Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
A quick drive back to Spearfish, showers and clean clothes had us then heading to a great local Mexican joint for way too much food. The night was finished up with what has become a routine poker game. The winner was...
Mandee's crew (with Ian) is heading back to the slopes tomorrow. Jake, Deb, and I have an AM meeting with Black Hills State University Admissions folks for a tour of the campus and hopefully a meeting with the XC coach. Talk has it the snow mobiles might come out of the garage (I sure hope so).
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Day started with breakfast, opening some presents, and watching Super Prestige 'Cross (Nys didn't give me the present I wanted).
Ian, Jake, and I did some playing outside while Jim continued clearing the drive from the overnight additional snowfall. It was beautiful outside as the temps came up to the 20s and the winds were non-existent. Some sledding took place until a huge snowball fight broke out.
Mandee's family showed up mid-morning so everything shifted back indoors to get the kids opening Appleby Christmas gifts. It's fun watching youngsters excited. Everyone made out like bandits.
Later in the afternoon the kids headed outdoors and had a great time tramping all over the place. I, on the other hand, snuck away for a nap (it was awesome). Woke up in time to help getting food ready for the night's big dinner with the Appley clan and the Doten group (Jim A's sister's family). Turns out I am quite the potato peeler... who knew.
The Doten's showed up and a huge feast began for the 17 of us. It was the first time this holiday season that I ate past my limits.
After dinner the Doten's headed out and everyone jumped in for some Wii. As I am typing there is some fierce mini-golf going on.
Skiing all day is on tap for tomorrow at Terry Peak. Ian is hitting the snow board while I'll stick with skiing (with Deb and Jake) since we are only going for one day (would board if we had multiple days).
Another great day in the Black Hills; this trip is going super.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday after work Deb, Ian, and I headed to SGF for Eball's basketball game. The boys played the toughest game of the year, but came up a little short in the end. End of session #1 and we ended up 6-5 (much better than how we started last year). Everyone is looking forward to session #2, which starts the first week of January.
We got home late and while the boys headed to bed Deb and I loaded up the Durango so in the morning all we had to do is wake up the kids and immediately head out. There were several travel warnings for northern MO, and western NE and SD so we were working with Jim A to create alternate routes (just in case). I think it was a little after midnight when our heads hit the pillow.
4am and the alarm goes off (this is going to be a long day). Deb gets ready while I run to the office and get some daily requirements done quickly. Get home, load the boys, and we are on the road in the rain at 4:45am heading to western South Dakota at the northern point of the Black Hills (Deb's folks home) for a week.
I'll preface the rest of this by saying the usual route to the Appleby Lodge (gorgeous house up on a small mountain side) is to get to KC then take 29 all the way to Sioux Falls, SD then straight across 90 to Rapid City then a quick run up to Spearfish. The whole trip from Bolivar usually takes around 15 hrs.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
***When looking for a good blog picture I debated between traditional Grinch or Jimmy C Grinch as I am a fan of both, but since I reflected on my youth I went 'old school' Grinch***
Deb has been under the weather since Thursday (but is back to full-Deb mode now) so it was a relatively quite and easy weekend. The boys knock everything back a step or two when mom is not at her best (which hardly happens) and it's great to see how much they pamper and take care of her.
Friday I snuck in a solid run a little over an hour at noon; about the same time the kids got out of school for Christmas break. I took Jake and Ian to SGF for the afternoon/evening, which started off with a Courts basketball game for Ian (sometimes the best medicine is peace and quiet so I gave Deb a big dose). The boys played their best game of the year so far and easily won 17 to 10(6-4 right now with one to go). Last game is Wednesday night so we are guaranteed a winning session. After b-ball we grabbed some food with my mom and dad and then we did some shopping for mom. Both Jake and Ian were in good spirits which made for a fun evening with a lot of laughs. Interestingly the boys each had specific items they wanted to get their mom so it made for easy and quick stops.
