Monday, December 29, 2008

First trip to Lutsen

Well Melissa and I just returned from our first trip to Lutsen yesterday. Overall we had a great time. Friday I left work a little early and headed home to pick her up so we could get on the road. We packed up the car quick and headed out. The weather was rainy and pretty crappy but the roads were in pretty good condition so over all we were not slowed down at all. We made it to Duluth in a normal time. Gassed up in Two Harbors and headed further up, we planned to stop at our favorite restaurant on the way up like we sometimes do, so we were both looking forward dinner at Northern Lights. This is a great little spot right before you hit Beaver Bay. The food is always good. I had my favorite menu item, the prime rib sandwich with fries. It also comes with a horseradish sauce that is just excellent. Melissa had salmon which she said was really good. After dinner we drove the final 45 miles and checked into our hotel.

Saturday we got up to foggy and warm weather. The temperature was 36 and I was worried. After all of the rain that we had on Friday I was concerned that the snow was going to be sketchy and low and behold I was correct. It was like really bad spring conditions. The snow was hard and crappy. And the fog was thick. We moved around the 3 mountains looking for good pockets of snow and luckily we were able to find some good stuff. Cliff Run on Eagle was in really good shape, which is a fun little double diamond right off Manitou. We skied that one a number of times. We also found areas of good snow on Hari Kari, and Koo-Koo. Moose Mountain was socked in with fog and the visibility was really bad, the skiing was very poor over there. Ullr the little mountain was really busy because it was not affected by the fog so it seemed everyone headed over there. We skied one run there and then decided that the lift line was worth waiting. Finally in the early afternoon the fog started to lift and the conditions started to improve as the snow started to soften up. The runs on the north face of Eagle were all great by the end of the day, we skied them all, Split Rock and Cliff Run turned out to the in the best shape of the Eagle Runs. We headed back to Moose to find, Grizzly, Bull and Glade to be in the best shape over there out of the ones that we skied. Overall it turned out to be an ok day.

Saturday night we went to the Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais and had a really good dinner followed by some great music. It was a fun night.

Sunday we woke to temps in the low 20's and a clear sky. After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed back up to the mountains. We found the conditions to be excellent, surprisingly. We started out over on Eagle working our way around the mountain. We skied the north face diamonds. They were great, night and day difference from Saturday. We then skied over to Moose to check out the runs over there, again they turned out to be great. The run of the day for me was Upper and Lower Caribou, which is a nice long cruiser. The snow was in great shape and it was just fun cruising down in the middle of that run making nice turns the whole way. It was great. We ended up having a lot of fun. I was a little disappointed with Saturday. But what can you do, I can't unfortunately do anything about the weather.

I am looking forward to more snow in the forecast for tonight. I am going to try to get to Welch Village on either New Year’s Eve night or Friday or both. I think we are going

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another ski day another powder day.

Another powder day under my belt for the year. Skiing has been awesome so far this year. Here in Minnesota we are actually having a real winter so far. Things are great. We went skiing on Saturday at Welch in the middle of the biggest snowfall we have had for quite a while. It was snow hard from the time I got up Saturday till I went to bed. The snow was soft and fluffy. Down at Welch we found pockets of great powder. I think I have discovered the secret to powder stashes here in Minnesota; ski the edges of the runs, especially the green runs, seems that new skiers stay away from untracked areas. I wonder if that was stupid to share my secret?!?! Oh well just another public service. I am looking forward to this weekend. We are making our first trip up to Lutsen. I can't wait to get back up there and check everything out. I guess they are building a new lift which is suppose to open at some point this season. But Lutsen is so bad at planning that I am guessing that it will not open till March, just in time to close. In other news. I am really excited for Christmas, our house is nicely decorated and everything looks great. I have a cold currently, and it sucks. I am really hoping that it will be gone be the time we leave for our weekend ski trip. Also I passed my Amateur Radio exam, so I am a technician level HAM operator, I got my call sign from the FCC on Friday, KD0FZT... Yeah for me. Another dorkie thing to keep my mind occupied. I am going to get a hand held radio and play around on the 2 meter and 70cm bands first. Learn as much as I can and then try to pass the general exam and maybe start to look at maybe doing some HF stuff. But that is a while off.

There is more snow in the forecast and I am loving it. We are going to Big Sky Montana to ski in February and they are getting snow as well. So this winter is really looking like it is going to be great.

Just in case, Happy Christmas everyone.

I am going to start adding some pictures to the old blog, I just always forget to carry my stupid camera...

cheers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

NEWS FLASH - Elephants live longer in wild than in zoos

WOW!!!! Here is a shock... Why do newspapers waste their time and energy to report the obvious.

WASHINGTON - Zoo elephants don't live as long as those in the wild, said a study sure to stir debate about keeping the giant animals on display.

Researchers compared the life spans of elephants in European zoos with those living in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and others working on a timber enterprise in Myanmar.

The researchers found that the median life span for African elephants in European zoos was 16.9 years, compared with 56 years for elephants who died of natural causes in Kenya's Amboseli park. Adding in those elephants killed by people in Africa lowered the median life span there to 35.9 years.

For the more endangered Asian elephants, the median life span in European zoos was 18.9 years, compared with 41.7 years for those working in the Myanmar Timber Enterprise.

Georgia Mason of the animal sciences department at the University of Guelph, Canada, noted however that the life spans of zoo elephants have improved in recent years, suggesting an improvement in their care. But, she added, "protecting elephants in Africa and Asia is far more successful than protecting them in Western zoos."

There are about 1,200 elephants in zoos, half in Europe, said Mason, one of the report's authors. She noted that zoos usually lack large grazing areas, and that zoo animals often are alone or with one or two other unrelated animals, while in the wild they tend to live in related groups of eight to 12 animals.

Steven Feldman, a spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, contended that the report did not reflect conditions in North America.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Powder Day!

We went skiing last night as kind of a last minute thing, it was snowing like hell outside when I left work at 4 and wasn't suppose to stop so it seemed like the obvious choice. Melissa and I packed in the car and headed down to Welch, it was slow going and we got there and were on the lift at about 6pm. We have a night season pass which I think is going to turn out to be pretty sweet. Anyway, the snow was really good down there, they had gotten a little more snow then we did at home. The best part was, there was hardly anyone there. Maybe 50 people! Melissa and I had sections completely to ourselves which was very cool. We found good untracked snow all over the hill. The snow was soft and very creamy, it was really nice to ski in. We ended up skiing for about 2.5 hours and it was worth it. We were both really glad that we braved the slippery roads. I am hoping for many more powder days this year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Skiing Again

Well the first ski day of the year has been completed. It was a great day yesterday at Welch Village. A good portion of my favorite runs were open and they were actually in great shape. The snow was good and there was little to no ice at all. Melissa and I both were testing new skis. I loved my new skis, they performed great. Nice easy turns, did what I wanted them to do when I wanted them to do it. They seemed fast and were easy to handle. So far I am very happy. Melissa also was please with her new boards. So all in all it was a great day on the slopes. We skied for a few hours and then headed home made dinner and finished decorating our Christmas tree. We finished it last night and it looks great. I am looking forward to Christmas. I love this time of year when everyone seems happy and everything is decorated. We are getting snow this winter which is nice. There is about 10" or so on the ground at our house and I guess there is about 6-8" more coming today. Sweet! Other then that I am going to book our lodging for Big Sky today. More on that later. We also have our first trip to Lutsen booked, we are headed up December 26th for the weekend. I can't wait. Life is good. Winter is here, I still remember how to ski and Christmas is a couple weeks away. More later.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good Stuff

Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy
Stunning Break with Last Eight Years

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tic, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate - we get it, stop showing off."

The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things

It has been pretty quiet lately, but there are a few fun things going on. I am in my in between time, to damn cold for me to ride my bike and no snow to ski yet, I hate this time of year. Melissa and I are getting ready for our annual pilgrimage to Chicago for the weekend. I can't wait. We have some fun stuff planned while we are there. I love spending the busiest shopping day down on Michigan Avenue, it is just really a cool vibe. There are millions of people milling around and the streets are decorated for Christmas, it is just really cool. This is also a big weekend for Melissa, her 40th birthday is on Sunday. Hopefully she will enjoy her time in Chicago celebrating her birthday. I have a few things planned. I love Chicago, I love to ride the El and walk around looking at stuff, it is a great city. I hope we get a little snow while we are there, that makes it fun and seem more festive.

I have an interview for a job here at the state, I posted for an internal job with another group. The job is virtual machine stuff, it sounds like it will be pretty sweet, all server and SAN stuff, but it sounds like there is a lot of room to test ideas, do research and learn. I am very hopeful for the getting it, it will be higher end IT stuff and be more back office. I have been in IT for almost 10 years and to be completely honest, I am really getting tired of end user support. I want to do other stuff and hopefully this will be my ticket.

