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Reception slideshow video

June 30, 2015 |  by  |  Personal  |  1 Comment

Well, Sara and I are back from our honeymoon and from our reception in Orange County. Our month of celebration is officially over. There’s lots of photos of the wedding, honeymoon and 2nd reception to share, but there’s so little time!

Here’s the slideshow we played at the reception in Orange County that I made. Most of the wedding photos are crowd-sourced by friends and family since our photographers only provided six photos. The photos of Sara and I as children were used as the table numbers at the Colorado wedding, but served double duty for this slide show.

I used an app called Animoto to make the slideshow video. It was super easy to use and it looks professionally produced! I did a one month subscription just to export this video, but I decided to purchase an entire year since the results look so good.

I hope you enjoy the video! If you were able to attend the wedding, I hope you get to relive some of the moments. If you couldn’t attend, I hope the video gives you a good idea of what the wedding was like!

I’m married!

June 9, 2015 |  by  |  Denver, Personal  |  1 Comment

Well, I’m married!

I do!

I do!

I’m back at work for a week before I head off to the Big Island in Hawaii with my wife (!!!) for our honeymoon. Even though our wedding weekend was long and exhausting, it also felt like a whirlwind at the same time.

Unfortunately, I’m going through some post-wedding blues right now. I had so many close friends and family come from to the wedding, from as close as Denver to as far as Taiwan. People from every phase of my life came…family friends from when I was still in a diaper, elementary school to high school to college to grad school friends to current and former coworkers. We were showered with love the entire weekend and like I said in a prior blog post, what a humbling feeling.

I had amazing friends that helped Sara and I the entire weekend. I have to specifically single out both Kevin and Hoa, who I just cannot thank enough for their tireless work the entire weekend. My stress levels would have been at least tripled if it weren’t for them. My groomsmen, Vu, Edgar, Arjun, Travis, Ben, Darren and Ricky and usher, Rishi, all went above and beyond the call of duty for Sara and me during the weekend. Everyone should have friends as good as mine.

I could’ve spent the entire weekend with any of my friends and relatives who came for the wedding, but I only feel like I got to spend minutes with any particular person. I guess that’s just a given for weddings and people understand and don’t take it personally, but I still wish that I spent more time catching up with my cousins, relatives and friends. To dovetail that last thought, I also wish I had taken more photos with more people.

After seeing afternoon thunderstorms and hail pound the Denver-area in the days preceding the wedding, we were resigned to an indoor wedding. But the weather on Saturday at 5:30 PM was perfect!

I could wax poetic about my wedding for another few pages since I’m still floating on cloud nine, but I’ll cut it short for now. There’s just so much to talk about. I’m sure Sara will start blogging about our wedding as well on our our (soon-to-be-converted-to-a-blog) website.

Just six more days before THE big day

June 1, 2015 |  by  |  Personal  |  No Comments

With just six days to go before the wedding, here’s a snapshot of our lives: our house is littered with all sorts of everything…tablecloths, napkins, wedding favors, pictures, centerpieces, decorations and more. I can’t take more than ten steps in the basement without tripping over something wedding-related. Generous wedding gifts have already been arriving from our registries and it still feels like Christmas every time we open up one of those boxes. Every conversation between anyone is dominated by “the wedding”; even my blog was not unscathed. Empty Amazon and Williams-Sonoma boxes are overflowing from my recycling bin, with even more empty boxes sitting in my garage. The fire marshal would be less than pleased. Phone calls and emails to and from vendors are frequent and unrelenting. Our emails to our wedding party are equally unrelenting. Sara and I have been hard at work working on center pieces and decorations, agonizing over wedding timelines and fretting over other minute details.

It’s choreographed madness and yet its all coming together.

It’s a whirlwind of non-stop activity that all comes to a head soon. My immediate family arrive in a couple days, followed by more friends and family and then even more friends and more family. Sara’s friends and family are also on the way. All roads lead to Denver! It’s going to be a few days of non-stop activity, liveliness and laughter, as our friends and family come together to celebrate our happiness, love and future. To most people at the wedding, June 6th is just one more day of their lives. But for Sara and me, it’s the biggest day of the rest of our lives.

I think we’ll be a little sad once the dust settles and the chaos ends, once the last car door slams shut, the final flight takes off and all of our visitors are gone. But the sadness won’t last long, because we’ll be married and embarking on a new chapter of both of our lives.