Saturday morning temp was 22* and the wind chill had it below 10* so Ira and I called off the AM trail run. The entire Jones crew was full of laziness the entire day, except for my 1:10hr run on the dreadmill in the afternoon. We skipped our Sunday School's Christmas party as Deb was still not 100% and it turned out nice and restful. Deb and I caught some movies on TV while I worked on repacking wheel bearings (two sets down and one to go). SNL topped off the evening before system shutdown.
Sunday I wanted Deb to continue to recover so Jake and I went to church while she and Ian (now battling a cough) stayed home. After lunch I hopped out to the city park and got in 1:15hrs of running mostly the trails on the outer perimeter. That was my third hour+ run in as many days and although I am getting my 'running legs' back they were starting to feel the new type of workouts/loads (Monday is off). Returned in time to grab Ian and Deb to see Avatar (Jake was already going with a couple friends). Interestingly good flick, but maybe not as hyped as I hoped. I do want to see it in the 3D version though and imagine it would take it to the level I was expecting. Ian loved it. Got back home for a ton of Bananagram games with Deb before kicking back for a little Sunday Night Football.
Take a look at the below picture and you'll see the 'designer' print our cat made on one of Deb's sugar cookies...
The boys are hanging out together this week and Jake always does a good job of humoring his bro (when it is required). Jake pulled out a huge container of Legos the other day and Ian is having a great time playing with them. I mention this because historically Ian would set up toys for display and simply look at them, but this time he is creating various 'ships' and 'rockets' and playing. Along with this is the 20 hrs (per day) of SportsCenter for E. It's pretty nice for me as I don't have to watch and he gives me most stats and updates at request.
So they are killing tome together until we leave for South Dakota Wednesday night (that's right I said 'night'). Ian's last session game is at 8pm so we'll finish up around 9pm, grab some food for the road, drive by Bolivar on our way to 'however long I can make it before getting too tired'; hopefully somewhere near Omaha, NE. This will be the first Christmas for Deb's folks to host the holiday in their home in years. Everyone is looking forward to family time, snow mobiling, and skiing (and hopefully some of Jim's smoked ribs). I hope to get Jake and myself on some XC skis once or twice. During the visit Jake (along with Deb and I) is visiting Black Hills State University (one of two places for whom he is looking to run and study). The school is lining up a XC coach for him on the visit.
Ran across some info on an mid-Sept '10 event in Branson that has got me thinking... wouldn't mind going sub-5hrs again.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Woke up Monday morning and my crud was still in full effect. Was hoping to get a solid start on the 'run training' so at noon I went to the gym and jumped up on the dread mill. I was looking for an hour, but after fighting the hack, cough, and snorting I exited with 40 minutes. Legs felt great, but need to give my body a couple more days of easy activity before loading it up. Monday after work Ian and I shot some hoops at SBU before coming home to dinner. Did a little bike prep work on the Blue and mtb, but nothing too major.
Jake is working some odd jobs with a retired pastor and a friend for the next handful of days and tonight was his first 'clock in'. Tonight they are working outside hanging some tin on a barn and then some insulation installation. I made sure he was dressed warm as the evening temps are in the 20's. He returned later looking forward to helping out later this week as he really liked the 'boss' and has never minded hard work when required.
Tuesday had me feeling a little better, but not great. Ran 30 min prior to an hour of basketball. After work Ian and I had basketball practice while Deb and Marla exercised at SBU. Got home to some homemade Chicken N Noodle soup and the rest of the evening was kicked back relaxation.
Wednesday I took the boys to a local breakfast eatery before school and there Ian started complaining of stomach pains. By the time we left he was in tears so I kept him home from school. Little knucklehead was sick for most of the morning then started feeling better around lunch. Deb and I swapped off staying with him at home, but I snuck him out to the gym at lunch for 1 1/2 hrs of basketball (I played he watched).
Let me interject something here in reference to my basketball. These sessions are not a bunch of locals slugging up and down the court at turtle's pace, this is the equivalent of an intensive interval session with most in attendance past (very recent) collegiate players. There is little chit chat as we get up and down the floor at breakneck speeds and games are physical and competitive as no one wants to lose.
