Pool, PR and Inside the Park!

Last Thursday night we had a little league baseball game for Statman.  He plays 9u kid pitch baseball.  He really enjoys it, and is getting better as we practice more and the season continues.  Last season was an epic fail, mainly due to the league, as the talent level was very poor in that league. We decided to switch leagues this year and give it a try, as we heard from numerous sources the talent level was much better.  Well, it is.   A step or two above.  Statman plays on a team with 3 travel ball players, and they are at the top of the league talent.  Statman is average, or above average, but not to their level.  No fault to him, we just don’t practice enough.  We had a game Thursday night.  The team was trailing 10-6 in the bottom of the 5th. Last at bat for the team.  Statman was 3rd to hit this inning.  Batter 1 struck out.  Batter 2 grounded out.  Statman came to the plate, ripped a line shot down the 3rd base line. The ball rolled to the fence, past the leftfielder.  Statman rounded 2nd on his way to third as the left fielder picked up the ball and threw it to towards third.  Statman rounded third (with a HUGE smile on his face) as coach waved him home.  Shortstop took the relay and launched it home, just to the left of homeplate. The catcher reached to make the play, but Statman just touched homeplate before the catcher could make the tag.  Inside the park Home Run!  Statman was hugged by all his teammates.   10-7.  Rally time. Next batter struck out, game over.

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Saturday brought a short shakeout run for me prior to my 1/2 marathon on Sunday morning.  Then we headed to the soccer fields as Bookworm had 2 soccer games, about 1 hour apart.  Bookworm played goalie again this game, stopped about 30 of the 35 shots that were fired at him.  Some of the saves could have been put on ESPN Sportscenter Top 10 plays.  Game 1 – Loss 5-0.  Game 2 came about an hour or so later.  Bookworm was put back in goal again.  He asked coach if he could play in the field, but coach said he was doing too well and he needed to stay in goal.  6o minutes and about 45 shots later, the 2nd soccer game ended in a loss, 6-1.  As a comparison, the opponents’ goalies, both games, probably had a combined 10 shots on goal.   Compare that to Bookworms rapid fire assault, with about 40 to 50 shots on him per game.   Can anyone say “Defense”?   One week left of this soccer experience for Bookworm.  We shall reassess his soccer playing days after next week.  He’s done awesome and we’re so very proud of him, just wish it was a different experience.

Sunday morning was my marathon.  I was up at 4:45am to make sure I had my pre-race meal, and get all the jitters out of my stomach before the race.  Good thing I got to the race location with an hour to spare, as the jitters worked them selves out several times.  The race started at 7:30am under sunny skies and cool temperatures.   The course was a double loop course, split in the first 1 to 2 miles of each leg by a 1/3 mile boardwalk through a forest.  Nice and cool.  My goal time was a sub-2 hour 1/2.  I ran this race last year, same route, in 2:05 +/-.  I didn’t train near enough for it last year, as we spent a couple weeks prior to it in Boston and Washington, DC.  I’m not making excuses, I just didn’t run.  Focused on many other things other than running.  I hit the turn-around at about mile 6 feeling really good.  It was still fairly cool out.  I was at about an 8:30 to 8:45 pace.  I didn’t know exactly, as my garmin jumps from 7 minutes to 10:30 in about 10 steps.   I had some times written on my arm to keep pace, and I was ahead of these times.  So I felt pretty good.   I came out of the forest at about mile 7 1/2.  4 miles of asphalt running until the homestretch.  I started to feel my legs getting heavy about mile 10, but knew I was moving pretty good and needed to keep pushing.  I passed one guy running in a kilt (yes, a kilt), at about mile 9, and he said “either I’m slowing down or you’re speeding up”.  My response was a flat “I’m not sure what I’m doing”.   I hit the boardwalk for the last run in the cool and then the long home stretch up the main drive to the finish line.  I came out of the woods and hit a curtain of heat.   I think in that 1/3 mile stretch through the woods the temperature went up 10 degrees.  I came out and it was quite warm.  I wanted to stop running, but knew I couldn’t.  I had a goal, and I had a need to finish this race strong.  I told my coach what I wanted to do, and this was my coach’s first training plan for someone other than herself, so I had to give it my all.   I finished the long stretch to the finish line and was pleased to meet beat my goal time.  Finish time 1:52:26.   I crushed my 1/2 PR by over 12 minutes, on the same course, and even won 1st place in my age group.   I was thrilled.  Thanks to my coach, aka Wife.   There is something to say about small races.

