Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday Five

The Week

Sort of in a rut travel wise. Once again, stuck in suburbia of a major metro area. This time around, Irving, just outside of Dallas. Of course, it’s not like I’d really like to go to downtown Dallas. But still.

The week itself was pretty much like a normal week. I was able to get out to dinner with an MCT friend who was in town teaching a class. I was also able to actually get out for a good run (after my despondent post from earlier this week).

The Restaurant

Normally I like to highlight something really cool here. But as I was stuck in suburbia there really isn’t much cool around here. So I’m going to highlight one of my favorite fast food places instead – Chipotle.

The reason I’m highlighting Chipotle isn’t just because of the fact they do great food, which they do. But what I really love is how easy it is to put together a healthy meal there. They let you customize everything. Half the rice, double the black beans, chicken, plenty of pico and corn salsa.

Filling. Healthy. Tasty. Done.

The Travel Note

I’m not going to get into a debate on the effectiveness of the TSA, or if liquids should be banned or not. What I will say, however, is I almost always have at least one Five Hour Energy in my computer bag at all times, and I’ve never had it confiscated. Never.

The Five

Let’s see if I can’t come up with five things about me that I haven’t already mentioned.

  1. I do wish I was a bigger hockey fan. I rather enjoy the sport. But after the strike/lockout and the move to Versus I really lost most of my passion for the sport.
  2. I can’t skate. Or ski. Or snowboard. I’ve lived in cold weather areas for many years, but never took on a cold weather sport. Probably one of many reasons I loathe the cold so much.
  3. At some point I’d like to get laser surgery to correct my eyesight. I just need to get over that concept of someone cutting my eyeball.
  4. If I could pick one feature on any plane, it’d be a power outlet. If I can plug in my laptop I’m a happy man.
  5. I didn’t go to my prom. Karin and I didn’t have a large, extravagant wedding. I don’t feel like I missed anything.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Broken Down

(Editor’s note: I currently have three separate blogs. I’ve decided that trying to come up with ideas for all three is just not going to happen. I’ll still keep the professional blog separate from this one, but you will now occasionally see a running post here. And with that...)

In my preparation for first half marathon I read quite a bit about the training process and how you’d hit different plateaus and struggle at times. But at least for me my experience didn’t match that at all. Certainly the training was hard, but I never once doubted that I could do it. The distances I had to run would occasionally worry me, but not to the point where I really thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Well, that’s changed now that I’m training for the full marathon. I ran 18 miles on Saturday. And I don’t think I’ve recovered yet. I may be fighting something illness wise, or maybe a bit of dehydration, but I’ve just been wiped out these last couple of days. So much so that for the first time in as long as I can remember I bailed on a run partway through – I was only 1.66 miles into a 5 mile run. Add to that the fact that my calf and back are both aching, and this is not a happy runner.

I’ve made the decision already that I’m not going to do my run tonight, and I’m not going to make it up tomorrow.

That’s a hard sentence for me to type. In all my training I’ve been extremely diligent about getting out there and getting in my runs. But I really just can’t do it tonight.

And that sentence scares me.

I know I’ll get there. I know I’ll reread this post on June 6th and smile knowing that I made it. But right now it’s much harder to focus on that through the pain and the exhaustion.

Here’s my first training struggle. Let’s see what happens from here.

On the plus side, I’m loving my new running shoes. :-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Five

The Week

Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but once again I found myself going to Boston Burlington, MA. While I wasn’t able to get down to the city, I was still able to enjoy myself.

The highlight of the week was probably getting a chance to hook up with a friend of mine for dinner; always nice to see another human outside of a work environment during the week. I was also reminded how much I love the feel of New England, especially the Boston area.[1] Of all the parts of the country I’ve been to, New England has held on to their historical feel more than any other. In fact, my running path this week was through a national park that featured some of Paul Revere’s famous ride. On a side note, this was the first time in, well, I think forever, that I was able to get in all three weekday runs outdoors and without the need for cold weather running gear.

The Restaurant

This is from the “where has this restaurant been?” department. About 3 exits away from my hotel sits this converted house that now houses a Chinese restaurant named Shichuan Garden. There’s a dive bar area (where I of course sat), and a main dining room. The food was wonderful – the double cooked fresh bacon[2] with spicy capsicum was outstanding, and the pork dumplings were very good.

But by far what stole the show were the cocktails. Yes, this place features a couple of bartenders that really know how to ply their craft. I started out with a cross between a manhattan and a sazerac[3], which was basically bourbon, Peychaud’s bitters, sweet vermouth and an absinthe wash. Very nice. I was going to switch to a beer after that as the entrĂ©e was rather spicy, but the bartender, Ran[4], said he could come up with a cocktail that would work perfectly – and he was right.

My only regret was that I discovered this place the last night I was in town. Next trip I plan on visiting much earlier in the week; and taking a cab so I can enjoy more than two drinks.

The Travel Note

I recently picked up a self massage stick to help with my sore legs after running. I was hoping to be able to bring it with me on trips, but I found out that TSA has a habit of confiscating them, as they think it could be used as a club. The eternally-13-years-old part of me loves the sentence: The TSA thinks my self massaging stick could be used as a club.