I can't believe the holidays are right around the corner. Thanksgiving is in 2 days and Christmas and New Years are right behind that. Seems like only yesterday it was the 4th of July and I was getting ready for my 25k. Man how time passes. I am looking for to the holidays. I love Christmas time. We are getting or tree next Saturday and will be decorating it on Sunday the 4th. We put up our outdoors Christmas lights this weekend, so I think our house looks great as well. We just put up a couple strings of blue icicle lights, and some of the old fashion style lights on our deck. Pretty simple and straight forward but I think it looks nice. I have to go Christmas shopping in the next few weeks. I am not sure what all I am going to get for Melissa, but I have some ideas so that is a start.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quiet

It has been a quiet week, which has been nice not to much to report at all. The weather seems to be changing but changing slowly. We are getting some snow but mostly in flurry form and not much else. But at least it is snowing. I am really hoping for a fun ski season this year. We booked our trip out to Big Sky to ski in Feb. So if nothing else I hope Big Sky gets tons of snow so we have great conditions when we get there. Think snow.

I have posted for a job here at work. I am hoping that I get it but I would be to disappointed is I don't. It is in a different department and I would be spending 95% of my time working on virtual servers and SANs. I love that technology so I am excited about the idea of the job, But I am guessing that the post will get a lot of action. So we will see what happens. More on that later.

This weekend Melissa and I are going to the Minnesota Ski and Snowboard show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I am looking forward to that. I like going to those things and getting brochures and swag. I guess there are going to be resorts from all over the country and also some local resorts. Sounds like Glen Plake is also going to be there signing autographs. So that should be fun. Then Sunday we have a birthday party to go to. Melissa's friend husband is turning 40 and there is a party.

Tonight I have my watercolor class. The class has been really fun this time and I am doing some fun stuff. I think I am getting better which is scary. I have been playing around with some landscapes and still life stuff. I like my landscapes a lot the two that I have done have turned out great in my opinion. I am going to try a panorama style one tonight, we will see how that turns out...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New President


I am happy with the turn out of the election. Normally I am not really into politics at all, but this year I paid a little more attention. I was glad to see Barack Obama win the race. I voted for him and I truly think he is the better choice for the USA. I think it is time for a fresh voice in Washington. I am really hoping that Obama turns out to be a great president and can bring this country back. I am also glad that it looks like Al Franken is going to not win the senate seat. He really bugs me and I think he would have made a really crappy senator. I liked Coleman better in this case and that is who I voted for. Which I know kind of goes against the Obama deal, but I really always have voted for whom I think is going to do a better job. I really learned a lot this year about politics and I was glad to be involved even from just doing a lot of research on the topics and listening to a lot of radio and debates.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend

Well, this turned out to be a great weekend. Halloween was really fun. I hung out for a while outside handing out candy to the kids that came by. We had a quite a few kids which was really fun. Most were polite and they all had great costumes on. It was a fun time. We got to meet some of our neighbors and visit with friends that we have from around the neighborhood. After that Melissa and I got a Little Caesars Pizza and turned on The Shining, we watch that movie every year on Halloween. That movie still gives me the creeps. It is so well done in my opinion.

Saturday we had a fun day as well. We went out to REI to pick up our skis. They were there getting tuned for the up coming season. After REI we went down to the North Face store in Minneapolis. Melissa is looking for a new winter coat. I think after going there she has decided on what she is going to get. But I am unsure. The coat quest continues. Saturday night was the big MORC Murphy night ride. MORC bought a permit to host a night ride at Murphy trail, it turned out to be a great success. There were I guess 72 riders there and the night was perfect. Melissa, my friend Chris and I pretty much all rode together. The weather was perfect so it was just a blast. After the ride we all hung out in the lot and had a couple beers and then a large group of us met at Champps down in Burnsville for some food. It was a really fun night.

Sunday was an normal Sunday. Lots of errands. Grocery's, Walmart, things like that. But the highlight of the night was BLT night. Every once and a while we will do something stupid for dinner. Last night was BLT night, it was pretty fun, and the BLT's were really good. After dinner, we listened to the senate debate on MPR and I finally know whom I am going to vote for, yeah! I was so torn on the senate race but after last night I am solid.

I am looking forward to the election tomorrow. I think it is going to be interesting to have a new president.

Now if it would only snow...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy 3

Yesterday was Melissa and my 3rd wedding anniversary. We had a great evening. I bought her 3 long stem roses, a card and a 100 weight Mountain Hardware fleece shirt. Nothing says love like fleece, especially Mountain Hardware fleece. I got a very nice Orvis sweater and plaid shirt. We got a pizza from the best pizza place in the Twin Cities, Brianno's: http://www.royalcliffineagan.com/briannos.html I really have to start taking pictures of food that we enjoy like Princess Kai. She has a great blog that I follow, check it out here: http://princesskaikai.wordpress.com/ Anyway we enjoyed the pizza with a bottle of 2000 Margaux. We have 6 bottles of 2000 Margauxs. I got lucky and found a few at a local liquor store 2 years ago, and bought them all up. I can't remember the winery, but the bottle was heavenly. 2000 apparently was an excellent year for the Bordeaux region and the wines from that vintage are supposedly rare and expensive. I have a few stashed so we will either be selling them to pay for grocery's if the economy gets much worse or drinking them over the next 10-20 years. Nice! We are getting ready for our weekend away. Sorry for some reason the links wouldn't show up correctly so I just pasted them in.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Recap.


I had a super fun weekend. It started out great; a small group of us got together on Friday night and rode Lebanon Hills. Jodi, Dan, Chris and I all met at Leb at 6pm. We started riding at about 615 and got done with our lap at about 800pm. Nice Almost 2 hours to ride 7.35 miles. We did not do the expert loop that night. There was just a lot of stopping and talking. It was really fun and we had lots of laughs. After the ride we hung out in the parking lot for a bit, Melissa joined us on her way home from work and we all sat there and had a beer. It was a great time.

Saturday Melissa and I went to Joe’s Sporting Goods and I bought a new pair of skis and Melissa got a new pair of ski boots. I am really looking forward to getting out this year. After mush research and searching I decided on the K2 Apache Xplorers. They are a mid-fat ski that should be perfect for all conditions you can get her in Minnesota. Melissa got a pair of Salomon Idol 8 ski boots. After Joes we met my friend Chris at Surdyk’s Liquor Store in Minneapolis and browsed around, it was the fall wine sale so there were so great tastings and great deals. We bought 3 bottles of Bordeaux.

Sunday, we slept in and then did our normal Sunday errands. Grocery store, Walmart, not to exciting. We did do some clean up around the house and we put some stuff that we are trying to get rid of out on Craig’s List. Hopefully we will get some play on that stuff so we can get rid of it. Then Sunday night I met my friend Dan over at Lebanon for a night lap. It was great. Perfect night, trail was in great shape and we saw about 8 or so deer.

This should be a good week. I am out of the office at training on Tuesday and taking a vacation day on Friday. Tuesday is also Melissa and my 3rd Anniversary, which will be fun. Then this coming weekend we are spending the weekend at South Pier Inn up in Duluth.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not

So there hasn't been a whole lot going on these last few days. Melissa and I have been hanging out. We have been watching all of the past seasons of Grey's Anatomy. Neither one of us have ever seen the show before but we both really enjoy it, so that has been fun. We bought a new bed and it was delivered on Saturday. So we set that up and fixed up our "new" bedroom. Also this weekend was the Ski Montana show at REI. Melissa and I have been to that the past 3 years and it is always fun. The big resorts from Montana are there so it is good to go and talk to them and see what is new for the season. I think we are looking at Big Sky in February this year. We both really want to get back there.

Also last week was Eric's Health Week. I went to the dentist on Thursday for a cleaning and check up and then on Friday I went to the doctor and had a physical. Both were fine. I am waiting to get my blood test results back to see how my cholesterol is. Man it sucks getting old.

I have a new poster in my cube at work that I got at the Ski Montana show. It is a picture of a skier at Big Sky and Lone Peak is in the back ground. It is painful to look at, because I really just wish I was there.

Ugh, it is going to be a long week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Girls of Iron


What a great weekend. Melissa ran and finished her Iron Girl dualathalon on Sunday. It was great. The event consisted of a 2 mile run, then a 22 mile bike ride and again a 2 mile run. She did excellent and finished in just a little over 2:13:11. I was very proud of her. She did really good. It was a fun event to watch from the sidelines. The winner of the event finished in 1:20:23. Some of those girls are hard core and really get into it. I am glad Melissa is just running the race for enjoyment and to do well for herself. Looked like a few of the racers were a little to into it and competitive.

