Holiday Weekend Starts Outside

Happy Weekend everyone. Just a quick update to say this Fourth of July we are sticking close to home and relaxing as much as possible.

You runners know what relaxing means right? Getting outside and getting the miles in. I enjoy my running solo more often than not, but it can get lonely sometimes, be sure to bring a friend.

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Along those lines: Animal had mentioned to me recently that she wanted to go hiking like we had a few times before. I was a bit surprised at this as she is twelve now and not likely to want to have anything to do with her boring stinky old dad.

Yesterday am instead of heading out the door in the am I asked her if she wanted to hike and off we went! Of course we left a note for Sweetums and Lisa.

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We took a short but fun route up to a nearby rock formation I’m fond of. Pretty level at first but it gets steep on the way up.

 

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She took a breather at the top to meditate so I naturally took a Christ-like picture. Because I could.

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She pointed out this nearby rock formation looks like someone mooning us.

On the way home we made a new friend!

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We returned home unbitten but with a few surprise cactus needles in us. Breakfast and then off to the rest of the day. Not a bad way to start a holiday weekend.

I did get out there to prance around the foothills on my own yesterday and today. It feels like a reward to get some sun on my back after running in the dark every morning before work.

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Texas Roadtrip Sweaty Wedding and Chilling at the Beach

Last weekend we took some time off to head over to Texas to attend the wedding of one of my cousins. Lisa and I decided to make it our summer trip and extended the time away from home in order to have a little fun in Texas. We are outdoor folk so we opted to do a little camping on the beach in Galveston, but first: the wedding in Houston.

Hot and sticky Houston.

We camped overnight at a KOA in Arlington on our way to Houston. It was there that I encountered my old nemesis from the Midwest: Humidity.IMG_0265

The air was still and thick. I was instantly reminded of sleepless nights in Minnesota trying to sleep, praying for AC, or a breeze through the window.

The girls slept decently well, as did I. Lisa struggled a bit though and she grumbled at us in the morning but some Starbucks coffee helped to settle that out.

 

Houston

We spent some time in Houston wandering around Discovery Green, which was near our hotel. Local eats and a splash park makes for a good time.

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We even managed to creep on my mother and sister arriving to the hotel. Spotted them right from our room and then sent them sinister texts.

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The wedding was beautiful and low-key but still fancier than I ever dress up. City folk! I pretty nearly tore the head off some of the bridesmaids as we were walking out. They were bitching about how the people with babies couldn’t keep their kids quiet and how they would never let that happen at their wedding. (the italics = snobby voices).

It wasn’t my kids but this selfishness and ignorance pissed me off. These young assholes have never had kids so they don’t fucking know. They don’t know. I had to mentally restrain myself from ripping them a new one. Lisa could see it in me and appreciated my restraint. It happened again at the reception but Lisa reminded me it was not my day.

We let it pass and spent the time at the reception catching up with other family members who had traveled for the event. It was good to see everyone.

Aquarium

Prior to the wedding we spent the day at the Downtown Aquarium. Not the fanciest aquarium I’ve seen but in good shape and just big enough to keep you and the kids busy for a while. We skipped the rides and stuck with the fish. And the tiger. Seriously why a tiger? It was pretty though.

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Misrepresentative I know. They let them in.

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Galveston Pleasure Pier

After the wedding it was OUR time. We chose to head down to Galveston Island to enjoy the Gulf. Animal had only been to the ocean once and doesn’t remember and Sweetums had never been there. First stop the Pleasure Pier.

Note this is the girls first amusement park. We are either terrible or amazing parents. Take your pick.

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It was pretty fucking hot. Lisa melted a little I think.

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We had a good time on the rides but it was more fun playing in the waves on the beach. After a day in the heat (and humidity) we headed for the beach and set up camp. It was much cooler with the constant breeze from the water. The girls fell asleep pretty fast but Lisa and I read a bit.

 

In the morning I had a relaxing 6 mile run on the beach. I did it barefoot which was fun. and the view was pretty good too.

