Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jasper makes a new friend

Jasper and I stopped on our way to Home Depot so that he could visit with his llama buddies. They were way across the field but took time out of their busy grazing to come visit with him.

Then Jasper got a little intimidated when they approached so quickly.  I wanted to step back from him and film.  He preferred to be right next to me for protection.

But given  enough time, Jasper got a new visitor: the only horse in the field came wandering over.  Even though it was quite a bit bigger, it approached slower and they became good sniffing buddies.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Running Progress - Week 7

Well, this is it.  If the training isn't adequate yet, too damn bad.  I have one week before the race and I plan to make it a very light exercise week.  Light running.  Lots of stretching.

The weight is down to 170.  Not where I had hoped, but about as good as I could expect.  No matter how far I run or what I eat, I always have a spare tire around my waist.  It's just smaller now. That little tire has twice the fat of every other fat cell on my body combined. 

I went to do a hard hill climb on Sunday and it was a disaster.  I wasn't in it physically or mentally.  Very depressing so close to the race. Fortunately I went through the week with a nice 11 mile run up through the mountains (2300 vertical) and a 16 mile run today on flatter ground.  Both were further and a good bit faster than anything I had been doing. 

Now I just have to hope I did enough....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

UNC Football is a disaster

The wheels are just coming off. As much as the UNC administration kept swearing that the worst was behind them and that everything would be OK, it has become a growing disaster.They fired coach Butch Davis yesterday, a week before practice and two days after he did the big football media day.  Their timing couldn't have been worse if they had tried.  Today the AD, Dick Baddour, quit.  Any other takers?

Credit for this wonderfully relevant cartoon goes to the web site StateFans Nation. They have done a fantastic job of covering UNC's lying, cheating and cover-ups over the past year.  Now we wait until October to see what penalties the NCAA decides to hand out. 

I feel sorry for the football players who were naive enough to trust UNC's "it will all be just fine".  I guess that's what you get for being gullible.  Welcome to the new and improved "Carolina Way".

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roundup at Red Ledges golf tournament

Friends of Animals Utah held their second annual golf tournament yesterday and it was a spectacular success.  Any time you have so many moving parts to coordinate, something is bound to go wrong.  Food, drink, registrations, scoring, volunteers, the course, weather, the golfers, the auctions, dinner, ... The list just keeps on going. Somehow the group managed to pull it all of without a hitch.  It was a great day and raised a lot ($30,000+) for FOAU.

I got to participate as a golfer (hacker) instead of working the event.  While some foursomes were full of real golfers, ours included handicaps of 18, 20, 22, and 28.  Not exactly a group of ringers.  However, we somehow managed to play completely beyond our skill set. 

The format was Best Ball, which means all four of you hit. You pick the best shot, then all four of you play from there.  On a hard golf course, at the end of 10 holes, we were eight under par and even had an eagle on a par 5.  We mostly played par golf from there, which was much more realistic.  We ended up with a 63.  They adjusted it for our handicap, and we had a net of 40!  In golf, 40 isn't even a real number.  The bad news is we came in second, to a 38.  The golf pros had never even heard of such a score. 

We ended up with a nice little trophy and a dozen golf balls each.  Of course, that barely replaces all the ones I whacked out into the hillside.  Lisa, the only woman on our team, won the longest drive and closest to the hole for the ladies.  She left with a new golf bag, some gift certificates and some other treasure. 

Great event!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The effects of a big snow pack

What happens when a record setting snow pack melts? First it floods everything. Then it fills all the lakes, reservoirs, and ditches. Here is an astounding graph of the Lake Powell water level.

Lake Powell is down in southern Utah and catches a lot of the drainage from west of the Rockies.  Since April, the water level has risen over 50 feet!  They warn you to be careful if you are parking your car near the lake to go on a boat trip.  Come back in a few days and your car may be under water.

How much water does it take to make such a huge change?  So far this year the lake has received over 14 million acre-feet of water.  As you might guess, one acre-foot is enough water to cover an acre, one foot deep.  Duh. 

For my friends in NC, this amount of water would add about 1200 feet of depth to Falls Lake, if you could somehow contain it to its normal footprint.  I think that might be a problem.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another visit to the dentist

Damn I am sick and tired of dental work.  In the last eighteen months:
  • My previously removed wisdom tooth hadn't healed quite right and left a skin pocket where food and bacteria could gather.  The dentist cut it and then sewed it closed in a neater fashion.
  • An old metal filling had loosened and a new cavity had formed around it.  They ground it out and made a pretty new filling.
  • Then an oral surgeon ripped out my remaining three wisdom teeth.
  • My last big metal filling had the same problem. Today they replaced it.
I think, and hope, that my mouth is really healthy now and they have run out of ways to induce pain and take my money.