Race recap: BolderBoulder 10K (2015)

June 1, 2015 |  by  |  Running  |  No Comments

I ran BolderBoulder again last week, my third time running the race. On the Thursday before the race, I tweaked my back while I was foam rolling, so I had to skip my final tuneup run that was scheduled for Saturday. I took it easy on my back all weekend in hopes that the pain would go away before race day Monday. My back felt good enough to where I was able to drag Sara to Flatirons Running on Saturday to meet Kara Goucher though!

Kara Goucher and me

Kara and me at

On Monday, I had planned on taking the bus up to Boulder like last year, but I woke up early enough to where I could still drive, park and make it to my wave start in time. I left an hour and a half before my wave started and I just made it to my wave on time. The weather was almost perfect that day; there was a bite in the morning chill, but the sun was out and warmed me up.

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Running with Eric (he’s to my right)

After I ran a half mile warmup and using the port-a-potty, I met up with Eric and we were able to chat for a couple minutes before the race started. I ran the first 5K of the race with Eric and we continued talking about our training, wedding planning, etc. Soon after, we passed the halfway mark, I was still feeling really strong so I surged forward and promised to meet up after the race. By the time I finished mile 4, I was starting to feel gassed, since the biggest hills of the race were between miles 2-4. But I knew that I only had a couple miles to go, so I kept turning my legs over and pushed hard. At mile 5, my legs were crying uncle and my lungs were burning but I turned up the pace even more.

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Finish chute

I entered Folsom Field after charging up the last hill and finished with 52:25, a new PR for me by 33 seconds! Here’s my pace from last year vs. this year:

2014 2015
Mile 1 8:24/mi 8:33/mi
Mile 2 8:18/mi 8:29/mi
Mile 3 8:55/mi 8:36/mi
Mile 4 8:24/mi 8:15/mi
Mile 5 8:23/mi 8:07/mi
Mile 6 8:13/mi 8:02/mi
52:58:00 52:25:00
I ran this year in honor of Sara's grandfather Art, a WWII veteran.

I ran this year in honor of Sara’s grandfather Art, a WWII veteran.

Obligatory selfie

Obligatory selfie

I negative split the race again this year. Last year, I was much faster the first two miles of the race, but this year I was much faster on the back half of the 5K.

Next race: Portland Marathon in October. I’ll probably sneak in a half marathon before then though…

Miles of Miles

May 29, 2015 |  by  |  Pets & Animals, Running  |  1 Comment

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Despite the heavy rains and the late snowstorms we got hit with here in the Denver area, spring is upon us! And now that it’s nice(r) out, I don’t have to worry about Miles pulling hard on the leash at an inopportune time (mostly while we’re precariously going over a patch of ice) anymore!

I’ve been running with Miles a lot more often, but it’s been a lot of trial and error trying to get him to be a good running buddy. He’s still not a perfect running dog (I’d rate him a 7 out of 10 on a good day), but it’s night and day compared to when we first started.

When we first started running together, I used a normal collar and a retractable leash. But because of Miles’ high prey drive/chase instinct and just plain old poor leash manners, I’d get my arm sockets yanked out whenever he saw other dogs, squirrels, ducks, birds, etc. And he would choke himself trying to get to whatever he was trying to get to. Next, I tried using a belt leash, but having my midsection constantly pulled was even worse, especially when going over patches of ice.

milesofmiles2

Finally, we found a working solution: using a prong collar with the leash belt seems to be the best answer so far. He still runs in front of me (instead of by my side) and pulls a little bit, but it’s workable and we’re both happier now. He doesn’t choke himself since the prong collar makes it uncomfortable for him if he pulls on the leash.

I’m happy that I finally have my four-legged running buddy! The longest run we’ve gone on together is six miles, but we’ve been comfortable going 3-4 miles at a time as we build up endurance together. He has officially earned his name.

My first track workout

May 29, 2015 |  by  |  Running  |  No Comments

This past Wednesday, I joined the Arvada Triathlon Club and the Arvada Running Club for a track workout. I had never done a track workout before and I was still recovering from Monday’s BolderBoulder, so I was a little nervous about this workout; I almost wimped out and went for an easy run, but I figured I just needed to do it. Mental fortitude, people.

There were four pace groups running that day: a marathon group, half marathon group, 5k/10k group and a non-race oriented group. Each group had a different workout to do…I was impressed by the organization and thought that went into the training plans.