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I met up with Lisa and the girls after and we spent the day playing in the waves. Animal is one hell of a body surfer and Sweetums plays in the surf with the best of them. We even made a couple little friends.

An old friend even decided to swing by and say hello!

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I do want to say: Lisa and I made some amazing little humans. They were patient and excited and amazed throughout the entire trip.

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On our way home we stopped and got a treat. Lisa looks suspiscious but Animal looks happy. Sweetums is drinking my milkshake!

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Despite all the fun and ice cream, we were happy to make it home to dry, arid (4% humidity) though still hot New Mexico.

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Enjoy your summer. Stay safe and cool in the heat.

 

I’m still Running

I’ve been a bit silent on my running habit lately. I think. Well even if I haven’t here comes a quick update on that.

Back in April I completed the Cedro Peak 50k as I previously mentioned. That was my last official race and I don’t have anything on the books until La Luz in August. So I’m just running my daily schedule.

Work held a company 5k at the end of May. Not many of the engineers decided to come out but it was fun. Good weather and a fast flat course. Same as last time. This time however I was the winner. I finished in 20:56 which is about 20 seconds faster than last time. I even sprinted at the end. It was fun.

My Mile

If you haven’t seen it yet Strava is holding a Mile PR event for June. #mymile they are calling it. Just run a mile and do what you can. Might even win some shoes.

I figured I’d give it a shot because I run every damn day anyway (not Mondays though, those are rest days). So last Wednesday I booked it during the last of my mile intervals. According to the Garmin on my wrist I achieved a PR of 6:12. Strava doesn’t account for the 1 min rests after each of the four intervals so I looks like I’m a bit slower.

Anyway I’m pretty happy with that. I’ll try again next Wednesday.

Todays Run

Holy shit I can ramble. The whole reason I hopped on here was to make a quick blup about today’s run because I had such fun. I’m adding up the miles and the elevation in prep for La Luz. Last week that meant 11 Miles round trip up La Luz Trail itself.

Today I ran out my front door and up Bear Canyon and Embudito Trail. Just beautiful. Hot and lots of up but beautiful.

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View down the canyon/arroyo from the bench.
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Who put this bench up here?
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That’s where I’m going.
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Turn around point.
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Cholla cactus blooming.

 

It was fun. It was hot and horrid but such fun and so much beauty to experience. Oh and I think every cicada in ABQ is alive and buzzing up the canyon. They were so LOUD you could have heard them through your earbuds. Glorious.

I pray you get out and enjoy that which fills your bucket.

Birthday Shenanigans!

Not really any shenanigans but plenty of fun. Last week saw both of our girls celebrating birthdays. Yes they are five years and two days apart. Yes it is fun but also kind of a lot. Mostly fun though.

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Animal turned twelve this year. She’s a “young” twelve though. I think so anyway. She’s not into the pop culture and drama that seems typical of preteens and teens today. I know it’s coming but for now I’m happy to encourage he to keep reading a book a day. Srsly.

Animal made her own cake with a mold recently sent by my mother. She’s really good at this stuff.

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What’s with the face?

Animal didn’t want a party. Too cool for that I guess or maybe it’s not cool enough? I don’t know, I heard that somewhere.

Anyway she will get a day to herself where she gets to dictate the meals and events that take place. Probably we’ll end up at home reading then watching Avatar: Legend of Korra. Sounds good to me.

While we were at Sweetum’s party I did manage to snag a picture of her that, well it is just beautiful:

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Sweetums

Two days later on Friday was Sweetums birthday. She’s seven now. Damn they grow fast. They also made a cake with the mold sent by my mother. It turned out as great as Animal’s cake. These ladies are strong bakers.

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We met her at school during the day for a special lunch (Blake’s Lotaburger), followed by donuts for the class as a treat. In turn they treated me to a concert of sone songs they had prepared for Mother’s Day that I (as a dude) did not get to see. Great fun!

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Saturday we held a big party for Sweetums. She basically keeps asking for the same party so we keep delivering. As long as she likes it she will get it.

