Thursday, August 30, 2007

I finally attended orientation

I've been married for almost five years, have lived in this particular apartment for almost a year and a half, and I finally just went through "organization orientation". I am sure everyone is familiar with the common piling up of stuff. At one point the apartment (or house for that matter) starts off clean but as life goes on things will get put in random places as opposed to where they are supposed to go. One area will get cleaned off, stuff put off to the side with the best intentions of putting it away later. As time moves forward more and more stuff starts piling up and more and more good intentions are made.

Today Jessi did a big organization and put away of all these little piles of stuff. All of the "I'll put that away in a little while" stuff was put away. I will admit I was guilty of much of the stuff. When I got home from work the place looked great. I told Jessi she was amazing and how grateful I was for her organizing (I also felt a little guilty for not having helped or done it myself). To this she replied "thanks and now it's time for orientation".

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"See the bookshelf by the bed? Church books go on the top shelf. 'Current reading list' books on the second shelf, not on the floor. The bottom shelf is up for grabs, but it is not a place to stack magazines, nor is the floor next to the shelf a place to stack magazines." To this I replied "well what goes on top of the dresser then?" Jessi's reply "nothing!" I suppose this might be a good time to state that I am notorious for stacking magazines I am reading/read and my many book reading projects on top of the dresser next to the bed or on the floor next to the bed.

"When you are done with something put it back in its right place, just don't set it somewhere random." I think this is something that is taught to small children, but for some reason I will have bouts of amnesia and completely forget this concept.

There were a couple more great quotes but I didn't write them down. Perhaps my sweet wife will provide a couple more in the comments?

I'm really not a slob, I am typically a very tidy person. It just seems that on occasion things tend to get a little out of hand. Jessi and I certainly had a very good laugh after going through "orientation". I think it is awesome that we can give each other a hard time without offending and we know that the other person is just joking around. I love my wife!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What kind of ice cream is that?

My Saturday started off running a little late. My friend Matt and I had planned on running to Desolation Lake this morning. We were supposed to meet at 7:00, jump into one car, and then drive to the trailhead. The alarm was set for 6:25 to give me ample time to hit the snooze a couple of times and still have plenty of time to dress, eat breakfast, and drive to meet Matt. Well the couple of snoozes turned into a couple of couple snoozes and it was 6:49. I was only about 10 minutes late meeting Matt.

We headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Mill D trailhead. Right before we arrived at the trailhead I saw that the car thermometer was reading 45 degrees! I haven't felt air that cold in many, many months. It was quite refreshing to say the least. As we got out of the car to stretch we both wished we would have brought long-sleeves to run in. We both quickly abandoned that wish a couple of minutes into the run.

The trail starts steep right from the beginning. We didn't warm up at all and we paid the price. It took all of about five minutes of running to completely cook the back of our legs. We felt it for the rest of the run.

I don't know if it was the lack of warm up, but something today just felt off. My legs felt heavy today, striding wasn't smooth, every movement felt labored. All of those things combined, it was probably the hardest seven miles I've ran in quite some time. Although it was rough going it definitely went better than the last time I tried running to Desolation Lake.

This evening Jessi, Penelope, and I attended a "fall social" that Jessi's boss has every year at the start of fall semester. It was fun to get out and be social with a bunch of people I had only met once or twice. It was a potluck and there were many interesting and good foods to eat. When the time came for dessert I got some for both Jessi and I. Jess told me "get me a scoop of the green ice cream. I was told I had to try it and they wouldn't tell me what kind it is." I got her a scoop of the green ice cream. Come to find out it was fresh basil ice cream. I'm all about the fresh herbs and spices. They are delicious and all but I don't really think basil belongs in ice cream. It was in the wrong context. When I think of fresh basil I think of bruschetta or margarita pizza, not ice cream. When I took a bite, it felt cool and refreshing, but once the taste hit the refreshment was canceled out. Needless to say, I am glad I tried it. The runaway new dessert was "Strawberry Something". It was sliced strawberries that you dipped in balsamic vinegar, powdered sugar, black pepper, or any combination of the three. Oddly enough strawberries and black pepper go together quite well. My favorite was dipping in all three.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

When did back to school get so complicated?

I recently read a research report on the top preteen wish list items for this years back to school. Topping the list are gaming systems, iPods, cell phones (the iPhone specifically listed), and new computers. When did the shift happen from shoes, backpacks, and clothes to wicked expensive electronics?

Who needs a gaming system for back to school? It isn't a Christmas list, it is a list of things you need for the new school year. I have yet to ever find a time that I need a cell phone, gaming system, or iPod to attend school or do school work. Is it just me or does this seem absolutely ridiculous to anyone else? I can somewhat understand the computer on the list, but preteens don't need their own computer, let alone new computer, for school. Last time I checked the family computer will suffice for 7th grade school projects.

