Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Friday Five

The Excuse

Alas, the travel that I’ve been on for the last couple of weeks killed any chance of me typing out a Friday Five. As such, it’s time for me to get caught up.

The Weeks

What a 3 weeks it’s been.

I started the week of 7Feb with a quick 3 day jaunt up to San Jose. As much as I loathe San Jose (which is Spanish for Endless Business Parks), it’s always a good chance to touch base with my friends up there. This trip was no exception – friends and business parks.

Wednesday night turned into a fantastic dinner (and cocktails with friends). Alas, that meant it was a very early Thursday morning, as Karin and I flew out to New Orleans. If you know me at all, you know my love for all things Cajun/Creole, and I’d yet to take Karin to New Orleans. As there was a half marathon out there, it seemed like the perfect excuse.

The week included (of course) a trip to Commander’s Palace, which offered us both great food and the opportunity to suit up. Well – I wore the suit. Karin wore her little red dress. The food and service was of course outstanding; if you’ve never been to Commander’s Palace you owe it to yourself. We also went to NOLA, which is an Emeril restaurant. While we both enjoyed NOLA, we were once again a bit underwhelmed by the food. The last night was a little place called Sylvain. Not Creole, but just a little local restaurant. Was the perfect way to end a week of amazing food and touring New Orleans.

Best. Beads. Ever.But the main focus was the race – the Mardi Gras Rock n Roll Half Marathon. My goal was to hit sub 1:50 (specifically 1:49:12, but that’s another story). I have to say I ran the absolute best race I could, and I finished with a time of 1:50:37. I could not have run it any faster than that. So while I’m a bit disappointed in the time, I’m thrilled with how the race went.

IMG_1047As there’s no rest for the weary, I left New Orleans and went straight up to Seattle for a conference up there. In case this is your first time here, I love Seattle. I love the cocktails, the food, the cocktails, the people, the cocktails, the feel. Oh, and did I mention I love the cocktails?

Despite all my time in Seattle, I’d never made the trip up to Vancouver. As my virtual running partner (and great friend) Susan was also in Seattle last week we went up to Vancouver for a little 10K[1] run up there. And as we were in Vancouver we continued my application process to become an honorary Canadian; this time it involved seeing a Canucks vs. Stars game. Great game. As for the run, well, I’m happy with the time (51:22, a persona best), but I’m not thrilled with how I ran.

From there it was out to Ottawa. Despite the fact that I’ve spent two full weeks in Ottawa now, I don’t feel like I really know the city yet. A big part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve only been out there in the winter, which is not really a great “hey – let’s go explore” time of year. But Ottawa does seem like a great family town; it seems there’s some form of a festival every other week in that town.

After Ottawa? Home.

The Travel Note

Every time I’m in a situation where I need a little flexibility from an airline, I’m amazed at how simply politely asking for what you want works. The key is to know what you want, to be nice about it, but yet be firm.

The biggest thing (besides being nice) that will help is knowing what your options are. Know the other hubs of the airline you’re flying and any partner airlines. If there’s an alternate airport, know that as well.

And above all – be nice! Remember that it’s not the person in front of you that’s impacted the weather, maintenance issues, or anything else. You’d be amazed at how much more someone’s willing to help you when you’re polite.

The Five

I generally have tried to avoid posting fitness related items here, but recently I’ve been asked about running every time I turn around. Below is an FAQ on my running experience.

  1. Why did you start running?
    Frankly – because I got tired of being fat. While fat might not be the right word (I frequently use doughy, which I thing is more appropriate), I wasn’t happy with how I looked. At the end of it all, the person most responsible for my life is me, and I decided it was time to take charge.
  2. Why running?
    Because running meets two requirements I have for any fitness program – a goal and portability. The great thing about running events is I’m always working towards something. And when I’m on the road, I can almost always run outdoors, or at the very worst[2] I can run on a treadmill.
  3. When you going to run a marathon?
    June 5th, 2011 at the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon. Come cheer me on!
  4. Does your wife run?
    She does not. She still thinks I’m insane. Frankly, she’s right.
  5. How can I get started?
    Lace up your sneakers, walk out the door, and start running. It’s that simple.[3] If you’re getting serious about it, then I’d recommend getting fitted for shoes and reading “Marathoning for Mortals”. It’s a great sport, a great way to spend time alone with your brain, and a great way to see sights. Hope to see you out there!

[1] There’s just something sick about saying “little 10K”.
[2] I loathe treadmills.
[3] Simple != Easy

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