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Another mile, another ache

March 26, 2015 |  by  |  Running  |  No Comments

I took six days off of running two weeks ago after having some really bad shin splints and started running again last Tuesday. After self-diagnosing the cause of my bad shin splints as a result of poor running form, I decided to “fix” myself with some of Doug Wisoff’s 60-minute wisdom. I forgot his exact metaphor, but he encouraged us to imagine our legs as a bicycle crank, with a fluid turnover and motion. Well, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I think I tried to imagine my legs as a bike crank a little too much, because now my left hip flexor/IT band are really tight and sore.  I’ll keep the volume down this week again and continue stretching/foam rolling. In a way, I’m glad this is happening now and not while I’m training for the Portland Marathon (knock on wood.) But on the plus side of things, my shins feel a-okay again.

Too good to be true? Too good to be true! Part 2

March 26, 2015 |  by  |  Interests  |  No Comments

This is the closest I’ll probably ever get to being a detective, so please bear with my cyber sleuthing.

More hints and clues that I will be receiving junk in the mail soon:

The item was supposed to have shipped from Boca Raton, Florida.

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Let’s revisit the Google search for the seller’s username from my previous post:

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I don’t even know why I’m protecting the seller’s username…

 

Checks out. Boca Raton, Florida.

But the tracking says…

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International shipment? Last I checked, Florida is still a United State. There’s another red flag.

 

And my final clue? This feedback on the seller that just got posted today.

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A negative comment with a positive feedback rating? Ooookay…

I sure can’t wait to get home to check out my sweet new FOakleys! I hope the dispute process on eBay isn’t too drawn out, even though the seller asked me to, “Please don’t open a dispute at ebay . I hope us cooperate happy !

So remember people, if it’s too good to be true…

Too good to be true? Too good to be true! Part 1

March 26, 2015 |  by  |  Interests  |  No Comments

I like Oakley sunglasses. Nay, I love Oakleys. But the only thing I like better than Oakleys is a good deal on Oakleys. So when I saw a listing on eBay for some Oakley Radar Path glasses that I’ve been eyeing for 70% off, I instinctively knew it was too good to be true. But the seller had good feedback (all as a buyer, admittedly) and had a bunch available to be sold, so I gave it some consideration. Since eBay, PayPal and Mastercard will all protect the buyer on eBay transactions, I figured the risk was low for me. So I decided to give it a shot. I was 95% sure that I was either going to get FOakleys (Fake Oakleys) or nothing at all, but after receiving this email today, that estimate has gone up to 99.9%:

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So that’s not to say that people who speak/type broken English aren’t trustworthy, buuutttttttttt…everything screams fishy. Why? Because a cursory Google search of this username netted someone who left Walmart reviews in fluent, native-sounding English:

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The shades arrive today or tomorrow according to USPS’ awful package tracking mechanism. I can’t wait to see what I get…

A patrimonial Crosthwait gift

March 23, 2015 |  by  |  Personal  |  No Comments

While we were in Brush! this past weekend, Sara’s grandfather surprised me with a gift. As they were leaving to go home, he stopped me and took his hat off.

Grandpa Art: Hey Phil, can you fit this?
Me (slightly wary of a potentially sweaty sweatband): Oh sure, let me see!
Me: Yup, it fits!
Grandpa: Well, it’s yours. It’s a gift from me to you for your wedding shower.

Well, I didn’t know what to say! You don’t just take somebody’s hat from them, especially when you know it is a beloved hat! I politely insisted that he should keep it, but he turned around and insisted that I take it. And with that, I got a cowboy hat! I’ve always wanted one, but it’s nice that this one has really special meaning.

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A road runner pin, the state bird of New Mexico. Is there significance to it? I’m not sure.

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The feather of a pheasant, which he raised as a hobby last year.

 

When I walked back into Sara’s parents’ house, everybody ooh-ed and ah-ed over the fact that he gave me the hat off his head. When I told her dad that the hat came from “Sammy’s Saddlery & Western Wear” in Brush, he seemed surprised…he said that the store had been closed for decades now! That makes the hat that much more unique and special.