Last night we went to the Twins game and saw them beat the hated White Sox handily. It was a fun game, there was a huge crowd and they played well. I am also going to the game against the White Sox on Thursday night.

Not to much going on. I am starting to wish for winter. I am getting to the point where I am done with summer. Biking was kind of blah this year and I had a hard time getting into it. Started out pretty fun and then just kind of died off. So I guess I am ready to hang up the bikes and get the skis out. I am hoping for a lot of snow this year.

I am also reading the Lord of the Rings. I just finished the first one Fellowship of the Ring yesterday and started The Two Towers last night. I love the movies and I enjoy the books so they are fun to be reading again. Melissa and I have also starting watching the first season of that show Grey's Anatomy. It is pretty good, except I don't like how the "doctors" talk about the nurses on that show. Kind of makes me mad. I love my nurse so, come on doctors show your nurses a little love.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fun


Last night was a great night. Met some friends over at Lebanon Hills for a ride. Ended up riding 17.25 miles total at Lebanon. It was really fun. A small group of us met early so we could get a day lap in before turning on the lights for a night lap. After the day lap I sat in the lot on my old school style folding chair and had a sandwich, chips and a soda before gearing up for the night ride. The night ride turned out to be really fun. There was the fast group or the Varsity and then our group which is the slower group or the Junior Varsity. We buzzed around and had a great time. The highlight of the night was the 2 riders ahead of me slamming on their brakes and aiming their lights at a huge skunk that was crossing the trail. I have never seen a skunk before so it was cool to see one. Luckily no one was sprayed but he was stinky...

I am hoping for a nice quiet weekend. Melissa has a big race on Sunday so both her and I are looking forward to that. We have nothing planned. Sounds like the weather is going to be perfect so hopefully we can spend some time outside.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Here is the Deal

Once again, I did not hit the lottery so my quest for a home Big Sky Montana will have to wait until this coming Saturday when I will win 102 million instead of a paltry 81 million. I did get the powerball so I got three big ones coming my way.

Melissa and I had a great weekend. Friday night we went to the Twins game. They won hung over the Tigers. Mr. Morneau had a grand slam which was very cool to see.

Saturday we hung out in the morning and did some house cleaning, and then met friends over at Lebanon Hills for some biking. It was great. The weather was perfect and we had a great time. There were 5 of us and we had a great ride. Nice and leisurely. Did all of the loops at Leb, and finally did an obstacle called "Jan's Rock" basically it is a huge rock that you ride down. It isn't that big of a deal, but my friend James as had 2 really bad falls there and so I was always kind of chicken to ride it. So I finally put that behind me, it was fun to do it. Melissa did great as well, she is an excellent rider, I only did one lap in the XX area while she did 2 with Steve and Matt. I was proud of her. After the ride we all went to a local Mexican place for dinner, it was really a fun night.

Sunday Melissa and I rode in the St. Paul Bike Classic which we also did last year. There are 2 routes a 15 and a 30 mile route. Last year we did the 15 mile this year we did the 30 mile. They do a really good job setting this ride up. I guess there were about 7000 bikers. The city closes a lot of roads for the ride so it is really fun just cruising a long with all of those other bikers. After the ride we home home and pretty much sat and watched movies the rest of the day. It was a great day.

Now I am back at work.... Ugh!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Gone, Summer Gone

Well another Labor Day weekend is on the books. We had another great weekend up in Lutsen. We went up Friday afternoon and got home yesterday. While we were up there the weather was absolutely perfect. Saturday there was not a cloud in the sky, there was no wind, it was nice and cool and Lake Superior was like glass all day long. It was awesome. I tried fly fishing once again in the Poplar River and once again I had no luck. I think I tried everything. I am starting to think there are no fish in that river even though the locals say there are. On a side note my casting is really getting good. (read that is because I wasn't catching I was casting all weekend) What else did we do, hmmm well nothing, and it was heavenly. We sat down by the lake and read, we sat on the foot bridge over the river and read. We sat on our deck of our hotel room and enjoyed the view. It was a very relaxing weekend. Monday on the way back home we stopped in Duluth to see if any ships were coming in or leaving. I love to watch the ships up in Duluth it is really fun. We got lucky and saw one ship, the Paul R Tregurtha. It was fun to watch. After the ship we went to the Duluth Pack store and browsed around. I want a Duluth Pack backpack really bad, but here is the deal, I love backpacks and I think I have a million of them, so I really don't need another. But maybe some day.

Now it is back to work and that sucks. The Republican National Convention is in town and it is really hard to get around, down by where I work in St Paul. There are really a lot of streets closed. I will be glad when this thing is over. I got nothing else to report.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Weekends


So Melissa and I were up in Lutsen for the weekend and are headed back up this weekend. We had a great time up there. The weather was perfect and we relaxed. We stayed in the lodge which we have never done and I haven’t done for about 25 years. It was nice. We had a great room. We had all of the windows open so all night long we were listening to the waves crashing on the lake. It was great! I did a little fly fishing in the Cascade River. I didn’t catch anything but it was fun trying. I spoke with another fly fisherman when he was on his way out of the stream and he said that he had caught a couple small trout. So at least I know there are indeed fish in there. I just need to work on my skills. Like I said we are heading back up this weekend and I am going to give it another try so maybe this weekend will be the one.

I did a group mountain bike ride last night at Terrace Oaks in Burnsville. It was a fun ride. I did 3 laps and didn’t bring lights so I was out for the night laps. Which it sounds like the group did 2 of those. I am hoping to get out night riding soon.

Melissa is in the middle of her training for her Iron Girl dualathlon. I think she is going to do great, she is working hard. It is 2 sports instead of 3 like a triathlon. She is running, biking and then running again. I am looking forward to watching her. Her race is September 21st. I will report more on that after the race.

Also Melissa is becoming quite the Cribbage player. We have been playing a lot lately which I love. I love to play Cribbage. My dad taught me how to play and he was a really good player. He and my mom would play for hours and hours while on vacation or just relaxing at night. I loved to play with him I learned a lot of good tricks. I also played a lot with my mom; it was always a great time. She would call me to come over and play. I would get there and there would be a cold soda waiting for me and a pizza in the oven. So we would play for a few hours and share a pizza and have some laughs. I miss doing that a lot. So it is really nice to have a Melissa to play with. I taught her how to play a year or so ago. She is now really getting the game and getting really good. It is fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vacation Recap


Ok, so yes I am still alive and yes we did have an awesome vacation. I have been back now for just a little over 2 weeks and it, well; totally sucks to be back. We had such a great time in Colorado. What a beautiful place. I loved it there. Add it to the list of places I would live. Here is a little recap of the trip:

We left Friday afternoon and drove to Lincoln Nebraska for night 1.

Saturday we got up sort of early and drove to Boulder Colorado where we stayed for 2 nights. I loved Boulder it was so cool. Every thing revolves around the outdoors there. And I mean everything. Every car has a bike rack or a ski rack on it. Everywhere you go there are outdoor gear stores. There are more bike lanes and bikers around then I think I have ever seen. The city had a very cool vibe to it; people were so nice and friendly. We did some fun things; first we took in the Pearl Street mall which I really thought was cool. Lots of cool stores and good places to eat. It was a really neat place. We also drove up to Eldora Ski Resort, which is a little resort about 30 minutes from Boulder. The drive was amazing, up through this great canyon area. There were people parked all over the place, hiking, biking, fishing in the Boulder Creek and rock climbing. It was amazing to see all of the people enjoying the outdoors. We stayed at the Boulder Marriot which was very nice. We had a great room with a nice view of the Flatiron Mountains. We had some great food and Boulder and I was bummed to have to leave.

Monday we headed up to Estes Park Colorado for the next 4 nights, we camped right on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a great campsite. We were car camping so it wasn’t the most rustic camping in the world but it was perfect. Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful. The mountains are amazing. There was quite a bit of snow left on them which I was very happy about, it was great to see the snow again. We did a ton of hiking. We did a couple of hikes up to some glacial lakes which were amazing; I have never seen water so clear in my life. It was just a beautiful scene. We also did a summit hike. We did the Flattop Mountain hike, 3500’ of elevation change over 4 miles. It was pretty brutal, but the views were incredible. That was really fun. I did a guided fly-fishing trip which turned out to be incredible. My guide Chad took me to some great spots. We went back into RMNP and fished Glacier Creek, I caught about 15 trout. Most were pretty small, but Chad said that was the case for the fish above 10,000’. But for fish in the 6-8” long man could they fight. It was cool, because I think we went to some places he doesn’t take just anyone. We climbed down some pretty steep cliffs to get to some secluded pools. The whole day we only fished one area where there were people around. After fishing in RMNP he took me to a place just outside of town where he knew there were a couple bigger fish hanging out and we tried to get one. We got into one. A very nice brown trout that was about 13” long. It was cool. A great fight and a lot of fun. If you are ever in the Estes Park area and want to do a fishing trip I recommend Kirk’s Fly Shop. http://kirksflyshop.com/

The trip was all about relaxing and taking in the beautiful views and wishing we lived in the mountains. We had a great time. I would go back out there in a heartbeat.

