Friday, September 28, 2012

Snow, working out and the big mouse battle

It snowed about 9,000 feet already, and while it looks amazing it reminds me I have a few things to finish up at the house. I'm not complaining, I love all weather and the rain at lower elevations (6500 at my house) is very welcome. The ground is soft, perfect for dropping in a metal fence post on Sunday, and perfect for pulling up what's left of the yellow squash, beans and cucumbers.

The new workout is going well, I'm sore in my core... and it's what needed to happen. I worked out so hard that I was wondering how they would clean up my vomit on the gym floor, but I was able to hold it together. That's a good workout for me, just like when I ran hard, leave it all on the trail/gym floor, don't hold back.
I reworked my diet and I feel amazing today. Sore but amazing. In fact my butt hurts so much I have to take my wallet out when I sit in a chair. I hired a trainer for a few sessions so I can work on form for squats and a few other exercises, and she isn't letting me slack at all. I figured an investment in myself is a good investment, so I paid up. I'm a big fan of everyone being in shape as part of being prepared and I hold myself to the highest expectations in all things. Looking forward to a month from now to report on the difference a strong core is making.

The mice flanked me the last few days resulting in no casualties from my side, but I got 2 of their sappers. The manged to get a chocolate chip out of the peanut butter without setting a trap off. I have Einstein smart mice, but this is a war of attrition and I have a lot of chocolate chips to set as advanced troops on the front line.

Bring it on!
Have a great weekend everyone. It's fall, get something done to prepare yourself for winter and the mad rush at the stores the end of the world predictions are going to bring in quarter 4.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The great bake-a-thon

First things first, I am making a major change in my life starting today. I've given up my goals of being an ultra runner for the time being, and changing to more weightlifting and short fast runs.

This was a super hard decision, I've invested years of my life trying to become a great runner for distances of 50+ miles. The problem is I'm a big guy with a great base muscle structure that weighs a lot. The running I've done lately has been brutal and has literally cause me to have wobbly legs during the last 1/2 mile of each run. I'm not gentle on myself and I workout to leave it all on the trail, but this causes me to be miserable at night and most of the next day until I run again.

I haven't run for 4 days and I feel amazing. I know the body needs a break, but I'm actually getting some rest at night and haven't taken any ibuprofen in a week. I'm going to the gym tonight and doing weight workouts, trying to develop a stronger core and tone up everything. I was on pace for a record mileage month, 240 miles, and made the realization that I just can't do it any longer. I really felt like I was killing myself slowly. I didn't have joint pain or sore knees/ankles, but my muscles were so sore it hurt to walk.

Now I can focus on a lot of other things, and run a few times a week for 45 minutes to an hour.

Like making bread!
8 loaves and I called it a night. Amish friendship bread, it was day 10 and time to bake. I have some of the starter to hand out to some people who asked, and bread for all my friends. I love fall, I love when it's 63 degree's in the house and I have the over on. I did make 10 but forgot a key ingredient in one batch and it tasted like crappy white bread.

I really feel comfortable and happy with my decision to transition, it took a few agonizing days of self doubt and hate but I'm good now. I will also have several hours each day to do whatever that I didn't have before. Perhaps I'll try the distance running again next year.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Even the mice eat great

Traps were empty all summer and suddenly: snap, snap, snap, snap. I only had 4 so I didn't stop the army of mice, and they got to a small bag of flour I had failed to place into a bucket for temp storage.... oh and a large bag of chocolate chips.

All is fair right?

That's good eating for the quick second before they execution takes place. If I was on death row I would totally get a tub of peanut butter and chocolate chips.

Oh, a Ruger super sale as well! I might go get a 10/22 finally, they have a great price on a breakdown model that has it's own backpack type bag. Not to shoot the mice with, but if they come back with rat backup then it's on.

1 last bean harvest this morning. I'm going to keep the plants up a few more weeks, there were some flowers and I won't complain about more beans for the freezer. The tomato plants are still producing, I have 50 more waiting to ripen (at least).

We hit up the pet food store as well, 150 pounds of dog food and some snacks. I noticed a new look to the bag and then saw they took out 2 pounds for the same price it used to be. Annoyed I tossed it in the cart and went down the isle scanning.... BING! There was the old style bag, 35 pounds, for the same price with a label that said "new look coming soon". I don't want smaller bags, they don't stack the way I like and 2 pounds out of each bag = 32 pounds out of the storage. Yup, same number of bags would equal an entire bag less of food.

Why won't they just raise the prices... oh that's right, it's better to give less for the same money than hope people realize inflation happens.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Refinance and property values

Getting a refinance has taken us about 2 months so far. I don't know if it's normal or we are just a little slow. We read everything, compare everything and ask a ton of questions. Currently Bank of America won't refinance us since we are not behind on our mortgage.... so we found someone else.