The Five

I don’t know what got me thinking about this, but I was recently kicking around a couple of things in my head that I’m prouder of than I probably should be. With that, here’s 5 things I’m prouder of than I really should be.

  1. Being Yelp Elite. Every year I get very nervous about being selected, and am overjoyed when it happens.
  2. I was part of the first mock trial team in the history of my high school to ever win a case in competition. I was also the first attorney they picked to do both two cross examinations and the closing argument, as they thought I could think quick on my feet.[5]
  3. I was third in the Pinewood Derby.
  4. I graduated 7th out of 233 kids from high school. I also had a perfect math score on my ACTs.
  5. Hitting elite level on any travel rewards program. It’s nice because I love the perks. The problem, of course, is that whole not being home thing.

[1] Sorry, Mom. I’m not moving back to the area.
[2] I ran 5 miles before dinner. I’m allowed, right?
[3] Two of my favorite cocktails if you’re new here.
[4] That’s his name
[5] They also forced me to keep one hand in my pocket and hold a portfolio in the other so I’d stop talking so much with my hands.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Five

The Week

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth saying again – there are weeks when I find out I’m going to Chicago! And then later find out that the real fact is I’m headed to a suburb a solid 20 miles outside of the city. Granted, I was teaching a bootcamp this week, meaning I was “on the clock” from 8:30a-8:00p so I wouldn’t have had much time to actually get out and do anything anyway. But it still would have been nice to have been in downtown Chicago.

In any event, while I wasn’t able to get out to the city, I was still able to get in my runs through a little creative planning. One was on a treadmill, but the other two were through a nice forest reserve just around the corner from where I was staying. I’d run through there before, and I’m here to tell you it’s gorgeous. Well, it’s gorgeous when it’s green. It was still rather brown as winter has just finally ended here.

And I’d also be remiss if I left off a mention of the weekend. Susan, my partner in the IT Grand Prix, brought her husband and kids out for a vacation in San Diego. They had a fantastic time doing all the tourist things that Karin and I never find time to do. This past Saturday marked the third weekend in a row that we’ve double dated. That will be coming to an end this weekend, as Karin and I won’t be going out to Ottawa, even if it is our turn.

The Restaurant

This week I want to go a little more low-brow, and highlight my favorite sub shop chain – Jersey Mike’s. Being from New Jersey[1]I’m used to certain foods a certain way – cheesesteaks, pizza, bagels, and subs. Having been out of the state for a good 19 years now, I’ve grown accustomed to simply giving up hope of enjoying those items the way they were meant to be made.

Thus enter Jersey Mike’s. Jersey Mike’s is a sub shop based out of ... wait for it ... Jersey. Their subs feature different types of spiced ham, plenty of meat, and a good amount of olive oil, vinegar and spices. They just pile everything on there. And the bread is nice and hearty.

If you want to pick up a Jersey accent, find your nearest Jersey Mike’s, order a #5 Mike’s Way, add pickles. And even if you don’t want the accent, it’s still an amazing sandwich.

The Travel Note

See below.

The Five

Five travel items.

I generally leave every tag on my roller bag. I’m not quite sure why I started it, but it’s now become a thing. I will say it does make it easier to spot.

  1. I believe luggage locks are the most useless things on the planet. If someone wants to get into your bag, they’re going to get into your bag.[2]
  2. I’m glad to see more airlines are moving to mobile boarding passes. More secure and more convenient FTW![3]
  3. Despite the fact that Lindberg Field (San Diego’s airport) has a propensity for fog, I’ve yet to be diverted or have a missed approach there.
  4. The only missed approach I’ve been a part of was when Karin and I were flying into Melbourne. I don’t think we’ve ever been bounced around more than that approach and landing. He pulled it off the second time around.
  5. Nobody appreciates the special treatment frequent flyers get more than I do. By far the number one benefit is the ability to cut the line at security.

[1] Thus the nickname.
[2] That said, I do have one on my computer bag. Buy me a drink sometime and I’ll tell you the story; it’s not there for security.
[3] Susan – FTW = For The Win.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Five

The Perspective

There are moments in life that remind you quickly what’s important and what’s trivial. It’s those moments that you realize the vast majority of day-to-day living pales in comparison to why we live life, which is for friends, for love, and for family.

I know that you generally come here for a lighthearted look at mine and Karin’s lives, or out of complete boredom having read everything else on the internet.[1] Unfortunately, that’s going to take a backseat for this Friday Five.

If you haven’t already heard, I apologize that you’re reading it here. But recently Karin’s mother was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. She went in for chemotherapy starting on Monday, and will likely be there for 2-3 more weeks. With that, I’m going to turn the virtual floor over to Karin so she can tell the story.

My Mom, Marcy, was recently diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (ALM). Marcy started chemotherapy on Monday, March 28 and the first couple days of treatment went very well. The doctors and nurses are taking excellent care of her and she is enjoying surprisingly good hospital food!   :-)  We appreciate all prayers and positive thoughts, and wish Mom a speedy recovery!

The Week

There really is no smooth segue from the above into my normal nonsense. There will be plenty of time for me to babble on and on about the trials and tribulations of being me, as if it matters to anyone else. But for this week, that seems neither appropriate nor relevant.

So this is week is dedicated to Marcy. Get well soon.

[1] Sorry, it’s a Harrison trait. We tell jokes. It’s how we cope.