After work it was another great restful evening as E and I watched the Thunder play Dallas and Deb grabbed a book and a tub. Jake had a handful of 'social' events and I don't expect to see him until later.
Right now I am splitting my time between typing this in and watching Ian playing some NBA Live on the xbox360. He's got 10 minutes before his hiney needs to be in bed. He is back to full strength so he'll be back at school tomorrow.
Jake's finals are this week, but he seems to have a solid hold on prep (at least he hopes so).
Tomorrow is supposed to be super nice weather (in the 50's), but I have a full agenda on my plate so will push next run to Friday (back to cold and snow/rain).
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday after work Jake, Ian, and I knocked out some local Master Wongs. That's right, we love the whole-in-the-wall experience which has the cheapest Cashew Chicken that tastes the BEST. After that Ian and I headed over to watch BHS basketball games while Jake met up with some friends to do what teenagers in Bolivar do - nothing. Deb met us later on at the game, which turned out to be a close win for the home team. Afterwards we returned home to a house of around 15-18 high school kids hanging out and watching movies. Ian, Deb, and I retreated to our bedroom and watched some NBA until late into the night; Eball ended up crashing in our bed until morning.
Saturday morning Ira, Jake, and I were supposed to hit some trail running, but none of us felt well so we skipped it. Not a whole lot was accomplished during the day as the main focus was centered around goofing off and staying warm. Mid-afternoon a bunch of folks got together at Tom and Sarah (pictured right) Jones' flat to watch the Bolivar Christmas parade. Sad parade in my opinion as several of the vehicles were sole advertisements with no theme or extras. The kids all made a crazy haul on candy. The Brown crew (all 98 of them - just kidding only 6) made the scene and Ira always adds some life to any gathering.
The rest of the afternoon found Ian and I at the gym shooting baskets (most him while I watched). He has to be close to getting his 10,000 hrs (that will make sense if you read Outliers). Saturday evening was spent at SBU watching the men's basketball team extend the NCAA's longest home winning streak to 37. No late bedtime for us afterwards as we were all spent.
Sunday was just another laid-back and relaxing day as the head cold was still there (no AM run for me). Cleaned out the garage before heading off to Church in the morning, ate some Mexican chow with some friends at lunch, played some Halo3 and then basketball with Ian, vac'ed and cleaned Deb's Camry, tore down the Blue, played some poker with the boys, got home to find Deb made some chocolate chip/mint cookies (YUM!), watched the end of Giants/Eagles, and then called it a day. Great weekend of nothingness and relaxation.
My brother has a unique way to finding unusual food products and it is generally focused around the MASS QUANTITY of a particular item. Barrel of cheese puffs and pork rinds, gallons of whole pickles, and the list goes on and on. This past week he added the below item which to me has topped the list; its the Yard-O-Beef summer sausage 'club' that is slowly being snacked on. The picture actually does not do it justice.
As mentioned before, the Blue is in pieces and slowly being cleaned, lubed, and brought back to life (finalized around Jan 1). I do this every year to keep me focused on unfocusing on riding. By the time January rolls in I am dying to ride and feel rejuvenated and fresh; ready for another 11 months of riding and racing. Time of mental recovery is important as in the past I continued to ride year round (easy to do when in South Texas) and by May or so I am fried and ready to sell all cycling products like THIS guy. This doesn't work for everyone as a handful of buddies are already burning up the trainers/rollers in preparation for 2010, but I know what works for me and December time off is it. I still run four to five days a week (a minimum 1 hr per) and hit the strength/core work several days, but just not on the rig. That being said I do keep my mtb in the ready in case someone wants to knock out an 'epic' (sorry Scotty, had to do it to you) to Syllamo or Berryman...
