February 5k

The morning started out at 7am and very cold. I got in my car and started on the 25 minute drive to Tigard for the Chocolotathon 5k. The car registered the outside temperature at 30 degrees and I knew this run was going to be a challenge. By the time I made it to Cook Park it had warmed up to the mid 30’s. Since I was a few minutes early for the race I decided to wait in my car and try to absorb some of the heat. Eventually, about 15 minutes before I thought the race was going to start, I left the warm comfort and found my way over to the starting line.

I could tell right away that things weren’t going to start at 8:00 am. Most of the booths were still being setup and there were less than 100 people mingling around. Shortly after I got there, someone found a microphone and started making a few announcement. He said that the race would start at 8:30. Great. That meant 30 more minutes of standing in nearly freezing weather wearing only my running shirt and running shorts. Cold!

More people started to arrive and it looked like things were going to get started on time. But then a new announcer took the mic. He announced that the race would start at 8:45.  Another 15 minutes of standing in the cold. But, I guess, it was getting a little better. By then it might have been up to 40 degrees.

There were no more delays and at about 8:40 the announcer directed us all to get in line. I thought this event was going to have a 5k, 10k, half and full marathon. It turns out that there was only a 5k and 10k. Both races started at the same time and on the same course. The 5k runners were to run one loop and the 10k runners did the loop twice. By the time the race started there were between 500 and 1000 runners.

We took off in tranches in order to leave some spacing between the runners. Even so, for the first mile or so the course was pretty clogged up. That was fine with me since I’m not really a fast runner (at least not yet). But it was still cold! I looked down at my arms and they were bright red with dark blue streaks through them where the veins were showing.  About the half-mile mark I was in my stride and I started to warm up and my skin returned to its normal color.

This is my 4th 5k that I’ve run and I’m starting to notice a pattern. There are quite a number of racers who take off fast. They zip past everyone, weaving in and out, and make great time. However, by around the 1 mile mark, they are all walking. About that point I start passing them. And then a few minutes later the spurters will run past me again. But a bit further down the trail, they are walking again and I pass them. Every time I keep reminding myself of the tortoise and the hare story. My goal is to finish the entire race without walking. My pace is slow but I just keep going.

The 1 mile marker came right about when I expected it. I felt like I made pretty good time on that first mile and I settled in for the next mile. I don’t know if it was the cold or the hour of standing around or what but I started to feel myself slow down. At every turn of the course I was looking for that 2 mile mark er and it just was never coming. And then the hill! I turned a corner on the trail and looked ahead. There was a steep (very steep) hill ahead. It was steep enough that the trail didn’t go straight up it but had to zigzag back and forth. It was like climbing out of the grand canyon. I had a choice to make. Either walking up the hill, like everyone else, or stick to my goal of running the whole course. I stuck to it. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy but I climbed the hill. Once at the top, though, it wasn’t flat. Instead, it was a run back down the hill and that’s not easy. I was afraid that my legs would give out and I’d fall so I had to go very slow running back down. At the bottom, I saw the 2 mile marker. Whew. Now it was only a matter of grinding it out.

The last mile was flat and uncrowded. I should have been able to make good time but I used a lot of energy on the hill. I mostly coasted through the rest of the race. As I passed the 3 mile marker I considered picking up the pace for the last 0.1 miles of the 5k but I didn’t have it in me. I crossed the finish line at 46:51. That’s a 15:04 mile pace. Slower than my last race but that’s ok. I didn’t walk and I finished.

My next race, in March, is the Shamrock run in downtown Portland. I did that same race two years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can improve my time.


Oven fire and lemon cookies

Last week we had an incident. We were trying to make dinner, just your average baked brie in puff pastry, but something didn’t go right. Instead of baking to a nice golden brown with gooey cheese in the middle, the cheese broke free of the wrap and started spilling down to the bottom of the oven. The melted cheese poured over the side of the dish and down right onto the flame jet of our gas oven. And guess what happened? Oven fire!

It was fun and exciting. For the first time ever I got to use the kitchen fire extinguisher. With just a couple shots from the red canister I was able to put out the fire but now we had an oven full of white power and a house full of smoke. With enough vigorous fanning and open windows we got everything cleared out but then we were left with a mess of an oven.

The oven has been going downhill for months. Every time we use it it is random luck to see if it will cook things on time or not. And the temperature throughout the oven itself is non-uniform — and it changes every time you use it. We’ve been talking about getting a new stove for a while and this was what pushed us over the edge. Last Monday we went to Best Buy and found a new Kitchen Aid gas range with double oven. The guys delivered and installed it yesterday and we’re using it today.  Victoria is making lemon cookies and brownies this afternoon and we all love that!

So the week that started with a fire, ended with a new stove and a happy family. Couldn’t be much better than that.

Brand new year, brand new site.

I have had this site hosted at GoDaddy.com since the early 2000’s. For the most part there haven’t been any problems. Towards the end of 2017 GoDaddy migrated my hosting from and old server that they were retiring to their new system. Due to the fact that my site was so old and crusty, it didn’t migrate over smoothly. It was going to take me several hours to do the migration manually.

Considering this, I decided it was time to get on board with newer web technologies. I let the GoDaddy support person convince me to migrate away from my custom Joomla site and move to WordPress.

So far I’m happy with the decision. There’s a lot for me to learn but I’m fine taking it slowly.