31 December 2009

one more

Figured I'd throw in one last post before the end of the year.

Christmas was fun. The cold weather is not. I may never be completely satisfied with the temperatures. Either too hot or too cold. In the winter, I find myself pining for the spring. And in the dead of summer, I cannot wait for the fall. Maybe I should relocate to somewhere with a moderate climate.

This week I went to the doctor for the first time since Jan 2001. Whatever I caught just won't go away (and apparently still isn't). It was interesting trying to think back to the last time I had gone to the doc, but I distinctly remember being sick that year. I missed the first week of spring semester, freshman year at USC because of it. I slept and slept in my top bunk in dorm while friends brought me OJ and chicken noodle soup, and finally convinced me to go to doc. I could barely walk outside because the cold air hurt to breathe. Luckily, I got better within the week, but I still remember missing my first geology field trip because of it.

Ready for a new year to begin. And not a new decade. We're still in this decade for one more year, contrary to the news hype about it ending. Right? I have a feeling I've had this discussion before.

21 December 2009

i mean, really

This announcement was posted on our intranet homepage at the very top this morning. I have taken the liberty of taking off the names to protect the innocent. Put on your geography helmets because this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Hopefully you've spotted what's wrong here. Or else, show me where the snow-capped Mt. Rainier is in DC? Now.

14 December 2009

let me break it down for you

at work, we have an updated system for the thousands of employees to check their paystubs, w-2s, where their money is going, why it's not going into their pockets, and so forth.

a month ago we received an email explaining new security features were forthcoming. last week, we received a follow-up email repeating the first email and predicting doomsday.

today the features were implemented. what used to be a simple log-in with your social security number and 4 digit password has now turned into a guessing game. the new log-in page:

let me break it down for you:
1) enter your log in (but do not enter your SSN)
2) are you confused by the simple instructions to not enter your SSN? then click the "I'm confused--do I enter my SSN?" link.
3) why are you confused? it says not to enter your SSN. why are you clicking this? don't do it.
4) ok, so you're still here, you're not further confused, and never clicked the first link? well, we put a 2nd link under that one just for people like you! simply click "why aren't I entering my password/pin?"
5) now question the bad grammar of the above step. really? "why aren't i?" [sigh]
6) because you're still here and haven't entered anything, we have now provided you with an "OR" option below all of those other steps. and to make this more difficult, there is now a box to simply enter your SSN--even though we said not to earlier. it'll be ok. don't worry.
8) ok, you've somehow managed to see 4 options for you to click/enter and yet you haven't done anything? ok, then click this handy link "forgot your login id". after all, it's really not related to anything else you could have clicked earlier.
9) i don't understand. you're still here. if you have no idea what you're doing in life and you've still not clicked anything because you don't click links, well, we're also going to provide you a button. please click for a "new password." really. you have no other choice. but please wipe any memory of your SSN from your mind and never use it ever again. until the next time we ask you so we can verify it's really you.


13 December 2009

the passenger

this should definitely be 7 minutes worth of your day.

12 December 2009

cloudy with a chance of pain

I know it's going to be a good day when the day starts with this forecast:

Seems painful. And when did 'sleet' leave our vernacular? Is the weather going PC these days too? Yeesh.

08 December 2009

peppermint and pepper

sometimes it's the little things..

like trader joe's peppermint joe-joe's. and coffee with pepper in it.

tis the season, huh?

27 November 2009

the weight

Been on a bgrass kick lately and found this gem:

22 November 2009

love, the glaciers

Last night's SNL was, for me at least, one of the funniest in quite some time. And Dave Matthews Band was great.

Here's a cameo of Al Gore:

12 November 2009

back to the hundred acre woods

Temps in the mid-70's this weekend. November in Atlanta! This means camping at the 100 acre woods again!

Though I doubt I'll hear the summertime bugs like this time:

04 November 2009

say what??

Captured this on an approach trail near Deception Pass in NW Washington. By far the best sign on the trip.

03 November 2009

anatomy of a half marathon (#5)

silver comet half marathon

i think i write these race descriptions more for a journal for myself in the future. this past saturday was my 5th half marathon. another 13.1 miles under the belt. unlike the last one this past feb, it's not part of my marathon training. well, at least not yet. more on that later. !