PBC half finish medal

My finisher medal and 1st place age group trophy!

 

We spent the rest of Sunday afternoon working in the yard, doing some yardwork, including mowing, edging, and stick/pine cone clean up.  We also pulled the covers off the pool, put the vacuum in, scrubbed the walls, and cleaned the deck around it.  Getting it ready for summer.   It warmed up to 73, but not enough for Bookworm to jump in.  He tried, but could only make it in about thigh deep.  It looks awfully enticing to jump into, but still too cold.  I didn’t get in last year unless it was above 80.  We had some trees removed in the backyard in April to add about 3 to 4 more hours of sunlight a day on the pool, with the target to get more sunlight = warmer pool = more use.  Well, let me rephrase, more adult use.  The kids can handle the pool at 75 degrees and above.  Wife and I = 85+.   I’m hoping a long week of sun and 80’s will have this pool nice and warm come the end of the week.  Fingers crossed.

pool open

Monday brought our big fundraising event at Statmans’ elementary school.  More to come on that, but you can read about some of it here on my wife’s page.  And a busy week of kid sports, concession stand work, grandparents’ visit, and Mother’s Day!

What do you have planned for this week?  What did you do over the weekend? Any big accomplishments recently you want to talk about?   

 

Update from Down South

I’m into my final 2 weeks of training before the 1/2.   Been a good past couple of weeks.   Been tough.  Some very hard speed workouts included in my training plan by my amazing coach Kelli (and she happens to be my wife – she’s amazing at that too).  I have to say, I’m not a fan of 4 x 1 mile repeats at 8 minute mile pace. I hate strongly dislike them. I haven’t really done speedwork before. I usually just start running, and if I pick up the pace to faster than what I start at, I feel satisfied with that.  But, I have a goal for this 1/2, so I’m doing speedwork, as recommended by my coach.   I’m getting it done.  I’ve had some more aches and pains than before, but I’m working through it.  I think I will be well prepared for my run in just under 2 weeks.  I hope it’s a good day.

Tired

As for my workouts, I’ve completed 87 miles in April, and 86 miles in March.  I started this training plan March 9th.  I think I’m ready. I’ve already completed a mock race at race pace, and achieved my goal time. So, as long as I can re-simulate that effort, I will be fine. Only difference is I probably will not have anyone to run with, which I believe helped push me to that faster time.  It will be much harder mentally on me, but I’ll give it a go.

Outside of my running, we’ve been spending most of our time with the boys at their respective sporting events.  Statman is playing baseball.  He has 2 games a week, on weeknights, at either 6 or 7:30.  Bookwork is playing soccer, and he has had a game every Saturday, but 2 practices a week, usually on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  And Bookwork has started attending a church youth group on Wednesday nights.  This keeps us quite busy with our weekly schedules.   I didn’t even mention the STRIDE coaching my wife leads at Statman’s elementary school twice a week, and my wife’s IRONMAN training schedule.  Our calendar is a mess with activities, mainly written in pencil so we can move them easier without covering up the calendar in markouts or whiteout.

A busy calendar.

 

The RED SOX are in full swing.  Currently in 1st place in the AL EAST.   It is way too early to be celebrating anything, as they only have 149 more games to play before the playoffs.  But watching them start the season in first place is good to see.  Clemson football concluded spring practice.  Lots of good reports from camp on how the team will be.  Lots of uncertainty in the defense and the O-line.   Hoping for a healthy summer and a great start to fall camp.   We will be there in Clemson in late May as Statman is attending the Clemson University Dabo Swinney football camp.  That will begin our EPIC summer and fall of 2015.  And there will be more to come in our EPIC-est year, so stay tuned.