Friday morning we left sort of bright and early and we drove to Omaha Nebraska and stayed over night. It was nice to be back in a hotel after 4 nights in a tent. We had a great time in Omaha. There was a Cabela’s right across the street from our hotel so we walked over there and browsed around. We had a nice dinner and then went to bed for our drive home the next morning.

Since we have been back we are planning more times to get back out of town and so far we have 3 planned. We are up in Lutsen the next 2 weekends and are going to Chicago again over Thanksgiving weekend for both our annual trip and for Melissa’s big 40th birthday. I can’t wait. Lutsen should be really fun this weekend. We have a couple fun things planned. More on that later.

In other news my friend James is in town from Ireland this week. I rode with James a ton last year and I miss riding with him. It will be good to get back out riding. He and his wife moved to Ireland for 2 years for his job. It sounds like he is having a great time over there and likes it pretty well. They are doing a lot of traveling in Europe which is pretty cool. That is the best part of Europe it is so easy to get around, because you have a lot of options, boats, trains, car, or flying. Anyway it will be great to see him..

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

R&R

So after about 2 months of dedicating every Tuesday night to MORC we finally finished and opened the new section of trail that we have been building this season. Last night at trail work we cut the opening and the exit to the new trail. Melissa and I worked on the exit while the others finished the berm leading into the new section and still others walked the length of the trail and fixed little problems. It was a fun night. After trail work was done we all celebrated with Root Beer Floats out in the woods, which was a nice treat. I am really looking forward to riding it which I think I am going to do tonight. I put some new tires on one of my bikes and I gotta get out and give them a try. Yeah!

In other news: Melissa and I are all ready for our trip. We got all of the gear out and tested to make sure nothing was broken or not working. We added a few small things made reservations in a few places just to be sure and made plans for a couple other special things. One of them being a guided fly fishing trip for me. I am so excited I can’t even tell you. 6 hours, me, my guide and miles and miles of trout stream in the Rockies. I can’t wait. I have done a little fly fishing and have even caught some fish, mostly sunnies and small bass, but I have never done a guided trip or have I ever fished for trout. I am hoping it is really fun. I am hoping to have some pictures of me with fish I caught posted soon. Our itinerary is: leave home drive to Lincoln Nebraska 1 night, then on to Boulder Colorado for 2 nights and then up to Estes Park for 4 nights. We are going to spend our up there, hiking, relaxing and fly fishing. Then back to Denver for a night and then home. Part of me hopes that we just decide to stay out there and not come back. I am guessing I would be fine with living amongst the mountains.

I am hoping to have a little more exciting things to put on the old blog soon. I have nothing, so sad.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not

Much going on these last few days. We have our trip squared away and I am really looking forward to it. We are heading out to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado to do some camping. Right now we have 2 nights in Boulder planned and then we are heading camping, I think we are going to do 4 nights camping in the park area. And then maybe a night or 2 in Denver. After doing some research it looks like there are just some great hiking trails and things out there. Some of the trails summit a couple of the peaks out there which is very cool. I am hoping to do as many of them as possible. I am really looking forward to spending some time in Colorado, I have never been there. I am really looking forward to spending a week in the mountains.

Tonight is trail work night. We are getting closer to opening the new section of trail over at Lebanon Hills mountain bike trail. I think this is going to be the last major trail work night with the thought that we can open the trail next Tuesday night.

I haven't been running at all. I keep telling myself I have to get back out and get going again but right now I really do not have any desire to run. It has been very hot and humid lately and I just don't have the desire to run in that. And I am not hardcore enough to get my a$$ out of bed and run in the morning before it gets hot. So I am not sure what is happening with my running career. I have been doing a lot of biking though so that has been good.

I have spoke with a couple people that have seen the new batman movie and everyone says it is really good. So I am really looking forward to seeing that. I haven't been to a movie for a long time, I have been utilizing my Netflix subscription to it's fullest.

I tried that Crunchwrap taco thing at Taco Bell last night it was pretty dang good. I think I am most likely the last person on Earth to give it a whirl but it is good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nothing

So not much new to report. I have taken a couple weeks off from running which has been pretty nice. Tonight I am back into the fray of running though. I signed up to do the Running Rooms 20 minute challenge mostly for the free running hat, but also as a nice easy way to get back into the running thing. I am hoping the rain holds off until the event is over. I have been watching the radar and there are storms popping up all over the Twin Cities area. I haven’t even ridden my bike very much the last few days, I am being ├╝ber lazy. Which I guess is ok, well sort of ok. I do miss running a little bit. Last night was trail work night, it was hot and the bugs were terrible, it was not a fun night in the woods. But we got a lot done and are getting closer to opening the new section of trail at Lebanon Hills so that is very exciting. Other then that I got nothing it is quiet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

All Done















Ok, so I have been away for a bit. I had to travel for work the last couple days so I have been a little out of touch. Here is the latest news.

I ran my 25k on Saturday July 5th. I finished and I was not last, so my main goals were met. My time was 9 minutes slower then I had paced for myself. I did pretty well for most of the race. I would say I hit the wall at 12.5 miles. The last 3 miles were incredibly brutal I thought. The trail changed from nice wide grass cross country ski trail or gravel service road to some god-awful, 10 inch wide, concave, snowshoe trail, which was hard enough to walk on let alone run on. So I lost a lot of time in there. I had a really hard time the last 3 miles; I just couldn’t get a rhythm going at all, it was a little frustrating but all in all it was a great race. I was very proud of myself for finishing. I ended up being 245 out of 262 people, I know kind of sad, but hey. I got the finishing medal. So that is really all that matters. My time wasn’t the greatest and looking back I could have probably done better, but now if I do it next year I will know what to expect and it will better. I have attached a couple pictures from the race, kind of the before and after.


Other then the big race, not much is going on. Did some biking this weekend as well. On Sunday’s we and a few friends have been meeting at Murphy mountain bike trail and doing a group ride and BBQ. It has been a lot of fun. This past Sunday was a brutal hot day so the riding part was a little warm, but it was fun. And the BBQ was great. Standard BBQ fair, burgers and dogs. But we had a lot of laughs while eating so that is all that matters.

I have taken the week off from running and am thinking about starting up again next week for a couple of nice short runs. I am trying to decide if I want to sign up for a half marathon or not. There is one in late October that I am eyeing and thinking about, but I am not sure.

Melissa and I are trying to decide on a summer camping trip, we were looking at western South Dakota, Eastern Wyoming, but I discovered that the time we are heading out is the week of the Sturgis Harley Rally so that is out. I have been out that way once during the Sturgis bike week and it is a nightmare. So we are thinking of other places to go. Right now we are thinking of Colorado and maybe rocky mountain national park. I am not sure though…




Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Training Done, Race, It's On

OK, so I could not finish my running portion of my 25k training on a low note like my run last week, so I decided to go out last night and do a quick 6.5 mile run. I went over to Terrace Oaks again the scene of the Not-So-Good run and did 2 laps around the expert cross country ski trail. It is a 3.2 mile loop, it is very hilly, but there are some flat fast spots as well. I think it is a great loop for training. My run went really good, I was very happy with my results. I did the 6.5miles in 1 hour 11 minutes, it was a great pace. And again well within my planned pace for the 25k. So I was very happy with my final run.

I think I am ready for my race, I have I have a good plan as to how I am going to run it so I can finish in one piece. All of the finishers get a medal so I now have hardware in my sights... In the few races that I have run there hasn't been and hardware so I am hoping I can do it. Getting a medal would be very cool.

After my run, I went home and BBQ'd 2 very awesome cheeseburgers. And relaxed... It tuned out to be a good day.

June totals:

Running: 46.10 miles

Biking: 112.80 miles.

Kind of a light month, lots of rain and crappy days.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Final run, not to good.