5am--wake up. well that was a lot earlier than i wanted.
501--coffee automatically brewing. got to love that.
502--curse at the weather channel and the line of storms racing from the alabama line towards atlanta. could it be more perfect timing? SERIOUSLY?
615--folks arrive outside my apt in the dark to carpool.
745--race starts.
747--rain starts.
750--rain pelts. leaves blow everywhere. skies are black. rain drips off my hat. clothes drenched. toes begin to feel damp.
mile 1.5--finally off the road and onto the paved multi-use silver comet trail.
mile 3--the rain subsides to a drizzle. but the damage is already done. drenched. i recall saying "at least it's not cold."
mile 4--remembering why out and back races are so annoying because you start thinking about how you aren't even at the turnaround point yet.
mile 5--seriously? the elite runners are already turning around and passing us on the eastbound side? and i get elbowed by one of those elite ones for getting too close to their lane. i was not happy with that guy. we were both at fault. i wasn't going to elbow him though.
mile 6--squish, squish, squish go the feet.
mile 7--clif shot bloks at a crucial point in the race. again, nothin like orange gummy candy in the middle of a long run.
mile 8--oh. yep. there's a blister on the foot. i can already feel it.
mile 9--never thought i'd be askng for hills. running on flat straightaways is about the most boring thing. though the thousands of leaves all over the trail is making it worth it. despite that it's raining again.
mile 10--squish, squish, squish.
mile 11--the whole time i thought it was mile 12.
mile 12--the feeling i felt when i realized i was off by a mile completely drained all motivation i had at that point. the feet were turning to mush. my legs felt like spaghetti. my calves felt like i was throwing rocks at them. yet i was still going forward.
mile 13.1--complete. a lot slower than my other races. 2:13:20. but it's complete. and it's raining. and freezing. and my feet hurt.
1010--finding friends that showed up for support.. well worth it. and the hamburger slider at the finish line.. not well worth it.
1130--watching my friends eat burgers at the market. i just can't eat much that close to post-race. and then a magician walks up to us and spends 15 minutes showing us some very interesting tricks involving cards, names, invisible coins, rubber bands, and even his pet albino parakeet that at some point appeared in his hand. i've never been that close to magic.

and with that, i've got another half this weekend in columbia. ever onward!

01 November 2009

november at last

It's been a busy past few days. I'm actually looking forward to sitting in my cube farm Monday. And that's a sad statement. Update on the race and halloween soon.

But for now, a funny video of a math teacher that uses the power of newfangled technology to keep the topic fun.

30 October 2009

LED sheep

This is just crazy. Sheep-herding with LED lights..

26 October 2009

i've got a feeling

I figured the blog needed a new header at the top. As I was searching through some pics, I realized the new one (above) actually had the ocean meeting the land. And some jumping folks.

I entered a video contest through Lonely Planet. The goal was to make a 3-minute video of videos from your roadtrip. Good thing for me, I just went on one.

Here's my choppy video. The song was chosen because we heard it probably 40 times while surfing the channels.

25 October 2009

i am a lasagna

I am what I eat, ergo, tonight I am a lasagna.

I'm still constantly amazed and how much food I eat. Especially after I buy a Stouffer's "Family Size" lasagna. Serving size: 4. Then I proceed to eat over half of it. And I still feel hungry.

High metabolism from all the running lately maybe? Caught the running bug again.

I'll be running my 4th (*CORRECTION: 5th) half marathon this Saturday. It'll be a nice reprieve from all the hills around here as the course is flat.

Other things to note:

It's been fun watching the Angels in post-season baseball. Especially when giving the Yanks a run for their money.

And I saw a Christmas commercial. Let the games begin.

20 October 2009

more giants

Today, my boss knocked on my cube and told me to come to his office. He was genuinely interested in hearing about my recent adventures throughout the past 2 weeks. And to quell any rumor that my coworkers had started about me going to Seattle to interview for EPA there. Though I might have told him that I would like to work in Region10 (which is the NW). He seemed ok. Maybe he didn't hear me.

19 October 2009

5 candles

Hey, guess what?

The blog is now 5 years old.

825 posts in 5 years.

Thanks to the 4 or 5 people that still read this. You rock!

In other news, I looked at my states map again and realized I've now been to 40 states. And 5 of them are states that I only briefly visited for a few hours. One day I've got to do a tour of the NE and see what it's all about.

14 October 2009

slow shutter

Kept the shutter open longer on this one. Taken on a ferry while crossing NW Washington, so it was interesting to see how the pics turned out while speeding through the waters.

Meanwhile, put some of the NW roadtrip on flickr.

12 October 2009

standing on the shoulders of giants

Redwoods, California. And Deception Pass, Washington.

11 October 2009

the places you'll go

Just a sample of my week..

60mph ATV rides through acres of dunes along the Oregon coast. Nothing too fancy or anything.

07 October 2009


Today I saw Oregon for the first time. Truly an amazing place. And
I've only seen about a half the coast. Yesterday I said the same about
the northwest corner of Washington. Why has no one ever talked about
that area before? Orca whales, ferry crossings to islands that have
alpaca farms, volcanoes. The list continues.

More in a few days. Vacation!

27 September 2009

gold rusher

After leaving my local Target for various other things, I discovered that I bought California for $5.

Apparently it was on sale too.