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Google turned up an image of the old saddlery building:

A photo of old Sammy's Saddelry (photo credit: drkenjones.com)

A photo of old Sammy’s Saddelry (photo credit: drkenjones.com)

 

I also found an excerpt from the Brush Chamber news about the building and saddlery:

HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT BRUSH BUILDINGS – 105 Clayton Street constructed in 1893. Originally the building’s south half had the address of 444 Clayton and the North half had the address of 445 Clayton. Between 1904 and 1910 the south half of the building was a drugstore, while the north half was a barbershop. By 1921, the north half was a creamery while the south half was being used to sell automobile tires. In the 1930’s and 1940’s it is believed that a harness maker and boot and shoe sales and repair business were housed in the building. In the early 1950’s it became home to Sammy’s Saddlery and Western Wear, owned by Samuel and Ruby Holster. It became one of the most successful businesses in downtown Brush in the next three years. To advertise, the Holsters acquired a life-size plastic horse which they mounted atop a pole in front of the building. At some point in the 1960’s the horse was stolen. At some point in the 1960’s the horse was spotted on a farm near Otis, but it was never returned. After operating their business here for some thirty years, Sam and Ruby Holster retired and moved away from Brush and the building sat vacant for a number of years. (Source: Brush Chamber of Commerce, January 2010)

So, it looks like the store has been closed sometime in the 1980s, which means that it’s been at least thirty years since the Holsters sold their last cowboy hat. To me, the hat looks brand new; it’s hard to believe it’s over thirty years old. The only giveaway is it’s old style (shorter brim and taller crown – according to my coworker/actual cowboy Ben.) This is a helluva gift that I will greatly treasure.

This past Saturday: A vintage Ford Model A, some history and a dog

March 23, 2015 |  by  |  Automotive, Pets & Animals, Photography  |  No Comments

This Saturday, Sara and I went out to Brush! to celebrate her dad and brother-in-law’s birthdays. After having lunch in Fort Morgan, Sara’s dad pulled out his vintage Ford Model A (1927-1931) and took me for a quick ride. Their Model A is a true piece of family history: Sara’s great-grandfather originally bought the car and he used it as a farm truck. Eventually, Sara’s grandpa would continue the car and would even drive it down to Denver to purchase coal for winter. The Model A sat in their barn for about fifty years, until Sara’s great-uncle painstakingly restored the car to it’s former glory. I spent less than ten minutes in the car, but it was a teeny bit uncomfortable…I’m amazed that people used to drive long hauls in that thing. I wonder what people in fifty years will say about the cars we’re driving now.

I snapped some photos of my experience (Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70L):

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The view from the passenger side

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Parked in front of the family barn

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Lighting was pretty harsh that time of day, so the pictures are all pretty flat. Next time I head out there, I’d like to take some shots at dusk with some strobist lighting.

Miles came with us to Brush! on Saturday. His obedience lessons are paying off and we can let him off leash at more and more places. I had my camera, I love taking action shots of him and I love whoring his pictures on Facebook and my blog! So Sara threw the ball for him and I snapped a bunch of pictures. My favorites:

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Nike+ Integration with Garmin!

March 22, 2015 |  by  |  Running, Technology  |  No Comments

I’ve been in the Nike+ running ecosystem since June 2007, back when it was still a foot pod and iPod Nano attachment. When Nike released an iPhone GPS app in 2010, I switched to that. In 2011, I bought a Nike+ SportWatch GPS which lasted me until 2014, when I dropped it on the ground while I was trying to acquire a GPS signal. I grappled with the idea of switching to my a new platform, but I ended up buying a barely-used watch on Amazon. I really liked the idea of having new running metrics and data in Polar and Garmin watches, but I didn’t want to give up my thousands of miles of historical data, even if my historical runs weren’t all that great.

So I was bummed out late last year when I read that Nike canned its hardware staff and would no longer be putting out new running hardware.

  1. I was pretty much tied to a dead platform,
  2. I could’ve switched to a new watch instead of buying another Nike+ watch and
  3. I could pretty much kiss my historical data goodbye. So I started doing a little exploratory research on newer GPS watches and decided on getting the Garmin Forerunner 620 when my current Nike+ watch died.

However, earlier this month, Nike announced that it would be integrating its platform with Garmin, TomTom, Wahoo Fitness and Netpulse (I haven’t even heard of the latter two.) This is great news for me since once I buy a Garmin, it will still sync that run data into my Nike+ dashboard. In addition, I can take advantage of some of the Garmin’s advantage features like the cadence, ground contact time and vertical oscillation data.