Sweetums party recipe: Jumper, Party Games, Food.

That’s it. A hot air balloon themed jumper which is fitting for New Mexico. Kids love that shit. Lisa put together a number of games for the kids to play. Water Balloon toss, Donut eating and Something about pouring water over their heads into the cups behind them. I dunno where she got them all but the kids loved them. Messy silly wet fun. What else do you need to keep people happy?

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Lisa getting in on the fun.
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Balloons!
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Tossing balloons
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Eating donuts hanging from a string.
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Surprisingly good at this.

They kids and the adults had a lot of fun. Lisa has received a number of compliments of the party. No one has said shit to me. I didn’t do much planning, just set up but still why assume she did all the work? The nerve!

I am incredibly grateful to have Lisa here to plan and coordinate such events. I am a lucky husband and father to such amazing girls.

Happy Birthday everyone!

What are your favorite party games from childhood?

Weekend Fun, Birthdays and News!

As usual life keeps moving no matter how much I want to sit down and read. Seriously. I’m 2/3rd of the way through Cibola Burn by local authors James S.A.Corey. I hope I meet these guys in a local coffee shop someday just to thank them for the well-written books and consistent characters. Never before have I wanted so badly to play a character in a movie or TV show before reading Holden AND Bull. I guess my chance for Holden as passed but we haven’t gotten to Bull yet.

Weekend Fun

My aunt and her whole family came into Albuquerque this weekend to attend a wedding. WE had limited time with them so we did what New Mexicans do best: eat breakfast burritos. Normally Lisa and I don’t eat this way to be honest but you make accommodations for family. We picked up a variety of burritos, a cornucopia of carne if you will, some Frontier sweet rolls and had at it. We went with Golden Pride, a local chain that consistently wins “Best of the City”. None of them were disappointed.

After breakfast we took them up the Tram to Sandia Peak. It went by a little fast seeing as they had to get back and get ready for their wedding but then again the view from the mountain is stunning no matter how short it may be.

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That night the middle-school choir had a celebratory BBQ. I dunno why. What makes coir so special they put together their own year-end shindig? Meh, it was food so we went along to participate. Sort of. Animal got their with her peers and proceded to ignore them all and read. I have trained her well.

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Then Lisa and Sweetums and I played frisbee, because I always keep one in the truck for just such an emergency occasion. You just never know.

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was pretty low-key which as it turns out is exactly what we all needed. The Baha’i Junior Youth took Animal out for her upcoming birthday (Wednesday), Lisa headed off to do some solo shopping and Sweetums and I hit the links! The Mini-Golf links. Putt-putt actually, yes the one mentioned in Breaking Bad, and yes it is the Bomb.

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After that we came back to the house and rested. WE watched a little bit of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We finished Book One of Legend of Korra, but the girls wanted a refresher on the original. I spent some time in the hammock with my new old friend James Holden and tonight American Gods.

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News

The big news is that I have been approved to host an after school Dungeons & Dragons activity next year! That gives me the summer to put together a campaign for an unknown number of middle-schoolers. The coordinator scared me by mentioning up to 60 kids sign up but then she said most groups settle in at around 15-20. That’s still a lot but manageable. Still, I would have found a way to make 60 work (with help). If a kid wants to come and play D&D, I’m not turning them away.

So lots to do on this front. I’ll keep you updated as I’m very excited about it and Animal has said she’ll be in my club and she’s willing to DM too!

What do you have coming up? How was Mother’s Day?

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Meeting Reflections 05-03-2017

     Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

     On the other hand—and strange as this may seem to those who do not understand—once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules. ~Big Book of AA pages xxviii-xxix

It’s been awhile since I was at a meeting. Life has been busy and finding time for a meeting has not been a priority. Mind you I do not believe my sobriety/sanity is in jeopardy after a couple weeks, but it just feels so much better to get into a room full of alcoholics working towards a better way.

I like this reading. It’s a popular one and something that always jumps out at me is the phrase “cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false“. That was me for sure. I jumped so far into that illusory world of alcohol that I didn’t know up from down left from right or right from wrong.