An evening on the water tower

One greatly underutilized location for relaxing is the water tower down the hill from us. Most of the tank is buried, so you only have to climb about eight feet of ladder to get to the top. The top is concrete and flat, like a giant patio.

Last night we went to watch the sunset with the Benson clan. Bill and Loris's daughter Shannon was visiting from DC. She was accompanied by her fiance' Dave. It was Dave's first visit to Park City, so they had him going everywhere and doing everything.  The young couple is arranging an October wedding in DC.

Notice that the water tower looks down on Main Street in Park City.  It really is a gorgeous view.  We didn't get much of a colorful sunset last night, but that's ok.  It means that the pollution stayed down in the Salt Lake valley.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Running Progress - week 5 and a half

I keep sneaking a little bit of weight off, but not nearly at the rate I had hoped.  Worse, I am now at 171, one of my weight loss plateaus where my body decides that it really likes its current fat and would prefer to keep it. Breaking through that can be a pain.

Went out to run 14 miles today. My routes are random and a bit unpredictable.  I think my body and subconscious teamed up to find some short cuts.  I ended up doing 13.6.  This added 1.6 miles to last week and cut off about 10 seconds per mile. Nice improvement.

Only 16 days until the race and I will stop serious outings about 5 days beforehand. Almost done with my training.  Yeah!

Skin check

As I have gotten older and moved to a very sunny place, I have been getting more careful about seeing a dermatologist and getting a check for any signs of skin cancer.  I did it again this week and had a little mole cut out and sent out for testing.  I'm have now had three excisions for tests:  one each on my ear, chest and back.  So far, so good.

If you have any moles or freckles, you should always keep an eye on them.  Better yet, have a professional look you over every year or two.  Skin cancer sucks.  Here is a nice overview.

Utah's moronic liquor laws

Utah continues to have the most bizarre, idiotic liquor laws in the country.  The nit wit legislature just makes up new rules and then makes up supporting facts and statistics.  Those, of course, are always proven wrong.  The NY Times just did a good piece on the newest changes.  It's an entertaining read, unless of course you live in Utah.  The article.

The laws are actually being challenged in court, but guess which church all the judges belong to.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A decent 5K

Friends of Animals Utah held their annual Bark in the Park event today.  It starts with a 5K fun run, which is only for fun if you aren't pushing really hard.  The good news is that because we are an animal rescue organization, you get to run with your dog.

So Jasper and I were discussing strategy options before the race.  Go out hard to clear the crowd?  Do negative splits, picking up speed every mile?  Pace behind someone else?  Jasper's suggestion was that we wag our tails and run like hell.  We went with that plan.  We ended up running at about 7:20 miles, finishing in 22:48. 

We ended up winning the 41-50 age group for both the "with dogs" category and the "open" category.  There was one 51 year old that kicked my butt, running a low 6:00 pace.  I was just happy having done a decent pace with almost 100 percent of my training has been longer and slower.

I'll post some pictures of the event in the next day or so.  It was very well attended and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting there

Today was my first run combining long and up.  I did about 10 miles, with 2250 feet up and back down again.  Now I just need to tack on 6 miles of running and another 750 feet in elevation, while increasing speed.  Oh yeah, and I have three weeks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mark and Diane come to visit

Mark and Diane Pozefsky are friends of our from NC. They were out in Zion and Bryce doing the national parks. They stopped by and spent two nights with us on their way back to sunny (103 and humid) Chapel Hill.

We took a trip up to Deer Valley to eat a burger at Royal Street (our first of the year) and then head up the ski lift for some wonderful views.  There is still a lot of snow up in the mountains.

And there's even some right at the top of the lift. Julie is playing in a pile that will probably take another month to melt off.  At least we are mostly just left with small piles from where natural drifts are sheltered from the worst of the sunshine.

No travel or company for the next month.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Running Progress - week 4

Four weeks to gone and four weeks to go before my race.  It's been two fairly ugly weeks for my training.  My cousin came out from NC to visit.  Other friends were in town.  We ate a lot, drank even more and to make up for it, exercised less.  My weight hasn't dropped an ounce. 

I've now kicked back into gear.   Yesterday I ran 12 miles and walked another three at the end. I am not going fast, but I am managing to keep my speed consistent as I ramp up the distance.  The runs are getting long enough now that they are a big time commitment and really knock you out a bit for the rest of the day.

Hoping to have a good, productive training week. On Saturday I am running a 5k race sponsored by Friends of Animals Utah.  I'll just call that a speed work day.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Park City Food and Wine Classic

Last night we joined some friends for the first night of this year's Park City Food and Wine Classic. It was held at the St. Regis hotel. They did a nice job of moving everything inside. It never did storm but it was certainly threatening.  They have some great outdoor patios, so it was a bit of a disappointment.

