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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Running with Scissors - my running year

My year of running had a chunk cut out of it - literally.

In 2011 I turned 43 years old, but I think my body aged more than that. I was diagnosed w/ Rheumatoid Arthritis - specifically in my knees, wrists and lower back. According to the doc there are about a hundred different types of Arthritis. Mine comes and goes - flaring up somewhat inconsistently, when it does in my knees I usually lay low for 2 to 3 days.

It was discovered as a result of Arthroscopic knee surgery for a torn miniscus in the middle of Summer. Despite that, 5 weeks after surgery I proved to myself that amongst other traits that I have - I am at least determined - I did the Pikes Peak Ascent in under 4 hours.

All told, I ran almost 1500 miles this year, including over 120,000' of vertical gain.  I set PR's in 5K, 10K, 25K and Marathon (in Ogden, Utah).  All achievements that I am proud of.

I started Blogging in April this year, making some new (online) friends - whom I am hoping to meet this next year.  My blog detailed my running, my body woes, my family - who are also runners.  So, the blog was used to brag on their achievements.  This next year - that is likely to continue as my wife is recovering from ACL surgery and getting back into running, my 3 kids are growing up and still enjoying running - doing well most times also.

On the blog front I must say that I have been suprised that my 2nd most popular post has been on Bagpipes.  A little odd - but so are bagpipes, maybe that is why I am drawn to them.

So what lies ahead for 2012?  Don't know for sure - one I thing I would like to do - keep running, with less scissors, maybe be a bagpipe playing, superhero runner - like Mr Spjorn in this video.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Family Holiday Fun

Amongst all the snow, lights, presents, super excited kiddos, a day after Christmas indoor soccer game, super spoiled kiddos (thank you Grandparents), a birthday party (#10 is now #11), a couple of runs on the snowy roads, kiddos driving each other nuts playing with the other one's presents - we did some serious sledding, 3 days in a row on what we call "the hill" - which is the 1/4 mile stretch of road that sees little sun, few cars and optimum sledding conditions.

We had more than 1 sled - so towing the little sister became an option - albeit a little louder. 

This last one is a little wobbly and we didn't make it down very far before we wiped out

We made it through, grandparents and all, now it is time to show off the gifts that mean the most to me.  Photos of the wee ones.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Elf Yourself - good clean fun

It's a great Snow day today - 2 feet drifts at my home, still coming down like crazy.  It's awesome so I'm not going anywhere.  Jumped online and "elfed" my kids.  (takes a minute or so to load)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting abducted

Not this type of abduction.....
I've been reading the Running Times magazine latest issue - have enjoyed the subscription - and came across the "testing your (running) form and posture" article.  Specifically was interested by the Hip area section on abductors and adductors as my hips / butt / hammys / thighs and of course the knees - areas have been giving me grief recently.

So, in order to run better, recover quicker and feel better while doing both - I need to work on strengthening each.  The foam roller helps some, but I would like to feel better.

This post is going random...... pull the plug now, or go random w/ me.

A week or so ago I mentioned a (slight) possibility of a family New Zealand trip next Christmas.  Guestimated a cost of up to $10k or so.  Mentioned it to my wife and we did a little more research - that plug is now pulled as we came up w/ a more realistic figure of $15K, likely more if we do more stuff there.

I've been thinking recently about my kids and how proud I am of them, how fortunate my wife and I are to have them as healthy and (for the most part) happy wee things. 

I like to brag on them - especially their achievements, yet I have posted maybe only 1 or 2 pictures of them on the blog.  In fact I think #12 has made it on here twice, the girls have not.  So, I might talk myself out of this yet - but my wife has made up some Christmas Picture frames for the grandparents and relatives and I get a leftover set for Christmas (I have been told to act surprised).

My wife is a Facebook addict - and has dozens of pics of the kids on there - so I can justify me posting pics here of the 3 amigos.  Stay tuned and check out the blog the day or so after Christmas - it's family photo time.  Like I said, I may talk myself out of it.