So yesterday I did my last training run before my 25k and let’s just say it didn’t go very well at all at least the last .25 mile anyway. I ran at Terrace Oaks cross county ski trail which is very hilly. It is a 3.2 mile loop which I thought would be perfect because my plan was to go 15.5 miles. I started out great, did the first loop in 32 minutes, 10 minute miles. Perfect, well within my goal time of 14 minute mile pace for the race. 2nd lap 36 minutes, also happy with that time. 6.4 miles in I feel good and I am also almost half done. Third lap got about half way in and I took a nice walking break, I had my camelback on with 32oz of water, so I was drinking water regularly. It was hot yesterday, humid, and it caught up with me really fast. I started the 4th lap and got about .25 mile in and hit the wall and I am talking major hit it. I really thought I was going to die. My legs stopped working; the lactic acid took over and said yup you’re done. I was dizzy and I thought I was going vomit. I sipped on some water and turned around and head for my car. I walked the whole way back very slow and deliberately taking my time and trying to make sure to stay focused. My god it was the worse feeling ever. I made it back to the car, finished my water and turned on the AC full power to cool off. Started to drive, which I am sure wasn’t the smartest thing in the world but I was only about 4 miles from home and I just wanted to get there. But I stopped at SA to get some Gatorade and tried to drink that, got a few chugs in and I could not continue because I thought for sure we were going to see 32oz of water and lime Gatorade all over my car. I finally got home and got in the bath tub in luke warm water. Trying to cool off and get my legs back again. They hurt so bad I could hardly move. Then I started to shiver, big FUN. That stopped and I lay in the tub and reflected on my night, what did I do wrong! Things were going good better then good, broderline great. I felt good; I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself. I had water and was drinking it. I was taking it easy on the hills… The heat wasn’t bothering me because there was a light breeze so I never really felt hot at all. I think it was the fact that I had depleted all of my electrolytes and when I crashed I crashed hard. Let’s just say it SUCKED and I learned a lot. The thing that made me so mad was I was doing so well and on pace to finish in under 3 hours. I was so mad at myself, but on the positive side I learned a valuable lesson and I will not let it happen again. I am still looking forward to my race but I will admit that after yesterday I am scared and a little more nervous about it. I did manage almost 11 miles yesterday before all of this crap happened so I was happy with the day. The next few days I will be relaxing and doing a lot of road bike riding just to keep my heart rate up and my legs moving. This training scheme for me seems to be working I think. I am not sure if it is 100% correct, but my longer runs though challenging have been good and I feel really good on the runs in the 4-8 mile range. I just want to survive the race…

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another fun weekend.

So it was an amazing weekend. Melissa and I had so much fun. Saturday we played in the 2nd Annual Surly Disc Golf Open. The weather was perfect and the event was really fun. The course was at Hyland Hills, which is a small ski hill in Bloomington, it made for a challenging course. For the entry fee we got lunch, a golf disc, and free Surly’s out on the course, and prizes afterward which we didn’t win anything, I was bummed about that. We played pretty well. But it was just for fun, so scores didn’t matter or anything. It lasted all day long; we got there at 11am and got home around 730 or so. We were both just beat afterward. So we threw in a frozen pizza and watched a movie.

Sunday turned out to be another outstanding day. I scheduled a group mountain bike ride down at Murphy Trail. My turn out was really good, lots of people showed up to ride and BBQ. Again the weather was perfect. About half of the people did the short loop for the first lap, so we could get back and fire up the grills. Melissa, Dan, Shelly, Berry and I all head backed and made lunch. We made a lot of food for just the few of us, but the burgers, brats and dogs all turned out pretty good. After we were just about done eating the rest of the group got back so we fired up the grills again and made lunch round 2. We all sat around and chatted and had some laughs. Right in the middle of lunch round 2 there was about a 10 minute down pour that turned out to be pretty fun. People either went and sat in their cars or threw on the rain gear and continued eat and grilling. After the rain stopped and the sun came back out, a few people had to leave but there were 5 of us left that went for lap 2. It was a great afternoon in the sun at Murphy.

After riding Melissa and I went home and made pizzas on the grill on flat bread. Man they turned out really good. They were just simple pizzas, sauce, cheese, green pepper and onion. But cooking them on the grill was the secret; the “crust” got so crispy it was really awesome. I really should start taking more picture of stuff like that.

Hopefully this week will go fast, I like having days off instead of working.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Horse in the stable.


Well I am back on the running track. I took last week off from running. I wasn’t in the mood to run, which I know is bad especially with my race coming up and also I wasn't feeling that great for most of the week. So instead of running I did ride my bike a lot, hard and often. I rode about 50 miles last week, all off road. I know you hard cores don’t think that is a lot of miles but the trails I ride aren’t the easiest things in the world, so it is a good workout for me and they are a ton of fun. Anyway yesterday before trail work I went out and got in 6 miles of trail running at the Lebanon Hills horse trail. It was a great run. I felt good and did pretty well even with the break last week. It felt good to get back into it and I am planning on hitting it fairly hard the next 2 weeks. 2 very nice long runs hopefully will be included in there…

In other news Melissa has come to the dark side, she bought a single speed mountain bike. She got an On One Inbred. It is a sweet bike. I am kind of jealous. After she got it we went for a ride over at Lebanon Hills and she did great. She rode my Surly 1x1 over there a few weeks ago and really liked it, then after riding the Surly again at Murphy I think she was hooked and decided that she wanted a single speed of her own. We found the Inbred really cheap so we picked it up. The best part is she is riding it so far fully rigid. Old school! I am not sure if she will want to go to a suspension fork or not but right now she gets to feel all of the bumps…

I kind of have a dilemma for tonight; I am not sure what I want to do. Go ride a couple laps at Lebanon, Go ride at Murphy, or go for a road ride. I will be riding alone so I am not sure what to do. I am guessing there would be more people riding at Lebanon tonight and I might be able to find someone to tag along with but, riding alone might be cool as well. I don’t think I have had many solo rides this year. Murphy might be good. 11 miles of single track… hmmmm decisions decisions. I will probably end up on the couch with a movie and frozen pizza.

This Saturday Melissa and I are playing in the 2nd Annual Surly Disc Golf Tournament. I can’t wait. It should be a lot of fun. The entrance fee includes a golf disc, lunch and prizes…I wanted to play in it last year but I found out about it to late and it was full. I signed us up right away this year. So I am really looking forward to it. Melissa is a lot of fun to play disc golf with, once and a while she holds on to the disc a little to long and it ends up going backwards. But we have fun and that is all that matters.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recap


So I have been away for a bit. I have been under the weather the last couple days, but am feeling better today. So let’s recap:

Last Saturday I did a long run of 12.27 miles. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped it would. It was really hot outside, very humid. Averaged about 13:53 minute miles which is still within my goal for the 25k but just barely. So that was a little discouraging. But I am hoping it was just an off day. I had to walk quite a bit and even though I carried a 32oz camelback I drained it, so I think I got a little dehydrated and my iPod died at 8.3 miles. Which completely sucked. I really enjoy running to music and have a hard time running without music. I am thinking that if it ever stops raining I am going to do a “test” 25k. Go out at 0730 which is the start time of my race and try to run 15 miles and see how it goes in the morning before it gets hot outside. I really do not like the heat and I am praying to whom will listen to make July 5th a very cool day, even a light rain is fine with me.

After my run Melissa and I met a couple friends of hers out at Lake Nokomis for a BBQ and to watch some of their friends competing in the 24 hour race around the lake. I have run at Nokomis a lot, I did 4 laps around that lake on one run and I thought I was going to kill someone. I cannot imagine running around the same patch of 2.5 mile trail for 24 hours. But the BBQ was a lot of fun and it was cool to see the runners. When we got there they had already been racing for about 11 hours and some of the leaders were already in the 30 lap range… Crazy talk!

Other then that it has been raining on and off for a few days. Melissa and I did get a nice road ride in on Monday. We just did a quick 14 miles that was really fun. Melissa is getting ready for her 22 mile bike race in September so she is trying to ride faster and learn how to use her gears to her advantage. I have a single speed road bike and feel like I am a fairly fast rider but I was chasing her for most of the ride. I think we topped out at about 25 miles an hour on flat ground which I thought was pretty good for being on a fairly busy trail and having to pick our “fast” sprints carefully to make sure not to kill ourselves or anyone else. She is getting very fast and I know that the biking portion of this run and bike race she is doing is going to make up for any problems she might have on the running portion.

I took my first “kind” of bad fall on my mountain bike on Tuesday night. I was riding Lebanon Hills; I fell in a nasty rock garden called Tedman’s Curve. I ended up wedging my front tire between a couple rocks and tipping over and falling down a hill. I got pretty scratched and bruised up. But I was with some real caring friends, I got up and the first thing they said was, “Is your bike OK!” I was riding my Yeti and apparently it is more important then I am. My bike by the way is ok. I am too. It was an interesting ride. Everyone in our group of 5 except 1 person had a pretty bad fall that night. So for that ride the trail won the battle. Good news though I have been able to nail the drops in the XX loop the last few rides, so I am very happy with that.