22 September 2009

styrofoam crispex


Growing up, the 5 of us (parents + 3 kids) would take cross-country road trips to California to visit family. We would stay in cheap motels and eat chicken noodle soup of the powder variety for dinner. Mom would boil the water in an old coffee percolator, I think. The same that would make the coffee in the morning for my parents. Every now and then I can smell a certain coffee and associate it with early morning driving. Breakfast consisted of driving to a rest stop and eating cereal. The milk was in a rusty, red cooler that leaked water occasionally. I remember one breakfast in particular. It was a rest stop in the desert of New Mexico or Arizona that was made to resemble tribal tee-pee structures. We ate Crispex in our styrofoam bowls with plastic spoons and pink Sweet-n-Low packets in the crisp summer morning next to a tee-pee along a busy interstate.


I'm at a conference in Orlando. The hotel I'm staying at (that also houses the conference) opened a mere 22 days ago. It's 19 stories. Currently, my conference (1000+ people) and another conference by IBM has completely sold out the entire hotel and conference center. I was told, when I checked in, that my room was just completed today so, I am the first person ever to stay here. That's kind of cool, I think.

Then I was told of the amenities which include a lazy river in addition to the 3 pools. After that, the 9-hole golf course exists. Inside the hotel itself are 7 restaurants, a jogging track, basketball courts, and a bocce ball court. I walked around to see all of this for myself because I was in disbelief.

Despite it all, it's just not me. I kind of miss the good times. Where are the styrofoam bowls of Crispex?

21 September 2009

rain rain rain

This is the major artery through Atlanta.. the I-75/85 connector after days and days of rain.


Twenty years ago, a monster attacked Charleston, SC. Hurricane Hugo, a strong Category 4 hurricane with 135mph winds slammed ashore as the strongest hurricane ever to hit SC on record.

My only memory was not having to go to school and watching Woody Woodpecker on the old TV in the living room.

20 September 2009


It was only my second time playing Risk (on a board and not virtually), yet somehow I won.

At this point in the game I decided that documenting the game was in order.

18 September 2009

pea soup

Dear Jet Stream,

Please end your vacation in Canada soon and return to a normal Fall pattern of being our neighbor in Georgia. The terms 'gully-washer' and 'frog-strangler' no longer have any meaning to me. You are also preventing me from camping this weekend.

Your old friend,

And here's a view of the Atlanta skyline through my back windshield in the truck this AM.

07 September 2009

part 2

It just keeps getting worse. I just saw a new Snuggie commercial and literally fell over laughing. It must be brand new as I cannot locate it on youtube aside from someone taping it themselves.

Things to note in this new commercial:

- the new zebra print
- the fact that they are actually raising the roof at one point
- the game 'win, lose, or draw' has never been easier, now that snuggies are around!
- the dog
- the dog's book. yes, the dog is reading. and wearing reading glasses.

05 September 2009

maybe i'll try this at the braves game

A baseball fan catches a homerun during batting practice. And films his catch himself. Random strangers around the world watch his film. Oh the joys technology.

Fan Films Himself Catching Home Run - Watch more Funny Videos

01 September 2009

radiohead in a rainforest

Stumbled upon a video I shot back in Puerto Rico.

29 August 2009

on my soapbox

Pretty funny Saturday here in Atlanta..

We had a Red Bull Soapbox Derby! And apparently 40,000+ people stood in the sweltering sun to watch--though I wasn't counting. I seemed to be more interested in not having a heat stroke.

22 August 2009

does it get any luckier?

Seriously though, just look at this image for a second. A few days ago this was a Cat4 (135mph+) headed directly toward the mainland. And then all of the sudden a cold front in the middle of August barreled out of nowhere and is currently taking it out to sea exactly in the middle of the east coast and the Bermuda archipelago (that small white dot above "09"). Not to say that the Bermuda islands didn't get lashed with 95mph wind gusts and high waves (as the east coast is), but there are a lot of "what-ifs".

21 August 2009

17 August 2009


New David Gray video! But still no southern tour.

westward mobility

not that i'm actively looking for jobs, nor am i ever considering to moving to montana (detect sarcasm?), but when i find govt jobs that are in the remote Big Sky that state:

- living in your own cabin
- working with GIS
- travel to remote study sites via boats, small aircraft, snowmobiles, ATVs and/or on foot
- extended periods of camping in tents or cabins may occur
- incumbent must be able to cope with the responsibilities of logistics to remote areas, cultural conflicts and adverse weather conditions

and my favorite:
- the incumbent may be subject to large numbers of biting insects and may be required to work in close proximity to large animals such as bear and moose

and.. i'm qualified. sign me up!

09 August 2009

dog days of summer

Though I wish they were mine, they are actually my parent's 12-week old blue tick hound puppies. Big feet and big ears. And hours of free entertainment.

05 August 2009

and then there's that person

Tonight I saw a runner who was running with his cell phone.. and talking on it while running.

And this was while I saw the guy running through an intersection across oncoming traffic.

Sometimes I wonder how some people survive.

03 August 2009

strawberry swing

Very cool. Especially after you realize halfway through how it was made.

