Saturday, July 31, 2010

Duluth and the iphone

We are in Duluth. I'm in the hotel room listening to Sadie cry/scream from her crib in the bathroom. Marty and the kids ate down at the pool.
I can now post pictures to my blog from the iPhone. I can also now upload multiple pictures from the iPhone to Facebook. This is good because there is no free Internet here at the Sheraton.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yes, I Can Get Really Crabby for Really Silly Reasons

Today, I was reminded of two things that make me crabby. Real crabby. Now, Marty would argue that a few more things than two make me crabby; and she's most likely correct. I tend to think far too highly of myself.

So, the first thing that will make me crabby is golfing. I went golfing today. I went golfing to join the BNI group I'm in on its monthly social activity. I really like the people in my BNI group. They are really great people. So, last week, I decided that, inspite of my hatred for golfing, I would really like to spend time with my friends from BNI, and could tolerate 2 hours of golfing.

I did have a great time with my friends at BNI. I played with Sandra, Heather and Matt and got to learn a little more about each of them.
But oh, at what cost. Two hours, nine holes.

Why do I dislike golf so much? It's slow, it's long, it's hot. I hit a ball - it rarely goes where I wish and the amount of time and effort it would take (not to mention money) to get that ball to go where I want it to, is limitless. I do not have limitless time, effort or money. So, I hit a ball. I walk to where that ball is, rather than where it should be, and I hit it again to another place where it shouldn't be. After about 3 of these hits, I'm about as frustrated as when I watch Levi attempt to pour out milk from a full, plastic, gallon milk container into a Dixie cup. It's a slow-motion wreck in the making.

The problem is that improvement in golf is so subjective. "Stand with legs apart." "No, legs together." "Elbows bent." "Elbows straighter." "Twist at the hip." "Keep hips straight."
And which ever technique I use to actually end up hitting the ball, sometimes it's a dead-on hit and sometimes it slices right into the trees. Crabby source #1. On to #2.

The second thing that makes me crabby is walking around the block. Marty loves this. I do not.
Now, I have schemed on numerous occasions of attempting to run around our 1.2 mile block for 12 or 24 hours, just to see how far I could go on a closed loop. But ask me to walk around the block and I get hives. Occasionally, I accept the hives and go walking, usually to placate Marth.

Tonight was such a night.
Toddlers in strollers, Sadie in a stroller and off we went. We had a good time. The boys love pushing the toddlers by catapulting them in such a way that they go rolling down the road ahead of us and then roll down into the ditch. We all watch with anticipation to see if the stroller will tip over. The toddler in the stroller does as well - but for different reasons!

I really don't know why I dislike walking around the block. It's not that I dislike walking. In the 50 miles that I've run at Leadville, I walked at least 15 of those miles. Of the 92.75 at FANS, I must have walked 40 of those miles. It doesn't really matter as long as I suffer every once in a while in order to give Marty some company.

Tonight's walk was blessed by a treat when we got home: a young buck in the front yard. We were able to feed it from our hands, pet it and rub its antlers.
Not much to be crabby about anymore.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Running Long? Really?

I have a friend who runs, like everyday. Not far, but almost everyday.
That blows my mind. I can't do that. Over the course of a year, they will run way further than I will run over the course of a year. Seriously.

Add it up:

Daily Runner Friend
4 days a week, say 2-3 miles.
4 X 52 weeks = 208 days of running
208 days X 2.5 miles (we'll split the difference) = 520 miles

pre FANS runs
(some frozen river runs in Jan, a couple night runs between Feb and June) = 45 miles
Ryan's Valentine's Day run = 55 miles
Shawn's underground = 23 miles
Fans = 92.75 miles
Afton = 31 miles
maybe Superior = 50 miles
Pete's Underground = 50 miles
maybe some runs in the fall = 45 miles
TOTAL = 391.75 miles

Look who actually runs more!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Running While Vacationing

This weekend, Marty and I stole away to Chicago. Our 2oth anniversary was earlier this month. Marty's parents have Emma and Eli for this week. Grace was traveling to AR to spend time with the Vadens who had been at our church this past year. So, last week, I decided we'd try to farm out the other 4 and get away. The Sarnas from church were so kind as to take the bottom four.

