Friday, November 11, 2011

A Tale of Two 10Ks

I had planned to blog last week all about Halloween weekend, and the glorious (and not so glorious) events that transpired surrounding that holiday, but then The Wife blogged about it, and in such a complete and stylish fashion, it seemed like it would be kind of redundant for those of you who read both of our blogs.  So, instead I just decided to link to her post for some of the details.  Look here for information on Julie's lovely sister visiting and our fast-food experience that brought a whole new meaning to the phrase "In-N-Out Burger," and in general, look here for more delightful posts featuring the Most Amazing Cake Ever and sundry amusing things.  I will say briefly: on Halloween night, we went to a party thrown by a mission friend and his wife, and it was fun and we brought leftover Most Amazing Cake Ever and watched Sleepy Hollow and of course came dressed, surprise surprise, like this (we didn't have much time to follow through on The Wife's exciting new costume ideas...  next year!):
So, now, for the real substance of this post.

While Marci was here visiting, we ran the Highway to Hale race, sponsored by the Hale Center Theater in Orem.  We did the 5K at this race last year, and it was pretty fun, but this year we decided to do the 10K.  We just thought it would be nice to see the other course they offer (and thereby avoid the horrid hill that is the last mile of the 5K course).  So on Friday, after our day-long nightmarish bout with food poisoning, we went to bed, hoping that we would feel better by morning.  And we did!  So we had as much breakfast and water as seemed wise and made it through the race.  It wasn't our best race ever, having eaten very little the day before, and as we were still more or less recovering.  I even walked a handful of times, which is something I never do in a race (my pride wanted to shout "I had food poisoning yesterday!" as people ran past me).  I probably pushed myself a little too hard when it came to running, which caused me to have more walking periods, but I go into this race mode where it's hard for me to run slower than I would like/can, especially when my little GPS watch is telling me my pace.  So I felt a little breathless and low on energy at times, but we had a good time, and we prevailed!  We reclaimed our stomachs and finished the race.  I still placed third in my age group, 17th overall, and had a pretty decent time (44:38, 7:29/mile, though it was just under an actual 10K at about 6 miles even), so I wasn't too disappointed.  (Julie, meanwhile, had a great run at a nice, steady pace.)  We decided to forego the suggestion to run in costumes since it was a longer race, though I decided to wear all black and be a running ninja.  We were SO happy to be feeling better, seriously, we were just glad to finish and be well and hungry again.
They just gave medals to the first place in each age group.  I was actually third but the top 2 were overall winners, so I won first by default.  I'll take it!
The next week, after we said a sad goodbye Marci and had Halloween, we had another race, this time the annual First Dam Run in Logan.  We decided to do the 10K again, which we have done previously on this race.  (I think I at least also wanted to redeem myself from the previous week's race...  I mean, I know we were on the other side of a pretty bad illness, but still.)  It's a nice, scenic course, and it's usually nice weather for a long, later-morning run.  On Friday night, we picked up Mom, Amber and Cami and headed up to Grandma's house.  There was a huge rain/snowstorm the whole way up, but we made it all right (though in a longer time than it would normally have taken).  We had a little visit with Grandma and then had a good rest before the 10:00 am start time, which I love.  It was a beautiful, snowy morning, cold but not frigid, and clear and crisp, which I thought was great running weather.  All the ladies decided to do the 10K too, so after gathering everything up (including my iPod, which I forgot at the house, and HAD to rush back to get, only to make it back with moments to spare before the race started), off we went.  It was a much nicer experience than the week before, though I'm a little perplexed that my times for both were pretty similar...  (44:11, 14th overall, 1st in age group, 7:07/mile, though this one was closer to a full 6.2 miles, maybe even a little over, so that could account for the similarities in time)  But Julie cut five minutes off her time from the week before!  Nice work, lovah!
Go me!

Go Cami!
Go Mom!
Go Wife!  You look so tiny in the distance!  You're almost there!
(I ran back to find Julie but by the time I doubled around and cut some corners she was far ahead of me and I couldn't catch up with her by the finish.)
Go Amber!  And random stranger!
Go Grandma!
Waiting for the awards.  It was pretty cold after all.
Woot!  I wasn't expecting that.
Go Team!
So there you go.  Two weeks, two 10Ks.  We are just hardcore that way.  I'm so glad I have a wife who likes to run!  It's a fun hobby that we can do together.  We've been joking lately that if ever anyone were to write a musical about my life, there would be a big belty showstopping ballad entitled "Not Without My Morning Run."  I can already hear it!  Now THAT'S something I want on my running playlist.  And now we can sleep in tomorrow and maybe just take a relaxing regular Saturday morning run.  It's so nice to have cooler running weather.  At least for now.  *cold*  We'll be saying hello again to the treadmills before long.

