lifewithphil2

Traveling for Work Stinks

April 15, 2014 |  by  |  California, Travel  |  No Comments

I’m finally back from Round 1 of traveling, which fortunately is also my longest travel leg. After spending 3 exhausting days/3 nights in Las Vegas (doing almost nothing fun, mind you) working a trade show, I spent another 3 days/2 nights in Northern California showing Sara around town and going to a friend’s wedding. I’ve been home for just about 36 hours now, and between going back to the office, a furnace crisis and a pen in my pant pocket exploding all over my dryer and some brand new clothes, I still feel exhausted! I don’t know how people regularly travel for business.

Putting the Work In for July and October Now

April 4, 2014 |  by  |  Running, Triathlon  |  No Comments

Even though I have more events on my race calendar, the two A-races that I’m focusing on for 2014 are a marathon in October and an Olympic distance triathlon in July. Even though training cycles for both of those events don’t start quite for another month or so, I’ve been working hard to build and maintain my aerobic fitness.

q1 running mileage

This was my biggest running Q1 (Jan-Mar) since moving to Denver – strike that, this was my highest running volume Q1 ever. What contributed to such a big quarter is March, when I ran over 70 miles! That is the most I’ve ever ran in the month, even when I was training for a marathon!

The obvious challenge to running through January to March is the weather here in Denver; even though our winters are mild compared to the Midwest and the East Coast, it is still occasionally inhospitable to running: snowy (or worse, icy) roads, trails and paths, the air is chilly and the sun sets by 4:00 PM. My workplace has showers here, so I think being able to run during the daytime definitely helped me in the particularly harsh months of January and February. My goal is to generally run at least three times a week (preferably four) and try to log 20 miles a week during my maintenance phases. Once training cycles start (especially for triathlon), my volume will change.

If I hadn’t ran the Surf City Half-Marathon and Marathon in 2012 and 2013, respectively, I probably would’ve put in even fewer miles for the winter months. So for me, the Surf City run series an annual tradition that helps to keep me motivated throughout the winter “downseason.” Am I going to sign up for Surf City 2015? Most definitely.

What gets me out the door when I’m tired, grouchy or hungry is my goal for October: running a 4-hour marathon. By putting in the groundwork this early (which isn’t even that early anymore), I think that I will be less injury-prone come August/September/October when I have to start adding some 15+ mile long runs to my training schedule.

4 Weddings (0 Funerals) in 6 Weeks

March 27, 2014 |  by  |  Travel  |  1 Comment

I’ll be a jet setting maniac in April, May and June!

I have to go to Las Vegas at the beginning of April to go to a trade show for work. Immediately after the trade show, I’m flying straight from Las Vegas to exotic San Jose, CA for a wedding in Half Moon Bay for Jerry’s wedding. Sara and I are turning that into a long weekend, so I’ll get to show her UCSC, Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Francisco. I get the following weekend off from travel, but the next weekend, I have to go back to San Francisco for Bicky’s wedding in Pleasanton, CA. That one will be a 36 hour trip. The next weekend, my mom will be in town to visit and check out the house. The weekend after that, I’m heading out to Hilton Head, South Carolina for Jon and Becca’s wedding, which will be my first foray into the South (if you don’t count my two weeks at Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama…) And then finally, the weekend after Jon and Becca’s wedding, I’m going to Miami, Florida for Alex’s wedding.

And all of those trips will be bookended by my annual week-long trip to visit my family in Anaheim.

Luckily for me, barring any unforeseen surprise engagements, the wedding in Miami should close the books on the 2014 wedding season for me. This is the roughest wedding year yet because of all the travel! I had a number of weddings to go to in 2012 and 2013, but they were concentrated in Southern California, which means cheap flights and a place to stay. Admittedly, my bank account is hurting from booking all this travel, but these are all good friends so I think it’s worth it.

One thing is for sure though, this travel is definitely going to wreck my training schedules.

 

Linked Article: “If You Run Slow, Who Cares?”