So, we headed to Chicago on Friday.

I do not run every day. In fact, I typically run one time a week. Right now, I'm running even less than that. In fact, my training this year has been the races I've run: FANS and Afton. The point here is that I do not run every day.
However, when we go on vacations, for numerous reasons that I will try to flesh out, I do run every day.

I think this started many years ago when Marty's parents invited us to CO to ski. As I would look at mountains with distinguishable trails on their sides, I couldn't help myself but want to see how far I could run up them. Since our days were packed full (mainly with watching our younger children while the older ones learned how to ski), it became important to get my run in early in the morning so I'd be around during the day. As a result, there are many years of early morning, cold, snowy, mountain runs; many explorations up the mountain on the other side of I-70 from Vail.
This little morning ritual has carried over to almost every vacation we've taken. This weekend, on Saturday morning, I took a stroll through Downer's Grove before anyone was up. On Sunday morning, Marty joined me. We started at our bed and breakfast just off Montrose and Clark in the far north of Chicago. We ran east to the Lake, then north a mile and re-traced our steps.

This morning, I was wide awake at 5, but decided to not get up until 6. Ran to Wrigley Field, then the the Lake and back to the B & B.

So, here's why I run regularly while on vacation (in no particular order):

• It helps to get out early, do something unusual or challenging before the day sets in.
• It allows me to see a new place or area. Yes, being on vacation in itself is a chance to see a new place. However, running in a new place allows me to see things that I would never see later in the day, with all the demands of the day.
• In the morning, there are few people out, the city is waking up, and I get to see what a neighborhood (or mountain) looks like while calm.
• I'm also able to see more by running than by walking.
• I can run pretty much wherever I wish. I'm not constrained by car, road, the children, or any one else.
• I have time to think about the day behind, the day ahead, sort through weighty matters.
• Running in the morning actually gives me more energy for the day.
• I can eat more. We usually eat more, and richer, foods while on vacation.
• We usually swim while on vacation. Running helps keep me in shape.
• Having smelly, wet running clothes hanging around makes me feel a little more at home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today was a day of traveling. I drove Emma and Eli to the airport. Marty drove the 4 youngest to the doctors to see if the Ethiopians have TB. The nurse said they did. Marty asked for a doctor to check. They don't have TB.
I didn't have any coffee until after dropping my charges off at the airport. And then, a glorious rendezvous with espresso, actually several shots of espresso, with a splash of hot water.
Then both Marty and converged on the Sarnas. The Sarnas have Levi, Zeke, Lizzie and Sadie for the weekend. This is such a blessing. I am praying that our children are a blessing to them.
Then, Marty and I headed east to Chicago. That put our family in 4 states today: grace in AR, Emma and Eli in NV, the little ones in MN, and the parents in IL.
Marty and I stopped about 20 times between Minnetonka and Chicago, primarily because my bladder is the size of a Barbie doll purse, and I'm not too keen on filling empty water bottles just so I can brag about how few stops we made.
We stopped in Madison for supper. Marty suggested something other than highway food. So, we went in search of the area by the campus where we've gone with the kids on previous trips. It turned out to be Maxwell Street Days, something similar to Grand Ol Days in St Paul, with lots of food, shops selling in the streets, music and excitement but with a lot fewer drunk people than one finds on Grand Ave. We had a delightful pesto pizza while sitting outside.
Returning to the car, we stopped in a local coffee shop where we heard a really interesting, and earnest, college aged, nicely groomed young man singing. It was very nice so we bought a cd. Kevin Paris. "Mangos for Breakfast". Acoustic reggae.
Then 2 more hours into Chicago. Debby Laslo was waiting up for us with delightful greetings, conversation and snack.
Much to be thankful for today and much to be in prayer for today.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trying to post a photo

This is my attempt to post a photo to the blog from the iPhone

iPhone blogging

Ok. I might get real excited if this works.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talking with My Daughter

Tonight, as I returned home from a UMTR board meeting, I drove through Stillwater. Since Marty wasn't answering her cell phone, I called and talked with Emma. Everyone was still downtown for Summer Tuesdays.
So, I parked at the office and walked to where they were sitting next to the river.
And I sat and talked with Emma. There were lots of people around I could have talked with. But most enjoyable of them all was my own daughter.
We joked about the band, talked about the book that we are reading (or should I say, not reading) together, committed ourselves to reading again and meeting to discuss it, and talked about a certain YOUNG boy that also happened to be downtown with his parents. Unlike his peers, he sat with his parents.
I really had no desire to talk with any one other than Emma. That is a blessing.