And just like that, three blogposts in one week.  We shall see what other blog-worthy wonders November will bring!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still Cool

(I promise my 10Ks post is forthcoming, but here's another quick post to further make up for having written none last month.)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the masterpiece that is West Side Story.  Anyone who knows me knows that this (winner of ten 1961 Academy Awards) is one of my very very favorite movies, definitely in my top 10 (it's hard to line them up exactly, but I have a pretty clear top 10 at least), and I listen to the soundtrack on a pretty regular basis, and try to get around to watching it at least once every year.  Recently I learned that in honor of this landmark anniversary, NCM Fathom and Turner Classic Movies were bringing it to Cinemark theaters for one night only.  Some of you may know that we have taken to attending several of these Fathom events in the last year or so, including the 25th anniversary concert productions of both Les Misérables (AWEsome) and The Phantom of the Opera (mostly awesome) broadcast from London, and of course the three-week event of The Lord of the Rings, so when I heard about this one, I thought I really just better go for it or I might regret it forevermore.  Sure it's a little pricy for a movie, especially one that I've seen many times and the special edition DVD boxed-set of which I have sitting right there on the shelf, but I mean, the chance for me, having been born in this generation and all, to see West Side Story on the big screen?  I couldn't pass that up!
So my lovely wife supported me in this and we went to see it and it was just resplendent.  There was a short feature at the beginning where they interviewed a few of the cast and crew, which was pretty interesting, but the real excitement started with that whistled theme introducing the Overture.  It looked so big and beautiful on the movie screen, and I loved every second.  The story is of course wonderful, I mean, it IS basically Shakespeare, and my word, what a score.  (I have many times called it one of the best scores ever written, and I stand by it.  You disagree?  I refuse to allow it!  Ha ha.  But seriously.)  I won't go into a lot of detail, because most everyone has already seen this movie, though if you haven't, you really and truly must.  MUST!  Look, I know they're singing juvenile delinquents and their fighting is heavily (and brilliantly) choreographed, but that is the beauty of it.  Own it, accept it, enjoy it, relish it.  Oh yes, it is relish-worthy.  It does make me very emotional, but in kind of surprising parts.  I don't usually cry at the end (thanks to Cami's a-little-too-accurate impersonation of Maria's brilliant final monologue), though that part does make me sad, but for some reason I find parts like America and Cool really moving.  It's just so good it makes me want to cry.  I mean, just look!--

That's it then, just a brief report that we saw this great movie all big and loud last night and it was wonderful and I never ever ever get tired of it, and it really is one of the best movies ever made.  I was thinking last night of just skipping it, but I'm really glad we went.  No matter how many times I watch it, I still always hope that Tony will be able to stop the rumble or that Anita will somehow get that message through or that Doc won't tell Tony or that Chino won't be waiting there in the shadows and that things will turn out differently, but they never ever do.  *sigh*
Of course two teenagers can fall truly and honestly in love in a matter of moments!  Why not, right?  Poor kids.

So basically you should all watch it again.  :D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rolla! We Went There!

Oh my good heavens, I had a different blogpost almost all ready to go, and then when I was getting pictures off the camera to finish it off, I realized I didn't even blog about our trip to Missouri last month.  This is inexcusable!  For that reason I am going to blog about it now, and leave you all in suspense for just another day or two before I post the one I've already written.  I'm a little embarrassed and a little sad that I didn't blog a single time throughout the entire month of October, but for some reason I just thought there wasn't that much to report (until I just remembered this... *facepalm*).  But I'm sure with the holidays coming up, there will be plenty of occasion to share joyous news and photos with all my clamoring fans.  (Ha.) 