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Prior to '09 I had used early winter to get in easy base running miles for upcoming adventure races, but now that I am staying clear of that nonsense I am tossing the bike aside for a month (or more) and lacing up the runners simply because I love running in winter; especially trail running. A couple years back I logged a ton of miles (no speed work just a lot of miles) in prep for my first road marathon and 50k trail race and they both turned out pretty good. Last year when 'cross finished I donned the sneaks and took Jake to his initiation into trail running so I held off the longer races and he and I did a 1/2 marathon and the SwampStomper 25k. ***Picture top right is Jake and I at the Run for the Ranch 1/2. Picture below and right: Jake had no idea of the rewards of trail running (SwampStomper '08) when Cynthia laid a big one on his cheek. Careful this year Cynch as he just might turn to you at the last second***
This year Jake asked if he could knock out a marathon over winter break and although his mileage has been solid (and I'm sure he could do it easily) I just refuse to have his 16yr old body pound the asphalt that distance. I see nothing good coming of that. So we will stick to the 16miler in January and then have him turn his focus to the shorter stuff on the track for spring.
So the plan was to finish state 'cross on Sunday, take a couple days off and lay low, and then dig out the running legs for the back of the closet and see how they fit. It's now Thursday, freezing cold outside (and nutty windy) and I am trying to find the courage to face the early morning jaunts. Looks like I will move to the dreadmills at SBU until the temps get above 30*. This Saturday morning Jake and I are meeting a group and trail running at Busiek.
Monday was a home SBU b-ball game (another win). Sat with Wes and Marla and enjoyed the evening.
Tuesday I played some basketball at noon. After work Ian and I had basketball practice (while Deb paced it out with Marla at SBU) then came home to some home-cook'in chili (good stuff). I hopped out to the shop and started breaking down bikes and doing a little rescue services on Coach Bandy's Cannondale (or what's left after running it over with his truck). A buddy of his donated an old Barracuda rig and I am swapping over some parts from the C'dale to the 'cuda.
Yesterday after work I went with a buddy to Joplin for an SBU/MSSU basketball game. Had good conversation and the game went SBU's way so overall a solid night. Sounds like Ian and Deb caught some Christmas shows on the tube while Jake did his Focus thing.
Rest of the week is pretty low-key and looking forward to several non-travel weekends hanging out with the crew.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Friday after work we (Deb, Jake, Ian, and I) met the Appleby's at our local Mexican joint and wolfed down some dinner. After that Ian and I scooted over to Buffalo to watch Bolivar High play in a basketball tourney. After the game we met Deb and her folks motor home and played some Spades (Jim and I kicked some booty - again!). Jake was having some friends (so it was many more than SOME) over so we snuck in, got Ian in bed, and we crashed without many kids even knowing we were there.
Saturday came early and the crew headed to SPR for Ian's basketball game (at 8:20am). We were short a couple kids, but the boys there played great and we nabbed a 22-19 win. Afterwards Deb met up with a friend and they Christmas shopped the rest of the day while Ian, Jake, and I grabbed some breakfast with Jim A and Linda. The boys and I did some lite shopping of our own and made our way back to Bolivar a little after noon. I spent a little afternoon time helping a couple friends work on the Pose Method of running (as I have used this technique for the past 6 yrs or so and it's always good for beginners to see it in action). Later on Ian and hit the gym to shoot (at his begging request) around and play some 1-on-1. Ian is the team's best ball handler and passer so he doesn't get very many looks at the basket (shots in layman's terms) during his games so it is not uncommon for us to go shoot after a game. The rest of the afternoon was pretty laid back with Jake hanging out and Ian and I watching some basketball on TV. Later in the evening Deb returned and she and Ian went to an SBU basketball game, Jake had some friends over, and Ira and I headed out to stay the night with a buddy of his in Jeff City (2 1/2 hr drive out of the way instead of driving in the morning). Big thanks to Nick, owner of Red Wheel bike shop and fearless leader of Team Red Wheel, for letting us crash for the night. Will return the favor if you get to the SPR area.
Got home in time for a gathering of friends at the casa to watch the season finally of Amazing Race, did some scrubbing and laundry, watched a little Sunday Night NFL, then off to bed.