I joined one other runner in the marathon training group and we were joined part of the workout by the track coach, Lani. Our workout consisted of:

  • One mile warmup
  • 2x 1200m run at 10K pace with 1 minute break (to build up lactic acid)
  • 4x 200m intervals at 5k pace with 200m recovery after each interval
  • 1200m cooldown

Total mileage was 4.48 miles and it definitely kicked my butt. I’m about four months out from Portland now, so it’s important for me to starting building up my speed, endurance and mental toughness on race day. I can tell that this is the type of workout that I will dread doing and hate while I’m doing it, but it will be worth doing in the long run.

My dad’s lifelong love affair with German shepherds

May 26, 2015 |  by  |  Personal, Pets & Animals  |  No Comments

I recently blogged about my lifelong love affair with German shepherds and I briefly touched on my family/late uncle’s love of the breed.

I was searching for something in my email inbox and I happened across this email that my dad forwarded me a couple of years ago. The original correspondence was between my dad and my cousin about one of my uncle’s German shepherds, not long after my uncle passed away:

From: My dad
To: My cousin Paul
Date: March 21, 2013
I remember those days. This is one of his fantasies – law enforcement and German shepherd (which means authority). We had our first GS when we were in high school. I used all my saving to buy a puppy, Kuro. We loved him so much. There were no dog food available at that time so we need to cook the dog food each morning before school. Our father was not happy about that he thought we  spent too much time with the dog and not STUDY(sounds familiar?) He gave the dog away. For many days we rode the bikes looking all allover the possible places finally find the dog and brought him back. Your grandfather eventually gave in and became attached to the dog as well. This is about 50 years ago, oh no, I am so old.

This is the type of story about my dad (and uncle) I love to read about! It’s hard for me to relate to their childhoods because the environment in which they grew up in is so different than mine. They were raised in Taiwan under martial law in the 50s and 60s whereas I grew up comfortably in Southern California suburbia. I still think about my uncle a lot and I really wish he could’ve been here for my wedding…he was my only uncle that lived near me when I was young. I’m glad all of his children/my cousins can make the wedding, even if it’s logistically hard for them because they all have kids. Reading stories like this helps me relate to my dad and uncle and understand them more.

One year down, two weeks to go

May 23, 2015 |  by  |  Personal  |  2 Comments
Proposing to Sara

It wasn’t as cold as it looks

Exactly one year ago (and I do mean exactly one year…I think I’m within an hour or so!) I proposed to Sara at Rocky Mountain National Park. And every morning since then, I wake up I thank God that she said ‘Yes!’

But actually, she didn’t say ‘yes’ at first. In fact, she exclaimed, “What?! NO!!!” because she was (hopefully) so surprised that I was proposing. But after what she made sense of what I was doing, then she said yes! She left me hanging there for about five seconds.

Exactly two weeks from now, I will be watching the love of my life and my best friend walk down the aisle to marry me. We’ve had a fairly long engagement of a year and two weeks. It’s been a fairly leisurely engagement for the most part, but now that we’re in the home stretch, things are starting to get crazy.

I’m beyond thrilled that we both have family coming in from near and far (as far as Taiwan!) and our closest friends from every phase of my life flying in to Denver just celebrate with us. I hope that it is a reflection of Sara’s and my character that people are willing to sacrifice not only their own time but also in some cases, a significant amount of money to see us enter the next phase of our lives. It truly humbles me.

I hope these two weeks go by fast because I can’t wait!

Kansas Trip, May 2015

May 22, 2015 |  by  |  Personal, Photography, Travel  |  No Comments

I had the opportunity to go to Lawrence, Kansas this past weekend to attend the hooding and commencement ceremonies for my sister-in-law-to-be Becky, who recently received her PhD in anthropology at the University of Kansas. It was a huge accomplishment for her so I was thrilled to be invited to go to KU to celebrate with her and the Crosthwait family. The trip I planned last year to go to Lawrence with my parents and Sara to do a triathlon stalled out (after I paid my race entry fees of course) so this was officially my first trip back to Lawrence in about 30 years.

But enough about making this about me! We drove from Colorado straight to Kansas City on Friday and after gorging on Kansas City BBQ, we settled in for the night, tired from the 8+ hour drive.