30 July 2009

we'll make the best of what's around

i suppose these conditions below are enough to warrant a sign that things are bad outside at the moment?

humidity = 100%
dew point = 73F
temperature = 73F

the last two are equal and the atmosphere is completely saturated. this answers why i sweated just taking my recycling bin to the curb this morning.

18 July 2009

clear, sunny, no rain

It's 79 degrees, 41% humidity, visibility 10 miles, 3pm, middle of July, in Atlanta.

What on earth? I'll take it!

17 July 2009

there's an app for that

For sake of losing the ability to run, I mapped out a fall running itinerary. It's a daily journey into running which I will not follow but it's nice to look at periodically. And for lack of better things to do, the next half marathon is in the line-up and paid for.

Oct 31. Silver Comet Half Marathon. (and it should be all flat!)

It's always weird to think about how hot it is outside now to the point that I wait until it's cooler in the evening to run. Yet, by the time I'm actually running these races that I'm training for, I'll be in gloves and long-sleeves wondering why I thought it was a good idea 3 months prior.

13 July 2009

zip lining

This is the shakiest video of me zip lining--ever. Even though it's poor quality, I figure it good enough as any to watch. I had it hanging from my wrist at the start.

The more I watch it, the more I wonder how I even attempted three zip lines in 2 hours. Especially being the first of my crew of friends to go. Who knew being last up the stairs meant you were first to go? And you just step off this tiny platform and hope for the best.

10 July 2009

watch the icicles melt away

every now and then a change to the blog gives it some slight rejuvenation and brings it back to life.

the new title pic is actually a photo that my dad took nearly 40 years ago. washington, i think.

meanwhile, found this pic of a benchmark that i took back in february. just thought it was cool. i wonder what will become of all the benchmarks in the world 100 years from now?

07 July 2009

billie jean

At first I said "ok, enough is enough." But the more I watched it, I had to laugh a little.

What's this?

Well, I might the only one not watching the continuous news coverage of Michael Jackson and instead watching the Weather Channel (what else?). And during the Weather on the 8's they were definitely playing Billie Jean.

05 July 2009

this that and the other

I have mosquito bites all over my legs.

I have a full stomach from eating a giant burger at Five Guys.

I have sand in my ears.

I have a clean apartment for once.

I have homemade bread AND blueberry pie from Mom.

Life is good.

18 June 2009

i may not ever understand ipod vending machines

But seriously, I just don't understand why there is a need for an ipod vending machine in the airport.

This week I have found myself immersed in the big city of Washington DC. Sort of. I'm actually at a conference. But I have come to realize that DC isn't all that bad after all. I think I always dropped it off the list of places to move because it defied my "i want to move west" mentality.

Maybe I should have taken a clue when 6 friends moved there in the past 3 years.

And despite the touristy trap, I went to two museums. But I did find it funny (as in laughing at myself out loud) when I walked into the room where the Hope Diamond is, and I was immediately attracted not to the itsy bitsy diamond, but to the TWO GIANT meteorites in the corner. I stood there by myself while all the diamond-thirsty folks oo'hed and aw'ed around the diamond (which, mind you, was in a glass cage and spinning in a circle).

But the meteorites were really, really cool.

As was the huge section on the history of the interstate system. Nerd alert.

14 June 2009

making up for lost time

And I wondered why it took ten tries to get the gas pump to work this morning. I should add this as a FAIL.


There comes a time when that frozen pizza isn't always going to be the best option. I had one of those a few weeks back.

I was rather excited about my spicy chicken supreme pizza but for some reason Digiorno decided to ruin it with an unsuspected surprise. I had unwrapped the pizza, taken the cardboard off the bottom, even added some tomatoes and pine nuts myself. Again, rather excited for a good pizza.

After a few minutes in the oven, I smelled some smoke. Thinking it was just something burning from the last pizza I had cooked, I didn't care to look. Then it got worse. Then the smoke alarm went off.

Problem? Seems that Digiorno decided to put TWO (count them, 1-2) carboard circles under the pizza this time. So at 425 degrees, cardboard pretty much adheres to the bottom of the pizza and burns to a nice crisp. Nothing like scraping the ingredients off into a plate and eating cheese and whatnot for dinner. It takes a lot for me to get mad.. but I was so mad.

29 May 2009

and another

Feeling old moment #92:

Reading that Jay Leno was the host of the Tonight Show for 17 years.

I'll stop this one day.  But for now, the media is just making me feel old.

27 May 2009

this is getting old

Feeling old moment #46:

Overhearing that the Simpsons have been around for "over 20 years".

Was there a time warp somewhere along the line?

24 May 2009

maybe it really is a nightmare

Feeling old moment #23:

Thumbing through Netflix movie lists and realizing that "The Nightmare Before Christmas" was made in 1993.

18 May 2009


Today I was reading an article about the commencement address of Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. He was comparing the google and facebook generation to his own (the wii vs. pong, blogs vs. newspaper) and made a connection to red bull to tang. TANG! This sparked a memory that I had filed away long ago of drinking tang any chance I could. What exactly was tang?!