I’m now secretly hoping that my Nike watch dies a little sooner rather than later so I can upgrade watches.

The importance of all small things

March 20, 2015 |  by  |  Personal  |  No Comments

magnifying-glassIn planning your own wedding, there are hundreds of decisions to be made. There are big decisions and there are small decisions. The big decisions are major and expensive, but they’re few and far between: once you and your fiance choose your venue, caterer, wedding dress and photographer, a big chunk of your wedding budget is gone. But once those contracts are signed and the money is paid, it’s a big relief to have those out of the way. It’s always exciting to share these milestone decisions with your family; you can rest on your laurels for a bit and congratulate yourselves for celebrate your choices.

It’s the smaller decisions that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money that are the most stressful for me. These types of decisions are thankless and not exciting; none of your family members are going to be particularly excited about the fact that you registered for a vacuum cleaner.

Sara is gung-ho on getting the details on a lot of the “small” decisions right, whereas I am just a little more willing to just quickly choose something and move on. Stuff like the font type on the wedding table cards, the color of the table linens, the number of flowers in our bouquets and the color of socks I’ll be wearing are on their own merits, extremely small decisions. It makes me think, “Nobody is going to notice this stuff and none of it will make or break the wedding ” and often quickly lose interest in these decisions. And it’s true…nobody is going to notice that  our table linens are “seashell white” vs. “floral white” or that the font type is “scriptina pro” vs “perfumerie script.”

But on my drive to work today, I realized that it’s really the sum of the the small decisions that make the wedding and reception memorable. While (probably) nobody is going to remember whether you choose hydrangeas over roses, they will remember the wedding as the sum of all the parts. I will take less of a lax posture when it comes to the small decisions of the wedding! I’m sure Sara will be much happier about me not grumbling and grousing whenever we look at wedding stuff online now.

Honeymoon Booked!

March 18, 2015 |  by  |  Personal, Triathlon  |  1 Comment

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I just booked our honeymoon to Hawaii! After going back and forth on deciding which island to go to, we’re going to the Big Island. We get to spend one week in paradise before flying into LAX for our reception in Orange County.

Our hotel is 23 miles from the Natural Energy Lab turnaround on the Ironman World Championship run course. One of the days we’re there, hopefully we can drive down so I can run a few miles of it so I can experience how challenging the course is. That’ll probably be the closest I ever get to the Ironman World Champinships! Heck, maybe we can even rent bikes and ride the Queen K!

Running wisdom from a pro

March 18, 2015 |  by  |  Running, Triathlon  |  No Comments

The Arvada Triathlon Club invited Douglas Wisoff, physical therapist, owner and coach at Radiant Running in Lafyette, Colorado, to speak about preventing running injuries and improving running form on Monday. For me, this talk was very well timed: I just took a week off from running to try to rehab my shins. I generally just suffer through my shin splints when training because the pain is never severe enough for me to have to take significant time off (and in the grand scheme of things, six days really isn’t much.) The pain is a dull pain, unless someone jabs at the specific pain point. But my pain last week while I ran was enough for me to force myself to take time off.

Photo lovingly stolen from Steve and Nina Bell from the ATC Facebook page.

Photo lovingly stolen from the ATC Facebook page. (Photo credit: Steve and Nina Bell)

The talk went on for well more than an hour. I didn’t take detailed notes (some club secretary I was…) but here were my three takeaways:

  • Heel striking isn’t “bad.”Doug really baited us to ask, “Is heel striking bad?” and when someone finally did, he emphatically said no. Do a Google search for heel striking and you’ll see tons of articles talking about how running on the forefoot is the only way to run. But Doug listed off several elite runners that heel strike to varying degrees. As a former strict adherent to the barefoot running craze, I was glad to hear him say that since I am still a heel striker.
  • Identifying the ideal running forms look hard. He showed some of his clients on video with before and after clips of them running and it was hard for me to tell how “bad” some people’s running forms were. But I guess that’s why he gets paid to do that stuff.
  • This one is my biggest and most relevant takeaway: Running injuries are mental. When you start obsessing over a particular injury, you subconsciously start compensating to avoid the pain in that region of your body when you run. Learn to relax, put the injury as far back in your mind as possible and just run.