I am hoping the rain stops for a while and the sun comes out, I really want and need to get some trail running in and the trail is going to way to muddy to run on. And of course with all of the rain the mountain bike trails are all closed. So I guess for now it is road rides and runs.

More later.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rainy and crappy

With my help the puppy in this picture could be a champion.

Hmmmm

So last night my trail run went really good. I had tickets for the Twins game last night so I had to do a really quick 5 mile run after work. Once again me and my virtual training partner did a run at Lebanon Hills, ran 5.33 miles and just a shade over 57 minutes. I was very happy with that time. If I can keep that up it will put me in the middle of the finishing pack for my 25K race coming in July, which is now 30 days away. I felt great after the run so training I think is going good. I am hoping to get a 10 - 12 mile run in this weekend.

The Twins game turned out be a really good game. It was looking a little grim when Perkins gave up back to back taters in the first, but they boys came around and ended up winning it 7-5.

Tonight I was suppose to do a group ride at Murphy, which is a really fun single track trail but it looks like it is going to get cancelled due to the weather so there is a bridge building night instead so I think I am going to go and do that. The group that I do trail work with on Tuesday is getting together to build some bridges for the new trail at Lebanon so that will be fun I think.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Results

Well the official results are out and I am a little bummed that they are not breaking them down by overall, gender and age group, they are just doing an overall but here they are:

Eric - 82 out of 436 - 28:47 - 9:16 per mile pace.

Melissa - 205 out of 436 - 32:55 - 10:36 per mile pace

I think we both did great...

I am going running right after work tonight, planning on a quick 5 mile trail run.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Still Waiting

I am still waiting for the official results to be posted on the official results web page... Ugh, it is really frustrating waiting. Took the night off from running last night to give myself an extra day to recover after the race, my right calf muscle is a little sore, but it is feeling better today. Tonight after work I have to pick up my bike. It is down at Erik's bike shop having it's yearly check up. I think all is well on it but I just want to make sure. Also tonight is trailwork night. I look forward to trail work, it is a chance to get outside and volunteer. I love working on the mountain bike trail at Lebanon Hills, there is a good group that usually shows up so it should be really fun.

More later I hope.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Personal Best

So yesterday Sunday June 1st I ran my best 5k to date. It was great, I am waiting for the official results to be posted online but I did look at the results after the race and I came in 82nd out of 400+ runners, I can’t remember the exact number of racers right now. I finished in 28:47 with a pace of 9:16, I was VERY happy with those results. My goal was to finish under 30 minutes and I did that and then some so it was all good. The course was really nice; it started on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis and then ran down along the river and then turned, came back over the bridge and wrapped its way by the Mill City museum and then finished a block from the old depot. It was a nice course, one huge hill that sucked but otherwise it was great. After the race they had a band that was playing so that was fun. Melissa did well on her race as well; she hurt her knee again so she wasn’t very happy about that side of things but hopefully we can get everything worked out with that deal and she will be back on track. My friend Berry also ran the 5k yesterday, he did really well, finished 24th overall, I can’t remember his time but obviously it was really a good time. Overall the race was really fun. There was also a 5k9 so it was fun to see all of the dogs out there as well.

I am hoping to do some biking this week, the weather has been kind of crappy the past week, and with the rain the trails have been closed. So if nothing else I will have to get my road bike out and do so riding.

I am now 1 month away from my 25K… Yikes! Training will be kicking into high gear this month.

May totals:
Running: 54.83 miles
Biking: 136.76 miles

I am hoping to post the official results from yesterdays race soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

First Painting and best trail run.


Well, I finished my first watercolor last night. I think it turned pretty good. I did it from a photo. It was a picture of spiral grass with 2 drops of dew dripping off the bottoms. The picture I have attached at least sort of shows the painting, I think it looks better in person but you get the general idea. I was happy with the way that it turned out and I learned a lot from it. I started my second painting last night at class and so far it is going well too. It is of a trail cairn, which is a fancy name for a pile of stones. I love rocks and Melissa and I have a number of rock piles scattered all over the place. They are very zen like.
Before my class last night I went on what ended up being my best trail run to date. I planned on going 4 miles and racing against the virtual partner again. I set the pace back to 11 minute miles for the racing partner for 4 miles and ended up running 4.37 miles in 45:51 for an average of 10:30 minute miles. I ran the hard way at the horse trail, which makes you go up instead of down the 2 biggest hills so I was VERY happy with my run and my time. I feel better every time I run that trail over there and feel I am getting stronger. This Sunday for my long run I am switching things up, I am going to go over to Terrace Oaks park and run on the hiking trail which is a 3 mile loop. I am planning on at least 4 loops for a total of 12 miles and change, but depending on how everything goes I might bump it up to 5 laps and run my own 25k. Granted Terrace Oaks isn't going as hilly as Afton will be, but it will be a great test. So that is currently my plan. But I am planning on doing at least 10 miles for sure in some form.
Should be a fun weekend, lots of biking and relaxing ahead.
More later.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

$50.45

Well, we had our first $50 gas fill up last night. Melissa filled up her Honda CRV and it cost $50.45... I kind of feel like I should throw a party for such a major mile stone, but I am holding off until we have our first $100 fill up. The whole gas price thing really sucks. For me I would much rather bike to work, but where we live it would just be both really hard and really dangerous to bike. The first 10 miles would be terrible, all on city streets, busy, crappy city streets, but the second half wouldn't be so bad. I don't know what to do. Is it smart to drive half way and then ride? Looks like I am going to have to get the old calculator out and crunch the numbers. MMMMMM number crunching.

In other news we took in another Twins game last night, was a really good game until the 6th when the wheels came off and Texas scored 7 runs. That was pretty much the end. Ugh, we either win big or lose huge.

Tonight, I am doing a 4 mile trail run after work. Then I will be going to my watercolor class. I have a few more things to do on my first painting so I will be starting another one tonight. I guess we have the option to work outside tonight so I will be looking for something to paint. I hope I can find a cool weed or something.

I am really looking forward to the weekend. We have a long weekend, Melissa and I both have Monday off so that will be sweet, we are getting a group together to go and do a bike ride so it could be really a fun day. I am hoping the weather holds so we can get that in.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And so it goes and goes...

I have had a couple of great training days. The weekend turned out to be kind of a bust weather wise so I skipped running up in Duluth, I know bad trainee, but I did bike 14.9 very hard miles at Lebanon Hills Sunday when I got home, so that counts for something. This week however is starting out much better. I did a 8.25 mile trail run on Monday, which was great. The run was really good and I felt good afterward which is really what I am looking for more then anything. On my GPS thing there is a virtual race partner so I set my GPS for 8 miles with a pace of 13 minute miles. It is a really cool feature because the virtual trainer will help to keep you on pace, it tells you how far ahead or behind you are. I ended up beating him by a good distance so I was very pleased. I averaged 11:23 minute miles for the entire run. My goal for my 25k is 12-15 minute miles, that should keep me from being last and help me finish with a pretty good time. My race is still 45 days away, so I still have a lot of time to prepare but I am just really feeling out how I feel after my longer runs. Trail running is a lot harder then running on pavement. I ran that 10 miles at Lake Nokomis and felt a million times better then I did after my 8.25 mile trail run. I think more then anything it is the hills, so many, so many different sizes, the constant up and down, the un-level footing, sounds like fun doesn’t it? So far I am really enjoying it. I like trail running better then running on pavement, seems more challenging and there is always something cool to look at.

Last night Tuesday, I did a quick lap over at Lebanon on my Surly 1x1, I haven’t ridden my single speeds very much this year since I bought my Yeti so it was fun to get back on that bike. It is a great bike. Check it out here: http://www.surlybikes.com/1X1.html My Surly is very fast and handles the tight twisty single track very well. It also plows over the obstacles almost as good as my 29’er… I did say almost. While I was riding Melissa did a trail run and then we met in the parking lot and had a sandwich. Tuesday night is trail work night at Lebanon. So we stayed and worked on the trail. Melissa and I both belong to MORC: http://www.morcmtb.org I / we volunteer as often as we can to help build and maintain the mountain bike trails around the Twin Cities. It is a great organization and we have a lot of fun doing it. We have both met a lot of great people and made some good friends. Make sure to check out the website if you get a chance.

Tonight is my rest day; Melissa and I are headed to the Twins game tonight so that gives me a great excuse to rest my very tired legs. Tomorrow I am planning a short 4 mile run and then I am going to try to run 10-12 miles on the trail sometime this weekend. Also lots of biking this weekend.