March 18, 2014 |  by  |  Running  |  3 Comments

I saw this Competitor article floating around social media today, ‘If You Run Slow, Who Cares?‘, and if you are a serious runner, casual runner or an aspiring runner, I think it’s worth the 5-minutes of reading time. But if you’re lazy, here’s some isolated quotes:

Many runners, both new and experienced, hesitate to join local running groups or participate in online communities. When asked why, most respond that they are embarrassed by how slow they are.

Until I went to my first running group earlier this year at Road Runner Sports, I had been hesitant to go since I felt like I was a slow runner. And then there’s also that whole crushing social anxiety

I’m glad I went though, since it led to me joining the Arvada Triathlon Club and I’ve made it a weekly thing (plus I won a pair of shoes!) I now also occasionally run with the Runners Roost Louisville running group after work.

From a pure performance perspective, thinking negatively can inhibit you from achieving your potential. While thinking you’re slow may seem harmless, every time you preface a statement with the phrase, “I know I am slow, but …” you condition your mind to believe that you can never be fast.”

Ah yes, one of the tenets from one of my favorite books, Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude: You are what you think.

Runners are perhaps the most welcoming and friendly group of athletes I’ve ever met. No runner I know has a problem slowing down to run with a friend.

True and true. Everybody at the running groups I’ve been to has been exceedingly nice. And one of my friends from work, now a running buddy, is at least 2 minutes/mile faster than me but he’s always been happy to slow down to my pace and never complained about it.

On that note, in preparation for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, I am now considering joining a paid running club in town. It looks like my options are Runners Edge of the Rockies or Revolution Running – Does anybody have any experience with either?

Race Recap: Erin Go Braugh 7.77k

March 16, 2014 |  by  |  Food, Running  |  No Comments

I ran the 3W Races Erin Go Braugh 7.77k race yesterday with Sara, James and Ben.

James and Ben, whom I’ve been friends with since 1st and 7th grade respectively, were visiting me here in Arvada for the weekend. Since I won a free entry for the race from a 3W Ambassador at a Road Runners Sports run group and I was going to run the race anyways, I convinced them and Sara to sign up too.

The 7 or 7.77 km (~4.35 or 4.8 mi) distance is an oddball one, reserved for St. Patrick’s Day fun runs. Because 7 is a lucky number, luck of the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. etc. Get it?? As Steve, a fellow Arvada Triathlon Club member (and 3W Ambassador), said, the 7km distance is peculiar for race pacing. You can’t go all out like you would a 5k, but you don’t need to conserve much energy like you would for a 10k and above.

Ben, me and James

Ben, me and James

Sara and me

Sara and me

I think this was the smallest race I’ve ever participated in, and that ended up being a really good thing. I’ve done so many of the “mega races” (participants measured in the tens of thousands), such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver, Surf City and Bolder Boulder) that I’ve become jaded and used to being treated like cattle at races. But this one was small and intimate…I didn’t have to struggle to find parking or wait in a 50-person line to use a port-a-potty. Heck, we each brought 7 items of food (are you seeing a theme here?) to donate and everybody but me won a raffle prize! James won a backpack, which I just saw that he “forgot” to take back, Ben won a case of Sneakz Organic milkshakes, which he left here, and Sara won a $10 gift card to Fuzzy’s Tacos. Score!

Overall, I thought it was a really positive race experience. 3W impressed me with this race…I plan on participating in more of their races in the future, especially since so many of them are local to me.

Group shot before the run

Group shot before the run

To me, the toughest part of the race was the weather. It was in the 40s, which is actually comfortable for running, but the wind was howling in the morning. I probably would’ve been well-served to wear a jacket or at least a vest, but in the spirit of wearing green, I opted to run in shorts and a tech tee. I ran the course last Saturday with the Road Runners Sports group, so none of the gentle rolling hills caught me off guard.

All You Can Eat Lucky Charms!

All You Can Eat Lucky Charms at the finish line!