They are all brokers, trying to get a loan locally made us laugh a little bit. Sure, we would love your business, you would be a great customer but we can't compete with the rates you are getting online. Understandably, can you even get close.... nope. Chase bank can't even get close but they will buy the loan once we sign. I just wanted a local bank or credit union to refinance with, so they can service the loan locally.
Joke was on me.

We have a great rate currently but with everything being so low it made financial sense to refinance. It will save us almost $70,000 over the life of the loan, more if we keep making our current payment instead of the lower one.

Today the appraisal company is stopping in to check everything out. Online our property goes from $215k to $245k but finding comparable houses is extremely hard. One and a half stories, 3 bedroom, one and a half bath (how does a full bathroom with a bear claw tub not equal a full bathroom... no shower... ridiculous). We have one of the largest lot sizes and it's in one of the most desirable and appreciating areas of Colorado Springs. The 2 houses down just sold and moved last month, $275k and they are lacking the 1/2 story and an entire bedroom with about equal square footage.

I don't know how they figure all this stuff out, I always feel like we got robbed. If they give us a stupid figure that will require us to pay out money we will just walk away. I know we can sell our house for $245k+ without any effort. Our home was originally a barn, built in 1888 by one of the founders of Colorado Springs. It was once a duplex (lord knows how that was possible with the layout) and the basement was dug by hand and the entire place has a lot of character.

Speaking of games, the in-laws are showing their house today to an agent who wants to buy it for herself. I told them if they sell they need to get enough money to pay for a moving company, I'm not helping them move even up the street somewhere. Should have purchased a smaller house originally if it's too much work. We pay to have a maid there once a week... I don't even have a maid, what the heck. If they sell than can make about $100k in profit but that's a lot of pain in the ass-ness for me to deal with right now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Being on time, it's important!

In life it's always the little things that bother people and I'm no different.

I think it's respectful to be on time for everything, and if you can't be on time make an effort to let everyone know you will be late. Someone at home is always late, and I mean always. Obviously I can deal with it, 17 years is right around the bend and you get used to things. It doesn't mean I like it, but relationships are like that, you put up with certain things.
if that's what it takes, then get one!

What I can't STAND is to be at work at 5am in order to let someone in for whatever needs to get done. It's all planned, I get up at the crack of... well it's not even light out at 6:10 yet... and show up. In my email, sent late last night is a message saying you won't be able to make it until Thursday. I don't call that an effort, I don't check work email at 8pm. Fact is, I don't check email when I'm not at work, I selfish with my time that way. It's very quiet without 135 other people running around the business.
I'm 10 minutes early for everything and often earlier than that. It's fine, I'll wait if I'm early, I think everyone should be on time. It's not meet at my house at 8am for a run and you show up at 8:35 wondering where I am. Where do you think I am, I'm running without you. If it's not important enough then don't make an appointment or set time and see how that works.

Yes, it's 6:30 in the morning and I'm all done with my work day. Sounds like I can go to Costco in a few hours and pick up some stuff I didn't get last week. They had everything I was buying on sale and a few bonus things. I forgot my rebate check so I didn't get everything, the $110 rebate check goes a long way in food storage. More flour, sugar, coffee and peaches for the in-laws, peanut butter and whatever else I see is needed that adds up to $110.

I cut all the corn stalks down last night and hung them up to dry for a fall display at the mormon neighbors house. The garden looks odd with a hole in the middle of it but it's going to get worse. I'm going to cut the squash and zucchini plants out this weekend, it's that time and they are starting to look horrible. I want to get that garden bed covered so when the leaves start to fall little seeds don't fall in the nice soil and cause me headaches next year. I'm going to staple a screen over the box so it gets moisture but nothing else (unless a certain pitbull leaps in again).

Running is bleh this week, last night was horrible but I did the mileage and time. Time to pick up the motrin and suck it up. 21 days left in my goal time table, 180 miles left to do. It's going to be one of the hardest goals to hit, there isn't much slack and that's a lot of mileage each day to slug out. I just remind myself if I slack or take time off it just gets added back in to make the rest of the runs more brutal. Oh the life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Amish friendship bread

Someone handed me some starter, I thought 'how sweet, a chain email letter'.

Yup, I'm cranky and bitter sometimes (more often when I run too much).

I did make the effort and I did make the bread. I didn't read the instructions carefully, so I ended up creating a different sort of bread. It's funny, when the bread starter is 10 days old, you add X ingredients and THEN make the bread, saving some starter for your friends.
I didn't add any ingredients and just made the bread. I couldn't figure out why I didn't have enough bread starter to pass on to friends so today I read the directions again and realized I had a big fail.

The good news is the bread came out AMAZING. I even traded some for free coffee drinks at a little business. I figured if I was going to eat there, I would share. The lady said it was the best friendship bread she had ever tasted and she had a lot of knowledge on the subject.

