat it off.  So, 6 miles at  super slow / slug pace.  That didn't help.  Still feeling like crap. 

Dear Doctor Whoever, please make it go away.  I promise to eat a Salad for lunch, maybe even some fruit - if you would just make my gut stop hurting.

For those you have read this far on this post - sorry for wasting your time, I really don't have days like that very often and I eat good and right most of the time, yesterday was just one of those days and today I suffer for it.    I am supposedly a grown-up and should know better. 

Oh look, a cupcake......