Well. Seems it was just sugar. Imagine that.

I was surprised to know that it comes in 38 flavors. And it allegedly it can be used as a dishwashing agent.

Gees, I even remember drinking it during college during my early morning classes. Paula are you reading this and do you remember making fun of me for drinking it? But then.. THEN you liked it, didn't you!

15 May 2009

save a kidney

This month in utilities, I actually got my power bill lower than my water bill. I suppose technically my gas bill is lower than my water bill as well. What's strange is the fact that I don't think I use that much water anyway. Maybe I water my plants too much.

Update on the composting worms: I feed them at the end of the week and they seem to be doing just fine. I have discovered some fruit flies here and there but have been told it's because of too much moisture in the bin. And really, what's a few fruit flies here and there anyway. I have set apple cider vinegar traps around to catch those little guys. Seems to be working, except for the smell of vinegar. And personally, the compost bin does not smell--just smells like wet leaves or the ground in the woods after its rained. And that's not bad at all.

Still enjoying the windows open and the spring breeze circulating through the apartment. Living it up until the Georgia humidity takes control and forces the windows shut just to live comfortably.

And hurricane season starts in 15 days!

13 May 2009

but not really

Just an old pic I took. I have also unearthed a giant box of prints of mine. Exciting, I know.

11 May 2009

fat tire

Today was good for many reasons. Worth mentioning is my favorite beer of all time has finally made it's way from Colorado to Georgia. And today was the day.

Tomorrow marks one year since I started my job. A whole year gone by. Not quite sure where that year has gone, but it flew by.

We also got doors at work. To our cubes. It's kind of ridiculous. Especially to those of us that are tall enough to simply look over the doors and into the cube anyway. I couldn't help but think of everyone in my section as hermit crabs working behind their new doors today. So silly.

04 May 2009

things of note

My contact popped out of my eye and landed on my back porch. And to those of you that know my apartment and my crazy fire-escape back steps, you'll know that it's quite terrifying enough with both eyes functioning. Try it 2 minutes after waking up and with one contact. Luckily, I found it. And put it back in my eye. Probably not the best choice in life, but whatever.

And today I bought a pair of glasses. First time I've worn updated glasses since 2004.

And then a giant storm came through my neighborhood. And this is the result:

Not that I took this picture or anything, but the newspaper did (so credit AJC.com). But this is at the end of my street--a block from my apartment! A few yards away, another tree fell onto a man in his car. Nothing to report back at my place though. The worms weathered out the storm safe and sound.

24 April 2009

lightning strikes

yesterday evening we had one of those summer thunderstorms that appear out of nowhere in the late afternoon and light up the sky with electricity. only yesterday was one of those fierce versions that cause you to rethink your surge protector's capabilities. and rethink your proximity to 8-foot apartment windows.

there's something about those lightning strikes that flashes and thunders nearly simultaneously. really jolts you.

and my horseshoe trembled off of its perch and onto the floor. i'm not sure what that means for my good luck. did it spill out?

17 April 2009

new kids on the block

Today I added about 400 roommates to my rather large apartment.

400, you say?!


I finally committed to vermicomposting.

I have red wigglers currently nesting in a bed of wet, shredded paper and food scraps. They are ready and eager to turn 13% of my daily garbage into compost.

It's actually kind of fun.

13 April 2009

wake low

I've never heard of a wake low, but apparently it's a real weather phenomenon. And it decided to take place across the metro area this morning for about 2 hours. At work we joke about walking through the courtyard on stormy mornings into what we call the 'wind tunnel'. But it's just because of how the building is shaped. Today, however, the wind tunnel was more like a hurricane wind machine. And during breakfast, we watched countless person try to brave the treacherous 25-yard walk to the door and lose control of their umbrella. It was some serious free entertainment.

And then a lot of trees blew over. And mass chaos ensued in the city. 55 mph winds! Awesome!

10 April 2009

anatomy of a full marathon

It has taken me a while to finally write this down, but in typical race style, I have to include the anatomy of the race on here. I find that it's actually more for my benefit as my blog has become an archive of my life for the past 4.5 years that I can search (up top) and find something that I've forgotten. Anyway..