More later.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lazy

This has been a very lazy week for me training wise. Well maybe I should not say lazy, I have had a bunch of stuff going on and just really haven't felt like making the time before them to run or bike. So yeah I guess it is lazy. I have managed to run about 7 miles so far this week and I am going to try to do a long run of 10 miles one day this weekend, so running wise the week will not be a total scratch. The thing that will be really sad is I will probably not log one lousy mile on my bike this week. UGH. Oh well, I guess I am looking at this week as my recovery week. My body was pretty tired after last week and I think taking it a little easier was a pretty good idea. At least I don't think it will end up hurting anything. As far as training goes this weekend I think my run will be my last long run on pavement. I think then I will be switching to running almost entirely on off road trail. I need to log more miles on off road, to prepare for the old race. I have a 5k coming up in a couple weeks that I am looking forward to. Hopefully I will have a few more 7-10 mile runs in before then so that 3 miler will seem like nothing. Next week I am planning on hitting the training a little harder, I have some bike rides planned and I am going to up my miles again and stay completely off road for running.

Melissa and I are out of town this weekend, we are heading up to Duluth for a long weekend. We both are really looking forward to getting away, relaxing and just being together. We really don't have much planned so that will be good. I like just seeing what comes along. I am hoping that I get a chance to paint while I am up there. I really want to try to do some watercolor stuff. So I hope the weather holds for that.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Busy Weekend

Another weekend is gone. It turned out to be a great weekend. Got lots of training in and Melissa and I had some fun and worked around the house as well.

Friday night after work I did my long run; I had to push it back because it rained last Tuesday night when I was going to do it, so I did it Friday instead. Turned out to be a great run, I ended up going 9.76 miles we will just call it 10 for argument sake, which is 4 laps around Lake Nokomis, I took me 1:53:21 which I was really happy with. I felt good during the entire run so it gave me confidence for my 25k. Crap maybe I will be able to do it. My pace was 11:35 miles and that is right where I want to be for my 25k. That will put me toward the end but I will not be last which my goal is. I am enjoying running, my god I never thought I would say that. It is pretty fun, I really enjoy running off road on the trails so I really think I am going to enjoy the trail run. After the run Melissa and I grabbed some dinner and then went home and hung out and relaxed. It was a fun night.

Saturday was our work around the house day. It rained outside for most of the day so it was a perfect day to do chores around the house. We ended up running some errands right away in the morning and then our project was to clean out the garage and put up some shelves. It took us about 3 hours to do the garage project but it turned out great and it really looks nice in there. I was glad that we got it out of the way on a crappy weather day, made it a lot easier to be doing that and not wanting to be outside playing.

Sunday turned out to be a perfect day weather wise. It was sunny with a little cool breeze, nice and warm in sun. Melissa and I had planned on meeting some friends and doing a nice long road bike ride. Which we ended up doing, it ended up being four of us on the ride and it was a good one. We all met at the Lake Harriet band shell and rode from Harriet, to Lake Calhoun, down the Minneapolis Greenway to the River Boulevard, then back to the Minnehaha Creek trail, and finally following that back to Lake Harriet, it was a great loop, all bike trail and turned out to be 18.33 miles. I know some of you hard core riders will say after 18 miles you are just starting to warm up, but it was a great ride for us and we had a lot of fun. It was Melissa, her friend Angela and my friend Bill and I. Our other friends Berry and Gus could not make it. Maybe next time we will get the whole crew together and ride that loop, it is really a fun ride. After the ride Melissa and I stopped and had a quick lunch and then went grocery shopping. We got home from grocery and I decided to go for a trail run, so I ended up going over to Lebanon Hills and running my loop on the horse trail. It turned out to be a great run. I went 5.76 miles which went by fairly quick. I felt good during the entire run so everything is currently looking up for the race.

This is going to be a really busy week; I am not sure unfortunately how much training I am going to be able to do for the first few days. Tonight Melissa and I are going to the Twins game, pretty much right after work, it is an early game because it is on ESPN. Tuesday night I have some plans, I might be able to get a short run in, Wednesday we have another Twins games, Thursday I have my painting class and then Friday we are headed out of town for the weekend. Which we are both looking forward to. Maybe it might be OK to rest a little this week. I plan on scattering some short runs in this week whenever I can, but I don't think I am going to get much biking in.

My tally for last week: 19.3 miles running and 30.5 miles biking.

I am toying with idea of a short course triathlon in September. Yikes, more information on that later.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lesson Learned

So, I have learned a fairly valuable lesson; do not do a longer run on a full stomach. Yesterday I was planning on doing my long run right after work. When I left work it was raining like hell and I did not bring my rain jacket. So I decided to hold off, go home and maybe get a shorter run in at home if the rain let up. Waited for a bit and the rain did not let up, so we decided to make so dinner. Dinner by the way was really good, grilled some chops on the back up BBQ in the garage. It is always a fun time grilling in the garage. Anyway, about 20 minutes after I got done eating and done with dishes the rain had stopped, so I decide to head out, my plan was 3.75 miles which is 3 laps around the block where we live. I made the 3.75 miles in 39:11, but let’s just say they were not very fun miles. And of course it started raining fairly hard on the last lap. Ugh, remind me not to do that again. I was bummed that I had forgotten my rain jacket because I was very motivated to run 7.5 miles after work yesterday. But I am not that hardcore to run in the rain without a rain slicker. Anyway the training continues.

Tonight, I am meeting a friend of mine; he is going to help me do some adjustments on my new bike. I have ridden my Yeti a couple times and it is great, a nice smooth buttery ride, but it needs some adjustments to the gears and to the shocks and I just do not know how to do that properly, and since he owns 8 bikes he is going to show me how to do those adjustments. I am looking forward that, he is an odd fellow but a genius with mountain bikes so it will be good.

Melissa and I booked a long weekend out of town for next week. We are really looking forward to getting away. We are headed up to Duluth. I am really hoping the weather will be good so we can get outside and check stuff out. We are staying at the new Sheraton, we have a lake view room, should be really nice. The hotel is walking distance from Canal Park so that will be really nice and we should have a great view of the harbor area.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Another Weekend

It was a big training weekend. I sort of slacked on Saturday and just hung out and relaxed with Melissa, it was a nice day to just do nothing which is pretty much what we did all day. It was good because I was tired and it was nice to rest my legs for an extra day. Sunday I went for a 4 mile trail run over on the Lebanon Hills Park horse trail. I found a nice 2 mile loop so I just did a couple of laps there. I think it will be a good place to do my training runs for the Afton race; there are some big hills, both up and down so it is good practice for the race. I did the 4 miles in 44 minutes for an average of 11 minute miles which is where I want to be. My goal for the 25k is 11 to 15 minute miles, to finish and not be last, good goals huh?. After the trail run I rested for about 2 hours and then rode 14.5 miles at the Lebanon Mountain bike trails. These trails are really fun, nice singletrack with lots of obstacles, log piles, rock gardens and climbing, lots and lots of climbing, I think pretty much the first 3 miles are all up hill, which is a wonderful way to start a ride. Check out more information on this trail here: http://www.morcmtb.org/trailreviews/metro/lebanon.shtml this is a great trail and always a lot of fun to ride.

Other wise it was a pretty quiet weekend. The weather looks like it is going to be nice for the next few days so I am hoping to get out riding and running my usual schedule this week.

I did have my best training week last week, so that was exciting, I ran 15.1 miles and biked 40.2 miles.

It is painful sitting here today, the sun is out and it is really nice outside today. I really would rather be doing something outside. Tonight though should be good. Melissa and I are planning a 20 mile road ride tonight. Then tomorrow is my long run day. Should be a good week for training.

Friday, May 2, 2008

9.38


Just a short entry today.

Had a great run last night went 3.75 miles, and finally had a sub – 10 minute mile average for the duration of the run. Did the whole run in 36:07 for an average of 9:38 per mile. I was very excited; I am getting a little stronger and faster each time out. I am also getting to the point were I am not sore at all on the day after the run, so everything right now is very positive. My training for the big race is going well. I do wish however that it would stop raining so I could get some miles in on the trail. Tonight is going to be my day off from exercise. So it will be nice to rest a bit.

Also my watercolor class was fun last night. I finished my first painting. It didn’t turn out very good because we ran out of time the first night and I wasn’t done with a part of it so it doesn’t look very good, but it was fun to do anyway. I started my second painting which I am hoping will be better.

Tonight I am going to the Twins game with my buddy Travis, we worked together at NACR. I am looking forward to hanging out with him tonight; we always have a lot of laughs.