Friday, July 9, 2010


After a small battle/skirmish, we've decided to stay at home for our kidless time.
The North Shore was just as expensive as going to Chicago. This way we can have fun in the Twin Cities.
So, for the first time ever, we booked a hotel for Friday night in downtown using hotwire. This means we had no idea of what hotel we'd get before we bought it. Like gambling. We don't gamble often. Ever.
We got the Hyatt Regency, on Nicollet Mall. I used to walk by this every night on my way to classes at the University of MN.
Now to fill in the weekend:
art museum
boat rental on St. Croix River
restaurant in Mnpls
Nicollet Ave Friday afternoon.
a movie
painting the house

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chicago or North Shore or Home

The Laslos in Chicago

Chicago. Last year when I took the four oldest to the U2 concert.

The North Shore, Lutsen Lodge beach.


About every three years, the stars align and we find ourselves with a number of the children someplace other than in the house. This is usually in large part to grandparents. At these times, Marty and I scramble to jettison the other children and get away together. Past successes have resulted in trips to New York twice and Boston once.

Well, the stars have aligned again: Grace is going to AR, Emma and Eli to grandparents, and friends from church are graciously willing to take the other four. So, to celebrate our 20th anniversary, Marty and I are going to... we don't know.

Cabins up North are expensive right now. But it's so restful and serene.
Great family friends in Chicago have said we can stay with them. In fact, spending time with them is much more precious than anything on the Magnificent Mile. However, that's a seven hour drive.

Tonight, we wondered if we shouldn't just stay home. We have large trees in our back yard, the trail through the forest is restful and serene, and with enough agitation, the pool can sound like Lake Superior waves. And to get the big city feel, we could drive into Minneapolis for a night on the town.

Regardless of what we decide, one thing is absolutely clear to me: we are old. A young couple would bolt. Staying home sounds so good.

My Ultra Video Debut

Matt Patten took video of the Afton race. I make a short appearance at 47 seconds.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blogging and Life

Someone recently commented that I hadn't posted in a while.
I was stunned to realize that I hadn't realized that I hadn't posted in a while.

I guess I've been busy since last week; I haven't even posted about the Afton 50K from this weekend.

And so I thought, you know, I blog in a similar fashion to how I run. In fact, I run in a similar way in which I live.

And it's actually not really how I imagined myself to live, or have striven to live. I've always thought of myself as being more disciplined, more orderly, regimented.

But the truth is, that's just not how I am. And it's taken me 42 years to realize that.

I blog when I feel like it or am inspired, rather than every day.

I run when I feel like it, when I get too itchy to stand it any longer, and when it fits with the rest of the family schedule. I don't run every day. I used to. It wasn't as great as I thought it was.

I wish I were more regimented; especially in a few areas. But it's okay. Every run is a good run. Every day has turned out to be a good day...for 42 years.

Actually, some days have turned out to be incredible.

Friday, July 2, 2010


This is a bog THANK YOU to all of you who read this blog. This afternoon, I received a blogcounter update. Today, someone was the 11,200 hit on my blog. That's like the size of most of the towns in Iowa.

I'm not certain why some of you read this blog. Others I'm quite certain.

Most of what I write comes to me during the day, and then I forget about it and have to try to reassemble the idea/story later in the evening. I really try to be funny and light, and I try to write about things and in a manner that, if I were reading it, would not put me to sleep or absolutely bore me.

So, to all of you who read here, thank you. I really enjoy your comments. In fact, most of the time, the comments are much more enjoyable than my posts.

Sleepless Racing

I'm going into tomorrow's race very tired. This has not been a good week for sleeping. I'm typically a deep sleeper but have been waking like clock work almost every hour of the night this week.

One of the benefits of running/training at night is that by the time the run starts I'm already tired. All those runs have gotten me somewhat used to running while tired.

So, tomorrow will be a good day. I'll spend some time while racing thinking about why I couldn't sleep. There are no bad runs.