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My wife and I watched the Boston Marathon yesterday.  I had to stream it online, as nowhere here in Wilmington actually showed live coverage, so I had to connect the laptop to the tv, and the laptop to an exterior speaker, to be able to watch it comfortably.  And with it being Patriot’s Day, and us Red Sox fans, we were planning on having the PIP on the tv set to the Red Sox game on the MLB Network.   However, since we had to rig up the internet streaming thru the tv, I couldn’t use the PIP feature on the tv.  And the MLB Network opted NOT to show the Red Sox game, so I had to keep tabs of it on my CBS Sportsline app.  And we didn’t have any beers watching either, which would have been nice, but we had to coach the STRIDE group later in the afternoon, so it was just watching. It was fun, good to be home and enjoy the marathon viewing with my wife, even with all the failures I experienced trying to watch multiple things.   Oh well.

I’ve never watched a marathon in its entirety on tv, and since we were in Boston for the marathon last year, it hit home a little more.  It hit home closer to my wife than I, but it makes us both want to return to Boston sooner rather than later.  I’m glad it was a good race to watch.  The American’s did well, but this just wasn’t there year.  Maybe 2016.

And as the athletes from the marathon and all other sports move on to their next adventure, so do we.  We have lots planned for 2015, starting to plan 2016, and possibly further, so stay tuned to this blog, as well as to my wife’s, and enjoy the adventure with us.

What are you doing the rest of 2015?  Any EPIC events planned?  Did you watch the Boston Marathon?

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An Axe, Soccer and Globie

I’m into week 3 of my shortened 1/2 marathon training.  Last week was tough.  I had Friday off from running, resting up for a cold weekend of running. My wife and I went out for a short 5 mile run.  She is coming off a marathon (last weekend), and I’m gearing up.  She has done my training plan for this half marathon, and we ran together.   We averaged an 8:27 pace for the 5 mile run.  This was fast for me.  This was slower than normal pace for her.    As she said, she pushed my pace, and I kept her from getting crazy.  It was a good run.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday afternoon brought about BookWorm’s rec soccer game.  He is on a 12 yr old rec league team.  They have had a total of 5 practices (one we missed) since the season started February 22.  His team had some trouble in game 2 of the season.  BookWorm played goalie, the entire game.   They lost 6-1.  Shots on Goal: BookWorm’s team: 3 – Opponent: 30+.  And BookWorm being the sensitive one he is, he felt it was his fault they lost.  He is his own toughest critic.  We explained to him that when you are outshot 10-1, the odds are against the goalkeeper, especially when 3 of the goals were 1 on 1 or worse.  The odds are against the goalie.  So, this game BookWorm was hesitant before the game, expecting a bad performance and many goals to be scored.   Well, not so much. He played awesome.  It helped the other team was not as good as the week before’s opponent, and they won 4-0.  He had a great game.  Several stops, good punts.  And after this game, several of his teammates congratulated him on a great game…..when last week he was being crucified and they were lining up to stone him for his effort.  But as my wife says, you’re the hero or the scapegoat….similar to the kicker in football.

goalie

We ended Saturday night watching the Elite Eight games and cheering Kentucky on to a very close win.  StatMan wanted it DVR’d so he could watch it on Sunday.  He settled for me writing the score on his chalkboard so he knew the score as soon as he woke up.

Sunday morning brought 29 degree sunny morning, and a 10 mile run was looming.  My wife stayed in and did a hard 90 minute bike ride on the trainer.  I pushed myself out the door for my run.   IT DID NOT FEEL GOOD!  I don’t know what the deal is.  After mile 4 my legs were tired and sore, similar to mile 23 of a marathon.   Maybe it’s to the harder workouts I’ve put them through the rest of the week with speed work, maybe it was the cold, maybe it was the beer and potato chips the night before.   Whatever it was, it did not feel good.  But, I got it finished. 10 miles in 1:38:52.  Just under a 10 minute mile pace.  I’m okay with that.

After we all got cleaned up, we decided to head outside and begin some yardwork.  We have an area in the front yard that has lots of roots and  undergrowth from a pine tree and cedar tree that were previously removed by our neighbors…well, the trees were..they left the roots. And now they are moving, and planted a 2′ bush….and nothing more.  So, we get to clean is all up.  I spent an hour and a half digging up roots and tearing them out with my axe.  I am sore today. Shoulders and triceps.  I haven’t done much strength work, and it shows.