The event is a fundraiser for the People's Health Clinic. It is an excellent organization in town that provides low- or no-cost health services for people who can't afford it.

Thank goodness the event only ran from 6:00 until 8:30. It was a giant open bar, sponsored by numerous vineyards, breweries and distilleries. There was some food, and it was good, but there was a lot more alcohol than food, which is never a great plan.

Our group included Greg, Loris, me, Bill, Miriam and Julie.  

We got to taste a lot of good wines, but I didn't come home with any "gotta run out and buy them".  Just as well.  I'm not supposed to be drinking much alcohol while I am getting ready for my running event.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Carolina Way

For those who haven't been watching, the University of NC at Chapel Hill's football team is in deep trouble.  They appear to have cheated on tests and papers and taken gifts and money from pro agents.  The NCAA is hunting them down and punishments should be announced in October.  This would normally just be sad, but it has become quite entertaining.
  • Carolina always talks about "The Carolina Way". They have claimed how they cherish honor and integrity and it somehow makes them better.
  • The chancellor and coach have consistently denied any real problems.  They keep telling everyone "it will all be ok soon".
  • At every chance to come out with the truth, UNC fights it. There was a court order to release certain information and UNC appealed it, then appealed it again.  The info revealed that a handful of the involved football players had hundreds of parking tickets in a few years.  The tutor that was involved in the academic cheating had paid for some of the tickets.  Some of the cars appear to be from a car dealer who is now in jail.  One car had three different plates in one day. 
I'm an NC State fan, so I practice and teach the ABC's:  Anybody But Carolina.  This is almost too much to ask for.

So now that UNC appears to have abandoned any form of integrity in dealing with all these football issues, someone decided to just go ahead auction The Carolina Way off on eBay.  Might as well.  They aren't using it any more.  The product category is "Reputation".

Right now it is up to $3.25.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Fourth of July weekend

The 4th of July weekend is always a favorite here in Park City.  Friends come to town.  Music and parties are everywhere.  The small town parade is always entertaining.  The fireworks.  You just can't get away from all the fun.

To start the weekend off, my cousin Sara came to visit from Raleigh, NC.  She's been here twice before, once in the summer and one during the Sundance Film Festival in winter.  My dad has one brother, Sam, who has two daughters, Sara being the older of the two. Here's Sara with Julie at the parade.

Now, even though I have cameras everywhere and there were events going almost non-stop, I seem to have only captured the parade.  We kept having dinners out on our deck, enjoying the glorious company.   I ran a 5k on the morning of the 4th and finished side-by-side with Jim Covaleski, who has dropped 30 pounds this year and is running like a fiend!  We went to a big party at the Benson's.  All this and not a shot, but as always, I at least drag a little camera to the parade.

I met Rob Schumacher at 5:30 in the morning to come put our chairs along the parade route and claim our space.  We  leave the cars and walk home. This is serious commitment.  Our group, roughly from left to right includes: Greg, Miriam, Sara, Julie, Jim, Kathy, Bill, Loris, Lisa, Theresa, Rob, Ron and Carol.  Scattered in are a few friends who wandered by.

Every parade, whether big city or small town has to have marching bands.  We only had one this year, but they were quite good.

Let's start into the best stuff.  This guy had an electrically propelled three-wheeler.  It flexed quite a bit, which allowed it to turn on a dime.  Everyone instantly wanted one.  If they were selling them there, they would have cleaned up.

This was definitely the best float.  It was sponsored by Canyons Resort and starred a number of very experienced ski jumpers.

It turns out the float was basically a trampoline on wheels.  These guys were going along the parade route doing all sorts of flips and twists.

Both on skis and snowboards.  I never heard if they won first prize, but if they didn't it was clearly fixed.  This was new and awesome!

Then there were some things that weren't so good.  First, we have Miss Summit County and her escorts.  This is from the county that was "least obese" in the entire U.S..  Look closely and you can figure out what's wrong.

These girls represented some form of dance or aerobics group.  Whatever it was, I don't ever want to participate.

And the mega-loser for the parade.  Deer Valley is a multi-multi-million dollar resort.  They have been voted the number 1 ski resort in the US the last three years.  And this is their float?  What a piece of crap!  This was clearly $15 and four man hours.  If this is all you are going to do, stay home and don't embarrass yourself.  This is just so unlike DV.

So let's end on a happier parade note.  Here is my always lovely neighbor and best friend Hannah.  She was dressed as a princess and was part of the Baby Nee Nee float.

I was actually all ready to take some wonderful fireworks pictures.  I had the camera, remote trigger, tripod and such all ready to go.  Then it rained.  Instead of watching from the top of the water tower, we caught the last third of the fireworks show and even that was from inside the car.  Maybe next year.

Sara is back in Raleigh and Julie and I are having a very peaceful night, highlighted by the lack of gluttony and alcohol.  Whew!