Here is the link if anyone wants to know how to make it, or get a starter going. I have 2 batches started in the kitchen, enough for 12 loaves total unless I follow the directions and then I'll have 16. Not one to change proven techniques, I'll make it my own way (omit day 10 step 2).

Be sure to have something to drink, it's thick and heavy if you do it my way. Perhaps something from 7-11?
I know, right.
I'm on track to hit 240 miles before my birthday but I need a few days of 10 miles, so we shall see how I hold up. Wake up, work, run, sleep.
I feel like a hound dog.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Trip pictures, finally. A lot of them.

The last week was super. Super busy and just overall super. I finally listened to my body and didn't run yesterday. The run on Saturday almost killed me, literally, as the trail was so washed out I almost went over the cliff 4 times.
I consider myself an expert on this trail, and a damn good downhill trail runner, but the couple rainstorms of the last month destroyed everything I knew about the terrain. I actually stopped once and had a little chat with the mountainside.

Never commit to any one step.
Funny the little things you remember can save your life.... and give you a day off to get pictures sorted out! I took about 350 pictures, here are the ones I think are the best, or at least proof I took a dip in the water at 13,000 feet on a cold day.

Got permission to hike to a mine site close to an active mine

About 9500 feet, lowest elevation all weekend

There it is! Only a little snow left but still looking cold.

Cold, super cold.

Letting the sun thaw me out a little.

Minerals oozing out of a mineshaft

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The garden keeps on giving.

Yes, I know my rant yesterday was probably stupid, but once in a while everyone needs to just unload and get angry over something, anything. It's the things we don't do when in this unload/anger mode that separate us

My laptop has about zero hard disk space left on it. I can't even sync/backup my iPad where all the photo's are residing. I have to head out later and get an external drive so I can get the past 5 years+ worth of pictures copied over and deleted so I have room for more pictures.

Bleh, always something getting in the way. I even have a great picture of me swimming in a 13,000 foot snow fed pond... for my friends up north of the border. It was freezing, the wind was howling and it wasn't warm out but I just had to jump in and keep tradition going. In the meantime here are a few I took from my phone.

Dinner with a salad I lugged up from the garden.

The far mountain range base was my destination, I was running!

Random picture about 12,000 feet or more.

Rock was worn out and didn't appreciate getting up early one morning.
That's where I went swimming!

I harvested a paper sack full of corn, 25 tomatoes, 10 peppers, a lot of green beans, more squash (and zucchini and cucumbers) and I'm happy to say I have a couple of pumpkins that have the potential to be mammoth. It rained for about 15 hours yesterday so all of those good nutrients should help spur the mammoth factor. I won't be in country to make a big display or anything so I'll set one up at the mormon neighbors, I'm sure the little girls will be delighted to help carve and scoop and such.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can get 1 or 2 more tomato and bean harvests before the end of the season. It's a big hope, I can already tell everything has slowed down and is starting to fade off. I'm not going to complain, it's been a great garden and it's still giving great produce. I was able to get a lot of stuff put away for the winter and still give out veggies to the family and neighbors. I've only had to buy lettuce and spinach for salads for 4 months instead of needing to buy all the salad fixings.

Last night I couldn't see more than 10 feet with the low cloud cover but I had an amazing run in mid 50 degree weather. 7:30pm is the new dark time so I'm really adjusting my run start times, running in the dark isn't one of my favorite things, especially on trails. The depth perception just isn't there and I'm always afraid of getting hurt doing that, mainly jamming my leg really hard on a step down.

Fall is here, high of 64 today and it got into the high 40's last night. I sleep better in the winter, I say bring it on. I could use any sleep, this hour or two a night isn't cutting it lately.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No pictures but a little profanity laced rant

I'll get to the pictures tomorrow I hope, for now I have to get this off my chest. 

Dear guy who drove by me last night,
You might think it was funny to drive by and yell out, 'why are you running so slow, is it 'cause you are fat?'.
I'm going to give you another angle.

It took every fucking ounce of willpower for me not to get into my car (you didn't know I was a block from home, did you) and go up the road to find you. I knew right where you would be and worst case I would have caught up to you really fast had you just kept driving.
You are such an idiot you didn't think about that, did you?
You didn't think about me smashing the fuck out of your car with mine and pushing you over the 300 foot cliff you would have been driving next to.
I bet you also never thought about what would happen if you were out of your car in the parking lot, how I would have snatched your fucking life out of your body before you could even react or realize who I was.

Nope, you just thought it was funny to insult someone who wasn't up to whatever standards you place on people. It's not enough to endure the endless 'run forest, run' comments, 'nice bootie shorts' comments, the swerving assholes who 'pretend' to try to run you over, or even the people who don't pay attention on the trails or roads.
Nope, you decided to hurl some insult out thinking how fun it would be to tell your buddies.