Speaking of braggin.... (Last) Sunday was #12's last indoor soccer game of the season and I found myself more into it than any other game.  The 6 to 5 win was a hard fought game - he poured it all out there, putting more effort into it than I have ever seen (in Soccer anyway - running the Barr Trail Mtn Race last year was the most epic).

A running update on my running..... I have really wanted to get into a good routine recently.  Sunday long run (12 to 15 miles) around the rolling hills at home.  Mon and Tues some indoor bike and / or eliptical.  Wednesday some hill work between 5 to 8 miles.  Thursday rest.  Friday a tempo run of 6 to 8 miles.  Saturday 3 to 4 miles super easy w/ at least 1 of the girls.  Aiming for 30 miles running for the week.

Been a struggle at times due to my right knee flaring up / swelling much more frequently.  The schedule has been bumped a few times - still getting in 30 though.  This week has not been good.  Really frustrating as I can't pinpoint any one thing or things that cause it.  Hopefully some strengthening of the areas mentioned several paragraphs above will help.

Finally - the below picture is not mine - but it is similar to what we woke up to this morning.  One of the many reasons why we love living in Colorado.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coffee vs Tea - the Vote

Well, it's Wednesday, Christmas is a week and a half away, kids are still in school but are ready to be done, inlaws (or outlaws depending on how you look at it) are going to be arriving soon.  I ain't bought my wife anything yet - don't know where to start.   I would rather be running outside than sitting at a desk or driving round in circles.  My favorite socks have a hole in them.

I got distracted this morning thinking about coffee and tea.

(Very) Generally speaking - people in New Zealand drink tea.  They drink a lot of other stuff too.  But I think it is safe to say, they drink more tea than coffee.
Here in the US, having now lived here for about 20 years I think I am right to say that more Americans prefer coffee than tea.  I realize in the coffee "family" there is expresso, latte's, caputhingys and more - but lumped into one "class", coffee drinkers outnumber tea drinkers.  At least that is what I have noticed.
I drink both.  In my younger (living in NZ) years I drank tea.  Actually just about the whole country shuts down at 10 am and 3 pm each day for 10 - 15 minutes to have a "cuppa tea".  There is also usually tea at breakfast, lunch, dinner (sometimes also known as teatime) and before you go to bed.

When I first took my wife to NZ many moons ago, we got off the plane after many hours of travelling, changing time zones, were met at the airport by my Grandparents and after they initially said hello to us (my wife had never met them before - nor been to NZ), within 5 minutes of being at their home - we were drinking tea.

As an observer of US culture - I think it is safe to say that coffee is in the top 3 for "drug of choice".   People blame it (or lack of it) for the mood they are in, the choices they make and other things.  People have their favorite brand, or style, or flavor.  Nothing wrong with that - I do too.

Every so often I see (don't usually read or watch though) reports that "coffee is good for you because....." or "recent study shows coffee is bad for you because....."  I'm sure there are similar reports and studies for drinking tea.  Then there is the whole decaf vs full caff thing too.

I like to run, sometimes before or after a run I drink tea, sometimes coffee.  I don't know if or how either affect me, either good or bad.

At my house - and possibly those of you who also drink both tea and coffee - we have "tea cups" and "coffee cups".  It doesn't seem right sometimes when a cup is used for the wrong beverage.

Well you made it this far - to my point of this post.......
I'm curious to see if there are more tea drinkers or coffee drinkers out there.  So, my first poll going up.  Is a simple question:  Do you drink more coffee?  Do you drink more tea?

Feel free to comment and to post on your own blogs - while drinking your beverage of choice.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review the week of Dec 4 - 10

I have decided that 30 miles per week for the next few (Winter) months is a good goal, with an eye on "peaking" for the new Super 1/2 Marathon on Feb 5th in the Springs - put on by the Pikes Peak Road Runners.
Course of the race from PPRR website
Having really only getting back into running for 2+ years now - Winter months have been very non structured and definitely sporadic for my running.  2 years ago I did the Winter Distance Series w/ my son, then last year I did it w/ my oldest daughter - I'll do it again with her this year, moreso for her as she likes running a lot but doesn't like to go alone.  During those years I never really followed a plan at all.