We made it to campus on Saturday morning and walked around a little bit. I went nuts at the gift shop to buy things for my family.

kugradh

Follow the brick road

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The intersection of Jayhawk and Lilac

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East coast-style architecture

We went to two ceremonies, the hooding ceremony for all doctoral candidates and the commencement ceremony for all 2015 KU grads. The hooding ceremony was obviously more intimate, with such a smaller number of doctoral candidates compared to undergrads and masters candidates.

KU department heads and distinguished guests

KU department heads and distinguished guests

Becky getting her hood

Becky getting her hood

All the smartpants leaving the ceremony

All the smartpants leaving the ceremony

The next day was the big commencement ceremony for everyone.

KU's football stadium

KU’s football stadium

Where all the grads walk down into the stadium

Where all the grads walk down into the stadium

Sara and me again

Sara and me again

Sara and me

Sara and me

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It was a great trip. I was happy to spend time in a city and a university that has significance to not only my family but also Sara’s family. I don’t think my parents are super-psyched about visiting Lawrence any time soon (for whatever reason) but I still want to visit with my parents (and hopefully sister) so they can share some of their memories of their younger years with us.

Summerfield Hall - This is where my dad (allegedly) spent all of his time at KU. Beth, any relation??

Summerfield Hall – This is where my dad (allegedly) spent all of his time at KU. Beth, any relation??

Allen Field House, home of the Jayhawks basketball team

Allen Field House, home of the Jayhawks basketball team

It's not a trip to Kansas without a tornado watch

It’s not a trip to Kansas without a tornado watch

Where we ate:

We had some authentic Kansas City BBQ at Jack Stack Barbecue at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City on the Missouri (Misery) side of Kansas City.  I opted for the Jack’s Best combo platter, with a Crown Prime Beef rib, pork ribs and beef burnt ends. The burnt ends were juicy, fatty and mouthwatering. The beef rib was outstanding; it was probably the best beef rib I’ve ever eaten. The pork ribs were really good as well, but definitely weren’t show stoppers.

Sandwiches were eaten at WheatFields Bakery and Cafe in Lawrence. The bread there was so good! Maybe it’s because the wheat is so “fresh” and locally sourced or maybe its all the flavor baked into their brick oven, but the bread just tasted really good. I have no idea what I ate since Sara chose for me, but whatever it was, it was delicious.

We officially celebrated Becky’s graduation at 715 on Massachusetts Street.  The lasagna bolognese was okay, the sauce didn’t seem very seasoned when it came to the table. But once I added some table salt, it kicked the flavor back into high gear. The bites of steak I stole off Becky’s plate were delicious! If I ever go back, I’m opting for steak.

Weekend celebration festivities were closed out with a hibachi lunch at Kokoro. The restaurant was actually closed when we got there, but when they saw a big group of 12 hungry people, they immediately unlocked the doors and let us in.

An obligatory quick stop was made at The Bourgeois Pig for coffee and/or cocktails. It was hippy and counter-culture enough to be at home in Berkeley, Santa Cruz or Boulder…I could definitely imagine working on papers over wine and/or coffee there.

We also meandered over to the oldest brewery in Kansas, Free State Brewing. There wasn’t much time for more than a beer, so I gave the Copperhead Pale Ale a try, on recommendation from an old coworker’s husband. It was hoppy and delicious, but not overwhelmingly hoppy. I wish they sold this stuff in Colorado, it has such a unique flavor since they dry hop the beer after brewing.

A lifelong Jayhawk

May 20, 2015 |  by  |  Basketball, Personal  |  1 Comment

I’ve mentioned in prior blog posts that my dad got his MBA from KU and turned us all into Jayhawk fans. So even though I never attended the school and I only lived there for a couple years as a baby, I still consider myself a lifelong Jayhawk fan. I know my sister feels the same way too; she graduated from UCLA (B.A.) and the University of Oregon (J.D.), two Pac12 powerhouses, but the only collegiate apparl she wears is KU. Both of my alma maters don’t have cheerable Div. 1 sports teams (minus DU’s hockey team) so I don’t have that problem :)

Since I’ve been scanning a ton of old photos of me as a kid, I’ve noticed that I’m decked out in KU gear in a lot of them. A small sampling:

lifelongjayhawk

My parents got my sister and I had a lot of KU gear when we were kids. I finally got the opportunity to return the favor this past weekend when I visited KU’s campus bookstore: I got my parents and sister a bunch of KU tshirts, golf shirts, other apparel and random golf accessories. I treated myself a couple items as well…so now I’m an apparel-official KU fan again.

Now when does NCAA basketball season start???