March 29, 2009:
450am: wake-up; wake Ry and Stacey up; toasted everything bagel with wildflower honey, gatorade, coffee, oj, banana.
515: enjoyed a conversation about how Pheidippides ran the first "marathon" in Greece to announce the Greek victory and didn't need electrolyte supplements (that I was packing); only to find out that he died immediately after completing the 26 miles. Great way to start the day, I must say.
6:10: on the train headed towards downtown with 15,000 other runners in the cold, 42-degree temps
6:20: met up with Laurie, Landon and Ashley; wondered why we subjected ourselves to this
7:15: finally realized we can start the race by jumping in the end of the line

mile 1: not so bad. the fact that we were running north during the first mile never seemed to catch on until much later in the race. this was in part because for the next 12 miles we were to be headed due east and i could not wait for that north turn at mile 13 so i would have some sort of inspiration that it was halfway over.
mile 2: wait, we were still going north
mile 3: most of this was a blur as there were so many runners everywhere; passed by MLKjr's house where he was born
mile 5: i never knew there was a hill leading into little 5 points until then
mile 5.5: and there's stacey on the supporting sidelines for her first appearance of the morning; this also marks the first time i was running really close to my apartment (a block away at this point); oh, how i wanted to stop right there and go back to bed
miles 6: jimmy carter's presidential library and one of the nicest green spaces in atlanta
mile 6.5: we made a turn here and i went into panic mode as i had misread my map from earlier and was dreading a certain hill but for some reason they took it out of this route; i got a huge adrenaline rush at that point knowing we didn't have to climb it
mile 7: was the split from where the half-marathoners turned north and ran the rest of their 6 miles and the marathoners continued east on a quest by themselves for the rest of their 19 miles. nineteen!? waved goodbye to laurie. lost ry. landon and ashley were way ahead. ran right past my friend laura's apartment and down into my neighborhood of candler park.
mile 8: the candler park hill. i psyched myself out about this hill for the past 20 weeks. during my training i even ran up it a few times just to show myself it wasn't that bad after all. but for some reason, it seemed steeper than ever. as i approached it, the folks ahead of me looked like the cliff hangers game from the price is right. but i ran it. i survived. and at the top of the hill, i realized i was 3 blocks from my apartment. could have stopped.

mile 10: found me running on ponce de leon ave! who would have thought. and then a right on east lake shot me up about a mile long hill.
mile 11: hey there's kara and carl volunteering at the water station. and they had my extra shot blok packets! very awesome. and then there's stacey for support appearance #2.
mile 13: i made the north turn and headed into downtown decatur and back on ponce. and it was such a relief. i was feeling good. no pain anywhere. the shot bloks were working perfectly every 6 miles. water was plentiful. i had this!
mile 14: had me on clairmont avenue crossing scott blvd. at this point i looked over at the long line of cars on either side and thought "you're all stopping because of me!" great feeling.
mile 16: found me in the middle of emory univ. they say it's inevitable to hit "the wall" when running the marathon. i say you hit several walls. this was one of my firsts. i was beginning to feel the effects of all the hills and i knew i had quite a few to come in the next few miles. i found myself nearly shuffling to a crawl just going DOWN a steep hill.
mile 17: back in my running territory. back when i started training, i studied the race route and realized that miles 16-20 were in the area called druid hills which is within running distance of my apartment. so i trained on those hills as much as possible. the only thing i didn't fail to take into account is that when i got to these hills in the race, i needed to have run a good 16 miles before then. so the initial ascent up those hills was brutal. but i found some slice of motivation as i walked runners hitting their walls going up the first hill. i knew i had ran lullwater over and over and over again. so why would now be any different? it wasn't. i ran it. i passed people left and right. it was amazing. of course i was exhausted for the next 5 hills, but i got the first one out of the way.
mile 17.5: stacey's 3rd support appearance. i think i stopped and yelled "I JUST RAN UP THAT HILL!" a little excited.
miles 18-20: so many hills. so much training on them. starting to feel the burn in my quads. more shot bloks. and then i exited druid hills and someone yells from the sidelines "the good news is you just left druid hills!"

mile 20.5: i distinctly remember giving a thumbs up to a photographer and he reciprocated with a thumbs up. got me laughin'.
mile 21.5: i think, wait, is it, yep, it sure is.. it's julia and drew! i had been anticipating seeing someone i knew for the past 4 miles. such a great sight. i think i stopped and chatted but i may have been delusional.
mile 22.5: the 10th street hill. oh what a hill. i remember it from the half 2 years back and i hated it. and i still do. but i ran it all the way. then i walked a bit at the top. and i was ok with that. there's some sort of emotional change during all this running. you start out all adrenaline-rushed and free-spirited. and then at some point there's a shift to a feeling that you're so close to fulfilling your goal that the pain doesn't matter anymore and you press on. and on.
mile 24: i felt a blister pop on my toe. and it didn't feel good. but it's not like i was just going to stop right there and say "oh well, forget this race." i figured whatever damage was done was already done.
mile 24.5: and there it was. the. hill. i wrote about it in an earlier blog before the race--the fact that someone put a hill near the end of the course. but i never knew it would be such a long, steep hill like that. who thought that would be fun for someone who had run 24 miles? and this is where i hit another of my walls during the race. everyone did. i don't recall seeing anyone running up that hill. and the ga tech band was playing on the sideline the whole time--just a cheerin' for us walkers. kind of funny. but i think i turned my music up louder.
mile 25: someone yelled "one more mile to go!" and i screamed "are you completely sure?" because folks on the side are notorious for being wrong about things such as this. but he was right. and i ran and ran.

mile 26.1: i started seeing everyone at the end cheering. one by one, there were friends lined up along the street. i gave some high fives, some thumbs up, some 'wooohoos' and then i saw the finish line. but not before i realized a woman in front of me had pulled her 3-yr old daughter from the sideline so she run the last tenth of a mile with her. i did not like this one bit. and selfishly, my first thought was "there's going to be a 3-yr old in my marathon finish photo! no! NO!" so i sprinted--somehow. but alas, she was still in one or two of the photos. but whatever. i know i did it.
mile 26.2: chip time of 4:48:58

things to note: air drumming to songs on the ipod passes the time, don't eat the free pretzels along the way, never listen to anyone who says "it's all downhill from here" but they are wrong on so many levels.

