Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gulp...

I bought a new bike. A road bike. A really nice one. And it was a GREAT deal. I've never in my life owned such a nice bike. It makes me nervous. Alex and I have always wanted to get into road biking--especially out here in Michigan it makes a lot more sense than mountain biking. And since my stress fracture, my only exercise is biking and swimming (although presumably someday I'll be able to run again, at which point maybe I can do triathlons!). I wasn't really looking for a bike. Not really. It happened like this. The other day I biked 15 miles out to Pinckney State Rec Area on my commuter Trek bike. It was great fun, but the bike left something to be desired. Well, every now and then, like once a month, I check craigslist for things like dressers and plant stands. Last time I checked there was an awesome free desk listed that is now sitting in our office. Yesterday I decided to check bike listings just for fun. And there it was. A beautiful high end road bike, normally $1700.00 for only $650.00 (see here for the specs). Exactly my size. Posted the same day. Was it meant to be? Well, I emailed the guy asking if it was still available. He emailed back and said he already had two interested buyers who were coming to test ride it, but he would let me know. Around 8:30 pm he called and said that the interested buyer couldn't get the money together until Sunday or Monday, so he was going to give me a shot at it. Really? And to top it off, he was willing to drive 15 minutes TO MY HOUSE, to let me test ride it. Really? When he got here I hopped on and it fit like a charm. Let me tell you, if you've never ridden a high end road bike, you MUST do it some day. They are amazing. Seriously amazing. So I bought it. Holy cow! Don't worry, Alex was behind me 100%. I can't take my eyes off it (neither can Rambo).

So, does anyone want to come visit and go road biking?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gardening

Alex and I have a garden! It's so exciting. I built planter boxes in the front yard where the plants will get the most sun. We planted tomatoes (including several heirloom varieties), peppers (both green and red), broccoli, green beans, straightneck yellow squash, and cucumbers. We're still looking for pumpkin and zucchini.










Notice the specially built watering system. I planted the plants in trenches down the long planter box with the idea that I could just put the hose at the top of the row and let the trench fill with water and slowly soak in. But, because the bed is on an ever so slight slant, the water runs right to the end of the row and then overflows leaving the top plants high and dry. In hindsight, I could have planted the rows across, instead of down, but then I wouldn't have had such a fun problem to solve. Anyway, I put plastic plant containers between each plant so that the water would dam up between plants. The bricks keep the containers from getting dislodged. The water travels down the trench through the little holes in the bottom of the containers. It works like a charm!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Addendum

Here are a couple of videos of Alex in motion. As usual, I had a hard time both filming and cheering. I learned from the first video (mile 11.5) that I should just cut my losses and stop filming when I want to cheer (sorry in advance for all your eardrums when you watch the video). That's why the second video (mile 23) cuts short before he gets too close. It's kind of hard to pick Alex out in the first video since he's in the middle of the pack. It's like playing Where's Waldo. At the end of the video you can see his torso go by--it's the one clothed in a maroon shirt. As you can see, the weather started out less than inspiring, but that's the beauty of a marathon--there's plenty of time for the weather to change! By 9:30 the sun was shining and the runners finally had a chance to dry out.

video

video

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Chariots of Fire



Alex did really well in the Cleveland Marathon this morning...

3:21:50 (7:42 miles)
179th overall (out of 8,007)
168th overall men (out of 4,065)
25th in his age class (out of 531)

And he managed to look great the whole time.

Mile 11.5


Mile 23.1


Mile 25


Mile 26.2

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Swearword

Due to an ill-timed stress fracture I won't be running the marathon this Sunday. The silver lining is that I don't have to curb my beer intake this week. Also, I'll still be able to cheer Alex on from the sidelines.

Sigh. Maybe someday I'll finally be able to successfully run a marathon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Crowds

As I mentioned before, there are a lot of people in New York City. I never really captured the essence of the crowds, but I tried. Below are a couple of videos I took. The first one is near Central Park and the second one is I don't remember where. I took the second one while walking down the street. I held the camera by my leg while Alex guided me through the crowds. I used this method because I felt weird pointing my camera in peoples faces as they walked by. Now instead of featuring strangers faces, I have a video featuring strangers butts. Enjoy!

video


video

Botanical Gardens




While we were in DC we went to the Botanical Gardens. It was pretty cool, if not a bit small for my tastes. They had a beautiful collection of orchids of which I took a lot of pictures. The desert was my favorite though--I love feeling the desert climate, it just feels like home. Below is a picture from the outside garden toward the Smithsonian Native American Museum. The building looks really cool, but according to our friends, the museum itself is kind of disappointing. We didn't go.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Niagra Falls

On our way out to Boston we stayed the night in St. Catherine, a city just 10 miles away from Niagra Falls in Canada. We arrived at midnight only to find every hotel we stopped at booked for the weekend. We finally found a MotorInn with some vacant rooms for $80.00 a night. What a rip off. We only slept there for 7 hours!

In the morning we got an early start and stopped at the falls for a little walk. It was so cool. There were hardly any people out that early so we had the falls pretty much to ourselves. They are fantastically huge. It was hard to get pictures because the sun wasn't yet strong enough to burn the mist off. I think it added to the experience though.




Saturday, May 3, 2008

DC at Night

As you many know, there are tons and tons of things to see in DC. So many monuments, historical buildings, and museums. We were hard pressed to see them all in a mere three day visit, especially amongst daily runs, dinners with our friends, and walking Bark (see Our Furry Children). To efficiently utilize our time we ended up visiting several monuments after dinner on Friday around 10 pm. I almost think it was better to see them at night. It was less crowded and the lighting was gorgeous.

World War II Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument

We also went to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. It was really cool with a lot of water features and inspiring quotes carved in stone. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough light for photos. I guess you'll just have to go see it for yourself!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Boston Marathon

The reason Alex and I included Boston in our east coast tour was not so much that we wanted to explore (we've both been there numerous times) but because our friend Heather was running the Boston Marathon. She did fantastic! Her time was 3:21:49 which is about 7:41 miles. That's more than a 10 minute improvement over her qualifying time. Alex and I (and Chad) were about a half mile from the finish line. We saw Lance Armstrong run by. His time was somewhere around 2:40 I think. Pretty good given the rumors that his longest training run was 14 miles. I had a pretty good view of the runners, but when Heather came by I was torn between cheering and picture taking. So, I only got one shot of her. After the race we walked around Boston with her, Brian, and her parents looking for beer and seeing the sights. She must not have been too tired... that's her in her trophy jacket that her mom insisted on buying for her.

Views from the Empire State Building

As many of you know, Alex and I just returned from a tour of the east coast (or at least a sampler tour). We started in Boston, went through New York City, and ended in Washington D.C. I had never been to the latter two cities and of course returned with many, many pictures. Contrary to my usual orderliness, I think I will post them somewhat randomly starting with some from New York City. New York was definitely an eye opening experience. I was so struck by the enormity of the city. So many people living amongst so many over-sized buildings and so little empty space. It's just plain huge. I think this is demonstrated best by some pictures I took from the top of the Empire State Building (we only had to wait in line for about 15 minutes!) and one I took at Times Square.

Up

Down

South
North
Times Square
(on a Wednesday afternoon)