I spent my time with people who were doing the same awful things as I was or other awful things so my moral compass was not correctly calibrated. Since everyone around me was doing shitty things or the same atrocious things I was, What I was doing must not be that bad I guess! A clear case of the blind being led by the fucked up.

It was an endless cycle of misery. Doing the awful shit I was doing and continuing to spiral down because I couldn’t see a way out. Nor did I want one. Sure I knew on some level I was a shit-bird. That’s why I hid things from my wife and kids, from my family and friends. I knew “normal” people would look on me in disgust but I knew no other way.

In some ways I was comfortable with my alcoholism and lying and cheating. I was a piece of shit but I knew how to live life that way for while it lasted. Getting clean, coming clean was scary as fuck. I knew nothing about a normal life even before I started drinking.

A higher power, AA and honesty have enabled me to have that psychic change. Drastically and gradually I have become…me and not what I was before. I am amazed at how easy it is to live life. I’m not in control (never was) and I don’t have the answers to what obstacles will come.

What I do have is the willingness to do whatever work may be necessary to overcome or mitigate those obstacles and to admit that I can’t do it. I need my higher power who manifests through everyone and everything I encounter to show me I am not alone and together I will endure.

~Josh~

Cedro Peak 50k

Last Saturday was my first race of the 2017. The Cedro Peak 50k here in beautiful Tijeras, New Mexico. Seriously this one is in my backyard. And my backyard is beautiful.

Leading up to the event I had not been running as much as I would have liked. We had just finished a weight loss challenge at work and I had dropped my weekly mileage in favor of adding some weight-lifting/body-weight routines into the mix. Therefore instead of 30-40 mile weeks with appropriate long runs I was running approximately 20 – 30 miles at most with my longest run at 15 miles the week before the race.

I’ve been running nearly every day for years so I wasn’t afraid of being complete shit out there but I wanted to perform well.

0700 start meant a 0630 check in. It was cold and cloudy. Meaning we were in the clouds. Yeah that happens at 7600′. Still it was fun to be ready to go and feel the energy coming off all the people huddled into their sweatshirts.

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Shorts and no sleeves was a bad choice for the cold.

The sun was obscured for the first three hours. At first it was just cold but as the day progressed it stayed mercifully cool, never breaching 60º. Perfect running weather.

I felt strong and really tried to let my body guide me through this race. I ran whatever felt comfortable not what pace I wanted my Garmin to say. Turns out I was doing alright.

I averaged 12:29/mile, which is pretty god for 31 miles. On top of that I averaged 150bpm which means I was working aerobically the majority of the time.

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Cedro Peak in the distance
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Climbing the road to the peak.

 

Last year I DNF’d at Deadman Peaks due to GI issues so that was my biggest worry for Cedro. However I was able to eat anything and everything I wanted and I had no issues hydrating. I topped of at each Aid Station and ate whatever I felt like. Guacamole wraps, bacon, handfuls of M&M’s and Fig Newtons were my picks.

I generally alternated between filling up with Tailwind or water and I would drink whatever water or soda was available. This included picking up a cup of Mountain Dew (which I detest) only to find that is was not Mountain Dew but it was Pickle Juice. I was NOT disappointed.

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View from the Peak.

If you are looking for a Great race, this is one of them. Beautiful terrain, technical but runnable and exceptionally well manned and appropriately spaced Aid Stations. The longest spacing was 8 miles and that one felt like forever! Kim King does a fantastic job putting this race together.

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I followed this guy for much of the way. We’re twinsies.

Lisa and the girls were waiting for me as I crossed the finish line. Thankfully they hadn’t been waiting long. We’re doing this thing now where they meet me at the end and avoid the all-day waiting that happens at ultra races. I was very happy to see them. I always am.

I was also happy to have had such a solid race. It felt good and wasn’t a slog-fest to the end. Made a couple trail friends along the way and got to spend Earth Day outside in the best playground of all.

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