This year will be different - I came up w/ a plan for the next 8 weeks -putting some structure and a format into aiming for the 1/2 marathon.  Ideally I would like to PR it - and get that down to 1:35.  We'll see how that goes.

For 11 of the past 12 weeks I have done 30 mile weeks - some a little higher.  So the next 8 weeks is not really much new - aside from having that kind of base work already established as I look forward, but become a little more race goal specific.

Likely obstacles will be weather and health - which is why I am planning on running only 4 days a week, consisting of a long run, a hill run, a tempo run, and a short run - likely w/ the kids as part of their getting ready for the Rescue Run and then the Winter Distance Series (4 races in Jan and Feb).

The past week the knee flared up so I was kind of forced to take 3 days off, but still ran 12 miles around the rolling roads near home last Sunday, by Wednesday I was able to get out again and did 8 miles on the home (dirt) roads in the morning.  Friday evening I hit the Santa Fe Trail at Goose Gossage Park and went North 3 1/2 miles at an 8:15 pace, then back at a 7:30 pace in a nice full moon.  Was a good sign for me to keep up that pace for that amount of distance.  Something to build off. 

Saturday the family decided not to go to the site of the Rescue Run (Palmer Park) - instead we have a good and similar course near home - complete with a similar hill climb.  So we all did 3 miles - at varying paces and times.

I'm a person who likes and functions fairly well on a structured plan (as long as I am the one who comes up w/ the plan - being a little bit of a control freak) - so to map out the next 8 weeks and have a goal at the end makes me happy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dreaming of a sandy (beach) Christmas (in NZ)

Don't get me wrong, I love the beauty of Colorado.  Winter time is very spectacular - especially when we have a bunch of snow.  Wind I could do without, but to be able to see the mountains, trees and (most days) clear blue skies is really special.

Colorado Christmas is nothing like New Zealand at Christmas.  It is early Summer there.  Beaches, b-b-q's, beautiful in it's own way.  One thing that New Zealand has is a lot more beaches than Colorado has.  Growing up there we spent a lot of summer time on the beach.  I do miss being able to get to the beach.

With that being said, having lived in the US for almost 20 years now, I like the "Winter Christmas" over the "Summer Christmas".  Along with the snow covered trees are the Christmas decorations - especially those not overdone
or half done.
My family and I like to see the lights and there are a few nights we go out cruising neighborhoods just to see the lights.

I get e-mails every so often from Air New Zealand - inviting me to come visit.  Yesterday was one of those times.  My family has the big family reunion coming up there next year at Christmas time.  By then it will be 6 years since I and my own family have made it.

So, curiously I went to their website and checked to see how much it would cost to go.  The answer was not pretty.  The best deal is to fly Christmas Eve / Day or New Years Eve / Day - then come back home any day in January.  (Add an extra $500 per person to travel on different days)

Cost per person (round trip) from LA was $1186.  That may seen okay to some.  However, that doesn't get us from CO to LAX.  Nor does it get us anywhere or do anything in NZ.  Add all that up for a family of 5 and we get somewhere around (conservatively) $8000 or possibly up to $10K.

Now, I'm not afraid of a 10K - have done plenty and will likely do more.  But when a 10K becomes 10 thousand - dollars.  Yikes.

Now if we were not to do anything as a family for next year, no soccer, no piano lessons, no other trips, no birthdays, no new clothes or toys, no food or water, no (gulp) running events - we could likely pay for 2 or 3 of us to go.

Unfortunately - doesn't look like we are going to make it.  Sorry Mum.  So, instead - I'll just have to dream of a sandy beach in New Zealand along with the other pretty scenary there, all the while enjoying Winter in Colorado.

I guess there is the option of a one way ticket....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

6 degrees of frozen Bacon

Sometimes I come up with (what I think) are smart Post Titles.  Other times - not so much.  This is probably one of those others.

