Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day Trip to L.A. - bridal showers and running

I am very delinquent in blogging.  I have been writing and half-finishing lots of our life happenings in our seven-and-a-half months of married life, but this is my first one I'm posting to my public blog.  Thankfully I can backdate these with Google to keep them organized along a timeline (this day blogged below occurred a week ago on 7/19/14).  I want to do better because I love looking back and reading about past experiences because I re-remember details that I had forgotten and get to relive all the memories again.  I don’t want to forget anything from this first year of marriage.


Heidi’s former roommate Hannah was having a bridal shower down in L.A.  Heidi initially was disappointed thinking it impossible to go.  It was the weekend after father-son campout and her watching Ava and Caleb, so it would be too much to be out of town again the whole weekend.  So I proposed a day trip.  The shower was at noon, and really close to where Daniel Z. lives, so I made plans to hang out with him.

So we set out early and stopped at McDonalds on the way for breakfast.  Since becoming “part-time vegans” (as I call our food plan changes), that food tastes like plastic to me, but I was desperate, so I ate it.  We did have healthy snacks in the car for the rest of the day.

I drove the whole way down there.  We talked, listened to music, and one Adventures in Odyssey episode.  We enjoy our opportunities to travel together.  Heidi still had to buy a shower gift, so we stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond just a mile away from the restaurant where the shower was being held.  The clerk Stacey, was so helpful.  We were frazzled from just walking in after driving 200 miles nonstop.  She was from Florida, so we talked about the Disney World trip we had taken.

Then I dropped Heidi off and plugged in Daniel’s address.  I should have actually looked at the map before following the directions.  Google changed the zip code on me, so it took me in the opposite direction of Daniel’s apartment.  It took me awhile to figure it out, and I finally got to Daniel’s an hour later.  I was so frustrated that I was really glad we were going running.  So I changed into my running shorts and off we went.  Daniel took me along a new running route that I hadn’t been on before through some nice ritzy neighborhoods.  It was a cool but sunny day, absolutely perfect outside.  We ran and talked, catching up from the last few months.  Daniel had manager at his firm a week earlier.  I told Daniel about married life and the Tough Mudder, trying to convince him to join me for my next one.  We ran a hard 4.5 miles.  I'm usually lagging a few steps behind Daniel huffing and puffing because his legs are so long, but we were holding together pretty well.  A little slower than our usual, but we were happy with a 9:10-minute-mile pace.

We headed back and I called for push-ups until dropping (trying to cajole him into Tough Mudder shape).  I did 16, but Daniel pumped out at least five more than I did.  We re-hydrated and walked down the street for some lunch.  Daniel took me to this place that serves amazing pita wraps.  Back at the apartment, we took turns showering, and then it was time to meet Heidi.  She had gotten ride from Hannah’s aunts to a Starbucks down the street.  We drove over to meet her and sat talking for awhile so Daniel and Heidi could catch up, and then we got back in the car.

Heidi drove the first leg of the trip home.  I conked out for a good 30+ miles and barely woke up when she stopped for gas before Magic Mountain.  She continued driving, I napped a little more, and then we switched at the base of the 99 freeway.  I got us the rest of the way home, and was so grateful when we were done driving.  We pulled only the necessary stuff out of the car and crawled into bed.  It was a long but “worth-it” day of memories.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Great Way to End

Today is my last day of work before my wedding and honeymoon.  I’ll be off work for three weeks.

The last couple of hours have been transition meetings with both my auditors and my boss since my boss will be carrying the majority of my workload while I’m gone.  I’ve been killing it here to get this to as smooth of a hand-off as possible.  I have a folder of several instruction Word documents to guide him through each of my daily and weekly duties.

My boss just paid me the biggest stream of compliments on both my overall performance but also on how I prepared everything for him in my upcoming absence.

  • I am everything he wanted in a Controller.
  • He knows he doesn’t say it often enough, but I’m doing a great job.
  • Everything I prepared for him is clean, organized and easy to follow.
  • I made great progress on the audit even though it isn’t done yet.
  • If we did performance reviews as often as we should, mine would be all positive.
  • I’ve come a long way since I first started and he’s very happy.