So, the last few times we've been to visit The Wife's family in the midwest it's been for Christmastime, and Julie had been thinking how much she missed seeing her home in the bloom of summer, or at least the leafy colors of fall, so we decided to take our visit a little earlier this year.  We were so excited to get away from work for an entire week and spend time with Mom, Dad, Marci, William, Marissa and even Tyler for a day or two.  It was an awesome vacation, fun and full of family activities, but also really relaxing.  (I mean, we do love our Disney vacations, but seriously, you're going non-stop on a trip like that, and you need a vacation from the vacation.  With this one, though we came home grudgingly, we at least came home feeling relaxed and refreshed.)  It was so great spending time with the kids and playing games with the family (favorites were Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii and Settlers of Catan, of course), shopping at Osage Beach, going to the kids' piano lessons, watching good movies and eating great food, and getting to know the puppy, temporarily named Puppy.  (Puppyyyyy!)  We spent the days:
  • ... Hanging out around the house.  Sometimes there wasn't much to do, and there is nothing wrong with that!
Hee hee hee...  I caught her clandestinely.  I love it when my wife plays the piano.
William just refused to stop losing his teeth.  This was the second one in a week!
Here is Julie patronizing Marissa's shredded carrot stand, which she started when Mom bought a new little kitchen tool.
  • ... Watching the kids play soccer!  William and Marissa both play for local teams, so we were able to see both of them play, either in a game or at practice.
The gals are hip in their shades.
This is me holding a Marissa burrito.
Julie looks great in Marissa's sweater.  She held onto it as we watched her practice.
  • ... Going to an cool international fair at the college.  They had booths for many many international locations, live entertainment, exotic foods to purchase, and passports for the kids to run around to fill with stamps from various countries.  They even had a little petting zoo.
Llama faaaace!
Then we did a little walking around, stopped at the used bookstore, and the kids took turns having piggy-back/shoulder rides.
And then we had our own little international feast of sticky rice and Hmong egg rolls.  They turned out great, if I do say so myself.
Yes, we actually did pack our very own sticky rice pot and basket, just for this very purpose.
It was worth it.  I even made kua txob!
  • ... Attending a ceremony where Tyler was inducted into the local college's hall of fame for his performance as a swimmer during his glory days.  They were even honored at the Homecoming football game, with fireworks and everything!  William was really excited to go to a real football game, though we only stayed there for a few minutes.

You totally love football, don't you Wife?

I really liked the marching band, who did a medley of Michael Jackson songs.  During Thriller they all put down their instruments and did the dance and everything.
  •  ... Visiting nearby Onandaga cave!  Unlike Timpanogos Cave, there was no hike involved whatsoever, but like Timpanogos Cave, it was really cold inside.  It was so cool, and Julie took dozens of photos of pretty neat things (some of which turned out), but I'll just include a very few here.
Those are some humongous stalagmites.  (See Marissa and Dad in the foreground for scale)
Can you see the stairway on the left?  That is one huge flowstone formation!
The lily pad room!

  • ... Running not one, but TWO 5Ks with the family.  Our first Saturday (24 September) we ran on for JDRF's Run to Cure Diabetes at the local Lions' Club Park.  Everyone participated, and Tyler and I both placed in our age group!  (He took 1st, I took 2nd, 21:25, about 6:30/mile, 3rd overall, 2nd in age group.)  It was slightly less than a full 5K, but it was a really nice course on paved paths away from busy roads, and the weather was awesome.
I think this might have been the day William learned that orange peel smile trick.
Marci is hardcore.  I don't think Tyler realized that was the idea for this picture.
Mom says she didn't mean to cover my face, but I just don't know!  I was probably making a ridiculous expression anyway.  Also, Puppyyyyy!
There we go.
I am a champion!
But srsly, I know how to take a normal picture.
Tyler DID get the hardcore memo for this one.
The next Saturday (1 October) Julie, Marci and I ran the Pink Ladies 5K sponsored by the local college and to raise awareness of and funds for breast cancer.  At first I felt a little silly so I was just going to run bandit with the girls, but then I arrived and saw there were a lot of guys running (and the odd he-she... *smh*), so I decided it was okay.  It turned out to be REALLY okay because I placed first in the entire thing!  (20:02, 6:29/mile.)  It was kind of hard and hilly, but it was still fun.  It was a smallish race, but it always feels good when I happen to come in first, even if the circumstances are kind of in my favor. :D  Julie and Marci also did really well, but then we had to rush home and pack up to drive to the airport.
Sisters do as sisters should!  Matching-matching purple-squared.
Puppyyyyy! We were pushing for the name Jude, but the kids weren't entirely sold on it for whatever reason.
Julie loves the puppy too.  (Did I already say "Puppyyyyy!"?)
Why yes, I'm secure enough in my masculinity to wear this shirt.  I wore it all the way home.
  • ... Snuggling with the kitty.  This is Owen, Julie's Kitty Boyfriend.
*jealous husband*
  • ... And then, finally, finally, seeing the Gateway Arch on the way to the airport on our last day.  I've been wanting to see this every time we've been through St. Louis (just because, I mean, well, it's a major national landmark, right??), and we had just enough time.  It was huge!  And very shiny.  And super tall.  Like 600+ feet tall.  Marci didn't do so well with that bit, but I really liked it, especially going up in those space-age elevator pods.
I know this one is blurry, but it's so cute I decided to include it anyway.
It was really windy, if I recall.
And then, alas, it was time to come home.  We were in a huge rush though, so at least it wasn't such a painful and drawn-out goodbye.   We can't wait to come back and visit again!  Thanks for everything, Rolla Crew!
This is Julie's "Phew, we barely made it to our flight, hopefully we get to sit together." (We didn't.)
This is my "We made it to Vegas, this is a really expensive sandwich, hopefully we get to sit together for the last leg of the trip." (We did.)