01 April 2009

gimme gimme gimme

#37 on the great things about running a marathon list:

afterward, you get to eat whatever you want for a whole week.

i have had some sort of fried potato product 6 times since sunday afternoon.

and #38 great thing:

my training schedule says i can run 6-8 miles only 7 days afterward. good thing i signed up to run the Bridge Run 10k this weekend in charleston!

i probably will never be able to describe the immense soreness that i was in sun-tues, but i am happy to report that this morning when i got out of bed, the first thing i thought wasn't "how am i going to make it into the kitchen?" all the articles i read were right, it takes 2 days to recover from the first wave of soreness. i could walk up and down stairs today without grimacing with each step! amazing.

(and i may have already started looking at other marathons)

29 March 2009

cool cats

Today 104.8 miles were put on those shoes above, collectively between 13.1s and 26.2s.

less than 1% of the population can say:

I ran my first marathon!!

28 March 2009

what did i get myself into?

It's here. Marathon. Sunday. 26.2 miles!

26 March 2009

brakeman's blues

For $20, I am going to walk out my apartment door and down the street 2 blocks to see one of my favorite bands, Punch Brothers (1/3 formerly Nickel Creek), play Friday night. Does it get much better?

Oh wait, it does! I, being such a nerd at work, subscribe to the City of Decatur's blog. And today I read on there that the Punch Brothers are also playing a free concert tomorrow at the record store here. For free. With a signing afterward.

24 March 2009

plaid skies

I suspect I nearly gassed myself this evening just trying to make salmon in the oven. After pre-heating my oven for a few minutes, I realized that it wasn't warm and consequently I had just let gas flow into my apartment. I had apparently pressed one of those 'test' buttons on a gfi outlet earlier in the day and it reset all power on that wall. Just a little light-headed. Nothing to see here.

It was still (relatively) light outside at 8pm. Spring sprung.

The big race day is approaching on Sunday. Get excited!

Here is an elevation profile. I'm not sure who thought it would be a good idea to put a steep hill at mile 24. I would like to find that person.

Marathon Topography

22 March 2009

standin' with the look of avarice

Auburn, CA. 12/08

now in hi-def

Saturday, I walked outside my apartment at 8am to head to a conference and I was surprised by a women's 5k race passing along my street. As I walked to the train station, I watched hundreds of runners pass by going up the hill. All of the sudden, I hear screams. And within a minute I was on my phone calling 911 for a woman who tripped and hit her head on the pavement. I believe she was fine after I left. Quite a weird moment for early in the AM.

I got to go to the Georgia Organics conference all day. And Michael Pollan (who wrote Ominvore's Dilemma) was the keynote speaker at the dinner! I sat a table with 6 farmers and 2 coworkers. And I don't think I've ever eaten so much fresh food before. I had a lot of eye-opening experiences yesterday.

And I want to plant gardens everywhere now.

17 March 2009

a letter

Dear my feet,

We've come a long way in these 27 years. We've been sprained. We've been sunburnt. We've hiked through so many places. We've seen the the great American West. We've played in creeks. We've walked across graduation stages. We've been to where the ocean meets the land.

And tonight you ran the furthest you have run yet. I'm proud of you.

I'm sorry that nearly tripped over that stump tonight because someone decided to leave their car parked in their driveway and consequently blocked the sidewalk. Do not worry. I yelled at the abandoned car for you. And for me.

Despite the fact that collectively we cannot move very much at the moment, I have decided that you can rest on a pillow on the coffee table for the time being. We sure did break in those new shoes today, didn't we?

Those persistent blisters just make us stronger! Today wasn't so bad though. I have one favor to ask. If you promise to remain healthy, I will never train for a marathon ever again. Just a lot of half marathons instead..

Your pal,

16 March 2009

so shiny and new

I feel kind of bad. I bought something today. And it was on a complete whim.

I didn't really need it. I wanted it though.

And I only paid half of what it was worth because I'm a savvy shopper and had store reward certificates. I earned those.

It's green and shiny. Sort of like a poisonous frog. Maybe it'll pinch me.

What if I said it was to help me on those long distance runs? I can't stand to run with any extra weight so I figured 2oz wouldn't be so bad.