We’ll see if he still says that after covering for me for three weeks.

This kind of affirmation goes a long way.  Totally makes it worth the crazy hours I’ve been putting in the last couple of months, even more so the last couple of weeks.

Okay, back to work.  Two more reports to hammer out and then I'm shutting it down and going home.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Men's Retreat 2013

I was really looking forward to going this year because I’ve been missing all the guy friends I have at CBC.  If not for my audit at work being delayed another week, I might not have been able to go.

Javad and I rode up and back with Bryan.  When they picked me up at work, they were a little stunned at the security guard knowing me by name, and by me having a reserved parking spot with my name on it.

We picked accountability & skill partners for the weekend and from there were put into four teams.  I was sitting next to Robert T., so we decided to partner up, and we went on the green team.

The speaker was Michael Pouliot, a football player from Montana who started his own men’s ministry called BattleZone.  Kenton went through it and now it seems like the whole program is coming to Campus.  Michael was a good speaker, very intense, but also very intentional.  His big plug was on relational discipleship, and creating multiple generations of discipleship from the idea of 1 Timothy 2:2, Paul discipled Timothy, who disciple faithful men to disciple others.

A couple exercises focused on teaching us things to later teach our partner (who wasn’t in the room learning it firsthand with us).  First was a dollar-bill trick to automatically link two paper clips together.  Later it was more serious stuff: 1) a PRAYERS acronym for daily praying that follows the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. 2) a “C-4” technique of emergency defense against temptations that get thrown at us.  The emphasis was heavy on learning each skill well enough to pass that knowledge on.

The food was amazing as always.  The only thing that disappointed was the cookies on Saturday night.  This year they weren’t on warmers (so they were hard instead of soft) and there was no milk.  Epic fail, but at least it helped me to stop after eating only three of them.

Friday night Spades tournament, I partnered with Josh B.  For round 1, we went up against Tim P. & Kyle L.  Tim went nil every hand, but only got it three times, and we still beat them.  Round 2, we lost by six points to Jon D. & Matt S.  I should have counted the points potential (I was last to bid on the last hand) and bid one more trick.

The weekend activity was “top shot.”  The four teams rotated through stations of 3D archery, throwing knives, tomahawks, and slingshot.  Lots of fun.  I wasn’t terrible, but I was not skilled at it.  During competition, though, I was only of only three guys on our team to break a bottle with the slingshot.  Daniel Y. was so thrilled that someone finally broke one for our team that he ran in and picked me up.  Marc (who is blind) and Chapman were the only other guys to break bottles (Chapman broke two).

A great weekend with encouraging conversations and fellowship.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marathon #2

It’s hard to encapsulate all my thoughts from this marathon.  The most persistent thought is “Praise God, it’s finally over!”  Both the training to prepare for the race and the pain during the race just made me want to be DONE.

It was very difficult to make time get all those long training runs in.  I wasn’t getting up early without a running partner, so if I was doing solo runs (which was often), they were LATE at night.  Heidi and I were both noticing how stressful running was becoming for me trying to schedule these runs around seminary, church, work, wedding planning, travel and us-time.  Running shouldn’t be stressful, it’s where I want to go to unload stress.

This race was so much a team effort.  It feels so cliché to write that when I was the one who physically ran those 26.2 miles, but I couldn’t have mentally or physically done it without my unofficial support team:

·         Heidi and her parents, who came out to cheer me on from two different locations, thereby seeing me four times throughout the race.  Three of those times, I dropped or picked up gear or sustenance.  The change in temperature from standing still at the start line an hour pre-race at 6 a.m. to high heart-rate only an hour-and-a-half later is extreme, so I was glad to have someone to give my gloves to at mile 4, and be able to change my shirt and hat at mile 12.
·         My running group Sunday Runners.  I wouldn’t have upgraded to the full marathon from my plan to just run the half-marathon if not for this new group of friends that motivated me to get up and run almost every Sunday morning 8-12 miles before church.  Shannon, Jennifer, Janet and I were in the marathon group, and there were even more in the half-marathon group.  Laura, who did the half, finished her race and then got on her bike supplied with gu, water and Gatorade, and rode the last few miles in with the three of us (Shannon had to walk earlier than I did and got separated from us).  They kept me going when I was screaming from the pain in my feet, ankles and stomach.
·         My other three non-racing running partners.  Adam, Alicia, and Cole (who is only 9!) each did one or more training runs with me at some point along my training plan.  Sometimes it’s nice to run alone and just go through some solo therapy to unwind stress, or to embrace some music (passing cars must get a kick of my conducting efforts with my arms as I run with some really emotive music).  But other times, it’s really nice to have someone to talk to.
·         My county-wide aid stations for my long late-night training runs: Heidi in Fresno, Phil & Sandy in North Fresno, Larry & Angela in Clovis, Javad & Kimberly in Clovis, Bryan & Cory in Fresno, and Amy in Fresno.
·         My fellow runners and walkers at the race yesterday morning.  It’s exhilarating to run with three thousand other people at the same time.  Especially when I’m privileged to know so many of them!
·         The spectators.  I say it to educate the masses: it sounds crazy, but a stranger standing along the race course ringing a cowbell can bring me to tears.  It HURTS to run this far, and that someone (especially someone I don’t know) would smile, hold a funny sign, shout encouragement, hand me pretzels/gummy bears/oreos, and/or ring a cowbell is the nicest thing in the world anyone could ever do in that moment.  So it doesn’t matter whether you know the person or not, if you’re out there, you don’t stand silently waiting for the ONE person you know, you make some noise.

My goal for this race was to be under 10-minute miles and to run the whole way.  I came in just shy on both goals, but had so much improvement compared to three years ago that I was very content.  Three years ago, I had to run/walk the last five or so miles and finished in 4h:28m:33s.  This year, I made it 24 miles of non-stop running and only had to run/walk the last 2.2.  Finish time was 3 minutes faster at 4h:24m:50s (10m7s-miles).

I broke down sobbing after I crossed the finish line just from the relief of it finally being over.  I didn’t have my phone, but thankfully Jennifer did so I got in a few post-race pictures.  The medals went through a redesign this year, and I really like them.  The sweatshirts were good before but are even better this year.  The food was amazing, but then again, what doesn’t taste good after running a marathon?  I devoured a bowl of ice cream, a plate of breakfast, almost a dozen orange slices, and several fruit cups.  I signed up for a post-race massage.  Usually I don’t wait through the line for them, but it helped so much after the Wascally in September that I decided to try it.  They were pretty organized and the wait wasn’t long.  Eric was my masseur (there were about 20-25 of them) and he didn’t really seem to be able to loosen me up that much, but oh well.  The free beer wasn’t worth the cacophony of noise coming from the band on stage in the finisher’s area.

As I was walking to my car after the race, I started talking to a couple that was leaving at the same time.  Rex and his wife Shelley walked the half for their first time.  Rex is an attorney, and they are Christians.  I found out that they used to live on my street, only a block east of me!  They were a neat couple to get to talk to, albeit briefly.

It’s hard to say what my racing future will look like.  I don’t think I’ll do the Two Cities full again.  I’m glad to have improved, but I don’t feel like this race is conducive to me performing at my best.  In November, I need to do my long training runs as the days are getting shorter and as the weather is getting colder.  Miles 16 through 24 of this race are the hardest for spectators to reach, making them a pretty demoralizing stretch.  And finally, as my wise friend Katie pointed out last year, most of our friends have gone home by the time the marathoners finish, so there aren’t as many people to reunite with when we’re finally done.  So I’ll probably stick with the Clovis route for the half marathon.  But then again, merely doing the Clovis half last year made me jealous of all the full marathoners and motivated me to do the full this year.  I would like to consider an occasional marathon in the future, but I’ll probably travel for it.  After I’ve recovered and forgotten about how tight all my leg muscles are.