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So we got our little flower/planting bed finished, changed clothes and headed out to see the Harlem Globetrotters.   What a good experience that is.  We saw them on tv a few weeks ago, and then happened to hear by chance that they were coming to Wilmington.  We had to see them.  That is some of the best basketball ball handling, shooting and skills I have ever seen.  Those guys are amazing.   And entertaining.  Besides having to wait 30 minutes in line to get into the Coliseum, all went well.  The boys both got Globetrotter basketballs, and have proceeded to try and imitate every trick they saw yesterday.   If you have never seen the Globetrotters, I highly recommend it. I remember when I went to see them when I was growing up, somewhere in the same age range my boys are.

This week will bring some more speedwork, and Spring Break…and April Fools Day.  Boys are home, so we will be planning some good pranks on them for the day.  We also plan to attend a local “Pub Run” Thursday night, sort of a night out/date night for the wife and I.  I look forward to it.   This will be one of a few chances we have in the next several months with sporting events, training and school activities.

What will your week bring?  Have you seen the Globetrotters?  What childhood memories have you experienced that you have passed on to your kids?

 

 

Was it SUPER for you?

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The Super Bowl is over.  The Patriots won!   Was it the outcome you wanted?  Did your team win?  Mine did, and I’m happy about it.  I’m glad it was a good game, not a blowout like last year or other Super Bowl’s in the past that I’ve seen that were over after the first quarter.  Glad to see that.  Statman was keeping track of all his favorite players, the lone Clemson player (Byron Maxwell), and wishing he could stay up to watch the Seahawks win (much to his dismay at breakfast this morning they did not).  Bookworm was half a sleep most of the game (except for when the food was put in front of him).  Bookworm had a busy weekend of sleepovers and playing Minecraft, which wiped him out.

But the real question is: “Was it super for you?”.   Did you have lots of friends over and have a viewing party?  Did you eat a lot of good food?  Drink a lot?  We kept it quite subdued at our house.  Kelli had a 20 mile run on Sunday (not failing to mention the 10 miler on Saturday), and being a school night, we decided not to have a party (much to our disappointment as we love to host a good party!).  We came up with an appetizer list earlier in the week, and made many of them from the list.  They were GOOD (my wife is such an amazing cook)!!  We started with some filo shells filled with bacon, cream cheese, some seasonings, and some other yummy stuff.  They were baked and were incredible.  Kelli can provide the recipe if you want it.  It was much better than the way I describe it.  We then had Chicken Parmesan meatballs, substituting turkey for the chicken, and no parmesan cheese filled middles.   I got this recipe from A Little of This and That, so thank you.  My wife also made a great buffalo chicken dip, with lots of cheese, some taco flavored grilled chicken, salsa, more salsa, and more cheese.  Add tortilla chips, some celery and carrots with ranch, and that was our buffet.  And boy did we ever eat alot.    Bookwork and StatMan enjoyed it themselves, and ate the filo shells before they even hit the table.

As for the commercials, was not very impressed. Some were funny. My favorite being the Snickers commercial with Marsha Brady, and then the poor polar bear not being drafted.  Other than that, I was disappointed and somewhat appalled by a few of them, as some were just utterly wrong.  I know the theme this year was targeting more family oriented ideas, but some of them went way too far.  I’m sure you could agree with those, so no need to re-hash them here.   If you want, feel free, I’ll comment back.

All in all, it was a good night.  We made up some fun games to pick while the game went on to keep it interesting.  We ate lots of food, drank a few beers     shinerand just enjoyed the company of our family.   The boys went to bed after the halftime show, which I must say is one of the better ones I have seen in the past several years.   Kelli and I watched the rest of the game, ate a few buffalo chicken boneless wings…and then called it a night.

So, for me I would say my super bowl viewing party WAS  super for me, as I was with the ones I want to spend my time with.

How was your night?  Was it SUPER?

It’s Here!!!!!!

IT'S HERE

The national championship game ended a few weeks ago.  Pitchers and catchers report to spring training starting February 17.  College baseball games begin February 13.  NASCAR has fired back up and the Twin 120’s will be held February 19th followed by the Daytona 500 February 22.   The Masters will begin tournament play on April 9.  NCAA March Madness will begin in late March/early April.