2oz and 240 songs to carry me 26.2 miles. Odd equation, I'm aware of that.

15 March 2009

simpler times

The things we used to watch on TV as kids.. just so simple. And yet we were mesmerized by this.

05 March 2009

something i ran across

April 22--Earth Day

And an interesting ad for it..

28 February 2009

snapshot of the atlanta weather

the weather the past week in ATL has been amazing.

here is a glimpse, if you will:

fri--60, TORRENTIAL RAIN for what seems all day and night
sat--60, TORRENTIAL RAIN in the AM, there exist a need to ford rivers in order to drive, and now I can see the sun every now and then
sun--39 forecasted with accumulating snow in inches (we'll see if that happens)
and next week? a cool start early on and 70 (!) by friday. SEVENTY!

i love spring.

25 February 2009

there is a season. turn, turn, turn.

i have come to realize that three solid months into marathon training takes its toll on anyone. and only until now, am i realizing how mental this whole thing really is. it's one thing to just say you're going to do it. then it's another to start training 18 weeks prior. and it's another to shell out $80 early on just to beat the early-bird deadline. and now it's another thing to have realized you may have made it through all the training on those cold winter days only to have a weird, foreign pain on the top of your left foot that feels somewhat ok while running but you know it's there and you know that it's going to be unbearable for days after.

i feel like i can run 26.2 miles. but do i feeeeel like i can?

i'm entering the homestretch. t-minus 31 days. that's a month. A MONTH?!

the days are getting longer.

22 February 2009

forest of rain

Just a few shots from the rainforest. More are on flickr.

17 February 2009

through my window, sad and lonely

Across from one of the forts in Old San Juan, PR.

14 February 2009

anatomy of a half-marathon (#4)

Run the Reagan Half Marathon

I usually provide a rundown of the events before, during and after my half marathons, but for some reason today's seemed just, dare I say, easy? Well, the effort wasn't easy, but the whole ordeal was somewhat easier than the past 3. I mean, I even woke up this morning and thought "oh today's just a 13-miler" as it was just part of my training. I think I'm a runner.

Anyway, the race went really well. Here's an abbreviated anatomy of a half marathon:

-Woke up at 5am (on the dot! wow.)
-Realized that in my haste of presetting the coffeemaker the night before, I absentmindedly forgot to put water in the maker. So the smell of burnt whatever (air?) was not too pleasant.
-Making a smoothie at 510am is quite possibly louder than the air-raid alarm clock. I'm pretty sure I awoke all my neighbors--and I even had a towel around the blender to muffle it.
-Out the door by 6am, off to pick up a friend who was running with and onward to Reagan Parkway outside Stone Mtn.
-The rain ceased before the start, but a light mist lingered for a while.
-An 8am start at 49 degrees was actually not that bad.
-Heard "Bittersweet Symphony" from a girl's ipod (man, she must have had that thing blaring!) and thought it was pretty cool. Definitely one of my favorites.
-After hill number 2, my left foot started acting up and I thought it would defeat me, but I somehow prevailed.
-After hill number 723, I wanted to scream. And I actually did say "oh seriously, another one?!" a few times.
-Clif Shot Bloks might have saved me on the race. Again, I must say, those things are like candy. Big orange gummy bears pumped with caffeine for runners. Mmm.
-The mist turned into a 'heavy mist' and ended up soaking me a little.
-At the halfway point, I realize that I have a new personal best and that made a lot of difference. I hit 6.55 miles at 0:59:25! I was on track to beat my 2 hour goal.
-Mile 11 robbed me of my goal as it was an endless hill into oblivion. Who thought that would be a good idea? My pace definitely slowed to almost a crawl at that point and I watched my watch click away without a care in the world.
-Mile 13.1 found me sprinting to the finish line at a time of 2:05:30 and I was a-ok with that. Though it was a few minutes slower than my last half, I reminded myself that this was just a slot on the old training calendar for the bigger goal that is only 44 days away.

And with that, I completed another half. And changed in the parking lot and hopped in the truck and drove 3 hrs to SC. Energizer Bunny, yes.

Awesome picture, by the way. It looks like I'm running to the bathroom.

13 February 2009

27 candles, 1 island

I survived! And I added another candle to the old birthday cake over the weekend. The big 27. And it was spent on the beach of Puerto Rico.

Followed by spending two days in the rainforest of Puerto Rico.

More to come next week. Off to run half marathon #4 tomorrow. Feelin' a bit sluggish.

05 February 2009

i ain't got a dime, but what i got is mine

I will be here for the next 6 days.

No air-raid alarm clocks. No 16 degree walks to the train station at 730am. No work email. No bundling up for running.

This afternoon, a friend at work said "you of all people deserve this vacation."

I left a post-it note on my computer monitor that simply read "PUERTO RICO!"

27 January 2009

round 2

The Snuggie fascination continues. This time, it's not even on TV. I have to read about it during breakfast on the front page of msnbc.