Was a brisk start to the day - 6 degrees would have been nice, it was minus 8 degrees.  A crisp blue sky with full sun over fresh snow.  Picture perfect Colorado Winter postcard - unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me.

Was hoping to get out and run to really experience it but I likely jinxed myself yesterday when I wrote about recent snow storms coming through not affecting my knee.  Well, as the day wore on yesterday and into the evening my (right) knee swelled up big time and range of motion on it reduced to about 60 percent.

Icing, heating pad, elevating, even wrapping it didn't help.  When it happens like it has done so at least a dozen times in the past 9 months - I haven't found a way to curtail it.  Instead, just have to wait it out.  Usually takes about 3 days for the swelling to go back down.  Is not too painful, is quite uncomfortable.  Is arthritis related.  It sucks.

There seems to be no predicting it - I thought barometric weather changes may have something to do with it - but maybe not.  I really don't enjoy it and really hope that when it come to things like the Pikes Peak Marathon next year, it doesn't happen in the days leading up to it.

Oh well, dealing with what life gives.  Looking ahead, got the Pikes Peak Road Runners monthly magazine and are considering doing their new run on Super Bowl Sunday .  They are putting on a 5K as well as a 1/2 marathon.  Leaning towards doing the half - but will wait a bit to decide.

Family chatter is building on the 5K Rescue Run on January 1st.  Last year was in the single digits - My son and oldest daughter and I did it.

This year it is seeming like #12 might do the 10K version by himself.  My oldest daugher and I will do the 5K together.  My wife, her mother (who will be visiting and appropriately spoiling her grandchildren), and our youngest daughter - likely to do the 5K together.  Hoping it will be a little warmer than last year. 

With 3 weekends to go - seems like we might get some training in, starting this weekend - so if anybody is driving through Palmer Park and sees a knuckledragging family roaming through, don't run us over :)

Thanks to GZ for the reminder about this....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week in review 11/27 to 12/3

Sunday was our last day at the Family reunion in PA, mind you over half the people (peaked at about 70) had left the day before.  There was still some runners left but I was wanting to run a little longer than them - not that I had run much with them on previous days.  So, I got out early and did the long lap, in the opposite direction of the days before, just as I was coming back I passed the group (2 Aunts, 1 cousin) heading out to do the small loop.  So, I did my last 1/2 mile, turned around and then set out to chase them.  Never did catch them as they ended doing the short, short loop - which I never knew existed.

Never mind.  Was a good run, 11 1/2 miles all told and over 1350' elevation gain.

Off down to Philly later that day where we stayed all Monday and did a few touristy things.

Tuesday was finally time to come home.  Uneventful flight and back to sunny Colorado.  Decided to enjoy the rest of the day w/ the family.  Noticed that I had actually run 8 of the last 9 days - my body told me that 2 days rest was a good choice.

Wednesday came and almost went - managed to get out just as the sun was going down.  Fortunately remembered to bring the headlight with me.  Did 7 1/2 miles on the Santa Fe Trail - from Northgate up towards Monument and back.  Nice run.  On the way back I picked up to an 8 min per mile average - which was a little interesting (for me at least) in the dark w/ a headlight - fortunately the trails are wide and smooth.

Thursday just didn't happen.

Friday I got out early and did 6 miles in the neighborhood, brisk morning - easy pace.

Saturday ran twice, once in Cathedral Pines doing approx 3 1/4 miles.  Lots of fun in the snow on the trails for the Huff and Puff Fun Run (actually came 3rd out of about 25 people - race itself was just over 1 1/2 miles).  Later in the day - after fighting for about 3 hours with a new treadmill belt, I finally got it working.  What an episode trying to get the old one off and put on a new one.   I didn't have any clue what I was doing, found some online (sort of) instructions - which sort of helped, but only to a point.

Finally got it working, not sure if it is calibrated right but rumbled around for 2 miles on it at various speeds and elevations.  Seems to be at least similar to what it was like before with the old scrappy belt.