The four of us ran the first half-mile together until we all split up to run at our comfortable respective race paces. We started at the back of the pack, so I had to do a fair amount of passing walkers in the beginning on the path. The race almost felt like an interval workout, since I was accelerating to pass packs of runners pretty often and then slowing down when I got caught in congestion. It didn’t bother me at all though since it was a fun run. I finished with a decent time (42:47), which placed me 113th out of 428, just outside of the top 25% of finishers. Not bad!

I think everyone was happy with their results (it was Ben’s first race ever!) and just to be done with the race so we could get out of the cold! We also all PRed since it was our first time running a 7.77km distance race, haha. How did we celebrate our PRs? All-you-can-eat!

We opted to forego the $10 Mexican food buffet hosted by 3W and decided to go for the decidedly more expensive all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ option at Dae Gee. It was great to get to eat KBBQ and drink beer/soju with Ben and James again since we used to go eat it all the time in Garden Grove.

All You Can Eat Korean BBQ

All You Can Eat Korean BBQ

Not all you can drink soju

Not all you can drink soju thank goodness

…another blog post to come to recap the rest of Ben and James’ trip!

Rock ‘n’ Roll 2014 – Committed!

March 12, 2014 |  by  |  Running  |  No Comments

I took advantage of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s early registration pricing and $15 loyalty discount today and registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon!

This will hopefully be my second full marathon. The Alien Half-Marathon precedes this one by six weeks and the Kansas 5150 Triathlon precedes the marathon by 12 weeks, so hopefully all three training schedules will compliment each other (cross training, long runs, speed work, etc.)

The registration discount (DENALUM2014) is good until tonight, so if you’re on the fence about signing up, this is probably the cheapest registration will be from here on out.

A Ridiculous Dog Adoption Process!

March 12, 2014 |  by  |  Pets & Animals  |  No Comments

For the past few weeks, I’ve been in the process of trying to adopt a dog from a dog rescue here in the Denver area. And to put it gently, the whole process of trying to adopt a dog has been…trying.

The first step in the process is completing an extensive questionnaire, which covers your experience in handling that breed of dog, how many hours a day you’re gone, what size yard, what type of fencing, etc. They also ask for three personal references as well as a vet reference. All in all, it took me a little more than half an hour to accurately complete the application. Not the worst time commitment to adopt man’s best friend, right?

I didn’t hear from them for a little while after I submitted my application, so I trekked through a severe storm to a “meet and greet” out in Aurora to meet some of the dogs. I thought it would be nice to meet the dogs I was interested in in person, as well as letting the rescue people put a face to a name on an application. Amusingly, nobody seemed to really care who I was and why I was there, but I did meet some of the leadership and I did put my name down for a couple dogs that I connected with. During the next week, it seems like they finally processed my application and called all of my references. All of my references, with whom they fact checked all of my answers with my references and the vet.

So fine, I get that they want the dogs to go to good homes that are prepared to handle the breed. An application and what amounts to a background check seem fair. Time goes by and I receive no communication; all the while, I had to keep double-checking the rescue’s website to make sure that the dog I was interested in was available. Suddenly, I get an email saying that my application has been approved! Congratulations! I’m allowed to adopt a dog! Great! So I get to pick up the dog I wanted this weekend right?

WRONG.

I then got an email out of the blue asking me to submit to a home inspection. So I allowed some people to come over to scrutinize my home and to make sure that it was suitable for a dog.

The home inspection went well and I assume I’m on the home stretch for a dog! What else could they possibly need from me?

WRONG.

I cruised the website today and I saw that the dog I really wanted got adopted out. Despite being emotionally crushed that “my” dog got adopted away, it’s not like anybody promised me that I would be able to adopt her. So I would just accept the situation and be a little disappointed, but I’m sure I’d be next in line for the next dog I was interested right?

WRONG.