More later.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ramblings


Last night Melissa and I did a 12.5 mile bike ride, we rode from Lake Nokomis to Lake Harriet did a lap of Harriet and then rode back. It was a great ride, all bike trail and just had to make a couple of street crossings. So it was a nice ride. I think I have a really nice loop mapped out that will take us on the same beginning path over to Lake Calhoun, but from there it will take us to the famed Minneapolis Greenway Bike Path and back to the river parkway, we then take that down to Minnehaha Blvd. and then back to Lake Nokomis, should be about a 20 mile or so loop with lots of good places to stop for lunch or a snack. I think we are going to try to do that loop this weekend if the weather holds. So the training continues. I am also trying to plan on a day to ride my bike to work, May 14th is ride your bike to work day so I am hoping to do it then, I finally have a great route planned. I want to ride it first but I think it will be doable and fairly simple.

Tonight I am going to run after work, planning on 3.75 miles, tomorrow Friday is going to be my day off. Then I think Saturday I am going to try to do that longer bike ride and maybe a short trail run, Sunday I am thinking of a 4.5 mile run and a short bike ride I think. I am sure that will all change between now and then but currently that is the plan.

I also have my watercolor painting class tonight. I am not sure if I mentioned that or not but I am taking a 6 week watercolor class through community education at a place over in Eagan. Tonight will be my second class and I like it so far. I am the only male in the class, so I feel kind of stupid from that stand point but it is good. So far I am really enjoying it and I think it will be really fun once we get past the basics, and can do a little more on our own. It is just me and another person that are the “beginners” the other 6 people have gone through at least one other class so they just come to paint, socialize, and get some tips from the instructor. Not a bad plan.

My friend Coleen apparently bought a comfyfeast bed, and we will not hear from her any more since she will not be leaving it anytime soon. Sleep well Coleen..

Cheers.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The training continues: Long Run

I did a long run last night, further prep for my 25k which is now 66 days from today. I ran 7.5 miles around Lake Nokomis, did 3 laps, it took me 1:23:19, I only stopped once and that was for about 10 seconds to pet a really cute West Highland Terrier named Scooter, he was a good boy and looked like he needed a pat. Anyway the run went well. I felt good during the entire run so that gave me a bit of confidenece for my big race, knowing that I have 66 days and didn't have to much trouble running 7 miles. I know 15 miles is a lot more but I know that I can do it. Tonight Melissa and I are meeting friends for a bike ride, should be fun, planning on a 15 mile ride. We are going to ride the parkway from lake Nokomis to Lake Harriet do a lap around Harriet and then back to Nokomis. Should be a fun ride. The weather is going to be a little better today so it should be a great night for a ride.

I also just heard that Lebanon Hills mountain bike trail is going to open today so that is good news, I will give it a couple extra days to firm up. I am guessing it is still pretty damp. But I will for sure try to get a ride or 2 in this weekend...

More later.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cold and crappy

So another weekend has gone by. It was a good weekend. We didn't do much, pretty much took it easy. Saturday was one of the worse weather days I can remember in April, it was snowing, windy and really dang cold out. In fact I really had no desire to even be outside. I did however manage to get a 2.5 mile run in. I was glad that I got out but it was really nasty out. Sunday the weather was a bit better, it was still cold but at least the sun was out. Ugh, I am really tired of this cold spring we are having, but it does sound like it is going to be a little warmer out this week. So that is good.

Last night Melissa and I did a very cold road ride from a parking lot in St. Paul along a nice trail along the river to downtown St. Paul. The ride ended up being 13 miles round trip which was a good ride considering it was pretty cold outside. It felt good to get out though so I was glad that we did.

Tonight I am going to attempt to do my longest run to date, of about 7.5 miles. I am going right after work and I am hoping for the best, I need to start ramping up miles so I can get through my stupid 25k in July...

If I am still alive more tomorrow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dirt Season is ON!

So last night officially began the dirt riding season. I meet my friend Dan at the trail at Salem Park. It was the first dirt ride of the year and the first ride on my Yeti. The ride was good; we went 2 laps for a total of 9.3 miles. I thought that was a perfect first ride, I could have gone around again but I guess twice as good. It is raining out again so trail riding is once again on hold.

I really enjoyed riding my new bike, I have never ridden a full suspension mountain bike before so that was a different kind of experience but it was cool. The bike handled great and I think I have it set up pretty good. I am going to try to get a friend of mine that also is a Yeti owner to have a look at it and make sure that I do have everything tuned correctly. All of the fancy shocks and cables and crap make me kind of nervous. Check out my new bike here: http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/BI301B10-Yeti+575+Enduro+Bike+08.aspx

After the ride I did find 4 ticks on my socks. That really grossed me out; ticks are the one bug that I can’t stand. So ever since the tick findings I have felt creepy crawly and keep thinking I have them all over, which is not a good feeling.

I start my watercolor class tonight which I am really looking forward to, I think it will be fun and it is something that I have always wanted to try so it should be interesting. I have all of my stuff packed in a bag and ready to go. I hope the class is good and fun. I think it will be.

Other than that not much going on again. I am taking the day off from running and biking so I will be running I think 5 miles tomorrow after work. UGH!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Weekend Stuff and more stuff that doesn't matter

So it was another great weekend. Saturday we didn't do much at all. It was pretty much gray out all day and not much was going on, which was fine it was nice to just relax. Sunday Melissa ran a 5k in the morning over at Lake Harriet. It started out pretty gray but it was great weather to run in. She did really good, ran it in 32 minutes. I was proud of her, she cut 2 minutes off her last race, she is really doing well. After the race we headed home and I went and did a 3 mile trail run over at Lebanon Hills Park. Holy crap was that hard. I thought I was going to die a couple times, I had to walk up some of the bigger hills but after the run I felt really good. I am really looking forward to my 25k trail race. I found out that I did officially get in, so there is no turning back now. It is 74 days away and I think I can get there so I will be able to at least finish without dying.

I ended up running 5 miles last night. I felt great after which was a total shock. So I guess training is going pretty good so far. I am going to do 2.5 miles tonight I think and then I am going to bike Wednesday, it is suppose to be nice out and I am ready to get on my bike.

Melissa and I signed up for another 5k in June, should be fun, it is with a running group from her hospital so we are trying to get a group of at least 20 people signed up that way we will get our own tent to hang out in. That would be very cool.

Other then that not much new to report. The weather is finally starting to get nice outside. Which I guess now that it is here I am glad. I am looking forward to getting on my bike and riding. The off road trails are really slow to open this year, so I have been a little road riding but not much, hoping to get more in soon.

We made home made pizzas last night, they turned out really good. We found this whole wheat pizza crust at the co-op and used that. There is nothing better then pizza. I swear I could eat it everyday.

Monday, April 14, 2008

First 5k Results

Here are the results from our race yesterday:

Eric
Age 37
Bib Number 220
Division M3539
City Apple Valley MN
Overall Place 203 out of 307
Gender Place 108 out of 123
Division Place 12 out of 15
Finish Time 0:33:42
Mile Pace 10:51/mile
Kilometer Pace 6:44/km

Melissa
Age 39
Bib Number 221
Division F3539
City Apple Valley MN
Overall Place 219 out of 307
Gender Place 109 out of 184
Division Place 19 out of 27
Finish Time 0:34:47
Mile Pace 11:12/mile
Kilometer Pace 6:57/km

The race was really fun; I had a great time and was mostly happy with my results. At about mile 2.8 or so I tweaked my left calf muscle really bad. I was running along really pretty good, at least for me and all of a sudden I had a very bad pain in my calf, I am guessing it was either a cramp or a slight pull. I had to walk for about 10 feet and then I started running again slowly, and the pain worked itself out enough to where I could slowly get back up almost to the speed I was at before the pain. I was able to finish strong but it slowed me down overall. I would have finished in about 31 minutes which I would have been very happy with for my first race, but was still pleased that I was able to finish even though my leg hurt. My goal in this race was to finish and not be last, and I accomplished both. Melissa did really well to; she had a good race with no pain so that was good. I think she is a strong runner, not really fast but more of an endurance runner, she could have probably kept going for another 3 miles with no problem. I really enjoyed my first race and am hoping to do more 5k’s in the future. After the race there was a nice lunch from a local restaurant called Buca’s, normally I am not a fan of that place, but the lunch was a salad, bread and a couple of kinds of pastas, a chocolate chip cookie and sodas or water, it was a very nicely done event and was buffet style which is always fun. Along with the race and lunch everyone got a long sleeved t-shirt and a ticket for a Saints baseball game. I thought it was a great deal and was very glad we did it. The weather was good, it was sunny, but the wind made it a little chilly out. But at least it wasn’t snowing. Overall I was incredibly happy with the race and I had a great time running it with Melissa.









After we got home, we did some of our normal Sunday errands and did some house cleaning. I made a nice dinner and after we relaxed and watched a movie. It was a great weekend.

Looks like the weather is going to be really nice this weekend, so I am going to get out on my bike and also continue my running training for the 25k in July.