30 mile week.  A little inconsistent but I think was good for my knees to take some days off.  With the snow coming through I was expecting some right knee swelling issues - but that never happened.  Pleasant surprise.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cathedral Pines Huff n Puff Fun Run

Woke up this morning and Winter was in full effect, 6+ inches of snow on the ground and wind blowing it all sideways.  So, was a great day for a run.

Was not in a hurry to get out though, 14 degrees and windchill kind of keeping me inside.  Jumped online and happened upon the Pikes Peak Road Runners Website and saw there was a 5K fun run a few miles away from me in Cathedral Pines (in Black Forest).

That would be out of the wind somewhat - eh, why not - not much else to do on a lazy, snowy Saturday.

I headed out arriving 10 minutes before race time (11 am).  Signed up, warmed up real quick.  Start was delayed about 15 minutes which helped - mostly to get used to the brisk conditions.

Was a little less breezy but plenty of snow still flying.  This was going to be fun.  No more than 25 people showed up.  At the start line we were told it was only a 1 1/2 mile course that got marked.  No biggie, I decided I'll probably do a 2nd lap.

Started at the Cathedral Pines Welcome center and wandered around some (well marked) trails.  Some slight rollers made it a little tough for those of us without much traction.  A lot of fun, I forgot to bring my watch but as I passed the finish line they called out 13:30 something.

I kept going and did another lap with the winner of the race.  He told me he had clocked 1.6 miles for the first lap.  On the second lap the snow had stopped falling, was still breezy - but running in the snow is a blast.

Took only 2 photos - one before the race start, one shortly after I did my 2nd lap.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Family problems

I know, this is supposed to be a running blog - and here I am venting about my family issues.
The final straw however has fallen, or bubble has broken, or whatever the saying goes.  With Christmas approaching, this is supposed to be a happy time of the year.  I mean you go to a Mall or watch TV and 9 out of 10 places you go or see things - it's Christmas music, Christmas sales, Christmas TV specials.

Even my home country of New Zealand celebrates Christmas.

Well, Christmas has been the furtherest from my mind, instead - today I have decided to be a little vulnerable and share my "family problems".  I'm not going to seek a counselor for it, this Blog will be my therapy point.  Maybe what is happening and what happened today to send me over the edge is a result of not getting enough rest.  Or the kids getting the day off school (due to snow) and me still going in to work.  Or maybe it is because I'm a so called "middle aged man" with a wife and 3 kids who all are great looking, smart, healthy - and I am weathered and often cranky, probably unbearable at times to them. 

Sure I'm jealous - I mean, look at them.  No don't, cause you can't.  I don't want to really post photos of my family online for fear of the prettyness of my girls, my handsome son, my beautiful wife, falling into the hands or eyes of some creepy online trawler.  My family is "eye-candy"  I, not so much. 

I get home at the end of the day today - having forgotten to take my running gear with me to sneak in a run sometime during the day - so that is 3 days this week that I have not run.  But, I'm tired anyway and used it as an excuse, even with the snow and falling temparatures.  I'm hungry.  I'm not in the mood to do much of anything.  I walk in the door and are met with a family from.......

The Christmas Tree is up.  The girls have made a bunch of Christmas cookies.  There's food on the table.  There's my children giggling and playing nice together.  My wife has the house looking great.

I'm spoiled.  The problem with my family is: I don't deserve them.  But with that being said, I'm gonna keep them.  You who have families - you probably think they are the best.  You are probably right.  However, you keep yours.  I'm keeping mine.

Beginning to look like C O

To the tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"....

While it's lovely to get up and go,
to travel far with the family in tow,
for a reunion that's much of a show,
and time just ticks by so slow

So when it is time to finally come home,
waking up so early we all groan
but we catch our plane flight
and fly 3 hours to the sight.....

.....Of the mountains all aglow
capped with all the goodness of snow

We all may be tired and cranky
it's early to bedtime quite frankly
then we wake up so early
look outside and and it's blurry
Snowing - no school for the boy and 2 girlies

It's nice to be home in Colorado