I remember the days of "I need to get a protractor for math this year". Apparently those days are gone and apparently I am just waxing nostalgic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jupiter Steeplechase

This past Saturday was the Jupiter Steeplechase at Park City Mountain Resort. The Steeplechase is essentially and out and back course (with a small, short loop at the mid point). It is 16 miles round trip and features 3000 vertical feet of gain & loss (Read: 8 miles in with 3000 feet gain, 8 miles out with 3000 feet loss).

I decided to run the Steeplechase after the Wasatch Back Relay. Even though I've known for almost a month that I was going to be running the race I didn't train as much as I probably should have. I continued to run once or twice a week, but never really put in vert training. I did one training run that focused on vert, but that was all. Needless to say, I was a little nervous on race day because I thought I was going to get thoroughly worked during the race.

The race began at 8:00 am on Saturday. There was a small contingent a runners from Backcountry (there was 4 of us). As the race started I was determined to not make the same mistake as I made during the Mid-Mountain Marathon last year. I started out at a good pace for myself and did my best to ignore the people around me and just focus on how I was feeling. I didn't care if anyone passed me. There were a couple times that I thought to myself "let them pass, you'll catch them later when they are dead from pushing it too early".

The CEO at Backcountry had run the Steeplechase last year and his one piece of advice to me when I asked him about it was "don't be afraid to stop running and just powerhike". It was sage advice. I used a nice combination of running and powerhiking when things got really steep. It was quite useful because I would actually be moving faster hiking and using less energy then trying to propel myself running up the steep sections.

The pinnacle (no pun intended), and crux, of the race is when you have to ascend Jupiter Peak. It is so steep that you literally have to scramble to the top. I didn't hear of anyone during the race that was able to run up it. Reading the description of the race it says "...Once reaching the peak tag the flag pole and begin your decent on to Jupiter Peak Road merging on to Pioneer Ridge Road." The description makes it sound like you hit the top, tag the pole, and then it's all downhill from there. Alas, it is not so. You start running down the backside of Jupiter Peak, only to realize there is another peak to ascend. After reaching the top of the second peak you see a third. A small string of obscenities did run through my mind after reaching the top each time only to see that you have to go down and back up.

Fortunately, after the third peak it literally was downhill the rest of the way back to the finish. After reaching the halfway point, the adrenaline started pumping again at the thought of being halfway done and not feeling completely depleted of energy. I did restrain myself to a slower pace than the adrenaline was telling me to go. As the race continued I was very glad that kept my slower pace. Eight miles of downhill is still very tiring to run. There were a couple of small rolling uphill sections that were extremely difficult to get through after having ran over half the race and ascending over 3000 feet. The most difficult section came at the very end. I was running down the lower switchbacks of the Spiro Trail, keeping pace with a lady in front of me, when I realized I almost done. I picked up the pace through the lower switchbacks. Right before you come out of the switchbacks and into the final open run to the finish line, there were a couple more rolling uphills. These uphill sections almost stopped me. They hurt...a lot! I knew I was so close to the finish that I made myself push on.

Judging from my lack of training and how I performed at the Mid-Mountain last year, I thought it was take me between 3 and 3.5 hours to finish. Jess didn't want to come to the finish line and have to wait forever (I don't blame her) so I told her to get there a few minutes before 11. As it turns out I ran the race in 2:41:55! I was completely surprised by my time! I did surprisingly better than I thought I would. Unfortunately Jess showed up about 10 minutes after I finished. I wish I would have told her I would finish sooner. I love it when she is there to cheer my on! Since I finished the race before she got there, there aren't any pictures. :(

Overall the race was killer and wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I faired better than I could have imagined. Since the race went so well I decided to sign up for the Mid-Mountain again this year!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I love weekends!

This past weekend we had a family campout with my sister, her family, and my brother and his wife. We went up Blacksmith Fork Canyon to a place where my sister's family usually goes.

It was a good time. It was super warm so we played in the river a lot. We even busted out the inner tubes that we bought last year in Tahoe and went floating down the river.

Woah look at that farmer tan!

We tried to go climbing up Left Hand Fork. We drove to the crag, put Penelope in the backpack, got our packs on, and then we heard about a 10 second long clap of thunder. We look towards the mountains to the east and see some dark clouds coming. We thought perhaps it'd miss us so we started up the trail anyway. It was fruitless and we had to turn around after about 5 minutes. So much for climbing for the week.

It was all right though, we got back to camp just in time to eat some killer dutch oven food. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out by the fire.

Me, of course with my eyes closed, and Penelope hanging out by the fire.

The next day we got up, ate food, played in the river some more and then came home.

It was a great weekend. We got to spend plenty of time in the outside in the mountains and playing in water.