As I said, takeaway number three was the biggie for me. I am definitely guilty of obsessing over injuries. This is probably a byproduct of 1) my personality and 2) my history of running injuries. I have ran the past three years relatively injury-free, so whenever something flares up, I go nuts trying to fix the problem immediately. Case in point: immediately after I decided to take a six day break from running, I ordered this Trigger Point cold roller. I have so many self massagers, but in my mind, this was a secret weapon (and I’ve secretly wanted one for a couple years now.)

Yet another myofascial release tool

Yet another myofascial release tool I now own

But thinking back retrospectively to the lead-up to my injury, there were two changes to my running routine and form: 1) I had been running with Miles more often and 2) I am working in a new pair of shoes with a 4mm drop (Kinvara 5s.)

Miles is more well trianed now, but he’s not a great run buddy yet. Running with him means a lot of sudden stops, being pulled by him and staying on my heels to try to slow down. I don’t have a perfect running form, but it’s gotten me fairly unscathed through the past few years. It’s easy to see how my running form could go to shit.

So today, I shook out the anxious thoughts in my head about running injuries and just went out for three miles yesterday after work. It was great to run again, but the sharp pains from my last run were gone. I think it was the combination of rest, self-massage and the good advice to “ignore the injury” got me through. I still have the dull pain in my lower right shin that I usually have, but everything else feels okay.

There’s a group clinic he’s doing at the Apex Center (local gym in Arvada) but I will be away at my bachelor party that weekend. I really want to sign up for some private coaching with Doug, but I’m not sure if spending money on a running coach is in the books now, especially with my wedding coming up. However, his prices were pretty reasonable so I may just bite the bullet and do it; running is really such a big hobby of mine, I think I can justify it. I think having someone help me figure out my form while I still have time before the Portland Marathon would be really beneficial.

Parental Visit March 2015

March 17, 2015 |  by  |  Personal  |  1 Comment

My parents came to visit Sara and me this past weekend. They got really lucky with the weather here in Arvada this past weekend…our temperatures hit the high 70s. If their visit had been planned for two weekends before when we had extremely cold weather, I’m sure they would have cancelled their trip (they’ve done it before!)

It felt like they didn’t do too much during their trip but we feel like we did a lot. I picked them up on Thursday and we had hung out in Olde Town Arvada…dinner at the Arvada Tavern and a drink afterward at School House Kitchen & Libations. My dad is a big fan of scotch, so he was excited to check out School House, which has over 500 types of whiskeys.

Drinking whiskey at School House Kitchen & Libations

Drinking whiskey at School House Kitchen & Libations

Sara and mom

Sara and mom

Friday, Sara and I had to work, so my parents played a round of golf at Indian Tree Golf Club in Arvada. They usually play at their country club, so I figured they wouldn’t be wow-ed by a local public course…luckily they enjoyed getting out there to get some exercise. There was still some snow on the ground so they took pictures of that to send to their friends to show that they “played through the snow.” We had hot pot for dinner and watched a movie afterwards.

On Saturday we were much more adventurous. We got a late start on the morning and headed up to White Ranch Park out past Golden to go for a short hike. I got White Ranch Park mixed up with Elk Meadow Park, an open space for dogs for some reason. Anyways, we trudged around a while to work up our appetites for dinner. On the way home, we stopped in at Edward’s Meats in Wheat Ridge so my mom could try some wild game (namely bison and elk.) She really liked the elk salami! So much so that we went back on Sunday.

My parents and Miles

My parents and Miles

Dinner was at Fogo de Chao in downtown Denver. Sara’s parents and oldest sister drove in from Brush to have dinner with us. We stuffed ourselves silly and walked around downtown afterwards!

My parents, Sara's parents and Sara's sister

My parents, Sara’s parents and Sara’s sister

Sunday was low key; we brunched on dim sum at Star Kitchen, which has become pretty “meh” lately. After that, my dad picked up a suit for my wedding, we did some grocery shopping at Costco and Sara and my mom cooked dinner. My dad and I picked up some beers from Odyssey Beerwerks which we all enjoyed that night. We all had some great conversations over dinner. Hell, my dad and I even had a heart to heart conversation about marriage…that was a first!

All in all it was a great weekend! It’s hard to imagine that their next trip will be for my wedding.