I got an email at dinner inviting me to another meet-and-greet. Not an adoption event – a meet-and-greet. The purpose of this meet and greet is to (I paraphrase, with all emphasis being mine), ‘see if there’s any dogs you are interested in. Our committee will determine if the dog is a right fit and we will schedule another meeting to meet you and the members of your household.‘ From the tone of the email, I think I was just dropped into a pool of approved applicants and I still have to keep going to these meet and greets to try to adopt a dog.

So after all this, I’m still another three steps away from being able to adopt a rescue dog?! My application has to pass the approval of a mysterious committee before I’m THEN allowed to meet with the dog and THEN I’m possibly MAYBE allowed to pay them $250 to adopt a dog??

I understand that they are trying to do the right thing here. A vigorous screening process ensures that the potential owners will be good owners and keeps the deadbeats away. I get that it takes time to process applications because it’s an all-volunteer organization. I can see their side of the issue and when it’s all said and done, they are doing everything in the best interests of their dogs. That’s why I’m withholding the name of the rescue organization and the breed I’m trying to adopt; my intent isn’t to slander the name of the organization or their methods. But to me, it all just seems a little excessive.

So now I’m sitting at a crossroads with multiple options: I can keep forging ahead with the adoption process and wait for another dream dog…it seems like i’m 90% of the way there anyways. Of course, I’ll still be at the mercy of this so-called committee and they can deem me and my lifestyle (you know, having a full-time job) unfit to own a dog. Or I can try finding a dog on Craigslist. Yet another option is that I can give up the idea of adopting this breed and walk into an animal shelter and walk out 5 minutes later with a dog. Or I could just go get a puppy. I still want to do the right thing and give a rescue dog a forever home, but it’s just such an exhausting process…

My First Two-A-Day of 2014

March 11, 2014 |  by  |  Running, Triathlon  |  No Comments

I knocked out my first two-a-day on Sunday, my first of the year. I went for a swim in the morning since I’ve been feeling guilty about slacking off on my swim workouts for a couple months now. Part of that reason is because I am completely underwhelmed (and a little disgusted) by the swim/change facilities at the 24 Hour Fitness in Arvada; to be frank, that’s mostly just an excuse.

It was so beautiful out on Sunday after a few bitterly cold days that I had to throw on my running shoes and go for a run in the evening. Heck, when I went to the Road Runners Sports group run on Saturday morning, I was wearing running tights, a long sleeve shirt, a jacket and a beanie. It just felt so liberating to go for a run in shorts and a tshirt and soak up some vitamin D. Just you wait, I’ll be complaining about how hot it is in a couple more months.

The Awesomeness of Social Media

March 10, 2014 |  by  |  Angels & Baseball Talk  |  1 Comment

I got tweeted/retweeted by Angels superstar Josh Hamilton last week after I sent him a picture of me and my ridiculous new basement decorations!

After Josh Hamilton tweeted that picture, it netted 3 replies (and only one negative one!) and 84 favorite/retweets. My Klout score (does anybody even use that still?) sent up 6% after this!

And one of my old favorite Galaxy players, Joe Cannon, sent me a tweet yesterday after I wished him good luck:

So did I bait them both a little with how I worded my tweets? Maybe a little :)

This is why social media is so cool…it makes famous people that more accessible to us common folk, the lowly proletariat. Even though these were both such minuscule interactions with me, Josh Hamilton and Joe Cannon both endeared themselves to me by sending those tweets.

Getty makes millions of photos free for online use

Per CNN, Getty Images is opening 35 million photos/images to bloggers/tweeters/online publishers to embed in their websites!

To celebrate, here’s a stock photo of people celebrating this momentous news :

And here’s a powerful image from the crisis in the Ukraine, which I’ve been following closely. Unarmed Ukranian airmen march towards a Russian blockade:

After some cursory browsing, it looks like most images from major league games aren’t part of their new free embedding policy. I don’t post too much about sports anymore so it’s not a big deal to me personally, but if it was, this is nothing that a little copy/pasting couldn’t solve…

Enjoy your new trove of images to use for your blogs, people! Get started at the Getty Images website and let me know if you have any help embedding into your blog.