But none of that matters right now.   The 2015-16 college football schedule has been announced!  We now know what our fall will look like, who we will play, what big games will drive us to adjust our vacations, training runs, work meetings, etc.   I would say I’m not that excited, but honestly, I am.  I know it’s way to early, but this is just one of those things I like to think about.   I love college football, so this makes me happy.

3145006And I will partake in the spectatorship of all the other sports I mentioned, and I’ll enjoy them just as I always do.  But yesterday just brought a little bit more brightness to a cold, dreary winter.

What are you looking forward to?  Are you a football fan?  What events in your schedules dictate vacations?

Sports, Reality and Stat Man

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Wednesday is here.   The holidays are over.   I went back to work on Monday.  The kids went back to school on Monday.  We all resumed our “normal routines” this week.  I’m sure some of you have made new year’s resolutions.  Some of you have already started exercising like mad men, trying to get ALL the miles in now to prepare for that upcoming race in March, or May, or November.  The gyms are full of people lining up to register and begin their resolutions.   And by May, the gyms will be empty again.

I do miss being home on vacation.  I basically spent 2 full weeks at home on vacation.  I worked a couple days  between Christmas and New Years (since I used all my vacation throughout the year and didn’t save it all for December).  But it was fairly slow, so no real stress.  I did start to get bored.  I wasn’t bored with my family, or bored with being at home.  I just didn’t know what to do.   I should have picked up my book “Unbroken” and read more than the “Introduction”.  I didn’t want to start any home projects as I knew I’d be getting back to work on Monday.  My wife said to just sit and relax.  I didn’t think I had a hard time doing that, but I guess I did.  It was rainy out.  So, I watched football.  I tinkered in the garage, played on the internet…watched more football. I tallied the results of our family football pool. Watched some more football.  Drank a few beers, including my Porter homebrew (ps. It’s really good!).  Jumped on the new trampline with the boys. Watched more football.

My family loves football.  Mostly college, but we get behind the NFL teams when it comes to the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers, our local team (well, North Carolina based and I grew up watching them), played Arizona in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.  My 8 (soon to be 9) year old, now to be known as Stat Man, has been collecting football player cards for the past year or so.  He holds them in a stack, carries them around, flips through them, memorizes them, shows them to everyone, wraps up certain players to give as gifts at Christmas based on where that person is from (he wrapped up two Kansas City Chief’s players for his grandparents, as they went to a KC game this year, and they live in Missouri).   He is immersed in football year round, since August 1 when his season started, helping me with my fantasy football draft, watching the scores for me, telling me ALL the stats, watching SportsCenter every Saturday and Sunday morning.  Stat Man corrects me on statistics, players, where they played in college, numbers, etc.   It’s awesome!   Here is what he prepared for the Panthers game on Saturday afternoon:

Playing Card Matchup

Playing Card Matchup

And as the college football season is winding down (one game left, and not really  much interest), and the pros now in the playoffs with the Super Bowl on February 1, I guess we will turn to baseball.  Stat Man will learn all new stats for this season, and we will have really high hopes for the Red Sox.  Pitchers report on Feb 1.

College basketball season is gearing up.  Clemson doesn’t really have a good team, so nothing to follow there, other than the increasing #’s in the L column.  My other favorite team, Kentucky Wildcats, are very good this year and favorites to be cutting down the nets at the end of the year.  I will watch the conference tournaments and the Big Dance, but nothing really in between.  Stat Man will keep me posted I’m sure.

So what are you doing the beginning of this year?  What do you have planned for 2015?  Races? Vacations?  Sporting Events? Concerts?

It’s Go Time Clemson!!

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Here we are Clemson. Game day for the end of the 2014 football season in the Russell Athletic Bowl against Oklahoma. Hoping for a win tonight, but hoping more for the future. A win tonight will continue your building towards a national power, but getting healthy quarterbacks and great recruiting classes will only make the future that much more exciting for this program.
So Good Luck tonight. I’ll be watching along with thousands of others in Wilmington and across the land. I’ll be proud of you no matter the outcome tonight and look forward to a great future. GO TIGERS!