FYI: 2 hours of running can make anyone a little slow. In fact I'm just always slow, and after 2 hours I was glad to be still doing a 10 minute mile. I won't pretend you can't run or are fat, it's hard to figure anything out when I only saw your face. I'm a few weeks shy of 40 years old, in better shape than 96% of the country (fact based on medical results) and can run for 7+ hours and am on pace to hit 240 miles in a 30 day time frame.

What can you do buddy?

Just know that your little insult almost got your killed. Not like you will ever read this, but the decision to not kill you was very hard. Sometimes people have enough and will 'snap'. I stay off the roads to avoid pricks like you but I have to connect with the house eventually. You almost had your last giggling, insult hurling moment. Think someone won't kill you for something like that, you had better wake the fuck up and read the news. I almost did it, I really almost did, I was standing at my gate with my gun in one hand and car keys in the other.

You have no idea how lucky you are. You really don't, and most likely never will. So fucking close to just giving it all up, throwing it all away... just to prove a point.

'who's real name would have been in the paper and all over the internet today'

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Whatever your problems are today

I hope they seem small.

I remember the phone call when I was in Vegas, telling me to turn the news on, 'we are under attack'. So much in this country has changed since then, and most of it isn't for the good of the American people but it's disguised as such and of course all anyone has to do is say the word terrorism and they can get/do whatever they want.

It's sickening to the point I almost don't even care anymore. The small minority can never get things done when the majority is 100% happy with how things are. People can bitch and complain about prices, jobs, banks, etc. but they are not willing to take a real stand even with such a little thing as voting for the person best suited for whatever position in an election.

But I care and that's the problem. Today it shall seem small, along with the amazing amount of problems I ran into at work this morning. Being gone for a few days equals 2800 emails (those that aren't auto filtered).

Pictures tomorrow from the trip!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Is August over already?

I got my running on track, finished with about 134 miles and I shed a few needed pounds in the process. This week is a zero mile week since we are heading out of town in the morning for our annual trip to the Ouray and Durango area. I'm tempted to bring my running gear, it's so hard not to run especially when you are in such a beautiful area. The downside is not having a real shower and we can't run together since we don't leave the dogs unattended.

My next running goal starts on the 10th of September to the 9th of October, 220 miles.

For those who don't know, that's a lot of running, just a bit over 7 miles a day average. If you skip 1 day you have to add mileage each day to make up for it. I'm determined to hit this goal, I'll be 40 next month and it's not getting any easier. With some huge goal over the next 12 months it's really shit or get off the pot time. It's a lot of work, I'm not a small guy and of course I'm still having the calorie intake argument with myself daily. Can't do X without Y calories, but when I look in the mirror I see myself at 265 pounds again.

220 miles is the same thing as running from Colorado Springs to Denver 3 times, but I'm not running on such easy territory. The effort it takes to run 1000 feet in elevation is the same as running an additional mile... so if you figure it out, I'll run somewhere around 400 miles in effort, the first 5 miles of my normal route is over 2000 feet elevation gain.

Random picture of me and my new best friend toy shopping at target. I just can't make his same face, but I did try.

I got a ton of mileage out of that photo in the last few days, not all of it good, but I don't take myself too seriously most of the time. This is also the first photo in 6 months that I don't think I look horrible in, the working out is paying off.

I realize the zucchini is huge but I needed a few oversize specimens for a lady at work, for whatever she is cooking. I've gotten a good harvest and as always with a garden, you learn new things each year. I'll have to do a separate post on that subject, it's always more than a few things. I have pumpkins and watermelon maturing, the corn will be picked next week and I think I can get 2 more bean harvests if I'm lucky. The cucumbers have slowed down along with the squash and zucchini, but I'm hopeful for a little bit more.

In the above picture there is a bag... that's friendship bread batter someone gave me. Sort of like a sourdough starter, so I obliged and made some after the required directions were followed for 10 days. The directions said to bake for 60 minutes but I chose 50 and the bread was still pretty dark and a little dry. Obviously I'm eating it, you only learn from your mistakes if you live with them.
The second round came out amazing at 45 minutes... I'm already short one loaf. The in-laws are enjoying one loaf and I'll freeze the second or maybe take it camping this week. The loaf pans were greased and then coated with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp saigon (dark and rich) cinnamon (just coat the sides and bottom, dump the excess into the second pan and then into the trash). If you have people in your life who don't really like "quick bread", try this and it's sure to vanish. I have enough batter for 2 more loaves, I'll knock those out tonight when I get home in between packing.

Time to finish up work, read some blogs and get loaded up for the road. If I have enough downtime and a signal I'll post some pictures from the road.